Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's here finally! The night when the veil between the spirit world and ours is thin enough for spirits to roam the earth, to save oneself from being possessed, to pray for the dead...... or just for us to have fun watching horror films, trick or treating, and eating free sweets. Either way, today's still a great day.

So what can I say here..... please carry on entering the giveaway! It'll end at Midnight tonight. And even though I won't be here to close it, I'll just not count any entries submitted after the closing time. So get your entries in and spread the word!

Tell us what you're doing to celebrate Halloween, or show us your costumes(sad to say we're not going out tonight. Katy, some friends and I are having a huge "tea" party. But hopefully some of you are!), or tell us anything! Scary books, films, ways to have fun?

Happy Halloween everyone!

The top bit was not meant to offend anyone. I know some people are extremely against Halloween. The above is an extremely cut down version of the History of Halloween. If you don't agree with this, I'm sorry. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Scary, not Sparkly Please!

For my Halloween post, I’m going to talk about the paranormal creatures in young adult fiction, and what went wrong. You see, in the old days, paranormal creatures were some of the scariest things around-Dracula and ghosts haunted the Victorians, and I’m sure there are many more old books to there where a supernatural thing would simply leave you terrified. Now, pick up a book featuring a paranormal creature. Preferably that book was published in the last four years, and is aimed at the young adult market. Chances are, it will feature vampires, or werewolves and chances are that said vampire or werewolf is the love interest in the novel. So how is it that the things that we wanted out of our bedrooms, now we want them very much in?
Well, before I blame a book I really dislike, we still have other things pre-dating that that feature paranormal romance. Buffy the vampire slayer. That girl who could easily save herself fell in love with Angel, a romance doomed to fail. And before Dracula even, J Sheridan La Fanu’s Carmilla is a lesbian love story with a bloodsucker involved. And the slightly romantic side to Dracula. And a lot more. But vampires, in my opinion, should be kept for scares.
The whole uprising of paranormal romance is of course due to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. Vampires and werewolves were suddenly the big thing to fall in love with. Then  The Vampire Diaries by L J Smith, Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater and many many more books joined the growing amount of paranormal romance on the shelves. It’s easy to see why: the simple concept of a girl falling in love with something not human is very open, with many different paths to go down, and is a proven success. That's the reasons for the author. But they wouldn't be doing this without the readers. So let's see what the readers say.
A vampire is a reanimated corpse that needs living blood to sustain itself. so why is it so popular? Judging by Twilight, it’s the fact that some of them are capable of not being psychopathic killers but things with a heart. We tend to love things that aren’t heartless and able to kill random people. And then there's the slightly more practical side of them being strong and fast and generally able to save you from all kinds of danger, from other big things that want to rip you to pieces, to skidding trucks.
then you get the lycanthrope, most commonly a werewolf, but we see a few were-cats and other creatures too. something cursed to turning furry and wild one night a month, then be normal for the rest of it. Why are these so attractive? Most likely the speed and strength, or possibly because for twenty seven of twenty eight days, you have a perfectly normal boy or girlfriend. Can't see what you'd do with them on the other night of the four weeks though. Lock yourself out of their way and hope he doesn't worry the livestock too much I suppose.
Zombies are reanimated corpses, but they don't seem to get that much going for them. Read my post on Paranormal Wastelands for my reasoning behind this.
I'm not trying to lead a rebellion against paranormal romance. I love a bit of romance with bite, just as much as most of you reading this blog. Probably. But sometimes I wonder, why is it so hard to get a good scare out of what began their existences as monsters? why do these monsters send warmth to our hearts rather than chills up our spine? And will we ever see young adult shelves become full of books where the paranormal creatures, no matter what species they may be, are scary, and not sparkly?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A note on Yokai and Japanese urban legends. And the mythical creature crusade!

Yokai, the mythical creatures from Japanese folklore, have captured my heart. Sort of. I've still got it and plan to donate it when I die.
You see, the standard in English language books featuring supernatural creatures always have vampires, werewolves, zombies or romantic ghosts[which will now be called VWZRG because I'm lazy] (I can't see what kind of creatures are in French or Spanish language books until A level and that's very far away). They're great and love them but isn't it time you get some variety? Possibly, with the mass-outbreak of teenage girls falling for VWZRG, stories about other legends have almost died out and are kept alive on life support by the tiny metaphorical Vatican cities of the book world. Understandably, this has come about because VWZRG all are vaguely human shaped. Still, that's no reason to throw away all the things that couldn't get cut by the human shaped cookie-cutter of fate! Even the word of mouth is dying out! Only Nessie, big foot and the abominable snowman is all that ever gets mentioned. Join the crusade by commenting or something!
Sorry, I'll calm down. Yokai is a generally term for Japanese monsters and Japanese ghosts. They fall into four categories, apparently: bakemono (shape shifters), Oni (demon/trolls),Tsukumogami (animated objects that come to life after they are 100 years old) and Yurei (ghosts). Yokai are so varied and different that I had to love them when I first heard about them. Japanese urban legends are also colourful. Many are about schools and toilets. Next I'm going to write about a few of my favourites:
  • Neko-mata and bake-neko - these are monster cats after they have reached a certain size or have been fed in the same place for 3 or 13 years. They can assume a human form. Neko-mata have a forked tail and can manipulate corpses and are the causes of strange fires. Some people used to cut the tails of kittens as they thought that if the tail couldn't fork then the cat couldn't become a bakemono.
  • Hainu - the winged dog from Chikugo in the Fukuoka Prefecture. There is a memorial there where the dog is supposedly buried. In one story, the dog was a ferocious creature who terrorised the local area. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi tried to conquer it's home it stood in his way and was slain. The other says that the dog was Toyotomi's pet.
  • Oni - Oni can apparently be repelled by soybeans and stinky fish. They are ften shown wearing tiger skin fundoshi carrying a club. Ao-oni (blue demon) and aka-oni (red demon) are said to be assistants to the king of hell. Ao-oni features in the video game "Ao oni".
  • Karakasa - Umbrellas which have reached their 100th birthday. They are generally shown as a battered paper umbrella with it's tongue sticking out of it's mouth, one leg (where the handle should be) and one eye. On it's one leg is usually a Japanese sandal. It's adorable!
  • Teke teke - the vengeful spirit of a girl who was cut in half by an oncoming train. She carries a scythe and drags herself making a scratching sound (teke teke is the sound for scratch in Japanese). If her victims are not fast enough, she will cut them in half. They may become a teke teke like her.
  • The Red Room - a pop up which shows are red door. It asks you if you like the red room. even if you close the pop up it will reopen. Victims are found dead, with the wall covered in their blood.
  • Aka manto (red cape) - a spirit which haunts toilets. He can also be called aoi manto (blue cape). He will ask you if you want a red cape/toilet paper/vest or a blue cape/toilet paper/vest. Saying red gets you sliced up until your clothes are stained red; saying blue gets your blood drained. Answering with another colour will get you dragged into the "netherworld". Saying yellow paper may get your head shoved into the toilet you just used. The correct answer is to refuse anything aka manto offers you.
Clearly, Japan is a more diverse place if you want to get killed in many different ways or become a monster yourself.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Halloween book review: Carrie by Stephen King

Title: Carrie
Author: Stephen King
Source: *Er... Nina, where did you get this book from?* Nina's Edit: Won from Comacalm
Published: October 2006
Publisher: Hodder paperback
Length:  235 pages
Warnings: Profanity, sexual intercourse, gore
Summary from story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom
Review: Carrietta White has the power of telekinesis. But after a traumatic experience in the girl’s shower room, all Carrie wants is to be normal. It doesn't seem like that’s ever going to happen with the all the school’s bullies after her and an upbringing from Margaret White, Carrie’s extremely religious mother who believes everyone to be sinners and likes to lock in a prayer cupboard. When Susan Snell organises Carrie a date with Tommy to the prom, Carrie finally has a chance to fit in. But that prom is the last that (most) of the partygoers will ever go to…
Stephen King is a brilliant author. I love the way he drops hints in the form of articles and book extracts about the black prom. Slowly he builds up a wide view from all parties involved (apart from Tommy. It would have been better if we knew what Tommy was thinking). Carrie and Sue were fleshed brilliantly. I don’t really like Sue Snell and felt no sympathy for her. I’m rather impressed by this because it means that she was fleshed out so well that people will get very different views about her. I thought that Carrie was a great character but the rest were on the shallow side. Tommy was either really simple or really strange, Desjardin needed a reality check and that Chris and Billy were a bit thin because their motives weren’t strong. The guy who put himself in the police station when he gets drunk is very clever. All drunks should do this.
I adore the plotline. It’s a twist on the classic high school bullies plot which leads to the untimely and brutal death of many people. What’s not to love? It starts with the famous shower scene where Carrie has her first period and thinks she's bleeding to death. I can't believe King tried to throw it away. The middle though, was slightly lacking. Things were happening during this part but it didn't seem to match the depth of start. The black prom that I was looking forward to was too... distant? in it's narration. It didn't capture the horror the characters felt and couldn't justify the reason why it (would) hit America harder that Kennedy's assassination. Even so the feelings of Carrie White ere intriguing and I like how everyone can hear her thoughts when she snaps.
Rating: Strength 4

This is also part of the Halloween giveaway. I just broke my computer and so Nina had to fill in for me yesterday.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Zompacolypse Giveaway! International

Paranormal Wastelands
How have you all been enjoying Halloween week so far? Hopefully you have anyway...
Anyway, here's a giveaway to celebrate Halloween! .

It's part of Paranormal Wasteland's Zompacolypse Halloween there's lots of giveaways going on!

Here at Death Books and Tea, we're offering to one winner one of the books we've reviewed this week. Or, if nothing we've reviewed this week looks like something you want, you can pick another book, as long as it's under £10 and is a horror book/somehow related to Halloween.

The giveaway will be shipped to whereever The Book Depository ship, which is pretty much everywhere. So it's international!

It begins Friday 28th October and will end at midnight Tuesday 1st November.

To enter, all you have to do is fill out the form below.'ve come by one of the 15 bonus stops for a $25 Amazon Giftcard, being given away by Darkfallen and Greta at Paranormal Wastelands. Hop around the blogs, looking for the candy bucket at each of them, for a chance to win. You could have 15 entries if you find all the buckets! Click on the bucket and fill out the form for a chance to win...

Good luck! Now go visit all the other giveaways on the hop!

Halloween Book Review- The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Woman in BlackTitle:  The Woman in Black
 Author:  Susan Hill
Series:   N/A
Published:   10th October 1983
Length: 160 pages
Warnings: None
Other info:  This has been adapted for stage, TV,and will be a film starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2012.
Summary :Set in Victorian England, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again, plus he also hears the terrifying sounds of adult and child passengers sinking into the quicksand on a pony and trap.
Review: Arthur Kipps is a lawyer who is sent to a client's funeral. The woman lived in Eel Marsh House on her own. At the funeral, he sees a woman, wasting away, dressed all in black. After one night in Eel Marsh House, Arthur realises that he's scared out of his mind by this strange woman, bumps in the night and visions of a trap being pulled under in quicksand..
I loved the way we get his old age to start with, then the rest of the story is a flash back. How he mangages to remember everything in detail, I don't know.
Arthur, we can easily connect with, and undersands his thoughts. He's a young man who didn't believe in the supernatural, and then suddenly he's placed in this world of ghosts. Everything is believable and easy to follow.
I'm not sure if this is normal, but my favourite character was Spider. The dog. When I was reading a certain scene, involving Arthur and Spider, for some reason, I only cared about Spider. I did care a little about Arthur, but all I could think about was the dog. Typical me.

The atmosphere is great. I can't believe this was only published in the 80s. The writing style and the references to 18/9--(forgotton exactly when it's set) really make it seem as though it was written a great deal earlier.
As well as the woman, there are secrets hidden throughout, involving more people than you'd typically think. Everything we read is relevant to the rest of the story, and everything keeps you going. Suspense is well built, and throughout you just want to finish the book to find out exactly how everything ends. The conclusion to the mystery is good, and the very end is unexpected.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a good old fashioned ghost story that keeps you gripped throughout.

Halloween Book Review- The Devil's Footsteps by E.E.Richardson

Title: The Devil's Footsteps
 Author: E.E.Richardson
Series:   N/A
Published:  5 January 2006
Length: 288 pages
Source: Library
Summary : It was just a bit of fun, a local legend. The Devil's Footsteps: thirteen stepping stones, and whichever one you stopped on in the rhyme could predict how you would die. A harmless game for kids - and nobody ever died from a game.

But it's not a game to Bryan. He's seen the Dark Man, because the Dark Man took his brother five years ago. He's tried to tell himself that it was his imagination, that the Devil's Footsteps are just stones and the Dark Man didn't take Adam. But Adam's still gone.

And then Bryan meets two other boys who have their own unsolved mysteries. Someone or something is after the children in the town. And it all comes back to the rhyme that every local child knows by heart: Thirteen steps to the Dark Man's door, Won't be turning back no more . . .
Review: It's just a game, isn't it. Like one of those skipping rhymes, chants for little kids. A rhyme that predicts how you'll die. But anyway. It's just a rhyme. But not for Bryan. His brother went missing, when playing this game, and Bryan saw the Dark Man who took Adam away. Then Bryan finds two more boys who lost someone, apparently to The Dark Man. Somehow the children of the town are going missing and the Devil's Footsteps chant is somehow tying it all together.
An original idea. Creepy chants aren't common in the world of horror, or at least as main parts in the horror. So it's nice seeing something different.
The writing style is fairly simple, a little descriptive, easy to follow, leaving a fair bit to the imagination. I didn't really like the third person to start with, but got used to it and started enjoying it a bit more as we went on.
 The characters are well built up, with realistic reactions and personalities. Bryan you could easily get into the head of, understanding reasoning for actions.
The plot seemed to follow one track with a lot of  'I didn't see that coming's every now and again. It was really fast paced, which was good.  The suspense was built brilliantly throughout. You're left to wonder about the Dark Man, what he can and can't do, and so on throughout the book.
I love the climax so much,on the path of stepping stones. It was a great climax, but the very end ie the last chapter, seemed a little rushed for my liking, and disappointing..
There's not that much to say about this book other than it's one you should read if you want something a little  different.
Overall:  Strength 3.5 rounded up to a 4 to a good piece of horror for the slightly  younger audience.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #27- The Halloween Edition

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. 

And for Halloween, here’s a slightly creepier/scarier/horror related(from the summaries) selection (kind of. Only two. My TBR tends to be full of dystopia/PNR)  of my TBR list.  

Masque of the Red DeathTitle:  Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Release Date:  April 24th 2012
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: Everything is in ruins.
A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her
Why I want it: The title. Anything(almost) with Edgar Allan Poe is something I want to read. I just hope this won’t halfway through become a love triangle. And pretty cover.

RipperTitle:  Ripper
Author: Amy Carol Reeves
Release Date: April 8th 2012
Link to / Summary from Goodreads:
 A paranormal mystery involving London’s most notorious killer
In 1888, following her mother’s sudden death, seventeen-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. Even more horrifying, Abbie starts having strange visions that lead her straight to the Ripper’s next massacres. As her apparent psychic connection with the twisted killer grows stronger, Abbie is drawn into a deadly mystery involving the murders, her mother’s shadowed past, and a secret brotherhood of immortals—who’ll stop at nothing to lure Abbie into its “humanitarian” aims

Why I want it: Another re-spun version of Jack the Ripper? Yes, that’s my kind of thing. No, I haven’t read too many of them to get boring.

This is part of our week long Halloween event! Throughout the week there'll be reviews, posts, and a giveaway! Check back later for more spooky booky fun!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Halloween Book Review- Christine by Stephen King

StephenKing-Christine.jpgTitle: Christine
 Author: Stephen King
Series:  N/A
Published:  1983
Length: 748 pages 
Warnings: profanity, violence, graphic blood & guts, sex references
Source: Library
Other info: A film was made based on this book in the same year.
Summary : Christine, blood-red, fat, and finned, was twenty. Her promise lay all in her past. Greedy and big, she was Arnie`s obsession, a `58 Plymouth Fury. Broken down, but not finished. 
There was still power in her - a frightening power that leaked like sump oil, staining and corrupting. A malign power that corroded the mind and turned ownership into Possession.
ReviewThis is the one with that evil car. Somewhere near the beginning, Arnie buys Christine, a twenty something year old blood red car from Roland LeBay. Soon after, LeBay dies "suddenly". 
Christine is Arnie's obsession. Even his best friend Dennis and girlfriend Leigh don't compare. Then a group of boys vandalise Christine, and it's hard to say who's angrier: Arnie or Christine. Because while Arnie just does what a normal boy would do, ie scream and swear at the boys who wrecked his prize possession,  Christine takes it worse. A lot worse. As in, come-to-life-in-middle-of-the-night-and-run-the-yobs-over-or-maybe-force-them-to-crash-their-car-of-which-the-gas-tank-explodes worse. And on top of the car not behaving it-er, HERself, Arnie isn't acting like his normal self. Something else seems to be taking him over. What, or who, can it be?
I picked this up with high hopes. I read Carrie(reviewed by Katy some time this week), and was given orders from Westy to read Christine. And seeing as she tends to have good reading taste(Lord of the Flies excepted) and I was going to read more Stephen King anyway, so I needed somewhere to start. So far, so good.
It all gets started quite quickly. It's not long before Arnie buys Christine off LeBay and becomes rather obsessed with it. And then it all slows down. Well,quite a few things happen. But the first part is mainly run up which, while nice, gets slightly sameish. the incident to set it all off happens almost halfway through. From there on, the action doesn't stop. First to go is Moochie, run over thrice, then three boys driven off track and blown up, and then a few more deaths. Dennis and Leigh realise it's the car, and I loved seeing them plan and attempt to get rid of Christine. My favourite part of the plan is the fact they use a truck called Petunia. Why? They're using vehicles with names. Why do I like that? I don't know.
Arnie was an interesting character. His character was fairly well developed and the end bit regarding him was a shame.
I didn't see the point of Dennis's accident. However, it provided an interesting dynamic for the final showdown.
The action bits(the death scenes)were really good. I found myself rereading them loads of times to get an idea of what was happening, from the victims',bystanders' and  Christine's point of view. And is it wrong that throughout these scenes, I wasn't sacred at all? And that I just found myself thinking 'Go for it, Christine!'? 
The biggest disappointment was the lack of scaryness. I never felt really creeped out by the events in the way that I should have done. 
Despite this, this is a really good book. It's mainly action with a little scare to it. The writing was easy to get through, and the plot will keep you hooked throughout.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a book that will force you to never look at cars the same way ever again.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Halloween Book Review- Ring by Koji Suzuki

 Author: Koji Suzuki
Series:  Ring #1
Published:  1991
Length: 392 pages
Warnings: references rape, violence, profanity
Source: Library
Other info: Films have been produced. A Japanese one directed by Hideo Nakata, and a sequel, and Ring 0:Birthday.  On the American remake side is The Ring and The Ring Two, featuring ghost Samara. Also in the book series are Loop, Spiral and The Birthday. There is manga called Volume 0-Birthday, and apparently there’s a couple of video games. All films are 15s.
Summary : A mysterious videotape warns that the viewer will die in one week unless a certain, unspecified act is performed. Exactly one week after watching the tape, four teenagers die one after another of heart failure.
Asakawa, a hardworking journalist, is intrigued by his niece's inexplicable death. His investigation leads him from a metropolitan Tokyo teeming with modern society's fears to a rural Japan--a mountain resort, a volcanic island, and a countryside clinic--haunted by the past. His attempt to solve the tape's mystery before it's too late--for everyone--assumes an increasingly deadly urgency. Ring is a chillingly told horror story, a masterfully suspenseful mystery, and post-modern trip.
Review: This book jumps straight into the action, with two teenagers dying in very mysterious ways, at the same time. in the second chapter, we meet journalist Asakawa, whose niece died in Chapter 1. in a taxi, he learns about the second mysterious death from the driver, and after doing some more digging, he finds two more teenagers died the same time from possibly the same thing (as they don't know what caused the deaths, they can't say it was the same thing.) It turns out they all stayed at a lodge one week before their deaths, and together they watched a video tape. Yes, that video tape that causes viewers to die in exactly a week after they watch the video chat that's not right. Someone's taped over this at the vital part, and there's no way to recover it. So Asakawa and Ryuji plan to work out how to break the curse, brining up the vengeful spirit of Sakako Yamamura along the way. And they've only got a week to do it...
I like the way it starts quickly, but i think the scare with the boy at the junction was much more powerful than Tomoko's death, probably because it was written as seen from a bystander, not just looking over the victim's shoulder. The pacing is really fast, but is also just slow enough for you to not keep losing your place. You really have to be reading closely to follow at every turn.
The characters and their reactions are very believable. Ryuji and Asakawa were well fleshed out throughout, but the best character development came right at the very end. Yes, that's when one of them dead. And?
The writing was excellent. The tension grips you from the start, and doesn't let you go. Even then, it still doesn't let you go. The cliff-hanger is extreme-life, death and a little family morals come in to it. This (as far as I remember. I read it a long time ago) is NOT resolved in book two, Loop, so your imagination is left to work overtime.
And work overtime it does. Of all the books I've ever read, including a few Stephen Kings and classics like Frankenstein, THIS has been the only one to scare me to the point of keeping me awake, not wanting to go to bed. Sadako and her power is creepy. Fact.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to the best ghost story you will ever find.

Halloween is Here! Kind of!

Halloween is Here! Well, the actual event won't be here until next week. But today we're kicking off the celebrations here at Death Books and Tea.
The week long celebrations will be full of reviews from Katy and I, a few posts with our thoughts on things, and a giveaway as part of the Zompacolypse event. Seems like fun? I hope it will be.
To start with, here's a little something about The Zombies of Today, posted at Paranormal Wastelands.
Hope you'll come back throughout the week for a week long of scary books and other spooktacular goodies on Death Books and Tea!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Half Term Holiday Reading aka In My Mailbox

It's Half Term for Katy and I! So as well as homework and preparing for one of the best days ever on Saturday, we'll be reading.
Katy will be reading books that we got for review, and some other stuff.
I will be reading books we got for review when on my computer. When I'm not, I'll be reading this stuff, which is the stuff I got from the library yesterday.

  • Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (nearly finished this one. Love it to bits)
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (the second book I ever added as to-read on goodreads. Been waiting for this a long time)
  • Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (again. This is an awesome book. Re-reading so I can review it for the YA Japanese week I'm doing with Caroline-more on that later)
  • L Change The World by M (again. Also for YA Japanese week. Loved the film. Book mediocre.)
  • This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel (Frankenstein prequel- epic win.)

The reason I actually remembered this week to do IMM is because of this awesome pile of books. And the fact that by making it known that I have these, I'm slightly more likely to remember to review these. So keep checking back for the reviews.

And keep checking back this coming week for the Halloween week. Reviews, posts and a giveaway await anyone who comes by!

Enjoy the week ahead xxx

Book Review- Stepping on Roses vol 1 by Rinko Ueda

((pre-review talk-Sorry for lack of reviews lately. It'll be made up in the coming week!))

Title: Stepping on Roses vol 1
 Author: Rinko Ueda
Series:  Stepping on Roses (barefooted) #1
Published:   April 6th 2010 by VIZ Media LLC(first published in 2008)
Length:200 pages
Warnings: adult situations. You get my drift.
Source: library
Summary : A rags-to-riches romance from the creator of Tail of the Moon! Poor Sumi Kitamura… Her irresponsible older brother Eisuke keeps bringing home orphans for her to take care of even though they can barely afford their own basic needs! Just when Sumi's financial problems become dire, wealthy Soichiro Ashida enters her life with a bizarre proposition--he'll provide her with the money she so desperately needs if she agrees to marry him. But can Sumi pull off fooling high society into thinking she's a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth it to give everything up for this sham of a marriage?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #26 I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

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:  I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Release Date: 2012
Link to / Summary from Goodreads: The dark thriller, described as Dexter meets The Silence of the Lambs for teens, tells of a boy who uses his killer instinct, inherited from his serial killer father, to help solve a series of murders.
Why I want it: I always like a good mystery thriller, even though there aren’t too many that really intrigue me. Open for suggestions though! I enjoyed Dan Well’s I am Not a Serial Killer, and maybe(just from title really. The summary isn’t that great.), and I’m wondering if this will be similar. And the cover is interesting.

What are YOU waiting on this week?

And on a different note,  don’t forget to come back on Monday when I’ll be kicking off the week long Halloween celebrations. For more info,  click here! 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Deleted Scene & Launch Party and Generally Amazing News about Flame Of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille

A few days ago, Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille went up for sale here.   As you may or may not  remember, Katy reviewed this and gave it strength 5 tea. And therefore it is absolutely amazing. You really should get this.

As a launch party, here and over at Ashley's blog, Rhiannon Paille has given us both a deleted scene from Flame of Surrender. And over at Rhiannon's blog, there's a deleted scene. So in general, today's a day with a lot of awesome Flame of Surrender stuff going on. Go have a look here for more information.^^

For those of you who want to see some romance, go see Ashley for the Hot Like Wow Tower Scene.

And for those of you who don't want to see some romance, stay here for the Crazy Disturbing Torture Scene (trigger warning here. For Torture. Obviously. It's not too bad. I'm still hiding it under a jump though.)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Book Review- Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Title: Fairy Bad Day
 Author: Amanda Ashby
Series:  N/A
Published:  9 June 2011 by Speak
Length: 336 pages
Source: Giveaway by Lesley @ My Keeper Shelf
Other info: Amanda Ashby’s other books are You Had Me at Halo and Zombie Queen of Newbury High. There are more coming up.
Summary : While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day
Review: Emma is not having a good day. She expects to be assigned to kill dragons-especially as her mother was also one, before she died. But then her school decides she'd be better off slaying fairies instead. So she's stuck with that. And the person who DID get designated Dragon-slayer is Curtis Green. By Emma's standards he's cute, but she still hates him. And then a giant fairy thing turns up. It's called a darkhel and it plans to open the gates sealing off the majority of evil creatures from Earth. And only Curtis and Emma can see it. And kill it.
The premise sounds fun. Fairy slayers are never seen in young adult books, at least not what I've read. And I love the idea of a school churning out slayers of elementals. It seems fun.
It was a little bit of a shock having it in third person, despite the blurb being written in first. I loved the attitude on the back cover, and I'd have loved to get to know Emma and her personality throughout the book.
That's not to say we didn't get a good idea of her personality from her actions and dialogue. We did, and it showed her as being inventive and not afraid to talk back. But I'd have liked this in first person, as the back hinted at such a great personality.
The supporting characters were very good. Love interest Curtis I don't have much of an opinion on, as half the time we see him and Emma together they're either fighting eachother, fighting creatures, or forced together for schoolwork. Also his big secret I could kind of see coming. I didn't know exactly how it would work out, but his initial explanation for the glasses didn't seem right. Loni is the kind of girl who you can be great friends with,  despite the fact she will constantly get on your nerves with her spouting about horoscopes and being made for eachother and so on. And the fairies...despite hating them to start with, they seemed to become more likeable and they really grew on me.
I'm not sure why, but I never got a good mental image of the darkhel, which made the majority of the important scenes hard to imagine.
The romance was nicely done, following the plot formula before the love triangle: they'd be perfect for eachother, but grudges/initial dislike get in the way. The lack of love triangle is very nice and more my kind of romance.
Overall:  Strength 4  tea to a fairy quick, easy and fun book.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Book Hop #16

Book Blogger HopI'm back!
Thank you for getting her through some way or another. I'm guessing that you got here via Crazy for Books, but if you didn't, that doesn't matter. You're here now!

Here at Death Books and Tea, Katy and I review all kinds of young adult books, such as dystopians, fantasies, horrors and manga.

At the moment, we've got a giveaway running of Megan Curd's Bridger. As this is part of the blog tour, there's also many more copies of Bridger to be won all round the blogoverse. Click here to enter my giveaway and to find out where else you can win a copy of this great book.

This weeks question...
“What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?”

For this, I'd absolutely have to say Ring by Koji Suzuki. You may have heard of the films, it's the one where you watch a videotape and you're cursed to die in a week. It's a bit of all the above genres, and the only book that has ever left me awake at night. Is it odd that I liked being scared? Oh well....

The full review of Ring, and many other things, will be posted sometime during our Halloween Week, with a giveaway at the end. Come back on 24 October and for the rest of the week for some fun!

What's your favourite book? I'd love some recommendations!  Link back to your blog and I'll come back to you soon.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Book Review + Giveaway- Bridger by Megan Curd

Title: Bridger
 Author: Megan Curd
Series:  Bridger #1
Published:  4 June 2011 by Soul Fire Press
Length: 258 pages
Warnings: kissing, fantasy violence
Source: e-book for book tour
Other info: This is part of a book tour. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for an international giveaway and links to the rest of the stops.
Summary : Ashlyn McVean doesn’t believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn’t enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what’s most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.          
Review: With all the fairy books coming out recently, I’ve not seen many dealing with a changeling. This book does. For those of you who aren’t fully up to date on legends, changelings are  fairies that take the place of human children after said children have been snatched away for fairy use.
This starts straight into the action. Ashlyn’s father drowns within the first few pages, due to mysterious causes. Despite this, Ash still goes on a trip to Ireland to understand her heritage better, and takes best friend Jamie with her. Here they meet romantic interest Liam and a lot more extended family. And here she starts properly understanding her heritage, and how the fairies are involved.
You get a really good sense of emotions here. Ash is a really strong character, as are all the supporting cast. You really get to know Ash, and the way she deals with everything adds to her character. I think I liked Memaw, the grandmother best, even if certain things were a little “erm. Ok. What?” (refers to Memaw’s age....)
I like what Megan Curd has done with the mythology. I’d heard of changelings and the like before, but Ash’s -how do I say this without spoiling it? Erm.... makeup? Condition? Read the book and you’ll understand- is new and unique.  The Protectors system is an interesting one too, which I really enjoyed imagining.
The romance happily wasn’t the main focus of the book. It kind of crept in at convenient moments. And when I say crept, I mean appeared. And I’m not sure how the romance really developed. The first intro to it wasn’t that long at all. after that it was fine, but I still think there should have been a little more to begin with.
The best thing is how it keeps you reading. The book is a never ending cycle of: Something very interesting happens. We learn something new. We want to read on. We read on. We learn something new.     And so on. It kept me going for ages. Somethings do seem to be a little rushed though. And  by the end, there’s a lot of unanswered questions.....MUST READ BOOK 2!!!
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a great new fantasy series. Get it if you can.

And on to the giveaway.
  • You must be 13 or over to enter.
  • You must have a valid email address
  • This is international giveaway
  • The prize is an e-book copy of Bridger
  • The giveaway runs until 6AM GMT, 19 October 2011    
  • The winner will be announced
  • The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize. Failure to do so will result in me picking another winner.
  • One entry can be gained by leaving a meaningful comment on the review.
  • Another entry can be gained by spreading the word and leaving the link in a comment.
  • With any comment leave an email address so I can contact you.
  • Good luck! 

And finally, here’s a list of blogs on the tour! There’s a giveaway of the e-book at ALL the stops, and at the final one, you can enter for a signed print copy and other awesome stuff. For more info, go here.

  • Oct. 1 ~ Bookbriefs: Review
  • Oct. 2 ~ Bookworm Lisa : Review
  • Oct. 3 ~ Unabridged Anya: Author Interview Part I
  • Oct. 4 ~ YA Bound : Author Interview Part II
  • Oct. 5 ~ Supernatural Snark: Excerpt
  • Oct. 6 ~ Mermaid Vision Books: Review
  • Oct. 7 ~ The Reader Bee: Review
  • Oct. 8 ~ The Magic Attic ~ Guest Post
  • Oct. 9 ~ Reading Angel ~ Review
  • Oct. 10 ~ Crazed ’bout Books: Review
  • Oct. 11 ~ Faery Ink Press: Review
  • Oct. 12 ~ Death Books and Tea: Review
  • Oct. 13 ~ The Wannabe Knight: Review
  • Oct. 14 ~ Great Imaginations: Guest Post
  • Oct. 15 ~ Smitten with Books: Review
  • Oct. 16 ~ Tamara’s Book Ramblings: Review
  • Oct. 17 ~ Teenage Reader: Review
  • Oct. 18 ~ An Avid Reader’s Musings: Review
  • Oct. 19 ~ A Casual Reader’s Blog: Review
  • Oct. 20 ~ Candace’s Book Blog: Guest Post
  • Oct. 21 ~ Nicole’s YA Book Blog: Review
  • Oct. 22 ~ Second Bookshelf on the Right: Review
  • Oct. 23 ~ Ya-Aholic: Review
  • Oct. 24 ~ Novels on the Run: Review
  • Oct. 25 ~ I Live, I Laugh, I Love Books: Guest Post
  • Oct. 26 ~ Reader Girl: Review
  • Oct. 27 ~ Letters Inside Out: Review
  • Oct. 28 ~ Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf: Review
  • Oct. 29 ~ My Shelf Confessions: Where You Write
  • Oct. 30 ~ The Fairytale Nerd: Review
  • Oct. 31 ~ A Lilliputian’s Journey: Halloween Pairing
  • Nov. 1 ~ Mundie Moms: Review
  • Nov. 2 ~ Kristie Cook: Guest Post
  • Nov. 3 ~ Words I Write Crazy: Review
  • Nov. 4 ~ Braintasia Books: Review
  • Nov. 5 ~ Seeing Night Book Reviews: Review
  • Nov. 6 ~ Off
  • Nov. 7 ~ YA Book Lover Blog: Author Interview
  • Nov. 8 ~ Laine’s Fiction Book’s Corner: Review
  • Nov. 9 ~ Stuck in Books: Review
  • Nov. 10 ~ Off
  • Nov. 11 ~ Mercurial Musings: Author Military Post
  • Nov. 12 ~ Supa Gurl Books: Review
  • Nov. 13 ~ The Fiction Fairy: Review
  • Nov. 13 ~ A Tale of Many Reviews: Final Stop and Author Wrap-Up

Monday, 10 October 2011

Cover to Cover- Battle Royale around the World

Before we get going, just like to say, I'm part of Spinebreakers now! An online book club with pretty much everything? Definately my kind of thing. This'll be fun....

Another installment of Cover to Cover. And this time, it's the Around the World type, where I take one book with editions that have different covers depending on where you are, then decide what book edtion I'd rather have.  And this time, I'm doing it for Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, one of my favourite ever books.

Picture heavy.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Book Review-Department 19 by Will Hill

Title: Department 19
 Author: Will Hill
Series:  Department 19 #1
Published:  31st March 2011 by Razorbill
Length:540 pages
Warnings: moderate fantasy violence, a lot of gore, vampires, mythical creatures
Other info: This is Will Hill’s first book. The sequel, The Rising, will be released in April 2012.  PARAJUNKEE’S VAMPIRE CHALLENGE #15

Summary : Jamie Carpenter's life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein's monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.
Review: Jamie carpenters mother is, one night, suddenly kidnapped. Jamie has no idea who, what or why it happened, but afterwards he is taken to Department 19, a secret part of the government. It turns out that Department 19 has the things needed to find his mother and kill the vampires that took her. So Jamie, vampire girl who turns up Larissa and Frankenstein(the monster who took his creator’s name after said creator dies) and some more soldiers go after her. Meanwhile, someone is trying to bring back Dracula.
This is definitely one for the boys(and girls like Katy and I who prefer vampires to be scary not sparkly).a little romance is hinted at, but it is in no way the focus of the story. From start to finish there is full on action.
I love the whole mix of creatures in this. Ok, there aren’t many, but big points to Will Hill for including Frankenstein’s Monster in such a prominent part. And more points to him for making Shelley and Stoker’s creations not just fiction in the world of Department 19, making me excited to see if any other classical creatures (Maybe the chuthlu, or whatever that is, that thing that Lovecraft made up) will turn up in the sequel.
I liked the vampires in this. I like the way their status in life is presented. It shows them kind of like humans-some living in luxury, some working boring jobs. The chemist vampire, the one that produces Bliss, blood mixed with other stuff sent out to stop vampires going on killing sprees, is a particular favourite of mine. Frankenstein was written very well, with his personality being like he is in Shelley’s book. Other characters taken from classics, such as Morris, were also kept well to the originals.
There were quite a few surprises along the way, such as the werewolves appearing out of nowhere, and the fate of Jamie’s mother. However the events in the second epilogue are not surprising at all, as it was easy to guess that that would be the set up to the sequel.
Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a fun action packed vampire story that I can’t wait to see more of.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Zombie Appreciation Month! And Book Sale!!

So I was somewhat stuck as to what to post today, but then I found an email from Ross Payton about something rather interesting....

And to celebrate, Ross is having a book sale of Zombies of the World!

  • $5 has been knocked off the cover price and books will be shipped free to USA
  • $2 has been knocked off the price of e-books
  • And all other Zombies of the World merch has been knocked down too! 
Read on for more details....

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Guest Post & Giveway: The Best Way to Deal With the Undead by MJA Ware

MJA Ware is here today, to talk about the best way to deal with zombies. Why? Becausehis debut novel, Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb, features heroes Nathan and Misty being forced to fight off zombies with lemonade and super-soakers. Sounds good? It is. And this is part of a blog tour, so go to all the stops for a chance to win the book, and, even better, a zombie survival kit!
So here we go....

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tea Time Talk-Halloween week coming!!

Only four weeks until Halloween? Got sweets? Got costumes? Got a pile of scary books to read?
Katy and I won’t be going trick or treating this year-instead we’re having a tea party with our friends. And we’re also having a week long event just before!

The Death Books and Tea Halloween Event 2011 (we plan for there to be more next year) will be a week full of reviews of properly scary, chill up your spine scary, books, a couple of posts from both of us on scary books  today, and an international giveaway at the end as part of Paranormal Wasteland’s Zombapocalypse event!

We’ll be kicking off on 24 October and the giveaway will begin on 28th October, so check back then for more!

If you like, spread the word with this amazing button made by Lilia from Horror Shock Lolipop. Go visit them too!

Looking forwards to seeing you in the week before Halloween....if you dare, that is!

Book Review- Hey! Order Up by Kenji Sonishi

Title: Hey! Order Up!
Author: Kenji Sonishi
Series:   Neko Ramen
Published:  8 June 2010 by Tokyopop
Length:160 pages
Warnings: None.
Other info:There are four volumes to Neko Ramen. Not sure how many are published in English though.
Summary :A cat makes the ramen.
Taisho was a former kitten model, who ran away from home and had a hard life on the streets...until the day he was saved by a kind ramen shop owner who later served as his mentor. Now Taisho takes pride in his noodles...and is easily angered when customers are dissatisfied! So step aside, Soup Nazi - there's a new cat in town!

Review:There isn’t really a plot to this. There kind of is. But there’s not much to it. The cat on the front, Taisho, runs a ramen(noodle) shop. Tanaka, a man who to me looks like a young-middle aged man but could be any age due to the drawing style, is his only regular customer. The book is mainly four panel strips documenting their conversations regarding new ramen (dessert ramen with milk and strawberries, jumbo ramen with two giant fishcakes that is free if eating within the half hour, ad diet ramen, half the size of a normal portion and yet the same price), and occasionally other things such as Taisho’s ramen making history.
Neko Ramen is pure comedy. The plot doesn’t really progress, unless you count hiring staff our gaining random customers plot development. The real thing, aside from the comedy, is the characters.
Taisho and Tanaka are both very likeable. The enjoyment of Tanaka was slightly spoiled for me by the fact that the intro sheet at the front had a sticker over his name, and he doesn’t tell us in the strips until halfway through, but that’s not Kenji Sonishi or Tokyopop’s fault.
Taisho never stops coming up with outlandish ideas, no matter what’s going on with his business. My favourite ramen idea is the zero calories one. Which is a bowl of hot water. Even minor setbacks don’t seem to stop him. He’s an amazing cat.
Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a fun little collection of strips that won’t fail to make you laugh somewhere along the line.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Book Review- The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title:  The Maze Runner 
 Author: James Dashner
Series:  The Maze Runner #1
Published: October 6th 2009 by Delacorte Press
Length: 379 pages
Warnings: violence, gore
Source: Library
Other info: There are two more in the series, The Scorch Trials, and the third to be published soon is called The Death Cure.
Summary : When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out.
Review: Thomas wakes up in a lift, knowing only his name. And then there's boys surrounding him, some of which have been there for years. Here he's at the Glade, a safe camp in the middle of a maze. No-one knows what they're doing there or why there. Thomas joins the Runners, the group that  goes out to explore, to find a way out, and keep out of the way of Grievers, creatures a mix of animal and machine that you really don't want to spend the night with in the Maze. And to mix things up a bit, a girl, Teresa,arrives with a message that it'll be over soon. What will? Why are they there? And can they ever get out?
So pre-read, I liked the premises. I wasn't really sure how it would work, so I was interested as to how it would fit together.
It started off very quickly and the action always keeps coming at you, not really stopping. The arrival of Teresa wasn't something I expected, as it hadn't been mentioned in the summary. I don't feel bad about telling you now as it happens quite early on, and the plot doesn't move on without it.
The telepathic element wasn't expected either, but it worked for how it was used in this book. Teresa and Thomas' connection was   interesting, and one of the main things making me read on was to see how this connection a)worked and b) was relevant to the whole book. Both of which were explained and developed very well, which kept me going till the end.
When I say it starts quickly, I mean quickly. The lift in mentioned in the summary is literally the first page. We are thrown in without knowing what's going on. We learn things exactly as Thomas does, so the slang that is used by the boys is completely new to us. This brings us close to the him in a new different way as opposed to the first person narrative we are used to, which I quite like.
Despite none of the characters being anything like me, as we progress through the book   I grew very attached to them and their way of life.
Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a fast paced action story I can't wait to see more of.
Links: | Goodreads | Author website

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Book Review- Sue's Fingerprint by Andrew D Carlson

Title: Sue’s Fingerprint
 Author: Andrew D Carlson
Series:  N/A
Published:  23rd April 2011 via Smashwords
Warnings: none
Source: Author
Summary : A gel-like substance is suddenly discovered across the country. Ted Stevens, a Director in the Department of Homeland Security, is assigned to investigate. He enlists the help of scientists at a government laboratory to analyze the ‘goo’. They discover the substance was sent to Earth and has unique properties; it can clone animals. Ted soon learns the substance can also clone humans.
Sue is the first of eleven new people cloned from the alien substance. She and the others are contained by Ted on an abandoned military base. While there, the clones receive a message. Sue decides she must deliver it, and one morning they find she’s gone.
During the recovery of Sue, Ted learns of the clones’ message and begins to understand their true intentions. He needs to know more about the clones, so he collects samples for DNA fingerprint testing. The fate of the new people will be decided by the results from Ted’s friends at the laboratory

Review: One day, a gel-ly thing is found everywhere. After observing it, they realise that it clones any living thing it comes into contact with. This includes humans. Eleven humans are made from this, along with mice and squirrels. Believe it or not, we care mainly about the “humans”.  Titular Sue is one of these, and they are all taken to a military base to live, overseen by Ted Stevens and some more staff. Then Sue realises she has a message to deliver and therefore she leaves. Ted and the others need to get her back, and also know what she wants to say. On the way, Ted realises he needs a bit more information about these things, and so tries his luck with DNA. The whole mission really depends on the test results. All these things add up to a kind of sci-fi adventurey book.
The whole going missing thing only happens about halfway through the book. That’s not to say that the first half is a waste of time reading. It was great to read. It starts with a little kid seeing a clone, and then somewhere else they find the gel, and so on. We meet the scientists ,and the human clones. We get a lot of detail of the military base. We get a  lot of detail as to their lives, and a lot more detail in general.
These people became very real. Its interesting how they had to be taught everything, such as how to make coffee and little things like that we do everyday. (well not me.  I make tea. But you get my drift). I found watching them learning cooking skills and surfing the internet very sweet, and it gave me an interesting look on how our lives work. Seeing everyday processes broken down like that actually gives a completely different perspective to life. Thanks for that, Andrew.
The characters were all well developed. All the clones were obviously very similar as they all had zero knowledge of earth before, but they all seemed too get a bit more depth to them, and individuality, such as Sue being an excellent cook, and someone else being a great coffee maker.  The normal people, aside from Ted, all seemed to merge into one. Probably because they all seemed to do the same things.
The writing was easy to get through, written in a style that flows and easy to understand what’s going on. This is an easy read for bedtimes and times when you just want to settle down with a good book.
The ending seemed a little too happy ending and neat to wield a sequel, even though I would like to see more of Sue, and how they get on in their new lives.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a little known book that is better than the summary(at least the summary that came on the back of my copy) lets on.