Wednesday 31 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #21 Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

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:  Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1)
Author:  Leanna Renee Hieber
Release Date: 1st November 2011
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

Why I want it: Victorian fantasy, curses, magic, and a little bit of Jekyll and Hyde? Looks good to me. The cover’s pretty as well. And on a side note, it’s released on my birthday. Any book that shares a birthday with me (and there’s a few), I must check out.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Book Review- Godchild vol 1 by Kaori Yuki

Title: Godchild vol 1
 Author: Kaori Yuki
Series: Godchild #1  
Published:  7 March 2006  by Viz Media under Shojo Beat
Length: 208 pages
Warnings: graphic violence and gore
Source: Library
Other info: This is a sequel to another (incredibly hard to find) work, the Earl Cain saga. Other works by Kaori Yuki include Angel Sanctuary and Grand Guignol Orchestra (review here)
Summary : Deep in the heart of 19th century London, a young nobleman named Cain walks the shadowy cobblestone streets of the aristocratic society into which he was born. Forced to become an earl upon the untimely death of his father, Cain assumes the role of head of the Hargreaves, a noble family with a dark past. With Riff, his faithful manservant, and Mary Weather, his 10-year-old half sister, Cain investigates the mysterious crimes that seem to follow him wherever he goes.
Review: Cain Hargreaves is a seventeen year old earl in Victorian London. Murder and destruction seem to surround him. With his ten year old half sister Mary-Weather and his manservant Riff, who turns up more in later volumes, Cain goes and investigates.
For example, someone has been going around chopping off girl’s heads in the style of the Queen of Hearts. Cain investigates this White Rabbit Killer, which ends in the suicide of the murderer and the saving of a would-be murder victim. The other stories in this book fall along this line, such as a crooked house, with the girl living in it wanting to create a living doll out of Mary-Weather, a mystery involving a black sheep and a suit of armour, and another where girls take a potion to look beautiful, then die in pain later as a mysterious man removes and collects their eyeballs. These stories aren’t all random; the last introduces Cain’s half brother, who we’ll see later on in the series.
I like the clever little plots that you see. There’s always a slightly ironic twist to everything, which is hard to explain here but you’ll understand if you read it. I also like the way there’s always a little bit of backstory revealed in the chapter.
Cain is your typical young, tortured hero, with an extremely good reason (his father’s dead and his half-brother wants to kill him). My favourite character is Mary-Weather, who takes being put in a cage above what is basically poison and almost becoming a living doll quite well considering her age and the circumstances. Riff didn’t seem to do much, but I’m glad we’ll see a lot more of him later.
As with all of Kaori Yuki’s work, the art is very detailed, realistic, and atmospheric. There’s a lot of detail in things like costumes, even in the background. The art is also a little bit cleaner than other works such as Angel Sanctuary, so it flows a bit better. It’s also good that all the characters are easy to distinguish.
It’s very historically accurate. You get a very good idea of Victorian London, the darker side of the nobility, and everything. However my favourite Victorian-set manga will still be  Black Butler, probably because I like the supernatural element. This is a very good realistic Victorian manga.
Overall:  strength 5 tea to a manga with a great plot and excellent artwork.

Monday 29 August 2011

Book Review: Century by Sarah Singleton

Title: Century
Author: Sarah Singleton
Source: Library
Publishing details: First published in 1st Janurary 2002, published March 7th 2005 by Pocket books and published February 28
th 2008 by Hodder Murray, Simon & Schuster in 2005
Summary for Goodreads: Century is the name of a huge Georgian mansion, home to the Italian Verga family. The grand house sits amid magnificent gardens and parklands, overlooking a huge like. But Century's heyday is passed. All but two of the servants have disappeared, and widower Trajan leads a secluded life with his two daughters, trapped in a strange dark winter world that never seems to change.
One day Mercy, the elder daughter, sees the ghost of a drowned woman under the ice in a pond and meets the mysterious Claudius, who claims to be a member of the Verga family. He offers Mercy a chance to find out the truth about their family and the secrets of the past. But can Mercy trust Claudius, who has his own dark secrets? Can she uncover the truth or will she destroy the house and her family in the process?
Review: The inhabitants of Century live their lives in solitude and the two sisters, Mercy and Charity, never see the light of day. Each day is to be spent exactly the same as the next. Mercy discovers a snowdrop on her pillow and a ghost of a woman under iced over pond by the meadow. She meets the enigmatic Claudius and suddenly her head is full of questions. What was her mother like? How did she die? Did her mother actually

die? These all need answering and Mercy eagerly sets out to investigate, but as she dives deeper into the past she discovers that there's more to tragic tale of Century than she originally thought.
The plot was clever and engaging; there were twist and turns all the way. I'm so glad they weren't vampires or werewolves or ghosts. Mercy's travels through time were described vividly, especially the best day of Claudius' life. It's hard to imagine the pain that Claudius and Trajan both suffered and it was portrayed so realistically. I like the story about the two brother's mortal lovers and what Claudius did for Marietta. You can really understand and sympathise the characters.
My favourite character is probably Charity. I love her mischievous nature how she manages to stay out of trouble. She'd be really obnoxious in real life. Mercy was a typical headstrong girl (not to be confused with a typical, headstrong girl) who wavered in her decision when she discovered the truth. It was a bit weird that Mercy's father was called Trajan. Even though it's in 3rd person, he could still be call Father or similar. I also think the servants should have been given a bit more of the spotlight as well.
Rating: 4

***I actually came back from Wales a few days ago. I wanted to write better reviews like Nina's so I spent ages modifying this one. Sorry for writing anything for a while.***

Book Review- Virals by Kathy (and Brendan) Reichs

Title: Virals
 Author: Kathy Reichs, Brendan Riechs
Series:  Virals #1
Published:  2nd November 2010
Length: 448 pages
Source: library
Other info:  Book 2, Seizure, was published 23 August this year. Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist, and has also written the Temerance Brennan series, on which the TV series Bones was based.
Summary : Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
 As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.
 Fortunately, they are now more than friends-they're a pack. They are Virals.

Review: Tory Brennan is a fourteen year old living on an island near Charleston with a marine biologist as a father after the untimely death of her mother. She and her friends save a wolfdog from an institute that is testing a new strain of a virus on it. Soon after, they all start to get ill and weird things start happening to them. On top of this, they find some old bones that they work out belong to a girl who went missing many years ago. Then they get sucked into this mystery/fantasy adventure.
From the blurb, I didn’t see much of an original fantasy concept. But the fantasy in this book is DNA being altered somewhat, which makes a very nice change to all the vampires and shapeshifters I normally read.
The plot is very good. A lot happens and it’s paced very well, apart from possibly the start where everything has to be laid out and is therefore a little slow. From just before the second half, there’s always something new happening. I like the fact that it’s written from Tory’s point of view, but where she’s actually talking to you. The informal style works well, makes you feel slightly involved in the story and adds a bit more to the writing.
The characters were all fleshed out very well, even those that didn’t have much of a part. We got descriptions of backstories and a lot of other things, which made them all feel real.  Some of them got on my nerves a lot, from the way Rory felt about them and described them to us, but I think that’s the way they were supposed to be written. I liked the little twists we find out about the characters just before they get written out of the story.
Tory seemed to know a lot for her age. Even if her great aunt is a world renowned scientist, it’s still a little unrealistic for her to know so much and be able to identify a set of bones in the middle of the night.
The romance is excellent. Or should I say, lack of. Actually, there is a little, but it really helps the story move on and doesn’t overshadow the rest of the plot.
Overall:  Strength  4.5 rounded up to  5 for the start of this fun adventure/fantasy/mystery series that I hope to see more of.

Sunday 28 August 2011


Well one of us is. Katy'll be back in a few days. I'll let her do a I'm back post on her own if she wants to...
Did you miss us? What happened while we were away? Anything exciting? (asking because scrolling through the 1000+ Google reader posts this morning got a little tedious so I'm not sure if I took everything in right). Please leave links of anything you want me to look at properly.
I've certainly had a good time in France. Even if I was constantly melting-35 degrees c is a temperature only describable as ridiculously hot.

As I'd hoped, there was plenty of time for reading. In addition to the books I packed, there was an excellent selection of books there. Here's what I read in the week, and their tea strengths...

  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer, 5, full review some day
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 2
  • Slights by Kaaron Warren, 2
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip , 3, full review some day
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 4, full review some day
  • The Resistance by Gemma Malley, 4, full review some day

I got halfway through the final book I packed, Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard.
And I bought

  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson
  • Vampire Doll vol 2 by Erika Kari. The French edition, not the English one. So when I review it some day, if I didn't understand the plotline or jokes, blame it on my (non-existant) French skills.

When I was away, I did schedule some reviews...links if you didn’t notice!

Normal service shall resume once I’ve sorted everything out… such as a stop on the blog tour for The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy #1), as well as our normal reviews'll see later...

There's still time to enter a giveaway for Alexander Gordon Smith's LOCKDOWN, which I thought was a good book. More info here.

I think that's covered everything...It's good to be back! Enjoy the week ahead!

Friday 26 August 2011

Book Review- Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace

Title: Descended by Blood
 Author:  Angeline Kace
Series:  A Vampire Born trilogy #1
Published:           26 August 2011
Length: 263 pages
Warnings: vampires, kissing, violence
Source: Author in exchange for review
Other info: This is Angeline Kace’s first novel.  Book 2, Enemy Within, is expected next year.
Summary : Brooke Keller is a high school junior who has never spent much time living in one place. She is finally in a town long enough to almost snag the boy of her dreams, until her life is threatened after killing a fanged man in his attempt to kidnap her. Brooke begins a dangerous journey in an effort to find out who is after her and how to stop them. In a world with powerful and prejudiced vampires, Brooke must tap into the side of her that she never knew existed at the risk of losing her life in order to save it
Review: Brooke wants to settle down in a town, and thats what she's been doing. She's got an extremely close best friend and has even  managed to start going out with Jaren. And then one night she notices she's being followed. After shaking him off for a little, she ends up having a fight with this guy, who is trying to kidnap her, who ends up dead. She then discovers that she's a vampire-and there's nothing she can do about it because she's the kind of vampirism where it runs in the family. She is then sent off for protection from someone called Mirko, and decides she will leave as long as Kaitlynn (the best friend) comes too. When they meet Mirko, Brooke has no idea exactly how she's going to  be protected by him. In the end she has to trust him and her friends to protect her while she has to find out who it is that wants her and exactly how to stop them.
It took a little while to get going with the vampire element. The opening third was set up and romance, which to me felt slow and boring. For someone who enjoys romance, I think you'll like this part a lot. The middle was good. I got a good picture of the setting and what is happening. The ending was amazing. There's a lot of action, very fast paced, and
I liked Brooke. Her reactions to everything were realistic and  exactly what you'd expect from a teenage girl. The supporting characters, the ones I could remember, were good, fleshed out and given personalities.
The names, for me anyway, were hard to remember. Probably because they're names that aren't common at all in everyday life. I like it when we get a couple of unique names, but for me I find that too many unique names makes it impossible to remember who's who due to the fact that I can't remember the names. However it's easy to tell who they are from their function in the story and their personality, so I remembered it all like that.
I like  the new take on vampires, their attitudes and such. We normally see powerhungry vampires, but Jelena takes it to a whole new level. As well as this, the general lore surrounding Angeline Kace's vampires is very interesting, completely different to the traditional vampire.
The writing style was all from Brooke's point of view. It was written descriptively so I got a good understanding of what was going on, and the voice you could tell was that of a teenage girl.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to an interesting new vampire trilogy I want to see more of.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Book Review- Hetalia Axis Powers volume 2

Title:Hetalia Axis Powers vol. 2
 Author: Hidekaz Himaruya
Series:  Hetalia Axis Powers #2
Published:  28 December 2010  by Tokyopop
Length:  176 pages, of which 14 are character intros and 32 are adverts.   Relatively not many pages of actual manga
Warnings: profanity, possible implied racism, alcohol,  (us)  non sexual non descripit nudity (a bath scene), mild violence, moderate language, mild fanservice, alcohol use (tokyopop)
Source: Bought
Other info:  This series is also known as Hetalia, APH:Hetalia, and some other names. Since Tokyopop went, it’s been fairly impossible to get hold of any volumes of Hetalia. There are two volumes published in English, with another two in Japanese and possibly more to come. Hidekaz Himaruya has also written Chibisan Date.
Summary : More history, more countries, more Hetalia.
World War what? It’s all about getting to know eachother (or at least trying to) in this hilarious second volume of Hetalia Axis Powers. And with the Hetalia Academy, tonnes of new character introductions along with preparing for the Olympics, there’s no time left for the battlefield! But leave it up to Italy’s ancestor, “that jerk” England, and pushy America to stir things up while good old Canada, quiet Japan and sweet little

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Book Review- Zombies of the World by Ross Payton

Title: Zombies of the World
 Author:  Ross Payton
Series:  N/A
Published:  15 June 2011
Length: 114 pages
Warnings: zombies.
Source: Author
Other info: Ross Payton has also written Curriculum of Conspiracy and Road Trip
(part of) Summary : Zombies menace humanity, yet we barely understand them.
There are books that show you how to kill the undead but this is the first study to explain the importance of zombies to us. Zombies of the World reveals the undead to be a valuable part of our ecosystem and the key to new discoveries in medicine and technology.No other book covers these topics. Zombies of the World brilliantly documents that evolution has led to a wide variety of species.
Few outside the scientific community even realize that creatures like the Egyptian Mummy (Mortifera mumia aegyptus) are actually zombies. Some species are even harmless to humans. The Dancing Zombie (Mortifera immortalis choreographicus) only seeks to thrill humans with elaborate dance routines. Destroying the undead isn t always the answer. Even if we could annihilate all zombies, we would lose knowledge potentially vital to our own survival.
After decades of research, we have no idea why zombies never tire or stop. They possess an endless source of energy to shamble or (in some cases) sprint after us. Unlocking this mystery could benefit all humanity. Only Zombies of the World tackles this issue and many other paradoxes.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Book Review- Dante's Journey by JC Marino

Title: Dante’s Journey
 Author: JC Marino
Series:  N/A
Published:  22 February 2010
Length:368 pages
Warnings: hell, violence
Source: Library
Summary :A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself.
Joe was in hot pursuit of his family’s killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti when both were killed, and he isn’t about to let a little thing like death slow him down.
So with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever lower through the rings of the original Dante’s Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children.
However Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water...VERY hot.
Review: DI Joe Dante died and went to Hell. He meets Virgil, his guide, and descends through each of the nine circles in order to find the man who killed his family. There isn't that much more to it really.
The majority of it is a description of the circle itself, who is in it, Dante interacting with someone in that circle, then moving on, normally being pursued by some demon. The other part is flashbacks to Dante's life, his wife Bea, his brother Mickey,  his two daughters, Argenti the drug dealer, and other people involved in Joe's life that ended him up in Hell.
I really like the concept-another updated classic, this one being The Divine Comedy, by Dante(the one who lived a long time ago). I've not read the original, only heard of it, and I can't tell you how much of it is true to the original. Judging by the amount of detail in the descriptions, I'm guessing it's fairly accurate. I also like the fact that it is still A Virgil guiding A Dante(I know that much about the Divine Comedy at least).
At some points it gets a little confusing-another Virgil comes along, and tells Dante something rather interesting about Virgil number 1.
I liked Dante a bit. He wasn't the most interesting of characters, or the easiest to connect with. It was written entirely from his perspective which lets us kind of connect with him, but it also shows his personality as being fairly blunt, slightly emotional and quite straight to the point-suiting his character as a policeman but a little boring and not very engaging. The character development was very good, especially when if realised his sin that ended him in Hell, but also throughout he kept moving on.   
I also like the way the back story was only revealed little by little. It kept me interested, and always seemed to cut off just when you wanted to know more. I also like the way that lots of random little things throughout got neatly tied up at various parts during the book.
Overall:  Strength 3 to a book that is more than just a trip through hell.

Friday 19 August 2011

And We're Off....

Both of us are going on holiday at the same time. So the blog will be kind of inactive. I say that. We have a couple of posts scheduled, but replies to comments and emails and things will have to wait until 28th August. But please, do keep us informed about things. Comment on this post, e-mail us, put something into the chatbox; when we get back, we’d love to have lots of stuff waiting for us.

Of course, while we’re away, we’ll be doing a lot of reading! Here’s our holiday piles...

- The Last Survivors- Life As we Knew it by Susan Pfeffer
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Resistance by Gemma Malley

- The Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille
- The Eye of the Crystal Ball by T.P.Boje
- Century by Sarah Singleton
- Numbers, the Chaos by Rachel Ward
- Ties that Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka

So...hope everyone stays safe and carries on enjoying life while we’re away...we’ll be back soon!

Giveaway-Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

The US publishers of Alexander Gordon Smith's Escape from Furnace series have very kindly doneated one copy of book one, Lockdown, to giveaway!

I read Lockdown quite a while ago, and enjoyed it, so I have to say this is a book worth reading.

A bit more...
The blurb to Lockdown...
Beneath Heaven is Hell....Beneath Hell is Furnace! Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world.

Escape from Furnace Series by Alexander Gordon Smith
Includes: Lockdown, Solitary, Death Sentence, Fugitives (Available in 2012), and Execution (Available in 2012).

Here's the trailer...

Here's some links...
Become a Facebook fan:
Macmillan page for the book & author:

Terms and conditons

  • You don't have to follow to enter, but if you want to, please do!
  • You must have a US or Canada mailing address to enter. Publisher's request. I can't do anything about it.
  • You must be at least 13 to enter, or have your parent's permission.
  • This closes at 12.01am EST on 1st September 2011. You will be emailed. You have 24 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.
  • The publishers will directly ship a copy to the winner.

Thanks to Tara from Zeitghost Media and Macmillan Publishing for offering a copy of Lockdown to give away!

Thursday 18 August 2011

Book Review- Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L Howard

Title: Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
 Author: Jonathan L Howard
Series:  Johannes Cabal #1
Published:  7 July 2009
Length:304 pages
Warnings: profanity, violence, the devil, hell, vampires
Source: Library
Other info: There are many more in this series.
Summary : A charmingly gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice.
Johannes Cabal sold his soul a year ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored. Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Johannes is given one calendar year and  a travelling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother Horst, a charismatic vampire, to help him run his nefarious sideshow, resulting in mayhem at every term.
Review: Johannes Cabal sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the secrets of necromancy. A little later, he decides he wants his soul back. So he goes to Hell and asks. Satan tells him that if he can get 100 people to sign their souls over to him, Cabal gets his soul back. Cabal sets up a travelling carnival, gets the help of his older vampire brother Horst, conjures up some things as attractions and staff, and sets out/
The book is basically all of that happening. I like the idea behind it. It’s not often we see people who have entered into a Faustian contract, decide they want out, skip the queues and the paperwork to get into hell, and makes a bet with the devil. A fun and original concept.
I like the little sidestories that document what happens at each stop on the way. It doesn’t document the whole year, as that would take too long, but it gives you a very good idea of what happens at every stage.
I liked the characters. I think Horst Cabal was my favourite because of the way he handled his brother and the fact that said brother is trying to get 100 people to sign forms agreeing to eternal damnation. They were all well characterised and easy to distinguish. However, there were a few characters that appeared for about three pages, then were never heard of again. All right, these three pages described who they were and how they died, but still it would have been nice if they’d have been cleverly worked in somewhere along the line.
The humour in this seemed to come and go. It had a extremely funny opening, where Cabal summons a demon and has an arguement with it about how he should have correctly summoned it, with Cabal saying that the demon was there now and therefore it didn’t matter, but then the humour died down, came back, and went and came back throughout. The writing was third person, kept the book going, but kept you slightly distanced from the characters.
With the ending there was, I’m not entirely sure how a sequel could be produced. However, there’s a whole series, and I’ll read book two some day.
Overall:  strength 3 tea to an original and somewhat funny book.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #20 Steampunk! An anthology of Fantstically Rich and Strange Stories

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:  Steampunk! An anthology of Fantstically Rich and Strange Stories
Author:  Kelly Link (Editor), Gavin J. Grant (Editor), Garth Nix, Christopher Rowe, Kathleen Jennings, Dylan Horrocks, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Cory Doctorow, Shawn Cheng, Ysabeau S. Wilce, Delia Sherman, Elizabeth Knox
Release Date: 11 October 2011
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Imagine an alternate universe where romance and technology reign. Where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were. Where scientists and schoolgirls, fair folk and Romans, intergalactic bandits, utopian revolutionaries, and intrepid orphans solve crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments, consult oracles, and hover over volcanoes in steam-powered airships. Here, fourteen masters of speculative fiction, including two graphic storytellers, embrace the genre’s established themes and refashion them in surprising ways and settings as diverse as Appalachia, ancient Rome, future Australia, and alternate California. Visionaries Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have invited all-new explorations and expansions, taking a genre already rich, strange, and inventive in the extreme and challenging contributors to remake it from the ground up. The result is an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it.
Why I want it: Because steampunk=awesomeness. I love the whole steampunk and the aesthetic and the whole blend of Victiorians and futuristic elements (more raving about this can be found here, on my Happy Steampunk day post), but the majority has been for the adult market. YA has recently been getting some more, such as Clockwork Angel and The Girl in the Steel Corset, but I still see a lack of the stuff out there…. And then there’s a whole collection??

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Cover to Cover #4- Vampire Edition

Cover to Cover- Vampire Edition
Another cover feature. This time I'm going to post a lot of covers, then see if I can see any trends in the designs....shouldn't be that difficult, should it?
Picture Heavy

Monday 15 August 2011

Book Review- Montmorency: Thief Liar Gentleman by Elanor Updale

Title: Montmorecy: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?
 Author: Elanor Updale
Series:  Montmorency #1
Published:  10 May 2006 by Scholastic
Length:240 pages
Other info: There’s three more in this series.
Summary :Montmorency is a thief leading a double life – a distinguished gentleman and his servant.
Review: Montmorency begins a thief. He's in prison after a long run of not being caught, and then only got caught because he fell off a roof, or something like that. And then it's time for his release. Determined he wants a better life, he decides he's going to be a proper gentleman. But he can't do that without money. To get around this, he creates two personalities: the gentleman Montmorency and his servant Scarper. This is the story of his double life and the dangers he faces.
The plot was interesting, but not the most memorable. It progresses through various parts of Victorian London, going from prison, to the back alleyways, to the posh end of town and back.
I liked the way Montmorency thinks, his logic behind it all. The way he kept on top of everything was my favourite thing about the book.
It's a different take on the Victorian era, for me anyway. Unlike what I tend to read, this book makes no mention of anything paranormal or futuristic. This is simply a well researched tour of Victorian London, both the posh front and the underworld.
The characters were easy to distinguish, but, like the plot, not the most memorable. But they do stick with you somewhat, such as Cissie,  who is most likely the most annoying character I have ever met in a book.
Overall:  I give this strength 3 tea to a book that was good, but not amazing. Recommended for younger readers.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Summer reading update 3

Halfway through the holidays's going by too fast. Here's what's happened this week

RECEIVED THIS WEEK (the IMM part of the post)

  • Angel Sanctuary vol 1 (review coming)
  • Black Bird vol 8
  • Black Bird vol 9
  • Spooks Apprentice (review coming)
  • Skin Hunger (review coming)
  • Godchild (review coming)
  • Think of a Number 
  • Zombies of the World (review coming)
  • The Invention of Murder
  • Periodic Tales
  • Virals (review coming)
  • Undead and Unwelcome

  • Teeth, Vampire Tales  (review here)
  • The Bell Jar (review here)
  • How to Be A Woman (mini review here)
  • The Vampire Blog  (review here)
  • Lord of the Flies (review here)
  • Acadia (e-book) (review here)
  • Vampire Doll vol 1 (review here)
  • Dead Streets
  • Mail vol 2
  • Black Swan Rising (review here)
  • Haruhi 3
  • Haruhi 4
  • Haruhi 5
  • Much Ado About Nothing manga version
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer  (review coming)
  • Montmorency (reviewcoming)
  • Tantalise (review coming)
  • A Study in Scarlet graphic novel (review coming)

  • Descended by Blood (e-book)
  • Monster Island

  • 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
  • Halo
  • Wish Me Dead
  • The Undertaker’s Gift
  • Crescendo
  • The Divine Comedy
  • The Resistance
  • Mercy
  • Life as We Knew It
  • Death-At Death’s Door (bought)
  • Texas Gothic
  • Sakura Hime vol 1
  • Fairy Bad Day (won from
  • King of Thorn vol 1

  • Hetalia 1
Think we've had a good week? I think so.  Links to your mailboxes and anything I should know about please?

And also, do you think a weekly round up should be done every week, not just in the summer? 

Saturday 13 August 2011

Book Review- Vampire Doll Guilt Na Zan vol 1 by Erika Kari

Title: Vampire Doll Guilt-Na-Zan vol 1
 Author: Erika Kari
Series:  Vampire Doll #1
Published: 12 September 2006 by Tokyopop
Length: 200 pages
Warnings: vampires, violence, fanservice,
Source:  Library
Other info: There are six volumes  in the series. 
Summary : Guilt-Na-Zan is a vampire aristocrat who was sealed into a cross by Kyouji's ancestor more than 100 years ago. Now Kyouji has revived him - although he was resurrected as a doll and can only transform into his real figure when he sucks blood from Kyouji's sister Tonae..
Review:  Parajunkee's Vampire Challenge #11 
100 years ago, an exorcist locked vampire lord Guilt-Na-Zan into a cross. Today, exorcist Kyoji, a descendent of the first one, releases Guilt-na. And puts him into a female wax doll, with the intention of using Guilt-na as a maid. It is possible for Guilt-na to attain his original form; if he drinks the blood of Kyoji's sister Tonae, he becomes the lord of the night once more. Add in a bat/human, a stupid younger brother,  a little action and a lot of laughs, and there you have Vampire Doll.
This has suprisingly, a lot of plot, for 200 pages of first volume. There's a fight between Kyoji and his idiotic younger brother Kyoichi, we meet batman Vincent who turns out to be the friend of Guilt-Na-Zan, we meet a creature who sucks the evilness from others and leaves them civil and nice to others, and we get the insanity of life in Kyoji's house.
The storyline isn't your normal vampire story. There's elements of one, such as something to defeat them (the original exorcist) and requiring  human blood for something (Guilt-na an Tonae), but there's also some original stuff too.
It's rare to have character intros in a first volume. This book does. And they're pretty fun too: the name, one of their characteristics and then a plea to read this book to find out x. Funny from the first page.
The actual manga starts with a flashback to when Guilt-na-zan was first trapped. It then goes to his resurrection, his discovery he is in a female body and then his realisation his magical powers now only stretch to flowers and cakes. And then the aforementioned things happen and so does some more stuff until we reach a fitting conclusion that can still make you want to read volume 2.
Tokyopop classed this as a horror and comedy. The horror part wasn't that accurate-just because it has vampires and other dark creatures, it doesn't necessarily make it a horror story. The comedy on the other hand is a very large part of this. From the first page it was funny, and this continued throughout the entire book. In addition to the humour throughout the main story, we also get bonus strip at the end of each chapter and about 12 more at the back.
The characters were different to your normal stock cast  of a vampire tale. They're all very likeable,  but there's very little in the way of character development.
The art is detailed and realistic. The costumes are drawn well, as are all the little things. However in a couple of places it's hard making out what's happening because the lines blend so much into the shadows.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a vampire story that will make you laugh if not much else.
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Friday 12 August 2011

Book Hop #14

Book Blogger HopHello. Thank you for getting to Death Books and Tea. Here we review horror, dystopian, fantasy, manga and the like. You'll get a better idea if you settle down and have a look. Hope you like us!

For this week's question...
“Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

I went through my goodreads list and chose my favourite. I'm saying Kamikaze Girls by Novala Takemoto. This is because when you see Kamikaze, you think of WW2 and suicide missions. However Kamikaze Girls is pretty much the opposite: friendship, two girls, and awesomeness. I suggest you read it. If not just for the title.]#

That's my choice. I'm sure there's many other books with awesome titles.
Comment, look around,  follow, link back?

Thursday 11 August 2011

Book Review- Black Swan Rising

Title: Black Swan Rising
 Author:  Lee Carroll
Series:  Black Swan Rising #1
Published:  3rd August 2010 by Tor Books
Length: 400 pages
Warnings:  one non-graphic two paragraph sex scene, vampires, fairies.
Source: Library
Other info: Lee Carroll is actually two people-Carol Goodman and her husband Lee Slonimsky. Book 2, the Watchtower, was published earlier in the year
Summary : New York jeweller Garet James has her fair share of problems: money, an elderly father, a struggling business. One day she comes across an antiques shop she’d never noticed before. The owner possesses an old silver box that’s been sealed shut. Would she help an old man and open it, perhaps? She does...and that night strange things begin to happen. It’s as if her world – our world – has shifted slightly, revealing another, parallel place that co-exists without our knowledge: the world of the Fey…
Garet learns that one of her ancestors was 'the Watchtower': an immortal chosen to stand guard over the human and the fey worlds – a role that she has, it seems, inherited from her mother. But the equilibrium between these two existences is under threat. The 16th-century magician and necromancer Dr John Dee has returned, the box has been opened and the demons of Despair and Discord released. In a race against time and impending apocalypse, it is Garet who must find Dee...and close the box.
Review: Garet James opens a box that had been soldered shut for an old man. She doesn't think anything of it. Why should she? But then her gallery is broken into, her father is shot,  she meets Oberon, King of the fairies, and is told that that old man is John Dee, opening the box in order to summon Despair and Discord to the world. As well as this, she meets vampire Will Hughes, and falls in love with him.
It all starts very quickly. We don't get much introduction to Garet-we learn more about her and her history as we progress through the story.
I like the many twists and turns throughout the story. The action doesn't seem to slow down, it kept going on and on.
 I liked the huge range of characters in this-vampires, fairies, dragons, demons, mermaids and gnomes. I especially liked the little fire fairy Lol. However I didn't like the fact that after some of the characters had been introduced, they didn't seem to come up again. Hopefully the things they did will be relevant and they themselves will crop up again in the sequel.
The romance in itwas your typical vampire human relatoinship with the added bonus that quite a bit of blood was shared (it's annoying when a vampire falls in love with a human but doesn't drink his/her blood.) It got a bit confusing though when towards the end Madame Dufray was brought in. It was suggested that, in a past life, Garet wasMadame Dufray. However this wasn't properly explored or explained, and I'd like to read more about Will and his past interactions inthe sequel, The Watchtower.
It's in first person, Garet's POV, and we got a good idea of how she feels.
My favourite thing about this is how everything cleverly fits together regarding the relationships, even if it wasn't very well explained.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that mixes up various different fantasy elements in an interesting way.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #19 Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille

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:  Flame of Surrender
Author: Rhiannon Paille
The Ferryman and the Flame #1

Release Date: 1 November 2011
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: The boy who follows death meets the girl who could cause the apocalypse. 
Krishani thinks he’s doomed until he meets Kaliel, the one girl on the island of Avristar who isn’t afraid of him. She’s unlike the other girls, she swims with merfolk, talks to trees and blooms flowers with her touch. What he doesn’t know is that she’s a flame, one of nine individually hand crafted weapons, hidden in the body of a seemingly harmless girl. 
Nobody has fallen in love with a flame until now. She becomes Krishani’s refuge from the dreams of death and the weather abilities he can’t control. Striking down thousand year old trees with lightning isn’t something he tries to do, it just happens. When the Ferryman dies, Krishani knows that he’s the next and that a lifetime of following death is his destiny. 
And Kaliel can’t come with him. The Valtanyana are hunting the flames, the safest place for her is Avristar. Krishani can’t bear to leave her, and one innocent mistake grants the Valtanyana access to their mystical island. They’re coming for Kaliel, and they won’t stop until every last living creature on Avristar is dead. She has to choose, hide, face them, or awaken the flame and potentially destroy herself.

Why I want it:
The first line of the summary. The characters implied. Yes yes yes.  ((And on a complete sidenote, it’s released on my birthday.)

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Book review: TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow

Title: TimeRiders
Author: Alex Scarrow
Source: Library
Publisher and Published: Various, various times (according to goodreads. The book is downstairs

at the moment and I'm too lazy to get it)
Warnings: Blood, cannibalist mutants, violence, mild profanity
Summary from goodreads: Liam O'Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, 'Take my hand ...' But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren't rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose - to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That's why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world...
Review: Right when they were about to die, three teenagers were asked if they to go with an old man, called Foster, or die. The first one is Liam who is aboard the sinking Titanic and has 90 seconds left to live (according the same old man). So he follows the him and wakes up in New York, 2001. But of course he doesn't know that. Then we get Maddy on a plane. Which will blow up in 90 seconds. Foster really pressurises these people doesn't he? She follows too. Sadly, we aren't told about Sal's experience. They are introduced to each other etc. and we discover that Foster is from "Never-neverland". How enigmatic. They also meet their team mate, Bob, an artificial human. They assigned roles, Sal the observer, Maddy the analyst, Liam the guy who
actually gets to time travel and Bob the support unit. I think that's the end of the basic character introductions.
I like how the team are based during 9/11 to distract the attention away from themselves. It's quite an interesting concept and it's probably true, people in the local shops would be more focused on the mass destruction around them. Other aspects of the book that many people believe don't make sense actually do. Depending on what theory you use. To make sure I don't give out any spoilers, I'm going to use the concept of autoinfanticide (if you don't understand, think of the child self as the information that the antagonist needs to know to change history: what he needs to change). If you went back in time and killed yourself as a baby you would no longer exist and "you" that existed at the time you killed your child self would not exist and you would not have been able to kill yourself. The Novikov self-consistency principle agrees with this statement and says this can't possibly happen. The parallel universe/alternate timelines says you can do this, great for you. The nonexistance theory doesn't work with this book. The destruction resolution I don't think would work and temporal modification negation theory does work. The delayed effect of the shifts if a form of the delayed ripple effect.
The characters don't change much (apart from Bob. He changed a lot). I found that really disappointing as the characters need to progress in sci-fi to make it more realistic. The "Tuesdays" weren't described much which is a shame because they would have made the book more interesting. I wish that Sal had written more in her diary and the Maddy's feelings were shown a bit more. I love the idea of an alternative future (though in this case, it's the past).

Rating: 4 Really good but you need to do some research to understand some things.

Book Review- The Vampire Blog by Pete Johnson

Title: The Vampire Blog
 Author: Pete Johnson
Series:  N/A
Published:  7 June 2010
Length: 240 pages
Warnings: vampires, gore, kissing,
Source: Library
Summary : Marcus was convinced that vampires don't exist—he was very wrong. On the night of his 13th birthday, he is faced with a bombshell when his parents tell him that he is actually half-vampire and is about to go through his vampire changeover period. As Marcus secretly blogs about the horrors of his new fangs, bad breath, and cravings for blood, he is unaware that his life is in serious danger
Review: On his thirteenth birthday, Marcus is told that his parents are half vampires and that, joy of joys, he'll become one too. He really doesn't want to be one, and spends part of his time denying that he is one. And then strange things happen, yes, even stranger than discovering about to be a half vampire, and Marcus ends up in even more danger than he first thought. 
The writing in this is ok. I liked the way that Marcus responded with witty remarks to everything. His personality change from disbelieving and denying to accepting is interesting to watch, if not the most original. The way he handles everything with sarcasm and cutting remarks add to  his personality. However, I can't really connect with Marcus, possibly because I'm not a thirteen year old boy turning into a half vampire.  
The supporting characters are interesting  with individual, if extremely odd, personalities. Joel is really your average friend to have a laugh with, and the parents are your standard I'll try and do what's best for you ones. Even if they are guiding their son through transformation into a half vampire. Tallulah, the weird girl, while I started off hating her, as the story progressed she seemed less insane and more likeable and I feel really bad for how she ended.
Like I said, I couldn't reall feel that much connection to Marcus, or indeed any of the characters. This book was a bit predictable and I guessed what would happen at the end about 2/3 of the way through. However, it's an original take on traditional vampire myth, and done well.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a book more for the boys looking for something they can relate to, rather than the standard brooding romantic vampire boys of today.

Monday 8 August 2011

Mini review- Sample Chapters- Princosa by B. M. Donnelly

 Title: Princosa
Author: B.M.Donnelly (her other writings and art here)
Summary of book: Cresenda is a perfectly normal farm girl until an accident with an enchanted wand leaves her magically gifted, on the run from assassins and battling desperately to save her world. Left with a companion who hates her and government plotting to destroy her will she ever be able to rid herself of her powers and return to normal life?
What I reviewed: First three chapters
Source: Author
Review: It begins in a cave, with what is obviously the villain of the series speaking to her pet snake about a wand that she wants to get hold of. This actually reminded me a lot of Harry Potter,  whether this is good or bad is up to you. The scene then changes to a town, with a group of girls, one of which then harrasses a stranger, called Villiam, until he goes home with her. He agrees, but says he can't stay long, saying that it's dangerous. The three chapters I read ends there.
In that short amount of time, we get a clear view of the characters and personality, and the situation, because of the amount of detail in the writing. Cresenda is a girl full of sass, who seems to be a strong heroine. Villiam is an okish character, not really my kind of man, but an interesting character with a bit of mystery surrounding him.
The writing style is very descriptive, in third person like most fantasy books, which does a great job of world building. However like you get with very detailed prose, sometimes it slows the story down a bit. From the dialogue you get a good sense of the characters, all of which seem real people, with full personalities, even the ones who I think will turn out to be fairly minor in the grand scheme of the book.
On a side note, Cresenda's introduction stated her clearly as a human. There's a talking lizard. I wonder what other fantasy creatures will turn up...
Overall: Strength 3 tea to this opening of what could be a very very good fantasy book once done.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Summer Reading Update 2/In my Mailbox

And again… listed  in pink is what I got this week…it’s kind of an In my Mailbox

  • Teeth, Vampire Tales  (review here)
  • The Bell Jar (review here)
  • How to Be A Woman (mini review here)
  • The Vampire Blog (review to come)
  • Lord of the Flies (review here)
  • Acadia (e-book) (review here)
  • Vampire Doll vol 1 (review to come)
  • Dead Streets
  • Mail vol 2
  • Black Swan Rising (review coming)
  • Haruhi 3
  • Haruhi 4
  • Haruhi 5
  • Much Ado About Nothing manga version
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer  (review coming)
  • Montmorency (reviewcoming)
  • Tantalise (review coming)
  • A Study in Scarlet graphic novel (review coming)

  • The Invention of Murder
  • 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
  • Skin Hunger
  • Halo
  • Spooks-the Apprentice
  • Monster Island
  • Wish Me Dead
  • The Undertaker’s Gift
  • Godchild
  • Think of a Number
  • Crescendo
  • The Divine Comedy
  • The Resistance
  • Undead and Unwelcome
  • Mercy
  • Periodic Tales
  • Life as We Knew It
  • Virals
  • Death-At Death’s Door (bought)

  • Hetalia 1
  • Texas Gothic
  •  Angel Sanctuary



Think I’m doing ok so far? 

Saturday 6 August 2011

Book review: Tins by Alex Shearer

Title: Tins
Author: Alex Shearer
Source: A library... (I don't really know what to say here...)
Length: 252
Published: 2006
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Warnings: Severed body parts....? Is that really that bad....?
Summary: Fergal has a unique hobby. He collects the tins without labels from the bargain basket in the supermarket; it's his idea of a gamble as you can never tell what's inside. This seems like a harmless thing to do until he finds a finger inside a tin, and he gets caught up in something more sinister.
Review: To explain most of his actions and his appearance, Fergal is said to be "clever". Really now. Attempting to eat the finger is clever, is it? Never mind, I'll stop raving.
The first part of this book was mildly funny, I love how Fergal plays out scenarios and says things in his head: it's quirky and to be honest we all do that occasionally and makes him a loveable character. His childish perception of the world allows his to become overexcited by some things and work methodically the with others. His friend Charlotte is just like him, although slightly less freaked out by what she found in her tin, which probably encouraged Fergal be more rebellious, and right into a big mess near the end. I think that she came a bit too late into the book, but that's probably just my opinion.
The plot itself was either too predictable, or too unrealistic. I found that although the was a cliffhanger at the end of almost ever chapter, you could easily guess what happened in the next or something completely implausible happened. I also thought the way the pair dealt with the situation their was ridiculous and Charlotte acted really stupidly. And she's supposed to be clever too.

Rating: 2

Book Review- The Bell Jar by Syvia Plath

Title: The Bell Jar
 Author: Sylvia Plath
Series:  N/A
Published:  1963
Length: 224 pages
Warnings: alcohol, implied sex, suicide attemts
Source: school LRC
Other info: Sylvia Plath has also written
Summary : Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under-maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational-as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.
Review: This is the story of Esther Greenwood. She starts off in the city, having won a contest giving her a job in New York. At some point she is diagnosed with neurosis, and goes to a treatment centre. There’s not really any other way to describe this...just life in and out of the city with a mental illness...
 Part of my Book Club’s summer challenge was to pair up with someone and challenge them to read a book of your choice (I had Narcissa read Divergent). She challenged me to read this. I didn’t know what to expect, because my edition had no blurb, and the cover doesn’t help, and all I was told was “It’s very good’”. And it was.
I really felt for Esther and all that she went through, and believe me, she went through a lot.  The start was very good-telling you how Esther thinks of things, her surroundings, her situation and so on. it then goes on to describe how she gets out of town, tries to deal with Buddy, her childhood sweetheart who turns out to be not as good as she thought he was, how she copes with life and so on. It was very easy to connect with her, and also to imagine how she felt at every part of the story. The first person narrative made it easy to understand how she felt, and easy to follow her thoughts. You got a clear sense of her personality from her narration, dialogue and actions.
I didn’t like Buddy that much. He seemed to manipulate Esther and I feel sorry for her, with how he led a double life behind her back. I liked Joan a lot, and it seemed like Esther had a real friend in her. The other characters weren’t that important, but had clear personalities and influenced Esther a lot.
I didn’t like the way it ended. Not because ************ dies, even though it was really sad, but because it just seems to end suddenly. I didn’t understand what was happening in the final scene, and that’s just really the only weak point in the book.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that really pulls you in, even if you don’t think it looks very interesting. Because it is.