May Reads Round Up

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A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy

6tag_250417-121207Full Review: A Mere Interlude.

I rate this book 2.5/5. Three short stories in a blunt, fluff-free writing style. I prefer a little fluff in my romance stories. Despite the era it was written in, I couldn’t get passed the silly, scornful, or fanciful portrayal of the female characters.

 

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

6tag_040517-095045Full Review: Carnival of Souls.

I gave this book 3/5. A fantastical world with a great story concept. I found the number of POVs bogged down the story and left me trying to catch my breath. Aya was a fab character, but Mallory was absurdly naive.

 

Dolce Vita by Iseult Teran

6tag_040517-094830Full Review: Dolce Vita.

I gave this book 4/5. I thoroughly enjoyed Una’s journey. Teran has captured Una’s sixteen year old mindset, along with her fascination for writing lists and recounts of her crazy dreams. Some difficult topics broached and handled masterfully. Una’s a character that you don’t necessary like 100% of the time, but she grows on you.

Infernal Ties by Holly Evans

6tag_100517-082022Full Review: Infernal Ties.

I gave this book 4/5. A fast paced, urban fantasy that offers healthy doses of the supernatural. Witches, elves, and lycan walk secretly amongst humans, and hunters keep them in line. Excellent world building with the cultural back drop of modern day Prague. The sibling, platonic love was a refeshing change from romantic love.

Four in One Review: Short Stories

Full Review: Four in One Review #1

Eden was my favourite with a well rounded, zombie narrative that offered back story and a plot twist/ shock ending. Shea’s Birthday Blaze fell a little short on character development, verging on contradictory at times, but the platonic sub-plots were the saving grace. Shadows of the Wolf was part one of a sixteen part serial with a story that ended just as it got started. Luna Proxy was another serial (by the same author) without conclusions in the individual story, but the story we were given was intriguing and well written.

Four in One Review #2: Short Stories

Full Review: Four in One Review #2

Fenix Rising and Bad Decisions were my favourites, with clear conclusions and cliffhangers, and action-packed narratives. The Hospital was ‘nightmare inducing’, but the MC wasn’t likeable. Teeth had a confusing, skittish narrative and a lacking story.

What a Way to Go by Julia Forster

18716786_1537510462967032_375861404_nFull Review: What a Way to Go.

I gave this book 4/5. An array of well rounded, interesting characters. A 12 year old MC who is endearing and snarky. This book deals with pubescent angst and real life heart break, and does it with truth and humour. Not my usual type of read, but enjoyable none the less.

 

Self Edit Your Way to Awesome by K.L. Tolman

6tag_280517-070607Full Review: Self Edit Your Way to Awesome.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A quick read that discusses self-editing, options for finding a professional editor, and the importance of beta readers. The author is not a qualified/ certified editor, but an indie author discussing their editing experience of self-editing with humour and truth.

 

Island by Nicky Singer

6tag_290517-185924Full Review: Island.

I gave this book 4.5/5. This book handles an important message calmly and magically. Although it is aimed at 12+, any one can appreciate the story and the message. A book that the younger generations, obsessed with technology and material things, should read.

 


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

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Review: Island by Nicky Singer

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Island by Nicky Singer 4.5/5

6tag_290517-185924.jpgUrban teenager Cameron arrives on an uninhabited arctic island. He is prepared for ice and storms and (stripped of his smart technology) possibly boredom. He is not prepared for 24 hour daylight and erupting graves. At first Cameron believes the explanations of his research scientist mother. But – as the island reveals itself to him – he begins to see (and hear) things which push him towards a very different reality. One of them is an Inuit girl. The other is a large white bear.

Review:

Cameron is a typical, twenty-first century teenager. His dependance on technology sees him reluctant to go with his Mum on one of her research trips to an artic Island: Herschel Island. He is definitely not prepared to meet Inuluk, an Inuit girl whose mission is to teach him the history of her people and open his eyes to the beauty of the island. What secret is Inuluk hiding, and why is Cameron the only one to have met her?

This book handles a strong message, but manages to put it across in a calm, mystical, intriguing way. The characters are subtle, but offer reality to what might be perceived as a fantastical story. Cameron’s character was well developed, and his character arc developed naturally, alongside his ‘teachings’ from Inuluk.

This book is aimed at 12+, but transcends the children’s literature/ YA genre. Anyone can enjoy this story and understand the importance of its messgae. As a reader, you are left with a new perspective, and perhaps, shame for having your eyes closed to everything this book preaches.

I won’t say too much on the nature of the children’s friendship or their journey because I don’t want to spoil the reading experience of others. A worth while read that I shall ensure my daughter reads in a few years.


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 29/05/17

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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.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(4).png

“There is a shrine of sorts upon the cliffs. I saw it this morning when I was walking. There are dates carved into the wood,” I say, helping myself to a cup of milk. Something bristles in my cousin, Lizbeth, but she composes herself before turning back to me, offering a smile.

“Oh, you mean The Wrecking Post. Yes, that is a shrine to the ships and boats wrecked on the rocks below. The date of the wreckage is carved into the wood, and a piece of debris is added to the collection.” She takes a cup from my outstretched hand, and despite her smile, her hand shakes.

“But there is so much there: ropes, drift wood, pieces of metal. How many ships have been wrecked upon those cliffs.”

“Many,” she replies, taking her shawl from the hook and hurrying out of the door. “I shall be late if I stand conversing about shipwrecks, Jenna.”

“Then, tell me why my asking has affected you so.”

She stops in her tracks, her back going rigid. “Do not speak of this again, Jenna. Hold your tongue on this subject with the villagers. It is not something talked of in an informal fashion.”

“Lizbeth, my stomach has sunk like a stone. Why have there been so many wrecks on those rocks? You must answer me.”

She sighs heavily, rubbing a hand over her face. “How do you think this village has flourished, Cousin? Your father was one of the first group of men to partake in such acts. It has become necessity. You mustn’t judge, for you have benefitted as much as the rest of us over the years. You were just never made aware, living with Aunt April in the city.”

I feel faint, slumping into my chair with all the grace of a sitting heifer. “Oh, Lord. We are a family of wreckers,” I say.

“We are a village of wreckers,” Lizbeth corrects.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Review: Self Edit Your Way to Awesome by K.L. Tolman

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Self Edit Your Way to Awesome by K.L. Tolman 3.5/5

S6tag_280517-070607elf-edit your way to awesome for writers of all kinds!

Do you want to improve your writing? Master the art of self-editing? Publish your book?
Maybe you want more reviews which leads to better sales?

Learn how to improve and edit your writing in this short guide to self editing for indie authors.

Review:

I saw this book on an Amazon free promotion, and thought, ‘why not?’ As an indie author, I’m always open to tips and techniques on anything writing related. Okay, so the first thing that concerned me was that the author lists the reasons why we should listen to their advice, and not one of those reasons is because they are a qualified/ certified editor. Yes, they are a blogger, indie author, and reader, but the lack of editing qualifications made me approach the rest of the book with trepidation, just like any advice book by an unqualified advisor would. That being said, I know authors who edit their own and other people’s work to a professional level and have never been formally educated in the art, so I ploughed on with the read. Qualifications aren’t everything, right? Experience is key.

I appreciate the information on hiring a professional editor. This book is not religious in it’s self-editing belief in all authors, and provides alternative options for those who may not be confident in their editing abilities. There is also useful information regarding the importance of beta readers.

This book may be of benefit to new, indie authors looking to publish their debut work. The author outlines the fundamentals of self editing in a humourous, honest way, using their own self editing experiences as a base.


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

What a Way to Go by Julia Forster

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What a Way to Go by Julia Forster 4/5

18716786_1537510462967032_375861404_n1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson’s parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents’ club. Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and her Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents’ broken hearts. Set against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, What a Way to Go is a warm, wise and witty tale of one girl tackling the business of growing up while those around her try not to fall apart.

Review:

Harper is a 12 year old girl, navigating life and school whilst still coming to terms with her Mum and Dad’s divorce and subsequent lifestyles in 1988. The pubescent, sometimes snarky girl, is going through that awkward age of life where she is trying to discover who she is, where she fits, and some of life’s ugly truths.

Harper is an endearing character, and Forster captures her voice perfectly. I could hear the twelve year old speaking to me, and her way of thinking brings back memories of my youth. Trying to be vegan, an activist, and desperate to read 1984 and Women’s erotic romance novels, Harper is a to-the-point, literal girl with a fiesty, witty attitude.

The sub-characters are vivid and well rounded whilst being typical, ordinary characters: Mum, Dad, neighbour etc. Kit and Derek were my favourites. They have bucket loads of personality.

This book deals with both teen angst and real life heartbreak. The death of one character was handled well, and being the character he was, he went out with humour and style. Harper’s version of events are relevant to that of a twelve year old, and it was intriguing to see how she would mature and handle her grief.

This book is suitable for ages 12+, but older audiences will find it just as enjoyable. Not my typical type of read, but I was glad to have read it.


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

Four in One Review: Short Stories

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Bad Decisions by E.M. Smith 3.5/5

6tag_200517-064426Jamie Kendrick is known for his colossally bad decisions—jacking a squad car and turning it over in a ditch, for example. But he’s going to show everyone. With some help from his brother—and a court-ordered ankle monitor—Jamie is going to get sober, join the army, and shake his white trash reputation. And he’s actually doing a decent job until someone frames him for the grisly murders of his brother’s family.

No one believes that Jamie is innocent. No one but a mysterious blonde with a gun. She gives Jamie a choice: spend the rest of his life in prison or help her take down the man who killed his brother and set him up.

Review:

Finally, a short story that has a conclusion. Many that I’ve read lately lack a satisfactory ending in favour of getting readers to buy the next in the series, however, this story offers both conclusion and cliff hanger. Due to the length of the story, character development of both Jamie and the sub characters suffered a little, but it was a well written, fast paced read.

The Hospital (The First Mountain Man Story) by Keith .C. Blackmore 3/5

6tag_200517-064644“Mountain Man” Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what’s left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice… until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he’s never encountered before.

Review:

If you like graphic gore and zombies, then this is the book for you. I was literally cringing in disgust and thinking ‘I’m going to have nightmares tonight’. It was a fast paced read, with a real taste of horror. The MC didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. An overweight biker who shits himself was not the imagery to help that, but he went through some stuff at the hands of Nurse Alice… urgh, hideous woman.

Teeth by Michael Robertson 2/5

6tag_200517-064844Josh is a fourteen year-old boy living in a world where the global economic recession has led to money being devalued. Three days ago, his parents went out for supplies, leaving him and his older brother, Archie, behind. They haven’t returned. A gang of looters has ransacked their house and set it on fire. The last thing their dad told them was to get to their nan’s if there was any trouble. The boys decide their current situation looks like trouble.

Setting out onto the streets of London, the boys quickly learn what a world looks like when capitalism has failed.

Review:

The only way I can describe the narrative is skittish. I was more than a little confused at times. There was violence, evidence of a sort of dystopian world after a global economic crash, and a killer who kills people and takes teeth keepsakes from the victims. The writing was fine, but the story lacking.

Fenix Rising by Jeff Liboiron 4/5

6tag_200517-063921One hundred years ago, a nuclear war decimated Earth, leaving rugged Wastelands wrought with malicious gangs and survivors desperately struggling to form new societies.

Among them, Vincent Fenix has made his temporary home in Avalon Wharf, working as a gun runner, smuggler and violence enthusiast, minding his own business.

But, when a Wasteland warlord hires a gang of ruthless cannibals to hunt down his lifelong friend, things get personal.

With fists, guns, and blades, he embarks on a path of vengeance. In true Fenix fashion, he vows to tear his city apart in search of the cannibals and when he finds them, he’s going to make them pay.

However, there is the answer to a nagging question which he ultimately seeks. Who hired them?

Review:

A dangerous, dystopian world with cannibals, gruesome murders, smuggling, and lots of guns. Well written, and more than a little gory. I found this short story a page turner, even when I was reading through my fingers. If you like Mad Max, then you’ll enjoy this book.


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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Four in One Review: Short Stories

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Eden by Michael Robertson 4/5

6tag_150517-060737Eden is an underground, self-sufficient complex that has withstood the zombie apocalypse for over thirty years. Standing in the control room, there to take over the running of it from his father, Mark quickly realises this is more than a handover. He’s about to find out that Eden has secrets. Dark secrets.

Secrets that reveal the truth about the apocalypse.

Secrets that change the way he looks at his father forever.

Secrets that change the way he looks at everything forever.

Review:

Two zombie tales in one: Eden and Pandora. I preferred Eden because the narrative was told with back story and conclusion. I felt like Pandora could have been expanded into a longer novella. Both stories were well written and immersive. I will pay closer attention to this author in the future.

Birthday Blaze by Kacey Shea 3/5

6tag_150517-060035.jpgBrennan O’Shea might be every woman’s dream.
Gorgeous.
Single.
Built like a tank and inked to perfection.
A fireman. Really, what else is there?
Yeah, he’s a fantasy brought to life if only it weren’t for one little problem. Okay, it’s a big one. He can’t talk to women. The more attractive the lady, the more words fail him. And his beautiful, friendly neighbor Jenny has Brennan lusting for more than chatty banter. Will a birthday wish give him a shot with the woman he wants? Or will his hopes go up in flames?

Review:

Who doesn’t like romantic erotica about socially awkward firemen? Brennan came across as a ‘stumbling over his words, lacking in confidence’ hunk which was endearing at first, but then his attitude toward his ex was hypocrital, and every character seemed to go against the grain as the narrative progressed. His relationship with his sister was the saving grace for me. It felt natural and open, showing a hint of back story other than that of the ex.

Shadow of the Wolf by Mac Flynn 2/5

6tag_150517-055552.jpgThe moon is a harsh mistress for those with the curse. Only they understand the consequences when the full moon rises. Stephanie Yager slips into this world of struggle and seduction when she takes a wrong turn down destiny’s path.

The first part of the werewolf romance series featuring the trials of Stephanie Yager.

Review:

For the first part of a sixteen part serial, I was disappointed. There was no story arc to speak of. Even individual parts of a serial need a beginning, middle, and some sort of conclusion. Give me cliff hangers, but answer some of the questions set in the narrative first, right? This installment ended at the beginning.

Luna Proxy by Mac Flynn 3/5

6tag_150517-060339.jpgA grimy world surrounds Leila Ulric. Gangs roam the streets, her dead-end job has no end, and her apartment isn’t much larger than a walk-in closet. Her life looks to be turning around when a death leads her to a new apartment with a new roommate. The improvement in possessions, however, doesn’t lead to the satisfaction she hoped. A walk in the fresh night air leads her to stumble on a mystery that refuses to be solved, and a young man who holds truths she never realized existed.

Review:

I wanted to give Flynn another shot after seeing some good reviews for this serial. The blurb says ‘The Luna Proxy series is an episodic serial where each book contains a conclusive story within an over-arching tale.‘ This story was not conclusive, even in the general sense. Yet again, the story gets started at the very end. I gave this read 3/5 because the story we were given was well written and intriguing. I do not trust Red as far as I can throw him.


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: Infernal Ties by Holly Evans

book-review

Infernal Ties by Holly Evans 4/5

6tag_100517-082022.jpgThe Hawke twins are hunters. They keep the supernal community of Prague in line, and they’re good at it. The witches whisper their names when something goes bump in the night, and the lycans tell stories of them to make their cubs behave. When Quin doesn’t come home after what should have been a quick rogue-disposal, Evie begins to worry.

Evelyn Hawke is a force to be reckoned with. Nothing and no one will stop her from getting her twin back. She’ll do whatever it takes, even dive into the supernal world and work with those she despises to find Quin and dig him out of the very large hole he’s got himself into.

Little does she know the far-reaching consequences of her actions.

Review:

Evelyn Hawke is a hunter. The world as we know it, isn’t really all it seems. Supernatural creatures lives among the humans and it is up to Evelyn, and her twin brother Quin, to keep them in line. Only, Quin is missing.

It’s been a while since I’ve read an urban fantasy that I have enjoyed as much as this novella. Evelyn is a fiery, no nonsense MC, and her quest to find her brother is the sole driving force behind the narrative. Evans creates a solid relationship between the twins from the start via Evelyn’s inner monologue.

There are lots of things to go bump in the night, and nothing is free in her world. If she wants information, she has to pull a favour. The narrative moves along at a fast but steady pace, and the action keeps readers on their toes.

Another highlight is that the novella is set in Prague. It was refreshing to read and visualise the area, architecture, and culture. Most urban fantasies are set in America or the UK, so Prague was a hit for me.

There were times when I felt like I was dealt the same snippets of information twice, especially to do with Evelyn’s old love, but I could easily over look that considering the descriptive prose and well thought out narrative.

If you want a quick, fast paced, urban fantasy read, check this series out.


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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Picture Prompt 09/05/2017

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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.

Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN(2).png

When I was a child, I would sneak out of the farm on a full moon and run all the way through the woods to the lake. As an adult, I still do. Not because of the way the moonlight reflects off the calm water, or the majestic sound of the owls calling to the night, but because of the strange crafts that rise out of the depths in the middle of the lake and fly off into the stars. I have been watching them for twenty one years, and tonight is the first night that I’ve signalled to them using my torch. Why? Because it seems I’m not the only one who has been watching them, and now, they’re in danger.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

EVO Ghost Update 05/05/2017

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Whoo, what a month April was. I did complete CampNaNo, but I couldn’t post an update due to having broadband issues for 10 days!! Yep, I was having withdrawal. Any hoo, I am back with a bang, hence the flood of book reviews I have posted.

CampNaNoWriMo

I reached 25k with a few days to spare. It was touch and go for a little bit, but I slogged through it and came out a winner. Whoop! What does this mean for EVO Ghost? Well, I thought I would be close to finishing, and I am 25k closer, but I think there is another 20k left until I can sign off on the first draft. I can see light at the end of the tunnel now, and Teddie has told me how this will play out, so I’m all guns ablazing.

Muse-ic

I had good fun tweeting daily muse-ic inspiration throughout CampNaNo, so I plan to continue along a similar thread. In these posts I will include a favourite track of mine that I have been writing along to. First up, Katy Perry’s Rise. This song sums up Teddie at the moment. I can’t stop listening to it because of her. There is even a line that perfectly captures her…

‘Can’t write my story. I’m beyond the archetype.’

Yep, yep, and yep. This is how I feel about writing Teddie’s story most of the time. I hope I do her justice in EVO Ghost.

There is another, more emotional, line that puts a lump in my throat…

‘I call on my Angels. They say, ‘Oh, ye of so little faith.”

Those of you who have read the first two will know who Teddie’s angels are. *Sob*

What’s next?

I will continue on with the first draft. I hope to have another 20k written by June, but I may be punching above my weight with that target. When the first draft is done and awaiting a redraft, I shall do a cover reveal. I have had this cover ready since last year- nearly a whole twelve months ago to be exact. I’m itching to show you all the final cover in the series.

Excerpt

I’m having to be really picky with these excerpts because I’m worried about spoilers.

“Impartial counsel time,” he states. I nod my head, blinking back tears. “Do not go into this mission with revenge as your motivator. Justice is what you seek, and fighting for justice will hold you steady. Justice for those who have suffered, those you have lost, is more satisfying than revenge.”

“I don’t see the difference.”

“You will when and if the time comes. Justice will ensure that you can live with yourself after all of this.”


Did you partake in CampNaNo last month? Do you have a writing playlist? Drop me a comment!


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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