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.

Book Review: Leviathan- Scott Westerfeld

About: Leviathan, written by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson, is a young adult stempunk novel published in 2009 in the USA. In the UK it was published in 2010 by Simon & Schuster. Its sequel, Behemoth, is already out, and the final book in the series will be out in October. Scott Westerfeld has also written the Uglies series, the Midnighters, a few more series and a short story in Zombies vs Unicorns. Look at his website .

Plot:Its 1914 in an alternative history with elements of possible futures. The Clankers, who's warships are pure machinary, are on the brink of war against the Darwinists, who evolve animals into various crossbreeds to use as ships. Beginning with the assasinations of the Archduke of Austria and his wife, the two people who started World War I, their child Aleksander is forced to run and hide. Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp has been accepted as a midshipman on the Leviathan, but will get chucked off if they discover she is female. Then Deryn crash lands near Alek's hiding place and they are thrown together for many adventures together.

Opinions: I was first drawn in by the beautiful cover of the second book, Behemoth. When the librarian found the first book, and read the blurb, I knew that I had high hopes. And I wasnt disappointed. Despite not liking his Uglies series, Leviathan is something completely different. I think it captures steampunk, perfectly.The books was full of action interspersed with humour. I think every sentence was useful, there was no pointless drivel anywhere. I liked the strong personalities of all the characters, from Alek and Devyn to the annoying midshipman that gets left behind in the early stages of the book. I especially like how Westerfeld could have put in some romance between Alek and Devyn, but didnt,choosing instead to keep the book pure adventure. To complete the book, the illustrations are beautiful, and obviously Thompson worked hard on them. Leviathan is a brilliant book and I cant believe I never found it sooner.
In short
PlotMachinery, animals, cross dressing, hiding, lady boffins and war thrown togerher in a steampunk world
CharactersWell fleshed out and believable
ActionSo much happens that its hard to believe the second part all happened in the space of about four days
Warningsnone I can think of
WritingFast paced and thrilling
OverallSo good, I stayed up till midnight to finish it-and you will too.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I've been awarded  a versatile blogger award by Amy at the Ultimate Goth Guide....Big thanksies to Amy...I love her articles, so check her out.
  • Thank & Link back to the person who gave you the award
  • Answer 10 questions
  • Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy
  • Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award. are the 10 questions....

Why did you create this blog?
 I wanted a place to rant about the books I read, without having to compete with my book club, who are the noisiest in the world and seem determined to never let me speak my opinions without butting in.
What kind of blogs do you follow?
I dont tend to follow things, just read them and go back....Mainly goth ones, or book review ones...preferably a mixture of the two...I also like neo-victorian ones...
Favourite make-up brand
The natural beauty one from boots.
Favourite clothing brand?
The only brand thing I have is from superdry...I wear stuff from charity shops or whatever my granny's given me so I can tear it up and wear it
Indispensible make-up product?
Favourite colour?
Red, black, certain shades of pink
Favourite perfume?
Vanilla essence
Favourite film?
L change the WorLd.
What country would you like to visit and why?
Japan, because I like manga and you can buy more stuff relating to various manga. Also, America, because my favourite music artists only really tour there.
Would you rather forget to put mascara on one eye or forget blush on one side of your face?
Mascara.I dont have blush

And now for seven blogs
Lauren at Unlace the Victorians
I like her look at the Victorian side of things in life, and love the accounts of the Emilie Autumn shows. Really easy to find your way around, too.

...cant think of that many right now...I'll post back....

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Book Review: Vampire Knight-Matsuri Hino

About:Vampire Knight is a shojo(girls) manga written by Matsuri Hino. Pre-Twilight, (first published in
January 2005, in Japan's Lala Magazine), this has been given many different labels, from teen girl and

romance to horror and tragedy. Matsuri Hino has also written the less well known Captive Hearts and Meri Puri. It was published by Viz Media, in 2006. It still retains the original right-to-left format of manga.

Plot: Cross academy: a school where vampires and humans coexist safely and peacefully...err...sort of. The girls in the Day class (humans) obsess over the boys in the night class (vampires). At twilight, as the night class walk from their dorm to the school building, the day class wait for them and try to show their affection. The only thing stopping the poor vamps getting stampeded is the Guardians of the school: Yuuki Cross and Zero Kiryuu. Caught in the middle of a love triangle with zero and head vampire Kaname Kuran, Yuuki discovers that even at this safe haven, there are still secrets.

Opinions: It could be said that this is the Japanese version of Twilight, and to be quite honest it is. But in my opinion, its much better. There are quite often shocking, and at times disturbing, twists and turns in the story when you least expect it, and although there are strong elements of todays vampires(sexy,young looking, superpowers ect), theres a lot more to it. There's humour in Kaname's bitch slaps and the headmaster's demeanour, there's slight undercurrents of yaoi(if you dont know what that is, go look it up) and the authour sidebar notes and name explanations are a really nice touch. The sound effects are overused, which I think really breaks up the flow. A shame to ruin the incredibly detailed artwork. Also I find that at some point, the story is quite slow moving, and at some point, really action filled.
In short
PlotTwilight, with slightly more action and slightly gorier
CharactersWell developed, with disturbing relationships
ActionSometimes theres not much, sometimes theres loads.
WarningsSlight adult themes, a bit of gore every now and again
Writing & ArtWell written, beautiful drawings, shame about the sound effects
Very good, proves vampires dont have to sparkle to be sexy.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, people. I will try and be more active, especially as I just got a huge stack of books from the library and Amazon, but no promises as I sort of forget.