Review: Swept Off My Feet by Ines Bautista-Yao

Swept Off My Feet
by Ines Bautista-Yao

Why my life sucks
by Geri Lazaro

1. My dad left when I was a kid.
2. My mom is in love (insert eye roll).
3. With a guy who is like 10 years younger than her!
4. My friends think he’s hot. (Gross)
5. I love ballet but our dance studio has a leak and we have to dance in this smelly studio that doubles as an aikido dojo.
6. There’s this Dojo guy who thinks the studio belongs to him.
7. Friends think Dojo guy is cute. (Ew.) (Okay, objectively maybe but still, ew.)
8. I’m failing algebra.
9. Need to quit either basketball or ballet. Or both.
10. Dojo guy keeps showing up! (Fine, he does aikido in the same building but whatever.)
11. Dojo guy is asking me to dance with him. And maybe he is as cute as my friends say.
12. I don’t know what to do anymore!

I love love love this new book by Ines B. Yao.. Mostly because, there’s a ballerina in the story. Just so you know, when I was in 2nd grade, my mom enrolled me in ballet, together with my twin cousins EdieLyn and MarieLyn. For three years, we danced and glided like swans, in allegro while in strict arabesque position wearing white tutus and pointe shoes. We performed in school and church events, and I always loved the feeling ballet entailed.

That’s why I felt a connection with Geri Lazaro, the main female character in the story. Aside from being a ballerina, Geri also played basketball in her school. And then, we share the same distaste in Algebra too. And oh, she and her mom loved listening to 90s songs and Alanis Morisette! Wow! I mean, how cool is that? I’d love to meet Geri Lazaro for real!

And mister Dojo guy also known as Bas is such a nice guy. There’s something about him that makes him endearing and charming, not just because of his looks and ridiculously tall appearance and affiliation with aikido. Bas is the kind of guy you’d want to know more, hate to disappoint, and love to be with everytime. Yes, he’s that kind of guy.

While both had family issues to deal with, they got this special kind of bond that appealed to readers like me.

Swept Off My Feet reminds me of one of my favorite dance movies of all time, Step Up (the one with Channing Tatum). I loved that movie but I think I love this book even more. I love all the characters and I love how I easily connected with all of them.  I love how Ines Yao brings out my cheesy side and how she effortlessly makes me grin with her stories. I would definitely have a smile on my face when I go to sleep tonight.

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Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You’ve Been Gone
by Morgan Matson

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

Emily always thought Sloane would forever be by her side. They’re best friends, they did things together, they share secrets, they had each other’s back. And so she was more than mystified and alarmed the day she learned that Sloane was gone – vanished, not answering her calls, not replying to her emails and text messages, no car in the porch, no one loitering in their house. Nothing, nada, zilch.

And then the list came. A list that told Emily of things she was supposed to do while Sloane was away, while she was gone. But Emily had always been the odd one out, the naive, the timid one. She could never be as bold as Sloane, she didn’t even have self-confidence to start with. How will Emily ever move on with her life now that Sloane is nowhere to be found?

When I first heard about this book, I was actually more concerned with Sloane’s well-being. I thought, hey! Why is the list more important than finding Sloane first? Weren’t they concerned about her whereabouts? I really thought she disappeared because she was kidnapped or something. I thought this was going to be a mystery thriller.

But when I finally delved into the whole book, all my initial thoughts were dashed off and now I’m left in awe. This had been really exciting and funny and warm with all the feels. Frank Porter was the perfect person to help Emily with her bucket list. I love that their interaction started from awkward to friendship to something else. But I also love that this story didn’t focus on their love story, but more on Emily’s self-discovery. And her relationship with Sloane was definitely #friendshipgoals. I love that even while Sloane was gone, Emily slowly unraveled and resolved her differences.

I sure had a lot of thinking done about my own bucket list after reading this book. Right after I graduated in college, I already wrote some items that I wanted to accomplish as a non-academic. Like travelling around the world particularly Japan, meeting Oprah, joining a reality show, writing a book, hobnobbing with Hollywood stars, and the like.. Yes, everything I listed were nowhere near possible. But a girl can dream, can’t I?

Overall, I had so much fun reading Since You’ve Been Gone. Sure, it took me a while to finish it, but it’s all worth it. Morgan Matson’s writing is amazing, enticing, engaging and alluring. She has a way with words that keep the readers captivated. Never had a dull moment reading about Emily’s bucket list adventures – I am actually revising my own list so I could do some of the things she’d done. Skinny dipping? Definitely including that on my list and looking forward to doing it soon!

Review: Fallen Heir (Royals 4) by Erin Watt

Fallen Heir
(The Royals #4)
by Erin Watt

These Royals will ruin you.

Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence. His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn’t have to.

Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life. She’s the one girl who’s said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can’t figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible.

Hartley doesn’t want him. She says he needs to grow up.

She might be right.

Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton’s life, wearing a Royal crown isn’t enough. He’s about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.

I can’t remember who recommended Paper Princess to me a year ago. Honestly, I thought it was just one of those YA reads that I would soon forget when I get to finish it. But when I finally met the Royals and Ella Harper, I was surprisingly drawn to them and never wanted to let go. For the next two sequels, I became engrossed in their world, entangled in the controversies and scandals of the Royal family and became involved with the students of Astor Park.

I devoured each and every page of Paper Princess, Broken Prince and Twisted Palace. And now, it’s Easton Royal’s turn in the Fallen Heir. And boy, what a rollercoaster ride this had been.

The day I got the ARC for Fallen Heir, it was 5:30 am and I literally fell from my bed when I saw it on my Kindle. I couldn’t stop myself from reading it even though I’ve got tons of paper work and deadlines to attack. When a Royal fell into my lap, I made sure he becomes a priority. And so Easton did.

I finally got inside Easton’s head, the seemingly happy-go-lucky son of Callum Royal, the easy-going brother of Reed and Ella’s super adorable male bestfriend. He had ladies waiting at his beck and call, even teachers couldn’t resist him. But there was one girl who didn’t bat her eyelashes at him. She intrigued him. She wasn’t as gorgeous as his sister Ella, but she definitely got something going on with her. Her name is Hartley Wright, mysterious, studios, upright and uptight; and she might just be the right one Easton had been looking for.

Or so he thought.

The wonder twins were also back, Lauren milking them or getting her fill with the twin Royals. I really hate Lauren here, I wanna throw her outside the mansion. And Felicity Worthington (gosh, I remember her name is similar to Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series) I really really hate that girl. She’s nothing but a tyrant wanting power above all else. And yes, I don’t like my namesake, Claire, too. Ugh.. This girls were even more annoying than Steve and Dinah combined in book 3!

But overall, let me say that This. Is. The Bomb!

I don’t know how to vocalize or express how I feel about this book. It feels like I’m at a losing end of my insanity. But it was really fun reading Easton’s POV, I got to know him better and deeper everytime he opened his mouth. Sure, he was kind of obnoxious and conceited and egotistical, but deep within him was a heart that knew how to care and love.

That ending though! Super unexpected. My mouth was literally hanging open when that explosive cliffhanger careened towards me and crashed!! Nooooooo!!!!!

As much as I want to scream and comfort Easton Royal, I can’t. My emotions are all out of place. I think I’m gonna cry. Erin Watt, why do you do this to me, to us? To Easton? WHY!!! Can’t wait for 2018! I need the freaking next book now!

Review: The Air He Breathes by Brittainy Cherry

The Air He Breathes (Elements #1)
by Brittainy C. Cherry

I was warned about Tristan Cole. “Stay away from him,” people said. “He’s cruel.” “He’s cold.” “He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him, because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty. We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays. Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

Tristan Cole lost everything in a blink of an eye. And he wasn’t even there when it happened. After saying goodbye, he struggled to live, but he never did survive the memories and pain that plagued his heart. Death stole his loved ones. Death stole his life. Death stole his breath.

“the dark days only stayed dark until the sun came up.” 

Elizabeth Bailey and her daughter were barely breathing. A year after her husband died, Elizabeth went back to Meadow’s Creek to start over, but she didn’t really want to move on. Everywhere she looked, she wished Steven was there, to hold her hand, to sleep beside her, to take her into his arms again.

“Her soul was scarred, and mine was burned.” 

An angry Tristan met the lonely Elizabeth in the most awkward moments. A trip to the vet, a lawnmower screaming like banshee, grass clippings, magical library, lumberjack beard and feathers – it was all too much to these two scarred souls. He was the town asshole and she was the topic of gossipers all over the town. People talk behind their backs, but they didn’t have a single clue about the miseries they’d been going through.

He was thunder, I was lightning, and we were seconds away from creating the perfect storm. 

Together they screamed and conquered their demons. Together they worked to live and relive their dead ones’ memories. Together they strive to move on but couldn’t move forward. Together they fell in love, but divided they fell out.

Brittainy Cherry made me cry again. I’ve read some of her previous books and I can’t count the number of times I sobbed and wailed like a child. Now, I cried an ocean for Tristan and Elizabeth and I cried another ocean for darling little Emma. My heart is full of emotions and I don’t know how to sort them out.

You know the feeling when you can’t let go of a book because it captivated you right from the start. The kind of book you can’t seem to put down because you’re afraid to let go of the characters and the emotions running through your heart. The kind of book that makes you forget about your household chores because you can’t pass up the opportunity to smile and wallow with the characters and anticipate what happens next. The kind of book that makes your heart beat faster, eyes sting and water, chest constrict with anguish, despair and hope.

The hardest part about losing someone you love is the fact that you also lose yourself.

This is that kind of book. The Air He Breathes is absolutely beautiful. It has everything I want, all the good, the bad and the ugly. I could spend the next two hours crying all over again but I won’t regret it. Because this was simply, absolutely beautiful. Crazy, heartwarmingly beautiful, scars and all.

“As long as air moves in and out of my lungs … as long as I breathe, I will fight for you. I will fight for us.” 

“You’re beautiful. You’re a beautiful, broken kind of monster.” 

Review: Royally Matched by Emma Chase

Royally Matched (Royally #2)
by Emma Chase

Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him “space”—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

 

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit… and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

Omg, my heart..i never cried for a royal before. Ever. Until I met Prince Henry..

Two weeks ago, I read Royally Screwed by Emma Chase and found Prince Nicholas quite the man. I thought he was the best thing that’s happened to a royal.. Honest, funny, charming, crazy in love. But when dashing prince Henry came to the rescue, life became even more exciting and fun!

In Royally Screwed, Prince Nicholas relinquished his title to Prince Henry and deep inside, I thought that was a big move, a big leap of faith. The mighty prince brought to his knees by a commoner. I thought that was so sweet.

 

In Royally Matched, Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook took his responsibilities in stride, not really serious in politicking and matters of the crown. Until a reality TV show got him chasing skirts of royal blood. A non-disclosure agreement was all he needed to sign and all the pretty girls would be frolicking his bedroom at night.

If only everything about reality TV were true.

Lady Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Titebottum had this fear of public speaking. She would never dream of facing a hundred people and talking to them in public. No, she would rather hide in her nook and read Jane Austen novels than do the project that was assigned to her by her boss. But when a TV producer came knocking at their door and convinced her sister Penelope to join Matched: The Royal Edition, Sarah Titebottum agreed to chaperone her sister and fulfill her Act of Royalty instead of getting back to work.

If only she could get around the Royal Prince and dodge his every move. But when Henry met Sarah, he was intrigued by her. He wanted to discover everything about her, what made her tick, what books she read, what she wore underneath her black gothic dress. What he didn’t anticipate was him slowly falling for this timid, mysterious royal and willing to forget everything just to hold her tight and protect her from the villains of the world.

In the grand scheme of things, this reality TV show should solve all Prince Henry’s quest for a future Queen. But in the end, getting royally matched was the last thing he could ever hope for.

I love, love, love Prince Henry, and I would do everything for him. ‘Cause all of me loves all of him, all his curves and all his edges, all his perfect imperfections…. (I made you sing, didn’t I?)

“No, you don’t understand—”
“I understand perfectly. What you don’t seem to comprehend is that Sarah is my best friend. The only one I’ve got. I’m not fucking helping you. Piss off, Princess.”
He turns to walk away.
And I shout, “She’s hurt!”
That makes him pause mid-step, his back stiffening.
“I haven’t just made her angry, I’ve hurt her terribly. She’s still hurting . . . and I can’t stand it, Willard.” My hands find their way into my hair.
I move in front of him, bending my knees to catch his eyes, which seems quite apropos.
“Help me make it better. Not for me, but for her. Please.”

Sarah’s love for books gently rubbed on Henry and I thought that was so sweet. I am all for a guy who knows how to appreciate the written words, the texture of books, the smell of pages. Ahhh, it’s divine.

“The only thing that smells better than a new book is an old one.”
I put the book down.
“This isn’t it. She’d want a book that’s been read—dog-eared and held and sighed over—not one that’s been caged in glass its whole life. She’ll want one that’s been loved.”
Ever so slowly, Willard smiles. “There’s hope for you yet.”

Their slow burn romance got me really giddy and hopeful. I was dreamy eyed every time Henry comforted Sarah. I was in a roller-coaster of emotions whenever Sarah went catatonic. I was tickled to the bones when Henry spurt words I could only her from Casanova’s mouth.

I would give up a crown for her. I would give up my name, my title—I would trade my country, forfeit my birthright, lie, kill, cheat, and steal, for this. For her.

“If anything happens to you, I’ll die. I’m not exaggerating.” My voice is strangled and wetness trickles from my eyes and I don’t give a damn. “You are woven into my soul and you are wrapped around my heart. And if anything happens to you, both will wither and die and I won’t even care.”

The ending…

It may be quite expected, but it was definitely off-the-charts romantic. Absolutely up on my alley. I swoon and sighed and smiled and swoon again. Could this be love?

Emma Chase, I love you too… Please don’t stop writing royal stories and romances, okay?

 

P. S.

 

 

I  buddy read  this  awesome book  with  my  book  club gal, Blessie aka iBlessth13th, of  Mischievous Reads...

 

 

Review: The Boy Friend by Mika Jolie

The Boy Friend by Mika Jolie

According to the law of attraction, women and men can’t be friends.

Contrary to this myth, my friendship with Coriander Phillips does not rest on unrequited love or un-actualized lust. We’ve been inseparable since the day I pulled one of her pigtails and she punched me in the gut.

She’s hilarious, fun to hang out with. Together, we’re like peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, wings and beer. A match made in heaven.

She’s the bomb.

Did I mention she’s smokin’ hot? I’ve checked her out…maybe once or twice. Hey, I’m a guy.

Seriously, no awkwardness, no secret yearning for our relationship to escalate beyond the purely platonic. I’m the boy friend—the loyal shoulder she cries on, the dispenser of coffee, sympathy, hugs, advice, and affection with no expectations.

Until the invisible line between friends and lovers became blurry.

Now I want more. I want her.

All I have to do is convince her we can be more than friends.

Right?

If only it were that easy.

Cori tells Dean that she wants a baby. With the man that she loves. And build a family later on.

But to set things straight, let me tell you. Dean Conrad Morello isn’t Coriander Philips’ boyfriend. Nor lover. They were just friends. Best friends since age seven. Best friends forever.

How can Cori have a baby in the future? Simple – create an online dating profile and go on dates with the eligible bachelors in town. Who knows, maybe she’ll find the one?

Dean doesn’t approve though. No matter how many times he tells himself and his friends and sister that Cori is just his friend, everyone disagrees. Protective, jealous and egoistic Dean Morello isn’t Cori’s boyfriend. He’s totally on the friendzone and that’s the limit, no one gets past that boundaries.

Until that one delicious mind blowing kiss.

Wow! I simply couldn’t put the book down once I got it on my hands. From the moment I read The Boyfriend, Dean Conrad Morello’s narrative, I was sold. The succeeding pages that followed, I was in heaven, grinning and plotting and eyes misting until the end.

This is Mika Jolie’s latest book and the best one I’ve read so far and I loved it. She’s taken the Friends-T0-Lovers trope to a whole new realistic level, the kind that makes the reader involved and had no chance but to agree to everything Dean Morello had to say. Well, for his part anyway. I loved how I finally read a whole book on a male’s point of view, learned how deeply his feelings had evolved and slowly burned for the one he could never have. Yes, most of the time, it’s the ladies’ thoughts that I read, but now, it’s this gorgeous man I got to infiltrate. I didn’t mind not knowing Cori’s state of mind, I’m a girl, I think I know how she felt in the whole debacle about friends and lovers.

Being inside Dean’s mind was both exciting and scary, if you know what I mean. He said things about men that most guys wouldn’t ever admit to doing. He got my heart when he acknowledged that most men are pigs, egocentric, thought about sex all the time. Amidst all this, I can’t help but admire his tenacity and acceptance of his flaws and humongous ego. I thought Dean was actually adorable and the perfect man to subdue Cori.

I love all the characters with all my heart. (Well, except for that Mark Donner client who was thinking with his pants and now with his mind, but he’s a minority, so let’s just leave him at that). I also loved the quick pace of the story, there wasn’t any boring scene nor dull moment with all of them, even little Emma captivated me. There were also those pieces of advice that Dean throws every now and then, plus recipe list which can come in handy sometime, and the playlist, superb music choice! And oh, my favorite part was that one night when Dean had to stand in as a model for Cori’s wine and paint class. Yeah, I’d love to be in that art class, that’s for sure.

How can I forget about the love scenes? Ahh, Cori and Dean plus bed/wall – definitely enough to make your Kindle melt. Their chemistry? Off the charts!

Mika Jolie did great in this book. I’ve been a fan since I’ve read one of the books in her Martha’s Way series, and the stand-alone, Somewhere to Begin. It’s no wonder that I love her books, she’s one talented author who gives me goosebumps and hiccups at the same time. She doesn’t sugarcoat with her words, either. I like that in a book, what you see is what you get. ‘Tis a highly recommended book to all romance junkies who want to have a great time. Worthy of my two thumbs up!

Review: Last Stand (Black Mage 4) by Rachel E. Carter

Last Stand (The Black Mage #4)
by Rachel E. Carter

He’s the Black Mage and she’s the traitor to the Crown.

Ryiah’s world was shattered the night she discovered King Blayne’s nefarious plans. Now, she has to betray the one she loves most in order to save the realm from war. Torn between love and duty, Ry finds herself on a perilous mission to help the rebels and convince the kingdom of Pythus not to honor its pact with the corrupt king of Jerar—all the while deceiving the most powerful mage in the realm, the very man sworn to protect the Crown and hunt the rebels at all costs: her husband.

She’s one step ahead, but sooner or later the curtain will fall.

Sooner or later, she’ll have to fight.

Once there was a girl traveling with her twin brother, on a journey that would ensure their fate as a mage and a healer.

Once there was a prince, a Non-Heir who was too happy to escape the clutches of his tyrant King and brother.

Once there was an Academy that trained young men and women to their utmost ability, to protect the kingdom of Jerar and be hailed warriors of the keep.

And once upon a time, this boy and girl met at the most awkward time, became foes and allies, became friends and enemies at the same time.

The girl clung to the boy so she could chase away her dark. He was light, and she was fading. She was drowning, and she just couldn’t stop.

And once upon a time, the mage and his wife dreamed of a happy married life, but the King and the Crowned Heir and the rebels never allowed their happy ever after to come about.

This is a story about love and loyalty, of brothers and sisters, of friends and enemies, of trust and betrayal, of magic and reality, of factions and alliances, of blood and power and death.

“I would have given you the world .” Darren’s back was still to me as he spoke. “And instead you took mine and destroyed it.”

“So tell me, love…” The mage king turned around and his garnet eyes flashed as he took me in. They were burning with hate. “Tell me, my wife,” he said, “why I shouldn’t destroy yours?”

This is by far the best fantasy series I have ever read and completed and loved. Rachel E. Carted rightfully deserved her new bestseller status as an author because she gave out so much love and passion and dedication to this book. There is that gravity to her writing that makes the reader stop and put their feet on the characters shoes and dive into a world of chaos, magic and romance. Over time, I’ve grown to love all the characters in the book, including the unexpectedly wise new-crowned queen. The perfect twist to a story full of surprises.

This is an absolutely marvelous book that everyone should read and this is my last stand.