Review: Marry Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Marry Me at Willoughby Close
Willoughby Close series # 5
by Kate Hewitt

Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

Alice James has been a drifter her whole life, working her way through several foster homes before ending up in Wychwood-on-Lea, feeling anchorless and invisible. When a chance encounter leads to Alice accepting a position as a caretaker and companion to Lady Stokeley, she starts to feel as if she might finally be able to put down some roots and live the way other people do.

Then, Lady Stokeley’s nephew, city banker Henry Trent, storms into Willoughby Manor, seeming to find fault with everything, including Alice. As the next in line to the manor and title, he threatens to upturn everything she’s started to build. But Henry is hiding his own secret fears and weaknesses, ones he’s desperate for no one to discover. A surprising and inconvenient attraction that simmers between them leaves Alice feeling more confused than ever, and Henry torn between duty and desire, fear and love.

When circumstances become even more difficult, both Alice and Henry must decide who they really are, and what they are willing to fight for. Could Alice possibly the next Lady of Willoughby Manor?

 

It took me a while to finally accept Lady Stokeley’s fate and Henry Trent’s turn over a new leaf, but nothing prepared me with the tears that run down my eyes after reading this book. Yes, I think this is the final book in the Willoughby Close series. And it was really good.

I met Alice on the Ava’s story in Kiss Me at Willoughby Close and had grown to like her and her simplicity. I was quite angered at Henry Trent though for coming off annoying and brusque and obnoxious. But in this last book, I finally understood his aloofness, his stiff personality and his awkwardness with other people. My heart was also heavy because of the cancer that was eating up Lady Stokeleys. Brings me back to my memories of my father who also suffered cancer and I enveloped in sadness and pain when he died.

Among the five books in this series, I think I loved this last story best. Alice was such an affectionate and warm-hearted individual who was also forgiving even after everything that she’d been through. Fostered from one family to another during her childhood, Alice grew up without a real family to hold on to, except for a grandmother who died in her care. She’s been devoted, caring and tough even at the most trying times. Henry was her exact opposite. He couldn’t show his affections, he tend to overanalyze things and talk in complicated tones, making look boring, conventional and snobbish person. Born in wealth but lacked in familial comfort, he became rigid, angsty, always in control. Then he could also be so strong yet so fragile.

Their story was quite slow and a tad stagnant because these two opposing characters couldn’t get along just fine. But along the way, the other characters like Lady Stokeley and Ava and the other residents of Willoughby Close also made everything transition smoothly. The book was everything I hoped for and provided so much more. It has been quite an emotional and heartwarming read. I fell in love with this series and wish I could read more of Kate Hewitt’s writing. Definitely a must read!

Review: Bucket List to Love by CP Santi

Bucket List To Love
by C.P. Santi

Aya Contreras is thrilled to be studying in the land of sakura and sushi. Tokyo is a fascinating city to live in—vending machines, cosplayers, karaoke boxes, and bright, colorful conbinis on every corner. And the architectural design program she’s in is everything she dreamed it to be.
The only problem? Her tutor doesn’t seem to like her.
Well, she doesn’t like him very much either. Sure, Ryohei Mori is talented, and there’s no denying he’s hot. But he’s also a surly, bossy know-it-all who eats too many cookies.
Another annoying thing about him is he’s nosy. And when he stumbles upon the crazy bucket list Aya’s sisters forced on her, he teases her mercilessly about it.
But when their professor pairs them up for a design competition, things get . . . interesting. Fueled by beer and a whole lot of cookies, can Aya and Ryo cross out some items on her bucket list without killing each other? Or will they realize there’s much more to each other than they’d originally thought?

Aya had just broken up with her boyfriend of six years when she discovered something about him. A study grant to Japan was just the thing she needed to forget about her broken heart. Afraid to fall in love again, Aya tried hard to steer clear of temptations, but her hot and gorgeous tutor made it impossible to do so. Add the bucket list that her meddling but sweet sisters insisted for her to do, it was only a matter of time before Aya found herself falling in love under the Meiji Shrine.

When I learned about this latest story by CP Santi, I knew I had to read it. The book gave me all the feels! I felt like I was watching a J-Drama with MatsuJun as the male lead and the characters came alive with the wonderful storyline, friendly banters, beautiful sceneries and that exciting bucket list.

I enjoyed the way Ryo and Aya’s relationship developed. Not forced, not dictated. I couldn’t help but smile and grin at them, I actually looked like a fool while reading A Bucket List to Love. Ryo Mori was such a darling.

What I really loved most was how Japan was beautifully depicted and narrated by the author. So amazing! I know a thing or two about Japanese culture but I’ve never been to the Land of the Rising Sun. I’ve always been fascinated with anything related to Japan. JPop, JDrama, you name it, I can handle it. (A big fan of Arashi here!). And the author made me want to go there soon. In my opinion, Japan is one of the best countries to visit or live in the world.

Overall, I thought this was a well written book with reasonably well pacing that reminded what it was like when I was in college. CP Santi has always bedazzled me with her tales and feel-good love stories. I am so stinking in love with her. Plus, I got to read and finish her book during her birthday, which made this story really special.

I don’t know about you, but this book just moved right to my top ten all-time favorite books list. I can’t recommend it enough. This is a book I’m definitely going to re-read someday.

 

Review: Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed (Royally #1)
by Emma Chase

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

 

I am not quite myself today. Early on, I was getting displeased at a certain prince, wondered if I would be able to tolerate him. And then in the end, I found myself sobbing like a kitten who lost her mitten and then I began to cry.. (wait, that sounds like a nursery rhyme!)

Oh well, please, allow me some moments to indulge in His Royal Hotness, as I still have a royal hangover from Emma Chase’s enigmatic prince. And do forgive me for acting like a fool in this review, as I believe this one deserve to be tackled at length.

At first glance, at first meet, at first impression, Prince Nicholas Pembrook came off as an annoying, obnoxious, irritating prince with unsavory character. I thought he was going to be that typical bad boy royal who thought so highly of himself, but halfway through the book, my thoughts about him turned upside down. A royal with a heart, a prince with sense of humor, a brother torn between duties and family and love.

Olivia Hammond had it hard and difficult. Her life seemed to be at shambles ever since her mother died and her father broke down from heartache. Her little firecracker of a sister Ellie was the one thing that got her up and running in their quiant coffeeshop, Amelia’s, even when it was on the verge of foreclosure. (I thoroughly love Ellie, by the way!)

And then she met this prince who thought so highly of himself, offered her a thousand euros for a kiss. If you were in Olivia’s shoes, would you decline the offer, or go kiss and tell?

I can’t believe this is just the first time I read a book by Emma Chase. Why, why, why? What have I been reading my entire life?

One moment I was okay, the next minute I was tearing up inside. I don’t know how to handle these princes of Wessco. At first I thought I’d see Nicholas and Henry as the laidback versions of Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales. Mostly of their family tragedy and military involvement and party-party inclinations. But the moment Nicholas brought Olivia to Wessco and introduced her to the palace, I stopped comparing the royals and saw Nick at a whole new light. He’s amazing. He’s fantastic. He’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. And he’s everything I’d never get. (Lucky bloke!)

And Prince Henry… my goodness! I was so wrong about him at the beginning. I thought he was immature and insensitive. But when he poured out his heart, I cried along with him. I can’t wait to read what happens to him after Nicholas dropped the bomb at his feet. O.M.G.

And Olivia, you feisty American gal, how could you be so much lucky. I’d love to trade places with you one day, have a taste of living in the palace and being with His Royal Hotness himself 24/7. How would you like that?

Emma Chase, I am so sorry I haven’t read your past books. I am so sorry I had put off reading Royally Screwed two months ago when I got it on my Kindle. I am so sorry for the stars in my eyes whenever I see Nicholas on that book cover. I am so sorry for acting like a silly little girl right now. I bet Queen Lenora won’t approve of my behavior. But I am not sorry for falling in love with your story and for falling hard for Nicholas. And I am sure, I won’t be sorry meeting Prince Henry real soon.

Thank you Emma for this has been a royal rollercoaster ride and I love riding every minute of it.

Now, please let me find Nicholas’ Calvin Kleins before I go to sleep… uhm wait… he doesn’t wear CKs OMG!!! *hides face*

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!