Posts Tagged With: review

Lilly Singh – How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

Bawse_final-coverFor past two months I worked twice as hard as I normally do. Worst is not the tiredness I constantly feel, but rather the lack of point in the work, since more work is not necessarily rewarding, or at least it isn’t in short-term. Lilly Singh and her “How to be a Bawse: a Guide to Conquering Life” (ISBN 0425286460; 272p.; Goodreads) was a natural choice here, for a tired, drained mind. It’s biographical, but not a biography. It’s not “the Secret”, and by far not the sugar-coated guide to success via “be positive! love your self! be kind and work hard!”. Rather, it’s a book on previously depressed unicorn who survived, and is about to tell you how conquer.

If a behavior results in free cake, one must always perform that behavior.” – Lilly Singh

My life is often burdened by weekend-hustlers, people who had months to do a fairly big amount of work, but decided to roll their sleeves up on the final weekend, and I, as a translator, need to hurry up for both of us (lesson one: deadlines). Priority fees are then argued (lesson two: bargaining), because these weekend-hustlers feel entitled to their own time, and their own work (lesson three: sense of entitlement), and see me as an obstacle, rather than a tool. And I wish I could translate this damn book for them too (lesson four: goals!). Using her own life as example, and then adding a few more for good measure, Lilly teaches us how hustling, prioritizing, and tunnel-vision really works. It helped me unwind, taught me things, gave me insight on who this Lilly is (I’m a long-term fan, this is just phrasing), and best of all, I can now improve my own game using the lessons she gave. So to every hard-working friend I have out there – get this book, get this book on paper, and while you’re at it, get those neon-colored sticky bookmarks to mark the pages, and maybe a couple sharpies too. There’ll be a lot to mark down, highlight, and take notes from.

For good measure, a rephrased quote: ask for more than you need, because no one got more than they asked for.

And now, the bad part. I was perfectly okay with telling myself I can’t control the situation, so I must control how I react to it. I was okay with “some things you can’t change, and that’s okay” going with “I don’t believe in impossible“. I was happy at the start of the book, when Lilly thanked her past self for listening and keeping on. But then, when we reach another truly important lesson of how to stay grounded, and not let the success of conquering get to your head, Lilly said: believe in a higher power. Not god per se, but a higher power of your choosing. Thank this higher power for what you have, because without them… wait wait… wait. Without them you wouldn’t be where you are, and wouldn’t have what you have, and this all would not be possible? If we speak in terms of Nature – thanks for being here, and thus making me, a human with opposable thumbs, possible – okay, thanks Mother Nature! But my hard work? No. I’ll rather believe in Minecraft random spawn point: you can give in and make a new world for yourself, or you can make it work. So in the end I chose to pretend this chapter didn’t exist, and stick with the idea it taught: you’re not the biggest bawse – as the idea it preached before – there’s always someone to learn from. I gave this book 4 out of 5, even if Lilly’s bargain skills made it real hard to not give it the whole five. It’s a great book, truly worth having.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Inspirational | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hugh Howey – Shift [silo, 2]

shiftSo ominous the warnings, don’t dig, don’t search for the truth. Then the story gets told to the reader backwards, and I find myself rolling my eyes… “Shift” by Hugh Howey (Silo 2, Omnibus edition; ASIN B00B6Z6HI2; 520p.; GoodreadsGoodreads) was a challenge to read. I don’t have a good memory, and thus find it preferable to follow a plot, rather than try to remember several characters, and update their stories as they progress, or give prequels.

Story follows several characters. Some built the silos, back in the day. Others lived in those that fell first. Some survived the falls, others survived the truth. And each one has knowledge of something that could be groundbreaking, that could cause another silo, or all of them, to fall, riot. How was the world before, and what caused humanity’s retreat? Can they ever go back up, and could it be, that not all of the world is as devastated as this corner of the earth with buried silos is? Each one, in their own way, is prepared to go beyond these walls.

The book could really serve as a prequel with inserts of current event updates. There’s really little new to the now of it all, but a lot of backstories. Like Jimmy, the previously sole survivor of one of the fallen silos. Or Mission, who witnessed the start of the fall, and knew the culprits. Or Donald, who approved Lucas promotion, and spoke to Juliette, giving them grains of truth, without them knowing that he too, doing this, has rebelled.

Honestly, I find it a bit ridiculous with premonitions like “the truth will kill you, oh don’t go looking for the truth!” – it’s the same damn thing I keep getting in Nightrunner, and it makes my whole reading process lag. The truth is – nanotechnology. Great, that’s new and unique, unlike atomic bombs would be. But so what? I just can’t see why this kid, knowing his great great great great grandfather maybe helped doom humanity to live in a silo should beat himself over it. Strive to fix it, sure, but go crazy and run out, where the air itself is going to kill you due to the knowledge? 3 out of 5, no more. I’ll read the last one just to close it up. Story has and had potential, but having it, and using is – are two different things.

Categories: 3-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books, Sci-Fi Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

V.E. Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic [1]

ADarkerShadeOfMagicAh, what a discovery, what a find! Thank You, Hannah Cassie, for all those relentless recommendations at P.S. I Love That Book, for at last I reached one and it was oh SO good. This is my first encounter with V.E. Schwab, and her first book in the superb fantasy trilogy “A Darker Shade of Magic” (Shades of Magic 1; ISBN 0765376458; 400p.; Goodreads) blew me away. One of those books I nearly finished all in one sitting, but then scolded myself, and reminded how bad it feels to not be able to continue the next day. I promise, there was more than 2 chapters left when I put it down.

Kell – a messenger from Red London, traveling among the other ones, passing letters from royals to royals. Grey London is mighty boring, no magic, no nothing. White London is fairly scary, for magic there is enslaved, and thus – fights back, draining the life out of the users to the bone. Legends say there was once Black London too, but people don’t speak of such nasty things in good company.

Of course, being one of the rare creatures who can travel among Londons is not the only talent Kell has. He’s a great damn smuggler too, taking little trinkets between the worlds, under the nose of the law. Sometimes just because it’s fun. Other times because it pays off, thou how is a heavy question: what do you need, belonging to royal family, with crown prince loving you as his own brother? And another time – just because he wanted to do something good to the desperate. On one such expedition Kell finds himself with an artifact that by all means, should not exist. The artifact creates magic, where magic shouldn’t be, as in – those who have no talent for it – suddenly can create like they were born into it. Worst of all, the inscription on the artifact is written in the language Kell knows for a fact was used so freely only in Black London. No, wait, that’s not the worst. The worst is that he notices it too late.

Oh, this was so amazing. Delilah is amazing, the most wonderful woman I have ever read about. Kell is fantastic, such a bad-ass with so little understanding of how bad-ass he is. No “fell off my unicorn due to how gorgeous you are” shit, they’re imperfect, usually dirty like chimney-boys, and so on. No “I wanted to travel, but I’ll stay here, because you’re here” bullshit either. The pace was perfect, build up – great, tension – even more so. 5 out of 5, this is definitely among my favorites of all time now.

 

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anne Rice – Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis [12]

PrinceLestatAndTheRealmsOfAtlantisAnd so, with “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles 12; ISBN 0385353790; 451p.; Goodreads) I am fully caught up on the Chronicles. I can now calmly (or not so calmly) await for book 13th, for Anne always ends her books with a possibility of continuation, I feel. This book could conclude the Chronicles thou, for it gave full-on origin of how the spirit that made first vampires came into existence in the first place, and, if I’m honest, at times it felt more like a sci-fi book than anything else.

Vampire Core currently lives in Lestat and seems to be content about it. They bicker inside his head, and Lestat, being such a brat, is enjoying every bit of it. I was amused to learn he liked being called a slut. You live and you learn. But not all is jolly and happy. Not everyone is content with their lives being in Lestat’s hands, nor are they all enjoying him being the Prince of the vampires. And some are beyond mere wishing things change.

Somewhere in the dark basement of one of these opposing vampires lies a creature that looks just like a human being, but is not. Starved to death he did not die. Drained of all blood he merely lost consciousness, and then his body regenerated the blood in full. No vampire can miss the benefit such a creature poses to all their kind: innocent, never dying, yet not of their own kind. In one such attempt to drain the creature to death, Lestat’s current greatest enemy finds himself staring into the secret that are way beyond his own comprehension. Who are these beings? Where did they come from? And why do they chant the name vampires know so very well? The name of the Core.

This book felt very different from all the previous ones. And hey, Lestat even remembered Quinn, and there’s a sort of a hint that he might come in next book to join his court. In a sense it was much better than all the previous ones, but there’s so very much repetition, and the talks are so long for no reason or use. Still, I’m happy I got through all this. And I’m happy that Anne wrote more on this too. I’ll give it a very strong 4 out of 5, just a hair away from a five. And will very eagerly await, maybe there’ll be another book, maybe Quinn will be back, and maybe Anne didn’t forget what my beloved alter-ego was like, and why I took his identity with me.

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Prince Lestat [11]

princelestatukI remember the excitement when we heard Anne was writing another book on Vampire Chronicles. And what an odd feeling it was to pick up “Prince Lestat” by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles 11; ISBN 0307962520; 458p.; Goodreads), knowing it’s as good as a miracle for this book to exist. And how upset I was that Quinn Blackwood, the guy Lestat spent previous two books, was as good as nonexistant. Nobody remembered him, nobody spoke of him. The most obscure vampires got their scene time instead. Pardon me if I’m already bored of half the fellas around. Just, dammit.

A voice with no body, physical or aetherial, is whispering to all the vampires it can reach, seducing them into committing the Second Burning (first one was when Akasha walked into the sun after being abused by her priests, she didn’t die, but due to the link vampires share – anyone below her were dying out, starting with the weakest and the youngest). And as a wave of fires rolls across the world, burning those unworthy, young and old, vampires who never deserved the Gift, no one feels safe anymore. It seemed natural, that in this moment of terror, they all turned to Lestat. After all, he switched bodies, wrote chronicles, drank from Akasha and gods themselves, escaped the devil, and did hell knows what else.

The voice, the source, the idea behind this is brilliant. I’m torn about the political situation here thou, for at times it felt like watching that Simpsons episode on new Star Wars episodes, where 2 hrs in they were still talking import/export and economics. The book ends up being made half of good hooking action, and half of monologues, and discussions on how vampires will from here on make their laws. In a sense I like it, because I grew up on Vampire the Masquerade, where rules and laws mean your survival. In a sense it was just a bit funny: you guys took THIS long to realize you need some kind of order? I’ll give this book 4.5 out of 5, a worthy read, even if I did get mighty annoyed by the lack of Quinn…

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Felicia Day – You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

YoureNeverWeirdOnTheInternetI guess I’m a pretty impulsive person. If I decide to learn something one day – I will spend whole day learning it. Back in the day I decided to figure out this YouTube thing before it blew up big and everyone was doing it. Yes, my hipster side demanded I get into the social media that others aren’t using much yet, and I speak in terms of Lithuania here. It wasn’t a big deal, in fact, it was all about fan-vids, and music. So I dove in, determined to be the kid who waits for Wednesday episode of some web show you have never heard about, and that’s not aired on TV, ever. First I found these really dull and highly scripted vlogs. Then I found the good kind of vlogs. And then I found the web series, the true series, the good stuff of the web series. The Guild (just “load more” and it’s at the very bottom, everything). And that’s how I got to know Felicia Day. Ever since I’m a great fan, I follow all I can, and while I’d like more, I still admire her ability to keep things from the world that she wants to keep from the world. And of that I learned from her book “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” (ISBN 1476785651; 260p.; Goodreads). Don’t be mistaken, she’s a gamer alright, and we get her as the Gamer Girl / Geek Queen all over the net, but this book is not about video games.

This book is about a home-schooled girl who went off to make her dreams. Got crushed, over and over again to that, but got up and started chiseling at the industry again. All up until the day her determination paid off, and she realized she has made a crack enough to wiggle in and make something of her own. A place for herself. The road to that was hard and bumpy not just because of the industry, and nasty people within. She fell for depression and addiction too. Video games can be much better than real life, especially when you’re socially awkward but still want to connect, and I myself can say that the best friends I have are mostly there because one day I met them in a video game. So I understand her completely. And she’s not vilifying anything, she’s still a gamer! All she says is that there’s more to it, that you can’t bury your dreams under a layer of current comfort, be it video games, books, movies, whatever. Kick yourself and do it. Your guild will not fall if you take one day off to write on your biography, go out have a coffee, or even try a new video game. And if you fail at what you do – don’t beat yourself over it. If you want it still – do it again. And again. And again if you have to. Like a quest you can repeat if you fail. Like a book chapter you can re-read if you couldn’t figure it out.

Felicia day is killer funny. I laughed my ass off on every page. Love what an anxious ball of stress she is, and how, in the end, she just rolls with it. She’s inspiring, and everyone could use a bit of that, right? At the end of the book she tells all about how she entered a support group that basically guilt-tripped her into writing something, and she got the Guild born. How she collected trash off the street, due to having absolutely no budget, and being a perfectionist who wanted the set just damn right. I read this book in one sitting, and I regret it, due to being unable to read it the next day again, and that’s all the bad I can say. Here’s a 5 out of 5, and now someone please go buy bookmarks and jewelry I make, because I want to get a hard copy of this too, audio + pdf for illustrations is just not enough.

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Categories: 5-5, Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anne Rice – Pandora [New Tales of Vampires #1]

pandora3Post Marius’ book I realized I don’t know one important vampire mentioned there (more than mentioned). And it’s all my fault, for in the past, truly long ago, there were people who informed me on the chronology of these stories, and what is best to read after what. This sense was confirmed after finishing “Pandora” by Anne Rice (The New Tales of Vampires 1; ISBN 0099271087; 406p.; Goodreads), where at the very end of it I found it saying “the story will be continued in Vampire Armand” book. But it is as it is, nothing can be done now, and it’s not all that bad either.

David Talbot, probably overjoyed that now he has time for everything, continues to lightly harass all the older vampires for their life stories. Pandora got into his visor too, and barely even noticed the trick of his gift of notebooks, which she filled with her memories. Born in Roman Empire under the name of Lydia, living girl whose hand was requested by Marius himself. Escaping the execution by a hair, barely twisting herself out of yet another trap laid for her by someone dear, she is haunted by visions that seem to overtake great and greater portion of her life every night. For they come at night, these dreams. Dreams where she stands witness to a goddess tormented, blood drained from her, her burning in the sun, unable to die, yet in suffering killing off so many of those who foolishly thought themselves immortal…

The book, in my opinion, didn’t reach the full potential. Some good ideas where passed here and there, but abandoned quickly enough through the pages, in exchange for others, maybe more pleasing for the author, maybe merely more convenient. I’ll still give the book 3 out of 5, and consider it a worthy read if only to lift the veil of myth off this Pandora, Mad Love of Marius. For she herself put more passion into describing the fake leg of her servant, than Marius himself, even if she did claim loving him.

Pandora_full

Categories: 3-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Merrick [VC #7]

1So far I didn’t know Anne to be able to refrain from describing countless of art pieces her characters encounter in Vampire Chronicles, but here it is. Merrick by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles #7; ISBN 0345422406; 370p.; Goodreads) is a fairly easy read in many a sense. Maybe it is because David Talbot told it. Maybe because it was spun around Mayfair witch and archaeology, two topics I delight in. Or maybe just because it’s getting better by the book.

Louis is tormented by the idea that so many people claim to have had encountered his beloved Claudia, and yet he was always blind, and deaf to ghosts, hers included. Thus he turns to David Talbot and Merrick Mayfair, a known powerful witch, able to summon and converse with spirits. David, in turn, having had Merrick as his friend, and lover for so many years, being witness to spirits possessing her, and the very air around her, the danger they pose, is unable to let this pass so easily. Thus he takes it upon himself to tell Louis her story, in hopes that he will spare his own heart from the malicious child-vampire Claudia, and his friend from the threat such a spirit would pose.

As I said, this was an easy read, especially in compare to Body Thief or Memnoch. I believe I will forever remember and compare those books to other Vampire Chronicle pieces, due to their heavy, and thick nature in story telling. And unlike Armand’s story, this wasn’t filled with descriptions of paintings, and architecture. In fact, I feel like this was the first book in Vampire Chronicles that I encountered, where details were spared for the reader by sparing the reader (mind you, details aren’t always bad, I’m just saying that it makes it hard sometimes to sift through them, and all things must have balance). I give it a firm 4 out of 5, and am glad to finally get to know this famous Merrick.

merrick

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – The Vampire Armand [VC #6]

1Oh, what an amusing little thing this was. After the fairly annoying and outright boring previous two books in Vampire Chronicles, “The Vampire Armand” by Anne Rice (ISBN 0345434803; 457p.; Goodreads) has fixed quite a few things in this relationship of ours. I’m not much entertained of stories on mighty love for gods on Earth, or slow pace of telling them, but I do indeed love a good story of a vampire from the days he was a mortal, further to his turn, and all the way to today.

Born Andrej in deep cold Russia boy painted icons dubbed “not made by human hands“. Kidnapped from this life, tormented, and then saved by Marius, who named him Amadeo, loved him, cherished him, taught him, protected him, and later even turned him to be as he is – a child of darkness. But fate was unkind and he was ripped from this life of love and knowledge too, thrown into the darkness of superstitious, demonic, and oh so very gothic vampires, where as one of them, as Vampire Armand, he led a covenant of his kind, the infamous Theater of Vampires, all until Louis came to wreck havoc.

Armand, the boy who was mistakenly thought to speak with Lithuanian accent. Armand, who gave an icon to Prince Michael of Lithuania. Armand, the boy who could paint as if through divine torrent. And what a wonderful tale he had for us, even with Anne’s love and care for the details, even with all the slow inching through the years described. I’ll give this book a very firm 4 out of 5, but mind you, one point is surely there due to the hope it gave me that the further books in Chronicles will be even better. After all, I have already had the pleasure of the two (previously) last ones, and I know what a great impact they might be.

thevampirearmand

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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