Historical Books

book review | The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard

the republic of pirates colin woodard blackbeardAuthor: Colin Woodard
Title: The Republic of Pirates
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Historical
Pages: 400
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

Who doesn’t like a good pirate tale? But how many of us know anything about the men and women behind the infamous names? This bother has led me to pick up The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard, a masterful historical book, full of names we all surely know.

About the Book: Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, Charles Vane, Mary Read, Stephen Bonnet. Some out of many more who sailed the seas and struck fear in simple man’s heart. Strategic abilities, scare tactics, combat skills, all that and much more has surrounded the infamous pirates with supernatural legends, thus bringing the whole of them under umbrella into the world of fiction that we now know and admire. This book tells the tale of theirs, the true one, what were the men and women behind those names, and what pushed them to this gruesome, rarely easy life. How the Republic of Pirates was formed, and how it eventually fell.

My Opinion: This is a great book if one wants to know more than just the fantasy tales we get via movies, series, and video games, which I also love, and can’t blame anyone else for loving too. Story is very well written, with plenty of background for some, and less for others, as is expected with historical nonfiction works.

Can definitely recommend, for the common kettle of knowledge. A firm 5 out of 5 from me!

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

nonfiction | “Apollo 8” by Jeffrey Kluger

2Author: Jeffrey Kluger
Title: Apollo 8
Series: –
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I absolutely had no clue how does one become one, and the fact I’m from Eastern Europe likely didn’t help either. But hey, I’ve read all about space and universe that I could lay my hands upon. This, I guess, is a tribute to that kid that still kinda wants to be an astronaut.

About: Before Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong, the first man on the surface of the Moon, there was Apollo 1, Virgil Grissom, a blood curdling fire, and many, many more mistakes to come, with too many good men dead. But neither United States, nor the rest of the humanity were willing to give up just yet. So there was Apollo 2, and then Apollo 3… Up until Apollo 8, the first one to reach the Moon’s orbit. Approximately one third of the Earth’s population that had electricity and television available have been up and watching whatever footage there was. And this is the tale of those people they watched, their families, people on Earth who regulated the flight, and so on.

Mine: I love how this book is written. It’s always from third person, but very personal anyway. There you get to read a view from beside a wife of an astronaut, practically hear the child roll their eyes, because their dad is just an astronaut, no big deal, Billy’s dad is a fireman, now that’s a something! Merely because they grew up in this environment, with their old dad being an astronaut, with his old friends being astronauts. And over there you read from beside an engineer who is sweating bullets in dread, demanding tests ran on every single thing, every detail, in dread, in memory of that Apollo 1. And the moment it starts feeling too much like a fictional novel, a movie, author gives you all of the facts, all of the sources for the facts, and even audio recordings of the most important stuff.

The book is very well written. If you’ve any interest in how humanity finally stepped on the Moon, take this one. 5 out of 5 from me.

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

history | “A Brief History of the War of the Roses” by Desmond Seward

1.jpgAuthor: Desmond Seward
Title: A Brief History of the Wars of the Roses
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction, History
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Not gonna lie, sometimes, when reading history books on better known, closer countries, if I know little to nothing of what’s going on, other than the few most famous or infamous names: I feel like an utter idiot. Back in the day I really loved history. I even wanted to study it. But the want melted away, and never returned.

This is a very well written, not at all dry history book of fifteen century England. It reads like a book with a little extra facts, all the people feeling very realistic in a sense that they could be characters. During this period of time Yorks and Lancasters tore at each other for the crown, and this particular war was called War of Two Roses. Here author steps in again, and lets you know why’s that, and how it wasn’t very accurate, really. It’s really entertaining, and easy to follow.

An interesting book, as, I feel, history books should be. I’ve no clue of how accurate it is factually, but if you’re curious on the topic, I can recommend this book. In fact, I’ll give it a 5 out of 5, and will keep the author in mind, in case there’s more interesting history books he wrote.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jordan L. Hawk “Necropolis” | Whyborne & Griffin 4

3Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Title: Necropolis
Series: Whyborne & Griffin 4
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 200
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Alright, time to continue a bit with Whyborne & Griffin before I forgot all about everything. Especially since these books didn’t fit into my October TBR, and since they are nice, and easy to read. Nothing too big, but not too little either.

About: After a mostly unsuccessful Christmas diner at Whyborne’s family, the couple’s Holiday is cut short by Christine’s hurried telegram explaining nothing at all, but requesting Whyborne to get to Egypt ASAP. Being a great introvert, Whyborne didn’t want to go, and had to be persuaded by Griffin, and a ghoul that attacked him at work. For in Egypt, under the dead scorched sands, something darkness is waking. Something evil, hungry, and very angry. And Christine, unknowingly, is stepping right in the middle of it.

Mine: People getting mad at Whyborne, because they thought he and Christine had a fling worked very well here. Best was Christine’s response when confronted about it: “ew“. These little incidents worked well with otherwise pretty stressful plot with too obvious villains, and too obvious masked heroes. I mean, I understand it’s not the goal of these books to serve you a detective, but… Ah, it don’t matter. The books are well written. The adventure was built in a perfectly smooth pace, with pauses for discussion, regrouping, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of comic relief, that this time came in a shape of a camel who stole Whyborne’s hats. Yes, multiple.

These are very light reads, and so far are fun too. Not utterly captivating, but I can still give it a solid 4 out of 5, and continue in November. Because really, why not? They might not put you on the edge of the chair, but they definitely won’t have you bored!

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

K.J. Charles “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal”

3Finally I got me another chance for some leisure with K.J. Charles. This time I read “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal” (ASIN B06XVF3GW8; 232p.; Goodreads), a sort of a prequel to Green Men series I’ll be starting right after this. It’s a very sherlocky book, but all cases are supernatural, and clients are mostly angry spirits.

Robert Caldwell worked as a journalist when he met Simon Feximal. You see, he inherited this old, crumbling little manor or castle, or whatever the hell, and a raging spirit of his angry ancestor with it. I mean, one can deal with many things. Things moving, doors closing, sounds and moans. But once the walls start bleeding, well, most of us would probably draw a line. So Robert called for help. Simon showed up, with his mysterious demeanor, body of a boxer, and impressive knowledge on the occult. He made them a circle and told Robert to not put a finger out, whatever happens. Spirit started raging, strange symbols appeared on Simon’s skin, and… Well, of course, Robert broke the damned circle.

From there on adventures and cases begin. Robert soon learned what World under the World is, and just how much more there is than meets the eye. And it’s not just angry spirits! There’s angrier zealous colleagues, England’s Secret Service, and even a war at the gate.

If you fancy a supernatural detective, than this is definitely for you. It was damn great, with lots of amazing characters and secrets. 5 out of 5 from me, can’t go any less.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeaniene Frost – Bound by Flames | Night Prince 3

BoundbyFlames-coverI love the way Jeaniene Frost weaves a web for the reader, one I can never get out of, for it seems, what, just another page, just another chapter. I couldn’t put “Bound by Flames” (Night Prince 3; ISBN 0062076086; 342p.; Goodreads), the third book in a series of four. To add to the pretty great plot, the character development keeps getting better. Yes, yes, especially Prince Dracula.

This is a far darker, and far greater book than the previous two. The pace is perfect, with one episode following the other one closely, with only this much room to sit and talk it out. Szilagyi continues to harass Vlad and his household, pushing wedges where he can’t pull allies. A turncoat thus soon appears in prince’s flock. And in disguise of napalm bombing of his home, they steal his wife away, where she successfully get’s tortured physically, and mentally. Szilagyi is confident that he found a way to break the prince once and for all, thus he speaks, and we find out why he’s such a disgusting rat’s ass. But little does this bastard know, that he’s dealing with people who do not believe in limitations, and who dearly trust in one another.

Vlad spares nothing in search for Leila, trusting she’ll do all it takes to survive until he does find her. This is officially a war between the two vampires, and maybe that’s just for the best. Vlad pulls favors, finds people, and lets us in on his past, all the while keeping a sharp, if a bit rude eye on Leila’s family, still caring for their safety. There is no doubt in his heart that he’ll find the bastard, and at last squish him. But of course, surprises await, bad and good for both sides. Curses, bindings, and unexpected family members from the old Dracul line of Basarabs.

So, yes. This was amazing. I loved it to bits. Which, sadly, means I’ll keep the final one unread for as long as I can. This one pulled me out out of a very dark place. 5 out of 5, well deserved.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Horror, Historical Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

K. J. Charles – A Fashionable Indulgence [1]

23834716I’m a fan of K.J. Charles, and her easy-to-read, suspension-adventure filled books. So after a short recommendation, and a long wait, I went ahead and grabbed “A Fashionable Indulgence” (Society of Gentlemen 1; ISBN 1101886021; 264p.; Goodreads). And while this was not as great as A Charm of Magpies, it didn’t disappoint either.

Harry Vane is a Radical in Regency England. He fights for reforms, democracy, and one law for all. Radical bread in general is not sweet, yet when his grandfather, who decided he needs an heir, plucks him off the streets, and drops him into Julian’s lap, in attempt to make him a true gentleman – he’s about to choke on it. If Harry wants his inheritance, he’ll have to learn to hide his views, and play along. It’s just that, Julian, unlike his grandfather, doesn’t look all that appalled by it…

Already difficult Harry’s life turns upside down when his friend gets murdered the night he wore Harry’s coat. The man was not robbed, even thou he had the wallet Harry gave him. Thus both him and Julian come to conclusions – someone tried to kill Harry, and might still be out to get him. Did someone in Society of Gentlemen found out Harry’s true nature?

This was a pretty good detective, something I rarely say. I didn’t expect the things that happened, and I enjoyed the dandy side of this society more than I expected too. I still missed the witchcraft, so 4 out of 5 it is. Not because it lacked action without magic, but because I can’t help but compare the two trilogies. The cover is great tho, isn’t it?

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

K.J. Charles – A Case of Possession [2]

18074870I am the worst, I know. I finished the book probably a week ago, but here I am, only now making up some kind of a review. K.J. Charles book “A Case of Possession” (A Charm of Magpies 2; ASIN B00D89QGW8; 159p.; Goodreads) is the second book in the trilogy, and I must admit, I am more than half way done with the third by now. And not that this book wasn’t as good or anything, it’s just… I get lost in comparisons, I guess.

Peter S. Beagle taught me that there’s no force more dangerous, than a magician who found no peace in death. When giant rats start flooding London, coming from no where, going hell knows where, killing mercilessly – Crane finds himself able to help his magical lover, and point him in the right direction. No matter how modern you are, how deeply you abandoned old beliefs, and how much you don’t care for superstitions, if a Shaman dies in your care, you’d want to make sure they found peace, just as a precaution… For giant rats is a myth told in Shanghai, that is proving to be very real, and very hard to stop back here, in London. And if that didn’t get under the Lord Vaudrey’s skin, the next best thing over fluence is coming when the magic in his blood is noticed by the very worst…

This book was pretty intense, I’d say. Blood and gore is just as present here, as it was in the previous one, but add the unappealing idea of dog-sized rats inflicting the gut-tearing. It’s not too badly detailed, I’d not dare call this a horror story, but author really knows how to dash the dark colors into the lines. I’ll give this one another 4 out of 5, for while better than the previous one, it still fell short… And maybe that’s the problem: it was short.

To those curious, yes, there’s smut here, fairly rough but absolutely consensual sex between two similar age guys with severe size difference (Stephan is short and red-haired, while Crane is tall and blond). Njoy the ride!

 

Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

K.J. Charles – The Magpie Lord [1]

17730586Ah, what a wonderful transition from a fantasy world with realistic history similar to our own, that of Captive Prince, to this. Our very England, filled with warlocks and what not. “The Magpie Lord” by K.J. Charles (ISBN 1619215764; 200p.; Goodreads) was yet another recommendation I took from Bonnie Burton (not personally, but the book club she’s in, and her goodreads are good sources for curious, open minded, and ever searching people), and once again, it did not disappoint.

Lucien Crane Vaudrey was the bad and rotten son in his father’s eyes. Thus, when this became possible, he packed the boy off to Shanghai, informing his servant that there’d be no tears if the lad fell over board during the journey. It says nothing good of Lucien, especially knowing what the rest of his family is like. Folk already learned to avoid the Vaudreys, and expect no justice from them. In fact, they’re realizing they might have to take justice in their own hands, for otherwise innocent blood will continue to flow as the father and son pleased. We could imagine here a mob, pitchforks and torches. But why the bother when there’s a witch at hand?…

After whole Vaudrey family took their own lives due to sudden madness, Lucien has no other choice but to return and take care of all the legal matters one has to take care of when one is the new Earl. He didn’t plan to stay long in the country, and at best – stay in London, up until first nuisance, attempt to arrest him for his orientation (being gay was illegal in those times, and thus the reason he was exiled too), or such, then he’s off, back home, to Shanghai. It’s just that the madness that pushed his father and brother to suicide seems to be lurking in his blood too. Dark spots in his memory, and vision, voices. Getting back to your own mind, with your servant trying to take away the knife that you didn’t use all that delicately in attempt to carve your life out of yourself. This can’t continue. Either he’ll go mad, or… Merrick, with his lord’s blessing, went out to the darkest places of London in hopes to find help that would’ve been at hand in an open-minded Shanghai. He needs a Shaman. After all, all England cannot hate Vaudreys, can they?

I love how they used magic, how magicians a.k.a. practitioners are like vampires here: they need energy, and can very well take it from a person, even if it means taking their life in the process. I loved how Merrick reminded me lightly of Sebastian Michaelis (Kuroshitsuji), allowing little slips in courtesy towards his master now and then. And I loved how it all reminded me of the intense adventures I had with Bartimaeus, where walls shook from the power of those entities summoned. Oh, and not to forget, I loved how “prince charming” was a tiny, thin, redheaded man with crooked teeth. 5 out of 5, no less.

Categories: Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alternative History

Alternative_history_books

Alternative History genre is among my favorites. It is just that: one or several historical facts are completely or partially changed in the book, and whole world is then perceived via the prism of that possibility. Steampunk genre is most commonly known in Alternative History genre, since it operates on alternative possibility of Steam Engine being the one that got developed wider and longer than it actually was.

My most favorite examples of Alternative History could also be called Alternative Reality, since fantasy enters (fantasy as in supernatural, not as in mere fiction). One being Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. We all have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, haven’t we? Or at least seen the dozens of movies that we can choose from without even looking for them (and if you do look, there’s hundreds awaiting). There the brave men ganged up and killed our Father in Darkness (in Anno Dracula that is how your sire is called, Mother/Father in Darkness). Yet in Newman’s story that is not what happened at all. Some meager little men against someone like the Impaler? Ha. He rips them to shreds, in some cases even literally, and slowly but surely brings vampires into the daylight. Not literally. History proceeds as is, but vampires are a great part of it. Say, Bloody Red Baron tells the famous Red Baron story, yet here we not only have some epic pilots doing their jobs, heck, we have giant blood thirsty bat-dragons.

The other example is Bartimaeus sequence by Jonathan Stroud. Empire of Great Britain has never crumbled, but just went on, and on, and on, becoming the greatest power since Roman Empire if you please. History ceases here, since this is not the main genre of the book, and yet it fits the frame.

There are, of course, many more, since I told you what Steampunk is at the base, so even our very own Tapinas with his Wolf Hour is guilty of being Alternative History writer. It’s a genre for all those who overthink things, I think (see what I did here?), since it allows us a wider view of what could’ve been, and how that would’ve changed our lives as we know it.

Categories: Alternative History Books, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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