Joe Hill – Nos4a2

15729539I’ve read “Heart-shaped box” by Joe Hill a fair while ago. I didn’t like it much, which, I guess, resulted in me forgetting all about this author. Until his “Nos4a2” (Nos-Four-A-Two; ISBN 0062200577; 704p.; Goodreads) appeared in my sight. And while this book wont become my favorite any time soon, it was still better than the previous one. But whether that is because I’ve read a translation of that one, and original of this one – who could tell now?

Charles Manx is a nosferatu in more sense than one. He feeds on human happiness and youth to remain youthful, and seemingly, immortal himself. Of course, he doesn’t have to drink blood for that. Not that he’d want to either. All he has to do is save the abused, underloved children, and take them to the Christmas land, where happiness is eternal, and frowns are against the law! Charles Manx wholeheartedly believes that what he does is right. And so, no one will ever stop him, he will save as many kids from their awful parents, as he absolutely can!

Victoria McQueen was likely the only Manx’s victim to ever escape, and that only thanks to the ability both she and Manx have, which is to open a way elsewhere. Manx opens a road to Christmas land riding his car, and Victoria opens hers to just a general place elsewhere, wherever she needs to be, a sort of a shorter way. Her run-in with the Christmas land got written down as mental illness, caused by stress of being kidnapped by a molester. She was medicated all her life for it, so, naturally, when Manx’s body disappeared from the morgue, she’d rather not hear about it. Even if she is the only person who can possibly stop him.

As I said, I do believe this book to be better than the “Heart-shaped box”, but I’m still not a fan. 3 out of 5, no more, no less.

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Categories: 3-5, Books: Horror, Crime Books, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

C.S. Pacat – The Summer Palace | Captive Prince 3.5

33230173The beauty of C.S. Pacat‘s books is something to savor. Yet I swallowed “The Summer Palace” (Captive Prince 3.5; ISBN13 9780987622303; 30p.; Goodreads) in one night, not something my exhausted mind allows often these days.

The story is set after the third book, so make sure you’ve read them before heading into this one. After the gruesome battle with the regent and those loyal to him, or yet, opposing Damianos as rightful heir of Akielos, both him and Laurent took to their own kingdoms. To mend, secure their positions, and maybe set some order. Yet before doing so they agreed: when all of this is over, they will meet in an Akielon summer palace for a breath. And today is the day for that.

Laurent stood there, waiting, in Akielon garbs, his yellow hair now longer, watching the road for any signs of King Damianos and his entourage. But Damian took a shortcut, in a hurry to see his friend, his lover, and surprised both Laurent, and the scarce skeleton staff in the palace. He was in too much hurry to see him again, to talk, to rest. And discuss things, for there’s certainly still plenty of water under the bridge to sort out. Not the least or last question being what customs they’ll follow in their new palace on the border of their countries.

This was a beautiful recap of what happened, and an even more beautiful ending to it all. Also, I was right, the more Laurent trusted being safe in his surroundings, in people around, the less clothes happened. Theory confirmed, 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Jeaniene Frost – Bound by Flames | Night Prince 3

BoundbyFlames-coverI love the way Jeaniene Frost weaves a web for the reader, one I can never get out of, for it seems, what, just another page, just another chapter. I couldn’t put “Bound by Flames” (Night Prince 3; ISBN 0062076086; 342p.; Goodreads), the third book in a series of four. To add to the pretty great plot, the character development keeps getting better. Yes, yes, especially Prince Dracula.

This is a far darker, and far greater book than the previous two. The pace is perfect, with one episode following the other one closely, with only this much room to sit and talk it out. Szilagyi continues to harass Vlad and his household, pushing wedges where he can’t pull allies. A turncoat thus soon appears in prince’s flock. And in disguise of napalm bombing of his home, they steal his wife away, where she successfully get’s tortured physically, and mentally. Szilagyi is confident that he found a way to break the prince once and for all, thus he speaks, and we find out why he’s such a disgusting rat’s ass. But little does this bastard know, that he’s dealing with people who do not believe in limitations, and who dearly trust in one another.

Vlad spares nothing in search for Leila, trusting she’ll do all it takes to survive until he does find her. This is officially a war between the two vampires, and maybe that’s just for the best. Vlad pulls favors, finds people, and lets us in on his past, all the while keeping a sharp, if a bit rude eye on Leila’s family, still caring for their safety. There is no doubt in his heart that he’ll find the bastard, and at last squish him. But of course, surprises await, bad and good for both sides. Curses, bindings, and unexpected family members from the old Dracul line of Basarabs.

So, yes. This was amazing. I loved it to bits. Which, sadly, means I’ll keep the final one unread for as long as I can. This one pulled me out out of a very dark place. 5 out of 5, well deserved.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Horror, Historical Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neil Gaiman – Coraline

17061I wanted to read “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman (ISBN 0061139378; 162p.; Goodreads) for an eternity now. But I kept postponing it, because Gaiman, sometimes, feels like Murakami: I can never be sure if I liked it or not, do I want more of what I’ve just read or not. But I worried for nothing. It was a fun book, and I enjoyed it.

Coraline and her family move into a house that has been separated into flats. It’s an old house, with plenty to explore inside, and outside. But as time goes by, and Coraline’s family doesn’t have enough time to play with her, Coraline is slowly but surely running out of ideas. It’s only that many times that she can visit the neighbors without bothering them, after all. And she already counted all the windows, found all the blue things, and, tasked by her mother, looked what’s behind every door. All except one. That one is locked. Her mother claims there’s a wall separating their flat from their neighbors there. But ever since the key was turned, and the door got left unlocked, strange things began to happen.

On the other side of the door there’s this same flat, but different. Out there, in the Other place, live Coraline’s Other mother and Other father, awaiting her dearly. The house looks fun, better stocked for a girl like Coraline, and her parents are always up to play with her. Yet there’s just something off about them, about their behavior, their black shiny buttons for eyes… Coraline, after one lovely night there, expresses her will to return to her actual family. And while Other parents let her go kindly, they claim they’ll be very, very sad without the girl around. And thus they must motivate her to return…

This was a fun story, a bit scary at times, but otherwise really entertaining. The ending left me wanting, as if it was missing a chapter, or at least 20 more pages, but it is as it is. 4 out of 5 from me, solid!

Categories: 4-5, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: C.S. Pacat – Green but for a Season | Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5

31814812Most of you don’t even know that I recently re-read the Captive Prince trilogy. Well, I did, and then I remembered there’s short stories I didn’t yet get to! “Green but for a Season” by C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5; ISBN B01LB1H41E; 24p.; Goodreads) is the first one, held between the second and third books, and concentrates on Laurent’s captain, Jord.

Jord is a lowborn nobody with a well honed fighting skill. It was because of this skill that prince Auguste has noticed him back in the day, and took him into the ranks. Later, as Auguste fell in the battlefield, and red regent flags covered up the blue ones of the prince, soldiers and guards either took up the red, or were put away. Lowborns were the least wanted. So here he was, trying to make due for years. Up until prince Laurent grew a little, and realized what game his uncle was playing. Seeing the dangers, he decided to form his own Prince’s Guard, with gold starburst on blue, not red, and for that he wanted only the best of the best. And his brother surely knew who the best were. So, again, here he was, Jord, trying to make due, as Laurent called upon him, promised him this will be even harder than it was with Auguste, and asking if he’ll take up arms for him, the way he did for his brother. Jord didn’t need to be asked twice.

Today Jord is a captain, proud to serve prince Laurent, who proved true to his word. The boy protected them, and in return, they were ready to kill and die protecting him. Still, a captain’s rank to a nobody seemed a dream beyond wildest of hopes. Especially in a situation where an actual high-born nobleman was present. A nobleman who was forced to serve the prince, as the youngest son, with least prospects, other than a good betting chip, in case Regent gets fooled. And maybe, just maybe Laurent knew it before Jord did.

This was a very fine read, shining light on many things at last. 5 out of 5, not even a half point less.

Categories: 5-5, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Stephen King – The Gunslinger | The Dark Tower 1

43615I bought this book so very long ago. Yet came about to reading it only when they released the series. I’ve a love-hate relationship with King’s books. I like his stories, but don’t much enjoy the books themselves. Adaptations are often good, but then… Anyway, I’ve finally read “The Gunslinger” by Stephen King (The Dark Tower 1; ISBN 0452284694; 231p.; Goodreads), the first book in The Dark Tower series. And I really didn’t like as much as I hoped I would.

This is a very slow story of a Gunslinger, the last of his kind, chasing a man in black in a world that’s tearing itself apart, across the desert beyond which the world, according to some, simply ends. But that is where he must go, for he must find the Dark Tower, and the man in black is likely the key to getting there, getting inside. All the while he’s expecting a trap from the man in black, for he has seen it before. He left villages obliterated due to those traps, due to people attacking him with firm belief that he is the very devil incarnate. He saw it in minds of others, even in people he liked. Like the woman who was given a keyword that would’ve opened the memory of her risen from the dead friend. He would’ve then told her what’s out there, beyond, and it would’ve driven her mad. Much like the idea of a trap is driving the Gunslinger mad.

The Dark Tower itself is a nexus of everything. Time, possibilities, but most importantly – size. What’s behind the door, behind the sun, the galaxy, all of the galaxies, what’s there, at the far end, where nothing is anymore? The idea of it, the want to see, to know, is driving Gunslinger through this scorched place of madness and delusions.

The idea would’ve been of epic scale, if I’ve not read similar philosophies many times before. This embodiment of everything, across the dunes, and over the train tracks, built by gods, for who else could’ve done that? Demons in the sand, in the bones, in the machinery that no longer goes. If none of that sounds familiar, then you might just like this book. It is worth your love, it is a classic for a reason. It’s just not my cup of tea. 2 out of 5, but, yes, there’s a but. I’m not ready to quit just yet, so I’ll be reading the next one.

Categories: 2-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Fantasy, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christina Henry – Alice | The Chronicles of Alice 1

23398606I can’t recall how I stumbled upon this book. I don’t think I had it in my to-read list. And while I like Alice in Wonderland re-tellings, especially the scary ones, I don’t go out of my way searching for them. But since I did read it, let’s talk about it. “Alice” by Christina Henry (The Chronicles of Alice 1; ISBN 0425266796; 291p.; Goodreads) was pretty good, and pretty scary. My only regret is that I didn’t put my hands on it in October. But hey, Nosferatu has a blog called Night Mode Reading for a horror reason, so maybe I shouldn’t complain?

For so many years now Alice lived in asylum, daily drugged, and haunted by the fear that the Rabbit was real. The only other person she gets to talk to is the man next door, as insane a creature as she herself. Maybe even more so. She was merely deluded and he actually chopped people up. But even with his oddities, he’s kind to her, and Alice is glad to have a friend. Even if that friend scares her with creepy stories of some dark creature living in the bowels of mental institution, waking…

Alice and Hatcher are likely the only people who survived the fire of the asylum. They’re definitely the only people who witnessed Jabberwocky rise from the flames. And thus it falls on them to stop the creature most would never even believe to exist. Luckily, as time goes by, the drugs they were fed with for all these years begin to wear off, releasing the suppressed memories. Yet whether they won’t break them mad again is a thing to be seen. After all, they’re going back to the very people who drove them mad with torture and horrors. They’re going to the Old City depths, to meet the Bosses of the gangs that rule this cursed place, for if anyone has anything that could stop the Jabberwocky, it will be them.

There’s a lot of blood and gore in this story. It’s dark, and at times – terrifying. But pretty good as stories on Alice go. I did enjoy it, and I can easily give it a 4 out of 5!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Horror, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A.R. Torre – If You Dare | Deanna Madden 3

+ifyoudareWow. I’ve finished Deanna Madden trilogy with the “If You Dare” book by A.R. Torre (Deanna Madden 3; ISBN 0316386693; 368p.; Goodreads), and I did not expect that. For one, the book mostly jumped off the regular topic, as one might expect in an evolving and ending story. For two, I think everyone expected a different ending!

Deanna blacks out just to wake up with a broken nose, a dark spot in her memory, and vague sense of dread. There’s a new really annoying woman living in the neighborhood. Her junkie helper is getting bold. Her boyfriend doesn’t pick up his phone, and the last she remembers seeing him, was the night before her nose got broken. After some digging in her mind, she is pretty sure, he was the one to do it too. To calm her down. But why was she so aggravated? Did she try to kill him? Did her madness overpower her? To the point where her boyfriend knocked her out, and ran for it?

Police shows up at Deanna’s door, armed with questions and prepared to search through her stuff. Deanna was pretty sure she cleaned all there was to clean when she had to, but here they are. In her car. With her knife. And blood on it. And so Deanna is arrested for attempted murder of her boyfriend.

This was one fine detective line, leading me on well to the end. I enjoyed this book greatly, and wish it were series, rather than just a trilogy! 5 out of 5, couldn’t give it less if I wanted to.

Categories: 5-5, About Msg2TheMing, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stephen Seitz – Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula

+sherlockholmesYes, it seems I’m pretty good with October spooky reads, but it’s an accident, mostly. “Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula” by Stephen Seitz (ISBN 1780921705; 204p.; Goodreads), as you might guess from that one word in the title, is not an accident tho. Sadly, it wasn’t really any good, so I can’t give myself any credit for this choice…

When Jonathan Harker disappears in Romania, with only a couple of cryptic letters to account for his final days, miss Mina Murray comes to Sherlock Holmes for help. Believing the worst, Sherlock and John Watson leave for Transylvania, in search of this suspicious count Dracula, and likely – Harker’s body. What they find instead is far more disturbing. A village bound in terror and superstitions, children disappearing, and no other than three vampire brides of Dracula roaming the castle. Is it all smoke, mirrors, and drugs, or can this possibly be real?

Soon after their return to England, mostly empty-handed, friends find out that the mysterious count and his crates of dirt are here too. Not only is count working with the criminal mastermind, he seems to be well able to put others under his vampiric spell too. As we know from Bram Stoker’s account, Dracula took the life of miss Lucy. What we didn’t know is that he was preying on Watson’s wife Mary also!

This book has a lot of nothing. Dracula appears, threatens, and disappears after Sherlock swears to get off his back. Watson spends his time at work, mourning his friends, and pondering vampirism, with nothing happening around. Plague of vampires, terror of Dracula? Nope, none of that. 2 out 5, I can’t give it more.

Categories: 2-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Crime Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Shards of Time | Nightrunner 7

+shardsoftimeDammit! “Shards of Time” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 7; ISBN 0345522311; 409p.; Goodreads) is the last book in Nightrunner series, so it ended, I’m done, dammit. And this one was so interesting too, with all the prophesies coming to a close. I just kinda already missed Beka, due to her being indisposed in a good way. But all the rest was great!

Due to all they’ve done, Alec and Seregil get a thanks in lands and titles. They gladly accept the land with the manor, fully intending to make it a perfect little dignified clanhouse for the former fae slaves, who can then make a living on their own, using what these two can provide. But that isn’t the only perk of the land. Sadly, the other one is far less pleasant. Back in the day something terrible has happened here, leaving the place haunted by ghosts, disturbed, and unhappy with the new excavations happening in sight.

Long ago this land was ravaged by a powerful dyrmagnos, a worshiper of one god, Seriamaius, the Dead God. It fed on human lives, and was so powerful, that it took insane magic, and death of two greatest wizards to seal the being away. Now in death they guard that what they could not kill. But greedy humans are taking things from excavation sites. They break, they chip away, they ruin the seals… And so the darkness slowly seeps into their time, into their world. Deaths begin.

This was a wonderful, strong, and yet simple, homely, very natural end of an adventure. I truly loved how imperfect and human everyone was. How life went on, and changed. How there were actions, and consequences. I can give it a 5 out of 5, and a 4 out of 5 for whole series, due to a couple of weaker books. This was a beautiful story.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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