4-5

book review | Master Thieves by Stephen Kurkjian | true crime

master thieves boston gangsters stephen kurkjian art heist bookAuthor: Stephen Kurkjian
Title: Master Thieves
Series: –
Genre: True Crime; Heist
Pages: 272
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I had to brush the dust off “Master Thieves” by Stephen Kurkjian, that’s how long it sat in my TBR pile.

About the Book: In 1990 thirteen pieces of artwork have been stolen from a low security Boston museum. And to this day the case remains open, with even the Boston gangsters trying to help out. For the heist was so perfect, covering every loose end so well, that the art remains missing, and the case remains unsolved.

My Opinion: The book is not very interesting to read, and I dare say its due to a tad dry-ish writing style, because its good for what it is. Well paced, with plenty of details, and on interesting topic. Doesn’t get you invested though.

It’s worth the while if you like books about heists. A 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, heists, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

book review | Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith | 1

abraham lincoln vampire hunter seth grahame smithAuthor: Seth Grahame-Smith
Title: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Series: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 1
Genre: Historical Fiction; Vampires
Pages: 336
Rate: 4-5 | Goodreads

I’ve read “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith, which I didn’t particularly like. But recently, as I found out that the pretty okay movie “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is too based on this author’s novel – I had to pick it up, and hope for the best. Or at least for better.

About the Book: Author who has abandoned his writing and is now working in a general store gets a strange parting gift from his mysterious client. It turns out to be a bundle of notes, diaries that seemingly belonged to no other than the 16th President of the United States. We all know him as the man who finally abolished the slavery. What we, and the author, didn’t know is that he was the best vampire hunter in America too.

My Opinion: The book, as alternative history, is written in a serious tone. Vampire hunts and killings soon become absolutely brutal and breath-taking. The story is well written too, with nothing overbearing, nor lacking. And yet, this balance, left it very mediocre. Which I guess is better than outright dull, but still. When taking it, you have to keep in mind that this, much like Dacre Stoker’s “Something in the Blood” is a take on writing a fictional biography that is loosely based on facts. It still reads as a biography. Meaning there’s a lot of attention to personal things – love, marriage, children, home. Where, if this was written just as a novel, and excerpt of Abraham Lincoln’s life, we would’ve had more action, more adventure.

What I find strange is that the first half of the book is so much better than the second half. Usually it’s the opposite. This one gets a mediocre 4 out of 5 from me. I suggest you watch the movie first and then decide if you care enough to read it. It’s not bad. It’s just not good either.

Categories: 4-5, Alternative History Books, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Other Fiction, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen | 1

bridge kingdom danielle l jensenAuthor: Danielle L. Jensen
Title: The Bridge Kingdom
Series: The Bridge Kingdom 1
Genre: Fantasy; New Adult
Pages: 354
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Oh wow, a brand new piece of great fantasy has graced my virtual shelves. Just read “The Bridge Kingdom” by Danielle L. Jensen, the first book in the series of same name.

About the Book: King’s daughters were trained from the very early childhood to be the most lethal weapons of all. Only the best of them will get to live. She’ll marry the prince of the rival nation, a demon whose rule has starved her own country. And she will find a way to bring him and his nation to their knees, a salvation to her people. That is, if she can survive the nightmare that is known as the Bridge Kingdom.

My Opinion: A very unique piece of fantasy, with a very unusual and great setting, and a well woven if predictable plot. There were issues, like characters being a bit two dimensional, acting strange, causing more problems to themselves, or lacking logic in general. But other than that, it’s easy to read, and feels like a breath of fresh air. Two very different countries, landscapes, way of life. And a thick if slow plot.

A solid 4 out 5, and will read more.

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

book review | Pretty Perfect by Riley Hart and Christina Lee | Boys in Makeup 1

Apretty perfect boys in makeup riley hart christina lee lgbt romance lgbtqiauthor: Riley Hart and Christina Lee
Title: Pretty Perfect
Series: Boys in Makeup 1
Genre: LGBT Romance; Contemporary
Pages: 261
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Ah, there we go, I think I found my new chill-reads. Got through first book in the brand new Boys in Makeup series by Riley Hart and Christina Lee, called “Pretty Perfect“. It’s very simple story in the best kind of way.

About the Book: Jesse and Dane are the polar opposites. A fact their boss happily used, having them dance at the bar together every Friday. Visitors and clients enjoy the sexual tension they perceive between the two. And the pair can’t complain about the tips they make either. They’d like to, though, complain. When you’re hurting – it’s easy to assume the worst about people. And both guys come from pretty painful backgrounds: unaccepting families, nasty exes, heartache, loss. It took them bumping into each other outside the bar environment to realize maybe they’re not so different after all.

My Opinion: It’s a very simple story, with very basic events that work together well, and make for a light, pleasant read. First third or even a little more of the book was pretty slow though, and at times I wondered if I really want to be reading this right now. But later on it all picked up. We got to know their stories, their families, watch them grow out of hurt, and tackle problems with sense and determination. A fairly rare event in romance books, if you ask me.

Not a masterpiece, but a fine read nonetheless. A 4 out of 5 from me.

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

book review | Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers | Wayfarers 3

Record of Spaceborn Few Becky Chambers sci fi space opera science fictionAuthor: Becky Chambers
Title: Record of a Spaceborn Few
Series: Wayfarers
Genre: Space Opera; Sci-fi
Pages: 359
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Right, well “Record of a Spaceborn Few” by Becky Chambers didn’t go so well as the last one did. They all, as I see now, are stand-alone, so there’s that to keep in mind whenever taking the next one.

About the Book: Exodus Fleet, vital home of the first humans to leave the Earth they destroyed is technically no longer needed. Destination has been reached, there’s many planets to live on and thrive. But some still call it home, among which many don’t see themselves ever leaving, while others can’t wait for some solid planet dirt under their feet. Those first ones are often the ones who eye visitors with suspicion. Humans come in treating their home as a zoo. Aliens come in like they’re a charity case… How could they ever know what life’s like here?

My Opinion: There were too many characters to follow for my personal liking. And the story’s path was a tad too vague, towards such big and mighty goal as purpose definition. If life’s not enough on fleet – will it be enough on, say, Mars? Is bread baked there more meaningful than it is here? Is it so bad aliens try to help, offer donations, charity? Does it stunt growth and development, or rather propels the communities towards it?

It’s not a bad book, just absolutely not my cup of tea. If you do enjoy topics like that, it’s worth the time. I give it a 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books, space opera | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan | Takeshi Kovacs 1

altered carbon takeshi kovacs richard k morganAuthor: Richard K. Morgan
Title: Altered Carbon
Series: Takeshi Kovacs 1
Genre: Sci-Fi; Cyberpunk
Pages: 526
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’ve watched both Altered Carbon seasons and that animated movie. Liked it all, so decided maybe I should read the books too. So here we are, with “Altered Carbon“, first book in Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard K. Morgan. And it was pretty damn good.

About the Book: Takeshi Kovacs is apparently the last Envoy – a soldier trained to absorb culture, adjust on any planet, in any body, prepared for any battle, any challenge. Back then, fighting for humanity, their name instilled fear. Now… Now they’re more often remembered as a legend of sorts. And those who do remember what they really are, likely would only care for the last one of them to use those abilities for their own gains. Such is the fate of Takeshi, awoken from slumber after being killed, put in a new, rented body, and set off to solve a murder of the man who hired him. Such is the twenty first century. A relatively immortal man can hire a multiple times dead soldier to find him his killer…

My Opinion: Series and book tell more or less the same story, so keep that in mind when/if considering which to do first. The book itself is truly interesting, full of well described details that give this sense of culture shock on Earth that Takeshi isn’t feeling per say, but it’s alien even to the reader, in a sense. There’s sounds, lights, tech of all kinds, dangerous alleys filled with people ready to hack your mind as well as cut your “sleeve” for some cash. All the fights were way more interesting to read through too, and it was interesting to see Takeshi weighting the price of life: anyone with money can survive a death or few, but who has the money? And then there’s this whole tangled web of who killed whom and why.

The book is definitely worth reading if you liked the series and are willing to take it up knowing the story, more or less. I give a very firm 4 out of 5, taking a point for some string dead-ends, so to speak.

Categories: 4-5, 5-5, AI, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, cyberpunk, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Morgana by Neven Iliev | Everybody Loves Large Chests 4

neven iliev morgana everybody loves large chestsAuthor: Neven Illiev
Title: Morgana
Series: Everybody Loves Large Chests 4
Genre: Fantasy; Humor
Pages: 512
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

After the previous book, series “Everybody Loves Large Chests” fell on very thin ice for me. So I took the fourth one, “Morgana” by Neven Iliev, with caution.

About the Book: Boxxy finally figured that you can’t just kill things to level all the skills up. I mean, you definitely can, but it won’t be as effective. So here he is, infiltrating Azurvale, a city built on trees. Where, carefully navigating social webs, mimic does his best to gather the required teachers, contacts, friends, and things… People alike. Yet air thickens with war approaching. And if one played the skills just right, one could leave this place with life, skills, and even more shinies in the depths of its storage-like body. Not that it will have a choice other than to try, it seems.

My Opinion: Were it not for the explicit sexual content, these books could be both better (the bullshit in the previous book would not have happened then), and could reach a wider audience. For the plot is great, twists are great too, jokes remain on point. Characters are unique, and they show true development, not just evolvement (like pokemon evolution) that the plot implies.

Basically, these are good books, served with a spoon of tar. 4 out of 5 so far.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Funny!, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | A Confession by Leo Tolstoy

leo tolstoy a confessionAuthor: Leo Tolstoy
Title: A Confession
Series: –
Genre: Philosophy; Classics
Pages: 108
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Figured, it’s not a bad time to tidy up those book shelves, and sort them out and away after this whole nasty shebang is over. As a result, I kinda need to read at least some of them. So I began with the shortest one there was, “A Confession” by Leo Tolstoy. How he had faith, lost it, sought it, and found it again.

About the Book: In this short biographical work of philosophy author describes his life nuances that one way or another steered him away from faith. How it affected and even eroded his life, what were the consequences of that, and how he sought after the meaning of life via this prism of faithlessness or godlessness, however you want to call it. He found answers through very deep digging and process of elimination, and, depending on how you view this book, they’re interesting.

My Opinion: I am not religious, at all. But this book, as I said, depending on how you view it, can be very good. Basically, Leo Tolstoy lost the meaning of life and went out to find it again. On his way, deducting answers that didn’t fit the bigger picture, he managed to find a path: life can only be defined around one self, for only your life is in your hands in such a sense that you can only be responsible for your own actions and choices. Taking this in, the answer to the age old question “why ware we here?” becomes clearer: because we are, they say. We are, because we are. So if we indeed are just because, and our life can only be defined around ourselves, does that not clearly point to what’s the meaning of life, after all? If you are just to be, and your being is defined by you, then your meaning of life is… Whatever you make it to be.

It’s a pleasant thought, and a nice short read to that. A 4 out of 5; though I think I need a new scale or system when rating biographies or otherwise biographical works.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Philosophy, Self | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Queen Takes Triune by Joely Sue Burkhart | Their Vampire Queen 6

queen takes triune their vampire queen joely sue burkhartAuthor: Joely Sue Burkhart
Title: Queen Takes Triune
Series: Their Vampire Queen 6
Genre: Vampires; Polyamorous romance
Pages: 315
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Catching up on ongoing series sequels. Today I’ve read “Queen Takes Triune” by Joely Sue Burkhart, sixth book in Their Vampire Queen series. And it continues to be quite not bad.

About the Book: Shara is in a dilemma. A time has come for her to take her rightful place at the Triune, yet none of the prospects seem appealing. It’s all but daggers and malice hidden behind smiles. It seems she’ll have to choose the lesser evil, and hope that Goddess guides her well. Goddess, and her court of monsters.

My Opinion: I love how safe these books filled with monsters feel. Don’t know about you, but I’m tired of drama where liked characters get killed for the sake of plot twist or shock value. Here, even when you have no clue how Shara will find a way out of impossible situation yet again, you can be certain that she will, and she’ll take all of her Bloods (knights) out too. I also enjoy how author manages to write mythology and world building in very well aimed pieces, bit by bit per each book.

It’s a fine series of vampire political court intrigues, and it’s as bloody as it sounds. A firm 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Books: Romance, LGBTQ+ Books, paranormal romance, Polyamorous Literature, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Bloodlist by P.N. Elrod | Vampire Files 1

bloodlist p n elrod vampire filesAuthor: P.N. Elrod
Title: Bloodlist
Series: Vampire Files 1
Genre: Vampires; Mystery
Pages: 160
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

A detective novel of former journalist turned vampire going against gangsters who killed him. Such is “Bloodlist” by P.N. Elrod, the first in Vampire Files series, and, I admit, it was pretty good.

About the Book: Jack can’t remember what exactly happened. He just knows he was killed, and is now driven by vampire instincts and desire to find what was on that mysterious list gangsters demanded from him all the way to his death. After all, he was a journalist in his first life. Down this hellish road, luckily, he meets allies: an almost sherlockian detective, and, naturally, a girl…

My Opinion: While not the best detective you will ever read, it will sure do its best to entertain. Noir atmosphere, gangsters and cigar smoke, charming women hiding their strength, a disguise master detective, and… a vampire.

The book was easy to read, entertaining, and not too predictable either. I can give it a very firm 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, mafia, murder, Mystery Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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