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The Ultimate Guide to Free eBooks

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Today's Free Ebooks and Deals

Spirits, Pies, and Alibis
By Nicole St Claire
Shunned: a dark bully romance
By Steffanie Holmes
One Time at the River
By Rebecca Torrellas
Raised Smart from a father's point of view
By Dalton Smith
Tear Down and Die
By Joanna Campbell Slan

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Although you specifically ask for novels, I would also recommend that you take a look at a few actor/actress biographies if you want a "real" look at what goes on behind the scenes in the film industry. Some of the stuff is really shocking and eye-opening. If you purely want something fictional about the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, then you shouldn't have any trouble tracking interesting stuff as it is practically a genre on its own. My favorites are;

American Dream Machine (2014). This novel is by Matthew Specktor, who is not only a novelist but also a screenwriter, so he knows a thing or two about Hollywood. Hid dad is also a talent agent for the top agency in film, Creative Artists Agency. With clients like Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, and Robert Downey Jr., this agency is pretty unbeatable in the business. In this book, Matthew writes about two talent agents who start from nothing and go on to practically shape the industry before going to war with each other.

Get Shorty (1990). This novel is by Elmore Leonard, although most people only know the 1995 movie or the recent television series based on it. If you've watched either of those, there's not much more to say about Get Shorty apart from the fact that it is hilarious. If you have not watched the film or series, then you'll still love the book.
If you want to read books from different cultural perspectives, it would make sense to seek out foreign authors. In case you need somewhere to get started, here are what I suggest:

1. The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga - 2008). Aravind Adiga is an Indian author and The White Tiger is his debut novel. The premise of the book focuses around a man named Balram Halwai who manages to escape a life of poverty in India. As a very successful businessman he explains how he went from being a servant as a young boy to the "entrepreneur" that he as become. If you have ever been curious about the social castes in India, then this critical analysis by Adiga will be an eye-opener.

2. Mornings In Jenin (Susan Abulhawa - 2006) Mornings in Jenin is something that you don't see very often, a book about Palestine that is set after 1948. Fear and poverty play large roles in this book, not surprising considering the setting, but the author also manages to weave a captivating tale throughout. This story is set in a world that I think very few of us can truly imagine and while it can be hard to read depending on your political stance, I think it is a very powerful and very thought provoking story that deserves to be read.

3. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ( Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1963) This is an old book, but a very good one. What makes it unique is that the entire novel takes place in just a single day and the protagonist is just an ordinary person. So far that doesn't sound all that interesting, but it is the setting that makes all the difference. You see, the book takes place in the 1950s and the protagonist, Ivan, is a prisoner in a Soviet labor camp. The conditions are harrowing and the primary focus of all the prisoners is simply that of survival. Chillingly, the author had firsthand experience in the Gulag system after criticizing Stalin.
Basically any character ever created by Sir Terry Pratchett is hilarious. Honestly, there are just too many to pick from. I'm not kidding, there are thousands of characters spread across the Discworld book, so here are some of my personal favorites:

1. Death - Sir Terry Pratchett is probably the only author ever who could take death and not only turn him into a fully fledged character, but also a very likable one. I just love the way that Death speaks in all caps and the sarcastic way in which he interacts with characters who does stupid things and get to meet him in an untimely manner. Death was such an important character in the Discworld novels that Sir Terry even chose to use him in his final tweets before passing away.

2. Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler - Dibbler is a shady vendor who would do just about anything to hawk his wares. Dibbler doesn't play a very big role in the Discworld universe, but he appears in just about every book and each time he does you are guaranteed some laughs. The way that there is a different "version" of him all over Discworld is also funny as heck.

3. Rincewind - Rincewind appears in a number of Discworld books and he has a streak of bad luck a mile wide. Despite his best efforts to just skate by, Rincewind always gets caught up in situations where his life is in danger. Rincewind is supposed to be a wizard, but doesn't have any type of talent for the magical arts. Rincewind is also very sarcastic and his trusty companion, the "Luggage", is just about the coolest invention in any book, ever.

4. Nobby Nobs - All of the members in the Ankh-Morpork Watch are a hoot, but Cecil Wormsborough St John Nobbs or "Nobby Nobs" as he's known might just be the funniest. Nobby is supposed to be a human, but has to carry around papers to prove it because of his monkey-like appearance. Despite his occupation Nobby has a habit of "collecting" things that doesn't belong to him and he is actually a lot smarter than what he looks.

5. Granny Weatherwax - Granny Weatherwax is one of the many witches in the Discworld novels and such a terror or broom that apparently the flight migration patterns of an entire continent changed to avoid her. Granny is such an imposing character that the trolls know her as "She Who Must be Avoided" and in Dwarfish she is called "Go Around The Other Side of The Mountain."
Ironically enough, the most disturbing book that I have ever read where spiders feature very prominently was a non-fiction book by Gordon Grice. The book came out quite a few years ago and contain the kind of stuff that would probably cause it to get blacklisted by PETA if it was released in this day and age. The title of the book is The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators and while it does include chapters on rattlesnakes and mantids, but the scariest ones are about black widows, brown recluses and tarantulas. If you ever doubted that a nature book could give you nightmares, then read The Red Hourglass. A lot of the stuff in this book is very disturbing as the author had no qualms pitting spiders against each other and writing in great detail about the ensuing carnage. Before I read this book I was cautious of spiders, but not exactly terrified. After reading it I shivered whenever I saw anything with eight legs, so be warned.
The Mars Books by Kim Stanley Robinson - Interest in the red planet appears to have faded somewhat in recent years, but with Elon Musk and his SpaceX endeavors, now might be a good time to remind people of our planetary neighbor. The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson deals with people settling and colonizing mars after an overpopulated Earth prompts them to leave. What makes the books so interesting and what could translate to a great show, is how it follows the personal viewpoints of a number of characters. Some elements of the books will obviously have to be changed somewhat because they were written in the nineties and our scientific knowledge have improved since then, but overall it could make for a gripping series if handled properly.