Over the past year or so, I’ve been downloading and reading free ebooks from a number of sources – partly because I have a weakness for free, partly because I want to find greats reads for you that you don’t have to shell out a penny for!
But sometimes “you get what you pay for”. Sometimes a book is free because we wouldn’t slog through it for any other reason.
Is that the rule? Are the reading-gems the exception? I’ve dug back through my review archives to figure out which books are worth reading (and worth paying for, even if I didn’t have to).
Note: All deals are listed as of this writing. Authors naturally have the prerogative to change how they charge for their works. By that same token, some books that I loved but couldn’t list because they didn’t qualify might become free again later 😉! Continue reading
Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about a story.
July 6, 2009, is the date I have recorded that the story first emerged as recognizably itself:
How we did story-boarding in the dark ages.
A human prince – Eris – is banished and branded, but accompanied on his wanderings by his elf and dwarf best friends.
As I usually do, I took the seed to my dad, who is an expert in taking my infantile premises and giving them plots. Continue reading
My brother just spent nine weeks at the International ALERT Academy Basic Training in Big Sandy, Texas. The fall-out has been interesting.
I didn’t miss him as much as I had suspected, seeing how close we are. A little background: we are the only “real” siblings in our family. While we had several foster siblings off and on growing up (that we love in a different way) he and I have a special bond, especially as we’ve grown older and more mature. We still get on each other’s nerves, but we’d die for each other in a heartbeat… Continue reading
In the good old simple days, when boys did chores instead of play video games and parents could be efficiently disposed of in farming accidents…Ten-year-old Joshua Jones is perfectly content living with his grandpa, great-uncle, and teenaged aunt “Auntie Lou”. Continue reading
This is a story of differences – cultural, national, lingual, ecclesiastical – and how they can be overcome. This is also a book that delves into the era at the tail end of World War II and afterward to explore the dark tendrils of war that affected an unusual time period. Continue reading
An average gradeschooler is literally sucked out of his house into a magical kingdom where he becomes an honored guest – and their only hope for reversing a centuries-old curse. Adventures and gimmicks ensue.
After chapter 2, this kid fantasy picks up, making it enjoyable, if not extraordinary.
UPDATE: I understand from the author that a revised edition of this book has been published. Continue reading
In-depth characterization, thoughtful Christianity, and an authentic teenage voice help set this story apart from the other books about lost children and teens finding their way. Continue reading
This story about a middle-grader with a passion for making movies is accessible to people of any age or any interest, and is an engaging, fun read.
Kate Walden is a seventh grader with dreams of a Hollywood director career. She’s already made one movie, and is determined to make a second. However, a new boy moves into her school and decides to make a movie, too. From there, the complications mount as she strives to show up the newcomer while scrounging for actors, props, and locations…and dealing with bullies and friend-issues. Ah, the simplicity of middle school. Continue reading
Not C. S. Lewis, But He Could Have Been
Now I understand the kickback against independent publishing (sort of). Yet for all this manuscript’s unprofessionalism, the story still swept me along so that I had no choice but finish it.
The story centers around Blott, a boy whose village faces starvation due to a drought and is controlled almost exclusively by the chief member of the council. In an attempt to find relief for his people, Blott discovers things about himself and his world, and is forced to explore the strange abilities that separate him from the rest of the people, even from his parents and brother. He also struggles with a violent enjoyment of destruction that might come from some mysterious external puppet-master, or from a well of darkness in his own soul. Continue reading
Quiet, Unassuming Read
Made in Yorkshire: 1964 is exactly what the title says: a story of the life of one boy (Richard Warren) in Ledder Bridge, Yorkshire in 1964. Quiet, yet engaging, it’s a gentle read that nevertheless touches harsh things. Continue reading