Sunday 31 July 2011

Summer Reading Update 1

Just a quick update on my summer reading challenge…I said I needed to read one book a day…It’s been going ok so far…

  • Teeth, Vampire Tales  (review here)
  • The Bell Jar (review to come)
  • How to Be A Woman (mini review here)
  • The Vampire Blog (review to come)
  • Lord of the Flies (review here)
  • Acadia (e-book) (review to come)
  • Vampire Doll vol 1 (review to come)
  • Dead Streets
  • Mail vol 2

  • Black Swan Rising
  • Zombies of the World (e-book)

  • Descended by Blood (e-book)
  • Catalyst (e-book)
  • Quest of the Demon (e-book)
  • Dr Faustus
  • Empire of the Rising Sun
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Carrie
  • Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus
  • Tantalise
  • Skin Hunger
  • Halo
  • Spooks-the Apprentice
  • The Invention of Murder
  • Monster Island
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
  • Wish Me Dead
  • The Undertaker’s Gift
  • Montmorency

  • Angel Sanctuary
  • Godchild
  • Think of a Number
  • Crescendo
  • The Divine Comedy
  • The Resistance
  • Undead and Unwelcome
  • Mercy
  • Periodic Tales
  • Life as We Knew It
  • A Study in Scarlet
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Virals
  • Haruhi 3
  • Haruhi 4
  • Haruhi 5
  • Hetalia 1

So…I’ve read nine  already…I’m doing ok! Reviews of most of them are to come…

Saturday 30 July 2011

Book Review- Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Title: Lord of the Flies
 Author: William Golding
Series:  N/A
Published:  some time in 1954
Length: 225 pages
Warnings: violence and death. If there was anything else, I missed it.
Source: Library
Other info: they made a film out of it…Golding also wrote The Inheritors, Darkness Visible and other things.
Summary : William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition

Friday 29 July 2011

Book review: Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard

Title: Empire of the Sun

Author: J.G. Ballard

Source: My school’s LRC

Length: 279 pages

Published: 1st March 2005

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Summary: This follows the life of a young English boy living in Shanghai who discovers the importance of bravery and finds an inner desire to fight during the war between China and Japan.

Jim lives in luxury in Shanghai but when the war starts, his life is drastically changed. He befriends an American called Basie and runs errands for him in the war camp to get extra rations and American magazines and for a while, he strives to find his parents. Eventually he meets Dr. Ransom and runs errands for him too. Dr. Ransom gives him lessons. Life in the camp bores Jim and soon he is filled with the hunger to join the war. And not for his country as well. Jim wants to fight for the Japanese, the bravest people in his opinion with the English in the middle and the Chinese at the bottom. This causes emotional turmoil as the Japanese are on the other side. He works hard to find his parents, and to find out the path he should take.

Review: This book was highly boring. At times I thought “Why are you telling me this? Do you think I haven’t worked this out yet?” or “Why should I care?”. Frequently, I found Jim extremely obnoxious in his attitude towards the war and when told to keep away from the air

raid, he goes out and watches it anyway. I just thought “Do want to do die, you annoying person? Do you not think there’s a reason why you were told to stay inside? People are giving you part of their rations so that you can live and then you go and try to die! Get a life!”. I think a bit too much don’t I…

The other characters are okay.

As nothing much happens, a very detailed description of the conditions in the camp make the book slightly more interesting. Especially about how cloths covered in wax were used to replace the broken window frames and how condoms were used as chips and were highly valued in the camp.

Rating: 2 Mildly interesting historical information saved it from a 1.

I would like to study this book next year more than the others though so if my English teacher is reading this I hope this helps her in her decision.

Thursday 28 July 2011

Book review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams

Source: My school’s LRC

Length: 216 pages

Characters (I don’t usually do this but it will make the summary shorter):

Arthur Dent

A normal Englishman who likes tea.

Ford Prefect

A reporter for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He tends to get Arthur in a lot of trouble but he always knows where his towel is.

Zaphod Beeblebrox

The president of the universe (or galaxy or something like that). He stole the Heart of Gold for a reason he can’t remember because he needed to erase it from his brain or the scans that check his brain to see if he is suitable to become president would pick up his plan (which involved him becoming president) and basically his plan would fail. He has two heads and three arms.


Zaphod’s girlfriend. Arthur tried to pick her up at a party but she left the party with Zaphod.

Summary: Ordinary human Arthur Dent is saved by his friend Ford Prefect from th

e earth being blown up by Vogons and also from being run over by a bulldozer (play the game on the BBC and die a few times and you’ll understand what I mean). Ford is actually an alien from a planet near Betelgeuse who planned to stay on Earth for a week but got stuck and stayed there for 10 years.

Anyway, they hitchhike onto a nearby Vogon ship and are brutally tortured by being read Vogon poetry, the third worse poetry in existence. After this they find themselves upon the Heart of Gold (a spaceship) where they meet Ford’s semi-half-cousin Zaphod and Trillian.

Then they search for the legendary planet of Magrathea (I’ve probably spelt it wrong.

Complain if you dare) which has something to do with Zaphod great plan.


Being famous science-fiction that makes no sense whatsoever, I like this book. A lot. The events are quite scattered, the characters are quite shallow but the humour in the minor details the Adams put in hilarious. Some of it is common sense; some of it is true and most of it I really want to be true. This book has started many cult things like towels, tea and 42. It has inspired the Babel Fish translator and when you type the secret of life, the universe and everything into Google, Google calculator says 42. This book is probably overrated but I

loved it.

Rating: 5

Note to Nina: Sorry for stalling and my lack of reviews, I'll read more this holiday, I promise!

Book Review-The Embalmer vol 1 by Mitsukazu Mihara

Title: The Embalmer vol 1
 Author: Mitsukazu Mihara
Series:  The Embalmer #1
Published:  8 August 2006 by Tokyopop
Length:162 pages
Warnings: graphic death, not gory, may be slightly disturbing
Other info: There are definitely 4 volumes in english. Vols 5&6 are published in another language and won’t be translated as Tokyopop died.
Summary : From the Goth Loli queen Mitsukazu Mihara--creator of the hit DOLL--comes a chilling dramatic series about Shinjyurou Mamiya, an embalmer in a nation where men of his profession are viewed as outcasts engaging in an unaccepted and unclean practice. For Shinjyurou, it's just a job. But in doing it, he's gained an understanding of death, and more important, what it truly means to live..
Review : Shinjyurou Mamiya is an embalmer, and therefore an outcast in society. This is a story about him and the people he embalms. It takes one person, who at some point dies somehow, and gets embalmed, and turns it into a little story, and also gives us a little more insight into his personality, history and so on. Its also a story of Azuki, the girl who’s his landlady, and the very slight romance between them.
The first story takes Azuki’s ballerina friend Shiori, who dies in a car accident just before she plays the lead Sleeping Beauty. She then gets embalmed and given a beautiful funeral. Erm, this is quite hard to describe because of the depth this goes into. The other chapters are very very similar.
The story is beautiful. It doesn’t go too deeply into the gory side of death, more into the what its like to be alive and how good that is. There’s  a lot of irony in the chapter titles, which are only revealed at the end of said chapter, so you read them and think how well it fits with the book.
 Shinjyurou comes off as being arrogant and annoying at first, but we soon see other sides of his personality, and understand the reason for his coldness. Azuki is your typical quiet romantic girl, but she can also stand up for herself when she needs to, and attempts to get through to Shinjyurou, with varying success depending on the day. Both are likeable characters, and their dialogue and actions suit their personalities.
The art in this is ok. It’s not as flowy as I like it, but it works for this story. It’s not shaded in grades, more large block colours, but it goes well with the whole them of black and white, life and death sort of thing.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that explores death and life in  unique way.
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #17 Bewitching by Alex Flinn

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:  Bewitching- The Kendra Chronicles
Author: Alex Flinn
Release Date: February 14th 2012
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: "It is the story of Kendra and her first 300 or so years of life. In Bewitching, Kendra ponders whether to help out a modern day plain-looking stepsister, while also reflecting on her experiences in the 1666 British plague, the court of Louis XV, and on the Titanic."
Why I want it: I read Beastly, and enjoyed it, and now this is the story of Kendra, the witch who first appears horrible but turns out rather nice. I love seeing backstories of my favourite characters, and this is a whole book devoted to one!

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Mini-review of How to Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

Mini reviews-exactly what the title suggests. Reviews of short stories, extracts, books that don't really fit into our review criteria but we want to mention anyway, you'll find them here.  

Title: How To Be a Woman (goodreads)
Author: Caitlin Moran
Thoughts: Part of it's a memoir of Caitlin's life, and the other is her thoughts on the topic being discussed. These are the typical ones when talking about feminism: marriage, abortion, strip clubs, and also the not very typical such as what to name certain parts of anatomy. Basically the problems that many women face at some point in their lives. Caitlin tackles these with personal experience, opinion, strong language, and a lot of humour. I liked the way Caitlin spoke from experience, and the way it was chatty and personal.
Strength 5 tea to a fairly inspiring view on feminism, life and being a woman.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Book Review- Vamps by Nancy A Collins

Title: Vamps
 Author: Nancy A Collins
Series:  Vamps #1
Published:  1st August 2008
Length: 222 pages
Warnings: sex, drink references, violence, romance
Other info: The other two in the series are called Night Life and After Dark. Nancy A Collins has also written the Sonja Blue series, starting with Sunglasses after Dark
Summary : When the sun goes down, New York's true elite all head to one place: Bathory Academy, where the young ladies of the finest vampire families are trained in shapeshifting and luring their prey.
Bathory's reigning queen, Lilith Todd, is the daughter of a powerful vampire businessman, and she knows exactly what she wants from life. She wants to look beautiful for eternity and party till the sun comes up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Jules. And she doesn't want any New Blood upstarts standing in her way.
Enter Cally Monture, an unexpected threat from a trash zip code. When their first meeting leads to tragic results, Lilith is hungry for revenge.

Review: Lililith Todd is the daughter of Victor, a rich, influential Old Blood vampire. As a result, she is a "not very civil individual" (Credit to Iza for that nice way of putting it). At Bathory Academy, she is adored/hated in the way that not very civil individuals are. Enter Cally Monture, Newblood, powerful stormgatherer, and general rival to Lililith. Then various things happen, and the whole book is basically the rivalry between the two, with their backstories, family troubles, friendships and the obligatory forbidden romance on the side.
The characters had very clear personalities and were easy to imagine and distinguish, apart from the identical twins, which you always mix up in everything anyway. However they did seem very cliched: you have the girl who rules the school, her boyfriend, her friendship group that breaks up to join the down to earth new girl,  her new loving boyfriend and her friends who stick with her. Lililith was generally unlikeable, and seeing her group fall apart was very satisfying to see unfold. Cally is very nice, but everything she does is stereotypical and therefore boring.
For example, you get Cally and Peter. Peter Van Helsing. Some of you may know the name Van Helsing as being that of a stereotypical vampire hunter (Blame Dracula). But yes, Cally falls in love with the person who is supposed to be shoving a stake through her heart and removing her head. Not my kind of thing. And then there's Lililith and Jules, which is based purely on the fact that due to family contracts, she will marry him. And arranged marriages don't really count. 
The writing was a little bland; general third person, nothing to make it stand out, no distinguishing features, but not completely terrible. The world building was very good, explaining fully how the vampires could basically hide in plain sight. The spin on vampires as being mainly rich members of society isn't too original, but the way Collins put these rich vampires in modern day America instead of Victorian England was different and worked well.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a vampire story that fans of chic lit will enjoy. Those looking for bloodthirstier vampires will have to go elsewhere.

Parajunkee's Vampire Challenge #9

Monday 25 July 2011

Cover to Cover #2 and exciting news!

News I found out literally seconds ago! Sherrilyn Kenyon's books will be turned into films and whatnot, starting with Infinity. It says so here! I can't wait!

And that is strangely appropriate, what with the theme of today's Cover to Cover- this time, its books that have been made into films. And then re-covered especially for the film. Which has turned out terribly. The book/film cover that is. Not the actual film. Well maybe the film, but that's not the point of this feature. This will feature the title of the book, a pre-film cover, then the cover for the film and any thoughts.  Onwards...

A few pictures. Not too large. Open if you want to.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Book Review- Teeth-Vampire Tales. Anthology

Title: Teeth-Vampire Tales
 Author: Anthology. Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Series: N/A
Published:  April 5 2011
Length: 452 pages
Warnings: vampires, drugs and sex references, profanity, sexual situations,  
Source: Library
Summary : Sink your teeth into these bite-sized tales exploring the intersections among the living, dead, and undead. Features stories by Neil Gaiman, Melissa Marr, Cassandra Clare, Garth Nix, and many more.
Review:  Teeth is an anthology of nineteen stories of varying lengths, all about vampires. As this is an anthology, it will be reviewed story by story, with the title, author, thoughts and strength tea in numbers. The tea strength for the entire book will be the average strength per story.
1. Things to Know About Being Dead by Genevieve Valentine is written as a list, interspersed with relevant stories, that link with both the list and each other. It's written from the perspective of a girl who died and came back, with nice characters and good flow. 4
2. All Smiles by Steve Berman. Saul goes hitchhiking and is picked up by a couple of vampires. It then turns into action, and Saul's realisation that everyone else knew about the vampires, just not him. I like the fast pace, even though at times it got a little confusing. 4
3. Gap Year by Christopher Barzak. Retta and Lottie have a nice little friendship. Then the vampires come to town and Retta and Lottie's friendship breaks up slowly. The character development in this is very good, but this really isn't my type of vampire book.  2
5. Bloody Sunrise by Neil Gaiman. It's a short poem written from the vampire's point of view, about how it rises, goes along life and is bound by a bloody sunrise. It's a pretty little poem, though it doesn't seem to make a point.
5. Flying by Delia Sherman. Lenka is getting over leukaemia, and wants to get back into circus work, like she did before. She then joins a circus of vampires. This is a very nice idea, with a fair amount of character development, but no real conclusion to it. 3
6. Vampire Weather by Garth Nix . In this world, Amos uses religion to protect him from the vampires. When bitten, he is offered  a scientific cure, going against his religion. I liked  some of it, and while some things were understandable, some things seemed to be there for the sake of it. 2
7.Late Bloomers by Suzy McKee Charnas. Josh is a fairly musical boy, although he ends up working at a small shop. A couple of vampires turn up, turn out to be art collectors, and various things happen. I like the idea that a vampire is unable to create anything, and therefore collect stuff instead. The writing flowed well and the characters had good personalities. And on a completely irrelevant note, points to Suzy for the reference to Voltaire-one of my favourite musicians. 3
8. The List of Definite Endings by Kaaron Warren. It follows vampire Claudia and human Ken. Ken's work means he has a list of terminally ill people. Throughout the years, Claudia, who doesn't want to go hunting, uses this list to work out who to take blood from. This is a fairly short story that’s very touching, emotional and ends in a way that ties it all together. 5
9. Best Friends Forever by Cecil Castellucci. Amy the vampire and Gina, a girl who's dying, are very close friends. This is a story that shows exactly how deep their friendship is, and not much more. 2
10. Sit the Dead by Jeffrey Ford. Luke is asked to sit vigil for dead Gracie, with weird uncle Sfortunado. And then Gracie rises as a Gritchino, a type of vampire. This is an action filled vampire story, with about half of it being some kind of action. The other  half is introducing and wrapping up the story. 4
11. Sunbleached by Nathan Ballingrud. Joshua(what is it with vampire stories featuring boys named Josh, and any variations, and girls named Claudia. We'll think about that some other day...) makes friends with a vampire, who attacks his family and transforms Joshua. This was a confusing story and I didn't particularly like the characters. 2
12. Baby by Kathe Koja. It's written by a girl who has come across a baby, who is obviously a vampire from the descriptions. There's not much storyline to it, but I connected enough with it to feel slightly  the end. 3
13. In the Future When All's Well by Catherynne M. Valente. In this world vampires are commonplace, Health and Safety measures go to ridiculous levels against vampirism, and you're fairly likely to turn, especially if you fall into a High Risk group, such as being conceived on a Saturday, being OCD, or having unkempt eyebrows(side note, Hetalia fans; Iggy may be a vampire). This is all about Scout's life in this world, making friends with vampires, and so on. There wasn't much plot, but the world building, and the world created, was excellent.
14. Transition by Melissa Marr. This is a story of love and action...there's not much more I can say without telling you everything that happens. Although it was a bit predictable, I liked the clever foreshadowing, the way the story didn't end once we knew the full details of what happened, and it had a nice ending. 4
15. History by Ellen Kushner. Its written from the point of view of someone in love with a vampire, who has helpfully lived through the majority of things you are studying in your history course. The description was detailed, but not much seemed to happen. 2
16. The Perfect Dinner Party by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. As the title suggests, it revolver around a dinner party, hosted by a couple of vampires, with a human guest. Who is you. The narrator, a vampire who looks 14, is resenting the fact that her older brother can get along in society just fine and she can't. This all comes out at said dinner party, and various family secrets are revealed. There's a lot of character development in this, but my favourite thing is the way the reader directly involves the reader, with you being the main pronoun at the start until the narrator starts talking about herself. 5
17. Slice of Life by Lucius Shepard. It's centred around Sandrine and Louise aka Louie aka Elle. Sandrine needs people for various reasons, and  Louise gets them for her. There is also a little romance mixed in that doesn't seem to get very far. Parts of this got confusing, as a lot of things happen, and I don't like the way Sandrine and Louise's relationship just stopped, but the character development is great.
18. My Generation by Emma Bull. It's another poem from a vampire's point of view. I like the way that life is viewed in musical terms throughout. 3
19. Why Light? by Tanith Lee. Daisha is going on a journey-she's a vampire still young enough to bear children, and therefore she's basically forced into an arranged marriage with Zeev. However he turns out to be ok and they fall in love anyway. This story isn't really my type, but it was done well enough that I enjoyed it anyway. 3

The new authors I found and want to read more of are ; Steve Berman, Genevieve Valentine, Kaaron Warren, Jeffrey Ford, Catherine M, Valente and Tanith Lee.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to an anthology full of different types of vampire tales with a story for almost anyone interested in vampires.

Saturday 23 July 2011

100 Follower Giveway Winner!!!

It's been open for three weeks, and in that time we've gained at least 30 followers...thank you to all that entered, tweeted and so on. And to anyone who didn't enter, your loss.

And now we have a winner! It is...
 Brett G  at Demons Read Too
I've emailed you. You have two days to reply, confirming what books you wanted and, tell me where to have the Book Depository ship the books to and so on.

Thank you once again to everyone who entered! There might be a next time, you never know...

Friday 22 July 2011

Summer Reading list!

Giveaway ends later today!! If you win, you pick books from the Book Depository! For more details, click here and fill out the form! Good luck!

     So, it's now the summer holidays. I won't be going to school until some time in September. I have six weeks of doing nothing of any importance.  Actually, I’ll be gone for a week to France. And I need to do all that sewing that's been piling up. And make that cosplay for October MCM and possibly Halloween. And the artwork I said I'd do and haven't. And write that story I came up with ages ago and never paid any attention to afterwards. And sort out all my files/emails on my computer and so on. But apart from that, I have six weeks of doing whatever else I want. Obviously that includes reading! And my school book club's Summer Challenge(at least from what I can make out-I wasn't paying the most attention as we discussed it during a Carnegie picnic and I cared slightly more about the food than the summer)   is to read anything that you've been meaning to read and haven't. Now for me, this is a long list. But I'm going to try. Here's my plan of reading for the summer. Links to Goodreads. PS. This doubles as an IMM for a few weeks. And the bottom part a On My Wishlist. And onwards...
  • -Teeth, Vampire Tales. I've started it, and need to get through it.
  • -Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll. Had my eye on it a while, never read it.
  • -The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. We also had to pair up with someone and read a boolk of their choice. I told my partner to read Divergent. She told me to read this.
  • -The Vampire Blog by Pete Johnson. Picked up randomly, don't want it to go back to the library unread.
  • -Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. Read stuff based off of this, a friend saw the play, looks good.
  • -Lord of the Flies by William Golding. At some point my school librarian said she wouldn't lend or recommend any dystopians to me until I read this and 1984. Read 1984a while back, now for this. I need my recommendations!
  • -Empire of the Rising Sun by J.G.Ballard, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The latter two because they're on my list of classics to read "someday", and all of the, because they're on the list of novels we might be taught next year and my incredibly nice English teacher, who I'll have next year too, gave Katy and I the list of books so we could read them and tell her what we thought of them so she could decide on what to teach us.
  • -Carrie by Stephen King. I received this quite some time ago from Comacalm...and haven't read it yet. I really should though...and now it's summer, I should have time.
  • -Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus by Kate O'Hearn. I read Pegasus and the Flame and enjoyed it, so this seems like a good read.
  • -Tantalize by Cynthia Letitch Smith. I think I read Eternal, book 2, but never this...
  • -Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey. Her contribution to Zombies vs Unicorns was good, and the cover to this is interesting.
  • -Halo by Zizou Corder. I remember reading the Lion Boy series and loving it, and this seems right up my street-Greek mythology and action!
  • -Spooks the Apprentice by Joseph Delany. I've tried reading it quite a few times, and never got past the first few pages as other books turned up and I forgot about this...I've got to finish it this time!

And if that wasn't enough, here's the list of the reservations I have at my local library...I'm hoping some will come during summer...

Yes, that's at least 20 of them. No, I don't know when I'll have time to read them all...
So everyone, enjoy summer!

Book Hop #13

Book Blogger HopHosted by Crazy for Books , the Book Hop is a fun event where we go round to other blogs.  

Welcome to Death, Books and Tea!
Here we review young adult books, mainly horror, paranormal romance, fantasy etc. We also like manga a lot, and we frequently get high on tea.  Enjoy looking round!

Giveaway ends later today!! If you win, you pick books from the Book Depository! For more details, click here and fill out the form! Good luck!

This week's question is... What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

My answer: pure, straight romantic chic lit. If all a story is someone falling in love with someone, or just friendships with nothing interesting happening, I can't read it. I just get bored with it...

How about you? What can you not get on  with no matter what? I'll get back to you at some's the summer holidays later...I'll have time to get through everything now...

Thursday 21 July 2011

Book Review- Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

Title: Mad Love
 Author: Suzanne Selfors
Series:  N/A
Published:  4 January 2011
Length: 336 pages
Warnings: romance, sex references,
Source: Library
Other info: Suzanne Selfors has also written other things like Coffeehouse Angel, Saving Juliet and Smells like Dog.
Summary : When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother—and she needs one fast.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth—that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

Review: Alice Amorous is living a lie. Her mother Belinda is the bestselling Queen of Romance. But it's been a while since she's published anything, and her crown is slipping. Alice tells the publishers a lot of things. She's overseas. She's doing research. Alice doesn't tell the publishers her mother is in hospital being treated for bipolar disorder, or manic depression. And then the publishers start demanding a story or money, neither of which Belinda can produce. Enter Errol, or Cupid. He wants Alice to write his story. But doesn't she have enough to cope with? 
This book handles the subject of  mental illness, which is interesting for me because a family friend was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which I never knew much about. Mad Love presents bipolar in delicate, easy to understand way. It mentions both the scientific facts and traits, and also the way it can ruin family life. I liked the way that all this was presented in dribs and drabs, woven into context. If it had been Alice just saying in one block of text "my mother has bipolar disorder. This is what it is and this is what its like.",  that would be boring and wouldn't let you properly understand it. Mad Love is useful for those who are being forced to cope with those around them suffering.
In my opinion, the plot is not the most outstanding or intriguing. It takes some getting in to, and isn't the thing I normally read and enjoy. I think that if it was just the mental illness part,being really interesting, as a rule pure family life isn't really my thing and I might not enjoy it quite as much. The fantasy element of Errol aka Cupid was something that you wouldn't expect to see tied up with a serious topic like this, but it worked.
I liked Selfor's take on the tale of Psyche and Eros, which is completely different to  the one we're familiar with.
The characters were interesting. Alice has a lot going on in her life, and I liked the fact that she tried to do something to help her mother, even if it was difficult. Each character was different and distinctive, such as the church priest, the older gay flatmate and the girl who is mean at first and turns out ok.  Some of the characters were unlikeable at first, but by the end I understood their reasoning and personalities. 
It was written from Alice's perspective, which made it easier to understand everything Alice was going through. Although I didn't like the fact that at some point she's basically lying to everyone, I could see why she did it.
This is quite an emotional book. I found myself really hoping everything would turn out ok for Alice and Belinda, cheering for them when it did, and getting sad when various things happened, like the ending.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a book that mixes myth and reality in perfect measures.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #16: First Born by James Goss

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:  First Born
Author:  James Goss
Release Date: 21 July 2011
Series: Torchwood. Miracle Day batch #1
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Gwen and Rhys are on the run. Rhys was hoping this meant a windswept cottage on a cliff top, but he's had to settle for a miserable caravan in the isolated village of Rawbone. With the locals taking an unhealthy interest in their daughter, Gwen and Rhys start to realize that something is very wrong - something with echoes of a life they thought they'd left behind. As they uncover the village's terrible past, Gwen discovers that Torchwood will never leave them behind, and now she and Rhys stand alone in defense of the Earth. And the children of Rawbone can only bring her closer to the secret forces that want her out of the way.
Why I want it: Have you noticed how much I love Torchwood? Probably not cos I've not reviewed any Torchwood books on here...but hey, I love Torchwood and after reading the batch that came out before (The House that Jack Built, Consequences). And now its coming out. Yes, I only heard about it three days before it actually comes out, and I'm not sure if it really counts if it's being released tomorrow...but oh well! I'm excited about this.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Book Review- Blue Exorcist vol 1 by Kazue Kato

Title: Blue Exorcist vol 1
 Author: Kazue Kato
Series:  Blue Exorcist #1
Published:  April 5 2011 by Viz. First published 2009.
Length: 200 pages
Warnings: demons, fantasy violence
Source: Library
Other info: An anime was created of this, there’s five volumes out in total. The second volume came out in English in June, the third will come in August.
Summary : Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won't be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him! 
Review: Rin Okumura is a normal 15 year old boy. At least he would be if his grandfather wasn't Satan. One day he argues with his adoptive father, which, through various  happenings, causes said adoptive father to die. It also causes Rin to draw his sword-the one that releases his demonic powers, turning his back on normality forever. Rin then decides to train at the True Cross Academy's Cram School first year Demon Pharmacutials, and so begins Rin's life as a page, or exorcist in training.
The concept is quite fun. It's not particularly original, seeing as it's a young man rebelling against his family, but the demon element puts a different spin on it.
I like the characters in it. Rin and Yukio are interesting young men, with a relationship that really should be explored. The fact that everyone , weak younger brother included, knew that Rin had demon blood in him apart from Rin  I found quite funny, especially Rin's reaction.
The writing, I can't really say anything. There's hardly any. The dialogue wasn't particularly great, only really giving us the basic sense of whats happening, with a little personality to the characters. But then, this is manga and the art should be doing the storytelling. And it does it well. The art is fairly realistic, apart from obviously the demons.
The minor characters are quite fun. There's not really that many of them, which is really useful because otherwise I'd probably mix them all up. Mephisto Pheles, who I'm assuming is a demon going by his name, is very fun, with a very distinctive personality and dress sense. And on a side note, he turns into a little scotty dog with a really cool ribbon round his neck.
I don't really like the fact that there's hardly any girls in it. In the first two chapters, the only girls in it are a couple of exorcists in training screaming in the background. The only major girl in this is Shiemi, who, when we meet her, is being cursed then possessed by a flower demon. I hope we see more of her, and in more of a major role than needing to be rescued. You know how much I like girls who fight for themselves. And not quiet girls in the background. Because a girl in the action is just much more interesting. More on the lead girl/boy debate some other day.
The bonus fact files and art at the back is fun. It doesn't really serve a purpose, and doesn't give any information about the characters that are that important to the story, but still, it beats the story suddenly ending.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a fun action series that I want to see more of, but isn't outstanding in the way it could be.

Monday 18 July 2011

On My Wishlist #7

Hosted by Book Chick City, held here on Death Books and Tea as an excuse to feature books even though I don’t have them. 

1.       The Torchwood series, the new ones: First Born, Long Time Dead and The Men Who Sold The World (by various authors). Why? Because I love Torchwood, and when I found out that (during the last ICT lesson of the year in which I had nothing better to do than search Amazon) there’s a new batch, relating to the currently airing Miracle Day series, I got extremely excited. And seeing as the first one is released in a couple of days, I really can’t wait!
2.       The Hunted by Kristy Berridge. The author emailed me about this, and judging by the premise, a humorous romantic horror with plenty of different types of fantasy beasts involved, it looks great. Downside? It’s only published in Australia. I’ll have to wait.
3.       Soul Eater vol.1 by Atsushi Ohkubo because I’ve been seeing it around for this forever, and it’s just annoying me that I can’t be bothered to get hold of it…I never have the money on me whenever I see it…
4.       Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez. Because there’s lots of urban fantasy, paranormal mysteries, out there for adults, but hardly for the YA market. Which is a shame. But this is one such YA urban fantasy thing that looks really interesting. And the summary is hilarious…. “ cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new “look.” She looks a little . . . well, dead. “
5.       Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway. We hardly ever see witches against vampires, at least not without a couple of werewolves thrown in. and school settings are classic, and this just seems like great fun.
6.       The Good Ghoul’s Guide to Getting Even by Julie Kenner. Awesome title. Yes, I’m in the mood for searching for school set books with paranormal elements. Actually, I was a few months ago and now I’m posting my finds. But hey, here’s something with elements for lots of people.

I think that’s enough for now…see anything you like here? And is there anything that I’ve missed off? Comments please.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Book Review- The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Title: The Declaration
 Author: Gemma Malley
Series:  The Declaration #1
Published:  October 2007 by Bloomsbury
Length:304 pages
Source: Local library
Other info: Book 2 is called The Resistance and book 3 is called the Legacy. Gemma Malley has also written the Returners.
Summary : In the year 2140, it is illegal to be young.
Children are all but extinct.
The world is a better place.
Longevity drugs are a fountain of youth. Sign the Declaration, agree not to have children and you too can live forever. Refuse, and you will live as an outcast. For the children born outside the law, it only gets worse – Surplus status.
Not everyone thinks Longevity is a good thing, but you better be clear what side you’re on. . . . Surplus Anna is about to find out what happens when you can’t decide if you should cheat the law or cheat death. 

Review: In this future world, scientists have created a drug that can make you live for a very long time. And most people do. Governments have seen the problem with this-people live forever, have children that live forever, the Earth becomes ridiculously overpopulated. Solution:anyone who takes these Longevity drugs must sign the declaration to not have any children. If you take Longevity and have children, they are Surplus and should not exist.
Anna is one such Surplus. She lives at Grange Hall, being taught to be a Valuable Asset, Useful, a servant to the Legals. And she's happy like this. Then Peter shows up, who tells her that she's not a Surplus, that she's Legal, that she should be free. Anna doesn't believe a word of it. Until she overhears her House Mistress talking about her, saying that she's no use at all. Anna begins questioning the rules she's lived by, and then she attempts to go off with Peter to find out the truth. 
The world building was good, but slightly boring. It all came as one big block of text, somewhere near the beginning. And when I say a block of text, I mean it. There's five whole pages broken up only by occasional indents. No dialogue, just a full history. And while being very informative, just being told about it isn't very interesting.
The opening was good. It starts with Anna's diary entry, the only way that Anna is breaking the rules at all. These diary entries are the main way  that you see Anna really develop a more open mind, one more suited to break rules. There wasn't really any character development from Peter, which is kind of disappointing but expected anyway-I couldn't see much room for development when we were first introduced to him. 
I liked the overall plot and all the subplots going on. I liked the way they all tied up really neatly at the end. All the characters were worked into the subplots at some point, whether it be the one about life at Grange Hall, the circumstances surrounding Peter and the story of Anna's parentage.
I much prefered the narration from Anna's diary. I get that it couldn't always be in diary form, or various plot developments could not have happened, but the third person part was a bit bland and didn't really let you connect like you could when reading the diary entries.
The ending, as I said was tied up very  neatly. Perhaps too neatly. I can't see any room for a sequel, but there is one. I want to read it.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that's very strong and has something for almost everyone.

Friday 15 July 2011

Book Hop #12

Book Blogger HopWelcome to Death Books and Tea! We hope you enjoy your stay among this collection of manga, horror, fantasy, dystopian and other stuff we want to include here! Please stay a while and have a look around!
And for this week's question...

How/Where do you get your books? Do you buy them or go to the library? Is there a certain website you use like paperbackswap?

I go to the library mainly. Seriously, mine are amazing. They have loads of books that I like, and the ones they don't stock, they'll try and get hold of it. I love my library so much! Sometimes, I buy my books from various places

How about you? Where do you get your stuff from? Leave a link and we'll get round to getting back! Seriously, now we're not getting homework, I'll have more time to procrastinate on goodreads dedicate to blogging.

And some things I think you should look at
-Our 100 follower giveaway! Open for another week!
-Note about blogger & browser compatability
-This awesome parody of the Hunger Games to one of Britney's songs that you've probably seen but I feel the need to share the link anyway

Thursday 14 July 2011

Book Review- Ghost of a Chance by Rhiannon Lassiter

Title: Ghost of a Chance
 Author:  Rhiannon Lassiter
Series:  N/A
Published:  6 January 2011 by OUP Oxford
Length:272 pages
Warnings: ghosts, murders, references to witches and torture,
Other info: Rhiannon Lassiter has also written things like Bad Blood, Hex and other things for children, young adults and adults.
Summary : Eavesdroppers never heard good of themselves. But she'd never expected to hear that she was dead. How did Eva die? The rumours say she killed herself, but Eva knows different. Victim and detective in her own murder, she must solve the mystery. If she doesn't, more will die ...
Review: Eva Chance lives with her grandfather in a mansion. He hosts a dinner party, but for some reason everyone seems to ignore Eva. Then a couple of teenagers discover a torture chamber with the corpse of a witch in it. As you do. Eva also finds this witch, who tells Eva that she died but nobody cared. Eva also makes friends with Maggie, the ghost of a servant girl, Kyle one of the discoverers of the witch and Kyra, his twin sister that gets more likable as we get to know her. The twins start to investigate Eva's disappearence, as do Eva and Maggie, but as  two seperate groups, not as a four. Then other members of the Chance family, such as the grandfather and the aunts, start getting attacked too, resulting in either death or hospitalisation. Kyle, Kyra, Maggie and Eva all investigate these together, and the book ends with the killer/attacker being reveale and closure for all. Bad summary I know, but I'm no good at summarising mysteries...
The concept was very good. A ghost solving her own murder mystery, helped by other ghosts a the living.
I liked the lot of description in it. It gave a real sense of what was happening, which is good since parts of the book is fairly complicated.
It was fairly easy to connect with Eva, to understand her thoughts and reasoning. Kyra and Kyle, I didn't like at first, but they seemed to grow on me as we learnt more about them and whats going on. Maggie was an interesting character with an odd personality.
Ghost of a Chance was quite hard to follow, because there's a lot going on. The murder mystery part was good, complicated with lots of plot twists and red herrings, which meant the revelation of the murderer was a suprise. The storyline following the witch, with the possession and the ghosts was really hard to follow, possibly because remembering everything was hard. The cast was large enough without all the ghosts coming into it. I had trouble remembering who was who, why Eva would be upset when they got attacked,  and so on, and I had to keep going back to when characters were introduced to fully understand it all.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a mix of murder mystery and paranormal elements that's done very well but can at times be hard to follow.
Thanksies to Comacalm who sent me this book! 

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #15 Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

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. 
Seeing as you're here, why not enter our giveaway? It's still open!

Title:  Clockwork Prince
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Release Date: December 6 2011
Link to / (part of)Summary from Goodreads: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends. With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal…When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them. … As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Why I want it:  I read Clockwork Angel at some point (review here) and really enjoyed it. And therefore I think the sequel will be amazing. This is the sequel. It will, in my mind anyway, be amazing. I want to read it ^__^

What are YOU waiting on this week?