3-5

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.

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

Chloe Neill – Friday Night Bites [2]

x1So here goes my last German edition of the Chicagoland Vampires book by Chloe Neill, which is merely the second book in the long series. “Friday Night Bites” (Chicagoland Vampires 2; ISBN 045122793X; 357p.; Goodreads) went a little slower, and the title was sadly the only amusing thing. The whole substance of the book was spread too unevenly for me. Too much was caked on relationships, Merit’s, and other people’s. And much too little on the fun, and interesting stuff, like how are raves – vampire thing, why does a human have to die to become a vampire, what happens if you don’t die fully, etc.

Your friendly neighbor vampire will always ask for your consent before biting. Maybe that’s the reason these vampires didn’t get too aggressive outlash when they came out of their coffins, seeing how they don’t have the luxury of True Blood. This same lack of luxury has made vampires put rules and laws on drinking from living donors. It is no wonder thus, that they were the first to react when the safety of their own being in this human world was threatened by rave parties sprouting all around. Big deal, rave party, right? Well, apparently the very title “rave” was taken from vampires, for it’s less a human party, and more of a one big trap party. Humans have fun, rage, dance, use substances. Vampires feed themselves silly on them, and any stories that leak outside the walls of the illegal parties are rendered bogus told by junkies who got too high. It’s only a matter of time before these parties leave more than trash behind… (yes, I do mean dried corpses)

The rest of the book was mostly about Merit’s work for her liege. He wants connections, her family has those, so here start the parties, designer dresses, and overdescribed snacks. To add more salt on those, Merit tries her best to keep a relationship going with the vampire from the other house, the same one her liege has basically forced her into to begin with. The same one he’s now so very much trying to disrupt.

 

The books are very easy to read, so I can’t complain. I believe I’ll just get myself a little audiobook collection of them, and listen to them while doing work around the home. I feel like they’re perfect for it, especially if you listen on higher speeds. For the time being I can give it 3 out of 5, but we’ll see how things go.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books of Supernaturals, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lynn Flewelling – The White Road [5]

6290240Here goes another Nightrunner book by Lynn Flewelling. Honestly, I don’t know why the books are called that way, when there’s far more, far greater things happening in them, and nightrunning is a rare occasion. But I digress, as I often do, let’s instead talk about “The White Road” (Nightrunner 5; ISBN 055359009X; 385p.; Goodreads), for this, sadly, is the less interesting book, again. Can’t be helped, the previous one was pretty great.

Sebrahn, a homonculus child, created out of Alec’s blood, was considered a failure by his maker. Alchemist was prepared to chop the kid up in pieces if it failed it’s primal purpose of healing, for that’s what the client, one of the Aurenfae clan leaders, has requested for. Yet here he is, more unique than any other homonculus ever made. More useful, and far more dangerous than any before him too. But before his maker could figure all that out, Seregil and Alec made a run for it, grabbing Sebrahn with them, and killing the alchemist. By doing so, tho, they condemned themselves to be hunted once more.

The dying clan leader, at the very least, wants the books back, and is willing to take any measures necessary to get them. If he could possibly get Sebrahn too, it’d be even better, for one can never know how much time one has left. But that’s by far not the greatest of dangers Alec and Seregil are about to meet. The magic that created Sebrahn belongs to Alec’s people, and they want it back. These secretive, secluded people, ruthless with their rules, and unbelievable with their magic.

The book was a bit unpleasant to read. While we were assured that homunculus is more a dragon that looks like a humanoid, everyone around Alec treats it like it is a child, especially Alec himself. So when they start pondering whether to give the kid to whoever promises not to kill it, how difficult it is with him, etc., it just strikes all the wrong cords for me. And in general – there was oh so much traveling, walking, riding. I’ll give this book 3 out of 5, but I do expect the next one to be better, as tradition sorta demands now.

Categories: 3-5, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – Some Girls Bite [1]

8160905I recently received the gift of books, first two in Chloe Neill series “Chicagoland Vampires“. Lucky for me, they came in German too, and believe me, there’s no better way to refresh your memory on a language, than something as light as these kinds of books: the Sookie kind, with vampires out and about. So I went ahead and read the first one, “Some Girls Bite” or “Frisch Gebissen” (Chicagoland Vampires 1; ISBN 0451226259; 341p.; Goodreads). It’s not a masterpiece, true, but if you need a light read that leaves little to nothing in your brain afterwards, it’s always better to have vampires, than not to, right?

Caroline Merit was never good enough for her New Money family. They finally have the New American Dream life, and want to show it, while she doesn’t care all that much, and prefers making her own life, for herself, not for show. But she was coping. Up until everything went to waste on that bad night, when she got attacked, and had to be turned to have her life saved. To her family it’s just another silly, and rebellious act of hers, as if she asked to be turned. Tho, mind you, that does happen. And to Merit this is a start of a very annoying series of events.

For from now on Merit belongs to an infamous house of supernaturals, the kind that still drink from humans. She has to swear fealty to their insufferable master, learn their rules, learn to fight, learn their history, learn the history of other supernaturals… And then also deal with the murders somehow connected to her house, house rivalry, and the angry scent of war in the air, for by far not everyone’s happy about this whole coming-out thing.

I both liked, and disliked the book. I didn’t like it, because there’s just no simpler than this. But then I also liked it for it. Really, there’s worse things than vampires who always want to chew on something. And the little detective story wasn’t too bad. Too bad was that whole scene with the favors and oaths… Anyway, 3 out of 5, and I’ll go read the next one.

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

Jessica Day George – Silver in the Blood

22929540Sometimes I just type “Dracula” into the bookstore search engine, and see what comes up. This time it was “Silver in the Blood” by Jessica Day George (ISBN 1619634317; 358p.; Goodreads), and it might be the weirdest bloodline story I’ve read so far. That’s telling, seeing how I’ve read a story of Dracula with fae blood…

Dacia and Lou are well born society girls from New York. For their seventeenth birthday, the girls get to go on a trip to Romania, and visit the more mysterious side of the family, and preferably – find themselves suitable husbands. Soon into the trip – odd things start to happen. Wolves interfere with the train ride. Mysterious figures appear in their paths. They keep hearing these strange epithets aimed at them: The Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke. And even their companions start acting strange.

By far that is not all in this strange land of Romania, once home to Vlad Dracula himself. Their heritage is here, and one of them is to be married off to a prince, even if one only by formality. But whether they’ll want this cursed thing is still in question…

This was a pretty damn boring book. It’s rarely this dull when it comes to Dracula, but then, he himself wasn’t present anyway. I can only give this book 3 out of 5, due to too same sense as Caraval, but with actual shifters.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Dracula, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeaniene Frost – Once Burned [1]

7039218Geez, I’m a sucker for Dracula, and so I read anything with him in it, even the questionable romance books. Like “Once Burned” by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince 1; ISBN 006178320X; 346p.; Goodreads). It wasn’t bad, but it’s one of those romances. Like stand-alone’s by Nora Roberts or Jude Deveraux. Vampires were pretty cool thou, and Dracula wasn’t a complete disaster. Heck, it feels like author actually did some research before writing, which I respect.

After an accident in her childhood Leila carries a physical scar on her body, and one in her psyche too. She pumps actual electricity out of her arms, and if she wishes to touch someone – she has to first let the charge out into some lightening rod or something. And even then she’s doubtful, because touching a person means seeing their greatest sin. And sometimes their future, which soon gets her into trouble. For after warning a woman of hey boyfriend’s plans to murder her, she’s soon kidnapped by a vampire gang. They want her to find another of their kind. Yes, no other but the prince of the darkness himself, Vlad Draculea.

The problem arises when Leila actually finds him mentally, and sees him. For he opens his eyes, and looks right at her… Leila needs to decide, and decide fast with whom she has better chances at survival.

It’s not a good book, but by far not a bad one either. I will read the other ones, gladly even. They’re simple, vampires are quite alright, and as I said before – Dracula had some research done on him. Author knew important details, and used them to her advantage well. I can give it 3 out of 5, but that’s not a bad rating.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anthony Horowitz – The House of Silk [1]

11093329I’m not the biggest Sherlock fan, but I’m still a fan. And everywhere I turned in Lithuania, I kept seeing other book by Anthony Horowitz, second book to “The House of Silk” (Sherlock Holmes 1; ISBN 0316196991; 294p.; Goodreads), so I had to start from the start, before moving on to Moriarty. And I must say, I’m not very impressed…

Book is narrated by our one and only, John Watson. On his own request it is published after his death due to sensitive, and gruesome case that it is. And it all started like such an ordinary case. A man came to their, his and Sherlock’s, place, claiming a gang leader has followed him all the way from America, and will kill him to avenge his dead twin brother. But from the moment Sherlock started investigating the man’s family, everything started going down hill, fast.

Their mother died suffocated in her own room. His sister is getting weaker by the day, as if poisoned, even thou all her food is being tasted. And while the man himself keeps seeing his to-be murderer, here he is, alive, and well. What concerns Sherlock more, thus, is that one of his boys, a kid he hired off the street to help, has disappeared after, apparently, seeing the gang leader’s face. Later kid was found tortured to death, with a white silk ribbon tied around his wrist. What could possibly evoke such brutality? Was it truly the mere fact that the kid saw a face?

The book is fairly interesting, but much too simple. Author tried to make it up with shock-effect, but any reader will agree with me – that doesn’t help mediocre books. Even as a detective it was pretty weak. But. It was easy to read, and had the perfect Sherlock-y tone to it, so I can give it 3 out of 5 easily. It’s worth the while, even if it’s not the best detective novel you will ever encounter.

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

Dmitry Glukhovsky – Metro 2035

2035Let me tell you straight away, I’m angry. I am very angry at “Metro 2035” book by Dmitry Glukhovsky (ISBN 1539930726; 497p.; Goodreads), the final book in the story. All that you might have loved about those books is destroyed here. You’ve been lied to, you’ve been deceived. This is no better than another Silo/Wool book, because all I hated about those is now true here.

Artyom, for hell knows what reasons, keeps fighting his way out of the station, onto the surface. There he climbs the highest towers, undisturbed by anything living, with not a single monster in sight. Then he takes out his radio, and tries to contact the rest of the world, hoping that the Moscow Metro, the same one that thinks him a hero for ridding the world of the Dark Ones, is not the only humanity left. Only his own station knows the truth, and thinks him a madman. They believe that the Dark Ones, back in the day, cracked his brain a tad bit, and constant exposure to radiation is by far not helping the condition. They’re getting more annoyed by a day, for, by going out, what’s he dragging back in? All that opening and closing of the seals can’t be healthy. And it’s hardly a coincidence, that the mushrooms, the same ones whole Metro is eating as main source of food, is now suffering a devastating plague.

Homer travels all the way to the station Hero lives in, hoping to hear his story from his own lips, hoping to write a book. In the end, it wasn’t just Miller who mentioned Artyom, but Hunter too. He has to see this legendary young man, and find out why he, he alone, the savior of this Metro, believes that he doomed the humanity by destroying its worst enemy – the Dark Ones.

 

I loved the first book. Nothing was real in the darkness, and you could trust no senses. The voice might be real, but it might as well be the dark seeping through your ears, telling you lies. Artyom, in the dark, was told to stop once, and he did. And that saved his life. I loved the second book too. Hunter was a broken man. Dark Ones tried to communicate, but found his mind incompatible, thus accidentally, or purposefully, splitting it. Now he lives with madness inside of him, and constantly battles his other self. And then there’s this shit. Whatever you loved – is a lie. Whatever you liked – was faked. To add to that, the plot has ridiculous holes to it too. So I give it 3 out of 5, merely because of good wishes, and memories of those other good books. Metro 2035 is a book about mushrooms. Metro saga ended at ’34.

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

Stephanie Garber – Caraval

Caraval_Everywhere I turned there was this book. Social media is filled with pictures of this book. Whoever did the advertisement – got a serious hype response, and it’s admirable. Especially since oh so many of those said bookstagram pictures claimed people didn’t even read it, but were oh so excited to do so. Therefore I hurried up and read “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber (ISBN 1250095255; 407p.; Goodreads), just to see what’s all the fuss about. How was my trip on this bandwagon? So-so.

Dragna sisters live on hope, hope to escape their vicious, vile, murderous father, and this damned island they feel imprisoned upon. Arranged marriage might be the key to the door for Scarlett. She’ll just pack up her sister, and they’ll both escape to live with her wonderful husband, whose name she currently doesn’t even know. It’s left to her sister to wonder whether this said key is to freedom or simply a new prison. After all, what fair person would have dealings with their father?

In her life Scarlett had only one true dream: to see master Legend Caraval perform. He was there when she was very little, and all the girl has now are stories of magic, wonders, and most importantly – miracles. But with reality sinking in, her marriage behind the corner, Scarlett composes final letter to master Caraval as a farewell. Just to receive an answer, the very first ever, and three invitations to come to his performance. And just a few days before her wedding, with their father seething in anger…

Nothing is real, but everything feels very real. Clues scattered around, time ticking away, and the nightfall making people who didn’t make it to shelter disappear, quite literally. It sounds good, doesn’t it? But sadly it isn’t. The book is fairly simple, with a lot of high speech, and little actual things. Pompous descriptions mask lack of substance in plot. Scarlett had a lot of feelings about a lot of things, and everything was arranged to make her fall in love, but not completely, but she did fall in love, and did so completely, and of course he wasn’t who he said he was, so there had to be that awkward phase of “no more lies”. I had a very low rating prepared for this book. And the true reason why I won’t give it as little as I’d like to, is author herself. At the end of the audio book there was an interview, and honestly, I think her trying so hard has to be worth something. So I give this book 3 out of 5, and wish the author very best luck. After all, I’m sure there’ll be many who will love this book.

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Hugh Howey – Dust [3]

dustAnd so ends the Silo trilogy. With Hugh Howey book “Dust” (Silo 3, ISBN 1490904387; 458p.; Goodreads), which is not even translated to my native yet, but then I’ve read them all in English, so whatever. Not the best dystopian post-apocalypse story, but ended well, and thus it’s fine. I’m feeling very neutral about it…

All the while silos were told the world upstairs was poisonous, and unsuitable for living. Something happened up there long ago, and thus Silos doors need to stay firmly shut. But Jules is no longer content with their stories, proven too often to be nothing but a bunch of lies. She’s up to figure out what’s wrong with the surface on her own, careful to avoid the prying eye of Silo 1. Test the soil in earnest. Test the air. And if she really can’t cross her way via surface to the other silo, she might as well dig…

Silo 1 is in turmoil too. Something’s happening. Dead people, murdered people are appearing. Someone from the top was awakened from their cryogenic sleep, and is feeling enough guilt on what happened to those poor people for all. Things are about to be changed, whether these comfortable puppet masters want it or not.

The books are not bad, they’re just not for me. Everything’s clean, bright, but poisonous. I missed the mind-invading darkness of Metro 2033, and thus I guess my expectations were way off the radar. I’ll give it 3 out of 5, and I assure you, this is NOT a waste of time. In the end, it’s a good story.

Categories: 3-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Everything, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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