eBooks and You, Part 2.

One of the things I’d like to do with this blog is offer book reviews. I read a lot, and I love sharing books–and I hope this will be a way to show off some lesser known titles, as well as books by some indie authors who are several steps of where I am now. To get started, I’ll focus on some quick notes on some books I’ve recently read.

All of these are available through the Kobo store (which I’ve linked to), and other eBook retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Ice Cracker 2 (And Other Stories) by Lindsay Buroker is an excellent introduction to her Emperor’s Edge series (the first book of which is offered for free at her website). Amaranthe is a cunning heroine on the run from the Empire, having been wrongly accused of crimes against the throne. With the help of master assassin Sicarius, she wants to clear their names.

To be honest, I’ve only read the title story of this collection so far, but am instantly invested in these characters. I especially like Amaranthe, a great leader who doesn’t yet realize the impact she has on people, or realize that she has the potential to change the world. I’m looking forward to diving into the entire series.

Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella  by Mira Grant. If you haven’t read the Newsflesh books–about zombies unleashed in a world where bloggers are the news, the entertainment, and the heroes–do yourself a favour and go get them now. Zombie stories are a dime a dozen, but Grant has managed to make them fresh and exciting–not to mention based in some brilliant and accurate science. This novella was released in 2011, but reading it before the trilogy will put everything into perspective–though there are also lots of throwbacks to the books one wouldn’t understand until having read the trilogy.

It’s a short but very finely woven story that focuses much less on the horror of a zombie apocalypse, and more on the almost casual coincidence that makes t come to bear. It’s also very heartfelt and moving–especially the scenes with the dog. Definately a must–and keep an eye out for Grant, she’s a definite up and comer.

The Science Fiction Megapack by various authors. There are actually a lot of “megapacks” out there–just go to your favourite eBook store and search for them. There’s one for vampires, horror stories, the Cthulhu Mythos (a personal favourite), westerns, detective stories…and more. Best of all, they’re all only $0.95!

I picked the Sci-Fi one here because I’m partial to classic science fiction stories. Across the four megapacks they offer, you’ll find stories by Issac Asimov, Ben Bova, Phillip K Dick, Murray Leinster, and dozens more. How can you pass that up for a buck?

Siddhartha: The Prince who Became Buddha by Hermann Hesse. This has been one of my favourite books for years. It’s not as short as the others in this list, but I wanted to include it because it’s just such a great book–and the Kobo store offers an epub for free!

This is the story, obviously, of the man who would become The Buddha. For those who don’t know about Buddhism, the Buddha wasn’t, and never has been, considered a deity. He was just a man who came to some startling revelations about the disparities in his life, and strove to become a better person. Struggling between hedonism and strict asceticism, he finds enlightenment in neither, but keeps pursuing it. It’s a breathtaking book.

Don’t Eat Cat: by Jess Walter. This short story is ostensibly about zombies (see a theme?) But really, like any good speculative fiction, the horror is only a convenient frame to hold a great human story. Owen has just received some bad news, and it’s gotten to him harder than he’d want to admit. Trying to come to terms with it, he seeks out his girlfriend–who left him years before after becoming addicted to a party drug that literally turned her into a zombie.

The first few pages read like a tongue-in-cheek parody of the very concept of a zombie thriller, but it quickly turns into one of the most touching short stories I’ve read in recent years (and like I said, I read a lot). Again, for only a dollar, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

And there you have it. Not the most in depth (or, admittedly, objective) reviews, but there you go. If you’ve been reading eBooks for years, you may have already seen some of these. If you’re new to this whole thing, these are great introductions…and cheap, too.

But, as LeVar himself would say…you don’t have to take my word for it!

And once again, stay tuned next week for five days of Writer’s Tools!