book review | In The Dark by Mark Billingham

mark billingham in the dark book coverAuthor: Mark Billingham
Title: In The Dark
Series: –
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 384
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I keep seeking those good, good crime books. In the Dark by Mark Billingham is not one of those. But it did remind me why I believe that life’s too short to quit a book because it didn’t pick up for a while. The very end of it, and it’s not the first book to do so, has fixed so very much that it made it worth it.

About the Book: A cop driving at night. A gang with a crew member in need to prove himself. Secrets, lies, cover-ups, and victims.

Paul’s widow Helen, an officer herself, now lonely and expecting, can’t help herself but dig deeper into her husband’s life. It turns out he had way more secrets than she suspected. And much darker ones too. Bit by bit they’re making her see what seemed to be a random gang attack to be something entirely else.

My Opinion: The ending is emotionally brutal to the reader. It was dark, unexpected, hard, but so, so good. Story is very slow to pick up, the pace is horrible. Some dialogues were jagged, characters often turned out to be two dimensional, shallow, not to mention completely random unnecessary scenes. I was about to give this book a poor rating, but then it ended like that, and blew me away. See, as a reader you see a little more than Helen. You see the people around her, who she meets, who she talks to. And whom she starts to sympathize with. And it’s bloody beautiful.

Yeah, it’s one of those books. Makes you sad and happy at the same time. As a reader – you’re satisfied with how it happened. But as a human being you’re probably sad. I give it a shaky little 4 out of 5.

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Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, crews, gangs, etc, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Heroes by Stephen Fry | Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology 2

stephen fry heroes mortals and monsters quests and adventures book coverAuthor: Stephen Fry
Title: Heroes
Series: Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology 2
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Pages: 478
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I feel like Stephen Fry could make any book better. For instance, I don’t really like Greek Mythology due to it so overused in media that it feels more common than my native. But “Heroes” was a marvelous and very fun book that rekindled my interest.

About the Book: The Age of Heroes began, it seems, suddenly. Great people began cleaning out the world of monsters, curses, and scary things from scarier places, making it nice and proper for us to live in. They challenged the gods themselves, took up quests, adventures, solved riddles, and invented things we to this day use. And we ourselves took delight and joy in telling those tales, to our friends, to our children. From Hercules, to Orpheus, to Argonauts, to Icarus, and many, many more.

My Opinion: This is a fascinating piece. Stephen Fry does a great job explaining chronology and errors in it, overlapping and such. He does his best explaining us the relations among people too, how were they connected, who sired whom. The book is well written, tales are told in this light, easy fashion, with comparisons and descriptions fitting our modern world. In fact, once or twice I laughed out loud at some of those. Audiobook is great too, so if you’re new to them, or have troubles getting into them, Fry’s mythology books are a great start point.

Yep, it’s a great book, I give it a 5 out of 5, for making even such a seemingly dull topic – great. (I’m sure it’s not dull, and this is merely the perception of someone who had to study it all in school)

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Other Fiction, epic fantasy, Mythology Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro | The Strain 3

guillermo del toro the night eternal vampire book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro
Title: The Night Eternal
Series: The Strain 3
Genre: Vampires; Paranormal
Pages: 576
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes this happens. Sometimes the last book redeems it all. The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro has finally ended for me, and I am happy to admit that The Night Eternal has made it all a bit better as a whole, and worth the time I spent reading it.

About the Book: The world as we know it has ended. Atomic detonations, toxic clouds, ash, smoke, triggered disasters. The sky is covered in a perpetual cloud that only allows meager sunlight through at the greatest peak, for a couple slim hours. This has ensured the vampire dominion, their rule. All the Master is missing now is that damned book of creation, the one with answers on why or how they, him and ones like him, were made, and how will they be or could be destroyed. The same book old vampire hunter died to protect, just so it wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. But what are the right hands? Even in this apocalyptic setting a man is still a threat to a man… Homo homini lupus est.

My Opinion: There was more history on vampires, how they came into existence and what even is the Master. That part was truly interesting. The inner monologues improved too, taking action within events or followed by them closely, thus lessening the sensation that nothing is going on, nothing’s happening, and everyone’s just twiddling their thumbs. Some good plot twists took place too, including character development I did not expect. But all in all, while unique story, it was still pretty simple, very slow, a bit confusing at times, and with questions remaining, even at the end of it all.

All in all the trilogy might be worth reading if you’re really into apocalyptic viral vampire themes like that. Otherwise I’ll refrain from recommendations. This particular, final book in The Strain trilogy gets a solid 4 out of 5 from me, redeeming the sleepiness inducing second book in the trilogy.

Categories: 4-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia | 1

we set the dark on fire tehlor kay mejia book coverAuthor: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Title: We Set the Dark on Fire
Series: We Set the Dark on Fire 1
Genre: Fantasy; LGBT literature
Pages: 384
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

For once it was not IG that lured me into reading a book blindly, that I didn’t like all that much. I saw “We Set the Dark on Fire” by Tehlor Kay Mejia on Twitter. It was sadly too light, too simple for my liking, so it’s not my cup of tea.

About the Book: Medio School for Girls prepares the most prestigious brides for those in power who can afford such luxurious set. For it isn’t easy to get into this school either. Such girls as Dani shouldn’t even be here. Born on the wrong side of The Wall, she’s an illegal. But her parents have found a way, and so here she is, about to marry one of the most powerful politicians, together with her worst rival, a girl who made her life here – hell. And taught her to never trust anyone.

But not even out of school yet, there’s signs of Resistance. Poor people, pushed to the very edge, are desperate to draw attention to their cause with protests and even riots. They’re starving. They die of simple illnesses for which there’s easy medicine they can’t afford. But all they get is disdain and bullets. And Dani’s heart bleeds for them.

My Opinion: The plot, at times, barely, just very barely with the best of wishes made it through a spin and turn without being completely lacking. Some events hang by the thread of hopes and dreams, so to speak. And the plot is a bit thin, simple: poor people are criminalized, rich people are overloaded. Resistance is recruiting brides from schools to be spies. And that’s all.

I’m sure this book will be loved by many, and I hope author will never see my review or any other negative one for that matter. For I do wish her all the best, there’s definitely potential there. This book, from me, by my personal opinion meant only for other readers, gets 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Elevation by Stephen King

elevation lory stephen king book coverAuthor: Stephen King
Title: Elevation
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Pages: 146
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I used to, and still might complain of how good Stephen King’s books are, but how dragged the stories get, full of events that seem to only serve the purpose of postponing the end. So what’s better than to take some short stories by a good author like that? I picked up “Elevation” and was not disappointed.

About the Book: This book has two stories within. The first one is called Elevation. It’s of a man in small town who seems to be losing weight. Well, not body mass, no. Just the weight. As if gravity decided to leave him be. Anything he holds gets the same fate while he holds it, so he can’t even weight himself down. And it seems there’ll be a point zero, eventually. But until then there’s still time, and he’s not about to waste it.

The second story is called Lory. It’s of a grieving widower to whom his sister gifted a puppy girl. He’s learning to take care of her, and love her. And soon finds himself so very attached to the adorable, communicating animal, that he fights fate nails and teeth when it tries to take her away.

My Opinion: Both stories are good. They’re very well written, as one would expect from someone with so much experience as Stephen King. The only thing I didn’t like, and I’m sad this is what is the least believable part: everyone seemed very mature and kind, and capable of thought process. They said thank-you’s and please, they apologized when necessary, and admitted fault. What sort of fantasy is that?

I can recommend these books for a little bit of heartwarming with a spice kind of read, for there’s tension for sure. From me it gets a strong 4 out of 5

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

book review | Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

tokyo vice jake adelstein japan crime book coverAuthor: Jake Adelstein
Title: Tokyo Vice
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Pages: 335
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, I wish I knew how good Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein is sooner. For it fell down my TBR list quite a few times. But hey, I got to it at last, and it’s better later than never!

About the Book: Jake learns Japanese and moves there in pursuit for journalist career. The rules are different there, and the book picks up the pace here, setting up an amusing tune of this white jewish man jumping traditions and politeness hoops in a foreign country. All that said, work goes well, including the whole structure of building relationships with co-workers, sources, cops… Which can get quite costly.

One day a yakuza contacts him, letting him know that Jake’s name was mentioned in trustworthiness context. This is where the story starts getting darker, for Jake gets to see beyond Love Hotels, Hostess clubs, where people dress up for you, to be your best friend until you run out of money. Beyond that there’s dark, gritty, nightmarish web of debt, loan sharks, human trafficking, and destroyed lives.

My Opinion: This is a very, very masterfully written book. With facts, memories, experiences¬† woven into one smooth if nightmarish tale. Don’t know about you, but Japan to me was always that dream country, something exotic and far, far away, so very different from anything we know here. But truth is much more simple. Yes, there’s differences. Yes, there’s plenty of pros, pluses. But there’s just as many cons, minuses. Just as in any country.

A very good book. Reminded me of this one I read long ago called “Yakuza Moon“. This one gets a 5 out of 5. And no, it is not made to slander. Merely a country this journalist lived in, a place where he found this, and was in a position to make a difference, no matter how small.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” by British Library, Author Collective

history of magic harry potter jk rowling book coverAuthor: British Library, Author Collective
Title: Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 256
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’ve no clue where I even got the “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” by authors collective. But I’ve read it, and it was quite nice.

About the Book: Any author, especially any aspiring one, should read this book, just to see how books earning millions to billions are constructed. And how books, in general, the good ones, get written. What it takes, what an overwhelming web it can be. But how it absolutely can be done.

This book describes the basics of how the whole Harry Potter world was created. From the symbolics surrounding the characters, characters that were in our history, to places, buildings, potions, magic beasts…

My Opinion: As an aspiring author I have found a lot of good in this book. Many authors, of course, if not each one, have their own strategies. The key is to find one fitting you. R.R. Martin somewhere wrote he’s the kind who plants a seed and watches it grow, meaning he starts writing and sees where it goes. While Rowling had this whole month-by-month sheet of data, scribbles and scrabbles, several ideas for a single scene, and so on. But as a reader… As a reader who grew up with Harry Potter, loving that world of hope and magic, I found this book full of repeated information. “And this relates to that, and this is equivalent of that in real life, and that means this…

Either way, the book is fun. I’d say it’s unnecessary for a reader, but might be good for an author, but definitely a fun read either way. So I give it a 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Other Fiction, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beltane | Up until | Best and Worst + Overhyped

Beltane is Gaelic celebration to mark the start of Summer. So, as promised, every season celebration in my blog will be marked by best and worst collection.

Disclaimer: My opinions are just that, opinions. Some of you might love or hate the books I loved or hated, and it’s perfectly fine, as long as we all read.

The Best:

  • 9Season of Storms by A. Sapkowski | High Fantasy; Dark Fantasy | – A zero book Witcher Saga, worthy read after you’ve read all the books though, for it’s hard to tell what book is the limit to avoid spoilers. Definitely a worthy read to those who have read the books long, long ago, and miss Geralt and his ridiculous adventures.
    [review]
  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | High Fantasy; Dark Fantasy | – Second book in Mistborn sequence. Just as amazing, even better at some points. It’s like Frank Herbert’s Dune, but… With less of the… Bad stuff. Yes.
    [review]
  • Homeland by R.A. Salvatore | High Fantasy; Dark Fantasy | – This is a classic by now, no matter the age of the book. The first book in Legend of Drizzt, the Dark Elf trilogy, the Forgotten Realms series. It’s a very different fantasy book of elves.
    [review]
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas | Contemporary; Diversity | – If you liked “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, you will most likely like this one too. You might also like it if you enjoyed 8 Mile, or any documentary on Rap. It’s a very good book on this music genre, the industry, the rhymes.
    [review]
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite | Crime; Diversity | – This is a very interesting and strange tale of sociopaths, and how they might be absolutely the very favorites of ours. Good short piece.
    [review]
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee | LGBT literature; Diversity | – A great tale of a very interesting magic system that comes as a virus. The characters are something amazing too. It’s rare to watch a tale unfold in LGBT theme, and not be centered in such a natural fashion. It’s just not a thing. They’re a couple, and that’s that, there’s a revolution to fight!
    [review]
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo | Thriller; Crime | – This is a must-read classic among thrillers. It’s amazing and unexpected.
    [review]
  • Hell on Heels by John G. Hartness | Dracula; Paranormal | – I loved the first, I loved the second, but this one had the most of Uncle Luke. So, I’m biased, I loved this one the most.
    [review]
  • Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn | NonFiction; True Crime | – This is a great tale of the truth behind the romanticized Bonnie and Clyde headlines. A very good read, especially paired with “The Highwaymen” on Netflix.
    [review]
  • McMafia by Misha Glenny | NonFiction; True Crime | – A great book on criminal underground and how we all, even the most innocent ones, sometimes help them make profits unaware.
    [review]

The Worst:

  • the fall guillermo del toro chuck hogan the strain book coverInto the Mist by Lee Murray | Sci-fi; Horror | – Poor story made out of all the known flat formulas. Painfully predictable. Didn’t work.
    [review]
  • The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan | Vampires; Horror | – I’m still unsure how it became such a phenomenon. Most of the book was made out of memories, thinking, noticing things, and attempting to buy a book, then failing, attempting, then failing.
    [review]

Overhyped:

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon | High Fantasy | – You know what I hate about myself? I see books on IG, and if I see them in every other post or even more often, I get curious. But I don’t bloody read the caption before it’s too late. If a couple months prior you would’ve read the captions under this book, the overwhelming majority was among the lines of “when will I get to read such a massive book! oh my, but so pretty” – just like it happened so many times. People are enticed by covers, annotations. And, I mean, most of them will still like the book, so it’s perfectly fine. But this was very much not my cup of tea, and I found this hype to be a very empty balloon instead.
    [review]
Categories: 1-5, 5-5, book facts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

book review | dracula | Hell on Heels by John G. Hartness | Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 3

hell on heels quincy harker demon hunter john hartness book cover draculaAuthor: John G. Hartness
Title: Hell on Heels
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 3
Genre: Dracula, Paranormal
Pages: 90
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

It’s amazing how some authors are capable of writing full, funny and well fleshed out books that are this short. I also love Dracula in modern settings, so this is the perfect book. Hell on Heels by John G. Hartness, third book in the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series!

About the Book: Someone’s hunting in Uncle Luke’s territory, dramatically turning victims into vampires. It would be an understandable event, just another vampire trying to butt-in on other vampire’s territory. But it just so happens that Uncle Luke is no other than Dracula, Vlad the Impaler himself. And there’s only one idiot ballsy enough to believe he can take on the vampire from books and legends…

My Opinion: This is a very funny and badass book, full of supernatural fights, flawed characters, and exemplary writing style. Seriously if you love vampires, if you love Dracula, but are tired from all the romances, and would rather have something in Supernatural series style, this is it.

Yep, loved it. Can recommend if you just want a funny little break, for it’s like no pages at all, and it gets a firm 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Books: Horror, Books: Supernatural, Dracula: General, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco | Stalking Jack the Ripper 3

escaping from houdini kerri maniscalco book coverAuthor: Kerri Maniscalco
Title: Escaping from Houdini
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper 3
Genre: YA; Mystery
Pages: 416
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Having some really tough time, not gonna lie. Needed something easy to read, so I picked up “Escaping from Houdini” by Kerri Maniscalco, third book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, for I knew her writing style to be perfect for this kind of mood. And it indeed did the job.

About the Book: A luxurious liner trip, with travelers gathered to admire a show troupe full of magicians, fortune tellers, acrobats, and so on, soon becomes a nightmare, as the ship becomes a gilded cage, a prison, with all the passengers trapped inside with a killer; A master in slight of hand, for no one is the wiser, even after someone is brutally murdered among them. Victims tend to disappear just to reappear in a tarot setting, dead. And it’s up to Audrey Rose to find the killer, and find them fast, for it is not just strangers in danger…

My Opinion: The writing style is pretty good, very light, and very easy to read. If you, like myself, aren’t native English speaker, but want to practice reading books, I can really recommend Kerri Maniscalco works. They’re unique and quite interesting. But one thing I did have an issue with in this particular book. It’s the scenes that seem to exist only to add to the volume of the book. I mean, I do understand there’s an attempt to set a scene, create the false calm before the storm, but often they just flopped as scenes designed to portray an outraged lady in society where so much is forbidden to women.

It’s a good lazy read, even if not my favorite. I can give it a very solid and firm 3 out of 5, and will definitely read the next book.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Detective Books, Historical Fiction Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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