Trying Samplers – Part One

Today I’m doing something I’ve seen loads of other blogs and channels try, which is reading and reacting to chapter samplers. My favourite ones have been done by Kelly, Maddie, and Bee, and I thought it looked like so much fun that I wanted to give it a try too.

I stacked up my samplers, mainly acquired from YALC, and have since divided them into five little piles, so there’ll be about five of these posts. I had so many samplers to get through that I wanted to have it a bit more spread out – that way, hopefully you’ll get to see four or five at a time in depth, rather than rushing through all of them.

I’m kicking it off with chapter samplers that I got at YALC for books which were already published at the time.


First is Fir by Sharon Gosling*. This one was actually quite a long sample, with six chapters and over sixty pages. I’m firstly going to talk about my impressions of the first chapters, and then the whole thing. I was actually very impressed by the first chapter – on the first page, I thought it seemed a bit ridiculous as the parents were making such a strange decision, but then there was a line where the protagonist thought that she would have asked them why, which suggests to me that there’s more information to come on this. The part where they drive to their new house dragged slightly, but there was a little twist at the end of the first chapter which meant I knew I wanted to read on right away. I read the rest of the sampler, but wasn’t particularly impressed overall. It was creepy, I guess, but not as creepy as other books I’ve read, and nothing made sense regarding the parents and their motive for moving. I don’t think I’ll actually be reading this one.

The next sampler I read was Encounters by Jason Wallace*. I didn’t like it within the first few pages, but stuck it out through the 30 page sampler. It’s set in 1994 in Zimbabwe, and is based on a true story about an alien sighting at a school. Told from six different perspectives, the sampler is the first of those six perspectives. Maybe I’d like it more with narrative from a different character, but the first protagonist was racist and I found it hard to connect with his voice, which just really put me off. I don’t think I’ll be reading this one.

Thirdly, I went for for Girlhood by Cat Clarke*. I think I’d already read the sampler before when it was online to promote the book, but rereading it just made me realise again how much I want to read it. The boarding school setting and the intrigue that the sampler and blurb promise means I really want to read more. Harper’s group of friends felt very dynamic, so I’m keen to see more of their story as well.

Next I went for The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett*. I found this sampler rather intriguing, but also a little bit confusing. The sampler was basically just six pages of explaining that there was a virus and not many people survive it, and then she thought about survival statistics and the odds of her surviving. There was some background information about the world and all the different planets that people lived on, and hinting at a romance as well. I’m sort of interested, but it didn’t grab me sufficiently for me to want to read on for now.

The sampler is for Blackwing by Ed McDonald* – this author was actually at YALC, but I think his book literally came out a day or two before the convention. I actually really enjoyed this sampler! I didn’t think it was going to necessarily be my cup of tea, as I’m not always into fantasy and action, but I thought it was really intense and well written. There was some very strong world building, and I was definitely left wanting to read more and find out exactly what was going on.

Overall, having tried all three of those books, I definitely am going to read Girlhood (I grabbed a copy of this at YALC from the book swap, so I can read it soon), I’ll probably read Blackwing, and I might give The Space Between the Stars a try as well. I hope you enjoyed this – stay tuned for a second part!

*Excitingly, I am now an affiliate of A Great Read, an online bookseller that sells books frequently for below RRP and with free UK delivery! If you purchase one of the books mentioned through a link I’ve provided, I get a small percentage of the sale – but my thoughts are obviously all still honest. I will always give a truthful opinion/review, and will * any affiliate links.

3 thoughts on “Trying Samplers – Part One

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