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
You must pick up a fairytale with open eyes. The well-worn road to fairyland is practically paved with princesses, curses, and talking cats. Yet for those not too “grown-up” to venture into the land of fairies, ogres, and millers’ sons, Poison Kiss offers a quick, entertaining read that delivers exactly to genre.
Everyone’s heard of the “Sleeping Beauty” story, so when the king hears that his daughter is to fill the role in the next cycle of the tale, he deliberately snubs the evil fairy and prepares to ban all spinning wheels.
When the fairy responsible for the curse brings originality to the course of events and switches the cure for the curse, the horrified kingdom is left to fear “love’s first kiss” – and wonder how a spinning wheel will help reverse the whole thing. Continue reading
There’s something rotten in the Land of the Dead. Manny Calavera, travel agent to the recently deceased, is desperate for a big commission so he can pay off his dues to the “powers that be” and start his own “four year journey of the soul.”
When he tampers with the system to steal a client from his rival, he falls into an adventure that will have him pointing-and-clicking all over this hilarious Mexican-inspired landscape. 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
Sleeping Beauty is a set designer working for Hollywood. A Romanian gypsy casts spells of time-travel and death. An estranged royal couple mourn the loss of their only child. And the hunky love interest exhibits self-sacrificial love.
Yet, for whatever confluence of cosmic misdemeanors, all the raging richness of this story potential totally fizzled when it hit the dour surface of my consciousness. Continue reading
Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly list-event hosted by the “Broke and the Bookish” blog, has as its theme for today “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book.”
In roughly ascending order:
Things that make me click the link/pick it up:
1. Good cover/Catchy title
The Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week is “Read In One Sitting Theme”. I’ve filed my choices into three categories: stories that drag you along, begging to be read all at once; stories whose length and format suit them to comprehensive reading; and stories suited to periods of interrupted reading time.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brian
We used this as our bedtime story once. Mr. O’Brian puts his chapter breaks in exactly the right places – in a way. While we didn’t quite finish it in one read-through, the story pulled us along from chapter to chapter, long past when Dad had first said, “Well, just one more.”
I’ll admit Necromancer Awakening has one of the most gripping opening chapters I’ve seen. Nicholas Murray, archeology student, is getting ready for his adoptive father’s funeral – a man who took him on as a teenager and got him where he is now – when supernatural visions cloud his sight and he’s sucked into another world before his girlfriend’s eyes.
I’m afraid the first third of the book was a struggle to get through. While I acknowledge that being yanked away from everything you’ve ever known would be stressful and disorienting, the cliché of whiny, clueless protagonists and grumpy, impatient mentor-figures gets old fast. Continue reading
The Book I Loved, the Series I Stopped
I haz rifle – and a pet spider. Ergo, I’s awesome.
Rangers Apprentice, by John A. Flanagan, is a series highly recommended to me by a good friend of mine. It follows the adventures of a group of characters in a quasi-mystical land where “Rangers” (Rogues, Hunters, Hide-in-shadows-shooting-with-deadly-accuracy-awesome, whatever the name is) train and serve the king of Araluen.
Sadly, it is also the series I think back on when I think of the wrong way to do cliffhangers. Differences in fiction taste aside, here’s why I loved the first book, but finally gave up on the series.
The Case Studies
1 The Ruins of Gorlan: They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…
I’ve heard this book get some flack, but it was my favorite. Continue reading
Love is dynamite, every woman a detonator, and every man a fuse. In the hand of God, it builds castles…in the hand of man, it destroys cities.
This book felt like more allegory than story, and at 1800 words it felt like I sped through it. Although I’m much less familiar with the original “Beauty and the Beast” than I was with “The Fisherman and His Wife,” this retelling felt less like the Disney version and more like Taming of the Shrew. Continue reading