Category Archives: Book Review

Book review: Cat Sebastian’s “The Ruin of a Rake”

I thought news about gay rights in India would be appropriate as a character in the novel spent his childhood in India.

As a young kid, I’ve read my fair share of historical romance. As a child with an interest in history but a lack of history teachers enthusiastic about the subject they were teaching, these books let me take a peek into those eras, and had the added bonus of having some kissing in them as well.

But, as expected of books at the time — early to mid 90s — gay people were either not there, an antagonist, or an inconsequential side character. It wasn’t something I noticed when I was reading them back then, of course, but now seems spectacularly obvious now that I’m old and decrepit.

A gay historical romance wasn’t something I ever even considered, stupidly enough, so I was really excited to read Cat Sebastian’s “The Ruin of a Rake” when Mina lent me a copy. It’s technically my first gay historical romance — I don’t think “Maurice” counts — so I was ready to be wowed!

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Book review: Madeline Miller’s “Circe”

I’ve been waiting for this for so long you would not believe!

In case you guys didn’t know, I love Madeline Miller’s “The Song of Achilles“. I finished reading it during a cremation and I have a sneaking suspicion that people thought I was crying for the dead but I literally was crying at the part where Patroclus had to witness Achilles’ death.

At the time, I honestly didn’t know if Miller was ever going to follow that up with another work, and for the most part I had been happy that she had at least that one novel in her. So imagine my surprise when I saw a copy of “Circe” on the shelves of National Bookstore! I freaked out a bit about it on Twitter.

Of course, a seven year wait doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Add to that the fact that the sophomore slump is a real thing. Then add to that the fact that I had really high hopes for this novel, and you may have a recipe for disaster. Will “Circe” be as luminous as “The Song of Achilles”? Or will it fail to achieve immortality?

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Book review: “Fab & Proud: An Anthology of LGBT Stories”

I haven’t watched it yet, but I’ve been told it is excellent representation!

Considering that my previous interval for blog posts was a literal year and some change, I think it’s not bad that I have another blog post to put up this Pride Month. Yay, I guess?

Like I said in my previous blog post, I’ve only planned on reading LGBTQ-themed books this month, starting with Precious Hearts Romances’ Pride Lit line. I’ve already reviewed Leonna’s “Mahal Kita, Pero–“, and now I’m posting my review of the line’s short story collection, “Fab & Proud: An Anthology of LGBT Stories”. Will I like this more than I did “Mahal Kita, Pero–“? Or would I have to deal with the same problems in this collection?

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Book review: Leonna’s “Mahal Kita, Pero –“


Happy Pride Month everybody!

So. It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged — more than a year! — and I legit had actual difficulty logging in to this blog again. BUT! I am slowly, slowly trying to make my way back to regular blogging, and what better time to do it than during Pride Month? When I am at the height of my powers.

All the books I’m going to review for this month will be LGBT books, starting with Precious Hearts Romances’ Pride Lit line, made up of “Mahal Kita, Pero –“, “Fab & Proud: An Anthology of LGBT Stories”, “Oh, Boy, I Love You!”, and “Left Brainer Community”.

I, admittedly, have not had a great experience with Precious Hearts Romances that have dipped into the LGBT experience — please see my review of Owwsic’s “Lesbi In Love”. Will Leonna’s “Mahal Kita, Pero –” fare any better? Read on under the cut!

Continue reading Book review: Leonna’s “Mahal Kita, Pero –“

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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