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Lenaribka

Lenaribka

"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."

 

~Henry Miller

Currently reading

Operation Rubikon
Andreas Pflüger, Merlau, Günter
The Future Won't Be Long
Jarett Kobek
A Short History of Nearly Everything
William Roberts, Bill Bryson
The Power of One
Humphrey Bower, Bryce Courtenay
The Romanov Mission
Robert Jackson
Goliath: A Thriller
Gary Waid, Shawn Corridan
Last Days of Summer
Steve Kluger
And the Band Played On
Randy Shilts, Victor Bevine

Shadow Play: A British Police Procedural (Bill Slider, #20)

Shadow Play: A British Police Procedural (Bill Slider, #20) - Cynthia Harrod-Eagles 3, 5 stars

Had I known that Shadow Play was the book#20 in the series, I would have never requested it - I prefer to read my series from the very beginning and in the right order. Besides, I’ve recently made some negative experience with the sequels that were parts of a series and shouldn’t be read as a stand-alone.

Surprise-surprise! Shadow Play COULD be read as a stand-alone. I think though, I could have enjoyed it much more, had I had more time to create a stronger emotional connection to the characters. To board the series at the book #20 is very optimistic. And of course it is difficult to be on the same level with those readers who got to know the characters from the birth. Nevertheless, I would say, the structure of the plot gives you a good opportunity to enter the story at any book.

What I enjoyed here mostly is the team work. They are not just good colleagues that worked successful together, they all good friends. There is no a MAIN CHARACTER in the usual sense of it or how one could expect from the series with the name of a team leader in the title. Bill Slider doesn’t dominate this installment, and I'm not sure he DID it before.
I had a lot of fun with the guys there. The investigation was interesting and not predictable, only it turned out to be a little bit too real estate/construction loaded for my taste.


Not a WOW mystery, but well-written, solid and entertaining through and through. I mostly enjoyed the dialogues, cheery banter and British humor.

PS. BTW, observation cameras in London is not a bad invention.

***Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

King Daniel

King Daniel - Edmond Manning Rounded up to 3 stars

I finished King Daniel three days ago, and I wish I were not the first person to review this book. A) I hate to be the first person with a critical opinion. B) It pains me to rate this book low because this series is/will be something special and King Perry (The Lost and Founds #1) remains one of my favorite book in the genre of all time.

I read the first book of the series three years ago. And almost at the same time I read an excerpt from King Daniel. I didn't see it as a clever promotion trick, but only as a graceful gift of Edmond Manning to his readers. He gave us the possibility of gaining a rare insight into King Daniel, the beginning of the last book. Since then I've been LONGINGLY waiting for this LAST installment.

Maybe my expectations were supernaturally high, but when I turned the last page of King Daniel, I knew that my expectations were not met.

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The good things:

The idea of the series. The description of New York. The author’s warning at the beginning (very necessarily). HEA. The series reaches its final line.

My issues:

I really hope that they are just MY issues, and you’ll find many great things and will love the last book as much as I love the first book.

image In spite of my admiring the idea of the whole series, its concept though couldn’t work forever. I thought about it continuously the last days, and I came to the conclusion that the previous book#5 perhaps ruined this one for me. The idea of kinging and while doing so lifting the veil of secrecy around the main leading operator of a King Weekend, Vin Vanbly, ended in the book 5, that tells us the Vin’s story and leaves almost nothing uncovered. I think that the initial plan for King Daniel was to bring together the last King and his creator. Maybe it is just my personal desire and has nothing to do with the author’s idea, but in regard to the development of the whole story-line through the series this scenario would be probably more convincing and logical. No, I don’t try to give the author a lesson in a creative writing, the series is his baby and his vision, and I am only a grateful reader who has to accept his course of the story.

image Daniel’s weekend is different from all Kings Weekends we know. Comparing to the other weekends that are full of actions, this weekend is full of conversations. A lot of talking. There are many detailed dialogues and comprehensive statements. And it is too crowded. I suppose it was thought as a final fireworks. I found this structure too theatrical and a bit boring.


image To be in Daniel’s head was exhausting. I normally love the first person POV, and I know that Edmond Manning can write it really good, but I was struggling with Daniel’s narrative. I feel awful to say it, because the background history of Daniel is tragic and heartbreaking and on the one hand I can totally understand why the author choose THIS way of telling. Without giving anything away- read carefully the warning in the preface. But this writing style was for me very difficult to follow: many many short sentences, steadily jumping from one point to another, and not the least, a lot of F*-words. Yes, Daniel is an emotional mess, he is insecure, fearful, lonely, broken, but...

If I go. If he’s there-I should have finished the gun permit. No. Not funny. I can never make light of that. Because of this quest, I became my father. I hate Vin Vanbly. Always will.


It was a lot of parts like that.


imageI have a HUGE problem with the Vin’s plan to cure Daniel. A child abuse is a VERY difficult topic, and Daniel experienced the most severe abuse one can imagine. He is is stigmatized for the rest of its life. Vin has chosen a shocking therapy. As always. But even if everything ends in a HEA manner, the method of healing left an unpleasant aftertaste by me. It was somehow wrong to see, how this difficult case was treated. And I can’t buy this quick healing process at the end. Sorry.


I hope sincerely that you’ll have more luck with this book, and that my opinion will remain an occasional critical voice in the minority.



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Operation Rubikon

Operation Rubikon - Andreas Pflüger, Merlau,  Günter imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1

Kleine Stadt der großen Träume: Roman

Kleine Stadt der großen Träume: Roman - Fredrik Backman, Antje Rieck-Blankenburg imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1

This book is a brilliant example of a characters driving plot. It explains also the very slow start. It is the way how the author introduces a readers to the casting. And on some level you'll just forget about the plot, it will become almost invisible. It is not THE DRAMA, it is not the story that will push you forward, but a blind desire to know how the characters will behave in every single situation, it is their motivations and their evolution that matter. The real treasure of this book are the characters and their development. WHY they did it. And WHO are they really. And the writing. NOT the story. Well, it is not that the story is not worth talking about. Actually it is a case for a fiery debate, especially in regards of recent public revelations.

Maybe it is the reason why I'd prefer this book to be a stand alone. I think I know who in this book are real heroes and who not. The story...do I want to know how it goes further? I don't think so.
But of course I'll read the next book. Because of its characters. And because of a superb writing.
And a little bit because of ice hockey.

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P.S. Me first time listening to an audio book in a car. Instead of news. I'm a news junkie. But I WANTED to know what happens here next. I was driving home like a NORMAL driver( not like me normally), who was cared to get home NOT as quickly as possible (it is me normally), but safe. This book MAKES you safe. This book makes you CRAZY.

Nemesis

Nemesis - Don Bartlett, Jo Nesbø I don’t know how how to describe what I feel at the end of the book!


I know exactly what I felt at the beginning of [b:Nemesis|3522419|Nemesis (Harry Hole, #4)|Jo Nesbø|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327312660s/3522419.jpg|3023538] (and through three quarters of the plot):

I thought, it was one of the best mystery books I ever read.


And then...the final spurt towards the finishing line...and...my initial sensations about my reading orgasm went rapidly downwards. And, believe or not, I finished it, if not confused, but more conflicted than I'd like to.

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The Book#4 in the series is VERY VERY complex. Many many things happen here.

It has both, advantages and disadvantages.
The goody: it won’t leave you time to catch a breath, the plot pacing is EXTREMELY fast. Less good: the plot is very scattered and demands a lot of brain work (don't even try to read it at work, between the meetings, very challenging). As a reader, you need to digest A LOT of information, while the focus of the story keeps on changing CONSTANTLY. And toward the end the author intensifies this effect, starting LITERALLY to jump from one scene to another.

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Strangely enough, but I found it actually pretty refreshing and thrilling, while reading the first 80%, and then, instead of being complex and multilayered the story-line turned into over-complicated and incomprehensible.

My biggest irritation is the resolving of two running cases. Not the fact that they were resolved, and for sure not the fact that it was Harry who did the whole job (bless him!), but the way the perpetrators scheduled their plans (REALLY?!), and a very weird extravagant WAY to fulfill their plans. Very confusing, utterly improbable and very soap-opera-like.Self-staging suicide was my biggest problem. I don't buy it. No way.

The final thoughts:

Jo Nesbo is a very talented author, and he is getting better and better with every installment. It is just so...I have very high exceptions for his works, maybe I became a bit more critical and a bit less reasonable and a bit more bitchy and a bit less logical, but it was 10 stars for me for the first half of the book, and not more than 3 towards the end.

I can't wait to read the next sequel though. Does it explain my critical mood?!





***And of course I want to read it only with my girls! BR with Sofia and Alona

The Boy Can't Help It

The Boy Can't Help It - Gavin Atlas 3,5 porny stars

First of all, let me clarify the genre of this porny lusty collection of short stories. We are talking about GAY EROTICA here. Let me emphasize it, because every now and then the genre will be misinterpreted, and as a consequence, disappointed readers and misunderstood authors.

The Boy Can't Help It is not a MM romance anthology - though it is still as romantic as a healthy gay erotica could tolerate.

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This book is an arousing collection of top/bottom fantasies, HOOOOT and full of relish. I won’t categorize it as a BDSM anthology, I am not an expert here, but this book is more about craving for submission and desire to be dominated and used in all possible and impossible ways than about some fancy leather accessories.

It is well written, and pretty slutty. A solid masturbating stuff, so to speak. Keep your mind free and of course the both hands, or in other words: this anthology has power to arouse the reader's sexually. Exactly what erotica literature is for.

But even if I assume that it is well written, it is not easy to rate it: A mischievous thought that we deal with rather a risqué genre that doesn’t have a noble social state remains stuck in mind.





If you are into a bottom/top dynamic, and you can't have enough of an insatiable and always horny bottom, in all shapes and types, if you like dirty talks, if you enjoy smut from time to time, then it could be a good choice.

My critical points: I found the collection a bit repetitive - you shouldn’t read such books in one sitting, no doubts, but more diversity would have been welcomed. Besides there was one long-winded short story, Simple and Easy, that was not my cuppa (it could be through yours, if you into a gang bang). It rather exhausted me, but not in a way one could mean talking about erotica. I was simply bored.

All in all, it is a well written sexy fun collection with some unexpected emotional moments.

For sensual quiet hours with oneself.


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***Copy provided by the author to GBR in exchange for an honest review***

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Eiszeit: Wie Russland dämonisiert wird und warum das so gefährlich ist (Beck Paperback)

Eiszeit: Wie Russland dämonisiert wird und warum das so gefährlich ist (Beck Paperback) - Gabriele Krone-Schmalz Sachlich und logisch. Daten, Fakten, Hintergründe.
Investigative, seriöser und integer Journalismus.
Bravo Frau Dr. Gabriele Krone-Schmalz.

The Child Thief

The Child Thief - Dan  Smith, Nigel Carrington imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1

Many episodes reminded me of Enemy at the Gate...

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Turbulent times of a fateful and tragic historical events in Western Ukraine at the beginning of the 1930s.

[a:Dan Smith|3087795|Dan Smith|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1296651456p2/3087795.jpg] knows exactly how to keep his readers on the edge of their seats.

For sure a thrilling and gripping story, not only for fans of historical fiction. The main figure, Luka, a veteran of the First World War and the Russian Civil War, a former solder and now a farmer, struggles to make ends meet, keep his family alive at threat of impending famine and a forced collectivization by Soviets, has to face a new unexpected danger.

I didn't expect this historical novel to turn into a brilliant thriller with a main focus on two men playing a cat-and-mouse game.

I don't know how healthy such read is for my mental condition. But I swear, I've never wanted to wiped off the face of the earth so many characters at once. (I counted at least 4 ). No, not wiped off. SLAUGHTER. If I only could!..image

It is why I stay a bit reserved with my full stars rating. I just didn't buy the transformation of one of those characters at the very end. Not him. Too good to be true. But it would have been nice this way if...

The narrator, [a:Nigel Carrington|180475|Nigel Carrington|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png], did a good job. Highly recommended as an audiobook.

Of Murder and Men (A Cat Latimer Mystery)

Of Murder and Men (A Cat Latimer Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon DNF at 38%

I feel bad to DNF it. It is a well-written cozy mystery, very culinary (that I normally enjoy), and it is a nice holiday read. My problem with [b:Of Murder and Men|34488841|Of Murder and Men (Cat Latimer Mystery, #3)|Lynn Cahoon|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1489242228s/34488841.jpg|55609813] - it is already the book#3 in the series. I honestly didn't know this fact, when I requested an ARC.

Even if the author tried to do her best to get an occasional reader to know what happened (more or less) in the previous books, I couldn't get rid of a feeling that I missed something. I lacked the background story, and even the worst - the emotional connection to the characters, the understanding of the whole picture and their role in it.

I would strongly recommend to read the previous books of the series before you pick up the book #3. It is not a stand alone IMO.

***Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Brother

Brother - David Chariandy Heartbreakingly beautiful.



This book is incredible. An extremely emotional, powerful, evocative and heart-rending piece of prose. Yes, I'm an emotional mess now. But really, guys, what a great book, and what a talented author. It was worth every single tear. Hats off.

I should write more, I know, and maybe I'll do it later, when I gather my thoughts.

**Copy provided by the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Into a Dark Frontier

Into a Dark Frontier - John  Mangan 2.5 stars


Even if I actually enjoyed the first half of the book - in spite of too much actions for my taste - the second part of this book didn't work for me at all.

I think the main reason is the disappearance of an intriguing mystery effect in the story-line and a sudden replacement of the characters, in addition to even more action.

I have an impression that the author is a big fan of computer shooting games, and in some scenes (actually in the entire second part) he got too inspired by one (or more) scenarios in his recent games and lost the healthy balance between many actions, compelling dialogues (oh, well, they were totally non-present) and quiet emotional moments (not that much either).


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It is why- I have to be honest-I skimmed through the final third of the book.
The ending is a bit abrupt, but those who enjoyed [b:Into a Dark Frontier|33892779|Into a Dark Frontier|John Mangan|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1484896121s/33892779.jpg|54852887] could look forward to the further sequel. I, most likely, let it go.

I have to admit though, this book could make a good action movie. It is why I'd prefer to watch this book than to read it.

If you are a fan of action packed thrillers, it is probably a book for you.


**Copy provided by Oceanview Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

You Must Remember This: A Gay Retelling of Casablanca

You Must Remember This: A Gay Retelling of Casablanca - John Michael Curlovich DNF at 50%

This book has a false title. IMO. It shouldn't be "A Gay Retelling...", but "A Bisexual Retelling..."

If you read the blurb, you will know that there is a FM relationship here too. But who will normally read a blurb with THAT title? Either you want to read A Gay Retelling of Casablanca or you watch an original Casablanca movie, right?

A warning: every character, well at least every male main character in this book is bisexual. They fall in love with men and women, the same. The problem here is - to find the right audience for this book. (And I don't want to talk about another issues I have with it). From my experience I know that MM Romance readers don't like to share their male heroes with female characters, and FM Romance readers won't pick it up because of the title. I don't mind to read about bisexual characters, so I was actually almost a perfect candidate for this book. But a) I'd like to know it beforehand, so that I can read it in a proper mood and b) the continuous switching to and fro between love to a woman and to a man (often on the same page, within the same paragraph) was not only very unusual for a genre, but also exhausting and kinda a turn off even for me. It left me indifferent, unconnected and confused.

"His kiss, his arms around me were so good. How was it possible?
Lilli. I wanted her. Wanted her again."


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It is though not a bad book, it is easy to read and to follow, and if you are a big fan of Casablanca and don't mind some experiments, you can give it a try. I hoped I can finish it, but another jumping between Lilli and whoever now melt away my initial determination.
And well..I don't like Casablanca movie. It is why I looked forward to read a gay version of it and maybe to change my mind. No, not happened.


**Copy provided by the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

The Assembly of the Dead

The Assembly of the Dead - Saeida Rouass 4.5 stars!

This good researched and wonderfully written historical mystery book, set in Marrakesh at the beginning of the 20th century, will delight every true aficionado of historical fiction and give a fascinating insight into the Moroccan culture, mentality and history.

The fact that this book is based on a true story - a Moorish Jack the Ripper did really exist, and the fact that a police force did not EVEN exist in Morocco in 1906 makes this atmospheric piece of prose even more powerful and captivating.

Great characters development. My own favorite fictional figure- Farook Al-Alami, a detective and a close confidant of the Sultan, a man ahead of the times, who came to Marrakesh from Tangier to investigate the case of disappeared young women. But every single figure in this book is worth reading it.

Colorful, realistic, authentic, enjoyable and educational in many ways.



***Copy provided kindly by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

The Death of Dulgath

The Death of Dulgath - Michael J. Sullivan, Tim Gerard Reynolds imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1




4,5 stars

I liked it a tiny bit less than the second book, but still, it is a great fantasy that I can't recommend highly enough! These two guys are just the best.

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I have to say, I felt a little bit confused during the first chapters:
A strange accident with a Secret Service agent in which Harry was involved, neo-Nazi circles, scenes from the World War II, and not least, a lot of characters which Nordic names I couldn't memorize immediately.

But the plot, the characters, my curiosity and of course a masterful writing got my WHOLE attention from the very first page, and, guys, it was soooo worth it! By far the best installment in the series, and for sure one of the best mystery thriller I read.

It is EXTREMELY clever written. Really, in all these small but important details and remarks, in emotional aspect, in a way how [a:Jo Nesbø|904719|Jo Nesbø|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1493220079p2/904719.jpg] connects the past and the present, how he builds into the plot unexpected twists.

This book has over 500 pages, a long book actually. But I haven't even noticed it. I can't say that I read it in one sitting, I had to interrupt my pleasure with such trivial things like going to work, sleeping and other boring activities that we name a RL, but I swear, I reduce this part of my life to minimum, and I can't wait to read my next Harry Hole's book!


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BR with my girls Sofia and Alona

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Off the Ice

Off the Ice - Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn
I wanted to DNF this book for sure more than 10 times, my last time was at around 80%. But then I thought, you suffered already too long, you can do it, you can finish it. I did, but I have to be honest: I skimmed through the last half of the book.

I belong to the very minority with my opinion about this student/teacher romance. I didn't like it. Though during the first chapters I really believed that it could be a good plotted novel: Tristan Holt, a closeted NHL ice hockey player decides to finish his business degree and for this reason takes a summer class in sociology. Sebastian Cruz, an openly gay sociology professor, who doesn't even know how to skate, not to mention how to play ice hockey, feels attracted to his new student the first time he sees him in his class. The feelings are mutual. They manage somehow to keep their attraction to themselves until the summer class ends. AND AFTER nothing could keep them back.
The moment their affair ACTUALLY starts the whole story suddenly leaves the paths of reality and turns into a dom/sub sex exaggeration. I can't believe I say it, but it is sex that ruined this book for me. I don't understand where Tristan's submissive behavior came from and why Sebastian turned into a ridiculously dominant lover, but it was not authentic, not convincing, not hot, because for me it felt like a bad caricature. And it was just toooo much of it. TOO FUCKING MUCH (please pardon my French). The cherry on the cake - insta love. All other good topics (among others, Tristan's coming out) got simply lost in endless forced dirty talks and sunk in the sea of cum. Very pity.


***Copy provided kindly by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***