Review: Breaker (Exile, Volume 1) by Kelly Wyre and AF Henley

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

** spoiler alert ** “Everybody meets the dark alone.”

Breaker (Exile #1) takes us to a place where some people (called Estranged) have superpowers that could annihilate the world. The danger that the Estranged pose caused them to get hunted, shunned, and feared even by their own family. Feared even by their own selves for what they could do to the people around them.

Eddie and Kaeva are two of such people. In this book we feel their fears, their pain, and the great lengths they go through to isolate themselves–to ensure they do not harm others.

I love Breaker (Exile #1) because of these two relatable characters. Like everyone else they seek for their true purpose in life. I also love that they are a walking contradiction. They are strong and yet they are weak, flawed. They are independent and yet they continue to long for that someone who will make them whole. They want to be alone and yet deep down they know they can’t. The loneliness for living alone is heartbreaking.

Five stars for Breaker (Exile #1). I hope to read more about Rivet, Mecken, Oberon, and Lake.

exile-breaker-coverThe Teaser

The cab slowed. It was one of many moving along the six grid lanes that would take them into the airport, and Eddie eyed the fading afternoon sky through the dirty windshield. The sun always seemed to set so fast in the metro centers, and Chicago was one of the worst when it came to heavily polluted metropolises. At home—in any of the rural developments, really—it was easy to forget that large stacks had once puffed unfathomable quantities of filth into the air, and had damn near poisoned the entire planet. Here, though, on what the books used to call Interstate 90 and what they now called Gridline Ninety, where the damage had lingered and everything from lungs to concrete finishes had suffered, it wasn’t hard to believe in the slightest. The entire city wore the scars of humanity’s abuse.

The airport loomed to the right of the grid lanes like a giant gray beast. Its old fashioned concrete exterior had a faded, dismal appearance. Not worth the trouble to tear down, a large tower still stood in the middle of the property, but it was no longer used for air traffic control. When he’d taken an interest in air travel a few years prior, the ‘Net had cheerfully told him all about the computer programs and grid-style management that the airlines had developed back in pre-Cure days.

Post-Cure advancements were vague. The ‘Net had advised him that most of his questions were of a classified nature. “Security management”—Security breach – search failed, please try again—and “Proprietary development”—Classified information, please try again with a different search—were not discussed.

Gillian had not been the only person on the planet with extra special talents, everyone knew that. And on more than one occasion Eddie had wondered if those “afflicted” people now ran the airlines. Someone with the right power to control heavy machinery. Someone who could save the airlines, which were all government controlled, some serious cash when it came to pilots and equipment maintenance. A human slave who carried the title of “Estranged” and worked under the scrutinizing eye of government officials.

Of course, his mother had told him the idea was ridiculous, that nobody used the Estranged for anything good. Ever. That was why they had to keep Eddie’s little “issue” a secret. No one could know. She’d make sure she kept him safe and out of the sights of the government if it killed her. If for no other than she couldn’t bear the thought of her friends finding out one of those belonged to her.

He heard her speak as though she sat next to him, “Do you want to end up like Gillian?”

Breaker (Exile Volume 1)

Copyright © 2017 by Kelly Wyre and A.F. Henley

Jho-sigstylediv

Blurb

Breaker

In the wake of several near-cataclysmic events, humanity created the Cure, a DNA-altering antidote to death by disease and old age. But all cures come with side effects: a small percentage of the population develops a wide range of powers, some of which are lethal to others, and some which are lethal to the wielder.

These people are called the Estranged, hunted and shunned, safe only on the Island of Exile. It is here that Kaeva and Eddie meet—and where they set a prophecy in motion, quite possibly sealing their own demise, and even the end of Exile.

Genre: Gay, Urban Fantasy

Notes: contains some explicit content and includes thoughts and discussions of past and potential suicide

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Purchasing Link

Jho-sigstylediv

About the Authors

Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She’s a coffee addict, a workaholic, a chronic night owl, and loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.

Connect with Kelly!

❧ Website ❧ Blog  ❧ Twitter ❧ Facebook ❧ Fan Page ❧ Google Plus

❧ Tumblr – NSFW! ❧ Pinterest ❧ Amazon Author Page ❧ Goodreads

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish. Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.

Connect with Henley

♥ Website  ♥ Twitter  ♥ Facebook  ♥ Amazon Author Page

♥ Google Plus  ♥ Tumblr – NSFW!  ♥ Instagram  ♥ Goodreads

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Book Review: My Boyfriend’s Back by Elliot Cooper

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I enjoyed reading My Boyfriend’s Back very much.

I must admit I didn’t read the blurb before reading this book because, hey, it’s Elliot Cooper, I love him! Needless to say I was surprised when I started reading. Not only is it a story I didn’t expect, it was both dark and tragic as well.

The problem is, I don’t like it when main characters die and a few pages into the story I kind of got where it was going. I almost stopped reading because, well, I hate tragic stories but I’ve read two of Elliot Cooper’s works before and he’s always created something new and magical out of something old and somehow I knew he would do the same thing with this book. Didn’t stop me from getting horrified when Dax died though. Few pages in and I already loved the guy, that’s how powerful this writer’s writing is, he managed to make me care for the love interest in the span of a few paragraphs.

Anyway, I’m glad I pressed on even if some scenes horrified me tremendously. Lol. It is fast-paced as well so the reader need not worry about getting bored.

Five stars from me; I therefore recommend My Boyfriend’s Back .

Happy reading!

View all my reviews

About the Book

After losing both of his parents, Academy of Magecraft student Steven Durant doesn’t want to see anyone else lose a loved one before their time. Traditional resurrection methods, however, only create mindless, flesh-hungry zombies; they’re no cure for death. He’s certain his unique brand of necromancy—using alchemy and blood magic—is the only answer.

When his boyfriend, Dax Everhart, has a fatal accident, Steven sees no choice but to use his experimental Lazarus Elixir. Dax comes back wrong, but the more humans he consumes, the more human he becomes.

With the help of his best friends, his ghostly aunt, and her living doll homunculus, Steven fights to regain normalcy and repair his shattered relationship with Dax. But with Dax openly embracing his monstrous nature, Steven shoulders the guilt of assisting in a murder spree that could lead the mundane and magical police right to their door.

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About the Author

Elliot Cooper writes speculative fiction featuring queer characters. His novels and novellas come with hopeful and happy endings, though his short fiction runs the gamut of styles and genres. He strives above all to make his readers feel, while also increasing positive representation of LGBTQ characters and their stories.

Website

http://www.elliotcooperwrites.com

Twitter

Breaker: Blog Tour and Giveaway

exile-breaker-header

Welcome to the Breaker (Exile, Volume 1) Blog Tour and Giveaway! We’re both super excited about this new release and thrilled to be able to share it with you. Throughout this tour, we’re going to be introducing many of the characters within, and associated with, Exile’s bizarre shores, as well as introducing Exile itself. Then we’re going to top that off with a quick little teaser.

However, before we get into any of that we wanted to remind you that we’ve got a couple of awesome giveaways going along with the tour so be sure to read through to the end to find out how you could win either a Silver-plated Starfish Anklet (just by leaving a single comment!), or the grand prize of a signed, print copy of Breaker, a coordinates bracelet with the Believe. Seek. Prove. reminder so you can always find your way back to the island of Exile, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market.

The Character Discussion

Kelly Wyre: *checking list of characters* Okay. Who decided we were supposed to try to talk about “the mainland” like it was a *(#)&% character???

AF Henley: Um… you… did?

KW: Well. Then. Awesome. It’ll be the best post yet. Clearly. What is it you want to say about the mainland, Henley? The most incredible, edible, mainland?

AFH: Well, I wouldn’t say it’s exactly incredible. It’s barely credible.

KW: True. But then, that’s what apocalyptic-level disasters will do to you. Takes it out of you. Like soccer.

AFH: I played soccer. It kind of sucked — kind of like travelling across the country on a kinetic motor-scooter-cycle would, especially when the mainland IS such a miserable place. ‘Cuz war, disease, famine, and all that shite.

KW: Couldn’t have said it better, myself.

exile-breaker-coverThe Teaser

The cab slowed. It was one of many moving along the six grid lanes that would take them into the airport, and Eddie eyed the fading afternoon sky through the dirty windshield. The sun always seemed to set so fast in the metro centers, and Chicago was one of the worst when it came to heavily polluted metropolises. At home—in any of the rural developments, really—it was easy to forget that large stacks had once puffed unfathomable quantities of filth into the air, and had damn near poisoned the entire planet. Here, though, on what the books used to call Interstate 90 and what they now called Gridline Ninety, where the damage had lingered and everything from lungs to concrete finishes had suffered, it wasn’t hard to believe in the slightest. The entire city wore the scars of humanity’s abuse.

The airport loomed to the right of the grid lanes like a giant gray beast. Its old fashioned concrete exterior had a faded, dismal appearance. Not worth the trouble to tear down, a large tower still stood in the middle of the property, but it was no longer used for air traffic control. When he’d taken an interest in air travel a few years prior, the ‘Net had cheerfully told him all about the computer programs and grid-style management that the airlines had developed back in pre-Cure days.

Post-Cure advancements were vague. The ‘Net had advised him that most of his questions were of a classified nature. “Security management”—Security breach – search failed, please try again—and “Proprietary development”—Classified information, please try again with a different search—were not discussed.

Gillian had not been the only person on the planet with extra special talents, everyone knew that. And on more than one occasion Eddie had wondered if those “afflicted” people now ran the airlines. Someone with the right power to control heavy machinery. Someone who could save the airlines, which were all government controlled, some serious cash when it came to pilots and equipment maintenance. A human slave who carried the title of “Estranged” and worked under the scrutinizing eye of government officials.

Of course, his mother had told him the idea was ridiculous, that nobody used the Estranged for anything good. Ever. That was why they had to keep Eddie’s little “issue” a secret. No one could know. She’d make sure she kept him safe and out of the sights of the government if it killed her. If for no other than she couldn’t bear the thought of her friends finding out one of those belonged to her.

He heard her speak as though she sat next to him, “Do you want to end up like Gillian?”

Breaker (Exile Volume 1)

Copyright © 2017 by Kelly Wyre and A.F. Henley

Jho-sigstylediv
Blurb

Breaker

In the wake of several near-cataclysmic events, humanity created the Cure, a DNA-altering antidote to death by disease and old age. But all cures come with side effects: a small percentage of the population develops a wide range of powers, some of which are lethal to others, and some which are lethal to the wielder.

These people are called the Estranged, hunted and shunned, safe only on the Island of Exile. It is here that Kaeva and Eddie meet—and where they set a prophecy in motion, quite possibly sealing their own demise, and even the end of Exile.

Genre: Gay, Urban Fantasy

Notes: contains some explicit content and includes thoughts and discussions of past and potential suicide

Goodreadsbadge

Purchasing Link

The Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join one, or both of our giveaways.exile-breaker-giveaway

Simply leave a comment below to be entered into a random giveaway for a silver-plated starfish anklet (and whatever else we can stuff into the envelope). Winner will be selected by random number at the close of the grand prize giveaway, one winner per blog post.

Also, enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a signed, print copy of Breaker, a coordinates and message bracelet, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market.

For all the terms and conditions, please check out the t’s and c’s posted on the Rafflecopter.

** Please note the grand prize giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

rafflecopter-giveaway-e1420463655480

A great big thank you to Cinderella Stories for hosting us today, and another to you for joining in on the fun. Best of luck with the giveaway and we hope you enjoyed the post!

Until next time,

Kelly Wyre and AF Henley ❤

Jho-sigstylediv

About the Authors

Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She’s a coffee addict, a workaholic, a chronic night owl, and loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.

Connect with Kelly!

❧ Website ❧ Blog  ❧ Twitter ❧ Facebook ❧ Fan Page ❧ Google Plus
❧ Tumblr – NSFW! ❧ Pinterest ❧ Amazon Author Page ❧ Goodreads

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish. Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.

Connect with Henley

♥ Website  ♥ Twitter  ♥ Facebook  ♥ Amazon Author Page

♥ Google Plus  ♥ Tumblr – NSFW!  ♥ Instagram  ♥ Goodreads

Wolf, in League by AF Henley: Blog Tour and Giveaway

The greatest gift of doing a blog tour is being able to touch base with old friends, and Cinderella Stories and I go back a long way. That’s one of the great things about the Internet, isn’t it? Being half a world away doesn’t really mean a thing when it comes to associates and acquaintances, and that is truly a blessing. So it’s an honour to be back as a guest and a friend, and I’m looking forward to sharing with you all the newest release in my Wolf series: Wolf, in League. For those that are joining the tour for the first time, welcome! And for those who have been here before, it’s amazing to see you again.

As I’ve done with the rest of the tours for these Wolf releases, this blog tour and giveaway is all about teasers. Tiny teasers, to be most accurate, which I like to think of as nothing more than a “bite” to whet your “appetite” for the rest. But before I let you get to it, I want to let you know about the giveaway that comes along with the tour. Follow through to the end of the post to learn how you could win your very own signed, print copy of Wolf in League, a “crystal and silver” diamante Howling Wolf Pendant, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market.

And now, the teaser, and an inside—or should I say outside—look at the GDBCG…

Tiny Teaser: Post 2

It wasn’t the stars that drew him here in the wee hours of the morning, though. It was the bats. There was something about the construction of the Center that drew a bucket load of bats, not that Matthew could have said what it was. The thing he found most interesting about the phenomena was that one could find them swooping and swaying around the building’s concrete block walls and its flat, thermoplastic roof at times other than the hour or so between dusk and darkness. Common sense told Matthew it had to do with insect population, reflective lighting, and a lack of predators, but the owls and hawks that were common to the area made that last reason somewhat unlikely.

Who really knew, though? Maybe the same things that kept the doctors peeking covertly at dark shadows kept the smarter birds of prey away as well. Regardless, Matthew found himself staring at the tiny, black, soundless beasts for stretches of time that surprised him when he finally thought to check his watch. For creatures of the night with all kinds of Hollywood superstitions behind them, they were surprisingly peaceful to watch.

He’d just told himself that he’d better be heading back in when a sound seemed to brush past his ear. He cocked his head, paused, and listened. He almost thought it could have been one of the bats, drawn by the light or maybe the scent of his cologne, but if it had been a bat, then it was one of the most talented bats in history. Because there’d been something awfully weird in the way it had sounded. If he’d been asked to say what that oddness was, he would have had no choice but to admit—foolishly, really—that he’d heard someone speak. His name, even. Which was more ridiculous than imagining someone had spoken in the first place. He was six stories off the ground. He could see every inch of the otherwise empty balcony. Besides, there was no one else on the level Matthew occupied but for a security guard who had been half-asleep, if not completely asleep, when Matthew had walked past him twenty minutes ago; Matthew had checked the sign-in roster just to make sure because he’d wanted to have a chat with one of his colleagues regarding a certain finding Matthew had stumbled across the night before. And there were no after-hours visitors allowed, without exception. Even during the day, not even an expected guest would get past the security gate without a badge—a badge which automatically added their name, picture, and personal details to the roster so that anyone who was anyone would know where they were allowed to be and where they were not. If there was someone out in the darkness whispering his name at barely audible levels, it had to be one of the bats. Or a very talented deer with the ability to fly.

Matthew flipped up his collar, shook his head and turned back to the door that he’d left propped open behind him. The doors were all glass. The windows were glass. Glass, glass, everywhere glass. He’d often figured it was there for security more than just an effort to soften the rest of the cold concrete building. After all, it was easy to see through; nothing could hide behind a glass door. It was also reflective.

So when he saw a face—a smirk, bright eyes, sharp cheekbones—shining back at him, Matthew startled. He whirled back to face the balcony.

There was no one there. Just the stars and bats above him, and the trees, manicured lawn, and fading gardens below him.

Wolf, in League Excerpt
© AF Henley, 2016

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Blurb

Wolf, in League

It’s been months since anyone at the Committee has had any contact from the O’Connell family or their pack members, and they are not happy. Suspicious of the activities that took place in D.C. and determined to find out what the wolves are up to, the Committee recruits one of their newest residents, Doctor Matthew Dietrich, to play the part of neighbor and infiltrate the family.

Matthew has always been a keep-to-himself kind of person. Though idealistic and optimistic, he prefers to work in solitude, at night, while he researches the findings that he hopes will one day change the world. When he’s approached by the executives of the Center, he has no idea why they’d choose him. And to say he is skeptical over the concept of men that can shift into wolves would be an understatement. Until he meets his new partner, the man that will play the part of his “husband” in the Committee’s scheme, Doctor Gavin Strauss.

Genre: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Notes: Wolf, in League contains some explicit and violent content

Book 3 in the Wolf series

Purchasing Link – save 15% by preordering your copy today! Discount available until October 10th

The Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a signed, print copy of Wolf in League, a “crystal and silver” diamante Howling Wolf Pendant, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market.

For all the terms and conditions, please check out the t’s and c’s posted on the Rafflecopter.

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

Again, a great big thank you to Cinderella Stories for having me today. And my thanks to you as well for joining in. Best of luck with the giveaway and I hope you enjoyed the post!

Until next time,

AF Henley ❤

Jho-sigstylediv

AF Henley_Avatar cropped

About the Author

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.

For more information, please stop by for a visit at afhenley.com.

‪#‎BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy

Ang babasahin ko para sa ‪#‎BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy‬ ay ang  The Necromancer ni C.J. Dee.

Buod

Ako si Nero, isang nigromante. Alipin ako ng nekromansya at namuhay na parang ermitanyo sa loob ng tore.

Walang sinuman ang nakakapasok sa tore.

Sinigurado kong nakakandadong maigi ang pinto sa unang palapag at sarado rin ang mga bintana kaya paanong nandirito ang lalaking nagngangalang Linus? Para siyang multo na bigla-bigla na lamang susulpot. Baka panaginip ko lamang ito at parte siya niyon.

Pero bakit nga ba ako nag-aalinlangan na makasama si Linus? Buong buhay niya ay wala siyang ginawang masama sa akin. O baka kaya ako nagkakaganito ay dahil ako ang may ginawa sa kanyang masama noon? Sa sobrang sama n’on ay napanaginipan ko pa.

Paperback, 120 pages
Published 2014
ISBN 9789710271
Edition Language: Tagalog
Genre: MM, Fantasy, Romance

Book Review: The Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper

The Clockwork MenagerieThe Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper

Warning: Review contains spoilers

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 5 stars

OMG. I love this story very much.

There’s a lot to love about The Clockwork Menagerie. For one, while short and sweet, the world that the author created is vivid in my head: historical and yet modern because of the advanced technology used to make mechanical animals which I find unique and beautiful.

The main character Clement Dyers is one of those who eked out a living by making life-like mechanical animals. Unfortunately he is dealing with many issues all at once: business problems, his former lover, and his stark future.

Secondly, every character and scene in this story has a purpose and as with the setting, the three main characters are well-written. Lastly, the love interest Duke Goodwin made me feel “kilig.” Nothing like a persistent guy trying to say sorry and make it up to Clement in his own special way to sweep not only Clement off his feet but also its readers.

Five stars to The Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper. Here’s to hoping we read more of them and more of this universe.

Thank you to NineStar Press for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

About the Book

Autosmith Clement Dyer wants to create his life-like, mechanical animals in peace. He’s tired of being badgered about selling his business to his long-time rival and former lover, Duke Goodwin. He also craves appreciation for his living works of art.

Unfortunately, not all of Clement’s clients see his clockwork creations the way he does, and a prominent but dissatisfied customer threatens to sink his struggling business into the ground.

 About the Author

Elliot Cooper is a creativity addict who prefers writing stories that embody adventure, a hint of the taboo, and shadows that are deeper than they appear at first glance. All the better if romantic or erotic elements are key.

Elliot also enjoys video games and knitting, and lives in the southern US with his human and feline family.

Website
Twitter
Genre

 

Book Review: Two for the Show by Megan Derr

Nikko needs a scandal. Something, anything, that will keep media eyes on him and far away from the fight for his deadbeat brother’s children. When he sees Jake Hallow in a bar, it seems a perfect solution. What would cause more noise than planting a kiss on a ruler-straight country star? He didn’t expect Jake to kiss him back.

Jake’s faced a lot of surprises in the forty-four years he’s been alive. But being kissed senseless by the beautiful Nikko Star is something else entirely, and he doesn’t at all know what to do with the long-banked feelings that Nikko turns into a blaze. Or the disappointment he feels when he learns the real reason Nikko kissed him.

But hearing Nikko’s story, Jake decides to help, and agrees to give the world a fake love affair for the sake of protecting a couple of kids. And he’s always believed in putting on one hell of a show—no matter how much it leaves him hurting when the lights go down.

About Megan Derr

Megan is a long time resident of m/m fiction, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she’s not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies (especially all things James Bond). She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all around the internet.

maderr.com
maderr.tumblr.com
maderr.livejournal.com
lessthanthreepress.com
@amasour

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Jho-sigstylediv

My Review
Warning: Review is angsty plus it contains spoilers
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 5 stars

I loved Two for the Show! It is a quick read and the story is straightforward and uncomplicated yet sweet and heartbreaking.<3

Nikko has to find a way how to distract the paparazzi always tailing him for fresh news if he wanted their noses out of his custody battle with his brother for his nephews.

This story struck a chord within me because the children reminded me of myself and my cousins when we were kids. My cousins’ father, my uncle, was most often tying one of them with a rope and hanging him upside down or whipping them with an uninsulated electrical wire or putting one of my cousins inside a sack. For three years I bore witness to the atrocities committed by a father to his own children and a decade later, when one of those cousins died, I would dream of these incidents over and over.

So I guess this is why I loved this book. Apart from the fact that I love Megan’s flawless writing and how effortless she weaved the scenes of the story together. I loved that Nikko loved his nephews, that he cared enough to look after them and take them in.

Maybe a huge part of me wished someone saved us from a similar situation. But I also acknowledge that I should have told an adult or two about our situation in the house then maybe someone really would.

Since my grandparents died, a lot of people wanted to take me away from home: my uncle Dieg, my godmother,  my English teacher who got alarmed at the essay I wrote for the class. No, I didn’t write about the domestic abuse but I told him I have no family because they are all dead and while I did have a sister, she was in Manila; I did have a father but I have yet to meet him as did my brother. To my teacher, this sounded off because I lived with my cousins, aunt, and uncle. Why did I not talk about them in my essay instead? My wise teacher had read between the lines and told the nuns who ran our school who, in turn, talked to me and tried to pry the truth out of me.

For the first time I would lie knowingly. The only thing running in my head at the time was how the nuns would take me away from home. I couldn’t leave my cousins behind, so I lied my way out. I told her yes, we have food at home. Yes, we eat three times a day. Yes, I have lunch money every day. Yes, my aunt and uncle were taking good care of us. It didn’t occur to me to tell them my problem lay on how my uncle would beat the shit out of an “errant” family member.

By the end of that school year I would leave the house anyway. I’d had enough. For three years I stood and watched in silence as these things happen and then one day I discovered my sister Ate Mae’s letters in one of our cabinets in second floor, torn to shreds. How long had my aunt been doing this? Did she do this while my grandmother waited for my sister’s letters when she went to Manila for college? For over a year my grandma waited and waited for the letters that never came.

And then she died thinking my sister had forgotten us.

The thoughts racing in my head over and over enraged me. How Nanay waited and waited, how worried, disappointed, and sad she felt. How cruel my aunt was for doing that. Oh I knew why she did it. My aunt did it for the small amount of money my sister had inserted on the letter.

Minutes later when my aunt came upstairs I made sure she knew I was pissed. All those years of holding back and then just like that, I threw the cabinet doors closed with a loud bang.

I made sure she saw the pieces of paper, my sister’s handwriting visible. I scowled at her. These things are a no-no in the Filipino culture.The kids aren’t supposed to talk back, fight, scowl, etc. etc. on their elders.

If I said something about the letter directly I have no recollection. I have no idea either if she understood why I got angry but the next thing I know she was hitting me with her slippers and then she was dragging me down the stairs and I was thinking, why am I here? Why did I not leave this wretched place?

After that incident I wasted no time. I sent word to my uncle via my sister, would they please get me the fuck out of there when the school year ends? No, I didn’t use those words but close. I asked my best friend Jihan to mail the letter for me and from then on, Ate Mae addressed all her letters for me to Jihan.

I left town at thirteen with a resolve to come back for my cousins but when I did, I couldn’t take them away and then one of them died hence the beginning of my many regrets.

So yeah, I may or may not have cried while reading this book. I thought that every kid should have an uncle like Nikko and every Nikkos out there deserved a Jake by their side. 🙂 Maybe it’s why I read fiction, too. In fiction, kids suffer but as a rule they cannot die. They get to have their happy ending, too.

Five stars for Two for the Show from me. That the story is music-themed is a bonus, the audition scenes being my most favorite part of the book.

Go read the story here:

https://www.wattpad.com/story/50968984-two-for-the-show