Review: Storm in Shanghai by JM.Bush

Storm in Shanghai (Mage Father Series Book One) by JM.Bush 4/5

Blurb: In modern day China, an American expat leads a law enforcement team of Mages and Wizards, whose sole purpose is to keep Magic hidden from the ordinary world. One morning, Jaret King finds Shanghai facing the return of the most deadly magical terrorist in history, a monster who has long been thought dead. Jaret must now continue to keep the secret of Magic concealed from all Regs, including his wife, while attempting to stop this monstrosity − known only as the MAELSTROM − from murdering thousands more innocent people. Of course, once he discovers the motivation driving this violent lunatic, Jaret may have to step in and help complete the Maelstrom’s plan. But if so, at what cost?

JM.Bush gave me a copy of his novel in exchange for my honest review on this blog.

My Review:

Mages are born, but Wizards are trained from spell tomes. Simple, right? Not quite. The history between both groups is strained, and in present times, although working together to regulate magic laws, they’re still walking the thin line of all out war. The reason is … no spoilers… a twisted shocker.

The book flits from the main character, Jaret’s, first person present tense, to the antagonist, Maelstrom’s, story written in third person past tense. The transitions seemed to work, and offers addition background story.

I liked Jaret’s character- stuck between a rock and a hard place, but still trying to be rational and make the right choices. I didn’t fully believe he could maintain his home life the way he did, but that was relieved with another shock revelation that eased the whole situation. I’m a fan of the ol’ plot twists.

My favourite character was the antagonist, Maelstrom. He’d be an anti-hero of sorts. I fully understood why he was doing what he was doing. I found myself rooting for him sometimes- is that perverse- it is, isn’t it?

The book felt long, but otherwise was a solid, fantasy read. I’d definitely recommend this series!


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.

Thankfully, I Keep Notes!

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About ten years ago, I had an idea for a children’s book. My love of YA/ NA/ adult science fiction and fantasy won out, and I put my children’s book idea on the back burner, but yesterday I started thinking about a particular character. I say ‘starting thinking’, when I actually mean that I couldn’t shake them from my mind for the whole day. This led to me trying to remember other characters, creatures, narrative ideas, and I knew that I have to persue this.

I never started drafting, but I remember taking extensive notes. I got myself in a bit of a panic, wondering if I could remember any of the details, certain that I got rid of the notes, but then I did some digging and rooting, and guess what? Not only did I save my notes, I had kept them in great condition, and was meticulous in writing my descriptions and explanations.

Thankfully, I keep notes and I do it well!

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A ten year old idea is now blazing in my mind with new concepts, characters, and a fresh perspective. I’m more than a little excited to crack on with this, but will do so when I find time alongside EVO Ghost because finishing the series takes precident.

I’m up for the challenge of writing children’s literature, and will definitely try the traditional publishing route for this one. Self published, children’s ebooks are even harder to market than YA and adult!


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Review: Swarm by Alex South

 

Swarm (A Zombie Apocalypse Series #1) by Alex South 3.5/5

27246992Blurb: John has a dead-end job, doesn’t see enough of his friends, and struggles to find meaning in his life. These everyday concerns vanish on the night he’s jerked awake by screams.

Frenzied figures roam the streets. A helpless onlooker, John tells himself that this isn’t like the films. This is real life, with real people.

He and his neighbours band together over a small supply of food. Tensions brew, and a difficult choice arises. Risk starvation, or attempt escape? Conflicted over the cause and scope of the apocalypse, the group struggles to work together.

At first John clings to logic. The zombies do not drink or eat. Organic matter cannot sustain itself under these conditions, but things grow more complicated as the behaviour of the infected makes a drastic and inexplicable change.

Review:

I’m a sucker for all things Zombie. I saw this book for FREE on Amazon Kindle, and just had to download it. Is it like every other Zombie book? Yes and no. Yes- as far as there are zombies, survivors, and the unknown. No- as far as the book isn’t action packed per se. The narrative focusses on John’s personal journey in dealing with an apocalyptic situation, and not the zombie outbreak itself.

I’m a scaredy cat, but I was never scared. Was I supposed to be? Maybe? Did I want to be? Yes! I read zombie books for the horror, however I did like that this book added a different level to the situation, and a more indepth look at survival thought processes. A little more character development wouldn’t go a miss, but I liked John; average joe, getting on with life, and then one day- BAM… zombie apocalypse. He is relatable to the masses.

I always take zombie novels with a pinch of salt, or tongue in cheek. I don’t read them to be awed, I read them for light-hearted, gruesome fun. This book offered that, and I was pleasantly surprised with the narrative.


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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FREE Kindle Downloads

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I had a little look through the Amazon Kindle free ebooks and went on a download spree. I love finding a gem of an indie book and if they happen to be free, then all the better. I won’t know unless I read them, right? That’s exactly what I plan to do- read and review. Keep your eyes peeled for future reviews on the following:

Swarm by Alex South

Jswarmohn has a dead-end job, doesn’t see enough of his friends, and struggles to find meaning in his life. These everyday concerns vanish on the night he’s jerked awake by screams.

Frenzied figures roam the streets. A helpless onlooker, John tells himself that this isn’t like the films. This is real life, with real people.

He and his neighbours band together over a small supply of food. Tensions brew, and a difficult choice arises. Risk starvation, or attempt escape? Conflicted over the cause and scope of the apocalypse, the group struggles to work together.

At first John clings to logic. The zombies do not drink or eat. Organic matter cannot sustain itself under these conditions, but things grow more complicated as the behaviour of the infected makes a drastic and inexplicable change.

Earth’s Knot by Katie Deann

earths knotWhen Merak, one of the best thieves of the infamous Black Feathers, botches up what should have been a simple job in the underground, maze-like city of Knot, all hell breaks loose.

Suddenly he’s being hunted by a mysterious entity which the Oculists–Knot’s bronze-masked high priests–are desperately searching for. For they need it in time for a rare cosmic event that will reveal a way for them to physically reach their God.
But Merak’s interference might just cost them that chance.

And there’s a secret he knows nothing about…that will change everything…

We, the People of the Clouds by Simon Kewin

people of the cloudsFor Marlon Smith the afterlife is a beach. The computer-generated world his consciousness inhabits provides for his every need. But then flaws begin to appear in the fabric of reality around him. Flaws that shouldn’t be possible. Flaws only he can see.

He has to move quickly, before his actions are spotted and edited out. He starts to uncover the truth of how the afterlife functions. As he does so, he reveals unexpected secrets about his own past, too.

And he also finds out about those who are intent on destroying his whole reality…

A virtual reality science fiction novella.

One Wilde Night by Jenn Stark

one wild nightTarot-reading artifact hunter Sara Wilde has had her share of tough assignments, but this one just might take the cake. When her newest client hires her to steal a fertility idol from an Amazonian sex-and-death cult, she finds herself south of the equator and shoulder deep in true believers, while Rio de Janeiro gears up for the closing celebrations of Carnival.

Stealing the idol is one thing, however. Keeping it is another.

The arcane black market has drawn a host of cutthroat operatives and Sara’s now in their sights. In a race across one of the most colorful cities in South America on its most famed night of the year, Sara must navigate cunning enemies, backstabbing allies, a fifty-foot wedding cake float and a new, sensually mysterious contact who may be friend or foe… and whose name she’ll never learn if she doesn’t make it to dawn alive.

No matter what the cards predict, it’s going to be One Wilde Night.

Rising by Brian Rella

risingThe price of revenge is never free.

When fourteen-year-old Jessie steals a book from the eclectic book shop in her sleepy home town of Beauchamp, Louisiana, she unleashes one of the Fallen, Arraziel, and takes revenge on her tormentors.

But Jessie also awakened an ancient evil imprisoned in the Realm of the Second Death. Now a group of supernatural guardians must stop her and the bloodthirsty creature she has awakened before it can return and destroy the world.

Rising is a novella prequel to the Second Death Series.

Unknown by Phil Price

unknownEvery year across the world thousands of people disappear.
Many return home safe and well. Some are never found.
A select few end up far from home, harvested by two feuding brothers who need their blood.
How on Earth can this happen?
It doesn’t happen on Earth.

 

Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christine.S.Feldman

pastelsTrish Ackerly never expected to cross paths with Ian Rafferty again, but when she spots the former bully of her childhood years through her bakery window, she thinks she may just have been given the best Christmas gift ever: the opportunity to finally give Ian the comeuppance he deserves.

But clearly she does not have a knack for this whole revenge thing, because before she can make good on her plans, Trish gets inadvertently drawn into Ian’s life in an unexpected way that lets her see just how different the man is from the boy he used to be. In fact, much to her astonishment, she actually starts to like the guy.  A lot.

Trouble is, Ian doesn’t know who she really is, and explaining it to him is going to be a little difficult now—which is bad news, because Trish is starting to realize that all she really wants for Christmas this year…is Ian.

Haiwaiian Heartbreak by Libby Cole

haiwaiianWhen 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.

Stories on the Go by 101 Authors

101This anthology aims to be a showcase of recent indie writing.

Hugh Howey launched the idea on Kboards, a forum for Kindle readers, but also the meeting place of an active community of indie writers.

The result is this anthology of 101 very short stories by 101 authors.

To make it more attractive for you, the reader, we set ourselves a limit of a thousand words. You should be able to read each story in under five minutes — on your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet at home or in the office, but also on your smartphone, on the go, while you are commuting or waiting at a coffee shop for your significant other to arrive.

We included as many genres as we could. We hope that maybe, with only five minutes of your time on the line that would otherwise be wasted anyway, you’ll be tempted to venture outside your comfort zone and try out some new genres and new authors.

The Institute by Kayla Howarth

instituteLiving in constant fear. Always looking over your shoulder. The source of your fear? The Institute.

Allira Daniels will do anything to keep her Defective brother safe from the Institute. They claim to protect Defectives, but it’s human nature to fear the unknown. Defectives are dangerous, they possess abilities that no human should be able to. To Allira and the rest of her family, the Institute seems more like a prison than the safe-haven they promote themselves to be. Protecting Shilah from that fate is their number one priority.

When Allira stumbles across a car crash involving two of her school classmates, she ignores all of her father’s warnings of laying low and not drawing attention to herself. By doing so, she may have just caught the eye of the Institute. She’s not Defective, but what seventeen-year-old girl has the ability to pull two teenage boys away from a fiery rubble and walk away without a scratch? It would definitely be seen as suspicious.

Allira and her family need to make decisions. Do they stay, or do they flee again? Will they be coming for her? Will her whole family come under investigation? Will they discover Shilah and his ability to predict the future?

Are you Defective? The Institute is coming for you.

Paradox Child by J.Yates

paradoxLilly’s family has an extraordinary secret, one they have kept for four generations. Lilly’s proud to be different and special. At Halloween she’s happy to stay at home and cast spells with her mum and her Grandmother rather than go out trick or treating like the other kids. At 12 years old, she thinks she knows it all.

But then Lilly becomes unsettled by odd events, like seeing the sinister man in the white shoes staring at her while she walks the dogs, and then local children start to go missing. When her mum doesn’t come back from one of her regular night-time jaunts, Lilly’s Grandmother thinks it’s time to tell her the whole story. Lilly has second thoughts about whether her family’s secret is a blessing, or a curse…

Doctrine of Indecency by 18 Authors

doctrine18 coveted tales of lust. Dare yourself to explore eighteen very different tales of lust by eighteen wickedly imaginative authors that love to spin a sexy story. Get lost in the pages composed by minds trained to tempt and tease the senses to satisfaction while leaving you wanting so much more…

 

 

My TBR pile continues to grow, but when there is a book for free I just can’t say no. All reviews will be posted to this blog. Why not get your free copies from Amazon Kindle today?


All books were sourced for FREE via Amazon Kindle.

I do not except payment in exchange for a review.

Reviews are the opinions of KJ.Chapman and not a third party.

TIP SHARE #5

tip share

I have been sorting through this blog and realised that I’ve only done 4 tip share posts since the very beginning. Then, I had a brainwave- not only would I start up the tip share posts again, I will ask readers/ fellow writers if they have any tips they are happy to share.

If you would like to share a writing tip, you can comment below, or DM me on Twitter @KJ86CHAPMAN. I will schedule it in, and tag back to your blog or Twitter account.

I shall kick off the proceedings with ‘Tip Share #5’.

Antagonists are people too. Make sure they have history, motivation, and believe that they are the stars of their own story. We don’t have to agree with their motivations, just understand them.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Writing Out of Sequence

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The only way I could get back on the EVO Ghost drafting train was to write out of sequence. I’m not a fan of this process because anything I write usually gets cut or requires a LOT LOT LOT of editing. As I don’t plan, I find it hard to know exactly where the narrative is headed, so writing out of sequence is guesswork, and 9 times out of 10 I guess wrong. It’s hard to judge where a character’s head will be at when they arrive at that point in the narrative, and if they’d make the choices I have written into the narrative.

not be able

So, why do it? The answer is simple- because I’m stuck. I’m contemplating a time jump, and when you write in first person present tense that is easier said then done. I need to have certain aspects in my main character’s life in place before the said time jump, so that the tranformation wont be a shock to the reader. It is proving a lot harder than it sounds in theory. My plan is to write out of sequence until I have a brain wave- yep, that’s the extent of my plan. It usually works, so I’m holding out hope.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, and what are your feelings on writing out of sequence? Any time jump advice? All comments welcome…


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Mapping Out

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No, I haven’t turned plotter all of a sudden, but I am having to map out what I have already written, so I know what I have touched upon, and where I was going etc. I guess it’s plotting in reverse; starting a flow chart only after I’ve written a chapter.

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This is really really helping me with book three, EVO Ghost. I keep having mini panics about tying up loose ends, making the finale epic, and ensuring everyone has their showcase. At least with mapping out the chapters I have written, I have a visual aid of where I was intending to take the narrative, and I don’t forget any details.

As I have discussed in previous posts, I can’t plot- I just can’t. There is something about plotting that leaves my narrative stilted, and my characters unbelievable. That’s just my experience. The fun of writing for me comes from discovering the narrative as I plow on, and I find my attention wandering if I already know the ending; much like someone giving you a film to watch, but telling you the plot twist first.

Do any of you pantsers have tips and tricks for keeping your narrative on point? I’d love to hear from you.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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What’s Your Name? Letter P

I haven’t forgotten about my ‘What’s Your Name?’ posts, I’ve just been incredibly distracted. Hey ho, I’m back to it now, so without further ado…

The name I randomly picked from the first P page of my naming book is:

Paige: a surname meaning ‘page’. Used as a feminine first name.

Paige

How many people can say that they weren’t even missed at their own party? So much for sweet sixteen. Reb stole the attention as usual, just as she liked it. I knew letting her organise it was a bad idea. It wasn’t even that she railroaded it that bothered me, it was when I caught her making out with Joey that I’d finally had enough. I picked up my coat, took the helium balloons that I had to pay for, and headed home. She can have Joey if she likes sloppy seconds.

Wrapping my coat tighter around myself to blot out the chill, I walk down street after street until I reach the bus stop. A little, old lady with a Scottie dog smiles at the balloons. I could offer an explanation, but I can’t be bothered. I should have left them at the party, but I was being childish. It is my birthday, my party, and I knew one out of ten faces, and was handed the coats of at least five people. Who am I kidding? It was Reb’s party that my parents just happen to pay for. I’m so done with her.

“They’re beautiful,” the lady says, nodding toward the star shaped balloons. “Where did you get them? It’s my great granddaughter’s birthday tomorrow. I might buy her one.”

I cross the space between us, offering the strings to her shivering hands. “You can have them. I hope she likes them.”

The lady takes them, her mouth agape. “Are you sure? Oh, you are an Angel. She is only five, so I know she’ll love them. Thank you, my dear.” A bus rounds the corner, and the old woman stands. With a wave of her hand, she lifts her dog, and steps aboard the bus, the balloons squeezing in behind her.

“That was kind of you,” says a voice behind me. I start, grasping my chest in shock. Jeremy Froid sits down on the bench, blowing on his hands to warm them. “You done with Reb’s party?”

Jeremy is in Reb’s science class at school. I’ve never spoken to him before. He doesn’t even know my name. He has a silent mystery to him, and rarely talks to anyone unless necessary. Reb has such a crush on him. She likes the challenge with guys like him. Basically, the less attention they pay her, the more she wants them.

“Yeah, something like that.”

He pulls his woollen hat further over his ears, a peek of blonde fringe sticking out from underneath. The way his eyes narrow as he studies my face sets me on edge. “It was your party, wasn’t it?”

I laugh nervously. “Yeah. How lame does that make me sound?”

He shrugs, his face not betraying any emotion or judgement. “I saw her kissing your ex boyfriend.”

Scoffing to myself, I scuff my heels in the gravelly surface at my feet. “Yeah. She’s welcome to him. He’s not a nice guy.”

“He said he ditched you ’cause you were putting on weight. Made the announcement to the whole locker room.”

My stomach sinks, and my cheeks flare crimson. “Then, he’s better off with Reb, right?” I say, coughing away my embarrassment.

“I don’t see what his problem is? You’ve got a great body.” His grey eyes are sincere, and he holds his palms up in disbelief.

My face is beetroot red now, and I straighten my dress a little just to have something to do with my hands. “Umm, thanks. We’ve not met, my name is–“

“Paige Redford. I know who you are. Happy Sweet Sixteenth. I’m Jeremy–“

“Froid. Yeah, I know who you are too. Reb has a huge thing for you.”

He scrunches his nose in distaste. “Well, seeing as she’s occupied with your ex. How about you and I go and get something to eat?” He stands, holding out his hand to me.

Tilting my head, I take his hand. “You were never catching a bus, were you?” I say, a smile pulling at my lips.

He shakes his head, smiling so I can see all of his teeth. “Nah, I followed you from the party. I’ve been trying to gear myself up to ask you out for weeks.”


Content is the property of KJ.Chapman

Do you like writing exercises/ writing prompts? Why not check out ‘Prompt Me’ by KJ.Chapman? Available from Amazon Kindle.

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WIP Update #2

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Hello! This update feels a long time coming. I haven’t posted much other than reviews, interviews, and promos on my blog of late, so I need to get back in the swing of it.

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Word Counts:

Since my last update, I have only managed a further 3.5k words on the EVO Ghost draft. I have, however, written 12k on a new idea. I took a short hiatus from EVO Ghost to have a little break from the EVO world and embark on a new journey. I’m pretty sure I will continue with the new idea at a later date, and I am thinking it might make an interesting novella. I haven’t written anything on EVO Ghost for the past fortnight due to various priorities, but I plan to end the dry stint tonight with some writing sprints.

Book Review Requests:

Another reason for my low word count is the time I have spent requesting book reviews. Researching, emailing requests, and then responding to acceptances has taken up a LOT of time. It’s all part of the fun of indie publishing, right? I was pleasantly surprised with the response I have had, and I’m keeping everything crossed that the reviewers like both EVO Nation and EVO Shift.

ARC Reading:

Yep, I’m reading two ARCs at the moment. I’m fully engrossed in both, and this is not a positive in regards to my WIP, however, it is reading bliss. I’d like to read and review both within two to three weeks, so I’m not looking to let up anytime soon. Oh yeah, I’m also reading Brandon Sanderson’s The Well of Ascension: Mistborn #2. I think I might have to shower, eat, sleep, and read at the same time to get through them all.

weasley

Needless to say, opting out of CampNaNo was a wise move for me, but I hope to join in during November. I’m enjoying reading the blogs of those who are participating, and can’t wait to have a crack at it myself. Who knows, I may be starting my new series at the end of the year…


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Review: Unexpected Gifts by Bronwyn Green

Unexpected Gifts by Bronwyn Green 3/5

00Blurb: Feeling sorry for herself, Cassie Williams plays sick to skip out of her family’s Christmas Eve gathering. She loves her family, but on the heels of a divorce and her ex’s new engagement, an evening of togetherness is the last thing she wants.

Long-time friend, Sam MacLane has been in love with Cassie for years, and he isn’t about to let her have her pity party. There’s a blizzard on the way, and Sam shows up on her doorstep—bearing gifts….

Review:

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon Kindle at Christmas 2015 and hadn’t managed to squeeze it onto my reading list. This is a short story; a read in an hour type. I have to admit that I thought it would be a light hearted, sweet, Christmas romance, and I was right about the romance, but it is an erotic romance. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

There was little time for character development in this 28 page short, but we did learn the history of the main character Cassie and her childhood friend Sam before they got down to business, but the business happens quickly and doesn’t let up. If you’re into erotic romances, and want a free book that only takes an hour to read, then this is your book.

The prose was well written, and the narrative was sweet, but steamy to boot. A quick, saucy read.


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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