Saturday, 12 February 2011

Book Review: Jekel Loves Hyde - Beth Fantaskey

About: Jekel loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey is a romance book with bits of chemistry and paranormal thrown in.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published it in 2010. It is a stand alone novel. Fantaskey has also written the popular Jessica's guide to Dating on the Dark Side.
Plot: 17 years of being the good girl. Jill Jekel has obeyed everything her parents told her. Including not opening that strange box in the study. But with her father brutally murdered and her college savings mysteriously disappeared, the only person she can really trust is Tristen Hyde. In a competiton where the prize is a scholarship that will pay for her education, Jekel and Hyde recreate the experiments from the novel Jekyll and Hyde. This ends up badly, and only gets worse when a taste of the formula on Tristan's lips brings out Jill's dark inner side.
Opinions: I thought this would be an absolutely brilliant book. The promise of a classics mutilated book with a romantic twist was too much for me to not be hyped up about. I ended up being slightly disappointed. The concept was amazing: Dr Jekyll was a real person who really created a split personality, Hyde, with a separate body, documenting all his notes as he went along. Both Jekyll and Hyde went on to have families, of which the present generation is Jill and Tristen. Tristen and Jill then go on to . its a shame Fantaskey didnt pull this off as well as she could have done. the character introductions were standard fare romance lovey dovey ones, without a real original twist. the characters themselves were slightly flat;Jill and Tristen are perfect stereotypical romance stars: the good virginal female and the tortured dark brooding male . In fact, all the characters were sort of boring and too typecast for my liking. The whole plotline is generally boring, but the scenes in the school laboratory were very interesting. either did her research, or is very good at inventing likely reactions for various chemicals. there is a lot of description in this, which depending on where you are in the book is a good or bad thing. the whole book is quite slow, only really picking up the pace at the end, by which time you may have given up.

In short
Plotrecreating the experiments of dr jekyll brings out a dark side in everyone
CharactersFlat boring and hard to connect with
ActionWhat action? Apart from the sciencey bit, nothing interesting actually happens
WarningsAttemted suicide, attempted rape, references to sex, kissing
WritingNicely descriptive, but quite slow
OverallGood formula, bad reaction

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Wishlist Wednesday 4

The joys of going to your (not-very) local Waterstones, the one in Picadilly, which is 5 floors high and is apparently the biggest bookstore in Europe. Anyway, due to this, there are a lot of books on my want to get list now, so here they are!

1. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney. I'm not sure what drew me in, because I don't normally read Fae books, but this looked good.

2. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey. What is it with me and Faeries this weekend? The title and cover looked interesting, and so did the blurb, so I want it.

3. The bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter. I always like fairy tales twisted, so what better than this?

4. The Virago book of Ghost Stories. Its been a long time since I've sat down with a proper ghost story with no strings like romance attatched. Seems like a good read.

5. Once Dead Twice Shy by Kim Harrison. How could I not have noticed Kim Harrison had a YA series out? I don't know, but I'm glad I have now. I actualy noticed the next book in the series, but I don't like reading series books out of turn.

Thats all for now. What's on your wishlist?

Teaser Tuesday 1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So, my current reads.

  "And finally, as the modern Dr. Jekel's document indidcated, I added the strychnine to the already dangerous potassium diochronate and poured that lethal mix into the flask"
  "Refusing to think further, to consider the future, the way the solution might feel as it seared my throat, paralysed my lungs ,I raised the flask before my eyes, toasting my own fate, and was actually about to say "cheers" when I heard my name screamed from the doorway."
-----Jekel Loves Hyde, P147, Beth Fantaskey

  "Believe me, if I was on vacation, following a bitchy vampire wouldn't be my first choice".
 "Resentment towards my parents for breaking the rules, resentment towards the dominae for blaming me for their actions and resentment towards Adam for reminding me of my red-headed stepchild status."
-----Red-headed Stepchild, P121, Jaye Wells

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Book Review: The Radleys- Matt Haig

About: The Radleys, by Matt Haig is a vampire ficton standalone novel aimed at young adults and adults. It was published in 2010 by Walker-canongate. Matt Haig has also written, among others, The Dead Father's Club and The Last Family in England. The Radleys is being made into a film produced by Alfonso Cuaron.

Plot: The Radleys seem decidedly average: the father, Pete, is a GP, the mother, Helen,  is your normal housewife, they have two kids, Clara and Rowan, and they live in an understated sub-urban house. But they are actually a family of abstaining vampires, who don't drink blood. The children do not know about this, so when  Clara decides to turn vegan, this makes her quite sick. Following on from there, Clara accidentally kills a boy who had untoward intentions.  To clean up the mess, Uncle Will is called in, and things really escalate from there. Add to that a marriage coming undone, a teen boy in love with his sisters best friend and blood by the bottleful and you have got the Radleys.

Opinions: Totally unrelated, this is book 1 of my Parajunkee Vampire Challenge. This book was first seen shelved among YA vampire books. I then looked carefully at it, and decided it was totally different to everything else on offer, and worth a try. And I read this, and I really enjoyed it. The characters are easy to connect with and pretty believable. Its extremely original: it portrays the vampire in a completely different way to what we're all used to. I like the black humour coming in every now and again, (ie when discussing what to do about Clara's killing, Helen says "I've brought the spade".), but not too frequently as to turn this into a comedy story. I especially like the clever sub-plots brewing underneath the main story-I won't tell you what they are because they're quite crucial to the main storyline and I dont want to spoil it. However, it is slightly disappointing. I dont like the way it's not really aimed at a certain audience; parts of this is a lovely YA novel, yet the more adult parts mean that,younger readers who like the look of this, thinking particularly of the younger members of my book club, arent allowed to read this, even though it is a brilliant book and they should read it. And although I like all the little subplots but I think they slightly detract from concentrating on the stories of Rowan and Clara, which I think is more important. And I don't like Will. Despite this, The Radleys is a story full of twists and turns with an extremely satisfying ending.
In short
PlotAn abstaining vampire family, a mad uncle and bottles of blood.
CharactersClear personalities that you see in every family.
ActionA lot of subplots woven together.
WarningsA few non-graphic sex scenes, references to adultery. Rec. age 14 up
WritingShort snappy chapters that doesnt cater to one audience
OverallA delightful ironic look at vampires, family and life in general.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Follow Friday 2

Book Blogger Hop
Welcome to Blood and Books! Enjoy looking around.

Follow Friday is hosted by Crazy for Books as a wonderful way to meet new blogging friends.This week's question: What are you reading now and why are you reading it?
A: I'm currently reading Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut, because I saw it in a shop and, due to my love of slasher movies, had to read it. As well as this, I've almost finished Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street which I am reading because I saw the film and decided I wanted to read the original penny dreadful, which is actually completely different to the film.

Happy book hopping and enjoy your weekend!

Crazy Covers 1

Crazy Covers is a new feature that I will post whenever i feel like it. It will feature anything related to covers, such as my favourite covers, different covers of various books, look a like covers and anything else related. This time: Unusual covers for paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce. Beautiful gates and a pretty tree in black and white with accents of green. At a passing glance, you'd never think this was about witches, until you looked at the title and then the blurb.

Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson. Really, any of the Undead series, but I think this is the one that has the least connection with the paranormal romance it is. It features a tall blonde woman just standing outside of a door. and only slightly hints at the vampire novel with a couple of bats in the background.

I'm the Vampire Thats Why by Michelle Bardsley. Again, another cover that would not strike you as paranormal until you read the title and looked at the details, the fangs in the woman's mouth, the bats on top of the cupcakes she made.

Thats all for now. What are your thoughts on these covers?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Wishlist Wednesday 3

And here is a list of some more books I'm hoping to read at some point. I discovered most of these by hopping around various blogs, so yeah, the books I want to read.
666 Park Avenue: A Novel1. 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce. What if your mother-in-law turned out to be an evil, cold-blooded witch . . . literally? A lovely rhetorical question that seems to followed by a story of witches, a subject that seems quite under-done in this world of paranormal becoming mainstream.
2. Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux. Another slightly underdone paranormal topic, this time zombies. An original idea, as it seems to be full of blog posts about the main charchter who is called (you'd never believe it!} Allison Hewitt surviving the zombie apocalypse with a few of her friends. Looks fun.
Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie Novel3. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. I absolutely love Poe's "The Raven", so with a title like that, I have to check it out. I like the idea of having Poe's stories coming to life, and I can't wait to read this.

NevermoreThats all for this week. Is there anything you think I should read, but don't know about? Or your own thoughts about what I've chosen?Please leave a comment!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Book Review: Fallen Grace-Mary Hooper

Fallen GraceAbout: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper is a YA historical novel. It was published in 2010 by Bloomsbury. It is astand-alone novel, but Hooper has also written other historical novels such as At the Sign of the Sugar Plum and Newes from the Dead, and contemporary novels such as Megan.
Plot: Grace Parkes is a fallen woman-she has given birth to a child without being married, and must now lay him to rest. After placing the body in someone else's coffin to be buried, Grace and her sister are thrown out of their home by no fault of their own. They must now find ways to scrape by day by day. Enter the Unwins, a family dealing in death and mourning, who will do pretty much anything to cheat two young women out of what they rightfully own.
Opinions: I found this a bit more enjoyable than Hooper's other books. not sure why, maybe because of the darker inclination of the whole story. I like how the slight romance between Grace and a young lawer doesnt go so far as to distract from the main story. I like the highs and lows of Grace's life highlighting how varied a poor victorian girl's life can be. I think Grace is well characterised as a young determined woman. I like the historical accuracy- correct to almost every last detail, with the author's notes at the end explaining everything. The Victorian style calling cards, epitahs, newspaper clippings and so on heading every chapter are the beautiful final touches.
In short
PlotA young girl trying to scrape by- and not let her past catch up with her.
CharactersEveryone is well characterised, from the main character to the boy who only appears in one page.
ActionA harsh look at how bad life could be in victorian times.
WarningsReferences to rape, focuses on death
WritingBeautiful descriptions in particular, but beautiful throughout
OverallFor anyone even remotely interested in death, victorians or rags to riches. A brilliant read.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Book Review: Soulless- Gail Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)About: Soulless is written by Gail Carriger and was published in 2009. Genres it is normally filed under are steampunk and paranormal romance, but is sometimes found in the horror section, and it contains a fair bit of mystery and historical fantasy. It is the first in what will be 5 books, followed by Changeless ,Blameless, Heartless and Timeless.
Plot: The first thing that happens is the Alexia Tarrabotti is attacked by a vampire. Then she kills said vampire with her trusty parasol. What seems to annoy her most is a tie between the fact that the vampire does not know that she has no soul, and the fact she landed in the treacle tart. In victorian society, being soulless however is less of a problem than having a father who is Italian and dead. Then alpha werewolf Lord Maccon is sent to investigate, and they get drawn into a mystery involving registered vampires going missing and rogue vampires appearing. Alexia is forced to get to the bottom of things, whilst working with someone she believes has hated her since the hedgehog incident, being suspected of the crime, and not having a soul at all .
Opinions: The blurb drew me in, and gave me high hopes for this. I wasnt disappointed. From the start I was laughing at the way Miss Tarrabotti dealt with the rude vampire, and then with Lord Maccon and so on. The Alternate Victorian London was well though out, there were'nt any discontinuities. Victorian and Werewolf society contrast brilliantly- Lord Maccon's etiquitte around the full moon is particularly laughable. Both Maccon and Alexia are strong charactersThe supporting characters are excellent, such as Lord Aceldama, a flamboyantly gay vampire, the beta werewolf Lyall, hovering butler Floote and Miss Hisselpenny and her strange taste in hats. I like how Carriger took something that has been done numerous times(vampires and werewolves) and put her own spin on it. The only thing that pulls this books down is the romance with Maccon-after a good lot of fantasy. mystery and humour, the romance doesnt really fit. Apart from that, this is a brilliant concept and was pulled off perfectly.
In short
PlotSoulless Miss Tarabotti finds herself in a vampire/werewolf mystery
CharactersWell fleshed out with original personalities
Actiona lot, apart from the end
WarningsOne sex scene towards the end
WritingWitty and fast paced
OverallIts definately worth reading- and getting the next one too.

Follow Friday 1

I've decided I want to make more friends. I am partaking in two book hops, so please follow me and I'll be happy to follow back!

Hosted by Parajunkee
This week's question-  What is/was your favourite subject at school?
Well...I like latin because its interesting, I like history for the same reason, english because we get given ten minutes to read whatever we like....anything really minus PE and geography....

And this one, hosted by Crazy for Books
This week's question- What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?
Hmmm....there's a few horror manga coming out, none I can think of at the moment....I'm looking forwards to Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon because I can't wait to get more of Nick and his history.....

As I said, I'm happy to get followed and follow back- I love friends!
Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Parajunkee Vampire Challenge list

Seeing as I've signed up to this, I may as well think about what I'm going to read. Hence, 20 books that I need to read, and plan to as part of the challenge.
1. Vampire Kisses 6- Ellen Schrieber. I got this far, then the library lost it. 
2. Peeps- Scott Westerfeld. Read Leviathan, liked it, want to read more.
3. Invincible- Sherrilyn Kenyon. Was going to read anyway, looked on PJ's website, found out it counts as a vampire novel, am including it in challenge.
4.Strange angels- Lili St. Crow. My frined keeps pestering me to read this, and I may as well.
5. Dracula in Love. Noticed on Parajunkee's site, looks good.
6. Undead and Unfinished.  Love this series, and its the closest to chick lit I am ever going to get.
7. The Radleys. Vampire ordinary family. One off novel.
8. Red-headed Stepchild. Half vampire, half mage, Sabina Kane is an assassin with a whole load of problems.

As you can see, there are a lot of empty slots. If you've got any suggestions, I'm open!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Wishlist Wednesday 2

Ahh, so I've remembered to post my wishlist of books. This week anyway. Mainly books by visting authors that I need to read, and sequels to books I've read and liked. 
Flood and Fang (Raven Mysteries)1. Flood and Fang-The Raven Mysteries by Marcus Sedgwick. They looked seriously sweet sitting in a waterstones far away, but I've not got round to actually reading them. Which is pretty failed, because Sedgewick will be coming to my school at some point this year, talking to the book club, and all I've only read two books by him.

2. Death: At Death's Door by Jill Thompson and vaguely Neil Gaiman. I dont really like Neil Gaiman, as I find his books hard to follow and plotless. But my librarian has said that he's good, and I will try again with these books. I'm hoping this will help me like his books a bit more.
3. Alice in the Country of Hearts vol 5 by QuinRose. A continuation of QuinRose's parody of Alice in Wonderland, which features the mad hatter as the head of the mafia, the duchess as a man whose violin can change into a gun at will, and a punk cheshire cat. Enough said.

Alice in the Country of Hearts, Vol. 54. Hetalia Axis Powers by Hidekaze Himaruya. Set in World War 1, the countries are bundled into a single person based on Japanese stereotypes of said country. Completely different to what I'd normally read, but the review in the Neo magazine makes it look like something I don't want to miss.

Hetalia: Axis Powers, Vol. 1
Invincible: The Chronicles of Nick5. Invincible-Sherrilyn Kenyon. I read the first Chronicles of Nick (Infinity) as soon as it came out (and I have no idea why I havent done a review yet) and instantly wanted the next one. And now Kenyon posted the first chapter of Invincible, I want it even more.
6. Fallen Grace- Mary Hooper. Yes, again relating to the fact she's coming to my school and I've read pretty much nothing of hers. Judging by the tagline (Death can be haunting) and the blurb, this seems like it may be a little more my thing. Maybe, as I never really fully enjoyed her other books.

Fallen Grace

Parajunkee's Vampire Challenge

So, I've signed up for Parajunkee's Vampire Challenge. The aim is to read 20 books featuring a vampire as a main character this year. Looks like fun!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Book Review : Black Butler- Yana Tosobo

Black Butler, Vol. 1
About: Black Butler, also known as its original name Kuroshitsuji, is a manga series written by Yana Toboso. It was published in a shonen, or teen boy's, magazine in Japan, and some genres attatched to it are supernatural, mystery, action, dark fantasy and black humour. Yen Press translated it into english. Yana Tosobo has also written Rust Blaster. Kuroshitsuji has been adapted into an anime series, which you can watch here, or anywhere else. Just search for it. Currently there are only two volumes of this series, so you'll get further in the story line if you watch the anime.

Plot: Sebastian Michaelis is one hell of a butler.Twelve year old Ciel Phantomhive is the head of his family, an earl, the head of his family....and a boy who has sold his soul to his butler, a demon. After his parents were murdered, Ciel entered into an agreement where, after Sebastian has helped him get revenge on those who killed his parents, Sebastian may take his soul. Lovely. The first volume is mainly the housemaid, cook and gardener being totally useless, which all-talented Sebastian resolves. Set in Victorian times, their later adventures include kidnapping, hosting guests and investigating Jack the Ripper. Just your typical young Victorian boy and his butler.

Opinions:I must say this is one of my favourite mangas. I love originality of the concept. I like the setting, Victorian England, and how Black Butler is vaguely historically accurate. The characters arent particularly believable as real life characters, but they are well fleshed out with distinctive personalities, even if it can be hard to believe these comedy acts are in the same world Sebastian. The action doesnt really get going until halfway through, but when it does, it does so perfectly. The artwork is rendered beautifully, and ,considering this is a shounen(boy's) manga, the title character is incredibly sexy.
In short
PlotVictorian england adventure with one hell of a butler.
CharactersDistinctive and original characters
ActionSlow to begin with, then sprints halfway through
Warningsviolence, guns, extremely mild fanservice between Ciel, Sebatian and a chainsaw weilding death god
WritingFunny, but also with a darker side.
OverallOne hell of a manga

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Wishlist Wednesday 1

Decided I'd start up with a new feature....Behold Wishlist Wednesday. As you can see, it is where I will post my wishlist of books, and hopefully I'll update it every Wednesday. Hopefully. I'll probably forget every now and again.   Lets get started.
1. Zombies vs Unicorns. edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, is answering an age old question: is the zombie better than the unicorn. The answers come in short stories from  Garyth Nix, Carrie Ryan, Scott Westerfeld, Meg Cabot and others. I found it on Westerfeld's blog, and was immediately fascinated by the whole new x vs y . After vampires vs werewolves being worked to hell and back, its a nice new debate.

2. Jane Slayre. By Sherri Browning Erwin. Ahh, the whole classics plus monsters. Theres been Pride and Predjudice, Sense and Sensiblility, Little Women and now theres Jane Eyre. Featuring a demon slayer, werewolves and zombies, this looks like one classic mutilated not to be missed.

3. Changeless. By Gail Carriger. After reading the first one in the Parasol Protectorate (Soulless), how could I not want the sequel. If youve read the first one, you must agree with me. If you've not read the first one, you should!

4. The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. By Emilie Autumn. A mix of autobiography and fiction, Emilie blurs the line between present day and victorian lunatic asylums. Discovered when I discovered Emilie Autumn, about 4 months ago, I was entranced by the style of the whole thing. By the way, Emilie is a singer/songwriter/poet/author with bipolar disorder who tried commiting suicide and was locked in an asylum. But seeing as it cost $75 new, its very unlikely I'll ever read it. But I'll keep hoping.

Thats enough for now...and if you have any recommendations, I'm all open for suggestions.