Posted in Today's File

PSA for Readers: Hello, FREE BOOKS!

Free Books AND... the possibility of another prize. Read on!

I just wanted to share this opportunity with the READERS who read here, because I have a feeling the opportunity is being mostly missed…  My friend Karen Syed at Echelon Press is offering a sweet deal between now and Christmas Eve: if you are up for writing a Reader Review of a book from Echelon Press, she’ll send you a FREE download code for the book of your choice (from her list of ten) in exchange for your agreement to post a review of that book.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Pop over to Karen’s blog and choose one of the ten books she has listed.
  2. Click her email link to let her know which book you’d like to read and review, and she’ll send you the free download code for that book.  (If you don’t have an e-reader, these books can also be downloaded to a computer, so don’t count yourself out!)
  4. Post a review of the book in a public forum like, Smashwords,, or Good Reads (with a copy of the review in the comments section of Karen’s blog post)
  5. Repeat! Once you’ve posted your review, Karen invites you to “play again,” and she’ll send you the next book you choose.  This deal is going on between now and midnight on Christmas Eve.

I should add (though as far as I’m concerned, this incentive is purely “gravy”–free books are plenty of incentive for me!) that if she gets at least 50 reviews from participants, Karen will be entering each review into a drawing for a Kindle Touch on Christmas Day.  The more reviews you’ve written, the better your chances–but she needs 50 reviews before that perk kicks in.

I know I have Readers who visit me here, so I wanted to connect all of you with the opportunity to read some fun books for free, and if we readers can help out someone in the publishing industry–well, everybody wins, right?

I downloaded a Y.A. novel from Karen’s list yesterday and enjoyed the heck out of it!  Here’s my review (which I have dutifully posted on and Smashwords)…  I’m already enjoying the next book! :)

Shaken: A Novel of Mass Destruction, by D.M. Anderson, Echelon Press

The title of this young adult novel refers obviously to the earthquake which provides its main conflict–but also obliquely to the effects of the novel’s events on the lives of the three teens followed by the narrative. The story includes moments of high drama and survival (or, in the case of some characters, failure to survive) but its more understated themes deal with human lives and emotions, and the ways in which a person’s outlook can be shaken by encounters with other people.

Listed as a Young Adult novel, Shaken is a teen-friendly read which occasionally forgoes grammatical correctness in favor of teen vernacular, and its author is clearly familiar with the world view and minds of young adults. (Reading the author bio after finishing the novel, it came as no surprise that D.M. Anderson teaches middle school; his writing reveals that he understands both the complexities and the limitations of teenage viewpoints.)

Anderson writes with commendable balance, combining the excitement and drama of an unfolding crisis with the personal moments of character-defining decisions and realizations, and he manages not to be heavy-handed even in moments where a character or situation conveys a “lesson.” His characters illustrate the ways in which media-steeped young people compare real experiences with the impressions and assumptions they’ve taken away from TV and video games, as the young characters themselves use media fictions as reference points while they arrive at realizations about their own lives and about other people.

There’s no “do-over” button in life, as there is in a video game–and yet, people can make new choices rather than let themselves be defined by their pasts, and sometimes there’s even a chance for redemption. If that sounds a little “heavy” for a young adult action story, this is where Anderson’s skill in avoiding heavy-handedness comes so admirably to light. Shaken offers a compelling storyline made richer by its subtle undercurrents.

More than anything, Shaken is an enjoyable read. Its characters (with the exception of a couple nastier folks who fall somewhat short of three-dimensional) are believable and interesting, the story features moments of humor, and the pace of action doesn’t drag even with the inclusion of more introspective moments which could have dragged the plot to a halt in another writer’s hands. If Anderson managed to sneak some teaching-moments into his action tale–well, he IS a teacher. Judging by this novel, he’s probably an effective one.

 Intrigued? Check out the Book on Amazon!


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

9 thoughts on “PSA for Readers: Hello, FREE BOOKS!

  1. Kana, I think that all truly good action fiction always teaches. In fact, when it comes to Young Adults, this type of book is what they seem to offer the least resistance to “the message”. Thanks for this review. Have a MOST blessed holiday season!


  2. I just loved the section on the “professional” writers and with the mistakes.
    Your “uneek” writing style is excellent! Keep up the good work!


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