Romance Book Haul

I acquired some books over the past week so it’s time for a book haul post! First is a package that I received from Lucy Parker, author of Act Like It, which is one of my favorite reads this year:

Snail mail from New Zealand! Act Like It by Lucy Parker is one of my favorite reads this year, so of course I jumped at the chance to get a signed copy when the author offered to send me one.๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ“– with the added bonus of chocolates and a Jane Austen card. Thank you, Lucy! If you haven't read Act Like It, I highly recomment this fun romance set in West End. An actor and actress have to pretend to be in a relationship. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I have a feeling I'll be tempted to reread Act Like It while waiting for the next one. . . . #ActLikeIt #LucyParker #CarinaPress #romance #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #bookhaul #paperback #signedcopy #chocolates #snailmail #JaneAustenquote #PotterStyle #ChachicsBookNook

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Next is a debut contemporary romance from an Aussie author, I kept hearing good things about this love-hate office romance so I couldn’t resist grabbing it even though it’s more expensive that what I’d normally pay for:

Blueberry lavender chocolate tart, cucumber mint tea and The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Taking a break from posting Filipino books to talk about my current read. This debut romance was first recommended by @bookthingo, followed by rave reviews from other romance readers. I normally wouldn't spend 9.99usd on an ebook of a debut author but I tried the Kindle sample and wanted to keep going. I just got to a scene where the hero makes tea for the heroine. ๐Ÿ‘Œโ˜• . . . #TheHatingGame #SallyThorne #WilliamMorrow #HarperCollins #romance #officeromance #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #debutnovel #Kindle #ebook #TartBlanc #MilleniaWalk #tart #tea #teatime #cucumbermint #TeaForte #teapot #teacup #bookandtea #cafehoppingSG #SGfood #ChachicsBookNook

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Last but not the least, a debut fantasy romance that I’ve also heard positive feedback on:

 

I think it’s pretty obvious from these pictures that I like tea and desserts, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I really should cut back on sweets but they’re just so hard to resist. Anyway, I’ve finished reading both The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet so I’m hoping I’ll be able to write reviews for both soon. As always, not making any promises because I’m always behind on reviews!

What about you guys, have you bought or received any books lately? Also, please feel free to share recommendations if you have titles similar to the ones I mentioned here. Would love to find similar reads.

Best Books Iโ€™ve Read So Far In 2016

Yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year but since I read based on my mood, I don’t usually read all the books that I want to during the year they’re released. Instead, I want to do a recap of the books that I’ve enjoyed the most so far in 2016, regardless of when they were published. I did a similar post last year, where I six books in my list. This year’s list isn’t too far behind with five titles:

Act Like It Summer Skin Amulet The Stonekeeper

In the Middle of Somewhere Out of Nowhere

I can’t believe half of the year is almost over! I’m super behind on reading and blogging because of all the major changes that are happening in real life, but I hope things will settle down soon and I’ll be able to spend more time being a book nerd. I’m still in the middle of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and it’s taking me a while to finish it. Fingers crossed that I’d end up loving it as much as some of my friends did.

What about you, what are the best books that you’ve read so far in 2016? What titles have you enjoyed reading the most?

Favorite Literary Couples VII

A few days ago, I posted a list of some of my favorite couples from non-romance books. Today, I’m back to present a list that has become one of my blog traditions. Every year on Valentineโ€™s Day, I post a list of fictional couples Iโ€™ve loved from books that Iโ€™ve read in the previous year. You can check out posts from years past through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. I’m a bit surprised that this is the seventh version of this list, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been blogging that long! Well, that’s a good thing, right? That means it still hasn’t gotten old for me and I’m having fun. ๐Ÿ˜€


Image from We Heart It

Steph and Grayson from Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra – Filipino romance represent! How can I not love #TeamStayson? Book blogger heroine who’s also an artist but is clueless about what she wants to do with her life, of course I can totally relate to her. Add in a hot rugby player as her hero and I’m one happy reader. This has also been one of my favorite titles to give as a gift to blogging buddies because 1) it’s written by a Filipino author and 2) it has a book blogger (on hiatus) MC.

Lainie and Richard from Act Like It by Lucy Parker – Iโ€™m a fan of certain tropes in romance if theyโ€™re done well, and Act Like It has two of them which I really enjoyed: a pretend relationship and a brooding, arrogant, Darcy-esque male lead. Plus it has a theater setting and I’m a big fan of musicals. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, and I couldn’t wait to see what Lucy Parker would write next.

Jess and Damien from A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand – I am huge Laura Florand fangirl and I love her La vie en Roses series a tiny bit more than her Amour et Chocolat books. I don’t know how Laura does it but she achieves the perfect balance between strength and vulnerability in her characters. I love how Jess and Damien present a tough persona to the rest of the world, but they let their guard down around each other. As always, I also loved the Provence setting of the book and hints of a fairy tale within the story.

Agnieszka and Sarkan from Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I was blown away by the amazing storytelling in Uprooted and it reminded me of some of my favorite authors like Robin McKinley, Juliet Marillier and Diana Wynne Jones. I really enjoyed the development of Agnieszka and Sarkan’s relationship. Sarkan started as a reluctant mentor, and through their various adventures together, he gradually respects and admires Agnieszka. I’m delighted to have discovered another fictional couple in a non-romance book to love. I need to find more of those!

Petey and Finn from Bone Gap by Laura Ruby – Bone Gap was one of my favorite reads last year and while I haven’t written a review for it, I would enthusiastically recommend it to any fantasy or fairy tale retelling fan. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it. Laura Ruby’s writing is definitely unique. I loved the slow burn romance between two complex characters, Petey and Finn, who deserved all the love that they could get.

Runners-up for the past year are:
Skylar and Josh from I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Hannah and Garrett from The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Ellie and Knox from Sacked by Jen Frederick
Amy and Dax from Sleeping with Her Enemy by Jenny Holiday
The couple featured in Soppy by Philippa Rice

Who are your favorite fictional couples from books that youโ€™ve read within the previous year? Did you do anything special this Valentineโ€™s weekend? I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, it was just a usual Sunday for me but I did grab some nice chocolates as a treat. And I’ve been reading romance novels. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Hearts Day, everyone!

Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Act Like It by Lucy Parker is a gem of a contemporary romance novel that I discovered when my friend Angie mentioned that it’s a good one. I found the premise intriguing and I settled down to read this book on a Saturday afternoon. Good thing I started it on a weekend because it kept me absorbed until I finished the whole book. I ignored chores and errands that I had to do because I just couldn’t stop reading.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Act Like ItThis just in: romance takes center stage as West End theatre’s Richard Troy steps out with none other than castmate Elaine Graham

Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard’s antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city.

Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man?

Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip. From fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance.

Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?

I’m a fan of certain tropes in romance if they’re done well, and Act Like It has two of them which I really enjoyed: a pretend relationship and a brooding, arrogant, Darcy-esque male lead. Castmates Lainie and Richard are persuaded to have a fauxmance in order to boost the publicity of the play they’re in. While Lainie admires Richard’s acting abilities, she thinks he’s rude, full of himself and makes things difficult for everyone when he doesn’t get his way. And Richard doesn’t really know Lainie beyond what he sees of her during their rehearsals and performances. Like he doesn’t really think it’s worth his time to get to know her. Understandably, both of them were very, very reluctant to start a fake relationship and it was funny how awkward they were with each other at the start. Even though they’re both actors, they weren’t able to magically portray a happy couple right away. But they soon got the hang of things and for a pretend couple, they remained surprisingly honest and true to each other. There really wasn’t a lot of faking involved between these two… just a slow process of getting to know the other person and realizing that maybe they’ve been too quick to make judgments. I really liked the dialogue in this one, from snarky insults to more affectionate teasing to meaningful conversations. It really was a lot of fun seeing them interact.

As with all romance books that I truly enjoy, Act Like It is a story of two flawed characters. Both of them recognize the imperfections of the other person and yet they’re willing to accept them. Lainie was easy to like, she has a big heart and is generally a kind person. Also smart and sassy. But like I said, she’s not shown as a perfect person. It’s actually her past mistakes that come back to pester her and Richard more than once in the course of the story. She’s also very much a product of her large and loving family, and I really enjoyed seeing her relatives involved in her life. Richard is a little more difficult to root for but what really worked in this book was that it had his point of view as well. I wasn’t kept in the dark as to the thoughts running in his head. Like how it becomes obvious that he doesn’t really go out of his way to be mean to people, it’s just that he doesn’t have the patience to be nice. I believe this is the first time I’ve read a romance with a West End setting and I really enjoyed it. I felt that the author made the British theater scene come alive. I love watching musicals and it was entertaining to see the behind the scenes aspect of it. A sample of snippets that I liked:

“Occupational hazard: too much time spent amongst artificial sets, slight loss of grip on reality.”

____________

“She knew from experience that spending hours every day pretending to be someone else could become a habit difficult to break. She could go off duty, so to speak, and find herself performing the role of Lainie Graham, which could seem as artificial as any character she inhabited onstage.”

Act Like It was a pleasant surprise. It’s one of those romances that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, a very cozy kind of read. I wouldn’t mind rereading this again, if I ever find myself in the mood for it. I will be anxiously waiting for Lucy Parker’s next novel.