Monday, 30 April 2012

Spectral Blog Tour-Paranormal

Spectral Today, we have Shannon Duffy, author of Spectral, on paranormal romance in her book.


Summary
Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe — the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along. As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.


What makes Spectral different? With many Paranormal Romance books on the market, I think what makes mine different is that for my main character, Jewel’s whole life, she isn’t aware she’s a witch, or that witches even exist. She’s been brought up to believe she’s living in the Witness Protection Program, when in fact the reality is extremely different. Because she’s been brought up so sheltered, she starts out this story being somewhat naïve. That makes it particularly complicated when you add in two hot boys both competing for her attention—with one telling her unbelievable things, baffling powers happening around her, and bombs being dropped. With all of this craziness going on around her, she has to figure out what the truth is—who she can believe. And if what one of the boys tells her is true, she better figure it out fast or she won’t make it to her 17th birthday alive.


Does this look interesting? Here's links to Goodreads, Amazon, and the official wepage.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Weekly Roundup #14


So...not too much has actually been happening for me. Aside from the fact that I have to read My Name is Mina and Everybody Jam by next Tuesday. And I don’t have a copy of Everybody Jam. Yay!

             Here’s what I got!
  • For review,
    • From Hachette-Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. I’m so excited to read this one. But I have so much other stuff...
    • From Harpercollins-Insurgent by Veronica Roth. It was so so good....
  • From the library
    • Gorgeous by Rachel Vail
    • Mice by Gordon Reece
    • Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter
    • The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett (nice, but no plot)
    • My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel (also nice but with no plot. Not in photo because it had to go back to the library asap)
    • Two copies of My Name is Mina by David Almond
  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty from Laura/Sister Spooky

      Here’s what’s going on around the book-y world!
  • Kristi, aka The Story Siren has been accused of plagiarism. And there’s been a huge storm about it all, and there’s been an apology from her. See here and here, and make up your own mind.
  • The Queen of Teen shortlist has been announced. And for the first time, a male author has been put up! Congrats to James Dawson, whose book I loved in extreme proportions. I’m definitely voting for him. Go vote for whoever you think should win. But if you can't decide, vote for James!
  • Disney bought the rights to The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman). I really should re-read that. I didn't enjoy it for Carnegie, and then it won. So... Anyway, I'll definitely see the film.

              Here’s what’s going on at Death Books and Tea
  • Nothing to report! Aside from the fact that of all the books I could read for the Clear your TBR challenge I signed up for, I’ve not read a single one. I have eight months, right?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Book Review- The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda


The Hunt
Title: The Hunt
 Author: Andrew Fukuda
Series:  The Hunt #1
Published: 8 May 2012 by St Martin’s Griffin in the USA. Simon and Schuster in the UK
Length: 293 pages
Warnings:  violence 13+
Source: Netgalley

Summary : Don’t Sweat.  Don’t Laugh.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.  Gene is different from everyone else around him.  He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is a human, and he knows the rules.  Keep the truth a secret.  It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.  When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?
 
Review: Gene is not like the rest of the population. He smiles instead of scratches when he finds something funny, sweats, and doesn’t have a taste for flesh and blood. Being exposed as a human, or in the terms of this society, a heper, could get him ripped to pieces. And so he pretends he is one of them, something he is actually quite good at-at least until he’s chosen to take part in the Hunt. A small amount of hepers are being kept at an institute, and a few lucky winners get to hunt them down. It’s a chance that all of society would literally kill for. But this game could soon become deadlier than Gene imagined as the hunter becomes the hunted.
At first, it’s confusing. Very confusing, at least until you decide to be sensible and remind yourself of the summary. It’s easy to infer that the narrator is human-that’s easy enough to guess. But the details of the society takes quite a bit of time to get the basics of. I spent ages wondering “So, he’s human. right. What’s everyone else?” Once we work out the basics though, its easy to imagine the rest of it.
Vampire society is something that seems to be getting a bit more of attention, after the surge of dystopian (thinks of Immortal Rules and other things) where humans are enslaved, the minority, or both. The idea of a human protagonist passing himself off as a vampire was interesting though,  original, and done quite well in The Hunt.
There are definitely influences from other books that are really noticeable. 1984, with the government layout and a slight extent, the Big Brother thing with having to be on his guard. Also, we see a fair bit of the Hunger Games-a random lottery, training sessions, no tying, and an inevitable bloodbath.
It’s really awkward when you’re halfway through a novel and you suddenly remember you don’t know the main character’s name. And then, 51% through, you find out. It’s an interesting technique that I didn’t really like.
 Gene and Ashley Jane (we get told her name at the start) are believable and work well together. It may be because it’s written by a male author, but I’m glad the romance didn’t take over the book. And I’m immensely glad that Gene didn’t fall for Sissy, the sole female heper who he is meant to be hunting.
The best thing bout this was the fullness of the society that they live in. They’re not refered to as vampires, because in this society, they’re the norm. The fact they see humans simply as food is very clear from the attributes from obvious things like what they say to subtle things like referring to humans as “it”.
The other great ting about The Hunt was the detail in the action. It picks up towards the end and is fast, thrilling and totally pulls you in.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a book that’s really good as long as you can get over the highly confusing start. I would like to read the next book in the series though.

Book Review- Black Butler vol 8 by Yana Toboso


Black Butler: v. 8Title: Black Butler vol 8
 Author:  Yana Toboso
Series:  Black Butler #8
Published: January 2012 by Yen Press
Length: 192 pages
Warnings: Violence, non suggestive situations made suggestive by the artwork 14+
Source: Carrefour (bought in France)
Other info: Reviews of other books in the series are here.
Summary : When one curtain falls upon the big top stage, another rises behind the scenes, as young Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his virtuoso butler, Sebastian, face off against the villain behind the missing children. But as Sebastian, under orders from his master, single-handedly draws the gruesome tale to its sad conclusion on one front, battle lines are drawn on another! With the masterless Phantomhive Manor under attack from the Noah’s Ark Circus and Sebastian nowhere nearby to protect its inhabitants, is Ciel’s home once again headed for the same tragedy that took the lives of the young earl’s parents?
Review: So, the circus troupe are storming Phantomhive Manor. Luckily, the servants are around to take care of things. Meanwhile, Sebastian and Ciel bring the circus arc to a close. Volume seven left with the toupe  planning to invade the manor. Volume 8 starts with this actually happens. And then the three servents...they...yeah.
Character development definitely happens. Well, not so much development, more like seeing the side of these characters that we’ve never seen before. We get Finny beating up the circus’s strong man, Mey-rin showing off her incredible sniper skills, and Bard whipping out a machine gun that has been casually kept in the kitchen. Because, you know, every servant has to be able to do these kinds of things.
Sadly, after this amazing show of badassery, once the arc comes to a close, there’s huge character regression. Back to stupid, crying, useless, comic relief charcters they go.
New character alert! Two shinigami turn up, sorting out the bloodbath at Phantomhive Manor.  It’s nice how even though he appears for six pages, everyone falls in love with Ronald Knox and his mad fun personality. Oh, and William turns up again. So fun. I wish we saw more of the shinigami.
I feel so bad for Doll. At first, I didn’t care for her. Then, in volume 7, she’s so happy and funny that I fell in love with her. And then the guy she’s slightly in love with (Ciel) tells her something that really kills the mood.
The final chapter is completely different. We meet Nina Hopkins, dressmaker to the Middlefords and the Phantomhives. Nina, her being racy (removing her skirt to reveal bloomer/short-y things) and Sebastian stopping her from seeing Ciel’s brand provides welcome comic relief, before we are treated to, most likely, another dark and gory storyline in volume 9.
The art, once again, is extremely detailed. I love Yana’s style, which works for comic and serious storylines. The cover to chapter 36 (Ciel and Doll) is beautiful in black and white, and the colour version (which you can find on the internet) is even better. On a less  properly appreciating art note, I love Undertaker’s boots.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a volume that includes a little bit of every reason why I love this manga.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Book Review- Psyren vol 2 by Toshiaki Iwashiro


Psyren #2: Baby UniverseTitle: Psyren vol 2
 Author: Toshiaki Iwashiro
Series:  Psyren #2
Published:  January 2012 by Viz
Length:182 pages
Warnings: violence 13+
Source: Library
Summary : Physically drained after surviving his first trip to Psyren, Ageha's psionic powers begin to awaken! Newly reunited with his formerly missing friend Amamiya, now Ageha must meet with a PSI mentor who holds key information about the terrifying rules of the Psyren game!
May contain spoilers for volume one. Which I thought I reviewed, but I obviously didn’t.
Review: Ahega’s been to Psyren again, and while he’d rather not, he’s still going to be called back. However, he’s going to need to get much stronger if he wants to keep on surviving. Luckily, Sakurako knows someone who’s already been to Psyren, and beaten it-her old mentor-Matsuri. Ahega, and Hiryu (Hiryu  Asaga, fellow Psyren drifter) begin to learn how to train themselves to fight Psyren-but they must also learn some other things about the game they’re playing.
I found the concept of this really intriguing, even if very slightly (aka heavily) based on Gantz. And while the first volume wasn’t amazing, I still wanted to read on.
So, most of the action takes place in present day Japan, as opposed to Psyren, like last volume. There’s still a bit of fighting though, to be expected with a shonen manga. There aren’t that many twisty turny plot developments, more world building, explaining the rules of the game and building on what we got in volume one.
As well as the seriousness of the training, we are also treated to a fair bit of comedy. Sakurako’s  treatment of Ahega and Hiryu during their training, and of course, their really bad attempts at trying to master the psi energy. However, none of this detracted from the main plot-which is good, because there wasn’t that much to this volume.
The characters are believable. My favourite was Matsuri-a world famous pianist with a complete disregard for schedules and managing to fight her way through Psyren without dying? What’s not to like about her? Ahega-I’m still not loving him. Or Hiryu. But I do like Hiryu’s hair. They’re good characters, stock ones really, but quite amazing and a little interesting.
The art is good. The shading and drawing style are typical of this kind of manga, but it’s not  my favourite kind of art style. There’s also something out of place with Sakurako’s face. Too soft for her character. And there’s some other annoying little things.
The ending is a little cliffhanger. Someone turns up and we don’t know who it is. Until volume three, anyway.

Overall:  Strength 2 tea to a nice continuation, but nothing special.
Links: Goodreads

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Plagiarism


So yesterday afternoon, I found this huge huge storm about highly (as in one of the main sites you think of) respected blogger stealing half of her posts from others... I'm here to share my thoughts.

First, it's bad enough that she stole posts, slightly rewrote them, and passed them off as her own.
The fact that she's somebody EVERYONE goes to EVERY WEEK (she's the hoster of IMM) and is, er was, well respected, and has SPOKEN AGAINST PLAGIARISM is just as bad.

Plagiarism =not cool.
Plagiarism=not cool.
Plagiarism=not cool.

Somehow, all this happened in January. But we're only hearing it three months later.

It's really upsetting for everybody when someone takes somebody else's work and passes it off as their own. For the person it's taken from, for the readers of the taker (dishonesty, it's not the original work that they thought they'd be getting) and, hopefully, for the taker.

As book bloggers, we work hard on this stuff. Seriously hard. I personally take a few hours to read a book, a lot of time to think about writing a review and then half an hour to write and type the review. Discussion posts are much harder to write.

But that's not the point. The point is, she took content from somebody else and claimed it as her own. Avoid Kristi Diehm, or The Story Siren, as much as possible.

Most in-depth article-here http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/plagiarism-and-the-story-siren


Monday, 23 April 2012

Book Review- Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers


Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published: 3rd April 2012 by Houghton Miffin Harcourt/ 7 June 2012 by Anderson for UK
Length:549 pages
Warnings: violence, sex, 14+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: She's written children's series under R.L. LaFevers, but this is her first YA novel.
Summary : Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf? Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review: Ismae is seventeen and has recently escaped from an arranged marriage. She ends up at the Covanent of Mortain, where she trains as an assassin. Things go normally, until one assignment means she gets to kill somebody close to the man who has stolen her heart. It comes down toa choice between her love or her duty for Ismae, and this is one situation where being Death’s daughter does not help.
I was pulled in by the premise of a medieval assassin. It’s definitely not disappointing on that part. There’s not that much world building, you just pick it all up as you go along. Ismae soon gets to the convent, training to be one of Death’s handmaidens. Other things happen soon enough, but it does take until about halfway through for things to pick up and go really quickly.
Ismae is strong,grows, and by the end of it, makes her own decisions for what she wants to do do, as opposed to what she should do. The whole Death’s Daughter thing is fairly commonly seen, and I like the idea of them all being assassins. Duval, the love interest in this, isn’t really my favourite character ever, but he’s interesting enough. I’m so thankful of the character list at the start of the novel. I’d get totally lost without it.
The plot isn’t overly complex, but it’s a good story with twists and turns. The conclusion was a little predictable, but gave a good ending for this novel.
The thing that earns Grave Mercy such a high score is the writing. And the world building. Yes, I said there wasn’t much, but by that, I meant the explicit stuff where we’re told “this is this and that is that”. Robin did a great job of showing, not telling. The first person present tense writing meant I could easily imagine the whole thing taking place, and the frequent archaic language fitted in with the setting perfectly, medieval France. She even swore in French. It’s wonderful story telling.


Overall: Strength 5 tea to a really well written story of assassins, romance and medieval times.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Weekly Roundup #13


Sorry about missing last week. Was shattered from a concert, then didn’t have a laptop or a (working) camera. So I couldn’t make it. But hey, 12 weeks in a row without forgetting? I think I did quite well.

Here’s what I got-two week’s worth!
  • Clarity by Kim Harrington from Scholastic
  • Grave Witch by Kalayna Price from Penguin Spinebreakers
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga from Transworld
  • Ace Attorney-the Phoenix Wright Caseboook by Capcom from Forbidden Planet (bought)
  •  Daughters of Darkness by Virginia Andrews from Sarah (book swap)
  • vN by Madeline Ashby from Angry Robot
  • The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo from Indigo
  • Itch by Simon Mayo from my library
  • Undead by Kirsty McKay from Chicken House
  • The End by Nora Olsen from author

Yeah...I’m not sure what happened. But I have a tonne of awesome books now. Yay!

Here’s what’s going on around the book-y world!
  • There’s a competition called The Spark being run by Faber. It’s from 13 to 18 year olds, and you have to script and storyboard a trailer for The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith. Here’s a link to the details...
  • Bella and Daph are having May as an “EPIC REVIEW MONTH”. It’s a great idea, and the best thing is, they’re doing a readathon and a reveiwathon. More details here.
  • Laura/Sister Spooky is doing a book clear out! UK-ers, go look here-free books!

Here’s what’s going on at Death Books and Tea
  • Not that much!

So, what happened with everyone this week? 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Book Review-Buried by Linda Joy Singleton


Buried: A Goth Girl MysteryTitle: Buried
 Author: Linda Joy Singleton
Series: Goth Girl Mystery #1 (assumed. When it says A XXX novel/mystery, I guess that there's more some time later)
Published:  8 March 2012 by Flux
Length: 257 pages
Warnings: sex references 13+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: Linda has also written The Seer, Dead Girl, Strange Encounters and Cheer Squad series.
Summary : In a new school and determined to keep her secrets from being discovered, Thorn finds a mysterious locket that leads to a shocking discovery. Surrounded by new friends she barely knows, as well as the school's famous former student, a smoking-hot musician named Phillipe, Thorn must investigate to find out if one of them is a murderer.
Review: Thorn is the new girl in the school, and one of two Goths, she’s also able to find things, a fact she’d rather not share with her new classmates.  So when she finds a locket, she ends up finding with it the grave of a newborn baby. Implicated in the whole mess, Thorn has to clear her name. The only way to do that is to ask around and see if one of her friends is a killer.
Happy thoughts, right? Murder mystery with a goth girl at the heart of it all should be right up my street. I really liked the idea. Didn’t really care about the “smoking hot musician” who also crops up in the summary. Oh well.
Rune and Thorn are your typical Goths, extremely individual and open for adventure. Thorn is resourceful and clever, but sometimes annoying.
My favourite character is the Grin Reaper. I won’t say who it is, but it’s someone you aren’t expecting it to be. The Grin Reaper is the person that goes around exacting revenge on school bullies in such a way that it’ll hit them where it hurts, and leaves a little smiley face at places of work. I was a little disappointed when we were told what it was they did (with a name like that and no description at first, I’d expect a very happy death god), but said person was the best person in this.
The mystery wasn’t creepy in any way, but I suppose, that’s not the point to this novel at all. The person responsible is also not the person that you’d expect it from, and all the people who you think it might be, while having fully legitimate reasons for being implicated, also have their own reasons as to why they also are not responsible.
The characters didn’t really change much throughout the novel, which was a bit disappointing. I also didn’t like Thorn’s reaction to almost anything that wasn’t towards her darker alternative interests. Such as her reaction to the Cotton Candy Cowgirls, a band that seems to be devoted to pink. Yes, I get that she dislikes them. But that kind of reaction is bordering rudeness.
The writing wasn’t stand out, but it’s not terrible either. You get a good sense of what’s happening and Thorn’s thoughts, but not much more than that.
Something I did like  was the mix of characters. Ok, it was essentially the stereotypical American High school full of cliques, but the clichés meant it was easy to keep track of characters
.
Overall:  Strength 2 tea to a short and sweet mystery that didn’t really capture me.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Book Review- Soulless Vol.1 by Gail Carriger and Rem


Soulless: The MangaTitle: Soulless vol 1
 Author: Gail Carriger and Rem
Series:  Soulless Graphic Novel #1
Published:  March 1 2012 by Orbit/Yen Press
Length:  244 pages
Warnings: Nudity (a fair bit of it), highly suggestive situations, violence 15+
Source: Bought
Other info: This is an adaptation of the first book in the Parasol Protectorate
Summary : The life of a spinster in Victorian London isn’t an easy one on the best of days, but such a life becomes infinitely more complicated when said spinster is Soulless-a preternatural bridging the gap between the natural and supernatural worlds. Miss Alexia Tarabotti has this unique distinction, and when she is assailed at a formal gathering by a rove vampire, an encounter that results in the death of the half-starved creature, her circumstances become exponentially more complicated indeed. Now caught up in an intrigue with life or death stakes, Alexia must rely on all her talents to outmatch the forces conspiring against her. But it may be the man who has caught her eye, Lord Conall Maccon, and their budding flirtation that truly drives her to her wit’s end.

Review: If you’ve read the novels (which are amazing-go read!), you’ll know the plot to this already-it’s the events of book one, Soulless, with the more...adult...scenes cut out. For those of you who haven’t read it, Alexia Tarabotti is a (relatively-late twenties/early thirties, can’t remember, both of which by Victorian standards, consigns you to a single life)  older unmarried woman whose father is Italian and dead, and she doesn’t have a soul. The last thing doesn’t really hinder her in Victorian society-for the most part, anyway. It does lead to problems in other areas. After accidentally killing a vampire (and some treacle tart), the people who come to clear it up are Conall Maccon and Proffessor Randolph Lyall-the Alpha and Beta of the local werewolf pack. From there, with werewolves appearing and disappearing, Conall flirting (quite badly by human standards) with her, and a lot of other things happening, Alexia’s problems are quite bad compared to the loss of treacle tart. That is saying something.
Ever since I heard there’d be a graphic novel adaptation, I knew I’d want to read it (I even had a go at designing my own cover. It went in the bin). And knowing I liked Rem’s art style (from reading Vampire Kisses) and the first three in the Parasol Protectorate series, I was sure it’d be good.
Compared to the novel, it is lacking a little bit. Although being quite true, there were some things I’d have liked to see more of. Floote, the butler, Ivy’s hats and quite a few more things didn’t get the emphasis that they deserved. It also felt as if it was trying to cram everything in to the five or six chapters that graphic novels tend to have.
On its own though...great. It covered all the major plot points, and made a good read with a mix of romance and action in alternating parts.
The characters didn’t have too much of a backstory that’s explored in this, but we do get a little bit of an idea of the history between Conall and  Alexia through subtly exchanged words.
The defining feature to this, for me, was the art (I already knew the characters and plot quite well). It’s a rounded flowing style, and consistent throughout. Alexia and Conall were drawn the way I’d imagined them, and Akeldama was a little more...eccentric in the way he was than I thought he’d be. Shame you never saw him in colour. If the next volumes follow the format of opening pages in colour, and the series stays till volume four, I can’t wait.  I will be forever thankful to this for changing my image of Lyall, my favourite character, from that of my biology teacher with different hair to one of the cutest, most huggable guys ever.
I think my favourite thing about the art was Rem’s attempt to cover up Conall’s private parts at the end of the book. Something that my mind didn’t try to do when reading the novel.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea – slightly lacking compared to the novel, but amazing in its own right.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #39-Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where we show off books that we want to read but have not been published yet. 

Title:  Alice in Zombieland-White Rabbit Chronicles #1
Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: 25 September 2012 by Harlequin
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: She won’t resist until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever. Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone. Her father was right. The monsters are real… To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
Why I want it: I don’t think this is a redo of Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece exactly, but still....Zombies + Alice + Gena Showalter (really enjoyed Intertwined) = CAN’T WAIT.  And that cover is gorgeous.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Book Tour Guest Post from Kristy Berridge-on book trailers


The HuntedRemember a few weeks ago, I said how much I loved The Hunted by Kristy Berridge? (If you missed it, click here). Well, Kristy's kindly stopped by to say what she thinks about them-and unveils the trailer for book two! Read on...



You know, I love writing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s my next book, a guest post such as this, or
even a one hundred and forty character line post in Twitter. Tapping away at the keyboard puts a
smile on my face, the written word a very special treat that I’m certain I couldn’t live without. But,
like all creative people, there are other outlets for expression that can also be entertaining.
Book Trailers!
I’m Australian, so when I first heard this concept I burst out laughing. The only thing we have trailers
for is the movies. Normal, right? I had never heard of moving pictures for a novel, a concept that
literally had me trawling YouTube for evidence that such a thing could exist. Apparently commercials
are also popular for television breakthrough overseas; this also made me laugh out loud.
Clearly I’m a Bogan.
Well, book trailers *snorts with derisive laughter* do exist, and I have to say that I’m slowly
becoming a convert. A good trailer can give you brief insight into any chosen novel and may even
help seal the deal on whether or not to buy the product. I have seen some great trailers with
inspirational music and plenty of eye candy. I’ve also seen some rubbish ones too, but again, we’re
writers not filmmakers!
So, needless to say after browsing the internet and dissecting this trend to pieces, I roped my father
into helping me to create a trailer for The Hunted. Full of trepidation, we sketched out the basic
concept of the novel and the points we wanted to make. Neither of us are filmmakers, but we decided
we were going to be for the sake of getting this little venture off the ground.
Now there has been much debate among peers about the use of book trailers and their worth. But,
since The Hunted book trailer has been completed it’s received well over four hundred and forty
views on YouTube and it’s been an invaluable backdrop at conferences, expos and book fairs. Yes, it
may not be the best trailer on the planet, but it’s certainly got spunk. And, since The Damned, the
second book in my Hunted series is due to be released in the up and coming months – you get a sneak
peak at that one too. I hope you enjoy!

Kristy ☺

And to see us out, here's a couple of book trailers! The first one you might have seen before, and the second one (you might also have seen before, but that's not the point) is new. So, what do you think of book trailers?



Monday, 16 April 2012

Carnegie Book Review-Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans


Small Change for StuartTitle: Small Change for Stuart
 Author: Lissa Evans
Series:  Stuart #1
Published:  May 2011 by Doubleday
Length: 282 pages
Warnings: None
Source: Library
Other info: This has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Shortlist. It is also published as Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure
Summary : Stuart Horten—ten years old and small for his age—moves to the dreary town of Beeton, far away from all his friends. And then he meets his new next-door neighbours, the unbearable Kingley triplets, and things get even worse. But in Beeton begins the strangest adventure of Stuart’s life as he is swept up in quest to find his great-uncle’s lost workshop—a workshop stuffed with trickery and magic. There are clues to follow and puzzles to solve, but what starts as fun ends up as danger, and Stuart begins to realize that he can’t finish the task by himself. . . .
Review: Stuart Horten is a young boy who finds something unexpected out about his family. Great uncle Tony was an inventor.  Whose workshop is packed with...well...everything. and puzzles. Lots of them. Stuart sets out on an adventure.
This definitely isn’t one of my normal reads. Once again, it’s a Carnegie book, which I’m meant to have read all of them by the first of May (I’m writing this on the 14th of April. This will not happen.), so should be assured of it’s quality, even if it’s not my type.
­­I  really can’t reveal the plot. I’ll just end up telling you everything that happens, because there isn’t really anywhere you can stop describing it. So much happens for such a short book and it’s really fun seeing the plot develop.
Lissa has managed to work in a lot of puzzles, which were good fun to figure out along with Stuart. A nice thing about Small Change for  Stuart was that each chapter ended on a cliffhanger, something vital just being revealed so that you have to read on and find out how that is important, what will come of it and such.
The characters really made this one for me. Stuart is very well developed, inquisitive and clever. April is one of three identical triplets, who doesn’t get on with Stuart to start with. However, they soon get to be good friends, and work well together. The baddies in this one weren’t as strong as the others, but were still good characters. Stuart’s dad was very funny with his overuse of long words, and Stuart’s blind grand-aunt (or something) was just really really cool. They all were. I also liked the way something we learn about them ties in by the end of it all with what we learnt earlier on, but didn’t think about to start with. Amazing how that happens.
This is definitely a heartwarming book. Seeing Stuart and April overcome puzzles, infiltrate museums and such really can’t fail  to make you smile.

 Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that is part magic, part mystery, and full of fun.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Weekend hiatus

Away from computer all weekend. Back on Monday, or Sunday night if I'm lucky. See you then xx

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Book Review-The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross


The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset
 Author: Kady Cross
Series:  The Steampunk Chronicles #1
Published:  24 May 2011 by Harlequin
Length: 473 pages
Warnings: attempted rape, violence, romance 13+
Source: Publisher
Summary : In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them."
Review: In the first few pages, we see Finley Jayne’s darker side. When young lord Felix Augustus Raynes thinks he can have this servant like he has the others, he finds he’s wrong. And knocked out. Knowing that she’ll be dismissed for teaching him a lesson, Finley makes a run for it. She’s picked up by Duke Griffin King and his little band of misfits. Finley’s wary of him at first, but soon gets to know him and Sam(part robot), Emily (can communicate with machines) and Jasper (“cowboy” from America), become friends with (some of) them, and is drawn into their investigations. They’re looking for The Machinist, who they think is behind many automaton-related crimes, and may be (read, is) planning something even bigger. As they go, and learn about her family history, Finley is drawn into a lot of suspicion, and a lot of danger.
Ever since I saw the title and cover of this, I knew I wanted to read this. So I was very excited to get a copy of this, especially when I didn’t think they were doing it in the UK. And it didn’t disappoint.
The plot was done well. It starts off really quickly, and the rest of the book is similarly fast paced. There’s a lot twists and turns, some of which are predictable,  that all resolve themselves by the end. There’s a lot of subplots that were woven in well and added interest.
The romance was done well, and I found it really nice that we didn’t just follow the main characters’ romance. Yes, I think that Finley and Griffin make a good couple, but I much preferred the longing between Emily and Sam. They deserved their love a bit more, and it was really easy to imagine their friends-only relationship before they got together.
The characters were all very fleshed out with distinct personalities. They interacted realistically, and I’m glad not everybody was in love with Finley to start with. It made it a bit more believable. I found Finley’s family history to be very long winded and a little confusing, but I loved the idea that her dad was the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde. I don’t think we saw enough of Jasper, but from the ending, there definitely should be a lot more of him in book two.
The Steampunkery in this is prevalent throughout. 1897 setting fulfils that aspect, and the gadgetery that turned up...amazing. Emily’s workshop, the automaton, and so on. And the cat. All my love to the cat. On a completely different note, I’m glad the steel corset is important to the story.

 Overall:  Strength 5 tea  to a real steampunky book. Definitely want more of this series.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Book Review- Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Every Other DayTitle: Every Other Day
 Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series:  N/A
Published:  2 February 2012 by Quercus (Dec 11 by Egmont for USA)
Length: 329 pages
Warnings: violence 12+
Source: Publisher, in exchange for review
Other info: Jennifer has also written the Raised By Wolves series, as well as Tattoo, The Squad and Golden.
Summary : Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human. And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely. Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism. When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

Review: Some days, Kali is human. and other days, she’s not. Those days, she hunts demons-she’s practically invincible and she knows it. Then she notices Bethany, one of the popular girls and daughter of her father’s friend, is marked for death. Kali has twenty four hours to save her. And in said twentyfour hours, she’s human. After taking care of that, Skylar, Bethany and others get to find out the truth about Kali’s parentage, and what bio-tech company Chimera are doing with all these paranormal creatures. Oh, and after saving Bethany, Kali has a creature in her that gives her the ability to telepathically communicate with somebody called Zev. This is going well.
I love the idea of this. Human one day, the next something else? Fresh and original and definitely my thing. Aside from the interchangeable biology, Kali is an interesting character. She’s very determined to save everyone, she’s smart and will take a lot of risks. Bethany definitely isn’t as bad as you think at first once you get to know her and I ended up liking her. Zev, I didn’t care much for, even though we get a clear idea of him through his communications with Kali. My favourite character was Skylar-she’s funny, cute, happy to call herself a “slut” after bullying, a “little” psychic, and her constant verbal sparring with her brothers is one of the best parts of the book,
There’s surprisingly little romance, considering Jennifer’s other series, and this suits me just fine. The action is fast, continuous and the kind that makes you just want to read on and on. The paranormal world of Every Other Day is quite well developed, with a wider range than most paranormal creatures getting a mention, even if they weren’t all integrated into the main story.
The plot takes many turns throughout, especially the subplot regarding Kali’s mother. You think you know something, something else happens, you realise that it’s a lot more complicated than you first thought. The whole thing with Zev was quite complicated, and a little annoying trying to fully keep up with it. It was a good way of interacting with a character though-different and interesting. The whole thing is a book that makes you just want to read on, trying to guess what’ll happen next. I also really liked seeing everything pan out in ways different to what you imagined it to.
I’m not sure if there’ll ever be a sequel to this. The ending left it totally open to being a standalone where you can make up adventures for Kali, or for Jennifer to do so. If there is a sequel (there hasn’t been one announced) I’d definitely like to read this, but if there isn’t, I won’t mind.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a fresh take on paranormal creatures that’s also a fun read.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Carnegie Book Review-Trash by Andy Mulligan


TrashTitle: Trash
 Author: Andy Mulligan
Series:  N/A
Published:   1 March 2011 by David Fickling
Length: 210 pages
Warnings: clean 10+
Source: Library
Other info: This has been shortlisted for the Carnegie 2012 medal, and has won other awards too.
Summary : In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city. One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.
Review: Raphael, Gardo and Rat have spent their lives searching through the rubbish that comes to their home of a rubbish tip. They’ve lived like that forever. However, one day, they find a bag. It has a letter in it, and a string of numbers, and nobody knows what it means. And then they’re hunted. Round the city they travel, from prisons, to graveyards to find out what it all means. They soon end up undearthing seacrets-secrets which have been kept for ages, for good reasons.
I only read this because it’s on the Carnegie shortlist. It’s not my normal kind of thing, but I was pleasantly surprised with this.
There isn’t too much explicit world building, but most of Behala is conveyed via small details that you pick up if you read closely. I’m not entirely sure where exactly this is, but the way it’s written really gets the atmosphere of everything across.
My favourite character is Rat. He’s very resourceful, clever, connectable and just really well written. Olivia, a British girl who came out and started volunteering, too-believable, lovable and interesting.  Rat doesn’t so much develop, as gradually show what he’s capapble of. The other boys, well rounded with their own voices and ideas.
The writing of this was really powerful. I really got into the world that this is set in, sadly realistic with its dumpsite boys, terrible prisons and corrupt politicians. It became real and this is definitely a world that I could easily get lost in.
This book has multiple narrators, some narrating the bulk, some narrating just one short chapter. I like the fact that each person introduces themself at the start, which is an interesting technique that somehow made them feel a little more important to you. Each person has their own voice to narrate in, consistant with the dialogue they have iwth other characters, and I found it really effective.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a powerful book where the best part was the characters. It’d make a good winner.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Book Review-Fracture by Megan Miranda


Title: Fracture
 Author: Megan Miranda
Series:  N/A
Published: 17 January 2012 by Bloomsbury/Walker
Length: 262 pages
Warnings: 12+
Source: Won from Comacalm, approved on Netgalley
Other info: This is Megan’s debut novel. There is also a tie in called Eleven Minutes.
Summary : Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it? Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening? 
Review: Delaney fell through the ice, into a lake, and died. Eleven minutes later, she starts breathing again. Nobody knows how she survived, or what happened, or why she seems to have recovered completely. But she has. But now, she ends up being around people when they die. She doesn’t know why, or how, but it happens. And then she meets Troy. Who seems to understand her new morbid talent/gift/curse/ability. But maybe there’s a little more to him than that.
This wasn’t one that I was particularly dying to read, but the idea of it did intrigue me. It all starts really quickly, with Delaney describing what happened when she died as she comes out of a coma. Next comes a description of her accident, before medical appointments and going home. Delaney receives her first premonition-y thing and has the first person die at around the sixty page mark. The rest of the book continues at a similar pace-not breakneck, but still fast enough to keep me interested and not mark as a DNF.
Delaney isn’t particularly strong, but she is a good character and I liked reading her story. Her talents really were a good part of this book, but aside from them, she didn’t really capture my attention. For the most of it, she reacts believably and develops a little throughout the book. Troy is your typical tortured soul (the kind of which I don’t particularly like), but he did have his own ideas about how their gifts work which I liked reading about. The supporting characters were nice, and filled out the cast nicely.
The plot was ok. It’s definitely original, which I liked, and as a premise was interesting from the start. There were a few things throughout that I didn’t really care about and wanted to get over so I could get to a better bit. On the other hand, there were parts that made interest levels peak. There were definitely a few unpredictable moments which I liked- [SPOILER]’s death being one of them.
The ending is a little ironic, but a good way of ending it. It tied things up neatly, and gave us a better idea of Troy’s character that we didn’t pick up on earlier in the novel. I don’t think there’s room for a sequel, but I’d definitely be interested in other things from Megan.

 Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a interesting book that takes a good look at life, death, friendship and other things.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Book Tour Review-The Hunted by Kristy Berridge


The HuntedTitle: The Hunted
 Author: Kristy Berridge
Series:  The Hunted #1
Published:  April 2011
Length: 582 pages
Warnings: profanity, drinking, sexual innuendo 14+
Source: Author for blog tour
Summary : Elena Manory is by no means an ordinary teenage girl. Being born with the ability to heal herself from any injury, and with the knowledge that on her eighteenth birthday she will become a Vampire, Elena is aware that she is more than a little different from other girls her age.
It isn’t until she meets William Granville, an alluring and impossibly handsome vampire, that she begins to question her destiny and what secrets the Institute of Magical Intervention and her adopted family have withheld—secrets that could change the fates of not only her own life, but of the lives of all the immortals.
As events spiral out of control, William may be the only person Elena can place her trust in. He, and Elena’s magical family, must fight to save her, joining forces to defeat a common, deadly foe. For William, it is his chance to save the girl that he has searched eternity to find.
Review: It’s (relatively) not often that you see vampire girls. It’s often the boys, and then the girl gets turned if she’s lucky. It’s quite nice seeing the girl born a vampire for once. Elena knows that she will become a vampire some day, but she doesn’t know everything else about herself. Which is quite a lot, and quite major to how she’ll turn out. She’s living with a family of Protectors-kind of like slayers, but magical versions. Then she meets William Granville, a vampire, and a lot of things happen. She gets pulled into a Vanator hunt (a Vanator is essentially a werewolf that drinks blood. And the a’s should have hats on them. Whatever they’re called in punctuation terms.), she learns the truth about her parentage, she learns she’s even further than normal than she thought she was, and she finds herself falling in love with a 400+ year old vampire. Yay!
So, it starts really quickly with Will out hunting Vanators. We soon get to the main bit-Elena’s life. To be honest, the first bit wasn’t amazing. The first third (about that much, well, until she meets Will) is nice to read, but lacking on the paranormal side, and edging towards teen girl-y problems-sneaking out for parties and such. Not really what I was expecting, and really not my thing. I suppose it was useful for character building, especially around Elena’s family.
Then we met Will and it all picked up. Hunts are fairly frequent in this, and there’s quite a bit of blood and guts at various points in the story.
Elena, once we’d got over the first part, is really really cool. Her parentage is just one of the many things that gives her an edge-her general attitude and her development are two others. I love the way she speaks-always speaking her mind and consistently sassy and strong. She definitely develops-how could she not after learning all of THAT about herself?  Will, I quite liked. Even if it was creepy how he always turned up.
There’s some very realistic seeming dialogue, especially in the family scenes. I can guess that everything that happened between Elena and her “mother” would have happened anyway, even if they weren’t a vampire and a magical protector. And the bits with Lucas, the brother. Aww. Lucas is a very sweet, if sometimes annoyingly, protective brother that makes having siblings not seem so bad.
The best thing about this book is the description in the action scenes. Well, the description throughout. But in the action scenes especially. Paranormal Australia is easily imagined, and I felt like I was right there in all of it.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a great start to a paranormal series that I definitely want to carry on with.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Weekly Roundup #12


Once again, our weekly update...on a Saturday, this time because we have a stop on the The Hunted book tour tomorrow. So..

Here’s what I got!
  • Won from Midnyte Reader- Psycho by Robert Bloch
  • For review from Allison and Busby, The Pledge by Kimberly Derting 
  • Random House Netgalley
    • Yesterday by CK Kelly Martin
    • Velveteen by Daniel Marks
    • Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle
    • Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris
    • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Here’s what’s going on around the book-y world!
  • Lindsay Cummings got signed!! She’s commented  on DBT a fair bit, and I’m really pleased for her. And a place where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate? Something I have got to read. The Murder Complex and its sequel has been picked up by Greenwillow/Harpercollins.
  • Strange Chemistry has signed two more authors- Laura Lam and Pantomime, and Juliana Scott and The Holders.

Here’s what’s going on at Death Books and Tea
  • I'm team Erudite! We (I did, anyway) spent all of last week just thinking "Americans get EVERYTHING!!" as they got all their Insurgent stuff. But this week, everyone in the UK got their lot of Faction sorting. Who's in what faction?

Friday, 6 April 2012

Book Review- The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith


The FuryTitle: The Fury
 Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Series:  The Fury #1
Published:  April 5th 2012  by Faber
Length: 535 pages
Warnings: violence and gore 13+
Source: Publisher in exchange for review
Other info: Alexander Gordon Smith has also written the Furnace series. Book 2, The Storm, will conclude the story.
 Summary : Cal, Brick and Daisy are three ordinary teenagers whose lives suddenly take a terrifying turn for the worst. They begin to trigger a reaction in everybody they meet, one that makes friends and strangers alike turn rabid whenever they are close. One that makes people want to tear them to pieces. Cal and the other victims of the Fury – the ones that survive – manage to locate each other. But just when they think they have found a safe place to hide from the world, some of them begin to change... They must fight to uncover the truth about the Fury before it's too late. But it is a truth that will destroy everything they know about life and death.
Review: I enjoyed the first book in the Furnace series and for some reason never carried on. I thought it would be interesting to see what else Alexander would come up with. It’s different in some ways (for example, no prisons, a little supernatural twist), but it’s similar that it’s what you’d definitely call “a boy’s book”.
So, one day, all Cal’s friends try to kill him.Daisy’s friends try to kill her. Brick’s girlfriend violently attacks him. For some reason, everyone wants to kill these and some other teenagers, and there’s not really much they can do  to stop it. Somehow, they band together with other people in similar circumstances, and must find out what’s happening and what they can do to stop it. But what they do find will change their perspectives on everything. This isn’t the clearest of summaries. It could be anything. But I was hoping for a lot of action, which I definitely got.
The plot is set up very quickly. There’s purpose to everything that happens, and being a 500 page book, that’s a lot. There are some things I’m not entirely sure about. There seems to be teenagers from all over the country who manage to get to Furyville on their own, which I’m not sure if that would be possible and there’s not much explaining it, and there were a few other things that were a bit “wait, what?” and not really connected to the main reveal at the end.
The three main characters were well developed at the start, but I think some of the characters that were introduced later like Adam  and Rilke could have had a little bit more work on them. They did get backstories, but I just didn’t really care for some of them.
I like the way that each chapter 1)focused on a character and 2)had day, place and time clearly defined. It made it a lot easier to keep track of everything. The action scenes were really well written-fast, and kept you reading on. I read this in an entire sitting  (mainly because there was nothing else to do on a six hour ferry ride from France  where all your friends are asleep or watching The Muppets) and just couldn’t put it down. Everything was really well described, you may have well have been there, and there was some kind of action happening every few pages.
The big thing at the end was a little anti-climatic, but once you’d got used to it, you liked it. It left me with questions that I’m hoping will be answered in book 2, because the general concept is very different to what you’d expect from this kind of book and the way the rest of the book had been playing out.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that is action action action throughout that kept me gripped from the start.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Book Review- Fever by Dee Shulman


FeverTitle: Fever
 Author: Dee Shulman
Series:  Fever #1
Published:  5 April 2012 by Puffin
Length: 400 pages
Warnings: non-descript kissing, sex references, violence in gladiatorial context 12+
Source: Spinebreakers
Other info: Dee has written and illustrated many other books. This is her first for the YA audience.  On Death Books and Tea, we took part in Operation Fever. You can read an extract and see trailers here.
Summary : A fearless Roman gladiator. A reckless 21st century girl. A mysterious virus unites them . . . 152 AD. Sethos Leontis, a skilled and mesmerising fighter, is unexpectedly wounded and lies dangerously close to death. 2012 AD. Eva is brilliant - but troubled. Starting her new life at a school for the gifted, a single moment in the lab has terrifying results. An extraordinary link brings Sethos and Eva together, but it could force them apart - because the fever that grips them cannot be cured and falling in love could be lethal . . . Can love survive when worlds collide and threaten time itself?

Review: Eva is a girl who’s starting a new life at a school for gifted children. Sethos (aka Seth) is a Roman gladiatior, brought from Greece to England as a slave and forced to fight. Both come extremely close to death, and are infected by a virus. The virus is what brings them together, but it’s also what will keep them apart.
Time travelly romance isn’t something there’s a lot of, and there should be more of. I definitely like the idea, although the whole “Eva is Seth’s love from gladiatorial time” is typical and was really predictable.
There’s a whole load of research involved in this. And it showed. I think. I’m not an expert on virology and such, but everything was so well built, so detailed that either Dee researched or made everything up in crazily good proportions.
Eva and Seth are similar characters. They’re both strong and determined in their own way, and each have their own fair shares of trouble in both of their lives. Eva’s experiences  at the new school were realistic-falling in and out of friendships and getting to know her way around. She’s very clever and resourceful, and likeble. Seth is ok, and while he’s really determined to get things done, sometimes I just felt like saying to him “calm down. Don’t be so overdramatic. Slow down. Don’t expect Livia/Eva to understand everything”. The other characters were interesting and believable.
The two worlds, Roman and Modern London, were very well described, with the right atmosphere of the places being evoked. Roman London especially-you got a good idea of Seth’s ideas of the fights and the crowd hysteria and importance of  fighting for a living.
Parallon is a totally different thing. After Seth and his friend Matthias die, they don’t end up in the afterlife they believed in. Instead, there’s an almost empty London, mainly modern, where they are immortal, can do anything they want, can make things appear and such and such. They’re like gods. And then you get the little subplot about Matthias bringing people to Parrallon. It was predictable, and from the moment with the motorbike, it was kind of obvious what he’d do. I don’t think that that little subplot was wrapped up very well, if at all. Hopefully it’ll be done addressed in book 2.

Overall: Strength 4 tea to an enjoyable romance with a different spin on it.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Book Review- Starters by Lissa Price


Starters (Starters, #1)Title:Starters
 Author: Lissa Price
Series:  Starters #1
Published:  13 March 2012 by Delacorte for America. 29 March 2012 by Doubleday (Random House) for the UK
Length: 368 pages
Warnings: violence 12+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: This is Lissa’s debut novel.
Summary : Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.  He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .
Review: In a post-war world, only the under twenties (Starters) and the over sixties (Enders) are still alive. Due to the fact that medicine extends life to, possibly, two hundred, it’s understandable that the Enders don’t want to stay in their own decrepit bodies. So what do they do? Rent out those of Starters. Callie is a Starter, forced out of her home at the end of the first chapter. With nothing else to do, she has to rent out her body. The first two rentals go well. The final one...not quite. There’s periods where she’s aware of what’s going on with her body, and she can even communicate with the renter. At first look, Heather is using Callie’s body for murder. But, after a little digging, Callie discovers there’s a lot more to the Renting business than she thought.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this one. It’s an original idea that could be pulled off any number of ways, and, being Lisa’s debut, there’s nothing else to compare this to.
The initial concept, as well as being original, is very slightly disturbing. Not totally, like in Unwind, but anyway, unnerving. Then you hear about Old Man’s plans... and yeah. Not nice in parts.
The characterisation is great. Just because it made my favourite character Helena. I loved her. I really did, once we knew what her intentions were. So score for Lissa’s great writing, because we don’t actually meet Helena. We hear her voice, and we get her interactions with Callie, and we see her home, and we understand her morals. But we never actually meet her in the way that you’re used to meeting characters. Callie was a good character, strong and inquisitive.  Her interactions with everyone else (Starters, Enders and Renters) were believable and I kind of felt bad when we realise something quite major about the grandson she’s been trying to get with.
There’s always something happening. The pacing is great, and my interest levels stayed high throughout. And none of it was predictable. The bombshell at the end, things in the middle. Kept me guessing and kept me hooked.
The ending was great.  While it does give closure for some things, there’s still space for things to develop-which I think we’ll be seeing in book two.

Overall: Strength 4 tea to a really griping and original dystopian-adventure. Can’t wait for book two-Enders.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Book Review- Hollow Pike by James Dawson


Hollow PikeTitle: Hollow Pike
 Author: James Dawson
Series:  N/A.
Published:  2 February 2012 by Indigo
Length: 312 pages
Warnings: murder, witchcraft, violence, romance 13+
Source: bought
Other info: This is James’ first YA novel.
Summary : Something wicked this way comes... She thought she'd be safe in the country, but you can't escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she's being paranoid - after all who would want to murder her? She doesn't believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn't believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you're alone in the woods, after dark - and a twig snaps... Hollow Pike - where witchcraft never sleeps.

Review: I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this one-I got it on the basis that everyone was saying good things about it, and that witchcraft and murder were involved. But then it was cheap on amazon, so I thought why not?
Lis London moves to Hollow Pike after bullying in Wales made her want to leave. Instantly, she’s the new girl, and gets in with the popular ones. But somehow she’s also drawn to the strange trio of Kitty, Delilah and Jack, the outcasts who repeatedly get insults such as “gay” and “freak” thrown at them. New friends, new start, everything should be ok, shouldn’t it?  But Lis has been getting recurring nightmares-she’s been running and someone’s trying to kill her. And the local legends of witchcraft are just legends, aren’t they? Still, for Lis and her new friends, they’ll learn that Hollow Pike’s history has more to it than maybe they can take.
From the start, we get pulled into Lis’ life. We easily get a sense of what she likes, what she wants from life and so on. Laura and her friends lean a little towards being stereotypical mean girls, but in the school context they work well. From the moment we first met her, I really liked Delilah, and throughout she was my favourite character. Took me a little longer to get used to Kitty, but fell in love with her after standing up for herself very well in a verbal and physical fight against Laura. In the character ranking, she came a very close second. Jack was an interesting character, one that took a bit of time to grow friendly with due to his being quiet and reserved, but still. I think, if they were real, Jack, Kitty and Delilah and I could be great friends.
The romance was nicely worked in, something that you don’t get too often from male authors. Kitty and Delilah make a great couple, and they’re believable too, with a nice backstory and the kind of troubles that most relationships face. Lis and Danny are also a great couple, and it’s nice to see their relationship develop naturally. For the most part. Until the end, where things get a bit nasty. But you can forgive Lis for that. And it all works out for them in the end.   As for Jack, I felt quite bad for him. The girls have each other. Lis is falling for Danny and he likes her back. And Jack’s a loner. I really hope he finds someone to fall in love with some time soon. 
James really captured the atmosphere of the school. I think it may come from him once being a teacher but “his work surrounding bullying and family diversity” (taken from author bio flap) shows-the homophobic insults and the Monroe family really were realistic.
It’s not often you read a mystery where you essentially suspect everyone. Even the three friends that Lis falls in with- Kitty, Delilah and Jack, at times are hard to read and work out whether or not they’re joking about various things. I think at some point, we  have feeling about everyone “Did they do it? Was it them?” Even when you think Lis has found out who it is, there’s still a final twist.  I really couldn’t put this down, and by the end, I really wanted there to be more.

Overall: Strength 5 tea to a richly woven mystery that has a lot of other amazing stuff in it. I’d definitely like to return to Hollow Pike some day.
Links: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads | Author website |