Category Archives: 3 stars

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 13th 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 328 pages

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Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

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I have little knowledge about fairie folklore and such but I do really like fairytales. Don’t know why I haven’t read that many but I’ll try to read some from now on. This was my first Holly Black book and it was an okay read for me not that it blown me away or whatsoever. But I found myself having a hard time putting this book down.

It was the relationship between Hazel and Ben that drawn me in. Through the characters we see the real brother-and-sister relationship.

Remember the old days where you used to be inseparable with your sister or brother? Spending the whole day just playing whatever stuff that comes in to your mind and sometimes dreaming of becoming a prince or princess someday. But things have changed when you both grew up. And you miss it when the memories came rushing back. Well, Hazel misses it too. When she and her brother used to hunt monsters together and dreaming of saving a faerie prince and their town Fairfold. Then the day Ben insisted to stop hunting and the day they both started keeping secrets to themselves.

And if you think about it you’ll realize it’s realistic enough to be believable that it somehow hurts. Unlike with some books out there that offer the same perspective that siblings are naturally born enemies, it’s great to see a different angle of that kind of relationship like what Ben and Hazel do have.

“I know you, Benjamin Evans,” Severin said. “Remember?”

He kept forgetting that Severin knew him, knew more about him than any person in the world.

It was in fact the reason why I considered reading this. It is not many books with lgbt characters written by non-lgbt-themed authors. So whenever they do I never hesitate checking them out.

The Ben-Severin thing is actually cute and I loved their shared moments together but their relationship alone wasn’t well-executed.

Obviously, there are two main characters in the story, Hazel and Ben. But it felt like Hazel is the only important character and Ben is rather a secondary one, her shadow, a background tree in a stage play. Poor Benjamin. I mean, there are barely scenes of him, I counted two or three chapters only. And most of them are told in a distant perspective. I never get to know who Ben really is. Let alone, Severin.

The spotlights are all to Hazel. She gets all the adventure, the thrill, the fun, the cool stuff. It bored the story, actually. And I was like, one more Hazel’s pov and I’m gonna put this down.

So when Ben and Severin started showing up again and whatever those things they do look foreign to us. Especially that surprising moment when Severin confessed his true feelings for Ben. Okay, I’ll be honest enough that it actually made my day. *Blush*

But it more felt like this:
O-okay? That’s cool bro. Not against it, really. But how come?

Yeah. That’s it. How come.

We need to see how it happened. You need to show us the development. How Severin came to that conclusion.

But all in all, it’s a good book. There’s a HEA. Interesting characters and plot. A beautiful setting. And a handsome faerie prince who loves a guy named, Benjamin.

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Review: Kian’s Hunter by R.J. Scott

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Title: Kian’s Hunter
Author: R.J. Scott
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Publication Date: March 19th 2014
Series or Standalone: Fire #1
Format: eBook, 2nd edition, 102 pages

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Please note, this book was originally a short story written in 2010. This version is inspired by that short story and is a complete re-write.

Kian has crossed over from his world to ours to seek revenge. His plan is to kill the monster who murdered his Uncle. The same monster who used magic to escape to our world and is hiding here and growing in strength.

Regan Campbell is a hunter of Demons. The first son, of a first son, he is the one who protects this world from the monsters that no one else knows are here. When Kian reaches this world, he knows Regan is the perfect man to fight alongside him, but Regan trusts no one. It isn’t until they are facing death and a terrible evil that will be let loose, that Regan finally realises he can trust another…his fated partner, Kian.

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This is a good story to start off the Fire Trilogy. The world bulding is pretty good and interesting with a parallel world concept, Fire magik, and demons. However, the two main characters, Kian and Regan, didn’t sit well with me. They are likeable MC’s but everytime Regan and Kian do something, they seem so distant to me that they are actually in there but I barely feel them. Eventhough the story is always about them still there’s no attachment made. And also, the story lacks chemistry. I did not see the spark when they become lovers, and their relationship looks forced.

The fighting scene against the Danio, which is supposed to be the strongest demon, is not handled well. They finished it off like a piece of cake. Though, I loved the magik fire idea, the demon hunting, and the bond thing. Those are interesting.

I think I’ll continue with the series. But I’m looking forward to the next installment that the MCs would be able to explore their world. Not just by Kian narrating it. Because there are some parts left vague in the plot and I want those to be cleared. And also I’m curious about who Darach really is.

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Review: GingerDead Man by Logan Zachary

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Title: GingerDead Man
Author: Logan Zachary
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: January 20th 2015
Series or Standalone: The Paavo Wolfe Mysteries #2
Format: eBook, 159 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Paavo Wolfe sells horror, but he isn’t prepared for what he finds in the baker’s oven. A body burns at his feet, and his ex, Detective Joe DeCarlo, is on the case. Joe is getting unwanted help investigating the crime from Paavo and his best friend, Stacey. While Paavo and Joe’s relationship is getting better, going uncover in the bathhouse isn’t going to help Paavo mend their issues.

A steam room stranger, the new bakery owner, and his landlord reveal grudges against the dead baker. Lured back to the sauna, the heat is turned up as Paavo embarks on a dangerous relationship. When the homeless shelter blows up, Paavo knows he’s in trouble and has to keep Stacey and Joe out of the line of fire. Can Paavo find the killer before everything goes up in smoke?

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Everything is good. I liked all the characters. They are interesting and funny sometimes. And they kept the story okay. Plus the fact that there are just so many gay guys in here. I’ve counted seven, I think.

The story starts with a hideous crime scene. And I didn’t like how it is executed. First thing in the list, some characters are obviously made look suspicious and guilty. I don’t know if that’s on purpose but it ruins the effectiveness of making this a crime story. Because you should let the readers think and guess. Especially if that certain character has nothing to do at all in the entire story. I’m talking about James McKenzie, his mysterious appearances are pointless. I just don’t get it. He looks very intriguing and seems to have something to do big on the plot. He’ll be seen sneaking up somewhere and eventually going to disappear, and occasionally the subject in someone’s coversation, that he is missing, which made him more suspicious. But the story ends giving him NO significance at ALL.

And the most annoying part is when Paavo Wolfe investigating the crime and comes up with an idea or realization. He’ll act like it is very unexpected. As if the readers didn’t know that from the very beginning. Because it’s freaking obvious.

There’s also this redundancy in the writing. Like after the murder, different people ask Paavo what really happened. But his explanation doesn’t need to be narrated in the story again and again.

The conclusion is quite cliche but because of Joe’s sweetness and the other characters’s awesomeness plus the cute dog, the story is still recommended.

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Review: Kapitan Sino by Bob Ong

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Title: Kapitan Sino
Author: Bob Ong
Publisher: Visprint
Publication Date: May 2009
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 166 pages

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THERE IS SOMETHING STRANGE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

Naunahan na naman ang mga pulis sa pagtugis sa mga holdaper ng isang jewelry shop. Bago noon, may iba na ring nakahuli sa isang carnaper; sumaklolo sa mga taong nasa itaas ng nasusunog na building; nagligtas sa sanggol na hinostage ng ama; tumulong para makatawid sa kalsada ang isnag matanda; tumiklo sa mga miyembro ng Akyat Bahay; sumagip sa mga mag-anak na tinagay ng tubig-baha; naglanding ng maayos sa isang Boeing 747 na nasiraan ng engine; at nagpasabog sa isang higanteng robot. Pero sino ang taong ‘yon? Maliligtas nya ba sila Aling Baby? At ano nga ba talaga ang sabon ng mga artista?

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Matagal ko nang nabasa yung libro pero ngayon ko pa lang gagawan ng review XD

Ang kwento ay umiikot kay Rogelio Manglicmot na sa kalaunan ay nalaman niya at ng kanyang kaibigan na si Bok-bok na may kakaiba siyang kapangyarihan.

Nang matutunan na ni Rogelio na kontrolin ang kanyang kapangyarihan at napagdesisyunan niyang maging isang Hero sa pangalan na ‘Kapitan Sino’. At nang malaman ni Rogelio na isang halimaw ang anak ng mayor ay tinalo niya ito. Pero halos nawalan na siya ni lakas ng loob ng mabuhay pa nang mamatay ang kanyang kasintahang si Tessa na siyang huling biktima ng halimaw.

Hanggang sa isang araw lumaganap amg isang epidemya at lahat ng mamamayan ay despiradong makahanap ng lunas. Napag-alaman ng kinauukulan na ang dugo ni Rogelio ay maaaring maging lunas.

Nagtapos ang kwento ng may makasalubong siyang isang amang may dala dalang batang may sakit at sinaksak nito si Rogelio nang malamang ang dugo nito ay ang lunas.

OKAY. Maikli lang yung libro gaya ng ibang akda ni Bob Ong. Isa ako sa mga tagahanga ni Bob Ong, at isa to sa mga kwentong muntik nang magpaiyak sa akin. Pero medyo naboring ako sa pagbabasa kasi medyo common na yung plot. Pero gaya ng ibang akda, pinapakita dito ang buhay buhay nating mga pilipino. Inilalarawan ng libro kung papaano madaling makalimot ang mga pilipino sa mga nagawa ng mga bayani sa ating bansa. Na sa kabila ng ginawa nilang mga kabutihan sa ating bayan, hindi nabibigyan ng halaga.

Yun lang.

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Review: VS Alien by Yu Suzuki

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Title: VS Alien
Author: Yu Suzuki
Publisher: Gen Manga Entertainment
Publication Date: April 10th 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback,174 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Kitaro must unravel a mystery between the two cutest girls in school. One claims the other is an alien! Is Sana Sakuma really a secret visitor from outer space or is this some elaborate prank? The mystery spirals in and out, back and forth, keeping you guessing unti the very end. Do you want to believe?

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There’s no doubt that this is one of the cutest manga I have read. This is the kind of book you should pick up whenever you’re in bad mood or just annoyed by the book you’ve recently read. It was a funny and light read. That will surely give smile to your face and brighten your day.

Everything about the story would keep you turn the pages and the art was fabulous. It added to the cuteness of the manga and gave more life to the characters. So I had no problem with discerning this certain character from the others. But the only con with this one was the ending. Yes, It was like a fantasy book with a protagonist fighting demons or monsters but it would end up with the character waking and realizing that everything was just a nightmare. Of course the character here wasn’t dreaming or whatever but close to the said idea. And also the realization was thrown out easily not giving the readers the chance to guess or think.

But I was serious earlier about this manga uplifting your mood. So still recommended.

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Review: Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales by Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman

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Title: Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales
Editor: Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: December 16th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 264 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Myth, magic, and monsters—the.stuff of childhood dreams (or nightmares) and adult fantasies. Delve into these classic fairy tales retold with a queer twist and surrender to the world of seductive spells and dark temptations.

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Few things about this book.

1. It is obviously a collection of retold classic fairy tales with a queer twist.

2. Yes buddy, You heard me right! With a queer twist. So don’t expect to see Sleeping Beauty waiting for handsome Prince Charming to rescue.

3. Mature scenes are visible in some stories. Yeah, there’s a lot. So if you’re a kiddo thinking that this is your fairy tale,  I’m commanding you right now to close your eyes and go back to your home and watch some disney cartoons instead.

Okay. This compilation is good. I mean, it gives us a lot of different variety of a short story in just a single book. Some stories were serious. Some were funny. Some were sad. Some were dark. And some were erotica. But not all the stories here were okay. Few were seriously dull. And boring. I had quite high expection with this book because the premise was really interesting. But I didn’t get the similarity of some retold stories to the original one. It somehow felt forced. Because the mature scenes became more prominent than the story itself. But some had really good and interesting version. So here’s my favorite:

1. Red by Andi Marquette (5 stars)
– I really really loved this version. The likeness to the original story was still there but with more exciting plot. The characters were lesbians, yet reading it wasn’t awkward. And I’d love to read more from this author.

2. The Vain Prince by Andrew J. Peters (4 stars)
– I liked the dark part of the story but the ending was a meh.

3. The Snow King by Rhidian Brenig Jones (3.5 stars)
– Everything was beautiful except the freaking seed part.

But I really liked this anthology and you would also like this too.

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Review: Polar Nights by T.T. Kove

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Title: Polar Nights
Author: T.T. Kove
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: July 13th 2012
Series or Standalone: Arctic Love #1
Format: Ebook,
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Andreas has been in love with
Christian for as long as he can
remember, but he’s also always
known it would remain one-sided. When he travels to Svalbard to take the last years of his Masters, spending time with Christian again brings back those feelings and makes life more than a little awkward.

The very last thing Christian needs is to have a very grown, very stunning Andreas living with him for a few weeks. Even the awkwardness between them is not enough to stop his attraction. Neither is the fact that Andreas is his sister’s stepson.

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This is actually a good story but not that enough to catch few reader’s attention. There were quite a lot of characters thrown out in here for a short story. But T.T. Kove still managed to give them short appearances. But the problem was, I coudn’t decide where to place my focus. Maybe the minor characters needed more of those appearances and since this is in a series, I’m hoping to see more of them in the next installment.

I liked the awkward moments between Andreas and Christian. They didn’t know what to do with each other’s company. And Andreas being tongue tied every time he talked to him. I thought it was cute. Though they were too old to do those kind of teen stuff. And I took notice the redundancy of describing the place. Yeah, I got the point that Svalbard is such a beautiful place, but stating it all over again was tiring. All in all, this still a good story to read.

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Review: Good-bye Geist by Ryo Hanada

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Title:Good-bye Geist
Author: Ryo Hanada, Julianne Neville (Translator)
Publisher: Gen Manga Entertainment
Publication Date: January 1st 2013
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 176 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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GEN Manga is Indie Manga from
the Tokyo Underground. GEN
Manga was made to give fans an
exclusive look at real doujinshi,
otherwise known as indie manga,
that they had heard about, but until now, unable to get their hands on. In its essence, doujinshi is manga traded among other manga artists. Manga for manga lovers!

Mystery is engulfing the face of Yuki’s high school and Yuki is caught in the middle. As she battles the exhausting crowds during her daily commute she, like many other young girls in Japan, is sexually violated. Meanwhile, a boy is secretly filming her and someone is brutally slaughtering cats. What does it all mean? Enigma spins into ever darkening chasms in Good-bye Geist!

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I got a little bit lost at the beginning of the story. Because the transition of the places were just so sudden plus the fact that the illustration was quite chaotic. So I was confused where the characters were and I also couldn’t quite distinguish who this certain character was from the others because for me, they all pretty looked the same. Things would somehow get better if the illustrator/author just drawn the manga nicer with some details.

But I liked how the simple love story presented in here despite with the dark atmosphere. And the conclusion was a  flashback and it was, I don’t really know what the proper word to use, but I was taken aback. Still recommend this to manga lovers out there.

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Review: Mr. Rumple and Mr. Grimm by Echo Ishii

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Title: Mr. Rumple and Mr. Grimm
Author: Echo Ishii
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: October 29th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Ebook, 96 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Claude Rumpel is a goblin turned human, living a quiet life in his little repair shop at the edge of town. He is in sore need of money to fund his inventions, and a cure for his hands, which he must keep covered at all times.

Daniel Grimm is half elf, descended from a wealthy family but now down on his luck. He is determined to restore his family’s prestige and has a daring plan to do so. The gold thread that Claude spins, and Daniel’s ability to sell it, seems a perfect plan for their goals. The casual sex is a pleasant bonus. But they are constantly thwarted from all sides: Daniel’s dealing with a powerful witch, the opposing magic of their lineages, and Claude’s dark goblin desires…

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I think this shouldn’t be a short story because the idea was just way too vast to be written in a short narrative. And there was no proper introduction to their world. Some important parts were left vague. Like, what the Scourge War was. No backgrounds were given. No explanations. Nothing at all. Things just happened so fast. And also, there were too many mythical creatures presented in this very short story. There were vampires, trolls, goblins, elves, faeries, witches, sorcerers, dragons, and it was also mentioned that there was a church, so probably there were humans. And the word ‘greek goddess’ was also presented. I don’t know how all these characters interact with each other or did the humans know that those creatures existed in their world? I have so many questions. And still, here I am left in the dark. Wandering.

Echo Ishii created such a big beautiful world. Yet haven’t explored it very well. Instead, she just focused only on the two protagonists. Though, Claude and Daniel were interesting characters. They started denying their feelings for each other but their actions spoke louder than their voices. I am really looking forward to see more of them with the dragon. That would be cool.

This was actually a very good story with some problems with it. But, still a good one.

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