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Nina (Death Books and Tea) (Bucks, England)

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Switched: Trylle Trilogy Book 1 (Trylle Novel)
Switched: Trylle Trilogy Book 1 (Trylle Novel)
by Amanda Hocking
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Samey YA PNR, 13 Oct 2013
Review: Wendy Everly has always been different, and she's known it since she was six and her mother tried to kill her because she wasn't her child. Eleven years later, Finn shows up at her house ,and takes her away to Forerning, the home of the Trylle (trolls, but spelt differntly because they're special).She learns that she was switched with her mother's real child, that she's the princess of the Trylles and that there'll be a lot of things resting on her in the future.
This was hailed as an ebook sucess, and noticable enough to be picked up by a major publisher. So if millions of people like it, then I should too, hopefully. On another note, I was around for Amanda's signing and I picked up a copy and got a hug.
Forbidden love, boring to "special", this book takes a lot of YA paranormal romance cliches and mixes it with trolls, which I like for the differentness of the creature, but in the grip of paranormal romance, doesn't work.
Wendy doesn't do much. She gets pushed into a new world, and I get that she's confused and getting used to new things, but she's not a kickass protagonist. Finn is a bit more actiony, but of course there's the class divides that make their romance illicit. Max and Rhys, the two human boys, are the most grounded, real, and nice characters.
The Trylle world is built up through lessons and questions. It's interesting, with the royalty and the magic, but I got a little bored in places.
Looking back at the blurb, there's a bit about "the fate of Forening rests in Wendy's hadns and the descisions she and Finn make could change all their lives". I'm sorry, I kind of missed that. There's a lot of Trylle-world politics and romance and building up things for further books.
In the same way, the Vitra (evil band of trolls) make an appearnce at the start and an appearance at the end. I didn't feel any sense of threat through them, and when I they came back it was just a "meh. Them."

Overall: Strength 2 tea to a paranormal book that's a bit samey.

The Zero Dog War (Zero Dog Missions)
The Zero Dog War (Zero Dog Missions)
Price: 3.42

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovable characters and laugh out loud story, 13 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Review: Captain Andrea Walker, pyromancer, heads the Zero Dogs, a team of mercenaries made up of a werewolf, a succubus, a vampire, a creature summoner, a demon, a failing novelist, and a fake ninja, who run around and destroy things. Unfortunately, their latest act of destruction was not what was required of them, and now they're further in the red than before. Luckily, they're offered $25million by the government if they complete this job-take out a necromancer with a horde of zombies at his disposal. Only one problem- they're forced to take Captain Jake Sanders their team. As the inter-team dynamics change and the UST between Andrea and Jake grows, all of them must focus their efforts on stopping the zombie takeover of the gelatin market.
Read the official summary. You will see why I really wanted to read this. And I've had this on my wishlist for a while (I think this was the first thing ever on my goodreads to-read), but never got round to reading it. But now I have, and I'm really glad I did.
It starts off with a typical mission, which results showing the personalities of most of the team really well, and their ability to mess things up. It soon gets into the contract for the zombie-necromancer mission, and is set up from there.
I love all the characters. Andrea is tough talking and stands up for herself a lot, and the fact that she is a pyromancer raises the awesomeness levels by about a million times. All the supernatural creatures are the opposite of their stereotypes, and they're all totally different characters. Jake, when he first gets in, is very overwhelmed by them and their banter, as is evidenced by when he tried to give a briefing (that scene reminded me of a class playing up for a supply teacher who ends up either terrified, traumatised or highly concerned for the students' sanity), but once we know him more, compliments them well. They all work together as a close team, and it's nice seeing the bonds they have. The necromancer, Jeremiah Hansen, is an amusing antagonist, doing all he does for financial profit in the gelatin industry.
Andrea narrates with a fair bit of sass, and in conversation comes up with more. The plot happens quickly, instantly pulling you in with an action scene and getting to know the characters, and moving on to the main plotline. I like the shifts to third person narration to follow Jeramiah and his adventures with the zombies.
I laughed my way through this book. The events that happen, the characters reactions and interactions and the general way this book is written what with parodying tropes of supernatural mercenaries and just being totally unexpected. The Zero Dog War cannot fail to brighten your day.

Overall: Strength 5 tea to a really fun paranormal investigation with a cast full of lovable characters. Really hoping there'll be a second coming soon.

Deadbeat - Makes You Stronger
Deadbeat - Makes You Stronger
by Guy Adams
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 4.81

3.0 out of 5 stars Darkly funny mystery, 13 Oct 2013
Review: Max and Tom are two good friends who are in the graveyard one night when they see a coffin being today. With a girl in it. who is breathing. Drawn into the shady world of health insurance and dealing in other things, they've uncovered a mystery, and they are going to try and solve it.
I quite like Adams' other stories-works on Torchwood and he also did the Sherlock casebook. I was looking forwards to reading this.
Max and Tom have an easy friendship, with other like minds, and it's nice seeing them work together and play off each other. I really enjoyed the random side stories.
The twist, I didn't see coming, but it made a few things make a bit more sense. Protagonists of this nature always cheer me up, and the events surrounding it for Max are interesting.
Plotwise, there's a lot of intrigue, with different trails and backstories regarding players.
There's dual narration, and I liked reading from both Max and Tom's perspectives. There's some more perspectives too when the plot calls for it.
The antagonists were hilarious in parts, as were the situaitons that Max and Tom found themselves in.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a darkly funny mystery with a supernatural twist.

The Good, the Bad and the Infernal (Heaven's Gate)
The Good, the Bad and the Infernal (Heaven's Gate)
by Guy Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Western Steampunk, 13 Oct 2013
Review: There's talk of a town that only appears once every hundred years, in totally different forms. But some things stay the same-it's always called Wormwood, and it provides a gate to the afterlife. This book follows a group of people aiming to get to it when it appears this time in the Midwest of America, and as they travel, they face many many challenges.
I was sold this as western steampunk. Sounds awesome, right?
We start by following one character, who gets saved by an old guy, and dragged along the trip. We then meet some other people, and folilow them on their travels, and then they meet up towards the end of the book. this makes The Good, The Bad and the Infernal seem more like a collection of stories about characters, a bit less of a novel. However, this is the first of a trilogy, so maybe it'll pick up.
The characters are an interesting lot, but I don't remember very much about any of them. There's a freak show lot, an old guy, a religious person, and some others.
Imaginative things happen to the characters on the way along. Snakes! It felt a bit slow and confusing to me in places, but at other times, you're really pulled in. The travels along America are good, and I liked the setting.
I think that it probably will pick up later on in the series, because the ending is a definite "something big happens next".

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a Western Steampunk book that's totally different, but didn't keep me entirely.

The Rapture of the Nerds
The Rapture of the Nerds
by Cory Doctorow
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1.0 out of 5 stars Impossible, 13 Oct 2013
Review: Huw is a Welsh technophobe. In a world where most people have uploaded to the cloud, he is one of the few(ish) remaining on Earth. Called to do jury service, judging whether or not a new invention will make the civilisation happy or not (or not essentially being will it destroy us), he goes. Also, he discovers that somewhere along the line, he got infected and something wants to use him and..i'm not sure.
I was looking forwards to this. I've flicked through Cory Doctorow's Little Brother and liked what I saw, and I read his contribution to Steampunked and loved it. this collaboration should be good, right?
And then I started reading. OK, the first few pages made sense as set ups and then characters start cropping up and changing gender and I'm not sure what happened to the plot. When I say characters cropping up, I mean Sandra being at her house, and then Huw leaving the house to go to jury service, and then Sandra showing up at the jury service with no explanation of what she's doing there or how she got there or anything. This happens repeatedly.
Huw is a boring character who doesn't do much. A little more interesting is the doctor whose name I forgot. The cast is very varied in terms of beliefs and attitudes, but it doesn't work for me and flow.
The whole cloud uploading, changing houses, products of snakes and things and such-all this futuristic technology was a bit beyond my ability to imagine.
I have absolutely nothing against genderfluid characters, but somewhere along the line Huw (who up until that point had been referred to as male and showed no signs of wanting to be referred to as female) starts getting feminine pronouns. Also, I don't think that "acquire" is a word best used in tandem with "gender dysphorria".
There's a lot of technobabble throughout. However, hardly any of it is explained and it's hard to imagine and follow.
I'm not going to talk about the plot because as far as I could tell, I couldn't make one out.
This book tries to be Hitchhikers, you can tell. The randomness, the futurism, the references to things like Doctor Who and other pop culturey things. but it doesn't work becasue I can't follow the plot at all.

Overall: Strength 1 tea to an impossible book.

Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood)
Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood)
by Kendare Blake
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars If you loved Anna Dressed in Blood, maybe leave it there., 13 Oct 2013
Review: Remember Anna Dressed in Blood? Well, *SPOILER FOR DRESSED IN BLOOD* she's in a realm with the Obemann. Cas gets haunted by the ghost of his ghost girlfriend. With the help of Thomas and Carmel and a new girl, Jestine , he gets information about Anna from the Order and tries to find her, before she suffers a fate worse than death.
I really liked Anna Dressed in Blood. Gory, great characters, ghost hunting and fun. I was looking forwards to this one.
I don't normally listen to actual audiobooks read by a person (I normally just let kindle text-to-speech read aloud to me on walks). When I started this, I listened to the narrator's voice and just thought "8 hours with this guy. Damn. His voice is annoying". It grew on me after a bit, but it isn't the way I imagined Cas to sound.
There's a distinct lack of Anna, despite the fact that she's in Hell. For a series named after her, you'd expect to see a bit more of her, and I hoped there'd be a bit more because she's really really cool. She was very save-me when she was here, not quite as...Anna as she was in Dressed in Blood. I also missed the focus on ghost hunting.
Cas wallows in pity about the lack of Anna a lot in this one. It gets a little annoying. Thomas and Carmel add a bit more realisticness, and add a bit of depth. Jury's out on Jestine-to start with, she's a bit unlikable, but I think you warm up to her in time. I liked seeing more of Thomas.
It did the creepy thing a bit better in this one. There's a scene where the team are going through a forest with a lot of bodies of those who have commited suicide. DON'T TURN YOUR BACK DON'T LOOK AWAY DON'T BLINK GOOD LUCK. Quantum locked corpses chasing teens through a forest. Fun times. (Ok, they're not officially quantum locked, but that's the vibe I got from them)
The climax added to the intensity, with powerful forces at play and a lot at stake here.
The resolution, I have mixed feelings about. From an in-book, plotty way, it's perfect-it concludes nicely but not in a particularly good way, reflecting that sometimes things don't turn out the way you expect. From a reader's point of view,it's all "no why did you do that???"

Overall: Strength 2.5, more a 3 tea to a disappointing end to a a duology that I loved the first part to.

Hard Spell: An Occult Crimes Unit Investigation (Angry Robot)
Hard Spell: An Occult Crimes Unit Investigation (Angry Robot)
by Justin Gustainis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars ...unique, 13 Oct 2013
Review: Detective Stan Markowzi is on the Scranton's Police Department's Occult Crimes Unit. He does exactly what you'd expect him to do-run around dealing with it when vampires, werewolves, faeries and the like mess up. The main plot starts when someone gets killed with mysteriokus symbols carved on him. That someone is a vampire. As more killings happen and some guy shows up claiming to be able to tell them everything, Max
I remember trawling round the internet and finding someone describing this as pararnormal investigations taken to the extreme end of fun. definitely my thing.
Rachel was my favourite character-she was sensible, and did a bit for plot development (pace advancement really). Stan was a good narrator and had a tragic backstory that motivates him.
It's definitely fun, though maybe not my kind of fun. it takes a lot of cliches, like lesbian vampires and the white witch, which I like in moderation but got a bit overdone in parts.
The writing plays with sarcastic humour in places. I have huge love for the hellhound on the police team. Called Daisy.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a... unique pararnormal investigation. I'll definitely read on in the series.

Butterfly Volume 1 (Butterfly (Tokyopop))
Butterfly Volume 1 (Butterfly (Tokyopop))
by Yu Aikawa
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.02

3.0 out of 5 stars Has promise, 13 Oct 2013
Review: Ginji is highly against anything to do with the occult, due to the fact that he is haunted by the ghost of his brother, who killed himself. When he gets into an fight at a haunted mansion, which leads to them demanding bills and reparations, he has no way to pay up. Until a child called Ahega shows up and asks him to help out. Ginji can earn 20000 Yen a job-with the job being ghostbusting!
This was cheap at the Tokyopop stall. I got it not knowing what to expect. It was better than I thought it would be. There's some humour from the awkward train of thought that Ginji has when wondering about the job, and other little spots here and then. Ginji and Ahega complement each other well in terms of abilities (destroying and creating illusions respectively). Ginji shows more depth now, but I'd like Ahega to have more development later-there's an interesting backstory coming. The characters in the short-bit-mystery (the swimming chapter) were also well developed.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a supernatural manga with promise.

Ophelia's Revenge (Bard's Blood)
Ophelia's Revenge (Bard's Blood)
by David Bergantino
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Quick and spooky, 13 Oct 2013
Review: Cameron's father was murdered, his ghost tells him his aunt did it, and he randomly inherits Elsinore Castle, which he'll get control of when he turns 21. He and his friends go to Elsinoret o celebrate. So, bunch of young adults, alcohol, and fun times. But there's a problem-the ghost of a girl who drowned centuries ago is back, and she wants her Hamlet.
I love Hamlet so much. This was an impulse buy because it was Hamlet and it was cheap. I wasn't really expecting much.
Part of this is a straight adaptation of Hamlet shoved into a modern day setting, which I am not against in the slightest. The names got adapted ok (Laertes becomes Larry, Gertrude becomes Geri, the theatre players become rock band The Playaz) apart from Cameron, which is seriously random compared to Hamlet.
Ophelia in this, is a ghost who leads to some very big things happening. She's interesting as ever, and is the one who develops most as she possesses various people.
The writing isn't amazing, and some parts of the book seem a bit forced.

Overall: Strength 2 tea to a quick, spooky redo of Hamlet.

Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)
Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)
by Cara Lynn Shultz
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Magic and romance, 13 Oct 2013
Emma Connor moves to a fancy new school, after the latest near death experience is the last straw. Not much happens to begin with, but things start drawing her to Brendan Salinger. Such as his good looks. And his niceness. And the fact that they're soulmates. Which shouldn't be too much of a problem, but it is due to the fact that she's meant to die horribly after she finds him. As they try to escape the evils of fellow students and the while idea of the curse, Emma and Brandon realise how tightly together they are bound.
I wasn't sure what I was expecting from this, but it certainly wasn't this! It's a nice new take on the concept, and it comes off really well.
Emma was very nice. You get into her head really well and she's funny and real. Brandan was nice, but he has annoying habit of showing up to save Emma most of the time. I would have liked her to do a bit more, considering that she handles everything else pretty well-she shouldn't need someone to come save her from the school bully. Angelique was my favourite character-the fact she's a witch and also her general way of being makes me think that we'd be good friends. Anthony and Kirsten were realistic and good antagonists.
The thing I enjoyed most was the book of the legends and the stories they tell-beautifully written and intriguing.
This is very romance, which works plotwise because of the way the legend has it all set up, but when translate into actual happenings, it makes it all a bit instalovey, even when you know it's all due to the legend.
Plot wise, interest levels vary. Low to medium to start with, then you get the legend, theyget higher, then it goes down a bit, then comes up for the climax.
I would have liked to see a bit more of the magic side to it all.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book for people who want a lot of romance with their magic.

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