eBook Review: Secret Magic

Secret Magic (Evie Everyday Witch #1)

Secret Magic by Elena Paige

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: My name is Evie Everyday and I’m a witch. But all I’ve ever wanted is to be a Lamron. That’s the word normal spelled backward. Anyways, now I have the chance to go to a regular school and be a regular girl I’ll do whatever it takes to fit in.

Fitting in is easy. All I have to do is:

Keep my magic a secret Swap my favourite colourful clothes for boring black ones Suck up to scary Mrs Rogers, the school principal Keep my pet cat, bat and corncob from causing any trouble And stay away from Izzy. She’s all colourful and funny and awesome…. and not helpful for fitting in.

But when everything starts to go wrong, there’s only one way to save my new school…use magic. And only one person who can help me…Izzy!

My review: Books about witches are generally something I avoid. But this book is different because it’s for young readers. I knew it would be light-hearted and fun. Besides, I loved the colourful cover.

Young readers will love the mayhem of the main character, Evie. She’s different but doesn’t want to be. She wants what most of us want–to fit in and be accepted. As a result of this strong desire, Evie allows herself to be moulded into someone she’s not, at a significant cost to herself.

There is often a lot happening in this story. The terms weird, fun, and mayhem describe the characters and storyline the best, in my opinion. I believe young readers will enjoy what they read and will want to return to Evie’s life to see what she gets up to next.

I received a review copy of this book, and this is an honest review.

The Fantasy Novel History

The planning for The Fantasy Novel is going well. Extremely well, in fact.

The world history I developed some years ago is thorough and will not be discarded. I know how our world and the fantasy world are connected. The characters don’t and the reader won’t either. Not in this book, anyway. Maybe in the sequel, if there is one (and there’s no guarantee). Of course, I see gaps in places I never saw before. Those gaps leave questions that I need to answer. Some of the things I’ve been researching over the last few weeks are herbal medicine, how to find edible food, different types of religion and politics, what is needed to make ink, and magic. It’s been interesting.

However, the characters are a different matter. They lack substance. I know these characters well, but I realise that the reader does not. With this in mind, I see characters without a past, without deep motivations. They are going through the actions, but that’s not enough. Currently, I am working on the character profiles; writing voice journals and finding out what makes them who they are today. It’s interesting to see these journals take shape. Knowing why they act the way they do is important for me to know, and for the reader to discover along the way.

The research phase will continue until I feel I have everything covered. I’m in no rush and I want to do this right. Besides, this book is my main commitment this year.

Finally, I am pleased to say that I have dedicated on average at least two hours every day (except one day when I was unwell with a stomach bug) to The Fantasy Novel. I feel excited because my focus is real and complete, but more importantly, fresh and eager. I feel no pressure, no uncertainty, which only confirms that now is the right time for this book.

eBook Review: The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: Princess Florizella may live in a classic fairy-tale world, but she’s no ordinary princess…

These three stories were originally published under the titles Princess Florizella, Princess Florizella and the Wolves and Princess Florizella and the Giant.

My review: I have read several books written by Philippa Gregory. I love them. When I saw this book in the library, I decided to give it a go. All the other books I’ve read were written for adults, and I realised this one is for young readers, but that never stopped me before.

The Princess Rules is three stories. A not-so-ordinary princess and her easy to get along with prince (and closest friend) tend to find trouble everywhere they go. Yes, these stories are fairy tales with a twist. They are charming and enjoyable. You’ll read about dragon, wolves and giants, and adventure at every turn. I found them to be a quick and easy read. Young children, especially young girls, will love them.

Audio: New Spring

New Spring (Wheel of Time, #0)

New Spring (Book 0) by Robert Jordan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: For three days battle has raged in the snow around the great city of Tar Valon. In the city, a Foretelling of the future is uttered. On the slopes of Dragonmount, the immense mountain that looms over the city, is born an infant prophesied to change the world. That child must be found before the forces of the Shadow have an opportunity to kill him. Moiraine Damodred, a young Accepted soon to be raised to Aes Sedai, and Lan Mandragoran, a soldier fighting in the battle, are set on paths that will bind their lives together. But those paths are filled with complications and dangers, for Moiraine, of the Royal House of Cairhien, whose king has just died, and Lan, considered the uncrowned king of a nation long dead, find their lives threatened by the plots of those seeking power.

My review: My first review for 2020 and I’m happy for it to be the prequel to the Wheel of Time series, which is the series I intend to focus on this year. Of course, there will be other books read as well.

In the early 1990s, I read the first two or three books in the series (I can’t remember). To be honest, all I can remember was the name ‘Rand’ and the fact that I enjoyed them immensely.

New Spring was published long afterwards. Rand doesn’t make an appearance. However, as soon as I read two other names of characters I recognised straight away, I felt connected to the storyline. The more I read, the more that came back to me.

I was reminded that I enjoyed one of the books so much that I kept going back to it and reading sections that spoke to me. It will be interesting to see if I recognise those scenes.

The beginning of the prequel is a war scene, and I hate scenes filled with fighting. A whole chapter was not enjoyable. I had a vague knowledge of what to expect, so I kept reading. Unfortunately, some people might give up there, which would be a shame. The second chapter moved away from the war, and that’s where the story truly started for me. At that point, I was hooked. The book would have been better if it started with chapter two (and chapter one didn’t exist). But that’s just my opinion.

Besides the first chapter, the rest of the book was great. Moiraine and Lan are the two main characters. They are the two names I recognised. I enjoyed finding out where they began and how they came together. I won’t go into the storyline. Let us just say that I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the whole series.

New Year Writing Update

Yes, it is a New Year. 2020 is going to be great. This is positive thinking on my part. And no, I am not making a New Year Resolution, because resolutions are promises we never keep.

At the end of last year, I made a big decision. After many years of subscribing at Ancestry.com and building a large family tree, for my family and for my husband’s, I have decided to cancel the subscription.

Why?

There are two reasons:

  1. The cost is getting so high, it’s ridiculous.
  2. I don’t need the distraction.

Why? You may ask again.

This leads to another decision I made last year. A writing decision. In 2020 I intend to work on and publish an adult fantasy novel. In fact, the original manuscript was written 30 years ago when my boys were very young. I used to sit up late at night, tapping away at a typewriter, and later my first computer. The computer was nothing like today’s computers. The only working software was a word processor. There were no distractions and that time of my life was when I was most productive.

The manuscript I am referring to had a word count of just under 200,000 words. That is an epic tale, but I always knew it was too long.

There have been numerous rewrites, but none that I felt happy with. Eventually, I lost confidence in myself and my writing.

But I love the characters and the original storyline. So, I have made the decision to dig out the original manuscript and rework the history and the characters and rewrite/edit the plot into the (shorter) story I have always envisioned.

Over the past six days, I have been sorting through my research and world-building. To help sort all this out, I am using a locally installed wiki. Decisions are being made regarding which names and profiles I want to use for the characters. I am also in the process of adding new research material to the old stuff that I decide to keep. And, no, I am not keeping everything.

Thirty years is a long time, but I have grown as a person, as a writer, and in life experience during this time. I am not afraid to look at the original manuscript and point out the errors I made, add the information I overlooked, and delete the stuff that needs to be gone.

Now is the time for this book. I feel a renewed excitement to be working on it again. This time, I will not lose faith.

The title of the book is yet to be decided. In the meantime, I intend to refer to this project as The Fantasy Novel.

New Year Freebies

Welcome to 2020. It feels impossible that another year has gone by, but it has. Let us hope that 2020 is a year filled with health and happiness, and lots of laughter. I believe if we are happy we don’t actually need anything else.

Reading is one of the things that makes me happy. Free books also makes me happy. So I’m offering all my ebooks for free until 11.59pm on 3 January 2020.

This offer has expired.

To get the free books, just add the ones you want to the cart and use the following coupon code:

newyearfreebies

You will pay exactly nothing for the ebooks you want. But remember, the free stuff is only free for a very short time.

Happy New Year.