Posts Tagged With: review

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 | 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

Neil Gaiman – Anansi Boys [2]

ananI really did enjoy American Gods, so when I noticed Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (ISBN 0060515198; 384p.; Goodreads) marked as second book, I had to take it. But this one lacked the charm American Gods had, and is absolutely not a sequel of any kind. Merely the setting is the same, but you can read or not read either one – they’re not connected with anything but the fact: there’s gods here.

Fat Charlie’s father has died. And while he’s not too heartbroken about it, this death keeps ruining his life! First he finds out his father was actually a Spider God. Then, that he has a brother. Then this brother turns out to be much cooler, and way more interesting than Charlie. People can’t tell them apart, and yet they obviously prefer this brother. His boss, and his fiance too… And then it turns out that this brother, is not even a brother. He’s a little more. And a little less.

Charlie, hating what his life is becoming, decides to root out what he sees as the cause of the fall. This brother of his. For that he has to get deeper into this White Rabbit Hole Alice once went, see more of these divine beings, and strike a very, very stupid bargain, with a very, very malicious being. Be careful what you wish for. Or, you know, how you phrase your wishes.

The book is not too good, but easy to read. One can take it for a light piece on the go, no matter whether one has read American Gods or not. This has neither spoilers, nor is otherwise connected. Sparingly I can give it 4 out of 5, it’s not bad, just not good either.

Categories: 4-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Funny Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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