Books of Occult

K.J. Charles – Jackdaw

34861586I miss A Charm of Magpies so much. So, of course, I went ahead and took the “Jackdaw” by K.J. Charles (ISBN13 9780995799059; 222p.; Goodreads), for it is set in the same world, has familiar characters, and the family of four that we love turns up too. And I loved it, I very much did. But now I miss them even more, dammit!

Jonah is the infamous windwalker thief, who worked for the bad guys in the final book of Charm of Magpies. He was blackmailed to help them capture Stephen Day, or his source of power – the Ring of the Magpie Lord, and Lucien Vaudrey, tho it is unlikely anyone knew that one didn’t work without the other. It worked as a trap for Stephen, and that’s all that mattered. That’s how Jonah made sure Ben, his beloved, lives.

Ben, due to his relation with the infamous windwalker thief, and their relationship, ended up in prison for a few months. Worse than the experience was his false belief, that Jonah used him, and then discarded of him. He walks out determined to settle the scores. Time for Jonah to taste the prison bread. As a practitioner he will have to be restrained, of course. As a windwalker, he’ll likely get hobbled. He’ll never walk, let alone fly… And the more Ben thinks of this, of that charming, smiling being, the time they spent together, the more he doubts his plan as fair. So he arranges to meet the man before hand. Next thing you know, they’re escaping justice together, over the rooftops, through the air!

This was a lovely book. Almost idyllic, tho nothing goes through butter. It reminded me how much I love Lucien and Stephen. For that alone I could give it all the points. But luckily, the story was good too, so it’s a 5 out of 5, for more fair and less biased reasons.

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

Seth Grahame-Smith – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

5899779I didn’t except to read a book like this for the first of October, but here I am, on perfect timing with the month of Samhain. This book sat on my to-read list for a fair while now. Which is why I like the “suggested for you” book sections. It reminded me of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith (ISBN 1594743347; 320p.; Goodreads), and I may cross it off my list now. What a good year for that, really. Mind you, while this book was pretty good, I still have a feeling I might have liked it more if I have actually read Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Someone let me know!

Zombie plague is terrorizing England. The dead don’t stay dead. They crawl out of their graves in search for juicy brains. As a result, whole England is transformed. While before it might have shown your worth and class to be able to, I don’t know, darn very well, or have a famous piano instructor, now your worth is determined by where you learned your oriental fighting skills, how many ninjas you have serving for your safety, how well equipped is your dojo, and so on. but that said, even if our dear Bennet girls are as deadly as standards require and then some, they still dream of marrying well.

It is an amusing story of English girls of fair birth and ruthless oriental training attempting to tempt an officer, or any decent man really, to become their husbands. There’s plots, and schemes, and no man is who he seems.

The book won’t leave you without sleep, it’s not scary. It is horror only in a sense of setting, but other than that, this is humor, and satire too, I feel. Still, all said, it being a light read, it still is a read that is easy to forget. Not very special, not very captivating. I can only offer it 3 out of 5, as tempting as it would be to give it more.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Other Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackenzi Lee “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” [1]

29283884I waited for “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee (ISBN 0062382802; 513p.; Goodreads) even before it was released. Which is a mighty rare thing for a first book (or a stand alone, we’ll see), and not, say, second or third in the series. Luckily, I didn’t get disappointed either!

Henry Montague is a fine man, an heir to a fairly great estate, and a son of great disappointment to his father. He was kicked out of school for, allegedly, starting a fight. He dallies with anyone on two legs, men, and women. He’s rarely ever sober, and shows little to no interest in running the estate! His father’s last hope is a voyage across Europe on which he sends Henry out, together with a very strict guardian, his sister, and his best friend. With whom Henry is secretly in love with…

The tour starts out pretty boring at first. Their guardian keeps his word, and makes sure everyone’s in line. Henry can’t go party, he’s not allowed to drink, and he’s going crazy. Yet he’ll surely miss these simple days once adventures come uninvited. Highway men, pirates… And all due to a damned box he pocketed!

The story was very fun, and often – very funny. It was easy to read, and I’m real happy about everything in it. So I’ll give it 5 out of 5, and won’t mind a sequel if such comes to be.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victoria Schwab – Our Dark Duet [2]

32075662I waited for this, it seems, for forever, even thou it wasn’t so long, really. And with “Our Dark Duet” by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity 2; ISBN 0062380885; 510p.; Goodreads) the duology ends. Yet my waiting continues, since now my favorite author is writing a sequel to Vicious…

Kate Harker, in a sense, felt safe. Monsters were all known. You looked at the body, and by what was missing, you knew what you’ll be hunting. None of them were a match for her either. Until that fatal night when something fleeting passed her vision. People turned their weapons one against the other, and killed without remorse. The blur in her vision turned more physical, and soon she was gazing into its eyes, mirroring her own, calling for violence, cold, alien…

August Flynn just wanted to be human. That is, until humans showed him how much more use they have from a monster who is strong, and in control of themselves. So he hunted, killed, and fed. And he gave orders, as due to a high ranking officer. What a strange, and unexpected turn his life took. And how much more strange it’ll get when Kate Harker will return to Verity. Kate Harker, with one eye no longer blue. Kate Harker, with one eye filling up with the mirror shard there. Kate Harker, with one eye that made the cameras blur out of focus when she looked at them. Kate Harker, the infamous monster hunter, with one eye of a monster.

This was one damn amazing piece, and I am beyond happy with it. Events turned and twisted, pace was perfect, as always, and people were their own beings. I loved it, it concluded everything perfectly. 5 out of 5, this was wonderful.

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

Friday Diversity // K.J. Charles // LGBTQ+

Often, at least in gay men literature, characters who identify as homosexual tend to hate themselves, no matter how society views them. It’s one reason why I really like K.J. Charles, for there’s little to absolutely no self-loathing due to sexuality there, even thou the settings of these books are often placed in times where homosexuality in any form was considered a crime.

The first books I ever read by K.J. Charles was A Charm of Magpie trilogy. Now that I’m reading another one, I’ve noticed that’s not the only peculiarity she has. Author likes her characters, the ones doomed to fall for each other, to be as different from one another as possible

Lucian is tall, blond, all the way from exotic China where his father exiled him due to his homosexual nature. To London he returns a wealthy merchant, tattooed, handsome, and mighty unusual, flashy even.

Stephan day is short, red-haired, and the only oddity about him is his magic. With a high position in, what I’d call, magical police, he still barely makes the ends meet, and in general prefers staying unnoticed.

These two end up together, prepared to maybe fight a little, but end up figuring they both loathe Lucian’s father, and they both would rather keep the last living Vaudrey alive. The rest is just beautiful, adventure filled, and well paced story.

While in Shades of Magic character orientation was a matter of fact, here – the pair can’t even hold hands in public due to outlash they would receive, the danger they’d be putting each other into.

So, when your straight friends complain about Gay Pride parades, or wonder what’s there to be proud of, when you were born this way, do remind them these little facts: straight people were never ever persecuted due to their orientation, so they can celebrate it every single day, really, and you’re proud, because you’re alive, you survived, you’re here, and you’re awesome.

Categories: Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jeaniene Frost – Once Burned [1]

7039218Geez, I’m a sucker for Dracula, and so I read anything with him in it, even the questionable romance books. Like “Once Burned” by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince 1; ISBN 006178320X; 346p.; Goodreads). It wasn’t bad, but it’s one of those romances. Like stand-alone’s by Nora Roberts or Jude Deveraux. Vampires were pretty cool thou, and Dracula wasn’t a complete disaster. Heck, it feels like author actually did some research before writing, which I respect.

After an accident in her childhood Leila carries a physical scar on her body, and one in her psyche too. She pumps actual electricity out of her arms, and if she wishes to touch someone – she has to first let the charge out into some lightening rod or something. And even then she’s doubtful, because touching a person means seeing their greatest sin. And sometimes their future, which soon gets her into trouble. For after warning a woman of hey boyfriend’s plans to murder her, she’s soon kidnapped by a vampire gang. They want her to find another of their kind. Yes, no other but the prince of the darkness himself, Vlad Draculea.

The problem arises when Leila actually finds him mentally, and sees him. For he opens his eyes, and looks right at her… Leila needs to decide, and decide fast with whom she has better chances at survival.

It’s not a good book, but by far not a bad one either. I will read the other ones, gladly even. They’re simple, vampires are quite alright, and as I said before – Dracula had some research done on him. Author knew important details, and used them to her advantage well. I can give it 3 out of 5, but that’s not a bad rating.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patrick Sheane Duncan – Dracula Vs. Hitler

draculavshitleOh happy day for me! I’m a fan of Dracula stories, always in want of new, good ones. It was impossible to not notice “Dracula vs. Hitler” by Patrick Sheane Duncan (ISBN 1942645082; 441p.; Goodreads), so I saw it, I took it, and I’ve read it. And I loved it. I believe anyone who loves action-packed movies with Dracula, Van Helsing movie, or Hellsing in any form, will also appreciate it.

Monsters in human form roam the earth, Nazis. Bit by bit they’re occupying Europe, same tactics, same alternative facts on importance of “racial purity” bullshit. Their brutality is unmatched. And as Van Helsing watches guerrilla not only fail, but get slaughtered, as he watches his daughter Lucile, named after a tragic heroine, risk her all for it, he has to make a decision: could a monster vs monster work?

Some years ago he, and a few brave men, captured Dracula, overpowered, and imprisoned him. Not many know he is not really dead thou. And while Van Helsing often thought of coming back to the sarcophagus with the immortal creature within, he always thought it’d be for science sake, for experiments, research. By far he did not expect himself to stand over the prince’s body, prepared to wake him from the possibly eternal slumber, in hopes that Vlad the Impaler will be willing to defend his homeland once again, against a new enemy.

It’s a very amusing, action filled, and fast paced book. Dracula is well written, and I love that once again he is portrayed as a relentless reader. He muses about new creations humans have made, and doesn’t smell of rot. But then he kills like a walking fortress. I can give it full 5 out of 5, and hope to someday add a physical copy to my collection, for this is a worthy piece to my shelves.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Gothic Books, vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neil Gaiman – Anansi Boys [2]

ananI really did enjoy American Gods, so when I noticed Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (ISBN 0060515198; 384p.; Goodreads) marked as second book, I had to take it. But this one lacked the charm American Gods had, and is absolutely not a sequel of any kind. Merely the setting is the same, but you can read or not read either one – they’re not connected with anything but the fact: there’s gods here.

Fat Charlie’s father has died. And while he’s not too heartbroken about it, this death keeps ruining his life! First he finds out his father was actually a Spider God. Then, that he has a brother. Then this brother turns out to be much cooler, and way more interesting than Charlie. People can’t tell them apart, and yet they obviously prefer this brother. His boss, and his fiance too… And then it turns out that this brother, is not even a brother. He’s a little more. And a little less.

Charlie, hating what his life is becoming, decides to root out what he sees as the cause of the fall. This brother of his. For that he has to get deeper into this White Rabbit Hole Alice once went, see more of these divine beings, and strike a very, very stupid bargain, with a very, very malicious being. Be careful what you wish for. Or, you know, how you phrase your wishes.

The book is not too good, but easy to read. One can take it for a light piece on the go, no matter whether one has read American Gods or not. This has neither spoilers, nor is otherwise connected. Sparingly I can give it 4 out of 5, it’s not bad, just not good either.

Categories: 4-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Funny! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frank Herbert – Dune Messiah [Dune 2]

dune2Right, well, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (Dune 2; ISBN 0441172695; 331p.; Goodreads) felt far longer than it actually was. Odd how the peak of the story came to be at the end of the previous book, and now – everything spiraled down. Truth be told, if there’s nothing to pick it all up in book 3, I’ll abandon the Saga, glad I’ve read the first book.

Muad’dib has power beyond measure. He’s in sole control of Spice mining, and everyone needs it, everyone wants it. Drowning in visions induced by air saturated with this very spice, Muad’dib is dreaming of the simpler days. With no empires to rule, no legions to control. With no intrigues, politics, and those nasty fate lines he can see so clearly now. One wrong step is all it takes for it all to fall. The face changing assassins. His dead mother’s sect in hunt of, what, his genes? Stolen worm to be taken to another planet in attempts to take away the monopolis from Muad’dib. The most trusted friend once dead, now alive again, dubbed Hate by smiling faces. Just one step, and…

The Dune is changing. There’s now plenty of water for everyone, but not everyone is happy about it. Worms went deeper, further away into the desert, for they fear all this moisture. And people too feel there’s something wrong in this lavish…

 

As you can probably tell already from the hard-to-read writings of mine, I didn’t like this book much. I can give it 3 out of 5, no more. For there were indeed plenty of very good parts, but they reminded me more of gold veins in marble. You follow this thin line, twisting, breaking, turning. The rest was filled with that superbly common topic of those on top dreaming to be simple men. It was mighty boring to read of a person with, what, super-awareness? Someone who can remember what her ancestors might have known, dreaming to “just be loved”.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elizabeth May – The Falconer [1]

FalconercoverfinalAh. There are books you read in one sitting, because they’re just THAT good. And then there are books you read in one sitting, because you already know what’s going to happen in the next page. I’m sad to say that “The Falconer” by Elizabeth May (The Falconer 1; ISBN 1452114234; 378p.; Goodreads) is the latter kind. If you read more of this YA kind of fantasy, there’s no reason for you to pick up this one. In short: time trial for the chosen one to close a thing before bad things come out of the thing.

She is one of the kind. And the last of her kind. The awkward Scottish lass leading her double life. During the day hours she is attempting her best to salvage her reputation scraps, and build new contraptions on the spare time (steampunk theme). And at night time (and I’m almost quoting here), she’s trying to sate her unquenchable bloodlust, her need for murder, power, by killing the very bad fae. The fae are usually all teeth and claws, fairly scary if you ask me, and they all feed on human energy. Those who resemble humans more can put you to such awe, that you’ll be tempted to throw your reputation in 1844 Edingburg right there, out the window. That’s called Faestruck, by the way, and our so very bad and murderous heroine is apparently immune. Apparently.

Time Trial begins. A gate to fae prison is opening, and she’s the only one who can close it before all the bad things come pouring out to hunt humans as they used to, and destroy all the things. So she packs up her flying contraption, her own made weapons, which are impressive, I admit, and the Mister Unfriendly Fae friend for whom, of course, she’s developing feelings, and goes to close that damned thing! Did I mention it has to be done during specific lunar event? Well, in my humble opinion, that was obvious anyway.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not all is bad about this book. I’ve simply had oh so many like this one in my hands before, that I can no longer appreciate the simple beat-the-clock script. If you don’t read many of this kind, it’s a very good starter book. Story has all the things, Steampunk, decent jokes, funny heroine, the inhuman love interest, best guy friend who will marry you because that’s his duty as your friend: to defend your tarnished honor, and references to Scottish folk tales, that are pretty damn great, if you ask me. But for me, in my own personal opinion, this is not worth more than 3 out of 5, and that’s mostly because her fiance drank his own tea, and then hers too, because her butler was too slow in filling his cup.

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

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