Posts Tagged With: bookblog

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.

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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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn

bonnie and clyde true crime go down together jeff guinn biography book coverAuthor: Jeff Guinn
Title: Go Down Together
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Biography
Pages: 468
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I always had a liking to Bonnie and Clyde stories, but somehow never watched or read any true, not romanticized stuff about them. After all, I didn’t even know that at first they weren’t Bonnie and Clyde, but rather Clyde and Bonnie. But then, a few days back, I watched this great Netflix movie “The Highwaymen” and decided I must take that one book that I have on the pair of criminals two rangers were pursuing there. The Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn.

About: Everyone has at least heard of the famous bank robbers in love, Bonnie and Clyde, who robbed together, ran together, shot together, and died together too. But rarely anyone knows what those two were really like, and what was their life on the road, on the run.

Both Bonnie and Clyde grew up and lived during the Great Depression, when the economy in United States fell so very drastically, that a young man would find it hard to get a job, and a young woman would likely add to her meager pay by finding a different sort of clientele. Yet one shouldn’t be fooled. These two were not so much pushed into the life in crime, as they leaped to it seeking thrill, action, and fame. They got it, alright, but one’s left to wonder if they’d be happy with the price they paid for it. The cold nights in make-shift camping spots, cold food in fear that a fire would be spotted, injuries that left them both crippled, and no way back to a normal life.

Mine: This is a dark story with an almost humorous streak to it. Both Bonnie and Clyde had their share of misfortune and even cruelty. Luck seemed to turn away from them when they most needed it. But they rolled with the punches as best they could, charming public who, for once, had entertainment in their lives. Bonnie and Clyde stole from businesses and banks, rarely touching clerk’s wallet, so it’s almost like they didn’t rob the poor, poor thought. They’d steal your car, but leave it where you could retrieve it. And if you rather had insurance money, all you had to do was ask, and they’d happily drop it in a ditch, and set it on fire. This is what public saw, and this is why they often turned a blind eye on this pair. All while they dealt with the dark side criminal world, hell, barely its surface, for no true criminal took them very seriously, was serving.

Author did a great job of making a smooth story to not feel dull. At all times it’ll keep your attention, and you’ll come out knowing who the famous or infamous pair truly was. I’m giving it a strong 5 out of 5, and recommend you watch The Highwaymen at some point too.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, heists, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

book review | Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker | Stoker’s Dracula 2

dracula the undead dacre stoker book coverAuthor: Dacre Stoker
Title: Dracula the Un-Dead
Series: Stoker’s Dracula 2
Genre: Horror literature, Vampires
Pages: 424
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

So, the most recent book by Dacre Stoker, the “Dracul” is a prequel to Bram Stoker‘s “Dracula“, and this one. It’s a sort of a fictional biography of Bram Stoker and a sort of the origin of how the book “Dracula” was born, or the basis for it. Then you should read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” itself. And then this book, “Dracula the Un-Dead“, for it is a direct sequel to “Dracula”. And yet, it barely sticks with that prequel.

About: About twenty years after that little band of heroes got terrorized by the truth of vampire existence, Quincey Harker, son of Mina and Jonathan Harkers, against his father’s wishes, but in secret as to not lose his financial support, is pursuing a career as an actor. All is well and good, really. He even gets to meet his hero, his idol, famous actor named Basarab, who fully supports the boy’s want to become an actor, even if his father disapproves. Basarab even promises help, connections. All in return of a small favor Quincey can absolutely provide: introduce him to Bram Stoker. For, you see, Stoker is now building a play called “Dracula”, and Basarab has a few words about it…

But this is where Quincey’s life as he knows it crumbles to dust, bit by bit. The play is based on the book, the manuscript by the same title. In that story the main heroes are his mother, father, and their friends, in hunt of this vampire named Dracula. With fury of thoughts, among which not the smallest is the youthful look of his mother, who easily passes for his sister, Quincey hurries home. Yet, some secrets should remain buried in the past. For no sooner is Quincey able to find some information, confront his mother, as his father is found dead. Impaled.

Mine: The characters seem mentally challenged. They neither have logic, nor can see any. They will listen to absolutely nothing they don’t want to believe in, even if their own beliefs have absolutely no basis other than their own fantasies and fictional books they’ve read. Bram Stoker didn’t even bother to change the names of the people from diaries he presented as his book, apparently. Yes, why do that when you try to outbest your writer friends, such as Oscar Wilde. But. While I equally hate and love Dacre Stoker’s books, I must say, no matter how stupid the plot gets at times, for there’s plenty of second-hand shame I felt, they’re well written. I mean, I need a moment there and here to process the ridiculous ideas, but then, I read further, because I want to, because I’m curious. So, ah… Well done?

So. Dracula wasn’t the only vampire out there. Jack the Ripper wasn’t who you thought he was. And Titanic carried passengers from Stoker’s Dracula. For all of that, for this one and only clever ruse, for nothing else in this book was clever, I give it as much as 4 out of 5. And, you know what? I’d read another one.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Gothic Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

nonfiction | “Apollo 8” by Jeffrey Kluger

2Author: Jeffrey Kluger
Title: Apollo 8
Series: –
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I absolutely had no clue how does one become one, and the fact I’m from Eastern Europe likely didn’t help either. But hey, I’ve read all about space and universe that I could lay my hands upon. This, I guess, is a tribute to that kid that still kinda wants to be an astronaut.

About: Before Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong, the first man on the surface of the Moon, there was Apollo 1, Virgil Grissom, a blood curdling fire, and many, many more mistakes to come, with too many good men dead. But neither United States, nor the rest of the humanity were willing to give up just yet. So there was Apollo 2, and then Apollo 3… Up until Apollo 8, the first one to reach the Moon’s orbit. Approximately one third of the Earth’s population that had electricity and television available have been up and watching whatever footage there was. And this is the tale of those people they watched, their families, people on Earth who regulated the flight, and so on.

Mine: I love how this book is written. It’s always from third person, but very personal anyway. There you get to read a view from beside a wife of an astronaut, practically hear the child roll their eyes, because their dad is just an astronaut, no big deal, Billy’s dad is a fireman, now that’s a something! Merely because they grew up in this environment, with their old dad being an astronaut, with his old friends being astronauts. And over there you read from beside an engineer who is sweating bullets in dread, demanding tests ran on every single thing, every detail, in dread, in memory of that Apollo 1. And the moment it starts feeling too much like a fictional novel, a movie, author gives you all of the facts, all of the sources for the facts, and even audio recordings of the most important stuff.

The book is very well written. If you’ve any interest in how humanity finally stepped on the Moon, take this one. 5 out of 5 from me.

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

“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

“Wanted, A Gentleman” by K.J. Charles

2Author: K.J. Charles
Title: Wanted, A Gentleman
Series: –
Genre: Historical Romance, LGBT Literature
Pages: 131
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

It seems I am nearing the end of KJC’s bibliography. Which is both fun and sad. Fun, because who doesn’t want to read everything one of their favorite authors ever wrote? And sad, because this means I’ll have to wait for any other book to be written.

About: Theodore Swann publishes ads in papers. Not just any though, no. The Matrimonial kind, the dating kind. Basically he’s the middleman in ancient Tinder published in papers. One of these days, while work went as always, a fine tall man walks in, demanding information on one particular suitor. For the said fox seems to be attempting to lure an underage girl of a very wealthy family into a marriage without her parents consent. But Theodore’s whole livelihood depends on him being discreet! Who’d ever write him if he gave up addresses to anyone who asked. To not tell is to get a very possible thrashing and never seeing this handsome man again. To tell is to risk everything. But Swann has a secret: he earns a coin or two on the side by writing cheap romance novels, and is very, very familiar with the villains. Enough to maybe, just maybe find a solution that’d suit everyone.

Mine: It’s a very short, not the very best, but certainly amusing book of an ad writer, who has a secret life of an author good only in his villain writing. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this book, it was short, fast, and didn’t beat around the bush too much, nor did it have a band of evil doers in a cabal. On top of that, as always, it’s the characters that made my day. KJC doesn’t recycle.

It’s a good, if extremely short little book. Not my favorite, but hey, not all books can be of Magpies and Murder, right? 4 out of 5, firmly.

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

“White Trash Zombie Unchained” by Diana Rowland | White Trash Zombie 6

2Author: Diana Rowland
Title: White Trash Zombie Unchained
Series: White Trash Zombie 6
Genre: Zombies, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 354
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Ah, and so here I am, done with the very last book in the White Trash Zombie series. They were alright, had its good moments, and those very good moments, along with mediocre, bad, and way too common ones. So here’s the last of it.

About: Just another crime scene, it seemed. Up until the corpse got right up and attacked her, all while being mangled and half-eaten by the crocodiles. Angel has seen this before, so she quickly took care of the immediate problem. But what about the crocodiles? They, in the meantime, are successfully spreading an epidemic of shambling zombies, brainless, movie-kind of creatures, and Angel seems to be the source of it all. But there’s just no time for self-pity when people are literally killing each other for brains from mere mosquito bites. It got out of hand, and it reached a level where Angel’s tribe has no choice but to join their forces with their worst enemy, evil corp, Saberton. For better or worse remains to be seen…

Mine: What I truly enjoyed here was sense people had. They: hey, you’re in danger, we have safe spot, come over, or we send someone to pick you up. People: gotcha, will be right there, and will ask all the questions I am absolutely having in safety. This fantastic adult logic is so rare I was starting to think it didn’t exist outside KJC books. Other than that, there’s plenty of action for two books in this one, so other than Angel’s and other characters too, pointing fingers to themselves in explanation that they did what they did, because they’re this particular label – it was a good book. Still it’s extremely bothersome when author feels the need for their character to break a window and tell you “I did this because I’m a redneck, this is how we do it“. Can I maybe just gather that from the story, please? No? Okay.

All in all, I can give both the series and the book 4 out of 5. If you’re tired of werewolves and vampires, but still like those stories we have by the shovel now, this is one for you. While they’re not my favorite, I don’t feel like I wasted time, so that’s definitely a something.

Categories: 4-5, urban fantasy, zombies | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett

1Author: Alan Bennett
Title: The Uncommon Reader
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Humor
Pages: 120
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I asked for a recommendation, and got this. A very light, humorous read that I can recommend to anyone who is currently having a reader’s block. It’s cozy, easy, and short.

About: On one of her walks with her corgis, queen felt obliged to take a book out of a mobile library. She didn’t really want to, but it didn’t feel right not to get one. And after she did, it was a shame to return it unread, so she did. The next time she again felt uneasy, but luckily there was this ginger boy from the kitchens, likely there due to his complexion, who gladly helped her choose. And so it all began.

Her advisers are doing their best to misdirect her luggage full of books. They sneak away with the books she stashed away, and excuse themselves later as fearing for her safety, assuming it was some kind of a threat, a bomb maybe. They all think that reading is infringing upon her duties, to a point, that was also the last straw, where they send out the boy who helped her to get an education. Far away. Queen has to gather her survival wits, it seems, and make a decision.

Mine: You know what’s the most interesting thing in this book? The queen is trying to read as much as she can, in a great hurry, for she is old, she started late, and she feels she needs to catch up. To those unwritten measures we readers have. It really kicks the reader’s block in the shins, I tell you. And the book itself is written so smoothly, with such marvelous humorous situations, that you really do feel like taking up a book afterwards, or in between chapters (of which there are none, just like, maybe a page that ends with a full sentence).

It’s a very light read. A day’s worth for when there’s time, maybe two when there’s none. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5, due to slow start that started rolling with no breaks later on. Now, tell me, my dear reader, what are your reading standards?

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Historical Fiction Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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