BOOK REVIEW: Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala

BOOK REVIEW: Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. ManansalaArsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1)
by Mia P. Manansala
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

Review:

Arsenic and Adobo was a fun cozy mystery that I adored. With heartwarming characters and a mystery that kept me on my toes, this book was definitely entertaining. If you enjoy stories about family, friendship and putting clues together, then you will want to add this one to your tbr!

I grinned as he seemed to squirm with delight. “Good, huh?”
He let out a long, drawn-out sigh but didn’t answer.
I put my hands on my hips. “Oh, come on. Would it kill you to say something nice for a change?”
He responded by convulsing violently, then face-planting right into the dish.

Lila Macapagal moved back home to help her family’s restaurant, since they were struggling.  Right off the bat we got to meet her ex, Derek. He was a local food blogger and critic who never had anything positive to say, yet he still dined at their restaurant.  This day he brought his stepfather with him, who was also their landlord. But during Derek’s meal, he died face first into his food.  With their landlord pointing the finger at them, Lila found herself being accused of poisoning her ex by the police!  What’s a girl to do?

We’ll be fine, I told myself. We didn’t do anything, so they couldn’t possibly find anything on us. Right? Right.
I sure hate it when I’m wrong.

Two of my favorite things about this story were the characters and the food!  One of my besties is Filipino, so while I’ve had a few of the meals mentioned (lumpia being my favorite that she cooks!), there were sooo many more that I desperately need to try!  The food sounded absolutely delicious, so be prepared for this book to make you hungry.  And much to my surprise and happiness, there were some of the recipes in the back of the book.  Loved it!

He squeezed my hand and leaned forward, eyes burning with conviction. “I swear to you, I will fix this. Just trust me, OK? Everything will be fine.”

Not only did I enjoy our main character, Lila, but everyone she surrounded herself with too.  There was her eccentric Grandmother and her Tita Rosie who I just wanted to hug and hang out in the kitchen with!  I wanted to go have a cup of coffee with her bestie Adeena and steal away Adeea’s very sexy brother, Amir.  I was kinda obsessed with him.  Amir’s a lawyer who helped Lila and her family out time and again.  There were definitely sparks there, but there was another guy in the picture too.  So while there were little hints of romance here and there, it never overshadowed the story.  And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll find out who Lila chooses in the next book.

I needed to figure out who killed Derek Winter.

As the story progressed, it seemed as though Lila was framed and setup time and again.   It didn’t help that Lila kept stumbling upon dead bodies.  She held it together for the most part, which was impressive because I would have lost it lol.  I truly didn’t know how it would all be fixed. So when Lila started investigating on her own, I was cheering for her every step of the way!  Arsenic and Adobo was an entertaining tale that was a delightful read!  I don’t reach for cozy mysteries near enough, but I definitely need to in the future!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Waylaid (True North #8) by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Waylaid (True North #8) by Sarina BowenWaylaid (True North #8)
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

It’s a tale as old as time: the bad boy meets the good girl. He makes a daring proposition. Then the boy gets a mysterious head injury and loses a year of his life…

The first time I meet Rickie, I don’t know what to make of him. The second time we meet, he doesn’t remember the six hours we spent together. Or standing me up afterward.

I’m not the same, either. I’ve got secrets. I’ve told lies. Bad boys aren’t my type, anyway. Even the ones with troubled gray eyes.

But now we’re roommates. Cue the awkward moments in the hallway when he’s wearing only a towel and a smile. He’s determined to win me over, and his talented hands weaken my resolve.

It’s all fun and games until my past rears its ugly head and his secrets come to light, shaking our fragile connection, maybe even breaking it…

Note: this is Daphne Shipley's story. Contents include Vermonty ice cream flavors, nerdy awkwardness, tattoos, and a playboy grandpa.

Review

I knew I needed a book about Rickie from the first time we laid eyes on him in Heartland. He was such an enigma to me and I knew that if we were to get a glimpse into what him, him that I would consume it in a day (I did).

I have said this in just about every True North review to this day but every time I start these books, I remember how good it feels to be back on the Shipley farm with one of my favorite fictional families in the entire universe. Right from the get go we see Rickie almost dying bc his poor body isn’t used to farm work quite yet (lol) and we see Daphne acting quite strange. Speaking of enigma’s, I have ALSO been dying to get Daphne’s story because she has always been the Shipley that I have feel the least connected to. I think it’s because when we first met Griffin she was still younger and she was in the background and then away at school ever since.

There was a tension between these two that we eventually find out stems from a meeting and budding friendship that Rickie knows nothing about. He went through some kind of traumatic injury years ago and just straight up can’t remember about an entire year of his life. I just KNEW right then and there that there was going to be some very delicious twists and turns in this book.

Boy was I right. As certain memories and even parts of Daphne’s past at Harkness start surfacing I began to have some suspicions about not only why Rickie’s memory was like it was, but who might be involved. I was right on somethings, wrong on others. The important part was how amazingly intricate it all was and how beautifully Bowen tied it all together. I was downright obsessed with the chemistry that Daphne and Rickie had, too. It was so hot and palpable.

The cherry on top was Daphne mending fences with her family after the entire truth came out AND of course Grandpa Shipley gettin’ some. LOL Love, love, LOVED this book and I don’t want my time with this family to ever end.

Huge thanks to Tuxbury Publishing LLC and Sarina Bowen for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.♥

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Play (Southern U O’Brien Brothers #2) by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Play (Southern U O’Brien Brothers #2) by Cookie O’GormanThe Perfect Play (Southern U OBrien Brothers #2)
by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

She’s playing to win.

Okay, so I probably shouldn’t have made that bet with Emmy. But come on! She was challenging me. Attract a guy in seven days? No problem.

Well…maybe just one.

The guy she chooses is her brother, Chase O’Brien aka golden-boy-Virgin and star pitcher for the Wolves. Unlike most guys, Chase seems immune to my charms—but I’ve always loved a challenge.

He’s playing for keeps.

Charlie never should’ve made that bet with my baby sister. But if she uses her magic touch to heal my arm and gets me back in the game? It’s all good.

Actually, the more time we spend together, the harder I fall. I always knew I’d recognize my soulmate when I found her—and Charlie’s the one.

Even if she doesn’t know it yet.

This new adult sports romance features a strong heroine with a soft center, a hot-bookish hero who believes in true love and a sexy set of brothers guaranteed to make you swoon.

Love is always the perfect play.

Review:

The Perfect Play was an instant favorite!  With friendship and romance laced throughout the pages, this book was impossible to put down.  Cookie’s books always make me laugh and smile, and again this one was such a huge hit!  If you’re looking for a romance story that is swoon worthy and will make you fall in love, then look no further, this is your book!

It was the nice guys you had to look out for. They were capable of real damage.
I needed to remember that unless I wanted to get hurt.

When Charlie accepted a bet from her roommate Emmy, she had no idea what was in store for her.  Attract a guy in seven days?  Piece of cake!  Charlie was mesmerizing and knew how to get a guy’s attention in the blink of an eye.  But Chase O’Brien?  He was a baseball star who was known as a good guy, read books at parties and was a virgin waiting for his soul mate.  Charlie definitely had her work cut out for her!

Her light blue eyes were intent on mine. “I was wondering when you’d get here.”
As she stopped in front of me and threw her arms around my neck, she whispered quickly, “Don’t read anything into this. It’s nothing. I just need you for a second.”
But it wasn’t nothing.
The thought flitted in and out of my head as her lips landed on mine.

Charlie was fun, passionate and cared deeply, I wanted to be best friends with her!  I loved that she knew how to get what she wanted.  Like getting the attention of the opposing school’s pitcher, so her home team could make a comeback lol!  She made me laugh so much!  But Charlie was hesitant about letting the opposite sex in.  She’d been burned in the past, so the moment a guy started to show any interest in her, she checked out.  Thankfully Charlie wanted to win that bet and Chase was stubborn and wasn’t about to let Charlie get away.

“Not going to lie though. Every now and then when I need a confidence boost, I look in the mirror and tell myself I’m pretty.”
Chase grinned. “That’s tragic.”
“You have something against good self-esteem?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “What I have a problem with is you calling yourself ‘pretty’ when you’re one of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever seen in my life.”
My breath hitched.

Chase was the ultimate book boyfriend!  He was intoxicating and swoon worthy!  At the end of The Best Mistake, he injured his arm.  He hadn’t been able to play baseball, and his team desperately needed him since he was their pitcher.  It was suffocating that he couldn’t just heal.  That everyone from his fans, to the team to even his family who loved him, made it seem like the teams whole future rested on his shoulders.  I just wanted to reach into the book and give him a hug because he made me cry, my heart hurt for him.  So when Charlie stepped into the picture, she was a breath of fresh air and made sides of Chase come out that had me smiling and sighing out loud!

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt anything, let alone actual electricity, with such an innocent kiss. I’d die before admitting it. To Chase or to anyone. But there had been something…

I loved watching Charlie and Chase form a friendship.  It felt so real!  Their moments together made me obsess over every single word or touch between them.  They were so addictive together and I loved that we got to alternate each chapter between them!  But you guys….Chase had this sexy, intense side and I. Was. Obsessed!  So then when he stood up and defended Charlie’s honor, I didn’t think I could fall any harder for him but I did.   I couldn’t get enough of the two of them together.  They were the best of being endearing and oh so hot, they became one of my favorite couples ever.  I was rooting for them every step of the way!

“The truth is I’ve been thinking about you every hour of every day.”
He bit his lip, shook his head once before continuing.
“My mind is full of you,” he said. “I want to run my fingers through your hair …to know what that feels like. I want to talk to you for hours until we’re both too tired to move, and we fall asleep right next to each other. I want to feel you in my arms. And if that sounds too romantic, well, I have other thoughts, too.”
“Do you?” I breathed.

While you can easily read this as a standalone, I can’t recommend the book before this enough.  The Best Mistake was just as fabulous!  That story was about Charlie’s bestie, Honor, and Chase’s brother, Archer.  And in this story we got to spend time with other favorites too like Baylor, June and so many more!  This has become one of my favorite romance series and I can’t wait to see who the next book is about!  The Perfect Play was a swoon worthy story that romances lovers will fall hard for!  I can’t recommend it enough!

“Hey Charlie,” I said.
“Yeah?”
Putting my hand against the doorframe, leaning down so I was speaking into her ear from behind, I said softly, “You don’t have to worry. When I find my soulmate, there won’t be any hesitation on my end. My girl will know she’s the one for me. I’ve waited a lifetime to meet her. When I do, I’m never letting go.”
Charlie swallowed.
“That intense enough for you?” I asked.
“Yeah. That was…yeah,” she said again. 

PS Who knew spooning could be so hot?! *fans face*

I was having difficulty denying what my heart had been telling me for days.
Her.
She’s the one.
You are hers, and she is for you.

PPS I love the list!!!!!!!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

GIVEAWAY & Excerpt: The Perfect Play (Southern U O’Brien Brothers #2) by Cookie O’Gorman

 

I just finished this book and it was AMAZING!  My 5 Star Review will be up on our blog tomorrow.  But till then you can enter a fabulous giveaway and take a peak at what this story is about.  Enjoy ♥

The Perfect Play
Cookie O’Gorman
(Southern U O’Brien Brothers, #2)
Publication date: July 8th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Sports

She’s playing to win.

Okay, so I probably shouldn’t have made that bet with Emmy. But come on! She was challenging me. Attract a guy in seven days? No problem.

Well…maybe just one.

The guy she chooses is her brother, Chase O’Brien aka golden-boy-Virgin and star pitcher for the Wolves. Unlike most guys, Chase seems immune to my charms—but I’ve always loved a challenge.

He’s playing for keeps.

Charlie never should’ve made that bet with my baby sister. But if she uses her magic touch to heal my arm and gets me back in the game? It’s all good.

Actually, the more time we spend together, the harder I fall. I always knew I’d recognize my soulmate when I found her—and Charlie’s the one.

Even if she doesn’t know it yet.

This new adult sports romance features a strong heroine with a soft center, a hot-bookish hero who believes in true love and a sexy set of brothers guaranteed to make you swoon.

Love is always the perfect play.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Excerpt:

Changing directions, I strode over to his table, tapped him on the shoulder and waited for him to look up.

“Oh hey,” he said as his light gray eyes settled on me. I wondered if he even remembered my name. We’d met on several occasions. His brother’s girlfriend was my best friend. But who knew with this guy? “Did you want something?”

“Yeah,” I said, crossing my arms. “You need to leave. Now.”

Chase blinked. “What?”

“The library is a place for learning, and you’re causing a ruckus.”

“Ruckus?” he repeated then shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

“I can’t be any clearer. You’re disturbing the peace. No one can concentrate.” I put some authority into my voice, then said, “I’m going to have to ask you again to leave.”

Chase tilted his head. “Is this a joke?” he asked. “Did Baylor put you up to this?”

I couldn’t control my eyeroll. “No, your dumb, panty-thieving twin didn’t put me up to anything.”

“Well, I was just reading.”

“Doesn’t matter,” I said. “You have to go.”

Chase leaned back, really looking at me now. “Do you work here or something?”

Refusing to let him see me fidget, I put a hand on my hip.

“No,” I said.

“Then technically,” he said, “you can’t make me leave. Can you?”

“But—”

“I’m on good terms with Blanche,” he said, giving a nod to the librarian, who sent him a smile and fluttery wave in return. “She’d never throw me out. This has been fun, but I should get back to my book.”

I stared him down, determined not to leave until I’d had my full say.

After a few seconds, Chase sighed then looked up again.

“Is there something else?” he asked.

“Yeah, there is,” I said, pointing a finger at him. “First, would it kill you to be more pleasant? I thought you were supposed to be the nice brother.”

Chase shut his book carefully and gave me his full attention. “Like you were being so nice a second ago?”

I sniffed. “My behavior isn’t in question. You’re the one making it difficult for everyone else to study.”

“How am I doing that?”

“Ask the three girls sitting over there,” I said, giving a nod in Delia, Sandy, and Tamara’s direction. “They haven’t shut up since the moment you walked in. It would help if you’d stop throwing out all of these signals.”

“I was just reading my book!” Chase exclaimed.

I pointed at him again. “Yeah, in this super-hot way with your baseball cap pulled low and your forearms flexing every time you turn a page. I mean, seriously. How are the women in the room supposed to keep their minds on learning with all that going on?”

About Cookie O’Gorman:

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA & NA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE, NINJA GIRL, The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder, The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad, and Wallflower are out now! She is also the author of NA sports romances, The Best Mistake and The Perfect Play.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Newsletter

 


Giveaway:

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BOOK REVIEW: Grace and Glory (The Harbinger #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

BOOK REVIEW: Grace and Glory (The Harbinger #3) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutGrace and Glory (The Harbinger #3)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Trinity Marrow has lost the battle and her beloved Protector. Even with both demons and Wardens on her side, Trin may not win the war against the Harbinger.

Bringing Lucifer back to the world to fight the Harbinger is probably a really, really bad idea, but they’re out of options—and the world’s ultimate fallen angel is the only being powerful enough to impact the outcome.

As Trin and Zayne form a new and more dangerous bond and Lucifer unleashes Hell on earth, the apocalypse looms and the world teeters on the end of forever. Win or lose, one thing is certain—nothing will ever be the same.

Review:

Grace and Glory was a stunning conclusion to The Harbinger Series!  With tears, laughter, friendship and love splashed across the pages, this book was such a huge win!  If you’re a fan of Jennifer L Armentrout or paranormal stories then you definitely need this series in your life!

“You can’t just be anger and hatred. That can’t be all that you are. You didn’t just start existing the moment you landed in the park. You had an entire life. You are kind and good and fair. You love. You grieve. You—”
“I am none of those things!” he roared, wings snapping out and spreading wide.

Zayne was back and alive, but not the same.  He was fallen.  So when he threatened Trinity, my heart was in my throat not knowing how this was going to be fixed.  I desperately needed Zayne and Trinity back together.  Not only did it feel as though the whole world was falling apart around them, but I desperately wanted them to get their HEA.  With obstacles along the way, and even Lucifer coming topside, this book kept me glued to the pages!

This was him. It was his skin against my palms, and it was warm, no longer cool to the touch, his breath coasting over my cheek. It was him holding me.
It was Zayne.

Zayne will forever be one of my favorite book boyfriends.  But he had so much anger and hatred when he came back.  And while I should hate him for how he treated Trinity, there’s a huge but.  Even while Zayne didn’t seem like himself, their physical need for each other was still there.  Some of the scenes may have felt wrongish, since he was threatening to kill her lol, BUT they were sooooo scorching hot *fans face*.  Zayne and Trinity had this love hate thing going on and I have to admit I loved every minute of it.

“You are all I ever wanted, even before I knew what I wanted. It was you. It was always you,” he whispered, voice raw.

The amount of sacrifice and risks they took blew my mind.  We watched as Trinity had to have faith in herself and the love she had with Zayne, while she fought for them and the world.  She was truly a heroine you could look up to and respect.  And Zayne, he fell, it seemed like the greatest of sacrifices.  I loved watching them fully embrace who they had both become.  Ultimately I kept hoping that their love was powerful enough to conquer all.  We all know how much Zayne suffered, even back in The Dark Elements Series.  So I had tears at times because I just wanted them back together and happy.

Slowly, I lifted my head to Roth. I’d never been more disappointed in my life.
“They don’t get out much,” he said with a shrug.
“Kittens?” I whispered. “And a baby dragon? Seriously? You brought kittens and a baby dragon as backup? Are they a snack for Bambi?”
The black kitten hissed at me.

Zayne and Trinity thankfully had their friends by their side too.  Layla, Roth, Bambi, Cayman and so many Wardens that wove their way into my heart.  I loved them all so much.  We even got to see a character from The Dark Elements Series, who I shouldn’t have been excited to see but I was lol.  Plus Peanut, who I adored!  And then there was Lucifer, who we weren’t supposed to like….right?!  But he cracked me up and while I wanted more time with him, Lucifer also showed us his horrifically cruel side.  It was a hard pill to swallow and left me feeling confused towards him.  So make sure you hold on, because this cast of characters will take you on a wild and crazy ride!

“So, I’m told I’m needed to save the world.”
“Yeah,” I said hoarsely.
Lucifer smiled, and I’d never seen anything so beautiful and so equally frightening before. Goose bumps broke out over my f lesh. “Then let’s raise some Hell.”

With twists I didn’t see coming, deals to be bargained, risks that seemed too great and even betrayal, I loved every minute of this story!  Grace and Glory owned every part of me!  Plus I’m so happy that there was an element left open, so there can be a spinoff down the road.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someday that will happen!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Other Favorite Quotes:

“You’re going to wear yourself out.” His lips ghosted across the curve of my jaw, sending a fairly inappropriate shiver dancing over my skin . “And then what, little nephilim? No grace. No daggers. It’ll just be me and you.”
“It’s always been just you and me, Zayne.”
 
 “There’s no way Roth is planning to get Lucifer topside. That would make no sense, right?” Zayne looked at me, and I shrunk as far as I could into the cushion. “Because wouldn’t that jump-start the biblical apocalypse and cause us to have even more problems to deal with?”
“Weeelll,” I repeated. “We’re sort of hoping that God will overlook his presence since we’re trying to save mankind and Heaven, and you know.”
“No. I do not know.” Zayne stared at me.
 
“I am not worthy of you.”
“That’s the farthest thing from the truth.”
“It’s not. You’re brave and strong. Fearless. You’re intelligent, kind and loyal.” His large hands slid to my hips. “You’re breathtaking.” He kissed my neck , and I shuddered. “I want you, now and always.”
 
“So, Lucifer did come topside, and good news is he did agree to help. Was actually pretty enthusiastic about it.”
There was a pause and then Nicolai said, “Okay?”
“But we, uh…” My entire body and brain cringed. “We sort of lost Lucifer.”
 
Zayne’s gaze met mine when I looked up. He nodded as he said, “Agreed. We need to go at him fast and hard.”
“That sounds dirty, Stony,” Roth purred.
I shook my head at the phone.
Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)

Storm and Fury #1
Reviews:

Jen
 
Rage and Ruin   #2
Reviews:

Jen

Grace and Glory #3
Reviews:

Jen

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