Author: Lori Foster
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published March 2010
“As long as I know you’re coming back, I’ll be happy.”
“As long as I know you’re here waiting for me, I’ll be coming back.”
- Messing Around With Max
Three steamy classics from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster.
Little Miss Innocent?
For Dr. Daniel Sawyers, sex therapist Lace McGee is a puzzle. While she keeps putting inappropriate ideas into his sister’s head, Lace is even better at putting naughty thoughts into Daniel’s head. But just how down ‘n dirty is Lace really?
Annie, Get Your Guy
No one likes being treated like a kid sister – especially by someone as sexy as Guy Donovan. So when Annie Sawyers sets out to seduce Guy once and for all, she tracks down every book about sex she can find. One of them has to work, right?
Messing Around with Max
Maddie Montgomery needs a couple of notches on her bedpost – fast. Rumor has it that Max Sawyers is just the man to show her the goods… and then some. Now, if she can just get past his dog!
Lori Foster’s books have always been my “Guilty Pleasure reads”. She’s the only foreign contemporary romance author I really read because I always enjoy her works. And I enjoyed this collection so much I decided to finally write a review of Miss Foster’s book once and for all. Just to show how much I adore her works.
This collection is about the Sawyers siblings. Daniel, a doctor; Annie, a bookstore owner; and Max, a middle-child, wanderer and lover extraordinaire. All of their stories are quick-paced, sexy and funny as hell. Actually, almost all of Lori Foster’s stories are whirlwind romances. All begins with physical attraction until it turns into love. You will never get bored with her works especially if you are like me who always like seeing the Hero and Heroine together. All three of these stories begin with the Hero and Heroine already encountering each other.
Also the reason why I prefer her books from other authors is because her Heroes and Heroines are lovable. Her heroes, no matter how macho they are, always have a soft spot. Family for one. And the woman they love. And sometimes, dogs (just like Max).
Her books, being romance, are formulaic. All romance stories are like that. So when it comes to romance stories, I rely more on the characterization of the characters rather than on the plot per se. I know it is just my preference, but I like it that the heroes of these stories are weak against their partners. I also like it that although the heroines act strong and aggressive, they are still adorable. I don’t feel any hint of pretentiousness from the characters. The characters are alive. It’s like, if they are real people, I will definitely want to be friends with them. And of course, if Daniel, Guy and Max are real people, I will certainly do what Lace, Annie and Maddie did – I will seduce them (One of them, actually. I will go for Max, since we have so many things in common).
I particularly loved Annie, Get Your Guy because I really laughed so hard the whole time I was reading it. But among the three guys, Max is my favorite (Obviously, given my side comments above). Lover Extraordinaire, huh? But he’s so weak when it comes to his dog! A guy who loves his pet has always been my weakness.
And again, I will repeat myself. This book is very funny.
Guy kissed her throat. “I like that.” He kissed her collarbone. “And that.” He opened his mouth against her skin. “And that!”
He sighed. “Annie, I don’t need a blow-by-blow report.”
- Annie Get Your Guy
Now you know why I rated this so high. J
Author: Laini Talyor
Genre: Fantasy, Folklore, Supernatural, Short Story Collection
Published October 2009
Goodreads: Lips Touch
Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?
Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.
Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?
Whenever I crave for dark fairytales, Laini Taylor is always the author I turn to. There is really something about her lyrical prose that draws me in. And if that is not enough, her stories are the type of stories that are difficult to predict. I always try to imagine what will happen next, but I am always, ALWAYS, outsmarted by Miss Taylor. There are always revelations and mysteries that I never thought will happen. This collection of stories is like a magic potion, composed of different elements with Kiss as the main ingredient, turned into a powerful read.
“It was Kizzy’s first kiss, and maybe it was her last, and it was delicious.”
The first story was set on the present time, where supernatural things are no longer believed by youngsters. Aside from Krizzy, because she grew up with a family that had always believed in supernatural creatures like Goblins. She met a very handsome transfer student and for some reason this gorgeous guy showed interest in her. Little did she know that she is a target of a Goblin to be his next food. But when she already became aware of the true nature of the handsome boy who is holding her in his arms, she was already in too deep. She accepted her first kiss even though she knew it will be the last.
To be honest, I don’t really like the Goblin Fruit. It was lyrical, and it was beautifully written as always. But I think the heroine was foolish to be lured by a handsome man and that she was willing to die just to taste his kiss. Foolish, foolish.
So maybe you are wondering why I gave this book five stars (4.8 stars to be exact). That is because I fell in love with the last two stories. Very much that I don’t think five stars are enough.
“When the day comes that you finally sing I hope I shall be in the audience. In truth, I hope I might be the only member of your audience, that I might hoard all your words for myself. I believe I had forgotten about beauty until I saw you, and now I’m greedy for it.”
-Spicy Little Curses
I love the second story, Spicy Little Curses because of the Fate element of the relationship between the heroine who was cursed with a voice that can kill anyone who hears it and the soldier who found her diary on the train. I also enjoyed the concept of a woman who was able to find the way to hell and became the delegate to negotiate the souls of children. Even the demon, which loves to put curses and collects souls of small children, was funny, though ruthless. After the tragic end of the first story, Goblin Fruit, I somewhat expected another tragic end for this story. But I was very happy to read how this story ended.
“She was a girl and she was a queen and back in the mists she was a woman who had seized the moon from the sky and drunk its light so that she would never die. And she never had.”
I thought the second story will be my favorite from this collection. But I was wrong. Hatchling, the third and the longest story, blew me away. There was nothing simple about this story. It was as if Laini Taylor not only retold the lore about Druj, the immortal, soulless creatures, from Zoroastrian faith, but also reconstructed it in such a way that rendered me speechless with amazement. Especially, since Laini Taylor wrote on her author’s note that the idea of “Hatchling” was her own idea. I never thought, no matter how hard I tried to predict what will happen in the story, that there will be a story behind the Druj. That even if they are immortal, they had a beginning. It was a profound story that tells the readers that there is always a curse to immortality. It was a very tragic, heart wrenching story. But it also has a heart, it has love and soul.
“It is true you don’t have souls?”
“We never die. What need have we for souls?”
“Is that all souls are for? For when we die?”
“No,” he said. His voice a growl in his throat. “They’re for living too.”
book haul. The books I’ve got from the National Bookstore Warehouse Sale. All of these for a total of 960 pesos. <3
Author: written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young
Genre: Picture book, Children’s, Time Travel, Humor, Fantasy
Published September 2013
Goodreads: Fortunately, The Milk
"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."
"Hullo," I said to myself. "That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”
I will start my review by saying that I am totally in love with Skottie Young’s illustration of this book. Very Tim Burtonish. Fortunately, The Milk is a very short children’s story that is so hilarious and fun to read. It doesn’t have any dull moment. In fact, I was grinning and laughing all the time. Imagine your father, going out to buy a bottle of milk and then he took a long time to come back, only to tell you that he was late because he was kidnapped by aliens, and then jumped to a time warp where he met a time-traveling dinosaur, and went to different time spaces and met so many weird creatures. That’s what this book is all about. It reminds me of Edward Eager’s Half Magic, because of the time-traveling element. And that both of the story happened in a very usual day and then out nowhere, something extraordinary happens. I just love this kind of children’s story the most. But even if this book reminds me of the other, they are in no way similar story wise. Just the feel.
And then there’s a catch at the end of the book. But you have to read it to find out.
Author: Frances Hardinge
Genre: Fantasy, Children’s book, Magic
Published May 2012
Goodreads: A Face Like Glass
“I don’t want to be rude, but… has it ever occurred to you that maybe you’re actually still mad? That you’ve always been mad? That perhaps you’re the maddest person in the city?”
“Yes,” said the Kleptomancer. “But I don’t think so.” He contemplated Neverfell for a few moments through his freckling eyes. “Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you’re sane? That you’ve always been sane? That perhaps you’re the sanest person in the city?”
“I hope not,” whispered Neverfell. “Because If I’m sane, then there’s something wrong with Caverna, something horrible and sick, and nobody else has noticed.”
In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. They create wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned. Only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed…
A Face Like Glass blew me away. It is a magnificent book. It stabbed straight to the heart, making you feel things, hear things, taste things, even when you’re just reading words. It leaves an imprint in your mind and will haunt you long after you finish reading it.
It will leave you a bit… cartographic. It will leave you in love with Caverna, the underground sunless city, more alive than all the creatures living in it. Where a taste of cheese crafted by the very best cheesemaster can give you a glimpse and feel of a memory long forgotten; Where True Wine can erase and revive your memory, can hurt you and can even poison you; where perfumes can make people find you appealing or terrifying; where the people living in it doesn’t have Faces and must be taught by Facesmiths; where the Grand Steward has two people living inside one body; where there’s a Kleptomancer, you steals things and brings chaos; where there are crazy map-makers known as Cartographers that you must avoid to be with for more than five minutes or you will turn mad; Where lying and scheming is an art; and where there’s one outsider, whose face is like glass.
The story started a little slow because of the world building. At first I cannot make sense of why Grandible the cheesmaster is living inside the tunnel, or why he was shocked to see that Neverfell has so many facial expressions, or why Faces are taught, or why cheeses and wines seems to be alive. But when I get past the initial world building, A Face Like Glass drew me in. Sucked my soul, in fact. It was wonderful and written in a way that everything seems so magical that it was so hard to stop reading. While reading, I can feel why the map-makers are in love with Caverna. The whole book transported me in a magical but imperfect and cruel world. But in the end, it gave me this happy and contented feeling, the way Neverfell and the other Drudges must have felt at the end of the book.
This book is something worth reading again and again. It’s worth passing down to my future children and grandchildren, because it’s not just a simple fantasy book. It will also teach you many virtues that you can use in real life like courage, loyalty, honesty, and a little bit of Craziness. In my case, A Face Like Glass taught me that being half-mad is not such a bad thing. That oftentimes, to be able to do something great, you should have the guts to do things people think are insane. And I especially love the note Neverfell left for herself at that latter part of the book that said: EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE. TRUST YOURSELF.
I think that is going to be my new mantra.
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy, Angels, Demons, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Published November 2012
Goodreads: Days Of Blood And Starlight
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.”
Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?
Kaoru’s adventure continues in this sequel of the book Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Days of Blood and Starlight is more violent and heartbreaking than the first book. It doesn’t center on Kaoru and Akiva’s romance anymore, though of course it was still there but only subtle. Because how can Karou love Akiva freely if he killed her family? How can they both be happy with each other if their people are killing each other? All they can do is remember those times that they were happy, even if it was a short time. Those tiny flash of memories that made my heart ache, knowing that it’s just that, memories.
This book centers on the war between Angels and Chimaera and the cruelty it brought the innocents. It showed that there are no wins in war, only losses. And that it only brings pain and suffering.
Laini Taylor used this second book to fully describe and construct the world of Eretz and the creature living in that world. She gave the readers vivid detail about the Empire of Seraphim, the harem of the Emperor, the barracks, the Bastards and a lot more. The same with the Chimaeras, Loramendi, the resurrection, etc. She showed that in both sides, there are good and evil. That it’s not the physical features of a creature that determines if it’s good or bad. That sometimes, the most beautiful is the cruelest of them all.
It took me months to finish this book because I could not take the violence and death. But Laini Taylor’s prose is too beautiful to ignore. She lured me to her world and I cannot escape.
I even have a favorite chapter entitled The Scream. For a fleeting moment I wished this could be made into a movie. But I took the thought back as soon as I realized that this book is too beautiful that a movie will do it injustice. No, I would rather have the world of Eretz and the creatures Laini Taylor created to be alive in my mind.
Days of Blood And Starlight left me with bloodshot eyes because I have been crying the ENTIRE time I’m reading it. It took me so long to finish it because sometimes I could not take the pain anymore so I have to take a break (my poor, poor heart).
Even when mountains flatten and riverbeds run dry,
And the earth moves to become one with the sky,
Even when winter has thunder and summer has snow,
Never will my feelings do anything but grow.
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Coming Of Age, Young Adult Contemporary Romance, High School, Drama
Published February 2013
Goodreads: Eleanor And Park
“I miss you Eleonor. I want to be with you all the time. You’re the smartest girl I’ve ever met, and the funniest and everything you do surprises me. And I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being. But I think it’s got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft… and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake.”
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
I read this book because I had so much fun and giggling moment reading Fangirl. And then I was surprised when I realized that this was so much different from Fangirl. How can these two books written by the same author? How can Rainbow Rowell do this? The feel was very different. Fangirl was funny while Eleonor and Park was… heartbreaking. You know that feeling when you are suddenly struck with nostalgia about that first person you fell in love with when you were young? That person who first held your hand, that person who first kissed you? And then you suddenly feel wistful and wonder where he/she was right now. And you feel that tiny little bit of pain in your heart? That’s exactly how this book made me feel after reading it.
*warning. Too many spoilers ahead*
“DISINTEGRATED. Like something had gone wrong beaming her onto the Starship Enterprise. If you’ve ever wondered what that feels like, it’s a lot like melting – but more violent.” – Eleonor
And that was exactly how I felt while reading the first half of Eleonor And Park. The moment Park was introduced, that moment when he was just listening to his Walkman, I fell in love with him. He was the quiet type. Asian and very pretty, as Eleonor described him. I can’t really explain why, but there was really something about him that always makes me melt. But since he was just sixteen, there was still a hint of immaturity to him. But he can be a superhero when he needed to be.
Eleonor on the other hand was the new kid on their town. She was awkward. She has red hair and fat and her family life is a mess. She’s the type of girl that gets bullied a lot because she seems to be someone who prefers to be different than blend with other students. She has so many hang ups I feel sorry for her. But she has a strong character and she rarely cries.
But for Park, Eleonor is the prettiest girl he had ever seen. He loves everything about her, even her freckles. But Park didn’t like her at first sight. For the first few weeks they just sat beside each other on the school bus without ever talking to each other. And then Park noticed her reading the comic book he was reading. And he began to lend her comic books. Until they began talking to each other. I especially love that moment when Park first held Eleanor’s hand. It was the sweetest holding hands I ever read in any book to date.
He was still holding the end of her scarf (tied on her wrist) rubbing the silk idly between his thumb and fingers. She watched his hand. If he were to look up at her now, he’d know exactly how stupid she was. She could feel her face go soft and gummy. If Park were to look up at her now, he’d know everything.
He didn’t look up. He wound the scarf around his fingers until her hand was hanging in the space between them. Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm. And Eleanor disintegrated.
However, my disintegration moments ended by the second half of the book. I became completely heartbroken because I feel sad for Eleanor, who always thinks that what she and Park have will eventually come to an end. Because she has so many issues with her step father. It was as if Park and his family were just a part of a beautiful dream that she will soon wake up from. It’s as if like Eleanor, I know that their time together is about to end. And it pains me, so much, to see them suffering. I cried at the last few chapters of this book because I can feel their pain. And when the last scene came, the moment Park smiled, I smiled. It was open ended but I can see the rest of their story ahead.
This book is not perfect. I know that there are people who will find faults in Park and Eleanor’s characterization. But I hope they could forgive them as I forgave them. Because they were young. They were just sixteen. A little immature and naïve. But their love for each other was true. Just like what Park said:
“I want to be the last person who ever kiss you, too… That sounds bad, like a death threat or something. What I’m trying to say is, you’re it. This is it for me.”
“There’s no reason to think we’re going to stop loving each other. And there’s every reason to think that we won’t.”
Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance, High School, Funny, Chicklit
Published May 2013
Goodreads: Avery Shaw Experiment
“You can have the night off tonight. You’ve earned it. Go have some fun. Find a gorgeous girl, act like yourself for five whole minutes until you’ve captured her heart and then take her someplace quiet where you guys can talk for the rest of the night.”
“And what if I’ve already got my sights set on a gorgeous girl?”
She rolled her eyes, completely missing my meaning. “You’re Grayson Kennedy. I’m sure you’ve already got your sight set on three or four different girls, and we aren’t even in the front door yet.”
Her comment stung. She hadn’t meant it to be mean, and honestly I totally deserved it. But things were changing for me and I didn’t like that I was the only one noticing. That moment was the first time I realized that I really, really liked Avery, and that I wanted her to like me too. For real like me. “Aves, I was talking about you. You’re my date tonight. I’m here with you because I want to be, okay? I don’t need to go find anyone else.”
When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.
The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.
Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.
Contrary to what my rating suggests, this book was a fun read. It was a light and cute high school romance. It was like watching a teenage chick flick. This is the type of book you would want to read if you don’t want to analyze the plot. You will just simple enjoy it.
The story is typical. Avery is the nerdy Science Club President while Grayson is the most popular boy in school, basketball jock, gorgeous and sociable. And he was the big brother of Avery’s best friend Aiden. Aiden who broke her heart. And Grayson was the one who helped her along the way in her “After Aiden Stage” that Grayson called “Post Shower Avery and Grayson”. Yes, there was a shower scene and it was one of my favorite scenes in this book. But I am sure it’s not what you’re thinking. You have to read the book to know.
Another thing I found interesting in this book was Avery’s experiment. That you can cure a broken heart through the stages of grief. She said that getting dumped was like losing someone you love because of death. Avery’s partner for this experiment was Grayson and they both have a journal where they must write what they learn from their experiment. I enjoyed Grayson’s journal. Immensely. It was funny but at the same time not shallow. And Avery has no idea what he was writing on his journal. Most of my fun and giggling moment while reading this book was because of Grayson. And their friends are funny. I especially like Libby and Owen.
But the reason why I only gave this book 2.8 stars was because of Avery. I know she was diagnosed with Anxiety attack. But she’s always crying and I think she’s taking Grayson for granted. There’s something about her that really bothers me but I just can’t point my finger on it properly. It was as if, she let Grayson chase her until the end. I felt like she didn’t exert any effort. Well, maybe it was one of those teenage fantasies so I’m sure there will be many readers who will give this book a higher rating. The highest I can give this book is 3 rating. If only she didn’t do what she did at the second to the last chapter.