Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff 4/5

6tag_210717-204649Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.

Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire?

Review:

I went into this book with an open mind. I had read 5*, glowing reviews, and 1*/2* slating ones. Most of the 1*/ 2* reviews are based on what the readers felt was a lack of thorough research into the Japanese culture, or stereotyping of the same. I haven’t much knowledge on Japanese culture, and decided to read this book knowing it is a fantasy novel, and not actually in set Japan, but Shima, a fictional location.

Another thoroughly enjoyable read from Jay Kristoff with characters to love. Yukiko and Buruu’s relationship was well crafted and had me giggling at times. The sub-characters were all perfectly flawed, and added to the narrative.

I found the beginning a little hard going, but one advantage of lots of description and  slow, world-building is an indepth, immersive read. Seriously, it is worth ploughing on. Steam-punk twinned with Japanese elements was an interesting mix, and the two worked well together to create a vivid world.

The ending was worth the journey: surprises, shocks, and oh, my poor heart. I have book two, Kinslayer, to read, and I doubt it will be long before I have to return to Yukiko’s world. The title makes me a little worried, though. Kinslayer… Kin-slayer…. I hope I’m thinking on it too much.


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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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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June Reads Round Up

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ARC Unsanctioned Eyes by Brianna Merritt

unsanctionedeyes-ebookFull Review: Unsanctioned Eyes.

I gave this book 5/5. Quinn is an anti-heroine to root for. Her development over the course of the narrative makes the book what it is. The sub characters are effortlessly woven into her story, and the world building is immersive. Well written thriller with a strong female protag.

ARC The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Collopy

35148208Full Review: The Phoenix Cycle.

I gave this book 3/5. An imaginative, dystopian world that has a Hunger Games vibe about it. The narrative felt a little skittish and would benefit from being streamlined.

 

The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier

6tag_130617-191352Full Review: The King’s General.

I gave this book 4/5. Du Maurier weaves an atmospheric tale of love, war, misery, and mystery. I cannot fault the writing or the character development, but my lost star is for my dislike of Richard Grenvile. I needed more from him to be able to root for the man.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas

6tag_160617-214625.jpgFull Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses.

I gave this book 5/5. Amazing! Why did I not read this sooner. I loved everything about this book: characters, story, background, worldbuilding. Just read it, folks. My review won’t do it justice.

 

Bernie by Brianna West

6tag_190617-110004Full Review: Bernie.

I gave this book 5/5. The loveable cowboy got his own spin off. Whoop! Another great addition to the Guardian’s world. Steamy romance, strong female heroine, and of course, cheeky Bernie. He has always been ‘laugh out loud’ funny, and continues to be in this book.

 

Hell’s Teeth by James Fahy

6tag_130617-135051Full Review: Hell’s Teeth.

I gave this book 5/5. A vampire book that leaves all the stereotypes, cliches, and tropes at the title page. Excellent world building of a dystopian world where Vamps, GOs, and humans live side by side. A humourous MC, and well crafted sub-characters. This could be a TV series. No, seriously, it totally could.

 


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

 

ARC Review: Bernie by Brianna West

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Bernie by Brianna West 5/5

6tag_190617-110004Nyla, born and raised in the In-Between realm as the princess of the Spiritum Bellatorum, has been betrothed from birth and forced to conceal the true personality within in order to project herself as nothing but the perfect princess she was taught to be.

When her brother betrays their kind, Nyla acquires an unprecedented mission to find and convince him to come home. Teaming up with the Promiscus Guardians to locate her runaway brother in the mortal realm, Nyla is introduced to the resident comedian and self-proclaimed cowboy Guardian, Bernie.

He is everything she wishes she could be outwardly and she’s instantly intrigued by his happy, easy-going nature. But, like Nyla, Bernie is keeping a part of himself tightly locked away.

What will happen when their barriers start to come down? Will they be able to overcome so many obstacles laid out before them, or will their relationship be torn apart before they have a chance to find something deeper?

Thanks go to the author for giving me an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

I think this might be my new favourite Guardian’s in Love book! After the fabulous Victor and Pavel, I did not think I’d be saying that, but there is something about the cheeky cowboy that draws you in. Bernie’s character has remained true to form throughout the Promiscus Guardians series and the spin offs, and has continued to do so in his own spin off. If anything, Bernie’s endearing side is heightened, and you quickly learn that there is more to the loveable rogue and that Nyla is an extremely lucky girl.

Nyla is the new love interest, but she is so much more: kick-ass Princess who knows what she wants and how to keep Bernie on his toes. West has a knack for writing feminine characters who embrace who they are and stand toe to toe with the brooding hunks.

It’s hard to delve into the story without spoilers, especially if you haven’t read the rest of the series. My advice for paranormal romance fans is to get your copy of Awakening (book one in the Promiscus Guardians series), and work your way through to Bernie’s story. It has to be done!


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 King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier

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The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier 4/5

6tag_130617-191352Honor Harris is only 18 when she first meets Richard Grenvile, proud, reckless – and utterly captivating. But following a riding accident, Honor must reconcile herself to a life alone. As Richard rises through the ranks of the army, marries and makes enemies, Honor remains true to him, and finally discovers the secret of Menabilly.

 

Review:

Honor Harris looks back on her life from her teens, through the English Civil War, and after. Through her truthful recount of the man who stole her heart, Richard Grenvile, and her life in a wheelchair, she tells a tale of love, mystery, war, and misery.

Du Maurier never fails to create an atmospheric experience for the reader.  I was transported to Cornwall in the 1600’s, and through the eyes of Honor, I had a raw, real recount of the English Civil War.

Once again, the characters are brilliantly constructed. Their lives link beautifully with each other’s, and their personalities are expertly woven in the words. My reason for not rating this 5* is because of my dislike for Richard. Despite his affection toward Honor, I couldn’t find anything to like about the man. He remained true to character, but I like to have a least a small nugget of something worth rooting for. He was rude, arrogant, and had a huge sense of superiority. At least Honor was aware of his flaws and never tried to excuse them.

Another reason for my missing star is that at times the narrative was bogged down with the war and strategies etc. Yes, that was the main narrative running through the book, and yes, the title is The King’s General, but there were chapters that I skimmed because it was mere recount, and not vital to Honor’s story.

In summary, a solid read from Du Maurier with brilliantly written characters, engaging world building, and a glimpse into life for the Cornish during the English Civil War. If you don’t mind an obnoxious character or two, this is the read for you.


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

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