Tag Archives: Self Published

Review – Becoming Death by Melissa Brown

 


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I have recently read this intriguing book Becoming Death by Melissa Brown and loved it and I am so over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book!  This book had be enthralled and was just brilliant!

For my stop on the blog tour I am going to share my thoughts on the book and post a review!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Melissa Brown for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read.

Also check out a fab giveaway at the end of the post!


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Ever since her father’s demise, Madison Clark knew death had her number. After losing her first job, she is ushered into the cryptic family business. Little does she know her family is hiding a dark secret; they are grim reapers, custodians of souls on their journey to the beyond. Madison expects her historic legacy to have benefits beyond immortality. What she doesn’t expect is to still be struggling for cash while reaping souls on the side.

As if being Death’s minion wasn’t strenuous enough, Madison finds herself back at school with her worst enemy studying the ancient rules, methods and paperwork of her vocation. In a cascade of life changes: her best friend admits he’s in love with her and she starts a new job as a professional mourner, but she can’t help thinking her family might have other secrets.

Just when things are finally starting to feel normal again Death throws her a curveball: her next victim is her best friend. Madison must find a way to overcome the strict guidelines of being a grim reaper in order to save his life.


Publisher – Self-Published

Published – 12th June 2015

Pages – 214 pages

Format – Paperback and E-book

Category – Paranormal YA

Source – I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful author Melissa Brown as part of the blog tour.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Melissa for sending this to me to read and to Faye for organising!


** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**


I raced through this book as if Death itself was chasing me!

“Grim reapers don’t exist.  They’re as fake as the tooth fairy and unicorns.”

*gulps*

Becoming Death tells the story of eighteen year old Madison Clark who after recently losing her job discovers a hidden family secret…she is a Grim Reaper!  That’s right!  Madison has to follow Deaths instructions and mark people for their fate!  This is by no means an easy task as Madison finds out especially when Death is in the modern age using an app called Dead Head which informs you of a new “Client” and with a handy instruction manual and Death watching Madison’s every move what could go wrong?!  When Madison finds herself a new job at the most unlikely of places it becomes a brilliant cover for her secret, but Madison is about to find out that Death does not play fair!

I mean can you imagine!  What if Death really had Grim reapers that look like you and me and as normal as ever doing his dirty work for him and marking you for death!

*gasps in horror*

Becoming Death is told from the point of view of the main character Madison so as a reader we get to hear all of her thoughts and feelings when discovering her secret and whilst she is carrying out Deaths work!  She is a likeable character and I especially liked that she was a strong, feisty female lead.  I liked how her room mate and friendship with Aaron developed throughout the book.

I really enjoyed the whole premise of this book and the fact that Madison is given a “client” who she then has to track down using the Dead Head App and touch to mark them for death.  It was just brilliant.  I really got into the feel and flow of things when Madison has to mark her first few deaths and enjoyed the little back stories that was presented of the victims.  I did feel that this could have been expanded on with more people being marked for death and especially linked more with the new job Madison lands as a professional mourner (basically paid to attend funerals to make up the numbers).  We get to experience Madison marking strangers, work colleagues, and friends for death and discover a back story to her family and their secret!  And some of these deaths are gruesome! *shivers*

I loved the whole Dead App on your mobile being controlled by Death at the central hub RIP and sending through new randomly selected victims and the Reaping 101 training that Madison has to attend!  Again I felt this could have been expanded on slightly more to build up more of the story, but it provided a good information point for me as the reader and Madison as a character to learn about what was required of her, the do’s and don’ts and possible loop holes!

Amongst all of this there is a tinge of humour to this book.  One moment that made me giggle out loud was when Madison finds herself without her beloved Beetle car and has to ride a pink kiddie bike complete with a tacky plastic flower basket mounted on the front.  This is why I adored Madison as a character!

Another character I loved was Becca and also Madison’s sister which I would have loved to have seen more character development on.  Also the whole “Happy Mourners” job that Madison gets seemed to have more to come and some further character development with Derek the owner would have been brilliant and filled the story out more.  In fact if these area’s and the marking the victims were explored a little more then I feel this book may have had a different ending.

The ending was dramatic!  With Death on Madison’s case for not following through on certain orders it’s literally a race against time.  Again something that could have possibly been expanded on.  Like above some really strong plot points that I just would have loved to have seen developed a bit further.

Becoming Death is quite a short read, but I enjoyed it and it left me craving more.  A kind of Final Destination meets a backwards Pushing Daisies kind of feel.

I look forward to reading whatever Melissa Brown has up her cloak next!

I award this book 4 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!

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You can buy Becoming Death here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here


About Melissa Brown

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Melissa Brown an American author that lives in Norwich, England. She is a teacher in ICT skills, English and creative writing. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the IdeasTap Inspires: Writers’ Centre Norwich Writing Competition and longlisted for the Nottingham Writers’ Club’s inaugural National Short Story Competition. She was also a featured poet at the Norwich: City of Stories launch event, where she did a live reading of my poem ‘The Library.’ She enjoys films, books, comics, fangirling and subscription boxes. She blames her love of the written word on her hometown library and fanfiction. She lives with her partner, Kris, and her awesome cat, Hailey.

Check out Melissa’s website – https://melissarbrown.wordpress.com/

Or follow Melissa on twitter here or Facebook here

Melissa is also on Goodreads here


Giveaway

There is also a tour-wide giveaway!

The prizes are:

5 necklaces inspired by Becoming Death

2 copies of Becoming Death

This giveaway is open to UK participants ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour

Catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour!

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Monday 17th August

Serendipity Reviews

Tuesday 18th August

Elena Square Eyes

Wednesday 19th August

An Awful Lot of Reading

The Whispering of the Pages

Thursday 20th August

The Bibliolater

Friday 21st August

Becca’s Book Affair

Saturday 22nd August

Bookish Outsider

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Sunday 23rd August

Big Book Little Book

Monday 24th August

Tales of Yesterday

 

 

 

Have you read Becoming Death?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  What would you do if you became a Grim Reaper!  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading….and hiding from Death!

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Review – Teeth by Chele Cooke


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The 8th January 2015 marked the release day of the first book in a self published new vampire serial by Chele Cooke called Teeth!  I am very excited to have been sent a copy of Teeth!  I love anything to do with vampires and I couldn’t wait to sink my “Teeth” into this book! 🙂

I am over the moon to be part of the wonderful review only blog tour for this book!  I also had the privilege of hosting a guest post from the lovely Chele Cooke as part of an earlier blog tour which you can find here.

Details of all the tour stops will be at the bottom of this post.

Thank you to Faye Rogers and Chele Cooke for having me on this wonderful tour.

Don’t forget to check out and enter the fab blog tour giveaway too!


Teeth

Medical intern Thomas awakes in a blood-drenched basement and the realisation that his life must change forever. After all, how can he practise medicine when the smell of blood turns him into a vicious killer? 

Spencer thinks being a vampire is better than any teen movie made it out to be. Now he must train Thomas and make his mentor proud. 

One mistake risks more than either are willing to lose, and a single broken law could turn them from predators to prey.


Teeth (Teeth #1) By Chele Cooke

Publisher – Self Published

Date Published – 8th January 2015

Pages – 208 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – Paranormal Horror

Source –

As above I was sent a copy of this book as part of the blog tour by Faye Rogers and Chele Cooke.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you both for sending this to me to read!


** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**


Wow! I love a good vampire book but Chele Cooke took the whole idea of vampires and their world to another level!  I really enjoyed Teeth so much!

Teeth begins with intern Thomas, a medical intern, waking up in a mysterious room in rather horrific circumstances which includes a lot of blood!  This opening really sets the pace and tone of what is to come for the rest of the book.  Why is he there?  What has happened to him?  What follows is we get a look into the lives of Spencer and August who have been vampires for many years living in a community that have too obide by the rules or pay the pay the ultimate price!

What I loved about this read was the fresh, modern setting of the world that Chele creates and also the detail which really gets you into the mind set, senses and feelings of a vampire.

One scene I particularly liked was vampires August and William who amongst all the rules and grief they were going through over something that happens in the book and pure hate for each other grief brings them to work together and be civil.  The relationships in the book were really interesting and I loved the whole idea of Sire bonds where you have a bind to your creator but you are not meant to know or acknowledge this bond.

The characters in the book came across exactly how the needed to and that is down to Chele Cookes writing style….I am actually wondering if she is an actual vampire herself as she knew SO much in so much detail *runs away scared* 🙂

This read is a short but gritty, dark, gruesome and very different from your usual vampire story but that’s what made it so refreshing to read.

I’m looking forward to the second book and where Chele will take us next!

I award this book 4 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!

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Check out a guest post about the Teeth universe here

Or check out a guest post from Chele about writing First Draft To Finished Copy here

You can find out more about this fab book or buy the book by clicking on any of the links below –

Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23532849-teeth?from_search=true

Amazon UK Buy Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Teeth-First-Bite-Chele-Cooke-ebook/dp/B00QHK4UBW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QHK4UBW

Kobo Books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/teeth-7

Nook Books: http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/teeth-by-chele-cooke/2940150002135

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/508832

Don’t forget to check out my guest post with Chele Cooke where Chele talks about the Vampire Rules of the Teeth Universe here


Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.

The prizes include;

Three sets of all Chele Cooke’s books as e-books

Seven e-books of Teeth

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the author – Chele Cooke

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Part time author and full time fantacist, Chele Cooke is a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author living in London, UK.

While some know they want to write stories since childhood, Chele first started writing as a teenager writing fanfiction and roleplaying. Before long playing in other people’s worlds wasn’t enough and she started creating her own. Living in San Francisco at the time, she found a lot of inspiration in her favourite city, some of which can be found in her books.

With a degree in Creative Writing, Chele’s first novel was published in 2013. She currently has three books published: two books in a sci-fi series, Out of Orbit, and the first book of a vampire serial, Teeth.

 Author Links:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CheleCooke

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CheleCookeWriting

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257036.Chele_Cooke

Website: www.chelecooke.com


Teeth Review Only Blog Tour

Want to checkout some more reviews of this fab book?  Visit the rest of the tour stops to see what everyone thought!

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Or why not check out some guest posts, interviews and more on the previous blog tour?

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Have you read Teeth or any other books by Chele Cooke?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  Which are your favourite literary vampires?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading….or pop some vampire teeth in and pretend to be a vampire for a day! 🙂

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Guest Post – The Teeth Universe by Chele Cooke


 Teeth Tour Banner2The 8th January 2015 marked the release day of the first book in a self published new vampire serial by Chele Cooke called Teeth!  I am very excited to have been sent a copy of Teeth!  I love anything to do with vampires and I have started to read Teeth this week and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

I am over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book and then the review only tour for this book soon after so don’t forget to look out for that too!  Details of all the tour stops will be at the bottom of this post.

For my stop on the blog tour I am going to share a bit about the book, author and feature a fab guest post where Chele discusses the vampire rules in the world of Teeth and its fangtastic! (sorry I couldn’t resist!)

Thank you to Faye Rogers and Chele Cooke for having me on this wonderful tour.

Don’t forget to check out and enter the fab blog tour giveaway too!

Check out my review of Teeth here

Or a guest post from Chele about writing – First Draft to Finished Copy here


About The Book

Teeth

Teeth (Teeth #1) By Chele Cooke

Publisher – Self Published

Date Published – 8th January 2015

Pages – 208 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – Paranormal Horror

Medical intern Thomas awakes in a blood-drenched basement and the realisation that his life must change forever. After all, how can he practise medicine when the smell of blood turns him into a vicious killer? 

Spencer thinks being a vampire is better than any teen movie made it out to be. Now he must train Thomas and make his mentor proud. 

One mistake risks more than either are willing to lose, and a single broken law could turn them from predators to prey.

You can find out more about this fab book here –

Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23532849-teeth?from_search=true

Amazon UK Buy Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Teeth-First-Bite-Chele-Cooke-ebook/dp/B00QHK4UBW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QHK4UBW

Kobo Books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/teeth-7

Nook Books: http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/teeth-by-chele-cooke/2940150002135

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/508832


About The Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Part time author and full time fantacist, Chele Cooke is a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author living in London, UK.

While some know they want to write stories since childhood, Chele first started writing as a teenager writing fanfiction and roleplaying. Before long playing in other people’s worlds wasn’t enough and she started creating her own. Living in San Francisco at the time, she found a lot of inspiration in her favourite city, some of which can be found in her books.

With a degree in Creative Writing, Chele’s first novel was published in 2013. She currently has three books published: two books in a sci-fi series, Out of Orbit, and the first book of a vampire serial, Teeth.

 Author Links:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CheleCooke

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CheleCookeWriting

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257036.Chele_Cooke

Website: www.chelecooke.com


Guest Post

Cannibals vs Carnivores

Vampire Rules of the Teeth Universe

One of the great things about a topic like vampires is that there is so much lore to draw from. If they want to create something new and original, they can take that lore and flip it on its head. With every story, writers have the opportunity to create something completely original, even if the lore surrounding the topic or genre is extensive.

When I chose to write Teeth I had the same choice. Do I go with the conventional ideas set in vampire fiction or do I create something new? I decided to go with a little bit of both. Some of the lore put forth was new, and some were twists on already accepted ideas.

So, I’m going to dig back into the lore I created for Teeth and even give you a first look into what readers can be finding out in the next instalment.

Sunlight

Whether vampires can go out in the sun is one of the biggest decisions to be made. I’m a big fan of the downsides to any gift, and being immortal is a pretty big gift needing an equally big downside. I went with the traditional lore on this one in saying no daytime excursions. If my vampires want to go to Disneyland, they’re breaking in at night as I wasn’t going to have any overrides to the daytime rule.

But I know what you’re all wondering. Do they explode into dust or into a torrent of blood, etc? Not exactly. My vampires will receive a mild sunburn after a second in the sun. It will heal easily enough, but stay out there and that burn will move from the superficial until it burns through to the bones like a chemical would burn us. Not a lot of fun.

Immortality

While we’re on the immortal vein, immortality in the world of Teeth doesn’t actually mean that you live forever. I’m not a fan of thousands of years old vampires and so I put a limit on it. Instead of being young and pretty forever, vampires age at an incredibly slow rate. The oldest vampire in Teeth is Charles at just over 300 years old and his body is showing the passage of time. While for the most part he looks like young man, it’s described by another character that half his body decided to age and forgot to tell the other half.

As I said, I’m a big fan of the downsides.

Abilities or Lack of Them

Unlike a lot of vampire fiction, I decided against giving my vampires psychic gifts. They can’t force people to follow their orders or make them forget that they’ve been bitten.

Senses, on the other hand, are enhanced upon turning. Muscles work better, allowing for vampires to be faster and have more stamina. Their eyesight is better, as is hearing, smell, and taste. However, it’s not always a good thing, as Thomas discovers the first time he goes into a nightclub. There are a lot of smells around and they can become sickening.

There is a somewhat joked about lore in modern vampire stories surrounding garlic. While I have done away with the lore about religion somewhat, I didn’t want to throw the lore out with the holy water. I kept garlic as a repellent, not because it hurts them, but because garlic is such a strong taste that it overwhelms the senses making it very uncomfortable, especially whilst a vampire is transitioning and learning to control their new heightened senses.

Feeding and Blood

‘We cannot be merely carnivores, we must be cannibals.”

We’ve all seen vampire stories in which the main characters prove their ‘goodness’ by only drinking animal blood. Even in the vampire stories I love, animal blood is a shining get out of jail free card for our favourite killers.

I didn’t want that for my story. I wanted to show the dark and gory as well as showing that sometimes these are good people. How they come to terms with their murderous lifestyles is where I found my interest.

That being said, I have not completely ruled out animal feeding. There will be some blood bags coming up, as well as animal blood. It’s just not a lifestyle choice. Living on these substitutes would be like living entirely on chocolate. Sounds good in theory, but not good for the body.

I also created the lore that the young feed more often. Call it a transitioning phase, but where a newly created vampire will feel almost every night for the first few months, this will slow down to only needing to feed every so often as time wears on.

Death Methods

Have you ever broken your arm? Ignoring the fact it hurts like… the dickens, the fact is that often your bones are not properly aligned until a doctor fixes it. That’s why we get our arm put in a cast so that it heals straight. Now, imagine you break your arm and it heals within seconds?

I decided against instant healing for this exact reason. Who wants their arm sticking out at an odd angle because they healed before they had time to straighten it? Who wants to re-break their arm to straighten it out? Whilst my vampires heal a lot faster than humans, it still takes some time.

Death is an extension of this. If a vampire receives a wound that no person could heal from (say getting their head chopped off) they will also die. It’s nothing more supernatural than that. They heal fast, so they can heal if that stake is taken out of their heart, but not if it stays in there, keeping the damage from healing. Draining is another way to go because whilst we can replace our blood and create new blood, our organs cannot keep working if there is no blood to take oxygen.

Mostly, all of my lore came about because I wanted to keep my vampires grounded. I wanted to keep religion and the mystical out of it to a certain extent, though some of those elements will be playing a part in later instalments. While this story is about vampires, it’s about people who struggle just like everyone else. So yes, they can die, and sometimes they have to do some pretty despicable things to make sure they don’t.


Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.

The prizes include;

Three sets of all Chele Cooke’s books as e-books

Seven e-books of Teeth

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tours

Be sure to check out the other awesome stops on this fab blog tour for reviews, interviews, guest posts and more!

Teeth Side Banner6Also don’t forget to join us for the brilliant review only blog tour!

Teeth Side Banner5Have you read this book?  What did you think? What are your favourite types of vampire?  Are you Twilight or True Blood fan?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter on @chelleytoy!

Happy sucking peoples blood…I mean reading!

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