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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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Amazon Expands Android Game Development With “Air Patriots”

It’s clear that Amazon has an interest in building popularity for their gaming features through the site’s Appstore for Android.  Social gaming is a huge attraction for customers as evidenced by the popularity of Achievement systems on various gaming platforms and the success of Farmville and its many imitations.  In order to draw developers into creating content specific to Amazon’s own platform, it only makes sense that they would go out of their way to create some content of their own that can serve as an example.  As far as examples go, the new Air Patriots app is an exceptionally good one.

As a game, it’s fairly interesting.  While the basic description would be “tower defense”, Air Patriots does a lot to vary the now-familiar formula in a way that keeps it interesting and helps keep your attention during play.

The basic concept is simple.  You get tanks coming in and have to map out flight paths for your planes to attack them before they can make it to the end of the line.  Your “towers” are always on the move.  Since they can also collide, this means that there is a lot of coordination that needs to be done.  The emphasis is on adapting to the changing needs of the situation rather than just maximizing the advantage of natural choke points.

The implementation is clearly meant to highlight the most useful capabilities of Amazon Game Circle.  Syncing is the first thing featured in a new installation.  A prompt for activation appears on the first run.  This removes the need to keep personal save files on your device, allowing for better storage management.  That goes along with the leaderboard and achievement functions, which are also available at the touch of a button from any point in the game.

In-app purchasing is also quite prominent.  For the most part all important features are available in the game without real money payments.  Specific maps and planes are only attained by way of cash transaction, however.  There is a lot of content for a free game even without that and this isn’t an app designed to leech microtransactions out of users, but the additional available content will be appealing enough to attract interest.

What makes this a smart move on Amazon’s part, especially if we disregard any potential income from the game itself, is the quality.  If they had just come up with an app that included the features in question, this would be a footnote.  Since Air Patriots not only implements Game Circle well but also switches up a popular but often uninteresting game concept enough that it can appeal even to experienced players, it becomes something more.

If Air Patriots becomes a hit, which it quite likely will thanks to the free status and the interesting implementation, the benefit is much greater than the sum of the in-app transaction income.  It proves that the Game Circle services manage to equal the best of the competition.  Since the feature set is almost identical to the iOS alternative, setting up Apple’s as the competing ecosystem, it gains Amazon significant ground.

As a recommendation, I’d advise anybody who owns a Kindle Fire or equivalent tablet to give this a try.  They did a good job here, even if that was likely a secondary goal.

Daily Deals: Freedom from Fear, Potty and Jellyflop!

Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)Today Amazon offers Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) by David M. Kennedy just for $2.99.

Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This book tells the story of how Americans endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities.

The Depression was both a disaster and an opportunity. As David Kennedy vividly demonstrates, the economic crisis of the 1930s was far more than a simple reaction to the alleged excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before 1929, America’s unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, wastefully consuming capital and inflicting untold misery on city and countryside alike. Freedom From Fear explores how the nation agonized over its role in World War II, how it fought the war, why the United States won, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. In a compelling narrative, Kennedy analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could.

Both comprehensive and colorful, this account of the most convulsive period in American history, excepting only the Civil War, reveals a period that formed the crucible in which modern America was formed.

Some words about the Author

David M. Kennedy is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University. He is the author of Over Here: The First World War and American Society, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger, which won a Bancroft Prize. He lives in Stanford, California.

 

Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books)Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books) is a second book in today’s deal set. The book was written by Leslie Patricelli and cost only $1.99.

There comes a point in a toddler’s life when going in one’s diaper is only one possible option, and the question must be raised: Should I go in my potty? With pitch-perfect humor and pacing, Leslie Patricelli follows the inner dialogue (sure to have little ones shouting responses) and hilarious actions of everyone’s favorite Baby, winding up with an over-the-top look of surprise and delight that will have both parents and offspring laughing out loud. “I did it!”

Some words about the Author

Leslie Patricelli is the creator of a series of best-selling board books starring her adorable bald baby. She is also the author-illustrator of two picture books about the Patterson Puppies as well as HIGHER! HIGHER!, a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Honor winner. She lives in Ketchum, Idaho.

 

 

Jellyflop!Jellyflop! is a free today’s game.

Can Jellyfish fly? Well, sort of…

As a rule, jellyfish are better at flopping than flying, but like the old saying goes, “once a jellyfish sets his mind on something he cannot be swayed,” and this jellyfish really wants to fly.

Help Jelly (a little guy in a big jam!) find enough feathers and gadgets to take to the sky in this action-packed, physics puzzler! Draw lines with a swipe of your finger and let gravity do the rest!

Use powerful fans and space-time bending teleportals to send Jelly bouncing and flopping through a world filled with predators, spikes, and other perils!

Help Jelly fulfill his dream of soaring like a bird amongst the clouds!

Product features:

  • 5 zones and 100 levels of high-flying fun!
  • Fun and addictive physics system!
  • Draw lines anywhere to solve puzzles!
  • Earn achievements and unlock stylish hats!
  • Meet quirky characters along the way!

Kindle Paperwhite Update Improves Overall User Experience and Comic Reading Specifically

We already know that Amazon intends for the Kindle Paperwhite to set the new standard for eReader hardware in every way they could manage.  Some people might still wish for physical page turn buttons (I certainly do) but other than that it is a clear step ahead of all of the competition right now.  That’s referring entirely to the US markets, of course, which may be a good reason that they have decided to update the Paperwhite firmware with some specific comic-related improvements in mind.

On a November 8th release, the new software improvements were made available for download.  If you have a Paperwhite and haven’t gotten everything automatically delivered to your device at this point, check out the side-loading instructions located here.

Foremost in the advertised improvements is the list of optimized fonts.  Palatino, Baskerville, and Futura have all been made sharper and smoother.  It’s a small thing in many ways, but the change will stand out for anybody who prefers to use these fonts regularly.

The ability to remove Recommended Content from your Paperwhite’s home screen is now also included.  This has become a point of annoyance for many users, but the ability to remove this particular advertising stream was added not long ago to new Kindle Fire models and was inevitable here as well.  A more interesting update would have been producing the same stream for older models on demand, honestly.

The settings menu has been brought to the front of things a bit more as well.  You can now jump straight into this menu directly from the menu while reading a book with no need to return to the home screen.

Perhaps most importantly, given the recent push into Japan, is the improved manga/comic display capability.  A new Fit-to-Screen option will stretch images to fill the entire screen, addressing many situations where small panels were practically unreadable previously.

The Paperwhite is also now able to retain a manga/comic specific setting for page refresh preferences that is completely separate from the same options for book reading.  This makes it easier to choose the proper setting to maximize both battery life and reading quality in two areas with distinctly different visual representation needs.

In preparation for a move beyond Japan into China, Simplified Chinese is now included as a font option.  It’s a small note now, but could be vital in the long run.

The only other really notable change is in book samples.  When picking up the full version of a given book after reading the sample you will now start off at the last position accessed in the sample.  The sample itself will be removed from the library.  Organization will be greatly improved as a result for anybody who regularly samples their books.

Many of these updates are small things, but added together they make for a great update.  There is more than can and likely will be done to improve things, especially with regard to comic-reading.  Now that we’re seeing a much bigger effort to get graphic storytelling into the Kindle marketplace, however, it’s safe to assume that a wider audience will demand attention and genre-specific features that will quickly optimize the eReaders as best a black and white display can be optimized.

Daily Deals: Lit, The Elephant’s Child and Kids Trucks

Lit (P.S.)Today Amazon offers Lit (P.S.) by Mary Karr just for $1.99

The Liars’ Club brought to vivid, indelible life Mary Karr’s hardscrabble Texas childhood. Cherry, her account of her adolescence, “continued to set the literary standard for making the personal universal” (Entertainment Weekly). Now Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner’s descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and to her astonishing resurrection.

Karr’s longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting blueblood poet produces a son they adore. But she can’t outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in “The Mental Marriott,” with an oddball tribe of gurus and saviors, awakens her to the possibility of joy and leads her to an unlikely faith. Not since Saint Augustine cried, “Give me chastity, Lord—but not yet!” has a conversion story rung with such dark hilarity.

Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live. Written with Karr’s relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up—as only Mary Karr can tell it.

Some words about the Author

Mary Karr is a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. She has won Pushcart Prizes for both verse and essays, and is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University. Her previous two memoirs, The Liars’ Club and Cherry, were New York Times bestsellers.

 

Today’s price of Elephant’s Child, The (Rabbit Ears: A Classic Tale (Spotlight)) by Rudyard Kipling, Tim Raglin is $0.99.

Rudyard Kipling’s story of how the elephant got its trunk has always delighted children with its playful use of language and sense of high adventure. Never has there been a more satisfying rendering of Kipling’s most beloved “Just So” story, which explains what the world was like “in the beginning of years when the world was new and all…” Ages 5 and up

 

Kids Trucks: Puzzles - An Animated Truck Puzzle Game for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Young ChildrenKids Trucks: Puzzles – An Animated Truck Puzzle Game for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Young Children today is free.

Do your kids love trucks? Do they love puzzles? Look no further. Kids Trucks: Puzzles is a fun animated puzzle game for toddlers, preschoolers, and kids from ages 1 to 6.

Product features:

  • Does not contain ads
  • Does not contain links to social networks
  • Does not use data collection tools
  • Does not contain any in-app purchases

 

Kindle Paperwhite Hands-On Review

Having used the Kindle Keyboard for quite some time and enjoyed it to the point of returning my Kindle Touch when it didn’t quite meet the same standards (it was fine and had its own perks, but wasn’t as strong in some of the areas I cared about), I didn’t jump on the Paperwhite when it was first available.  I’ve played with it enough to know what I’m talking about in various capacities, but only recently have I picked up my own.  Aside from one small complaint, it’s exactly what I was hoping it would be.

Screen Quality

The contrast of the Kindle Keyboard was pretty much ideal for me.  It created the experience of reading an old, familiar paperback.  The new screen was troubling at first because the contrast was actually too extreme.  I would say that it more or less resembles a newer high-gloss trade paperback.  Not my favorite presentation, but it was very simple to get used to and quickly became a non-issue.  All the other benefits of E Ink displays were naturally still around.

Lighting

The Paperwhite’s signature feature is obviously the front-lighting technology.  It was definitely an improvement over the Nook Simpletouch w/ Glowlight.  The light was more evenly distributed and brighter without creating a greater drain on battery life.  The issues with banding on the bottom of the display are not exaggerated necessarily, but they also have little effect on reading.  I found it somewhat annoying to have trouble seeing the progress bar at some points when reading in complete darkness, but the dark areas are still readable and don’t tend to extend into the text in any meaningful way.

Reading Experience

The overall experience beyond simply the screen is also worth noting.  The loss of 1.2 ounces compared to the Kindle Keyboard makes a small difference overall, but I could see it being meaningful over long reading sessions for some people.  As a reader used to holding the old model for hours at a time, it didn’t stand out as particularly useful (especially if you’re using a case anyway) but the reduction was still big enough to note.

The “Time to Read” meter is better than expected.  It comes up with an accurate measure of your reading pace after a few minutes, basically enough time to fall into a measured pattern, and generally gets things right from there.  Obviously it can’t account for breaks and distractions, but how could it?

Recommendation

If you’re in the market for a new eReader, the Paperwhite is the only real option at the moment.  Nothing else comes close to offering the same quality.

Is it enough to consider going out of the way to upgrade from a previous model?  Under most circumstances I would say yes.  The only really obnoxious shortcoming the device has is a lack of physical page turn buttons.  In every other way it’s a functional upgrade.  For me, the weight of the accumulated features made the Paperwhite an appealing option, but it isn’t at all unreasonable to consider that a make or break factor.  If you can, give it a try and find out for yourself.

Daily Deals: Robert Kroese’s Hilarious Mercury Trilogy, The Named and Trainyard

Mercury FallsToday Amazon offers By turns epic and explosive, Robert Kroese’s Mercury trilogy draws inspiration from the impertinent, side-splitting, and madcap adventures of Douglas Adams’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The books chronicle the universe-saving slacker angel, Mercury. Destined to be cult favorites, today the Mercury Trilogy books are only $1.99 each (80% off).

1. Mercury Falls

While on assignment in Utah, Christine Temetri isn’t surprised when yet another prophesied Apocalypse fails to occur. After three years of reporting on End Times cults for a religious news magazine, Christine is seriously questioning her career choice. But then she meets Mercury, a cult leader whose knowledge of the impending Apocalypse is decidedly more solid than most: he is an angel, sent from heaven to prepare for the Second Coming but distracted by beer, ping pong, and other earthly delights. After Christine and Mercury inadvertently save Karl Grissom—a film-school dropout and the newly appointed Antichrist—from assassination, she realizes the three of them are all that stand in the way of mankind’s utter annihilation. They are a motley crew compared to the heavenly host bent on earth’s destruction, but Christine figures they’ll just have to do. Full of memorable characters, Mercury Falls is an absurdly funny tale about unlikely heroes on a quest to save the world.

2. Mercury Rises

Jaded religion reporter Christine Temetri and Mercury, a renegade angel, have just thwarted two diabolical plots to destroy the world. But their work isn’t finished yet: mysterious powers outranking even the Heavenly bureaucracy seem intent on keeping the Apocalypse on track. While the world is plagued by natural disasters and nations prepare for war, crazed billionaire Horace Finch plots to use a secret device hidden beneath the African desert to discover the deepest secrets of the Universe—even if he has to destroy the Universe to do it. Meanwhile, unassuming FBI investigator Jacob Slater tries in vain to find a rational explanation for the mysterious destruction of downtown Anaheim—a quest that ultimately brings him to Kenya, where he meets Christine and Mercury. Together, the three must stop Finch from activating the device and tearing reality to pieces. Uproarious and wildly entertaining, Mercury Rises proves that the devil is in the details!

3. Mercury Rests

Mercury Rests: The epic conclusion to the Mercury trilogy!

After foiling an attempt to destroy the universe, Mercury has gone missing. And with the devil already putting the final fiendish touches on his next scheme to bring about the apocalypse, all that stands between Lucifer and his dreams of a hellfire holocaust are two misfit humans: jaded religion reporter Christine Temetri and mild-mannered forensic analyst Jacob Slater.

But the pair soon realize that the Prince of Darkness has set his sights higher than they can reach; he’s planning to bring his battle for domination straight to the pearly gates. They’ll need the wisecracking, ping-pong loving, apathetic angel Mercury to help save the day, the world, and heaven before the clock ticks down to the End Times…if they can find him.

By turns epic and explosive, Mercury Rests concludes the trilogy that Booklist describes as a “hilarious romp” that has “cult favorite written all over it.”

 

The Named (Guardians of Time)The Named (Guardians of Time) by Marianne Curley is a book for young readers with ages 10 and up. Today’s price is only $1.99

Magic blooms in Angel Falls, the setting of this promising launch to Curley’s (Old Magic) time travel trilogy. At the edge of a national forest, where two worlds co-exist, 16-year-old Ethan Roberts guards time or, more specifically, history (“My job is to make sure it all happens the way it’s supposed to, the way it already did”). As one of the Named, a Guardian of Time, he has been doing this since age four, not long after his 10-year-old sister, Sera, was killed. Her murderer, an evil half-faced monster, Marduke, is an Order of Chaos minion who wishes to alter the past in order to change the future-and to avenge his own losses. As the novel opens, Ethan is given an Apprentice to train, 15-year-old Isabel Becket, younger sister of his ex-best friend. With the help of Arkarian, a 600-year-old Guardian who lives deep inside the mountain, Isabel quickly takes to the apprenticeship, and her power to heal strengthens. But the forces of good and evil are headed for a Final Conflict foreseen by the Prophecy found in Veridian, the ancient city hidden deep under Angel Falls. No machine is required for time travel here; a strange “sleep” is the conduit between worlds past and present. Told in convincing alternating chapters by Isabel and Ethan, the novel reveals a mystery, the clues to which unfold via the duo’s trip back in time to John of Gaunt (during the reign of Richard II) and details of Sera’s death. Readers will likely be swept up by the ever-growing complications and want to return for the series’ next installments.

Some words about the Auhtor

Marianne Curley is a native of Australia. After marrying and having three children, Marianne and her young family moved to Coffs Harbour, a small coastal city. It was there, surrounded by beaches, rainforests and fresh clean air that Marianne began to write. Today she has three teenage children, whose conversations and experiences inspire her writing. They are also her fervent critics.

 

TrainyardTrainyard is a small logical game for your Kindle Fire which you can get for free today only.

Trainyard is a puzzle solving game unlike any that you’ve ever played. It’s easy to learn but very tough to master. Your job is simple: get each train to a goal station. Red trains go to red stations, blue trains go to blue stations, etc. You control the trains by drawing track for them to follow. There isn’t a time limit or even a score; the only thing you need to do is figure out a solution for each puzzle.

The first few puzzles are almost too easy, but as the difficulty increases you’ll be thankful that you were able to practice the fundamentals of drawing track. As the game progresses, you’ll have to use colour theory to combine trains of different colours, use timing to merge and split trains, and use every inch of your brain in your quest to beat the game.

Product features:

  • Innovative and challenging puzzle mechanic
  • Smooth difficulty curve
  • 100 main puzzles and over 50 bonus puzzles
  • Hundreds of ways to solve each puzzle
  • Colour-blind mode

Daily Deals: Books to Commemorate Veterans Day, Hero Dad and Stunt Bunnies Circus

From the voyages and raids of the Viking tribes in the 10th century to the healing sought by Vietnam War soldiers decades after the conflict, today’s deal presents a collection of stories about war and its aftermath. Today’s thought-provoking books are from $1.99 each (up to 89% off). Here is the list of these books:

1. Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (P.S.) by Mitchell Zuckoff

2. The Only Thing Worth Dying For (P.S.) by Eric Blehm

3. The Long Ships (New York Review Books Classics) by Frans G. Bengtsson, Michael Chabon, Michael Meyer

4. We Are Soldiers Still by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

5. Tonight We Die As Men PB: The Untold Story of Third Batallion 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment from Toccoa to D-D (General Military) by Ian Gardner

6. Red Eagles: Americas Secret MiGs (General Aviation) by Steve Davies and General J. Jumper

7. SEALs: The US Navy#s Elite Fighting Force (General Military) by Mir Bahmanyar

8. No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland?s Forces in World War II (General Military) by Kenneth Koskodan

9. Runescape: Betrayal at Falador by T. S. Church

 

Hero DadAlso Amazon offers Hero Dad by Bryan Langdo, Melinda Hardin just for $1.99.

Some superheroes wear rocket-propelled boots, drive super-powered cars, and have X-ray vision. But other superheroes wear army boots, drive tanks, and go away for long trips to make the world a safer place. It’s a tough job, but that’s what superheroes have to do. With Melinda Hardin’s simple text and with Bryan Langdo’s endearing watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, Hero Dad makes a difficult and tender subject more accessible to children with parents serving far from home.

Some words about the Auhtors

Author Melinda Hardin lives in Clinton, Massachusetts. She received a degree in secondary education from Western Michigan University. She has traveled extensively and enjoys time with her family.  Hero Dad is her first book and is about being the child of a military father, from the child’s point of view.

Illustrator Bryan Langdo lives in New Jersey. He has illustrated nearly thirty books for children, and wrote two of them.

 

Stunt Bunnies CircusStunt Bunnies Circus is a free application for your Kindle Fire for today only.

The Stunt Bunnies Circus is in town and Jet Bunny needs your help! Wow the crowd and pluck the tumbling circus rabbits from certain death.

Ringmaster Claude Reynard, like all sly foxes, cares little for the safety of the cute Stunt Bunnies troupe. With each show he introduces more fiendish death defining acts for them to perform. Fail in your task and they’ll be cooked with the carrots.

Stunt Bunnies: Circus is the first in a series of cute, pick up and play action-packed games featuring cute Bunnies hell-bent on self-destruction whatever the setting.

With a single finger tap, players send Jet Bunny flying through the air to catch his falling furry long-eared friends. Chain together saves to score more points and land safely to earn your coins. The stunts will become more and more complex, involving cannons, tight ropes, flaming torches, lions and a variety of funny bunnies with different behaviours. There’s a small set of unlockable power ups that can make Jet Bunny’s job easier: Crash mats, Fire jackets, Rocket fuel and the magical ‘bullet-time’ green carrot!

DC Comes to Kindle Store & More, Ending Comixology Exclusivity

While DC Entertainment is insisting that the move is not necessarily a switch away from Comixology, the publisher has now made the transition to offering its weekly content directly through the Kindle, Nook, and iBooks stores.  There is now very little reason to expect anybody to continue using the Comixology apps given that their main selling point was exclusive access to DC content.

This change in distribution model comes at a time when digital distribution is up nearly 200% over 2011’s numbers.  For comparison, DC has stated that their physical volume sales are up just 12%.  Given the already comparatively strong sales of the weekly comics in question it is a lot simpler to increase the audience for digital content by an impressive percentage, but this also comes at a time when many publishers are seeing digital distribution begin to overwhelm their traditional sales market.

The plan for rollout is essentially what you would expect.  The new titles, especially those that are part of DC’s “New 52” franchise reboot, will be available immediately as they are released.  Over an as-yet undetermined period of time they will begin issuing the back catalogue.  A DC spokesperson claimed that the only real reason that it would take some time to get to content that wasn’t brand new was the limitation of bandwidth.  The more interest digital content generates, the faster they will get the whole library converted and available through the various stores.

While there is not yet any way to get the DC catalogue in a readable format for a black and white eReader like the Kindle Paperwhite it is possible that this situation may change in the not too distant future.  Representatives of the company are interested in the idea of making their content available to eReader owners and see little reason for that to be prevented if a positive experience with black and white reading can be confirmed.  Senior VP of Digital for DC Hank Kanalz went so far as to explain his position:

“We’re taking a look at whether we like how it looks in the black-and-white space. My attitude is that if you’re stuck on a train, and you only have your Paperwhite or other black-and-white device, you can read it then and see it in color later”

This should go a long way toward both increasing interest in digital comic distribution and proving that an online distribution model will work for such a large publisher of graphic storytelling.  Seventy titles are already present in the Kindle Store and more will be around soon.  Perhaps it’s a matter of personal opinion, but I doubt there will be much concern over the end of Comixology’s reign when it comes to comic content being served to Kindle Fire owners.  It’s only a matter of time now before everybody else catches on.

Daily Deals: Fast Food Nation, Puss in Boots and ABC Slate

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American MealToday Amazon offers Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser for $2.99.

On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its thriftiness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. But the industry’s drive for consolidation, homogenization, and speed has radically transformed America’s diet, landscape, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways. Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating exposé with an introduction to the iconoclasts and high school dropouts, such as Harlan Sanders and the McDonald brothers, who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen. Quickly, however, he moves behind the counter with the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where the potatoes and beef are grown, and into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations. Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good (with a visit to the world’s largest flavor company) and “what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns.” Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is–literally–feces in your meat.

Schlosser’s investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry. His searing portrayal of the industry is disturbingly similar to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, written in 1906: nightmare working conditions, union busting, and unsanitary practices that introduce E. coli and other pathogens into restaurants, public schools, and homes. Almost as disturbing is his description of how the industry “both feeds and feeds off the young,” insinuating itself into all aspects of children’s lives, even the pages of their school books, while leaving them prone to obesity and disease. Fortunately, Schlosser offers some eminently practical remedies. “Eating in the United States should no longer be a form of high-risk behavior,” he writes. Where to begin? Ask yourself, is the true cost of having it “your way” really worth it? –Lesley Reed

Puss in Boots (Rabbit Ears Set 4)

 

Puss in Boots (Rabbit Ears Set 4) by Eric Metaxas, Pierre Le-Tan is offered with price $0.99.

Charles Perrault first published his collection of classic French folk tales 300 years ago, including “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and this entertaining story about a most clever feline. In Puss and Boots, a poor miller dies and leaves his youngest son nothing but a cat. The son is none too happy about it, either; ” …once I’ve eaten my cat and made a muff out of the fur, I’m sure to starve,” he says. But what a legacy the bequeathed cat turns out to be! The cat in tall boots creates a new identity for the youngest son — the Marquis of Carabas, complete with fine clothes, fields of wheat, a castle stolen from an ogre, and in the end, the respect of the king and the hand of the king’s daughter. The story itself is gracefully and humorously told, and the text, set in large gray type, adds an old-fashioned air to the tale.

Fred Marcellino’s illustrations for Puss in Boots — a Caldecott Honor Book — are infused with golden light and summer warmth in the sun-dappled woods and beside the fields of ripe grain. Many of his paintings show a masterful use of perspective; the reader sometimes looks down on a scene as though from a balcony, or from below, at a huge charging lion. Marcellino has also illustrated a version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier and two books by Tor Seidler, A Rat’s Tale andThe Wainscott Weasel. Young listeners won’t soon forget this crafty character of a cat, who has a great deal of charm despite his less-than-honest means of helping his master. (Ages 5 to 9)

Some words about the Authors.

CHARLES PERRAULT (1628–1703) is considered the original creator of the fairy tale, having written such classics as Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella.

FRED MARCELLINO (1939–2001) began his career in illustration with A Rat’s Tale (available from Farrar Straus Giroux). Puss in Boots was his first full-color picture book and a Caldecott Honor winner. He continued to win awards and receive critical acclaim for his children’s books until his death in 2001.

 

ABC SlateABC Slate is a small application for teaching handwriting skills for kids.

Do you have a preschool child just learning how to recognize and draw their ABCs? If so, loading up the ABC Slate app into your Android device will give you a mess free, and highly mobile, virtual chalk board. This interactive chalk board helps guide children on how to properly recognize and write the English alphabet in either upper or lowercase block letters.

Trace and Learn

Simply trace the letter forms, or write them free-hand, on the simulated writing paper below ABC Slate’s example. If your child becomes stuck on recognizing the letter, a voice prompt may be pressed that sounds out the letter with a pleasant, child-friendly voice.

As Easy As ABC

The practice paper uses solid or dashed paper lines with optional follow-the-dot lines for each letter. ABC slate is easy to use for children with responsive touch control to avoid confusing your child. Your little tot will be successfully writing letters before you know it.

Product features:

  • Practice area for writing features solid and dashed writing-paper lines
  • Letter work on portrait and landscape layouts saves automatically
  • Finger tracing aided by optional follow-the-dot lines for each letter
  • Voice prompt option reminds young students of the letter to trace
  • Upper and lowercase letter formats

Daily Deals: Twelve Months, Breaking Beautiful and Kinito Ninja

Twelve MonthsToday Amazon offers Twelve Months by Steven Manchester just for $0.99

Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.

A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TWELVE MONTHS is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.

 

 

 

Breaking BeautifulFor young readers Amazon offers Breaking Beautiful by Walker for $1.99.

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident. Although she managed to jump out before he lost control of the car, Allie can’t remember anything from that night-but she has a sinking feeling that it was no accident. As their small seaside town, mourns the loss of one of its brightest, Allie feels guilty that she can’t help solve the mystery of the crash. But more importantly, she is secretly relieved to be free from the relationship that caused her more pain than the one night of the crash ever did. The abuse she suffered at Trip’s hands is a secret she kept for so long, even from her twin brother, Andrew, and her best friend, Blake.

Trip’s family insists that foul play was behind their son’s death, and the investigation turns on Allie and Blake, especially as their changing relationship raises eyebrows around town. Beginning to question everything about herself, her family, and Blake, Allie must reach deep down to remember what happened that night. But is it worth it, if finding out the truth could hurt the people who tried to save her?

Some words about the Author.

Jennifer Shaw Wolf ‘s hobbies include reading, video production, skiing, and running. She grew up in the tiny town of Wilford, Idaho where she milked cows, rode horses, went bridge jumping, and dragged main street. In college she was a DJ for a small campus radio station and graduated with a degree in Broadcast Communications. She lives amid the peaceful forests of Lacey, Washington. Breaking Beautiful is her first book.

 

Kinito NinjaKinito Ninja is a today’s free game.

KINITO Ninja is a white knuckle side scrolling action adventure. The player’s goal is simple: run head long past obstacles, slash past enemies with your Katana, and get as much treasure as quickly as you can through sixty unique levels! As addicting as it is engaging, KINITO Ninja also boasts beautifully stylized professionally rendered cartoon graphics, smooth gameplay, and seamless in-game animation.

Gamers aren’t tied down to a single hero in this game. Instead, they’re free to either play as an intense Afro Samurai or as a swift Geisha Warrior. KINITO Ninja itself is very intuitive and straightforward, ensuring that every level of player can jump right into the action. Characters automatically move forward, so all you need to worry about is jumping, ducking and slicing at the right time. Players need to hone their hand eye coordination and sharpen up their reflexes if they hope to come out on top through all six of the game’s uniquely designed worlds!

KINITO Ninja is a well polished and well rounded gaming experience which features dozens of unlockable achievements and special collectible ninja combination moves to keep gamers motivated. Players can either battle against themselves via in-game leaderboards, or challenge the online KINITO Ninja community at large for ultimate dominance via fully integrated OpenFeint online leaderboards as well!

What are you waiting for?! Unleash your inner ninja with KINITO Ninja and slash away minute after minute of your down time starting now!

Kindle Fire HD Teardown Shows Small Profits Compared to Competition

When the original Kindle Fire was introduced, it was a huge shock to see such a powerful device offered for so little money.  It was literally the device that changed the Android tablet market.  A year later it’s no shock to see brand new 7” devices going for around $199.  Are we still getting the same sort of value for that hardware price, though?  An IHS iSuppli teardown team has looked into the components in details to give us an idea about exactly that.

What they have managed to determine is that while Amazon may not be subsidizing the Kindle Fire HD as they are suspected to have done with the first run of the Kindle Fire, it is still not a big money maker at the time of initial sales.  This fits with a previous assertion by Jeff Bezos that the tablet is sold at cost.

Exploded Kindle Fire HD – Image Credit to AllThingsD

Because they were planning to make any real profits off of digital content sales down the line, the Kindle Fire didn’t need to make money right away.  The first teardowns estimated that it cost anywhere from $187-202 in materials alone per device.  Factoring in the development costs and other miscellaneous expenses means that there was little chance of breaking even on a $199 sale.

This newest teardown indicates that the Kindle Fire HD is composed of about $165 worth of material.  The major components come from LG Display, Texas Instruments, and Samsung.  Basically we’re looking at a more advanced device built by a more established name in tablets for less money.

That might explain why the ability to remove the Special Offers on these devices was added so quickly after protests and made so cheap.  If it’s not losing money then there is no good reason to force the ad subsidy.

While it does appear that Amazon might be making at least small profits on the Kindle Fire HD now, they’re not exactly trying to turn it into a major revenue stream.  Consider the competition.  Similar teardowns of the Google Nexus 7 and iPad Mini show material costs of $152 and $188 respectively.  If we’re ignoring after-purchase digital sales entirely, Amazon and Google are making less than $50 per tablet they sell compared to Apple’s $140 with Amazon bringing in the least of the three.

All told, it’s safe to claim that Amazon is still offering great value for the money on the Kindle Fire HD.  You can’t necessarily equate the cost of components to the quality of the hardware, but it’s not a completely worthless indication either.  Amazon’s ability to sell their hardware at cost will continue to make it more difficult for newcomers without their own ecosystems to break into the affordable tablet market, but for the moment it is good for the customer.  The industry is hardly likely to stagnate with Apple, Amazon, and Google all fighting to get the lion’s share of small tablet sales.

Daily Deals: Chocolat, The Secret Of The Sirens and Chess

ChocolatToday Amazon offers Chocolat by Joanne Harris for $2.99.

Vianne Rocher and her 6-year-old daughter, Anouk, arrive in the small village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes–”a blip on the fast road between Toulouse and Bourdeaux”–in February, during the carnival. Three days later, Vianne opens a luxuriant chocolate shop crammed with the most tempting of confections and offering a mouth-watering variety of hot chocolate drinks. It’s Lent, the shop is opposite the church and open on Sundays, and Francis Reynaud, the austere parish priest, is livid.

One by one the locals succumb to Vianne’s concoctions. Joanne Harris weaves their secrets and troubles, their loves and desires, into her third novel, with the lightest touch. There’s sad, polite Guillame and his dying dog; thieving, beaten-up Joséphine Muscat; schoolchildren who declare it “hypercool” when Vianne says they can help eat the window display–a gingerbread house complete with witch. And there’s Armande, still vigorous in her 80s, who can see Anouk’s “imaginary” rabbit, Pantoufle, and recognizes Vianne for who she really is. However, certain villagers–including Armande’s snobby daughter and Joséphine’s violent husband–side with Reynaud. So when Vianne announces a Grand Festival of Chocolate commencing Easter Sunday, it’s all-out war: war between church and chocolate, between good and evil, between love and dogma.

Reminiscent of Herman Hesse’s short story “Augustus,” Chocolat is an utterly delicious novel, coated in the gentlest of magic, which proves–indisputably and without preaching–that soft centers are best. –Lisa Gee, Amazon.co.uk

Some words about the Author

Joanne Harris, part French and part English, found the inspiration for her novel Chocolat in her own family history and folklore–herself having lived in a sweet-shop and being the great-granddaughter of a Frenchwoman known locally as a witch and a healer who once disguised herself as an apparition of the Virgin Mary to shock the local priest. Harris, who studied at St. Catharine’s College in Cambridge where she received a BA and an MA in French and German, teaches French in an English school and lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and daughter.

 

The Secret Of The Sirens #1 (Companions Quartet)The Secret Of The Sirens #1 (Companions Quartet) by Julia Golding is in the set of daily deals.

The first book in the “Companions QuartetSecret of the Sirens picks up where JK Rowling left off concerning the Society for the Preservation of Mythical Creatures fantasy enthusiasts. It’s a classic hero’s journey with Connie, a twelve-year-old newcomer to Hescombe, Great Britain, as the heroine. Unbeknownst to her, she is a descendant of a long line of companions to mythical creatures, but she thinks her ability to get along and communicate with animals is just another reason why she doesn’t fit in to the regular school scene. She has transferred from several different schools and finally ends up living with her eccentric Aunt Evelyn, a threshold guardian, unsure of letting Connie know of the existence of the secret society. When it appears that Connie not only should be a member, but the highest ranking member as a universal companion to all mythical creatures and the only one who can save them from the exploits of modern-day business expansion, she fully supports Connie’s gift, and becomes her ardent protector, as well as a loving aunt. Battling the Shapeshifter, an evil force that threatens the human world, Connie and the other companions, along with the help of the mythical creatures, save an oil tanker from crashing upon the sharp rocks and spilling black oil throughout the sea. The evil force appears to be destroyed, but Connie senses it will re-gather and confront her, the universal companion, in the future to again tempt her to help him destroy humankind. This is a great fantasy that is well written and riveting to the reader. An underlying message about saving our environment is intertwined throughout the story, and it also integrates characters of diverse ethnicities. It is a wonderful start to a series that will quickly develop a following. — Children’s Literature, April 2007

Some words about the Author

Julia Golding’s debut novel, The Diamond of Drury Lane, won the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize and the Ottakar’s Children’s Book Prize in the U.K. She lives in Oxford, England. While working as a diplomat in Poland, Julia Golding traveled high and low, from the Tatra Mountains to the bottom of a Silesian coal mine. She later joined Oxfam as a lobbyist on conflict issues, campaigning at the United Nations and with governments to lessen the impact of war on civilians living in war zones.

 

ChessChess is a free game today only.

Since its origin in India more than 1,400 years ago, chess has become one of the world’s favorite pastimes. This culturally transcendent game of strategy and intellectual warfare now unfolds in the palm of your hand with AI Factory’s challenging Chess app.

Based on AI’s innovative Treebeard gaming engine, the app allows you to play chess with a more human style. It’s a trait not found on typical chess programs and represents a modern approach that pays homage to the grandmasters of this ancient board game.

Deep Roots

The chess engine that eventually evolved into Treebeard sprouted back 1976 within the chess program Merlin. In the nearly two decades that followed, its code morphed and had a notable appearance from 1997-2003 as the force behind Shotest, a world-renown Shogi program. Shogi originated 1,000 years ago after the early, Indian version of chess moved east from the Asian land mass to the Japanese islands.

In 2004 the Shotest engine was reworked for chess and renamed as Treebeard. The first appearance of its current form came with the release of the Global Star Tournament Chess II program, and it drives Microsoft’s MSN Chess.

The game analysis Treebeard uses is unique and proprietary to AI Factory: unlike conventional programs, the engine does not search millions of positions to counter your moves. Instead, Treebeard uses a probability-directed search to examine fewer positions but with greater detail.

Rich features

With such a powerful engine driving AI’s Chess app, your mental mettle will be tested, and, when combined with the app’s well-designed user interface, you have the opportunity to hone your chess game to a sublime point.

Featuring 10 levels of difficulty, Chess is suitable for novice and expert players alike. Treebeard employs intelligent-weakening for the lower levels, which makes it perfect for beginning players, too. There’s also a complete chess-move manual included for those completely unfamiliar with the game.

While there are many unique aspects of the app, one in particular proves helpful in improving your game at any level: the Show CPU Thinking option. Once activated, Chess reveals which move Treebeard is considering next by placing a blue border around the piece the computer wants to move and another around it’s targeted square.

Customizable Play

If you want to try your moves against a person rather than a machine, the app also has a two-player mode. Just like when you play against the computer, the manual mode allows you to use a game clock that limits play from 5 minutes to 60 minutes and moves from 5 to 60 seconds.

Chess’s user interface presents players with three chessboard layouts and three choices of chessmen to customize the feel of your game. In a game’s Match Settings screen, the handicap adjustment feature offers an interesting twist, whether you’re playing against the computer or a trash-talking opponent. In both modes you can choose to handicap the white chessmen by removing a pawn, knight, rook or queen. If playing the black chessmen against the computer, this option is particularly handy when testing your skills against Treebeard’s higher levels.

After checkmate, you’re immediately presented with the option to step back through each of your moves to see how you won, or lost, the game. Chess also stores your gaming history and generates statistics based on your level of play against Treebeard.

The app features full touchscreen and trackball capabilities. The free version of the game is supported by unobtrusive banner ads.

Whether you’re playing against Treebeard or against a living opponent, Chess will help you continually push the limits of your game.

Windows 8 Kindle App Now Available

Wow, Amazon moved fast. Microsoft released it’s newest Windows OS, Windows 8, on Friday, and Amazon has already added a new Kindle app to go along with it.  It is currently available in the Kindle Store along with the other Kindle apps, including one for Windows 7.

Windows 8 features a new “metro” style operating system that is suitable for both tablet and PC use.  The traditional start button no longer exists.  The programs are displayed right on the screen and are called apps.  The design is geared towards touchscreens, but can be accessed with the keyboard and mouse.

Considering how much people don’t like change, it will be interesting to see how well this new OS fares in the market.  The 10″ inch Microsoft Surface tablet is one to watch as it enters the increasingly crowded tablet market.

Amazon says that the Windows 8 Kindle app is available on “any Windows 8 device.”  So I am assuming this means both the Surface Tablet and PC versions.

Kindle apps are available on for both PC and Mac, tablets such as the iPad and Android, and popular smartphones including the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7.

These apps are quite handy.  Even if you don’t own a physical Kindle, you can still download these apps for free and purchase Kindle books.  You take your reading from your Kindle to other devices without losing your place or bookmarks.  It saves having to lug several devices around while you travel.  It is quite convenient to sneak a chapter or two on my phone during lunch breaks.

Te only drawback I’ve seen is te Kindle Owner’s Lending Library books.  I can’t download these books to any other devices besides my actual Kindle.  I guess that isn’t surprising since it intended for Kindle owners only.

Well, there is definitely no shortage of reading options.  It will be interesting to see how the competition heats up this holiday season.

Daily Deals: Sly Fox, The Templeton Twins Have an Idea and The Golden Years

Sly Fox: A Dani Fox NovelToday Amazon offers Sly Fox: A Dani Fox Novel by Jeanine Pirro just for $1.99

Westchester, New York, 1976–Cocaine abuse is rampant, the county courthouse is a boys’ club, and men are still legally permitted to beat their wives. Enter Dani Fox, the feisty, ambitious twenty-five-year-old assistant district attorney tired of feeling like an outsider and hungry to bring abusers to justice.

Dani confronts emotionally challenging crime scenes and uncooperative colleagues, facing threats to her safety–and even the safety of her pet pig, Wilbur–in order to protect society’s silent victims. Spearheading the country’s first domestic violence unit in a shifting legal landscape, Dani must find allies where she can, especially when she discovers a seemingly simple case has some shocking twists. But who can she trust, and which of her colleagues will she end up battling both in and out of the courtroom?

Drawing from her own past as a dynamic, hard-charging former district attorney, Emmy-winning Judge Jeanine Pirro’s debut page-turner is ripped from the headlines, full of gripping details, authentic thrills, and suspenseful realism that can only come from a courtroom litigator who’s been in the trenches.

 

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book OneThe Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One by Jeremy Holmes, Ellis Weiner is the second daily deals from Amazon. The book costs $1.99.

Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometimes confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, I said kidnapped. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Luckily for you, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn’t?!).

Some words about the Auhtors

Ellis Weiner is a contributor to the New Yorker and a regular blogger for the Huffington Post. He is also the author of several books, including Yiddish with Dick and Jane, which he co-authored with his wife. He lives in southern California.

Jeremy Holmes is the creative mind behind Mutt Ink, a graphic design studio. His first book, There Was an Old Lady (also published by Chronicle), was awarded BolognaRazzi’s Opera Prima award at the 2010 Bologna Book Fair. He lives in Pennsylvania.

 

The Golden Years: Way Out WestThe Golden Years: Way Out West is a free game from Amazon for today only.

Tame the Wild West in The Golden Years, an exciting city building sim! Raise frontier towns out of rock and dirt and turn them into glorious metropolises! Gather resources and gold, build accommodation and production facilities and take your empire to the peak of success!

As you make your way through the hardship of the Wild West, help a local woman overcome the sleazy maneuvers of a greedy old rip and save her family from destitution. With stunning visuals that bring the West to dazzling life and an epic story, The Golden Years: Way Out West will bring hours of fun to the whole family!

Product features:

  • 48 increasingly challenging levels!
  • Five story scenes
  • 11 Wild West characters
  • 27 buildings
  • Engage storyline and vivid characters

Amazon Prime Monthly Option Silently Added in US

While it won’t show up for everybody just yet, some people are beginning to see a new option for Amazon Prime subscriptions.  Instead of the long-running annual fee option, it will now be possible to subscribe to the service for just $7.99 per month.  This might be a premium when you compare the annual total to the more expensive initial investment, but it will be a huge factor in increasing adoption this holiday season.

There has been no official release from Amazon confirming the details about this new subscription plan.  Even seeing the advertisement for it seems to be difficult for some people, though logging out of your Amazon.com account and trying a variety of browsers tends to eventually result in a productive combination.  It is possible that we’re looking at a limited test phase as the company gets ready for a rush of Kindle Fire HD users over the holidays that the company needs to hook on the service as quickly as possible.

Starting…well, whenever this goes more public…the monthly option will put pressure on competing video services like Netflix and Hulu.  While Amazon Prime still lacks the depth of selection that the competing services have available it is still building up a huge library of subscriber-friendly media.  Tie this into the other benefits like the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and the unlimited free two-day shipping to anywhere in the US and it’s a huge bargain that video-only services can’t equal.

So far we haven’t heard from anybody outside the US who has been able to view the ad that gives us the current pricing.  This could mean that it’s going to be a later rollout or it could mean that the offer will start out as exclusive to the US.  The monthly option does seem to be built as an imitation of Netflix’s pricing scheme and as such might not be considered appropriate in markets where the Prime video selection isn’t as robust yet.

Expect to hear about huge increases in subscription sales in the first quarter of next year.  The Kindle Fire HD is the top Android tablet in its size/price bracket and comes with a free month of Amazon Prime membership.  The formerly daunting $79 subscription fee that comes up after that free trial ends was definitely worth it for anybody who shops the site regularly, but the $7.99 monthly fee will be even harder to argue against.  It might be almost $17 more per year than the annual option, but if you buy at least two things per month from Amazon the math becomes quite easy to follow based on shipping savings alone.

Daily Deals: The American Patriot’s Almanac, Women Heroes of World War II and Backflip Madness

The American Patriot's Almanac: Daily Readings on AmericaToday Amazon offers The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America by William J. Bennett, John T.E. Cribb just for $1.99.

Read here the storied history of these United States.

The stories in this book are part of what Abraham Lincoln called the “mystic chords of memory.” They are the symbols that define the essence of the United States, that mark its historic course, and connect its people. The American Patriot’s Almanacis a daily source of inspiration and information about the history, heroes, and achievements that sum up what this nation is all about.

Also you can buy Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue (Women of Action) by Kathryn J. Atwood for $2.99.

Organized by country, this historical exploration includes stories of girls and women from across Europe and the United States who risked their lives to perform extremely dangerous acts against the Nazis during World War II. The 26 profiles bring to life courageous women such as Noor Inayat Khan, a radio operator who parachuted into occupied France and transferred crucial messages; Johtje Vos, the Dutch housewife who hid Jews in her home and was repeatedly interrogated by the Gestapo; and Hannie Schaft, a Dutch law student who became involved in the most dangerous resistance work—sabotage, weapons transference, and assassinations. The profiles are written using dialogue, direct quotes, and document excerpts to lend authenticity and immediacy. Each profile includes one or more informative sidebars and is followed by a list of relevant books, websites, and films, making it an attractive resource for teachers, parents, and libraries.

Some words about the Author

Kathryn J. Atwood is an educator and writer. She has contributed to War, Literature, and the Arts, PopMatters.com, Midwest Book Review, and Women’s Independent Press.

 

Backflip MadnessAnd as usual, a free game from Amazon. Today it is Backflip Madness.

Backflip Madness is a fast-paced, parkour-flavored extreme sports game. Your goal is simple – make tons of spectacular tricks and stunts. Take it to the extreme!

Product features:

  • Multiple backflips and locations
  • Parkour/Free running acrobatics
  • Realistic physics
  • Achievements, Challanges and Leaderboards (Scoreloop)
  • 3 difficulty levels
  • Action replay

Daily Deals: Wonder Boys, One Love and League of Evil

Wonder BoysToday Amazon offers Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon just for $1.99.

Chabon’s extraordinary story of one turbulent weekend in the life of a struggling writer, a satire of the permanent adolescence of the creative class

A wildly successful first novel made Grady Tripp a young star, and seven years later he still hasn’t grown up. He’s now a writing professor in Pittsburgh, plummeting through middle age, stuck with an unfinishable manuscript, an estranged wife, a pregnant girlfriend, and a talented but deeply disturbed student named James Leer. During one lost weekend at a writing festival with Leer and debauched editor Terry Crabtree, Tripp must finally confront the wreckage made of his past decisions.

Mordant but humane, Wonder Boys features characters as loveably flawed as any in American fiction.

This ebook features a biography of the author.

Some words about the Auhtor.

Michael Chabon is the author of Wonder Boys, which won universal critical acclaim and was made into a feature film starring Michael Douglas. Entertainment Weekly included his latest, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, on its list of the best books of 2000. Both are available from Brilliance Audio. He received his B.A. from The University of Pittsburgh and his M.F.A. from the University of California at Irvine. He lives with his wife and two children in California.

One LoveAnother book is One Love by Cedella Marley, Vanessa Newton and costs only $1.99.

This heartwarming picture book adapted from one of Bob Marley s most beloved songs brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics of his music to life for a new generation. Readers will delight in dancing to the beat and feeling the positive groove of change when one girl enlists her friends, family, and community to help transform her neighborhood for the better. And coming in Fall 2012, another Bob Marley favorite, THREE LITTLE BIRDS! Adapted by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley s first child, and gorgeously illustrated by the talented Vanessa Newton, One Love is a colorful and upbeat testament to the amazing things that can happen when we all get together with one love in our hearts.

Some words about the Authors.

Cedella Marley’s life has always been rooted in music and culture. As the oldest child of Bob Marley, she has dedicated herself to keeping her father’s message and memory alive. She is a musician as well, performing internationally with the three-time Grammy Award?winning Melody Makers, which consist of her brothers Ziggy and Steve and her sister Sharon. She lives in Miami, Florida, with her husband and three sons.

Bob Marley (1945 -1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He remains the most widely known performer of reggae music. In 1994, Marley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is the author and illustrator of Let Freedom Sing and Don’t Let Auntie Mable Bless the Table. She loves to craft, cook, collect vintage children’s books, tell stories, make dolls, and shop. She lives in East Orange, New Jersey, with her husband, daughter, and two crazy cats, Kirby and Stripes.

 

League of EvilLeague of Evil is free application for today only.

The world needs your help! Evil scientists worldwide have joined forces forming a “League of Evil”; the only super agent who can stop them is YOU!

As a specially trained agent you can double jump, flipping your way over obstacles. You are also trained in wall jumping gaps to reach new heights. So get ready to show your sick acrobatic moves across 160 challenging levels! Fight your way through your mission and find the mad scientist to deliver a well earned pixel punch in the face!

The world is counting on you. Now go save everyone!

Product features:

  • Over 160 levels of super agent action!
  • Sick acrobatics: Jump, flip, wall jump, wall hug, double jump
  • Multiple world locations
  • Decapitations
  • Pixel art and chiptune retro style game!

Paperwhite As Christmas Gift? Better Hurry!

The Kindle Paperwhite is a big step forward for its whole product line.  It provides a way for the user to read a book in a dark room without providing their own external light or straining their eyes.  That’s something people have been hoping for out of eReaders since the day they started hitting shelves.  It’s probably to be expected that the response has been enthusiastic.  Even Amazon appears to be surprised by how enthusiastic people are getting, though.

While it’s only the beginning of November, we have already seen Kindle Paperwhite shipping dates slip back twice.  First they were pushed back to the beginning of December and now as I’m writing this they are set for the week of December 17th.

The most popular reading device on the market experienced such a surge of consumer interest that Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer and producer of the previous millions of Kindles sold, was taken by surprise and left unable to ship promptly.  That’s good news for fans of the Kindle and great news for eReaders in general, somewhat putting to rest the recurring speculation that it’s a market on the way out due to competition from tablets.

Unfortunately, it also calls into question Amazon’s ability to meet holiday sales demands.  While their track record indicates that there’s a good chance many of those orders will ship well before the 17th of December, that date wouldn’t be on display if they could guarantee things sooner.  If we’re already pushing orders back until a week before Christmas with seven weeks to go before the holiday, Amazon will have to be producing to exceed current high demand levels.  Nobody really believes that demand will drop abruptly before the end of the year at this point.

A month is a long time to get production sped up.  Maybe it’s premature to be talking about this.  The fact that the orders put in today are being set back so far is strange, though.  If you’re hoping to make the new Kindle a big stocking stuffer for your family and friends, it might be best to get a jump on shopping.  At this point I think the best we can hope for is last minute deliveries and nobody likes gambling on FedEx and UPS being prompt at that time of year.

Daily Deals: Five True Crime Books, Johnny Tremain and Topple Drop

Born to Kill: The Rise and Fall of America's Bloodiest Asian GangToday Amazon offers Five True Crime Books: From the murderous rise and fall of America’s bloodiest Asian gang to the brutal lives of the New York City mobsters who ruled Hell’s Kitchen, reality is often more thrilling than fiction. Today’s selection of five true-crime stories hammers home this point, and they’re just $1.99 each (up to 88% off).

1. Born to Kill: The Rise and Fall of America’s Bloodiest Asian Gang by T. J. English

They are children of the Vietnam War. Born and raised in the wasteland left by American bombs and napalm, these young men know a particular brand of cruelty—which they are about to export to the United States. When the Vietnamese gangs come to Chinatown, they adopt a name remembered from GI’s helmets: “Born to Kill.” And kill they do, in a frenzy of violence that shocks even the old-school Chinese gangsters who once ran Canal Street. Killing brings them turf, money, and power, but also draws the government’s eye. Even as Born to Kill reaches its height, it is marked for destruction.

This story is told from the perspective of Tinh Ngo, a young gang member who eventually grows disenchanted with murder and death. When he decides to inform on his brothers to the police, he enters a shadow world far more dangerous than any gangland.

The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob2. The Westies: Inside New York’s Irish Mob by T. J. English

It’s men like Jimmy Coonan and Mickey Featherstone who gave Hell’s Kitchen its name. In the mid-1970s, these two long-time friends take the reins of New York’s Irish mob, using brute force to give it hitherto unthinkable power. Jimmy, a charismatic sociopath, is the leader. Mickey, whose memories of Vietnam torture him daily, is his enforcer. Together they make brutality their trademark, butchering bodies or hurling them out the window. Under their reign, Hell’s Kitchen becomes a place where death literally rains from the sky.

When Mickey goes down for a murder he didn’t commit, he suspects his friend has sold him out. He returns the favor, breaking the underworld’s code of silence and testifying against his gang in open court. From his testimony comes this incredible story of what it means to make it in a world where murder is commonplace.

3. Who Killed My Daughter? by Lois Duncan

In this tragic memoir and investigation, Lois Duncan searches for clues to the murder of her youngest child, eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Arquette. Duncan begins to suspect that the official police investigation of Kaitlyn’s murder is inadequate when detectives ignore her daughter’s accidental connection to organized crime in Albuquerque. When Duncan loses faith in the system, she reaches out to anyone that can help, including private investigators, journalists, and even a psychic. Written to inspire other families who have lost loved ones to unsolved crimes, Who Killed My Daughter? is a powerful testament to the tenacity of a mother’s love.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lois Duncan including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

The Good-Bye Door (True Crime)4. The Good-Bye Door (True Crime) by Diana Franklin

The true story of the first female serial killer to die in the electric chair. Nicknamed “the Blonde Borgia,” Anna Marie Hahn was a cold-blooded serial killer who preyed on the elderly in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district in the 1930s. When the State of Ohio strapped its first woman into the electric chair, Hahn gained a place in the annals of crime as the nation’s first female serial killer to be executed in the chair. Told here for the first time in riveting detail is Anna Marie’s gripping story, an almost unbelievable tale of multiple murders, deceit, and greed. Born in Bavaria in 1906, Anna Marie brought shame to her pious family when, as a teenager, she gave birth to an illegitimate son, Oscar. She was shipped off to America in 1929 where she initially lived with elderly relatives in Cincinnati. A year later she married Philip Hahn, a Western Union telegrapher, with whom she bought a new house and opened a delicatessen/bakery.Pressed economically by the Great Depression, the ever-resourceful Anna Marie found other ways to get the money to support her passionate past-time—betting on horses. She tried burning down the house, then the deli, for the insurance; and she tried killing her husband, also for the insurance. Then she took to befriending the neighborhood elderly, latching on to their life savings before feeding them arsenic with deadly results. For weeks her Cincinnati trial for “the greatest mass murder in the history of the country” was a front-page sensation across the nation. A thousand or more curiosity seekers came daily to the courthouse to try to get just a glimpse of her. Nearly 100 witnesses gave damning testimony against her, and the jury’s guilty verdict put her on the path to the electric chair. Finally, after a year, all appeals were exhausted, and Anna Marie, age 32, was executed on December 7, 1938, at the state penitentiary in Columbus. True crime buffs, historians, legal professionals, and others seeking an extraordinary story will find The Goodbye Door a compelling addition to true crime literature.

Circle of Six: The True Story of New York's Most Notorious Cop Killer and The Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Hi5. Circle of Six: The True Story of New York’s Most Notorious Cop Killer and The Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Hi by Randy Jurgensen, Robert Cea.

Circle of Six is the true story of what is perhaps the most notorious case in the history of the New York Police Department. It details Randy Jurgensen’s determined effort to bring to justice the murderer of Patrolman Phillip Cardillo.

Cardillo was shot and killed inside Harlem’s Mosque #7 in 1972, in the midst of an all-out assault on the NYPD from the Black Liberation Army. The New York of this era was a place not unlike the Wild West, in which cops and criminals shot it out on a daily basis.

Despite the mayhem on the streets and the Machiavellian corridors of Mayor Lindsay’s City Hall, Detective Jurgensen single-handedly took on the Black Liberation Army, the Nation of Islam, NYPD brass, and City Hall, capturing Cardillo’s killer, Lewis 17X Dupree. He broke the case with an unlikely accomplice, Foster 2X Thomas, a member of the Nation of Islam who became Jurgensen’s witness. The relationship they formed during the time before trial gave each of the two men a greater perspective of the two sides in the street war and changed them forever. In the end, Jurgensen had to settle for a conviction on other charges, and Dupree served a number of years. The murder case is still officially unsolved. In 2006 the NYPD re-opened the case, and it is once again an active investigation with full media attention.

The book has received acclaim from current New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, as well as former Commissioner William Bratton.

Randy Jurgensen’s co-author is Robert Cea (No Lights, No Sirens), also a former NYPD detective.

 

Johnny TremainFor young readers Amazon offers Johnny Tremain written by Esther Hoskins Forbes just for $0.99.

Johnny Tremain, winner of the 1943 Newbery Medal, is one of the finest historical novels ever written for children. As compelling today as it was fifty years ago, to read this riveting novel is to live through the defining events leading up to the American Revolutionary War. Fourteen-year old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper, the Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington. Powerful illustrations by American artist Michael McCurdy, bring to life Esther Forbes’ quintessential novel of the American Revolution.

Some words about the Author

Esther Forbes received the Pulitzer Prize for history for Paul Revere and the World He Lived In.

 

Topple DropAs usual Amazon makes a one game for free every day. Today it is Topple Drop.

New! Topple Drop now has a total of 90 levels (50 new ones)!
Use your noggin’ deleting blue cubes and purple-blue platforms to topple the red one-eyed monsters from platforms without toppling the green cubes. Sound easy? It is at first, but then it gets more challenging. Topple Drop features challenging physics-based puzzles adding up to lots of fun for all ages.

Product features:

  • 90 fun physics puzzles in a 3D environment.
  • Use helicopter, ice, balloon and bouncing pieces to solve each puzzle.

Daily Deals: On Thin Ice, Eight Anastasia Krupnik Series Books and BlocksClassic

On Thin IceToday Amazon offers On Thin Ice by Anne Stuart just for $1.99.

Elizabeth Pennington has come to the war-torn South American country of Callivera to volunteer at a tiny mission. Kidnapped by the local rebels who are more interested in ransom than politics, she ends up at their camp in the Andes where she meets Finn MacGowan, member of the infamous Committee, a covert organization dedicated to destroying terrorism. MacGowan has been held hostage for almost three years, and he’s chosen the night she arrives as the night he plans to escape. When he does, she follows him, heading down the steep mountainous terrain with another hostage, the teenage son of a Hollywood millionaire. Rebels, soldiers, traitors and near-drowning follows them on their journey. As they travel from the mountain fortress to a transatlantic freighter, an old cafe in Spain ending in a shootout at a farmhouse in France, MacGowan reluctantly falls in love, and Beth learns that the cynical, dangerous soldier-of-fortune might be worth saving after all.

Some words about the Author.

Anne Stuart is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including the House of Rohan romance series, Silver Falls, Into the Fire, Still Lake, Shadow Lover, and Tangled Lies. She has won many awards, including Romantic Times and RITA Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America. Anne lives in Vermont. Xe Sands has more than a decade of experience bringing stories to life through narration, performance, and visual art, including recordings of Thrill of the Chase by Christina Crooks and Buttered Side Down by Edna Ferber. From poignant young adult fiction to powerful first-person narrative, Sands’s characterizations are rich and expressive and her narrations evocative and intimate. She has also won multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for her narration of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein.

 

Also Amazon offers Eight Anastasia Krupnik Series Books. Award-winning author Lois Lowry has an undeniable knack for knowing the minds of young people, and her Anastasia Krupnik series wonderfully showcases Lowry’s talent. All eight of the books in today’s deal are wildly funny, touching, and loaded with personality. Plus, they’re just $1.99 each (67% off). Here is the list of them with direct links:

Anastasia Again!1. Anastasia Again!

Twelve-year-old Anastasia Krupnik is convinced that her family’s move to the suburbs will be the beginning of the end. How can she possibly accept split-level houses with matching furniture, or mothers whose biggest worry is ring around collar? But her new home brings many surprises, notto mention a cute boy who lives down the street. Is it possible that surburbia has more to offer than Anastasia had expected?

2. Anastasia at Your Service

A long, boring summer–that’s what Anastasia has to look forward to when her best friend goes off to camp. She’s thrilled when old Mrs. Bellingham answers her ad for a job as a Lady’s Companion. Anastasia is sure her troubles are over–she’ll be busy and earn money!

But she doesn’t expect to have to polish silver and serve at Mrs. Bellingham’s granddaughter’s birthday party as a maid! As if that isn’t bad enough, she accidentally drops a piece of silverware down the garbage disposal and must use her earnings to pay for it! Is the summer destined to be a disaster?

 

Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst3. Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst

No one understands thirteen-year-old Anastasia Krupnic, least of all her parents and her little brother, Sam, who happens to be a genius. They’re such an embarrassment. Why can’t they be normal, like Anastasia?

Then-presto! Anastasia realizes that she has the problem–not her relatives–and she must find help immediately. There’s not a moment to lose.

Though her parents insist she’s normal and won’t send her to an analyst, that doesn’t stop Anastasia.

What will happen if they find out that Anastasia is secretly telling her troubles to the most famous analyst in the world?

4. Anastasia on Her Own

Help! Anastasia Krupnik’s mother must organize her chaotic life. So Anastasia, who is a very organized person, and her father invent the solution to Mrs. Krupnik’s problem: the Krupnik Family Nonsexist Housekeeping Schedule.

But when Mrs. Krupnik goes to California on a ten-day business trip, Anastasia finds that the problem isn’t solved at all. It’s hard to stick to a schedule that doesn’t leave room for her little brother, Sam, who’s come down with the chicken pox, and her father’s former girlfriend, who’s invited herself to dinner. How is Anastasia supposed to cope with these interruptions when she’s planning her first dream-date dinner for Steve Harvey?

It’s a cinch. As long as she sticks to the Krupnik Romantic Dinner Week Schedule, what could possibly go wrong?

Anastasia Has the Answers5. Anastasia Has the Answers

Humiliated.

That’s how Anastasia Krupnik feels whenever she tries to climb the ropes in gym class. How come everyone else can climb up those hateful ropes?

Since Anastasia has decided to become a journalist, it should be easy to answer most questions. Then why can’t she understand about Daphne Bellingham’s parents’ divorce? And why can’t she please Ms. Willoughby in gym class?

Finally Anastasia thinks she has the answers! When a team of foreign educators comes to visit her school, she plans a big surprise that will amaze her classmates, Ms. Willoughby, and the visitors. What will she do when her big moment arrives?

6. Anastasia’s Chosen Career

Anastasia Krupnik has exactly one week to work on her school assignment called “My Chosen Career.” Determined to be a bookstore owner, she must first develop poise and self-confidence. So Anastasia takes the plunge and spends her life savings on a modeling course at Studio Charmante. She has one week to interview a bookstore owner, write a report, and complete her modeling course. Luckily her new friend Henry is with her most of the way. Is Anastasia destined to be a successful bookstore owner or a glamorous model? Only Anastasia has the answers!

Anastasia at This Address7. Anastasia at This Address

“SWM, 28, boyish charm, inherited wealth, looking for tall young woman, nonsmoker, to share Caribbean vacations, reruns of Casablanca, and romance.” When thirteen-year-old Anastasia Krupnic sees this ad in a personal column, she decides to write back, even though it means stretching the truth more than a little bit. So what if her best friends have given up on boys. Anastasia is ready for romance. But is she ready for a pen pal who makes a shocking request? He wants to meet her!

8. Anastasia, Absolutely

The trouble begins when Anastasia goes to the mailbox with two packages and her new dog, Sleuth. It’s there that she accidentally puts the bag of dog droppings into the mailbox instead of her mother’s package. When she realizes her mistake, Anastasia uses her school Values Class experience to help her decide what to do. But when the police take the corner mailbox, Anastasia’s sure she’s committed a crime that will land her in jail.

Some words about the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine.

 

BlocksClassicBlocksClassic is a game with the title you should have an idea what this game is about.

BlocksClassic is a very enjoyable arcade game. Probably one of the best games for the Android. BlocksClassic features advanced OpenGL ES engine.

Product features:

  • Classic game of Breakout
  • Fast and smooth controls
  • Fun graphics and sound effects

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD Ad Highlights iPad Mini Deficiencies

Amazon recently chose to run an ad comparing the Kindle Fire HD to its iPad Mini competition.  Specifically, this ad called out the inferior display that Apple has decided to include in its new $329 tablet.  We can’t necessarily expect even-handedness in advertising comparisons, especially in situations like this where the new device is clearly meant to come across as a high-end alternative to an established product.  Even so, it’s startling that Amazon thought they could get away with telling blatant lies about the iPad Mini to improve their business!

The ad in question can be seen on the right.  It has since been pulled from Amazon.com in response to the outpouring of hate over internet injustice.  The points are fairly easy to follow.  The Kindle has a better display, better sound, and better wireless connectivity.  Problems have been found with all of these assertions.

First, there is the issue of the screen.  It’s true that the Kindle has more pixel density than the iPad Mini.  Nobody is disputing that.  It’s also true that it runs at a higher resolution.  Amazon’s claim that the iPad lacks HD movies and TV or that there solution is too low for HD are obviously half-truths, though!

Ok, that complaint is almost half-true at best.  It has been coming up a lot, though.  The iPad Mini will have access to HD content.  It will be able to play that content.  It will NOT be able to display that HD content in a way that properly highlights its quality.  The minimum accepted standard for something to be referred to as “HD” is 720p.  The Mini’s 1024 x 768 resolution meets the 720 vertical requirement, but the 16:9 aspect ratio for HD playback quality is impossible without at least a 1280 x 720 resolution.  In other words, there will be HD content but the only way to view it in HD will be to output to an external display using adapters and devices sold separately.

Lacking that support, many complaints fall back on the sound comparison.  This is troubling for Amazon since Apple has clarified recently that their new tablet has stereo sound.  Before this clarification, which came well after the ad we’re looking at was released, Apple was still listing the iPad Mini as having a “Built in Speaker”.  When that’s the description in the product specs, it’s hard to complain about people believing it.  It’s hardly something Amazon needs to be making things up to support, either.  The Kindle Fire HD has been reviewed across the board as having the best sound playback out of any tablet on the market today including the full size iPad.

All that leaves us with is the WiFi.  Is Amazon overstating the importance of MIMO?  For some customers whose use will regularly involve strong signals and fast transfer rates, maybe.  It’s hard to see that as being the major deciding factor for anybody, though, and it is still something that the Mini lacks.

Did Amazon choose their comparison points selectively to highlight the Kindle Fire HD?  Of course.  It isn’t particularly hard to find points of comparison that could pull that off, though.  The amount of response this ad has received is ridiculous.

Daily Deals: The Gathering Dead, Catching Jordan and Virtual City

The Gathering Dead (A Zombie Apocalypse Novel)Today Amazon offers The Gathering Dead (A Zombie Apocalypse Novel) by Stephen Knight just for $1.99.

The Horde Is Always Hungry…

The zombie apocalypse has begun, and Major Cordell McDaniels is given the most important mission of his career: lead a Special Forces team into New York City to rescue the one man who can stop the ghastly virus that reanimates the dead.

But as a growing army of flesh-eating corpses takes over the streets and a violent storm renders airborne extraction impossible, McDaniels struggles to find a way out of the Big Apple. The odds of anyone getting out alive plummet further when slaughtered members of his own Special Forces team join the ranks of the gathering dead… with their military skills intact!

Some words about the Author

Stephen Knight is the author of the bestselling zombie apocalypse tale The Gathering Dead and the follow-on novella Left With The Dead, as well as the horror thriller City of the Damned and the action-adventure Hackett’s War. Together with Derek Paterson, he wrote the erotic thriller White Tiger. Knight lives in the New York City area.

Catching JordanCatching Jordan is a second book offered by Amazon with price only $1.99. The book was written by Miranda Kenneally.

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though- she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Greeen moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?

A beautiful novel with a real and captivating depiction of high school relationships, Catching Jordan shows the same reverence for the human heart that it does for the game of football.” – Karsten Knight, author of Wildefire

Some words about the Auhtor

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek, and her husband.

 

Virtual CityVirtual City is a small and funny game for your Kindle Fire.

Build the city of your dreams, whether it’s a residential paradise or an industrial powerhouse. This premium version of the Virtual City game includes 18 distinct mission scenarios, 50 challenging levels, and five unique settings: Colorado, California, Michigan, Montana, and New York. With seven production chains to master, more than 50 types of buildings to construct, 16 special achievements to earn, and 25 types of goods to transport and trade, Virtual City will captivate your inner tycoon for hours on end.

What Kind of City Would You Create?

Construct homes and factories, produce goods, and transport commodities. Start small and then watch your fledgling metropolis grow!

Once citizens start flocking to your fair city, you’ll have to create a way for them to get around town. Design and create a mass transit system to take people to places like parks, movies, and stadiums.

Grow Your Metropolis

Make your city a better place to live–start a recycling program, add hospitals and fire stations, plant trees, and upgrade buildings to make them more eco-friendly. Make your citizens happy by launching spectacular events for the public.

Be a Good Neighbor

Lending a hand so that nearby cities prosper will benefit everyone. Be a good neighbor and help other cities deal with economic downturns, population crises, and natural disasters. Achieve balance between key parameters of your success: time, income, environment, population, and happiness. Put your virtual city on the map–the sky’s the limit.

Daily Deals: Amazing Gracie, The Willoughbys and Doodle Sprint Fly and Jump

Amazing Gracie: A Dog's TaleToday Amazon offers Amazing Gracie: A Dog’s Tale by Dan Dye, Mark Beckloff just for $1.99.

It was love at first sight. Amid the frenzied barking and prancing of a house full of Great Danes, one pup was shivering in the corner. Gracie. But when Dan Dye reached her, she struggled to her feet like a clumsy foal, raised her forehead to his, and announced, as clearly as if she had actually spoken the words, You know I’m the one. Now get me outta here!

By turns funny, moving, tender, and inspiring, Gracie’s tale is a treat for every dog lover. There is Gracie’s first morning, racing around Dan in the snowy yard. Gracie’s first determination to prove to her step-sisters, Dottie the Dalmation and Sarah the Black Lab, that she’s one of the girls. Gracie’s defiant romance with a pint-size charmer named Byron, a Boston Terrier from the wrong side of the fence.

Then born of necessity, the eureka moment: When Gracie’s delicate constitution starts turning into anorexia, Dan teaches himself how to cook, and in three days is baking her the cookies that will spur her appetite, launch Three Dog Bakery, and transform their lives forever.

Courage. Compassion. Kindness. Soul. Tenacity. And joy, above all, joy. These qualities Gracie possessed in abundance, and shared with everyone, human or canine, who had the good fortune to cross her path.

Some words about the Authors

Dan Dye is a co-founder of Three Dog Bakery and co-author of Short Tails and Treats from Three Dog Bakery and Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. He and Mark Beckloff live with their dogs Claire, Dottie Mae, and Joe in Kansas City, Missouri.

Mark Beckloff is a co-founder of Three Dog Bakery and co-author of Short Tails and Treats from Three Dog Bakery and Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. He and Dan Dye live with their dogs Claire, Dottie Mae, and Joe in Kansas City, Missouri.

The WilloughbysThe Willoughbys by Lois Lowry is a book for 6 and up age level. It costs $1.99 within today’s daily deal.

Abandoned by their ill-humored parents to the care of an odious nanny, Tim, the twins, Barnaby A and Barnaby B, and their sister, Jane, attempt to fulfill their roles as good oldfashioned children. Following the models set in lauded tales from A Christmas Carol to Mary Poppins, the four Willoughbys hope to attain their proscribed happy ending too, or at least a satisfyingly maudlin one. However, it is an unquestionably ruthless act that sets in motion the transformations that lead to their salvation and to happy endings for not only the four children, but their nanny, an abandoned baby, a candy magnate, and his long-lost son too. Replete with a tongue-in-cheek glossary and bibliography, this hilarious and decidedly old-fashioned parody pays playful homage to classic works of children’s literature.

Some words about the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine.

 

Doodle Sprint Fly and JumpAs usual, everyday Amazon makes a one game free for 24 hours. Today it is Doodle Sprint Fly and Jump.

Doodle Sprint Fly and Jump is excellent Jumping Game in which you have to jump all obstacles on your way. Try this game and you won’t be sorry! Think fast and don’t hit any of the obstacles!

In this game you need to have a fast mind and a fast finger. Play Doodle Sprint and earn points. It is a cool game. It is good for everyone (also kids ) who are not very conversant with the other controls of the different types of games. It is fun and entertaining. A good way to spend your leisure. It is easy to play and understand. New World : RUN & FLY

Start playing it with your kids and enjoy the game with your family. Our hero is little Mr. Doodle Stickman who runs and Sprint really fast and enjoys running and make doodlejump. There are 4 styles to play! with original Music. Play and have fun with this Doodle Sprint. Doodle Sprint Fly and Jump is Fly , Jump , Run , Roll , Flip game. Doodle Sprint Fly and Jump is a game that will keep you tapping away all day! The terrain is very carefully designed and it makes the game more enjoy. Once you pop,you can’t stop! Have great fun gamers. Doodle Sprint Fly and Jump is deluxe game as enjoyable as all your favorite app.

The Halloween Plan by Claire Saguy

It used to be that publishing a book was a feat only achieved by the select few, and it was restricted to major publishing houses.

Ebooks have completely shifted the way we think of publishing. Anyone who can write and has some technology knowledge can publish via Kindle Direct Publishing.

Now, we can take it even further, and open up the publishing process to children.  A child’s dream to be a writer can be a reality.

The Halloween Plan is a short story written by 10-year-old Claire Saguy, an avid Kindle reader and aspiring writer who is raising money for her school in Los Angeles.  Schools are facing funding cuts all over the country.  What a neat way to give back to her school and community.

The plot is a dilemma we all know well.  Sarah, a 5th grader, has to go to her younger sister’s Halloween show, but would much rather go to her friend’s birthday party instead.  Sarah and her friends team up to come up with a plan that will allow Sarah to come to the party without her mom knowing.  The plan takes some twists and turns that could go either way.

The Halloween Plan teaches a lesson on the importance of honesty and good communication.  It is a quick read, and the writing is quite good.

A great short story for all ages, and just in time for Halloween.  Hopefully Claire’s example will help encourage other kids hoping to become writers to publish their own ebooks as well.  The lure of technology could be a great boost for literacy.

This generation of children are pretty tech savvy. There are a number of children’s books on the Kindle, some with interactive content sure to make the story more fun and engaging.

 

 

 

Daily Deals: All Cry Chaos, The Ghost of Crutchfield and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

All Cry Chaos (Henri Poincare)Today Amazon offers All Cry Chaos (Henri Poincare) by Leonard Rosen just for $1.99.

All Cry Chaos, a debut thriller by the immensely gifted Leonard Rosen, is a masterful and gripping tale that literally reaches for the heavens.

The action begins when mathematician James Fenster is assassinated on the eve of a long-scheduled speech at a World Trade Organization meeting. The hit is as elegant as it is bizarre. Fenster’s Amsterdam hotel room is incinerated, yet the rest of the building remains intact. The murder trail leads veteran Interpol agent Henri Poincaré on a high- stakes, world-crossing quest for answers.

Together with his chain-smoking, bon vivant colleague Serge Laurent, Poincaré pursues a long list of suspects: the Peruvian leader of the Indigenous Liberation Front, Rapture-crazed militants, a hedge fund director, Fenster’s elusive ex-fiancée, and a graduate student in mathematics. Poincaré begins to make progress in America, but there is a prodigious hatred trained on him—some unfinished business from a terrifying former genocide case—and he is called back to Europe to face the unfathomable. Stripped down and in despair, tested like Job, he realizes the two cases might be connected—and he might be the link.

This first installment in the Henri Poincaré series marries a sharp, smart mystery to deep religious themes that will keep both agnostics and believers turning pages until the shattering, revelatory end. Anyone who enjoys the work of John Le Carré, Scott Turow, Dan Brown, and Stieg Larsson will relish Rosen’s story telling and his resourceful, haunted protagonist. Others will appreciate his dazzling prose. Still others, the way he bends the thriller form in unconventional ways toward a higher cause, in the vein of Henning Mankell in The Man From Beijing. In short, All Cry Chaos promises to become a critical success that garners a broad readership throughout the nation and across the globe.

Some words about the Author

Leonard Rosen is a bestselling and widely respected nonfiction author among educational publishers. He has written radio essays broadcast by NPR’s Morning Edition, Only a Game, and All Things Considered, as well as op-eds published by the Boston Globe. He has taught writing at Bentley University and Harvard University. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The Ghost of Crutchfield HallIn the section for kids Amazon offers The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn.

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the crowded horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life with her great uncle and aunt at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, she thinks, than the grim London orphanage where she has lived since her parents’ death.

But Florence doesn’t expect the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield and concocts a plan to use Florence to help her achieve her murderous goals. Will Florence be able to convince the others in the household of the imminent danger and stop Sophia before it’s too late?

Some words about the Author

Mary Downing Hahn is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories and mysteries, including Deep and Dark and Dangerous, The Old Willis Place, and Closed for the Season, which won the 2010 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. A former librarian, an avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland with her two cats, Oscar and Rufus.

 

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie BrownIt’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is an application which can hepl you to attract attention of your kids and free some time for you.

Oh, Great Pumpkin! Where are you? This Halloween, hang out with Charlie Brown and the entire Peanuts gang to find out for yourself!

While Linus and Sally wait for the Great Pumpkin, you can join Charlie Brown at his first-ever Halloween party! Trick-or-treat with Lucy, Pigpen and the rest of the gang. Play a little ditty on Schroeder’s piano and bob for apples with Snoopy — just watch out for dog germs, blech!

Narrated by Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, everyone’s favorite Halloween special is beautifully re-imagined in this interactive storybook designed for smartphones and tablets.

Digitally remastered illustrations are brought to life with the voices, dialog and music from the original 1966 animated TV special. Whether your family sings pumpkin carols and waits in pumpkin patches or you’re introducing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to your kids for the first time, everyone will love this magical interactive Halloween classic!