4-5

sci-fi | “Scarlet” by Marissa Meyer | The Lunar Chronicles 2

1Author: Marissa Meyer
Title: Scarlet
Series: The Lunar Chronicles 2
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy
Pages: 454
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I was getting warnings left and right of how I’ll just have to bear through this book, how boring it’ll be, and so on. And yet I liked it very much. I guess it only shows how no matter what your favorite bookbloggers say: only you may know whether you’ll like a book or not.

About: Scarlet’s grandma went missing. And nobody’s doing a thing about it. No, they even go as far as slander her name, saying she was crazy, or that she possibly killed herself, because she left her ID chip behind. But Scarlet knew her grandma, and would never believe such horrible things. Her fears are confirmed when her father breaks into their home and frantically turns everything upside-down, in search of something her grandma hid. You see, he was kidnapped and tortured in front of his own mother, Scarlet’s grandmother, and she’d not give up her secrets anyway. So he must find it on his own, or die trying, since the people who had him, will surely kill him. Scarlet has an idea of what it could be, but she doesn’t trust this man she barely ever saw enough to share the information. Instead, she’s off to find her grandmother on her own.

Mine: This is a very interesting and fun take on Little Red Riding Hood, with very big bad wolves, and lots of red. There’s also a continuation on the monsters from Luna that we saw pictures of in the previous books. I liked Scarlet, she was smart, clever enough to get around and tell Cinder off for lacking the wits, and even being selfish. For Cinder definitely wasn’t around, if you know what I mean. Her decisions sometimes seemed off, arguments – lacked substance. That’s all because her mind was on a whole different matter at all times, but still, Scarlet was a good call of reality. The story itself is well written, easy to read, filled with action, and perfectly paced. Entertainment for hours or even days.

I enjoy the series a lot so far. Hopefully it grows ever better, 4 out of 5 for now, strong.

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

diversity | “Hoarfrost” by Jordan L. Hawk | Whyborne & Griffin 6

1Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Title: Hoarfrost
Series: Whyborne & Griffin 6
Genre: Paranormal, LGBT Literature
Pages: 274
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I feel odd attachment to the characters, much like I had with Nightrunner series. Stories are similar too, just, this one here, is not fantasy, and is more concentrated on the romance part. Either way, a light read.

About: Griffin has finally found one of his brothers, and exchanged some correspondence with him. He lives in the frozen Alaska, working in a mine, digging for gold. One of such work days he came upon a tablet filled with strange symbols, and, having heard plenty of Whyborne by then, sent it over to his brother. Whyborne translated it fairly quickly, packed Christine and her beloved, and all four went to wade in the snow. They must hurry and find the gate tablet speaks of, for the runes that lock the gate between humanity and monsters in the city under the mountains are growing weak… And worst part? Griffin soon starts hearing voices, hearing them.

Mine: It’s a very strange story. I’ve no better word than that, for it is strange, full of dark tunnels, snow, frost, monsters. It felt like reading a video game at times. I neither liked it, nor disliked it. No, I think I liked it more than disliked it. Mostly because, even though predictable, the story is well wrapped around. There’s no plot holes, writing is smooth, reading is easy. You start in the morning, and you can put it away, finished in the evening.

It’s definitely good enough to continue with the series. So here’s a 4 out of 5 for the time being.

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

fantasy | “Asunder” by David Gaider | Dragon Age 3

4Author: David Gaider
Title: Asunder
Series: Dragon Age 3
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Did you know Dragon Age 4 is in the making? A teaser came out in 2018 December, and I missed it until recently. Announcements are to be expected in this year’s E3. I can barely contain myself. But that was a great excuse to continue with the book series.

About: Blight is over, but troubles are far from it. Kirkwall fell as mage Anders pushed the Chantry, Templars, and the Circle of Magi into an open conflict, forcing everyone’s hand. He believed a change is necessary, and can only happen when there’s no other choice. Otherwise everyone will succumb to the old ways. His actions rippled through Thedas in an echo, creating tension and outright battles.

While some mages, still huddled in their Circles, formed loud political groups, demanding freedoms and rights, others believed there ought to be a better way than lose mages on the world, or mages locked in their towers, away from the world, under constant, maddening surveillance. One of such mages is Wynne. And with the secret support from Divine Justinia herself, she sets off to a former Grey Wardens keep, now left scared due to a fairly recent demon outbursts. For, you see, Wynne seeks a friend there. A friend who has become an abomination against all odds. For this friend was a Tranquil, cut away from the Fade, and all human emotions, made as unsavory for demons as a rock would be. And thus, the answer to how this happened, and how it affected the said Tranquil might just be what they all need.

Mine: The setting of this book is right after the second game, and just before the third one. There’s very many familiar faces, names, places. Some very interesting lore, a bit of history, and a good handful of nostalgia to those who have played their share of Hero of Ferelden, or Champion of Kirkwall. On top of that, one of the most prominent characters in this book is a young man called Cole, who people either can’t see or if they saw him – they forget all about it. The only true minus I got for this book is that there was truly plenty of time for walking and talking spared. Of course, it’s understandable, if you remember the maps in the third game, for those are the ones they cover in this book. But still, pacing could be just a little brisker.

I loved it alright. There wasn’t even a chance that I didn’t love it. 4 out of 5. Ah how I wish I could replay them all now…

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

diversity |”The Disasters” by M.K. England

3Author: M.K. England
Title: The Disasters
Series: –
Genre: Sci-fi, LGBT+ Literature
Pages: 253
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Not gonna lie. The cover is all of my vibes, and that was the main reason I picked this book up. Lucky for me, it wasn’t a bad story either, with a lot of real fine characters.

About: They were great at what they aimed for. And yet, they got scratched for this or that nonetheless. So there they were, failed pilots and whatnots, packing their bags to go back home as warning sirens flared and got silenced just as abruptly. In those short moments they had to decide their own fates, and those, as it later turned out, of human colonies. Meet the Swift Kick crew, the most diverse and fiercest little group of misfits any terrorists have ever seen.

Out there there is a terrorist group that calls itself Earth First. Their philosophies all lean on one idea: get rid of the colonies. Some think we should take care of our own planet first. Others believe Earth to be sacred. Either way, they’re up to some murder, and the space station those kids were on? Oh, that was just the start.

Mine: Once again, a mediocre story that you’ve definitely read before under different names, circumstances, titles. But saved by really great and diverse characters. All of the skin colors, all of the sexual orientations. The bisexual guy was actually bi, not just by the title author would slap on to get diversity points. Religions are on board too. One young woman is practicing, and has hijabs to fit a situation. She’s a badass hacker too, and, my favorite, a rebel. And if that’s not yet representing, there’s a transgender woman too. Full, glorious set. The story itself is fast paced. Just as you get through what seemed a longish personal episode, grenades are flying, bullets are whistling. It’s written in real fun speech manner too, no sugarcoating, straight to the point, with no high and mighty phrases. But, as I said, the plot has been chewed on plenty by now. So it’s as predictable as they get, with merely different details.

All in all, I’m going to give it a strong 4 out of 5. It was an easy, fun, fast read. If you feel like supporting diversity in literature, this is one of the books to take and review, I feel.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, LGBTQ+ Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

detective | “Jackrabbit Smile” by Joe R. Lansdale | Hap and Leonard 12

2Author: Joe R. Lansdale
Title: Jackrabbit Smile
Series: Hap and Leonard 12
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 256
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

So I took a book, I’ve read it, went to goodreads to mark it, and got deja vu. For once again, like in the good old times, I’ve read a hell knows which book in a series. But since I have no plans to read any more of these, it is as it is, and it’ll be fine.

About: Hap and Leonard weren’t all too pleased to accept a job from a white supremacists couple. They came to them as last resort, bringing in a handful of family along, expressed their displeasure of Leonard being black (little did they know, he’s gay too), and their grief over their missing daughter. She disappeared soon after giving birth to a black baby, and they no longer expect to see her alive. They merely want to know what happened.

The town these two go to investigate in is run by white supremacists and crazy folk. Most businesses are owned by a man called Professor, who has his own philosophy of why people of color and whites shouldn’t mix. Church was ran by folk who believed the world will end due to lizard people who live among us. And the mass there was held by a man who wanted to die of a gruesome torture, and seemingly got his final wish fulfilled. So, wherever you turn, there’s a something…

Mine: While the story itself was very mediocre, it’s written very well, and is full of good wit, funny jokes, and strong characters. And I’ve said this time, and time again: a good character can fix any plot. So if you ever need something light, funny, with maybe a little touch of scary shit, due to murder and all that, keep these series in mind. I will too.

I don’t really intend to read any more now, but hey, never say never. This book gets a solid 4 out of 5. I don’t know how those other ones are, but this one was nice and firm, and you can absolutely follow the story, no matter the past books.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Crime Books, Detective Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

fantasy | “Season of Storms” by A. Sapkowski | Witcher Saga 0

9Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
Title: Season of Storms
Series: The Witcher Saga 0
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Pages: 419
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I never expected to pick up another book from the Witcher Saga after I finished the original one. Author himself once claimed he has no intentions on writing more, unless he’d be very, very short of money. And only recently did I find out how little in truth he got from the whole game industry that bought his rights to these marvelous characters. Yet, all in all, I believe he wrote it, because he wanted to write it, all reasons aside.

About: We all get those streaks of bad luck sometimes. To Geralt they began when he was asked to put his swords in a locker for safe-keeping. And, of course, they went missing. It seems that all things that could go wrong – did go wrong. Here he ends up on a boat with crew who robbed a relentless, vengeful creature. There he killed a beast that turned out to be a genetic experiment by one of the oldest mages alive. Top it with a fool goetia practitioner, and you have a whole pot of horseshit at your hands. And while Dandelion is writing romantic ballads out of these troubles, and Geralt tracks his swords, a storm brews around them. For such is the season, of storms. And what is a witcher in such a season, without his swords?

Mine: I really missed this. I missed Geralt, his badass skill, inhuman abilities, ace level sarcasm, and his extreme love for every sorceress he ever lays eyes upon. I missed Dandelion’s attempts to bravery too, and all the possible jokes they told each other, including the “that time this beast barged in on Vesimir in the latrine” stuff. The book is marked as zero, a stand-alone, but I do really strongly suggest you read it after you’re done with them all. That way you won’t get spoilers, for there are plenty. And you’ll get to know what happened before, and after that whole ordeal with Ciri has began. It was very interesting.

So while there were some serious hiccups, I must say, if you’re as nostalgic for Witcher books as I was, you’ll like this one. I’m giving it a very strong 4 out of 5. Would happily add points for the song Dandelion put together at the end, and that one dwarf…

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

diversity | “Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland | Dread Nation 1

2Author: Justina Ireland
Title: Dread Nation
Series: Dread Nation 1
Genre: Alternative History, Zombies
Pages: 455
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Character-wise this book was like a gust of fresh air. For instance, our main hero is a young black woman warrior with attitude befitting someone with her skill and their underestimation. Yet, story-wise, the book was very mediocre.

About: The war between states of America has come to a halt when dead started rising on the battlefields, and killing the living. Like a plague they run over the whole nation, and possibly beyond that. Some say it is because slavery has been made illegal. Others care not for this nonsense, and still treat the colored folk as secondary. Which led to schools of combat made especially for them, where people of color were taught to fight and defend.

In some places in America there are walled off safe havens. But safety is relative in places where dead don’t stay dead. Jane McKeen could almost smell her graduation from Miss Preston’s School of Combat as her life got flipped, and the core of it might just lie in one of those places. It all started mildly. Like a lord turning into a shambler mid-ball. Then one of the best families in Baltimore disappeared, leaving everything behind. Next thing you know, she has been packed off to defend one of these undefendable forts people called havens. She was put in lines of poorly trained brothers and sisters of color. She was given weapons which wouldn’t cut grass, let alone zombies. And she was told not to kill, unless necessary… But once hordes come in, of creatures seemingly smarter than the stuff she killed before, she makes her mind up. To survive, and to get some damn answers.

Mine: Somewhere in the background there’s zombies, hordes of them, crawling through forests and planes. Those who died recently are fast, agile. Those who died before are slower, but gather in greater numbers. They are seemingly evolving too… And yet all we get to read about are intrigues, crushes, lies, politics, brutes, and Jane’s want to get away from every place she lands in. She complains about how her weapons are trash for long, long chapters, and yet kills things easy enough. In fact, everyone kills with little to no taste of horror in the air, even when lines are broken, and things start roaming in the streets. It seems all we get is this one narrow bubble with, well, no feeling to it. The only reason it wasn’t boring was Jane herself. I said time and again, a good character can save your lack of plot any day. Jane’s the only reason I’ll continue with the further books, with hopes they’ll improve story-wise. How do you make a zombie book so very… Not?

I don’t know, I didn’t like the way the story was told much. I’ll give it a wobbly 4 out of 5, only because the characters were interesting.

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

crime | “Crew” by Tijan | Crew 1

4Author: Tijan
Title: Crew
Series: Crew 1
Genre: Crime, Young Adult
Pages: 500
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Ah. Here’s a book I would’ve loved ten years ago. Even now I thought it was pretty good. Author seems to specialize in these romances of young criminals. The only thing not up my alley was their age. Dunno, I’m almost thirty, high-school seniors just don’t cut it.

About: Bren lost everyone she loved. Her mother died of cancer. Her father drank himself until he landed in prison. Her brother lived his life until he got her guardianship trust upon him. To fill in the void Bren joined the meanest and baddest Wolf Crew. This town is all about the crews, and the gangs. There’s a very clear line between “normals” and “crew“. Everyone did their own thing, operated their own ship, and lived their own lives. Up until someone got fed up with all these dangerous and armed kids. Reforms began. Improved security, special programs, new pressure. Many lost their minds in this new bright spotlight they were put to. Masks fell, some fell with them, others rose out of their ashes. Things are about to change, and change hard.

Mine: Even though romance was better than in most books due to characters being equal counterparts in the Crew and society, I still skimmed over it. I understand we’ve all been high-school teenagers and have loved and done things, but bloody hell, I’m having easier time to process them beating each other up to a pulp than confess eternal love to one another. Another thing, due to the distinct line between normal people and crew people, it felt like reading a fan-fic about werewolf packs. You need to remind yourself these are just humans now and again. Other than that, it was pretty great. Well written, and Bren was interesting too. I knew people like her. Heck, I am still friends with a person like her. It felt familiar, and I liked that little connection.

I really didn’t want to read this book. The annotation is horrible, cheesy. But I decided to read it anyway, and so I can give it a 4 out of 5. For it was really not bad at all. Might be worth looking into Tijan’s bibliography after all.

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

diversity | “Armistice” by Lara Elena Donnelly | The Amberlough Dossier

3Author: Lara Elena Donnelly
Title: Armistice
Series: The Amberlough Dossier 2
Genre: Fiction, LGBT Literature
Pages: 400
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

The more you read these books, the more interesting they get. I blame the width of the perimeter you must keep your eyes locked on. There’s too many details to actually remember, not just notice. But as I read it for the second time, for I have done so, I figured I’ll read every single one in these series that author will provide. Because damn.

About: Amberlough is being destroyed by war. But the revolutionists are still fighting, the partisans, the guerrilla, known best as Catwalk organisation. Gathered together by former cabaret dancers, and led by them, they live in this nightmare with hope to see Amberlough as beautiful as it once was, free.

Cordelia wants to aid this revolution and survive too. So she smuggles herself into the enemy territory, into Armistice, where she roams around seeking contacts, work, help. She didn’t really expect to find actual friends out here, thriving. Nor that they’ll still want to do anything with her or this revolution, even if they loved their country. But here she is, working for a warmonger, arms smuggler, in hopes she can serve them enough for them to serve her in return.

Politics are more cutthroat and criminal than actual criminal world. Spies double-cross on moments notice. No one can be trusted. Not even your own cold fury and heartache.

Mine: Vintage, glam, smoke, spies, and striptease. The story is so damn attractive that for once, I’ve read and enjoyed every single detail. The world was amazing too, culture so foreign, so different, and yet still familiar enough to accept, understand, see what author did there (5 points if you get the reference). For instance, polygamy is okay, same sex marriage is accepted if not always understood. But gods forbid you’ll have dalliances if you’re a widower. You’ll be destroyed. I loved it. The only minus I got was the amount of names and code-names. Some names were too hard for me to remember, since I’ve a hard time with names as is. Others simply changed along the way. But this could just be my own personal problem. And, for those who care, diversity comes in these forms: most strongest leaders are women here; there’s different orientations present among main characters; main characters are by far not always white; the culture seems based on India and  possibly Middle Asia;

Beautiful book. Maybe not the very best story you’ll ever read, but so damn gorgeous that I, for one, will definitely await more with eager. 4 out of 5, as strong as it gets.

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

dracula | “Powers of Darkness” by Bram Stoker; Valdimar Asamundsson

1Author: Bram Stoker; Valdimar Asamundsson
Title: Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula
Series: –
Genre: Horror Literature, Gothic Literature
Pages: 320
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I set myself a small but not easy task. I want to read one book of Dracula every month this year. And I’ve started this challenge real well too, with, seemingly, the lost version of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. For he had to edit and censor his for England of those times. But he didn’t have to send the edited version to every other publisher abroad, apparently. So, places like Iceland got something different from what our copies might be.

About: The book is not ground-breakingly different. The essence is exactly the same. Except that here, after a very, very long debate by translators and whoever else at the start, we get different proportions, and slightly differently toned characters. For instance, while we had a fairly short visit at Dracula’s castle, or at least a short description, for it wasn’t all that short for Harker, and then a longer story of the hunt for Dracula in England, here we got the opposite. Most of the book is purely Harker roaming about Dracula’s castle, realizing he’s a prisoner, and that he really, really likes Dracula’s niece. The rest of the book is told very quickly, in meager little chapters, and not in the already familiar diary form. As for differences in characters, Dracula is a bit more blunt, and fairly more sexual being, not at all timid with his words or compliments. Others got some alterations too, but due to lack of interaction with them, since there virtually was no continuation after Harker fled the castle, I’ve nothing to tell other than what translators at the beginning told.

Mine: At the start of the book the translators will tell you high and mighty what this book is supposed to be, how it’s different, how different are the characters, their interactions among themselves. After a long debate, they come to a conclusion that this is: a) a rewriting by Icelandic translator; b) a blessed by Stoker rewriting by Icelandic translator; c) the original that Bram Stoker wrote, but couldn’t publish. In my humble opinion, they spoke too much to serve us what they served. If this is not word-to-word translation, and is instead an abbreviation, for I honestly tell you, at the end we’re told “and then Dracula came, roamed around, and those guys killed him” rephrasing, then I’m more than a little bit upset. And then, if it is an uncut gem, fully translated book, then it is marvelously bad. Either way, it seems, I’m not very happy.

If you like Dracula the way I do, both the historical figure who might have inspired Stoker, and the myth, the legend, Count Dracula the Vampire, then you should read this book, no matter what. And Dacre Stoker’s works too, mostly for his own speeches in them. This is also the reason I give this book a 4 out of 5, no less. For otherwise, if you are not a fan, this is not worth that high of a score, no.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Gothic Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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