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: True Calling by Siobhan Davis

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True Calling by Siobhan Davis 4/5

16977056_1445355945515818_1947444955_n.jpgFor Ariana Skyee, Planet Novo was everything it promised to be until the authorities introduced “The Calling” as their response to repopulation. Now, all seventeen-year-olds are to participate in this Bachelor-style pageant to find their perfect match, marry, and have children.

But that’s not Ariana’s only concern. Thanks to the government-sanctioned memory erase, she has no recollection of Zane, the mystery boy who haunts her dreams. Things are further complicated when the pageant commences and her feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify. Together, they start to realize not everything about their new home is as it seems.

Entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, Ariana sets out to identify the truth. Conflicted over warnings that Cal isn’t trustworthy and alarmed at the government’s increasing interest in her, she doesn’t know where to turn. But her search for the truth comes at a high personal price. When her world implodes, discovering the past shapes her future with devastating consequences.

Review:

Ariana lives on Planet Novo, a man-made habitat twelve hundred miles from the surface of Earth. Repopulation is taken seriously and The Calling is a bizarre, televised way to pair seventeen year olds with their perfect match to ensure more children.

I started reading this book in 2016, but had to stop due to ARCs and review requests. I picked up where I left off and easily fell back into the story once again.

This book had a strong Hunger Games feel to it- without the killing of the opponants. The us and them (government) factor was a strong, underlying theme. I found The Calling a weird, futuristic way to pair people to repopulate. It’s a unique concept, and I had great fun learning how the system was set up and at what lengths the government would go to ensure it’s success.

That’s not all. Ariana is caught in a love triangle; one that enfolds for Ariana just as much as it does for the reader. What are the government hiding? Ariana has to try and fill in the void of her erased memories and keep those feelings separate from her current feelings. The narrative is well paced and kept me engaged until the end. I want to say more, but I must refrain from spoilers.

The two POVs added an interesting dynamic to the narrative. I enjoyed Zane’s perspective, although, I did feel like I was getting double doses of the same information from time to time.

Fans of the Hunger Games and Divergent will enjoy True Calling immensely.


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: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

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Old Man’s War by John Scalzi 3.5/5

16809103_1436806583037421_1035257087_nWith his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry’s service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens.

The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring their youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including a brain-implanted computer. But all too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry must fight for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds.

Review:

I have been neglecting my sci-fi reads of late. I wanted something to get me thinking, take me on an adventure in space, and surprise me at every turn. Old Man’s war has a fantastic concept: take old people, give them a new body, but on one condition… they are part of a space army, and their youth comes at a price.

During the first one hundred pages or so, I could easily stop and start this book. Sometimes, going days between reading it, helped me to get back into the story when I found the time. That being said, it did pick up, and I read the remainder of the book much more quickly.

Scalzi’s imagination is broad and a wonder to read. I wanted sci-fi and I got sci-fi by the bucket load. The characters were refreshing; the older generation- even after they swap bodies- still had seventy-five year old, wise minds. It was a fun mix of old and young. And what would you do if you were seventy-five and suddenly in a younger body…Oh, they did! Lots!

The overall narrative was fast paced. The beginning was a little slower, but the real action started at about chapter seven. We follow Perry through his transformation, through combat, through injury, and through an unexpected encounter. The story progression was well thought out and paced. Scalzi has woven a thought provoking, sci-fi tale that readers, whether eighteen or eighty, can enjoy.


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 Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

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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

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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

Review: Surviving the Evacuation- London by Frank Tayell

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Surviving the Evacuation: London by Frank Tayell 3.5/5

16244543_1412295095488570_460018345_n.jpgThe outbreak started in New York. Within days the infection had spread to every corner of the world. Nowhere is safe from the undead…

Bill watched from his window as London was evacuated. His leg broken, he is unable to join the exodus. Turning to his friends in the government, he waits and hopes for rescue. As the days turn into weeks, realising inaction will lead only to starvation and death, his thoughts turn to escape.

Forced to leave the safety of his home he ventures out into the undead wasteland that once was England, where he will discover a horrific secret.

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

Bill is an advisor to his MP friend, Jennifer. A broken leg has him confined to his apartment during a zombie infection outbreak. Jen promised to get him to safety, but the car that was sent was attacked and the driver was killed. Bill’s story is built upon the journals of his confinement from just before the London evacuation to about 3 months after.

The first part of the book is pretty much Bill moaning, moping, and waiting to be rescued. His poor survival skills and the insights into how he passes the time were building blocks to show his mind set and how it changes with the realisation that he is well and truly left to his own devices. He isn’t a man who takes well to manual work, and you quickly learn that he isn’t courageous, but he is intelligent and knows a lot about the evacuation, the early days of the outbreak, and what has/ may have gone wrong during the evacuation and containment.

Persevere through the first part, and I promise, the book picks up.

The author has thought out different government tactics during such an incident, and I found it all extremely fascinating. I cannot fault the detail woven into the evacuation plans and the realism this creates.

There is something different about this book, and it’s hard to put my finger on. Considering that I didn’t really like Bill and the narrative isn’t action based, I found myself turning the pages and wanting to know the conclusion. Whether it was the realism, his intellect, or the need to see if boring Bill toughened up and survived, I am hopeful for the next books in the 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

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2nd Half of the Year Reads & Reviews

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Can you believe it is the end of 2016? Best not to dwell on how quickly time seems to be flying, and just offer everyone my best wishes for a healthy and productive 2017.

Back on July 1st, I did a 1/2 year post of my reads and added links to my reviews of each. I plan to do exactly the same for the 2nd half of the year too. You can check out my 1/2 year post: here.

Well, I smashed the target that I set myself for the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016. I read 82 in total this year! Yep, I think I might do a little bookaholic, happy jig about now.

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Anyway, on to the good stuff- the reviews from July-December.

    1. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine 5/5: Review.
    2. 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough 4/5: Review.
    3. The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon 4/5: Review.
    4. Demon Seed by Dean Koontz 3.5/5: Review.
    5. A Strange Little Place by Brennan 3/5: Review.
    6. Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph 4/5: Review.
    7. Looking for Alaska by John Green 3.5/5: Review.
    8. Pavel by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
    9. Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac 4.5/5: Review.
    10. Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz 3.5/5: Review.
    11. Parallel by Shana Chartier 2.5/5: Review.
    12. The Aurora Stone by G.S.Tucker 3.5/5: Review.
    13. The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee 5/5: Review.
    14. Dark Secrets by Leah Taylor 3.5/5: Review.
    15. A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart 3.5/5: Review.
    16. Collective Ramblings by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
    17. When Time Comes (Novella) by Cat Nicolaou 3/5: Review.
    18. Mirror Mirror (Novella) by Anthony .M. 4/5: Review.
    19. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab 4/5: Review.
    20. Mad Woman by Kat Savage 4/5: Review.
    21. Germination by Jamie Thornton 5/5: Review.
    22. The Last Orphans by N.W.Harris 5/5: Review.
    23. Feyland by Anthea Sharp 2.5/5: Review.
    24. Grey by Kade Cook 3/5: Review.
    25. Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins 4/5: Review.
    26. Thirst for the Hunt by A.C. Wentwood 2/5: Review.
    27. Nano Contestant by Leif Sterling 4/5: Review.
    28. Hollowland by Amanda Hocking 3.5/5: Review.
    29. Train to the Edge of the Moon by Asper Blurry 4/5: Review.
    30. Book of Birds by L.M.Bryski 4/5: Review.
    31. Untamed by PC.Cast & Kristin Cast 3/5: Review.
    32. Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige 3/5: Review.
    33. When Darkness Breaks by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
    34. Earth’s Knot by Katie Deann 2.5/5: Review.
    35. A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson 4.5/5: Review.
    36. The Christmas Bake Off by Abby Clements 3.5/5: Review.
    37. Naughty or Nice Anthology by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
    38. Eleonore by Faith Rivens 5/5: Review.
    39. Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman 3/5: Review.
    40. Make My Wish Come True by Jade Cooper 3/5: Review.
    41. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne 4/5: Review.
    42. Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christina. S. Feldman 5/5: Review.
    43. Stained by Kayla Krantz 3/5: (not reviewed on blog)
    44. Tough Love by Skye Warren 4/5: Review.
    45. Daughter of Llathe: A Tale of the Two Rings by Ben Cassidy 3.5/5: Review.
    46. Project Dodge by J.Lynne 3/5: Review.

Join me tomorrow to find out my top reads of 2016!!


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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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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Indie Book Advent #22

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Day 22 of my Indie Book Advent features Grey by Kade Cook.

 All the truths of her life were born from the promise of a lie. A lie that could change everything. Gabrian Shadwell studied hard and kept her nose to the grindstone in order to live the successful full-life most humans strive for. The problem is, she isn’t exactly human; she can see auras…and she yearns to devour them-she is comprised of the things nightmares are made of. With her eyes opened to the truth of her Borrower heritage, her chaotic journey of self-discovery takes her down a dangerous road when the tainted eyes of the self-righteous Elders in the Realm turn against her. With good and evil before her, she must choose which path she will walk upon and learn the biggest truth of her life. The only difference between a Borrower and a Vampire is hope.

Where to find Cook and her book:

Goodreads

Amazon

Twitter

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Review: Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christina. S. Feldman

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Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christina. S. Feldman 5/5

15497761_1367612613290152_439208163_n.jpgTrish Ackerly never expected to cross paths with Ian Rafferty again, but when she spots the former bully of her childhood years through her bakery window, she thinks she may just have been given the best Christmas gift ever: the opportunity to finally give Ian the comeuppance he deserves.

But clearly she does not have a knack for this whole revenge thing, because before she can make good on her plans, Trish gets inadvertently drawn into Ian’s life in an unexpected way that lets her see just how different the man is from the boy he used to be. In fact, much to her astonishment, she actually starts to like the guy.

A lot.

Trouble is, Ian doesn’t know who she really is, and explaining it to him is going to be a little difficult now—which is bad news, because Trish is starting to realize that all she really wants for Christmas this year…is Ian.

I downloaded this novella for free from Amazon.

Review:

When he was a boy, Ian Rafferty used to pick on Patricia ‘Pattycakes’.  Years later, the opportunity arrives for Trish to give Ian a taste of his own medicine, but can she bring herself to do it? The man in front of her is different from the boy she knew, and could she actually be falling for the guy?

This novella left me all warm and fuzzy inside. I was fully submerged into Trish’s world as baker and artist. Ian’s backstory was convincing and understandable, and this tale is an homage to how people can turn their life around and become a better version of themselves. I was continually waiting for the bomb shell moment, which was delivered thanks to ‘Pop’.

The sub characters in this book are well written and have clear voices. The relationship between Trish and Ian’s daughter, Kelsey, was sweet and well developed, and an anchor for the couple to grow closer. An all round, heart lifting, Christmas 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