Fantasy Books

Josie Jaffrey “The Gilded King” | Sovereign 1

TheGildedKingAuthor: Josie Jaffrey
Title: The Gilded King
Series: Sovereign 1
Genre: Paranormal, YA
Pages: 303
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’ve received this book as an arc in exchange for some honest reviews. And while from the very start the world has intrigued me, I didn’t like the split of the story for a fair while: I loved to read one character, and hurried through the other one. But the more I read, the more I wanted to read more, and by the end of it, I just finished the amount I kept for two more days in one sitting. That should hint you.

About: Once humans apparently lived with vampires, Silver, side by side. But as humans who were failed to be made Silver turned into Weepers, things got out of hand. Weepers, being a sort of a zombie, bit others, and made entire populations turn in mere hours, thus endangering both human race, and the Silvers too. Up until they made a cure for it, a vaccine that made humans immune to the plague, and successfully killed Weepers. The only problem was, that the vaccine didn’t leave the blood stream, and just as it turned Weepers human, thus killing them, for their bodies were far beyond life, it turned vampires human too. The cured became the contaminated.

Away from the place, and the time that it all happened, some hundreds of years later, Julia watched the Red with longing, from the safety of Blue, the last uncontaminated city safe for humans. They were ruled by Nobles, the forever young, immortal kind that drank their blood in exchange for protection from whatever horrors lurked in the Red and threatened their existence. Cameron is one of those Nobles, a Silver who traveled the Red far and wide in search of a lost, kidnapped friend. Instead of her, though, he kept finding more horrors and strange things: remains of caravans with pits full of human bones smoldering, meat seemingly eaten off of them, blood spilled around the camp; unbelievable amounts of Weepers, pits of dead ones, with live bait of a contaminated human crushed under their sheer weight, them dying on top from the taste of the vaccinated blood. Bit by bit it starts to seem someone is making more of these creatures on purpose… But not all things are bad, or at least, some things are still good. Humans are making settlements, and there’s more of them with passing time. And best of all, this time on his voyage there’ll be a helping hand of a handsome and very skilled woodsman Felix, a man with oh so very much too much knowledge of what Silver are.

Mine: It started good, but too slow for me. I didn’t like Julia’s story for a very long time, but I really, really loved everything Cameron was seeing. The horror was making me regret reading mostly at nights. But as story progressed, their paths came closer, and closer, and finally chapters told both their stories in one. Best part: they’re completely unrelated two characters, with their own adventures, goals, and love interests. All they did was see each other from afar. Another thing I must mention is that this book is one big trick. You think you know what’s going on, but you don’t. Author has tricked me many times turning the plot around, folding it over itself, and presenting solutions I did not expect. That gives me hope for the next book, for the last sentence Felix spoke in my head can only be resolved with a cliche of “you betrayed me – but let me explain” with making up somewhere at the end of the tunnel. Maybe Josie Jeffrey has something better in mind though, I really can’t wait to see.

So, all in all, I really loved this book. I loved the lack of predictability, I loved that heroes were not destined to be together from the start, I loved the insanely stubborn and determined, but so very kind Cameron. I loved how scary it was at so many points, and how beautifully it would fit a zombie apocalypse genre if author would just push it a little over the edge. 5 out of 5 from me, and I really do await the next book!

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joseph Fink “Welcome to Night Veil”

9.jpgAuthor: Joseph Fink
Title: Welcome to Night Veil
Series: Welcome to Night Veil 1
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 401
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I knew about this phenomena of a podcast, but I am not into podcasts, so I never listened. Instead, I figured, I’ll read a book. Yes. I jumped the damn wagon with “Welcome to Night Veil“, and I think it was a mistake. It’s not my cup of tea. Listening to the podcast a little would’ve most likely told me that. And those who enjoyed the said podcast probably enjoyed the book too…

About: Town of Night Veil is where all the odd, magical, cursed, and weird things are. Time works strange there. And so do memories. But people are strange too, so I guess it really works. One of those people is a boy named Josh. he can be anything. And he goes missing after a few failed attempts to question his mother of who his father was. It’s a hard task to find a boy who can be whatever he wants to be. But, luckily, his mother has a lead, and a strong feeling about it: there’s a strange man in a tan jacket that keeps appearing in Night Veil. He gives people a slip of paper that says “King City”, and goes missing. People tend to forget all about him, but the paper stays, and you can’t get rid of it. This King City is her biggest clue, and she’d like to start her investigation there, right after she’ll brave the most dangerous place in Night Veil: The Library, full of deadly Librarians. For no map in Night Veil show any road that leads to King City…

Mine: King meets Gaiman. This is not my cup of tea in the worst way. There’s really lots and lots of interesting things in this book, and the characters are very well built. And there were some really brilliant thoughts expressed and put to words that I loved. But it kept driving me mad. I hate that kind of story telling, where it takes very long for the narrator to tell you why this is as it is, and thus there is no need to explain, because hey, it is as it is, always have been.

It’s mostly a good book, it just wasn’t for me. The fantasy was very Gaiman + King, with nothing explained, but lots of words are strung together explaining that “it just is”. 3 out of 5 from me. I should’ve really tried the podcast first, and seen my way from there… But I don’t regret reading it!

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C.S. Pacat “Pet”

7Title: Pet
Author: C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince Short Stories 4
Genre: LGBT, Romance
Pages: 40p
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah well. Here I am, with the last of Captive Prince short stories. I’ll start the Fence comic by this author now, and will summary it once a whole volume, not just chapters is out.

About: Ancel, the red-headed pet is as ambitious as they come. From a boy for hire in a brothel, to a lord’s bed, and then into the palace. It was his very last master, who bought him just because he was there, and was the most expensive, turned out to be his biggest break through. The man who didn’t want him, but brought him into palace. The man who didn’t care to show off his great wealth, but inspired loyalty even in the heart of someone like Ancel. Still. Once the opportunity arises to sit in the Regent’s lap, Ancel can’t help but remember how cold and boring his master seems to be. Especially once Regent promises any contract he might ever dream of…

Mine: I had forgotten about Ancel. But once story rolled out, and I recalled reading about this pet, I’ve gotten an urge to re-read the first book. It’s interesting to see the same scenes there and here, but from a different perspective. This was definitely one of the more intricate and political stories.

It was a very good read. And I’m still amazed how very different every short story was. I love each one of them for whole different reasons thus. In this one, it was nice seeing, so to speak, old friends. 5 out of 5 from me.

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

C.S. Pacat “The Adventures of Charls, The Veretian Cloth Merchant”

6Title: The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant
Author: C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince Short Stories 3
Genre: LGBT, Romance, Humor
Pages: 26p
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Somedays I just really miss Captive Prince stories. Lucky me, though, not only can I re-read them in multiple forms, I still have (had) two short stories to get through too! So here’s on third.

About: Charls, as Vere and Akielos are slowly but surely growing into the idea of peace, is traveling his regular routes in the former enemy territory, making rounds with his clients and hoping to make new deals too. The prince of Vere himself gave him the gift of a beautiful caravan, with only one request: to be allowed to travel with Charls this one time, and Charls, being very kind hearted, takes it as a honor. But as they make their way into Akielos, it becomes clear that Charls’s rival is making better time, and on top of that, is spreading terrible rumors about Charls! More and more doors close right before the old Charls, and were it not for the young Charls, Laurent in disguise, this all might have went far worse.

Mine: This was the very funniest story of them all, and definitely became my very favorite. Charls is just such a dear and kind person! On top of that, let me remind you that Laurent’s own men called him a cast-iron btch, and would at times comment that he has a mouth on him, due to profanities spilled when prince got angered. So now I invite you to imagine this same young man as a merchant trying to beat a rival in business he knows little about. My face was in pain from laughing.

I loved this one. Gosh I love the people in it. 5 out of 5, for sure.

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

Laini Taylor “Dreams of Gods & Monsters | Daughter of Smoke & Bone 3

2Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone 3
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 613
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Ah well, it’s not like I could’ve quit a trilogy with only one book left. So as much as I didn’t enjoy the trilogy, I finished the last of Laini Taylor, “Dreams of Gods & Monsters”. It was better than the second book, but definitely not for me.

About: Ancient prophecies are coming true. Of things that will be, of things that’ll be gone. A human, child of an angel, born upon Earth with visions. A corrupt emperor of those very same, with a trice fallen creature hanging behind him, come down upon our lands: too long have you, humans, been shielded from demons and the war angels wage with them. Time you carry your weight. Time you repent your evil deeds. Time you arm the angels with mass destruction weapons. In the meantime Karou and Akiva are uniting the most unlikely allies in hopes to stop what will surely be the end of the universe as they know it. But in a larger scheme, this whole shebang is still just a puny grain in a wind.

Mine: In compare to the second book this one was pretty good. The story picked up, and there was plenty of action, turns, and twists in it. Author, in general, is very good at building worlds. I think that was the biggest barrier for me here – I just couldn’t get through the mundane. For I truly loved Strange the Dreamer, and every little bit about the different worlds here too. It just feels like choosing one or another would’ve worked better for me, personally. But I am sure that YA fantasy lovers will like this trilogy, and so I cannot stress enough – the author is great, and it was merely not my cup of tea.

I’m glad I’ve read this trilogy. I can now calmly wait for the second book of Strange the Dreamer to get into my hands. This one gets 4 out of 5 from me.

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

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.

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

Chloe Neill “Hard Bitten” | Chicagoland Vampires 4

1I get used to series. Then I read them, even if I don’t particularly like them. Same happened to me with Chloe Neill series Chicagoland Vampires. Lucky for me, though, “Hard Bitten” (Chicagoland Vampires 4; ISBN 04512333328; 350p. Goodreads) ended up with a very interesting note.

Tension is ever rising in House Cardogan. Protesters outside the windows demand day and night for these dangerous bloodsucking creatures to go back where they came from – hell. Some people go missing after especially brutal raves take place. New drug is rumored to be on the market, messing things up. And, seemingly, all of these strings lead to House Cardogan. Its master, Sullivan is under pressure from two different ramparts: the mayor of the city, and the vampire authorities from across the pond. Pressure itself wouldn’t be hard to handle, of course. It’s their orders that put him between an anvil and a hammer. One side wants him to take care of this, because Cardogan looks involved. Other side wants him to stop meddling in what the head of Cardogan is not supposed to meddle. So, clan reputation or his own skin?

Merit, on the other hand, seems to have found a way around all this mess. After all, the orders were to her liege, not her directly. And what her liege doesn’t know, her liege cannot be blamed for, right? Thus she picks up her contacts in dark deep places, and sets off after those who survived the raves. Sadly, the deeper she digs, the less she likes the secrets. Some of them are about to flip her whole world upside down. Like the one about her getting turned into a vampire…

The ending was a very interesting choice author made, and it got me real curious of how will this develop then. Still, I really won’t be recommending these to anyone who didn’t get this far to begin with. 3 out of 5 from me. Will read the next one though.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neven Iliev “Fizzlesprocket” | Everybody Loves Large Chests 2

1Finally! Finally I got my hands on second book in Neven Iliev series Everybody Loves Large Chests, “Fizzlesprocket” (Everybody Loves Large Chests 2; ASIN B07B42T4YD; 306p.; Goodreads). First one was great. Second one – less so. Never thought I’ll say this, but there were too many dirty jokes, they got to a point where it was just vulgarity for the sake of it, it wasn’t funny, and it flopped half of a book as a result. The other half was great tho.

When Boxxy noticed that some adventurers surpass him in abilities and skills, even if their levels are lacking. This has gotten him curious, for a boost is always welcome for our little mimic who is just trying to survive. And get tasties. And get shinies. So he watched and inspected, and came to a sensible conclusion that it was the gear they wore that gave them this said tasty boost. Yet putting this knowledge to practice turned out to be mighty time consuming and complicated. For there are no shops, apparently, that sell box-shaped armor.

For one, people feel strange dread, fear, uneasiness around monsters, no matter how human they look. So even if Boxxy overcame the first obstacle, and found a way to look more human, if a little grotesque as men come, he still had to navigate through people who shunned him without knowing why. Fear can easily turn into anger, and that would just not be tasty. For two, learning a crafting skill turned out to be both time consuming, and shiny-costing, forcing Boxxy to take up some quests now again, which wasn’t all that bad, for he got to consume corpses afterwards, and get more gold for it. It’s the third thing that turned out to be a real pain. After the whole Calamity happened, humans got on edge. Security got tighter, adventurers in disguise started investigating who did it. For while official story claimed it was elves, since that allowed an open war against that nuisance of a race, secretly authorities worked towards finding and punishing the real culprit. After all, no one wants that to happen again. And you have to admit, tall dark strangers, especially the strong-silent types, are mighty suspicious to begin with, even if they didn’t make you feel all strange and uneasy.

So as I said, dirty jokes got far out of line. Vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity is never funny, and it really got old really fast. Luckily, it broke off quite suddenly too, and pace picked up as plot intensified. So the whole second part of the book was far better. I loved the ending too, so I will definitely read the third book too. This one gets 4 out of 5 for the time being.

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

Jurga Lago “Land of Rain” | Lietaus Žemė

6After reading Norse Mythology and Mythos, and then playing Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, where the main character is a Pict (North Scotland) warrior who ventured into the underworld to fight Hela herself, I needed more myth retellings in my life so bad. So one day, as I was in the post office, doing my thing, sending stuff out, my eye was drawn to the little shelf they have there for books. I knew nothing of the author, nothing of the book, but the artwork style on the book, and the title told me I need to have it. So I got myself “Land of Rain” by Jurga Lago (Lietaus Žemė; ISBN13 9786094413476; 184p.; Goodreads), and I was never more happy with an impulse purchase ever.

Lietuviai and Zemaiciai have fought among themselves for so long, that our Thunder God named, well, Thunder, Perkunas, sent an ever lasting rain upon the land. It would pour until these two Lithuanian tribes finally made up. So, pretty much, forever, for neither side knows nothing else but how to hate the other side! From young age folk are conditioned with stories to feed the fighting spirit. And one of the fiercest among the Lietuviai was Siurbele (Leech). He, as many other old men, still remembered dry days and sunshine. But ever since Lietuvio son has disappeared soon after birth, his fighting spirit cared for no forgiveness, and he wickedly helped those dwindling armies collide, clash, and slaughter each other. During one such battle he was about to escape to safety when he found himself drowning in a bog called Black Honey. Making peace with his gods Siurbele got distracted by a child. Scrawny, thin thing with a lisp. He claimed he knows a path out of the bog, and will exchange the information for a couple of fishies. Small price for a life, Siurbele thought, and agreed. In fact, he felt so sorry for the poor child, that he gotten him to a farmer, and being of infamous name, had that one guarantee a livelihood for the kid during many winters to come.

One rainy night, as all nights were, one of the shepherds returned weeping: a water piggy got lost, and the master will surely beat him to death for it. Zaltys (grass snake), for that was the name of the kid who saved Siurbele, told the kid to calm down, and went to search for the piggy. Being kind-hearted, he didn’t regret finding it, even if it was at the feet of the Devil.

Now, mind you, in our mythology Devil was no friend to Perkunas, and Perkunas was sort of like Thor: An eldest god below his own father. But he wasn’t an evil creature. Mischievous – maybe. But absolutely not evil.

The Devil spoke a bit, corrected Zaltys every time he lisped a word, until the boy stopped lisping, due to magic the being wielded, or the sheer terror he induced in the kid. And finally agreed to give the piggy back. In exchange, Zaltys would go to Zemaiciai. What for? Well, that remains to be seen, Devil said. And so, the very next day Zaltys took off, through forests full of godlings, beings, creatures, beasts, talking lakes, and gods themselves. He knew enough to survive, being raised by one of the Wise Men, and likely there was no one prepared for such a journey better than he. As much as he didn’t wish to go to a mortal enemy who’d likely kill him on spot, not caring one bit that the Devil himself made him come, and he meant no harm.

Zemaitis, in the meantime, had a daughter. Sure, he wished for a son to take his place, but what can one do? The girl, Lyja (Raining), was raised among the soldiers, and soon enough had no equals with a bow in the forest. Still, as fierce as she was, her father saw her as a girl only suitable for kitchen work, thus when final battle came, he had to leave her behind. And well he did, for in the dark of night, with no soldier and only old or dying men around, Lyja was the only one who had the strength and bravery to face the stranger who knocked on the door.

The story is VERY good. I’d say it’s like Sapkowski’s Witcher, but in our boggy swamplands. I loved it a lot, and I wish it was translated to English, so everyone could enjoy this beautiful mythological story. 5 out of 5, well deserved.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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