Saturday, 26 May 2012

Book Review- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)Title: The Immortal Rules
 Author: Julie Kagawa
Series:  Blood of Eden #1
Published:  24 April 2012 by Mira
Length: 480 pages
Warnings: violence and romance, 13+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: Julie has also written the Iron Fey series.  
Summary : In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike. But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Review: Allison was once an Unregistered-refusing to accept food and healthcare so she would not have to feed the vampire masters that rule the city. But, after an attack on her home, she has a choice-to die as a human, or to live as one of the creatures she spent her life trying to avoid. Choosing the latter, Kanin changes her and trains her-how to live, how to fight. And then they get split up. Allison is on her own, until she come across a band of humans searching for Eden. A place free of vampire control. Under the pretense of being a human, allie goes along with them. But for how long can she pose as one of the creatures that they are trying to escape? Especially when she’s falling in love with Zeke-the son of the man who everyone’s trusting to guide them.
I’ve never read any of Julie’s books before, but I’d heard good things about them. And after reading this, I’ll try and get hold of them.
Allie was a really strong main character. As well as being a vampire, she has many other facets to her personality. It’s nice having a girl being a vampire who has to control her urges for a change. The thing I liked best about her was the fact that she’s always thinking about when she was human, of what she left behind, and such. It added depth to Allie, and changes the way she thinks. Coming a close second is the way she handles a katana.
I lov e the variety of characters that she meets after leaving Kanin. Zeke is really nice, the romance is sweet, and there’s a refreshing lack of a love triangle. It was nice how not all the characters liked Allison straight away-it made it seem more real. I also liked Caleb, Darren and Ruth, for various reasons.
The communities that you come across are well structured, and the writing made you feel as thorugh you were there. The dystopian world before Allison got changed, whcich as well as being interesting, gave context to Zeke’s group.
The very ending was predictable, but good. It’s so open ended, that anything could happen-I’d really like to see the sequel.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a really good vampire novel that makes a change to the kind we normally see-this has action and romance in perfect proportions. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Mass Reviews- DNFs


Another instalment of negativity! I had a large amount of DNFs that I should have reviewed from Netgalley, but didn’t, because I never got through them. So...I thought I should do a roundup of them. There’s also some from other sources too. Links to goodreads.


Title: The Peculiars
Author:
Mareen Doyle McQuerry
Brief summary:
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar.
How far I got:
50%
My thoughts:
I really liked the idea-goblins plus Victorians should be my thing. But it was so slow! The characters were annoying and Lena, I just didn’t care about at all. Plot-wise, not much seemed to happen, and nothing was really a surprise. Chapter title- Lena makes a pact. What happens- Lena makes a pact. There were a few of these over-revealing chapter names that kind of ruined it.

Author:  Kristen Callihan
Brief summary:
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied
How far I got:
53%
My thoughts:
Archer was boring, and not much plot developed. Also, neither Goodreads nor Netfgalley nor other reviewers told me it had certain... scenes in it. So I gave up. I loved Miranda’s powers though.

Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Author:
Mary E Pearson
Brief summary:
Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?
How far I got:
70 pages in
My thoughts:
Not much seemed to be happening and I generally didn’t enjoy it. It was a really nice idea though-maybe I’ll have another go with it in the future.

Title: Luck of the Devil
Author:
Patricia Elmer
Brief summary: Being the youngest daughter of the Devil isn't all it's cracked up to be. The days of teenage rebellion and vows of chastity made just to tick off her father are over, and now all Faith Bettincourt wants is a nice, quiet life. Unfortunately, thanks to the unexpected arrival of her demonically-downsized sister, a ditzy succubus roommate, and dear old Dad himself, Faith's plans for a relaxing vacation spent watching reruns go up in flames.Now it's all Faith can do to keep the family reunion from Hell (literally) under wraps, and the angelically-inclined hottie across the hall from realizing there's something weird about his neighbor. 
How far I got:
Can’t remember
My thoughts:  
I was told so many amazing things about this! But I just couldn’t get into it. The characters weren’t interesting and it wasn’t funny or sarcastic, how I’d hoped it would be. Maybe I’ll try again one day. In the far far future.

Title: Gorgeous
Author:
Rachel Vail
Brief summary:
She's looking good...but Allison Avery can't believe it. Growing up with beautiful, blond sisters, Allison has always been the dark-haired, "interesting-looking" Avery. So when the devil shows up and offers to make her gorgeous, Allison jumps at the chance to finally get noticed. But there's one tiny catch, and it's not her soul: The devil wants her cell phone.
How far I got: 60 pages
My thoughts:
I like the idea of a girl selling her mobile, and not her soul, to the devil. But that aspect didn’t get much attention. I also didn’t realise that it was part two in a series that I hadn’t heard of before. oh well.

Lost SoulsTitle: Lost Souls
Author:
Poppy Z Brite
Brief summary:
At a club in Missing Mile, N.C., the children of the night gather, dressed in black, looking for acceptance. Among them are Ghost, who sees what others do not. Ann, longing for love, and Jason, whose real name is Nothing, newly awakened to an ancient, deathless truth about his father, and himself.
How far I got: a little over halfway
My thoughts:  
I read Exquisite Corpse and loved it, but I couldn’t get into this. Too much sex and er...other stuff.  Maybe when I’m older...

Title: Mechanique-a Tale of the Circus Treasulti
Author:
Genevieve Valentine
Brief summary:
Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic.
How far I got:
64%
My thoughts:  
Steamunk circus! Yay! I was all ready to love this, but there were so many confusing things about it. Mainly the writing-multiple narrations without warning of person change, and random out of character insertations in brackets. I also don’t understand how the mechanical parts all fit together and work in somebody’s body, and character deaths were hard to keep track of. Good points-I loved Boss. And the illustrations.


So....yeah. Books I really couldn’t get on with. Have you read and enjoyed (or not) any of these? Or are there any others you just couldn’t  get through? Comments are always welcome. :-) 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Book Review- Dead Rules by Randy Russell


Dead RulesTitle: Dead Rules
 Author: Randy Russell
Series:  N/A
Published:  29 March 2012 by Quercus
Length: 232 pages
Warnings: 12 +
Source: Publisher
Summary : When Jana Webster dies in a tragic accident, she finds herself transferred to 'Dead School' in the afterlife, where students fall into distinct cliques. Risers (good kids who died innocently), Sliders (bad kids, who have one foot tied to earth) and Virgins (there are fewer than Jana would expect). Jana's boyfriend and love of her life - Michael - is still in the land of the living. Michael is Romeo to Jana's Juliet and as the story goes... even death can't keep them apart. Tired of waiting for him to kill himself over his grief of losing her, Jana decides she needs to do it for him. To kill Michael she'll need the help of a dangerous and sexy Slider - Mars Dreamcoate. But Mars has a goal of his own: he wants to save a life to atone for having taken one in a drunk-driving accident. And to complicate matters, he was trying to save Jana when she died and saw what was really going on when her 'accident' happened. Jana decides to do whatever it takes to get Michael back, and nothing - not even Mars' warm touch or the devastating secret he holds about her death - will stop her
Review: Jana and Michael are so far in love that saying Webster and Haynes is as natual as Romeo and Juliet. So when Jana dies and ends up at Dead School, where teens that died end up before moving on, she misses her boyfriend. Badly. So badly that she’s willing to kill for it.
I really liked the idea of a Dead school. Ok, it’s overdone (at least in what I tend to read), but I still like reading different author’s takes on the subject. The original Riser and Slider idea (where good kids get closer to Heaven and bad ones closer to Earth) is a great idea too. So far, so good.
And then I started reading it. And it was so hard to get through. This was almost a DNF. If it had been a kindle or library copy, I’d have definitely put it down. But I didn’t, and I struggled through...and so....yeah.
My first problem with this was the writing. It was extremely simple, and at points, patronising. Attempts to build suspense really didn’t work out, and it got annoying.
Second problem, and probably my biggest, was Jana. She is so annoying. She compares herself repeatedly to her mother and fusses over little things for no reason. And then she decides that she’ll kill her boyfriend, because she can’t stand the idea of being away from him. Yes, what a delightful way of expressing love for somebody. I know I’d prefer roses.
Third problem, Mars, the half-love interest. He’s annoying too, but not to the point of Jana. I also feel a little bad for him over the fact the he and his efforts to do things for Jana are not appreciated.
Fourth problem, not much really happens until you get to the end. Well, things do happen. but they’re really boring and it doesn’t build up and some things seem pointless.
The only thing that I enjoyed was the character deaths. Even still, they weren’t amazingly written, and they were unrealistic without any irony. Irony, for me, is the only way that excuses random methods of leaving life-see the Final Destination films.
I get there’s a lot of  romance to it, and a nice paranormal idea. But it just didn’t work for me.
Overall:  Strength 1 tea to a book with a nice concept, but is generally boring throughout.
Links:  | Goodreads | Author website | 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Happy World Goth Day!

Aww....it seems like forever since I've done a post like this where I talk to you, instead of just provide a review. Anyway, it's 22 May-so it's World Goth Day. Yay!
So, in celebration, I'm going to share with you 1. Classic gothy books, 2. My favourite gothy books that I have read, and 2. Those books that are on my miles long wishlist.
Links to Goodreads


The Classics

  1. Anything by Edgar Allan Poe. His poems and stories are both beautiful. If you can, get hold of one of those huge editions-so pretty.
  2. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.
    Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force --- a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.I  think everyone's in love with Lestat. Well, everyone who I'm friends with anyway. Plus, it's generally a good story. And also has a really good film. 
  3. Dracula by Bram Stoker
    The aristocratic vampire that haunts the Transylvanian countryside has captivated readers' imaginations since it was first published in 1897. Hindle asserts that Dracula depicts an embattled man's struggle to recover his "deepest sense of himself as a man", making it the "ultimate terror myth".
    The classic. Everyone should read this, even if they aren't into the Goth scene at all.
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics as Harold Bloom, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven't read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley's masterpiece.
    The other classic, and another must read.
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscare Wilde.
    After having his portrait painted, Dorian Gray is captivated by his own beauty. Tempted by his world-weary friend, decadent friend Lord Henry Wotton, he wished to stay young forever and pledges his very soul to keep his good looks. As Dorian's slide into crime and cruelty progresses, he stays magically youthful, while his beautiful portrait changes, revealing the hideous corruption of moral decay.
    I'm reading this at the moment, and really enjoying it. I love the fact that everyone's really cynical, and the concept behind this book is great.
Contemporaries that I've read
  1. Lenore by Roman Dirge.
    A collection of the first four issues of the popular Lenore comic book series. Lenore: Noogies is a romp into the dark, surreal world of a little dead girl. Featuring stories about limbless cannibals, clock monsters, cursed vampire dolls, taxidermied friends and obssesed would be lover and more fuzzy animal mutilations than should be legal. Lenore is one of the funniest, darkest comic books on the marketplace today.

    It's a really cute comic series about a dead girl (Lenore) and her friends.
  2. Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schrieber
    The mansion on top of Benson Hill has been empty and boarded up for years. But a new family has moved in. A family that never ventures out during the day. Who are these creepy people -- especially the handsome, dark, and elusive Alexander Sterling? Or rather, what are they? Could the town gossip actually be true? Are they vampires? Raven, who secretly covets a vampire kiss, both at the risk of her own mortality and Alexander's loving trust, is dying to uncover the truth.
    It's not amazing in a literary sense, but it's really fun and with a cute little romance.
  3. Gothic Charm School by Jillian Venters.
    From the creator of the online advice forum about how to be strange and unusual, comes the ultimate guide to dark decorum and etiquette for goths and the non-goths who love them. Illustrations throughout.
    Full advice on the Goth subculture, with some pretty illustrations. Oh, and Jillian is so much fun if you stalk her in other places on the internet.
  4. Death- At Death's Door by Jill Thompson & Neil Gaiman 
    A member of the Endless, a family of beings who have existed longer than the gods, Death enjoys manifesting herself in the persona of a young Gothic girl. Along with her siblings, she interacts and influences the lives of humans on a daily basis. In this manga-style adventure, Death's little sisters, Delirium and Despair, have thrown a party at her apartment for hell's escapees. But as the festivities get out of control, it falls on Death's black-clad shoulders to regain order and save the afterlife. Printed in black, white, and gray tones, this trade paperback weaves an eccentric tale of danger, romance, humor, and fun
    Or indeed, most things by Neil Gaiman. Especially The Sandman and The Graveyard Book. Oh, fun times. This book especially for younger readers because the art is more accessible and more...happy. Yeah.
  5. Nemi by Lise Myhre
    Meet Nemi Montoya, the vegetarian, cynical/romantic, hilariously honest twenty-something goth, in this brand new collection from artist Lise Myhre! Hang out in the pub with Nemi and her friends, including her flatmate, the blue-haired Cyan; hear her opinions on romance and dating; watch her watch TV in her untidy flat; learn how she feels about birch trees, spiders and blondes; and generally experience the highs and lows of being Nemi in the modern world!
    Ridiculously funny in the way that some people won't get. I like the way that it's in full colour-all the volumes. And it's ongoing. And really popular in Norway. Yay! (On a side note, I share my birthday with Lise!) 
  6. Godchild by Kaori Yuki (review here)
    Deep in the heart of 19th century London, a young nobleman named Cain walks the shadowy cobblestone streets of the aristocratic society into which he was born. Forced to become an earl upon the untimely death of his father, Cain assumes the role of head of the Hargreaves, a noble family with a dark past. With Riff, his faithful manservant, and Mary Weather, his 10-year-old half sister, Cain investigates the mysterious crimes that seem to follow him wherever he goes.
    Victorians, murder, tortured hero, unrequited love...everything! And the first volume has mysteries based on Alice in Wonderland. And the art is beautiful throughout.
Gothy books that I really have to get hold of some time soon.
  1. Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez.
    The series focuses on the 20-something year old anti-hero Johnny C, also known as "NNY" (pronounced 'knee'). He is a deranged serial killer, mass murderer, and spree killer who interacts with various other characters, generally by murdering them. He elaborately kills anyone who even slightly irritates him, then drains their blood and paints one of the walls in his house with it. Johnny is also willing to murder "innocent" people who, in his twisted mind, deserve their fate for some reason or another. The number of Johnny’s victims is in the dozens, if not hundreds — or perhaps even thousands. Authorities are unable to capture Johnny and seem unaware of his existence, even though his crimes are often witnessed in public and reported by the few who manage to survive.
    Look at the title. Now look at me. Do you see why I want to read it?
  2. What is Goth by Aurelio Voltaire
    What Is Goth? is a humorous, self-deprecating look at Goth culture from the inside out. Imagine The Preppy Handbook colliding with Charles Addams. Then add a lot more melancholy and a lot more spooky. What Is Goth? dispels the false stereotypes and reinforces the true ones surrounding Goths and Goth culture. "To the mundane," Voltaire writes, "Goths are weird, black-clad freaks who are obsessed with death; they are sad all of the time. Take a closer look at the Goth scene, however, and you will find a rich tapestry of ideas and practices and a menagerie of colorful characters. Oh, dear. I said 'colorful.'" 
    I'm very familiar with Voltaire's music, and from his vlogs, this will be fun. 
  3. The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn
    Positively packed with hand-written memoirs, photos, and paintings, this profoundly empowering epic not only deserves a place on your tea table, it is also one of the most complete accounts of bipolar disorder ever penned, and will take readers behind the doors of both modern day psych ward and Victorian insane asylum in this true life horror tale of madness, murder, and medical experimentation. But reader beware: It's much easier to get into the Asylum than it is to get out.
    Another music-y related book, this time following Emilie and Emily and their lives in mental hospitals. 
  4. The rest of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and many other people's works. There's just so many gothy books out there, ready to be devoured.
So, there you have it. My picks of gothy books. Now go get your goth on!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Book Review- Undead by Kirsty McKay


Title: Undead
 Author: Kirsty McKay
Series:  Undead #1
Published:  by Chicken House
Length: 294 pages
Warnings: fantasy violence 12+
Source: Publisher
Other info: The sequel, Unfed, should be out sometime later this year.
Summary : Being new at school bites. But at least it doesn't kill you. Mostly.Bobby thinks she might well be on the School Trip from Hell. Too bad she's a noob, too bad her classmates don't rate her weirdo accent and too bad that Scotland is having the worst blizzard since the Ice Age. Looks like she's going to be on this school bus for a quite a while; could things get much worse?  Yep. They could. Inexplicably, her classmates start dying...and then they come back to life again...and what's more, they're very, very hungry. With nowhere to run and no contact with the outside world, Bobby is thrown together with a raggle-taggle group of survivors at a roadside cafĂ©. There's indie kid drop-out Smitty, the class beauty queen Alice, dweeby Pete and two near useless adults: a half-conscious bus driver and a volatile petrol station attendant. The frenemies struggle to stay alive - through explosions, deadly battles and a breakneck chase through the snowbound wilderness. Somehow they have to make it to safety - and get some answers - no matter what the cost. Can they survive the Undead? And each other?
Review: It’s a normal school trip, so when the majority of a class go into a cafe, and Bobby and Smitty stay on the coach, they don’t think anything of it. But when Alice returns, crying that everyone’s dead, they realise that it really isn’t a normal ski trip. With a small group of survivors they pick up along the way, Bobby and Smitty must work out what’s happening, how to stop the zombies, and whether or not they’ll get out of this alive.
Another teenage zombie story. Yay! There really should be more of these things. It starts quite quickly, giving us a good idea of Bobby, Smitty and the class, before the change. By the end of the second chapter, we have a solid zombie attack setting us up for the rest of the book. and the pace is set up for the rest of the book too.
Pacing throughout is good, with a couple of boring bits, but mainly action. Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, a good technique and keeping everything moving. The chapters are about ten pages each, nice and consistent, and easy to get along with.
Bobby and Smitty and Alice and Pete and everyone else all have their own distinct personalities, creating good amounts of conflict between the characters, as well as versus-zombie conflict. It’s amazing how seeing a character put through certain situations(ie a zombie attack) can make you like them. Alice, to start with, was a complete bitch. By the end of it...only half.
I liked the fact that we kept meeting new characters. Aside from getting stuck places and learning odd things about these zombies, it’s a good way of moving story along. And there were some that I wasn’t expecting to turn up at all. Yay for unpredictability!
What didn’t I like about htis? At times, every single one of these characters was at least a little bit stupid, annoying, or, most likely, both. I also felt a bit detached from the action at various points in the novel. Aside from that, this is a great zombie book.
Finally, I love the use of Carrot Man and Veggie Juice. I assure you, this is not completely random.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a fun zombie book. Definitely want to read Unfed.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Book Review- Crave by Melissa Darnell


Title: Crave
 Author:  Melissa Darnell
Series:  The Clann #1
Published:  6 April 2012 by Mira
Length: 416 pages
Warnings: 12+
Source: Publisher
Summary : When Savannah Colbert returns to school after a mystery illness, the fact that she has changed is clear to everyone. None more so than every school girls golden boy Tristan Coleman. Ever since their first kiss in fourth grade, Savannah and Tristan have been cruelly and inexplicably banned from associating with each other. Now, as the pair navigate the tricky social life of high school, the truth is about to be revealed. As Savannah learns of their paranormal ancestry and Tristan deals with the repercussions of her new powers, the relationship they have been denied for so long becomes utterly irresistible and all consuming. Like Romeo and Juliet centuries before them, Savannah and Tristan’s love is destined to fail; and Tristan’s powerful magical family, the Clann, are watching.

Review: In the wake of Twilight, forbidden romance boomed in popularity. And another crops up on the market? Let’s go for it. Savannah Colbert learns that her father is a vampire, making herself a dhamphir (half vampire). And then she finds that she’s becoming even mor9e attracted to her fourth grade boyfriend, Tristan Coleman. But this time, they’re being watched. Both the Clann, a powerful group of witches, and the vampire council are making sure they don’t endanger the peace between the species. But to do that, they can’t be in love...
In the interview at the back, it says that Melissa wanted a female vampire at the heart of the book. Good. she thought it would be cool if her hero was a witch. I like. The species being mortal enemies...a little overdone, but can be done well. So a good premises.
It starts off well, introducing the Colberts and the Colemans quite soon, and filling in the background. There are a lot of sideplots in this that get kicked off soon, such as Savannah’s longing to dance with her school.
It’s quite a relatable novel.  With Savannah not getting everything to work her way all the time, being bullied and having another boyfriend before settling down with Tristan, it’s a bit more believable and adds depth to her character.
I would have liked to see a bit more of the vampires and magic. It get that this is a paranormal romance orientated novel, and don’t mind that. But the vamps and witches are important to this and should get a little more significance. Oh, and I approve of the lack of lycanthropes.
Tristan and Savannah work well together and make a good couple. Their powers develop along with their relationship, and the backstory between them is really nice. A note for Tristan-your grounding was funny. *casually steams up tap* My favourite character was Emily, Tristan’s sister. She’s smart, she’s funny, and a much more relaxed Hermione Granger.
I liked the dual narration, because we saw a lot of scenes from two perspectives. However, some things did seem drawn out, and important events came quite slowly. The book could easily have been shorter without losing any of the plot.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a nice romance with side elements of magic, that just doesn’t leave me craving more.
Links: | Goodreads | Author website


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Book Review-Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi


Tomorrow LandTitle: Tomorrow Land
 Author: Mari Mancusi
Series:  N/A
Published:  8 March 2012
Length: 281 pages
Warnings: violence, drugs, sex references 13+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: Mari has also written the Blood Coven (Boys that Bite) series, and some others
Summary : Can true love survive the end of the world? Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice--between her family--and Chris Parker, the boy she'd given her heart. Now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he's the only thing on her mind. All Chris "Chase" Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed--breaking his heart without ever telling him why. Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones to a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk...and feed. As they begin their pilgramage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost--all while attempting to save what's left of the human race?
Review: April 2030. Peyton Anderson is with her friends, discussing boys, as any fifteen year old does. that’s how it is most of the time. and then her dad starts going on about stuff from an old sci-fi book. And people start getting sick. And sick. And dead. And not deader. Fast forwards four years. Chase, formerly Chris, Parker, does what he has to do to survive. only just. So when the girl he’s had a crush on for four years returns and suggests they run away, after careful thinking, he agrees/ even if the girl does now have weird eyes. even if the girl does now have retractable razor blades in her fingers. even if it does mean travelling across a zombie-ridden USA
This is one of those books where if forgot what was meant to happen, so I kind of went in blind. Which made things a bit confusing to start with. Each alternative chapter is set in the pre=outbreak, in which Peyton is fifteen, and Chris is Chris, and every other chapter is post-outbreak, in which Peyton has her implants. While both are nice, it takes me a fair bit of time to realise that they alternated timescales, how they intertwined, and the pattern.
The world building for both pre-and post-outbreak is really good. The pre- is your kind of typical view of the future, wildly advanced with computers  and references to pop culture scattered in. The post-outbreak world is totally different. Mari does a great job of describing the changes and conditions of this new world.
I liked before-Peyton. She wasn’t standout, but she was a good character. After-Peyton, I had a bit of a problem wth. Her personality was great, but the blades and the eyes...how did they get in? How do they not cut her? I can’t see it happening.
Chris is a good character. I didn’t really like him that much before the outbreak, but after the four year timeskip, you can see how much he’s been forced to mature and is now able to cope-just about. I don’t blame him for getting addicted.
Plot turns range from the “interesting and useful” to the “too convenient for them”. I get the need for them to go, but some things seem a little too easy.
The ending...the ending was just...anti climatic. I was looking forwards to some big dramatic showdown, which we kind of got, but it wasn’t as interesting as the rest of the book had set it up to be.
Despite this, there was something about Tomorrow Land which makes me want to see more form Mari.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a book that varies with quality depending on where you are in the novel.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #40- Inferno by Sherrilyn Kenyon


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:  Inferno (Chronicles of Nick #4)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: 4 March 2013
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: The heat is on, and a new threat to humanity has risen…Nick has his driver’s license and he’s not afraid to use it. But turning sixteen isn’t what he thought it would be. While other boys his age are worried about prom dates and applying for college, Nick is neck deep in enemies out to stop him from living another day. No longer sure if he can trust anyone, his only ally seems to be the one person he’s been told will ultimately kill him.But life spent serving the undead is anything except ordinary. And those out to get him have summoned an ancient force so powerful even the gods fear it. As Nick learns to command and control the elements, the one he must master in order to combat his latest foe is the one most likely to destroy him. As the old proverb goes, fire knows nothing of mercy, and if Nick is to survive this latest round, he will have to sacrifice a part of himself. However, the best sacrifice is seldom the sanest move. Sometimes it’s the one that leaves your enemies confused, and you even more so. And sometimes, you have to trust your enemy to save your friends. But what do you do when that enemy is you?
Why I want it: Have you seen how much I fangirl over this series? How much I love this world? How awesome I think Nick and Ash and Caleb and Simi are? If not, you must be new here (here's my reviews) ... BUT WE HAVE TO WAIT A YEAR *wonder who decided to put the date so far ahead* In the mean time, I’m looking forwards to the Chronicles of Nick movie, and manga, and Dark Hunter TV show. Oh, and while I thought they might use a yellow background, it didn’t turn out as bad as I’d feared it would. *goes back to fangirling over Nick*

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Book Review-Hollyweird by Terri Clark


HollyweirdTitle: Hollyweird
 Author: Terri Clark
Series:  N/A
Published:  8 May 2012 by Flux
Length: 240 pages
Warnings: a little romance 11+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: Terri has also written in anthologies, and has another novel called Sleepless.
Summary : Aly King is about to fall for the fallen. My best friend, Des, and I totally freaked when we won the contest to meet THE Dakota Danvers in Hollywood. But now we’re finding out he’s SO not the angel everyone believes him to be. In fact, Dakota is the son of Satan, wreaking havoc on Hollywood and creating an evil army hellbent on world domination. Lucky for us, Dakota’s super-cute personal assistant, Jameson, is a fallen angel trying to get his wings back, and he’s working undercover to squash his demon boss’s plan. If Jameson hadn’t taken me under his wing I’d be in serious trouble, because I’m a total newb when it comes to conquering evil. But, truth be told, that sexy angel’s got me all aflutter and may be one temptation I can’t resist
Review: Aly and Des  are delighted when they win a competition to go to Hollywood and meet hottest film star ever Dakota Danvers. But when they get there, things start to go to hell...literally. Dakota is one of many sons of Satan, and gorgeous PA Jameson is a fallen angel. So as they discover Dakota’s evil plan, Aly and Des  are going to need all their virtues to get though this...
Aww, a fresh modern take on heaven and hell set slap bang in one of the most famous areas of the world. A recipe for a fun light read. And it was just that, a fun read that is really irreverant and a break from more serious stuff.
I don’t think the prologue-y bit was necessary. It kind of se the scene, but it didn’t make me amazingly interested in it. The set up could easily have been done while in Hollywood.
I love the idea of paranormal creatures infiltrating Hollywood without humans knowing/caring. And I wonder what Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears would make of this book. Using living people as characters, however minor, is always a bit risky. Implying they they’re demons or humans that have been lead off the path is even riskier. But it was funny.
Aly and Des  don’t really develop throughout. You see everything happening to them, but aside from them using their virtues to overcome this sins that Dakota sent their way, there’s not much.
I really liked the idea of Dakota sending the sins after he girls. It’s something different and including the seven deadly sins is a great way of making me like a book. Even if we don’t see all of them properl. Side note, I love the fact that Aly and Des  missed out the death for “lust” from Se7en. Conveniently mission out one of the more...brutal/awkward killings...
Congrats to Terri for keeping Aly’s and Jameson’s voices up throughout. They weren’t too distinctive, but they were ever bubbly and consistent and at times, annoying.
Also congrats from removing a substantial love triangle. I’m so glad they Aly doesn’t properly fall in love with Dakota, with it just being an immense crush. A bit more realistic and breaking away from the norm.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a book that  should be read by anyone looking for a  quick read on Heaven and Hell that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Book Review- The Rising by Will Hill


The Rising (Department Nineteen, #2)Title: The Rising
 Author: Will Hill
Series:  Department 19 #2
Published:   29 March 2012 by Harper Collins
Length: 701 pages
Warnings: strong violence 13+
Source: Publisher
Other info: I read book one sometime ago and reviewed it here.
Summary : Sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter’s life was violently upended when he was brought into Department 19, a classified government agency of vampire hunters that was formed to deal with a little problem . . . known as Dracula.
But being the new recruit at the Department isn’t all weapons training and covert missions. Jamie’s own mother has been turned into a vampire—and now Jamie will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on her captors. Even if that means facing down Dracula himself.

Review: As soon as I finished Department 19, I knew I ahd to read the next one and see how it carried on. So I was really looking forwards to this one. It picks up where book one left off with Jamie, Larissa and Kate recovering at HQ.  And soon, they receive news about Dracula’s ashes. Old vampires are preparing  , and it’s time that Department 19 do too-Dracula is getting ready to rise.
I essentially fangirled throughout Department 19. It was amazing (see my review) And Department 19-The Rising is just as worthy of this praise.
It doesn’t just focus on the three young operators. You get a lot of background information on Frankenstein and the Rusmanovs and Dracula himself. So although it wasn’t just the present day, everything moves us closer to the Rising and builds up character depth, making the present day action more relevant and more exciting.
Plot-there’s quite a few plotlines threading their way through this, as well as the obvious.  For reasons that I shouldn’t say, Jamie leads a party to France to find him. Along the way, he also meets the “King of Parisian Vampires, and we get a little side story with him. And so on with many others.
My favourite character was Valentin. He does many completely unexpected things, and gives us a very different perspective of him to what we had had before reading this book. And the whole brotherly love thing with Valeri, well, it’s kind of non-existent. It’s really interesting seeing how the two brothers, the second and fourth oldest vampires ever, interact.
There’s a lot of character development from our main characters. Already with huge responsibilities, they have to be even more mature in this book. I liked the return of matt, the boy who was featured in the first novel but not too much, and his integration with the Lazarus plotline was really interesting. I hope we get to see even more of him someday soon.
There’s no waffling, just words to further the plot or our understanding of the characters. The action scenes were frequent and really well written, and all 700 pages were necessary. And the ending...don’t just leave it there! Now we have to wait (most likely) a year for the next one...but that cliffhanger....amazing.
The only reason this is getting 4.5 tea not full 5 is that it just missed a little something compared to book one. That said, it is an amazing book that any vampire addict should read. 

Overall Strength 4.5 tea rounded up to a 5 to a really strong vampire novel, with a little something for everyone.:  

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Weekly Update #15-Books I got + Foyles


Hello! I’m currently hyped up because I had an amazing day yesterday and a LOT of tea.

Here’s what I got!
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell (thanks Mira)
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (thanks Tor. Again.)
  • The Girl on the Landing by Paul Torvey (thank you mysterious benefactor. This came in a brown envelope with a printed address label and no notes etc. Interesting.)
  • Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid (thanks Penguin)
  • The Glimpse by Claire Merle (thanks Faber)
  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington (thanks Mira)


From Foyles

Yeah...yesterday's Foyles Event was awesome... In addition to those mentioned before, also at Foyles were Cicely (Cicely LovesBooks),  Michelle (Book Club Forum), Lucy (Choose YA), Leanne (District YA), and many others that Caroline pointed out but, me being me, I forgot who was who. Tell me if I missed you off. I would have talked to you if I'd known who you were...sorry.
Overall, it was a really friendly and intimate event, where we had a good laugh and a great time.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Book Review- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)Title: The Gathering Dark/Shadow and Bone
 Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series:  The Grisha Trilogy #1
Published:   7 June 2012
Length: 240 pages
Warnings: violence, romance 12+
Source: Publisher
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Other info: It’s called Shadow and Bone in America. The next two will be called The Shadow Fold and The Darkest Light (I think).
Summary : The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka. Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free? The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him. But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Review: Alina is an orphan who discovers she has a magical power-she can summon sunlight at will. Her summoning abilities mean that she is pulled into the Ravka’s Grisha-the magical elite. The leader of the Grisha is called The Darkling-amazingly powerful and more than a little seductive. He and Alina are destined to save Ravka from the Shadow Fold-the darkness where monsters live. But, while Alina’s falling for Darkling, she’s also thinking of Mal, her childhood friend who is now a soldier. Predictably, their paths cross and they go on a journey full of adventure. And danger.
I don’t  often read pure fantasy without lots of horror or sci-fi mixed in. I do enjoy them though. This is definitely a fantasy based book. It comes through in the names, the writing (it’s all very  descriptive) and the book as a whole is the kind I like when I want something between relaxing and scary.
There’s a nice little mix of characters. Alina undergoes a lot of development and learning, and I quite liked her. My favourite character was Genya-although she was horrible to start with, I ended up liking her by the end as she reveals her fun nature as you get to know her. Mal was ok. His devotion to Alina  was really nice, but he’s not the type of main male character that I really really like. And Darkling-he was just so annoying. And arrogant. And manipulative. I really didn’t like him.
The Gathering Dark is a deceptively short book. A lot happens in it though, many of which you will not see coming.
The world building is slow, subtle and full. You get a really good idea of the court, and the way the magical society works. It’s impossible to place exactly in time and location, but I still really enjoyed it.
Like many books, It would have done ok without the love triangle. I was for Mal all the way, and Alina’s feelings for The Darkling were unnecessary, especially when he wasn’t that good anyway. Oh well. What other people like. 

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a good fantasy novel that I’d really like to see what direction it goes in for the next novel, The Shadow Fold.
Links: | Goodreads | Author website

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Book Review-iZombie Dead to the World by Chris Roberson & Mike Allred


iZombie, Vol. 1: Dead to the WorldTitle: iZombie- Dead to the World
 Author: Chris Roberson, Mike Allred
Series:  IZombie #1
Published:  22 March 2011 by Vertigo
Length: 144 pages
Warnings: sex references, violence 13+
Source: Bought
Other info: There's two more in the series, uVampire and Six Feet Under & Rising.
Summary : Told from a female zombie’s perspective, this smart, witty detective series mixes urban fantasy and romantic dramedy.Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan is a 20-something gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery. Once a month she must eat a human brain to keep from losing her memories, but in the process she becomes consumed with the thoughts and personality of the dead person – until she eats her next brain. She sets out to fulfi ll the dead person’s last request, solve a crime or right a wrong.Our zombie girl detective is joined by a radical supporting cast: her best friend Eleanor, who happens to be a swinging ’60s ghost, a posse of paintball blasting vampires, a smitten were-dog and a hot but demented mummy.

Review: When I added this to my goodreads shelf, I didn’t realise that it was a comic. Oh well. First impressions? The blurb is really good-I love it when something like that can be taken both metaphorically and literally. And when I read it, it instantly appealed to me. A zombie, Gwen, digging up graves for a living and digging them back up to eat the brains, plus the memories, for staying in her current form of undeath? Definitely my thing. Then the latest brain she eats once belonged to a man who ended life as a murder victim, and it’s up to Gwen and her best friends (a ghost and a were-terrier) to solve it.
I love the mix of paranormals represented in iZombie. Theres one of one all the major species (zombies, lycanthropes, ghosts, vampires) and  a fair few humans in it too.  The take on the zombie is very interesting-with Gwen staying fairly intact as long as she eats a brain every so often so she can stay in her non-shambling state.
Gwen is a strong and realistic heroine, who takes her situation quite well, and does what she has to do, albeit with not much enthusiasm,  to keep herself out of a non-shambling state. I really liked her for some reason.
It gets off to a very good start, with the trick or treating. The introduction of the subplots such as the part witt the vampires and Scott the were-terrier and the monstrer hunting was done well, and all of these played out very well. Apart from the main murder mystery. Very interesting, but at the very end, confusing and anticlimactic.
The art is consistent, and I love the fact that the entire book is in full colour. It really does add something to enjoying the book. I don’t really understand why we oiccationally see just half of Gwen’s face rotting. I get that it is meant to show her as she could be, but when we do see her like that, it seems to be totally random.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a new take on an old concept, with a whole cast of paranormally inclined characters that you will definitely like.  
Links: | Goodreads | Authorwebsite

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Book Review- Clarity by Kim Harrington


Clarity (Clarity, #1)Title:  Clarity
 Author: Kim Harrington
Series:  Clarity #1
Published:  June 2012 by Scholastic UK. March 2011 by Scholastic US
Length:246 pages
Warnings: violence, suggestive situations, 13+
Source: ARC from publisher
Other info: Book two, Perception, should be out in 2013 for us UK people.
Summary : Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift. And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case—but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother—who has supernatural gifts of his own—becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Review: Clarity “Clare” Fern comes from a long-ish line of psychics. In relation to her family, she didn’t do too badly-if she touches an object, she might be able to pick up on memories associated with it. Might. Her powers don’t always work. And then a girl turns up murdered, and her brother Perry is the prime suspect-everything leads to his being the killer. Determined that he is innocent, Clarity uses everyhitng she can to try and find the true killer. But it may not be as easy as simply using her sight-she might have to rely on ex-boyfriend Justin and new-guy-in-town Gabriel too.
Murder and psychics-I definitely wouldn’t give this one a miss. The opening chapter is Clare confronting her possible killer. Joy oh joy. Then back to nine days before, setting up the scene. Introducing the family, introducing the characters, and killing Victoria off (who we never actually meet, so it’s not a big plot spoiler or anything) within the first fifty pages. Fun.
There’s something about the majority of the cast that makes them really likeable. I’m not sure what it is, but I found myself seeing the characters as if they were real, and wanting things to go well for them, and generally caring for them.
Clare is quite well rounded, and she handles herself well. She’s a good narrator, adding humour where it’s relavent, and her relationship with her brother is your typical, easy relationship where playfights are common. Throughout the course of the book, she learns a few important lessons, such as using her common sense, and not jumping to conclusions. Perry is ok, somewhat funny even though he’s not really a comic relief character. I couldn’t really get close to Justin-I just didn’t care about him when we first met him, and when he starts becoming important, I had to remember who he was. Gabriel, his attitude was a little annoying. And most guys who the author describes as being hot, I don’t like-Gabriel was one of them. I didn’t hate him, but I also just didn’t care.
It’s amazing how easily a love triangle can kind of kill the awesomeness. Especially if one of the boys involved has already had his chance with the girl. The romance didn’t add anything.
I really liked the whole psychic aspect. Madame Maslov was one of my favourite characters, who wasn’t as bad as we first thought.   Clare’s mother was also really cool, and I thought it was sweet how she wouldn’t give up on the hope that her husband would be coming home.
Plot turns were simple, but well done. Nothing was incredibly complex, but it’s at the enjoyable, not patronising level, There were a few things that were predictable (ie the rising body count), but the climax/reveal of the killer was totally unexpected. To be honest, I couldn’t see who it would be. But it’s nice it ended how it did.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a new psychic mystery series. I’d definitely like to read the next book, Perception.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Book Review- The Pledge by Kimberly Derting


Title: The Pledge
 Author: Kimberly Derting
Series:  The Pledge #1
Published:  26 March 2012 by Allison and Busby in the UK
Length: 352 pages
Warnings: violence, kissing 12+
Source: Publisher
Other info: Kimberly has also written The Body Finder series.
Summary : In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed. Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly reign.
Review: In this dystopian/fantasy world ruled by a tyrant queen, the classes each speak different languages. The language segregation is strictly enforced, but Charlaina is different. She can understand all languages, something that, if discovered, could get her killed. So she keeps this little fact to herself. And then she meets Max. She falls in love with him, despite the fact she can’t understand what he’s saying some of the time. And he promises to keep her safe. But Queen Sabara doesn’t like the thought of losing her queendom, and a war breaks out, with Charlie fairly near the centre of it.
I really liked the idea of classes being separated by language. At first thought, I wondered how it would work, and after a little while, realised that it happens all the time in modern Britain. So it would be good to see how it worked in a full society with rules surrounding it and such.
It starts well, showing how the Queen swaps bodies. I really liked the scenes with the Queen in it. Even if I didn’t like her. I liked the scenes because you get a good sense of the magic, the way she looks down on everyone, the power that she holds. I didn’t like her because...it’s really hard to like her. Even if she was a great antagonist.
Max and Charlie are good protagonists. They are both strong, but I didn’t really connect or care for them. I really liked Xander though. The big revelation about Max was kind of “I saw that coming” and a little stereotypical. The big revelation about Charlie was not-totally unexpected and a good development both plotwise and characterwise. And the way that Charlie ends the book...wow.
Back to the middle. The world building is good. the dystopian aspects are clear, with the tightly controlled society, and the brainwashed people kind of taking advantage of their place in the society. For some reason, I got a bit of fantasy from this novel as well, even though there’s only really the queen’s magic.
The plot had its ups and downs. There were some parts at the  start where I didn’t really care, but it picked up towards the end as we learn various things about Charlie, Max and the situation.
It’s a really small thing, but it really annoyed me-the car, the automobile, was really out of place. I know it’s in the future, but we hadn’t seen much of technology and it just seemed really outstanding, in a bad way, in the world that Kimberly had created.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a good fantasy/dystopian novel that was totally different to what I was expecting in both bad and good ways.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Book Review- Grave Witch by Kalayna Price


Grave Witch: An Alex Craft Novel
Title: Grave Witch
 Author: Kalayna Price
Series:  Alex Craft #1
Published:  5 October 2010
Length: 325 pages
Warnings: violence, sex(m/f, 4 pages, kind of graphic) 16+
Source: Spinebreakers
Other info: Book two is called Grave Mercy and book three will be called Grave Memory. She has also written the Haven series.
Summary : Not even death can save her now. As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she's even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she's seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she's raising a "shade" involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn't want her to know what the dead have to say, and she'll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why...

Review: Alex Craft is a Grave Witch. Her power means she can raise shades and otherwise interact with the dead. And Death. They’re quite good friends. So she’s seen a lot of dark magic in her time-but not as dark as this. The shade she raises tries to kill her, then ends up leaving a soul-sucking charm on her, then somebody tries to kill her in the actual world. Teaming up with Falin Andrews, the new homicide detective that seems to hate her, Roy, a ghost who claims the late Governor stole his body, and some other Fae/witches,  Alex attempts to work her way through this mess, keeping her life and soul intact.
I wasn’t really expecting much because I didn’t know the author. The premises isn’t really original, but it’s the kind of stuff that I like reading about anyway to see how it’ll be worked around.
It starts off well. Alex is dealing with an angry customer, even though it isn’t her fault the shade doesn’t talk. Then the customer dies, prompting Alex to scold Death - “You could’ve waited until I got paid”. From there, they learn about the murder of the governor, and things go downhill from there.
I really liked the mix of witches and fae and ghosts. It was interesting not having the normal mix of vampires and werewolves to compliment this, but I suppose that these three creatures would fit in best to “normal” life.
Alex is a medium quality character, not amazingly strong but interesting to read about. I didn’t like Falin-he didn’t really do anything. The whole meeting boy, boy hates her, somehow they end up together is rather annoying, and features again in Grave Witch.
I never realised it was a more adult book until I got to that section. Damn. And it wasn’t even well written.
The rules surrounding  Alex’s Grave Sight were easy to pick up after a little while. The rules surrounding all of the magic in this book were clear cut. I liked the magical community and the way it all interlinked.
I really liked Roy, and the whole body swapping idea. It was something different and, in this context, unique to Kalayna’s book, and I’d like to see more of that idea. I also really liked Death and the humour that surrounded his and Alex’s relationship. I think Death and Alex should have got together. It could have worked well.

Overall:  Strength 2 tea to a book that is a good break from anything serious, but not much more.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Book Review- I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Title:I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Series:  Jasper Dent #1
Published:  12 April 2012 by Bantam Books
Length: 361 pages
Warnings: violence, rape (off-page) 14+
Source:  Publisher
Other info: Barry has also written things like The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl
Summary : You’re seventeen and your father is the most notorious serial killer America has ever produced. He brought you up. Taught you everything he knows. Everyone in your ordinary American town knows who you are. So even though Dear Old Dad is safely behind bars, when the killing starts all over again, you are the first person the police come to see. They don’t know whether it’s nature or nurture. And neither do you.
Review: Japer “Jazz” Dent. Seventeen. Has heamophilac best friend. Has African-American girlfriend. Has serial killer father Billy Dent has kills numbering in the hundreds. So when bodies start turning up, he’s the first person they turn to in suspicion. Determined not to end up like his father, Jazz does everything he can to help the police. And as The Impressionist claims more victims, killing them in the style of Billy Dent, Jazz is fully aware of the fact there’s only one reason why he’s so good at this-he has the mind of a serial killer himself.

I first found out about this book a little while ago, and from reading the first line of the summary, I knew I had to read it. Proper serial killers, the realistic kind, are pretty much never seen in YA today, so seeing it from a son’s perspective is original, interesting, and definitely drawing me in.
Jasper is a very fleshed out character. Even though I Hunt Killers is written in the third person, it was so easy to be pulled into his mind, his train of thought, and his conflicts. Which are huge. I like the way he keeps thinking back to his childhood, and the way he has no idea who he’s cutting in this dream.
Plotline development was great. There’s turns in all kinds of aspects to the story/ there are developments in the murder plotline, regarding Jasper’s grandmother, Jasper’s stability/ability to not go murdering everyone, even Jasper’s love life. Each got an appropriate amount of coverage, adding (mostly) unpredictability to the story, and further building Jasper’s character.
For once, the romance actually adds something, even though it’s not the kind of book you’d typically associate with romance. It isn’t your girly romance at all-more like a little bit of normality to remind us that Jazz is just a  teenage boy. We are often reminded about the fact that while he’d like to have sex with Connie, he’s scared. Just in case he snaps and kills her. Definitely not typical, but good in context.
The murder plotline is a case of rather picky copycat murders taking Billy’s victims, and replicating them carefully in some aspects but not others-the same hair colours and initials, but only loosely similar jobs. While good, it was rather predictable. My prediction made semi-near the start was right. Someone’s introduced in that random way that marks them as being either the perpetrator or somehow otherwise involved in this whole mess. Also, it’s rather coincidental (read conveniently placed by author) that all these hair colours/initials/jobs/locations match. In the course of things, this hardly matters.
The writing was great. It wasn’t complex, but it was detailed and I could imagine everything happening now, despite it being written in the past tense. Throughout I was gripped and did not want to stop reading.
The ending. Too vague to be a definite cliff-hanger, too vague to indicate a sequel of any kind. There’s a number of directions it could go from that ending point. I really hope that Barry Lyga writes a follow up, but if he doesn’t, I won’t mind-I’ve made up many alternate endings in my head.

Overall:  Strength 5 to an original, gripping novel on a topic that I’d like to see more of.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cover Reveal-Witchcraft by Emma Mills

Remember I reviewed Witchblood and really wanted to read the sequel? Well, it's a little closer now... and I have some good stuff for you.

First, the cover!


Now, the blurb...
Jess is no ordinary vampire. Protected by the Manchester vampire clan, and initiated by her family’s east coast American coven, she is sought after by every dark witch and warring vampire faction. Jess must fight if she wants to keep hold of her friends, her sanity and finally her existence.
As the dead bodies of human girls begin to stack up, and her recently accepted vampire boyfriend, Daniel, finds himself in prison, Jess goes on a crazy, forbidden trip to London, racing against time to save an old friend and solve the mystery behind Daniel’s incarceration. In battling new enemies and finding new friends, Jess’s confidence finds room to grow, but who will she lose along the way?

It'll be released on the 25 June 2012...so...not too long to wait now.

There's also a countdown widget! It looks like this

and you can use this code to get it.


The first book is one of the better indie books I've read...let's hope Witchcraft is just as good!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Book Review- The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross


The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)Title: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
 Author: Kady Cross
Series:  The Steampunk Chronicles #2
Published:  22 May 2012 by Harlequin/Mira
Length: 416 pages
Warnings: violence 13+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: Book one, The Girl in the Steel Corset, was reviewed here.
Summary : In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.
Review: A few weeks ago, I reviewed The Girl in the Stele Corset and really liked the start of this steampunk series. So I was quite pleased when I got this off Netgalley (even if I did get hold of this before I got hold of Steel Corset). It picks up directly from where Steel Corset left off, something I quite like in sequels. Finley, Griffin, Emily and Sam are on a dirigible to America, chasing after Jasper, who has been dragged away by police at the end of the last book. Once they’re there,  they learn interesting things about their friend, meet a few more, and get into a lot more trouble than ever before.
As I said, I really wanted to read this one. It, like the first, didn't disappoint, with some more light hearted near the beginning before getting into the more serious stuff.
I'm very pleases with the inclusion of Jasper. As I noted in my review of Steel Corset, he was totally ignored in book one. He has quite a major part in this one though, so we get to learn quite a lot about him and his past. The other characters pulled over from Stele Corset were consistent, and also developed themselves and their relationships.
There's also a good lot of new characters. My favourite was Wildcat-she's a vicious fighter, she talks back, and she's generally awesome. I really hated Mei (which I'm guessing you're meant to do). It's not that hard to do, especially with the way she treats Finley, and Jasper towards the end. And finally, I'm sure steampunk has an obsession with Nikolai Tesla. And making him completely insane (Scott Westerfeld's Goliath, I'm looking at you). I know he's  important and there's so much you can do with him in the world of Steampunk, but still. It's kind of annoying having him crop up everywhere.
Steampunk technology is just as included in this one. Tesla’s machines, and once again, Emily's cat. Which we learn also flies. Emily is amazing.
I think it might just be the netgalley copy, but I didn't like the fact that scene changes weren't broken up. It made it confusing, hard to follow, and a bit annoying.
There's too many implied love triangles in this. Finley/Griffin and Finley/Dandy (though Dandy's pretty much out of the scene). Then there's Emily/Sam and (one sided) Emily/Jasper. And then there's Jasper/Emily and Jasper/Mei. I know they're not implied, but tangled love lives aren't my thing.
The writing was full and descriptive, giving a good sense of the steampunk devices, and the action well. On  a final note, not affecting my review, Kady has an amazing choice in music (Emilie Autumn and Amanda Palmer) to write to.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to another good steampunk that's not quite as amazing as book one, but very good none the less.