Posts Tagged With: book blog

Marissa Meyer – Heartless

heartlessI like re-tellings of Alice in Wonderland story. But I admit, I didn’t know this is one, when I took “Heartless” by Marissa Meyer (ISBN 1250044650; 453p.; Goodreads), and only after I got suspicious of why are there so many similarities, I went to google. This is a story of how Queen of Hearts has lost her own heart. And it’s pretty damn good.

In one night whole Catherine’s life turns over. She dreamed of being a baker, having her own little store, and living a simple life of baking delights. Instead here she stands, in a red dress her mother tricked her into wearing, before the King of Hearts, in one of his black and white parties, where everyone, of course, wears something black or white. From the ceiling descends his newly hired joker, and saves her fainting little self, too weak from lack of oxygen due to the nasty corset, and lack of food her mother strictly forbade. At least, he believes that’s what he’s saving her from. Instead, while Catherine is safe on her way home, the rest of the party goers, her parents included, are trapped inside the castle, where a myth of horrors, Jabberwock, is trying to get in…

Her parents want her to be a queen. Her best friends thinks it’s a great idea. They think baking is work fit for servants, not noble born girls. And nobody cares what Catherine wants. Due to them believing to know what’s best, she suffers a betrayal, after a betrayal, and her soft heart is slowly turning to ice.

It’s a pretty damn good story, that shines very fitting perspective on the Queen of Hearts as we know her now. I have not yet read anything else by this author, and I don’t even know why I picked this one up first, but her other books are already on the list. This one, in the meantime, gets a firm 4,5 out of 5 from me.

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

Kristin Cashore – Fire [2]

fireI’ve read the first Graceling Realm book fairly recently, and can’t say I liked it. It’s just that I liked it about enough to get to the second book. And after I’ve read “Fire” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 2; ISBN 0803734611; 480p.; Goodreads), I don’t know how to pick up the third one, so that I can actually finish the trilogy.

The setting of this story is just behind the mountains that separate Seven Kingdoms and some other place. This place has no gracelings. Instead here live monsters. Really, just regular things, but so intense, so vivid, in color, in presence, in mind, that no one can resist them. People walk out willingly to be eaten by giant raptor birds. They might kill a regular biting beetle, but not the shiny blue monster beetle, who, by all means, is the same beetle, but severe and saturated. And of course, there are human monsters too. Fire is one of them. With her hair the color of fire, her flawless beauty so startling, and her power to influence thoughts, and emotions, she seems almost divine. And men do want pretty things…

While a monster might want to eat her, due to her own monster nature, human men are much more graphic when they lose their wits in sight of her, much more violent in expressing what should happen before they kill her. Thus Fire lives her life constantly nudging, pushing, and altering the course of people’s thoughts, steering them away, trying her hardest to quench their desire to hurt, rape, and murder what they can’t have. It doesn’t help that there’s spies appearing in their forests. Tension for warfare is rising, and their small land is far too little to defend themselves. They’ll be needing allies. To make allies they need to know where the spies came from. And to know that one only needs Fire’s powers. And everyone knows the value of such a tool in the shed.

The book is very pointlessly long, and happens before Graceling took place. In a sense, this is a prequel: King Leck’s Rising, if you please. And the idea of monsters is, of course, wonderful. But most of the book concentrates on telling the reader how horribly everyone wishes to either marry or rape Fire, and her crying for not being able to have children doesn’t help the already heavy feeling that sets before us. She walks with guards surrounding her, and still people randomly run at her with knives, or yell obscenities. And there’s a lot of this walking back and forth, with war happening somewhere out there, with someone else fighting it… So… All in all I can only offer this book a 2 out of 5. While the idea is truly good, execution of it was poor.

Categories: 2-5, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | 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

Lilly Singh – How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

Bawse_final-coverFor past two months I worked twice as hard as I normally do. Worst is not the tiredness I constantly feel, but rather the lack of point in the work, since more work is not necessarily rewarding, or at least it isn’t in short-term. Lilly Singh and her “How to be a Bawse: a Guide to Conquering Life” (ISBN 0425286460; 272p.; Goodreads) was a natural choice here, for a tired, drained mind. It’s biographical, but not a biography. It’s not “the Secret”, and by far not the sugar-coated guide to success via “be positive! love your self! be kind and work hard!”. Rather, it’s a book on previously depressed unicorn who survived, and is about to tell you how conquer.

If a behavior results in free cake, one must always perform that behavior.” – Lilly Singh

My life is often burdened by weekend-hustlers, people who had months to do a fairly big amount of work, but decided to roll their sleeves up on the final weekend, and I, as a translator, need to hurry up for both of us (lesson one: deadlines). Priority fees are then argued (lesson two: bargaining), because these weekend-hustlers feel entitled to their own time, and their own work (lesson three: sense of entitlement), and see me as an obstacle, rather than a tool. And I wish I could translate this damn book for them too (lesson four: goals!). Using her own life as example, and then adding a few more for good measure, Lilly teaches us how hustling, prioritizing, and tunnel-vision really works. It helped me unwind, taught me things, gave me insight on who this Lilly is (I’m a long-term fan, this is just phrasing), and best of all, I can now improve my own game using the lessons she gave. So to every hard-working friend I have out there – get this book, get this book on paper, and while you’re at it, get those neon-colored sticky bookmarks to mark the pages, and maybe a couple sharpies too. There’ll be a lot to mark down, highlight, and take notes from.

For good measure, a rephrased quote: ask for more than you need, because no one got more than they asked for.

And now, the bad part. I was perfectly okay with telling myself I can’t control the situation, so I must control how I react to it. I was okay with “some things you can’t change, and that’s okay” going with “I don’t believe in impossible“. I was happy at the start of the book, when Lilly thanked her past self for listening and keeping on. But then, when we reach another truly important lesson of how to stay grounded, and not let the success of conquering get to your head, Lilly said: believe in a higher power. Not god per se, but a higher power of your choosing. Thank this higher power for what you have, because without them… wait wait… wait. Without them you wouldn’t be where you are, and wouldn’t have what you have, and this all would not be possible? If we speak in terms of Nature – thanks for being here, and thus making me, a human with opposable thumbs, possible – okay, thanks Mother Nature! But my hard work? No. I’ll rather believe in Minecraft random spawn point: you can give in and make a new world for yourself, or you can make it work. So in the end I chose to pretend this chapter didn’t exist, and stick with the idea it taught: you’re not the biggest bawse – as the idea it preached before – there’s always someone to learn from. I gave this book 4 out of 5, even if Lilly’s bargain skills made it real hard to not give it the whole five. It’s a great book, truly worth having.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Inspirational | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anne Rice – Vittorio, the Vampire

2And so I continue with Anne Rice, this time it being “Vittorio, the Vampire” (New Tales of Vampires 2; ISBN 0099271095; 339p.; Goodreads) book. Which is apparently the last book in New Tales of Vampires, and Vittorio himself is not someone I recognized at all, thus it felt fresh. Maybe that’s the reason I still like Blackwood Farm the best – Quinn is no longer on the radar after the two books that revolved around him, more or less. The Romeo and Juliet bits redeemed the less interesting stuff in this one, since, again, it just felt different from the already seemingly stamped books in the Chronicles.

Vittorio is a young Italian, writing his story, if I am not mistaken, on his own, without David’s beckoning or presence.

In the dark of the night came a tall dark stranger, demanding his father to pay what was due. His father, being filthy rich, refused with outrage, and soon whole household found themselves on alert, barricading the home, hiding. For the dark figure would not be refused, and no gold or pleas would persuade him. It’s blood he’s after, and he’ll have it.

The story spins around Vittorio as the sole survivor of his family, out for vengeance and vampire blood. Tricked and toyed with he looks like one of those Young Adult book characters, a young warrior with no more than a sword against the darkest forces pits of hell could produce. How funny and delightful it seemed that he’d spare a vampire, believing her fair, fragile, and incapable of intended malice. I must give this book 4 out of 5, and then I’d give a whole five if not some hiccups that I hate in every book. This one’s good tho, in its own way.

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Massimo Introvigne – Satanism

2862494This is sadly only the tiny little intro book that I found among my books, not the full tome author produced. “Il Satanismo” by Massimo Introvigne (ISBN 978-609-95140-3-1; 62p.; Goodreads) very quickly tells you the main basics, and if you’re interested in the topic – provides you with to-read list that’ll keep you happy for a long while.

Author quickly shuffles us through Satanism, the types, the people, the real, and the fake, possible origins, possible anecdotes, and so on. Books like this always confuse me, due to nature of facts. You can never claim something is truly and utterly true in them, due to literature on the topic being so very wide and complex, and author being one man. So you read to broaden the specter, rather than to know for sure, keep that in mind.

I did like it alright. It’s an intro, not much to rate in a “book” you can eat during loading screens of the game. So I’ll give it 4 out of 5, for, as I said, at the very least, it’ll provide you with a reading list of very decent literature.

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

Nick Dunn – Dark Matters: A Manifesto for the Nocturnal City

cover98642-mediumI can’t recall if I ever read a manifesto before. And right now, after “Dark Matters” (ISBN 1782797483; 120p.; Goodreads) by Nick Dunn I am mighty torn between whether I like it or not.

A manifesto, at least this one, is much like a geyser of thought, exploding out of the author, into the pages. Beautiful, possibly exaggerated, painted in thick saturated colors, full of passion… And as a result – very weighty. You end up reading this one giant sentence that is nothing more than an epithet for the topic at hand. What little information you do get (not necessarily actually little) is all entangled in these vines of burning want to express the feeling you get when you’re face-to-face with the topic.

And in this case, the author is mighty passionate about the night-time walks in the city. So what we have: alluring darkness that rises, rather than comes; a place so familiar suddenly alien due to lack of light and people; things that were taken for granted and went unnoticed in the said light and people mass become a sight to see; etc.

Not a bad read. Not a good read, but I think I feel this way mostly because it was rather meant to be read as it is meant to be written – in one breath that pulls the ground from under your feet. You get back up and walk away, so to speak. I spent days on it, and so the thoughts settled, as a result I have a tough time to even explain what this book was… So I’ll give it 3 out of 5, for two is too little, and four is too much. It was worth the time, that is for sure. There are a lot of great thoughts in it, and all the sources, kindly. So if you have a spare hour or two, feel free to indulge.

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

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