Books

Kerri Maniscalco – Stalking Jack the Ripper [1]

28962906I saw a giveaway for Kerri Maniscalco book “Hunting Prince Dracula” somewhere. Being a fan of Dracula that I am, I’ve decided to go look into it. Well, the book is not yet published, but then, it is also the second book in series. The first one is “Stalking Jack the Ripper” (Stalking Jack the Ripper 1; ISBN 031627349X; 326p.; Goodreads), and I’ve just read it. And it was… Okay.

Audrey is a young woman, aspiring to get proper medical background, become a scientist, in a world where high-born ladies don’t do such nonsense, and rather learn how to embroider things nicely. Her father, and brother allow these studies with her uncle only to some extent. Her uncle, of course, extends those limits a tad bit. But then, all three of them would be better pleased with her sitting home when a maniac starts killing women on streets, and stealing their organs. Sadly, Audrey was never one to sit, and wait to see what happens.

There’s three suspects, each one more loved than the other, thus she refuses to believe. One is her father, addicted to opiates ever since her mother died. Second is her uncle, for he’d be perfect for quick murder, and organ stealing due to his background in medicine, anatomy. And third might just be his new student, the same one her beloved brother keeps warning her against…

As a detective this book is pretty poor, but then, story is quite alright, easy to read, touching on subjects that matter today too. I really liked the writing style, consistency in text, and direct to next book ending that actually made sense. So while this book wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad either, and since it was more good than bad, I can give it 4 out of 5, because author, I believe, should very much write more. Good choice in topic, fairly unique, if not overly impressive take on that topic, and, as I said before, very good writing style.

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

David Ebershoff – The Danish Girl

danishgirlI keep picking up these fairly popular books on transgender people, and I keep getting disappointed. It seems all of the trans people are disappointed in life, depressed, schizophrenic, had a very clear choice, and/or has atrophied bits or other gender reproductive system organs in them, that simply needed to be found during the surgery. Convenient. Wow. So I grabbed David Ebershoff book “The Danish Girl” (ISBN 9781474601573; 336p.; Goodreads), with hopes that maybe, maybe this will be better. But once again I got disappointed. So if you don’t feel like reading my rants, know that the movie was pretty okay, even good, but this book is just not worth the trouble, and time.

Einar is a painter, married to a painter. He paints, well, mainly the bog he grew up by, landscapes. She paints portraits, unsuccessfully. The best sold portraits she ever made were of Lilly. Or rather, of her husband dressed as a woman. And while this continues, Einar is sinking deeper, and deeper into some kind of mental illness, split personality disorder. And I mean it. He pulls up the pants, and forgets how he got here, who Lilly spoke to. There’s two completely separate people in his body.

 

Through the book we’re seeing this disorder intensifying. He even gets monthly nose bleeds, which leaves me wondering whether it’s his mind fighting through somehow, or did he have a tumor that split his persona, or otherwise affected him. Mind you, I am not claiming Lilly wasn’t a real woman, or that Einar wasn’t transgender. No, I am sure that was the case. But I am also sure that she was mentally ill too first and foremost, and that they should’ve helped her untangle everything before pushing her to choose: another brain doctor that’ll make your mind masculine again (yes, this is NOT a choice, but the book gave it as one), or a sex change. Oh, and surprise surprise, they open her up, and find some remnants of atrophied female reproductive system bits.

I hated the suggestions in this book: trans people have split personalities; trans people are most likely physically secretly the gender they feel like, you just have to dig deep during surgery; trans people are nuts. They aren’t. Or if they are, it’s not a trans trait, it’s simply a human trait. I await the day where the trans character I’ll read will be happy, living their life, having adventures. This book gets 2 out of 5 for trying.

Categories: 2-5, Books | 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, Books of Dracula, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anthony Horowitz – Moriarty [2]

moriartyI am very happy I didn’t buy “Moriarty” by Anthony Horowitz (Sherlock Holmes 2; ISBN 00623717183; 285p.; Goodreads), but rather chose to borrow it first. The book was dull to say the least. And in shorts, it’s about a deluded fan of Sherlock Holmes who got used due to being deluded.

After the death of Crime Napoleon, professor Moriarty, there’s a vacancy to take that spot, and all the ruthless, best of the best in this black cream, are up to try their luck. And when one unlikely fella finally fills in the spot, and starts expanding – our fan of Sherlock Holmes decides it is time to investigate it all. Full with a friend at his side who can narrate us the greatness of his deduction skills, he’s out there, questioning the criminals, having dinners, and taking up leads for, well, whatever the hell it was he tried to solve before an actual bombing happened to warn him off this investigation.

When there’s no Moriarty in a book titled “Moriarty” – you end up suspecting things, much like you would if you saw a famous actor in a minor role at the start of the movie with an undercover superhero, or a serial killer. This is the case, suspect everyone, because that might just help you get through this book!

I really can’t figure so what this book was about. It was fully summarized in the final chapter, when we finally found the most important, but too late, thing in the book, so I can’t even tell you that, in case you actually want to read this. There’s really a lot of nothing here, accompanied by poorly written characters, and mediocre detective story that didn’t have a core (no, really, this all was done for a very small reason, and it made no sense to make it so grandiose). I can only give it 2 out of 5, and I apologize to the author, I’m sure they are talented and wonderful, but these books, his books, are not for me.

Categories: 2-5, Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Promo]: P.S. I Love That Book on YouTube

BookTube is a fairly new thing for me, but little by little the subscription box is getting fuller. One of the first ones I ever subbed to was P.S. I Love That Book. It was pretty new back when I got there, I think I saw the first video as it came out, or maybe the second one… Anyway, it’s just nice to see how everything got so much better, and turned so perfected!

Hannah tells us of all kinds of books, even thou it all started with YA and fantasy. Now anyone can get recommendations there, and best of all – not just for things that would’ve ended up in your alley anyway. No, she picks up books some of us would never get to read if this didn’t happen, either due to it being too obscure, not a popular topic, or just in general a tad overseen book. Thanks to her I’ve read Shades of Magic, and they’re my very favorite now!

Any of you got a booktube? Or even just vlogs, or gaming channels?

Categories: Books, The Afterlife, Treasures | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anthony Horowitz – The House of Silk [1]

11093329I’m not the biggest Sherlock fan, but I’m still a fan. And everywhere I turned in Lithuania, I kept seeing other book by Anthony Horowitz, second book to “The House of Silk” (Sherlock Holmes 1; ISBN 0316196991; 294p.; Goodreads), so I had to start from the start, before moving on to Moriarty. And I must say, I’m not very impressed…

Book is narrated by our one and only, John Watson. On his own request it is published after his death due to sensitive, and gruesome case that it is. And it all started like such an ordinary case. A man came to their, his and Sherlock’s, place, claiming a gang leader has followed him all the way from America, and will kill him to avenge his dead twin brother. But from the moment Sherlock started investigating the man’s family, everything started going down hill, fast.

Their mother died suffocated in her own room. His sister is getting weaker by the day, as if poisoned, even thou all her food is being tasted. And while the man himself keeps seeing his to-be murderer, here he is, alive, and well. What concerns Sherlock more, thus, is that one of his boys, a kid he hired off the street to help, has disappeared after, apparently, seeing the gang leader’s face. Later kid was found tortured to death, with a white silk ribbon tied around his wrist. What could possibly evoke such brutality? Was it truly the mere fact that the kid saw a face?

The book is fairly interesting, but much too simple. Author tried to make it up with shock-effect, but any reader will agree with me – that doesn’t help mediocre books. Even as a detective it was pretty weak. But. It was easy to read, and had the perfect Sherlock-y tone to it, so I can give it 3 out of 5 easily. It’s worth the while, even if it’s not the best detective novel you will ever encounter.

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

Madeline Miller – The Song of Achilles [diversity]

thesongofachilesWhen you loathe a character, you need to stop and ask yourself why: because author wrote them so bad? Or is it because they wrote them so good, that you’d wish to strangle the fictional person? I had this problem, and need of constant reminder with “The Song of Achilles” By Madeline Miller (ISBN 1408816032; 352p.; Goodreads). The book is well written, but Achilles was driving me nuts.

Achilles is a half-god. His mother is a sea nymph. His father – a powerful king. He himself is a warrior with no equal, and without his aid, the war against Troy has no chance. Patroclus is almost a complete opposite. His father is a mediocre unknown king, his mother is weak of mind, he’s barely a decent soldier himself. And when he was exiled from his father’s court for accidentally killing a guest for trying to take something away from him – he didn’t expect anything good. Instead, he found an instant friend in Achilles, who not only didn’t judge him, or mock him, but respected him, and treated him fairly. And very soon he found himself in love, hoping beyond hope…

His mother wasn’t too happy about this friendship, and lingering feeling of love underneath. But to kill Patroclus, would be to tear her son’s heart out. Instead, thus, she sends him away. To study first, just to find Patroclus there, risking it all just to find Achilles again. Then further away, into hiding, where Patroclus again shows cunning beyond his seeming capabilities. And then at war for beautiful Helena, war against Troy, where Patroclus can barely keep his own weight, but still hardly ever leaves her son’s side. And Patroclus knows this well, her resentment to him. It frightens the young man, this anger of a goddess. Who does one invoke, who does one pray to, when a god is angry at them?

The story is pretty good. Fantasy elements were in place, and there weren’t too much of them either. Love story is pretty good too, felt fair, and natural. But. Achilles got on my nerves a lot. His pride kept getting hurt in that damn war, and I kept waiting for him to hold his breath and threaten to not breathe until he’s apologized for. Patroclus, on the other hand, got wiser as time went, and they both filled each other out very well, one being a master of this, and other – of that. So I can give this book a 4 out of 5.

Diversity: M/M romance, well written, with little non-graphic sex. They were fair to each other, and cared for each other.

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

Stephanie Garber – Caraval

Caraval_Everywhere I turned there was this book. Social media is filled with pictures of this book. Whoever did the advertisement – got a serious hype response, and it’s admirable. Especially since oh so many of those said bookstagram pictures claimed people didn’t even read it, but were oh so excited to do so. Therefore I hurried up and read “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber (ISBN 1250095255; 407p.; Goodreads), just to see what’s all the fuss about. How was my trip on this bandwagon? So-so.

Dragna sisters live on hope, hope to escape their vicious, vile, murderous father, and this damned island they feel imprisoned upon. Arranged marriage might be the key to the door for Scarlett. She’ll just pack up her sister, and they’ll both escape to live with her wonderful husband, whose name she currently doesn’t even know. It’s left to her sister to wonder whether this said key is to freedom or simply a new prison. After all, what fair person would have dealings with their father?

In her life Scarlett had only one true dream: to see master Legend Caraval perform. He was there when she was very little, and all the girl has now are stories of magic, wonders, and most importantly – miracles. But with reality sinking in, her marriage behind the corner, Scarlett composes final letter to master Caraval as a farewell. Just to receive an answer, the very first ever, and three invitations to come to his performance. And just a few days before her wedding, with their father seething in anger…

Nothing is real, but everything feels very real. Clues scattered around, time ticking away, and the nightfall making people who didn’t make it to shelter disappear, quite literally. It sounds good, doesn’t it? But sadly it isn’t. The book is fairly simple, with a lot of high speech, and little actual things. Pompous descriptions mask lack of substance in plot. Scarlett had a lot of feelings about a lot of things, and everything was arranged to make her fall in love, but not completely, but she did fall in love, and did so completely, and of course he wasn’t who he said he was, so there had to be that awkward phase of “no more lies”. I had a very low rating prepared for this book. And the true reason why I won’t give it as little as I’d like to, is author herself. At the end of the audio book there was an interview, and honestly, I think her trying so hard has to be worth something. So I give this book 3 out of 5, and wish the author very best luck. After all, I’m sure there’ll be many who will love this book.

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

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin [3]

acowarUsed to be I disliked series. Now I love series! Because who wouldn’t love that odd sense you get after you finish one, where you don’t know what to do with your life anymore. Everyone’s living their lives, as if you hadn’t just survived a wizard war or, in this case, a fae war. Yes, I have finished “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas (acotar 3; ISBN 1408857901; 699p.; Goodreads), the last one in acotar series or trilogy. And while they’re not as great as, say, Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab, they’re still pretty damn amazing.

 

The Wall between humans and fae was never meant as permanent solution. It was made to cease fire, to give time for healing, to learn co-exist. Yet humans have short lives, and horror tales of fairies got worse, and worse with every new generation. While fae lived long enough to have seen humans freed, and witness this day with wall about to crumble. And not all who did feel that it is right to co-exist with great-great-great-great-grandchildren of their former slaves. The war is inevitable. All there is to do now is prepare.

Cauldron once created this whole world, so how does one stand against a weapon able to create the cycle of life and death itself? Fayra and Rhysand are trying to gather allies, rally everyone they possibly can. They’re seeking any advantage points in this overtipped scale, and if that means unleashing Death Gods themselves, Fayra is willing to make a bargain again. Bargain she was warned against while she was still mortal. And with worse beings than fae…

Rhysand, on the other hand, has his own little (or not so little) problem. How does one convince the world that this mighty High Lord of the Night Court to whom Court of Nightmares bows, wants to protect, and defend, rather than wreck havoc? How does he gain trust once the mask falls, and who will dare to stand with him? Especially with Tamlin running amok, with a tale of betrayal in his court, by no else than Fayra, his mate.

And Lucien? Lucien, like a stray kicked cat is testing the waters with caution. Being left courtless, which is pretty much homeless, twice in his life now, he fits into the Court of Dreams by his nature of an unwanted oddity alone. But can Rhys, this mortal enemy of Tamlin’s, his friend’s nemesis, really be trusted to not just give him up to his family, where he’d surely be killed? He’s willing to try his luck, if carefully, at the very least, for his mate, who now lives under Rhysand’s wings.

So, the book. Whole inner monologues of “how and why I feel” almost ceased to exist. And once you start believing that pace of the book is too slow – someone drops a brick on the heroes heads. Or an army.  There’s funny, there’s witty, there’s edge-of-the-chair intense. So I give it 5 out of 5, for now the story truly earned it.

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

Kristin Cashore – Graceling [1]

graceling_1Some time ago I was subscribed to a YouTube vlogger Katers17 (now I’m subscribed to her new channel: KateInRealLife, tho she posts very little). I always loved people who read, and with her I realized I love the chaos, and passion books provide. “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 1; ISBN 015206396X; 471p.; Goodreads) was probably one of the very first books I added to to-read list on my Goodreads, and that was thanks to Katers. And now, a million years later, I finally came around to read it. Heck, I even have a physical copy…

Graced aren’t very liked or loved. Two different eyes mean you will be kept away, in some corner where people won’t see you, even if your grace is merely baking good pies. Of course, there are graced that are feared for a reason, with nasty, treacherous, and dangerous powers. Like Ketsa’s. Held on a leash by the king himself, she is graced with killing, and serves as a maiming, torturing, and murdering tool to intimidate those who displease her king. Even if they paid a double-fold for what they did. Even if she hates herself for doing it. She simply doesn’t know a different way of life. Thus, when prince Po crosses her path, confused and surprised of why indeed she’s following orders she hates, when it would take her king an army to subdue her, she… She’s confused.

In the meantime, Po is keeping an eye on a different kingdom, a different king. An orphan, praised for his kind heart and love for all injured, a boy who was once so loved by the king and queen of that realm, that when they had no children of their own – they named him the heir. A boy, now a grown man, a king, with only one eye, and a sickening horde of people who are prepared to defend his very honor offended, no matter how far they are, or how little they have reasons to…

The story is good, unique, with wonderful characters. But it fell a little short. There’s a ton of wonderful things here, the way things work, that it simply felt lacking in the end, and that’s the only reason why I will now give it only 4 out of 5. I will continue reading, in hopes that author delves deeper in all the things further on, the graces, the kingdoms, the way graces happened, and worked. But just know that I’d consider this a light read to the point where it was a bit too light. (but good, really)

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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