5 in 1 Review: Christmas Stories

book-review

 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

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September Reads Round Up

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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E.Schwab

6tag_070917-204220Full Review: A Gathering of Shadows

I gave this book 4.5/5. This book built on the foundations set in book one. The worldbuilding and magic was stretched and fleshed out, and the chaacters and relationships well developed. I’m looking forward to book three.

 

Timewalker by Justin Stanchfield

6tag_140917-114552Full Review: Timewalker

I gave this book 3/5. The narrative moved at a slow pace for the first part of the book, but picked up toward the end. The family dynamics between the boys and their father were believable, but the realtionships with Kyr felt a tad forced. The Stranger Things vibe was strong in this book.

 

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

6tag_200917-072801Full Review: Everything, Everything.

I gave this book 5/5. I have all the feels for this book. It really took me on an emotional rollercoaster, and I felt like I had the worst book hangover when I finished. Maddie and Olly’s interaction was captured beautifully by Yoon, and the heart break anvil continuously hung over my head whilst reading. I won’t tell you if it dropped.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

4 in 1 Review: Short Stories

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Never Too Late by J.C. Laird 2/5

6tag_190817-073513This story is very short. A sweet story about regrets, love lost, and the afterlife, but not much meat on its bones. I didn’t connect with the characters because of the length, and the ending felt forced.

 

 

Hellfire by Drew Avera 4/5

6tag_190817-073430Another very short story. I thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi, military tale, and that ending was unexpected. I could invest in it as a longer story. I would love for the author to expand this further. The writing was good, and the character’s felt developed in a short amount of time.

 

The God Machine by Mikey Campling, Drew Avera, Christopher Godsoe, and Jamie Dodge 3/5

6tag_190817-073558One story written by four authors. Sounds like a disaster, right? Actually, I was impressed. I loved the concept of The God Machine; a machine linking scribes to write the universe and all it’s dimensions into existence. I feel it needed to be longer, and more questions needed to be answered, but for a free, short read, it was a unique idea.

 

I Still Love You by Jane Lark 2/5

6tag_190817-073804This is not a standalone. Although free from Amazon, it should still be stated clearly that to fully understand the characters and their history, the reader must read the previous books about Rachel and Jason. This story is pretty depressing for my tastes, but the theme is important and a very real/ important issue for some couples. Can’t fault the writing, just not my cup of tea.

 


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

January-June Reads Round Up

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Can you believe that we are half way through 2017 already? I am 38 books closer to my Goodreads annual target of 80, and here is the list of what I have read so far with my ratings and links to the full reviews:

  1. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier 5/5: Review.
  2. Touch by Briana Morgan 4/5: Review.
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 4.5/5: Review.
  4. Surviving the Evacuation by Frank Tayell 3.5/5: Review.
  5. The Rose Society by Marie Lu 4/5: Review.
  6. Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell: DNF
  7. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier 5/5: Review.
  8. Sufragette: The Diary of Dollie Baxter by Carol Drinkwater 3/5: Review.
  9. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi 3.5/5: Review.
  10. Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson 5/5: Review.
  11. True Calling by Siobhan Davis 4/5: Review.
  12. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 4/5: Review.
  13. Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins 3.5/5: Review.
  14. 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas 3.5/5: Review.
  15. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 4.5/5: Review.
  16. Resurrection by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
  17. Running Man by Stephen King 3.5/5: Review.
  18. If I Stay by Gayle Forman 3.5/5: Review.
  19. Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr 3/5: Review.
  20. A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy 2.5/5: Review.
  21. Dolce Vita by Iseult Teren 3.5/5: Review.
  22. Eden by Michael Robertson 4/5: Review.
  23. Birthday Blaze by Kacey Shea 3/5: Review.
  24. Luna Proxy by Mac Flynn 3/5: Review.
  25. Shadow of the Wolf by Mac Flynn 2/5: Review.
  26. The Hospital by Keith. C. Blackmore 3/5: Review.
  27. Teeth by Michael Robertson 2/5: Review.
  28. Bad Decisions by E.M. Smith 3.5/5: Review.
  29. Fenix Rising by Jeff Liboiron 4/5: Review.
  30. What a Way to Go by Forster 3.5/5: Review.
  31. Self Edit Your Way to Awesome by K.L. Tolman 3.5/5: Review.
  32. Island by Nicky Singer 4.5/5: Review. 
  33. Unsanctioned Eyes by Brianna Merritt 5/5: Review.
  34. The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Collopy 3/5: Review.
  35. The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier 4/5: Review.
  36. Bernie by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
  37. Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas 5/5: Review.
  38. Hell’s Teeth by James Fahy 5/5: Review.

Have you read any of these? What has been your favourite book so far this year? I have read so many great books it’s hard to choose. At this point, I would say that my favourite book is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas.


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Four in One Review: Short Stories

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Bad Decisions by E.M. Smith 3.5/5

6tag_200517-064426Jamie Kendrick is known for his colossally bad decisions—jacking a squad car and turning it over in a ditch, for example. But he’s going to show everyone. With some help from his brother—and a court-ordered ankle monitor—Jamie is going to get sober, join the army, and shake his white trash reputation. And he’s actually doing a decent job until someone frames him for the grisly murders of his brother’s family.

No one believes that Jamie is innocent. No one but a mysterious blonde with a gun. She gives Jamie a choice: spend the rest of his life in prison or help her take down the man who killed his brother and set him up.

Review:

Finally, a short story that has a conclusion. Many that I’ve read lately lack a satisfactory ending in favour of getting readers to buy the next in the series, however, this story offers both conclusion and cliff hanger. Due to the length of the story, character development of both Jamie and the sub characters suffered a little, but it was a well written, fast paced read.

The Hospital (The First Mountain Man Story) by Keith .C. Blackmore 3/5

6tag_200517-064644“Mountain Man” Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what’s left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice… until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he’s never encountered before.

Review:

If you like graphic gore and zombies, then this is the book for you. I was literally cringing in disgust and thinking ‘I’m going to have nightmares tonight’. It was a fast paced read, with a real taste of horror. The MC didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. An overweight biker who shits himself was not the imagery to help that, but he went through some stuff at the hands of Nurse Alice… urgh, hideous woman.

Teeth by Michael Robertson 2/5

6tag_200517-064844Josh is a fourteen year-old boy living in a world where the global economic recession has led to money being devalued. Three days ago, his parents went out for supplies, leaving him and his older brother, Archie, behind. They haven’t returned. A gang of looters has ransacked their house and set it on fire. The last thing their dad told them was to get to their nan’s if there was any trouble. The boys decide their current situation looks like trouble.

Setting out onto the streets of London, the boys quickly learn what a world looks like when capitalism has failed.

Review:

The only way I can describe the narrative is skittish. I was more than a little confused at times. There was violence, evidence of a sort of dystopian world after a global economic crash, and a killer who kills people and takes teeth keepsakes from the victims. The writing was fine, but the story lacking.

Fenix Rising by Jeff Liboiron 4/5

6tag_200517-063921One hundred years ago, a nuclear war decimated Earth, leaving rugged Wastelands wrought with malicious gangs and survivors desperately struggling to form new societies.

Among them, Vincent Fenix has made his temporary home in Avalon Wharf, working as a gun runner, smuggler and violence enthusiast, minding his own business.

But, when a Wasteland warlord hires a gang of ruthless cannibals to hunt down his lifelong friend, things get personal.

With fists, guns, and blades, he embarks on a path of vengeance. In true Fenix fashion, he vows to tear his city apart in search of the cannibals and when he finds them, he’s going to make them pay.

However, there is the answer to a nagging question which he ultimately seeks. Who hired them?

Review:

A dangerous, dystopian world with cannibals, gruesome murders, smuggling, and lots of guns. Well written, and more than a little gory. I found this short story a page turner, even when I was reading through my fingers. If you like Mad Max, then you’ll enjoy this book.


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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March Reads Round Up

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The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

17078496_1452801474771265_1869332312_nFull Review: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I gave this book 4/5. Witty humour and writing style. A unique take on the science fiction genre that transcends through the ages. Packed full of laughs and whimzy. Just remember to take your towel with you.

 

Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins

17198856_1455014497883296_844697927_nFull Review: Embers.

I gave this book 3.5/5. The concept wasn’t highly original, but the storyline kept me hooked. Twilight fans will love this book, and thankfully, Ember is fiery and stong-willed, so no Bella Swan damsels to be found. Phew!

 

25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas

17274329_1461615340556545_1676088367_nFull Review: 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A brilliant way to structure a novel- each chapter is a werewolf murder method. Realistic heroine, and a believable location for the paranormal occurances to be concealed, but some important aspects were glossed over and affected believability a little.

 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

17619798_1476575219060557_1541559010_nFull Review: Nevernight.

I gave this book 4.5/5. Brilliant characters, world building, and writing style. This book sucks you into a world of assassins, revenge, and mystery. My missing half star is for the annoying footnotes, they just didn’t agree with me.

 


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

 

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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

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: Touch (A One-Act Play) by Briana Morgan

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Touch ( A One-Act Play) by Briana Morgan 4/5

15970433_1398295036888576_299992794_nThe Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it?

I downloaded this book for free during an Amazon promotion.

Review:

Touch is a criminal offence. Not even parents can hug their children. The Seeker needs contact, she needs to know what another’s touch feels like, so she goes looking for it. Touch changes the Seeker’s life, and that of those around her.

Have I read a play before? No. Was I worried that I wouldn’t like the medium? Yes. Were my worries unwarranted? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed this one-act play, and the enthralling concept. The idea of touch being illegal gripped me from page one.

The characters were relatable and that is quite a feat for such a short play. I would love to see this concept in novel form. There is plenty of scope to do just that. The author touched on background history that made the Seeker’s need for touch, and defiance of the law, more believable. Although fast, the narrative doesn’t let up until the last page, and as a reader you find yourself with a new found respect for touch. Lovers of YA dystopia would love this play.

A thought provoking concept that can be read in one sitting.


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: Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

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Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier 5/5

15878976_1393063644078382_1049832502_nHer mother’s dying request takes Mary Yellan on a sad journey across the bleak moorland of Cornwall to reach Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. With the coachman’s warning echoing in her memory, Mary arrives at a dismal place to find Patience a changed woman, cowering from her overbearing husband, Joss Merlyn.

Affected by the Inn’s brooding power, Mary is thwarted in her attention to reform her aunt, and unwillingly drawn into the dark deeds of Joss and his accomplices. And, as she struggles with events beyond her control, Mary is further thrown by her feelings for a man she dare not trust…

Review:
   Mary Yellan promises her mother upon her death bed that she will go to live with her only remaining family member, her aunt. Little does Mary know that her aunt is married to a drunkard criminal who owns the Jamaica Inn; a place known for its shady characters and criminal activity. Mary is determined to get her Aunt away from Joss Merlyn, and thwart his illegal acitivites in the process. She doesn’t bargain on befriending the local vicar, or falling for a man she would never have looked twice at before. Not all is as it seems, and who is involved in Joss’ ventures?
   Ever since reading Rebecca, I have been keen to read another Du Maurier book, but I never quite managed to work through my TBR pile. I picked up Jamaica Inn in my library and bumped it to the top of my list to avoid late fines (ha). I’m so glad I did. Once again, Du Maurier weaves an intriguing, descriptive tale that utterly enthralled me. Not only that, Jamaica Inn is set in my home county of Cornwall, so there was an element of sentimentality about this read, especially as my home town of Helston is mentioned numerous times. Du Maurier captures the stark landscape of the Bodmin moors, and creates the perfect setting for this dark and macabre tale.
   What is there not to like? Absolutely nothing. Mystery, romance, strong-minded female lead, potential bad boy love interest, and plot twists. The book drew me in and wouldn’t let me go. The masterfully written plot twists are staged throughout the narrative ready for the big finale, and I was pleasantly surprised with Mary Yellan’s choice at the very end of the book. The uncertainty, but the truth in it felt more believable than the alternative she had planned for herself.
   If you want a dark, twisted, macabre tale that ensnares from the start, then get your hands on Jamaica Inn. You won’t be disappointed.

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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