4-5

Neil Gaiman – Anansi Boys [2]

ananI really did enjoy American Gods, so when I noticed Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (ISBN 0060515198; 384p.; Goodreads) marked as second book, I had to take it. But this one lacked the charm American Gods had, and is absolutely not a sequel of any kind. Merely the setting is the same, but you can read or not read either one – they’re not connected with anything but the fact: there’s gods here.

Fat Charlie’s father has died. And while he’s not too heartbroken about it, this death keeps ruining his life! First he finds out his father was actually a Spider God. Then, that he has a brother. Then this brother turns out to be much cooler, and way more interesting than Charlie. People can’t tell them apart, and yet they obviously prefer this brother. His boss, and his fiance too… And then it turns out that this brother, is not even a brother. He’s a little more. And a little less.

Charlie, hating what his life is becoming, decides to root out what he sees as the cause of the fall. This brother of his. For that he has to get deeper into this White Rabbit Hole Alice once went, see more of these divine beings, and strike a very, very stupid bargain, with a very, very malicious being. Be careful what you wish for. Or, you know, how you phrase your wishes.

The book is not too good, but easy to read. One can take it for a light piece on the go, no matter whether one has read American Gods or not. This has neither spoilers, nor is otherwise connected. Sparingly I can give it 4 out of 5, it’s not bad, just not good either.

Categories: 4-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Funny Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Madeline Miller – The Song of Achilles [diversity]

thesongofachilesWhen you loathe a character, you need to stop and ask yourself why: because author wrote them so bad? Or is it because they wrote them so good, that you’d wish to strangle the fictional person? I had this problem, and need of constant reminder with “The Song of Achilles” By Madeline Miller (ISBN 1408816032; 352p.; Goodreads). The book is well written, but Achilles was driving me nuts.

Achilles is a half-god. His mother is a sea nymph. His father – a powerful king. He himself is a warrior with no equal, and without his aid, the war against Troy has no chance. Patroclus is almost a complete opposite. His father is a mediocre unknown king, his mother is weak of mind, he’s barely a decent soldier himself. And when he was exiled from his father’s court for accidentally killing a guest for trying to take something away from him – he didn’t expect anything good. Instead, he found an instant friend in Achilles, who not only didn’t judge him, or mock him, but respected him, and treated him fairly. And very soon he found himself in love, hoping beyond hope…

His mother wasn’t too happy about this friendship, and lingering feeling of love underneath. But to kill Patroclus, would be to tear her son’s heart out. Instead, thus, she sends him away. To study first, just to find Patroclus there, risking it all just to find Achilles again. Then further away, into hiding, where Patroclus again shows cunning beyond his seeming capabilities. And then at war for beautiful Helena, war against Troy, where Patroclus can barely keep his own weight, but still hardly ever leaves her son’s side. And Patroclus knows this well, her resentment to him. It frightens the young man, this anger of a goddess. Who does one invoke, who does one pray to, when a god is angry at them?

The story is pretty good. Fantasy elements were in place, and there weren’t too much of them either. Love story is pretty good too, felt fair, and natural. But. Achilles got on my nerves a lot. His pride kept getting hurt in that damn war, and I kept waiting for him to hold his breath and threaten to not breathe until he’s apologized for. Patroclus, on the other hand, got wiser as time went, and they both filled each other out very well, one being a master of this, and other – of that. So I can give this book a 4 out of 5.

Diversity: M/M romance, well written, with little non-graphic sex. They were fair to each other, and cared for each other.

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

Lilly Singh – How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

Bawse_final-coverFor past two months I worked twice as hard as I normally do. Worst is not the tiredness I constantly feel, but rather the lack of point in the work, since more work is not necessarily rewarding, or at least it isn’t in short-term. Lilly Singh and her “How to be a Bawse: a Guide to Conquering Life” (ISBN 0425286460; 272p.; Goodreads) was a natural choice here, for a tired, drained mind. It’s biographical, but not a biography. It’s not “the Secret”, and by far not the sugar-coated guide to success via “be positive! love your self! be kind and work hard!”. Rather, it’s a book on previously depressed unicorn who survived, and is about to tell you how conquer.

If a behavior results in free cake, one must always perform that behavior.” – Lilly Singh

My life is often burdened by weekend-hustlers, people who had months to do a fairly big amount of work, but decided to roll their sleeves up on the final weekend, and I, as a translator, need to hurry up for both of us (lesson one: deadlines). Priority fees are then argued (lesson two: bargaining), because these weekend-hustlers feel entitled to their own time, and their own work (lesson three: sense of entitlement), and see me as an obstacle, rather than a tool. And I wish I could translate this damn book for them too (lesson four: goals!). Using her own life as example, and then adding a few more for good measure, Lilly teaches us how hustling, prioritizing, and tunnel-vision really works. It helped me unwind, taught me things, gave me insight on who this Lilly is (I’m a long-term fan, this is just phrasing), and best of all, I can now improve my own game using the lessons she gave. So to every hard-working friend I have out there – get this book, get this book on paper, and while you’re at it, get those neon-colored sticky bookmarks to mark the pages, and maybe a couple sharpies too. There’ll be a lot to mark down, highlight, and take notes from.

For good measure, a rephrased quote: ask for more than you need, because no one got more than they asked for.

And now, the bad part. I was perfectly okay with telling myself I can’t control the situation, so I must control how I react to it. I was okay with “some things you can’t change, and that’s okay” going with “I don’t believe in impossible“. I was happy at the start of the book, when Lilly thanked her past self for listening and keeping on. But then, when we reach another truly important lesson of how to stay grounded, and not let the success of conquering get to your head, Lilly said: believe in a higher power. Not god per se, but a higher power of your choosing. Thank this higher power for what you have, because without them… wait wait… wait. Without them you wouldn’t be where you are, and wouldn’t have what you have, and this all would not be possible? If we speak in terms of Nature – thanks for being here, and thus making me, a human with opposable thumbs, possible – okay, thanks Mother Nature! But my hard work? No. I’ll rather believe in Minecraft random spawn point: you can give in and make a new world for yourself, or you can make it work. So in the end I chose to pretend this chapter didn’t exist, and stick with the idea it taught: you’re not the biggest bawse – as the idea it preached before – there’s always someone to learn from. I gave this book 4 out of 5, even if Lilly’s bargain skills made it real hard to not give it the whole five. It’s a great book, truly worth having.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Inspirational | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kristin Cashore – Graceling [1]

graceling_1Some time ago I was subscribed to a YouTube vlogger Katers17 (now I’m subscribed to her new channel: KateInRealLife, tho she posts very little). I always loved people who read, and with her I realized I love the chaos, and passion books provide. “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 1; ISBN 015206396X; 471p.; Goodreads) was probably one of the very first books I added to to-read list on my Goodreads, and that was thanks to Katers. And now, a million years later, I finally came around to read it. Heck, I even have a physical copy…

Graced aren’t very liked or loved. Two different eyes mean you will be kept away, in some corner where people won’t see you, even if your grace is merely baking good pies. Of course, there are graced that are feared for a reason, with nasty, treacherous, and dangerous powers. Like Ketsa’s. Held on a leash by the king himself, she is graced with killing, and serves as a maiming, torturing, and murdering tool to intimidate those who displease her king. Even if they paid a double-fold for what they did. Even if she hates herself for doing it. She simply doesn’t know a different way of life. Thus, when prince Po crosses her path, confused and surprised of why indeed she’s following orders she hates, when it would take her king an army to subdue her, she… She’s confused.

In the meantime, Po is keeping an eye on a different kingdom, a different king. An orphan, praised for his kind heart and love for all injured, a boy who was once so loved by the king and queen of that realm, that when they had no children of their own – they named him the heir. A boy, now a grown man, a king, with only one eye, and a sickening horde of people who are prepared to defend his very honor offended, no matter how far they are, or how little they have reasons to…

The story is good, unique, with wonderful characters. But it fell a little short. There’s a ton of wonderful things here, the way things work, that it simply felt lacking in the end, and that’s the only reason why I will now give it only 4 out of 5. I will continue reading, in hopes that author delves deeper in all the things further on, the graces, the kingdoms, the way graces happened, and worked. But just know that I’d consider this a light read to the point where it was a bit too light. (but good, really)

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Mist and Fury [2]

ACOMAF-cover1How can a book annoy so much, and yet be so great? Second book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series, “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas (ASIN B015FELXQ0; 626p.; Goodreads) was a killer with all the inner monologues on feelings. But it had a great message, and I believe it passed it on perfectly.

Amarantha is destroyed, but the plans to tear down the wall separating Fae world from the mortal realm are still bubbling as before, they merely changed hands. In the meantime, Fayra is not allowed to train, because that would send a wrong message to her people, she’s not allowed to leave without guards to escort her, because Tamlin is terrified for her safety (but doesn’t let her train anyway), and eventually, she’s locked the hell up in the Spring Court. In desperation, suffocating in this gilded cage where she’s not allowed news or any activities beyond brushing her hair and dressing up, Fayra sends a message down the bond she now has with the High Lord of the Night Court.

They say you ought to be careful for what you wish for. Being owed a week every month as bargain between them demanded, Rhysand takes no time in storming the Spring Court and kidnapping Fayra. Is it kidnapping per se, if the victim is willing? Either way, Night Court is infamous. It is said, that Amarantha’s own Court under the mountain was made in example of the one Rhysand, the most powerful and wicked High Lord that ever walked the realm of Fae rules. Torture for entertainment, schemes, and other wicked deeds are awaiting, and Fayra can do no more but brace herself, when… Rhysand puts an alphabet before her, intending for her to finally learn how to read. At least. (yes “least”, not “last”.)

Okay, now to the point. This book is full of gooey love stuff I don’t really like in any books. Didn’t like it here much either. Sappy, annoying, and saturated even more so with Fayra constantly analyzing it all. But. This book has a message I hope every reader caught on: No matter how much you love your prince Charming, the day he makes you his birdy in a cage, he is no longer the good kind man, and it’s time for you to get the hell away. Fayra doesn’t want to be saved. She wants to be able to save herself. And when she’s denied that right, she makes the hard decision. So here’s 4 out of 5 for that, for the strong lady who didn’t want to be a statistic number.

Don’t stay in abusive relationships.

 

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses [1]

acourtofthornsandrosesI won Sarah J. Maas book “A Court of Thorns and Roses” (ISBN 1619634449; 421p.; Goodreads) in a contest at P.S. I Love That Book. And once I finished the Silo trilogy, I really had no reasons to put the reading of this book off, as I did in the past, without the physical copy to beckon me (I’m an advocate for e-books, but I admit, sometimes there’s more moral obligation in me to read a physical book, than the endless supply of e-books provides). And besides, I like pointy-eared warriors…

In the dark forest, thin due to it being dead of winter, and so very too close to the wall separating world of mortals from that of the immortal and brutal fae realm, Fayre is searching for any prey that could feed her family. The only solace to her heart, filled with dread by stories on fae being merciless, is the sole ash arrow in her quiver, said to be the only weapon against the immortal folk. But the giant beast of a wolf she gazes upon in the dark gives her doubt enough to stop and reconsider the purpose of that highly priced and rare arrow. If it eats her, her family starves. If it eats her prey, her family starves. And the two meager regular arrows she has might not even slow the great creature down. There’s only one way out of this.

One night later their whole hut shivers in protest, as the door splits apart, huge horned creature storming in through it. He’s here for a blood debt. Life for life. He’s here for the hunter who killed his friend.

I admit, at points this book is mighty boring. But then the good parts are oh so worth it. I believe I loved their world the most, in the whole setting. Much like Shades of Magic, this one too was so alike our own, that I could almost believe it real, but so very different, and thus so very much more worthy to imagine as true. A world full of magic, curses, and unbreakable promises. I will also admit that I already started the second one. I’ll give this one 4 out of 5, due to some things bothering me a lot. Like constant “male” and “female“. While it made sense, it also made me cringe oh so many times. And second thing being empty threats. “There won’t be anything to burn once I’m done with you” – and then the “done” part is as good as a stab with a butter knife. Even if it did work – there’d still be plenty to burn!

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis [12]

PrinceLestatAndTheRealmsOfAtlantisAnd so, with “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles 12; ISBN 0385353790; 451p.; Goodreads) I am fully caught up on the Chronicles. I can now calmly (or not so calmly) await for book 13th, for Anne always ends her books with a possibility of continuation, I feel. This book could conclude the Chronicles thou, for it gave full-on origin of how the spirit that made first vampires came into existence in the first place, and, if I’m honest, at times it felt more like a sci-fi book than anything else.

Vampire Core currently lives in Lestat and seems to be content about it. They bicker inside his head, and Lestat, being such a brat, is enjoying every bit of it. I was amused to learn he liked being called a slut. You live and you learn. But not all is jolly and happy. Not everyone is content with their lives being in Lestat’s hands, nor are they all enjoying him being the Prince of the vampires. And some are beyond mere wishing things change.

Somewhere in the dark basement of one of these opposing vampires lies a creature that looks just like a human being, but is not. Starved to death he did not die. Drained of all blood he merely lost consciousness, and then his body regenerated the blood in full. No vampire can miss the benefit such a creature poses to all their kind: innocent, never dying, yet not of their own kind. In one such attempt to drain the creature to death, Lestat’s current greatest enemy finds himself staring into the secret that are way beyond his own comprehension. Who are these beings? Where did they come from? And why do they chant the name vampires know so very well? The name of the Core.

This book felt very different from all the previous ones. And hey, Lestat even remembered Quinn, and there’s a sort of a hint that he might come in next book to join his court. In a sense it was much better than all the previous ones, but there’s so very much repetition, and the talks are so long for no reason or use. Still, I’m happy I got through all this. And I’m happy that Anne wrote more on this too. I’ll give it a very strong 4 out of 5, just a hair away from a five. And will very eagerly await, maybe there’ll be another book, maybe Quinn will be back, and maybe Anne didn’t forget what my beloved alter-ego was like, and why I took his identity with me.

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Vittorio, the Vampire

2And so I continue with Anne Rice, this time it being “Vittorio, the Vampire” (New Tales of Vampires 2; ISBN 0099271095; 339p.; Goodreads) book. Which is apparently the last book in New Tales of Vampires, and Vittorio himself is not someone I recognized at all, thus it felt fresh. Maybe that’s the reason I still like Blackwood Farm the best – Quinn is no longer on the radar after the two books that revolved around him, more or less. The Romeo and Juliet bits redeemed the less interesting stuff in this one, since, again, it just felt different from the already seemingly stamped books in the Chronicles.

Vittorio is a young Italian, writing his story, if I am not mistaken, on his own, without David’s beckoning or presence.

In the dark of the night came a tall dark stranger, demanding his father to pay what was due. His father, being filthy rich, refused with outrage, and soon whole household found themselves on alert, barricading the home, hiding. For the dark figure would not be refused, and no gold or pleas would persuade him. It’s blood he’s after, and he’ll have it.

The story spins around Vittorio as the sole survivor of his family, out for vengeance and vampire blood. Tricked and toyed with he looks like one of those Young Adult book characters, a young warrior with no more than a sword against the darkest forces pits of hell could produce. How funny and delightful it seemed that he’d spare a vampire, believing her fair, fragile, and incapable of intended malice. I must give this book 4 out of 5, and then I’d give a whole five if not some hiccups that I hate in every book. This one’s good tho, in its own way.

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Merrick [VC #7]

1So far I didn’t know Anne to be able to refrain from describing countless of art pieces her characters encounter in Vampire Chronicles, but here it is. Merrick by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles #7; ISBN 0345422406; 370p.; Goodreads) is a fairly easy read in many a sense. Maybe it is because David Talbot told it. Maybe because it was spun around Mayfair witch and archaeology, two topics I delight in. Or maybe just because it’s getting better by the book.

Louis is tormented by the idea that so many people claim to have had encountered his beloved Claudia, and yet he was always blind, and deaf to ghosts, hers included. Thus he turns to David Talbot and Merrick Mayfair, a known powerful witch, able to summon and converse with spirits. David, in turn, having had Merrick as his friend, and lover for so many years, being witness to spirits possessing her, and the very air around her, the danger they pose, is unable to let this pass so easily. Thus he takes it upon himself to tell Louis her story, in hopes that he will spare his own heart from the malicious child-vampire Claudia, and his friend from the threat such a spirit would pose.

As I said, this was an easy read, especially in compare to Body Thief or Memnoch. I believe I will forever remember and compare those books to other Vampire Chronicle pieces, due to their heavy, and thick nature in story telling. And unlike Armand’s story, this wasn’t filled with descriptions of paintings, and architecture. In fact, I feel like this was the first book in Vampire Chronicles that I encountered, where details were spared for the reader by sparing the reader (mind you, details aren’t always bad, I’m just saying that it makes it hard sometimes to sift through them, and all things must have balance). I give it a firm 4 out of 5, and am glad to finally get to know this famous Merrick.

merrick

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – The Vampire Armand [VC #6]

1Oh, what an amusing little thing this was. After the fairly annoying and outright boring previous two books in Vampire Chronicles, “The Vampire Armand” by Anne Rice (ISBN 0345434803; 457p.; Goodreads) has fixed quite a few things in this relationship of ours. I’m not much entertained of stories on mighty love for gods on Earth, or slow pace of telling them, but I do indeed love a good story of a vampire from the days he was a mortal, further to his turn, and all the way to today.

Born Andrej in deep cold Russia boy painted icons dubbed “not made by human hands“. Kidnapped from this life, tormented, and then saved by Marius, who named him Amadeo, loved him, cherished him, taught him, protected him, and later even turned him to be as he is – a child of darkness. But fate was unkind and he was ripped from this life of love and knowledge too, thrown into the darkness of superstitious, demonic, and oh so very gothic vampires, where as one of them, as Vampire Armand, he led a covenant of his kind, the infamous Theater of Vampires, all until Louis came to wreck havoc.

Armand, the boy who was mistakenly thought to speak with Lithuanian accent. Armand, who gave an icon to Prince Michael of Lithuania. Armand, the boy who could paint as if through divine torrent. And what a wonderful tale he had for us, even with Anne’s love and care for the details, even with all the slow inching through the years described. I’ll give this book a very firm 4 out of 5, but mind you, one point is surely there due to the hope it gave me that the further books in Chronicles will be even better. After all, I have already had the pleasure of the two (previously) last ones, and I know what a great impact they might be.

thevampirearmand

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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