December eBook Deals: 15 Reads That Are Gifts Unto Themselves

December 7 2022
Share December eBook Deals: 15 Reads That Are Gifts Unto Themselves

Holiday shopping can be exhausting. The pressure to find the perfect gift seems never ending and there aren’t enough peppermint mochas in the world to power through another Google search for yet another meaningful present. But there is one secret ingredient that helps make the holiday shopping season a bit easier: a collection of eBook deals that won’t break the banks and keep your spirits up as you work your holiday magic. In fact, these books are so good (and so discounted) each one is a gift unto itself.

For more, check out Simon & Schuster’s full selection of eBook deals. 

Price discounts featured are available now, but end dates vary by retailer. Discounted prices do not apply to eBooks sold outside of the United States. Participating retailers only.

The World That We Knew
by Alice Hoffman

$12.99 NOW $1.99

At the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Her desperation leads her to Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi whose years spent eavesdropping on her father enables her to create a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Hanni’s daughter, Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

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The World That We Knew
Alice Hoffman

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL

On the brink of World War II, with the Nazis tightening their grip on Berlin, a mother’s act of courage and love offers her daughter a chance of survival.

“[A] hymn to the power of resistance, perseverance, and enduring love in dark times…gravely beautiful…Hoffman the storyteller continues to dazzle.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

At the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Her desperation leads her to Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi whose years spent eavesdropping on her father enables her to create a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Hanni’s daughter, Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never-ending.

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We Are Not Ourselves
by Matthew Thomas

$13.99 NOW $1.99

Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on how much alcohol has been consumed. In response, Eileen places her stock and love in a handsome young scientist, and with him begins a family. She encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house.  But it slowly becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper, more incomprehensive psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and her family try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

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We Are Not Ourselves
Matthew Thomas

The promise and tragedy of post-war America is charted in this riveting portrait of an Irish-American family as they chase the American Dream. It is at once expansive and exquisitely detailed, but what readers will remember most is the huge heart at its core. It heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction and is destined to be an American classic.

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The Appeal
by Janice Hallett

$13.99 NOW $1.99

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lisa Jewell, this murder mystery follows a community rallying around a sick child—but when escalating lies lead to a dead body, everyone is a suspect. A wholly modern and gripping take on the epistolary novel, THE APPEAL is a daring debut.

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The Appeal
Janice Hallett

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“[W]itty, original…a delight.” —Th​e New York Times

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lisa Jewell, this international bestseller and “dazzlingly clever” (The Sunday Times, London) murder mystery follows a community rallying around a sick child—but when escalating lies lead to a dead body, everyone is a suspect.

The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Hayward and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.

But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy—nor of the good intentions of those involved. As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head at the explosive dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the material—emails, messages, letters—with a growing suspicion that the killer may be hiding in plain sight. The evidence is all there, between the lines, waiting to be uncovered.

A wholly modern and gripping take on the epistolary novel, The Appeal is a “daring…clever, and funny” (The Times, London) debut for fans of Richard Osman and Lucy Foley.

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Small Admissions
by Amy Poeppel

$12.99 NOW $1.99

Despite her innate ambition and summa cum laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her “almost fiancé,” she abandons her plans and instead spends her days on the couch, watching reruns. All the while her practical sister, Angela, pushes for every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews. Miraculously, Kate manages to land a job in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. Here she learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the thick of the admissions season. Through a comical and crazy run of wildly unpredictable interviews, subtle bribes, outright threats, and page-turning twists, the highly competitive and occasionally absurd world of private school admissions is brought to light in all of its outrageous glory.

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Small Admissions
Amy Poeppel

People’s Book of the Week

“Perfect for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep.” —Booklist

Top 6 Books You Need to Read —BuzzFeed

Best Books to Give Every Book Lover on Your List —Town & Country

In this witty, hilarious, and entertaining novel that’s “The Devil Wears Prada meets Primates of Park Avenue” (The New York Times), a young woman is unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat world of New York City private school admissions, from award-winning author Amy Poeppel.

Despite her innate ambition and summa cum laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome “almost fiancé,” she abandons her plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, Kate manages to land a job in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. In her new position Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the thick of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer. Through a comical and crazy run of wildly unpredictable interviews, subtle bribes, outright threats, final judgments, and page-turning twists, the highly competitive and occasionally absurd world of private school admissions is brought to light in all of its outrageous glory that is reminiscent of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep.

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Starvation Lake
by Bryan Gruley

$12.99 NOW $1.99

In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake—the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation’s legendary hockey coach years earlier. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder. In his youth, Gus was the hockey team’s goalie. Now editor of a local newspaper, he's investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town’s past and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets—secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.

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Starvation Lake
Bryan Gruley

Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Harlan Coben meets early Dennis Lehane in this “smashing debut thriller” (Chicago Tribune), set in a small northern Michigan town by a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist.

In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake—the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation’s legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder.

Gus Carpenter, editor of the local newspaper, has recently returned to Starvation after a failed attempt to make it big at the Detroit Times. In his youth, Gus was the goalie who let a state championship get away, crushing Coach's dreams and earning the town's enmity. Now he's investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town’s past and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets—secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.

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The Storm
by Arif Anwar

$12.99 NOW $1.99

Shahryar, a recent PhD graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the United States when his visa expires. In their last remaining weeks together, we learn Shahryar’s history, in a vil­lage on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his wife are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. That story intersects with those of a Japanese pilot, a British doctor stationed in Burma during World War II, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leaves everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India. Inspired by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, in which half a million-people perished overnight, the structure of this riveting novel mimics the storm itself. Building to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes, it shows the many ways in which families love, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another.

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The Storm
Arif Anwar

From an immensely talented new voice in international fiction, this “fascinating, ambitious” (The New York Times Book Review) and epic novel seamlessly interweaves five love stories that, together, chronicle sixty years of Bangladeshi history—for fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance.

Shahryar, a recent PhD graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the United States when his visa expires. In their last remaining weeks together, we learn Shahryar’s history, in a vil­lage on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his wife are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. That story intersects with those of a Japanese pilot, a British doctor stationed in Burma during World War II, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leaves everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India. Inspired by the 1970 Bhola cyclone, in which half a million-people perished overnight, the structure of this riveting novel mimics the storm itself. Building to a series of revelatory and moving climaxes, it shows the many ways in which families love, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another.

At once grounded in history and fantastically imaginative, The Storm “moves us deftly through time and across borders, beautifully illustrating the strange intersections we call fate, and reminding us how the past shapes the present” (Rumaan Alam, author of Rich and Pretty). Exploring the human­ity that connects us beyond the surface differences of race, religion, and nationality, “this powerful and important debut is a story for our time” (Library Journal, starred review).

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Dancing on Broken Glass
by Ka Hancock

$13.99 NOW $1.99

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.

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Dancing on Broken Glass
Ka Hancock

A powerfully written novel offering an intimate look at a beautiful marriage and how bipolar disorder and cancer affect it, Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock perfectly illustrates the enduring power of love.

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry. 

Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work—and they put it all in writing.  Mickey promises to take his medication. Lucy promises not to blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promises patience. Like any marriage, they have good days and bad days—and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.

An unvarnished portrait of a marriage that is both ordinary and extraordinary, Dancing on Broken Glass takes readers on an unforgettable journey of the heart.

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Oleander Girl
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

$12.99 NOW $1.99

Though orphaned at birth, the headstrong Korobi Roy has enjoyed a privileged childhood with her grandparents in Kolkata. Despite all they’ve done for her, she is troubled by the silence that surrounds the circumstances of her parents’ death and clings to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found hidden in a book of poetry that had belonged to her mother. Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents’, and it seems her wish has finally come true when she meets the charming Rajat. But shortly after the engagement, a heart attack kills Korobi’s grandfather, revealing financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi’s past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents’ betrayal, Korobi decides to undertake a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity.

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Oleander Girl
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This sweeping, suspenseful, coming-of-age tale is about an orphaned young woman who has enjoyed a privileged upbringing with her beloved grandparents in Kolkata. When she learns they concealed the fact that her father is not dead, she embarks on a journey that transforms her life.

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The First Bad Man
by Miranda July

$12.99 NOW $1.99

Cheryl Glickman believes in romances that span centuries and a soul that migrates between babies. She works at a women’s self-defense nonprofit and lives alone. When her bosses ask if their twenty-year-old daughter, Clee, can move into her house for a while, Cheryl’s eccentrically ordered world explodes. And yet it is Clee—the selfish, cruel blond bombshell—who bullies Cheryl into reality and, unexpectedly, leads her to the love of a lifetime. Tender, gripping, slyly hilarious, infused with raging sexual fantasies and fierce maternal love, Miranda July’s first novel confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic, and important voice today, and a writer for all time.

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The First Bad Man
Miranda July

The First Bad Man by Miranda July is one of my top five favorite books of 2015. Over the past year, I’ve given several copies of it to friends—which is why I need a new copy (or three!). July is an artist who is willing to share a world that is even stranger than what I experience in my fantasies. The characters in this novel use imagination as a tool for emotional healing and challenge readers to go beyond their comfort zones in a way that no novel I’ve read has done before. —Erica

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Dashing Through the Snow
by Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark

$8.99 NOW $1.99

In picturesque Branscombe, New Hampshire, on the night before the village’s first Festival of Joy, a group of employees at the local market learn they have won $180 million in the lottery. But the one worker, Duncan, who decided at the last moment not to play, is nowhere to be found. Luckily, Alvirah Meehan, amateur sleuth, and private investigator Regan Reilly have arrived in town for the festival. And as they dig beneath the surface, they find that life in little Branscombe is not as tranquil as it appears. But while Alvirah and Regan have to put aside their visions of an old-fashioned weekend in the country, this fast-paced holiday caper is sure to keep you dashing through the pages.

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Dashing Through the Snow
Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark

From the beloved mother-daughter duo of Mary Higgins Clark, America’s Queen of Suspense, and Carol Higgins Clark, author of the hugely popular Regan Reilly series, comes Dashing Through the Snow, a holiday treat loaded with as many surprises as Santa’s sleigh.

In picturesque Branscombe, New Hampshire, on the night before the village’s first (and many hope annual) Festival of Joy, a group of employees at the local market learn they have won $180 million in the lottery. But the one worker, Duncan, who decided at the last moment not to play, is nowhere to be found. And while a second winning ticket was purchased in the next town, that winner hasn’t come forward. Could Duncan have secretly bought it?

Alvirah Meehan, amateur sleuth, and private investigator Regan Reilly have arrived in town for the festival. And as they dig beneath the surface, they find that life in little Branscombe is not as tranquil as it appears. But while Alvirah and Regan have to put aside their visions of an old-fashioned weekend in the country, this fast-paced holiday caper is sure to keep you dashing through the pages.

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Underworld
by Don DeLillo

$14.99 NOW $1.99

UNDERWORLD is a story of men and women together and apart, seen in deep, clear detail and in stadium-sized panoramas, shadowed throughout by the overarching conflict of the Cold War. Don DeLillo's mesmerizing novel opens with a legendary baseball game played in New York in 1951. The glorious outcome—the home run that wins the game is called the “Shot Heard Round the World”—shades into the grim news that the Soviet Union has just tested an atomic bomb. With cameo appearances by Lenny Bruce, J. Edgar Hoover, Bobby Thompson, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason and Toots Shor, UNDERWORLD is an American masterpiece.

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Underworld
Don DeLillo

One of DeLillo’s best, Underworld has many storylines, but it starts on a baseball diamond. The book only spends a short time focusing on baseball, but one ball in particular factors into all of the action that follows.

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A Keeper
by Graham Norton

$12.99 NOW $1.99

From Graham Norton—the BAFTA Award–winning Irish television host—a masterly and haunting tale of secrets and ill-fated love. When Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, she’s focused only on saying goodbye to that dark and dismal part of her life. But within the mess of her mother’s home, she discovers a small stash of letters—and ultimately, the truth. Meanwhile, forty years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet except for the constant wind that encircles her as she hurries deeper into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.

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A Keeper
Graham Norton

From Graham Norton—the BAFTA Award–winning Irish television host and author of the “charming debut novel” (New York Journal of Books) Holding—a masterly and haunting tale of secrets and ill-fated love follows a young woman as she returns to Ireland after her mother’s death and unravels the identity of her father.

When Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, she’s focused only on saying goodbye to that dark and dismal part of her life. Her childhood home is packed solid with useless junk, her mother’s presence already fading. But within this mess, she discovers a small stash of letters—and ultimately, the truth.

Forty years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet except for the constant wind that encircles her as she hurries deeper into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.

With wistful and evocative prose, A Keeper is sure to appeal to “fans of sensitive character studies” (Publishers Weekly) and brilliantly illustrates Graham Norton’s clear-eyed understanding of human nature and its darkest flaws.

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Stardust
by Joseph Kanon

$15.99 NOW $1.99

The acclaimed, bestselling author of THE GOOD GERMAN returns with his most absorbing and accomplished novel yet—a mesmerizing tale of Hollywood, postwar political intrigue, and one man's determination to learn the truth about his brother's death.

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Stardust
Joseph Kanon

Ben arrives in Hollywood after the end of World War II and is shocked to discover that his successful brother has killed himself. But nothing is what it seems in the movie business, as Ben discovers, especially as the fear of communism casts a long shadow.

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The Accidental Empress
by Allison Pataki

$10.99 NOW $1.99

Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead. Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.

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The Accidental Empress
Allison Pataki

In 1853, Emperor Franz Joseph is Europe’s most powerful ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS tells the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi,” the woman who became Franz Joseph’s wife, and the Austro-Hungarian Empress, when she was just fifteen.

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The Shell Collector
by Anthony Doerr

$14.99 NOW $1.99

The exquisitely crafted stories in Anthony Doerr’s debut collection take readers from the African Coast to the pine forests of Montana to the damp moors of Lapland, charting a vast physical and emotional landscape. Doerr explores the human condition in all its varieties—metamorphosis, grief, fractured relationships, and slowly mending hearts—conjuring nature in both its beautiful abundance and crushing power. Some of the characters in these stories contend with hardships; some discover unique gifts; all are united by their ultimate deference to the ravishing universe outside themselves.

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The Shell Collector
Anthony Doerr

If you’ve already read and loved All the Light We Cannot See and are hungry for more of Anthony Doerr, his debut story collection does not disappoint. These exquisite stories take readers from the African coast to the pine forests of Montana to the moors of Finland, and explore the vast emotional landscape of the human condition.

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Photo credit: iStock / CemSelvi

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