ARC Review: Crazy Pucking Love by Cindi Madsen

Crazy Pucking Love (Taking Shots, #3)

Crazy Pucking Love
(Taking Shots #3)
Author: Cindi Madsen
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Date of Publication: November 7, 2016
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary

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Synopsis new

I just met the girl of my dreams.

Megan Davenport is funny and smart, and she’s as much of an insomniac as I am. She’s also my team captain’s little sister, which I only found out after our passionate kiss.

Megan is completely off-limits—her brother makes that very clear—and I know better than to think I can keep a relationship going during hockey season anyway. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be late-night friends, right?

The only problem is, love makes you do crazy things, like breaking all the rules.

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“I saw you, I wanted you, and I ignored everything else. I knew I was crossing a line I shouldn’t, but crossing it felt so damn good.”

Another potentially lovable NA sports romance that was well-written but unfortunately suffered a number of flaws.

We met Megan Davenport in Getting Lucky Number Seven as Beck’s little sister who was quite a rebel that time. Now she is already a freshman at Boston College and is about to have an exciting college life with the help of her “Fresh Start Checklist” that contains all her goals. In a college drunken party, she meets a gorgeous guy named Dane Kowalski and sort of forms an instant friendship with him. She doesn’t know that Dane is actually an ice hockey star and a co-player of her brother, which is quite a conflict since Beck is such a protective brother and she’s already attracted with Dane. Plus, Dane seems to feel the same way, too.

You know what’s the obvious similarity of this book to the previous books of this series? The characters, the storyline, the dramas.. same old same old. It’s the repetitive idea by which the male lead carries heavier baggage, thus he cannot give his “all” to the heroine because he’s not capable enough to give it. Ugh.

What’s with these hockey men and their never ending issues?

Now onto the good side.

I still found this book swoon-worthy despite my complaints. I felt the strong connection shared by the characters as well as the angst. Both characters were okay. I thought Dane was such a hot mess but he was a sweet person with a soft heart nonetheless. The sexy scenes, on the other hand, were burning hawt. There was certainly a chemistry between Dane and Megan and for that, I was at least happy. You just have to prepare for that cheesy ending though.

All in all, it was an okay read. Just another typical college sports romance with cliché tropes such as friends-to-lovers and friends-with-benefits. I wasn’t completely drawn but I think other readers may find this book enjoyable and may love it more than I did.

(An ARC was provided to me by Entangled: Embrace and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating:

3 Stars

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Review: Lead by Kylie Scott

Lead (Stage Dive, #3)

Lead
(Stage Dive #3)
Author: Kylie Scott
Publisher: Macmillan Australia
Published: July 29, 2014
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Adult, Contemporary

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Synopsis new

Stay up all night with the sexy rockers in Stage Dive, the epic New Adult series from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, author of Lick and Play.

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it’s booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena’s not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

my thoughts new

“God damn mother-f*cking rock stars.”

I honestly didn’t think I would love Jimmy Ferris because he was such a douche in the previous books. But my oh my. This book totally changed my opinion and feelings for him.

James Dylan “Jimmy” Ferris, Stage Dive’s lead singer, is a difficult man to understand. He comes full of baggage. Spoiled, vain, and sensitive, the way he manages his issues changed when Lena Morrissey came into his life as his personal live-in assistant. Lena is a different girl. She doesn’t put up with Jimmy’s crap, thus they were like a cat and a dog who are always at clash with each other. But because they seriously have this strange connection between them and a chemistry that is so apparent, Lena slowly became infatuated with him. However, relationship is not in Jimmy’s vocabulary so she has to hide her feelings.

“Whatever he might be, Jimmy Ferris was special and complicated, beautiful and beastly, all rolled into one.”

I loved how their relationship had no insta-love. The build-up was done so well and it was packed with sexual tension and frustration. lol. I especially loved their banters and those parts where Jimmy tried so hard to control his jealousy each time Lena is with another guy. You can expect to find a push and pull kind of romance here which I found really entertaining. All throughout the book, all I was ever hoping for was for them to say those magic words and finally be together as a couple.

I guess what truly made this book stand out was the way Jimmy’s character was fleshed out and how his family issues were highlighted. I finally understood why he’s acting like a jerk. It’s because of this book that I realized he’s more than just a tortured hero. He’s a man who’s also capable to care for someone as good as Lena. Another thing that made me appreciate this book was Lena’s patience to Jimmy and her acceptance to his issues. It was quite remarkable. I just wished this book highlighted Jimmy’s performance on stage. I would have loved to see him singing on stage together with his bandmates. Also, I wished the resolution to their conflict wasn’t that rushed.

All in all, Lead was a knock-my-socks-off kind of book. There was certainly A LOT to love about it. Definitely one of the entertaining and wonderfully written sequels ever!

“Love came in all sorts of shapes and size, but if it wasn’t based upon doing what was right for the one you loved, then what was it worth, really?”

Rating:

4 stars

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Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

A Court of Mist and Fury
(A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Published: May 3, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult, Romance
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

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“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.”

Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”

First of all, can we take a moment to glorify the perfection that is Rhysand?

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No doubt, A Court of Mist and Fury tops my favorite sequels this year. It basically owned me, took my heart, broke it into a million pieces, and mend it all back together. Sarah J. Maas sure doesn’t stop giving me goosebumps. I’ve just realized that there are so many reasons why I need to stick to her works and never let go, because she does it better. Always.

Notable things to expect in ACOMAF:

> remarkable plot
> character development
> new setting
> new characters
> romantic development
> series of revelations
> sizzling romantic scenes
> deep, tear-jerking dialogues
> plot twist

and of course–

> Rhysand and lots and lots of Rhysand

These things are more than reason enough for me to rate this 5++++ stars. There was just too much goodness that happened in this book. So much improvement, especially when it comes to Feyre’s character. I loved how she handled and basically maneuvered all the rough situations here, how she listened not only to her heart but to her mind as well, and how she was able to use her critical thinking in the end. I’ve just witnessed a new Feyre and with that, I was more than happy.

I guess it’s already quite obvious and it’s fair to say that this book is about Rhysand, isn’t it? Yep. Where is Tamlin? What is Tamlin?

He’s gone. Figuratively. And this isn’t a spoiler. Tamlin (in ACOTAR) was non-existent here. He basically changed– or so I thought. I admit that it was so hard for me to accept his character changes because I rooted for him in the first book. I kept asking, why? Why did the author change his character? It was when I reached the near-end part of the book when I finally realized that he didn’t really change. I just saw the REAL him. He was in my opinion, a good character. It’s just that… He’s weak and his love for Feyre and the need to protect her was all-consuming, to the point where he became so manipulative and territorial.

That’s why in the end, my vote goes to Rhysand. I’ve known his character in the first book as someone who’s cocky and literal bad boy, but I didn’t know anything about him, really. In this book, I saw him as a well-developed, wholly different character. I didn’t know that behind his pretty face and sexy grin lies dark secrets full of pain which made me feel for him.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

The best thing about this sequel apart from the character and romantic development was also the setting. The Night Court was so beautiful it’s too much! I loved how the place was described in a vivid and captivating way. I found myself really dreamy just by imagining those beautiful stars and sunsets *sigh.

This is what I imagine The Night Court to look like:

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I had a lot of favorite scenes here, too. Like the Starfallfestival scene, the Court of of Nightmares smexy and full-of-sexual-tension scenes, and the scene when Feyre said:

“You love me? Then eat. “

Did I say that I also love it every time Rhysand calls her,“Feyre darling?” 😉

In addition to my favorite scenes, the new characters also rocked! Amren, Cassian, Mor, and Azriel for the win!!! I like the Inner Circle and their bad-assery and I need more of them soon, in the third book.

I actually have a lot more to say, but they’re going to be really spoilery so I am just going to leave it here:

FEYSAND IS LIFE.

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If you haven’t read this sequel yet, do it already. If you haven’t started this series yet, do yourself a favor and read it. BEST ONGOING SERIES EVER. . 🙂

“Then I learned your name. Hearing you say it… It was like an answer to a question I’d been asking for five hundred years.”

(Note: I would like to say thank you to my dear friend, Allie who gave me a physical copy of this book. You are such a wonderful person with a generous heart. Best of all, you are a sweet soul! <3)

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Rating:

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Review: Bossman by Vi Keeland

Bossman

Bossman
Author: Vi Keeland
Publisher: Vi Keeland
Published: July 16, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Adult, Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:

4 stars

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Synopsis new

From New York Times Bestseller, Vi Keeland, comes a sexy newstandalone novel.

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us―telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

my thoughts new

“I couldn’t remember ever wanting another man as badly as I wanted Chase. For a while, I’d thought it was because he was my boss– that exciting feeling of being tempted by the forbidden. But I knew it was more than that. So much more, it scared the hell out of me. “

Chase Parker is so delicious. I mean, Bossman. The story. :p

It’s my second time to read a Vi Keeland book and I must say this was better than the first book I’ve read which was The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel. I needed a fun, flirty, and light NA read and reading some glowing 5-star reviews from my friends, I was totally sold and I considered it as an immediate read. It didn’t fail. The book was what I was really looking for.

Bossman started off when Reese Annesley had an encounter with Chase Parker at a restaurant where she’s meeting her date, Martin. Chase overheard her sending a voicemail to her friend, complaining about her boring date. A few minutes later, she was shocked when Chase joined her table and basically crashed her date by making up stories about their “childhood”. Lol. Now few weeks later, they met again and she eventually learned that Chase is in fact, an owner of a wax company where’s she’s about to start her new work.

What made me love this book? It was for the sole reason that I enjoyed everything that happened here. Chase was so adorable and sexy and his made-up stories just cracked me up. Reese, on the other hand, was a likeable heroine. Despite her issues about her past, she didn’t have annoying dramas which made it easy for me to like her. I loved that the majority of this book focused more on the flirty side rather than the emotional one. I’ve been reading sad books lately and I can’t take another heartbreak for now. So this was indeed a book where you can expect yourself to be laughing out loud because of the humor and the sexy interactions shared by the characters.

There was of course, a huge thing that happened in the later part of this book. Some sort of twist that kind of deviated the story into a heart-breaking one. But it was a good thing since it gave the story a depth and it made me appreciate the characters more because of how they handled the situation and managed to overcome it. I was also able to see the broken, different side of Chase, although it shattered my heart into pieces.

The best part of the book was the ending. I loved it! It left a smile on my face and it simply made me happy. As a whole, this book was fun and enjoyable, with oozing sexiness all over the place. Chase is such a perfect Bossman! I highly recommend this book if you love smexy office romance and friends-to-lovers tropes with a tiny bit of drama.

“You’re fired,” he groaned as he buried his face in my hair. “So fucking fired.”

(I’ve read this book for the #NALitLoversPH #NewAdultAndBeyondPH readalong)

Rating:

4 stars

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Review: Sempre by J.M. Darhower

 Sempre (Forever, #1)

Sempre
(Sempre #1)
Author: J.M. Darhower
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: February 25, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Dark, Romance Contemporary, Suspense
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT SACRIFICE… DEATH… LOVE… FREEDOM. THIS IS A STORY ABOUT FOREVER.

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco grew up under vastly different circumstances. Haven, a second-generation slave, was isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege and excess. Now, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think. In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them instead.

Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price-especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?

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(Buddyreading this book with my lovely sis Eunice)

“When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy, cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it.”

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I believe this is one of the best books written so far.

Sempre is yet another masterpiece where J.M. Darhower uses a dark theme as a plot device for a YA/NA romantic genre.

The story centered around Haven who grew up as a slave under the Antonelli family. She was about to escape and ask for help when she stumbled upon Dr. Vincent DeMarco who brought her to his home and basically gave her shelter. In return, she was also to work as his slave– with restrictions and certain rules to never get out of the house or open any code inside. In her new home she met the notorious bad boy Carmin DeMarco, a Mafia prince who has the entire world under his fingertips. What soon blossomed between them was an unexpected love which eventually became a complication to their situation where danger continues to threaten them and heavy decisions matter.

I loved the concept of this book and the exquisite romance of two young people who fell in love against seemingly impossible odds. I expected it to be something different, something that I’m used to in a Mafia romance, but I was surprised by its uniqueness. The writing of J.M. Darhower and the ardent tone she used gave me a plethora of different emotions.

She was quiet, running her fingers across his abs and tracing his scars with her fingertips. “How about we just be Haven and Carmine? We don’t know the ending, but we can always hope for the best.”

“I like that,” he said. “Besides, there’s a reason we don’t know how a story ends.”

“Why?”

“Because it doesn’t.”

Carmine and Haven’s love story was one of a kind. I absolutely loved their exchange of lines and the way their cheesy yet heart-warming conversations moved me. It also helped a lot that Carmine was such a cocky, sarcastic, yet very passionate and sweet guy. Just a heads up, this guy is extremely jealous and possessive but I admit to myself that I didn’t have any problem with him being that way because well, who am I to complain? His character was defined so perfectly and I just could’t do anything but SWOON.

“You were brought to me for a reason, for us to save each other. Because you weren’t the only one needing to be saved, Haven. I was drowning, and you rescued me.”

At first I did have a little problem with the pacing. The book, I admit, did drag out too long. BUT! I realized when I got to Chapters 40 and beyond that those dragging scenes were a necessity. They were like spices that made the whole book entirely meaningful and dramatic. If the story did not finish with a BOOM, and if the story didn’t have that beautifulclimax, then I’d probably resent its slow-pacing but then I loved how the overall story turned out so it didn’t become a problem with me.

There were many places Carmine would go back to, many things he would have done differently, but one thing he wouldn’t take back was what he had done to save her.

As a whole, this book was a real surprise. The drama, the sentiments, the dilemma, and even the slow-burn flaw that the author managed to convey were so overwhelming and thought-provoking. I cried a lot of times as I went through its pages (How could an author do that to me?) and I experienced a great deal of adrenaline-rush after reading those action scenes in the near-end. It was just so good!!!

To those who love heavy drama and romance with action-packed scenarios, you definitely should read this book. I cannot be alone in this, guys! I have to get you to read and experience the beauty of this book, too!

Their love existed, despite everything else, and it was the love that would go on forever. The moment was etched in time, transcending the constraints put on them by life..

Rating:

5 stars new

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xo pearl

Review: Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski

Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers, #1)

Killing Sarai
(In the Company of Killers #1)
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publisher: J.A. Redmerski
Published: June 18, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Dark, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

From the author of the New York Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling novel, THE EDGE OF NEVER, comes a story of passion and survival…

Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.

While on the run, Victor strays from his primal nature as he succumbs to his conscience and resolves to help Sarai. As they grow closer, he finds himself willing to risk everything to keep her alive; even his relationship with his devoted brother and liaison, Niklas, who now like everyone else wants Sarai dead.

As Victor and Sarai slowly build a trust, the differences between them seem to lessen, and an unlikely attraction intensifies. But Victor’s brutal skills and experience may not be enough in the end to save her, as the power she unknowingly holds over him may ultimately be what gets her killed.

my thoughts new

I would like to thank my dear friend sis Bea for introducing this book to me. (Click her name to read her awesome review!) This book was a roller coaster experience for me!

I didn’t know that J.A. Redmerski could write something as strong and powerful as this book! Killing Sarai was overloaded with action and lots and lots of it!

In this book, we meet Sarai who grew up in a violent environment ever since her mom gave her to a Mexican drug lord named Javier when she was 14. For years, she became a slave to Javier and was trying to find ways to get out of that cruel world. When suddenly she met Victor who had a transaction with Javier, she decided to grab the opportunity to escape and ask for his help.

I’ve read the author’s previous works and although they’re also NA, they’re very different to this. Killing Sarai is dark and twisted with 95% violence on it. What I loved about this book was how it basically gripped me and had my attention all throughout. All the chapters and the scenes were terrifying and they gave me adrenaline rush. There were no dull moments because in every chapter, there seemed to be an upcoming surprise which was of course, delivered smoothly.

What even amazed me were the characters. Holy Moly. Victor is such a great male lead and everyone should meet this man! He’s such a perfect character for a dark novel. Strong, very dependable, and one who doesn’t fear anything… not even killing. Whenever he pulls such quick action stunts, I always find myself gasping and questioning, “How the heck did he do that?”

I also loved Sarai. I loved her character development when she became stronger each day: from being a scared and paranoid woman. She turned out to be a badass who no longer fears killing and being killed! There were scenes involving Sarai that made me clap my hands because damn, not all heroines can pull off those things!

I also didn’t expect myself to swoon when it comes to the romantic aspect of this book. The sexual tension between Victor and Sarai offered so much feels! It was HOT! I can’t even.

The ending was totally good and although it was sort of a cliffy, still it gave me goosebumps because of how promising it appealed to me. It made me want to instantly grab the second book which I’ll definitely be reading soon!

If you are comfortable with this kind of book, and if you are a fan of this author, I’m very certain you will enjoy it as much as I did. It was, as a whole, a very well-written and adrenaline-pulling dark contemporary romance book!

“In the end, you can only trust yourself.”

Rating:

5 stars new

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xo pearl

Review: Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never: Part Three (Never Never, #3)

Never Never: Part Three
(Never Never #3)
Author: Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher
Published: January 19, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal
My Rating:

3 stars new

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Synopsis new

New York Times bestselling authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher are back with the much-anticipated final installment in the Never Never novella series.
Together, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood must look deeper into the past to find out who they were and who they want to be. With time ticking down, the couple are in a race to find the answers they need before they lose everything. Can they regain what they once had? And will it restore who they once were?

my thoughts new

“I could spend every day getting to know you all over again, Charlie, and I don’t think I’d get sick of it.”

When I started reading this finale of Never Never series, I’ve already decided to rate it either 4 or 5 stars. That moment when you’re confident enough that the final book will give you the grandest, most surreal surprise. (Guess we all deserve that after those series of cliffhanger endings..) I must say my expectations were too high on this because I’ve enjoyed the first and the second book real hard! (Part 1 – 4/5 stars; Part 2 – 5/5 stars).

The first half of the book hooked me big time! The thrill of getting closer to finding out the mystery behind Silas and Charlie’s amnesia was overwhelming and so were the series of events which were getting edgier as the chapters went by. I swear I got a lot going on on my mind and I was forming way too many theories, trying to figure out the dreaded truth! And BAAAM! The anticipated plot twist. Wait, is that even a plot twist?

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In my opinion, it’s just an explanation. Nothing really exciting and I couldn’t bring myself to consider it a twist. It’s painful to say this but I was significantly less impressed with the revelation I’ve been freaking out over the months. There was this huge revelation about Charlie’s dad though, but… Is that it? After all? Ugh.

I guess the only thing that does not make this book a total let-down was of course, the beautiful and powerful writing of Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher. The story was a quick, fast-paced read and there were no boring parts all throughout the book. The romance also got me on my feels on a lot of levels. I guess those were the factors that held me together.

(Some beautiful quotes I’ve highlighted, by the way. 🙂

“I don’t see anything ever happening in this life that could make me not want you all over my skin.”

 

“I love you. Enough to camouflage you into my skin.”

 

“Fate is the magnetic pull of our souls toward the people, places, and things we belong with.”

 

“We can’t take back who we’ve been in the past, Charlie. But we can control who we are in the present.”

Overall, Never Never: Part Three was good, but I wasn’t really wowed. It could be an epic finale if there was a better twist. It really lacked the freak-me-out factor. But well… it wasn’t really that bad at all since the ending and the epilogue were great and the questions were answered in the end.

“Never stop. Never forget.”

Rating:

3 stars new

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xo pearl

 

Review: Smoke & Fire by Michele Wesley

Smoke & Fire - Paranormal Romance Series (Book #1)

Smoke & Fire
(Smoke & Fire #1)
Author: Michele Wesley
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Published: July 17, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Adult
My Rating:

3 stars new

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Synopsis new

***Strong  Violence and Sexual Content, Adults 18+ please. Read the first six books of this series in any order.*** Smoke & Fire: Spicy and Dangerous Paranormal Romance (BWWM Romance) – Book #1
She has the Face of an Angel…mind of a Death Warrior.  Agent Sori Knight, codename ‘Smoke,’ curses like a sailor and leave bodies at every turn, but somehow manages to steal hearts and save the good guys. The headstrong agent is forced to unleash her inner-monster when an assignment leads her to the most elusive and deadly criminal she has ever had to hunt.      He is Breathtakingly Sexy…mind kissed by Rage. Agent Mycale Phillips’ attraction to Sori is instantaneous. He thinks he may be in over his head when partnered with her but soon learns that a touch of evil is necessary if you want to survive in a world of Smoke & Fire!      Will secret abilities they are determined to hide be enough to pull them from death’s grip?

my thoughts new

Smoke &amp; Fire by Michele Wesley

Fast and deadly, she moved like a mixture of smoke and wind.

I thought this book was pretty good and a promising introduction to a new series.

Agent Sori Knight a.k.a Smoke is hired by the government to work as a spy. When she was assigned to a mission, she incidentally met her biological brothers Drake and Damon– brothers she didn’t even know existed, and vice versa. Like her, the guys are also closely associated with spies and top agents. When Sori and her brothers collided, they eventually worked together as a team alongside the nerdy but attractive Agent Mycale Phillips. As she and Mycale especially teamed-up for a certain mission, they eventually developed feelings for each other which made everything quite tough.

This book is fast-paced and action-packed, with a deadly and badass heroine that really makes the book surprisingly good. Not only that. The book is also packed with non-stop humor. Sori’s character is fun to read. Her character was like nothing I have ever read before.

However, I have some issues with the book such as the whole narration. I love how the author made the story a real quick read, but I wish everything hadn’t been quite so fast, because it left me clueless on some parts, like how on earth Sori instantly became comfortable with the new people she’s working together with. Even though Damon and Drake are her siblings, still, she knew they’re complete strangers, and yet she was able to easily work well with them. With a character like her, I expected her to be somewhat a bit mistrustful especially with strangers. Also, I had a bit of a hard time connecting with the side characters. Everyone seemed to share the same kind of characterization (even the President)… like for example, the good-natured treatment with each other. I wish I was able to find characters here who are also kind of stoic and poker-faced because they’re secret agents who deal with confidential information, right?

The book, however, have positive traits. As I’ve mentioned, Sori is a fiery and kick-ass heroine. I love kick-ass leads! She does not depend on other people and she focuses on her capabilities in order to succeed in her missions.

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The action scenes also blew me away! And of course, the romance which gave spice to the whole book. Sori and Mycale are a strong and amazing pair it would be good if they have cameo appearances on the next books! As a whole, it’s still an enjoyable read. It’s the action scenes that hooked me. I recommend this book if you are in for a fun and dynamic spy novel!

(A free copy was given by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating:

3 stars new

Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: November 10, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

my thoughts new

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

“You left with my soul in your fists and my heart in your teeth, and I don’t want either of them back.”

Colleen Hoover, what did you just do to my heart? You just turned me into a crying mess! Now I’m in a full on sob fest.

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I don’t think this review of mine can give justice to this amazing novel but let me just tell you that November 9 is simply beautiful! And beautiful does not even begin to describe it. It’s BOOK-WORTHY. The kind of book that will hook you, consume you, and OWN you from the very beginning up to end.

November 9 begins when Fallon O’Neil and Ben Kessler met at a restaurant in Los Angeles on the 9th of November. Despite having an instant connection with each other, Fallon thought that she’s not yet ready to fall in love and commit herself into a relationship, thus she told Ben that she’ll start dating him only when she reach the age of 23– which will be five years after their first meeting. Before she moved to New York, they both decided to meet once a year– same place, same date– November 9.

So I thought that was just all about it. And I was wrong. Because there were too many things that happened in this book and the PLOT was done in an outrageous and intricate manner. That’s how I know that Colleen Hoover once again did a great job– when she was able to make me pause and contemplate about the series of events in the story.

“When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.

What especially made me love the book were the main characters. Ben and Fallon are well fleshed-out characters. Ben especially. This man. I appreciate Ben’s character because it’s so easy to connect with him. He has a way words that can melt one’s heart. Not to mention what a damn hot writer he is. And Fallon– although I had some issues with her inconsistency, I grew to love her as I began to see how she became a fairly strong and well-developed character from being weak. And well, she’s a book lover and that makes her still a likeable character.

“One of the things I always try to remind myself is that everyone has scars. A lot of them even worse than mine. The only difference is that mine are visible and most people’s aren’t.”

The romance is one of the book’s greatest strengths. Ben and Fallon’s story was poignant and heart-wrenching. All throughout the story I found myself getting scared as to what was going to happen. I got so into the book and I became really nervous because anything could happen. And wow, just when you think it can’t get anymore emotional or heartbreaking, the greatest PLOT TWIST OF ALL PLOT TWISTS happened and then that’s it. I was destroyed. My heart was shattered into a million different pieces. You did it all over again, Colleen Hoover!

It took four years for me to fall in love with him. It only took four pages to stop.

Colleen Hoover’s writing style once again dumbfounded me. It never really gets old to be honest. But I guess I appreciate her more in this book. Her writing here separates November 9 from all the contemporary books I’ve read and even from her previous books, because the concept is unique and amazing. The whole premise and the story itself completely stole my heart, made me smile, fall in love, drown in tears, and reflect the messages behind. I LOVE NOVEMBER 9!Simply one of a kind. It’s now a new favorite of mine– one I will never forget for a very long time!

She’s not the kind of girl you choose your battles for. She’s the kind of girl you fight to the death for.

P.S. Listen to “High Hopes” by Kodaline when you read this book. The feels!

Rating:

5 stars new

Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

Review: The Woman in the Photograph by Dana Gynther

The Woman in the Photograph

The Woman in the Photograph
Author: Dana Gynther
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: August 4, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance
My Rating:

3 stars new

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Synopsis new

Set in the romantic glow of 1920s Paris, a captivating novel of New York socialite and model Lee Miller, whose glamorous looks and joie de vivre caught the eye of Man Ray, one of the twentieth century’s defining photographers.

1929, Montparnasse. Model and woman about town Lee Miller moves to Paris determined to make herself known amidst the giddy circle of celebrated artists, authors, and photographers currently holding court in the city. She seeks out the charming, charismatic artist Man Ray to become his assistant but soon becomes much more than that: his model, his lover, his muse.

Coming into her own more fully every day, Lee models, begins working on her own projects, and even stars in a film, provoking the jealousy of the older and possessive Man Ray. Drinking and carousing is the order of the day, but while hobnobbing with the likes of Picasso and Charlie Chaplin, she also falls in love with the art of photography and finds that her own vision can no longer come second to her mentor’s.

The Woman in the Photograph is the richly drawn, tempestuous novel about a talented and fearless young woman caught up in one of the most fascinating times of the twentieth century.

my thoughts new

The Woman in the Photograph by Dana Gynther

Moving or motionless, in shadow or light, she was his subject.

This book is a breath of fresh air. It’s been a while since I’ve read a historical fiction so I’m glad I was able to delve into this book. The Woman in the Photograph takes place in the year 1929 in the beautiful city of Paris. We start the book with the heroine Lee Miller, a model and a fashion icon who became enthralled not only with posing for photographs but also with doing photography herself and diving more into visual arts. When she met renowned photographer Man Ray, her desire to learn more about photography was fueled, so she persuaded him to become her mentor and at the same time, his exclusive model or muse. As they spent more time together doing photography sessions they developed passion for each other and soon after, they became lovers. But that’s not the end of it because as soon as they learned about each other’s flaws, their relationship changed and obsession, jealousy, and deceptions became their biggest dilemma.

This book is actually written decently, but I can’t really say that I totally loved it. One big problem that I had in this book was the plot. The series of events was repetitive. Even if there were interesting things, I sometimes became wary because most of the scenes (kiss-and-make up) were turning into a cycle.

Another problem I had with this book was the main characters. Lee and Man aren’t exactly the most likable characters to read about. Lee is too ambitious and selfish. Worse, she’s also a cheater and a famewhore. And although I liked Man in the beginning, he eventually became a turn-off as I’ve read more about him. Why? Because he became a weak character who’s too obsessed with Lee, to the point that he easily forgave her even if he knew that she was cheating.

But well, despite the fact that I didn’t like the plot and the characters, I still think this book deserves to be read by everyone because as what I’ve said, it’s a historical fiction (a genre that everyone should also give attention to) and it somehow offered entertainment. The setting is wonderful and the emphasis on arts was neatly done. I’ve also learned a lot about the wonders of photography, films, and all those things. And oh, it’s nice to know how people basically lived during the 1920’s and 30’s in Paris– their lifestyle, culture, and whatnot. 🙂 So I still recommend this book!

(A free copy was given to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review)

Rating:

3 stars new

 

Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

 

Review: Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

Monster in His Eyes (Monster in His Eyes, #1)

Monster in His Eyes
(Monster in His Eyes #1)
Author: J.M. Darhower
Publisher: J.M. Darhower
Published: April 27, 2014
Genre: Dark, Romance, New Adult, Adult, Contemporary
My Rating:

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Synopsis new

Ignazio Vitale is not a good man.

I suspect it, the first time I see him, sense the air of danger that surrounds the man. He has a way of commanding attention, of taking control, of knowing what I’m thinking before I even do.

It’s alarming and alluring. It’s dark and deadly. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted but the last thing I truly need. Obsession.

It doesn’t take him long to draw me into his web, charming me into his bed and trapping me in his life, a life I know nothing about until it’s too late. He has secrets, secrets I can’t fathom, secrets that make it so I can’t walk away, no matter how much I beg him to let me go. I see it sometimes in his eyes, a darkness that’s both terrifying and thrilling. He’s a monster, wrapped up in a pretty package, and what I find when I unmask him changes everything.

I want to hate him.

Sometimes, I do.

But it doesn’t stop me from loving him, too.

my thoughts new

He’s a monster wrapped up in a pretty package. But I find myself wondering at a times like this, when I feel the distance between us, if maybe in his eyes, the real monster is me.

This book is so not what I’ve expected! Everything was totally mind-blowing and an absolute perfection! This is my first time ever to read a book written by J.M. Darhover and to say I am appalled is an understatement. The author’s writing style defines what a true dark-romantic storyteller should possess. I have to say, J.M. Darhover is an author to watch!

Monster in His Eyes radiates a completely dark, gripping, and mysterious love story about an eighteen year old college girl named Karissa Reed and an older, thirty-six year-old man named Ignazio “Naz” Vitale. The moment they met, Karissa was hooked by Naz. It was the virile, dark side of him added by his air of mystery, wealth, and authority that intrigued her and drew her to him. As their relationship progressed into a more intimate one, Karissa thought that she was already falling for him hard even if she didn’t have any idea of his true identity.

He’s a drug, an addictive one, and I’m not sure it’s a habit I can kick. All it took was one hit. One strong, euphoric hit and I was hooked.

This book is suspenseful and dark, raw and enigmatic. I enjoyed how it started out strong that it instantly caught my full attention and how chapter by chapter I found myself more drawn to the book and the mystery that it held. The main characters are wonderful and very unique, and with lovable flaws. Karissa is a sweet and passionate heroine while Naz is an enigmatic, sexy, strong man.

How can someone surrounded by an air of danger make me feel so downright safe?

The plot progression was a bit slow from the start up to the middle but that’s what made it all the more riveting because the anticipation of what’s about to come and be discovered thrilled me.

“When you love somebody, you want what’s best for them… but when you’re in love with them, you want them for yourself.”

The romance was absolutely good! There were lots of passionate and emotional scenes that can drive you crazy. It was also the main characters’ relationship development that made the book really remarkable.

“We keep the darkest part of us to ourselves until we think others are ready to see them.”

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My Prince Charming turned out to be the villain of my fairy tale…

As a whole, THIS BOOK DID ITS JOB. I look forward to reading its sequel soon! 🙂

“I’m not a good man, Karissa, and I will never be. So don’t think you can fix me, or that I’ll ever change, because I won’t. I can’t.”

 

Rating:

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Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

Review: F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher

F*ck Love

F*ck Love
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Tarryn Fisher
Published: December 31, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:

2 stars new

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Synopsis new

Helena Conway has fallen in love.
Unwillingly. Unwittingly.
But not unprovoked.
Kit Isley is everything she’s not—unstructured, untethered,
and not even a little bit careful.
It could all be so beautiful … if he wasn’t dating her best friend.
Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others.
Until she doesn’t.

my thoughts new

“The best kind of love is the love that isn’t supposed to happen.”

Apparently, I am one of the minority here who didn’t exactly warm up to the story and I feel like the odd ball for not loving it like the rest of the readers. This book was actually written well. Tarryn Fisher has a way with words that offer a real pleasure to the readers and one thing that particularly made me feel interested to go on and finish what I’ve started was the humor. It was extremely hilarious! It’s just that, I didn’t find myself really invested in the book.

F*ck Love begins when one day, Helena dreamed about Kit. In her dream, they were together and were happily residing in Washington together with their baby named Brandi. When she woke up, she eventually started to create a fantasy that somehow, perhaps she and Kit will be together and will be in love for real. Slowly she developed feelings for him, which she didn’t expect at all knowing that Kit was already taken and worse, in a relationship with her best friend Della. Helena, on the other hand, was also in a relationship with Neil, so that makes everything complicated.

I really find the book promising. It’s my first time to read a book written by Tarryn Fisher (I don’t know if Never Never counts, but yeah) However, no matter how entertaining the book appeared to be, it fell short to me because of the somewhat unbelievable characterization and weak plot. Helena, for me, fell a little over the top. I have nothing against her bubbly personality. She was funny at times and I find her fangirling over Harry Potter so amusing, but then I couldn’t connect to her. At times I find her unbelievable and a bit immature, too. The author, in my opinion, basically failed to make Helena appear “unique” and “refreshing” to the audience.

Kit, on the other hand, didn’t strike me as an interesting character. Normally I always end up swooning over beautiful, hot male leads but with Kit, nah. Aside from the fact that his character seemed lacking when it comes to descriptions, he was a bit coward and weak to me. Not to mention boring. All throughout the book, I wanted to see some development in his character. Some surprise. But I got nothing from him, and that alone didn’t make him stand out.

The plot was also unsatisfying and it didn’t feel as clean to me. Most of the scenes also failed to hold my attention.. which was so sad. I admit a had high expectations for this book, especially because I’ve heard so many great things about the author and her previous works, but I think I had set my bar too high and now I end up feeling disappointed. 😦 Nevertheless, it was the humor that made the book charming to me. But emotionally wise, it didn’t captivate me.

Rating:

2 stars new

Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

 

Review: Our Demons, Best Friends by Diana T. Scott

Our demons, best friends (Half of Me, #1)

Our Demons, Best Friends
(Half of Me #1)
Author: Diana T. Scott
Publisher: Diana T. Scott
Published: May 10, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Rating:

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Synopsis new

Ava and Sebastian are two medical residents who in a perfect world, would really like each other. But both of them are closely watched by their demons. Their baggage is not light – Ava has hers carefully folded in vacuum bags to occupy as little room as possible; Sebastian wears his like a lead armor that makes him slouch sometimes. They like each other, but how are their demons going to get along?

my thoughts new

OUr Demons, Best Friends

“My demons love your demons like crazy. They just needed each other, the same way I need you.”

I could swoon like crazy all day with this book! Such a fantastic, cute novel that I will gladly read again and again. First off, I was instantly hooked the moment I set my eyes off its beautiful cover where a guy and a girl sit across from each other while the spirit-like objects above them are hugging. Wow! COVERGASM. Secondly, I loved the premise. It has an air of mystery which really puts a reader into an i-want-to-read-it-now mode. And that’s what happened to me exactly. Little did I know that I was really in for a ride!

Our Demons, Best Friends is a New Adult Romance Contemporary book about two medical residents namelySebastian and Ava who met in the same hospital. Their relationship started off as being strangers which later on turned into friendship and then so much more. Basically this book features a simple plot that everyone can truly enjoy– even teenagers. It’s a clean romance that highlights a wholesome romantic plot.

A lot of things made me really love this book. One of them is the humor and the entertainment factor that the author didn’t fail to bring out in this book. And while it’s enriched with funny and witty dialogues (especially Ava’s hilarious POV), the emotional and romantic aspect of the book were successfully inflicted and it just made everything *sigh PERFECT.

I especially love Ava’s character. She’s funny and always on the go. Yes, she carries emotional baggage with her but I love how she handles everything and basically just chills with her group of friends. Sebastian’s character is also amazing. I mean, he’s a hot, swoon-worthy guy (His character actually reminds me of those gorgeous physicians and surgeons I work with in the hospital LOL. XD) And I love his gentle personality behind his rugged features and how he cares for Ava. *swoons! Ava and Sebastian’s relationship development was also perfectly remarkable and genuine and not hurried or even dragged on. Their love story simply makes me smile and sigh. And of course– the playlist! I love the songs being featured here and the lyrics behind them. 🙂

I most certainly was not disappointed with this book as my expectations were met right even when I was still at the beginning chapters. I only have a tiny issue with some of the unedited/uncorrected words/spellings/grammars on some parts, though. But they’re just minors and can easily be ignored so it’s not really a big deal.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. It made me laugh and cry and everything! If you fancy cute, romantic, and light NA stories, this book is a real treat. It’s beautifully written and totally engaging. Plus, the characters are all wonderful, so that perfectly seals everything. 🙂 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rating:

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Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

 

 

My 2016 Special Buddyread with Alaina

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Hi, bookworms! Only two days to go and it’s already 2016. Have a happy New Year to everyone! 🙂 I have a lot of plans for the coming year and it makes me feel so excited just thinking about them. One of them is a special buddyread with my new friend, Alaina of An Infinite Book World. (Feel free to follow her amazing blog, guys! You can also find her on Instagram: @alainabagan.) Aaaand we decided to read After by Anna Todd. Have you guys read this book yet? I’ve heard lots of awesome things about this book, especially after hearing that it was initially introduced via Wattpadd as a fan-fic. Also, it’s a New Adult book. Of course, I love NA! It’s my favorite genre! Well well well look who’s giddy??

In case you haven’t heard about this book, here’s a Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

After (After, #1)

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.

But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.

But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.

He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.

Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?

Unless…could this be love?

Now newly revised and expanded, Anna Todd’s After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Experience the Internet’s most talked-about book for yourself!

There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER … Life will never be the same.

Doesn’t it sound so amazing? I can’t wait to read this book together with Alaina. If you want to join us guys, feel free! Our schedule will be some time in January 2016. 🙂 YAY!

What are your bookish / reading plans next year? :)) Have an amazing Holiday!

xo pearl

Review: Running from the Mirror by Howard Shulman

Running from the Mirror: A Memoir

Running from the Mirror
Author: Howard Shulman
Publisher: Sandra Jonas Publishing
Published: October 5, 2015
Genre: Autobiography, Non-Fiction
My Rating:

4 stars new

Synopsis new

Just three days after he was born, Howard Shulman contracted an infection that devoured half his face. Abandoned at the hospital by his parents, he became a ward of New Jersey under the care of a state-employed surgeon who experimentally rebuilt his face.

Running from the Mirror is the poignant true story of one man’s struggle to survive against staggering odds and create a meaningful life for himself. Howard gives an unflinching account of growing up a bullied outcast with no family to officially call his own. Relying on little more than street smarts and grit, he rises from dishwasher to successful entrepreneur. Along the way, a European actress, a schoolteacher, and a fiery Hispanic woman help transform his life.

Filled with heart-wrenching suffering as well as heart-lifting joy, Running from the Mirror is an unforgettable testament to the strength of the human spirit.

my thoughts new

running from the mirror by howard shulman

“Recent events in my life have made me realize that our choices are not always as black and white as they may seem, especially the most complex ones– the ones involving family and love.”

There is something so incredibly beautiful about this memoir of Howard Shulman, the man whose face was devoured by an infection when he was born. It’s a story that inspires. It’s an eye-opener and a reminder that life is sometimes cruel but nevertheless, amazing because of the imperfections that somehow make us human.

Howard was left by his parents right after they discovered that he’s suffering a staph infection and his face quickly disappeared. Believing that he will barely make it, his parents handed him to the hospital and later on, he was sent to a foster family where he grew up normally despite his appearance.

This story centers on the importance of a child’s growth and development, of one’s self-esteem and a sense of belonging. Going through the pages, I felt so bad for Howard for being able to carry such burden from his birth right until he continued to grow up. Being bullied and being the center of one’s animosity and loathing… it wasn’t that easy to handle for him. But he was able to, even though he also had some bad decisions that turned his life into a mess at some point.

I love the message behind this autobiography. It simply tells the readers that despite your imperfections, you are still worthy to live and to be loved just like anybody else. Overall, this book is inspirational. If you fancy real life stories that can make a difference in your life, I highly recommend you to read Howard’s life story.

(A copy of this book was given to me by Sandra Jonas Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating:

4 stars new

Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

 

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)

Hopeless
(Hopeless #1)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication: October 8, 2013
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Drama
My Rating:

3 stars new

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Synopsis new

Sky Davis is starting sixth form having always been home-schooled, and wants to keep a low profile. But then she runs into Dean Holder – messy brown hair, smouldering blue eyes, and a temper straight out of Fight Club, someone who Sky is determined to avoid.

There is something about Holder that sparks memories of Sky’s troubled past, those which she would rather stay buried. Little does she know that the mysterious Dean Holder is harbouring secrets of his own . . .

When the truth unravels, Sky must piece her life back together and learn to trust again. Only by facing the revelations together can the two of them begin to heal their emotional scars and find a way to live without boundaries.

my thoughts new

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Another gut-puncher novel written by the one and only Colleen Hoover.

This was a very difficult book to rate for me. I enjoyed Colleen Hoover’s books– mainly Confess which until these days, remains my favorite. After reading Hopeless, I was torn whether I should rate it 3 or 4 stars. In the end though, I chose the former because I have more issues with this book than I’ve ever thought.

But first, let me give you the good traits about this book. I found this book outstanding because:

* Colleen Hoover writes beautifully. She always has a way with words that will leave you feeling awed. And just when you think it can’t get anymore emotional and heartbreaking, her writing goes and outdoes itself.

* The ending is heartbreakingly spectacular. So much that it can either make you smile or cry or both, like Confess’ ending. And only Colleen Hoover can make such a brilliant conclusion like that.

However, this book, for me, has some flaws which include:

*The slow pacing. Almost half of the book, in my opinion, was a waste since nothing really happened. It picked up during the second half when finally, some revelation came and that was the time when I felt so relieved and was able to breathe because… the book was really slow-paced. It dragged on and on and on.

*The predictable plot. At some point, I felt a bit frustrated because I already had an idea what’s about to come. I already visualized what happened to Sky because the idea was instantly introduced during her earlier flashback nightmare. And because of this, I found the book quite lacking when it comes to the plot twist. There were actually lots of twists in this book. Unfortunately, I already saw them coming.

*The romance seemed off. Maybe it’s just me or something, but I could not find myself fully invested with the characters’ romantic involvement. It was a little too instant. I couldn’t even understand why their relationship progressed into a whole new level after their first meeting. There was instant attraction and the way they immediately connected was kind of unbelievable.

It’s my first time rating CoHo’s books 3 stars and it seriously breaks my heart. I badly wanted to rate it at least 4 but I’ve got issues with this book that I can’t overlook. But despite these issues, I can assure that this one is a beautiful novel. CoHo’s way of writing is gripping and extraordinary. No surprise there.

Overall, I would describe Hopeless as one heavy, intense, and emotionally-driven book with an extraordinary level of angst. It’s a bit painful to read but it’s remarkable in a way because it tackles sensitive subject matters that actually happen in a real, non-fictional world. This book may not be my personal favorite among CoHo’s books, but I enjoyed the emotional aspect of it.

Rating:

3 stars new

Buy this book at:

READ ALL MY REVIEWS HERE

xo pearl

 

Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A Little Something Different

A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication: August 26, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:

4 stars new

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Synopsis new

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

my thoughts new

Such a sweet and adorable read!

There are books that can simultaneously make you smile as you go through the pages, and A Little Something Different is one of them.

The story centers on two teenage main characters Gabe and Lea who share the same class in creative writing. They’re attracted to each other, but because they’re both being shy and awkward, they can’t seem to initiate a move in order to get closer. As the story goes, we get to know some of the people that surround them who eventually try to root for them to be together.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit because of its cuteness and uniqueness. It’s really something different. I’ve read some YA contemporaries but I’ve never encountered a book with so many POVs. And none of them are from the main characters. Yes. there were no narrations from either Gabe or Lea, but instead, just from the secondary characters such as Inga (the creative writing professor), Sam (Gabe’s brother), Charlotte (the barista), Danny (Lea’s friend), Bob (the bus driver), even the old bench and the squirrel! (Omg, the bench and the squirrel actually have a POV! LOL.)… and many other characters.

I most certainly liked the overall cuteness of this book. It’s a fun, light read and with simplistic writing– something to keep a reader entertained. The romance was also light but very immersing. It kept me involved and engaged in. And despite the numerous POVs, it didn’t confuse me, but instead, I found myself enjoying the witty dialogues and the fascinating characters. If you want a quirky, fun, and a little something different to read, I highly recommend this book!

Rating:

4 stars new

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xo pearl

Review: Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams

Sincerely, Carter (Sincerely Carter, #1)

Sincerely, Carter
(Sincerely Carter #1)
Author: Whitney Gracia Williams
Publisher: Whitney Gracia Williams
Publication: April 30, 2015
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary
My Rating:

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Synopsis new

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
No, really. She’s just my best friend…

Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we “hated” each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first “times,” and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…)

Throughout the years, and despite what anyone says, we’ve never crossed the line.

Never thought about it.
Never wanted to.

Until one night changed everything.
At least, it should’ve …

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
I’m only saying this until I figure out if she’s still “just” my best friend…

my thoughts new

I SINCERELY LOVED THIS BOOK!

How can I not? This is one of those books that have the ability to completely swoon me not just because of the characters but also because of the whole story. It’s my first time reading a book written by Whitney Gracia Williams, and my verdict? She has a very beautiful and exemplary writing style and it’s such a pleasure to read her work. She had me completely unable to put this book down also because she laced it with humor.

Sincerely, Carter is a very enjoyable read. Its theme is about best-friends-turn-to-lovers. You might think it’s a little bit cliché, but it’s actually an enemy-to-best-friends-to-lovers kind of story, and I totally find it cute and adorable.

Carter James and Arizona Turner have been best friends since fourth grade. Over the years, their friendship remained strong, and even when they dated several persons around them, they still remained best friends and their relationships and hook-ups to others didn’t affect the way they treat each other. But what happens when all of a sudden, the attraction for each other will just naturally develop between them? Would they break their friendship and give in to their more-than-just-friends feelings?

This book is perfectly done. I totally adored the characters. Carter is one helluvah sexy and admirable man. He always makes Arizona his number one priority. Imagine a guy who ditches his date just to be around his best friend because his presence is needed? I WANT A GUY BEST FRIEND LIKE CARTER. As for Arizona, she is a very likeable character. She is funny and witty and I find her very amusing, especially her very high standards in a guy.

The romance in this book is absolutely so good. Carter and Arizona’s relationship is sweet and raw and was developed naturally. The book is also fast-paced and a total page-turner. I enjoyed every part of it, especially whenever Carter and Arizona argue over the specific grade when they became best friends. And oh, I loved how every chapter-title of this book has a Taylor Swift song. I think the author is a huge fan of Taylor Swift. We’ll definitely get along well! Haha!

The best part of this book was the exchange of letters and emails. It was so sweet and delightful to read. All in all, this book is one great romance book. Another title that is now added in my ‘favorites’ shelf. 🙂 If you love to read romance books that are quick, light, and easy, I highly recommend this one. 🙂

Note: Don’t forget to read Sincerely, Arizona after reading this. It’s an epilogue of this book. 🙂 You can check out my short review of this epilogue here.

Rating:

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xo pearl

Review: Bitter Sweet Love by R.C. Stephens

Bitter Sweet Love (Twisted, #1)

Bitter Sweet Love
(Twisted #1)
Author: R.C. Stephens
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication: January 18, 2015
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary
My Rating:

3 stars new

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Synopsis new

After enduring an abusive childhood and having her heart broken by the only boy she trusts, Alexis White vows to never let anyone hurt her again. She’s left her troubled past behind and starts a new life at college. For the past seven years, her social calendar has been filled with frat parties, drinking, and meaningless sexual hook-ups. Until one night she unexpectedly gets saved by a tall, dark, and handsome French foreigner, Luc Blanchard. He’s charming, sophisticated, and very interested in Lexi, who has presented herself as a challenge when she tells him relationships aren’t her thing.

She finds herself sucked in by his own intriguing past. But everything changes when Dylan Priestley, the gorgeous boy who broke her heart and shattered her faith in friendship and love, suddenly shows up in her life again while back home on a visit. Dylan doesn’t hide his feelings for Lexi, but she can’t forgive or forget being betrayed by the one person she ever truly loved.

Despite the pain Dylan’s caused her, Lexi is once again drawn to the blue-eyed-boy-next-door. Will Lexi choose the man who seems perfect but hides a dark side or the boy who smashed her heart into pieces so many years ago?

Warning: This book ends in a cliffhanger. This is book one of a trilogy. Release dates will be held close together.

my thoughts new

I can’t say I enjoyed this book much, but I admit it’s one unique story that deals with abuse and violence. When I read its synopsis, my expectations were a bit different. I thought the book was a typical NA that I usually encounter, but I was mislead because when I read the first few chapters, everything felt extreme and strange.

Alexis White is a product of childhood abuse. Her mother used to beat her while she protected her sister Ashley. She grew up with a trauma that I myself couldn’t even imagine. Growing up, she had Dylan with her as her best frined and a person who comforted her. Their friendship turned to romance, which, in the end, made her heart broken. When she went to college, she pursued law and took care of her sister. However, she still wasn’t able to move on from her traumatic past. To be able to forget her heartache and her family issues, she involved herself with casual sex with random guys she met in parties together with her bestfriend Anna. Then everything changed when she met the beguiling and mysterious French man named Luc who made her mind confused whether she likes him or whether she’s still in love with her childhood love, Dylan.

The writing style of the author was good, but as I’ve read the book, I thought there was something that’s missing to make me completely fall into it. The dialogues seem off. And my biggest problem with this book? The main character. I don’t think I like the heroine– Alexis. She is supposed to become a strong character after everything she’s been through, but what did I get? I couldn’t remember a single moment where I didn’t get frustrated with her. She always makes bad and even worst decisions that led her to trouble. Yes, I understand she came from a very abusive mother, but her way of ‘moving on’ was so WRONG. More so, her character didn’t even improve until the very end of the book.

The plot, on the other hand, was messed up, but I admire how the author gave effort to make the reader want to continue reading the story and not DNF it. Throughout the book, I found myself wanting to know how it ends and what will become of Alexis, Luc, and Dylan. I also found myself dumbstruck because everything was full of WTF moments. As for its ending, well.. it was a big CLIFFHANGER and it left me with questions that only the next book can respond.

As a whole, it was a good and decent book. It didn’t really stand out from other romance books that tackle violence and abuse, but it’s still worth the read– despite the imperfections.

(I received a free copy of this book from the author R.C. Stephens in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating:

3 stars new

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xo pearl

Review: The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines

The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys, #2)

The Vincent Brothers
(The Vincent Boys #2)
Author: Abbi Glines
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: December 18, 2012
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating:

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Synopsis new

Hot romance is the cure for heartbreak in this sequel to The Vincent Boys.

Getting a boy to fall head-over-heels in love with you isn’t easy. Especially when he’s been in love with your cousin for as long as you can remember.

Lana has lived her life in her cousin’s shadow. Ashton always made perfect grades, had tons of friends, and looks model-perfect. And she’s always had Sawyer Vincent—the only boy Lana’s ever wanted—wrapped around her finger. But now things are different. Lana has a chance to make Sawyer see her, and she’s taking it. If only he’d get over Ashton—because Lana is sick of second-best.

Sawyer’s heart is broken. He’s lost his best girl to his best friend. And then Lana comes to town. Ashton’s cousin has always been sweet and soft-spoken, but now she’s drop-dead gorgeous as well. Sawyer doesn’t know if Lana can heal his broken heart, but spending time with her might at least make Ashton jealous.

What starts as a carefree fling becomes a lusty game of seduction. Sawyer and Lana may have different motives, but their scintillating hookups are the same kind of steamy. . . .

my thoughts new

The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines

5 sexy Southern drawl Stars!

The Vincent Brothers is the second book of The Vincent Brothers series. This time, it’s about Sawyer and Lana. In the first book which is The Vincent Boys, there wasn’t much anything about them that was interesting since they were just childhood friends and Sawyer was deeply attached to Ashton. But in this book, they met again and became romantically involved when Lana went to Grove to spend time with Ash and to temporarily get away with her family issues. Lana was, at the same time, aiming to finally get Sawyer’s attention who was her secret childhood crush. Things, however, were not that simple because despite the sexual tension between them, Sawyer still hasn’t moved on from his heartbreak over Beau and Ash’s romance.

I totally loved this book. It was so much better than the first one. The ultimate reason was of course, SAWYER VINCENT. This guy and his sexy Southern drawl… *swoons I didn’t expect myself to like him better because his character in the first book seemed off and shallow. But here… He’s a total Mr. Hottie McHottie and his character improved a lot. I admit he was a total a-hole in the first parts of this book but throughout the rest of the book, I understood him even better and I ended up falling for him.

I simply love the romance here. It was emotional and there was so much sexual tension between Sawyer and Lana. All throughout the book I found these two so cute and adorable. They’ve got the chemistry that I rarely feel in some romance books. There was also a lot of things that happened here. I loved the adventure Sawyer and Lana experienced together with their group of friends. I also loved the push-and-pull thing between the couple and the series of conflicts that was resolved in a sweet manner. Other than that, there was also family drama which made me cry.
And that HEA? It was so perfect! The moment I closed the book, I practically hugged it with a smile on my face. I need more books like this!

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Rating:

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xo pearl