Wednesday 30 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday-Tanya Byrne

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:  Currently untitled
Author: Tanya Byrne
Release Date: 9 May 2013
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: When sixteen-year old Adamma Okonma, a Nigerian diplomat's daughter, arrives at exclusive Croften College in Wiltshire, she is immediately drawn to beautiful, impetuous, unpredictable Scarlett Milton. Adamma and Scarlett become inseperable - until Adamma falls for Scarlett's boyfriend Dominic. Soon the battle lines are drawn and Adamma is shunned by Scarlett and her priviledged peers. But then Scarlett goes missing and everything takes a darker turn. As Adamma begins to uncover a series of ugly scandals at the school, she realises there was more than one person who wanted Scarlett to disappear and indeed that Croften has its own disturbing secrets to hide..

Why I want it: I read Heart Shaped Bruise some time ago (and have a review around here somewhere.  I'm not going through my paper piles tonight) and really enjoyed it. Also, having met and chatted to Tanya, I must say, she is awesome. Awesome debut. Awesome author. I hope I'll enjoy this. The title and cover will come on UKYA next week!

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Other things happening
I'm going to the Hot Key Books/Templar Books thing on Saturday! I think I'll be in Costa half an hour before we're meant to get to the event, so if anyone wants to meet up, say! 
I have books to pass on too! Tell me if you want any of these, and I'll bring them.
I have lots of books that have been sent to me/have finally shipped to me :) Ah, I have loads of stuff to get through.
We should not be planning our making, three weeks into making. Something went badly wrong with our textiles scheduling.
Something happened with the Divergent casting.  I think it may have been a rumour. Sorry for any excitement. I don't know. I have no idea what to believe. 
Lots of cool people have had blogoversarys recently! Raimy, Clover, Jesse and some others. I'm bad at remembering things.
I have a blogoversary coming up! And a new design! *excited to show you* Soon...soon.

Finally, because this post needs a picture other than a meme header...

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Blog Tour- Excerpt from Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon

So, a few weeks ago, I got contacted about joining the Heroines with Heart tours.  These is a year long event, featuring a tonne of books featuring generally awesome girls and women as main characters, from all kinds of genres. So I signed up.

I only just realised what I had to do for it, this morning. So I'm taking the lazy option and giving you an excerpt, blurb and stuff. A review of Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite will come...once I've read it!

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon
I want to read this because, as a fan of LGBT fiction, it annoys me when the spectrum doesn't get properly represented. And looking through the LGBT tag, you'll find the B and T aren't there that much. So, yeah. More representation for intersex/non cis main characters is good.

Blurb from publishers. From the heart of an intersex teen, one who must ultimately choose male or female–family or true love–comes the story of a deeply emotional and perilous journey home. This is a young adult novel unlike any other–an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by a child growing up with a sexually ambiguous body.Jameson can be like other boys after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone Well, at least that’s what his parents always say. But Jamie sees an elfin princess in the mirror, and male hormones would only ruin her pretty face. For him to become the man his parents expect, Jameson must leave behind the hopes and dreams of a little girl. But what is so wrong with Jamie’s dreams that they can’t be her life?

Blurb from Lianne: Over the past decade I’ve answered inquiries on behalf of a support group for the parents of children born between the sexes. However, as the Internet has grown, so have the options available. The Androgen Insensitivity Support Group, for instance, accepts girls with various differences of sexual development. With groups like AISSG flourishing, my time can be put to better use elsewhere. My book, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite, is based on a number of people I know and some of the things that happened to them growing up, all rolled up into a fictional account of a teenager’s struggle to find a place in this world.


Thursday 24 January 2013

Book Review- Dead Romantic by C J Skuse

Title: Dead Romantic 
 Author:  CJ Skuse
Series:  N/A
Published:  4 Feb 2013 by Chicken House
Length: 328 pages
Warnings: sex references, slightly disturbing things involving puppies/dead people
Source: Publisher
Other info: CJ Skuse has also written Rockoholic, Pretty Bad Things and Rock Addict.
Summary : Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete's body and a poet's brain. But when she's mocked at a college party, she kows there isn't a boy alive who'll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille's dream boy, Frankenstein-style. But can she make him love her?

Review: Camille isn’t the most popular girl in school. not by a long shot. But she wants a boyfriend, and when Zoe comes along, and suggests making one, they go for it. It’s not long before they’re raiding bodies and hooking them up to electrical things. But then things start going a little bit wrong.
I’ve not read anything by C.J. Skuse before, but I have read the original, plus many other takes on, Frankenstein, which have been generally awesome, so I was hoping that this would be one of them. And it definitely was.
The Frankenstein in this version was Zoe, who has more reason to want this to work than you realise at first. I really liked Zoe-she’s very determined, very clever, and a little insane. Loved her completely.
Camille is a very fun character. You feel sorry for her, because she’s the butt monkey of a huge prank at the start, her friends kind of drop her, and such. She’s still optimistic and cheery, partially due to Zoe resurrecting a dog, Pee Wee, for her, and I spent the whole book just wanting it to go right for her and to find the right guy.
The other two major characters are Louis and Damien. Damien, I did not like at all. I find it impossible to like anyone with such immense disrespect towards girls, like he has, even if he does develop further on. Louis, however, I liked. He was very sweet and I feel like I need to give him hugs at many points in the story.
I liked the way the story developed. Zoe and Camille break into all sorts of places, such as funeral parlours, hospitals and restaurants, and it’s all a lot of fun.
The romance in Dead Romantic is very sweet, though not for the reasons you may expect. There’s also some slightly darker moments where you truly are doubting Zoe and her methods, along with Camille.
Camille has a great voice. At first, it was a bit annoying, but it soon grew on me. It’s typically teenager, full of pop culture references and Camille’s own expressions. It definitely made me laugh a lot.
There’s also a bit of Lovecraft in Dead Romantic, I’ve been meaning to read some of his stuff for a long time, but haven’t got round to it. The choice quotes from Reanimator have definitely made me want to read it soon, though.
Apparently, this is going to be a standalone like CJ’s other books. Oh *disappointed, loves most of these characters* Oh well. Still, headcanon time. Which won’t be said, due to spoiler alert. But the ending is a good mix of cliffhanger and tied up, which leaves you thinking and carrying on the story. 

Overall: Strength 4 tea to the most fun take on one on my favourite classics.  

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday-The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

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 Dollhouse Asylum
Author: Mary Gray
Release Date: 22 October 2013 by Spencer Hill Press

Link to / Summary from Goodreads: A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.
At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.
The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.
If they play it right, then they'll be safe. 
But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

Why I want it: List of things I like:Greek-myths. Dystopia. Deadly viruses. Other mythologies. High stakes. 

What are YOU waiting on this week?

It’s my blogoversary in a month. And blogoversaries mean presents! For you! I won’t tell you exactly what’ll be on offer, but if I can get to 500 GFC followers by the time the blog turns two, there’ll be an extra, international, prize on offer!

If you could share the message around, it would be much appreciated. Thank you!

Saturday 19 January 2013

The Beauty of Covers in YA

So, last week, The Book Smugglers did the cover reveal for The City's Son, US version. My thoughts- YAY! Pen :) Yay-her scars :)  And then I thought, why aren't there many scars/unconventially beautiful people on covers? We've already had this discussion with whitewashing, but I thought it would be interesting to bring up a different issue.

Body image and self esteem is an important topic.
I believe that everyone should be proud of what they look like, and not worry about weight, blemishes etc. But there's a lot of people who feel insecure about their looks, society  does not help by promoting that beauty=key to getting partner=happiness, and I'm wondering if YA book covers are doing anything to help.

I've been asking the internet about books with main characters  who don't typically conform to society's  standards of beauty, and I have a list. Thank you people! (You're all listed at the bottom). With the covers, I take either the one I've seen most often in the UK or the first one that came up in Google Images.

So what happens with books with main characters who aren't typically beautiful?

1. Publishers get it right. They get portrayed accurately.

The City's Son by Tom Pollock.Mortal Instruments by Philip Reeve.

2. They get shown in shadow, they're covered up, or you see the character but you can't tell that they don't fit society's ideals. 

Jepp Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh. I've been told that  the main character is a dwarf, but the lack of scenery gives you nothing to compare him to.
The Days of Judy B by Rose Heiney. I believe the issue here is weight. The skirt and hand could be anyone.

Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid. Rebecca, the sister with Treacher Collins Syndrome, is in shadow.Henry Franks by Peter Adam Salomon. Henry has a lot of scars for reasons you'll find out, and the cover hints at this, but doesn't make it clear.

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headly. Terra has a large birthmark on her cheek. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. After the incident, Echo has scars up and down her arms.

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carlson. Not only this an example of whitewashing, you don't get a full picture of Elisa.Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham. Jane's attack meant that her right arm was amputated, we only see her left here. 

Skin Deep by Laura Jarrat. Jenna is in a car crash that leaves her face scarred. These have magically disappeared (I doubt that a car crash would leave scars on just one side. Correct me if I'm wrong) The Duff by Kody Keplinger. Bianca gets called the Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and her esteem suffers as a result.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. Scarlett is scarred and missing an eye.Wonder by RJ Palacio. The big one. August has a facial deformity. This cover doesn't really say that he's deformed, and doesn't say he isn't.
3. Symbols or  other abstract things are used on the cover, and the character isn't depicted at all.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Hazel's cancer visibly takes its toll and Augustus had his leg amputated. Fat Vampire by Adam Rex. I'm assuming that weight's the issue here.

Pure by Julianna Baggott. Apparently, it's full of scarred characters. 

So why is this done? It may be for practicality reasons-obtaining models etc. It may be because it is just better for the book-Black Heart Blue and Henry Franks both have covers that suit them. But the reason those who are less than ideal-looking aren't shown on covers is:  Publishers or cover designers don't think that they'll sell. It may not be that person's personal view. It probably isn't.

 But it is society's. Magazines aimed at teen girls are often full of tips to look better, clothes and makeup pages-sometimes for other people's benefit. I have nothing against looking good, and taking pride in your appearance. But we're being the sold the message that those who don't look "perfect" won't get anywhere. And this leads to problems in people's psych, lead them to feeling worthless.

School's might try and help. At mine an all girl's school. I think we get (the same) talks in years 7,9,10, or around age 12 and then again 13-15.  Other girls  get less than this. The sample of the few teenage boys I know tell me that they don't get this at all.

Stories are an important part in people's lives. They have the power to take your to another world and to change your thinking, your ideology. Teenagers are easily impressable.

So what kind of message are we getting when the majority of covers try to avoid the fact that they are centred around someone who isn't traditionally picture perfect?

Thank you to: Laura Ferguson, Cait from The Cait Files, Cicely Loves Books, Laure Eve, Jace McCoy, Kim Curran, Ellie from Curiosity Killed The Bookworm, Tom Pollock, Clover from Fluttering Butterflies, Keris from UKYA, Melissa Maria, Sean Cummings,Laura Sister Spooky, Philip Reeve, Lucy  Queen of Contemporary, Rhys from Fiction Thirst, Bella/Cheezyfeet,  Caroline from Portrait of Woman, Emily datawesomeunicorn, Faye, Cara, and Sarah mindspiel for giving me different viewpoints, suggesting awesome books and making my tbr list grow.

PS. This post should not have taken five hours to put together. It did. XD Please comment!

Thursday 17 January 2013

Rhiannon Paille on the Mythology of The Ferryman and the Flame

You know how much I love mythology, right? Well-Surrender looks like it has A  LOT of mythology and bits of story from multiple cultures. Here's Rhiannon to tell us more...

Surrender is such a unique story, where does all of that originality come from?
Hahaha. I’d love to say it comes from my genius mind, but it really doesn’t. I have a penchant for studying obscure things like Celtic and Norse myths, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan traditions, witchcraft, metaphysics, parapsychology, ecopsychology, fairies, sacred geometry, sacred places, etc. I actually own a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which is basically the Hindu bible.
I think that because I’m eccentric, my writing reflects that.

Why did you choose to name places, and people the way you did?
Avristar in its early days was Istalindir (which was a rip off of a Tolkien word). Before that I called the island Avalon (which was a rip off of Marion Zimmer Bradley) At some point I decided that to be original I had to be original. Still, if you read Mists of Avalon, or any Arthurian myth, you will notice a lot of correlations between Avristar and Avalon. One of the reasons I also changed the name was because I didn’t want to have the responsibility of tying my Avalon to the Avalon people are familiar with today. I was afraid critics would tell me my Avalon was inaccurate because it didn’t feature King Arthur or Morgan Le Fay or the Lady of the Lake.
In regards to the people, I went with the names that seemed to suit them the best. For some of them I took words from the Tolkien dictionary (Atara, Istar and Mallorn) but for others, they came to me with their names in hand. (Kaliel, Krishani and Pux.) I didn’t go into a lot of thought, when I needed a name, I chose one that sounded like it would suit the land. (Eurida, Rueann, Luenelle)

What is a Flame? (and where did that idea come from?)
The Violet Flame was something I stumbled across when I was eighteen. It was an accident. Further inspection into its life showed that current myth seriously misunderstands The Violet Flame, painting it as a thing, not as a living, breathing being. It’s traditionally from Eastern tradition, and people in the Middle East and Asia still meditate on the Violet Flame.
This was the starting point for my story centered around The Flames. At some point in my journey down the rabbit hole I found a reference to eight rays, which were related to the Violet Flame, though texts always called the Violet Flame the ultimate spiritual energy. It then listed off things the Violet Flame can do (erase karma, transmute energy) and because it sounded like a genie in a lantern (St. Germaine carried it in a lantern) I thought it would be interesting to craft a story around it.
That’s essentially how Kaliel became Kaliel.

Why a Ferryman? (and where did that come from?)
For the longest time, Krishani was simply Kaliel’s love interest. I knew I wanted it to be a tragic love story based on a girl who is a Flame (therefore hunted because of how rare she is.) and all she wants is to be normal.
Krishani didn’t out himself as the Ferryman until later. Sure, I was writing about his nightmares long before I put it together that he follows death, means he’s a Ferryman. I used to call him a Watcher because he was watching death . . . then it suddenly came together . . . Ferryman, Grim Reaper, Davy Jones, taking souls to the other side, etc. etc.
I don’t explore what Krishani is in Surrender because my focus was more on Kaliel. In Justice however, that’s when I began learning just how crazy being a Ferryman really is.

Who, what, why and how did Pux end up in the story?
Pux is actually Puck from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I have no idea how he got there. In the original first draft, Kaliel’s best friend is Luenelle. When I did my second rewrite there was this cute feorn hanging around my head all the time that was a trickster, na├»ve, young, and who ended up becoming Kaliel’s best friend.
Pux basically wrote himself into my story and then he took all the best scenes and all the best lines. (imho) In my version I made him a feorn, which is a half wolf, half man like creature. I suppose he’d be a werewolf in some cultures, but for the purposes of my series I called him a feorn.
I’ve had half a mind to ask Julie Kagawa how Puck ended up in her Iron Fey series or into Lesley Livingston’s Wondrous Strange series.

Why do Kaliel and Krishani have to marry the land?
In the early days in Ireland, Kings married the land as to honor that land and solidify their sovereignty. I took the idea from there and made it similar. Kaliel and Krishani marry the land because Avristar is a living being, as well as an island. It’s similar to the way nuns marry God. 

What other stories do you have in the works?
Wow . . . well I have . . . outlines for 17 other books. I’ve written and released three short stories in my Last City on Earth series, and I plan to put out three more stories for that one. Besides that I have a lot of first person urban fantasies outlined. One is about aliens, the other is about a doll. Either way I have enough to keep me busy for many years to come.

I really need to get round to reading this soon. But there's no excuse not to! Today. Surrender is FREE!!!! It's available for kindle on and for today only. We're trying to get it to 10000 downloads. Good luck! 
Rhiannon can be found on her blog, twitter, facebook and goodreads!

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday- The Hit by Melvin Burgess

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 Hit
Author:  Melvin Burgess
Release Date: 4 April 2013
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Take it. Live it. F*** it.
A new drug is out. Everyone is talking about it. The Hit. Take it, and you have one amazing week to live. It's the ultimate high. At the ultimate price.
Adam is tempted. Life is rubbish, his girlfriend's over him, his brother's gone. So what's he got to lose? Everything, as it turns out. It's up to his girlfriend, Lizzie, to show him...

Why I want it: I'm sorry, I've not read Junk. I really need to though. And this looks like a good contemporary-high stakes, interesting topic. 

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Sunday 13 January 2013

Book Haul, news, and stuff.

So... I have books! More books than I started the year with! Yay!

Everneath by  Brodi Ashton
American Psycho by Bert Easton Ellis
The Dead Girl's Dance by Rachel Caine
Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

Equus by Peter Shaffer

For review
Dead Romantic by C.J. Skuse
Seduction of the Innocent by Max Allan Collins

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
Doctor Who-the Encyclopedia

I also got...quite a few in the Twelve Days of Kindle sale. I can't list them all.

The Works and Amazon will be the death of my bank account. Anyone in the UK, I recommend them heavily- there's so much choice and you can get 2 paperbacks for £3!
Big thanks to Tina and Lauren at Chicken House and Titan! Also to my family, who gave me books! 

So, this week, we got a US cover for The Glass Republic. And this got me thinking.  So, in the comments below, can you guys think of books with MCs that don't conform to society's ideas of "beauty"? Fat, with illnesses that visibly take their toll, scarred, damaged some other way? There will be a post about it some day... 

Saturday 12 January 2013

Book Review- Clean by Alex Hughes

Title: Clean
 Author: Alex Hughes
Series:  MindspaceInvestigations #1
Published:  4 September 2012 by Roc
Length: 352 pages
Warnings: drugs, violence, leadup to sex but nothing happens
Source: netgalley
Summary : I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars. My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it—real scary. Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city—and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die. 

Review:  The protagonist of this novel (hereafter known as Our Telepath) works for the police, after getting kicked out of the Telepath Guild, with his partner Isabella Cherabino. In a world where the Tech Wars have eliminated the people’s trust in electronics, being a telepath is useful, even if they’re not the most trusted either. Anyway. People start turning up dead, and Our Telepath is called out to help. But then he gets a vision, and it gets personal-because he could be next.
I’m calling our telepath Our Telepath because we only learn his name at the end, ie in the last two sentences Sometimes this technique annoys me, but because it’s such a well written first person book, it’s not really that noticeable. However, it didn’t come with a big plot twist, which makes me wonder why he was kept anonymous.
There’s a lot of depth to Our Telepath. He has a drugs problem, through no fault of his own, and struggles with it quite frequently through and it’s nice having an extra facet to him than just being crime fighting. It's related in a realistic way, and I liked reading about it.  He’s flawed in other ways, as is Cherabino to a lesser extent. More of her depth comes from other personal problems. Alex has done really well at getting into other people’s heads. I'd have liked to feel a bit more connected to all the characters other than Our Telepath.
The world building is good. It’s unconventional sci-fi in that computers are hardly used, but there’s other types of sci-fi devices that don't get explored fully. There's also a different take on telepaths, with different varieties and an organisation keeping them kind of organised.
Our Telepath is plain spoken and good at keeping us interested in the plot.  The murder mystery case takes lots of different directions, and that's what kept me most invested in Clean throughout.
The romantic tension between Our Telepath and Cherabino wasn't really necessary to the plot, but it did work in exposing more of their characters.
In tone, style, and pacing, it's rather similar to Storm Front by Harry Dresden (though I enjoyed this one a bit more).

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a murder mystery thriller with an excellently written main character. Looking forwards to more.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday-Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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. 

So last week I went through my TBR list (some of it) and did a mini cull. Despite this, I still have a shedload of books on there....

Title:  Styxx
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: 3 September 2012
Summary from Goodreads:  Just when you thought doomsday was over…
Centuries ago Acheron protected the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.
As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life for Acheron’s.
Bethany was born to set right the wrong that left her family imprisoned for eternity. Now that she’s out, nothing will stop her from fulfilling the bargain that freed them. She must take the life of the last remaining Atlantean and she will not fail. But things are never what they seem and Acheron is no longer the last of his line.
Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.
Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?

Why I want it:  I love the Dark Hunter world immensely. Styxx and Acheron are amazing characters with complicated history between them. Acheron's book was enormous. This one kind of is. So much expected from this!

What are YOU waiting on this week?

Monday 7 January 2013

Book Review- Katya's World by Jonathan L Howard

Title: Katya’s World
 Author: Jonathan L Howard
Series:  Russalka Chronicles #1
Published:   6 November by Strange Chemistry
Length: 339 pages
Source: Publisher
Other info: Jonathan has also written the Johannes Cabal series. I reviewed Johannes Cabal, Necromancer here!
Summary : The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.
Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career.
There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.

Review: Katya Kuriakova lives on Russalka, a distant planet submerged in stormy seas. On her first submarine journey as one of the crew, her sub gets hijacked by an official wanting a war criminal transported. After this, she gets taken on an adventure, getting involved in leftovers from a war against Earth, pirates, and a living ship threatening to kill everyone on the planet.
I went into this not realising that it was by the guy who also wrote Johannes Cabal. Anyway, this book is completely different. You can’t really call it steampunk, because of the lack of steam, but it fits into the genre of old style, futuristic technology with a really cool story to go with it.
It all starts really quickly and doesn’t really slow down throughout. The first twist/big thing happens at the end of the second chapter and then they  keep coming.
Katya is clever, resourceful and brave. She also seems a bit older than 15. Kane is a really intriguing character. You start off disliking him because of the way he gets introduced, then you learn his history and he does various things and you think he’s not so bad, and then you find him doing something and you dislike him, but then he does other stuff and your liking levels fluctuate a lot.
The supporting cast are generally awesome. My favourite character is Tasya, the She-Devil. She’s a very fierce character who is actually rather nice considering her reputation. Lukyan I really liked for some reason. Petrov and Tokarov are also really interesting, and I think that they all at parts overshadow Katya in terms of coolness.
The technology in Katya’s world is generally fantastic. The submarine setting is good, but the best thing about this book hands down is the Leviathan. Summed up in one quote: “The great warship was insane”. I love the way it was used, for thrills and excitement, and a living ship is one of the best concepts I’ve seen around.
At some point, there’s a bit where Katya and Kane have “waves crashing far below them”.  I thought the planet was underwater. I thought the whole planet was underwater? Does this mean they’re in space? This bit I didn’t really get. The ending was a bit odd in places, but I really liked tjhe chapter with Pretrov-sets it up nicely for another book.
The other thing I really liked about this: NO ROMANCE WHATSOEVER. Probably because aside from our female protagonist, everyone is over thirty, or at least late twenties and so any romance would be awkward. Katya’s World is so full of action, there’s no time plotwise for a romantic subset.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea. I didn’t really like our main character, but aside from that, awesomeness all round!

Friday 4 January 2013

Book Review- Broken Illusions by Ellie James

Title: Broken Illusions
 Author: Ellie James
Series:  Midnight Dragonfly #2
Published:  8 May 2012 in America. 3 January 2013 by Quercus in the UK.
Length: 340 pages
Source: Publisher
Other info: My review of book one, Shattered Dreams, is here.
Summary : It’s Mardi Gras, but for 16 year-old psychic Trinity Monsour this is no time for celebration. Another girl is missing. Haunted by visions she doesn’t understand—of an empty street lined by crumbling old buildings, a terrified voice warning her to be careful, and a body lying motionless in the grass--Trinity embarks upon a dark odyssey she could never have imagined. She'll stop at nothing to better understand her abilities, convinced that doing so is the only way she can make sure the terrifying images she sees never actually happen. 
But it seems everyone wants to stop her. Her aunt is worried Trinity might discover secrets best left in the past. Her best friend, Victoria, is afraid Trinity is slipping away, her boyfriend, Chase, fears she’s taking too many chances, and the lead detective will barely let her out of his sight. Only one person stands by her side, and in doing so, he slips deeper and deeper into her heart--and her dreams--blurring the lines of reality and illusion. 
When the dust settles, one of them will be dead.

Review:  Once again, Trinity and her psychic powers are used to solve a mystery. This time, she gets the first clues via a Ouija board. The visions come, and Trinity knows that if she doesn’t do anything about it, then that girl might die. But there’s a lot of opposition from all sides.
I kind of enjoyed the first one, but didn’t really get into the characters. Apart from Trinity, who just about copes with all the things she sees.  The others, I found boring again. Some were intriguing, but not hugely so.
When I started this book, and Trinity and Victoria started playing with the Ouija board, I was just “oh please why?”. Ouija boards are one of the few things that I really really try to stay away from, and you’d think that in a psychic-y world with different planes they’d know better.
I like the tone of this book. there’s a lot of mystery, and a sense of threat and always being careful. Sadly I didn’t get a really really creeped out feeling like in the first half of Shattered Dreams, but I still enjoyed the air of mystery in Broken Illusions.
Chase gets a bit more interesting in this instalment, but in a negative way in parts. Chase, can’t you trust your girlfriend?. Dylan, who I didn’t really care for in the first book, was a bit more prominent in this, making me wish I had paid a bit more attention to him in the first one.
I liked Trinity’s development, the way she deals with her visions, seeing her understand it all a bit more. There’s also a bit of family history, which is nice.
The mystery was built up really well. Lots of twists and turns,very gripping, and a satisfying conclusion.
The ending was just NO DON’T DO THAT. I think that Fragile Darkness will be interesting just because you’ve lost that major person and it’ll be intriguing to see how Trinity copes.

Overall:  Strength 3 tea. Really good plot, but I’m not as into the characters as I’d like to be.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Challenges, Tasks, and Stuff I plan to Do In the Upcoming Year

It's really odd to think it's 2013... anyway. I'm not going to call these things resolutions, because everyone knows they're out the window after two weeks. But here's a list of things that I plan to do this year!

1. Read at least 25 books on my kindle. I went through it this morning and discovered books I didn't even know I had. Having 17 pages of stuff organised in chronological order makes you not care about the ones at the back, and just keep reading new stuff.

2. Read at least 30 books from my physical pile. Then pass them on somehow. So then I have more space for books XD But really, I need to sort that box out. After going through them, I found that I had tonnes of review copies and about 20 that I this time last year. Time to change that!

3. Write reviews quicker. So then I don't end up writing a terrible review (terrible quality, not negative) review about a month after I've read the book.

4. Read review copies on time. I just know I've got it to read. And forget about when the publishing date is. I'm sorry, lovely people who send me stuff...

5. Read 200 books as part of the Goodreads Challenge. Review at least half of them.

6. Read at least one British book a month as part of Feeling Fictional's British Books challenge.

7. Housekeeping round here! For example, rewriting the review policy, copying all my reviews onto amazon, update the archive list, reply to all comments, and sort out the tags.

8. Change the desktop theme!

9. Comment on blogs more regularly. As in not weeks without doing it then a spree when I notice that one blog's got 100+ posts to be read. More like ten minutes a day. If I remember. I shall try!

10. Write at least a first draft of a book. Nanowrimo is nice for getting your arse into gear, but it's also really stressful. And you end up looking over it and thinking
This time, I'll be more relaxed about it, but hopefully get something down that I won't mind showing people!

There's also a couple of more personal things that I want to do this year. But I won't go into that here.

So, 2013. Lots of things to do. Do I think I'll be able to fully do it all? Maybe. But will it be fun?

PS. I won't keep adding reaction gifs everywhere. Unless...maybe... do you want more Doctor Who/randomness on here?

Challenge Page

Goodreads Challenge in a Year. Aiming for 200 this year. Goodreads will keep track for me!

 Feeling Fictional's British Books Challenge. 12 British books this year, roughly one a month. No idea what I'll read. Links will come as and when it happens.

  1. Dead Romantic by CJ Skuse

Physical Old and Review- in which I aim to review (and if necessary, read) at least 30  on this list of books I've had for at least a year or have been sent for review or have read  and been too lazy to review or for other reasons need to be read soon. And then, if I don't think I'll read them again, I have to pass them on somehow.

  • Pavane for a Dead Girl
  • The Demon's Lexicon
  • Butterfly
  • Neko Ramen
  • Heart Shaped Bruise
  • The Assassin's Curse
  • Interview With the Vampire 
  • Frostfire
  • Blackwood
  • Annie on my Mind
  • Broken Illusions
  • Blood Magic
  • The Reapers are the Angels
  • Tomorrow When the War Began
  • Night Circus
  • Dark Eyes
  • Jepp Who Defied the Stars
  • King Arthur
  • What's Left of Me
  • Devil's Bargain
  • The Exorcist
  • Unfed
  • Gods and Warriors
  • A World Between Us
  • Summertime of the Dead
  • The Thin Exectuioner
  • Shadows
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Beautiful Creatures
  • Zombies Don't Cry
  •  The Hobbit
  • Switched
  • Hereafter
  • The Poisoned House
  • Spellbound
  • All four books in the Doctor Who Collection
  • School's Out Forever
    Kindle Old and Review .  In which I aim to review (and if necessary, read) at least 25  books on  this list, of ebooks I have either received before January 2012 or have been given for review or have read and been too lazy to review at the time.

    • Ack-Ack Macaque
    • Clean
    • Alechemist of Souls
    • Bad Hair Day
    • Beautiful Demons
    • Blood Keeper
    • Blood Zero Sky
    • Code Name Verity
    • Corpse Rat King
    • The Culling
    • Dash And Lily's Book of Dares
    • Death Demons (something. I can't read my handwriting)
    • Demon Eyes
    • Angel's Kiss
    • Flask
    • Glamour
    • Evil Dark
    • Fangtaboulous
    • The Goddess Legacy
    • Monsterous Beauty
    • Hollowland
    • Gearteeth
    • The Lost Prince
    • The Madness Underneath
    • Oddkins
    • Mortal Obligation
    • The New Death and Others
    • Pure
    • Pantomime
    • Redemption
    • Released
    • Senshi
    • Shadowhunters and Downworlders
    • Silver
    • Snakebite
    • Sister Assassin
    • Something Strange and Deadly
    • Tarnished
    • Trick or Treat
    • 22 Dark Tales
    • Under My Hat
    • Unspoken
    • The Wrong Goodbye
    • Yesterday
    • Zombie
    • Velveteen

      Good luck to me!