Dec 16, 2012

[TSS] Kindle Paperwhite 3G - My Thoughts

Hello and Happy Sunday! Today I thought I'd do something a little different.  With all of the great new technology out in the world these days, there is just so much to choose from it can be hard to keep it all straight. Its hard to know which devices are right for your individual needs. That's why I thought I'd talk about the newest Kindle product, the Kindle Paperwhite 3G. Over the last year, I've been using my Kindle more and more. In fact, most of the books I've read this year were on my Kindle 3G. Although I do miss adding actual books to my library, due to my progressive retinal disease, it is becoming harder and harder to read paper books. Sometimes the print is so light and small, it is almost impossible for me and ends up giving me headaches. Large print books are much more expensive and bulky so I don't care for them too much. I do, however, request those when borrowing from the library.

I have been very happy with my Kindle 3G and I read much quicker when using it. Since I've had it for awhile, it is the older version with the keyboard instead of the touch screen, but I was OK with that too. That said, I still had an issue with lighting. Since RP makes my eyes appear to have a white film over them all the time, (which I call The Fog), I have to use a reading lamp and position it above my shoulder so the light shines directly on my Kindle in order for me to read. If I am in a brightly lit room or outside, I don't have as big a problem because of the glare-free screen. But when you're trying to relax sometimes you don't want to have to have all the lights on full blast to read. Kind of takes away from the experience, ya know? So I always have a small-ish movable lamp over my shoulder. It's becoming like a growth on my back and I'm tired of it! So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Amazon introduced the Kindle Paperwhilte with the built-in light! Why didn't they think of this sooner??

So I ordered one as an early Christmas present for myself and I couldn't be happier! And even though I have WiFi at my house, I opted for the 3G as well. I realize that for almost the same money I could've gotten the Kindle Fire and that's what people say to me. They wonder why I didn't get it instead. And honestly, that is partly the reason I'm writing this post. The answer is simple. The screen on the Kindle Fire is not conducive for my eyes. It is more like a computer screen and it would just be too hard on my already maxed out eyes. It would be really cool to have the Fire and be able to do all the great things it offers, but frankly, I have a PC for that. I use my device strictly for reading (and playing word games) so the Paperwhite was made especially for my needs.

One of the other things I love about it is the Touch Screen. If I'm honest, I was a little concerned about it before, because I thought I'd be hitting it all the time but it was very easy to get used to. Another obvious change in the Paperwhite is how clear, crisp and bold the fonts are! It is so much brighter and the light is MAGNIFICENT!! You probably won't find anybody else as excited about that light than me! OK, I'll say it - I'm in love with it! I can absolutely read ANYwhere now and because the device pulls the light back down to itself, there is NO GLARE AT ALL!

The speed of the Paperwhite is amazing as well. There is no delay whatsoever when turning pages. It's just instant. And if you want to look up a word in the built-in dictionary, just touch the word to highlight it and a few seconds later, the definition is staring you in the face!

Surprisingly, the Paperwhite is even smaller than my older Kindle because there is no keyboard. It's about the size of a trade size paperback, maybe even smaller. I tuck it in my purse and take it everywhere with me. You never know when you might get a few minutes of reading in, especially when you rely on others to take you places and you find yourself sitting and waiting for someone to pick you up. It makes time pass very quickly.

There are many other great features about this device that I didn't address but I wanted to hit on the ones that were most important in my decision making. Please leave me a comment if you have something you'd like to add, even if you feel differently about this device. I'd like to hear your comments. I hope this post is helpful to anyone thinking about buying a reading device or upgrading to a new one and trying to decide which one is for you. There are a lot of choices out there but for people with eye issues, in my opinion, the Kindle Paperwhite is the way to go. I couldn't be happier with my choice and also to be rid of that annoying reading lamp that has been following me around for years!

Dec 13, 2012

Review: Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4) by Tana French (Audio Version)

Tana French is an author I've heard so much about but had never read any of her books. Recently when BROKEN HARBOR was released, I read so many great reviews from my fellow bloggers/book lovers that I couldn't put it off any longer. I chose the audio version instead of the printed version but I'll get into that a bit later. First, here's a bit about the book.

The Book:

This is the fourth book in the Dublin Murder Squad Series featuring Detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy. This time around he is partnered up with rookie cop Richie Curran. They are investigating the brutal murder of a seemingly well-to-do family with no apparent ties to anything illegal. But when the investigation turns up financial problems and strange issues regarding their home and the development it was built in, many questions arise. Fortunately, one member of the family survived the attack but instead of helping, only seems to bring more questions to light.

At the same time, Mick is dealing with some personal issues involving his younger sister causing him to be preoccupied, which could be very detrimental to his career if he doesn't get a handle on it. He and his new partner seem to be getting on well and he has high hopes that it will turn into a professional relationship he can come to count on. An arrest is made pretty quickly, but Richie begins testing Mick as to if they have the right person in custody.

To make matters worse, the town of Broken Harbor, outside of Dublin, where the murders occurred has a deep significance to Mick and his family which adds even more stress as all eyes are on him to solve this horrific case.

My Thoughts:

Even though I hadn't read any of the previous books in this series, I didn't hesitate to pick this one up, especially after reading so many other reviews.  Although I'm sure there is a lot to learn about this character's past in those books, I feel confident that It didn't take away from this story. That said, I would like to go back and read the first three books.

I found the story intriguing and I liked Mick right away. He has a kind of underdog feel to him. Having not read the previous books, I got the feeling that he had a lot of people against him, therefore, I felt he had something to prove. That made me root for him all the more. I did like his connection to his new rookie partner and I had high hopes that would turn out. As far as story goes, it did have some twists and turns with several different possible outcomes. I liked that it wasn't predictable.

The secondary theme in this book involved Mick's family and a tragedy that happened many years before in Broken Harbor, the same location as the murders. This factor gave the story a complexity and I felt it blended with the story nicely. That said, I did find myself getting annoyed with the character of Dinah, Mick's emotionally troubled younger sister. That brings me to the narration of the audiobook.

I did enjoy the audio version, however, the character of Dinah really got on my nerves. I didn't care for her voice at all and was happy when her scenes were done. I know it must be difficult for men to do women's voices, but I felt this interpretation was too high-pitched and whiny and I just didn't care for it at all. I think that if I had read the paper version my feelings for this character may have been totally different.  That being said, I was entertained by the story and I probably would read more from this series, though I doubt I'll choose the audio version next time. Although I did enjoy the book, I have to be honest and say that I didn't love it but I am glad I took the time to read this author.

BROKEN HARBOR (Dublin Murder Squad #4) Audible Audio Edition
Author: Tana French
Narrator: Stephan Hogan
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published: July 2012
Length: 19 Hrs 59 Min
Source: Purchased

Dec 10, 2012

Musing Mondays: Unfinished Business

Today's musing poses the question: What was the last book you couldn't finish and why? This musing is courtesy of

My Answer:

Very seldom do I ever not finish a book. I'm usually pretty good about sticking with a book until I am done, even if I am not loving it. However, over the summer I was prodded by a close friend to read E.L. James' FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. I put it off as long as I could, then I finally gave in after she actually put her copy in my hands and said 'Just READ it!!'. What else could I do? She absolutely loved it, told all of her friends to read it and I knew it would make her happy. So, I began reading.

Now, I'll start off by saying, I do not consider myself a book snob at all. However, I generally don't follow the masses when it comes to my reading choices. (I still have not read the Twilight Series!! Shocking, I know!)  The thing I noticed right off the bat was the constant over-use of phrases such as "Holy*hit!", "Holy *uck!", etc. The expletives didn't bother me, but the repetitiveness certainly did. I was already sick of it just a few chapters in.  Even if I could overlook that aspect, what I really disliked was the story in general. I realize my opinion may not be a popular one, given the hoards of women who read and loved this book, but as an avid reader, I feel that there are simply too many other writers out there who write fantastic literature and have spent their lives perfecting their craft and those are the types of authors I choose to support. If that makes me a snob, then so be it.

As far as the sex parts of the book goes, that didn't bother me at all. I am a women who enjoys great sex and am not afraid to try new things so I am not a prude, nor do I get offended easily. I simply just didn't feel the need or desire to read a whole book about it, especially a story I felt was lacking.

I made it almost halfway through the book, then one day I asked myself what value I would be taking away after reading this book and I couldn't come up with an answer. I saw the other books on my nightstand that were waiting for my attention and I realized I would much rather be spending my times with those instead.

For more musings, please visit MizB at Should Be Reading each Monday! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful week in books!

Dec 8, 2012

Review: The Secret Sense of Wildflower by Susan Gabriel

Probably one of the best surprises this year almost slipped by me. I was asked several months ago to read Susan Gabriel's THE SECRET SENSE OF WILDFLOWER but unfortunately that request got lost in all the emails I receive and I didn't realize it until much later. Luckily for me, I did finally get the opportunity to read this coming of age story taking place in the mountains of Tennessee in the early 1940's. It turned out to be one of my favorite reads this year. It is a gem, and I am so happy to share it here today.

About The Book: (No Spoilers Included!)

Twelve year-old Louisa May "Wildflower" McAllister, has never gotten over the death of her father who was killed in a work accident the year before. The youngest of four girls, she was truly Daddy's girl. Not only because of their close bond, but she is more like him than the others, a fact that seems to upset her mother, who is also grieving terribly.

On the anniversary of her father's death, something happens that will change Wildflower's life forever. It wasn't her fault, she wasn't looking for trouble, but she is terrified her mother will never see it that way or ever be able to forgive her.

This is a story of family, loyalty, forgiveness and love surrounding a young girl who is simply trying to find her way in a world she doesn't even fully understand at such a tender age. With the help of her sisters and an aunt who shares a special 'sense' with Wildflower, she learns the lessons life is teaching her, no matter how cruel and hard these lessons can sometimes be.

My Thoughts:

This is the type of book that I crave to read. It's beautifully written in lyrical prose that I found myself slowing down to re-read. It has such a deep familial core, yet also has a darkness that makes you keep reading.. All of the characters are so true to the era and Appalachian culture and are all very believable. It is a true Southern tale. There are both great relationships and some very difficult ones that add even more layers to this story. Part of what makes it more complex is how Wildflower, while still coming to terms with her father's death and the changes it brought to the entire family, she is now burdened with even more difficult circumstances that cause her to fight even harder for a better life.

What I really like is that Wildflower is telling the story from her own perspective. It brings such an innocent honesty that grabs your heart and doesn't let go. I'm a sucker for a story told through a child's eye and Ms. Gabriel interprets this protagonist beautifully. Though it has some disturbing moments, the story, as a whole, is wonderful and shouldn't be missed.

This is definitely a story that will stay with me for a long while and recommend it highly. I am thankful to Susan Gabriel for sending me a copy and for forgiving me for not getting back to her sooner. To learn more about this author visit her website and follow her on Twitter @susangabriel   

Author: Susan Gabriel
Publisher: Wild Lily Arts
Published: April 2012
Genre: Coming of Age, Southern Fiction
Length: 224 pp
Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Dec 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

Teaser Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Its a great way to get inside of some new-to-you books. Anyone can participate. Here are the guidelines:

  • Grab the book you're currently reading
  • Let it fall open to a random page
  • Choose two sentences to share
  • List the title, author, and page number (or location) that you took your teasers from
  • Please do not include any spoilers in your teasers
My teasers are from THE RIVER WITCH, the debut novel by Kimberly Brock. I like to call it 'mystical Southern Fiction'. I've only just begun reading it, but already I'm completely drawn into the story and it's characters. Here are my teasers . . . 

Magic, like glitter, like dust, could slip right through your fingers.  Before you knew it, a wonder could mix with the plain old earth beneath your feet until you could no longer tell the difference at all. ~ Kindle Edition Location 746

That is just a sampling of the beautiful writing within the pages of this book. I am really looking forward to the rest of this story. To learn more about this talented writer, visit her website and follow her on Twitter @kimberlybrock