Review: Excess Baggage by Laura Barnard

Excess Baggage
by Laura Barnard

Stuck in a dead-end relationship, Erica Bennett finds herself daydreaming of her first holiday romance. She was fifteen, it was exciting, new and full of possibilities…and Jack Lawson was hot as hell. That kind of thing leaves a mark.

So when her friends suggest a girls holiday to Luna Island, it’s exactly what she needs to take her mind off things. What she doesn’t expect is to spot Jack – a much older, hotter version of him – across the hotel lobby.

Their attraction is still there and it isn’t long before sparks fly, but fifteen years is a long time. They aren’t the same people they were back then and besides, it’s only a week, right?

Is it a second chance at something real or will their excess baggage ruin their shot at love after they leave Luna Island?

Looking for a fun and crazy summer read? Probably something to peruse while vacationing with friends in the beach.. The story was all kinds of crazy and drama and romance, just right for a particularly hot and sunny day.

This is a second chance romance for Jack and Erica, who had met, had fun and had an affair when they were at the young age of fifteen. The perfect puppy love if you’d ask me. Now, fifteen years later, they saw each other again on a holiday in Luna Island, and tried to rekindled their past. But it seemed that they both had excess baggage that they couldn’t just leave behind.

The flow of the story was fine – quite fast and furious and fun. My main concern however, were the main characters. They were both already in their 30s when they met again, but somehow, their actions didn’t even change from when they got separated a lifetime ago. It felt like they just missed each other for a week, and their tryst began again. They behaved like teenagers, they acted like they were still virgins doing it for the first time, they conducted themselves like high-schoolers fidgeting and jumping to conclusions whenever a simple miscommunication arose. I didn’t really connect with Jack and Erica, but Brooke and Tom and Molly – well they were quite the raucous bunch but they proved to be intriguing as well.

This is my first book by Laura Barnard but will not be the last. I believe there’s promise in her stories and I would still love to dive into her other books soon.

Review: No Interest in Love by Cassie Mae

No Interest

No Interest in Love
(All About Love #2)
by Cassie Mae

Hollywood’s hottest young actor hits the road to chase his big break—and discovers a leading lady where he least expected.

When Jace Carver snags a minor part in his buddy’s zombie flick, he suddenly starts getting noticed all over the place. Even Hollywood megastar Carletta Ocean—known for her extensive “research” with her male co-stars—wants Jace for her new rom-com. The role could be a game-changer . . . if Jace nails the audition.

As Jace’s agent, Shaylene Kwak is all business, and isn’t about to let her favorite client blow this opportunity. Since their college years, Shay has been immune to Jace’s charm and rock-hard body. But long hours in close company have a way of wearing down even the best defenses, and when their platonic teasing turns into serious flirting, Jace and Shay are no longer able to resist what’s been right in front of them the entire time.

Shay knows Jace’s love-’em-and-leave-’em history with women. She’s not about to be just another notch in his belt. And it’s true, Jace has never wanted more than a one-night stand—until now. But at the end of the line, he’s got a choice: sleep with Carletta and seal the deal, or risk his career for a shot at true love with Shay.

 

I gotta admit, I didn’t like this book at first. I thought Jace was an a-hole actor wannabe who would do every girl he met. He thought Hollywood was a better place now that he was in it. And he would do his best to get the roles he wanted, not because he wanted an Oscar, but because he wanted to bed every star he was paired with. All he ever wanted was to get laid.

I thought, ugh, this guy’s disgusting. He even had the audacity to narrate his sexcapades and mishaps, as if they were his trophies. I wasn’t really feeling him. Except when he constantly expressed how he idolized “Barney Stinson” – who wouldn’t? I thought he was an airhead and a slut.

Until he blurted out this four words when he thought he was about to die – ” I love you Grandma!”

I love grandmas. I love elderlies. I grew up with my “abuela” grandmother until her last breath when I was in 3rd grade. She used to comb my hair and taught me Spanish words. When main character Jace Carver screamed his love for his grandma, I was moved. Suddenly I decided to read the story all over again, starting from the very first page.

And soon I saw Jace differently. (Kinda). I realized he was crazy kid, sarcastic, recalcitrant, dyslexic, attention seeker. He was just like any normal aspiring actors wanting to get big in Hollywood. And yes, still, all he wanted was to get laid.

Until he found out he could no longer deny his feelings for his agent. Until he realized he wanted to right his wrongs and be better in the eyes of Shay. Shaylene Kwak, a Texan-based Korean who usually muttered unintelligible Korean curses and had seen his ups and downs since their high school days. Shay whom she found so adorable and attractive despite her constant sarcasm. Shay who re-introduced Elmo to the world through her memes.

I thought the story was entertaining and hilarious because I found myself laughing at Jace’s & Shay’s expense. They ruled the world in their own ways. They threw lines effectively and their constant bickering and bantering was fun to read. I loved that theirs wasn’t a case of insta-love. In the end, I thought the whole book was adorably cute.. (But still, first impressions last, isn’t it? So I still think Jace was an a-hole.

I liked Cassie Mae’s writing. She had this ability to make me look at her characters in a different light. Jace and Shay became real persons, their series of unfortunate events proved that life is full of surprises, uncertainties and promises. Cassie Mae is an effective and competent author, she writes beautiful and realistic romantic stories that appeal to the masses and book enthusiasts. Can’t wait to get my hands on her other books!

Review: Happily Ever Single by Jessica Frances

happysingleHappily Ever Single
by Jessica Frances

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 7/9/15

coffeesynopsisdStill in my twenties, I have it all. I am young, happy, and healthy, despite my wine and pizza addictions. I am a successful business owner who lives a life I love, free from any romantic commitments. To me, my life is perfect right now, except for just one small problem…

My mother.

She will tell you I am missing something in my life, that I should be married with kids and have a house with a white picket fence, even though I cannot think of anything worse.

Ignoring my constant protests, she manages to set me up on a series of horrendous blind dates. To pacify my mother and avoid being set up with another friend’s son, I am driven to do something I never thought I would.

I begin arranging dates through an agency.

This idea seems to work well, until my arranged date falls sick right before a family event. With no other options, I am forced to attend with the agency owner’s brother-in-law as my stand-in date. At this point, my perfect life suddenly becomes … complicated.

Ollie is sexy, fun, and intense. There is an instant connection between us, but is it strong enough to risk my perfect life plan?

I am single, free, and content. I don’t need a man.

However, Ollie is persistent, despite my reluctance, and now I am left wondering if it is possible that he may be the perfect match for me.

Can Ollie be the one man to finally accept me for me, or does he think he can change who I am and my opinions?

Does my story end with me happily-ever-single or with a happily-ever-after?

Or can there be room for both?

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Lucy was sick and tired of her mom setting her with blind dates. It was really embarrassing her. She specifically wanted to stay single and childless forever, because she didn’t want the complexities being married and a mom would entail. But her family was adamant in seeing her hitched, one way or another.

So she sought dating agencies and they soon found her a match who would pretend as her boyfriend and come with her in every family gathering.

Until her date became unavailable and a replacement was sent. Ollie. Broken-hearted and still reeling with pain, he went out and helped Lucy out. Next thing they know, their lives changed, new emotions were felt, a budding romance started and before they know it, their own families got entangled.

Aww… This was a light-hearted read for of feels! I was smiling all throughout the book, I felt my jaw cringing after grinning for so long, even on those parts where the characters were fighting and arguing and almost maiming each other.

Lucy was understandably wary of relationships, but when The One had finally arrived, I knew she’d find herself doubting her decisions in life. Ollie was a great catch, his perfect imperfections made him more attractive, at least to me. Author Jessica Frances wrote a wonderful story that had me laughing and crying at the same time. Highly recommended for hopeless romantics! Who knows, you might as well find yourselves happily single forever, single together with your The One, that is.

Here’s a bonus excerpt for all of you!

“You know, it is so unfair. Why is it so forbidden to be single? Why am I not complete unless I am stupidly in love with someone, even if that someone makes me miserable? Was there a memo that I missed? One the entire population received that I somehow lost? Why is it that my worth is judged on whether or not I’m married? Why do I have to be in love to be whole? I’m perfectly happy and content by myself. However, everyone automatically assumes I only say that because I haven’t found love. What’s so fucking special about love? Sure, it can be great, until it’s not, until your heart is ripped out, and you lose yourself completely. Until your best friend has to break into your apartment and pry the container of melted ice cream out of your hands and throw you in the bathtub because you got more all over your body than in your mouth!”

“Hey, that only happened once … four times,” Jules weakly complains.

“I don’t know why I have to defend the fact that I am single. I hate that I am considered weird or a freak because I am not desperately trying to find love. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want kids, and I don’t want to be trapped in a loveless relationship just because it is considered normal to be paired up.” I take deep breaths, my head swimming from lack of oxygen from my serious ranting.

“Whoa, how long have you been holding that in?” Jules asks.

“My entire life, but overhearing my cousins basically laughing at me earlier and saying I’m going to be a crazy cat lady didn’t help.”

“I’m sorry about that. Your cousins are such bitches.” I don’t need to explain it was my orange cousins; they are the only ones I ever seriously bitch about to Jules.

“I know, and I shouldn’t let their words get to me. I really couldn’t care less what they think. I just hate how society has given us all this expectation of what our lives should look like, and now, if we don’t meet it, we’re hounded over it. I don’t know the last time I had a conversation with a family member that didn’t have the mention of me being single. I’m sick of it.”

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4cups

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!

 

 

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.

Spotlight/Review: Fat Girl Begone by DE Haggerty

FatGirlBegone_finalBook title: Fat Girl Begone!

Book Series: standalone

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Published: May 1, 2017

Word count: 70,000

I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama.

Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.

Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.

A story after my own heart.. Everly was reeling from a broken heart after her boyfriend of five years dumped her. His reason, he couldn’t take Everly’s obsession about her dieting anymore. And so her best friend Blaze came to the rescue. A year of gym membership with a personal trainer (a hottie by the way), checked! Zumba classes with new-found girl friends, checked! A smoothie date with a millionaire, check, check, checked!!

And then she lost her job. And his hottie gym trainer turned out to be a player. What to do, what to do, what to do?

I had a hilarious great time reading this book. Everly is an endearing and quirky character. Although I didn’t really like the way she told Blaze everything that’s been happening to her life, she knew her secrets weren’t safe with her. She’s her best friend, I know that, but I would have loved if she’d keep something to herself. But that’s just me.

And there’s her issue with her weight. She didn’t see her real beauty. All she thought about was losing weight and looking great and showing her jerk of an ex-boyfriend that he made a mistake dumping her. Her insecurities were eating her alive.

But I liked how the story went. Carter, the millionaire was delicious.. I mean, he’s such a gentleman, very patient, very understanding and yes, very loving. He’s the best thing that ever happened to Everly and I loved it!

D.E. Haggerty once again made me laugh out loud and cheered for her characters in the end, to the extent that being privy to some of her insane internal monologue drove me crazy. This has been really an enjoyable read from beginning to end and silly in a fun way.

I’m thinking of doing the same thing Everly did with her diet/workout regime.. Although come to think of it, I don’t know if I could ever live in chia seeds and water and fruits alone. How about my husband’s weekly pizza take-out or my twice a week pancake breakfast with the kiddos? Uh-oh… what to do, what to do?

So okay, I finally decided I don’t need to follow Everly’s strict diet. I’m satisfied with the way I look, with the way I feel, with the way I eat.


 

Buy links:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Fat-girl-Begone-D-E-Haggerty-ebook/dp/B06XTSHJHB/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/714063

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fat-girl-begone-de-haggerty/1126081046?ean=2940154089385

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/nl/en/ebook/fat-girl-begone

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fat-girl-begone/id1221566707?mt=11

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34683994-fat-girl-begone

 

D.E. Haggerty

I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin.

A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

Author links:

Website: http://dehaggerty.wordpress.com

Blog: https://dehaggerty.wordpress.com/category/mymusings/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dehaggerty

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dehaggerty

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dehaggerty/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210211.D_E_Haggerty