Saturday 31 March 2012

Book Review-Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon

InfamousTitle: Infamous
 Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series:  The Chronicles of Nick #3
Published:  12 Mar 2012
Length:358 pages
Warnings: violence, sex references 13+
Source: Publisher for review
Other info: The other two in the series, Infinity and Infamous have been reviewed on DB&T. Currently we have a giveaway of Infinity going-click here.  Sherrilyn has also written (not for teenagers) the Dark Hunter series, the Knights of Avalon and a lot more. The Dark Hunter series has been adapted into a manga series, that is suitable for teenagers.
Summary : Go to school. Get good grades. Stay out of trouble. That’s the mandate for most kids. But Nick Gautier isn’t the average teenager. He’s a boy with a destiny not even he fully understands. And his first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him. He’s learned to annihilate zombies and raise the dead, divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive such a difficulty? But that isn’t the primary skill he has to master. Survival is. And in order to survive, his next lesson makes all the others pale in comparison. He is on the brink of becoming either the greatest hero mankind has ever known.  Or he’ll be the one who ends the world. With enemies new and old gathering forces, he will have to call on every part of himself to fight or he’ll lose everyone he cares about.  Even himself.

Review: I think I’ve said it before. I love this series. I read the Dark Hunter series, I read the Dark Hunter manga, it just makes sense that I read Infinity. And the next one. And the next one. Nick’s still in a bad way-finding out that your “uncle” is yourself from the future, trying to prevent you from being (like his other attempts at safeguarding you) put into mental hospitals, sucked into Nether-realms and worse. And as he learns more and more about his powers, and what he can do, he becomes closer to either saving the world or destroying it. Just what every fifteen year old needs.
If there’s one great thing about the series (and trust me, there’s more), it’s the huge mix of characters. We get gods and goddesses, familiar and unfamiliar, demons (Simi is my favourite thing about this series), Dark Hunters, vampires (current favourite is Virgil, the lawyer), shapeshifters (The bears at Sanctuary), a fair amount of humans, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. At least, I think there’ll be four. We’ve only met two. I want to meet the others. And Nick of course. The good thing is that, while there’s so many, I can still keep track of them. If I really wanted to, I could draw out a neat(-ish) map of character relationships. And all the characters have their own personalities. Individual, interesting and really good to get friendly with.
Nick is a great character. At the start, there’s a paragraph that sums up exactly why I love him “Nicholas Ambrosius Gautier-smart mouthed, streetwise kid. Typical teenager. Gaming guru. Anime and manga obsessed otaku. Socially awkward around any girl his age. Total evil.” And from there, he just keeps growing. His relationships with his mother and many other characters develop, and you see him understand and take control of his powers and general life a bit more. And his lovely little romance with Kody. Too bad she [ERASED FOR SPOILER].
As well as the demonic powers coming into play aspect, there’s also another plot running sideon. A nasty website has been started saying the worst things about almost everyone. Nick’s attempts to deal with everything being said about him and his friends are interesting, and his powers shake a couple of things up, which makes me happy for the characters involved.
 The world building is so good. No, that’s not the right word. The world should have already been built. The atmosphere. Yes, that’s it. It’s so easy for me to believe that in New Orleans, there is a set of hunters and paranormal creatures running around protecting the world from evil. Really, I want to go there. Not just the New Orleans Kenyon has created, but also New Orleans (the real one in Louisiana).

Overall:  Strength 5 to a great continuation in what is one of my favourite series. Can’t wait for book 4, Inferno. Should probably catch up with the Dark Hunter series while I’m waiting. But that’s a whole different thing entirely...

Friday 30 March 2012

Book Review- All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)
Title: All These Things I’ve Done
 Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series:  Birthright #1
Published: 29 March 2012 by Pan Macmillan
Length: 252 pages
Warnings: violence, sex references 13+
Source: Publisher for review
Other info: Birthright is going to be a trilogy. Book two will be called Because It Is My Blood. Gabrielle has also written things like Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and The Whole We’re In.
Summary : Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embrolied in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father's relatives aren't so keen to let them go. When Anya's violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya's mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.
 Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win's father wants to be mayor, and he can't risk having his ambition jeopardised by rumours spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...

Review: To start with, this isn’t a dystopian like how I thought it would be. Well, it kind of is. Coffee and chocolate are banned outright, and other things that we take for granted, like water and paper, are restricted. From that, you’d expect a hugely totalitarian society-right? At least I did. It isn’t. It’s more of a  coming of age, dealing with responsibilities, falling in love story intertwined with the Mafia, set in the future and with  a little dystopian society thrown in.
Anya is the daughter of a criminal mastermind, orphaned and left with a family to take care of. Sure, her grandmother is still alive, and she has an older brother, but when she’s dependent on machines and he’s brain damaged after being in the car accident that killed their mum, it’s up to her to look after them, her younger sister Natty and herself. And then she’s suspected of attempting to kill her borderline abusive boyfriend. On her release, Charles Delacroix, the District Attorney, says that Anya can stay away from his son or have her family torn apart. Said son is Win, the boy who Anya’s started falling in love with.
Yes, this did turn out to be a bit more love orientated than I thought, but I still enjoyed it throughout. We are easily pulled into future New York,  and can easily understand the laws of the land and generally what happens.
It’s interesting having a religious main character. In most books, religion isn’t the focus, but it’s a big part of Anya. It’s interesting how this shapes her views on sex, her feelings for Win, everything she does and so on. It also adds a little bit more to her character, especially her reasoning for why she’s Catholic. 
The characterisation is excellent. Everyone from Anya to Leo to Imogen to Yujji to Dr Lau-no matter how relatively small their part is, you still get an idea of their character. Leo is really cute, and I feel kind of sorry for how anya’s being so overprotective of him, even though I understand where she’s coming from. Natty is very mature for her twelve years, maybe trying to make up for Leo? (it is fully explained later on in the book though). Win, I can’t say is particularly my kind of boy. He is an interesting character though, and I can see why Anya fell for him. Though to be honest, anything’s better than Gable. The family and other minor characters are good, but you have to be awake to keep track of the family.
I like the fact that it isn’t totally love-y, coming of age-y and all that. I did enjoy those parts, but I’m glad that it had some subplots like Natty’s future, Leo’s current and future, and their family in the criminal world. Oh, and the whole arrested for murder and chocolate is a big thing too. 
Anya is  a very strong character. She has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, and she manages to keep up with it well. I’m not sure if I liked her feeling quite so strongly about Win. It didn’t seem to fit totally with the rest of the persona. Aside from that, I loved her. She definitely develops throughout, and by the end, she’s able to relax a bit more, delegate responsibility for her family and make her own way in the world.

Overall:  Strength 4 to an intriguing book with a really strong main character. Definitely want to read book 2.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Book Review- Sue's Vision by Andrew D Carlson

Sue's VisionTitle: Sue’s Vision
 Author: Andrew D Carlson
Series:  Sue #2
Warnings: clean 10+
Source: Author
Other info: Andrew’s first book, Sue’s Fingerprint, was published last year and reviewed here. Andrew is working on a third book, that is not related to Sue.
Summary : Sue and the other clones have set­tled into their new lives after being released from the mil­i­tary base in Cal­i­for­nia. They make new friends in their new home cities, excel in their new jobs, and even start new families. Mean­while, Ted Stevens must still report back to the spe­cial DHS com­mit­tee and make sure the clones do not cause prob­lems in soci­ety. He trav­els around the coun­try vis­it­ing them to mon­i­tor how they adjust. And he con­tin­ues to enlist his sci­en­tist friends to try to pre­dict the behav­ior of the new people. When friends and fam­ily gather together for a reunion, the clones receive another mes­sage and decide to act upon it. Everyone helps to put their plans in action. Unfortunately, they attract the atten­tion of the FBI. Ted must again step in and resolve the sit­u­a­tion. He makes another bold deci­sion. He informs the clones that they, along with their friends, will be picked up and escorted back to Cal­i­for­nia. They’re shocked at what hap­pens when they get there.
Review:  You might remember I reviewed the first in the series some time ago (Sue’s Fingerprint, strength 5) and really enjoyed it. So I was definitely up for reading this one, even though the blurb was a little vaguer and possibly a little less interesting.
The idea of it’s quite nice. All the clones from last time have settled down into family life and are doing quite well. But then they all receive a message from out of space, telling them to save the earth, and to spread the word to humans that they need to save the environment too. And so they do-sending messages to very important people in an attempt to get the message round. Unfortunately, they don’t really think it through. They’re writing in a language only they can understand, and include a key at the end. Please note, if you send strange letters to American officials, you’re likely to be marked a security threat. And Sue and co are. They attract the attention of the FBI, and not in a good way.
It’s a good premise. Not quite as interesting as the original, but could still go well. I love the fact that everyone’s gone off and done their own thing. It’s nice seeing things like that happen. it’s also really cute seeing everyone get together and meet up every now and again (My old school doesn’t.  I think we’ve all totally forgotten/stopped caring about each other-but then, these guys are all clones together).
I like the idea of the clones having their own language. Their own writing system, which I assume is what’s on the cover. Very interesting, and love the description of it- swirls and polygons. I guess that’s what other people see our alphabet as if they don’t know it. I know I think of hiragana and cryllic as swirls/lines. This is something similar. I also like the developments that the researchers at the lab have made. It could go any way, so...
The characters are still the same-lovable, different and fun. Sue is again, down to earth about everything, maybe a little  too simplistic this time, but still a good character. You just feel like this is a set of characters that are generally happy with their lives. They could be a little deeper, which is quite hard considering they originated in book one, but maybe with some more hidden secrets or something. 
The whole thing could have been a little bit more generally epic.  Book one, cloning mice from goo-then humans? Heck yes. This time, an attempt to save the planet. Not quite there. It was interesting methodology, but it could have just had a little more excitement to it. Also, the ending was really quite anticlimactic. Not much really happens there. It’s nice to know that stuff turned out generally ok. But it just didn’t have  the excitement that it started off with.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to an interesting continuation, but could have been better. I hope book 3 has a lot more tension, excitement and such in it. Which shouldn’t be too difficult.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #38 The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)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 Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: 2 January 2013 by Putnam Juvenile (And presumably HarperCollins)
Link to Goodreads: No official summary yet.
Why I want it: I really enjoyed the first in the series, The Name of the Star (review here) It dealt with Jack the Ripper, so I’m hoping this will deal with some similar dark, gritty and my kind of topic in London. Maybe lunatic asylums? Not sure. Judging from the tagline, it will be. But hopefully, whatever the subject, it’ll be good.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Giveaway winner PT 2 + The Carnegie Shortlist

Hi everyone!

Sorry for such the long wait for announcing this. I only just learnt that my local bank no longer opens on a Saturday. So I had no idea if I'd have enough money to get the books for the winner. But now I do!

So.... Rafflecopter says the winner is... a Rafflecopter giveaway Abbey! Congratulations! An email has been sent and you have 3 days to reply. Thank you everyone who entered, spread the word, and did everything!

And onto today's post...

We have a shortlist for the Carnegie award 2012!!
First, here's my predictions and reasoning....

--Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough. I need an excuse to stop putting this off.
--Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman. Good look at modern life
 --Annexed by Sharon Dogar. Concept=amazing. Must stop putting this one off
--Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Loved this.
--A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Not sure if this is fair, considering both of them (PN and SD) have won Carnegie before. And even though it's not my kind of thing, it'll get on because it's what publishers and literary people like.
 --There is no Dog by Meg Rosoff. Loved the concept. Pulled off well. I loved Eck.
--Between Shades of Grey by Rute Sepetys. Generally....amazing.
 --The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. I need to read this. Must stop putting it off.
 --My Name is Mina by David Almond. Nominated on principle. But Skellig was terrible.

And here's what actually got on....    More info, here.

David Almond -MY NAME IS MINA
Hodder (9+)
ISBN: 9780340997253

>Doubleday (8+)
ISBN: 9780385618007

Sonya Hartnett -THE MIDNIGHT ZOO
Walker (9+)
ISBN: 9781406331493

Andersen (12+)
ISBN: 9781849392488

Andy Mulligan -TRASH
David Fickling (12+)
ISBN: 9780385619011

Walker (9+)
ISBN: 9781406311525

Orion (10+)
ISBN: 9781444001839

Puffin (12+)

Three out of eight! Yay!
And now we have to read all eight of them so we can participate in some big school get together with one of the judges and so on.  What do you guys think of this? Anything there that I should read? I've read A Monster Calls and  Between Shades of Gray (review here) and I'm reading Trash. Any more thoughts?

And finally. We can't afford to shadow the Greenaway! No!! Good luck to Viviane Schwarz, and There Are No Cats in this Book! Read it in the shop and loved it! And I still have that picture that Viviane drew for me...

Monday 26 March 2012

Book Review- Partials by Dan Wells

Partials (Partials, #1)Title: Partials
 Author: Dan Wells
Series:  Partials #1
Published:  March 2012 by Harpercollins
Length: 482 pages
Warnings: violence, sex references 13+
Other info: Dan has also written the I Am Not a Serial Killer series. Book two in the Partials series will be called Fragments, and should be published next year.
Summary : The only hope for humanity isn’t human. In a world where people have been all but wiped out by a virus created by part-human cyborgs called ‘Partials’, and where no baby survives longer than three days, a teenage girl makes it her mission to find a cure, and save her best friend’s unborn child. But finding a cure means capturing a Partial...

Review: In this world, most of the six billion humans are dead, killed off by a viorus. A few remain, and live on Long Island. The youngest of them is fourteen and every baby is dead by the time they’re three. Three days. Kira is sixteen, a medic in training who is determined to find the cure for the virus, RM. She’s spurred on by the fact that her best friend is preganant. She has nine months to find the cure. However, they’ve exhausted almost every option. All she can think of turning to is a Partial, a genetically engineered soldier that fought in a war a decade ago. But to study one, she has to catch one.
I really enjoyed Dan’s other books, the I Am Not a Serial Killer series. So I was hoping for good things from this one. From the first page, the death of yet another newborn, I was drawn in. Very easily we get a sense of Kira, her morals, and the way she thinks.
We soon understand the world that she’s living in. The last band of humans all living together, without much hope, trying to get the human race to survive longer than the current generation. I like the very dystopian idea of the Hope Act- every woman over seventeen must get pregnant, as many times as she can and as often as she can. Even if her babies all die.
The world building surrounding the War and the Partials wasn’t that good. It took me a little while to understand them, what exactly they were, what they really looked like, and so on. At first I thought that it was meant to be something kept back, revealed later. But by halfway, I’d given up on learning about them fully, and I never got to see that. Shame really.
Kira is a really strong character. She does everything in her power and a couple of things out of it to ensure that she has all the chance she can get to cure RM. Samm was interesting. He’s the Partial. His reactions to everything at first were incredibly sweet, and the logic behind his name is lovely. However, his loyalties towards the end of the book were just really really confusing, what with everything going by so fast.
The pacing was great. Especially from about ¾ of the way through and onwards. While for most of the book, I just wanted to carry on, from then on, I couldn’t put it down. All the little strands were converging, and I just had to see how it all played out.
The ending. Wow. Throughout the novel, I was thinking it would be a great standalone novel. And then we learn a huge thing about Kira. And I just had to know more.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a fast, thrilling, unputdownable book. Must get hold of the sequel. If there is one. There better had be.   ((After writing edit- There is! Fragments!  Yay!!))

Sunday 25 March 2012

Weekly Roundup #10

Judging by the looks of things, I’ll be spending my Easter holidays reading.

Here’s what I got!
  • From Atom, Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Came on Friday, finished it Saturday.
  • From Harpercollins, Department 19:The Rising by Will Hill. I loved book 1...I hope book 2 is just as good!
  • Won from Andrew at The Pewter Wolf, Fever by Lauren DeStefano.
  • From Macmillan, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin. In love with it so far.
  • From Quercus, The Dead of the Night by John Marsden, Dead Rules by R.S.Russel, Tomorrow when the War Began by John Marsden and Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
  • From Penguin, Two copies of Fever by Dee Shulman. Not sure what happened there. Giveaway pile!

Here’s what’s going on around the book-y world!
  • The Host (film based on Stephanie Meyer’s book) has a trailer!
  • Of course, The Hunger Games came out! And judging by my reader...EVERYBODY saw it on Friday.
  • The Restorer by Amanda Stevens will be published in the UK! So glad...when I heard about it (last year, at the time of its US release), I went round a million shops and wondered why they hadn’t heard of it. Definitely waiting for this one!

Here’s what’s going on at Death Books and Tea
  • Not so much on the blog, but... I went to see The Hunger Games! Review coming soon...
  • Somehow we reached 400 followers! Love you all!

Saturday 24 March 2012

Book Review-Forgiven by Jana Oliver

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3)Title: Forgiven
 Author: Jana Oliver
Series:  The Demon Trappers #3
Published:  1 March 2012
Length: 407 pages
Warnings: Violence
Source: Publisher for review
Other info: the other two books in the series, Forsaken and Forbidden have been reviewed here. Book four, Fortold, should be out later this year.  The US title is the same for once. 
Summary : Riley has made a bargain with Heaven, and now they've come to collect.
Lucifer's finest are ruling the streets and it seems that Armageddon might be even closer than Riley imagined. But with her soul and her heart in play it's all she can do to keep herself alive, let alone save the world. Riley's not afraid of kicking some major demon butt, but when it comes to a battle between Heaven and Hell, she might need a little help...

Since I put down Forbidden, I've been looking forwards to reading this one. To find out what happened to Riley, what happened about her and her relationship with Ori, and what happened with Heaven and Hell and Earth generally. Put very simply, it didn't disappoint, but it didn't blow me away either.
We get right into Riley's life from the start, most likely because, being book 3, you should have read books 1 and 2 and gotten used to her. She's not completely off the hook, but she's doing fairly well. In comparison to how her life could be. In comparison to how her life will be.
It definitely draws you back in to the world of the trappers. And keeps you there. There's a lot of events that keep building up and building up until a really amazing climax.
The old characters are built up even more, especially Beck. I quite like the fact each boy/man in Riley's life gets their own book to shine (or not, in Ori's case). Ori's situation through the majority of the book...was...hard to get used to and imagine. But also quite funny. New characters, I seriously hated Justine, even though we don't see that much of her. She's a very hatable character. Despite this, I'd like to see more of her. Just because she's getting somewhere, and it'll be interesting to see where it all ends up. And Ayden is still my favourite.
The big climax was a little annoying in that I couldn't remember Sartael cropping up in the other books, even in the smallest mention, so when he was brought in as someone quite major, I wasn't sure why I should case about him. Aside  from that, it was really really good. The six pages in which  Lucifer and Michael verbally fight made this book infinitely better.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a great continuation to a fun and clever series. Definitely want to read book four, Fortold.

Friday 23 March 2012

Book Review- Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

RipperTitle: Ripper
 Author: Amy Carol Reeves
Series:  N/A
Published:  April 8 2012 by Flux
Length:340 pages
Warnings: violence, kissing, 13+
Source: Netgalley
Other info: This is her debut novel. No sequel is planned.
Summary : In 1888, following her mother's sudden death, 17-year-old Arabella Sharp goes to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. At her grandmother's request, Abbie volunteers at Whitechapel Hospital, where she discovers a passion for helping the unfortunate women and children there. But within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
Review: Abbie Sharp has been sent to live with her grandmother in London. To do something useful, she volunteers at Whitchapel Hospital, working with women and children. This being 1888, and the women being former prostitutes, some of them get murdered. Anyone knowing 1. The kind of stuff I like reading and 2. Their London history and 3. The title of this book will guess that these murders are the work of Jack. And as more and more girls turn up dead, Abbie realises that she can see the girls before they die. As she tries to keep them out of danger, Abbie uncovers secrets being hidden by the esteemed Dr Bartlett that maybe she shouldn’t....
I read quite a lot of takes on Jack the Ripper, such as the Name of the Star, Black Butler and other things. I’ve never read something to do with Jack the Ripper that incoperates  a more psychic aspect to it though, which I think was imaginative and worked well. Maybe not as effective to go with Jack the Ripper (he/she’ll always be a complete maniac wielding a knife to me)  but still fun to read anyway.
Abbie is a good character, with a mind of her own who did what she thought was right. This next part didn’t affect my enjoyment of the general novel, but to me, Abbie looked nothing like the girl on the cover. I never felt that close to Abbie, or any of  the characters. As a result, I didn’t really care about them very much, or what became fo them. Despite this, they were  quite interesting. As always, there was a love triangle, that didn’t do anything (neither good nor bad) to the plot line. When Abbie tries both William and Simon, I didn’t really mind. On the subject of characters, I liked the inclusion of real life figures. I always do, and it worked quite nicely with Christina Rosetti and co.  
The plot is good. It takes quite a lot of turns that are unpredictable, something which I like to see in novels, especially in takes on something familiar.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a well written, interesting  and more romantic take on Jack the Ripper that wasn’t really my kind of book, but still a good read.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Giveaway-Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

If you've  been following for a long time, or generally know what books I like, you'll probably know that I've been waiting forever for the next book in the Chronicles of Nick series, Infamous. It's the third in the series, but in case you haven't read the first, the US publishers are kindly supporting a giveaway.

Infinity-Sherrilyn Kenyon (Goodreads|My review)
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity. Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead. But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he's next on the menu. As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?

The winner of the giveaway will win a copy of book one in the Chronicles of Nick series, Infinity.  To enter you have to...
--Be at least 13 years old, or have parents' permission
--Have a US/Canada mailing address
--Leave a comment with a broken email address (such as  deathbooksandtea at gmail dot com) and answer the question "If you were in Nick's position, what would you do?"
--Do this by 1159pm GMT Sunday 1st April

Good luck!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #37 Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet EvilWaiting 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:  Sweet Evil
Author:  Wendy Higgins
Release Date: 1 May 2012  (HarperTeen)
Link to / Summary from Goodreads:  What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil. 
Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna. 
A cross-country trip to meet her father forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. When she confronts her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
Why I want it:  Children of fallen angels that have to be kind of evil? Demons, angels and (from existing reviews) a new take on everything? Definitely my kind of thing. Oh, and that cover? Gorgeous.

And some news-y stuff.

My book club friend Lillian has started her own blog!  She’s not really done much...but she’s only been going for five days. Go check her blog, Good Reading Lists, out, and let us both know what you think!

And...Our librarian is a traitor. Really.  Well, maybe not. But we were planning to go as a book club to see  The Hunger Games together. The whole book club. All of us. Because it worked with Harry Potter (without her). But, we all wanted to see it together.  So I ask her about when we’ll go see it. She says “I’m seeing it on Friday.” Strike one. Then “I’m going with a friend.” Understandable. Strike two. Then... “I couldn’t possibly be seen going with you”. Strike three. It’s not like we’d be insane and show her up, would we?

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Book Review- The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of UsTitle: The Future of Us
 Author: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Series:  N/A
Published:  21 November 2011 by Razorbill in America. UK – January 5th 2012 by Simon and Schuster Childrens’
Length: 356 pages
Warnings: sex references 13+
Source: WHSmiths
Other info: Jay Asher also wrote Thirteen Reasons Why. Carolyn Mackler also wrote the V Valentine series, as well as other things.  
Summary : It's 1996 and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet. Facebook will not be invented for several more years. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD-ROM with 100 free hours. When she and her best friend Josh log on to AOL they discover themselves on Facebook... fifteen years in the future. Everybody wonders what life has in store for them.
Josh and Emma are about to find out.
Review: Josh and Emma are your normal best friends, and have been forever. Then various things happen and Josh joins AOL. Emma takes the disc, fires it up, and finds her Facebook profile. Except there's something else. This is 1996. Facebook has not been invented yet. And the entries are dated fifteen years into the future. Armed with the knowledge of their future lives, they set around putting the gears into motion to make these things happen. Except maybe they don't. Emma and Josh soon learn what it's like to mess around with the future.
Read the premises, fell in love. What a great idea. And coming from two reputedly amazing authors, well, awesomeness was sure to come some time.
The world building is quite good. I say world building because I'd say it was an effort to fully imagine a world where hardly anyone knew how computers worked. It's amazing how easily I can imagine a world completely different such as the Victorian period or some sci-fi setting with ease, but need a little time to adjust to it being in the decade I was born.
It's quite a thought provoking book. You wouldn't think it, but it is. For example, Josh reads on his facebook page that he and Sydney end up married. Before then, he'd always thought of her as being out of his league, and it's only when he knows they'll end up married when he starts flirting with her. If you knew that in the future, something happens to you that you'd never thought would happen, would you take steps to actively bring about the event? Or stop it?
Emma does something similar, refreshing her page to see if she can change her future.   this all makes for interesting events, conflict between Josh and Emma about what's happening, and an interesting storyline.
Emma, you can understand why she'd want to change her  future, but I did find myself wanting to shout at her for playing about when she already had a good life mapped out, according to Facebook. Josh is a very down to earth character, very likeable, and I kept hoping that throughout all of Emma's messing about with time, that he got a nice future.
The ending did seem a little anti-climatic, even if I couldn't think of a better way of ending it.
I really enjoyed the dual narration. Having both Josh's and Emma's point of view on everything made it interesting and meant we didn't see it all from Emma's slightly pessimistic (towards the end) or Josh's happy view  on things.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to an original story that worked out very well.

Monday 19 March 2012

Weekly Roundup #9

Sorry about the lack of posts over the weekend. Kind of worked self to death on a Geography assessment. Don't want to learn about differences between LEDCs and MEDCs in earthquakes ever again. Anyway, here's what I got...

From the library...
--Psyren vol 2 by Toshiaki Iwashiro
--John Dies at the End by David Wong
Won from the Valentines Event held by Eleusinian Mysteries and Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me
--Immortal City by Scott Speer
Won from Macmillian
--Jane Austen Stole my Boyfriend by Cora Harrison
--Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
--Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachgari
--Extracty things

Things that have been happening... Cover reveal! And author events in London!

First, cover reveal! Maureen Johnson put on Tumblr a few nights ago the cover to book 2 in The Shades of London book.  I love it...I'm not sure what it's about exactly, but I enjoyed book 1, so I really want to read this.

And Author events!
Will Hill will release Department 19:The Rising in Waterstones Kensington on 29 March.
Gail Carriger in London on Thursday 12 April celebrating the Parasol Protectorate. And a little more...full details here.

Both of these, I'd love to go to. Sadly...the chances of going up to London 1)on a school night and 2)The day before the Emilie Autumn concert which also requires a trip up to London... I think are slim.

And finally...I'm viewing
American viewers should see
Google have decided to be even more inconvenient, and are switching us round so they can block us in specific countries if we do anything illegal.... luckily links aren't broken. So please, carry on linking to .com and browsers should sort everything out for you.

Anyway that's all for now. How is everyone else?

Friday 16 March 2012

Book Review & Author Interview-Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Title: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters
 Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Series:  N/A
Published: 1 March 2012 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Length: 288 pages
Warnings: a little kissing, 12+
Source: Publishers
Other info: This is Meredith’s debut novel, but she’s also narrated a Goosebumps audiobook.
Summary : Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.  Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it. 
Review: Kelsey Finkelstein is your average fourteen year old. Average, aside from the fact that bad luck follows her everywhere. So starting as a Freshman is a perfect time to make a clean start, and be the girl she’s always wanted to be. Isn’t it? With the way her love life, her friends’ love lives, her acting career and her high school fame is going, maybe not...
This is definitely out of my comfort zone. No zombies, lycanthropes or serial killers makes this a very different read for me. I wasn’t sure how well I’d get on with this, but I turned out to be pleasantly surprised. 
From the start, we get a good idea of Kelsey, her friends and what they’re all like. Kelsey is quite a talkative girl to say the least, with a distinctive style of narrating everything. I’m quite amazed at Meredith for being able to carry on  writing in Kelsey’s voice throughout the whole novel.
Due to the fact I’m not used to this kind of book, it took me a fair bit of time to notice that some of it was actually the main plot. Some of the things at the start didn’t strike me as fitting in with everything, and I couldn’t see where some of it was going. It soon picks up, once we properly meet Ben, starts auditioning for the school play and so on.
A lot of things happen to her which are all really funny. Well, maybe not for her. But for someone reading about her, it is definitely a lot of fun. And while some things are really way out unrealistic, there are others on another scale that I could see happening perfectly with this story.
The romance in this is your typical “girl pines for somebody, but ends up with true soul mate after realising pine-worthy boy wasn’t for her” story. Which really worked for Kelsey, and it was nice seeing her have something good happen to her for once.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a book that is a lot of fun and a good pick-me-up (my life is not as bad as Kelsey’s. I’m ok.) that will make you laugh a lot.
Links: | The Book Depository | Goodreads | Author website |

And Meredith was also kind enough to answer some questions about herself and Freshman Year...

Twitter style-describe Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters in less than 140 characters. The hilarious tale of Kelsey Finkelstein's (mostly disastrous) adventures as a high school freshman.

What made you write about contemporary school life? Well, I really wrote the book as a response to the huge stack of YA books appearing at the time that I thought were fun but totally unrealistic - all these ultra-sophisticated girls with tons of money and insane clothes and very adult sexual relationships... that wasn't at all what my high school experience was like, and I thought teens should have a character who wasn't so fancy and perfect that they could relate to. 

What was the hardest thing about writingFreshman Year? Getting to the end. Before I realized I had an actual book, I just worked on it when I felt like it and played around. Then all of a sudden, I had to actually FINISH it, and I fell apart a bit. I'm the world's worst procrastinator, and will constantly get lured away by an episode of Law and Order I've seen 15 times...

How long did writing Freshman Year take?The first draft took about 6 months, writing on and off whenever I felt like working on it. Once the book was sold, the editing process - for a lot of reasons, most of them out of my control - took about 4 years. (That's a whooooole other story...)

Is there anything special you have to have while writing? DISTRACTIONS! Usually I listen to music or have the TV on when I work. I need my brain to be just a bit distracted. Oh - and candy. 

What are/were your favourite authors, and did they influence you in writing FreshmanYear? There are many authors I love, but not a lot of them influenced this particular book because they write such very different things (serious literary fiction, sci-fi, whatever). I guess I'd say the ones that inspired me for this project were the ones I loved growing up. Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, Lois Lowry. Other style influences are probably Louise Rennison and Helen Fielding. 

Did you find little bits of yourself going in to  Kelsey, or any of the other characters? Oh, absolutely. Kelsey is totally based on me, and most of her experiences were my own. The other characters not as much, but since most people share pieces of themselves with their close friends anyway, I guess you could say that indirectly I'm in there, too. 
If you could be any character in FreshmanYear, who would it be and why? Hm. Well, I always wanted to be Lexi when I was that age - the perfect-looking, charming girl who is universally adored and has everything come so easily to her. But now I think I'd choose JoJo. I admire her uniqueness and her strength, and how happy she is to be herself.

Where did the title come from? The original title was "The World vs. Kelsey Finkelstein," and then later "This Just In: Kelsey Finkelstein is Freaking Out." But the publisher wanted something that sounded older and had "freshman year" in it, so I started brainstorming - with the help of some VERY patient friends! - and eventually... I thought of the title the book has now. I had just discovered a show (which I love, btw) called "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret," and I loved the rhythm of that name. I tried to find something that was similar in feel.

Take Kelsey and four other characters. Who would you like to play them if Freshman Year ever became a film? You know, I don't have any idea! I actually think I'd rather the actors be newcomers, so they could really create the characters without reminding anyone of their previous work. 
Who's your favourite character? Well, if I say Kelsey I'll sound like an egomaniac... if I say her mother, maybe I'll win points with my ownmother, which could be good... hrm. I think the truth is that I don't have a favorite. Each character serves a purpose - usually to move Kelsey's story forward - that is important for its own reason. I did love writing Julie Nelson and her BFF Ned Garman, though. It's always fun to write the horrible mean characters. 

Anything else you want to say? Thank you so much for reading and promoting the book! This is my first foray into the arena of novel-having (a word I just made up, obv) and I'm so appreciative for how supportive the blogging community has been. You guys are rad.

Giveaway winner!

Hello everyone!
Just want to say thanks to everyone who entered our blogoversary giveaway and spread the word about it! You've all been amazing. And special thanks to those who entered my other giveaway, the one that required you to think  and give me opinions.  You're great and I'll take them all on board.
So on to the winner. As I write this, Rafflecopter is dead. So I'll announce that winner some time soon. Sorry. But for the one that required you to think, has chosen a winner!

Cayce at Fighting Dreamer!

An email will be sent out soon and you have 72 hours to reply.  Thank you to all who entered.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Hunger Games Read-Along - Chapter 24

So, another stop on the Hunger Games Read-Along hosted by Larissa at Howling Turtle. This time, we’re looking at chapter 24. I’m not really sure what else to say  onwards.

What happens? Kind of spoilery for those of you (if there are any of you) who haven’t read The Hunger Games yet. Read onwards.

Foxface died at the end of Chapter 23. Katniss has to try and explain to Peeta how Foxface died, which takes a bit of time.
 Peeta wants to get rid of the nightlock berries, but Katniss has an idea-maybe they can get Cato to eat a few, thus killing him and ensuring their win.
Realising there’s not much more they can do, Katniss and Peeta cook, eat some rabbit,  and, after some time, walk back to the cave that has become their makeshift home.
Katniss kisses Peeta for herself, instead of the audience, and, while he sleeps, thinks about her chances against Cato.
Foxface’s death is officially announced, and Katniss stays awake for the whole night.
Katniss and Peeta eat almost everything they have left, say goodbye to their cave, and find that their stream has been drained dry. They decide to go to meet Cato while they’re fed and rested, and journey back to the lake.
Katniss sings Rue’s song to the Mockingjays, and they sing back.
Then they stop. Cato’s arrived, apparently unarmed, unable to be harmed by Katniss’ arrows, and wearing body armour. He’s running...but from what?

Nope. I can’t think of a good way to sum up the last lines of chapter I’m going to leave it at that.
As I write this, the UK premier of the film was being streamed on Livestream... I only half watched it (the case with almost everything I watch on the computer) but from what I took notice of, it looked good.

And now a question to further our dialogue... (credit to Amanda Palmer for that line)

Katniss and Peeta leave their cave, what has been their home, in this chapter. If you were in their situation (one left to kill, no way of knowing what outside forces could do) would you want to leave your safe haven, or would you do what they did, and go out and face whatever’s coming?

I’d love to know what you think. 

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #36- Slated by Teri Terry

Slated (Slated, #1)
It seems like so long since I did one of these...
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:  Slated
Author: Teri Terry
Release Date: 3rd May 2012 by Orchard
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Kyla's memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever. She's been Slated.  The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla's mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?
Why I want it: Slating sounds would be interesting to know what this is all did this happen, what is going on etc... There’s something about someone having the power to wipe memories totally is an intriguing one... Definitely looks good.

What are YOU waiting on this week?
And don’t forget, you only have a couple of days to enter our giveaway!

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Book Review- Ashes by Ilsa J Bick

Title: Ashes
 Author: Ilsa J Bick
Series:  Ashes Trilogy #1
Published:  29 September 2011 by Quercus
Length: 465 pages
Warnings: Zombies, sex references, 13+
Source: Library
Other info: Isla has written other, quite different, books. Book two in the Ashes trilogy is called Shadows, has no cover and should be published September 2012.
Summary : Seventeen-year-old Alex is hiking through the wilderness when it happens: an earth-shattering electromagnetic pulse that destroys almost everything. Survivors are divided between those who have developed a superhuman sense and those who have aquired a taste for human flesh. These flesh-hunters stalk the land: hungry, ruthless and increasingly clever... Alex meets Tom, a young army veteran, and Ellie, a lost girl. They will fight together and be torn apart, but Alex must face the most difficult question of all: In such a vastly changed world, who can you trust? 

Review: Alex, a girl with a brain tumour, is out on a solo hiking mission, when the Zap happens. Obviously, she doesn't know what's happening. At the time of the Zap, she's with an old man and his grand-daughter, Ellie. The zap kills the old man, and she is left with Ellie and the dog, Mina. Soon, they come across Tom, and then it's a fight to survive. But there's something else. Alex, since the Zap, has been blessed with super-scent, while others that she occasionally runs across are essentially zombies. Alex, Tom and Elle have to go and explore to try and find a safe place to stay, so their entire journey is a quest to find somewhere to stay, someone to trust, and some way to stay alive.
The cover blurb weren't amazingly pull you in material, but neither were they major turn offs. The concept is interesting, a variation on most post-apocalyptic/zombie fiction, in that it gives some of the survivors of the original disaster a fighting chance. The blurb is slightly inaccurate, as not all the survivors get enhanced senses, but it's still a good premises that's worth taking a look at.
Alex, we get a good sense of her character, her rebellious streak and her determination from page one. The other characters we also get a good sense of soon after we meet them, but there are still some surprises you get after a bit.
The cannibalistic zombie people didn't feature as prominently as the blurb advertised. We were made aware of them, and we ran in to them a few times, but they weren't the most important thing in the novel. The characters and their interactions were.
As I said before, they were all strong characters, built up well and kept interesting. And then Isla wrote them out. I'm still quite annoyed at that. Two quite major characters are dropped at various points in the novel, pushed to the side and not really addressed again. I know that in that situation, that probably would happen. But I was getting quite attached to them, and was annoyed to see them go.
The writing style was good, but not really stand out. It didn't hinder the flow of the story, and kept me reading, but I was a little surprised when I started the book that it was in third person.
There were a few points where there was a change in plot that was incredibly random. But also unpredicted, so there was always something interesting. At the end, there's this huge revelation about this one society and what they are doing with their people and the zombies that I really wasn't expecting. So there. A big cliffhanger.
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a good post apocalyptic survival story that I really want to see how it plans out in book 2.

Monday 12 March 2012

Book Review-Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)Title: Pandemonium
 Author: Lauren Oliver
Series:  Delirium #2
Published:  1 March 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton
Length: 375 pages
Warnings: Profanity, violence
Source: Library
Other info: Book 1, Delirium, was published a year ago and was reviewed (badly) here. Book 3, Requiem should come next year. Short story Hana is already out. Lauren Oliver also wrote Before I Fall and Liesl and Po.
Summary : I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push, push, push,
like Raven taught me to do.The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Despite the review I gave Delirium (which can be found here, and looking back, is rather harsh. If I re-read Delirium, it would gain strength 4 tea), I've been looking forwards to its sequel and finding out what happens to Lena after the ridiculously sized cliff-hanger at the end of Delirium.
As you may have gathered from other people's reviews, this is told with chapters alternating between Then and Now. Which, to start with, nothing happens in. The Then is boring character intros that take too long, and the Now isn't much of an improvement. Somewhere along the line we get a blow by blow account of Lena carrying water a mile and a bit from a river to camp. Considering the awesomeness of book 1, this is quite a step down. The first third of Pandemonium is generally boring, with not much happening at all.
From the start of the second third, it all becomes a bit more interesting. Lena is forced out of her camp and various things happen and there actually seems to be a point to this novel. The ending is semi-epic, with two rather huge revelations (which were slightly predictable) being dropped just before the end. Lauren really knows how to write cliffhangers.
I didn't really like the fact it switched between Then and Now. While it kind of worked with Pandemonium, it also really messed with my perception of time passing. Which made it a little harder to understand.
The romance in this...I'm sorry, no. I won't tell you how it ends up, but I will say that I'm not a supporter of this pairing. Alex x Lena forever.
The pace of the Now section was very good. Even if it did take me a bit of time at the start to get my bearings with who she was now, in contrast to Delirium Lena and Then Lena. I just kept wanting to know what was going to happen to her, and Julian and the whole resistance. The final Now chapter was...great. So much happened, and then we got that big cliffhanger and...I really want to see what happens in Requiem.
The Then part just wasn't as interesting. Maybe because we knew she'd survive all the terrible things that are happening (because how would she be able to tell us the Now story if she didn't?), or maybe because...I can't think of a valid reason, but I just didn't like those sections that much.
Lena definitely developed. It was kind of sad seeing her always think back to Alex, but nice seeing her move on and get on with her life.
I have a couple more words to say about this, but I won't tell you because I'm trying to keep this review spoiler free.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book where, if you get over the slowest first third I've seen in a long time, you'll have a great time reading. 

Sunday 11 March 2012

Weekly Round-Up #8

So...Katy and I had that amazing week in France...which you can kind of read about here. How two of you thought that post was interesting enough to comment on, even if it was just to say I don’t know. Anyway, it says that we got a lot of manga. I’m not joking. We did. And as we said before, it’s all in French. So if we get the wrong idea, and review it with said wrong idea, tell us.

Here’s what Katy got!
  • Tripeace vol 1 by Tomoyuki Maru
  • Secret Service (Inu x Boku SS) by Cocoa Fujiwara
  • Fate Stay Night by Type Moon
  • Professor Layton by Naoki Sakura
  • Artelier by Yen Hioka

Here’s what I got in France!
  • Soul Eater vol 1 by Atsushi Okubo
  • Vampire Doll 3 by Erika Kari  (Read volume 1 in English, have vol 2 in French on my shelf, vol 4 is in the library, so...)
  • Black Butler volumes 6,8,9 by Yana Toboso. I actually understand quite a lot of it. And Badass Meyrin in books 8 and 9. Amazing.

Here’s what was waiting for me when I got back!
  • Won from Emma at BelleBooks. 
    • Haunting Violet bag and makeup bag
    • This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel
  • Swapped with Jodie at Books for Company
    • Firelight by Sophie Jordan
  • Bought from Amazon, BEFORE LENT. It's allowed. As long as I don't read it yet. 
    • Soulless, the manga, vol 1 by Gail Carriger and REm
  • For review, with thanks to Lizz at Harper Collins
    • Partials by Dan Wells.

Here’s what’s going on around the book-y world!
  • Stephanie has a 500 follower giveaway! It's internationa with lots of good prizes, so go on!
  • Gail Carriger has said that Changeless will be manga-fied! And called Soulless vol 2. Can't wait. Even if the cover is only a sketch at the moment. 
Here’s what’s going on at Death Books and Tea 

  • Not that much. Aside from our giveaway. You have until Thursday to why not?
  • You should be getting a lot of reviews this week! Hopefully...