Tuesday 28 February 2012

Book Review- The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Title: The Catastrophic History of You and Me
 Author: Jess Rothenberg
Series:  N/A
Published:  21 February 2012
Length: 400 pages
Warnings: 12+
Source: Spinebreakers
Other info: This is Jess' first novel.
Summary : BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally. But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after. With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?
Review:When her "boyfriend" tells her he doesn't love her, Brie's heart breaks. Splits clean in two, without explanation. From then on, Brie has to get used to being dead, navigate the Afterlife, and think how best to get her own back on the boy that broke her heart.
It was a very stop-start getting interested in this book. The title and cover, at first, said no. Then the blurb "death by heartbreak...my heart split in two" said yes. And the rest of the blurb said maybe. But, I eventally put it onto my to-read list and so when I got offered it,  I had to say yes.
It's very easy to get into. This is definitely one of the lighter looks at life and death, with a huge dollop of romance to help move it along. 
There's quite a lot of little subplots, little things to keep you interested in what's happening. What's happening to the family after Brie dies. What happens to the best friends. What happens about Jacob, the boy who indirectly kills her. How Brie will sort them out. Who Patrick is. What his motives are. What Larkin does not. Many many things happen that just keep the story moving along and being interesting.
Brie, you definitely end up quite attached to once you finish the novel. As we were going along, you're interested in her, wanting to see what happens and has happened to her, but its by the end, you really properly like her. At least I found that.
I found it quite hard to understand how Brie and Patrick were perceived during their trips to the living. Because the dog can sense them, and they are solid enough to trip someone over and urdua phone, but living humans can't sense them. This is normal in ghost stories, but then there was a short scene in an ambulance that threw me out. 
An actual plot doesn't start to be built for a long time. While it's interesting seeing Brie's catastrophic history and future, the first half seems like it's just her looking at life and how it's moved on without her. The second half builds up a bit more, meaning there's actually some problems for her to face. Rather big problems. That could be the difference between someone living and dying. I love the chapter titles as song lyrics and the fact it's split up into the stages of grief. It's an original way of doing things, but it really fits with the book.
The ending is definitely more interesting than the beginning.
I like the way that everything was tied up neatly by the end of the novel. All the little plotlines were completed some way or another, giving full explanations for everything that happened.
With the ending as it is, I don't think there's room for a sequel. But I definitely want to see more from Jess. 
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a light hearted ghost story with a lot of romance built in. Just maybe not the kind of romance that you expect from the summary.

Monday 27 February 2012

Book Review- Halflings by Heather Burch

Title: Halflings
 Author: Heather Burch
Series:  Halflings #1
Published:  February 1 2012 by Zondervan Publishing
Length: 228 pages
Warnings: Angels, demons, romance 13+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: This is Heather’s debut novel. There is an ebook prequel, 11:15, The Making of a Halfling, and the sequel Guardian should come in September.
Summary : After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with. A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.
Review: This gets off to a very quick start. We meet Nikki, who is being attacked by wolves. Or something. Then we get to a group of boys, Mace, Raven and Vine, who are actually Halflings- beings with one human and one angelic parent. Nikki is being drawn into a world that she didn’t know existed, where she has a bigger role than she thought.
It’s a very quick read. The chasing at the beginning definitely drew me in, and was a fast start for  something that could be great to come. The idea of Halflings is also quickly introduced. So far, so good.
The beginning-middle bit, I found to generally be quite slow. I didn’t really understand why all these things were happening, what the point to them were, and how it fit in with the start.  It picks up again when we meet Damon, who turns out to have a bigger part later on in the book.
There’s a bit in the middle that I didn’t really like. Why? It was a Twilight-style confrontational scene “I know what you are”. I don’t think it was really that necessary, it was a slight rip-off, and we could have learnt more about the angel-lore in Halflings in  another way.
The angel-lore itself was quite good. it’s not too different from what we get in other novels, but it was still interesting.  The romance, well, most of it was in the middle, so I turned off for that.
The ending definitely picks up. A lot.   I won’t say what happens, because that might spoil it, but if you get past the slow middle section, you’ll enjoy it.
Nikki is a strong character at times, and at others, slightly annoying. We get a good sense of her character without seeing too much of her, and when she wasn’t being all Bella-Swan-ny, I quite liked her.
The action scenes were definitely the best thing about Halflings. Not only was something actually happening, they were well written and interesting.
I’ve read 11:15, which would get 3/5 too, and would like to read Guardian, but I’m not overly wild about it.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea of a somewhat confusing and boring book, but with enough good parts to  keep me interested and give it this rating.

Cover Reveal- Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas

LUMINOSITY (Luminosity, #1) by Stephanie Thomas (September 11, 2012) B

Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas will be published by Entangled Publishing on 11 September 2012. From the summary, it definitely seems like something I'll enjoy.

"My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since. The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me. But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win."

Preorder from Amazon

Sunday 26 February 2012

Weekly Round Up #7

Hi everyone...Yep, another weekly round up. I'm actually partially amazed I've remembered to do this for seven weeks on the trot, considering my organisational skills. Anyway, onwards....

Here’s what I got!
  • From Netgalley, Pure by  Julianna Baggot and Talisman of El by Alecia Stone
  • From Beth at Page Turner, Entangled by Cat Clarke and Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
  • From Kate at Kate’s Book Life, Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan.
  • From Amazon (bought before Wednesday) Hollow Pike by James Dawson
  • From library, Touch by Jus Accardo (Which I've finished and loved)

Here’s some other books I’ve found
  • A Class Apart, Class Heroes #1 by Stephen Henning (goodreads). “Teenage twins James and Samantha Blake are caught up in a seemingly random terrorist bombing while on a school trip. Many of their friends are killed. When the twins wake up in hospital, their lives have changed forever.  Will James and Sam be able to survive the nightmare into which they have been plunged? Who, or what, is behind the murders at the hospital? And was that terrorist incident quite so random after all?” Random killings and terrorism and special powers? Well, that definitely seems interesting.
  • What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang. (goodreads) Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart? When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind… Two souls in one body? Wow, that’s a really good premises. Love the idea and can’t wait to read this.
  • When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle. (goodreads)“Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her--and when he finally does, it's perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn't even stand a chance. Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet's instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob's heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.” If you know me, you know how much I love retellings. And this one looks really interesting.

Here’s what’s going on around the book-y world!
  • Strange Chemistry has a list of what they like to see when they get a manuscript! Very helpful...take note if you want to get published!
  • Cover reveal for a few books!  Glass Heart by Amy Garvey, Taste by Kate Evangelista, Streamline by Jennifer Lane and Shadow and Bone by  Leigh Bardugo.
     Glass Heart  Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
  • Not strictly book related, but Blogger has introduced a new Captcha system. That is impossible to pass. My policy? If you have Captcha turned off, you are awesome. If you have Captcha turned on, then I will have two goes at dechipering it. If I can't get it from that, I'm leaving your blog without a comment. And seeing as this new Captcha is ridiculously hard, it's more likely I'm leaving. So please, turn it off.  How do I turn off Captcha?? - Blogger Help

Here’s what’s going on at Death Books and Tea
  • Er, well, we turned one! There's two international giveaways you can enter, both of which are easy to enter and don't require too much thought, so, yeah. Go enter. ^^
  • I've got more of my bookclub on Goodreads! 
  • I've given up book buying for Lent. With the exception of the week in France. I can buy any book in the French language that I want. And to make up for it, the week after Easter I won’t be buying anything either. I also won’t be making my library buy anything during this time either. Go me. Not that I’ll be short of stuff to read. *looks at kindle and pile on shelf*
Random fact: I'm sure I've missed a lot of news. Remember, if you have anything you want advertised on this weekly round up, providing it's legal/relevant, email us and we'll put something up.

Enjoy your week, everyone. 

Saturday 25 February 2012

Book Review- The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

Title: The Bookman
The Bookman (The Bookman Histories, #1) Author: Lavie Tidhar
Series:  The Bookman Histories #1
Published:  7 Jan 2010 by Angry Robot
Length: 416 pages
Warnings: violence 13+
Other info: The others in this series are called Camera Obscura and The Great Game.
Summary : A masked terrorist has brought London to its knees -- there are bombs inside books, and nobody knows which ones. On the day of the launch of the first expedition to Mars, by giant cannon, he outdoes himself with an audacious attack. For young poet Orphan, trapped in the screaming audience, it seems his destiny is entwined with that of the shadowy terrorist, but how? Like a steam-powered take on V for Vendetta, rich with satire and slashed through with automatons, giant lizards, pirates, airships and wild adventure, The Bookman is the first of a series. File under: Steampunk, Serial killer, Alternate Victorian London, Exploding Book,  Historical Crime
Review: Orphan is a lizard boy, living in London. One night, his girlfriend Lucy is killed by a bomb, planted by the Bookman. Understandably, Orphan is upset, and therefore he sets out on a quest to find the truth. said quest takes him pretty much everywhere, and he ends up learning a lot more than he thought he would along the way.
The blurb does give quite a lot of where he goes on this quest away, which isn’t something I really like. But still, it was a fun ride, seeing what he’d learn on each of the stops. Something new happens at pretty much every turn, so there’s always something you want to find out.
Orphan was very different from how I had expected when I read the blurb, looked at the cover, and decided to read this. This is because no-where gave the hint about his being a lizard boy. It was an interesting facet of his character, which I got used to quicker than I thought I would.
I love the mix of characters in this. There are real-life (well, dead now) authors, actors and other people,  and yet some rather prominent figures, such as the Prime Minister and a police inspector, are well-known fictional characters, in this case, James Moriarty and Irene Adler. Oh, and the royalty are also lizards. Points for that.
I really liked Orphan, but I never felt that close to him for some reason. Maybe it’s his being a lizard, or being male. I don’t know.
At the beginning of each chapter is a relevant quote from all sorts of literature. There’s some from poems, some from short stories, and some from essays(I think). These were an interesting addition, which added a little something to each chapter.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a good mix of all kinds of things, rolled into adventure in an alternative Victorian age.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Death Books and Tea turns ONE!!! International Giveaways ahead...

Ok, well technically, we turned one YESTERDAY. But all we did that first day, was a little welcome post that I don't really think counted. Our first review, of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, was posted a year ago today, and so that's why we're saying it's here.

So, yay! We've done quite well... actually did a whole load of stuff. Kept up with our reviews (kind of), kept up with our tea (also kind of...want a tea party any time soon?), and made a few friends (Cait, Bella, Liz, Raimy and others) along the way! It's been so much easier and everyone's so much nicer than we thought they would be.

Anyway...to celebrate, we're having a giveaway! It's international (well, wherever The Book Depository ships, which is pretty much worldwide), and the prize is... Choice of books up to £12. Which, due to cheap prices, should be enough for two books! Or one really expensive book. The only rule is that one of them must have been featured on Death Books and Tea, either by cover features, Waiting on Wednesdays, or reviews. The other one(s, if you can find a great bargain) can be anything you like. You must be 13 or over, live somewhere where The Book Depository ships, and the giveaway ends in three weeks, on 15 March.

Enter with the rafflecopter form below...

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #35 Pods by Michelle Pickett + Other stuff...

PODsOh, before we start, I’d like to say thank you to those who entered the Witchblood giveaway! The winner was Tamara! Email will be sent once I’ve sorted it all out with Emma.  Thank you to all that entered... And onwards...

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:  Pods
Author:  Michelle K Pickett
Release Date: 1 June 2013
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it’s in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it’s a balm for the broken soul.  After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That’s the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters. 
Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

Why I want it:  The whole idea to it is really cool.  And the monsters look interesting.... The only problem? The ridiculously long wait.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Some other things....

I’m giving up book buying for Lent. Kind of. Apart from my week in France. I can buy any book in the French language that I want. I can also buy books for other people (think giveaway winners), provided I don’t get to read them myself. And to make up for the week in France, the week after Easter I won’t be buying anything either. I also won’t be making my library buy anything during this time either. Go me. Not that I’ll be short of stuff to read. *looks at kindle and pile on shelf*...

And... tomorrow is my blogoversary!  Two international giveaways running....check back!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Book Review- The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday

The Dead Kid Detective AgencyTitle: The Dead Kid Detective Agency
 Author: Even Munday
Series:  The Dead Kid Detective Agency #1
Published:  September 1 2011
Length: 320 pages
Warnings: Comical fantasy mild threat 9+
Source: Netgalley
Summary: Thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is new in town; short on friends and the child of a clinically depressed science teacher, she spends her free time in the Sticksville Cemetery and so when beloved French teacher dies in a suspicious car accident, it provides the agency with its first bona fide case, putting them in the midst of a murder plot thick with car chases, cafeteria fights, and sociopathic math teachers, and sending them on an adventure that might just uncover the truth about a bomb that exploded 40 years ago.
Review: October Scwartz has moved to Sticksville and knows absolutely nobody. The year is set to be a boring one for an outcast like her...and then her favourite French teacher, Mr O Shea, mysteriously dies. Is killed. Mulling over the mystery while in the local graveyard, somehow she summons up a group of child-ghosts. After a bit of conversation,  these dead children agree to, while they still walk on earth i.e. for the next month, have a go at helping October find the killer.
This is a typical mystery for the younger audience, with a few paranormal elements on the side. The plot isn’t the most complex of things, but is still fun to watch develop and go along with.
It’s often hard to believe that October is only thirteen. Sometimes she seems much more mature, and sometimes she seems so much younger. It’s actually quite hard to place her age, if you aren’t explicitly told. Or maybe it’s just me.
The pacing was alright. At the start, I couldn’t see where any of it was going. About a third of a way through though, we had a mystery built and the detectives had been introduced. From then on, it’s fun and a good ride. It didn’t keep me especially hooked though. I could put it down without feeling bad about it.
I’d like to say I enjoyed the writing, but I didn't. While there were the occasional comments aimed directly at you, something I quite like, especially when they’re witty, like they were in The Dead Kid Detective Agency, there were many chapters where my understanding was non-existant. Why? The switching perspective. Now, I’m all for multiple points of view. When you are clear on who is speaking. Switching perspectives halfway through a chapter, or once, a sentence? No, no no.
Despite this, I liked this, and the originality it brings to the younger readers’ market.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a fun paranormal mystery for the younger readers.

Monday 20 February 2012

Book Review- Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)Title: Blood Red Road
 Author: Moira Young
Series:   Dust Lands #1
Published:  June 2011 by Marion Lloyd, Simon & Schuster
Length: 492 pages
Warnings: Violence, (fictional) drugs, slight romance 12+
Source: Library
Other info: This is Moira’s debut novel. The sequel, to be published later this year, is called Rebel Heart.
Summary : In a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba has been brought up in isolated Silverlake. She never sees the dangers of the destructive society outside. When her twin brother is snatched by mysterious black-robed riders, she sets outon an epic quest to rescue him. The story's searing pace, its spare style, the excitement of its fabulously damaged world, its unforgettably vivid characters, its violent action and glorious lovestory make this a truly sensational YA debut novel.
Review: Saba has lived in the Dustlands ever since she was born, and nothing out of the ordinary has ever happened. Until she is eighteen, when her brother is stolen away by men who appear out of a dustcloud and have been waiting for him ever since they were born. Saba is determined to get Lugh back and sets out on a quest with her sister Emmi, her crow Nero and a group of people she meets along the way. Nothing will stop her from getting him back.
I was initially put off this book by the writing style. There is a clear lack of conventional spelling and punctuation: the word “and” being replaced by “an”, an “ing” at the end of a word having its “g” lopped off, “says” being continually used with “I” and no speechmarks to be found throughout, initially made me think “I can not be bothered right now to put this into something I can understand”, but I got used to all of it surprisingly quickly. It gave Saba a really unique voice, and a personality of her own.
The plot starts out with something quite typical for an action story-giving a reason for  a quest, then going off and doing it. Some things were really predictable though. The variety of places she gets to is huge. My favourite, because I think it’s the best imagined, is the cage fights. All of them are quite well imagined, with the Dustlands becoming a real world to me.
I never really cared for Jack. Or any of the minor characters. While I did enjoy reading about them, all that really mattered to me was Saba and Emmi. Saba goes through a lot, so most of my care-for-characters-quote was used up on her.
The pacing meant something was always happening, no matter where you were in the novel. It also meant that there wasn’t really many convenient places to put it down. Well, there were. But you just didn’t want to put it down. You wanted to read on and on and see what happened.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a fast paced action filled novel. Can’t wait to see how the next one will turn out.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Weekly Round-up #6

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3)It’s been a fairly slow week in terms of getting stuff...but considering my TBR pile, I think that’s a good thing. I was quite well behaved in the library. Which had tonnes of stuff I quite wanted. So I didn’t get ANYTHING! And so the only thing I got this week was a pretty review copy of Forgiven by Jana Oliver, from the  publishers.

Foretold (The Demon Trappers, #4)And in terms of things that have been happening....

  •  It’s been announced that there will be a fourth in the Demon Trappers series! It's called Foretold, it will be here in August (not long!)  and it already has a pretty cover! 
  • The giveaway's still open! Enter to win Witchblood by Emma Mills-it's a great book for anyone who likes romance and vampires-and let's face it, who doesn't in some form or another?
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (the film) has a trailer! I'm definitely excited about the film, and can't wait to see it. And I definitely need to get hold of the book sometime soon.You can see the trailer here.
  • There's a Goodreads contest to win Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (What is it with authors with the surname Oliver today?). It's US only, but to any of you out there, why not have a go?
  • There's a whole group of kindle books (UK), such as Vamplayers by Rusty Fischer, a prequel to Halflings (review of Halflings coming soon)  by Heather Burch, Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher,  that are FREE! 
  • I had a go at updating the design. I think it looks a bit cleaner, and a little easier to read. Tell me what you think. 
  • It's BIRTHDAY WEEK.  Well, not exactly. Raimy's blog  turned one a few weeks ago, (I forgot to mention it, but the giveaway's still open-find it here), Cait's will turn one on Tuesday and Death Books and Tea will turn on on Thursday! Keep checking back for birthday celebrations!  And spread the word! 

And I'm guessing there's a lot more that's been going on... Remember, drop me a line if you want something mentioned here.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Book Review- Katana by Cole Gibsen

Title: Katana
 Author: Cole Gibsen
Series:  None
To be Published: 8 March 2012 by Flux  
Length:  384 pages
Warnings: fantasy violence, mild realistic violence 13+
Source: Netgalley
Summary : Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.

Review: Rileigh Martin is your average seventeen year old skater girl. Who manages to fight off three muggers when they attack her one night. She doens't know where she got the strength from, or who the voice in her head that was guiding her through the fight was, or why she's so good with a sword, o why she gets strange dreams of Japan. But then she meets Kim, who explains that he, she, and a few others, are reincarnated samurai. Kim and Rileigh (aka Yoshido and Senshi) were killed the first time after being betrayed, and now their enemy is also in his new form, ready to come after them.
Being interested in Japan, this was defiinitely one that U wanted to read. History and modenr times clashing is always fun and something I'm upo for reading. the coer is well designed, with a woman in modern clothes holding a rather sharp looking blade, and being surrounded by traditional cherry blossom falling.
We first meet Rileigh with her best friend Quentin outside a shopping centre, and being totally normal. Strange things happen wuite quickly, and we soon learn of Rileigh's true nature.
I love the flashbacks to 15th century Japan. It's the only way to get Senshi's story, and while it may have been interesting to see it done another way, I can't actually imagine it being useful, approrpriate or done as well in another format. Contradictory. From said falshbacks, we get a good idea of period-Japan, as well as moving on the story, due to the flashbacks and the content being relavent to the modern-day events.
Character development-if you can't call finding out you're a reincarnated samurai and then having to deal with everything that comes with the soul awakening carachter development, then I;m not sue what you can.
 Rilieigh takes this all in belivable way, without being overly annoying, as you could have got wit this kind of hting.
I would have preferred to have a little more focus on Rileigh/Senshi's awakening, without the romance between Rileigh and Kim. But I suppose, if Senshi and Yoshida were together, then it amkes sense to include it. But it's fallen into the "Girl meets boy. Girl hates boy. Girl ends up with boy happily" trap, which I don't ever like.
I would like to know more about Michelle. Braden, Drew and their past lives too. I know they're not the focus, but I love knowing more about minor characters.
The other part of the main story (Zeami, Senshi's old enemy following her into her new life and wanting her dead here as well) was very good, and we get a big showdown with closure on all levels, and affirmation of Rileigh's powers.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that drew me in from the start and kept me there.

Friday 17 February 2012

Cover to ...er, poster- Book to Film

So...yesterday, I went and saw the Woman in Black. Amazing film. Even if I did find the reactions of fellow cinema-goers slightly more interesting than the film itself. And the ending...it shouldn't have been that way! Arthur doesn't die in the book! And he wasn't married! *insert my normal rambling about how the filmmakers totally messed with the book*.

Anyway, here I'm doing cover to cover, with books that have been/will be made into films, and a poster produced. Because a poster is essentially the cover of the film. I did a similar one a while back, but this time, I'm not just looking for the ones that are worse after.
And onwards...Pre-film book cover on the left, poster for the film on the right. And because I'm actually awake for a change, I'm actually focusing on book-to-film adaptations of 2011/2012.

Please leave a comment on what you think of these, and don't forget-international giveaway of Emma Mill's Witchblood!

Thursday 16 February 2012

Book review- Empire State by Adam Christopher

Title: Empire State
 Author: Adam Christopher
Series:  N/A, for the time being
Published:  5 January 2012
Length: 445 pages
Warnings:  profanity, violence 14+
Source: Angry Robot Army
Other info: This is Adam Christopher’s debut novel. There is also a worldbuilder thing that you can find here, where you can play around with the characters, and have fun with.
Summary : The stunning superhero-noir fantasy thriller set in the other New York.  It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.  When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist. 

Review: it’s New York, and Rad Bradley is a private detective working to survive, as you do. Then he gets assigned a missing person case, and he is pulled into parallel worlds, the future, and many other places he’d rather not be. The aforementioned Parallel World is the Empire State, a very twisted Manhattan. Things will never be the same for Rad again...
It took me quite a bit of trying to get into this. Maybe it didn’t help that I started it while in the bar area of the Hammersmith Apollo while whoever was opening for Thin Lizzy was playing. But still, I should have been able to get into this. But it just left me quite confused. I didn’t really understand the whole thing concerning the superheroes, ie the Science Pirate and the Skyguard. This does get resolved alter with explanations, but it would have been nice to pick up quicker. The general world building, even of “normal” New York, wasn’t very good at all.
I also couldn’t really imagine Rad or Rex. Not good when these are the two major characters. This meant I couldn’t really visualise lots of things happening, and some things that I could, I just wasn’t sure if I was getting the right idea of those things.
Some things I did get though. The four worlds in this book are  20/30s New York (is writing a few days after reading and has forgotten fine details), 50s New York, the Empire State and the Space Beyond. All of these were well imagined and fit together neatly, even if it is very confusing to start with.
 And we never get any explanation of why the superheroes exist. That I understood. Don’t like that. I did like the time travel elements.
It’s a very slow start. The first third, I wasn’t sure why I was carrying on reading this, aside from just hoping that something would happen. Luckily, a mystery is built in time for me to stay hooked, developing further on in the book, and it definitely picks up further on in the novel.

Overall:  Strength 2 tea to a promising and actionfilled, but confusing book. If you really do enjoy sci-fi/reading about Manhattan, then you should read this. Otherwise, maybe give this a miss.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Book review + GIVEAWAY - Witchblood by Emma Mills

WitchbloodTitle: Witchblood  
 Author:  Emma Mills
Series:  Witchblood #1
Published:   9 January 2011
Length: Recieved as e-book, so no idea. Less than 75000 words though. 
Warnings: Vampires, supernatural beings, drink and drug references, violence 13+
Source:  Author, as part of book tour
Other info: Emma lives in Manchester
Summary : When Jess steals a glance at a gorgeous guy in a Manchester nightclub, little does she realise how he is going to change her life…or should that be death? Yet, the vampire clan could never have predicted what they were taking on.
With Luke pronounced ‘off-limits’ and the blood of a vampire simmering in Jess’s body, can she forget the love of her life and move on? If not, she will risk exposing the entire Northern vampire clan to untold dangers, in order to live her life the way she wants.
Can Jess be sure that Luke is all he appears to be? Will she succumb to the attraction she desperately tries not to feel for Daniel? And why does she still crave a packet of crisps more than a tasty teenage boy’s blood?
Review: Jessica is violently attacked by a girl gang, and is then left for dead.  But somehow she is saved. Turns out she's become a vampire, under the care of Daniel and Eva. She has to learn how to deal with her new found status, her place in Vampire society, and of course the new diet. But as well as the powers that come with being a vampire, she has others. She's also a witch, somehow, with no way of formally learning to control these powers. And there may be more to this than she thinks...
This is a book set in England! Yay! Sorry, I just like books set in England, because I can relate a bit more, and understand a few more cultural references and so on. The concept was interesting, and could have gone either terribly, or well. Luckily, this one went the latter way.
From the start, I was hooked. I was promised it would be a quick read owing to the fact it's quite short. But it's not just that. Jessica's narration and the amount of stuff that actually happens mean you can easily speed through it, and still get a good idea of everything that's happening.
The characterisation was good. The older vampires seem to have adjusted well to modern life, and Jessica is adjusting to existance as a vampire as well as you'd expect.
The romance between Jessica and Daniel was inevitable, but quite nice to watch develop. And then there was the introduction of a kind of love triangle, which was also inevitable but I personally could have done without. Nothing against this book in particular, it's just I can do without love triangles in everything.
The final revelation about Luke was quite unexpected, and it made me wish we'd seen a little more of him throughout the bulk of the book  to properly get to know him.
I think that Eva was my favourite character. The way she handled things, and the fact that she survived the French Revolution just made me like her.
Of the supernaturals in this, I have to say that I like the vampires best. That is only because the other two races don't get enough coverage. But I'm sure that I'll love the witches once we get to know them.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a quick read which is setting the stage for some really amazing things to come. Can't wait for the sequel, Witchcraft.

And now for a giveaway.....

Emma Mills has very kindly said she'll give one lucky winner a free copy of Witchblood.

It'll be a PDF, .epub or kindle file, and is therefore open internationally.
Giveaway open to anyone over 13, or under 13 with parent's permission.
Giveaway closes 21 February 2011, 2359 GMT
Following DB&T is not required (but is nice), but follow Emma's blog for an extra entry (+1)
Spreading the word would also be nice.  for +2 entries, and leave link to tweet in comment.

To enter, leave a comment with your total amount of entries blog address, or some other way to comment, such as  broken email (like deathbooksandtea at gmail dot com).

Good luck xxx

Monday 13 February 2012

Book Review- The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

The Iron WitchTitle: The Iron Witch
 Author: Karen Mahoney
Series:  The Iron Witch #1
Published:  February 2011 by Flux. January 2011 by Corgi
Length: 312 pages
Warnings: fantasy violence, 12+
Source: Library
Other info: The sequel,  The Wood Queen, came out recently. The Stone Demon should come next year.
Summary :  Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.
When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.
Review: Donna Underwood has iron tattoos over her hands and arms. Because of some magical thing has been performed, these give her supernatural strength. And now Wood Elves from the Land of Faerie are coming and Donna has to make a big, big choice.
We first find out that Donna’s father is dcead, and that Donna suffers from nightmares that may or may not shed light on how he died. It then switches perspective, to third person, and a party which her friend Navin forces Donna to. There she meets Xan, a mysterious boy with something not quite right about him. Then various things happen, involving alchemy, and faeries, and Donna has to choice between saving her best friend, or handing over something priceless.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was given this to read. So I just read it with an open mind.
Donna was your typical outcast heroine, with the very untypical tattoos that mark her as different, make her inhumanely strong and have given her many many questions. Xan, well, he wasn’t the normal love interest, taking into account the fact that he is, er, not entirely human,  but he didn’t really capture my attention.
The plot developed at a nice pace, but the third person narrative didn’t work as well as it does in some books. I just didn’t connect at all with Donna, which would have been nice. It definitely picked up the more it went on, so if you can get past the first third, you’ll be alright.
The mix of paranormal things in this was great. Faeries and alchemists, well, they’re only the start of it.  It’s also an unusal mix, but I loved it, because it’s different and new. I can’t wait to see if there’ll be any more creatures cropping up in later books. I also wish that the alchemy had gotten a little bit more prominence.
I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but the thing I lilked most was the author’s note. Seeing where Karen Mahoney got her inspiration from was fascinating, and it made me think about different mythologies that I’ve not really read or heard of.  It’s added a lot to the list of things I should look up some day.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a nice blend of magic and alchemy that you should read if you’re a fan of this kind of stuff.   
Links: | Goodreads | Author website

Sunday 12 February 2012

Weekly Round Up #5

Kind of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, but with some other bits thrown in too.

I think we can say, in terms of blogging, this has been slow, but in terms of getting stuff...well, I got a lot this week.  Let's see....

Well, there's what can only be described as pure awesomeness from Stephanie at Stepping Out of the Page.  Bookmarks, Potter postcards, and a pretty bracelet? THANK YOU STEPHANIE.

Then there's the stuff from authors and publishers and so on.  Big thanks to Andrew Carlson, who sent me a copy of Sue's Vision (the sequel to Sue's Fingerprints, which earnt strength 5 tea-review here!), to Spinebreakers who sent me a copy of The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, and to Faber and Faber who sent me a copy of The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith.

And finally, there's my library stash. Which was originally just Ashes, by Isla J Bick. And then I went to Winchester Discovery Centre. And I just had to pick up Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday,  Intertwined by Gena Showalter, and Crossing Overr by Anna Kendall. Well, I didn't have to. I did.

I think we can safely say, I won't be bored this half term.

And in news....

The blog tour for Witchblood by Emma Mills is coming by on Tuesday (aka Valentines Day. But we don't celebrate that here), so expect a review and a giveaway!

Strange Chemistry have signed Jonathan L Howard! Katya's World looks really interesting....

I got my book club hooked on Goodreads! Well, just the librarian and The Squeaky One, but still....now they know! And my librarian is campaigning to get Goodreads accessible from school.... I can see that working. Not.

I have a poll up in the top left hand corner. It's about what I should be posting, because I sometimes get totally stuck for ideas. So, if you could please just tell me what you want to be seeing here, it would be much appreciated. Thanks.

WE'VE BEEN BLOGGING FOR NEARLY A YEAR. I can't believe it either....  Well, on the blogoversary, there'll be a big, international giveaway. Or maybe more. But, please spread the word that Death Books and Tea's blogoversary will (hopefully) be awesome.

That's all. Enjoy life xxx.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Book Review- 0.4 by Mike Lancaster

0.4Title: 0.4
 Author: Mike Lancaster
Series:  None, but there is a book coming up called 1.4 which I think may be related.
Published:  3 January 2011 by Egmont
Length: 272 pages
Warnings: Clean, 11 +
Source: School library
Other info: This is also known as Human.4. according to Goodreads, Mike is writing another book called 1.4, which I am assuming runs on from this, or is at least in the same universe. But I’m not sure.
Summary : Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit. Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister? Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.
Review: Kyle Straker is being hypnotised by his best friend when something happens. Exactly what, we don't know. But everyone bar him and three others is acting weirdly-totally ignoring them, and seeming just a little bit different. He doesn't know how, or why, this has happened. All he knows is... well, nothing. And it's up to him, Lilly, and two other adults to find out what has happened, and if anything can be done about the whole situation.
Intriguing premises, definitely. Even more intriguing when you see the blurb to the UK edition, which mentions almost nothing of this, and simply gives us a few things to think about.
From the start, I was hooked, to see what was going to happen, and to find out what the reason for it was.
The suspense, the mystery and  the ever-wanting-to-know-more meant this was a quick read. Very quick. I just couldn't stop reading it, it was that interesting.
Shame about the fact that not much happens. Well, quite a major thing has happened, obviously. But when we finally learn, it seems a little anti-climatic. And the conclusion wasn't epic. It was good, but not to the height it could have been.
I was also disappointed with the character depth. This is (nearly) three hundred pages long, and there are (essentially) only four characters. But we get so wrapped up in seeing what it's about, that we don't get close to any of them. And therefore I didn't care at all for them when they were running away from x (I won't tell you because that would spoil it. I don't think the runny away bit is a spoiler because it happens quite a lot in YA in general).
The narration was good. It wasn't the most natural of narrations considering this is meant to be a transcript of audio tapes, but it kept the story going. The notes that come in boxes are really sweet and very funny -explanations of things we take for granted, but from an outsider's POV.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a real page turner that makes you think, but falls short in other areas.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #34- Soulless, the Manga

Soulless: The Manga, Vol. #1 (The Parasol Protectorate Manga)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:  Soulless: The Manga vol 1
Author: Gail Carriger & Rem
Release Date: 1 March 2011
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Or will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Why I want it: I love the novels (vampires and werewolves prettily wrapped up in Victorian England), so when I heard that there would be a manga adaptation, I knew I had to read it. But, being me, I couldn’t buy the Yen Press magazine when it came out...so this will have to do. I’m also interested to see what Rem will do to the story, and what parts will be adapted.
PS. The final book in the Parasol Protectorate series, Timeless, will also release on this day.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Cover to Cover- Happy Birthday Charles Dickens

So, today (would be) Charles Dickens' 200th Birthday! Well, if he wasn't dead... Anyway, in appreciation of this, I'm taking some of his greatest books, finding three covers for them from, well, anywhere, and choosing my favourite.  Do the same in comments?


A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities (Illustrated Classics)Kisah Dua Kota (A Tale of Two Cities)A Tale of Two Cities (Wordsworth Classics)
Illustrated classic, English, Sterling ; Indonesian, Elex Media ; English, Wordsworth Classics
I've never actually read this, so I can't comment on the suitability of these, but I have to say the Indonesian is my favourite. Guillotine covered in roses? Pretty....

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol- Special Church Edition   Racconti di Natale (A Christmas Carol)  Ein Weihnachtsmärchen
English, Stephen Skelton ; Italian, Mondadori; German, Hayne
None of these are particularly great... but I think the German has the cutest depiction of Scrooge. I think it would be nice to have one with the ghosts on the front.

Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist (Transatlantic Classics)   Oliver Twist (Dodo Press) (French Edition)
Spanish, Transalantic Press; English, Modern Library; French, Dodo Press
I like the simplicity of the English edition, but the French cover is nicely done too.

Great Expectations
Great Expectations [Japanese Edition] Great Expectations, 1861 (In Russian Language)Great Expectations: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Japanese, Shinchosha; Russian, Detstvo. Otrochestvo. Yunost; English, Penguin Classics
I like the illustrations that come on the front of the English, and I get the idea that it's carried on inside. But the Russian is so pretty, and you just wonder about what Estella is doing... I like the Russian cover best.

I know I could go on and on...but I won't. What do you think of these covers? And are there any covers for his other books that should have been mentioned here, but weren't? And is anyone doing anything special for  Dickens' 200th?