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.

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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] 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!

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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

BUY LINKS

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!

Cover Reveal, Favorite, Recommendations

[Cover Reveal] Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra

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Look at this gorgeous cover!

I’m not sure if you guys are following me on my twitter account (@adgiecakes), but lately, I’ve been trying this thing called “livetweeting.” (That makes me sound like an old lady heh.) Basically, I just update the world the things that pop into my brain as I read. This weekend, I plowed through 3 (THREE!!) ARCs of upcoming #romanceclass books, which is just… *sigh* is the LAYF.

Better at Weddings Than You is the ninth book in Mina V. Esguerra’s Chic Manila series. (But it can be read as a standalone!) I was introduced to Mina through a class requiring us to read one of her books in this series. It’s almost like I’ve reached full circle!

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God, right after reading a preview of this book in Wattpad a few months back made me just want to get my hands on it! The first few chapters posted were enough to hook me right into the intriguing and dramatic story of Daphne and Aaron! (And it was super dramatic! Like, I’d say teleserye-level dramatic. It was so fun!)

BAWTY.fullcover.preview

Better at Weddings Than You comes out on April 15 on Amazon. If you live in the Philippines, I highly suggest you take advantage of your geographical benefit and get the paperback version of this out April/May. I mean, look at that spread! I’m just loving the purple and the on-point photograph. This cover really nailed it. Pre-order links down below!

Pre-Order Here

Buy on Amazon: bit.ly/chicmanila9
$1.99 pre-order price until April 30
$2.99 starting May 1
Free on Kindle Unlimited
Book Design by Tania Arpa
Photography by Alexandra Urrea
Book Review, Favorite

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

10 OUT OF 10 FUCKING STARS

BEST BOOK I HAVE READ THIS YEAR. HANDS DOWN.

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Let’s start off as this started having the same feel as that of Flipped, maybe because it was a period piece, but either way it gave the same feel as Flipped in a very good way.

It probably is the way the story was delivered – in terms of the build-up and the evocative words (and believe me, I’ve highlighted so many chunks of this book!!) – that sets this apart from the usual high school teen romance and the dual POVs. I keep on thinking how, in formatting, it was the same as other books, but this is one example of how writing makes a difference. The choice of words will bring you that time and place where everything is ripe to possibilities, and where love is all that matters despite the bleakness of reality and the shiny glimmer of hope that we try very hard not to grasp too tightly.

I love the characterization of everyone in this book! Even the most minor of roles – Tina, Steve, Maisie, SABRINA!, PARK’S PARENTS (God, I have not read a couple as adorable and as realistic in terms of their parenting dynamics than Mindy and Harold.)

The only hung-up I have with this book is the ending. Like, oh come onnnnnn. You cannot just leave it at that!

So. If you still haven’t read this book, but you’ve added this to your To-Read list, well, pick it up now and READ IT NOW!

Book Review, Favorite

Review: Binding Arbitration by Elizabeth Marx

binding

If you’re a fan of the NA genre and Sports Romances, then you should more than definitely read this book!

“We’re like an earthquake when we’re together.”

First up, this book was veryyyyy hard to find. But it was all worth it. 🙂 I initially gave it a try because I loooooove Sports Romances AND Legal Romances (y’know, lawyers and courtrooms and the shiz) AND the baby trope. Of course, the baby trope sinks me every time. So many books and authors have tried to make every single one of those genre/trope to work, but none have worked as beautifully and magically as Binding Arbitration did.

BA had a solid plot that would drive you to both ends of the emotional spectrum, has the stamina to capture your attention for the whole length of the novel, and best of all (at least, for me) the wonderful, wonderful writing style of the author.

“I would wake several times during the night, my body roused by a fleetig touch in her sleep, a whispered gasp on dreams fulfilled or a simple arch of her dreamlike self against mine, proving once and for all that my voracious need for her was far greater and more profound than even I could have imagined.”

I have never read smut as brilliantly worded as this one! It was sensual and evocative and emotionally-gripping. It made me realize that erotic scenes should not always be graphic and dirty. Yes, it is gritty and base, and that’s the way nature works.

But this is also literature. You use language in a way that is different from the way we normally use it. Yes, sex is graphic. You insert the penis into the vagina again and again. But what sets you apart as a writer from the common man is how you CAN describe this rather repetitive and clinical process as something otherworldly and evocative. It is more than your capability; it is your obligation to bring readers to perceive the world in a different light, bring a color filter, heighten the senses and offer a different lens than what was considered the norm.

For me, this book has been more than a simple read. It taught me that you can convey a story, a romance story at that, without throwing caution to the wind and follow the usual style of contemporary romance writers – which is to deliver it as one delivers an oral story, a deliverance that is no different from the language used in the everyday. A romance story can be sensual, and fluid as a river slicing a way through the woods – elegant and cutting.

“I circle your hands, I circle your heart. I mark with my brand, while we’re apart. I sparkle in both your joy and laughter, because I’m part of you ever after.”

I am more than glad I’ve stumbled upon this book! From the very beginning until the last page, the words just ripples through the pages. And believe me, if the potential language jolt doesn’t entice you to read this book, the story itself would. Give it a try; it will rip your soul out without any preamble.

Book Review, Favorite

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

What do I think? DO I STILL EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT ORGAN FOR THIS FUNCTION? I probably cried my brain out after reading this book. UGH.

the fault in our stars

Anyway, so let’s begin. I initially didn’t want to read this book, because I’ve been turned off by John Green’s writing of Looking for Alaska. And then, the holidays came and I seriously needed a genre jolt so I decided to give this a try, and boy was it the best decision I’ve ever made this Christmas break!

If we all follow the belief of Matt in M. Pierce’s Night Owl – that every author lived and wrote for one masterpiece – I’m thinking that maybe this book was it for John Green. What I didn’t like about Looking for Alaska was that there was an unnecessary excess of angst that could be put off from the book. It also felt an adventure for naught because, ugh I kept on reading, thinking that Alaska was alive, and that was the point BUT NO, IT WASN’T AND it doesn’t really blow up on my face, as much as it did at the half of the book, but it just felt too useless, for me.

And here in The Fault in Our Stars, there was no excess trappings of teenage angst that Green tried so hard to paint on Looking for Alaska. There was only the tragedy of having a terminal disease, and an even darker truth of how it was to have such a disease, and then later on, to find and lose the solace of the one great love to this terminal disease. There was no other frill to add to the gloom, because the gloom was there to be explored and revealed. That this was the truth of knowing you are going to die, and this was the pain of how it felt when you find your comfort in this temporary world and how it felt to have it all ripped away from you.

This is the adventure that enlightened me, that took me off from my couch into the world of Hazel Grace Lancaster, an act that Looking for Alaska failed to do to me.

The most off-putting aspect of LoA for me was the characterization. It felt like these characters are just too trying hard to be angst, and they just scream teenagers (followed by a roll of my eyes) to me. I cannot connect with Alaska in any way possible. I cannot even comprehend her way of thinking. (And I was an emotionaly teenager when I read LoA.)

Aside from their really too-brilliant-for-normal-use language, Hazel and Augustus was really realistic, like I could picture out these two people – alive and dying and they are rigid and breathing. ALIVE. I loved Augustus and his charms, his sense of humor. I loved Hazel and her wit, her intellect. I also loved Isaac and I LOVED THEIR TRIO! I cannot really explain how I just loved all their characterizations, just that it worked so splendidly for me.

What I also loved from this book was, it reminded me of why I read YA. That there are lessons we forget after we grow out of our lost years, years where we struggle with our introduction with how cruel the world actually is, and in going back to these years, we find slivers of our youth, our hopes. And I cannot really say I can connect with cancer patients, because I am not one. (And hopefully it stays that way for a long, long time.) But everyone is familiar with the concept of death – of losing someone, of the fear that it is just around the corner, we just don’t know if it was the immediate one or the one after 52 blocks. We can relate with finding love, and the magnificence of finding the one true one. And from these, a connection is established.

And now, I can totally say that this book is so worth it. It is an experience, and it was a wonderful and enlightening one.