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The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

248 pages, ebook

First published May 15, 2013

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About the author

Alexis Hall

51 books11.7k followers
Genrequeer writer of kissing books.

Please note: I don’t read / reply to DMs. If you would like to get in touch, the best way is via email which you can find in the contact section on my website <3

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Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,015 followers
January 13, 2016
just—just lemme finish seeping fluids for a minute.




i have this one cat who's well crazy, right?

i mean—yyyes, i actually have three, and they're all crazy in fresh and exciting ways*, but one in particular...

it's pretty embarrassing.

i'm not—was not—a cat person by any stretch of anyone's imagination.

but... whatever.

they're here, now.

i didn't ask them to be; they just are.


the dude i moved into this place with? he had dogs. so i had dogs.

and one night he was walking the dogs, and he saw this kitten in the park, about as pregnant as it gets for a kitten, like an orangey tabby basketball with a sweet face and a ridiculously perky tail and a deep distrust of all things with either more or fewer legs than she.

also things with exactly as many legs as she.

suuuuuuuuper feral.

with the hissing and the—i mean, she used to poop in our bathroom sink, because actual cat litter confused her?

anyway. prego.

prego-prego: thirteen kittens came out of her, two weeks after my boyfriend made me fetch a box and some kibble and seduce the evil bitch into our home, which took like two hours and is another story entirely, mostly because i still love him for this, wherever the hell he is right now, loving and/or abandoning other people in spectacular ways or just, you know, being whole without me.

he took all thirteen of them out of her with his hands.

because she was too small. too young.

cats are sexually mature at six months—and if she was even a day older than that when she got enkittened my name is maggie smith and i am a treasure.



she struggled. he used his hands.

one by one, each of seven orange tabby boys and six calico girls came out of that tiny, rapidly-deflating, yet of course still quite hate-filled kitten.

each one, he took and introduced to her, so she could do her thing, with the licking and the umbilicus-eating or whatever the fuck it was i couldn't see from my vantage point across the empty bedroom of our empty apartment, watching him with a kind of horrified wonder—

—wanting to fuck his guts out right there against the wall, him in his little shorts with the sparkly eyes and the excitement and those hands—

—but i didn't, even though he was near the blanket on the floor we called a bed at the time, which was good because feline placenta is seriously disgusting.

i can still smell his skin sometimes.

his real smell, under the—under the awful cologne and hair gel and—

i can still smell him.

in my mind.

because this memory of him is like—like, all j.j. abrams lens-flares of emotion: these sharp and blinding stabs of perfect recollection and imperfect understanding, all heightened so that someone else's words about another person altogether can—

i mean, he's not even a real man, darian, and certainly my boy wasn't one either, in the end, but it feels like—


maybe later.

or never.

and i know you're wondering what all this has to do with this book, but there are plenty of reviews of this book that tell you what you need to know.

this review tells you what i need you to know.

what i need to remember, too.

especially on days like this one.


so yeah.

one after another, incredibly slimy curled-up bundles of life came out of mama-kitty, until the last one, who was dead already.

smallest of all, that one. and still no room for him inside her.

and the second to last was almost as small.

she was alive—but just barely. she was the runt, and because she was weakest of all twelve surviving kittens, and mamakitty only had eight nipples, she almost starved to death before she drew breath on her third day of life.

they'd kick her away.

her littermates. they were all starving; mommy barely had enough milk for them, never mind the least among them all.

when my boyfriend wasn't looking, i would stand over the box we'd given her to nest in—the one i'd used to trick her into my house—and frown down at the pile of them in fretful silence.

the runt was going to die.

she never got any milk.

i started rotating the kittens.

i'd take the biggest and strongest off a nipple, and move the runt in place, and keep my hands around her tiny body so the others couldn't knock her loose, being lazily stabbed and filleted by that spiteful orange hoor, who mysteriously found the energy to resume her campaign of psychotic hatred now that she wasn't carrying around twice her original body weight in kittens.

i did this for many days.

and she did not die.

she grew.

they all grew.

a month later, nine of her brothers and sisters had new homes, and so did her mamacat, because we flat-out lied to the kind woman who answered our craigslist ad when we said la demonia naranjada 'is a total sweetheart once she gets to know you.'

(i regret nothing.)

but of all of them, including the the two others we kept, the runt remained the smallest.

her head was literally and actually twice as wide as her body.

she'd stagger around looking like stewie griffin, which of course delighted me no end.


she was still the weakest—but she was alive. she was alive, and she grew.

i named her sumo, and not stewie, because she got a pot belly, and waddled around with that enormous head like a fat torpedo on legs, looking for things to eat.

always looking for things to eat.


she is always hungry.

she just can't help herself. i learned pretty quickly not to mess about with kitty treats because i'd get stabbed in the finger by a fang.

she'd go full-gollum in an instant.


but look.

i know she doesn't speak english, and i know she's not a human being—but i know she's always hungry because she's always afraid of starving.


except when she sleeps.


and she always sleeps with me.


right up as close to my heartbeat as she can get, curled up under my arm in my fancy new bed with lots and lots of pillows and a luxe mattress with a completely separate but also luxe mattress pad on it and my faggot linens from ikea and bed bath and beyond and whatever.

just her and me. right now. as i type this.

sleeping curled up under my arm, the little runt-kitty toe-beans of each paw carefully applied to my skin as if to make sure she can still feel my pulse.

she remembers things she doesn't have language for, she never leaves my side, and she always finds me first when i get home.

when things go dark, and depression stains the edges of my vision until all i can see is how shit everything is and how empty this apartment full of nice things still is without—

—without him, right, or anyone else—

she's always near.

she always needs to be near me.


and i never push her away.

so that when i wake up from one of these fucked-up fugue states, as happens sometimes, and i realize that i've been thinking about killing myself for forty five minutes without even knowing it—

it's because she snores like a rottweiler.

and farts a little, sometimes. right in my goddamned face.


i got this one cat, see.

i saved her life, one time.

like she saves mine every other day.



Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,808 followers
December 5, 2014
First thing that I noticed about this book: That cover. Bright lights and a snookie-esk poof? And that title? What the heck is this book about?

Second thing that I noticed about this book: It is getting crazy positive reviews. The hype for this book is off the charts!

Curiosity, engaged. So thanks to a gift from a friend (thanks again, Susan!!) I started reading.

First thing I did while reading this book: Look up an Essex accent on youtube. And proceed to talk with said accent to my husband all. weekend. long. (Ya fink it was annoying much, babes?).

Second thing I did while reading this book: Fall totally in love with Darian. A spray tanned, flamboyant, gaudy male model cutting through the bull of a manic depressive academic? Just amazing. Count me in.

Third thing I did while reading this book: Be completely in awe of Alexis Hall's writing. The way he described Ash's mental state, the pull and push, and ups and downs of someone living with chronic depression... it just felt incredibly, heart-breakingly real. The way Ash repeatedly self-destructed was crushing for me as a reader.

Fourth thing I did while reading this book: Spill fish chowder on my kindle because I refused to put the book down for meals. What? You know you do it too...

Fifth thing I did while reading this book: Hug my chowderdy Kindle in happiness at how wonderful this book was.

First thing I did after reading this book: Look up what else this author is working on. I'll be buying!!
Profile Image for Alexis Hall.
Author 51 books11.7k followers
September 10, 2022
I am *beyond excited* about my very first published book getting a shiny new edition. GLITTERLAND will not only be more widely available in ebook and paperback, but it will also get a fancy new cover and extra content (though the main story is basically the same and Aftermath will once again be included).

This is a queer (m/m) contemporary romance about a mentally ill writer and a super sunshiney glitter pirate from Essex who shouldn’t work together—but they do. They really, really do.

Ash & Darian are coming your way on January 17, 2023. Links (and content guidance, which I super recommend checking out) can be found here. here.

Some notes:
- GLITTERLAND is book 1 in my Spires series, with there being 6 books in total.
- Each story is loosely connected and will be about a different couple—so you can read them in any order you like.
- WAITING FOR THE FLOOD, FOR REAL, and PANSIES will also get the same new covers and extra content, and their rereleases will be staggered.
- After PANSIES you can expect a book for Niall & David (who appear in GLITTERLAND) and one for Dom the Dom (who you meet in FOR REAL).
863 reviews231 followers
June 19, 2013

SO, SOOOOOO GOOD...one of the BEST things I've read all year. Period.

*I don’t want to review this book because my words can’t do it justice.
*I don’t want to recommend this book to anyone because I couldn’t bear reading any critique against it.
*I don’t want to be done with Ash & Darian because they are so odd and flawed and off and weird and easy to judge, but I loved them both so much.
*I don’t want to search Alexis Hall’s GR author page to find this is his only book and there’s not another one for me to read immediately.
*I don’t want to go another day without some Essex in my life. :)



If you can’t find humor in the darkness, you will hate it.
If you can’t love a glitter pirate w/ an orange fake bake, you will hate it.
If you can’t embrace a bipolar, depressed, suicidal, hater-of-life, you will hate it.

This book is bitingly hilarious, profoundly sad, shockingly hopeful, possibly polarizing.

This is Alexis Hall’s first book (I think?)…and by god, sir, where have you been all my life? I LOVE your style…and that you did not run fast and far the moment I started stalking you! Bless you.

Thank you for Ash…for his insanity, for his emptiness, but mostly for his ability to make me laugh…out loud…for minutes…and then in memories for more minutes.

Thank you for Darian…for his unapologetic flamboyance, for his naivete to speak his mind without realizing that not everyone is as comfortable with truth, for all that is simple and wonderful and refreshing about him.

Thank you for your clever, clever voice.

I care so very much that other readers will love this book. I WANT so much for people to embrace this and laugh with me and be in awe of it with me and not just break it down and tear it apart and critique it.

Please don’t label this as overwritten.
Please don’t bash on the voice.
Please don’t disregard the story.
Please don’t group this with “other” books.

The only thing I could bear for you to critique is the cover (I almost didn’t read it because of the Adam Lambert look-a-like…)

Please, please love this book...please…

Thank you to Riptide for the ARC…and allowing me to post my review early…
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
November 19, 2022
cute idea. i just didnt quite vibe with some of AHs writing choices.

the pacing is odd, the dialogue formatting confusing, but the main culprit is darians essex accent. it was such a chore to read. i feel like i lost brain cells trying to figure out what he was saying and the “babes” was literally overkill. i do think accents are good characterisation, but when they interfere with readability, then i feel like its no longer a positive. but even when i could understand him, i never felt like i cared about him. or ash, for that matter.

however, i do think this story hits on some really good points when it comes to mental health and acceptance/support. its just a shame that i didnt really care for the writing. i understand that this is AHs first novel, so perhaps it should have gone through some editing revisions in addition to the new cover.

thanks for the ARC, sourcebooks casablanca.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021
WARNING : This is a very personal review. Please don't bother if you can't stand those. Thank you.

I've been in Niall's place. It's not pretty. The kind of ugly that would make hate yourself if you weren't that goddamn pissed. I've read so many beautiful and heartbreaking reviews of Glitterland that I started writing something along the lines of, no matter how hard I've been trying to find the words, they escape me.

Liar. I'm a freaking LIAR.

The words are there, they're cutting through me, such ugly, ugly things. I've read my fair share of books about depression, whether they were idiotic romanticizing of it or heartbreaking journeys, but there's something so important that nobody ever tells you. Nobody tells you how fucking angry you'd be if you had to witness someone you care about slowly burying himself. No. You read about how to be supportive, how to help, and everything sounds so fucking easy.

You don't read about how worthless it makes you feel when your love is not enough.

You don't read about the rage you can't avoid when other people show understanding and you realize that you can't, you can't, you can't anymore.

You're a loveless, selfish shell.

You're so ashamed because really, why can't you do more, stand more, bear more puddles of blood, plaster on a smile and say that everything's gonna be okay?

Are you so stripped of hope that you cannot see past this very moment, this 3am phone call that you know - you know - you have to answer no matter what?

Oh, yes. Yes you are. You're just a fucking human being whose guilt is eating at every pore of itself, whose words are meaningless and worthless. Nobody wants to hear you, and you don't want to hear you, because you don't have a problem you don't have a problem you don't have a problem. That fucking guilt, though. Can't you be any more selfish? You don't own the right to cry, just to be strong.

Even now, years after, knowing she's okay, writing this makes me want to curl up in a corner and shedding angry tears. Even now, I'm still afraid that my words will be misunderstood, a comforting, understanding smile ready to erase them. I'm still afraid of being judged.

But it took me years to realize that I was just human and that I didn't deserve to be yelled at for that. It took me years to realize that she didn't blame me for it and that no, I didn't blame her, of course, but was just so fucking tired and scared. She knows I love her, and always will.

Fear will do that to you.

I refuse to hide behind my fears anymore.

If I cannot, and will never really understand what depression is, not because of a lack of empathy, but because witnessing it doesn't mean understanding it, even if you want to, rare are the times when I read a book that captures the core of it and manages to make me approach understanding.

Glitterland is one of these books. That heartbreaking, beautiful book.

I will cherish it forever.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Macky.
1,864 reviews232 followers
March 21, 2019
So I'm on GR right! And I see a well reem comment from my BFF Suze who's read this book by some geeza called Alex Hall and I fink " I'm 'avin some of that babes! " Cos she's well reem that Susan and she knows wot she talking abaht. janartamean?

Anyway there's this fing called a buddy read going on and I fought SHUH UP! I'm joining that . I was a bit miffed because it meant I had to stop reading this really fabulous book called " Fake Tan... The orange years " and I was like WTF!! Wot muppet goes orange wif a tan??? Personally I fink she was just 'avin a bad day wif her Fake Bake......

I'm wafflin' now so back to this geezas book wot we was all reading. I had to read it cos it had Glitter in the title, I mean anyfing wif glitter has to be good. janartamean?

Well once I got started babes I was like " I fink this is going to be even better than ' Fake Tan ... The Orange years ', I woz well stuck in before I knew it. Its abaht this bloke called Ash and he's a proper donut for most of the book but I had to be honest even though he were real posh I really liked him, he made me larf cos he had this snarky sense of humour that woz really dry and his conversations wif Darian ( squeeee ) were proper giggle worthy. Even though he woz bi polar ( which I fought woz well sad ) and he did some really stupid fings, and I mean really stupid, the numpty... I fought him and Darian - Squeeeeeeeeeee! I love Darian, he woz WELL REEM!!! - woz real good together, until he woz a real arse and then I fought I wanted to slap him wif a copy of my fave celebr-iti magazine ' Hello' but that would have ruined my fave piccy of Victoria B wearing a blinding pair of Manolo's and a Vera Wang one off wif David ( * swoon * ) in their proper quality living room wif the kiddies so that wasn't happening woz it! Anyway he come right in the end so I woz real happy. Innit!

OMG!OMG!OMG!!! Darian... I woz like " I want you to be my BFF cos you are hunjed Pahcent and totes glittery and I fink me and you are like soul mates! " they kept saying he woz orange in the book but I fink they woz probably a bit colour blind. Innit!! And when him and Ash woz like doing it ... janartamean... It were proper hot and Sexaay! It woz totes romantic. * Phew! Fans self with fake nailed hands and flutters false lashes * I was Having a right larf to myself cos everyone finks Darian is fick but I swear he's got his head screwed on better than all these posh gits in the story. He might not have the smarts of them other geezas like Ash and Niall but he's proper clever innit when it comes to accepting life and wot it frows at you! I fink he taught Ash a few fings in the end...

And I'm so buying one of them Glardigans when they hit the shops... I fink everyone should have one of them cos its glamorous and a cardigan rolled into one and that's like more than well reem! That's wot I call proper clever finking. Innit!

So I'm really glad I joined that buddy read and read this book by that Alex geeza cos it woz awesome and had loads of stuff in it that made me larf, people wot made me mad like Ash did and that Niall geeza who I fink should have his own book cos I liked him better near the end when he ... Oops! I fink I nearly did one of them spoiler fingy's then so you'd better just read the book to find out wot I nearly let slip! Wot a donut! Stuff wot had me on the edge of my seat, loads of brilliant fashion tips from Essex Fashion Week, that part woz well reem and one of them endings what reminded me of that bloke what does those totes romantic English films like ' Four Weddings... " and that one wif Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in that bookshop, but this woz wif gorgeous gay geezas instead and I loved it! I fink it would make a totes brilliant film. I'd watch it, hunjed Pahcent! Innit! And I'm like definitely buying his next book when it comes out cos this woz right up my street.

Its funny though cos loads of peeps said they couldn't understand wot them Essex geezas woz sayin' .. I understood everyfing! Hmmm wonder why......I'll have to fink abaht that! And then there woz that fing about the glottal stop... Dih.nt geh.it either? Whah.eva!!!

Fanks to all them brilliant ghels I woz buddy reading this book wif , it woz totes amazing! I give this book 5 proper glittery stars because it woz hunjed Pahcent, well reem and totes fabulous all rolled togevva! janartamean ... LOL!
Profile Image for Maria✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
662 reviews2,462 followers
October 20, 2016

➦This surprisingly hilarious M/M novel is told entirely from a POV of a bipolar and depressed writer by the name of Ash. He struggles through the ups and downs, has panic attacks from being in social situations and has tried to end his life in the past.

Ash meets an Essex model Darian, who he refers to as a "glitter pirate" throughout the book. These two guys are so different but somehow they end up building a relationship and Ash at times finds himself happy, something he hasn't felt in a very long time.

❤I absolutely love this couple. Darian, with his peculiar way of talking, made me crack up on so many occasions. The dialogues are quite amusing!

“What's your name?"
"What, that's your name?"
"Yes," I said impatiently, "that's my name."
"That's what people call you? Like in bed, or whatever? They call you A.A.Winters?"
I met his eyes. "No, in bed they call me God."
He laughed again, the same uninhibited cackle.
"Like it”

❤They so remind me of these two:
One is so grumpy and another one is super friendly and chatty and mildly annoying all the time. It was really entertaining and sweet. :) Now, they did get down and dirty too, if you know what I mean. And it was hot!

❤This was my second book by Alexis Hall and I'm glad I gave him another chance, definitely a fan now and will be reading more in the future. I recommend this to anyone who loves M/M and if you can get your hands on an audio book definitely have a listen - the narration is spectacular!

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Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,191 reviews1,078 followers
August 30, 2013
I liked it, although I think the book unfortunately suffers from the fact that 90% of m/m is written poorly. This means that when Riptide found an author who could actually write well the editors encouraged Alexis Hall to throw every evocative sentence into the pot, instead of saying, "This is a great second draft: now go rewrite it."

There's a patch just after half way which is marvellous; where the writing gets the hell out of the way and lets the story speak.

Hall created some great characters, and it's a classic romance plot that is highly satisfying.
Profile Image for Santino Hassell.
Author 36 books2,831 followers
August 4, 2014
I enjoyed this book for several reasons. I'll focus on three primarily because I've forgotten everything I was going to write, but also because I'm lazy.

The first reason I enjoyed this book so much is because I understood Ash to a scary degree. He is far from Prince Charming and might come off cold or selfish in a few instances, but with the exception of the wedding, I always kind of understood why he was that way and related to it just a little. He's an interesting character because it seems like he's built up all of these asshole-ish, sarcastic defense mechanisms to prevent himself from getting involved in situations where his control will be taken away to the point where those defense mechanisms became part of who he is. I saw that as a reason why he has all of these great people surrounding him despite his sarcastic, avoidant personality.

The second reason I enjoyed this book is because I found the characters to be cleverly written. Ash and his friends are these posh, educated professionals while Darian and his people are silly, whacky fashionistas from Essex, but somehow it was actually Darian and his friends who were the most level headed and realistic in terms of expectations of a relationship. While Niall was ranting and raving about how Ash would never be able to have a relationship and would always have to be saved, and Ash was busy trying to sabotage everything because he expected the worse, Darian was the only one who simplified it to "well I'm not an idiot. If you treat me bad, I'll just leave." Truer words have never been spoken.

I loved Darian because of that. I loved it most of all because even though he and Chloe were clearly not educated like Ash and his friends were, they were not stupid people. They were successful and were not ruled by their emotions and pasts.

The third reason I enjoyed this book, and probably one of the biggest reasons, was the dialogue. Every line flowed seamlessly as if I was listening in on real conversations. The characters were witty without being over the top and I found most of them extremely charming.
Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) on-hiatus.
1,106 reviews839 followers
April 15, 2018
“Ooh, that’s aht of order.”

This book is so quotable, so this review is full of quotes.

Babes you are so clever. .”


I Loved this Book. The writing was amazing, descriptive, lyrical, just the kind i love, kudos to Alexis Hall. I'm glad i bought the Audio version and it worth every penny.

“He . . . he . . . he’s a kind, ridiculous, beautiful glitter pirate. I don’t know what else I can tell you. He makes me laugh. He makes me hopeful.”

The narrator was superb., exceptional….Alexis Hall plus Nicholas Boulton..

I have just enough grip on reality to discard these notions, but it doesn’t quell my horror. My mouth is dry, strange and sour, my tongue thick as carpet. Alcohol-heavy breath drags itself out of my throat, the scent of it churning my stomach. I’m pickled in sweat. And there’s an arm across my chest, a leg across my legs. I am manacled in flesh


MC1 Ash is our main narrator, the story is told in his POV, he has Bipolar and manic depression, he is a writer with an amazing sense of humor. I loved him, but also wanted to punch him when he was being a dick and “bang aht of order, i also felt his pain and heartbreak, sometimes he was unable to get out of bed and I wanted to just hug him tight.

Breathe, just keep breathing. Keep breathing, and get away.
My life had been little more than a parade of indignities. Mania. Institutionalisation. Drugs. ECT. Depressions so deep they have flayed my humanity to shreds and patches. The times I’d wanted to die. The times I’d tried. The doctor who sewed up my arms without anaesthetic to impress upon me the stupidity of what I had tried to do

MC2 is Darian: Oh I loooooved Darian, the aspiring model from Essex, who loved gliter and orange tan. He was kind ,understanding, loyal and he made Ash (Babes) happy. I loved his sense of humour too and his accent. The narrator does a wonderful job with Darian’s accent it added juice to the story.

He was a ridiculous creature. A vulgar, glittering pirate of a man, all jewellery and fake tan, gold glinting in his ears, on his fingers and round his wrists. His dark hair gleamed with product and had been painstakingly teased into a quiff that defied taste, reason, and gravity. And I couldn’t stop looking at him.

These two met at a club and from the beginning, I felt their connection. Two opposites that fit perfectly together.

“You donut. What’s your name?”
“A.A. Winters.”
“What, that’s your name?”
“Yes,” I said impatiently, “that’s my name.”
“That’s what people call you?”
“Like in bed, or whatever? They call you A.A. Winters?”
I met his eyes. “No, in bed they call me God.”

The sex was so hot and well written. I felt the chemistry, the passion and everything in between. The Romance part was also well done. They start as a one night stand that develops into a relationship.

The humor was great,I laughed, I smiled. It left me all warm and fuzzy.

“So, lemme get this right. We're gonna make a go of it. You and me? Togevver? Even though I'm orange and you're mental?”

My favourite quotes:

He catches my face between his hands, his painted fingernails twinkling like stars, and when he kisses me it feels a bit like fear and tastes a bit like tears, but it’s as bright and sweet as sherbet, and I decide to call it joy.


“How noble you are.”
“I’m well noble, me. Aw, y’know what?”
“Oh dear, what?”
“We should get the wavey fings what the judges ’ave on Strictly.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Y’know, the wavey fings wif the scores on ’em. Sev-VEN.”
“I do not watch Strictly Come Dancing.”
“God, babes, you don’t watch MasterChef, you don’t watch Strictly, no wonder you’re bipolar depressed.”
“Thank you, Doctor.” I was silent a moment. “Wait a minute. Did you just say you would rate my blowjob as a seven? Get the fuck out of my bed.”
He laughed and didn’t move.


“Look,” he whispered. “I’m not clever like you, but I fink it’s going to be ahwight. I’m wif you because I like being wif you and that’s . . . y’know . . . ahwight. And when it ain’t ahwight . . . then I won’t be wif you. I’m not gonna let you treat me bad, babes.”
“Oh great, so you’re just going to walk out on the mentally ill guy when the going gets tough?”
“Babes, I’m confused. Are you sad cos you fink I’m going to be wif you or sad because you fink I’m not?”
“I don’t know.”

Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,436 reviews418 followers
September 25, 2018
My very rare 5 amazing I-WILL-LOVE-YOU-FOREVER-STARS!!!!

****** Update on the 2013-12-12 *********

Re-read on the 2013-12-12
It is not a review, just some thoughts after the re-read:

I don't NORMALLY do re-read.
(I have a re-read-shelf, but it is more symbolically.)

It was November 2013 as I've read it the first time.
It is December 2013 and I have read it the second time.
And I know that I'll read it again. Someday.


But I won't recommend it to you.


If you don't like it,
I'll accept it,
I'll respect it
And I'll be fine with it.


every negative opinion about this book,
every negative line about this book,
every negative review about this book
will break my heart into millions pieces.



I'm a quote-junkie. My GR friends know it.
And I quoted a lot during the first read.
But I quoted even more during my second read.
I'll probably quote the whole book by my next read.

Well...It is all said.

And at the end:

My all time favorite review of Glitterland was posted by Susan
and I was terribly jealous reading it.
Because she found the best and the most beautiful words for it.

You don't need to read this book.
NO, you don't.

My original review posted in November 2013 after my first read:

It is already a while since I wanted to start to re-read a book the moment I turned the last page.
It is what I felt as I turned the last page of Glitterland late in the night or better to say- early in the morning. The very last words....

He catches my face between his hands, his painted fingernails twinkling like stars, and when he kisses me if feels a bit like fear and tastes a bit like tears, but it's a s bright and sweet as sherbet, and I decide to call it joy.

It was...beautiful...and sweet as sherbet but I was crying reading the last pages, even knowing that it would be the HEA, even knowing that I’ll fell asleep happy and grateful overwhelmed with emotions and joy and gladness and HAPPINESS.

I was laughing the half of the book, I was melting, smiling and I was crying at the end...because it was
simply beautiful♥,


That is not a big surprise- the story is telling from Ash's POV and he, as a writer, knows how to use words, the language in the book is pure enjoyment!..

It was a debut novel???!!!

I want more from this author!
Alexis Hall. I'll remember this name.


Don't judge a book on it's cover! Because for me it was the only reason why I was waiting with reading it.
Sorry, but Darian, this boy with a BIG HEART, who stole MY HEART has nothing to do with this male model on the cover.

My Darian!!!

Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,248 followers
May 16, 2021
Purple prose that I still liked? And, even an accent written phonetically - which I just recently ranted about hating - and I didn't mind?

This book is hard to read because our narrator, Ash, is in his head the whole time. He suffers from mental illness (bipolar and anxiety), and it is really heartbreaking to witness his struggles.

Ash is a writer who meets a model, Darian, at a bachelor party and is mesmerized by him. He refers to Darian as a Glitter Pirate because of his outrageous style. I think I would be mesmerized by a glitter pirate as well.

Glitter Pirates make an impression.

He tries to hide his mental illness from Darian, so we know it is just a matter of time for an implosion. But still, when it happens, it sucks. I was let down by his actions and words. Of course, Darian is a far better person than I am, so.... I don't know if that's saying much... but it was a beautiful story with a broken man and his big-hearted glitter pirate.

Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,547 followers
September 10, 2013
”It was an absurd situation to find myself in, as usual, but I shouldn't have been surprised to find myself in it. Pirates only belonged in fairly tales anyways.”

Is there something in the water over in M/M territory? How is it that every M/M book I read is golden? Or are my book loving friends just THAT awesome? Whatever the case, I have to say that this is probably my favorite of the subgenre that I've read to date. Which is crazy, because it's not about the bulky alpha boys I love to lust for. No, it's about a cranky, reclusive bipolar Brit and a fun loving, dopey glitter pirate from Essex. It's about people with flaws...in fact, every character in this book reveals some major flaws...not the least the main character and narrator, Ash.

(I think Ash dresses a bit more stodgy, but this guy is hot)
This is a book built on pretentious prose, but I kind of think that's the point. Ash is a pretentious guy, and he comes by it honestly. He's also quite the dick at times...and that's okay. He was meant to be written that way.
”Such a fragile thing, wanting to please someone else. Such endless scope for disappointment and failure. How much easier just to take.”

He uses his academic and literary knowledge to hide his biggest flaws, such as his manic episodes, his panic attacks, and his burgeoning agoraphobia. He went from living on top of the world back in his college days, being a moderately successful author, to this blurry make it through today kind of person. Life? What is life to someone like Ash? Common courtesies disappeared along with his will to live.
”I had never wanted death, merely cessation.”

Yes, it's like that.

So, you see, there is a darker undertone than the title "Glitterland" suggests. Anyone with firsthand knowledge of mental illnesses...be it anxiety, depression, or more psychotic and/or episodic diseases knows just how debilitating they can be. It's impossible for a few short words to accurately convey the hopelessness that can consume someone living with them. And Alexis Hall does a marvelous job at setting the reader inside the mind of an individual on the brink of giving up on normal life.

Sounds depressing, right? But that's actually not the impression that I took away from this book. Not at all. And that reason is Darian.
”Do you fink just cos 'e's 'appy 'e ain't nevva 'ad summin bad 'appen to him?.”

Darian is one of the most loveable characters I've ever come across. Not only is he charmingly goofy, but he's so endearing in that he sees himself as superficial and somewhat dumb...and that couldn't be further from the truth. No, he doesn't have the Oxford education or any major credentials. But he's stuffed full of heart, compassion, and a zest for life that is utterly refreshing.

While at a stag party one night, Ash spots a flashy, happy, epaulet-wearing dancer in the crowd and is momentarily mesmerized. Eye contact leads to chit chat leads to a one night stand leads to Ash having a freak out at 3am and running out the door, leaving behind his peacock patterned boxers. And Darian tracks his author ass down at his next signing...what ensues is this odd mix of natural relationship and awkward, forced togetherness. All the awkward comes from Ash...all the amazing comes from Darian.

Can you tell I love Darian? Could I just tell you a bit more about him? Okay, thanks...

”A glottal stopping glitter pirate who still lives with his grandmother in Essex.”
(I don't know anything about Essex, so I'm not why this is such a huge part of Ash's judging...)

So take a look at the cover. Funny, how it sort of made me tilt my head to the side at first...I'm sure I looked a bit confused...and then indifferent when I saw the reviews rolling in. Can't judge a book by it's cover, right? Wrong! That cover is Darian! The glitter, the bouffant, the eyeliner, the somewhat hollow-cheeked model smirk on his adorable little face. I simply loved everything about him! His funny accent, his utterly sweetheart nature, and his heart of gold. He's a model who loves clothes and has a load of besties, not meant for the likes of someone with prestige and class, or so he thinks. But he sure does nerdgasm over his new man Ash. And pitter pat went my little heart.

I did like Ash...gotta give the guy a break. He goes from having no will to do anything to having a spark of life somewhere inside his heart for a guy who really, truly, should do nothing at all for him. I actually ended up loving Niall, another flawed asshead of a character that had me fuming a couple of times. Point is, this book was so very...human. We're all flawed. We've all been mean, we've all done things we're not proud of and lived life in ways that we don't like to remember. “Judge not, lest ye be judged”...good if you believe or not!
”My breath hitched and my thoughts scattered, and I did not mourn them.”

I've got to stop somewhere. I feel like I could go on and on. But I'll end with this: Don't judge the book by it's cover. Just as you shouldn't judge Darius by his looks or Ash by his douchebagginess. There's an evocative, lovely romance hidden in these pages and I feel like a lucky girl to get to read it.

ARC provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley.
Quotes used with permission

Profile Image for Mo.
1,363 reviews2 followers
February 8, 2023
I actually didn't enjoy it as much the second time around (probably drop it to 3.75).

4.5 sparkly stars.

This was such a fun read. Ash and Darian - chalk and cheese.

There are reality TV shows in the UK, set in Essex... Towie, I think is one and The Only Way is Essex. You know something, for all I know they could be one and the same show. I have never watched them but have seen some of the "actors" being interviewed on TV chat shows. The accents ... LOL. So this author has Darian, a guy from Essex and he writes his accent in the book, if you get my drift.

“I gotta say, babes," he said in a nasal Essex whine, "you're giving me sutcha bedroom look."
I stared down into his face, so close to mine. Babes?

It wasn't all sweetness and light. Ash, is not well. He has a mental illness, he suffers from depression and it affects all of his life.

“Sometimes I thought about killing myself. The idea of it circled my head, shining and lovely like a tinsel halo. How beautiful it would be if everything could just stop. If I could stop. If I didn't have to feel like this. Yes, I thought about it and thought about it, but I was too exhausted to do anything about it. That should have been funny, right?”

Darian was so funny. He probably wasn't the brightest bulb in the box but he sort of knew it and didn't care. He enjoyed life, he had good friends.

"Cos the first fing people say to me: "You should be a model, mate." I reckon it's important to look nice. There's lots of fings you can't change, but if you make an effort wif 'ow you look, then you'll doahwight, janarwhatamean? ... Some people fink its a bit shallow, but what I fink is that if you really like fink 'ard abaht it, then y'know ... that's ahwight,"

I didn't have a problem with Darian's dialogue but some folks might. I really had a great laugh while reading this one.

"You really look like you 'ad it off wif a Ribena or summit."

Ash is Oxford educated, dresses in Saville Row suits. Will they make it? Or are they too different? You will just have to read it to find out.

A group who Darian informed me - had been on Ess Fakta performed to great enthusiasm ...

I had to read that line about 3 times and then say it in an Essex accent before I could understand it. LMAO.

"We've all got flaws, babes."
I glared at him.
"You're not taking me seriously.'
"Well, you just told me you was mental."

“So, lemme get this right. We're gonna make a go of it. You and me? Togevver? Even though I'm orange and you're mental?”
Profile Image for ~Nicole~.
694 reviews167 followers
August 4, 2023
Reread for the 4th-5th time? Whatever,I don’t even know how many times I’ve read this. Cried , laughed, ranted, and swooned as if I was reading it for the very first time. Still my favorite book ever. Please read this if you haven’t , it’s good literature and you’ll probably realize that Boyfriend material is NOT this author’s best work.
Heed the TW for mental illness and past suicidal attempt.

Brilliant now , brilliant the first time I read it and brilliant the next time I’ll reread it. It’s one of the most amazing romance books I’ve ever read and it stayed close to my heart since. It’s a book I hold so dear that after having bought the electronic version I immediately bought the paper one too just to have it in my library and stare at it. And I think Darian is my all time favorite character in an MM romance .
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 11 books7,644 followers
April 14, 2018

I thought this book was going to make me cry the ugly, unrestrained tears of the blubberkin. I blame Julio's review. For some reason, I associated the salty mushpuddle he turned me into with the book itself. This book didn’t make me cry. It made me laugh. Hard. It made with laugh with the kind of unrestrained mirth of the belligerently intoxicated.

Cackles. They came out of me. In public.

*hangs head in shame*

There are already a lot of beautiful, glowing reviews for this, so instead of adding my own lengthy breakdown of the gloriousness that is Glitterland I’ll tell you the one thing you really need to know:

It transcends the form.

This is one of the most incredible, and incredibly well written love stories that I’ve ever read, and if you take a gander at my shelves, you’ll see that I’ve read a lot of romance.

This review can also be found at The Book Eaters.
Profile Image for Tanu Gill.
574 reviews248 followers
November 25, 2016
*There may be some spoilers, so read at your own risk.*

Oh, boy!
Er...I'll need to take a few moments to decide whether I'm crying or grinning, and then I'll move on with my review.
Okay, I've settled with grinning, and so I'll proceed now...

This book is utterly amazing. (Yes, I was a bit confused at first with those strange titles, such as 'Yesterday', 'Later', 'Today', etc., but once the narrative started to flow) I got on the awesome train that went to "bookworm-fantasy-Paradise". And, boy, was it a fun ride!

Darian - Do people really have that accent? Lol, it totally threw me, trying to pronounce the words the way that they were written. However, I quickly got the hang of it and became a pro (at least, in my head, I did!) at Essex dialect, janarwhatamean? ;-)

Darian is just amazing. *long, dreamy sigh* He's strong, funny, adorable...in short, he's amazing. (Or should I call him...man-azing?? Amaza-man? Man-tastic? Mana-licious??! Manna-from-man-heaven???!!...LOL, okay, I'll stop now.) He had this way of making me crack up by just being himself. I lie-kit!!! :* No one would expect his fluttery, glittery self to be so strong as to be with someone as damaged and in as much pain as Ash, but you see Darian's inner core of steel in all his actions (especially his brushing away Ash's mean, sarcastic comments on things). I loved his character, and I soooooo DESPERATELY wanted to read his POV. *regretful sigh*

Ash - Ash's narrative was conveyed superbly...in that, he made me feel for him. It must be so hard to battle clinical anxiety, what with having your anxiety triggered by (random and unforeseen) events, which are not under your control. And let's not talk about the depressive phases he often slips into...! And then to finally get into a good phase, but then not be able to do anything because you get anxious...I cannot even fathom what one goes through when they feel depressed. But what I do know is that he must have a tough life. So I felt for his character. He lost all his friends and even lost Darian because of his fears.

You know, it's odd that up until I started typing, I thought that all the tears I shed were for Ash, because he was losing Darian with his hurtful comments and insulting/demeaning behaviour. But I actually cried for Darian more than for Ash. Because Darian had been so brave and strong while he was with Ash. So loving, kind, and amazingly funny. He was hunjed pahcent supportive and understanding. Despite the odds stacked against him, he did make Ash happy. So it was doubly painful to see them both separate from each other.

I liked that the author touched on the effects that conditions such as depression, bipolar disease, and anxiety attacks can have on a person's psyche and overall life. I can't relate to these directly, not having suffered from these in my own life, but this is also EXACTLY WHY I was grateful for its inclusion in the plot. It's always nice to learn something new. And along with this great plot and engaging love story, I was given information I didn't have before. I got to learn something new, and also, this added depth to the plot and characterizations...and this is ALWAYS a plus in fiction. So a huge thanks to the author for shining a light on issues that affect millions, and especially for doing it in such a sympathetic and engaging fashion, which made me feel for the character in question, Ash.

The end was amazeballs-lightning-strike-jamboree!! ;-)) ...The way Ash finally got the courage to go to Darian and try to get him back because he genuinely wanted him. And the way Chloe was so fierce in her protectiveness and yet a great friend to Darian. And how Darian just wanted an honest and verbal admission about Ash's feelings, because he still cared about him and wanted to be wif [;-)] him again. ...I could go on FOREVER, but I'll stop giving away spoilers so that you all can go read it for yourselves, and also, enjoy it for yourselves, as I did.

Phew! This was an amazing journey. Thank you, Dia, for strongly recommending this book, and this author, to me. I am SO totally hooked now!! And I am now having monologues in Essex dialect. Thank God no one else is privy to my thoughts! o_O They would say I am bang aht of order, well rude. >_< :-P
Profile Image for Ami.
5,865 reviews496 followers
August 25, 2013
This book was a hype because an enthusiastic reader named Susan (who happened to be on my friend list) got an ARC and wrote a darn good intriguing review about it. It was enough to create a massive buddy read (why in the heck she didn't work in marketing was beyond me!). Now that I finished, I had issues on how to rate it.

I liked it ... sometimes. But did I love it? Nope, I didn't. Was this the best read this year, most definitely not. Gah! So where to put this review on the stars category? Should I rounded up? Or rounded down? I was so tempted to just say ... see Kate's, because apparently, once in a blue moon, she and I end up with same opinion. I know, SHOCKIN'!

But since I needed to write what I think, because I also used Goodreads as my personal book tracker ...

About the characters
Ash ... had bipolar depressive anxiety disorder which made him kind of a jerk, self-destructive, selfish, and probably not really likeable for some readers. Well, I liked him enough -- I was always drawn to imperfect characters because in the end, I wanted to see how they redeemed themselves. To me, they were more interesting to read. And Ash fit the bill. I enjoyed reading how he opened up to Darian and then fighting for that possibility of happiness, despite his own negative thoughts about himself.

Darian ... well, he was supposed to be the orange glitter pirate, a shiny light into Ash's bleak days. He was supposed to be endearing and different (than Ash's intellectual posh friends); he made As laugh. Well, I agree that Darian was a sweetheart, I loved the way he accepted the world for what it was, the happiness, the sadness, and all the complexity. He just shrugged off Ash's bipolar problem, because he thought it shouldn't be an issue. Yes, Darian was simple but he could've been and deserved more... Heck, I even thought that Niall had more dimension that Darian, and this made me a bit sad.

Niall ... Unpopular opinion (oh, dear God, I was agreeing with Kate!), I actually loved him. So yes, he was a jerk towards Ash during the Essex Fashion Week. But at the same time, that made him more intriguing for me. There was a story behind that. He fell in love with guys who didn't want him in the end. Max, a bisexuality guy who ended up choosing a girl. Ash, who got crazy and insane. As a character, he was interesting, and I found myself wanting to know HIS story and for him to get his own true love.

About the writing
This was where I hit the obstacle. I am an ESL -- I live all the way in Indonesia. I don't speak English daily (even if I write it daily due to emails at work and here in Goodreads). But yes, English is NOT my native tongue. So when I have to read a story with thick lower class English accent -- in this case, Essex -- PHONETICALLY, my brain was just blown to smitheren. I didn't enjoy reading a book where I had to guess 80% of what the character was saying. I had to reread paragraphs. I didn't understand the jokes. It threw me off my reading experience. It was BAD. It was a PAINFUL experience that I would not want to ever experience ever again!

Then there was the poetic prose of Ash's internal thoughts ... I can usually admire such pretty language. But here, while I thought it was pretty, the 'literary' thoughts felt a bit pretentious compared to the day-to-day dialogs. Those were simpler and way, WAY more charming! This was where the book shine for me.

So there -- some parts of this book glitter, the others not so much. And I wish Ash did the grand gesture worthy of Notting Hill (yes, I loved the movie, sue me!) and showed Darian the tattoo that he got when he tried to win Darian back. In the end, I can say that this was a classic opposite-attracts love story, with imperfect characters, that was quite good.

Just don't make me repeat the experience of those Essex words...
December 14, 2014
3.5 stars

This hovered near 3 stars for me, but it soared to the 4 star mark in the last chapter, because clearly I'm a sap who can be bought with a happy ending. 3.5 stars thus seems a fair assessment for my overall impression of (and reaction to) this book.

I know a lot of reviewers have criticized the abundant use of the Essex dialect (spelled out phonetically) in the dialogue, but that just added to the story for me. Granted, I have a master's in theoretical linguistics, which qualifies me as a Super Nerd, but I could completely hear Darian talking in my head, and this made the story all the more real (and charming). I had no problems understanding all the dialogue (I've spent a lot of time in England too), but I could see this posing an issue for an ESL reader.

My biggest gripe is that I found Ash to be an incredibly unlikable character. Even at the end, I wasn't entirely convinced that he deserved Darian (90 percent convinced, but not entirely). As Darian's bestie Chloe tells Ash (that's A.A. Winters to you): "I just don't fink you're a very nice person. And that ain't got nuffin to do wif being bipolar depressed." Maybe that's ok, though. Assholes have a place in fiction too, and Ash's mental illness made it nearly impossible for him to understand that someone might actually like him and want to be with him. Fortunately, Ash was funny, if judgmental and selfish, and this made reading about his life bearable. The mental illness part wasn't glossed over, which I appreciated as well.

But what the hell was up with Max marrying Amy even as he was sleeping with Niall? Did anyone else think that this issue (and a biggie it is) was sort of ignored? I mean, he was screwing Niall, like what, a couple weeks before the wedding?

And, finally, I've read better sex scenes. Hall's felt a little...nondescript, maybe, a bit clinical, slightly rushed. I can't put my finger on it, but my temperature didn't go up even one notch reading them.

In any case, this is an impressive debut. Kudos to Alexis Hall for writing a sweet, original M/M romance!
Profile Image for Lenore.
596 reviews374 followers
October 4, 2013

You guys. I'm in love.

This book is a real gem, with all the natural inclusions that make it special. I could talk about its flaws, the technical aspects, but they don't matter, because this book had what I call the "book oxytocin effect" on me. That is, I fell in love with it. And when you fall in love, you just bask in the euphoria and sod everything and everyone else.

That first chapter? It hit all my pleasure centres. And then? Oh, the delicious anticipation of something you suddenly know you'll enjoy. I was positively giddy. Ash's interaction with Darian? Such a source of delight. And who cares about the Essex speak. The dialogue parts in this book? They're splendidly done. Funny and natural and meaningful. The side characters? Excellent. You understand them. Even that bugger, Niall. The plot, the pace? I didn't feel it dragged—not for one moment. And who cares about the literary prose. It was Ash's mental processes and they felt natural for him.

This book is also an excellent example of how even the most common tropes can be revisited and explored in new and interesting ways. Because nothing in Glitterland felt boring to me.

Little extra things I enjoyed: references to books and writers, from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to Dan Brown, to Martin Amis. The movie references, from My Fair Lady, to The Shawshank Redemption, to Breakfast At Tiffany's, to Grease, to Notting Hill. The cottage pie recipe! The glardigan (it's a glamour cardigan, obvi)! Nabble (a way cooler version of Scrabble)!

One last thing. Alexis Hall. Remember the name. He has great, great things ahead of him.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,639 followers
November 11, 2013
Damn, this was good. I was putting it off because the Essex dialect didn't really appeal. I am officially dumb.

The opening, with Ash's depression, is painfully well done, such that I had to stop reading for a bit. Ash - intellectual snob, mardy git, bipolar - is wonderful in his self-loathing frailty. Of course he's unlikeable, he doesn't even like himself, but we are able to see the man he could be, and starts to want to be. Darien didn't come across so strongly for me from Ash's self-centred first person narrative, but his compassionate understanding and his unexpected dignity really worked. And, as ever with this author, it's hilarious. Including an absolutely fantastic joke undercutting Ash in the big end scene, which somehow doesn't dissolve the tension and emotion at all.

The writing is lush, teetering at points on the edge of overblown whenever Ash lets rip in his narration (I suspect I wouldn't like his intellectual novel at all), and I wasn't quite convinced by the third-party antagonism that provokes the big conflict in the second half, but those are very minor quibbles in the scheme of things.

Loved it.
Profile Image for Lisa Henry.
Author 82 books2,097 followers
May 11, 2014
Hello, and welcome to my review of Glitterland.

Also known as The Way Lisa's Brain Works.

So, this book has been in my TBR for ages, but I didn't want to read it because:

Exhibit A. It has so many good reviews from people I trust that it is clearly setting itself up to disappoint me. Bitterly.

And when it did, I'd have to have some sort of crisis of faith, where suddenly I couldn't trust any of my GR friends anymore, and seriously, who wants all that trouble? And then I'd be all:

Exhibit B. Glitterland, why are you trying to drive a wedge between me and my friends?

God. This book was trouble before I even read the first page.

But then, for some reason (Coughs. *Jules*) I decided to not be weird about the whole thing and actually read the book. Well, most of it.

Exhibit C. This book is so good I must stop reading at 82% for weeks because I don't want it to end. If I don't read the last page, I can read this book FOREVER!!!!

Seriously. I stopped reading this book and read disappointing books instead because that way I wasn't sad when they ended.

Send help. Or alcohol. Either is good.

Oh, also, if you want to read a review that actually tells you something about this book, you should probably read someone else's review. I will only say that I loved Ash and Darian -- they were a breath of fresh air -- and I now firmly believe every bitter, self-loathing writer should have a glitter pirate in their life.

Sits back, folds arms, and waits for mine to be delivered.
Profile Image for Dia.
534 reviews139 followers
September 7, 2016

I am so in love with the word BABES!!! LIE-KIT!!!
Oh, and also "glitter pirate"!

This was my first book by Alexis Hall. I must admit I was really anxious because I had very high expectations. And I am so happy it turned out to be a wonderful book. I fell in love with Alexis's writing style!

When I dived in, at first I was overwhelmed by his writing - poetic and unexpectedly charming! Even if I read almost only in English now, I still had to search some words because this is not my native language.
Well I think Alexis is just BRILLIANT! He charmed me with so many expressions and I had to highlight so many lines, my eBook is so colorful now.

I admit I also searched on Youtube the Essex accent. I was that curious!

I love the character's names: Ash and Darian. And the way Alexis revealed them. My heart ache for Ash and I fell in love with Darian's sweetness. He has something so powerful about himself, some sort of sensibility and his good heart! We saw him through Ash's eyes and I don't know how anyone can help NOT falling for him!

I laughed SO many times, I hold my breth some other times. It was a great adventure and I will definitely read more of Alexis Hall books!

Profile Image for Ingie.
1,361 reviews168 followers
November 21, 2016
Review written August 25, 2015

5 Stars - Janarwhatamean, simply pure MAGIC

I finished the papeback edition earlier today and I'm stunned. ~ Yep, it proved to be an two years dust collectors on my bedside table. ~ Why I didn't read it then, the summer 2013 when Glitterland was newly published and all those happy applauding fans told me it was a absolute "must" read, that's a huge huge mystery. (..Why Ingela? Why??)

I'm slow, too dumb-slow, but at last...
OMG this was a fantastic heartwarming story. Glitterland has precisely everything I love about a great romance. Funny, emotional and grand romantic. ~ Straight to my 'all time favorites' shelf.


The clinically depressed writer of crime fiction Ash Winters has a quite sad life. He has a tough sickness, is a bit traditional, much alone and has to be true given up on love and normal happiness. Then one night he meets a sexy sparkling "Glitter Pirate".

Darian Taylor a younger Essex guy is aspiring to be a professional model. A boy with an very glittering look, odd clothes and a fake tan.
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“So what else you into, then? I mean except reading and writing, talking like the Queen, and dressing like my granddad?”

Lovely sweet Darian is in most ways the opposite to poor Ash. Darian is happy, glad, caring and tries to see the good things in life. Ash is bitter, angry, deep down afraid to hope and often also quite superior and to be true unfriendly.
These two are also from different social classes, are living in different worlds and have different ways of expressing themselves. —Darian's Essex way of speaking is hilarious.— Opposites or not, these two "like" each other from the start. ...Even if Ash denies and keep struggling.


I'm in love, I love, I LOVED absolutely every minute of reading Glitterland. I cried, laugh, broke my heart (with them) and was completely amazed and stunned. This was so touching and very romantic.
‘Behind my eyelids, I saw him dancing in spirals of coloured light, emerald, blue, and brilliant purple, enfolding him like the wings of an electric angel.’

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“So, lemme get this right. We're gonna make a go of it. You and me? Togevver? Even though I'm orange and you're mental?”

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I'll not flow out of a thousand strong praise-words in this review (see some of those well written reviews already available here). I'll only urge you who haven't already read this book: Please dear friends, go for this one right away, without hesitation and immediately. You will congratulate yourself and thank me later. Hopefully.

Glitterland is a novel for all kind of romances lovers. Be prepared for a wonderful drama, heartbreaking scenes, light yummy smex and in the end, the sweetest tenderness. Recommended!!


Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,486 reviews7,781 followers
October 24, 2016
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

We’ll call this that one time when I bit the bullet and took my inspiration from Martha Raddatz - opting to stop resisting Glitterland and just “get this nightmare started” . . . .

Many of my friends (and more than a handful of my enemies) have been causing this book to appear on my feed for the past few years. However, since the average rating amongst people I actually want to associate with on GR sat at an astonishing 4.60 I stayed faaaaaaaaaaaaar far away. And also, that original cover?????

Well . . . .

Or cover. Yyou know what I’m sayin’. When the new cover came out, though . . . .

That new and improved cover is what finally broke me down and made me request Glitterland from the library.

So let’s get on with the book already. Really the only reoccurring complaint I noticed in my friends’ reviews was that one of the leading males was written like good ol’ Eliza Doolittle before Henry Higgins gold a hold of her . . . .

I pretty much dig on reading accents, so I wasn’t skuuuuuuuuuuuured of that. What I was scared of? Purple prose. Oh lort I’d rather just spoon my own eyeballs out than read that fucking drivel. I’ll be 100% honest and say Glitterland was not free of it . . . .

“He crashed over me like a wave and I was drowning. He shone so brightly and I was burning.”

Which did make me a little . . . .

But luckily for me there was a sparkly glitter pirate to counterbalance things who no matter how many times was described as platinum blonde remained, in my brain, this fella . . . .

(Thanks brain for not effin’ me over for once in my life!)

Said glitter pirate’s speech most definitely wasn’t of the purple variety . . .

“My name’s Darian Taylor.” We shook hands solemnly. Then he grinned. “And I’m gonna make sure you nevva forget it.”

Leaving me kind of like . . . .

I’ll be the first to admit from the outside looking in, this story should have been a big fat failure for me. Normally I’d blame it on the full moon or something, but Glitterland deserves better than a brush off. This story was wonderful. It was funny and touching and made me feel a variety of feels – the most surprising of which was unequivocal love . . . .

“Hunjed percent.”

All the stars.
Profile Image for Lau ♡.
416 reviews348 followers
March 9, 2022
I can’t remember the last time I was so confused about my feelings for a book. It was different from what I’ve read before, yet it didn’t win me over.

First, the bright side: the writing was enchanting . I absolutely adored the weird descriptions.

He was a ridiculous creature. A vulgar, glittering pirate of a man, all jewellery and fake tan, gold glinting in his ears, on his fingers and round his wrists.

Ash and Darian (MC) were realistic, but I couldn’t relate with any of them. In Darian’s case, he was charming but superficial. I don’t do well with shallow characters, but what drove me crazy was that the author decided to remind us of his accent by writing words like: ‘uvver’, ‘fink’, ‘wonnid’, ‘nuffin’... ‘Janarwhatamean?’

As for Ash, he was a shallow person who critiqued the others for being shallow. He was selfish and I was tired of him hurting Darian, never the other way around.

However, my main problem was the mental health aspect. I don’t know how well the representation of bipolar depression is, but I expected to see its impact on their relationship, see how they would make it work. It’s easy to say ‘I don’t mind you being bipolar, I want you exactly as you are’, but it’s more difficult to live with it.

“They tried to fix the anxiety,” I said, “but if you take this, you have to take that, or stop taking the other, and the whole bloody awful cycle begins again. They did find something that helped a bit. But I stopped taking it. The side effects… I go fat, okay? I know is shallow, I know it’s irresponsible, but, honestly, I’d rather be anxious than fat.”

“I’m wif you, babes.”
Darian sounded suddenly about as serious as I’d ever heard him.


HOW am I supposed to believe they are going to be okay? Maybe I was just expecting the wrong thing for this book, and that’s why I ended up being disappointed.

For all my friends who loved this: I am sorry. I really tried to like it 😭😭
Profile Image for Mel.
648 reviews78 followers
January 13, 2021
after all this time and re-reads/listens Glitterland is still amazing

My Review on Prism Book Alliance

So… coughs
Um, it’s kinda incredibly hard for me to write a review for GLITTERLAND because it’s my favourite romance, by my favourite author, and I basically feel that no matter what I’m gonna write it will just never be able to give this book justice, nor be able to mirror my love for it. Because thinking of GLITTERLAND fills me with so much love and thoughts all at once, I don’t know how to get them out.

The writing… sigh… so, so beautiful. I could have quoted the whole book, every page. I absolutely adore everything about Alexis’s writing. The world and characters he creates, the first person POV, the Essex dialect, everything.

Is this enough? You believe me, right? And just go for it? No?
Okay, I’ll try to give you some more…

Alexis writes about real people with real problems, and that makes them very relatable. We’re reading the story through Ash’s point of view. He’s a bipolar depressive and he has withdrawn so much into himself, out of fear of someone pitying him and out of fear of the obligations that come with social interactions.
You can maybe imagine how hard it is for him to fall in love. He can’t even recognise it, and he doesn’t welcome it, either, especially since the man he desires, Darian, is everything that he used to find ridiculous. Darian is a glitter pirate, an aspiring model from Essex, who might not be sophisticated but is not at all naive or simple like everyone may assume.

Alexis shows us how this unlikely pair has the right to try, how through ups and downs they come to a place where love is possible.

Despite the heavy topic of depression and anxiety, that really dominates Ash’s life, there is a lot of humour in GLITTERLAND and there are many light and lovely and very sexy scenes as well.

I really appreciate that Alexis does not create artificial issues to make the story even more angsty and supposedly entertaining. He also does not conjure a magical happy ending, but one that is even better, a realistic one. One that makes me even happier because I can really believe in it and one that gives me hope.

Oh wow, I did get something unto the page at least ;-)

It’s the best romantic love story I’ve ever read. Please give this a try.

Narration Review:

I had already read GLITTERLAND three times over the last year and was so very excited when Alexis announced it was going to be available in audio soon. Moreover, he was so very pleased about Nicholas Boulton (who also is the narrator of some guy in Dragon Age something, which is like super important ;-) ) being the narrator and basically so very excited about it himself. Since I’m a member in Alexis’s and Santino Hassell’s Facebook Group, I had the opportunity to listen to a very first snippet early on and fell in love with the narration at once.

Nicholas Boulton has a beautiful voice and he uses it differently for all of the characters, even Ash’s narration sounds a bit different to when he’s actually talking.

Talking of Ash, I think it’s amazing how Nicholas Boulton makes him appear so human and even vulnerable in parts. I think that this is in this particular case crucial because I think a less great narration would maybe have made it hard to like him.
Darian’s voice and his Essex accent are wonderful. He has a very loving voice and I think it fits him very well.

I am very pleased with the narration for my favourite romance and I already know I will listen to it many more times, to be precise, I’ve already started again…

You can find my older reviews under the spoiler...

Genre: contemporary romance
Tags: m/m, England, Essex, bipolar, writer, fashion
Rating: Book and Audio rating both 5.0 stars
Profile Image for BevS.
2,750 reviews2 followers
April 10, 2022
***AUDIO REVIEW. 10 Glitter Pirate stars from me. If there is a better UK narrator than Nicholas Boulton, I have no idea who that can be. He blew me away, just so, so good***

A GLITTERING DEBUT NOVEL. I was going to do a shortie review, but there are so many quotes I want to get into this review it would be nigh on impossible to do less than about 5 pages...but I'll try my very best. I ADORED this novel.5 WONDERFUL FAKE TAN ORANGE STARS, AND bring on those dancing girls

First of all I want to say thank you to the ladies of the 'Big Arse' buddy read group, and to Suze for organising it. Secondly, I want to say that Alexis' writing was completely and utterly wonderful. Yes, this novel was extremely funny, laugh out loud funny a lot of the time BUT....there were also some very serious issues interwoven with the humour, all of which were to do with Ash and his illness...mental health issues are no joke, definitely not for the sufferers nor their families...so for me, the humour was tempered slightly by the problems that Ash was having to deal with.

The 'Essex' speak, for those that live around that area, is obviously easy to understand, and I didn't have any problems with it myself being English and only living about 30 miles from the Essex border, but I know from our Buddy Read experiences that a lot of other people just didn't 'get it', so I really, really hope that doesn't put anyone off this wonderful story.

Now the characters. Well, we'll start with Darian , and what else can I say about him, but he was such a love, innocent and a real sweetie...I don't have a single bad thing to say about him. He loves his Nan, his best friend Chloe ( to you Chloe, I'd have defended him with the last breath in my body aswell), he's kind to people, some of whom don't deserve it and is just generally an all-round nice guy...as Ash says early on in the novel 'overthrown by an h-dropping, glottal-stopping glitter pirate, and I didn't have to care.' Another lovely quote 'He was a ridiculous creature. A vulgar, glittering pirate of a man, all jewellery and fake tan, gold glinting in his ears, on his fingers and around his wrists. His dark hair gleamed with product and had been painstakingly teased into a quiff that defied taste, reason and gravity. And I couldn't stop looking at him. It was horrifying but the truth was there, undeniable, like some faint sonic echo deep within my skin, the thin batsqueak of sexuality. I wanted him.'and ' I was beginning to think he had a vocabulary of about a hundred words, and fifty of them weren't English. I must have been beyond hammered to be thinking about sleeping with him. Of course, it was possible he didn't exist, but I doubted even the extremity of my psychosis could have conjured such a man'.

Now to the 'villain' of the piece Ash . He was very droll, dry and pithy, acerbic, sarcastic with a wonderful turn of phrase, extremely selfish, unreliable...in fact, just the sort of person you wouldn't want to take home to meet your mother...definitely not boyfriend material at all....BUT he was absolutely desperate to be loved and every man he'd been with had been driven off by his illness, and there's the elephant in the corner of this novel, Ash's mental illness...what it does to him, how he reacts to other people because of it and how other people react to him, how he feels about it and what it makes him do...some of the quotes were heartbreaking ' I was nothing but a ghost hunter, chasing the wraith of the man I used to be. A beachcomber of my own detritus.', and 'Sometimes I thought about killing myself. The idea of it circled my head, shining and lovely like a tinsel halo. How beautiful it would be if everything could just stop. If I didn't have to feel like this. Yes, I thought about it and thought about it, but I was too exhausted, too depressed, to do anything about it. That should have been funny, right?', and finally 'The tapestry of my life was a ruin of unravelling threads. The brightest parts were a nonsensical madman's weaving. And now every day was a grey stitch, laid down with an outpatient's patience, one following the next following the next following the next, a story in lines, like a railway track to nowhere, telling absolutely nothing. I'd wasted so much of my life. So many of my days, and all of my promise, all of my dreams, lost to hospitals, to depression, to wanting to die. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. This is not who I am. Except, of course, it was. It was all there was left to be.'

The point of this is that Darian brings Ash out of himself, he tries to become someone else for Darian, someone who is not weak mentally but realises in the end that the illness is always there, will never go away and rather than have Darian leave him eventually as everyone does, he decides to end it with Darian very cruelly in front of some old posh aquaintances...at that point, the air in my house turned blue , and yes Ash, I'm afraid I posted a comment in my updates that called you a rude word...and you thoroughly deserved it!!

I won't go any further into the story, there are of course other characters, some of whom I liked, others not so much but they grew on me..yes Niall, I'm talking about you. Considering this was the author's debut novel, I'm completely floored by how good it is, and he's such a lovely guy!! Oh, and don't forget readers.....A homosexual is for life, not just for Christmas!!
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