Posts Tagged With: book reviews

Chloe Neill “Blade Bound” | Chicagoland Vampires 13

1Author: Chloe Neill
Title: Blade Bound
Series: Chicagoland Vampires 13
Genre: Paranormal, Vampire
Pages: 384
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

And so here I am, after a year long ride, if I’m not wrong, finally done with Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill. There were good books, bad, really bad, and good books again. And this one, last one, has ended on one of those good notes.

About: On her return from wedding preparations Merit hurries into Sullivan’s office to leave him a note. But instead of finding him there, or just an empty room as was more expected, she runs into a poorly looking man. He, looking irritated, and like he had no sleep for weeks to go, is getting more and more agitated, demanding the screaming to stop. After a short little brawl that ends him in a hospital, where he does recover, the episode reoccurs on a broader scale. Mostly among people who were at the epicenter of Alchemical Magic explosion from the previous book. People are driven nuts by the voices in their head, fighting each other, fighting others. And if that’s not enough, the rest of the Chicago is about to turn against vampires and other supernaturals too. For the air is tinged with an odd smell, and ever dropping cold that has already encased their lake in solid ice, and will likely kill all the flora that isn’t used to surviving Chicago’s winters. Something dark is brewing, and it is very, very angry…

Mine: Wichcraft and Alchemy got separated very clearly here. Author used such real life mystery sources as Voynich manuscript for a big portion of the magic present, and while I believe the translation of the said manuscript was much too simple, I do still like what was made using it. And how they fought against it. Other than some good battles, and Merit’s sudden loss of apetite while in moral debates over whether she even wants a child in a world like this, it wasn’t all that bad and teeth-rotting sweet as I feared. I shouldn’t have said “other than” there, I know, makes no sense. Anyway, Merit and Sullivan got married. They had a baby at the very end of the book, thus skipping the often annoying part of a lot of fiction where hero is going through her first pregnancy. They all gathered for a birthday party with their kids, and each one had a very different experience on parenting. A fair ending.

From what I gather now, I think author simply got too big of a goal set for her, or set for herself. Three hundred pages per thirteen books can’t be an easy task even if you do have lots and lots of ideas. Thus some books lost their plot quality, some even very greatly. But, other than that, and this time I am using it in the right place, on the right time, her humor always remained good and simple, cracking me up time, and time again. Vampires were decent, for I still don’t appreciate them being so human-like. Shifters were even better. So the last book gets a solid 4 out of 5 from me. And now they got to the bottom of my e-shelf, for I am absolutely done.

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Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “Wild Things” | Chicagoland Vampires 9

11Author: Chloe Neill
Title: Wild Things
Series: Chicagoland Vampires 9
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires
Pages: 350
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I forgot how weak the bad guy plot line always is in Chicagoland Vampires books. But we’re almost done, bear with me! Wild things is 9th book out of, yes, you guessed it, 13!

About: Things made of magic are attacking groups and gatherings of supernaturals. Things that don’t exist. People disappear right after those attacks with no traces, no bodies, no witnesses. And while this happened during shifter gathering, in the house of one prominent pack master, who accepted to shelter Sullivan until his case with GP is solved, Merit has no choice but to try and solve this.  Otherwise, vampires and witches will be the first suspects in line.

Mine: “Oh, but the bad guy who is now dead had a daughter no one knew about” is a nasty little trope that I really don’t like. Almost as much as I don’t like the magical impossible birth tropes. Or supernaturals becoming humans trope. Sullivan was my happy place here, his drive for political power reminded me of mr Northman from Sookie’s books. As for the story itself, it was mediocre. Readable, but meh.

These are good for a quick and very light read, and while not good, still better than a lot of other vampire series I’ve read in the past. I can only give it a 3 out of 5 again.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “House Rules” | Chicagoland Vampires 7

4Title: House Rules
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires 7
Genre: Paranormal, Vampire
Pages: 352p.
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Yeah, vampire books are definitely a comfort read for me, even the or maybe especially the short and simple series with many books I can get through easily. Thus, on to the “House Rules” by Chloe Neill, 7th book in the Chicagoland Vampires.

About: House Cadogan chose freedom under strain over safety under GP’s unjust rule. They cut bonds with disloyal fae, and are now trying to do what they do best: mingle, make connections, play politics. The only real difference is that these folk here are now all rogues. Free vampires or outright enemies of the GP. But things are never so easy, are they? Vampires are getting murdered, often in pairs, their heads sliced off with something sharp. They disappear in moments, and reappear in different circumstances. And if vampire serial killer is not bad enough, it seems that this murderer has access to clan houses too. No one is safe anymore.

Mine: The plot was pretty weakly built up, lacking tension even with something as severe as murders of vampires happening under the very noses of Clan Heads. And if I hear more of that damn prophecy of “green eyed baby”, I will start chewing at the pages. I will, don’t test me. But there’s good things here too. Like, character dynamics, they worked very well, jokes were on point and on time. So, mediocre story, okay-ish characters, interesting vampires.

I actually enjoyed this book up until the very end, where all the good things, the badass Sullivan, the kick-ass Merit, the plot twist of killer walking through walls got murdered off. Killer made no sense, kills made no sense, and the damn prophecy trope is always a thumbs down for me. Especially when it comes to impossible births. But for the sake of it, I’ll give this book a 4 out of 5 for once.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shane Dawson – I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays

3I liked Shane Dawson. Then I hated Shane Dawson. Then I liked Shane Dawson again, and this time I stayed. I like biographies and memoirs too, so it was just a matter of time until I finally get into his “I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays” (ISBN 1476791546; 228p.; Goodreads). It was a very easy read, full of dark humor, satire, heart-breaking stuff, and, well, character development.

The book is written in short chapters, that don’t continue one another, but tell a story each. They start with a piece of artwork, and a few words about the artist who did it, for which I take my hat off for Shane: it’s always wonderful to see a great artist try to squeeze in as many others into their own light, as possible. There’s no seeming order to them, and criteria is likely only one too – stories that were stepping stones. Stepping stones through which Shane, as hard and unbearable as it was, waded through, grew as a person, and became this wonderful human being that he is today.

He grew up with two brothers, and parents, who eventually got divorced. It didn’t help his meager social life that they had to move, and he had to change schools thus. A morbidly obese kid with a pretty face, as you may guess, is not the popular one. So he spent his days with his mom, alone, or in a group of misfits just like himself. Not one story, no matter how sad or cruel it sounded, ever made me feel like this is a pity show. In fact, I believe Shane to be a very strong person to be able to go through this all, and leave it behind. And what’s not yet behind – is still a work in progress, or at least so it seems from his wonderful videos.

I admit, these stories shone light not only on Shane Dawson himself, but via his prism – on mine too. I recognized some flaws in myself, and much like him – started working on them. Lucky me, I have an example of what not to do too, ha! I will give this book a 5 out of 5, but I don’t know if it’s relevant to those who don’t know Shane Dawson, or do not like him. It felt too personal to be taken out of the perspective of who he is in broader view. And now, to the next one!

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

Stephen King – The Gunslinger | The Dark Tower 1

43615I bought this book so very long ago. Yet came about to reading it only when they released the series. I’ve a love-hate relationship with King’s books. I like his stories, but don’t much enjoy the books themselves. Adaptations are often good, but then… Anyway, I’ve finally read “The Gunslinger” by Stephen King (The Dark Tower 1; ISBN 0452284694; 231p.; Goodreads), the first book in The Dark Tower series. And I really didn’t like as much as I hoped I would.

This is a very slow story of a Gunslinger, the last of his kind, chasing a man in black in a world that’s tearing itself apart, across the desert beyond which the world, according to some, simply ends. But that is where he must go, for he must find the Dark Tower, and the man in black is likely the key to getting there, getting inside. All the while he’s expecting a trap from the man in black, for he has seen it before. He left villages obliterated due to those traps, due to people attacking him with firm belief that he is the very devil incarnate. He saw it in minds of others, even in people he liked. Like the woman who was given a keyword that would’ve opened the memory of her risen from the dead friend. He would’ve then told her what’s out there, beyond, and it would’ve driven her mad. Much like the idea of a trap is driving the Gunslinger mad.

The Dark Tower itself is a nexus of everything. Time, possibilities, but most importantly – size. What’s behind the door, behind the sun, the galaxy, all of the galaxies, what’s there, at the far end, where nothing is anymore? The idea of it, the want to see, to know, is driving Gunslinger through this scorched place of madness and delusions.

The idea would’ve been of epic scale, if I’ve not read similar philosophies many times before. This embodiment of everything, across the dunes, and over the train tracks, built by gods, for who else could’ve done that? Demons in the sand, in the bones, in the machinery that no longer goes. If none of that sounds familiar, then you might just like this book. It is worth your love, it is a classic for a reason. It’s just not my cup of tea. 2 out of 5, but, yes, there’s a but. I’m not ready to quit just yet, so I’ll be reading the next one.

Categories: 2-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Fantasy, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eddie Izzard – Believe Me

24611840Ah, Eddie. It’s hard to not love this wonderful person, with his simple, honest humor. Once I laughed to tears when he cracked a joke about printers, I’ll add the video below if I can find it. So when I saw his memoir “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, And Jazz Chickens” (ISBN 1611764696; 368p.; Goodreads), I grabbed it right away. Because, come on, it’s the one, and only: Eddie Izzard.

This is the type of memoir I like – about everything, in details, from the beginning, with fill-in’s, and explanations. Eddie Izzard seems to be a mighty flexible person, able to adjust to almost anything. Starting with his career as street performer, then stand-up comedian, writer, TV star, and so on, and to this day. He followed his heart, and so today we know him both as cold hearted killer in, say, Hannibal series, and as that wonderful transgender comedian, a man in a dress on stage, killing it!

When Eddie was still a child – his mother died. He loved her, and still does, very much. Father, unable to care for children, and work at the same time, sent them to boarding school. Eddie, with his poor health, and away from home, and loving parents, felt quite abandoned. Add his gender identity to it, and you get a fairly poor cocktail. Yet his spirit was ever so wonderful, and his wonderful childish discoveries were everything, I tell you. For example, one time someone told their class there’s a spot in, I don’t remember now, either a better class, or even a higher class, and so they asked whether anyone would like to pass there. Before little Eddie could even roll this thought in his head, some kid just raised his hand, and bam, that was that. Eddie thus came to conclusions: if you just learn to raise your hand real fast, one day you might even become the president of some country!

The memoir is full of everything, as I already mentioned, including the backstage of comedian life, what it’s like, how are the people. The only problem people might get with it: Eddie has a mighty complex way to telling his story, full of long sentences, side clauses within, explanations, and even footnotes. It’s not an easy book, is what I’m saying. But oh how worthy it is, 5 out of 5, there’s no way I can give less.

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

Lynn Flewelling – Shadows Return [4]

2065091The tradition continues with Nightrunner series. Every second book is far better than the previous one. So while I didn’t much like the fae realms, I did love all that happened in “Shadows Return” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 4; ISBN 0553590081; 522p.; Goodreads). It had a good pace, and a great, alchemy filled story.

Seregil and Alec return to Rhimenee, hoping to create a new runner persona, since their previous alter ego had to die. Even the most clueless nobles of the city might have otherwise noticed the pattern: Cat returns when Lord Seregil returns! Odd! Yet their fate had other plans for them. Remember that prophecy by oracle? Time to put it back in motion. Seregil and Alec end up in slavers hands, and are taken to enemy lands, where fae blood, especially the kind Alec has in his veins, is highly valued. Thus, they are separated, and sold…

Seregil, away from Alec, ends up at the mercy of his former lover, the man who betrayed him, the man who had him exiled. The only joy Seregil now has is the bittersweet knowledge: he is a slave too, if gilded.

The story was really pretty great, reminded me of Anne Rice’s “Claiming Beauty” trilogy, and C.S. Pacat “Captive Prince” too. I’ll give it a firm 4 out of 5, and hope it continues with these great topics!

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

Victoria Schwab – Our Dark Duet [2]

32075662I waited for this, it seems, for forever, even thou it wasn’t so long, really. And with “Our Dark Duet” by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity 2; ISBN 0062380885; 510p.; Goodreads) the duology ends. Yet my waiting continues, since now my favorite author is writing a sequel to Vicious…

Kate Harker, in a sense, felt safe. Monsters were all known. You looked at the body, and by what was missing, you knew what you’ll be hunting. None of them were a match for her either. Until that fatal night when something fleeting passed her vision. People turned their weapons one against the other, and killed without remorse. The blur in her vision turned more physical, and soon she was gazing into its eyes, mirroring her own, calling for violence, cold, alien…

August Flynn just wanted to be human. That is, until humans showed him how much more use they have from a monster who is strong, and in control of themselves. So he hunted, killed, and fed. And he gave orders, as due to a high ranking officer. What a strange, and unexpected turn his life took. And how much more strange it’ll get when Kate Harker will return to Verity. Kate Harker, with one eye no longer blue. Kate Harker, with one eye filling up with the mirror shard there. Kate Harker, with one eye that made the cameras blur out of focus when she looked at them. Kate Harker, the infamous monster hunter, with one eye of a monster.

This was one damn amazing piece, and I am beyond happy with it. Events turned and twisted, pace was perfect, as always, and people were their own beings. I loved it, it concluded everything perfectly. 5 out of 5, this was wonderful.

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

Diana Wynne Jones – Howl’s Moving Castle [1]

17890590-e307-0133-a222-0eb4fb0e56f1Howl’s Moving Castle is probably my most favorite movie of them all. And thus it is a bit strange that I’ve only read the book of same title by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle 1; ISBN 006441034X; 329p.; Goodreads) now. Okay no, it’s not that weird. I was made worried by all those reviews claiming the movie, and the book to be two very different things. Now I know. They’re different, yes. But not that much, and by far not in a bad way either.

Sophie has made peace with her fate to take over the boring family business of hat making. She passes her days by chatting with the said hats, telling them to bring luck to their owners, riches, good husbands. And as flood of customers grows, Sophie is surprised to know that most of the owners indeed had a happy turn of events. All seemed to go well, up until Witch of the Waste entered through her door, bitter for reasons unknown. She put a curse on Sophie, turning her into an old woman, and unable to speak of it either…

But Sophie is not one to cry over spilled milk. She grabbed her essentials, and went out to meet her destiny, if you please. Sophie, thus, went to find the castle she saw in the horizon, Howl’s castle. After all, who else could lift this damned curse? And now that she’s all old, he surely won’t want her heart.

 

Sophie finds the castle, of course, and Calcifer, if a little reluctantly, lets her in. Much like in the movie, they make a bargain to break each others’ contracts, and Calcifer keeps throwing little hints at Sophie via whole book, until she finally figures it out. Howl himself? One walking adventure, with more to him than meets the eye. I loved this book, and will give it 5 out of 5. So worth reading!

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

K.J. Charles – A Gentleman’s Position [3]

25893424I somehow didn’t realize third book of Society of Gentlemen by K.J. Charles is out. Something in my brain thought it’s to yet happen. But I remedied myself quickly, after a friend corrected me, and got on with finishing the trilogy with “A Gentleman’s Position” (Society of Gentlemen 3; ISBN 1101886072; 246p.; Goodreads). And I can say that this one is my favorite one. With slight Kuroshitsuji vibe of resourceful butler, here – valet…

David Cyprian, Lord Richard Vane’s valet, goes out of his way, and beyond, to keep his master’s comfort. It is why, after all, he’s the very best, and most sought after valet. It is his pride, and joy to serve such a great man as Lord Richard, so when the need comes for him to blackmail, bribe, and burglar – the man takes it as his duty, no less. After all, he’s not a gentleman himself, and, truth be told, has a thing or two he could live with staying hidden from his personal life, and the past. The only little problem is that he is in love with his master. And there’s nothing to be done about it.

Richard Vane is a powerful man, with strong morals, and great mind. Made even better by his resourceful, irreplaceable valet, he tackles even the worst of situations, such as a threat hanging above the head of his beloved friends. Someone wants to expose them, and Richard is just not having it. Especially not when he sees nothing wrong with two men in love. After all, he himself harbors less pure thoughts about his valet too…

While a little slow with action, this was a great book, made so by Cyprian’s character. He’s clever, and resourceful, something I keep mentioning in my review a lot, and I think, in some other book, he would’ve made a great villain. 4 out of 5, very firm!

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

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