26 May 2013

Book Review: The Last Hour by Charles Sheehan-Miles

Title: The Last Hour
Author: Charles Sheehan-Miles
Date Published: April 19, 2013, Cinnatus Press
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23 May 2013

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Title: Inferno
Author: Dan Brown
Series: Robert Langdon #4
Date Published: May 14, 2013, Transworld Digital
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Dan Brown’s new novel, Inferno, features renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon and is set in the heart of Europe, where Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centred around one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces.

As Dan Brown comments: “Although I studied Dante’s Inferno as a student, it wasn’t until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of Dante’s work on the modern world. With this new novel, I am excited to take readers on a journey deep into this mysterious realm…a landscape of codes, symbols, and more than a few secret passageways.”

If I were to summarize Inferno: strong beginning, heart-stopping middle and epic ending.

Just like any other Dan Brown novel, Inferno had me speechless.

What I was doing prior to reading:
I was starting to read another novel but have to leave it because Inferno has finally been release and I have been waiting for this for a very, very long time. 

What I was doing while reading;
It took me a while to finish because despite the fact that Dan Brown described places and artifacts meticulously as possible, I still needed to see it with my eyes. I was alternating my Kindle and my phone, searching Google for whatever interesting stuff that was mentioned. 

Typical Dan Brown Novel:
  • Thrilling chase
  • Unexpected, jaw-dropping twist and turns
  • Filled with facts from the past
  • Detailed description of places and things
  • Interesting sets of characters
What I did not expect:
  • The mention of Manila in the novel, according to Sienna: I’ve run through the gates of hell.
For every one person Sienna fed, there were hundreds more who gazed at her with desolate eyes. Manila had six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade, whose workers consisted primarily of young children, many of whom had been sold to pimps by parents who took solace in knowing that at least their children would be fed.
I was more surprise with this paragraph than all the twists and turns. As a Filipino reading this novel, the mere mention of Manila along with the description saddened me. Yes, it had placed Manila in a bad light enumerating all horrific scenes she had witnessed and even saying that she was traumatized and have left the country immediately. Let's face some facts, yes, this is happening, but not just in the Philippines, there are a lot of places where this can happen to Sienna. Now why Dan Brown chose Manila (where some people can indeed be ass*s but most are still noted for their hospitality towards tourists) - I had no idea. Hopefully, this won't affect tourism in the country, because I can assure any foreigner reading this review - there are still a lot of places in Manila and the rest of the Philippines that will leave you in awe. 

- End of Speech- 

Nevertheless, though brokenhearted in that part of the novel, it didn't really affect my whole thought of the book. Because I still love it, and I still love Dan Brown. 

Inferno is a complete page-turning-over-the-edge-my-heart-can't-stop-beating-hard type of story. 

If you have enjoyed Dan Brown's writing and missed the infamous Harvard Professor Robert Langdon you should not let this one pass or you'll miss half of your life.

Dante's death mask

“The decisions of our past are the architects of our present.”

“Nothing is more creative... nor destructive... than a brilliant mind with a purpose.” 

“The human mind has a primitive ego defense mechanism that negates all realities that produce too much stress for the brain to handle. It’s called Denial.” 

Nothing activates adrenaline production like pain.

Dan Brown

Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has become one of the best selling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars. Brown’s novels are published in 52 languages around the world with 200 million copies in print.

In 2005, Brown was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, whose editors credited him with “keeping the publishing industry afloat; renewed interest in Leonardo da Vinci and early Christian history; spiking tourism to Paris and Rome; a growing membership in secret societies; the ire of Cardinals in Rome; eight books denying the claims of the novel and seven guides to read along with it; a flood of historical thrillers; and a major motion picture franchise.”

The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he later returned to teach English before focusing his attention full time to writing.

Brown is currently at work on a new book as well as the Columbia Pictures film version of his most recent novel.

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Robert Langdon Series
Angels & Demons  (Robert Langdon, #1) The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2) The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)

Get your copy from Amazon
Robert Langdon #1 Angels & Demons
Robert Langdon #2 The Da Vinci Code
Robert Langon #3 The Lost Symbol

Get your copy from The Book Depository
Robert Langdon #1 Angels & Demons
Robert Langdon #2 The Da Vinci Code
Robert Langdon #3 The Lost Symbol

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19 May 2013

Book Review: No Attachments by Tiffany King

Title: No Attachments
Author: Tiffany King
Date Published: April 30, 2013, A.T. Publishing LLC
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** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations, language and mature subject matter **

Ashton Garrison walked away from a privileged life in order to hide from the one thing she's not willing to face. She knows she left behind a trail of pain, but in the long run, her betrayal will hurt less than the truth. She now has one goal: Live life to the fullest with no regrets and no attachments. She has high hopes that a move to new surroundings will provide the escape she desires, but what Ashton doesn't count on is how fate always seems to find a way to screw up any good plan. Sometimes, when love comes knocking, the pull is too strong not to answer. Suddenly, what she thought she wanted to escape from is what Ashton now wants more than anything.

Nathan Lockton has one mission: find his target and complete the task he was hired to do—no attachments and no emotion necessary. He's done it over and over again. What he thought was a typical lost-and-found job has turned into a life examining moment as Nathan is forced to deal with something he has always ignored--his feelings. Now faced with a decision, Nathan must choose to either follow his heart or complete the job.

Love can come when you least expect it. The question is: If the odds are stacked against you, how far are you willing to go for the one you love?

18 May 2013

Book Review: Love Irresistibly by Julie James

Title: Love Irresistibly
Author: Julie James
Series: FBI/US Attorney #4
Date Published: April 2, 2013, Berkley Sensation

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A former football star and one of Chicago’s top prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cade Morgan will do anything to nail a corrupt state senator, which means he needs Brooke Parker’s help. As general counsel for a restaurant company, she can get a bug to the senator’s table at one of her five-star restaurants so the FBI can eavesdrop on him. All Cade has to do is convince Brooke to cooperate—and he’s not afraid to use a little charm, or the power of his office, to do just that.


A savvy businesswoman, Brooke knows she needs to play ball with the U.S. Attorney’s office—even if it means working with Cade. No doubt there’s a sizzling attraction beneath all their sarcastic quips, but Brooke is determined to keep things casual. Cade agrees—until a surprising turn of events throws his life into turmoil, and he realizes that he wants more than just a good time from the one woman with whom he could fall terrifyingly, irresistibly in love .

08 May 2013

Blog Tour/Book Review: Code Red by Amy Noelle

Title: Code Red
Author: Amy Noelle
Publication Date: April 11, 2013, Writer's Coffee Shop

Book Description:
After getting hurt in college by a gorgeous man, Nicole Magette vowed never to risk losing her heart again. Now she lives a structured and satisfying life. Her work is easy, her friends are her family, and the only consistent men in her life are her two cats, Winchester and Huntington Peabody the Third. She doesn't date, and she hooks up only with losers—men she has absolutely no risk of falling for. But if she finds herself in danger, she has her old fail-safe in place—the Code Red.

In college, she and her four best friends came up with the system as a way to keep away the good-looking bastards that might worm their way past their carefully constructed walls. Seven years later, three of her friends have succumbed to their last Code Reds and are happily married. Now it’s just Nicole and her closest friend, Jen, who are still on their own, and Nic is just fine with that.

That is, until Joshua Daniels is transferred to Nicole’s office from New York and assigned to work with her on a special project. He's everything she's avoided and everything she claims she doesn't want, so why can’t she get him out of her mind? He's persistent, dangerously handsome, and sexy as sin. In other words, he’s her worst nightmare. She turns to her friends to help her resist Josh’s considerable charms and the inescapable draw she feels every time she gets near him. Can the Code Red save her this time, or will Josh send her perfectly balanced life into chaos

Code Red.
It’s a support system. Any time one of us encounters a guy who’s dangerous, one who could tempt us and make us forget what jerks they are, we call in the others for reinforcement, who will come running and make sure we don’t give in to temptation.

Nicole Margaret swore off men after she found out her ex getting out from another room - obviously they didn't do any group study. From then on, she refused to date gorgeous guys or anyone who can capture his heart. She lost her boyfriend, but gained new-found friends. Together with them - they invented Code Red - a cry for help in case one of them is about to fall in love with Mr. Wrong.

But years later, with her friends marrying off their last Code Reds, Nicole and Jen found themselves single. Nicole is satisfied with that, after all, she has the incredible BOB who can satisfy her. She even listed reasons why BOB is better than a real boyfriend: (plus she has her two male felines) 
Reasons why BOB is better than a real boyfriend:
1. He hits the right spot, accurately, each and every time.
2. He is always ready to go. If his battery is low, a quick change can equal hours of fun.   A real boyfriend requires rest and recuperation.
3. He doesn’t expect me to cuddle or talk to him after he’s fulfilled his purpose.
4. When I’m not in the mood, he sits quietly in the drawer and doesn’t bother me.
5. When I am in the mood, he’s right there ready to fulfill my needs instead of out with the guys or doing shit for his mother or something.
6. He’s not too small, not too big, and if he was, I wouldn’t have to pretend he wasn’t to spare his feelings. I’d just replace him with a more fitting model and there’d be no fuss about it.
7. He doesn’t have to lie to get me into bed.
8. He doesn’t care if I look like shit. He performs regardless.
9. He doesn’t say he loves me and...

Everything in her life was smooth sailing until Joshua Daniels strutted into their office from New York. After that, her world, heart and head is in chaos. 

Because Josh is the epitome of her Code Red. He's gorgeous, brilliant, has a sense of humor, and nice. Can Code Red save her heart from falling for this guy and making another mistake? (If I had a Code Red, one look at this guy and I'm sure I'll take a plunge)

Nic, on the other hand, is the ultimate queen of denial, and just like the rest of her friends, I want to join them in strangling her for panicking, for not allowing herself to date Josh and for being annoying. 

Her walls were so thick and so tall that no one could penetrate it. But Josh is not a douche. He had shown her how nice he can be and how he was willing to work things out. Will she be able to finally take a chance or would it be too late for her?

Her friends were just amazing. Knowing that she met half of the group after the Damian-fiasco back in college. After the incident they had been inseparable and were always there for each other especially when it comes to the matters of the heart.

Code Red in the hospital constitutes and emergency that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, and after reading this story, I immediately raised a Code Red to my friends who loved contemporary romance. 

I definitely enjoyed reading it and would look forward to other books that Ms. Amy Noelle will have in the future. There were a lot of funny moments and exasperating ones. Code Red is about taking a risk on love, give it a try before it walks away. Code Red is about friendship, the importance of a support system not just in relationship but to everyone. 

I love Amy Noelle and her characters. I would gladly recommend this to girls out there who had been hurt and has difficulty trusting in love.

“I’m just saying, you could never be with a guy who didn’t fight with you, who didn’t challenge you, and who didn’t try to fight through those walls you have up. That’s why you haven’t dated anybody at all. The guys you hook up with would let you walk all over them, and you’d never respect them at all.” 
“It’s easy to forget all of the bad memories once you’ve found Mr. Right.” Her eyes got that look, and her smile faltered. I cringed. She was thinking of him again. “Then, when you lose him, you still remember the good. And you look for it everywhere, but you can’t find it.”  
“What do you think you’ve been doing to me, every day at work? Even before we were together, you teased me relentlessly. And then when we were together, when I knew exactly what I was missing each and every night when I went home to an empty bed, it was even worse.” 
“He doesn’t say he loves you at all. He doesn’t touch your skin or look into your eyes, and tell you you’re the only girl in the world for him. That he’s been scared to say it because he didn’t want to lose you. He doesn’t tell you he ached for you every minute he was away.” 

Amy Noelle

Amy Noelle is a thirty-something single woman with two cats, Lily and Logan. Though she contends that she is not a crazy cat lady, she freely admits to being a crazy football fan. You can find her glued to the couch every fall weekend, cheering on her Seminoles and Buccaneers.
After attending Florida State University for two years, she transferred to Northern Illinois University and graduated in 1997 with degrees in Journalism and Political Science.
She was born in the Azores Islands, Portugal, and lived as a military brat from the west coast to the east coast of the United States, though she's found her permanent home in Tampa, Florida, for the last decade. Besides football and writing, her other loves are television, movies, the beach, thunderstorms, and her family and friends.

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Thank you Netgalley and Writer's Coffee Shop for providing me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest revie
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07 May 2013

Book Review: Everything Changes by Shey Stahl

Title: Everything Changes
Author: Shey Stahl
Date Published: April 14, 2013
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Rating: ✩ (3.75)

I knew a boy once.
He was a boy that changed everything.

I didn't know Parker O’Neil outside of the occasional smile and wink. The AMA Supercross racer came to our small town one winter, and I had no idea what he was capable of. How could I have known that he would change my life forever that summer? Eventually, the occasional smile became a smile I grew to love and longed to see. The occasional wink became a gesture that made my soul sway and my heart ache. In the canyons of the desert, he showed me his lifestyle and his love.

What I didn't see was the control he had over me. It was a power the glitz and glamour of his professional lifestyle had and eventually what tore apart any life I thought I knew. In his world of banging bars and soaring jumps, there was no room for someone like me. But for five years, every time he called or touched me, everything changed again. It was a touch that could heal anything and a smile that could light even the darkest nights.

Everything Changes is my first Shey Stahl book and it had me glued to every page - annoyed, exasperated with the lead female (and yes, the lead male as well). This book proved that good, open and honest communication is essential in a relationship. Yes, it would have saved the both of them all those agonizing years of heartaches, doubts and pains if they have sat down and talked about what they really are rather than second guessing everything. This novel also reminded its readers that change is an inevitable part of life, everyone must learn to deal and cope with it.

Rowan, oh my gahd. She automatically fell on my list of heroines-I-sort-of-don't-like. They were young, and probably immature to handle a relationship, but cheating? Stringing another human being? That's a big no-no for me. So that's the reason why I wasn't really into her. But on the other hand, there are certain girls who would want a stable life, with a safe person. Rowan is that type of girl, only that she wasn't really over Parker because every time he calls, she comes back to him.

Parker. I always adore the silent types. They are the one who piques my interests and well, obviously Rowan's interest as well. He was quiet and was not really good at communicating - which was the root of all the problems that they have. Nevertheless, I have adored him because the first time he went to bed with Rowan - he was... Yes, it was cute, unexpected and he totally got me that time. His loyalty and his love for Rowan is also admirable knowing that he was surrounded by a lot of girls because of the sports and lifestyle he had chosen, no one came close - to both his mind, body, heart and soul, it was just her all the time. 

Sean - my heart always goes to the innocent bystanders. I loved him and wished all along that he will wake up from his blinded state and see reality. Because honestly, he deserved a woman who will love him like the way Rowan loves Parker - immensely, crazy at times, but true. 

The secondary characters like her best friend, Justin and her parents are just great. They were there when the both of them needed support, but allowed them to decide for themselves. I adore her father loved her unconditionally and was always there for her. Her mother, on the other hand, may not be perfect but was everything she needed in her life. She was her breathe of fresh air.

If you ask me if I will read Everything Changes once again, I think I'll pass and will have to patiently wait for a sequel. I think I had enough being inside Rowan's mind most of the time. Nevertheless, this is my first Shey Stahl book and I sort of enjoy it - if you call maniacally reading every page until I reach the final page where I have released the breathe I was holding throughout the novel. Then I did, in the end, all the frustrations, all those exasperation are worth it. And yes, I will have to try reading some of her works as well.

 “I know how you feel. I know because I live for the moment I hear your voice when you answer… and everything changes for me. I live for the hello.”

“How can you think that? Don’t you see it, Ro? The blood that runs through my veins, the air that fills my lungs, it belongs to you. It’s only ever be you for me.”

Change. It could happen in the blink of an eye and it wasn’t always bad. Sometimes change was good. Sometimes it showed you where you were meant to be all along.

Sometimes everything changes and you’re left wondering how it happened and where you could have down shifted.”

Sometimes love hits and instant and you have no idea how to process it or what it means or how it can control you. Sometimes it can take you years to get your shit together.

Shey Stahl
Suspenseful romance writer. Author of the Racing on the Edge Series. Published titles include Happy Hour, Trading Paint, Black Flag and The Champion. The Legend is scheduled to be released December 24, 2012.
When she's not writing, Shey Stahl can be found at the local dirt tracks in Washington watching her favorite sport, racing.

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04 May 2013

Book Review: Love and Truth by Kathryn Vance-Perez

Title: Love and Truth
Author: Kathryn Vance-Perez
Publication Date: January 30, 2013
Rating: ✩ 

Eighteen-year-old Nicole Harrison has spent her high school years devoted to academics and dance, leaving no time for a boyfriend and a life. Her parents’ shocking divorce causes Nicole to believe that true love is impossible to find. After spending her life in a small Texas town, Nicole joins a foreign exchange student dance program in the country where she was born. After years dreaming about her birthplace, she boldly leaves her world behind and moves in with a host family on the island of Okinawa in Japan. She anxiously awaits a year of improving her dance technique while enjoying a world of new experiences 

Jonathan Hayes was born to a Japanese mother and American Marine father via a surrogate in the States. After his father’s tragic death in Iraq when Jonathan was only a baby, his mother moved them back to her home in Okinawa. As a child, Jonathan's mother immersed him in American culture to honor his father. His good looks and immense musical talent have left him with no shortage of female admirers. But after a bad break-up from his girlfriend of two years, Jonathan plunges into a playboy lifestyle that leads him along a destructive path. As his wounds begin to slowly heal, he tries regaining his self-respect by living on the straight and narrow. But his heart remains closed to the idea of love; that is, until the night he sees the beautiful and innocent Nicole Harrison, upon the balcony of his neighbor’s home. 

While Nicole tries to navigate an unfamiliar country, she also has to learn how to navigate the unfamiliar and unwanted feelings she's developing for Jonathan through some very heart-wrenching and trying times. 

Will her fears push him away, or will Jonathan show her the truth of loyal love…

If you were to ask me how it did go – I’d say it was okay. 

I hated Nicole, seriously, because I hate girls who easily cry over petty things. But I love her passion for dance, and her desire to travel and know the culture of a country so foreign to her. The details about the culture of Japan are enlightening, and it makes me want to experience the same thing as well. 

Nicole’s plan didn’t include in having a boyfriend. But one night, while sitting in the balcony, Jonathan passed by – and her world shook. She has a problem with trust, and no matter how Jonathan tried in proving that he can be a good guy – that he won’t break her heart, she won’t budge. The attraction was there, so was the fear. Nicole wasn’t ready to fall in love, and she wasn’t ready to get her heart broken. Then when Jonathan looked like he moved on (as per instruction from her) – she suddenly realized that she wanted him and wanted to take the risk… 

(If Jonathan looks like Tom Hardy - how can you say no? -_-)

Jonathan was someone you could trust and fall in love with. I don’t understand why Nicole was feeling hot-then-cold towards him. He’s hot, has the passion for music and definitely swoon-worthy. She was lucky that he spends time and woos her. 

It wasn’t a novel that would sweep me off my feet entirely (although I have to say I adore Jonathan and his karate moves). I was entertained, then bored, then entertained. The pacing of the story didn’t keep up and I was a little disappointed because I have been looking forward in reading this novel. 

“Sometimes pain and hurt are good things because it means you strived for something in your life.” 

“I’m not saying it will always be easy because we are human. Two people in love will always have uphill battles but it’s how you handle those challenges that truly matter.” 

“Perfection is not attainable,” he used to say, quoting Vince Lombardi. “But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” 

“I don’t believe in true love and I certainly don’t believe in love at first sight. Insta-love isn’t something that happens in real life. It happens in the books I read, but not in the world I live. Though here stands this beautiful, sexy, funny, sweet and amazing guy who has done everything short of professing love at first sight to me and I’m still standing here like a pair of lungs suffocating, needing him in order to breathe. I’m not running, I’m here, submerged in all of my vulnerability, taking the biggest chance I ever have with my heart and soul. I hope I’m choosing wisely. I stared at the ground and felt his eyes on the top of my head.” 

“I want you. I want you to be mine. I want to be yours. Because even though none of this makes sense, it just feels right.” 

“My girl deserves a man who’ll give his all for her happiness and I’m going to bust my ass trying to do that” 

“If love was just a label how could it hurt so badly?” 

Kathryn Vance-Perez

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