Book Reviews

Book Review: Virus the Unknown by Larry Finhouse

Virus the Unknown by Larry Finhouse 3/5


Brody had always wanted to live like the rich kids did, with their hot meals and shiny cell phones. Unfortunately, life had other plans for him and his sister Pippa. Struggling to pick up the pieces after their father’s mysterious death and coping with their mother’s drug use and her abominable new boyfriend, the children felt even more removed from hope. In this thrilling debut novella, Brody and Pippa are about to learn to rely on a completely different set of survival mechanisms — a set that would keep them alive while horror, a virus that slowly poisons the human brain, tears apart their small town. Amid the outbreak, tales of fright breed and people begin using the word zombie — something Brody, even though young, thinks is foolish.

Review:

The author plays on the fact that the readers are aware that this is a zombie book. On many occasions he builds the scene for us to believe that the zombie virus will present itself to the kids, but no. In fact, we don’t know/hear much about any infection until much later in the book. The main chunk of story is backstory. Brody and Pippa’s sibling relationship is the driving force.

The narrative doesn’t hold back in brutality and abuse, and it’s shown to us through the eyes of a child and his sister which makes it that much more awful to witness.

I’m not a fan of free books that leave you on a massive cliffhanger to encourage you to then buy the 2nd. This book did just that. At least conclude the narrative to an extent, and trust that your writing ability will spur me on to book 2, not a lack of conclusion.


The 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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Book Reviews

Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggan

Black Spring by Alison Croggan 3/5

Blurb: Black Spring takes the passionate story of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and re-imagines it in a fantasy nineteenth-century society set in savage lands sustained by wizardry, where its people live by the vengeance code of vendetta. Like Wuthering Heights, it’s a story within a story, featuring the brooding young Damek, who is swept along by his emotions. The object of his affections is Lina, daughter of the village lord, whose magical powers make her a witch and witches are not tolerated in this brutally patriarchal society. When Lina is sent away and forced to become a servant, Damek promises revenge and, like Heathcliff, spends a lifetime securing and refining it.

The author doesn’t shy away from the fact that Black Spring is a retelling of Wuthering Heights. I went in with my eyes open, and optimistic as I enjoyed Wuthering Heights and don’t dislike a retelling if done well. That being said, I was a little shocked at how similar to Wuthering Heights it actually is. I felt a little short changed. If I wanted to read Wuthering Heights I would have taken my old copy off the shelf. Black Spring is Wuthering Heights with a hint of witchcraft and wizardry.

I liked that the narrative is told from more than one point of view; Anna’s, Hammel’s, and Lina’s, and the characters remained true to form throughout. Anna (Nelly character) was always level headed, mild mannered, and mature. Lina (Cathy character) was always spoilt, self-absorbed, and childish, and Damek (Heathcliff character) was always brooding, dark, and hidden. Hammel, however, was an unnecessary character in my opinion.

Croggan’s writing style perfectly captures the Gothic element to the book and her prose is easy to read. Her world building, layering lore and blood vendettas into a bleak, cold society is spot on, and I can’t fault her portrayal of the dark, haunted romance between Lina and Damek. I would have just preferred elements of Wuthering Heights with a changed story frame, but that is personal preference to each reader.

My 3/5 is a reflection on the strict similarities between Black Spring and Wuthering Heights, not on Croggan’s impressive writing style. Like I said, this author openly states that it is a retelling of Wuthering Heights, it just depends on how similar you like your retelling to be.


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

REVIEW: The Girl In between by Laeken Zea Kemp

The Girl In Between by Laeken Zea kemp 5/5

Blurb: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

I downloaded this book for FREE from Amazon and was incredibly impressed. I loved the writing style, the concept, and the characters. Kemp does a fantastic job of making the world Bryn disappears into during her sleep disorder episodes, convincing and believable; one of dreams, memories and nightmares. Kemp has done a great job introducing the science and factual side of Klein-Levin Syndrome and this all adds to the realism of the story and Bryn’s journey.

 Bryn was true to character, and as a teenager afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome she shares her fears and doubts, whilst maintaining a likable personality. Her family dynamic and the way her mother tries to mollycoddle her is fitting for Bryn and her condition, and Kemp’s portrayal of the Grandma gives me the impression that the grandmother knows something more, but that may be brought to light in the sequel… we shall see.

Bryn feels isolated from those around her, missing huge chunks of her home life and personal life. When a mysterious boy washes up on the beach in her sleep world, things take an unexpected turn. Roman is just as terrified, isolated and lost as she is. Only, he is lost in her sleep world and cannot wake up from it. Their relationship blossoms and I liked Roman’s character a great deal. He’s not the stereotypical, hunky boy who just so happens to fall in love with the protagonist, he is his own person with his own issues and fears. The story does switch to Roman’s POV occasionally, and I appreciated the insight into his mind.

I read the ending in one sitting as I was desperate to know who exactly Roman was and what had happened to him in the ‘real’ world. I can’t wait to start book two in the series ‘The Boy In Her Dreams’. I highly recommend this book and it’s FREE, so what have you got to lose?


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

REVIEW: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams 2.5/5

Blurb: People say ‘love never dies’…but love might be the death of Seraphina. Seraphina has been alive since the Middle Ages, when her boyfriend, Cyrus, managed to perfect a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. She doesn’t want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies. When we meet Sera, she has landed in the body of a girl named Kailey who was about to die in a car accident. For the first time, Sera falls in love with the life of the person she’s inhabiting. Sera also falls for the boy next door, Noah. And soon it’s clear the feelings are returned. Unfortunately, she can never kiss Noah, because for her to touch lips with a human would mean the human’s death. And she has even more to worry about: Cyrus is chasing her, and if she stays in one place for long, she puts herself -and the people she’s grown to care for – in danger.

My Review:

Okay, so I didn’t like this book that much. The concept was semi-interesting, but cliche, and the characters were two dimensional and hard to relate to. The book was surprisingly short and perhaps this was part of the reason for the minimal character development. I could have easily put the book down and walked away, but I’m not that kind of reader. I will always slog it out until the end.

I understood Seraphina’s desire to end her immortality and escape Cyrus’ claim on her, but that quickly went out the window when she found a body (Kailey’s body) to slot into and play make believe with Kailey’s family and friends. Her transition from Seraphina to Kailey seemed unrealistically easy. I’d like to think that my family would see something amiss if my body was taken over by some immortal that most definitely wasn’t me, but no, Kailey’s family don’t pay much attention to the sudden change in their daughter/ sister. Kailey’s friends don’t seem too concerned by the change in her either.

Then, there is Noah. The narrative suggests that Kailey didn’t have feelings for Noah, but he jumps at the chance to be with her when Seraphina takes a liking to him. Not to mention that worrying fact that mentally Seraphina is about 700 years old and Noah is just a teenager. Noah seemed nice enough, but dull. Again, lack of character development.

The ending was a little more exciting and ended on a big cliffhanger, but I doubt I will read the sequel.

In summary, my 2.5/5 is a reflection on minimal character development and unrealistic narrative choices.


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

Review: Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn 3.5/5

Blurb: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Some Spoilers!!!

The book started out well, intriguing me with the concept of a future where humans have evolved into telepaths, and the outcasts are those who don’t have the ability- Zeroes. Kira believes she is a zero until Raf tries to kiss her and she almost kills him. She quickly discovers she can ‘mindjack’ and that she is not the only one.  Mindjackers are not readers, they are something different, something that can potentially be dangerous; they can link into peoples minds and ‘jack’ them/ influence them to do whatever they want.

I enjoyed Kira’s and Simon’s relationship. It was flawed and much better than the perfect boy meets girl romance, however, I was unsure if Kira dated Simon because she had a spark for him, or if it was just because he was a Jacker like her and helped her with her own ability. It was clear she felt more for Raf than Simon, but Raf was boring. The love triangle didn’t sit well with me. Simon was a much more rounded character with facets of light and dark that would be expected in his situation. Let’s just say, some of Kira’s choices felt out of character and perhaps were included to progress the narrative in a certain direction.

The story should have ended about 100 pages before it did. I found myself skipping huge chunks of narrative to find out what happened because even though the story felt rushed, it strangely started to drag. Quinn could have gotten two books out of the one book and I would have been a much happier reader.

In summary, I enjoyed the concept and some of the sub-characters, but my 3.5 stars reflects the unrealistic choices I felt Kira made, and the fact that the book felt drawn 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.

Books and Me

Three Free Reads

As a self-published author myself, I know the importance of getting the word out about your eBook and how hard doing that actually is.

I have decided to spread the eBook love and download three free eBooks to add to my reading list. (I shall cover my reads in a three monthly book review).

Here are my chosen free downloads from Amazon:

The Girl Inbetween by Laekan Zea Kemp

Blurb: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Blurb: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

True Calling by Siobhan Davis

Blurb: Two different worlds. One shared dream. Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17-year-old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.

These books are currently free to download on Amazon, so get your copies before the promos end.


Link to my eBook: EVO Nation available from Amazon