FREE Books? What!?! And how do I sign up? Blogging and book reviewing doesn’t have to be the only way to get your hands on free books. One question I get asked all the time is…”how do you get so many free books?” Not everyone enjoys reviewing books but I am pretty sure everyone loves free stuff. Below are a few ways that I get free books and some other recommendations that might interest you.
- Right now there is a March Madness going on with Harper Collins Canada and you can enter once a day to win a 64 book library! Here is the link for that if you are interested: http://www.hccmarchmadness.ca
- I enter just about every contest I see if the prize is worth winning. Sometimes it is stuff that I will never use like a pod coffee machine or a men’s watch but most often it is stuff I can either use myself or easily sell. Last year I even won a $5000 shopping spree at Leons! Books happen to be one of those things that you can often find tons of giveaways for.
- Goodreads also does a ton of Book Giveaways. It is a bit time consuming because you have to individually enter EACH one. On the upside, you can use key words to narrow down which books might interest you and there is a huge list of possible books you can win. GoodReads Giveaways
- Twitter/Facebook are also great places to catch book giveaways. Some of the accounts I follow which regularly do giveaways are @SavvyReader, @PenguinCanada, RandomHouseCA & @ChaptersIndigo. Scene on Facebook does giveaways regularly too https://www.facebook.com/SCENE
- First Look with Harper Collins Canada (#HCCFirstLook). “What’s #HCCFirstLook? It’s a program that gives Canadian readers exclusive access to advanced copies of HarperCollins books before anyone else!” harpercanada.wpengine.com/first-look BUT be fast because the titles change frequently!
- Thanks to HarperCollinsCanada I won a pre-release copy of Miss You by Kate Eberlen earlier this month!
Read Books Digitally and/or Sign up for Free Ebooks
- NetGalley is my newest favourite website for finding pre-published books. Once you sign up for NetGalley, you can either scan the “Read Now” titles or you can put your name in to request to read many others. Publishers are often looking for specific audiences for pre-release books so if you fit their desired profile then they will approve your request and send you a Kindle copy of the book to read. This is a great option for people who like to review books as the purpose of sites like NetGalley is to get feedback on books before they are published.
- Try Amazon. Did you know Amazon has a ton of books either free or for less than $1? Amazon Top 100 Free: https://www.amazon.ca/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store/zgbs/digital-text/ref=zg_bs?_encoding=UTF8&tf=1 There are also tons of websites out there which will notify you if Amazon is having a sale on Kindle books.This is a much cheaper option to get ebooks; many new ebooks can now cost $10 and up.
- Access the E-Resources with your library card. Your library card likely gets you access to several ebook databases. OverDrive, Cloud Library and many others offer thousands of books free with your Public Library Card. Some libraries even loan-out E-readers that come pre-loaded with books. The list of e-resources at my local library, Leduc Public Library, is quite extensive: http://www.leduclibrary.ca/eresources
Find a Little Free Library or Arrange a Book Swap
- Little Free Libraries are a great way to share and read used books. We even have one in Leduc, AB in the Willow Park neighbourhood. You can take the books from the Little Free Library and return them there or leave some books of your own that you no longer want. Hopefully in the future there will be many more of these around. Here is a link to find locations on existing ones or how to start your own in your neighbourhood: https://littlefreelibrary.org
- If you don’t have a Little Free Library in your area, you can easily set up a book swap with your friends. Everyone has some sort of stack of books at home that they have already read (usually shoved in the back of their closet somewhere) and aren’t sure what to do with. Host a coffee/tea night where everyone brings some books and leave with the same number of books they brought. Freecycle is a great way to connect with others who are giving away free stuff. There are tons of local Alberta groups where people post all kinds of free stuff including books: https://groups.freecycle.org/group/EdmontonAB/posts/all
And Finally: Check Out Your Local Library!
My READ50 for 2017 is off to a good start. Some months I find I have more time and interest in reading than others and January has been a busy reading month for me. So far I have read 7 books for my reading challenge this year. My list of to-read books is getting shorter though so if anyone has any recommendations for me please feel free to comment and suggest some!
Some of my thoughts on a few of my January reads:
The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig
3 stars out of 5
This book is worth giving a consideration. With romance, a historical home and three women from one family lineage, The Forgotten Room is an engaging historical fiction. The story moves between three different women but if you pay attention it is not difficult to follow the diverging plots. It is even more interesting when you realize that it was written by three different authors all working together and taking turns at different parts of the plot. The story itself is a bit unbelievable but sometimes that is what we hope for in a novel, that it will take us somewhere other than real life. I didn’t think it was outstanding but definitely worth a 3 star rating in my opinion.
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery, #1) by Susan Elia MacNeal
4 stars out of 5
Despite receiving some bad reviews on GoodReads, I actually really enjoyed this book and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another novel in the series. It is really not as bad as some reviewers make it out to be. Yes Maggie, the heroine, was a little naive but women in general were not given a lot of responsibility during that period in history. I appreciated the author’s notes at the end of the book where she describes her conversations and correspondences with real war time secretaries. One lady interviewed mentioned that in real life their secretarial responsibilities were definitely not exciting or glamorous and they certainly did not have time for romance. Obviously a fictional novel wouldn’t be as exciting or fun to read if the author only wrote about the lonely and dark lives of the secretaries during war times. All in all I liked it and give it 4 out of 5.
The Whistler by John Grisham
3 out of 5 stars
I think time for big expectations and hype with John Grisham novels has come and gone. I enjoyed reading The Whistler but it fell short in some ways. There were moments when it captivates you and others when you just want to skip a few pages of lengthy detail. Lucy, the heroine, works for the Florida Bureau of Judicial Conduct and she and her partner Hugo are asked to investigate the fraud of a long serving and influential judge. The fraud involves large sums of offshore money, unexplained murders and a Casino run on Native American lands. There are some unexpected twists in the plot but for the most part the narrative is smooth and somewhat predictable. Furthermore, the end of the book feels rushed and anti-climactic. Grisham neatly wraps up all loose ends in the conclusion by foregoing narrative and just recaps the events so you can end the book. The ending feels rushed and unfulfilling. I would still recommend this book but I will definitely have lower expectations for any new John Grisham books that might be published.
Death of An Avid Reader by Frances Brody
3 stars out of 5
I took a chance on trying to find a new mystery novel series with a female heroine. Death of An Avid Reader was harder to get into than I was hoping. In the first few chapters I couldn’t figure out what story thread I was trying to follow as Kate Shackelton, the main character, was jumping all over the U.K. After the third chapter I couldn’t figure out what was going on and almost gave up. I kept plodding through and eventually the story started to make sense and I began to recognize the characters. I think there were just too many unintroduced characters in this novel to make it successful. It was difficult to follow and more than a few times I was completely lost to who a character was when a name was mentioned. By the end of the book I enjoyed the main thread of the story and I would pickup a second book in the series just to see if some of those characterization and plot problems have been worked out in subsequent books.
2015 is all finished and so is my READ50 list for 2015 (full READ50 list http://wp.me/P5G0BQ-m). I am a day behind in getting my post up for my list but here it is! I am looking forward to another year of great books and always appreciate any recommendations from friends.
One of the first books up on my READ50 list for 2016 is pre-release book I was gifted by author Nikki A. Lamers: The Unforgettable Summer. I will hopefully have a review on it for you soon.
I am also looking forward to a few reads that I never got to in 2015:
- The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny, Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory, and Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer.
50 ~ What Pet Should I Get by Dr. Seuss
Book #50 of my READ50 for 2015!!!
My daughter was gifted this book at Christmas. It is a Dr. Seuss book which was not published during his lifetime (posthumously, to be grammatically correct). I will give you the one line response from my children once we finished reading it (see below). It will basically explain everything that you will need to know about this book.
But first, I want to explain what was going through my head as I was reading it to my children. The book starts with all sorts of pets that Jay and Kay could get. As I am reading I can’t help but think this book can only end poorly if the kids can only choose ONE pet and they start out already wanting both a dog AND a cat. Someone is going to be upset, either the dog lover or the cat lover, etc. Then you add in a fish and a Yent – of course we all know what a YENT is right? And then things just get very complicated by adding in a hypothetical angry Dad which can also only mean disaster for Jay and Kay (insert visual on Dad mandating time-outs and Jay and Kay having melt-downs). After all of this going through my head while I am reading the story, I am met with a very abrupt and inconclusive ending. I am left feeling undecided about how much I like this book. I know I am not alone in this because I have since watched the faces of many adults as they read What Pet Should I Get? only to laugh and say “I know, right!?!”
And so, I will leave you to my spoiler ending and wish you happy reading for 2016!
***Contains a spoiler.
Tukari and Brynn collectively:
“So, we don’t get to find out what pet they get? That’s dumb.”
49 ~ A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book 1)
My favourite author! I really liked Veronica Speedwell and this seems like a fresh new series for Deanna Raybourn. I did find some of the descriptions to be a bit repetitive. We understand that Veronica is different, unusual etc. but reminding the readers over and over again gets annoying. Otherwise a great fun read and I always look forward to reading Deanna Raybourn’s books. Honestly her novels are some of the only books I have read multiple times.
48 ~ The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #1)
Tops my fav 5 list for 2015. I can’t wait to read some of the other books in this series. I love mysteries and what is better than a female heroine who is partnered with the famous Sherlock Holmes? I can’t say I have ever REALLY read a book about Sherlock Holmes but I have watched enough TV in my life to understand his character. I enjoyed getting to know Sherlock Holmes from the perspective of Mary. At the young age of 15, Mary becomes Holmes’ apprentice after dazzling him with her intelligence and quick wit. Mary is strong and self-assured but clearly has need of friendship after her family is killed in an accident. Holmes’ takes Mary under his wing and trains her in the art of solving mysteries and how to be a successful detective. Along the way it becomes apparent that Mary and Holmes each have their own strengths and they learn to rely upon each other the most when their lives are at risk. I really appreciate Mary’s desire to learn and take control of her own life while acknowledging that she still needs the guidance and experience of her mentor. Mary is a strong heroine but I also learned a lot about Sherlock Holmes through reading this book. I can’t wait to read more of Mary and Holmes’ adventures in the rest of the books in this series.