Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab 4/5

14138357_1255426807842067_1603806093_nKell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.

Review:

Kell is a parallel world postman of sorts. Using Antari magic, he can slip between the four London’s to deliver correspondance between the rulers of each. Kell has a fascination with trinkets from the different Londons, and smuggles different things in and out for willing buyers in exchange for trinkets and objects of interest to him. That is where the problems begin. Kell is set up, and is left holding something valuable that must not fall into the wrong hands. He happens across Lila, a wannabe pirate and thief, and the pair set off on an mission to return the item to the London it belongs in… Black London. However, there are some who do not want that to happen.

First off, Schwab’s descriptions are awesome. It made it easier for me, as a reader, to differentiate between the four Londons and the characters that reside within each. The concept was great, although it took me a while to get into the book with a slow paced start. However, the action picked up, and I was submerged into Kell’s world, or should I say, worlds.

Kell and Lila’s relationship was believable and developed organically over the course of the narrative. However, I couldn’t help but think of Kelsier and Vin from the Mistborn series. The name ‘Kell’ didn’t help either in that respect. Of course, there are differences, but there was a street urchin taken under the wing of someone more experienced vibe that I couldn’t shift.

The ending was fantastic (no spoilers), and I cannot wait to read book two. If, like me, you like fantasy, magic, well developed characters, and a unique storyline, then this book is for you.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

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Prompt Me: Writing Prompts eBook, Writing Exercises

Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes #3 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you.

The Prompt:

The moon is an engineered structure built for the purpose of observation. Someone or something has been watching us.

Standing in my garden on a crisp, clear night when the moon is big and fat, the settlements are clearly visible. They marr the surface of the moon as I remember it as a child, and sometimes in perfect conditions, lights are visible, twinkling upon the surface like glitter.

I still remember the day they came. The ‘outsiders’, as they were quickly dubbed by the media, told grand tales of two moons. They said that before there was any trace of humanity upon earth, they had discovered our tiny, innocent planet rotating around the sun with two moons, one of which controlled our dangerous tides. The other was half the size and hidden behind the larger.

The Outsiders were there to observe and explore back up planets for when the time came that their own planet failed them, but they claimed that another race of hostile aliens from a dying planet came to conquer our world. However, they met resistance from the Outsiders. There was a war and the main moon was destroyed in a last ditch attempt for the hostiles to take the earth. The smaller moon, the moon we see today, was left behind, settling our tides and terraforming our planet into the world we occupy. The Outsiders set up surveillance devices within our moon, and then left.

However, they came back. 2038 was the year of their return. Their sun was failing them, and a once healthy population had dwindled in wars or through starvation and solar flares. The few survivors- five hundred thousand in total- fled to our atmospheric world in search of safety and a new life.

At first they were welcomed, and their advanced technology was welcomed, but then came the power struggles. Humans took their technology and tried to turn it upon them. That’s what ignorance and fear can do- it can make rational minds do irrational things. The Outsiders have always been more advanced, more powerful, and they have and will always hold the upper hand. They are smarter than us in many ways; they knew that a war would only destroy a planet that both of our races depend on, so they offered a proposal. They wanted our moon. A fragile agreement was made, and the domed colonies have been upon the surface of the moon for the past fifteen years.

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Thrown to The Blue, Writing and Me

Why Did This Draft Feel Easier??

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As you may be aware, I have completed the first draft of Thrown to The Blue and it is having a little rest before I start the redraft. I’ve been thinking about this drafting process and why I found it so easy (much easier than my EVO Nation series.) Maybe there is a plethora of reasons, and this story just seeped from my pores, but as a pantser, I scrutinise my methods and techniques to try and better understand what suits my writing style.

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More POVs

For the first time, I have written a draft in multiple POVs; two for the majority of the book, and three toward the end. It is unconventional to add a POV late on in the narrative, but I’m a rebel like that. Once my MCs had met the antagonist, Lyerdith, she got her own POV. I did this to add depth and hopefully lead into book two. This was a source of debate for me, but in the end, I liked being inside Lyerdith’s head, and her POV helped progress the narrative.

Shorter Chapters

Due to the multiple POVs, I was able to make the chapters shorter. Writing shorter chapters kept me thinking about the next step, and the next POV. This made the drafting that little bit easier. I had to get what I needed to say down in shorter intervals, which eliminated a certain amount of pointless rambling.

CampNaNo

There is no denying that CampNaNo helped me no end. I hit my 30k target with the encouragement of my cabin mates. Feeling accountable for my word counts was a great motivator.

Letting Go

Everything about this draft was out of my comfort zone, yet I felt so at home. I allowed myself the freedom to explore POVs, time lines, and characters that blur the lines between good and bad. For the first time, I didn’t set myself an ideal deadline. I went in with the mindset that it will take as long as it takes. I’m still in the mindset in regards to the redraft and edits and it is a refreshing perspective for me. If I have to cut or rework during the redraft, then you know what, it’s all cool.

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Do you have a particular drafting style that makes the process run smoother? Can you relate to any of the above?


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

GIFs sourced from GIPHY.COM

Book Reviews

Review: Mirror Mirror by Anthony. M. Strong

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Mirror Mirror by Anthony. M. Strong 4/5

14088947_1250081021709979_2030750210_nJaime thought he’d hit the jackpot when he found the antique mirror out by the curb, just waiting for a new home. Hours later the old mirror with the ornate gold frame was taking up pride of place in his apartment.
But there’s something wrong. The mirror harbors a dark secret, and before long Jaime and his girlfriend Cassie find themselves up against a terrifying supernatural force that has its sights set on them.

I downloaded this novella for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

Jaime is a college student, living alone and making ends meet by ‘dumpster diving’. Trawling the streets outside of the student digs and local estates to find little gems that have been left by the moving students to furnish his own apartment, he spots an antique mirror and takes it home. Jaime quickly realises that there is something odd about the mirror.

The best short story I have read in a while. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with this freebie. This short was well written with a naturally developing narrative. Although the haunted mirror concept is not highly original, the narrative built suspense and the writing style allowed me to overlook that.

The ending is a cliffhanger, but I am unsure if there will be a second installment. I would definitely like to know more on this narrative. As a thrift shop buyer, it makes me think twice about picking up antiques…


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Book Reviews

Review: When Time Comes by Cat Nicolaou

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When Time Comes (A Summer Romance Novella) by Cat Nicolaou 3/5

14017897_1249598865091528_51945908_nA contemporary romance novella set on the Greek island of Rhodes about a rockstar and an artist who find love that can last forever.

Athena can’t avert her eyes. Alex Dane is back in Greece. Her mind wanders in time, six years ago, to the island of Rhodes. Three lustful days with him and a precious gift he left her with. All she needs is a leap of faith, but will he fly? Dare they dream again “When Time Comes”?

A heart-warming happy-ever-after contemporary romance to enjoy lying on the beach watching the sunsets with your loved ones. A short read perfect for your summer holidays. Get a feel of the Greek islands even from afar.

I downloaded this novella for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

30 something Athena has followed the career of 45 year old, Alex Dane, pop superstar since her teens, and she gets the chance to see him live on the Greek Island of Rhodes. Taking the fifteen hour trip to the island she stumbles across the singer on deck and a romance blossoms. Okay, so the narrative is a little cliche and at times unbelievable, but it’s the dream of most women, right? To entice their idol into a steamy fling.

The six years later part was less interesting for me. The whole Mina storyline gave the narrative less credibility in my opinion, but it did make the conclusion a little bit sweeter. Spoilers- they all live happily ever after.

A romance to be read in an hour with a happy conclusion.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Writing Exercises A-Z Round Up

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It may have taken me much much longer than the twenty six weeks I had given myself, but I have finally completed my ‘What’s Your Name?’ writing exercise challenge.

I set myself the fun challenge of picking a random name from the first page of each letter in my naming book (a book I cherish for naming the characters in my novels). Then, I had to write a short piece using that name as a main character or sub character. Some of the exercises are stand alone, whilst others are linked together. And some weeks, I just plain cheated.

I thought I’d compile all twenty six into this post as a round up of what has proven to be a useful, creative exercise.

Letter A: Abbie

Letter B: Ballard

Letter C: Cadence

Letter D: Daire

Letter E: Eavan

Letter F: Fairley

Letter G: Gabrielle

Letter H: Haidee

Letter I: Ida

Letter J: Jack

Letter K: Kady

Letter L: Lacey

Letter M: Mackenzie

Letter N: Naomi

Letter O: Oakley

Letter P: Paige

Letter Q: Quentin

Letter R: Rae

Letter S: Sabine

Letter T: Tate

Letter U: Ulric

Letter V: Val

Letter W: Walburga

Letter X: Xena

Letter Y: Yasmin

Letter Z: Zadok

Thanks for all the likes, comments, and shares on these blog posts. Your encouragement has been amazing as usual.

thank you


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Thrown to The Blue, Uncategorized

First Draft Done and Dusted!

big news!

I have completed the first draft of Thrown to The Blue!

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Thanks to some much needed motivation from CampNaNoWriMo, I flew through this WIP. An extra 15k brought me to the end of my first draft, and I’m totally stoked! This has been the most stress free, smooth flowing, easy draft I have ever worked on, so I’m expecting a bitch of an edit.

You know what I’m going to do now for a few days???… Read, and read, and read. I want to have a break and enjoy some other author’s glorious words. Oh, and there will be plenty of celebratory tea.

giphytea


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

GIFs sourced from GIPHY.COM