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.

 


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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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Book Reviews

Review: White Sand (A Graphic Novel) by Brandon Sanderson

White Sand (Book One) by Brandon Sanderson 4/5

13319000_1189258764458872_1307598477_nA brand new saga of magic and adventure by #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson. On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss — a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. White Sand brings to life a crucial, unpublished part of Brandon Sanderson’s sprawling Cosmere universe. The story has been adapted by Rik Hoskin (Mercy Thompson), with art by Julius Gopez and colors by Ross Campbell. Employing powerful imagery and Sanderson’s celebrated approach to magical systems, White Sand is a spectacular new saga for lovers of fantasy and adventure.

Review:

Thanks go to Diamond Book Distributers and Netgalley for offering me a free copy of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

I didn’t not like this book. That is a weird start to a review, right? But I’ve never picked up a graphic novel before, and I had many people telling me that it wouldn’t be my thing, and that it is a niche audience- blah blah blah. Well, my review just goes to show that story always prevails. I’m glad this was my first taste of a graphic novel, otherwise I may not have been open to reading any more.

I’m a HUGE fan of Brandon Sanderson, and yet again his world building skills, inventive story lines, and imaginative creation of fantasy/ sci-fi races, creatures, powers has me in awe. I’m doubley impressed with the fact that he can create a detailed, engaging story in such few words.

It did take me a while to find my swing when reading, but once I got into the story and the imagery, and learnt how things progressed, I finished the entire thing in mere hours. I’d recommend this to fantasy fans, and/or Brandon Sanderson fans who may not have thought to pick up a graphic novel.


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: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 3/5

6tag_090516-103939Blurb: Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

Review:

I went into this read with high expectations. Many people have recommended it to me, but I was also aware of the many who detested it. I think that’s part and parcel of a bestseller, right? I like to judge for myself, so I got myself a copy.

What side am I on? Well… I liked it. It was well written, the prose beautiful, but the story was slow. I know, I know, the narrative is full of statement, life lessons, and an overriding message to ‘follow your dreams/destiny’, but it was preachy.

I wasn’t interested in the religious side of the narrative, but liked that Coelho managed to write it like a long fable, quoting tales and adding metaphors to get his point across. The morals could be applied whether you are religious, spiritual, or other.

The ending was rounded, and Santiago had travelled full circle with his personality and wisdom following suit. I would have liked to have seen him reunited with Fatima, but the narrative suggests all along that if he follows his heart he’ll get to where he needs to be.


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: Girl of Myth and Legend by Giselle Simlett

Girl of Myth and Legend by Giselle Simlett 3.5/5

6tag_090516-164018Blurb: Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.

And things only get weirder…

Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.

Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.

But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.

Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend.

Review:

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

Okay, so the ‘chosen one’ YA trope is pretty much the basis of the story, but did I like the concept? Yes! I was drawn in to the world building, magic, and the relationship between Leonie, a newly awakened Pulsar, the first to be born in many years, and Korren, a Kytaen who is soul-bound to Leonie as her protector.

The narrative was captivating, and understanding the politics, landscape, and magic of Duwyn was fun. Simlett describes people, religions, and the land itself in detail, and I fully grasped at Duwyn being in a different realm from Earth.

The dialogue, however, felt a little stilted, and sometimes unnecessary. I like dialogue heavy novels, but if I ‘notice’ the dialogue, it feels wrong to me. Also, the relationship between Leonie and her Dad was a little strange to say the least. Backstory is offered, but the sarcastic, sometimes rude girl from the beginning of the story contradicted the caring girl with words beyond her years throughout the rest.

Korren’s character developed well, and stayed true to self, only changing when something of significance spurred the said change. I find his character is what makes me want to read book two, and I’m so glad the POV switched between Leoni and Korren, so we knew what both were thinking.


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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