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Sweatpants & Books | Free & Cheap Reads February 2018

By Shandle Blaha

Our latest edition of Free & Cheap reads includes a biography of Tonya Harding that fans of I, Tonya shouldn’t miss and an inspiring memoir from Aly Raisman.

The Last Tudor (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels) by Philippa GregoryThe Last Tudor (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels) by Philippa Gregory


Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power grab into tragic martyrdom.

“Learn you to die,” was the advice Jane wrote to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and fall in love. But she is heir to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and then to her half sister, Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a Tudor son. When Katherine’s pregnancy betrays her secret marriage, she faces imprisonment in the Tower, only yards from her sister’s scaffold.

“Farewell, my sister,” writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary keeps family secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After seeing her sisters defy their queens, Mary is acutely aware of her own danger but determined to command her own life. What will happen when the last Tudor defies her ruthless and unforgiving Queen Elizabeth?

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes


The Girl Who Wrote in Silk is a beautiful story that brought me to tears more than once, and was a testament to the endurance of the human spirit and the human heart. A powerful debut that proves the threads that interweave our lives can withstand time and any tide, and bind our hearts forever.”-Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author

Inspired by true events, Kelli Estes’s brilliant and atmospheric debut serves as a poignant tale of two women determined to do the right thing, and the power of our own stories.

The smallest items can hold centuries of secrets…

Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt’s island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara’s life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.

The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen Series Book 1) by Emily R. King The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen Series Book 1) by Emily R. King


In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood in the ancient Tarachand Empire, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand


In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

The ABC Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot series Book 13) by Agatha Christie The ABC Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot series Book 13) by Agatha Christie


There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way though the alphabet. There seems little chance of the murderer being caught — until her makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans …

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature-Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple-and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre. 

The Upside to Being Single by Emma Hart The Upside to Being Single by Emma Hart


If anyone asks, I knew better than to flash my boobs for Mardi Gras beads.

I still don’t know why I did it.
Maybe it was the dare from my two best friends.
Maybe it was the guys on the balcony saying they’d throw Fireball shots with the beads.
Or maybe it was the quiet guy in the corner of that same balcony with piercing gray eyes, wavy dark hair, and a smile so tempting I wanted to climb up there and lick it off his face.
Maybe it was because I never thought I’d see them again.
Not that it matters. Not today.
Because the hotel I manage was finally bought—and the guy who walks in and introduces himself as my new boss is Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent.

There are many upsides to being single.
Your new boss knowing what your boobs look like?
Not one of them.

Fire on Ice: The Exclusive Inside Story of Tonya Harding by Abby Haight Fire on Ice: The Exclusive Inside Story of Tonya Harding by Abby Haight


Perfect for fans of I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, this first full scale biography of Tonya Harding explores one of the most provocative figures in figure skating at the height of the controversy—centered on the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan—that made Harding a household name.
Championship figure skating, despite its surface appearance of pristine elegance, is a ferociously competitive sport, full of bitter rivalry and personal antagonism. Olympic glory means everything: fame, money, and the admiration of millions.

Every skater who goes for the gold has drive and tremendous competitive spirit, but few more than Tonya Harding. In Fire on Ice, you will learn about Harding’s hardscrabble childhood—a childhood racked by abuse, money problems, and unceasing pressure and belittlement by her mother. And you will learn how Tonya Harding made herself into one of America’s best skaters.

Here is a young woman whose fierce ambition was, in the end, her downfall. Her story is a tale of sacrifice and overcoming obstacles, of the strength of competition and the blindness of ambition. In the thin ice over which Tonya Harding always glided, we could not help but see an American story, and all of America was watching.

Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything by Aly RaismanFierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything by Aly Raisman


Discover Aly Raisman’s inspiring story of dedication, perseverance, and learning to think positive even in the toughest times on her path to gold medal success in two Olympic Games–and beyond.

Aly Raisman first stepped onto a gymnastics mat as a toddler in a “mommy & me” gymnastics class. No one could have predicted then that sixteen years later, she’d be standing on an Olympic podium, having achieved her dreams.

Aly’s road to success was full of hard work, perseverance, and victories, but not without its hardships. Aly faced many obstacles, from naysayers who said she’d never make it in gymnastics to classmates who shamed her for her athletic body to a devastating betrayal of trust. Through it all, Aly surrounded herself with supportive family, friends, and teammates and found the inner strength to remain positive and believe in herself. Now, in her own words, Aly shows what it takes to be a champion on and off the floor, and takes readers on a behind-the-scenes journey before, during, and after her remarkable achievements in two Olympic Games–through her highest highs, lowest lows, and all the moments in between.

Honest and heartfelt, frank and funny, Aly’s story is enhanced with never-before-published photos, excerpts from the personal journals she’s kept since childhood that chronicle memorable moments with her teammates, and hard-won advice for readers striving to rise above challenges, learn to love themselves, and make their own dreams come true.

First World (A Walker Saga Book 1) by Jaymin Eve First World (A Walker Saga Book 1) by Jaymin Eve


Seven half-Walker girls. Seven worlds. One chance to save them all!

Abigail Swish’s life is nothing to brag about: gang-ridden city, orphanage style accommodations, and a matron who’s kinda on the evil side.

Not that she has to worry about that for much longer. She’ll turn 18 soon, and then it’s goodbye compound, hello dangerous streets of New York City.

Of course, as her luck would have it, she doesn’t make it to 18 before her world is turned upside down. One ambushed meeting with an accent-bearing, sword-wielding stranger, and suddenly her entire life as she knows it is a lie. Apparently she was just stashed on Earth for safekeeping and has been lost to her family ever since. And it’s time to return home. To First World; a land of unimaginable beauty.

Of course, one should never forget how the old tale goes: beauty often hides the darkest secrets.

The MacKinnon's Bride (The Highland Brides Book 1) by Tanya Anne Crosby The MacKinnon’s Bride (The Highland Brides Book 1) by Tanya Anne Crosby


From a New York Times Bestselling Author, The MacKinnon’s Bride brings us love, honor, suspense, passion–all the good things we love in a Highlander Romance. When laird Iain MacKinnon’s young son is captured by the English, the fierce Scottish chieftain retaliates in kind, capturing the daughter of his enemy to bargain for his boy’s return. Fiercely loyal to kin, Iain never imagines a father can deny his child–or that he will become Page FitzSimon’s savior. “Keep her, or kill her!” FitzSimon proclaims when Iain forces his hand. What can a good lad do, but take the lass home. Even as Page blames her reluctant champion for welching on a bargain with her father, she suspects the truth… the shadows hold secrets… and danger. Now only love can save MacKinnon’s fiery new bride.

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About Shandle Blaha (195 Articles)
Shandle is the Chief Operations Officer for Sweatpants & Coffee. She's a traveler, bookworm, movie lover and TV junkie. She quotes Friends in her daily life and takes her coffee extra sweet, preferably in the form of a PSL.

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