Category Archives: Book Review

Book review: Jennifer Hallock’s “Under the Sugar Sun”

Several weeks ago, American author Jennifer Hallock came here to the Philippines to deliver a talk on how she does her research for the Philippine-set historical romances that she writes. It was a great and informative talk, with lots of *ahem* visual aids.

I have to confess that when I attended the talk, I was only barely a quarter into reading Under the Sugar Sun, the first book to be published in the Sugar Sun series. I got all the incentive to finish the book after that talk, though!

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Book review: C.P. Santi’s “Dare To Love”

Oh Mylanta, it’s been six months since I last put up anything on this here blog. So many things happened — a new job, even more #romanceclass events that I love going to  ut can’t seem to write about, and the daily struggle of trying to finish something creative.

Lost in all of that was my plan to post a review of C.P. Santi’s Dare to Love. I was given an ARC of this and even had time set aside to blog about it, but life and responsibilities piled up and now here we are, posting about it five months after I finished reading it.

When I was asked to review this new book by C.P. Santi, I didn’t hesitate at all as i enjoyed her work in  Maybe This TimeAs I’ve never read a full-length work from her, I wanted to know what she would be able to do beyond the restrictions of a short story.

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Book Review: owwSIC’s “Lesbi In Love”

In case you guys didn’t know, Come To My Window is a lesbian anthem.

SO. Guys. It’s been what…three months? Three months since I last posted anything. Believe you me guys, I had plans to do more posts since Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I wanted to write about all the great work #romanceclass has been doing, how great the reception was for #romanceclass at the Manila International Book Fair, and a host of many other things.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I re-entered the rat race, and getting back on the corporate carousel often had me just faceplanting on whatever flat surface as soon as I got home. It was that or I didn’t want to do even more writing after spending the whole day writing.

So what is it that finally lifts me up from the blogging/writing rut I’ve found myself in recently?  As with most aspects of my life, rage and indignation is what’s got me going now. See, at the Manila International Book Fair, Precious Hearts Romances launched their Rebel Fiction imprint, and one of the books launched was Lesbi In Love. Here’s the blurb:

Mary Jovelyn Salazar or MJ for short can’t feel any sexual attraction towards the opposite gender. Sagad hanggang buto ang pagkainis niya sa mga lalaki. Mas gusto pa niyang magsuot ng mga damit-panlalaki kaysa magpaka-girly girl. Secretly in love din siya sa best friend niyang babae mula pa noong high school. Kaya, bakit may nararamdaman siyang something kay Ross Eliseo Valentin, ang notorious playboy ng school campus?

Can someone enlighten her, please?”

Oh boy.

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Book Review: C.P. Santi’s “Maybe This Time”

Traditional American publishing may from upon short story collections — unless you’re Neil Gaiman, of course — but it’s always had a place in Philippine literature. Gilda Cordero-Fernando had The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, while Nick Joaquin had Prose and PoemsPop Stories for Groovy Kids, and Gotita de Dragon and Other Stories.

I definitely have no problems with it at all. As you all know, I’m even part of a collection of short stories entitled Kids These Days: Stories from the Luna East Arts Academy (which you can buy here and here!) so I didn’t think twice when I was asked to review C.P. Santi’s collection of romantic short stories entitled Maybe This Time: Stories of Love and Second Chances. 

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Book review: Tara Frejas’ “Scandalized”

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Anyone who’s had even just a passing encounter with this blog knows that I haven’t had the best luck with books that feature a romance with a KPop star. There was the thrilling saga that was the Popped trilogy, and the one problem I had with Carla De Guzman’s  Cities was the fact that parts of the novel so perfectly captured the tropes of K-Drama that I had difficulty making my way through it.

Naturally, I went into Scandalized very, very apprehensive. The premise hews a little too closely to that of Popped Too, and boy did I not enjoy that. Will Scandalized frustrate and infuriate me in equal measure? Or will this finally be the work that breaks the KPop curse?

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Book review: Kate Evangelista’s “No Holding Back”

If you’ve been following this blog for as long as it’s been around – five years now? – you’d know that this blog has been an early supporter of Filipino author Kate Evangelista.  I featured her as far back as 2012, when she only had Taste out in stores. Then, I featured her twice in 2014: one was an interview, while the other was a review of Savor

She hasn’t stopped putting out books since then, and her most recent offering, set to be out in the wild on October 18 this year, is an M/M romance entitled No Holding Back. I was fortunate enough to be provided an ARC by Kate herself, and I’m more than happy to share my thoughts on the book under the cut!

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Your week in books#42

Confession: I’ve only watched three episodes of Game of Thrones

  • George R. R. Martin says that there will be twists in the upcoming Winds of Winter that won’t be in the HBO show. As everyone knows, the series has already overtaken the books when it comes to the events that happen, so whatever happens from this point forward is anybody’s guess. (The Guardian)
  • If any of you guys follow me on my Goodreads account, you’ll know that I’ve taken up to reading comics again – yes, despite that horrible time in my childhood – and I’ve been having a really great time with it. As such, I’ve been keeping abreast of comic book news. io9 has news on Marvel’s Timely Comics imprint, its latest initiative to keep new and lapsed comic book readers up to date on what’s happening in the Marvel Universe. (io9)
  • I recently got myself a Netflix account, and it has been a glorious timesuck that has kept me from being productive during days off. While I haven’t gotten around to watching Making  Murderer just yet, I do know that it’s immensely popular. That may be good for Netflix, but apparently it’s not so good for Wisconsin prosecutor Michael Griesbach – his book has experienced an upsurge in negative reviews ever since the documentary became popular. (Galleycat)
Finn Jones
Finn Jones
  • Just to keep the Game of Thrones thread going, The Hollywood Reporter says that Ser Loras Tyrell has been cast as Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, in the latest Marvel Netflix series. As you can see via attached photo, Finn Jones is very white. A petition had been going around to have an Asian-American play the role of Danny Rand, so this bit of casting news has a lot of people disappointed. I, personally, echo the sentiment of Comic Book Resources Albert Ching: Isn’t having an Asian-American – specifically one partly East Asian – equally as racist? Just because it’s about martial arts, it has to be an Asian-American of East Asian descent? (The Hollywood Reporter, Comic Book Resources)
  • Finally, people my age grew up reading those Archie digests on the way to and from school. ADMIT ITDECADES LATER, the CW is making a live action show out of it, and have assembled a cast of predictably hot teens and twentysomthings-as-teens. Kiwi actor KJ Apa has been cast as Archie Andrews, and just based on the photos you’ll see under the cut, I may just tune in and watch the show! (The Mary Sue)

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Book review: Lena Bourne’s “His Whims”

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Would you look at that? Yet another post, just a week after the last one! Am I getting back into the swing of things? I SURE HOPE SO.

This week, I was asked to be part of the blog tour for Lena Bourne’s His Whims, the first part in her His Forever serial. I thought that it would be a good choice as I start getting back into the swing of things, as it’s only 27 pages long and 9,000 words short. Will I end up regretting this choice? Or is this just what i need to get my blogging groove back?

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Your week in books#41

SHUT UP I LOVE JADINE

I know, I know, it’s been two months since I last updated. In my defence, work has been…work, and I have spent whatever free time I have sleeping or curled up in a fetal position watching James Reid and Nadine Lustre videos.

BUT I’M HERE NOW. Let’s take a look back at the week in book news!

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Book review: Anne Rice’s “Beauty’s Kingdom”

To be clear, 50 Shades is a very, very different animal from any of Anne Rice’s Beauty books.

I’ve talked about how I used to be a big Anne Rice fan before, and that fan worship certainly extended beyond her vampires and witchcraft books. It was a little difficult for me to work through The Feast of All Saints, but I did have a great time reading ViolinBelinda, and her BDSM books – Exit to Eden, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release.

These non-supernatural books all have the sensuality that made Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles famous, and more often than not are much more explicit than any of Lestat and his cohorts. After all, Belinda is a riff on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, while Exit to Eden, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release all became a hit with the BDSM community at the time – something you can’t say about 50 Shades.

But that was literal decades ago, and Anne Rice has had a roller-coaster of a career since then. If Prince Lestatis anything to go by, it looks like she may be getting her vampires back in line. But can the same be said for her erotica? The last book in her Sleeping Beauty series came out in 1985, Belinda came out in 1986, and bookstore shelves have so much more erotica now than they did back then. Does Rice still have what it takes to compete in a much more crowded field?

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