3-5

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.

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

book review | The Fall by Guillermo del Toro | The Strain Trilogy 2

the fall guillermo del toro chuck hogan the strain book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Title: The Fall
Series: The Strain Trilogy 2
Genre: Thriller, Vampires
Pages: 308
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I’ve many people in my circle who enjoy the series based on this trilogy and/or the trilogy itself. I, personally, am not yet made a fan, and I don’t see how that’ll happen with only one Strain Trilogy book left. Currently I finished Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan book The Fall, which is the second one. And am not impressed.

About the Book: Master has taken over New York. From here the rest of the world will fall under his feet too. But he has to be careful and not think of these things too much. For when he’s too deep in thought, they, others like him, the first kind of vampires, can hear it, and know it. So instead he plays his pawns, the most influential, powerful, rich people. It’s just that he miscalculated just how very much some of them fear death…

My Opinion: Other than internal monologues, there’s so little happening in this book, that I can’t even tell you what’s it about clearly. Basically they all spend the whole book either thinking of bad old days, from the creation of supernatural creatures, to genocide, to childbirth, or they chase a book that speaks of vampire creation. That book could give them the true name of the Master and that would somehow help them destroy him and the rest of his kind. I give it great props over making vampires what they are, but bloody hell how dull it gets.

Right, so, I can’t give this book more than 3 out of 5, and the biggest plus is the vampire origins. One more book to go.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Other Fiction, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Thriller Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Strain by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan | The Strain Trilogy 1

the strain vampire chuck hogan guillermo del toro book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Title: The Strain
Series: The Strain Trilogy 1
Genre: Horror Literature, Fiction
Pages: 403
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

The cover of Guillermo del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s book “The Strain” said it’s new vampire classics. To me it felt more like a retelling of many, concentrating onto the common theme: New York city, epidemic that turns people into brainless monsters. I bet you can think of one or two off the top of your head, without thinking.

About: A Boeing lands, dark and silent. All the people inside are still, as if asleep. Dead, their bodies drained of blood. All except four, it seems. But those four survivors are not likely to tell any tales, for they are dead men walking themselves. Whatever killed all those passengers – is eating them up too.

It spreads like a virus. The disease takes over, mutates the body in a matter of days, chucking anything unnecessary. The smallest drop of their blood can turn you, and then you too will hear His voice, and you too will haunt your loved ones in search for easy prey, easy blood, nourishment.

Mine: Remember how Dracula entered England? He steered a ship into a port on a stormy night, with all crew gone but for a corpse or two. All while he himself hid in a crate full of soil. And then disappeared, with the said boxes of dirt. This is a very classic scary monster vampire story. Authors here too did their best to dissuade the reader from wanting to become one of these foul beasts who feed and urinate at the same time, whose very genitals fall off, and body mutates into grotesque horror meant only for feeding. And yet there are still those, in the story, who want this for sheer fact that there’s a certain mental capacity, a form of life, immortality. That’s the good side of this tale. For the rest of it was already told, many times over, with the same brave but annoying characters.

I watched the series, didn’t finish, and am not planning to, but first season and first book seem to be fairly on the same level. So if you didn’t like the series, don’t bother with the book. I can give it a 3 out of 5, no more.

 

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

sci-fi | “Red Moon” Kim Stanley Robinson

2Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Title: Red Moon
Series: –
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fiction
Pages: 446
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes you can make a grave mistake while choosing a book to read. And sometimes there’s no time to quit it. You see, some people quit books, because there’s no time to read books you hate, when there’s so many good ones. I don’t quit books, because life’s too short to pass on a book in general. But that’s just me.

About: One moment you can be a nobody. A worker in a new place on a job, possibly even enjoying it. Fred, for instance. It’s his first time on the Moon. His job here is to install a communication system of sorts. And as he shakes hands with someone important, next moment strikes. They both fall, one dead, the other’s very sick. From this moment on Fred is a fugitive accused of murder, and must run. Lucky for him, he won’t be alone. Chan Qi, a princeling, China Revolution symbol, and a woman who broke the law and got pregnant on the Moon, which is forbidden, is on the run too. Due to her status and connections, Fred will be as safe as someone in his position can be. But that, by far, doesn’t mean any comfort. His life has changed forever. He can’t contact his family, tell them he’s okay, and that he’s innocent. He must stay hidden in a little apartment in an unknown country, eating foods this stranger woman is making him, grateful for it, of course. And on moments notice, he must be prepared to hop back on a shuttle and go to the Moon or back. Surreal doesn’t cut it for Fred.

Mine: This book is very politically heavy. Two super-countries, China and America have colonized the moon and are experimenting on it, trying to make it nice and proper for life, see what use can be squeezed out of it. While revolution is breaking out. Have you ever head a saying “you vote every time you buy“? For instance, my friends in Germany have told me it’d be hard if not impossible to find scrubs with plastic microbeads in them, for people have “voted” them out. Something akin is happening here too, but on far greater, billions of people worth of scale. By the People, For the People, with a dash of Confucius and poems that help characters analize their situations and their feelings. It’s as strange a sci-fi book as one gets without anything alien or supernatural to it. It’s just people tired of oppression, poverty, struggling.

I give this book a 3 out of 5, because you could throw away half the damn book and not miss a thing. For through so many pages so very little to nothing happens, it’s amazing. Skip a page, they’re still in their same chairs, eating same meal, thinking the same things.

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

fiction | “Far Cry: Absolution” by Urban Waite

5Author: Urban Waite
Title: Far Cry: Absolution
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Video Games Literature
Pages: 256
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Far Cry 5 very fast became one of my all time favorite video games. Huge open world, marvelous Montana sights, flora and fauna to admire for hours, and so very many things to do or not to do. I thought I might as well read the related book. It is by no means a tale from the game though, mind you.

About: After a drunk accident in which Will has killed his family, the only solace he found was in Eden’s Gate cult. Led by Joseph Seed, called The Father by his followers, cult lives a communal life, building each other houses, keeping one another in check, donating all they got to common kettle, where it then gets distributed to those who need said things accordingly. Will’s sins were absolved, he was taken into new family, given home, purpose. But the more time he spends away, on his own, his soul slowly seeping back into nature and thoughts that he did, accident or no, kill his family, the more he starts doubting the purity and truth of the Gospel The Father is preaching. The cult believes the world’s about to end, for it is corrupt and rotten. The only way to be saved is to abandon sin and join them. But while his joining was willing, full of new hope, there’s whispers and rumors in the wind of ever emptier towns below his mountain, which speak of drug-laced baptisms, kidnappings, and even murder…

Mine: The book had the same thought and point as the game did. The same double-view on things. From one point you see these armed folk kidnapping you, forcing you to confess, possibly tying you up to prevent you from running. On the other side you see desperation to save you, for the world might indeed soon end, and you, a sinner that you are, don’t deserve to die anyway. You get this in the game too. I remember the strange shock I felt the first time I was saving people from a bunker, hearing cult members scream in desperation that the people will die if allowed to go. They didn’t mean they’ll kill the people. They literally meant that they’ll perish in the apocalypse which was indeed mere days away. Brutal means to keep you safe. Or brutal means to force you into a sect. But. Here’s a big one. There’s inconsistencies with the game that could’ve been prevented by googling, looking into wikipedia and so on. There’s plot holes. And at times it seemed like author forgot what he wrote three pages back, so what you’re reading now – doesn’t fit at all.

This book was just good enough to read to the end and give it 3 out of 5. It’s not a bad book. It’s simply not a good one either.

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

nonfiction | “The Satanic Bible” by Anton Szandor LaVey

1Author: Anton Szandor LaVey
Title: The Satanic Bible
Series: –
Genre: Philosophy, Occult
Pages: 272
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I remember the days when this book appeared. In Lithuania, it disappeared just as quickly, leaving a lot of strange young adults reeling, searching for it. I wasn’t one of them back then, but admittedly I was always curious about all religions. I think the problem was the predominantly god-fearing population I grew up in, never able to become part of it, because none of it made sense. Why would I fear a god who is all loving and forgiving? Why would he make someone this way, and then punish them for being this way? You get my meaning, right? Yet I forgot about this book up until AHS came out with Apocalypse, the Antichrist, and LaVey. So I figured I’ll serve the angsty goth teen that I was, and get this book for myself now.

About: The book right away agrees that yes, the doctrine could be called humanitarian philosophy, and not satanic religion. But that’s really the point. While it teaches you to be a better person, because it really does, believe you me, it also arms you. It arms you against the religion that likely dominates your surroundings, and finds a way to tell you you’re somehow wrong. It points out all the flaws in Christianity, and thus opposes it openly, acting like a sort of, well, for the lack of better word, adversary. For as long as Christianity stands, telling you that you should be afraid of God’s wrath, and thus should maybe sacrifice him a goat or something, there will stand a satanist, telling you the god on earth will never tell you to fear him, nor will he ever ask you to shed blood, because we’re all gods in our own way, and all life is to be respected, and not harmed.

But this great part is very short, likely, added together, no longer than one fourth or third of the book. The rest is translated Enochian texts, prayers, invocations and such.

Mine: It’s a great book that’ll tell you you need to love yourself, care for yourself, and respect others as much as they respect you. Meaning there’s no other cheek, get rid of toxic people from your life. It tells you that consent matters. It tells you that you’re not to be a dick. It tells you there’s no taboos if everyone consents. And then proceeds on telling you so very much about sex, how it should be free and available for all, how you need to seek what you want in it, fulfillment, and so on. I mean it’s all well and good, but I feel like if you’re not 14, you’ll be rolling your eyes at the overbearing emphasis here.

So, all in all, I’m glad I got this book, and that it showed me what this religion is all about. No, it’s not made to convert you, nor is it written in the biblical style either. It’s a very simple philosophy book, with a little too much of not so interesting stuff. So I give it a 3 out of 5, for while I’m glad I’ve read it, it felt like it was written for way younger people than myself, if you get my drift.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Philosophy, Self | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

diversity | “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin

1Author: Chloe Benjamin
Title: The Immortalists
Series: –
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Pages: 346
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I picked this book up for diversity due to Gold family being Jewish. In my surroundings, and the books I tend to read, religion either goes unnoticed, doesn’t exist, or is the same old one (or the branch of it). But there was more than just that, lucky for me.

About: A rumor of a mysterious psychic woman who tells very accurate fortunes reaches the four Gold children. They cannot resist the human temptation to just get to know things. Will I be happy? When will I die?

Years pass, and each one of them carries inside their date of death. Some shared it, others preferred it to remain a secret. But each one lived dreading, hoping. Hoping that the day will come, and that it will pass.

Mine: So, as I said, this book is more diverse than I expected. Other than a lot of different characters surrounding the main four, one of the main four was a gay guy. In the times when AIDS was called “the gay cancer“, due to mostly affecting the homosexuals, and no one really knowing neither what it was, how it was spread, or any means to prevent it. The main characters in general were pretty interesting, each one very unique, with fairly strong personalities. But that’s all you get. They’re strong in their convictions, still doesn’t mean they won’t do as their told, even if it goes against them. There’s jobs, there’s family statuses, there’s doing what you have to do. While waiting for the date of death to come, with hopes it’ll pass you by even just one day. In the meantime, with all the unnecessary details flooding us, I sat there wishing to know more of the true magic that apparently exists here, or have time to react to such great things as an adult child finding their parent. But you can’t, because there’s no room, and no time, and seams are covered with just useless observations of too tight t-shirts, juicers, photographs.

I wish these were four separate books of four siblings growing up knowing when they’ll die. But instead we have too short stories in too long of a book. I can only give it a 3 out of 5, for while it was good, it wasn’t there yet.

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

horror | “The Carrow Haunt” by Darcy Coates

1Author: Darcy Coates
Title: The Carrow Haunt
Series: –
Genre: Horror Literature, Paranormal
Pages: 370
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I feel like there’ll be many of these random horror books in my search for the good ones. I want to read more of King, of course, but I don’t want to be reading him back-to-back, so here goes. This one wasn’t really good, sadly. Not my cup of tea.

About: Carrow Haunt House stood ominous, open to tourists in search for spirits, ghosts, thrills, and terror. Many have been slain here by one of the previous owners, and due to ritualistic nature of their deaths – the dead don’t seem to be able to move on. Remy leads tourist groups in and out, shepherding, warning, telling stories. And no one ever fails to feel, see, or hear something. All went well, and she was happy with her job. Until she took one she shouldn’t have. One of the men from the group offered a week long stay at the Carrow Haunt, with seances, mediums, experts. But soon after settling in they all realized they’re in mortal danger…

Mine: It took forever for anyone to start questioning motifs behind this offer. And yet no time has been wasted in assuming it might be real blood and flesh killers at work, someone physical hidden in the house, even if evidence showed contrary. The most scary part about the book was the detailed descriptions of the horrors there, corpses, specters, ghosts. But that’s the thing, I don’t like it when I know what’s chasing everyone. It felt too much like “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill, and I’m of poor opinion on that one too. But keep that in mind if you liked it.

I don’t know, I just didn’t like it. Not my thing, not scary enough, with this strange feeling that author forgot she was writing a mystery, and thus had to introduce new “evidence” that would somewhat deny what we read before. It felt jumbled. 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, ghosts, Mystery Books, Paranormal | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

sci-fi | “Wayward Saint” by J.S. Morin

1Author: J.S. Morin
Title: Wayward Saint
Series: Black Ocean: Mercy for Hire 1
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages: 175
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

So you know how I like to pick up random books, right? And you know how they turn out to be real good often too, yes? Well, this is not it. A science fiction book with a dash of fantasy in it, and a story much too common and familiar.

About: Esper is a very bad bounty hunter. After a very traumatic childhood, she went ahead to a monastery or something, and learned herself some magic. Doing so she decided she wants to help people. And is doing exactly that, even while not being a good bounty hunter.

Her current task is a teenager whom both her parents seek separately. Esper is hired by the mother, seemingly a far better choice, for her father is a known vicious gangster. But the kid doesn’t want to be caught and taken back. She keeps escaping, choosing life in boxes, dark alleys, over, what, a loving mother? Story becomes ever clearer as Esper is doing her best to catch up with the girl. Neither of the parents is a saint, and it’s all a question of who is the lesser evil here.

Mine: Plastic surgery is beyond norm here. Mothers are all vicious and jealous of their daughters, doing their best to be more sexy than them. Sex is a great driving force, whether women want it or not. And lucky for me, there was no sex in this book, for I’m not sure I’d like it in such a concept. Characters were sadly pretty darn dull, lacking personality, and following a trope pattern. Possibly not an intended one, but hey, still a present one. The story didn’t redeem anything either, as is common with poorly written characters. But the silver lining remains in general concept of the book. I do believe author has plenty of potential, and it’s only a matter of time, and possibly a better editor, until we get a very fine cup of tea in a book form.

Speaking of which, this was not my cup of tea. I can only give a 3 out of 5, yet will add, that the story was short and light, and reads about the same way as a sci-fi cartoon would, with no overbearing information, common in sci-fi books.

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

“An Easy Death” by Charlaine Harris | Gunnie Rose 1

3Author: Charlaine Harris
Title: An Easy Death
Series: Gunnie Rose 1
Genre: Western, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I like the easy Charlaine Harris books. They’re simple, but by no means too simple, so it’s always interesting to read. I thought a little on it, and picked up her latest work of Gunnie Rose. Sadly, it was not my cup of tea, even as much as I like alternative history pieces.

About: Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie. Means she’s real good at shooting, and can be hired according to this skill. Due to this profession being real dangerous, what with bandits, wild animals, and other things lurking outside the settlements (and sometimes inside of them too), gunnies don’t tend to live long, and so, for a goodbye wish each other an Easy Death. Yet easy death was not what most of her crew got, all slaughtered. Being the only survivor, Liz picks up her guns and sets off to finish her mission, as any good gunnie would do. Better than mourning or going to find herself a new crew to work with anyway.

Yet due to her fine reputation she didn’t need to look for a job. The job found her in a shape of two Russian wizards. They’re on a mission to find blood descendants of no other than Grigori Rasputin in hopes it’d help save Tsar. And while they can cause enough trouble and death on their own, a gunnie would do good to travel more low-key. Soon they learn the dangers are far greater than anyone anticipated. They learned to trust only each other, and even then doubt, watch for signs. Too often familiar faces were worn by unfamiliar evil. For by far not all love Tsar.

Mine: It was an interesting alternative reality piece. I’m not sure about the exact time, even though I could’ve probably had a better understanding of time if only I paid more attention to the cars mentioned. But if wizards don’t live longer than regular people, then the setting should be somewhat after Rasputin has died. Speaking of wizards, that was the best part of the book. It reminded me a little of Dragon Age magic: circle of magi, a sort of college for mages; they get separated from parents for their own good and safety; tattoos for representing and enhancing powers; people seem wary of them, hateful even, even if they are the most dangerous things walking. But the story itself was lacking. Just as any right western movie, while packed in action, with story inching towards the goal in a steady pace, it was very limited to a camera angle.

I’m not yet sure if I’ll read the next books in the series. We’ll see, right now I have no wish, but I do change my mind time and again. This one gets 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Alternative History Books, Books: Everything, urban fantasy, Western Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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