Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 RoundUp

Woah. It's the end of a year. That went stupidly fast.

First off...how did my resolution keeping go?

1.  Read at least 25 books on my kindle. Achieved!
2. Read at least 30 books from my physical pile. Achieved!
3. Write reviews quicker.  Achieved through some parts of the year.
4. Read review copies on time.  Achieved a couple of times, mainly failed.
5. Read 200 books as part of the Goodreads Challenge. Review at least half of them. Failed.
6. Read at least one British book a month as part of Feeling Fictional's British Books challenge. No idea-stopped keeping track.
7. Housekeeping round here! Achieved!
8. Change the desktop theme! Achieved! I don't like it though...might have another go.  Edit: said that, then spent the next thirty minutes changing it. Do you like it? I still need to sort out the colours and sidebars and everything, but I think it's a much cleaner look now. Also, let me know if the fonts work or not for you.
9. Comment on blogs more regularly. Completely failed. Sorry.
10. Write at least a first draft of a book.  Failed, kind of. Started two first drafts of completely different things, gave up halfway through both.  However, I'm very nearly finished the first draft of a Les Mis fic, which turned out really well, compared to my other fanfic writing attempts (as in it has a plot and uses characters properly and the actual writing isn't awful either). I'll be polishing that up pretty soon, and hopefully putting it on the web one day!

My resolutions for 2014 will be with you...when I've thought of them!

So, how did I do in terms of reading? Well, I challenged myself to 200 books this year. That was...overly ambitious. I got to 168, which is still pretty good.  I also managed to read lots of giant books (Pillars of the Earth, Fall of Giants, World Without End, Under the Dome and Les Miserables, which I think evens out to two or three books each. I don't know. What I did read, quite a lot of it I enjoyed, so yes. This was a good year for reading!

Blogging...well, my commenting was absolutely awful. My blogging also tailed off sometime in October, probably because Rainbow Reads was only meant to take 3 weeks and the fact that everybody did so much for it meant I had to share it all but that took out all my energy because long projects and me don't mix at all.
I am pleased with some things I did around here. I got a lot of people involved in Rainbow Reads, which was awesome to run.  I wrote a few discussion posts, like the one on beauty in YA, and the one on sex and violence and censorship and age appropriateness.

I met some awesome people, both on the internet and in real life. Bloggers I love include

  • Megan-The Book Addicted Girl
  • Georgia -Books and Writers Junior
  • Lucy-Queen of Contemporary
  • Stacey-Pretty Books
  • Andrew-The Pewter Wolf
  • Liz-Planet Print
  • Bella-Cheezyfeet Books
  • Ryan-Empire of Books
  • Cait-The Cait Files
  • Beverly-A Reading Daydreamer
  • Charlie-To Another World
  • Sophie-A Daydreamer's World

and there's more of you, but my memory is terrible and I can't think of you right now. I love you all!

I went to some great places. Thank you very much to everyone who invited me to events, especially Hot Key Books who publish great things and also supply excellent food. Also, thanks to Megan for the invite to the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize Awards ceremony-it was an excellent night.

Thank you, publishers, who sent me books for review. I'm sorry I take so long with all of them *buries self* These will be dealt with soon, promise!
So, thank you  Random House, Chicken House, Angry Robot, Harper Collins, Hot Key Books, Picadilly Press, Templar Books, and Quercus!

On a more personal note, I think I did ok this year. I made it through the year, I've made a lot more friends in real life, I got 3 GCSEs,  took up a few new things, got more forceful with myself in keeping to writing habits, and went some amazing places.

Goodbye 2013, which was a pretty awesome year, all things considered. Here's hoping next year will be just as good.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas-time Roundup

Did everyone have good time this week, if they celebrated a holiday? I certainly did. Christmas was mainly food filled, because my family will, if given an excuse (like Christmas) start eating at 11am and not stop for twelve hours.

I got so many books. Actually, it's not as bad as some weeks, but it seems like a lot. I took down my tree today and sorted it into piles of what I got for review and what I got for other things and it looks like I now have reading material sorted for the rest of the year but anyway.

From my UKYABB Secret Santa, who is the fantastic Kerrie from Read and Repeat, I got
--Soulless vol 3 - My collection is complete! This manga is good.
--The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - heard lots of things about it, all good, knew I needed to get it some day, and now I do :)
--The Fifth Wave - ages ago, I read another Yancy book, and really didn't like it. But now I have it, and I'll try it out some day.
--Steampunk Softies- it's a little howto craft thing of how to make all these steampunk figures and they're all so adorable and I'll try one of those when I have more time XD
--Shortcake! Food is always good.
Thank you, Kerrie, for being so generous, and thank you Lynsey for organising the UKYABB Secret Santa!

Also I got over the past week...
--The Princess Bride- gifted-loved the film, need to read the book sometime soon.
--Enders -review- Starters was so good and have been waiting AGES for this to be available in English. And now it is! :)
-- The Queen of Dreams -review- Gorgeous cover. Looks really good.
--Junk Miles and Slow Twitch-  review-  got to be honest here, I'm not going to read these. Anybody want some Brenna Blixen novels? New Adult Romance lovers, anyone?
--The Falconer - review-  Megan told me it's going to be good. I trust her.

I hope everyone else had a good time that was filled with fun and books!

Other things that happened this Christmas.... URGH DOCTOR WHO WHY? I am so upset at the way it's been going for the past few seasons because there's some wonderful actors in it but the writing doesn't support them. Whoever thought that the whole "nudity" thing would be appropriate, or, once again, non-consensual kissing, should be replaced.  Quite a bit of that episode made me uncomfortable.

However, there were some good bits. Matt's goodbye. And  Twelve's entrance. Which has led to one of my favourite things of the night, courtesy of 404-sanitynotfound.  Image not mine and will be removed on request.
Last roundup post of the year is over now! I hope you guys don't mind all my rambling. There'll be more of it in the coming year. 

Friday, 27 December 2013

End of Year Book Survey 2013

Hi guys! I hope your holidays have been as good as you hoped, whatever you were celebrating!
We're now in the last few days of 2013, which is scary to me when I think of how little I've done over this year.  Actually, I might have done a lot. I'm doing a roundup on Tuesday of the year. We'll see.

For now, because I can't think of many different topics to do top ten lists of, and don't feel like regurgitating last year's, I'm going to do The Perpetual Page Turner's End of Year Book Survey.  I'm going to skip the book blogging section, cos I haven't done that much this year (I will try harder to change that next year!), but everything else should work out ok here. I found this via Georgia.


Best Books in 2013
1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
Plays- Equus by Peter Shaffner. Beautifully messed up. I'd love to see it one day.
Historical- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Kept me interested, all 1100 odd pages of it.  Moved along wonderfully.
Mystery- Cruel  Summer by James Dawson. Unpredictable, great characters, biggest climax ever.
Fantasy- I CANNOT CHOOSE ONE  Either Pantomime by Laura Lam, Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman or Skulk by Rosie Best. The plots and characters are great, and the worlds and or concepts are totally unique and pulled off reallywell.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
John Green's stuff. I'd read The Fault in Our Stars in 2012 and I thought I'd love the rest of his things just as much, but I didn't. He's still a great person, even if I don't like his writing.
 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 
Ken Follett's stuff, all that I read. I don't normally read pure historical, but I read this becasue of a friend, and I am very glad that I did.
 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Pantomime by Laura Lam, definitely.
 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Did I really discover a series this year? I don't think so... the only series I read two or more of this year were Lou Morgan's Blood and Feathers and Joseph Delaney's Spooks series, which isn't that great. So I suppose Blood and Feathers.
 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Does Laura Lam count if I knew she existed in 2012? No? Er, Ken Follett or Rosie Best.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Ken Follett keeps coming up, doesn't he? Also, The S Word by Chelsea Pitcher- gritty contemporary looking at lots of teenage issues.
 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Cruel Summer by James Dawson. Read in one sitting, something I don't normally do.
 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don't tend to reread that often, but if I were going to, I'd say The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang. Whoever designed that is too clever to exist.
11. Most memorable character in 2013? 
Argh! Er, I don't know. There's lot. Alan Strang (Equus). Micah and Aenea and Drystan(Pantomime).  Alice and Mallory and Vin(Blood and Feathers). Mal and Coby(Anne Lyle's Alchemist of Souls). If I had to choose, Luna (titular character of Julie Anne Peter's book). She goes through quite a lot, and the way she says goodbye to her sister at the end is stunningly beautiful.
 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
Most of my favourite fantasies are beautifully written, but for something new, The Oathbreakers' Shadow by Amy McCulloch has wonderful description.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 
The S Word by Chelsea Pitcher  made me think a lot.
 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Action is so good. I need to read more of her stuff soon.
 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
"It is nothing to die. It is terrible to not live"--Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest- Cinema Pantopticum by Thomas Ott-104 pages, but it's a graphic novel thing with four panels a page and four or five gothic and slightly disturbing but very awesome stories.
Longest- World Without End by Ken Follett-1248 pages. Close second ia Les Miserables (which I read on a kindle but my friend's edition is 1232 pages so let's go with that).
 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The final scene of Cruel Summer. The magical duel scene of Shadowplay (by Laura Lam). The bit with Adriel and Vin in Rebellion (by Lou Morgan).
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Eva and Addie from What's Left of Me. All the Hybrids, really. The idea of sharing a body and not always having control of it and having to rely on the other is really interesting and very unique. I loved it.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Excluding books I've already mentioned in this post, Prince of the Icemark by Stuart Hill.
20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Fantasy.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Aenea from Pantomime.
23. Best 2013 debut you read?
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
There were many, Cassandra Rose Clarke's and Amy McCulloch's books had them especially, but then there was also Tom Pollock's The Glass Republic which has a great new mirror London.
25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
The Savages by Matt Whyman.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
Luna by Julie Anne Peters. The ending.
27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
I never saw much love for Skulk by Rosie Best, but then again, I wasn't around much so I'm not sure how well that counts.

Looking Ahead
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
The Night Circus!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
James Dawson's Bloody Mary.
3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Liz de Jager's Banished. Beautiful cover. Hoping the writing's just as good!
 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
Our Lady of the Streets by Tom Pollock. Also, Delete by Kim Curran.
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
Er, I'd quite like to be able to carry on with it, because lots of things have started happening and time to blog has gone down a lot. Other plans for 2014 will be decided later.

Thanks Jamie  for doing this! Hope you liked it :) 

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Guest Review-Teardrop by Lauren Kate, reviewed by Cara

Hi guys. I have an amazing friend. She’s called Cara and she agreed to review Teardrop for me after I a)had too many books to get through and b)fell out of love with Lauren Kate after Passion.
Title: Teardrop
 Author: Lauren Kate
Series:   Teardrop #1
Published:  22 October 2013 by Random House
Length: 441 pages
Source: publisher
Summary : Never, ever cry... Seventeen-year-old Eureka won't let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean. And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother's death and Ander's appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don't make sense. Can everything you love be washed away?
Review: ‘Teardrop’ is set in New Iberia, Louisiana. The protagonist, a 17 year old girl named Eureka, is trying to cope with the recent death of her mother, who died in a freak wave created by a group of people called the seedbearers. They wanted to kill eureka but she doesn’t remember a thing. Cue attractive male hero; who must fight against his upbringing to save the girl he loves.
 Lauren Kate is a fantastic author, however I have found most of her books quite sluggish to begin with and often it is difficult to identify with the characters until at least a quarter of the way into the book. In teardrop however she jumps straight in with the description of a boy, who is waiting in a boat only a little way away from the Seven Mile Bridge, whose poetic view of the murder that is about to take place helps to define the tone of the book. Ander explains that he has been stalking the girl in the car for most of her life; he also explains the seedbearers’ plot to kill her. I really enjoyed his narration of events and it was a shame to lose his insight but in the second chapter and for the duration of the book we get to see the story unfold through Eureka’s eyes. I thought the plot was pretty typical of Lauren Kate; however it was narrated beautifully with lots of intricate details allowing the setting to appear before me. I thought that Eureka was really well written if a little repetitive at times. [BIG SPOILER HIGHLIGHT TO REVEAL] The best friend turned love interest follows almost every possible stereo type until our dear friend Ander reappears to explain the latest plot twists, involving an ancient storybook, a murder and a couple of car crashes. Not forgetting the all important best friend being possessed by an ancient king. [/END SPOILER] Altogether a rather well paced book which, though at times was gripping, was prone to slow, prolonged scenes concerning blooming romances between Eureka and male characters. I loved the plot twists and thought the touches of magic were incorporated nicely into the plot, making it a very enjoyable read!

Overall:  4/5

Links: | Goodreads | Author website

Monday, 16 December 2013

Book Review-Shadowplay by Laura Lam

Title: Shadowplay
 Author:  Laura Lam

Series:   Pantomime #2
Published:  7 January 2014 by Strange Chemistry
Length: 400 pages
Source: netgalley
Other info:  I really liked Pantomime
Summary : The circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes.
He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates. People also hunt both Micah and the person he was before the circus—the runaway daughter of a noble family. And Micah discovers there is magic and power in the world, far beyond the card tricks and illusions he's perfecting...

Review probably includes spoilers for book 1, Pantomime.
Review: Following the events at the circus, Micah and Drystan are on the run, wanted for murder. They end up at the Kymri Theatre, and learn magic tricks under Jaspar Maske, a  magician who lost his licence to perform after the break up of his magic act with Taliesin. While here, lots of things happen-Micah learns new things about himself, others, and what other people want with him too.
Micah is still quite angsty over the ending of Pantomime, but luckily it doesn't intrude too much on the action. He's a bit more sure of himself, and he's just as awesome as in Pantomime. Drystan's deadpan sarker comes through a lot, for comic relief-see fight with Taliesin's grandsons and .  I like him.
Shadowplay, plotwise, is very different to  Pantomime. We learn a few things about Micah that you -really- don't expect. Then there's everything about the Chimaera, which I thought would be a minor thing but are definitely aren't now.  Anisa, the Damselfly that wee didn't know much about before, is back, and I understand her a lot more now. I'd like the Penglass to be elaborated on a bit more, but I think that will happen at some point.
I'm still not entirely sure about the whole trees thing. I get there's a party  called The  Foresters who want the typical “down with the aristocracy who forget the workers thing” thing  but something makes me think there's more to them and whether or not there is is something i'd like to know or have explained.
The romance in this is nice. My OTP will --forever-- be  Micah/Aenea, but Shadowplay has made me like Micah/Drystan a lot more, because you can tell they grew closer after the last  night at the circus, putting across their romantic relationship more than in Pantomime when they were more of the best best friend type.
There’s a few infodumps at the start for backstories, but I don’t see how else you can get them in first person. Until we got to the middle where Anisa and Micah go through the  backstory of the Chimaera, which is just an amazing way of putting it through.
The thing that swayed this from a 4 to 5 was the chapter with the duel. Everything about that. The magic tricks are so beautifully described, and other things happen, and they  ending to that chapter was really nice because it showed character development and the magic tricks and...yeah. kudos for chapter
The ending was very sudden. I'm not sure where -that- came from, but I hope it gets resolved or furthered soon.

 Overall:  Strength 4.5 tea, just more a 5, to a great sequel to a magical series.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Book Review-The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch

Title:  The Oathbreaker's Shadow
 Author: Amy McCulloch
Series:  The Knots Sequence #1
Published:  6 June 2013 by Random House
Length: 413 pages
Source: Publisher
Summary: Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.
Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all—not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.
Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

Review:  In Dahran, promises are big things. When you make one, you make a knot, and the promise is sealed with magic. Breaking the promise means enduring scarring, becoming an outcast, and being haunted  by a shadow of the person they broke the promise to. Our main character Raim is best friend of the future  Khan, and has just passed his final test to become a Yun, esteemed warrior and protector of the Kahn, and has taken his vows. But this breaks a promise that Raim has worn all his life, despite his not knowing what  it was for nor if was an actual promise.  Thrown out of society, Raim tracells across the desert to find out what his promise was for and how to clear his name, which hleads to him fining out even more.
I found out about this by lots of people talking about it. the premise of promises being binding like this intrigued me, and I was very excited to receive this for review.
I was instantly transported to the desert lands of Darhan. The setting is fully vivid, easily imaginable, and rich. The other settings, ie the cities, were just was well described, and I could really see this setting existing. The action comes to life with the same ease.
I really like Raim. He’s really loyal to everyone he can be, such as Khareh his friend, Darma his sister, Wadi the girl in the desert, and so on. He tries hard to do what  he thinks is right, and is a strong character in many senses of the word. The rest of the characters are also fully developed, really interesting, and generally awesome, especially Wadi and Old-maa.
The plot is a little predictable at times, but the twists and turns and the fact that you just don’t want to stop reading makes up for it.

Overall:  Strength 4.5 tea, more a 5, to a fantasy adventure with one of the best, richly imagined settings I’ve seen in a long time.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

December Update

IT'S DECEMBER WHERE HAS THIS YEAR GONE??? Ok, it's been December for over a week now. But I didn't have a talky post last week, so here's one now.
Seeing as it is December, and therefore nearly Christmas, I made a book tree. Because reasons.
That's as Christmassy as my room is going probably to get. But, in my mind, it's a good Christmassy. So there. 
With this and my nearly-6-foot-tower, I think I should totally go in to book stacking. This is a thing. In Japan.  

November is over! And here's my efforts of Nanowrimo. 15 sheets double sided handwritten.  Probably about 15000 words-I gave up counting halfway through. Considering this was done in the middle of 5 pieces of coursework, I think I did good. 

If I can finish and clean it up some day, it'll make its way on to the internet. Maybe.

Other things that have happened.... 
I read a bit. Not much. But what I have on the go now, I plan to finish before the end of the year. I have a big to review pile, so I'll get on that in the next week or so.
I've nearly finished season 1 of Lost Girl. It's awesome. 
My library has More Than This!! I'll start that soon too hopefully.
I'm rereading Pride and Prejudice so I can write a broadway style duet for Lizzy and Darcy. 
I'll try and be around the bloggy world more after next week.

Have a great week!


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Mini Reviews-Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer and Hellbent by Anthony McGowan

Title: Zombies Don’t Cry
 Author:  Rusty Fischer
Series:  Living Dead Love Story #1
Published:  1 October 2012 by Electric Monkey
Source: won from US publisher
Review:  Maddy Swift is Normal. Trying to pass food class, sneaking in and out, and going out to dances. This stops when she is struck by lightning. Which makes her a zombie. Under the wing of some fellow zombies, Chloe and Dane, Maddy starts to adjust to life as a one of the undead. Even when you take into the fact that Zerkers, crazy ones past civilised zombie-ism, are running round her high school.
I’d heard of Rusty and his books ages ago and so was happy to see he got a deal in the UK.
These zombies are very original. I like the fact that there’s more to them than eating brains, but that is a big part of them. I also like the use of the lightning-not the bolt on the creators table, more a bolt while out doing normal things, and the subversion of the trope is good.
The main characters, Maddy, Chloe and Dane, are all very likable and make a great friendship group. Love interest Stamp is cute, but he doesn’t really do much. I like the fact that Maddie was quite active and did lots of things despite just being throne into this new world with its bureaucracy and rules. Chloe is my favourite  character because she just wins in terms of coolness.
The writing is chatty, open and fun. I love the chapter titles. All the things that happen to Maddy after she becomes undead are unpredictable and crazy. The climax at the school was well done. I liked the circular structure-the way it comes back to the guy in the blue suit…

Overall:   Strength 3 tea to a fun zombie romance.



Title:  Hellbent
 Author:  Anthony McGowan
Series:  N/A
Published:  2005
Source: library
Review:  Conor ONeil dies and goes to hell. There he finds that hell is a mix of hells for different people. His hell, with him being a teenage boy into all the stereotypical teenage boy things, is to be surrounded in a room with classical music and heavy books. Hacking into a computer then leads Conor to find there’s someone whose hell is his heaven. with his pet dog who comes along as part of a new initiative, and Clarence, the demon who was assigned to oversee his eternal punishment, he sets out to find that someone.
I picked this up in a shop and started reading it. It wasn’t a great start, but the concept was very interesting.
It’s definitely for people who find humour in stereotypical teenage boys’ views of sex, excrement and such.  A lot of Conor’s narration revolves around it, which is fair enough, considering where they are, but sometimes it gets in the way a bit.
It’s a very chatty book. Conor is talking directly to you, telling you all about his life, and his death.
The characters were all exaggerated for comic effect. I particularly liked the CafĂ© Valhalla, where Vikings are put in as waiters and forced to form a string quartet. Conor isn’t the most engaging character for me, but some may like him more than me.  
Overall:  Strength 3 to a very different interpretation of Hell that may be enjoyed more by people with different senses of humour.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Theatre Review- Macbeth (in Pitch Black) by Shakespeare

I said I was going to branch out... It's time for tea-tre; thank you Georgia for the name :) 
I hope you don't mind the fact I'm doing something new with the blog. I'll be showcasing awesome things, so maybe you'll like it.

Title: Macbeth (in Pitch Black) 
Writer: William Shakespeare
Performed by: London Contemporary Theatre
Major cast: Noel Andrew Harron, Louise Bereford, Samuel Clifford,  James Burgess, Andrew Chase,
Director: Kevin Williams
Seen at: Windsor Firestation
Other Info: toured in November. Shakespeare has written many things.

Review: I really like Shakespeare (as you might be able to tell from my fangirling over the internet), so when I saw this advertised at the Firestation, one of my favourite places,  I was intrigued because they say they’re doing it in the dark. Then I got told one of my major pieces of coursework would be on Macbeth, and I knew I had to see it.
When we got there, the lights were down low in the foyer of the theatre as well, because The Dark Room was playing too, and the bar and everything was lit with UV and glowsticks. Then we were shown down to the basement, which was scary, because somebody thought it was a good idea to get about 100 people down some stairs, lighting it only with two tiny lanterns where the stairs turn corners. We got there though.
Despite the title, it’s not all in pitch black. Certain scenes used lights of various kinds, such as “candles” for Lady Macbeth, lights in balloons for the feast, lights in trashcans for the witches, and torches for the end. The sudden lights were used effectively, only for major scenes; more plotty, wordy, less actiony scenes were left in the dark. Doing it all in the dark was a really interesting way of staging it. I think it really made you listen more to what was happening, and is a very different way of performing a play.
The cast are amazingly talented. There’s five people doing the whole thing. Ok, some roles were cut down and some were merged, but everyone bar Macbeth took on more than one role, using voice to differentiate. Also, how on earth did they manage to move around and get everywhere they needed to be without repeatedly falling over things? Witchcraft, I tell you.
It’s cut down a lot. They kept the major bits in, and cut down the wordier bits, and most of the angsty bit with Macduff. They updated it a bit, using phones in place of messengers and some other touches that put it firmly in the modern world.
I loved the staging of it. The Basement in the Firestation has a small stage at the front and the rest of the room is flat. The chairs were set out on the flat, and the stage was on the flat too, with chairs making an aisle down the stage and some more to the side. This set up was really good, especially as I was sitting on the side of the stage


Overall: Strength 5 tea to a unique performance of a much-done play.

Links: Company | Theatre

Monday, 2 December 2013

Mini Reviews-Wool by Hugh Howey and Never the Bride by Paul Magrs

Title: Wool

 Author: Hugh Howey
Series:   Wool #1-5, Silo #1
Published:  March 2013 by Simon and Schuster
Source: library
Review:  Everyone lives  underground, every birth requires someone to die (so resources aren’t in over-demand), orders are given and followed, and those who think ideas about going outside get them, though maybe not as they wanted them. Dissenters are sent to Cleaning-the task of cleaning, with wool cloth, the cameras which give a view of the world outside of the Silo, which is a punishment because the poisonous gases in the atmosphere break down protective suits and kill the wearer. Jules is one such idea-thinker.
I loved the world of this. You’re transported instantly with the beginning following ex-sheriff Holston going out to Cleaning and starting off the events of the book. You quickly get the gist of the tightness of control, and over the first half you really get the idea of the society and the way it runs together.  
Characters-there’s a lot of them. Or at least I think there were. I got really lost in places in terms of who was who and their relationships. Jules is a really good character-strong, inquisitive, and brave.
Book 2 was quite political, which held my interest a lot less than the rest of it. The second half seemed to set up a revolution, and it was interesting to watch, especially when we get parts outside of the Silo.


Overall:  Strength 2.5 tea, more a 3, to an adult dystopian that I liked in parts but got lost in others. Excellent world building.


Title:  Never the Bride
 Author:   Paul Magrs
Series:  Brenda and Effie Mystery #1
Published:   May 2005 by Gardener Books
Source: Library 
Review: Brendan is an older lady who runs a B&B in Whitby. There’s some weird things going on, such as tv psychics, aliens, time defying beauty parlours and a hotel with people in meat lockers,  Brenda and best friend Effie have a lot to keep investigating. And then there’s Brenda and her own mysteries- all the things about her that make you wonder exactly who, or what, she is.
I got recommended this on the fact that it is a very gothy comedy thing that sounded right up my street.
It’s odd reading a book with an older person (who doesn’t have the gift of eternal youth and related perks). It makes it hard for me to connect,  but I like the fact that the main character’s age, plus the whole variety of characters, isn’t your typical horror/supernatural/mystery story.
Brenda is a very intriguing character. Who she is is really awesome, and I liked learning her story (see if you can guess who she is from the title.  I couldn’t but at the reveal, it made perfect sense). The supporting cast are very varied, but lack depth.
The plot is quite disjointed, but there are some callbacks in places I quite liked.
Writing lacks the laughoutloudness that I was promised by someone, but I liked the style.
Overall:  Strength 2.5 tea, more a 2, to a book with a nice idea that I  couldn’t get into really.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Book Review- Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve

Title: Fearsome Dreamer
 Author:  Laure Eve
Series:   Fearsome Dreamer
Published:   October 2013 by Hot Key Books
Length: 384 pages
Source: Publisher
Summary : There is a world where gods you’ve never heard of have wound themselves into hearts, and choice has led its history down a different path. This is a world where France made a small, downtrodden island called England part of its vast and bloated empire. There are people here who can cross a thousand miles with their minds. There are rarer people still who can move between continents in the blink of an eye. These people are dangerous. And wanted. Desperately wanted.

Apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue knows that she is destined for more. She knows being whisked off from a dull country life to a city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be. She knows she has something her government wants, a talent so rare and precious and new that they will do anything to train her in it. But she doesn’t know that she is being lied to. She doesn’t know that the man teaching her about her talent is becoming obsessed by her, and considered by some to be the most dangerous man alive.
Review: Rue is an apprentice to a Hedgewitch in technophobic Angle Tar , which stands alone against World, the merge of other nations that is reliant on the virtual reality system Life. She dreams of other places, can feel herself physically there. Then she gets taken to the city by Frith, a man who hunts down Talented fro a living, and is tutuored by White, a very powerful Talented. And then there’s a boy with silver eyes who keeps appearing in her dreams, and Rue learns how powerful said dreams can be.
I love the world of this. Laure’s English/French heritage shows through in this, as Angle Tar is quite French with language, titles and the name  (somewhere near the end, I realised Angle Tar is a derivation of Angleterre) but there’s some things that are decidedly British. World is totally different, a wonderful vision of overreliance on technology. Both worlds are excellent.
I liked Rue. She’s clever, makes realistic mistakes, talks back, sometimes to the point of annoyance , and is a very intriguing character. White, I didn’t like because of his arrogance as a teacher, but he was nice in between his first appearance and his arrival at the Capital.  Wren I didn’t mind. Frith was awesome.
I think some things at the Castle and World can be explored further. I look forwards to it.
Laure has a very distinctive writing style that’s hard to describe. If I had to put it into words, I’d say gently descriptive. It fills in all the details really well.
For something described as brimming with unresolved sexual tension, I didn’t see it. I say that as someone who’s pretty good at seeing it. That doesn’t make the book bad, in my opinion. Just the marketing. Rue and White infuriate each other to start with, and dancing a dance of intent doesn’t change it that much.  
It’s a slow book,  a lot of build up, then the end happens when everything happens,
I love the dreams and the idea of being able to jump. It’s a new take on teleportation, and this scifiy-country fantasy mix works well.

Overall:  Strength 3.5,very slightly a 4, tea to a book with a great setting and mythos.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Project UKYA interview with Matt Whyman


Today, we have Matt Whyman, author of The Savages, talking to us about UKYA. Why? Because of Lucy's AMAZING Project UKYA which showcases all aspects of YA written in Britain. If you haven't already, you should totally go find the rest of the tour.


What is the most British thing about The Savages?
Everything from the opening sentence to the final full stop! The Savage family have strong roots in Russia, but Titus, Angelica and the kids are born and bred Brits with a sense of irony and sarcasm embedded in their genes. They’re terribly traditional, too, and value their meal times together. After all, the family that eats (people) together, sticks together.


What's the best thing about being part of the UKYA community?
I love the fact that every new novel is unique, rather than a carbon copy of a previous success. You only have to look at a bookshop table display to see this – no two jackets look alike, which makes it all the more enticing.


Who are some of your favourite people in the UKYA community?
I like everyone I’ve ever met to be honest. Right now, I’m a big fan of James Dawson and Julie Mayhew, and will always look forward to anything new by Marcus Sedgwick. Then there are the people behind the scenes in the publishing world – those who ensure the books get into your hands, and make the whole experience such fun. Emily Thomas and everyone at Hot Key, I’m looking at *you*


What does UKYA mean to you?
Books that rarely get reviewed by the national press but come out alive and kicking thanks to the publishers and bloggers committed to spreading the word.


Who should read UKYA?
Anyone. I’m not a great believer in setting boundaries when it comes to fiction, and certainly don’t write with an age-range in mind. My novels are about the experience of finding yourself and making your mark on life – often against all odds. This isn’t exclusive to teen readers. We’ve all been there.


How does UKYA compare and differ to YA from other countries?
I think we were first to kick against the concept that YA fiction should always aim to teach a moral lesson. If a character does something they don’t encourage at school, like sex or drugs, they shouldn’t always end up remorseful (or dead). It’s far better to just get inside their minds and aim to understand what makes them tick – even if their deeds are dreadful.


If you could only read UKYA book ever again, which would it be and why?

That’s a good question. I’d go back to the book that first made an impact on me, which is Lord of the Flies by William Golding – old school UKYA!

Anything else you'd like to say?
Sorry for talking.

Thank you, Lucy, for hosting this event and letting me take part! You should go read The Savages- I loved it. Matt can be found at his website, on twitter, and on youtube.  Lucy can be found on her blog and at Project UKYA.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Cover Reveal and Giveaway-The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen

Sorry for the lateness. Cover reveal time! 


Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she’s an alien. She doesn’t fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez. Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he’s perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn’t find out she’s a freak.

As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.
But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.


The Other Me can be found on Goodreads. It will be published 19 December 2013 by Harmony Press.


Giveaway: International Rafflecopter for $15 Amazon giftcard

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author:

Suzanne is an author and peanut-butter addict from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing you can find her teaching dance and music to middle-schoolers or playing in the snow with her shiba inu. She is rep'd by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.


Website – http://suzannevanrooyen.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Suzanne_Writer
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-van-Rooyen/304965232847874
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/SuzanneAuthor/

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sex and Violence-the Age Appropriateness of Media


This weekend, two films I'm interested in seeing come out.

One features two girls falling in love  and go through all related experience, including having sex. One features twenty four people, most often teenagers, fighting to the death. The British Board of Film Classification will not allow me, a 16 year old, to see one. Guess which.
These two films are Blue is the Warmest Colour and Catching Fire. Blue has been awarded an 18, meaning strictly no under 18s, certificate, Catching Fire has a 12A, meaning 12 and overs get in unaccompanied and 11 and unders get in with an adult. I think  if you stripped both stories to their bare bones  and took them out of the book/film context, you might say some romance is more suitable. Why the difference between the two?

First, let's look at  the BBFC's reasons for each certificate.
Blue- Contains strong sex and very strong language.
Catching Fire- Contains moderate violence and threat, and infrequent strong language.
Put like that, I do think that Blue deserves a higher rating than Catching Fire. But is it necessary to give it the highest rating that they can?
Both are adaptations of printed media, one a graphic novel and one part of a bestselling trilogy. Blue is aimed at an adult audience, Catching Fire at a teenage one. I don't know exactly how explicit Blue is in graphic novel form (according to Caroline, "you see them but they're illustrations"), but I remember as a 13ish year old being woah at certain descriptions of people getting beaten up in The Hunger Games (even more so at Mockingjay. I had nightmares at the deaths in the tunnels of the Capitol).

 I think the main reason for the difference is the way directors decide to do things. Director Abdellatif Kechiche has, apparently made the sex scene in Blue very explicit, and the way he did so has prompted complaints from many people, including Julie Maroh, the original author. Director Francis Lawrence, I'm not sure how they're treating it, but remember the 7 seconds of footage that was cut from The Hunger Games to get it taken down to a 12? Those seven seconds were the "sight of blood splashes and sight of blood on wounds and weapons.”
If both films had been placed on equal terms of explicitness, say with Blue's sex scene  being cut to before and after, or maybe with closeups on wounds and deaths, would there still be a different rating for them? I think yes.
This society has grown a lot more accepting of violence than sex in media. Both are more common in society than say 50 years ago, but you won't see anyone hiding the fact that they have the latest edition of Call of Duty.

The whole point of censorship in this country, day and age is to protect children from seeing certain things. But why do we stop the viewing of a sex scene in a society inundated with sex? It's used as a selling point for so many things, that you can't go anywhere without it. Music videos, perfume adverts, the freely available adult images on the internet. This society can't be as shocked, or at least shocked enough to force change, about casual sexuality being everywhere, but when it's shown in a loving relationship, it's adults only.

Now let's look at violence. It's prevalent in, sometimes even the basis of, many fictional products. A lot of film's climaxes are giant fight scenes. In the case of The Hunger Games, people are killing each other while people watch, cheer and bet on the winner.

Don't get me wrong, I am  against the idea of younger young people having to be exposed to explicit material without proper education surrounding it, but surely more mature teens can handle it?
Children and teenagers are good at self censoring. If they don't feel comfortable with seeing or reading things, then they won't. This goes for content of all types.
I don't see the point of age ratings because everyone will take everything differently. I also don't see why one day, when you see 17, you can’t do things and a day later you turn 18 and you can. You don't get a magical dose of maturity with each birthday. But I do see why we have them because we need to draw a line somewhere. I prefer content warnings and recommendations from trusted sources to decide what is suitable for me, and that's why I like the fact that books, while having general warnings like "not suitable for younger readers" but no set limits, instead of saying you can’t access something  until you’re a certain age.

The Hunger Games is a great series. I love the commentary on divides in society, on what's held up as entertainment, and the general actionfilledness of the films and books. And you’ll find young people, mainly young queer women, who would enjoy and provably benefit from seeing Blue is the Warmest Colour and the honest presentation of lesbianism, at least in the non-sexual bits. But they don't even have the chance to go and see it.
Because some people have decided that one long sex scene is more inappropriate than glorified violence. People have decided on the morals coming through to society and have decided what is suitable for the young people of today. These people have decided to not let the young people experiment and decide for themselves what is suitable for them, something which would  ultimately make them a more mature person. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Book Review- Skulk by Rosie Best

Title: Skulk
 Author: Rosie Best
Series:  Shapeshifters of London  #1
Published:  1 October 2013 by Strange Chemistry
Length: 387 pages
Source:netgalley
Summary : When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes.
As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it.

Review: Meg is coming back from graffiting a wall at her school when she sees a man die. Man fox. Fox man. He curried a stone and mumbled about the fog. Then died. Later, Meg leaves a party...and then turns into a fox. Found by another fox, who wants her to run from the fog, just run, she is thrown into a world of shapeshfters. There’s groups of them- Skulk are foxes, the Rabble are butterflies, the Hoard are rats, the Cluster are spiders and the Conspiracy are ravens. And then there’s a metashifter, who can shift into any of these shapes. And now someone wants the Metashift to control the elements. And they’re willing to kill for it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this. I’m very glad I read it though. It starts off wuickly, with the first death happening at the 4% mark, so the set up for the rest of the thing happens quite early on.
Meg is an awesome protagonist. She’s size 16, something I have NEVER seen in YA) totally happy with it, a graffiti artist, takes things in her stride, and is generally great. Friendship and family is important to Meg, and I like having that come through.
Then there is TRHE MOST WONDERFULLY DIVERSE CAST EVER. It spans ages, ethnicities, social backgrounds, able bodiedness, sexualities, and genders. And none of that is the focus, it’s just who they are.
All the characters are well built up and totally varied. I’m not sure who may favourite character is- maybe James or Addie or Meg or Mo. I think maybe Addie, because of her explanation of why she likes being in her fox form is sad, but the best line in the whole book: I’m not homeless, I’m wild.
The plot moves quickly, and the book is addictive- you get through it really quickly. there isn’t a place where you want to put it down. Meg’s narration is funny, relatable, and descriptive.
The villain is well fleshed out, the end is satisfying, and hints at more to come.
If that doesn’t make you love this book, something else that’s great and new about this book-there’s evil pigeons.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea. Come for an addictive read, urban fantasy, shapeshifters and a lot more.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Guest Post Dreamcast of WitchHunt by Emma Mills


Hi Nina, Thanks for hosting me today on my WitchHunt Tour. It’s always great fun to do a ‘Dream Cast’ post. My only problem is that being in my thirties a lot of the Hollywood stars that come to mind are often too old to play the characters in my books! But it’s still great to imagine having my series made into Hollywood films with an unlimited budget at my disposal! So I’ve had a good hunt through Google and come up with the following cast listing for my WitchBlood series:


Jess is quite tricky because I considered Jennifer Lawrence as I think she is a great role model for girls and I love her refusal to starve for Hollywood… but I think Jess needs to be English. She is an English girl and I rather think Imogen Poots might just have the right amount of vulnerable independence about her!
 
 




Daniel only came to me whilst watching Glee. One quick Googling later and my mind was made. Don’t you think Dean Geyer would make a perfect Daniel? His hair would need to be a bit darker!
   
I have always imagined Luke looking like Zac Effron. He is a bit too old now, but he has the right look.

Brittany is a tough one because she has half Latin blood and dark hair, but is only fifteen. The actress that comes to mind is Selena Gomez, but again at 20yrs old she is probably too old to pull Brittany off.
 
Eva is easy. There is nobody better to play smart, sexy, confident vampire, Eva than Mila Kunis.

So if Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t playing Jess, I’d have her for Saffy’s older sister, the ass-kicking witch, Susannah and Emma Roberts would make a good all American, spoilt Saffy:
     
I could go on and find the rest of the cast, but I think I’ve used up enough blog space!
‘WitchHunt’ is the fourth and final book in the ‘WitchBlood’ series and sees the hot and cold relationship between Jess and Daniel resolved, along with the mystery of her book of shadows. The WitchBlood series is a British YA Paranormal series following the protagonist Jess, as she is turned into a vampire. When she finds out she has witch DNA she fast becomes a hot commodity... one to be fought over and hunted down.



WITCHHUNT by EMMA MILLS
‘I know it’s selfish, but I don’t want you to go,’ Daniel said, a couple of minutes later.
I looked at him and smiled.
‘I’ll be fine, I will.’
‘You’d better be. I don’t know what I’d do without you. Those months I stupidly spent apart from you… they were torment for me,’ he said.
‘They were torment for me too.’

As the Christmas season is ripped apart by the news that Jess’ old friend Alex has been turned into a vicious killer, festivities are dropped, Jess returns to England and the hunt begins. But Alex isn’t the only one being hunted, for Mary has found a way to extinguish the entire bloodline of Malden witches, and it is Jess’s book of shadows that’s the key. As things hot up, Jess finds she must leave Daniel and the safety of Manchester in a final hunt for her nemesis, Mary. In a fight-off that only one of them can survive, loved ones will fall… daemons will rise… but who will survive?

Emma Mill's Website
WitchBlood on Facebook
WitchBlood on Amazon

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Things changing!

I've had an awful reading slump for the last two weeks or so.

Thanks to Liz  , I have chosen the 42nd thing on my to read shelf, which is Ken Follett's Fall of Giants and I'll be reading that soon. I'll also try Shadowplay pretty soon.

Things changing! Yes. I'm still going to be here and around the interwebs and such. But I'm going to be introducing two new things...

Firstly, a semi-regular feature called Time for Tea-tre! I go to the theatre sometimes and I went recently and have something I'd love to share my joy for and I was thinking of doing a review for any theatre/drama/musical I go to. Thanks to Georgia for the name, kind of :)

Also, I'll be doing audio reviews. To sit and spiel into a microphone for ten minutes is a lot easier than writing a review and typing it and such, and I'm quite time strapped at the moment, so I can still blog but it'll be easier for me.

UKYA book blogger secret santa signups now open, if anyone else wants to join in :)

50th Anniversary now has a new trailer! It looks good...here's hoping Moffat's sexism/bigotry doesn't ruin it.
Awesome of the week via capitol-refugee

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Excerpts from The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

Sorry for the lack of aroundness everywhere! I might be on a little more at the weekend. Might. November's being really busy, even if I don't coun
t Nanowrimo. But I'll try, and I do have a few really great guest posts. First one-extracts from The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray.


#1
Gruff fingers yank a blindfold off my face, light splashes into my eyes, and I blink. Gray walls swim about my head, and the ceiling soars much too high above me. I don’t know this place. I was walking to my bathroom when someone grabbed me from behind and forced a sour-smelling cloth over my face and—someone grapples with my hair, and I flinch. Who—who is touching me?
I try turning in the flimsy chair, but someone’s grabbing my shoulders, forcing me not to move. Spasms of fear shoot up and down my arms and legs. I try swinging my fists to make them loosen their grip, but my captor’s fingers only tighten.
Raising my arm to jab my captor in the gut, I pause. Someone’s laughing. How do I know that sound? It’s beautiful and low, a laugh I could recognize anywhere. Glancing around the sun-filled room, I find the source almost immediately. It’s Teo, my Teo, standing across from me on the hardwood floor, beaming at me. His ebony eyes shine forth like two onyx stones, and even his olive-toned skin makes me breathe a bit shallower. Choking back a strangled laugh—no one’s here to hurt me—I reach out for the love of my life, too tongue-tied to say anything.
His lips spread into a thin smile, reminding me of his mouth melting into my own. Fire raged beneath my skin with that kiss and it felt like I was lifted up into the air and floating. It’s been six days since our kiss and we still haven’t been able to talk about it. I tried repeatedly to go into his classroom, but it was like our school had purposely decided to schedule a more than average number of parent-teacher meetings.
Locking his eyes on mine, Teo asks, “Manicure?”
I glance down at my fingernails, trying to see why he would think I needed a manicure, when my shoulders are released and pale, icy fingers grip my hand. Chills run through me.
A flat, tenor voice says, “Yes.” And I’m startled to see my fingernails are actually painted. Clear and shiny.



#2
The fingers drop my hand, and my captor walks around to face me. White uniform, white skin, white hair. He’s albino. Who is he?
“Makeup is good.” Teo taps lightly on a handheld computer screen. “Hair is so-so.” He continues to scan the device, and I don’t like how he’s picking me apart like he’s Photoshopping me. Where are the other students? Or maybe it’s more than I could ever hope: it’s really just the two—three—of us, and he is finally unveiling his feelings. I never expected to fall in love with a teacher, but when I started at Khabela, the Austin math and science school, Teo was the only one who welcomed me. It took me a moment to understand why a math teacher would care that I read Tristan and Isolde, but soon we were knee-deep in conversation about all our favorite classic stories.
I wish he’d tell me why he brought me here. Maybe he let my mom know, explained what we were actually doing.
“Teo—?”
But I fail for words, the gray walls seeming to snatch at the fear inside me. My palms break out in a sweat and it’s calculus all over again, where Teo asked me to stand in front of my class to share the index card I had made to memorize last year’s trig functions. While I hate speaking in front of groups, I did it anyway, my heart slamming against the insides of my chest the entire time. When I’d finished, Teo congratulated me, making the fear worth it.
Tapping his computer screen, Teo trains his gaze on me again, softening a little. “I cannot tell you how much seeing you here pleases me.”
My heart flip-flops and it’s hard to say anything. He’s happy to see me. It’s all I can do to keep myself from smiling stupidly.
He takes one step toward me and I long to fill the gap. And when he speaks, his voice rings out in a baritone melody. “I hope you enjoy our little neighborhood, Miss Laurent. The women are on one side of the street, the men on the other. They each have their own houses. Seven again.” His lips perk up into one of those smiles that I love, and I’m reminded of his reverence for the number seven, how he arranges our desks in three rows of seven.
Glancing at the wooden door ahead, I open my mouth to ask if he’ll show me this street, when he says, “That is right. You should desire to go through that door. Of course, the choice is yours.” He gestures behind me. “The back door is always an option.”
I turn to find the back door, only to see plastic shadows, slick and dark—body bags—hanging on a rod by the door. Another one of Teo’s jokes, maybe. A metaphorical exercise. Life without love is not living. See, Miss Laurent, you might as well be dead. But Teo would never hurt me. When we kissed, he held me like a porcelain doll, treasured me.
“Front door, then?” Teo asks when I manage to turn back to him, his tone light, almost happy. He wants to show me this neighborhood that revolves around the number seven. I’m not sure what to make of it, but I want him to show me.
Teo and the albino grab me by the arms and force me up, but there’s no reason to be touchy-feely. Wherever he goes is where I want to be. Teo is brilliant and kind. He would never shatter me.


Content belongs to Mary Gray. Thanks for letting me be a part of the tour! These excerpts make it seem a lot different to what I was expecting, but I'm still looking forwards to reading The Dollhouse Asylum some day :)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Book Review-Rebellion by Lou Morgan

Title: Rebellion
 Author: Lou Morgan
Series:   Blood and Feathers #2
Published:  July 2013 by Solaris
Length: 364 pages
Warnings:  gore
Source: publisher
Other info:  Book 1 is called Blood and Feathers

Summary : Driven out of hell and with nothing to lose, the Fallen wage open warfare against the angels on the streets. And they're winning.
As the balance tips towards the darkness, Alice - barely recovered from her own ordeal in hell and struggling to start over - once again finds herself in the eye of the storm. But with the chaos spreading and the Archangel Michael determined to destroy Lucifer whatever the cost, is the price simply too high? And what sacrifices will Alice and the angels have to make in order to pay it?

The Fallen will rise. Trust will be betrayed. And all hell breaks loose...
Review: After the end of Blood and Feathers, Alice knows the angels will want her again, but for now, she just wants to be able to get back to a normal life. she then gets ropes into working for an undertaker, who is also the Angel of Death. Then riots involving Descended and Fallen tip the balance in the ongoing fight for control, and Alice and the angels have a lot to lose.
I left Blood and Feathers thinking “this is so good!” I started the next book in the series literally ten minutes after finishing it, which is something I have never done before. The world and writing is addictive, which is why I couldn’t wait to start this.
All my favourite characters return. Alice, Mallory and Vin. Then there’s new favourite, Adriel, angel of Death, who, form his introduction, I envisioned as Undertaker from Black Butler and he lived up to coolness expectation.  Not sorry. Vin and Mallory are once again sarcastically funny at times with a lot of darkness at others. Marllory, I felt so sad for him when we were told what’s in his books. Zadkiel is awesome and we start falling in love with him and then that happens to him and Lou Morgan is evil.  Can we just talk about how great Mallory, Vin, Alice and Adriel are? The relationships are so real  it’s great spending time with the characters. My love of Lou’s portrayal of angels and demons is on par with that of my love for Supernatural’s, so that’s pretty big (extra points to Lou vs Supernatural for the lack of awful women treating!).
Plot is great. There’s more of the angels vs the fallen, with things getting worse and worse, and an angelic betrayal and things moving on quickly. at the end, I’m left wanting a lot more.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a great second book. I have made the decision to read ANYTHING Lou writes.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Book Review-Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan

Title: Blood and Feathers
 Author: Lou Morgan
Series:   Blood and Feathers
Published:  31 July 2012 by Solaris
Length: 384 pages
Warnings:  gore
Source: bought
Other info:  Book 2 is called Rebellion.
Summary : Alice isn't having the best of days. She was late for work, she missed her bus, and now she's getting rained on. What she doesn't know is that her day's about to get worse: the epic, grand-scale kind of worse that comes from the arrival of two angelswho claim everything about her life is a lie.
The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; the age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. If the balance is to be restored, the angels must act - or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever.
That’s where Alice comes in. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory - a disgraced angel with a drinking problem and a whole load of secrets - Alice will learn the truth about her own history… and why the angels want to send her to hell.
What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding - and can she trust either side?
Caught between the power plays of the angels and Lucifer himself, it isn't just hell's demons that Alice will have to defeat.
Review: Alice is not having a good day. And it all gets worse when her dad is killed in front ofher and two angels, Gwyn and Mallory, drag her into the war between Angels and the Fallen. The Angels fight contstantly to stop the Fallen getting too powerful, but the Fallen are slowly gaining the advantage. This is where Alice comes in. Due to her heritage, she will be very useful in the upcoming war. Therefore, she has to go to hell.
I’d seen Lou’s stuff around for ages, and seen how nice she is, but didn’t get round to this for ages.
I instantly fell in love with the characters, especially Mallory. At first, he seemed quite easy going, funny, and even adorable. By the end of Blood and Features, he’s done some very un-adorable things, but I still love his complete badassery. Alice is really cool, with unique powers and the fact that she doesn’t instantly pick everything up makes her lovelyly real. Also on the side of angels is Gwyn, bad cop to Mallort’s good, and Vin, who I loved (just cos of the Cantonese. I’m not sure if he’s meant to look asian, but he did in my head, so that’s all awesome). For the Fallen, there’s Xaphan and Rimmon, and a whole host of other fallen angels, who are creepy.
I love the way that Heaven and Hell have been presented-the way angels on Earth work, the relationship between the Archangels and the normal angels, the layout of hell, Charon (she’s a thing in ice!), that Lucifer can bodyhop his league, and so on.
The writing is sarcastic in some places, and funny in many places,  and in other places, very gory and graphic. The action scenes are described really really well.


Overall:  Strength 5 tea to one hell of a read. Can’t find anything to fault. Will read book 2 asap.