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!

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Review: Royally Endowed by Emma Chase

Royally Endowed
(Royally #3)
by Emma Chase

Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, gorgeous royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
***
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to call him hers.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

 

Royally Endowed is the final book in this royal Emma Chase series and it was so lit! Bubbly and sweet and hilarious Ellie is amazing. She’s really the heart and soul of the Royally series, if I may say so. How she acts, talks, daydreams, sucks lemon and stares at Logan, everything about her is simply adorable. She’s like a bouncing ball of energy, an energizer bunny that can go on and on; like a ticking time bomb, once ignited, she hits the sky and whistles and explodes with the stars like fireworks. No wonder Logan St. James is attracted to her right from the start.

Ahh yes, Logan St. James is freaking sizzling Alpha and hot as the fires in Hades’ Underworld! He can totally consume me with just one look. I can’t blame Ellie for wanting to touch this man so bad! I mean, he can be super protective and gentle at the same time, with his dimples softening his hardened look. I thought he was such a force, with all the wonderful, sometimes repugnant things he’d done for the Royalty – punching the jaw of that jerk’s jaw after that said jerk slapped Ellie on a date, waking up Ellie’s drunken father out of his stupor (literally and figuratively), dealing with his crook of a family, crying at Tommy’s hospital bedside… (shall I go on….?)

Okay, basically, he’s everything I ever want in a guy. He’ll do everything for the Royal family and will not hesitate to cry in the rain when Ellie goes missing after a fire. Gosh, that scene was my favorite, even if it was short-lived.

Ellie and Logan’s relationship isn’t as smooth as silk. Theirs was a slow-burn type of romance that frizzled throughout the years. The odds are against them, given their status as the royal guard and the princess’ sister. But like what they always say if there’s a will, there’s a will. And boy what a turbulent journey it has been. I think they’re now my favorite Royal couple in the entire series. (Sorry Prince Henry, I still adore you though).

Anyway, speaking of Henry, it was really nice to see how the Royal family fared after Nicholas relinquished his title and Prince Henry found the one who would be his Queen. I loved that their lives still mingled with Ellie’s and Logan, giving meaning to their stature and hierarchy. That stalker / death threat topic was brilliant and bloody genius.

Emma Chase once again wowed me with this story and mostly relatable characters. Logan was written in such a way that you can’t help but fall for his broken stature and defensive stance. I felt drawn to him from the beginning and I was left in awe at the end. The Wessco Royals may have ruined me, but the loyal guard royally ravaged me. Truly one of the best I’ve read this year! Cheers!

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: Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

Twisted Palace
(The Royals #3)
by Erin Watt

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

Okay, I have to admit, I’ve been really forgetful lately, lots of things have come up and stuffs. Tonight as I was checking my reviews and TBRs, I just noticed that I haven’t written a proper review for this book. I am so freaking ruined by the Royals, that’s true. I blame Easton for making me forget about this. Ugh.

So anyway, as I’ve promised almost a year ago, here’s now my more comprehensive review for Twisted Palace.

Steve O’Halloran, Ella’s dead father happened to be alive and well after almost a year of disappearance. And Callum’s estranged fiance Brooke Davidson may have been killed, but her ghost never left the Royals, especially now that his son Reed had been accused of murdering her. Surprise surprise! Just when you thought you had them all figured out, the explosive truth about their families just got even more shocking and scandalously disturbing.

Yes, Twisted Palace had been totally mind-blowing! In a true Erin Watt’s tradition, the readers always get the surprise of their lives whenever the Royals are concerned. I was absolutely shocked by the turn of events, the betrayal, deceit, all the lies and treachery were overwhelming and heart breaking.

Ella and Reed had been to the moon and back, through heaven and hell since they’d been together. I commend Ella for being the one who changed the Royal family, especially turning Reed from obnoxious to subdued and in control. Yes, she’d been the much-needed anchor in their misery-drowned life, the rainbow that appeared after a raging storm. Reed, on the other hand, had somehow shown the kind of love that had been missing in her life. For all its worth, she’d proven multiple times that she could handle herself. Reed had not only been instrumental in ruining her but also in making her whole again.

The Royals had indeed ruined me, bit I loved all of them just the same.

Review: Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed (Royally #1)
by Emma Chase

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

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

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

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

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

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Review: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

I don’t know how much tears I’ve shed with this book. I always get scared reading Mitch Albom’s stories, not because they’re scary, because all of them are not; but because they always cause me heart palpitations, ugly crying and mental pain – in a good way. This one’s particularly special because it featured the author’s mentor and former college professor who had a great impact in Albom’s life.

Morrie’s struggles and decisions of surviving while waiting for his demise was not an easy deal to break. Having to reconvene and reconnect with a former student every Tuesday must have been one of his treasured moments in life. The life lessons and beautiful analogies in the book opened my eyes to the reality of life and embracing it one day at a time.

I swear I had to use at least two handkerchiefs to keep my tears from falling. In the end, I gave up and wallowed and reflected everything Morrie Schwartz had said. I can definitely say that this is the most amazing and heartbreaking book I’ve ever read.