Thursday, 31 March 2011

Book Review- Zombies Vs Unicorns, anthology

 Title: Zombies vs Unicorns
 Author: Lots of them. Edited by Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie, hereafter known as JL) and Holly Black (Team Unicorn, hereafter known as HB)
 Series: N/A 
 Published: 21 September 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry Books 
 Length: 432 pages
 Warnings: references to sex, b*st**l*ty, homosexuality, profanity, gore, magic, violence, 14+ recommendation in the cover
 Other info:  The whole debate started on a blog. Click for HB's blog and JL's blog.  Links to authors individual websites included in review. 
 Summary  from blurb: Which is better: the zombie or the unicorn? Justine Larbalestier says that zombies are our own walking deaths. Funny, grim and terrifying, they cannot be escaped. Unicorns are sparkly and pastel and fart rainbows. Holly Black says that unicorns are healers, arbiters of justice and occasionally majestic man-killers, zombies drool and shed and probably carry diseases. Some of today’s finest writers have chosen their side, creating dazzling stories about both creatures. So read on and decide for yourself. Are you Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

 Review: The concept: love it. A straight out war between zombies and unicorns, fought by some familiar faces and other...I’ve never heard of.  This is an interesting, refreshing and funny break from the more popular Vampires vs Werewolves debate. And conveniently, it is set out in a unicorn story, zombie story, unicorn, zombie format. Let the battle commence.

Round 1:
Team Unicorn- The Highest Justice by Garth Nix. Its a unicorn who ends up killing a zombie and set in a medieval world of kings. I didn’t think that much really happened, it was just a this happened, that happened thing. I liked the detailed descriptions, but they slowed down the story a bit too much.
Team Zombie- Love Will Tear us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson. I think the whole idea was a zombie boy in love with a guy who’s father seriously hates zombies (Side note: yes, that is a homosexual relationship. If you have a problem with it, get rid of it, or at least keep it to yourself. Gay/bi/asexual/transgender etc people are just as awesome as straight people, if not more. Still not happy? Go away or be eaten by insane cannibals.). At times however, I couldn’t make out much of a plot. But it was funny, enjoyable, with a  little bit of brain eating thrown in.
Team Unicorn:0   Team Zombie:1

Round 2:
Team Unicorn- Purity Test by Naomi Novik. This one was interesting. It shoved a unicorn into New York, which is trying to find an entrance to somewhere that ends up being called Fairyland. This was funny, but there just wasn’t a plot at all.  However, I liked how it changed our perceptions of a unicorn and its virgin, into...something completely different. And don’t get me started on the baby unicorns and chocolate milk.
Team Zombie-Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan.  As the person who brought zombies to a young adult audience, I expected good things. And got them. While at times it was a little slow, I don’t think anyone else would ever put pirates into a zombie story.  Fun fun fun indeed. And the methods of destroying a zombie demonstrated in Bougainvillea are awesome.
Team Unicorn:0   Team Zombie:2

Round 3
Team Unicorn- A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan. I must confess, I never got through this. Its the one with the b*st**l*ty. Avoid at all costs is what I say. Team unicorn loses a point for this generally disturbing story.
Team Zombie-Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson. This highlights the dangers of horror movies’ suicide-at-five-pounds-an-hour (as termed by Grahme. This being a zombie story, our protagonist gets to babysit zombie babies! This was a fun story, with not too much happening, but still being entertaining.
Team Unicorn:-1 Team Zombie:3

Round 4
Team Unicorn-The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund. It’s a completely new take on the unicorn. It’s the closest we get to zombiefied unicorns. Nothing much happened, but the zombie unicorns mean I love it.
Team Zombie-Innoculata by Scott Westerfeld. Kids and adults living on a pot farm while everyone else on earth is a zombie. And then a few kids make plans to escape. This was extremely boring and whilst he is brilliant at writing Steampunk,  Westerfeld is no good at writing romance.
Team Unicorn: 0 Team Zombie:3

Round 5
Team Unicorn-Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot. This was immense fun. I never thought I’d enjoy Meg Cabot, but it was so funny and our protagonist ends up using her unicorn to  deal with her bullying problem. This is the girliest story in the book with some actual plot-rare for a zombie story.
Team Zombie- Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare. This is the one where a people simply don’t stay dead. It’s a full love story and the heir to dukedom or something like that (I’ve completely forgotten)dies and comes back. I liked this because normally, zombie romance does not work (main reason being the zombie should want to eat the brains of their partner. More on that another day), but Clare made it work. Tough deciding which one wins,.
Team Unicorn: 1  Team Zombie 3

Round 6
Team Unicorn-The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey. This was edging into the zombiefied unicorn team as well. Most unicorn stories involve the unicorn saving the life of the human.  In this story, this is very true. As long as the unicorn has taken a life as well. This was an interesting spin on unicorns, but there wasn’t a plot at all.
Team Zombie- Prom Night by Libba Bray. This didn’t have a plot either… I’m not entirely sure of the point, and I didn’t really like the characters and I didn’t understand the situation.
Team Unicorn:2   Team Zombie:3

Round 7
There actually wasn’t a seventh story for each side, this is more a bonus round for the banter at the start of each story. It’s JL and HB discussing various things, putting down the story if the  story is for the opposite side, and defending it if its theirs. HB’s fights go something like “unicorns are like this. Its good” and repeated “zombies shamble and bits fall off and that’s disgusting”. JL’s fights go “yes, but zombies are better because of this” and “unicorns are rubbish because *insert new reason* ”. I love this banter. JL wins.
Team Unicorn:2   Team Zombie:4

Total: Zombies win in terms of rounds. Of course, these are my own opinions and you probably won’t agree. Not my problem!
Just to let you know, I’ve always preferred zombies to unicorns. This doesn’t change my opinion. So, I say, Team Zombie wins. Add your opinions below.
Me and my book club WILL have this as one of our “open for discussion” debates. Enjoy when it comes.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea because its funny, and with some great stories, but at times very disturbing.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, its where we showcase books that we're waiting to be published

Title: Sweet Venom
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Series: Medusa Girls #1
Release Date: 4 October 2011
Summary from Goodreads:Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.
Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.
Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.
These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

Why I want it: Ilove Greek myths, I love myths remixed and put in the modern world, I love girls fighting against the paranormal. This looks like an interesting concept. It has a pretty cover.
Website: Official website

What are you waiting on?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

  Title: Delirium
 Author: Lauren Oliver
 Series: Delirium #1
 Published: 1 February 2011
 Length: 441 pages
 Warnings: profanity, a little violence, kissing
 Other info: Oliver has also written Before I Fall. Pandemonium, book 2 in the Delirium series, is expected in 2012 and the third book, Requiem, is expected in 2013.
 Summary from goodreads: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love
 Review: Ok, the blurb sort of speaks for itself. It’s the future; scientists can remove love from the brain, making the world revolve nicely. Lena is 17, and three months away from her birthday, when she will be free from love and hurt and pain forever. And then she falls in love with Alex, which is illegal and can only end in disaster.  I like the dystopian world: it’s easy to imagine and has a thorough explanation behind it. The whole idea of being able to eradicate love is brilliant, original and interesting to see how it turns out.
There are full explanations for everything and a full set of different terms: amor deliria nervosa is love, sympathisers are those that believe in love and so on.
Like the excerpts from the safety health and happiness handbook- they give a fuller view of their world from a different perspective
At some points it’s just a forbidden love book, where it’s forbidden across classes, not species and Alex, the love interest, JUST HAPPENED to appear in time to save Lena from being caught in a raid
Slightly stereotypical romantic stuff, descriptions of kissing in a little too much detail for my liking. Those who like romance will enjoy this alot.
Unlike other forbidden romance novels, this does have an ending related to the reason why the love is forbidden. Alex and Lena soon hatch a plan to escape, invalidating Lena's identity and leaving her uncured. But this comes towards the end of the book, and so I’ll keep my opinions of their adventure to myself.
I didn’t really like Alex. I can sort of see why Lena liked him; he’s a complete rebel to society, and who doesn’t like breaking rules? But there wasn’t really any character development with him: he was the same person at the end of the book as he was when we met him. And he seemed like a Gary-Sue. Which I hate.
 Just have to say, I love the ending. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a tense cliff-hanger that makes me really want a sequel.
Overall:  I give it strength 3 teas because I loved the new world Oliver created, but the clichéd romance spoiled it.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

On my Wishlist (2)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. 
 1. Department 19 by Will Hill. Looks like a great vampire story- without any romance. Something rare indeed.   Blurb: A secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised – and they're not wooden anymore. When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against…

2. The first book in the The Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger. Yes, its not out until 2012, but I can't wait.

3. Bittersweet by Marcia Colette. Looks like something different. But apparantly, its only an e-book. Hopefully it'll come out in print.
Blurb:Phaedra Thorne's goals in life are simple. Make it to eighteen so she can legally adopt her sister and hope she never becomes like her deranged mother who secretly lives in the attic. They're not the normal hopes and dreams of a kid her age, but then again, Phaedra is anything but typical. Schizophrenia and psychokinesis go hand in hand in her genes. With things always upending or blowing up around her, she’s already halfway there and horrified one of these days she'll be the next to go insane.

4. Grand Guignol Orchestra, Vol. 1 by Yuki Kaori. I loved Godchild, and this looks similar: victorian, horror, creepy doll thingys. Ie, all what I love reading!
Blurb:Lucille and his orchestra encounter a town overrun with the worst kind of audience: the Living Dead! Well, not really. They’re people who have been turned into doll-like zombies. And they are definitely not a crowd to take lightly. Can a group of roving musicians use their skills to calm the beasts? Or is this curtains for the Royal Orchestra?!

And so concludes my wishlist. Anyone got anything I should be reading?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Book Review: Strange Angels by Lili St.Crow

strange-angels-coverTitle: Strange Angels
Author: Lili St. Crow
Series: Strange Angels Series
Warnings: Violence, swearing, uh... I don't pick up these things...
Summary from Lili St.Crow's website: Dru Anderson has been “strange” for as long as she can remember. She travels from town to town with her father, hunting the things that go bump in the night and eat the unwary. It’s a weird life, but a good one–until it all explodes and a zombie busts into her new house.
Alone, terrified, and trapped in an icy town, Dru’s going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. Can she trust the boy who is just a little too adult–and just happens to get bit by a werwulf? Or the strange blue-eyed boy who tells her she’s heir to a long-forgotten power? Can she even trust her own instincts?
Because Dru is not the first in her family to be killed by the darkness of the Real World. The monsters have decided to hunt back–and now Dru has to figure out who to trust, who to fight, and when to run. And not incidentally, she has to figure out how she’s going to get out of this alive.
And she has to do it by sundown, or it’s all over…
Review: This book has a basic "Main character has previously fought paranormal creatures; the paranormal creatures fight back" plot line. However it is unexpectedly not too cliché. There are some plot twists and Dru is a comical narrator. The first person narrative and swearing (I'm sure that many authors underestimate a humans capacity to not swear at everything that goes wrong and anyway, wouldn't you swear a bit in a life and death battle?) ensures brilliant character depth. Some mysteries in this book which I hope will be revealed in the sequel (I haven't read it yet) such as why Christophe smells like apples. That really annoys me.
Rating: 4, an enjoyable, interesting take on a sort of vampires vs. werwulf and half-vampire
Note: the stupid pictures are hard to control and the have ended up in the wrong place. Due to my computer not taking mp4 and also my lack of html skills they will be there, in the wrong place, forever.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Book Hop #3

Book Blogger HopBook Hop!
Its that time again when we hop round eachother's blogs and follow.
If you got here by being a follower already, thanks for coming back.
If you got here via Crazy for Books, thanks for coming here!
I'd better introduce us...I'm Nina, and Katy is around here...somewhere. She's really busy, so I update more.  We read manga, horror, fantasy, dystopian and paranormal romance. Enjoy your stay!

"If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"

Hmmm...hard one. I'd go for the Dark Hunter world created by Sherrilyn Kenyon because I like the fact some of the places featured in it are real, and also who doesn't like the idea of having a set of guys running about slaying vampires each night?
Another world I'd like to live in is the Black Butler world: its a crossover of demons and supernatural stuff, and Victorian England. I want a talented butler pouring me tea! And I think that Black Butler has the best mythology/background to demons and death gods I've seen so far.

That's my answer this week. What's yours?
Leave a comment and I'll stop by you.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Book Review: Dreamwalk by Sarah MacManus

 Title: Dream walk
 Author: Sarah MacManus
 Series: N/A
 Published: 14 March 2011 by Young Rebel Publications
 Length: 149 pages
 Warnings: romance, sex references, drugs ref, kissing and a bit more, profanity 14+
 Other info: Sarah MacManus has also written Lord of the Trash.
 Summary: DREAMWALK is a romantic mixed beat of time travel and mythology for both teens and adults. After the death of her mother, Chloe Hawthorn is haunted by terrifying night-time hallucinations. Determined to take control of her dreams, she uses them to find Shane Anderson, a charming and troubled musician whose online videos have been holding her in thrall. She finds him in the Dreamtime, sweating out heroin detox in a run-down rehab centre.
Chloe sets out to find Shane in the waking world and discovers her dreams have been taking her into the past. Horrified, Chloe realizes Shane doesn't survive his addictions. In order to save him, Chloe must master her Australian mother's legacy — the secret of walking the Dreaming through time. But what price will Chloe pay for this Dream walk and will she save Shane only to lose him forever
 Review: "I had enough time to hope that I wouldn't hit anyone on the sidewalk below.” a very interesting first line that makes you wonders a lot of things: where is this person, why do they think this, why are they falling. It makes you want to find out more. There’s a lot of description, it makes you feel as though you’re falling with them, and from that line I wanted to read on.
Chloe is having this nightmare, because of her mother’s death. She's been having that same nightmare forever.  She then goes on to discover an email with a video of a guy playing the guitar. The next night, she dreams of that same guy.
He is Shane, a guy in rehab who keeps a diary. And while Chloe dreams of him, he also dreams of her. And so, via dreams, they fall in love. And so they start kissing, and get further. (They don’t end up having sex).
The interesting thing is that any marks inflicted in the Dreamtime, show up in real life. That’s one of the things I like about this book. It’s a new take on paranormal romance, as for the most of the book, they only interact via dreams.
All this is recounted in Shane’s diary. After the first few diary entries thought, they ended up saying the same thing. But that changes when Shane gets taken off the meth, the thing that is actually allowing Shane to dream of Chloe. It turns into a story of trying to pull Shane out of the Dreamtime and get him into reality.
The plotline I prefer is Chloe finding her place in the Dreamtime though. She meets her mother and various gods, and together they teach Chloe all about Dreamwalking and songs.
I like the double narration: two clearly different voices, but without going over the same point in the story twice, as you sometimes get. 
At some points this was a little hard to follow. I tended to find myself thinking "are they in the dreamtime, or in reality, and where in time are they?”.  That was a bit annoying and I still don’t really get some parts of it.
I also found Shane a little bit of a Gary-Sue (the male equivalent of a Mary sue). He was a little bit of a stereotypical tortured, talented love interest.
and I think I would have connected a bit more with the characters and the story if it was in the present tense’s just see dream walk as the kind of book that could be going on as you read it.
I absolutely love the idea of dreamtime, where time has no meaning and pretty much anything can happen. The descriptions, while beautiful throughout, were the best especially in the parts describing the Dreamtime.

 Overall: I give this strength 3 tea because it was cleverly crafted and original, but at some points it was a little hard to follow.

NOTE: Big thanks to author Sarah MacManus who sent me a copy of this book so I could review this.There will be an interview with her at some point! Check back another day!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday, as always, is  a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we share what we are eagerly awaiting.
This week, The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author: Kady Cross
Series: The Steampunk Chronicles
Release Date: 24 May 2011
Summary from Goodreads: She thought there was something wrong with her. She was right.
Finley Jayne has known for quite some time that she isn’t ‘normal,’ but when she beats up the son of her employer and is forced to flee, she stumbles into a world where there are bigger freaks than her. They take her in, treat her like family and demand her trust. How can Finley trust them when she can’t trust herself? And why is she drawn to the powerful Griffin as well as the dangerous Jack? She has to get herself under control before she gets into trouble she can’t get out of.
Griffin King is one of the most powerful men in Britain but he couldn’t save his best friend from almost dying. He is determined to save Finley and help her become the person he knows she can be, but there’s evil afoot in London. Machines have attacked humans under the orders of a nefarious criminal called The Machinist. He has sworn to protect his country against such a threat, but he’s never faced any foe like this. However, when he discovers The Machinist’s connection to his past, Griffin vows to end the villain once and for all — but he’ll need the help of all his friends, including the beautiful Finley Jayne – the girl in the steel corset

Why I want it: Those who know me know how I am obsessed with steampunk, victorian, etc. Its difficult to get steampunk right, but this seems original and should work out. And I love that dress.
Website: Official website

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, 21 March 2011

Book Review- Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

 Title: Infinity
 Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
 Series: Chronicles of Nick #1
 Published: 25 May 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin
 Length:  306 pages
 Warnings:  Profanity, gore, kissing
 Other info: Reviewing today because the sequel, Invincible, is out tomorrow (22 Mar 2011). Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series has also been made into a manga (review coming one day).
 Summary from Goodreads: At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.
Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.
But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.
As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?

 Review: The book starts with a speech from Nick Gautier, discussing free will: an interesting opening that sort of sets the tone. It then switches to an account of Nick's teenage years. He's the guy from a poor background who the bullies pick on eternally and is decidedly average. We are introduced to Nick's sarcastic nature within a few pages which, while not for everyone, certainly made me laugh.
Nick is saved after his friends desert him, by Kyrian, a tall blond man with comebacks as sharp as Nick’s: who is looking for an employee. Nick takes the job: running around, doing odd jobs, for a thousand dollars a week. Nice pay. Nick is then sucked further into the world of the dark hunters, demons and was hunters. Plus, there’s a load of zombies to fight. Anyone else think this makes for good reading? I did. The Chronicles of Nick was designed as a spin off to Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, and those of you familiar with it will recognise a lot of familiar faces. If you haven't read it, no worries. The Chronicles of Nick works perfectly as a stand-alone series too. The action was fast paced; something always seemed to be happening, from   an attempted mugging to a zombie attack to chasing down said zombies.
We meet a lot of Dark hunter characters: a young Tabitha, into vampire slaying even then, Acheron, the all-powerful Atlantean god, and Simi, his Goth demon who will eat anything with a good serving of barbecue sauce. There's also original characters, my favourite being Bubba, the techie with a fair amount of guns and also services weapons.
You will probably find this shelved alongside paranormal romance. This is wrong. Although there is a little romance in it, to me it seems to have been added in as an afterthought, not dominating the story. That’s left to the action, sarcasm and humour, the latter two being highlights for me. One of my favourite scenes in the whole book is when Nick wakes up, on the street after a fight. Simi, being extremely sweet and funny, asks "excuse me, Mr Human. Are you homeless? Can I eat you?" cue a lot of laughing, no matter your taste in humour.
Overall: I give this strength 5 tea because it’s a quick, funny easy read that won’t take too long to read but will leave you talking about it forever. It won’t suit everyone though.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

In my Mailbox (1)

In my Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Story Siren, in which we show off what new books we have received each week.

This week, I got:
·         Nura: rise of the Yokai Clan vol 1 by Hiroshi Shiibashi
·         Black Butler vol 3 by Yana Toboso
·         Loveless vol 1 by Yun Kouga
·         Matched by Ally Condie
·         Revolution by Jennifer Donnely
·         The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
·         The Gates by Samuel Johnson
·         Ghost of a Chance by Rhiannon Lassiter

I have already read Black Butler 3 and really enjoyed it. I’m especially looking forwards to Revolution and Matched, because I’ve heard great things about them, and The Gates because it seems original.
Not sure exactly when I’ll get time to read them....oh well....
Nina xxx

Ps. Katy's internet is down, and she's not sure when she'll be back.  Apologies for lack of reviews on her part. She's written them, and doesn't know when she'll be able to post.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Book Hop #2

Book Blogger HopHello peoples! Welcome to Death Books and Tea! We review things like paranormal romance, urban fantasy, horror, manga, the occasional dystopian and things like that. Enjoy your stay!
You probably got here via the book hop by Crazy for Books, didn't you? Thank you for stopping by in advance.
The question this time : "Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?"

Me, I keep a lot going at the same time. For example , I am currently reading Dreamwalk by Sarah MacManus, Tess of the D'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Uncle Montagues Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly and Nura:Rise of the Yokai Clan by some Japanese guy. I don't tend to get the storylines mixed up, which I'm really pleased about because that means I don't have to lump around a huge book everywhere I go-I can take a small book out, and read the big one when I go to bed.

Thank you again for stopping by my blog. Leave a link and I'll stop by yours.
Have a great weekend
Nina xxx

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

Title: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks

Series: N/A
Published by:
Crown/Duckworth, 2006/7
Length: 342 pages
Warnings: Profanity, the living dead, suprisingly little gore
Other facts: Brooks has also written the Zombie Survival Guide.
Summary (from Amazon): It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. The reports were fragmentary and confused. A world still reeling from bird flu and limited nuclear exchanges had had enough of apocalypse. Most people just wanted to rebuild their lives. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Maybe, Brooks argues, the zombies brought us back to life. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight-back against the horde, "World War Z" brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation.
Review:This book is written as of series of interviews with survivors of the zombie war, split into sections detailing various aspects such as The Great Panic and Turning the Tide. This is a very original way of giving an account of the war (known hereafter as WWZ), and made it more interesting than if it was just a "this happened then that happened" account. 
I like the way Brooks thought about the situations of each person, about 100, if not more of them, and let some individual personalities and back stories shine through. Even the cultural aspects varied slightly yet still matched up, with the Russians talking about the  draconian  decimation and the Japanese always  referring to zombies as saifu, proving that brooks didn’t just write 100{?} random stories and put them in chronological order . The range of people "interviewed" varied widely, meaning you got a full view of WWZ. It was easy to imagine both the war itself, and the post-war world. And while it mostly read like something out of the hunger games, at times the descriptions and actions were a little bland. 
You can tell that it was written by one person, with the same writing style. Another thing that let this down: it was annoyingly hard to place in time. You see, it talked about the pre-war world having computers and freezers and things like that, but then you get one guy who would be about 100 at by the time the war was over, and I really can’t see any guy over 80 surviving a ten year war with hunger and harsh conditions and zombies. That’s not ageist, that’s basic common sense. The whole book is in question and answer form, which while entertaining to start with, got a little boring after 20 interviews. You also can’t really get to know much of a character, as each interview is about five pages long. Not enough. Also, there’s one thing that went unexplained throughout the whole book, or maybe I just didn’t pay attention: exactly how did these zombies come into existence anyway? 
Apart from these little flaws, it is very good, enjoyable, mid-weight read that, should there ever be a real WWZ, will be very useful to have. And those of you who think "typical, zombies, blood, etc", there is surprisingly little gore.
Overall: I give this strength 3 because there it was fun, and informative, but it got a bit boring at times.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights the books we can't wait to be released. This week,The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Series: Shades of London #1
Release Date: 29 September 2011
Summary from Goodreads:A modern-day thriller about Rory, an American high-school student who enrolls at a London boarding school for her junior year. Soon after her arrival, a series of murders begins to take place across the city—on the exact dates and in the exact style of Jack the Ripper. Rory’s ties to the killer bring her in contact with a secret paranormal branch of the British police, as they attempt to stop the mysterious killer.
Why I want it: I know, I read a fair bit about Jack the Ripper. But it's interesting, so I don't think I'll be breaking that habit soon. I read another book that has the same premise as this, ((Scared to Death, by Alan Gibbons)), and it will be interestingto see how this one compares.
Website: Maureen Johnson's Official website

What are you waiting for?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Book Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Series: Jessica #1
Published by: Graphia Books 2010
Length: 384 pages
Warnings: Profanity, sex references 13+
Other facts: Fantaskey has also written Jekel Loves Hyde (review coming one day), and a sequel
Summary from Goodreads: Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction
Review: This counts as book 2 of Parajunkee's vampire challenge. The book started off brilliantly. Jessica is stalked on the way to school, is told she is a vampire princess and stabs her betrothed, Lucius in the foot with a pitchfork. All this happens in the first 30 pages. So far, so good. It goes dramatically downhill from there. I vaguely liked Jessica, who, to start with at least, is in no way Mary-Sue-ish. But I absolutely hate Lucius. He is rude, arrogant and snobby. For a Romanian vampire prince he has no manners whatsoever, breaking the folk dolls in the room he is staying in because he doesn’t like them. I'm sorry, Mr. Vladescu, but your future parents in law do! By the time we learnt about the abusive uncle, it was too late to feel any sympathy for him.
This ended up escalating into the classic love-story-with-random-things-protagonists-must-overcome. Of course, sometimes this can be fun, especially when at the end it is revealed they all tie up neatly for a satisfying ending or tie up leaving you with a cliff-hanger that makes you want to read the sequel. However, none of said random things seemed to relate even indirectly to the (non-existent) climax. If you removed the side stories about the horse, and the LuciusxBitchGirl (sorry, I forgot her name), and skipped to the end, it would make perfect sense. Good things about this book? Err... Jessica doesn’t seem too bad, actually at some times rather fiesty and likeable, and the descriptions are very detailed. That’s all I can say. And on a side note, the titular guide to dating on the dark side features in about 6 pages.
Overall: I give this strength 1 tea because while the start of it was good, the whole thing is total rubbish. Fans of Twilight will love it though. And yes, that is an insult.

Mouth-watering Mondays (1)

Mouth-Watering Monday is a meme hosted by Brittany at Nice Girls Read Books. Its designed to take the guilt out of judging a book by its cover.

This week...
Crossed by Ally Condie
Though I've not read Matched, I love the symbolism of the girl breaking out from her bubble prison, and also the way the covers are sequenced to tell a miniture story just by looking at them.
Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
I like the obvious parody of Eat Pray Love, but the cover seems funny- its not often you get someone drinking blood out of a bottle with a straw.
Fallen by Lauren Kate
That is one beautiful dress. I also like the way she seems to be crying, even though I don't think it really fit the heroine of the book. The main reason is because of the dress though.

What other beautiful covers are there?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Open For Discussion (1) : Werewolves VS Vampires

Hello and welcome to the new feature on this blog that is called Open for Discussion. Its where me, and some other people discuss various topics, relevant-ness unknown, share opinions and see what you think. Yes, this has been censored to the best of our abilities Editors comments in square brackets. Most of this was actually said. We recorded our chatting on a phone then typed it up. And as script form, you do not get the idea of how much we shout over each other and the chaos that ensues.  Please prepare for total irrelevance and if you do have a problem, feel free to keep your opinion to yourself. If you would like to add something to the discussion, please do.  What do you think of today’s topic, WEREWOLVES VS VAMPIRES?
Nina: Today’s debate is about vampires vs. werewolves, Mimz taking vampires, Nina taking werewolves and Katy being neutral and [to Katy] you’re supposed to be starting a discussion.
Katy: hello!  What first. Starting with werewolves
Nina:  um, their transformation is more dramatic than a vampire’s, the lot of fur, elongating fangs,
Katy: I thought vampires had the fangs as well
Nina:  no, they wouldn’t have started with them
Katy: Shut up

Mimz:  vampires are perfect because [irrelevant and inappropriate comment]
Nina & Katy: no, we can’t say that on our blog
Nina: [to Katy] can she be neutral and you are vampires
Katy: Ok
Nina:  Talk about vampires in a more literary sense
Katy: erm, vampires suck blood, don’t most creatures do that like mosquitoes and leeches
Mimz: you know the house of night series, drinking blood [if you know what drinking blood in the HoN series means, you know, if you don’t, you don’t want to know.]
Katy: we don’t care about you
M_ it’s basically [refers to above comment]
Katy: Ignore that because Mimz is stupid. Werewolves are hairy and ugly and vampires aren’t necessarily hairy and ugly.  They can be but all werewolves are ugly
Nina:  only at the full moon
Katy: well they’re all hairy and ugly when they’ve done the transformation
Mimz: I don’t want a doggy in my apartment every month. I want a fit vampire I don’t care if it drinks my blood.
Nina:  that would be good because then we wouldn’t have to live with you
Katy: just stop going on
Mimz: wait, would could you do with it
Katy: you’re an it?

Nina:  I don’t know. Right, something vaguely on topic. Limits of a vampire, erm,
Mimz: [indistinguishable noise]
Nina:  we don’t care. Limits on vampires. Depends on the mythology really. They can all be killed with a stake but then so can anything.
Katy: werewolves can as well
Nina:  yes they can.
Katy: and they can be killed without a stake, they can be killed with a gun. Technically it’s a silver bullet, and there’s lots of silver everywhere. You don’t see that many wooden stakes these days
Nina:  that’s because it’s sort of hard to conceal a long wooden stake than it is to conceal a little bullet in your pocket
Katy: or a bracelet made of silver, or a necklace or an earring,
Nina: so if you’re a werewolf you’re sort of screwed
Katy: let’s see, if they [vampires or werewolves] want to protect something, a werewolf can only really do that once a month.
 Nina:  sometimes werewolves are strong in human form as well.
Katy: who cares?

Mimz: JUSTIN BIEBER [she’s obsessed, no matter how much she claims she isn’t]
Nina:  No-one cares
Mimz: I care
Katy: he’s not a vampire or a werewolf. He’s a slug.
Mimz: he’s awesome
Katy: that is your opinion and no one cares. His secret has been revealed he is a slug. [Pokes Mimz in the arm]
Mimz: ow! I think I broke my arm!
Katy: then why are you clutching your nose?

Nina:  back to the debate. [To Mimz] think of a good thing about vampires that has nothing to do with [her previous train of thought]
Mimz: both of them are sexy. They sparkle!
Nina:  no, we are not talking about twilight because that does not count as a book.
Mimz: ok, they drink blood. They go up to somebody and they drink blood
Katy: they drink animal’s blood. They’re part leeches. Leeches are part slimy, but they sparkle in the sun.
Nina:  do they
Katy: well they’re shiny
Mimz: have you seen a leech
Nina:  hand drawn pictures [artwork, they didn’t claim to be scientific drawings]
Katy: they’re black and wriggly
Nina:  and then on the asylum [Emilie Autumn] forums, they’ve got pink and white stripes
Katy: that makes them worms. You’re a little deluded.

Nina:  let’s think of something
Mimz:  I’ve thought of something- wait is it vampires or werewolves?
Katy: I don’t want you on the team, can I kick her off?
Nina:  I thought you were supposed to be neutral
Katy: Am I?
Nina:  let’s just talk

Mimz: vampires are always young while werewolves age don’t they
Nina:  not in the parasol protectorate series where they’re immortal as long as they haven’t got a preternatural holding onto them wiping out their abilities
Mimz: [ignored last comment] but they stop being werewolves
Nina:  no, they’re still werewolves; they’re just in human form
Katy: I think vampires are still a lot a better. Werewolves have square faces if you think about it. They come in a sort of trapezium shape
Mimz: werewolves are just disturbing. They’re scary they’re weird
Nina:  moving on
[Discussion from all of us in which we work out that intimate relationships with both vampires and werewolves would be considered illegal]
[Katy is pulled out to speak to a friend then comes back]

Katy: we shall ignore everything Mimz says that’s to do with [her previous train of thought]. I’ve got another one. Wouldn’t it be easier trying to look after a werewolf food, cross-contamination, cooking
Nina:  werewolves in human forms tend to be able to eat human food, where vampires, when given human food, tend to sick it up. It’s hard to keep a vampire because you need fresh human blood
Katy: you don’t have to worry about cross contamination because you could just give the slab of meat raw to the werewolf
Mimz: can I just say, whether you are vampire or a werewolf you are screwed. Go die in a pit
Katy: why a pit? I understand how a werewolf can die in a pit, of hunger or something. How would vampires die in a pit, a stake through the heart in a pit?
Nina:  Mr Crepsley. [Darren Shan, the Saga of Darren Shan]  Put a stake upright in a pit and the vampire falls on to it. 
Katy: why do they kill crepsley again?
Nina:  it’s basically an accident he falls in
[Nina and Katy both laugh at how Mr Crepsley dies]

Katy: ok. Vampires are often quite stupid and werewolves can be as well
Nina:  do werewolves or vampires have a better sense of smell?
Katy and Mimz: werewolves
Katy: but then you think about Karin [Chibi Vampire, manga]
Nina:  actually she can’t really drink blood
Katy: the rest of her family can
Nina:  werewolves they’re a little more convenient in terms of waking hours
Katy: Vampires can be helpful by taking on the night shift they’re good for the economy.  You see loads of male and female vampires and hardly any female werewolves. That sexist.

Nina:  you get Nina from Being Human [yes that does have some books out].
Mimz: You watch it? Is that any good?
Nina:  yes
Nina:  werewolves can be slightly more interesting and they’re more predictable. You can just keep the wolf in the basement on the full moon when they’re evil and vampires are sort of evil all the time
Katy: Mimz, have you got anything more to say about vampires
Mimz: secretly, I think Katy is a vampire
Katy: no, that’s not true. And not helpful
Mimz: I think, I don’t care what you think, but vampires can have children, with more half vampires
Katy: werewolves reproduce
Mimz: well they stop it after a bit of time don’t they? Twilight, they stopped reproducing
Katy: that’s because twilights retarded
Mimz: and so are you
Nina:  This is irrelevant, we have run out of time, and so ends our debate.

[Here are some slightly saner comments on the matter from friends and other people I found on the internet.]
Cool cookie: werewolves are very very hairy and vampires are quite pasty but they are both hot in Twilight.
Katy (afterwards): Manga vampires can look good but all manga werewolves look strange
Nina (afterwards): Seconds above. See Gin, the werewolf from Rosario and Vampire
Booksrme: were-wolves petrify me so that leaves me with vampires
Dormouse: werewolves because they’re only evil in wolf form but vampires are always evil.
Team Jacob forever: Vampires are super cute. Werewolves are soooo fit!
Tom Riddle: Vampires are beautiful and can in fact become vegetarian making them much safer than werewolves
Nina (afterward): Please ignore above comments from two twitards who may or may not be completely sane.

Wops: They are both a load of [rubbish]
Iza: werewolves are better because vampires are like mosquitoes and blow Death the Kid’s [Soul eater, manga] arm off damn them!
Nina:  Please note Iza is currently obsessed with Soul Eater and may or may not do a guest review of Soul Eater at some point.
Iza: KID DAMMIT! DEATH. THE. FREAKIN’. KID. And a werewolves helped him out as well ;D
Mysterious person: Werewolves because they’re cooler.

Someone: Werewolves are cuddly
Owl: vampires can come out every night. Werewolves have to wait for the full moon.
Maddie: Werewolves are cuter
Nia: vamprires are cool and they can suck blood and fly
Westy: Werewolves because I think they’re less intimidating.
Other someone: I think they’re both interesting because they’re cursed to do things they don’t want to.

Stephanie at Books are a Girl’s Best Friend: I don’t really read vampire and werewolf books, so I don’t know...
Sherrilyn Kenyon, author of Infinity: Both equally because they’re awesome, but in entirely different ways.
Gail Carriger, author of the Parasol Protectorate series: I just don’t find vampires that sexy. I like the idea of a hero who’s kind of scruffy and buffoonish and a little lost in his alpha–nature, rather one who is all sleek and urbane.
Matt Haig, author of The Radleys: Vampires have less body hair issues, and every night beats full moon. So werewolves don’t come close.

So...after hearing those comments on vampires and werewolves, of varying degrees of sanity, what do you think? Bloodsucking leeches or shapeshifting dogs?
You decide. Let the war continue below.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Book Hop #1

Book Blogger HopHello people!
Welcome to Death, Books and Tea, where we review horror, paranormal romance, fantasy, manga and things along that sort of track.
You probably arrived her from the Book Hop at Crazy for Books, and I have to say thank you for stopping by. So thank you.

The question this week is "If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?"
Must say, that would be awesome. And if someone did that...
Anyway: my list

Black Butler: v. 4 by Yana Toboso
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Death most Definite by Trent Jamieson
Forsaken by Jana Oliver
Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Loveless vol 1 by Yun Koga
Infinity: i am the power they can't tear down by Sherrilyn Kenyon

So, these are my choices. You can click on the links to find out more and buy them yourself if you want to.
What's on your list?
Leave your link and I'll stop by.
Enjoy life
Nina xxx