The Best Cheap Books Online in May 2020

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Every month, Early Bird Books selects a mix of bestselling novels and lesser-known gems to download for a discount. This May, we're bringing you fiction and nonfiction titles from acclaimed authors such as Graham Masterton, Willa Muir and Rosie Harris. These books will be discounted all month, but you can get more cheap and free books every day by subscribing to our newsletter!

Buy The Creed of Violence at Amazon

The Creed of Violence

By Boston Teran

On Sale $



At the dawn of Mexican Civil War two adversaries form a surprising bond in this “brutal and often stunningly brilliant novel” (Booklist, starred review).

Mexico, 1910. The landscape pulses with the force of the upcoming revolution, an atmosphere rich in opportunity for a criminal like Rawbone. His fortune arrives across the haze of the Sierra Blanca in the form of a truck loaded with weapons. But Rawbone’s plan spins against him when he’s caught smuggling the munitions across the border.

In the custody of the new formed Bureau of Investigation, Rawbone seizes his chance of immunity. The deal: continue along revolutionary road into the Mexican underground—under the command of El Paso’s BOI Agent John Lourdes. But Rawbone and Lourdes share more than a trek into dangerous territory. They share a game-changing past that only one man is aware of, paving the way for a “hallucinogenic epic . . . [and] one of the most exciting literary pairings since Fagin met Twist” (Todd Field, Academy Award nominated director of the forthcoming film version of The Creed of Violence).

Related: The Past Is Present: Our Favorite Historical Fiction Novels 

Buy The Storm That Shook the World at Amazon

The Storm That Shook the World

By Walter Soellner

On Sale $



The author of Kalvarianhof: The Perilous Journey continues his sweeping family saga with a novel of adventure and romance in Germany and war-torn Africa.

Family friends for generations, Catholic Markus and Jewish Levi—young men newly home from adventures in China—find themselves and their ladies living the last wonderfully romantic days of the Belle Epoch, the Beautiful Era, before the beginning of the first World War in 1914. The two men are soon swept up by the Great War, and find themselves far from the trenches of France, but no less safe in the wilds and on the battlefields as soldiers in Kaiser Wilhelm’s African colonies.

While Markus and Levi risk their lives in the face of betrayal and terror, a new normal exists back at Kalvarianhof, the grand Levi estate deep in the forests of Bavaria. The loved ones left behind struggle with hardships and dangers unforeseen, as the shadow of war threatens their friendships, their families, and their fate.

Buy Solitaire at Amazon


By Graham Masterton

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An immense diamond pits two brothers in bitter rivalry in this “multifaceted and fascinating” story of nineteenth century South Africa by the author of Railroad (The New York Times).

Kimberley, South Africa, 1868: As colonial powers vie for control of the diamond-rich land, Englishman Barney Blitz goes searching for his brother Joel across the South African countryside. When he finally finds him, arrested and condemned to death, Barney performs a daring rescue—but his act of heroism will ultimately lead him down a path of greed, betrayal, and doom.

Obsessed with pillaging the greatest diamond field in the world, Barney and Joel soon discover the Natalia Star: a flawless and priceless 350 carat specimen. But to whom does this brilliant and hypnotic diamond belong?

Acclaimed author Graham Masterton takes his readers on an epic adventure of passion and tragedy in this “robust, stirring, and thought-provoking tale” (Publishers Weekly).

Buy Bleeding London at Amazon

Bleeding London

By Geoff Nicholson

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The author of The City Under the Skin maps out “a delightful fiction, and a wonderfully exasperated love letter to a great city” (Kirkus Reviews).

Like any international metropolis, London draws the most diverse characters to its bustling streets. Meet Mick. He’s on his way to the smoke from the provinces. He’s got six guys to find with only their names to go on, a lust for vengeance, and a city guide. Meet Stuart. Determined to walk each of the capital’s roads, streets, and alleyways, he’s a man on a mission . . . but has no plan for when there’s nowhere left to go. Meet Judy. She’s determined to leave her mark on London—one lover at a time—creating a virtual A–Z of sex in the city.

“A book whose setting becomes as much a character as the people who pepper its pages, Bleeding London is dark, droll, and suspenseful.” —Library Journal

Buy Guarded Passions at Amazon

Guarded Passions

By Rosie Harris

On Sale $



Set in WWII England: “A fast-paced family saga that illuminates the life of a war bride” from the author of Love Changes Everything (Booklist).

England, 1943. After a whirlwind courtship, Helen Woodley married a Guardsman at the age of eighteen—only to be widowed before she was forty. Though she put on a brave face, Helen could no more reconcile herself to Adam’s death than she could accept the incestuous intrigues and affairs of life in the army.

Now Helen is faced with an unwelcome sense of déjà vu. For her impulsive, free-spirited daughter Ruth, eighteen years old herself, has fallen madly in love with a soldier about to be posted to Northern Ireland. And Ruth is desperately anxious to marry him. With a daughter every bit as willful and full of life as she once was, can Helen prevent history from repeating itself?

Buy The Bold Saboteurs at Amazon

The Bold Saboteurs

By Chandler Brossard

On Sale $



A “startling, terrifying” novel about a troubled young street thief in the gritty Washington, DC, of the thirties and forties (Houston Post).

At the park where the outcasts of Washington, DC, gather, everyone calls him Yogi. Although only a boy, he steals like a man, taking jewelry and money from wherever and whomever he can. When he’s flush, Yogi spends like a prince, eating beef stew and wasting whole afternoons at the cinema. When he’s broke, he looks for someone else to rob.

At home, Yogi goes by his real name: George Brown. With their violent, alcoholic father absent for long periods of time and their mother too brittle to cope, George and his older brother learn to fend for themselves. Roland becomes a security guard while George turns to a life of crime. But to survive among the prostitutes, muggers, and extortionists who prowl the streets of the nation’s capital, a young man must always have his wits about him, and Yogi/George is prone to schizophrenic hallucinations. When he is locked up in jail for a night and experiences his most vivid delusion yet, he fears that the line between sanity and insanity has become permanently blurred.

Related: 31 Psychological Thriller Books That Mess With Your Head 

Buy Three Kinds of Motion at Amazon

Three Kinds of Motion

By Riley Hanick

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A freewheeling journey through midcentury America as art, literature, and the interstate highway system intersect.

In 1943, Peggy Guggenheim commissioned a mural from Jackson Pollock to hang in the entryway of her Manhattan townhouse. It was the largest Pollock canvas she would ever own, and four years later she gave it to a small Midwestern institution with no place to put it. When the original scroll of On the Road goes on tour across the country, it lands at the same Iowa museum housing Peggy’s Pollock—revitalizing Riley Hanick’s adolescent fascination with the author.

Alongside these two narrative threads, Hanick revisits Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quest to build America’s first interstate highway system. When catastrophic rains flood the Iowa highways, they also threaten the museum and its precious mural. In Three Kinds of Motion, his razor-sharp, funny, and intensely vulnerable book-length essay, Hanick moves deftly between his three subjects, and delivers a story with breathtaking ingenuity.

Buy Turning Japanese at Amazon

Turning Japanese

By David Mura

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“The poet David Mura brings an intriguing perspective to the New World quest for enlightenment from this ancient and ascendant culture” (The New York Times).

Award-winning poet David Mura’s critically acclaimed memoir Turning Japanese chronicles how a year in Japan transformed his sense of self and pulled into sharp focus his complicated inheritance. Mura is a sansei, a third-generation Japanese-American who grew up on baseball and hot dogs in a Chicago suburb where he heard more Yiddish than Japanese. Turning Japanese chronicles his quest for identity with honesty, intelligence, and poetic vision, and it stands as a classic meditation on difference and assimilation and is a valuable window onto a country that has long fascinated our own. Turning Japanese was a New York Times Notable Book and winner of an Oakland PEN Josephine Miles Book Award. This edition includes a new afterword by the author.

Buy The Pleasures of Memory at Amazon

The Pleasures of Memory

By Sarah Winter

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How did this nineteenth-century novelist change the way we think? “A fine contribution to the sociology of literature . . . Highly recommended.” —Choice

What are the sources of the commonly held presumption that reading literature should make people more just, humane, and sophisticated? Looking at literary history in relation to the cultural histories of reading, publishing, and education, The Pleasures of Memory illuminates the ways in which Dickens’s serial fiction shaped not only the popular practice of reading for pleasure and instruction but also the school subject we now know as “English.”

Sarah Winter shows how Dickens’s serial fiction instigated specific reading practices by reworking the conventions of religious didactic tracts from which most Victorians learned to read. Incorporating an influential associationist psychology of learning founded on the cumulative functioning of memory, Dickens’s serial novels consistently led readers to reflect on their reading as a form of shared experience.

Buy Wichita at Amazon


By Thad Ziolkowski

On Sale $



“A wild rumpus of a book . . . an exuberant American tale of brothers wrestling demons and each other on opposite poles of their grab bag of a family” (PANK Magazine).

Lewis Chopik has just graduated from Columbia University. Having been dumped by his girlfriend and in flight from the pressures exerted by his ambitious professor father, Lewis returns to Wichita in search of respite at the home of his New-Ager mother, Abby. But when Abby picks Lewis up from the airport, she reveals that she’s starting a storm-chasing business and indulging a polyamorous lifestyle. Another unexpected arrival is Seth, Lewis’s bipolar younger brother, who shows off a new tattoo on his chest: In Loving Memory of Seth Chopik. Things begin to resemble the land of Oz more than Wichita when Lewis, while minding Seth, joins Abby in the Flint Hills on a storm-chase with her first client.

Buy Imagined Selves at Amazon

Imagined Selves

By Willa Muir

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The collected novels and cultural commentary of one of Scotland’s greatest literary talents and an early twentieth century feminist pioneer.

The author of two classic novels as well as numerous translations of Franz Kafka, Hermann Broch, and others, Willa Muir was one of the finest and fiercest intellectuals of the early twentieth century—even as she was overshadowed by her husband, the poet Edwin Muir. This volume gathers together some of her most important works, representing her many voices and lives, both real and imagined.

Muir’s writing is rich with paradox: though she was obsessively Scottish in subject and style, she openly resented Scotland; though a trenchant champion of feminism, she voluntarily sacrificed her identity to that of the ‘poet’s wife’; and although she was a committed reformer, she never aligned herself with any political or ideological movement. These passionate dichotomies are intertwined in her writing, giving a particular power to her fiction and non-fiction alike.

Featured photo via Perfecto Capucine / Unsplash

Published on 1 May 2020