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Posts from — June 2012

Second Chances and My-Want-to-Change List

We celebrated an second wedding anniversary in May and realizing that we’ve stuck it out for two years together hit me hard and set in motion a lot of realisations.

We are both freelancers. What that means is we have a lot of time for life but we don’t necessarily always have the money. This is usually a good place to be until of course one of the credit card bills arrive to shatter the peace for a bit. The first few years of being a freelancer are hard. You have to learn that less is more and most often the hard way, you have to close old chapters and debts and it takes time to sink-in that you really have a good life.

The last couple of years have been those years for us. Che took up photography full time just days before we got married. (It still remember the looks I got from family when I told them I was marrying a jobless man :D) And we’re still working our way to that peaceful place.

Our anniversary set me off on thinking for days on end about all the difficulties we’ve faced in the last two years. I was in this confused place where I wasn’t sure if I was happy or sad – a mixed bag of emotions. Days crept by with my lists of things I wish I could change just getting longer and longer. The more time I spent the more stuff that had gone wrong surfaced.

One day returning after a visit with Mom, I sat-up and noticed that I didn’t have a do-not-want-to-change list. So I started making it. It did get long, not maybe as long at the want-to-change list but I had some great items on it.

My top item was having Chenthil in my life. I’d like to change a lot of things but in every change I want him around. (I want others too but this post isn’t about that :P)

Since I titled this post ‘Second Chances’ I’m taking mine – Happy Anniversary, Valetine’s, Birthday, etc. today and everyday baby. Everyday with you is a celebration; Love you. Corny, but true. xxx

What’s on your do-not-want-to-change list?

June 22, 2012   5 Comments

Zero Dollar Books – Free eBooks for the Amazon Kindle

A few months ago Amazon started a new program called the KDP Select for authors. This program offers authors a few ways to promote their books but the main points are that authors can join the 90 day program that allows Amazon Prime members to borrow their book and they can give away their book for free on the Kindle for 5 days.

This means that there are quite a few books being given away free everyday and this is what excites me. But finding these books isn’t easy, at least on Amazon. There are a few sites that help you find these books but my favourite is Zero Dollar Books.

Here’s what I like about Zero Dollar Books
It shows the current free books on Amazon is a nice layout (quite like Pinterest).
Seeing book covers helps me make a better choice.
The list is updated regularly (a few times a day).
Clicking on the book cover leads me to the book’s Amazon page.
Getting the book is now just a few clicks.

Cons –
Wish there was a way to sort by category/genre.
Not all books show. I’ve noticed a few books that are free but not listed here.

I’ve tried following and joining a few other sites for free kindle books but Zero Dollar Books is the one I seem to gravitate to regularly. Actually everyday – checking the list for updated free books is now a part of my everyday routine 😀

Ofcourse tracking these books after I get them was getting difficult after about a week so now I have two GoodReads lists – one for my Kindle-to-Reads and the other for my Reference-Books-on-Kindle.

The books available everyday range from romance to cooking to farming and I’ve been building my library 🙂 Now before I sound like some cheap reader who is only after free books. Let me say – Hey, I’m cheap and proud of it! But frankly this way I’ve read books from authors I’d never have found or read before and even bought some books to finish the series.

So thank you authors for giving away your books to readers like me. I hope I can pay you back by reviewing and sharing your work. Hey fellow reader, why are you still here? You better be off to Zero Dollar Books!

Where do you get your free books? Do you even get free books? Which sites do you recommend?

June 11, 2012   No Comments

Book Review: The Cinderella Curse by J.L. Penn

Title: The Cinderella Curse
Author: J.L. Penn
Paperback: 68 pages
Publisher: Kindle Edition(March 15th 2010)
Genre: Romance
Read: eBook
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon
Summary: (Amazon)
Cindy had a fairy tale life – well, not literally – but she was pretty and popular. Then one fateful autumn day, while picking apples, she encountered a real-life witch. After accidentally clocking the witch on the head with her basket of apples, the angry witch put a spell on her. As Cindy would soon find out, she was destined to live out her nights turning into a pumpkin at midnight. Talk about a crimp in your social life!

There is only one antidote for Cindy’s terrible curse – if only she knew what it was. Hilarity ensues as Cindy attempts to lead a normal life as a part-time pumpkin.

My Review:

Kindle Freebie: Thanks J.L. Penn 🙂

The blurb of the book says it’s a hilarious tale, so when I was looking for a new book to read and wanted something light and fun, this seemed like a good choice. And it was!

One day while picking apples Cindy drops her basket of apples on the head of a witch who promptly curses her. Poor Cindy now turns into a pumpkin every night at midnight. Now that’s a unique take on Cinderella!

The story is about how Cindy deals with life while turning into a pumpkin. She finds herself in a lot of awkward situations and has a lot of explaining to do – like when she turns into a pumpkin at the store and is found in the morning sleeping on a pile of pumpkins 🙂 Her friend Lexi helps her get out of a few sticky situations and together they try to find a cure. While all this is happening Cindy continues dating and of course this leads to more tight spots.

Will Cindy find a cure and the love of her life or will she have to end every date before midnight?

The Cinderella Curse is a quick read and it made me laugh – a lot. It’s a light non-serious book that’s great for a lazy afternoon.

Buy On: Amazon

June 8, 2012   No Comments

Book Review: One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

Title: One Dance with a Duke
Author: Tessa Dare
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books(May 13th 2010)
Genre: Historical Romance
Read: Paperback (Rouge Collection)
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon | Flipkart
Summary: (Amazon)
A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members—yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing “Duke of Midnight.” Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke—until Lady Amelia d’Orsay tries her luck.

In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke’s dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother’s debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club’s founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

My Review:

After 32 ebooks I read One Dance with a Duke on paper 😀

One Dance with a Duke is the first part of the Stud Club Trilogy by Tessa Dare. It’s a historical romance but with a modern touch. The language a lot of times feels modern rather than historic and there’s just an over all feel of being in the modern world while still being in the Victorian era. And that’s not a bad thing because I quite enjoyed reading it.

The book is filled with a good amount of the erotic and I usually don’t like that but in this case I enjoyed reading those steamy scenes too. Be prepared for a lot of locations and positions 😛

The characters are lovable. Spencer the Duke is not only tall, dark and handsome but also has his own failings that make him more human. Amelia is an older woman at 26 and her thought processes make for enjoyable reading. She has a lot of spunk and stands up for people. This makes for some skirmishes to look forward too.

The story revolves around a horse Osiris and a gentlemen’s club – The Stud Club. I like that name! Leo the founder of the club gets killed and there’s a mystery to the event. However this mystery isn’t resolved in the book. I’m hoping it’ll get solved over the next two books.

I just can’t seem to find the cover I read, so here it is. Like I said with Lady Sophia’s Rescue; I just can’t understand why authors agree to cut off the head of the heroine on the cover. It just looks weird!

This may not be an exceptional book but definitely makes for an enjoyable read. I’m going to look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy when I can get my hands on them.

Buy On: Amazon | Flipkart

June 6, 2012   No Comments

Book Review: The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

Title: The Troubled Man
Author: Henning Mankell
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: March 1st 2011 by Harvill Press (Mar. 1st 2009)
Genre: Mystery (Crime)
Read: eBook
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon | Flipkart
Summary: (Amazon)
On a winter day in 2008, Håkan von Enke, a retired high-ranking naval officer, vanishes during his daily walk in a forest near Stockholm. The investigation into his disappearance falls under the jurisdiction of the Stockholm police. It has nothing to do with Wallander—officially. But von Enke is his daughter’s future father-in-law. And so, with his inimitable disregard for normal procedure, Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility, making promises he won’t keep, telling lies when it suits him—and getting results.

But the results hint at elaborate Cold War espionage activities that seem inextricably confounding, even to Wallander, who, in any case, is troubled in more personal ways as well. Negligent of his health, he’s become convinced that, having turned sixty, he is on the threshold of senility. Desperate to live up to the hope that a new granddaughter represents, he is continually haunted by his past. And looking toward the future with profound uncertainty, he will have no choice but to come face-to-face with his most intractable adversary: himself.

My Review:

Its one of those weird things – I don’t know why I had this book on my Kindle but when a friend saw it he recommended it. Kurt Wallander books are supposed to be good mysteries to read. So I said what the hell and just read it. I should have checked because this book is the last in a series of 10.

That said it’s not a bad book. It’s just that the characters felt a bit unknown but that most probably is because I haven’t yet met them in the last nine books. Note to self: Read book 1: Faceless Killers.

The story revolves round the disappearance of Wallander’s daughter’s father-in-law and that draws Wallander into the case. As he investigates the case the mother-in-law disappears too. His findings point to a high level spy. But who is the spy and who is he/she spying for? These are the answers you’re looking for through the book.

The storyline has a lot of world politics and the political situation in Sweden over the years. I am not a great fan of politics and this bit of the book I didn’t enjoy so much even though I may have learned a thing or two.

Over all I’m glad I gave Henning Mankell a try and withhold hard judgment until I’ve read the first in the series – Faceless Killers. 🙂

Buy On: Amazon | Flipkart

June 4, 2012   No Comments

Becoming a FlipKart Affiliate in India

To complete my affiliate tie-ups for now I wanted to add FlipKart to my list. I live in India so Amazon is great for all who read my blog abroad but in India Amazon doesn’t work so well as it costs a lot to ship stuff. But FlipKart is the big book seller here so I thought it worth my while. This way I can give readers two options to buy the book.

The FlipKart Affilate Program is very easy to join. Just click on the ‘Join Now For Free’ button and follow the instructions to fill in your details. Once you signed up you’ll see the home screen.

I haven’t used the FlipKart links much yet but the layout seems super easy to figure out and report useful. I did go to ‘My Account’ though and add in all my information.

The process of creating links seems very simple compared to others I’ve seen until now who generate the link. But that said its early days. I’m just starting out with it, so I’ll keep you posted on how it comes along.

Update as of 26th December 2012 – Until now I had only used my affiliate id for books I’ve reviewed. I didn’t gets clicks in the initial months it seems but in November and December I got 76 clicks however none of them converted. Maybe people in India aren’t buying so many books after reading reviews 🙂 I have to get more aggressive with my affiliate marketing I guess.

June 1, 2012   3 Comments