10 eBooks We Love...and Half of Them Are Available for Free!

The holiday shopping rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are finally behind us. Whether you braved the shopping malls or stayed at home to shop in your pajamas, you probably deserve a break. Give yourself a moment to unwind a good book, perhaps even on your tablet, including five bet-you-didn't-know-you-could-download-for-free titles. They're great for starting off on a clean slate, and one of the best ways to enjoy your new iPad, Android tablet, Nook, or Kindle.

5 Free E-Books

I'll get right to the good stuff - the freebies. There's a slew of free content out there on all devices but perhaps the most intriguing is the Kindle Owner's Lending Library from Amazon. If you have a Kindle simply browse via the Owner's Library (screen) section on your device and search through the thousands of available titles. Most of the newer books require a Prime membership, but you can get started with a free trial. There are also free options to explore in the Google Play marketplace and iBooks Store.

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1. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Publisher's Synopsis:In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming's agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who's been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table. After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon finds himself dodging would-be assassins, fighting off brutal torturers, and going all-in to save the life of his beautiful female counterpart, Vesper Lynd.

2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Publisher's Synopsis:Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine." Last summer, The New Yorker published Chef Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." Bourdain spared no one's appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike.

3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Publisher's Synopsis:Surprising, poignant, and funny, Water for Elephants is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is reluctant to put it down; with characters so engaging, they continue to live long after the last page has been turned; with a world built of wonder, a world so real, one starts to breathe its air.

4. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Publisher's Synopsys:Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
(Also free on Google Play)

Publisher's Synopsis:Hugo's classic tale set against the backdrop of political upheaval in 19th-century France retains its timeless appeal in this notably condensed rendition of the struggles of former convict Jean Valjean. While the abridgment inevitably cuts many of the intricate subplots and minor characters who enrich Hugo's vast tome, this suspenseful central plot tracing Valjean's endeavor to emerge from desperate circumstances while being pursued by the duty-obsessed Inspector Javert remains intact and comprehensible to listeners. The principal characters retain their epic proportions, and the major themes of redemption through good works and the importance of authentic charity are undiminished.

5 E-Books to Buy

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1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
(for Kindle and Android)
No iPad link provided due to poor reviews for iBook conversion (missing pages, repeated chapters)

Publisher's Synopsis:Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work "draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction." Gone Girl's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
(for Kindle, Android, and iPad)

Publisher's Synopsis:Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years--as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues--Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

3. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
(for Kindle, Android, and iPad)

Publisher's Synopsys:At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
(for Kindle, Android, and iPad)

Publisher's Synopsis:When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too--but on his own terms.

5. The Last Man by Vince Flynn
(for Kindle, Android, and iPad)

Publisher's Synopsys:Joe Rickman, head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan, has been kidnapped and his four bodyguards executed in cold blood. But Mitch Rapp's experience and nose for the truth make him wonder if something even more sinister isn't afoot. Irene Kennedy, director of the CIA, has dispatched him to Afghanistan to find Rickman at all costs.

Related:
Print Magazines We (Still) Love as Digital Magazines
The Best Digital Magazines Available for iPad

(Images: 1. Chris Perez using Cnet Others. Chris Perez)