Category Archives: Books

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab

Published October 6th 2020 by Tor Books
Kindle Edition, 448 pages

It’s been months since I’ve read a new book, and today’s review is my very first in a very long time too. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab has been  on my radar since I’ve seen that Tiktok video, with a reader exclaiming how mind blowing it was and from the synopsis alone, it really is really quite intriguing. Oh, and this is also my very first book from the author! Party!

“France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.”

The story started with a bang. The first half is definitely enchanting enough for me to continue with it – like, I’m all in I wanted to finish this right away because I really wanted to know how it’d end for our protagonist kind of thing, and I was also very intrigued with how she would be able to navigate the world after she stops aging.

I mean, initially I was reminded of the film The Age of Adaline. Ya’ know, where the lead Adaline Bowman stops aging after some almost magical accident. It’s maybe because of the similar scenario of never aging, and of course, with their almost similar names but anyway…

The plot is definitely very interesting, but at some point the whole back and forth with the past and the present becomes too taxing for me, too repetitive and almost uninteresting. I thought the whole structure was just messy in a way that we were informed about Addie’s whereabouts at a particular time or era but we really didn’t see how she developed over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Addie’s character but it feels to me that after living for over three hundred years, you’d think that there’ll be a whole lot changes about her. Sadly, she’s still the same Addie we’ve met from the first few chapters of the story.

What I particularly liked about the book is the character of Henry. First, I absolutely loved that he is nonbinary. I think this is the first character I’ve read that is actually nonbinary. I’m totally in with the representation. Second, I loved how how his character is very well-developed – his backstory, his relationships and even his internal musings. They’re so very relatable.

Luc, the “god of darkness” Addie made a bargain with has a very interesting character too. I just wished that we get to see his point of view too? I mean, it’s going to sound a bit too much but with the way things turned out for him and for Addie – I don’t believe I’m the only one who wanted that development.

Overall, I thought it was a decent read. It’s not as mind-blowing as I expected it to be due to its hype but it had its moments. I just wished that the ending was tweaked a bit, since we’re given a scenario where Addie was somehow left in a limbo (?) if you wanna call it that. Yeah, it’s an interesting read. I don’t particularly see myself rereading this in the future but I’d still recommend it for people who loves this kind of fiction.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About The Author
V.E. Schwab, also known as Victoria Schwab, is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Shades of Magic series, This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet, and Vicious. Her work has received critical acclaim, has been featured in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, and more, has been translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been optioned for television and film. When she’s not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she lives in Nashville and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.

ICYMI: André Aciman’s “Find Me” – Sequel to Call Me By Your Name

Hey y’all Elio and Oliver fans! If you’re still hung up with Elio & Oliver from the book and film of the same name, Call Me By Your Name – then you’re up for a great weekend surprise as the book cover for the sequel to Call Me By Your Name, Find Me, has been revealed by André Aciman on his Twitter account. Aciman tweeted: “Here’s the cover of my forthcoming novel, FIND ME, where you’ll rediscover Elio and Oliver. Coming October 2019.”

I absolutely loved this cover!!!! It brings me back to that little Italian village when Elio and Oliver met for the first time!

And you guys know what this means!!!! A definite, definite film sequel! Although for those of you who have not read the book yet, (SPOILER ALERT!!!) it was actually already a bit conclusive in my opinion. So in this book, we may have Elio and Oliver just a bit older than the first one and it is still sadly going to be a bittersweet ending for our lovelies… But maybe the movie could end up on a happy note after all? Paging Luca, give us the ending we want please!!!

And for those of you who have not seen this film which should be a crime, tbh – you can now stream it on Netflix!!! Okkkuurrrt

Book Review: Peter Green and the Unliving Academy: This Book is Full of Dead People (The Unliving Chronicles, #1) – Angelina Allsop

Paperback, 244 pages
Published November 18th 2018 by Tck Publishing
Genre & Themes: Young Adult, Humor, Family, Death, Adventures, Magic, Horror
Characters: Peter Green

Blurb:
Fourteen-year-old Peter Green can’t remember how he died.

All he has are his pajamas, a silk tie, and a one-way bus ticket to Mrs. Battisworth’s Academy and Haven for Unliving Boys and Girls, a strange and spooky school for dead orphans like himself. But that’s all he needs: the Unliving Academy has everything, from vampires in the hallways, to monsters in the cafeteria, to ghosts in the basement.

And that’s just the teachers; the students are far stranger.

As Pete learns to fit in with his new supernatural schoolmates, he starts to discover his own uniquely undead abilities, and even begins enjoying his life after death…but he just can’t shake the feeling that he’s forgotten something (or somebody!) important.

Somebody he left behind in the land of the living.

Somebody he loved very much.

Somebody who’s in terrible danger.

Peter Green and the Unliving Academy is the captivating first installment of Angelina Allsop’s Unliving series of young adult fantasy novels. If you like reading about fun-filled adventures, fully realized new worlds, and the most unlikely of heroes, you’re sure to love Allsop’s spirited coming-of-age tale.

Fans of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the Charlie Bone Series by Jenny Nimmo, and The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton will enjoy this young adult fantasy series.

You’ll love the Peter Green series if you like reading these types of books:

Young adult and YA fantasy novels
Ghosts, zombies, and mythical beasts
Young adult adventure stories (less)

I am a fan of reading fantasy books, especially the ones that involves supernatural adventures. Enter Peter Green and the Unliving Academy which reminded me of the Harry Potter series right off the bat since it involves a school, kids and some sort of magic but this one is set in the afterlife and the school is for dead underage orphans! Pretty intriguing yeah?

The protagonist is Peter Green who cannot remember anything from his past life and finds himself in Purgatory. Being underage and without parents, he must attend school. It’s at the Unliving Academey that he met fellow ‘orphans’ and unique creatures which resulted to a ruckus of adventures and Peter finds himself in a journey of self-discovery.

I absolutely adore Peter. He’s such a great character and I loved how he’s a regular teenager but is polite, brave, loyal and isn’t afraid to show his feelings!

Granted, the beginning of the book for me was a bit slow but once it got to introducing new characters, it picked up speed and the arc for each character such as Mrs. Battisworth’s (the Academy’s headmaster) became interesting! Her story-arc is actually my favorite in the book.

Although it felt that the ending was a bit rushed, I still enjoyed all the elements in it. There was an instance that I tear up a little and I think that how I know that the story is a really good one if it was able to bring forth an emotion out of its readers.

I highly recommended this to middle schoolers and young adult readers – and yuppies like myself who loves the likes of Harry Potter!

Big thanks to TCK Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book to review in exchange for an honest review!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author
Angelina Allsop is an Amazon Best Selling Author who lives with her husband, Bryce, and their very old and very fat bulldog, Roree, in rural Arizona. She enjoys being outside on rainy days, reading, and of course, writing about all the adventures that happen in her head.

Her debut novel, The Dead Orphanage, now called The Unliving Chronicles, is an award-nominated Otherworld book that hit the top-selling charts in its first month. If you love fantasy adventure, mythical fantasy and young adult book then you will LOVE this coming of age adventure book! Look for the rest of the haunting series coming soon!

Books for Adults and School Agers are coming soon as well! Join my VIP mailing lists for updates, free books, and giveaways at AAAllsop.com.

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!

UPDATE: JANUARY 2020

I have this month-long e-mail exchange with Book Depository about my undelivered orders which they keep on trying to claim to replace but would go around in circles to avoid doing so. Bunch of thieves! Shame on you! Shame on you #Amazon, fucking thieves and liars!

And for the record, the books were ordered three months ago. They think, we shit money around here.

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