Author Recommendation: Hamilton Wright Mabie

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Hamilton Wright Mabie

I don’t normally do author recommendations (more book reviews) but Hamilton Wright Mabie is a bit in a category of his own – he is more of a essayist, who for part of his published works has put together collections of stories.

I stumbled across Mabie when looking for fairytales for my Kindle. The vast majority of his books are free and so I promptly downloaded Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know. This book was everything I wanted and then some. It had fairytales that I do indeed know (although usually an older or original version), as well as some others I didn’t know but were really interesting and definitely hit that fairytale sweet spot. But what really made this special was the foreword by Mabie himself – a mini essay if you will about fairytales, their place in the world and the significance of them through a child’s eyes.

I have just finished Myths That Every Child Should Know – which is sadly for some reason not available on Kindle anymore (it was also free). This got much the same treatment as the fairytales – a retelling of myths. It’s mostly Greek Myths (some of them are the Roman versions) with a few others such a Odin/Thor/Loki (which is Norse mythology), so perhaps not a huge variety in terms of different mythologies but some great stories nonetheless. The foreword in this book is equally fantastic.

I love the fairytales and myths of course but the mini-essays at the beginning of the books are a fascinating insight to how Mabie sees the impact of all these stories on the world – especially children. So even if you know all the stories re-told, they’re worth getting just to read his introductions.

Amazon Kindle has a collection of a few of his works – like I said above, a lot are free. I certainly intend to download and read more of his stuff.

You can see what’s available from Hamilton Wright Mabie by clicking here. Enjoy!

What author have you discovered lately?

How To Get Kindle Books for FREE or CHEAP legally

Before we start – NO, I’m not going to talk about getting books illegally nor will I tolerate it in the comments. 


A few days ago, a post about me getting 75 kindle books for free drew some unexpected attention. Friends – reading friends – who own a kindle were curious as to how I got so many books for free. I didn’t think I was part of an elite group of people who were privy to this knowledge of finding them, so I was a bit taken aback.
After explaining my really-not-secret-at-all bargain finding ways, I sat back and wondered how many other book loving kindle owners out there are really unaware of how they can own more (e)books? Better write a blog post on this I thought!

I can only comment on Kindle because that’s the reader I have (if you don’t have Kindle you can download the Kindle app for you phone or PC here – then you can enjoy some free books too!) and I can also only advise on the UK – but if you are elsewhere in the world or own a different e-reader, I’m sure you can put these things into action and find free or cheap e-books for yourself.

I personally tend to by Kindle books when they are cheap or free because if they are full price, they can be more expensive than paperbacks in some cases because in the UK physical books are not subject to VAT, anything digital is subject to VAT. (Don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules – but hey certainly no complaining about the physical books side of this!)

So here is the 3 really not secretive at all ways to find free or cheap books for your kindle:

  1. Go to the Kindle Bookstore, in the search area at the top type in your favourite genre and the word “free”. Easy!
  2. For free Bestsellers go to the Kindle Bestsellers Lists, you will notice they are sorted into “Top 100 Paid” and “Top 100 Free”. Click Top 100 Free. (DUH!). Also if you click “books” on the left hand side, it will open up a menu of all the genres, click on your favourite genres to show to the Top 100 Paid and Free in that genre.
  3. Cheap books are usually found either in the Best Sellers Top Paid (as above) or in the Kindle Daily Deals section (which changes daily obviously).

Hold on! I’m not done. I have a few more hints and tips up my sleeve also!

  • Classics (Dracula, Grimms Fairy Stories, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice,etc) are always free. They are technically out of copyright (the distribution side of it – you obviously can’t claim it as your own), and so unless you need the physical text for school purposes or personal reasons – get downloading these – well worth it.
  • If you Sign-up to the Kindle Daily Deal email list before May 31st, 2014, you can choose a book from the small selection on that page for free.e
  • StoryBundle – basically every 6 weeks or so they release a genre themed bundle of ebooks – usually 7 or 8 and get this! You choose how much you pay for them (minimum of $2). Not only that but you can choose to give 10% to charity. Check out how it works here. It’s super easy to get them to your kindle (if anyone gets stuck, comment below I’ll help) and yes you can buy these from anywhere in the world.

I’m guess you’re all wondering – what’s the catch? Well there isn’t one.
The free books on kindle are made up of classics or other old texts, indie authors and well established authors who maybe put one of their books for free to give a taster to new readers.
Might you pick up a few not so great books? Sure but as always read the reviews, take a chance on a new author or genre and if after that you still didn’t like the book – well it didn’t cost you anything or very little.
As for StoryBundle and Daily Deals – well you know what you like, so whether these great deals apply to you is for you to decide – but keep checking, they do have some great ones sometimes!

Disclaimer – I’m not responsible for loss of hours or days browsing and downloading free and/or cheap Kindle books (or any other eBooks for any eReader).

Hope you find something you like! If you did, comment below and tell me what you brought (and how many eBooks you brought!).

Psssst! Want to know how I get physical books for cheap? Stay tuned, blog post on that coming soon!

My Top 5 Favourite YouTubers

Besides funny cat videos, old music videos and not to mention clicking related videos and ending up no where near the subject I started on; I also subscribe to a fair few youtubers and/or channels.
I’m a little picky about hitting that subscribe button, I may subscribe and give a channel a chance but if it’s not giving me videos I’m interested in 90% of the time or if the person(s) just don’t seem to “click” with me, I’ll unsubscribe.

But of the YouTubers I subscribe to there are those that really stand out, those that I watch video after video after video and maybe even can’t wait to see what the come up with next. These are the ones that definitely deserve a little love here, so here’s my Top 5 favourite YouTubers/Channels.


[1] Pinkstylist (Charlie Short)

I love Charlie. He definitely has my number 1 spot. He does special effects make up and he does it amazingly well. I can’t remember how I came to watch my first Pinkstylist video but I do know I spent hours watching more of his videos immediately after that.
Not only is he great at what he does, he’s the sweetest guy ever. I’ve been in a few of his online hangouts and he’s just so damn nice. He makes sugared syrup look bitter.
I have a hard time picking one video as an example to put here so definitely check out his channel and his other videos – I’m sure you’ll find a character you know!


[2] Nerdy Nummies (Rosanna Pansino)

Ro does baking but with a nerdy/geeky theme! Batman Cupcakes? Check. Totoro Macaroon Cookies? Check. Lego Cake? Check. Wookie Cookies? Check. In fact you name it. Either she’s done it, or request it and she’ll do her best to come up with something!
I love cakes and cookies and all that yummy stuff and being a big geek well… is’t in obvious why I like Nerdy Nummies so much? What’s more is that her recipes are simple and so easy to follow. I really need to get around to trying some of them out!


[3] Nye Armstrong

Nye is a regular American young woman who converted to Islam, which is how I ended up watching her videos to start with. She talks about Islam, Beauty, Life. I guess you would say she comes into the “Vlogger” category, but she’s just so cute, funny, silly and infectiously down to earth.
Her videos are a mishmash of topics, which to be quite honest normally can really annoy me but I honestly enjoy all the diversity on her channel and you really just can’t help but love her. Check her out, I defy you not to love her silliness.


[4] MissChievous (Julia Graf)

Julia is a beauty/make-up guru with lots of tutorials, reviews and hauls. She also has a second channel full of healthy foods, fitness, vlogs, etc.
I follow a few make-up channels but Julia deserves to be in my top 5 because she’s very down to earth (I like that in people) and she’s always honest in her reviews of products. Her fitness videos are great motivation as she’s true to herself and shows how difficult she finds things, how sweaty she gets and all.
Her make-up tutorials are gorgeous, easy to follow and include a great range of low end and high end products.


[5] Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey is a violinist. I never ever thought I’d be interested in listening to a solo violinists music or watching their music videos… until a friend linked me to her Zelda Medley, then I watched more of her video and was amazed each and every time.
She is truly talented. As well is geeky covers she has her own original songs, collaborations and a few well known covers too. I’m hoping to catch her on tour sometime in the UK.
Check out her music, you won’t be disappointed.


Do any of my top 5 get subs from you? Who is your favourite YouTuber/Channel?

Tag: Questions About Books

Back to blogging properly I think. I’m sure I’ve done a bookish type tag before but for the life of me I cannot find it.

  1. What is your favourite book?
    I’m still in love with The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. It just one of those stories that stays with you.
  2. Who is your favourite author?
    Brandon Sanderson, Roald Dahl and Robert Rankin.
  3. What genre do you prefer?
    Fantasy, it’s probably obvious. But I read a bit of most genres apart from Chick-Lit, I just don’t really “get” chick-lit, it has to be something really special in that genre for me to read it (and like it).
  4. What is your favourite book series?
    Oops, I already answered this in question 1! However I also love the Crowfield series by Pat Walsh and the Spells series by Aprilynne Pike.
  5. What books did you hate reading in school?
    Anything Shakespeare. Don’t get me wrong, I see the value in learning older texts but I just think Shakespeare is overrated. Also To Kill A MockingBird by Harper Lee.
  6. What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
    Usbornes First Thousand Words (English Obviously), I loved that book and I still have it.
  7. Bookstores or libraries?
    I love both!!! I used to use the library loads when I was younger (as in at age 7 I would take out 8 books a week!), I use it less now – not because I don’t appreciate it but because I can buy (and keep) books for myself. I’m slowly creating my own library.
  8. How many books do you own?
    400+ in physical books. 217 Kindle Books.
  9. Do you read before bed?
    Yes most of the time.
  10. What is your most comfortable reading position?
    Lying in bed. I love my comfort.
  11. What is the most recent book you read?
    Finished: Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson. Currently Reading: Myths That Every Child Should Know: A Selection Of The Classic Myths Of All Times For Young People by Hamilton Wright Mabie.
  12. What quote from any book will you never forget? Why is it significant?
    I suck at remember exact quotes unless I write them down. So um… pass!
  13. Science Fiction or Fantasy?
    Fantasy. Though I do love Science Fiction also.
  14. What books do you regret reading?
    The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth. Bad writing, bad story, just bleh. I thought it would be interesting as it was a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, albeit by a different author.
  15. How large is your bookshelf?
    I have a tall 5 shelf bookshelf…. it’s full. I have books in boxes, in my bedside cabinet and in piles everywhere.
  16. On average, how many books do you read per year?
    Probably 30-40.
  17. What book can you read hundreds of times and never get tired of?
    Any Roald Dahl book, he’s just so much fun – even when your an adult.
  18. Do you like to read outside?
    I really want to like reading outside but I just can’t seem to get into it. I think there’s just too much going on around me that my PTSD won’t allow me to sink into a book properly.
  19. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a book?
    Hope is stronger than you think.
  20. Of the past year, what is the greatest book you’ve read?
    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Not going to tag anyone specific, if you want to do it please do and leave me a link to your post in the comments below so I can check it out!

Book Review: Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson

Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson

Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson

I picked up Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson as part of the last StoryBundle (if you haven’t check that out yet – do!). Kevin J. Anderson isn’t an author that I’ve read or come across before but whilst browsing the StoryBundle Darren had pointed out to me that it was on his to read list. Since we have super similar tastes after purchasing this bundle I decided I would dive right into this one.

This book was written in quite a unique way, infact to quote the synopsis:

A remarkable collaboration that is unprecedented in its scope and realization, this exquisitely wrought novel represents an artistic project between the bestselling science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson and the multiplatinum rock band Rush. The newest album by Rush, Clockwork Angels, sets forth a story in Neil Peart’s lyrics that has been expanded by him and Anderson into this epic novel.

That’s right it’s inspired by and follows the lyrics of a rock album.  This particular part I was all kinds of skeptical and excited about at the time time. So far, I haven’t listened to the album but lyrics are at the beginning of each chapter and they fit really well. It doesn’t feel like it’s forced together. It’s a song that tells a story and this novel simple elaborated upon that story. It actually works well to my relief and I was pleasantly surprised.

So lets get onto the actual book, the story, the meat of it all.

The world we are plunged into is a world of steampunk and alchemy, with pirates, carnivals and lost cities to boot. Exciting times one might imagine, except nothing has really changed in 200 years. Everything runs like clockwork. No crime, nothing unexpected, no blimp on the map of life, no disease and no nastiness whatsoever actually. All thanks to the Watchmaker who has watched over and ruled the empire, making sure everyone has a place in the world, a plan and they have everything they need. They all have a true love, a given career, a house and food. They’re secure and safe from crime and illness. What more could anyone ask for? “The Stability” one calls it.

Enter our protagonist Owen Hardy an apple farmer who is oh so close to his 17th birthday and therefore becoming an adult. He knows on his birthday he will receive a letter from the Watchmaker himself wishing him happiness, he will take over managing the orchid from his father and in a few more months when his true love also turns 17, they will get engaged with the Watchmakers approval.
The problem is that Owen Hardy longs to visit Crown City, the capital and see the famed Clockwork Angels for himself but leaving your village is forbidden and anyway, that’s not the Watchmakers plan for him.
As a result of his girlfriend not showing up meet him at midnight (also forbidden), Owen ends up making a snap decision to stow away on a Steamliner headed for Crown City.

Having left all he knows behind and subsequently tearing himself away from the life the Watchmaker has planned for him, he finds himself among pirates and carnies – the barely tolerated outcasts of society – who follow their own paths. Unfortunately for Owen this mean seeing and facing fears, dangers and hurt he never knew could exist and life around him crumbles.
And yet he is torn between feeling real emotions – even if they’re negative and the safety of The Stability.

At it’s heart Clockwork Angels is a coming of age story with a little revolutionary spirit thrown in. You go through all the emotions, confusion and anger with Owen. As well as seeing a little perspective from the outside influences upon him.

The Watchmaker is the other main character in this journey who is a sort of lovable rogue with a power complex. It’s clear that his heart is in the right place but at times it’s blindingly obvious that he’s lost a screw or two along the way. He’s eccentric in an almost creepy way and his OCD is way out of control. And yet… one can sympathise with him.

It’s a story less about good vs evil and more about order vs chaos, and how good and evil are a matter of perspective.

There is adventure here, some fights and alchemy but this is more of about a journey, one that makes you think and perhaps even grow with Mr. Hardy.

Fantasy is my favourite genre to read but this isn’t too heavy on the fantasy or the steampunk aspect for that matter so really this book has a very wide appeal. Anyone can enjoy it without knowing too much about those genres.

Definitely worth a read.

Rating: stars_4


Author Website:
Publisher: WordFire Press
Publication Date: 2 Oct 2013
Pages: 319
Genre(s): Fantasy, Steampunk, Adventure
Purchased From: StoryBundle (from Truly Epic Fantasy Bundle)



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