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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader 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 e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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Daily Deals: History Books by Stephen E. Ambrose and Mahjong Solitaire

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West Today only Amazon offer three top-rated American history books from the inimitable historian Stephen E. Ambrose are just $1.99 each.

A biography of Meriwether Lewis that relies heavily on the journals of both Lewis and Clark, this book is also backed up by the author’s personal travels along Lewis and Clark’s route to the Pacific. Ambrose is not content to simply chronicle the events of the “Corps of Discovery” as the explorers called their ventures. He often pauses to assess the military leadership of Lewis and Clark, how they negotiated with various native peoples and what they reported to Jefferson. Though the expedition failed to find Jefferson’s hoped for water route to the Pacific, it fired interest among fur traders and other Americans, changing the face of the West forever.

Review:

Ambrose has written prolifically about men who were larger than life: Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Colonel Custer. Here he takes on half of the two-headed hero of American exploration: Meriwether Lewis. Ambrose, his wife and five children have followed the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark expedition for 20 summers, in the course of which the explorer has become a friend of the Ambrose family; the author’s affection shines through this narrative. Meriwether Lewis, as secretary to Thomas Jefferson and living in the White House for two years, got his education by being apprenticed to a great man. Their friendship is at the center of this account. Jefferson hand-picked Lewis for the great cross-country trek, and Lewis in turn picked William Clark to accompany him. The two men shook hands in Clarksville, Ohio, on October 14, 1803, then launched their expedition. The journals of the expedition, most written by Clark, are one of the treasures of American history. Here we learn that the vital boat is behind schedule; the boat builder is always drunk, but he’s the only one available. Lewis acts as surveyor, builder and temperance officer in his effort to get his boat into the river. Alcohol continues to cause him problems both with the men of his expedition and later, after his triumphant return, in his own life, which ended in suicide at the age of 35. Without adding a great deal to existing accounts, Ambrose uses his skill with detail and atmosphere to dust off an icon and put him back on the trail west. History Book Club main selection; BOMC split selection; QPB alternate; author tour.  —-Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of GermanyStephen E. Ambrose combines history and journalism to describe how American GIs battled their way to the Rhineland. He focuses on the combat experiences of ordinary soldiers, as opposed to the generals who led them, and offers a series of compelling vignettes that read like an enterprising reporter’s dispatches from the front lines. The book presents just enough contextual material to help readers understand the big picture, and includes memorable accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and other events as seen through the weary eyes of the men who fought in the foxholes. Highly recommended for fans of Ambrose, as well as all readers interested in understanding the life of a 1940s army grunt. A sort of sequel to Ambrose’s bestselling 1994 book D-DayCitizen Soldiers is more than capable of standing on its own.

Review:

Military historian and author Ambrose offers a sequel to his best seller, D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (LJ 5/1/94). A skillful blending of eyewitness accounts (gathered mostly from the oral history collection at the Univ. of New Orleans’s Eisenhower Center and from personal interviews) gives the reader an intimate feel of what war was like for infantrymen in the European theater of operations?from the beaches of France to victory at the Elbe River. Additional chapters on the air war, medics, and prisoners of war offer firsthand accounts on topics rarely described in traditional histories. The book complements Paul Fussell’s Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic (LJ 8/96) and Michael Daubler’s Closing with the Enemy: How G.I.’s Fought the War in Europe, 1944-45 (Univ. of Kansas, 1994). This well-written oral history would also make an excellent general text. Highly recommended for all library collections. —-Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American WarriorsMilitary historian Ambrose examines the connections between the Indian chief and the cavalry officer who fought at Little Bighorn. —-Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

“Movingly told and well written . . . a fine  contribution, one that will be read with pleasure and  admiration by general reader, student and scholar  alike. Ambrose has breathed new life into the  familiar facts.”–Library  Journal
“An epic and accurate retelling  of one of our country’s most tragic  periods.”–Baltimore Sun

Product Description

On the sparkling morning of June 25, 1876, 611 men of the United States 7th Cavalry rode toward the banks of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory, where 3,000 Indians stood waiting for battle. The lives of two great warriors would soon be forever linked throughout history: Crazy Horse, leader of the Oglala Sioux, and General George Armstrong Custer. Both were men of aggression and supreme courage. Both became leaders in their societies at very early ages; both were stripped of power, in disgrace, and worked to earn back the respect of  their people. And to both of them, the unspoiled grandeur of the Great Plains of North America was an irresistible challenge. Their parallel lives would pave the way, in a manner unknown to either, for an inevitable clash between two nations fighting for possession of the open prairie.

From the Publisher

On the sparkling morning of June 25, 1876, 611 men of the United States 7th Cavalry rode toward the banks of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory, where 3,000 Indians stood waiting for battle. The lives of two great warriors would soon be forever linked throughout history: Crazy Horse, leader of the Oglala Sioux, and General George Armstrong Custer. Both were men of aggression and supreme courage. Both became leaders in their societies at very early ages; both were stripped of power, in disgrace, and worked to earn back the respect of their people. And to both of them, the unspoiled grandeur of the Great Plains of North America was an irresistible challenge. Their parallel lives would pave the way, in a manner unknown to either, for an inevitable clash between two nations fighting for possession of the open prairie. “Movingly told and well written . . . a fine contribution, one that will be read with pleasure and admiration by general reader, student and scholar alike. Ambrose has breathed new life into the familiar facts.”–Library Journal
“An epic and accurate retelling of one of our country’s most tragic periods.”–Baltimore Sun

From the Inside Flap

On the sparkling morning of June 25, 1876, 611  men of the United States 7th Cavalry rode toward the  banks of the Little Bighorn in the Montana  Territory, where 3,000 Indians stood waiting for battle.  The lives of two great warriors would soon be  forever linked throughout history: Crazy Horse, leader  of the Oglala Sioux, and General George Armstrong  Custer. Both were men of aggression and supreme  courage. Both became leaders in their societies at  very early ages; both were stripped of power, in  disgrace, and worked to earn back the respect of  their people. And to both of them, the unspoiled  grandeur of the Great Plains of North America was an  irresistible challenge. Their parallel lives would  pave the way, in a manner unknown to either, for  an inevitable clash between two nations fighting  for possession of the open  prairie.From the Back Cover
“Movingly told and well written . . . a fine contribution, one that will be read with pleasure and admiration by general reader, student and scholar alike. Ambrose has breathed new life into the familiar facts.”–Library Journal
“An epic and accurate retelling of one of our country’s most tragic periods.”–Baltimore Sun

About the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose, leading World War II historian, was the author of numerous books on history including the Number 1 bestselling BAND OF BROTHERS, D-DAY (on which SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was based) PEGASUS BRIDGE and WILD BLUE. He is founder of the Eisenhower Center and the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. He died in 2002.
Mahjong Solitaire - Classic Mahjong Strategy Puzzle Game
Mahjong Solitaire  is the Classic Mahjong Strategy Puzzle Game
Immerse yourself in the classic puzzle game of Mahjong Solitaire. Challenge yourself to clear the board as fast as possible and see if you can resist the addictive lure to play again and again.

Mahjong Matching Madness

Mahjong Solitaire is a matching game played with 144 Mahjong tiles arranged in layered patterns. Mahjong Solitaire – Classic Mahjong Strategy Puzzle Game includes more than 20 levels of complexity and five levels of difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard, Crazy, and Insane.
Your goal is to clear all the tiles from the board as quickly as possible. To clear tiles, tap the first tile in the pair you want to remove and then tap the second tile. If the pair is a match, it will be cleared from the board. Only tiles that are not covered by other tiles and are free on either side can be cleared. Each successful match awards you 25 points. You can see your score, time, and moves left as you play.

Shuffles, Undos, and Stars

If no matching pairs are available, the board is automatically shuffled. If you make a mistake, simply tap the Undo button. Every shuffle and every undo will lower your score by 50 points.
In Career mode, try to get three stars by completing boards quickly and without using any shuffles or undos. The faster you clear a board, the more likely you are to be awarded the coveted three stars.

Wild Tiles: Seasons and Flowers

Season and flower tiles (four each) are unique in that they do not require an exact match; rather, they can be matched with any other tile of their same type. In other words, season tiles can be matched with season tiles and flower tiles with flower tiles. You can see what these tiles look like in the app’s Help section.
Mahjong Solitaire – Classic Mahjong Strategy Puzzle Game provides hours of challenging entertainment for the whole family.

Kindle Fire UK Coming This January

One of the biggest obstacles that Amazon is going to have to overcome in order to continue expanding its Kindle line at a decent rate is the complicated international release process.  That hasn’t stopped them so far, of course.  Some analysts are anticipating, for example, that the Kindle Fire will control as much as 50% of the Android Tablet market in 2012.  A great start, but it still doesn’t really make an impact against the market dominating iPad which is already around in over a dozen countries.

The first step in improving their new tablet’s presence is coming in January 2012 when according to supposed insider sources speaking to tech blog Know Your Mobile the UK will be the first country outside the United States to get the Kindle Fire.  It isn’t exactly a surprise, given the history of Kindle releases and the ease of localization, but it is a step in the right direction.  What’s important will be what comes next, which could end up being somewhat unpredictable given the peculiarities of the device.

Obviously the first instinct is to look to Anglophone countries that require minimal modification of the user interface.  Amazon has spent a lot of effort on getting things working properly, after all, and the need for redesign may at times be significant when dealing with alternate languages.  I would guess that this will not be the primary factor in determining who comes next, though.  Given the Kindle Fire’s emphasis on consuming a variety of media (especially video) via data streaming, chances are good that they will go where the content rights are most easily acquired.

This will likely sync up somewhat with the Anglophone list, I’m sure, but there’s definitely the chance of unexpected choices given the increasing general wariness being expressed in many of Amazon’s more established markets over their huge influence.  The one thing that Amazon has to know that they can’t do with the Kindle Fire is release it like the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet. While the Netflix streaming is nice, as are most of the content apps that are currently available, the device itself is completely built around Amazon.com integration and would be crippled by the lack of their servers.

Regardless of the less immediate future, UK customers can look forward to a great experience.  The Kindle Fire has become a hit in America for good reasons and will have had time in the interim to be polished even further.  The video streaming is wonderful and likely to be tied to Amazon’s LOVEFiLM brand rather than the Amazon.co.uk Prime service.  Music and cloud storage in general seem to work wonderfully for almost everybody, and indications are good that the vast majority of WiFi connectivity issues will have been addressed prior to this launch.  Even the reading experience isn’t precisely bad, however much better the Kindle E INK eReaders might be.  Expect official announcement early on as we enter 2012.

Daily Deals: The Giver and Warp Dash

The Giver

Today Amazon offer you to get The Giver by Lois Lowry just for $0.99.

 

In Lois Lowry’s Newbery Award-winning novel, twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

Here are some reviews on this book:

Grade 6-9– In a complete departure from her other novels, Lowry has written an intriguing story set in a society that is uniformly run by a Committee of Elders. Twelve-year-old Jonas’s confidence in his comfortable “normal” existence as a member of this well-ordered community is shaken when he is assigned his life’s work as the Receiver. The Giver, who passes on to Jonas the burden of being the holder for the community of all memory “back and back and back,” teaches him the cost of living in an environment that is “without color, pain, or past.” The tension leading up to the Ceremony, in which children are promoted not to another grade but to another stage in their life, and the drama and responsibility of the sessions with The Giver are gripping. The final flight for survival is as riveting as it is inevitable. The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings. This tightly plotted story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time. –Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility. As Jonas approaches the “Ceremony of Twelve,” he wonders what his adult “Assignment” will be. Father, a “Nurturer,” cares for “newchildren”; Mother works in the “Department of Justice”; but Jonas’s admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named “Receiver,” to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community’s memories–painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder (“The Giver”) now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as “release” is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to “Elsewhere,” a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing. Wrought with admirable skill–the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12+) — Kirkus Associates, LP. 

Warp Dash

Warp Dash is a game for your Kindle Fire. You can get this application for free today.

Speed into the future with Warp Dash, a challenging arcade endurance racer game for Android. Once you enter the super-cool landscape of Warp Dash, you won’t want to leave. Power up your navigation skills and see how long you can survive.

Mission Gameplay

Select your ship and tune into the techno-dubstep soundtrack to get psyched for your mission. Tilt your device and grab as many triangles as possible to earn points and speed. Multiply your score with warp jumps. Be careful to avoid the obstacles – if you don’t, your ship will disappear in a blaze of fire.

No Boundaries

Race through a never-ending game grid that is limited only by your gaming skills. Navigate an always-changing environment; no two racing experiences will ever be the same. Unlock Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert leagues for faster play, more points, and bigger air as you defy a relentless onslaught of obstacles.

Achievements and Leaderboards

After each run, you can see how long you played, how many triangles you delivered, the number of jumps you made, your top speed, and more. Try for achievements like double jumps and aim for the top of the leaderboards. Collect and deploy powerful boosters to become the grand champion, including Phase, Slowdown, Radar, Shrink, and Score boost.

Biography of Steve Jobs

I am currently reading Steve Jobs, a biography of the late CEO of Apple by Walter Isaacson.  It hit the bestseller’s list pretty quickly after Jobs’ death earlier this fall.  The hardcover edition is really heavy, so if you can get the Kindle edition, your arms will probably thank you.  On another note, you also wouldn’t have to worry about being startled by the creepy book cover on the Kindle version either.

This book really gets into the nitty gritty of daily life with Jobs, his life, and Apple.  Jobs started Apple with his engineer friend Steve Wozniak.  Wozniak was the one that put the products together, while Jobs was the one who handled the marketing and sales aspect.

Jobs’ most talked about quality in this book was how focused and driven he was.  He did not stop anywhere short of perfection, and that is putting it mildly.  That is certainly reflected in the quality of Apple’s products like the Mac, iPad, iPhone, etc.

The biography definitely points out the quirky aspects of Jobs’ personality, like his obsession with dieting and other extremes.  He practiced Zen, and was interested in the Buddhist philosophy.  It all goes back to how driven he was about things he wanted.  If you’re familiar with Apple at all, you’ll know that as a culture, it is very private, and Jobs himself is a very private man. This biography is the chance to get a glimpse into what really went on behind that mask of privacy.

Isaacson did over 40 interviews with Jobs over a course of two years, and also interviewed over 100 of his family, friends and peers.  So, that demonstrates how much thought and detail went into writing this biography.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.   – Amazon

I am in awe at how much has changed as far as technology goes.  But, if you look at the Apple II versus all Apple products now, they still remain products of Jobs’ vision of perfection.  They also are very user focused.  Apple has opened up technology to so many people who otherwise would not be able to use it.

Steve Jobs will keep me occupied for awhile, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it.  I think it also helps having some technical knowledge. But even for those who aren’t technical, they can still appreciate reading about one of the most influential men in the technology world.

Daily Deals: The Handmaid’s Tale and Hot Donut

The Handmaid's Tale

Today Amazon offer The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood just for $1.49

A radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, this story is told with such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest by reverting to a society of repressive intolerance.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE is a frightening look at a not too distant future where sterility is the norm, and fertile woman are treated as cattle, to produce children for the upper class who cannot have any. The narrator Offred, as she is called in her new life, is the Handmaid for a top Commander in the new government. Once a month she is tested by a gynecologist to ensure that she is healthy, and then is taken to the Commander and his wife in the hopes of becoming pregnant.

Offred, along with the other handmaid’s, are not allowed to look directly at anyone else. They all wear the same outfits; red long dresses and headgear that cover their bodies. They live together, spend most of their time together, and are taken care of, in the hopes that they will produce children for this barren society. In this society, most women are not allowed to read, and are treated as if they have no minds. The government dictates their role in society. If they disobey, they are punished severely.

Offred’s memories often go back to a time when she was happily married to Luke, and with their daughter they were looking forward to a long and happy life together. Things changed when a military group took over the government, and immediately their lives as they knew it were over. Women lost all rights to ownership; bank accounts were frozen, land was taken away; fertile women were taken away from their husbands and families. A handful of older women were made into `Aunts’, and their duties were to instruct and guide the handmaids, reminding them of their role on this earth, which is to procreate.

I have to say that my feelings during this book were of shock. In some sense, what has happened in this book has already happened in other parts of the world and can happen again. The control over women is very much like that of the women in Afghanistan. The control over religious choice brings to mind Nazi Germany, as one of the issues in the Handmaid’s Tale is the elimination of anyone that refuses to be as one with the new government – religious persecution is justified and encouraged.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a horrifying story of a government fully in control of each person’s life and totally out of control. The book was so riveting that it took me only one day to read. I highly recommend this novel. —- Ratmammy “The Ratmammy” (Ratmammy’s Town, CA USA)

Hot Donut

Hot Donut is a game for your Kindle. Today you can get it for free. But only today.

How hot are you, little donut? Are you sizzling hot, just warmish, or downright soggy? Find out when you roll, jump, and dash your way through four awe-inspiring worlds in the fun Android game, Hot Donut.

This pastry-turned-action-hero obviously means business. He’s dressed for success in his purple cape, red gloves, and Superman stance. He also has large eyes meant for spying … fireflies, which, if you’re lucky enough to catch, give you extra points.

Colorful Worlds and One-Touch Controls

The fun begins in an idyllic mountain scene with plenty of hills and valleys to traverse, chasms to jump, clear skies to fly through, and shimmering fireflies to catch. Simple one-touch controls are easy to learn. Just touch anywhere on the screen to increase gravity and roll down hills; let go at the top of a hill to fly. Touch two thumbs to dash and float over those big gaps.

Hints, Power-Ups, and Gifts

Great for kids, the app also provides written hints as you play, which will save you from getting fried or otherwise spinning to your death.

You can also earn free power-ups that allow you to dash upward, float in mid-air, or get a spontaneous boost of speed. Gather gifts too and enjoy upbeat music as you play. See how many dozens of levels you can polish off and watch as your score heats up.

Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet: Amazon Winning, Sales Looking Great All Around

It’s undeniable that the release of the Kindle Fire, and along with it the competing Nook Tablet, has shaken up the Tablet PC market.  Since launch Amazon has already firmly taken second place next to the Apple iPad, selling as many as 5 million units in the 4th quarter of 2011 alone.  Barnes & Noble is also doing pretty well, having moved more than a million of their own tablet in the same time period.  The way things are going with these two, there has even been some speculation that there is no room for dedicated hardware manufacturers with this kind of competition.

Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are selling their tablets at near, or possibly even below, the cost of production.  The goal is to get people hooked into the platform and make ongoing profits based on media sales.  Effectively, the hardware has become secondary now that it can be treated as a conduit for consumption rather than an end in and of itself. Amazon is doing a better job on this side of things than Barnes & Noble so far.

The Nook Tablet has the technically superior hardware, with double the RAM and double the storage space among other things, but doesn’t make very good use of it.  The storage is restricted and the interface doesn’t seem to run significantly smoother than the Kindle Fire‘s.  There is an SD slot to expand the available memory of the device, but to get a sufficiently large one to make a difference you can expect to add a significant percentage onto the already comparatively more expensive price.  None of this means that it is a bad tablet, it’s actually quite excellent and highly recommended, but it is worth noting that B&N has a way to go before they are really making the best use out of their device’s potential.

The Kindle Fire, on the other hand, lacks some of the power of the Nook.  What it does have is a deeper integration with Amazon.com’s storefront and content.  Unlike B&N, Amazon has their own source of video and music for customers to take advantage of, as well as a robust cloud storage service that makes up for a lot of the seeming shortcomings of the hardware.  The lower price certainly doesn’t hurt sales numbers either, especially given the inevitable comparison of both products to each other and the iPad.

We can expect sales for both tablets to be improving even more through the next year.  The Kindle line, and the Kindle Fire in particular, is one of Amazon’s biggest marketing priorities, while the Nook line is pretty much the only thing B&N has going for it right now in terms of profitability.  What remains to be seen is what effect the next iteration of the Kindle tablet line brings.  A larger tablet could cement Amazon’s place on top of tablets for the foreseeable future, second only to Apple, but it could also severely damage the company’s reputation if something goes wrong and open the door to a big push by Barnes & Noble.

Either way we have good products to work with, but both Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are built for content consumption and that means active ongoing support.  The more popular each one becomes, the more incentive the associated company has to expand the platform, and the more valuable the tablet in question becomes for owners.  It will be interesting to see the back and forth as the competition heats up in months to come.

Daily Deals: Pictures of You and Monopoly

Pictures of You

You can gel Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt  just for $0.99. Award-winning author Caroline Leavitt’s novel of redemption and self-discovery begins with a fatal car crash and ends with a question: “How well do we really know those we love—and how do we forgive the unforgivable?”

Here are some reviews:

The Boston Globe describes Pictures of You “as part literary mystery, part domestic drama, and part psychological examination,” and, indeed, the novel kept most critics on their toes the entire time. A novel of loss, redemption, forgiveness, and self-discovery, the intertwining stories grapple not only with the tragedy but also with the mystery of April’s hasty departure from her family. Reviewers commented that what could have been a maudlin, predictable storyline instead becomes fresh with Leavitt’s direct, unsentimental writing; her you-are-here details; and her fully convincing characters. Readers who enjoy both fine storytelling and writing will be sure to savor this novel. — Bookmarks Magazine

In Leavitt’s (Girls in Trouble, 2005) compelling new novel, a car crash provides the catalyst for an examination of how well we know the people we love. April and Isabelle, both fleeing their marriages, collide on a foggy, deserted stretch of road. Only Isabelle survives, and though blameless, she is haunted by guilt. In search of healing, she finds herself drawn to Charlie and Sam, April’s grief-stricken husband and son. Complicated relationships develop, and Leavitt thoughtfully handles friendship and romance in scenes of emotional resonance. She understands the ache of loss, the elusiveness of forgiveness, and the triteness of words like “closure.” An expert storyteller, Leavitt alternates perspective among her three leading characters, providing insight into the thoughts, secrets, and dreams that they withhold from each other. Whether these individuals will arrive at happiness separately or together is the question that drives the narrative, and the reader, forward as Leavitt teases suspense out of the greatest mystery of all—the workings of the human heart. –Patty Wetli

MONOPOLYMonopoly is a game for your Kindle Fire or any other Android device.

Legend has it that the modern version of the MONOPOLY board game was invented during the Depression by an unemployed man named Charles Darrow. Rebuffed by the major game companies of the time, he published it himself–and it went on to become perhaps the world’s most popular board game.

Now, in the 21st century, you can play the same classic game of MONOPOLY on your Kindle Fire. And it’s a ton of fun.

Amass Your Fortune

So, do you like to buy Boardwalk and Park Place and hope to make it big on a few unlucky rolls by your opponent? Or is your strategy to go with the Green, Red, or Yellow properties and slowly bleed your adversaries dry? However you like to play MONOPOLY, you’ll love playing the Android version.

Single-Player Fun

One of the great things about playing the digital version of MONOPOLY is that you don’t have to track down someone willing to take you on–you can match your business acumen against the computer any time you feel like it. Set the AI opponent at three levels of difficulty, so you’ll always get a challenge (or if you prefer, an easy win). Of course, it’s much more fun to switch to Pass ‘N Play mode, just so you can see your rivals’ faces when you crush them.

Smooth, Intuitive Interface

This is quite simply a great-looking, well-designed app. Just pick your favorite piece, shake your device to roll the dice, and you’re off. Tap the screen to zoom in and examine the details of any space or property. Turn the board with a quick swipe. Your money and properties are automatically tracked for you. All you need to do is scheme your way to economic domination.

The Game You Know and Love

There are also many options regarding your money, how many houses you need to buy to create a MONOPOLY, theme music, and more. Just set up the type of game you like to play and get to it.

Are you ready to become a real-estate tycoon? Aiming to be the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffett? Show everyone your true financial genius with MONOPOLY for Android.

Could The Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet Fight Really Hinge On Magazines?

Since the launch of the very first Kindle eReader, the persistent and constantly repeated complaint has been that it lacks color.  Everything else that began problematically, from screen refresh time to clunky controls, has been addressed in later iterations of the Kindle line.  Sadly, you just can’t do much yet in terms of color without sacrificing the E Ink screen.  Barnes & Noble managed to effectively market their Nook Color for over a year on nothing more than the ability to overcome this limitation (regardless of the resultant shortcomings of their device) and it was inevitable that it be a big issue in terms of Kindle Fire reviewing, no matter how much Amazon might prefer to focus on other things.

How big a deal could this possibly be, though?  Upon closer inspection, more than I thought.  The obvious example that most people jump to for their color reading needs is the magazine.  Let’s simply disregard that one for the time being, though.  It involves a slightly different pricing model since only the newest issue of a given publication is likely to be in demand, shortening the life of each installment to a month or so in many cases.  I would love to comment but, without a better understanding of how the advertising model generally makes the transition to the sort of device that has the potential to simply block out images with a few tweaks, I simply don’t feel qualified at the moment.

We can definitely consider general book sales, though.  Assume that the majority of book sales are fiction.  Particularly Romance novels, I’m told.  Not too much need for color illustration in those, for the most part.  That does not mean that non-fiction is a negligible area, however.  Self Help and History are two of the most impressive genres of the past few years in terms of sales.  Both of them, in their own way can benefit from the inclusion of color.

While this is definitely important, though, it’s difficult to believe that it will really be a major factor moving into the next round of Kindle vs Nook competition.  Barnes & Noble’s book focus is completely understandable.  It only makes sense to do what you know best and they simply don’t have the structure in place to handle much else.  Amazon has already moved past that, adding competing capabilities and book selections almost in passing, and brought the emphasis around to video.

The Kindle Fire might not be a match for the iPad when it comes to hardware, but Amazon is building up their whole digital presence to the point of rivaling Apple’s more established one.  The book emphasis only made sense as long as the limitations of the device being sold restricted use to that media.  The future will be an overall digital experience.  Sure magazines and color reading will be a part of it, but on their own the effect just doesn’t seem likely to be big enough to matter.  There are rumors of a Nook Tablet video store on the horizon, as well as a push to increase the app content for that line of devices.  That’s likely to make a far bigger difference.

Daily Deals: The Detachment and Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots

The Detachment

Today Amazon offer The Detachment (John Rain) by Barry Eisler only for $0.99

John Rain is back. And “the most charismatic assassin since James Bond” (San Francisco Chronicle) is up against his most formidable enemy yet: the nexus of political, military, media, and corporate factions known only as the Oligarchy. 

When legendary black ops veteran Colonel Scott “Hort” Horton tracks Rain down in Tokyo, Rain can’t resist the offer: a multi-million dollar payday for the “natural causes” demise of three ultra-high-profile targets who are dangerously close to launching a coup in America.

But the opposition on this job is going to be too much for even Rain to pull it off alone. He’ll need a detachment of other deniable irregulars: his partner, the former Marine sniper, Dox. Ben Treven, a covert operator with ambivalent motives and conflicted loyalties. And Larison, a man with a hair trigger and a secret he’ll kill to protect.

From the shadowy backstreets of Tokyo and Vienna, to the deceptive glitz and glamour of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and finally to a Washington, D.C. in a permanent state of war, these four lone wolf killers will have to survive presidential hit teams, secret CIA prisons, and a national security state as obsessed with guarding its own secrets as it is with invading the privacy of the populace.

But first, they’ll have to survive each other.

The Detachment is what fans of Eisler, “one of the most talented and literary writers in the thriller genre” (Chicago Sun-Times), have been waiting for: the worlds of the award-winning Rain series, and of the bestselling Fault Line and Inside Out, colliding in one explosive thriller as real as today’s headlines and as frightening as tomorrow’s.

Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots

Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots is an application for your Kindle. 

En Garde!

Fruit meets fairytales in Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots.

The suave, fruit-slashing swashbuckler, Puss in Boots, faces a challenge that would make Sensei proud. Prepare for a journey of familiar fruit-slicing action as Puss encounters a wealth of new and exciting challenges in his search for the Magic Beans.

Puss in Fruits

Slice through a series of increasingly exciting challenges in the all-new Bandito Mode, and become the greatest Fruit Ninja warrior of all time. Each stage thrusts you into never-before-seen fruit frenzy adventure. Face massive fruit from the Giant’s castle, precision and timing challenges, and all-out fruit onslaughts with new obstacles. Plus, for the first time ever, throw down against the much-requested tomato!

Real Banditos must put their best blade forward, because scoring is based on the number of fruits sliced, ninja reflexes, and slicing efficiency. A true produce warrior can upload their massive high scores to global leaderboards, and rank among the best players online.
If Kitty-Looks Could Kill

Bring your blade to Desperado Mode–an enhanced and re-mastered version of the Classic Fruit Ninja game. But this time, you will face even more fruit, unique waves, and Puss in Boots’ elusive Magic Beans from the DreamWorks Animation feature film.

Finally, bask in the fruit-stained glory of Puss in Boots’ own exclusive Ninja Stash, featuring a whole range of unique customizable content, including new backgrounds and blades.

Stay juicy, amigos!

Kobo Launches Book Club Against Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

It was recently announced that Kobo, Amazon’s leading competitor against the Kindle outside the United States, is offering a fun new perk for anybody who picks up one of their eReaders between now and May 2012.  The new Kobo Book Club, as they are referring to it, will offer each person a book of their choice from a limited selection once each month through the end of 2012.  As with what seems to be the competing program, Amazon’s new lending library, the available books will not necessarily be off the bestseller list, but they will be permanent acquisitions instead of just rentals.

Amazon made a bold move when they launched the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.  It took long enough to even get the public library system compatible with the Kindle in the first place, thanks to the break from EPUB early on in Amazon’s eReading endeavor.  Even that comes in the middle of the long fight publishers have put up against eBooks being in any way cheaper or more convenient than their paper counterparts, but that’s another story entirely.  What’s most relevant, especially if we’re talking about somebody like Kobo trying to come up with a similar program is the reaction.

In a lot of ways that program is Amazon flexing their muscles.  Yes, the lending library benefits Kindle owners and is something that I totally support, but starting it up without general publisher or author support and working around that problem by taking advantage of wholesale discount arrangements has led to a bit of drama.  The Big 6 are upset, since it means that eBooks are yet again in danger of being found more convenient and less expensive than print books.  The Author’s Guild has lent support to that side of things as well.  It’s doubtful that any of this will cause Amazon to back off, but not many other companies would be in a position to get away with a similar move.

Kobo has avoided the problem entirely with their choice of titles.  January’s titles, for example, will be:

Glancing at Amazon these seem to be well-rated titles, but you have to admit that the audience likely to get excited about them will be limited.  If this marks the beginning of an ongoing trend, it’s hard to see this as a major draw for new customers despite its being available in Canada as well as the US.

This is especially true since buyers who go for the new Kobo Vox aren’t included.  Many people are expecting the Vox to make a big splash by beating the Kindle Fire to new markets, and Kobo clearly rushed to get something out there in time to compete, so this exclusion is rather hard to understand.

While I wouldn’t exactly say that this should be a huge factor in any eReading platform choices, it’s nice if you were planning to go that route anyway.  Kobo is currently the third most popular eReader platform around, so clearly the demand is there.  An occasional extra can’t hurt, even if it doesn’t really provide exactly the same value as the Kindle counterpart.