Friday, August 30, 2019

Jody Hedlund- A New YA Medieval Series

 Two absolutely amazing stories came out in the last month and it is my great honor to share them with you.

I loved Jody Hedlund's previous YA medieval series so of course I freaked out when I found out that she was publishing a series not just about knights and kingdoms but also princesses and lost treasures.


A little more about the books including my incoherent reviews:

The Blurb

A fierce elite guard. A loyal lady in waiting. They must work together to save three princesses from certain death.

On the verge of dying after giving birth to twins, the queen of Mercia pleads with Lady Felicia to save her infant daughters. With the castle overrun by King Ethelwulf’s invading army, Lady Felicia vows to do whatever she can to take the newborn princesses and their three-year old sister to safety, even though it means sacrificing everything she holds dear, possibly her own life.

Gravely wounded in battle and knowing all is lost to his enemy, the king of Mercia tasks Lance, one of his fiercest elite guards, to protect his family along with keys to an ancient treasure. As Lance makes plans to sneak the princesses out of the capital city, he doesn’t need or want Lady Felicia’s help.

With the dark enemy in pursuit, Lance and Felicia must put aside their differences to outrun King Ethelwulf and prevent him from killing the princesses. In a desperate attempt to hide the young girls, Lance and Felicia agree to a marriage of convenience, a decision that will change their lives—and hearts—forever.

My Review

Words cannot express how excited I am for Jody Hedlund's new YA series. I absolutely adored her last one. And with this novella this series is already off to a great start.

This story has everything: adventure, romance, cute little babies, and sassy nuns. I must admit that I have not read a straight up romance for a while so it took some time for me to become readjusted to the genre. It was a little abrupt at first but it is a novella so that is a given. The detail was rich and the world building created a unique story world. Felicia and Lance were such a cute unlikely couples. I have a secret weakness for Elite Guards, so there is also that *totally wasn't crushing on Lance just for the fact that he was an Elite Guard*

I cannot wait to read the princess's individual stories.

I was provided a ARC from the author, all opinions, however are my own.

The Blurb

An ancient key. A secret treasure. And a princess destined to use them both to fight evil and restore peace.

Raised by a noble family, Lady Adelaide has always known she’s an orphan. Little does she realize she’s one of the lost princesses and the true heir to Mercia’s throne…until a visitor arrives at her family estate, reveals her birthright as queen, and thrusts her into a quest for the throne whether she’s ready or not.

Unable to tolerate King Ethelwulf’s cruelty and lawlessness, Christopher Langley left Mercia years earlier, training a group of rebels in neighboring Norland. When he returns home after his mother’s death, he discovers that not only is Adelaide all grown up, but she’s also the rightful queen of Mercia.

When King Ethelwulf discovers Adelaide’s location, he’ll stop at nothing to capture her and the key she holds to the ancient treasure. Christopher is just as determined to protect Adelaide so she can lead the growing rebellion. When feelings ignite between the two old friends, forces threaten to destroy their love and rip them apart forever.

My Review

Warning: if you are looking for a coherent review, this is not the place to be. There will be much flailing and fangirling and asdfghjkl.

Okay so I LOVED this book SO MUCH.

Augh, lost princesses, hidden treasures, TALL JOHN. YOU GUYS, he said like three words but he is a without a doubt this book's MVP. I adored Christopher, he was such a fleshed out character capable of being both serious and joking when it seems like many characters are only able to be one of the two. And also I always like Jody Hedlund's warrior ladies because those are the ones that I relate to more XD

The one thing I would have liked was a little more to Mitchell's arc because I think he had a lot more potential.

King Draybane was the absolute best! I think I laughed at everything that he said, this man...


Like I said, no coherency here. If you get anything out of this review just know that I love this book XD

Look! I even made a collage for it!
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Whenever I read series like this which have different protagonists each book, I like to try to figure out who the main characters of the next books will be ahead of time. Obviously the heroines are Adelaide and her sisters. The next book will probably be about Maribel since she is the next oldest. But what of the heroes? We have Christopher in this book, and honestly I think it is a huge likelihood that one four year old kid who disappeared during the invasion all those years ago is going to resurface *waggles eyebrows* (I'm guessing he is going to be Maribel's hero). But also I just want to point out how I would absolutely FREAK OUT if Ethelwulf's son and one of the princesses ended up falling in love (Emmaline anyone?) Because that would be a FANTASTIC twist asdfghjkl. After Adelaide tries so hard to not end up married to his heir and Ethelwulf is spending the series trying to make certain that she or one of the princesses does marry him and then those two kids end up going and doing it anyway. Oh my stars, that would be such an interesting plot. AND I WOULD 100% BE THERE FOR THAT ENEMIES TO LOVERS ACTION. But I digress.

Needless to say that I am extremely excited for the next books and I NEEDED THEM YESTERDAY. Please and thank you. Also can I just take a moment to point out how absolutely excited I am for Lance and Felicia to come back onto the scene?? Because I'm pretty darn excited.

I was provided a ARC from the author, all opinions, however are my own.

Now hopefully I have said enough. Go! Buy the books and read them and the return to here so we can fangirl over them together. And while you are at it read Hedlund's first YA series ;P

Buy Always and Evermore.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

My Top Six Animated Series

So... we're trying something different today. Actually we aren't even having a book related post. Instead I thought I would share my favorite animated series. I chose to do those first because I actually have clear favorites here unlike live action series and movies and books and such.

Anyway... without further ado some series that you absolutely have to watch:

Spectacular Spiderman

Maybe this show doesn't have the best animation (I think I heard somewhere that it was hand drawn? But I'm not sure). Starting up at the end of the summer Peter gets his powers, we don't have to watch Uncle Ben die, which is a plus. Instead we watch an idealistic Peter start school thinking that everything will be different... better. And realizes just how hard having super powers is. The proper blend of teen angst and struggles with responsibility, this is one of the best representations of Peter Parker yet.

This show has basically everything that was canon in the comics, from the relationship drama with Liz, Gwen, Black Cat, and MJ to the friendship issues with Harry. It has a lot of twists and turns and hilarious scenes. It also features backstories for the villains which include Venom, The Green Goblin, and The Sinister Six.

Unfortunately, this show was canceled to make room for The Ultimate Spiderman and leaves off on a terrible cliffhanger and nothing is certain for our heroes and antiheroes. Still I would recommend watching it because aren't all the best shows cancelled anyway?

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

This one might just be my favorite animated show, obviously I love all of the shows listed here, but this one? This one is something special. Honestly this is the best Avengers you are ever gonna find, even over the MCU.

All is not just sass and joking around. The team dynamics on this show are amazing, characters are always shifting and changing. Some leaving, some joining. Everyone has a backstory, an arc, and a motive. Even the more side characters like Hawkeye and Black Panther get their moments in the spotlight. Seriously, if you are ever trying to figure out how to write team dynamics... WATCH THIS.

Also I just want to take a moment to scream over the ships!!! They weren't in every episode but they were in there enough to string you along. (especially Jan and Hank OTP material here people)

Bonus points to one of the catchiest theme songs ever. This series has strong overarching plots, and it wasn't technically cancelled so it comes to a satisfying conclusion (if you could count Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes ending as satisfying). However the last few episodes of season two are a bit rushed as the producers try to wrap everything up so that Avengers Assemble can steal the air space.

Justice League

One of the edgiest kid shows that I watched as a kid. I've been re-watching these now after buying the whole series and I still love them.

Another show with awesome team dynamics and ship worthy relationships. Dynamic dialogue and varied episodes, some are better than others, but I enjoy them all. This show features my precious Wonderbat and so I am definitely on board with that.

Also it has THE BEST Batman I have ever seen. This show is the reason Batman is my favorite DC Superhero. This show ran for two seasons and then was replaced by Justice League Unlimited which isn't as good as the original, and has way more side characters who I don't care about as much, but it still is good and features plenty of the original league to satisfy fans.

GI Joe Renegades

This ain't your mama's Cobra and this ain't your daddy's GI Joe. More modernized than the original this one has a much smaller group, which I appreciated since i always found the huge cast of the original to be maddeningly confusing. The thing I love about this is that they are on the run so each episode takes place in a different location. And you get to see how a team of practical strangers learns how to become a family and function under a great amount of pressure.

This show runs for two seasons and actually manages to not end on a cliffhanger, but it still has one of the most open love triangle resolutions in existence and it is MADDENING.

Star Wars the Clone Wars

The sass is strong with this one. Featuring many well known characters from the Prequel trilogy, this show takes place over the two years of the Clone Wars. I loved getting deeper into the dynamic of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padame. The episodes with those three and Ahsoka are honestly the best because there is so much sass and love and peril and all that jazz. You see a different side of Anakin in this and honestly this show is the sole reason I like Anakin Skywalker.

But I warn you, DO NOT EVER WATCH THIS SHOW BEFORE REVENGE OF THE SITH. You will be a blubbering mess. It isn't a pretty picture AT ALL.

I have a few ships, of course, but I think the best part about this show is actually the brotherly bond between Anakin and Obi-Wan and the fatherly love he has for Ashoka. This has like five seasons, each which gets progressively darker. I didn't like the fifth season very much and there were some subplots that got wonky. But still the first seasons are amazing and worth watching for sure.

Scooby Doo

No posts about animated series would be complete without my first love. This movie taught me how to ship (Fred and Daphne forever) and the gang is my family. The original series of course is the best, but I also have a special love for What's New Scooby Doo

So anyway that's my top six animated series. Have you seen any of these? What are your favorite animated series? Comment below!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Language of Worlds: SoS

Guess what time it is again! If the above picture isn't an immediate giveaway it's time for another Language of Worlds. This one is for July/August but since I'm always so fashionably late I decided to wait until closer to the end of August to do it because that's just how I roll.

This Language of Worlds, hosted by the lovely Liv focuses more on the book project as a whole rather than specific characters. And while I certainly have many of projects to choose from, I thought I would talk about My Time in Amar book 3 A Season of Subterfuge, Courtiers, and War Councils or as I have lovingly dubbed it SoS because help! 

1. How long have you been writing this story?
Oof, so I've actually been working on SoS since the end of 2016. I did my most work on it in early 2017 where I wrote about 60k, but then I ended up setting it aside to rewrite the first two books and I'm only just now managing to pick it back up now that the major rewrites fro ToT are done.
2. Who’s your favorite character? Why?
This is a tough question, because I love all of my characters. But since Bobby doesn't have a POV this book I would say that it is probably a tossup between Easton and Alexis. Which is weird because they really couldn't be any more different. Easton is an idealistic optimist and Alexis is Mr. Broody McBroodypants from Broodytown Broodselvania.
3. Which character do you consider the “goodest of the good”?
This one is Easton for sure. That boy has a hero complex, I swear... He may not always make the right choices, but he is certainly well meaning.

4. Which character is the “baddest of the bad”?
In this book it is Axius for sure. *glares at the little creep* For some reason I thought making my bad guy immortal was a good idea and now I honestly don't know what to do with him. But yeah, Axius is known for killing his kids so that they don't try to take his throne so... definitely bad in my book (if you laugh at this pun I will love you forever).
5. If you were to have tea (or coffee!) with one character, which one would you pick? Why?
Hmm, probably Maude a crazy lady and daughter of the wealthiest man in the kingdom. I think it would be awesome to just sit down and talk to her. Maude is saltier than the dead sea and we would probably spend the whole time roasting all of the other characters so that would definitely be fun.
6. Describe your storyworld.
Amar is a magical deadly place. It is pretty primitive, only about as advanced as Medieval Europe. It consists of several separate countries with have pretty much nothing in common, and mostly they don't like to interact with each other and basically just deal with their own problems separately and privately. News doesn't spread that well in Amar. There haven't been any major wars for about five hundred years since the last time the countries actually got together they signed a peace treaty that said that in order to declare war the countries must first gather together and discuss everything in a war council to see if a more peaceful means can be found.
7. You’ve fallen into your book! Which place would you be happiest at?
Probably Kydrak Castle in Rinbroch. Maybe it gets cold up there in the winter because it is not only in the north but also in the mountains, but that's what castles are for. It has multiple grand libraries, and is just all around an opulent beautiful place. Also dragons. Yes that is right folks Kydrak is the dragon capital of the world and thanks to the ruling family's affiliation to dragons they actually have giant stables and landing areas in the castle grounds made specifically for the majestic beasts.

8. Which place would you like to avoid at all costs? (Or, explore to know its secrets a little bit better?)
Probably Fort Mastra because that is where Axius likes to hang out. But Fort Mastra is also pretty much built on top of a labyrinth (I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a creature living in this labyrinth) so I also wouldn't mind exploring this place a little bit because it's sure got a lot of secrets. But only if there is no creature.

9. Share an aesthetic!
I'll do you one better and share a few because I haven't actually shared much about this book on this blog. And now I feel bad because I talk about its older siblings so much but not this one.

"Careful son you've got dreamers plans, but it gets harder to stand... Soldier keep on marching on," Soldier, Fleurie

"Because in your warmth I forget how cold it can be and in your heat I forget how cold it can get" Warmth, Bastille

"This is the winter of our youth... I know the winter's getting colder, but why just because we're a little older do I relive it?" Winter of our Youth, Bastille

"We're ready for war, no stopping us now, no taking us down, we'll get what we came here for." Ready For War, Tommee Proffitt and Liv Ash

10. Share a snippet!
"Of course, trying to sword fight in this heavy dress will probably be the death of me. Actually, just sword fighting in general will be the death of me."
Honestly, guys, that's the whole book summed up in one quote.

And there you guys have it, hopefully you know more about A Season of Subterfuge, Courtiers, and Warn Councils now. Readers, have you read the previous books and if so where would you like to visit in Amar? Writers, what place in your own stories would you like to visit? Comment below!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Amar Fanart Winners!

Last August I decided to hold a Fan Art contest for my series taking place in Amar. It was supposed to end in January of 2019 but I decided to extend it until August so that it ran for a full year. But now it has come to an end and it is time to select the winners.

However before that, a little about the contest to those only just learning about it. The rules and prizes were:

The rules:

  • The pictures must be of either characters or scenes of any of my Amar books I've written. That would include: A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses; A Certain Sort of Madness; as well as any piratey things you want to draw from A Time of Trepidation, Pirates, and Lost Princesses. (no vulgar content is allowed; because that is obviously not in my books)
  • No payments required, submit as many pictures as you would like to boost your chances at winning.
  • Email your pictures to me at nicky(dot)chapelway(at)gmail(dot)com
  • The subject of your email should be "Amar Drawing Contest"
  • Submissions end on August 8th, 2019

The prizes:
First place will win signed copies of the first three of the My Time in Amar books. A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses; A Time of Trepidation, Pirates, and Lost Princesses; and be one of the first to receive a copy of A Season of Subterfuge, Courtiers, and War Councils when it releasesThe will also have a character named and created off of them in A Season of Subterfuge, Courtiers, and War Councils.
On top of these two things, they will win a print of a picture where I drew of ALL OF my main teenage characters from both my Amar series (that I had up to that point, anyway).

Please don't mock the picture, I know I'm no artist, but I'm sure since it's the author's rendition it will be worth something in the future! When/if this series becomes famous XD

And I know that some of you are looking very closely at who is standing next to who. I know I would be. Just know that even if each of these relationships between the characters does happen at a certain point in the story, that doesn't mean that it stays that way forever. So don't get too excited *chuckles like the evil overlord I am*

The winner will also receive a paper copy of the official map of Amar:
Also drawn by moi

Second Place will win signed copies of both A Certain Sort of Madness and A Week of Werewolves, Faeires, and Fancy Dresses as well as their choice of either the map or a copy of the character drawing.
Third Place will win their choice of a signed copy of either A Certain Sort of Madness or A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses as well as their choice of either the map or a copy of the character drawing.

Now I have had some great entries, and I could only have three winners. But you guys are all amazing artists.

Now onto the three winners...

Third Place: Winner of their choice of a signed copy of either A Certain Sort of Madness or A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses as well as their choice of the map or a copy of the character drawing goes to...




R.F. Gammon!

Here is her winning entry of a alternate cover of sorts for A Certain Sort of Madness complete with Eugene trying to act sneaky and a killer plant:

And now...

Second Place: Winner of a copy of both A Certain Sort of Madness and A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses as well as their choice of the map or a copy of the character drawing goes to...




I.F. Bellewoof!

Here is their winning entry of a portrait of baby Odysseys from A Week of Werewolves, Faeries and Fancy Dresses

And now...

First Place: Winner of copies of the first three My Time in Amar books as including a character modeled off of them in A Season of Subterfuge, Courtiers, and War Councils, as well as a copy of both the character art and the map. This prize goes to...




Annabelle White!!!

Here is the winning entry, a scene from the end of A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses

I will contact the winners soon with details about your winnings.

Congrats to all! What did you all think of my first fan art contest? Should I try this again sometime? What do you think of the winning entries? Do you have a favorite? Comment below!

Monday, August 12, 2019

My Story on Havok 2.0

I know that today isn't my usual day for posting, but I just wanted to let y'all know that another one of my flash fiction pieces is live on Havok today! (and yes I am still freaking out). If you aren't a member of Havok, this is the only day you can read it, so I suggest you don't dally XD

Go, read it, tell me what you think. Then join me in the celebration *passes out ice cream*

It's based off of a 1960's song and I'm curious if any of you can guess it. If you do you could get entered in a drawing Havok is doing for a $10 Amazon gift card. So make sure that you comment. That and I really want to see what you all think of it XD

You can find the story Here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Meet My Characters: The Four

So I realized with all this talk of My Time in Amar that some of you haven't actually read it and have no idea who these characters are. So I thought that I would remedy that and introduce you to my main characters. Also known as the four.

Four saviors, summoned, shall come
But only three permitted to leave
Destined to save what is threatened by One
For if Amar falls, all shall grieve

They will journey to the Bextian Sea
Where they will seek an amulet gold
With it learn who my heir must be
Then return her to my kingdom of old.

A battle fought, a battle won
A war long waged comes to a close
Saved, a land that was once undone
But the journey will be filled with woes

Victory does not come without cost
A terrible price shall indeed be paid
To darkness one of the four will be lost
For goodness, light, and love to be saved

Alas, these four heroes who have been curst
With the weight of this terrible task
Right the wrong, destroy what is adverse
To save Amar is all that I ask

Now this story is told from different POVs so Chelsea isn't the only person who is talking in each of the excerpts so I'll be sure to list otherwise if it isn't Chelsea XD Also I meant to take this seriously but then I think Bobby took over the description of her friends so there is that.

Chelsea Welling- My Protagonist

Worries too much// Will die because of loyalty// Can't see the stars for the sky// Is the only practical one here and would like to point that out

"I'm from the twenty-freaking-first century, for crying out loud. I should be able to figure out how to open a dumb door. Locked or not."

"You have no idea who you are messing with,” I spit the words, but my voice lacks conviction. My heart pounds in my ears and my hands shake."

"I can’t believe that I just did that."

"Bobby groans and runs a hand down her face. “See this is the problem with you and Clint. You are both so dense.”
I sit up, feeling incensed. What does Clint even have anything to do with this?"

Clint Welling- The Brother

Dense as a forest//Sarcasm that could peel bark//I'm sorry it seemed like I was worried I was going through a phase//Could we all please stop taking this seriously

"Can you go any faster?” I ask, exasperated as Clint's steps turn into shuffles.
Well, I'm sorry, but I for one would actually like to live to graduation,” Clint snaps back. “And I'd like to be able to walk across that stage on my own two feet. Which in case you didn't know, is kind of hard to do with a broken neck.”" ~Bobby

""But after entering the forest (which I have decided to dub the Forbidden Forest- cue lighting and duh-duh-duh music), my horse decided that she didn’t want to go any further.
She’s probably smarter than I was, but that's beside the point."" ~Clint

 "Ow,” I grunt reaching my hand up to rub at my eyes.
Nice of you to finally wake up.”
Clint?” I turn my head to see my brother sitting next to me, but the light is starting to give me a migraine.
Who else would it be? Your other twin brother?”
I don’t have another twin brother, Clint,” I grumble, throwing my arm over my eyes.""

"Oh, wow, Clint. What happened to you?”
Clint glowers. “This is getting old.”"

Bobby Princeton- The Friend

Will punch you in the face as a sign of affection// Doesn't do feelings//Life is short but then you die// At least if we die together that means you don't outlive me

""I blow out a breath, cutting him off. “Trust me, Bobby is in no danger of having her reputation compromised.” I'd meant that she's perfectly capable of defending herself, but apparently she didn't interpret that way. And she must not have liked the way she interpreted it because she decides to use some of those defending skills on me.
Before I can blink, a fist slams into my nose. I cry out and fall backwards."" ~Clint

""Apparently there were a lot more pirates nearby. More than I could have reasonably fought off. Three surge forward and disconnect Clint’s and my manacles from the other prisoners before dragging us toward the door. They drag Clint because he is unconscious, and me because if they want to take me to the dungeons they will have to drag me every step of the way."" ~Bobby

""I would have given anything for them to not know how remarkably ordinary I am. I’d even briefly considered making up a power just so the others would think I was special. But it’s hard to put a cool twist on insomnia. Which seems to be the only thing I’ve gotten."" ~Bobby

""A second later Chelsea bobs to the surface, before sinking again. I dive in after Clint, ignoring the sheer stupidity of my actions. At least if we die we all die together.
Like one big jolly party where everyone dies."" ~Bobby

Easton Moncrief- Also a Friend (ignore those Chelston shippers, they are crazy XD)

Had a backup plan for my backup plan// Because the first plan was literal trash// Will die first// I will out-stubborn all of you

"All right,” Easton says, his voice is oddly breathy and strained. “I hope you’re ready.” Under his breath he mumbles. “Because I’m sure not.”"

"I don’t know what was going through your head that made you think that was a good idea but don’t you ever try it again.”
Easton’s eyebrows furrow. “Try what again?”
Any of it.”"

"And what will you do if I don’t?” I ask arching a brow. I want to cross my arms, but there isn’t actually enough distance between us. Suddenly I’m not breathing hard at all. Suddenly I’m having a hard time even drawing in a breath.
Easton is my friend, so why do I have to feel so attracted to him?
Something bad. Something very bad,” Easton says with a grin that tells me that he’s totally bluffing.
Easton Moncrief is not capable of doing anything bad."

"Did you even try to sleep?”
Easton smirks and shrugs unapologetic. “I was busy.”"

And there you have the four. If you want more aesthetics on them you can check out my Spotify Playlist for this series and my Pinterest Boards.

If you are interested in reading A Time of Trepidation, Pirates, and Lost Princesses before its September 1st release date you can sign up here. And also this is the last call for submissions for the Fan Art Contest which ends later this week. I will be announcing the winners next Wednesday so if you have anything to turn in now is your last chance to do it.

What did you think of the chance to meet these characters? Have you read A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses yet? And because bets have been made and Clint and Bobby insist in knowing, who is your favorite of the four? Comment below!