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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Ending this lovely month of August by two awesome book recommendations! The final book of one of the most loved Young Adult novel last year is the first recommendation while the other one is best read on Halloween.
P.S. I Still Love You (July)

PS-ISLY

Photo from laurenconrad.com

This book came out last May and everyone went gaga to find out what will happen to Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky.

If you read To All the Boys I Loved Before which was beautifully written by Jenny Han who had a book signing last year that attended by yours truly, this novel is the sequel of it.

P.S. I Still Love You is about Lara Jean Song who is head over heels in love with his fake boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky but someone whom she loved from the past returns to her life.

What I like about the story:

Choosing between the past love and on-going relationship. All I can think is a perfect couple already: Lara and Peter. I’m #TeamKavinsky all the way! Yet I cannot blame Lara Jean when she is torn between her feelings for Peter and John Ambrose.

last love

Photo from fineartamerica.com

Solving issues should not be made by one party only and trust is always a main concern. Peter is Lara’s first boyfriend though I expected her to adjust and adapt, I like how she still have doubts yet she tried to survive and surpass every challenges that came to them.

50-let-go-birthday

Photo from hellogiggles.com

Letting go means giving a chance to growing up. Lara Jean keeps on comparing herself to Genevieve and their past relationship. It doesn’t help. Acceptance of the strengths and flaws is the key for a great start of a real relationship.
~Quotes to remember~

Margot to Lara Jean

“Don’t get too serious to where things can go back. Be in love with Peter if you want, but be careful with your heart. Things feel like they’ll be forever, but they aren’t. Love can go away, or people can, without even meaning to. Nothing is guaranteed.

Peter to Lara Jean

“What if we do? If we’re so guarded, it’s not going to be anything. Let’s do it fucking for real, Lara Jean. Let’s go all in. No more contract. No more safety net. You can break my heart. Do whatever you want it.” (So sweet!)

Lara Jean’s advice about falling in love to Kitty

Allow yourself to get a little lost. By this I mean, get caught up in it, do things you wouldn’t normally do-let it be an adventure.”
Verdict:
When I was in the last page, so this is it? I mean can I ask for more Kavinsky! I crave for perfect ending of the story. I think it gave justice with the first novel which is good anyway. Great job Jenny Han!
Diary of A Haunting (August)
It was like, love at first picked!

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When I won this book from an event, I was excited. I don’t usually read creepy or scary stories because it will be difficult for me to sleep. However, the cover of the book was like calling me to get it.
The one that I have is an Advance Reviewer Copy because the book is set to be released this month.
Diary of a Haunting is written through journal entries of Paige who moves with her mother and brother in small town in Idaho. Their new house send bad vibes and negative feelings to Paige.

What I like about the story:

The fear that it leaves every turn of the pages is marvelous. Flies around the house, I can let go but spiders, no way! And the buzzing sound in the head is not normal. I understand Paige in this matter.

Characters involved gave the biggest impact: Logan who is being epileptic and insomniac, the mysterious Raph who rents a small room below the house, Chloe who is a little bit weird and her mother who loves nature and all creations of God.

How it ends:

I didn’t expect the revelations and the truth on the last few chapters. The turn out of events was also superb.

Verdict:
For a beginner reader of horror/suspense novel, this is a good one. Quite confused with some scenes and I was a disturbed when one of the characters is the same person who writes it. Nice debut novel of M. Verano!


It is my first time to read a novel written by Tessa Bailey and it kept me awake till the dawn! I couldn’t sleep until I finished it until the end!

Make Me is the final installment from the Beautiful and Broke Series.

MakeMe poster

About Make Me

In the final Broke and Beautiful novel from bestselling author Tessa Bailey, a blue collar construction worker and a quiet uptown girl are about to discover that the friendzone can sometimes be excellent foreplay.

Synopsis

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she’d stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family’s hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn’t helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby’s suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she’s ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

About the Author

highres-MJB_5140.jpg

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives on Long Island with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Excerpt

Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations.
Russell Hart stifled a groan when Abby twisted on his lap to call out a drink order to the passing waiter, adding a smile that would no doubt earn her a martini on the house. Every time their six person “super group” hung out, which was starting to become a nightly affair, Russell advanced into a newer, more vicious circle of hell. Tonight, however, he was pretty sure he’d meet the devil himself.
They were at the Longshoreman, celebrating the Fourth of July, which presented more than one precious little clusterfuck. One, the holiday meant the bar was packed full of tipsy Manhattanites, creating a shortage of chairs, hence Abby parking herself right on top of his dick. Two, it put the usually conservative Abby in ass-hugging shorts and one of those tops that tied at the back of her neck. Six months ago, he would have called it a shirt, but his two best friends had fallen down the relationship rabbit hole, putting him in the vicinity of excessive chick talk. So, now it was a halter-top. What he wouldn’t give to erase that knowledge.
During their first round of drinks, he’d become a believer in breathing exercises. Until he’d noticed these tiny, blond curls at Abby’s nape, curls he’d never seen before. And some-fucking-how, those sun-kissed curls were what had nudged him from semi-erect to full-scale Washington monument status. The hair on the rest of her head was like a…a warm milk chocolate color, so where did those little curls come from? Those detrimental musings had lead to Russell questioning what else he didn’t know about Abby. What color was everything else? Did she have freckles? Where?
Russell would not be finding out – ever – and not just because he was sitting in the friend zone with his dick wedged against his stomach – not an easy maneuver – so she wouldn’t feel it. No, there was more to it. His friends, Ben and Louis, were well aware of those reasons, which accounted for the half-sympathetic, half-needling looks they were sending him from across the table, respective girlfriends perched on their laps. The jerks.
Abby was off-limits. Not because she was taken – thank Christ – or because someone had verbally forbidden him from pursuing her. That wasn’t it. Russell had taken a long time trying to find a suitable explanation for why he didn’t just get the girl alone one night and make his move. Explain to her that men like him weren’t suitable friends for wide-eyes debutantes and give her a demonstration of the alternative.
It went like this. Abby was like an expensive package that had been delivered to him by mistake. Someone at the post office had screwed the pooch and dropped off the shiniest, most beautiful creation on his Queens doorstep and driven away, laughing manically. Russell wasn’t falling for the trick, though. Someone would claim the package, eventually. They would chuckle over the obvious mistake and take Abby away from him, because really, he had no business being the one who’s lap she chose to sit on. No business, whatsoever.
But while he was in possession of the package – as much as he’d allow himself to be in possession, anyway – he would guard her with his life. He would make sure that when someone realized the cosmic error that had occurred – the one that had made him Abby’s friend and confidant – she would be sweet and undamaged, just as she’d been on arrival.

Unfortunately, the package didn’t seem content to let him stand guard from a distance. She innocently beckoned him back every time he managed to put an inch of space between them. Russell had lost count of the times Abby had fallen asleep on him while the super group watched a movie, drank margaritas on the girls’ building rooftop, driven home in cabs. She was entirely too comfortable around him, considering he saluted against his fly every time they were in the same room.
“Why so quiet, Russell?” Louis asked, his grin turning to a wince as his actress girlfriend, Roxy, elbowed him in the ribs. Yeah. Everyone at the damn table knew he had a major thing for the beautiful, unassuming number whiz on his lap. Everyone but Abby. And that’s how he planned to keep it.
“I know why,” Ben said, causing Russell’s stomach to catapult itself across the bar. Before he could change the subject, Ben pulled his student-turned-main squeeze closer and continued. “He doesn’t need to give us advice on girls anymore. His powers have been diminished.”
“We’ve slain the beast.”
Ben and Louis toasted their plastic beer cups without a single glance at one other. Why was he friends with these two again? Oh right. The power of beer had brought them together. Praise be to Heineken. Smug as they were, though, Russell knew humor was their way of showing support. If it wasn’t humor, it would be sympathy, aka dude kryptonite.
“What kind of advice did he give you about us?” Roxy wanted to know, shooting Louis and Ben stern glances.
“Uh-uh.” Russell shook his head. “I’m calling bro confidentiality on you both. That includes pillow talk and supersedes any and all forms of sexual coercion.”
Ben adjusted his glasses. “That reasoning, however, should lend some insight into what you ladies missed.”
Honey leaned across the table and patted Russell’s arm. “It all worked out in the end, big guy. Who knows? You might have had something to do with it after all.”
Russell opened his mouth to respond, but whatever he planned to say withered in its inception because Abby spun in his lap again, sending the world around him into slow motion. A left jab of her scent – which after careful consideration he’d termed white grape sunlight – caught him in the chin and he barely restrained the urge to shout oh, come on, at the top of his lungs. Her big hazel eyes were indignant on his behalf, mouth pursed in a way that shouldn’t have been sexy, but damn-well was. She’d snapped her spine straight, hip bumping his erection in the process.
Please, almighty God, just kill me now.
“Russell gives great advice,” Abby protested and Russell would have smiled if he wasn’t busy earning his master’s degree in boner-soothing meditation. She really had no idea her outrage only made her sweeter because it looked so unnatural on her. “Remember the man on the first floor of our building? The one who used to clear his throat loudly every time we walked by?” She waited for Honey and Roxy to nod. “Russell told me the next time it happened, I should just shout TROUBLE at his door. I did. And it hasn’t happened since.”
When Louis and Ben started laughing into their beers, Russell flipped them off behind Abby’s back. What his friends knew that Abby didn’t? As soon as she’d told him the problem, he’d paid a visit to their downstairs neighbor and explained that trouble would find him if he so much as breathed in Abby – or any of her roommates’ – direction again. Hence, the single word being so effective. Russell was trouble.
But as Abby turned a bright, encouraging smile on him, swelling his heart like an inflating balloon, he recognized that his brand of trouble had nothing on Abby’s. She didn’t even know how dangerous she was to his health. Because while Abby was the package that had been delivered by mistake, he’d gone and fallen for her, despite his attempts to simply be her friend.
And maybe it was his imagination, but the loss of her seemed to loom a little closer each day. Like any minute now, she would peer a little closer and realize he was in imposter. Loss was something with which Russell was familiar. Loss had cut him off at the knees at a young age, made him hyper aware of how fast it could happen. Whoosh. Chopped off at the knees. So he was already in damage control mode, hoping to limit the fallout when she inevitably headed for a younger version of Gordon Gekko. For now, it was all about keeping a comfortable gap between him and Abby.
She scooted back on his lap to make room for the waitress who had returned with a round of drinks, and Russell gritted his teeth.
Okay. Comfortable definitely wasn’t the right word.

***
I have friends. I have friends now and it’s glorious.
Six months ago, when Abby Sullivan had placed the ad on Craigslist, seeking two roommates to share her Chelsea apartment, her highest hope had been for noise. Maybe it sounded silly, but apart from the Ninth Avenue traffic trundling past and the occasional shouting match on the street, her life had been so quiet before Honey and Roxy showed up. She’d been hoping for hair dryers in the morning, dishes being tossed in the sink, singing in the shower. Anything but the void of sound she’d been living with, alone in the massive space.
Then, oh then, she’d gone and done something even more impulsive than placing an advertisement for massively discounted rent in cyberspace. She’d blurted upon meeting them for the first time that she didn’t need help paying the rent; she merely wanted friends. Unbelievably, it hadn’t felt like a mistake to reveal such a pitiful secret to a couple of strangers. There had been a feeling when all three of them first stood in the same room that it would work out, like a complicated math equation that would prove itself worth the work.
Now? She couldn’t imagine a day passing without them. The guys had been an unexpected bonus she hadn’t counted on. Especially Russell.
As they walked crosstown toward the Hudson River where they planned to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, Abby smiled up at Russell where he towered over her. She received a suspicious look in response. Suspicious! Ha! It made her want to laugh like a lunatic. All the way back to her furthest memory, she’d been reliable, gullible, sugar-filled Abby to everyone and their mother. Even Honey and Roxy, to a degree, handled her carefully around subjects that might offend her or hurt her feelings. She was too grateful for their presence to call them on it, though. Sometimes she opened her mouth, the words I’m not made of spun glass hovering right on the tip of her tongue, but she always swallowed them. They meant well. She knew that with her whole heart. Maybe someday, when she was positive they wouldn’t vanish at a rare show of temper—the way people always did when she bared a flaw—she’d tell them. Until she worked up the courage however, she would stay quiet, and appreciate her new best friends for the colorful positivity they’d brought into her life.
But Russell? She appreciated him even more for getting mad at her.
Such occurrences were her favorite part of the week. Russell stomping into the apartment, grumbling about her not checking the peep hole. Refusing to go out on a Saturday night until she changed into more comfortable shoes. Giving her that daunting frown when she revealed they’d had a leak in the bathroom for three weeks and hadn’t yet called the super to repair it. He’d had it fixed within the hour, but he hadn’t spoken to her the entire time.
It was awesome.
Because he kept coming back. Every time. No matter what—no matter what she said or did—he never washed his hands of her. Never got so fed up with her admittedly flighty behavior that he skipped a hang out. Or didn’t respond to a text. He was the steadfast presence in her life she’d never had.
No one spoke to Abby at her job. She’d been hired after graduating at the top of her Yale class and placed in a silent power position at a hedge fund. Her father’s hedge fund. So she could understand her co-workers’ reticence to invite her for happy hour. Or even give her a polite nod in the hallway. At first, she’d been prepared to try anyway. Force them to acknowledge her in some small way, even if it was just passing the stapler in the conference room. Then she remembered. When she forced her opinion on people, or had an outburst, they went away, and didn’t come back for a long time.
Her coworkers assumed she sat in her air-conditioned office all day playing Minecraft or buying dresses online.And why wouldn’t they? She’d done nothing to sway that notion. In reality, however, she worked hard. Showed up before the lights came on and stayed later than everyone else. Brought work home with her and often, didn’t get to sleep. She had no choice.
Stress tightened like a shoelace around Abby’s stomach, but she breathed through it. Tonight was for fun with her friends. Tomorrow morning would be soon enough to face her responsibilities.
“It’s the shoes, isn’t it?” Russell demanded, encompassing Abby, Roxy and Honey with a dark look.

“This always happens in the eleventh hour. You girls started limping around and we just have to watch it.”
Ben sighed. “Here we go again.”
“No, really. I think I’ve finally figured it out.” Russell swiped impatient fingers over his shaved head.

“You ever heard of sympathy pains? When my sister-in-law gave birth, my brother swore someone was firing a nail gun into his stomach. To this day, the guy has never been the same.” He pointed at Abby’s electric blue pumps. “Women wear these evil creations around to confuse us. Sure, they make a girl’s legs look good, but that’s the black magic, my friends. They want us to feel their pain and not understand why.”
Louis turned, walking backwards on the sidewalk so he could face them. “I have to admit, I’m with Russell on this one.” He smiled at Roxy’s outrage. “You could go barefoot and it wouldn’t make a difference to me.”
“I’ll round it out with a third agreement,” Ben chimed in. “I like Honey in her Chucks.”
That statement earned Ben a kiss from Honey and a groan from Russell. “I’m thrilled you assholes have found a way to use my amazing logic to earn points.”
Abby loved the familiar argument simply because it was familiar—a routine she had in common with others—but she had to admit her feet were throbbing. After a night of dancing, the crosstown walk was giving her blisters. She wore heels all day at the office, but they were sensible and low-heeled. Nothing like the stilettos she’d borrowed from Roxy. In fact, now that she’d acknowledged her tired feet, every part of her seemed to sag with exhaustion, as if she’d finally given her bones permission. “I can end this argument right here,” Abby interrupted with a weary, butdetermined smile. The group stopped to watch as she slipped off her shoes and placed her bare feet back onto the cool sidewalk with a hearty sigh. For some reason, everyone’s gazes swung to Russell who – God love him – was frowning at her like she’d just crashed his beloved truck.
“A new tactic, gentlemen. Take note.” Their four friends laughed at Russell’s ominous tone, but Abby stayed pinned under his scowl. Although now, his scowl had a hint of uncertainty behind it.

“Put them back on, Abby. You’re going to step on something. Broken glass, or—”
Abby breezed past Russell. Honestly, he worried constantly for no reason. They were only a few blocks away from the river and the streets were well lit. What was the worst that could—
Her feet left the ground, her gasp cutting off as she was cradled against Russell’s big chest. His expression was hidden, thanks to the streetlights shining blindingly above his head, but Abby knew from experience, he would be annoyed. She couldn’t prevent the smile from spreading like wildfire across her face, feeling as if it reached as far as her chest. It seemed impossible, but somehow she’d earned a place among these people who cared about her. Friends. Good friends. The kind you can’t live without.
Especially Russell. Her favorite.
“You were put on this earth to make me crazy, Abby. You know that?”
“I’m not sorry about it,” she whispered. “Does that make me a bad person?”
“No. It makes you a woman.”
She muffled her laugh with the use of Russell’s shoulder. “Men make women crazy, too. It’s not a one-sided affair.”
He frowned down at her. “What would you know about it?”
That question coming from anyone else might have embarrassed Abby, but for all Russell’s bluster, he never judged her. Not for her lack of a love life, anyway. Shoes were another matter altogether. “I know things.”
“Things, huh? Maybe Louis and Ben should spend more time at their own apartments.” His arms flexed as he hefted her higher, with minimal effort. “Do you actually like watching the fireworks or is this just a patriotic custom we’re upholding?”
“No, I love fireworks.” She tilted her head back and looked at the sky. “Everyone forgets over the course of the year how incredible fireworks are. You know? They forget until they’re standing beneath them again. You don’t like them?”
He stared ahead as he answered. “I like that you like them.”
Abby smiled, knowing Russell would have to be extra gruff for the remainder of the night to make up for that slip. And needing to torture him a little over it. “That’s how I feel when you make me watch the Yankees.” She laid a hand against his cheek. “It’s worth it just to see your adorable man eyes light up.”
His sigh was sharp, but she caught the corner of his mouth kicking up. “All this time, I thought you were enjoying it.”
“The blooper reel is my favorite.” Drowsiness settled more firmly over her and she stifled a yawn against his shoulder. “Also, I love when kids in the audience catch foul balls.”
“Crowd. It’s called a crowd.”
She hummed in her throat, eyelids beginning to weigh down. “I knew that. Just seeing if you were paying attention,” she murmured.
Russell chewed his bottom lip a moment, worry marring his features. “You’re so tired lately, Abby. Everything okay?”
“Totally fine,” she lied. “Just going to rest my eyes a minute.”
Positive he would wake her up when they reached the Hudson, she wound her arms around his neck and dozed off. It was the first time she’d slept in three days.

What I like about the story:

The pacing of the story. It was not too slow and it was not fast. It was just in between. I like how the story develop from friendship and it blossoms to love, mutual attraction and sex. Abby and Russell started as friends but deep inside they know that they were attracted to each other since they met.

Abby, the brilliant and loving daughter. Abby is an epitome of a perfect protagonist yet she have other flaws that she wanted to hide to everyone. However, Russell is the only one who can see the real her.

Russell, the modern day knight in shinning armor. He is the hero and protector, Abby could be wished for. The shoulder to lean on, the one who reminds her to lock the door and the one who can send her butterflies all over her tummy. I like Russell, he is strong in exterior but he has a soft heart inside.

Sneak peek to my favorite part of the book!

Make Me-chapter 5 friend zoner

How it ends:
Living on the house that you dream your ‘angel’ to be is perfect and the happily ever after of exchanging vows is so sweet!
Perk’s rating: 5/5 (Friendship, Family, Love and Steamy sex every turn of the page! Great sizzling romance novel!)

Where to buy MAKE ME
HarperCollins: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062369093/make-me
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Make-Me-Broke-Beautiful-Novel-ebook/dp/B00SG0WROS/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/make-me-tessa-bailey/1121093839
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/make-me/id959625481
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Tessa_Bailey_Make_Me?id=yOI_BgAAQBAJ

Thank you to Harper Collins and Edelweiss  for the advance reader’s copy!

Plus there is an on-going promo where you one reader can win after the blog tour! (US only)

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It is my first time to read a novel written by Tessa Bailey and it kept me awake till the dawn! I couldn’t sleep until I finished it until the end!

Make Me is the final installment from the Beautiful and Broke Series.

MakeMe poster

About Make Me

In the final Broke and Beautiful novel from bestselling author Tessa Bailey, a blue collar construction worker and a quiet uptown girl are about to discover that the friendzone can sometimes be excellent foreplay.

Synopsis

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she’d stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family’s hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn’t helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby’s suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she’s ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

About the Author

highres-MJB_5140.jpg

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives on Long Island with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Excerpt

Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations.
Russell Hart stifled a groan when Abby twisted on his lap to call out a drink order to the passing waiter, adding a smile that would no doubt earn her a martini on the house. Every time their six person “super group” hung out, which was starting to become a nightly affair, Russell advanced into a newer, more vicious circle of hell. Tonight, however, he was pretty sure he’d meet the devil himself.
They were at the Longshoreman, celebrating the Fourth of July, which presented more than one precious little clusterfuck. One, the holiday meant the bar was packed full of tipsy Manhattanites, creating a shortage of chairs, hence Abby parking herself right on top of his dick. Two, it put the usually conservative Abby in ass-hugging shorts and one of those tops that tied at the back of her neck. Six months ago, he would have called it a shirt, but his two best friends had fallen down the relationship rabbit hole, putting him in the vicinity of excessive chick talk. So, now it was a halter-top. What he wouldn’t give to erase that knowledge.
During their first round of drinks, he’d become a believer in breathing exercises. Until he’d noticed these tiny, blond curls at Abby’s nape, curls he’d never seen before. And some-fucking-how, those sun-kissed curls were what had nudged him from semi-erect to full-scale Washington monument status. The hair on the rest of her head was like a…a warm milk chocolate color, so where did those little curls come from? Those detrimental musings had lead to Russell questioning what else he didn’t know about Abby. What color was everything else? Did she have freckles? Where?
Russell would not be finding out – ever – and not just because he was sitting in the friend zone with his dick wedged against his stomach – not an easy maneuver – so she wouldn’t feel it. No, there was more to it. His friends, Ben and Louis, were well aware of those reasons, which accounted for the half-sympathetic, half-needling looks they were sending him from across the table, respective girlfriends perched on their laps. The jerks.
Abby was off-limits. Not because she was taken – thank Christ – or because someone had verbally forbidden him from pursuing her. That wasn’t it. Russell had taken a long time trying to find a suitable explanation for why he didn’t just get the girl alone one night and make his move. Explain to her that men like him weren’t suitable friends for wide-eyes debutantes and give her a demonstration of the alternative.
It went like this. Abby was like an expensive package that had been delivered to him by mistake. Someone at the post office had screwed the pooch and dropped off the shiniest, most beautiful creation on his Queens doorstep and driven away, laughing manically. Russell wasn’t falling for the trick, though. Someone would claim the package, eventually. They would chuckle over the obvious mistake and take Abby away from him, because really, he had no business being the one who’s lap she chose to sit on. No business, whatsoever.
But while he was in possession of the package – as much as he’d allow himself to be in possession, anyway – he would guard her with his life. He would make sure that when someone realized the cosmic error that had occurred – the one that had made him Abby’s friend and confidant – she would be sweet and undamaged, just as she’d been on arrival.

Unfortunately, the package didn’t seem content to let him stand guard from a distance. She innocently beckoned him back every time he managed to put an inch of space between them. Russell had lost count of the times Abby had fallen asleep on him while the super group watched a movie, drank margaritas on the girls’ building rooftop, driven home in cabs. She was entirely too comfortable around him, considering he saluted against his fly every time they were in the same room.
“Why so quiet, Russell?” Louis asked, his grin turning to a wince as his actress girlfriend, Roxy, elbowed him in the ribs. Yeah. Everyone at the damn table knew he had a major thing for the beautiful, unassuming number whiz on his lap. Everyone but Abby. And that’s how he planned to keep it.
“I know why,” Ben said, causing Russell’s stomach to catapult itself across the bar. Before he could change the subject, Ben pulled his student-turned-main squeeze closer and continued. “He doesn’t need to give us advice on girls anymore. His powers have been diminished.”
“We’ve slain the beast.”
Ben and Louis toasted their plastic beer cups without a single glance at one other. Why was he friends with these two again? Oh right. The power of beer had brought them together. Praise be to Heineken. Smug as they were, though, Russell knew humor was their way of showing support. If it wasn’t humor, it would be sympathy, aka dude kryptonite.
“What kind of advice did he give you about us?” Roxy wanted to know, shooting Louis and Ben stern glances.
“Uh-uh.” Russell shook his head. “I’m calling bro confidentiality on you both. That includes pillow talk and supersedes any and all forms of sexual coercion.”
Ben adjusted his glasses. “That reasoning, however, should lend some insight into what you ladies missed.”
Honey leaned across the table and patted Russell’s arm. “It all worked out in the end, big guy. Who knows? You might have had something to do with it after all.”
Russell opened his mouth to respond, but whatever he planned to say withered in its inception because Abby spun in his lap again, sending the world around him into slow motion. A left jab of her scent – which after careful consideration he’d termed white grape sunlight – caught him in the chin and he barely restrained the urge to shout oh, come on, at the top of his lungs. Her big hazel eyes were indignant on his behalf, mouth pursed in a way that shouldn’t have been sexy, but damn-well was. She’d snapped her spine straight, hip bumping his erection in the process.
Please, almighty God, just kill me now.
“Russell gives great advice,” Abby protested and Russell would have smiled if he wasn’t busy earning his master’s degree in boner-soothing meditation. She really had no idea her outrage only made her sweeter because it looked so unnatural on her. “Remember the man on the first floor of our building? The one who used to clear his throat loudly every time we walked by?” She waited for Honey and Roxy to nod. “Russell told me the next time it happened, I should just shout TROUBLE at his door. I did. And it hasn’t happened since.”
When Louis and Ben started laughing into their beers, Russell flipped them off behind Abby’s back. What his friends knew that Abby didn’t? As soon as she’d told him the problem, he’d paid a visit to their downstairs neighbor and explained that trouble would find him if he so much as breathed in Abby – or any of her roommates’ – direction again. Hence, the single word being so effective. Russell was trouble.
But as Abby turned a bright, encouraging smile on him, swelling his heart like an inflating balloon, he recognized that his brand of trouble had nothing on Abby’s. She didn’t even know how dangerous she was to his health. Because while Abby was the package that had been delivered by mistake, he’d gone and fallen for her, despite his attempts to simply be her friend.
And maybe it was his imagination, but the loss of her seemed to loom a little closer each day. Like any minute now, she would peer a little closer and realize he was in imposter. Loss was something with which Russell was familiar. Loss had cut him off at the knees at a young age, made him hyper aware of how fast it could happen. Whoosh. Chopped off at the knees. So he was already in damage control mode, hoping to limit the fallout when she inevitably headed for a younger version of Gordon Gekko. For now, it was all about keeping a comfortable gap between him and Abby.
She scooted back on his lap to make room for the waitress who had returned with a round of drinks, and Russell gritted his teeth.
Okay. Comfortable definitely wasn’t the right word.

***
I have friends. I have friends now and it’s glorious.
Six months ago, when Abby Sullivan had placed the ad on Craigslist, seeking two roommates to share her Chelsea apartment, her highest hope had been for noise. Maybe it sounded silly, but apart from the Ninth Avenue traffic trundling past and the occasional shouting match on the street, her life had been so quiet before Honey and Roxy showed up. She’d been hoping for hair dryers in the morning, dishes being tossed in the sink, singing in the shower. Anything but the void of sound she’d been living with, alone in the massive space.
Then, oh then, she’d gone and done something even more impulsive than placing an advertisement for massively discounted rent in cyberspace. She’d blurted upon meeting them for the first time that she didn’t need help paying the rent; she merely wanted friends. Unbelievably, it hadn’t felt like a mistake to reveal such a pitiful secret to a couple of strangers. There had been a feeling when all three of them first stood in the same room that it would work out, like a complicated math equation that would prove itself worth the work.
Now? She couldn’t imagine a day passing without them. The guys had been an unexpected bonus she hadn’t counted on. Especially Russell.
As they walked crosstown toward the Hudson River where they planned to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, Abby smiled up at Russell where he towered over her. She received a suspicious look in response. Suspicious! Ha! It made her want to laugh like a lunatic. All the way back to her furthest memory, she’d been reliable, gullible, sugar-filled Abby to everyone and their mother. Even Honey and Roxy, to a degree, handled her carefully around subjects that might offend her or hurt her feelings. She was too grateful for their presence to call them on it, though. Sometimes she opened her mouth, the words I’m not made of spun glass hovering right on the tip of her tongue, but she always swallowed them. They meant well. She knew that with her whole heart. Maybe someday, when she was positive they wouldn’t vanish at a rare show of temper—the way people always did when she bared a flaw—she’d tell them. Until she worked up the courage however, she would stay quiet, and appreciate her new best friends for the colorful positivity they’d brought into her life.
But Russell? She appreciated him even more for getting mad at her.
Such occurrences were her favorite part of the week. Russell stomping into the apartment, grumbling about her not checking the peep hole. Refusing to go out on a Saturday night until she changed into more comfortable shoes. Giving her that daunting frown when she revealed they’d had a leak in the bathroom for three weeks and hadn’t yet called the super to repair it. He’d had it fixed within the hour, but he hadn’t spoken to her the entire time.
It was awesome.
Because he kept coming back. Every time. No matter what—no matter what she said or did—he never washed his hands of her. Never got so fed up with her admittedly flighty behavior that he skipped a hang out. Or didn’t respond to a text. He was the steadfast presence in her life she’d never had.
No one spoke to Abby at her job. She’d been hired after graduating at the top of her Yale class and placed in a silent power position at a hedge fund. Her father’s hedge fund. So she could understand her co-workers’ reticence to invite her for happy hour. Or even give her a polite nod in the hallway. At first, she’d been prepared to try anyway. Force them to acknowledge her in some small way, even if it was just passing the stapler in the conference room. Then she remembered. When she forced her opinion on people, or had an outburst, they went away, and didn’t come back for a long time.
Her coworkers assumed she sat in her air-conditioned office all day playing Minecraft or buying dresses online.And why wouldn’t they? She’d done nothing to sway that notion. In reality, however, she worked hard. Showed up before the lights came on and stayed later than everyone else. Brought work home with her and often, didn’t get to sleep. She had no choice.
Stress tightened like a shoelace around Abby’s stomach, but she breathed through it. Tonight was for fun with her friends. Tomorrow morning would be soon enough to face her responsibilities.
“It’s the shoes, isn’t it?” Russell demanded, encompassing Abby, Roxy and Honey with a dark look.

“This always happens in the eleventh hour. You girls started limping around and we just have to watch it.”
Ben sighed. “Here we go again.”
“No, really. I think I’ve finally figured it out.” Russell swiped impatient fingers over his shaved head.

“You ever heard of sympathy pains? When my sister-in-law gave birth, my brother swore someone was firing a nail gun into his stomach. To this day, the guy has never been the same.” He pointed at Abby’s electric blue pumps. “Women wear these evil creations around to confuse us. Sure, they make a girl’s legs look good, but that’s the black magic, my friends. They want us to feel their pain and not understand why.”
Louis turned, walking backwards on the sidewalk so he could face them. “I have to admit, I’m with Russell on this one.” He smiled at Roxy’s outrage. “You could go barefoot and it wouldn’t make a difference to me.”
“I’ll round it out with a third agreement,” Ben chimed in. “I like Honey in her Chucks.”
That statement earned Ben a kiss from Honey and a groan from Russell. “I’m thrilled you assholes have found a way to use my amazing logic to earn points.”
Abby loved the familiar argument simply because it was familiar—a routine she had in common with others—but she had to admit her feet were throbbing. After a night of dancing, the crosstown walk was giving her blisters. She wore heels all day at the office, but they were sensible and low-heeled. Nothing like the stilettos she’d borrowed from Roxy. In fact, now that she’d acknowledged her tired feet, every part of her seemed to sag with exhaustion, as if she’d finally given her bones permission. “I can end this argument right here,” Abby interrupted with a weary, butdetermined smile. The group stopped to watch as she slipped off her shoes and placed her bare feet back onto the cool sidewalk with a hearty sigh. For some reason, everyone’s gazes swung to Russell who – God love him – was frowning at her like she’d just crashed his beloved truck.
“A new tactic, gentlemen. Take note.” Their four friends laughed at Russell’s ominous tone, but Abby stayed pinned under his scowl. Although now, his scowl had a hint of uncertainty behind it.

“Put them back on, Abby. You’re going to step on something. Broken glass, or—”
Abby breezed past Russell. Honestly, he worried constantly for no reason. They were only a few blocks away from the river and the streets were well lit. What was the worst that could—
Her feet left the ground, her gasp cutting off as she was cradled against Russell’s big chest. His expression was hidden, thanks to the streetlights shining blindingly above his head, but Abby knew from experience, he would be annoyed. She couldn’t prevent the smile from spreading like wildfire across her face, feeling as if it reached as far as her chest. It seemed impossible, but somehow she’d earned a place among these people who cared about her. Friends. Good friends. The kind you can’t live without.
Especially Russell. Her favorite.
“You were put on this earth to make me crazy, Abby. You know that?”
“I’m not sorry about it,” she whispered. “Does that make me a bad person?”
“No. It makes you a woman.”
She muffled her laugh with the use of Russell’s shoulder. “Men make women crazy, too. It’s not a one-sided affair.”
He frowned down at her. “What would you know about it?”
That question coming from anyone else might have embarrassed Abby, but for all Russell’s bluster, he never judged her. Not for her lack of a love life, anyway. Shoes were another matter altogether. “I know things.”
“Things, huh? Maybe Louis and Ben should spend more time at their own apartments.” His arms flexed as he hefted her higher, with minimal effort. “Do you actually like watching the fireworks or is this just a patriotic custom we’re upholding?”
“No, I love fireworks.” She tilted her head back and looked at the sky. “Everyone forgets over the course of the year how incredible fireworks are. You know? They forget until they’re standing beneath them again. You don’t like them?”
He stared ahead as he answered. “I like that you like them.”
Abby smiled, knowing Russell would have to be extra gruff for the remainder of the night to make up for that slip. And needing to torture him a little over it. “That’s how I feel when you make me watch the Yankees.” She laid a hand against his cheek. “It’s worth it just to see your adorable man eyes light up.”
His sigh was sharp, but she caught the corner of his mouth kicking up. “All this time, I thought you were enjoying it.”
“The blooper reel is my favorite.” Drowsiness settled more firmly over her and she stifled a yawn against his shoulder. “Also, I love when kids in the audience catch foul balls.”
“Crowd. It’s called a crowd.”
She hummed in her throat, eyelids beginning to weigh down. “I knew that. Just seeing if you were paying attention,” she murmured.
Russell chewed his bottom lip a moment, worry marring his features. “You’re so tired lately, Abby. Everything okay?”
“Totally fine,” she lied. “Just going to rest my eyes a minute.”
Positive he would wake her up when they reached the Hudson, she wound her arms around his neck and dozed off. It was the first time she’d slept in three days.

What I like about the story:

The pacing of the story. It was not too slow and it was not fast. It was just in between. I like how the story develops from friendship and it blossoms to love, mutual attraction and sex. Abby and Russell started as friends but deep inside they know that they were attracted to each other since they met.

Abby, the brilliant and loving daughter. Abby is an epitome of a perfect protagonist yet she have flaws that she wanted to hide to everyone. However, Russell is the only one who can see the real her.

Russell, the modern day knight in shinning armor. He is the hero and protector, Abby could be wished for. The shoulder to lean on, the one who reminds her to lock the door and the one who can send her butterflies all over her tummy. I like Russell, he is strong in exterior but he has a soft heart inside.

Sneak peek to my favorite part of the book!

Make Me-chapter 5 friend zoner

How it ends:
Living on the house that you dream your ‘angel’ to be is wonderful and the happily ever after of exchanging vows is so sweet!
Perk’s rating: 5/5 (Friendship, Family, Love and Steamy sex every turn of the pages! Great sizzling romance novel!)

Where to buy MAKE ME
HarperCollins: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062369093/make-me
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Make-Me-Broke-Beautiful-Novel-ebook/dp/B00SG0WROS/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/make-me-tessa-bailey/1121093839
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/make-me/id959625481
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Tessa_Bailey_Make_Me?id=yOI_BgAAQBAJ

Thank you to Harper Collins and Edelweiss  for the advance reader’s copy!

Plus there is an on-going promo where one reader can win after the blog tour! (US only)

Join now!
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Have you secretly fall in love with a friend? And yet you two made a LIST of things that you haven’t done yet as friends?

Meet best of friends, Dave and Julia. High school life might be quite difficult and a bit boring if it only revolves between the two of you.

Here comes The ‘Nevers’ List! The 10 things that wrote that they vowed they will never do while in high school. Yet when their graduations is coming up, they both want to have fun and shake things up.

Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date of Publication: August 4, 2015
NAS book review

Never date your best friend

Always be original

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

What I like about the story:

The Never List is something new. It is something refreshing to read about a certain list that urges you to follow and do it.

Dave and Julia are typical teenagers. You can easily relate on them and they both made you think of your high school life.

Quotes and pages to remember:
*Page 95
Julia to Mr. Marroney, her trigonometry teacher: “There’s something about the slope of his cosine that drives me to irrational equations. There’s something about how he can recite pi to forty digits that makes my… heart swell exponentially. If X is the point where two lines meet, let my tangent and his intersect and repeat. I plotted him on my graph, and he touches all my quadrants.”
*Page 99
Julia’s Mom: “No point in living a life is less ordinary if you don’t know what the other side looks like.”
*Page 250
Dave’s POV: “Love was lazy as hell. Love laid around in bed, love was too lazy to get up to close the blinds, love was too comfortable to get up and go pee, love took many naps and love was also funny.”
*Page 268
Gretchen to Dave: “To be sorry you hurt me is not enough for me to forgive you.”
* Page 285
Marroney to Julia: “Human beings are more or less formulas. Pun  intended. We are not any one thing that is mathematically provable. We are more more or less than we are anything. We like to think we’re formulas that even out exactly, that we are perfect matches with each other. But we’re not.”

How it ends:

There are things that worth to try. Yet there are things that better off that way like Dave and Julia’s friendship.

Verdict:

I like the start of the story yet I was disappointed with the ending. I didn’t expect the last part but somehow I appreciated everything that happened between Dave and Julia. Nice debut novel for Adi Alsaid! 

Thank you Pinoy Book Tours for given a chance to read and review this heartwarming novel!

Please do check out this link for the rest of the blog tour: http://pinoybooktours.blogspot.com/2015/08/ongoing-never-always-sometimes-by-adi.html


It was almost one in the morning and I was browsing my Facebook news feeds when I saw about the Maybelline workshop. Miss Gem of Rare Vanity was inviting 30 participants to join for the said event plus meet and greet. I’ve been following the blog site of Miss Gem for quite some time now and I was hoping to see her in person. The workshop was blessing in disguise and I immediately registered for a slot.
The Dream Academy Workshop which introduced that No Make-up Look happened last July 25 at Rustan’s SM Makati.

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It was also the launching of Maybelline’s newest products: Dream Satin Skin Liquid Foundation and Dream Satin Skin Two Way Cake.

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Miss Chuchie Ledesma, Maybelline’s leading make-up artist gave helpful tips and awesome tricks about make-up!
*In choosing a foundation, test it with your jawline. Choose the THREE shades that are closest to you. The shade that DISAPPEAR is the one perfect for you!

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* For beginner and for fast application, use pencil eyeliner. But for a no make-up look, eye liner should not be applied.

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*Use MASCARA instead because it helps to open your eyes and it doesn’t make your eyes look strong.

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*Eyelash curler FIRST before you add mascara. Avoid pumping with your mascara. And yes, you can use two mascaras!

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Here are some tidbits about Miss Gem and how she started her beauty blog!

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“I really like make-up when I was young. It was September 1, 2007 when I said it is okay to use make-up because it makes you feel good about yourself.”

~The best thing about beauty blogging is… “Playing with make-up!”
~How to start beauty blogging? “Choose your platform. You have to be consistent. You have to be dedicated.”
~Most effective for Miss Gem is liquid eyeliner, for long-lasting effect, gel eyeliner is perfect and for those who have oily eyelids, eye liner pencil is advisable.
It was a great event and it was fun meeting the lovely and very nice Miss Gem of Rare Vanity!

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Hi Miss Gem!

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With Miss Chuchie!

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The beautiful model!

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From Maybelline’s Facebook page

Thank you so much for the cool freebies! I learned a lot and I enjoyed the workshop!


I’ve been quite busy and had been out of town for three weeks that’s why when I came back from Manila, I was eager to attend an event.
Luckily, I saw L’Occitane’s En Provence hands-on workshop featuring their newest addition the Pivone Sublime. The event took place at Rustan’s Cubao last July 24.

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Last year, I was fortunate to attend their Immortelle Divine Youth Oil launching, read it more here:https://perksbewithyou.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/workshop-and-launch-of-loccitane-en-provence-divine-youth-oil/
This time around, the Pivone Sublime comes from lovely Peony.

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It is said that Peony is great source for hydration and refining effect.
The Pivone Sublime is intended for reducing fine lines, brings collagen to the skin especially if it started to degrade and remove dullness which brings fresh and rosy glow in your skin.
The participants were given a free hand massage while waiting for the workshop to start. Miss Ana Grape was the facilitator who talked about tidbits about peony and informed us about the Pivone Sublime line: facial wash, moisturizing cream, serum, lip stick and CC cream.

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I love the Pivone Sublime CC Cream! It is not sticky and it easily absorbs on the skin. Too bad during the workshop, it was sold out. I wanted to try any of their products and for a starter; I bought one of their soaps which are perfect for sensitive skin like mine. I got 10% off because I attended the workshop! Yahoo!

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Photo from my.loccitane.com

The original price of Shea Butter Extra Milk Gentle Soap is 315 php. I’m using it right now on my face for three days already and I haven’t seen much of effect though but I’ll keep you updated.
How about you? Are you using any L’Occitane En Provence products? Any recommendations?