March Reads Round Up

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The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

17078496_1452801474771265_1869332312_nFull Review: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I gave this book 4/5. Witty humour and writing style. A unique take on the science fiction genre that transcends through the ages. Packed full of laughs and whimzy. Just remember to take your towel with you.

 

Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins

17198856_1455014497883296_844697927_nFull Review: Embers.

I gave this book 3.5/5. The concept wasn’t highly original, but the storyline kept me hooked. Twilight fans will love this book, and thankfully, Ember is fiery and stong-willed, so no Bella Swan damsels to be found. Phew!

 

25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas

17274329_1461615340556545_1676088367_nFull Review: 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A brilliant way to structure a novel- each chapter is a werewolf murder method. Realistic heroine, and a believable location for the paranormal occurances to be concealed, but some important aspects were glossed over and affected believability a little.

 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

17619798_1476575219060557_1541559010_nFull Review: Nevernight.

I gave this book 4.5/5. Brilliant characters, world building, and writing style. This book sucks you into a world of assassins, revenge, and mystery. My missing half star is for the annoying footnotes, they just didn’t agree with me.

 


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

 

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Update: 30/03/2017

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It has been over a month since my last update, and with CampNaNo just days away, I thought I’d sum up my writing journey over the past 5 weeks.

Word Count

My promise to write everyday during March has been fruitful. I only missed about five days due to commitments, and some of my word counts were little more than 100 a day, but little by little I managed 15.5k words. I’m happy with that, considering this month has been hectic. There has been more birthday parties, school parent’s evening, school science display afternoon, Mother’s day, treats out, volunteering on school trips, and song presentations. Not forgetting, my asshole of a cough. Yep, some of you may know that I have had a time of it with colds and coughs. 6 weeks later, I’m still coughing but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m feeling much better, and there is no threat of me coughing up a lung.

Reading

I have been catching up on my reading of late. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff wouldn’t let me go, so I read when I should have been writing. Sometimes, we’ve just got to do these things, right? Also, I was honoured to receive an advanced ARC of Brianna West’s final book in the Promiscus Guardians Series, Resurrection. I have been patiently waiting for this book whilst West did other things. (Oh, you know, have a baby and what not.) Seriously though, the woman is a power house when it comes to writing.  Again, I couldn’t put the book down. Damn all the brilliant storytellers distracting me from my writing!

CampNaNo

I’m not going to lie and say that I’m a NaNo prepper because I’m not, so I can’t use that as an excuse. That being said, knowing that I’ve set myself a 25k word count for April has left me a little complacent on my March writing. I don’t want to burn out, do I? Hopefully, CampNaNo will see me nearly finished with my first draft of EVO Ghost. *She says tentatively.* I shall not be doing another update post for a while as I shall be doing weekly NaNo updates. Keep your eyes peeled for those.

Excerpts (EVO Ghost only. I have done zero writing on Zombie Playlist.)

EVO Ghost: (sorry for the short teasers, but spoilers…)

Throwing my bag over my shoulder and readjusting the black wig, I make my way to the truck. Rafe places a hand on my chest. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“Since when does Rafe Lloyd pander to anyone?” I say, sliding passed him. Looking over my shoulder, I throw him a half-baked smile. “I’m fine.” I know I’m kidding myself, but it’s not going to change the fact that this needs to happen. I have to leave the safety of The Hive, and today is the day.


One of the women leans a little closer to me. “You’re not what I expected.”

“Despite what Towley would have us believe she doesn’t have horns and a thirst for blood.”

The woman shakes her head. “I expected someone polished- sharp and shiny around the edges. You’re a bit of a mess, no offense.”

I shrug. “Little offends me now.”

She throws me a wink. “You’re human and that’s reassuring, even if you are coming apart at the seams.”

Am I that obvious?


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 4.5/5

17619798_1476575219060557_1541559010_n.jpgIn a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Review:

Trained from childhood for one thing: to be a killer. Mia’s tragic history only strengthens her need to become a Blade. Can she survive the Red Church’s initiation process, the other Acolytes, and her quest to enact revenge on those who wronged her family?

From the reviews I have read, Nevernight appears to be a marmite book. You either love it or you hate it. I loved it. Well, with the exception of those bloody footnotes. Footnotes do not agree with my reading digestion. Otherwise, I’m in awe of the worldbuilding, the fantastically crude, dangerous, endearing characters, and the intriguing narrative. Think of Hogwarts as a school for assassins with teachers who would hack their student’s arms off for showing off. I know, right? Shamazing!

Mia is simply sublime as a character; an anti-heroine to root for. Her motivation is apparent, and the progression of her character arc is natural and subtle. In fact, every character and their dialogue is on point. I’m a stickler for believable characters and I love the diverse cast, their quirks, and their flaws.

Throughout the whole narrative, I was double guessing characters and their motives. Let’s just say that I was blind sided. I did not see that twist coming, and I love Kristoff for it.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Read it, people! And if, like me, you are a detestor of footnotes, just enjoy the story and visualise punching those little bastards in their footnotey throats.


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

Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Writer Spotlight: The talented Katie Masters tried her hand my last picture prompt. Find her enthralling story in the comments of the last post.

Picture Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(2).png

The view from the cottage offers the first sighting of any ships and boats heading toward the coast. Everyday, for hours on end, I stand at the bottom of the garden, watching the horizon span out from the jut of rock that shields the cove. Alfred no longer scolds me for my time wasted in such a task, and where he’d once reprimand me for standing in the rain, hail, and gales atop the cliff, he now merely brings a a blanket without a word.

I await the Black Whisper. It has been fourteen months since she left under attack, leaving me here with Alfred. Fourteen months of me acting the lady with no family save an elderly manservant. I long to shun the corsets and petticoats for my britches and coat. I wish to not have to keep my gun and sword hidden in case of visitors.

Alfred fears she will never return, but that doesn’t stop him from watching and waiting in the night. I know she will return, for the captain would not abandon us…me.

“Supper is ready, Lass.” Alfred’s frail hand on my shoulder startles me. “As I am a soul, you’re wet through.”

“I shall be along, Alfred.”

“Tis misting today. You shan’t see a bloody thing unless it is upon our door. How shall I explain to the Cap’n, when he does return, that you caught your death upon the cliffs? He’d tie me to the rope and use me as the fecking anchor!”

Turning foot, I head into the cottage. “Your skinny arse as anchor, pah!” Wisecracks are what get us through the long days. Alfred’s rebuffs are so sharp and witty, yet he says nothing. “Alfred?” Still nothing.

The old man splutters, but no words surface. Instead, he points to the mist. Sails break through as if cutting at the air. The Black Whisper sails into the cove with a familiar, burly figure at the bow.

“The Cap’n has returned for the lass who waited,” Alfred guffaws.


 

 

Review: 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas

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25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas 3.5/5

17274329_1461615340556545_1676088367_n‘My name is Elkie Bernstein. I live in North Wales and I kill werewolves.’ When Elkie finds herself fighting for her life against something that shouldn’t exist she is faced with the grim reality that werewolves are real and she just killed one. Part diary, part instruction manual Elkie guides the reader through 25 ways you can kill a werewolf, without any super powers, and how she did it.

Review:

Elkie goes from girl nextdoor to werewolf killer by accident. She finds out the truth about her neighbour’s sudden disappearance, and in doing so, starts a weird friendship with a werewolf who decides he wants to play games with her life.

The structure worked well with each of the twenty-five chapters laid out as a method of werewolf killing. Yes, there really are twenty-five ways to kill a werewolf. Some of the methods are ingenius, some are practical, some come as a shock with added gore; most are delivered by farm-hand, Elkie, starting in her teens. Elkie is your ordinary girl-nextdoor type, and out of necessity, she has developed a skill for the ‘sport’. I get the distinct feeling that despite claiming that she has had enough of the twisted games and predators sent her way, it is the only excitement she has in her life, and deep down she feels special to be singled out in such a way.

The story is set in North Wales, and Elkie’s up bringing and home location allow for the bizarre occurances, and more inportantly, the undiscovered disposals. There were a few things that felt a little glossed over: the police’s suspicion of her name popping up a lot, and her weird attraction to Ben. I did, however, enjoy the relationship dynamics with Dave, and how they changed during the course of the novel.

Fans of the paranormal, strong, female protagonists, and of course, werewolves, will enjoy this 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

Review: Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins

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Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins 3.5/5

17198856_1455014497883296_844697927_nThere are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.

Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a seventeen year old girl who discovers that she’s immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt’s boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember’s exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she’s a Watcher, a descendant of angels.

While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it’s cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She may be one of the few champions willing to make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.

Review:

Ember is no ordinary human, she is a Watcher. Watchers are descendants of Angels. If there are angels, then there must be demons, right? Right! Sawyer is just that, yet the two can’t fight their feelings for each other. Should they fight it? How will they overcome the divide, protect each other, and ultimately face the end of the world.

The concept may not be original, but I found myself intrigued with the storyline. Twilight fans would love this book, and luckily, Ember is a fiery, strong minded girl, so no Bella Swan damsels here. Phew! The relationship was fast moving, but the nature of the connection allows for this. Another relationship that I enjoyed was that of Ember and Ila. There were clashing personalities, tense/ untrusting moments, and affection, that made the dynamics that much more interesting and believable.

The different POVs were refreshing, allowing us insight into both Ember’s and Sawyer’s mind-set. The last chapter is in a completely different POV, and this has intrigued me greatly.

Can I just mention the cover? It’s a thing of beauty, and although I rarely discuss covers in my reviews, this one definitely grabbed my attention and bumped this read up my TBR pile. This book is suited to YA, paranormal romance fans, and those who like the Twilight Saga.


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

Giveaway!!!

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I am currently holding a giveaway on my Facebook page. Three winners will win ecopies, sent direct to their Kindles, of both EVO Nation and Thrown to The Blue. That’s right! THREE winners!

You can find the giveaway and entry terms here.

Check out some reviews:

EVO Nation: Goodreads Reviews.

Thrown to The Blue: Goodreads Reviews.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Review: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 4/5

17078496_1452801474771265_1869332312_nSeconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don’t forget to bring a towel!

Review:

Your friend of many years wants you to drink exactly three pints in the pub, even though your house is about to be torn down. Why? Because the world is about to be demolished, and he’s an alien, planning to hitch hike the both of you off of the doomed planet.

Such wonderful humour and writing style. There are many times where I chuckled to myself at one description or another. Adams has a knack for whimsy and wit, and who’d have thought to mix that with science fiction. He did, and it worked.

That brilliant humour weaves well into the characters too. Within a page, I knew Ford and Arthur’s different personalities like they were old friends of mine; Arthur the fretful, stumbling through life, ordinary guy, and Ford the kooky, alien stranded on Earth for fifteen years. Their dialogue is on point and hilarious. Then, there is Marvin. What a stroke of genius his character is; a depressed robot, who had me laughing the whole way through.

If you like science fiction, want something a little different, and want it jam-packed with humour, then this is the book for you. Just remember to bring your towel.

One of my favourite quotes:

‘Grunthos is reported to have been disappointed by the poem’s reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilisation, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.’


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

Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN.png

“Is that it? Is that all we fucking get?” Caine shouts into the air. Tears leave streaks through his muddy cheeks as he pummels the wall. “We have been trapped inside that maze for seventeen months, and that pathetic exit is all we get?”

“What were you expecting?” I ask. The sense of claustrophobia that I have lived with for nearly a year and a half melts away from me and I starfish in the grass.

“A fucking fan fair! I don’t know…I just thought it was all for something bigger, something greater. Freddie died in there, and for what? Nothing!”

He’s bloodying his knuckles up, much like he did when Freddie died. If he’s not careful he’ll get another infection. Throwing my arms around him, I drag him away from the wall. “Stop, Caine! We’re out. It’s okay, we’ve made it.” He sags against me and weeps.

“No, you haven’t,” says a voice behind us. Both of us spin around, drawing our knives. A tall, skinny man wearing only a loin cloth and holey running shoes approaches. He is  accompanied by at least ten others, all in a similar state of dress; dirty, bedraggled, and famished. I thought we were filthy, but these guys look positively feral. “That was just part one.” He hands me a pair of muddy binoculars. “Just look.”

Caine snatches them from my hands and scours the horizon. He staggers backward, grasping at me to ground him. “There are more walls. No! No! Seventeen months! We’ve been in there seventeen months!”

The man hangs the binoculars around his neck. “We’ve been here ten years. No one has made it through part two.”


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

 

 

 

Guest Post: Brianna West on Character Development

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Joining us today for a humour packed guest post on the importance of character develoment is the wonderfully talented author, Brianna West.


The Joys of Authorhood: Raising Fully Developed Characters

Hello all aspiring and current authors desperate to figure out how to fully raise your characters into complex, well-developed, functioning-in-plot characters! I’ve come here because I was once like you: scared, unsure, slightly crazier than normal people and talking to all the voices in my head. The characters whose names you need to figure out, whose personalities aren’t complex enough, aren’t realistic enough to be featured in your current or maybe not even your future work.

Don’t be discouraged! I’ve come to give you my experience with how to raise fully functioning, story-ready characters and how to develop them over the course of your work in progress.

First things first, whether you plot your story out, outlining every detail, or you just write where your characters lead you, guiding when need be, characters that aren’t fully developed can sometimes cause a story not to feel real or read as well as one that has characters fully realized.

  1. Aw, he’s got your morbid sense of humor—get to know what their personality is. This is something I tend to do when I’m “imagining” how I want interactions to go. Whether or not the two characters would fit together with certain aspects of their personality. It’s a good time to figure out what characteristics you might want from them. Are they quirky, broody, moody, playful, quiet, and so on so forth. It’s important to get to know them and figure out where their personality needs improvement or adjustment.
  2. Playdates are fun until someone’s kid gets killed—there’s been a time or two where I’ve been unable to fully grasp an interaction between two, mostly because I haven’t really written them before or it’s been a while. So, giving them a test run in a small written interaction might help tighten up some of the aspects you were hoping to achieve or where they could change when dealing with other characters.
  3. Scarred for life—backstory is something you can get away with not knowing much of to begin with, having it develop over the course of a story and getting to know their history as the story unfolds. But it’s a good idea to have some sort of idea where you want your character to have come from, even if just that their daddy was a drunk and their mommy a drug-dealer.
  4. Growing up sucks, but it’s great for plot—the most important is the growing and changing of a character over the course of a story or series. Seeing them change as it goes along, reacting and transforming due to encounters, other characters etc., it gives the reader a sense of knowing them and real-time movement that builds a relationship with the readers that all the above doesn’t build in such an intense way.

These are just a few things to think about when dealing with character development, but in the course of my authorhood, the most important. Hopefully these help you raise well-developed, happy characters and not angry, superficial serial killer characters that spend their life blaming their author (unless that’s what you were going for).

Happy Writing!

Brianna West.


71zctz9tEAL._UX250_.jpgBrianna West lives in beautiful Northern California with her wonderful husband and four adorable children. She writes funny, real stories that are accompanied by humor and supernatural elements. Recently published in October 2015, Brianna has gone on to add several books to her main series and spin-off series since then.