Monday, 31 March 2014

News! So much has happened!

Argh!! Six weeks until exams! Totally not procrastinating. *procrastinates*  (I am actually getting some revision done. Of the stuff I get. *pretends that the Cold War is not on our syllabus after awful teaching*)

Anyway. Things are happening.

I have books. I have Essence by Lisa O Kane from Netgalley, which I'm reading for my stop on the Countdown to June 5th. It's going to be an epic tour, with lots of authors and bloggers. Thanks to Jim for hosting it!!
I also have Bone Jack (thank you Andersen Press), Hate (thank you, Indigo), and some other books I can't think of right now but will tell you I got from publishers when I  review them.

I also have lots of books I don't want. Shout if you want them. Usual postage costing rules apply.

Divergent premiere. So good. You should see the film when you have the chance. I'll tell you more in another post.

Laure Eve is holding a challenge! Paper vs Pixels! For all of April, we can only consume books in one format. Due to my giant pile, and my need to reduce it, I pick paper! It's going to be hard. Sorry, millions of netgalley things... I am still going to be using my kindle (half my revision stuff is on it!) but books will be paper only. What will you choose?

Fighting DreamerYou know how much I endorse queer fiction. LGBTApril is an event being held by Cayce (Fighting Dreamer) and Laura (Laura Plus Books). You can do anything, as long as you do something related to lgbt fiction. I am going to (after revision) do a post breaking down genre in major LGBT fiction, because off the top of my head, I think queer people are more visible in contemporary and fantasy, and not many dystopians, but then I got suggested a few dystopians and I'm all 1) how did I not know these existed? and 2)how do the numbers really add up?  Look forwards to that in a few weeks.

Marriage equality laws came into effect on Saturday! I am really pleased about this, because it means that queer couples do get their coupleness (actually can't think of a better word right now) recognized in the same way as people with different sexes do. But I can't help but find flaws in the system. Inherently human has a great post on inequalities with gender within the act, and I just think that the push for marriage equality has been at the forefront of lgbt activity, when there are a lot more less pretty, more pressing issues that need to be dealt with too such as youth homelessness and mental health care and suicide rates and intersectionality (lack of). However, marriage equality is a great step towards equality, and I'm happy for all the couples that got a day they'd been waiting for for ages. Here's hoping we can go further.

I'm sure none of you are unfamiliar with Lucy the Reader and Project UKYA. But in case you don't know, April will be a UKYA Extravaganza! Check out @lucythereader and @projectukya for more info.

Campers! Campnanowrimo is here for April! I'm not participating, as I have other things to do and just about have carved out a regular writing schedule. But if you can, and you want to, do. Awesome people will be writing with you.

Anyone here on twitter? If so, you should totally enter this competition held by Quercus.
"Tweet why you want a signed competition copy of Cat Clarke’s A Kiss in the Dark between the 31st March and 4pm on 4th April. Make sure you @Cat_Clarke & include the #AKITD to be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be announced on Friday 4th at 4:30pm. Good luck."
I have A Kiss in the Dark on my To-Read pile, and I'll be reading it for Paper vs Pixels. I recommend you read it because...well, it's Cat, who is a totally awesome author (find my love for her here).

So, that's it for now. Divergent post should be up soon. Reviews should be up soon. Enjoy your week. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Divergent Giveaway Winner

The giveaway for the tickets to the premiere of Divergent is now closed
Thank you, everyone who entered and shared!

 The lucky winner is

7, Hannah Mariska! Emailing you now. If I don't have a reply by 3.30pm, I'll assume you don't want it and draw another winner.

Sorry everyone who didn't win
 I hope we all enjoy Divergent when we see it!

Mini-reviews- Reaper's Novice and Peregrine Harker

Title: Reaper’s Novice
 Author: Cecelia Roberts
 Series:  N/A
Warnings: non consensual kissing
Source: netgalley
Review: Anna is normal. she’s got a boyfriend, she’s doing well at school and  she’s looking forwards to a brilliant musical education. Then her family dies in a car crash, but she makes a deal with Ernst, aka Grim, aka Death. Her family gets to live, he gets her soul, and she gets to work, collecting souls for eternity. She gets used to this, but then she finds out other things about where Ernst comes from...and where she does.
I read this because I saw it on Netgalley and a book like that, with that title, pretty colours, and a girl with a violin, I couldn’t resist.
It starts off quickly. the car crash and meeting Ernst happens within the first few chapters. There’s a bit of mystery that comes up. Other things like the story to Ana’s background and the mythology of the world, which comes in later.
I really liked Ana. She’s cool. She’s a really good violinist (musical  talent always makes me love characters) and then it becomes plot relavent and this is where audiobooks come in handy. She also seems like a really good friend.
I didn’t like Zig. He’s creepy and full of himself. Ernst was cool. Rolf was kind of mediocre until about halfway through, then we get a big reveal and he becomes a lot more interesting.
The plot was good, but near the second half, the plot became quite confusing.  The writing was ok in places, good in others. The more descriptive parts were better written, such as the end bit with the violin, and  Ana seeing her first reaping of an old woman in a hospital, which was the most beautiful part in the book.
Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, tea to a fantasy novel with good writing.

Title: Peregrine Harker and the Black Death
 Author: Luke Hollands
Series:  N/A
Published:  3 June 2013 by Sparkling Books
Warnings: non consensual kissing
Source: netgalley
Review: Ever since Peregrine’s parents died, he’s worked for the Evening Enquirer. As a result of his behaviour and habit of writing stories of spies and thieves and espionage into his work which is meant to be factual, he is told to write a story about rising tea prices. Begrudgingly, he sets out to do this, and unexpectedly finds himself in amongst secret organisations, smuggling, and assassinations.
The first chapter takes place on a train, the epic conclusions of a match between Doctor Crick and Peregrine. The second chapter reveals that this was just a daydream of Peregrine’s, and that he is actually being told off by his editor and commissioned to write the tea article.
The plot moves along quickly, the investigation taking us many places, such as docks, posh hotels, backstreets of London and to France.
I liked Peregrine. He’s a great investigator, likable, and smart- like a less sad version of Gavroche (from Les Mis). I really like his enthusiasm for his job-and the fact it picks up when a dead body turns up.
I quite like Louisa too-the first time we meet her, she’s got a pistol and her governess is telling her not to fire that infernal thing indoors. Fun!
The pacing is good. There’s always something new happening and you’re kept intrigued throughout. The atmosphere of adventure is ever present-through London and Paris.
 arker. The

Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, tea to a younger historical mystery that’s a lot of fun.

Monday, 24 March 2014


So, do you like Divergent? If so, are you available this weekend? It's the European premiere and I have two tickets to giveaway.

To enter, comment with your email broken up like deathbooksandtea (at) gmail (dot) com. To gain extra entries, spread the word of this giveaway, with a link, however you like, using the hashtag if relevant, and omment with the link-one extra entry per share. Competition closes (edit) UK 10pm Wednesday 27 March. I will email winner between 10pm and 11am. If you haven't replief by 3pm on Thursday, Ill draw a new winner-Harper needs details by the end of Thursday. Good luck!

 Even if you don't win, you should stil try and get to London this weekend! There's great things happening...

Experience the world of the hotly anticipated DIVERGENT movie in Leicester Square and attend the EUROPEAN PREMIERE!

On Saturday March 29th and Sunday March 30th Leicester Square will be transformed into the dystopian world of DIVERGENT, where fans will be invited to undergo initiation tests and, like Tris Prior, choose where they belong. Would you survive in Dauntless? Fans will be put through their paces with Dauntless training to see if you are brave enough to join their faction!

But that’s not all – we have some pairs of tickets for the European premiere of DIVERGENT at Odeon Leicester Square on the Sunday at 1.30pm, attended by stars of the film Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet! So not only can you discover the world for yourself, you can walk the red carpet, mingle with the stars and watch the film before it’s released in the UK!

Enter here for your chance to win this once in a lifetime experience! If you aren’t lucky this time, you are still in with a chance - get down to Leicester Square early as we will also be giving out a limited number of premiere tickets to fans on both days!

The Divergent Fan Experience Timings

Saturday March 29th
11.00am – 6.00pm

Sunday March 30th
11.00am – 12.00pm
3.00pm – 6.00pm

Premiere timings

Sunday March 30th
Doors open – 1.30pm
Doors close – 2.30pm
Film starts 3.00pm

DIVERGENT is released April 4th

FB handle: DivergentUK
Twitter: @Divergentmovie

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Book Review- Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: The Dance of the Red Death
 Author: Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death #2
Published: 4 April 2013 by Indigo
Source: publisher
Other info: First book was Masque of the Red Death, which I loved. 

Summary :Araby Worth’s city is on fire. Her brother is dead. Her best friend could be soon. Her mother is a prisoner, her father is in hiding. And the two boys who stole her heart have both betrayed her. But Araby has found herself, and she is going to fight back. Inspired by one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most compelling stories, “The Masque of the Red Death,” Bethany Griffin has spun two sultry and intricate novels about a young woman who finds herself on the brink of despair but refuses to give in. Decadent masquerades, steamy stolen moments, and sweeping action are set in a city crumbling from neglect and tragedy. A city that seeps into your skin. Dance of the Red Death is the riveting conclusion to the dark and fascinating saga of an unforgettable heroine.

Review: We pick up where we left Masque of the Red Death, so  Araby has a dead brother, a dying best friend, and two boys that she loves who have also betrayed her. as people seek shelter at Prince  Prospero’s place and Reverend Malcontent spreads disease, Araby and co must try and save the city, and themselves.
I really enjoyed Masque, but somehow, this wasn’t the same. The world was once again, gorgeously written in its full, crumbling glory. The world is distinctly Poe style, which I liked. The seven rooms in Prospero’s palace didn’t come in until the end though, which is a shame, because that was my favourite part about the story this was based on and I was really hoping that it would feature more.
Lots of things don’t come in until the end, really. There’s a lot of running around the city, but it’s hard to see where it all leads to sometimes.
Araby is a bit more forward in Dance, which I liked. Elliot has a hidden agenda. Will is ok, I suppose. No strong feelings about the boys either way. The love triangle was interesting, in terms of the secrets between them all, but I  didn’t really care about how the love side of it ended up.
What I loved, as in obsessed over for a couple of days after reading it, in Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, was the masquerade ball, and the rooms. I was disappointed with both of these in Dance. It all happens within thirty pages, so it was all crammed together and rushed.
As a  series conclusion, it all felt a bit anticlimactic. I also don’t think everything was fully tied up-there’s room for more in Griffin’s world. Oh well.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a disappointing, but still good on its own, conclusion to a beautifully set gothic series.

Links: Amazon  | Goodreads | Author website

Friday, 21 March 2014

Book Review- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
 Author: April Genevieve Tulchoke
Series:  Between #1
Published:  3 April 2014
Warnings: suicide
Source: publisher
Other Info: Book 2 will be called Between the Spark and the Burn.
Summary : You stop fearing the devil when you're holding his hand... Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White's sleepy, seaside town...until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet's crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Violet's grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who likes coffee and who kisses you in a cemetery... Violet's already so knee-deep in love, she can't see straight. And that's just how River likes it.
Review: Violet White has lived in Citizen Kane, a house out by the cliffs in a quiet seaside town, with her twin brother ever since their parents left to go travel Europe. Not much happens. Until River West turns up-good looking, charming, and someone for whom Violet falls head over heels in love. But as a child goes missing, a man kills himself, and other children hunt in graveyards for the Devil, Violet isn't scared.
I was very much looking forwards to this. The title, the tagline (you stop fearing the devil when he's holding your hand), the cover made it sound gorgeous.
It was gorgeous, though in a different way to what I was expecting. There's instalove, which is explained later in a way which makes you question all the love between River and Violet.
I really like the atmosphere and writing style of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It's romantic, dark, and gothic, and also has touches of 20s glamour, with Freddie, Violet's grandmother, playing a key role in things She's probably my favourite character, despite the fact she's dead.
I liked the way the plot develops, especially with the unexpected arrival of River's family and the tensions between them.
I'm uncertain as to the actual devil-ness of various people, but that didn't really matter. The paranormal elements definitely enhanced the story, even if it was a little creepy at times (ie how it affects the relationship between Violet and River).
The ending, ie climax of the novel, was very unexpected, even though there had been vague hints throughout. I liked it. The very ending seemed a little too neat and tidy a finish, but was still nice.

Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, to a beautifully gothic romance with a little mystery running through it too.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Book Review-Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan

Title: Who Framed Klaris Cliff?
 Author:  Nikki Sheehan
Series:   N/A
Published: 6 February 2014 by OUP Oxford
Length: 264 pages
Source: publisher
Summary :  People used to call them 'friends' and said how they were good for your brain. And then a day came when all that changed . . . when they became our enemy. Now, anyone found harbouring a rogue imaginary person is in for the Cosh, an operation that fries your imagination and zaps whatever's in there, out of existence. That's why I wish Klaris Cliff had never shown up. And why I know that proving her innocence is the last hope I have of saving myself.
Review: In this world, invisible friends are dangerous. Anyone found to have one is sent for the COSH, a procedure that shrinks the area of the imagination that an invisible friend will reside in. Klaris Cliff is one such invisible friend. An imaginary person who contacts Flea, and later, Joseph. As bad things go on at the Cliff household, Doctor Cliff wants Klaris gone, and it's up to Joseph to prove her innocence.
I hadn't heard of this until the OUP night for this and Storm and Stone, but upon hearing  about this, I definitely wanted  to read it. The first thing I heard about it was “What if someone can kill your imaginary friend”, which caught my attention, as it must have caught Sheehan's.
You very quickly get a feel for this world, which is slightly dystopian for the way that the COSH and its threat rules over the children. You also quickly get to know the characters, the friendship between them, and the sibling relationships seem real.
The characters all have their individual quirks that make them likable, unique and funny at times. The twins are especially cute (and a little gross in parts). Despite the fact most of them are younger than I normally read about, they're really nice to get to know.
The mystery uncovering works nicely, and I liked the way it all panned out at the end. Sheehan also wrote in less mystery, more family parts, which I found a nice touch, rounding out Joseph and giving him a bit more of a life.
I like the fact that one little detail that you think isn't going to be major, just a bit of back-story to explain where Joseph is today, is quite important, and leads to a satisfying, kind of heart-warming but also sad, conclusion.
The idea of the COSH is very very scary.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a slightly younger mystery that people of all ages should read.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Book Review- Trouble by Non Pratt

Title:  Trouble
 Author:  Non Pratt
Series:  N/A
Published:  6 March 2014 by Walker
Length:364 pages
Source: publisher
Other info: this is Non’s debut novel.
Summary : A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble.Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.
Review: Hannah is fifteen and pregnant. And she won't tell anyone who the father is. Aaron is the new boy at school whose father is a teacher. Aaron offers to pretend to be the father. Hannah agrees. Trouble ensues.
I read this because everyone was saying how good it is. I am very glad I followed everyone's advice.
I would very much like to congratulate the cover designers. It's eyecatching, instantly tells you what  Trouble is about, and doesn't make it seem off-putting at all.
Hannah is very frank throughout her narration, while Aaron is a bit more secretive. I liked the contrast between the two styles, and I think Non did very well at differentiating the two. She also gets teenage thought processes, priorities and ideas really well.
I loved the characters so much. Neville, the old man that Aaron visits. especially-he doesn't seem very nice to start with, but as you learn more about him, you feel emotionally connected to him. All the characters are real, likable, and stick with you. Watching Aaron and Hannah  develop is really nice, and the diverse supporting characters make a great cast.
When we found out who the father is, I was just “Woah. Yeah, I can see why you'd want to keep that hidden. This makes the story infinitely more interesting.” The plot comes along really well, and I loved reading it.
I find it odd that the teachers don't have much involvement, what with Hannah being fifteen and pregnant at school. Jim (YaYeahYeah)said  it's because Non doesn't want to come across as judgy, which I totally get and totally love the lack of preachy message, but it just took away a little bit of realism from an otherwise really believable story-I'm fairly sure that if anyone at my school got pregnant, everyone would be freaking out. It's also weird reading this when I did- I am in the year that will be coming up to GCSEs. It's scary to read this. Not bad scary, but good.
I loved reading all the sideplots other than the main one about teenage pregnancy, which, instead of just supporting it, were each equally good.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a wonderfully real contemporary.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Daugters of Time Blog Tour, with Penny Dolan and Marry Wollstonecraft

Hi guys! Today, I'm a stop on the tour for the Daughters of Time book, which is an anthology by The History Girls and edited by Mary Hoffman. When I heard about this book, which is all about awesome women through history (just so we're clear, I love women and history), I was just "Yes. Going to read that some day".

Today, we have Penny Dolan, who writes about "Why I Chose Mary Wollstonecraft" (extract from Daughters of Time, published by Templar)

I chose Mary because she called for girls to be well-educated, for men and women to live as equal partners, and for the rights of both men and women in an age when only a few men had the power to vote.

I also admire Mary because, unlike many famous women, she was not aristocratic or wealthy.

She came from a troubled, unsettled family. At a time when prettiness and wealth were essential for ‘a good marriage’, Mary had little fortune or great beauty. However, she was incredibly determined: given little formal schooling, she educated herself, gaining a reputation as an outspoken writer, intellectual and journalist. Even so, Mary’s headstrong, passionate personality did not make her life easy, happy or long.

I based this story on a visit mentioned in Mary’s published letters about a trip to Scandinavia, trying to imagine how a young girl might feel on meeting the remarkable Mary at a certain moment
in her own life.

Thank you, Penny! I've just read Penny's story, and it's quietly good. A review of the whole anthology will come later.

Daughters of Time by The History Girls, edited by Mary Hoffman
£6.99 Templar Publishing. Out now.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Book Review-Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Title: Last God Standing
 Author: Michael Boatman
Series: First in series.  
Published:  April 3 2014 by Angry Robot
Length: 400 pages
Source Publishers:
Other info: Book 2, Who Wants to be the Prince of Darkness comes Spring 2015
Summary : When God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?

Review:  Yahweh, aka the Abrahamic god, has decided he's had enough of being God.  Therefore, he quits, joins the Human Race and tries to live life as a stand-up comic. However, with gods of old pantheons trying to take his place, and a now-human Lucifer to deal with, this isn't going to be easy.
I was really looking forwards to this. Multiple pantheons, all the myths, all wrapped up with a big dose of comedy? Right up my street.
It starts off well. The dramatis personae sets up an interesting c premise, featuring my favourite gods from various mythologies, plus a few more I was less familiar with.
Lando has a good voice. I liked him and his comedy could be good if it wasn't wrapped up in a whole load of other stuff. I also liked Yuri, Lando's family, and Suhrabi. I love the way the gods are presented-Zeus and the Morrigan especially.
The thing that let it down most was the plot, and the way it just went ways I don't really get. The bit with Hannibal got good at the start, then relaxed a bit earlier than I  was expecting. The whole thing with Lucifer, Gabriel and the angels was very predictable, but turned out well. But then there's this whole bit in the middle where I think Lando swaps bodies or something with another guy. I say I think. I honestly don't know what happened there, but it changed Lando for the last quarter of the book. Also, the god battles, while fun, were also a bit confusing in that they went everywhere in time and space and were hard to follow.
Also, I didn't get the comedy that I was promised, apart from in small bits ie  introduction of the gods. Or maybe it just wasn't my kind of humour. Either way, sadness from that. 
Despite this, I will read book two. Just because  Hell. And game shows.

Overall:  Strength 2 tea to a book with a really good premise that just wasn't put together as well as I was hoping.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Cover Reveal- Delete by Kim Curran

You know how much I love these books, where if you want, you can change a decision you made, even if it's not always for the best...
Anyway, Kim Curran's Shift was released December 2012 and Control was released last August (me: seriously??? How has the time gone past?)   And this August, DELETE is being released. And here's the cover.

Given Control's giant cliffhanger, and the firey colours  on the cover of this, I'm expecting big things from Delete!

I also like the way that the stakes seem to have gotten higher as the series progresses- look at the background- warehouse to modern city skyscrapery things to the Houses of Parliament.  Exciting.

Finally, did I ever tell you about Kim's other project, Glaze? No? Well, check it out here. It looks awesome. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Book Review- Death and Mr. Right by Kendra L. Saunders

Title: Death and Mr Right
 Author: Kendra L  Saunders
Series:  N/A
Published:  1 October 2013 by Spence City
Length: 264 pages
Source: Spence City Share Group (Thanks Kayleigh)
Summary :  It is March 32nd, the day that doesn't exist, and Death, the agent of nightmares, has been demoted and exiled to live among mortals for the rest of his unnaturally long life. Everyone knows They don't look lightly on important items getting lost or an agent falling in love.
Can the diva-like Death navigate the modern world, recover what was stolen from him (the names of the damned ooops!) and get his job back? Or will he fall in love with Lola, the pretty thief who got him into all this trouble in the first place?

Review: Death is the agent of nightmares. Well, was. He's just been fired and exiled to life among humans because he lost some paperwork and now wants to try and find Lola, the thief who stole them, and get his job back. As long as he doesn't fall in love.
I read this book purely because of the title. When I read the summary, it wasn't what I was expecting from the  title, but still it sounded good.
Death and Lola are both absolutely adorable.  They're both funny, Death especially with his thought processes , and I found myself  just really wanting to be friends with them and Mr Right, who seemed like a more secondary character than his being named in the title. Also, I loved Death's blue hair. Just because. Blue hair.
This is most definitely  primarily comedy. Standout moments include  Death on earth at the start  and Death finding his obituary. The plot aside from this is good, involving someone who wants to be the next agent of nightmares, and so tries to stop Death getting his job back. It's paced well- reading it isn't difficult.
I saw someone else compare this to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I agree with this comparison-both are crazy, unpredictable fun comedies. This just has a  more romance and  has supernatural elements and bureaucracy instead of space and aliens.

Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, to a light hearted, dark contented, romcom.

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads | Author website