4-5

Neil Gaiman – Coraline

17061I wanted to read “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman (ISBN 0061139378; 162p.; Goodreads) for an eternity now. But I kept postponing it, because Gaiman, sometimes, feels like Murakami: I can never be sure if I liked it or not, do I want more of what I’ve just read or not. But I worried for nothing. It was a fun book, and I enjoyed it.

Coraline and her family move into a house that has been separated into flats. It’s an old house, with plenty to explore inside, and outside. But as time goes by, and Coraline’s family doesn’t have enough time to play with her, Coraline is slowly but surely running out of ideas. It’s only that many times that she can visit the neighbors without bothering them, after all. And she already counted all the windows, found all the blue things, and, tasked by her mother, looked what’s behind every door. All except one. That one is locked. Her mother claims there’s a wall separating their flat from their neighbors there. But ever since the key was turned, and the door got left unlocked, strange things began to happen.

On the other side of the door there’s this same flat, but different. Out there, in the Other place, live Coraline’s Other mother and Other father, awaiting her dearly. The house looks fun, better stocked for a girl like Coraline, and her parents are always up to play with her. Yet there’s just something off about them, about their behavior, their black shiny buttons for eyes… Coraline, after one lovely night there, expresses her will to return to her actual family. And while Other parents let her go kindly, they claim they’ll be very, very sad without the girl around. And thus they must motivate her to return…

This was a fun story, a bit scary at times, but otherwise really entertaining. The ending left me wanting, as if it was missing a chapter, or at least 20 more pages, but it is as it is. 4 out of 5 from me, solid!

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Categories: 4-5, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Christina Henry – Alice | The Chronicles of Alice 1

23398606I can’t recall how I stumbled upon this book. I don’t think I had it in my to-read list. And while I like Alice in Wonderland re-tellings, especially the scary ones, I don’t go out of my way searching for them. But since I did read it, let’s talk about it. “Alice” by Christina Henry (The Chronicles of Alice 1; ISBN 0425266796; 291p.; Goodreads) was pretty good, and pretty scary. My only regret is that I didn’t put my hands on it in October. But hey, Nosferatu has a blog called Night Mode Reading for a horror reason, so maybe I shouldn’t complain?

For so many years now Alice lived in asylum, daily drugged, and haunted by the fear that the Rabbit was real. The only other person she gets to talk to is the man next door, as insane a creature as she herself. Maybe even more so. She was merely deluded and he actually chopped people up. But even with his oddities, he’s kind to her, and Alice is glad to have a friend. Even if that friend scares her with creepy stories of some dark creature living in the bowels of mental institution, waking…

Alice and Hatcher are likely the only people who survived the fire of the asylum. They’re definitely the only people who witnessed Jabberwocky rise from the flames. And thus it falls on them to stop the creature most would never even believe to exist. Luckily, as time goes by, the drugs they were fed with for all these years begin to wear off, releasing the suppressed memories. Yet whether they won’t break them mad again is a thing to be seen. After all, they’re going back to the very people who drove them mad with torture and horrors. They’re going to the Old City depths, to meet the Bosses of the gangs that rule this cursed place, for if anyone has anything that could stop the Jabberwocky, it will be them.

There’s a lot of blood and gore in this story. It’s dark, and at times – terrifying. But pretty good as stories on Alice go. I did enjoy it, and I can easily give it a 4 out of 5!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Horror, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Kerri Maniscalco “Hunting Prince Dracula” | 2

+huntingprincedraculaI really waited for the “Hunting Prince Dracula” by Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack The Ripper 2; ISBN 031655166X; 434p.; Goodreads), for obvious reasons. And while the book was pretty good, and really good as murder detectives in this time period go (the time of Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, all loose on England), I’m still a little disappointed. For all the wrong reasons too. For as I said, the book is great. But I missed for Dracula around. It was obvious from the first book that there won’t be no threading the supernatural paths, so what the heck did I expect?

Audrey Rose comes to Romania to study forensic medicine in one of the old Dracula castles. Yet from the moment she sets foot on Romanian soil – strange things start to happen. From bones, to wolves, to strange people, to stranger deaths. There’s one dead, seemingly killed by a vampire. There’s another one, apparently killed by a vampire hunter. It didn’t take much digging for Audrey to find out that these dead people are of same bloodline Dracula was from (Basarabs, Danestis, Draculestis). So not only someone is purging the Dracula line, they’re trying to put a superstition, myth into the kettle too! But what the hell for? Is someone trying to reclaim Dracula’s throne?

The castle hides more than just corpses for students to practice on. There’s plenty of locked doors, pitch black corridors, dangerous creatures lurking in the dark, and traps, due to which Audrey had few too many near-death experiences. Yet the answers are far more important than her fear, for her most beloved friend is a Dracula descendant too. She can’t allow innocents to get murdered like that, and she absolutely can’t allow her friend endangered like this either.

I like how Audrey is written. She’s smart, kind, funny, and yet flawed as a human being would be, making her someone I’d gladly be friends with. The story is good too, even if the bad guys turn out to be deluded idiots, for the lack of better wording. But I’ll take one point for my own personal reason of: that’s not the Dracula I wanted. Trust me when I say, these books are very fine October reads: 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brian McGreevy – Hemlock Grove

12510849Not that long ago I watched series on Netflix called Hemlock Grove. It wasn’t bad, to be honest, especially the first season. Later on I found out that there is a book by Brian McGreevy (ISBN 0374532915; 319p; Goodreads) on which the first season is actually based. And since it’s October, I figured, why not, right? Vampires, werewolves. My verdict? Not too bad.

 

In the town of Hemlock Grove girls are being killed gruesomely. They get torn to shreds, and parts of them are left for people to find. It doesn’t look like it’s wolves. And bears don’t exactly act like that either. That creepy giant of a girl with strange lights under her skin, the Godfrey daughter Shelly, might have had enough strength to tear a girl up tho, right? But to try and question the freak would mean stepping over Roman Godfrey, her weirdo of a brother. He looked normal, but bloody hell, the boy was not normal. Or maybe it’s that gypsy who moved into the trailer in the woods? Rumor has it he’s a werewolf. Hey, you never know, with the White Tower, pulsing it’s white light like the very heart of the Hemlock Grove, with the blasphemous experiments happening within the lab walls – werewolves might just be real.

Peter didn’t expect the new place they moved to to be this much of a muck. First he gets accused of being a werewolf. Then he befriends an actual upir, babbling something about the Order of the Dragon. And all those damned bodies. If it really is a werewolf – they’re in a lot of trouble, all of them. For the being changes on the wrong moon, and the rule, that werewolves change on full moon is there for a reason!

The book is easy to read, but is written a bit odd. Here you spectate from the third person perspective, there you’re reading a journal, or a letter. The best part was the mythology, the werewolves, the vampires. Tho there’s little to none of those, mind you. Still, I can give this 4 out of 5, tho I will refrain from recommendations. As for series, they’re watchable.

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

Lynn Flewelling – Casket of Souls [6]

10184855Yep. The last Lynn Flewelling book in Nightrunner series wasn’t the best (but it was pretty good anyway), therefore this one, “Casket of Souls” (Nightrunner 6; ISBN 0345522303; 476p.; Goodreads) is far better. Yes, the titles are very spoiler-filled, and author doesn’t care to keep any suspense whatsoever, but the characters are easy to like, and I will miss them dearly when the adventures are over.

People of Rhimenee, in hardships brought by war time, get struck down with a mysterious plague they call Sleeping Death. People, mostly just poorest of the poor, fall into a sleep-like coma, and stay so until death of starvation or thirst claims them. No one knows where it came from, what’s causing it, or even if it’s contagious. Not many even care to make a fuss about it, ask these questions out loud, until important people start falling ill too.

In the meantime there’s a new theater trope in the city, and everyone seems to love them. Alec and Seregil make sure to get into the fan crowd as part of it too, if only for the sake to have actors, with whom people often talk very openly, and who hear a lot of things too, on their side. Yet both of our beloved characters harbor healthy distance due to suspicion. After all, they got here just barely before plague started, and they did admit they had to run from their previous home.

You can likely guess that the story is very predictable. From the title, to the newcomers, to the author inserting actual chapters of the evil guys doing evil deeds as if she’s letting us in on a secret. But the adventures are usually fun, and characters – pleasant, so I really can’t give it any less than 4 out of 5. Lovely ending too!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joe Dispenza – Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

12951631I’m trying to read more nonfiction books too, among all the fiction. Don’t know yet how I’ll be able to review them properly, and should I, even. But let’s give it a shot, shall we? I picked up “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Joe Dispenza (ISBN 1401938086; 329p.; Goodreads), due to many reasons, among which my belief that nothing changes, unless you start changing things, is not the smallest. And, honestly, it’s not a bad book, even if I can’t agree with all of it. Nor can I understand some of the instructions. But it was worth the time.

Author, with all the love and respect to your person, tells you outright – if you want to be someone else – stop being yourself. For instance, if you are, like me, a bit on the lazy side, and wish you could enjoy working more, so that you’d not feel too lazy before you even started it – start being that person. How, you ask, you’re still lazy? Well, that’s the damn thing. By associating things, we create shortcuts for them in our brain, to hell with the terminology, and end up unconsciously following patterns, rather than actually experiencing what’s before us. For me, my first jobs were gruesome hard work. So work equals hard, equals tired, equals don’t want to, equals lazy. Today my work is far less demanding, and yet I’m still lazy, because that’s what word “work” evokes in my brain. Author, thus, leads us through series of explanations, and meditations, of how to cut that cord, and make a new one. Basically, how to become your better self, or stop being your lazy self.

The other point he made was autopilot. Our brain trains our body to do, and react, and eventually body takes over. For instance, I might not be able to tell you my PIN, but I will enter it easily. The day I realized I can’t remember the numbers was the day I met a different key-pad. We do that with far more things than we imagine. Our body learns that, say, we react like this to this kind of comment, and so – we react. Rather than being present, and making a conscious decision, after a proper evaluation.

In the end, this was an interesting read. Reminded me a lot of The Secret, but then, I know, love, and respect many people who read that book, and took a firm grip on their life after that, so maybe this one’s just as good a manual of how. Because, let’s face it, if you won’t put the will into it, nothing’s gonna magically happen. Therefore I give this book 4 out of 5, because even tho this is a good manual, at points it felt like ikea manual. I really don’t know what to do, when I’m told “act like it already happened“.

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

Jeaniene Frost – Twice Tempted [2]

x2You didn’t think I’ll quit Night Prince series by Jeanine Frost just because it was a silly-ish romance, did you? That never happened, and there where’s Dracula – never will. So let’s get into the “Twice Tempted” (Night Prince 2; ISBN 0062076108; 360p.; Goodreads), the second book on Leila the lightening woman, and Vlad Basarab Dracula, the fire-starting vampire.

As much as Leila loves Vlad and his people, the treatment he’s offering is rubbing her the wrong way. He disappears without a word on why, where, when. He acts a bit cold. Makes her adjust to his vampiric life, making little effort to adjust to hers. And the final straw – he offers her vampirism in a party he threw, before all his subjects, when both she, and her sister thought really, he’s going to propose. In a state of anger Leila rage-quits everything, sparing no words or actions. She packs up, breaks it off, and leaves. And if she thought her broken heart was bad enough, wait ’till she finds out Vlad’s ex is back on the radar.

Not too late after this whole nasty drama, an explosion meant to kill Leila nearly succeeds, in her stead killing innocents, her friends. Who’d want her dead, and who’d take such indirect, gruesome measures to kill her? Well, honestly the list isn’t all that short, and she can put Prince of the Darkness on it too. Lucky for her, Vlad’s right arm man is ready to help her, and defend her if need be, even from Vlad himself…

This one, to be honest, was pretty good. While the petty things author tried to make you believe are not very believable, the other stuff, like that small little plot twist, gets the job done. Apparently there’s more than just vampires, heck, there’s whole witchcraft and wizardry thing going on. I can give this book a well deserved 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.R. Torre – The Girl in 6E [Deanna Madde 1]

20640318I heard of “The Girl in 6E” book by A.R. Torre (Deanna Madde 1; ISBN 0316404411; 352p.; Goodreads) a while ago, but forgot. Just now I stumbled across whole trilogy in my archives, and since this year I’ve decided to cut up the endless “to-read” list mercilessly, I picked it up. After all, it is one of the shorter ones.

Deanna lives like a real proper recluse. She never leaves her apartment. All she ever needs can be delivered to her, and even then she demands the package left behind the door. She pays her bills working as a cam-girl, and is more or less content with her life. After all, she won. She, or rather the whole world, is safe from her relentless desire to kill. She could no longer trust herself in society, thus here Deanna is, locked up at night by her junkie neighbor with whom she has an arrangement, and keeping herself completely busy during the waking hours, when the door is seemingly open. Her only hope is that someday this desire for blood will starve out.

That is, until this desire instead finds a loop hole in this whole “no killing” rule. One day a man logs into her private session, and soon in, asks her to dress up, well, younger. When offered to give her a name, he doesn’t hesitate, and calls her Annie. Deanna is slowly but surely filling up with doubts. His fantasies are too well thought out. What if there’s an actual Annie out there? And what if, by enabling him, she’s not letting him get his steam off, thus protecting the potential victim, as she believes at first, but rather is putting more oil into the fire? All the doubts she had are crushed once Amber Alert takes place. A girl is missing. One named Annie.

 

The story is pretty good, really. I like how no one is put down for what they do here, neither clients with funky wishes, nor the workers. I’ve friends in this industry, truly great people among them, who’d never admit who they work as due to how society treats them. In the meantime, the men who buy their time get away with it easily, with jokes, and hoots. Thus I think I’ll pass this book to those girls. I myself can give it a firm 4 out of 5, for it did miss some things. For instance, as Deanna leaves her home, going after her own victim, she visits a place or two on her way, and yet there’s no hint, no twitch of her body. I doubt a chocolate addict who avoided even seeing a chocolate bar due to not being able to trust themselves would be so calm once dunked into a barrel of it. But hey, maybe in the next book!

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

Lara Elena Donnelly – Amberlough

29939270I heard a lot of good on “Amberlough” by Lara Elena Donnelly (ISBN 0765383810; 400p.; Goodreads), thus I expected a lot of good too. Sadly, that’s not what I got. But the book was very unique, and pleasant in its own way. Like an interwar story set in a fantasy place: spies, soldiers, politics and trouble when your views on it are wrong, and so on.

Amberlough is the Heart city of Gedda. Full of corruption, bright lights, spies, ugly politics, and revolution, if not outright war, smell in the air. This smell gets stronger as the reader progresses. It all starts fairly innocently tho. Cyril DePaul, against his wishes, against his horror, and fear, is sent back out into the field. As a master spy, he ends up on the other side of the front lines. He’s doing his job well, but soon is informed – there’s a mole on their side. Cyril DePaul is exposed. Funny how sometimes you can expect more humanity from the enemy, than your own comrades…

Cyril bargains for his life, for papers that’ll get him, and his lover Aristide out of the city before the war starts outright. Thanks to Aristide he even gets a very good cover, a woman who can pretend to be his mistress, and not get appalled or run blabbing when she finds out he’s not interested in her. The three of them end up helping each other a lot, sometimes on purpose, other times – by pure accident. But that still doesn’t mean all goes well. It never does, does it?

The book is interesting world-wise. The story itself is mediocre. It’s not bad, truly, no. It’s just not so special either. I do believe that people who like stories from interwar times, rowdy soldiers catcalling at nightclubs, and said club owners shivering at the backstage, for one wrong show will set their property ablaze – will like this book. The characters are interesting, and as I said, the world is too. I can give it a firm 3.5 out of 5, easily.

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

Diana Wynne Jones – House of Many Ways [3]

2173611There we go. I finished Howl’s Moving Castle trilogy, with “House of Many Ways” by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle 3; ISBN 0061477958; 416p.; Goodreads). Now I can honestly tell you: if you like Howl’s Moving Castle movie, but you’ve no time or will to read – first book is more than enough. The rest is not to bad, but it’s far away from everything.

Young book worm, miss Baker, whose name is too difficult for me to spell, so I hope she won’t mind being Baker, has got an opportunity of her lifetime. She’ll get to house-sit her wizard uncle’s house. Wonderful garden, no unnecessary chores or rules, and a wonderful library to that. Yet, not even a whole day has passed, and she already had to run away from a monster in the garden, caused soap to make a storm of foam, had to backtrack in the house, being unable to find places, and got tricked by some books in the library.

Speaking of libraries, her adventures don’t stop in her uncle’s library. She gets accepted to help the King himself tidy the royal library, where King hopes to find clues as of why their resources are draining so rapidly. Someone’s stealing, surely, and as miss Baker starts realizing that, she meets no other than Sophie Pendragon herself, there to investigate undercover.

It’s a lovely book, with funny hints to classy detective. I can give it final firm 4 out of 5, but really, if you don’t feel like reading everything about Howl’s fam – it’s okay to stop with the first book. I’m glad I finished it tho.

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

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