Book Review: Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis
Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

I love reading fairy tales and reading fairy tales from different countries is really interesting as it tells you a lot about their culture and past. So I picked up Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis for my Kindle a few months back.

As you can expect it’s fairly short with a collection of different fairy tales within it’s covers all hailing from Wales.
Anyone familiar with fae lore especially when it comes to the English and Welsh (Scotland had a slightly different take on things) will find some familiar places, myths and even characters.

I’m not going to lie, this book starts off pretty week describing the  origins of the “Welsh Rarebit” (aka Cheese on Toast) which whilst interesting to some degree it is not… so interesting it makes you want to read the rest of the book.
However it does go on into the stories of Fae in Wales – a lot of which are tied into not-quite-proven historical events – e.g. King Arthur.

The stories are enjoyable and really interesting if your into mythical history and lore. Unfortunately the Griffis, who is retelling these fairy tales in his own words (many fairy tales are “retold” because they would have been just verbally told way back when) feels the need to get a bit patriotic about Wales. Whilst I do love Wales, he mentions far too many times how Wales did this first, or they made the best this or that and it’s just so obvious and feels unnatural in the context of a fairy tales. Not to mention Griffis wasn’t even Welsh, he was American so it’s not even like he’s singing the praises of his own country because of how dear it is to him.
There are also some inaccuracies for example London Bridge being called Tower Bridge.

That aside though this a great little collection that does capture the spirit of Wales and of a time when men and Fae lived side by side peacefully (for the most part). It’s doesn’t cover all of Welsh Fae stories and lore I’m sure but it’s a great place to start and a quick read.

Rating: 4_stars

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Author Website: N/A
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: 17th May 2012 (first published 1921)
Pages: 146
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Stories
Purchased From: Amazon/Kindle UK

Top Ten Tuesday: Top New Series I Want To Start

TopTenTuesday

I’ve decided to take part in Top Ten Tuesdays, which is pretty self explanatory. It’s a top ten list, every Tuesday with a bookish theme.  I might not take part every single Tuesday because well… I might not have anything to say about that weeks theme, but we’ll see how it does eh?

Today’s theme is new series I want to start. Since it seems everything is part of a series these days I don’t think this will be too difficult! My list may not all be completely new, the guidelines are the last year or two but mine may exceed that a little bit.

  1. Divergent Series by  Veronica Roth - I know I’m probably the only person on the planet who hasn’t read this yet, but I just have so many books in my TBR pile/list!
  2. Percy Jackson Series by  Rick Riordan – I was never really interested in this series that much until I watched a few of the movies.
  3. The Way Of Kings Series by Brandon Sanderson - I love Sanderson but not read this series yet, I must get around to it!
  4. Harry Potter Series by  J.K. Rowling - Please form an orderly queue to yell “why haven’t you read this yet” and a separate queue to tell me the reasons why I should be reading it already. I know!
  5. Modern Faerie Tales Series by Holly Black - I’ve owned this for over year now and still not got around to reading it!
  6. Night Angel Series by Brent Weeks - This has also been in my list for a while now! Damn, I have to get faster at reading!
  7. The Kingkiller Chronicle Series by Patrick Rothfuss - I’m being badgered to read this by one of my friends. I really should get to it because we have such similar tastes I just know I’ll love it.
  8. The Bane Chronicles Series by Cassandra Clare - Magnus Bane is one of my favourite characters, so I cannot wait to read this (even though I’m still finishing Mortal Instruments!)
  9. Splintered Series by A.G. Howard - I’m still so intrigued by this!
  10. Lorien Legacies Series by Pittacus Lore - Another that I’ve been meaning to read for a while!

What series do you really want to start?

Book Review: Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes by Terry Pratchett

Truckers by Terry Pratchett
Truckers by Terry Pratchett

Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes by Terry Pratchett is the first book in The Bromeliad Trilogy – which as you may have guessed is about Nomes – 4 inch high people like creatures that because of the size the book explains live much faster than humans.

The story takes place in the 90’s (despite this first book being published in 1989) and we follow Masklin a fairly young Nome who lives near a motorway cafe with what’s left of his Tribe; of which there isn’t many of them due to food shortage and foxes. The youngest left to find a better place to live but never returned and so Masklin was left to fend for the rest of them in increasingly difficult circumstances and a barrel of complaints from the elderly. And so Masklin decides there is no future for them here and formulates a plan to stow away on a truck from the bear by service station. When they finally agree to ago, it’s a struggle to get them all – and The Thing – aboard a truck but they manage it.

The truck eventually stops at a department store called Arnold Bros, where they quickly find there are other Nomes in the world living right under human’s noses in the department store itself. However they are a strange lot with a religion based around Arnold Bros. (est 1905) and divided into fractions by the different departments of the store. And then there’s all the new human things that Masklin and his tribe have never seen before ceilings, books, carpet, etc. The Nomes of Arnold Bros. (est 1905) however have never been outside, they don’t even believe in it but they may have to if the rumours about the department store being demolished are true.

This has all the Pratchett charm but reels in on the somewhat “out there” aspects that you find in his Discworld series.
The characters are full, comical and you’ll probably find at least one Nome that is just like someone you know.
It’s all poking a bit of fun at human nature, society, religion and politics but all wrapped up in a charming adventure that you’re taken on along with the Nomes. You’re so with them that you’re routing for them at every bump in the road even when the huge impossible obstacles are in their way.

I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would because I was so quickly pulled into the story that before I knew it, I was through a good many chapters. It’s a little like The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents in a much less fairy tale world.
Would really recommend this is you want something entertaining but light with a good measure of the underdog becoming somewhat of reluctant leader/hero.

Kindle Haul #1

I’ve brought a load of Kindle books since my last haul so I’m not going to go back to them, rather I thought I’d have a an hour looking around at Kindle books and I can write this blog post at the same time, so you really are getting my very first impressions as I make the decision to buy and download a Kindle book.

As for physical books, I’ll do a mini catch up haul of those and just show you a selection I got since my last haul post soon – telling you about all of them would be simply too much! Then we’ll be all up to date.

You may notice that a lot of my Kindle books are free or cheap – if you’re wondering how to find free and cheap ones, I have a blog post about that right here. Be sure to check that out!

So lets get started!

Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Although I’m a little disappointed that this says “real story” and yet it’s fiction – just drawn from the authors experiences as a child in the Amish community, I’m still finding myself wanting to read this book anyway. I would much rather read a true real account in a lot of respects but the fact that the author has the knowledge to write accurately about the Amish way of life does help.
I can’t help but be fascinated by the different ways people live their lives and see the world.
I absolutely love documentaries like this so thought this was definitely worth a read – if only to learn a little more about the human experience and how it differs from person to person.
It’s only 192 pages so not all that big of a read so it shouldn’t take too long to get through and hopefully it will be a nice break from my usual reading habits.

I Think I’m OK by C S Kenny
This book has quite mixed reviews but mostly because it has a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes, which I can totally understand as I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi myself but reading the synopsis of this book which is about the author looking back on his childhood as a “problem child” it’s clear that although there maybe spelling mistakes the author is writing exactly how he would tell you the story in person. It’s very personal to him.
I think – I hope I am right in thinking that a lot of editing would really take away from the charm of this genuine man telling his story.
Either way I look forward to reading it and finding out.
H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection. (With Accompanying Facts): 62 Short Stories and 5 Novellas. by H.P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection

H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection. (With Accompanying Facts): 62 Short Stories and 5 Novellas. by H.P. Lovecraft
I’ve only read a few H.P. Lovecraft short stories before as horror isn’t really my thing usually but what I have read of his, I did enjoy.
So I thought I’d give this a go, as you get the biggest collection from this version at the cheapest price (£0.77) – not to mention it says it has facts and I love me some facts.
Perhaps this will serve me well for the Halloween season, we shall see – I don’t very often read something especially for this time of year but perhaps a few short stories from this will go down well.
As I said though I’m not really a horror fan, I have a far too active imagination and it doesn’t mix well with horror. So if I go quiet, I’m probably still hiding under my duvet.

Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb is one of the authors I really want to get into but just haven’t yet. A case of so many books so little time I’m afraid, but I will read one of her books one day. This caught my eye as it’s currently free on Kindle, so naturally I snatched it up.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This is one of those books that seems to keep showing up everywhere and everytime I see it I pick it up… but then put it back down. There’s something about it but I just couldn’t seem to fully commit myself to buying it.
Then I read ConfessionsofaBookGeek’s Review and I started to think that maybe this book really was worth reading.
I still had to a read a few more reviews on Amazon UK to convince myself fully but I finally took the plunge and brought this book.
I’m not sure why I’m so hesitant but hopefully it will prove me a fool for being so undecided and be a fantastic read. I know this book is gaining quite a bit of momentum in the YA community so hope it lives up to the hype.

The Unicorn Crisis (The Hidden Academy Book 1) by Jon Rosenberg
Ever just be scrolling through Kindle Books and something just catches your attention? This is what happened with this book.
And then I read the synopsis – it’s fantasy with humor, perhaps even a bit along the lines of Terry Pratchett – which is right up my street.
Hopefully this will be a fun read.

Other Kindle books purchased at this time – Ethan Wright and the Curse of Silence by Kimbro West, Peter: The Untold True Story by Christopher Mechling, Wild-born (Psionic Pentalogy Book 1) by Adrian Howell

What was the last eBook you brought?

Kindle Unlimited – Yay or Nay?

kindle-Logo-550x401

Amazon Kindle UK, has just launched it’s Kindle Unlimited Premium service. I don’t know about you but I’m intrigued by the concept, so I thought we could take a closer look together.

Kindle Unlimited boasts that you can read as much as you want and choose from 650,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks for just £7.99 a month. You can even Try it out for free for 30 days. Currently Kindle Unlimited (UK) is currently available only to customers located in the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Jersey, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Ireland.

For an avid reader who buys around 10 books a month, not even counting Kindle purchases this sounds like a pretty good deal. So naturally I wanted to know more.

The first thing I wanted to know is what I could get for my £7.99 a month, after all this has the potential to be some saving!
Alas, next to no big publishers are signed up to Kindle Unlimited – purely because it’s not feasible for them. I won’t go into too much detail, if you want to read all about it – you can read information on it here and here. However basically an author and/or publisher only gets a share of what is in that months “pot” not their normal profit .
This means the majority of books that are available are from indie authors and small publishing companies – not that there is anything wrong with either of these, we readers should still support them because everyone had to start somewhere – however your not going to get the latest best sellers.
As I said, do give love in indie authors and small publishers – but one also has to consider than normally their books do not cost a whole lot anyway – plus they take advantage of Amazons promotional system and have offers on and sometimes free books regularly. The bulk of books available on Kindle Unlimited would cost under £2 each anyway – most at 99p infact so one will have to buy at least 8 of these to make the £7.99 a month worth while.

But hey, that could happen… but it’s less appealing than they make it sound, but moving on!

The next problem I encountered is when I assumed I could buy 8+ books a month – which I can, I really can – technically. You can only keep 10 Kindle Unlimited books on your Kindle or Kindle app at a time however. Better read fast.
Also, if you cancel you Kindle Unlimited subscription… all those books, will be deleted from your account. Whether you have read them or not. Whilst this is understandable if I had spent time getting my money’s worth and then for some reason finding myself not being able to afford £7.99 a month, I’d be pretty miffed about the amount of books been taken off my Kindle.

Needless to say my initial excitement about Kindle Unlimited… has well now become limited. So I’m sorry to say, it’s a “Nay” for me.
Nice try Amazon, but the benefits just don’t measure up in the end for an avid reader. It’s a good attempt at “book streaming” but it doesn’t work for me and for it to have any kind of future you need to give a better deal to the indie authors and small publishers. Plus make it work for bigger publishers too. Books, even eBooks are nothing without authors, publishers and readers. Sort it out.

What are your thoughts on Kindle Unlimited? Will you be signing up?