Author Archives: Nosferatu

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K.J. Charles “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal”

3Finally I got me another chance for some leisure with K.J. Charles. This time I read “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal” (ASIN B06XVF3GW8; 232p.; Goodreads), a sort of a prequel to Green Men series I’ll be starting right after this. It’s a very sherlocky book, but all cases are supernatural, and clients are mostly angry spirits.

Robert Caldwell worked as a journalist when he met Simon Feximal. You see, he inherited this old, crumbling little manor or castle, or whatever the hell, and a raging spirit of his angry ancestor with it. I mean, one can deal with many things. Things moving, doors closing, sounds and moans. But once the walls start bleeding, well, most of us would probably draw a line. So Robert called for help. Simon showed up, with his mysterious demeanor, body of a boxer, and impressive knowledge on the occult. He made them a circle and told Robert to not put a finger out, whatever happens. Spirit started raging, strange symbols appeared on Simon’s skin, and… Well, of course, Robert broke the damned circle.

From there on adventures and cases begin. Robert soon learned what World under the World is, and just how much more there is than meets the eye. And it’s not just angry spirits! There’s angrier zealous colleagues, England’s Secret Service, and even a war at the gate.

If you fancy a supernatural detective, than this is definitely for you. It was damn great, with lots of amazing characters and secrets. 5 out of 5 from me, can’t go any less.

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Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Bangkok Haunts” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3

22So then. I really loved first Sonchai Jitpleecheep series book by John Burdett. And I hated the second one just as much. Thus I picked up the third book, “Bangkok Haunts” (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3; ISBN 0307263185; 305p.; Goodreads) very carefully. I was really worried it’ll now become a common detective with some family drama to it, set in Asia. Lucky for me, that did not happen.

Sonchai received a snuff movie. The kind of a pornographic video where one of the parties gets killed. And while it’s strange in itself that someone would sent it to a cop, it is far stranger that the victim seemed to be willing and encouraging the killer to get on with it. What kind of logic could get someone so willing to die, on a video too, for someone’s sick pleasure? It’s not like the dead need money, but there’s definitely a hint towards some kind of gain the dead woman got.

Worse than the video itself for Sonchai is the fact that he knew the woman in the video, and was madly in love with her at some point. To add to injury, in the video she wore a ring he gave her, as if expecting him to one day see the tape. Sonchai, thus, has no choice, but to try and solve this master plan someone birthed.

This was a strange and interesting read. It definitely got better at the end. I loved the crazy occult things, spiritual reaping, madness, and even the description of human cruelty. I can give it a strong 4 out of 5 for sure.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Harvard Lampoon “Bored of the Rings”

1I got this book from second-hand store in UK about forever ago. And since “Bored of the Rings” by The Harvard Lampoon (Cardboard box of the rings 3; ISBN 0451452615; 149p.; Goodreads) is such a small book, it traveled with me for a couple years. I just thought, hey, what if I don’t have my e-reader with me, my phone is old, battery doesn’t last, etc. But that didn’t happen during all that time, so I just took it out and read it at home. And it wasn’t good.

As the title suggest, this is a parody of Lord of the Rings. Absurd kind of humor, which is very much not for everyone, and very much not for me. It felt childish and tasteless majority of the time, and there wasn’t a damn joke I found funny, which is disappointing, because I like funny things, and I really wanted funny things, that’s why I got the damn book in the first place.

Anyway, Frito gets his heirloom One Ring that can rule all the others, at least those that weren’t lost or recalled for manufacturer errors, and thus now has to go on an adventure to destroy this evil thing. The voyage is scary, so first one has to form a Brotherhood, but, really, no one wants to go on this dumb trip, so they just push one another forth, until no one’s left and a Brotherhood is formed out of offered up men, not volunteers. Really, no one wanted this adventure.

I can give this book a 2 out of 5, for at least it was well written. Other than that, the puns didn’t work, the jokes were childish and not funny, and the dirty stuff was just tasteless. Not for me. For someone maybe tho, because humor is really a personal thing.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “Hard Bitten” | Chicagoland Vampires 4

1I get used to series. Then I read them, even if I don’t particularly like them. Same happened to me with Chloe Neill series Chicagoland Vampires. Lucky for me, though, “Hard Bitten” (Chicagoland Vampires 4; ISBN 04512333328; 350p. Goodreads) ended up with a very interesting note.

Tension is ever rising in House Cardogan. Protesters outside the windows demand day and night for these dangerous bloodsucking creatures to go back where they came from – hell. Some people go missing after especially brutal raves take place. New drug is rumored to be on the market, messing things up. And, seemingly, all of these strings lead to House Cardogan. Its master, Sullivan is under pressure from two different ramparts: the mayor of the city, and the vampire authorities from across the pond. Pressure itself wouldn’t be hard to handle, of course. It’s their orders that put him between an anvil and a hammer. One side wants him to take care of this, because Cardogan looks involved. Other side wants him to stop meddling in what the head of Cardogan is not supposed to meddle. So, clan reputation or his own skin?

Merit, on the other hand, seems to have found a way around all this mess. After all, the orders were to her liege, not her directly. And what her liege doesn’t know, her liege cannot be blamed for, right? Thus she picks up her contacts in dark deep places, and sets off after those who survived the raves. Sadly, the deeper she digs, the less she likes the secrets. Some of them are about to flip her whole world upside down. Like the one about her getting turned into a vampire…

The ending was a very interesting choice author made, and it got me real curious of how will this develop then. Still, I really won’t be recommending these to anyone who didn’t get this far to begin with. 3 out of 5 from me. Will read the next one though.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Bangkok Tattoo” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 2

3I really didn’t feel like reading anything, so I picked up second book in John Burdett series Sonchai Jitpleecheep, “Bangkok Tattoo” (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 2; ISBN 1400032911; 320p.; Goodreads). I loved the first one phenomenally. But this one just didn’t feel right. In fact, it felt normal, like many other thriller detectives. For, somehow, the characters lost their characters.

A CIA agent is killed and mutilated in a room of a bar girl. They had a one-sided love history and a romance, with kind enough parting between them. And Chanya just doesn’t seem to have a heart for such a violent act, even if circumstances seem to point at her. Yet due to him being an American CIA agent in Bangkok, and this world being set just after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack, there’s a chance that if there’s any of those evil group members around – they wouldn’t have missed a chance either. But forwards come the Muslim community, prepared to do whatever it takes, whatever means necessary, to keep this blame off of them: it’d destroy the solid community out here. So Sonchai does what Sonchai does better, he picks up whatever strings are left for him, and heads out to see what tangles he can rustle up. What could get a man like that killed anyway?

Apparently, a tattoo. And it might just not be over. Out there, in the dark underground, a good classic / traditional tattoo artist is valued, and so are their works. To the point where murdering and skinning is almost a norm, for owning a piece is a sign of status. The agent had one. And so does Chanya. Yet she’s still alive.

In some dumb sense, Sonchai got too simple for my liking. He lost his fatalistic self, settling down, calming down. And since he’s the one telling the story, and he’s the main hero in it too, it hits the whole tale quality over the head. I can’t give it more than 3 out of 5, but I’m also not ready to give up on the series just yet.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peter Monn “The Before Now and After Then”

2I watched Peter Monn on YouTube for a while before I actually learned that he wrote a YA romance book called “The Before Now and After Then” (ASIN B00M8B6CLE; 304p.; Goodreads). As Peter in his videos points out, sometimes YA falls into that category, because the protagonists are young adults, while in truth the book might by for adults, merely having teens as characters. Maybe that’s the reason this book felt like a mature piece of work, a well polished piece by someone, well, like Peter. There’s a lot of him to be found here, and it’s likely made better by his vlogs, for you can really see where the things are coming from then. But even without them, this is a fine book.

Danny is a twin. His brother died in an accident, getting hit by a drunk person while going home from a park. Park was part of the plan. Sam wished to help Danny come out to their parents, so he got away from home, giving Danny time. Afterwards he was supposed to come back, crack a silly gay joke, and relief any possible tension. Thing is, they didn’t even expect tension, it was just a precaution. And yet that precaution got Danny’s life upside-down.

He found his parents fighting over his father’s affair. He blurred out that he’s gay. And then a doorbell rang, there – an officer here to tell of Sam’s death. Now, six whole months later, Danny is waking from the death’s stupor. He’s starting to realize that he has no idea who or what he is. Everyone around him seem to define him by these too broad or too narrow titles. Before it was so much easier: Sam’s friends were his friends, Sam’s hobbies were his hobbies… But new school (or new school year?) means new experience. He soon meets a charming girl named Cher, who befriends him right away. And then there’s the handsome Rusty for whom Danny is head over heels in mere moments. Time for the living to figure the damn life out.

It’s a beautiful love story. At points it got a little too idyllic, but it worked with the general way author wrote and described things. I really loved the evolution of characters, that was pretty damn brilliant. At the end of the book I preferred the bully more than the love interest. Merely because that one took actions when action was needed, while Rusty ran off without even trying, and next thing you know, came back expecting everyone to take him back. Yes, expecting. He stated the fact first, and asked later. I give this book a very solid 4 out of 5, one point away due to something greatly missing in the whole picture. And be sure, when Peter finishes his next book, I’ll be there to snag it.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Becky Albertalli “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda” | Creekwood 1

1I have troubles watching movies based on books if I have not read the book. And since seeing “Love, Simon” is on the agenda, I had to go ahead and read it. So I took myself a little vacation with this simple book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli (Creekwood 1; ISBN 0062348671; 303p.; Goodreads). I say “simple“, because, really, there’s many books like this, with light romance, fair amount of stress, and stories of friendships getting rejuvenated. The only different thing is that instead of Simon in all of those we’d have a girl.

I can’t recall what it was exactly, but once, on Tumblr, Simon found a post he could relate to, and replied with his email. The author of the post replied, and soon their internet friendship became something more, I’d go into as cheesy a line as “a breath of air” for Simon. For due to anonymity they agreed upon, Simon could be completely open about everything with the boy he only knew as Blue. And since they both seemed to have been developing crushes on each other, it only makes sense that Simon seeked to check his email wherever he could, thus one day forgetting to log out. This is where the stress begins.

The emails get found by his class mate. The class mate is ready to swear upon the graves of his heroes, that he has nothing against Simon, nor his orientation. All he wants is for Simon to help him hook up with his friend. So, no pressure, but pressure. Not blackmail, but some blackmail. Simon feels like this guy just took away his choice on how to come out and whether to come out at all, which results in him trying to get any semblance of control over the situation, aka start telling people, before that guy told everyone. But if only it was all so simple. Apparently there’s more drama in coming out than just the possibility of hidden homophobia!

Title plays into the book real nice, since you can see how people make Simon’s coming out about themselves in most of the cases: you didn’t tell me first; you should’ve told me sooner; oh wow, that’s a big deal; you didn’t trust me! And yet none of them ever had the strain of coming out, due to heterosexuality being commonly considered default. In general the book was sweet, fluffy, and simple, much like a chick-flick would be, but with a protagonist being a young gay guy. I can give it a 5 out of 5, even if it’s not the Mona Lisa of books on gay teenagers.

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

Neven Iliev “Fizzlesprocket” | Everybody Loves Large Chests 2

1Finally! Finally I got my hands on second book in Neven Iliev series Everybody Loves Large Chests, “Fizzlesprocket” (Everybody Loves Large Chests 2; ASIN B07B42T4YD; 306p.; Goodreads). First one was great. Second one – less so. Never thought I’ll say this, but there were too many dirty jokes, they got to a point where it was just vulgarity for the sake of it, it wasn’t funny, and it flopped half of a book as a result. The other half was great tho.

When Boxxy noticed that some adventurers surpass him in abilities and skills, even if their levels are lacking. This has gotten him curious, for a boost is always welcome for our little mimic who is just trying to survive. And get tasties. And get shinies. So he watched and inspected, and came to a sensible conclusion that it was the gear they wore that gave them this said tasty boost. Yet putting this knowledge to practice turned out to be mighty time consuming and complicated. For there are no shops, apparently, that sell box-shaped armor.

For one, people feel strange dread, fear, uneasiness around monsters, no matter how human they look. So even if Boxxy overcame the first obstacle, and found a way to look more human, if a little grotesque as men come, he still had to navigate through people who shunned him without knowing why. Fear can easily turn into anger, and that would just not be tasty. For two, learning a crafting skill turned out to be both time consuming, and shiny-costing, forcing Boxxy to take up some quests now again, which wasn’t all that bad, for he got to consume corpses afterwards, and get more gold for it. It’s the third thing that turned out to be a real pain. After the whole Calamity happened, humans got on edge. Security got tighter, adventurers in disguise started investigating who did it. For while official story claimed it was elves, since that allowed an open war against that nuisance of a race, secretly authorities worked towards finding and punishing the real culprit. After all, no one wants that to happen again. And you have to admit, tall dark strangers, especially the strong-silent types, are mighty suspicious to begin with, even if they didn’t make you feel all strange and uneasy.

So as I said, dirty jokes got far out of line. Vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity is never funny, and it really got old really fast. Luckily, it broke off quite suddenly too, and pace picked up as plot intensified. So the whole second part of the book was far better. I loved the ending too, so I will definitely read the third book too. This one gets 4 out of 5 for the time being.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Funny!, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shane Dawson “It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays”

3Oddly, second collection of memoir essays by Shane Dawson, “It Gets Worse” (ISBN 1501132857; 256p.; Goodreads) was, well, worse. Ironically, because it didn’t get any worse: I feel like he already told the darkest stories in his previous book. But that being said, I still did enjoy reading it, I am absolutely happy that I did, and if there’d be a third one, I’d read it too.

This time stories revolve on three main topics: dealing with new knowledge of sexual orientation; paranormal activities due to dead loving grandma; becoming a film director. The first topic lead to some fine stories of terrifying world of dating apps, kind strangers, and self-acceptance. I like how there’s the common theme for likely a lot of people with the less common sexual orientations: once you figure out what is it, it shines light on your whole life experience so far. Shane, too, seemingly figured a lot of things of why it was the way it was. Second topic scared the living hell out of me, for I have no reason to think people lie when they tell stories like that. Avoid reading stories about his grandma at night. Nightmares for days. And the third topic, my favorite, was of him breaking free as a film director. Shane’s humor is definitely not for everyone, and sometimes those who encouraged it to blossom, end up misunderstanding everything the most.

So, all in all, it’s worth reading both of these books, they’re good. Shane’s a very interesting person, and I’m happy that he’s finding happiness, little by little. I’ll give this book a 4 out of 5, for it lacked a little. But as I said before, if there’d be more, I’d read more.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: Funny! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jordan L. Hawk “Threshold” | Whyborne & Griffin 2

2I enjoyed the first book in Jordan L. Hawk series Whyborne & Griffin, so it was only a matter of time, and finding the time, until I got into the second one, “Threshold” (Whyborne & Griffin 2; ISBN 0988564971; 249p.; Goodreads). I must say, this was the most unexpected turn of events. And yet I didn’t like it so much. But I do enjoy the Lovecraftian vibe the author has.

Whyborne’s father was never overly fond of his younger son. Especially not after he decided to make his own life, and not follow the path he provided. That slightly shifted after the battle with monsters from another dimension, where Whyborne showed immense knowledge and great courage. Still, even with that little bit of mending, Whyborne is mighty suspicious when his father hires Griffin to investigate supernatural happenings in one of his coal mines.

Miners hear buzzing, vibrations behind the walls. Some claim there’s voices telling them of rich coal veins nearby. People disappear or die in strangest accidents. Some return, strange and different. A lot of these strings lead to excavation site in a cave system nearby, so that’s where the trio heads. There’s nothing real special there, nothing archaeologists haven’t already taken account of. Up until the floor breaks under Whyborne’s feet, and he is plunged into the darkness of the caves below. Here walls are all covered in drawings of strange creatures enslaving humans. And there’s something lurking just behind the band of light…

SPOILER: this is a personal preference, but I really do not like when mild fantasy meets mild sci-fi, and results are aliens vs cowboys. END OF SPOILER. I think the biggest peeve here was the romance line. I really hate the whole “but I thought this, so I did that, because I thought…“, for as a reader you know exactly how that’ll go. There’ll be spilling sand between the fingers, then making up, and apologies, and in romance novel cases: make-up sex. Other than that, the events were very unexpected, so while I can only give this book 3 out of 5, I will definitely read the next one.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Sci-Fi Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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