Thursday, June 19, 2014

eBook Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Verdict: 4 Stars

It was great. It was tender and raw at the same time. I’m sure the movie’s going to be fabulous even though I don’t plan to go anywhere near the crowds of people who were camped out to see the midnight showing and are swooning for Team Augustus.

I had to take the book down a bit for its dialogue. I would love to live in a world where teens were naturally as witty as Hazel and Augustus, but after sixteen years of teaching experience I’m sad to say: they’re not. It was fun, and there are the occasional Hazel/Augustus types out there, but it eventually felt a little forced.

This one is going to get me hate mail, but I quickly grew tired of Hazel’s darkness. Yes, she’s got terminal cancer, and yes, she’s had it for years. Yes, she even has a diagnosis of clinical depression, which is not something people can snap out of. I almost didn’t like the juxtaposition of her cancer and her mental state, because it seemed to me as though the cancer was the “excuse” to be depressed. Depression is an illness all on its own, it doesn’t need an “excuse.” That’s why it’s so misunderstood and so belittled, and why its patients suffer the way that they do.

But once I got done nitpicking about everything I didn’t like about the book, it was a pleasant read. I’m sure a lot of my enjoyment came from the writing/author theme that carries throughout the book with this one title that Hazel adores, and the inventiveness Augustus shows. Spoiler alert, the ending almost cost it another star with me…you were warned. But that star came back because I love books that get society reading, even if it’s Twilight or 50 Shades or a book about two teens with cancer and not a chance in the world, if it gets people excited about reading again, then it’s worthy.

eBook Review: The Fault in Our Stars is a post from: Good e-Reader

Wattpad to Continue Monetizing through Native Apps

Arguably one of the most innovative platforms for dugital reading and writing is Wattpad, whose 30 million users post content and read each others’ writing on a daily basis. The platform has always operated in a free-to-use model, a fact that CEO Allen Lau has stated will always be the case.

At this year’s BookExpo, Good e-Reader interviewed Ashleigh Gardner about how Wattpad can continue to operate without expecting fees from its users. At the time, she explained that the platform had some significant investors backing the mission, but that plans were underway for native ads.

These ads, designed specifically around content that Wattpad users would respond to, have included campaigns such as 20th Century Fox’s ads for the film The Fault in Our Stars, based on the book by John Green. But rather than just being a static ad that leads to a click-through for the film, Fox was even more creative and ran interactive features, including fanfiction of the book in its film-named Wattpad account. The campaign was highly successful, and the account soon had millions of followers and contributors.

Despite the advertising opportunities and the potential for eventually selling content within Wattpad (and the site’s previous contests to crowdsource a selection of different titles), the company’s leadership insists that Wattpad will always be a free app, and that there will not be a membership fee to read, post, or enjoy the experience.

Wattpad to Continue Monetizing through Native Apps is a post from: Good e-Reader

Top 10 New Android Apps of the Week – June 20 2014


Welcome to another beloved installment of the Good e-Reader Apps of the week! Last week app charts was dominated by Angry Birds Epic, and this week Half-Brick has unveiled a brand new title. Its summer time, and many big name games are coming out, check out the ones we think are totally essential.

Band Stars – Form a band, hit the studio and start recording! Train up your band and complete challenges as you make your way to the top of the charts. Fame and fortune await! Set your sights on world stardom and make your way to the top of the local, national and global charts. Discover each of the 50 super-cool Band Stars characters and complete over 200 unique challenges!

Oyster – Read Unlimited Books – Oyster is the best way to read books on your tablet and phone. Download now to start your 30 day free trial and get unlimited access to over 500,000 books—anytime, anywhere.

Terrain Home: Sidebar & Search – Terrain is a smart homescreen for Android that makes your phone simpler and more streamlined by putting everything you care about in one place. Find contacts faster, launch apps faster, and view content faster.

Boom Beach – Storm the beach and win the day! Boom Beach is a combat strategy game where you fight an epic war against the evil Blackguard. Take your expeditionary force to beautiful paradise islands invaded by the enemy. Fight for every beachhead, free enslaved islanders and explore the uncharted archipelago. The fight becomes a race to harness the ancient powers hidden on the islands. Are you ready for the BOOM?

Facebook Slingshot – Slingshot lets you quickly share moments—little and big—with lots of people at once. Shoot a photo or video of what you're up to and sling it to a bunch of friends. They won't be able to see your shot until they sling something back. Tap on a shot to react, or simply swipe it away.

Candy Crush Soda Saga – Switch and match your way through new dimensions of gameplay in this juicy puzzle adventure. Embark on an epic journey through the magical Kingdom to discover the hidden secrets behind the Candy World.

bumpr – Is answering phone calls or replying to text messages or to Facebook notifications while driving too tempting? Let bumpr by belairdirect take control of your mobile device and drive with peace of mind.

Ringtone maker deluxe – Ringtone Maker Deluxe lets you easily create your own ringtone from your music.

Care Bears Rainbow Playtime – Join the Care Bears on a colorful rainbow adventure! There are so many rainbow activities and games to play in the magical, cloud-covered world of Care-a-lot! Discover the joys of caring and creativity with your favorite cuddly bears!

Texas Holdem: Live Poker – Texas Holdem – Live Poker offers beautiful graphics, custom avatars, and a wide variety of friendly players from casual to professional, guaranteeing a premium poker playing experience for everyone. The best part is that Texas Holdem – Live Poker is EASY to get started and FREE to play!

Top 10 New Android Apps of the Week – June 20 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Aura HD Dual-Boot Android Hack Tutorial

Last week I posted a video showing the Kobo Glo hacked to run Android. Now I’ve got Android running on my Kobo Aura HD too, and it’s even better because I used the dual-boot hack that enables the option to boot either the internal stock Kobo operating system or the Android operating system from a […]

Nike Brings Fuelband App to Android

nikefuelIt has taken quite some time, but Nike has finally brought their companion app designed to work with its Fuelband and Fuelband SE activity trackers to Android.  Much like the iOS app launched over two years ago, the Android version gives access to your NikeFuel score details as well as letting you sync your wristband over Bluetooth LE (even in the background, should you so desire).

Other features of the FuelBand app fall under the motivational category, including the ability to track and receive progress updates and compete against your friends using the leaderboard (plus a “Win the Hour” challenge).

Many in the industry are questioning the timing of this launch, when it was expected that the FuelBand may be discontinued entirely. Earlier this year, Nike completed a series of layoffs in their fitness hardware department with several key individuals making the move to work directly with Apple. No matter what the future has in store, current FuelBand owners will be happy to have an Android option to use with their tracker.

Nike Brings Fuelband App to Android is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sales of Clinton’s Latest Book Top 100K in First Week

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s newest book, Hard Choices, debuted last week and immediately sold over 100,000 copies, according to its publisher, Simon&Schuster. While these numbers were high enough to launch the book directly to the top of the NYT non-fiction bestsellers list, they were not even close to the sales figures for opening week of her previous title, Living History.

A number of things may have caused the high numbers discrepancy, but one of the most crucial factors in the lower debut sales figures may just be the sheer lack of places to buy a book. When Clinton’s 2003 title launched, the reading public still had the Borders chain, as well as a higher number of Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million retail locations; independent bookstores were still holding their own better than they are now, too. As non-fiction tends to sell better in print than in digital, that’s a significant loss for this type of memoir. It can’t be downplayed, though, that her first book was about the life of a First Lady, which tends to sell well, and not as a politician, which might not be as appealing to as many readers.

Of course, this book is a much different animal. In her previous work, Clinton was speaking as a former First Lady, not as a former player on the political stage. And while her other book was expected to include at least some minor reference to the then-recent sex scandal involving her husband while in office, this title is anticipated to answer some of the questions around the contentious Benghazi incident.

Readers may have also hoped to uncover more information on whether or not Clinton will be running for President again. While her first campaign didn’t fare in her favor, it did launch her into her most recent role after her years as a Senator. There has been a lot of hopeful buzz around the possibility of another run at the White House, but (spoiler alert) this title doesn’t shed any new insight on the idea.

Sales of Clinton’s Latest Book Top 100K in First Week is a post from: Good e-Reader

Weekly eHighlights: UK edition



Click here to view the Marketplace cart of the titles in this newsletter.



Sam Alexander – Carnal Acts
Arcadia eBook

Check #WhoIsSamAlexander on Twitter for all the current speculation as to the author of this new crime novel by a "famous British crime novelist." Could it be Ian Rankin? Peter Robinson? Val McDermid? Mark Billingham? J. K. Rowling?


Joseph Finder – Suspicion
Head of Zeus eBook

This is the new novel from the bestselling author Joseph Finder, "the master of the modern thriller," about a father who is forced to make a choice with unspeakable consequences.


Lily King – Euphoria
Blackstone audiobook

Set between two World Wars and inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is an enthralling story of passion, possession, exploration, and sacrifice from accomplished author Lily King.


Mark Lawrence – Prince of Fools
HarperCollins eBook

Billed as epic fantasy à la George R. R. Martin, but on speed. The Red Queen is old, but still feared. Her greatest weapon is the Silent Sister who cannot be seen by most. But now war is coming and the queen needs help from her family—specifically her ne'er-do-well grandson who is one of the few able to help. Best Fantasy Books Blog: Most Anticipated Books of 2014.


Vicki Pettersson – The Given
HarperCollins eBook

This paranormal noir novel features a private investigator who is also an angel–literally.Book 3 in the Celestial Blues series. 60,000 print run.


Lisa See – China Dolls
Bloomsbury eBook

This sure bestseller tells the tale of three young Chinese women in 1938 San Francisco, where the World's Fair is set to open and the city is alive with possibilities. A war is brewing in Europe, as the three very different girls become fast friends until their dark secrets are exposed. 200,000 print run.


Juan Gabriel Vásquez – The Sound of Things Falling
Bloomsbury eBook

The winner of this year's International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is the first South American author to win. Edmund White called it a "gripping novel, absorbing right to the end."


Susan Wiggs – The Beekeeper's Ball
Mira eBook

Bella Vista's rambling mission-style hacienda, with its working apple orchards, bountiful gardens and beehives, is the idyllic venue for Isabel's project…and the perfect place for her to forget the past. But Isabel's carefully ordered plans begin to go awry when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O'Neill arrives to dig up old history.


Tom Wright – Blackbird
Canongate eBook

Wright was shortlisted for a CWA John Creasey Award with his last book. This one is called "a scorching crime novel."




Christophe Bassons – A Clean Break: My Story
Bloomsbury eBook

Bassons is a former professional cyclist who stubbornly refused to dope, and was the only professional who dared speak openly about the topic when a scandal first broke in 1998. His career was successful until he saw other men he had once bested pass him up as they began using performance enhancing drugs. His book was first published in French in 2000, but this is an updated edition that includes the recent revelations about Lance Armstrong and doping.


Fip Buchanan – Drawing & Designing Tattoo Art
F + W Media eBook

The author shares his more than thirty years of experience in designing and drawing tattoos from start to finish. He also includes a chapter on tattoo styles applied to graphic design.


Nigel Cawthorne – A Brief Guide to Agatha Christie
Constable & Robinson eBook

Cawthorne examines the recurring characters in Agatha Christie's more than 80 novels and short story collections, as well as her life and working methods. He also takes a look at the adaptations of her work.


Fodor's Turkey: Full-Color Travel Guide
Random House eBook

See the Marketplace cart for this and other brand new travel guides.


Joseph Polansky – Aquarius 2015: Your Personal Horoscope
HarperCollins eBook

This is just one title in a complete series by Polansky. Check the Marketplace cart for other astrology books. Very reasonably priced!


Joanna Rakoff – My Salinger Year
Random House eBook

Rakoff paints a vibrant portrait of a bright, hungry young woman navigating a heady and longed-for world, trying to square romantic aspirations with burgeoning self-awareness as she lives with J. D. Salinger for a year. Charming and deeply moving.


Chris Waters – 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat
Bloomsbury eBook

A new history of one of England's greatest cricketers whose career ran from 1930 to 1939. In a legendary match he returned figures of 10 for 10—a world record that still stands.


For Kids and Teens


Daniel Blythe – Emerald Greene and the Witch Stones – Ages 12 and up
Andrews UK eBook

Emerald Greene is the new pupil at St. Agnes' school in Meresbury, but she is a girl without a past, without a family or friends. When Jess and Richie decide to befriend her they find that she lives in a mansion which doesn't exist and can see things nobody else can see.


Miller Caldwell – Lawrence the Lion Seeks Work – Ages 5-6

Where did all the animals go after they no longer worked at the circus? It takes a wise owl to help Lawrence determine that he does have skills that can be used for other jobs.


Fani Marceau & Joelle Jolivet – In This Book – Infants and Toddlers
Chronicle Books eBook

A concept book with animals and people. "I am in the poppy," said the bee. "I am in the nest," said the bird.


Philip Reeve – Starcross – Age 10-15
Bloomsbury eBook

Art and his family go on a fantastic free holiday to the Asteroid Belt near Mars. But nothing is as it seems—the hotel slips back and forth in time, the other guests behave strangely, and it is up to Art and his sister Myrtle to solve the puzzle of the man-eating starfish which roam freely nearby.


Nichola Reilly – Drowned – Teens
Harlequin UK eBook

On the island of Tides, dry land dwindles more at every high tide. Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island, and she must struggle for survival. But when the King falls ill, leaving no male heir, Coe is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon realizes that the dying King is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.


Mario Routi – Rebecca Newton and the Sacred Flame - Teens

Rebecca's life changes forever when she is abducted by Turgoth, ruler of the Kingdom of Beast. Though she finds that she has feelings for Turgoth, they fight on opposite sides in a land of mythical creatures and ancient gods.


Click here to view the Marketplace cart of the titles in this newsletter.



*Geographical rights may vary by title.

Creating Resources on GitHub Guide from Picademy 2

This week started with the second run of Picademy – our free CPD course for teachers. Two days at Pi Towers learning interesting and engaging ways to use Raspberry Pi in the classroom, led by Carrie Anne and supported by our education team. Picademy went fantastically well! We’re holding the next one in July and we’ll be opening applications up for future events once we’ve set a date.

As part of my preparation for Picademy, I started to created a guide for the teachers to help them create learning resources the way we do – for their own use, and for them to submit to us for inclusion on the website. I gave a presentation explaining how we use GitHub (and how much I love GitHub) and explained our process of creating resources with markdown. I showed them how people report issues when they find an error, and how people can fix errors themselves. This was followed by a demonstration of GitHub for Education by Picademy delegate James Robinson who’s been using it to set work for his classes.

Following the event I proceeded to expand upon the notes I’d made on creating resources and published them for general consumption. We’re all working hard on some new material ourselves, including single exercises and full schemes of work – and we look forward to seeing some community contributions too. Whether it’s new or re-purposed, we’d love to see it.

Head along to GitHub to check out the guide – it’s at - and read up on how we write the learning resources on our website, how to use GitHub, how to report issues, how to request changes and how to submit to us. Using GitHub in this way is very easy – don’t be put off, just take a look at the guide and follow the instructions – you can do it all from GitHub’s web interface. Be sure to read the guidelines on style as well as the technical details.

Here are some photographs from Picademy #2:

IMG_0511.resized IMG_0529.resized IMG_0515.resized IMG_20140616_090437 IMG_0539.resized IMG_0504.resized IMG_0514.resized IMG_20140616_144602 IMG_0501.resized

And a video of one of the team’s projects on day two:

Teachers: remember to keep an eye on the blog and twitter for the announcement of Picademy #4 applications.

Google Play eBooks Now Available in 57 Countries

Google has been busy expanding their ebookstore internationally this month. First Norway was added to the list in early June, then 12 more countries were added yesterday, bringing the total up to 57 different countries (see list below) that can now get ebooks through Google Play. Google’s ebooks are available on the Google Play Books […]

The 3 Best Websites to Download Free Music Legally

Not all free music that's offered on the web is legal to download. But here are three places to download great, free music totally legally.

Add Animated GIFs to Twitter Using Android

TwitterThose of you who were around when the Internet was still an infant will likely remember GIFs very fondly (and properly pronounce it with a hard-G and not like ‘jiff’). Not only were they generally nice and small where file-sizes were concerned (something that was especially important back in the dial-up connection days of yore), they allowed for animation at a time long before any other technology really did (easily, at least). Until now, if you wanted to share a GIF on your Twitter timeline, you had to use a third-party add-on… but thankfully they are now natively supported.

One thing to note: much like other media on Twitter, you need to press the ‘view photo’ button to see animated GIFs (at least according to early tests).

It may just be the nostalgia factor making me so happy to report this –but no matter… I am digging through my hard drive looking for some of my ‘oldies but goodies’ and will find a good way to incorporate them into my twitter feed soon!

If you haven’t given it a try yet, download Twitter for Android and get started!

Add Animated GIFs to Twitter Using Android is a post from: Good e-Reader