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: Lucky Stars by Jane Heller

Lucky Stars
by Jane Heller
Paperback 1999

Stacey Reiser left Cleveland for Hollywood to pursue an acting career—and to escape her lovable but meddlesome mother, Helen. But her plan backfires when the widowed Helen sells her house and follows Stacey to tinsel town, invades every aspect of her daughter’s world and drives her crazy. As in eye twitch crazy. Insomnia crazy. Acid reflux crazy. “If only Mom would get a life,” Stacey wishes after her mother has called for the zillionth time that day to nag her about her clothes, her hair, her lack of a wedding ring. “If only she’d get a life and stay out of mine.”

How could Stacey ever imagine that Helen would get a life – the very life Stacey craves? Just as Stacey’s career takes a dive, a twist of fate lands Helen in a television commercial that catapults her to stardom. Now it’s Helen who’s the media darling and Stacey who’s the meddler. And while Stacey is hoping for a commitment from her boyfriend, it’s Helen who snares the catch of the century. Or does she? Helen’s new beau isn’t what he seems, and it’s up to Stacey to expose his shady past before it’s too late. But it’ll take the acting job of a lifetime to do it, not to mention a whole lot of heart.

Thanks to this quick and funny book for stirring up my crazy weekend. Lucky Stars is about the crazy and tensed relationship between a mother and daughter and the misadventures they had to go through. The book was easy to relate to, as I saw myself in Stacey’s place & my mom on Helen’s.

Stacey Reiser was an upcoming actress or a starlet trying to take her chances in Hollywood. I don’t blame her, living in the land of stars would definitely make one crave for fame and fortune. In a surprising twist of fate (over a tuna debacle), it was her meddlesome mother Helen who got discovered instead and became very famous. Plus, there was that difficult-to-please film critic/reviewer, Jack Rawlins who bad-mouthed Stacey, thus preventing her from getting jobs in California. Helen Reiser was a tough act to follow, I kid you not.

This Mother & Daughter tandem is neurotic!

I loved how this book made me laugh; it’s quite a classically witty, humorous read. There are times when I found myself in Stacey’s shoes and couldn’t help but get “angry” with my own mom because of her intrusive meddling. I love my mother, but there was times when she drive me nuts. And I don’t mean nuts as in she aggravates me. I mean nuts as in she makes the tiny vein in my left eyelid twitch and sigh while rolling my eyes, babbling about her superstitious beliefs and stuffs. But I definitely love everything about my mom..

So anyway, if you got time and want some funny moments, I suggest LUCKY STARS this weekend. A perfect read just in time for Mother’s Day.

Review: Just Friends by Monica Murphy

Just Friends 

By Monica Murphy

It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

I don’t know what is it that made me like this book. I admit I wasn’t really into Livvy and her friends Dustin and Em because I thought they were jerks and manipulative, but as the pages wore on, I found myself getting engrossed and seemingly not content with just a chapter. I had this urge to finish the story no matter how irritated I felt towards the characters.

Three hours into this book and my emotions were high and livid. I hated Emily with passion; I really don’t know what Livvy ever liked in her. Em’s a real pain, not worthy to be called a friend. I’ve got a love and hate relationship with Dustin, I couldn’t seem to read him. I know I want to believe in him, but something was keeping me from rooting for him. Ryan, on the other hand, is the quintessential bad boy, the life of the party, the envy of many, the one person you’d love to get mad at forever. Did I like him? Not really, but I could still be swayed if he keep up with his good life on the next book.

And now Livvy… She’s hot and cold. I pity her most of the time, I hate that she’s so indecisive yet so trusting just the same. She’s easily fooled yet she’s trying so hard to make everything right. Booze, drugs, parties – those were definitely gonna be the death of me if I were in her shoes. Sadly, teens these days rely too much in them, and this book has managed to thread on this topic on point. Awesomely executed in my opinion.

That ending made me gag though. Like what the fudge was going on? I gotta read the next book ASAP or I’m gonna be a mess. I’m not content on being Just Friends!




Review: Pucked by Rachel Walter

By: Rachel Walter

Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life?

Riley Silk, captain of the Warriors Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present. If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life. He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals.

Audrey Jacobs, the Warriors’ number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations. Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can.

When lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held. With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path.

Can she find her true self before her world burns around her? When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul? Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely?

Who keeps the puck?


This has been heart-breaking, mind-blowing, tear-inducing, soul-searching, chest-pounding story, where winter meets spring, creating a spectacular autumn that two bruised hearts call home.

Aubrey Jacob is fire, spring, a blooming dandelion in the mud. Yes, mud.. Because Aubrey girl loves mud and muddin’, and that’s something that make her unique.

Riley Silk is ice, winter, a frost that intensifies the ice surrounding his heart. Because Riley has been through a lot in the homefront, to him, love is cruel and cold and chilled.

Together, they are autumn. Together, they are fire and ice controlled. Together, they are unbreakable.

I loved everything about this book – the tears, the fights, the anxiety attacks, the milkshakes, the mud, the ice, and most specially – the one armed, one legged booty shaking dance.

I love Pucked!


Review: Relentless River by Lindsay Cross

Relentless River (Men of Mercy #10)
by Lindsay Cross

He was Ice.

Sheriff Bo Lawson was everything a retired Marine Special Operations Operator should be. Cold. Calculating. Calm in all situations. He handled terrorists and too drunk locals without blinking, until a couple of dead bodies show up in his small town, throwing his controlled environment into chaos.

She was fire.

Cheri Boudreaux, manager of the local bar, lives her life by one rule – work hard and play harder. The last thing she needs is a repeat of her father: a strict stick-in-the-mud unable to veer from the rules. Then she meets Bo, a walking, talking sex god in uniform and her preconceived notions incinerate.

Ice meets fire.

Bo craves order. He craves control. He craves a red head with a wild streak wider than the Mississippi. She is everything he despises, but can’t get off his mind. So, when Cheri needs help, he wants to be her knight in shining armor.

Threatened by a deadly foe neither of them could predict, Bo and Cheri clash in an uncontrollable inferno. When the truth is revealed, their world falls apart – can they find the strength to fight for each other or will their newfound love fall under a relentless tide of evil?

There’s another dead body found in Mercy, and Sheriff Bo Lawson vowed to put a stop to it. A former Marine Special Operations Operator, Bo had it bad when he blamed himself for his team’s death. Now he would do everything to catch the criminal threatening his town. Even if his lady love was involved.

Cheri Boudreaux managed a local bar that was always a target for trouble. She’s got men vying for her attention, but her sight was only focused on one man alone. Cheri was a tempest, with a dark family secret. Seriously, this woman could do all things to Bo, seduce him, stimulate him, antagonize him. And in all those attempts, she always succeeded. Except that one time when she got shot by a bullet and her cousin was pursued by a cunning murderer.

So far, the last book I’ve read in the Men of Mercy series was Revenge River, and boy it was action-packed and marvelous. Nightshade and Merc left a lasting impression on me. So when I learned about the release of Relentless River, I didn’t have second thoughts reading it.

And I wasn’t disappointed at all. Lindsay Cross still has it, ten books and counting!

I loved Sheriff Bo’s character. He was indeed relentless but Cheri had full control of him. Bo and his uptight demeanor towards Cheri made him more irresistible like a pint of ice cream under a hot sunny day. Lickable!

The drug-related issues and murders were really the main focus of the story and I liked that it was tackled at length throughout the book. Now the erotic scenes between the characters, though, hmm, those were something else. Definitely hot and spicy!

Looking forward to reading more of these Men of Mercy in the next months to come. Can’t wait to meet Riser’s match!

Review: When In Rome… Find Yourself by Lena Mae Hill


When In Rome…Find Yourself (When In Rome)
by Lena Mae Hill

Rory Hartnett has sworn off love, so boys will not be a distraction on her six-week study abroad trip to Rome. She has her plate full dealing with her anxiety in a foreign country, making new friends to explore the city with, taking classes, and applying for an internship at a travel e-zine. But when she meets the cute artist sharing her eccentric host mother’s lodging, all bets are off.

Fall in love with the first in a brand new series about four girls finding themselves—and maybe love—in the city of fountains. If you loved Anna and the French Kiss or Love & Gelato, you won’t want to miss this sweet New Adult series from new romance author Lena Mae Hill.


Where do I begin? Hmmm.. Truth to be told, I really don’t know how to start this review about my feelings towards the characters, without hurting someone else’s feelings, but I can’t help it. It took me a while to finish the book because I had struggles reading it in the first place.

I get it, Rory was somewhat sheltered in life, but at the age of 21, she still had a lot of hang ups and indecision and insecurities and behaved like a 15 year old. Okay, to be fair, I know it’s been given that her character has a serious case of anxiety and lack of self-esteem. But that’s beside the point. I really didn’t have strong connection with her.

I, as the reader, got tired of all those things she did – like thinking, assuming, doubting, hesitating, and feeling uncertain about a lot of things.. She questioned everything! Man, in the end, I got frustrated and annoyed.

Even when Rory finally settled in Rome and met Ned, her stoner friend next door, I had hoped for her to grow some balls and backbone. That one time when she got lost, I think that’s the time my heart softened for her. One major factor that I liked though was learning about her house mother Theresa, bless her heart. That tragic event that led to what she became in the end – that I perfectly understood.

Now let’s go to Ned, the artist and the mystery guy. Well, I like him, he’s normal in his own special ways. He’s easy to get along with and he’s really nice. But him together with Rory, I didn’t feel it. I meant the sparks. I got nothing. I just didn’t get that usual “kilig” factor I usually feel.

Lastly, the story took place mostly in Rome Italy. I had expected the story to feature more scenic spots and Italian settings. Sadly, I didn’t get much of this wonderful city in the story.

Anyway, I know that I should have been more understanding about Rory and her anxiety attacks. I know how this kind of sickness make that person helpless and powerless. If ever I offend anyone with my concerns regarding anxiety issues, I apologize. I guess this book just didn’t work out for me.



Review: The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras


The Best Possible Answer
by E. Katherine Kottaras

coffeesynopsisdAP exams—check
SAT test—check
College application—check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for—check

Super-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has never had room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection is derailed when her boyfriend leaks a private picture of her to the entire school—a picture only he was supposed to see. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Vivi feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Vivi realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

thoughts-dividerJanuary is coming to an end and this book is perhaps one of the best possible treats I’ve had this week. E. Katherine Kottaras never fails to amaze me. Once again, she got me breathless with this teenage drama, angst and masterpiece, The Best Possible Answer.

Viviana Rabenovich-Lowe and her bff Sammie and Evan were really interesting characters. They helped each other grow, supported their issues, discussed their flaws, talked about realities, uncertainties, rewards and cruelties of life. In short, they matured as the story progressed and together, they may not have known the best possible answers to their questions, but they sure did experienced it.

The eccentric Professor Harold Cox made this story more exciting and sensible, what with all his oddities and philosophical thoughts at that. His bathing suits cracked me up, but hey, this Nut actually made more sense than Vivi’s own father.

Evan, this guy is The Man. I don’t know what else to say about him. I thought he was an endearing and a fair person although he’s a little insensitive once in a while.

Sammie, the best friend, also indulged me with her unconditional love and Filipino values. Yes, she’s quite a character here in the book, not because she’s a Filipino like me, but because she has those traits that I found personable, lovable and memorable. She’s a keeper indeed!

Now, Viviana, she’s made terrible mistakes in the past, she deals with it every day over panic attacks and has to discover the lies she’s been living with. Gosh, my heart went out to her and her sister Mila. I want to hug them and adopt them.

I perfectly understood where Vivi was coming from. Her story hit me right at home. Like her, I also grew up to the high expectations of my parents; they wanted me to get the first honors every year, they wanted me to behave like a proper lady and all. There had also been a time when I rebelled and didn’t go home after they got mad at me and lectured me about having a boyfriend during my junior high school. Man, that was an ugly experience, believe me.

There I was, I thought I finally resisted their control over me until I realized my mistakes. What can I say, I was madly in love and young and reckless at that time. Thank goodness, there weren’t any cellphones or iPads or Wi-Fi or social media during my time! I was spared of any humiliation and bashers and haters.

Anyway, enough about me.. The Best Possible Answer is a great read. Everyone should meet these dynamic teens. Everyone might see themselves in them. Everyone has questions. And this book might just present the best possible answer.