Posts Tagged With: book blog

The Best of 2018

Last year, including comics, I’ve read a little over a hundred books. Some were really great, some were really bad. Let’s start with the good, and then next Thursday I’ll tell you all about the bad.

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion. It’s one of those instances where we can indeed disagree, and still both be right (unlike some other instances). Let’s read what we want to read!

Best of Sci-Fi

  1. “The Tea Master and the Detective” by Aliette de Bodard: An amazing Sci-fi, Space Opera book. Very Sherlockian, with a great detective whose intelligence comes off as arrogance. I recommend it very much. And since it’s short, if you hate it, it won’t take long anyway.
  2. “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer: I’ve read her “Heartless” in the past, about the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. That one was very unique, and very, very well written indeed. Well, this one’s just as unique. It got some cyberpunk elements to it too, so keep it in mind if you’re into the harder sci-fi driven cyberpunk.

Best of Crime

  1. “Ghost Man” by Roger Hobbs: This book rekindled my love for crime books and showed me that I prefer the ones told from the criminal point of view. Especially if they know what they’re doing. Jack slid through danger like an eel, thinking on his feet, and came out the better for it.
  2. “Vanishing Games” by Roger Hobbs: Yep, second book to the Ghost Man, this one is just¬† as amazing. At first I was dreading it’ll become a fatal romance, like Bonnie and Clyde or something, but it didn’t.

Sadly author died a couple years prior due to an overdose. It is very sad when people die, especially from things preventable. Even more sad when they had a mind like this.

Best of Horror

  1. “Misery” by Stephen King: I had to re-think my views on Stephen King. You see, I don’t much like his books. I find his plots too stretched out, and often lacking in actual blood curdling horror that one can’t help but expect from a man dubbed the King of Horror. But this book was terrifying.
  2. “I, Zombie” by Hugh Howey: I’ve read his Wool books, and oh boy were they dull. They sometimes get recommended as “if you liked Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky“, well, no. Yes, they’re similar, but no. Yet this book, now, this is something different. It’s terrifying, horrible, and will make you take a moment when you close it. The very idea is different to start with.

Best Misc. 

  1. “Peter, Darling” by Austin Chant: You don’t have to be part of LGBT or Trans community to appreciate the sentence Peter uttered: “I like to fight, that’s what boys do“, and I apologize if that’s not a direct quote. Have you ever caught yourself doing something because you were told you ought to like? Even as a book blogger, have you never felt a need to read certain books, like them, because everyone else did? This is a great book to take if you want to, finally, sift through what is YOU authentically, and what was applied to you from the outside.
  2. “Bangkok 8” by John Burdett: In Lithuanian we only got first three books translated as a trilogy. And after reading them all, I see why. You’ll be happiest if you read the first book. You’ll be happy with the first three. And you’ll be even more happy if after those three, you’ll pretend the rest don’t exist. This one was beautiful, with a character, Sonchai, unlike any other man.
  3. “The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant” by C.S. Pacat: I will forever be grateful to C.S. Pacat for her books, for the world she created. It took an outright sledgehammer to my little bubble I lived in. It was getting dark in there, so I appreciate it. This particular book was so clever and funny, I fell in love with every character all over again. And the very last sentence had me laughing out loud.
  4. “Strange Practice” by Vivian Shaw: If you want a classic but modern story of vampires and monsters, with fine adventures, and somewhat familiar, but not yet overused characters, this is the book for you. It was fun, amusing, and very interesting to read.
  5. “Band Sinister” by K.J. Charles: I often say “this KJC book goes straight behind Magpies books“, but I think I finally found the one. This one is my favorite right after the Magpies. It was fluffy, lovely, and fit my own preferences of having people of common mind around you.

Best of Dracula

  1. “Into the Fire” by Jeaniene Frost: I’ve exchanged a couple of sentences with the author, and I’m real pleased to say she’s very genuinely kind person. Her Dracula series are definitely among my very favorite Dracula series out there, and I am very sad I’m done with them.
  2. “Dracul” by Dacre Stoker: This book goes both on best and worst of 2018. For the book itself is a lot like Kostova’s “Historian“, except with Bram Stoker following vampires. I like the concept, and I like how it was born out of actual biography, life as we know it, of Bram Stoker.

 

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Categories: 5-5, book facts, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything | Tags: , | Leave a comment

sci-fi | “Wayward Saint” by J.S. Morin

1Author: J.S. Morin
Title: Wayward Saint
Series: Black Ocean: Mercy for Hire 1
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages: 175
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

So you know how I like to pick up random books, right? And you know how they turn out to be real good often too, yes? Well, this is not it. A science fiction book with a dash of fantasy in it, and a story much too common and familiar.

About: Esper is a very bad bounty hunter. After a very traumatic childhood, she went ahead to a monastery or something, and learned herself some magic. Doing so she decided she wants to help people. And is doing exactly that, even while not being a good bounty hunter.

Her current task is a teenager whom both her parents seek separately. Esper is hired by the mother, seemingly a far better choice, for her father is a known vicious gangster. But the kid doesn’t want to be caught and taken back. She keeps escaping, choosing life in boxes, dark alleys, over, what, a loving mother? Story becomes ever clearer as Esper is doing her best to catch up with the girl. Neither of the parents is a saint, and it’s all a question of who is the lesser evil here.

Mine: Plastic surgery is beyond norm here. Mothers are all vicious and jealous of their daughters, doing their best to be more sexy than them. Sex is a great driving force, whether women want it or not. And lucky for me, there was no sex in this book, for I’m not sure I’d like it in such a concept. Characters were sadly pretty darn dull, lacking personality, and following a trope pattern. Possibly not an intended one, but hey, still a present one. The story didn’t redeem anything either, as is common with poorly written characters. But the silver lining remains in general concept of the book. I do believe author has plenty of potential, and it’s only a matter of time, and possibly a better editor, until we get a very fine cup of tea in a book form.

Speaking of which, this was not my cup of tea. I can only give a 3 out of 5, yet will add, that the story was short and light, and reads about the same way as a sci-fi cartoon would, with no overbearing information, common in sci-fi books.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, Sci-Fi Books | 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

“Dreadful Company” by Vivian Shaw | Dr. Greta Helsing 2

1Author: Vivian Shaw
Title: Dreadful Company
Series: Dr Greta Helsing 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Pages: 400
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Oh how I love these Vivian Shaw books, full of classy, classic vampires and monster studies. Plenty of action too, you just have to let it pick up the pace.

About: Ghosts are haunting Paris. Some missing legs, others – arms. Some are even missing their heads. But then, there’s those catacombs down below, so no surprise, you’d say. And yet, why now? Answer, apparently, is classic and simple: there’s a coven of vampires down below, making a nest. Even ghouls moved out, be it due to arguments with new tenants, or too loud music. And from there, thus, they spread their reign of terror over Paris, killing, turning the most beautiful, kidnapping. Nobody cared all that much, still, up until they kidnapped the wrong gal. They kidnapped Greta Helsing. Because, you see, their leader has an unsettled score with her friend, vampire Ruthven, and very much believes he’s in the rights and powers to destroy the offending creature. Greta, thus, is bait. If she survives, of course…

Mine: Both books start a bit slow, but you just have to let them pick up the pace. Once it does, just pay attention for there’s claws, fangs, magic, reality alteration, as the badass vampires kick ass and take names. It feels like you read, and read, and read these vampire books, romances, fantasy books. And then you read these, and realize those really sucked. I’m happy with the series. Thanks for recommending them to be, B! The only thing I want more of is the science.

I just checked goodreads, and apparently we’re getting third one on August 20th, so there’s plenty of time for everyone to catch up, and you really should if you like classical vampires have adventures in modern world. 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Everything, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mafia Prince” by Phil Leonetti

1.jpgAuthor: Phil Leonetti, Scott Burnstein, Christopher Graziano
Title: Mafia Prince
Series: –
Genre: Biography, True Crime
Pages: 328
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I read this book twice, for I really wanted to make sure I understood what has happened, and how it all went down. It’s a beautiful story of a personal evolution. Ability to grow above the life you seemingly were born into.

About: This is a beautiful dark story of an often romanticized topic: Mafia. Little Nicky Scarfo ruled Philly’s Mafia Family, La Cosa Nostra, this thing of ours. Under his rule everyone got out of their way, for these people, this mob, was ruthless and cruel. On some incidence a man took his own life in fear they came to brutally murder him, even though it was a mere chance. Scarfo’s nephew, Crazy Phil Leonetti ruled as his second in command, earning his name as the crazy one, following the rules obediently, putting Family above all else, including his own son. But as time went by, and good men, loyal men died for mere fact his uncle thought they were too proud of the job they did under his orders, Phil started questioning him as the boss, and the whole structure too. And he wasn’t the only one tired of a ruthless, paranoid boss.

Mine: I greatly respect people who are able to rise above their given life. Phil Leonetti is a great example of it. Born into Mob to be as good as the Prince of Crime, he obeyed, he lived it, he breathed it, and he killed for it. But he evolved when the chance presented itself, and made sure his own son didn’t have to belong the way he did. He got out when he could, and took anyone willing and able with him, in a sense. Once he saw the stupidity behind aggression, he did his best to straighten himself, and build a better life, outside of the crime for himself and his family. I wish them all luck in it.

It’s a good book, good new perspective. Mafia is not Sopranos. It’s brutal, horrible, and death is easy. Being trigger happy will not keep you safe, loyalty will not keep you safe, for nobody is ever safe in a life like that. 5 out of 5, and then a few extra points for the final word of Leonetti.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, True Crime Books | 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 | “Reign of the Fallen” by Sarah Glenn Marsh | 1

3Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Title: Reign of the Fallen
Series: Reign of the Fallen 1
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT Literature
Pages: 374
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

This book has been on my TBR for a very long time now. Back in the day, due to it being Young Adult fantasy, and not Adult fantasy, it got a little bit hyped as an LGBT literature piece. So I figured, between Hawk and KJC, I might as well pick it up sooner than later.

About: In the secluded kingdom of Karthia the dead reign. People, upon the law of their eternal king, refuse any change. So their king and everyone else who can afford the services of the blue-eyed necromancers, get killed periodically, and then brought back from the Deadlands with the help of their close relatives. The dead then must wear shrouds and layers of clothing, for even the slightest piece of them seen by mortal eyes will turn them into all-devouring monsters called Shades.

But even with the change forbidden and the king – honestly caring and loving, not all are happy. Not all are content to be forever second by the table. Not are are okay with being unable to compete with someone who has hundreds of years of experience over them. And, apparently, judging from the greatest Shade Odessa has ever seen, who just tossed mangled body of the greatest, oldest necromancer among them, just as she opened the gates to bring back the king yet again, someone’s ready for some change right now. No matter the price.

Mine: I like a story that doesn’t remind me of any other. I like a hero who is not much of a hero. And I like romance where love is not an obstacle towards something greater. The fantasy in this book could easily be considered high-fantasy. Magic is split into casts according to your eye-color, but apparently isn’t limited to it. And the way it ended leaves the future clear: adventures are on the way. LGBT itself is served similar to the video games such as Elder Scrolls (Oblivion, Skyrim, ESO), meaning: nobody cares whom you love. And is not limited to side characters either. If you like books driven by adventure and revolution, if you liked what Shades of Magic was, and maybe even the Fifth Season, you will surely like this one too. For it is like them, but absolutely not anything like them.

This was a very good book. And while I use this word often these days: it was unique. At times it was a little bit slow, so I can only give it a 4 out of 5, but as pace picked up – I’d forget all about it time and again.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Bird Box” by Josh Malerman

2Author: Josh Malerman
Title: Bird Box
Series: –
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Pages: 262
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I always seek horror books. When this blog was created it was with the idea that I’d be a horror, true crime, dark fantasy blog. But it turned out those books are hard to find. At least the good ones. Yet now and again one such pops up, like Bird Box, and scares you into feeling uneasy while looking at the pictures friend sent to you of the fog they’re having at night…

About: The world has changed. It started like in a fantasy, dystopian book of zombie apocalypse. Isolated incidents of people raving about seeing something, then attacking others, and finally, without a fail, killing themselves. Malorie and her sister watched the news about it. They watched it, until there was nothing more to watch, for there was no one left to broadcast the news. The world has gone blind, for those whose windows were not covered have already died. But human curiosity, especially when pushed by madness, is limitless. What’s the big deal, you’d think. Just a peek, just a smallest, shortest glimpse outside, to make sure the world is still there. And if doing so you saw a fraction of a second of what could it be, it wouldn’t hurt you, now would it?

Mine: This was one of the very best horror books I’ve ever read. The story is told from two timelines, both following Malorie. It tells a story of a world gone mad, blind, and then mad again. It tells a story of morality or lack thereof that leads to hard choices, death, and one justification: survive. Nobody knows what’s out there. To know is to die, go insane, and die. But everyone got theories, and even home-experiments to try. It was brilliant and beautiful in a very terrifying way. Suspense was top notch. This is a masterpiece.

Remember “I, Zombie“, which I also loved? Well, this is like that, and even better. No, it’s not about zombies, simply the madness spread similar to it, for much like a virus travels – whatever people saw also traveled that fast. How do you fight an instinct to look when something’s right there, and someone’s screaming while looking at it? There’s no more sense of safety. Humans will have to learn to live all over again, differently, in the dark. 5 out of 5, for this one fine piece of horror.

Categories: 5-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Everything, Books: Horror | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Blood Communion” by Anne Rice | Vampire Chronicles 13

1Author: Anne Rice
Title: Blood Communion
Series: The Vampire Chronicles 13
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires
Pages: 288
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

It’s hard for me to quit series in which I invested so much time. Besides, I must admit, Vampire Chronicles got a lot of sentimental value for me. Also, I’ve read this book with hopes to see Tarquin Blackwood again, for in the previous book Lestat called out to him, but I guess Anne chose to kill him off, or forgot about him once again.

About: Lestat is slowly but surely building a vampire court. And this is his tale to his immortal brethren, of how he rid their world of their biggest enemies and became a worthy sovereign, their champion, their hero.

He calls out to all vampires, young and old, to come and pledge allegiance to him. Every one will be accepted then, protected, cared for. Even blood slaves, things genetically engineered to take pleasure from servitute, are being readied for them. A vampire utopia, with Lestat at the wheel. They will, finally, love him the way he always wanted. And to us, mere mortals who are too dumb to take these stories as more than fiction, this is a very long tale of architecture and grown men weeping to be allowed to kiss Lestat’s… ring. While he describes us what they wore doing so.

Mine: This is a very long tale, with pages after pages of vampire gatherings, were Lestat describes what he did, what he rebuilt, and how there’s abundance of everything for everyone, as long as he can describe in detail how people were dressed up. He makes sure the readers know there are closets in his palace, full of clothes and dungarees. Don’t ask me, I was confused too. But you have to know this, therefore it is repeated too. It is somehow important. And if that’s not enough to understand why everyone feels such a grave love to Lestat, he spins a tale of how he bam smack and finished off the greatest enemy of the whole vampire world, who neither had reasons to do what he did, nor had the brain capacity to defend himself against Lestat, nor seem to want to. But did have time to scream out a piece of crucial information in a language Lestat didn’t know.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t. This is a very classic Brat Prince tale, so those of you who love Lestat, will enjoy it, and that’s good. This is not my cup of tea. To me Lestat is the missing link between Edward Cullen and Vlad Dracula. Or at least he became it, for in the past I was really quite fine with him. There are a few books where he was not just tolerable, but even lovable. Seems those days are gone, and I can only give this a 2 out of 5.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Everything, Paranormal, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 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

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