What to Read on Kindle Unlimited

So, with current events being…well, what they are, some of us may be hunkering down and staying home a lot more than usual. And what better way to pass the time than by some reading? If you’re an ebook type of person (and even if you’re not) this might be a great time to try a free trial of Kindle Unlimited!

The subscription is normally about $10 a month and gives you access to a library of ebooks to read, but you can usually get a month of it free first. (I got a free trial back when I started reviewing for The Fairy Tale Central, and after the trial was over and I cancelled they were like, “Wait! Come back! We’ll give you three months for 99₵!” so I did that and then cancelled. And then they were like “WAIT! It’s the new year…how about another three months for 99₵?” So I’ve literally gotten seven months of Kindle Unlimited for two bucks. Not a bad deal.)

I’m actually NOT a fan of ebooks at all, but I’ve actually really utilized this subscription because if it’s free, I want to get my money’s worth. (I know, I know…just go with it)

BUT it’s not always easy to find good books on Kindle Unlimited. So here are, in the seven months since I’ve been on there, some of the authors & novels I’ve really enjoyed:

39791122. sy475 W.R. Gingell

I’d already read some of her fairy tale retellings, but Kindle unlimited introduced me to W.R. Gingell’s urban fantasy City Between series and I’m HOOKED. They were my favorite reads of 2019 and are hilarious but also heartbreaking, which of course is the best combination.

Kate Stradling Goldmayne: A Fairy Tale by [Stradling, Kate]

Kate Stradling is a recent find—and by recent I mean I read my first book of hers last month!—but I simply haven’t been able to stop reading her novels. I started off with The Legendary Inge, a Beowulf-inspired fantasy, and have ended with her Ruses series. My absolute favorite so far, however, has been Goldmayne—an unusual and fun fairy tale retelling that’s much different than any others I’ve read before, yet still manages to capture the “feel” of the classic fairy tales I grew up on.

Princess of Shadows: The Princess and the Pea Retold (Fairy Tale Adventures Book 1) by [Marshall, A. G.]A.G. Marshall

A.G. Marshall has written some of my very favorite fairy tale retellings—I highly recommend her Fairy Tale Adventures series. And, if you’re looking for a shorter read, her short stories are amazing as well. I’m particularly fond of The Bruised Princess and The Curse of Gold! (Incidentally, these stories are both included in a collection the author recently released.)

K.M. SheaBeauty and the Beast (Timeless Fairy Tales Book 1) by [Shea, K. M.]

Even though K.M. Shea is a name I’ve heard a LOT in the indie community, for some reason it’s only recently that I’ve dived into her novels, and I’m pleased to say they live up to the hype! While I enjoyed her Beauty and the Beast, I admit that right now what I’m really invested in is her urban fantasy series, which is loosely inspired by the Donkeyskin tale. (The next book comes out late this month, and I’m impatiently waiting!)

The Firethorn Crown (Firethorn Chronicles Book 1) by [Doué, Lea]Lea Doué

So far, I’ve only read The Firethorn Crown, the first book in this author’s Firethorn Chronicles. (I actually own the next books from free promotions, so I’m waiting to get to them after my KU subscription is over). However, that was enough to know that if you love fairy tale retellings, you’re going to enjoy these. The first book is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and I’m especially excited to start the second book, because it’s inspired by a Midsummer Night’s Dream!

Britain Kalai Soderquist Glass Roses: A Victorian Fairytale by [Soderquist, Britain Kalai]

So full disclosure: I haven’t actually read this book yet. But Glass Roses is a retelling of both Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, told through letters and set in the Victorian era! It’s a great historical fiction and non-magical option for some fairy tale retellings! (the author has also recently released Apple Blossoms, a retelling of two more fairy tales written in the same manner)

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England Book #1) by [White, Roseanna M.] Roseanna M. White

Speaking of my historical fiction fans: I just realized that the first book in Roseanna M. White’s Shadows over England series is available on Kindle Unlimited! I enjoyed the whole series, though the first book, A Name Unknown, is by far my favorite. I highly recommend checking it out for a WW1-centered read that involves former thieves, spies, and sweet romance!

And for my fellow fairy tale retelling fanatics, I also recommend looking up Melanie Cellier, Kyle Robert Shultz, Allison Tebo, Nina Clare, and Brittany Fitcher, who’ve all written outrageously fun retellings available on Kindle Unlimited. (And Allison Tebo’s comedic novellas may be an especially good choice for any of my younger readers looking for a squeaky-clean fairy tale retelling!)

And, of course, I’ll end with a shameless plug: you can find my 1920s Snow White JanuarySnowFINALnretelling January Snow on Kindle Unlimited, as well as my ghost story novelette, For Elise. And even if you don’t have a subscription, you can still find my Rapunzel retelling, With Blossoms Gold, for free in the Once collection, along with five other historically-inspired retellings.

Also: don’t want kindle unlimited? Or you’ve already used up your free trial? Check with your library online to see if they have ebooks! My library system uses Hoopla Digital, which has a pretty good variety of books, movies, and comics to check out online for free. And don’t forget that a lot of classic Christian theology books are also available for free online–if you can’t go out to the library, rest assured that the internet, for all its faults, can bring the library to you!

*also, an obligatory disclaimer: while all authors/books I mention here could be described as “clean,” I haven’t read *every* book by these authors, and so cannot vouchsafe for all of their novels. All books mentioned in this post vary in rating from G to PG-13, so use your own discretion!

Aside from reading and  Netflix (or Disney+), do any of you have an introvert-ish plans for our Coronavirus-fueled social distancing? What are your favorite reads that you’ve found on Kindle Unlimited?

Recently Read

2391352Birds of Prey, Volume 1

I’ve been wanting to read these comics for a really long time now, and finally after being horrifically disappointed with the direction the new movie is taking (don’t get me started on it–if you want to make a movie about Harley Quinn, do it. But don’t call it Birds of Prey and have the gall to leave Barbara Gordon herself out of it) I finally decided to do so. I did enjoy it! The art wasn’t always my favorite, but the stories were refreshingly linear and made me realize again how needlessly confusing some of DC’s more recent comic runs been. I particularly liked the arc where Oracle and Black Canary have to work with Huntress and Catwoman. I was also surprised to realize just how recent Birds of Prey, first published in the late 90s, is. And then I realized…that was over twenty years ago.

Image result for the island of doctor moreau book coverThe Island of Doctor Moreau

So I was reading this, minding my own business, when suddenly in the middle of chapter 18, the book just stopped halfway through a sentence.

The next page? Chapter one all over again.

MY COPY WAS A DANG MISPRINT.

Anyway, I ended up finishing it through Project Gutenberg. Ultimately, It wasn’t my favorite. I always think I like H.G. Wells, because Victorian Sci-fi, but…I don’t. After reading through The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and The Invisible Man…maybe I should have figured that out a bit sooner? (That being said, anybody else curious about the new War of the Worlds adaptation coming out? I mean, since they’s actually sticking with the book and setting it in the Victorian Era? I’m cautiously optimistic.)

947956

The Maltese Falcon

Another genre I’m constantly thinking I like more than I do: hardboiled detective fiction. I didn’t dislike this one (though I knew the main story from the movie, so I wasn’t surprised by any of the plot twists) but it’s not going to end up on any of my favorite’s list. That being said,  there was some really good writing in here. There were a few lines I might have even underlined, had I a pen at the time.

However, there’s also something in the style of this sort of book that I don’t like, but can’t put my finger on.

T1409159he Long Halloween

I had heard somewhere that these comics were part of the inspiration behind the Dark Knight Trilogy, so they’ve been on my to-read list for quite some time. I have mixed feelings: on one hand, I loved the story and its dark aesthetic (it reminded me of the 90s Batman animated series a little bit) but the art was also…kind of ugly? Or at least, it wasn’t my style at all. The faces were pretty unappealing, and also Catwoman’s outfit was SCARRINGLY ugly. Those ears. *shudders*

BUT aside from that, I actually loved this one. I’m particularly looking forward to reading the sequel, Dark Victory. (also, if you’re reasonably familiar with Batman but new to comics and looking for a place to start, I’d say The Long Halloween is good option. It’s not an origin story (for Batman, anyway) but the story is pretty easy to follow and jump into)

Are any of these on your TBR list? Or have you read some of them already? What did you think?

 

recently read

Every Jane Austen book, everImage result for jane austen novels

I took a Jane Austen in Literature and Film class this semester, which meant I read through all of her books, including some of her teenage writings that I hadn’t read before. After all of this, I can say that Emma firmly remains my favorite Austen novel, but the big surprise was how much I loved Sense and Sensibility this time around–it’s never been my favorite, but in the five or so years since I first read it, I’ve discovered that it’s so, so much better than my younger self thought.

The Miller’s Girl // Nina Clare34876030

I haven’t read many “Rumpelstiltskin” retellings, so when I was in the mood for a fairy tale and saw this one was free (!) on Kindle, I snatched it up and started reading it immediately. I really liked it; it was pretty true to the original story, but was fleshed out and expanded with distinct characters and political drama. In my Goodreads review I mentioned the feel of it struck me as very reminiscent of the German TV show Sechs auf einen Streich (which is a compliment, because it’s a lovely show). The author has also written a retelling of “King Thrushbeard,” which I’m now very interested in reading!

Goodreads / Amazon

The Beast of Talesend // Kyle Robert ShultzThe Beast of Talesend: After Beauty and the Beast (Beaumont and Beasley Book 1) by [Shultz, Kyle]

I’m honestly embarrassed at how long it took me to get around to reading this book! I follow Kyle Robert Shultz on Twitter and we run in a lot of the same fairy tale-loving circles, so I’ve seen a lot about the Beaumont & Beasley series. It’s basically a 1920s detective story in a world where fairy tales exist, so obviously I’m going to love it, right? I’m pretty conservative when it comes to what magical content I’m “okay” with, so it did walk the line a little bit, but overall it’s an incredibly fun read with with lots of banter and humor, so A+ stuff.

Goodreads / Amazon

306841Old Friends and New Fancies // Sybil G. Brinton

Being in such a Jane Austen mood, I figured it was time to tackle Sybil G. Brinton’s 1914 “imaginary sequel” to Austen’s books. I enjoyed a lot of the connections she made between characters (like connecting William Price to the Wentworths because Navy™ and all that) but there were definitely some things I wasn’t keen on. I took particular offense of her portrayal of Emma and Mr. Knightley; I don’t think Brinton really understood the characters at all (and they’re my favorite, so I’m biased). Also, the decision to cast Mary Crawford as a victim in Mansfield Park was equally puzzling and not to my taste (a reformed Mary would have been an interesting thing; however, this novel didn’t really seem to fully grasp the horridness of some of her actions in MP). However, I liked Brinton’s decision to cast Georgiana as heroine, and it was interesting to see how Jane Austen’s characters were viewed by an author a hundred years ago.

Goodreads / Amazon / Project Gutenberg