Thursday 30 June 2011

Book Review- Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

 Author: Kelly Creagh
Series:  Nevermore #1
Published:  2010 by Athenum (Simon & Schuster)
Length: 543 pages
Warnings: mild profanity, semi-graphic gore, kissing
Other info: The sequel, Enshadowed, is due out next year.
Summary : Cheerleader Isobel Lanely is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due –so unfair- on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tounged, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, he can’t help but give the enigmatic boy with piercing eyes another look.
Soon Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen, Steadily pulled away from her friends and possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm there the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares. His life depends on it,
Review : Isobel is paired with Varen for a school project in which they have to research an American author. She really doesn't want to do it with him, mainly because of the rumours surrounding him and his attitude. And because it's coming up to Halloween, the teacher decides that they have to be dead. Varen decides himself that they are going to do theirs on Edgar Allan Poe. And so they work on it together and so on. Meanwhile Isobel is lying to her friends in order to spend time with Varen, who isn't as horrible and scary as she thought he was. She also ventures into his journal, in which there are strange drawings and words where Edgar Allan's stories are brought to life. Finally, guided by Reynolds, she learns about dreams having power and so on and ends up with the task of getting to Varen before he goes insane/dies. Because that's how every cheerleader's life plans out, right?
The concept of this I love. Edgar Allan Poe, stories of which come to life, dreams? Great by me.
The story was good, with various different plots weaving together. One of them being Isobel's relationships with friends/boyfriends and the way she treats them and gets treated back etc, and then making friends with the slightly weird girl who she's never really noticed before. Another one being her relationship with Varen which involves her realising that despite rumours of his sleeping in a coffin and drinking blood that he's not too bad. And then there's the main story in that he leaves, because his dreams/realities may drive him to insanity,  and Isobel is determined to get him back despite the  Nocs(the creatures). The way they fit together worked well for the story.
The characters were slightly stereotypical: the amazing cheerleader, her friends, her possessive boyfriend, the quiet and tormented goth, and so on. However they were believable and worked well in the story.
The romance was only subtle, which is suprising considering the blurb. I'm glad it didn't completely take over the story, instead just being a reason to do things underneath the story.
I liked the writing style. There's nothing particularly that makes it stand out, but it was easy to get through. I'm not sure if a first person perspective would have worked better, but the third person view worked ok, even if it did make me feel slightly detached from what was going on. However it was easy to read and I got through the full book in a few hours as I was reading it without stopping. 
I love the way the chapter titles, most of them anyway, are related to Edgar Allan Poe. I also like the cliffhanger ending, which does make you want to read the sequel, if only to fully understand what is going on at the end, as the storyline becomes a bit hard too complicated to follow at the end. 

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to this original book with Edgar Allan Poe, a good story and a lot more.

Thank you very much to Emilie at A Beautiful Madness who sent me this book cos I won her 100 followers giveaway!

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #14 Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie

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. 
Kiss of Night
Author: Debbie Viguie
Release Date: October 7th 2011
Goodreads:Centuries ago, Raphael was a blasphemous knight who fought in the Crusades purely for his own mercenary benefit, and to satisfy his taste for killing. Now, condemned for his evil passions and hypocrisy, he wanders the earth a vampire, cursed with first-hand knowledge of the supernatural world he once denied existed. The powerful relic he still possesses from his days as a Crusader has been stolen by a rival vampire who has recruited an army of soulless underlings to aid him in spreading evil. At the time he learns this, Raphael has been hunting this vampire for nearly a century, and it seems the final battle is destined to take place in Prague.
For help in this quest, Raphael must enlist the aid of two humans, David and Susan, who suddenly find themselves immersed in a world they never imagined, entangled with supernatural forces they can't control. Susan, in particular, finds herself conflicted as she struggles with her inexplicable attraction to Raphael. In the end, both Susan and Raphael will be called upon to exercise courage and faith, and in the process, the question What would happen if a vampire truly accepted God? is answered.

Why I want it: I've not really come across many books featuring vampires  and religion, so it this seems like it will be an interesting take on vampires. I can't really say much for the cover, but the summary sounds interesting. 

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Book Review- Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Title: Skeleton Creek
Author: Patrick Carman
Series: Skeleton Creek #1 and 2
Published: April 5th 2010 by Scholastic
Length: 358 pages
Warnings: ghosts, alchemy, some things may be scary depending on how easily sacred you are
Other info: This edition is actually the first two books in the series merged into one.
Summary : There was a moment not long ago when I thought: “this is it. I’m dead.”
Something sinister is happening in Skeleton Creek. Ryan and Sarah are determined to find out what. After a disturbing incident leaves Ryan housebound, Sarah makes films of what she finds, then sends him the links. And when Ryan gets up the courage to watch them, he can hardly believe his eyes…
Review: Ryan and Sarah were investigating Skeleton Creek, an abandoned gold dredge, when he broke his leg. Obviously after that, the parents wanted them seperated. Which obviously doesn't happen for the purposes of plot development. Because Ryan saw the ghost of Old Joe Bush, a worker who died on the dredge. And Sarah and Ryan are determined to get to the bottom of what exactly is going on concerning Skeleton Creek.
I must admit now that I only got half the experience that I should have done. The reason is that half the story is in video form, and you go onto the website and enter the passwords in the book into the site and it will play the appropriate video. This has both good and bad points- its very original and adds interest to the experience. The bad point is that when reading, say on the bus or in bed, you suddenly come across a password and think I can not be bothered to go to my computer and look at the video right now. Or, if you're on the bus, you can't. And when you DO go on a computer, you think 'I have much more important things I need to be getting on with.' But anything important is hinted in the text so you can vaguely work out what's going on.
The writing flows very well, its very easy to understand. Its all written in diary format, apart from the occasional email/snippet of info/password that gets added in.
The action was quite slow. It was also fairly predictable and in my opinion, not too interesting. The edition I read is actually two books merged into one, Skeleton Creek and Ghost in the Machine, I think that if I'd read just book 1 without continuing onto Book 2, despite the cliffhanger ending, I wouldn't want to read on. As it is, I still won't worry about hunting down the next.
My edition marked it as seriously scary, the main reason I noticed this book and picked it up in the library. For me at least, it wasn't at all.
My edition also had lines printed in it to imitate a diary, which was interesting. But the font the majority of the book was set in was italic and really hard to read. Which, when read before bed at the end of a long day, isn't very good owing to the fact that you're tired and don't want to dechiper fairly hard to read writing to read a book. Maybe it's just my edition...US readers care to comment on the formatting of their edition?
Good things, the mystery worked well and the characters were easy to imagine. But thats about it.
Overall: Strength 2 tea to something that has a good idea but doesn't quite work
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Author website | The videos

Saturday 25 June 2011

Book Review- Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

Title: Boys Don’t Cry
 Author: Malorie Blackman
Series:  N/A
Published:  28 October 2010 by Doubleday Books
Length; 302 pages
Warnings: teenage pregnancy, violence, homophobia,
Other info: Malorie Blackman has also written a lot of other books like the Naughts and Crosses series, Thief and Pig Heart Boy.
Summary: You're about to receive your A-level results and then a future of university and journalism awaits. But the day they're due to arrive your old girlfriend Melanie turns up unexpectedly ...with a baby ...You assume Melanie's helping a friend, until she nips out to buy some essentials, leaving you literally holding the baby ...

Friday 24 June 2011

Book Hop #10

Its hosted by Crazy For Books and is a great way of meeting friends.

Book Blogger HopIf you got here, welcome! Here at Death Books and Tea, we read young adult books, mainly horror or paranormal romance or dystopian, a lot of manga, and we like having tea and cake. Please settle down and enjoy life with us!

This week's question is: "When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?"
Answer: I have no idea. I know since reception I loved reading, (thats age 4), and that by year 3, (age 7,) I'd be sitting in the corner of the playground at school reading. This carried on until about age 11. And then I moved schools, which had a book club, the majority of which I am friends with, and spend half my time with at lunch and break times, not necessarily talking about books. Most of my friends come from the fact that we read the same books and got talking about them. So reading has always been my passion, or at least as much as I can remember, and has always been a truly important part of my life.

Thank you for coming by Death Books and Tea! We're nearing 100 followers now...If we get there, we'll do a giveaway.  Tea for all!

Carnegie Day- And the winner is...

So, the winner is...Patrick Ness and Monsters of Men. My thoughts-congratlations. And well done for waiting so long-the other books in the Chaos Walking trilogy have also been shortlisted, but both times he's narrowly missed out.
I know that when I read it, I enjoyed it. However, I've forgotten it beyond that, so I can't give you any more opinion.
As part of the book club, Stephanie, Katy and I went to a picnic/party, where we ate too much and shouted a lot. Of about 18 of us, five of us wanted Monsters of Men. The leader in the vote was Theresa Breslin's Prisoner of the Inquisition.
So there you have it. Patrick Ness is finally the winner. Congratulations.
What did you want to win? What book did you think would win? Comment!!
And shameless self promotion- at the time of writing, we have 96 followers. Twitter, facebook, talking, whatever-please help us get to 100!

Thursday 23 June 2011

Carnegie Day Before Announcement

So, today's the day when they announce the winner of the Carnegie Award.  You probably don't remember but I did a post on this earlier, when the shortlist was announced. [Link]

If you have forgotten, here's the shortlist (linked to Amazon)

After reading all but one of them, I don't know what the winner will be. I enjoyed Prisoner of the Inquisiton most-it had a  great plot and kept you hooked in. For this reason, it probably won't win. (example. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Sorry Gaiman! We tried!) 
It would be nice to see Monsters of Men win, just for Patrick Ness. He's been shortlisted twice before with the other books in the trilogy, and it would just be nice for him if he won it this year.

However the judges seem to pick the books that none of us really like...oh well! 
What do you think will win?
We'll see later! 

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #13 The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

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. 
The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: November 15th 2011
Goodreads: 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 regime.

Even himself.

Why I want it: I've been getting through quite a few dystopians, much more than I would have without starting this blog. And this looks like a pretty good one, even if ridiculously harsh. Well, it happened in the olden days...I think it will be interesting to see how these old fashioned things will work in a vaguely modern day setting. 

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Book Review- Ocean of Blood by Darren Shan

Title: Ocean of Blood
 Author: Darren Shan
Series:  The Saga of Larten Crepsley #2
Published:  April 27 2011 by HarperCollins First published April 5 2011
Length: 256 pages
Warnings: blood, death, vampires, a little romance but not very much
Other info: The first book is called Birth of A Killer. This series ties in very closely to the Saga of Darren Shan. Darren Shan has also written the Demonata Series. This is read as part of Parajunkee’s Vampire Challenge.(( Number 6, I think. I'm behind...))
Summary : Free from their mentor Seba Nile, Larten Crepsley and Wester Flack join the Cubs – wild young vampires with little respect for human life, and a taste for mindless enjoyment.
 For the Cubs, everything is easy. But nothing has ever been easy for Larten, and soon fate throws his life into another spin. With dark paths to travel, Larten finds himself far from the Vampire Mountain and its rules. A long way from home, sick and alone, he must decide what kind of vampire he will be. Whether he will stand firm, be true to his master and his princples – or whether he will lose himself in blood…

Sunday 19 June 2011

In My Mailbox 5 and other things...

In my Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a great way of showing off what we’ve got this week.
I only ever do IMM if I got an amazing mailbox, so here it is!
From my library I got…
  • -        The Vampire Blog by Pete Johnson
  • -        Hell’s Bells by John Connolly
  • -        Cloaked by Alex Flinn
  • -        Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • -        The Deadly Fire by Cora Harrison
  • -        Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
  • -        The Declaration by Gemma Malley

From my trip to London I got…
  • -        Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
  • -        Rosario and Vampire Season 2 Volume 4

And from TokyoToys, for Carnegie Day because otherwise my book club may metaphorically kill me
  • -        1x pack of pocky
  • -        1x pack of Hello Panda

Yes, Carnegie Day is coming round! My book club is having a picnic...I'm hoping that Monsters of Men will win, just for Patrick Ness, and I think that Prisoner of the Inquisition by Teresa Breslin was also great. But obviously, neither will win because we want them to.

This parody video seems to have been doing the rounds lately. Its an extremely accurate representation of the love triangle in the Hunger Games. The first part anyway...

In Forbidden Planet yesterday, I found what might possibly be a UK cover of the Girl in the Steel Corset. I'm assuming it is anyway. It was a poster on the New Releases in June noticeboard. If this isn't it, please don't blame me! I just saw it and wanted to share it with you...Its very different to the red dress we're used to seeing...I love both covers.

And finally, just want to say that if you like this blog, please follow! We're currently on 92...if we ever get to 100, we'll do a giveaway! Promise!

Thanks for coming to Death Books and Tea. We love you. Tea all round.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Book Review- The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

Title: The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group
 Author: Catherine Jinks
Series:  none
Published:  352 pages
Length: February 3rd 2011 by Quercus Publishing
Warnings: drug, alcohol and sex references. None of these things are graphically described. Werewolves, vampires, guns

Other info: Catherine Jinks has also written a lot of other books for adults and children, such as the Reformed Vampire Support Group, which is quite closely related to this book.
Summary : 'A werewolf? I kept stumbling over that word; it made no sense to me. How could I be a werewolf? Werewolves didn't exist.'
When Tobias Vandevelde wakes up in hospital with no memory of the night before, he is told that he was found unconscious. In a zoo pen.
The doctor rules out epilepsy and Toby's prank-loving friends are just as freaked out as he is. Then the wild-eyed Reuben turns up talking in hushed tones about Toby being a werewolf. Reuben's pale, insomniac friends seem equally convinced and offer to chain him up every full moon. They also claim to be part of some sort of vampire support group. This has to be a joke - right?
It's only when he's kidnapped, imprisoned and in desperate need of rescuing that Toby begins to believe them...
Hamster-drinking VAMPIRES, vulnerable WEREWOLVES and accidental ZOMBIES? Welcome to the bizarre world of THE ABUSED WEREWOLF RESCUE GROUP. 
Review : We start off meeting Toby, who tells us that he's the one they found naked in the dingo pen at the nature reserve. An interesting introduction. He is now in hospital and has no memory of how he ended up there. His doctor says it’s not epilepsy, and has no other suggestions, and Toby ends up a bit stuck for ideas. Then a priest comes along thinking he knows what’s going on, but he is shot down by Toby's mum. However Toby is convinced, sort of, and at some point meets with a support group of (he doesn't know it at the time) vampires. Through another set of various events he ends up in the Australian outback at a site where people bring werewolves and force them to fight each other. He then meets some more werewolves, some more vampires and eventually a few zombies as they try to escape.

The story was good. It wasn't too simple, and wasn't too complex either. Some parts seemed a little unnecessary but didn't drag it down too much.

The characters were likable with clear personalities. At the start it was hard to get a good image of each of the characters but as we learnt more about them it got clearer and easier to visualise. However, the fact it was a thirteen year old boy as the main character just made it seem like it was written for a younger audience, and therefore slightly less interesting than The Reformed Vampire Support Group

The whole thing is told from Toby's point of view. Some parts of it seemed a little too adult for a thirteen year old, like the fact he and his friends had tried smoking and drinking a bottle of port before parents came back. The writing itself was easy to understand and get through.

This is a ok-ish continuation to the Reformed Vampire Support Group. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a part of a series or not, but it works very well as a standalone novel while  the characters from the RVSG were re-introduced.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a fun quick read that  provides an interesting take on a recurring theme.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #12: Infamous 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: Infamous

Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: 1 February 2012
Goodreads: Go to school. Get good grades. Stay out of trouble. That’s the mandate for most kids. But Nick Gautier isn’t the average teenager. He’s a boy with a destiny not even he fully understands. And his first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him.

He’s learned to annihilate zombies and raise the dead, divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive such a difficulty? But that isn’t the primary skill he has to master. Survival is.

And in order to survive, his next lesson makes all the others pale in comparison. He is on the brink of becoming either the greatest hero mankind has ever known.

Or he’ll be the one who ends the world. With enemies new and old gathering forces, he will have to call on every part of himself to fight or he’ll lose everyone he cares about.

Even himself.

Why I want it: Have  you not noticed how much I love Sherrilyn Kenyon, Nick and Simi? If not, then go read my reviews of the other two in the series, Infinity and Invincible. And if you haven't read those two, I suggest you do. Because Nick's world is amazing, fully imagined, and has a manga and 20 something (adult) books to go along with it. 

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Happy International Steampunk Day!

So, June 14th. H.G.Well's birthday and therefore International Steampunk Day. For those of you who don't know, Steampunk is a subgenre that mixes steampower, science fiction and normally Victorian into one style.  It may also include technology that is really out of time, such as airships, or modern devices, how the Victorians would think of them. Summed up, its the Victorian's views on the future. There's a whole Steampunk subculture, and a lot of art, architecture, music connected with it. And of course, BOOKS!! So, I'm going to share with you some of my favourite Steampunk books. 

Monday 13 June 2011

Book Review- Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: Unwind #1
Published:   November 6 2007  by Simon & Schuster
Length:  335 pages
Warnings: guns, fairly graphic detail of surgery, boy attacking girl
Other info: Neal Shusterman has also written things like the Everlost series. The sequel is expected in 2012, and a film is in early production stages.
Summary (blurb): The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called “unwinding”. Unwinding is now a common, and accepted, practise in society.
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would unwind them. Brought together by choice, and kept together by desperation, these unlikely companions make a harrowing cross country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed-but when ever piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, is wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

Me sell my books- Your thoughts please

Would anyone care/take any notice/buy if something caught their eye if I put my unwanted books up for sale?
I'm not entirely sure how it would work...but I have a lot of books and they don't really all fit on my bookshelf...I'm still open for the bookswap remember...but no-one seemed to care about it that much...
I tend to buy a lot of books from charity shops, and the like, so I don't think they're really suitable for giveaways...but they're overflowing from my bookshelf and I don't think I'll ever read them again... so if anyone's interested, should I put them up?

 I've put a poll down the side... thoughts please?

Saturday 11 June 2011

Book Review- Emily the Strange- The Lost Days by Rob Reger& Jessica Gruner

Title: Emily the Strange-The Lost Days
Author: Rob Reger and Jessica Gruner
Series: Emily the Strange #1
Published: 226 pages
Length: June 1 2009
Warnings: gambling, extremely faint one sided romance
Other info: Emily the Strange is also a popular franchise.There are other books in the series.
Summary : Emily may be odd, but she always gets even!
Meet Emily, the peculiar soul with long black hair, a wit of fire, and a posse of slightly sinister black cats. Famous for her barbed commentary and independent spirit, this rebel-child in black has spawned an Internet and merchandising phenomenon (Emily's web site gets 35,000 hits per month!). Emily the Strange,her first book, captures the quintessential Emily, featuring her most beloved quips and a host of new ones. Anarchist, heroine, survivor, this little girl with a big personality appeals to the odd child in us all.
Review: the first thing I want to talk about is the originality of this book. Not many start with a list of things the main character does and does not know. This one does. We then go with our heroine around the  small town of Blackrock. Earwig, as she decides to call herself, meets Raven, the girl at the coffee shop, Jakey, the nine year old psychic boy, the owners of a travelling medicine show, someone who is extremely alike to her, and four cats. she does all this not knowing who on earth she is.
So the whole book is about this girl, who you may have worked out is Emily, trying to find out who she is and why she doesn’t remember anything and answering all those little questions you’d probably want answered if you woke up in a random town with full amnesia.
I liked the slightly sarcastic voice which was very fun to read. I liked the form of pretty much all the dialogue- it’s all presented as a script form, as Emily obviously couldn’t be bothered to write it all out fully.
Emily herself is a great character with a very strong personality. The supporting characters were also interesting to read aobnut and hard individual personalities and it was easy to distinguish them.
Some of the things that actually happen, at first, very possibly might make you think “what on earth is going on here?”. Such as one character deciding that he was going to move all the buildings in the town one inch to the east. And the truth about Raven, which I won’t reveal. Spoilers.
I love the layout of this, and the design work that went into this. Unlike most books, which are *page colour* and black, this is pure white (page), black, and various shades of grey and red. It breaks up the monotony and adds interest to it. I like the original drawing style (even though its hard to draw) and its obvious that if the pictures were’nt there, the book wouldn’t nearly be as good as it is.
Overall:  Strength 5 tea to an amazing, original and funny book that makes me want to see more of Emily. And her cats.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Book Review- The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Title: The Monstrumologist-The Terror Beneath
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Published: September 22 2009 by Simon & Schuster
Length: 448 pages
Warnings:gore, monsters, references to prostitutes, very gory deaths.
Other info: There’s two more books in the series- Curse of the Wendigo and The Isle of Blood.
Summary : To most people in his Victorian-era town, Dr. Warthrop is an odd recluse who roams cemeteries and frequently visits lunatic asylums. But Dr. Warthrop's 12-year-old apprentice Will knows the truth. The doctor is a monstrumologist-someone who tracks and studies real-life monsters.

Late one night, a grave robber brings Dr. Warthrop and Will a hideous creature without its head. The wretched animal is an Anthropophagus, a terrifying beast that devours human flesh. And where there's one, there are sure to be others. Soon Dr. Warthrop and Will are on a thrilling quest to destroy an entire pod of Anthropophagi before every human in the community becomes food.

Review: We open with a prologue in the present day explaining that the following is a diary and the only adjustments that have been made are those that make the story easier to understand. Fair enough. But isnt that what most historical first person novels are? Leaving the prologue, onto the story.
Will Henry is an orphan who now works for Doctor Pellinore Warthrop, the titlular Monstrumologist. And Warthrop has Will Henry doing quite a lot of fetching and various errands etc. And quite soon, as promised by the blurb, a graverobber comes along with two bodies, one of a monster which is vaguely humanoid minus a head,  and one which is a pretty young woman which has been half eaten. And so they dissect the monster and so on, and come to the conclusion that there are many more monsters living in an American graveyard, outside their normal habitat, and that they plan to eat the population of the town and go from there.
In order to stop this Will Henry and Warthrop go various places such as a lunatic asylum and the scene of a slaughter of a family carried out by these monsters. And finally them and some people they pick up along the way plan to venture into the monsters' lair and attempt to kill the monsters. Fun times.
The first strong opinion of this book (and last) I had with this book is the prologue and epilogue are pointless. Both are present day and seem to add very little to the  story, the rest of which is set in Victorian-era America(where exactly in America I'm not sure).
Then theres the story. It starts off quite fast paced,  with the graverobber bringing in the bodies and Dr. Warthrop examining it quite soon. And then it all seems to slow down, with each part of the story taking too long to get through.
The characters can be split into two groups: one with characters like Will Henry and Warthrop and Malachi and most that appear in the first third of the book that I remember and have distinctive personalities, and the rest that all seemed to merge into one character as it was impossible to tell them apart.
The imagery was good for things like the setting and of the monsters and of the atmosphere.
The prose was too long winded and annoying. And what was wrong with saying woeful instead of saying acheronistic (or something like that-i've forgotten exactly what it said), or saying his soul instead of his psyche? If I'm reading something written in the 21st Century, I don't particularly want to come across words that come out of some book of Greek Myths (Acheron is the River of Woe and Psyche is a goddess of souls and soul mates).
The layout was slightly annoying. Every now and again there would be a picture behind the text of bloody scissors or other tools. And while it broke up the monotony of a lot of text, to have these little drawings randomly appear is annoying and just makes you wonder what the point of it is.
Overall:  Strength 2 tea to this book which had a good concept but got boring

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Open For Discussion: YA Saves?

Its been pretty hard not to notice, but the YA part of the Blogosphere has been pretty annoyed at this post on Wall Street Journal, which condemns YA fiction for being too dark.

After seeing everyone angry, I'm going to add my own two pence worth, even though I'm fairly sure that what I'm saying is repeating what others have said. Anyway, here's my opinion. Please add yours at the end, and click to read on...

Sunday 5 June 2011

Irresistibly Sweet Blog award

So, we got nominated for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog award. Our first ever one. Exactly what makes this blog sweet, I’m not sure, but hey? We got it.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Book Review: Grand Guignol Orchestra by Kaori Yuki

Title: Grand Guignol Orchestra vol 1
Author: Kaori Yuki
Series: Grand Guignol Orchestra #1
Published: October 5th 2010 by VIZ Media, under Shojo Beat. First published January 2011
Length: 208 pages
Warnings: gore, zombies, guns, violence (my rating) "Fantasy violence and some mature themes" (Viz rating)
Other info: Original title The Royal doll Orchestra. Kaori Yuki has lots of other manga to her name such as Angel Sanctuary and Godchild.
Summary : Lucille and his orchestra encounter a town overrun with the worst kind of audience: the Living Dead! Well, not really. They’re people who have been turned into doll-like zombies. And they are definitely not a crowd to take lightly. Can a group of roving musicians use their skills to calm the beasts? Or is this curtains for the Royal Orchestra?!
Review: We start off with a quick part of Coppelia, the part when everyone becomes dolls. However this spans only two pages and really only sets the scene. Then we have a Guignol, which is basically a cross between a zombie and a wooden doll, attacking a carriage as it rolls into a town. Someone fights off the Guignol off and they get into the town. The drawbridge is pulled up, leaving the Guignols outside.
The black carriage carries the Grand Orchestra: long straight haired quiet cellist Gwindel, scarred trigger-happy violinist Kohaku and long curly haired  vocalist Lucille. Making it clear now: Lucille is male. Despite what it looks like, Lucille is a man. And the Grand Orchestra, because this is the unofficial one, is in possession of the the Black Oratio, a book containing forbidden songs that the Orchestra will play for the right price.
We also meet Eles, young 'son' of the lord of the town. Who, it becomes apparent, is actually sister Celes because Eles died in a Guignol attack. But she wants to keep being taken as a boy, and carries on pretending to be Eles.
Various things happen and Eles becomes part of the orchestra.
They then travel on to  another town where Lucille is mistaken for a girl and the Grand Orchestra ends up having to defeat another lot of Guignols. Underneath all this there is also the story of (C)Eles trying to seperate herself from her brother, because it was her piano playing that caused her brother to die, and Lucille attempting to find someone for the Royal Court.
I picked this up because I've read Kaori Yuki's other works, Godchild and Angel Sanctuary. And this was advertised in the back as a historical manga with zombie dolls.
So the story. Some parts of it were a little confusing because there's a lot going on. Which is similar to Godchild and Angel Sanctuary. Really, I think all her works need to be read twice through to get perfect sense.
The characters were fun and original. They all had individual personalities that made it easy to tell them apart. However there are still a lot of things I want to know more about them, such as why Kohaku gets pain whenever there's a Guignol around, what's up with Gwindol and his overprotectiveness of a hedgehog, who's that girl with ringlets Lucille's thinking about that seems to haunt him and exactly what is the relationship  between the members of the Orchestra because it seems they're not together just because they're musical and friends.
On a completely different note, both Kohaku and Gwindel remind me of Undertaker from Black Butler: Kohaku's scar and Gwindel's hair that is almost always covering his eyes.
The art is pretty, obviously a shojo style but in Kaori's signature style. Its realistic and the speciall effects such as the speedlines and blood splatters work well where they are.
However some of the sound effect lettering is a bit distracting and some of via actual speech and thoughts were a little out of the way and unnoticable meaning I skipped them out when reading sometimes. 
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to another amazing manga with a different spin on zombies.

Friday 3 June 2011

I'm back!! And Book Hop #9

I'm back from my holiday.  It was fun and I enjoyed it, apart from the small fact that Fleetway and whoever else we'd booked with had messed around with us a lot, and that three days in I'd finished all four books I took with me. And I didn't have enough money so I couldn't buy My Name is Memory. Oh well.
Anyway, I've written reviews which I'll post at some time.  For now though, on with the Hop...