What a Way to Go by Julia Forster

book-review

What a Way to Go by Julia Forster 4/5

18716786_1537510462967032_375861404_n1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson’s parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents’ club. Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and her Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents’ broken hearts. Set against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, What a Way to Go is a warm, wise and witty tale of one girl tackling the business of growing up while those around her try not to fall apart.

Review:

Harper is a 12 year old girl, navigating life and school whilst still coming to terms with her Mum and Dad’s divorce and subsequent lifestyles in 1988. The pubescent, sometimes snarky girl, is going through that awkward age of life where she is trying to discover who she is, where she fits, and some of life’s ugly truths.

Harper is an endearing character, and Forster captures her voice perfectly. I could hear the twelve year old speaking to me, and her way of thinking brings back memories of my youth. Trying to be vegan, an activist, and desperate to read 1984 and Women’s erotic romance novels, Harper is a to-the-point, literal girl with a fiesty, witty attitude.

The sub-characters are vivid and well rounded whilst being typical, ordinary characters: Mum, Dad, neighbour etc. Kit and Derek were my favourites. They have bucket loads of personality.

This book deals with both teen angst and real life heartbreak. The death of one character was handled well, and being the character he was, he went out with humour and style. Harper’s version of events are relevant to that of a twelve year old, and it was intriguing to see how she would mature and handle her grief.

This book is suitable for ages 12+, but older audiences will find it just as enjoyable. Not my typical type of read, but I was glad to have read it.


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: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

book-review

If I Stay by Gayle Forman 3.5/5

6tag_250417-120525Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Review:

One freak accident changes Mia’s life forever. Does she want to come back and face reality, or will she decide not to stay?

This book has an important message that highlights the power of love and family. The hard hitting storyline with very real consequences drives home the importance of what most of us take for granted.

Forman effortlessly captured the mind set of seventeen year old Mia, dealing with school, her boyfriend, her friendships, and her insecurities. I enjoyed reading Mia’s memories of her perfectly dysfunctional family, and her quest to find who she is. Her interesting POV of the aftermath of the tragedy that ultimately sees her making an important decision, intrigued me from the start, and Mia’s reactions to it felt genuine. Yes, she came across as naive in places, but she is a seventeen year old girl trying to process grief and the meaning of her existence.

I was told by many book friends to have the tissues ready for this one, and after reading such high praising reviews, I was hoping to be moved more than I actually was. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the book to be heartfelt and the message to be important, but I didn’t find myself a blubbing wreck.

In summary, a YA book that takes a tragedy and manages to get the reader focussing on the power of love.


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

book-review

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

Review: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

book-review

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

January Reads Round Up

book review(1).png

Here is a round up of my January reads with links to the full reviews:

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

15878976_1393063644078382_1049832502_nFull Review: Jamaica Inn.

I gave this book 5/5. A masterfully thought out macabre tale set in the stark landscape of the Cornish moors. Well constructed plot twists, and a believable cast of characters. Du Maurier’s prose ensnares from the first page, and I finished this book in two days. A great read to kick off 2017.

 

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

15970433_1398295036888576_299992794_nFull Review: Touch.

I gave this book 4/5. My first attempt at reading a play and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. A fantastic concept that I would love to see developed into a novel. Characters and motives are believable despite the length of the act, and YA dystopian fans will love this read.

 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

15134323_1338992029485544_897708356_nFull Review: The Name of the Wind.

I gave this book 4.5/5. Fabulous world building and effortless character construction. Slightly slow start, hence my 4.5/5*, but once you get into the main story, you cannot put the book down. Book two is on my TBR list for 2017!

 

Surviving the Evacuation by Frank Tayell

16244543_1412295095488570_460018345_nFull Review: Surviving the Evacuation.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A slow start, but if you soldier through part #1, the narrative picks up. Bill isn’t exactly courageous, but he is smart and in the know on aspects of the evacuation. The need to see if boring Bill survives drives the reader to the end.

 

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

16358481_1414786001906146_593800593_nFull Review: The Rose Society.

I gave this book 4/5. An action fuelled, fast paced narrative, and well developed characters. This book built on the foundations laid in book one. Adelina is a perfect anti-heroine, and she is letting the darkness win. I can’t wait to discover where Lu takes the narrative in book 3.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

book-review

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

 

Save

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

book-review

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

Save

Review: Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

book-review

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

Save

Save