Delivered to My Kindle 1/22/13

Looking for some free ebooks this week? Why not try these? Remember, they’re only free for a limited amount of time.

9781440437922Under the Same Umbrella by Meredith Kennon

Description: After her mother’s death and at her request, thirty-six year old Londoner, Carrie Townsend, travels to America to meet a stranger, Janet Larson, her mother’s long-distance friend of many years. Travel-weary and broken-hearted, Carrie knows only that she is to learn things from Janet that her mother, Rachel, could not bear to tell her herself. Carrie has always known that she was born on Long Island in 1969 to an unwed mother, but until now had never thought to question her mother’s connection to Janet and the history that they shared. This meeting is not easy for Janet either who has learned over time to put her past tragedies to rest and live peacefully in the present. Neither Carrie nor Janet can foresee that their future happiness hinges on their connection to each other and the past. In the safety of the small town of Settler’s Grove, South Dakota, Carrie finds comfort for her grief, balm for her guilt, companionship in the form of a six year old boy, and finally romance when she least expects it. Under the Same Umbrella is a gentle romance that will pull at your heart-strings again and again.

 

Pinocchio and the Dragons of Martoon  by Angelo Tropeapinocchio-dragons-martoon-angelo-tropea-paperback-cover-art

Description: Pinocchio and the Dragons of Martoon is a new Pinocchio story.

During his quest to become a “real boy,” Pinocchio travels to Martoon – a planet inhabited by warring aliens. Along with his new friends, Merlo the Martoonian, Tizzy the catgirl and Minimo the mouse – and the unwelcomed Ringmaster, he has many exciting adventures during which he learns a great deal not only about the aliens, but also about himself and his desire to become a real boy. Pinocchio and the Dragons of Martoon is an interesting blend of realism and fantasy, a charming and exciting read – with over 60 illustrations – and a book that people of all ages can enjoy.

In the classic story “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, the carpenter Geppetto carves a block of pinewood into a boy puppet he names Pinocchio. As soon as Pinocchio’s nose is carved, it begins to grow whenever he tells a lie. When his feet are carved, they kick Geppetto. At first Pinocchio is certainly not a good puppet or a good son. He needs to learn many lessons about life. But as naughty as Pinocchio is, Geppetto still loves him and gives him room to grow. Through his many adventures, failures and successes, Pinocchio learns that many things in life are not free and have to be earned.

Although the Pinocchio in this new story is carved out of wood, he looks very much like a real boy and not at all like the Pinocchio drawn or imagined by artists of other books, films and television. One would have to look closely at this Pinocchio to notice the fine grains of polished wood. He also looks and speaks like a real boy, just like the one he dreams of becoming.

In his quest for this dream, Pinocchio has many adventures, including “Pinocchio and the Dragons of Martoon”, which starts when both he and Geppetto were swallowed by the whale….

 

13830602Never Say Spy by Diane Henders

Description: Despite her penchant for weapons and ripe language, Aydan Kelly’s resumé reads ‘bookkeeper’, not ‘badass’. She’s leaving the city to fulfill her dream of rural tranquillity when she gets carjacked by a man who shouldn’t exist.

When RCMP officer John Kane kills her would-be abductor, Aydan thinks her troubles are over. But Kane’s investigation implicates her in an international espionage plot, and criminal charges become the least of her worries when she’s targeted by the very spies Kane suspects her of aiding.

Pity her enemies. Because nobody’s tougher than a middle-aged woman who wants her dream back.

 

Noble Courage by Daisha Marie Korthfinal-hi-res-281x300

Description: The Darktower name held the power to make one shiver with trepidation as it rolled off the tongue. Thorne Darktower, Earl of Cliffehaven, stood tall and ominous, resentful of his own existence and plotting against his own family’s life-long enemy until he is touched by the heart of an angel and shown the promise of life as she lifts the wool of hatred from his eyes.

Aspen Tiller found herself as an unsuspecting pawn in a strategic game of self-preservation. With her innocence and child-like ideals held close to her, she reaches deep within herself to accomplish the impossible, command the respect of those around her, welcome the love of all who knew her and face the wrath of the devil who covets her…And still, embedded in her character, is a courage so noble that it refuses to allow her to give in to defeat as she trudges through the obstacles in her path to emerge anew…But does it destroy the woman so many love? You can also find book two and book three of the same series.

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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui

6818019Overview: Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.

Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, where underage marriage laws are being increasingly enforced and other child brides have been granted divorces.

My thoughts: Nujood’s family is plagued by problems, and some of those problems are poverty and the fear of adultery. To counter these issues, Nujood’s Aba decides to marry her to a 30-year-old man, whom promises to wait until she hits puberty to consummate the union. That man doesn’t keep his promises, and Nujood is left with nightmares, bruises, and anguish.

This book delves further than just Nujood’s terrifying marriage, it also follows up with her siblings’ struggles. It’s interesting how the book gives you an idea of other problems Yemen has, like trafficking, poverty, lack of education, early marriages, and so on. I know now more about Yemen than I did before.

I think the book is very good at depicting some of the problems, like poverty, but it doesn’t fully explain village customs or why those themes matter. As a non-Muslim reading this book, I don’t understand how honor works in Islam, and this book fails to put Islamic practices into perspective for others.

The book does provide notes at the end of the story, and so some things are explained further. I think it’s cool how links are provided in the text to the notes at the back of the kindle edition, but then you can’t get back to the section you were reading in the story unless you scroll back or jump there by entering the page or location number.

The biggest problem I have with this story is that there seems to be two narrators, and their voices don’t converge even though Nujood is the only one telling the story. On one hand, there’s ten-year-old Nujood, and then there seems to be a more mature educated Nujood. Maybe it’s a translation issue, but for a 10-year-old girl who’s barely literate, there are too many larger words and too many complex sentences. Maybe Nujood really does speak that way, but it doesn’t logically make sense to me. I think the journalist had more to do with the writing than Nujood did. The journalist tries to see things from Nujood’s 10-year-old girls, but then switches back to her older eyes. It causes the writing to seem jagged in some areas.

I borrowed this book from the library and read it on my kindle.

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Delivered to My Kindle 1/15/13

Here’s a books that’s free on Kindle right now. It’s in the historical fiction genre.

13601874To Kill the Duke by Sam Moffie.

Description: It was the 1950’s. The white-hot Cold War was raging between The USA and The USSR. And, in Joseph Stalin’s mind, nothing would be quite as hot as assassinating the ultimate symbol of Western machismo culture – the actor John Wayne. Thus, the elite Russian spy squad of Zavert, Boris Gila, Alexei Aleksandra and Ivan Viznapu start on a dangerous (and hysterical) mission that brings them in contact with gangsters Mickey Cohen and Johnny Stompanato, the billionaire Howard Hughes, the producer/director Dick Powell, the actress Susan Hayward, countless others and the big man himself – John Wayne.

What transpires is as zany as John Wayne playing a role that was written for Marlon Brando… whoops! That really happened, and the result was ‘The Conqueror,” which plays a prominent role in to kill the duke, Sam Moffie’s fifth novel. Brilliantly satiric, the book also captures political duplicity and amorality, which makes it all too relevant to today’s world. The Cold War, more than ready for prime time satire, lets Moffie keep the heat on the establishment and most of all, those in authority.

Delivered to My Kindle 1/1/13

Another round of DTMK! Just three fiction books today:

the-aspen-account-book-coverThe Aspen Account by Bryan Devore

Description: After a colleague at Denver’s top accounting firm dies in a mysterious skiing accident, Michael Chapman is assigned to replace him on an audit of software behemoth X-Tronic. At the same time, rookie journalist Sarah Matthews of the Denver Post starts nosing into rumors that may connect X-Tronic to her brother’s death. And the reclusive Aspen billionaire who founded X-Tronic thirty years ago begins to fear that events unfolding at his company will finally make him pay for a past he would love to forget: when he sold out friends and neglected family in his single-minded pursuit of success. Soon all three will discover just how much they are willing to risk to uncover the truth behind a conspiracy that will shock the world.

 

 

Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolinexecutive-privilege-phillip-margolin-paperback-cover-art

Description:When private detective Dana Cutler is hired to follow college student Charlotte Walsh, she never imagines the trail will lead to the White House. But the morning after Walsh’s clandestine meeting with Christopher Farrington, President of the United States, the pretty young coed is dead—the latest victim, apparently, of a fiend dubbed “the D.C. Ripper.”

A junior associate in an Oregon law firm, Brad Miller is stunned by the death row revelations of convicted serial killer Clarence Little. Though Little accepts responsibility for a string of gruesome murders, he swears he was framed for one of them: the death of a teenaged babysitter who worked for then-governor Farrington.

Suddenly nowhere in America is safe for a small-time private eye and a fledgling lawyer who possess terrifying evidence that suggests the unthinkable: that someone at the very highest level of government, perhaps the president himself, is a cold and brutal killer.

 

alwaysthebakerAlways the Baker, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker

Description:They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

But who would want a cake they couldn’t eat?

Just ask Emma Rae Travis about that.  A baker of confections who is diabetic and can’t enjoy them.  When Emma meets Jackson Drake, the escapee from Corporate America who is starting a wedding destination hotel to fulfill a dream that belonged to someone else, this twosome and their crazy family ties bring new meaning to the term “family circus.” The Atlanta social scene will never be the same!

Send by Patty Blount

Overview: It’s been five years since I clicked Send.Image
Four years since I got out of juvie.
Three months since I changed my name.
Two minutes since I met Julie.
A second to change my life.

All Dan wants for his senior year is to be invisible. This is his last chance at a semi-normal life. Nobody here knows who he is. Or what he’s done. But on his first day at school, instead of turning away like everyone else, Dan breaks up a fight. Because Dan knows what it’s like to be terrorized by a bully—he used to be one.

Now the whole school thinks he’s some kind of hero—except Julie. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn’t really Daniel…

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this book. I definitely enjoyed reading it and read every single word. In fact, I read some parts so quickly that my brain couldn’t process what was happening, and I had to force myself to slow down. The opening was very enjoyable. I even developed a crush on the main character. He was sweet, trying to stick up for others and help them. Besides, I also kind of have a voice inside my head like his, except not as extreme, so I can connect with him. I liked reading in his perspective until he started repeating things he already said, but that’s a different story.

Then the middle section of the book came, and I started to grimace. My crush instantly disappeared at that scene, the scene which really added no worth to the book in my opinion and only added to my dislike for Julie. However, that’s probably me being biased because of my crush.

When it comes to bullying and cyberbullying, I have little to no experience in my life with those topics, so I don’t feel like I’m qualified to talk about the themes of the book. Honestly, I kind of understand all the talk about not forgiving and forgetting or forgiving and such, but then I don’t think I understand what was happening with that topic in the context of the book. I do think that it’s wonderful that Blout was able to combine all of those topics into one book, something I don’t think many people can do without struggling and thinking a lot about why and how bullying works or doesn’t work.

Towards the end of the book, I felt like the story started to fall apart. The opening was fantastic, the middle was so-so, but by the end of the book, I was ready to slap a big one-star on the book and be done with it. It’s like I was on a reading roller coaster and the cart flew off the track and crashed with a firey explosion, but I got up and walked away only with a maimed leg when I should’ve been dead. The ending was definitely over melodramatic and unnecessary in my opinion. Dan seems pathetic in the falling action, and how does no one on the beach notice? I really love how Dan prepares to move forward with his life, but at the same time, it seems horrible because he’s described as skinny and not appearing too well.

I won a copy from Joy Prebble’s blog, and the author actually wrote me notes. It was awesome ^_^. She’s a really nice person, and I hope she writes another novel some day. I’d like to read more of her fiction work.

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Delivered to My Kindle 12/4/12

Here are some ebooks that I found for free on Amazon’s website. Some of them, well, most of them sound like cheesy romance stories, but maybe it’s worth a shot.

 lastpreatorian The Last Praetorian by Mike Smith

Description from Amazon: Commander Jonathan Radec is a man trying desperately to escape from the mistakes of his past.

Now the owner of Vanguard Shipping his primary concerns are trying to keep his ships flying and his crew alive. However, the shadowy Syndicate organisation has set their sights on the Commander and his business, having sent a beautiful assassin to kill him; that to make matters worse has become the target of his infatuation. Much to the dismay of his ex-girlfriend recently elevated to President of the Confederation who is still very much in love with him; and capable of making his life a living hell.
Surrounded by a galaxy that is beginning to tear itself apart, with enemies on all sides and now unwillingly tasked with trying the save the Confederation – to whom he has little regard for. Jon has little going in his favour, except a crew that consists of the elite of the old Imperial Navy, all that would fight to the death for him and a past which possibly makes him one of the most dangerous men alive.

A Science Fiction adventure / romance, which tries to answer the question – “Can you ever find redemption for the mistakes of your past?”

 

eternal vowsEternal Vows by Chrissy Peebles

Description: Never marry a stranger…even if he is a drop-dead gorgeous immortal king.

Never pretend to be a princess.

And most importantly…never slip on an ancient wedding ring you know nothing about.

Sarah Larker returns to a cave where her sister disappeared ten years earlier. She walks through a portal and is mistaken for a runaway princess on the run by a dangerous immortal king in medieval times. Her plan is bold as well as daring—become this princess, wed the king, and slip on an ancient wedding ring that will unlock the portal back home. Then find her sister and run as fast as she can out of Dodge. But taking on the identity of Princess Gloria comes along with dangerous consequences; and slipping on the ruby ring comes with an even higher price.

 

love-lies-and-high-heels-200x300

Love, Lies, and High Heels by Deby Conrad

Description: LUKE GALLOWAY doesn’t lie. Well, not normally. And never about anything as serious as death.

 

But, somehow, Luke’s friend and business partner, Sam Paris, convinces Luke that he needs to do just that. Sam believes the only way his daughter will come back to see him is if he were dying. And so the lies begin . . .
RUSTY PARIS has been alone most of her life. Her parents were divorced when she was very young. Rusty was pushed off to boarding schools, while her mother made a hobby of marrying rich men. She doesn’t remember much about her father, only that he never made an attempt to be a part of her life for the past twenty-one years. But all that is about to change. When she gets word he is dying, she runs home to be by his side, which puts in right in the path of that scoundrel Luke Galloway.
Luke has no room in his life for rich heiresses. Been there. Done that. From the first time Luke and Rusty meet, they clash. She considers him nothing more than a lowly ranch hand who enjoys riling her temper. He considers her arrogant and prissy. But that doesn’t mean he can fight his attraction to her, nor hers to him. And when they find out they’ve both been duped by Rusty’s father the sparks really start to fly.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Overview: Each day we face a barrage of images and ideas—from society and the media—telling us who we should be. We are led to believe that if we look perfect, live perfect, and do everything perfectly, we’d no longer struggle with feelings of inadequacy. Ironically, it’s the pursuit of perfection that fuels the message ‘never good enough.’

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W., the leading expert on shame, reveals that it is actually ourimperfections and vulnerabilities that connect us to one another as human beings andmake us who we are. We are naturally drawn to those we view asauthentic, real, and down-to-earth. It makes sense, then, that weshould stop reaching for something ‘better’ and, instead, strive tobe who we are, fully owning every aspect of ourselves.

This fresh 52-week guide can be read as a year-long program of WholeHearted living or by topic – whatever is the most meaningful for each reader. Brown engages our hearts, minds, and spirits in finding the beauty of authenticity and evolving our self-perceptions through fifteen guideposts that emerged from her latest groundbreaking research.

 Each guidepost is illustrated with essays, stories, inspiring quotes, meditations, and dynamic creative exercises designed to help us develop the skills to accept our vulnerabilities with compassion and practice loving-kindness toward ourselves and others.

My thoughts: When I started reading this book, I thought, This is great! It’s really interesting. Then I got to the guide posts…

This book is not a self-help book. It’s more about reflection, and you won’t find any definite “steps” to help yourself. You’ll just get ideas about issues in your life. Brown brings up issues in life that we need to talk about: shame, people-pleasing, and self-depreciation, among others. However, I don’t like the way she does it.

She talks about great things! What’s not to like? Well…I don’t like her approach. She mentions things about her research, and that’s a good point of the book. However, she always relates it back to her experiences and herself. She has all this research at the tip of her fingers, and she doesn’t rely on it to carry the book through. I expected to see more testimonials from other people because she had talked to other people, and those people influenced her thought process and life. If it influenced her, then why didn’t she share it with us so we can be inspired, too? I know there are restrictions on research, such that the researcher can’t share confidential data of participants, but I think she could’ve used testimonials from participants who consented to her writing about their experiences since she was just releasing research data and not the participants’ identifying information. In my opinion, the book is very weak just relying on her life stories. Reading about her life made me want to throw my hands in the air and just sigh exasperatedly. If I really wanted to know that much about her life, then I’d read a biography. I think this book would’ve worked much better as a memoir rather than a reflection “self-help” book.

The absolute number one thing that bothers me about this book is in Guide-post 7, page 103: “I had decided to go part-time at the university, and her dad was going to a four-day workweek.” Whoa, there! Back up. Who can afford that? And I don’t mean we can’t afford to let the achievements go. I mean, who can financially afford to cut down on work? Most people I know can’t. Unfortunately, the book is filled with stories like this, like when she went to the mall with her daughter and felt uncomfortable because dress-up women looked at her funny. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Back up. You can afford to go to the mall to buy make-up? Most people I know just buy it for a cheaper price at drug stores. That’s also another reason why I think it’s bad that the book is filled with her life stories. She has a certain way of life and a certain culture. Other people don’t share that culture, and so sometimes, it’s hard to relate to her and take the concepts seriously. It gets especially annoying when she tells the reader that spirituality doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship with God, but then she proceeds to talk about how God affects her life. It really made me wonder how does someone live Wholeheartedly without God? That’s not a question she answers.

The other biggest issue that I had was the guide post with the slashes around page 114. Asking the question, “What do you do?” is a social cue that means, “Tell me about your job that you do to make most of your money,” not “Tell me your whole life story.” Slashes are not appropriate. They’re bulky and inconvenient to read and just add pointless information that I never wanted to know. Yes, you have the right to own up to everything that you are, but most people in society do not care. That’s something you share with friends and not acquaintances because friends do care.

Some of the concepts were explained very vaguely. As a psychology major, I understand that definitions are hard to come by in research literature because there’s a lot of debate surrounding topics. Therefore, I understand why some of her terms, like power, were barely explained. However, to have a full experience of shame, power, and hope and figure out how they connect, it would’ve been nice to have more concrete definitions. I don’t agree with everything she says, but that’s good because at least she’s making me think and form my own ideas.

Another huge set back is that the book seems to be geared towards more privileged type A personalities. I’m more of a laid back type B personality, and sometimes I thought that Ms. Brown was just a little too serious and uptight for me. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying she’s stuck up. I’m just saying her methods of making lists don’t work for me. It would’ve been nice if she could’ve offered more advice than just writing lists and purposely planning things. All this digging deep was driving me insane. I’d rather just accept it and let that be the end of it.

Overall, this book is probably a good conversation starter for book clubs. However, the amount of impact it has on your life depends more on your culture and how you interpret Brown’s writing. For a type B person like me who prefers to think and then accept and let go of what’s bothering me, this book’s advice wouldn’t be my go-to guide for dealing with shame. This book has a lot of potential, but it just needs a different focus.

I bought this book from Amazon for about $10 with free shipping and handling.