5-5

dracula | “Raising Hell” by John G. Hartness | Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 1

1Author: John G. Hartness
Title: Raising Hell
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 1
Genre: Vampires, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 110
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love re-tellings of Stoker’s Dracula, prequels, sequels, different perspectives. So I was very excited for what I found! A story of Quincy Harker, the son of Mina and Johnathan Harkers. That’s my this month’s Dracula book, for Dracula is indeed here.

About: Quincy is a demon hunter who calls Dracula his uncle, is on great “bail you out of jail time, and time again” terms, and is in general your long lost Winchester brother (10 points to your Hogwarts house if you get the reference) who gets his ass grated if he doesn’t visit the said uncle often enough.

This city of his has its share of supernatural junk all over the place. Not the least being the bar owning demon in cat’s body who can’t resist the urge to knock shit off the tables. But when someone starts killing off nephilims and draining their blood, well… That’s more of an evil shit a human would do. But why? Oh, and who?

giphy

Mine: I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Every joke, every other line out of Quincy’s mouth, is a killer. There’s a real nice familiar demonology here too, the encyclopedia-wiki friendly kind that we’re used to. None of that “let me rewrite it, so I’m unique” stuff. I love it, for I am real tired of the hundreds new ways a vampire is a vampire, if I’m being honest. The book itself is very short, real easy to read, and be sure, will teach you to cuss like a true demon hunter on a job.

Yep, happy little me is very happy. This one gets a strong 5 out of 5, and I will likely take the second one for the next month right away, even if something else was in the plans. We’ll see.

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Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Supernatural, dark fantasy, Dracula: General, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Best of 2018

Last year, including comics, I’ve read a little over a hundred books. Some were really great, some were really bad. Let’s start with the good, and then next Thursday I’ll tell you all about the bad.

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion. It’s one of those instances where we can indeed disagree, and still both be right (unlike some other instances). Let’s read what we want to read!

Best of Sci-Fi

  1. “The Tea Master and the Detective” by Aliette de Bodard: An amazing Sci-fi, Space Opera book. Very Sherlockian, with a great detective whose intelligence comes off as arrogance. I recommend it very much. And since it’s short, if you hate it, it won’t take long anyway.
  2. “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer: I’ve read her “Heartless” in the past, about the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. That one was very unique, and very, very well written indeed. Well, this one’s just as unique. It got some cyberpunk elements to it too, so keep it in mind if you’re into the harder sci-fi driven cyberpunk.

Best of Crime

  1. “Ghost Man” by Roger Hobbs: This book rekindled my love for crime books and showed me that I prefer the ones told from the criminal point of view. Especially if they know what they’re doing. Jack slid through danger like an eel, thinking on his feet, and came out the better for it.
  2. “Vanishing Games” by Roger Hobbs: Yep, second book to the Ghost Man, this one is just  as amazing. At first I was dreading it’ll become a fatal romance, like Bonnie and Clyde or something, but it didn’t.

Sadly author died a couple years prior due to an overdose. It is very sad when people die, especially from things preventable. Even more sad when they had a mind like this.

Best of Horror

  1. “Misery” by Stephen King: I had to re-think my views on Stephen King. You see, I don’t much like his books. I find his plots too stretched out, and often lacking in actual blood curdling horror that one can’t help but expect from a man dubbed the King of Horror. But this book was terrifying.
  2. “I, Zombie” by Hugh Howey: I’ve read his Wool books, and oh boy were they dull. They sometimes get recommended as “if you liked Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky“, well, no. Yes, they’re similar, but no. Yet this book, now, this is something different. It’s terrifying, horrible, and will make you take a moment when you close it. The very idea is different to start with.

Best Misc. 

  1. “Peter, Darling” by Austin Chant: You don’t have to be part of LGBT or Trans community to appreciate the sentence Peter uttered: “I like to fight, that’s what boys do“, and I apologize if that’s not a direct quote. Have you ever caught yourself doing something because you were told you ought to like? Even as a book blogger, have you never felt a need to read certain books, like them, because everyone else did? This is a great book to take if you want to, finally, sift through what is YOU authentically, and what was applied to you from the outside.
  2. “Bangkok 8” by John Burdett: In Lithuanian we only got first three books translated as a trilogy. And after reading them all, I see why. You’ll be happiest if you read the first book. You’ll be happy with the first three. And you’ll be even more happy if after those three, you’ll pretend the rest don’t exist. This one was beautiful, with a character, Sonchai, unlike any other man.
  3. “The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant” by C.S. Pacat: I will forever be grateful to C.S. Pacat for her books, for the world she created. It took an outright sledgehammer to my little bubble I lived in. It was getting dark in there, so I appreciate it. This particular book was so clever and funny, I fell in love with every character all over again. And the very last sentence had me laughing out loud.
  4. “Strange Practice” by Vivian Shaw: If you want a classic but modern story of vampires and monsters, with fine adventures, and somewhat familiar, but not yet overused characters, this is the book for you. It was fun, amusing, and very interesting to read.
  5. “Band Sinister” by K.J. Charles: I often say “this KJC book goes straight behind Magpies books“, but I think I finally found the one. This one is my favorite right after the Magpies. It was fluffy, lovely, and fit my own preferences of having people of common mind around you.

Best of Dracula

  1. “Into the Fire” by Jeaniene Frost: I’ve exchanged a couple of sentences with the author, and I’m real pleased to say she’s very genuinely kind person. Her Dracula series are definitely among my very favorite Dracula series out there, and I am very sad I’m done with them.
  2. “Dracul” by Dacre Stoker: This book goes both on best and worst of 2018. For the book itself is a lot like Kostova’s “Historian“, except with Bram Stoker following vampires. I like the concept, and I like how it was born out of actual biography, life as we know it, of Bram Stoker.

 

Categories: 5-5, book facts, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Book Adaptation: Bird Box

I’ve recently read one of the best horror books ever. So I thought, why not watch the movie too, especially since it came up on Netflix the very next day after I finished the book. Thanks to the BookTuber PS I Love That Book for this great recommendation!

As in Book: Malorie’s world changes quickly. After a few isolated incidents of aggressive suicides when people saw something and raved about it, panic starts spreading right here, with her still in the car with her sister. People see something and it drives them insane. They attack others and always kill themselves too.

A group of people, Malorie among them, gather in a nearby house with a flickering hope to survive. Nobody knows what’s going on. They only know that seeing it would kill them.

Unlike the Book: The beings that appeared on Earth, no one knows where from, embodies the worst fears that then drives people insane. They seem to be aggressive and purposefully lure people into looking, opening their eyes. People with aggressive kinds of mental illness seem to be able to survive these attacks and thus now rule the Dark New World. They hunt survivors and force their eyes open. In other words, humans became worse monsters than actual monsters.

My opinion: The book is definitely a lot better. Movie, in compare to the book is awful. If not compared to the book it was mediocre. Neither scary, not interesting, just your ordinary suspenseful horror story with things trying to kill you. I can give it 3 out of 5 due to good actors though. Especially that little girl, Olympia. The kid will go far, and I wish her luck.

Categories: 5-5, book adaptations, Films: General | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

diversity |”The Price of Meat” by K.J. Charles

1Author: K.J. Charles
Title: The Price of Meat
Series: –
Genre: Horror, LGBT Literature
Pages: 73
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I have the worst luck choosing books I’ll read before bed time. Like this one, for instance. I know full well KJC can write real terrifying things. Still I take it. I suspect by the title what it’ll be. I still take it. Can’t say I didn’t love it though, for I did.

About: At the heart of London there’s rot called the liberty of Alsatia, where King’s law doesn’t exist, and where the worst of the worst gather. For to choose liberty in Alsatia just to avoid death, well, let’s just say some would have their doubts about which fate is worse. Here, in the dark narrow streets teeming with violence and hunger, rule the so called Freemen, elite of this nightmare. Men who found a way out of Alsatia, and their way back in, without getting killed on the spot by the law. They provide food, and they can deny it too. But here, again, some might opt to choose death by starvation over the meat Freemen serve…

Johanna Oakley has no other choice but to survive in this kingdom of darkness, ruled by monsters that were once men. She has to save her beloved, but to do so, she must gain evidence on Freemen. If she can survive it herself, that is.

Mine: If you have any fears of being eaten or cannibals in general – steer clear of this book. It was horrifying, people get torn to pieces while alive, eaten then and there, raw (not that cooking a human piece would make it better, but you get my meaning). Other than this terror, the book is really well written. Author used the full arsenal of knowledge about what extended cannibalism does to humans, and the legends about men like Sweeney Todd too. It was great, terrifying, but great.

A great and scary read. Not the first of this kind among KJC’s books, so I’ve only myself to blame. The book gets 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Historical Fiction Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Dreadful Company” by Vivian Shaw | Dr. Greta Helsing 2

1Author: Vivian Shaw
Title: Dreadful Company
Series: Dr Greta Helsing 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Pages: 400
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Oh how I love these Vivian Shaw books, full of classy, classic vampires and monster studies. Plenty of action too, you just have to let it pick up the pace.

About: Ghosts are haunting Paris. Some missing legs, others – arms. Some are even missing their heads. But then, there’s those catacombs down below, so no surprise, you’d say. And yet, why now? Answer, apparently, is classic and simple: there’s a coven of vampires down below, making a nest. Even ghouls moved out, be it due to arguments with new tenants, or too loud music. And from there, thus, they spread their reign of terror over Paris, killing, turning the most beautiful, kidnapping. Nobody cared all that much, still, up until they kidnapped the wrong gal. They kidnapped Greta Helsing. Because, you see, their leader has an unsettled score with her friend, vampire Ruthven, and very much believes he’s in the rights and powers to destroy the offending creature. Greta, thus, is bait. If she survives, of course…

Mine: Both books start a bit slow, but you just have to let them pick up the pace. Once it does, just pay attention for there’s claws, fangs, magic, reality alteration, as the badass vampires kick ass and take names. It feels like you read, and read, and read these vampire books, romances, fantasy books. And then you read these, and realize those really sucked. I’m happy with the series. Thanks for recommending them to be, B! The only thing I want more of is the science.

I just checked goodreads, and apparently we’re getting third one on August 20th, so there’s plenty of time for everyone to catch up, and you really should if you like classical vampires have adventures in modern world. 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Everything, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mafia Prince” by Phil Leonetti

1.jpgAuthor: Phil Leonetti, Scott Burnstein, Christopher Graziano
Title: Mafia Prince
Series: –
Genre: Biography, True Crime
Pages: 328
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I read this book twice, for I really wanted to make sure I understood what has happened, and how it all went down. It’s a beautiful story of a personal evolution. Ability to grow above the life you seemingly were born into.

About: This is a beautiful dark story of an often romanticized topic: Mafia. Little Nicky Scarfo ruled Philly’s Mafia Family, La Cosa Nostra, this thing of ours. Under his rule everyone got out of their way, for these people, this mob, was ruthless and cruel. On some incidence a man took his own life in fear they came to brutally murder him, even though it was a mere chance. Scarfo’s nephew, Crazy Phil Leonetti ruled as his second in command, earning his name as the crazy one, following the rules obediently, putting Family above all else, including his own son. But as time went by, and good men, loyal men died for mere fact his uncle thought they were too proud of the job they did under his orders, Phil started questioning him as the boss, and the whole structure too. And he wasn’t the only one tired of a ruthless, paranoid boss.

Mine: I greatly respect people who are able to rise above their given life. Phil Leonetti is a great example of it. Born into Mob to be as good as the Prince of Crime, he obeyed, he lived it, he breathed it, and he killed for it. But he evolved when the chance presented itself, and made sure his own son didn’t have to belong the way he did. He got out when he could, and took anyone willing and able with him, in a sense. Once he saw the stupidity behind aggression, he did his best to straighten himself, and build a better life, outside of the crime for himself and his family. I wish them all luck in it.

It’s a good book, good new perspective. Mafia is not Sopranos. It’s brutal, horrible, and death is easy. Being trigger happy will not keep you safe, loyalty will not keep you safe, for nobody is ever safe in a life like that. 5 out of 5, and then a few extra points for the final word of Leonetti.

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

“Bird Box” by Josh Malerman

2Author: Josh Malerman
Title: Bird Box
Series: –
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Pages: 262
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I always seek horror books. When this blog was created it was with the idea that I’d be a horror, true crime, dark fantasy blog. But it turned out those books are hard to find. At least the good ones. Yet now and again one such pops up, like Bird Box, and scares you into feeling uneasy while looking at the pictures friend sent to you of the fog they’re having at night…

About: The world has changed. It started like in a fantasy, dystopian book of zombie apocalypse. Isolated incidents of people raving about seeing something, then attacking others, and finally, without a fail, killing themselves. Malorie and her sister watched the news about it. They watched it, until there was nothing more to watch, for there was no one left to broadcast the news. The world has gone blind, for those whose windows were not covered have already died. But human curiosity, especially when pushed by madness, is limitless. What’s the big deal, you’d think. Just a peek, just a smallest, shortest glimpse outside, to make sure the world is still there. And if doing so you saw a fraction of a second of what could it be, it wouldn’t hurt you, now would it?

Mine: This was one of the very best horror books I’ve ever read. The story is told from two timelines, both following Malorie. It tells a story of a world gone mad, blind, and then mad again. It tells a story of morality or lack thereof that leads to hard choices, death, and one justification: survive. Nobody knows what’s out there. To know is to die, go insane, and die. But everyone got theories, and even home-experiments to try. It was brilliant and beautiful in a very terrifying way. Suspense was top notch. This is a masterpiece.

Remember “I, Zombie“, which I also loved? Well, this is like that, and even better. No, it’s not about zombies, simply the madness spread similar to it, for much like a virus travels – whatever people saw also traveled that fast. How do you fight an instinct to look when something’s right there, and someone’s screaming while looking at it? There’s no more sense of safety. Humans will have to learn to live all over again, differently, in the dark. 5 out of 5, for this one fine piece of horror.

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

diversity |”Unfit to Print” by K.J. Charles

2Author: K.J. Charles
Title: Unfit to Print
Series: –
Genre: Historical, LGBT Literature
Pages: 145
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

You know, this book almost smells of noir detectives, fancy suits, cigars, and private-eyes. It isn’t that, but the vibes were very right.

About: Vikram Pandey is a lawyer doing a lot of pro bono work for people to whom not everyone cares to ever help: immigrants. He goes out of his way to find missing people, help those who found themselves in need to sell themselves or their services, and is honestly distraught whenever he finds them dead.

This time a missing fella leads him straight to a bookstore where his childhood friend works. It’s one of the bookstores that sell filth if you ask right: a forbidden romance novel, an accommodating picture or two. Gil Lawless got here through hardships and horrible experiences that began when he himself went missing. Vikram then thought him dead, so a blow after a blow, his day is getting worse. For on top of this all, Gil seems to be aware of the missing lad. He might even suspect him to be connected to one already dead. But he doesn’t feel much need to help, no. Nobody helped him, after all.

Mine: Oh wow, okay, I really liked this one. A dangerous investigation in KJC’s style, really worked well, since she’s not afraid to hurt her characters. So the fear you feel reading is very real: that damn ax might just land where it was aimed at. I really like this kind of a complex but not messy and absolutely sensible detective story. On top of that, if I didn’t sell this to you yet: there’s a very mean kitty cat named Satan.

A great short little book for a quick rest. Damn how I missed me a good detective, I didn’t even realize. 5 out of 5, for sure.

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

“The Tea Master and the Detective” by Aliette de Bodard | The Universe of Xuja

1Author: Aliette de Bodard
Title: The Tea Master and the Detective
Series: The Universe of Xuja
Genre: Sci-fi, Detective
Pages: 96
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

Sometimes the title of the book intrigues me so much that I feel I must read it. “The Tea Master and the Detective” didn’t tempt me by the description, yet still I had to. Sci-fi, tea, detectives. I had to.

About: Shadow’s Child is a Mindship. A shipmaiden born and raised to be put into a ship’s heartroom, where she’d eternally fuse with the ship, and the ship would become her body and she – the mind, and the heart. Revered and honored these mindships carried people through Deep space, the Unreality, be it military purposes or just passengers. Yet during the Uprising Shadow’s Child got into a trap that left her whole crew dead, floating in her cold hallways, with her unable to do anything else than drift there and wait, in hopes she’ll die, or someone will come rescue her.

Today Shadow’s Child doesn’t even want to think of Deep Spaces. In her hologram form she lives in a rented closet of a space, where she brews certain tea blends. Most her customers are travelers who need to go through Deep Space. They want to be knocked out, sleep through it, for even the toughest minds get rendered whimpering in fetal position until the voyage is over. Unreality will do that to you. But not Long Chau, the woman with the decorative name, who introduced herself as a detective writing a study on decomposition in Deep Space. She needs Shadow’s Child to not only make her a brew that’d keep her functioning in the Unreality. She also wants the shipmind to take her up there.

Mine: In less than a hundred pages my mind almost had a meltdown with the unfathomable wonders. Can you even imagine it? Because I certainly struggle to. A person of flesh and bone, becoming a ship, fully. She can FEEL footsteps in her halls. And then, her in holographic form? She could be anything, but she chooses to remain a ship. Can you imagine walking down a corridor with a giant holographic ship by your side, talking to you? And as for the detective plot line, it was so beautifully Sherlockian, I really loved it. Long Chau is a drug user, her intellect comes off as arrogance, and she’s rude, because she’s blunt. Not to mention moral flexibility and well hidden past.

It’s a mind blowing short book. I’m tempted to read other ones too, even if they’re story-wise unrelated, merely set in the same universe. This one gets 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Detective Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Into the Fire” by Jeaniene Frost | Night Prince 4

1Author: Jeaniene Frost
Title: Into the Fire
Series: Night Prince 4
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Pages: 340
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I really didn’t want to finish these series. They were too good, and I have not yet found a replacement for good Dracula series. But… I really needed more of it, so I’ve read it. And now I must obtain them all in paper form, so I can re-read and mark every awesome bit down.

About: Leila is bound to a powerful necromancer, Vlad’s stepson, Mircea. If one gets hurt, the other one gets hurt too, so there seems to be no way in killing him without killing Leila off. And the need to do so quickly becomes dire as Mircea falls into the hands of big mean magical enemies of Vlad Dracula.

Vlad resorts to renewing his ties with this sort of a blood brother (they’re made by same vampire), for he dabbles in all sorts of forbidden things. And while Ion hides too much, gets on everyone’s nerves, is an outright whore of a man, shifty and not really trustworthy, he proves to actually be useful. While he got them into some trouble, and even turned them all into women, Vlad included, he also helped Leila discover that the key to breaking the binding spell might lie in her heritage. It’s just that from here to there there’s a lot of time, time which they just don’t have, for the necromancers have found Dracula’s weak spot.

Mine: This is a very intense, fast paced supernatural thriller with hefty paranormal romance. An unusual choice for me, so in case the cover didn’t warn you of the nature of this book: keep it in mind, yes? Otherwise I’d not be this keen on a romance, but hey, I’m a sucker for Dracula kicking ass and asking no names. And sure, at times it was very sappy, but I loved how nothing went perfect, every character did their own thing, hid their own secrets, Vlad kissed a man, and nobody stood there waiting to be the support character with the right question on the right time. What I didn’t like was the fast end to it all. I wanted a demon hunt, tea time with Ion and maybe Leila’s sister, and all the other goodies. Oh, what books I’d not give for a 5th one in these series…

I loved it. And while I’m biased a lot by Dracula existing here, and being main character, I loved it due to writing too. It had substance both in plot and characters. So I give it 5 out of 5, and series get the same mark too.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Romance, Dracula: General, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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