Posted in On my shelf

Darkness Matters by Jay McLean

“For those who drown in darkness. Fight.” 

 

The dedication alone tells you that this book is special. That this book will be an emotional read and that it will affect you in so many ways.

I’ve been obvious in my declaration of love for Jay McLean and her words. How she seemed to penetrate your barriers no matter how tough and tall you make them. But when I read Darkness Matters, I realized that it was different from her More Than series or any other books that she’s written. It hit me in a different manner and I think it’s meant to be that way. It made my heart cry in a way that I’ve never felt before.

Darkness Matters is the story of Noah and Andromeda. It’s Noah’s story. It’s Andromeda/Andie’s story. It tells you about their present: the undeniable attraction that they have for each other. Their cute, awkward and funny encounters and interactions that will make your heart flutter and melt. But it also tells you the story of their past, the choices, and mistakes that they made and the life experiences they went through that shaped them, in more ways than one.

Jay McLean continues to surprise me with her storytelling and the way she peels her characters layer by layer until you find yourself in more ways than one, connected to her characters and their experiences. Darkness Matters was not an easy book to read, I found myself tearing up multiple times with just a few lines of a character which goes like this:

“I’m a girl with an infinite amount of regrets. A girl who used to believe in chance and in fate but doesn’t anymore. I’m a girl who sees the world in black and white and different shades of grays, but barely even in color”

A couple of times I had to breathe deeply while reading because there was this thing in my chest, this heavy emotion I couldn’t quite define. This darkness I know that’s also inside of me. Something that stirs every now and then. But reading this book also made me notice that I also have a ray of light, something good that’s present along with that darkness. And that every day I chose to fight.

“Everything we feel, the good, the bad and the dark… it matters.”

 

 

Read: July 1, 2017

The BookNut Verdict: 5 out of 5

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Posted in On my shelf

Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas

There are stories that will induce some light-hearted kilig (giddiness) to tickle your heart. Stories that will pull heartstrings and make you feel emotions sneak up beside you until they finally catch you off guard. I really love those kinds of stories. Ones that’ll make you spit-out-your-coffee-while-laughing type, those ones that’ll make you wanna punch some douche bag character for being a first class asshole, and of course the one that’ll unknowingly make you shed a few tears, of both sadness and happiness.

That’s what Like Nobody’s Watching made me feel.

That’s how Pio and Audrey affected me.

Like Nobody’s Watching is Tara Frejas latest work that’ll capture your heart. This is the story of Pio Alvez and Audrey Alonzo. Pio Alvez is already a familiar face/name, we last saw him in Waiting in the Wings with Erin and Ramon. Although he didn’t exactly get the fairytale happy ending that he wanted he was gifted with a good company of friends in the form of the entire Teatro Lakambini. His story continues now as he faces new challenges and deals with his personal struggles. Suffering a bit of a setback in his career we first see Pio trying to wade in the tricky corners of his industry. Auditions, screen tests, and table reads mostly filled his calendar. Trying to get out of the funk he is in. Then at the most unlikely time, he met Audrey.

Audrey Alonzo is still dealing with the fallout of getting dumped. A decade-long relationship that went down the drain. But it seems that her now ex, Luigi Blanco is doing just fine moving on to a new girl and parading her to all their friends to see. And in the advent of social media, it feels like there’s no escaping it. While she is still carefully dodging telling her family about her heartache, she also has to work on staying professional and civil, because, after all that, she still has to work with Luigi back at Same Feather Media. Then she met Pio, and just when she thought it’ll be just a one time acquaintance it seems the universe has some other plans for them.

Pio and Audrey’s story is a delight to read. From the straight out funny banter (that bit where Shinta Mori was mentioned made me cackle so hard) and comebacks to the moving heart-to-heart conversation they share. Like Nobody’s Watching sheds more light to the celebrity that is Pio Alvez. When I first read about him in Waiting in the Wings, to be completely honest, I thought his kindness was just a facade. Something he had to portray for his fans. Maybe just keeping up appearances with the roles he took, but that thought was quickly dismissed by the events in WITW. It made me curious about what makes him tick. And what really lies beneath that smile.

Like Nobody’s Watching was successful in giving us an in-depth look at Pio. The funny, thoughtful and caring guy that he is. Always trying to fix things that are broken, whether that is an unruly faucet or maybe a broken heart. It also revealed the steamy and sexy side of him (YAAAS!).

I like how absolutely relatable Audrey is. From her no non-sense attitude, professionalism at work to her dedication and loyalty to her family. Her struggles are all too real too and somewhat hits a little too close to home. I admire her spirit, the petite thing that she is, she definitely packs a whole lot of punch. She takes as well as she gives. It’s no wonder connecting to her was easy.

Pio and Audrey’s story teaches you about the chances that you take and where these chances may lead you. About how starting over sometimes begins with taking that step into allowing yourself to feel a little happiness apart from the usual sadness. About maybe taking that leap of faith and learning how to trust someone else with your heart again. 💜

 

Read: October 21, 2017

The BookNut Verdict: 5 out of 5

Posted in In my bag

Paper Planes Back Home by Tara Frejas

I just finished reading Norse Mythology last Sunday and I decided to take a little break from my fantasy reads and go for something a little different. So I went for one of my go-to local authors, Tara Frejas.


Paper Planes Back Home is one of Tara’s earlier works. I don’t even know why I waited for so long to read this story. I’ve always loved her storytelling and the way she develops her characters. This one is no exception. Paper Planes Back Home only lasted 2 days in my bag (I just finished it!). It kept me so glued to the story that I didn’t notice the morning traffic to work.

I can’t wait to gush about this on my review post. Also looking forward to seeing Tara and the #romanceclass crew this coming weekend for the #FeelsFest2017!

Posted in In my bag

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

I’ve always had an affinity for hardcover books. Their covers are almost always prettier and more intricate than those of the paperbacks and there’s just this wonderful feeling I get whenever I arrange my hardcovers on my shelf. Admittedly my liking for hardcovers are purely aesthetic and I know that what really matters is the words and stories in between those covers. Most of the time I opt for the paperbacks because it fits my budget and current my shelf space. But sometimes, I indulge myself and I go for the lovely hardback.

The problem I have with hardback books is that it’s too heavy to lug around in my bag. It takes up too much space and my bag is already full as it is so I never try to bring them as my everyday reading material. But for Neil Gaiman, I am totally prepared to make an exception. Norse Mythology is Neil Gaiman latest work which is inspired by his longtime fascination with ancient mythology. In this book, Gaiman writes about the famed Norse gods and goddesses with his own little spin.  His imaginative mind wields stories of the genesis of the nine worlds, the various exploits, and adventures of the gods which brings them ultimately to Ragnarök.

I love how Gaiman introduces his stories, he always gives you a piece of his mind. What were his thoughts when he came with the idea for the book that you’re currently holding. The people who inspired him, the writers and artists who were involved while writing the book. And even the funniest little pieces of information that goes into the creation of such work.  I’m currently halfway through reading it and I’m just excited to see how this all culminates in Ragnarök. As always I’m ecstatic to tell you about what I think of it, I just hope to find the time and the right words to describe how I like the book.

Plus I consider this a timely read as the new Marvel movie Thor Ragnarok (totally not affiliated) is about to come out this October. 😉

Posted in What's New?

Cover Reveal: Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas

I have a handful of authors who are part of my instant #OneClick and to-buy list, and Tara Frejas is pretty high on that said list. She first captivated me with her amazing storytelling in The “Forget You” Brew and there was no looking back from there. She made me fall deeply in love with all her characters in Scandalized, she sent my adrenaline rushing in Settle the Score/ Hustle Play, and of course, made me swoon and get swallowed up with all the feels in Waiting in the Wings.

At last, Tara Frejas‘ much-awaited #ProjectPio has its official title and release date! Finally, we’ll get a much closer look at Pio Alvarez. As part of the Pio Alvarez appreciation club (ehem my laptop screams it!) I’m very excited to read more about his story.

So without further ado, here’s the first look at the cover of Like Nobody’s Watching:

Genre: Contemporary Romance / NA

Release Date: October 24, 2017

Book Cover Design: Miles Tan

Photography: Chi Yu Rodriguez

Model: Fred Lo

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.

If there’s something Pio Alvez is good at, it’s pretending to be someone he’s not. On stage and on-screen, the actor has mastered the art of becoming the characters he plays, and his new role should be no different. After all, how difficult would it be to pretend to be smitten with a beautiful, intelligent go-getter like Audrey Alonzo?

Perhaps it’s more difficult pretending not to be.

Add Like Nobody’s Watching on Goodreads: bit.ly/GRProjectPio

Pre-order Like Nobody’s Watching on Amazon:bit.ly/ProjectPioNovel 

 

Posted in On my shelf

LOGAN (A Preston Brothers Novel #2) by Jay McLean

It’s no doubt that Jay McLean holds a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf. Her way with words just never fails to amaze me. She writes about family, friends, and love with all passion and all heart. You’ll feel the emotions bleed and flow from every sentence, every dialogue on every page. She will always make you feel like a part of this world she created, this family beyond blood and beyond distance. She’ll make you love and hurt and heal. That’s what this book feels like.

Logan is the second book in the Preston Brothers series by Jay McLean. The Preston Brothers is a spin-off of our well-beloved More Than series. In this book, we follow the story of the middle child of the Preston family: the stoner, the drop-out, the black sheep, the disappointment. But underneath all the cockiness and bravado of Logan Preston lies a man with a well of emotions, memories, and nightmares that he keeps on running away from.

That’s until he met a girl with the scarlet hair, with the upturned nose and freckles. Aubrey, the girl who dresses for seasons and matches his banter and jokes with her own boldness. The one person that Logan would care for outside of his family.

“We can’t ever let the people in our pasts, and the pasts we created, define who we are and what we stand for, what we live for. What we love for.” 

Logan is raw, gritty, genuine, impassioned and poignant. It tells you of a story that we think we already know, but a handful of chapters in, you’ll discover that you are one with Aubrey in asking “What’s beneath the bravado Logan Preston?”. I admire that Jay is always so brave in tackling storylines and characters that most authors shy away from. The way she wrote Logan’s struggle with substance abuse and his motivations are bold and enlightening. It challenges the reader to face hard truths and grapple with the swirl of emotions going through each character. I like her use of imagery in depicting Logan’s battle with drugs.

“The problem with wanting something, or someone, is that you can’t control how long you keep them for. Or the hurt it might cause when you lose them.”

Aubrey and Logan’s story is intense. The way their feelings unfold each chapter is potent and fierce. Both flawed but are longing for the same thing. I love that they get each other’s humor, they’re free-spirited and innately kind. I couldn’t stop laughing at the hilarious flirtation and banter that went on between these two. And can I just say that their sex scenes are steamy as hell!

What made me always love McLean’s work is how intricate she writes her secondary characters and the way she is able to weave familial relationships into her story so seamlessly while still maintaining its authenticity. I’ve always admired how she can put together friendships that make you long to belong to that fictional world she has created, but nothing can replace that feeling of connection you have to this family, the Prestons, to which you’ll feel so protective of and emotionally invested. It feels like we’ve seen them grow and progress from each book, from the More Than series up until Lucas (Preston Brothers #1) and now to Logan. From Leo going off to college, to the twins Liam and Linc growing up to be YouTube famous and to the always so lovable Lachlan. Reading glimpses of the Cameron and Lucy, Big Logan and Amanda, and Lucas and Laney are like the cherry on top.

Overall, Logan is another must-read from Jay McLean. The way she plies her characters and the stories beneath each emotion is one of a kind. I love how Logan’s journey took shape and came full circle. Get ready to have sweaty eyeballs and be prepared to have your heart leap out of your chest. Logan + Aubrey is out to win your hearts. 💙💙💙

 

Read: September 23, 2017

The BookNut Verdict: 5 out of 5

 

#OneClick LOGAN and add it to your Goodreads NOW!

Logan – A Preston Brothers Novel #2: 

US: http://amzn.to/2wJMw4O

UK: http://amzn.to/2wKGZed

CA: http://amzn.to/2wLbAZ4

AU: http://amzn.to/2wJN4ro

Add to Goodreads http://bit.ly/2gOlWwp

 

 

Posted in On my shelf

Wounded Little Gods by Eliza Victoria

Amazing local fantasy reads are a few and far between these days. It is somewhat a bit of rarity, or admittedly I may just not know where to look. But sometimes I get so lucky that I stumble upon such a rare treasure.

When me and my colleague/ fellow book enthusiast saw copies of Wounded Little Gods by Eliza Victoria, we remember seeing her name somewhere, we immediately picked up the last pieces displayed on the shelf. A few more minutes after reading the synopsis on the back, we were off to the cashier to pay for our new purchases.

The story of Wounded Little Gods is about Regina her little hometown named Heridos, where spirits used to roam. Heridos is your usual province outside the metro, and for most of us, it’s what we call home. Regina is your average fresh out of college yuppie: stuck at a first job that’s not even directly related to your degree, but hey it’s alright because it means to an end. It’s still a paycheck at the end of the day, up until you land that dream job you’ve truly been aiming for.

Regina’s life in the metro is just normal, uneventful most of the time. But one Friday night would change it all when she gets acquainted with Diana. Diana who shares a strange conversation with Regina and adds up the mystery when Diana doesn’t show up to work on Monday. And the day after that. Diana just disappears. Regina may have thought of it as nothing, maybe Diana moved to new company finally fed up with their work, just that she did it without telling anyone else. But then Regina discovers a piece of paper in her bag, a piece of paper with Diana’s handwriting, two names and a map. A map that will send Regina rushing home, back to Heridos.

Eliza Victoria’s Wounded Little Gods is unique and imaginative. She was able to narrate an original story laced with rich Filipino folklore. It captures your imagination and it takes you along with Regina to a journey of discovery that will lead to the unraveling of the mysteries of the past and present. The puzzles that float around the little town of Heridos and the unknown forces surrounding this rural village.

The added familial dynamics creates another dimension to the story. Just when you think you know where the story is headed, Eliza Victoria will prove otherwise. I’m so glad I discovered this book, it may be shorter than any of the fantasy reads you’re accustomed to but here she proves that you can enamor your audience even with a much thinner page count. Eliza Victoria is now definitely included to my list of notable Filipino authors. I look forward to reading more of her works in the future.

 

Read: February 12, 2017

The BookNut Verdict: 5 out of 5