Review: 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas

book-review

25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas 3.5/5

17274329_1461615340556545_1676088367_n‘My name is Elkie Bernstein. I live in North Wales and I kill werewolves.’ When Elkie finds herself fighting for her life against something that shouldn’t exist she is faced with the grim reality that werewolves are real and she just killed one. Part diary, part instruction manual Elkie guides the reader through 25 ways you can kill a werewolf, without any super powers, and how she did it.

Review:

Elkie goes from girl nextdoor to werewolf killer by accident. She finds out the truth about her neighbour’s sudden disappearance, and in doing so, starts a weird friendship with a werewolf who decides he wants to play games with her life.

The structure worked well with each of the twenty-five chapters laid out as a method of werewolf killing. Yes, there really are twenty-five ways to kill a werewolf. Some of the methods are ingenius, some are practical, some come as a shock with added gore; most are delivered by farm-hand, Elkie, starting in her teens. Elkie is your ordinary girl-nextdoor type, and out of necessity, she has developed a skill for the ‘sport’. I get the distinct feeling that despite claiming that she has had enough of the twisted games and predators sent her way, it is the only excitement she has in her life, and deep down she feels special to be singled out in such a way.

The story is set in North Wales, and Elkie’s up bringing and home location allow for the bizarre occurances, and more inportantly, the undiscovered disposals. There were a few things that felt a little glossed over: the police’s suspicion of her name popping up a lot, and her weird attraction to Ben. I did, however, enjoy the relationship dynamics with Dave, and how they changed during the course of the novel.

Fans of the paranormal, strong, female protagonists, and of course, werewolves, will enjoy this read.


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: Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins

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Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins 3.5/5

17198856_1455014497883296_844697927_nThere are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.

Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a seventeen year old girl who discovers that she’s immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt’s boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember’s exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she’s a Watcher, a descendant of angels.

While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it’s cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She may be one of the few champions willing to make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.

Review:

Ember is no ordinary human, she is a Watcher. Watchers are descendants of Angels. If there are angels, then there must be demons, right? Right! Sawyer is just that, yet the two can’t fight their feelings for each other. Should they fight it? How will they overcome the divide, protect each other, and ultimately face the end of the world.

The concept may not be original, but I found myself intrigued with the storyline. Twilight fans would love this book, and luckily, Ember is a fiery, strong minded girl, so no Bella Swan damsels here. Phew! The relationship was fast moving, but the nature of the connection allows for this. Another relationship that I enjoyed was that of Ember and Ila. There were clashing personalities, tense/ untrusting moments, and affection, that made the dynamics that much more interesting and believable.

The different POVs were refreshing, allowing us insight into both Ember’s and Sawyer’s mind-set. The last chapter is in a completely different POV, and this has intrigued me greatly.

Can I just mention the cover? It’s a thing of beauty, and although I rarely discuss covers in my reviews, this one definitely grabbed my attention and bumped this read up my TBR pile. This book is suited to YA, paranormal romance fans, and those who like the Twilight Saga.


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 Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 4/5

17078496_1452801474771265_1869332312_nSeconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don’t forget to bring a towel!

Review:

Your friend of many years wants you to drink exactly three pints in the pub, even though your house is about to be torn down. Why? Because the world is about to be demolished, and he’s an alien, planning to hitch hike the both of you off of the doomed planet.

Such wonderful humour and writing style. There are many times where I chuckled to myself at one description or another. Adams has a knack for whimsy and wit, and who’d have thought to mix that with science fiction. He did, and it worked.

That brilliant humour weaves well into the characters too. Within a page, I knew Ford and Arthur’s different personalities like they were old friends of mine; Arthur the fretful, stumbling through life, ordinary guy, and Ford the kooky, alien stranded on Earth for fifteen years. Their dialogue is on point and hilarious. Then, there is Marvin. What a stroke of genius his character is; a depressed robot, who had me laughing the whole way through.

If you like science fiction, want something a little different, and want it jam-packed with humour, then this is the book for you. Just remember to bring your towel.

One of my favourite quotes:

‘Grunthos is reported to have been disappointed by the poem’s reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilisation, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.’


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

February Reads Round Up

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Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier

16443577_1422744914443588_878056584_nFull Review: Frenchman’s Creek.

I gave this book 5/5. Another Du Maurier masterpiece. Pirates, Cornwall, and adventure. Brilliantly written characters and narrative that keeps you enthralled. A healthy dose of danger and macabre. Highly recommended.

 

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

16809103_1436806583037421_1035257087_nFull Review: Old Man’s War.

I gave this book 3.5/5. Interesting concept of space colonisation, elderly recruits given young bodies to fight in the army, and sci-fi by the bucket load. I found the age aspect refreshing; old minds in young bodies.

 

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

16780461_1433774133340666_2063343453_nFull Review: The Hero fo Ages.

I gave this book 5/5. Perfect way to conclude the trilogy. Nothing I say will do this series justice. Epic world building, character development, and narrative progression. A series not to be missed.

 

Suffragette: The Diary of Dottie Baxter by Carol Drinkwater

16707182_1431094340275312_273811952_nFull Review: Suffragette: The Diary of Dollie Baxter.

I gave this book 3/5. I’m not usually one for reading books with a diary excerpt layout as I find them jarring. That being said, this book has long excerpt so its not too choppy. A great way to educate young adults in the Suffragette movement.

 

True Calling by Siobhan Davis

16977056_1445355945515818_1947444955_nFull Review: True Calling

I gave this book 4/5. A new planet to sustain human life, a bizarre, televised, ‘pairing system’ to ensure reproduction, and an enormous dose of deception. The two POVs gave the narrative another dimension, and the love triangle was fun to read. One for Hunger Games and Divergent fans.

 


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Review: True Calling by Siobhan Davis

book-review

True Calling by Siobhan Davis 4/5

16977056_1445355945515818_1947444955_n.jpgFor Ariana Skyee, Planet Novo was everything it promised to be until the authorities introduced “The Calling” as their response to repopulation. Now, all seventeen-year-olds are to participate in this Bachelor-style pageant to find their perfect match, marry, and have children.

But that’s not Ariana’s only concern. Thanks to the government-sanctioned memory erase, she has no recollection of Zane, the mystery boy who haunts her dreams. Things are further complicated when the pageant commences and her feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify. Together, they start to realize not everything about their new home is as it seems.

Entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, Ariana sets out to identify the truth. Conflicted over warnings that Cal isn’t trustworthy and alarmed at the government’s increasing interest in her, she doesn’t know where to turn. But her search for the truth comes at a high personal price. When her world implodes, discovering the past shapes her future with devastating consequences.

Review:

Ariana lives on Planet Novo, a man-made habitat twelve hundred miles from the surface of Earth. Repopulation is taken seriously and The Calling is a bizarre, televised way to pair seventeen year olds with their perfect match to ensure more children.

I started reading this book in 2016, but had to stop due to ARCs and review requests. I picked up where I left off and easily fell back into the story once again.

This book had a strong Hunger Games feel to it- without the killing of the opponants. The us and them (government) factor was a strong, underlying theme. I found The Calling a weird, futuristic way to pair people to repopulate. It’s a unique concept, and I had great fun learning how the system was set up and at what lengths the government would go to ensure it’s success.

That’s not all. Ariana is caught in a love triangle; one that enfolds for Ariana just as much as it does for the reader. What are the government hiding? Ariana has to try and fill in the void of her erased memories and keep those feelings separate from her current feelings. The narrative is well paced and kept me engaged until the end. I want to say more, but I must refrain from spoilers.

The two POVs added an interesting dynamic to the narrative. I enjoyed Zane’s perspective, although, I did feel like I was getting double doses of the same information from time to time.

Fans of the Hunger Games and Divergent will enjoy True Calling immensely.


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: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

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Old Man’s War by John Scalzi 3.5/5

16809103_1436806583037421_1035257087_nWith his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry’s service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens.

The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring their youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including a brain-implanted computer. But all too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry must fight for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds.

Review:

I have been neglecting my sci-fi reads of late. I wanted something to get me thinking, take me on an adventure in space, and surprise me at every turn. Old Man’s war has a fantastic concept: take old people, give them a new body, but on one condition… they are part of a space army, and their youth comes at a price.

During the first one hundred pages or so, I could easily stop and start this book. Sometimes, going days between reading it, helped me to get back into the story when I found the time. That being said, it did pick up, and I read the remainder of the book much more quickly.

Scalzi’s imagination is broad and a wonder to read. I wanted sci-fi and I got sci-fi by the bucket load. The characters were refreshing; the older generation- even after they swap bodies- still had seventy-five year old, wise minds. It was a fun mix of old and young. And what would you do if you were seventy-five and suddenly in a younger body…Oh, they did! Lots!

The overall narrative was fast paced. The beginning was a little slower, but the real action started at about chapter seven. We follow Perry through his transformation, through combat, through injury, and through an unexpected encounter. The story progression was well thought out and paced. Scalzi has woven a thought provoking, sci-fi tale that readers, whether eighteen or eighty, can enjoy.


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: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

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The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson 5/5

16780461_1433774133340666_2063343453_nTricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world.This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson’s saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility.

Review:

By now, you all know what I think of Sanderson- master storyteller and narrative God! Yet, again he hasn’t failed to disappoint. What a conclusion. What a gut wrenching, heart breaking, euphoric, awe inspiring, way to end a series. Damn you, Sanderson. You both enthrall me and break my heart. There were times when I wanted to put the book in the freezer. We’ve all been there.

I can’t talk about this book without reviewing it as a whole in regards to the trilogy. Everything has finality, I felt satisfied with the conclusion, and I am glad that my husband encouraged me to start this series. Small characters in book one, naturally develop into important characters by book three. Don’t get me started on the amazing character development throughout. Of course, Vin and Elend are legendary to me, but Sazed, Spook, Marsh. As a writer, I have serious character envy. As a reader, I love them all.

At about 95%, one sentence made up of six words had me sobbing like a baby. Just a pre-warning.

I always rave about Sanderson’s world building because it is fully submersive. It envelops you in a reading bubble that is hard to pop, even when you have finished the book. I can’t wait to read book four. Book four is based on different characters in the same world, and although my heart hurts a little at the prospect of reading on without my much loved characters, I know I can’t miss out on Sanderson’s newbies.

The Mistborn series is not to be missed. Just telling you about it doesn’t do it justice.


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: Suffragette: The Diary of Dollie Baxter by Carol Drinkwater

book-review

Suffragette: The Diary of Dollie Baxter by Carol Drinkwater 3/5

16707182_1431094340275312_273811952_n18th June, 1910
We marched from the Embankment to the Albert Hall. It was a glorious day. The sun shone warmly. Everyone was in good spirits. There were aristocrats, artists, even my mother looked happy. She who has been so opposed to my work with the WSPU. More than 10,000 people had rallied and there were dozens of bands playing. It was quite incredible. We waved banners, carried flowers, sang along with the tunes. Hundreds who have been imprisoned for our Cause marched together in a powerful band. It was all very rousing of spirit. I felt proud to be a woman, proud to be alive, proud to be a part of a movement that is fighting to make a difference.

Review:

Although Dollie and her diary are fictional, Drinkwater uses factual people and events of the Suffragette movement in London. If it was a historical fiction story without the diary layout, I would have preferred it more. I’m not a huge lover of diary narratives, and prefer them to be real memoirs, not fictional. That being said, it is an absorbing way to learn about the Suffragette movement, especially for the young adult audience it is targeted at.

I already know quite a lot about the events in this book and believe Drinkwater has integrated them with Dollie’s life and experiences masterfully. As a child, Dollie, by sheer good fortune, is plucked from a life of poverty and taken in by Lady Violet. Her background story makes her need to join the WSPU all that more believable. At just fourteen, she joins the WSPU, and her reactions and frustrations to certain events, unpassed bills, and treatment of the political prisoners are replicated in the reader.

In summary, an informative read to educate young adult readers in the Suffragette movement in London.


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: Surviving the Evacuation- London by Frank Tayell

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Surviving the Evacuation: London by Frank Tayell 3.5/5

16244543_1412295095488570_460018345_n.jpgThe outbreak started in New York. Within days the infection had spread to every corner of the world. Nowhere is safe from the undead…

Bill watched from his window as London was evacuated. His leg broken, he is unable to join the exodus. Turning to his friends in the government, he waits and hopes for rescue. As the days turn into weeks, realising inaction will lead only to starvation and death, his thoughts turn to escape.

Forced to leave the safety of his home he ventures out into the undead wasteland that once was England, where he will discover a horrific secret.

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

Bill is an advisor to his MP friend, Jennifer. A broken leg has him confined to his apartment during a zombie infection outbreak. Jen promised to get him to safety, but the car that was sent was attacked and the driver was killed. Bill’s story is built upon the journals of his confinement from just before the London evacuation to about 3 months after.

The first part of the book is pretty much Bill moaning, moping, and waiting to be rescued. His poor survival skills and the insights into how he passes the time were building blocks to show his mind set and how it changes with the realisation that he is well and truly left to his own devices. He isn’t a man who takes well to manual work, and you quickly learn that he isn’t courageous, but he is intelligent and knows a lot about the evacuation, the early days of the outbreak, and what has/ may have gone wrong during the evacuation and containment.

Persevere through the first part, and I promise, the book picks up.

The author has thought out different government tactics during such an incident, and I found it all extremely fascinating. I cannot fault the detail woven into the evacuation plans and the realism this creates.

There is something different about this book, and it’s hard to put my finger on. Considering that I didn’t really like Bill and the narrative isn’t action based, I found myself turning the pages and wanting to know the conclusion. Whether it was the realism, his intellect, or the need to see if boring Bill toughened up and survived, I am hopeful for the next books in the 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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Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) 4.5/5

15134323_1338992029485544_897708356_n.jpgTold in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Review:

Kvothe is legendary. His name is both praised and feared. Now, living the quiet life as an inn keeper, Kvothe finally tells his own story to the Chronicler. He details his life growing up with the Troupe, the heartbreaking loss of his family, his life on the streets, and then his time at the University; a school of magic.

Rothfuss is a fine story teller; vivid descriptions, subtle dialogue, and masterful world building. There is not a sound you can’t hear, a sight you can’t see, or a taste you can’t taste. The writing drags you into Kvothe’s life as a Troupe boy, a street urchin, and a young magic scholar in search of answers about his family’s slaughter. There is a poetic beauty to the prose that seems to spill effortlessly from Rothfuss’ hand.

The characters have a quiet realism. It’s the only way I can describe it. There is a subtle, dignity in how Rothfuss creates believable, relatable characters. You don’t even realise how gently these characters seep into the whole reading experience, yet the character development over the course of the story is well executed.

The first 100 or so pages were a little slow going, and you need to plow through them to get a full taste of the true story, and I am so glad that I did. I highly recommend this book, and I am thankful to have received book two, A Wise Man’s Fear as a Christmas gift.


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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