Review: White Fur by Jardine Libaire

White Fur
by Jardine Libaire

ARC provided by Netgalley

A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City

When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.

The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.

This is the story of 20th century version of Romeo and Juliet with a twist.

In New Haven Connecticut, little girl blue Elise Perez scraped for food and struggled to survive in the harsh side of the neighborhood. An unlocked car became her solace and the owner, Robbie took her under his wing. Soon, she met next door neighbors Jamey and Matt; and Elise Perez couldn’t fight that instant attraction, intense chemistry and sexual tension between her and Mr. Hyde. And in her faux white fur, she soon conquered the snotty and wealthy Jamey Hyde.

And then when the couple set foot in NYC, just like in true Shakesperian fashion, Jamey’s family strongly disapproved the couple’s relationship and did everything to break that bond. Even to the cause of one’s misery and the other, probable death.

This book is a fine piece of work. I love how it is set in the 80s, the time when I started learning about life and whatnot, about Depeche Mode and GI Joe. Yes, I grew up to these singers and action figures and the fact that these were featured in the book was really awesome and nostalgic.

Jamey and Elise’s life as a couple was turbulent and fiery and tragic. It gutted me to the core when Jamey fell into oblivion and Elise had to watch from afar on how he could recover. The last few chapters were really in my heart, I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish reading, but I’m glad I did. I survived. As traumatic as it may have been.

White Fur is a real work of art. ‘Nuff said.

Review: Unrequited Alice by Sarah Louise Smith

Unrequited Alice
by Sarah Louise Smith

“I stared at my suitcase, contemplating the following three facts:
1.After months of planning, it was finally time for Hannah’s hen weekend.
2.In just one more month, she’d be getting married to Ed.
3.I really had to fall out of love with Ed before the wedding.”

A bridesmaid really shouldn’t be in love with the groom…but Alice just can’t help herself. Ed is her perfect man, and she can’t get him out of her head.

Until she meets Toby – who offers to help her move on. But what if he’s just setting her up for an even bigger fall?

Alice had always been in love with her oldest friend’s boyfriend, Ed. She knew she wouldn’t have any space inside his heart especially now that he was gonna marry Hannah. Tough as it was, she still organized her friend’s hen weekend in Niagara Falls, hoping to extinguish any more feelings she had for Ed.

And then she met Toby over the weekend. Toby, who was hot and cold. Toby who, like Alice, held a torch for someone else, someone like her brother’s fiance. Toby, who unconsciously crawled to Alice’s heart, making her forget about Ed, but still failing with this unrequited love.

Alice is a character I’d love to comfort and confront at the same time. This girl has got a lot of love to give, and it pains me to see her conflicted and distressed over the men who didn’t love her back. Between Ed and Toby though, I’d place my bets for Toby right from the start because he’s such a kindred soul. Hannah, her oldest friend, was unfortunately lame and selfish, I disliked her instantly, and I don’t know why.

The thing about unrequited love is, it suffocates your heart, taking it all in, somehow wishing for something that doesn’t really belong to you. Yes, such is the tragedy of unreciprocated feelings. I know, I’ve been there, I’ve wallowed in it, I’ve lucked out, and in the end, I moved on. But that’s another story.

Unrequited Alice is a light romantic story that is heavy on the feelings. The story about two people not sharing the love isn’t really new to me. Surprisingly though, in this book, I was able to relate with the main characters and felt the instant connection I don’t usually get from other books. Sarah Louise Smith got me reading this in the break of dawn and reluctantly finishing it the next day. I didn’t want to part with Alice, I didn’t want to forget about the Niagara Falls, I didn’t want to forget about the wedding dances and the flights from London to New York and vice versa.

In the end, love prevailed. How it happened, it’s up to you to work on it. Read this and you’ll know.

 

Review: The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

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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.

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4cups

Review: Haunted Is Always in Fashion by Rose Pressey

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Haunted Is Always in Fashion
(A Haunted Vintage Mystery #4)
by Rose Pressey

It’s time for this vintage fashion expert to put on her detective hat . . .

As the owner of It’s Vintage, Y’All in Sugar Creek, Georgia, Cookie Chanel has agreed to share her expertise with author Juliana McDaniel. But on her way to town, Juliana is shot dead, and that was all she wrote. Cookie picks up the thread of the story with help from her psychic cat and a couple of inquisitive ghosts. To unmask this killer, she’ll have to lift the lid on family secrets and hidden motives—because she might wind up getting capped herself if she doesn’t cloche this case .

thoughts-dividerCookie Chanel was on her way to meet author Juliana McDaniel for a research interview about vintage clothing. Unfortunately, Juliana met a tragic death on a car accident, and before she knew it, the It’s Vintage Ya’ll owner was talking to Juliana’s ghost. With her ghost companion Charlotte Meadows, best friend tarot card reader Heather, and Ouija board fanatic Wind Song the cat, they’re bound to discover an ugly family secret and haunting mystery surrounding Juliana’s death.

And that’s another day, another spirit in the life of Cookie Chanel.

Like in her previous books, Rose Pressey continue to provide laughter, hysterics, mystery and exciting paranormal activity through her heroine Cookie Chanel. I like how Cookie had improved in her sleuthing skills and became more competent and confidence towards her goal. I just couldn’t get past Charlotte Meadows’ controlling behavior and meddling antics. Cookie’s dating life is on the brink because of her. Wind Song the cat, on the other hand, still mystifies me. I like that there’s already development about our favorite feline.She’s probably my favorite character in the series. Meow!

Love this latest book in the Haunted Vintage series. I would definitely read and anticipate the next books!

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4cups

Review: The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

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The Homecoming
by Stacie Ramey

coffeesynopsisdForced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.

It’s been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John’s homecoming is far from happy.

As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She’s sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn’t far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.

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This book got enough feels that left me reeling with sadness, hope and love. Serious issues were tackled and portrayed by the characters, most of which tugged heavily at the readers’ hearts – physical and mental abuse, abandonment, suicide, family struggles, anger management issues, alcohol and drugs.. John, the male protagonist got a lot of angst and fury in his heart – he called it “beast” and “dragon” which he needed to reign in and control, otherwise, it would roar and crash and burn.

I had a hard time identifying to John and his issues. I thought I would never get to like him because he was so messed up, he pushed all the people away from him, always tethered to the bad memories that’s why he was having a hard time moving on, moving forward and coping up. I’d blamed it to the lack of parental guidance. But there was also those other people around him who had shown support and understanding in his situation, so I think John was lucky.

Overall, the book was good, it was heartfelt and dedicated, although the impact on me wasn’t full-force. The writing was great too, Stacie Ramey is a great storyteller. A good quick read and quite emotional journey.

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3cups

 

P.S.

I volunteered to review this book from Netgalley.

Review: Necessary Evil by Jamie K. Schmidt

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Necessary Evil (Sentinels of Babylon #1)
by Jamie K. Schmidt

coffeesynopsisdLucy Simmons comes from a rough family, but she’s a damn good public defender. Even though she hates to see criminals walk due to sloppy police work, the law’s there to make sure everyone gets a fair trial, and Lucy certainly doesn’t believe in the kind of justice meted out by the leather-clad ex-cop they call “Evil.” He’s stubborn, cynical, and out of control—but he plays her body like no man ever has. For once, both Lucy’s boss and her brother agree: The biker is trouble.

Evan Villiers took a sacred vow to let no killer, rapist, or pedophile go unpunished. When scumbags fall through the system, his motorcycle club cleans up the garbage. Although the Sons of Babylon and their methods may not be to Lucy’s liking, the beautiful lawyer has become Evan’s light in the dark. But his next hit is Lucy’s own brother—a murderer who got off on a technicality. Now, with his loyalties split, Evan must turn his back on his brothers . . . or lose the woman who has claimed his reckless heart.

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Public defender Lucy Simmons had got the hots for Evil, or Evan Villiers, and their unfinished business two years ago had been a long time coming. When Evil came to her rescue one night, the past came rushing back, and before they knew it, their lips were locked and their hips moved ala Shakira.

Evil and his friends, Sentinel, Warden and Ryder formed the motorcycle club, SOB – (nope, the initials were not what you think). Sentinels of Babylon. They own and operate a bar, at the same time, they put fugitive criminals to their rightful places. (and by rightful meant six feet under the ground). When Lucy’s brother came to town, Evil received a call from the judge about a murderer running at large and everyone’s world turned upside down.

This was so hot and intense! Lucy Simmons and Evan Villiers were forces of nature – combustible, explosive and totally flammable. Ugh, their chemistry is off the charts! Love the story, the twists, the hot sexy scenes, the muscles, motorcycles and handcuffs, and yes, even the spiders! Spiders everywhere! Jamie K. Schmidt has outdone herself. This is a great and necessary read for those who want something steamy, hot and action packed.

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3.5cups

 

P.S.

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: What You Do To Me by Barbara Longley

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What You Do to Me (The Haneys #1)
by Barbara Longley

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Whether it’s repairing a home or taking care of clients’ other needs, Twin Cities handyman Sam Haney is in demand from his mostly female clientele. Despite Sam’s lothario reputation, love isn’t part of his portfolio. He’s built a lot of walls in his time, but the one that’s surrounded his heart ever since the death of his parents is his most solid yet.

Haley Cooper has had enough heartache for a lifetime. Her high school sweetheart up and moved to Indonesia—alone—just two weeks before their wedding. Her mother thinks it’s time for Haley to move on and contracts Sam to work on Haley’s wreck of a house—and anything else, if he’s got the notion.

Sparks fly and passion ignites. But Haley isn’t into Sam’s love-’em-and-leave-’em act. She wants something more. Fixing a house is one thing, but for this handyman, building a relationship will need a whole different set of skills.

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Sam Haney of Haney & Sons Construction got his hands full with ladies whenever he did what he do best, being a handyman as he repair and fix houses. His reputation was made known after a lady sang her praises about his special touch over a radio program. Oh man, suddenly all women want to experience this handyman’s expertise, first hand.

When Haley’s mom Trudy Cooper heard about Sam’s handy services, she thought she’d help out her daughter go back to the dating pool after a disastrous breakup with her ex-fiance. Haley had no idea what her mom had signed her up to. Until she met the man everyone in Twin Cities had been talking about.

I liked the story as it progressed. Although the attraction was instantaneous, the romance went nice and slow. Sam proved he wasn’t what everyone thought who he was. I just didn’t like his panic attack issues because as a condescending adult, he should know that he will always got his family’s back to matter what. Well, I don’t really understand about panic attacks because I’ve never experienced it, so please forgive me for my ignorance about the matter.

Case in point, Sam’s character as a man who didn’t do relationships had come a long way ever since he met Haley. I liked that girl. I thought she was as realistic as she could get. Haley was understandably aloof after her one and only boyfriend had dumped her a few days before their wedding. I get why she wanted to take the backseat first before dipping into the dating pool again.

You see, you’ve got to read the whole book from start to finish to appreciate the depth of the story and understand how the characters turn things up. While it is true that Haley’s mom wasn’t really that likable character, what with all her meddling into her daughter’s affairs and stuff, she still became a catalyst to the brewing romance between Haley and Sam, and one of the reasons why our handyman turned over a new leaf.

Renovations, do-it-yourself tips, faces blotched in red, sledgehammer swinging in one hand and snowmobile on the other, these are just some of the things I loved about the book.

Barbara Longley’s first book in this series got me feeling like a fool. I laughed a lot with Trudy’s meddling antics, I loved the Haney family, I’m intrigued with Hoodie Guy Wyatt and I love imagining Chris Hemsworth as Sam Haney. Yum!

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4cups

 

P.S.

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.