Book Review: The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

Genre : Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Format : eBook
Rating : 5/5 stars

This is one of the books that I couldn’t peel my eyes away even though it’s 4am into the night and I really needed to sleep.

Here’s the excerpt from Goodreads:

When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, and they went gratefully. But the program took Melody’s name, her home, her innocence, and, ultimately, her family. She’s been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others–everyone but the one person she longs to be: herself. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in another town, she’s stunned when a man confronts her and calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to hunt her down, knows her, the real her, and it’s a dangerous thrill that Melody can’t resist. He’s insistent that she’s just a pawn in the government’s war against the Bovaro family. But can she trust her life and her identity to this vicious stranger whose acts of violence are legendary?

I’m impressed by the originality of this book. It’s a unique story about a mafia family that veers away from the usual contemporary romance settings of college, office, small town romance… most intriguing. Reading about a girl who grew up constantly living in fear and running away all her life is something different from my usual picks.

I liked the fact that a male author writes from the POV of a female character. He fleshed out her character so well that at some points through the book I wept for her. I feel for her, the fragility of her fake identities, never being able to be herself, missing out on all the little things in life, events that we all took for granted yet unreachable for her and all the things she could never have.

I am tired of living, but what keeps me from dragging a blade across my wrist or diving off one of the crippled bridges that cross the polluted rivers my motel rooms predictably border is the idea of life — that somehow, someday, I will figure a way to experience what it is like to live in unfettered happiness, to bask in the freedom of security, and finally to understand the person I am supposed to be.

There’s just so much I loved about this book, the brilliant use of words, the tragic description of Melody’s life, the black sheep character of Jonathan and <SPOILTER ALERT> the bitter sweet ending of the book.

I hope I could get my hands on the next book which has the same story but written in the POV of the male character — Jonathan. I would definitely recommend this book to romance readers who wants an short venture away from the usual contemporary stories.

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Book Review: The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson

Genre : Holiday, Romance
Format : eBook
Rating : 5/5 stars

Hands down 5 stars for this book ❤ It’s a short and compelling read, a wonderful book to pick up for celebrating this Christmas season.

The story started off when an old lady — a strange outlander — purchased a run-down building in Parrish Springs. Her acquisition caused a ruckus in the town’s business circle and raised a few curious brows regarding her objectives.

A few characters were introduced and developed into their own stories yet linking to each other in this small town and at the same time they were related back to Matilda, the strange lady. Each character held a piece to reveal the complete puzzle of Matilda’s purpose in town.

There was something magical about this story; perhaps it was the vivid painting of the quaint small town, perhaps it’s the warmth that emanated from every character’s story, probably it’s the simple yet enjoyable conversation between the people or maybe it was just the marvelously fine storytelling of the author holding the pieces together until the very end.

Nevertheless this is such a gem of book, not to forget some witty clues that come in quotes, love ’em!

New life, new hope, new joy will start when this is given from the heart.

I guess the theme of this book is to make peace with your past and haunting memories so that you could forgive and in the end to heal and embark on a new life.

This is a must read for this holiday season and I am truly looking forward to more of Melody Carlson’s books — in fact I would be so thrilled to go on search for her books! 😉

A Cup of Coffee — An excerpt from my unfinished Nanowrimo novel 2015

Since it’s Nanowrimo month, I’d like to share an excerpt of what I wrote last year with you. I didn’t participate this year, didn’t expect November would come this soon. I wasn’t even finished with last year’s story — talking about procrastination huh?

It was a scene from a cafe, a coffee moment shared between two people, a story not too well edited 🙂


A cafe caught June’s attention as she crossed the street over to the next block. It was a quaint cafe with the name — Paradise Lane — little fluffy wings sticking out from the signage. Perhaps spotting the cafe was a sign for June, without hesitating she made her way over. She thought of having a taste of the metropolis.

Having ordered her favourite latte with extra cream and a sweet bagel to go with she chose a spot next to the window and placed her tray on a seasoned wooden table. Tucking in she took a sip of the caffeinated drink. Heavenly is how June felt as the hot liquid trickled down her throat. Munching on her bagel she stared outside at the people walking by. Their pace were fast moving unlike her town where people took their own sweet time to get from one place to another.

Finishing her last bite she gleamed a familiar figure walking past the window. Her eyes followed the figure and to a guy pushing open the entrance door. June gasped. The appearance of Michael was the least she expected.

Michael walked up to the counter and was apparently ordering his cup of coffee. June noticed the barista girl swooning over him as he leaned on the bar and selected his beverage. It was not hard to fathom why because June was bedazzled too. He wore his usual outfit, a jumper and matching jeans, but there was an air of difference this time. His jumper was in a shade of blue so snowy it made him looked glorious on a pair of darker jeans.

At the back his hair fell perfectly in shape framed a profile too prominent not to stare. She didn’t remember seeing Michael in this way before. It was as if June fell into a dream where everything around her faded into blurriness and her gaze fixated on him.

Giggles broke her dream, she traced the sound to her far left and saw two girls sitting on the couch with muffling excitement, stealing glances in Michael’s direction. She knew that she shouldn’t eavesdrop but couldn’t help it. She strained to hear what they were talking about yet all she could discern was words like cute, oh my god, talk to him… She gave up on listening to their conversation.

Michael need not have to wait long because the barista girl made sure that his coffee was the top of her priority. He lifted the cup from the counter and made his way towards June. She could feel her heart beating faster as he narrowed the distance between them.

Michael placed the cup on her table and pulled the chair. His gaze fell on her as he sat down and wrapped his hands around his red cup.

June blushed fiercely as she could almost feel the burning stare of the barista and the two girls whose eyes followed wherever Michael went. She looked down on her empty bagel plate, her fingers flicking the crumbs. She didn’t know what to say.

“June.” Michael spoke softly.

At that instant June realized she missed his voice dearly. She lifted her head and looked at him. It was funny how two days of separation seemed like ages, June looked at him like she had just met a long lost friend.

“Michael.” she whispered his name. The casual glances of the girls faded off, the atmosphere of the dim lights dissolved into background. They were wrapped in their own world.

Not in a lifetime Michael have thought that he would say these but he finally uttered the words. “I missed you so much.” he has said it, succumbed to his own feelings. And most importantly he wanted to convey what he truly felt to the only girl who mattered to him.

June’s eye widened, she felt a twitch in her heart. Those were the words she secretly yearned for but now that he had finally said them she didn’t know what to make of it. She kept silent as if saying anything would break the enchanted spell she was under.

“I’m so sorry for everything that had happened. Now that I have the chance, I would not let you go again, would you hear me out?” Michael’s tone was earnest and his apology sincere.

June nodded and after what seemed like eternity she spoke “I’m sorry too for what I did, I was being childish.” She confessed “There were so much doubt I put on myself. I tried to escape from all of these but then I realized that I can’t run away from the truth.”

Michael’s hand glided across the table and clutched June’s hand. “I shouldn’t have pushed you too hard.”

“It’s alright, I knew why you did it.” How could she hold anger towards him any longer? His assurance and his longing for her had erased it completely.

“From now on I would guide you with all I could. You’re never alone in the quest to find your true purpose.” He squeezed her hand “And I promise that I’ll be by your side to shield you from all the darkness.”

“Promise?” June finally smiled.

“Promise.” Michael nodded.

The warmth of his hand made her feel secured and understood that she would be in safe hands. A heavy boulder lifted off her chest as she finally opened up to him knowing that he felt the same way too. There was a tiny thought of uncertainty whether their future would work out but at this moment she chose to ignore it. She wanted to hold on to Michael for as long as possible and not let doubts get in her way ever again.

Book Review: That’s What Friends Are For by Marcie Steele

Genre : Women’s Fiction, Romance
Format : eBook
Rating : 3/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and publisher Bookouture for this ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Hmm… honestly I’ve finished this book months ago yet the story was vague as I remember. I need to take a look at the blurb to jog my memory a bit.

Sam and Louise have been best friends since they hung their coats side by side on the first day of primary school. Now in their thirties, they’re just as close, but life is a little bit more complicated…

On the outside, thirty-something Sam seems to have it all; the gorgeous husband, the beautiful home and the flourishing business. But things are not quite as rosy as they seem. So when handsome stranger, Dan, walks into her life, Sam finds his attentions hard to resist.

Louise might seem like life and soul of the party, but her outgoing exterior hides her sadness about the heartbreak in her past. She just wants someone to love – but all Louise gets left with is a quick fumble with an ex at the end of the night.

When a glamorous face from the past returns to shake things up, things get even more complicated for Sam and Louise. And just when they need each other the most, they’ve reason to wonder whether they ever really knew each other at all.

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Book Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary, Travel, Romance
Format : eBook
Rating : 5/5 stars

All the pleasant views that passed me by, had left me hungry with American burgers sigh.

I know I don’t make sense but this is what I felt after reading this book. A light and enjoyable read!

Amy was suppose to stick to the travel plan that her mom planned out for her to get their car from California to Connecticut — west coast to east coast — now that’s a long journey! And since it wasn’t long after grieving for her dad’s loss in a car accident, Amy wasn’t ready to get behind the wheel.

That’s where Roger came in — as an old family friend according to mom — but Amy don’t remember him and he was no more than a stranger to her. Roger needs to make that trip too and he will be driving with Amy across country.

I was so excited to start this book and surely it didn’t disappoint. That’s an adventure of a lifetime!! A road trip across the wide continent!! Wow and I felt like I have traveled America with them.

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Book Review: Eun Na and the Phantom by Erica Laurie

Genre : Fantasy, Romance
Format : eBook
Rating : 3.5 / 5 stars

I would like to sincerely thank author Erica Laurie for this copy of eBook in exchange for an honest review.

I jumped at the chance of taking my first read on an English written book about Korean culture because of the unique topic. Reading this book didn’t let me down, I felt like I was watching a Korean historical drama unfolding.

A logger is in debt to his landlord, and he must pay up or hand over his daughter, Eun Na as payment.

Hardworking and kind, Eun Na attracts the attention of a mysterious man from the mountains. When an accident renders her father unable to work, the handsome young man steps in and offers his assistance. Yet he is not what he seems.

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Book Review: Somewhere In Between by Katie Li

Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Format : eBook
Rating : 5/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and publisher Kung Fu Girl Books for this ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Two friends find a portal to another dimension and use this “in-between place” to avoid the stress of their everyday lives. What they don’t realize is that every time they enter, they alter reality.

Just by reading this blurb stirred the remotest childhood fantasy that I once had. One that we’ve lost as we grew up, one that brought back the very happiness of reading a book and to get lost in it.

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Book Review: Rapture by Lauren Kate (Fallen Series #4)

Genre : Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal
Format : eBook
Rating : 3/5 stars

So… finally I’ve reached the last installment of the Fallen series.

In a nutshell I actually enjoyed this last book the most! It has invoked a sense of adventure, lured me in to keep reading although I’m bogged down with work and chores.

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