Book Review: Fighting Dirty – Olley White

21955382I haven’t read anything written by Olley White until I saw this on MM Romance Group’s Love’s Landscapes event and I’m sure glad that I downloaded it [for free! yay!]

With less than twenty-five page to tell this story, the author was able to deliver vibrancy with her characters. Ethan Reed is fighting for a chance to better his life – by winning a “fighting” tournament to become part of the King’s Army. For his final opponent, he was fitted against Charlie Fitzwilliam who came from a ruling class and whom he’d been pining since he was a young boy. With him winning said tournament, he wondered if there’ll be a chance for them now that they’re almost equal.

Coverwise – the book is probably one of the best I’ve seen this year. I love an enticing cover paired with an equally stunning story! I really wished though that this was a full on novel. I could very well imagine some really good plot lines for this couple. With a longer version, the author would be able to tell more about the two – although given the length of her story, I thought she did extremely well in providing some backstory for both Ethan and Charlie. This short story without question is a gem and people should go ahead and download it right now! Hello people! It’s free!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Download the story HERE

Book Review: Spirit Sanguine – Lou Harper

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

I never thought that I’d fall for another vampire-themed story. Now this one’s totally getting into me. Like BIG TIME! The story centers on Gabe Vadas, a vampire slayer who came home in the States after five years of slaying “bloodsuckers” in Europe. Returning to his hometown in Chicago, he was kidnapped by a young vampire named Harvey Feng whom he initially tried to kill. After being spared his life, attraction ensues between him and the young vegetarian Vampire. Now scouted by the Vampire mafia boss for a job he couldn’t refused, he together with Harvey were thrust into  more  action that they know they could handle, more than their growing passion for each other.

I’m totally riding this bandwagon. I’m actually clueless why it’s not getting tons of five star ratings. I loved Gabe and Harvey. They have this amazing chemistry and I just love their adventures together. Harvey’s quirkiness and penchant for role-play was truly adorable and hot as hell. And Gabe – oh my, the guy’s a sweetheart. I’m super excited to read more from their conquest. They’re truly an amazing couple and this is one hell of a promising series!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: See You Smile – Dawn Sister

Fan Art by Arch BalaThis is probably my favorite out of a hundred stories featured in Love’s Landscapes sponsored by the Goodreads MM Romance Group. It’s a May – December love story between a fifty year old bestselling author living in a small community and his 21 year-old deaf neighbor who apparently lives on his own. It was cute how Jake started “stalking” the young Cal – it was cute and funny. I loved how the story developed from the time Jake tried to introduce him and second-guessing how his attraction to his young neighbor wasn’t a good idea at all. The only critique I have about it, though not necessarily a bad critique is that it was all too perfect and ideal. I thought Cal’s inner struggle to fit in and being independent was a very nice addition to the “major conflict” and I just loved the sexual tension between him and Jake. I’ve totally no problem with this kind of theme [May-December relationship], I just had this random thought about their age difference physically after 10 or 15 years. It was just a thought, though, really. So there people, do download the free copy now cuz’ you won’t wanna miss this!

Download the story HERE.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Hanging Loose – Lou Harper

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

When I first got this, I was a bit hesitant to read it because of its less than impressive and uninspiring reviews but I figured, to each his own right? I was not actually jumping up and down after reading this but I liked the almost hypnotic vibe of the story’s narrative. It’s basically about these two young men finding their place in the world – or you could say, two young guys just going with the flow.

That isn’t exactly an appealing summary right? Trust me though, it’s bearable and there’s some sort of vulnerability about the two MCs that no one cannot resists. The main thing going against it is the lack of conflict heavy enough to produce a more believable story. But hey, life is going to be like this for some folks right? Fiction or not.

 After graduating from art school Nate left the Midwest for sunny Southern California, not quite sure what he hoped to find. It was almost certainly not falling in love with another man. His whole world and assumptions about himself begin to slowly turn upside down on one hot summer day. Seeking respite from the heat and his loneliness at Venice Beach he has a chance encounter with a handsome blond surfer.

Jez is friendly, easygoing, and just a little bit mysterious. Openly gay, Jez offers Nate a place to stay, and the two men become fast friends. Nate makes new friends, adjusts to his new life, but his unbidden attraction to Jez keeps growing. In their moments of closeness Nate realizes that he wants Jez more than just a friend, but it might be too late. To make Jez his, Nate has to face not only his own fears and insecurities, but his mysterious mate has secrets of his own. Via Goodreads

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

Book Review: Bliss – Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

22496938This book didn’t work for me at all. It was like “The Giver” meets “Divergent” gone wrong. I loved most books I’ve read from Lisa Henry and the feel of this one reflects more of her style than Belleau’s (not that I’ve read much from the latter’s works). The premise was interesting but thinly veiled and almost predictable.

The story was from Rory James’s POV who have worked all his life to become a citizen of the utopian city state of Beulah – his only chance to escape Tophet where he was born and was the exact opposite of Beulah. On his way to his new job, Rory was assaulted by a young man named Tate Patterson who also came from Tophet. Due to the strict law of the Beulah, Tate was offered and accepted a plea bargain via rehabilitation through restitution. Tate was to live with Rory for seven years and served him like a slave. Fitted with a behavior modifying chip, Tate is unable to disobey any orders. Unaware of the true nature of the chip, things spiraled down for Rory that even went beyond his worst nightmare destroying his dreams altogether and his chance at love.

The story to put it simply was just horrifyingly disturbing. It feels like some of those “scenes” were created more for shock value than for story development. Its pacing was excruciatingly slow, characters underdeveloped and the conclusion was just weird as hell. It was too bizarre for me if I’m being honest.

I can’t even begin to understand how the couple here fell for each other. And the whole thing about the chip was like some sort of underground bullshit. It was too forced when it’s actually a key piece in the story. I can’t say anymore without cringing thinking about this book. I honestly didn’t see any potential for its story to develop any more with the said premise. Okay, so I’ll zip it now. This is giving me horrible, horrible feelings…

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Maureen Montagne, Former Mutya ng Pilipinas Crowned Miss Arizona 2015!

via Pageant Update - Miss USA Coverage FB Page

via Pageant Update – Miss USA Coverage FB Page

Maureen Ann Montagne was crowned Miss Arizona 2015 last Sunday November 23.

Maureen during the Mutya Ng Pilipinas 2013The twenty-one old Maureen Ann formerly competed at the Mutya ng Pilipimas 2013 where she was awarded Mutya 1st runner-up and got the Mutya ng IVI Collagen award. The pageant was eventually won by Angeli Dione Barbas Gomez (who won her international assignment) and Koreen Medina as the main winner (who also placed internationally).

Maureen is set to compete for Miss USA 2015.

Book Review: Behind Iron Lace – Mercy Celeste

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

Darcy Butler is the editor of an e-magazine who’s still testing the waters in New Orleans after moving his operation to save expenses. Unhappy and heartbroken, things quickly shifted when he met Caleb – a photographer who sought a freelance job while attending personal stuff in N’awlins. The sexual tension sizzles between them out of the city’s summer heat but Darcy’s still having a hard time accepting his identity. Caleb on the other hand was easily drawn to the closeted editor but is hesitant to pursue things forward due to his grim past that still haunts him until now.

I really liked how the author presented the twist at the end of the story and the big reveal regarding Caleb was actually quite shocking. I loved the easy chemistry between Darcy and Caleb – it was very suited with the location. I could easily picture New Orleans in this book. I just wished it was a bit longer though. I feel that there’s more to these two guys. Nevertheless, the story’s compact retelling simply shows how good a writer Mercy Celeste is.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Aiden’s Luck – Con Riley

Third book of the Seattle Series

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

I’ve decided to still give this one a go because of Marco De Luca (Ben’s youngest brother from After Ben). I thought he’s the most interesting character from that book and came out at the latter part of the story and not even in about 10 pages! Unfortunately, this one’s incredibly overbearing as well. Again, the author did use the same pattern of presenting backstory with every scene. It’s just too much and too annoying. I felt like the author just wanted to prolong everything when she could easily jump into another scene.

The only good thing about this book is how the author gave life to Marco de Luca. The rest of the characters (including Aiden and his brother Evan) are just extremely written in unbearable fashion. How is that even possible? Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, similar “backstory/flashback” overload was dumped into writing this novel. It’s really such a shame because Marco De Luca’s character was a really good character. And honestly, it should have been Marco in the title because Aiden’s character was just bad. Again, I am disappointed with the author’s lack of interesting and exciting story to go with this series. I’m like 10 pages away from finishing it but it’s just gotten too much because of the many things happening in the book and I think I pretty much wasted my time reading it. I’m sure glad that I didn’t get Peter’s story.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Book Review: After Ben – Con Riley

first book of the Seattle Series

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

The whole premise of this book was extremely interesting that is why I was so damn excited to read it and didn’t think that it would actually disappoint me so much. It centers on Theo, an executive who’s now dealing with life after his partner of fifteen years Ben passed away. He actually found some sort of solace through the internet. By participating through forums, he somehow feels alive. Online, he meets Morgan and shared intimate information with the guy. In real life, a year after Ben’s death – he’s dealing with Peter (a guy he met at the gym) and is willing to wait and try things with him but Theo doesn’t feel ready yet. He finally succumbs with Morgan and actually fell for the guy without even meeting the guy. I was almost certain that I wouldn’t finish the book but since I’m 25 pages away from it, I decided to just get over with it. I just can’t get over how extremely repetitive the story has become.

Morgan’s character isn’t exactly an exciting character. Despite his internet affiliation with Theo, there’s nothing really interesting about him. The characterization was flat and he’s almost predictable (when he was finally revealed).

Reading through it felt like the author was trying too hard to input too much sex. I get it that it’s the genre but it’s just a bit unnecessary with some scenes. The beginning of the book was alright and it went downhill from there. The flashbacks about Ben are the only good thing about this book and his trip in Italy where Marco De Luca (Ben’s youngest brother) was introduced. I’m actually just plain disappointed with it. I wish the author didn’t linger much with the online character of Morgan. It’s just a bit too much. Ugh. Repetitive. Boring. Slow-paced. It lost all its potential.

 Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Miss World 2014 Journey: Philippines’ bet Valerie Weigmann in London…So Far

Miss World 2014 ProfileMiss World Philippines 2014 Valerie Weigmann left for London last November 20 to compete for this year’s edition of Miss World where fellow Filipina Megan Young is the current title holder. Valerie knows that there’s pressure for her to continue the winning streak of the country in the said pageant and it looks like she’s up for the challenge to make it a back-to-back win for the Philippines.

So here’s what she is up to so far in London – the host city this year and also the home base of the Miss World Organization.

Valerie during the MW arrival dinner with fellow delegates

Valerie during the MW arrival dinner with fellow delegates

Upon arrival… she’s looking mighty pretty here.

With Miss GermanyShe’s roommate with Miss Germany Egzonita Ala – with Valerie being half-German, I’m sure they would really hit it off big time.

Here’s one of her #OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) post

Valerie's OOTDSilk Floral Dress by Eric Delos Santos and Shoes by Jojo Bragais

Valerie's DOTW Costume

Valerie’s DOTW Costume

And here’s Valerie’s costume for Dances Of The World segment of the pageant. I’m hoping she’d be chosen to perform during the said segment.

And here’s one of the gowns she’ll be wearing for the Formal Evening Gown competition (this maybe for Top Model segment or the World Fashion Designer segment they used to have)

Valerie's Gown from Michael Cinco

Valerie’s Gown from Michael Cinco

Ooh, she just had her 25th birthday yesterday so Happy Birthday Val!!! Here’s to hoping that you’d win the crown again!!!

photos via Miss World Philippines FB Page / Michael Cinco / missworld.com