Posts Tagged With: bookstagram

John Burdett – Bangkok 8 | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 1

706011I wanted to read this book for a very long while. Might be ever since I figured out Asia is so much more interesting than Europe. Or America, for that matter. I regret slightly that I’ve not read “Bangkok 8” by John Burdett (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 1; ISBN13 9789955235439; 375p.; Goodreads) a little earlier, since this was one amazing book. The characters, the story. It was nothing I expected, and I love it.

Thailand. Third World occult beliefs, religion, charm, and beauty. It might be hard for a westerner to understand, and that might be one of the great reasons why so many of them lose their hearts here, having to return time and again, just to reconnect. It is definitely hard for FBI to grasp it, not when Sonchai tells them straight: he’ll kill whoever had his soul brother killed, there will be no trial. What do they know of these delicate matters of heart even Buddha would forgive? They went there, to the crime scene, to investigate traffic, commotion. Just to find a raving black giant in a bolted car full of expertly drugged, raging snakes killing him, consuming him. Sonchai’s partner did his best to save the man, but in the end, they both died, leaving Sonchai alone, and oh so very broken. Fatalism, as in many Thai’s, was in his blood, and destruction is always at hand in this throbbing heart of a city. Yet his duty didn’t let him go too far.

FBI had no right to follow an investigation in Thailand, so Sonchai was requested to assist detective Jones on this, in mutual exchange of information. They taught each other as things progressed, and learned to work together, as odd as it felt for both of them. In the end, they found many strings, all leading towards jade and this mysterious goddess-like woman whom no one knows. Yet, as alien as she is, could she really have killed the man like that? What sort of rage had to be consuming the killer to put anyone through this kind of horror?

This was one of the most unique thrillers I have ever read, and I loved every page of it. Characters felt natural, human. Sonchai was unique and wonderful. Jones was strong, with her own opinion, her own actions. There wasn’t much predictability, and if you could predict something, there was likely a surprise hidden in it anyway. I can give it a firm 5 out of 5, for this surely has to go to my favorites.

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

K.J. Charles – Think of England

3When tired and not feeling like choosing next book to read, I just pick whatever I have by K.J. Charles. So I just grabbed “Think of England” (ISBN 9780995799004; 239p.; Goodreads) audiobook, muted my game, and propped my ears up. Whatever I expected, I did not expect such an intense plot full of spies, blackmail, extortion, and bluffs!

A faulty shipment of guns that exploded upon use has left Captain Archie Curtis maimed, lacking fingers, with dead comrades, friends, and many questions. Not the least one is: was it an accident or has someone sabotaged them? On a quest to find answers Curtins soon finds himself in a company of a poet, Daniel da Silva, at an isolated country house party. He has full intentions to find a way to break into the office of the host, in hopes of finding any proof on either guilt or innocence.

The thick-walled house hides many secrets. Under guise of night, determined to uncover at least one of them, Curtis sneaks out of his room and towards the office. Just to run into the poet, and a whole different secret. The poet, as it turns out, is not who he seems to be. And while neither trust another enough to share their secrets, they both seem to have a common goal inside the host office. It’s firmly locked, and booby-trapped, and since there’s now two men trying to get in, they both can be sure of one thing at least: the hosts do have something to hide.

This was a great damned book! Thieves, soldiers, spies, plots, sieges and lies! Like a small-scale James Bond movie with a dash of Agatha Christie vibes. I can happily give it a 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jordan L. Hawk – Widdershins | Whyborne & Griffin 1

2I love high-fantasy genre the most. But once tired from yet another world, yet another magic system, I tend to rest with books that have magic in our world, and preferably – not too modern. Thus I was recommended “Widdershins” by Jordan L. Hawk (Whyborne & Griffin 1; ISBN 0988564106; 236p.; Goodreads). A fine book of magic, occult, and homunculi-like beasts that seem to have crawled out of a Tzimisce wet dream.

Whyborne lived his life in a self-built prison. He studied, he worked, and he tried not to think too much. When he was little, his best friend, and likely the first crush, has drowned due to young Whyborne being unable to hold on to him in a stormy lake. So he buried himself under his work, in awful conditions, suffering through mockery, bullying, and lack of family connections, due to him not pursuing the career his father chose for him. Whyborne is one of the best translators around, so there’s plenty of work at any given time. Thus one can imagine, detective Griffin Flaherty, previously from some fine post in a far bigger place, barging in with a sort of a necronomicon for Whyborne to translate for some obscure case – didn’t amuse him much. He hoped to translate it, and be done with this nuisance of having to deal with another person, who isn’t his only friend – Christine.

But the more he read the book, the odder it got. Not only did spells seemingly work, for Whyborne, against his better judgement, did try one or two, the book keeps referring to a god worshiped by a ruler in Egypt who was systematically deleted from history. His tomb was discovered by Christine, untouched for all the treasures. It seemed then, that the tomb was not sealed for keeping the looters out, but rather, to keep something, or someone – inside.

This was a great adventure. Romance part wasn’t my thing in this case, too tacky, too cheesy, with too many cliche moments. But the magic was great! I hope to learn more about the book Whyborne translated in the next one, so I can give this one a fair 4 out of 5.

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

Kevin Kwan – Rich People Problems | Crazy Rich Asians 3

1Ah. It’s been a long time, fam, since the last time I’ve read a third book in the series, not realizing there’s the first and the second before it. But here I am, in the Age of Goodreads, with “Rich People Problems” by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians 3; ISBN 0385542232; 398p.; Goodreads), third book in the series, or trilogy, I don’t even know. Must say, it was pretty good. Not the best of the best, and neither the funniest in the genre or, well, in general. But it was amusing, and I think I will read the other two too.

Shang-Young clan is a mighty and wide family, with each child and grandchild on one path to greatness or another. Some married as class demands, and are now as good as royalty, sporting pretty ridiculous titles, and demanding to be treated with full protocol. Others pursued love. While in rare cases it didn’t bring much money, most were still happy. With more commonly the children of these love marriages being bitter about not being anyone of importance, virtually nobodies, in the thick cream of Singaporean somebodies. And of course, there are those who had falling outs with the family, society, or just chose too extreme a lifestyle to be part of anything Shang-Young related. All up until they all ended up united by the deathbed of their beloved mother and grandmother, Su Yi. After a heart failure, this might truly be the last time for them to be with her, and possibly – make it up to her, and get into that lavish will…

Su Yi has a chance to set her records straight, now that the sudden heart failure has rendered her sort of free, and with majority of the family – at hand. Thus, behind the backs of loving and/or greedy children and grandchildren, she pulls at her strings. With the help of the loyal servants, whose faith is in her hands too, she intends to give blessings where blessings are due, forgiveness where such is needed, and her own apologies, in hopes to see the most loved ones return to the flock. After all, it is those latter ones she needs to entrust with her biggest secrets, and she has plenty of those. Granny Su Yi will make peace, and make them make peace too!

It’s an amusing read. The main, or rather the general story is pretty plain, and average at best, but the exaggerated stuff was fun. The whole famous rich bloggers from Singapore, the half-white children, the dresses with gold plating, sabotage of enemies, and the terrible need to hide any possible lack in every possible sense. The ridiculousness of these people was what drove this book for me. So I can happily give it a 4 out of 5, and, I guess I’ll read the other two too.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Funny! | 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

Promo: Bookmark [2]

bookmark__red_regals_by_soukyan-dbbzcl0

[etsy]

Categories: Artwork, Creations, Monday: Promo, Treasures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewellin – Traitor’s Moon [3]

74273The tradition of slow pace, and plot only gaining something at near end continues with third book in Nighrunner series by Lynn Flewellin, “Traitor’s Moon” (Nightrunner 3; ISBN 0553577255; 540p.; Goodreads). But I got used to this by the middle of second book. Once you make a connection with characters, plot, pace of it, becomes secondary.

With war at the gate, Skala’s greatest hope lies with the Aurenan ports, and possibly their soldiers. The dying queen thus gives final orders. She names an heir, her oldest daughter, and sends the younger one to Aurenan for negotiation. The soon-to-be queen is opposing it already, but once princess Klia is gone – all things are set to motion, not to be stopped. At least, not with someone like Seregil at her side. For this need to negotiate opened the door home for him. And so, with anxious heart, he and Alec make their journey to the lands of legend. Yet all that doesn’t mean Phoria won’t try to sabotage the mission…

Aurenan is full of pulsing magic, apparitions, ghosts, spirits, secrets, and dragons who deem it fit to chew on you, if you’re worthy the honor. The only true nuisance there are the fae themselves. They’re in no hurry with their long lives, and honor is law, yet everyone schemes for the good of their clan, because that, in a sense, is honorable too. Sorry, Seregil, but your people are the worst.

Well, I’m happy the illusion of some magical Lord of the Rings elven forest was broken. There’s great things in this book, but really, I came to dislike the fae a great deal. I can’t seem to get into Seregil and Alec being a pair either, their relationship is so odd, and in a sense it’s amazing how much they seem to simply just be friends, but then… I don’t know. But don’t let me digress, 4 out of 5 for this baby, and I will, absolutely, continue with the series.

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

Kerri Maniscalco – Stalking Jack the Ripper [1]

28962906I saw a giveaway for Kerri Maniscalco book “Hunting Prince Dracula” somewhere. Being a fan of Dracula that I am, I’ve decided to go look into it. Well, the book is not yet published, but then, it is also the second book in series. The first one is “Stalking Jack the Ripper” (Stalking Jack the Ripper 1; ISBN 031627349X; 326p.; Goodreads), and I’ve just read it. And it was… Okay.

Audrey is a young woman, aspiring to get proper medical background, become a scientist, in a world where high-born ladies don’t do such nonsense, and rather learn how to embroider things nicely. Her father, and brother allow these studies with her uncle only to some extent. Her uncle, of course, extends those limits a tad bit. But then, all three of them would be better pleased with her sitting home when a maniac starts killing women on streets, and stealing their organs. Sadly, Audrey was never one to sit, and wait to see what happens.

There’s three suspects, each one more loved than the other, thus she refuses to believe. One is her father, addicted to opiates ever since her mother died. Second is her uncle, for he’d be perfect for quick murder, and organ stealing due to his background in medicine, anatomy. And third might just be his new student, the same one her beloved brother keeps warning her against…

As a detective this book is pretty poor, but then, story is quite alright, easy to read, touching on subjects that matter today too. I really liked the writing style, consistency in text, and direct to next book ending that actually made sense. So while this book wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad either, and since it was more good than bad, I can give it 4 out of 5, because author, I believe, should very much write more. Good choice in topic, fairly unique, if not overly impressive take on that topic, and, as I said before, very good writing style.

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

Kristin Cashore – Bitterblue [3]

bitterblueFinally, with “Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 3; ISBN 0803734735; 576p.; Goodreads) I have finished the Graceling Realm trilogy. After all three of them, I can say that they are indeed simple enough to be liked, and this third one was pretty good, in compare to the other two. Still, this was very much not my cup of tea. While I love the worlds that aren’t yet fully explored, I dearly dislike having all the action happen elsewhere, and return in form of a story only, and not even something we can witness first-hand via someone else eyes.

Bitterblue became the queen of Monsea, after her cruel, mind-control graced father, has finally been killed. Yet even after his death her kingdom is filled with fog. People don’t know what’s real, and what’s only lies told by Leck. Bitterblue is determined to find a way to make this fog lift once and for all. She wants the truth. But here’s the thing with the truth: while some things people were made believe by king Leck could still be fixed, say, like the funeral traditions in Monsea. Others weight so heavy that people get killed for them. Or choose death themselves. What could Leck have made them do, or see, for her own trustworthy, good soldiers, to kill innocent people, and commit suicides? Can a truth be that bad?

In the meantime, Po gets sick with fever, and his grace becomes erratic for the time being. During one of such delirious moments he speaks of path through the mountains opening up, and Katsa jumps to investigate. Because if anything did open, and they can get through, then, truly, someone might just be able to get in also. And when she returns, Bitterblue’s world shifts again. For in Katsa’s hands there’s a pelt of a rat, so vivid and gorgeous in colors, that it can be nothing else but a Monster from the stories her father used to write. Could it be that out there, behind the mountains, there’s another world, another kingdom?

Well this was an odd review. So many questions I gave you, like I’m trying to sell it. In truth, I can’t really recommend these books, since while they’re pretty okay, or even good, there’s just way too many way better ones. You take these when you’re done with all other things, not before. Or maybe indeed before, so you don’t get disappointed. The very good part here is the political bit. Whole ruling of the land happening is interesting. And a very bad part is that you get the story through eyes of someone who gets told about the adventure, rather than lived it. So I guess you’d like these books, if you like good old classics, where whole story is written by two people sitting down, and one of them telling their best adventure. Still, I can absolutely give this book a 3.5, which we’ll translate to 4 out of 5 for the sake of it. I’ve no regrets.

Categories: 4-5, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kristin Cashore – Graceling [1]

graceling_1Some time ago I was subscribed to a YouTube vlogger Katers17 (now I’m subscribed to her new channel: KateInRealLife, tho she posts very little). I always loved people who read, and with her I realized I love the chaos, and passion books provide. “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 1; ISBN 015206396X; 471p.; Goodreads) was probably one of the very first books I added to to-read list on my Goodreads, and that was thanks to Katers. And now, a million years later, I finally came around to read it. Heck, I even have a physical copy…

Graced aren’t very liked or loved. Two different eyes mean you will be kept away, in some corner where people won’t see you, even if your grace is merely baking good pies. Of course, there are graced that are feared for a reason, with nasty, treacherous, and dangerous powers. Like Ketsa’s. Held on a leash by the king himself, she is graced with killing, and serves as a maiming, torturing, and murdering tool to intimidate those who displease her king. Even if they paid a double-fold for what they did. Even if she hates herself for doing it. She simply doesn’t know a different way of life. Thus, when prince Po crosses her path, confused and surprised of why indeed she’s following orders she hates, when it would take her king an army to subdue her, she… She’s confused.

In the meantime, Po is keeping an eye on a different kingdom, a different king. An orphan, praised for his kind heart and love for all injured, a boy who was once so loved by the king and queen of that realm, that when they had no children of their own – they named him the heir. A boy, now a grown man, a king, with only one eye, and a sickening horde of people who are prepared to defend his very honor offended, no matter how far they are, or how little they have reasons to…

The story is good, unique, with wonderful characters. But it fell a little short. There’s a ton of wonderful things here, the way things work, that it simply felt lacking in the end, and that’s the only reason why I will now give it only 4 out of 5. I will continue reading, in hopes that author delves deeper in all the things further on, the graces, the kingdoms, the way graces happened, and worked. But just know that I’d consider this a light read to the point where it was a bit too light. (but good, really)

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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