4-5

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.

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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!

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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.

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Amy Schumer – The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

29405093I love Amy Schumer stand-ups, and I love the reactions of people who’d watch them with you. I could give you a long why’s-that story, but maybe next time. Right now, let’s talk about her biography “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo” (ISBN 1501139886; 323p.; Goodreads). I can’t say I enjoyed it much, but it really had some super good points, that made it worth the while.

 

I love how this wonderful comedian owns her truths, and shameful moments. Instead of letting you call her out, she’ll go ahead, and stand up to tell you about it herself! And it’s great not only on a personal scale of her, me, you. It’s important in a larger scale of the world too. For instance, she mentioned the stigma in America of Old Money vs Young Money. Old Money equals being born into money. You’re a rich refined kid in a fancy car, with little understanding of what this poverty thing is. Young Money is the kind you made on your own, being born average, or in said poverty. Amy bravely admits acting like trash who just won the lottery, not wanting for anything, not saving now, when she could, and instead eating dumplings for months to come later, when she couldn’t. But then she mentions the other aspect of Young Money. The giving aspect. Someone with little to no understanding of what it’s like to need, let alone want something will not feel the same joy Amy had when she finally could afford to give her sister a 10k check. I mean, I guess they could be that good of people, and feel joy, but how many rich people with sense of generosity do you know? Old Money and generous? So here Amy Schumer stands: you can’t judge me, I already judged myself, we’re done, time to move on!

And that’s just one of the great examples. There’s plenty of less good-humored ones, less funny, and even truly sad episodes. Like her broken family, sick father, mother who can’t seem to find her spot in this life, the forced cynicism, ought to protect from attachments to people who will inevitably leave your life anyway.

And while I see great value in this book, and respect Amy Schumer, I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as I did some other biographies of wonderful women out there. But I guess that’s the thing, right? She passed a good message, and you don’t have to like the way it was given, to see the value in it. 4 out of 5 to the girl with the lower back tattoo.

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

Diana Wynne Jones – Castle in the Air [2]

47520Ah, well, okay. “Castle in the Air” by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle; ISBN 0064473457; 298p.; Goodreads), second book in Howl’s moving castle trilogy, is not per se a direct sequel to the Howl’s family. Instead, for the most of the book, story follows other characters, in a whole other land, with whole different beings granting wishes.

Abdullah was selling carpets, minding his own, when a man came offering a flying one. Abdullah, not being an idiot, tested the carpet, and bargained to the last penny too, but did buy it. Happy with his new piece, he fell asleep content, just to wake up… In a strange garden, with the most beautiful woman looming over him that he ever had the luck to lay eyes upon. Sadly, Abdullah doesn’t know why carpet brought him there, and so he can never be sure he’ll see her again, thus he decides he’ll propose once they meet again. And when that day came at last… The love  of his life was kidnapped by an angry Djinn.

Abdullah is not the kind of a man who gives up his hopes, and dreams, once he already found him, so he ventures out after the djinni, determined to find the evil bastard, and get his princess back. On his way there he meets a soldier no other person can recall. He, reluctantly, befriends a cat, who turns out to be far more than just a cat. And eventually even meets Howl himself…

It’s a great story, fitting Arabian Nights very well. But I did miss Howl, and his family very greatly, so I would’ve preferred some more of them. Thus I’ll give this book 4 out of 5, for the repetitive nature mostly, but will absolutely read the last one in the trilogy.

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

Lynn Flewelling – Shadows Return [4]

2065091The tradition continues with Nightrunner series. Every second book is far better than the previous one. So while I didn’t much like the fae realms, I did love all that happened in “Shadows Return” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 4; ISBN 0553590081; 522p.; Goodreads). It had a good pace, and a great, alchemy filled story.

Seregil and Alec return to Rhimenee, hoping to create a new runner persona, since their previous alter ego had to die. Even the most clueless nobles of the city might have otherwise noticed the pattern: Cat returns when Lord Seregil returns! Odd! Yet their fate had other plans for them. Remember that prophecy by oracle? Time to put it back in motion. Seregil and Alec end up in slavers hands, and are taken to enemy lands, where fae blood, especially the kind Alec has in his veins, is highly valued. Thus, they are separated, and sold…

Seregil, away from Alec, ends up at the mercy of his former lover, the man who betrayed him, the man who had him exiled. The only joy Seregil now has is the bittersweet knowledge: he is a slave too, if gilded.

The story was really pretty great, reminded me of Anne Rice’s “Claiming Beauty” trilogy, and C.S. Pacat “Captive Prince” too. I’ll give it a firm 4 out of 5, and hope it continues with these great topics!

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

K.J. Charles – A Gentleman’s Position [3]

25893424I somehow didn’t realize third book of Society of Gentlemen by K.J. Charles is out. Something in my brain thought it’s to yet happen. But I remedied myself quickly, after a friend corrected me, and got on with finishing the trilogy with “A Gentleman’s Position” (Society of Gentlemen 3; ISBN 1101886072; 246p.; Goodreads). And I can say that this one is my favorite one. With slight Kuroshitsuji vibe of resourceful butler, here – valet…

David Cyprian, Lord Richard Vane’s valet, goes out of his way, and beyond, to keep his master’s comfort. It is why, after all, he’s the very best, and most sought after valet. It is his pride, and joy to serve such a great man as Lord Richard, so when the need comes for him to blackmail, bribe, and burglar – the man takes it as his duty, no less. After all, he’s not a gentleman himself, and, truth be told, has a thing or two he could live with staying hidden from his personal life, and the past. The only little problem is that he is in love with his master. And there’s nothing to be done about it.

Richard Vane is a powerful man, with strong morals, and great mind. Made even better by his resourceful, irreplaceable valet, he tackles even the worst of situations, such as a threat hanging above the head of his beloved friends. Someone wants to expose them, and Richard is just not having it. Especially not when he sees nothing wrong with two men in love. After all, he himself harbors less pure thoughts about his valet too…

While a little slow with action, this was a great book, made so by Cyprian’s character. He’s clever, and resourceful, something I keep mentioning in my review a lot, and I think, in some other book, he would’ve made a great villain. 4 out of 5, very firm!

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

K.J. Charles – A Seditious Affair [2]

25241403When I picked up second K.J. Charles book in Society of Gentlemen trilogy, “A Seditious Affaird” (Society of Gentlemen 2; ISBN 1101886064; 251p.; Goodreads), I thought I’ll continue my adventures with Harry and Julian. But that was not the case. We get to see what their friends were up to in the meantime.

Silas Mason, much like Harry himself is a Radical. He prints and spreads books, and other literature of revolution. Books, even the worst of their kind, are favorable to him over people, even the best of the kind. He breathes this, he lives this, this vision of England where he and a gentleman would be respected, and treated the same. And to let the steam off in the meantime, he has his Tory lover for Wednesdays, with his masochistic needs fitting Silas want for any kind of satisfaction against the gentry.

Dominic Frey is a well-born gentleman working for the law. Every Wednesday he awaits for Silas, trying to push all the bad thoughts away. What if his colleagues catch on? What if they find his Radical lover? Would he give up all he has to save the man he’s secretly nurturing feelings for? Or would he see him hang for those vile ideas? One of these nights his worst nightmare comes true, and they end up running for their lives, after which there’s nothing more to do, but share each other’s visions. They need to figure where they stand, before they end up on the gallows. One has to convince the other.

The book felt like a mix of A Charm of Magpies, and previous Society of Gentlemen book, with those little moments of peace at the richer man’s house, and escaping with their lives. I’ll give this one another 4 out of 5, it’s a very easy read!

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

K. J. Charles – A Fashionable Indulgence [1]

23834716I’m a fan of K.J. Charles, and her easy-to-read, suspension-adventure filled books. So after a short recommendation, and a long wait, I went ahead and grabbed “A Fashionable Indulgence” (Society of Gentlemen 1; ISBN 1101886021; 264p.; Goodreads). And while this was not as great as A Charm of Magpies, it didn’t disappoint either.

Harry Vane is a Radical in Regency England. He fights for reforms, democracy, and one law for all. Radical bread in general is not sweet, yet when his grandfather, who decided he needs an heir, plucks him off the streets, and drops him into Julian’s lap, in attempt to make him a true gentleman – he’s about to choke on it. If Harry wants his inheritance, he’ll have to learn to hide his views, and play along. It’s just that, Julian, unlike his grandfather, doesn’t look all that appalled by it…

Already difficult Harry’s life turns upside down when his friend gets murdered the night he wore Harry’s coat. The man was not robbed, even thou he had the wallet Harry gave him. Thus both him and Julian come to conclusions – someone tried to kill Harry, and might still be out to get him. Did someone in Society of Gentlemen found out Harry’s true nature?

This was a pretty good detective, something I rarely say. I didn’t expect the things that happened, and I enjoyed the dandy side of this society more than I expected too. I still missed the witchcraft, so 4 out of 5 it is. Not because it lacked action without magic, but because I can’t help but compare the two trilogies. The cover is great tho, isn’t it?

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

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