28 April 2012


As part of the Team Dauntless UK blog tour for Insurgent, I'll be looking at the wonderful world of body piercings.

Although tattoos and piercings are now fairly commonplace in our society, they can still be a taboo thing to have, especially when it comes to work. But in the Dauntless faction, it wouldn't be odd or out of place.

Nowadays body piercing is a form of self expression, but different forms of body piercing have existed since ancient times, often with a spiritual or ritualistic element. The oldest mummified body with ear piercings is 5,300 years old and the tradition in India for women of childbearing age to wear a nose stud dates back to the 16th century. Even back then you could find the dauntless!

As my current partner is an ex-body piercer (and it was in this role that we actually met) I thought I would ask him about some of the more unusual and interesting piercings he’s done: 

"The more unusual and most complicated, piercing I did was a corset piercing on a girl's back. It took two of us to do and 4 hours overall, as we had to do 12 individual ring piercings that all had to line up as it would later be threaded with ribbon to make the corset effect. The most fun one to do was actually nail piercings as I got to use a tiny drill to make a hole in the nail. But it was often the most unassuming of people that would walk in, wearing their office suit, to get hidden piercings..." 

Many, many years ago as a young teenager I was considering what first piercing to get when I saw an article on the different types of piercings in Kerrang magazine. The one that stood out for me was the septum piercing (think Keith from Prodigy). After that I got the back of my neck pierced with a small bar, followed by my wrist piercing (which was when I met my lovely other half whilst he worked in the piercing studio) and then I set about stretching my ears to 10mm. I've lost a few piercings over the years, but think I may still  have one or two left in me.

But if piercings aren't daring enough for you, then there is a myriad of other forms of self expression that might take your fancy such as implants. Far from the 'normal' surface piercings such as ears, lip, belly button or tongue, dermal implants are surgically anchored under the skin with the jewellery showing on the skin like a little flat ball. For those with no fear at all, then full implants under the skin might be your style.

What I’d really like to know is whether you have been tempted or could be tempted to get a piercing? What kind of piercing would you have and where would you get pierced?

Click here to pre-order Insurgent which comes out on 1st May 2012.

Don't forget to check out Jayde's post which is also up today and forthcoming posts from Andrew and Keith…

28th April: Jayde @ Ink Scratchers
29th April: Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf
30th April: Keith @ Books and Writers

25 April 2012


Author: Jill Williamson
Series: No, standalone
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Release date: December 2011
Genre: YA Scifi
Read via NetGalley

Abby Goyer’s dad has dragged her to the wilds of Alaska where there is nothing but snow. Except a very well hidden and mysterious farm, where young boys are brought up to serve their higher purpose. When Abby follows her dad to his secretive job on the farm, Abby learns that something sinister lurks beneath the surface. But for Martyr, a resident of Jason farms, all he wants to do is see the sky once before he expires. Will he understand his own true purpose before he expires?

Replication was a bit of a mixed bag for me. At first I loved it. I loved the concept of there being identical young boys programmed to serve a mysterious higher purpose, and I thought they might either be clones or some sort of robot. The hints and suspicions of what might be going on was really intriguing and drew me straight in.

But I did really want the story to go even further, so that it was part of a much bigger world that was different to ours. So when I discovered that this farm existed within our normal reality and society I was a little disappointed. As the story progressed I liked the fact that it was taking on a big dilemmas of ethics versus medicine, religion versus science. But I didn’t appreciate how much religion was built into the story, with Abby suggesting characters should pray for things to work out.

Martyr however was absolutely adorable. Whilst his isolation and lack of knowledge about the world was terribly sad, it made him such an endearing character. His innocence and confusion over seemingly simple things as colours, love and marriage was sweet, especially thinking he must love Abby. The fact that he wanted to protect those less able, making him the ‘martyr’ of the group also made him stand out from the other characters and Jasons, and made him likeable and a very winning hero. The idea that someone good and kind can grow in such a barren environment was also an underlying hope set against the evil displayed by some of the doctors.

Abby was also a mixed character for me. I loved her quirky use of pros and cons to assess situations, as it made her interesting and real. However this soon died out only to reappear rather suddenly at the end, as if it had been remembered and added in as an afterthought. She was brave and I respected that she liked Martyr but didn't like JD, but the overly religious aspect to her character was a little too much for me.

Replication addresses huge dilemmas about whether it is ethical to complete medical research in the name of science. Do the means justify the end? Where do you draw the line at what is ethical? Obviously in this case the way Jasons lived was akin to abuse and murder, but there were small glimmers of hope. There was also a big undercurrent about religion, which didn’t necessarily sit well with me, but it was interesting to have the religious, moral and scientific aspects looked at. Replication will make you question morals, ethics, and the value of life.

Rating: 3.5*

21 April 2012


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

My choices for this week are both yet to be published and have a sci-fi feel to them. What do you think? Would they go on your wishlist?

vN by Madeline Ashby
To be published August 2012 by Angry Robot

Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot known as a VonNeumann.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother's past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive. Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she's learning impossible things about her clade's history - like the fact that she alone can kill humans without failsafing...


Skylark by Meagan Spooner
To be published October 1st 2012 by Carolrhoda Lab

Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?

18 April 2012


Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Series: Yes, #2
UK Publisher: Templar
UK Release date: April 2012
Genre: YA
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

Having decided to stay on land with Quince, Lily’s life now revolves around SATs and thinking about college. But when Doe turns up unexpectedly, exiled from the underwater kingdom of Thalassinia, Lily is duty bound to look after her and help change her hatred for humans. With her 18th birthday approaching will Lily cope with also giving up her right as Princess Waterlily to the throne forever?

As the second in the series, Fins are Forever doesn’t disappoint. It’s cute, bubbly and a very quick read. It was also really easy to pick up from the last story without trying to trawl my memory to recall what had happened. Lily and Quince are still together, although their relationship is tested more in this story. For me this is a big bonus, as I hate shallow relationships that focus purely on superficial elements - I want to see how couples deal with real problems. Quince is very sweet, especially when jealous, but he certainly needs a reminder about how good he really is.

Lily is also facing a lot more pressure: the renunciation, SAT’s, deciding what to do about college, and dealing with Doe and Tellin. She’s still funny and personable, but there is so much going on that develops her character as well the plot. I wish I could have seen more of Quince though, as they are such a cute couple and yes, I may have a little fan-crush on Quince.

Like Lily I absolutely didn’t trust Doe. She’s sneaky, conniving and manipulative, and I would not be pleased if I had to look after her. Whilst as a character she is untrustworthy and frustrating, she adds plenty of drama and suspicion to the plot. A little like Prince Tellin – who caused plenty of trouble between Lily and Quince. There were also plenty of twists in the story to keep me thinking and guessing.

As most of the book takes place on land, we only get s few small glimpses at life in Thalassinia. It’s such a magical and colourful setting and so different from the other parts of the story (or other stories) that I want to see more of it. Particularly when certain land dwellers were underwater, I wanted to see how they coped with the change and the new experience. Please give me more of the shimmering rainbow-like land of Thalassinia!

Fins are Forever is a delightfully fun read that will have you wishing you could swim off to the magical underwater land of Thalassinia.

Rating: 4*

12 April 2012


Author: Ruth Warburton
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
UK Release date: January 2012
Genre: YA

With financial troubles forcing her father's hand, Anna Winterson and her dad move to a rural fishing village in England. There she moves into the spooky Wicker House, where she discovers an old spell book. But when she tries a spell late one night with friends, she discovers it works, making Seth fall head over heels for her. Anna will have to find a way to undo the spell and come to terms with her new witchy powers.

The setting for this witchy story is fantastic. Not only is the English rural fishing village of Winter old and full of history, which I really want to know more about, it is the kind of place that immediately conjures images of witchcraft and magic …old oak trees filled with cawing crows, thrashing grey seas, and creepy Wicker House. Possibly a make-over house from hell, but perfect for the mystery and intrigue of Anna’s discovery of an ancient spell book. The fact that it was based in England and incorporated British language and slang was an added extra for me.

Anna is an interesting but unusual heroine. Proclaiming herself as average, she is someone that I can relate to and find likeable. She is faced with touch decisions, a journey of self discovery and finds herself in some dire situations, yet her good heart leads her in the right direction.

With the flowingly beautiful writing and well past action, A Witch in Winter reads really well and is a quick read. And the action packed and magically charged ending will just knock your socks off! There was also plenty of mystery and underlying questions – who are the Ealdwitan and what do they want Anna for? Will there be a little love triangle between Anna, Seth and bad boy Abe? I do hope so!

If I had one complaint, it was that Seth and Anna’s romance develops rather quickly, all spells aside. Anna falls for him the moment she sees him. Yes he is good looking and does turn out to be a stellar guy, but initial feelings of infatuation are very different from love based on knowing someone’s character and personality. As Seth is spelled in love with Anna I also found it hard to see when the spell ended and their real feelings began, because for me there wasn’t enough build up and interaction between the two. Hopefully we’ll see more interaction and testing of their feelings in the rest of the series.

A Witch in Winter is a superb debut, full of mystery and eerie atmosphere. A great start to a witchy series.

Rating: 4*