Tag Archives: free books

Summer Scavenger Hunt

Summer is nearly upon us. Have you got your summertime reading lined up? If not (and even if you have), check this out.

In June, the Alliance of Young Adult Authors is sponsoring a massive young adult scavenger hunt. This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes!

The whole thing is going to be fabulous fun.  So, please, check back on June 1st and join us!

Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.  All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites (below) in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed short story HERE (not yet live – check back as the link will be posted soon).

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books and author swag (three lucky readers can win a signed copy of Discord from me, for example), so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.

THE MAP (participating authors)

  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Rose
  11. N.M. Howell
  12. Lara Ann  
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson  
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long 
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil  
  26. Jo Schneider 
  27. Rebecca Fernfield
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis 
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Monroe Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Angie Grigaliunas
  49. Ashley Maker 
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Elisa Dane  
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Bentz Deyo 
  60. April Wood
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe  
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan  
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. Phyllis Moore
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa 
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose 
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan  
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Kuck
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett 
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert  
  105. Rachel Medhurst 
  106. Tee G Ayer  
  107. May Freighter 
  108. Heather Dyer
  109. Jen Minkman  
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Katy Haye
  113. Tom Shutt
  114. Martina Billings
  115. Jo Ho
  116. Brian King
  117. Inna Hardison
  118. Rachel Bateman
  119. Sally Henson  
  120. J.L. Hendricks 
  121. A.L. Knorr  
  122. T.M. Franklin  
  123. Konstanz Silverbow
  124. felisha Antonette
  125. Jake Devlin
  126. S.F. Benson
  127. Laurie Treacy
  128. Emily Martha Sorensen 
  129. Leia Stone
  130. T. Rae Mitchell
  131. J. Keller Ford
  132. Kat Stiles
  133. Jessica Hawke
  134. Elyse Reyes
  135. Sophie Davis
  136. Bianca Scardoni
  137. Jenetta Penner
  138. David R. Bernstein
  139. Olivia Wildenstein
  140. Derek Murphy



Authors will have their post up and visible on their site/blog, with their keyword, by June 1st. Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize.

Free Reading Challenge: How much is too much?

Finding Free

I’ve spoken before about how I’ve found books to read for my free reading challenge. I’ve surfed Amazon (not a brilliant success), found books from e-mail promotion companies, and from recommendations on Facebook and Twitter and signed up to blog tours (much more successful). Just lately, I’ve also signed up to several author newsletters to get the free book they’re offering (usually the first in series offered to make you fall in love with the series world and characters). As a writer myself, I’m also using this as research to see what other people are doing with and for their subscribers.

Most authors mail periodically, and it’s clearly the recommended approach to send other free stuff to those who’ve signed up (I’m not sure if there’s some kind of a rule – give people so much for free, then ask them to buy a book, maybe?). To a degree I understand this; keep your customers reading and pleased to hear from you. However, in the past week or two I’ve had a newsletter inviting me to enter a draw to win sixty two physical books (how much shelf space?) and other offering fifty free ebooks to download to my Kindle. This morning came the pinnacle of current offers: a hundred ebooks to choose from.

Too much choice?

Am I the only one who finds offers like that a bit overwhelming? I spend a lot of time reading, but – sixty two? All at once? I was bad enough when I got a boxed set of twenty ebooks for 99p last year. I think I read one in its entirety, and about five more I read for long enough to know they weren’t my thing (the quality was REALLY variable). The rest faded into the depths of my Kindle. They might one day resurface, but personally I wouldn’t bet on it. And that’s the thing. I don’t want books to languish, unread. Books aren’t real until they’ve stepped into the imagination of the reader and been given new life. So I really only want to get 3 or 4 books at once, and then replenish once I’ve read them or decided I’m not going to read them.

A cornucopia of sci-fi and fantasy books. Click to check them out.
A cornucopia of sci-fi and fantasy books. Click to check them out.

However, just in case this works as an approach (I’d hate to miss the next big idea) I’ve joined an Instafreebie giveaway with lots of other sci-fi and fantasy authors. If you’re interested, check it out: there are more than a hundred books to choose from, but you can be as picky as you like and just take one or two. Of course, if you aren’t overwhelmed by too much choice you’re free to grab them all!

My free reading challenge: temptation!

My quest to read as much as I like without spending money on a book for myself until Christmas continues…

Dear and lovely readers, this week was hard. Offspring found an unspent book token, so we headed off to Waterstones to spend it.

A will of iron

Now, that’s not the hard part. I’m – generally – pretty good at resisting temptation. While O browsed the books and read out amusing sentences to me I simply cast longing looks at the big pile of Crooked Kingdom paperbacks and stifled the occasional, wistful sigh.

Three shiny new books to read
Offspring’s new book stash

Waiting to be spent

No, what’s difficult is that when Offspring found an unspent book token so did I! And I don’t mean a card with 57p on left over from Christmas. No – £40 no less! And even worse was, at the moment of discovery I completely forgot my free reading challenge.

I seized the card-sized envelope with a massive grin and said, “Oh, and I can get – ” then deflated with, “Oh, no I can’t.”

Denial is character-forming

No books whatsoever!
My new book stash – disappointing

So, don’t think this is an idle, intellectual exercise, readers. This free reading challenge is tough. I’m starting to think I should be sponsored – Stoptober for readers, maybe: Nobookvember, anyone?

My free reading challenge: a delightful glut

Well, last week’s giveaway source of free books provided rich pickings. I’ve only started three so far, and I’ve already finished and loved two of them – the third I’m not so sure about, but we’ll see.

To be fair (and to armour myself against future disappointment), I started with the ones that attracted me most. I’m a very picky reader and I’ll be pretty surprised (and delighted) if I continue to like two thirds of all of them (there were ten authors to try in all), but even if I’ve only – ‘only’! – found two new authors to love I’m thrilled.

Drown in books

And I’m delighted to report that these freebies have perked me out of a bit of a reading slump. I’d had a bit of a slog with a couple of read-for-review books I’d selected that didn’t turn out to be as strong as I’d hoped from the previews (gotta love the preview feature; it’s saved me from many a mistake). So zipping through three books in four days has been hugely satisfying. My reading mojo is back and I have oodles more books to feast my eyes and my imagination upon. Life is good.

Right, now I’d better get off and write the reviews I said I would for the books I liked.

Back next week with another update!

My free reading challenge: giveaways

My endeavour to spend no money on books for myself until Christmas continues…

Cover of Michelle Madow's Elementals

This week I found another fabulous source of free books: giveaways. I entered a contest run by several YA authors I’ve heard of but haven’t yet read, and as well as being in the draw to win a kindle (I think that’s it – I never win anything so didn’t pay much attention – I was far more interested in the free books offer), I also grabbed the chance to download YA books by 10 new-to-me authors, and my Kindle is now bursting at the seams.

Cover of Kelly St Clare's Fantasy of Frost

This seems a great way to try some new authors. I haven’t committed myself by specifically asking for a review copy, so if I don’t like their book no one’s any the wiser, but as I kind-of know several of these authors on Facebook I really hope I will like them – and if I do I can ‘pay’ for the book by writing a review. Authors LOVE reviews – don’t ever underestimate how thrilled you can make an author by writing a few words on Amazon or Goodreads!

Cover of Melissa Craven's Emerge

But back to free books. If you like cracking YA books (and who doesn’t?), give it a go. Click on the link or any of the covers to find the details and enter if you’re interested.

Be quick, though: the contest (and download offer) ends 31st August.

And now I need to follow my own advice and post some reviews from the free books I’ve read recently!

Free reading challenge: but that doesn’t count!

I’ve bought four books this week, which sounds like a lot for someone who isn’t buying books at the moment, but wait, your honour, I can explain…

One for me…

I have bought a book for myself this week, but it was non-fiction and an excellent reference book for self-publishing (it’s Format it Yourself by Jo Roderick). Being non-fiction and for “use” rather than for “pleasure” doesn’t change the fact that I bought it, but it is allowable, however, under exception category 2. as a book I bought at release to support a writer I know, so I haven’t fallen off the wagon of my free reading challenge.

It’s for a friend, honest..

This week also let me get a fix of book-buying because I had two nieces to buy birthday presents for, as well as it being father’s day. That lead to a very happy ten minutes browsing in Waterstones. (Yeah, I know, that seems pretty brief to me, too. I think I didn’t want to hang around in case I found something I wanted myself!)

Read for review

As far as my challenge goes, I haven’t spent anything on (fiction) books for myself. I’ve read and reviewed or lined up reviews for several books from small presses or self-published authors, and I’ve signed up to participate in review blog tours with Xpresso Book Tours and YA Book Bound.

I’ve also been pretty manic writing promo pieces for Rising Tides, which releases on Friday (argh, that’s really REALLY close now!), so there certainly hasn’t been a dull moment.

Overall, I’m still finding plenty of good-quality books to read for free. Guilt levels are moderate at not paying for them, but they are all legitimately free which means the authors are perfectly happy for me to read them without paying, and I’m maintaining my levels of reviews – anything that is read to the end gets a review. And if I didn’t get to the end, it’s because the book really isn’t my thing, and you really don’t want a review, I promise you that!


Free reading challenge: When FREE isn’t free

So, I’ve now been satisfying my reading urges with only free books for two weeks.

Philippa Fusspot

My chief learning point for the past fourteen days is what a very fussy reader I am (actually, I already knew that; this exercise has just confirmed the fact). I often find it hard to discover books I enjoy because there are just so many out there, and so very many of them (I’m sorry to say) are absolute junk (imo; tastes may vary). Now that a big chunk of potential reading material has been cut off, I’m finding it even harder to find books I want to spend my time on – and I’m appreciating the Look-Inside feature even more than before.


I have also confirmed that there’s very little point to trawling through Amazon’s FREE lists to fill my kindle. I was very surprised given Amazon’s customer focus and their much-vaunted (if esoterically obscure) logarithms which I thought were intended to deliver exactly what the customer wanted, to discover how random the free lists were. I don’t mean the quality, which I was expecting – but rather, when I search for YA fiction I don’t really expect to find that a notable number of titles were actually erotica.

When free isn’t free

And then there’s the FREE element. A large proportion (like 8 out of 10 of the top ten) weren’t, in fact, free. It always winds me up when authors promote their books as FREE … on Kindle Unlimited, because that’s not free, it’s included in the cost of subscription. Quite how authors had managed to get their £3.99 books listed in the free category was a puzzle. Maybe it gets the books seen more widely, but I couldn’t help thinking a lot of readers, like me, would be annoyed by seeing books, in effect, shelved wrongly.

Pay it back with a review

A more positive development is that I’m jumping more firmly down the read-for-review route to free books. I’ve requested a couple with YA Bound and Xpresso Book Tours, and I even approached an author directly to ask for a review copy, which she was happy to send (that’s Laura Diamond’s Under My Skin, which I’m loving).

So, at present: On-line browsing- 0; Reviewing – 1. We’ll see if that changes over time. I’ve signed up for a couple of Free book Newsletters to see if they can help narrow down my options. I’ll keep you posted – can I actually make it to Christmas without buying any books for myself?

An experiment in free reading

I read a lot of YA fiction and review a lot, too, on the Paisley Piranha blog. Recently, I signed up as a blog tour host/reviewer with YA Bound Book Tours. As a result, I’ve been reading a lot of review books (and discovering lots of new, fabulous authors). I joined YA Bound deliberately to widen my exposure to different books/authors and also to widen my reading community since reading tends to be rather a solitary activity. A result I didn’t expect is that my bank balance has been unexpectedly buoyant the past couple of months. I didn’t realise how much I spent on books until I wasn’t spending it.

A lifetime of free books?

I often hear as a cry of joy for readers the argument that you could fill your Kindle/Kobo/Nook entirely with free books, read for the rest of your life and never spend another penny on books.

I’ve decided to test this supposition.

The rest of my life is way too large a commitment, but for the rest of the year I’m going to see if it’s possible to have a satisfactory reading experience only reading free books. For clarity, my reading matter can be:

1. Books I’ve got for free to review.

2. Books I’ve chosen which are either permafree or on a time-limited free deal.

3. Books borrowed from the library.

4. Books lent to me by friends.

5. Books given to me (since my birthday isn’t until the end of November I don’t forsee this resulting in many books during the course of this experiment :-().

But aren’t books worth paying for?

However, as both a writer and a reader the concept of “free books” makes me deeply uneasy. If a book is worth reading, it’s worth paying for, in my opinion. To ease my conscience, I’m going to allow some exceptions:

1. If I’ve read a book for free and really enjoyed it, I can buy another book by that author in order to support them and, hopefully, help them keep on writing.

2. When a writer friend releases a book I can buy a copy to support them and help their book launch (and because a lot of my writer friends are on my must-buy list and I can’t bear to wait six months for their book).

3. I can buy books for other people. Since that’s just as much as pleasure as buying for myself, that should help with any withdrawal symptoms.

And that’s about it. I’ll blog at least fortnightly to let you know how I’m getting on and whether I can stick to my rules and still enjoy reading.

If you’ve tried reading only free books for any length of time – or did so by chance – do let me know how you got on in the comments.