Posts Tagged With: book reviews

book review | Critical Mass by Craig Alanson | Expeditionary Force 10

craig alanson critical mass expeditionary force book reviewAuthor: Craig Alanson
Title: Critical Mass
Series: Expeditionary Force 10
Genre: Sci-Fi; AI
Pages: 500
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Oh, I have waited so long and so patiently for “Critical Mass” by Craig Alanson, tenth book in the Expeditionary Force series. And it was worth it.

About the Book: Joe Bishop is in mortal danger. His crew is in mortal danger. Heck, the whole of human kind is in, you guessed it, mortal danger. With Skippy’s help humans, the Merry Band of Pirates, have caused havoc. From this mysterious ghost-ship that kicks alien ass. To hacking, breaking, masking, leaking super secret and impossible information, and manufacturing things that no one should ever be able to manufacture. To a terrible mess they made out of wormholes by moving them, opening them, closing them… Aliens are pissed, and because at the center of these events there’s this annoying little human called Joe Bishop, whom Universe hates a lot already, they’ve decided to go visit that damned Earth he came from. And unite at doing so, just to be sure. But if you think that this is all Joe’s problems – save the Earth or evacuate the humanity – he he, you’re not going to like this…

My Opinion: The book is amazingly good. SPOILERS: Yes, yes, Skippy has returned, groveling and apologizing. He regrets not only the decision to betray his friends, but his whole damn life, for how could he, how could he ever? After profound promises he’d never do such a horrible thing again, Skippy goes ahead to prove his words with actions by helping Merry Band of Pirates kick even more alien ass all while stringing together and duct-taping a plan of how to save the rest of the humans. END OF SPOILERS: Book started with an epic proportions action. Proceeded to slow down, but banter and jokes kept it going well, and then exploded once again. And this time the explosion was actually hopeful.

A great book. Amazing series. 5/5.

craig alanson critical mass expeditionary force book review vakaris vakare instagram

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

book review | Gilded Cage by K.J. Charles | 2

gilded cage kj charles book review historical romanceAuthor: K.J. Charles
Title: Gilded Cage
Series: Lillywhite Boys 2
Genre: Historical Romance; Mystery
Pages: 248
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Oh how I miss just reading one K.J. Charles book after another. Lillywhite boys is one of my favorite series too, so “Gilded Cage“, second book in it, was a treat.

About the Book: Templeton Lane, one of the Lillywhite Boys, notorious jewelry thief, is obsessed with opals. So when news spread of an exceptional piece out there, he can’t contain himself. But solo job went awry as soon as it began, in the eerily quiet house, with a dead man on the floor. Now Templeton is wanted for murder he didn’t commit, and there’s only one person on earth who might both believe him, and help him.

My Opinion: Opals, Templeton’s love for them, are so well described, that now even I want one or two. The story is cleverly written, with detective Lazarus, a former con artist herself, navigating intrigues, secrets, plots, and seemingly everyone’s feelings. To add to that there’s a whole bunch of lovable characters.

If you got this far, I probably don’t need to sell you on another KJC book. Go take yourself a treat, I give it a 5 out of 5.

gilded cage kj charles book review historical romance vakaris vakare instagram

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Other Fiction, Books: Romance, Historical Fiction Books, historical romance, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Indebted by J.L. Beck | 1

a kingpin love affair indebted j.l. beck mafiaAuthor: J.L. Beck
Title: Indebted
Series: A Kingpin Love Affair 1
Genre: Romance; Mafia
Pages: 160
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

Wow, okay, this was bad. Picked up “Indebted” by J.L. Beck, A Kingpin Love Affair book. Mafia romance is bad almost without exception. But this was next level dull.

About the Book: Bree’s father is indebted to the mafia and they’re here to collect. Having nothing to give them, he’s about to die as his daughter steps out and offers herself as repayment. Alzerro King, the mafia king, agrees, and the young woman falls into the deep dark web of criminal world.

My Opinion: The book was short and consisted mostly out of the emotional state of the two main characters, their inner monologues about each other. Mafia work apparently consists out of fear for double agents, great deal of talk about them, and some anger issues to spice things up. Bad guys might as well carry a sign “I’m the traitor“, and cliff hanger the book ends with is eye-roll worthy.

Another tale of a broken bad boy whom this good girl will fix. A 2 out of 5 is the best I can do.

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Categories: 2-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Romance, mafia, murder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Dopesick by Beth Macy

dopesick beth macyAuthor: Beth Macy
Title: Dopesick
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Science
Pages: 384
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Dopesick” by Beth Macy is dark, strong, and very scary. Mostly because that the tale it tells is true, happening today and will happen tomorrow.

About the Book: Mind ruled by opium is mind not your own, and yet… How are you supposed to live in reality, when you saw life, world, at its very best? Starting with Soldier’s Disease, to whom opium was given for obvious reasons, later in form of heroin, from where the title of the drug originates. Continuing with pharma pushing medicine and claiming its not addictive, doctors who over-prescribed them, and people who believed these greed embodiments have their best interest at hand. And ending with a system meant to keep you, and never let you go. User, abuser, gets arrested, gets no treatment, then is thrown out with no means to get apartment or food stamps, with very vague possibilities of job… They go back to dealer, ask for a favor, resell some, pay back, use up some to not see this darkness a failed system put them in. They get arrested, get no treatment, and the cycle continues until, usually, young death.

My Opinion: It’s scary to read of a mother who cared for household and kids like a superhero. Who needed a simple surgery, and got oxyContin prescribed for the pain. It’s scary how fast her life becomes a slope going down at terrifying speed. Scary how systematic racism ties into this too. The book is strongly written, it’s very clear, and will scare off many, I hope.

Read it. Give it to your kids to read it too. 5 out of 5.

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

book review | Where the Devil says Goodnight by K.A. Merikan | Folk Lore 1

where the devil says goodnight k.a. merikanAuthor: K.A. Merikan
Title: Where the Devil Says Goodnight
Series: Folk Lore 1
Genre: Dark Fantasy; M/M Romance
Pages: 362
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes even the best of annotations can trip you over. I thought “Where the Devil Says Goodnight” by K.A. Merikan will be just for me. Turns out it’s really not for me.

About the Book: As times move on, people abandon superstition and with it – old religions, old gods. Even to the most remote of places New Age eventually arrives. Such is this village looming in the middle of an ancient forest, where Father Adam was sent. Just barely touched by modern world, with wounds still raw, it’s full of little rituals meant to appease the pagan gods of nature. Strange lack of balanse among its people leaves Adam at unease. As if the land still remembers the dues and the debts.

My Opinion: Slavic lore, especially that coming from the Poland, is very similar to our own, Baltic lore. Interesting descriptions and curious magic was what got all three points in this book. Because the rest didn’t hold up. The story was very dragged, with the final day – far away, and the days in between – filled with nonsensical stuff that barely added to the plot. Romance was boring and even upsetting. And every side character presented this stereotypical good-guy / bad-guy portrait.

It’s okay. A 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, dark fantasy, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | White Rage by Caron Anderson

the unspken truth of racial divide white rage carol andersonAuthor: Carol Anderson
Title: White Rage
Series: –
Genre: History; Nonfiction
Pages: 256
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

In the face of what’s happening in the world right now, the best we can do is listen and learn. So I picked up “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson. It shines light and gives better perspective on USA history, and what brought the whole world (thankfully) to this point.

About the Book: The book begins with the earliest history of America, which is fairly recent in comparison. It tells a surreal sounding tale of systematic racism, undercutting, and this constant mix of rage and despair, fear and loathing. And then, after listening to the atrocities that end with president Obama, you hear what sounds like a prophecy: mayors, governors, fear what will happen when yet another innocent black man is shot on the street.

My Opinion: The book didn’t get that far, it was released before the proverbial camel’s back broke, but that should only help you think. In a world where people refuse to listen and outright mocks the plea of the people just like them, merely because their system is made so its more convenient to do so – is violence then not the only language one can’t ignore? First pride “parade” was a violent riot too. So if we could just listen to people, people like Carol Anderson, maybe we’d not reach another point in our history again, where human beings have to throw rocks to be heard. This is a superbly written book, with a very kind author providing information to cover every corner in a tight, condensed manner, that leads you to very clear vision of why we’re here today.

It’s a great book, and I hope everyone reads it, and many more too. A strong 5 out of 5 from me.

america is stolen land built by people who were stolen from their land

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

book review | Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

charlie leduff detroit an american autopsy we are aliveAuthor: Charlie LeDuff
Title: Detroit: An American Autopsy
Series: –
Genre: History; Memoir
Pages: 304
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Digging into my nonfiction folder I’ve discovered “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff. And it’s a very fine memoir.

About the Book: This is a memoir of a journalist and his city. Passionate, angry, full of determined home. Hope that something can be done, and determination to do all he can, as a journalist, knocking on all the doors, ringing all the damned bells, to reach someone, anyone, to help the living people in Detroit. A city where fires never cease for arson is cheaper than a movie. Where people rarely call the cops, and cops, in return, rarely come.

My Opinion: I know nothing of the Detroit as it is today, but if even half the good people described in this book got to something, I’m sure it’s a beautiful place to be. Author describes the crimes, the life, life and death in Detroit, the constant fires, and unreported bodies. And the good people within that do everything they can, people who don’t take life for granted, and try their best to get the most from it not just for themselves, but their family, their neighbor. You can feel the beating heart in these dark stories.

It’s a very fine piece. Probably not for everyone, but I can give a solid 5 out of 5.

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

book review | Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

autonomous annalee newitz book coversAuthor: Annalee Newitz
Title: Autonomous
Series: –
Genre: Sci-fi
Pages: 303
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

From love for the book, to bitter taste in my mouth, all in one paragraph. Such was my experience with “Autonomous” by Annalee Newitz. If you don’t want spoilers, I’ll mark down the spoiler part of my opinion below.

About the Book: Simplifying, big pharma patents medications so there’s no alternatives, thus making it so only the rich elite can live long happy lives. Jack is utterly fed up by this, and so she goes into pirate business: reverse engineering medications and making them available via black market. But here’s the problem. Due to those medicines being used and abused only by such a small percentage of the population, a lot of side effects were unknown until it leaked down to public. And so there’s deaths of people who took a drug that’d make them enjoy their work more, need for extensive rehabilitation because their brain is so very hard rewired towards what gave them their fix of dopamine, the drug itself is no longer of consequence. And even though Jack didn’t create the drug, only made it public, a military bot with his partner is sent after her to detain or kill. Military bot, known as Paladin, is on fresh contract, due to being freshly manufactured, making him essentially a slave for the next ten or more years to cover the cost of his making. But things already are growing complicated between him and his homophobic partner who is the first kind person to Paladin.

My Opinion: No Spoilers – Paladin and his partner are falling in love, but his partner is absolutely stupid, and they both decide it’s better to internalize old hurts than work towards healing, making their whole relationship nasty; Now SPOILERS: bots don’t have a gender, and the only reason Paladin is known as a “he” is because he’s a military bot, and those are perceived in such a way due to their bulk and form. But given a choice of: sleep with partner – YES if woman; NO if man; Paladin makes a choice to assume a female identity. Because his partner, even having to fight random boners Paladin’s presence is inducing in him, is homophobic due to old hurts. He uses derogatory slurs, and the fact he’s falling for a sexless person with nothing but personality present, and not much of that one either – doesn’t matter. Must be a woman or I’m gay, and I can’t be a f-. Nobody cares to correct him, to help him. Nobody cares to correct or help Paladin either. They’re just let loose to lie to each other because they’re in love. Paladin is extremely enabling of him, and, in my opinion, solely because that man was the first kind man who treated Paladin as a person.

The book, otherwise pretty interesting, felt icky. I can’t give it more than 2 out of 5, for I don’t like books that teach shitty lessons. Yes, kids, internalize your feelings, and pretend to be something you’re not for the person you love, even if they clearly have some kind of unresolved issue that could be resolved, and you both could grow as people, benefiting from this gift we have called speech.

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

book review | Winter by Marissa Meyer | The Lunar Chronicles 4

winter by marissa meyer the lunar chroniclesAuthor: Marissa Meyer
Title: Winter
Series: The Lunar Chronicles 4
Genre: Fantasy; Sci-Fi
Pages: 827
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, finished The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer with the last book in it: Winter. It was magical, wonderful, and oh the atmosphere. Author really knows how to write a good atmosphere.

About the Book: A common worker in an iron grip of the evil step mother Queen Levana, bombarded with constant illusions that Queen herself is delusional enough to believe, constant surveillance and threat of death, has no means to fight against oppression. But a rumor spreads like wildfire, a rumor of a long lost hope, long lost princess Selene. Rumor claims she’s here, among them. This is enough to bring a time of revolution about. This hope is enough to get them fighting. It is time for the Queen Levana to fall.

My Opinion: It’s a great book, truly. Due to everyone receiving their happy endings, story got a little long winded. But when characters are so nice and well written, it’s a pleasure to read, not a chore. There’s battles, there’s tension, there’s dangerous mind-controlling mages of sorts, and genetically engineered werewolves, and a crazy girl whose kindness melted even their savage hearts. The only true con I have for this book is the lack of motivation behind Cinder’s actions. She doesn’t remember Luna as her home, she doesn’t feel at home there, she wants to go back to Earth and not be a princess. So why did she fight so hard? Just because she wanted Levana off the throne?

Great book, great series. I highly recommend, and give it a 5 out of 5. 

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

book review | The Vampire’s Club by X. Aratare | The Vampire’s Club 3

the vampires club x aratareAuthor: X. Aratare
Title: The Vampire’s Club
Series: The Vampire’s Club 3
Genre: LGBT Literature; Paranormal Romance
Pages: 16
Rate: 3/5 | Goodread

Alright. I’ve read the third book, or third chapter, or third installment in The Vampire’s Club by X. Aratare. They’re neither good, nor bad. Someone recommend me vampire books? Extra points for diverse stuff.

About the Book: Vampires want witch magic. Witches want vampire immortality. Neither can have it, but both try their damnedest, which hadn’t improved the relationship between the two groups at all. And yet, it seems, they’ve finally found something. A chance in a form of blood. Konstantin’s sire’s blood. The most gruesome legendary vampire that still walks this earth.

My Opinion: From the description given of Konstantin’s Sire, I thought it’ll be Dracula. But it seems author leaned more towards the Devil, not the Dragon. It was still an interesting development of events, so there’s that plus. I don’t know, I think maybe if you’ve read it as one book it would be easier.

For the time being, I don’t mind it as a light read, so a 3 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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