Review: What About Today by Dawn Lanuza

What About Today
by Dawn Lanuza

Aiden’s stuck working for his family’s amusement park, Funtastic World, for the whole summer. Nothing amuses him, until he met this terrified girl.

Gemma’s stuck in Funtastic World thinking she could handle the park’s rides. She couldn’t. Good thing she met someone to guide her.

As the day comes to a close, Aiden and Gemma ask themselves if one day is ever enough to decide if they were better off as friends or strangers.

I never met a lion hugger before, not even an aspiring one. Now I’ve read about one and he’s interesting. No, scratch that. He’s purrrfect, emphasis on the purr because he loves lions and other animals. And oh, he works at an amusement park and gives tour rides to an amusing badass loner named Gemma. So I really think he’s cool. His name is Aiden by the way.

Now, let’s talk about Gemma, who’s afraid to ride the Ferris Wheel when she assumed someone died in that monstrosity. But it’s her birthday and she wants to try out something as her quest for YOLO (you only live once). Then she meets a boy wearing a long sleeved shirt dress with a necktie looking uncomfortable and cute at the same time. Suddenly her birthday slowly unravels and becomes FUNTASTIC!

Once again, I fell in love with this short story from a talented Filipina author, Dawn Lanuza. Early this morning, (more like early dawn), I read one of her short stories Breakup Anniversary and it was awesome. It really started my day. Then I learned it was her birthday yesterday so I decided to read her other book, What About Today and again, I am impressed. Aiden and Gemma’s story is quite short but loaded. I love love love it! (This is my first time doing a back-to-back review of books written by one author which I read in one day)

It’s these simple short stories that really got me swooning and gushing these days. Ms.Lanuza’s writing is lovely, lyrical, liberating. It allows me freedom to dream and enjoy life’s pleasures through anecdotes and even pick up lines. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I am sure I’ll be reading more of her books soon!

Review: Break-Up Anniversary by Dawn Lanuza

Break-Up Anniversary
by Dawn Lanuza

It’s Beck’s break-up anniversary! Not that she’s been counting the days but there’s a possibility of a relapse. So what’s a girl to do? Call her best friend and tag her cubicle-mate turned drinking buddy, Jamie, along for the ride.

It’s Rebecca aka Beck’s breakup anniversary.. She’s itching to know how Nat had been doing after one year. One measly email to her ex about their favorite band breaking up should relieve her of all the questions and anxieties about them, right? Megan, Beck’s bestfriend, thought otherwise. It was time to catch other fish in the sea. There’s her cubicle-mate, Jamie, who seemed to have come out from a GQ magazine. It wouldn’t hurt to throw the fishing rod, right?

OMG! – Yup, that’s me, all giddy and mushy after reading this story!

But the truth is, I’ve never been so frustrated in my life! Frustrated, in a good way, mind you. Dawn Lanuza, this is my first book from you and you ruined me already. A short story like this already had me feeling warm and sappy and grinning like a Cheshire cat and when I got to the last page, I was stumped. How could you do this to me?

I want more of Jamie and The Steadfast and Japan! Okay, I want more of Beck, too! Gosh, does anyone know if this book is a sequel or prequel to any of Lanuza’s stories? Eeep, I couldn’t contain my excitement!

Review: The Billionaire’s Christmas Virgin by J.S.Scott

tbcvThe Billionaire’s Christmas Virgin
Prelude to Billionaire Unknown – Blake
by J. S. Scott

It’s Christmas Eve, and what in the hell am I doing? I’m looking for an eighteen-year-old spoiled brat in the middle of a blizzard. It’s not really how I pictured my winter break from college, that’s for sure.

Harper Lawson was a brat as a child, and she’s never really grown up as far as I’m concerned. Running away from her wealthy parents’ home just goes to prove she’s still the immature female I knew when I was a kid.

But when I finally find Harper in a homeless shelter, she turns my world upside down. She’s not at all what I expected, and when two of us are stranded together overnight in a rundown motel, everything I thought was true suddenly becomes false.

Years have gone by without us seeing each other, but when we meet again, sparks fly, and Harper threatens to turn my whole world upside down on one very snowy Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately, when we’re able to get home on Christmas, everything changes. Harper is gone again, and I’m forced to leave her with the idea that she gave her virginity to the wrong guy.

But I’ll wait, even if takes forever for me to find her. Eventually, she’ll understand that what we had was my idea of a Christmas miracle.

Little did I know that it would take over a decade before we met again.

thoughts-divider

Blake Colter was supposed to spend Christmas dinner with his family but he found himself looking for spoiled brat Harper Lawson in a homeless shelter somewhere in Denver, instead.

Blake hadn’t seen sophisticated Harper since they we’re both kids so he was surprised to see a rather tattered version of her nesting with some homeless families.

All they had was one chilly night in a one bed hotel room and it was only a matter of time before they realized their mistakes.

As per J.S. Scott, she is really an amazing writer who knows her readers’ weaknesses. Billionaires are so rampant these days (in the fiction world, that is) but Scott’s billionaires are too hot to handle. I just couldn’t believe the love at first sight thingie and Harper changing her attitude overnight.. I thought it was unbelievable. Nevertheless, the whole story sent tingle to my nerves. Hmm, hmm.

O. M. G… Do I really need to wait for January 2017 to read the outcome of this sooooo intriguing prelude to Blake Colter’s book? Omg.. The suspense is really killing me.

J. S. Scott really knows how to tease!

coffeeratingdivider

4cups

Review: Déjà Date by Susan Hatler

deja

Title: Déjà Date
Series: Better Date than Never Book 9
Author: Susan Hatler
Kindle edition

Melinda Morgan commits to running her favorite neighborhood bakery when the owner, who’s like a second dad to her, falls ill. Then she finds out his adventurous son, Nate Carter, is back in town. Nate was Melinda’s first kiss and greatest heartbreak all rolled into one, yet he’s still as charming as ever.

When Melinda learns Nate’s dad is selling his bakery, she realizes her dream to own the bakery herself. But in order to access her inheritance funds, she must first complete her father’s Carpe Diem list, which challenges her to take risks she normally wouldn’t–like only dating someone who leaves her breathless.

Nate wants a second chance with her and she finds him nearly impossible to resist. Could he be the key to completing her dad’s list and saving the bakery? And can he help her do both without breaking her heart all over again?

coffeethoughts

If there’s one thing I learned about this book, it is to seize whatever opportunity that come your way so as not to regret it for the rest of your life. Melinda’s life had been a boring routine, never taking chances or anything unexpected. She’d been afraid to take risks ever since her father died. And that meant not trusting her heart to fall in love again with Nate.

Nate came back to her life when his father Benny fell ill and needed someone to manage his bakery. Melinda wanted to purchase the bakery, but lacked the money. When she asked for her inheritance from her dad, she was given a Carpe Diem list instead. Tasks that she needed to fulfill in order to get what she wanted.

But the question is, what was it that she really wanted?

Déjà Date had been really a romantic read. Although I had a hard time liking Melinda. I thought she was really boring and insensitive. She’s too weak and afraid of everything. It was a struggle reading her thoughts and all the negative energy that emanated from her. She didn’t want to complicate life. While Nate was the adventurous one – enjoying his escapades on the ocean to hiking the mountains in Peru – this guy never ceased to amaze me. I thought Nate and Melinda’s relationship wouldn’t work on me, but like what most people say, opposites attract.

At the end of the day, I found myself pining for them and wishing them a happy ever after. Sweet! Susan Hatler has made me a happy girl once again!

coffeeratingdivider

3.5cups

Heart’s Content – a Confessions Under The Rain short story

rainevening

It was raining. Hard.

I sat on the steps outside the school’s laboratory, and watched muddy water swirl by in small streams. The rain pounded on the pavement like a drumbeat as my friends and I waited for our lab classes to start.

We didn’t talk much. Rather, I didn’t talk much and my friends talked with their respective boyfriends. Not that I minded; I liked having time to think to myself.

Someone padded — or shall I say, splashed — by and stopped in front of me. I looked up to see the school janitor struggling with a cart of wet paper. We often said hello to each other in the hallways; he knew my friends and me.

Before I could say anything, he parked the cart in the shade and plonked beside me.

“Whew! I’ve got to bring those papers across campus, but it’s raining so hard,” he said.

“I know! Is it okay if they get so wet?” I asked.

“It’s fine; they’ll just be recycled.” The janitor looked up at the dull sky. “I think I’ll wait for the rain to lighten up before I move on though.”

We made small talk. Eventually, the conversation petered out as we took to watching the rain come down in droves. The janitor glanced at my friends and got a mischievous look on his face.

“So, they all seem to be getting serious now, huh?” I looked over at the couples, and nodded.

“That’s good,” he commented. “How about you? Have a boyfriend too?”

“No way!” I laughed out loud at the thought. “Well, not yet anyway.”

“That’s good too,” he said. “There’s no need to hurry.”

“True,” I mused. “There’s still school to keep everyone busy.”

“Seriously, you don’t have to go looking for a boyfriend. You’re fine without one.” The rain was slowing down to a light drizzle.

“I am?” I grinned at the nature of our conversation. I mean, how often do I get to hear advice on my love life from the school janitor?

“Yep.” He put out a hand to see if the rain had stopped. “If it’s the right time, he’ll come. And there’s still a lot of time left for that.”

“I guess so.” I watched the janitor stand up and head for his cart.

“I’ll be going now,” he announced. “I might get to the next building before it rains hard again.”

“I hope so. Hope you don’t get too wet!” I saw my teacher coming toward the building from the other direction.

The cart’s wheels squeaked as the janitor was in motion again. I waved goodbye, and stood up to go into class. I smiled at my beaming friends; they were content.

And I was content too.

clairesantos 102412

Tears and Rain – a “Confessions Under The Rain” short story

Hello everyone! I know I haven’t been active lately, compared to the past few months where I’ve posted my reviews every single day. Right now, I’m a little busy at work and my kids and a project that I’ve started a long time ago but never got the chance to finish it.

This time, though, I decided to just go for it. I’ve written some short stories years ago, and I just realized, most of them are themed after the rain. I don’t know what is it with rain, somehow it always seem to make me imagine and pour my heart out. Like the words all come down rushing from the heavens and I have to get my pen and paper to form these words into sentences, paragraphs…. and eventually, to stories.

And then Confessions Under The Rain was born.

Anyway, without further ado, let me share this first story I’ve wrote, re-written, edited, and re-entitled Tears and Rain (formerly One Rainy Afternoon).


 

couplerain

Tears and Rain

by Claire Santos

 

“Let me take you home”. I stared at the boy who uttered the words. The boy with the lovely, dreamy brown eyes. He was clad in denim shorts, an over-sized shirt and mojo slippers, shivering a little when the wind blew harder. He carried a red mountaineering backpack on his back.

“Are you nuts? Not in this kind of weather okay? Besides, my place is not big enough to accommodate an extra person when you get stuck there later on.” I grinned at him, trying to lighten up the mood. The boy with the dreamy brown eyes shook his head. Before I knew it, he was holding my hand. His grip felt smooth and warm, and a sense of deep comfort filled me. I didn’t know what to say.

“Please.” His voice sounded far and manly. It was the first time I looked at him and saw somebody else, instead of just the boy I hang out with everyday since the semester started. His tanned face looked more attractive, his lashes longer and curlier, lips redder. He was taller, bolder, more disarming. No wonder my best friend is head over heels in love with this boy.

Despite the trance he seemed to have put me into, I managed to pull my hand back and smiled sadly. “You know I’d love to, Andrei. It’s just that….” My words trailed off unfinished. I saw the mixture of anger and sadness clouded his eyes. He sighed wearily, indicating surrender for the nth time.

I avoided his eyes and pretended to look for something in my backpack. I was starting to feel worse, and the rain seemed to have poured harder. It was getting dark and the students inside the building were hurrying to get out and head home. The wind was howling loudly, strong and persistent. I suddenly felt alone and scared..

I stole a glance at Andrei and found him staring at the trees in front of the building, lost in his own thoughts. “I’m sorry”, I croaked involuntarily. I wanted to say a million things, wanted him to know how I truly feel. But I couldn’t bring myself to. Ayen, my best friend’s face kept appearing on my mind.

“Gem, I don’t like Ayen. I mean, not the way she wants me to. I’ll forever see her as a friend, nothing more.” He said, reading my exact thoughts.

His words pierced my heart deeper. I wanted to tell him that I like him too, that I think he’s the most wonderful, caring and lovable man I’ve ever known. I wanted to tell him that I don’t want him to take me home because I want to walk under the rain with him, to hold him and kiss him until the moon goes up and paint the sky red orange.

But fate couldn’t be any more cruel. Andrei has always been Ayen’s love and life. He was the man Ayen wanted to spend the rest of her life with, the man she wanted to father her children. He was everything to my best friend, and I don’t want to come between her dreams. I do not want to be the cause of Ayen’s sadness and grief. I do not want to steal her only source of happiness in this world.

Wiping the tear that has managed to escape from my eyes, I tried to look nonchalant. No, my happiness, and even both our happiness combined together is not worth Ayen’s anger and misery.

“You don’t know what you’re saying. You love her too, you just don’t know it yet,” I reasoned, knowing too well that I sounded like a naïve child.

He laughed softly, husky and melodious. We looked at each other sadly. Somehow, both of us were aware of the situation at hand. If only things didn’t end up so complicated. If only he was not stupid enough to tell Ayen that he’s starting to like me and wanted to pursue me. If only he knew before hand how Ayen truly felt about him, things wouldn’t have been this nasty.

It’s been three weeks since the last time Ayen and I spoke to each other. When I saw her at the cafeteria yesterday, she walked past me, her head held high, as if she doesn’t know me at all. When our eyes met inside the classroom later that afternoon, she gave me an I-hate-you-I’ll-never-talk-to-you-again kind of look which sent my own gaze lowering in shame and confusion. I still didn’t understand why she was so mad at me when I was clueless about Andrei’s feelings all along…

Of course, until the time we got out of Math class and he told me he missed me. At the time, I thought he was just being his goofy self, but when I looked at him, his eyes said otherwise. He was smiling at me like a lovesick fourteen-year old kid and I didn’t have a choice but to tell him I felt the same way. I knew it was crazy, but one part of me seemed to have floated in ecstasy.

“I like you a lot Gem. I liked you the moment I saw you and liked you more the time you accidentally deflated my Spalding basketball. I like the way you’re so nice to everybody, the way you laugh at your own not-so-funny jokes.” He paused with emphasis on the last sentence and both of us laughed loudly.

Andrei was Ayen’s old high school friend. We were introduced in freshman year, and I didn’t like him at first. He was very good looking but quite aloof and indifferent. When Ayen told me he was her one true love, I couldn’t understand what she saw in him. Since they were sharing an apartment together with their other friends, I made myself invisible every time he was around. We nod to each other in school but both of us never tried to talk to each other. I even thought he despised me, especially when I laugh too loud or tell jokes to his other friends, to which I’d see his face grimace in annoyance when I say the punch line.

“Are you sure? You never talked to me after all those times! You were pretending I don’t exist. ”

“That’s because I find you too attractive. And everybody else liked you. Remember the time I caught you deflating my favorite ball red-handed? I couldn’t get enough of your facial expression then. That was the time I realized how unfriendly I seemed to you”. He was reminiscing the memory in great relish, a far dreamlike look in his face. I couldn’t help smiling myself, for the memories seemed funnier, even cute, when he talks about it that way. Even though we started hanging out together this semester after we found out we were taking the same Math class, Andrei never struck me as somebody who might see me in a different light.

“Cut it out. I’m not going to buy any of that shit” I said firmly, a wide, friendly smile on my face. Outside, the heavy rain turned into a soft drizzle, the trees and the grass enveloped in the lovely whiteness of a heavy fog. The building was almost deserted, and a mixture of emptiness and peace settled upon me. I looked at Andrei, with his dreamy brown eyes and tanned skin. He smiled, and found my hand once again. Instinctively, I held on tighter. He squeezed it back, and that’s when the wild idea came into my mind.

“Let’s walk under the rain tonight. Let’s pretend I’m not Gem and you’re not Andrei. Let’s pretend we live in a much freer world, there’s no Ayen or our friends telling us what they think. Tonight, just for tonight, let’s fall in love.”

We walked out of the building hand in hand, welcoming the raindrops that kissed our skin. The moon was up, painting the night sky red-orange, and the wind was blowing gently. I never felt any of the coldness though, for his hands and his presence kept me warm enough.

For the first time in the last three weeks, I felt deliriously happy. Everything looked brighter and more beautiful, like everything felt right and in place. Tonight, just for tonight, I am allowing myself to be happy. For tomorrow, when the moon goes down and the sun rises up, I’ll have to forget this ever happened. I cannot allow myself to fall in love with Andrei, because Andrei belongs to my best friend. They will fall in love at the right time, and I will be happy for them.

But tonight, just for tonight, I will pretend he’s mine.

clairesantos 042308

Short Story: GONE by Angela Fristoe

gone

Gone: A Short Story
by Angela Fristoe

A sorrowful, yet beautiful look at how mental illness effects a marriage

This is just a short story about a woman’s struggles with her husband’s mental condition. It had a strong effect on me, tore me in half, knowing the pain, hurt and confusion the woman had to endure. I felt bad for the husband too, he wasn’t forthcoming nor accepting of his condition, thus brought agony and torture to his family without him knowing. I kinda felt relieved with the outcome, but somehow I know, this is not the end for the spouses. Angela Fristoe wrote a short story that’s big on impact. Would love to read her full-length novels, seeing that I enjoyed this short one.

Rating: 4cups

officialClaire