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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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September 2016
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Harry Potter FInally Arrives on the Kindle

J.K. Rowling’s hit Harry Potter series finally became available on the Kindle on March 27th.  I admit, this announcement does sound a  bit anticlimactic since all of the books and movies have been released already.

For those who are not familiar with the actual plot, it features a boy wizard named Harry who must defeat the Dark Lord, otherwise known as Lord Voldemort.  The seven books in the series take readers through many adventures that result in both sad and happy endings.

I’m not usually one to read fantasy, but this series sucked me in along with most of the rest of the world.  I think the endearing characteristic of these books was that despite the supernatural element to the story, the characters were very human.  The issues that Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione faced were not all that much different than our own.  Relationships, doing well in school, death, rejection, and more were very evident throughout the series.

The movies overall did a good job at capturing the magic of the books.  I think the final one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was my favorite book and movie.  Well, part 2 of the movie that is.  It is heartbreaking, but it ties everything up nicely.

Future Harry Potter readers will have it easy because the Kindle weighs next to nothing compared to the print editions.  I remember when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out.  It is the thickest book in the series, and the ones to follower were not all that much thinner.  Especially considering that most Harry Potter fans will sit and read the book for hours on end.  It always was such a let down when the book ended.

I didn’t get on the Harry Potter bandwagon until after the fourth book was published, but I fondly remember eagerly waiting for the new ones to arrive.  Now Rowling has finally joined the growing digital book world, and her beloved Harry Potter will be enjoyed by readers of all ages for many years to come.

 

Star Wars on Kindle

Star Wars fans take note  There have been about a hundred Star Wars e-books added to the Kindle Store in the past month.  You can also find them on the Nook and other e-readers.

Best of all, there is a Star Wars 25th Anniversary edition.  It includes all three of the orignal Star Wars tales in one e-book.  It also includes bonus material from various Star Wars books from the pas 20 years. The 25th Anniversary edition is a novelization of the popular Star Wars movies.  The author is George Lucas, the creator of the trilogy.

You’ll find a number of other Star Wars themed books by other authors that extend the story to the time after the Return of the Jedi, the last in the original series.

Timothy Zahn is one of the authors in the expanded universe of Star Wars tie ins, and he wrote the Thrawn Trilogy.  This series begins five years after the end of the origiinal trilogy and includes the same characters: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, etc.  He also introduces a new set of characters.  So, you get a new spin on the story.

The Republic is at peace, but not for long, as Admiral Thrawn, an ex warlord of the empire plots to kidnap Luke Skywalker and his twin sister Leia.

Another Star Wars expanded universe book you might consider is Star Wars: Crosscurrent by Paul S. Kemp.  He is the author of several Star Wars tie ins.  Crosscurrent’s main character is Jedi Knight Jaden Korr.  He sets off to help someone in distress after receiving a Force vision that is quite intense.  This book is action packed, fast moving and quite graphic.

Personally, I learned a lot about Star Wars after doing a little research, and this post just touches on some of the books that are available.  With all of the plot twists and new characters added here and there, it can get kind of overwhelming.  I did not realize that there were so many books written on it.  I’ve mostly heard of the movies and video games.  But, I am excited that Star Wars can be accessed on the Kindle.  You could have the whole expanded universe at your fingertips.

 

 

 

 

Kindle Book Recommendations: Fantasy

I haven’t had a chance to write down any interesting book recommendations for Kindle fans in a while now, but I figure that since I have a decent list piling up it might be time to share.  It’s been an enjoyable couple months of reading and I’ve got several more modern fantasy offerings that I hope you will enjoy.  I did.  They aren’t the cheapest books I could find, but they are definitely worth the asking price.

Kraken – China Miéville

This is really one of the best books I’ve read all year, even if it isn’t necessarily the best thing ever written by the author.  It is a decently complex fantasy mystery set in a London strangely reminiscent of that in Gaiman’s Neverwhere.  It’s a world of cults, secrecy, underworld politics, and strange powers.  On top of that, there is a magically missing giant squid which seems to be at the heart of a plot that could end the world forever.

I’m honestly a little confused about the mixed reception that Kraken has gotten so far.  It is averaging 3 Stars overall in the Kindle Store, but deserves more.  It worked in most ways, but some people may find it a bit off-putting from what I’m told.  While it might not be for everybody, if you think you would enjoy a complex story that forces you to understand the protagonist’s state of mind during unexpected culture shock then I’d say give it a go.

The Kindle Edition is $11.99

Something From the Nightside – Simon Green

This is the first in a fairly substantial series by Green.  It’s a quick, fun read that I can’t describe much better than Pulp Detective Fiction meets Moorcock’s Multiverse.  The main character is a professional detective with no actual detecting skill besides a “gift” that lets him find anything magically.  The fact that it manages to be a fun read is proof of the concept that it can be more interesting to watch a mystery being solved than to understand the process by which it is solved.

In a lot of ways, this reads like the author’s personal homage to all the things he loves in literature.  You’ll catch references, both overt and subtle, to the existence of things taken from dozens of different major genre works you might have read.  After something as dense and complex as Kraken, it makes a great fun diversion.

The Kindle Edition is $7.99

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

This is sort of a harsh take on Harry Potter with a bunch of CS Lewis thrown in for good measure.  Basically, Magic is real and people learn to use it at secret schools where only the best of the best can get in and learn to manipulate the world to their liking.

Unlike many books with similar concepts, this isn’t an uplifting story of wish fulfillment and overcoming adversity.  The characters are undeniably human and manage to overcome the sort of “nerdy teenager gains superpowers” cliche that you might expect at first.  I found it to be a genuinely interesting, and occasionally troubling, look at what it really means to be offered everything you ever thought you wanted. The outline of the story is familiar, but the execution is beyond excellent.

The Kindle Edition is $12.99

Warrior’s Rise Kindle Edition

Warrior's RiseBased on Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) description of Warrior’s Rise by LJ DeLeon, it sounds like a fascinating book for the Kindle.  As a former member of the CIA, DeLeon has much more experience on a personal level with panorama and fantasy events than most.  Such experience adds deeper value to the content of her books.  I encourage you to read Warrior’s Rise and tell us what you think.

Deva Morgan transforms from human to warrior on her thirtieth birthday.  She sets out on a quest to defeat the Dark Lord and his demons.  Hmmm, who does this remind you of?

Deva faces the battle against a huge force without much help, which the exception of her friend Padraig O’Neal.  Deva not only has to fight an outward battle, but an inward one because of all of the traumatic changes in her life.

So the big question is, can Deva figure out how to stabilize her new power so that she can save the Earth from being invaded by the Dark Lord and his demons?  The ability to harness newfound power is an important theme in this book.

So, for about five bucks, see what happens in this thriller called Warrior’s Rise, which is the first in an exciting new series for Kindle.  I look forward to seeing what more DeLeon has to offer in the future.

 

Kindle Book Recommendations: Fantasy

Today I’ve got some fantasy novels for you that you may or may not have heard of.  I figure that at this point it would be a little silly to be throwing out the Lord of the Rings Trilogy or something like that, so I was aiming for Kindle Edition authors that caught me by surprise.  As always, you may be more in touch with the current state of this particular genre than I am and therefore see these as old news!  In that case, feel free to let me know what else to look into for next time.

I suppose if you wanted to, you could call the focus here non-Tolkienesque Fantasy.  There’re so many varieties these days, after all, and the elves and dwarves sometimes get a little overdone.  Also, random thought, but has anybody else noticed that these books tend to come in threes?

The Way of Shadows – Brent Weeks

This is the first book in a trilogy focusing on the not-uncommon theme of a down and out kid with nothing special about him to begin with growing into the role of a hero.  Pretty much, at least.  What makes this stand out above that almost cliched theme is the amazingly accessible writing and compelling characters.  While the world building is somewhat forced at times, leaving you to wish that Weeks had dialed it back and concentrate on his main characters, in general it’s hard not to sympathize with the situations of the protagonist as he moves deeper into the physically and morally demanding life that he has chosen for himself.

While this first book touches on issues of a vague “talent” that goes beyond human abilities, future books in the trilogy elaborate on the concept  of magic significantly and bring it to the front of the conflicts.  For some this will be a good thing, for others a deal-breaker.  Just putting it out there.

The Kindle Edition is $7.99

Mistborn – Brian Sanderson

Picture a world in the aftermath of a typical epic fantasy struggle, except this time the bad guys won. While Sanderson has gotten loads of press for being chosen as the one to pick up the pieces of Robert Jordan’s epic following the author’s passing, before that he had already created his own amazing trilogy.

While many will note that the characterizations are a little flat, with the main characters basically being defined almost solely by their specific magical “attribute”, the work as a whole is compelling.  The world itself becomes a character of sorts, and Sanderson actually manages to make the evil emperor menacing after giving him the ridiculous name of “Lord Ruler”!  The exposition is a little heavy, but this is a real page turner with nothing I can think of to say against it that would weigh against the fun you’ll have reading it and it only gets better as you move further into the trilogy.

The Kindle Edition is $7.99

His Majesty’s Dragon – Naomi Novik

The first book in what I understand was originally intended to be a trilogy about an alternate history of the world wherein dragons are a reality of everyday life.  Novik demonstrates an impressive sense of the Napoleonic Wars and provides readers with characters that are both completely believable within their specific niches and able to demonstrate a certain larger than life character.

The basics that you should know going into things are that dragons are real, fairly intelligent, and domesticated enough to make aerial warfare a possibility earlier than it really could have been.  The main character captures a rare egg and is forced to give up a life in the navy to care for it, whether he’s happy about it or not. This was actually one of the first books I grabbed when I switched over to the Kindle and I have gone back to it more than once.

The Kindle Edition is $6.99

Kindle Screensavers – What Do They Mean?

Ever wondered about the story behind the Kindle and Kindle DX screensavers?  Here are a few tidbits about them.  If you ever get a chance to go to New England, you will find the artifacts of the lives of many of these famous literary figures.

Famous Authors, Playwrights and Poets

Harriet Beecher Stowe – She is the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Stowe was born on June 14, 1811 and was the daughter of the well known religious leader, Lyman Beecher.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a revolutionary anti slavery novel that set the anti slavery movement into motion.  Stowe publicly spoke out against slavery and included her views in her other writings.  She wrote 20 books total.  You can visit her house in Hartford Connecticut.  It is right beside the Mark Twain house.

Mark Twain – One of my favorite authors.  He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Both are hilarious, and I love the way Twain writes in the the jilted dialogue that they speak in.  His house is in Hartford, Connecticut, and is a sight to see.

John Steinbeck – Also a favorite of mine.  His most well known novel is The Grapes of Wrath, which is set during the Great Depression, and follows a family of Oklahoma sharecroppers who face economic hardship and desperation.  They somehow manage to hold on to a glimmer of hope for the future as they travel to California to find work and a better future.  Of Mice and Men is another one of his famous works and describes the tragic journey of two ranch workers, one of whom is mentally retarded.

Agatha Christie – Bestselling writer of detective novels.  She has sold 4 billion copies of her novels which is the most copies of books sold short of the Bible.  Many of her books are available on the Kindle, including the Secret Adversary, which is free.

Jane EyreCharlotte Bronte – Well known for her novel, Jane Eyre.  This is a gripping story that involves many plot twists and turns, a tragic fire and a crazy ex wife.

James Joyce – He is most well known for his book, Ulysses.  The protagonist, Leopold Bloom and the other characters of this book are modeled off of Homer’s Odyssey.  Ulysses is one of the greatest works of modern literature.

Virginia WoolfMrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse are two of her most major literary contributions. Woolf struggled mentally with sexual abuse and from nervous breakdowns following the death of her mother and father.  You will find her life experiences reflected in her works.

Alexandre Dumas – He began his career as a playwright, but later switched to novels including Count of Monte Cristo and The Three MusketeersThe Count of Monte Cristo chronicles the resurgence of Napoleon and the events of the Bonaparte family’s reign.  The novel gets its name from an island that Dumas visited where Louis Napoleon, Napoleon’s cousin was imprisoned. It also discusses the racial prejudice against his father, who was of Haitian descent and a general in the French Army.  The Three Musketeers features d’Artagnan, a guard over the musketeers.  The three musketeers are three friends who have an extremely tight bond.  They look after each other at all times.  This novel is the first of three novels in a series called the d’Artagnan Romances.

Jules Verne – One of the founders of science fiction.  Well, what was considered science fiction in the nineteenth century that is.  His novels, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days all explored sea and space travel before they were even invented.  Considering how mainstream those are now, it is really interesting to have historical reference to these ideas as something far fetched or futuristic.

Emily Dickinson – Most of her fame came after her death when most of her poems were Emily Dickinsondiscovered.  She lived in the Dickinson family homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts her whole life with the exception of her brief stint at Mt. Holyoke Seminary.  Death of loved ones throughout her life resulted in a great struggle with depression.  I visited her grave not too long ago, and got a glimpse of her house.  The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson is available on the Kindle

Jane Austen – For more information about Jane Austen and her novels, check out the Pride and Prejudice Kindle Blog Post or the Jane Austen Kindle Blog post.  She does a great job of capturing the social atmosphere of the early nineteenth century.

Durer – An important figure in the Northern Renaissance and one of the first European landscape artists.

Authors Formerly Used as Screensavers

Edgar Allan Poe – He is known for introducing the detective-fiction genre and also was a contributed to the science fiction genre. His poem, “The Raven” was a huge success.  Poe completed one semester at the University of Virginia, but left due to lack of money.  He also tried and failed as an officer’s cadet.  So, you can probably see how his life struggles influenced the tone of his writings.

Oscar Wilde – An Irish writer, playwright and poet, his most well known works are The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being EarnestEarnest is a play that puts a humorous spin on the Victorian social scene.

John Milton
– He served under Oliver Cromwell during a time of religious and political upheaval in England.  His most famous work is Paradise Lost, an epic poem about Adam and Eve, their fall from grace and the consequences that follow.  This poem does a great job of exploring the major issues of the time.

Lewis Carroll – Author of the famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  His tales are unique and great for the imagination.

Symbols and Paintings

Sibylla Samia – depiction of the ancient Greek priestess who prophesied Jesus’s birth in the stable.

“Albertus” page – glyphic, serif font named after the thirteenth century German philosopher Albertus Magnus

Hercules Constellation – Fifth largest constellation and is named after the Greek mythological hero Heracles.  The constellation was named by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy.

Man at table with lion in foreground

17th century astronomer & his wife w/ giant sextant

the Audubon finches-in-a-tree

Fish

Illuminated page with Iohannis aquila in upper right corner

Cathedral floorplan

Woman with Book

Kindle 3

Kindle Themed Screensavers

Kindle definition – formerly one with falling letters, now it is the definition with a tree in the background.

Kindle feedback request w/ some sort of coding machine – On the Kindle DX, the feedback email is kindledx-feedback@amazon.com.

These are all of the ones I’ve found so far, if you know of any others that I may have missed, let us know!

Tor.com goes live, get 24 free sci-fi and fantasy e-books

Tor.com logo beta

Back in May we got wind of a new social fanzine site especially for science-fiction and fantasy readers, Tor.com was due for launch we were told imminently, but as with these things the launch actually didn’t happen for a couple of month – over the weekend Tor.com was launched.

If you read the earlier post you know that had you signed up for the newsletter, Tor was giving away a free e-book every week in their weekly newsletter. Now that the site has launched, Tor will make available all 24 titles that were given away in the newsletter–only till the 27th of July, so head on over to the site and download them–in their Freebies Bonanza, there is a selection of artwork for download as-well, some would make an excellent desktop wallpaper.

Here is the list of all the available e-books;

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
PDF || HTMLnew! || HTML zipnew! || Mobinew!
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Farthing by Jo Walton
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedies Lackey & James Mallory
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Lord of the Isles by David Drake
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Reiffen’s Choice by S.C. Butler
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Starfish by Peter Watts
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Orphans of Chaos by John Wright
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Midnight Hour by Patti O’Shea
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey A. Carver
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Flash by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Soul by Tobsha Learner
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Darkness of the Light by Peter David
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosanew!
PDF || ePub

If your a fan of science-fiction and fantasy  books then you might want to bookmark Tor.com, and sign up for access to more advanced community features, whilst the site is still in officially in beta there is a lot there for you to look at and read. There are already some lively discussions going on in the community forum with Tor and Macmillan employees and the blog on the front page is filled with interesting news and stories.