Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff 4/5

6tag_210717-204649Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.

Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire?

Review:

I went into this book with an open mind. I had read 5*, glowing reviews, and 1*/2* slating ones. Most of the 1*/ 2* reviews are based on what the readers felt was a lack of thorough research into the Japanese culture, or stereotyping of the same. I haven’t much knowledge on Japanese culture, and decided to read this book knowing it is a fantasy novel, and not actually in set Japan, but Shima, a fictional location.

Another thoroughly enjoyable read from Jay Kristoff with characters to love. Yukiko and Buruu’s relationship was well crafted and had me giggling at times. The sub-characters were all perfectly flawed, and added to the narrative.

I found the beginning a little hard going, but one advantage of lots of description and  slow, world-building is an indepth, immersive read. Seriously, it is worth ploughing on. Steam-punk twinned with Japanese elements was an interesting mix, and the two worked well together to create a vivid world.

The ending was worth the journey: surprises, shocks, and oh, my poor heart. I have book two, Kinslayer, to read, and I doubt it will be long before I have to return to Yukiko’s world. The title makes me a little worried, though. Kinslayer… Kin-slayer…. I hope I’m thinking on it too much.


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 Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 4/5

6tag_160717-063147In this harrowing tale of good and evil, the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll develops a potion that unleashes his secret, inner persona—the loathsome, twisted Mr. Hyde.

Review:

Dr Jekyll’s friends are worried about him. Should he die or vanish, the civilised doctor has bequeathed his entire fortune to a man who oozes evil, Mr Hyde. How are the two men acquainted, and how can they make Jekyll see sense?

Let me first state that I know this story, but I have never actually read the book until now. Various retellings, shows/films etc ensure that no one can grow up without at least hearing of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the narrative basics. It’s bizarre to start a story knowing the story. Does that sound as weird to you as it does to me?

I was pleasantly surprised to feel as though the story was fresh to me. This book explores the different sides to identity, and how both good and evil are intertwined in us all, but if you allow it, the evil in us will win.

Despite the fact that this book is short, and nearly the entirety of the book is told from the friend’s perspectives, Stevenson does a brilliant job at character development for both Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll’s statement at the end is brutally honest and logical, and although he realises the mistakes he made, he isn’t entirely remorseful. It is a chilling ending to a chilling 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

January-June Reads Round Up

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Can you believe that we are half way through 2017 already? I am 38 books closer to my Goodreads annual target of 80, and here is the list of what I have read so far with my ratings and links to the full reviews:

  1. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier 5/5: Review.
  2. Touch by Briana Morgan 4/5: Review.
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 4.5/5: Review.
  4. Surviving the Evacuation by Frank Tayell 3.5/5: Review.
  5. The Rose Society by Marie Lu 4/5: Review.
  6. Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell: DNF
  7. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier 5/5: Review.
  8. Sufragette: The Diary of Dollie Baxter by Carol Drinkwater 3/5: Review.
  9. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi 3.5/5: Review.
  10. Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson 5/5: Review.
  11. True Calling by Siobhan Davis 4/5: Review.
  12. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 4/5: Review.
  13. Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins 3.5/5: Review.
  14. 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas 3.5/5: Review.
  15. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 4.5/5: Review.
  16. Resurrection by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
  17. Running Man by Stephen King 3.5/5: Review.
  18. If I Stay by Gayle Forman 3.5/5: Review.
  19. Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr 3/5: Review.
  20. A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy 2.5/5: Review.
  21. Dolce Vita by Iseult Teren 3.5/5: Review.
  22. Eden by Michael Robertson 4/5: Review.
  23. Birthday Blaze by Kacey Shea 3/5: Review.
  24. Luna Proxy by Mac Flynn 3/5: Review.
  25. Shadow of the Wolf by Mac Flynn 2/5: Review.
  26. The Hospital by Keith. C. Blackmore 3/5: Review.
  27. Teeth by Michael Robertson 2/5: Review.
  28. Bad Decisions by E.M. Smith 3.5/5: Review.
  29. Fenix Rising by Jeff Liboiron 4/5: Review.
  30. What a Way to Go by Forster 3.5/5: Review.
  31. Self Edit Your Way to Awesome by K.L. Tolman 3.5/5: Review.
  32. Island by Nicky Singer 4.5/5: Review. 
  33. Unsanctioned Eyes by Brianna Merritt 5/5: Review.
  34. The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Collopy 3/5: Review.
  35. The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier 4/5: Review.
  36. Bernie by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
  37. Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas 5/5: Review.
  38. Hell’s Teeth by James Fahy 5/5: Review.

Have you read any of these? What has been your favourite book so far this year? I have read so many great books it’s hard to choose. At this point, I would say that my favourite book is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas.


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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah. J. Maas 5/5

6tag_160617-214625Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Review:

She hunts to feed her impoverished family, and her skill sees her kill a wolf like no other. Captured by a faerie for the debt she owes for taking a fae life, she is taken to the realm of the fae to spend the rest of her days with her captor. Little does she know why she is really there, why she is treated kindly despite killing a member of the Spring Court, and why her changing feelings toward her captor will see her fighting for her own life and freedom and that of the Spring Court.

Why have I not read this sooner? Seriously, this isn’t just one of my favourite reads this year, but of all time. Big praise, right? The world building is spectacular. I fully believed in Prythian and the fae. The way the land is governed, the animosity with the human realm, and the various creatures, curses, and festivals make for a thrilling read.

The plot was indepth and well written, and the flawed Feyre made for a brilliant heroine. The sub-characters all had vital roles in the narrative, and you root for them as much as you do Feyre. The blossoming relationship was just devine.

Team Tamlin? Team Lucien? Team Rhysand?… Depends what day of the week it is, right? I’m right!

When you’re both excited and scared to read the final one hundred pages it is testament to the story, and I have to admit, my tummy was somersaulting reading the last few chapters. It is glorious to find a book that can do that.

I picked up this book in my library, but now I have to buy all three. If there is one good thing about joining the hype train a little late in the game, it is that the whole series is ready and waiting.

Read this book, folks!


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

ARC Review: Bernie by Brianna West

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Bernie by Brianna West 5/5

6tag_190617-110004Nyla, born and raised in the In-Between realm as the princess of the Spiritum Bellatorum, has been betrothed from birth and forced to conceal the true personality within in order to project herself as nothing but the perfect princess she was taught to be.

When her brother betrays their kind, Nyla acquires an unprecedented mission to find and convince him to come home. Teaming up with the Promiscus Guardians to locate her runaway brother in the mortal realm, Nyla is introduced to the resident comedian and self-proclaimed cowboy Guardian, Bernie.

He is everything she wishes she could be outwardly and she’s instantly intrigued by his happy, easy-going nature. But, like Nyla, Bernie is keeping a part of himself tightly locked away.

What will happen when their barriers start to come down? Will they be able to overcome so many obstacles laid out before them, or will their relationship be torn apart before they have a chance to find something deeper?

Thanks go to the author for giving me an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

I think this might be my new favourite Guardian’s in Love book! After the fabulous Victor and Pavel, I did not think I’d be saying that, but there is something about the cheeky cowboy that draws you in. Bernie’s character has remained true to form throughout the Promiscus Guardians series and the spin offs, and has continued to do so in his own spin off. If anything, Bernie’s endearing side is heightened, and you quickly learn that there is more to the loveable rogue and that Nyla is an extremely lucky girl.

Nyla is the new love interest, but she is so much more: kick-ass Princess who knows what she wants and how to keep Bernie on his toes. West has a knack for writing feminine characters who embrace who they are and stand toe to toe with the brooding hunks.

It’s hard to delve into the story without spoilers, especially if you haven’t read the rest of the series. My advice for paranormal romance fans is to get your copy of Awakening (book one in the Promiscus Guardians series), and work your way through to Bernie’s story. It has to be done!


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 King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier

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The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier 4/5

6tag_130617-191352Honor Harris is only 18 when she first meets Richard Grenvile, proud, reckless – and utterly captivating. But following a riding accident, Honor must reconcile herself to a life alone. As Richard rises through the ranks of the army, marries and makes enemies, Honor remains true to him, and finally discovers the secret of Menabilly.

 

Review:

Honor Harris looks back on her life from her teens, through the English Civil War, and after. Through her truthful recount of the man who stole her heart, Richard Grenvile, and her life in a wheelchair, she tells a tale of love, mystery, war, and misery.

Du Maurier never fails to create an atmospheric experience for the reader.  I was transported to Cornwall in the 1600’s, and through the eyes of Honor, I had a raw, real recount of the English Civil War.

Once again, the characters are brilliantly constructed. Their lives link beautifully with each other’s, and their personalities are expertly woven in the words. My reason for not rating this 5* is because of my dislike for Richard. Despite his affection toward Honor, I couldn’t find anything to like about the man. He remained true to character, but I like to have a least a small nugget of something worth rooting for. He was rude, arrogant, and had a huge sense of superiority. At least Honor was aware of his flaws and never tried to excuse them.

Another reason for my missing star is that at times the narrative was bogged down with the war and strategies etc. Yes, that was the main narrative running through the book, and yes, the title is The King’s General, but there were chapters that I skimmed because it was mere recount, and not vital to Honor’s story.

In summary, a solid read from Du Maurier with brilliantly written characters, engaging world building, and a glimpse into life for the Cornish during the English Civil War. If you don’t mind an obnoxious character or two, this is the read 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

ARC Review: The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Collopy

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The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise by Bob Collopy 3/5

35148208New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.

Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.

For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?

Thank you to the author who gave me an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book is due for release on 23rd June 2017. 

Review:

An imaginative, dystopian novel that doesn’t shy away from the brutality of a post apocalyptic world, and clings to the us and them concept.

The narrative could have been streamlined a little more. There were times when my brain was playing catch up, although the pace wasn’t that fast. The male protag had motivation and led an intriguing life that kept the pages turning. I would have liked more character development, but the flitting between Steve’s POV, broadcasts, and the journal entries took away from that little. However, there were characters to root for.

Fans who liked the Hunger Games trilogy would probably enjoy this novel. The Inner Circle and the Phoenix Cyclers idea lends itself to the eat or be eaten concept.


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

May Reads Round Up

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A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy

6tag_250417-121207Full Review: A Mere Interlude.

I rate this book 2.5/5. Three short stories in a blunt, fluff-free writing style. I prefer a little fluff in my romance stories. Despite the era it was written in, I couldn’t get passed the silly, scornful, or fanciful portrayal of the female characters.

 

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

6tag_040517-095045Full Review: Carnival of Souls.

I gave this book 3/5. A fantastical world with a great story concept. I found the number of POVs bogged down the story and left me trying to catch my breath. Aya was a fab character, but Mallory was absurdly naive.

 

Dolce Vita by Iseult Teran

6tag_040517-094830Full Review: Dolce Vita.

I gave this book 4/5. I thoroughly enjoyed Una’s journey. Teran has captured Una’s sixteen year old mindset, along with her fascination for writing lists and recounts of her crazy dreams. Some difficult topics broached and handled masterfully. Una’s a character that you don’t necessary like 100% of the time, but she grows on you.

Infernal Ties by Holly Evans

6tag_100517-082022Full Review: Infernal Ties.

I gave this book 4/5. A fast paced, urban fantasy that offers healthy doses of the supernatural. Witches, elves, and lycan walk secretly amongst humans, and hunters keep them in line. Excellent world building with the cultural back drop of modern day Prague. The sibling, platonic love was a refeshing change from romantic love.

Four in One Review: Short Stories

Full Review: Four in One Review #1

Eden was my favourite with a well rounded, zombie narrative that offered back story and a plot twist/ shock ending. Shea’s Birthday Blaze fell a little short on character development, verging on contradictory at times, but the platonic sub-plots were the saving grace. Shadows of the Wolf was part one of a sixteen part serial with a story that ended just as it got started. Luna Proxy was another serial (by the same author) without conclusions in the individual story, but the story we were given was intriguing and well written.

Four in One Review #2: Short Stories

Full Review: Four in One Review #2

Fenix Rising and Bad Decisions were my favourites, with clear conclusions and cliffhangers, and action-packed narratives. The Hospital was ‘nightmare inducing’, but the MC wasn’t likeable. Teeth had a confusing, skittish narrative and a lacking story.

What a Way to Go by Julia Forster

18716786_1537510462967032_375861404_nFull Review: What a Way to Go.

I gave this book 4/5. An array of well rounded, interesting characters. A 12 year old MC who is endearing and snarky. This book deals with pubescent angst and real life heart break, and does it with truth and humour. Not my usual type of read, but enjoyable none the less.

 

Self Edit Your Way to Awesome by K.L. Tolman

6tag_280517-070607Full Review: Self Edit Your Way to Awesome.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A quick read that discusses self-editing, options for finding a professional editor, and the importance of beta readers. The author is not a qualified/ certified editor, but an indie author discussing their editing experience of self-editing with humour and truth.

 

Island by Nicky Singer

6tag_290517-185924Full Review: Island.

I gave this book 4.5/5. This book handles an important message calmly and magically. Although it is aimed at 12+, any one can appreciate the story and the message. A book that the younger generations, obsessed with technology and material things, should read.

 


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Review: Island by Nicky Singer

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Island by Nicky Singer 4.5/5

6tag_290517-185924.jpgUrban teenager Cameron arrives on an uninhabited arctic island. He is prepared for ice and storms and (stripped of his smart technology) possibly boredom. He is not prepared for 24 hour daylight and erupting graves. At first Cameron believes the explanations of his research scientist mother. But – as the island reveals itself to him – he begins to see (and hear) things which push him towards a very different reality. One of them is an Inuit girl. The other is a large white bear.

Review:

Cameron is a typical, twenty-first century teenager. His dependance on technology sees him reluctant to go with his Mum on one of her research trips to an artic Island: Herschel Island. He is definitely not prepared to meet Inuluk, an Inuit girl whose mission is to teach him the history of her people and open his eyes to the beauty of the island. What secret is Inuluk hiding, and why is Cameron the only one to have met her?

This book handles a strong message, but manages to put it across in a calm, mystical, intriguing way. The characters are subtle, but offer reality to what might be perceived as a fantastical story. Cameron’s character was well developed, and his character arc developed naturally, alongside his ‘teachings’ from Inuluk.

This book is aimed at 12+, but transcends the children’s literature/ YA genre. Anyone can enjoy this story and understand the importance of its messgae. As a reader, you are left with a new perspective, and perhaps, shame for having your eyes closed to everything this book preaches.

I won’t say too much on the nature of the children’s friendship or their journey because I don’t want to spoil the reading experience of others. A worth while read that I shall ensure my daughter reads in a few years.


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

 

 

What a Way to Go by Julia Forster

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What a Way to Go by Julia Forster 4/5

18716786_1537510462967032_375861404_n1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson’s parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents’ club. Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and her Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents’ broken hearts. Set against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, What a Way to Go is a warm, wise and witty tale of one girl tackling the business of growing up while those around her try not to fall apart.

Review:

Harper is a 12 year old girl, navigating life and school whilst still coming to terms with her Mum and Dad’s divorce and subsequent lifestyles in 1988. The pubescent, sometimes snarky girl, is going through that awkward age of life where she is trying to discover who she is, where she fits, and some of life’s ugly truths.

Harper is an endearing character, and Forster captures her voice perfectly. I could hear the twelve year old speaking to me, and her way of thinking brings back memories of my youth. Trying to be vegan, an activist, and desperate to read 1984 and Women’s erotic romance novels, Harper is a to-the-point, literal girl with a fiesty, witty attitude.

The sub-characters are vivid and well rounded whilst being typical, ordinary characters: Mum, Dad, neighbour etc. Kit and Derek were my favourites. They have bucket loads of personality.

This book deals with both teen angst and real life heartbreak. The death of one character was handled well, and being the character he was, he went out with humour and style. Harper’s version of events are relevant to that of a twelve year old, and it was intriguing to see how she would mature and handle her grief.

This book is suitable for ages 12+, but older audiences will find it just as enjoyable. Not my typical type of read, but I was glad to have read it.


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