ARC Review: Heralding by Faith Rivens

book-review

Heralding by Faith Rivens 5/5.

6tag_201117-052007Life was simple for Eléonore when her biggest concerns were hunting demons, stacking shelves, and pulling off the single mother gig.

But that was before the night at the Citadelle two months ago. The night when she killed an Elder sorcerer. The night she discovered her own destructive powers.

Now Eléonore’s life is defined by questions of will…

Will her dangerous powers and Iníonaofa heritage ever be explained to her?
Will her son’s father make a reappearance in her life?
Will her son discover the terrible truth of her nighttime hunts?
Will the demon who offered her protection come for her due?

With chaos brewing in Daemoniar—the demon realm—and a tyrannical group on the rise, one thing is for certain…

Eléonore’s about to stumble into a whole new hellhole of trouble.

My thanks goes to the author for sending me a free ARC copy of this book.

Review:

I always worry that I’ll be disappointed when I read the sequel to a book I really enjoyed, but those worries were unfounded in regards to Heralding. Eleonore is back with just as much sass, demon ass-kicking skills, and mothering as in book one. The story progressed beautifully from the end of book one, and yet again, Rivens’ writing is brilliant.

I found the growth of Etienne was mastered effortlessly. He is witty, humourous, and mature, but still holds that innocent, naive heart of a child. That is all thanks to Eleonore’s protection of him. As I said in my review of book one, Eleonore really speaks to me as a mother, and I found myself anxiously sitting on the edge of my seat and getting appropriately angry when anything or anyone so much as spoke of Etienne in a way I didn’t like. It is rare to find a book with a demon hunting protag who is also a fully involved parent.

The cast of sub characters are all well rounded with distinctive voices and play vital roles in the progression of the narrative whether big or small. I enjoyed the blurring of the line between good and evil as it allowed for some shock twists and relationship dynamics.

If you haven’t jumped on this series, I recommend you get your hands on book one, Eleonore, and pre-order Heralding right now.


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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5 in 1 Review: Christmas Stories

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 A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce 3/5

21078618A quick, christmassy read with humour and relatable characters. The christmas rules that kept popping up (pretty much after Ruth made mistakes or bad calls) were a hilarious touch. I didn’t understand the purpose of Gideon or why she was dating him, but the other characters made for a dynamic family.

Stories for Christmas by Various Authors 3/5

51WNG1NQZRL._SY346_This book is advertised as a free sampler of Christmas stories, but I was shocked to find them imcomplete. It was just a marketing ploy to get the readers to buy the complete story which felt a little cheap. The stories were well written, but there wasn’t a huge Christmassy vibe about them. I won’t be buying the full stories.

Twelve Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep 4/5

61l23Qxe-ML._SY346_An intriguing Christmas, romance mystery. The concept is well conceived and written, and you find yourself sucked into the story/era. There is a definite Dickens and Christie vibe to this story.

 

Santa Baby, I Want a Bad Boy for Christmas by Justine Elvira 3/5

51-Xss1A6EL.jpgGunnar’s character stole the show in this book. I would have liked the book to have been from his POV. There are steamy scenes, but as for narrative, I wanted a little more believability. I don’t mind insta-love if done well, but a few nights together, and then declaring feelings felt forced.

A White Hot Christmas by Adrianne James 3/5

5103uATGDmL._SY346_You can’t go wrong with a Christmas read that involves a hunky fire-fighter. This story was a quick, steamy read, but that abrupt ending didn’t offer much in the way of a conclusion. Could have done with being longer.

 


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

October Reads Round Up

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Nightmare Waiting & Other Stories by Glenn McGoldrick

34363048Not reviewed on my blog.

I gave this book 2/5. Not my cup of the tea. The stories, although original, lacked conclusion.

After Dark by Mikey Campling

34463271Full Review: After Dark.

I gave this book 3/5. This book had an interesting concept. I enjoyed the various POVs and how they linked up at the end of the narrative. It’s not often that you get the POV of an animal. I can’t say I found the story particularly scary.

Three Men and a Maybe by Katie Lovell

32934016Full Review: Three Men and a Maybe.

I gave this book 4/5. An enjoyable, sweet read. Three proposals, three backstories, and one decision. The narrative had a satisfying, believable ending.

The Apple Orchard by Veronica Henry

34792318Full Review: Apple Orchard.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A bittersweet story that makes you think about the value of life and who is really rich in this world. The ending felt a little abrupt, but the story is thought provoking.

Out of the Shadows by Dana Fraedrich

6tag_011017-072256Full Review: Out of the Shadows.

I gave this book 4.5/5. The worldbuilding in this steampunk dystopia is extensive and thorough. The characters are well developed, and the sub plots run smoothly alongside Lenore’s story. I enjoyed the way the line between right and wrong is blurred in regards to fighting the ‘good fight’. Rook was a favourite of mine.

Wardens of Archos by Sarina Langer

6tag_081017-065905Full Review: Wardens of Archos.

I gave this book 4.5/5. This book carries on effortlessly from book one. The relationship dynamics are fresh and raw, and new characters have me intrigued. That plot twist was a ‘why didn’t I see that coming?’ moment, and has left me desperate for book three.

Hawaiian Heartbreak by Libby Cole

6tag_251017-060703Full Review: Hawaiian Heartbreak.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A blossoming romance, steamy scenes, and relatable characters. The ending was a little abrupt and had no conclusion for my taste. However, I enjoyed this short read, and look forward to reading the rest in the series.

The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright

6tag_291017-044708Full Review: The Manningtree Account.

I gave this book 4.5/5. A well written blend of past and present. The creepy supernatural element of this book draws on the historical facts of the witch burnings. A quick, halloween read that certainly throws a curve ball ending.

Rising by Brian Rella

6tag_301017-055309Full Review: Rising.

I gave this book 3/5. Perfect for Halloween with lots of gore and violence. Some unbelievable character choices, but this may have been to progress the narrative in a short period of time. More explanation and slower pacing would have helped the believability.

 


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Review: Rising by Brian Rella

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Rising (Second Death Novella 0.5) by Brian Rella 3/5.

6tag_301017-055309When fourteen-year-old Jessie steals a book from the eclectic book shop in her sleepy home town of Beauchamp, Louisiana, she unleashes one of the Fallen, Arraziel, and takes revenge on her tormentors.

But Jessie also awakened an ancient evil imprisoned in the Realm of the Second Death. Now a group of supernatural guardians must stop her and the bloodthirsty creature she has awakened before it can return.

Review:

This prequel can be read in one sitting and takes the reader on an intense, supernatural journey via various POVs. The pacing is fast, and where this is important for building suspense, it needed to slow down a little at the end.

I wasn’t so much scared as I was freaked out by the intense level of gore and violence. I liked Jessie’s character to begin with, and her home life made sense with how she was feeling, but the mild tempered, bullied girl has a one hundred and eighty degree personality twist without full explanation. I would have liked the influence over her to be explained a little more to make the narrative a little more believable.

Baring in mind that this is a prequel to a larger series, I am intrigued to see what characters and narrative the author has carried forward, and hopefully garner a little more insight into Arraziel.

A gory, Halloween read that is not for the squeamish.


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: The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright

book-review

The Manningtree Account by Becky Wright 4.5/5.

6tag_291017-0447081646 – A time of English Civil War, when life is cheap, death common and superstition consumes the hearts of God-fearing folk. The life of a healer is precarious, dwelling in the shadows of normal society. Ostracised, their time running out as the self-appointed Witchfinder General scours the countryside for the Devil’s whores…

2016 – One dark night, one sleepy town, one family gripped by terror. The EAPI paranormal team are called to investigate dark poltergeist activity. But, as the eternal night finally loosens its grip, it seems that some evil deeds are never forgotten, reaching out from beyond the grave to exact their revenge…

Review:

I’m glad I picked this novella as my Halloween read. I was equally creeped out and intrigued by this ghost story that draws on the historical facts of the witch burnings. Knowing the truth of Matthew Hopkins – the Witchfinder General –  makes this tale all the more chilling.

The flitting between past and present is well written, and the suspense built in intensity over the course of the novella. That ending was something of a curve ball that had me thinking a little more about the characters, especially the outcome for Alex.

Try this novella if you are after a quick, chilling read that blends historical truths with the supernatural.


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: Hawaiian Heartbreak by Libby Cole

book-review

Hawaiian Heartbreak by Libby Cole 3.5/5

6tag_251017-060703.jpgWhen do you admit a holiday fling is so much more?

Kayla’s always been scared to push her boundaries and take a risk. But it turns out all she needed was a scumbag ex-boyfriend to send her running to Hawaii, hoping to pull the shattered pieces of her heart back together while sunning herself on a white sand beach.

What she hadn’t planned on was falling for someone new. Especially someone tall, tanned, and distractingly sexy. Soon sparks and puns are flying, and Kayla is introduced to a whole new way of appreciating Hawaii’s beautiful scenery. But what starts out as a fun holiday romance turns into a full-blown love affair, with neither wanting to admit the clock is ticking until Kayla has to return home.

Review:

Kayla holidays solo to fulfil her ambition of embracing life after her break up with her long term boyfriend. Little did she know she’d fall into the arms of a handsome tour guide.

This is my type of romance read: blossoming romance, steamy scenes, and characters to root for. Both Kayla and Jay are relatable, and as the fling turns into something more, you can’t shake that pang in your chest for the moment the holiday is over. I was a little apprehensive to reach the conclusion. Will it end when Kayla has to go home?

My only niggle was the abrupt ending and lack of conclusion. I’m all for cliffhangers, but this felt like neither cliffhanger nor a conclusion of some sort. It just left the reader in the middle of an unresolved row. Readers have to read the next in the series to get a conclusion for book one.

If you like swept off your feet, holiday romances, and don’t mind explicit sex scenes, then I highly recommend this novella.


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

Blog Tour: Wardens of Archos by Sarina Langer

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Today, Sarina Langer is stopping by Writerly Bookish Stuff on her blog tour for her new release, Wardens of Archos. I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of book two in the Relics of Ar’Zac series, and what a sequel it was! There is also a HUGE announcement in this post. SQUEEE! I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you on Writerly Bookish Stuff!

36184683Once a despised street rat, now the reigning queen of Rifarne, Rachael is at the centre of everyone’s attention. All she wants is a few peaceful moments to herself—

but her kingdom has other plans.

The Tramuran ambassador unnerves her.

The Krymistian lady is hiding something.

A Mist Woman brings her a gift, and a warning: Aeron’s death has released the Dark One’s shades into the world. And Rachael, as the only living seer in existence, is the only one who can stop him before he destroys everything she’s beginning to cherish. But can Rachael trust the Mist Woman, or is Kaida just another sorceress playing with her life?

There’s a chance that answers are hidden beneath the ancient Krymistian ruins of Archos.

If only she could be sure that her nightmares of Cephy are just that, and not something darker…

Rachael is running out of time. The shadows are coming, and their claws are reaching for her.

Get your copy here: Amazon

Check it out on Goodreads here: Goodreads

I wanted to know a little more about Sarina’s journey from book one to book two, and I’m sure you do too. Guess what? I threw some questions Sarina’s way, and she is here to answer them today.

Congratulations on the release of book two in the Relics of Ar’Zac series. How does it feel to have two books out in the wild?

Pretty good, Kay. Pretty good.
I’m excited and nervous and scared to see what the first reviews made of it, so I’m feeling all the things, but it feels even stranger that I’ll be writing Book 3 in this trilogy next month. This time next year this whole trilogy might be over! I’m so relieved to have reached this point with Wardens – there was a point during the second monster edit where the work seemed never-ending – but that my first trilogy might well be over in another year is what really awes me. I’ll have written and published a whole trilogy. Me! A WHOLE TRILOGY!

You hear writers speak of ‘second book syndrome’. Did you experience this at all? Was the sequel harder to write than book one?

The opposite was true for this one, actually! I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote Sparrows (I expect this will still be true to some extent when I die aged 120 on some beautiful distant planet (science in the future is advanced, okay?) but I learned so much doing it, and I put all that new knowledge into Wardens. By the time I edited Wardens, I’d written the first draft of Darkened Light which I think is my strongest one yet, so everything I learned doing that went into editing Wardens. I’ve put a lot into it and I already knew a few things that needed to happen from Book 1, like advancing Cale and Rachael’s relationship.

What has been the best experience during your Wardens of Archos journey?

Hmmm, this is difficult. I’d say the #bookstagram community has been the most enjoyable part for me, I swoon every time I see a picture of my book. That’s closely followed by the feedback my critique partners and editor gave me during the developmental round. Edits are tough, all the more so on your own books, but their feedback made me realise that I had something good, and they helped me shape it further. It wouldn’t be the same book without them.

Will you share a teaser from book two, Wardens of Archos?

Gladly! This is one of my favourite scenes. Kaida explains the Midokan creation myth to Rachael:

  “Legend claims that, a long time ago when the world was new, magic was in all things. But there was an abundance of it, and it leaked out of nature, for the world could not hold it. This leak created beings strong enough to hold that much power, and it gave them wings so they could watch over the world like no other.”

   Rachael frowned. “You believe in dragons?”

   “Of course not. Dragons went extinct a long time ago, but this is only a legend, remember? Who can say how much truth it holds.”

   Rachael doubted it held any, but didn’t want to interrupt further. Ridiculous as the legend sounded, she became more interested in it the more Kaida told her.

   “The leak supplied the dragons with too much power, and some became greedy. They sucked the magic out of all things until there was nothing left, and nature shrivelled and died. But not all dragons craved more. They fought those who did, and a fierce battle raged for many years. Many dragons died. Those who were content with what they had outnumbered those who wanted more, and finally, after seven hundred years, the last greedy dragon was slaughtered.

   “Their magic leaked out of their bodies once more, and returned to the world. Where the soil had dried up before rivers now ran clear, and where the ground had died new life sprang forth. Eventually, people evolved from the magic that had returned to the world, and therefore everyone holds at least a small amount of the gift inside them. While not all wish to use it, or know how to, magic is in all of us. The dragons fought for peace, and equality. That is what we believe and what we wish to achieve.”

What do you have in store for the future? Is book three in the pipeline?

Book 3 will be a NaNo baby. I participated for the first time last year and loved it so much I had to come back! I’m even hosting prep sessions on my blog this month! I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by the time I go on a long, tea-filled break in December. Then in January, I’ll be writing the prequel novella. There’s just so much history I can’t explain in the trilogy, like why the old sorcerers destroyed their home and all knowledge with it. I’m hoping to publish both late 2018, but at some point before that I’ll be writing the sequel to Darkened Light. And of course I’ll be publishing Darkened Light in Spring.

I haven’t shared this with anyone yet, but since I’ll need to name my NaNo project soon anyway, there’s really no need to keep it a secret – Book 3 will be called (drum roll, please, if you would)…

drumroll1

Blood of the Dragon

Thank you so much for having me, Kay! It’s always a pleasure to stop by.

It is always a pleasure to have you. A huge congratulations on the release of Wardens of Archos, and I shall be seeing you again tomorrow for your guest post on bullet journals. I can’t wait!


Author PictureSarina is the author of the Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy. The first book in the series, Rise of the Sparrows, was released in late May 2016. She’s currently working on the sequel and a new fantasy duology.

She’s obsessed with books and all things stationery, has a proud collection of over twenty notebooks, and squees every time she buys a new notebook, pens (hmmm, fountain pens <3) or highlighters.

In her free time she reads fantasy and sci-fi novels, plays video games, and researches human sacrifice traditions and the end of the universe.

Where to find Sarina & her books:

Website & Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Pinterest

Newsletter


For use of content in this post, permissio0n must be sought from the author, Sarina Langer

 

 

 

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3 in 1 Review: Short Stories

book-review

After Dark by Mikey Campling 3/5

This book had an interesting concept. I enjoyed the various POVs and how they linked up at the end of the narrative. It’s not often that you get the POV of an animal. I can’t say that I found this story scary, and I’m a big wuss.

Three Men and a Maybe by Katey Lovell 4/5

Three proposals, three back stories, and only one can get a yes. I enjoyed this short and sweet story. There was no competition in my eyes. It was obvious who Cerys should accept, and I’m glad she didn’t give a definite yes. The lucky guy has a year to prove that he means what he said. A feel good, romantic tale that can be read in one sitting.

The Apple Orchards by Veronica Henry 3.5/5

A short, bittersweet read. The narrative follows a man who is down on his luck and how the locals feel about him. There is a powerful message about greed, helping neighbours, and how society treat people living in poverty. Does a lack of material possessions constitute poverty? Are you rich if you’re contented with your little slice of life?


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

 

 

ARC Review: Wardens of Archos by Sarina Langer

book-review

Wardens of Archos (Relics of Ar’Zac #2)  by Sarina Langer 4.5/5

6tag_081017-065905Once a despised street rat, now the reigning queen of Rifarne, Rachael is at the centre of everyone’s attention. All she wants is a few peaceful moments to herself—

but her kingdom has other plans.

The Tramuran ambassador unnerves her.

The Krymistian lady is hiding something.

A Mist Woman brings her a gift, and a warning: Aeron’s death has released the Dark One’s shades into the world. And Rachael, as the only living seer in existence, is the only one who can stop him before he destroys everything she’s beginning to cherish. But can Rachael trust the Mist Woman, or is Kaida just another sorceress playing with her life?

There’s a chance that answers are hidden beneath the ancient Krymistian ruins of Archos.

If only she could be sure that her nightmares of Cephy are just that, and not something darker…

Rachael is running out of time. The shadows are coming, and their claws are reaching for her.

Thank you to the author for providing me with an ARC copy.

Review:

Langer is back with a bang. I have been patiently anticipating book two after devouring book one. Rachael finds herself dealing with her new role as queen, assassins, prophecy, dark magic, and awkwardness with Cale. I loved the awkwardness, it only heightened my need for them to grow and strengthen their relationship in the long run. I was a sucker for their relationship dynamic in book one, and book two played on that beautifully.

The world building is brilliant, and Langer’s writing style is incredibly visual. I could easily picture battles, the differing Kingdoms, and most importantly, those relentless Mothers. I was not left wanting in all things fantastical.

The relationship dynamics between Rachael and the sub characters were fresh and raw. Not knowing who to trust, following her gut, and developing friendships despite her self-doubt added more depth to the narrative. Kaida was a fast favourite of mine, despite Rachael’s frequent misgivings. I’m also intrigued by Reeve. More from him in book three, please.

There was a little repetition toward the start of the book, but I understand the purpose was to bring elements of book one forward to refresh the reader’s memory. The ending was brilliantly paced, and I was highly impressed with the revelation that I didn’t see coming, but upon looking back, I realised the clues were there all along.


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: Out of the Shadows by Dana Fraedrich

book-review

Out of the Shadows by Dana Fraedrich 4.5/5

6tag_011017-072256When the Allens rescue Lenore from certain torment, she’s offered a new life, a life that can save her from the underworld of crime in which she’s forced to live. The universe is keeping score, however, and Lenore isn’t the only one caught in this web of debt. Can she truly escape her past when it comes to find her or will she be drawn back into the darkness?

Homeless, orphaned, living in secret as a thief–Lenore Crowley just wants to survive, but the city of Springhaven has no sympathy for cases such as hers. She chose her path, and the consequences are hers alone. Being caught would mean certain death; her odds of survival are beginning to look bleak. When she meets the Allens, she’s offered a new life. In a world where debts and oaths carry very real weight, however, this second chance comes at a price. Lives entangle, and Lenore soon find that her secrets aren’t so secret. Someone is looking for her, someone who knows who she really is. One wrong move and everything around her might fall.

Review:

Steampunk is not usually my genre of choice, but after reading Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer, I jumped at the chance to read Dana Fraedrich’s Out of the Shadows. Fraedrich’s worldbuilding is extensive. The world of enforcers, thieves, magic, oaths, the old world- new world dynamic, and the society, is carefully woven together to bring a strong visual and emotional element to the reader.

The characters were well-rounded and distinctive. Rook was the character to keep me intrigued, even more so than mysterious Kieran. No spoilers, but I like me some Rook. Lenore’s character had that anxious, never fully relaxed edge to her that suited her personality and circumstance brilliantly.

Fraedrich’s prose is smooth and easy to read. Questions are answered, and then more are peppered into the plot. I enjoy reads that don’t give everything away in one swoop. The sub plots running alongside Lenore’s main narrative were subtly guided along without hindering the reading experience. The pacing at the start was a little slow, and it took me a while to get into the meat of the story, but once you’re in, the pace picks up, and you’re sucked into Lenore’s world.

Do you like steampunk, strong main characters, and fabulous worldbuilding? Then, this is the book for you.


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