4-5

book review | In The Dark by Mark Billingham

mark billingham in the dark book coverAuthor: Mark Billingham
Title: In The Dark
Series: –
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 384
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I keep seeking those good, good crime books. In the Dark by Mark Billingham is not one of those. But it did remind me why I believe that life’s too short to quit a book because it didn’t pick up for a while. The very end of it, and it’s not the first book to do so, has fixed so very much that it made it worth it.

About the Book: A cop driving at night. A gang with a crew member in need to prove himself. Secrets, lies, cover-ups, and victims.

Paul’s widow Helen, an officer herself, now lonely and expecting, can’t help herself but dig deeper into her husband’s life. It turns out he had way more secrets than she suspected. And much darker ones too. Bit by bit they’re making her see what seemed to be a random gang attack to be something entirely else.

My Opinion: The ending is emotionally brutal to the reader. It was dark, unexpected, hard, but so, so good. Story is very slow to pick up, the pace is horrible. Some dialogues were jagged, characters often turned out to be two dimensional, shallow, not to mention completely random unnecessary scenes. I was about to give this book a poor rating, but then it ended like that, and blew me away. See, as a reader you see a little more than Helen. You see the people around her, who she meets, who she talks to. And whom she starts to sympathize with. And it’s bloody beautiful.

Yeah, it’s one of those books. Makes you sad and happy at the same time. As a reader – you’re satisfied with how it happened. But as a human being you’re probably sad. I give it a shaky little 4 out of 5.

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Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, crews, gangs, etc, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro | The Strain 3

guillermo del toro the night eternal vampire book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro
Title: The Night Eternal
Series: The Strain 3
Genre: Vampires; Paranormal
Pages: 576
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes this happens. Sometimes the last book redeems it all. The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro has finally ended for me, and I am happy to admit that The Night Eternal has made it all a bit better as a whole, and worth the time I spent reading it.

About the Book: The world as we know it has ended. Atomic detonations, toxic clouds, ash, smoke, triggered disasters. The sky is covered in a perpetual cloud that only allows meager sunlight through at the greatest peak, for a couple slim hours. This has ensured the vampire dominion, their rule. All the Master is missing now is that damned book of creation, the one with answers on why or how they, him and ones like him, were made, and how will they be or could be destroyed. The same book old vampire hunter died to protect, just so it wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. But what are the right hands? Even in this apocalyptic setting a man is still a threat to a man… Homo homini lupus est.

My Opinion: There was more history on vampires, how they came into existence and what even is the Master. That part was truly interesting. The inner monologues improved too, taking action within events or followed by them closely, thus lessening the sensation that nothing is going on, nothing’s happening, and everyone’s just twiddling their thumbs. Some good plot twists took place too, including character development I did not expect. But all in all, while unique story, it was still pretty simple, very slow, a bit confusing at times, and with questions remaining, even at the end of it all.

All in all the trilogy might be worth reading if you’re really into apocalyptic viral vampire themes like that. Otherwise I’ll refrain from recommendations. This particular, final book in The Strain trilogy gets a solid 4 out of 5 from me, redeeming the sleepiness inducing second book in the trilogy.

Categories: 4-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Elevation by Stephen King

elevation lory stephen king book coverAuthor: Stephen King
Title: Elevation
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Pages: 146
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I used to, and still might complain of how good Stephen King’s books are, but how dragged the stories get, full of events that seem to only serve the purpose of postponing the end. So what’s better than to take some short stories by a good author like that? I picked up “Elevation” and was not disappointed.

About the Book: This book has two stories within. The first one is called Elevation. It’s of a man in small town who seems to be losing weight. Well, not body mass, no. Just the weight. As if gravity decided to leave him be. Anything he holds gets the same fate while he holds it, so he can’t even weight himself down. And it seems there’ll be a point zero, eventually. But until then there’s still time, and he’s not about to waste it.

The second story is called Lory. It’s of a grieving widower to whom his sister gifted a puppy girl. He’s learning to take care of her, and love her. And soon finds himself so very attached to the adorable, communicating animal, that he fights fate nails and teeth when it tries to take her away.

My Opinion: Both stories are good. They’re very well written, as one would expect from someone with so much experience as Stephen King. The only thing I didn’t like, and I’m sad this is what is the least believable part: everyone seemed very mature and kind, and capable of thought process. They said thank-you’s and please, they apologized when necessary, and admitted fault. What sort of fantasy is that?

I can recommend these books for a little bit of heartwarming with a spice kind of read, for there’s tension for sure. From me it gets a strong 4 out of 5

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

book review | “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” by British Library, Author Collective

history of magic harry potter jk rowling book coverAuthor: British Library, Author Collective
Title: Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 256
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’ve no clue where I even got the “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” by authors collective. But I’ve read it, and it was quite nice.

About the Book: Any author, especially any aspiring one, should read this book, just to see how books earning millions to billions are constructed. And how books, in general, the good ones, get written. What it takes, what an overwhelming web it can be. But how it absolutely can be done.

This book describes the basics of how the whole Harry Potter world was created. From the symbolics surrounding the characters, characters that were in our history, to places, buildings, potions, magic beasts…

My Opinion: As an aspiring author I have found a lot of good in this book. Many authors, of course, if not each one, have their own strategies. The key is to find one fitting you. R.R. Martin somewhere wrote he’s the kind who plants a seed and watches it grow, meaning he starts writing and sees where it goes. While Rowling had this whole month-by-month sheet of data, scribbles and scrabbles, several ideas for a single scene, and so on. But as a reader… As a reader who grew up with Harry Potter, loving that world of hope and magic, I found this book full of repeated information. “And this relates to that, and this is equivalent of that in real life, and that means this…

Either way, the book is fun. I’d say it’s unnecessary for a reader, but might be good for an author, but definitely a fun read either way. So I give it a 4 out of 5.

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

book review | The Fever King by Victoria Lee | Feverwake 1

the fever king victoria lee book cover lgbt fantasy young adultAuthor: Victoria Lee
Title: The Fever King
Series: Feverwake 1
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT literature
Pages: 375
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

This is a very strange and interesting tale I’ve just read. “The Fever King” by Victoria Lee is the first book in duology. And I am eagerly awaiting the second one.

About the Book: In this broken world magic comes as contagious virus. To most it’s a death sentence, for there is no cure, just experiments little to none can afford. And those who survive often wish they’d be dead anyway. For in the wake of magical virus taking over blocks before government contains it, it destroys communities, families. If you survive, you’re all alone, a thing called Witching, a weapon in the hands of an oppressive government in a brutal war, with no real power to help anyone in honest need.

Noam wakes up in the hospital, left among the dead, for he was supposed to be dead soon enough too. What are the chances someone from the slums would survive the magical fever anyway…

My Opinion: Let’s start with the bad things. First, the style. It’s a bit tough, at times even demanding. There were moments where I had to re-read entire pages, because something essential slipped by among minor details or got burdened with other things, or wasn’t described well enough to understand right away. Second bad thing, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I needed more world building here, some origin stories or whatever. Yes, I understand most these things can be answered in the second book, but that only means I’ll pick up second one feeling as confused as I was picking this one up. There’s way more good things though. For one, this is a very standard love story, but with very non-basic characters. Jewish, colored, gay or bi, they’re both amazing guys, and their tale is familiar from your regular white-and-straight YA fantasy romances, so this was funny and great, and I loved it. The whole magic thing was amazing too, nothing I’ve ever read before, and the book is worth being read for that alone. Truly, a unique piece of literature.

At times the lack of background, and the boldness of a brand new story reminded me of tales like Guns of Dawn. It’s just that that one was so thick it eventually told us everything, while this one has a second book coming up. I’ll still give it a strong 4 out of 5, and, as I said, will grab myself the second one as soon as it’s out.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Unlearn by Humble the Poet

humble the poet unlearn book coverAuthor: Humble the Poet
Title: Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction, Inspirational
Pages: 288
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I like Humble’s music. And I like his Twitter or IG feed. So, figured I should probably read the “Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life” by Humble the Poet too. And, you know what? It was pretty great.

About the Book: Nobody can give us happiness. Not only they can’t, even if they could, they don’t have to. Nobody owes you happiness, no matter what you gave them. Happiness has to be made, for you, by you. Not so easy, you say? Well, if it was, we’d not need books like this, right? Instead Humble teaches us to be more conscious about our lives. It’s hard to do, because we’re often blinded by emotional strain, stress, pain, but it’s possible, even if it means seeking professional help. You can choose to do something about yourself, for yourself. Even if it’s one conscious glimpse while you’re drinking your favorite tea: it’s good, isn’t it? And isn’t that happiness?

Little drops like that add up, and teach you to be more aware of the good things, even in the face of the dark days you might be having. That’s one great thing I took from this book. Another, and not the only one, be sure, was the time to start lesson. Want to do something, start something? Okay, start. Don’t wait for new years to make resolutions. Don’t wait for the first day of the month. Don’t even wait for that Monday. Start now. That’s the difference between “One Day” and “Day One“.  Which one will it be for you?

My Opinion: Humble writes in this very friendly and familiar manner. He doesn’t spew philosophy to an audience, no, he’s telling you simple things you might know, or you might not, joking with you, telling you a little bit of his own personal experiences, telling you that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Because when you truly want it, truly, you will have it. There’s no commitment, there’s no “do this every day and…” stuff. Humble’s real and simple.

It’s a light read that might just help you reconsider some things in your life. I’ll give it a very solid 4 out of 5, because there were a couple of edges that I could’ve done without, and that’s just my personal take. Other than that, it’s a good book worth the time.

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

book review | The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

the priory of the organce tree samantha shannon book coverAuthor: Samantha Shannon
Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 848
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I do really like dragons. And I’m a curious person in general. So, often, when I see hype start over a book, I feel a great need to find out why. Even though I have rarely ever liked the super hyped books. There’s even a pattern to it, if you see hype, but everyone’s talking about the cover, pages, beauty of it, and how they’ll read it: the hype is a hot air balloon. Yet here I am.

About the Book: Religion built on lies. Empires, Queendoms built on religions. House Berethnet queens have held the throne for a thousand years. It is their sacred duty. For with the end of this dynasty of queens, the Nameless One, a fire breathing dragon, will rise again, and Draconian rule will start once more.

But lies aren’t safe even in the graves. No end is ever fully hidden. Curious, innovative minds dug up the truth, and are in fevered frenzy to let the people know the truth. The truth of this dynasty, of the dragons, worms, cults, religions, and the cycle, the balance of the world.

My Opinion: The book is so overloaded with useless information that doesn’t add to the story, that it gets unbearable at times. I understand that hearing a detailed homely description of this random event is meant to introduce you to one of the main characters better, but the book is 800 pages long. It gets on your nerves eventually. To add to that, it felt like some things didn’t connect well, not only were they useless. It’s like, you’re given this information, it feels vital in the moment, but then through next 700 pages – nothing. The book has left me with more questions, than answers because of it. Meaning, I think that there was no more room to tell the truly interesting stuff, like where did those immortality granting trees come from, why there’s this many, why are they different, what would happen if one was to mix it up a little, and so on.

But saying all that, the book wasn’t bad. It had some fine stories, great legends, and interesting characters. Diverse characters too, LGBT friendly. Only in a fantasy realm, it seems, can some things be so very normalized, things like pure Matriarch, or a pious woman accepting that her husband is gay, and requires a different kind of a mate, but also needs to maintain a reputation. So, I say, let’s read more fantasy, and see how we can change our world for the better.

All in all, if you don’t like dragons all that much, you might not enjoy this book all that much either. The battles were weak, villains had a great need to tell their origin stories in the middle of it, and the names were a nightmare. So I give this book a weak 4 out of 5, for it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have to be so colossal either.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker | Stoker’s Dracula 2

dracula the undead dacre stoker book coverAuthor: Dacre Stoker
Title: Dracula the Un-Dead
Series: Stoker’s Dracula 2
Genre: Horror literature, Vampires
Pages: 424
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

So, the most recent book by Dacre Stoker, the “Dracul” is a prequel to Bram Stoker‘s “Dracula“, and this one. It’s a sort of a fictional biography of Bram Stoker and a sort of the origin of how the book “Dracula” was born, or the basis for it. Then you should read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” itself. And then this book, “Dracula the Un-Dead“, for it is a direct sequel to “Dracula”. And yet, it barely sticks with that prequel.

About: About twenty years after that little band of heroes got terrorized by the truth of vampire existence, Quincey Harker, son of Mina and Jonathan Harkers, against his father’s wishes, but in secret as to not lose his financial support, is pursuing a career as an actor. All is well and good, really. He even gets to meet his hero, his idol, famous actor named Basarab, who fully supports the boy’s want to become an actor, even if his father disapproves. Basarab even promises help, connections. All in return of a small favor Quincey can absolutely provide: introduce him to Bram Stoker. For, you see, Stoker is now building a play called “Dracula”, and Basarab has a few words about it…

But this is where Quincey’s life as he knows it crumbles to dust, bit by bit. The play is based on the book, the manuscript by the same title. In that story the main heroes are his mother, father, and their friends, in hunt of this vampire named Dracula. With fury of thoughts, among which not the smallest is the youthful look of his mother, who easily passes for his sister, Quincey hurries home. Yet, some secrets should remain buried in the past. For no sooner is Quincey able to find some information, confront his mother, as his father is found dead. Impaled.

Mine: The characters seem mentally challenged. They neither have logic, nor can see any. They will listen to absolutely nothing they don’t want to believe in, even if their own beliefs have absolutely no basis other than their own fantasies and fictional books they’ve read. Bram Stoker didn’t even bother to change the names of the people from diaries he presented as his book, apparently. Yes, why do that when you try to outbest your writer friends, such as Oscar Wilde. But. While I equally hate and love Dacre Stoker’s books, I must say, no matter how stupid the plot gets at times, for there’s plenty of second-hand shame I felt, they’re well written. I mean, I need a moment there and here to process the ridiculous ideas, but then, I read further, because I want to, because I’m curious. So, ah… Well done?

So. Dracula wasn’t the only vampire out there. Jack the Ripper wasn’t who you thought he was. And Titanic carried passengers from Stoker’s Dracula. For all of that, for this one and only clever ruse, for nothing else in this book was clever, I give it as much as 4 out of 5. And, you know what? I’d read another one.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Gothic Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

the crown and the lion eli easton book coverAuthor: Eli Easton
Title: The Lion and the Crow
Series: –
Genre: Historical Romance, LGBT Literature
Pages: 146
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

After the giant book that Mistborn 2 was, I wanted something light, short. So I picked up The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton. I don’t know this author, nor have I read anything of hers before. But after this one, I’m down to getting more.

About: Seventh son should not be a threat. He shouldn’t concern his brothers. He’ll have no claim to the throne unless all six before him die, and that’s unlikely. And he’ll marry the most profitable bride for the whole family. But the young man is too pretty. His eyes linger on other men too long. And he’s far too dangerous. So when Christian, nicknamed Crow, offers to be the guide for the knight known as Lion, on a suicidal mission to save his sister from a tyrant, there are those in Crow’s family who don’t take this selfless suggestion as such. But in truth, Crow just wants to escape the pressure, the constant watchful eyes, the bullying. And if that can only be achieved on a deadly mission, well, at least the knight he’ll be with is not hard on the eyes.

Mine: I expected many things, but none of the ones I got. The plot twisted on me, making turns where I least expected them. I mean, take the plot: a knight, honorable and brave, is off to save his sister from an abusive husband. He takes another brave young man with him, whom he believes to be a pampered lordling. So you’d expect what? Proving of self, and a honorable entrance into the castle of a tyrannical old man who’d order them cut down instantly. But luck would be on their side and so on, and on. Instead we got planning, clever scheming, daring but weighted plans. The story, if short, was dynamic, serious, and concluded. Hands down, a real well written book, if nothing else. The only thing, and that’s purely my own preference, is indeed that seriousness. I’m more into light-hearted, humorous characters.

I was wondering, should I let you know if there’s detailed love scenes in books? Would that make a difference in choosing the book? Because some just skim over it, others allude to it, and then some are like this one. I, personally, can give this one a strong 4 out of 5, and will definitely check out what else Eli Easton has written.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, historical romance, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

diversity | “Fallow” by Jordan L. Hawk | Whyborne & Griffin 8

2Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Title: Fallow
Series: Whyborne & Griffin 8
Genre: Paranormal romance, LGBT literature
Pages: 210
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Not gonna lie, I got a little bit tired of these series, I am looking forwards to both their final, and I am indeed thinking I maybe need to take a break from them. We’ll see.

About: A man from Griffin’s hometown murders a sorcerer before his very eyes, and then must be killed himself. For the corruption inside of him that Griffin can see, is making him violent towards the man, blaming him for something Griffin got no clue about. Yet one thing is obvious. Since this man came from Griffins home, the same one that once exiled him for his nature, then they all back there, including his mother, are in grave danger. And he’s too kind of a soul to just let them die.

Mine: I do like that these books always touch upon LGBT community questions that are relevant in our reality, today. Like, how does one carry on living, when those who were supposed to love us unconditionally – turn away? It’s a legitimate truth some people have to live with, and I hope you all know that you can make your own families, and that you matter. But on the lighter note, for one, I almost cried laughing at Whyborne vs Rooster named Diabolo. And for two, oh how I love Christine! She and Ester Gold would surely be best friends, and they’d go hunt bad guys with magic and shotguns. Does anyone know of such a book? I want to read it.

I guess due to the fact these stories are written in a pattern of “one case per book” – it got a little too predictable for my liking. You know trouble will happen soon, and you know trouble will be solved by the end of it. So I think I’ll take a little break, but give this one a firm 4 out of 5, it was one of the better ones for sure.

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

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