Posts Tagged With: book blogger

book review | The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry

changhai factor charles mccarry book cover reviewAuthor: Charles McCarry
Title: The Shanghai Factor
Series: –
Genre: Spy Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 336
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I’ve realized a little too late when I picked up The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry, that I’ve not inspected the genres well enough. This might be the first spy thriller I’ve read. And I don’t think it’s a genre for me.

About the Book: A nameless American spy placed in Shanghai with bare orders: learn the language, absorb the culture. Avoid other Caucasians, especially other Americans. Which turns out hard to do, for any other white person in Shanghai jumped at the opportunity to speak to a possible same origins kin. But he could trust no one, and knew patterns too well to fall for real, possible or imagined ploys. Up until a pure accident has sent him tumbling head-first into a very tight and sticky cobweb. For he ran into a bike of a very attractive young woman.

My Opinion: It was dull. This nameless fellow is yet again one of those guys whom men with power just want to pay to do nothing, and women are happy to have sex with him, and absolutely understand that he can’t stay, and must go, and can’t explain them shit. Secondary characters were cold and two-dimensional. Plot itself felt like a tumble of things that barely fit together to make some kind of unclear image. It didn’t feel like a thriller at all.

I understand there’s quite a bit of my own fault for choosing a book so poorly, so no matter how tempted I am to give this book less, I will give it a 3 out of 5, just in case it wasn’t as bad as it seemed to me.

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Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Stable Boy by Megan Derr

the stable boy megan derrAuthor: Megan Derr
Title: The Stable Boy
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy; LGBTQIA+
Pages: 37
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes I can’t fall asleep. And, sometimes, I’m too lazy to turn the tablet back on. So I searched for something short to spend the dark dawn hours with and not do too much damage upon the phone battery. The Stable Boy by Megan Derr served very well!

About the Book: Prince Diggory wakes up with a stab wound, a nasty curse, and even nastier memories of a fight. His own bodyguard has stabbed him with a cursed blade, and then thrown him into the river. He intends to take Diggory’s place, marry his prince, his fiance, and rule this new foreign kingdom in Diggory’s stead. But since prince is alive, he doesn’t intend to give up just yet. So, unable to tell anyone about the curse in fear it might still kill him if he did, he starts working as a stable boy in the royal stables, keeping an eye on his gorgeous fiance, and setting a plan in motion of taking his life back.

My Opinion: This is a very cute, sweet little tale of fairy tale curses that have rules of breaking unknown to even those suffering it. If you seek something adorable and fast paced, this is the book. Other than the people killed, who didn’t get so much of a fairy tale ending.

I’m living through a better version of my childhood, with books on princes marrying princes in happily ever after settings, with magical curses and, sometimes, dragons (not in this book). This one gets a 4 out of 5, very firm, a minus only on the definitely-too-short basis.

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

book review | Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

julie and julia powel book coverAuthor: Julie Powell
Title: Julie and Julia
Series: –
Genre: Memoir; Nonfiction
Pages: 310
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love Julie and Julia movie, it’s my favorite thing to have playing in the background, even if it is an exception to the rule of what mostly fills the air around me. So when my slightly melted brain realized the movie is based on Julie Powell memoir, I hurried to rectify my mistake.

About the Book: Julie Powell was going through a mental crisis in her life when a glimpse in the horizon made her stop a moment. It was Julia Child’s cookbook, full of recipes and memories of cooking with her mother at home. So she set herself a goal: all 524 recipes, tried, tested, completed, and blogged about. All in a year. She made herself a goal, creating herself a purpose, and exiting the stormy sea that sometimes is life. It got me thinking, actually, what if that’s the true meaning of life, eh? To set yourself a goal. For, and I’m sure many would agree, the darkness tends to lift when there’s something to move forwards to. And, in Julie’s case, it was a fantastic tale of a year full of food, mistakes, nightmares, joys, celebration…

My Opinion: You really don’t need to know the author or her blog beforehand. Personally I don’t even like cooking, nor anything about cooking, unless it’s Asian kitchen, that one fascinates me. So why did I like it so much, you’d ask? Well, because it’s a tale, a true tale, no less, of a person who decided to move forwards, even if the dot in the horizon was really nothing, a trick of light. If you’re not sold, I suggest you watch the movie, I think it’s on Netflix too, this way you’ll know for sure whether you’ll like it or not.

A good book with no need of prior knowledge to enjoy. A firm 5 out of 5!

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

book review | The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson | Millennium 2

the girl who played with fire millennium stieg larsson book coverAuthor: Stieg Larsson
Title: The Girl Who Played with Fire
Series: Millennium 2
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 503
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Why do I want my darkest reads in the brightest of Summers? Well, no matter. I’ve read The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, second book in Millennium trilogy. And it was as good as the first one.

About the Book: A couple of journalists contact Millennium requesting a book on sex trafficking in Sweden to be published via them. After a long and extensive work on it, on the eve of publication, both of them were found shot to death. And they’re not the last victims either. But to Mikael the worse is the fact that all the links, including the evidence, lead to Lisbeth Salinger. He categorically refuses to believe she’s to blame, and thus has only one path left before him. Find the young woman, and unbury her past. For someone wants her gone, but who and why?…

My Opinion: It’s a very dark thriller, but very good. Full of story lines that intertwine and make one whole good story. Not all of them are good, of course, but most I loved, and so, as a reader, I am pleased. More than that, I enjoyed reading of Lisbeth’s past, and finally getting to know the young woman better. I always admired girls like her, so this is no little crush I’m having. She’s smart, her morals are flexible (in a good way, as poor as that sounds), and she’s a techwiz. Something I always wanted to be, but never had the smarts to do. That, or I’m just too lazy, which is often a possibility among all of us, isn’t it? Mikael I still don’t like all that much, but I feel like I can’t exactly explain why without… Throwing accusations around.

Yep, so if you want a good thriller and, as I, have not read these yet for some reason, I can recommend. This one gets a 5 out of 5 from me. There’s really nothing I could’ve taken points off for. Maybe the too lightly thrown “dyke” around… I feel like male equivalent of that wouldn’t have been used as-a-matter-of-fact like that.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, LGBTQ+ Books, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | In The Dark by Mark Billingham

mark billingham in the dark book coverAuthor: Mark Billingham
Title: In The Dark
Series: –
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 384
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I keep seeking those good, good crime books. In the Dark by Mark Billingham is not one of those. But it did remind me why I believe that life’s too short to quit a book because it didn’t pick up for a while. The very end of it, and it’s not the first book to do so, has fixed so very much that it made it worth it.

About the Book: A cop driving at night. A gang with a crew member in need to prove himself. Secrets, lies, cover-ups, and victims.

Paul’s widow Helen, an officer herself, now lonely and expecting, can’t help herself but dig deeper into her husband’s life. It turns out he had way more secrets than she suspected. And much darker ones too. Bit by bit they’re making her see what seemed to be a random gang attack to be something entirely else.

My Opinion: The ending is emotionally brutal to the reader. It was dark, unexpected, hard, but so, so good. Story is very slow to pick up, the pace is horrible. Some dialogues were jagged, characters often turned out to be two dimensional, shallow, not to mention completely random unnecessary scenes. I was about to give this book a poor rating, but then it ended like that, and blew me away. See, as a reader you see a little more than Helen. You see the people around her, who she meets, who she talks to. And whom she starts to sympathize with. And it’s bloody beautiful.

Yeah, it’s one of those books. Makes you sad and happy at the same time. As a reader – you’re satisfied with how it happened. But as a human being you’re probably sad. I give it a shaky little 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, crews, gangs, etc, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco | Stalking Jack the Ripper 3

escaping from houdini kerri maniscalco book coverAuthor: Kerri Maniscalco
Title: Escaping from Houdini
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper 3
Genre: YA; Mystery
Pages: 416
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Having some really tough time, not gonna lie. Needed something easy to read, so I picked up “Escaping from Houdini” by Kerri Maniscalco, third book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, for I knew her writing style to be perfect for this kind of mood. And it indeed did the job.

About the Book: A luxurious liner trip, with travelers gathered to admire a show troupe full of magicians, fortune tellers, acrobats, and so on, soon becomes a nightmare, as the ship becomes a gilded cage, a prison, with all the passengers trapped inside with a killer; A master in slight of hand, for no one is the wiser, even after someone is brutally murdered among them. Victims tend to disappear just to reappear in a tarot setting, dead. And it’s up to Audrey Rose to find the killer, and find them fast, for it is not just strangers in danger…

My Opinion: The writing style is pretty good, very light, and very easy to read. If you, like myself, aren’t native English speaker, but want to practice reading books, I can really recommend Kerri Maniscalco works. They’re unique and quite interesting. But one thing I did have an issue with in this particular book. It’s the scenes that seem to exist only to add to the volume of the book. I mean, I do understand there’s an attempt to set a scene, create the false calm before the storm, but often they just flopped as scenes designed to portray an outraged lady in society where so much is forbidden to women.

It’s a good lazy read, even if not my favorite. I can give it a very solid and firm 3 out of 5, and will definitely read the next book.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Detective Books, Historical Fiction Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Fall by Guillermo del Toro | The Strain Trilogy 2

the fall guillermo del toro chuck hogan the strain book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Title: The Fall
Series: The Strain Trilogy 2
Genre: Thriller, Vampires
Pages: 308
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I’ve many people in my circle who enjoy the series based on this trilogy and/or the trilogy itself. I, personally, am not yet made a fan, and I don’t see how that’ll happen with only one Strain Trilogy book left. Currently I finished Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan book The Fall, which is the second one. And am not impressed.

About the Book: Master has taken over New York. From here the rest of the world will fall under his feet too. But he has to be careful and not think of these things too much. For when he’s too deep in thought, they, others like him, the first kind of vampires, can hear it, and know it. So instead he plays his pawns, the most influential, powerful, rich people. It’s just that he miscalculated just how very much some of them fear death…

My Opinion: Other than internal monologues, there’s so little happening in this book, that I can’t even tell you what’s it about clearly. Basically they all spend the whole book either thinking of bad old days, from the creation of supernatural creatures, to genocide, to childbirth, or they chase a book that speaks of vampire creation. That book could give them the true name of the Master and that would somehow help them destroy him and the rest of his kind. I give it great props over making vampires what they are, but bloody hell how dull it gets.

Right, so, I can’t give this book more than 3 out of 5, and the biggest plus is the vampire origins. One more book to go.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Other Fiction, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Thriller Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

book review | Unlearn by Humble the Poet

humble the poet unlearn book coverAuthor: Humble the Poet
Title: Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction, Inspirational
Pages: 288
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I like Humble’s music. And I like his Twitter or IG feed. So, figured I should probably read the “Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life” by Humble the Poet too. And, you know what? It was pretty great.

About the Book: Nobody can give us happiness. Not only they can’t, even if they could, they don’t have to. Nobody owes you happiness, no matter what you gave them. Happiness has to be made, for you, by you. Not so easy, you say? Well, if it was, we’d not need books like this, right? Instead Humble teaches us to be more conscious about our lives. It’s hard to do, because we’re often blinded by emotional strain, stress, pain, but it’s possible, even if it means seeking professional help. You can choose to do something about yourself, for yourself. Even if it’s one conscious glimpse while you’re drinking your favorite tea: it’s good, isn’t it? And isn’t that happiness?

Little drops like that add up, and teach you to be more aware of the good things, even in the face of the dark days you might be having. That’s one great thing I took from this book. Another, and not the only one, be sure, was the time to start lesson. Want to do something, start something? Okay, start. Don’t wait for new years to make resolutions. Don’t wait for the first day of the month. Don’t even wait for that Monday. Start now. That’s the difference between “One Day” and “Day One“.  Which one will it be for you?

My Opinion: Humble writes in this very friendly and familiar manner. He doesn’t spew philosophy to an audience, no, he’s telling you simple things you might know, or you might not, joking with you, telling you a little bit of his own personal experiences, telling you that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Because when you truly want it, truly, you will have it. There’s no commitment, there’s no “do this every day and…” stuff. Humble’s real and simple.

It’s a light read that might just help you reconsider some things in your life. I’ll give it a very solid 4 out of 5, because there were a couple of edges that I could’ve done without, and that’s just my personal take. Other than that, it’s a good book worth the time.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Philosophy, Self | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | McMafia by Misha Glenny

mcmafia misha glenny book cover underworld criminal organized crimeAuthor: Misha Glenny
Title: McMafia
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Pages: 398
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love reading sensible literature on organized crime, where author doesn’t choose a side, and, due to moral obligations, doesn’t try to paint one or another side a deeper shade of one color. One of such well balanced books is McMafia by Misha Glenny, who has a very healthy view on this all.

About the Book: This book goes through a variety of organized, global crime, its underground industries and their origins. From the times of economy downfalls through, say, the fall of soviet union, or the breaking of Berlin wall, to today. And all across the world.

Crime takes many forms and shapes. And so do reasons for it. Be it extreme poverty and thus a need to make a buck for bread by stealing or selling, or selling the stolen. Or be it flaws in law, criminalization of something you require. It could be medication your country deemed illegal. Or it could be part of your lifestyle: from illegal caviar, to illegal counterfeits. And many more, including drug cartels, mafia, mafiozos of Russia, yakuza, hackers, crackers, and so on. And you know what’s the worst of it? We too are a part of it.

My Opinion: This is a very smoothly written book, with sensible steps from one topic, to another. Each one of those is explained in depths, with origins of criminal organization at hand, how it came to be, to what it does, how it does it, and why it does it, if applies. To actual governments, and law: how they’re handling it, if handling it at all. As for our involvement, well, that’s true. And it’s scary. From materials required to, say, build our laptops, where a company doesn’t ask about the origins of this metal, or that dye. To scam emails, engineered web pages, and our inability to take precautions while on that enticing world wide web.

This is a very worthy read that I would highly recommend to anyone. I give it a 5 out of 5, for many, many reasons.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, mafia, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

the priory of the organce tree samantha shannon book coverAuthor: Samantha Shannon
Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Series: –
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 848
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I do really like dragons. And I’m a curious person in general. So, often, when I see hype start over a book, I feel a great need to find out why. Even though I have rarely ever liked the super hyped books. There’s even a pattern to it, if you see hype, but everyone’s talking about the cover, pages, beauty of it, and how they’ll read it: the hype is a hot air balloon. Yet here I am.

About the Book: Religion built on lies. Empires, Queendoms built on religions. House Berethnet queens have held the throne for a thousand years. It is their sacred duty. For with the end of this dynasty of queens, the Nameless One, a fire breathing dragon, will rise again, and Draconian rule will start once more.

But lies aren’t safe even in the graves. No end is ever fully hidden. Curious, innovative minds dug up the truth, and are in fevered frenzy to let the people know the truth. The truth of this dynasty, of the dragons, worms, cults, religions, and the cycle, the balance of the world.

My Opinion: The book is so overloaded with useless information that doesn’t add to the story, that it gets unbearable at times. I understand that hearing a detailed homely description of this random event is meant to introduce you to one of the main characters better, but the book is 800 pages long. It gets on your nerves eventually. To add to that, it felt like some things didn’t connect well, not only were they useless. It’s like, you’re given this information, it feels vital in the moment, but then through next 700 pages – nothing. The book has left me with more questions, than answers because of it. Meaning, I think that there was no more room to tell the truly interesting stuff, like where did those immortality granting trees come from, why there’s this many, why are they different, what would happen if one was to mix it up a little, and so on.

But saying all that, the book wasn’t bad. It had some fine stories, great legends, and interesting characters. Diverse characters too, LGBT friendly. Only in a fantasy realm, it seems, can some things be so very normalized, things like pure Matriarch, or a pious woman accepting that her husband is gay, and requires a different kind of a mate, but also needs to maintain a reputation. So, I say, let’s read more fantasy, and see how we can change our world for the better.

All in all, if you don’t like dragons all that much, you might not enjoy this book all that much either. The battles were weak, villains had a great need to tell their origin stories in the middle of it, and the names were a nightmare. So I give this book a weak 4 out of 5, for it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have to be so colossal either.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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