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

 

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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

ARC Review: Breaking the Gladiator by Nicola Rose

book review

Breaking the Gladiator by Nicola Rose 4/5

6tag_280118-080105.jpgCassian

I’m trained to kill… for the amusement of others.

Slave. Fighter. Beast.

Emotions are a weakness, so I have none; except anger and hate. All the good ones were beaten and starved out of me long ago. I barely even feel pain anymore.

But when she touches me? Feelings thrash to the surface, and in my world those are dangerous. She’s poison, feeding off my rage for her own sick pleasures. I hate her. She keeps finding cracks and opening them up, squeezing herself inside my chest.

She’s going to get me killed.

Livia

I’m Domina of the Atticus ludus, where we train gladiators to compete for victory.

Wealthy. Attractive. Powerful husband.

It appears I have it all… and I wish I could make myself feel that way. But I’m numb. Too broken to even care. The only time I feel alive is when I’m with my husband’s champion gladiator. My slave. In the arena, and the bedroom.

It’s disgusting for a woman of my rank to sleep with a man like him. He’s a dirty, worthless animal. His touch should feel repulsive. His gaze upon me should make my skin crawl.

But he’s mine. And I want more.

Review:

Whoo, is it hot in here? Nicola Rose’s debut novella is something dark and steamy. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of an erotic romance set in ancient Rome, but I was sucked into this story from the off. Gladiators and powerful women shouldn’t mix, but in this story they well and truly do.

The characters are not loveable, but you understand where their darkness stems from. There are uncomfortable scenes of violence and abuse, but the scenarios were sadly true to the time and make the story more believable. It is rare to find an erotic romance that is as much about the story as it is about the passion and relationships.


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 Borrowers by Mary Norton

book-review

The Borrowers by Mary Norton 4/5

348573.jpgBeneath the kitchen floor is the world of the Borrowers — Pod and Homily Clock and their daughter, Arrietty. In their tiny home, matchboxes double as roomy dressers and postage stamps hang on the walls like paintings. Whatever the Clocks need they simply “borrow” from the “human beans” who live above them. It’s a comfortable life, but boring if you’re a kid. Only Pod is allowed to venture into the house above, because the danger of being seen by a human is too great. Borrowers who are seen by humans are never seen again. Yet Arrietty won’t listen. There is a human boy up there, and Arrietty is desperate for a friend.

Review:

Another reread of a children’s classic to kick off 2018. It has been many years since I have read The Borrowers and I wasn’t sure what my daughter would make of it, but when she woke up asking for me to read more of The Borrowers to her at 5 in the AM, I knew it was a winner.

There was a few moments when she didn’t understand a turn of phrase or a wordy description, but overall, the story resonated with her. The description on the Borrowers under-floor house was a favourite. My daughter particularly liked the use of postage stamps as art work and using ‘borrowed’ handwritten letters to wallpaper. The thought that Norton put into her Borrower’s world is outstanding.


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: Isle of Winds by James Fahy

book-review

Isle of Winds (The Changeling #1) by James Fahy 5/5

28173857Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy.

But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire.

Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was…

Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking.

There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion.
Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself.

Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war.

Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm.

Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.

Review:

A coming-of-age, fantasy book with hints of Harry Potter and Narnia. Readers big and small will enjoy this descriptive, vivid tale of Robin Fellows and his plunge into all things other-wordly, fantastical creatures, tyrannous rulers, magic, and heritage.

There are two factors that have to be on top form to bring such a story to life. Firstly, characters. Well-rounded, relatable, memorable characters that readers can love or hate are essential in making an unforgettable reading experience. Isle of Winds has characters that are effortlessly written and relatable whether human or not. The second factor is worldbuilding. The sights, sounds, tastes, smells have to draw you in until you are walking within the pages. Fahy’s worldbuilding is first rate. I love Erlking and everything odd and peculiar about it. The ordinary mixed with extraordinary was a hit with me, and don’t get me started on the brilliant Neverworlde and its occupants.

This is a book that I shall be happy to read to my daughter. I don’t mind sitting through Robin’s story for a second time.


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 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

Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

book-review

Winter by Marissa Meyer 4/5

13206900Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Review:

I am a huge fan of Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. Winter, however, took a little longer to get into. I think it was about chapter fifteen where I found my foothold in the story, picked up pace, and couldn’t put it down.

The fairytale retelling is a Meyer masterpiece yet again. I usually detest retellings, but I LOVE The Lunar Chronicles. The loved, kind-hearted Princess ruled over by her villainous step-mother storyline is executed in a fresh, original way, and blends beautifully with the rest of the series.

I’m still a Wolf girl. Scarlet and Wolf’s reunion was just ahhhhh. I won’t say anymore. The characters have their flaws, but you can’t help but get swept up in the camaraderie. Their personality traits work well together, and the narrative/ character development progressed naturally and truthfully.

The ending was exactly what I wanted for my favourite team of buddies. If you like fairytale retellings, why not try this sci-fi series with a hint of romance? It is unputdownable.


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 Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith

book-review

The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith 4/5

6tag_221217-135642When Babe arrives at Hogget Farm, Mrs. Hogget’s thoughts turn to sizzling bacon and juicy pork chops–until he reveals a surprising talent for sheepherding, that is. Before long, Babe is handling Farmer Hogget’s flock better than any sheepdog ever could. Babe is so good, in fact, that the farmer enters him into the Grand Challenge Sheepdog Trials. Will it take a miracle for Babe to win?

Review:

One of the joys of having children is re-reading your old favourites to them. My daughter’s copy of The Sheep Pig is, in fact, my copy from childhood.

Re-reading as an adult helps you see the themes and morals in the story that you may have missed as a child. The underlying theme of this book is that you can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it. Also, manners go a long way. Babe wanted to work sheep, so he learnt , listened, and worked hard. He also treated the sheep as his equals. This is an important message for impressionable, young minds.

There are a few truthful, raw moments dotted in the otherwise joyous narrative. When Ma died, my daughter broke her heart, and straight after, Babe was seconds from being executed. I forgot how the narrative went a little dark in that moment, and although upset, my daughter wanted me to continue. Life and death are fairly common themes in children’s literature now, and The Sheep Pig handles the truth of farm life brilliantly. We are not a family of vegetarians, and reminding my daughter of this helped her see the truth in where her food actually comes from and what happens from farm to plate.

In summary, a quick re-read that touched on some important issues.


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: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

book-review

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit 3/5

6tag_191217-114202Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone.

And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness.

Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

Review:

Anna’s story starts in Krakow in WW2 when her father doesn’t come back to collect her from her neighbour. Anna waits for him, but she knows something is wrong. When she meets Swallow Man, she attaches herself to the only adult who seems to care enough to teach her to survive her new life.

Savit’s way with words is poetic to say the least. The way he creates the Swallow Man’s tongue, known as ‘road’, is quite something. He speaks easily to young Anna in a way she can understand. I must get a younger person’s opinion on this book to see how well they fared with the round about explanations.

I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t love it. At times, I wondered where the story was actually going. As a reader, we only know as much as Anna knows. She is incredibly naive in many ways, and worldly in others. I’m confident this POV would appeal to a young teen more. Again, I really want a younger person’s opinion on this book to see how it varies from mine.

The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this story, and its rare that I say 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

Review: The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

book-review

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher 5/5

6tag_151217-150230.jpgThe Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle, and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It’s about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible.

Review:

As I type this, I have a 7 year old giving input over my shoulder. I read this novel to her every night for the past few weeks, and can honestly say that it was a huge hit. It is full of Christmas magic and wonder, and in true Tom Fletcher style, lots of dino-awesomeness.

I’m a huge fan of the main character. William Trundle is a wheelchair user, and it’s awesome that such characters are represented in children’s literature. Bullying and its effects is also highlighted.

My daughter says it is not only an amazing book, but the best book she has ever read. That’s quite the testament to Fletcher’s storytelling skills. It is a book that is meant to be read out loud, and there is a plot twist that had both of us gawping at each other.

In summary, read this book to your kids!


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