4-5

book review | The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French | The Lot Lands 1

the grey bastards jonathan french the lot landsAuthor: Jonathan French
Title: The Grey Bastards
Series: The Lot Lands 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 529
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Thick books are hard to review, for they tend to encompass a very long period of time, with too many events happening. Such is “The Grey Bastards” by Jonathan French, a great book that doesn’t really fit in a single paragraph to express what was it all about.

About the Book: Jackal and his other half-orc brothers and sisters, The True Bastards, lived a relatively easy life in the Lot Lands, all up until a series of events, starting with a single pebble, sent down this mountain of almost leisure down in an avalanche. An argument with knights, a stolen and sold elven girl in the hands of the nastiest possible monster, an appearance of half-orc wizard, a being unheard of… There’s a tension for war in the air, with almost every possible enemy. Jackal isn’t sure their old chief is capable of keeping them all alive, and the wind already smells of blood.

My Opinion: I do greatly enjoy books told from non-human perspectives; extra points for them not being elves too. Nothing against elves, I love them dearly, but I’m pretty sure we’re all a little too used to fantasy meaning elves and dwarves as the only possible adventurers. Characters are written well, with tales of their own, even if their characters sometimes blend together. The book is a pretty good example of what’s epic fantasy adventure like, but made better by overload of filthy jokes, down to earth heroes, and clever beasts. The only problem I had were the overly long discussions that led nowhere, or to conclusions that could’ve been reached in two sentences.

A good book, not the best, but definitely good, so a 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Adventure Books, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | This Rough Magic by Josh Lanyon | mystery

this rough magic josh lanyon a shot in the dark lgbt book coverAuthor: Josh Lanyon
Title: This Rough Magic
Series: A Shot in the Dark 1
Genre: Detective mystery; LGBT Literature
Pages: 173
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

When I’m too lazy to make myself a TBR, I allow algorithms pick me a book. This time it was “This Rough Magic” by Josh Lanyon. And since I’ve never heard of it, and knew nothing about it, it came as a surprise.

About the Book: During a party in Sheridan house, someone stole a priceless Shakespeare folio. Their father puts up an ultimatum of three days: return it or police will get involved. But Brett, worried, and rightly so, that his sister might be involved in the theft, hires a private detective. Who turns out to be so good, he finds not just the folio, but all of the hidden and buried secrets too…

My Opinion: It’s one of those nice classic noir detectives filled with cigar smoke, and scent of martini, with sunny sounds of tennis being played outside permeating a scene or two. I like these, but rarely do I find good ones. And this one’s an LGBT one too, adding a great bonus which makes me curious about the next one in the series.

A good, easy to read book. I can give it a firm 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Mystery Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Naturally Tan by Tan France

Tan France Naturally Tan Queer EyeAuthor: Tan France
Title: Naturally Tan
Series: –
Genre: Biography; LGBT+ Literature
Pages: 304
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I was pretty much a kid when the first, old Queer Eye came out, teaching me about choosing right clothing sizes, and hair care. When new Queer Eye came out on Netflix, I got through all I could as fast I could, for it was even better than the old one. So now I’m reading host bio’s, starting with Naturally Tan by Tan France.

About the Book: Tan tells us of his life and what it was like growing up a gay brown boy from a Muslim family in Britain. It’s not easy now, so it wasn’t easy then. But he persevered, and managed to find happiness, joy, and even a wild streak, as say the one that got him on a plane to New York with his friends, his parents none the wiser. He got through many jobs until he finally landed the one in Queer Eye. How that happened, and some very fun behind the scenes of the show are all in the book too.

My Opinion: Tan is a very dear and wonderful person. The book worth the time, for at the very least you’ll learn more about style and the show that you love.

A firm 4 out of 5 from me, with hopes that there’ll be another book someday.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: NonFiction, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant | LGBT+ Fantasy YA lit.

prince of air and darkness by m. a. grant book coverAuthor: M.A. Grant
Title: Prince of Air and Darkness
Series: The Darkest Court 1
Genre: LGBT+; YA Fantasy
Pages: 310
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes by sheer accident I find these lovely books as “Prince of Air and Darkness” by M.A. Grant and get to wonder so how does book marketing work then? Is it all based on money? Because this book could be promoted hard as Maas’s ACOTAR series with Captive Prince characters to it. It’s not yet that level of good, but it was pretty darn nice, and is worth picking up if you like the fairy tale like stories as acotar were (I harbor no love for the author, mind you), but would like it to also be m/m romance.

About the Book: Phineas Smith is one of those rare humans with such grand magical powers that he gets to study in a School of Magick. And while that sounds great and all, it really isn’t. He’s bearing through it, hoping it’ll help his parents in the long run. But magical people, fae and alike, don’t like him all that much. Not to mention that his powers are seriously impossible to tame, so he’ll likely fail his exams. And then there’s the odd creatures who crave raw power like that and end up hunting him… But not all is bad, of course. He does have a friend of two. And his roommate, arrogant prince of Air and Darkness, Roark Lyne, happens to be there for him at the right time in the right place, whenever he really needs some ass saving. Phineas can hate him all he wants, but he has to admit… Roark doesn’t seem as bad as he plays to be.

My Opinion: While not per say anything special, the book was absolutely good enough for me to not wish to put it down. I wanted to read it cover to cover, and didn’t only because time didn’t allow for it. There’s some weak spots, like Phineas’s want to help his parents, but then, at the start of the book he doesn’t want to talk to them, and at the end of the book he doesn’t even think about letting them know he solved his own problem too. But there were some real strong points too that made all the difference. Like finding true silver lining in what seemed to be the worst possible outcome.

I give this book a strong 4 out of 5, and am looking forwards to reading the next one.

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

book review | Fat Vampire by Johnny B. Truant | Vampire lit.

fat vampire johnny b truantAuthor: Johnny B. Truant
Title: Fat Vampire
Series: Fat Vampire 1
Genre: Vampires; Humor
Pages: 196
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Ah, there it is, the “Fat Vampire” that I did want to read, first in the Fat Vampire series by Johnny B. Truant. Though it ends so well it could very well be a stand alone too. I appreciate the non-cliffhanger endings.

About the Book: Reginald never really thought of whether he’d like to be a vampire or not. His days were spent busy trying to survive adult bullies at his job. And they say it gets better after high-school! But even with all that in mind, once given a choice to die or become a vampire, Reginald didn’t hesitate, and made a choice he found himself enjoying greatly: as a vampire he was faster, stronger, and didn’t start dripping sweat by merely moving about. Yet his maker still watched him with a degree of pity for some reason…

Humans who wish to become vampires train martial arts, work out, eat right, just to be their best self, have that muscle memory, all that. And by having to go through a test formed by a vampire council Reginald will soon discover what it’s like being fat in this world of darkness.

My Opinion: Characters felt a little too dull, more like better versions of groupies ready to propel Reginald through the plot. And the jokes were a tad on the dull side. But the plot was clever, well condensed, and had a good pace to it. All in all making it a nice, different afternoon read.

I’m definitely giving this book a very solid 4 out of 5, and I do believe I’ll take me the next book in the series too.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Books: Horror, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Queen Takes Rook by Joely Sue Burkhart | Their Vampire Queen 4

queen takes rook by joely sue burkhart book cover.jpgAuthor: Joely Sue Burkhart
Title: Queen Takes Rook
Series: Their Vampire Queen 4
Genre: Paranormal Romance; Vampire
Pages: 244
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Finally I got to put my paws on fourth book in Their Vampire Queen series by Joely Sue Burkhart, called “Queen Takes Rook“. Sadly this one’s much slower than the other ones, but the lore is getting better and better.

About the Book: House Skye is infamous with the power and cruelty. And their Queen expects to take Shara Isador, the last of her House, to swear to House Skye and be her sib (sibling, sister). Shara, not caring one bit for the cruelty towards herself or anyone else, especially not her Bloods (knights) sees no other option but to fight, and if push comes to shove – destroy House Skye. But to do so she needs a strategy wrought from iron, for some of her Bloods have Skye blood in them, and thus can be used against Shara and themselves too. And yet, that’s by far not all House Skye has in store for her…

My Opinion: The lore here is truly great. I’d happily read a whole book on how god of light, Ra, is the bad guy here. Be it because he is a bad guy, or because he’s the bad guy for vampires. As the saying goes, we’re all villains in someone’s story. Then there’s whole shifting vampires thing. Some turn to beasts, animals. But others turn to mythological creatures, from unicorns to leviathan dragons. The only true but big complaint I have is the slowness of the plot. There were too many unrelated steps before we finally got to see some vampiric scheming and ass kicking in leviathan proportion.

A good, short, steamy vampire read. 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, Books: Romance, F/F Literature, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Nosferatu Books, paranormal romance, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore | The Legend of Drizzt 4

crystal shard the legend of drizzt dark elf salvatore book coverAuthor: R.A. Salvatore
Title: The Crystal Shard
Series: The Legend of Drizzt 4
Genre: Fantasy; High Fantasy
Pages: 344
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I keep craving classical fantasy, something like J.R.R. Tolkien, or Peter S. Beagle, or Frizt Leiber. I’d even happily read George R.R. Martin’s next book in the Song of Fire and Ice if it was out, but since it isn’t… I picked up another book by R.A. Salvatore, a fourth book in the Legend of Drizzt series in The Forgotten Realms. The Crystal Shard is the first book in the second trilogy in the Legend of Drizzt series, The Icewind Dales, and it was good, with a promise for better.

About the Book: An enthralled mage, ruled over by a demon he foolishly tried to summon now influences the minds of warring folk, and leads great armies towards the Icewind Dales, a place our dark elf Drizzt calls home. So, the moment he spots a sign of it in the horizon, he hurries to warn people. It’ll take a force of the whole united peoples to withstand this, but rulers are having hard time believing a word of a dark elf, especially since there’s no proof. They don’t wish to abandon their fishing boats and homes for an alliance that might not even be needed. And when they’ll have their proof, Drizzt fears it’ll be gravely too late.

My Opinion: The one point I took away is for the slightly forced sense of honor. While it’s a trait very common in classical fantasy, I find it bitterly annoying when people do what’s right, and not what’s logical. Still, the book was amazing! Full of great battles against barbarians, giants, orcs, mages, demons! And it ended with a note of a great adventure in the next one, so I’m really looking forwards to it.

A great book to satisfy that classic High Fantasy craving, a firm 4 out of 5 from me.

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

book review | American Kingpin by Nick Bilton

american kingin silk road nick biltonAuthor: Nick Bilton
Title: American Kingpin
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Biography
Pages: 328
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Everyone has likely heard of the Dark Web. Possibly even the Silk Road on it, one of the most notorious sites on the other side of the internet. American Kingpin by Nick Bilton is a book about its creator, biography of a man who made a dark market place so resilient, it still exists, even after his imprisonment for life.

About the Book: Dark Web is a strange and, well, dark place. And yet we’re separated from it by a mere browser and a few clicks. But most of us spend all our lives unaware of this Other Side, let alone venturing into it. In the end, that’s really the point: to remain invisible, unmonitored, anonymous. Ross Ulbricht was merely one of the many people with questionable morals, who found a way and justification to exploit the human need for the forbidden, the dangerous, and the illegal. According to him, a government has no right to tell us what we put in our bodies, we ought to remain autonomous over it. And yet substance fitting excuses evolved to accommodate such things as weapons, organs, and even suicide kits, manuals and all.

And while Ross was eventually found and imprisoned for life, Silk Road remains active and is now known as the most resilient dark market place on the whole Dark Web.

My Opinion: Let me just clarify right now: not only do I not suggest you go see for yourself, I very much suggest you don’t. Your safety depends on more than just a browser, believe you me. Rather, read this book first and see what little, minuscule things have finally brought this Kingpin down and brought FBI to his doorstep. As for the book itself, it’s good. Clever writing will not bore those who are familiar with the tale, and will ease in, and entertain those who had no clue such a place existed or could even be possible.

It’s a good book I could recommend for the mere fact of how well it portrays our fragility of safety online. 4 out of 5, solid.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa | Blood of Eden 1

the immortal rules julie kagawa vampire book coverAuthor: Julie Kagawa
Title: The Immortal Rules
Series: Blood of Eden 1
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires
Pages: 485
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa became an accidental chill-read to me. It wasn’t to my taste, but was written well enough, so not caring too much about the plot, I just went through it with ease of a light read.

About the Book: Allison Sekimoto was born and raised in a vampire city. As an unregistered she had to survive on the fringes of it, stealing, begging, raiding, and risking her life every single day just for a chance to do it all again tomorrow. People like her, those who chose this life of hardship, are considered subhumans and don’t matter. Nobody cares if some wicked vampire or their pet slays an entire gang. While registered folk get meal tickets and relatively greater safety in exchange for regular blood donations. But even life of an unwanted unregistered at risk of death is better inside the walls, than outside, where rabids rage. An infection that can equally affect both mortals and immortals. Death then is the least of your worries…

My Opinion: It’s one of those tales, where world succumbed to an epidemic. Vampires, threatened by human extinction, stepped in to help, but the virus mutated and started affecting everyone, them including. So now they all live huddled in vampire ruled cities, humans serving vampires, for vampires offer protection from rabids who are faster and stronger than any human out there. But all those who must draw breath dream of Eden, this mythical city ruled by humans, with no vampires in sight.

It’s not a bad book, just not for me. I’ve read such before, I just don’t like plot like this. But it’s well enough written, so if you do, it’s not bad, really. I can give it a 4 out of 5, taking a point for mind boggling predictability at times, coming from young vampires, who think they know better. It’s a very safe plot.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Borgias: The Hidden History by G.J. Meyer

borgias g.j. meyer cesare rodrigo lucreciaAuthor: G.J. Meyer
Title: The Borgias: The Hidden History
Series: –
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Pages: 478
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I couldn’t pass a chance to read The Borgias by G.J. Meyer when I spotted it. Too great a nostalgia factor in this one, from far away teenage years, the first real and true friends. They brought a lot of beautiful interests into my life, among which was the love for history. Many evenings were spent reading of Borgias, Draculesti, Tudors, and others.

About the Book: During the Renaissance Borgias were a considerable force in Italy, if infamous: poisoners, adulterers, schemers, there’s even rumors of incest. But what’s true, and what’s fiction is often hard to tell. This book here tries to answer whether the Borgias truly were just a cesspool or depravity? Or were they indeed powerful generals, warriors, princes, popes, and naturally – political players.

My Opinion: This is an easy written book that’s entertaining to read. Author, at times, seems to lean towards clearing the poor Borgia name, especially when it comes to Lucrezia and Cesare, something a historical book probably shouldn’t do, but it didn’t come without basis. Besides, it began all the way at the fight against Ottoman Empire, meaning even such figures as Vlad Dracula got mentioned, which then completely bought me over. I feel like you can’t be bored with books like this. Or is it my inner historian talking?

The book is probably a bit too thick to suggest you read it in the evenings for leisure? But then, Autumn is here, more rainy evenings to get cozy during, it might work! I give it a 4 out of 5, solid.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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