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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - February 9, 2014

While I can't say I got anything done this weekend, I can at least feel productive. In addition to my clean up of titles on my wish lists (so more Kindle books), I am now also synching my Amazon wish lists with GoodReads. I have 24 pages of book titles and 17 pages of Kindle titles. I want to make sure everything is on both lists. While I believe most of the titles I have TBR on GoodReads is on my Amazon wish lists, I cannot say the same going from Amazon to GoodReads.

So, I have another massive task on my hands. I have currently gotten through 10 pages of my book wish list, so perhaps I'll be done with that project by the end of the week. What I am finding, though, as I do author searches (It is easier than a title search since I am not caught up on a lot of series. This way I can hit the author's titles all at once.)is that there are a bunch of anthologies the authors have contributed to and I am finding a lot of short story content that was web only. I have some extras from Cassandra Clare, Beth Fantaskey and Aprilynne Pike. So, as I continue to add titles to GoodReads TBR, I will keep my eyes open for some of the extra stories. I just hope I can get the loaded on my iPad.

My next project will be trying to load widgets on my blog for my GoodReads, Facebook, etc.

I did finally get myself completely loaded on Net Galley. Only took three years. So, hopefully, there will be some review copies I may get in the future from them.

So this is the trouble I've gotten into this week. And, by the way, while my mailman and I no longer seem to be on the outs, I feel we are far from breaching the distance between us. He did bring me some books this week, so we are on the mend.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Books Purchased:
Doctor Who: 11 Doctors. 11 Stories edited by Eoin Colfer

Seven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale by Charles De Lint

Illuminated by Erica Orloff

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Kindle Books Purchased:
Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn – Kindle Daily Deal

Faelorehn - Book One of the Otherworld Trilogy by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson – Free eBook

Awaking (The Naturals, #1) by Madeline Freeman – Free eBook

Cinderella in the Surf by Carly Syms

The Iron King #0 by Julie Kagawa, Sara Gundell - Free eBook

Such Sweet Sorrow (Entangled Teen) by Jenny Trout - $.99

Scintillate (Entangled Teen) by Tracy Clark - $.99

Gilding the Lily-pad by Elle Lothlorien - $.99

Forgotten Lyrics: A Watersong Story (A Watersong Novel) by Amanda Hocking

Double Star by Cindy Saunders – Free eBook

Some of the Best from 2012 Edition: A Tor.Com Original by Elizabeth Bear, Adam Troy Castro, Paul Cornell, Kathryn Cramer, Brit Mandelo, Pat Murphy, Charles Stross, Michael Swanwick, Rachel Swirsky, Gene Wolfe, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liz Gorinsky, David G. Hartwell – Free eBook

Some of the Best From, 2013 Edition: A Tor.Com Original by Various - Free eBook

The Fierce Reads Anthology: A Tor.Com Original by Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer Bosworth, Emmy Laybourne, Marissa Meyer – Free eBook

The Fierce Reads Anthology: Volume 2: A Tor.Com Original by Ann Aguirre, Gennifer Albin, Elizabeth Fama, Lish McBride, Caragh M. O'Brien, Marie Rutkoski – Free eBook

 Manga Purchased:

Goong 14

Giveaway Won:
The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett – GoodReads Giveaway – Thanks to TOR for the book!

Beth Fantaskey:
The Wedding of Antanasia Jessica Packwood and Lucius Valeriu Vladescu I

Cassandra Clare:
Aprilynne Pike:
Julie Kagawa:
The First Kiss- Ash's POV (The Iron Fey #1.25)
Ash's Letter to Meghan (The Iron Fey #3.6)
An Iron Fey Valentine (The Iron Fey #4.4)

Victoria Schwab:
The Ashborn Boy (Viscious)

Sarah Rees Brennan:
Night After I Lost You (Lynburn Legacy)

Stephanie Perkins:
Anna: First Bonus Scene (Anna and the French Kiss)
Anna: Deleted Chapter (Anna and the French Kiss)

I think that about covers it!  TTFN!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Trouble with Technology

So, I did tell you all that I have managed to kill off 4 Kindles. Kindle 4, RIP, left this mortal coil last May and was a casualty of BEA. I have learned at least to not put a delicate electronic device on the side of a stack of about 50 pounds of books in a tote bag. The pressure, the screen, the horror! There was eInk everywhere on the screen!!!

What I may not have told you all is that I also did in two iPods. The first was really quite unavoidable. I was trying to update my iPod and I had too much in my iTunes library to synch everything to my iPod and it kind of checked itself out. It froze up, couldn't handle the pressure and that, as they say, was that. Hubby called a friend who was working fro Apple at the time and he basically told him that when it seizes up like that, it is done for. Game over, no coming back.

I was upset understandably, but, not devastated, as I upgraded to the largest memory and it had a video screen. I had thought to put anime on the screen so I could watch on the bus to and from work. I think the screen is a little small for that now that I think on it, but that was my rationale. Or perhaps my validation. So, I purchased iPod 2.0. We were best friends. I took it everywhere with me. Although, once in the dark, in the winter, in the snow I dropped it at the curbside without knowing. I found it in the gutter the next day, but it was perfectly fine. I don't think it ever recovered, which I believe is why it tried to end it all by falling out of my hoodie pocket into the toilet while I was listening to it. The funny thing is it was still playing underwater. I had to fish it out (don't judge), clean it off and try to comfort it and tell it everything would be okay. Either it didn't believe me or it just gave up the fight because my iPod gave up the ghost a few days later. Just so this isn't a total horror story, I will tell you I bought the iPod Classic (it has the largest memory currently) and we have been happy ever since.

What you ask is the purpose of this history lesson? Just to illustrate the difficulty I have with technology and to segue into my most recent tale of technological terror.

Let's start with Kindle. Kindle is awesome, as is the Nook, but I started on Kindle (sorry B&N) as it was given to me by hubby. It was his quasi-broken cast off and I didn't really care so much about eReaders, but when we went on vacation and he had like 20 books in a slim little reader and I brought a stack of manga that was killing my shoulder in the airport, I knew that I would need to give in. When he injured his and complained about it incessantly (well, perhaps it was only from time to time), I told him to just buy a new one and give me his.

The wonder of the Kindle, and the Nook, is the ability to download samples. As it turns out, this is both a blessing and a curse. As I found out when the first Kindle died (well, hubby did lend a hand), I found out then that any samples downloaded are not held in the Cloud Reader and are, therefore, gone when you purchase or replace a Kindle. Okay, so not so bad. I didn't have that many. Kind of knew what they were. It was easy enough to download again.

I have a tendency to collect things. Quiet, Terri, these samples are free!! So with each incarnation of my Kindle, I had more samples. I download samples from my wishlist. I read a blog and a book sounds good so I request a sample. Someone recommends a book that sounds good, well, you get the picture. So every time a Kindle died, I would try to recreate those samples on my Kindle. You could ask why I bothered. If I hadn't read them yet, the likelihood of me actually reading them was minuscule. You're probably right, but I am somewhat anal about things like that. A completist, if you will. I would also have to recreate my folders and move the books into the appropriate folders with every replacement. Having about 200 books (many were free, a lot of classics, fairy tales and poetry), it would be time consuming have to format everything each time.

As luck would have it and hubby being somewhat technologically proficient having been to computer school, he was able to plug in the fourth and final Kindle, extract the file and save it to my desk top. Mind you, I still had to re-download any samples, but this was the first time I actually had a list of what those samples were. I had folders for Read Samples and Samples to Buy so I could keep track of which ones I wanted. Sure there's an easier way, but I couldn't figure it out back then.

Determined to never purchase a Kindle or any eReader again (honestly, it could only be Kindle if I did because of the proprietary nature of Amazon), I took the Kindle file and decided I would download the samples onto my Kindle for PC. This was the answer to all my problems. My Kindle on the PC wasn't going anywhere, so I wouldn't lose those samples ever again!!! Hallelujah!!! I found because of the Cloud, I could pull in the folders I had created on my Kindle, I had my samples downloaded and all was well. Except for the fact that the Kindle for PC didn't quite work like the handheld version. For instance, I had all the books on the device, but if I put a book in a folder, it stayed on the main screen as well. With the handheld Kindle, I could create folders and move books into it, so my screen would only show the genre folders and not all my books listed out on the man menu.

So, I thought about this long and hard. I didn't want another Kindle because I was afraid I would break it, but clearly I needed something. Well, I always wanted an iPad and this ended up being the excuse to get one. I could use it as an eReader and so many other things. So, last year maybe around July or August, I bought myself an iPad. I wanted an iPad because I could synch it with my phone and iPod. I downloaded the Kindle App and started the process all over again. Well, the books I didn't need to reload because they are on the Cloud, but the samples I did.

What I did was go into my Books Amazon wishlist and download samples for the books already released. I did the same for my Kindle Wishlist. And I was all set. Since then, I have also downloaded samples based on blog recommendations, friend recommendations and the GoodReads giveaways I enter. I'm painting a picture here.

It has been a good relationship, one wanting to read and one wanting to be read. We complemented one another. Then came the day, that horrible day, where I got notification to update my OS on the iPad. I ignored it because I didn't like the new operating system and I didn't have to update. Everything was status quo. I would update my Apps as I got notifications of updates and life would go on.

Until the day I got notification that I had to update my Kindle App. You can't ignore those updates; however, once I updated the Kindle App, I could no longer access the App. I would try to open it and it would bring me to my iPad screen after a few seconds. When I went into my iTunes library I found that there are some Apps that once updated are no longer compatible with the old OS. I had no choice. I had to update my OS. I needed me Kindle!!!

And so I updated. Once the update was completed, I immediately tried to open Kindle and it did the same darn thing. I still couldn't access it. I stressed about it for days. Even hubby tried to see if he could find the files so I could extract them like with the last Kindle. No dice. The problem was that I stopped sending the samples to the Kindle for PC after I got the iPad. The iPad was mobile. The PC, not so much. I could read on my iPad in any room. The PC, i only had the uncomfortable vinyl covered chair that Egg insists on sitting behind me on, thus pushing to behind to the edge of the seat and losing blood circulation in my legs.

After about a week of trying to fix it, I realized I had no recourse but to remove the Kindle App from my iPad and re-install it. Of course, that meant loading those samples all over again. So, I went back to the Amazon wishlists, both books and Kindle, and reloaded the samples. I went back to GoodReads and reloaded the giveaways I had entered if there was a Kindle version and it took a long time. I am keeping the books on the Cloud and only putting the samples on the device. The other problem is that the samples were mixed in with the full books and there was no way to sort and I couldn't create folders. It's all very complex and probably not worth all the effort I've taken to unfold this tale.

So, while the iPad is fine, the Kindle App went on permanent holiday and needed to be replaced. Can't tell you how many hours I have spent with four kindles, one Kindle for PC one one iPad Kindle App loading and reloading samples just so I have them.

And what is the purpose to all this? Well, that I can enlighten you on. It's on my list.

You see, I have been trying to slowly clean things up. Many things, not just books. For instance, my Amazon book wishlist is 23 pages long with 560 books. My movies wishlist is 9 pages with 203 items. I'm not buying all those movies! I hardly buy movies at all anymore.

I don't want to just delete a book or Kindle title from my wishlist without knowing if the book is any good. So I now have a spreadsheet. It has a list of the Kindle samples I've read and I update it to indicate whether I want it or not or if I'm waffling. Once I update the spreadsheet with the title, I remove the sample from my Kindle App. A lot of the titles on Kindle are $3.00 or under, so that is why my STS posts have had a lot of Kindle titles. It's my clean up project. I want to get through them all and remove the items I don't want from my wishlists, but I need to keep track of those titles, so I don't add them again. I do sometimes forget.

I currently have 426 samples on my Kindle App. I can promise this. If I ever have another issue with my Kindle samples, I am going to bang my head repeatedly against the wall.

And just because I haven't caused myself enough grief, I am actually thinking about ordering a new Kindle. I saw the cute little Paperwhite in Best Buy. It lights up and I can hold it in the palm of my hand. It is a heck of a lot lighter than my iPad and costs a lot less. BTW, since I work in Newark, the idea of using my iPad as a mobile reading device is a no go. I barely take it out of the house and I am certainly not taking it into work in Newark, so it is less than effective in that capacity, but has been a figurative lifesaver in so many other instances.

Plus, I got a bunch of Amazon credit for wearing my pedometer and walking thousands of steps, so it would be for free. I figure if I get the Paperwhite, I will only put books on it. I will keep the samples on my iPad and work on reading them at night. It will be a slow clean up process and of course I'll be adding other titles along the way, but if you see a lot of eBooks on my STS posts, you'll know why.

But just in case, I would take out a little security....

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - February 2, 2014

I cannot believe it is February already! January was a rough month and I think I'm glad it's over. I am already sick of the cold and sick of the snow. It has been an extreme winter for us. It's been a bit warmer here this weekend, but since we are close enough to the Atlantic, the cold is a damp cold. Also just found out the ceiling in the basement isn't insulated, so all that cold comes right up through the floorboards.

So, I had a little bit of a technical issue with my blog. I had been trying to load images to my posts for a couple weeks and I just couldn't get it to work. I kept rebooting my PC and nothing would work.

I made a To Do list. It currently has about 25 items on it. Of course, all these things were supposed to have been completed by last weekend; things like hanging up my clothes, folding laundry from the past couple weeks (it is laid out flat, but I haven't had the time to fold), write out bills, etc, all the way to taking down my Christmas decorations. I made a dentist's appointment, made lots of calls concerning medical bills for hubby, just so many things that all together are exceedingly time consuming. One of the things on the list was to figure out why I couldn't load images on my blog.

So I was playing around with my blog and again tried to load images and finally realized I was getting a message. I was being told that Blogger may not be compatible with my search engine. There was a link that took me to a page with a table that gave the categories of Windows, Mac and something else, can't remember now as I'm only concerned with Windows and it gave compatible search engines. The table indicated Internet Explorer 9 and 10 were compatible. When I asked hubby which version we were on, he advised we were on version 11. Huh. So I guess there was an Internet Explorer update because one day I could load pictures and one day I could not.

So, now I have to work on my blog on Google Chrome exclusively. The problem with Google Chrome is that I am now getting a message saying "Could not load Norton Identity Safe." So, I got that going for me. Riiight. I honestly cannot tell you why I have all these technical difficulties. Just suffice it to say I do and leave it at that.

Anyway, the mail carrier has decided once again to blank me and not deliver any parcels. Last week, I got a box of manga and a delicious goody box from my friend Terri over at Alexia's Books and Such (edible goodies, not the reading kind). This week, it has been a drought, though.

The one book I am really anxious to get my hands on? Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I had an opportunity about two months ago to order it at a decent discount, but couldn't figure out what to add to the purchase. Amazon raised their free shipping to $35.00 during Black Friday weekend, the sly boots. By the time I was ready to order, the price had dropped to 25% and has dropped more. I figured I would hold off because sometimes the new books are discounted heavily after their release date or the Kindle might drop. I am still waiting for a drop in price.

So I have had to content myself with eBooks this week. Amazon has had some nifty promotions. Besides the Daily Deals and Monthly Deals, they had the Big Deal (up to 85% off) and 20 Kindle books for $2.00. I have been in eBook heaven or perhaps eBook hell. More to come on this.

But let's get down to business.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Kindle Books Purchased:
Legacy by Molly Cochran - Big Deal title

Doomed by Tracy Deebs - Big Deal title

Accidental Crush by Adrienne Torrisi

After the Music by Christine Feehan - Big Deal title

All's Fair in Love, War and High School by Janette Rallison - Big Deal title

Love Show by Audrey Bell

Holiday Magick: 20 Holiday Stories with a Twist by Rich Storrs, Jessica Porteous - Big Deal title

The Road to You by Marilyn Brant

The Harp and the Blade (Prologue Books) by John Myers Myers - Big Deal Title

Born of Oak and Silver (The Caradoc Chronicles) by Marie McKean, Manthos Lappas - Free eBook

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Focus (The Crescent Chronicles #2) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Found (The Crescent Chronicles #3) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

First (A Crescent Chronicles Novella) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Soar (The Empire Chronicles #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Manga Purchased:
Strobe Edge 8

Happy Marriage? 4 The Devil and Her Love Song 13

Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You) 18

Kamisama Kiss 14

Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura 12

Voice Over! Seiyu Academy 3

Bleach 59

That's it for this past week!  Can't wait to see what the forthcoming week will bring!