Thursday 29 September 2011

Mini Review: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Title: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Author: Jules Verne
Published: April 1st 2010 (first published 1896)
Publisher: HaperPress
Source: I bought this in Wales at the Bridgend Designer Outlet at The Works (but that's probably too much detail)
Other Information: Jules Verne is considered the "Father of Science Fiction". The book's original title is Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers. You can probably guess that this book was originally written in French. It has apparently been heavily edited due to political correctness and has therefore lost some of its detail.
Summary: Pierre Aronnax and his servant Conseil leave France and board the Abraham Lincoln to witness the killing of a sea monster. On board the ship is Ned Land, a professional whaler from Canada. Expecting to find a large narwhal, the three are shocked after being thrown overboard into the sea by the monster (actually Conseil jumped in after his master) and see that the creature is actually a enormous metal vessel. The trio are soon captured and taken aboard the submarine Nautilius where they meet the mysterious Captain Nemo. Over the next several months they travel the seas, voyaging to unknown places and seeing new creatures.
Review: A very strange branch of science fiction. The journey the characters took was still magical even today. I love the plot line of this book. How amazing would it be to get captured and then taken all around the world, beneath the ocean? For contemporary people, this would have glimpse into the future, and an exciting new take on the world. It doesn't matter now, that all this has been proved impossible because we can still imagine what it would be like, a mobile aquarium that shrugs off the normal perils of the sea with ease.
The description in this book however, is too much. Why you would need to explain and categorise and then talk about debates on which category of every single thing you see I will never know. The page of the description brings the entire book to a halt and it’s hard to find the motivation to keep reading.
The with only four main characters and being told in first person, the major personality flaws of these people show themselves. Aronnax is self centered and only cares about his scientific discoveries, Nemo appears to have weird mood swings, Conseil is mindless zombie like encyclopedia who doesn't have opinion and can name everything in the sea and Ned Land is an almost "normal" person who has a habit of trying to kill anything that isn't human.
Rating: 3 If he'd had just cut some of the description or at spread it out evenly throughout the book, Jules Verne would have a perfect book.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #25- Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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:  Every Other Day
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: 27 December 2011
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.
And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process

Why I want it:  Amazing concept. Zombies. Hellhounds. Many supernatural creatures. Unexplained powers. Ticks many many boxes. And I love that cover.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Book Review-Death, At Death's Door by Jill Thomspon

Title: Death-At Death’s Door
 Author: Jill Thompson. Characters created by Neil Gaiman
Series:  Sandman-Death
Published:   July 1st 2003 by Vertigo
Length: 192 pages
Warnings: Fantasy violence, nudity,
Source: Bought second hand
Summary : A member of the Endless, a family of beings who have existed longer than the gods, Death enjoys manifesting herself in the persona of a young Gothic girl. Along with her siblings, she interacts and influences the lives of humans on a daily basis. In this manga-style adventure, Death's little sisters, Delirium and Despair, have thrown a party at her apartment for hell's escapees. But as the festivities get out of control, it falls on Death's black-clad shoulders to regain order and save the afterlife. Printed in black, white, and gray tones, this trade paperback weaves an eccentric tale of danger, romance, humor, and fun
Review:  This is a book vaguely tied into Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, with a different spin on it. It focuses on Death rather than Dream, and has a completely separate storyline. Lucifer abdicates and gives the key to Hell to Dream who doesn't particularly want it. And while Dream hears from rulers of other Underworlds as to why they should claim Hell and its inhabitants, said inhabitants leave. And end up in Death's apartment and at some point start having a party. The story is generally Death, with sisters Despair and Delirium, trying to work out how to send the  partyers back to Hell where they should be, and how she can save her carpet.
I read the Sandman series some time ago and didn't really get what the plot was(don't shoot me. I only read Preludes and Nocturnes and I don't get what happened. I'll review it another day...). However I read this and really enjoyed it.
It's a much lighter and easier to read take on the Endless. As well as Death, we also see a lot of Despair, Delirium and a bit of Desire(who looks too much like a feminine Elvis for me). It's a nice way of getting to know them.
The concept and plot was good. Any party that is literally from Hell is, by me, worth checking out. And it was done very well.
The sub plot of Dream and his old lover was interesting, another facet to the Sandman we didn't see in the first book. 
I like the way the mythologies were woven together-Lucifer having his domain, and then rulers of other underworlds having theirs, and when Lucifer leaves said other rulers can come and ask for the key. Sorry if this is hard to understand, but it was hard to explain. You'll have to read the book to understand what I mean.
The art was good. As I said, Desire looks too much like a feminine Elvis for me to like him, but the other character designs were good. I like the way Thompson put her own spin on the appearances of the characters while still keeping their distinguishing features, such as Death's ankh and eyeliner.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to something for fans of the Sandman comics and  anyone looking for a quick fun read.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Book Review: Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille

Title: Flame of Surrender
Author: Rhiannon Paille
Publisher: I don’t know sorry… : ( ((Edit: It's Coscom Entertainment))
Published: Not released yet (should be released 1 November)
Source: Sent by author
Warnings: Suggestive situation and profanity in the acknowledgements
Note: This book will is the first in The Ferryman and the Flame series. The next book is called Flame of Justice
Summary (from the .pdf we were sent. I don’t think it will turn up on the actual book): Krishani, the boy who follows death meets Kaliel, the girl who could cause the apocalypse. When the ferryman dies and the Valtanyana begin hunting the flames they have to choose, hide, face the enemy, or awaken.
Review: Krishani and Kaliel both want to escape the strict rules of society in Avristar. One fateful day they meet in a forbidden cave behind a waterfall and love strikes its deadly arrows in their hearts. A haunting prophecy from the Great Oak (the sacred tree that predicts what kind of life each person will lead) turns her world upside-down as she is sent to the city of Orlondir. Destiny once again twists her path as she is reunited with Krishani. Reptitive and hallowing

The Flame of Surrender is amazingly original and refreshing. Somehow, without going into a lot of detail, Rhiannon Paille has made Avristar vivid and colourful. I’ve no idea how she’s done this. Sadly it also means that sometimes you can’t understand everything that goes on. I don’t really understand how the land gives out love and I have a vague idea of what marring the land means. Also the years that got skipped out happened so quickly that I couldn’t really sense the time passing. dreams reveal to both of them that they are not like other people. Kaliel is a flame, a dangerous being that could cause the end of Avristar, sought after by the notorious Valtanyana, and Krishani is a Ferryman. Their love will destroy Avristar. Will they surrender to their fate and bring peace, or will they give into temptation and send the world into ruin?
The romance, in my opinion, was very well written: I could really feel how passionate those two were (I say this with no background on romance and without ever having being in a
relationship). I hope that later in the series that there will be a short one-sided love from Kuruny to Krishani because I think it would make the book more interesting. I like it when romances are tragically crushed in the name of the protagonist.
The characters have really been fleshed out well, Kaliel is a great character. I can understand Kaliel’s feelings about no one understanding her. Krishani is a bit (don’t take it the wrong way) strange in the way that does everything. He seems to think about only one thing, and doesn’t always think about the complications that doing this will cause or what he will do after that. I’m sure there are people out there who think like that, or that that stress just got to him, but it was quite peculiar. Pux is so sweet it’s a shame that he’s supposed to be really ugly. I love how casually he makes the sky turn pink. The tree would be really annoying if it wasn’t just a tree. It’s stuck up and self-righteous. But as it is tree I can’t really get angry at it. I kind of forgot the elders after a while because there was so many of them and there other minor characters as well. The creepy, all knowing people are awesome.

Rating: 5 Brilliant characters, plot and vast world which would be interesting to explore.

Saturday 24 September 2011

Book Review-Soul Thief/Forbidden by Jana Oliver

Title: Forbidden aka Soul Thief
 Author: Jana Oliver
Series:  The Demon Trappers #2
Published:  August 5th 2011 by Macmillan 
Length: 416 pages
Warnings: sex implied but fully skipped, romance, demons, violence
Other info: The first book is called Forsaken, aka The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. Book 3 has just had the cover released. Jana Oliver has also written the Time Rovers series.
Summary : Riley's beginning to think being a demon trapper isn't all it's cracked up to be. Her dad's been stolen by a necromancer, her boyfriend's gone all weird and she's getting warm and fuzzy feelings for someone who's seriously bad news. It's tempting to give it all up and try to be normal, but that's not an option. Because the demons have plans for Riley. And they're not the only ones.
Review: **Contains spoilers for book one, which I reviewed here**
As you may or may not remember, I reviewed Book 1, Forsaken or The Demon Trappers Daughter, some time ago(see here). I was excited to read the sequel, which is being reviewed today. So, I was hoping for good things from this.Which I got a lot of.
Riley Blackthorne is back. Her father has been taken and is still missing, boyfriend Simon has changed for the worse since he was almost carved up by a demon, dark mysterious guy Ori shows up more and more,  the Trapper's Guild is trying to blame Riley for the recent slaughter and the Hunters are trying to find proof that Riley made a deal with Hell. Riley could back out of it, but she can't really do that. So on with life she goes, with saving the world rather high on her to do list.
I enjoyed this. More than the first for some reason. Not sure why, but anyway.
True to Jana's word, we see more of Ori. A LOT more of Ori. Which is nice knowing that he does have a purpose than to flatter Riley. To start with, he seems a bit too stalkery. He's always there. But then he starts seeming a bit more important, and one of the things we HAVE to know in book 3 is his story.
The character development was good, as was the undevelopment of Riley and Simon's relationship. Simon's actions were completely unpredictable, and I really felt for Riley. And then she started having a relationship with Ori, which I know was the next logical step but I didn't really enjoy. I'll still ship Riley and Simon together. As long as Simon doesn't suddenly change his mind bed decide he does like Riley and Riley ends up the middle point of a full blown love triangle, I will be fine.
As always, love the tagline. It doesn't fit quite as well for Forbidden, probably because Riley has priorities other than trapping demons. However, it still makes me laugh.
Again, the third person POV was interesting, yet still managed to get Riley's attitude to life and everything going on in it across. It also means we get some scenes which aren't focused on Riley to break it all up now and again.
And as I said before, this ends on a  major cliffhanger on two facets of Riley's story.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to book two in a series that seems to be getting better and better. Can't wait for the third.

Friday 23 September 2011

Cover to Cover- Reveal of Forgiven!!

Just noticed the cover of Book 3 in the Demon Trappers series....


 I like the return of the model (I think it's the same looks like it...) and that tagline....I love. It's changed from the first two, which is good. It still looks like it's part of the series. And is still different. It's my favourite cover this series.

And I've just spent a post fangirling over just one cover....actually more the tagline. Still. Love this.
Normal service shall resume some other day.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Book Review: Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement Moore

Title: Texas Gothic
 Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Series:  N/A
Published:  12 July 2011
Length:416 pages
Other info: Clement-Moore has also written The Splendour Falls, and the Maggie Quinn series.
Summary : Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbour cowboy is in her face.
Review: Amaryllis Goodnight, aka Amy, comes from a family of witches. She grew up surrounded by potions, spells and her uncle's friendly ghost, and despite it all being harmless, Amy just wants to get to college without getting too involved in the family business. Then she and her sister Phin look after Aunt Hyacinth's ranch, where Amy is visited by a ghost with a message. The neighbours, the McCullochs, have land encompassing a grave. And when it's discovered, it seems  that there may just be ghosts that are disturbed, and aren't happy. Amy, Phin, many locals, and Ben McCulloch(the love interest of the book), investigate what's going on, and discover that there's a bit more to Texas than *insert texas stereotypes*.
I wouldn't say the cover is particularly amazing. It doesn't give much away, but the way the eye is bright green creates an interesting focal point. And the tagline doesn't give much away but makes you want to know why.
The start is funny, and a good hook to pull you in. By chapter five, we've met a ghost. Soon after we come across the grave, and the pace continues at a steady speed throughout.
The plot is different to what I normally get with books dealing with magic. It's a more modern take on it, with a protagonist that's easy to like and relate to.
Character comes acrossin the writing a lot. We really get the feeling of Amy being generally fed up of trying to be normal in a family that is anything but. We also get a good sense of her relationships with other characters, like her sisters, the excavation team and love interest Ben.
Ben, I never really liked, even when Amy warmed to him. His personality just seemed too annoying to like. But he was a somewhat important part, and this kind of worked with his function in the story.
I can't really see a sequel being written, because I can't see where the story would come from, but I would like to see more of the Goodnights, in particular Phin and Daisy. Maybe they'll get their own books one day.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a different look at witches and ghosts to what we're used to.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #24 Struck Compilation by Rhonda Stapleton

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:  Struck (Stupid Cupid, Flirting with Disaster, Pucker Up)
Author: Rhonda Stapleton
Release Date: 6 December 2011
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Felicity Walker believes in true love. That's why she applies for a gig at the matchmaking company Cupid's Hollow. But when Felicity gets the job, she learns that she isn't just a matchmaker...she's a cupid! (There's more than one of them, you know.)
Armed with a hot pink, tricked-out PDA infused with the latest in cupid magic (love arrows shot through email), Felicity works to meet her quota of successful matches. But the path to love is not always a straight shot...
Why I want it: Because this seems like a fun take on the cupid myth. I just love any kind of mythology with a spin on it. And I know that all three books are out separately, but....that’s just a pretty cover.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Book Review: Vampire Kisses, Blood Relatives vol 1 by Ellen Schreiber and Rem

Title: Vampire Kisses- Blood Relatives 1
Author: Ellen Schrieber. Art by Rem
Series:  Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives #1
Published:  1st October 2007 by Tokyopop
Length: 128 pages
Warnings: vampires, slight kissing
Other info: This is based on the Vampire Kisses series written by Ellen Schreiber, who has also written the Full Moon series. Rem has illustrated things, most recently the manga version of Gail Carriger's Soulless. 
Summary :The absolute last thing goth-girl Raven and her vampire boyfriend, Alexander, need is another hitch in their nighttime-only romance—but dark trouble hovers on the horizon when Raven and Alexander discover four freshly dug graves filled with empty coffins. When a crew of sketchy vampires takes up residence in Dullsville's lonely graveyard, Alexander finds this motley bunch led by his very own blood-sucking cousin, Claude Sterling. Shocking! Claude and his creepy crew can only spell out more problems for the pair, especially when Raven finds them in daylight in the very last place she could ever imagine. What could Claude and his invaders be doing—or searching for—in Dullsville?
Review:This is a spinoff to the fairly popular series Vampire Kisses, which features goth girl Raven and her vampire boyfriend Alexander. However it’s not a adaption of the novels, as Blood Relatives has a new storyline-Alexander’s cousin Claude has turned up in Dullsville (where they live) and has started looking for something. Exactly why is not known. However, judging by Alexander’s determination to stop him, the reason can’t be good.
The storyline’s ok. It’s not outstandingly good, or outstandingly bad. Same goes for the action that happens, because not that much happens. This is probably because it’s the first volume and therefore only really character introductions and scene setting and all that ever happens in manga volume 1. It may also be because of the length. You can’t fully have a story set up in 128 pages. Especially in manga, where it’s mainly pictures with a little text to explain it all. It doesn’t give quite enough room to pad everything out. And even if it does, it’s read and over far too quickly. There’s physically not enough in this book.
The characters are good. Raven can get on your nerves slightly, as can Alexander. But most people can after constant exposure. I.e. The first chapter features no-one but Raven and Alexander, except for a few panels at the end.
I like Rem’s art. Its in her own style, and the clothes are well designed. The character designs are also amazing- they’re exactly how I envisioned Raven and Alexander when I read the novels. Six of them I read, and there’s a few more I need to read. The clothes are also extremely detailed and pretty-I loved Raven’s wardrobe
I like the fact that the novels aren’t essential reading to enjoy this. There’s a double page spread introducing the characters we’d know from the novels, and the manga-only characters get introduced when they appear. Of course, reading the novels are a good way of adding a bit more character, but you could, I think, very easily read the manga without the novels. I say I think because I read the novels before I knew the manga existed. Oh well.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a quick light read that needs more to it than the 128 pages there is.

Monday 19 September 2011

Book Review: XVI by Julia Karr

Title: XVI
 Author: Julia Karr
Series:  XVI #1
Published:  6 January 2011
Length: 325 pages
Warnings: open discussion of sex, forced sexualisation of 16 year old females, slight kissing, violence
Source: Library
Summary : Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world-even the most predatory of men-that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past-one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer
Review: Nina lives in a world where, on their sixteenth birthday, every single girl is given a tattoo. XVI, on the wrist. Marking them as open season for sex. Most girls can't wait. Nina is not one of them. And then her world is turned upside-down. What she'd thought about her family proves to be wrong. Nina is determined to find out, and there turns out to be one boy who can: Sal. But this might be dangerous, and coming of age in Nina's world will be completely different to ours.
I had such high hopes for this. Not many, if any, focus on the sexualisation of young girls, something you can clearly see in todays society, and takes it to an extreme topic. Maybe because it's just a touchy subject, maybe because no-one thought to go there. But for whatever reason, the original concept of Julia Karr's we are given in the summary is amazing.
And then the futuristic world is taken to the extreme. In my opinion, this could be a  world with the same standard of technology and the like, but just with the tattoos. Or maybe they could have just slightly advanced. I don't know. I like the idea of the media being controlled by the government, because it's easy to see that media controls the people. But when I started reading, I wasn't prepared. Verts for adverts, and a whole bunch of new technology. A tier system which wasn't really explained and so you have to guess. All of this pushes the tattoos to the side, making them less important, giving them less of a role, than you'd think if they deserved to be the title of the book.
The mysteries that cropped up weren't too suprising, but it was fun seeing Nina tackle all these problems.
 My favourite character is Wei, the Creative who tattooed around her XVI and learns a martial art the government tried to ban. She's a very strong  character who does her own thing.
The pacing was ok. It wasn't particularly slow or fast;  it kept going at a pace that kept you interested but not a need to know what happens next.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book that, while somewhat good in its own way, is totally different to what you'd expect.

Book Review- Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Title: Tantalize
 Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Series:  Tantalize #1
Published:  13th February 2007
Length: 336 pages
Warnings: kissing, gore, vampires, violence
Source: library
Other info: Book 2, Eternal, and book 3, Blessed, are both out.

Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?
Review: Quincie Morris and her uncle remodel their restaurant with a new vampire theme. Then their much beloved chef is killed horribly-ripped apart by what looks like a savage beast. They hire a new chef, Henry, and they need to style him into the vampire chef of Sanguini’s. And Quincie falls a little bit in love with him. On top of this, Quincie’s boyfriend Kieren is a werewolf.
The plot was original. I love the idea of a vampire themed restaurant. If it were real, I’d want to go there. I like the way it all fits together was interesting, and  and the pacing was great-action starting in the first twenty pages. And then action carried on throughout, staying interesting till the last page.
Quincie is a very strong heroine, with a strong personality, she tackles the millions of things that life throws at her in a mature and determined way, even if it is somewhat unrealistic.  I didn’t really like Henry. His personality slowly grew on me, but he wasn’t extremely interesting. Kieren the werewolf was your typical over-protective boyfriend, but I liked him anyway. However, I don’t understand the prologue or how it was relevant. Prologue aside, I quite liked him.
I had problems with the revalation about ¾ of the way through-that almost every character we had met was ((insert spoiler. You’ll know if you’ve read this)). It was just a little “really? You too?” and was a bit annoying.
The characters were all fleshed out very well, including the minor characters. We got even got a good idea of the chef, even if he does die within the first 20 pages.
It was well written from Quincey’s point of view. We got a good view into her thoughts, her personality and history, all of which were very interesting.
Overall:  strength 4 tea to a very good vampire novel with just a few little annoying things.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Book Review- Ouran High School Host Club vol 1 by Bisco Hatori

Title: Ouran High School Host Club vol 1
 Author: Bisco Hatori
Series:  Ouran High School Host Club #1
Published:  5 July 2005
Length: 184 pages
Warnings: sexual situations (Viz rating)
Source: Library
Other info: Bisco Hatori has also written Millenium Snow, also published by Viz. OHSHC has been made into an anime and, recently, a live-action television series. The manga is    and spans    volumes.
Summary : One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the 'Host Club', a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it's there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.
Review: Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at Ouran High School, a school where money and linage determines how  school life is. One day, she searches for a quiet room to study in. Instead she finds the host club, six boys with nothing to do other than entertain the girls(who pay them). She then accidentally breaks a vase that cost $80,000. She has no way of paying the debt with money, so she ends up working for them as one of the boys-if she gets 100 customers, her debt is paid. She learns exactly how different life is for these rich guys, and the girls that they cater to, and possibly falls slightly in love along the way.
The concept isn’t that amazing, but it’s good enough to get a fairly large fanbase. The plot is interesting somewhat. In the first chapter, we get introductions to the Host Club, who all play up to some romantic stereotype: Tamaki, the leader of the host club, Kyoya, the smartish guy, Hikaru and Kaoru, the twins with an implied, played up, side relationship, Mori, the guy who’s almost silent all the time, and Hunny, the cute one who looks to be five but is one of the oldest of the group. We also get one of the customers, Ayanokoji, who doesn’t really like Haruhi and the fact that he/she is “common”. She tries to sabotage Haruhi’s school life, by doing things like dropping her books into the pond. She is eventually caught and thrown out, and Haruhi’s customer requirement is raised to 1000. Which will take her forever. In the other two chapters, we meet other characters, and things revolve around the events surrounding the host club.
It’s a very easy story to get into-light, not too much going on, nice characters, very funny in times. Tamaki’s character in particular. All of the host club have their own distinct personalities that make them sellable in the book and easy to distinguish for us. The comedy is the strong point here. It does die down at parts for more serious things, but the series is meant to be a comedy one, and it lives up well to this. However, some parts are played up to the point where it’s annoying.
The art is detailed and flowy in typical shojo style with quite a lot of flowers and typical girly motifs. The characters are easy to distinguish, apart from the twins(which, as they are identical, is probably the point). 
Sorry this has more been a detailed summary than a review. Not that much happens, but it’s good in the way that comedies are, in a completely different way to novels.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a manga series that is very easy to see why it’s taken off, and is recommended to anyone who wants a quick fluffy school-set romance.
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Saturday 17 September 2011

Introducing Kimberly Sabatini - Class of 2k12 #1

The Class of 2k12 is a group of authors whose debut young adult and middle grade fiction will be released in 2012. There should be a set of interviews coming over the next couple of months, to get them heard so you know what great releases will be coming.

Our first class member is Kimberly Sabatini!

Thursday 15 September 2011

Book Review- Quest of the Demon by M L Sawyer

Title: Quest of the Demon
 Author: M L Sawyer
Series:  Quest of the Demon #1
Published:   March 2011 by Equilibrium Books. Also found on Smashwords
Length: 277 pages
Warnings: Profanity-mild. Kissing-middle. Sea battle violence and semi graphic gore, attempted rape,
Source:  Author. Thank you very much.
Other info: This is the first in a series. Book 2, Tallen, should be out in December. 
Summary : Darci is a popular sixteen-year-old girl who plays basketball and lives in an ordinary country town. But her life is changed forever when she is accidentally transported to the land of Nahaba by a young apprentice wizard called Taslessian. 
Within hours of her unexpected arrival, both teens are thrust into a dangerous journey to the cave of Grisham the Great in the hope that he would be able to send her home.
Upon reaching the cave, however, Darci quickly discovers that there is no such thing as accidents, and that their journey is only just beginning.

Review: This gets off to a very quick start. Darci is accidentally zapped into a fantasy world within the first few pages. This is done by apprentice wizard Taslessian. However, being only a apprentice means that he doesn’t know how to send her back. And neither can his master. The only thing they can suggest is that they go find a greater wizard, such as a dragon. Said dragon says that there is nothing they can do about it as she has a greater purpose somewhere. Said purpose is to quest in order to find a way to defeat a demon, Demolish, who has come into the world and upset the magical balance. She can only get home if they succeed. And so with Taslessian,  and some others, Darci gets to fight to save the world as they know it.
As I said, a quick start. Then the action keeps coming and coming, hardly slowing down. It kept you interested and you had to be paying attention. At times the descriptions drag on a little too much, when you just want to find out what’s happening without going into too much detail. However, when the action was slightly slowed, the description was interesting. It’s interesting seeing it in third person, when it could easily have been written in first, a format we see more often in young adult, particularly non-realistic books.
Our protagonists are all very likeable. Lief and Taslessian were both incredibly nice, and the love triangle with Darci was somewhat stereotypical but nevertheless nice to see develop. We also got some good backstory, which we had to wait a long while for, thus answering questions we had about the characters. My favourite character is Defyance, the female warrior-especially the way she verbally spars with a dragon. And I loved the dragons too!
Something I didn’t quite get was the sense of time passing. I guess with all the action I didn’t realise the time passing. I only really noticed when it said that Darci’s hair had grown three inches and I was all like “three inches...that’s a lot....but hair grows slowly....THEY’VE REALLY BEEN THERE THAT LONG??”. It’s hard to believe that she was there for a long time.
The story progressed quickly, through all the stages of the typical fantasy book (normality, disturbance, find info, get going, progress, big fight, back to normal/cliffhanger). There was a good mix of action and fantasy, with the romance being only a side extra. The ending was absolutely amazing-a lot of action and a good showdown involving our five heroes, demon Demolish, and evil wizard Domati.
Overall: A great adventure fantasy series I really want to see more of, ie book 2 Tallen. Strength 4.  
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Author website + Trailer

And just for you, a discount code!!
If you want to go read this, for a limited time only, you can get 75% off the price! So from $4, it becomes $1. However much that is in English, I don't know. But I'm guessing it's cheap. Why not, considering it's a great book?

To get your discount, go to the smashwords site (click here)and at the checkout, enter discount codVU75D. As I said, this is for a limited time only, as it expires on 30th September 2011. So go and get your copies now!!

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #23 Undeadly by Michele Vail

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:  Undeadly
Author: Michele Vail
Release Date: February 28 2012
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: ((there isn’t one))
Why I want it: Because here Michele Vail mentions a sixteen year old reaper. The promise of a sixteen year old reaper does it for me without a proper summary.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Book Review: The Resistance by Gemma Malley

Title: The Resistance
 Author: Gemma Malley
Series:  The Declaration #2
Published:  2nd September 2008
Length: 323 pages
Warnings: violence, one quick reference to sex
Source: Library
Other info: The first book is The Declaration, which I reviewed here, and the third is The Legacy. Malley has also written The Returners, and her next book is The Killables.
Summary : The year is 2140. Having escaped the horrors of Grange Hall, Peter and Anna are living freely on the Outside, trying hard to lead normal lives, but unable to leave the terror of the Declaration—and their experiences as surpluses—completely behind them. Peter is determined to infiltrate Pharma Corporation, which claims to have a new drug in the works; "Longevity+" will not just stop the ravages of old age, it is rumoured to reverse the aging process. But what Peter and Anna discover behind the walls of Pharma is so nightmarish it makes the prison of their childhood seem like a sanctuary: for in order to supply Pharma with the building blocks for Longevity+, scientists will need to harvest it from the young. Shocking, controversial, and frighteningly topical, this sequel to Gemma Malley’s stellar debut novel, The Declaration, will take the conversation about ethics and science to the next level.
Review: We pick up a little after we left off at The Declaration, my review here . Anna has been made Legal, and is currently living happily with Peter and Ben. Then Peter joins his family business-which is Pincent Pharma, manufacturers of Longevity, the source of all the problems in Book 1. Meanwhile, Anna becomes involved in something that may be a bit more dangerous than she thought, and we meet Jude, Peter's half brother who's the reason for his being a surplus until one of his parents died. A good basis for a sequel to a very good book.
It was done very well too. We see a lot of different things happen which all cleverly intersect at various points in the novel, completely different to in book one but still exciting and relevant to Peter and Anna's world. It takes a lot of twists and turns in the plot; some of which you see coming, some of which you don't.
If you say that The Declaration was Anna's book and The Resistance is Peter's book, then Peter shows up a lot more in Anna's than Anna does in Peter's, which is a shame as I quite liked Anna. I hope that we see a bit more of Anna in book 3, The Legacy. I'd also like to see a bit more of Ben, the baby brother, because although he's not that important right now, somehow I feel as though he should be.
The writing again is in third person, with just the one diary entry from Anna this time. Which is a shame because, even though I shouldn't have expected any when Anna said her final entry in The Declaration,  I really enjoyed reading the diary entries.
It's interesting watching the characters develop a bit more, especially Jude, who starts off being very unlikeable but by the end was one of my favourite characters. I also really liked Dr Edwards, who I also didn't like very much, but has had a huge personality change by the time we're done with him.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a very good sequel that still keeps me wanting to read the final book in the trilogy.

Monday 12 September 2011

Cover to Cover- The Fairy Edition

This is somewhat late.....the new blogger thinks it's so smart, or I'm so stupid, that it needs to repair my already perfect HTML. Which totally messes it up. Took me ages to get it to work. And then it didn't save....what happened to the autosave? Another twenty minutes re-writing it. Almost wanted to give up.

 But Cover to Cover is back. And like last time, it's books from a specific genre and compared. And it's fairies, a semi--common feature in YA. And because I've read absolutely none of these books, I can simply give my opinions on the covers and not be influenced by the book. And so, on to the feature...
((Picture heavy))

Saturday 10 September 2011

Book Review: Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Title: Life as We Knew It
 Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Series:  Last Survivors #1
Published:  1st October 2006
Length: 337 pages
Warnings: kissing, suicide
Source: Library
Other info: The other two in the trilogy are The Dead and the Gone and The World We Live In.  Pfeffer has also written Portraits of Little Women and, more recently, Blood Wounds.
Summary : It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.
Review: Scientists say that an asteroid will hit the moon on Wednesday. Never mind though! Nothing will happen! Of course. Volcanoes and other natural disasters are set off when the moon is knocked off course. It's a fight for survival for Miranda and her family of two brothers, mum and long time family friend Mrs Nesbitt. Slowly, normality falls apart as electricity and school become things you can't depend on, you have no idea how your relatives are unless their names are read out on a list  of the dead, and the weather is even more unpredictable than usual. The entire book is a realistic(ish. No paranormal elements here. I say the ish because we don't know what would really happen in this situation. Yet.)survival story with a tiny bit of romance.
The setup is very good. We get a couple of days before the asteroid hits and  how everyone's hyped up(they think it'll be harmless), and then their increasing panic when they realise it's not, and so on.
Maybe our little family of survivors handled this a little too maturely. There's not much extreme panic on their part, and the fact they were thinking so clearly, all of them, was just slightly unrealistic. 
The rest of it was brilliant. It was told from Miranda's POV with diary entries, dated as they happen. I like the irregularity of the entries, which I think is a good way of showing that life could sometimes be really hectic or there were more important things to do. There's a lot of description in all parts, both of what is happening and of Miranda's feelings.
I like the way characters come and go for differen reasons, which is realistic. Does it make me a horrible person that I didn't particularly mind when the romance with Dan didn't work out? I saw it as just another going in Miranda's life, and also think that a lot of romance would    simply distract from the story.
The few characters we see through the majority of the book, I feel as though we get to know them all really well. The fact there was only a few of them worked well, and seeing the way they all reacted to one-another is a good way of getting closer to them.
Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a great survivor story that I really want to read more of

Thursday 8 September 2011

Book Review- King of Thorn vol 1 by Yuji Iwahara

Title: King of Thorn vol 1
 Author: Yuji Iwahara
Series:  King of Thorn #1
Published:  12 June 2007 by Tokyopop
Length:192 pages
Warnings: semi-graphic gore and violence
Summary : Twin sisters-separated by fate, drawn together by a horrific illness. Kasumi and her sister Shizuku were infected with the Medusa virus, which slowly turns the victims to stone-and there is no cure. Hope for salvation rests in Kasumi and a select few who are put into a cryorgenically frozen state until a cure is found. But Shizuku is left behind, and in the not too distant future, Kasumi awakes to find herself in an unfamiliar world with terrifying beings roaming the terrain. Resolving to unlock the mysteries of the disease and the fate of her twin sister, Kasumi struggles to survive in this treacherous world.
Review: Kasumi was infected with a virus called Medusa, an uncurable virus that turns its victim to stone. She is sent to be cryogenically frozen until a cure is found. Then she wakes up with thorns growing all around, and dinosaur-like creatures everywhere. The majority of the people waking up get eaten. She and a small group of survivors must work out what it takes to live in this new dangerous world. Kasumi is also looking for something else; her twin Shizuku who wasn't chosen to be frozen and saved. Kasumi now wants to know what became of her sister, which shouldn't be too difficult if they're in the near future. All this while slowly turning to stone.
The concept is very different to what I'd normally read. This is more an action/science fiction manga more than the romantic comedies I tend to read. So a bit different, but very good. The cover shows the main characters, a beast in the background, and a few thorns, without giving too much away.
The opening chapter happens very quickly, with the majority of the characters dying halfway through and a group of  survivors being established by the end. The rest of the book follows these survivors break out of the cryogenics centre, find somewhere to shelter, and uncover a few secrets regarding one of the character's backstories.
So yes, a lot happens. And it's happening throughout. The characters get a couple of pages to rest, then are thrown into another life or death situation.
The characters were interesting. They had very clear personalities, and stories could be worked out from looking at them and their actions. Which is good, as we aren't explicitly told exactly who they were. I found it interesting how we only get told three names-Kasumi, Shizuku and the tattooed guy, who's name and backstory would be a spoiler, so I won't include it. I'm still deciding whether the lack of names is good or bad.
The art is almost completely in black and white, the shading being done with lines varying distances from eachother, and very occasionally being done with screentone. The action scenes are fairly detailed, but leave a little to your imagination. Which, with the amount of action, is very good.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to an action manga series I'll definitely try and find the next volumes.
Links: | Goodreads

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #22 The Vanishing Game by Kat Kae Myers.... and a rant to anons

Welcome to Death Books and Tea

Now before we start, I’d just like to say something about the various comments we received yesterday.

To anon 1, the random guy, thank you very much for spending x amount of your life writing a very long winded complaint about this blog, in particularly my review of Angel Sanctuary, which is manga, which is fiction, which is something I hardly think is worth you ranting for longer than the review went on.  All points have been received and noted, and will not be acted upon. Maybe they’d be given slightly more weight if you had not felt the need to hide behind anonymity. Thank you for voicing your opinion.
To anon 2, erm...thank you?
To anon 3, you receive google alerts for this sort of thing? Ok.... I honestly have no idea what to say.
To all three of you, will you please take your swearing and hating on everyone else somewhere else?

To everyone else, I’m sure the majority of you are nice people. And I’m sure none of you feel the need to hide behind anonymity. The comments have now been deleted and I’m disabling anonymous comments (not sure why I didn’t from the start. Oh well). Because some people can’t be trusted not to be cowardly and flame everyone else. Thank you for putting up with me. Now onto the fun....
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:  The Vanishing Game
Author: Kate Kae Myers
Release Date: 14 February 2012
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.
But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

Why I want it: Foster homes? Mystery? Cryptic letters? Houses with dark powers? Stalkers? A shocking twist? Excellent. And the cover is very good too.

What are YOU waiting on this week?