Books and Me

My Top Read of 2017

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I have read so many great books this year and singling out just one has been torture. The book I recount vividly and found it hard to tear myself away from to get on with day to day life was…

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas

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Find my review: here.

I plan to continue with the series in 2018. My expectations are extremely high, and I have heard some brilliant things.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

 

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Kayla Krantz on Overcoming Self Doubt.

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I hope everyone who celebrates has had a fantastic Christmas and not worked too hard over the festive period. Writerly Bookish Stuff has been quiet for a few days, but is now back with a bang. I have the pleasure of hosting author, Kayla Krantz, and she is here to discuss that dreaded self doubt and how to overcome it.

Over to you, Kayla…


Overcoming Self-Doubt

Doubt—a writer’s greatest enemy. At one time, every writer (even the greats), have doubted their ability to wield a pen and create something worth reading.

Don’t believe me? Check this quote from Stephen King:

“I’m afraid of failing at whatever story I’m writing—that it won’t come up for me, or that I won’t be able to finish it.” ~Stephen King, Rolling Stone Interview (2014)

So, what can you do?

First and foremost, accept that you’re going to have those doubts and acknowledge the fact that you ARE a writer. Even if you haven’t been published. From the moment you pick up a pen, you’re a writer…even if you just write for yourself! If it makes you happy, then it’s worth the wiggle of discomfort that it may give you.

For all the books that I’ve written, I still feel self-doubt almost every time I launch a new book. When I’m waiting to hear back from my betas, I literally hold my breath when a new email comes in with feedback. The very first book I launched back in 2016, Dead by Morning, was my pride and joy. I had a lot of fun writing it and didn’t really begin to worry about it until editing came. Re-reading the content, I began to wonder how people would perceive it and if I should release it out into the world. Even to this day I still have doubts about the story and whether someone else could’ve written it better. It’s a thought I wrestle with every time the book receives a review of less than three stars but I keep it out in the world because I poured my heart into it.

Self-doubt is a sign of a good writer! When people have just a hint of doubt, they’re more likely to reach out and get advice and support. This leads to stronger and better stories in the end and possibly more networking opportunities for the writer. Writers who are over-confident have a tendency to believe their story is perfect from the first draft and that they won’t have to work on revisions—these are often the stories that need the most work.

When you pick up a pen and feel that self-doubt creep in, push it to the back of your mind and write! Every writer will have their lows where they wonder if their story is good enough to go out into the world and it is! Will it be perfect at first? Of course not, but that’s what revision and supportive friends are for! There are a number of fantastic writing sources online geared to help you perfect your manuscript.

And guess what?

All the people in these groups have struggled with self-doubt of their own so they understand exactly where you’re coming from. Sometimes, connecting with people who understand your feelings on that deep of a level can be the perfect way to help you overcome it as well.

You might think that meeting certain goals such as getting a number of reviews, being traditionally published, or winning an award may give you more confidence. And it might. For a while at least. But that self-doubt will begin to creep back in and you’ll go through the same cycle all over again. For a writer, it’s just the nature of the beast.

The number one cure to self-doubt is to write and keep writing! Write your heart out and use that self-doubt to pour all your emotions and vulnerable pieces of yourself into your characters, your world. The more of yourself you put into your work, the more realistic it will be after all.

Never let your self-doubt bring you away from writing. If you have an idea, put it down on paper no matter what the little voice in the back of your head says.

In the end, it will be worth it. I promise!


14006736Proud author of Dead by Morning, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

Where to find Kayla and her books:

Twitter

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Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

Blog

Book Reviews, Books and Me

July to December Reads Round Up

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How is it the end of 2017? I feel this way at the end of every passing year. Time keeps slipping away from us.  I like to look back over my reads for the year, and despite the year flying by, some of the reviews feel so long ago. I view the amount of books I have read as an accomplishment.

I have participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge again this year. I somehow managed to hit my 80 book target. Whoop Whoop! 2018’s target will be considerably less due to a hectic year ahead.

If you’d like to check out my reads from Jan-Jun 2017 and have a gander at some of my reviews, you can do so right here.

Here is a round up of my reads from Jul-Dec 2017. Some absolute favourites in there. Keep your eyes peeled for my top read of 2017 post coming soon.

  1. The Hollows (Part#1 Graphic Novel) by Amanda Hocking & Tony Lee 3/5: Review.
  2. Alive at Sunset by Kayla Krantz 3/5: Review.
  3. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 4/5: Review.
  4. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff 4/5: Review.
  5. A Sea Change by Veronica Henry 3/5: Review.
  6. Love is Blind by Kathy Lette 2.5/5: Review.
  7. After the Love: Victor by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
  8. Black-Eyed Devils by Catrin Collier 5/5: Review.
  9. A Shining in the Shadows by Beverley Lee 5/5: Review.
  10. I Still Love You by Jane Lark 2/5: Review.
  11. Never Too Late by J.C. Laird 2.5: Review.
  12. The God Machine by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
  13. Hell Fire by Drew Avera 4/5: Review.
  14. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab 4.5/5: Review.
  15. Time Walker by Justin Stanchfield 3/5: Review.
  16. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon 5/5: Review.
  17. Nightmare Waiting & Other Dark Stories by Glenn McGoldrick 2/5: Not reviewed on blog.
  18. After Dark by Mikey Campling 3/5: Review.
  19. Out of the Shadows by Dana Fraedrich 4.5/5: Review.
  20. Wardens of Archos by Sarina Langer 4.5/5: Review.
  21. Three Men and a Maybe by Katey Lovell 4/5: Review.
  22. The Apple Orchard by Veronica Henry 3.5/5: Review.
  23. Hawaiian Heartbreak by Libby Cole 3.5/5: Review.
  24. The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright 4.5/5: Review.
  25. Rising by Brian Rella 3/5: Review.
  26. Finn by Liz Meldon 5/5: Review.
  27. A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce 3/5: Review.
  28. The Man Who Loved Christmas by Alice Valdal 2/5: Not reviewed on blog.
  29. Christmas for Stories by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
  30. Santa Baby, I want a  Bad Boy for Christmas by Justine Elvira 3/5: Review.
  31. A White Hot Christmas by Adrianne James 3/5: Review.
  32. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep 4/5: Review.
  33. Heralding by Faith Rivens 5/5: Review.
  34. Silver Bells by C.J. Hunt 5/5: Review. 
  35. Tipsy by C.J. Hunt 5/5: Review.
  36. A Mother’s Day by Kaira Rouda 2/5: Not reviewed on blog.
  37. A Christmas in New York by Holly Greene 2/5: Not reviewed on blog.
  38. Girl on a Plane by Miriam Moss 4/5: Review.
  39. The Unexpected Gift by Nicole Casey 3/5: Review.
  40. Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher 5/5: Review.
  41. Anna and the Swallow Man by 3.5/5: Review.
  42. The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith 4/5: Review.

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Book Reviews, Books and Me

December Reads Round Up

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6tag_031217-205617Tipsy by C.J. Hunt

Full Review: Tipsy.

I gave this book 5/5. Yes, I am new to Hunt’s work, but I know I won’t be disappointed when I pick up one of her novellas. Tipsy was no different. Believable characters with realistic relationship dynamics. I’m buying book three for a New Year read.

A Mother’s Day by Kaira Rouda

(Not reviewed on this blog. Rating on Goodreads.)

Christmas in New York by Holly Greene

(Not reviewed on this blog. Rating on Goodreads.)

Girl on a Plane by Miriam Moss

6tag_071217-121147Full Review: Girl on the Plane.

I gave this book 4/5. An interesting recount of a hijacking through the eyes of a fifteen year old, travelling alone to boarding school. Full of surreal moments that keep the pages turning, and even a glimpse into the lives of the Palestinian guerillas.

The Unexpected Gift by Nicole Casey

6tag_111217-072240Full Review: The Unexpected Gift

I gave this book 3/5. A short story that can be read in one sitting. The love interests were suited to one another, but the whole easily swayed nun storyline felt a little contrived. There was conclusion, but I wanted to know a little more to feel satisfied as a reader.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

6tag_151217-150230Full Review: The Christmasaurus.

I gave this book 5/5. A wonderful Christmas tale full of Christmas magic, wonder, and dino-awesomeness. It is great to see wheelchair users represented in such brilliant characters. My daughter is a huge fan of Fletcher, and this book has cemented him as one of her favourite authors.

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

6tag_191217-114202Full Review: Anna and the Swallow Man.

I gave this book 3/5. I’m still not sure what I make of the narrative. The ending didn’t satisfy me as a reader. Savit’s prose is poetic, and the Swallow Man’s language of ‘Road’ was intriguing and understandable to young Anna.

The Sheep-Pig by Dick King Smith

6tag_221217-135642Full Review:

I gave this book 4/5. Rereading a childhood classic to my daughter is always a new adventure. She thoroughly enjoyed the story, and there were some tears along the way. An insightful glimpse into farm life and the world of sheep herding.

 


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

 

 

Book Reviews, Books and Me, Indie Book Advent

Review: The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith

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The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith 4/5

6tag_221217-135642When Babe arrives at Hogget Farm, Mrs. Hogget’s thoughts turn to sizzling bacon and juicy pork chops–until he reveals a surprising talent for sheepherding, that is. Before long, Babe is handling Farmer Hogget’s flock better than any sheepdog ever could. Babe is so good, in fact, that the farmer enters him into the Grand Challenge Sheepdog Trials. Will it take a miracle for Babe to win?

Review:

One of the joys of having children is re-reading your old favourites to them. My daughter’s copy of The Sheep Pig is, in fact, my copy from childhood.

Re-reading as an adult helps you see the themes and morals in the story that you may have missed as a child. The underlying theme of this book is that you can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it. Also, manners go a long way. Babe wanted to work sheep, so he learnt , listened, and worked hard. He also treated the sheep as his equals. This is an important message for impressionable, young minds.

There are a few truthful, raw moments dotted in the otherwise joyous narrative. When Ma died, my daughter broke her heart, and straight after, Babe was seconds from being executed. I forgot how the narrative went a little dark in that moment, and although upset, my daughter wanted me to continue. Life and death are fairly common themes in children’s literature now, and The Sheep Pig handles the truth of farm life brilliantly. We are not a family of vegetarians, and reminding my daughter of this helped her see the truth in where her food actually comes from and what happens from farm to plate.

In summary, a quick re-read that touched on some important issues.


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

Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

book-review

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit 3/5

6tag_191217-114202Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone.

And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness.

Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

Review:

Anna’s story starts in Krakow in WW2 when her father doesn’t come back to collect her from her neighbour. Anna waits for him, but she knows something is wrong. When she meets Swallow Man, she attaches herself to the only adult who seems to care enough to teach her to survive her new life.

Savit’s way with words is poetic to say the least. The way he creates the Swallow Man’s tongue, known as ‘road’, is quite something. He speaks easily to young Anna in a way she can understand. I must get a younger person’s opinion on this book to see how well they fared with the round about explanations.

I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t love it. At times, I wondered where the story was actually going. As a reader, we only know as much as Anna knows. She is incredibly naive in many ways, and worldly in others. I’m confident this POV would appeal to a young teen more. Again, I really want a younger person’s opinion on this book to see how it varies from mine.

The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this story, and its rare that I say that.


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

EVO Ghost, new release

EVO Ghost Release Day News

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I am thrilled to announce that EVO Ghost has an official release date…

March 1st 2018

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This also means that you can preorder your copy from Amazon: preorder link. However, I will be doing an ARC reviewer call out in the New Year.

In the meantime, get EVO Ghost on your Goodreads want to read lists: EVO Ghost on Goodreads.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman