Books: Other Fiction

historical fiction | “The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy | Montague Siblings 2

5Author: Mackenzi Lee
Title: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Series: Montague Siblings 2
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 450
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Another book I heard warnings about, and read poor reviews of in that little collection of book blogs that I follow (not all of them). But if I set my mind on reading something, that’ll not discourage me, so here I am.

About: Felicity just wanted to be a doctor. She wanted to learn, to know, and possibly be known for her contribution to medicine. But instead, her being born a woman at this time and age, has made all the men close the door to her face before even hearing her out. Yet Montagues aren’t so easily made to give up.

Upon hearing that her former childhood friend is about to marry a scientist Felicity has admired for a while, she sets off to visit her, with a plan at hand of how to not upset the friend she didn’t part on the best of terms with; And how to possibly get a spot at her soon-to-be husband’s side. For this man is known to be an eccentric among his kind, so at the very least she’ll be heard, she’s sure. Instead she soon finds herself on yet another pirate ship, with her childhood friend at hand, off to adventures worthy of books, escaping grave danger into strange lands of myths.

Mine: Felicity is what I’d imagine Sherlock Holmes would’ve been if he was born a woman. She’s stubborn, annoyed, angry, feeling invisible. She also believes she has to prove herself to be seen, and doesn’t always choose the best ways towards those goals, thus, doing so, she hurts others and comes off as arrogant. Here her childhood friend really fits into the picture. She’s a very different kind of a woman from Felicity, yet just as strong and just as smart. Her kind clashing with Felicity creates a dynamic character development that I very much enjoyed through the whole of the book. The only big minus I got for the story is the overbearing amount of details where there was no need for so many, and great shortage of them where it would’ve been interesting to know more.

I’d really like me more books of Montague siblings. They’re real fun kids, with ability to adapt unmatched. I give this book a strong 4 out of 5, and remain hopeful.

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

classics | “The Kreutzer Sonata” by Leo Tolstoy

2Author: Leo Tolstoy
Title: The Kreutzer Sonata
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Pages: 128
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Reading this book made me realize I’d like to melt my diversity section into the general pot, and simply make an active attempt to introduce more diverse books into my normal reading. Why, you’d ask? Because this damn book made me want to throw it into the first fire I found.

About: So, ah. This whole book is about a toxic freak of nature of a man who made this whole philosophy of how love doesn’t exist. He based it upon his own baseless jealousy of his wife. Due to this jealousy he killed her, so that’s your proof. What love can exist, when a man can get this jealous, and kill his wife? And what is a woman if not a corrupted maiden, who would never in a million years enjoy sex, but is forced to imagine that she does, so that she can take a certain amount of control over a man? This here waste of space rants this whole story to another man, and by the end of the book I concluded neither should’ve walked off that damn train.

Mine: Don’t get me wrong here. I understand why this book exists. I can even, sort of, appraise the message it sends: a woman is easily killed by toxic men who forget they’re people too. But it was still so incredibly disgusting to read. I know those women. And I know those men. Often I get to read rants on facebook by strong women in their safe towers, tutoring other women to not be afraid to refuse, to not be afraid to leave toxic men. But this here is reality. Freaks like this exist in real life. It’s easy to speak when you trust the man you’re with to be a human being, not a monster. This book portrays it all well. (this not to say that a woman shouldn’t leave a toxic man, but from a standpoint from someone in an LGBT community, I know that I’d put my safety first, and seek certain measures before I came out to certain people)

It is, of course, written incredibly well. So, for that, and the message, if that was the case, I give it a 4 out of 5. I’m just real disheartened to understand the world barely changed from those times when this bag of dicks killed his wife, because he imagined something.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Classic Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

diversity | “Queens of Geek” by Jen Wilde

1Author: Jen Wilde
Title: Queens of Geek
Series: –
Genre: LGBT Literature, Contemporary
Pages: 262
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

We’ve all ran into that “different” title at some point in our lives. And often I feel like girls likely run into it more often. For I always knew plenty who loved to read, play video games. And yet, they were self-described, and described by others as “not your usual girl“, so, different. This is a book about them, and how it’s all normal.

About: Taylor lives with a form of autism, severe anxiety, and absolutely constant nervousness. It were the YA book series that got her through school. And so, it is thanks to them that she pulls together all of her courage and determination, and accepts an invitation to SupaCon, provided to her by her good friend vlogger-actress, Charlie. Charlie has a panel there, and hopes to not meet her toxic ex while Taylor will be out hunting her favorite author. Both of them hope for the best, expect the worst, and have absolutely no clue of how their lives will soon shift.

Mine: They had me at “Felicia Day“. I enjoy books that normalize the different. Because that’s the thing, it’s not different, you’re just told you have to fit a mold all your damn life, and that’s just a big fat lie. You’re not different, you’re you. And sure, you’re unique, and that’s bloody great, but there’s no reason to put all the girls and boys who like what they “should” (according to general society, possibly their parents) like, into one herd, as if they’re somehow below us, “weirdos“. Even if they think so of you. Which they also, shouldn’t. This book is a great example of how it is, should be, could be, and should absolutely not be.

I’ve read this book and caught myself wondering whom am I going to gift this book too. I like books like that, with a good message in them. It’s idealized to a teeth-rotting sweetness, and the writing isn’t top notch either. But hey, 5 out of 5 for sheer message it passes.

 

Categories: 5-5, Books: LGBT, Contemporary Books, F/F Literature, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

mafia | “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo | Mario Puzo’s Mafia 1

2Author: Mario Puzo
Title: The Godfather
Series: Mario Puzo’s Mafia 1
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 448
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

It’s long overdue that I read these books. Recently I got real determined to not only physically clean out my book shelves, but read it up too. So I planned a month, and so I’ve read it. I’ve learned I don’t really read books I otherwise wanted, if I don’t have it pre-planned. There’s always something else, seemingly more suitable…

About: This is a tale of a family. For family is the most important. Especially one that lives under an omerta, a law of silence. But this said family doesn’t have to be blood. All you need to do is ask for help, and then accept Vito Corleone as your Godfather. From then on, you’re part of the family, and expected to behave as such, as a friend, a brother, a child. Everyone’s accepted equally, with a smile, a kind word. And at times, people are laid to their graves with the same kind smiles. For family indeed is the most important. And this is also a tale of cold vengeance so well weaved that Count of Monte Cristo would be proud. No one’s above Corleones family. No one.

Mine: Holy smokes. The quality of this book, of the writing, it’s unbelievable. You read of family, families within it, branches, gangs, generations of people, and even tales of origins. And yet it’s no effort at all to follow it all, to understand. And the story is great too, the plot, the thriller. You see what happened. You’re even told why it was done, how, by whom, how it was handled after. But only at the very end you’re told the truth behind it, and it all then makes so much more sense. It becomes clear that the damn don Vito Corleone was a genius.

This is a great book. I should not have left it to gather dust for so long. But hey, better later than never. 5 out of 5, and hopefully I’ll pick up the next one soon enough.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, crews, gangs, etc, Crime Books, mafia, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

detective | “Jackrabbit Smile” by Joe R. Lansdale | Hap and Leonard 12

2Author: Joe R. Lansdale
Title: Jackrabbit Smile
Series: Hap and Leonard 12
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 256
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

So I took a book, I’ve read it, went to goodreads to mark it, and got deja vu. For once again, like in the good old times, I’ve read a hell knows which book in a series. But since I have no plans to read any more of these, it is as it is, and it’ll be fine.

About: Hap and Leonard weren’t all too pleased to accept a job from a white supremacists couple. They came to them as last resort, bringing in a handful of family along, expressed their displeasure of Leonard being black (little did they know, he’s gay too), and their grief over their missing daughter. She disappeared soon after giving birth to a black baby, and they no longer expect to see her alive. They merely want to know what happened.

The town these two go to investigate in is run by white supremacists and crazy folk. Most businesses are owned by a man called Professor, who has his own philosophy of why people of color and whites shouldn’t mix. Church was ran by folk who believed the world will end due to lizard people who live among us. And the mass there was held by a man who wanted to die of a gruesome torture, and seemingly got his final wish fulfilled. So, wherever you turn, there’s a something…

Mine: While the story itself was very mediocre, it’s written very well, and is full of good wit, funny jokes, and strong characters. And I’ve said this time, and time again: a good character can fix any plot. So if you ever need something light, funny, with maybe a little touch of scary shit, due to murder and all that, keep these series in mind. I will too.

I don’t really intend to read any more now, but hey, never say never. This book gets a solid 4 out of 5. I don’t know how those other ones are, but this one was nice and firm, and you can absolutely follow the story, no matter the past books.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Crime Books, Detective Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

diversity | “Armistice” by Lara Elena Donnelly | The Amberlough Dossier

3Author: Lara Elena Donnelly
Title: Armistice
Series: The Amberlough Dossier 2
Genre: Fiction, LGBT Literature
Pages: 400
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

The more you read these books, the more interesting they get. I blame the width of the perimeter you must keep your eyes locked on. There’s too many details to actually remember, not just notice. But as I read it for the second time, for I have done so, I figured I’ll read every single one in these series that author will provide. Because damn.

About: Amberlough is being destroyed by war. But the revolutionists are still fighting, the partisans, the guerrilla, known best as Catwalk organisation. Gathered together by former cabaret dancers, and led by them, they live in this nightmare with hope to see Amberlough as beautiful as it once was, free.

Cordelia wants to aid this revolution and survive too. So she smuggles herself into the enemy territory, into Armistice, where she roams around seeking contacts, work, help. She didn’t really expect to find actual friends out here, thriving. Nor that they’ll still want to do anything with her or this revolution, even if they loved their country. But here she is, working for a warmonger, arms smuggler, in hopes she can serve them enough for them to serve her in return.

Politics are more cutthroat and criminal than actual criminal world. Spies double-cross on moments notice. No one can be trusted. Not even your own cold fury and heartache.

Mine: Vintage, glam, smoke, spies, and striptease. The story is so damn attractive that for once, I’ve read and enjoyed every single detail. The world was amazing too, culture so foreign, so different, and yet still familiar enough to accept, understand, see what author did there (5 points if you get the reference). For instance, polygamy is okay, same sex marriage is accepted if not always understood. But gods forbid you’ll have dalliances if you’re a widower. You’ll be destroyed. I loved it. The only minus I got was the amount of names and code-names. Some names were too hard for me to remember, since I’ve a hard time with names as is. Others simply changed along the way. But this could just be my own personal problem. And, for those who care, diversity comes in these forms: most strongest leaders are women here; there’s different orientations present among main characters; main characters are by far not always white; the culture seems based on India and  possibly Middle Asia;

Beautiful book. Maybe not the very best story you’ll ever read, but so damn gorgeous that I, for one, will definitely await more with eager. 4 out of 5, as strong as it gets.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

dracula | “Powers of Darkness” by Bram Stoker; Valdimar Asamundsson

1Author: Bram Stoker; Valdimar Asamundsson
Title: Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula
Series: –
Genre: Horror Literature, Gothic Literature
Pages: 320
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I set myself a small but not easy task. I want to read one book of Dracula every month this year. And I’ve started this challenge real well too, with, seemingly, the lost version of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. For he had to edit and censor his for England of those times. But he didn’t have to send the edited version to every other publisher abroad, apparently. So, places like Iceland got something different from what our copies might be.

About: The book is not ground-breakingly different. The essence is exactly the same. Except that here, after a very, very long debate by translators and whoever else at the start, we get different proportions, and slightly differently toned characters. For instance, while we had a fairly short visit at Dracula’s castle, or at least a short description, for it wasn’t all that short for Harker, and then a longer story of the hunt for Dracula in England, here we got the opposite. Most of the book is purely Harker roaming about Dracula’s castle, realizing he’s a prisoner, and that he really, really likes Dracula’s niece. The rest of the book is told very quickly, in meager little chapters, and not in the already familiar diary form. As for differences in characters, Dracula is a bit more blunt, and fairly more sexual being, not at all timid with his words or compliments. Others got some alterations too, but due to lack of interaction with them, since there virtually was no continuation after Harker fled the castle, I’ve nothing to tell other than what translators at the beginning told.

Mine: At the start of the book the translators will tell you high and mighty what this book is supposed to be, how it’s different, how different are the characters, their interactions among themselves. After a long debate, they come to a conclusion that this is: a) a rewriting by Icelandic translator; b) a blessed by Stoker rewriting by Icelandic translator; c) the original that Bram Stoker wrote, but couldn’t publish. In my humble opinion, they spoke too much to serve us what they served. If this is not word-to-word translation, and is instead an abbreviation, for I honestly tell you, at the end we’re told “and then Dracula came, roamed around, and those guys killed him” rephrasing, then I’m more than a little bit upset. And then, if it is an uncut gem, fully translated book, then it is marvelously bad. Either way, it seems, I’m not very happy.

If you like Dracula the way I do, both the historical figure who might have inspired Stoker, and the myth, the legend, Count Dracula the Vampire, then you should read this book, no matter what. And Dacre Stoker’s works too, mostly for his own speeches in them. This is also the reason I give this book a 4 out of 5, no less. For otherwise, if you are not a fan, this is not worth that high of a score, no.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Gothic Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

diversity | “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin

1Author: Chloe Benjamin
Title: The Immortalists
Series: –
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Pages: 346
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I picked this book up for diversity due to Gold family being Jewish. In my surroundings, and the books I tend to read, religion either goes unnoticed, doesn’t exist, or is the same old one (or the branch of it). But there was more than just that, lucky for me.

About: A rumor of a mysterious psychic woman who tells very accurate fortunes reaches the four Gold children. They cannot resist the human temptation to just get to know things. Will I be happy? When will I die?

Years pass, and each one of them carries inside their date of death. Some shared it, others preferred it to remain a secret. But each one lived dreading, hoping. Hoping that the day will come, and that it will pass.

Mine: So, as I said, this book is more diverse than I expected. Other than a lot of different characters surrounding the main four, one of the main four was a gay guy. In the times when AIDS was called “the gay cancer“, due to mostly affecting the homosexuals, and no one really knowing neither what it was, how it was spread, or any means to prevent it. The main characters in general were pretty interesting, each one very unique, with fairly strong personalities. But that’s all you get. They’re strong in their convictions, still doesn’t mean they won’t do as their told, even if it goes against them. There’s jobs, there’s family statuses, there’s doing what you have to do. While waiting for the date of death to come, with hopes it’ll pass you by even just one day. In the meantime, with all the unnecessary details flooding us, I sat there wishing to know more of the true magic that apparently exists here, or have time to react to such great things as an adult child finding their parent. But you can’t, because there’s no room, and no time, and seams are covered with just useless observations of too tight t-shirts, juicers, photographs.

I wish these were four separate books of four siblings growing up knowing when they’ll die. But instead we have too short stories in too long of a book. I can only give it a 3 out of 5, for while it was good, it wasn’t there yet.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Contemporary Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

horror | “The Carrow Haunt” by Darcy Coates

1Author: Darcy Coates
Title: The Carrow Haunt
Series: –
Genre: Horror Literature, Paranormal
Pages: 370
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I feel like there’ll be many of these random horror books in my search for the good ones. I want to read more of King, of course, but I don’t want to be reading him back-to-back, so here goes. This one wasn’t really good, sadly. Not my cup of tea.

About: Carrow Haunt House stood ominous, open to tourists in search for spirits, ghosts, thrills, and terror. Many have been slain here by one of the previous owners, and due to ritualistic nature of their deaths – the dead don’t seem to be able to move on. Remy leads tourist groups in and out, shepherding, warning, telling stories. And no one ever fails to feel, see, or hear something. All went well, and she was happy with her job. Until she took one she shouldn’t have. One of the men from the group offered a week long stay at the Carrow Haunt, with seances, mediums, experts. But soon after settling in they all realized they’re in mortal danger…

Mine: It took forever for anyone to start questioning motifs behind this offer. And yet no time has been wasted in assuming it might be real blood and flesh killers at work, someone physical hidden in the house, even if evidence showed contrary. The most scary part about the book was the detailed descriptions of the horrors there, corpses, specters, ghosts. But that’s the thing, I don’t like it when I know what’s chasing everyone. It felt too much like “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill, and I’m of poor opinion on that one too. But keep that in mind if you liked it.

I don’t know, I just didn’t like it. Not my thing, not scary enough, with this strange feeling that author forgot she was writing a mystery, and thus had to introduce new “evidence” that would somewhat deny what we read before. It felt jumbled. 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, ghosts, Mystery Books, Paranormal | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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