Tag Archives: Free Books

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A person who is all wrapped up in a a warm winter coat and a red and black headscarf is sitting on a snowy bench in a park reading a book. You can see evergreen trees covered in a thick layer of snow in front of them, too. I was originally thinking about discussing library books this week, but December is such a busy month for me that I needed to finish this post well in advance and therefore would probably have already read (or DNF) any library books I had on my radar when I wrote it by the time this goes live.

Therefore, I’m going to be discussing books I’ve bought or downloaded for free but have not read yet (with two exceptions) instead.

Every Thursday, I share a list of free speculative fiction books on Mastodon. Everything but the first book on this list came from those toots, but they may or may not still be free by the time this post goes live.

Here are my answers and why I’m excited about them.


Book cover for The Long Arms by Michael Kanaly. Image on cover shows a fire burning brightly. There is a rock in front of the fire that has a few deer or cows painted on it in a prehistoric style.


1. The Long Arms by Michael Kanaly

Why I’m Interested: As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m fascinated by Neanderthals and read everything I can find – both fiction and nonfiction – about them. This looks like it could be a great story.


Book cover for Magic, Mistletoe, & Murder by Ruby Blaylock. Image on cover shows a witch flying on her broom in front of a full moon. On the city street below two black cats sit together and peer up at her. The cats are surrounded by a red gift wrapped in a white bow, a witch’s hat, some Christmas lights, and a bat flying low to the ground.

2. Magic, Mistletoe, & Murder by Ruby Blaylock

Why I’m Interested: It’s a cozy mystery set at Christmas. I love reading gentle stories like this sometimes.


Book cover for Neuro Noir by Al Hess. Image on cover shows a drawing of about a dozen different eyes that all have black irises and sclera. the one in the centre is red instead!

3. Neuro Noir by Al Hess

Why I’m Interested: I actually have a review of this book scheduled for January 11, so stay tuned.  Artificial intelligence always makes for such interesting protagonists.


Book cover for Devil's Night - A Halloween Short Story by Richard Chizmar. Image on cover is a drawing of three jack-o-lanterns leering at the viewer as they sit in a field under the light of a full moon at night.

4. Devil’s Night – A Halloween Short Story by Richard Chizmar

Why I’m Interested: Halloween is my favourite holiday, so I read a lot books set then so long as they’re not gory.


(No cover photo)

5. Hologram Kebab by Phillip Kebar

Why I’m Interested: The title was what first grabbed my attention. Isn’t it creative? My review of this book is scheduled for January 4.


Book cover for Don’t Look Back - Short Halloween Stories by Jason Thomas. Image on cover shows small, black-and- white drawings of a scythe with blood dripping from it, a gravestone, a stake, and a mushroom that has a little dirt on it.


6. Don’t Look Back – Short Halloween Stories by Jason Thomas

Why I’m Interested: See #4. There are never enough non-gory Halloween stories for my tastes.


Book cover for The Ballad of Mary-Anne by Kody Boye. Image on cover shows a starry evening sky that is partially lit up with a beautiful pink and purple light shining up from the bottom of the page. It may be from a sunset?

7. The Ballad of Mary-Anne by Kody Boye

Why I’m Interested: One word – aliens. I think they’re such fascinating things to read about.


Book cover for Free Will by Lisa Shea. Image on cover shows a human skull that has some gears drawn onto it. I’m sorry, but I have no idea what that symbolizes either! I guess we’ll both have to read the book to find out. :)

8. Free Will by Lisa Shea

Why I’m Interested: Here’s a fun, quick little story for you. My spouse is adamant that free will doesn’t exist. This is not a topic I honestly think about very much, but sometimes I like to tease my spouse a little by picking rabbits or other random creatures and saying those animals have free will but no one else in the universe does. (Yes, we are a little geeky sometimes. Hehe).  So I want to read this book mostly because it reminds me of this silly memory.


Book cover for Life on the Other Side by Daniel Powell,. Image on cover shows a peaceful little cottage covered in several feet of snow. It’s surrounded by gigantic fir trees that are also covered in snow, and there is a friendly little light emanating from a window in the cottage. It is overall a peaceful and happy scene.

9. Life on the Other Side by Daniel Powell

Why I’m Interested: The cover looks rather peaceful, while the blurb promises a lot of conflict. I think it’s cool when there’s a little conflict between a blurb and a cover. Which one will win, I wonder?


Book cover for The Fall Of Denver - A Tribute Story to the Original War Of The Worlds By H.G. Wells’ by Richard Paolinelli. Image on cover is a black and white drawing of an alien spaceship that looks like it’s beginning to crash onto a large pile of rubble on Earth. Everything is so messily drawn that it’s hard to tell where the rubble ends and the alien vessel begins. This feels like an intentional choice on the part of the illustrator and makes me wonder what other parallels might be drawn between the two.

10. The Fall Of Denver – A Tribute Story to the Original War Of The Worlds By H.G. Wells’ by Richard Paolinelli

Why I’m Interested: I adored War of the Worlds and am so curious to see what a contemporary author does with those ideas.


Filed under Blog Hops, Science Fiction and Fantasy

Free Author Promo Opportunity at Long and Short Reviews

Blue background with white snowflakes on it. The words on the banner read, Winter Blogfest. A Prize on Every Post. December 18 - December 29.”

Long and Short Reviews has just opened their submission box for their 2024 Winter Blogfest.

Who can participate: Anyone who has published at least one book (or who will be seeing their first book published soon).

What you will get: Free promotion of your book on a busy, well-known bookish site and exposure to new readers.

What you‘ll need to provide:

  • A 250-500 word guest post about winter or any winter holiday (Christmas, Solstice, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc)
  • A small prize. Previous participants have offered stuff like a free ebook, bookmark, $5 gift card to an online bookseller, etc.
  • A short biography of yourself. Think 2-3 sentences on average, although longer is perfectly fine, too.
  • A picture of your book cover (and one additional photo to illustrate your post, if desired)
  • Links to your website, social media accounts, etc. (if desired)

Last day for submission: December 10, 2023 (or sooner if all 50 spots are taken before then).

How to submit: Follow all of the instructions on this page. If you have any problems with your submission, there is an email address on that page you can contact for assistance.

Publication dates for submissions: December 18 through December 29, 2023.

Your exact publication date is influenced by a few factors, including how early you submitted it and which winter holiday you picked because they try to match up submissions with the winter holidays that are currently happening as much as possible.

So, for example, Winter Solstice posts are usually scheduled at the beginning of the Blogfest. Christmas posts tend to be published in the middle of it close to Christmas, and New Year’s posts are generally saved for the last few days of the Blogfest.

This is such a fun event. I hope to see you all over there as guest bloggers and/or commenters.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Writing

Top Ten Tuesday: Short Ghost Stories Everyone Should Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Sheets in a tree that were arranged to look like a ghost floating up in the branches.These freebie posts are so much fun!

Today I’m going to be sharing ten short ghost stories from around the world that everyone should read. Click on their titles to read them for free.

1. Hover” by Samantha Mabry 

Sometimes ghosts are more annoying than they are frightening.

2. Ngozi Ugegbe Nwa” by Dare Segun Falowo 

This is the perfect thing to read for anyone who likes antiquing or a good bargain.

3. Who Will Clean Our Spirits When We’re Gone?” by Tlotlo Tsamaase 

I was picturing spirits taking bubble baths when I read this title. Spoiler alert: that’s not exactly what the narrator had in mind.

4. Live Through This” by Nadia Bulkin

This was one of the most creative approaches to helping a spirit find peace in the afterlife that I’ve ever read about.

5. Joss Papers for Porcelain Ghosts” by Eliza Chan 

Are hauntings less scary if you know the person who is now a ghost?

6. “Therein Lies a Soul” by Osahon Ize-Iyamu 

Sometimes spirits become celebrities. This shows how a spirit might react to such an odd response from the living.

7. The Muse of Palm House” by Tobi Ogundiran 

Would you fall in love in with a ghost? I should warn my readers that this is rooted firmly in the horror genre, not in the romance one.

8. Emergent” by Rob Costello 

A haunting from the perspective of a dead person who acknowledges they’re dead but absolutely refuses to be referred to as a ghost.

9. The House Wins in the End” by L. Chan 

Imagine the typical plot from a haunted house story:

  • A new family moves into an old, abandoned home
  • Someone notices the first paranormal act
  • More paranormal acts follow
  • The family attempts to help the spirit(s) find peace
  • If it works, they stay at the home. If it doesn’t, they generally either die at the hands of the ghosts or move away.

This is about what happens to a haunted house after that basic plot has already played out.

10. The Stories We Tell About Ghosts” by A.C. Wise 

Two words: ghost hunters.



Filed under Blog Hops

Hopeful Science Fiction: Online Reunion

Click on the tag “hope” at this bottom of this post to read about all of my suggestions for hopeful science fiction. If you have recommendations for future instalments of this series, I’d sure like to hear them. Leave a comment below or send me message about it on Twitter.

Recently, I discovered the Better Worlds series, a science fiction anthology of short stories and films about hope that was published at The Verge two years ago. This is the second story from this anthology I’ve covered here, and I will eventually blog about all of them. 

There are mild spoilers in this post. 

Online Reunion

Close-up of a computer keyboard. The "enter" key is pink and has a red heart on it. Leigh Alexander’s “Online Reunion” was about a young journalist chronicling a vintage e-pet reunion who gets more than she expected.

One of the things I found most interesting about this tale was how little time it spent on the world building.

The Internet had changed society in some pretty profound ways over the decades, but this wasn’t something I fully appreciated until I read it for the second time. I’d definitely recommending reading this slowly in order to catch every hint about what’s really going on here.

Human Nature

Fashions may come and go, but human nature remains constant from one era to the next. The best portions of this story were the ones that quietly highlighted what has changed, and even more importantly what hasn’t changed, over the past few generations since people began using the Internet heavily.

Jean, the main character, thought she had a good idea of what to expect when she went to Mrs. Marchenstamp’s house to interview her. I was amused by the assumptions she made about the first generation who used the Internet heavily, especially once Jean realized that she might have underestimated her interview subject.

There was also something comforting in the thought of people finding new ways to connect with each other in a futuristic world where something similar to Internet Addiction Disorder is much more common and dangerous than it is today.

I can’t go into detail about that topic without wandering into serious spoiler territory, but I was pleased with how familiar this tale felt. Yes, the characters had access to technology that you and I can only dream of, and there were plenty of social problems the plot hinted at that seemed to have grown worse over time instead of better.

But I still felt as thought I could sit down and have a cup of tea with any of the characters. Other than the occasional slang term that would be used differently in their world than in ours, they seemed like people I already knew. There was a familiarity with their problems and their triumphs that made me want to get to know them better.

As much of a cliche as this is to type, people are people everywhere. I loved seeing all of the similarities between them and us.

It made me look forward to the future. What could be better than that?


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

Hopeful Science Fiction: A Theory of Flight

Click on the tag “hope” at this bottom of this post to read about all of my suggestions for hopeful science fiction. If you have recommendations for future instalments of this series, I’d sure like to hear them. Leave a comment below or send me message about it on Twitter.

Recently, I discovered the Better Worlds series, a science fiction anthology of short stories and films about hope that was published at The Verge two years ago.

A Theory of Flight

Justina Ireland’s “A Theory of Flight” is the first instalment of this series. It was about a daring plan to build an open-source rocket could help more people escape Earth. Click on the link in the first sentence of this paragraph to read it for free or scroll to the bottom of this post to watch the short film version of it. There are mild spoilers in this post, so reader beware after this sentence.

Photo of Earth taken from space. The largest continent in view is Africa.

When I first began this series, I talked about  my expectations for hopeful science fiction.

This type of sci-fi isn’t about creating a utopia or brushing aside the very real challenges people face. It’s about finding hope and fighting for a happy ending no matter what the circumstances are.

Carlinda was no stranger to conflict or struggling. She was a black woman who’d grown up in a low-income neighbourhood. This may have been set in a future version of Earth, but the obstacles she faced were the same ones that people from all of these groups face today.

The big difference between her time and ours had to do with how much the environment had degraded thanks to climate change. Life on a hot, polluted planet was beyond difficult, especially for people who didn’t have the money or social clout to get away from Earth.


Carlinda had some money saved up from a well-paid job building spaceships for the wealthy folks who were fleeing Earth for safe colonies on Mars and Europa.

Her funds weren’t enough to get her to either of those places, though, much less help anyone else to join her. This futuristic version of society was so economically stratified that the vast majority of people were doomed to live out short, painful, poverty-stricken lives on Earth.

Or were they?

The beautiful thing about Carlinda’s open-sourced plans for rocket ships was that they could be built out of trash. Very little money was required to create them. All you needed were some workers who understood how to follow the plans and build something that could safely bring a few hundred folks to Europa.

There are some plot twists related to the political ramifications of this plan that are best left up to new readers to discover for themselves. Still, I loved seeing how the small percentage of humans who were wealthy and politically powerful reacted to the idea of ordinary folks taking their own fates into their hands.

Not only did it add a layer of urgency to the plot, it gave Carlinda and the people working with her even more of an incentive to keep building and to share their knowledge with as many other poor folks as possible.

A better world is possible, and it all begins with regular people banding together to creatively solve problems that are too big for any one person to fix on their own.

A Theory of Flight


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

My Trick or Treat Goodies for Halloween


Banner for Trick-or-Treat Book Blog Hop banner. It features a bat and a full moon.

Today is the Trick-or-Treat Reads Halloween Book Event! This event was created by Patricia Lynne and is designed to give readers free books on Halloween. Click here to see what the rest of the participants will be giving away this year. There are a lot of goodies on that list!

I’m giving away copies of two of my books.

Tumble is a short story about a girl named Elle who is being raised in the middle of nowhere by an over-protective single parent. Now that she’s turned eighteen, she’s ready to start making her own decisions in life. But her father only grows more protective of her the further she pulls away from him. What secrets might he be hiding?

Waiting for Earl to Die and Other Stories is an anthology of short science fiction and horror stories. Every character in this collection has a story hidden deeply inside themselves, but not everyone realizes exactly what that story might be.

Both of these books are free on Kobo. Enjoy!



Filed under Blog Hops