LORD OF THE SENSES (STORIES) BY: VIKRAM KOLMANNSKOG |BOOK REVIEW

Lord of the Senses (Stories)
By: Vikram Kolmannskog
Genre/Themes:LGBTQ/Gay, Fiction, Drama, Short Stories, Religion, Multi-Culture, Anti-Classism (18+)
Publisher: TeamAngelica
Release Date:  September 6, 2019

TeamAngelica | Amazon | AmazonUK

Synopsis:  A groundbreaking collection of frank, provocative short stories from gay Indian-Norwegian Vikram Kolmannskog, published to coincide with the anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in India.

From the forest-fringed suburbs of Oslo to the bustling heart of Bombay; from the timeless banks of the Ganges to the never-closing nightclubs of Berlin, Lord of the Senses captures a headily contemporary sense of what it is to be queer, cosmopolitan, spiritual and sexual.

My Thoughts

~~With a combination of an extended month of unanticipated work, and several hiccups at the beginning of the school year for my cousin—this post is well overdue.~~

In terms of context and themes, Lord of the Senses does not hold any punches. The stories are straightforward, in your face, honest, revealing, open and unapologetic with a lot of the erotic material the stories cover. That’s not to say that the book needs to be apologetic or reined in. Moreover, since the stories build on this sense of caution, due to shameful (and dangerous) social judgment, the secretive means of being affectionate with their partners and the openness of these stories seem to counteract those barriers.

Trying to condense all of the themes and genres we can pick up in this book was a challenge as I did not want to spiral down any mythological or fantasy rabbit-holes, but Shredded Dates and Raven Leela were two of the main contenders for my notes on that.

And I love the simplistic bittersweetness we get from the shorts Raja, Nanima and Roger Toilet, Growing Up Queer, The Sunset Point, and The Sacred Heart. Moments and pieces from each of those just seemed to linger with me the longest as I moved on to the next story.

Lord of the Senses should not be viewed as a book entirely made up of short stories that have physically erotic scenes—even though it does—but rather, a collection of stories intent on invoking a connection of each character to the reader. Hence, another aspect I liked in this book was the different levels of (sometimes anonymous) intimacy; emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The writer takes us on these brief journeys with each character/tale conveying these strong, open, and liberatingly potent perspectives. Some of which came directly from the deeply obscured minds of the characters, that as an outsider, I felt like I had been intruding on their private thoughts.

While organizing my thoughts to mention how the micro-detailed descriptions interlaced with the intricate sensory markers, and scenery specifics of these stories help to transport your mind to some of these places—I ended up reading this great interview with Vikram.

He brings up points on how some of the pieces in Lord of the Senses have developed from drafts over the years and through the course of the movement for equal rights for the LGBTQ community in India. In the interview, Vikram also speaks about his desire to not only have his stories tether connections to the LGBTQ community within India. But also, to straight individuals outside of the community with ties to India as a means of highlighting, as I understood it, just how similar we all are at our core.

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That Thing Between Eli & Gwen by J.J. McAvoy Book Review (+Giveaway)

April 19th Blog Tour Date

That Thing Between Eli & Gwen blog tour organized by Indiesage PR. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour here. 🙂

 

That Thing Between Eli & Gwen
By: J.J. MCAVOY
Genre: Comedy, Romance, New Adult, Drama, Multicultural, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Format: ARC ebook
Release date: April 21st 2016

Goodreads |  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis:

Eli Davenport thinks he’s found the perfect woman to be his wife. She’s a doctor, like he is. She’s brilliant, like he is. And she’s wealthy, like he is.

Guinevere ‘Gwen’ Poe thinks her fiancé is the perfect man. He’s handsome, successful and he was her first…

But when Eli’s bride runs off with Gwen’s fiancée on his wedding day, they are left to pick up the broken pieces of each other..

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Two

Hiya, Guys:

Here are the books I completed for the month of February for the three book challenges I’m participating in this year.  Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

 

#2016TBRPile Challenge

This has been on by TBR pile for a while and you might recognize that this another book by last month’s TBR author.

 

3volve

By Josefina Gutierrez

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Multicultural, Contemporary Romance, NA, Coming of age

Released: July 14th, 2015

Rating: 3/3.5 Stars

Goodreads OR buy 3volve  here: Amazon

Blurb:

From author Josefina Gutierrez, of “The Shadow of Loss”, comes a new New-Adult contemporary love story.

I thought my life began when I graduated high school and moved far, far away—okay three hours away. But I was wrong. My life didn’t start until it almost ended.

I’m Cristal Escobedo, twenty-two years old and a former wild child who favors tequila far too much. But that all changed when life happened, and I ended up being responsible for my younger brothers. To top it all off, I think I’m falling in love with my best friend—dammit.

This is my not-so-happy story of how I grew up and got my shit together. My story isn’t filled with a bunch of pretty analogies or hyperboles. The people are real, the hurt is deep, and the love is complicated. People are flawed in the ways that matter; it’s what makes us human.

For my 3volve review, click here.

 

#Rockmytbr Challenge

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

By Mindy Kaling

Genre: Humor, Autobiography, Writing, Essays, Funny, Non-Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

For my Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) review post, click here.

#2016audiobook Challenge

Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1)  Author: Daniel Jose Older

Narrated by: Daniel Jose Older

Length: 7hrs and 56mins

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller, Romance,  NA

Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 1/06/15

Publisher: Audible Studios

Goodreads | B& N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…

For my Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1)  audiobook review, click here.

 

BOOKS COMING UP:

March should be a slower month for me. I will admit that I did get distracted reading even more books than I planned to (on top of the blog tour books this month) which is why I had to post pone the planned Redeeming Love expected read for my #RockmyTBR last month and replace it with Mindy’s book. To be honest, I’m really happy I did because it allowed me to end the month on a light and funny note.

For the month of March, I decided to  The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Eric Larson because I really liked what I remember reading from this book back when I first bought it and I just feel like getting back to the story.

For my #2016Audiobook challenge in February, I did end up listening to two audiobooks, but didn’t realized why I marked the second book as ‘to-listen to’ as I was not familiar with the author until after I finished the book and realized I was meant to participate in a blog tour next month (in April) for it 😀 whoops! Well at least I’m a head of the game, right? Any-who, this month I choose to listen to The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.

And for my #2016TBRpile challenge I picked Hard Love (Hacker #5) by Meredith Wild because the other two picks are kind of dark and I thought this would be a lighter read in the mix.

On top of these expected reads, I will be listening to Voyage Of The Defiance by S.E. Smith, and I’ll be reading Broken Politics by Janae Keyes , books 1-3 of the Stone Legacy series by Theresa DaLayne,  and The Fold by Peter Clines. Knowing myself, I’m sure I’ll squeeze in a few more this month, but I should stop because my body misses sleep XD.

As always, thanks so very  much for reading. I hope you liked reads this month and be sure to come back to check out what else I’ll be reviewing 🙂

Until next time,

Gia.

Book Review: Same Page by GL Tomas (ages 18+)

Same Page by GL Tomas

Release date: December 4th 2015

Genre: New Adult, Romance, ages 18+

Publisher: Rebellious Valkyrie Press

Review copy: received from Author in exchange for honest review

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis: Naima vibed with Timothy from the first moment they met. Attraction wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did with no time to turn back.

Timothy knew better. But that kiss made him forget about his girlfriend and he would do anything to get another chance to kiss those lips.

Can two close friends be on the Same Page in this “Brown Sugar meets Love Jones” Interracial Erotic Romance!

*Same Page Book One in a duology. It is suggested for Mature audiences due to strong sexual content and slight drug use.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month One

Hiya, Guys:

Here are the books I completed for the month of January for the three book challenges I’m participating in this year.  Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

 

#2016TBRPile Challenge

Has been on by TBR pile for weeks.

 

 

The Shadow of Loss

By Josefina Gutierrez

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Multicultural, Romance, YA

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Goodreads OR buy Shadow of Loss here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble|  Kobo

Blurb:

Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more? Has she lost her soul? Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus. Can she trust people again? Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school. Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.

For The Shadow of Loss Review click here.

 

#Rockmytbr Challenge

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

By Kristin Cashore

Genre: YA, Action, Adventure, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

For my Graceling review post, click here.

 

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Book Spotlight & Interview Post For: Sanctuary

Sanctuary By. Zainab T. Khan book cover photo

Sanctuary
by Zainab T. Khan
Release Date: December 19th 2015 (Pre-order Now Available. )

Genre: Young Adult, Short Story

Synopsis:

Sanctuary (n.) the protection that is provided by a safe place.

“And Sanctuary was the right word to describe our small town with its mouth-watering Pakistani fruits, Spain’s bullfighting, Italian pizzas, French artists, Indian spices, Korean kimchi, and Turkish delights. Because to every single one of us – a Pakistani, Spanish, Indian, Korean, French, Italian, and Turkish – it was a sanctuary. Our own safe haven. Our home with its different cultural styles yet with a culture of its own.”

A Prelude to The Interview:

One of the main reasons I am so excited for Sanctuary’s release is the fact that it is built on such a multicultural foundation and, if you know anything about me, you should know how much I love studying, reading, experiencing and talking about all things multi-culture related. As a double plus, plus for this book promotion event, I had the opportunity to interview Zainab T. Khan, the author of this lovely novelette. My quick Q & A is just below, but be sure to check out Sanctuary when it’s released on December 19th and visit Zainab’s webpage.  ^___^

What’s was it that sparked your inspiration to write Sanctuary?

I’m a sociology student so it always strike me hard when I read about discrimination. It’s unfair. And I despise unfair things. So I tried to create a world (a town, basically) which had no discrimination of any kind, but mainly on ethnic grounds.

Were the stories in Sanctuary solo pieces that you put together, or were they always meant to be in a book?

They always meant to be in a continuous novel, despite its short length. It made more sense to have a multicultural town rather than writing solo stories.

What would you say was your favorite story from this book to write?
I loved writing about Italian wedding, Enrique and Giovanna’s. Also the masquerade ball.

Is there a character from Sanctuary, or any other book (that you’ve written or read) that you wish you could be friends with in real life? If so, why?
That’s a real difficult question. I’m not sure how to answer that. Just one person? Aw, man. Okay, it’s a tie, between Fern, from Making Faces by Amy Harmon, and Millie, from The Song of David by Amy Harmon. There is a long list of reasons behind my choice but I’m afraid if I start writing it down, the answer will turn into a lengthy essay.

What were some of the things you had to research before you began creating such a culturally infused town in Sanctuary?

Languages. Names. Their country’s specialties. And some of their traditions.

If different from the book, could you describe your ideal sanctuary?
Home. My ideal sanctuary would be home. It is my home. A sanctuary is described as a safe place. Home is one place where I feel nothing but at ease. So that’s my ideal Sanctuary. It’s all thanks to my parents and grandparents who turned house into a home, then home into a sanctuary.

Zainab T. Khan Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hello, you beautiful person.

The only thing you need to know about is my favourite book boyfriends (Yes, boyfriend(s), deal with it. We all have them.) Jesse de Silva, Maxon Schreave, and Flynn Rider (he’s a fictional character too) and of course Adrian Ivashkov. Oh, how I wish I could resist them. But, David ‘Tag’ Taggert has my heart. Sorry, you four gorgeous guys.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website |Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Thanks so much for the interview, Zainab! ❤  🙂

And thank you so much for reading. Until next time,

Gia.