Winners: Annual Book Awards 2021 Giveaways (and Some Free Reads!)

I’d like to thank everyone who entered 2021’s Annual Book Award giveaways on my blog. Congrats to the winners!

Christmas Book Picks 2021
Julie won a hardback copy of A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson.

A Christmas in the Alps

Favorite Covers 2021
No entries, so the paperback copies of Eden Hill by Bill Higgs and The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep may appear in another giveaway here!

Eden Hill The Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Favorite Reads 2021
blissbooksandjewels won a paperback copy of Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot.
Megan won a paperback copy of When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin.

flame-of-resistance When Twilight Breaks (1)

Bonus Giveaway:
Favorite Book Titles 2021
Richard won a paperback copy of The Divine Symphony by Calvin Miller.

The Divine Symphony 1

Free Reads

Free ebooks from this year’s Annual Book Awards! (Be sure to double-check the prices before downloading.)

Run, Run
The Cricket on the Hearth
The Great Lab Escape

Run Run The Cricket on the Hearth The Great Lab Escape

The Movement of Crowns

Go to Annual Book Awards

Silver Line Band

Winners: Annual Book Awards 2020 Giveaways (and Some Free Reads!)

I’d like to thank everyone who entered 2020’s Annual Book Award giveaways. Congrats to the winners!

June won a paperback copy of Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection which includes Wonders of His Love by Erica Vetsch.

Maryann won a hardback copy of My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt.

Sally won a hardback copy of The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee.

Be sure to check out all of this year’s Annual Book Award winners to add some books to your reading list!


Remember to double-check the prices before downloading. 🙂


The Eubeltic Realm series is available for purchase at Amazon, or read the books with Kindle Unlimited.

There’s No Such Thing As a Free Book

Illustration of a typewriter plus a clock plus a red heart plus a golden bag of money, which equals an ebook on an e-reader screen, all sitting on many 100 dollar bills

I want to give a little reminder to fellow book lovers—lest we get it twisted and think that just because there may not be a fee to click the “Upload” button at an ebook publisher, or to click the “Download” button at a retailer featuring a $0.00 ebook, that the book is truly free. That it’s of no expense to anyone.

Illustration of a calendar sitting on many 100 dollar billsLest we forget the many hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years that authors spend laboring over manuscripts when they could be spending that time doing something else. Time the authors aren’t receiving wages for. Time the authors can’t get back.

Lest we forget the diligence, care, and research, the heart, soul, and sacrifice that so many authors put into their work.

A library graphic with a stack of three books, with many 100 dollar bills in the backgroundLest we forget the citizens’ taxes and donations and the other supplementary funds that go into paying for our public libraries, and the funds libraries spend purchasing books so that patrons can check them out over and over again.

Lest we forget that someone is paying for the prizes and shipping for every book and swag item we receive in the mail from giveaways we’ve entered.

An e-reader screen with illustrations of a laptop, a red heart, a clock, a camera, a painter's palette and brush, and a golden 3D dollar sign, with many 100 dollar bills in the backgroundLest we think that ebooks are basically nothing because we can’t “hold them in our hands” like print books, and besides the many hours authors spend writing them, that editors, proofreaders, photographers and models, graphic designers, cover image licensers, and book formatters don’t have to be compensated for the materials, time, and labor required to put those digital books together.

Lest we forget the hours and finance needed to market books on an ongoing basis (because the vast majority of books don’t automatically [or magically] sell themselves from the instant they’re published and ever after, as they sit, possibly buried, amongst the multitude of other books on a retailer’s website), or fail to realize that an author or publisher likely paid anywhere from $30 to $800 for their “$0.00” book to appear in a newsletter or on a website or wherever you saw that book advertised.

Illustration of a tablet, a laptop, and a cellphone, with many 100 dollar bills in the background

And lest you forget yourselves, dear book lovers, and the time it takes to even procure books (the greater number of books, the greater amount of time), and the added hours and dedication it takes in life to actually, you know, READ BOOKS.

No, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the investments and expenses that books and publishing require/incur all the time, no matter what form the books come in. Nor is it a call to feel guilty for the gifts you’ve received from authors and publishers. Rather, it’s a reminder, fellow book lovers, so that even with our love for books, we don’t lose our appreciation for books, which add so much value to our lives.

A reminder that a “free” book isn’t free—that every book costs someone something, and that oftentimes, the cost is great. And worth it.

Illustration of an open red book with a 3D teal heart in the pages, with many 100 dollar bills in the background

As a P.S., if you’re a book lover who can afford to purchase new books that are more than $0.00, then by all means, make those purchases! It will ensure that authors can keep on writing and publishing. Many local libraries are also willing to purchase some books that their patrons request, so it’s a good idea to ask! 🙂

Go to Nadine's Books of Hope and Inspiration

Ebooks vs. “Real” Books? No.

A cartoon figure reading a tablet versus a cartoon figure reading a hardback book?

Nah, this post isn’t a part of the common debate about which is better, ebooks or print books. If you have a preference for one over the other, then, hey, more power to you. Long live reading, either way!

Even so, I notice how readers sometimes frame the debate, or refer to books in general: ebooks versus “real” books—as if to say ebooks aren’t also real. Nothing like the feel of holding a book in your hands, and so forth.

Illustration of a black scrollWell. Maybe people who used to read scrolls in the past considered those to be real books, and the idea of printing books with a newfangled press contraption would seem too mechanical to them, too unnatural. “Nothing like the feel of unrolling a scroll and reading script written by the hand of a living, breathing human being, not printed by way of a cold, inanimate machine. If it’s not something handwritten that you can scroll up, it’s not the real thing.”

A cartoon figure with a speech bubble over its head, the bubble showing the silhouette of a lion at sunsetMaybe people from nomadic cultures with oral traditions would say, “Um…why would you need to hold something in your hands to enjoy a story? It’s much better to hear a story in the presence of the storyteller, to hear it directly from the storyteller’s mouth. It’s the only way you can fully trust the speaker. Reading a story on paper would be impersonal and kind of…weird. If it’s not oral storytelling in person, then it’s not the real thing.”

Whatever the form may be, what makes a book “the real thing” to you is in how you’ve learned to think about books. Digital books are real, too. They just come in a different form than print. All the words are there, and that’s the most crucial part that makes a book a book—the author’s words.

As wonderful as a print book is, without the words inside, you’d just have a bound stack of paper.

Illustration of a cloud with a globe in it and a computer mouse over itPeople sometimes use the immaterial aspect of ebooks as an argument for their lack of realness. Like, “Ebooks are in an intangible ‘cloud’ somewhere. What if there’s a blackout? Then the ebooks are gone.” I used to say similar stuff myself.

Is it true, though? Think of the nature of the Internet, how pressing a “Delete” button doesn’t really remove data from cyberspace. It’s still there somewhere, even if you can’t personally see it. And if it’s still there, it’s retrievable, even if you’re not the one who knows how to retrieve it.

Yes, incidents like fires or blackouts could be unfortunate, but it’s one thing if print books are totally burned up in a fire. If there aren’t any other copies anywhere, then, tangible as they were, you can’t get those print books back. However, because ebooks are in a cloud where data hangs around, there’s a chance that blacked-out ebooks can pop up again during data retrieval.

Three cartoon figures of different shapes and sizes, standing together like a familyBesides, I’d say for many to most of us, we already know from life and experience that just because something isn’t physically touchable doesn’t mean it isn’t real. (When’s the last time you physically held the love you have for your family and friends? Is love not real merely because you can’t pick it up and handle it like an object? Not an exact comparison, I know, but you get it.)

The way I think about ebooks has changed over the years. No, I can’t smell ’em or let their pages flip through my fingers, but once I’m focused on the main part, the words, then I can let the story be the story. Even without a physically present storyteller or a scroll of parchment to unroll.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I myself have an overall preference, and I prefer reading print books, for tactile and sentimental reasons. More power to me, and long live reading!

Still, I don’t think hardbacks and paperbacks are the only real books around. I’ve encountered some amazing books in digital form. And, yeah, they’re the real thing.

Book covers of A River Too Deep, A Light in the Dark, The Tears of Olive Trees, and Unveiling Love

Past Annual Book Award winners on my blog.

A Few
I’ve Read

Go to Nadine's Books of Hope and Inspiration