Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block 4/5

Blurb:

People pity me, but mostly they feel envy. I have all the luxury and freedom a girl my age could want.

Something is happening to Charlotte Emerson. Like the fires that are ravaging the hills of Los Angeles, it consumes her from the inside out. But whether it is her eternal loneliness, the memory of her brother, the return of her first love, or the brooding, magnetic Jared—she cannot say. What if it’s something more . . .

Something to do with the sudden tear in her perfect nails. The heat she feels when she’s with Jared. The blood rushing once again to her cheeks and throughout her veins.

For Charlotte is a vampire, witness to almost a century’s worth of death and destruction. But not since she was a human girl has mortality touched her.

In what way will you be transformed?

Until now.

Review:

‘Not another Vampire book,‘ I hear you cry. Well, yes and no: It is another vampire book, but minus the boring, unoriginal romance, damsel in need of saving, and blood hungry action. I was pleasantly surprised when I started this book. The narrative was from the perspective of Charlotte- beautiful vamp, wishing she was mortal. Charlotte was believable as a character, and expressed true concerns, lusts, and needs.

The main characters: Charlotte and Jared had an intriguing romance, built on unstable foundations, yet I rooted for the pair of them. Block writes engaging, dysfunctional, beautifully flawed characters. I loved how the relationship played out. The ending was perfectly unperfect. (That won’t make sense until you read it).

Back story played an important part in this story, and added to Charlotte’s wish for mortality. Her maker, her brother, and her best friend whether dead or alive, play vital roles in her desire to die, or at least live an ordinary, finite, human life.

The writing was elegant and mesmerising. Such beautiful prose from a talented writer. There wasn’t big action scenes, nor did the narrative require it. The wonderful descriptions and the well developed character arcs kept the pages turning. It was Charlotte’s personal story and remained true to her until the end.


 

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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Writing and Me, Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter N

After last week’s post, I selected a ‘N’ name ahead of time. I had good reason for this- I needed to sign off last week’s writing exercise with a name, and that name would be used in this week’s exercise, linking the two.

The name randomly selected from the first ‘N’ page of my naming book is:

Naomi: A feminine first name meaning ‘pleasantness’. (Hebrew).

Naomi

Naomi,

I bet you thought I’d never find you, but you know me- persistent. You were right, you know- about me being consumed. I wasn’t going to stop until I found you. But you were wrong about things too. I never hated you, Naomi. I loved you so much, so much that I lost sight of myself, and passion can bring out the best and worst in us, right? I know you saw the worst- a lot, but I need you to know that it wasn’t out of hate.

You were a damn coward. A letter? A fucking letter was all I got? Did you seriously think that would satisfy me? It was almost as if you were begging me to come and find you. How could you not know that was exactly what I’d do?

And then to see you and him, and that brat of yours. He looks like you- I hate him- just a kid and I hate him. He is yours and his, and he should have been ours. I heard you call his name- ‘Oakley.’ Fuck, Naomi! Why that name?

This isn’t a letter to beg you to come back to me, or to confess my undying love for you. It’s been five years too long for that. This is a letter of warning. I’m going to break your heart just like you broke mine. I want you to know what it’s like to have something snatched away from you. Hold your family tight tonight, Naomi, because it may be the last chance you get. Once I’m done ruining your life as you ruined mine, I might just leave you letter- would that suffice?

I will take the best of you.

M x

In the same fashion as last week, I pre-selected an ‘O’ name for next week’s ‘What’s Your Name?’ post. I want to continue these letters for one more post, and as you can probably  guess- Oakley takes the spotlight.


All written works are the property of K.J.Chapman

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EVO Ghost, Writing and Me

WIP Update #1

Book Review(2)

When I was writing EVO Shift, I posted weekly updates of word counts and excerpts etc. I simply don’t have the time to do that weekly during EVO Ghost drafting. I want my sole focus to be on my WIP. I will still be posting my writing exercises, but as you may have noticed, I’m allowing myself to miss weeks here and there in regards to those as well. I will still post musings and reviews as and when the feeling takes me, I’m just not giving myself anymore commitments for the time being.

During the drafting of EVO Shift, I spent a lot of time preparing blog posts, and my drafting process suffered. I sometimes missed days of writing because my attention was elsewhere. I’m putting my foot down with myself for this draft, and it is working brilliantly. I’m writing faster than I’ve ever done, and managing to read much more- yay! This means I get to beta read and ARC read, and give the projects my full attention. Something, I would have struggled with last year.

So, on with the first update:

Title & Cover Reveal:

EVOGHOSTThe title was announced on March 11th, as was the cover design. I usually don’t have a title until well into the drafting process, but this one has been on my mind since I wrote the end of EVO Shift. Once I started drafting book three, the title grew more prominent in my mind. I just had to use it. I’ve had great feedback from readers of the series. They agree that the title makes perfect sense, and even commented on how reading the new title gave them goosebumps, or made them doubly excited for book three. Bonus!

I feel the cover is simplistic, in keeping with the previous two covers, and has something haunting about it… Ghost…haunting… get it? *laughs to self*

Word Count:

I’ve been drafting since mid February, and I have put down 18k words; leagues ahead of where I was at this point in the drafting of EVO Shift. I’m conscious of this being the last in the series. I keep chanting to myself, ‘no loose ends, no loose ends.’ I’m sure I’m just being over paranoid, but this book has to be on point in regards to conclusions, and at the same time, I want it to hold mystery, suspense, and be…EPIC! It’s so hard to not write in twists that may require more than one book to explain, when I have enough to wrap up. That being said, there is one twist I simply had to include because it links into the very first book- I shall say no more on that score!

Excerpt:

It is hard to pick excerpts that don’t give too much away. I’m purposely trying to find paragraphs that don’t feature too many character names etc, because if readers haven’t yet read EVO shift, I don’t want them guessing the outcome to events in that book by reading excerpts from EVO Ghost.

Here’s my choice:

“They’re looking less inflamed, and the ones I’ve stitched are healing nicely.” He dabs on some kind of antiseptic that stings to the high heavens, but nothing more than a hiss escapes my lips. “Rafe wants me to assess you for training. Ideally, I would hold off on any physical exertion, but I know you won’t pay any attention to what I say.”
  “You know nothing about me,” I say, sliding a t-shirt over my fresh dressings.
  “I know why you hate me, and I understand your reasons, but you of all people must see that I was just a pawn to Towley. You saw what he is capable of. I couldn’t go against him.”
  I lift my head, staring at the blank wall in front of me. “Another doctor I knew said the same thing about Alan Roscoe. She turned out to be a psychotic, supremacist, who double crossed everyone. I don’t trust you, doctor.” I purposely emphasise the last word. “I have no idea why Papa does.”


 

All written works & images are the property of K.J.Chapman

 

Author Interviews

Interview With Linda Osborne, Founder of Tots Tune Time

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Today’s author interview is a little different. I am joined by Linda Osborne, the founder of Tots Tune Time.

Linda uses her writing and creative talent in an educational way: writing songs and poems for pre-schoolers. Linda holds nursery groups in her local community, encouraging learning and exercise within young children in fun, energetic sessions based around her songs. But that is not the end of Linda’s objective. Her material has been requested and used by teachers and parents for many years, and Linda has been making big strides forward in plans to get her educational products into more schools and other child based community organisations on a wider scale, and has many products available for consumer purchase. Click here to view Tots Tune Products.

Check out one of Linda’s fun, educational videos:

1. Where did the idea for Tots Tune Time stem from?

 My passion for dance, music and my love of working with young kids inspired me.

2. Have you always had a passion for writing poetry/ songs?

After writing a short song at the request of a local nursery, I discovered a new interest. I now have quite a collection and was encouraged by the enthusiastic response of kids and teachers.

3. What inspires your songs and poems?

I keep a notepad with me all the time. I write about topics that kids can learn from. I love to write to activate imagination. I try and look at things through a child’s eyes. What would I love to listen to? I’d want to learn, laugh and be inspired.

4. What is it about writing for children that motivates you?

Their innocence, their ability to absorb information, their laughter (I love to inject humour into my writing) and their honesty.

5. Do you have a writing routine?

No. I always have new ideas so I keep a notepad with me and write things down.

6. What’s next for Tots Tune Time?

Keep creating and expanding. Sell preschool products online (http://www.totstunepreschoolproducts.com/). Raise funds to professionally film classes to be made available online. Look into franchising Tots’ Tune Time.

If you are interested in any of Linda’s products, you can find more on Tots Tune Time here:

Official Webpage

Twitter

Facebook


For use of any images or excerpts featured in this post, please seek permission from the author/ creator, Linda Osborne.

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100% K.J Chapman, EVO Ghost, Writing and Me

EVO Ghost: Writing Playlist

Creating a playlist for the drafting process of each novel is a big thing of mine. Music helps set tone, pace, and emotion to name a few. Sometimes, you only know what you’re thinking, or what you want to write, once you’ve listened to a certain song. Click the links to listen to the playlists for EVO Nation and EVO Shift.

My drafting playlist for EVO Ghost:

Yes, I love Sia!

I need to just add that the opening lines to’Fight Song’ gave me actual goosepimples. ‘Like a small boat in the ocean, sending big waves into motion.’ EVO Nation readers will understand my being in awe of this line considering the start of book one. Such a perfect summary!

There is a story here: 30/30-150 was the song I was listening to when EVO Nation was just a seed of an idea many years ago. I think this song could have set the tone for the whole series. EVO Nation series readers, what do you reckon?


 

Writing and Me, Writing Exercises

What’s Your Name? Letter M

The first ‘M’ name randomly selected from the first ‘M’ page in my naming book is:

Mackenzie: A surname meaning ‘son of Kenneth’ (Scottish Gaelic). Used as a masculine and feminine first name.

The following letter is based on an idea I had for another series, but one that I’m no longer persuing…well, not at the moment. I wanted to use this exercise to pad out an idea, and see what the result would be. I like the dynamics of this relationship and that’s why it keeps niggling at the back of my mind.

Mackenzie

Mackenzie,

First, let me say that this letter isn’t me taking the coward’s way out. I knew that if I tried to talk to you about this, things would have gotten out of control, just like they always do. I just hope that you read this, otherwise you’ll never know the truth. You deserve to know the truth.

I’ve left you. By the time you find this letter, I’ll be in another country, living another life.

I won’t say it’s not you it’s me, because I’m not willing to take 100% of the blame. You have to grow up and accept your own faults, just as I have done. You were always the burning flame, and I was the gasoline. It’s just how we worked I suppose- destructive. There’s only so many times that you can turn me to ash before the wind picks me up and carries me away. And there’s only so many times that I can ignite your flame before you burn out. I don’t want to see you burn out.

You and I are a brilliant disaster. That’s not how this should be- I know that- I’ve always known that, but I punished myself time and time again. I knew that if I didn’t distance myself from you this time, that I would be drawn back. As for you, how do you love and hate someone equally, both with fierce passion and commitment. I don’t mind if you wholly hate me now, I only worry that it will consume you. Everything consumes you.

I want you to take this decision as my gift to you. Use it wisely.

You’ll always have the best and worst of me.

Naomi x

I have already randomly selected the ‘N’ name for next week. Can you guess what it was? Yep, Naomi. I might return a letter to her from Mackenzie, so keep your eyes peeled.


All written works are the property of K.J.Chapman

Do you like writing prompts? Check out K.J.Chapman’s Prompt Me eBook, and discover 150 writing prompts for beating the block!

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