Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger 3/5

13336329_1194535657264516_1847239243_nA sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

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

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is due for publication on June 7th 2016.

Review:

The idea behind the narrative is novel and fun, however I found it hard to get into this book at first as everything seemed far-fetched and unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi, and the rest, and I love it when the unbelievable becomes an almost logical part to a story, but it took me ages to feel that I was involved in this story. ‘Oops, the secret compartment that held the secret liqour was accidentally left unlocked, Bailey accidentally found it, and then poured herself the most absolutely perfect drink that awakened some kind of magic that allowed her to see, and then kill creatures called Tremens.’ By the end of the book I was involved and wanted to know the outcome of Garrett’s master plan, and how involved the Alechemists were in his scheme.

The narrative was fast paced, and something captivating happened in most chapters. I have to admit that I skirted over the Devil’s Water Dictionary parts. It didn’t add to the narrative and I didn’t miss much.

I liked Bailey’s relationship with Vincent, and I liked Vincent’s background. The chapters where they were sussing each other out were some of my favourites. That, and when Bucket was explaining his sexuality and life choices to Bailey in a humourous, but open way. I’m still unsure on Bailey’s relationship with Zane- something doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe their history and continous fallings out had something to do with it- I honestly can’t put my finger on why I didn’t like it. I could understand a friendship that could lead to more, but hey, they’re a couple now…

If you want a quick, easy read without the need to be too involved, then this is your read. Alcohol, drunken magic, creatures, and the ultimate goal to create the elixir of life… or to stop its creation!


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: 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: 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: 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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Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Storm in Shanghai by JM.Bush

Storm in Shanghai (Mage Father Series Book One) by JM.Bush 4/5

Blurb: In modern day China, an American expat leads a law enforcement team of Mages and Wizards, whose sole purpose is to keep Magic hidden from the ordinary world. One morning, Jaret King finds Shanghai facing the return of the most deadly magical terrorist in history, a monster who has long been thought dead. Jaret must now continue to keep the secret of Magic concealed from all Regs, including his wife, while attempting to stop this monstrosity − known only as the MAELSTROM − from murdering thousands more innocent people. Of course, once he discovers the motivation driving this violent lunatic, Jaret may have to step in and help complete the Maelstrom’s plan. But if so, at what cost?

JM.Bush gave me a copy of his novel in exchange for my honest review on this blog.

My Review:

Mages are born, but Wizards are trained from spell tomes. Simple, right? Not quite. The history between both groups is strained, and in present times, although working together to regulate magic laws, they’re still walking the thin line of all out war. The reason is … no spoilers… a twisted shocker.

The book flits from the main character, Jaret’s, first person present tense, to the antagonist, Maelstrom’s, story written in third person past tense. The transitions seemed to work, and offers addition background story.

I liked Jaret’s character- stuck between a rock and a hard place, but still trying to be rational and make the right choices. I didn’t fully believe he could maintain his home life the way he did, but that was relieved with another shock revelation that eased the whole situation. I’m a fan of the ol’ plot twists.

My favourite character was the antagonist, Maelstrom. He’d be an anti-hero of sorts. I fully understood why he was doing what he was doing. I found myself rooting for him sometimes- is that perverse- it is, isn’t it?

The book felt long, but otherwise was a solid, fantasy read. I’d definitely recommend this series!


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.