Posts Tagged With: book review

K.J. Charles “Spectred Isle” | Green Men 1

1_SpectredIsleAuthor: K.J. Charles
Title: Spectred Isle
Series: Green Men 1
Genre: LGBT, Paranormal
Pages: 271p.
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I had to wait for quite a while until I got myself a chance to read one of the newest KJC books, the “Spectred Isle“, first in the series. And even then it is thanks to a friend for all the help. It was definitely worth the wait though. This book is a fine piece of paranormal.

About: After the disgraceful discharge from the military, Saul is happy to have any job, really. Even if it means working for a crazy eccentric fella whose life goal, it seems, is to get in touch with real magic. He pores over books he claims anonymous sources sent him, maps, and whatever other things he got to find certain places. Then he travels there, drags Saul along, or just sends Saul there alone, to trudge through mud, forests, ruins, and other kinds of not likely magical places. But this time Saul’s conviction shook at the foundation of it. First of all, this was a rare time when he got to a place and knew exactly that he was in the right place. And second of all, if the colossal ancient oak wasn’t enough eerie in itself, it suddenly burst into flames and burned like no living tree should ever, ever burn. That, of course, attracted attention, people, among which was the last member of the great and old family of occultists: Randolph Glyde. From then on every adventure Saul got himself into seem to have led him to the man. It would’ve been funny if it wasn’t so irritating and strange at the same time. Especially when they met in the Camlot Moat, the most unlikely of all places, the island that was so incredibly difficult to reach that even Randolph couldn’t believe what he saw. For Randolph’s duty is to protect the isle within the moat, and he knew full well how unlikely it was for Saul to just stumble in there, and them meet. This only confirmed his suspicions that Saul is involved in something sticky and occult.

My thoughts: Loved these two to bits. Saul is a very interesting, strong and intelligent man. And Randolph pretty much leads the rebels. Well, resistance if you please. The occult kind who don’t want to be ordered around by nasty Shadow Ministry. Those people, after all, are responsible for this thinning veil between their world and the one under it. They forced occultists of all kinds to summon, use, and abuse all manner of creatures and monsters. In one of those summonings, one that Randolph refers to as the Great Summoning, whole Glyde family has died, leaving Randolph alone to cope with all the secrets and knowledge that his family possessed. Thus he takes care of those like him, including Saul.

This was definitely a very great book, with very scary elements to it, so consider not reading at night. And, as is common for KJC books, the characters were indeed top notch. So here’s a 5 out of 5 for me, in hopes that second book won’t take too-too long. For it will take a while.

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Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “The Godfather of Kathmandu” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4

1Author: John Burdett
Title: The Godfather of Kathmandu
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: 3-5 | Goodreads

Have you ever read a book twice, because by the end of it – you already couldn’t tell what it was about? That was the case for me with John Burdett book “The Godfather of Kathmandu”, the fourth book in Sonchai Jitpleecheep series. It wasn’t a bad book per se, but oh, brother, the lines to follow…

Sonchai has made a grave mistake. He got the Godfather movies for his boss, which then triggered a chain reaction of real ill trash luck. His boss kindly worked up Sonchai’s family with deals of good raise, and little to no change to Sonchai’s work, in attempts to make Sonchai his consilieri, like an adviser. Which then directly took a hit to Sonchai’s karma. That son, reincarnation of his beloved friend and partner, whom he wanted to put in a good school on his wife’s advice, with the new money he’ll be getting? Decided the world is too corrupt, and suicided. Wife? Guilt ridden ran away to a monastery to become a monk. FBI agent, his friend and former partner in USA? She felt disappointed in his new line of work, and due to broken arm – won’t rush to help him with the new case. As for the new case, Sonchai is determined to give this chance of promotion to his colleague, who hates his guts. Hates him for being the first choice for the boss. Hates him for being a better detective. And now also hates him for being morally superior about this promotion too, for showing this kindness and giving him the damn promotion. The only consolation Sonchai right now has is also not a spotless piece of sunshine. It is a a highest ranking monk who promised to teach him to reach the peace of mind. It’s just that this same monk has 14 mil worth of drugs he wants to sell to his boss.

As for the murder, now that’s something to get distracted by, no matter how unpleasant. A movie director was found dead, skull open, brain eaten. He was well loved in Bangkok by the bar girls, who describe him as kind, caring, loving, but a sex addict. He wasn’t visiting them for a while before his death, so they assumed he finally found that “something wilder” he was after. Did that wilder thing kill him too? And to top it all off, he left clues directly for Sonchai. Yes. Of course he did.

This was a strange book, with quite a few lines to follow, and Sonchai’s wasn’t the best. The murder was the most dull one though, so I had to remind myself this isn’t really a detective story to begin with a lot. But there were great points, like that monk, or such a shift in Karma. So all in all another 3/5, I guess.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roger Hobbs “Ghostman” | Jack White 1

4Author: Roger Hobbs
Title: Ghostman
Series: Jack White 1
Genre: Crime, Heist, Detective
Pages: 400p.
Rating: 5/5 | Goodreads

I picked up “Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs almost by an accident. I simply wanted something different, this one got in the way, so I took it. Must say, has been forever since I accidentally found such a treasure. It’s a marvelously written heist book.

Our protagonist doesn’t have a name anymore. He’s a ghostman. The kind of a criminal who melts in the crowd and becoems a whole other person, elsewhere. But for the time being, we can call him Jack. For that was the last name his former employer knew him by. Employer who had a need to call in an old debt. For, you see, back in the day, this genius evil mastermind had Jack and a few others on a heist. It was meticulously planned and went pretty well, assuming the risks they were taking. It would’ve made them all a couple millions richer. But a few days prior, Jack has made a mistake. And they all paid for it during the heist. With money, with lives. Simply, Jack owed more, so now he has to pay one last time.

Another masterful heist went south. This time there were no real mistakes. Another group has attacked them after they robbed the money convoy. And while Jack is a chameleon, this man today, another tomorrow, his inner world doesn’t change. And on the inside he’s in this game for the thrill, for the passion. He liked complex things, and interesting deals, dangerous crime games. And this mess is nothing but all that. Because, for one, there’s honor among thieves too. Criminal organisations need each other to survive, there’s rarely such insane attempts to cross each other. After all, they’re not some amateur gangbangers. Second, the money will become void in 48 hours or so, becoming as worthless as the paper banknotes are printed on. And third, why the hell his former boss even steal that hard to liquefy cash? It’s a game of “are you that powerful, or that dumb” from the moment Jack steps on the trail of the only heist member who escaped. With some luck the man will be alive and will be able to answer some question. Hell, with some luck, he didn’t ditch the money either.

This was such a great and intense read, I loved it. I loved Jack’s details, so precise, so professional. If you want a heist thriller slash detective, story told from the criminal point of view, then this is it. 5 out of 5

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

K.J. Charles “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal”

3Finally I got me another chance for some leisure with K.J. Charles. This time I read “The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal” (ASIN B06XVF3GW8; 232p.; Goodreads), a sort of a prequel to Green Men series I’ll be starting right after this. It’s a very sherlocky book, but all cases are supernatural, and clients are mostly angry spirits.

Robert Caldwell worked as a journalist when he met Simon Feximal. You see, he inherited this old, crumbling little manor or castle, or whatever the hell, and a raging spirit of his angry ancestor with it. I mean, one can deal with many things. Things moving, doors closing, sounds and moans. But once the walls start bleeding, well, most of us would probably draw a line. So Robert called for help. Simon showed up, with his mysterious demeanor, body of a boxer, and impressive knowledge on the occult. He made them a circle and told Robert to not put a finger out, whatever happens. Spirit started raging, strange symbols appeared on Simon’s skin, and… Well, of course, Robert broke the damned circle.

From there on adventures and cases begin. Robert soon learned what World under the World is, and just how much more there is than meets the eye. And it’s not just angry spirits! There’s angrier zealous colleagues, England’s Secret Service, and even a war at the gate.

If you fancy a supernatural detective, than this is definitely for you. It was damn great, with lots of amazing characters and secrets. 5 out of 5 from me, can’t go any less.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Bangkok Haunts” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3

22So then. I really loved first Sonchai Jitpleecheep series book by John Burdett. And I hated the second one just as much. Thus I picked up the third book, “Bangkok Haunts” (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3; ISBN 0307263185; 305p.; Goodreads) very carefully. I was really worried it’ll now become a common detective with some family drama to it, set in Asia. Lucky for me, that did not happen.

Sonchai received a snuff movie. The kind of a pornographic video where one of the parties gets killed. And while it’s strange in itself that someone would sent it to a cop, it is far stranger that the victim seemed to be willing and encouraging the killer to get on with it. What kind of logic could get someone so willing to die, on a video too, for someone’s sick pleasure? It’s not like the dead need money, but there’s definitely a hint towards some kind of gain the dead woman got.

Worse than the video itself for Sonchai is the fact that he knew the woman in the video, and was madly in love with her at some point. To add to injury, in the video she wore a ring he gave her, as if expecting him to one day see the tape. Sonchai, thus, has no choice, but to try and solve this master plan someone birthed.

This was a strange and interesting read. It definitely got better at the end. I loved the crazy occult things, spiritual reaping, madness, and even the description of human cruelty. I can give it a strong 4 out of 5 for sure.

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

The Harvard Lampoon “Bored of the Rings”

1I got this book from second-hand store in UK about forever ago. And since “Bored of the Rings” by The Harvard Lampoon (Cardboard box of the rings 3; ISBN 0451452615; 149p.; Goodreads) is such a small book, it traveled with me for a couple years. I just thought, hey, what if I don’t have my e-reader with me, my phone is old, battery doesn’t last, etc. But that didn’t happen during all that time, so I just took it out and read it at home. And it wasn’t good.

As the title suggest, this is a parody of Lord of the Rings. Absurd kind of humor, which is very much not for everyone, and very much not for me. It felt childish and tasteless majority of the time, and there wasn’t a damn joke I found funny, which is disappointing, because I like funny things, and I really wanted funny things, that’s why I got the damn book in the first place.

Anyway, Frito gets his heirloom One Ring that can rule all the others, at least those that weren’t lost or recalled for manufacturer errors, and thus now has to go on an adventure to destroy this evil thing. The voyage is scary, so first one has to form a Brotherhood, but, really, no one wants to go on this dumb trip, so they just push one another forth, until no one’s left and a Brotherhood is formed out of offered up men, not volunteers. Really, no one wanted this adventure.

I can give this book a 2 out of 5, for at least it was well written. Other than that, the puns didn’t work, the jokes were childish and not funny, and the dirty stuff was just tasteless. Not for me. For someone maybe tho, because humor is really a personal thing.

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

Neven Iliev “Fizzlesprocket” | Everybody Loves Large Chests 2

1Finally! Finally I got my hands on second book in Neven Iliev series Everybody Loves Large Chests, “Fizzlesprocket” (Everybody Loves Large Chests 2; ASIN B07B42T4YD; 306p.; Goodreads). First one was great. Second one – less so. Never thought I’ll say this, but there were too many dirty jokes, they got to a point where it was just vulgarity for the sake of it, it wasn’t funny, and it flopped half of a book as a result. The other half was great tho.

When Boxxy noticed that some adventurers surpass him in abilities and skills, even if their levels are lacking. This has gotten him curious, for a boost is always welcome for our little mimic who is just trying to survive. And get tasties. And get shinies. So he watched and inspected, and came to a sensible conclusion that it was the gear they wore that gave them this said tasty boost. Yet putting this knowledge to practice turned out to be mighty time consuming and complicated. For there are no shops, apparently, that sell box-shaped armor.

For one, people feel strange dread, fear, uneasiness around monsters, no matter how human they look. So even if Boxxy overcame the first obstacle, and found a way to look more human, if a little grotesque as men come, he still had to navigate through people who shunned him without knowing why. Fear can easily turn into anger, and that would just not be tasty. For two, learning a crafting skill turned out to be both time consuming, and shiny-costing, forcing Boxxy to take up some quests now again, which wasn’t all that bad, for he got to consume corpses afterwards, and get more gold for it. It’s the third thing that turned out to be a real pain. After the whole Calamity happened, humans got on edge. Security got tighter, adventurers in disguise started investigating who did it. For while official story claimed it was elves, since that allowed an open war against that nuisance of a race, secretly authorities worked towards finding and punishing the real culprit. After all, no one wants that to happen again. And you have to admit, tall dark strangers, especially the strong-silent types, are mighty suspicious to begin with, even if they didn’t make you feel all strange and uneasy.

So as I said, dirty jokes got far out of line. Vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity is never funny, and it really got old really fast. Luckily, it broke off quite suddenly too, and pace picked up as plot intensified. So the whole second part of the book was far better. I loved the ending too, so I will definitely read the third book too. This one gets 4 out of 5 for the time being.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: Funny!, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shane Dawson “It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays”

3Oddly, second collection of memoir essays by Shane Dawson, “It Gets Worse” (ISBN 1501132857; 256p.; Goodreads) was, well, worse. Ironically, because it didn’t get any worse: I feel like he already told the darkest stories in his previous book. But that being said, I still did enjoy reading it, I am absolutely happy that I did, and if there’d be a third one, I’d read it too.

This time stories revolve on three main topics: dealing with new knowledge of sexual orientation; paranormal activities due to dead loving grandma; becoming a film director. The first topic lead to some fine stories of terrifying world of dating apps, kind strangers, and self-acceptance. I like how there’s the common theme for likely a lot of people with the less common sexual orientations: once you figure out what is it, it shines light on your whole life experience so far. Shane, too, seemingly figured a lot of things of why it was the way it was. Second topic scared the living hell out of me, for I have no reason to think people lie when they tell stories like that. Avoid reading stories about his grandma at night. Nightmares for days. And the third topic, my favorite, was of him breaking free as a film director. Shane’s humor is definitely not for everyone, and sometimes those who encouraged it to blossom, end up misunderstanding everything the most.

So, all in all, it’s worth reading both of these books, they’re good. Shane’s a very interesting person, and I’m happy that he’s finding happiness, little by little. I’ll give this book a 4 out of 5, for it lacked a little. But as I said before, if there’d be more, I’d read more.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: Funny! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Craig Alanson “Black Ops” | Expeditionary Force 4

1I was a little reluctant to get into fourth book in the Expeditionary ForceBlack Ops” by Craig Alanson (Expeditionary Force 4; ASIN B07121G4ZC; 673p.; Goodreads), due to repetitive action in the third one. But I still read this one. And there were times where I cried laughing. So I think it’s good.

Merry band of pirates is of on a mission to make sure Earth is safe and sounds. All they really need to do is get information on who could be threatening them, and sabotage the living heck out of it. Since with Skippy’s help they were training to fight aliens, fight like aliens, and fly alien ships too, the whole crew is pretty confident that they can pull this off. And if not, well, they have to try anyway.

But bad news don’t end with the “evil alien race wants to eradicate Earth because you’re annoying creatures“. Skippy went into the AI shell of the dead one they found, expecting to figure out why and how they were made, and maybe – what killed the AI. What he found was no happy news at all. Apparently, the race who made them, haven’t made them all sentient. Some became so with time. Fearing that others would go rogue too, they made and possibly inserted it into every AI a worm that’d destroy it if it went rogue. So did the AI Skippy found was rogue? Or was it the worm itself that misbehaved? That question likely bothers Joe Bishop more than any other, for mid sentence Skippy the Magnificent simply went silent, leaving the Merry Band of Pirates to fend for themselves in far away space.

This was so funny at times, I was crying. Other times it was very intense and kept me on the edge. And then sometimes it was so intense, and so funny at the same time… Anyway, 5 out of 5 for this one.

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

Jurga Lago “Land of Rain” | Lietaus Žemė

6After reading Norse Mythology and Mythos, and then playing Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, where the main character is a Pict (North Scotland) warrior who ventured into the underworld to fight Hela herself, I needed more myth retellings in my life so bad. So one day, as I was in the post office, doing my thing, sending stuff out, my eye was drawn to the little shelf they have there for books. I knew nothing of the author, nothing of the book, but the artwork style on the book, and the title told me I need to have it. So I got myself “Land of Rain” by Jurga Lago (Lietaus Žemė; ISBN13 9786094413476; 184p.; Goodreads), and I was never more happy with an impulse purchase ever.

Lietuviai and Zemaiciai have fought among themselves for so long, that our Thunder God named, well, Thunder, Perkunas, sent an ever lasting rain upon the land. It would pour until these two Lithuanian tribes finally made up. So, pretty much, forever, for neither side knows nothing else but how to hate the other side! From young age folk are conditioned with stories to feed the fighting spirit. And one of the fiercest among the Lietuviai was Siurbele (Leech). He, as many other old men, still remembered dry days and sunshine. But ever since Lietuvio son has disappeared soon after birth, his fighting spirit cared for no forgiveness, and he wickedly helped those dwindling armies collide, clash, and slaughter each other. During one such battle he was about to escape to safety when he found himself drowning in a bog called Black Honey. Making peace with his gods Siurbele got distracted by a child. Scrawny, thin thing with a lisp. He claimed he knows a path out of the bog, and will exchange the information for a couple of fishies. Small price for a life, Siurbele thought, and agreed. In fact, he felt so sorry for the poor child, that he gotten him to a farmer, and being of infamous name, had that one guarantee a livelihood for the kid during many winters to come.

One rainy night, as all nights were, one of the shepherds returned weeping: a water piggy got lost, and the master will surely beat him to death for it. Zaltys (grass snake), for that was the name of the kid who saved Siurbele, told the kid to calm down, and went to search for the piggy. Being kind-hearted, he didn’t regret finding it, even if it was at the feet of the Devil.

Now, mind you, in our mythology Devil was no friend to Perkunas, and Perkunas was sort of like Thor: An eldest god below his own father. But he wasn’t an evil creature. Mischievous – maybe. But absolutely not evil.

The Devil spoke a bit, corrected Zaltys every time he lisped a word, until the boy stopped lisping, due to magic the being wielded, or the sheer terror he induced in the kid. And finally agreed to give the piggy back. In exchange, Zaltys would go to Zemaiciai. What for? Well, that remains to be seen, Devil said. And so, the very next day Zaltys took off, through forests full of godlings, beings, creatures, beasts, talking lakes, and gods themselves. He knew enough to survive, being raised by one of the Wise Men, and likely there was no one prepared for such a journey better than he. As much as he didn’t wish to go to a mortal enemy who’d likely kill him on spot, not caring one bit that the Devil himself made him come, and he meant no harm.

Zemaitis, in the meantime, had a daughter. Sure, he wished for a son to take his place, but what can one do? The girl, Lyja (Raining), was raised among the soldiers, and soon enough had no equals with a bow in the forest. Still, as fierce as she was, her father saw her as a girl only suitable for kitchen work, thus when final battle came, he had to leave her behind. And well he did, for in the dark of night, with no soldier and only old or dying men around, Lyja was the only one who had the strength and bravery to face the stranger who knocked on the door.

The story is VERY good. I’d say it’s like Sapkowski’s Witcher, but in our boggy swamplands. I loved it a lot, and I wish it was translated to English, so everyone could enjoy this beautiful mythological story. 5 out of 5, well deserved.

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

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