Book Review: That One Kid Who Freaked Out, Or Whatever – A.J.J. Bourque

That One Kid Who Freaked Out Or WhateverPublished January 5th 2016
Format: Novel
Genre: Young Adult / Coming of Age
Length: 198 pages, ebook
Publisher: Alwick Press
Cover Artist: ebooklaunch.com
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9836387-6-6
Characters: Nicandro Stellan Colby, Sydney Walker

[please be advised that this review contain spoilers.]

This coming of age story started out really well. We have Nick Colby who’s funny, awkward and on the quirky side of things. He’s on his senior year when he finally found the courage to ask his long time crush Sydney Walker for a date. They hit it off right away and things are going smoothly until Nick started feeling the pressure of everything around him.

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. I loved all of the characters that were introduced, each with varying characterization. Somewhere along 70% it just stopped being awesome.

I honestly didn’t get it when Nick freaked out in front of Carmen. So all along he felt that Sydney’s controlling him? I didn’t think that it’s the case. I think he’s overthinking everything. He’s got all these monsters in his head thinking that he’s not good enough for Sydney. He created those monsters and not the other way around. (and then things were explained)

After his freak out at Carmen’s and seeking advice from Connor, the author suddenly decided to have that conversation between Nick and Sydney where Sydney sort of sound like a wee bit controlling, insensitive and all when prior to his freakout – Sydney’s all patient and understanding. It felt a bit forced IMO. I didn’t like how somehow, it was down to Sydney how he became a “freak-er.” Even his dad was all like, you weren’t like this pre-Sydney. Uhm, it was hella weird. (and then things were explained)

I’m giving this a three star rating because the whole thing felt too convenient for Nick’s character. I’m trying to recall my teen years or even college years when I was clueless about everything. Perhaps, we react differently with different scenarios but it seems to me that Nick does have some sort of anxiety disorder. I’m not a psychiatrist or something but his behavior was a bit unsettling for me. [for me]

One, his condition (?) was never properly addressed. Two, he doesn’t have any problems with his family. For some reason, he feels all alone, chained and just going with the flow. Maybe that’s a phase we go through but based on the story, everything around him was some sort of somebody’s dream life. Why? Oh, Why? Three, given that it was him who’s making a big deal of everything – I don’t understand why he developed such behavior. Was it all the teasing about his name?  What is it? I DON’T GET HIM. Then to make it more incredulous, everything went fine and dandy in his life at the end. I mean, I’m all for happy ending, realizing everything, capping things up and becoming a better version of yourself but seriously, it was like a personality switch!

Overall, I thought the author’s writing style was quite awesome and even if the way the story developed halfway didn’t work for me, I think I’ll be willing to read more from him. I reckon, the younger generations will get a kick out of this novel.  For $2.99, it’s more than worth it!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Amazon Buy Link

About The Author
A.J.J. Bourque began writing his first book in 2004 at the age of sixteen, and spent the next eleven years developing and refining the series. He is currently pursuing a B.A. in English from Texas A&M University Commerce. He lives in a small Texas town with his family, five cats, two chickens, and four donkeys.

To learn more about A.J.J. Bourque and his books, visit http://www.facebook.com/ajjbourque

Book Review: Last Night I Sang to the Monster – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

MonsterPublished September 1st 2009
Format: Novel
Genre: Fiction /Family/Contemporary/YA
Length: 250 pages, ebook
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Cover Artist: Antonio Castro H.
Ebook ISBN: 1933693797
Characters: Zach Gonzalez

Eighteen-year-old Zach does not remember why he’s in a rehabilitation center for alcoholics, but with therapy and group sessions, he soon finds out that he’s capable of dealing with his past and be able to work on his recovery.

I decided to pick this up when I found out that the author was working on the sequel of his multi-awarded novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I just wanted to get a feel again, of how this author lured me the way he did with Ari and Dante’s story and this one totally gave me those feelings again! [and this came out three years before Ari and Dante] What an incredible novel! The quality of his writing is impeccable. His characterization rich and the realism behind each character masked through his beautiful prose is fucking genius! Seriously, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I laughed with Zach, cried with him and all those crazy mixed-up emotions that it felt like I was living his life.

I believe this story. I devoured everything in it although Zach may have used a few expressions excessively – I believed that these were actually part of his personality where he could not fully articulate himself, depending mostly on his ‘private conversations’ with people.

While reading it, I was Zach in the story – not that I’m an alcoholic, an addict or something but there’s something about his character that totally resonates with me. The ‘lost me,’ the ‘little boy’ me that may have been looking for some happiness. I dunno, it’s almost depressing to think about those times while I’m writing this review but yeah, I guess the book is kind of depressing but not in a “I will wallow in this shit and will cry myself to sleep” kind of way. I guess, what I’m trying to say is that you have a choice to read this book and get all weepy about it or read this, wallow in it but expect that at the end of it – there’s some sort of happy ending waiting for you. I liked that in this book. It’s dark in a way that it showed the reality of people suffering from addiction. There was no sugarcoating the fact that it’s not just about destroying themselves but it’s also about destroying everything around them, but most importantly – something I’ve gathered from experience that it’s actually a cry for help.

Last Night I Sang to the Monster is an evocative prose of a novel that will leave you enthralled with Benjamin Alire Sáenz artistry! What a truly delightful masterpiece!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

BUY LINKS:
AmazonBarnes & Noble

About The Author
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children’s books.

He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humanities and Philosophy in 1977. He studied Theology at the University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium from 1977 to 1981. He was a priest for a few years in El Paso, Texas before leaving the order.

In 1985, he returned to school, and studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso where he earned an M.A. degree in Creative Writing. He then spent a year at the University of Iowa as a PhD student in American Literature. A year later, he was awarded a Wallace E. Stegner fellowship. While at Stanford University under the guidance of Denise Levertov, he completed his first book of poems, Calendar of Dust, which won an American Book Award in 1992. He entered the Ph.D. program at Stanford and continued his studies for two more years. Before completing his Ph.D., he moved back to the border and began teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso in the bilingual MFA program.

His first novel, Carry Me Like Water was a saga that brought together the Victorian novel and the Latin American tradition of magic realism and received much critical attention.

In The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), his fifth book of poems, he writes to the core truth of life’s ever-shifting memories. Set along the Mexican border, the contrast between the desert’s austere beauty and the brutality of border politics mirrors humanity’s capacity for both generosity and cruelty.

In 2005, he curated a show of photographs by Julian Cardona.

He continues to teach in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Cover Thursday: Troye Sivan’s Fools by Far Young

OMFG. They Killed It. They Nailed It. FUCK!

http://faryoung.com/ FarYoung.com http://facebook.com/FarYoungMusic Facebook http://twitter.com/FarYoungBand Twitter http://soundcloud.com/faryoung SoundCloud

 http://instagram.com/faryoungmusic Instagram https://vine.co/u/1055907040394444800 Vinehttps://plus.google.com/103749778806621662673 Google

Book Review: You Don’t Know Jack (The Center, #1) – M.C. Lee

you-dont-know-jackPublished July 3rd 2014
Format: Novel
Genre: Young Adult / Mystery / Coming Of Age
Length: 190 pages, ebook
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
ISBN: 978163216148
Characters: Jack Carlisle, Leo McCormack

Who is Jack? What is he? Where did he come from? Honestly, after reading this one – I was not able to answer these three questions and a lot more percolating in my very confused brain after finishing it.

Okay, maybe I’m being wee dramatic right now. Jack is apparently an undercover agent of some sort for a “secret” agency called The Center.    For the life of me, I can’t seem to see the point of “the center” – I’m not even sure what they’re doing exactly.

What happened in the story is that Jack was to befriend a certain target by the name of Leo McCormack in order for the center to accomplish their mission. There’s a twist at the end that I’ve seen coming from afar but I’m not irked about that. I get their point and why they have to do that to Jack. What I don’t understand is the whole purpose of what the center is doing – say for example, in the past. I mean, the whole thing behind the agency. Are they extracting bad people off the planet? Are they some sort of government body that kills off for war? Or what? Seriously man, it’s bonkers. What are they? This one question keeps me from actually connecting with the characters.

As for the romance aspect – it’s close to nil. There was a tiny bit of it but they’re like sixteen so on-page, it doesn’t really carry much points for the book.

Oddly enough (lols with this book being odd and all), the only character I enjoyed here is Johnny Monroe who’s just a side character and was cut off midway in the story.

As of this writing, I am halfway through the sequel. I know right? Why am I ranting about the agency and all that shit but I still continue reading the series. Well, I didn’t say I hate this story but I don’t love it either. Curiosity got the best of me I guess. I want to know what’s the whole deal about it.

I’m not jumping up and down about this book but it’s interesting to see how the author will go about the whole “center” thing and its set of characters.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

BUY LINK

About The Author
MC Lee is a writer, reader and traveler with a lifelong passion for history and an avid interest in movies. MC writes both YA and adult fiction.

Book Review: The Deal (Off-Campus #1) – Elle Kennedy

The DealPublished February 24th 2015 by Elle Kennedy
Format: Novel
Genre: Romance/Contemporary / New Adult
Length: 358 pages, ebook
Publisher: Elle Kennedy
Cover Artist: Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Ebook ASIN: B00TG1CZFC
Characters: Hannah Wells, Garrett Graham

I’ll say right off the bat that this is the best college romance I’ve read in ages! The story, the characters, dialogues…ooh, I’m sure glad I took a chance with this one and it totally paid off!

Elle Kennedy wrote one of my top reads from last year (Him with Sarina Bowen) so I am pretty excited to see how she fared writing solo and man’ she writes exceptionally well! The Deal is the kind of book that you’d want to reread over and over again because it’s just easy, steamy, has enough angst and just really oh-so-wonderful to read! I’m still grinning like an idiot remembering the two MCs from the book.

Hannah Wells aka Wellsy had this huge crush on football jock Justin Kohl but the latter doesn’t even know she’s alive. What in a world a girl can do?

Solution: Garrett Graham.

Garrett – captain of the hockey team, in order to continue playing hockey needs to pass a make-up exam and he just found the solution to his problem.

He convinced Wellsy to tutor him in exchange of making Justin notice her. Easy enough yeah? Only what they didn’t expect from this deal is a plethora of things that may lead to something more – something sexy and something that involves the heart.

These two are just freaking adorable! I cannot at their chemistry. It’s just so good! I loved that they both have something from their pasts that may have bonded them even more and both background are very much realistic. Although in a perfect setting, I would have liked for Garrett to pummel Aaron (won’t tell you who this one is but it’s the douche from Wellsy’s past) into oblivion! If this weren’t a series, I would’ve wished for an epilogue a few years after college and I’d be in my own fairy tale haven then! But yeah – it’d be fun to see them again in the upcoming books.

I also loved the side characters here. Hannah’s and Garrett’s friends are just awesome people! [I just have to insert Logan – Garrett’s BFF – because I was reminded of Logan from More Than Her by Jay McLean and he also had a thing with his bff’s girl – just saying] It’s interesting to see where this series will go next but I am sure glad that I picked this one up because it just totally made my day! I will definitely be checking out the rest of the series! Bravo Elle Kennedy!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy Links:
Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

About The Author
A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

Book Review: Diamonds (Life According To Maps, #2) – Nash Summers

DiamondsPublished October 16th 2015
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 71 pages, ebook
Ebook ASIN: B016B3WFZM
Characters: Maps Wilson, Lane Rhodes
Blurb: Maps’ kingdom is crumbling before his eyes.
His parents are forcing him to get a job, there’s a new kid at school who won’t stop staring at him, and his best friend is too busy thinking about girls to help Maps deal with his real problems.
Worst of all,
Maps is lost.
And none of the roads on his map are leading to Lane.

“Who needs a psychiatrist when you have the internet? I can diagnose myself. I’m very capable, you know.”

What a perfect follow-up to Maps. I loved him in the first book and I love him even more here! I mean, Maps is Maps. Maps is perfect and him and his best friend Benji are perfect bffs together.

Here, Maps’ parents are forcing him to find a job like a perfectly normal high schooler. It’s perfectly normal right? Not with Maps though, for him it was absurdly       preposterous. Besides, he needs time for all of his experimentations and time to think about Lane all day and everyday. He doesn’t miss him, tho. Lane is away for a “stupid” baseball camp and Maps doesn’t miss him at all. Nope, he was not thinking about him every minute of the day!

What a truly delightful sequel! I never thought I’d be so enamored with a YA character such as Maps! His histrionics are fantabulous! The humor and the side characters are just totally spot on!

And there’s also Lane. What a wonderful guy! I loved that he and Max finally have a bigger conflict on how to define whatever they have. It was fantastic! Just beautiful! And too sweet! Lane’s being vulnerable and all was just too much! Too endearing!

This book was such a perfect follow up I never want it to finish. Seriously, can we get three more books from Maps and get their story until they get married and have little baby Maps and baby Lane?  ^^ *sigh*

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy Links:
Amazon | AllRomance | Smashwords

About The Author
Nash Summers rarely has any idea what she’s doing. But, when she likes to pretend, she pretends by writing stories at the pace of drying paint. And if that wasn’t exhilarating enough, Nash enjoys absolute silence, general politeness, and waiting her turn in line.
Needless to say—she’s a genuine hellraiser.

Website: http://www.nashsummers.com

Book Review: Maps (Life According to Maps #1) – Nash Summers

 

Maps CoverPublished January 12th 2015Genre: Young Adult
Length: 80 pages, ebook
Ebook ASIN: B00RS96EYM
Characters: Maps Wilson, Lane Rhodes
Blurb: If Maps ruled the world, his best pal Benji would be court jester, and every day would celebrate a new experiment. No, scratch that. If Maps ruled the world, his best pal would still be living next door, and there wouldn’t be any gap-toothed new guy staring at him as if he’s bonkers. Pity Maps doesn’t rule the world . . .

Maps is just beyond adorable! His character  is perfection! There’s no way not to love Maps! Maps (the book and the character) came before Rust (Fawn) and their characterization resemble such charm that you’d most likely not forget for a long period of time. What a beautiful, fun and quirky character!

I just loved the easy vibe of the story. I loved that Maps has Benji as his bestfriend. I loved that Maps’ parents are super-cool! I even love that little demon of a chile Miss Madam Sprinkle! LOL

And of course, there is Lane. Lane with his gapped front teeth and a Ken-doll hair. Gawd, these two are just beyond adorable I wanna adopt them!!!

I cannot wait to read the second book…in 5, 4, 3, 2,…

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy Links:
Amazon | AllRomance | Smashwords

About The Author
Nash Summers rarely has any idea what she’s doing. But, when she likes to pretend, she pretends by writing stories at the pace of drying paint. And if that wasn’t exhilarating enough, Nash enjoys absolute silence, general politeness, and waiting her turn in line.
Needless to say—she’s a genuine hellraiser.

Website: http://www.nashsummers.com

Blue Neighbourhood by Troye Sivan will be Available in the Philippines on January 29, 2015!

Heya baby beans! Yup, it was confirmed yesterday by @astroplus1 that Troye Sivan’s debut album Blue Neighbourhood will finally be available in the Philippines on January 29 at every Astro stores nationwide so be sure to watch out for it!!!

BN ASTROVISION

BLUE NEIGHBOURHOOD ALBUM COVER

Don’t forget the date folks, January 29 and let’s hope that he’ll bring the Blue Neighbourhood Tour in Manila as well!

Book Review: Until September – Chris Scully [ARC]

Until SeptemberRELEASE DATE: Feb 8, 2016
Format: Novel
Genre: Romance/Family/Contemporary
Length: 298 pages, ebook
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Ebook ISBN: 1626493553
Print ISBN: 9781626493568
Characters: Archer Noble, Ryan Eriksson

Archie Noblesse did everything to escape his brutal past and leave his family and his Cree heritage behind enabling him to reinvent himself as Archer Noble, a successful blogger and author who lives only for himself.

His world went upside down when he gets a phone call that brings all his plans for his future crashing down. A car accident takes his only sister leaving behind two children who are parentless after they lost their father a few years prior.

Enter Ryan Eriksson, the teacher whose love for his sister and the kids is undeniable and someone who disagree in everything Archer stands for. Despite this, Archer easily agreed on having Ryan help him with the kids, even offering him the custody eventually.

Ryan on the other hand is adamant for Archer to give parenting a chance despite his chance of having a family of his own, something that he’d always dreamed of. He convinced Archer to try being with them for the summer and stay until September, only things turned out unexpectedly for both of them.

This is the first book I have read by Chris Scully. I was interested in the first few chapters but it actually started picking up for me at the latter part of the story. I find it a bit slow in pacing but the writing was very lovely.

I loved the easy chemistry between Archer and Ryan here; they are so opposite (physically and personality-wise) so they really tend to butt head but there’s something very likable about them. Perhaps, it’s how they both have deep longing for something permanent? In Ryan’s case, it is of course a common knowledge but with Archer, he’s unconsciously yearning for it that it’s almost heartbreaking.

Readers, please employ your patience towards Archer in the first few pages at least. The guy is trying and don’t look out for a lot of steamy scenes between Ryan and Archer. There’s just a couple of it which I figured isn’t really necessary in the story but yeah – beware – Archer is described here as a “manwhore” and ya’know what, it’s very easy to judge him at first (I did) and I admit I was wrong to do so.

Ryan is well, he’s almost perfect, and I loved his easy countenance with every situation and just life in general. He’s not boring but he’s what Archer exactly needed.

This family of four and their story is such a joy to read. I’m sure glad that my first book from this author was this wonderful story! I would definitely look out for more of her books within the year!

Highly recommended, this one is.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

PRE-ORDER LINKS

About The Author
Chris Scully is a die-hard romantic, a lover of good books, hot men and eighties music. She discovered M/M romance far too many years ago and immediately became an avid reader. Now, trapped in a minuscule cubicle for eight hours a day, this IT professional loves to indulge in the [not so] occasional daydream—and finally gets the chance to commit some of them to paper.

Chris would love to hear from readers at: cscully@bell.net.

Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chris.scully.author

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

10 Things I Miss Most About My Dad on His 71st Birthday!

  1. When I was a young boy, I always sleep next to my Tatay and my youngest brother next to my Nanay.
  2. He used to sing what I used to call “Pangmatandang song” (oldie’s song) but later in life, I came to appreciate these songs most especially now that he’s gone singing this song with my Nanay (wherever they are).
  3. Whenever he go out-of-town or just coming back from work, he always got some souvenirs or treats for his kids.
  4. Every time I’d go back to Manila (for college), he’d secretly hand me money (aside from my allowance) <3 It’s as if my Mom doesn’t know about it. LOL
  5. When I am dancing in our living room, he’ll dance with me and we’ll do this weird super-awkward “pangmatandang” dance!
  6. Our cinema visits in Baliwag way back when I was about 8 or 9! It was the most awesome thing ever!
  7. I’ll walk with him sometimes when he’s got to go to work.
  8. Every time he walks out from the living room or start pacing when the Ginebra team are losing their game.
  9. When he dances with my Nanay.
  10. I just missed him so bad – his love and just being there for me and for the rest of our family.

with popsHappy Birthday Tatay! I love you.