Review: Explicitly Yours by Mika Jolie

Explicitly Yours
A Platonically Complicated Novella
by Mika Jolie

Marriage.
The final frontier. The end of dating. The number one cause of divorce.

I bet you every man who is about to take the plunge experiences a wide range of feelings. As a guy, whose wedding day is only seven days away, I know this.

Anxiety—Nerves are kicking in. Yeah, even confident, cocky guys like me are bound to face nuptial stage fright.

Let’s face it, forever is kind of a long time, right?

Excitement—Coriander and I are going to make it official. I’m marrying my best friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with.

Nothing can top this moment.

That is until I got the biggest surprise of my life…

 

 

Coriander Phillips and Dean Conrad Morello are soon to be married. Yes, finally! The man who was always surrounded by a bevy of beauties was finally tying the knot with his beloved, with his best friend. Almost twenty years of friendship and in less than three months, they decided it was time. If you thought this was kind of rushed, I assure you, it’s not.

Years and years of platonic relationship had finally took up a notch and now they couldn’t wait to make it official. But there’s one thing that they couldn’t agreed on, a crucial decision that they had to bear responsibility for the rest of their lives. A responsibility that Dean was scared to even think about. Everything was running smoothly until they finally realize what they were getting into.  It’s five days before their wedding…. is Dean really ready to settle down amidst his fears?

A few months ago, I met Cori and Dean in The Boyfriend and fell in love with the reformed player. There’s something about guys who admit their insecurities and mishaps and failures and dreams. That something was what drawn me to Dean.

In Explicitly Yours, the same annoying yet charming narrative greeted me, Dean airing his dirty laundry while admiring his fiance’s physique. Other readers may find him obnoxious and egotistical – me, I found him honest, adorable, tolerable self-centered macho who’s got stars and hearts in his eyes. Cori was lucky to have him.

And oh, don’t remind me of those hot and heavy scenes that happened between the couple. I’m telling you, I couldn’t handle the heat! Whew!

Anyway, I love how Cori and Dean grew as mature and responsible adults. I love how they got a very strong support system, too. I just wish the other characters were given more spotlight, but maybe, they’ll be having their own books soon, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Once again, Mika Jolie turned me into a mushy, giggly hopeless romantic overnight. She always knows how to make my day right. She always knows how to tell an honest-to-goodness story without making me sleepy. I would read everything this author writes and I will never get tired of her writing. That’s how much I love Mika Jolie!

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Review: The Chocolate Comeback by Roxanne Snopek

The Chocolate Comeback
(Love at the Chocolate Shop #7)
by Roxanne Snopek

Fame, fortune and fashion: that’s aspiring model Deirdre Cash’s ideal life. But when her splashy New York career dries up, she swallows her pride and returns to Marietta, Montana, desperate for any work she can find.

Isaac Litton doesn’t want the intrusion of a home care aide for his brother, Mark. But when the young man takes a shine to DeeDee, Isaac decides to give her a chance. He can’t help but be impressed when DeeDee changes his brother’s life around, by rewarding his healthy habits and exercising with treats from the Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop. Gorgeous and opinionated, DeeDee stirs everything up in the Litton household, including an attraction that Isaac can’t deny.

As DeeDee and Isaac start to fall for each other, an unexpected opportunity arises that could launch DeeDee back into the modeling scene. It’s her chance to achieve everything she’s ever wanted. But taking it would mean letting down her friends at the chocolate shop, her family who believes in her, a boy who adores her, and a man who thinks she’s already perfect, just the way she is.

DeeDee Cash is back in Marietta, broke, jobless, and living with her twin sister Maddie. She was a model back on New York, but after a series of mishaps and uneventful gigs, she came back home tried to reassess her life. Thanks to her meddling twin, DeeDee found herself knocking on the door of the new guy in town, and taking care of his brother with Down Syndrome.

Isaac Litton was at his wits’ end with all the finance work he’d been doing, plus making sure that his younger brother’s needs were me. Mark Litton wasn’t an easy boy to deal with, but he loved him so much, he’d do everything in his power to give him all his special needs. But could he trust someone as careless and enticing and as gorgeous as hell as DeeDee Cash?

Just when I thought I have read everything about The Chocolate Shop series, just when I thought I’ve met all the beautiful people from Marietta Montana, here I am, silently crying for joy, for DeeDee Cash, Isaac and Mark Litton. My heat is overwhelmed. Never have I ever cried in a fashion show, never have I ever read a woman as aloof yet as passionate and dedicated as DeeDee, never have I ever loved a boy with Down Syndrome before, and never have I ever attended a fundraiser event as uplifting and emotional as the one I’ve just read.  But here I am now, embracing the characters one by one, flaws and disabilities and all.

If the water from Marietta Montana is indeed magical, the authors of Love at the Chocolate Shop are magical, too! I can’t help but to fall in love everytime I read a book about the characters of Marietta and Copper Mountain and the neighboring towns. The Chocolate Comeback is currently my favorite read and I got teary eyed reading about the other people participating in the fundraiser/fashion show.

I love Mark Litton to bits. He was so adorable and caring and trusting in his own special way. Although at first, DeeDee wasn’t that into him and his brother, I was glad this snooty model had come a long way to becoming the ideal woman she was destined to be. Isaac, on the other hand, was understandably remote and antisocial at the beginning, given his responsibility to his bro. It’s a pleasure to see him squirm once in a while and see a little of his romantic silly side. I highly approved of DeeDee and Isaac’s budding romance: slow-burning, tension-building, hackles-rising and all those stuffs.

Once again, Roxanne Snopek made my night. She’s my new fave Marietta author (I loved The Chocolate Cure!)  and I couldn’t wait to read all the other books she’d written and the other stories in The Love at the Chocolate Shop series!

Review: Mayhem’s Desire by Lindsay Cross

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Mayhem’s Desire

(Operation Mayhem #2)
by Lindsay Cross

coffeesynopsisdHis traumatic past has left him dark… and longing for love.

Hicks thinks good and evil comes in black and white. No blurred lines, no grey areas. After being subjected to a horrific experiment that’s left him damaged as a super soldier, Hicks seeks comfort from his torment in reliability. He’s got clear rules on morality and isn’t willing to break them.

Until her.

Whitney is a seductress. Secretly working for a Senator as a mistress, she puts on leather outfits and a mask of sensuality to bend men to her will— though the money she makes doing so isn’t to save her, but others. Whitney believes she’s past saving, and that love is a silly dream.

Then he enters her life.

Hicks is sickened by what he thinks Whitney is— and undeniably attracted to her. After Whitney’s life is threatened in a violent murder attempt, Hicks calls in his team. Whitney is the target of a government operation, and unless Hicks can discover who’s behind it, Whitney’s life is forfeit.

But the mission isn’t the only thing on Hicks’ mind.

Whitney and Hicks can’t keep their hands off each other… but they can’t stand each other, either. Whitney isn’t the innocent woman Hicks thought, and Hicks isn’t the strong hero Whitney’s looking for. But together, the heat of their romance and the passion of their love cannot be stopped.

Can Hicks rescue Whitney from a tragic end? Or will the lovers lose everything against incredible odds?

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Hicks’ tormented and abusive childhood made him the man that he was today. Ruthless, pensive, careful, determined, defiant and invincible. He’s a super soldier, enhanced and trained to fight for what is right and persecute those who have betrayed him and his brothers. But he wasn’t all that hard up. He also wanted to feel loved and fall in love. And just when he thought he could fall for their doctor’s sister, Whitney after rescuing her from an assassin, his heart got ripped out again when he learned what Whitney did for a living.

 

Whitney Averton had a heart of gold. She had always been caring and tending to other people’s needs. But she wasn’t the smart daughter that her parents aspired her to be. She may be working for a charitable cause, but they didn’t know the means she did to get the money. A job that involved a high profile senator and his eccentric needs.

Christopher Higginbotham (now that’s a mouthful of a name, isn’t it) aka Hicks is a man on a mission. But a little distraction along the way is welcome. But what if that distraction might just be the one to ruin him?

 

Incredible! I could not think of any other adjective right now, except INCREDIBLE! Mayhem’s Desire is another addition to Lindsay Cross’ Men of Mayhem series.and is incredibly good and I love it. The entire series just keeps getting better and better, badder and badder, deeper and deeper.

What made this book really good is the character development and the suspenseful storyline. There is growth and promise in every situation. The characters are ridiculously flawed but somehow, you can’t help but root for them. Lindsay Cross managed to keep the super soldier’s storyline going and in high momentum while each of them tackled their own story. Hicks and Whitney are the star of the story, but Reaper, Caroline and Doctor Averton are quite essential to the whole plot, thus making this series a highly anticipated read. Can’t wait to see what happens next to my favorite team of super enhanced men.

 

 

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4cocu (2)

Review: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek

 

The Chocolate Cure
(Love at the Chocolate Shop #4)
by Roxanne Snopek

No more chocolate! No more meddling! No more men!

New Year’s resolutions are great. Announcing them in a crowded bar, with a chocolate martini in her hand? Not Maddie Cash’s finest moment. It’s time this new realtor got serious about her life and this time, she means it.

But when hospital volunteering lands her at the bedside of bruised and battered Mick Meyer, who has no knowledge of Maddie’s reputation – and no memory of the kiss he begged from her during that long, pain-filled night, her best-laid plans are put in jeopardy. It’s not just his sweet tooth that’s tempting her.

The hunky bush pilot with the concussion has an old family property to unload. Making this sale could be Maddie’s professional salvation. But when Mick turns on the charm, she’s in danger of forgetting all her best intentions… on chocolate… on meddling… and especially on men.

Sure had lots of fun meeting the once privileged spoiled girl Maddie Chase and the daredevil pilot Mick Meyer in this deliciously sweet and sexy story, The Chocolate Cure. Loved the friendly banter between two strangers. Maddie as a volunteer in a hospital was a hoot with Mick struggling to keep sane despite all the drugs inside his body. The promise of never eating chocolate again (OMG, how could Maddie make such NY resolution?) and staying away from men or meddling with other people’s decisions proved to be quite a difficult feat for our female protagonist. Not to mention that one heady kiss that Mick totally forgot about.. Le Sigh…

Maybe it’s the chocolates, or the gorgeous men in the story, or Maddie’s knack for Prada and branded items, or the warm and friendly people of Marietta – these factors definitely made my reading fun and memorable. The Chocolate Cure is absolutely the cure to all my insanity issues. This is my first book by Roxanne Snopek and I am already in love.. Love the butterfly feelings I get while reading this book. I think I am in love!

Review: Can’t Help Falling In Love by Bella Andre

Can’t Help Falling in Love
(San Francisco Sullivans #3)
by Bella Andre

Gabe Sullivan risks his life every day as a firefighter in San Francisco. But after learning a brutal lesson about professional boundaries, he knows better than to risk his heart to his fire victims ever again. Especially the brave mother and daughter he saved from a deadly apartment fire…and can’t stop thinking about.

Megan Harris knows she owes the heroic firefighter everything for running into a burning building to save her and her seven-year-old daughter. Everything except her heart. Because after losing her navy pilot husband five years ago, she has vowed to never suffer through loving – and losing – a man with a dangerous job again.

Only, when Gabe and Megan meet again and uncontrollable flames of desire ignite between them, how can he possibly ignore her courage, determination, and beauty? And how can she deny not only his strong bond with her daughter.but the way his sweetly sensual kisses are challenging her to risk everything she’s been guarding for so long?

This winter, if one – or both – of them aren’t careful, they just might end up falling in love.

An apartment fire almost cost the lives of single mom Megan and her daughter Summer, if not for the courage and sheer focus of Gabe Sullivan, firefighter extraordinaire. But Gabe didn’t want to credit everything to his job, because he had seen firsthand how Megan braved the fire and made sure her daughter could make it out alive. Both of them were heroes in their own rights, and that’s what made them more appealing to me.

Gabe had his Firefighter Dating rule – never date fire victims, especially the ones he helped rescued. One past experience had him burned so bad, now he was a little extra careful when it came to women. Megan had vowed never to date a man who could die anytime in his line of job. Her deceased husband would only remind her the perils and worries and heartaches she had previously experienced and would possibly feel once more. And then there’s Summer. She didn’t want her daughter to go through that again.

So far, Gabe is my favorite among the Sullivans.. I’ve got a soft spot for firefighters and single mothers, and most specially, to a cute little girl named Summer. I loved how their story slowly developed, started out as kindle and soon burned into a glowing fire and ended with a magnificent explosion of fireworks. Literally and figuratively. My heart warmed at the wonderful image these three characters painted – full of passion, caring, love and fire.

Trust Bella Andre to come up with a family that’s so easily loved and never easily forgotten. The stories just kept getting better and better. I’m glad I decided to continue with the Sullivan series, every member of the family was getting more delectable and admirable by the minute! (And yeah, just a question for Miss Andre, what’s up with the brothers and bath tubs, anyway? Seriously makes me want to get my own bathtub in my house, too!) Oh well, I just can’t help falling in love with this family, indeed!

Review: The Parking Space by Angela Christina Archer

The Parking Space
by Angela Christina Archer

After her fiancé leaves her at the altar and a blind date stands her up, Helen Wright is done with love. Married to her real estate career instead, the only thought on her mind is selling a top listed house in San Francisco so she can finally afford the home of her dreams.

After her wealthiest client fires her, Helen’s vision of moving away from her cramped apartment and the person stealing her parking space vanishes. Her professional life is now feeling just as pathetic as her love life. So when her best friend, Lisa, informs her that she’s getting married in Bora Bora, Helen packs her bags for a much-needed vacation and boards a plane with the excitement of leaving all her Mr. Wrongs behind.

A new practice and a new place to live, those are the only two things that veterinarian Rick Stark needs after finding out his fiancé cheated on him. With his trust in women shattered, he jumps at the chance for the perfect job, leaving San Francisco in the dust. However, while visiting his possible new boss on the islands of Bora Bora, he finds himself in the company of a familiar face—the attractive owner of a patient who he once thought he wasn’t interested in.

Could it be that maybe he was wrong about her? And if so, what’s he supposed to do when her old flame falls into the picture wanting to rekindle what they once had?

OMG.. Just the mention of Bora Bora already had me gushing and dreaming of paradise. But that’s not the only reason I got this book by Angela Archer. It’s the promise of something beautiful between two broken hearts finding their road to forever which started in a parking space.

 

Oh yes, that parking space, the monumental catalyst to their journey to paradise, albeit unbeknownst to both parties. Helen Wright was left at the altar, distraught and shocked at the turn of events. Her boyfriend of two years, Tom, got cold feet and never left any explanation to his abandonment.  You think that’s unfortunate? How about getting fired by her celebrity client and getting stood up by her blind dates? Oh yes, Helen might just as well be Lemony Snicket’s female counterpart after all the bad luck she’d experienced.

 

And then there’s her parking space which was always being occupied by a mysterious man, thus sending her to almost hysterics and sending nasty letters to the perpetrator.

 

Doctor Rick Stark had trust issues with relationships after his fiance cheated on him. He promised never to fall in love again, and also decided to move to a new location to forget his past. Until he met the woman who occupied his thoughts.

 

The Parking Space had been a beautiful and charming read. Helen’s mishaps made her vulnerable and susceptible to doubts. Being left at the altar made her wary of men and their intentions. If I were in her shoes, I’d totally go bonkers and make her ex-fiance pay for all the sufferings he had caused.

 

 

And Doctor Rick, he’s such a darling. A lifesaver in more ways than I could imagine. He’s a lovable character you would want to become best friend forever – or be a lover from infinity and beyond. There’s something about him that makes him really charming and appealing. Although I wasn’t in favor of their whirlwind love affair, (falling in love within a week was a little rush to me), in the end, it’s the beautiful setting and backdrop of the islands of Bora Bora that made me love them.

 

 

Yes, Bora Bora is a paradise, that I agree with the author. I would love to be there one day and experience everything that Rick and Helen had done. The description of the place, the overwater villa and the ocean floor, the beautiful beaches and mountain ranges – ahh, it’s all I’ve ever want!

 

Angela Christina Archer’s writing is expressive and striking. I got easily lost with the characters and in the story. Once I started with the first few pages, I already knew this was something I wouldn’t be able to stop reading. And I wasn’t disappointed. I finished the book within the day! Highly recommended for an afternoon summer read!

#ThrowbackThursday: Heist Society by Ally Carter

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It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

Here’s my share for this week. Ally Carter’s Heist Society series. First up is Heist Society.

 

Heist Society (Heist Society #1)
by Ally Carter

coffeesynopsisdWhen Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

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Katarina Bishop is not your ordinary teen-age girl. At her tender age of 3, she had been witness to her father’s various heist adventures that made her family infamous in the field of theft. But Kat has a rule – “I don’t take things that don’t belong to me.”

When she got tired of his family’s affair, she enrolled herself in the highly reputable Colgan School and enjoyed being a normal student until 3 months later, was accused of trashing the headmaster’s car at 2am. She got expelled, of course, but she was surprised when Hale came to fetch her.

Now, imagine a younger Brad Pitt from his character in Ocean’s 12, or a teenage Pierce Brosnan from Thomas Crown Affair – dashingly handsome and witty – and you’ll get a picture of W.W. Hale the Fifth. Hale has been part of the Heist Society where Kat & her family belong. Kat discovered that her father was accused of stealing valuable paintings from a mobster, Arture Taccone and now it was up to Kat and Hale and their teenage gang (with newcomer gorgeous Nick!) to get everything right – including an operation of stealing 5 paintings from one of the greatest museums – The Henley Gallery.

I love this book! After some reading some New Adult books full of raging male-testosterone, I decided to read something that mysteriously cozy light story and I was impressed with Carter’s take on Heist Society. Although this is still considered YA, which I am not, I really couldn’t put the book down. I really like Kat, she’s strong-willed, knows what she likes and how to get it – even having to turn her father to the Interpol just to make sure that the mobster Taccone won’t hurt him. That’s how she values her family and friends.

Furthermore, I really like he way Carter gently nudged Kat’s attention to Hale without making their potential love story the focus of the book. It’s great to read something that doesn’t involve in head-over-heels love affair. As mentioned above, it was like imagining the younger Ocean’s 11 or 12 cast, only with Julia Roberts at the helm and not George Clooney or Brad Pitt.

I commend Ally Carter for this wonderful series. She manages to combine great action, humor, history and romance in this well plotted novel. I loved this story of teen thieves pulling the ultimate con/heist. Really well written and a fun plot.. do I really need to say this again and again?

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4cocu (2)