Review: The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright

book-review

The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright 4.5/5.

6tag_291017-0447081646 – A time of English Civil War, when life is cheap, death common and superstition consumes the hearts of God-fearing folk. The life of a healer is precarious, dwelling in the shadows of normal society. Ostracised, their time running out as the self-appointed Witchfinder General scours the countryside for the Devil’s whores…

2016 – One dark night, one sleepy town, one family gripped by terror. The EAPI paranormal team are called to investigate dark poltergeist activity. But, as the eternal night finally loosens its grip, it seems that some evil deeds are never forgotten, reaching out from beyond the grave to exact their revenge…

Review:

I’m glad I picked this novella as my Halloween read. I was equally creeped out and intrigued by this ghost story that draws on the historical facts of the witch burnings. Knowing the truth of Matthew Hopkins – the Witchfinder General –  makes this tale all the more chilling.

The flitting between past and present is well written, and the suspense built in intensity over the course of the novella. That ending was something of a curve ball that had me thinking a little more about the characters, especially the outcome for Alex.

Try this novella if you are after a quick, chilling read that blends historical truths with the supernatural.


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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Review: Hawaiian Heartbreak by Libby Cole

book-review

Hawaiian Heartbreak by Libby Cole 3.5/5

6tag_251017-060703.jpgWhen do you admit a holiday fling is so much more?

Kayla’s always been scared to push her boundaries and take a risk. But it turns out all she needed was a scumbag ex-boyfriend to send her running to Hawaii, hoping to pull the shattered pieces of her heart back together while sunning herself on a white sand beach.

What she hadn’t planned on was falling for someone new. Especially someone tall, tanned, and distractingly sexy. Soon sparks and puns are flying, and Kayla is introduced to a whole new way of appreciating Hawaii’s beautiful scenery. But what starts out as a fun holiday romance turns into a full-blown love affair, with neither wanting to admit the clock is ticking until Kayla has to return home.

Review:

Kayla holidays solo to fulfil her ambition of embracing life after her break up with her long term boyfriend. Little did she know she’d fall into the arms of a handsome tour guide.

This is my type of romance read: blossoming romance, steamy scenes, and characters to root for. Both Kayla and Jay are relatable, and as the fling turns into something more, you can’t shake that pang in your chest for the moment the holiday is over. I was a little apprehensive to reach the conclusion. Will it end when Kayla has to go home?

My only niggle was the abrupt ending and lack of conclusion. I’m all for cliffhangers, but this felt like neither cliffhanger nor a conclusion of some sort. It just left the reader in the middle of an unresolved row. Readers have to read the next in the series to get a conclusion for book one.

If you like swept off your feet, holiday romances, and don’t mind explicit sex scenes, then I highly recommend this novella.


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

Picture Prompt 27/09/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

Copy of K.J. CHAPMAN.png

“What is the meaning of this, Argento? Why are you shirtless?” grumbles Elder Wendall. He steps up to me, chewing his lips. “And who is this?”

Argento bows to the Wergal. “I apologise for my state of undress. I was sunbathing on the boat before the storm hit. This is Lorelei. I found her in the lake.” The crowd murmurs to each other. “She has a Sacred Sphere. It saved our lives.”

Elder Wendall steps away in surprise. “Impossible.”

I hold open my palm, showing him the orb of swirling colour. “Can you help me get home?” I ask. A loud gasp resounds throughout the hall at the sight of the sphere.

Elder Wendall snatches the sphere from my palm and eyes it eagerly. The colour fades, and the orb in his hand resembles nothing but a smooth, glass ball. “How curious. It reacts only to her touch,” he says, scratching at his wrinkly head.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Picture Prompt 01/09/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(8)

I wasn’t foolish enough to expect Titan Mount to be deserted. The Hivers are scared of water. Something in their web of minds registers fear of the wet stuff. If the survivors were to stand any chance, it was to hole up on islands. That’s exactly why the mount was heavily populated by the time I arrived.

The problem I didn’t foresee was low tide. The sea recedes, leaving the mount exposed for hours a day. The security procedures are long and extensive. For six hours, twice a day, we have to defend and protect our little, safe slice of the world from the creatures hellbent on eating us. The bodies litter the wet sand, and then the sea returns and washes them away. We sleep, eat, and repeat.

Twelve hours a day – every day – for the rest of my life. No thanks. I’ve been gathering a group of us to head further out to sea. There is an island – Seafarer’s Bay –  about one hundred miles southwest of here. The last anyone heard, they were over-run when the last aid plane landed. If we can keep hundreds of the creatures at bay day in, day out, we can exterminate an island of seven hundred people… Hivers.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Review: Black-Eyed Devils by Catrin Collier (Short Story)

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Black-Eyed Devils by Catrin Collier 5/5

5528155One look was enough. Amy Watkins and miner ‘Big’ Tom Kelly were in love. But can they keep their feelings secret or face the threat of death in a community torn apart by the miner’s strike? Tonypandy, South Wales, 1911. Starving, striking miners fight soldiers and police on the picket lines for the right to earn a wage that will feed their families, while Irish labourers are brought in the take their place in the pits, for half their pay. Handsome ‘Big’ Tom Kelly, an Irish worker, comes to Wales looking for a better life and believes he has found it when he falls in love with Amy Watkins, the daughter of a strike leader. At night, the miners search out the Irish men, drag them from their beds, beat them and then hang them from the street lamp posts. Can Amy and Tom keep their love a secret forever? All they want is a future together. But in a world full of hatred, anger and violence, their dream seems impossible. Until another strike leader offers them a way out.

Review:

This is short story included in the Quick Reads Campaign. Quick Reads can be read in one or two sittings.

I was thoroughly drawn into Amy and Tom’s story. The Welsh miners in Tonypandy went on strike, and the mine bosses brought in Irish men to fill their jobs. Needless to say, the locals were not happy. One of these Irish ‘Blacklegs’ is Tom, and he falls head over heels for Amy, the daughter of one of the striking miners. The historical truths, teamed with the main characters and sub characters backstories make for an interesting read. You can’t help but root for Amy and Tom, and the ending was perfect.

I would recommend this book as a summer read, and those interested in historical fiction would enjoy this story.


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

Picture Prompt 10/08/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

 

K.J. CHAPMAN(7).png

*This picture was taken at Kynance Cove, Cornwall*

“There’s a boy out there!” I shout, squinting from the glare of the sun on the water.

He appears to be waist deep in the sea, but is surely at least two hundred yards out. He’d be way out of his depth. His clothes are wet, and his hair slick to his face. I know he looks at me for a little hand waves in my direction.

“Where?” Sally asks, scanning the water.

“He was just there,” I reply, desperately searching for the boy. Nothing disturbs the water. How? “I swear, he was right there. He waved to me.”

The elderly metal detectorist not a few metres away from us starts packing his stuff away in a fluster. “Ya girls best be getting back to ya hotel. Go on, now. Do not come back here, do ya hear? Try the north coast. Better waves, so they say.”

Sally scoffs. “Excuse me, why would we not come back here? We’re on holiday, Sir.”

“Just do as ya’r told,” he barks, and we both edge away from him.

“Let’s go,” I urge Sally, pulling her away.

She roots herself firmly in the sand. “I heard the locals don’t like the tourists a whole lot, but that’s just rude. Who does he think he is?” She turns back to the man. “We will go where we like, thanks all the same.”

The man growls in his throat, but offers a shrug. “Ah, do what ya like. Don’t say, Old Tom didn’t warn ya. Once ya have seen him, it’s a watery end for ya.”

“Seen who?” I ask, the hairs on my arms standing on end.

“The drowned boy is who.”


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Picture Prompt 03/08/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

Copy of K.J. CHAPMAN

“Read the note again.” Denny walks two paces ahead, rucksack hanging from the one shoulder. He has a nervous energy about him, but the fact that he is trying to conceal it puts me on edge.

“I’ve read it ten times already. It isn’t going to have changed in the last five minutes,” I say. He turns and glowers over his shoulder in that big-brotherly way that says ‘don’t make me beat on you’. “Pack a bag, walk to the special place, and find the red amongst the green. The past and future awaits you there.”

Denny brushes his shaggy, blonde hair out of his eyes. “And this was hand delivered?”

“Yes,” I snap, sick of recounting the same thing over and over. “There isn’t a stamp. See?”

He ignores me, choosing to pick up his pace.

We come to our special place; the lake where Dad used to bring us fishing as kids. I usually only come back here on anniversaries: birthdays, the day he died. Instantly, Denny points to the mass of fallen trees. The red leaves on one particular tree jar against the greens surrounding it.

“This is it,” Denny says, rushing to the bushes. He digs about in the brush, pulling out a box wrapped in plastic. “How I have prayed for this,” he cries with delight.

He rips open the parcel, marvelling at an ornate, wooden box. I have never seen it before, but clearly this means something to Denny.

“Prayed for what? What is this? Is this a game- a hoax?”

Denny opens the box, breaths ragged and shallow. Inside is a gold coin- doubloon like in appearance. “I thought they were all destroyed.” He starts half sobbing, half laughing. “I can’t believe it. This means–”

“What is that? Who left it?” I ask. “Denny, you’re scaring me.”

Picking up the coin in the cloth it is wrapped in, Denny grips my arm and pulls me toward him. “This is our ticket home, Tia. It is time for you to remember.”

He presses the coin to my forehead, and a searing pain ignites behind my eyes. I have surely fainted for all is black for a moment before a kaleidoscope of colours rushes through my mind’s eye.

I awake on my back, Denny leaning over me in concern. It is as if I’m am looking at him for the first time. “You’re not my brother,” I whisper.

Denny laughs into the air. “Not by blood, no. I think I’ve earned the title, though. What do you say?”

My thoughts clear a little more. Denny aka Dennison Harvey was on my father’s guard. I was entrusted to his care when… “Oh, shit! I remember,” I gasp out loud.

“That’s no language for a Princess to use,” he says, nudging me playfully.

“He altered my memories, so I wouldn’t return home. That’s why the Queen tried to destroy all the remaining coins. My father must still be alive, Denny.”

I stand, brushing the dirt from my clothes, and Denny kneels with bowed head. The familiarity of such an action is like another piece of the puzzle slotting into place- my memory weaving itself back together.

“Get up, you idiot. You’ve been my brother for the past four years, that doesn’t stop now. Pass me that coin, I’m taking us home.”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

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Picture Prompt 29/05/17

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(4).png

“There is a shrine of sorts upon the cliffs. I saw it this morning when I was walking. There are dates carved into the wood,” I say, helping myself to a cup of milk. Something bristles in my cousin, Lizbeth, but she composes herself before turning back to me, offering a smile.

“Oh, you mean The Wrecking Post. Yes, that is a shrine to the ships and boats wrecked on the rocks below. The date of the wreckage is carved into the wood, and a piece of debris is added to the collection.” She takes a cup from my outstretched hand, and despite her smile, her hand shakes.

“But there is so much there: ropes, drift wood, pieces of metal. How many ships have been wrecked upon those cliffs.”

“Many,” she replies, taking her shawl from the hook and hurrying out of the door. “I shall be late if I stand conversing about shipwrecks, Jenna.”

“Then, tell me why my asking has affected you so.”

She stops in her tracks, her back going rigid. “Do not speak of this again, Jenna. Hold your tongue on this subject with the villagers. It is not something talked of in an informal fashion.”

“Lizbeth, my stomach has sunk like a stone. Why have there been so many wrecks on those rocks? You must answer me.”

She sighs heavily, rubbing a hand over her face. “How do you think this village has flourished, Cousin? Your father was one of the first group of men to partake in such acts. It has become necessity. You mustn’t judge, for you have benefitted as much as the rest of us over the years. You were just never made aware, living with Aunt April in the city.”

I feel faint, slumping into my chair with all the grace of a sitting heifer. “Oh, Lord. We are a family of wreckers,” I say.

“We are a village of wreckers,” Lizbeth corrects.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(3)

Not a soul had touched the water from the lake in almost a century. The last to plummet into the crystal clear depths suffered the consequences- a cruel, painful death. Only one elder remains who remembers that tragic day, and despite his age, his stories are still as vivid as ever.

The water of the lake is sacred. The stories passed down through the years insist that the lake was blessed by a High Priestess after a dream in which the Almighty Overseer instructed her to act upon his command. After the blessing, anyone who swam or drank from the lake withered like dried bark, screaming all the while until finally giving their last breath. It is believed that the one who survives the lake is the blessed Child of the Almighty Overseer. We shall never know the truth in this, for we are prohibited from going near the lake.

Although it is forbidden, it is a right of passage for a child turning the age of adulthood to jump the waterfall. It is not a large jump, but one shaking foot, or a meek run up would inevitably see them plunging into the water below. It hasn’t happened, yet.

Exhaling to calm my frantic heart beat, and clenching my fists tight, I run toward the waterfall. Harrow and the gang cheer and whoop as my feet thunder toward the jump. They have all made the jump in recent months; I am the youngest of the group and the last of us to prove myself courageous… or stupid.

“Go on, Baby,” Harrow calls, and his voice gees me on.

As my foot lands upon the last rock before the rushing fall of water, I launch myself into the air, keeping my eyes on the rocks on the other side.

Just as a howl of applause echoes around the forest, a gale of wind rips through the trees, extinguishing the camp fire. The impact of the wind is enough to knock the air out of my lungs, and as the force spirals me away from the rocks, I cry out for Harrow.

“Lenna!” he roars, as I tumble toward the water.

Oh, Almighty. This is how I die.

Hitting the water, I flail to the surface, awaiting the inevitable. Harrow and the others look over the edge, crying and screaming my name. How long does this thing take? With a lurch, I’m sucked down into a vortex of current without a shred of air in my lungs. Perhaps drowning is the lesser of two evils. The water feels like hands upon me, forcing me anyway it pleases, and with one forceful gush, I’m propelled from the lake and land heavily on the bank. Harrow is already running toward me after bravely scaling the rock face.

He stops in his tracks, eyes wide, and mouth open. “Your skin,” he gasps.

Every inch of my skin is covered in delicate, black symbols.

Dropping to his knees, Harrow lowers his head in a bow. “Child of the Almighty Overseer.”


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Writer Spotlight: The talented Katie Masters tried her hand my last picture prompt. Find her enthralling story in the comments of the last post.

Picture Prompt:

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The view from the cottage offers the first sighting of any ships and boats heading toward the coast. Everyday, for hours on end, I stand at the bottom of the garden, watching the horizon span out from the jut of rock that shields the cove. Alfred no longer scolds me for my time wasted in such a task, and where he’d once reprimand me for standing in the rain, hail, and gales atop the cliff, he now merely brings a a blanket without a word.

I await the Black Whisper. It has been fourteen months since she left under attack, leaving me here with Alfred. Fourteen months of me acting the lady with no family save an elderly manservant. I long to shun the corsets and petticoats for my britches and coat. I wish to not have to keep my gun and sword hidden in case of visitors.

Alfred fears she will never return, but that doesn’t stop him from watching and waiting in the night. I know she will return, for the captain would not abandon us…me.

“Supper is ready, Lass.” Alfred’s frail hand on my shoulder startles me. “As I am a soul, you’re wet through.”

“I shall be along, Alfred.”

“Tis misting today. You shan’t see a bloody thing unless it is upon our door. How shall I explain to the Cap’n, when he does return, that you caught your death upon the cliffs? He’d tie me to the rope and use me as the fecking anchor!”

Turning foot, I head into the cottage. “Your skinny arse as anchor, pah!” Wisecracks are what get us through the long days. Alfred’s rebuffs are so sharp and witty, yet he says nothing. “Alfred?” Still nothing.

The old man splutters, but no words surface. Instead, he points to the mist. Sails break through as if cutting at the air. The Black Whisper sails into the cove with a familiar, burly figure at the bow.

“The Cap’n has returned for the lass who waited,” Alfred guffaws.