Saturday, December 31, 2011

1st Annual Kindle App Awards Countdown

Happy New Year! Here we are, ready to count down the top ten apps for 2011 for our 1st Annual Kindle App Awards. But first, we've got to thank all of you readers for making the Kindle Fire Department your destination for free and cheap apps, tips, and news for the Kindle Fire. It's been a success because of people like you letting family and friends know, sharing our posts on Facebook, and mentioning us on message boards and forums across the web. The Fire has only been out for a month and a half (seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?), and already our page has tripled in size. Thanks to you, we're now seeing over 100,000 visitors a month, and we're excited about the prospect of growing even more. Actually, we're just a few days from announcing our first Kindle Fire Giveaway! We hope you'll stop back and drop your name in the hat for a chance at winning it.

Now let's get into the top apps for 2011! All of these are marvelous apps that have delighted countless people across the country. Thanks to everyone who cast a vote! And now, without further ado...

Name: Quell
Rating: 4.8 stars over 921 reviews
Price: 0.99
For people who know apps, starting out with Quell should be a sure sign that we're already getting into the best of the best. Superior gamplay, clever puzzles, and stimulating fun is what this app is all about, and it's growing popularity was just enough to push it onto our our list. Also note that they just released a sequel for this one: Quell Reflect.

Get your copy of Quell!

Name: Splashtop Remote Desktop
Rating: 3.9 stars over 113 reviews
Price: $4.99 0.99
Splashtop is one of those great apps we've been raving about since we first started this blog. It can sync your PC with your Fire, giving you access to everything on your computer. The value here is undeniable, and we've heard over and over how much people love this app. It's currently on sale for a full 80% off, but it's a good bet that price won't make it into 2012!

Get your copy of Splashtop Remote Desktop!
Name: Netflix
Rating: 3.1 stars over 642 reviews
Price: 0.00
The power of Netflix is almost awe-inspiring to behold. Although the story about this company this year has been about it's rate hike, people love this streaming service so much that it was a major factor in whether or not they were even going to get the Fire in the first place. No surprise then that Amazon quickly announced this app would be part of the original lineup, or that it would find its way onto our year-end countdown.

By the way, apparently they are starting to put together their own shows now, including bringing back old ones like Arrested Development! That's going to keep me watching in 2012, that's for sure.

Get your free copy of Netflix!

Name: Scrabble
Rating: 3.4 stars over 280 reviews
Price: $1.29 0.99
Scrabble has had an admittedly tough time for the Kindle Fire, originally releasing without a single-player mode, which upset a lot of people who weren't able to play it. The fix came a few weeks ago though, and the reviews since have been nothing short of glowing. It's nice to see an official comment from Amazon on the reviews stating that the fix has been made, and this much-loved game earns a very respectable spot on our charts for the year.

Get your copy of Scrabble!

Name: Solitaire
Rating: 4.6 stars over 1300 reviews
Price: 0.00
The longevity of Solitaire is enough to impress anyone. It's never the most popular game out there, but there are always people who enjoy it, and it never really goes away. This classic is currently the #3 most popular free app for the Kindle Fire, and ranks just outside of the top half for our end of year list. This is a staple for everyone's Fire.

Get your free copy of Solitaire!

Mahjong Solitaire: Today's Free App, Plus Kindle Daily Deal: History Books

Happy New Year, Kindle Fire fans! Does everyone have big plans to celebrate tonight? Whether its hunkering down with family for a relaxing evening or heading out on the town, we wish you a memorable occasion as well as a wonderful year in 2012! Make sure to check back this afternoon as we unveil the winners of our 1st Annual Kindle Fire App Awards Countdown, as voted on by you!

A nice find this morning is a Sale on Children's Books for the Fire, including many by Dr. Seuss!

There's also a special deal for the weekend where you can Rent New Movie Releases from Instant Video for only $1.99!

There are also incredible deals of 70% off or more on Computer Games from Electronic Arts!

Now let's get into today's free app and book deal of the day. I know there are a lot of Mahjong players out there who will enjoy this one.

Name: Mahjong Solitaire - Classic Mahjong Strategy Puzzle Game
Rating: 2.8 stars over 41 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Immerse yourself in the classic puzzle game of Mahjong Solitaire. Challenge yourself to clear the board as fast as possible and see if you can resist the addictive lure to play again and again.

Mahjong Solitaire is a matching game played with 144 Mahjong tiles arranged in layered patterns. Mahjong Solitaire – Classic Mahjong Strategy Puzzle Game includes more than 20 levels of complexity and five levels of difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard, Crazy, and Insane.

Your goal is to clear all the tiles from the board as quickly as possible. To clear tiles, tap the first tile in the pair you want to remove and then tap the second tile. If the pair is a match, it will be cleared from the board. Only tiles that are not covered by other tiles and are free on either side can be cleared. Each successful match awards you 25 points. You can see your score, time, and moves left as you play.

Get your free copy of Mahjong Solitaire - Classic Mahjong Strategy Puzzle Game

Today's Kindle Daily Deal is one for the history buffs. There are a handful of titles on sale stretching into American and World history, all of them very highly rated.

Title: History Books by Stephen E. Ambrose
Rating: 4.3 stars over 3,409 reviews
Price: $9.99 1.99
Description (From Citizen Soldiers):  Stephen E. Ambrose combines history and journalism to describe how American GIs battled their way to the Rhineland. He focuses on the combat experiences of ordinary soldiers, as opposed to the generals who led them, and offers a series of compelling vignettes that read like an enterprising reporter's dispatches from the front lines. The book presents just enough contextual material to help readers understand the big picture, and includes memorable accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and other events as seen through the weary eyes of the men who fought in the foxholes. Highly recommended for fans of Ambrose, as well as all readers interested in understanding the life of a 1940s army grunt. A sort of sequel to Ambrose's bestselling 1994 book D-Day, Citizen Soldiers is more than capable of standing on its own.

Get your copy of History Books by Stephen E. Ambrose!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Free and Bargain Apps for 12/30

In addition to all of the great Kindle Fire apps we'll be featuring today, I've got a little bit of exciting news to share. Thanks to John Harrington on Facebook, I've finally found a USB cable that'll easily connect the Fire to my computer (been using WiFi Explorer). Now all that's missing is a way to plug a thumb drive into the Fire. Anyway, this is the Oriongadgets Sync & Charge USB Cable and it's currently on sale for 73% off at $2.46!
Now let's check out some great apps, including this first one which will help you turn your Fire into a beautiful musical instrument. I'll tell you, it never fails to impress people when you play a musical instrument app on your device, and this one looks particularly easy to pick up!

Name: Air Harp
Rating: 4.5 stars over 12 reviews
Price: 1.99 0.99
Description: You may have played air guitar before, but have you had the Air Harp experience? Now anyone, no matter their level of musical ability, can play wonderful music with the Air Harp app on the Kindle Fire. Air Harp re-imagines the classic lap harp for the digital era. The app turns your Fire into an attractive wooden instrument with 15 strings, capable of producing two octaves of gorgeous, high-quality harp tones in G major. Just use your fingers to "strum" and "pluck" the strings--it's that easy.
Get your copy of Air Harp!

This next app is a cute graphic novel featuring some lovable animal friends. Currently on sale for 66% off. Take a look!

Name: Owly, Vol. 1: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer
Rating: No reviews yet. If you try it, write one!
Price: $2.99 0.99
Description: Owly is a kind, yet lonely, little owl who's always on the lookout for new friends and adventure. The first graphic novel in the series by Andy Runton contains two enchanting novellas, “The Way Home” and “The Bittersweet Summer,” wherein Owly discovers the meaning of friendship, and that saying goodbye doesn't always mean forever.

With this app for Android, you can take this timeless tale, that’s a favorite of children and adults alike, everywhere you take your Android device. This app features crisp graphics, and as you tap the screen, the next frame on the page is highlighted. 

Get your copy of Owly, Vol. 1: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer!

Next up is an impressive RPG game that won't cost you a cent. Graphics looks great and reviews on gameplay are good. Some reviews mention trouble with the download though. If you have issues, I'd recommend going into Your Apps and Devices in your account, deleting the app if the download gets stuck, and trying again. Could very well be worth the effort.

Name: Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave
Rating: 3.4 stars over 114 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Take on the role of one of four distinct heroes, and battle hordes of invading creatures by strategically summoning a variety of towers and traps throughout your castle. Directly partake in the action-packed combat with your hero while leveling up, gathering tons of loot, customizing and upgrading equipment, and developing your class abilities.

All of this can be played seamlessly online in multiplayer mode as you cooperate and compete throughout the missions to build the strongest heroes and achieve the highest scores in the online kingdom.

Combining the depth of strategic gaming with the satisfying action and character building of RPG gaming, Dungeon Defenders is a beautifully stylized fantasy setting built with Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. This is a fun and addictive experience for casual and veteran gamers alike.

Destroy what you can of the enemies blocking your path and navigate through the rest, and you'll find the Happy Place.

Get your free copy of Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave!
Finally, we've got another great-looking, highly rated game, and based on the title you might expect that there are some weapons involved. If you're looking for an action-packed game, take a look!

Name: Gun Bros.
Rating: 4.1 stars over 197 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: When an evil criminal organization threatens to enslave the entire galaxy, stopping them is going to take superhuman strength, incredible toughness, and guns--lots and lots of guns. Enter Percy and Francis Gun, two genetically-engineered super soldiers who just might be humanity's last hope against the Tyrannical Oppressors of Life (T.O.O.L.).

These heavily armed war machines come packing plenty of heat and attitude. Take the fight to the front lines as you clear wave upon wave of enemies across different planets and landscapes. Read up on mission briefings and complete dangerous objectives as you descend to each new location.

PLEASE NOTE: This app lets you purchase digital content using actual money. You can configure parental controls for in-app purchases, which will require your Amazon account password or a 4-digit PIN, by going to the Settings menu from within the Amazon Appstore.

Get your free copy of Gun Bros.!

Warp Dash: Today's Free App, Plus BoTD: The Giver

Yesterday we had our voting for our favorite Kindle Fire apps, and it was great to see everyone getting so excited about the games they're playing and the utilities they're using to enjoy their Fires. There were a few common ones that'll no doubt make the top ten, but we'll find out what the entire list looks like tomorrow afternoon. There's still time to cast your vote if you drop into our Facebook page!

A reminder that the clock is ticking on Amazon's Year-End Deals. And don't forget to take a look at their huge Kindle Fire Cover Sale!

Today's free app is an exciting, fast-paced racer with sleek graphics and smooth gameplay. This game is also exclusive to the Amazon Appstore. You won't find this one anywhere else, and for today only you can get it for free!

Name: Warp Dash
Rating: 3.9 stars over 72 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Speed into the future with Warp Dash, a challenging arcade endurance racer game for Android. Once you enter the super-cool landscape of Warp Dash, you won't want to leave. Power up your navigation skills and see how long you can survive.

Select your ship and tune into the techno-dubstep soundtrack to get psyched for your mission. Tilt your device and grab as many triangles as possible to earn points and speed. Multiply your score with warp jumps. Be careful to avoid the obstacles - if you don't, your ship will disappear in a blaze of fire. 
Race through a never-ending game grid that is limited only by your gaming skills. Navigate an always-changing environment; no two racing experiences will ever be the same. Unlock Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert leagues for faster play, more points, and bigger air as you defy a relentless onslaught of obstacles. 
Get your free copy of Warp Dash

Today's Kindle Daily Deal is one of those books that everyone should read in their lifetime. There's never been a better time to get this award-winning story than now!

Title: The Giver
Rating: 4.3 stars over 3,409 reviews
Price: $6.95 0.99
Description:  In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

Get your copy of The Giver!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bargain and Free Apps for the Kindle Fire (12/29)

In case you couldn't tell from our posts lately, there are more accessories out there for the Kindle Fire than you can shake a stick at (what does that expression even mean?). Well, the same can be said for games, and we're featuring some great ones today. Make sure you let us know what your favorite game or app for the Fire is tonight around 7pm on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, because we'll be revealing the top 10 most popular ones of the year for our 1st Annual Kindle Fire App Awards! Woo!

Be sure to take a look at the whole list of Discounted Kindle Fire Accessories, as well as all of the incredible Year-End Deals.

First up we've got a new release from Gameloft, one of the best app game-makers out there, and this one is based on the hugely popular movie Avatar. Fans of the movie or just anyone looking for some adventure will find themselves getting lost deep in the world of the Na'vi.

Name: James Cameron's Avatar HD
Rating: 4.5 stars over 12 reviews
Price: 4.99
Description: Go deeper into the spectacular world of James Cameron's Avatar and embark on a journey of redemption and discovery two decades prior to the events in the film. As Cpt. Ryan Lorenz, you'll transmit your consciousness into the body of an experimental human-Na'vi hybrid, becoming the first avatar. 

Get your copy of James Cameron's Avatar HD!

I can't stop laughing at this next game. The concept is brilliant and if that wasn't enough, the graphics and gameplay are top notch too!

Name: Shine Runner
Rating: 4.7 stars over 6 reviews
Price: $1.99 0.99
Description: Throw your flat-bottomed fanboat into high gear and slip and slide through the muddy waters of the backwoods bayou. Smash and crash through a destructible world filled with rickety swamp shacks, fishin' boats, chicken coops, gators, and more. 

Pack your cargo hold to the brim with moonshine, tobacky, snake oil and other contraband and then sell 'em to the highest bidder in a rampagin' 10-day race for profit and glory. Just make sure you keep an eye out for Smokey–the more notorious you get, the more cops will come gunnin' for you.

Amazing boat physics: Power slide through twisting rivers. Completely destructible environments: Crash through docks stacked high with barrels. Demolish shacks and outhouses. Punt gators and chickens. If you can see it, you can smash it!

Get your copy of Shine Runner!

And then we've got a very nice freebie version that has strong reviews on its own. Give it a try or for less than a buck you can get the paid version, Aporkalypse - Pigs of Doom.

Name: Aporkalypse Free
Rating: 4.3 stars over 15 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: The pig world is in danger and it needs your help. Follow these four heroes of ham through fiery puzzles and use brains, brawn, and bacon to stop the Aporkalypse in Aporkalypse - FREE on your Android device. Upgrade to the full version, Aprokalypse - Pigs of Doom, to remove advertisements. 

The world has a pig problem. According to an old prophecy, the four Pigs of Doom should proclaim the end of the world in a distant future--but something went terribly wrong and the gates of Heaven and Hell have already opened. Now it's up to the greedy Hunger Pig, the heavily armed War Pig, the controlling Pest Pig, and the ghostly Death Pig to stop this madness.
Get your free copy of Aporkalypse Free!
Finally, we've got a game that certainly swims against the tide. Instead of competing against flashy graphics, this one is a text-based game, where you select what happens among a few options. Sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Very high ratings and completely free.

Name: Choice of the Dragon
Rating: 4.7 stars over 81 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Choice of the Dragon is a free text-based game of multiple choice. Dominate the local kingdom, loot and pillage, and inspire terror in the hearts of your enemies. Play as a fire-breathing dragon who sleeps on gold and kidnaps princesses for fun.

Get your copy of Choice of the Dragon!

Kindle Fire Accessories: Skins, Carrying Cases, and Bags

Our discussion yesterday about covers for the Kindle Fire made it clear that people were interested in far more than just something to wrap over the exterior. There's really a lot out there, and in this post we're going to dig a little deeper and get into the variety of goods available and how they can help you individualize your Fire. Of course, you can check back and see our recommended covers here. Although we won't really be getting into it in this post, there are also plenty of Designer Sleeves to check out.

For more great deals, don't miss the entire page of Discounted Kindle Fire Covers.

Decalgirl Kindle Fire Skins
If you're looking for a beautiful design that'll elicit gasps from your friends and make it so you can spot your own Fire in a heartbeat, Decalgirl Skins are the way to go. Though they don't offer much in the way of protection, they are thin enough that they *should even fit under a cover. Gorgeous images, quality material, and a relatively inexpensive price make these very appealing for anyone interested in customizing their Fire. We'll show off a few of our favorites, but you can find all of their designs HERE.

Kindle Fire Carrying Cases
Fire covers are nice, and they do a lot to help keep your device safe and sound, but there are plenty of reasons why someone might want something a little different. If you're looking for pockets to store headphones, cards, cords, or other things, a Carrying Case might be the way to go. These are made specifically for the Fire and at the moment they are on sale for about 40-50% off!

Kindle Fire Case Bag
Finally, for those who are looking for maximum space because they have multiple devices, papers, or other things to carry with them, a Case Bag might be the best option. This one from USA Gear features great reviews, top-of the line materials, and a sweet sale price of 44% off for only $19.99. This could very well be the deal of the day, and the price won't stay that low for long. Also note that the USA Gear Carrying Case Bag will work for any Kindle.

Stay tuned for more great apps later this afternoon!

Hot Donut: Today's Free App, Plus Book of the Day: The Handmaid's Tale

It was sort of a funny coincidence yesterday that we were talking about cases for the Kindle Fire right when Amazon put together an entire page of discounted cases and covers (of course I'd already found the best deals). If you're still searching for the right cover for you, take a look at their complete list!

Also, we'll make our last call tonight for votes for the 1st Annual Kindle Fire App Awards on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to think about your favorite and then cast your vote!

Now on to today's free app and our book of the day!

Name: Hot Donut
Rating: 2.8 stars over 33 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: How hot are you, little donut? Are you sizzling hot, just warmish, or downright soggy? Find out when you roll, jump, and dash your way through four awe-inspiring worlds in the fun Android game, Hot Donut.

This pastry-turned-action-hero obviously means business. He's dressed for success in his purple cape, red gloves, and Superman stance. He also has large eyes meant for spying ... fireflies, which, if you're lucky enough to catch, give you extra points.

Get your free copy of Hot Donut!

Today's Kindle Daily Deal is a classic work of literature from master writer Margaret Atwood. This is your chance to get this haunting dystopian work at a fraction of the price!

Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Rating: 4.2 stars over 692 reviews
Price: $16.95 1.49

Description:  In a startling departure from her previous novels ( Lady Oracle, Surfacing ), respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: "of Fred"), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be. This powerful, memorable novel is highly recommended for most libraries.
Get your copy of The Handmaid's Tale!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Free and Bargain Apps for the Kindle Fire (12/28)

Now that we're back from vacation, we can get back to digging through the Appstore for great apps for the Kindle Fire. The discussion today about cases was great, and it became clear that there are more options out there than anyone could keep track of. One notable thing: for those interested in something bigger like a carrying case with pockets etc, this Nylon Sleeve Carrying Case from SumacLife looks like a winner. Doesn't hurt that it's $15.00 off either.

For a complete list of all of the discounted Fire cases on Amazon, Click Here!

And then there's are all of the irresistible offers that are part of Amazon's Year-End Deals, where most everything is 30%, 50%, or 70% off.

Since the free app of the day is Monopoly, we're in the mood for some more classic games. Fortunately, another one of our childhood favorites is on sale for just under a buck. Games like these are a great way to share the fun of the Fire with the entire family.

Name: The Game of Life
Rating: 4.3 stars over 46 reviews
Price: $1.29 0.99
Description: Anything can happen in THE GAME OF LIFE™, which is now better than ever played on your mobile device. Enjoy amazing 3D visual effects, whimsical graphics, upbeat music, and vibrant landscapes complete with weather effects like falling snow. You can take up to three friends along with you as you journey through all those important life decisions and milestones. 

After you choose your car color (orange, red, blue, or green) and player (Mary, John, Rachel, or Bob) you're set to spin that familiar colorful wheel to see who goes first and how far you'll go. Touch the screen and give it a spin with your finger. Whatever number the spinner lands on determines the number of spaces your car will move ahead on the board. If you're a strategist, scope out the board before you spin to see which space would be best to move toward. To do this, simply press an area of the board that does not contain a space and drag the board around. Get The Game of Life!

Next up is a nice app for compiling and viewing photos from multiple places on your Fire. Could be very useful if you're the kind of person who enjoys taking and showing off pictures.

Name: Woven: Facebook, Flickr, Picasa & Shutterfly Photo Album
Rating: 4.0 stars over 2 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Woven is a delightfully simple photo album, compatible with the Kindle Fire. You can see all your photos together from popular photo sharing sites including Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, and Shutterfly. Link to online photo-sharing sites, gather photos even as you share and post, view photos online, and more.

 Get your free copy of Woven: Facebook, Flickr, Picasa & Shutterfly Photo Album!

And then we've got a very nice freebie game with some strong reviews.

Name: Ninjump
Rating: 4.2 stars over 56 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Rise to the top and become a ninja master in NinJump, the latest free game from Backflip Studios, who also bring you PaperToss.

In this fast-paced ninja climbing game, your goal is to rise as high as you can while avoiding killer squirrels, angry birds, enemy ninjas, spiked stars, and exploding bombs. With a simple tap you can jump from one wall to the other, knocking obstacles from the air as you do. Take down three enemies of the same kind to trigger mega-jump bonuses. Collect shields and plow through your opponents. Just watch out for ledges and other ninjas, because they will knock you off and send you to your doom!
Get your free copy of Ninjump!
Finally, we have the sequel to one of the most popular and highest-rated games out there, Quell. If you haven't heard of these games yet, you're in for a treat!

Name: Quell Reflect
Rating: 4.9 stars over 24 reviews
Price: 0.99
Description: Play a charming zen puzzler that is sure to test your brain and capture your heart. Quell Reflect has more than 80 levels of ingenious gameplay, a gorgeous art style, and a haunting soundtrack.

The objective is simple: Slide a droplet around a layout of obstacles, traps and pathways, until you have collected all the pearls. Underneath this simple gameplay lies a world of intricacy.

Quell Reflect's appeal lies in its gentle, soothing mood, which makes it a great way to unwind. 
Get your copy of Quell Reflect!

Best Covers for the Kindle Fire!

Even though the Kindle Fire has been out for a while now, we wanted to wait to make our picks for the best covers until we got as much information as possible. We wanted to see how people used the device, who was using it, and what kind of protection they needed, and we've come to a few conclusions about what most people are looking for.

The ideal Kindle Fire case is sturdy and strong without adding too much thickness or weight to the device. A built-in stand is a welcome addition, and it's best if it can stand in both landscape and portrait mode. Some need the Fire to be kid-safe, while others are in the market for something with a bit of a business-like flare. Design preferences are obviously highly individualized, making multiple colors and patterns a plus. Keeping all of this in mind, as well as the need for a low price, we're ready to make the case for our favorites.

For a complete list of all of the discounted Fire cases on Amazon, Click Here!

The rooCase Executive Portfolio
If there's one case out there with the most versatility and value, it's got to be the rooCase Executive Portfolio. A snug fit, built-in stand, and pockets for cards, papers, and more make this perfect for anyone who always keeps the Fire close at hand. Why, it could almost replace your wallet or purse. With reviews that are almost universally good, this case is built to last, and then the icing on the cake is that it's temporarily on sale for 55% off! They also have a similar case in red too. All told, this is our case of choice.

The Lightweight Microshell by Marware
For those with kids or slippery fingers in general, our pick is the Lightweight Microshell. Its sleek, thin design but strong build will allow your Fire to stand up to quite a bit of abuse. Equipped with protective straps, clips, and rubberized exterior, this case will give you plenty peace of mind concerning your fragile electronic device. A nice 25% discount adds to the appeal.

The Acase Micro Fiber Leather Case
Bargain hunters out there will be very impressed with this Acase Premium Leather Case, which is currently on sale for a staggering 72% off at $16.97, and can also be found in Red and Brown. With strong reviews, this case boasts a 3-month warranty, light weight, and ability to function as a stand. For the money, it's a great value and better than going around with a naked Kindle Fire!

Honorable mention goes to the AYL Frameless Leather Case, which is also on sale for a full 73% off. Simply put, if you're in the market for a case, it's not hard to find a good one. The ones listed here will get the job done, not to mention look good doing it.

Already have a case? Let us know which one you have and how you like it! And stay tuned for some great apps later this afternoon!

Monopoly: Today's Free App, Plus Book of the Day: Pictures of You

Back to our regularly scheduled programming! It was a good holiday break, but now there's more work to be done. if you've got a Kindle Fire, we're here to help you understand your device and get the very best games, apps, books, and more for it!

As for the more, did anybody read this article reporting that Best Buy has been putting out damaged Kindles as display models to dissuade people from buying them? I can understand how selling them hurts their business, but I'm wondering whether they just let the battery drain so they wouldn't work or if they actually went so far as to damage the machines before putting them out. Criminal!

In the deals department, check out Amazon's Year-End Deals for savings of up to 70% on close-out and clearance items!

Now on to today's free app and discounted book of the day! We've been spoiled lately, and this one is another exciting and easily recognizable one!

Name: Monopoly
Rating: 3.4 stars over 108 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Legend has it that the modern version of the MONOPOLY board game was invented during the Depression by an unemployed man named Charles Darrow. Rebuffed by the major game companies of the time, he published it himself--and it went on to become perhaps the world's most popular board game. Now, in the 21st century, you can play the same classic game of MONOPOLY on your Kindle Fire. And it's a ton of fun. So, do you like to buy Boardwalk and Park Place and hope to make it big on a few unlucky rolls by your opponent? Or is your strategy to go with the Green, Red, or Yellow properties and slowly bleed your adversaries dry? However you like to play MONOPOLY, you'll love playing the Android version. 
Get your free copy of Monopoly!

If you're looking for a touching, thoughtful story, take a look at our books of the day about one woman's attempt to carry on with life after a devastating car crash.

Title: Pictures of You
Rating: 4.2 stars over 155 reviews
Price: $13.95 0.99

Description:  In Leavitt’s (Girls in Trouble, 2005) compelling new novel, a car crash provides the catalyst for an examination of how well we know the people we love. April and Isabelle, both fleeing their marriages, collide on a foggy, deserted stretch of road. Only Isabelle survives, and though blameless, she is haunted by guilt. In search of healing, she finds herself drawn to Charlie and Sam, April’s grief-stricken husband and son. Complicated relationships develop, and Leavitt thoughtfully handles friendship and romance in scenes of emotional resonance. She understands the ache of loss, the elusiveness of forgiveness, and the triteness of words like “closure.” An expert storyteller, Leavitt alternates perspective among her three leading characters, providing insight into the thoughts, secrets, and dreams that they withhold from each other. Whether these individuals will arrive at happiness separately or together is the question that drives the narrative, and the reader, forward as Leavitt teases suspense out of the greatest mystery of all—the workings of the human heart. 
Get your copy of Pictures of You!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fruit Ninja Puss in Boot: Today's Free App, Plus Book of the Day: The Detachment

Now that we're on the other side of the holidays, we're seeing a whole new wave of Kindle Fires being sent to people around the country. First there were the early-adopters, then the holiday shoppers, and now people who didn't get one for the holidays are getting the device for themselves with gift cards. It's clear that nobody wants to be left out of the fun, and even people with iPads are finding that the Fire still serves a very special niche in their entertainment needs.

We'll be talking more about this in articles in the days ahead, as well as getting into our year-end wrap-up with the 1st Annual Kindle App Awards!

But now...check out today's free app and our discounted book of the day!

Name: Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots
Rating: 4.4 stars over 57 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Fruit meets fairytales in Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots.

The suave, fruit-slashing swashbuckler, Puss in Boots, faces a challenge that would make Sensei proud. Prepare for a journey of familiar fruit-slicing action as Puss encounters a wealth of new and exciting challenges in his search for the Magic Beans.
Get your free copy of Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots!

If you're in the mood for an exciting thriller, take a look at our book of the day from acclaimed either Barry Eisler!

Title: TheDetachment
Rating: 4.4 stars over 169 reviews
Price: $9.99 0.99
Description:  John Rain is back. And “the most charismatic assassin since James Bond” (San Francisco Chronicle) is up against his most formidable enemy yet: the nexus of political, military, media, and corporate factions known only as the Oligarchy. 

When legendary black ops veteran Colonel Scott “Hort” Horton tracks Rain down in Tokyo, Rain can’t resist the offer: a multi-million dollar payday for the “natural causes” demise of three ultra-high-profile targets who are dangerously close to launching a coup in America. 

But the opposition on this job is going to be too much for even Rain to pull it off alone. He’ll need a detachment of other deniable irregulars: his partner, the former Marine sniper, Dox. Ben Treven, a covert operator with ambivalent motives and conflicted loyalties. And Larison, a man with a hair trigger and a secret he’ll kill to protect. Get your copy of The Detachment!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Where's My Water: Today's Free App, Plus Our Book of the Day: Life of Pi

Although I wasn't able to be around as much as I wanted to yesterday (spending time with family and all), I loved hearing from all of the people who were loving their new Kindle Fire. In case you missed it, you can find our Getting Started Guide here. I've got to send out a huge thank you and warm wishes to all of the people who shared our page here and on Facebook yesterday, and to those who stepped up to answer questions and help other Fire users in my absence. Sharing information and building a community of Fire users is exactly what we love to see.

Today's free app is a very special treat. This is one of the games we've most come to appreciate since the Fire came out, and we're excited to be able to present it to you now. Don't miss this new hit game from Disney!

Name: Where's My Water?
Rating: 4.5 stars over 225 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: All poor Swampy the Alligator wants to do is take a refreshing shower in his lair beneath the city. Is that so wrong? Unfortunately, his water supply has been blocked by a variety of pesky obstacles. Your job is to carve a path that will deliver Swampy the precious liquid he needs in the entertaining Disney game Where's My Water?

Where's My Water? is a challenging, physics-based game complete with multi-touch controls, detailed animated graphics, and a lively soundtrack. Prepare for hours of addictive fun as you strive to help Swampy bathe while collecting his beloved rubber duckies and other special items along the way.
Get your free copy of Where's My Water?

I don't think I've ever seen a book with so many reviews before! Take a look at this exciting, imaginative adventure!

Title: Life of Pi
Rating: 4.1 stars over 2110 reviews
Price: $8.99 0.99
Description:  A fabulous romp through an imagination by turns ecstatic, cunning, despairing and resilient, this novel is an impressive achievement "a story that will make you believe in God," as one character says. The peripatetic Pi (ne the much-taunted Piscine) Patel spends a beguiling boyhood in Pondicherry, India, as the son of a zookeeper. Growing up beside the wild beasts, Pi gathers an encyclopedic knowledge of the animal world. His curious mind also makes the leap from his native Hinduism to Christianity and Islam, all three of which he practices with joyous abandon. In his 16th year, Pi sets sail with his family and some of their menagerie to start a new life in Canada. Halfway to Midway Island, the ship sinks into the Pacific, leaving Pi stranded on a life raft with a hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. After the beast dispatches the others, Pi is left to survive for 227 days with his large feline companion on the 26-foot-long raft, using all his knowledge, wits and faith to keep himself alive.
Get your copy of Life of Pi!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Getting Started with Your Kindle Fire and Feature Recap

What's 7 inches long, weighs 14.6 ounces and is in your hands right now?  Your new Kindle Fire! If you're just opening your Fire for the first time today, you're in for a treat, and I'm not just talking about all of the apps, books, games, and movies you have access to. Kindle Fire Department has dozens and dozens of great features to help you get started and make the most of your device! And if you've had your Fire for a while, it's very possible there are some tips and tricks you may have missed.

So let's dig through our pages and see what would be the most helpful. One thing to note is that for accessories and apps, the prices may have changed since we've discussed them, so be sure to look before you click!

A lot has changed since our original Getting Started Guide. There have been new software updates (which you already have), we've found ways to speed up the Silk browser and and change the home screen, and we've looked at setting up GMail. Here are some tips for moving files around between PC and Fire too.

We've found ways to expand the device's memory using Portable Storage Drives and syncing your Fire to your PC. There are some helpful suggestions for getting more control over the volume and getting more out of the battery. If you've got kids using the Fire, it might be helpful to know more about the parental controls you can use,as well as info on preventing unintentional purchases and some other details here in conjunction with the latest software update. A screen protector can be a good idea as well.

If you're thinking about Amazon Prime or keeping it beyond the trial, that article might be useful too. If you wish the Fire had 3G, getting a MiFi Mobile Hotspot might be the answer. It's even possible to send texts for FREE! And of course don't forget our free apps page, or any of our other app posts, which can be found by digging through our history on the lower left column.

All told, there's enough here to help you with pretty much every aspect of your Fire, and if that wasn't enough, we've also got a great community of people on our Facebook page.

And one last thing, if you know other people who are getting a Fire today, why not share this page with them? When it comes to figuring out our devices, we're all in this together, and we all benefit when more people add their thoughts. Go ahead and drop an email or facebook post with a link. We appreciate it!

And now for today's FREE app of the day!

Name: Atari's Greatest Hits Pro
Rating: 2.0 stars over 155 reviews
Price: 0.00
Description: Do you remember playing Centipede or Asteroids at the arcade in the 1980s? Wouldn't it be great to relive these and other games from your childhood? With Atari's Greatest Hits PRO, you get a collection of the most popular retro games from the '70s and '80s--including nine free games. Now you don't need a time machine to get the classic gaming experience of yesterday. You just need this app and an Android device.

Atari's Greatest Hits PRO gives you access to 100 classic Atari 2600 and arcade games. This extensive catalog pays homage to each of the originals, with controls designed to mimic what Atari fans remember from 30 years ago. You can buy games like Pong, Tempest, Crystal Castles, and many more. For those who love the classic gaming experience, this handheld breakthrough is sure to guarantee hours of fun.
Get your free copy of Atari's Greatest Hits Pro!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stocking Stuffers: Bargain Kindle Books for 2.99 or Less

With the holidays well in hand and plenty of presents waiting for us in the near future, it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a little reading time. In this post we've got a nice list of bargain Kindle books that are both highly rated and highly enjoyable. Most of these are for mature readers.

All of these books are very giftable as well, so don't be afraid to use the "Give as a Gift" feature to make sure anyone opening a Kindle tomorrow doesn't find it empty!

And be sure to check back in with us tomorrow for our new Getting Started feature if you're opening a Kindle Fire. If you know someone who is, do them a favor and point them our way!

Name: Lessons II: Another Morbid Drabble Collection
Rating: 4.2 stars over 12 reviews
Price: 0.99
Description: A sinister puppet finally makes a new friend.
A man learns about his bleak future.
A killer has another painful lesson to teach.

From the author of LESSONS AND OTHER MORBID DRABBLES comes this terrifying and amusing follow-up. 30 100-word shorts about horrible ghouls, monsters and deranged, bloodthirsty lunatics. In these drabbles, you'll run into kid-hungry goblins, sadistic dolls, zombies and psychopaths who believe that violence can solve just about anything.

Get Lessons II: Another Morbid Drabble Collection!

Name: 33 A.D. (Bachiyr Book 1)
Rating: 4.2 stars over 109 review
Price: 2.99
Description: Jerusalem, 33 A.D. The vampires of the era have long sought to gain a foothold into Israel, but the faith of the local Jewish population has held them in check for centuries. 

When one of their own betrays them to follow a strange young rabbi from Galilee, the elders of the vampire race dispatch Theron, a nine hundred year old assassin, to kill them both.
The rabbi's name is Jesus. Killing him should be easy.
 Get 33 A.D. (Bachiyr Book 1)!

Name: Double Agent: A Thriller
Rating: 5.0 stars over 2 reviews
Price: 2.99
Description: With an attack against the Las Vegas Monorail, CIA Director Alexandra Dupuis calls in the agent she counts on in dangerous situations – even though that agent feels betrayed by the very government she serves, the very country she protects – in order to protect American interests. 

In Jaclyn Johnson’s latest adventure, Dupuis sends the secret agent into the path of a radical Christian terrorist, one whose designs for Sin City would spell disaster for not only the entire southwest, but for the country as a whole, too.

Double Agent is third book in the Snapshot series.

Name: The Fall: An Undead Apocalypse
Rating: 4.3 stars over 20 reviews
Price: 2.99
Description: An ancient evil, trapped in the ruins of a lost Mayan temple for centuries, has been unleashed. It takes the form of a deadly virus that causes violent insanity in the living and the recently departed to rise and walk. The blight spreads around the globe, throwing the world into chaos and war.

Regular people are hurled into an existence outside their control, left to deal with a terror they aren't prepared to handle. Life becomes a nightmare, and that nightmare is spreading.
 Get The Fall: An Undead Apocalypse

Name: Freeze
Rating: 4.2 stars over 10 reviews
Price: 2.99
Description: A raging snowstorm has stranded Tess and Warren in their mountain home with no power and little heat. When an accident leaves Tess coughing up pools of blood, Warren has no choice but to brave the storm in search for help.

He's afraid he'll be too late.

But what he should be afraid of are the creatures slinking through the blizzard and watching his every move.

Get Freeze!