5 terrific websites where you can download a variety of ebooks, in various genres, for free….without breaking any laws

5 Phenomenal Websites for Free (Legit) eBooks

I’m going to share with you 5 terrific websites where you can download a variety of ebooks, in various genres, for free….without breaking any laws.

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that during the Covid 19 pandemic many people turned to books. During 2020 people read more than ever before whether because they sought entertainment, escapism or just to fill time.

Of course, this is not a bad thing. There are many benefits to reading such as:

  • Creates empathy. You’re right there, in the characters’ heads living their life, seeing what they see and experiencing all their ups and downs.
  • Reading stimulates the imagination.
  • Helps improve vocabulary.
  • Can improve problem solving and analytical skills.
  • Science has proven that reading can help relieve stress.

So here’s the list of my top five places to get free books. Most of these will require you to sign up to their service.

Bookbub

https://www.bookbub.com/

Amazon

Explaining how to find free ebooks in Amazon can be tricky because it depends on which site you’re using (eg amazon.com amazon.co.uk amazon.ca etc) and which device (pc, phone, tablet). However, I found typing something like “Kindle free books” in the search bar came up with results. You can also add a genre in there to narrow the search down. “Kindle free romance books” or “kindle free best sellers top 100”. If you just type “kindle free” and wait a moment then Amazon will provide some options for you.

If you’re after classic literature you can check out this link

Bookcave

Book Cave

https://mybookcave.com/

Prolific Works

Prolific Works has a newsletter which you can subscribe to. Each email focusses on specific genres.  Romance on Mondays, Tuesdays, it’s mystery, crime, and thriller genres. On Wednesdays, they send two emails: one to readers interested in the fantasy, paranormal, and horror genres, and one to those interested in science fiction, comics, and graphic novels. On Thursdays, the newsletter focusses on all subgenres of young adult fiction. And on Friday, they send out a recap of all group giveaways that were highlighted throughout the week.

https://www.prolificworks.com/reader/library

Freebooksy

https://www.freebooksy.com/

Gutenberg

This site is mainly for classic literature.

https://www.gutenberg.org/

Hopefully you will find lots of great reading material and maybe discover your new favourite author! Remember the best way to thank an author for providing their book for free is by giving them an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads or other booksites that allow reviews. If you need help writing a review check out this article.

Change Your Life With Positive Affirmations

Have you ever heard the schoolyard rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”? It originates from the 19th century and became a child’s defence against verbal bullying. But, as we all know, it’s not true. Words have the power to cause deep and lasting wounds. By focusing on short positive affirmations, it’s possible to create amazing, life-changing results…not that it’s easy. It takes dedication and regular practice.

A positive affirmation for attracting love into your life

Many years ago, I was a single mum, living in a rental home, at the mercy of landlords with their quarterly inspections and restrictions about what I could and couldn’t do with the place. Often, I’d want to renew my lease, but the landlord would decide they wanted to move back into the property, forcing me to find somewhere else to live. After my sixth move in ten years, I decided enough was enough. No more renting. The next house I moved into would be my own. I had absolutely no idea how I’d make that happen, but I’d heard about the power of positive affirmations, so tried it.

Every night, before I went to sleep, I would affirm “I am happy living in my own home”. I would also visualise myself decorating it, relaxing with the kids, pottering around in the garden. Not wishing to be overly ambitious, I visualised a modest home for me and my two boys. It worked because the next home I moved into was my own. But this wasn’t like the house in my visualisations, though. It was bigger and better.

What are positive affirmations?

In a nutshell, they’re positive statements, similar to the one above, written in the first-person, present tense. You can say them out loud, write them down, make posters of them for your wall. The important point is to focus on them on a regular, consistent basis.

by focusing on short positive affirmations, it's possible to create amazing, life-changing results #positiveaffirmations #lifechanging #motivation Click To Tweet

There is science behind positive affirmations. If you’re interested check out these academic web posts:

When you first doing positive affirmations, you may think they are silly and untrue. You might feel self-conscious reciting them out loud and question the sense in them. But if you persist with this daily practice, the words will gradually sink into your subconscious, replacing the opposite negative beliefs that may be lodged there. You should then notice positive changes creeping into your life.

However, it must be emphasised, it’s not enough to just do the affirmations on their own. You can’t affirm you’re slim and healthy, then live on a diet of burgers, cake and chocolate. Your actions have to correspond with the actions of a slim and healthy person. The point is, you are more likely to succeed with the right mindset, which is how this works.

Often, we aren’t even aware of all the negative thoughts/beliefs that filter through our minds on a daily basis:

  • I’ll never find a partner
  • I’m not clever enough to be rich.
  • I’m always overlooked by my boss.
  • I never get the good breaks.
  • I can’t lose weight.
  • I don’t deserve to be wealthy

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Sometimes, our negative beliefs are fed to us by others. “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’re a hopeless cook” “That colour doesn’t suit you.” Isn’t it strange how we can get a string of compliments and a single negative comment, yet it’s that one negative comment that we focus on? The best way to deal with negative thoughts is to blast them with positive statements.

Find a peaceful place to practice your positive affirmations.
Photo by Artem-Bali on Unsplash

How do you create an affirmation?

1) Choose one issue to work with.

Maybe you’d like to improve at a particular sport, or attract a partner, be more prosperous, or improve your general health and wellbeing. There are many possibilities, however, it’s best to work with one issue at a time. Once you’ve chosen something, consider what your current beliefs are about that issue. For example, if you want to lose weight but you’ve been on thousands of diets in the past with little success, you may believe that losing weight is impossible for you. Your affirmation, therefore, should state the opposite. For example, “I am becoming slimmer and healthier every day.”

2) Keep the words positive.

Don’t affirm “I am free from all illness”. Your brain will focus on the word “illness”. Instead, a more positive affirmation would be: “I am energised by the good health flooding through my body.” By including an emotional description such as “I am energised”, the affirmation will seem more real in your mind.

3) Create your affirmations in the present tense.

If you word your affirmations in the future tense e.g. “I will win the tennis tournament next summer” you’ll never achieve your goal because you’re affirming “next summer” which, of course, like tomorrow, never comes!

4) Use “I am” statements.

Don’t use phrases like “I want” or “I need”. They highlight the fact you’re wanting and needing. Your brain will focus on those words and give you more feelings of wanting and needing.

Create a daily positive affirmations ritual.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Daily Practice

Create about three affirmations relating to the issue you want to work on. If you have trouble finding the words to compose your own, there are plenty of examples online to inspire you. I have a Pinterest board just for positive affirmations.


Once created, repeat your affirmations several times during the day. You could write them on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror to remind you in the morning or memorise them and say them in the car on the way to work. Alternatively, you could find a quiet place to focus on your positive affirmations.

As you repeat your affirmations, try to focus on how you’d feel if you already had whatever you’re aiming for. If negative feelings come up, then you need to address those first. For example, you may want to win the lottery, but when you focus on how you’d feel if you won, you may notice worries about how you’d cope with all the inevitable changes that would come to your life.

Over the next few weeks, I will post positive affirmations you can use to get you started, so check back regularly.

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed and could vary from person to person. I am not a medical professional, so please do your own research. If you have any medical or psychological concerns, you should always consult your doctor.

If you want to explore this subject in greater depth, you may be interested in the following books available from The Book Depository:

Why You’re Never Too Old To Learn To Draw

I’ve always considered myself a creative person so it’s bugged me that I couldn’t draw or paint. But it never occurred to me that it was something I could learn. I thought art classes were only for people who already had talent and wanted to improve their skills. I didn’t think they’d be for people like me who didn’t have the first idea how to draw.

Can You Really Learn How To Draw?

In my head I believed an artist was someone who could pick up a pencil or paintbrush and paint whatever they wanted without reference. If you asked me to draw a dog or cat from memory, my attempts would be laughable.

See what I mean?

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But, as I’ve only recently found out, that is not only wrong, but has stopped me from enjoying, what I have since discovered is, an immensely satisfying, calming and self-involving hobby. I now believe most people can learn how to draw and paint to a level that they find rewarding and fun, provided they’re prepared to practice. You don’t need any fancy equipment. Plain paper, a pencil and an eraser will get you going. In my sketches below, I also used a blending stump. Of course, once the bug bites you, you will probably want to enlarge your tool kit to include paint mediums (water colours, goache, oil paint etc), brushes, markers and coloured pencils.

My Secret Hack

Over the past year or so I have steadily been practising and improving my art skills using “how to draw” books, online tutorials and videos. Along the way another myth I’ve thrown out is that an artist never copies. In fact, most artists copy whether it’s a live model in their studio, a photograph or a real-life scene. Some artists also use light boxes and tracing paper.

I created the portrait below by first tracing over the reference image to make a rough sketch then working with watercolours for the details. Think how cool that would be if you could use a similar technique to paint portraits of your kids or family? Is it cheating? I don’t know, but frankly I don’t really care either.

Another useful trick is to place a grid over your reference image then divide your drawing page into a grid with similar proportions. I find that helps me keep my drawing proportions right.

cat photo to cat sketch
My first attempt at an animal drawing using a photo of my cat as reference.

My Animal Challenge

Setting daily challenges is a good way to practice your growing skills. You can find many on Instagram. Try searching the hashtag #dailyartchallenge.

One of the challenges I set myself was to draw a different animal each day. I found reference photos in books, magazines and online. Each sketch was no more than 5 cms square (2″ square) and I tried not to spend long on each drawing. The end result was a selection of drawings I was, in the main, quite proud of.

Here are some of the results.

Whilst I won’t be exhibiting my work anywhere it is very self satisfying to see my skills slowly improve. I also find a great sense of peace and calm when I practice art. It focuses my mind to the exclusion of all else so it’s an excellent therapy.

There are many types of art from doodling to oil painting and everyone will have their favourite. At the moment, I’m enjoying learning digital art using Photoshop. For iPad users you can try creating art using apps such as Procreate or Adobe Fresco.

Learning Art Online – Resources

One of the first things I watched online which made me consider that learning to draw could be possible was the Ted Talk: “Why People Believe They Can’t Draw”. The presenter was a communications expert called Graham Shaw and within minutes he had me drawing fun cartoons.

There are thousands of videos on You Tube with tutorials about different types of art but my favourite learning source is Skillshare. They offer classes in subjects such as illustration, lettering, photography, writing, animation, design and so many more. The classes are split into bite-sized chunks so you can spend as much or little time as you want on them. You can also get full access to all their classes free for two months! (Click on the link below for further details)

My favourite teachers are Charley Clements for digital illustration. Tom Froese for stylised digital illustration. Helen Bradley’s Photoshop for Lunch series in which she provides short videos to help learn or improve on specific aspects of Photoshop. She also has similar classes for Adobe, Illustrator and Procreate.

Here are some of my class projects for these classes (links to the classes in the captions).

Charly Clements also occasionally has weekly challenges on Instagram with specific prompts. I love doing these as they really stretch my abilities and creativity to the hilt. Here are some of my attempts at her challenges posted on Instagram.

As you can see I am having a lot of fun with my new hobby. And for me, that’s the main goal. I don’t beat myself up when things don’t work out the way I’d like, as happens often! But I’m discovering the more I practice, the more my confidence builds and I improve.

The only downside to all this is that it’s so engrossing! Five hours can zip past in what seems like five minutes. Maybe the next prompts should be: messy house, overflowing laundry basket, starving family!

Books For Learning Art

If you’re interested in learning more about art check out these awesome books from The Book Depository.

Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon
How to Draw Almost Everything : An Illustrated Sourcebook by Chika Miyata
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Procreate : How to Create Art on an iPad
Let's Draw Cute Animals by Sachiko Umoto

More Posts You May Enjoy

examples of digital art created online following classes from Skillshare.com
examples of digital art created online following classes from Skillshare.com
examples of digital art created online following classes from Skillshare.com
examples of digital art created online following classes from Skillshare.com

Bodiam Castle – a Medieval Fortress?

If someone asked you to visualise a medieval castle, the chances are you’d imagine a structure with turrets and a moat, in fact, you’d probably imagine a castle that looked very much like Bodiam Castle in East Sussex.

Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England

Constructed in 1385, by wealthy landowner Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, Bodiam Castle was originally built as a manor house. A few years later, with the threat of invasion by the French during the Hundred Years War, Sir Edward was granted permission to fortify his home and Bodiam Castle emerged.   

Before we moved our family to Australia, I lived close to this amazing place that lives up to all the stunning images you’ll find on the internet. It’s a castle packed with atmosphere. My kids used to love going there but looking back, I probably didn’t appreciate its historical significance as much as I do now, living in a country where most buildings are less than two hundred years old.

A chilly family outing to Bodiam Castle back in 1988
Old Photo of the family visiting Bodiam Castle on a cold winter’s day.

When you gaze at Bodiam Castle you might think it looks like an impressive fortress, but is that just an illusion? Historians have argued for centuries that perhaps it was built more as a showy and impressive home than a military-strength stronghold.

Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England. Built in 1385

The castle was “dismantled”, in other words, converted to a ruin, after the English Civil War in the 1600s and left abandoned until 1829 when it was partially restored by George Cubitt, the 1st Baron Ashcombe.

Bodiam Castle in the heart of the British Countryside is a fine example of a Medieval moated castle.

In recent times, Bodiam Castle has been owned and run by the National Trust since 1929. With its romantic setting and its scenic moat, it’s a sumptuous place for a stroll or a summer picnic. For the more romantic, it’s a place to fire up the imagination of days passed. You can almost hear the chink of armour and the clash of swords as knights battle it out while damsels watch from the tower windows.

On a less romantic note, the picture-perfect moat once served as a sewage system for the castle’s thirty toilets, according to the castle’s website (link below). Maybe not somewhere past occupants would have gone for a cooling dip on a summer’s day!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you click on the link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. For further information, please read the affiliate statement here.

Check out this amazing aerial video showing a bird’s-eye view of the castle and the surrounding picturesque scenery.

For general information:

Bodiam Castle’s Website

For opening hours and admission costs:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-

For further reading check out some of these great books from the Book Depository.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these:

Langley Castle in Northumberland was built in 1350 by Sir Thomas de Lucy. Set in 10 acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands it is now a popular hotel. With its seven-foot-thick walls, big log fires and cosy atmosphere the Castle is a peaceful refuge to escape the world for a while.
Vindolanda is a Roman settlement in Northumberland close to Hadrian’s Wall
Bodiam Castle , a medieval castle in East Sussex
Bodiam Castle , a medieval castle in East Sussex
Bodiam Castle , a medieval castle in East Sussex