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January 2013

Publishers Publicists Note

By Amazon, Books & AuthorsNo Comments

Dear Publishers Publicists,

I read a variety of books (see Book Lists) and review them on this blog. I get roughly three thousand unique visitors (with between 65-85,000 hits) per month, mostly through Google searches for specific book reviews.

Recently I’ve been approached by Publishers Group UK and Headline Publishing with titles to read and review. Both have been impressed with my reviews and asked me to review further books. I am grateful to Publishers Group UK and Headline Publishing for the free titles and feedback on the reviews.

Here are some samples of my reviews, so that you can see my writing style and the sort of things I comment on:

As you can see from the samples I always try to be honest focusing on the positives. I write reviews to share good literature with my readers and always include a link (usually to Amazon) where they may purchase the book.

So If you’ve got a book you’d like me to review please contact me. Include in your email: the title, author and some information around what the book is about. If you would like me to review the book before it’s release date let me know and were possible I will try to accommodate. I prefer printed samples as I don’t have a Kindle or other Ereader.

When I’ve receive the title a link will appear on the On My Bookshelf For Reading… or I’m Reading… sidebar of my site.

Then once I’ve written the review I’ll email you back with a date & time of the review being published, a direct link where it will be available and the text of the review. You will be able to share, quote and tweet the review wherever you like.

Look forward to hearing from you,


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Book Review: Split by Mel Bossa

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
split-book-cover In Split by Mel Bossa we meet twenty-eight year old Derek whose recently moved into a new condo with his boyfriend Nathan. Derek’s quiet, stutters when he speaks and has red hair. He’s had a hard childhood, his mother had a mental breakdown after she lost an unborn and afterwards his father worked away a lot.

Nathan is a ‘closer,’ big in the Sales world. He loves Derek and pays for everything, giving Derek a life of luxury. Nathan proposes marriage to Derek and he is unsure but accepts. One day while Nathan is away at a Sales Conference in London, Derek’s Aunt Fran comes round to see him and the new condo.

I immediately sensed that Derek and his Aunt Fran have a close relationship. Aunt Fran still smokes even though she’s got cancer and throughout Derek’s turbulent childhood was the one stable adult influence.

Aunt Fran presents Derek with his diary that he wrote at 11 years old. In this diary he writes to Bump, his mothers unborn. Eleven year old Derek is naive and just starting to experience puberty, we’ve all been there so it’s completely relatable and gives the reader a lot of empathy for him. Derek is about to read about his traumatic childhood and so are we the readers.

As we read the diary entries we are introduced to Derek’s neighbours the Lund family. Boone Lund is Derek’s age and his best friend; Lene Lund is younger and is eccentric but very funny; and Nicolai is wild. Derek can’t eat around Nicolai, craves to be around him and have his attention and realises when Nicolai disappears that he loves him.

We discover that Derek bottles up his emotions until he explodes; think of a pressure cooker – if you don’t release the steam sooner or later it’s going to explode. Derek’s inability to express his feelings resulted in asthma attacks in his childhood; but in present day his emotions are building up again as he faces the past and finds himself back in contact with Boone, Lene and Nicolai.

Bossa’s use of diary entries is a brilliant idea and one that is very well executed. I did feel that some of the diary entries were longer than necessary whereas others were shorter than I would have liked. Bossa’s mix of diary entries along with events in the present kept the storyline moving along at a good pace.

In the present Derek learns to express his emotions, finally finding his voice towards the end of Split. This leads to an extremely satisfying happy ending that leaves the reader contented. The ending of the book is stretched out but this only gives the reader more of the happy ending to enjoy.

On a personal level Split filled me with hope for love and I found myself wishing for a love that Derek comes to experience at the end of the book. This made Split a piece of literature that is beyond superb and that I will read time and time again.

Considering that Split was Bossa’s first novel it is incredible. Bossa should be proud of Split and her unique writers voice that gives her a gift for story telling. I’ve become a fan of Bossa and still have Suite Nineteen of hers to read and review. After that I will have to eagerly await future books.

As always I’d like to thank Publishers Group UK for sending me Split by Mel Bossa to read and review. Split by Mel Bossa is available to buy on Amazon. I’d recommend Split by Mel Bossa for any gay man who wants some inspiration to believe in love.

Review soon,


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Mini-Reviews: Films I’ve Watched Recently, Part 3

By Amazon, Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

Welcome to the final part of my Mini-Reviews of Films I’ve watched recently. The second part is here: Part 2 and the first part is here: Part 1. I know I’ve got a bit delayed in writing this post (it’s been sat in my Drafts for a while) and that I haven’t wrote any other film reviews recently, but that’s because I’ve read so many fantastic books I’ve wanted to share with you. Anyway onto the films…

The Vow (2012)
In The Vow (2012) Paige and Leo are a married couple who are still very much in love. They leave a theatre walking to the car in the freshly falling snow. Once they get into the car Paige rubs her bitterly cold hands together; Leo takes her hands into his, puts them near his mouth and gently blows warming them up with his breath. On the drive home Leo stops at a red light. Paige unbuckles her seatbelt to kiss him and a truck hits the back of them. Paige is knocked through the windscreen.

Afterwards at the hospital Leo recovers well, remembering back to how they met and how their relationship developed with the audience being shown a montage of these events. Paige is in a coma and when awakens she has permanent amnesia, remembering nothing about her life with Leo.

Paige goes back to the last people she remembers loved her, her family. Paige goes back to her apartment with Leo and starts to try to piece together the bits of her life she can’t remember. Paige discovers that she doesn’t have many photos of her family and asks Leo about it. Leo tells Paige that she wasn’t that close to her family. Paige and Leo drift apart with Leo heartbroken.

Paige rediscovers why she wasn’t close to her family, rediscovers her forgotten passions and in the final scenes in the film rediscovers Leo. Leo goes to get something to eat at what used to be their favourite place before the car accident; but it’s closed because of a Snow Day, as he turns to leave he sees Paige. Paige suggests they try an alternative place they used to go to when this place was closed, but they agree to try somewhere new. The ending implies a happily ever after as they walk off to experience a mexican place round the corner both going for this new experience together.

This film is inspired by a true story and without doubt is one of the best love story films I’ve seen in a long time. It has happy ending that leaves you feeling good. The actress playing Paige was brillant, but the actor playing Leo wasn’t. I have watched this film again and again and still enjoy it. If you’re into love stories with a happy ending you’ll love it.

The Wicker Tree (2010)
The Wicker Tree (2010) starts in Texas, America with the Cowboys for Christ evangelical group. They are dispatching Beth (a Pop Star turned evangelical Christian) and Steve (her boyfriend) to Scotland to spread the word of God. Beth & Steve have purity rings meaning they wont have sex before marriage.

The story is somewhat forgettable, but from what I can remember Beth & Steve are negatively received when they arrive in Scotland. A Lord and his wife invite Beth & Steve to stay with them in a small village to convert some of the locals. Beth & Steve accept, but what they don’t know is that the whole village is pagan led by the Lord and his wife.

Once there Beth struggles with an internal conflict between what she wants to do and what the church says is right. Steve is quickly corrupted by a beautiful blonde. The film ends with Beth & Steve becoming part of the local pagans sinister May Day celebrations.

Up! (2009)
Up! (2009) is an animated film by Pixar and is one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen. Carl is a young child obsessed with Charles Munts an adventurer who brings back a giant bird skeleton from Paradise Falls (South America). He meets Ellie whom also loves adventure and wants to go to Paradise Falls.

Carl & Ellie become good friends and then an emotionally touching montage starts showing them falling in love, getting married, losing a baby & being told they’ll never have children, starting to save for a trip to Paradise Falls but then the jar being broken as their car needs fixing, the jar being put on a shelf & being forgotten about and them working enjoying their life together to their old age. The montage ends showing Carl see the jar in his old age, buying the tickets to Paradise Falls, taking Ellie to the park to surprise her, but then Ellie falling ill & ending up in hospital never to return home. This montage alone made me cry which is testament to the storyboarding.

Then in present day Carl is a grumpy OAP still living in his town house, his only connection to Ellie. The once quiet neighbourhood has been changed into an urban development with high rises all around his house. When a builders truck hits his mailbox Carl loses his temper and hits the construction worker. This leads to a Judge saying he must sell his home and move into care. But Carl has other ideas and ties a gazillion multi-coloured helium ballons to his house and takes off, destination: Paradise Falls. But Carl gets a disturbing surprise when in mid-air he hears a knock at the door; it’s Russell a young boy whose a Wilderness Explorer.

The film is essentially an adventure film that’s about rediscovering life for Carl and discovering a father figure for Russell. There’s undertones of sadness and hope throughout the film as the characters bond and a relationship develops with a mutual threat that they discover in Paradise Falls.

There’s another lovely montage at the end of Carl & Russell both living their lives as we come to hope for them; unsurprisingly I cried with happiness at this ending.

Zombieland (2012)
I love a good zombie film and Zombieland (2010) is one the best. It’s more of a comedy than a horror; Columbus is an uber-geek and former College Student whose survived a zombie apocalypse with his list of rules. He has a number of rules on his list including: Rule 1 – Cardio, Rule 4 – Seat belts and Rule 48 – Hygiene. Columbus is making his way across America back to of his hometown of Columbus, Ohio in the hopes of finding his family among the survivors.

This unlikely survivor meets Tallahassee a bad ass zombie killer obsessed with finding a Twinkie and they agree to travel together. Along the way they meet Wichita & Little Rock two sisters who cheat them out of their car and weapons. Columbus & Tallahassee find a Yellow Hummer and decide to go after the trickster sisters.

Columbus & Tallahassee catch up with the sisters, there’s a stand off between them which ends when Columbus loses his temper telling them that they’ve all got bigger problems to worry about. They decide to journey to their own destinations together with the sisters saying that they are heading to an amusement park called Pacific Playland in Los Angeles. Columbus, Wichita & Little Rock have heard that their destinations are zombie-free. But Wichita lets slip that Columbus, Ohio has been completely destroyed and with this revelation he decides to accompany the others to California.

Their journey has some funny scenes; and along the way we find out why Tallahassee isn’t searching for a place of safety and what he’s lost. We see a relationship start to unfold between Columbus & Wichita.

As the film reaches it’s conclusion Wichita & Little Rock arrive at Pacific Playland in the dead of night. They turn on all the lights and rides and attract the local zombie population. They end up stuck on a ride up in the air with zombie’s climbing up to get them. But just when they think it’s all over, Columbus & Tallahassee turn up and save them. The final scene shows the whole group leaving together as a makeshift family.

The film is what I’d call an easy watcher, meaning that if you don’t analyse it too much you can really let yourself go and have a good laugh. Definitively more a comedy with zombies thrown in, than a zombie film with comedy. Some critics have compared it to Shaun of the Dead (2004), probably because they are the only two mainstream zombie comedy’s around; I’d hate to compare the two but if I had to I’d say Shaun of the Dead (2004) is slightly funnier. Still well worth a watch though.

Zookeeper (2011)
Zookeeper (2011) is a film about Griffin, a Zookeeper at Franklin Park Zoo. Five years ago his marriage proposal was turned down by his girlfriend of the time because of his job.

Then he see’s her again and she still seems interested. He decides to win her back, even if it means working with his brother at the Car Dealership. The animals (who can and do talk to one another) hear about this so decide speak to Griffin to help him win his former girlfriend back whilst staying at the Zoo. From the animals point of view he’s the best Zookeeper they’ve ever had and they want to keep him.

It’s suppose to be a comedy but I failed to find any of it funny, despite really trying too. I think the problem was that it’s very dumbed down humour. The storyline was glaringly obvious from the start: Griffin and his ex-girlfriend get back together and he realises she’s not the one for him. Instead Griffin ends up with Kate the Vet who works at the Zoo.

Review soon,


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Thinking of You Often…

By Friends & Family, Gay, Life, Music & Radio, ThinkingNo Comments

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Thinking of You Often…Alex. This beautiful song makes me think about Alex (see My Darling Baby Brother & Grief); but it is also about equality. The video below tells the story of a gay couple and what happened when one of them died in the US:

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Both are close to my heart.

Write soon,


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