sneak peek, To Be Read

[TBR + Giveaway] The Non-Disclosure Agreement


One of my favorite romance tropes is fake relationship. To be honest, I try not to look too much into, like the psychology behind it, and try to consume books of this trope solely for pleasure. (Of course, it doesn’t always happen. I mean, you’ve read my reviews. I always get into attack mode. Anyway.)

I am so excited to read Kelsey McKnight’s The Non-Disclosure Agreement! It’s been a while since I’ve got my hands on a good fake relationship book. You might want to order this book too after reading the blurb and excerpt! (And so fancy, there is also a book trailer for it!)

The Non-Disclosure Agreement
Kelsey McKnight
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I left my old life, and my broken heart, back in Michigan. When I moved to New York City for a fresh start, I didn’t know I would be made a sinful offer I couldn’t refuse…

My billionaire businessman boss decided that being the most powerful man on the East Coast wasn’t enough. He needed political power, too. But who would vote for a womanizing playboy with a different model on his arm every week? If he wanted to win, he needed a respectable wife…he needed me.

I had the looks, the small town charm—I was even already his employee, but I was willing to pretend to be so much more. And I’ve already signed a non-disclosure agreement, making me the perfect choice.

But will there come a point where pretend just isn’t enough?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

She stepped over to the security desk and dropped her license and proof of employment in front of the guard. Her hands were sweaty and she kept glancing nervously around the busy lobby. Everyone seemed to be in such a hurry. “Excuse me, sir, but I believe you have a badge for me? My name is Holly McIntyre and I just moved here from Michigan to work for Mr. Cantrell. I’ve never been to New York City and—”

“Here’s your card, sweetheart,” the guard said in a thick Brooklyn accent, slapping a piece of plastic down on the desk. “And a word of advice? Don’t talk so much. You need to be tough to make it in this building.”

Holly nodded and meekly slid the ID off the counter before turning toward the elevators. She felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment and internally abashed herself for rambling to a perfect stranger. She was used to chatting with everyone back in Michigan and now she’d just made herself look like a fool to the first person she met in the building. What a great way to start to her first day.

The elevators were packed, going up, and Holly had to squeeze herself between two very large men carrying briefcases to make her way up to the top floor. As people left the lift to exit to their levels, Holly gave herself a short, meaningful pep talk to fill the time during the long ride up.

Okay, Holly, you can do this. You can make it through this. This is just a building in a city, not one of the most major companies on the East Coast for marketing and international sales. So what if it controls eighty percent of the sales to China? All you’ll be doing it fetching coffee and picking up dry-cleaning. No big deal! Maybe you’ll address envelopes sometimes or water plants. Totally doable! Fake it until you make it. Or crash and burn…oh, God.

When she stepped onto the top floor, she was the last person aboard the elevator and entirely sure she should never be a motivational speaker.

The seventieth floor was as white and bright as the lobby below, but primarily empty. A receptionist tapped away on a keyboard. Across from her desk was a bright red couch for visitors, and three heavy oak doors against the far wall. Holly quietly walked up to the receptionist, her ID card clutched in her hand. The woman was a statuesque brunette wearing a chic sweater dress and a pair of fifties-inspired glasses. She stopped typing and looked up at Holly from behind her vintage eyewear.

“H-hi, I’m Holly McIntyre, the new assistant.“ She cleared her throat and held up her ID for proof, hoping the receptionist wouldn’t notice the wild shaking of her hand.

“Lovely.” The receptionist purred in a way that made Holly think of a cat that’d just spotted a defenseless mouse. “Go on in to Mr. Cantrell’s office. Begin filing the papers on top of the filing cabinet in alphabetical order. He’ll be in shortly to give you further instruction.”

Holly waited to be dismissed, but took the woman’s return to typing as her release. She walked back to the far wall to the three doors. One was labeled Meeting Room 1, the second Meeting Room 2, and the third read Cantrell in bold golden letters next to the door. Slowly, she grasped the handle and pushed the door open to let herself inside.

The room was large and richly furnished with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows behind a stately desk. It was almost sterile-looking with no personal items to be seen between the imposing grandfather clock and leather armchairs. Holly looked around for a picture of her future boss, but the only art on the wall was a modern painting a man might’ve chosen—bright squares of red, blue, and black thrown onto a canvas. She thought a child could’ve put it together. It was nothing like the fine Italian frescos she’d seen online, nor like the famous reproductions of Monet paintings her parents had hanging in their restaurant back home. But what did she know about modern art? Holly had no doubt, however, that the simple piece had cost him thousands.

She placed her secondhand purse on one of the two guest chairs facing the desk and made her way to a very tall, large filing cabinet tucked into the corner of the room. Her hands began to sweat as she saw how monumental the cabinet was. While she was around five feet tall, the cabinet must have been seven feet high. Wondering if she could actually do her duties with this monstrous piece of office furniture, she tried reaching the stack of papers and manila envelopes, but her hands barely grazed the top of the cabinet. She glanced around for a stepladder, or a stool, but only saw the expensive chairs meant for guests. Not finding any other option, she pulled the empty chair toward the cabinet and hopped on, balancing on the plush cushion.

She had just grabbed the heavy stack when the office door burst open, causing her arms to fly up in surprise and the papers to scatter all over the floor, mimicking the worst kind of snowstorm. Holly immediately jumped off the chair with her hand covering her mouth to stifle a small shriek of surprise that escaped as a pained squeak. She had not been in the office more than five minutes and she’d already made a mess. What made it worse was that the only person to witness her shame was her boss, Jackson Cantrell.

***

Jackson raised a brow as he inspected his new assistant. She seemed as flighty as a bird, and almost as delicate.

“Oh, goodness! I’m so sorry, Mr. Cantrell…sir…I can’t believe I…” Holly dropped back to the floor and began sweeping the papers into a pile with her quivering hands. “I’m sorry…I didn’t…I couldn’t reach…”

Jackson bent down to her level and began sorting the papers into small piles, slightly uncomfortable with the anxious woman fidgeting on his office floor. “I take it you must be my new assistant?”

“Y-yes. I’m Holly McIntyre.” She looked up at him, green eyes glassy with fear. “I promise, I’m not always so clumsy.”

He was taken aback upon seeing her fully. She was a pleasant-looking woman with a heart shaped face and full lips. As she lifted her emerald eyes to his, peeking at him from beneath her thick lashes, Jackson had to clear his throat. “Good to meet you, Holly.”

“I’m really not like this. I’m very well organized and—”

Jackson held up a hand. “Please, it’s really not a big deal. Why don’t you just go get settled at your desk for now, and I’ll fix this.”

“My desk?” Her face was still pink from embarrassment; a feature Jackson found oddly endearing.

“Yes. Your office connects with mine so that I’ll be able to reach you easily during business hours.” He scooped the rest of the files up and stood, holding a hand out to her.

Holly smiled uneasily, showing off a row of perfectly white teeth. Her hand was delicate in his, and when she rose to standing, he was surprised to see she had rather shapely legs beneath the unflattering sack she wore. “Of course, Mr. Cantrell. Is there anything I can get for you? Latte? Coffee? Tea?”

He shot her a small smile, amused by her nervousness. “No, thank you. Go get settled.”

Holly snatched her purse and tucked it under her arm, disappearing into her adjacent office. Jackson watched her leave, noting how that dowdy suit, and ugly shoes, did little to show her apparent charms. His other assistants were always well-groomed and expertly dressed, looking at ease in their designer clothes. Holly McIntyre almost seemed like a little girl playing dress-up in her mother’s closet. He thought she would do better if she embraced her girl-next-door beauty instead of hiding it.

As he arranged the last of the files on his desk, he wondered if Holly had what it took to survive life in the big city.

Author Bio

Kelsey McKnight is a university-educated historian from southern New Jersey. She has married her great loves of romance, history, and literature to create her newly finished works. Her first books, “The Scottish Stone Series”, are coming in April of 2017 by Limitless Publishing. Book one is titled “Queen of Emeralds”, and is available now. “The Scottish Stone Series” take readers on a journey through the bustling streets of Victorian London and into the lush hills of the Scottish Highlands. Her second book, a contemporary romance titled “The Non-Disclosure Agreement”, will also be available in May of 2017 and feature a bad boy politician and the small town girl that could change his ways. When she’s not writing, Kelsey can be found reading, drinking too much coffee, spending time with her family, and working on two nonprofits.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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sneak peek

[TBR] It Happened On Love Street by Lia Riley

Reading about stories set in small towns are always my cup of tea. There’s just something mildly utopic about the concept of knowing almost everyone. Mildly, because it is always revealed how there are problematic things that go on in small towns as they always do anywhere else.

In a literary sense, there is something really romantic about small towns. Perhaps it is tinged with nostalgia, but the heightened sense of going into a familiar place gives a sense of calm and safety.

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Title: IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET
Author: Lia Riley
Series: Everland, Georgia
On Sale: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
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In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Marina Adair, comes the first in a new series by Lia Riley about two city sisters finding love in a small town.

The most romantic place she never wanted to be . . .

Pepper Knight moved to Everland, Georgia, as step one in her plan for a successful legal career. But after this big-city gal’s plans go awry, going home with her tail between her legs isn’t an option. So when the town vet—
and her sexy new neighbor—offers Pepper a temporary dog-walking job, she jumps at the chance. No one needs to know that man’s best friend is her worst nightmare . . . or that Everland’s hot animal whisperer leaves her panting.

The last thing Rhett Valentine wants is to be the center of small-town gossip. After his first love left him at the altar, he’s been there, done that. These days, life is simple, just the way he likes it. But sultry southern nights get complicated once sparks fly between him and the knockout next door. When she proposes a sexy, secret fling—all the deliciousness and none of the prying neighbors-it seems too good to be true. And it is. Because Pepper’s determined to leave Love Street, and when she goes, she just might take his heart with her . . .

Thoughts

Lia Riley’s It Happened on Love Street is exactly my cup of tea. Even the premise of going back to one’s hometown to lick your wounds triggers my one-click tendencies! I can’t wait to read this book.

Excerpt

“Here’s an idea.” He nudged his finger on hers. “Say we—and this is purely hypothetically—enjoyed the . . . ahem . . .pleasure of each other’s company in the privacy of ourhomes.”

“Hypothetically, kept it casual and under the radar?”

She nudged back. “When I leave, there’s no heartbreak, no drama, and no one is the wiser.”

“Interesting theory?” He reached out, his hand splaying her knee. “Or recipe for disaster?”

Tingles shot up her thigh. His skin was warm, those fingers very big and very male. “I have enough to worry about with my future. If you don’t need me for more than a little here and now? I might be persuaded. Hypothetically.”

He moved his hand from her knee to the back of her neck. The touch melted her faster than an ice cube in the July sun.

“What are you thinking?” she murmured.

His deep blue gaze locked on hers and there it came again, that curious sensation of floating and drowning. “That I’d like to hypothetically kiss you.”

There was a sudden roaring in her ears, a whoosh of blood. “Well, there’s only one way to test a hypothesis.”

Slowly, oh so slowly, he dipped forward. His lips didn’t settle on hers like she expected. Instead, he kissed the center of her forehead, softly, experimentally. A tremble rocked through him.

The evening air was sultry, no a hint of chill. The idea that she shook this steadfast man sent a shiver of need through the join of her thighs, a throbbing shudder that swelled to an ache as he peppered a light trail of kisses down her temple, and then moved lower. He took his sweet time on her cheeks, treating her as something to savor, a delicious dessert you didn’t want to wolf in one bite. Tension spread through her body, pulling tighter and tighter, her belly doing a fluttery dips and dives.

When he finally reached her lips, it seemed reasonable to expect that the kiss would be as soft as the others. Silly. Because Rhett was full of surprises. He didn’t hold back, his tongue was greedy, insistent, and hungry. Their teeth banged together. A chair tipped over. They crashed against a table leg, sent it screeching across the floor.

“In theory, you’re a good kisser,” she gasped, tracing her lower lip with her tongue. The skin was puffy, aching.

“Let me experiment a bit more. The initial results are promising.”

Buy Links

Amazon |Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Play | iBooks | Indiebound |Kobo

About the Author

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme

Lia Riley is a contemporary romance author. USA Today describes her as “refreshing” and RT Book Reviews calls her books “sizzling and heartfelt.” She loves her husband, three kids, wandering redwood forests and a perfect pour over coffee. She is 25% sarcastic, 54% optimistic, and 122% bad at math (good thing she writes happy endings for a living). She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Have you read this book already? Tell me what you think loved about it by leaving me a comment below!

Cover Reveal

[Cover Reveal] Royally Endowed by Emma Chase

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re having a great week because I have great news! I’m so excited to share with you one of my favorite author’s new book cover:

Royally Endowed AMAZON

ROYALLY ENDOWED

The Royally Series Book 3

By Emma Chase

Release Day: August 14th 2017

Yes! Emma Chase’s newest book, Royally Endowed, is a standalone book in the same universe as her Royally Screwed and Royally Matched books. I’ve been meaning to make a review of her books from this series because I swear, Chase’s books just keeps on getting better every damn time. Watch out for this review, ’cause I’m sure I’ll be in full fighting form when I write it. (That’s how much I love it, btw!)

And from the looks of it, this book is going to blow this series out of the water. I mean, that’s hella hotter than the first two books’ covers! The damn tatts are killin’ me, to be honest.

About the Book

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, protective 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 bring him home to her family.

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.

Pre-Order Links

Oh my goodness! Brooding hot males and royalties? Who could resist, right? Click on these links to pre-order this beauty now!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | iBooks | B&N

About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEmma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER GOODREADS | READER FAN GROUP

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What do you think of this cover? Did you love them abs or think they are too much? (Is there a thing such as too much when one thinks of abs?) Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment down below!

Cover Reveal

[Cover Reveal] Summer Feels: An Anthology

How’s the summer break treating you all, lovelies? Read anything great in particular? Well, you might want to hold on to your horses (or cards, I suppose) as one of Summer’s sizzling new releases is coming out this April 30th!

SUMMERFEELS-cover-ebook

Summer Feels
A #romanceclass anthology

Genre: Romance
Release Date: April 30, 2017

Blurb:

Summer loving happens so fast, as you’ll find with Summer Feels, an anthology of 23 stories of love under the summer sun by #romanceclass authors. Savor the candied thrill of firsts—first loves, first kisses, first solo vacations—and the bittersweet triumph of second chances. Tour the Philippines as the stories take you to mountain retreats and island paradises. Let the magic of the hot sun, clear blue skies, and lots of love take you on a roller coaster ride of feels. With stories ranging from sweet to sexy, there’s sure to be something for any fan of romance.

Featuring stories by:

Elea Andrea Almazora • Erleen Alvarez • Ella Banta • Rachelle Belaro • H. Bentham • Halina Cabrera • Charlie Dio • Mina V. Esguerra • Elizabeth Galit • Georgette S. Gonzales • Ami Granada • Irene Jurado • Catherine Lo • Arlene Manocot • Bianca Mori • Eris Peñaluna • Farrah F. Polestico • Kit Salazar • Miel Salva • Fay Sebastian • Kate Sebastian • Yeyet Soriano • Marian Tee

Edited and compiled by Kate Sebastian

Cover and interior design by Miles Tan

Thoughts

*croons* I can imagine reading this book somewhere near the ocean, with the summer breeze blowing through~ (Aaaah– Take me back to La Union!)

Summer Feels is one of #romanceclass’s new anthology. Coming from the high of Promdi Heart, I am so stoked to read about this batch’s collection of summer stories! And even better, this collection holds closer to my heart as one of my good friends submitted a piece for this!

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I’m so excited to read this collection! April 30 just can’t come any faster! (And by the way, if you live here in Metro Manila, or somewhere nearby, you might want to come by UP Town Center on the 30th for a fun, book-filled day! It’s April Feels Day 2017! So many books, both old and new releases, coming up. Time to catch up on your #bookhaulgoals!)

Learn more about the book and stories included by reading some of their blurbs. Pre-order a copy now and let’s all fall in love to all the summer feels we could feel.

About the Designer

Miles Tan likes inhabiting imaginary worlds, from fantasy books to sci-fi shows to cheeky mysteries to role-playing games. She works with websites, plays with graphics, and is now currently painting with words.

Finding X is her first published novella. Her short story “Something Real” is included in the YA Luna East anthology, Kids These Days.

To learn more about her books, visit milestanbooks.com. To see more of the cover art she’s designed, check out milestanbooks.com/works.

Stories included in this anthology:

  • “All about That Bass” by Fay Sebastian
  • “Alter Christus” by Catherine Lo
  • “Fall for Me” by Miel Salva
  • “The Game of Twenty Questions” by Elizabeth Galit
  • “The Summer You Said Hello” by Ami Granada
  • “At the Bermuda Triangle” by Elea Andrea Almazora
  • “Beachin’ Summer” by Arlene Manocot
  • “Buddy System” by Yeyet Soriano
  • “Busy out of the Friendzone” by Charlie Dio
  • “Flying with You” by Rachelle Belaro
  • “Guide for a Day” by H. Bentham
  • “Ready to Run” by Kit Salazar
  • “Secondhand Wanderlust” by Erleen Alvarez
  • “The Search for the Kissing Monster” by Ella Banta
  • “Anything Can Happen” by Marian Tee
  • “Four Basic Principles” by Bianca Mori
  • “Love after Summer” by Irene Jurado
  • “Lucky in Paradise” by Farrah F. Polestico
  • “The Swimming Instructor” by Eris Peñaluna
  • “Wedding Night Stand” by Mina V. Esguerra
  • “An Overdue Adventure” by Kate Sebastian
  • “Buttered Sunset” by Halina Cabrera
  • “Then Derrick Was Back” by Georgette S. Gonzales

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Book Review, Favorite, Recommendations

[REVIEW] Promdi Heart

5/5 stars LET’S GO TRAVEL ❤
promdi heart

Promdi Heart

Take a quick tour of the Philippines with six hometown love stories.

Visit Jimenez, Misamis Occidental where a priest might just set you up with a man whose dimples are to die for.

Visit Silay, Negros Occidental and get on a horse alongside hunky, hazel-eyed Negrense royalty.

Visit Kalibo, Aklan and find yourself in the arms of a cute drummer boy who just happens to be your kuya’s BFF.

Visit Hagonoy, Bulacan and spend All Saint’s Day next to a distracting boy who promises to write you a song.

Visit Vigan, Ilocos Sur and meet the hot man you used to bully when he was a shy, chubby boy.

Visit Pundaquit, Zambales and find love in a bronzed fisherman whose eyes hold depths you’ll want to explore.

REVIEW

I’m not really great with anthologies. I always feel uprooted whenever a short story ends and disconcerted when a new one begins. But to my surprise, Promdi Heart delivers beautifully in how I find closure and a thirst to learn more about the people and the places in the stories.

The collection starts with C.P. Santi’s Only the Beginning. As a fledgling #romanceclass reader, I am so happy to discover C.P. Santi’s works because they’re just my cup of tea. And her short story about bad first impressions and the richness of a culture a small town in Mindanao has given me the itch to travel to Jimenez, Misamis Occidental. The town was painted with a rustic touch but a sincerity in its people that perfectly complements the story-telling.

Ines Bautista-Yao’s Letters to a Boy is as surprising as this whole collection is. Again, I’m a little impatient for this style of stories–the one told in letters and missives although they are really fascinating. But god, I adored every letter. I’ve been to Silay and Bacolod recently and reading about the rich Negrense culture, with its quaint and picturesque town and the kind people who yes, they almost have a circle of the socially affluent family which borderlines royalty, is just so enticing. This is the royalty trope I’ve been wanting to read. I’d read more of this, to be honest.

Drummer Boy by Chris Mariano is the the big-brother’s-bestfriend trope that everyone loves. I love it even better because it managed to show us the preps and the hows in the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan. I don’t think anyone past elementary school has not heard of this festival, and to be honest, I wasn’t really sure what happens at the festival. Street dancing, maybe. But this story showed how dedicated some families are in keeping up with this tradition.  Sometimes, we may feel trapped and weak against the expectations of continuing traditions, but here is a perspective of acknowledging this fact and realizing how important some obligations are. And I really liked that fresh perspective.

We can skip Jay E. Tria’s One Certain Day because I hate Son’s ill timing and I just want to hug Alice. I mean, I live in Guiguinto, which is just three towns away from Hagonoy. I can go to Alice’s house and hug the shit out of her and just glare at Son’s nearby house. I’ll even rat him out to his parents. I hated Son here. I feel so invested in this story and god, the feelings are delivered. I feel so raw after reading it. There better be a book for Son, Jay!

Georgette Gonzales’s Once Upon a Bully was very uncomfortable to read and only because of the elementary kid bullying another kid gig. It was a great read that showcased the beauty of Ilocano language and dishes that made me want to go to Vigan! It also made me want to look for long-lost elementary classmates, in case anyone aged fine. (I do have a story to tell here, but maybe for a personal post some other time.) Because of this story, I was inspired to schedule a trip to Vigan before I leave the Philippines.

Lastly, Agay Llanera’s Back to the Stars was a nice ending for the book collection. I love how the main character has transformed into a cynical Manila girl who realizes just how much she’s changed and not for the better. I really loved the full circle feel of it – from her struggles as a girl from the (promdi, in its every sense) province and coming back as a Manila Girl. You will never really get a sense of happiness when you keep on measuring yourself against the standards of society.

Leah felt ill-fitted in Manila as a promdi girl, and coming back to Pundaquit, she is haunted by this outcast status. In the short time of her visit (and the story’s length), we find Leah finding peace about her roots, her place, and where she’ll be in the future. Wency is a precious cinnamon roll, so sincere and genuine. I love him. And I love how his sincerity and patience were exactly what Leah needed.

Overall, Promdi Heart is a nicely curated anthology of stories that will make you appreciate the diversity of Philippine Cultures. I love how this collection offers a view of the Philippines that we don’t see much and still offer fresh stories that needed to be told. To be honest, I was a little wary about how this collection would turn out. I tried reading this one book set in somewhere in the Philippines and I was just horribly disappointed at how detached and cookie cutter the plot was. I was afraid that the novel characteristics of the places would be compromised for the plot and I am so happy it didn’t go that way for this collection.

BUY LINKS

Get this book from Amazon at $2.99!

Did you love this anthology as much as I did? Leave them a review on their Goodreads page!

Book Review, Favorite, Recommendations

[REVIEW] Better at Weddings Then You by Mina V. Esguerra

5/5 stars I LOVED IT SO MUCH YES

BAWTY.kindle.preview

Better at Weddings Than You

Mina V. Esguerra

BLURB

Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)

REVIEW

As a firm believer of Weddings Are Things I Should Not Be Thinking About Anytime Soon, I was not too excited to learn that this new book from Mina Esguerra would be about Wedding Planners. But then, I met Aaron Trinidad.

Hot–scorching hot, rather–tatted and long-haired Aaron Trinidad. And I’m like, yes yES WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

I’m not really sure if this still falls under New Adult. Both Daphne and Aaron are in their 30’s, having some parts of life figured out but still unsure on a lot of things. I enjoyed reading their story a lot maybe because there is some sense of relief I found in reading how, despite the difficulty of maintaining a career, they were doing as best as they could.

Of course, I am only reading this from the perspective of a twenty-something still lost in life, so I could only imagine the exhaustion they have from trying various things in life. And you can really sense this exhaustion and cynicism from Daphne.

Having gone through a lot of failed setups and blind dates and despite her success in her career, Daphne views the world in cold, unfeeling eyes. And she knows it. She knows how tired she was from the dating scene that she stopped it altogether, as also shown by the metaphor of giving up pork but that’s a topic for later.

It’s very ironic to see a wedding planner finding love, or the search for it, almost bland and tiresome. And from her own words, yes she makes happily ever afters happen but it doesn’t even occur to her to apply it to herself.

But. It also makes sense. I can almost imagine just how fed up she was that she had to give it all up together. Again, I still have the naivety of a twenty-something reading this book. And this is such an eye-opener for me. How yes, at some point we do get to give up on some things in life. How we stop caring altogether and I can imagine how liberating that must be.

I especially loved the part where Daphne was talking to Aaron how unfair the double standard for men and women are when it comes to dating and settling down. Yes, it really is unfair. And pair that up with how disappointed Daphne was with her choices in the Dating Game and suddenly, things get a little too real and dark.

As a woman, we still get this societal expectation and I guess at some point, we still carry the guilt of pleasure and satisfaction that is exacerbated by the expectations of a society who believes in institutions that are intrinsically repressive. Daphne mentions at one part of the book how weddings are not really for everyone, that it’s great if you’re doing it because you want it for the things it says it stands for — love, loyalty, trust. But not everyone goes into it with that same level-headedness.

And that’s true. Going back to society’s expectations on women, we have always been led to believe that sex and pleasure can only be accessed after the matrimony of marriage. Kudos to you if you subscribe to this belief wholeheartedly. But on the other side of the coin, we humans are sexual beings. As much as men have needs, we females also have them. And it needs to be acknowledged more often.

I’m not sure if I am reading too much on this but I guess how Aaron was almost the perfect partner for Daphne was a little disconcerting. It was great for Daphne. Aaron was a most accomplished lover by great lengths. But I guess the irony in here is that no one, aside from the two of them, thought that they’d be together, let alone hook up. Even weirder how some of Daphne’s friends seemed to think she was slumming it down with Aaron when in her experience, it was winning a jackpot.

And I guess the point I am making here is, to echo the book, a relationship is really just you and your partner. Not anyone or everyone else. At the end of the day, it’s just you two. I kept on thinking about A Midsummer Night’s Dream while reading this, because of the clusterfuck of everything. And I guess there is some truth from it. There’s a lot of mess and drama from Greg and Helen’s end that seems to exist less in Daphne and Aaron’s. If they are foils to each other’s couples, then wow. That is some great writing!!! But of course, Mina has always written great stories. ❤

I feel like this book is just the best yet. I’ve only read about three or four books of hers, but this book is just flawlessly written and has a depth that was as entertaining and enjoyable as it was real and woke AF. That perfect weaving of a story with the right amount of smut is just so on point on this book. I loved every second I spent reading this book.

BUY LINKS

Buy on Amazon
$1.99 pre-order price until April 30
$2.99 starting May 1
Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Have you read this book yet? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below! You may also post your own review at this book’s Goodreads page.

 
Book Review, Favorite, Recommendations

[REVIEW] Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes

5/5 stars! YES I’D LIVE IN THIS BOOK IF I COULD

feels like summer cover only

FEELS LIKE SUMMER (Summer Storm #2)

SIX DE LOS REYES

Release date: April 12, 2017

In print: April 30, 2017

Blurb

Five-minute girlfriend. This is what Jett signs up for when she meets Adrian and his band Arabella at beach music festival Summer Storm. One kiss and the attraction is too electric to ignore, but Jett has no room for love and Adrian is Mr. Relationship who’s getting over his recent breakup. The solution? Keep it simple. Keep it casual. For three months (that’s the rule about breakups, right?), Jett helps Adrian move on and Adrian shows up on Jett’s bed whenever she wants.

Then the three months are up and neither of them are in a hurry to be the first to leave. Does Jett walk away from a potential disaster or does she finally let someone into her closely-guarded heart?

REVIEW

Coming from Sounds Like Summer, I wasn’t expecting Feels Like Summer to be this wild and youthful. Sounds Like Summer might be the trip that will get you to the music festival but Feels Lile Summer is the main act, the festival itself. It has all the music, the boys, drama, and emotions are just amped up to the highest. I frankly can’t describe it better than that. Everything just makes me want to dive headfirst into the music scene!

Let’s start with Jett. I feel like Six’s MCs are the cool female characters I could only aspire to be but at the moment, I am not. They always start cool as cucumbers that cannot be touched by anything the mortal realm could produce and the LIs are just a little more emotionally liberated, which is always fun.

Jett was an experience. Being in her headspace is as punishing as it is liberating. There are so much guilt and suffering in that girl that I can understand and relate with. She comes into the scene cool and detached because she tries so hard to separate herself from her emotions. Her upbringing and her past are her baggage that she embraces tightly. And you can’t really fault her for it. Not when there is a Ziggy lurking and haunting her at every accomplishment she has.

Adrian. God, where do I even get an Adrian? His bandmates all describe him as intense, and yes, I could see that at the tail-end of the book. But from the first chapter onwards, he was just a big marshmallow, a precious cinnamon roll that must be protected at all times for me. (Maybe Franklin, too. But that boy… Franklin deserves his own air time. I mean, let’s be real here.)

The fact that he never really wavered from loving Jett was really the thing that sucks me in. Partner that fact with how hard Jett tries to overcome her own demons and we’ve got ourselves a perfect blend of New Adult romance book that I wanted to party all night long with.

To be honest, there is a lot going on in this book and that’s what you want to read. Jett’s life is as dynamic and colorful as could be. And every character shines and feels as real as can be. It felt really heavy to finish the book because it is dense and heavy–from the plot, the premise, the backstories of the characters, their personalities. Yes, I am here for all these things and I could not wish for anything more but maybe a continuation? A series. I want to be a part of these characters’ lives, that’s how much I loved this book.

Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRD7Q7G

Print (PH only): bit.ly/summerstorm2

 

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34609563-feels-like-summer

Cover design by: Porcupine Strongwill

Follow Six de los Reyes:

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Wattpad: @sixdlr

Author Bio

Six de los Reyes has been reading and making up stories for as far as she can remember. In fifth grade, she learned to write about the stories she wanted to read. As a pretend grownup, she writes contemporary romance novels. Her day job doing science has something to do with being a part-time mermaid and a part-time labrat. She currently lives next to the sea.

Other works include:

Just for the Record

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions

Sounds Like Summer

Anthology Contributions:

After the Moment, Taking Chances (#BuqoYA)

Nico Saves Christmas, Make My Wish Come True

Ocean Eyes, Summer Crush