Kindle Freebies – May 22, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

Intriguing looking fantasy, including a noir novel with a skeleton detective, a YA novel that uses Samoan mythology and a book of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories, which includes Benjamin Button.  Also found a lovely cookbook for spring and summer soups, plus a handbook for making perfect espresso. Oh, espresso. What would I do without your tasty goodness? For travel, Top Sights Travel Guides is yet again offering more of their guides for free, including one for Stockholm, where I am hoping to go either this year or next.

Actually, if Loreen wins the Eurovision competition, you might very well see me in Stockholm this time next year. 12 points to Sweden!

Fiction

Telesa – The Covenant Keeper by Lani Wendt Young
Leila returns to the land of her birth in search of family and instead discovers she is heir to a fiery elemental birthright…all while navigating through the drama of a new high school with the help of her new best friend “Simone daahling” – a boy with flawless makeup and the catwalk style of Kate Moss. She is introduced to the national sport of rugby and meets an irritating boy that would be much easier to hate if he didn’t have chipped emerald eyes that were always laughing at her and a glorious golden smile. (The glistening, bronzed abs and Pacific warrior tattoos didn’t help either.) There’s hate, love, jealousy, volcanoes and lots of delicious Samoan food in Leila’s coming-of-age journey as she realizes that ancient Pacific myths of elemental spirit women Telesa, contain more truth than fiction. Secrets are revealed and things get blown up as Leila must choose between sisterhood and the boy she loves. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper?

Graves’ End: A Magical Thriller by Sean Patrick Traver
Los Angeles PI Dexter Graves was pretty sure his life ended back in 1950, after a mysterious femme fatale shot him through the head. When Graves involuntarily rises from his grave sixty years later, he finds himself drawn to freelance sorceress Lia Flores, who introduces him to an underworld he never could’ve imagined. Lia sets out to discover the meaning behind Graves’ unexpected intrusion into her enchanted life, but neither the witchgirl nor the skeletal detective has any idea they’re being set up by an old-school player on the LA scene: mobster/monster Mickey Hardface, also known as Mictlantecuhtli, the ambitious king of the Aztec realm of the dead. Funny and fast-paced, this genre-bending love letter to the City of Angels blends surreal magical fantasy with the narrative drive of a taut crime story.

Nolander (Emanations) by Becca Mills
Amateur photographer Beth Ryder sees plenty wrong with her life. At twenty-three, she feels trapped in her small Wisconsin town. The guy she’s been seeing lately wants nothing more to do with her, and her sister-in-law is doing her best to push Beth out of the family. Then one day, Beth takes a picture no one can explain. Her quest for answers leads her far from her small-town roots and opens her eyes to the unseen world around her. Sucked into a dangerous organization responsible for policing visitors from Earth’s shadow world, Beth discovers that humanity is far from alone, and that its fellow creatures, many endowed with disturbing abilities, do not wish it well. As events spin out of her control, Beth must leave her restrictive but safe life behind. Thrown into a frightening new world, she struggles not to surrender more than she can bear to lose, and not to become something she can’t bear to be.

The Charm (Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program) by Alana Siegel
Imagine what high school would be like if your ex-boyfriend fired lightning when he was angry, the sporty girl in your class had enough strength to lift a flatbed truck, and you could charm your way out of trouble. When shy, sixteen year old, Olivia Hart, witnesses the actual rainstorm her ex-boyfriend, Max Smarr, creates in Pandora high school’s cafeteria, she’s convinced she’s lost her mind. Nothing will prepare her, however, for the discovery of her own special Gift.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Tales of the Jazz Age is a collection of essential short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Recipe Books

SPOON: Soup, Stew & Chowder Recipes (Spring/Summer) by Maria Herb and Dana Hay
Spoon: Soup, Chowder, & Stew Recipes (Spring/Summer) offers 25 delicious recipes that are easy-to-prepare, healthy meals that are also full-flavoured and delicious. With their seasonal approach, Maria Herb and Dana Hay provide you with recipes featuring fresh, local ingredients. Maria’s and Dana’s company SPOON sold soups at the local farmers’ markets, using ingredients from the farmers there. Customers returned weekly to stock up on fresh soups, chowders, and stews. This SPOON cookbook collection contains favourites from the market, as well as many new recipes. Cooking with foods that are in season helps to keep your grocery bill down, and you can take advantage of the selection at your local farmers’ market! Most of the recipes in this book can be prepared in less than 30 minutes, and will leave you enough to freeze the extra for another time.

Espresso Making Perfection by Antonio Verona
Learn how to make the perfect espresso at home every single time! Also, my espresso drink recipes! Espresso making perfection is very simple to learn, there is no fluff or filler, just to the point! You don’t need an expensive espresso machine to make incredible espresso. But you do need good technique. Learn how here!

Travel

Top Sights Travel Guide: Stockholm

Top Sights Travel Guide: Ghent

Top Sights Travel Guide: Arezzo

Top Sights Travel Guide: Cyprus

Top Sights Travel Guide: Sardinia

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Kindle Freebies – May 21, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

More travel books. It must be the season. Top Sights Travel Guides is offering seven more of their city guides for free. I also grabbed a guide to New York City’s neighborhoods.

For fiction, I picked up some fantasy and science fiction, short stories and novels. One that particularly tickles my fancy has to do with Shakespeare and fairies, an irresistible combination.

Fiction

The Snow Owl by Jon Hartling
Ben thinks his son’s talk of the magical kingdom of Lukana is just typical childhood imagination. But one winter day, when seven year-old Eric sculpts a snow owl in his backyard, he seems to set in motion events that cannot be anything but magical. Now Ben faces the terrifying prospect of losing his only child to a wintry spirit… a spirit that just might be the boy’s true father.

Ink by Mark Graham
A girls’ night out turns deadly for Camille and her friends when they cross paths with a vicious predator. A self-taught mage, Camille knows better than most the threats that lurk in the darkness. But the magic in her tattoos and in her graffiti can’t match the raw power of a supernatural killer with a hard-on for her. Saving her friends’ lives may just cost her her own.

Post-Human by David Simpson
The future should have been perfect. Microscopic robots known as nans could repair any damage to your body, keep you young by resetting your cellular clocks, and allow you to download upgrades like intelligence, muscle strength, and eyesight. You were supposed to be able to have anything you wanted with a simple thought, to be able to fly without the aid of a machine, to be able to live forever. But when a small group of five terraformers working on Venus return to Earth, they discover that every other human in the solar system has been gruesomely murdered. Now, James Keats and his four companions must discover what happened to the rest of humanity and fight back if they wish to avoid the same, horrifying fate. Welcome to the post-human era.

Chasing the Bard by Philippa Ballantine
Sive, the goddess of battle, hopes that William Shakespeare may be able to change the fate of her people. The Fey are dying, killed by something beyond the boundaries of worlds. But a dark power imprisoned by human and Fey, plots to destroy both worlds, and unmake all that they have created. Can the magic of word and imagination save creation?

Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase
Jade loves her new apartment–until a ghost joins her in the shower. When empath Jade Calhoun moves into an apartment above a strip bar on Bourbon Street, she expects life to get interesting. What she doesn’t count on is making friends with an exotic dancer, attracting a powerful spirit, and developing feelings for Kane, her sexy landlord. Being an empath has never been easy on Jade’s relationships. It’s no wonder she keeps her gift a secret. But when the ghost moves from spooking Jade to terrorizing Pyper, the dancer, it’s up to Jade to use her unique ability to save her. Except she’ll need Kane’s help–and he’s betrayed her with a secret of his own–to do it. Can she find a way to trust him and herself before Pyper is lost?

Travel

Guide to New York City’s Neighborhoods
The Guide to New York City’s Neighborhoods is written for people contemplating a move to the City or who have recently moved there. The guide includes profiles of neighborhoods throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Each neighborhood profile is written by a writer who either lives or has a close connection to the neighborhood they are writing about. The authors attempt to provide an accurate profile of both the good and the bad each neighborhood offers. The neighborhoods profiled include: Alphabet City, Astoria, Bay Ridge, Carroll Gardens, Chinatown, Clinton Hill, Cobble Hill, East Village, Fort Greene, Greenpoint, Hamilton Heights, Harlem, Hudson Heights/Fort Tryon, Little Italy, Meatpacking District, Midtown West, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Upper West Side, Washington Heights, and Williamsburg.

Top Sights Travel Guide: Monaco

Top Sights Travel Guide: Munich

Top Sights Travel Guide: Corsica

Top Sights Travel Guide: Prague

Top Sights Travel Guide: Naples

Top Sights Travel Guide: Reykjavik

Top Sights Travel Guide: Florence

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Eurovision – My Top 10

Top 10 Performances

The following are my favorite performers in the Eurovision competition so far. I’ve posted their first rehearsal videos. Mind you, the acoustics are terrible. Part of the reason some of these artists made it to my top 10 is because they managed to sound good, or even great, despite being in a rehearsal situation with lots of background noise and distractions.

1. Loreen, representing Sweden with Euphoria

I love this song so much and Loreen has the voice and presence to give it power and transcendent beauty. Her dancing is growing on me, but I don’t know… I prefer she perform without all the movement. It’s not looking so good in rehearsal, but it is a rehearsal after all. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the actual performance.

2. Nina Zilli, representing Italy with L’Amore È Femmina

I have such a girl crush on Nina Zilli. She’s smokin’ hot, got great style and an amazing voice. Love the song and the swagger she gives the lyrics.

3. Ott Lepland, representing Estonia with Kuula

Best voice of the competition, I think. He sounds amazing even here. He’s a handsome man and he holds the stage effortlessly with the power of his presence, with no need for hype.

4. Engelbert Humperdinck, represented the UK with Love Will Set You Free

Another great ballad and amazing voice. The Hump needs no hype to hold the stage. At 76-years-old, I thought he might be the oldest performer at Eurovision, but it turns out that one of the Russian Babushki is a little older.

5. Soluna Samay, representing Denmark with Should’ve Known Better

I love her indie pop vibe and rock and roll voice. She’s got a fresh face, but knows how to hold the stage like a seasoned performer. Really wish she’d lose the epaulets, but oh well.

6. Greta Salóme and Jónsi, representing Iceland with Never Forget

I am a sucker for this kind of Gothic pop and they do it so well. I’m also impressed by anyone who can sing and play the violin at the same time. Their voices blend nicely, but I’m not sensing a lot of onstage chemistry. Hope they bring it on in the actual performance.

7. Anggun, representing France with Echo (You And I)

This is one of the songs that really grew on me to become one of my favorites. I would love a dance remix for my iPod. She’s got a great voice and strong presence.

8. Kurt Calleja, representing Malta with This Is The Night

Another song that became a fave. Great beat, great hook, overall an infectious tune that gave me an earworm or two. Kurt Calleja has a strong voice and good stage presence.

9. Roman Lob, representing Germany with Standing Still

Another indie rocker with a great sound. The band is tight and he’s got a strong, distinct voice. Kind of hoping he doesn’t change his indie look much. Keep the beanie!

10. Ivi Adamou, representing Cyprus with La La Love

This was the hardest spot to choose. There were a lot of good performances. The song itself is what made this my final choice. It’s a great dance tune. Ivi Adamou has a good voice and is fun to watch. Plus, I’m impressed by the backup singers lifting her over their heads.

These are my personal choices. Since I haven’t watched Eurovision before, I have no idea how the voting will go. By this time next week, we’ll know how right or wrong I was.

Roller Derby Night

This exciting sport has been making a big comeback in recent years. I loved roller derby as a kid, so when a friend joined the local league, the Boulder County Bombers, that was the excuse I needed to get back into it. My husband and I went to see her first match last night.

The match took place in the gym at the St. Vrain Memorial Building in Longmont. A very enthusiastic sold out crowd cheered on the two teams, the Daisy Nukes and the Shrap Nellies. Both teams are in the same league, so this could be called a friendly, though very competitive match.

Boulder County Bombers

Boulder County Bombers in action

This is the best action photo I could get with my phone camera. In the background, you can see one of the players going down. There were lots of collisions and pile-ups. It’s a very exciting game to watch. The skating was amazing, especially the jammers, the players who can score points.

Daisy Nukes

Battle ready

During the second half, we sat in the Daisy Nuke’s corner. It was fun, watching them discuss strategy and seeing them skate in and out of action.

Daisy Nukes Style

Fierce style

I loved that the players all added their own personal flare to their uniforms.

Roller Derby Name

Call her Muscle Leanie

Each player has a roller derby name, such as Muscle Leanie, Fleur de Beast, Double DeckHer and Feist E. One. A player’s handle must be unique and there is even a registry of roller derby names so that no two will be the same. Players choose their names with care. However, if you’re interested in a roller derby name, there is a Roller Derby Name Generator. You can choose between being a blocker, pivot or jammer. I got Allie DeathWish.

The Daisy Nukes won by a wide margin, though at half time, the Shrap Nellies had come from behind to take the lead. Luckily, we were sitting by the scoreboard and one of the volunteers filled us in. It had been long awhile since I’d watched a roller derby match and I remembered little of the rules. You can still enjoy watching without a lot of knowledge, but I’m going to learn more before the next match.

One thing I also appreciated was the family atmosphere. There were home baked goods sold in the lobby, a martial arts demonstration at half time, and lots of kids watching the skaters in awe. I felt that same awe when I was a kid watching the San Francisco Bay Bombers. Now I have a new team to root for. Go Boulder County Bombers!

Eurovision – Ireland and the United Kingdom

Down to the last two countries on the list of Eurovision contestants, Ireland and the UK. Am I saving the best for last? Let’s take a look.

Jedward is representing Ireland with the pop song, Waterline

Glitter boots! Okay, so here we have identical twins singing a boy band song while dressed in Michael Jackson’s discarded wardrobe from the eighties. I hadn’t heard of Jedward before this. Apparently, they are an almost overnight phenomenon in Ireland and the UK, after having placed sixth on the X Factor. They also represented Ireland in the 2011 Eurovision competition with the song, Lipstick. They came in a respectable eighth place. So why send them again? Well, they won their national competition. I actually like the 2011 song, Lipstick, better than Waterline. As performers, their voices blend well and they have high energy. I never liked boy bands, not even when I was a tween, so Jedward doesn’t do much for me. I can see they have a potentially strong voting block, so I wouldn’t count them out of the finals.

Engelbert Humperdinck is representing the United Kingdom with the ballad, Love Will Set You Free

It’s hard to think of two performances more different than those of Jedward and Engelbert Humperdinck. Most of all, I appreciate EH’s lack of hype. He doesn’t need it as he such an established performer. He can hold the stage with just mood lighting and a single guitarist. Very impressive. As I watched this, it reminded me, just a bit, of Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt. This doesn’t have the same raw power, but this song ends with real emotional impact. EH sounds great and his voice is still strong. The UK deserves its spot in the finals with this performance.

That’s it! Through the list. Whew! I’m very impressed by the variety of the performances. It’s not as easy to pick favorites as I thought it would be. I’ll be posting my Eurovision top 10 later.

Kindle Freebies – May 18, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

Cup of tea, anyone? Or perhaps a book teaching you all about tea? I’ll take one of those please, with cream, no sugar. I also found some very interesting looking recipe books from Romania, Ukraine and Catalonia.

Keeping with the international theme, Top Sights Travel Guides are offering six of their guides for free. These are short city guides, no more than 30 pages each, but could come in quite handy when traveling with a Kindle. In case I do go on any international travels, I’ve got plenty to read. Today, I loved me some fantasy with a novel, a novella and a book of dark fairy tales. Fun.

Recipe Books

The Green Gourmet Perfect Cup Of Tea Book by Lori Jane Stewart
Tea is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. It can help you to wake up in the morning, get through your day or get to sleep at night – in fact, it can even improve your health. Although all tea, with the exception of herbal tea, can be traced back to one plant, no two teas are alike. So, how do you know which tea to drink? Not only that, but how do you brew a perfect cup of tea at home? Are tea bags better or worse than tea leaves? How long should you let the water boil? Those are all good questions. After all, the world of tea can be quite confusing. We have created this in-depth tea drinking book in order to teach you anything you ever wanted to know about tea and tea drinking. For example, have you often wondered about the difference between regular tea and herbal tea? Do you wonder exactly how healthy tea is? Do you wonder where tea is grown and how it is processed? Well, this guide has all of those answers and more.

Roots. Essential Catalan Cuisine According to El Celler de Can Roca by Joan Roca
In this book the prestigious chef Joan Roca, at the head of the celebrated restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, introduces a top selection of traditional Catalan recipes from among those his mother, Montserrat, has always prepared at the Can Roca restaurant in Girona, where he began his professional training. The foundations of the cuisine that now bears the name of this master chef are encompassed in these pages: from the fried calamari to the delicious crema catalana, as well as the festival cannelloni and the fish suquet. The recipes are explained in a straightforward fashion for the inexperienced cook and complemented by interesting observations about the different products, preparations, versions and presentations of each dish. Over one hundred twenty recipes that comprise a small tribute to traditional Catalan cuisine, the ROOTS for that of El Celler de Can Roca.

Ukrainian Cuisine Guide by Val Shoss, Helen Smirnoff and Nikita Lysytskiy
This guide is a result of mutual research of a Ukrainian writer Nikita Lysytskiy and two of his friends: Val Shoss (Seattle, US) and Helen Smirnoff (Bournemouth, UK), who visited Ukraine in 2011 and spent a lot of time testing Ukrainian cuisine. Thanks to them, all the dishes and drinks in this book are presented from a tourist’s point of view. It is written by people who first had no idea about Ukrainian cuisine, but then learned it entirely. You will learn not only details of every dish and approximate prices for it, but also how it looks like. We illustrated all articles with descriptive photos for you to be sure you get the same meal you order. This book highlights all components of dishes, as well as how-to-prepare guide. It lists all ingredients of any dish you order and helps to avoid unpleasant surprises. As well the book will show you how to cook Ukrainian food at home.

Romanian Food : Best recipes by Gabriel Chirita
There are 20 Romanian traditional recipes. The book contains easy-to-make Romanian dishes, with contributions from Romanian cooks and family recipes well explained. Recipes include the Romanian name, ingredients and well explained preparation instructions. In the book you will find recipes and tips for Tripe Soup,Bean Soup,Ground beef with potatoes and eggs,Romanian Cabbage and Sausage, Pork sausages with beetroot and apple, the famous Romanian Cozonac with a 5 page how to and a few other traditional Romanian food recipes.

Fiction

Death’s Hand by SM Reine
Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it–until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn’t stand to see one more dead body. Now they’ve been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world’s best killing teams. After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed. Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…

Aftershock (Rise of the Unseelie urban fantasy series) by S. A. Archer and S. Ravynheart
The day the Mounds collapsed Jhaer, leader of the Unseelie Elite, sacrificed his strength, his magic, and his very life to save his world. It wasn’t enough. He thought that was the end of his story… Instead it is the beginning.

Don’t Let the Fairies Eat You (Looking for the Witch) by Darryl Fabia
Within, you won’t find fairy tales meant for children at bedtime. Collecting thirty stories of wonder and mischief, Don’t Let the Fairies Eat You is inspired by a time when misbegotten pregnancies and meat pies made of men were as expected in fairy tales as magic spells and happy endings. At times amusing, at others unnerving, Don’t Let the Fairies Eat You revels in the primal nature fairy tales once had, and invites you to enjoy the wildness of every story.

Travel

Top Sights Travel Guide: Ankara

Top Sights Travel Guide: Nimes

Top Sights Travel Guide: Zurich

Top Sights Travel Guide: Lille

Top Sights Travel Guide: St Tropez

Top Sights Travel Guide: Verona

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Kindle Freebies – May 17, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

Gourmet popcorn! Yummers! My idea of gourmet popcorn has been sprinkling on some Parmesan cheese. A recipe book is most welcome. I also grabbed a book on cake recipes from scratch. I know cake isn’t healthy, but it must be better for you when made by scratch rather than from a box. And since I’m in a baking mood, I also grabbed a home baking glossary.

Anyone reading this blog may have noticed I have a strong preference for genre fiction, particularly fantasy, mystery, suspense and horror. Which isn’t to say I don’t occasionally like a bit of science fiction, romance and even literary fiction. Today, though, I’m in my happy place with a few fantasy novels, two by the same author, and a couple of short stories with covers that seriously creeped me out. To finish off, since I’m planning a road trip later in the summer, I grabbed a road trip travel guide.

Recipe Books

30 Perfect Popcorn Recipes : How to Make Sweet & Savory Gourmet Popcorn at Home by Lori Jane Stewart
I’ve gathered 30 of the finest popcorn recipes from around the world for your snacking pleasure, and have tried to keep them free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives or other nasty additives wherever possible. I’ve specified 9 cups of popped corn for most recipes, as that gives 3 generous cups per serving – you can have as many or as few servings as you fancy, but keep an eye on the calories! For your convenience, I’ve also included nutritional data from the USDA for each recipe (that’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture and not the United Square Dancers of America!) My preference for both flavor and health reasons, is freshly air-popped popcorn – so I have used that kind for all of these recipes. Everything in this book can be made with kernels you have freshly popped, or if you are in a hurry (or feeling lazy!), then you can always use the plain store bought pre-popped variety – just make sure you check the packaging for artificial nasties!

30 Delicious Cake Recipes From Scratch by Joan Johnson
Joan Johnson, and international best-selling cookbook author, has come up with another cookbook – this time it’s delicious cake recipes! All the cakes in the this book are MADE FROM SCRATCH, no boxed cake mix used here! There are cake recipes for all occasions, so you won’t be disappointed with the options you have. There is also a short introduction, along with some tips for baking cakes!

The Home Baking Glossary of Terms (In the Pantry Baking Standards) by Joyce Middleton
Have you ever read a new recipe and then been stuck wondering what something meant? Or maybe you’re dying to bake something, but you don’t have the right pan. Best-Selling Author Joyce Middleton brings you a glossary of common baking terms for the novice baker.

Fiction

Talion by Mary Maddox
Two victims. One sociopath. Lots of terror. Fifteen-year-old Lisa Duncan has attracted the interest of serial killer Conrad (Rad) Sanders. At an isolated resort in Utah, he watches as vivacious Lisa begins an unlikely friendship with another teenager, Lu Jakes, the strange and introverted daughter of employees at the resort. Lu enters Rad’s fantasies as well. He learns Lu is being abused by her stepmother and toys with the notion of freeing her from her sad life and keeping her awhile as his captive. Lu seems like an easy conquest who could be persuaded to act out his fantasy by killing her new friend. But Lu has an ally with powers beyond Rad’s imagination.

Sleepers (The Swarm Trilogy, Book 1) by Megg Jensen
An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she’s filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her. Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?

Anathema (Cloud Prophet Trilogy, Book 1) by Megg Jensen
Sheltered from the outside world with no hope for escape, slave girl Reychel dreads her fifteenth birthday – when her master’s symbol is burned on the back of her bald scalp. Her best friend disappears the night before, leaving her to face the branding ceremony alone. She soon discovers nothing is as it seems when people desperate for freedom beg for Reychel’s help. Can Reychel learn to believe in herself?

The Doll by J.C. Martin
The Island of the Dolls is a strange and eerie tourist destination in Mexico, where hundreds of decomposing dolls hang from trees like grisly Christmas ornaments. On a trip to the island, Joyce Parker’s daughter falls in love with a beautiful but sinister doll. Soon after, she starts developing strange mannerisms that concerns Joyce. Her research into the doll’s past reveals a dark history, and the curse of a lonely child spirit.

An Embarrassing Odour by Andrew Biss
Ethel, a frail, widowed pensioner, sits down one evening to tackle her daily crossword puzzle, when suddenly her tranquil world is turned upside down as a burglar breaks into her home believing it to be unoccupied. While Ethel vainly attempts to forge a relationship with the violent delinquent before her, his concerns lie only in getting his hands on her valuables…that and the unpleasant smell that fills the room. As Ethel shamefully admits, it’s an embarrassing odour for a seventy-eight year old to have, but what her intruder doesn’t know is quite why…though he’s about to find out!

Travel

5 of the USA’s Best Trips by Lonely Planet
This book describes five short road trips (the between about 150 miles long and 400 miles long), each with a different theme and in a different region of the USA. There’s one trip in New England (fall foliage and local foods), one in the Southeast, one in California, one in the Midwest (cheese and beer themed, my personal favorite) and one in the Pacific Northwest (a trip on Amtrak, for folks who want to go on a road trip but leave the car behind.) Each trip has a complete itinerary that includes tips for where to find the best meals, lodging and attractions on your route. (Description provided by Amazon review T. Boone)

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in the sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Eurovision – Belgium and the Netherlands

I saw this comment on YouTube for Belgium’s entry: “Reminds me of the Austrian entry last year, pretty girl but song not a stand out.” I have noticed with a number of the entries that pretty, be it male or female, is definitely a factor. Sentiment can also be a big factor. Look at the Russians. The Babushki aren’t pretty, but they are beautiful and who doesn’t want to see grandma kick up her heels and have a good time? When the finalists are chosen, it will be interesting to see how looks, talent and sentiment stack up against each other.

Iris is representing Belgium with the pop song, Would You

As was stated above, she’s a pretty young woman, quite young, 17-years-old. She is fresh-faced, wearing a very cute outfit and looks like a role model. If this was a junior competition, I’d think, “Wow, she’s good. She has a future.” But this is a major International competition and she’s not ready. Her voice is nice, but she doesn’t sing with the depth of emotion the lyrics require. Instead she smiles as she sings of heartache. In the interest of not being ageist, I know there are 17-year-olds who can sing with the required maturity. Not this one. Not a winner for me, but if she appeals to young voters, she could make the finals.

Joan is representing the Netherlands with the folk song, You And Me

My jaw dropped as I watched this. I guess she didn’t realize that, at least in the US, this stage presentation could be considered offensive. She did address this in an interview and spoke of her inspiration, playing cowboys and Indians with the boy next door. Another video shows her reliving this childhood memory and it’s very sweet. I’m certain she meant no disrespect. However, as seen in the video, a simple feather in the hair can hearken back to the memory rather than a full-on headdress. The dancers dressed in sexy fringe made me think of this. Wince.

Apart from the controversy, I give her props for singing a simple, heartfelt folk song. I really liked her voice. It’s very distinct and has a lovely, pure quality when she hits the high notes. Not quite a winner for me, but very nice.

Kindle Freebies – May 16, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

I’m not much of a drinker. Maybe a beer or a glass of wine once a week or so. That being said, how can I resist a dessert book with beer as the main ingredient? I’ve made savory dishes using beer, but never sweet ones, so I’m looking forward to checking out these recipes. Also, I’m going to a steampunk convention next week, so I had to grab a copy of SteamDrunks.

Other downloads include a Chinese soup recipe book, two YA fantasy novels, and three historical novellas, one of them featuring zombies. Since summer is almost upon us, I also grabbed a few travel guides.

Recipe Books

SteamDrunks: 101 Steampunk Cocktails and Mixed Drinks by Chris-Rachael Oseland
SteamDrunks: 101 Steampunk Cocktails and Mixed Drinks gently escorts you through the treacherous waters of 19th century mixology. You’ll find authentic Victorian punch recipes that could be confused for farmer’s cheese, tea recipes which will knock you out rather than wake you up, and downright chewable eggy cream curdles. Along the way, you’ll also find some shockingly tasty 19th century recipes made from all natural ingredients you already have at home. Whether you’re looking for a delicate cocktail to impress a fine corset clad lady or industrial quantities of affordable Victorian punch to serve the entire crew of your airship, you’ll find the perfect Steampunk themed drink inside the pages of SteamDrunks.

47 Beer Dessert Recipes by Diane Dixon
Diane Dixon has done it again with a collection of non-conventional dessert recipes. She has put together a collection of some of the most delicious desserts and to top it all off…they all are made with beer! Desserts are great but who wants to eat the same old desserts time and time again. The desserts featured in this book are fun, easy to make and most of all they are delicious!

Chinese Soup Made Easy by Ming Liu
The ONLY Chinese soup cookbook on amazon kindle store. From #1 best-selling Chinese cookbook author – Ming Liu. Enjoy easy & delicious Chinese soup right at your finger tips. All the ingredients are easy to find, the dishes are easy to make.

Fiction

The Poppet and the Lune by Madeline Claire Franklin
The witch who made the patchwork girl died before she could give her creation a name. Stitched together from the remains of the villagers’ dead children—whose memories still live in her flesh—and held together by a ring made of moonbeams, the patchwork girl is a spell as yet unfinished. She can never be what her parents wanted her to be: a replacement for the children they’ve lost. So when the poppet grows up, and grows tired of being a disappointment, she decides to embark upon a journey through the Everwood Forest in search of her real name. In the forest she meets Faolin, a newly made wereman (a man trapped as a wolf except during the full moon) running from the beasts who killed his father, and stole his throne as Wolf King. He joins the patchwork girl on her journey, and she promises to help him become human again and return to his fiancée. Together, they face the dangers of the forest as their paths wind together: Faolin running from his destiny, the patchwork girl in search of her own, and both of them bound by moonlight.

Rex Rising (Elei’s Chronicles) by Chrystalla Thoma
In a world where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side. Pursued for a secret he does not possess and with the fleet at his heels, he has but one thought: to stay alive. His pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, although that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he hardly knows. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret – a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known – or die trying.

The Merchant’s Wife by D.B. Collins
Livia Cotta’s family was murdered in the dead of night and she was the only survivor. She was taken in by a family friend, rescued from the clutches of those who would do her harm, but she is a shell of her former self. Skin and bones and with no will to go on, stuck in “the dark river,” as she calls it, she is on her last leg when a friend of the General’s arrives. This man on the chestnut mare will rouse her from the depths of despair and bring her back to the land of the living.

The Saffron Thread: A Novella of the Crusades by D.B. Collins
Muna is a young slave girl who is befriended by a Turkish doctor, Osman, who becomes her protector. Osman is a pious man, but a slave too, and cannot take Muna as his wife. When they are rescued by a young mecenary, Rayhan, and his band of warriors, Muna is captivated by the young man, and Osman is suspicious and jealous. The young Saladin, on his way to Damascus after its ruler has passed away, intent on conquering the city without shedding any blood, takes on Osman as a physician and Rayhan and his men as warriors. The beautiful Muna comes along, but must soon make a difficult choice: who will win her heart? The pious, timid doctor or the young, firebrand warrior.

The Followers – A Short Tale of the Civil War Undead by William Van Winkle
In July 1863, Confederate General James Longstreet may hold the key to turning General Lee’s potentially catastrophic strategy at Gettysburg into war-deciding victory. One man’s horrible tragedy can place ranks of the undead at Longstreet’s disposal and turn the fate of the Confederate cause…if he dares. This dark novella will hold you mesmerized until the wrenching end.

Nonfiction

Recession-busting Britain: Best Free Experiences by Lonely Planet
The ultimate guide to the best free things to do throughout England, Scotland and Wales includes author-recommended reviews and practical information on a wide-range of free options from museums to markets, galleries to guided walks, cathedrals to conversation centres and much more – all the essentials you need to help you explore Britain without spending a penny. This guide has been created by Lonely Planet’s dedicated authors and local experts who immersed themselves in England, Scotland and Wales, finding the best free experiences and sharing practical and honest advice.

Our Quirky Guide to Seattle
We’re not travel experts. Rather, we’re a group of friends and coworkers, a bit ambitious and a bit peculiar, who enjoy our time with each other and enjoy partaking in what Seattle has to offer. We work hard, and it leaves us little time to play. We try to maximize our limited leisure time by pursuing our passions, going to places we love, and having fun. This is not a complete book of Seattle activities. Instead, it is a collection of our favorite activities. You will find a full range of arts, dining, outdoor, and travel suggestions. Perhaps one of our favorites will become one of yours. The forty-two of us were able to come together, collaborate, and create a book. This was possible only through the flexibility of self-publishing. We feel fortunate to live in Seattle. It is a place that is always raining, just finished raining, or is about to rain. It makes us appreciate our time outdoors and the beautiful scenery even more. We hope our words will help you explore, taste, smell, feel, and hear all things Seattle.

The Travel Hacking Guide to Norway by Scott Meyer
Combining personal experience, local insight and online resources, veteran tour guide and techie Scott David Meyer uncovers the lesser-known treasures of Norway. The Travel Hacking Guide to Norway is more than a guide, it is a challenge to rethink the possibilities of travel, technology and social connections.

Finally, I’m not a parent, but those who are might like to know that Maddy’s Guide to Life: The Monster Edition (The First 20 Stories) by Kristina Andersen is currently free. Grab it while you can.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in the sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Eurovision – France and Switzerland

France and Switzerland, love you, hate your official Eurovision videos. I’m not sure how this works, if Eurovision picks the videos or the artist/country submits them. Regardless, since the competition is supposedly based on live performance, I don’t understand why a number of the videos have been the theatrical kind that “tell a story.” In the case of these two countries, the stories are ridiculous and annoying. The one from France is practically begging for a literal interpretation.

I searched YouTube for better performances, which are featured below. The sound quality isn’t as good as the official videos, but in the case of Switzerland, the performance is so much better.

Anggun is representing France with the dance song, Echo (You And I)

You can find the official video here. As for the above performance, hot babe, great voice, good stage presence. I liked the song. With a good remix, it’s very danceable. Summer is coming and I can see this having a lot of seasonal appeal since it’s so light and frothy. Not a winner for me, but I’m not counting it out. This could be a contender.

Sinplus is representing Switzerland with the rock song, Unbreakable

You can find the official video here. Love this live performance. The band is high energy and the singer has a distinct voice and good stage presence. The song has a rock anthem quality that makes your head bop. Overall, really good. I liked the song, but I didn’t love it. Not a winner for me, but high up there. Could be a contender, depending on how many rock fans are voting.

I liked both songs and would be happy to hear either on the radio. If I were to choose between them now, I would go with Switzerland. If France were to put out a hot remix, though, that’s the one that would be on my iPod.