Book Reviews, Books and Me

ARC Review: Taste the Dark by Nicola Rose

Taste the Dark by Nicola Rose 4/5

39317106Jess

I killed my parents. I didn’t mean to, I don’t think. I can’t really remember.

I can’t remember much from the years that followed either, other than an endless stream of bad decisions, generally involving alcohol, drugs and bad boys. My new job in a new town signified a turning point – time to sort myself out.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the 6ft package of brooding, inked-up perfection who started stalking me. And don’t even mention the equally hot brother crawling under my skin…

They radiate danger, it flows around them like a seductive spell; and danger is my favourite word.

Zac

I was doing a pretty good job at balancing on the fine line between light and dark, blurring the edges and living in the grey. But then dead vampires started piling up around me and the Bael gave me a ticking countdown to fix it.

Now she’s arrived. Four seconds – the moment I saw her – that’s how long it took to know that she’d simultaneously bring heaven and hell to my door. I don’t even know what she is, but I know I crave her.

Falling for a human girl has left me teetering on the verge of collapse. This could be just the ammo my brother needs to nudge me over the edge and into oblivion.

Taste the Dark is out 30-4-18! Preorder your copy here.

Review:

After reading Rose’s novella, Breaking the Gladiator, I had no fears about my liking this novel. The effortless writing style, steamy and dark scenes, and captivating narrative made this book a quick, enthralling read. The paranormal elements were handled with the right dose of darkness and believability.  Vampires have been overdone on the indie scene of late, but a fresh, exciting take on the mythical creatures is always a great find.

I can’t say I particularly liked Jess’ character at first, but her extroverted ways complimented the narrative and made her choices believeable. The love triangle was intriguing for sure. There is a Vampire Diaries vibe to this aspect of the story. It was a case of how dark is too dark in your chosen love interest. Well, I know whose team I’m on.

This is a lengthy read and a little slow moving, but the story is just as important as the romance.

Book two is out soon, so there is no need to twiddle our thumbs waiting for more from Jess and Zac.


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

Review: Turning Grace by J.Q. Davis

book review

Turning Grace by J.Q. Davis 3/5
26845678.jpg

Life or death?
It all seems to be the same for Grace…

Some of us have been there before — falling for the hot, popular jock who just so happens to be dating the hot, popular girl in school.

Your snarky-but-always-right bestie insists you make a move, but you’re not so much into putting yourself out there.

Then it happens, and suddenly you find yourself eating a cat on your neighbor’s porch.

No? Never happened to you?

Well, Grace Watkins can’t say the same. Her hunger is growing with each day that passes and her urges are getting harder to control.
No one can explain why her body is changing, except one man.

Review:

A zombie book that follows a teen injected with a untested serum as a child and the deterioration of her body and mind ever since.

It’s unusual to find a zombie book that doesn’t have an ‘outbreak’ or a virus that can be passed on through a bite. It was interesting to see the methods Davis thought up for Grace’s mother to use in order to maintain her daughter’s ignorance to what she truly was, and the repercussions of not explaining the situation to Grace when things start going severely south.

Some niggles I had were Grace’s naivety and Tristan’s utter acceptance. Insta-love is a well used trope in some YA stories, and maybe teens will find this book and the relationship dynamics more believable.


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, Books and Me

Review: 1984 by George Orwell

book review

1984 by George Orwell 3/5
5470

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.

Review:

I’ve been meaning to read 1984 for a while. Of course, I knew of the concept (who doesn’t?), but there’s nothing like reading it for yourself. This review will probably sound cliche, but hey, I agree with the general concensus: ahead of its time, transcends generations, and is scarily familiar in 2018. That doesn’t mean I was overly enthralled in the narrative, more in awe of Orwell’s foresight.

This is a book that has a permanent place on the dystopian shelf as a founder and fore-runner in the genre. Orwell’s imagination is expansive and convincing.

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”

How chilling is that?


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, Books and Me

Review: Crescent Moon by James Fahy

book review

Crescent Moon (Phoebe Harkness #2) by James Fahy 5/5

30628688What do you do when your world is turned upside down? When you discover your father had a direct hand in the genocide of much of the world’s human population?

Phoebe Harkness’ life has changed forever. Thirty years after a cataclysmic world war that eviscerated one third of the human population, a new sub-species of vampire-like drones has set its teeth to the survivors of humanity. They’re not the only ones: ‘Genetic Others’ such as vampires, werewolves and more roam the streets of New Oxford, trying – and sometimes failing – to live peacefully amongst humankind.

But that is all about to change.

A spate of serial killings have occurred, rocking the already fragile ecosystem of New Oxford. Brutal murders and mutilation are now commonplace.

Phoebe must get to work. She is named as liaison between the Genetic Others and the Cabal, the ruling order of the walled city. She must negotiate with the Tribals, a subset of werewolves cast aside by the cultural hegemony of the Cabal. But before she can make any progress with the Tribal leader, Kane, she learns of more murders – and three missing students. And Kane’s daughter is among the missing…

One of the victims leaves a message in blood: ‘Crescent Moon’.

Now Phoebe must act urgently with the help of Kane and her former paramour, vampire Allesandro to track down the culprit of these horrific killings. But who is conducting all of these strange happenings behind the scenes? And what does it have to do with the Crescent Moon…?

Review:

Now, I have some decisions to make. Whose team am I on? After book one, I declared I was a Helsing, but what is the equivalent for Tribals? Alessandro or Kane, hmmmm? Do I even have to choose.

Okay, back to the review.

Crescent Moon certainly lived up to Hell’s Teeth. The characters and relationships that were already established in book one, grow in depth in book two. The introduction of Kane and the Tribals offered a whole other dynamic to Phoebe’s world in New Oxford.

Phoebe is still out of her depth and thrust into life threatening situations by Cabal despite her ‘condition’ that is growing worse by the day. I’m glad to see she still has her sense of humour. My new favourite character is Chase Pargate. I loved his distinctive voice. Finding out who he was/ how he was kept the pages turning. In fact, all the subplots and back story are excellently woven into the main narrative to keep us guessing until the end.

As many questions are posed as are answered. I shall just sit here eagerly awaiting book three.


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, Books and Me

ARC Review: Carl by Brianna West

book review

Carl (Guardians in Love #4) by Brianna West 5/5

28280106_226883474546089_5362592180987135567_n.jpgCarl, twin of Bernie and respected Promiscus Guardian on Lucas’ notorious team, has spent over a decade in love with a man who will never return his affections. Heartbroken from his unrequited love, he assists another team in an effort to get away. However, an unexpected development with two of the Guardians leads to a love triangle he isn’t equipped to deal with. And when a Guardian he thought dead appears, Carl is dragged into a world of trouble.

Can he figure out the reason for the sudden appearance of an old companion while combatting the affections of two men? Or will the pressure be too much for him and force him to flee?

Can Carl truly love with his heart completely torn to pieces? Or will the risk of another heartbreak make it not a risk worth taking?

Review:

This is possibly the longest I have had to wait for a new release from West, but it was totally worth it. I was excited to hear that this love story would be Carl’s. Level-headed, reliable Carl. Seriously, Carl needed someone special in his life.

This is West’s first same sex relationship story. I was expecting it, as although Carl’s preference wasn’t really discussed in the Promiscus Guardians series, it was kind of obvious who he had the hots for. This spin-off was definitely another steamy hit from West.

Carl’s character development was well rounded and continued from what we knew of him in the Promiscus Guardians Series. It was great to see him come out of his shell and garner a different outlook on love. The love triangle was complicated, and put Carl totally out of his comfort zone, but without it, I doubt he’d have discovered his true feelings toward a certain someone.

The storyline focussed not only on the love triangle, but on a person from his past, and Carl’s need to help them back to the Light. The history of that relationship clearly had a profound effect on him, and mixing that with the new relationships added a depth to Carl’s story, fears, and decisions. As a reader I felt satisfied with Carl’s conclusion and growth as a character.


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, Books and Me

Review: Awaken by G.R. Thomas

book review

Awaken by G.R. Thomas 4/5

27822669.jpgSOME PEOPLE AREN’T DESTINED TO BE ORDINARY.
With a special gift held close to her heart, it was always going to be hard for Sophia Woodville to live an ordinary life.
As a 20 year old nursing grad, she thought she had her future all sorted.
However, destiny was about to intervene.
Her secret was not so secret. The gift she possessed was just a hint of something far beyond her wildest imagination.
Sophia will be pulled, kicking and screaming, into an unseen, ancient world that challenges all that she thought to be true of herself, her family and the origins of humanity.
Original sin, forbidden love and her life in constant danger.
Will Sophia survive this dark twist of fate?
Will the devil be her saviour?
Will an Angel be her downfall?

Review:

This book definitely has a lot of religious and mythical subtext, but Thomas has taken these elements and worked them into a unique, fantasy story of angels, satans, and higher beings. Don’t worry if you shy away from books with religious tones, as this is definitely a fantasy. However, Sophia’s story really does make you question what is out there.

There is a wealth of interesting characters and beings, and the world building is well researched and woven into the narrative. Sophia is a relatable character, thrust into a strange world where she is of most importance. A few times, I did question Sophia’s naivety and the way she didn’t want to hear the truth at first. I guess that’s because I’m the opposite character and wouldn’t be satisfied until I knew everything and anything of relevance as soon as the need arose.

The book felt very lengthy and this is partly down to the slow pace at the beginning laced with lots of info dumps, but once you are into the story, the narrative flows faster and the action picks up.


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, Books and Me

Review: Crash by Michael Robertson

book review

Crash by Michael Robertson 3/5

18270309.jpgChris’ life of luxury is gone, devastated by the collapse of the European economy. Gas, water, and electricity are all cut off. Food is running out. Even his wife and daughter have gone. Huddled in the smallest room of their lavish house with his petrified and dirty eight-year-old son, Chris has made the decision to stay put. A small army of psychotic scavengers is outside, hell-bent on making the once-privileged pay. Chris now knows that not leaving when he had the option was the worst decision of his life.

Cowering in his home, he watches as his neighbours are dragged into the street and brutally executed. The scavengers have one more house to go, and then it will be his turn. He has to act fast, or he and his son will meet the same fate.

Driven by the need to survive, Chris has decided to keep secrets from his son. Secrets that will make all of the events up until this point seem trivial. Secrets that, one way or another, will come out before the day is done.

Review:

I am a fan of Michael Robertson’s dystopian/ apocalyptic stories. He manages to capture the horror and fear whilst maintaining raw, believable characters. This book had a lot more graphic violence then I’m used to, and if Robertson’s aim was to shock me, he did a great job.

The narrative didn’t stray from the house and the street, but a lot happened to make your toes curl. I didn’t see one plot twist coming, and perhaps that was because even when it was revealed I couldn’t get my head around it. No spoilers, but as a parent, a certain action did not make sense. The backstory between husband and wife was present, but not the other divide.

The ending sets up book two which no doubt will be as gory and shocking as book one.


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, Books and Me

Review: Stig of the Dump by Clive King

book review

Stig of the Dump by Clive Owens 4.5/5

979470.jpgBarney is a solitary eight-year-old, given to wandering off by himself. One day he tumbles over, lands in a sort of cave, and meets’ somebody with shaggy hair wearing a rabbit-skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. They together raid the rubbish dump at the bottom of the pit, improve Stig’s cave dwelling, and enjoy a series of adventures.

 

Review:

Another re-read of one of my childhood favourites has only reaffirmed my love for this book. I can recall reading Stig of the Dump to myself for the first time at about eight years old, and then having my teacher read it during storytime just a few months later. I was still as impressed with the story as I read it to my daughter.

Why did I give it 4.5 and not 5*? Purely for the fact that my daughter didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as our last read, The Borrowers. Her attention wandered a little during the lengthier descriptions. I, on the other hand, loved the detailed descriptions and wonderful relationship dynamic between Barney and Stig. I will encourage my daughter to re-read the book for herself in a year or two.


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, Books and Me

Review: When Stars Burn Out by Anna Vera

book review

When Stars Burn Out by Anna Vera 4.5/5

34503277When a plague turns people into monsters, the only safe place left to live is the Ora, a spaceship beside Earth’s moon. Aboard are the specimens of the next generation, genetically modified to develop powerful abilities, which they must use to fulfill their life’s purpose: exterminating those infected by the plague and stopping the apocalypse.

From the day Eos Europa was created eighteen years ago, she’s cared about little else. But when she fails to develop an ability, everything she’s worked for is lost—that is, until soldiers start disappearing only seconds after reaching Earth’s surface.

In an act of desperation, Eos is sent to Earth to find the missing soldiers. But what she discovers challenges everything she’s ever been taught—about who she is, where she’s come from, and how the apocalypse really began—leaving her to decide whether she’ll continue to play the puppet she was created to be, or disappear like everyone else.

Review:

When Stars Burn Out is a mix of The 100 and Divergent, teamed with a unique twist on the zombie apocalypse narrative. There were many plot twists thrown in along the way, and I could not predict where Vera was going to take the story. Book two is high on my to be read pile, but it’s not published yet. Ahhhh! #thestruggleisreal.

I enjoy a well-written, inventive take on YA literature. This story is highly character driven, just how I like it. You are not only drawn into Eos’ story, but that of all the sub-characters. Everyone has a past, everyone has their own reasoning, and everyone adds to the story in their own way. The character development is well rounded and thought out.

I also enjoyed the romantic element. More so because it wasnt the driving force of the narrative and didn’t sway Eos or change her values. That ending, though. I need answers to heal my cracking heart.

My only niggle was the pacing at the very end. A lot happens in the space of two chapters. There is a time jump of a week, Eos is not sure what has happened in that time, and then there’s some more big revelations. However, I am eager to find out more in the sequel.


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, Books and Me

ARC Review: Breaking the Gladiator by Nicola Rose

book review

Breaking the Gladiator by Nicola Rose 4/5

6tag_280118-080105.jpgCassian

I’m trained to kill… for the amusement of others.

Slave. Fighter. Beast.

Emotions are a weakness, so I have none; except anger and hate. All the good ones were beaten and starved out of me long ago. I barely even feel pain anymore.

But when she touches me? Feelings thrash to the surface, and in my world those are dangerous. She’s poison, feeding off my rage for her own sick pleasures. I hate her. She keeps finding cracks and opening them up, squeezing herself inside my chest.

She’s going to get me killed.

Livia

I’m Domina of the Atticus ludus, where we train gladiators to compete for victory.

Wealthy. Attractive. Powerful husband.

It appears I have it all… and I wish I could make myself feel that way. But I’m numb. Too broken to even care. The only time I feel alive is when I’m with my husband’s champion gladiator. My slave. In the arena, and the bedroom.

It’s disgusting for a woman of my rank to sleep with a man like him. He’s a dirty, worthless animal. His touch should feel repulsive. His gaze upon me should make my skin crawl.

But he’s mine. And I want more.

Review:

Whoo, is it hot in here? Nicola Rose’s debut novella is something dark and steamy. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of an erotic romance set in ancient Rome, but I was sucked into this story from the off. Gladiators and powerful women shouldn’t mix, but in this story they well and truly do.

The characters are not loveable, but you understand where their darkness stems from. There are uncomfortable scenes of violence and abuse, but the scenarios were sadly true to the time and make the story more believable. It is rare to find an erotic romance that is as much about the story as it is about the passion and relationships.


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