Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Veronika Decides To Die – Paulo Coelho

Paperback, 210 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 1998)
ISBN13: 9780061124266

Blurb: Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.
Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn’t kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.
The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life’s final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before.

Veronika Decides to Die isn’t exactly an easy read. I had to stop reading it at some point because the first few chapters triggered my undiagnosed oudenophobia but I soldiered on because I just want to finish the damn book and it’s like a guessing game of whether Veronica would really die or not and if she really clocked out, what would be its cause aside from her apparent suicide attempt at the very beginning of the story?

Truth be told, I didn’t enjoy my second book from Coelho as much as I enjoyed The Alchemist. It reads ‘too academic’ and too outlandish in my opinion. Whilst I loved the secondary characters, their backstories and how well the author wrote it, the whole thing just felt disjointed towards the main character of the story. In short, we’ve several stories here with Veronica’s just leading the pack and closing it for the good masses.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO is considered one of the most influential authors of our times. His books have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide, have been released in 170 countries and been translated into 80 languages.

My First Book Depository Experience! (2019) – Free Book Delivery to the Philippines

I’ve been hearing a lot about Book Depository from friends (especially from Goodreads friends) for a few years now but I’ve never tried ordering from them. I loved books! I’ve reviewed a lot of ’em here and I loved reading ‘printed’ books with their smell, their feel in my hands – either old, second hand or brand new. There are not a lot of book stores in the Philippines so there are some titles that you really need to order / buy overseas.

Book Depository (previously The Book Depository) is a UK-based online book seller with a large catalogue offered with free shipping to over 160 countries. The store was founded by a former Amazon employee. In 2011 it was acquired by Amazon. (s)

The shipping fee is my biggest concern whenever I order online. It is because the post office here does not have standard guidelines when claiming packages (Actually they do but they don’t seem to follow it). There are horror stories that I’ve read about the post office peeps asking people to pay more or has the same price of the time that they are about to claim. What kind of BS is that, yeah?

And from my most recent experience (April 2018) when I won a book from an author in the US and had to pay PHP250 for me to claim a USD14.00 book. I asked what is it for and the guy from the post office told me that it was for custom duty. Ooookay… Nakakaloka talaga!

Anyway, Book Depository promises to deliver the books in your doorstep free so last Monday after some more procrastination, I finally decided to try ordering from the site. I ordered a couple of books just to try their service first.

First you have to create a Book Depository account through their website (obviously haha!) https://www.bookdepository.com and search the book you wanted to buy or you could simply browse their catalogue.

I ordered the movie tie-in edition of Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman and the first book of the THIRDS series Hell & High Water by Charlie Cochet last January 21, 2019 and you can see on the image below that they were dispatched at different dates. I actually emailed their support team about this and they said it is to avoid delay as they would need to get some books from separate warehouses or suppliers.

For now, it’s a waiting game for me and I wanted to see how true is their door to door delivery or if I will fall again to the hands of our ‘very dear’ local post office staff.

Update: February 6, 2019

After coming from our long holiday weekend, I found this on top my work desk. It looks like it was received by the local post office (Pasig) last Friday, January 1 and was delivered directly to my office address. Call Me By Your Name was the first book in my order that was initialy dispatched! It was well-packaged and totally brand new!

Upon checking the status of said order online, it was still under ‘Dispatched’ so I guess, there is no way for Book Depository to determine if the buyers have already received their books.

Now, I just have to wait for the other book I’ve ordered, Hell & High Water which was dispatched a day later after the first one.

Update: February 9, 2019

I’ve received my other order today and the stamp indicated that it was received by the Philippine Post Office in Pasay last February 5, 2019 (? – My address is in Ortigas Pasig).

The delivery time from when I clicked checked out on the website was about 18 calendar days – not bad at all! I am very impressed!

Book Review: Paradise Lodge – Riina Y.T.

Published December 3rd 2018 by NineStar Press
Genres and Theme: LGBTQI+ Romance, Music, Friendship, Holiday
ISBN13: 9781949909524
Characters: Azariah Bell, Ky O’Sullivan

Blurb: Azariah Bell is a nervous wreck. He isn’t prepared to spend the final week of the year with his best friend, Ky O’Sullivan, lead vocalist for their pop rock band, Moving Insignia—especially after the fight he caused before they parted ways two weeks ago.

Afraid of not being taken seriously by Ky, Azariah was concerned about what confessing his feelings would do to their friendship, or the band. He tried to keep his emotions in check, but instead, he exploded in anger over some petty issue, and now he’s potentially lost Ky forever.

Ky is looking forward to the band’s annual writing retreat for a week of songwriting and recording at a secluded mountain resort. Spending Christmas with his family gave Ky time to reflect on how he’d handled Azariah’s epic meltdown. It wasn’t good, and Ky is determined to uncover the true nature of Azariah’s unusual behavior. They didn’t keep secrets from each other, or so he believed.

Expecting to see the rest of the band when they arrive by helicopter, Ky and Azariah are shocked to learn they are alone at a deserted lodge. When they discover they’ve been set up by their bandmates so they can “sort it out,” their choices are few. But it’s critical for them to resolve their problems if they have any hope of enjoying the new year together, let alone make that new album happen.

I’m such a sucker for cute and angsty love story so it’s no wonder that I’d enjoy this one! I absolutely adore Ky and Azariah and I loved how they’re so oblivious with each other’s feelings, it was just so cute! I enjoyed their lovely backstory of becoming bffs right away and how their bandmates are all so supportive! The band actually reminds me of the wonderful guys in MJ O’Shea’s Catch My Breath.

Ky and Azariah’s personality are also something that I enjoyed here. Especially Ky – I just loved his ‘broody’ vibes! It was also cute how they have their akward internal monologues! And their sexy times!!! Whoot Hoot!!! I just loved it! I loved the transition in their relationship of being the best of friends to becoming lovers like nothing has changed since they’ve love each other for so long.

If you’re looking for a cute read, then this one short read you’d definitely enjoy!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Riina currently resides in Germany. She spent countless exciting days in the UK and US and lost her heart in Tokyo.
She would be thrilled if one day her stories could brighten someone’s day in the way those beautiful romances always lighten up her dull everyday life. Riina is looking forward to sharing many more stories with the world.
When she doesn’t daydream about boys in love, and isn’t glued to her Kindle, Riina loves to travel the world and explore the unknown.
Website: http://www.riinayt.wordpress.com

 

Coming Soon: Paradise Lodge by Riina Y.T.

If you’re like me who’s  looking for something to read over the holidays – then look no more because I’ve got you. I mean, NinePress Star will be releasing a holiday anthology that is surely going to tickle your boy to boy – men 2 men romance fantasies! That doesn’t sound dirty at all, is it? Haha!

Let me present to you of course the first story I’d be reading in the series – it is from one of my favorite people from Europe! 💙 From my good friend Riina Y.T. who wrote the very charming Spring, Bax and Butterflies and the super adorable Blame the Fireworks comes Paradise Lodge.

Azariah Bell is a nervous wreck. He isn’t prepared to spend the final week of the year with his best friend, Ky O’Sullivan, lead vocalist for their pop rock band, Moving Insignia—especially after the fight he caused before they parted ways two weeks ago.

Afraid of not being taken seriously by Ky, Azariah was concerned about what confessing his feelings would do to their friendship, or the band. He tried to keep his emotions in check, but instead, he exploded in anger over some petty issue, and now he’s potentially lost Ky forever.

Ky is looking forward to the band’s annual writing retreat for a week of songwriting and recording at a secluded mountain resort. Spending Christmas with his family gave Ky time to reflect on how he’d handled Azariah’s epic meltdown. It wasn’t good, and Ky is determined to uncover the true nature of Azariah’s unusual behavior. They didn’t keep secrets from each other, or so he believed.

Expecting to see the rest of the band when they arrive by helicopter, Ky and Azariah are shocked to learn they are alone at a deserted lodge. When they discover they’ve been set up by their bandmates so they can “sort it out,” their choices are few. But it’s critical for them to resolve their problems if they have any hope of enjoying the new year together, let alone make that new album happen.

I am super-excited to  read this one and enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed SBB and Blame the Fireworks!!!!

Preorder it here!

Paradise Lodge will be release on December 3, 2018 by NineStar Press.

About The Author
Riina currently resides in Germany. She spent countless exciting days in the UK and US and lost her heart in Tokyo.
She would be thrilled if one day her stories could brighten someone’s day in the way those beautiful romances always lighten up her dull everyday life. Riina is looking forward to sharing many more stories with the world.
When she doesn’t daydream about boys in love, and isn’t glued to her Kindle, Riina loves to travel the world and explore the unknown.
Website: http://www.riinayt.wordpress.com

Out Now: Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads #4) by Avery Cockburn

Finally! The long wait is over! Close to three years after the release of the last Glasgow Lads installment, we are finally getting Evan’s story. if you’re a big fan of the series like moi, you probably are very curious as well as to what pushes Evan to leave Fergus behind? A lot of us speculated that he’s a secret service agent, was blackmailed or he’s just a regular-ol’-a-hole but we all want a great redemption story right? So here’s the answer to all of our burning questions – Evan and his love interest Ben’s own book entitled Playing in the Dark! 

The popular Scottish gay romance series takes a thrilling turn, as a spy falls for a wedding planner who can’t keep a secret to save his life—literally.

Evan Hollister needs to feel real. He’s pledged his life to protecting the innocent, but heroism carries a heavy price. After his job forced him to abandon his last boyfriend, Evan vowed never to love—and hurt—another man. Now, a wedding planner with a kind heart and a goofy grin is taking a blowtorch to Evan’s wall of ice.

Ben Reid needs to feel safe. Burned by secrets in the past, he thinks knowing everything about everyone is the best way to keep people happy—to keep them, full stop. But after falling for a god-on-earth-gorgeous footballer spy, Ben learns that some secrets can never see the light.

When Ben’s same-sex weddings become a terrorist target, Evan must once again choose between the man he loves and the country he swore to defend. And Ben must find the courage to fight for what he needs—no matter the cost. 

I don’t know about ya’ll but I’m having my pre-holiday vacation next week I have this newly released book from Avery to read while enjoying the beautiful  beach of Boracay.

If you haven’t read the series you can get them from Avery Cockburn’s Amazon page. and of course, don’t forget this latest release from the series! (Read my reviews of the first three books by clicking this link)

I’d really try my best to contain myself and not read this right away because I really just want to savor the whole thing while enjoying my off from my dayjob!

You can order Playing in the Dark below!

About The Author
Hiya, I’m Avery Cockburn (rhymes with Savory Slow Churn). In a previous incarnation I wrote over a dozen novels for major publishers. Some of these books even won awards, which was pure awesome. But last year I decided to “go indie” so I could write exactly what I wanted, how I wanted, and publish as fast as readers wanted. Now my days are filled with beautiful men who play the Beautiful Game in the most beautiful place in the world—and who happen to love other beautiful men. It’s pretty much the best job ever.

I currently live in the United States with one infinitely patient man and two infinitely impatient cats. Readers make my day, so email me at avery@averycockburn.com, or sign up for my mailing list at http://www.averycockburn.com/signup to get loads of exclusive Glasgow Lads bonus material. Cheers!

ICYMI: New Release from Brad Boney – Brothers Across Time

I am a massive fan of Brad Boney and I’ve read (and reviewed) all of his published books so far – The Nothingness of Ben, The Return, The Eskimo Slugger, Yes – and enjoyed each one tremendously!

Brothers Across Time is a sweeping saga of family and friendship that spans four centuries, three love stories, two generations—with one unassuming but kick-ass gondola…

Over three years after the release of Yes, Brad is back with another story that will surely render his avid fans (yet again) in awe of his talent and captivate new readers with his heartwarming/wrenching storytelling with absolutely memorable characters!

Tony Bass longs for an adventure, and on a sleepless night in 1997, fate is about to deliver. His random encounter with twin brothers at first seems unremarkable, since it takes more than period costumes to stand out in Austin, Texas. When pressed for an explanation, the twins make an astonishing confession. They have traveled across time from sixteenth-century Venice.

Once Tony learns their enchanted gondola goes both ways, he convinces his brother Frank to take a vacation to 1590. There, Tony meets the beautiful and enigmatic Isabella, the daughter of a Venetian senator. But what begins as an innocent flirtation ends in crisis when Isabella gives birth to twin sons. The boys must be separated and raised in different centuries.

Eighteen years later, an American teenager boards the gondola and returns to the past to find his brother. While a struggling young man in old-world Padua embraces an unexpected future, which might just include romance with a handsome stranger.

I am still in the process of writing my review so do watch out for it but let me tell you right now that I absolutely loved it!!!

You can buy you copy in the Amazon Link below:

AMAZON BUY LINK: BROTHERS ACROSS TIME

About The Author
Brad Boney lives in Austin, Texas, the 7th gayest city in America. He grew up in the Midwest and went to school at NYU. He lived in Washington, DC and Houston before settling in Austin. He blames his background in the theater for his writing style, which he calls “dialogue and stage directions.” His first book was named a Lambda Literary Award finalist. He believes the greatest romantic comedy of all time is ’50 First Dates’. His favorite gay film of the last ten years is ‘Strapped’. And he has never met a boy band he didn’t like.

Film Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Lara Jean played by Lana Condor wrote love letters to all the boys she ever had a crush on since childhood but kept them in a box until her younger sister , Kitty stole the letters and sent them to the boys she apparently “loved.”

I’ve read a few chapters of the book a couple of years back but never had the energy to finish it not because it’s bad but it was just not my cup of tea. Now, after watching its film adaptation, it made me want to go back to the book and reread its entirety.

I’ve tremendously enjoyed the film. First, I loved the casting of Lana Condor as its protagonist Lara Jean. She’s very relatable and has a really good screen charisma. I could still recall when I was reading the book’s first few chapters, I was imagining Cho Chang (Katy Leung) playing Lara Jean. Lana was such a good choice for the role paired with Noah Centineo‘s super charming appeal. I so loved their chemistry!

Although Lara Jean’s character isn’t as dynamic as I expected her to be, I loved the subtle discovery of herself over the course of the film. As an aging millennial, I could easily relate to what she’s gone through what with her unrequited love and teenage longings.

The film may be full of clichés but it’s the good kind of clichés. It’s a movie targeted for the young ones if I may say but if you’re like me, you’d get a nice throwback feeling watching it.

Based on the novel of the same name by Jenny Han
Director: Susan Johnson
Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, Trezzo Mahoro, King Bach, Joey Pachecho, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, John Corbett, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac

Rating: 3/5

Book Review: In Other Words…Murder (Holmes & Moriarity, #4) – Josh Lanyon

36546081Published July 13, 2018 by Josh Lanyon
Genres & Themes: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Murder, Romance, Family
Ebook Edition, 215 pages
ISBN13: 9781945802263
Characters: Christopher “Kit” Holmes, J.X. Moriarity

Blurb:
Mystery author Christopher Holmes, now comfortably married to sometimes rival, sometimes nemesis J.X. Moriarity, is starting a new career as a true crime writer when threatening anonymous notes start arriving.

Even worse, Christopher’s ex also arrives–asking for help locating the man he left Christopher for!

It’s life–and death–as usual at Chez Holmes. In other words… Murder.

It’s been ages since I’ve read something from Josh Lanyon and reading the fourth book off her Holmes and Moriarity series made me realized how much I missed her storytelling and it reminded me how much I absolutely loved almost all of her catalogue!

In Other Words…Murder is no exception. I absolutely adore this installment of the series where we see J.X. and Kit being all so domestic with each other, much more the inscrutable and super adorably funny Kit! I could totally picture him being all so awkward, snooty and of all things – romantic!

I totally enjoyed the mystery here. There are three things that are happening at the same time so I was a bit puzzled at first on how the author would tie up all the loose ends and being the awesome Josh Lanyon, ofcourse she’d find a way to do it neatly and I’ve to say that I’m more than satisfied with it.

This is highly recommended for the fans of the series and for those who have not had the chance to read anything from Ms. Lanyon, I suggest you start with this series and you’d definitely won’t regret it!

My only problem about the whole thing is the last page where she said that the next Holmes and Moriarity installment is still in 2020!!! Ugh. That’s like forever!!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About The Author
A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – The Movie

Okay, calm down. We all need to calm down for a bit. Over the weekend, the ever so lovely Mr. Saenz tweeted a photo of him with Henry Alberto – the guy who apparently got the nod from our beloved author into writing the screenplay of the award-winning Young Adult book, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I mean, screenplay. Like screenplay! Are we just months or years away from the very own movie of our dear Ari & Dante? Gosh! I was hoping for this for the longest time since I’ve read the book and I do know that eventually it’ll be translated into the big screen but having an acknowledgement that it would indeed be on the silver screen in the future is such a euphoric feeling!!!

Now, let’s just zoom past into the future as to who should be playing the main lead! If I were the casting director, it’d be awfully difficult for me to cast this once in a lifetime roles!!! Who are your Ari & Dante?

Book Review: Once Upon A Western Shore (The Tyack & Frayne Mysteries, #9) – Harper Fox

Published April 30th 2018 by FoxTales Publications
Genres & Themes: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Death, Romance, Family
Kindle Edition, 160 pages
ASIN: B07BC9QNTS
Characters: Lee Tyack, Gideon Frayne

Blurb: It’s May Eve, and for once the body discovered in a meadow isn’t Gideon’s concern. The remains are decades old, and Gid and Lee are free to enjoy a proper Cornish Beltane, with maypoles, mirth, and a wild, sexy dash into the greenwood.

When trouble flares, it’s from an unexpected source: Tamsyn, after a quiet few months, suddenly manifests terrifying new paranormal powers. She can’t be kept hidden forever, and working out how to shield her is enough to drive a wedge even between these most united of parents.

Then Gideon’s cold case becomes a hot one for Lee. The dead man in the field has been forgotten by the living, but his memories are vivid and riding wild on the wind from the sea. No-one can act out his unfinished business but Lee, and it’s going to take all Gideon’s strength and love to get him through the ordeal.

Beltane magic past and present sweeps through Cornwall as Tamsyn steps into her powers, and the witches of the western shore look set to pay a dreadful price unless Gideon and Lee can bring to light the truth buried so long ago.This is another wonderful addition to the series! My favorite family! One of my favorite couples of all time! I just loved the whole thing about Tamsyn’s growing powers. She really is becoming what she’s supposed to be – the witch of Bodmin! I loved that we get to see Gideon and Lee’s domesticity here towards each other and towards their little girl. The whole plot feels like an ordinary day for this extraordinary family but it gets to you. The writing, the characters’ dynamics and the future of the series makes you all so excited! This is a superb read for the fans of the series – there’s a few tears here and there and a bit fo a surprise as well! It’s definitely worth reading and buying!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Harper Fox is an M/M author with a mission. She’s produced six critically acclaimed novels in a year and is trying to dispel rumours that she has a clone/twin sister locked away in a study in her basement. In fact she simply continues working on what she loves best– creating worlds and stories for the huge cast of lovely gay men queuing up inside her head. She lives in rural Northumberland in northern England and does most of her writing at a pensioned-off kitchen table in her back garden, often with blanket and hot water bottle.

She lives with her SO Jane, who has somehow put up with her for a quarter of a century now, and three enigmatic cats, chief among whom is Lucy, who knows the secret of the universe but isn’t letting on. When not writing, she either despairs or makes bread, specialities foccacia and her amazing seven-strand challah. If she has any other skills, she’s yet to discover them.