September Reads Round Up

MONTHLY READS ROUNDUP

A round up of my September reads with links to the full reviews:

Thirst for the Hunt by A.C.Wentwood

14182339_1260611360656945_2041632876_nFull Review: Thirst for the Hunt

I gave this book 2/5. I think the author read Twilight before writing this book.Character decisions were unbelievable, but I did like the weird group dynamics of the lost boys, and in particular, the highly jealous, slightly insane lost girl.

The Last Orphans by N.W.Harris

14012220_1245851038799644_1955197727_nFull Review: The Last Orphans

I gave this book 5/5. Well written, perfectly paced, and action packed. A unique take on the infection outbreak storyline. I was fully submerged into Shane’s new reality and the dynamics of the whole gang.

 

Feyland by Anthea Sharp

14269639_1264856833565731_1283666633_nFull Review: Feyland

I gave this book 2.5/5. Vivid descriptions and detailing of Feyland, but an old concept with little character development. I would have liked to have had more conclusion. This prequel felt more like a long prologue.

 

Grey by Kade Cook

14341454_1270502796334468_2041794031_nFull Review: Grey

I gave this book 3/5. Detailed world building and a vast array of unique characters. The pacing felt a little off, and there were lots of info dumps, but a good fantasy story interwoven with the present day.

Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins

14328879_1269538459764235_641140964_nFull Review: Burn the Dead: Quarantine

I gave this book 4/5. Some ‘oh my god’ moments within the first few chapters, and it was refreshing to be stunned by simple narrative twists and not just by the gore.

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

14459917_1281062005278547_317153572_nFull Review: Hollowland

I gave this book 3.5/5. Interesting plot line with some well devloped characters. Some character choices didn’t add up, but overall an enjoyable read. Will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

 

Nano Contestant #1 by Leif Sterling

14348962_1275830002468414_512785584_nFull Review: Nano Contestant

I gave this book 4/5. Fans of the Hunger Games will like this book. Brilliant concept with motivated, rounded characters. Part of a large series. There isn’t a conclusion, more of a cliffhanger to lead onto the next installment, and that is what cost it that final 5th star for me.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

 

 

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Finally Accepted the Proofs

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After having trouble with createspace, I have finally received the proofs of EVO Nation series books one and two. There were some production issues with shoddy glue and loose pages which, fingers crossed, has been rectified. Createspace were quick to offer refunds and send new proofs, but it was a big worry. What if customers received books in such conditions? It can happen and has happened to people, but if anyone receives any less than perfect books from createspace, complain and you get sparkly new ones.

Anyway, on to the exciting bit. I have just approved the proofs. My paperbacks should appear on Amazon within 3-7 days. Here’s a little sneak peek of mine:

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If you haven’t seen my update posts, then you may not have noticed that the covers have a different design. There were numerous factors involved in my decision to change the design, and after doing some research, I opted for the change. The eBooks also have been changed to match the paperbacks.

The cover for book three, EVO Ghost, is also complete and matches with the first two, but I am nowhere near release for that one. I shall share the cover nearer the time.

Now, I can feel like the series is fully completed when I publish EVO Ghost. The e-copies and paperbacks will be available, and I can be proud that I have a completed series on the market; something I never imagined!


Content is the property of KJ.Chapman

Another One!

After I finished my ‘What’s Your Name?’ posts, I felt a little stuck for writing exercise inspiration. I am still doing my ’10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes’ posts, but as the title says, it only lasts for 10 weeks and I am coming to the end of these posts. So, there was only one option, right? To buy another naming book and start another writing exercise using new names.

My new name book has such a different variety of names to my old book, so it was definitely worth the buy. The layout of this book is a little different to the old one too. There are separate girl and boy name sections and this gave me an idea for a unique spin to these writing exercises. Rather than pick the one name each week, I shall pick two (one from each section) and have to use them both in the one exercise. It’ll be fun to have the characters interact with each other.

The first exercise will be posted in two weeks, when my current writing exercise posts are finished. So, keep your eyes peeled for my ‘It Takes Two’ posts.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

GIF sourced from Giphy.com

2nd Redraft Complete

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The second and final redraft is now complete. It has taken a little over two weeks to work my way through the necessary changes. Of course, this was much easier than the first redraft and should have been completed within a week, but September has seen both myself and my hubby turn 30, so I havent been able to slog away and get it done. No matter-it is done now.

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What’s Next?

It has been over a month of redrafts, so now it’s fine tooth comb time. The plan is to get a week’s worth of editing done before I send the first half of the book for proof reading. It’ll be a game of cat and mouse; I shall try to finish editing the second half of the book before the proof-reader gets back to me with the first half changes. Yeah, because plans like that always work out for me- HA! I have to try and stick to the plan that has been arranged, but there is a little wiggle room. I need it, considering I have been having one of these weeks:

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I shall not be adding any more excerpts from here on in. I think I have been pretty generous thus far. As soon as my betas have their copies, I will have more of an idea of a release date, so I will update when I know more.

Can those who have mentioned being an ARC reader leave a comment, and I’ll add you to the list and get back to you- thank you.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

GIFs sourced from giphy.com

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking 3.5/5

14459917_1281062005278547_317153572_n“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

Review:

The world has fallen to Zombies, but small communities and quarantines are fighting back. Remy’s quarantine is over-run, but she escapes on a mission to track her little brother who is ‘sick’ and was evacuated before the zombies took over the quarantine. The narrative introduces a famous band idol, a cult, a gang of psychopaths, and a lion. Yep, a lion.

To kick off, I wanted to talk about characters. I loved Lazlo. The ex-super star is well rounded with healthy doses of flaws. At first he comes across as a loveable rogue, but you get to the truth of Lazlo as the story progresses. However, I couldn’t warm too Harlow. She was younger then the others and irritating. Remy, the main character, was totally kick ass, but far from my favourite. Don’t get me wrong, I understood Remy’s motives to find her brother, but some of her actions felt forced.

I enjoyed the plot line. I wanted a little more explanation as to why the others flocked after Remy. Just because she is brave enough to punch a zombie in the face, doesn’t mean people would follow her blindly and leave safe havens to go with her. Lazlo had his reasons, but Harlow and Blue left me a little stumped.

The zombies were not the usual shuffling and ambling sort, but the fast paced, hungry sort. They even start evolving- working together in packs with some kind of intellect. Intelligent zombies is just extra creepy to me.

I wanted to give this book 4*, but some narrative choices and character development held me back. That being said, it was an enjoyable read, and I want to read the next book in the 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

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Crafting Chapter Titles

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Chapters don’t always need titles, but when they do, they can be tricky to craft. My first books, EVO Nation and EVO Shift, are sci-fi and urban fantasy novels and chapter titles didn’t match the tone of the books. However, my fantasy novel, Thrown to The Blue, is split into different POVs, and each chapter is defined by the character’s name and a title. I’ve never had to craft chapter titles before, and it has been a great writing experience for me.

Here are the top five lessons I have learnt as a first time chapter titler.

Write the chapter before you title it.

You can have an idea for the title, but after writing the chapter it may not exactly fit, and you don’t want to have to tailor the chapter to the title. Once you have read the chapter, you can capture the overall tone/ message. You may even find a phrase or quote from within the chapter that works.

Not every chapter title needs to follow the same style.

I noticed this a lot in books I have read of late. The titles follow a style of some sort- perhaps just three words: For example: Sugar and Spice, Gold and Silver, Hurt and Betrayal. If this works for your novel, then roll with it, but please don’t think this is a necessity. You can have some short and sweet titles, quotes, one word titles. As long as the title sums up the chapter, then I don’t think it affects the experience of the reader if the styles are different.

If you can’t think of a suitable chapter title, leave it, and return to it later.

Sometimes a title is glaringly obvious, other times it eludes us. Do not force a chapter title, let it simmer for a bit before setting it in stone. It may even be worth not titling your chapters until your final edit. You can read through the draft with fresh eyes and the titles may jump out at you.

Sum up, but do not give too much away.

This is where it can be particularly tricky to find a suitable title. Summing up the chapter doesn’t mean highlighting the key narrative point in the title. For example: If Freddie is going to die in this chapter, it is best not to title the chapter ‘Freddie’s Demise’ or ‘The Death of Freddie’. This may seem like common sense, but I have seen it done. The impact you may try to make with a certain scene will be dulled by the reader’s knowledge from the title. Finding the balance between summing up and keeping it vague is what I found difficult.

Think outside the box.

This ties in with all the above tips. Forget what you have read in other books. Your titles should be unique to your novel. Just because particular titles or styles worked for another book, chances are they won’t work for yours too. Forget about your preconceptions on titling chapters and work with what you have written within each chapter. It is the best way to craft memorable, interesting titles that are true to your novel.


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If you like… Cell by Stephen King

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Cell by Stephen King

Blurb: Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of “normies,” must fight for survival, and their journey to find Clayton’s estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.

Fans that have followed King from the beginning will recognize and appreciate Cell as a departure–King’s writing has not been so pure of heart and free of hang-ups in years (wrapping up his phenomenal Dark Tower series and receiving a medal from the National Book Foundation doesn’t hurt either). “Retirement” clearly suits King, and lucky for us, having nothing left to prove frees him up to write frenzied, juiced-up horror-thrillers like Cell.

The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R.Carey

Blurb: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Blurbs and book images sourced from Goodreads.com

My Muse-ic of the Moment

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My muse-ic of the moment is the song I have on repeat for the second redraft of Thrown to The Blue. The tone of this song is spot on and it is such a great tool to use to fine tune this draft. Anyone who has seen Suicide Squad will have heard this song, and although Thrown to The Blue is miles away from Suicide Squad, it still applies to my draft.

Twenty One Pilots: Heathens

These lyrics in particular ring a chord:

You’ll never know the freakshow sitting next to you
You’ll have some weird people sitting next to you
You’ll think, “How’d I get here, sitting next to you?”
But after all I’ve said
Please don’t forget.

Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away
And now they’re outside ready to bust
It looks like you might be one of us.

Content belongs to KJ.Chapman.

Video sourced from Youtube.com

 

10 Weeks, 10 Prompts, 10 Minutes #6 (Prompt Me Special)

The purpose of these writing exercises is to take a prompt a week for ten weeks and allow myself ten minutes to expand on it. All the prompts are taken from my writing prompt eBook: Prompt Me.

To check out my list of ten prompts, and maybe have a go yourself, follow this link.  Go with the flow, take the prompt literally, or just allow elements to inspire a totally different story. It is up to you. Link back to me, so I can have a read of your creations.

The Prompt:

“There are a number of things to remember: don’t make eye contact, do not accept any food or liquid, and if she scratches her ear she is planning to kill you.”

“Scratching ear- dead. Got it,” I reply, pacing from the length of the room. “I don’t see why I can’t take my gun? If she is going to be loaded up and surrounded by her men, then surely it makes sense that I’d have something… anything?”

“You cannot be seen as a threat,” Jackson says, injecting the tracker into my scalp. “Naivety may just keep you alive long enough to say what needs to be said. Your best bet is to act ignorant, okay? As far as she is concerned, you’re just some guy we’ve found to be our messenger. If Vicka knows you’re Frankie’s son, then she won’t give you time to kiss your ass goodbye.”

The confidence I once felt at having been chosen to face Vicka is quickly replaced by doubt. I wasn’t chosen because I was up for the job, a good fighter, a decent negotiator. I was chosen because I looked innocent enough to encourage Vicka to at least hear what I have to say before she guts me. That’s all The Sphere needs- Vicka to listen. After that, I’m expendable, legendary father or no.

“Have you rehearsed the script?” Jackson asks, hands firm on my shoulders, so I can’t look anywhere save his face. I nod, although, I think the script is awful; penned like a begging child rather than a request for help. Vicka won’t take to our begging. She may be many things, but from what I know of her, she doesn’t give out mercy or charity. It’s weird to think that we’re on the same side… kind of.

“If I recite that script, then I’m dead and The Sphere would have lost any potential help from Vicka. Have you read it? It sucks ass.” Jackson eyes me sternly. “Don’t look at me like that. You know it as well as I do, but you’re just too chicken shit to say anything to the Boss Man.”

Jackson looks taken aback. “The script is short and too the point. It gives you chance to say what needs to be said.”

“Before she kills me.”

“If you do this right, then you’ll be fine.”

I laugh in his face. “She will kill me if I’m begging on his behalf, Jackson. You don’t have to worry. Run and tell the Boss Man that I’ll deliver his little speech for the good of The Sphere, but you can also tell him that I HAVE NOT died for him. I have died for the innocent back home. I have died for my Dad.”

“You won’t die, Dex.”

“Like you care.”

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Review: Nano Contestant by Leif Sterling

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Nano Contestant by Leif Sterling 4/5

14348962_1275830002468414_512785584_nNANO CONTESTANT SERIES: Episode 1 of 12 Serialized Episodes

In 2114, Pinnacle Corporation, the world’s largest tech company, hosts the Tech Games to showcase the world’s latest technology. The contestants must battle it out in 11 brutal games to ultimately win a $100 million prize!

These digital and hybrid athletes must use everything at their disposal in order to take that prize and all of its glory in the Tech Games.

Hacking, firewalls and electronic countermeasures are all being used by each contestant while running and fighting at top speed. It’s all on the line, because nothing is being left on the table!

EPISODE 1 – Whatever It Takes

How far would you go to save your family?

Roland has vowed to save his father’s life and get him set free – no matter what it takes. Entering the brutal Tech Games as a contestant gives Roland the perfect cover to get close to the Pinnacle Corporation and try to uncover evidence that would free his father.

But first, he must qualify by demonstrating a new, state of the art technology – implanted in his own body. With the Tech Games deadline closing fast, he must risk his own life with untested nanotech, or he will lose his chance to save his father’s life forever.

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

It’s 2114, and Roland needs information on Pinnacle, the world’s leading tech company who hold the answers for his father’s incarceration on death row. What better way to get close to the corporation than by entering the deadly Tech Games; a Pinnacle run tournament to showcase the latest technology with a prize of £100 million.

This book has no conclusion. It is part one of a much longer story, hence why I couldn’t give it 5*. It is a unique way of writing a story because you risk leaving readers dissatisfied with the ending, but I believe that Sterling pulled it off. I want to know what happens during Roland’s time in the Tech Games.

The small cast of characters was a refreshing change from a large array, and works well for this small installment. The character’s motivation is made known, and the reason for taking the risks are believable. I can’t wait to get to learn more on Roland and Skylar in particular.

Sterling does a great job of world building. The technology in 2114 is well thought through and a graphic description of a surgical operation is not for the faint hearted. I would call this book the Hunger Games on Speed!


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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