Tag Archives: Free

5 Free E-Books to Read Right Now – Guest Blogger Post


Thanks to the advent of e-readers, it’s easier than ever to get ahold of free books without leaving the comfort of your home. Of course, not everything available online will be amazing or safe. There are dozens of sites where you can download free books. However, these sites may not be entirely secure, so you should try a trusted Virtual Private Network service to keep your information safe from hackers. If you’re really cautious, you might just want to stick to Amazon and trusted organizations such as the Gutenburg Project.

If you want to avoid downloading lemons, we’ve compiled a helpful list on some of the best free e-books you can get now. Be forewarned, though, many of these are part of a series. Even if the first few books are free, you’ll have to pay for the rest of the books.

 

The Vanishing Wife by Barry Finlay

On the morning of his 20th wedding anniversary, Mason Seaforth wakes up to find his wife, Sami, missing. After reporting her disappearance to the police, he soon receives a threatening call. Worried about her safety, Seaforth enlists the help of his fiend Marcie to unravel the clues to his wife’s whereabouts before it’s too late.

The Vanishing Wife is a fast-paced crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters and their actions are all very realistic. And while much of the action serves to drive the plot forward, there’s also a good amount of character development throughout. The camaraderie between Marcie and Mason keeps the story refreshing and interesting as they grate on each other’s nerves.

 

Year of the Monsoon by Caren Werlinger

Leisa Yates seems to have a good life. She has a loving family, a great relationship with her partner and a job she enjoys. Everything seems to be perfect. Within a span of a few weeks, it all unravels when she reveals a web of lies surrounding her adoption and the past life of her partner Nan. It seems like everything she holds dear is falling apart and she finds herself floundering to stay afloat. The story follows Leisa and Nan as they struggle through a difficult year of truth and deception.

The book focuses on the life of Leisa and her partner Nan as they navigate through the low point in their relationship. It offers an excellent view into a struggling relationship and how both partners deal with unexpected fallouts on all sides. There’s a lot of depth to both characters and you can’t help but relate to what these women are experiencing. In a relatively short amount of time, Year of the Monsoon manages to touch upon themes such as family, identity and relationships.

 

Dying to Read (The Cate Kinkaid Files Book #1) by Lorena MacCourtney

Cate is a young woman just trying to find her place in the world. She just can’t seem to get a break, though. One day her uncle takes pity on her and offers her a temporary position as his assistant at his private detective agency. It all seems to be going smoothly until she stumbles upon what looks like the murder of Amelia Robinson. While the police are more than happy to shrug it off as accidental overdose of sleeping pills, Cate feels compelled to dig a little deeper. She does this not only to solve the murder but, to prove she’s not a failure.

Dying to Read is a Christian-laced light hearted murder mystery. Cate is perfectly adorable as a main character who’s down on her luck. While it can get a bit preachy, overall it doesn’t dwell too much on the Christian aspect of the book and focuses instead on driving the plot forward. There are plenty of plot twists and tense moments to keep you interested and guessing as to the mystery.

 

The Girl in Between by Laekan Zea Kemp

Bryn Reyes knows Sleeping Beauty isn’t just a fairy tale. She suffers from a rare disease called Klein-Levin syndrome where she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that last weeks. Sometimes these spells can even last months. Unlike others who experience this, Bryn isn’t in a catatonic state. She lives in her past. One day, a mysterious boy she’s never met appears with no recollection of who he is. Soon after, Bryn’s health starts failing and in order to find the cure she must find out the identity of the mystery boy before it’s too late.

While catered to the young adult crowd, The Girl in Between is great for any age. Despite her odd condition, it’s hard not to empathize with Bryn and her desire to lead a normal life. That being said, she doesn’t want to lose the ability to literally walk through her memories and experience them once again. The book might start off light and breezy, but it offers three dimensional characters and a very original premise for a paranormal story.

Bundle of Trouble (A Maternal Instincts Mystery Book 1) by Diana Orgain

As a brand new mom Kate Connolly has enough on her plate to deal with. The last things she wants to deal with are police and private investigators. Yet that’s exactly what happens when the body of her husband’s estranged brother turns up in the bay. With the police pressing them for information they don’t have, Kate takes it upon herself to find the truth all while taking care of diapers and feeding her child.

A Bundle of Trouble never allows the plot to lag too long. Not only will you be piecing together the clues with Kate, you’ll also be laughing and empathizing with her as a new mother. Although it is somewhat predictable, the characters and funny quips more than make up for the lack of suspense. It’s a fresh take on the mystery and new mother genre. Who knew the two would mix so well?

What free e-books do you recommend? Have you read any of those listed above? Tell us in the comments below.

 

About the Author: Cassie is a freelance entertainment and technology writer. Both her physical and virtual bookshelves are practically overflowing with her favorite books.  Connect with Cassie on Twitter at @cassie_culture

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Dragon Scale Chunky Phone Cozy Crochet Pattern


This pattern results in a very thick chunky phone case. Compare the phone size and final cozy size as described below. The chunk could be suitable for absorbing impacts, like dropping your phone! But don’t test that out on purpose, just in case!

The pattern is in UK crochet terminology. Worked as one piece, in the round.
For US readers, the stitches conversion is included in the “Terminology used” section, below, in brackets (or parentheses…!)

The scales are worked up using a repeat of 2 rows, first setting up the Vs which form the frame of the scales, and then using these same Vs (alternately) onto which the scale is built.  This is usually termed “Crocodile stitch”, here I’m taking a leap into fantasy land and calling it “Dragon scales”!
The repeat is offset by 1 V each time, to give the overlapping scales pattern.
10 Vs = 5 scales

Final dimensions:
Using double-knit wool with 3.5mm crochet hook.
Width 3 3/8 inch, 8.5 cm
Height 5 1/4 inch, 13.5 cm

To fit phone up to:
Width 2.5 inch, 6.25 cm
Height 4 7/8 inch, 12.5 cm

Terminology used:
st = stitch
sl st = slip stitch
ch = chain stitch
dc = double crochet (sc = single crochet)
tr = treble crochet (dc = double crochet)
ch1 sp = chain 1 space

Round 1 – initial row of Vs.
Ch 14.
Tr in 5th chain from hook (4 ch & tr counts as 1st V)
(Tr, ch 1, tr) in same st. Sk 2 st, (tr, ch 1, tr) in 3rd st. Sk 2 st, (tr, ch 1, tr) in 3rd st. Sk 2 st, (tr, ch 1, tr) 3 times in the last chain.
Turn work around, to work the next stitches in the other side of starting chain.
Sk 2 st, (tr, ch 1, tr) in 3rd st (the same stitch as the V on the other side). Sk 2 st, (tr, ch 1, tr) in 3rd st (the same stitch as the V on the other side). Sk 2 st, (tr, ch 1, tr) in 3rd st. Sl st to 3rd st of starting ch 4.
(10 Vs)

Round 1 completed.
Round 1 completed. Sorry it’s blurry… I didn’t double-check for shaky hand!

Round 2 – first row of scales.
For this first row of scales, it can be difficult to see exactly what you’re doing, check you are placing the trebles around the correct V.
Using ALTERNATE Vs as the base for the following stitches, first going down one side, then up the other, creates the scales pattern.

Sl st into ch1 sp of 1st V (corner)
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 2nd V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 2nd V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 4th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 4th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 6th V (around the corner), ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 6th V. Now working on the other side of the piece.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 8th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 8th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 10th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 10th V. Sl st into the ch1 sp of 1st V.
(5 scales)

Round 3 – second row of Vs.
Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and 1 ch), tr in same space.
*(tr, ch 1, tr) at the top of the scale. (tr, ch 1, tr) joining the edges of the 2 scales to the V behind.*
Repeat from * to * around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of starting ch 4.
(10 Vs)

Rounds 2 & 3 completed.
Rounds 2 & 3 completed. Note that the Vs are located between and in the middle of each scale. Where they are between the scales, the Vs connect the edges of the scales to the V behind.

Round 4 – second row of scales.
Sl st into ch1 sp of 1st V, sl st over the next 2 tr, sl st into ch1 sp of 2nd V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 3rd V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 3rd V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 5th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 5th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 7th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 7th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 9th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 9th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 1st V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 1st V. Sl st into the ch1 sp of 2nd V.

Round 5 – Vs round.
Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and 1 ch), tr in same space.
*(tr, ch 1, tr) at the top of the scale. (tr, ch 1, tr) joining the edges of the 2 scales to the V behind.*
Repeat from * to * around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of starting ch 4.
(10 Vs)

Round 6 – scales round.
Always assume the “1st V” is the next stitch after where you finished the last round.
Sl st into ch1 sp of 1st V, sl st over the next 2 tr, sl st into ch1 sp of 2nd V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 3rd V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 3rd V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 5th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 5th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 7th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 7th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 9th V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 9th V.
4 tr from top to bottom around the RH-side of the 1st V, ch 1, 4 tr from bottom to top around the LH-side of the 1st V. Sl st into the ch1 sp of 2nd V.

wpid-20151005_180738.jpg
Round 6 completed. Note the alternate, overlapping placement of the scales.

Repeat rounds 5 and 6 until you have reached the height of your phone. Ending on a scales round (R6).
11 rows of scales gives the dimensions as described above.

Finishing:
Dc evenly around the top, joining the scales to the Vs behind as required. Place 2 dcs along the sides of each scale and 1 dc at the ends and middle of each scale (joining to the Vs behind). Join with a sl st. Fasten off.
31 dc, total.

Finished Dragon Scale Phone Cozy!  iPhone 5 used to compare size.
Finished Dragon Scale Phone Cozy! iPhone 5 used to compare size.

Outside-In Crochet Sunflower Motif (Crocodile Stitch Petals)


I’ve made a few things lately using the crocodile stitch, which is really simple to do. Just looking at the pattern that this stitch makes, I thought that it was ideal for the petals of flowers. The only trouble is because of the way the stitches overlap, there’s only one way to make it look right, and that’s by starting from the outside!

The example here was made using double-knitting yarn and a 5 mm crochet hook (UK 6, USA 8/H) the finished motif is 15 cm (6-ish inches) in diameter. Using a smaller hook size will make the stitches tighter and the overall motif a little smaller.  I use UK crochet terminology.

Working OUTSIDE-IN: 1st round is the largest, and then all the following rounds get smaller and smaller, ending in the very middle of the motif.

Begin:
Ch 80, join with sl st to first ch – ensure work is not twisted.

Round 1:
Ch 4, 1 tr in same st, *skip next 4 chain, (1 tr, ch 1, 1 tr) in 5th ch* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 4. (16 V’s total – Fig 1.)

Fig 1. Round 1 complete
Fig 1. Round 1 complete, 16 V’s. The longer starting chain allows the motif to lie flat.

Round 2:
Sl st in to ch 1 sp, *working down the side of the next “V” from top to bottom, work 5 fptr (front post treble crochet) around the tr, ch 1, working up the other side of the same “V” from bottom to top, work 5 fptr around the tr, skip next V* and work from * to * around alternate V’s around, sl st to 1st fptr. (8 petals – Fig 2.)

wpid-20150320_145146.jpg
Fig 2. Round 2 complete, by crocheting around the posts of the trebles which form the V’s, you create the petal shape. Use every other V.

Round 3:
Ch4, 1 tr in same space (around both the join between “petals” and the V of the previous round), *1 tr, ch 1, 1 tr, in the ch 1 space of the next petal, 1 tr, ch 1, 1 tr in the ch 1 space and around the join between next petal* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 4.  (16 V’s – Fig 3.)

wpid-20150320_145741.jpg
Fig 3. Second row of 16 V’s, overlapping the petals and the previous row of V’s.

Round 4:
*5 fptr working down the side of the 1st V from top to bottom, ch 1, 5 fptr around the other side of the V from bottom to top, skip next V*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to 1st fptr. (8 petals, in an alternating pattern to the first round of petals)

Round 5:
Ch 1, dc in same ch 1 sp (around the join between petals and the V of the previous round), dc evenly around (approx. 2 dc between each V, and 1 dc in each of the 16 V’s around and within the petals), sl st to 1st dc. (48 dc – Fig 4.)

wpid-20150320_154140.jpg
Fig 4.  Rounds 4 & 5, showing petals in an alternating pattern and the round of dc to tidy up the edge.

Fasten off, and attach new colour for centre of flower.

Round 6:
Ch 1, htrdec (half-treble-decrease: insert hook into next st, yo, pull up loop, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up loop, yo, pull through 2 loops, yo pull through 2 loops) evenly around, sl st to join. (24 htrdec – Fig 5.)

wpid-20150320_170758.jpg
Fig 5. Decreasing the middle of the flower. 24 htrdec evenly around.

Round 7:
Ch 1, htrdec evenly around, sl st to join. (12 htrdec)

Round 8:
Ch 1, htrdec evenly around, sl st to join. (6 htrdec – Fig 6.)

wpid-20150320_172408.jpg
Fig 6. Decreases completed for 2 more rounds.

Finishing:
Cut the yarn, leaving enough extra length for one more stitch.  Pull the working loop and end through to the back of the motif, close the hole in the centre of the flower with a dc. Trim and weave in ends (Fig 7.).

wpid-20150320_172827.jpg
Fig 7. Finished! Using a smaller hook may make these stitches tighter and tidier.

Quick & Easy Rib-Stitch Phone Cover


This is a very simple phone case pattern which I created last year, simply by crocheting round my own phone!
It only takes about an hour to make, and ends up with a quite chunky feel which adds an extra protective cushioning layer for when you drop your phone.. which I have done many times (both accidentally and on purpose), and so far without breaking! Although I’ve not dropped it from any great height..
The rib stitch is one of my favourites; it’s really easy to do, and it gives a nice look and feel to simple shapes and items.

To make this phone case you need any double-knitting wool or yarn, or chunkier if you prefer.
3.5mm crochet hook.
Pattern as described fits a phone 62mm x 122mm x 8mm (W x H x D). To modify the size, increase or decrease the starting chain by 2 stitches at a time (always have an even number of stitches in the starting chain).
Working in the round, do not turn at the end of each round.

Stitches used: (English UK)
ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
tr = treble crochet
fptr = front post treble crochet
bptr = back post treble crochet

Start:
ch 14 (12, plus 2 for turning ch).

Round 1:
tr in 3rd ch from hook, tr in each of the next 11 ch, 3 tr in last ch, turn and working on the opposite side of the starting ch, tr in each of the next 11 ch, sl st to top of turning ch. (26 stitches)

Round 2:
ch 2 (counts as bptr), fptr around next st, *bptr around next st, fptr around next st*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to top of ch 2 to join.

Round 3:
ch 2 (counts as bptr), fptr around fptr, *bptr around bptr, fptr around fptr*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to top of ch 2 to join.

Repeat round 3 until piece reaches 125mm in length (approx. 15 or 16 repeats).

Finishing:
sl st all the way around the top, fasten off.

Pretty Cloche Hats Crochet Pattern


Here I present a couple of hat patterns that I have “reverse-engineered” from some photographs sourced from around the web; which were not accompanied by a workable pattern. The final patterns and measurements were derived through trial and error. All of the photos presented here (and related completed projects) are entirely my own work.

The first is a simpler uniform pattern hat, the second a more complex spiral pattern.

An example of my completed projects for each of these is presented at the end of the patterns…

For the flower motifs, I suggest you take a look at the various motif and flower patterns I have collected on my crochet pinterest board.  Pinterest is an excellent resource for patterns, if you haven’t found it already.  I also recommend the online crafting community on Ravelry for more motif patterns.

I suggest a fine cotton yarn and a 2.5 to 3.5mm crochet hook for both of these hats. DO NOT TURN at the end of each round (applies to both hats).
The instructions here are in English (UK) crochet terms.

Main stitches required:

Ch = chain
Dc = double crochet
Tr = treble crochet
Sl st = slip stitch
Ch 1 sp = chain 1 space
Fptr = front post treble crochet (or front raised treble crochet) – work a treble crochet around the post of the stitch on the previous row.

Pattern 1 – Uniform V-Stitch Hat:

For “V stitch” (Vst) do “tr, ch 1, tr” in same stitch.

See Figure 1, below for stitch diagram.

Ch 5, sl st into 1st ch to make a loop.

Round 1:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and 1 ch), 1 tr, ch 1,  in the loop 11 times, sl st into 3rd chain of starting ch 4 to join.

Round 2:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and 1 ch), 1 tr in 1st ch 1 sp, *Vst in next ch 1 sp*, repeat from * to * 10 more times, sl st into 3rd chain of starting ch 4 to join. (12 V’s total).

Round 3:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and 1 ch), 1 tr in 1st ch 1 sp, Vst in space between next two tr (between 2 V’s), *Vst in next ch 1 sp, Vst between next V, Vst in next ch 1 sp*, repeat * to * 4 more times, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 4 to join. (18 V’s total).

Round 4:
Ch 4, 1 tr in ch 1 sp, Vst in next ch 1 sp, Vst in next ch 1 sp, Vst in between V, *(Vst in ch 1 sp) 3 times, Vst in between V*, repeat from * to * 4 more times, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 4 to join. (24 V’s total).

Round 5:
Ch 4, 1 tr in ch 1 sp, Vst in ch 1 sp, Vst in between V, *(Vst in ch 1 sp) 4 times, Vst in between V*, repeat from * to * 4 more times, (Vst in ch 1 sp) 2 times, sl st to 3rd chof starting ch 4 to join. (30 V’s total).

Round 6:
Ch 4, 1 tr in ch 1 sp, (Vst in ch 1 sp) 4 times, Vst in between V, *(Vst in ch 1 sp) 5 times, Vst in between V*, repeat from * to * 4 more times, sl st to 3rd ch of starting ch 4 to join. (36 V’s total).

Rounds 7 to 21 (or to desired length):
Ch 4, 1 tr in ch 1 sp, *Vst in ch 1 sp*, repeat from * to * evenly around, sl st to ch 3 of starting ch 4. (36 V’s total).

BRIM:
Rounds 22 to 23:
Dc evenly around.

Round 24:
Dc around, increase every 5th stitch.

Round 25:
Dc around, increase every 6th stitch.

Increase again as you require, then dc evenly around to the desired length of brim.

EDIT: Here’s my first completed V-stitch hat

Figure 1.  V-stitch Hat Pattern.  Note placements of increase V's.  Repeating pattern for each row is highlighted in RED.
Figure 1. V-stitch Hat Pattern. Note placements of increase V’s. Repeating pattern for each row is highlighted in RED.

Pattern 2 – Spiral Pattern Hat:

See Figure 2, below for stitch diagram and photo of my test sample.

Ch 5, sl st into 1st ch to make a loop.

Round 1:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 tr), 15 tr in loop, sl st to join. (16 tr total).

Round 2:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and ch 1), (1 tr, 1 ch in next st) 15 times, sl st to join. (16 tr and 16 ch 1 sp).

Round 3:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 tr), 1 Fptr (Front Post Treble Crochet) around the same stitch of prev row, ch 1, *1 tr in next st, 1 Fptr around same st, ch 1*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to join. (32 stitches and 16 ch 1 sp).

Round 4:
Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and 1 ch), Fptr around next st, ch 1, *1 tr in next st, ch 1, Fptr around next st, ch 1*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to join.

Round 5:
Ch 3, 1 tr in same st, ch 1, Fptr around next st (around the Fptr of previous row), ch 1, *2 tr in next st, ch 1, Fptr around prev Fptr, ch 1*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to join.

Round 6:
Ch 3, 2 tr in next st, ch 1, Fptr around prev Fptr, ch 1, *1 tr in next st, 2 tr in next st, ch 1, Fptr around prev Fptr, ch 1*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to join.

Round 7:
Ch 3, 2 tr in next st, 1 tr in next st, ch 1, Fptr in prev Fptr, ch 1, *1 tr in next st, 2 tr in next st, 1 tr in next st, ch 1, Fptr around prev Fptr, ch 1*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to join.

Round 8:
Ch 3, 2 tr in next st, 1 tr in next st, ch 2, skip next st, Fptr around prev Fptr, ch 2, *1 tr in 1st tr, 2 tr in 2nd tr, 1 tr in 3rd tr, ch 2 – skip 4th tr – Fptr in prev Fptr, ch 2*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to join.

Repeat Round 8 for the desired length of hat – approx 25 repeats. The pattern begins to spiral “backwards” from your starting point.

Work BRIM as for the V-stitch hat, above.

EDIT: Here’s my first completed spiral hat.

Figure 2.  Spiral Stitch Hat Pattern. KEY: Black = chains and treble crochet; Green = front post treble crochet (Fptr). Repeating pattern is highlighted in RED.
Figure 2. Spiral Stitch Hat Pattern.
KEY: Black = chains and treble crochet; Green = front post treble crochet (Fptr).
Repeating pattern is highlighted in RED.
Spiral Pattern Hat - sample crocheted with double knitting wool to see how it works.
Spiral Pattern Hat – sample crocheted with double knitting wool to see how it works.