ARC Review: Paper Tigers by Meg Collett

Paper Tigers
(Fear University #4)
by Meg Collett

Fear University has created a new monster …

The infamous fear switch research started with me, Patient Zero. But I am a failure. My mind adapted and now I move through the shadows like the creatures I was created to hunt. I spent my entire life in a cage with scalpels in my brain, but I am finally free—thanks to the Commander.

I am Zero, and I will make the bad men at Fear University pay.

I, Ollie Volkova, have returned to Fear University to rebuild and restore the school to its former standard of protecting the world against monsters, both human and aswang. But something new is killing Original families all over Kodiak Island and nearly assassinated the president of my university. The hunters call it a ghost, but I know she’s something more. Something worse than monsters and men. Something like me.

Fear University is my home, and I will kill to protect it.

PAPER TIGERS IS OUT NOW! GET YOUR COPY ON AMAZON!

If you’ve been following my reviews about the Fear University series, I’ve declared all my love and admiration to this woman who had encapsulated Filipino folklore in her novels, Meg Collett. And the mere mention of aswang in the story easily gives me the creeps. The crazy kind of creeps that makes me shiver in fear and anticipate in excitement. I haven’t met any other author who had written a story about aswangs, manananggal, kapre in an intricately detailed and extensive manner, much scarier and more nerve-racking than the one featured in Grimm TV series. I kid you not.

Now on to the fourth installment in the series. Paper Tigers.

The aswangs are back, and so are the aswang hunters and the halflings. Ollie had convinced Dean to let the halflings enter Fear University, against his bitter judgment, completely certain that aswangs are monsters, not half-good, not half-monstrous.

And then there’s Zero. She had wormed her way in the university, and Dean almost cost his life, but still lived, gripping in fear. Zero had found him, and he was sure he’d soon die in her hands. In her daughter’s hands. But she didn’t anticipate The Fearless One and the One Who Don’t Feel Pain. And for that, Zero is back to being zero.

The fight scenes, the aswangs, the shadows, the fear switch, the antidote, the lovestruck pairs, the traitors, the war, the confused daughter, the Queen!

I am fumbling here, I know; I wish I could narrate the entire book and tell you how awesome Paper Tigers is. But I must stop before I blurt out the whole story. You need to read this for yourself. You need to meet the woman behind this amazing series.

OMG, this has been a crazy ride and I can’t stop myself from screaming. Meg Collett is a genius and I want the whole world to know that. For me, she could be the next Sarah J. Maas. Paper Tigers is a must read. ’nuff said.

Children’s Book Review: LEARNING with Piaras O Cionnaoith

Let’s sit back and relax a bit and enjoy being a kid for once in our lifetime. I took some time out from reading fantasy and YA/NA books and focused on my kids’ learning needs. You see, aside from being a coffee addict and a bookworm, I am also first and foremost, a mother to my three handsome boys. The youngest just turned 5 and is starting school. I got hold of this wonderful kiddie books with illustrations by Piaras O Cionnaoith and I’d like to share with you my boy’s experience in this Learning series.

Learning My ABCs – ANIMALS

I got this book for my kid who’s currently in kindergarten whose world basically revolves around ABCs nowadays. I myself like this book because it’s very educational and helpful.

My youngest is enjoying every bit of the alphabet and was amazed to learn about the other animals he hadn’t heard about like the xenops. This sure put a smile to his face and had even used it as a trivia to his older brothers. Winner!

 

Learning My Drawing  (STEP-BY-STEP DRAWING TUTORIALS FOR CHILDREN)

I am actually loving this book! When I was a kid, I loved drawing and I dreamt of becoming either an architect or an artist and my mother encouraged me. I joined poster-making contests but I didn’t win ant because my drawing wasn’t good enough.

Now I see my youngest taking interest in drawing too. This book is just what we need for our weekly bonding moment. Love the numbered steps on how to draw animals and flowers. My favorites were the stegosaurus and pterodactyls. My child loves drawing the train and snail. This book is perfect!

Learning My Letters – (Basic Writing Skills A-Z)

This has been such a great help to me and my five year old son. Everyday, I train his hands in writing by spelling out his name on a piece of paper. But somehow, he always get bored easily when he repeatedly writes the same words over and over again. He’s already familiar with the alphabet but not so with various words.

When I got him Piaras O Cionnaoith’s Learning My Letters, I printed the pages and gave it to my son. His eyes brightened up and immediately started writing on the pages, outlining and writing the words that start with A, B, C to Z.. I love that he gets excited whenever he writes and understands what he is writing because there are images of the words on the book. The pictures truly help kids in identifying the words and they get an easier grasp of the words that they learn about. Thanks so much Piaras for this book!

Learning my Words (Picture book, Basic Word Learning Skills)

I’m pleased to say that my child learned reading at an earlier age than most kids. I was even pleased when I go this book, Learning My Words by Piaras O Cionnaoith because my youngest son continued to learn new words / vocabulary. Now when I ask him for words that start with a certain letter, he gives me words that he don’t usually encounter everyday.

For example, before, when I ask him to give me words that start with A, he always answered Apple. But now, with this book, he tells me Anchor or Astronaut. Same goes with other letters. Now he knows about Broccoli, capsules, microscope, platypus and so much more.

I also loved that the book contains explanatory notes for teacher/parents that can be used as guides for kids. This book is awesome!

Review: Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker

Mann Cakes: A Beach Pointe Romance
by Mysti Parker
Published May 11, 2017

Love makes men do desperate things, if desperate things means opening a rival cupcake shop to drive your ex-girlfriend crazy.

Twin brothers and Air Force vets, Tanner and Garrett Mann, return from deployment to find their thriving business burned to the ground. Time for Plan B: Move back to their hometown of Beach Pointe to start over.

But that means running into Paige and Morgan Baxter –gorgeous, curvy, and owners of Two Sisters Cupcakes.

There’s an old diner for sale across town, Garrett’s a great cook, and Tanner has an idea. They’ll make savory cupcakes that men would like. We’re talking bacon and Cheez Whiz. Even better? They’ll call it Mann Cakes. Problem is, they end up attracting an unexpected crowd.

Paige is furious. Every man in her life has left her behind, including Tanner. She’s sacrificed everything for her shop. She won’t lose it over some egotistical ex-boyfriend, even if he does have an Air Force-chiseled body. Her younger sister, Morgan, isn’t helping matters. She’s been gaga over Garrett since high school.

To hell with that. If it’s a fight Tanner wants, it’s a fight he’ll get. But how much is Paige willing to risk to win a cupcake war?

Mann Cakes was so deliciously good, I could read this over and over again.

When AirForce twin vets Tanner and Garrett Mann’s computer shop business got burned to ashes, including their friend Will, they decided to go back to their quaint little hometown, Beach Pointe. There Tanner thought of opening a cupcake shop with manly toppings, like bacon and CheezeWhiz, instead of the usual sugary sweets that most women love.

But there’s one hitch to that plan. There was already another cupcake shop in town, and the owner of these sweet confection were none other than Tanner’s ex-girlfriend Paige and her sister Morgan, who was Garrett’s long time secret crush. It was only a matter of time before the customers cancelled their orders and transferred to another one. Uh-oh. That sounded like monkey business, right?

The rivalry between the Baxters and Manns was hilariously sweet. Tanner upping his game by taunting Paige with his sexy hot body and seductive marketing skills may seem a little childish at one point, but it was definitely worth every drool. I mean worth every penny.

Seriously, these twins were gorgeous and they love the attention – well, Tanner mostly. I liked the Garrett was the subdued one and his love interest was his exact opposite. Tanner, the aggressive one turning mushy and soft around Paige was really cute. I love love love these siblings.

The story was not only fun, but also moving and mysterious. I loved that this book offered more than the sibling rivalry arc, but there was also a guessing game involved in the story – an arsonist on the loose and the paternity test for an autistic child. My heart melted for the wonder boy Tyler and my mind was surprised about the stalker character. Aren’t you mystified yet?

Yes, there’s really a lot to take in with this Mann Cakes and I assure you, this is a really delicious read. Truly highly recommended!

 

Review: Consolation by Corinne Michaels


Consolation (Salvation #3)

by Corinne Michaels

Liam wasn’t supposed to be my happily ever after.
He wasn’t even on my radar.
He was my husband’s best friend—forbidden.

But my husband is dead and I’m alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam.

One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love him or if he’s just the consolation prize.

When I read the first few chapters of the book, I thought I’ve read this kind of scenario before. A NAVY Seal wife was pregnant and waiting for her husband to return, only to learn from his comrade that said husband died in combat. Worlds shattered, feelings deeply hurt, minds in denial and hearts crying in pain – Natalie had experienced all this, while raising her child alone. Until the best friend stepped in.

I told myself, ahhh, I know this already, I know what will happen next… I was so sure of myself when I realized, as I continued to prowl the pages that this story has turned itself and surprised me with not just one but two twists.

Aaron wasn’t the husband Natalie believed him to be. A few weeks after his death, Natalie learned about his “extra-curricular activities” and it devastated her. Liam, her husband’s best friend had been protective of her and made sure she and her daughter was coping and surviving.

Until that mind-blowing cliffhanger happened.

Oh. My. God.

I was sad for Natalie when she lost her husband. But I was heartbroken for Liam even more in the end.

Liam stole my heart. It’s not fair that he had to steal Natalie from Aaron, but he also had to suffer in the process. I love Liam. He’s such a sweet tender loving soul. Gaahh, are there any more like him nowadays?!

And yes, that cliffhanger ending. Corinne Michaels, how could you do this to me? Omg! I can’t wait to read the next book!

 

 

Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls
by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Quincy Carpenter, Samantha Boyd and Lisa Milner – what do these ladies have in common?

They survived three different kinds of massacre. They were the last women standing. They were the Final Girls.

Ten years ago, Quincy and her friends met a horrific tragedy in the remote Pine Cottage, but only one girl survived. The press people hounded her for months, her story was vehemently featured in all TV news channels, newspapers, tabloids, podcasts and on the interwebs. She endured it all, until she could finally moved on.

Until Lisa Milner, the original Final Girl was found dead. The second survivor, Samantha Boyd who initially had gone missing suddenly appeared in Quincy’s doorstep, and soon they found themselves in Pine Cottage again, reliving the manslaughter that happened a decade ago, fearful, anxious, scared to death. Literally.

This has been a bone-chilling, mouth-gaping, mind-boggling suspense thriller that had me wide awake at night even after reading it. The deaths, the ripper, the screams, the blood, the weapons, the murderer – everything was a haze and for the rest of the story, I thought I got the murderer right. Until I was deep into the latter chapters when I realized, my guess was wrong. I was mistaken not just once, but thrice.

I won’t further go into detail about the plot or story because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But know this, Riley Sager’s writing is clean and fresh and chilling and something to look forward to. If you’re a fan of thrillers/suspense/whodunnit mysteries, Final Girls is a good pick!

ThrowbackThursday: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my newest 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 🙂

In my case, I decided to re-read and feature my favorite book of all time. Yes, whenever someone asks me what book really got me, it’s none other than Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember.

A Walk to Remember
by Nicholas Sparks

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood…

I was supposed to re-read this last month, being April was the special month for Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan. But my busy daily routines got in the way so I had to postpone it. Good thing I finally got to squeeze some time for Nicholas Sparks, and here I am bawling again.

I don’t know why I never get tired of Landon and Jamie. To me, they are proof that love beyond time is possible. That love is something we can always hold on to until our last breath. Their love story always touch my heart. A Walk to Remember is my ultimate favorite book of all time. It’s always my number 1.

As a Christian myself, I loved Jamie’s character. She wad very inspiring; she didn’t lose hope. She was able to reach out and changed Landon’s character for the better. There was not a single moment that I did not cry. And there’s no one else to blame but Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read this book so many years ago even before it was made into a film, and I make it a point to read it every year.

I always wonder how a guy could ever write something as cheesy as his writings! I always thought women authors were better writers because they are more adept to everyone’s feelings. Nicholas Sparks proved me wrong. He is a work of art, his writings are masterpieces. Although many people tell me his characters always end up dead or getting sick and senile and sometimes, no promise of a happy ending, I still want to read his books over and over again. Because his books serve as my anchor to reality, to truth, to God and to life.

I’ve read almost all of Sparks’ books and would still be reading them even when I get old and grey.

Review: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

I don’t know how much tears I’ve shed with this book. I always get scared reading Mitch Albom’s stories, not because they’re scary, because all of them are not; but because they always cause me heart palpitations, ugly crying and mental pain – in a good way. This one’s particularly special because it featured the author’s mentor and former college professor who had a great impact in Albom’s life.

Morrie’s struggles and decisions of surviving while waiting for his demise was not an easy deal to break. Having to reconvene and reconnect with a former student every Tuesday must have been one of his treasured moments in life. The life lessons and beautiful analogies in the book opened my eyes to the reality of life and embracing it one day at a time.

I swear I had to use at least two handkerchiefs to keep my tears from falling. In the end, I gave up and wallowed and reflected everything Morrie Schwartz had said. I can definitely say that this is the most amazing and heartbreaking book I’ve ever read.