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Old 02-07-2019, 01:49 PM   #826
badgoodDeb
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Originally Posted by Manabi View Post
Remembered to check today, and it went very quickly. The book's not compatible with the Paperwhite, and can't even be downloaded. The Kindle app on my phone lets me download and view it, but it forces landscape mode and displays two pages side-by-side. Not exactly an optimal reading experience, although the images looked great, only small. Kindle for PC also did the side-by-side thing, but it worked fine full-screened. It was quite funny and I'm glad I picked it, even if it is really short.

Any tablet using the Kindle app can probably view it and it'll look fine, but I'm guessing all the e-ink Kindles are out of luck.
Thanks -- good summary.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:48 AM   #827
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I ended up going with It's Not Hansel and Gretel, simply because the preview looks pretty funny. The rest sounded too awful to me to want even for free.
I think I am in the same boat...
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:55 AM   #828
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Worst choices for a long while. I picked "Where the Forest meets the Stars", as the least unappealing of the book descriptions.

As I feared, it was almost sickly sweet at times. However, somewhat to my surprise, I enjoyed it. The characters were well drawn and it was quite well written. Between the plot itself and the devices used it kept my interest.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:16 AM   #829
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I also went with Where the Forest Meets the Stars.

This is probably not the right place, but I'm thinking about cancelling my Amazon Prime subscription. Back when it was less than $100/year, I was using it enough on my own (between the music storage, cloud storage, Kindle access, video bookmarks, etc.) to justify having two accounts in the same house, but now that it costs me nearly $130 (and finding that other music/cloud/ebook/video providers are more worthwhile for me), I don't think I'm getting my money's worth and I'm going to go back to sharing my husband's account.

Once I do that, I won't be eligible for the Kindle First book anymore, correct? He can get it, and share it with me, but I won't be able to access it on my own? Honestly, I can buy myself one book every month (a month later) for half the cost of Amazon Prime -- probably less if I opt out of months that I would otherwise choose "least objectionable and willing to try out this genre/author" -- so it's not a big deal, but somehow it feels more valuable when it's early and free. LOL

Last edited by sakura-panda; 02-12-2019 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:06 PM   #830
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryl View Post
Worst choices for a long while. I picked "Where the Forest meets the Stars", as the least unappealing of the book descriptions.

As I feared, it was almost sickly sweet at times. However, somewhat to my surprise, I enjoyed it. The characters were well drawn and it was quite well written. Between the plot itself and the devices used it kept my interest.
Went there as well after reading your post and ignoring the very unassuming blurb. I think this months they picked books with horrible uninviting blurbs, at least how I feel. The only thing I did not like was the end.
Spoiler:
I wish it stayed closer to impossible fiction than to transition into plausible non fiction.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:36 PM   #831
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Went there as well after reading your post and ignoring the very unassuming blurb. I think this months they picked books with horrible uninviting blurbs, at least how I feel. The only thing I did not like was the end.
Spoiler:
I wish it stayed closer to impossible fiction than to transition into plausible non fiction.
I hear you there Duckie.

Had the book gone the other way, imagine the chill when:

Spoiler:
The two adult protagonists, having failed to find the girl as a missing person, instead came across an article describing her death, with photo!


I'm certainly not sorry I read it. And the author shows promise. I'll have to watch for her next book. Though she can certainly go either way.

I should add that your comment about the blurbs is spot on. A good one is just so important to many prospective readers.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:36 PM   #832
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Originally Posted by sakura-panda View Post
I also went with Where the Forest Meets the Stars.

This is probably not the right place, but I'm thinking about cancelling my Amazon Prime subscription. Back when it was less than $100/year, I was using it enough on my own (between the music storage, cloud storage, Kindle access, video bookmarks, etc.) to justify having two accounts in the same house, but now that it costs me nearly $130 (and finding that other music/cloud/ebook/video providers are more worthwhile for me), I don't think I'm getting my money's worth and I'm going to go back to sharing my husband's account.

Once I do that, I won't be eligible for the Kindle First book anymore, correct? He can get it, and share it with me, but I won't be able to access it on my own? Honestly, I can buy myself one book every month (a month later) for half the cost of Amazon Prime -- probably less if I opt out of months that I would otherwise choose "least objectionable and willing to try out this genre/author" -- so it's not a big deal, but somehow it feels more valuable when it's early and free. LOL
I believe that Prime allows you to share benefits, including streaming, with one other adult in your house. I think it also creates a shared household for all your books. I don't know exactly how it works.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:06 AM   #833
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I should add that your comment about the blurbs is spot on. A good one is just so important to many prospective readers.
Yup. Case in point: last month's Blood for Blood sounded good blurb wise, but it is the first First Reads book I started and gave up on after just 10%. Good thing we had two choices, as Smoke and Summons was very enjoyable (to me). A blurb sometimes does make the book sound too good.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:38 AM   #834
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And I think they let you pay $2 for one first book, can't remember if when I did this I got it immediately.
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:10 AM   #835
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakura-panda View Post
I also went with Where the Forest Meets the Stars.

This is probably not the right place, but I'm thinking about cancelling my Amazon Prime subscription. Back when it was less than $100/year, I was using it enough on my own (between the music storage, cloud storage, Kindle access, video bookmarks, etc.) to justify having two accounts in the same house, but now that it costs me nearly $130 (and finding that other music/cloud/ebook/video providers are more worthwhile for me), I don't think I'm getting my money's worth and I'm going to go back to sharing my husband's account.

Once I do that, I won't be eligible for the Kindle First book anymore, correct? He can get it, and share it with me, but I won't be able to access it on my own? Honestly, I can buy myself one book every month (a month later) for half the cost of Amazon Prime -- probably less if I opt out of months that I would otherwise choose "least objectionable and willing to try out this genre/author" -- so it's not a big deal, but somehow it feels more valuable when it's early and free. LOL
You will also lose access to Prime Video and Good Omens and season 2 of American Gods are due soon so you may want to hang onto Prime.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:59 PM   #836
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This month's Amazon First Reads selections are out, they are:

A Lily in the Light by Kristin Fields [Genre: Book Club Fiction]
Quote:
A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.

For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.

Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?

Editor Notes:

Spoiler:
As one of three girls, I know how wonderful it can be to grow up with sisters. My older sister taught me how to put on makeup and lead dance parties in the garage. My twin has been a constant companion and confidant literally my entire life. It’s hard to envision what my childhood would have been like without the two of them.

In A Lily in the Light, Esme also knows the joys (and irritants) of having siblings. But when her younger sister, Lily, goes missing, Esme’s forced to learn at an early age what it means to lose a sibling, to lose a piece of her heart. She and her family struggle to figure out who they are as a unit of five when there are meant to be six, and it’s heartbreaking. And when, eight years later, a young girl is found who might be Lily, I keenly felt Esme’s reluctance to dare to hope. I found myself imagining what I’d do, wondering who I’d have become, in similar circumstances, and it was painful.

And yet, despite the many tears I cried as I read this gorgeously written debut novel, I also found myself smiling and appreciating the beauty in this world. On the surface, this is an emotionally charged novel about a kidnapping and the family left behind to pick up the broken pieces. But down deeper, it’s also a poignant coming-of-age story that demonstrates just how powerful the bond between sisters can be. And that—that is beautiful. - Alicia Clancy, Editor

I'm Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagán [Genre: Contemporary Fiction]
Quote:
Honesty is the best policy…except maybe when it comes to marriage in this brilliant novel about the high price of perfection from bestselling author Camille Pagán.

Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.

Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.

What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?

Editor Notes:

Spoiler:
I’m a compulsive list maker. Nothing brings me more joy than jotting down to-dos. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration—there are indeed a few other things that bring me more joy. But I can’t deny the distinct satisfaction I get in ticking off boxes one by one. That’s why I immediately fell for Penelope, the overextended wife and mother in this funny, bittersweet novel. Like me, Penelope automatically goes into type A fix-it mode when faced with any sort of problem. So when she suffers a tremendous loss and her marriage begins to falter, she does what comes naturally—she tackles the issues with a checklist.

But apparently, marriage doesn’t easily break down into tasks. And as author Camille Pagán brilliantly shows us, neither does motherhood, or friendship, or grief, for that matter. As Penelope tries to navigate new terrain using her old methods, she’s forced to take a closer look at what’s behind each item on her checklist—ultimately finding unexpected beauty hiding in the less-than-perfect parts of her life. - Jodi Warshaw, Editor

Wholly Unraveled by Keele Burgin [Genre: Memoir]
Quote:
Sometimes all that it takes to start over is the courage to say you will.

In Kathleen’s home, red jeans were a sin. Parties were punishable with violence. Fear was part of the daily norm. Growing up in a Catholic cult, under the unforgiving eye of her abusive father, Kathleen knew from an early age that if she were to survive, she’d have to do it on her own.

But when the time came to escape, she found herself in a damaging spiral of self-destruction. At rock bottom, and with nowhere to go, Kathleen stepped off a bus in the last place she ever thought she’d find peace: a remote community in rural Canada. Spending a year in almost complete silence, Kathleen feared this experience would prove to be just another step in her unraveling. Instead, with her demons quieted, she emerged with a fresh understanding of self, an empowering new purpose, and a sense of worthiness that she would never let be challenged again.

Wholly Unraveled is Keele Burgin’s gripping and inspiring journey of self-discovery and of finally finding her voice against nearly insurmountable odds.

Editor Notes:

Spoiler:
At the age of twelve, Kathleen found herself looking down the barrel of a .45-caliber pistol. Her father, one of the leaders of a strict religious cult, had found yet another cruel way to punish her for being a “rebellious” kid. Filled with pain, vulnerability, and guts, Wholly Unraveled delivers a gripping portrait of a resilient young woman who turned her deep shame into awe-inspiring dignity and grace.

That harrowing upbringing coupled with a violent assault at the age of seventeen sent Kathleen fleeing from home after high school. She finds work in a bar, fraternizes with drug dealers, and descends deep into alcohol and substance abuse until she escapes once again to the most unlikely of places, the Madonna House apostolate in rural Canada. Among missionaries, Kathleen initially struggles to wrangle the demons of her childhood before taking the first steps toward peace and healing. After months of soul-searching, she emerges with a new sense of purpose, a new name—Keele—and a new appreciation for what it means to be part of a family.

The childhood and subsequent misfortunes of Keele Burgin left me wholly breathless, as I fumbled with her from one abusive relationship, one distressing situation, after another. Not for the faint of heart, this stunning, no-frills memoir traces the emotional entanglement of an abused girl turned fractured woman struggling to find her way amid continuous trauma. Wholly Unraveled immerses the reader in the author’s story of hope and triumph in the face of nearly impossible circumstances. - Erin Calligan Mooney, Editor

Beyond the Shadow of Night by Ray Kingfisher [Genre: Historical Fiction]
Quote:
In this epic tale of friendship and loss from the author of The Sugar Men, fate pushes childhood friends to opposite sides of a terrible war—but is forgiveness always possible?

Ukraine, 1923. On a small farm, two boys are born within days of each other, both Ukrainian, one Jewish. Mykhail and Asher grow up inseparable, together finding friendship, adventure and escape from the harshness of Russian rule. But after Asher’s family flees to Warsaw, their worlds are torn to shreds by the Second World War.

The war brings cruelty to both boys. Although Asher finds love in Warsaw, the city is far from the haven his family sought; meanwhile Mykhail becomes a victim of the bitter struggle for Ukraine. But worse follows in the shape of the Treblinka death camp. There, both men must obey orders, and both find their morals compromised and their souls tortured.

The inhuman horrors they witness cast long shadows. Many years later, their paths cross once more, and each man must confront the legacy of his actions. When the darkest of secrets can no longer be kept hidden, can their friendship survive the final reckoning?

Editor Notes:

Spoiler:
Some say friendships can survive any hardship, but is this always the case? The friendships I formed during my childhood and the bonds I made in my formative years are the ones that have gone the distance—maybe it’s the carefree nature of those years where there was no hurdle too big and no distance too far to travel. Beyond the Shadow of Night explores such a friendship and how sometimes the choices faced seem insurmountable.

Childhood friends Asher and Mykhail are inseparable, but the brutality of World War II tears them apart and forces them to make impossible choices in order to survive. Years later, mired by the horrors of war, their paths reconvene, and together they confront their pasts and face the question of forgiveness.

After reading Beyond the Shadow of Night, I was struck by the human cost of war and how even in the darkest hours, friendships and dreams are kept alive. This is a powerful and triumphant read that blurs the lines between right and wrong, and it is a much-needed reminder of the power of the human spirit that left me reeling long after I put it down. - Sammia Hamer, Editor

The Rescue (Ryan Decker Book 1) by Steve Konkoly [Genre: Thriller]
Quote:
For fans of Tom Clancy and Lee Child, a heart-pumping thriller of betrayal, revenge, and conspiracy by USA Today bestselling author Steven Konkoly.

Former CIA operative turned mercenary for hire Ryan Decker’s specialty is rescuing kidnap victims. Hired by an influential US senator to liberate her daughter from a human-trafficking ring, Decker never anticipated sabotage or that the assault could go so disastrously wrong. The hostage is dead. His team is wiped out, and so are their families, including Decker’s own wife and son—eliminated one by one by the Russian mafia. And he’s survived to take the fall.

When he’s inexplicably freed soon into a ten-year sentence in federal prison, Decker suspects another setup. And private investigator Harlow Mackenzie knows he’s right. She has evidence that a power greater than the Russian mob was behind the raid that ruined Decker’s life.

The next move in a nationwide cat-and-mouse game of high-level sedition is up to them. Fueled by revenge and an obsession to clear his name, Decker has only one mission: to destroy a growing conspiracy before it’s too late.

Editor Notes:

Spoiler:
As a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp, I’m always looking for the next great hero to join their ranks. And Ryan Decker is just the character I’ve been looking for and more. He’s a highly skilled ex-CIA operative who has risked his life to save others more times than he can count. But after he’s framed for a botched raid, Decker loses everything—including his family. He’s condemned to a long prison sentence—until he’s inexplicably freed. Now Decker will stop at nothing to get justice for his family and take down those responsible for his ruin.

I was swept up in Steven Konkoly’s breakneck pacing. The characters and story felt so real and action-packed as I watched our hero skydive into danger that I forgot I was reading fiction. The Rescue delivers on every level. - Megha Parekh, Editor

Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream by Carson Vaughan [Genre: Non-Fiction]
Quote:
A moving true story of American struggle.

Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one—where the church, high school, and post office each stand abandoned, monuments to a Great Plains town that never flourished. But for nearly twenty years, they had a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy. And it all began with one man’s outsize vision.

When Dick Haskin’s plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Dick’s devotion to primates didn’t die with her. He returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, in the bed of a pickup truck and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal’s economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin’s dream.

A resonant true story of small-town politics and community perseverance and of decent people and questionable choices, Zoo Nebraska is a timely requiem for a rural America in the throes of extinction.

Editor Notes:

Spoiler:
On first glance, Carson Vaughan’s Zoo Nebraska is an outlandish, attention-grabbing tale: a roadside zoo in a town with more exotic animals than people, four escaped chimpanzees, an impromptu militia, and a catastrophic end. The bizarre facts of what happened that day in Royal, Nebraska, are true. But, as I read beyond the madcap facade, the narrative opened up into a deeply resonant examination of small towns and outsized dreams, of big personalities and deep devotions, of passions and blind perseverance.

The layers of this Nebraska story unfold in Vaughan’s steady hands, to reveal the devoted primatologist at the center, Dick Haskin, and the heart and grit that led to an unlikely zoo in a Great Plains town. Supported by a vibrant community of residents turned untrained but dedicated volunteers, Zoo Nebraska grows from one man’s dream to the pride of a small town, and, eventually, into a behemoth beyond anyone’s control. When things begin hurtling toward their inevitable end, the actions that take place are both full of desperation and understandably human.

Zoo Nebraska is certainly full of unbelievable moments. I still find myself, at odd times, picturing the zoo’s beginnings—just an adolescent chimpanzee living in a reinforced corncrib. But Zoo Nebraska is grounded in over a decade of careful reporting, and Vaughan is able to tell the complex account of a Nebraska town and a tragic piece of its history with nuance, heart, and wit. - Laura Van der Veer
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:29 PM   #837
binaryhermit
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What the heck is "Book Club Fiction"
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Old 03-02-2019, 01:48 AM   #838
Froide
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Thank you, Manabi! I "bought" Beyond the Shadow of Night.
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:27 AM   #839
JSWolf
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Some of the books for Kindle First Reads in the UK are different. Usually they are the same list.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:06 AM   #840
Dngrsone
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I think I'll try Zoo Nebraska, the first Kindle First I've actually "bought" in close to a year.
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