National Book Store’s #ReadOutLoudChallenge

National Book Store, the most popular bookstore in the Philippines, is hosting a #ReadOutLoudChallenge. They are inviting every reader to post a video on Facebook or Instagram, reading a few lines from their favorite books, using the mentioned hashtag. For every 75 videos posted, they will help build one public school library. The goal is to reach 75,000 videos. This is a pretty big deal since I’ve talked about how public libraries aren’t very common (nor are they well-supplied) so anything that would help promote reading in the country is a good thing. Anyone can join! Just make sure your post is visible to the public. If you do decide to join, please feel free to send me a link. 🙂

National Book Store ReadOutLoudChallenge

My entry is posted on Instagram and linked below. For those of you who are wondering how my name is pronounced or what my voice sounds like, you can check out my video. Good thing I have a friend who knows her way around shooting and editing videos because I wouldn’t have been able to do come up with something this professional looking otherwise. We did it in one take though, so it’s not super polished. It’s probably obvious that I’m sitting in my desk at work, with my mini lomo wall as the background. As always, it feels a little weird seeing myself on video. 😛

@nbsalert's #ReadOutLoudChallenge accepted! I was challenge by @fantaghiro23 to participate - for every 75 videos posted, National Bookstore will help set up a library in a public school, and the goal is to reach 7,500 videos!📚📖 I've mentioned more than once that the Philippines doesn't have good public libraries, so any initiative that helps give children access to books is awesome. I read from one of my favorite @minavesguerra books, Learning to Fall, which has a book blogger heroine.💖 I challenge everyone to do this because more videos means more libraries! But I specifically challenge @dementedchris @alexalovesbooks @bookthingo. . . Special thanks to multimedia expert @karen_mrsg for shooting this video! 🙌 . . . #NationalBookstore #readoutloud #reading #bookblogger #booknerd #bibliophile #IGbooks #bookstagram #bookworm #instabooks #romance #romanceclass #LearningtoFall #MinaVEsguerra

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I know I keep apologizing for not being more active on WordPress lately, but there’s just so much going on in real life that I can’t keep up! Happy to report that I’m still plugged into the book blogosphere through Twitter, Litsy (username: Chachic), and Instagram because I have all of those on my smartphone. Click here, here, here, here, and here, to see some samples of my posts on Litsy, where you’ll be able to see that I’ve learned to utilize scrapbook embellishments in my books pics. So even if I’m not on WordPress a lot, I hope I still get to see all of you in all those other channels. 🙂

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Author Guest Post from Thessa Lim

Hello, bookish friends! Today, I have a guest post from Filipino author Thessa Lim. Both Thessa and I are based in Singapore (and also studied in the same university) but we’ve yet to meet. Hopefully we can do that soon. 🙂 She has recently launched her debut contemporary novel in her Of Heads and Hearts series. I’ve received a review copy of it but because of my huge TBR pile, I have no idea when I’ll be able to read or review it. But because I’m always interested in promoting Filipino authors, I invited her over on the blog to give all of you a better idea of what her life as a writer is like. Please give Thessa a warm welcome!

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All in a Day’s Work
By Thessa Lim

thessa-lim-1

Since I’ve published my first novel, people have been asking me how I find the time to write. At first, it might seem like a writer is able to set a whole day simply and purely for writing. He would just drive to a nice café and write effortlessly as inspiration runs loose in his head. But a lot of writers maintain day jobs and have families to tend. And so here goes my version of a working-mother-slash-writer’s day.

thessa-lim-3The Early Morn Apparition – My day as a writer does not start at eight a.m., with me lounging next to my laptop, having a slice of toasted baguette and a cup of hot cocoa on hand. It starts at three a.m., which is when I usually rouse into some state of consciousness after having put my little boy to sleep five hours back. My husband is out like a light too. Yes! I position my Lenovo Yoga at the foot of the bed, sit on my son’s little blue chair, turn on my book light, and start working. I look pretty much like a White Lady staying by people’s bed at night, but my husband knows better. So if he somewhat awakens while my mouse goes a-clicking, he doesn’t scream. Although it is spent in semi-darkness, this is my writer’s me time. It’s like gold.

thessa-lim-2The Lunch Hour Rush – I grab my tablet, hurry out of the office, and head to the nearest café. While silently condemning the customer before me in the queue for taking time with his order, I check that my favorite spot is free. I then quickly chope it. Later, I settle down at the table and take a bite out of a cheap eat from the menu. Didn’t I just have this the other day? I scan the food list again for more scrumptious offerings. I see the prices. This’ll do. Nomnomnomnom.

thessa-lim-5The Final Fix at EOD – I step onto the station’s platform. Two trains going in opposite directions whizz by. I glance at the clock. Fifteen minutes before I definitely have to head home—this window is good enough. I sit on a bench. After ten trains have come and gone, I’ve either edited half of a chapter or added in a couple of paragraphs. I then squeeze into a train with the rest of the throng and continue tapping on my device’s screen, like a freaking nerd who won’t give it a rest, balancing the gadget so that I could work on it without hitting other people.

I reach home, where my husband and son would be — my two other great joys.

My days are hectic, tiring. And while I look forward to more leisurely days, I’m grateful that I’m inspired, able to write, and able to publish.

This is my writer’s daily grind. What’s yours like? 🙂

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Thessa is the author of the book Of Heads and Hearts in the Metro, a new adult fiction for women set in modern-day Philippines. The book, which revolves around the struggles and triumphs of four Filipinas and which is the first installment in the Of Heads and Hearts series, reveals the life-saving element of friendship and the intricate dynamics within it. To know more, visit her website at http://www.thessalim.com or like her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ThessaLimOfficial.

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Top Ten Contemporary New Adult Books

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. We’re supposed to feature all time favorites of a particular genre and I choose contemporary new adult, because this was one genre (subgenre?) that I haven’t featured a lot on my blog and I also knew I wouldn’t have too many in my list. In fact, I had the opposite problem: I had to browse through my blog and my Goodreads bookshelves quite a bit in order to complete this list. I’m usually up for contemporary novels with a college setting but there aren’t that many titles that stood out for me. In no particular order, these are the ones I’ve liked best:

US paperback for The Piper's Son Summer Skin Raw Blue UK Learning to Fall Fangirl

The Understatement of the Year Him The Deal Easy Where She Went

Some of these are standalones while some are installments in a series – for the latter, I chose the ones I liked the most in the series. I would love to read more books similar to the ones mentioned above so please share your recommendations if you have any. Do you read contemporary new adult novels? Which ones are your favorites?

Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

I was introduced to Kirsty Eagar’s beautiful writing through Raw Blue, which I read and loved way back in 2011. Wowza, I didn’t know it’s been that long! I was pretty excited when I found out that she has a new book this year and with such a bright and fun cover too. I saw Aussie bloggers raving about Summer Skin, and I knew that I needed to have my own copy sooner rather than later. Thankfully, Book Depository now has stocks of some Aussie titles and I was able to order Summer Skin from their store. I couldn’t resist reading it as soon as my copy arrived. I was reminded of how good Aussie fiction is, and now I want to read ALL THE BOOKS.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Summer SkinJess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don’t mess with Unity girls.

The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold… and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig – sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they’re at their most vulnerable?

It’s all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy’s stuff. Just your typical love story.

It was a good thing I started reading Summer Skin just as the weekend started because I was engrossed from start to finish. I stayed up way too late (or too early depending on your definition) on a Friday night to read it. I would have gobbled it up in one go if I didn’t have plans to go out with a friend. As it is, I devoured it as fast as I can. I’m going to try and be coherent in this review, but I basically just want to say, GO FORTH AND READ THIS BOOK. Summer Skin is the kind of book that makes me want to go back in time so I can give it to my teenage self. I think it would have changed my life back then. The Aussie college experience described in this is different from my own experience in the Philippines in a lot of ways, but strangely similar in certain aspects, especially in the emotions involved. Like the feeling of having more independence than you had in high school, without the responsibility that comes with being an adult in the workforce. And also trying to make sense of things but feeling clueless. I felt that Kirsty Eagar did an amazing job of describing the crazy roller coaster ride of college days, when the highs were so high and the lows were so low.

Jess intrigued me from the first scene. I thought she and her girlfriends were all awesome. I kept wanting to cheer them on, YOU GO GIRLS. The four of them have such distinct and varied personalities, and it was fun to see how they balanced each other out. I felt that they have just the right mix of flaws and strengths for teenage girls. They were far from perfect and they made mistakes, but they also tried to learn as much as they can from those mistakes. And they showed their strengths in ways that suited their personalities. They’re in that stage of their lives where they’re still trying to figure things out, and they’re starting to gain more awareness about themselves. It was helpful that all throughout that process, they have each others’ backs. It’s always a pleasure to read about strong female friendships because that’s always something that I would be able to relate to. I met some of the best friends that I have during college, and I can’t imagine life without them.

It’s obvious from the book’s summary that Summer Skin has romance in it, and I thought it was very well-written. I seriously could not get enough of Jess and Mitch! I loved all of their interactions, and I kept waiting for scenes that had the two of them together. I’m normally not a fan of drama in a romance but everything that Jess and Mitch went through felt necessary. They needed to experience all of it to grow and develop both individually and as a couple. I wouldn’t call their romance slow burn because sparks fly the moment they meet and they do act on it, but the depth in their relationship is earned the hard way. Also, I thought it was really cute that their family and friends were invested in their relationship. One of my favorite scenes was Jess and Mitch’s brother trying to get to know each other better. The adults in this novel were pretty great, they treated the younger characters with respect – giving advice whenever necessary but ultimately letting Jess and Mitch make their own choices.

As an aside, there’s a lot of music mentioned in the novel and while there isn’t a playlist found at the end, it can be found here. Summer Skin is the kind of book that you would hug to yourself after you turn the last page. I have a feeling I’d be sorely tempted to reread this sooner rather that later. Definitely one of my best reads in 2016, I’ve already started book pushing this to all my reader friends. Immensely readable, Summer Skin deserves to be read by anyone interested in realistic fiction about college experiences. I will be anxiously waiting for Kirsty Eagar’s next novel.

Cover Reveal: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen have both written awesome new adult hockey romances (The Ivy Years, Off-Campus) and I was thrilled when they decided to team up to write Him. I did both a cover reveal and review for it. I thought Him was going to be a standalone novel so it came as a pleasant surprise that the authors were inspired to write a sequel! It’s going to be so much fun to find out how Wes and Jamie have been doing. Both the premise and the cover look great. I like how the cover design matches the first book in terms of look and feel and muscles on display. Simple and such a good fit for the story.

Us

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes’s noisiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes, and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

To be released on March 8! Check out its Goodreads page, and add it to your shelf.

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Social media links for the two lovely authors:

Sarina Bowen
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

Elle Kennedy
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

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!

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Sacked
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.

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Kulti
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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

Cover Reveal: Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

I previously posted the covers for the first two books in the Addison Hill new adult series by Mina V. Esguerra, and today, we are presented with the cover for the third book: Learning to Fall. I’m very excited for this book to be released in the wild (release date is sometime next week) because it has one thing that I’ve always wanted to seen in the books that I read: a book blogger main character! One day, I asked Mina if she would ever consider writing a book with a book blogger for an MC and *BOOM*, here we are today.

Learning to Fall

About Learning 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 published as Someone Else’s Fantasy.

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I read an early copy of this, and I’m planning to review this with the rest of the series. I just need to find time to sit down and write those reviews! So what do you guys think of this cover? I really like the consistency in the designs of all the Addison Hill books – mint and white color scheme, couples kissing, pictures edited in the same style (high contrast, high brightness, low saturation). I hope the relaunch of these titles will encourage more readers to pick up the books. 😀

Cover Reveal: Falling Hard and Fallen Again by Mina V. Esguerra

I’ve featured Mina V. Esguerra’s books on my blog often enough for followers to know that she is one of my favorite Filipino contemporary romance or chick lit authors. She recently branched out into new adult romances set in the States, and they’ve been revamped with a new series title: Addison Hill. That’s the name of the school where the MCs study. The books get new covers and titles too! The first two in the series are Falling Hard and Fallen Again and will be released sometime this month. Scroll down to check out the covers and blurbs.

Falling Hard share

About Falling 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.

Fallen Again share

About Fallen 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.

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I really like these new covers because they have a vibe that’s perfect for this new adult series. I’m a fan of the white and mint color combination that was used for the titles too. Plus it’s always nice when books in a series get matching cover designs. I’ve read these two books and will try to post a review of the whole series closer to release date. 🙂 I’m also waiting for the cover reveal of the third book in the series, which has a book blogger MC!

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