Book Reviews

3 in 1 Book Review

Frugal Living: Make Your Money Go Further by Jennifer Mitchell 3/5

This book is free to purchase from Amazon Kindle. For a free book, it is a good resource for people who are brand new to frugal living. It wasn’t quite what I wanted as it didn’t tell me anything new, but newbies will benefit from this read.

Pinch Like You Mean It by Dr. Pennypincher 3/5

100 tips to save money in this free book. I found some tips I can take away, but most are for newbies to frugal living. I would recommend this book to those just starting out on their frugal living journey.

Side note: some points are tailored to American readers.

5 Ingredient Cook Book by Alissa Noel Grey 4/5

This cookbook is right up my street: 5 ingredients for meals I would actually eat, and ingredients everyday folk have to hand, and more importantly, have heard of. Nothing worse than a fancy pants recipe book. This is a cookbook that works with everyday life, kids will eat the meals, and the ingredients dont cost an arm and a leg.


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


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Books and Me

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2018

I have just realised that I have hit my 40 books Goodreads Challenge. Whoop whoop!

This year has been a little more hectic with the addition of my son, so last year’s 80 book goal was a no go. Halving that total for 2018 was spot on. Granted, I have read a lot of novellas due to a lack of time, but I’m amazed I hit 40 with how crazy this year has been.

However, that isn’t me done! I shall see what my actual amount is at the end of December.

Are you participating in the Goodreads Challenge? Have you hit your goal, or still working on it? There’s still time, so good luck.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Book Reviews, Books and Me

July Reads Round Up

MONTHLY READS ROUNDUP

A quick summary of my July reads with a link to the full reviews:

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

13457784_1200438010007614_688908890_nFull Review: Paper and Fire

I gave this book 5/5. Fast paced, action packed, and a perfect follow on from book one, Ink and Bone. Wonderful world building and character development. Caine has an effortless skill for constructing raw, unique relationships.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

13650518_1220446014673480_1117847994_nFull Review: 13 Minutes

I gave this book 4/5. Well thought out narrative, and suspense created with multiple POVs. One well crafted, complex character, and a character I couldn’t warm to. An ending to blow your socks off.

 

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

13689855_1225415827509832_980483439_nFull Review: The Bone Sparrow

I gave this book 4/5. Important narrative about refugees in detention centres in Australia. Fraillon captures the voice of 9 year old Subhi perfectly. Slow progressing read, but powerful message, and well developed characters.

 

Demon Seed by Dean Koontz

13695146_1225467877504627_2098292308_nFull Review: Demon Seed

I gave this book 3.5/5. Not one of Koontz’s best. A great concept that freaked me out more than a little, but not enough. Koontz captured the narcissitic, psychotic voice of ‘Proteus’, an highly intelligent AI system. Quick, easy read.

 

A Strange Little Place by Brennan Storr

13689680_1225475884170493_1555835858_nFull Review: A Strange Little Place

I gave this book 3/5. Some stories gave me goosebumps, others were not so believable. A documentary style book, covering a plethora of goings on in Revelstoke. The author’s research and time spent on this novel is commendable. Probably more interesting for those who live in Revelstoke, or who know of the area

Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph

13819764_1230403857011029_1007927097_nFull Review: Dancing in the Rain

I gave this book 4/5. Narrative about loss, grief, and healing is handled sensitively and with love. An important read for older children and teens, highlighting the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks through the eyes of two children. A book for the next generation.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

13866835_1234389263279155_920167611_nFull Review: Looking for Alaska

I gave this book 3.5/5. Slow starter and the main conflict was over fairly quickly. The before and after design for the narrative was interesting and worked. Alaska’s character was refreshing in context with other more introverted characters. A YA read that can transcend age, but took a little getting in to.

 


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Book Reviews

Review: The Story Traveller by Max Candee

The Story Traveller by Max Candee 3/5

13444163_1200438200007595_49741606_n“Stories aren’t real … or are they?

Fifteen-year-old Haley Spade is enrolled in an exclusive boarding school in Connecticut. This school has a grim mythology: Everyone believes that the angry ghosts of six students who committed suicide decades ago still haunt its halls.

On a dare, Haley spends a night wandering through the “haunted” building. But she takes a wrong turn into a dizzying adventure of stories made real, stories within stories, worlds within worlds. She encounters magical creatures like the King of the Cats, a shapeshifting crow, elves—and a menace far more terrifying than any ghost.

Suspenseful, fast and rooted in several fairy tales, The Story Traveler captures our yearning to be more than what we are. Haley’s bizarre journey will leave her and the reader wondering: What is reality?”  

Thanks go to Helvetic House and Netgalley for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

I was expecting great things from this book, but it fell just a little short. That’s not to say that it didn’t have innovative, engaging aspects.

The concept is great- a teen who finds herself in a world of stories; layers upon layers of stories retold by the creators with doorways in and out. Stories full of characters as real as you or I- sub characters, main characters, heroes, villains. The world building was detailed, and I understood the narrative, but there were lots of info dumps. Large parts of the narrative were taken up explaining the way the story worlds worked, and what the ‘story’ characters were trying to achieve. However, the different story worlds and characters created by Candee were brilliantly imaginative.

My favourite characters were Tom the King of Cats, and Jack ‘Mr Dawes’, a man who can tranform into a Jackdaw. Both these characters held intrigue, and I loved the complexity of one character who you think betrays Haley, the main character. The narrative is written in first person, but I didn’t like Haley that much. I mean, I didn’t dislike her, but she confused me. Scared, brave, scared, brave. Trusting, untrusting, trusting, untrusting. You get the picture.

I thought the relationship between Haley and Oliver was sweet and had a believable, slow build up, but I wanted a dramatic ‘You’re the one for me’ moment of sorts. Instead, the ending became about Sarah who is a total b**tch.  There are some life lessons for teens thrown in for good measure.

I just wanted to include a favourite exchange of mine:

“Do you mean storytellers give away parts of their souls every time they tell a story?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” Jack said with that creepy smile plastered on his face.

In summary, a book full of imagination, detailed world building, and some great characters, but a narrative heavy with info dumps.


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: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine 4.5/5

13335321_1190571037660978_786603763_nRuthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

Review:

Thanks go to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I had this book explained to me as a book about books. What more can a girl want? I wasn’t sure what I expected from this book, but I can hand on heart say that it was so much more and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

Caine creates a believable, indepth world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, and a world in which books are seen as priceless historical treasures, all knowledge must be controlled, and a world in which the library is a powerful institute to govern what people read, what are classed as rare or common books, and to enforce the laws that make it illegal for people to collect/ hoard books for personal use. This world sees book smugglers, book burners, librarians, High Garda soldiers, and the mysterious Obscurists with powers that are not divulged to the public.

The story follows Jess and other hopefuls (Postulants) who are being trained for roles within the great library. The characters are well-rounded and diverse, all from different walks of life, and some with questionable family history. Whilst England is at war with Wales, the Postulants have to put their political differences behind them to work as a team to not only survive the wars, but the library itself.

This book fits into a multitude of genres- dystopian, historical fiction, fantasy. Although set in 2025, many aspects are similar to that of an 18th century novel. It was the fantasy side that kept the pages turning for me. What alchemy is used by the Obscurists? What is the source of the abilities they are born with? How do the codexes work?

So many sub-plots and sub-relationships run through this book that one review couldn’t possibly sum it up. I have been offered book two- Paper and Fire from Berkley Publishing Group and can not wait to read part two in this twisted, engaging, innovative tale.


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

Review: The Beach Cabin by Fern Britton

The Beach Cabin by Fern Britton 3.5/5

13275865_1188647384520010_85332465_nEd and Charlotte have been married for fifteen years, but they have been drifting apart and now Ed suspects that Charlotte may be involved with another man.
He decides a family holiday is just what they need and rents a cottage on the cliffs near the picturesque Cornish village of Pendruggan. He is desperate not to lose Charlotte and hopes that the holiday will bring them closer together again, but Charlotte is wondering what happened to the man she fell in love with.
So into their car they all pile, including their teenage daughter Alex, her younger brother, Sam and their enormous Bearded Collie – will their Cornish escape be the holiday to make them… or break them?

 Review:

A quick read, set in my home county of Cornwall. It is clear that Britton is a lover of the county, and captures the landscapes and local life brilliantly. This short story is an easy read despite broaching the topics of crisis in marriage, and a daughter struggling with her sexuality.

The revelation that Alex thinks she might be gay comes at the end of the book and was not a revelation at all. It was extremely easy to guess from early on in the story. So easy that the parents, Charlotte and Ed, wouldn’t have had such a shocked response, but otherwise I enjoyed the tale that had a happy ending all around.

The kids were a bit cliche- Sam the enthusiastic, always hungry, skate-board enthusiast son, and Alex the moody, sarcastic, likes her sleep, teenage daughter. If you can get passed this, and enjoy the fast moving tale that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort to read, then you’ll enjoy Britton’s Cornwall based tale.


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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