URGENT: Update your Kindle eReader!

Kindle Update collage

My sweet cousin, having read my previous blog post on how much I love my Kindle, warned me the other day about an URGENT Amazon announcement for my reader. Thankfully when I clicked for more info, my Fire HDX 8.9 particular model was not on the list for those needing the IMMEDIATE UPDATE before the March 22, 2016 date.

If you purchased a Kindle eReader in 2012 or earlier, please visit Amazon’s announcement page to see model specs and instructions. If you don’t perform the update via Wi-Fi by March 22nd, you are going to have more inconvenient hoops to jump through to update your device. A snapshot from that page is below. So, just go do it NOW and don’t miss out reading whatever exciting books you’ve got loaded.

Device and Year Software Version Your Device Needs Update via Wireless (2G/3G) or Wi-Fi
Kindle 1st Generation (2007) 1.2.1 Use Wireless
Kindle 2nd Generation (2009) * 2.5.8 Use Wireless
Kindle DX 2nd Generation (2009) * 2.5.8 Use Wireless
Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation (2010) ** 3.4.2 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle 4th Generation (2011) 4.1.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle 5th Generation (2012) 4.1.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Touch 4th Generation (2011) ** or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation (2012) ** or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite 6th Generation (2013) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle 7th Generation (2014) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle Voyage 7th Generation (2014) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle Paperwhite 7th Generation (2015) No Update Needed No Update Needed


Now, although my device is not on this list for the MANDATORY March update, I did notice a new update for me on my Fire HDX 8.9 device’s page while logged in at Amazon:

We have a new, free software update available for your Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ (3rd Generation). This update automatically downloads and installs on your Fire tablet when connected wirelessly; however, you can also manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via USB cable.

I’ll probably go ahead and sync mine before the mandatory date even though it’s not required for my Fire HDX 8.9 device- just to be sure I’m all set.

On a similar note, I’ve been asked to do 2 more book reviews. One is along the fantasy realm and the other is an SEO strategy. I’ll be sure to update you when I write those. So, I’ve got to get busy reading instead of all this website launch and tax preparation. lol.

stories sparkles smiles kindle

Get over to Amazon and update your Kindle device NOW!

Have a sparkle-riffic day, everyone!!

Reading and Relaxing with my Kindle Fire

stories sparkles smiles kindle

I have experienced a hiatus this past year from full time employment. After our move to Texas, we have been dealing with home remodeling disasters and my hubby had a few surprise surgeries. There have also been many small business startup projects involved in transitioning my handmade jewelry from a hobby to a business.

Sometimes these obstacles have become so overwhelming, that I had to force myself to take a breather and revisit a relaxation technique from my youth. Reading!

Peace Love Books Frame

Instead of hitting the library or begging friends for a book exchange “like in the olden days”, I went all modern and decided to investigate more of what my Kindle Fire could offer. (I still love hard copy books! I have 2 enormous bookcases full, even after recently donating several).

About 2 years ago, shortly before relocating, a college professor required a text in a business course which was no longer in print and only available via Amazon Kindle. I checked out Amazon’s $99 deal. I ultimately decided on the pricier Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ 64 MB so that I could access WiFi and use it as a tablet. We are tech slow at my house and have never had a tablet before. No, not even an iPad!

Choosing between the iPad and Kindle was difficult. Almost everyone that I knew at that time all had the iPad. Only one friend had a Kindle. In researching the internet, and polling friends and colleagues about their devices, I opted for Kindle mainly because it was more economical and at that time, had a larger screen (8.9″ HDX touchscreen display, with 2560 x 1600 resolution at 339 ppi, 100% sRGB color accuracy, video playback up to 1080p, max brightness over 400 nits, Dynamic Image Contrast, reduced glare and advanced polarizing filter). I also didn’t want to have to install an Amazon Kindle app for an iPad to read my college textbook (the main reason for this purchase). This was at a time where I was clueless about the great menagerie of apps and my perception that process would be complicated.

This seems like such a lifetime ago, because both my husband and I now use the Kindle Fire for so much!

  • We like to play the free versions of the admittedly addictive Tetris, Candy Crush and Soda Saga games, as well as my personal favorite game…Disney’s Frozen Free Fall.
  • I have rediscovered my passion for reading, thanks to several great series referrals from a sparkle-tastic repeat jewelry shopper and bestie. Shout out to, Lindsey!
  • As a result of reading and leaving Amazon feedback, I have been sent a few book review requests from new authors or their marketing firms. That opened up a whole new genre to me that I never realized I might enjoy as a 42 year old hag, uh, I mean woman. Can you believe….young adult fiction? Me neither, but give it a try!
  • We figured out how to “fling” movies from my Kindle onto the TV via our existing Amazon Fire TV box . It syncs beautifully. (I did feel as crazy as Gary Busey initially figuring this feature out- lol).
  • Sometimes when I want to remember story time as a child, I like to be lazy and switch over to the text-to-speech feature which lets my Kindle read my book to me.  (You don’t have to buy the expensive Audible versions of books. The Kindle voice isn’t as animated as a paid narrator, but it gets the job done).
  • The camera is front and rear facing with tremendous clarity, so snapping photos or videos is easy and a handy alternative to my iPhone camera.
  • When it is time to do a little work, I can even do marketing research and YouTube video training for my handmade jewelry business.

So, not only do I now thank the college professor for suggesting an out-of-print textbook (which I wasn’t so happy with at that time), but I also thank Amazon for creating this miracle device at an agreeable price (about $600 less than iPad in 2014). My Kindle has most of the same functionality as the ridiculously expensive and possibly overrated iPad. Eventually I will probably write a more informed comparison of the Kindle Fire HD  vs. iPad; as I may still purchase an iPad later to use as a register for selling my jewelry at craft fairs in addition to my iPhone.

If you’re interested to know what books I have read on my Kindle, please leave a comment and I will post a blog list for you.

Have a sparkle-riffic day, everyone!

Disclosure: Some of the links contained in this blog post are my Amazon Associates affiliate links. I may receive a small affiliate compensation should you click through and purchase at Amazon’s website. Thank you in advance for helping to support small businesses that utilize various affiliate revenue sources such as this Amazon Associates program.

2016 Planner Reviews and DIY Paper Clips

DIY planner intro avatar.png

I have FINALLY completed my 2016 planner review and DIY paper clip tutorial! This is my first vlog on this topic. I must admit to being a stationery addict, so planner and do it yourself (DIY) planner/ office supplies are favorites of mine. I missed Lilly’s August agenda notifications, so I’m once again only using mine Jan-Dec and missing those first few months of the academic year. It’s all good though.

This year, in addition to a new Lilly Pulitzer Wild Confetti Jumbo Agenda, I also snagged a copy of the Lisa Jacobs planner. 2016 Your Best Year is really more of a workbook for creative artisans and entrepreneurs looking to motivate yourself and accelerate your craft business. There have been some great inspirational tips so far in the workbook. I am already putting some of those planning strategies to good use as I re-vamp my handmade jewelry hobby into a full time business.

I’ve seen so many peeps making cute little paper clips for their planners and such. Since I make hair bows and also have a ton of ribbons and buttons for scrapbooking and jewelry making, I decided to include a few paper clip options that I made. Using glue and wire to attach lovely sparkles to the clips, I also tied lovely ribbon pieces and scraps to make those cute tails that will wave at me each day I open my planners.

Enjoy the stationery nerdfest by watching my video review and tutorial. Please remember to like and comment directly on my YouTube channel so I get correct stats in Google! Also, if you know anyone that might enjoy planning and paper clips, please feel free to share my video. Have a sparkle-riffic year, everyone!

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Book Review: Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods & Royals, Book One) by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings Book 1

I was granted access to a free copy of Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, book 1) from Tara Sonin, Marketing Manager for Paper Lantern Lit, on behalf of the author, Eleanor Herman, in exchange for an honest review. This is now the second such review request I have received as a result from reviewing the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was pleasantly surprised, since this was yet another young adult adventure story that I would not naturally seek out. I have come to the opinion that no matter what age you are, you can become intrigued by any genre that is well written.

This book is a historical fantasy that according to Ms. Sonin, has been “featured on Hypable, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and was just optioned for TV by Warner Brothers”. The following is a synopsis from the author’s page that describes this story which is part of a series of 4 novels:

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman re-imagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

I admit that the amount of character arcs for 7 people along with the overall plot of a famous historical figure such as Alexander the Great was at times, a little overwhelming. I did have to step away from the book about midway through because I was losing interest in retaining that many characters in my head. Also, I had a Déjà vu moment when I first came across the character of Jacob, who is described in much the same way as the transformed buffed up version of Jacob from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. (For those that love the series, Stephenie has just released a gender swap version of Twilight’s 1st story called the Twilight 10th Anniversary/ Life and Death Dual Edition). I did enjoy the interwoven Greek mythological characters such as Pegasus and Medusa. As a fan of movies like Clash of the Titans (classic and modern versions), I love reading about those mythical characters.

Once I came back to the story, however, I became invested in the female characters and their struggles. There are many women either scrambling to gain their freedom from an arranged marriage, seeking revenge for the horrific murder of their mother, searching for a mythical cure to human frailty much like her brother or vying for absolute power against all foes. As a female that recognizes the various challenges to my gender throughout history, I appreciate the various points of view in this fictional world. I think with recent conversations about inequality of pay for women, ongoing abuse of women worldwide and the purposeful enslavement of women in cultures such as in the Middle East and Africa…these characters’ struggles are not so fictitious after all…even in the modern world of 2015.

I have become a new fan of Eleanor Herman after completing this book and my subsequent review of her historical background and personal revelations regarding her research and passions. I look forward to the upcoming books in this series and plan to look into her previous works.

Book Review: A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum, Vol. I & II) by Alexis Radcliff

A Vanishing Glow

I was emailed a free copy of A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum, Vol. I & II) from the author, Alexis Radcliff, in exchange for an honest review. This being my first such request, I am honored to say that I was pleasantly surprised by a book I didn’t seek out on my own.

This is marketed as a cross between flintlock and steampunk fantasy which are genres I am not familiar with. I figured it was a worthy read based on the similarities to some other stories in the Young Adult (YA) world that I’d recently been referred to regarding dystopian segregated societies such as Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series.

I was initially impressed by the great care that Radcliff took in describing the setting in this fantasy world and the characters emotional backstories. The depth of guilt that one main character feels is certainly identifiable and the self-doubt another character feels is also as palpable. Later, I was intrigued by her hints at relationships between same sex friends as acceptable teenage “bedfellows”, which I have not ever come across before, especially since my reading tastes are typically not in a sci-fi or mature adult realm. I find it interesting that with the change in real-world societal prejudices comes a sort of clarity of character development in fiction. People on pages are becoming just as diverse as people on our planet. Disapprove of this type of lifestyle or not, the complexity of characters in this story is further layered by delving into a previously taboo subject matter. One can appreciate the courage of the author to tastefully explore that topic even if you might not agree.

Overall, I don’t feel a steampunk vibe from what I’ve now researched about the genre, but there are elements of it as well as the flintlock. The steam powered aspect is there in certain references, but using the umbrella term “steampunk” for the myriad intricate explanations of Mystech power seems lackluster. I loved how the author gives this new tech a literal presence even down to the description of it having a delicious smell.

I think there are many questions left unanswered as well as many ideas left to the readers interpretation, but with the understanding that this is one book in a pending series…these suspenseful issues are understandable. For a debut novel, I believe Ms. Radcliff achieved a wonderful story which leaves me eager to fill in the blanks with the sequels.