Books: Everything

Jordan L. Hawk “Stormhaven” | Whyborne & Griffin 3

2_stormhavenAuthor: Jordan L. Hawk
Title: Stormhaven
Series: Whyborne & Griffin 3
Genre: LGBT, Paranormal
Pages: 179p
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

If per chance you recall, I did not like the previous Jordan L. Hawk book in the series of Whyborne & Griffin. But as is seemingly a rule for me, that usually means I will like the next one. So, yes, “Stormhaven“, third book in the said series, was not an exception. Can anyone explain me why or how?

About: Whyborne keeps having these scary nightmares of an underworld city, with something lurking in the shadows. At times he can even hear someone sing, and it sounds almost like his mother. But, as is common in stories like these, he waves the dreams away as unimportant, and tells no one about them. Yet it seems he wasn’t the only one who heard the song. Allan Tambling, a kind hearted fella is found in a pool of blood, holding a knife and his beloved uncle’s body. According to him, he has no recollection of how he even got there. Which gives him first class ticket into a mental asylum. Here, being accused of murder, he fears for his life, for he will likely be sent off into the Fourth Floor ward, from where no one really ever returns. Griffin, having been in a situation like that, is feeling sorry for the man, and takes up to solve the case of who or what killed Allan’s uncle. His conviction that it wasn’t Allan is made stronger by the fact that Allan’s doctor is the same man who accused Griffin of being insane too.

My thoughts: The book seemed rushed. Most of the very good action took mere pages, where Griffin’s family and problems arising from that took whole chapters. I would’ve rather read more of this new cult on the rise (it’s not new per se), and the murderers working for them, or even the science behind summoning conducted there, than of whole that “let’s pretend we’re not boyfriends” stuff. But hey, at least Christine was as badass as always. Love that woman. She deserves her own book.

The book fell a bit short for my taste, but I can’t really complain, seeing how I saw the page number when I picked it up. But with all the cons in it, there were really decent plot twists that I absolutely did appreciate. So here’s 4 out of 5 from me, and let’s hope the next one isn’t bad again.

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

K.J. Charles “Spectred Isle” | Green Men 1

1_SpectredIsleAuthor: K.J. Charles
Title: Spectred Isle
Series: Green Men 1
Genre: LGBT, Paranormal
Pages: 271p.
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I had to wait for quite a while until I got myself a chance to read one of the newest KJC books, the “Spectred Isle“, first in the series. And even then it is thanks to a friend for all the help. It was definitely worth the wait though. This book is a fine piece of paranormal.

About: After the disgraceful discharge from the military, Saul is happy to have any job, really. Even if it means working for a crazy eccentric fella whose life goal, it seems, is to get in touch with real magic. He pores over books he claims anonymous sources sent him, maps, and whatever other things he got to find certain places. Then he travels there, drags Saul along, or just sends Saul there alone, to trudge through mud, forests, ruins, and other kinds of not likely magical places. But this time Saul’s conviction shook at the foundation of it. First of all, this was a rare time when he got to a place and knew exactly that he was in the right place. And second of all, if the colossal ancient oak wasn’t enough eerie in itself, it suddenly burst into flames and burned like no living tree should ever, ever burn. That, of course, attracted attention, people, among which was the last member of the great and old family of occultists: Randolph Glyde. From then on every adventure Saul got himself into seem to have led him to the man. It would’ve been funny if it wasn’t so irritating and strange at the same time. Especially when they met in the Camlot Moat, the most unlikely of all places, the island that was so incredibly difficult to reach that even Randolph couldn’t believe what he saw. For Randolph’s duty is to protect the isle within the moat, and he knew full well how unlikely it was for Saul to just stumble in there, and them meet. This only confirmed his suspicions that Saul is involved in something sticky and occult.

My thoughts: Loved these two to bits. Saul is a very interesting, strong and intelligent man. And Randolph pretty much leads the rebels. Well, resistance if you please. The occult kind who don’t want to be ordered around by nasty Shadow Ministry. Those people, after all, are responsible for this thinning veil between their world and the one under it. They forced occultists of all kinds to summon, use, and abuse all manner of creatures and monsters. In one of those summonings, one that Randolph refers to as the Great Summoning, whole Glyde family has died, leaving Randolph alone to cope with all the secrets and knowledge that his family possessed. Thus he takes care of those like him, including Saul.

This was definitely a very great book, with very scary elements to it, so consider not reading at night. And, as is common for KJC books, the characters were indeed top notch. So here’s a 5 out of 5 for me, in hopes that second book won’t take too-too long. For it will take a while.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hugh Howey “I, Zombie”

2Author: Hugh Howey
Title: I, Zombie
Series:
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Pages: 222p
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

I couldn’t figure out where I know the author from. And only now, as I opened goodreads, did I notice that Hugh Howey wrote Wool books too, Silo and all those. I didn’t like them much, to be honest. But this one was wonderful.

About: All the speakers in this book are either zombies, or people who are about to become zombies. Little by little, including interesting enough personal background stories, they tell a tale of how did this happen, to them, to their city. It’s scary, how it all began with a few infected on the street. They looked no worse than deranged sick vagabonds, so people avoided them. But apparently, they didn’t do so well enough. For not long after that, a gang of zombies, a shuffle, came along. They weren’t fast, what with their rotting, often broken bodies, but their need drove them forwards, causing panic, horror, and all the disasters that start with it. Some, now, like our very first speaker, are trapped in their rotting bodies, internally screaming against impulses they can no longer control, as their broken bleeding hands shove rotting flesh into their mouths, throats. Others feel relief, for they won’t have to worry about anything anymore, not the contamination, virus, not even death. But they’re all united with one need, one want: human flesh. They can always smell them, always feel them. So they know full well there’s choppers above, full of scientists and military, all people who do nothing but observe and research. And by the time they reach a conclusion: sacrifice a city for the sake of humanity, by the time they decide to bomb it… They already know there’s herds of living, delicious flesh behind the barricades of this city.

My Thoughts: This was a very scary read. From the very first story, where a completely conscious woman with a gaping hole in her cheek, explains the terror she feels when her hands shove guts into her throat, and how painful is the wind against her bare teeth. Then to living people, civilians. One had just enough bullets to show mercy to some, choosing to shoot women and children first, and put them out of this horror of existence. And finally, to those who didn’t see the rising sun of a bomb fallen, for they were pushing, scraping at the barriers between themselves and humanity. By the end of this book my heart was thumping. I am not someone who likes to be scared. But this was unbelievably amazing. Not every story was interesting or scary, but a total of the book was definitely worth it.

I am waiting for Dying Light 2 even more now, praying it’ll still have zombies, and not just gangs of people. I was never interested in zombies, never felt the need to read or watch anything with them, really. But this book had a teller who was one of those people who were actively preparing for a zombie apocalypse, like quite a few in our world actually do. And so it just brought it all to life, made it beautifully believable. I give it 5 out of 5, and to you I suggest to put it up for October, Halloween read.

Categories: 5-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Everything, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “Drink Deep” | Chicagoland Vampires 5

1Author: Chloe Neill
Title: Drink Deep
Series: Chicagoland Vampires 5
Genre: Fantasy, Vampires
Pages: 321p.
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

The greatest plus of these books is them being real easy to read. You start one, and it already ends. So I’ve read through fifth book in Chloe Neill series Chicagoland Vampires, “Drink Deep“, and I do believe I will read me another one too.

About: After the death of Cadogan House head, Merit’s love interest, no less, power assertion and drama begins. Vampires who took over have no love for this house and soon start changing the rules, rationing their blood, making their training more strict, etc. They don’t even hide their displeasure and want to get rid of some people, and we won’t point fingers to Merit. But to her this problem soon becomes secondary. After all, whoever turned Lake Michigan into black tar might just be more dangerous than a bunch of vampire assholes. So Merit goes off with the secret vampire organisation to follow up on any possible leads. Those include other supernatural races, such as fae in control of elements, water nymps, and so on. But as leads dwindle to nothing, magical apocalypse continues. Sky turns red, and lightening storms serve destruction.

My Opinion: The book, for the most of the first half, was as boring as one would expect from a story where one of the lovers died. Romance drama is one of the worst plotlines for me, so this is my own fault, for picking up books like that, I guess. To add to that, Merit keeps having dreams about Sullivan, and they seem to be trying to warn her. So I just rolled my eyes at the “there was a storm behind him, and I started to run“, and continued. Of course, not all was bad. I did really enjoy the magical catastrophe, it was very apocalyptic, and very horror genre worthy, what with all the lightening strikes, and sky turning red. New races were introduced fairly well too. There was a pretty great Sookie-Stackhouse moment when hungry vampires went insane over sweet fae blood scent.

So, all in all I still didn’t much like any of the books. They’re about there, where you can continue reading, with random goodies to sweeten the pot. In this book it was that magical apocalypse, so I can give it a 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Craig Alanson “Zero Hour” | Expeditionary Force 5

2Author: Craig Alanson
Title: Zero Hour
Series: Expeditionary Force 5
Genre: Sci-fi, Humor
Pages: 494
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

I’m pretty damn amazed how Zero Hour is a fifth book, and quality of the story is still top-notch. There was tension, complicated plans, and enough jokes to make another book. I loved it, yes. Mind you, review below is assuming you read the previous books.

Just as Joe Bishop lost all hope to hear from his friend, the snarky AI they call Skippy the Magnificent, and thus – all hope to get back to Earth – Skippy awakes. There’s an Elder, same race that made Skippy too, created Worm inside of him, trying to destroy him. They were programmed to destroy rogue AI’s, but whether it is Skippy who is doing something Elders wouldn’t appreciate or the Worm itself that went coo-coo is a great question we don’t have an answer for, yet. Anyway, Skippy returned. But no longer as Skippy the Magnificent, more like Skippy the Meh. He’s depleted in both power and awesomeness, and is barely able to keep everything steady and comfortable for his human friends. To add to that, the Worm is still out there, this was merely a battle Skippy won, and by now Humans are fully aware they won’t be able to survive without this AI helping them with absolutely everything. So to survive and thus – save the Merry Band of Pirates, Skippy must find an Elder Artifact he could use to fix himself and beat the Worm. Easier said, than done, of course.

For one, alien civil war means traffic in outer space is pretty jammed. And while you try to navigate that jam, it turns out that every other ship contains very angry people who really want you dead. Oh, and you’re driving a junk-yard grade space ship yourself, so… On top of it, anything that is left useful from the Elders apparently still has a skeleton protection to it. Which is still far more than Skippy can handle right now. The only way around is to convince the guardians that they are no threat. But, again, hehe, nobody likes the plan! Because humans are fragile, and out there is one hell of a danger zone.

This was an awesome book. It had everything it needed, and was very well paced and spaced. I’m really, really looking forwards to getting my hands on 6th book. This one, in the meantime, gets a 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Pirate Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Book Art: Time of Disdain

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John Burdett “The Godfather of Kathmandu” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4

1Author: John Burdett
Title: The Godfather of Kathmandu
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: 3-5 | Goodreads

Have you ever read a book twice, because by the end of it – you already couldn’t tell what it was about? That was the case for me with John Burdett book “The Godfather of Kathmandu”, the fourth book in Sonchai Jitpleecheep series. It wasn’t a bad book per se, but oh, brother, the lines to follow…

Sonchai has made a grave mistake. He got the Godfather movies for his boss, which then triggered a chain reaction of real ill trash luck. His boss kindly worked up Sonchai’s family with deals of good raise, and little to no change to Sonchai’s work, in attempts to make Sonchai his consilieri, like an adviser. Which then directly took a hit to Sonchai’s karma. That son, reincarnation of his beloved friend and partner, whom he wanted to put in a good school on his wife’s advice, with the new money he’ll be getting? Decided the world is too corrupt, and suicided. Wife? Guilt ridden ran away to a monastery to become a monk. FBI agent, his friend and former partner in USA? She felt disappointed in his new line of work, and due to broken arm – won’t rush to help him with the new case. As for the new case, Sonchai is determined to give this chance of promotion to his colleague, who hates his guts. Hates him for being the first choice for the boss. Hates him for being a better detective. And now also hates him for being morally superior about this promotion too, for showing this kindness and giving him the damn promotion. The only consolation Sonchai right now has is also not a spotless piece of sunshine. It is a a highest ranking monk who promised to teach him to reach the peace of mind. It’s just that this same monk has 14 mil worth of drugs he wants to sell to his boss.

As for the murder, now that’s something to get distracted by, no matter how unpleasant. A movie director was found dead, skull open, brain eaten. He was well loved in Bangkok by the bar girls, who describe him as kind, caring, loving, but a sex addict. He wasn’t visiting them for a while before his death, so they assumed he finally found that “something wilder” he was after. Did that wilder thing kill him too? And to top it all off, he left clues directly for Sonchai. Yes. Of course he did.

This was a strange book, with quite a few lines to follow, and Sonchai’s wasn’t the best. The murder was the most dull one though, so I had to remind myself this isn’t really a detective story to begin with a lot. But there were great points, like that monk, or such a shift in Karma. So all in all another 3/5, I guess.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Martynas Starkus “Stuck in Central America”

1Author: Martynas Starkus
Title: Istrige Centrineje Amerikoje
Series:
Genre: Travel
Pages: 312
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

If I remember this right, I bought “Stuck in Central America” (Istrige Centrineje Amerikoje) after the show they hosted. They told great stories from previous trips (him and his travel friend Vytaras Radzevicius), and I laughed to tears. So I snagged the book when I could, and must say, it was a very good read. Easy, light, and interesting, so I took my time with it.

This is a story of a trip around Central America in an ever breaking car they named Veronica. The two of them, Martynas and Vytaras, got to walk around ancient Mayan ruins, of which there were plenty, many empty of tourists too. They did their best to get to know locals, hear tales of the land, and the tales of the tellers too. There and here, of course, they had to fight off crooks, avoid gangs, and steer clear of mortal danger. For, as in many poorer lands, there’s two kinds of poverty present: the kind where people are blissfully happy with what little they have; and the kind where people turn to criminal life to survive. So among the beautiful views Martynas described, gangs were too a prominent topic.

The other part of the story was of constant hiccups while traveling. Be it Veronica constantly breaking down on them, or border patrols not wishing to let them through with that junk yard of a car. Martynas here showed some serious kind-hearted sarcasm that you could feel in his sentences, and I loved it.

So, yes. This book, to my knowledge, is not translated into any language. But those of you who read in Lithuanian, this is a great piece. 5/5 from me, and hopefully it never turns out that the authors of this book are bad people, as it seems to get a common theme in my native picks.

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

Tag: Pride Flag

1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE!
1– K.J. Charles “A Charm of Magpies“, Lucien Vaudrey being the character. Those books cut a hole in the wall I had between myself and the rest of the world, and apparently rainbow glitter started pouring out. I used to avoid pointing out why I liked this book or that one if it was a queer character who was the driving force. I’d concentrate on plot and just hint that this person is interesting. After I met Lucien – the world will just have to deal with it, much like I and anyone like I lived our lives surrounded by straight romance left and right (and I’m sure people of color can say the same about all the whiteness, for even I’ve had enough, thanks, but that’s exactly why KJC is life with her books).


 

 

22. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life.
– I could give you the same answer as for red here. But for the sake of it… C.S. Pacat and the “Captive Prince” trilogy. Their dynamic just felt so natural, it unfolded without being questioned, and if it was, it was because someone out there decided they’re supposed to be enemies, because their fathers were. The rest was a matter of fact. The light bulb in my head not only lit up, it shattered. Because why WOULD anyone question heart’s matters, right? Right.

 

 


33. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day.
– Right now it’d probably be Becky Albertalli “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda“. It’s a double edged sword, really, but sometimes it’s only through pain that we find bliss, so it fits anyway: the kid has an accepting family, he was born this tall handsome man (aka – fitting his mental gender too), his friends were really mature about everything, and even in the moment of heat, they managed to take a step back, and recollect things back into the shape of friendship. It’s a book about someone who, after holding his breath, could finally exhale. It took him 4 years. For me it was more like 12 if not more. That’s what breaks my heart. But I hang on the idea that at least now… And that gives me some semblance of sunshine.

 


A Darker Shade final for Irene

4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own.
– V.E. Schwab “Shades of Magic” trilogy. It’s mostly set in the Red London, while there’s  two more (one of them being ours, mundane, magicless), and one that is more a legend than truth. A crown prince who is madly in love with previously a son of a respected man, now a… well, a pirate, I guess. I love how they allowed each other to explain things when the opportunity happened, something that rarely happens in books. And then there’s wonderful Kell, a mage so powerful he might as well be a black-eyed god, and yet so constantly scared for his loved ones that it drives him mad whenever they actually encounter danger. And of course, Lila. That is the most wonderful female character I have ever read. Ever. She’s strong, independent, and will do whatever she sets her mind on. You can’t tell her she can’t. Because, oh boy, she can. And you may come along, because she sure as hell won’t stay put just because you’d like her to.


55. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth.
– Austin Chant’s “Peter Darling“. It’s hard for me to dwell on this book, because it would’ve fit Orange answer too – I reached a point of breaking together with the character. We both had to admit to ourselves that some of the things we do, we do because it’s part of our idea of how we’re supposed to justify our words. While truth is, we don’t have to justify our words to begin with. This is a book about a transgender character having to accept the truth, stop try to justify it with faux gestures, and move past the fact that there’s people, even very close people, who can’t accept it.

 

 


6

6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion.
– Well, in a sense John Burdett’s books “Sonchai Jitpleecheep” fits, it’s just not the religion  we’re so used to. They’re Buddhist there, and I enjoy the logic behind it. For instance, Sonchai has a partner who is what we’d define as transgender. To him it’s a simple matter: either a) your spirit left your body, and another spirit inhabited it to keep you, as a person, alive, and that spirit was of different sex than you, or b) you simply reincarnated into a body that didn’t fit your mind gender, possibly to learn something, and it is likely one of the hardest reincarnations you’ll have, thus not such a common one (for a lot of spirits have a choice, and avoid this one as much as they can due to discomfort it causes). Other choice of mine would be Shane Dawson’s memoir book “It Gets Worse” where he speaks of his own bisexuality in the face of being a firm religious Christian.

Categories: Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Roger Hobbs “Ghostman” | Jack White 1

4Author: Roger Hobbs
Title: Ghostman
Series: Jack White 1
Genre: Crime, Heist, Detective
Pages: 400p.
Rating: 5/5 | Goodreads

I picked up “Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs almost by an accident. I simply wanted something different, this one got in the way, so I took it. Must say, has been forever since I accidentally found such a treasure. It’s a marvelously written heist book.

Our protagonist doesn’t have a name anymore. He’s a ghostman. The kind of a criminal who melts in the crowd and becoems a whole other person, elsewhere. But for the time being, we can call him Jack. For that was the last name his former employer knew him by. Employer who had a need to call in an old debt. For, you see, back in the day, this genius evil mastermind had Jack and a few others on a heist. It was meticulously planned and went pretty well, assuming the risks they were taking. It would’ve made them all a couple millions richer. But a few days prior, Jack has made a mistake. And they all paid for it during the heist. With money, with lives. Simply, Jack owed more, so now he has to pay one last time.

Another masterful heist went south. This time there were no real mistakes. Another group has attacked them after they robbed the money convoy. And while Jack is a chameleon, this man today, another tomorrow, his inner world doesn’t change. And on the inside he’s in this game for the thrill, for the passion. He liked complex things, and interesting deals, dangerous crime games. And this mess is nothing but all that. Because, for one, there’s honor among thieves too. Criminal organisations need each other to survive, there’s rarely such insane attempts to cross each other. After all, they’re not some amateur gangbangers. Second, the money will become void in 48 hours or so, becoming as worthless as the paper banknotes are printed on. And third, why the hell his former boss even steal that hard to liquefy cash? It’s a game of “are you that powerful, or that dumb” from the moment Jack steps on the trail of the only heist member who escaped. With some luck the man will be alive and will be able to answer some question. Hell, with some luck, he didn’t ditch the money either.

This was such a great and intense read, I loved it. I loved Jack’s details, so precise, so professional. If you want a heist thriller slash detective, story told from the criminal point of view, then this is it. 5 out of 5

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

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