Books: Other Fiction

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.

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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

heist | “Vegas Heist” by Van Allen Plexico

1Author: Van Allen Plexico
Title: Vegas Heist
Series: –
Genre: Thriller, Heist, Crime
Pages: 240
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’m not a big fan of the Ocean 11 times heists. I prefer modern stuff, where you need a lot more brain to not get caught, and get anything out of the job. But this book honestly surprised me, and amused me plenty with, well, Karma.

About: Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was to open the doors for clients on New Years eve. Meaning fellas didn’t have much time to neither plan, nor prepare for the heist they’re about to pull. But they know just about enough to pull this off, and walk away with a large chunk of money. Yet, another problem, from the very beginning the team consisted out of guys who were no longer very keen on sharing. Especially when ever more people came in for a share, be it merely a half-share, or a full one. And, honestly, all it would take… Pull the trigger, press the detonator, stab your friend in the back. When the smoke settles, and rubble stops falling we’ll see who’ll walk away, and what share will remain in their hands. If anyone, if anything. For the net of angry criminals is wider than most of them think, and strings are being pulled from places far further than the vault room.

Mine: This book reminded me of the best bits from Ocean’s 11 movies, the very best parts. It was amusing, funny at times, but dealt serious business none the less. My favorite was the Karma, reminded me of a saying “easy does it“, but I won’t tell you why, just in case you might care to read it. Be sure, the ending is damn right perfect. And the book itself is written well too. If you follow the plot closely, it’s great, you get it, you know. Because of the names. That being the big minus for me; I’m not okay with is having to re-read parts, because it’s easy to mix up very, very similar characters pulling different ends of the web.

It’s a good, refreshing, and amusing book. I can give it a solid 4 out of 5, with only that one minus about too similar characters being my problem. I’d read more. And I might just read more by the author, just to see.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Crime Books, heists, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

diversity |”Unfit to Print” by K.J. Charles

2Author: K.J. Charles
Title: Unfit to Print
Series: –
Genre: Historical, LGBT Literature
Pages: 145
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

You know, this book almost smells of noir detectives, fancy suits, cigars, and private-eyes. It isn’t that, but the vibes were very right.

About: Vikram Pandey is a lawyer doing a lot of pro bono work for people to whom not everyone cares to ever help: immigrants. He goes out of his way to find missing people, help those who found themselves in need to sell themselves or their services, and is honestly distraught whenever he finds them dead.

This time a missing fella leads him straight to a bookstore where his childhood friend works. It’s one of the bookstores that sell filth if you ask right: a forbidden romance novel, an accommodating picture or two. Gil Lawless got here through hardships and horrible experiences that began when he himself went missing. Vikram then thought him dead, so a blow after a blow, his day is getting worse. For on top of this all, Gil seems to be aware of the missing lad. He might even suspect him to be connected to one already dead. But he doesn’t feel much need to help, no. Nobody helped him, after all.

Mine: Oh wow, okay, I really liked this one. A dangerous investigation in KJC’s style, really worked well, since she’s not afraid to hurt her characters. So the fear you feel reading is very real: that damn ax might just land where it was aimed at. I really like this kind of a complex but not messy and absolutely sensible detective story. On top of that, if I didn’t sell this to you yet: there’s a very mean kitty cat named Satan.

A great short little book for a quick rest. Damn how I missed me a good detective, I didn’t even realize. 5 out of 5, for sure.

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

“An Easy Death” by Charlaine Harris | Gunnie Rose 1

3Author: Charlaine Harris
Title: An Easy Death
Series: Gunnie Rose 1
Genre: Western, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I like the easy Charlaine Harris books. They’re simple, but by no means too simple, so it’s always interesting to read. I thought a little on it, and picked up her latest work of Gunnie Rose. Sadly, it was not my cup of tea, even as much as I like alternative history pieces.

About: Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie. Means she’s real good at shooting, and can be hired according to this skill. Due to this profession being real dangerous, what with bandits, wild animals, and other things lurking outside the settlements (and sometimes inside of them too), gunnies don’t tend to live long, and so, for a goodbye wish each other an Easy Death. Yet easy death was not what most of her crew got, all slaughtered. Being the only survivor, Liz picks up her guns and sets off to finish her mission, as any good gunnie would do. Better than mourning or going to find herself a new crew to work with anyway.

Yet due to her fine reputation she didn’t need to look for a job. The job found her in a shape of two Russian wizards. They’re on a mission to find blood descendants of no other than Grigori Rasputin in hopes it’d help save Tsar. And while they can cause enough trouble and death on their own, a gunnie would do good to travel more low-key. Soon they learn the dangers are far greater than anyone anticipated. They learned to trust only each other, and even then doubt, watch for signs. Too often familiar faces were worn by unfamiliar evil. For by far not all love Tsar.

Mine: It was an interesting alternative reality piece. I’m not sure about the exact time, even though I could’ve probably had a better understanding of time if only I paid more attention to the cars mentioned. But if wizards don’t live longer than regular people, then the setting should be somewhat after Rasputin has died. Speaking of wizards, that was the best part of the book. It reminded me a little of Dragon Age magic: circle of magi, a sort of college for mages; they get separated from parents for their own good and safety; tattoos for representing and enhancing powers; people seem wary of them, hateful even, even if they are the most dangerous things walking. But the story itself was lacking. Just as any right western movie, while packed in action, with story inching towards the goal in a steady pace, it was very limited to a camera angle.

I’m not yet sure if I’ll read the next books in the series. We’ll see, right now I have no wish, but I do change my mind time and again. This one gets 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Alternative History Books, Books: Everything, urban fantasy, Western Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Tea Master and the Detective” by Aliette de Bodard | The Universe of Xuja

1Author: Aliette de Bodard
Title: The Tea Master and the Detective
Series: The Universe of Xuja
Genre: Sci-fi, Detective
Pages: 96
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

Sometimes the title of the book intrigues me so much that I feel I must read it. “The Tea Master and the Detective” didn’t tempt me by the description, yet still I had to. Sci-fi, tea, detectives. I had to.

About: Shadow’s Child is a Mindship. A shipmaiden born and raised to be put into a ship’s heartroom, where she’d eternally fuse with the ship, and the ship would become her body and she – the mind, and the heart. Revered and honored these mindships carried people through Deep space, the Unreality, be it military purposes or just passengers. Yet during the Uprising Shadow’s Child got into a trap that left her whole crew dead, floating in her cold hallways, with her unable to do anything else than drift there and wait, in hopes she’ll die, or someone will come rescue her.

Today Shadow’s Child doesn’t even want to think of Deep Spaces. In her hologram form she lives in a rented closet of a space, where she brews certain tea blends. Most her customers are travelers who need to go through Deep Space. They want to be knocked out, sleep through it, for even the toughest minds get rendered whimpering in fetal position until the voyage is over. Unreality will do that to you. But not Long Chau, the woman with the decorative name, who introduced herself as a detective writing a study on decomposition in Deep Space. She needs Shadow’s Child to not only make her a brew that’d keep her functioning in the Unreality. She also wants the shipmind to take her up there.

Mine: In less than a hundred pages my mind almost had a meltdown with the unfathomable wonders. Can you even imagine it? Because I certainly struggle to. A person of flesh and bone, becoming a ship, fully. She can FEEL footsteps in her halls. And then, her in holographic form? She could be anything, but she chooses to remain a ship. Can you imagine walking down a corridor with a giant holographic ship by your side, talking to you? And as for the detective plot line, it was so beautifully Sherlockian, I really loved it. Long Chau is a drug user, her intellect comes off as arrogance, and she’s rude, because she’s blunt. Not to mention moral flexibility and well hidden past.

It’s a mind blowing short book. I’m tempted to read other ones too, even if they’re story-wise unrelated, merely set in the same universe. This one gets 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Detective Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Wanted, A Gentleman” by K.J. Charles

2Author: K.J. Charles
Title: Wanted, A Gentleman
Series: –
Genre: Historical Romance, LGBT Literature
Pages: 131
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

It seems I am nearing the end of KJC’s bibliography. Which is both fun and sad. Fun, because who doesn’t want to read everything one of their favorite authors ever wrote? And sad, because this means I’ll have to wait for any other book to be written.

About: Theodore Swann publishes ads in papers. Not just any though, no. The Matrimonial kind, the dating kind. Basically he’s the middleman in ancient Tinder published in papers. One of these days, while work went as always, a fine tall man walks in, demanding information on one particular suitor. For the said fox seems to be attempting to lure an underage girl of a very wealthy family into a marriage without her parents consent. But Theodore’s whole livelihood depends on him being discreet! Who’d ever write him if he gave up addresses to anyone who asked. To not tell is to get a very possible thrashing and never seeing this handsome man again. To tell is to risk everything. But Swann has a secret: he earns a coin or two on the side by writing cheap romance novels, and is very, very familiar with the villains. Enough to maybe, just maybe find a solution that’d suit everyone.

Mine: It’s a very short, not the very best, but certainly amusing book of an ad writer, who has a secret life of an author good only in his villain writing. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this book, it was short, fast, and didn’t beat around the bush too much, nor did it have a band of evil doers in a cabal. On top of that, as always, it’s the characters that made my day. KJC doesn’t recycle.

It’s a good, if extremely short little book. Not my favorite, but hey, not all books can be of Magpies and Murder, right? 4 out of 5, firmly.

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

Vanishing Games by Roger Hobbs | Jack White 2

1Author: Roger Hobbs
Title: Vanishing Games
Series: Jack White 2
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 304
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Am I wrong or have I read the first Jack White book last year in December too? All I remember is that I loved it a lot. So when I saw second book among my audiobook recommended, I had to snag it. It’s almost as good as the first one, read it whole while making Holiday presents for people.

About: If you need Jack White, you’ll get to jump a lot of safety hoops and obstacles. For he can afford you not finding him. Because, if you couldn’t find him, you likely weren’t worth his time anyway. For Jack White is a Ghostman. He doesn’t exist, in a sense, for he can be anyone, anywhere, and then someone else the next minute. In this game his due to boredom, so the least you could do is have him an interesting job to offer…

What Jack definitely didn’t expect was to get a message from his mentor. The woman who once taught him this art of vanishing. She claims she’s in danger, and if she says so, it’s likely plenty serious. This time it all happens somewhere deep in Asia, where one of her crew members tripped over every local gang, it seems, and then disappeared together with the rest of the crew. The gangs smell blood and money, though, and they feel no scruples over tossing an outsider or two down the pier in trash bags. They’re able too, for the whole damn country belongs to them.

Mine: This is one of those rare books where very details is amazing and wanted. There’s plenty of books in my shelf where I could barely get through the details, mentally asking the author for how long can they be telling me all this unnecessary stuff. But not here, here everything was amazing. I learned a lot about counterfeit money, and payment of a crew member, a robber. And how that payment can shift depending on your experience, skill, and sometimes – role. Jack didn’t disappoint me either, he’s still just as interesting, even if at times I had my doubts.

I might be biased, for I always liked crime books told from point of view of criminals who lived to tell the tale. If you got books like that, recommend me some, I always hunt for new ones, for there aren’t many. This one gets 5 out of 5, for I loved it.

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

“The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett

1Author: Alan Bennett
Title: The Uncommon Reader
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Humor
Pages: 120
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I asked for a recommendation, and got this. A very light, humorous read that I can recommend to anyone who is currently having a reader’s block. It’s cozy, easy, and short.

About: On one of her walks with her corgis, queen felt obliged to take a book out of a mobile library. She didn’t really want to, but it didn’t feel right not to get one. And after she did, it was a shame to return it unread, so she did. The next time she again felt uneasy, but luckily there was this ginger boy from the kitchens, likely there due to his complexion, who gladly helped her choose. And so it all began.

Her advisers are doing their best to misdirect her luggage full of books. They sneak away with the books she stashed away, and excuse themselves later as fearing for her safety, assuming it was some kind of a threat, a bomb maybe. They all think that reading is infringing upon her duties, to a point, that was also the last straw, where they send out the boy who helped her to get an education. Far away. Queen has to gather her survival wits, it seems, and make a decision.

Mine: You know what’s the most interesting thing in this book? The queen is trying to read as much as she can, in a great hurry, for she is old, she started late, and she feels she needs to catch up. To those unwritten measures we readers have. It really kicks the reader’s block in the shins, I tell you. And the book itself is written so smoothly, with such marvelous humorous situations, that you really do feel like taking up a book afterwards, or in between chapters (of which there are none, just like, maybe a page that ends with a full sentence).

It’s a very light read. A day’s worth for when there’s time, maybe two when there’s none. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5, due to slow start that started rolling with no breaks later on. Now, tell me, my dear reader, what are your reading standards?

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Historical Fiction Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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