Saturday, March 31, 2012

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge

April starts tomorrow. And that means so does the A to Z Challenge. I attempted to start it last year, but got a little derailed when my father fell ill. I spent most of April sitting by his side as he lay unconscious in the hospital. I actually spent a lot of time reading to him while he was there. He finally passed away in June.

So, this year I will attempt it again. My goal is to take you through some of my favorite books and authors through this month. I hope you can find something new to read or recognize some of your own favorites.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

13 Free Kindle Books: Romance, Music, Cookbooks & Much More

Happy Sunday! The weather is overcast, cool and just plain yucky, which means it is a perfect day for reading. And that is all I have planned for today: reading with some writing interspersed. Yet again, thanks to the plethora of free Kindle reading websites, as well as some of my own digging around, I have a variety of fun reads downloaded this morning. We have romance, horror, cookbooks and more. Happy reading!

Please remember that though these books are free as of the time I am posting, prices can and do change without warning. Always verify the current "Buy" price instead of the "Prime" price prior to your purchase.
 Don't have a Kindle yet? Hey, neither do I! I use the free Kindle reading apps on my laptop and Droid. But the Kindle Fire *will* be mine this spring!

The Instant When Everything Is Perfect

Mia thinks that her life is perfect, until her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Suddenly she feels like something is missing, despite a productive career and beautiful family. Robert is a surgeon who is determined to live his life alone. But when he meets Mia, something also stirs in him. How can these two fulfill each other without completely disrupting their lives?
Get your Kindle copy here.
Baby I'm Yours

I still haven't gotten around to reading any of Stephanie Bond's other books that I have recently downloaded. But she is a bestselling author and keeps releasing books for free! So, I will keep grabbing them!

In this one, soldier Emory Maxwell has returned to Sweetness, GA to finally marry Shelby Moon. The two of them have been in love since the second grade. Only Shelby's father does not want her to be a soldier's wife, traveling all over the country. Shelby has to decide between the two men she loves the most. And then a tornado rips through town, adding another wrinkle to their story.

This book is supposed to be a prequel to the Southern Roads trilogy by Stephanie Bonds.
Get your Kindle copy here.
 Falling Star

Eventually I will get around to actually writing up a proper review of this book. But it is listed under freebies again, so I wanted to recommend it!

Natalie Daniels is a prime-time anchor who getting a little too old for her job. After all, she is almost 40! Tony, the new news director, is a total jackass who just wants the hottest girl for the job, regardless of whether or not she actually has any talent. Kelly, the wicked new girl, was trained by Natalie herself and does whatever it takes to steal Natalie's glory. Enter an attractive agent and a p.i.t.a. ex-husband and Natalie has a lot of big decisions to make! This book is humorous and engaging and well worth the read. I loved it!
Get your Kindle copy here.
The Girl Who Came Home - A Titanic Novel

With the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic just around the corner, I fully expect to see a ton of these kinds of books being released. But this is a fictional novel based on some real-life experiences, so I am willing to give it a shot.

Maggie Murphy is leaving Ireland, and her love Seamus, behind as she travels to America. Third Class Steward Harry Walsh befriends Maggie and promises to help her send a telegram back home to her beloved. But when the accident happens, only a portion of the message gets through, leaving Seamus horribly confused. Flash forward 70 years, and Maggie's great niece decides to write about her aunt's story. Its publication helps everyone come to terms with the past.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Nine Hundred Nights

It's the peak of the metal era. Judas Priest, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, etc., are ruling the music world. Bar band Raw Deal starts out doing covers of these monsters and eventually start cranking out some originals. This book chronicles the fictional roller coaster ride of this 80s band.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Kindle Daily Deal

Amazon is running a special today on Kindle cookbooks. Click here to find 77 cookbooks at discounted prices!

Ice Cream Parlor

I don't know why the idea of an ice cream parlor makes me think of my late grandmother, but it does. This book goes through the history of ice cream parlors and soda fountains and then shares some fantastic recipes for you to try at home.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Superfood Recipes (Healthy Eats)

This collection of Superfood recipes has 25 dinner recipes and 25 snacks and desserts. It will be the perfect compliment to the Superfood breakfast recipe book from the other day!
Get your Kindle copy here.

911 I Need Help (Vanilla Erotic)

Okay, I am not usually into reading erotica, especially not when it is someone I know who is writing it! It's strange to me to go into that corner of a friend's brain. But at the same time, this author is a friend of mine. It is a pen name that she uses strictly for writing this type of fiction. And she says that it is vanilla erotic, which means there are not a ton of explicit sex scenes. Perhaps this is like the Skinamax of erotica vs. porn? Nevertheless, some people enjoy reading it. I am sharing her work, as I like to help out my friends.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Because It's There - A Photographic Journey

Inspired by the infamous words of George Mallory, the first to climb Everest, this collection of photographs comes from two travel writers. Charlie and Diane Winger are fascinated by mountains and enjoy their hiking and mountain climbing expeditions. The two wrote numerous guidebooks. The photographs contained within are from their adventures spanning five different continents.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Backpacking With Brian

I like to read the adventures of souls who are braver than I and can handle the idea of traveling with just a backpack and a few essentials. This book follows two young men as they encounter hilarity and danger while backpacking through Europe.
Get your Kindle copy here.
...going green...

Live Organic

Lynn Huggins-Cooper often contributes to books in the 52 Brilliant Ideas series. In this book, she demonstrates how it is possible to lead a more organic lifestyle, without breaking the bank or giving up everything that you love. She gives tips for organic cleaners, finding organic foods and using organic products. She has already done the research. You can benefit from her knowledge.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Swan Song (A Julie O'Hara Mystery)

When a Snow White lookalike is found dead floating in a swan boat, her death is ruled a suicide. But Julie O'Hara, a body language expert, isn't buying it and has to figure out what really happened.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Letters from Long Binh: Memoirs of a Military Policeman in Vietnam

As soon as Randy Mixter boarded that plane for Vietnam at the age of 19, he put pen to paper to record his experiences. He shares them here.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

6 Free Kindle Books: Cookbooks

I've been home with an injured leg, so I have had plenty of time to peruse freebies for my Kindle readers! I've even read a few of my older downloads. Today's collection includes a bunch of cookbooks. I was going to add some other ones, but alas, perusing these has made me hungry. I am going to hobble out for dinner and groceries with a friend. If I have a chance later, I will do another post with some other fun reads I have found today.

Please note that while these are all free as of the time of this posting, prices can change at any time without warning. I always grab something that *may* be good, just because it is free! Always check the "Buy" price and not the "Prime" price prior to purchasing.
No Kindle? No worries! I use free Kindle reading apps on my Droid and my laptop. I have almost enough saved up for the Kindle Fire, though!

How to Make Sherry Trifle - A Traditional English Dessert

I do have some English heritage, but I don't know a darn thing about English cooking! And apparently, the trifle that we order in our American restaurants is not at all the genuine article. This short book teaches you how to make the real thing.
Get your Kindle copy here.
How to Make Liver & Onions Gourmet Style - Authentic English Recipes

This is another offering by the same author. While the thought of liver and onions honestly turns my stomach, perhaps it isn't so bad after all? After all, it *is* a traditional English recipe!
Get your Kindle copy here.
Superfoods: Easy Lunch Ideas

Superfoods keep you healthy by fighting off illness and providing you with lots of energy. This installment in the series focuses on lunch ideas.
Get your Kindle copy here.
One Bowl: Simple Healthy Recipes for One

It's hard to find recipes for just one person, that don't leave you with days of leftovers. The beauty with these kinds of recipes is they are easily doubled to share with that special someone. They can also inspire other great recipe ideas. Recipes in here go beyond more traditional ones, too, including things like Plum Duck Breast and Warm Lentil Artichoke Salad.
Get your Kindle Copy here.
The 30-Minute Beer Expert

Ok, so this isn't a cookbook. But beer can be its own food group, right? This book is supposed to give you a background on the different types of beers, which glasses to drink each kind out of, food pairings, etc. Reviews are mixed on this one. Some people say it is the greatest beer book ever. Another group say it is the worst and filled with misinformation. They recommend just reading the food pairings section. You be the judge. It's free!
Get your Kindle copy here.
Diabetic Breakfast Recipes

I am not diabetic, but some members of my family are. But I am a firm believer in trying to incorporate more healthy recipes into my daily diet. And it never hurts to check out some of these alternatives!
Get your Kindle copy here. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Free Kindle Books: Titanic & Cookbook

Ah, the evil free Amazon Kindle books, always tempting me and quickly filling my Cloud Reader. I will never get through them all, but can't resist a freebie! Here are a few of my random finds from today.

Please note that while they were free at the time of this posting, prices cannot be guaranteed to stay free. Always check the "Buy" price and not the "Prime" price prior to your purchase.

The Sinking of the Titanic

My interest in the Titanic has NOTHING to do with the movie. The only part that I liked was the real-time sinking of the ship. I have been a fan of the Titanic since that National Geographic magazine from when they finally found her arrived at my grandmother's house. I started to learn as much as I could about her and was fascinated by the history. This book is supposed to be real survivor stories that seek to dispel some of the myths laid upon us over the years.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters

This is supposed to be the full version of the book above. It also includes other maritime disasters. It could be fun to compare the two, especially at this price!
Get your Kindle copy here.
Titanic Disaster Poem

It's almost 100 years since the tragedy. Why not honor it with a poem?
Get your Kindle copy here.
High Fat, High Calorie Breakfasts and Brunch (F**k the Diet)

While a high fat, high calorie diet is not a good choice, it is okay to indulge every once in a while! And some of these breakfast ideas, though a lot of work, sound good! I mean, Bananas Foster Breakfast Pancakes, Breakfast Pizza with Potato Crust, and Savory Breakfast Cheesecake? Sure, I'll try 'em!
Get your Kindle copy here.

Wolf's Rise

Author Sevastian Winters had sent me a .mobi file of his book Wolf's Rise to review a couple of months ago. Alas, I have no actual Kindle, so it took me this long to figure out how to make it actually load onto my Kindle app for my Droid. I had forewarned him that it could take several weeks. I also forewarned him that I am not a fan of the werewolf genre of books.

Wolf's Rise is the story of a government project gone astray. In an effort to create immortal soldiers, President Reagan authorized the LupoSapien Project. Werewolves were crossbred with humans to create a more powerful soldier. When in combat, these men quickly turn into wolves. The wolves can only be killed by decapitation. Any other attempt at killing them results in quick healing and an even angrier soldier. (Think of The Crow.)

When Sven, the basis of their project, gets loose, Navy SEALs quickly mobilize to quickly contain him and the situation. Unfortunately, numerous lives are lost and others are bitten, thus growing an uncontrolled wolf population. One particular man is accidentally bitten when he tries to help his neighbor who has been attacked. A manhunt for him commences, as well. The end provides a temporary resolution of the problems, but the main one is not solved. Book 2 is due out soon.

This book really is not my cup of tea. But I will admit that it was action-packed and kept the pages quickly turning. Plenty of detail allowed me to visualize the events as they unfolded. It was like reading about a movie.

At the same time, it read like a movie script in some ways. A lot of the writing is dialogue between the characters. A lot of the men are pompous jerks who get off on swearing and belittling everyone around them. But their dialogue seems somewhat contrived. I felt like I was reading the script of a cheesy movie from the 60s or 70s at some points. Knowing what I do about the author, though, it fits in with his writing style.

My biggest problem with the book is the sheer number of spelling and grammatical errors. I visibly winced every time I saw a misspelling, improper use of a homophone, or misplaced punctuation. A couple of words, such as "neighbor" being spelled as "neighbour" make sense, as Sev is from Canada. Saying that someone's "spinal chord" was severed, though, is incorrect in both countries. A lot of the dialogue is missing quotation marks in such a way that it cannot be blamed on the formatting for the Kindle. (My copy originated from Smashwords.) What makes this even harder to swallow is that Winters proclaims himself to be a wonderful writer, even touting his latest writing book How I Are Becomed a Much Gooder Author as the answer for all struggling writers. Even great writers need an editor! My hope is that by now he has had someone help him go back through and fix all of those errors.

I have no doubt in my mind that Sevastian Winters is a good storyteller. Reading this book was not a complete waste of my time. I enjoyed the story more than I originally thought I would.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

12 Kindle Freebies: Cookbooks, Chick Lit, Mysteries & Thrillers, Writing

Even if I don't have a chance to make daily posts about the Kindle freebies I purchase, I do actively search them out every day. Some I find on my own; some come from my subscriptions to freebie websites. Here are some gems I found over the past several days and look forward to devouring.

Please remember that while they are all free at the time of this posting, prices can change without warning. Always check the "Buy" price and not the "Prime" price prior to making your own purchase.


35 Scrumptious Cookie & Bar Recipes

You can't go wrong with cookies! This collection of 35 recipes is a collection of some familiar ideas, and some that are a little more out of the box. (At least I have never seen them before!) I'm liking the sounds of Cherry Cheesecake Bars, Frosted Fruit Bars, Nut Goodie Bars, Chocolate Chip Cereal Bars and Creamy Cookies. This book already has an average of 5 stars from readers, which I take as a good sign.
Get your Kindle copy here.
50 Cupcake Recipes

This collection of 50 cupcake recipes also includes 35 tips for baking the perfect cupcakes. Cupcakes are great fun for parties or for sharing. And they are a hot commodity with the advent of shows such as "Cupcake Wars." Specific recipes that caught my eye include the following: Baked Cream Cheese Cupcakes, Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Pecan Cupcakes, Iced Carrot Cupcakes, PB and Chocolate Cupcakes, Velvet Red Cupcakes and Whipped Mocha Cupcakes.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Healthy Chicken Dishes That Keep You Feeling Full and Help You Lose Weight

Chicken is one of the most versatile dishes around, and we are always looking for new ways to make it. The bonus with these recipes is that they are supposed to be healthy for you. Included are Weight Watchers points for each dish, for those of you who are keeping track of those. Recipes are supposed to be representative of numerous world cultures. I always say, even if I can find one new dish that is worthy of eating and repeating, it makes the purchase worth it!
Get your Kindle copy here.


The Wife of Reilly

Jennifer Coburn's main character Prudence ends up in a whirlwind romance with an old flame, Matt, after the two reunite at a reunion. They very quickly fall in love and get married. Only a short time later, Prudence realizes that she has made a mistake. She doesn't want to leave Matt all by himself, so she embarks upon a quest to find him a new wife. Marion Keyes, one of my favorite "chick lit" authors recommended this book. I am hoping she is right.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Golden Lies

Best-selling author Barbara Freethy stole my heart in another novel of hers that I read some months ago. So, when I saw this one offered for free, I had to grab it. Three women from different backgrounds have their lives changed forever as they follow a trail through the streets of San Francisco. They have to choose between romantic love and family loyalty, while coming to terms with the past.
Get your Kindle copy here.

Lauren Bruce suffers a "wardrobe malfunction" as she is breastfeeding her baby in the local art museum. A Massachusetts politician jumps on her story and uses her as the poster child in the breastfeeding wars, to help him gain the women's vote. Two different groups, the BOOBs and the MOMs put her in the middle of their battle and force Lauren to have to decide where she stands in the debate.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Scrambled Babies

Would you always be able to pick out your baby? Somehow Paeton McPhilomy has ended up with a baby who closely resembles her own, only he is a boy and she has a girl. Even worse, she is currently on a plane to Los Angeles with the baby and her six year-old daughter. How did this happen? And how can she find her own baby, if she has no idea how the mix-up happened.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Fools Rush In (Weddings By Bella, Book 1)

This is one of the first freebies I ever got for my Kindle app on my Droid. And I fell madly in love with it. I really need to give in and purchase the remaining books in the series. But because it has recently popped up again in the Top 100 list, I thought I would bring it to your attention in this collection.

Bella Rossi is pushing 30 years old. Her Italian parents have recently given her control of the wedding planning business. When a mix-up gets her involved in working with a southern hunk named DJ, hilarity and culture clashes ensue.
Get your Kindle copy here.
mysteries & thrillers....

May Day (Murder by Month Mysteries, No. 1)

Mira James quickly gets tired of life in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and decides to move to rural Battle Lake. She secures two jobs. One is as an assistant librarian. The other is as a part-time reporter. She falls in love with the perfect man, only he ends up being murdered between the reference stacks. She tries to find out more about this mystery man and his past and ends up uncovering many secrets in this sleepy little town.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Fool Me Twice (Jake Lassiter Series)

Jake Lassiter is a linebacker-turned-lawyer who becomes the prime suspect when a witness turns up dead. He needs to find the real killer, otherwise he is the one who is being charged with murder. Supposedly this book should appeal to those who love John Grisham, Harlan Coben, James Patterson and more.
Get your Kindle copy here.
Ultimate Thriller Box Set

For this collection, authors Scott Nicholson, Blake Crouch, J.A. Konrath, J. Carson Black, and Lee Goldberg were asked to pick their favorite book for inclusion. All five authors have done well in the self-published thriller market. The Amazon description reads as follows:
5 irresistible set-ups:

A crime novelist imprisoned in a desert cabin by a villain more sinister than any he has ever written...

A detective's race against the clock to find a missing teenager...

Twin brothers caught up in a deadly game to settle sins of the past...

A lowly security guard struggling to realize his private eye fantasies...

The US government conducting secret testing on the most heinous and intriguing of all subjects—Satan himself...

This box set is called the Ultimate Thriller Box Set is.
It also boasts that these books have sold hundreds of copies and have a couple hundred 5-star reviews. And you can't beat that price!
Get your Kindle copy here
on writing....

The Moonlighter's Guide to Online Writing for Immediate Income

We are all looking for ways to increase our income. And as a part-time online writer, this particular title peaked my interest. It is supposed to give you tips for writing in an online market, as well as including a lengthy list of sites to which you can apply. Reviewers say that there is some helpful information, but more in the list of sites at the end. And remember, there is no such thing as an easy, quick way to make a lot of money!
Get your Kindle copy here.