Book Reviews, Books and Me

ARC Review: Raven’s Cry by Dana Fraedrich

Raven’s Cry by Dana Fraedrich 4.5/5

38323190.jpgA dark retelling of Swan Lake ~ Calandra is happiest when she’s surrounded by quiet, joined only by a book and a cup of tea, never around people and their insufferable need to make small talk. When Nicodemus, a magus with immense power, joins the royal court of Invarnis, Calandra’s life will change forever. As a terrible curse pursues her through the centuries, Calandra will have to overcome captivity, war, and loss.

In this standalone installment, set in Dana Fraedrich’s Broken Gears universe, readers will join Calandra in her battle for freedom, hope, and healing.

Raven’s Cry is out 1-5-18 !!!! Preorder your copy here.

Review:

After reading Fraedrich’s Out of the Shadows, I was keen for an ARC of Raven’s Cry. I haven’t yet read book two in the Broken Gears series, but it was easy to jump back in with this book as it is a standalone, yet still has links to Out of the Shadows for those who have read it. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the rest of the series, it won’t affect the narrative for you. Those links are only noticeable to readers of the other books.

The world building in Cali’s tale is just as thought out and imaginative. Cali’s story is tragic for centuries, but she somehow keeps her head and makes it through the torture and imprisonment at the hands of a powerful, evil magus.

Fraedrich has mastered the retelling well. I am not usually a fan of retellings, but as long as the narrative carries its weight in its own right with hints to the original, then I am a happy reader.

If you enjoy retellings, this dark retelling of Swan Lake is for you, and while you’re at it, why not get book one in the Broken Gears 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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Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Turning Grace by J.Q. Davis

book review

Turning Grace by J.Q. Davis 3/5
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Life or death?
It all seems to be the same for Grace…

Some of us have been there before — falling for the hot, popular jock who just so happens to be dating the hot, popular girl in school.

Your snarky-but-always-right bestie insists you make a move, but you’re not so much into putting yourself out there.

Then it happens, and suddenly you find yourself eating a cat on your neighbor’s porch.

No? Never happened to you?

Well, Grace Watkins can’t say the same. Her hunger is growing with each day that passes and her urges are getting harder to control.
No one can explain why her body is changing, except one man.

Review:

A zombie book that follows a teen injected with a untested serum as a child and the deterioration of her body and mind ever since.

It’s unusual to find a zombie book that doesn’t have an ‘outbreak’ or a virus that can be passed on through a bite. It was interesting to see the methods Davis thought up for Grace’s mother to use in order to maintain her daughter’s ignorance to what she truly was, and the repercussions of not explaining the situation to Grace when things start going severely south.

Some niggles I had were Grace’s naivety and Tristan’s utter acceptance. Insta-love is a well used trope in some YA stories, and maybe teens will find this book and the relationship dynamics more believable.


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, Books and Me

Review: 1984 by George Orwell

book review

1984 by George Orwell 3/5
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Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.

Review:

I’ve been meaning to read 1984 for a while. Of course, I knew of the concept (who doesn’t?), but there’s nothing like reading it for yourself. This review will probably sound cliche, but hey, I agree with the general concensus: ahead of its time, transcends generations, and is scarily familiar in 2018. That doesn’t mean I was overly enthralled in the narrative, more in awe of Orwell’s foresight.

This is a book that has a permanent place on the dystopian shelf as a founder and fore-runner in the genre. Orwell’s imagination is expansive and convincing.

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”

How chilling is that?


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, Books and Me

Review: Invasion by Sean Platt & Johnny B Truant

book review

Invasion by Sean Platt & Johnny B Truant 3/5

24915344They are coming. The countdown has begun.
First visible only as blips on a telescope image, the discovery of objects approaching from Jupiter orbit immediately sets humanity on edge. NASA doesn’t even bother to deny the alien ships’ existence. The popular Astral space app (broadcasting from the far side of the moon and accessible by anyone with internet) has already shown the populace what is coming. So the news has turned from evasion to triage, urging calm and offering the few facts they have:

The objects are enormous, perfectly round spheres numbering in the dozens, maybe hundreds. They are on an approach vector for Earth. And they will arrive in six days.

Fear simmers.
Meyer Dempsey – mogul, wealthy entrepreneur, arrogant and always in charge – is in New York, on the phone with his ex-wife in LA when the news breaks. He can hear tension in the voices of reporters and experts chronicling all that’s known and unknown. But even while those supposedly in charge restrain their own panic, Meyer finds he recognizes bits and pieces of what the world is facing. He’s seen this in dreams – in visions of another place. He knows where he and his family must go. He has prepared … though he never knew until now what he’d been preparing for.

He knows only they cannot hesitate. They must run to their safe haven in the Colorado mountains. Now. Before society shatters into chaos, and it all falls apart.

Review:

There’s not a lot of ‘invasion’ in this book. The story follows Meyer Dempsey as he takes his family across country to get them to a safe haven after the first initial sightings of ‘crafts’ approaching Earth from Jupiter’s orbit. This book is part of a series, so the invasion/ contact should occur later on in the series. Perhaps book one should have been called ‘Sighting’???

The characters are well developed and stick to their character arcs, but they’re not particularly likeable. This did hinder my reading experience because even the characters you’re supposed to like/ feel sorry for, I.E. Piper, come across as naive or plain ignorant in places.

The story is well written and I couldn’t distinguish between the two authors. Their writing styles obviously not only compliment each other, but blend incredibly well.


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, Books and Me

ARC Review: Carl by Brianna West

book review

Carl (Guardians in Love #4) by Brianna West 5/5

28280106_226883474546089_5362592180987135567_n.jpgCarl, twin of Bernie and respected Promiscus Guardian on Lucas’ notorious team, has spent over a decade in love with a man who will never return his affections. Heartbroken from his unrequited love, he assists another team in an effort to get away. However, an unexpected development with two of the Guardians leads to a love triangle he isn’t equipped to deal with. And when a Guardian he thought dead appears, Carl is dragged into a world of trouble.

Can he figure out the reason for the sudden appearance of an old companion while combatting the affections of two men? Or will the pressure be too much for him and force him to flee?

Can Carl truly love with his heart completely torn to pieces? Or will the risk of another heartbreak make it not a risk worth taking?

Review:

This is possibly the longest I have had to wait for a new release from West, but it was totally worth it. I was excited to hear that this love story would be Carl’s. Level-headed, reliable Carl. Seriously, Carl needed someone special in his life.

This is West’s first same sex relationship story. I was expecting it, as although Carl’s preference wasn’t really discussed in the Promiscus Guardians series, it was kind of obvious who he had the hots for. This spin-off was definitely another steamy hit from West.

Carl’s character development was well rounded and continued from what we knew of him in the Promiscus Guardians Series. It was great to see him come out of his shell and garner a different outlook on love. The love triangle was complicated, and put Carl totally out of his comfort zone, but without it, I doubt he’d have discovered his true feelings toward a certain someone.

The storyline focussed not only on the love triangle, but on a person from his past, and Carl’s need to help them back to the Light. The history of that relationship clearly had a profound effect on him, and mixing that with the new relationships added a depth to Carl’s story, fears, and decisions. As a reader I felt satisfied with Carl’s conclusion and growth as a character.


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, Books and Me

Review: Crash by Michael Robertson

book review

Crash by Michael Robertson 3/5

18270309.jpgChris’ life of luxury is gone, devastated by the collapse of the European economy. Gas, water, and electricity are all cut off. Food is running out. Even his wife and daughter have gone. Huddled in the smallest room of their lavish house with his petrified and dirty eight-year-old son, Chris has made the decision to stay put. A small army of psychotic scavengers is outside, hell-bent on making the once-privileged pay. Chris now knows that not leaving when he had the option was the worst decision of his life.

Cowering in his home, he watches as his neighbours are dragged into the street and brutally executed. The scavengers have one more house to go, and then it will be his turn. He has to act fast, or he and his son will meet the same fate.

Driven by the need to survive, Chris has decided to keep secrets from his son. Secrets that will make all of the events up until this point seem trivial. Secrets that, one way or another, will come out before the day is done.

Review:

I am a fan of Michael Robertson’s dystopian/ apocalyptic stories. He manages to capture the horror and fear whilst maintaining raw, believable characters. This book had a lot more graphic violence then I’m used to, and if Robertson’s aim was to shock me, he did a great job.

The narrative didn’t stray from the house and the street, but a lot happened to make your toes curl. I didn’t see one plot twist coming, and perhaps that was because even when it was revealed I couldn’t get my head around it. No spoilers, but as a parent, a certain action did not make sense. The backstory between husband and wife was present, but not the other divide.

The ending sets up book two which no doubt will be as gory and shocking as book one.


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, Books and Me

Review: Stig of the Dump by Clive King

book review

Stig of the Dump by Clive Owens 4.5/5

979470.jpgBarney is a solitary eight-year-old, given to wandering off by himself. One day he tumbles over, lands in a sort of cave, and meets’ somebody with shaggy hair wearing a rabbit-skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. They together raid the rubbish dump at the bottom of the pit, improve Stig’s cave dwelling, and enjoy a series of adventures.

 

Review:

Another re-read of one of my childhood favourites has only reaffirmed my love for this book. I can recall reading Stig of the Dump to myself for the first time at about eight years old, and then having my teacher read it during storytime just a few months later. I was still as impressed with the story as I read it to my daughter.

Why did I give it 4.5 and not 5*? Purely for the fact that my daughter didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as our last read, The Borrowers. Her attention wandered a little during the lengthier descriptions. I, on the other hand, loved the detailed descriptions and wonderful relationship dynamic between Barney and Stig. I will encourage my daughter to re-read the book for herself in a year or two.


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, Books and Me

Review: When Stars Burn Out by Anna Vera

book review

When Stars Burn Out by Anna Vera 4.5/5

34503277When a plague turns people into monsters, the only safe place left to live is the Ora, a spaceship beside Earth’s moon. Aboard are the specimens of the next generation, genetically modified to develop powerful abilities, which they must use to fulfill their life’s purpose: exterminating those infected by the plague and stopping the apocalypse.

From the day Eos Europa was created eighteen years ago, she’s cared about little else. But when she fails to develop an ability, everything she’s worked for is lost—that is, until soldiers start disappearing only seconds after reaching Earth’s surface.

In an act of desperation, Eos is sent to Earth to find the missing soldiers. But what she discovers challenges everything she’s ever been taught—about who she is, where she’s come from, and how the apocalypse really began—leaving her to decide whether she’ll continue to play the puppet she was created to be, or disappear like everyone else.

Review:

When Stars Burn Out is a mix of The 100 and Divergent, teamed with a unique twist on the zombie apocalypse narrative. There were many plot twists thrown in along the way, and I could not predict where Vera was going to take the story. Book two is high on my to be read pile, but it’s not published yet. Ahhhh! #thestruggleisreal.

I enjoy a well-written, inventive take on YA literature. This story is highly character driven, just how I like it. You are not only drawn into Eos’ story, but that of all the sub-characters. Everyone has a past, everyone has their own reasoning, and everyone adds to the story in their own way. The character development is well rounded and thought out.

I also enjoyed the romantic element. More so because it wasnt the driving force of the narrative and didn’t sway Eos or change her values. That ending, though. I need answers to heal my cracking heart.

My only niggle was the pacing at the very end. A lot happens in the space of two chapters. There is a time jump of a week, Eos is not sure what has happened in that time, and then there’s some more big revelations. However, I am eager to find out more in the sequel.


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, Books and Me

Review: The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair by Gavin Whyte

book review

The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair by Gavin Whyte 3/5

27419129When a boy finds a girl singing and dancing under his favourite tree he didn’t realise he had been chosen to be the one-off witness to something out of this world. The boy is shown how to live in joy and is reminded of how to pursue his life’s calling. His fear of ageing is overcome and dying is no longer what it seems – all because of the girl with the green-tinted hair.

In this truly comforting tale of wonder and intrigue, which has been called a “hidden gem”, we discover for ourselves how to live in harmony with that which is forever flowing; that which we call life.

Review:

I have mixed feelings about this book. The messages and life lessons the boy learns are important, but this was a non-story in regards to narrative. Yes, I suppose the narrative is the passing of time, growth, and learning, but that was it. Simply put, not my cup of tea. I also didn’t like the narrators voice. The fable vibe was strong, and I have a preference for updating and modernising such types of tales. Younger people may have a totally different view of this book than me.

I cannot fault the writing. The author has a clear, easy to read style.

I have read differing reviews. It’s clear that age and genre preference play a huge factor. I reckon this is a ‘marmite’ kind of story.


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, Books and Me

Review: The Alpha Plague by Michael Robertson

book-review

The Alpha Plague by Michael Robertson 4/5

25815168Rhys is an average guy who works an average job in Summit City—a purpose built government complex on the outskirts of London.

The Alpha Tower stands in the centre of the city. An enigma, nobody knows what happens behind its dark glass.

Rhys is about to find out.

At ground zero and with chaos spilling out into the street, Rhys has the slightest of head starts. If he can remain ahead of the pandemonium, then maybe he can get to his loved ones before the plague does.

Review:

I can’t say that this isn’t your typical zombie/ infection novel, but I can say that the writing was good, the narrative was believable, and the action was intense. Sometimes, we just need a little of what we know done well. The Alpha Plague was that for me.

Rhy’s motivation throughout is to get to his son. I can understand that Vicky’s participation in getting him off the island stems from guilt, but the way their relationship grows in a few hours felt a little forced. I did enjoy how they bounced off of each other, each with their own personality traits and opinions which aided in keeping them both alive.

The storyline behind the ‘release’ of the infection is well believable in this day and age. Biological warfare gone wrong is a scary thought, especially if the enemy know what you are doing and how to use it to their advantage. I hope to hear a little more about The East and what they gained from their actions in the sequel.


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