Book Review: The Cellist – Elaine White

The CellistBlurb: After six years, cellist Roman returns home with boyfriend Ben, in search of more than just international fame. There’s one complication he didn’t count on. His high school crush, the straight, untouchable, Jaxton is there when he arrives.

One performance at local club Crimson 8, stirs emotions that were better left forgotten.

With prior warning that the club is a gay man’s fantasy come true, where anything and everything can happen, Jaxton is dragged along with a group of his friends, to see Roman play.

What happens next, will change the course of all their lives forever.

Review: This is probably my favorite if not the strongest story I’ve read involving a polyamorous relationship in this genre. For male to male ménage stories, it’s always difficult to separate the sex from the “actual story” – that’s just dumb I know since they should go hand in hand but you get the drill right?

The chemistry between Roman, Ben and Jaxton was just off the chart I feel like combusting and that was just the effect of the sexual tension between these guys. At the beginning, I thought it would be better if Roman will just end up with Ben because the latter was just perfect and it hurts that he’s hurting. Initially, I thought Roman was being stupid for even thinking about Jaxton when he’s got the most perfect guy waiting for him at home. But then, this was supposed to be a ménage right?

Along with Roman’s backstory as a sixteen year old cello player unloved by his parents, we also got to know Jaxton as his first love. In Roman’s case, first love never dies and luckily for him, he was also Jaxton’s first love. Their bittersweet history was all we need to know why they can’t seem to let go of each other.

And we have the handsome and ever-helpful Ben. This guy was just perfect in every sense! I loved that he accepted Jaxton wholeheartedly into their relationship. That is true love he’s got there for Roman. Although I find their first get together and the decision making a bit too fast, I thought it was just too sweet at the same time.

The conclusion was just as perfect as the trio and I’d definitely love to read more from them because it feels like there’s more to their story that they need to share.

Miss White, this was a truly masterful piece! Congratulations!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars                                                       

Published April 10th 2015 by Hot Ink Press

National HIV Testing Week by DOH from May 11-15, 2015

The Department of Health is offering free HIV testing from May 11 to 15 in various social hygiene clinic nationwide.

HIV AIDS

FYI – as of February 15, 2015 the Department of Health has reported a total of 23,709 confirmed HIV cases since it started its survey in 1984.

There were 646 new recorded cases in February 2015, of which:

28% are aged 15-24;
51% are aged 25-34; and
96% are males.

The testing is also in lieu of the AIDS candlelight memorial to be held on May 17 to remember folks who died of AIDS.

To locate social hygiene centers nearest you, call any of the following 24/7 hotlines: (02) 256-3472; (0915)198-6978; (0922) 635-0270; (0936) 183-8963; and (0919) 638-5401.

Wag kayong mahiya na magpunta sa mga lugar na ito mga kababayan. Ako mismo eh nagpapasuri twice a year just to be safe. Mas mabuti ng may peace of mind at alam mo kung may dapat kabang alalahanin o wala. Besides, ang mga gagawing pagsusuri ay pawang confidential at ikaw at ang mga tagasuri lamang ang makakaalam. Kung kayo o may kakilala kayo na kinakailangan ang ganitong pagsusuri – makipag ugnayan lamang po sa mga numerong nasa itaas.

via http://www.doh.gov.ph/

Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 3 Episode 7 Photoshoot – The Girl Who Finally Cracks

This week’s episode left me reeling after one of my favorite models in any cycle of this franchise was ousted!!! Ouch!!!!

Things are heating up between Monika and Gani (unknowingly yeah? lols). The filipina model who landed at the bottom last week also patch things up with Tahlia which I’m not quite convinced from both sides tbh.

At the ridiculous very top model posing challenge with a hoola hoop, my dear, dear Melissa totally killed it  – lol – so crazy but so cute!!!

At the shoot, a big prize is up for grabs because the numero uno girl in said shot will be the new ambassador of Subaru – whew! pretty big!!!

During the shoot, Gani was okay but I’m starting to rethink my opinion about her. Amanda’s doing great IMO minus her blinking problems. Barbara was amazing so as Monika – yeah – what a revenge right??? This is Aimee’s worst shot IMO and Tahlia was just there – mediocre at best. And my dear Melissa ohlawd!

Monika is back on top!

Monika is back on top!

First Call Out – Monika and became the newest ambassador of Subaru along with Barbara!!!

Barbara

This is beyond what I expected from Barbara! She’s stunning! Just stunning!

Aimee

Aimee

Aimee’s theme is Wild along with Gani, I thought she delivered but it’s just too tame IMO

Amanda

Amanda

Gawd! Cutie Amanda looks “powerful” enough for me here! And Georgina, please this girl has got more potential than your favorite! *cough*

Gani

Gani

This is a great shot but I don’t see powerful here.

KB

KB

I honestly do not know what to make of KB  – she’s just sailing in the middle of the competition at this stage and girl needs to step up!

Tahlia

Tahlia

Say hallo to Monika for me girl ^_^

Melissa

Melissa

“I can’t believe what you said to me last night we were alone……”

2. Barbara
3. KB
4. Gani
5. Amanda
6. Aimee
7. Tahlia

Eliminated: Melissa (can you actually believe this guys??? she’s like one of the strongest model in the competition arrrggghhhhh!!!!!!)

I need some time to get over this loss….

images via Asia’s Next Top Model.

Book Review: Delsyn’s Blues (Vasquez & James, #2) – Lou Sylvre

Delsyn's BluesBlurb: Sonny James and Luki Vasquez are living proof that the course of love never runs smoothly. Ambushed by grief, Sonny listens to a voice singing the blues from beyond the grave. While revisiting the sorrows and failings of his past, in the here and now he puts up a wall against love. Just when Luki chips through that barricade, the couple becomes the target of a new threat from outside: an escalating and unexplainable rash of break-ins and assaults.

Thoughts of infidelity rise between them, a threat that may strain their newly mended love past its limits. To come through the trials alive and together, Luki and Sonny will have to unite against enemies who were once friends and overcome crippling hatred and overwhelming fear. If they succeed, maybe then they can rekindle the twin flames of passion and love.

***

I always find it annoying when an author intentionally makes her story predictable for the sole purpose of making the main character do something utterly stupid or commit some blunder.

I thought this story was just as shaky as the first book. It was erratic even due to Sonny’s “crazy moments” regardless of the supposed reason behind them. His characterization was just way too inconsistent.

And if you think about it, Luki brought all these debacles into Sonny’s life yeah? Hate crimes, drugs and all ( Hello?! Mariano Royce then Ladd??!!!)

I also find the repetitive sentiments in the book annoying – the ringtones, the cartoon references, the cigarettes, Sonny’s ESP-like intuition. Too over the top and indulgent.

I did not enjoy this as much as the first book but I’d definitely give the next book in the series a try.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Published January 2nd 2012 by Dreamspinner Press        

Australia’s Next Top Model Cycle 9 – Episode 1 Girl Gotta Do

Australia's Next Top Model Cycle 9The new season of Australia’s Next Top Model is very different from the last 8 cycles – this time, it follows the new format of the original franchise where the judges will give a score from 1 to 10 and will add it to the contestants challenge score (minus the social media score)

12 girls are vying for the title this cycle and Jennifer Hawkins will still be hosting and judging the show and returning judge Alex Perry is still part of the show (thank the gods for small blessings)

The first episode was aptly dedicated to the late Charlotte Dawson – one of the funnest judges in any Top Model series. I’m gonna miss ya big time girl!

The girls’ first challenge was (as usual) a fashion show with Lucy Markovic leading the scoreboard! Ayieda struggled thus getting the lowest score along with Cassie. The prettiest are the worst walker I swear!

The photoshoot was just perfect to gauge their ability to show their beauty in black and white portraits! And guess who actually went on to coach the girls?? fcuk! it was THE Alessandra Ambrosio! OMG!!! IKR????!!!

Here are the 12 girls in what looks to me a very intimate photoshoot in black and white. I just loved these kinds of shoots.

I personally loved Tanahya’s shot the most and I do not understand why Alex was totally way up there!

gone girl.

gone girl.

And did you agree with the judges eliminating Kaitlyn???

Scoreboard
1. Alex
2. Brittany
3. Izi
4. Tanahya
5. Phoebe
6. Jess
7. Lucy
8. Cassie
9. Jordan
10. Lauren
11. Ayieda

Watch Australia’s Next Top Model S9 Thursday at 730pm EST on Fox8

via Australia’s Next Top Model

Book Review: Loving Luki Vasquez (Vasquez & James, #1) – Lou Sylvre

Loving Luki VasquezBlurb: Reclusive weaver Sonny Bly James controls every color and shape in his tapestries, but he can’t control the pattern of his life—a random encounter with Luki Vasquez, ex-ATF agent and all-around badass, makes that perfectly clear. The mutual attraction is immediate, but love-shy Sonny has retreated from life, and Luki wears his visible and not-so-visible scars like armor. Neither can bare his soul with ease.

 While they run from desire, they can’t hide from the evil that hunts them. After it becomes clear that a violent stalker has targeted Sonny, Luki’s protective instincts won’t let him run far, especially when Sonny’s family is targeted as well. Whether they can forgive or forget, Sonny and Luki will have to call a truce and work together to save Sonny’s nephew and fight an enemy intent on making sure loving Luki Vasquez is the last mistake Sonny will ever make.

***

I actually find the story a bit odd yet very endearing. Odd because Sonny’s supposed “recluse artist” persona contradicts his actions in the book. He’s not withdrawn, he’s quite socially functional and he’s got a smart mouth which was pretty funny.

There was also the twist that was so out of nowhere I felt that the back-story wasn’t enough to support the whole premise. See, before our couple met, Luki was (supposedly) already under surveillance from his somehow very devious and smart half-brother Mariano Royce who’s already surmising that Luki will end up with Sonny James. Assuming much? Coincidence? Nah. That was just one of the weakest parts in the story.

I am however very much in love with the great chemistry between Luki and Sonny. The story telling was shaky but our couple is solid enough to merit this first book in the series 4-stars rating.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Published June 20th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press

Book Review: Healing Hunter’s Heart (A Little Bite Of Love #2) – Charlie Cochet

Healing Hunter's HeartBlurb: Months after being forced to leave his lover and mate Ari Jannsen behind, Hunter Devin settles into his role as Enforcer for the newly formed Deagan Clan under the rule of his new Alpha and best friend Tristan “Trip” Hagan. Along with Hunter’s brother Boone, their nephews, sister, and mother, Hunter finally has the family he’s always wanted, but without his little rebel Ari, his heart is incomplete.

The Hagan Clan is unable to accept the Deagan Clan’s betrayal for walking away and taking the clan’s pups with them. War looms. As both clans plan their attack, a greater enemy plots against them. But Hunter is determined to get his Ari back. Bonds are put to the test and unexpected alliances are made as Hunter and his clan set out to protect their own and end the spreading heartache.

I would like to say that I absolutely enjoyed this the way I enjoyed the first book An Intrepid Trip to Love but unfortunately, it just went flat for me.

Hunter and Ari’s love story lacks that vibrant flare we’ve seen from Trip and Boone. There weren’t enough dialogues as well. In all fairness to Hunter and Ari, the first book was injected with so much humor while this one just fell short with it. It was obviously more subdued but there ya’ll know that there is a good kind of subdued right? This story isn’t one of them though.

To sum this up, I thought there are just so many things happening in it, too many names to remember and too many contrived scenes. I am very sad that this didn’t go well for me. I will still be getting the next book in the series though because I loved me some Charlie Cochet and she’s a great author – this one just didn’t work for me.

Published April 24th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 3 Episode 6 – The Girl Who Ran Out Of Luck

This week’s episode was rather uneventful. Eight girls are still in the competition and as per usual, the girls are feeling the pressure and started really throwing shades at each other *cough* tahlia *cough* gani *cough*

As for the challenge, they would have to work as a pair and style themselves with each pair getting a fashion theme.

The winner of this week’s challenge was Tahlia who donned a boho look with Aimee and as for her prize, she was given extra five minutes for the next photoshoot and was then asked to  take five minutes from any of her competition and surprise! surprise! She chose Monika citing the latter’s success from the last two elimination. Unfortunately for Tahlia, it didn’t really work in her favor at all.

GaniGani looks amazing! That jaw! Gawd! Asian fierceness at its finest baby! Commercially Fierce!

AmandaAmanda’s still struggling keeping her eyes open. Ugh, baby A – what’s happening? I honestly loved the results though so boohoo judges!!! I thought her looks are to die for! >_<

AimeeI loved Aimee’s looks the most but I’m kinda distracted with the bangs…uhhmm no. Just no.

BarbaraBarbara looks her age in this shoot. Really, not a good thing. She’s no Jessica after all so she really needs to work on that. This was a bad week for her. Plus that attitude – tons of girls will kill for that spot baby! ugh

MonikaMonika’s having a hard time due to the time constraint but I thought she did okay although her shots are really mediocre. I’m kinda 50% agreeing with
Tahlia about her though. Plus there’s something too studied about her. Sorry boo.

KBKB was wonderful but I’m not really feeling much from her.

MelissaI love Melissa and she’s still one of my favorites in the competition but this is playing safe from her. Gotta agree with the judges though, this was more editorial than commercial! Cmon’ girl you gotta keep it up!

TahliaTahlia’s shots as I mentioned were okay but I’m not really loving the catty attitude.

First Call Out: Gani -yay! and winning a Zalora campaign no less!!!
Aimee
Melissa
KB
Tahlia
Amanda

Bottom Two: Barbara and Monika
Eliminated: NONE.

So there you go peeps! What can you say about the non-elimination episode this week?

pictures via asia’s next top model

Book Review: Painted Faces (Painted Faces #1) – L.H. Cosway

Painted FacesBlurb: Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn’t have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she’s around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn’t know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

***

 Nicholas Turner is a straight and fabulous drag queen called Vivica Blue. He’s not your ordinary love interest. Upon meeting Freda, his world became brighter saving him from the dark abyss of his painful past. But will love be enough to battle his demons?

I’m all good with some good sexual tension with characters and all but at 66%, I’m like screaming internally “Fucking do it already!” It was kind of frustrating at times. The slow burn was a big part of Freda’s internal battle against her insecurities and Viv’s – well, I’m kind of hoping that there will be more resolution regarding his past.

The pacing was a bit slow for me and although I absolutely loved their chemistry, I feel like there are so many unnecessary scenes that do not add much with the development of the story. I do not hate it but it was just flat for me from start to finish.

Published December 16th 2012 (first published December 14th 2012)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Spectacularly Broken – Sage C. Holloway

Spectacularly BrokenBlurb: Turns out naked and hungover on the floor is not the most strategically sound place to be when your dad comes home early. Take it from someone who learned the hard way: nineteen-year-old Lysander Shepherd – son of movie stars, spoiled brat, enthusiastic proponent of drugs and orgies… and now, unwilling resident of Oak Hill Manor, a retreat for troubled teenagers.

Before he knows what’s happening, his designer duds have been switched for tie-dye shirts in therapy team colors, and he is surrounded by an assortment of misfits: a timid nerd, a mute girl, a hyperactive kid… and captivating loner Cai Fields, who is admittedly pretty hot, but seems to hate the world in general and Lysander in particular.

Soon Lysander struggles with lies, withdrawal, and several uncomfortable revelations that he never intended to make, but he also gains surprising amounts of support right in the middle of secret late-night parties, fisticuffs over doing the dishes, and, of all things, croissant blackmail. Even as Cai and Lysander finally give in to the irresistible attraction between them and make a grasp for happiness, their darkest secrets remain – secrets with the power to destroy everything they’ve fought so hard to have.

This is Sage C. Holloway’s first novel and it’s nothing short of spectacular! It was very much like the kids from “The Breakfast Club” were transported into a retreat facility and with some twist and turn with the characterization; you’ve got yourself this wonderful novel!

I absolutely adore Cai and Lys here because they really do complement each other. I also loved the dynamics of their group as they became closer and started to bond and eventually became friends. I loved that you can easily picture each character and really root for them. Aside from the main couple, I find Nicky especially adorable.

Their issues are the typical troubled young adult issues – angst and all so that is nothing new in the story. The main pull of the novel though is the likeability of each character. Despite their rather troubling situation, the author makes it possible for readers to easily love them.

As typical as the story goes, I still end up loving every minute reading it. I would really like a follow-up from this spectacular debut! Congratulations Miss Holloway!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Published March 3rd 2015 by Loose Id