Book Reviews

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black 3/5

Faeries. Knights. Princes. True love. Think you know how the story goes? Think again…

Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He’s the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him – but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for…

Review:

A creepy fairytale vibe that I enjoyed, but was not love-struck with.

I love a good fantasy and this book had it in abundance. I can’t quite pinpoint why I wasn’t enthralled with this book, but it took me a good few attempts of picking it up and putting it down over the course of a few weeks to finally read the story in length.

The characters were well rounded. I especially liked Jack, the changeling. Hazel, the MC, was suitably flawed, and that was important for this story due to the fairytale premise.

It was the world building that clawed this book back for me. Black definitely has the imagination and storytelling ability for this type of fantasy.


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

Book Review: The Day Before Happiness by Erri De Luca

The Day Before Happiness by Erri De Luca 3/5

A young orphan boy grows up in Naples, playing football, roaming the city’s streets and hidden places. The older boys call him ‘monkey’ because he can climb anywhere. He is alone, apart from Don Gaetano, the apartment caretaker, who feeds him, teaches him to play scopa, and tells him stories about women, history and the dark secrets of Naples’ past. Then one day the boy sees a young girl standing at a window. It is an encounter that will haunt his life for years and, eventually, shape his destiny.

Review:

A coming of age tale about an orphan boy in Naples, learning about life and of war time Italy from his apartment caretaker, Don Gaetano.

I appreciate the prose and philosophical element to this short story, and the strong voice of Don. The orphan remains nameless throughout, and I find this intriguing and clever. The focus is the truth, not really the characters.

It is easy to read, considering it is translated from Italian. If you want a short read with historical / WW2 elements, then check this out.


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

Book Review: Birdy by Jess Vallance

Birdy by Jess Vallance 4/5

Frances Bird has been a loner for so long that she’s given up on ever finding real friendship. But then she’s asked to show a new girl around school, and she begins to think her luck could finally be changing. Eccentric, talkative and just a little bit posh, Alberta is not at all how Frances imagined a best friend could be. But the two girls click immediately, and it’s not long before they are inseparable. Frances could not be happier. As the weeks go on, Frances finds out more about her new best friend – her past, her secrets, her plans for the future – and she starts to examine their friendship more closely. Is it, perhaps, just too good to be true?

Review:

The narrative is unassuming, yet creepy at the same time. What is the big secret? What went on with Bert and Birdy? I like the foreshadowing in the way of Birdy’s narration. The intrigue is there, even if the first part of the book is slow of the mark.

I had a need to keep reading to find out what the ‘something terrible’ was. As a reader, you find yourself hunting for clues in Birdy’s unreliable narration and taking mental notes.

The ending was worth plodding through the early narration. If you like creepy and twisted, then this is the book 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.


Content belongs to KJ Chapman

Book Reviews

3 in 1 Book Review

3 in 1 Book Review

Virtual Insanity by Charlie Dalton 2.5/5

There is a Total Recall vibe to this short story, only with zombies thrown in. I enjoy science fiction, but the dialogue grated on me. He said, she said after every bit of dialogue made it feel stilted.

Buy a Bullet by Gregg Hurwitz 3.5/5

A short story with action, intrigue, and a healthy dose of ‘vigilante out for justice’. This is a 1.5 of a series, but works as a stand alone quick read. If you are into Lee Child, it is worth checking this series out.

Death at Sunrise by Colin Conway 4/5

A whodunit that I found fully engaging. I’d be happier if this was longer. The author did weave an intriguing tale that kept me guessing.


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

Book Review: Your Father’s Room by Michel Deon

Your Father’s Room by Michel Deon 3/5

A vivid recreation of the interwar period, Michel Déon’s fictionalised memoir is a touching and very true depiction of boyhood and how our early experiences affect us. 
Édouard (Michel Déon’s real name) looks back on his 1920s childhood spent in Paris and Monte Carlo. Within a bourgeois yet unconventional upbringing, ‘Teddy’, an observant and sensitive boy, must deal with not just the universal trials of growing up, but also the sudden tragedy that strikes at the heart of his family.

Review:

Michel Deon has a way for description, even if he does focus a great deal on describing overweight people. It was just something that stuck out for me, especially his fascination with Evangeline’s description.

Although, I found the look back to 1920’s Paris and Monte Carlo intriguing, I wasn’t totally enamoured with the narrative. That being said, this fictionalised memoir of Teddy is well written and the voice of Teddy does grow as he grows.


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, Uncategorized

Book Review: Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman

Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman 5/5

Loyal Creatures is the deeply moving story of war horse Daisy and her 16-year-old owner Will, sent from the Australian outback to the gruelling Middle Eastern campaign of the First World War. Their skill in finding water is vital to their regiment in the desert, but their devotion to each other is what keeps them alive in an overwhelmingly hostile environment. Is their unwavering loyalty enough to determine their destiny?

Review:

A powerful tale about the Australian Lighthorse Brigade in World War One. Frank is just a boy when he signs up with his Dad and Daisy, his trusty horse. This is a story of friendship and loyalty between men and animals.

Although the writing style makes this an easy, quick read, I can’t believe this is a middle grade book as the ending was so gut wrenching and sob inducing for me. Loyal creatures indeed, and such a tragic end for them.

I appreciate the honesty in this story and how there really is no happy ending in war.


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

Book Review: One Shot by Tanya Landman

One Shot by Tanya Landman 5/5

When your childhood disappears in a blizzard.  When you’re a girl in a man’s world. When the only thing that stands between you and a life worth having is a gun. You’re only going to get one shot.

Inspired by the life of famous sharpshooter Annie Oakley.

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and prose of Tanya Landman. The world building was immersive, and emotions of hard hitting situations were handled delicately without losing their impact.

The descriptions were so effective, for example, ‘Pa was a quiet man. Say ‘quiet’ to some folks and they think meek. Mild. Timid. Pa was none of those things. He didn’t waste breath on words, but when he did speak, every last syllable was worth hearing.’ This was on the first page and I knew exactly the type of man her father was.

This is a story of fiction that was inspired by the life of the famous shooter and star of the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Annie Oakley.


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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updates

November Update

Thanks for popping in for my November updates post. It felt like I had been a bit sporadic this month, but doing this post proved I did get a fair bit accomplished.

Writing

With just weeks until 2020, I have decided to write what I want when I want. This means I have done a lot of WIP hopping, but it’s the only way to make me sit down and write of late.

Blogging

I have finished my 4th and final blog series of the year. I hope you enjoyed my Picture This series as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I am going to take the next month to work out my routine for Writerly Bookish Stuff in 2020. I need to be consistent, but understand my own time constraints. I will let you know the plan after Christmas.

Reading

I have read a LOT of Christmas novellas this month. I did 7 reviews in total in 3 blog posts.

3 in 1 Book Review Part 1

3 in 1 Book Review Part 2

The Christmas Mansion

I am currently reading an ARC of Shadow of Ar’Sanciond by Sarina Langer.

What’s Next?

Next is Christmas. That is my sole focus, but I will continue posting book reviews and the odd Christmassy post.

Keep your eyes peeled for my plans for 2020.


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Book Reviews

3 in 1 Book Review

Christmas by the Sea by Beth Wisemen 2/5

The descriptions and world building were well written, but the romance felt rushed. Just because someone saved your life, you don’t necessarily have a romantic connection with them on the first meeting after.

Her Christmas Bonus by Rain Danvers 2/5

What can I say? Not my cup of tea. The out of the blue actions of the characters to force the narrative put me off a little.

The Billionaire Brothers’ Christmas by Jenn Roseton 3/5

A sweet, Christmas tale about 5 brothers making Christmas special for their wives and kids. A little disaster with planning the Christmas dinner is the main story plot, but I do like an ‘it all comes good in the end’ tale. Sometimes, the characters felt a little flawless, but I can forgive that at Christmas.


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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updates

October Update

And just like that, October is done. I have had a productive month, even if I haven’t done a great deal of writing.

Writing

I finished the first draft of Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. I am not even going to look at it again until well into the New Year. Despite it being a novella, I found it the most taxing book I have written. Having a nearly 9 year old and a 17 month old made sure of that. Only joking, however, mum duties always come first.

I have started handwriting something new. I am not setting deadlines, so I can take my own sweet time. All I can say is… watch this space.

Blogging

My Picture This series has continued through October. We’re over the half way point, with more scheduled until November 27th.

October marks the last month of Author Toolbox Blog Hop until January 2020. If you missed that post on the benefits of writing by hand you can find it here.

Reading

This month I have read just 2 short books. You can find the links here:

Bug Out Guy by Gavin Griffiths

The Woman Who Lost Her Face by NBC News

What’s Next?

With a holiday fast approaching, and then the festive season zooming around the corner, I am not setting goals in stone. All I can hope is to read and write a little more.

Obviously, my blog series will continue. November 27th is the date of the final episode. I am rethinking series and posts for 2020, so for the time being, I shall be thinking about a few Christmassy posts to write in November and schedule ahead of time to make December easier.


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