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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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USA Today Adds Kindle Sales to Best Seller List

USA Today LogoIt seems like the USA Today has decided to include Kindle book sales in their best seller lists.  This move demonstrates just how significant the Kindle is becoming in the publishing world.  Sales on the Kindle store have grown to such a large number that they’ve come to be considered just as signifcant as traditional sales.

This move is also a great way for the USA Today to increase the influence of its best seller list.  For most people, best selling books is synonymous with with the New York Times Best Seller List.  The New York Times list the one recognized by Amazon (where Best Sellers are discounted) and most other retailers.  Not to mention the fact that you usually don’t see advertisers quoting a book’s position on the USA Today Best Seller List.  But by adding Kindle sales, the USA Today is trying to anticipate current trends and make headway against the Times list.  So far, the USA Today is the only publication to have done this, which might mean that their list will be more accurate.

Unless of course The New York Times already counts Kindle sales.  The data used to compile their list is a trade secret, so its possible they already include electronic sales and just haven’t told anybody.

New York Times Best Sellers: 15 August 2008

New York Times Best Sellers

Welcome to the New York Times Best Sellers list for August 15th, 2008.

Each week we go through the top sellers on the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you can get an idea of what to download for your Kindle. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com.

Here are our top 3 books of the week followed by the top 5 best-selling books by category;

Our Picks

Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution by T. J. English – Number 7 in Hardcover Nonfiction

Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution by T. J. EnglishI loved this book for a lot of reasons but it didn’t make me want to take my clothes off and go dancin’ in the rain. In fact, after reading this account of Havana I wonder when it was that Ricky Martin thought such frivolity would be a good idea. The history of the city and the lifestyle surrounding it’s golden years seemed exciting but a little dangerous.

Author T.J. English did a wonderful job of researching the happenings in Cuba in his non-fiction winner, “Havana Nocturne.” I relish well- researched histories and with about 330 end notes, some 25 insider interviews, and 11 pages listing the books, articles, essays, transcripts, reports, documentaries, television programs, institutions, and FBI files that English relied on for his information, this book certainly qualifies.

Usually that much research material produces a book with the trudging characteristics of a Russian epic that takes several years to read, but not Havana Nocturne. English has deftly woven the information into a tight record of a couple of decades of activity, and produced an entertaining account of what the Mob and the Cuban government was involved in, all the while naming those who participated in some highly nefarious schemes. All the familiar big-city Mafiosi characters are here, along with the hangers-on from Hollywood, Tampa, Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas– those who loved the glamour and excitement of a glittering Havana especially prepared to lure them in.

Famous Americans such as John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Steve Allen, Lucille Ball, Marlon Brando, George Raft, Graham Greene, Errol Flynn, Dorothy Dandridge, Ava Gardner, Eartha Kitt, Ginger Rogers, Tony Martin, Johnny Mathis, Donald O’Conner, and Tyrone Power, among many others, became real aficionados of the wild Cuban lifestyle and spent a good deal of time sampling it. Give English credit. He’s not a muckraker and lurid details of their visits are sparse, but their presence is acknowledged.

Fulgencio Batista’s turbulent career as dictator and his repressive regime through the 1950s is brilliantly chronicled as is his open-pocket acceptance of the Mob’s movement into the biggest luxury hotels and gambling casinos in Havana. English parallels the lush life and Batista’s corrupt governmental activities with the story of a young revolutionary named Fidel Castro who lives in the Cuban mountains, plotting to overthrow Batista and implement his own ideas for the Mob. The author tells of the Revolution, the ouster of Batista, and the double-cross Castro executes against the American mobsters, a move that virtually sent Cuba into an economic downward spiral from which it has never recovered.

This book was a pleasure to read. The writing is taut: the activity is crisply presented. There are many characters involved but the author never loses the reader to the playbill. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much for some time. I highly recommend it. - reviewed by Schuyler T. Wallace”

kindle version of book is available4 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 23 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available! for $9.99 – save: $17.96 (64%)
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris – Number 1 in Hardcover Nonfiction

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David SedarisI must admit that this is the first David Sedaris book I’ve read, and I hope it won’t be my last…or his last, now that he has given up smoking. “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” is a warm mix of syntax and prose, moving at just the right speed to absorb every nuance of his observations. When one is finished it might occur that Sedaris would be a nice dinner companion, though I suspect the reader would probably get to know him better in print than over a meal.

This is a book of comparisons and the author likes the word “like”. It could be his favorite word but every simile he uses has a humorous tone meant to educate the reader in diverse ways. It’s hard to classify David Sedaris at mid-life…he’s not as neurotic (but no less perspicacious!) as Woody Allen but a bit more overstated than, say, Bob Newhart. A gay Ernest Hemingway? Well, not quite, but at least there was booze and smoking material surrounding each writer.

Every chapter in Sedaris’s book is engaging but his final one (and by far the longest) deals with his giving up cigarettes as he roams the cities of Japan. I would imagine that if you’re relinquishing a habit or an addiction, writing about it must be helpful. This is a wonderfully constructed book and I highly recommend “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” for the author’s wit, insight and terrific narrative style. - reviewed by Jon Hunt “musician, teacher”

kindle version of book is available4.5 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 172 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available! for $9.99 – save $16.00 (62%)
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

You: Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty by Michael F. Roizen – Number 3 in Hardcover Advice, How-To, and Miscellaneous

You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty by Michael F. RoizenI found this book tremendously motivating. Although I’ve never been big on being healthy, at 41 I’m beginning to be a bit concerned with staying young. Essentially they are the same thing but marketing it as “staying young” instead of “staying healthy” caught my attention. In reality we all want to remain active and healthy throughout as many years as possible.

This book is written in a very simplistic way, yet with enough detail to give an understanding of what one should do to maintain good health for many years. It was easy to follow many of the recommendations because they told you not only what vitamins in what amounts, but also which foods contain these vitamins. As 110 lb. person who has never had to diet, I have always been resistant to giving up my fries and soda for a better diet. I liked that the authors didn’t chide you about what NOT to eat but just told you what foods helped in various areas. It has inspired me to eat more of those foods, knowing that I’m not forever forbidden to enjoy the things I like to eat.

They also cover exercise, emotional health, etc. It appears to be a fairly complete look at all aspects of body and health. I highly recommend “You Staying Young” even if you don’t intend to dive fully into all improvements. If your family is predisposed to certain illnesses, you will certainly find tips to encourage your own body NOT to express those genes and avoid the genetic predisposition. In general, there is just a lot of interesting information in here and it’s not written like a boring medical text. The authors are funny, sometimes to the point of being a little corny, and it smooths the pathway to knowledge. - reviewed by T. Corson

kindle version of book is available4 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 184 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available! for $9.99 – save: $16.01 (62%)
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* These reviews are taken from Amazon.com customer/editor reviews and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

Top 5 Books by Category

Hardcover Fiction
1. MOSCOW RULES, by Daniel Silva
2. THE BOURNE SANCTION, by Eric Van Lustbader
3. THE HOST, by Stephenie Meyer
4. THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, by David Wroblewski
5. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. THE OBAMA NATION, by Jerome R. Corsi
2. WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES, by David Sedaris
3. STORI TELLING, by Tori Spelling with Hilary Liftin
4. ARE YOU THERE, VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA, by Chelsea Handler
5. FLEECED, by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Paperback Trade Fiction
1. THE SHACK, by William P. Young
2. BAREFOOT, by Elin Hilderbrand
3. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
4. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
5. THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
1. PLAYING FOR PIZZA, by John Grisham
2. TURBULENT SEA, by Christine Feehan
3. PLAY DIRTY, by Sandra Brown
4. CRY WOLF, by Patricia Briggs
5. THE MANNING BRIDES, by Debbie Macomber

Paperback Nonfiction
1. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
2. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
3. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama
4. BIG RUSS AND ME, by Tim Russert
5. I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER IN HELL, by Tucker Max

Hardcover Advice
1. THE LAST LECTURE, by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
2. THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
3. JUST WHO WILL YOU BE?, by Maria Shriver
4. DECEPTIVELY DELICIOUS, by Jessica Seinfeld
5. YOU: STAYING YOUNG, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz et al.

Paperback Advice
1. A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle
2. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
3. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle
4. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
5. SOUL WISDOM, by Zhi Gang Sha

Children’ Books
1. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
2. FAIRIES AND MAGICAL CREATURES, by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda
3. ALPHABET, by Matthew Van Fleet
4. SMASH! CRASH!, by Jon Scieszka
5. A VISITOR FOR BEAR, by Bonny Becker

New York Times Best Sellers: 18 July 2008

New York Times Best Sellers

Welcome to the New York Times Best Sellers list for July 18th, 2008.

Each week we go through the top sellers on the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you can get an idea of what to download for your Kindle. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com.

Here are our top 3 books of the week followed by the top 5 best-selling books by category;

Our Picks

Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum, No. 13) (by Janet Evanovich) – Number 3 in Mass Market Paperback

Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum, No. 13) by Janet Evanovich - Mass Market PaperbackIf I had a dollar for every time I laughed out loud listening to Janet Evanovich’s Lean Mean 13, I could have treated myself to dinner, and not fast food either. In fact, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed Evanovich’s latest Stephanie Plum mystery on a long car trip and it kept us entertained for hours. Evanovich could have called this one Lucky 13 as this book finds her on top of her game.

Ranger asks Stephanie to plant a bug in the office of lawyer Dickie Orr, Stephanie’s ex-husband. Some of his law firm partners are up to no good. Stephanie grabs Lula and they pretend they’re asking Orr for legal advice. But as only Stephanie and Lula can do, fireworks erupt, the police are called and they’re thrown out of the office. When Orr disappears the next day and foul play is apparent, Stephanie becomes the number one suspect. So she sets out to find Orr to clear her name. But unsavory characters follow Stephanie around, figuring that she’ll lead them to Orr. All the while, bodies are turning up that are burnt like crispy-critters.

Most of the old gang is back in Mean Lean 13. There’s the crazy Lula (a former hooker and now office filer for Plum Bail Bonds) and the equally crazy Grandma Mazur (who always packs heat). Joyce Barnhardt is Stephanie’s rival (in both love and bounty hunting) and she’s also determined to find Orr. There’s the usual love triangle between Stephanie, the ever hunky cop Joe Morelli and the dark, sensual but dangerous Ranger. And this book even includes a taxidermist who booby-traps his specimens. It makes for a wild time. There’s also a great side-story that deals with the ineptitude of a cable television service. For those of us who live in New Jersey, that can only mean The Big C.

If you’re looking for mystery that is great literature, look somewhere else. But if you want to read a mystery that is side-splitting funny, Evanovich and Plum are your girls. - reviewed by Cynthia K. Robertson

kindle version of book is available4 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 342 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine (by Benjamin Wallace) – Number 10 in Hardcover Nonfiction

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace - Hardcover NonfictionIt’s not right to fool people, especially to make money from them. It’s still fun, however, to learn about how suckers have gotten swindled, if the suckers aren’t you or someone close to you. It’s especially fun if the suckers are successful tycoons who are used to having the world and its denizens bow to their wills. It’s fun, too, if the suckers are partaking in some particular form of snobbery, like the prestige that comes from buying hugely expensive bottles of wine. When a bottle went in 1985 for $156,000, the world swooned at the presumptuousness, and the press went wild calculating just how many hundreds of dollars each little sip would cost. Twenty years later, the fun is that the bottle was a phony, and the buyers of that particular bottle and of who knows how many others had been taken in by a very smart wine expert who eventually got caught. This is a fun story, told with verve and detail in _The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine_ (Crown) by Benjamin Wallace. Wallace has researched different facets of wine history, so there is a good deal of science and social history in his book, and he has the eye for detail of a good mystery writer (it isn’t surprising that this nonfiction book has recently been optioned to be turned into a movie). You don’t have to be interested in wine to find this story of human foibles funny and instructive.

The bottle in question was auctioned by Christie’s in 1985. It was a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux, and was presented as having been part of the cellar of the wine enthusiast Thomas Jefferson. It was engraved “1787 Lafitte” (the way they spelled it then) and had the initials “Th.J.” Christie’s was the most prestigious of auctioneers in the department of fine and historic wines, and it vouched for the authenticity of the bottle. The wine had been found and placed on the market by a German wine dealer named Hardy Rodenstock, who had previously been a pop-band manager. Rodenstock refused to say who sold the wine to him, nor how many other bottles there were. But he was doing a great business in very rare, very old wines, and customers were in those days eager to buy his finds, whether he would reveal their provenance or not. Neither Christie’s nor potential buyers took the simple step of checking with the museum staff at Monticello, Jefferson’s home, to see if there were any record of such a purchase by him. Jefferson was meticulous, even obsessive, about documenting his purchases of wine and everything else, so there should have been a record. There was none. Rodenstock’s silence on where his fine old wines were coming from should not have taken two decades to foster suspicion in some of those who were buying from him, but such suspicions eventually started up. Wallace is exactly right about how the con game was played: “As with all successful cons, the marks and the grifter had been collaborators. One sold the illusion that the others were desperate to buy.” Rodenstock made the mistake of selling Jefferson bottles to a litigious Florida tycoon who spent a fortune on investigators and laboratory tests to demonstrate fraud. Wallace cannot end his book with Rodenstock being convicted and sent to jail, but the arguments included in the book seem conclusive. Readers will be eager to hear about further legal news in the case.

There wasn’t anything vintners could do in the seventeenth century to make sure that counterfeits didn’t show up two centuries later, but Wallace explains that steps are being taken these days to make sure no future Rodenstock can pull the same tricks. Laser-etching of bottles or embossing them with particular marks is one step, as is using watermarked and ultraviolet-tagged labels. Another step is using particularly adhesive glue to affix the label, but this will irritate collectors who like putting labels in their scrapbooks. There will be future wine counterfeiters, but they will have to work harder. And that bottle sold at Christie’s in 1985? It was bought by Kip Forbes, under orders from his father Malcolm Forbes. The father was furious that the son had paid so much, but he always had a yen for publicity, and realized that having such a headline-making bottle was just what he needed. He put it on display in a case specially highlighted, and the heat from the light made for just the opposite of a wine cellar. It shrank the cork, which fell in, and even if the wine was fake, it wasn’t even wine after that, just the vinegar of this book’s title. You couldn’t ask for a more fittingly symbolic end to all the selfishness and self-importance that Wallace has illustrated in this fascinating tale. - reviewed by R. Hardy “Rob Hardy”

kindle version of book is available4 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 23 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

The Last Patriot: A Thriller (by Brad Thor) – Number 1 in Hardcover Fiction

The Last Patriot: A Thriller by Brad Thor - Hardcover FictionThe character of Scot Harvath has been one of my recent favorites in the last 3-4 years since discovering Thor’s books, and ‘The Last Patriot’ virtually cements this bold character into (at least MY version) of great leading Action/Adventure Hero’s.

Controversy is nothing new to Brad Thor by any means…however, with that said, I believe he is courting a whole new set of problems, or seriously potential problems with the storyline here. Religion in general is a very touchy subject, but as we have seen over the last decade or so, even fictionalizing specific events in Muslim History can be viewed as MAJOR Blasphemy–the kind that involves life-threatening retaliation. Don’t believe me? Anybody remember Salmon Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’? ‘Nuff said. I heard an interview done with Thor on Glenn Beck and I’m not the only one concerned here. I honestly feel that if somewhere, sometime soon if I read about Brad Thor being the target of Terrorists, well, let’s just say it won’t surprise me (read the book and you’ll understand).

The book, though is a hum-dinger of a story. Easily Thor’s best-to-date. Like other reviewers, I like when events in history are tied in with current storylines, and I REALLY like it when its done right…and I am happy to say Thor really nails it with this latest installment. Action on top of intrigue firmly attached to a healthy dose of adrenaline mixed with a Titanic-sized load of action and you have an idea of how well constructed ‘The Last Patriot’ truly is. I have enjoyed these books a lot since I first began them, but this one seriously places the bar at a level that is amazingly high compared to the previous Tales of Scot Harvath–and THEY were great, if that tells you anything.

One thing I enjoy in particular about Harvath is that no matter how death-defying his exploits end up being, I always find myself thinking that were I under similar circumstances, and I had Scot’s talent, what Thor describes is pretty much dead-on with how I feel I would act and say–or at least what I’d like to THINK I would act and feel if our roles were reversed–which I am glad they aren’t.

For those who are fans of how Cussler takes historical events and weaves a seamless tale of adventure into a modern tale of action, you honestly owe it to yourself to give Brad Thor a try–and while you don’t HAVE to start at the beginning to appreciate each book, I personally feel that by starting with ‘The Lions of Lucerne’ you will get a much better appreciation not only for the character of Scot Harvath, but you will get a ringside seat to Thor’s growing talent for storytelling that just gets better with each book…no REALLY.

Kudos to Thor for not just a good addition to this series, but EASILY the best to date by a country mile…and that’s saying a LOT. - reviewed by Jeff Edwards “RadioJeff”

kindle version of book is available4.5 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 39 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* These reviews are taken from Amazon.com customer/editor reviews and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

Top 5 Books by Category

Hardcover Fiction
1. THE LAST PATRIOT, by Brad Thor
2. FEARLESS FOURTEEN, by Janet Evanovich
3. SAIL, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
4. TAILSPIN, by Catherine Coulter
5. THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, by David Wroblewski

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES, by David Sedaris
2. FLEECED, by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
3. WHAT HAPPENED, by Scott McClellan
4. ARE YOU THERE, VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA, by Chelsea Handler
5. THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE, by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

Paperback Trade Fiction
1. THE SHACK, by William P. Young
2. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
3. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
4. THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho
5. THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB, by Kate Jacobs

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
1. DOUBLE TAKE, by Catherine Coulter
2. SOMEDAY SOON, by Debbie Macomber
3. LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN, by Janet Evanovich
4. INTO THE SHADOW, by Christina Dodd
5. THE NAVIGATOR, by Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos

Paperback Nonfiction
1. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
2. WISDOM OF OUR FATHERS, by Tim Russert
3. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
4. BIG RUSS AND ME, by Tim Russert
5. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama

Hardcover Advice
1. THE LAST LECTURE, by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
2. THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
3. WHEN MARKETS COLLIDE, by Mohamed A. El-Erian
4. THE SOUTH BEACH DIET SUPERCHARGED, by Arthur Agatston with Joseph Signorile
5. WOMEN AND MONEY, by Suze Orman

Paperback Advice
1. SOUL WISDOM, by Dr. Zhi Gang Sha
2. A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle
3. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
4. YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, by Louise L. Hay
5. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle

Children’ Books
1. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
2. ALPHABET, by Matthew Van Fleet
3. THE DANGEROUS ALPHABET, by Neil Gaiman
4. SMASH! CRASH!, by Jon Scieszka
5. ZEN TIES, written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth

New York Times Best Sellers: 4 July 2008

New York Times Best Sellers

Welcome to the New York Times Best Sellers list for July 4th, 2008.

Each week we go through the top sellers on the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you can get an idea of what to download for your Kindle. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com.

Here are our top 3 books of the week followed by the top 5 best-selling books by category;

Our Picks

Sail (by James Patterson) – Number 2 in Hardcover Fiction

Sail by James Patterson -  Hardcover FictionJames Patterson and Howard Roughan have produced another winning beach read guaranteed to keep the pages turning. SAIL is a stand-alone novel instead of one of his series (Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club), and has the added facet that everyone is at risk in this one. Nobody has to come back for the sequel, and some of the characters don’t.

Cardiac surgeon Anne Dunne has been stressed out by the twists and turns her life has taken. Her husband has died and she barely held it together. Then she got swept off her feet by Peter Carlyle, a dashing attorney. They’ve been married for a couple years, giving Anne time to heal some of her hurts and get her feet solidly back on the ground.

I like Patterson’s books for the sheer velocity of the story. He doesn’t provide more than a skeletal background for his principle characters, but that’s all that’s needed to understand the machinations he puts them all through.

Although a lot of Anne’s emotional turmoil is glossed over in the novel, I still felt her pain and uncertainty. But there simply wasn’t time to dwell on Anne’s loss because things constantly happened in the book. The authors introduced one vicious turn after another, and the Dunne family became more and more endangered.

However, the furious plotting robbed the characters a little. Anne organized the sailing vacation for her three children because she felt the family was falling apart. Everyone who has a busy family has felt that stress. Oldest son Mark has a drug problem, Carrie is suicidal, and Ernie has become strongly anti-social. These issues were introduced in a straight-forward manner, then resolved almost instantly. I feel I missed out on some of the character growth and interaction with the headlong pacing of the book, but I couldn’t stop turning the pages, which is exactly what the authors designed the book to do.

I really liked the character of Jake Dunne. He stepped onto the page and became real to me at once. He’s the solid kind of guy that will always see things through no matter how messy they get. But, like all of the characters in this novel, he has his secrets too.

Peter Carlyle, Anne’s new husband, turns out to be one of the blackest hearted villains I’ve seen in a while. He’s only out for himself. His relationship with his much younger girlfriend Bailey really sets the tone, and readers will learn to hate this guy, and fear his single-minded determination.

The international hitman Carlyle hires nicknames himself The Magician because of the ease with which he can make people disappear. He’s cool and calculating, and fills the story with menace.

Lost at sea, injured and dysfunctional, the Dunne family’s struggles will pull most thriller readers through to the end in a single sitting or two. They won’t be able to put the book down as the authors pile on one surprise after unexpected twist after impending doom. SAIL runs before the wind as a perfect beach read now that summer is upon us. - reviewed by Mel_Odom

kindle version of book is available3.5 star Amazon review book 3.5/5 Amazon.com rating by 48 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

The Monster of Florence (by Douglas Preston) – Number 3 in Hardcover Nonfiction

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston - Hardcover NonfictionIf you want to get away with murder go to Italy. The police in Italy have been chasing the serial killer, The Monster of Florence, for many years. Many people have been suspected of the murders and many have been imprisoned only to be set free when yet another murder occurs.

Although the book title states “A True Story” and I am sure it is a true story it is hard to believe that government officials, police officers and judges can act in the manner described in this book. Couples have been murdered over the years when parking in secluded spots. The murders are vicious and cunning.

Mario Spezi is a journalist who was fascinated with the killer and determined to find the answer to the identity of The Monster of Venice. When Lincoln Child moved to Florence he met Mario Spezi and also became fascinated with the tale.

Mario Spezi wound up eventually accused of being The Monster and Lincoln Child came under suspicion and had to leave Italy.

The police procedures in Italy are so unusual almost anyone can be arrested for almost anything and not even be given the benefit of knowing what they are accused of or who their accusers might be. It seems in the Italy described in this novel no one is safe from prosecution.

The book provides a timeline of all the killings as well as a cast of secondary characters in order of appearance which is very helpful in reading this book. The Italian names are confusing if the reader is not familiar with Italian but the timeline and character list help to keep everything straight.

The lengths that Lincoln Child went to in order to help free Spezi when he was imprisoned is a definition of what real friendship is all about.

Armchair Interviews say: Powerful story, well told. - reviewed by armchairinterviews.com

kindle version of book is available4 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 28 customer reviews.

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Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons (by Tim Russert) – Number 8 in Hardcover Nonfiction

Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons by Tim Russert - Hardcover NonfictionIn 2004, Tim Russert wrote his first book (about him and his hard working dad, and the amazing example that he set for Tim everyday) and it struck a chord with so many people. He then was inundated with emails about their own dads from people who were touched by that book. Tim has compiled some of the emails and letters together to make this book (60,000 were received).

Some of the common threads in these letters were that these fathers were not superheros, but normal people and the number one gift they gave all their kids was their time. It’s all about the small moments, encouragement and simple things that to kids, is better than all the money they could have been given.

One funny example is a guy writing in about his dad who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and would not do any treatments for it, but wanted to stay around and ‘romance’ his wife. Over 8 years later, the father is sending his son the obituary for the oncologist who diagnosed him in the first place.

A girl called Kerry grew up with a stutter, and all it would take for her to stop was her dad just taking her hand and telling her it’s OK and that was all she needed.

There are so many heartwarming and fun and moving stories in here that make you appreciate what you have (or had) and if you have a strained relationship with your dad, this might give you a chance to correct what needs to be fixed. This is such a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think everyone can gain something from reading this. It also will make a great gift to your dad, husband or son for Fathers Day. - reviewed by Little Miss Cutey

kindle version of book is available4.5 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 83 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* These reviews are taken from Amazon.com customer/editor reviews and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

Top 5 Books by Category

Hardcover Fiction
1. FEARLESS FOURTEEN, by Janet Evanovich
2. SAIL, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
3. THE HOST, by Stephenie Meyer
4. CHASING HARRY WINSTON, by Lauren Weisberger
5. LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH, by Emily Giffin

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. WHEN YOU ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES, by David Sedaris
2. WHAT HAPPENED, by Scott McClellan
3. THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE, by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi
4. ARE YOU THERE, VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA, by Chelsea Handler
5. BIG RUSS AND ME, by Tim Russert

Paperback Trade Fiction
1. THE SHACK, by William P. Young
2. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
3. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
4. NINETEEN MINUTES, by Jodi Picoult
5. BAREFOOT, by Elin Hilderbrand

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
1. LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN, by Janet Evanovich
2. STEP ON A CRACK, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
3. HIGH NOON, by Nora Roberts
4. THE JUDAS STRAIN, by James Rollins
5. RETURN TO SUMMERHOUSE, by Jude Deveraux

Paperback Nonfiction
1. BIG RUSS AND ME, by Tim Russert
2. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
3. WISDOM OF OUR FATHERS, by Tim Russert
4. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama
5. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Hardcover Advice
1. THE LAST LECTURE, by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
2. THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
3. QUANTUM WELLNESS, by Kathy Freston
4. THE SOUTH BEACH DIET SUPERCHARGED, by Arthur Agatston with Joseph Signorile
5. THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK, by Timothy Ferriss

Paperback Advice
1. A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle
2. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle
3. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
4. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
5. YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, by Louise L. Hay

Children’ Books
1. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
2. ALPHABET, by Matthew Van Fleet
3. READ ALL ABOUT IT!, by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush
4. LADYBUG GIRL, by Jacky Davis and David Soman
5. DON’T BUMP THE GLUMP!, written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein


New York Times Best Sellers: 6 June 2008

New York Times Best Sellers

Welcome to the New York Times Best Sellers list for June 6, 2008.

Each week we go through the top sellers on the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you can get an idea of what to download for your Kindle. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com.

Here are our top 3 books of the week following by the top 5 best-selling books in each category;

Our Picks

Twenty Wishes (A Blossom Street Book #4) (by Debbie Macomber) – Number 10 in Hardcover Fiction

Twenty Wishes A Blossom Street Book #4 - by Debbie Macomber - Hardcover FictionIn Seattle thirty-eight years old Blossom Street Books owner Anne Marie Roche grieves the loss of her husband Robert who recently died. They had no children together though he left behind two adult offspring from his first marriage. Ironically they were separated seven months at the time of his demise, but Anne Marie cannot move past her loss; blaming herself in some ways.

Anne Marie and her friends celebrate Valentine’s Day together when she thinks about creating a list of things she wants to do but never has. Her friends do likewise as does eight year old Ellen Falk, her “Lunch Buddy”, a Woodrow Wilson Elementary School child she mentors like a Big Sister. Instead of performing her list, Anne Marie decides to make Ellen’s TWENTY WISHES come true.

It takes a village to raise a child as Debbie Macomber affirms with this heart felt thought provoking return to Blossom Street. The relationship between the Lunch Buddies is fabulously developed so that the adult gets as much or more from it than the child. Fans of character driven tales will want Ellen’s TWENTY WISHES especially one in particular to come true. - reviewed by Harriet Klausner

kindle version of book is available4.5 star Amazon review book 4.5/5 Amazon.com rating by 15 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

Unaccustomed Earth (by Jhumpa Lahiri)- Number 12 in Hardcover Fiction

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri In this brilliant book, Lahiri sustains her control of characters and weaves tight stories. Her plots and characters move effortlessly through each vignette. Once again we meet the structured Bengali culture and their American children who never seem to completely belong in either world.

The stories emphasize intermarriage between a Bengali and an American but their coming together seems natural and no definitive blame is placed on troubled intermarriages. I had originally thought the stories wold be linked but only two were related directly.

Arranged marriages often make life easier . We learn about the strict, almost inflexible, Bengali families who come to America and desperately retain their sharp divide of women’s place and the man’s responsibility in a marriage. Not so when a Bengali girl or boy marries an American. Many of the alliances seemed anguished and incomplete. I didn’t feel any of the characters could find contentment.

What held every story together, whether it was a drunken husband or a grieving wife missing her Bengali mother, was the demanding emphasis on education. The Bengali expected their American son or daughter to become dstinctively educated at the very best Ivy schools to attain optimum success in their fields. This theme seem the overriding reason for coming to America. The Bengali wives remained tied to their Indian cultures and continued their obsequious responses to their husbands. They remained isolated and out of touch. Not their children who desperately tried to find a place for themselves in our rich country and liberal culture.

This was a wonderful book; she is one of the best authors. We are thrown into the plots from the very first sentences. She reminds me of Anne Tyler, taking simple people who live mundane lives, but who are quite complicated and intense. - reviewed by Mr. August “Literature lover”

kindle version of book is available4.5 star Amazon review book 4.5/5 Amazon.com rating by 56 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

Child 44 (by Tom Rob Smith) – Number 15 in Hardcover Fiction

Child 44 by Tom Rob SmithSet in Stalin’s Soviet Union circa 1953, Child 44 is a dramatic, troubling tale of life under a repressive system that controls its citizens by regimentation and fear. Although the novel begins with the separation of two young brothers from a starving Ukrainian village in 1933, the events of that one day set in motion a terrible series of crimes that surface twenty years later, just prior to Stalin’s death. The protagonist, Leo Demidov, is a member of the State Security, the MGB, rigorously performing his assigned duties, arresting accused traitors for questioning, their sad fates ordained the moment these unfortunates are arrested. Days before his life is altered by the mischief of another, Leo is assigned an unusual case, the mutilated corpse of a child, of necessity declared an accident. There are no crimes, no mistakes in the Soviet Union, a rigid hierarchy that controls the population with propaganda and terror, survival the currency of repression, people accusing others in order to save themselves.

Buoyed by his investigative instincts and sense of invincibility, Leo has built an enviable life; when all that is necessary to establish guilt is accusation, it is not surprising when the finger of suspicion points at Leo, a jealous rival facilitating his fall. Leo has had no quarrel with his life, avoiding introspection until he and Raisa are the targets. Leo is demoted, the couple sent to a remote country village as punishment for an error in judgment. Once Leo is stripped of his power, the marriage is revealed as a sham. Raisa demands total honesty or she cannot stay. Then another child is found murdered, eerily similar to the one in Moscow, Leo caught in an impossible conundrum, not authorized to investigate crimes that do not exist in the eyes of the government. It is Leo’s profound emotional journey that is the heart of this intriguing, provocative novel. With Raisa as the catalyst for a dormant conscience, Leo risks everything to accomplish one good thing before the long arm of the MGB reaches out once more to deal another blow. For Leo is not deceived: his punishment has only begun, a reprieve before a final reckoning.

Relentless, Smith contrasts Leo’s awakening in an environment meant to stifle individuality, Leo’s soul blooming against a frozen landscape where horrors are perpetrated by a madman and a government that cannot bear scrutiny. This protagonist does not survive unscathed, battered by a government meant to intimidate, to silence dissension. The rigid constraints of a lifetime give way to Leo’s quest for justice, a surprising tie to a forgotten past adding unexpected complications, Leo and Raisa under constant threat from one man’s determination to see Leo punished for his earlier successes. The prose is consistent, compelling, the plot brilliantly sustained until the inevitable confrontation with the MGB. Dredging unexpected moments of humanity from morality’s massive graveyard, Smith has written a stunning indictment of political repression in collision with hope. - reviewed by Luan Gaines “luansos”

kindle version of book is available4.5 star Amazon review book 4/5 Amazon.com rating by 38 customer reviews.

Kindle Version is available!
Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* These reviews are taken from Amazon.com customer/editor reviews and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

Top 5 Books In Each Category

Hardcover Fiction
1. THE HOST, by Stephenie Meyer
2. SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
3. PHANTOM PREY, by John Sandford
4. THE WHOLE TRUTH, by David Baldacci
5. CARELESS IN RED, by Elizabeth George

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. AUDITION, by Barbara Walters
2. HOME, by Julie Andrews
3. ARE YOU THERE, VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA, by Chelsea Handler
4. A REMARKABLE MOTHER, by Jimmy Carter
5. THE POST-AMERICAN WORLD, by Fareed Zakaria

Hardcover Advice
1. THE LAST LECTURE, by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
2. JUST WHO WILL YOU BE?, by Maria Shriver
3. THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
4. THE ONE MINUTE ENTREPRENEUR, by Ken Blanchard, Don Hutson and Ethan Willis
5. THE SOUTH BEACH DIET SUPERCHARGED, by Arthur Agatston with Joseph Signorile

Children’ Books
1. READ ALL ABOUT IT!, by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush
2. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
3. SOMEDAY, by Alison McGhee
4. DIRT ON MY SHIRT, by Jeff Foxworthy
5. ALPHABET, by Matthew Van Fleet

Paperback Trade Fiction
1. THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB, by Kate Jacobs
2. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
3. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
4. THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, by Kim Edwards
5. NINETEEN MINUTES, by Jodi Picoult

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
1. THE HOLLOW, by Nora Roberts
2. THE GOOD GUY, by Dean Koontz
3. INVISIBLE PREY, by John Sandford
4. THE BOURNE BETRAYAL, by Eric Van Lustbader
5. SIMPLE GENIUS, by David Baldacci

Paperback Nonfiction
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
3. MARLEY & ME, by John Grogan
4. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama
5. 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey

Paperback Advice
1. A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle
2. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle
3. HUNGRY GIRL, by Lisa Lillien
4. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
5. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

New York Times Best Sellers: 23 May 2008

After another long absence, the weekly best sellers list is back! (hopefully for good this time!) Each week we bring to you the New York Times best sellers list.

We go through the top sellers on the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you can get an idea of what to download for your Kindle. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com. Here are our top 3 books of the week following by the top 5 books in each category;

Our Picks

The Whole Truth (by David Baldacci): Number 4 in Hardcover Fiction

The Whole Truth (Hardcover) by David Baldacci (Author)Nicolas Creel is a man on a mission. He heads up the world’s largest defense contractor, The Ares Corporation. Dick Pender is the man Creel retains to “perception manage” his company to even more riches by manipulating international conflicts. But Creel may have an even grander plan in mind.

Shaw, a man with no first name and a truly unique past, has a different agenda. Reluctantly doing the bidding of a secret multi-national intelligence agency, he travels the globe to keep it safe and at peace.

Willing to do anything to get back to the top of her profession, Katie James is a journalist who has just gotten the break of a lifetime: the chance to interview the sole survivor of a massacre that has left every nation stunned.

In this terrifying, global thriller, these characters’ lives will collide head-on as a series of events is set in motion that could change the world as we know it. An utterly spellbinding story that feels all too real, THE WHOLE TRUTH delivers all the twists and turns, emotional drama, unforgettable characters, and can’t-put-it-down pacing that readers expect from David Baldacci-and still goes beyond anything he’s written before.

kindle version of book is availableKindle Version is available!

Source: Amazon Editorial Review*

Certain Girls: A Novel (by Jennifer Weiner) – Number 14 in Hardcover Fiction

Certain Girls: A Novel (Hardcover) by Jennifer Weiner (Author)Jennifer Weiner’s much anticipated sequel to Good in Bed does not disappoint, and we Jen Weiner fans have been waiting a long time for this one! When Certain Girls finally arrived, I hoped it would be as good as the first, and it is! It’s possibly even better; and Good in Bed is one of my most favorite all-time books ever!

With characters old and new, grown and mature, quirky and completely believable, you’ll feel as if you want to know them in real life. You can sense the angst and turmoil of 13-year-old Joy as she tries to find her place in the family; tries to learn what it is to `become a woman’ as she prepares for her bat mitzvah. I fell in love with Joy, found myself wanting to comfort her, and at the same time, shake her and say, “But your mother just loves you–that’s why she’s so crazy!”

Cannie has grown up and while she is an overprotective mother, she just wants to do right. Sometimes she tries too hard, but again, it’s just because she’s a mom and she loves her daughter so much–that’s why she’s so crazy!

I don’t need to sell Jennifer Weiner fans on this book. They already know. There are loads of touching moments, laughable moments, and some especially unexpected shocker moments in Certain Girls. You will really have a varying mix of emotions when reading, but one thing’s for certain, as it is with all of Weiner’s creations … you’ll come away wishing you didn’t have to close the book, wishing you could just go back for a little while and hang out with the people you just read about. They’re that real. They’re that good. She’s THAT convincing!

kindle version of book is availableKindle Version is available!

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (by Barack Obama) – Number 4 in Paperback Nonfiction

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Paperback) by Barack Obama (Author)

Barack Obama’s latest book reads like a hopeful springboard to the Presidency; indeed, the only concern he’s voiced recently about a run for the White House is what his family might have to endure. Other than that, he sure looks and sounds like a confirmed candidate, and The Audacity of Hope only fuels that speculation.

Obama is my senator. I honestly can’t tell you what he’s accomplished for Illinois. Nothing particularly major or memorable- given his short tenure- but that’s not to say he hasn’t been successful; everyone in Washington seems to want him on this or that committee, and that’s certainly good for Illinois. The more powerful and influential your senator, the more attention (and money) flows to your state. His voting record is what you might expect from a young freshman Democrat, but that’s not a knock; he’s been true to his word, and that’s a plus.

He tries hard in Audacity to show he would be a builder of bridges and a healer of political wounds, and that might be true; time will tell. He’s spot-on in the section titled Politics when he bemoans what modern politicking has become- far less about the issues than about how inherently evil your opponent is. Mudslinging has replaced party platforms as the main election tool, with orchestrated outrage and assertions of moral superiority at the top of the campaign agenda. Obama’s call to return some integrity to politics by offering solutions rather than automatic fear and hatred of the other side is both timely and refreshing. It would be easy to argue that the polarization of the political right and left is complete and irreversible, but that’s both the Audacity and Hope of the book’s title.

What’s not so convincing in Audacity is his portrayal of himself as a political Everyman. While he clearly demonstrates genuine empathy for those who don’t share his beliefs, the middle ground he tries to capture seems more like quicksand- when you try too hard to be everything to everyone, you run the risk of being nothing instead, a perpetual question mark without a solid base to stand on. That’s a risk he’s obviously willing to take, but the centrist policies he then suggests are not only nothing new, they carry their own considerable risks and problems which he barely weighs. That’s a concern, a surprise, and a shortcoming.

Good, effective politicians are like a good stew- there’s substance in the pot, and it’s well seasoned. While Obama clearly has the substance, the seasoning simply isn’t there yet, which makes the Audacity in the title fitting in a way Obama hadn’t intended. Americans sure are enamored of fresh, unknown faces in politics- maybe because we love Cinderella stories- but that’s voting with your heart rather than your head. Now there’s something to be said for intuition and “gut feeling” when selecting leadership, but when the fresh face is untested in so many ways, perhaps it would be best to go with the proven commodity- even if it isn’t all that exciting- rather than the raw recruit, no matter how intelligent or charismatic he (or she) might be.

Charisma is great, but experience counts for so much more, especially in the troubled, difficult times ahead.

All that said, Audacity of Hope is an interesting look into the mind and heart of a young senator as he formulates his early political policies and tests the political waters.

kindle version of book is availableKindle Version is available!

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* These reviews are taken from Amazon.com customer reviews and do not reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

Top 5 Books In Each Category

Hardcover Fiction
1. THE HOST, by Stephenie Meyer
2. SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
3. PHANTOM PREY, by John Sandford
4. THE WHOLE TRUTH, by David Baldacci
5. CARELESS IN RED, by Elizabeth George

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. AUDITION, by Barbara Walters
2. HOME, by Julie Andrews
3. ARE YOU THERE, VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA, by Chelsea Handler
4. A REMARKABLE MOTHER, by Jimmy Carter
5. THE POST-AMERICAN WORLD, by Fareed Zakaria

Hardcover Advice
1. THE LAST LECTURE, by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
2. JUST WHO WILL YOU BE?, by Maria Shriver
3. THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
4. THE ONE MINUTE ENTREPRENEUR, by Ken Blanchard, Don Hutson and Ethan Willis
5. THE SOUTH BEACH DIET SUPERCHARGED, by Arthur Agatston with Joseph Signorile

Children’ Books
1. READ ALL ABOUT IT!, by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush
2. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
3. SOMEDAY, by Alison McGhee
4. DIRT ON MY SHIRT, by Jeff Foxworthy
5. ALPHABET, by Matthew Van Fleet

Paperback Trade Fiction
1. THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB, by Kate Jacobs
2. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
3. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
4. THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, by Kim Edwards
5. NINETEEN MINUTES, by Jodi Picoult

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
1. THE HOLLOW, by Nora Roberts
2. THE GOOD GUY, by Dean Koontz
3. INVISIBLE PREY, by John Sandford
4. THE BOURNE BETRAYAL, by Eric Van Lustbader
5. SIMPLE GENIUS, by David Baldacci

Paperback Nonfiction
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
3. MARLEY & ME, by John Grogan
4. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama
5. 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey

Paperback Advice
1. A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle
2. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle
3. HUNGRY GIRL, by Lisa Lillien
4. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
5. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

New York Times Best Sellers: 22 February 2007

After an 8 week absence, the weekly best sellers list is back! Each week we bring to you the New York Times best sellers list. We go through the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you an an idea of what to download for your Kindle or just to buy for your bookshelf. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com. Here are our top 3 books of the week following by the top 5 books in each category;

Our Picks

The Appeal (by John Grisham): Number 1 in Hardcover Fiction

The Appeal (Hardcover) by John Grisham (Author)John Grisham will be ending his absence from the New York Times Best Seller’s List (fiction) with the arrival “The Appeal.” Grisham’s first legal thriller since the Broker (2005) is a gripping and compelling read that will be hard to put down. It is also timely since it highlights the underbelly of today’s election politics.

The story centers on a small Mississippi law firm who wins a big verdict over a chemical giant, Krane, that has spread carcinogenic pollutants. Krane, fearful that this verdict, if not overturned, would set a precedent that would eventually destroy it, goes into action. It files an appeal that will find its way to the state supreme court, and hires a “dirty tricks” firm to unseat a sitting justice believe to be unfriendly. This is a viable strategy since Mississippi elects their Supreme Court justices and 69% of its voters know little about the court’s candidates.

The “Appeal” provides a believable primer on how to rig an election – pick a victim; promote an unknown candidate with no visible record; and ambush the victim by painting him/her as a extreme ideologue (this liberal judge will destroy the family). Done well…and the election process is subverted.

This is Grisham’s thirteenth legal thriller since “A Time to Kill” which was published in 1989. He has been a master at putting urgent moral issues on center stage for all to consider. He has succeeded again in “The Appeal.”

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

A Thousand Splendid Suns (by Khaled Hosseini): Number 3 in Hardcover Fiction

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Hardcover) by Khaled Hosseini (Author)With his second novel, Khaled Hosseini proves beyond a shadow of doubt that “The Kite Runner” was no flash in the Afghan pan. Once again set in Afghanistan, the story twists and turns its way through the turmoil and chaos that ensued following the fall of the monarchy in 1973, but focuses mainly on the lives of two women, thrown together by fate.

The story starts decades before the Taliban came into power in 1996, and ends after the era of Taliban rule. The main character begins life as a “harami” – the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man and one of his housekeepers. Forced to live in a small shack with her emotionally disturbed and possibly epileptic mother, Mariam lives for Thursdays, the day her father comes to see her, bearing small gifts and showering her with the affection she craves. Naturally, Mariam wants to be a part of her father’s life and fit in with his legitimate family, but when she attempts to force his hand, she is rebuffed and feels betrayed by his reaction. Her impetuous actions bring an end to the life she has known for fifteen long years, and lead to an arranged marriage to a much older man, a shoemaker, whose views on the rights of women mirror those that the Taliban would soon enforce.

During the time that Mariam is dutifully enduring her unhappy marriage, a neighbor gives birth to a baby girl, whom they name Laila. By her ninth birthday, Laila has grown up to be a beautiful child with blonde hair, turquoise-green eyes, high cheekbones and dimples. Unfortunately, her mother lives only for the day her older sons will return home from fighting the jihad, and is consumed by the vision of a free Afghanistan. Laila’s best friend is a boy named Tariq, her confidant, defender and co-conspirator, and by the end of communist rule in 1992, Laila is fourteen, and beginning to see Tariq in a different way that she does not quite understand.

The enthusiastic rejoicing at the end of the jihad is silenced by the internal battles of the Mujahideen, and when the bombs start falling on Kabul, Laila and Tariq are forced apart. Circumstances can make strange things happen, and Laila soon becomes a part of Mariam’s husband’s household, by necessity rather than choice. The rest of this unforgettable story reflects the heart-rending sacrifices of these women, and allows the reader a peek behind the burqa, to the heart of Afghanistan.

There are parts of this book that will have grown men surreptitiously blotting the tears that are on the verge of overflowing their ducts, and by the time you get to the middle, you won’t be able to put it down. Hosseini’s simple but richly descriptive prose makes for an engrossing read, and in my opinion, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is among the best I have ever read. This is definitely not one to be missed.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (by Michael Pollan): Number 1 in Hardcover Nonfiction

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Hardcover) by Michael Pollan (Author)Thinking of going on a diet this New Year’s? Better read this book before you do. In Defense of Food will convince you that the solution to our weight woes is not to go on a diet, but, rather, to go off a diet–the Western diet, that is.

Don’t be fooled by this book’s subtitle; “manifesto” doesn’t do it justice. In Defense of Food is an out-and-out assault on the way America eats. Welcome to the agri-culture war, where Big Food, Agribiz, food scientists, and nutritionists battle not for our hearts and minds but our stomachs.

Pollan documents the decline of “real” foods in our diet–i.e., things that our grandparents would recognize as edible–and the corresponding rise of processed, packaged substances full of gobbledy-gook ingredients masquerading as food on our supermarket shelves. He notes that the meat-heavy Western diet inevitably leads to high rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes in every culture that adopts it.

In Defense of Food lays out in depressing detail how industrial agriculture has robbed the American diet of anything resembling diversity, citing the endless incarnations of corn and soy that the food industry foists on us before concluding that the only way to achieve a truly varied diet of predominantly plant-based, naturally nutritious whole foods is to ignore bogus health claims on boxes and simply stay out of the supermarket altogether, if possible, and rely on farmers’ markets instead. Sadly, that’s not a viable option for many Americans.

His other prescriptions for our overweight, undernourished nation? “Pay More, Eat Less”–i.e., the ol’ quality over quantity adage. Scale back the Paul Bunyonesque portions, if you don’t want to look like a lumberjack on steroids. And what’s up with the 24/7 snacking? As Pollan points out, there’s really no mystery to the so-called French paradox–French people just don’t snack, or help themselves to seconds.

We, on the other hand, consume soda, chips, cookies and candy all day long, but haven’t got time to prepare a decent meal, much less to sit down and savor it with friends or family. Pollan finds the antidote for this sorry state in the Slow Food movement, which, he says, “offers a coherent protest against, and alternative to, the Western diet and way of eating, indeed to the whole ever-more-desperate Western way of life.”

Pollan’s final piece of advice is my favorite: “Cook, And, If You Can, Plant a Garden.” The simple act of growing one’s own food was a nearly universal skill (as was cooking) a few generations back, but after World War II, leftover chemicals and pesticides became the basis of our current system of industrial agriculture. The military-industrial complex invaded our pantries and installed a regime of partially hydrogenated hucksters and high fructose corn syrup imposters, turning real food into a refugee on the crunchy granola fringe.

What Pollan advocates is nothing less than a wholesale rejection of the modern American food chain. It’s a radical proposal in a time when “cooking from scratch and growing any of your own food qualify as subversive acts.”

Pollan’s just the latest agri-culture warrior to call for a return to real foods; In Defense of Food is, he admits, “a work of synthesis, built on a foundation of research and thinking laid by others.” Indeed. The snappy slogan that sums up Pollan’s book–”Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”–echoes the premise of one of Pollan’s mentors, NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle, in her book What to Eat, published last year: “eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.”

Pollan’s succeeded in reducing Nestle’s ten word mantra to a mere seven words, which, in this era of ever shorter attention spans, may be a public service. In Defense of Food could transform the way America eats, and not a minute too soon, because we’re eating ourselves to death.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* – These reviews are taken from Amazon.com customer reviews and do not reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

Top 5 Books In Each Category

Hardcover Fiction
1. THE APPEAL, by John Grisham
2. 7TH HEAVEN, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
3. DUMA KEY, by Stephen King
4. STRANGER IN PARADISE, by Robert B. Parker
5. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, by Michael Pollan
2. AN INCONVENIENT BOOK, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
3. REAL CHANGE, by Newt Gingrich with Vince Haley and Rick Tyler
4. I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!), by Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Allison Silverman et al.
5. TOM CRUISE, by Andrew Morton

Hardcover Advice
1. THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne
2. YOU: STAYING YOUNG, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz et al.
3. ONE MONTH TO LIVE, by Kerry and Chris Shook
4. BECOME A BETTER YOU, by Joel Osteen
5. HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD, by Charla Krupp

Children’ Books
1. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
2. FLAMINGOS ON THE ROOF, written and illustrated by Calef Brown
3. STAR WARS POP-UP GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, by Matthew Reinhart
4. FIRST THE EGG, written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
5. SMASH! CRASH!, by Jon Scieszka

Paperback Trade Fiction
1. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, by Ken Follett
2. ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan
3. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
4. THE 6TH TARGET, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
5. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
1. DREAM CHASER, by Sherrilyn Kenyon
2. HARD TO HANDLE, by Lori Foster
3. DAWN’S AWAKENING, by Lora Leigh
4. SISTERS, by Danielle Steel
5. SNOWFALL AT WILLOW LAKE, by Susan Wiggs

Paperback Nonfiction
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
3. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama
4. THE GIFT OF FEAR, by Gavin de Becker
5. THE INNOCENT MAN, by John Grisham

Paperback Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle
2. YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, by Louise L. Hay
3. THE SPEED OF TRUST, by Stephen M. R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill
4. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
5. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle

New York Times Best Sellers: 28 December 2007

Each week we bring to you the New York Times best sellers list. We go through the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you an an idea of what to download for your Kindle or just to buy for your bookshelf. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com. Here are the Top 5 books in each category;

Hardcover Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. T IS FOR TRESPASS, by Sue Grafton
2. DOUBLE CROSS, by James Patterson
3. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini
4. THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR, by Dean Koontz
5. FOR ONE MORE DAY, by Mitch Albom

Hardcover Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!), by Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Allison Silverman et al.
2. BOOM!, by Tom Brokaw
3. AN INCONVENIENT BOOK, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
4. QUIET STRENGTH, by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
5. A FAMILY CHRISTMAS, edited by Caroline Kennedy

Hardcover Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS, by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden
2. THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS, by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
3. YOU: STAYING YOUNG, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz et al.
4. DECEPTIVELY DELICIOUS, by Jessica Seinfeld
5. JIM CRAMER’S STAY MAD FOR LIFE, by James J. Cramer with Cliff Mason

Children’ Books
Top 5 at a Glance
1. STAR WARS POP-UP GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, by Matthew Reinhart
2. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, by Clement C. Moore. Various illustrators.
3. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
4. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: ALL ACCESS, by N. B. Grace. Various illustrators.
5. ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN, written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman

Paperback Trade Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, by Ken Follett
2. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
3. ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan
4. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
5. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, by Gabriel García Márquez

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. BLOOD BROTHERS, by Nora Roberts
2. I AM LEGEND, by Richard Matheson
3. NEXT, by Michael Crichton
4. CROSS, by James Patterson
5. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, by Ken Follett

Paperback Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THE INNOCENT MAN, by John Grisham
3. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. INTO THE WILD, by Jon Krakauer
5. 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey

Paperback Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. RACHAEL RAY: JUST IN TIME, by Rachael Ray
2. THE WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS 2008, edited by C. Alan Joyce
3. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
4. 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE, by Patricia Schultz
5. 1,000 PLACES TO SEE IN THE U.S.A. AND CANADA BEFORE YOU DIE, by Patricia Schultz

Our Picks

Jim Cramer’s Stay Mad for Life: Number 5 in Hardcover Advice

Jim Cramer’s Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer) (Hardcover)In Stay Mad for Life, Jim Cramer addresses a whole range of financial issues that he hasn’t dealt with on his Mad Money TV show and in his prior books. He takes a step back from his primary focus of teaching his viewers and readers how to select individual stocks and presents his approach to broader issues of personal financial management that one deals with from cradle to grave. In this sense the book deals with quite basic topics such as avoiding or getting out of credit card debt (about nine pages), creating and following a budget (about twelve pages) and obtaining health and disability insurance. These topics may seem elementary, even boring compared to the topics of Jim’s earlier books, but are issues that people of limited financial experience need to learn about.

On the topic of retirement planning he talks about the advantages and disadvantages of 401(k) plans and of traditional and Roth IRAs. He likes 401(k) plans for their employer-dollar-matching feature but dislikes their limited choice of offered funds and their associated expenses. He advocates funding your 401(k) only up to the point where you’ve reached the maximum employer match. Beyond that he strongly advocates putting additional retirement dollars into an IRA where the range of choices of investments is so much broader.

In the category of family finance he advocates getting your children interested in investing as young as possible and lists six stocks that you might want to buy just one share of for your child that might pique their interest. That same chapter covers college and home financing.

In his prior books Jim has created lists of rules for investing and he does so again in this book. These twenty rules came from distilling his experience with the investments he makes for his charitable trust that he often mentions on Mad Money. For example one of these new rules that I’ve found myself prone to violating is “Don’t quit when you get back to even”. If you’ve taken on a position in a stock and if the price then drops significantly, it’s easy to feel so grateful if/when it comes back up to your break even point, you bail out with a small profit. Jim contends that if the fundamentals of the stock are still good, hang in there with it for additional upside.

In the next to last chapter, Jim really hangs himself out on a limb by selecting five sectors that he thinks will be strong for the next five years and climbs even further out on that limb by naming twenty stocks that he thinks will do well over that time frame. I’m a subscriber to his Action Alerts e-newsletter where Jim announces the buys and sells that he plans to make for his charitable trust. At the time of this review, 16 of the 20 stocks are presently held by the trust and the other four are stocks that Jim has mentioned many times on Mad Money.

In the final chapter Jim makes what must be a major concession for him since he’s such a strong advocate of selecting and holding individual stocks. At several places in the book he recommends that if you really aren’t willing or able to devote the time and effort to individual stock selections (remember – his tough homework rule is one hour per stock per week!) your next best choice is a low cost passive index mutual fund such as the Vanguard VFINX. However if you REALLY want to invest in an actively managed mutual fund, Jim has conducted research and come up with a list of 13 recommended funds. In doing this research he looked at historical fund performance for the seven-year period 2000-2006. He gives especially heavy weight to fund performance in the three down-market years 2000-2002. He also emphasizes the importance of the fund manager and considers only funds where one manager ran the fund.

I recommend the book for those wanting a good (strongly opinionated) survey of the major issues of personal finance. For those not so interested in basic personal finance, just skip the first five chapters and read the final four chapters which stand on their own and will be of interest to the regular followers of Jim’s books and TV.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

The Innocent Man: Number 2 in Paperback Nonfiction

The Innocent Man - John GrishamAmbivalence really sums up my feelings toward Mr. Grisham’s latest book. Depressing is another. I applaud Mr. Grisham in his attempt to analyze the hows and whys of just what happened to Ron Williamson during his hectic, confusing, and sometimes just unlucky life. From outstanding major league baseball prospect, to drug and alcohol abuser, to mentally unstable convict, to exonerated felon, Ron Williamson never really knew any peace off the baseball diamond. His dream of a major league career shattered he simply withdrew into his own private hell of dope, booze, loose women, honky tonks, and insanity.

Sometimes a difficult book to follow, the darkness that Mr. Grisham maintains throughout the book is at times oppressive. How many times must Ron Williamson have to exhibit mental instability before someone, anyone, gets him real help and not just temporary “band-aid” his CHRONIC mental problems. It is a wonder that he didn’t harm someone during his drunken, drug induced haze. Finally convicted of a murder he never committed, the complex judicial process to free him was very well told by Mr. Grisham. Ron’s years spent on “death row” were both illuminating, sad, and frightening all at the same time. His eventual release and exoneration was the ONLY happy point in an otherwise sad biography of a profoundly unhappy life.

Again, I was ambivalent about this book. I can not say I enjoyed it but I did learn from it. This is not your typical light Grisham reading so be very careful. Be ready for a heavy, dark, oppressive book that while educating about the legal system, at the same time leaves one empty about the sad state of this nation’s mental health programs. This up close and personal view of America’s seamy underbelly will stay with you for quite awhile.

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

Double Cross: Number 2 in Hardcover Fiction

Double Cross- Alex CrossI have always been a big fan of the Alex Cross Novels (With the exception of London Bridges (Alex Cross Novels) and I don’t care for his other books written by other authors with his named stamped on top), so I was excited to receive and advance readers copy of Double Cross (Alex Cross)! I waited for a slow day a the Marina before cracking it open and was soon lost in the world of Cross. Alex has become like a old friend, having read so many of his trails, adventures, and tragedies.

Alex’s life has become more settled since we last saw hin in Cross. He is back at work tending to his patients and living a normal life with his girlfriend Brianna Stone–detective Stone that is. But of course this cannot last. Washington DC and the east cost are a jitter because of a number of elaborate murders, these are not just murders but spectacles. This guy is a grisly showman. A murderer who wants fame—and to scare the pants off the entire DC metro area. Of course it is up Alex and Brianna to bring this guy down…but at what cost?

Patterson’s master plotting, lightening fast chapters that keep you turning the pages are again on display and make for a great beach read! For Patterson like pacing I have to recommend the cult classic “A Tourist In The Yucatan” ripping good thriller!

Source: Amazon Customer Review*

* – These reviews are taken from Amazon.com and do not reflect the views or opinions blogkindle.com

New York Times Best Sellers: 22 December 2007

Each week we bring to you the New York Times best sellers list. We go through the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you an an idea of what to download for your Kindle or just to buy for your bookshelf. You can browse through The New York Times best sellers list on Amazon.com. Here are the Top 5 books in each category;

Hardcover Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. T IS FOR TRESPASS, by Sue Grafton
2. DOUBLE CROSS, by James Patterson
3. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini
4. THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR, by Dean Koontz
5. FOR ONE MORE DAY, by Mitch Albom

Hardcover Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!), by Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Allison Silverman et al.
2. BOOM!, by Tom Brokaw
3. AN INCONVENIENT BOOK, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
4. QUIET STRENGTH, by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
5. A FAMILY CHRISTMAS, edited by Caroline Kennedy

Hardcover Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS, by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden
2. THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS, by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
3. YOU: STAYING YOUNG, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz et al.
4. DECEPTIVELY DELICIOUS, by Jessica Seinfeld
5. JIM CRAMER’S STAY MAD FOR LIFE, by James J. Cramer with Cliff Mason

Children’ Books
Top 5 at a Glance
1. STAR WARS POP-UP GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, by Matthew Reinhart
2. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, by Clement C. Moore. Various illustrators.
3. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder
4. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: ALL ACCESS, by N. B. Grace. Various illustrators.
5. ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN, written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman

Paperback Trade Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, by Ken Follett
2. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
3. ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan
4. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
5. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, by Gabriel García Márquez

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. BLOOD BROTHERS, by Nora Roberts
2. I AM LEGEND, by Richard Matheson
3. NEXT, by Michael Crichton
4. CROSS, by James Patterson
5. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, by Ken Follett

Paperback Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THE INNOCENT MAN, by John Grisham
3. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. INTO THE WILD, by Jon Krakauer
5. 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey

Paperback Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. RACHAEL RAY: JUST IN TIME, by Rachael Ray
2. THE WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS 2008, edited by C. Alan Joyce
3. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
4. 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE, by Patricia Schultz
5. 1,000 PLACES TO SEE IN THE U.S.A. AND CANADA BEFORE YOU DIE, by Patricia Schultz

Our Picks

T is for Trespass: Number 1 in Hardcover Fiction

T is for Trespass - Kinsey Millhone MysteriesThe 20th novel in Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series is one of the best. In her last outing, “S” IS FOR SILENCE, Grafton altered her style a bit, actually entering other characters’ points of view to tell parts of the story so that they shared the narrating duties with Kinsey herself. With this new novel, that device is used to chilling effect–between reports from Kinsey, we enter the mind of a woman who is possibly her most twisted adversary to date.

Solana Rojas is a caregiver, a home-help nurse’s aide much like the thousands you’ll find all over America. But the woman assigned to care for Kinsey’s elderly friend is not your usual “angel of mercy.” For one thing, she is not the real Solana Rojas–she has stolen that woman’s identity. And she has plans. To tell you more of the plot would be–well, criminal.

The best aspect of Grafton’s excellent series is her ability to keep up with current social and legal problems, despite the fact that Kinsey’s stories are set somewhere in the 1980s. In this novel we have identity theft, the inherent problems of home care, and–perhaps most disturbing–the tendency of society in general to ignore and/or mistreat our most vulnerable citizens. At least this elderly victim has Kinsey Millhone as a champion. And what a champion she is! “T” IS FOR TRESPASS will captivate longtime Grafton fans, and it should make her a lot of new fans as well. Highly recommended.

Source: Amazon Customer Review

Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy: Number 1 in Children’ Books

Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy - Matthew ReinhartThis book is a strange and wonderful surprise. Easily the best Star Wars classic sage tie-in of the 30th anniversary year, 2007. This is a unique labour of love to be sure, and perhaps the most inspiring and creative piece about the Holy Trilogy that I have ever seen in a book form. In fact, I would even go so far as to say perhaps the best book that I have ever read. Seriously, I read this book with my 4-year old son together, and we savoured every page, every fold-out, and every flap. If you do read this book with a child, read it slowly and enjoy the one-of-a-kind surprises that are waiting behind every hand-crafted door. For collectors, I would buy an extra copy or two because this is also a beautiful collector’s item. Save one for later, you never know when you might want an extra copy as an incredibly special gift. I expect to be reading this book many, many more times.

Source: Amazon Customer Review

1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die: Number 5 in Paperback Advice

1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die - Patricia SchultzI loved Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and gave away copies to friends who loved travelling. This second follow-up, 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die is another winner. Though Canada is not as comprehensively covered as the USA, the book serves its purpose – to entertain and inspire, even armchair travellers like me. There are enough nuggets of information in here, and a treasure trove of ideas that can keep most aspiring/keen travellers happy, content, and entertained.

Source: Amazon Customer Review

New York Times Best Sellers: 14th December 2007

Each week we bring to you the New York Times best sellers list. We go through the list and give you our top 3 picks so to give you an an idea of what to download for your Kindle or just to buy for your bookshelf.

Hardcover Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. T IS FOR TRESPASS, by Sue Grafton
2. THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR, by Dean Koontz
3. FOR ONE MORE DAY, by Mitch Albom
4. DOUBLE CROSS, by James Patterson
5. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini

Hardcover Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!), by Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Allison Silverman et al.
2. BOOM!, by Tom Brokaw
3. BORN STANDING UP, by Steve Martin
4. AN INCONVENIENT BOOK, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe
5. CLAPTON, by Eric Clapton

Hardcover Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS, by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden
2. THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS, by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
3. YOU: STAYING YOUNG, by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz et al.
4. DECEPTIVELY DELICIOUS, by Jessica Seinfeld
5. JIM CRAMER’S STAY MAD FOR LIFE, by James J. Cramer with Cliff Mason

Children’ Books
Top 5 at a Glance
1. STAR WARS POP-UP GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, by Matthew Reinhart
2. THE THREE SNOW BEARS, written and illustrated by Jan Brett
3. ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN, written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman
4. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: ALL ACCESS, by N. B. Grace
5. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, by Clement C. Moore

Paperback Trade Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, by Ken Follett
2. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, by Gabriel García Márquez
3. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen
4. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini
5. ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. BLOOD BROTHERS, by Nora Roberts
2. I AM LEGEND, by Richard Matheson
3. NEXT, by Michael Crichton
4. FURY, by Aaron Allston
5. CROSS, by James Patterson

Paperback Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. THE INNOCENT MAN, by John Grisham
3. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. INTO THE WILD, by Jon Krakauer
5. 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey

Paperback Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. RACHAEL RAY: JUST IN TIME, by Rachael Ray
2. SKINNY BITCH, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
3. THE WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS 2008, edited by C. Alan Joyce
4. 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE, by Patricia Schultz
5. 1,000 PLACES TO SEE IN THE U.S.A. AND CANADA BEFORE YOU DIE, by Patricia Schultz

Our Picks

The Darkest Evening of the Year: Number 2 on Hardback Fiction

The Darkest Evening of the YearAmy Redwing operates Golden Heart, a Golden Retriever rescue service, that brings her to the home of abused housewife and mother Janet Brockman. Amy and her close friend Brian McCarthy rescue Janet, her two kids, and their retriever Nicki from Janet’s abusive husband. Immediately, Amy recognizes a seemingly supernatural connection with Nicki, the golden retriever.

And soon thereafter, Amy discovers that she is being followed.

The power of this novel lies in the genuine compassion that Dean Koontz exhibits through Amy and her love for and near obsession to rescue both people and dogs from abuse and neglect.

If there’s a weakness to this novel it’s that Amy can come across as unintentionally self-righteous and holier than thou.

Regardless, it’s clear that Dean Koontz is a mature writer, and his desire to bring together the suspense-writing strengths of his early career with matters close to his heart are on full display in The Darkest Evening of the Year.

This novel contains a couple of plot twists that are really, really cool, and the textured layers of the characters, their multiple names and the depths of their backgrounds indicate that Koontz is onto something profound in this novel…. namely the existence of a soul and how that soul transmits through multiple lives.

This is a profound novel from a writer who has mastered the elements of suspense, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Source: Amazon Customer Review

I Am Legend: Number 2 on Paperback Mass-Market Fiction

I Am LegendI am Legend is arguably the greatest short horror novel ever written, and its influence on the horror genre has been profound. Stephen King and many other of today’s masters rank this book highly in their personal top ten lists of favorites. It is a short novel that can be read in one sitting; it is hard to put down, building in intensity from start to finish. Matheson creates an entirely new type of vampire fiction herein. Transcending the traditional vampire tale, he adds science fiction elements to produce a refreshing new interpretation of Stoker’s legend. The most fascinating part of the story is the protagonist’s (Richard Neville’s) attempts to explain the legendary aspects of the vampire myth in scientific terms. His discovery of a bacterium, which he dubs vampiris, as the true source of vampirism struck me anew reading the novel again after the events of September 11, 2001. Although we only get pieces of the story regarding the outbreak of the vampiric plague, including a reference to bombings, it can easily be seen as the fruits of germ warfare. Neville even conjectures that the Black Death of the Middle Ages was caused by this same vampiris germ, and he extrapolates facts and ideas from that history in his attempts to understand why such defenses as garlic, crosses, and stakes driven into the heart actually are effective against the hordes of undead creatures menacing his own time. He studies academic texts and conducts experiments with the blood of these creatures, which is the means by which he identifies the bacterium. The essence of garlic has no effect on the germ when injected into a blood sample, which initially he is unable to explain, but he later is able to explain garlic’s effectiveness. Less scientific tests lead him to conclude that crosses are only effective against “Christian” vampires; the cross has no meaning to for vampires who were once Jews and Moslems, but sacred symbols of those religions, such as the Torah and the Koran, do. All of these scientific tests and speculations are just fascinating.

Neville is essentially the last man on earth, and the loneliness of his situation is the central part of the story. Matheson is able to communicate Neville’s emotional feelings vividly, making him very real. We gradually acquire the story of the deaths of Neville’s wife and daughter, essentially experiencing the pain he goes through when these memories overcome him. We watch him drink himself into a stupor as each night finds him besieged in his fortified house, surrounded by vampires, including his old friend and neighbor, calling for him to come out. We watch him slowly lose his grip on sanity and come very close to giving up. Then, however, we watch him overcome his depression and courageously fight to live in the nightmare world he is trapped in. The scenes with the dog he finds are full of emotion and really gripped this reader. This is Neville’s first contact with nonvampiric life, and his attempts to befriend and help the poor creature (at the same time finally finding a companion) touched me greatly and brought tears to my eyes. His eventual discovery of another human being like himself is also powerful and emotional, although to speak more about this aspect of the story is to risk giving something away to the future reader.

This is a story of one man overcoming all obstacles and fighting to defend his way of life and his very humanity. The novel deals with the human condition, the essential ingredient to effective horror writing. Neville struggles constantly with his doubts and fears, particularly as he commits acts that he would have condemned as barbarous in the time before the plague. His needs for companionship of any kind offer us a clear image of the inner soul of man. By the end of the story, he does indeed become legend, both in his world and in ours.

Source: Amazon Customer Review

The Dangerous Book for Boys: Number 1 on Hardcover Advice

The Dangerous Book for BoysI have to write, primarily to disagree with Mr Mitchell.

This may not be the greatest book ever, but it fills a huge hole, and I for one look forward to Volume II.

I and a friend, when we were about 10, made a go-kart just like that described, and the paper aeroplane detailed in this book comfortably beats my previous “favourite design”, (gleaned from a Rupert Annual many years ago). You learn something every day.

It’s a great book and while learning bits of Shakespeare won’t be to everyone’s taste, there will be something – many things in fact – that WILL be to everyone’s taste. I bought my copy on impulse in a book shop for £18.99, I’m here buying another for the 50+ year-old friend with whom I built the go-kart all those years ago! :-)

If you have kids, or grandchildren, or godchildren (or simply remember being one yourself) buy it!

Source: Amazon Customer Review