Tag Archives: writing

Otherwise Occupied by Shay Savage

Otherwise Occupied

My thoughts

After having read Otherwise Alone, I’m intrigued if Evan Arden will be able to meet Lia in book two, Otherwise Occupied. This isn’t the first book I’ve read from this author, Shay Savage. Surviving Raine is my all-time favorite book and its sequel Bastian’s Storm will be always special to me. Seeing Bastian in a happy ending is the best way to conclude his story and knowing a kind of guy like him deserves his second chance.

Otherwise Occupied is about Evan Arden whose life revolves around his job and lives to please his mob boss, Moretti. He’s living in denial and crave for the companionship of a hooker, Brigitte, in return he gave her special attention. He doesn’t normally show care or concern with anyone except for Brigitte.

To avoid nightmares at night, he took Brigitte home to let her give him blowjob and allow her to sleep in his bed. That closeness, her smell and warmth of her body gives him peace of mind and nightmare-free at night. With someone beside him during the night, he could sleep. But then, his thoughts automatically wanders to that woman who unexpectedly arrived in his shack in the middle of the Arizona desert. Lia Antonio. As much as he wants to forget Lia, the thoughts of her and their lovemaking in that one lonely night in his shack kept coming back to him.

Reading about a hit man isn’t my first read. My first hit man was Cain, Killing Game by Felicity Heaton and it’s a novella. I’m not going to compare since they are different books although the heroes are both professional hit man. Both are hired to kill without remorse. My first hit man came from a rich family and isn’t even a broken guy. He isn’t even suffering from any emotional anxiety unlike Evan. He was just compelled to do the job because he ran away from home. He’s broke and needed the money to survive alone in New York. 

What I’m saying is that my experience reading Evan Arden who’s one heck of a damn Marine sniper, suffering from psychosis, tried to pretend that his life is normal and nothing is wrong with him. Just like normal people, we are a master of disguise. We pretend that we are fine but deep inside we are just like Evan.

Evan was having trouble with his PTSD. He’s in denial. He wants to feel nothing and deals with it with flying colours. But then, a person has his limitations. Everyone has their breaking point. He is like a balloon, when he can’t contain his thoughts and emotions he exploded big time, which is imminent for someone who is suffering from PTSD. The last part of the book, Evan frightens me and at the same time my heart weeps for him. I pity him because he has no one to care for him at the time he needed someone to be at his side. Odin was just lucky that at the last part Lia was there. Lia saw Evan broke down and being tugged down by a team of SWAT Team.

Otherwise Occupied isn’t an all-nighter book for me. I could go back to reading it without annoyance and remember the details even if I skipped from reading it in a day or two. If I was stoked with reading Surviving Raine series, Otherwise Occupied is still a book worth-reading but be prepared for some explicit sex scenes and violent killings.

Of course, I’m off to reading the third book, Otherwise Unharmed.

Ratings:       4 Stars


Bastian’s Storm

Bastian's storm

My Summary

Bastian and Raine are now living off in a condo in Miami near the beach. It was a truce they both agreed since Raine didn’t want to be reminded  her life in their own little island. For Raine it was hell, to him it was his heaven. The island is his own salvation; his paradise.

Everything she loved, I hated. Everything that frightened her, I loved.

After being rescued, Bastian has been struggling to control his anger and kept it securely locked somewhere in his control system so that he wouldn’t get into trouble  with Raine. At the same time,  he’s been fighting  to keep himself sober since they were rescued but the call of the alcohol in his body was always there inviting him; teasing him to get at least a sip. He knew he could control the urge but the talk he just had with Landon was weakening his resolve to stay sober. He needed the drink but he knew his relationship with Raine would end the minute he took that drink. He needed it but he couldn’t live without his Raine.

But then being out of the mob doesn’t mean you’re really out. Leaving is not an option once you are part of it. He knew that at the back of his mind but still believe he could get out of their control. Bastian has no choice but to go and fight again this time for Raine and his son, Alex. After learning from Landon that he has a son and the boy’s under Franks custody tightened his resolved to accept the fight leaving him no option. This is the fight he wanted most to win. He knew the cycle  would never end. Landon would always ask for a favor and would always assure him that he will be released after he won the tournament but not really. He knew that his family – the family that he never had – will always be used as pawn against him and to push him to do their bidding.  He knew he must kill Franks including Landon, his father figure.

My curiosity was pricked by Evan Arden, the guy representing  Moretti in the tournament. He is an ex-Marine sniper and Bastian’s  best contender in the tournament. Bastian knows  little about him; and the more he needed to be cautious.

The twist was a surprise for me. Although I am tempted to give out some spoilers, this time I wouldn’t give in.

My Review

I’ve been putting this off for a while not because I don’t like it. I’m a bit afraid that this book may not outdo its first installment.  Surviving Raine is my all time favorite and being disappointed in book two is like a disaster I would like to avoid as much as possible.

What I love most other than Bastian is his son, Alex. Physically,  Alex was a copy cat of Bastian. He’s cute and adorable. Seeing the boy  is like watching himself in that same age he was. Seeing his mannerisms from the boy melts his warrior heart.

Always the sex scenes are smoking hot. it always makes me wish to be in Raine’s place for once. That It was me humping Bastian. Lol. Nothing has changed. Their love for each other was stronger than before. Raine is always there for him even if he’s grumpy all the time.

I like how Bastian love Raine. His love for Raine is a woman’s dream to have that kind of man beside her. RAINE HERE is extraordinary. How she put up with Bastian’s behavior whenever he is being overly grumpy around her friends has shown her maturity to understand him and keep their relationship strong and intact.

The action scenes are bloody but on a tolerable level.

There are two things that annoyed me. One Lindsay; two, the book cover.

Lindsay is insensitive and childish for bringing in and drinking wine while Sebastian had been struggling for a while to keep himself sober. It’s rude to bring in wine when it’s not even her house; much more inviting someone to ask a toss and drink iced tea instead. If I would be in his shoes, I would be insulted.

Two, I agree with some reviewers. The book cover needs revision. Really. There’s no way I pictured Bastian would look  that way.

Other than these two I find the book worth reading. If like me you’re really into Bastian there’s no way that you shouldn’t pass on this. It’s a must read. Though I love more Surviving Raine, Bastian’s Storm will be always be special to me. Seeing him have his own happy ending this time is a bliss for me.

★★★★ stars


The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

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“You can obsess and obsess over how things ended—what you did wrong or could have done differently—but there’s not much of a point. It’s not like it’ll change anything. So really, why worry?”

 

I picked this book solely based on its title.  Yes, I’ve read some of the good and bad reviews and still I go on with it. I just hope it will turn out different.

The story is about Brie who died from broken heart, literally. Her father is dumbfounded to learn the cause of her daughter’s death. He even becomes obsessed to find answers why and how her daughter died of acute massive coronary when he knew his daughter is strong and healthy.

Brie is selfish. She didn’t listen with Jeff. She didn’t listen again with Patrick. She’s too stubborn. She’s overwhelmed with her emotions and unreasonable most of the time. You can’t really make a person listen to you unless he chooses to right? It’s like you’re trying so hard to wake up a person who pretends that he’s sleeping.

Grief has 5 stages – Denial,  Anger,  Bargaining,  Sadness and Acceptance and Brie has gone through all this stage. The best part is her acceptance and as much as I would love to reveal what is Patrick ‘s role in her life I wouldn’t spoil the fun. I’ll try to keep the good stuff for myself this time. HahaI have to admit there’s a portion in the  book that put me into sleep most of the time. Some parts are annoying and I’ve wished it was not there so I wouldn’t have to suffer from reading it.Reading about a heroine in 10th grade is too much for my patience. I guess this is the consequence of picking a book not appropriate for my age. I should have seen this coming. But I wanted to read something new and it’s my first time to read a book from this author. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?


As I said there are dull moments and felt like a pain in the butt. I have no choice but to  drag myself to continue with it so I wouldn’t have regrets if it turns out good. I simply don’t want to abandon it. If this turns out bad, well, it’s part of life. Just like in the movie,  when Forest Gump said that life is like a box of chocolate,  you’ll never know what you’ll gonna get. That’s the same with picking a book, eh?

This is what I’ve gone through while reading it. There are times I wanted to give up and check out other books that I’m sure much better than this. It’s tiring to watch Brie hurt herself over again for someone who doesn’t deserve her. It’s much more easy to let it go than scheme revenge  for Jeff and Sadie than subject herself through pain again.

Why did I ever read this, you might ask. Why put myself in this situation when I can choose a better one? A friend of mine died. We’re not close friends or as in close as in you can make him mad for throwing mean jokes at him and still OK with it. He’s one of my Facebook friends. I’ve wished it had been more real. Even if we’re online friends he makes me feel he’s real. He died June 26, 2014. I was surprised the following day upon reading in my Facebook feed that he already passed away. I knew he was recovering then and the shock to find that he was gone was like I’ve lost a good friend.

I was thankful and lucky that I’ve met someone like him. He might never read this but I hope he would feel that I will surely miss him.  He’s a great man and I knew his family will surely missed him.

Where was I? Oh, back to the story.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a sad story. But then, that’s really the book is all about. It’s a good read for those trying to take a glimpse how a dead person cope with his death. How Brie copes with the five stages of grief.

Would you want to read it? If you are up to reading YA, well, this book will suit you. If you’re not used to  reading teens whining and being unreasonable at times at least you can avoid it or have an open mind and give this book a try.

Would I consider re-reading this? No way. That will be like dying twice. Hahaha 


4 Stars


J.J. Graves Mysteries by Liliana Hart

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When it rains, it pours. 

I was on a trip with my husband and left my Kindle back home which I normally do. Being captive and unproductive in a place made me uneasy and restless. The place we’ve been to was calling  for a good book. It was green, peaceful and quiet.  I checked my Samsung Note for anything to read since I have installed Amazon Kindle in it. I’ve got a few loan books which I downloaded from Amazon but never read any of it in my smart phone. Having read some of Liliana Hart’s Mackenzie series, I opted to pick Dirty Little Secrets without any idea about the book.

Dirty Little Secrets is one of the four books in the series. I learned this when I got home and checked Goodreads about the book. If I learned  earlier that these are series and that there is a fourth book coming up by Fall of this year I wouldn’t have read it. I honestly have low tolerance for books in installment. I could put up with two up to three series but not with book four on its tow. Reading book series is like shopping on impulse. It makes you buy more things you don’t need and will only add up in my growing list of to-be-read-books. You’ll just learn later on that isn’t worth a dime and end up disappointed or the new series had just destroyed  the earlier installment or vice versa. A new installment could make or break an already phenomenal book.

But in this case, I was so wrong. After I read book one, I was craving to read all the series and ended up buying books two and three.

The book was written in JJ’s POV. JJ Graves is a fourth generation mortician. She used to have a well paying job as a hospital doctor when she was later forced to move back in Bloody Mary, Virginia after her parents died. Moving in in Bloody Mary was a setback in her plans since she needed to pay her  loans and a single woman with a kind of job she has now would not land her a boyfriend in this small town.

She’s broke and lonely. She hated her job but had no choice. She took over her family’s legacy, Graves Funeral Home, even if she despised it. She volunteers as a coroner out of guilt for her parents’ status as undesirable citizens of their town. She works with her hot best friend county sheriff, Jack Lawson.

JJ is a believable character. I could relate myself with her. How she make do with what she have and doesn’t take advantage of Jack’s offer to borrow money from him. She’s smart – ass with a great sense of humor. She could make you laugh with her sarcastic and witty humor.

There’s a serial killer on the loose killing some of their friends. They are discovering secrets from these deaths that even themselves caught surprised. It’s the usual formula in a suspense romance novel one could read from the same genre. But what made this interesting and worth buying is that, for me, it’s something new and without having read its reviews prior to reading this book, is like finding a gold mine in a barren land.

I love Jack. He has ways of making his feelings known so that  JJ would get used to it. He expressed his feelings even in an awkward situation and yet he comes out so cute. Every time he did that I couldn’t help but giggle and swoon. He’s lovable without being too mushy. His persona as a sheriff is as tough as a rock but when he lets his feelings come out, boy, I envy JJ. She’s so damn lucky. Sigh.

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Reading book installment is like an unopened gift you will never know what’s inside it unless you opened one. I was surprised to have read the first book and couldn’t stop from reading it till the end. When I got home, I took out my Kindle and read the second book, A Dirty Shame.

Book two, A Dirty Shame, is much more enjoyable than its previous installment. Here, JJ and Jack’s love story was given a chance. In book one, you could only feel the slight built up of romance between the two but no one dared to open up each other’s feelings. Just oblique hints from gorgeous hunk county sheriff Jack Lawson. In book two, Jack made known his intentions with JJ. If he’s patient in the first book, here he showed who’s in charged. I love how Jack made me feel his love for JJ.The second book started to clear some issues that concerns her roots. Here she learned some of the secrets her parents had kept from her all her life.

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In book three, Dirty Little Scoundrel, JJ was surprised to find out a dead body hidden in her parents’ bunker. And to her shock, JJ’s father is alive. She also learned his boyfriend’s past which intrigued her ever since he came home to Bloody Mary. She knew Jack had a great career as a SWAT cop in DC but something came up and he had to leave the job he loved. In this installment, someone is killing off all of the members of Jack’s former SWAT Team. Also, Jack’s old flame showed up in Bloody Mary which somehow complicated their relationship.

The only problem I have right now is I have to wait for the fourth book which will be released by November. I’m frustrated because I want the FOURTH INSTALLMENT NOW!  I hope it would be the last installment. Although the three books are worth buying, and since I’ve read the three books IN RAPID SUCCESSION, I would likely buy the fourth book, and I pray it would be the last. Although all three books are great, I honestly could tolerate another installment.

 4 Stars each for Dirty Little Secrets, A Dirty Shame, and Dirty Little Scoundrel


Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household

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One good thing about reading a book written in first person POV, it gives me access to the protagonist mind. It excites me. He lets me see and feel his emotions over things that he’ll going to do next. I could feel him through his words.  I could feel I was there right beside him. I could feel everything.

Rogue Male was my second quest in my pursuit to read something ‘classic’ and outside of my comfort zone. The first attempt was the The Collected Short Stories of Lydia Davis which I don’t think I could finish immediately. This was a task I imposed lately upon myself to widen my reading experience.

Our male protagonist was a wealthy aristocrat Englishman and well traveled. He was unnamed the entire book but every where he went every one knew him. He was named Rogue Male, a sobriquet given to him by the law enforcement and those who wanted to kill him. Eventually, he was captured and tortured.

He was accused of stalking and plotting to assassinate Hitler and they believed he was employed by his government to do the job. They believed he was on a solo mission and were shaken that a man like him could undertake  such impossible quest. He vehemently denied their accusations against him but no one believed him. After he was brutally  tortured, they took him over the cliff and left him there alone. He considered death as his escape; a cure for his pain. He should be happy of this but couldn’t feel it. He moved slowly out of the marsh where he dropped and looked for a place dark enough to hide his body, get some sleep and gather his strength.

He knew it would not be long before Hitler’s minions would be back to look for his body and make his death appear an accident. Now, the hunter is being hunted. He needed to survive. 
He went back to his mother country because he thought he would be safe there. But he was wrong. Hitler’s minions are still after him.

He devised a plan. His present condition had forced him to live like an animal and think like one. Hiding under the ground in a small space isn’t one would wish to live forever. He knew his hunter  will soon discover his hiding place.

The events that followed made me antsy and edgy. The throbbing of my heartbeat was up notched enough to make me deaf. Oblivious of the loud whizzing of my decrepit old electric fan near at the corner of my bed didn’t distract me from tearing my eyes off of the page.

Reading Rogue Male was a big surprise for me. I was like watching a James Bond movie only in a paper back version. I pictured Sean Connery as the Rogue Male here.

A great deal of the story was spent on how he built his underground hole and how would he live there without attracting  attention to himself. Which I find too detailed, too long  and made me a little sleepy. But I understand the author. It was really needed so that as a reader I would know how one could live like an outlaw. How would it feel like  being hunted by both the law enforcement and the hired killer. One wanted him locked up in jail. The other one wanted him dead.

The part how he outsmarted Quive-Smith made me fist into the air and shouted ‘Yes!’

How did he survive Quive-Smith? What drove him to go on a solo mission to plot and kill the worst leader of all time? I’m not going to write it here. I suggest you read Rouge Male.


Always You

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What if you knew you’re going to die because of a disease that also killed your father? You knew it’s coming but don’t exactly know when the symptoms will ever appear or not. But you have more time to live it, meaningfully. You have more time to spend it wisely with your love ones. Your family knew it and somehow they have warnings. You will be ready. They, too, will be ready. Would you pick this kind of life for you?

What if you never knew when will your life ends? You’re healthy. You live carefree. You live one day at a time and then in a blink of an eye you’ll die in an accident. Without warning you’re gone.You’re not ready. Your family isn’t ready. They are not prepared. Would you pick this kind of life for you?

Given the chance, which one of the two would you choose?

For me, I honestly don’t want to choose. I’m afraid one day I’ll die because of an incurable disease or in an accident or worst old age. I don’t want to be put in a home care while waiting for my body to wither each day and become helpless.  But if I have no other option I want my life to end without becoming a burden to my family. I don’t want to see them suffering while I’m in pain and struggling for my last breath. I want it peaceful. I want it to happen while I was sleeping and I don’t have to wake up.

Death isn’t an easy subject for me. I don’t know if I would have the same attitude the way Dalton accepted his fate. The way he faced his disease and kept a positive outlook towards life showed a strong character few people could possess.  He’s full of hope. He has the love and support of his family and Wrenn, her girlfriend.

After reading I Am No One You Know by Joyce Carol Oates, I decided to pick this book. Always You is a light read but will make you question how you view your life right now.


The Cat and The Smoker

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photo credit The New Yorker

The Smoker by David Schickler

I accidentally came across this short story from a writer I frequently stalked for something I would like to read in her blog. I think she wrote one article for The New Yorker. She said she liked the story and mentioned something about a cat. I have no idea what the story is all about except that there’s a cat in it. So I clicked the link and I was redirected to The New Yorker website. I saw the title and the cover photo first caught my attention. Then, I saw myself reading it. I read it slowly and devoured every line. When I reached page 8, I exclaimed, “Is that it?!” I frantically looked for page 9 hoping I just missed it. But there’s really no page 9.

I liked The Smoker. It’s my second short stories I’ve read two days in a row. The first one is from Lydia Davis entitled, “Story.” I have a copy of her book The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis which I planned to read whenever I feel the need to acquaint myself with literary masterpiece.

I enjoyed reading The Smoker. I really liked it. The story is about Professor Douglas Kerchek and his brainy student Nicole Bonners. Nicole is intelligent, eccentric, well read and a headstrong woman. She knows what she wants even at the age of 19. Professor Douglas enjoys being alone, watching movies and has a boxer’s body with a PhD in his turf. He’s an attractive man, slightly attracted to his dangerously alluring student Nicole. But he never crosses the student – professor line. Until Nicole invited him to a family dinner and he met her parents.

I’ve watched the movie Meet The Parents and I remembered the cat in it. You’ll meet John Stapleton here.

The story is catchy and very entertaining. It immediately caught my attention and my eyes never leave the page until I’ve read everything. I’ve read it twice. No. More than twice until I’m satisfied and ready to let it go and move on to discover new ones to read.

 


The Fifth Favor. Shelby Reed

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My version of Adrian

The cover didn’t do justice for this exquisitely, well written book. It deserved more considering the numerous positive reviews it received from GR reviewers and readers. I won’t elaborate more. YOU have to read this book.

This is about über gorgeous high paid escort Italian man, Adrian. Adrian is an epic seducer, a gigolo. He’s the epitome of every woman’s fantasy in terms of giving pleasure. While reading this, I’m bowled out, blown away, and swept away by Adrian. I want him for myself too! LOL

This is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, toe-curling prose of sensuality, dammit, why can’t I write like that.

My favorite quotes:

“Because of how I feel for you. I won’t cheapen it by buying what you sell to strangers. I’m not a stranger.
I’m the woman who loves you.”

“Walking away from you with a broken heart is easier to handle than selling my soul to make love with you. I’m sorry, Adrian. I might be lonely, and naïve, and all the things you think about me. But I’m also true to myself, and I won’t denigrate my feelings for you.

They’re much too precious in a world that offers so little love.”

Cheesy right? That’s the point. It’s romance. It’s fiction.