3-5

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.

Advertisements
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

Laini Taylor – Days of Blood & Starlight | Daughter of Smoke & Bone 2

1Right, so as it turns out, we do not have a Lithuanian translation for second book (even though we do have the first). That happens sometimes, and likely, native English speakers rarely even take it into consideration how amazing it is that they don’t have to have another language in their baggage of knowledge. Here, if series wasn’t all that popular, they’ll stop translating it wherever. And if you were one of the rare fans, well, too bad! Lucky for me, I guess. I picked up “Days of Blood & Starlight” by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone 2; ISBN 0316133973; 517p.; Goodreads) in English. And, honestly, it wasn’t much good.

Karou has remembered her past. Past or past life, hard to say. For she has been beheaded by a man whom she was meant to, due to her betraying him. White Wolf, ruthless warlord, couldn’t let such a disgusting mockery go. So he executed Karou publicly, as a traitor, for loving a mortal enemy, an angel. He pretty much slandered her, and dragged her name through dirt. Her love for Akiva was true. But she was no traitor. And Brimstone knew that. He saw her love for an enemy as a chance to end the war, so he made sure to save her soul, and lock the awful memories in a wish bone, which he carried around his neck dutifully, until he no longer couldn’t.

As of why he couldn’t is best told in Karou’s words: imagine, Romeo wakes up, and finds Juliet dead. Instead of killing himself, he slaughters and enslaves her family. And so Juliet, Karou, once woke, couldn’t forgive him. Thus, tables turned, and enemies became friends, much as lovers became enemies. Karou now works with White Wolf, mostly hand in hand, if one can trust a creature like him, ever. She helps him build a new army, as the only living Resurrectionist, an army that’ll rise against the disgusting nation of angels.

The story was dragged. To add to that, there was that awful trope of “I thought that YOU thought, therefore I did what I did” that I loathe, for I know they’ll have to resolve it, and I suspect the resolution will not be logic based. Characters too felt very two dimensional, there to propel Karou’s story, instead of adding anything useful to the plot, which was pretty dull too. So I can only give it 3 out of 5, and, to be honest, I’m not sure I want to read the third book all that much. We’ll see.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victoria Dalpe – Parasite Life

4Received “Parasite Life” by Victoria Dalpe (ISBN 1771483970; 260p.; Goodreads) from the publishers, or maybe the author, I can’t recall. It was intriguing, and I had nothing better to do, so why not a vampire book, right? Yes, right. I didn’t expect to get what I got, and I can’t figure out whether that’s bad or brilliant. So let me just tell you of the book.

Jane lives her life in a creepy old house, with her dying mother. She’s asocial, but not by choice. her nature, invisible to the eye, is pulling at the primal instincts in people, making their skin crawl. Even her own mother, with as little expression as she has left, seems to show no will to communicate with her daughter. So, with no friends, hated and shunned, Jane tries to survive until she can finally leave. Somewhere. Anywhere. Up until a new girl, a gorgeous gothy Sabrina shows up, and turns her whole world around. Starting with this new sensation of having a friend, and escalating to love. And passion, during which Jane unceremoniously got drunk with Sabrina, forced herself on her, after a very clear no, and gnawed at her neck to sate the beast inside. For Jane is a vampire, and her mother is dying due to this dark nature of hers.

Sabrina, either to her own kind heart, stupidity, or compulsion of a vampire, forgives Jane, and they set off on a quest to find Jane’s father, the very one who passed this gene upon her. Jane hopes he’d know of a cure, or at least some substitute she could use instead of constantly abusing Sabrina. Or, maybe he could teach her how to be better. And oh boy, does Hugh McGarrett has lessons for her. Not the least one is how easy it is to manipulate those who aren’t afraid of their kind. People like Sabrina.

Jane is a horrible little monster. First bells rang in my head when she called herself a “seducer” after she forced herself on this girl. Rapist is the word, Jane. Second, she thinks she’s giving something by, what? Caring for a stray cat, and dying mother, who is dying because of this “care” she’s providing? Or was it caring to drag a girl on a wild chase of some man who never wanted to have anything to do with her, because hey, that friend has a license, can take her mum’s car, and oh, Jane can feed on her all the way there, all the while smooching up, and playing with the “I love you, I need you” cards. And then the very, very final straw was when this girl, while laying down the body of the person who saved her, claimed she has saved herself. Yes, you locked yourself in, good job on saving your sorry ass. So, as you can see, I’m feeling extremely negative towards this book. But I will give it a 4 out of 5 anyway (3 might be more fitting, due to lack of substance in secondary characters, like Sabrina). Here’s why: I hope that author is not insane, but rather – brilliant. Jane is a very classic vampire. A disgusting creature, deluded into believing any demented reason they come up with on why their existence is good. I do believe that if Stoker’s Dracula would’ve been written from his perspective, we would’ve heard how kind and generous he is too. So with that hope, that’s the rate I’ll give this book. Don’t read it if you don’t like the image of the modern vampire tarnished.

Categories: 3-5, 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, F/F Literature, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – “Twice Bitten” | Chicagoland Vampires 3

7060582I cannot recall majority of the events from the previous Chicagoland Vampires books. Just had to read “Twice Bitten” by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires 3; ISBN 04512306447; 355p.; Goodreads), and then skim over it the second time. Now I just don’t think it had any impact on me understanding the plot. I can easily say, this is the lazy-day reading, when you don’t want to think too much. On a scale I’d put it below Sookie Stackhouse, which was also simple, but I loved it anyway.

When vampires came out into the public eye, shifters chose to stay in the dark due to their nature being so much more harder to detect. And, apparently, it’s not the first time they backed away, leaving vampires on their own. But now that air is heavy with another impending war, Merit’s house is trying their best to secure shifter alliance, and persuade shifters to fight along side them. With great hopes they won’t leave again. Not an easy task, what with benefits of this alliance would mostly fall into the vampire yard. Not to mention the turmoil behind the scenes. Not every shifter is happy with current rule, nor the need to obey laws or decisions they voted against.

In the meantime, Merit is entertaining the possibility of joining a secret vampire organization, meant to protect all supernaturals, not just the heads of the houses. They collect the best, members being required to be able to fight their battles, and so, Merit got on their radar. Joining them would mean standing front lines in emergencies, defending everyone without an exception. Which means, leaving her main duty: standing by her liege and defending his life with her own. And really, only his.

I’d say the book was good, but then the romance part happened and UGH. It’s one of those where you see where it’s going, you see what will happen, and then you know how things will be solved in the distant future, split among many, many books. I’ll give it 3 out of 5, can’t give it more, but won’t give it less either. We’ll see if I can manage another. I might just. (Let’s face it, I’ve read worse.)

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

Holly Black – The Cruel Prince | The Folk of the Air 1

26032825Holly Black‘s book “The Cruel Prince” (The Folk of the Air 1; ISBN 0316310271; 384p.; Goodreads) was an impulse read to me. Just a book I kept seeing everywhere, and heard everyone talk about. The last time this happened, I got mighty disappointed. This time it was better. In fact, the book ended so well, I will read the next one, just to find out whether it worked or not, and how if it did.

Jude and her two sisters, then little, were taken by a fae warlord out of our world into the High Court of Faerie, all because the eldest was his legitimate daughter. Madoc, the said warlord, or rather a general, I guess, came in with no mood for compromise, for he thought his wife dead, as he found remains of what he thought was her some years back, after his home was set ablaze, and now he knew he was lied to. But who’d give up their child so easily? So he slayed all he found living in the house, and took all three girls with him: his wife, so his daughters. The girls swore to hate him forever, but as years went by, and he was nothing but kind and attentive to them, the promise grew hard to keep. And Jude wants nothing more than to have a place among the fae folk. Every day of her life is filled with bullying, ridicule, and even fear for her life. They despise humans, and she seems to be right at the end of the spectrum too. They think her a liar, for folk cannot lie. They think her already dead, rotting in her own shell, for she was born a mortal. They can glamour her into jumping out of towers, if she’s not extra careful, or eat the fae fruit, that’d drive her mad with wish to make them happy for another bite of it. With all that knowledge, her wish seems insane.

Yet when the time comes to either run, or seize power, Jude has no doubt she wants to stay and become something here, in the Faerie. So she becomes a spy to the King-to-be, one of the many princes in the royal family. Each one is more cruel than the next, and it fills her heart with dread to think one of them the High-King. On top of it, her work as a spy, at which she is very good, keeps revealing more and more secrets, intrigues, and gruesome plots. To the point where Jude’s not sure at all whom can she ever trust.

Author has a great writing style, the plot twists were perfect, often I didn’t even suspect one coming. I loved that Jude wanted to be a knight to set her feet in the Faerie, and not, say, find a good match of a husband to do that for her. What I didn’t like was the romance line. The whole “I treat you like dirt, because I like you” and “I almost killed you, because THEY would’ve killed you” is unpleasant to read to say the least. I hate how easily heroines, yes, heroines! forget all about the fear and horror they’ve been put through by the man who is kissing them now. I’ll give this book 3 out of 5, and will read the next one, with hopes it grows into something better. The plot outside the romance is great, and romance can improve, the way Sarah J. Maas books did (that’s personal opinion, of course).

 

Categories: 3-5, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kim Newman – Johnny Alucard | Anno Dracula 4

15798788Yes, I was reading this book for years. Just happened that I dropped it, and haven’t picked it up for forever. Kim Newman is definitely not for everyone, and maybe not for me, but I have still troopered through “Johnny Alucard” (Anno Dracula 4; ISBN 0857680862; 400p.; Goodreads), and I will absolutely read the fifth one, no matter what.

Imagine America during the 60s to 80s – full of vampires. Andy Warhol? Vampire. Mad Men? Probably vampires. Vampires, just like the warm, feel the need and want to get famous, become movie stars, rock stars. Much like actual movie stars, famous people, rock stars – wish to become vampires. Problems are: some vampires don’t even show up on film, leaving them with such duties on set as special effects (ripping off clothing, carrying “floating” things around); while talented folk who are becoming vampires – often lose their talents. But this problem, unlike having no image on film, can be solved by faking it. There’s a new drug in town, called Drac, that gives you all the vampire traits for an hour or six. And this is how some young man named Johnny Alucard has evened out the scales among these two tribes of humans vs vampires: both parties crave each others blood. For if Drac runs out, well, some states don’t even consider vampires legally alive to be killed for blood again. In the meantime, Dracula is on everyone’s lips. Stoker’s name as pseudonime is as common as Smith. Directors are trying to overthrow each other by making better Dracula movie. Adult film industry is blooming with Dracula Rising and Dracula Sucking. Capes, castles, and intense need to tell the folk you are an indirect Dracula’s get is a must in Hollywood if you want to be a somebody.

Johnny Alucard, back then known as Ion, is the last of Dracula’s get. During war in Romania his own people, his own commando, threw him at Dracula’s feet as a tribute, as a snack, as an exchange for their own necks. Ion felt no regret over it for, in truth, the boy barely felt anything at all. This empty shell of a boy, with no fear or emotions in him, became the perfect vessel for Dracula and his final plan. For, after all, World can be taken in more than one way, and it doesn’t have to involve guns.

The book is very fine and interesting. It’s the author’s constant need to put names, backstories for the names, references, and so on, together with massive scene descriptions (which are great, don’t get me wrong, but what’s too much is too much!) – made it a chore, no longer a pleasure. I couldn’t listen to this book in audio form, for my mind would start filtering the droning that was in no way relative to the story and the next thing you know – missed a bit. So I can’t give the book more than 3 out of 5, but be assured, I shall read the fifth one in the series.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Dracula, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christina Henry – Red Queen | The Chronicles of Alice 2

27246122I wasn’t really in the mood for anything wonderlandish, but I needed something short and light, and so I picked up second book in The Chronicles of Alice by Christina Henry, the “Red Queen” (The Chronicles of Alice 2; ISBN 042526680X; 291p.; Goodreads). It was pretty good, but again, not the best as Alice’s retellings go, and maybe a tad poorer than the first one too.

Lands beyond the Old City are burned, scattered with bones, and patrolled by strange people in even stranger contraptions. But this is the path Alice and Hatcher must take in order to find his daughter Jenny. So they simply move forwards, trying their hardest to survive against the climate that lacks so much as clean water for drink, and hides many a predator, let alone all the spells, traps, and schemes cast upon the land by White Queen and Black King.

The Black King was once a man. A man no one said “no” to. He was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it. Including magic. Their family magic was fairly weak, so when a magician got in his way on one of the hunting trips, his fate has been sealed. And not even because he wanted it all that bad. No. More because the White Queen has wanted him to, and likely instructed what must be done to obtain that power. But their hearts were not meant to be, for one didn’t wish to belong to another. And so today their spill their anger and sorrows onto the former green and hopeful lands.

For some reason these books reminded me a lot of Howl’s Moving Castle stories. Likely because of how magic works, or how Alice wields it so similarly to Sophie. I really loved the White Queen’s story too. But all in all, I can only give this book a 3 out of 5, but if there’s gonna be more, I will read more.

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

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.

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

Seth Grahame-Smith – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

5899779I didn’t except to read a book like this for the first of October, but here I am, on perfect timing with the month of Samhain. This book sat on my to-read list for a fair while now. Which is why I like the “suggested for you” book sections. It reminded me of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith (ISBN 1594743347; 320p.; Goodreads), and I may cross it off my list now. What a good year for that, really. Mind you, while this book was pretty good, I still have a feeling I might have liked it more if I have actually read Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Someone let me know!

Zombie plague is terrorizing England. The dead don’t stay dead. They crawl out of their graves in search for juicy brains. As a result, whole England is transformed. While before it might have shown your worth and class to be able to, I don’t know, darn very well, or have a famous piano instructor, now your worth is determined by where you learned your oriental fighting skills, how many ninjas you have serving for your safety, how well equipped is your dojo, and so on. but that said, even if our dear Bennet girls are as deadly as standards require and then some, they still dream of marrying well.

It is an amusing story of English girls of fair birth and ruthless oriental training attempting to tempt an officer, or any decent man really, to become their husbands. There’s plots, and schemes, and no man is who he seems.

The book won’t leave you without sleep, it’s not scary. It is horror only in a sense of setting, but other than that, this is humor, and satire too, I feel. Still, all said, it being a light read, it still is a read that is easy to forget. Not very special, not very captivating. I can only offer it 3 out of 5, as tempting as it would be to give it more.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Other Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

A.C. Bextor – Empires and Kings [1]

x3Sometimes I pick a book up just because, because it sat there, taunting me or whatever. Sometimes due to such an action I even find good reads. Sadly, “Empires and Kings” by A.C. Bextor (Mafia 1; ASIN B01MZA0MS5; 322p.; Goodreads) is not one of those. It’s just a book about a Russian Mafia Family head, portrayed as the most vile and ruthless monster, who, beside the few base things he did that’ll make you roll your eyes, rather than fear him, hardly did anything.

The book is told from two perspectives. One, the first, belongs to our scary mister Vlad Zaleski, the head of this Mafia Family, one of the most powerful men in the underworld. Back in the day he was required to exterminate a family of a traitor. Wrong time, wrong place, the traitor’s daughter, a mere child, runs into the room, scared by all the noises. Vlad makes her watch the killing of her family, and, due to reasons unclear, takes her with him, and puts her into his own family. Maybe he took pity on the child. Maybe he wanted her there, as a reminder to anyone else who’d like to try and betray him, what’s left of the last man who did: a single girl devoted, loyal to him.

She’s better known as the Traitor’s Daughter. She grew up fearing and revering Vlad as some sort of a god. His son became her best friend, her brother. His sister became her sister, and best friend. Growing up among the mafia men has changed her perspective on life, has given her a different rhythm to things, a certain sense of power, even in captivity, where no one could touch her, for she was jailed and protected by their boss. The only truly bad outcome in this is that she fell in love with her god, she fell in love with Vlad.

Talk about Stockholm Syndrome, right? The book has a good idea, even for a romance novel it’s a pretty fair one, for I am sure there’s many who’d enjoy a creature like Vlad, the mafia boss, the gangster, the mister danger in the modern world of darkness. Yet the story, the way it was told, the fleshing out of the small ideas, making them seem artificially bigger felt a bit weak. So for the time being I can only offer this book a 3 out of 5, and we’ll see on whether I can pick up the second one.

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

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.