Week in Review – 25 June 2017

Well, what a glorious week! I have to say this weather really has brought out the best in me! I am sorry to all of you who turn into vampires and melt at the sight of the sun but I absolute adore this heat and the sun it’s really quite wonderful and I haven’t slept so well in ages. I hope now the temperature has dropped it doesn’t get all dark and gloomy again.

I started my new book feature on the mental health blog this week, it’s a monthly feature where I will review and spotlight a book with a mental health focus. This month was Boys Don’t Cry by Tim Grayburn. A book where Tim talks frankly and honestly about life with clinical depression, it’s well worth a look.

The TBR Topple book has also been decided and I don’t think it will be much of a surprise that the winner was The Gunslinger by Stephen King, I will be reading it next week so expect a review early July.

I’ll be away for a week after this, I’m heading to Cornwall with the tent and Hubs. I’m hoping to get in plenty of reading time though so will be battling to catch up on the reviews when I get home. There will be one blog tour posting during the week as I signed up before I knew I was going away but otherwise things will be very quiet here.

So, onto my bookish update this week…

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

As though I don’t have enough problems with willpower, I signed up to Kindle Unlimited! I’m doomed!

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

This week I’ve reviewed Nightseer, Ethan’s Daughter, Fallen From Grace, Godblind, and a blog tour for The Second Chance Cafe at Carlton Square.

Other Posts

This week I had book blitzes for Shades of the Gods and Come Undone. A cover reveal for An Impossible World. A blog tour for We Have Lost The Coffee. Katherine from BibliomaniacUK joined us for The Bookshelf this week.

Giveaways

  • Seducing the Heartbreaker Prize Package incl signed copy (Blitz-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 16 April 2017

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you are all having a lovely long weekend, and for those of you who eat chocolate I hope you are buried knee deep in it.

I’ve been a reading beast this week, I’ve read so much I’m a little confused how I’ve managed it as I’ve also been extremely busy! This is by no means a complaint mind you! I’ve also succeeded in acquiring less books than I’ve read which means my to read list is actually shorter now than it was this time last week which is the first time in about six months I can say that! (Hoorrraaayy!)

This week saw my second blogiversary, I can’t believe I’ve been at this book blogging game for two years now! I said this in my post but I want to repeat it here, a huge thank you to all of you who have supported me both from the beginning and along the way. The book blogging community is like no other blogging community and it’s not something I ever forget. To celebrate I pulled together some pretty nice giveaways, if you missed them I have links to them in the giveaways section below, or you can head to my blogiversary post to find out more details about the prizes on offer.

I also got to meet the lovely Laini Taylor this week. My review of her latest book, Strange the Dreamer, is linked below if you missed it. Laini was over here on a book tour promoting the new book and as she came to Bristol is was a great opportunity for me to stop by the signing and say Hi! Robin Hobb is over here and in Bath in a few weeks so I’m rather excited to be going along to that event, I must make sure I keep the fangirl under control or I may just end up being an incoherent imbecile!

So, onto my update this week…

Currently Reading

the-unlikeable-demon-hunter-deborah-wilde

What I’ve Read

  Right Here Waiting For you - Rebecca Pugh     

New Books

I’m still on a mission not to keep adding to my TBR right now…as you can see this is still not going so well! But I at least managed to read more than I acquired this week so that’s something and I never bought any books this week which is something of a miracle!

Competition Wins

  

Book Post

Master Professor - Tara Sue Me

eARCs

Reviews

I’ve been a little bit more proactive with the reviews this week, my new schedule seems to be working and I’m catching up on my backlog (insert happy dance here)!

Saving Mercy - Abbie Roads Strange the Dreamer - UK Cover Reveal My Beautiful Disaster - J.D. Hughes Right Here Waiting For you - Rebecca Pugh

Other Posts

This week was my Blogiversary and paranormal romance author, Catherine Green stopped by for The Bookshelf this week. Speaking of The Bookshelf, I don’t have anyone locked in for May yet so if anybody fancies it you can sign up here, it’s open to bloggers aswell as authors.

  My Beautiful Disaster - J.D. Hughes the-authors-bookshelf-logo

Giveaways

  • 5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
  • 2 x $25 Amazon Gift Cards with Saving Mercy (International) Rafflecopter
  • The Last Days of Magic Paperback & Tarot Cards – Blogiversary Giveaway (International) Rafflecopter
  • Caraval Novel & Second Place Prize of Caraval Goodies – Blogicersary Giveaway (UK Only) Rafflecopter
  • Bookishly Stationary Set & Second Place Prize of Book & Nook Candle – Blogiversary Giveaway (UK Only) Rafflecopter

#BlogTour: Rise of the Branded by Scott Keen @widopublishing @XpressoTours #GuestPost

I’m so pleased to welcome Scott Keen to my blog today, he has written a great post about how he has developed his worlds, including the maps (you know I love maps, right?). This is a really interesting post that anybody with an interest in fantasy should love. Rise of the Branded looks like a fascinating epic fantasy, and if like me you like to start at the beginning you can pick up book one, Scar of the Downers here.

If you want to follow the rest of the tour you can check out the stops over at Xpresso Book Tours.

Description

Pursued into the wild by the soldiers of Ungstah, former slave Crik and the other freed Downers encounter the magical and terrifying nature of their world. They face spectral Shepherds, man-eating Rukmush, and the ancient giants of the earth. When two of their group are captured, Crik is distraught and powerless.

Meanwhile back in the city, Durgan, former Captain of the King’s Guard who allowed Crik and his friends to escape from Ungstah, is now a Downer, one of the Branded. Amid the murmurings of an uprising among the Branded, Durgan just wants to be left alone to search for his missing son. But in the process, he discovers how dark the powers of Sulfus the king truly are. Durgan must take a stand in the coming war between the Branded and the powerful armies of Sulfus.

To kill any hope of escape for the city’s Branded, the army comes after Crik and his friends to make an example of them. The answers for Durgan, Crik and freedom for all Downers lie hidden in the dark recesses of the Northern Reaches, in the treacherous places Crik and his companions are about to enter.

rise-of-the-branded-tour-banner

Guest Post

Over the years, I’ve written several blogs about the different steps I’ve gone through in building a fantasy world, specifically mine. Frankly, an entire a book could be dedicated to the subject of world-building. For sake of time and space, however, I’ll keep this relatively short.

I remember the day I finished reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I was in graduate school studying Script & Screenwriting. I was already a fan of Tolkien’s works, but I had never really thought about creating my own fantasy world until I read that book. Here was the whole creation and history of an imagined world that could (and did) spawn countless beloved stories and characters. Magic was interwoven into these myths that had its own order and rules. It all fit! Taking The Silmarillion with the whole of Tolkien’s work, nothing appeared arbitrary. The stories and characters seemed to grow organically.

Now, when I had finished reading the book, I thought to myself, “I could do this. It doesn’t seem too difficult.” Nothing, however, could have been further from the truth. It wasn’t until I started writing fantasy did I discover just how difficult building a world would be.

Rise of the Branded is the second book in the Scar of the Downer Series (the first book being Scar of the Downers). When I began writing this series nearly ten years ago all I had was a character named Crik (though at the time, his name was Child.) The only thing I knew about him was that he was a slave, an untouchable, owned by a cruel master named Kilvar. But the question still begged to be answered: In what kind of world would he live?

Before I could answer that, I needed to figure out one other thing. What was Crik’s story? Once I discovered that, I would build my world around it. So, I asked myself, “What does Crik want?”

The obvious answer was freedom. He wanted to be free from Kilvar and Ungstah, the city in which he lived. But he needed to go somewhere, so I had to give him a place not only to run from, but to run to, and that is when I came up with my first map. I sketched one out in about five minutes. It was very rough indeed, but it was the beginning of something much larger. (The one below was drawn a year or two later.)

The foundation of a house is usually in the dirt. The same goes for world-building.  I had to know where my characters were going. I had to build their homes and histories. So, as the story grew in scope, the world (and map) grew as well.

You can see the progression of the maps over the years.

  

When you look at the maps, the dots are obviously cities or villages. Many of them weren’t put there arbitrarily. As I added places on the map, I did so with an idea of what these places were and how they came about. It’s no different in our own world. Every place has a history, a story, and the same goes for the fantasy world.

Take Wester Village as an example. It is the dot in the middle of the map. In the first chapter of the book, Scar of the Downers, two men, Andevin and Fordon, visit it. I wrote a brief backstory about why this village constructed its wall in a much earlier draft of the book. It was edited out, but it still formed the world. Here is an excerpt:

People of the village began dying in the mountains as they searched for jewels. This led to stories of the mountain men and their dogs that smelled only blood. Fear spread, inducing the people of Wester Village to gather a small army to march north into the mountains. There, a battle took place known as the Battle for the Ice Jewel. The men who fought in it never returned, but stories told in whispers did.

Before long, the number of men who came in search of this treasure declined. The growth of the village stopped and its population waned. Mountain men, growing more confident, roamed the Eastern Foothills and the Koba Valley, slaughtering all they encountered. The village shrunk back in fear and constructed the wall that still stood to Andevin’s day. Two gates occupied opposite ends of the village; one faced west, the other east. However, the wall and gates may have kept out the dogs and the mountain men, but the fear those creatures infused still found a way to enter.

Knowing how your land and cities were born is paramount if you want to create a world. I believe it gives stories their depth and their authenticity, even if the reader never sees it.

About Scott Keen

Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he home schools.

 

Book & Buy Links

TitleRise of the Branded
Series: Scar of the Downers #2
Author: Scott Keen
Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Publication Date: 22 November 2016
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook | Paperback
Pages: 292
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones