Review: Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins

book-review

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

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

February Reads Round Up

book-review1

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: 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

 

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December Reads Round Up

MONTHLY READS ROUNDUP

Here is a recap of my December reads with links to the full reviews.

Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman

15281997_1353031404748273_791359958_nFull Review: Christmas at Pebble Creek

I gave this book 3/5. I haven’t read the Pebble Creek series, so I would have liked a little more backstory to Grace in this short story. This read was pleasant. I neither loved nor disliked it. I have not read anything in the Amish genre, and now know it is not my reading cup of tea.

Make My Wish Come True by Jade Cooper

15356000_1354214304629983_1522282279_nFull Review: Make My Wish Come True

I gave this book 3/5. A hot romance with a lot of steamy moments and an Alpha male love interest. Not enough conclusion for my liking. I want to know more about the ‘Christmas magic’, and what happens next. Perhaps another short story?

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

15415939_1361629633888450_1962512990_nFull Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

I gave this book 4/5. A re-read that still packs a punch. A thought provoking, tragic read told masterfully through the eyes of a child. If you haven’t read this book, then read it. If you have, read it again.

Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christina. S. Feldman

15497761_1367612613290152_439208163_nFull Review: Pastels and Jingle Bells

I gave this book 5/5. An enjoyable Christmas read with well developed characters and back story. Sub characters played an important role in the life of the main character, and all had clear, distinct voices. A recommended Christmas romance novella.

Tough Love by Skye Warren

15591836_1372511329466947_1831706741_nFull Review: Tough Love

I gave this book 4/5. A world of violence, power, and debauchery that draws you in from the start. A hero that is far from a saint, and a cliffhanger that leaves everyone’s fate in the balance.

 

 

Daughter of Llathe by Ben Cassidy

15644251_1373498689368211_108057768_nFull Review: Daughter of Llathe

I gave this book 3.5/5. Impressive world building and character development.Would have benefitted from being longer. A misleading cover that leans toward a younger target audience, but this is not a children’s book.

 

 

Project Dodge by J.Lynne

wp-1482935349401.jpgFull Review: Project Dodge

I gave this book 3/5. An interesting glimpse from a zombie child’s perspective, but there was a lack of surprise for me. I would have preferred Caitlyn’s perspective throughout, and something shocking to hook me, whether in a unique plot twist or fresh writing style. Still, a well written zombie narrative.


 Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Review: Earth’s Knot by Katie Deann

book review(1)

Earth’s Knot by Katie Deann 2.5/5

14937859_1322517394466341_1728437869_nWhen Merak, one of the best thieves of the infamous Black Feathers, botches up what should have been a simple job in the underground, maze-like city of Knot, all hell breaks loose.

Suddenly he’s being hunted by a mysterious entity which the Oculists–Knot’s bronze-masked high priests–are desperately searching for. For they need it in time for a rare cosmic event that will reveal a way for them to physically reach their God.

But Merak’s interference might just cost them that chance.

And there’s a secret he knows nothing about… that will change everything…

I downloaded this novella for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

This novella should garner more stars; innovative world, interesting concept, good prose, but the length of this book doesn’t allow the world, characters, and concepts to grow. It really needed to be a full length book to do it justice. It’s such a shame as I would have loved to see Deann develop her imaginative world.

This book, although, marketed as a novella, seems more like a prequel/ the first chapters of a much larger story. There wasn’t a definite beginning, middle, or end, and I was left unsatisfied as a reader. If I went in knowing this was not a full story, I think it wouldn’t have been as jarring to read. However, I would not buy only the first part of a story- the set-up is confusing. If the series of novellas was worked into a full novel, I would read it.

The narrative moved along at a good pace, and the characters came across as distinct. Mouse in particular felt well rounded and believable. Again, I wanted more, but novella length stopped Deann from a great deal of character development.

There is such promise with this book, and I know I’m not the only reader to sense it. I hope this series gets reworked in the future.


 

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: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

book review(1)

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1) by Danielle Paige 3/5

14805553_1306343342750413_826693064_n.jpgFirst kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

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

Review:

Snow is cooped up in a mental health institute all of her life because everyone thinks she is crazy. She quickly finds that she is not insane, just unique. After Bale disappears and a mysterious man who tells her of another kingdom comes to her in the night, she makes a decision to change her life and everything she knows. Through ‘the tree’ Snow finds a world that makes her seem normal, but she really isn’t, not even in Algid. She is the one they have been waiting for.

There was brilliant world building, magical descriptions, and an intriguing narrative. Paige’s writing style is easy to read, not overly wordy, but still captures the essence of the story.

The characters were distinct, although there were times when the love… square (let’s call it a square) became unbelievable because I couldn’t fully embrace why one corner of the square would have fallen for Snow. When Snow was with another corner it felt natural, and I was screaming ‘Just kiss him- I would!’ Needless to say, I have a favourite from the love square; a favourite who was part of the most interesting group of people from the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions, the ‘rules’, and the not so nice or trusting personalities. The final corner, Bale, was vital to the story, but I wasn’t rooting for Snow and him to be reunited in the ‘happily ever after sense’.

For a YA book, I can see this being well received by teens, and the action, love, and fantasy really draws you in. However, there were just a few unbelievable aspects for me. That being said, I want to keep reading this series because I need to know if Snow finally locks lips with my favourite ‘corner’.


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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If You Like… The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

if-you-like-1

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Blurb: The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Nano Contestant #1 (Novella) by Leif Sterling

Blurb: In 2114, Pinnacle Corporation, the world’s largest tech company, hosts the Tech Games to showcase the world’s latest technology. The contestants must battle it out in 11 brutal games to ultimately win a $100 million prize!

These digital and hybrid athletes must use everything at their disposal in order to take that prize and all of its glory in the Tech Games.

Hacking, firewalls and electronic countermeasures are all being used by each contestant while running and fighting at top speed. It’s all on the line, because nothing is being left on the table!


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Blurbs sourced from Goodreads.com

Review: Swarm by Alex South

 

Swarm (A Zombie Apocalypse Series #1) by Alex South 3.5/5

27246992Blurb: John has a dead-end job, doesn’t see enough of his friends, and struggles to find meaning in his life. These everyday concerns vanish on the night he’s jerked awake by screams.

Frenzied figures roam the streets. A helpless onlooker, John tells himself that this isn’t like the films. This is real life, with real people.

He and his neighbours band together over a small supply of food. Tensions brew, and a difficult choice arises. Risk starvation, or attempt escape? Conflicted over the cause and scope of the apocalypse, the group struggles to work together.

At first John clings to logic. The zombies do not drink or eat. Organic matter cannot sustain itself under these conditions, but things grow more complicated as the behaviour of the infected makes a drastic and inexplicable change.

Review:

I’m a sucker for all things Zombie. I saw this book for FREE on Amazon Kindle, and just had to download it. Is it like every other Zombie book? Yes and no. Yes- as far as there are zombies, survivors, and the unknown. No- as far as the book isn’t action packed per se. The narrative focusses on John’s personal journey in dealing with an apocalyptic situation, and not the zombie outbreak itself.

I’m a scaredy cat, but I was never scared. Was I supposed to be? Maybe? Did I want to be? Yes! I read zombie books for the horror, however I did like that this book added a different level to the situation, and a more indepth look at survival thought processes. A little more character development wouldn’t go a miss, but I liked John; average joe, getting on with life, and then one day- BAM… zombie apocalypse. He is relatable to the masses.

I always take zombie novels with a pinch of salt, or tongue in cheek. I don’t read them to be awed, I read them for light-hearted, gruesome fun. This book offered that, and I was pleasantly surprised with the narrative.


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: The Notebook by Agota Kristof

The Notebook by Agota Kristof 3.5/5

Blurb:

Sent to a remote village for the duration of the war, two children devise physical and mental exercises to render themselves invulnerable to pain and sentiment. They steal, kill, blackmail and survive; others the cobbler, the harelipped girl who craves love, the children s parents are sucked into war s brutal maelstrom. The Notebook distils the experience of Nazi occupation and Soviet liberation during World War II into a stark fable of timeless relevance.

Review:

This book masterfully walks the thin line between entrancing and disturbing. The main characters- the twins- recount events during the second world war with a vivid, yet detached tone that reflects their amoral, almost inhuman approach to life. The boys train themselves with various exercises to be emotionally void.

The narrative is linear, but this is a bare bones, skeletal book with little place for relationship development. Each chapter is short, and is dedicated to a particular event. Each event is recounted in an impersonal, stoic manner, and although this is intended to remain in keeping with the emotionless personalities of the twins, it kept me at arms length, rather than fully submersing me.

Kristof’s portrayal of the war and the horrors faced by Claus and Lucas are explicit and real. There isn’t any pussy footing in the prose and that should be highly commended.


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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