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2011.03.30-IMG_2039 (Photo credit: martin_kalfatovic)


I read mostly kindle books in February, and, for a change, I didn’t add as many books as I read and deleted.  Progress!  The one physical book I read was completely awesome, but I found myself wishing it were a kindle book because it was a huge hardback: unwieldy and uncomfortable to hold and read.


When I write these “reviews,” I try very hard to stay away from plot specifics and spoilers.  That may mean that I come across as a lightweight, but I hate when someone, no matter how well meaning, gives away the bulk of a story.  I like to discover it on my own.  It feels pointless to read something when there’s little chance of being surprised, y’know?


I really have no idea when I added these kindle books to my reader, but Amazon frequently offers the same freebies again.  So if there’s something on the list that appeals to you, but it isn’t free right now, wait a bit and it’ll probably be free again soon.




Cold Days by Jim Butcher


This was the one physical book I read this month.  It’s a 515 page hardback.  It hurt my wrists to hold in my lap to read.  But, boy howdy, it was worth the discomfort.


Cold Days is the 15th in Butcher’s Harry Dresden series.  Books 13 and 14 weren’t favorites of mine, but they were still pretty damn good.  In Cold Days, we’re back in the groove.


Harry Dresden is a wizard in Chicago and he’s dealt with skinwalkers, werewolves, vampires, and the fae.  So, clearly, we’re in urban fantasy territory.  I usually feel exhausted and sore at the end of Harry’s adventures, as if I’ve lost sleep and had the snot beat out of me right along with Harry.  These books are well written and intricately plotted.  The supporting characters are as well developed as the main characters.  The pets (Mister the cat and Mouse the dog) have personalities and function as much more than scene dressing.


This book continues the evolution that began in #13.  (I was pissed with the ending of that book.)  The ground is laid for many more adventures with Harry, which I eagerly anticipate.  If you haven’t been to Harry’s world yet, start with Storm Front and enjoy the rollercoaster ride.




How To Save Money at Home: A Room by Room Guide to Cut Spending by Kim Parsell (kindle freebie)


Very much reminded me of the old Tightwad Gazette books (my gold standard for saving money).  Excellent information, well presented, and logically laid out, if nothing especially new.  I appreciated the author’s pragmatic, straightforward approach.  No preaching, just solid information.  If you need to save money on household expenses, but don’t know where to start, this is a great guide, especially if you can get it when it’s free.


The Case of the Flashing Fashion Queen:  A Dix Dodd Mystery by Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty (kindle freebie)


So good I would’ve paid for it!  This mystery, set in Ontario, Canada, featured a 40 year old female private detective who’s smart, funny, and tough.  The murder mystery was very well done, with lots of layers and plenty of suspects.  It’s funny without being cutesy.  Even the little bit of romance was interesting rather than off-putting.  This is the first in a series and I’m looking forward to more.  I’ll even pay actual money for the future installments.  Recommend.


How To Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any by Erik Wecks (kindle freebie)


I jot down my thoughts on the books I read as I go along.  I could never remember the details long enough to write a blog post at the end of the month without some notes.  When I was reading this book, I wrote that the military metaphor he uses (and uses and uses) throughout the book was boring.  I was put off by his lecturing tone.  But you know what?  I kept thinking about what he wrote all month long.


The author challenged me to really look at needs versus wants.  He points out that for many people a smartphone is considered a need.  But if you’re telling your kids they can’t sign up for AYSO soccer because there’s no money while clicking away on your smartphone apps, you’re out of touch with your priorities.  I initially found this condescending, but he’s got a good point.  When you find yourself with more month than money, you’ve got to take a brutally honest look at your priorities.  And since everyone’s priorities are different, he doesn’t make sweeping recommendations.  Instead, he makes you think about yours.  That stuck with me, so for that reason alone, I recommend this book.


The Good, the Bad, and the Murderous (Sid Chance Mysteries) by Chester D. Campbell (kindle freebie)


Workman-like style.  Had trouble keeping some of the characters straight.  I don’t know if there were too many or if the secondary characters were just poorly developed.  A very straightforward presentation of a convoluted criminal scheme.  All the loose ends are tied up by a likeable protagonist, Sid Chance.  Less of a whodunit, more of a why’d they do it.


The Temporary Detective by Joanne Lessner (kindle freebie)


While I really enjoyed this murder mystery featuring a neophyte New Yorker-aspiring actress-temporary office worker, I was disturbed  by the homophobia and trans*phobia.  Strangely, the author was perfectly comfortable with interracial romance and infidelity.  I guess her tolerance only goes so far.


Dump Cable TV: Cut the Cord and Get the Most for Your Entertainment Dollar by Tom Galland (kindle freebie)


An excellent short book offering lots of information on cheaper alternatives to cable or satellite TV.  I would’ve liked more practical guidance on exactly which antenna to use, whether it should be installed inside or out, and how —exactly— to hook it up.  But that information varies widely by geographical location.  He does point the reader to websites to determine what antenna to use and then to other websites to purchase the necessary antenna, so you’re not left high and dry.


A great overview of the numerous options available, with special attention to sports fans.


Not Terrible (If You’re Stuck With Nothing Else To Do)


At Large (Josephine Fuller Mysteries) by Lynne Murray (kindle freebie)


A convoluted mystery, apparently #4 in a series.  I didn’t realize there were three prior books until I was hopelessly lost regarding the characters’ backstories and relationships.  The heroine is a fat woman — by her own admission — and a good portion of the book is devoted to making sure the reader is aware of the societal pressures on women to be thin.  Any female over age 10 has figured this out, for crying out loud.  Unfortunately, the crime(s) and solutions are far less clear.  Interesting characters, but not very satisfying.  Fast food for your brain.


Got any literary goodies to share?  Heaven knows, my arm doesn’t have to be twisted to add another book to my kindle!