5 in 1 Review: Christmas Stories

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 A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce 3/5

21078618A quick, christmassy read with humour and relatable characters. The christmas rules that kept popping up (pretty much after Ruth made mistakes or bad calls) were a hilarious touch. I didn’t understand the purpose of Gideon or why she was dating him, but the other characters made for a dynamic family.

Stories for Christmas by Various Authors 3/5

51WNG1NQZRL._SY346_This book is advertised as a free sampler of Christmas stories, but I was shocked to find them imcomplete. It was just a marketing ploy to get the readers to buy the complete story which felt a little cheap. The stories were well written, but there wasn’t a huge Christmassy vibe about them. I won’t be buying the full stories.

Twelve Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep 4/5

61l23Qxe-ML._SY346_An intriguing Christmas, romance mystery. The concept is well conceived and written, and you find yourself sucked into the story/era. There is a definite Dickens and Christie vibe to this story.

 

Santa Baby, I Want a Bad Boy for Christmas by Justine Elvira 3/5

51-Xss1A6EL.jpgGunnar’s character stole the show in this book. I would have liked the book to have been from his POV. There are steamy scenes, but as for narrative, I wanted a little more believability. I don’t mind insta-love if done well, but a few nights together, and then declaring feelings felt forced.

A White Hot Christmas by Adrianne James 3/5

5103uATGDmL._SY346_You can’t go wrong with a Christmas read that involves a hunky fire-fighter. This story was a quick, steamy read, but that abrupt ending didn’t offer much in the way of a conclusion. Could have done with being longer.

 


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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3 in 1 Review: Short Stories

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After Dark by Mikey Campling 3/5

This book had an interesting concept. I enjoyed the various POVs and how they linked up at the end of the narrative. It’s not often that you get the POV of an animal. I can’t say that I found this story scary, and I’m a big wuss.

Three Men and a Maybe by Katey Lovell 4/5

Three proposals, three back stories, and only one can get a yes. I enjoyed this short and sweet story. There was no competition in my eyes. It was obvious who Cerys should accept, and I’m glad she didn’t give a definite yes. The lucky guy has a year to prove that he means what he said. A feel good, romantic tale that can be read in one sitting.

The Apple Orchards by Veronica Henry 3.5/5

A short, bittersweet read. The narrative follows a man who is down on his luck and how the locals feel about him. There is a powerful message about greed, helping neighbours, and how society treat people living in poverty. Does a lack of material possessions constitute poverty? Are you rich if you’re contented with your little slice of life?


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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June Reads Round Up

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ARC Unsanctioned Eyes by Brianna Merritt

unsanctionedeyes-ebookFull Review: Unsanctioned Eyes.

I gave this book 5/5. Quinn is an anti-heroine to root for. Her development over the course of the narrative makes the book what it is. The sub characters are effortlessly woven into her story, and the world building is immersive. Well written thriller with a strong female protag.

ARC The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Collopy

35148208Full Review: The Phoenix Cycle.

I gave this book 3/5. An imaginative, dystopian world that has a Hunger Games vibe about it. The narrative felt a little skittish and would benefit from being streamlined.

 

The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier

6tag_130617-191352Full Review: The King’s General.

I gave this book 4/5. Du Maurier weaves an atmospheric tale of love, war, misery, and mystery. I cannot fault the writing or the character development, but my lost star is for my dislike of Richard Grenvile. I needed more from him to be able to root for the man.

 

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

6tag_160617-214625.jpgFull Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses.

I gave this book 5/5. Amazing! Why did I not read this sooner. I loved everything about this book: characters, story, background, worldbuilding. Just read it, folks. My review won’t do it justice.

 

Bernie by Brianna West

6tag_190617-110004Full Review: Bernie.

I gave this book 5/5. The loveable cowboy got his own spin off. Whoop! Another great addition to the Guardian’s world. Steamy romance, strong female heroine, and of course, cheeky Bernie. He has always been ‘laugh out loud’ funny, and continues to be in this book.

 

Hell’s Teeth by James Fahy

6tag_130617-135051Full Review: Hell’s Teeth.

I gave this book 5/5. A vampire book that leaves all the stereotypes, cliches, and tropes at the title page. Excellent world building of a dystopian world where Vamps, GOs, and humans live side by side. A humourous MC, and well crafted sub-characters. This could be a TV series. No, seriously, it totally could.

 


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

 

Four in One Review: Short Stories

book-review

Bad Decisions by E.M. Smith 3.5/5

6tag_200517-064426Jamie Kendrick is known for his colossally bad decisions—jacking a squad car and turning it over in a ditch, for example. But he’s going to show everyone. With some help from his brother—and a court-ordered ankle monitor—Jamie is going to get sober, join the army, and shake his white trash reputation. And he’s actually doing a decent job until someone frames him for the grisly murders of his brother’s family.

No one believes that Jamie is innocent. No one but a mysterious blonde with a gun. She gives Jamie a choice: spend the rest of his life in prison or help her take down the man who killed his brother and set him up.

Review:

Finally, a short story that has a conclusion. Many that I’ve read lately lack a satisfactory ending in favour of getting readers to buy the next in the series, however, this story offers both conclusion and cliff hanger. Due to the length of the story, character development of both Jamie and the sub characters suffered a little, but it was a well written, fast paced read.

The Hospital (The First Mountain Man Story) by Keith .C. Blackmore 3/5

6tag_200517-064644“Mountain Man” Augustus Berry is a survivor in undead suburbia. He scavenges what he can from what’s left over. He is very careful in what he does and where he goes, taking no chances, no unnecessary risks, and weighing every choice… until he decides to visit the hospital at the edge of town, and experiences terror the likes he’s never encountered before.

Review:

If you like graphic gore and zombies, then this is the book for you. I was literally cringing in disgust and thinking ‘I’m going to have nightmares tonight’. It was a fast paced read, with a real taste of horror. The MC didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. An overweight biker who shits himself was not the imagery to help that, but he went through some stuff at the hands of Nurse Alice… urgh, hideous woman.

Teeth by Michael Robertson 2/5

6tag_200517-064844Josh is a fourteen year-old boy living in a world where the global economic recession has led to money being devalued. Three days ago, his parents went out for supplies, leaving him and his older brother, Archie, behind. They haven’t returned. A gang of looters has ransacked their house and set it on fire. The last thing their dad told them was to get to their nan’s if there was any trouble. The boys decide their current situation looks like trouble.

Setting out onto the streets of London, the boys quickly learn what a world looks like when capitalism has failed.

Review:

The only way I can describe the narrative is skittish. I was more than a little confused at times. There was violence, evidence of a sort of dystopian world after a global economic crash, and a killer who kills people and takes teeth keepsakes from the victims. The writing was fine, but the story lacking.

Fenix Rising by Jeff Liboiron 4/5

6tag_200517-063921One hundred years ago, a nuclear war decimated Earth, leaving rugged Wastelands wrought with malicious gangs and survivors desperately struggling to form new societies.

Among them, Vincent Fenix has made his temporary home in Avalon Wharf, working as a gun runner, smuggler and violence enthusiast, minding his own business.

But, when a Wasteland warlord hires a gang of ruthless cannibals to hunt down his lifelong friend, things get personal.

With fists, guns, and blades, he embarks on a path of vengeance. In true Fenix fashion, he vows to tear his city apart in search of the cannibals and when he finds them, he’s going to make them pay.

However, there is the answer to a nagging question which he ultimately seeks. Who hired them?

Review:

A dangerous, dystopian world with cannibals, gruesome murders, smuggling, and lots of guns. Well written, and more than a little gory. I found this short story a page turner, even when I was reading through my fingers. If you like Mad Max, then you’ll enjoy this book.


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: A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy

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A Mere Interlude by Thomas Hardy 2.5/5

6tag_250417-121207.jpgLove can be heartbreaking

As Baptista travels home to marry her parents’ old neighbour, she encounters her lost lover. They elope together, but tragedy strikes unexpectedly on their wedding day and she returns to her parents to do her duty. Will her other, brief love remain a secret?

Review:

Considering the lack of information on the cover and the solitary title, I was shocked to find that this book held three short stories. A Mere Interlude, The Withered Arm, and An Imaginative Woman. They are stated as love stories, although I wouldn’t class them as swooning romances with fairy tale endings. Out of the three, The Withered Arm didn’t mesh well with the other two. The paranormal element to it was not in keeping.

I haven’t read anything by Thomas Hardy before, and I’m not sure that these shorts were the best to start with. The writing style is blunt and to the point, and even though ‘fluff’ is given a bad name in the writing world. I like a little fluff in my reading experience. An in-depth poke into emotions and mindsets would have helped me get into the stories.

Another issue I couldn’t get passed was the ‘silly’ decisions/ emotions of the female characters. Women come across as either fanciful, silly, or scornful. I had to remind myself of the time when these stories were written, but it didn’t really help my reading experience.


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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March Reads Round Up

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The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

17078496_1452801474771265_1869332312_nFull Review: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I gave this book 4/5. Witty humour and writing style. A unique take on the science fiction genre that transcends through the ages. Packed full of laughs and whimzy. Just remember to take your towel with you.

 

Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins

17198856_1455014497883296_844697927_nFull Review: Embers.

I gave this book 3.5/5. The concept wasn’t highly original, but the storyline kept me hooked. Twilight fans will love this book, and thankfully, Ember is fiery and stong-willed, so no Bella Swan damsels to be found. Phew!

 

25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas

17274329_1461615340556545_1676088367_nFull Review: 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A brilliant way to structure a novel- each chapter is a werewolf murder method. Realistic heroine, and a believable location for the paranormal occurances to be concealed, but some important aspects were glossed over and affected believability a little.

 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

17619798_1476575219060557_1541559010_nFull Review: Nevernight.

I gave this book 4.5/5. Brilliant characters, world building, and writing style. This book sucks you into a world of assassins, revenge, and mystery. My missing half star is for the annoying footnotes, they just didn’t agree with me.

 


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Review: Touch (A One-Act Play) by Briana Morgan

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Touch ( A One-Act Play) by Briana Morgan 4/5

15970433_1398295036888576_299992794_nThe Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it?

I downloaded this book for free during an Amazon promotion.

Review:

Touch is a criminal offence. Not even parents can hug their children. The Seeker needs contact, she needs to know what another’s touch feels like, so she goes looking for it. Touch changes the Seeker’s life, and that of those around her.

Have I read a play before? No. Was I worried that I wouldn’t like the medium? Yes. Were my worries unwarranted? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed this one-act play, and the enthralling concept. The idea of touch being illegal gripped me from page one.

The characters were relatable and that is quite a feat for such a short play. I would love to see this concept in novel form. There is plenty of scope to do just that. The author touched on background history that made the Seeker’s need for touch, and defiance of the law, more believable. Although fast, the narrative doesn’t let up until the last page, and as a reader you find yourself with a new found respect for touch. Lovers of YA dystopia would love this play.

A thought provoking concept that can be read in one sitting.


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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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.


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Review: Daughter of Llathe by Ben Cassidy

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Daughter of Llathe (A Tale of the Two Rings) by Ben Cassidy 3.5/5

15644251_1373498689368211_108057768_n.jpgWhen Wayfinder Nali is dispatched to the isolated village of Veel’na in the rainforest lowlands of the planet Llathe, she soon discovers that her task is larger than she thought. A dark terror is killing the people of Veel’na one-by-one during the Long Night, and there is no help coming until daybreak several weeks away.

As Nali races to find out exactly what is responsible for these deaths and stop it, she faces rising tension from the captain of the town’s mercenary guard and the frightened villagers themselves.

Will Nali overcome her own doubts and fears, or will the ancient evil that rots out in the heart of the Llathese jungle ultimately consume her?

Downloaded from Amazon for free.

Review:

Nali is a Wayfinder who is sent to aid the village of Veel’na in the rainforest. She soon realises that the villagers need much more help than anyone had imagined. Something is killing people and it is getting closer and closer. With the planet’s long night cycle set to last several weeks more, can Nali and the villagers stop this dangerous being before anyone else dies.

The world building was imaginative and executed well. I could easily visualise the planet and its various species/ races. The language used to explain things such as time and distance was understandable and added to the whole immersion. For a novella, the author has done a great job of character development, considering the sizeable world created in just 14k words. That being said, I would have preferred this novella in novel form. I think we were only just sussing out the true depths of Nali towards the end of the novella. I would love to have seen what Cassidy’s imagination could conjure up in a full length novel.

I don’t usually talk about book covers in my reviews, but I felt like this may be a big issue for some. Although fabulous, the cover left me doubting the age of the target audience. To clarify, this is not a children’s book.

If you like a quick , fantasy read with mastered world building and character developement, then this is a great book to get your hands on. It is also free on Amazon at the time of this review.


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