Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Grey by Kade Cook

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Grey (Covenant of Shadows #1) by Kade Cook 3/5

14341454_1270502796334468_2041794031_nAll the truths of her life were born from the promise of a lie. A lie that could change everything. Gabrian Shadwell studied hard and kept her nose to the grindstone in order to live the successful full-life most humans strive for. The problem is, she isn’t exactly human; she can see auras…and she yearns to devour them-she is comprised of the things nightmares are made of. With her eyes opened to the truth of her Borrower heritage, her chaotic journey of self-discovery takes her down a dangerous road when the tainted eyes of the self-righteous Elders in the Realm turn against her. With good and evil before her, she must choose which path she will walk upon and learn the biggest truth of her life. The only difference between a Borrower and a Vampire is hope.

Thanks goes to Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

Gabrian was living an ordinary working life with a loyal best friend, loving parents, and a good job, but things change for Gabrian in the blink of an eye. People in her life are not who she thought they were, the world is not as it seems, and she is not the human she believed she was.

I am not usually a fan of prologues, but this one really piqued my interest. The story didn’t live up to the prologue for the first few chapters, but it did gather momentum and delve into a unique story line of Vampires, Shadow Walkers, and Mages.

I felt the pace was a little off throughout the book. As soon as I thought something was happening, and everything was stepping up a notch, it was followed by slower chapters full of info dumps. The descriptions of the realms and the different types of people and abilities were detailed and well thought through, and the concept and imaginative aspects involved were impressive, however, I would have preferred to have it shown to me in snippets rather than lengthy dialogue.

I am a fan of large character casts with distinct personalities, and this book certainly had a vast array of characters with their own back stories that interweave into Gabrian’s story arc. I can not fault Cook’s character development, or her ability to narrate well rounded relationships, considering the complex world building that takes place within the narrative. However, the book felt considerably lengthy.


 

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: Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins

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Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins 4/5

14328879_1269538459764235_641140964_nRobert Stephenson makes his living burning zombies – a job that pays the bills and plays tricks on the mind. Still, his life is routine until one day his infected wife, Anna, shows up in line for the incinerator, and Rob must cremate the love of his life.

In a race against the clock, he must find his four-year-old son Sammy, who is stranded in a newly quarantined zone, teeming with the walking dead, and crawling with the Necro-Morbus virus.

Does Rob have what it takes to fight the undead and put his broken family back together?

Or will he also end up in the incinerator – burning with the rest of the dead?

I downloaded this book for FREE from Amazon Kindle

Review:

Zombies or ‘Necs’ are a real thing and normal human life carries on around them. There are even companies that incinerate the Necs- Robert works for such a company and is what they call a ‘Burner’. Infection breakouts are common, but quickly maintained. But what happens when they cannot be quickly maintained? When human misjudgment, or empathy for their infected families, or simple idiocy, gets in the way of the greater good?

Jenkins has a knack for shock- not simply by gore, but by cleverly mastered plot twists. I had only read 10% and I already had a ‘wow, I did not see that coming’ moment. Those moments are not sparse. Throughout the book, Jenkins continually surprises the reader.

The narrative was well paced and all the characters were believable. The range of emotions that Robert goes through in his quest to find his son are honest and his character felt well rounded. His character arc developed narturally, and his fatherly instincts take over an otherwise subdued man.

Zombie novels are everywhere and are full of the usual cliche tropes. This book felt different. I can’t put my finger on exactly why it did because there are some of the expected tropes throughout, however, the narrative felt fresh.


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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Book Reviews, Books and Me

If You Like…Maze Runner

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Maze Runner by James Dashner

Blurb: If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

The Last Orphans by N.W.Harris

Blurb: One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world.

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead.



Content and opinions belong to KJ.Chapman

Blurbs and Images sourced from Goodreads.com

Book Reviews, Books and Me, Uncategorized

Review: Feyland: The First Adventure by Anthea Sharp

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Feyland: The First Adventure (a prequel) by Anthea Sharp 2.5/5

14269639_1264856833565731_1283666633_nHigh-tech gaming and ancient magic collide when a computer game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie.

Jennet Carter never thought hacking into her dad’s new epic-fantasy sim-game would be so exciting… or dangerous. Behind the interface, dark forces lie in wait, leading her toward a battle that will test her to her limits and cost her more than she ever imagined.

I downloaded this novella for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

I have not read any of the books in the Feyland series, so I went into the prequel with absolutely no knowledge of the world or narrative. The concept is not an original one; virtual reality game gives user access into another realm, but the descriptions were vivid and brought Feyland to life.

Rather than acting like a prequel in its own right, the whole narrative felt more like a prologue for the Feyland series. There was very little conclusion, and was simply building up to the first book, rather than telling it’s own story completely and fully. There was zero explanation of the ‘game to another realm’ technology, or any meaningful interaction with the Feyland inhabitants. There was, however, backstory on both Jennet and her father.

The book read well, and the elements of reality, Feyland, and gaming were woven together confidently, but I shall not be looking to read the Feyland series.


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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Books and Me

If you like… The Golden Compass

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The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Blurb: Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the alethiometer. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called “Gobblers”—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person’s inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

The Golden Compass (also known as Northern Lights) is the first in His Dark Materials Series.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Blurb: Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death — and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own hidden destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear — and sometimes disappears altogether.

Sabriel is the first of the Abhorsen Series.


Opinions and Content Belongs to KJ.Chapman

Writing and Me

Re-Draft Time

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Even as I was writing Thrown to The Blue, I knew I’d have to re-draft and do some serious editing. Writing multiple POVs for the first time was refreshing, but challenging. I’m pretty sure my re-draft will involve cutting masses of repeated information. Sometimes, I knew I was doing it when I was writing, but I was on such a roll that I thought, ‘Oh well, I’ll leave it until the edit.’ In fact, I thought that a lot.. a lot lot. Wow, this edit is going to be quite the undertaking.

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After I post this, I shall be settling in for the re-draft. I want to dissect my manuscript, swap some chapters around, add a couple, and delete the unnecessary. As of now, I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed until I go through it with a fine tooth comb. I want to play with it and see what works. This could be weeks, if not months, of work, but is vital to my WIP. I know a lot of writers who don’t feel the need to redraft and head straight into an edit. I think a re-draft is an important step of my editing process, but maybe that’s just because I’m a ‘pantser’ and pour everything onto the page to be reworked later.

Do you allow yourself the freedom of a re-draft? Have you got any re-drafting tips that have made the process easier for you?


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

GIF sourced from GIPHY.COM

Writing and Me

Why Are ARCs Important?

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Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, advanced reader copies (ARCs) of your edited manuscript are important. Here is why…

What is an ARC:

ARC is the shortened term for ‘advanced reader copy’. An ARC is a copy of your work that you send out to a group of readers ahead of your publication date.

Note: an ARC copy is not the same as a beta copy. Beta Copies are usually sent out before the final edit to garner constructive feedback during the editing process. ARCs are edited, finished copies of your work that are ready for publication.

Why send an ARC:

  1. ARC reviewers can offer honest feedback before your book is even on the market. You can get a good idea on how well your work has been received
  2. Free promotion. ARC readers tend to be reviewers. Having reviews on blogs, Goodreads, and social media etc is brilliant promotion before publication.  Authors need reviews, plain and simple.

When to send an ARC:

Of course, it would not be an ARC if it wasn’t received in advance of the publication date, however, there are differing opinions as to how early to send an ARC. I have received ARCs up to seven months before publication, and some within two weeks of the release date. Ultimately, it is the choice of the author/publisher. I would not advise sending unedited ARCs, but again, that is personal preference, but please be fair in your time allowance. Give the reader enough time to read and review your work comfortably, unless they specifically agree to last minute reads. 4-8 weeks before publication is acceptable for sending ARCs (especially indie books/ eBooks).

How to find ARC readers:

ARC readers are everywhere, you just have to know where to look for them.

  1. Blog: If you have a blog, do a shout out for ARC readers and reviewers.
  2. Twitter: Write a tweet requesting ARC readers. OR search hashtags such as #bookbloggers #bookreviewer #bookblog etc. You can DM or find blog links to reviewers in your genre.
  3. Social media: Post requests for ARC readers and reviewers on all your platforms.
  4. Research: Use search engines to find book blogs etc. Most book bloggers have review policies for you to study.
  5. Netgalley: You can pay a fee to have your ARC signed up to Netgalley.com. Members can request copies of your work to review.
  6. Friends: Send out copies to honest friends. Make sure they will give you a review. The more reviews the merrier.

Keeping ARC readers for future use:

Once you have found ARC readers, you ideally want to keep them.

  1. Always thank them for reviews, even if it is not the 5* review you wanted!
  2. Reblog/ share their reviews and links. Not only does this help you, but it helps them get traffic to their platforms.
  3. Build a list of trusted reviewers. Ask all of your ARC readers if you can call on them in the future. Avid readers are a valuable assets to all authors.

filth


 Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

GIF sourced from giphy.com

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