My May Reads Round Up

MONTHLY READS ROUNDUP

This is my first EVER round up post. I read a lot, and I review a lot, so why not round up, right?

My plan is to provide my Instagram pics, a link to my full review, and a very quick summary of every book I have read per month.

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson

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My full review: The Well of Ascension Review

I gave this book 5*. I’m shouting about the Mistborn series from every rooftop I can find. If you love fantasy and great writing, then get you hands on this series.

Diary of Anna the Girl Witch by Max Candee

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My full review: Diary of Anna the Girl Witch Review

I gave this book 4*. This book is a children’s book for the ages of about 8-12. It is a fun, dark, and twisted story with clear moral lessons.

The Dare by John Boyne

I gave this book 3.5*. A quick read book that weaves a tale of consequences, and shows how one action can affect many.

Doctrine of Indecency by Various Authors

I gave this book 3*. 18 short tales of erotic romance in varying genres. My favourites were written by Brianna West and Lila Vale. A bit hit and miss with some of the other stories.

6tag_140516-070914A Baby at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

I gave this book 4*. Another from the quick read collection. Set in my home county of Cornwall. It is a fun, easy to read tale, and I shall be picking up all of Lucy Diamonds books in future.

The above reviews were rolled into a triple review post: Triple review!

Girl of Myth and Legend by Giselle Simlett

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My full review: Girl of Myth and Legend Review

I gave this book 3.5*. Some slight contradictions in characters, but solid story, good world building, and a great concept. Will read book two because of one character- Korren.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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My full review: The Alchemist Review

I gave this book 3*. Well written, but slow moving story. A book full of life lessons and motivation, but came across a bit preachy to me. Was a little disappointed with the hype surrounding this book.

White Sand (Vol #1) by Brandon Sanderson

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My full review: White Sand Review

I gave this book 4*. My first graphic novel experience. Great world and character building in such few words. Once I got the hang of the text and imagery, I finished the novel in mere hours.

The Beach Cabin by Fern Britton

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My full review: The Beach Cabin Review

I gave this book 3.5/5. A fast moving tale that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort to read. If you can over look some character cliches it is a light hearted read with some big issues and happy endings all round.

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

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My full review: Ink and Bone Review

I gave this book 4*. A world in which the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, and the library governs all books and knowledge. Well rounded characters and fantastic world building. A long read, but worth it.

Keep tuned for my updates, book reviews, and round ups throughout June!

You can also follow my reads and reviews on:

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20 Facts About Me Tag

musings

Thanks to Mollie over at ‘Mollie’s Musings’ for the tag. You can check out Mollie’s twenty facts here.

I haven’t done a tag in what feels like ages, so I jumped in guns blazing, and then realised that coming up with twenty semi-interesting facts about myself is damn hard.

Here goes nothing:

1) I have read and reviewed 30 books so far this year. I’m over half way to my Goodreads challenge target of 52!

2) I’m scared of geese. I was chased by some farm yard geese as a child and fell into a ditch full of cow s#*t. I was literally treading water in the stuff because it had been raining. I can still hear my Auntie shouting at me to keep my mouth closed- VOM!

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That’s the face of a woman who is s*#ting herself, but proud to be in such close proximity to such a terrifying beast! Ha!

3) I was carrying a large box, and had a ‘one foot on the escalator and one foot off the escalator’ moment that saw me upside down and clinging on for dear life. Yep, I’m that girl.

4) I have an unhealthy obsession with Stephen King. The man is a genius.

5) My new author obsession is Brandon Sanderson. Seriously, check him out.

6) I turn 30 this year!

7) I can eat… A LOT.

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In my defense, I thought they were side plates, but I didn’t let them defeat me. The waitor did bring out an extra set of cutlery thinking there were 3 people at our table… Yep, my hubby has his own meal- those are all mine!

8) Other than Twitter, my favourite social media platform is Instagram! Find me over there: KJ’s Insta!   *Shameless Insta-promotion right there and I’m not even sorry.*

9) My husband and I have GIF wars whilst he is at work- shhh! He always wins. That man can source some GIFs! *That’s where I get my training for my Twitter GIF wars- just saying.*

10) My surname is actually Osborne. I wrote EVO Nation, and started my author platforms, before I got married. After some thought, I decided to stick with my author name to avoid confusion.

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This is one of my fave wedding photos because our daughter’s little face says, ‘I’m so proud’, and my face says, ‘I’ve got you now, Sucker! Mwahaha!’

11) I live in Poldark country. I’m Cornish, and yes, I say things like- ‘I’ll do it dreckly,’ and ‘Bleddy ansom.’

12) I once saw Christopher Eccleston and he smiled at me because I recognised him, even though my hubby thought he was a tramp. In my hubby’s defense, Eccleston was in full hobo mode.

13) I am prone to stubbing my toes. I have lost my baby toe nails three times on each foot.

14) I only keep physical copies of books that I rate 4* or more, or that I have a complete series of. It’s a brutal method, but necessary for my small house.

15) I’m forgetful. My five year old makes me write everything into my diary, or make a list before we go shopping. Even my friends notice my forgetfulness. It was a charity day at my daughter’s school and the children who wore fancy dress had to donate £1 to the charity. My friend brought an extra £1 because she thought I’d forget. Ha! That time I had remembered because- thanks to my daughter- I had noted it in my diary. I can’t say I’ve remembered every time since…

16) My last fancy dress costume was of a scarecrow. I was helping at an event held by my daughter’s old nursery school on Halloween.

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I was featured in the local newspaper looking like this.

17) We are a family of geocachers. It’s so much fun. Don’t knock it until you try it. Us geocachers are a covert bunch, so I shall say no more… but seriously, google it!

18) Once, I heard a strange noise outside my window in the middle of the night. I thought that something was dying out there. When I went to investigate, I found hedgehogs having sex. Have you ever heard the sound of hedgehogs having sex?! I can never unhear that!

19) I love notebooks. I buy notebooks. Other people buy me notebooks. I get given notebooks. It’s both beautiful and disturbing.

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I don’t leave the house without one of these babies!

20) After re-reading the above 19 facts, I have decided that I am a little cray cray!

I hope you have learnt something new about me (there is plenty to pick from). I know a lot of people have been nominated in this tag already, so I shall extend an open invite to those who want to join in.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

What’s Your Name? Letter Q

Another crazy amount of time has passed between my writing exercises, but that tends to happen when you have two WIPs on the go. However, I want to crank out some new characters- I just can’t help myself.

I have scheduled writing exercises up to the letter S. Keep your eyes peeled on Wednesday and Friday of this week for the other two. These shall be in the form of letter communications as I had great fun writing the previous letters, and received great feedback.

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

Quentin: A masculine first name meaning ‘fifth’ in Italian. A variant form of Quinton.

 Letter to Quentin

Dear Quentin,

How the hell do I start this letter? Well, I’m not dead. I’m sorry I had to keep you in the dark, but it was for the good of both you and your mother. I hope you can forgive me once you hear what I have to say- that is, if you havent burnt this letter already. I pray to God that you haven’t.

I have been hunted for many years, and when I met your mother I thought I’d finally had an identity that allowed me to remain hidden, but they found me, and I had to leave before they learnt of my life, of my family. It was hard, but necessary. If I’m being honest, and needs must now, I wouldn’t have come back into your life if I didn’t have to. I know the damage I have caused- am causing, but you need to take heed of what I’m going to say, Quentin. You need to get your mother and head for your Aunt Sabine’s. I think my phone is being monitored, so I had to write this letter. You’re already running out of time, Son. Please, go now.

You must hate me, but I love you. Believe me when I say that this is life and death. I’ll be waiting for you. Tell no one where you are going and destroy this letter.

See you soon, Son.

Dad x


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine 4.5/5

13335321_1190571037660978_786603763_nRuthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

Review:

Thanks go to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I had this book explained to me as a book about books. What more can a girl want? I wasn’t sure what I expected from this book, but I can hand on heart say that it was so much more and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

Caine creates a believable, indepth world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, and a world in which books are seen as priceless historical treasures, all knowledge must be controlled, and a world in which the library is a powerful institute to govern what people read, what are classed as rare or common books, and to enforce the laws that make it illegal for people to collect/ hoard books for personal use. This world sees book smugglers, book burners, librarians, High Garda soldiers, and the mysterious Obscurists with powers that are not divulged to the public.

The story follows Jess and other hopefuls (Postulants) who are being trained for roles within the great library. The characters are well-rounded and diverse, all from different walks of life, and some with questionable family history. Whilst England is at war with Wales, the Postulants have to put their political differences behind them to work as a team to not only survive the wars, but the library itself.

This book fits into a multitude of genres- dystopian, historical fiction, fantasy. Although set in 2025, many aspects are similar to that of an 18th century novel. It was the fantasy side that kept the pages turning for me. What alchemy is used by the Obscurists? What is the source of the abilities they are born with? How do the codexes work?

So many sub-plots and sub-relationships run through this book that one review couldn’t possibly sum it up. I have been offered book two- Paper and Fire from Berkley Publishing Group and can not wait to read part two in this twisted, engaging, innovative tale.


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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Review: The Beach Cabin by Fern Britton

The Beach Cabin by Fern Britton 3.5/5

13275865_1188647384520010_85332465_nEd and Charlotte have been married for fifteen years, but they have been drifting apart and now Ed suspects that Charlotte may be involved with another man.
He decides a family holiday is just what they need and rents a cottage on the cliffs near the picturesque Cornish village of Pendruggan. He is desperate not to lose Charlotte and hopes that the holiday will bring them closer together again, but Charlotte is wondering what happened to the man she fell in love with.
So into their car they all pile, including their teenage daughter Alex, her younger brother, Sam and their enormous Bearded Collie – will their Cornish escape be the holiday to make them… or break them?

 Review:

A quick read, set in my home county of Cornwall. It is clear that Britton is a lover of the county, and captures the landscapes and local life brilliantly. This short story is an easy read despite broaching the topics of crisis in marriage, and a daughter struggling with her sexuality.

The revelation that Alex thinks she might be gay comes at the end of the book and was not a revelation at all. It was extremely easy to guess from early on in the story. So easy that the parents, Charlotte and Ed, wouldn’t have had such a shocked response, but otherwise I enjoyed the tale that had a happy ending all around.

The kids were a bit cliche- Sam the enthusiastic, always hungry, skate-board enthusiast son, and Alex the moody, sarcastic, likes her sleep, teenage daughter. If you can get passed this, and enjoy the fast moving tale that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort to read, then you’ll enjoy Britton’s Cornwall based tale.


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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Review: White Sand (A Graphic Novel) by Brandon Sanderson

White Sand (Book One) by Brandon Sanderson 4/5

13319000_1189258764458872_1307598477_nA brand new saga of magic and adventure by #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson. On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss — a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. White Sand brings to life a crucial, unpublished part of Brandon Sanderson’s sprawling Cosmere universe. The story has been adapted by Rik Hoskin (Mercy Thompson), with art by Julius Gopez and colors by Ross Campbell. Employing powerful imagery and Sanderson’s celebrated approach to magical systems, White Sand is a spectacular new saga for lovers of fantasy and adventure.

Review:

Thanks go to Diamond Book Distributers and Netgalley for offering me a free copy of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

I didn’t not like this book. That is a weird start to a review, right? But I’ve never picked up a graphic novel before, and I had many people telling me that it wouldn’t be my thing, and that it is a niche audience- blah blah blah. Well, my review just goes to show that story always prevails. I’m glad this was my first taste of a graphic novel, otherwise I may not have been open to reading any more.

I’m a HUGE fan of Brandon Sanderson, and yet again his world building skills, inventive story lines, and imaginative creation of fantasy/ sci-fi races, creatures, powers has me in awe. I’m doubley impressed with the fact that he can create a detailed, engaging story in such few words.

It did take me a while to find my swing when reading, but once I got into the story and the imagery, and learnt how things progressed, I finished the entire thing in mere hours. I’d recommend this to fantasy fans, and/or Brandon Sanderson fans who may not have thought to pick up a graphic novel.


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.

Author Interview: Sarina Langer

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sarinaOn Monday, Sarina Langer released her debut novel, Rise of the Sparrows. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for Sarina, and can honestly say that it was a gripping, well written, captivating read. You can check out my review here.

And guess what? Sarina has stopped by my little ol’ blog on her week long blog tour! I’m thrilled to welcome Sarina to my blog today, to throw some questions at her, and get an insight into the life of the newly published author.

Firstly, congratulations on the release of your first book! Is there a particular experience, good or bad, that has stuck out for you in the drafting or publication of your debut?

There are several things which I enjoyed, like writing the first draft, doing the research, and even editing! The writing community both here on WordPress and on Twitter (or more recently on Instagram) has been amazing and incredibly welcoming. The only thing that has stuck out negatively is formatting my novel for Createspace and Amazon KDP. There were no issues with either- Createspace have responded to everything very quickly and were much faster than I expected! – But formatting anything in Open Office has proven to be a huge pain. I’ve made notes, so hopefully it’ll be a little easier next time.

Would you share your writing routine with us? Are a scheduler or an ‘as and when’ type of writer?

My writing routine is relaxed and forgiving compared to my editing routine. I usually write for roughly one hour to ninety minutes every day (apart from weekends- I take those off), which tends to result in anything between 1k and 3k words, sometimes (rarely) even more than that! If you’re not a writer you might not realise how many other things are involved. We don’t just write- we do research, we have to name people, places, maybe different magics and towns and complicated systems, and we have entire worlds to create from nothing. So, while I’m not writing every free minute I get, I do these other things which also progress the novel. My mornings are quite varied because of it.

What has been the most rewarding part of publishing your novel?

I write for myself- and I think every writer should- but I do want to inspire other people with my writing. Whether my writing inspires them to write themselves, improve their writing, or to do something else entirely doesn’t matter. Every time someone tells me that my writing makes them want to write or do something, I know I’ve done well, and that’s a very rewarding feeling.

What were your reasons for choosing the self-publishing route?

I am a control freak to a personal extent, and didn’t want to give up control over important aspects of my book, such as the cover design. It’s my business, my baby, and I want to be the one who makes all the big decisions. To be honest, I did want to go the traditional way when I started writing Rise of the Sparrows, but I thought that if I published a trilogy by myself first and did it well, my chances of getting a great agent and publishing deal would improve! A year later, and I’m not so sure anymore that I want an agent or traditional publisher. I like being in charge. This is my book, and I will work my butt off to make it work.

Can you describe Rise of the Sparrows in ten words of less? A quick summary for anyone thinking of purchasing your novel.

Oh my! Let me think…

Misjudgements, swords and daggers, magic, prophecy, trust issues, demons, prejudices and death. (You weren’t hoping for one sentence, right?)

I’m going to name three characters and I would love for you to describe them in just three words.

Rachaelsurvivor, paranoid, and defensive.

Cephyyoung, naive, and pyromancer.

Cale- strong, fiercely loyal (we’ll treat that as one, shan’t we?), and protective.

Would you share an excerpt from Rise of the Sparrows, pretty please?

This is a moment from the first chapter, where we first meet Rachael. Two men have come to rape her, and I think it shows nicely that she can defend herself when necessary, despite being homeless and malnourished. She maybe tired, hungry, and weak, but she can kick as if her life depends on it!

Rise of the Sparrows Excerpt

What is next for Sarina Langer?

I’m working on two novels at the moment- the sequel to Rise fo the Sparrows and a scifi novel, which is a bit of an experiment for me. I’ve never written two books at once and I’ve never written scifi either, so it’s a learning curve for me. But it’s an interesting and fun learning curve, and I’m enjoying all the new research I get to do! ( The end of the world, anyone? Multiple universe theory, anyone?)

Do you have any parting advice for unpublished writers out there?

A lot of people will love your writing, but a lot of other people won’t. That’s fine. You can’t please everyone, and that’s perfectly alright. Whether your first book does well or fails, you write another. And maybe make a note of some of that awesome feedback you get along the way- it will cheer you up when you get a bad review!

Thank you, Sarina for stopping by today, and I wish you every success with the blog tour and your debut novel!


Buy Rise of the Sparrows: here.

Find Sarina on:

Twitter

WordPress: Cookie Break

Facebook

Goodreads


Permission to use excerpts, quotations, or content must be sought from the author, Sarina Langer.

Last Day of the Free Promotion

FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD

EVO Nation is FREE for just one more day! I shall be doing a promotion for book two, EVO Shift, next month, so make sure you get your copy of EVO Nation before it’s too late!

The government torture her, her own kind use her, and she is learning the true meaning of ulterior motives. Teddie Leason has been dragged into the festering underbelly of the secretive world of EVO; a world about to b-3

Need some encouragement? Check out some revews:

AliasFaithRivens- EVO Nation Review

Cookie Break- EVO Nation Review

HyperactivePandemonium- EVO Nation Review

Check out even more reviews on Goodreads!


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

EVO Nation is FREE for 3 Days!

Get your copy of EVO Nation for FREE from May 23rd-25th! There is no particular reason for this promo other than I felt generous… and I would appreciate reviews *cough*. If this promo goes well I might hold another of some sort for EVO Shift.

Get your free copy of EVO Nation: here!!!

The government torture her, her own kind use her, and she is learning the true meaning of ulterior motives. Teddie Leason has been dragged into the festering underbelly of the secretive world of EVO; a world about to b-3.png

Thanks for the continuing support!


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Review: Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer

Rise of the Sparrows (The Relics of Ar’Zac Book One ) by Sarina Langer 5/5

15139642_1339030742815006_970333872_nBlurb:

Growing up homeless and orphaned in a town that hates her, Rachael must assassinate the king of Rifarne to become queen to a people who once wanted her dead. Rifarne is a country opposed to magic. When its people demand harsh action, King Aeric sees himself with no other choice but to outlaw those with the gift. Rachael, who possesses the rare gift of a Seer, soon finds herself with visions of her own violent death. When her escape goes wrong and she ends up in the clutches of a vicious Mist Woman lusting for her blood, she finds she is the only person who can stop the war against people like her – and assassinating the king to take his throne may well be the only way to do just that.

 

Review:

I was privileged to be a beta reader for Sarina Langer. My review of this book is based on the beta copy I read.

Fantasy, action, magic, and abilities- this book has it all. The main character, Rachel, was a breath of fresh air- wise for her age, untrusting, and a heroine who wants anything but to stand out. Blending in, being ‘normal’, has always been Rachel’s wish in life, but she has to embrace the fact that normality isn’t hers. She is destined.

Her hard street life and encounters with the intolerant townsfolk and the White Guard have left her wary, tired, and outcast. Her character arc develops perfectly and true to Rachel’s personal growth throughout the narrative. All the characters are believable, and have essence of light and dark in them. Cephy, in particular, was brilliantly written. An impressionable, scared, powerful child- a boiling pot for disaster, right?

Langer masterfully builds a world of magic, prophecies, outlawed organisations, corrupt royalty, and dangerous beings. Rachel has to join the only people who have ever tried to help her, but risk her own life to do so, and fulfil a prophecy she doesn’t fully believe.

Dark twists, heart breaking moments, and a fight for what is right keeps the pages turning. I wholly recommend this book, and can’t wait for the next installment. I need to find out how the ever adapting street girl handles her new role?


 

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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