Top Ten: The Kindle – Bargain Books at Charity Shop Prices

When I first got my iPad I immediately fell in love with it.  There was so much I could do on it and the capacity for playing games was immense.  I did download some free classic novels on the iBooks application but I never got round to reading them.  I assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy books on an e-reader – I preferred the look, feel and smell of a real book.  Then I discovered the rival Kindle App and all of that changed.  I realised I could carry lots of books everywhere I went.  Packing for holidays would no longer be traumatic as weight was no longer an issue. Best of all there is a great selection of cheap books to choose from – have a look, you’ll see that it’s easy to spend very little but get a lot of good reads.

Here are 10 books I’ve recently read on my Kindle that cost just over £20 – yes, that’s about £2 a book – charity shop prices!

1. Love, Sex and Tesco’s Finest Cava by Steve Carter (£1.97)

It was the unwieldy title and the thought of how anyone could enjoy Tesco Cava that attracted me to this book.  Rob, the narrator, is 38 and newly divorced for the second time when he meets a new woman on an online dating site.  This novel charts the ups and downs of their blossoming relationship and how this impacts on both their families.  It’s a great little book, full of humour and interesting characters and it’s good to read a romantic comedy from a man’s point of view.  I read this in one day on holiday and it’s the perfect beach or lazy weekend read.

2.  The Warsaw Anagrams by Richard Zimler (£0.99)

I had read one of Richard Zimler’s previous novels for a book club project in my old job and really enjoyed it so this instantly appealed to me.  A gripping thriller set in 1940 in the Warsaw Ghetto this novel explores the themes of loss, alienation, betrayal and brutality and tells the story of a crime set against the background of the greatest crime against humanity ever.  This is both a moving account of the Holocaust and a fantastic crime story.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke (£2.09)

I’m always on the look-out for new thrillers and detective novels and one which combines baking and murder seems like the Holy Grail!  This is the first in the Hannah Swenson Mysteries series and centres on an amateur sleuth and professional baker who gets embroiled in a nasty killing.  Spread throughout the book are recipes for the cakes and biscuits which play a vital role in the narrative.  This isn’t a classic but you’ll while away some happy hours reading and thinking about all those lovely cakes.

4. The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris (£1.50)

Ex-policeman, ex-soldier and now hard-drinking journalist Douglas Brodie returns to Glasgow a year after the end of the Second World War to try and save a friend from the gallows.  Ferris portrays a tough, dangerous city run by ruthless gangs and betrayed by a weak and incompetent justice system.  I don’t know if Ferris plans any more Brodie novels but if he does I’ll be there, ready to download.

5. London Calling by James Craig (£1.00)

I’ve already reviewed this book but it’s such a good story that it’s worth mentioning again (and really encouraging you to read it).  This was published on Kindle first – the printed (paperback) version has only just been released.  It’s an interesting marketing strategy to rely on Kindle success and the hype that can create before the publication of the physical book.

6. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (£3.49)

I had heard of Artemis Fowl, I think I had even seen some merchandising in bookstores but it wasn’t until I heard an interview with Eoin Colfer that I developed any interest in the novel itself.  The story of a youthful criminal mastermind and his plans to separate the fairies from their gold by means of kidnap and ransom.  This is perfect for kids (ok and adults) missing their Harry Potter fix.

7. Memoirs of a Fruitcake by Chris Evans (£3.99)

The second installment of Chris Evans’ autobiography, this is his own take on his time at Virgin Radio, his fall from grace and his relationship with Billie Piper.  Utterly captivating and at times emotional (I cried at the end of the Evans/Piper marriage) this is an absolute must-read.  I always liked Chris Evans, but having read this book I really respect him too.

8. The Basement by Stephen Leather (£0.49)

I never normally buy novellas (short novels).  The £4/£5 price for less than half a book always feels like a bad deal.  This little serial killer story was only 49p and seemed like a bargain – it is.  As you would expect it’s a quick read but it’s also a taut, suspenseful, twisty and shocking tale.  The ebook format is most definitely the place for Novellas.

9. More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea by Tom Reynolds (£1.99)

For a while it seemed that every other blog was written by someone hiding behind their computer enjoying a good bitch about work – be it a high class call girl, a family doctor, a Glasgow bus driver or (as in this case) a London ambulance technician.  A daily diary of Tom’s shifts this is laugh out loud funny and scream inducingly frustrating.  A great insight into the lives of others.


10. Room by Emma Donoghue (£2.99)

A moving story of life in captivity narrated by a 5 year old boy born into horrific surroundings.  This is a profoundly touching book inspired by a number of real-life cases including that of Elisabeth Fritzl and Jaycee-Lynn Dugard but told from a completely innocent perspective.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough.



Of course, just because a book is cheap – or even free – on Kindle doesn’t mean that it’s a bargain.  I liked the premise of Clayton Spann’s The Taking of FLOTUS (the kidnap of the First Lady) but this is a particularly nasty little story about the abduction and torture of Michelle Obama in an attempt to make her husband release his birth certificate.  This one is to be avoided at all costs and serves as a warning to new Kindle owners not to download everything you find, a little discretion is still in order.

I’ve got lots more books that I’ve downloaded and even more where I’ve taken advantage of the free sample function.  I expect that I will end up using my Kindle as my main source of reading pretty soon and this both pleases me and makes me a little sad.

Have you been converted to the Kindle? Is it something you’re considering – I would strongly urge you to think about it seriously.  Have you discovered any cheap hidden gems?  Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Mark Shaw says:

    London Calling in particular is a fantastic read with a real spin towards the end.

  2. Many thanks Louise for your kind words on mine and Julie’s little effort. Our second book, Finding Yourself in Seville, is out February.

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