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Freebie Alert: Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra

Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra is free on Amazon now until the 17th. It’s the prequel to Mina’s upcoming Chic Manila book, What You Wanted. While this short story is a freebie, I thought it would be the perfect time to write an equally short review for it. :)

Wedding Night StandHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

A wedding, a moody bridesmaid, a man in pursuit – of someone else.

Andrea Crisostomo is no longer your Ms. Right Now, thank you very much. She’s had enough of guys who like her “free spirit” but then break up with her before things get serious. One guy in particular screwed her over so much that she now hates weddings, but she has to suck it up to attend her sister Julie’s big day.

Damon Esquibel enjoys the slow and steady chase, and it looks like his two-year pursuit of Geraldine is about to pay off. He’s at his friend Anton’s destination wedding only because of her. But then he meets the sister of the bride, who doesn’t seem to want to be there, and it’s enough to question his plans for the evening – and the rest of the weekend.

As the title and the premise suggests, Wedding Night Stand is set during a wedding a few hours away from Manila. The happy couple who tied the knot? Julie and Anton from That Kind of Guy, another book from the author’s Chic Manila series. I think it’s pretty cute how these books are loosely connected. They’re standalones but it feels like a treat whenever I see cameos of previous MCs. Also, it feels realistic because even though Metro Manila has a population of almost 12 million (according to Wikipedia), it still feels like such a small world sometimes.

I started reading Wedding Night Stand past midnight last Sunday. You might be wondering why I would start a book that late when I would have to wake up early the next day for work. That’s because I was in denial that the weekend is over. Anyway, this was the perfect choice because I was able to finish it in one go. And I didn’t have to give up that much sleeping time for it. It’s short, flirty, and steamy with just the right amount of sexual tension for two attractive individuals who happened to be assigned seats next to each other. Can I just say that Damon’s a really hot guy? Kulang na lang ng kanin. There’s also a tiny bit of sweetness in there, when the two characters side with each other after learning about the other person’s story. I picked this up, knowing that Damon and Andrea’s romance would be continued in another book. But I think it can stand well enough on its own. So grab it while it’s free!

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Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores

Loveless Childless CluelessI first found out about Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores from Filipino romance authors Mina V. Esguerra and Chris Mariano. I saw them posting about it on social media and that made me curious. Both the cover and the premise looked interesting so I decided to try a Kindle sample. I bought a copy after finishing the sample because I liked it well enough to continue.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Standing amidst the wreckage of a fifteen-year relationship, Anna finds herself single, unmarried, childless and, at the rickety age of thirty-five, trying desperately to pick up the pieces.

There’s a lot of crying and punching, a trip or two, and a list of things to do and be to get her self back. There’s the heady scent of a (possible) spankin’ new man sparring with the memory of the boy who first captured her heart — and may have stomped all over it.

But what would she know? After all, here she is — loveless, childless, and totally, utterly clueless.

At first glance, I had a feeling I would be able to relate to this title because I am loveless, childless and clueless too (although I’m a few years younger than Anna). But more than anything, Loveless. Childless. Clueless. is a breakup book and it’s about Anna trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her fifteen-year relationship ends. It reminded me a little bit of another Filipino chick lit title Breakup Dairies by Maya O. Calica, but this book has a much more serious tone because of the age and maturity of the characters. It was easy enough to like Anna. I could understand why she chose to end such a long relationship, she could see that she and Miggy were stuck in a rut and they could see no way out of it because both of them weren’t willing to change. That kind of breakup is probably even harder to endure, because it’s not like they fell out of love. The relationship just became too much work, on top of everything else they have to face in their lives.

I thought Anna handled the moving on process well. Sure, there was some drama but it never felt like it was too much. There’s the usual crying and drinking wine and meeting up with friends. But she didn’t just wallow in her own misery. I liked how proactive she was in going after the things that she wanted to do, the things that she felt she missed out on while she was busy trying to keep her relationship afloat. It felt like she was going on mini adventures while trying to find herself. I was rooting for Anna and I wanted her to have, if not a happy ending, at least some closure. I just have a minor quibble with how she kept waffling near the end. I know how confusing her situation must be but I just wanted her to make a decision and stick with it, not go back and forth questioning whether she’s right or wrong. Anyway, there were more things to like than dislike in Loveless. Childless. Clueless. and I enjoyed the book overall. I think the writing is pretty solid and consistent, always a good thing in an indie debut novel. Non-spoilery snippets that I particularly liked, plus some pictures that I took that I think go well with the quotes:

We talk about how Paris is a city built for both lovers and loners; about how it can be both familiar and new, how she can feel like home but never get old. We talk about the museums and the gardens, the bridges and the streets, and wonder how every corner can be so darn pretty.Lomo - Montmartre

The sea is for me. I make this declaration silently, standing chest-deep in the water, staring at that point where the horizon meets the sea. I close my eyes and revel in my favorite natural sound in the world – the waves. It’s a hypnotic rhythm, a soothing rhythm, the sweetest, I’m-so-glad-I’m-alive rhythm.ScorpioLomo

A woman after my own heart! Paris was the first city in Europe that I ever visited and I will always have fond memories of it. And I can relate to how Anna describes the sea and the waves, how they soothe her and manage to give her perspective. I don’t know if that’s something that’s common to most Filipinos, having experienced the ocean and beaches throughout our lives. Like I mentioned earlier, Loveless. Childless. Clueless. has some pretty solid writing and it will be interesting to see what Miren B. Flores will write next. It makes me happy whenever I find another Filipino author to follow.


Sports Romance Mini Reviews

I’m always up for a good sports romance. I think they’re a lot of fun to read and they can also serve as great palate cleansers in between fantasy or sci-fi reads. For some reason, I find myself unable to write full reviews for most of sports romance books that I read so I’m lumping a few together into one blog post.

Rush Me
Rush Me by Allison Parr
I can’t say that I loved this, exactly. But I was absorbed by it and stayed up way too late last night to finish reading the whole thing. I really liked it but was kept from loving it by the climax, I just felt like the conflict felt a little tired because they kept fighting about the same things. I really liked Rachael and Ryan. Of course it was fun to read about Rachael’s bookish ways and it was cute how Ryan could keep up with her intelligence and her quirkiness. I liked how Rachael’s friendship with the football players developed and would love to read to see the other guys get their own HEA. I also liked Rachael’s roommate and her other girlfriends. One conversation about Pride and Prejudice was a winner:

“Ryan Carter wants to have dinner with me on Friday. And like a dozen other people. But still.” I collapsed onto the sofa and kicked off my shoes.

Eva frowned. “But aren’t you in a fight?”

“Yes. I don’t know. Is this a really bad idea? Apparently he suggested it.”

Eva’s grin broadened and her dark eyes twinkled. She peeled off the rubber dish gloves and dropped down next to me on the sagging cushions. “I think it’s a great idea.”

“But what if he’s a Wickham?”

She shrugged. “Maybe you’re a Lydia.”

I shuddered. “Don’t say such things.” Lydia might have caught Wickham in the end, but she was still vain and flippant and unlikeable. “I want to be Elizabeth.”

Eva gave me a look.

“Fine.” My head dropped against the back of the couch. “I’m a Jane. I’m a Jane, okay?” The staid older sister.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a Jane.”

“That’s what the Elizabeths always say,” I muttered darkly.

I was in the mood for a fun sports romance and this was exactly what I needed. Looking forward to reading more of the author’s writing!


Sacked (Gridiron #1) by Jen Frederick
I had fun reading this football romance. It reminded me a little bit of The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan, but I liked this one more. Both Knox and Ellie were pretty easy to like and they really were perfect for each other. It was cute how Knox was convinced that they’re meant to be together the moment he sees Ellie. I also thought it was nice that Ellie is a big football fan, partly because her brother also plays the game. One of the reasons why Knox was drawn to Ellie was because it seemed like she loved and understood the game just as much as he did. A non-spoilery snippet:

I haven’t been reasonable or completely honest. If I’m honest, I’ll admit that Knox Masters is exactly the type of guy I want to date. He dominates a sport I love. He’s confident but not arrogant. He’s funny, able to laugh at himself, and… shit, hot as the first of Mordor. I mean, the One Ring could be forged in his hotness.

Isn’t that funny? Knox and his twin Ty are super close and the same can be said for Ellie and her brother, which was something that I also liked. These family connections became an important aspect of the growing relationship between Ellie and Knox. There was also a fun bookstore scene that I think all book lovers will appreciate. I know next to nothing about American football but I still enjoyed reading this book even if I didn’t understand the sport. Will be watching out for the next book in the series! I hope Knox’s twin brother gets a book of his own.


Kulti by Mariana Zapata
This was almost a DNF for me because I found the first few chapters dragging. But I kept reading, hoping that it would get better and it did. Although there were still sections of the book that I skimmed. It would have been a stronger novel if it was shortened a lot more. I did like the characters a lot. Sal is a great character, so dedicated to soccer but not so much that she doesn’t lose focus of what’s important in her life like her family and friends. I really enjoyed seeing her interactions with her dad, they’re pretty funny together. I also liked Kulti, this intense soccer legend who started off as aloof but slowly warmed up to Sal’s warmth and kindness. He knows he’s made mistakes in the past but he’s willing to atone for them, and to become a better person. His character could have been further developed, I felt like we didn’t see much of what his life was like prior to his retirement. I thought their romance was pretty sweet – friends first, with a history of admiring each other’s sports talent. I did think it took too long for them to get together – I’m all for slow burn romance but if the couple hasn’t even admitted their attraction to each other when you reach the 90% mark in the book? I think that’s a bit much. Kulti could have been really good but unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.


Scoring Wilder
Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
After reading Kulti, I was still in the mood for a soccer romance so I searched for another title that I could read. I came across Scoring Wilder and both the cover and the premise looked interesting so I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did because it was a lot of fun to read! This is exactly the type of sports romance that I enjoy reading. Kinsley is a hilarious girl, I really enjoyed seeing how her quirky mind worked. She’s smart, funny and works really hard to succeed in her sport. Some examples of things she’s said:

If only we actually were in Harry Potter. I’d totally Crucio her ass. Yeah, that’s right, I’d use one of the Unforgivable Curses. Come at me, Ministry of Magic.


Damnit, he was distracting me. I was supposed to be Nancy Drew, and instead I was Nancy Draw-the-blinds-and-put-it-in-me. Wait, what?


I wanted to exceed everyone’s expectations of me. I wanted them to say, “I thought she’d be good, but that girl is on fire.” They’d have no choice but to compare me to Katniss.

Makes me feel like it would be great to hang out with Kinsley. Liam is also a great guy, he might be known as a soccer bad boy but from how he acted in the book, he seemed pretty sweet. Or maybe it took just the right girl for him to settle down. Kinsley and Liam’s friends and family were also an important part of the story, and they provided support while the couple’s relationship developed. This book was a nice intro to R.S. Grey’s writing and I’m interested in giving her other books a try.


Addison Hill Series by Mina V. Esguerra

I’ve been meaning to review Mina V. Esguerra’s Addison Hill series for a while now but real life keeps getting in the way. I read the books months ago, and now the series has been revamped with new covers and new titles. As mentioned in my cover reveal posts, I really like how there’s a consistent look and feel to the covers of these books. I’ve been reading and enjoying Mina’s books since I discovered Fairy Tale Fail five years ago (wow, I didn’t realize it’s been that long). I like how she keeps branching out to try different things like with these Addison Hill books which are new adult romance and set in the US, instead of the Philippines. With American characters instead of Filipino characters. Like with the rest of her earlier books, I read each of these pretty quickly… definitely faster than it took to write their reviews.

Falling Hard shareFalling Hard
She knows it won’t last…

Nicholas Cevasco is unlike anyone Daria Kramer has ever dated. But they aren’t really even dating – a fast fling is all they have time for. He’s heading to Japan to play pro rugby, and she’s graduating in three weeks with plans of her own.

That doesn’t mean they can’t have fun… as long as they don’t fall hard.

This title was previously published as The Harder We Fall.

I had an ARC of Falling Hard for months. I have no idea why I kept putting it off, I think I just wasn’t in the mood to pick it up. I felt like reading something light and fun just as my new Kindle Paperwhite arrived so this title had the honor of being the first book I read on it. I literally finished this book in one sitting. I think I started reading it while having dinner and finished it before going to bed. Aside from being set in the US, other factors that made this book different from Mina’s earlier titles are: 1) it’s a lot steamier *fans self* and 2) it’s sports romance.

Surely there was a pulsing heart inside of this stinking pile of guys on the ground. Massive, sweating, dirty, powerful, virile pile of… what?

I knew next to nothing about rugby but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. It was easy to like Nicholas and Daria, and I liked how the trope of the two of them being from different social circles played out. It felt natural, and it was nice that there wasn’t any unnecessary drama. They knew from the start what they were getting into, and what conflicts might arise. Even though this was a short book, I also liked that the theme of trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives was present in the story. I think that’s always something that new adults worry about. I obviously enjoyed reading Falling Hard and was immediately curious about the rest of the titles in the series. I jumped right into the second book after reading this first one.

Fallen Again shareFallen Again
It’s too easy to fall in love with Jake. Don’t do it.

Despite living in two different countries, Lindsay Kresta and Jake Berkeley have loved each other as friends since their senior year in college. She’s his emergency contact, his “zombie apocalypse buddy,” and his holiday dinner companion.

But now that he’s known as Jacob Berkeley, star of a wildly successful TV show, he shows up with big news days before her big work conference. He wants to save forests again, work in environmental research…and he wants her.

Don’t fall in love with Jake. Easier said than done.

This title was previously published as Never Just Friends.

Just like Falling Hard, I finished reading Fallen Again one sitting (those titles can get a little confusing). I liked the first book better but this was still a fun read. Jake and Lindsay have been friends for years, they didn’t want to label themselves as best friends so they call themselves zombie apocalypse partners instead. They never really talked about whether they can date each other, but both of them have thought about it. I liked Jake’s no-nonsense approach to this – that he finally made a move because he knew he wanted to be with Lindsay and he wanted to see if she felt the same way. Similar to the first book, I felt like there was no unnecessary drama in their story, more of a slow realization (in Linday’s part, because Jake was already convinced) of how things could be if they gave themselves the chance to be together. I also liked how involved Lindsay’s family is in their friendship/relationship. It was interesting to read about Lindsay’s job and the development work that she does. Nice way of making people more aware of the difficulties in conservation and preservation work. I thought it was nice that Jake is also interested in that line of work and they’re thrown together when he becomes a spokesperson for Lindsay’s firm. I think it’s kind of hot that Jake is a famous actor who wants to be in development. Another short and fun installment in Mina’s Addison Hill series.

Learning to FallLearning to Fall
“Go out with a stereotypical romance novel hero WHO ISN’T YOUR TYPE.”

Avid reader and art student Steph is participating in a monthly blog challenge to Live Like Fiction, and this was the task for October. When Grayson, former co-captain of her university rugby team, walks into her class, she knows it’s meant to be – she has to go out with this guy. Even if she’s never been attracted to big, hunky, athletic types. With Grayson’s “player” reputation off the field, Steph thinks he’ll be good for one date that’ll be worth blogging about, and that’s it.

But you know how it goes: Soon, it becomes more than just one date – and Steph and Grayson are caught up in “living like fiction.” How long can they keep up playing their roles, before reality steps in?

This title was previously called as Someone Else’s Fantasy.

So one day, I asked Mina if she’ll ever consider writing a main character who was a book blogger. I told her that I don’t think I’ve read a book with a book blogger MC before. A few months (or about a year?) later, Learning to Fall is out in the wild! I could really relate to Steph’s life as a book blogger, especially since she’s a blogger on hiatus. So many of my blogging buddies have also gone on breaks or have stopped blogging altogether and I have to admit that I’ve also thought about doing that. It’s pretty much a given that I loved that Steph is a big fan of books and would happily spend hours reading. I also thought it was awesome that through her blog, she’s found good friends who know her so well. Because that’s something that have also happened with me. I feel like we do reveal more of ourselves than we realize through book reviews because our thoughts and feelings about books are very personal (I think I can write a whole blog post about this topic). A non-spoilery snippet:

In theory, blogging shouldn’t take a lot of time. Read a book, then write about it. Simple, right? Obligation fulfilled to the publisher or author who sent the book, to the readers who read the blog.

Not quite.

Blogging found me at a time when I needed people. I knew this, didn’t need a therapist to tell me. Moving to another state, starting college, figuring out how to be a fully functional adult and artist… there was so much comfort in being friends with people who liked the same things. Believe me, I tried being friends with real people, but the friendship offers stopped coming when I missed one too many dorm parties.

I think Mina was able to portray a pretty accurate depiction of Steph’s blogging life. Steph wasn’t the only one I liked in this book, I thought Grayson was a great guy too. A hot athlete who’s also very sweet… what’s not to like? He’s pretty driven too. He knows what he wants and tries to go after them, the challenge is that he seems to want too many things that can’t be balanced together. From their meet cute until the end of the book, I was rooting for these two to find a way to be together. As with the earlier titles in the series, Steph and Grayson also had to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives after college. Again, I thought it was realistic for characters in that age bracket to be in that kind of mindset. Like the earlier two titles in the series, I enjoyed reading Learning to Fall. I liked the book blogging aspect of it so much that I sent it off as a Kindle gift to my own blogger friends.


Anything But Broken by Joelle Knox

Well, this was a nice surprise. I’ve been breezing through romance novels lately because I’ve been in mood for them. I found out about Anything But Broken when the writing duo (Donna Herren and Bree Bridges) behind the pen name Joelle Knox was a guest at The Locker Room Facebook group. I saw some snippets that they posted and was intrigued. Tried a few chapters of the book and I was hooked.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Anything But BrokenAfter five years, tragedy brings Hannah Casey back to Hurricane Creek to bury what’s left of her family. She’s flunking out of college, haunted by scandal, and the only person who cares is Sean Whitlow, an irresistible bad boy with a soft spot for her. The problem? He’s her dead sister’s ex.

Sean doesn’t bleed red, he bleeds motor oil. During the week, he struggles to turn his auto repair shop into a profitable business. But when Saturday night rolls around, he’s the reigning stock-car king of the local race track. He doesn’t know how to lose – or how to walk away and leave Hannah alone with her grief.

Between her grades and her wealthy family’s dark secrets, Hannah’s barely holding her life together. And the last thing Sean needs is to get tangled up with another Casey girl. As the attraction between them spins out of control, they’ll either find a love with no limits – or go up in flames.

At first I was wary of the premise because I thought it would be more than a little awkward that Sean used to date Hannah’s sister Cait. But I didn’t have to worry because it actually worked in their favor. It’s been years since Cait suddenly passes away but she’s still mourned and remembered by her sister and her ex-boyfriend. Hannah has always had a bit of crush on Sean even though she recognized that he was with Cait. While Sean feels responsible for Hannah because she’s Cait’s younger sister. That’s initially how they see each other but of course, that changed pretty quickly. Sparks fly the moment they reconnect. They both know it’s a bad idea for them to get involved, but they also recognize the chemistry between them. So they start slow. Hannah’s family is pretty messed up and she has a lot to deal with. Sean is the calm within the storm of her life. He keeps her steady and lets her lean on him. He may seem like a bad boy on the surface because he races cars and works in a garage. But then again, he owns that garage and he’s such a good driver that he’s always in control whenever he races. I really enjoyed Hannah and Sean’s interactions and while I wouldn’t exactly call their romance slow burn, I wouldn’t call it instalove either. Here’s a non-spoilery snippet:

“I reach up, letting my hand hover for a second before I give in and brush my fingertip across the crooked bridge of his nose. He races cars and gets in fights and takes girls on romantic dates when he knows better.

And when I’m touching him, my life isn’t spinning out of control. When I’m touching him, the world might be spinning, but I’m here, in the moment, in my own skin, and that’s what I need more than anything.”

And it’s descriptions like this that convinced me that it makes sense for Hannah and Sean to be together. When Hannah comes back home, she really doesn’t have anyone to help her. Aside from Sean, she also rekindles an old friendship with her middle grade best friend Evie. I really liked that Evie and Sean’s best friend Gibb are both a big part of the story. It was nice that Hannah found a good friend in Evie because she really deserves to have every little bit of happiness that she can find. Sean and Gibb have had each other’s back for years, and I really enjoyed seeing their strong friendship all throughout the story. I also really enjoyed the scenes that had Sean’s loving family in them. His warm and affectionate relationship with them provided a nice contrast to Hannah’s dysfunctional family. The small town setting also worked well for the story. As you can see from the premise, I wouldn’t really describe Anything But Broken as a light and fun read. There is definitely drama in there, because of what Hannah is going through and also because of certain events that happened in the past. But to me, it never felt like there was unnecessary angst. The writing is the kind that makes you feel and ache for the characters. I really just wanted things to work out for both Hannah and Sean. Anything But Broken kept me absorbed until the end. I stayed up late to finish reading it. I will definitely watch out for the next Hurricane Creek novel, which will be featuring Evie and Gibb. Recommended for new adult fans, like readers who have enjoyed Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series or Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series.

Other reviews:
Smexy Books
The Book Hammock
Booklovers for Life


A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand

Laura Florand is one of my favorite romance authors and I’ve been a fan of her books ever since I discovered them in 2013. Her La vie en Roses series features the fictional Rosiers, one of the most prominent families in the perfume industry. I was charmed by the Christmas novella A Rose in Winter and was delighted by the first full-length novel, Once Upon a Rose. I was thrilled when I found out that the second book, A Wish Upon Jasmine, will also be released this year! I’m seriously amazed at how prolific a writer Laura Florand is. I didn’t think we’d get another book in the series until next year, and I thought it would be about Tristan. Looks like Damien shouldered his way in and stole the limelight.

Here’s the book summary:
A Wish Upon JasmineRuthless.
That was what they said about Damien Rosier. Handsome. Wealthy. Powerful. Merciless. No one messed with his family, because to do so they would have to get through him. No one thought he had a heart. Not even the woman he gave his to.

That was what they said about Jasmin Bianchi. A top perfumer of her generation, Jess had achieved commercial success by growing a protective shell over a tender heart. The one time she cracked it open to let Damien in, he crushed it—after a night of unbelievable passion.

That one magical night couldn’t survive the harsh light of dawn. When Jess woke up to discover the man in bed beside her had stolen her company, she fled.

Now she’s come to the south of France with a threat to his family heritage. If he wants to reclaim both it and the woman who walked away from him, he’s going to have to fight as dirty as only Damien can.

But Jess knows how to fight dirty, too. And these days, she has nothing left to lose.

Certainly not her heart.

As much as I loved Laura Florand’s Amour et Florand series, I think I’m starting to love her Provence series just a little bit more. The South of France setting is such a delight to read. I also love the dynamics of the Rosier family, and how difficult it is to grow up with highly competitive and assertive cousins. I think the Rosier men coped by finding a role for themselves within the family structure, and then deciding to stick with those roles. They do their damnedest to live up to what they believe is expected of them. It’s not that they don’t love the roles that they play, it’s just that each role comes with its own set of problems. In Damien’s case, he’s the one who grants people’s wishes. He’s the business guy, in charge of making money for the company so the rest of the family can pursue their dreams. So his cousin Matt can run the Rosier valley, so Tristan can make perfumes, and Raoul and Lucien can travel the world. In order to work in the business world, Damien had to toughen up and be ruthless. But anyone who has such deep roots and family values can never be truly heartless. No one outside his family really sees his vulnerable side, but he lets his guard down the night he and Jess meet.

Jess is a top perfumer known for her commercially successful Spoiled Brat creation. Which is funny because she made that popular perfume as a joke, she never expected it to rise to fame. And now she couldn’t shake the image that she has in the perfume world and everyone expects her to make perfumes that go against what she wants to do. Damien and Jess didn’t even know each other’s last names when they meet so they also had no inkling of the other person’s reputation. That allowed them to be a truer version of themselves than what the rest of the world usually sees. Things go downhill once Jess realizes who Damien really is, and that he’s acquired the fledgling artisan perfume company that she wanted to pour her heart into. Add to that the terrible fact that her father is seriously ill and is about to pass away. It’s understandable that she wasn’t willing to listen to reason when Damien wanted to give an explanation. A passage that resonated with me:

“It would have been like believing in magic, to believe in you,” she said suddenly.

“Yes.” His breath released roughly. “I know exactly what you mean.”

“In the morning. At night, it’s easier to believe in dreams.”

Six months after Damien and Jess spend the night together, they find themselves in Grasse, in a historical perfume shop that has been in Damien’s family for generations and was, surprisingly, inherited by Jess. Can I just say that I love how the Rosier boys’ great aunt Colette meddles in their affairs? I really think she’s pretending to have a less than friendly relationship with the Rosier patriarch but they’re secretly working together to get the guys to settle down. Matchmaking grandparents! Damien is supposed to get the perfume shop back for the family and he also aims to work things out with Jess. As expected, there’s a lot of tension between these two especially since their attraction for each other has been well-established by their one night together. Both of them are flawed characters and it takes a while for them to truly understand the other person but I think it was a beautiful journey. They kept butting heads but I wasn’t worried because I knew they never really mean to hurt the other person.

I loved Damien’s character, how he layers a protective shell over his vulnerability in order to accomplish the things that he has to do for the family. I really liked that Jess is a perfumer because this series is about the perfume industry. I’m glad that we got to see her point of view, ahead of what Tristan’s will be. I could also relate to Jess and her insecurities and doubts, how it’s so difficult for her to accept the possibility of a relationship with Damien because she thinks he’s way out of her league. It highlights how loving and believing in someone takes an enormous leap of faith and a whole lot of trust. Not just that, but also that she had to believe in herself first before she can even be ready to believe in someone else. Jess was the kind of character I wanted to hug and say, “everything will be all right.” So it’s really a good thing that Damien is more than willing to do that, and that he’s backed by a chaotic and wonderful family. I’ve noticed that these Rosier men tend to find women who don’t have big and supportive families like they do, and it’s just lovely to see how they react to being welcomed into the fold.

I was also tickled by the fairy tale theme than ran throughout the story, it was so much fun to pick up the references that peppered the story. A Wish Upon Jasmine is a beautiful read that stayed with me days, even weeks, after I finished reading it. It has a more bittersweet feel to it compared to Once Upon a Rose, which was kind of cute and cuddly, but I enjoyed it just as much. I’m itching to reread Matt and Raoul’s stories now. As always, I can’t wait for the next book.


Other reviews:
Girl Meets Books
Ivy Book Bindings

Instagram shot of my copies: Once Upon a Rose and A Wish Upon Jasmine.

Other books in the La vie en Roses series (click on the thumbnails for my reviews):
The Chocolate Rose - new cover No Place Like Home Once Upon a Rose

Books in the Amour et Chocolat series (click on the thumbnails for my reviews):
Kiss the Bride The Chocolate Thief The Chocolate Kiss The Chocolate Touch The Chocolate Heart The Chocolate Temptation


Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

In my cover reveal post for Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, I quoted a Twitter conversation where I mentioned that I would be thrilled if these two hockey romance authors worked on a collab title. Given how much I enjoyed both the Ivy Years and the Off-Campus series by these authors, I was pretty sure that I’d enjoy Him. I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of this title and I was so glad it was sent out just as the weekend started. That gave me enough time to read it without worrying about real life getting in the way. As is the usual case lately, it took me a while to write a review so Him has been released since then so feel free to grab a copy of it!

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

HimThey don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions — can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend… and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

I had so much fun reading Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s Him. So much so that the next day, my flatmate asked me what I was reading in the middle of the night because she said she could hear laughter from my room. Yep, some of the scenes in this book really made me laugh and smile along with the characters. It’s hard not to when Wes and Jamie tease the hell out of each other. I really liked that they have a solid friendship that was formed through years of spending summers together in hockey camp. They come from different family backgrounds but they’ve always had hockey to bond over. That friendship get a break after Wes walks away because he mistakenly thinks that he ruined what they had with a careless bet. On the other hand, Jamie didn’t think that incident was a big deal and was more hurt by the silence from Wes more than anything else. After reconnecting at a championship game, Wes decides to join Jamie as a coach in their old hockey camp. Surprisingly, there wasn’t that much angst in their story as these two guys change the status of their relationship from friends into something more. It felt like a natural and realistic transition of friends to lovers, with a nice summery vibe while they’re both having fun coaching a sport they’re both passionate about.

I thought it was nice that Jamie and Wes had such distinct personalities, that were contrasting to a certain extent. Jamie is an easygoing, California surfer type of guy while Wes is more serious and prickly. I think their personalities are reflective of their upbringing. Jamie comes from a big family who supports him in basically everything, which is saying something considering how he makes some pretty big decisions during the duration of this book. Wes comes from a wealthy but cold and uptight family. He makes a point of keeping people at a distance because of this. I felt so bad that Wes doesn’t have a warm and welcoming family but at least he has Jamie in his life. I wish there were more scenes that had Wes interacting with Jamie’s family because they’re awesome. I also really liked Jamie’s friendship with Holly and how understanding she is of his predicament. Even with their career decisions, these two guys were in different places. Wes was totally committed to being the best professional hockey player that he can be, while Jamie was indecisive about playing pro. I really don’t know much about hockey but I liked that these aspects of their stories were fleshed out because it’s something that guys their age think about. Also, these career decisions affected their relationship as well.

Him was an engaging read that had me rooting for Wes and Jamie right from the start. Sexy, funny, sweet and swoon-worthy! To be perfectly honest, M/M sports romance wasn’t something that was at the top of my list of books to read. I tried it because Sarina Bowen wrote The Understatement of the Year in the middle of a series that had earlier M/F books. That was the first M/M book that I read and thus has a special place in my heart given how much I cared for the characters. So yay Sarina for that strategy! Him is only the second M/M romance that I’ve read and it solidified my resolve to read more books like it. If M/M isn’t really your thing, I still recommend giving Him a try. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Elle and Sarina will work on another collab title because I would love to read more from them!

Other reviews:
Me and My Books



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