Book Review: Thomas Elkin – Elements Of Retrofit – N.R. Walker

Elements of Retrofit[Book 1 of the Thomas Elkin series]

I am actually a sucker for May-December love stories and this one is probably one of the best series out there involving such affair and I just adored the couple here. Thomas Elkin is a successful New York architect who came out as a gay man before his fortieth birthday thus ending his almost twenty-year marriage. At forty-four, he’s as free to live his life the way he wanted especially now that his relationship with his son is back on track. Then came Cooper Jones, one of his new intern and an aspiring superstar in the world of architecture – also a friend of his son and is half his age. Their mutual attraction was palpable and Tom’s world is about to go upside down as Cooper shows him the life he’s been missing.

I do not have many issues about the MCs’ age gap here – I mean, I probably go awry if it’s more than 30 years gap because that’d just be weird – (that’s just for me though) but this one I find slightly awkward at first because Cooper actually went to school with Tom’s son, like they went to school together in High School and Tom’s actually older than Cooper’s Dad (like a month-older) but setting those aside, everything’s good with me.

I loved Cooper’s sassy attitude. He’s clearly very mature for his age and I think he balanced out Tom very well. I loved how Tom was trying to really gauge Cooper first before diving into the affair. After all, Cooper’s still very young and may very well have a change of heart. The good thing though is that Cooper attitude towards Tom and the way Tom reciprocates with Cooper was almost like a perfect semblance of how such affair should be handled. Even if clearly, Tom have made a lot (financially and built his reputation in the industry) – there was no barrier or distance that conflicted their budding relationship. This first book of the series was clearly very much focused on the merging of two generations and how both of them very well complimented each other. The issue about age was there and will always be there but I’m glad how their relationship seemed to be a lot stronger than this one factor. It’s a beautiful start of a series and I am so excited to read its second book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Published October 4th 2013 by Total-E-Bound Publishing 

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Book Review: A Working Man (Men Of Manhattan Book 4) – Sandrine Gasq-Dion

A Working Man[Book 4 of Men Of Manhattan series]

I do love the characters in this series. We see a lot of them in this installment but this story is focused on Hawke’s Advertising owner Matthew Hawke who at thirty-eight decided that he’s actually more into men. Then he meets Drakon (weird name yeah?) at the gym and hit it off right away. With a very low self-esteem, Drakon didn’t think that he’s capable of doing something bigger despite having a degree and knowing a lot of stuff. Matt however sees his worth but also didn’t want to push Drakon too hard fearing that by doing so, he’d lose the man but first, he’s got to let him know the truth about him.

The story was very contrived from the beginning what will all the coincidence of all their meetings but it was smooth flowing all throughout. I loved that there was no big brouhaha on their relationship. It was like all of their concerns are merely small things that they could work on right away and then can live happily ever after. I mentioned how contrived the story was and maybe it was – with all of the gay couple in the series, the acceptance of their respective families and I don’t know – their circle was like a gay mecca of some sort. I’m not complaining about it but I can’t help but smirked in my head about the incredulity of it at some point. But hey, I loved this series so far and I can’t wait to see more of the characters have their own story. I’m particularly looking forward on reading Ryan and Ramos’s story (the homophobic Callahan brothers would be a dream for them, tbh)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Published September 24th 2014 by Wilde City Press

Book Review: A Fighting Man (Men Of Manhattan Book 3) – Sandrine Gasq-Dion

A Fighting Man[Book 3 of Men Of Manhattan Series]

This third book in the series is definitely my favorite so far. The story centers on Army Ranger Slater Cassidy (Yup, Spencer’s younger brother) and his mission to win the heart of the gorgeous Casper Kennedy. They first met when Slater took a leave from the service and since then, it became apparent that he won’t stop until Casper gives him the time of day. Casper’s refusal to go out with him truly puzzled the army ranger and he’s willing to do everything to break Casper’s barriers. What he found out though was something closer to him than he expected and there may just be a way to change Casper’s mind and heart.

I just totally loved this story. I thought Slater’s a total walking wet dream and he’s a character rom-com chic flicks are made of! Casper on the other hand was a total darling! Although I feel that his character was a bit underdeveloped, I loved the fact that he just seems like a regular guy. I enjoyed their easy chemistry and could totally feel for Casper. The story was way more realistic than the rest of the series so far and I loved that the author tackled this very subject.

The secondary characters here are also fun to read and the introduction of new characters was just very exciting! I cannot wait to read more about them.  This was a very good bump for the series – a beautifully told story about second chances in love.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: A Marrying Man (Men Of Manhattan Book 2) – Sandrine Gasq-Dion

A Marrying Man[Book 2 Of Men Of Manhattan Series]

Now it’s Blaine McKlintock’s turn to get his own love story out there. Still trying to make up from the disastrous bet he had with his best friend Kent Samson who almost lost Terry Barron in the process, he now found himself in the midst of planning their wedding. That is with the help of Terry’s boss and friend – Spencer Cassidy whom he’d a crush on since the latter’s Wall Street days. Blaine changed a lot since the bet and so as Spencer through the years. Will there be a chance for them in this game?

I totally loved Blaine’s character. I thought he’s very charming here and obviously a changed man this time. A change which I didn’t quite get at first because it was a total 180 degrees, like’s he’s somehow lost that bravado, that fun attitude. He did change but it was too much in my opinion. I feel like Spencer was almost dominating him. I do not share the opinion of him and Spencer having that great chemistry if I’m being honest. I just don’t see it. As much as I adored Blaine’s character, I didn’t like this couple that much. I actually enjoyed more of Slater Cassidy (Spencer’s brother) and Casper Kennedy (Blaine’s secretary). I am very much looking forward to reading the third book in the series because right off this book, I could already tell how much fun Slater is. Going back to the main couple, I’m not really a fan but hey – maybe, I’ll learn to appreciate them in the coming books.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Book Review: A Betting Man (Men Of Manhattan Book 1) – Sandrine Gasq-Dion

A Betting Man[Book 1 of Men Of Manhattan Series]

Out on a bet with his best friend Blaine to win the heart of the first person to come through their office door, Kent Samson, an ad exec from a prestigious ad agency in New York never imagined that he’s going to win over Terry Baron’s heart easily and actually fall for the guy himself.       Both of them are keeping secrets and are escaping from their past. But when shit totally hits the fan – will the repercussion be more than they can handle?

I liked that this story was written so flawlessly aiming to be an easy read. It’s fast, fun and the characters are very much likeable. It also set up a lot of characters that we’ll surely be seeing in the upcoming books in the series. I always find it funny trying to separate the distinction of characters that are going “gay-for-one-guy” and claiming “bisexuality.” Or are they simply the same? Anyway, on with the book – I loved that the author made this story unrealistically pleasant – like everyone was so accepting and it’s all rainbows and butterflies. I mean, it’s always good to read something that will make you feel good and actually root for the characters that you’re reading. I’d say this was a really good start of a series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Book Review: Red Dirt Heart Book 3 – N.R. Walker

23155382This third book is the ultimate Guide on How Not to Drool and Swoon Too Much over Charlie Suttona really, really terrible guide!  O_o

This was just the perfect follow up to the love story of Charlie & Travis! Now that Travis is a permanent fixture at the Sutton Station, everything seems to go perfectly for Charlie as long as he has Travis.

Until Travis had to leave the Station.

Swamped by lot of other stuff, Charlie realized that he’s got to man up at some point even without Travis by his side. Though his heart was totally breaking into pieces…

This is just perfection in every level. Here, we get to see Charlie at his most vulnerable state. His growing and glowing love for Travis was just beyond – it’s so beautiful that it almost hurt. I loved how Charlie now tries to communicate more and be open about his sexuality. I love the development of their relationship and how that affects the people around them.

At the end of the second book, Travis found a baby wombat and I didn’t really care about it until I read this book. I got curious and googled “baby wombat” and it looks like a fat rat mixed with a tiny itty baby bear. So this is what Charlie’s Nugget looks like! It was totally cute how he’s so taken with Nugget which shows more of Charlie’s nurturing nature – so that is not an exclusive Travis trait yeah?

It’s really beautiful how Charlie has changed so much over the course of the series. It’s just a year since he and Travis have been together [in this book] but it feels like it’s been forever! I just totally adored how this series turned out to be so good that it makes you greedy and read more and more about Charlie, Travis and the folks of Sutton Station! Yep, new fan here!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss is Miss World 2014!!!

South Africa Crowning Moments

Rolene Strauss crowned by outgoing Miss World 2013 Megan Young


A favorite by pageant fans and pundits since winning her national pageant, Rolene Strauss was a perennial top contender for the blue crown all throughout the competition. Rolene is a 4th year medical student at the University of the Free State and has a passion for health, women and South Africa. Interestingly,  Rolene is actually a test tube baby and grew up in a small town called Volksrust, in Mpumalanga.

South Africa

Rolene is the first woman from South Africa to win the Miss World crown since Penelope Anne Coelen [1958] and Anneline Kriel [1974] held the title. Edina Kulcsar of Hungary and Elizabeth Safrit were adjudged first and second runners-up resepectively with Courtney Thorpe of Australia and Carina Tyrell of England completing the Top five.

Rolene as a young girl via

Rolene as a young girl

Rolene was also set to compete on January for the Miss Universe pageant in Doral, Miami, Florida has she not won the crown or any runners-up post.

Book Review: Red Dirt Heart Book 2 – N.R. Walker

22957237“All I could feel was the pulse of our heartbeats where we joined, throbbing and pounding through every fibre in my body. We rocked back and forth, always kissing. And on the cold, cold ground by the flickering warmth of the fire, we made love. The way he held me, the way he looked at me, it was the closest to heaven I’d ever get without dyin’. “

 Now this one I liked very much. When American agronomist Travis Craig arrived in Sutton Station, he never expected to find love through its young owner Charlie Sutton. Six month into their relationship, both men are still trying to figure things out. Travis being the relaxed and the outspoken one feels like Charlie keeps on pushing him away unknowingly. But when Travis was asked to leave the country, Charlie’s stubbornness seemed to skyrocket which also landed into a desperate hope of making the love of his life stay more than anything else – whatever it takes.

 I really did enjoy this one immensely. Here, I get to appreciate more of the book’s secondary characters. I loved the way Travis is pushing Charlie to doing things that he normally won’t do and I loved how Charlie allows Travis to push him into doing ‘em. It was a symbiotic relationship between them. The development in their relationship was beautiful – I loved the flowy storytelling through Charlie’s perspective. His character is such a worryrat but you can really relate to him. I think that’s what’s beautiful about this couple. They’re so easy to love and so easy to relate to.

 Oh, and I loved the way Charlie came out! That was an epic coming out! I was like cheering internally for him! Yay! Go Charlie! And that interview with the immigration – I cried for the first time reading this series. That was like the best scene ever in this book aside from Charlie coming out at the meeting.

 This is definitely a great follow up from the first book and I cannot wait to read the next one. Charlie, Travis and the red dirt of Sutton Station has definitely grown into me. This is a total MUST-READ.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Red Dirt Heart Book 1 – N.R. Walker

20818091Aside from me being a fan of N.R. Walker’s stories, this book was also highly recommended by some friends. I’ve a lot of books on my to-read list and decided to just dive in this series right away due to its raving reviews. I actually liked most things about the book but there are also things which I didn’t like. First thing you need to know is that this story was set in Australia and second, it’s set in a freaking desert in Australia. Charlie Sutton runs the Sutton station on his own [a farm / ranch and is about a million acres 0_o – ikr?] after his father died and was isolated from most of the world [yeah, say almost literally] – life just seemed to go on with a few staff at the station until American agronomy student Travis Craig came into his doorstep and change everything Charlie has ever known.

The feel of the story somehow reminds me of the vibe of Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. The laid-back Marlboro country feel of the red dirt in this side of Australia was almost hypnotic. I loved that N.R. Walker could easily convey that. My concern is the too slow-a-pace of the first half of it. I feel like going through the pages with nothing happening with the characters.  If this was what slow burn is and another definition of underlying sexual tension between Charlie and Travis, I’m all for it but I had a friend inside my brain screaming, “Get on with it already!”

On a more positive note, I loved the couple here. Charlie and Travis are only in their twenties and I liked the fact that they act their age but with maturity. I loved Charlie’s gruff persona and his diarrhea of the mouth was rather funny. Travis is also a beautiful character with his nurturing and sensitive nature. They really balanced out each other well.

Yes, I find the first half of the story dragging itself into this red dirt hole but it picked up and I started to understand (or appreciate) it better. It was some sort of mood building which I thought took longer than necessary but was forgivable.

This first book was about Travis’s introduction to the red dirt harsh environment where Charlie grew up. This was also Charlie feeling alive after the longest time and finally letting go of some of his angst. It was a beautiful start of a promising series. There were minor stuff that didn’t work for me but Charlie and Travis easily made their way to my heart.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reigning Still: Megan Young For Rogue Magazine [December 2014]

Megan Young Rogue Magazine

Here’s  (still) reigning Miss World Megan Young gracing the cover of Rogue Magazine’s December 2014 Entertainment Issue.  Now, that’s Megan showing all kinds of sexy. Really, she’s the best Miss World ever! *wink*

Speaking of Miss World, current Miss World Philippines and now competing in London Valerie Weigmann also made the cover back in April 2011 as the magazine’s cover girl for their first sport’s issue.

Valerie For Rogueimages via rogue ph