5-5

book review | Heroes by Stephen Fry | Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology 2

stephen fry heroes mortals and monsters quests and adventures book coverAuthor: Stephen Fry
Title: Heroes
Series: Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology 2
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Pages: 478
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I feel like Stephen Fry could make any book better. For instance, I don’t really like Greek Mythology due to it so overused in media that it feels more common than my native. But “Heroes” was a marvelous and very fun book that rekindled my interest.

About the Book: The Age of Heroes began, it seems, suddenly. Great people began cleaning out the world of monsters, curses, and scary things from scarier places, making it nice and proper for us to live in. They challenged the gods themselves, took up quests, adventures, solved riddles, and invented things we to this day use. And we ourselves took delight and joy in telling those tales, to our friends, to our children. From Hercules, to Orpheus, to Argonauts, to Icarus, and many, many more.

My Opinion: This is a fascinating piece. Stephen Fry does a great job explaining chronology and errors in it, overlapping and such. He does his best explaining us the relations among people too, how were they connected, who sired whom. The book is well written, tales are told in this light, easy fashion, with comparisons and descriptions fitting our modern world. In fact, once or twice I laughed out loud at some of those. Audiobook is great too, so if you’re new to them, or have troubles getting into them, Fry’s mythology books are a great start point.

Yep, it’s a great book, I give it a 5 out of 5, for making even such a seemingly dull topic – great. (I’m sure it’s not dull, and this is merely the perception of someone who had to study it all in school)

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Other Fiction, epic fantasy, Mythology Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

tokyo vice jake adelstein japan crime book coverAuthor: Jake Adelstein
Title: Tokyo Vice
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Pages: 335
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, I wish I knew how good Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein is sooner. For it fell down my TBR list quite a few times. But hey, I got to it at last, and it’s better later than never!

About the Book: Jake learns Japanese and moves there in pursuit for journalist career. The rules are different there, and the book picks up the pace here, setting up an amusing tune of this white jewish man jumping traditions and politeness hoops in a foreign country. All that said, work goes well, including the whole structure of building relationships with co-workers, sources, cops… Which can get quite costly.

One day a yakuza contacts him, letting him know that Jake’s name was mentioned in trustworthiness context. This is where the story starts getting darker, for Jake gets to see beyond Love Hotels, Hostess clubs, where people dress up for you, to be your best friend until you run out of money. Beyond that there’s dark, gritty, nightmarish web of debt, loan sharks, human trafficking, and destroyed lives.

My Opinion: This is a very, very masterfully written book. With facts, memories, experiences  woven into one smooth if nightmarish tale. Don’t know about you, but Japan to me was always that dream country, something exotic and far, far away, so very different from anything we know here. But truth is much more simple. Yes, there’s differences. Yes, there’s plenty of pros, pluses. But there’s just as many cons, minuses. Just as in any country.

A very good book. Reminded me of this one I read long ago called “Yakuza Moon“. This one gets a 5 out of 5. And no, it is not made to slander. Merely a country this journalist lived in, a place where he found this, and was in a position to make a difference, no matter how small.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beltane | Up until | Best and Worst + Overhyped

Beltane is Gaelic celebration to mark the start of Summer. So, as promised, every season celebration in my blog will be marked by best and worst collection.

Disclaimer: My opinions are just that, opinions. Some of you might love or hate the books I loved or hated, and it’s perfectly fine, as long as we all read.

The Best:

  • 9Season of Storms by A. Sapkowski | High Fantasy; Dark Fantasy | – A zero book Witcher Saga, worthy read after you’ve read all the books though, for it’s hard to tell what book is the limit to avoid spoilers. Definitely a worthy read to those who have read the books long, long ago, and miss Geralt and his ridiculous adventures.
    [review]
  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | High Fantasy; Dark Fantasy | – Second book in Mistborn sequence. Just as amazing, even better at some points. It’s like Frank Herbert’s Dune, but… With less of the… Bad stuff. Yes.
    [review]
  • Homeland by R.A. Salvatore | High Fantasy; Dark Fantasy | – This is a classic by now, no matter the age of the book. The first book in Legend of Drizzt, the Dark Elf trilogy, the Forgotten Realms series. It’s a very different fantasy book of elves.
    [review]
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas | Contemporary; Diversity | – If you liked “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, you will most likely like this one too. You might also like it if you enjoyed 8 Mile, or any documentary on Rap. It’s a very good book on this music genre, the industry, the rhymes.
    [review]
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite | Crime; Diversity | – This is a very interesting and strange tale of sociopaths, and how they might be absolutely the very favorites of ours. Good short piece.
    [review]
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee | LGBT literature; Diversity | – A great tale of a very interesting magic system that comes as a virus. The characters are something amazing too. It’s rare to watch a tale unfold in LGBT theme, and not be centered in such a natural fashion. It’s just not a thing. They’re a couple, and that’s that, there’s a revolution to fight!
    [review]
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo | Thriller; Crime | – This is a must-read classic among thrillers. It’s amazing and unexpected.
    [review]
  • Hell on Heels by John G. Hartness | Dracula; Paranormal | – I loved the first, I loved the second, but this one had the most of Uncle Luke. So, I’m biased, I loved this one the most.
    [review]
  • Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn | NonFiction; True Crime | – This is a great tale of the truth behind the romanticized Bonnie and Clyde headlines. A very good read, especially paired with “The Highwaymen” on Netflix.
    [review]
  • McMafia by Misha Glenny | NonFiction; True Crime | – A great book on criminal underground and how we all, even the most innocent ones, sometimes help them make profits unaware.
    [review]

The Worst:

  • the fall guillermo del toro chuck hogan the strain book coverInto the Mist by Lee Murray | Sci-fi; Horror | – Poor story made out of all the known flat formulas. Painfully predictable. Didn’t work.
    [review]
  • The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan | Vampires; Horror | – I’m still unsure how it became such a phenomenon. Most of the book was made out of memories, thinking, noticing things, and attempting to buy a book, then failing, attempting, then failing.
    [review]

Overhyped:

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon | High Fantasy | – You know what I hate about myself? I see books on IG, and if I see them in every other post or even more often, I get curious. But I don’t bloody read the caption before it’s too late. If a couple months prior you would’ve read the captions under this book, the overwhelming majority was among the lines of “when will I get to read such a massive book! oh my, but so pretty” – just like it happened so many times. People are enticed by covers, annotations. And, I mean, most of them will still like the book, so it’s perfectly fine. But this was very much not my cup of tea, and I found this hype to be a very empty balloon instead.
    [review]
Categories: 1-5, 5-5, book facts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

book review | dracula | Hell on Heels by John G. Hartness | Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 3

hell on heels quincy harker demon hunter john hartness book cover draculaAuthor: John G. Hartness
Title: Hell on Heels
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 3
Genre: Dracula, Paranormal
Pages: 90
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

It’s amazing how some authors are capable of writing full, funny and well fleshed out books that are this short. I also love Dracula in modern settings, so this is the perfect book. Hell on Heels by John G. Hartness, third book in the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series!

About the Book: Someone’s hunting in Uncle Luke’s territory, dramatically turning victims into vampires. It would be an understandable event, just another vampire trying to butt-in on other vampire’s territory. But it just so happens that Uncle Luke is no other than Dracula, Vlad the Impaler himself. And there’s only one idiot ballsy enough to believe he can take on the vampire from books and legends…

My Opinion: This is a very funny and badass book, full of supernatural fights, flawed characters, and exemplary writing style. Seriously if you love vampires, if you love Dracula, but are tired from all the romances, and would rather have something in Supernatural series style, this is it.

Yep, loved it. Can recommend if you just want a funny little break, for it’s like no pages at all, and it gets a firm 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Books: Horror, Books: Supernatural, Dracula: General, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson | Millennium 1

the girl with the dragon tatttoo stieg larsson book coverAuthor: Stieg Larsson
Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Series: Millennium 1
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 465
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I have this trilogy for years and years now, so many that I’m ashamed to admit. But at last I’ve read the first Millennium trilogy book by Stieg Larsson, the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“, and it was amazing.

About the Book: In the chaos of family tragedy a girl disappears, leaving her loving uncle burdened by this painful mystery. For there was no trace, and no body, but he is certain, the girl must be dead, how else? Upon his birthdays he receives a pressed dried flower, every year, and it has become a wall of mockery, for the killer surely knows, and likes to pain him. Thus, he has made a decision to try one more time to shine some light on this mystery. He hires a journalist, who, in turn, hires Lizbeth, this fantastic alternative woman with almost supernatural mind that sees patterns where others only see chaos, white noise. Together they dig up old clues, old tales. But what if the truth is worse than the secrets?

My Opinion: This is a marvelously written, captivating book that’ll require your undivided attention. It’s easy to loose track, that’s all I’m saying. Other than that, the characters and the plot are amazing. My favorite being Lizbeth, with her intelligence and strength, she’s an amazing example of what characters I lean towards. Her ability to put up a show reminded me of Ghostman, so some small part of me was sated (I truly wish the author of those books was alive and well, and would write more of those unbelievably amazing books). Less so impressed by the journalist, but that’s also only my personal preference and lack of belief, so to speak. For he is written well.

So, yeah. This was an amazing book, and if you’re seeking a good detective, there’s surely a reason why these were such a phenomena at some point. 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, murder, Mystery Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Homeland by R.A. Salvatore | The Legend of Drizzt 1

r.a. salvatore homeland dark elf trilogy drow book cover legend of drizztAuthor: R.A. Salvatore
Title: Homeland
Series: The Legend of Drizzt 1
Genre: High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Pages: 343
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I wanted to read the whole tale of Dark Elf trilogy, the Forgotten Realmsthe Legend of Drizzt of which I’ve read the first, Homeland by R.A. Salvatore since I was a teenager. But back then getting books in English was so much harder than it is now. 

About the Book: Drows, the Dark Elves, live deep underground, scorning both the light and the surface dwellers. Their way is that of darkness, solid stone walls, battle and power. And for that they worship a Deity, Queen Spider, who grants them power and favors. Under her laws you can cross any boundaries or rules, as long as you execute it successfully.

Thus, House Do’Urden has decided to take a step up on the social power ladder and completely destroy another house. They’ve done such thorough job slaying anyone alive, that in the eyes of Queen Spider such a house ceased to exist, never been for all it matters. And House Do’Urden deserves only praise, no punishment. But during this battle a third boy was born, meant a sacrifice to the Queen Spider. Fate has deemed him survive that day, and many more. Drizzt grew up to be a strange Drow, making many of his family members wish they proceeded with the sacrifice…

My Opinion: This is the most unique, way ahead of it’s time piece of very dark high fantasy. I’m quite happy I’ve read it now, not earlier. This is a brutal realm of so very familiar elves who are so very different from everything we got to know from such places as Elder Scrolls or Lord of the Rings.

Their society is ruled by vicious people, priestesses, mages, high matrons and alike. Men are war pawns, soldiers, fodder, and means to get more daughters. A neighbor here can kill another, and if he succeeded, he’d get away with it, for such is law. A sister would attack a brother, and if he raised an arm to defend himself, he’d get killed or at least punished, for how dare he raise an arm against a drow female. There’s monsters, there’s darkness, and there’s blindness. And in this hell of a homeland, there’s the purple-eyed Drizzt, and I hope to read the rest of his tale, for it can only get better from here.

Truly, if you seek dark high fantasy, take these books, The Witcher saga has not prepared you for the bloodshed you’ll find here. I give it a 5 out of 5, solid, and am taking up a quest to get the next book asap.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | McMafia by Misha Glenny

mcmafia misha glenny book cover underworld criminal organized crimeAuthor: Misha Glenny
Title: McMafia
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Pages: 398
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love reading sensible literature on organized crime, where author doesn’t choose a side, and, due to moral obligations, doesn’t try to paint one or another side a deeper shade of one color. One of such well balanced books is McMafia by Misha Glenny, who has a very healthy view on this all.

About the Book: This book goes through a variety of organized, global crime, its underground industries and their origins. From the times of economy downfalls through, say, the fall of soviet union, or the breaking of Berlin wall, to today. And all across the world.

Crime takes many forms and shapes. And so do reasons for it. Be it extreme poverty and thus a need to make a buck for bread by stealing or selling, or selling the stolen. Or be it flaws in law, criminalization of something you require. It could be medication your country deemed illegal. Or it could be part of your lifestyle: from illegal caviar, to illegal counterfeits. And many more, including drug cartels, mafia, mafiozos of Russia, yakuza, hackers, crackers, and so on. And you know what’s the worst of it? We too are a part of it.

My Opinion: This is a very smoothly written book, with sensible steps from one topic, to another. Each one of those is explained in depths, with origins of criminal organization at hand, how it came to be, to what it does, how it does it, and why it does it, if applies. To actual governments, and law: how they’re handling it, if handling it at all. As for our involvement, well, that’s true. And it’s scary. From materials required to, say, build our laptops, where a company doesn’t ask about the origins of this metal, or that dye. To scam emails, engineered web pages, and our inability to take precautions while on that enticing world wide web.

This is a very worthy read that I would highly recommend to anyone. I give it a 5 out of 5, for many, many reasons.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, mafia, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

my sister the serial killer oyinkan braithwaite novel book coverAuthor: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Title: My Sister, The Serial Killer
Series: –
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 226
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I wanted something more different from the regular stuff I normally read. So I dug into my Crime treasures, and found this marvelous gem, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, formerly known by the title Thicker Than Water.

About: Ayoola is everything her sister, Korede is not. She’s beautiful, charming, people love her, men gravitate toward her. She’s also manipulative, possibly a sociopath, and definitely a serial killer. Korede knows all of this, because she herself helps her hide the bodies. And they’re piling up heavy, both figuratively, and literally, on her consciousness. And while Korede thought many times of coming clean or letting Ayoola deal with her own mess for once, it takes very drastic events in her life for her to actually take action. Two, in fact. One, Ayoola started dating Korede’s colleague, a doctor, who is so madly love-struck, he no longer resembles the man Korede herself had a crush on. And two, the coma patient, the only person with a pulse Korede ever confided to, confessing all her secrets, all her sins, wakes up. It’s time to choose whom to throw her lot, her very life with.

Mine: This would make such amazing series! It’d be between Dexter and Breaking bad, with a dash of some sort of a medical series where not all is as clean as is the surface. Maybe Nurse Jackie. Anyway, the book, ah, the logic, the reasoning characters had, oh it was brilliant. The story itself is set in Nigeria, and is told from Korede’s perspective. It begins with a murder, and two sisters trying to hide away a body. Then, with this easy, but perfect pace, it starts unfurling. What you see is just one story in many, as Korede perceives it. But with her own feelings, her memories, it becomes clear why is this happening, and why are they the way they are.

I loved this book, definitely among my favorites now. It’s very well written, and while very serious, with no space for jokes, it’s not scary or gross. I suggest you put this for a TBR on a hot summer day, for the setting now and again is mentioned to be unforgivably scorching. And for now, I give it a 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, murder, serial killers, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn

bonnie and clyde true crime go down together jeff guinn biography book coverAuthor: Jeff Guinn
Title: Go Down Together
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Biography
Pages: 468
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I always had a liking to Bonnie and Clyde stories, but somehow never watched or read any true, not romanticized stuff about them. After all, I didn’t even know that at first they weren’t Bonnie and Clyde, but rather Clyde and Bonnie. But then, a few days back, I watched this great Netflix movie “The Highwaymen” and decided I must take that one book that I have on the pair of criminals two rangers were pursuing there. The Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn.

About: Everyone has at least heard of the famous bank robbers in love, Bonnie and Clyde, who robbed together, ran together, shot together, and died together too. But rarely anyone knows what those two were really like, and what was their life on the road, on the run.

Both Bonnie and Clyde grew up and lived during the Great Depression, when the economy in United States fell so very drastically, that a young man would find it hard to get a job, and a young woman would likely add to her meager pay by finding a different sort of clientele. Yet one shouldn’t be fooled. These two were not so much pushed into the life in crime, as they leaped to it seeking thrill, action, and fame. They got it, alright, but one’s left to wonder if they’d be happy with the price they paid for it. The cold nights in make-shift camping spots, cold food in fear that a fire would be spotted, injuries that left them both crippled, and no way back to a normal life.

Mine: This is a dark story with an almost humorous streak to it. Both Bonnie and Clyde had their share of misfortune and even cruelty. Luck seemed to turn away from them when they most needed it. But they rolled with the punches as best they could, charming public who, for once, had entertainment in their lives. Bonnie and Clyde stole from businesses and banks, rarely touching clerk’s wallet, so it’s almost like they didn’t rob the poor, poor thought. They’d steal your car, but leave it where you could retrieve it. And if you rather had insurance money, all you had to do was ask, and they’d happily drop it in a ditch, and set it on fire. This is what public saw, and this is why they often turned a blind eye on this pair. All while they dealt with the dark side criminal world, hell, barely its surface, for no true criminal took them very seriously, was serving.

Author did a great job of making a smooth story to not feel dull. At all times it’ll keep your attention, and you’ll come out knowing who the famous or infamous pair truly was. I’m giving it a strong 5 out of 5, and recommend you watch The Highwaymen at some point too.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, heists, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

book review | Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | Strange the Dreamer 2

muse of nightmares laini taylor book coverAuthor: Laini Taylor
Title: Muse of Nightmares
Series: Strange the Dreamer 2
Genre: High Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages: 522
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I loved the first book in Laini Taylor‘s duology Strange the Dreamer, by the same title. And I am very happy to say that this book, second book, Muse of Nightmares, is just as good if not even better.

About: After Lazlo has taken control of the fortress that has once belonged the to blue skinned gods, people of Weep were forced to remember that nightmare of a life they led under the rule of the Empire, the blue skinned Gods. For they have not expected survivors. But there they were, those young children, teenagers, young adults, with their blue skin and horror in their eyes. For why wouldn’t they be scared, met by a horde of armed people they only knew as godslayers, killers. And so it was time to reopen old scars, tell old secrets, find the truth, and see where it leads.

Mine: This book tells an origin tale of who were those blue skinned gods, where their power came from, why they required children born by humans. Why they took them, where they took them, and what happened to them. This is woven absolutely perfectly with current events. And it all is then gilded by a turn of events I couldn’t even dream of, but here it was. Truly, this is the most brilliant tale I’ve read in a very long time. The only other tale I can lightly compare it to would be “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin, due to unimaginable story, world, magic within it, and that mixture of high fantasy and sci-fi. But this one’s lighter to absorb, consume, so I’d very much recommend starting with Strange the Dreamer duology, to have a taste of what it could be like, these colossal tales of worlds, dreams, and unimaginable things imagined.

It’s an amazing book, and an amazing duology. Laini Taylor ends it with a hint for a spin-off, which I’m excited for beyond words. It could be great. It could be just as great. And it absolutely could be even greater. Laini Taylor has a mind unlike any other. 5 out of 5, and it barely gives it justice.

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

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