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

book-review

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

book-review

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

book-review

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

book-review

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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Review: Dolce Vita by Iseult Teran

book-review

Dolce Vita by Iseult Teran 4/5

6tag_040517-094830The extraordinary and unconventional life of a modern teenage bohemian. ‘I am Cat Balou, I am Jeanne Moreau, I am Modigliani’s lover, but not the one who threw herself out of the window…’ Una is a sixteen year old sexual fantasist. In 1989 she is a kept woman in Paris, whose romantic ideas about the lifestyle of a mistress to an aging record producer don’t quite live up to the reality. She searches for an affair that corresponds to her dreams, but finds herself flitting from one romantic infatuation to another, obsessed by the idea of sex but careful of her virginity.

Review:

Una is an extremely lost sixteen year old who has had to grow up much faster than many her age, and has suffered some cruel blows growing up. Although, coming from a family of wealth, and having friends, she is very lonely and also very self-absorbed. Teran has captured the mindset of a sixteen year old desperately trying to discover who she is and where she fits in 1989.

The lists and crazy dream recounts added to the reading experience, and helps the reader delve deeper into Una’s mindset. Her naïve view of how the world actually works and how she wants it to work for her, can be frustrating at times, but that’s just Una. Ladders made me incredibly uncomfortable, and Una’s almost childlike perspective of their relationship/ not relationship made it that little worse.

Her auntie was a grounding force to stop Una spiralling totally out of control. The chapters where she was with her auntie were the ones where you could catch your breath and hope that she’d rein Una in, help her.

Thought I’d share a quote:

I smoked a black Sobranie with some American kids. I went back to our compartment dizzy and ready for anything. I stripped to the waist and woke ladders up, thinking this would be the perfect time to lose my virginity. It felt too in the open. The fat inspector caught me with my shirt off. They have their own keys, I wasn’t ready anyway, just bored.


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: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr 3/5

6tag_040517-095045.jpgIn a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the carnival, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable.While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the carnival.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series and Graveminder, comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one’s own destiny.

This book has been renamed Carnival of Secrets due to copyright infringements.

Review:

This is a hard review to write because I felt that there was so much going on throughout the story and in multiple POVs that I barely had time to catch my breath. Anything fantastical peeks my interest, and the Carnival of Souls certainly had its fair share of fantasy: Witches, Daimons, Curr, Half-breeds, fights to the death.

The story concept was interesting, but on occasion, it felt like information was thrown in to progress the narrative. I found myself going, ‘Wait, what? Oh, okay, I guess.’ It was as if, as a reader, I was supposed to just accept something from that world without it being woven delicately into the narrative. I like fantastical, but I like believability with it.

My favourite character was Aya. She had believable motivation, and an interesting background story. I liked the dynamics between Aya, her mother, and Belias. I did not like Mallory. I couldn’t get passed her absurd naivety, even though we were clued in that her Dad (but not Dad) was casting spells on her memory to keep her true form at bay. Kaleb and Zevi were a whole other kettle of fish. Their outcast world/lifestyle was incredibly sordid and a hard pill to digest at times.

To sum up, I enjoyed the fantastical quality, but would have liked more believability in places. The amount of POVs hindered my reading experience, and I still struggle to get the story straight in my head. Aya was a well written character, and it was her storyline that kept me reading.


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: A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy

book-review

A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy 2.5/5

6tag_250417-121207.jpgLove can be heartbreaking

As Baptista travels home to marry her parents’ old neighbour, she encounters her lost lover. They elope together, but tragedy strikes unexpectedly on their wedding day and she returns to her parents to do her duty. Will her other, brief love remain a secret?

Review:

Considering the lack of information on the cover and the solitary title, I was shocked to find that this book held three short stories. A Mere Interlude, The Withered Arm, and An Imaginative Woman. They are stated as love stories, although I wouldn’t class them as swooning romances with fairy tale endings. Out of the three, The Withered Arm didn’t mesh well with the other two. The paranormal element to it was not in keeping.

I haven’t read anything by Thomas Hardy before, and I’m not sure that these shorts were the best to start with. The writing style is blunt and to the point, and even though ‘fluff’ is given a bad name in the writing world. I like a little fluff in my reading experience. An in-depth poke into emotions and mindsets would have helped me get into the stories.

Another issue I couldn’t get passed was the ‘silly’ decisions/ emotions of the female characters. Women come across as either fanciful, silly, or scornful. I had to remind myself of the time when these stories were written, but it didn’t really help my reading experience.


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: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

book-review

If I Stay by Gayle Forman 3.5/5

6tag_250417-120525Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Review:

One freak accident changes Mia’s life forever. Does she want to come back and face reality, or will she decide not to stay?

This book has an important message that highlights the power of love and family. The hard hitting storyline with very real consequences drives home the importance of what most of us take for granted.

Forman effortlessly captured the mind set of seventeen year old Mia, dealing with school, her boyfriend, her friendships, and her insecurities. I enjoyed reading Mia’s memories of her perfectly dysfunctional family, and her quest to find who she is. Her interesting POV of the aftermath of the tragedy that ultimately sees her making an important decision, intrigued me from the start, and Mia’s reactions to it felt genuine. Yes, she came across as naive in places, but she is a seventeen year old girl trying to process grief and the meaning of her existence.

I was told by many book friends to have the tissues ready for this one, and after reading such high praising reviews, I was hoping to be moved more than I actually was. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the book to be heartfelt and the message to be important, but I didn’t find myself a blubbing wreck.

In summary, a YA book that takes a tragedy and manages to get the reader focussing on the power of love.


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: Resurrection by Brianna West

book-review

Resurrection (Promiscus Guardians Book 4) by Brianna West 5/5

17965256_1498125790238833_151642696_nIzzy is back again after managing to survive villain after villain, and now she’s got her eyes on the prize—Mother Dearest. But her world takes a turn when she discovers something that might make her think twice about her usual reckless guns-blazing style.

And when a new evil villain joins forces with Mother Dearest, Izzy and Lucas are forced to partner with someone quite unlikely and a little too close to the villain they’re after.

With the final battle looming and a host of new problems, will Izzy and Lucas find a way to survive, or will the odds be too much and overcome them?
Find out in Izzy’s final kick-ass fight against the Dark Resurrection.

Thank you to the author for giving me an advanced ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

Izzy’s wit and humour when it comes to fighting demons is pushed to the limits when she has to team up with one to protect her loved ones, and hopefully, see an end to Mother Dearest. Can she work together with an enemy whilst dealing with a bombshell of a new development? Is there a happily ever after on the cards for her and beau, Lucas?

I can’t believe we’re already at the finale of Izzy and Lucas’ story. It’s been a fast, gripping ride, and although I’m sad that it is over, I can take solace in the fact that West has multiple spin offs set in the Promiscus Guardian’s world. Phew!

Izzy’s quick-witted inner dialogue and brooding inner monologue has seen me laughing through all four books. She is light relief to an action packed, dark narrative. It’s refreshing to read a strong female heroine who still falls over in high-heels, has sarcasm enough for twenty, and can appreciate some eye candy.

The narrative has developed over the four books to include Izzy’s training, her need to prove herself, and her journey to become friend, wife, and demon killer. From the confused woman happening upon two intimidating guardians in a dark alley, to the demon slayer and bad-ass Guardian in book four, Izzy has kept her humour throughout, and remains true to herself.

Paranormal fans will love not only Izzy and Lucas, but the vast array of unique and loveable characters in this series, and will be happy to know that most will be featuring in their own steamy stories in the Guardians in Love spin offs.


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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