Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Would Make Good Video Games

This weekly meme is created by Lainey of Ginger Reads Lainey and Sam of Thoughts on Tomes . You can check out the weekly topics on the Top 5 Wednesday – Goodreads Page. This week’s topic is about books that I think can be good as video games. 🙂 There are lots to choose from and breaking down to five is quite challenging.

  • In the Company of Killers by J.A. Redmerski – This is the first one that came out of my mind. I think it’s going to be an amazing action/shooting game. Story mode: Pick an assassin as playable characters or it can be a co-op multiplayer game or even VS Game. Shit. It’s. Going. To. Be. A. BLOODY.
  • Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco – For this, it’s going to be an adventure/horror game. Okiku (The ghost) will be the playable character in helping lost souls as they seek justice and Okiku is the one to hunt them down.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – Survival / Adventure Role Playing Game. Mark Watney as playable character as he figures out to survive in Mars and communicate back to Earth. Eventually, he gets back to Earth. P.S. BOTANY POWERS
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Adventure/Magical game. It’s going to have a Harry Potter-kind of vibes. Better experience in Virtual Reality.
  • Legend by Marie Lu – RPG / Action / Adventure either June or Day will be playable characters. Each will have their own story mode. Well… good luck on Champion. ALTERNATIVE ENDING PLS. Haha!

 

What are some books do you think can be great video games? Let me know your thoughts on the comments!

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Cover Reveal [Excerpt + Giveaway] : Lessons in Losing It by Jessica Peterson

LiLiI’m excited to share with you guys the cover of the fourth book in the Study Abroad series Lessons in Losing It by Jessica Peterson! It will be Fred and Rachel’s story and it’s going to be a friends-to-lovers kind of romance.  This book is set to release on June 2nd, 2017 and you may pre-order this book on Amazon , iTunes , and Kobo for only $0.99!

Summary (Goodreads)

Just friends…

That’s all soccer star Fred Ohr wants to be with Rachel Collins, the American student he meets at party in his adopted hometown of Madrid.  He’s looking for the real deal—someone who’ll stick around Spain for more than a semester—so he resolves to keep her at arm’s length.  Even if she is sexy as hell.  Smart.  And as crazy about sports as he is.

But friends don’t kiss.  They don’t do sleepovers.  And they definitely don’t get rug burn from having the best sex ever on the living room carpet.

Fred and Rachel’s connection is instant.  Intense.  He loves to cook breakfast for her.  She loves it when he cooks wearing nothing but his glasses.

Only Rachel’s got a dream internship waiting for her back in the states.  And Fred is lining up a contract worth millions to stay in Madrid.  They’re playing with fire to keep seeing each other like this.  But how can they resist when the sex is so great—really, really freaking great—and the fun they have together is even better?

author-photo-1About the Author:

Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Mr. Darcy, Jamie Fraser (OMG love the gingers!), and Edward Cullen, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark and handsome heroes of her own.

She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Mr. Peterson, and her smelly Goldendoodle Martha Bean.

Get to read the First two chapters of Lessons in Losing It and a chance to win $25 Amazon or Apple Gift via Rafflecopter! Click here to join.

 

LESSONS IN LOSING IT First Chapters

Uncorrected Proof

Copyright 2017 by Peterson Paperbacks

Chapter 1

Fred

Madrid, Spain

December

        It’s just after midnight, and the celebration is in full swing.  Our squad captain’s swanky flat is bursting with people and noise and cigar smoke.  The floor throbs in time to a catchy pop song; girls dance on a nearby table.  One of them keeps looking at me.

        Well.  Checking me out, really.  Her eyes devour me from my legs up to my chest, but they stop there.  She doesn’t bother to look any higher than my neck.

        I slip out of the hall and make a beeline for the (relative) safety of the kitchen.  The euphoria of tonight’s win over our rival, Barcelona, is beginning to fade, and my hip is sore as fuck from the hit I took late in the match.

        Being ogled like just another footballer piece of meat is not doing wonders for my very real desire to get the hell out of here and read Harry Potter in bed.  I bloody love that little wizard and his mates.

        I use the bottle opener on my key ring to pop the top off one of the beers I brought with me.  I take a long, hard sip, wondering if it’s too early to pull a Houdini.

       

        I felt great on the pitch tonight.  I helped the squad cinch a huge victory—Spaniards can’t keep their pants on when it comes to the Madrid-Barcelona football rivalry.  I was on cloud nine, like I usually am when I’m playing footy.

        But now?  Now I’m tired and sore as hell, and after a half dozen post-match interviews, my capacity for small talk is nonexistent.

        As a solid introvert, I like to recuperate, alone, after the craziness of a match day.  Football is really the only thing that energizes me—it’s the only thing I’ve ever excelled at—so I’ve practically lived and breathed the sport since I was fifteen.

        It’s not a bad gig.  Not in the slightest.  I may feel a bit out of place at these parties.  But I love my job, and I’m fucking good at it.  I get paid an obscene amount of money.  Not that football’s ever been about the money for me, but it’s definitely a nice perk.

        Needless to say, I’m content with my lot.  Even if I do hate these parties and the girls that come to them.

        Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to find the sort of girl I’m looking for—the sort who’s genuinely interested in me and not my money or my body or my career.  I’m looking for a girl who wants the same things I do.

        A girl who wants to get serious, maybe have a family someday.  Not anytime soon, of course, but I don’t see the point in being with someone if our relationship doesn’t have forever potential.

        I head to living room, which just so happens to be one room closer to the nearest exit.  I’ve been at this party for a couple of hours already; I’ve paid my dues.  Time to go home.

        I hang out in the corner of the room and quickly drain the rest of my beer.  I’m digging my keys out of my pocket when Rhys Maddox, one of my few friends on the squad and our resident golden-haired heartthrob, claps me on the shoulder.  He nods at a group of girls, all of them pretty and smiling, across the room.  “Ready to go say hello?  Laura’s friends are lovely girls.”

        Laura is Rhys’s American girlfriend.  She’s funny, she’s nice, and she’s really great for Rhys (even though he may not know it yet).  Basically she’s one of my favorite people on Earth.

        I’ve seen these girls before; they’re her American friends she’s studying abroad with in Madrid.  I told Rhys earlier tonight that I’d introduce myself.  Now I’m really regretting that decision.  Hermoine and Ron are calling my name, and my hip is killing me.

        Shit.

        “They’re pretty,” I say, feigning anxiety when really I’m just impatient to get the fuck out of here already.  “Really pretty.  Forget it.  I changed my mind.  I can’t go talk to them, not right now.”

        I’m about to turn for the door, but Rhys tightens his grip on my shoulder, turning me back toward the girls.

        “Listen, mate,” he says.  “If you can’t talk to girls after winning our most epic match yet, there’s something seriously wrong with you.  C’mon.”

        With a sigh, I let Rhys steer me toward the girls.  I just have to play nice for two minutes.  Two minutes of torture.  But at least after that I can go home.

        “Hi,” Laura says, smiling at us.

        Rhys smiles back, a big, dorky thing I’ve never seen on him before.  “Feeling all right?”

        “Yes.”  She turns to me.  “Fred!  I’m so glad you came over.  The girls have been dying to meet you.  This is my friend Vivian, and this”—she loops arms with a very pretty, dark-haired girl—“is Rachel, she really loves, uh, sports…”

        Meeting my eyes, Rachel smiles and holds out her hand.  I’m struck by the friendliness of her smile.  It’s a high-wattage, Julia-Roberts-style smile, but it’s somehow sincere, too.  Intimate.

        So bloody different from the come-hither grin that girl dancing on the table gave me earlier.

        “Hi, Fred,” she says.  Her American accent dips a little, curls at the edges; I don’t recognize it.  Southern, maybe?  “Nice to meet you.  You looked really great out there tonight.”

        I take her hand.  She gives mine a firm, warm squeeze.  My eyes flick down her body, back up again.  She’s petite—I practically tower over her—and hot as hell.  I didn’t know I was a boob guy until this very second.  Hers are…gah, they are perfect.

        Rachel drops my hand.  I blink, mentally chastising myself for ogling her like a piece of meat.  I don’t like being looked at that way, and I doubt Rachel does, either.

        Get it together.  I need to get it together.  But something about this girl—her boobs? her smile?—is making it difficult to do that.

        “Thanks,” I say. “I, um, hope you enjoyed yourself.”

        “We froze our asses off, but it was worth it,” she says.  “The energy in that stadium is ridiculous!  It was so loud my ears are still ringing a little.  Is it that loud on the field—the pitch, I mean?”

        “Oh, God, yes,” I say.  “So loud you feel it in your chest.  To say our fans are passionate is an understatement.  Other squads say it’s the toughest place to play when you’re on the road.”

        “I noticed you were limping a little after that hit you took in the second half.  If you don’t mind me asking, how do you rehab an injury like that?  Ice?  Ibuprofen?  Probably lots of rest, too, right?”

        Her eyes, dark and intelligent, are on the hip in question.  So Rachel really paid attention to the match.  I like her curiosity.

        I also like her confidence.  I’ve known her all of sixty seconds, but she’s got this lovely, down-to-earth energy that sets her apart.

        She’s obviously gorgeous, too.  Those eyes—Jesus, they make my pulse jump.

        “Yes—a combination of all three, actually.  How’d you know that?  Do you play football?”

        “Tennis, mostly, but I played a little bit of everything in high school—basketball, volleyball, soccer—sorry, football.  I’m kind of a sports nut.”  She grins, tucking her long, inky brown hair behind one ear.  “I bet you’ll have one hell of a bruise tomorrow.”

        I nod, trying not to stare at her.  Not only is she beautiful and confident, she’s also as obsessed with sports as I am.  I’ve got to be dreaming.  This girl is way too good to be true.

        “Yeah,” I manage, “this one’s going to be bad.  Been wanting to get home all night so I can have a good cry about it.”

        I pretend to wipe away a rogue tear, throw in a sniffle.  She laughs.

        The sound floods my ribcage with warmth. It’s not forced, her laugh, or fake.  I’d know; I’m an expert at coaxing belly laughs from my niece Lilli (pro tip: the peek-a-boo game goes a long way with a nine month old).

        “Oh, come on, you rolled around the field in apparent agony for, like, five minutes after that play.  Surely there were tears then?  Fake tears, at the very least?”

        Americans love to poke fun at our, er, theatrical response to getting injured on the pitch.  This is nothing new.  But the good natured way Rachel is teasing me about it—that is.

        I have no idea what the fuck is going on, but I suddenly want to stay at this party more than I want to dive back into The Prisoner of Azkaban.

        I’m suddenly having more fun with a real live person than I would with fictional ones.  She’s just so friendly and so gorgeous.  Clearly smart, too.

        I mean, this is usually the point in the conversation when I’d excuse myself, pleading one of three vague but believable excuses—I’m fucking exhausted, I’ve got to go to [insert football-related activity here], or so sorry, but my mum and/or sister is calling me.  My life is predictable enough that one of the three is true at any given time.

        But right now, I actually want to stick around.  See what else Rachel has to say about…well, everything.

        “I save my fake tears for weekday matches, thank you very much,” I reply.

        “Oh?” She crosses her arms.  I try—and fail—not to notice that this makes her breasts look even bigger.  Get.it.together.  “And why is that?”

        “The thing about fake tears is that they really take a lot out of you,” I say.  I notice that sometime in the past few minutes, Rhys and Laura disappeared.  Rachel’s other friends are gone, too.  Can’t say I’m not glad to have her all to myself.  “I would know, as I’m an expert.  I’ve got to prepare for days ahead of time.”

        She cocks a brow.  “Prepare?  How?”

        “Watch Titanic on repeat and practice in the mirror, obviously.”

        “Obviously,” she says, chewing on her bottom lip as her face lights up with a smile.  I really, really wish she’d stop chewing on her bottom lip, because it’s driving me crazy.  It’s making me think about how much I’d like to take that lip between my own teeth.  “So you’re German?”

        “I am.”

        “Where are you from?”

        I grin harder, hoping it will distract her from the tent I’ve started to pitch in my pants.  Fuck.  “Germany.”

        “I know,” she teases back.  “Where in Germany?”

        “The south.  A town called Weilheim in Oberbyern.  It’s in Bavaria.  Best beer in the world there.  I actually brought some bottles with me—want to grab one?” I ask, nodding my head toward the kitchen.

        Rachel looks at me.  She appears as startled by the invitation as I am.  I’m never this cool or forward with girls.  With people.  Ever.

        “Yeah,” she says after a beat.  “Yeah, I’d like that.  Everyone here is drinking this fancy champagne—someone said it was the most expensive in the world?—but I’m more of a beer girl myself.”

        “Yeah, that’s our captain, Olivier Seydoux, for you.  Only the best of the best for that bloke.”  I glance back at her as we head for the kitchen.  “So you really like beer, huh?”

        “I do.  My dad’s from Milwaukee, and my grandmother worked at one of the big breweries there.  Needless to say, my beer education started at a young age.  My high school friends thought it was so cool that my dad would let me have a beer with him when we watched college football—American football—on Saturdays.”  She rolls her eyes.  “I was so badass back then.”

        I reach inside the cabinet where I hid my stash and grab the last two beers.  “You’re not badass anymore?”

        “Meh,” Rachel says with a shrug.  She watches as I grab the key ring from my pocket and use the opener to pop the tops off the bottles.  Her eyes linger on my hands.  “Do you always carry a bottle opener with you?”

        I spear her with a look.  “You don’t?”

        “I don’t.  But!”  She rummages around in her purse, and pulls out a pair of these little foam sleeve things.  “I do always have a couple of coozies on me.”

        “Coozies?  What the hell are those?”

        “Watch and be amazed.”  She slips the first foam sleeve onto one beer—it’s printed with white letters that read BATCAVE SPRING FORMAL 2016, MERYTON U—and then the second, emblazoned with a donkey’s ass and nothing else, on the other.

        “You see,” she says, handing me the one with the donkey ass, “it keeps the beer cold.  Although we’re not drinking it cold, so I guess it would just keep the beer from getting too warm from our hands?”  She scrunches her nose.  “I don’t know.  I guess it makes sense coozies wouldn’t be a thing in Europe.”

        The scrunched nose—seriously, could Rachel be any more adorable?

        “At the very least, they keep you from getting your bottle mixed up with someone else’s, yeah?” I offer.

        She laughs, crossing one leg over the other.  Her body tilts toward mine, just a little, and suddenly the temperature in the room goes up a notch.  I haven’t been attracted to someone like this in what feels like forever.  The impulse to erase the small space between our bodies is fucking hard as hell to resist.

        “Yeah,” she says.  “I’ll take it, mostly because I got to show off my coozie collection.”  She holds out her beer.  “Cheers, Fred.  Congratulations on your win.  And on your amazing theatrical performance.”

        “Thanks.  I worked quite hard to get it just right tonight,” I say, and now I’m laughing, too.  Genuinely laughing.  I give her a little bow, my fingers brushing hers as our bottles tap on my way up.  A ribbon of heat unfurls inside my hand, moving up my arm.

        God, I want to touch this girl.  I want to put my hands on her and kiss her hard and make her laugh.

        We hold our bottles like that for a beat too long.  My gaze latches onto Rachel’s and doesn’t let go.  She’s feeling it, too—this energy, this attraction between us.

        “You’re staring,” she says with a smile.

        “Can’t help it,” I say.  “Sorry.”

        “Why are you sorry?”

        “Because I hate when people look at me like…like I’m a piece of meat, I guess.”

        “I don’t feel like a piece of meat right now.”

        “No?  Good.  What do you feel like?”

        “Like…I don’t know.”  She gives a little shrug.  “Like I’m having fun with a really tall, really cute dude at an otherwise lame party.”

        I grin.  “It is quite lame, isn’t it?  And here I believed I was the only one who thought that.”

        “Of course it’s lame.  I mean, it’s amazing, but also lame.  It all seems kinda fake, I guess—the schmoozing, the fancy champagne.”  Rachel shrugs again.  “I’m having more fun with you than I would be mingling with everyone else, that’s for sure.”

        This girl—it’s like she’s reading my bloody mind.

        Which she can’t actually do, thank God, or she’d know I am currently fantasizing about having her in my flat, naked, her eyes closed as my fingers between her legs, her mouth open, her pussy pulsing.  She’d pant, make these little breathless noises.

        The head of my dick presses against the fly of my jeans.  I close my eyes, take a deep breath.

        “You okay there, killer?” Rachel asks.

        “Yes,” I grunt.

        She laughs.  “That’s the least convincing ‘yes’ I’ve ever heard.”

        I open my eyes and look at her.  Jesus, she’s pretty.  Lit up.

        It’s weird, but something about her laugh reminds me of home.  There’s always laughter in my parents’ house; my ribs ache for days after I spend a holiday at home with my siblings and their significant others and my parents.  I miss that.

        We sip our beers.  Rachel smacks her lips and lets out a sigh of satisfaction.  “That’s delicious.”

        “You like it?” I meet her eyes.  The irises are so dark they almost fade into the pupils.  Almost, but not quite.

        “I love it.  It’s different—tastes like a wheat beer, which is probably my favorite.”

        “I’m glad.  These Bavarian beers can be a bit of an acquired taste.”  I take another sip.  “So, the sports thing—are you planning to play tennis professionally?  Maybe go into sports management or something like that?”

        “I’d really like to go into sports medicine, actually,” she says, setting her beer on the counter.  “Maybe physical therapy or something like that.  As a matter of fact, I had a phone interview for an internship at the Meryton University athletic department right before the match.”

        “That’s brilliant,” I say, and I mean it.  I never doubted her sincere interest in sports, but I adore just how much she obviously loves them.  “How did it go?”

        She shrugs again.  “I’m trying not to get my hopes up.  But it’d be really awesome if I got that internship.  My ultimate goal would be to work for a sports franchise—a team like yours—but working at the athletic department is a great way to get my foot in the door.”

        “You know,” I say, my heart skipping a beat, “if you want a tour of our team’s training facility, all you have to do is ask.”

        “Yeah, right, I’ll just ask for a tour of the training facility that belongs to the world’s most valuable sports franchise.  The facility that’s more closely guarded than the Pentagon.  No big deal,” she says.

        “Rachel, it’s really not a big deal.”  She meets my eyes when I use her name.  “If you want a tour, I can make it happen.  Easy.  I’ll ask the club medical staff to show you the ropes.  Might give you a better sense of what you’re looking for?  The club just built a new medical facility that is bonkers, and we’ve got a couple doctors on staff, plus fitness coaches, physios, even a sports psychologist.  A bit of everything, really.”

        She blinks a couple of times.  Looks away.  Looks back up at me, her hair falling into her face.  “Seriously?  You’d do that?”

        “Of course.  You’re in Madrid, for Christ’s sake, so you might as well do it while you’re here.”

        “Wow,” she says, pulling her hair back.  “I don’t know what to say.  Thank you.  This is huge for a lot of reasons—I’m heading back to the states in, like, less than a month, and if I hadn’t talked to you tonight…just.  Wow.  I’m the luckiest freaking person on the planet.  Thank you.”

        I grin.  “Not sure if you saw how great I looked on the pitch tonight—”

        “Now you’re just bragging,” she says, rolling her eyes.

        “I am.  But the squad really, really likes me at the moment, and they’ll do pretty much anything to keep me happy.  I’d love an excuse to exercise some of that muscle, especially on behalf of a mate’s friend.  The tour would be asking a small favor, nothing more.”

        “Small favor?  Fred, I can’t tell you how many sports medicine internships I’ve secretly applied to without ever hearing a peep back.”

        “Secretly?”  Now I’m intrigued.

        Rachel waves me away.  Her eyes change.  They’re sad, I think.  Sad or hurt. “Long story.”

        “How does Wednesday sound?  I’ll arrange everything, and I can send my driver round to pick you up.”

        She blinks.  “You have a driver?”

        “I do.  I usually drive myself around, but it’s always nice to have someone on call.”

        “Uh.  Wow.  Sorry, sorry, I know I keep saying wow, but this whole thing is just—I mean.  Wow!  I’m speechless.  Wednesday works for me.”

        I smile.  So does she.  Bloody hell, that smile.  “Great,” I say.

        “Great,” she says.

        I try to tamp down on the pulse of warmth low in my belly, between my legs.  I want to touch this girl, take her home, but I can’t.

        Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t fooled around with girls casually before.  I’m not a monk.  But every time I’d get physical with a girl without any intention of seeing her again, I’d just end up feeling empty.  Lonelier than before.  Used, even as I felt like I was using her.

        I’m done with that shit.  I’ve been done with it for a while now.  Rachel may not have said outright she doesn’t want to get serious with a guy, but she’s moving thousands of miles away in a month’s time.  There’s no way she’s looking for forever with someone in Spain.

        I am.  Which may explain why I’m twenty-two years old and still haven’t swiped my v-card.  Yeah, I’m not proud of it, but I suppose I’m an old-fashioned sort of bloke.  I want to fall in love before I have sex; fall for someone who will stick around for the long haul.  It just feels right, I suppose.

        At this point, I’ve waited a long time to lose my virginity—so why not lose it to someone special?  Someone who really means something to me?  I think sex is sacred.  It’s important I get it right.

        So…yeah.  As attracted as am I to Rachel, I’m not interested in a casual hook-up with her.

        With a sigh, I tug a hand through my hair.  I’ve been here before.  I’ve been attracted to girls who clearly weren’t my forever, and I managed to keep it in my pants then.  I can do it again.  The attraction fades.  It always does.

        But damn if that smile of hers doesn’t make me feel fucking awake and alive and, yeah, more than a little turned on.

Chapter 2

Rachel

Wednesday

       

        I’m so excited for my tour of Fred’s training facility I can hardly pay attention in my one and only class of the day.  But I have some work to do—exams are coming up—and the driver isn’t picking me up until later this afternoon.  So after class I run a few errands, then head for the Reina Sofía Museum.  I’m writing a paper on this gorgeous Herman Anglada Camarasa painting that hangs there.

        I peep the painting for a bit before sitting down to write in the museum café.  It takes me way longer than it should to get going on the paper.  Now I’m not only thinking about my tour, but I’m thinking about the cute, charming guy who made it happen—Fred Ohr, soccer star and all around stud.

        Athletes are my type, and not just because I’m an Exercise and Health Sciences major.  Fred is a big guy, with thick shoulders that taper into a slender but still well muscled torso (I may or may not have Googled shirtless pictures of him when I got home from the party).  I felt like a pixie next to him.

        I liked it.  Him.  I liked him a lot.  His sense of humor.  His generosity.  The way his blue-green eyes got all squinty when he smiled.

        I noticed him even before we were introduced.  He was standing off to the side, alone, nursing a beer.  I wouldn’t say he looked sad or anything.  I mean, the guy was getting plenty of attention from girls at that party.  But I definitely picked up on some loneliness there.  I’ve felt lost at parties, too—the old cliché of being in a room full of people but feeling lonelier than ever—so I could sympathize.

        I’d like to think he felt a little less lonely after our chat.  I sure as hell did.  I actually haven’t stopped thinking about how much fun I had, talking to him.

        How goddamn hot he was.

        My memory of how Fred looked is crystal clear.  He’s handsome, but in a way that’s totally different from the rest of the guys on his team.  Guys like Rhys Maddox, who, with their smoldering gazes and cheekbones and ridiculous Euro haircuts, could easily be underwear models.

        Fred is less classically good-looking, more square and masculine.  His blond hair is cropped close to his head, and he had it combed in a hipster schoolboy swoop to one side. He’s got a hockey player nose: a little too big for his face, a little crooked, too, like he’s broken it a couple times in epic fistfights with the losers who threw him into the boards.  He was dressed in jeans and a blue sweater he wore over a white button up.  Simple, nothing fussy, but still sexy.  I remember how freaking handsome he looked.

        I liked that he was different.  The other footballers were too much for me.  Too pretty, almost.

        I’m so distracted by the memory of his smile and the zing of warmth it sent through me that eventually I give up on my paper and check my email instead.

        My heart skips a beat when I see a note in my inbox from the athletic director at Meryton.

        The internship I’ve applied to—the one in sports medicine I really want—there’s news.

        My fingers shake as I guide the mouse across the screen.  I open the email, my eyes moving over the words faster than my brain can process them.

        You’ve made it to the final round of candidates…you will receive a call for one final phone interview…please provide proof you are able to find housing in the Durham area this summer…

        “Holy shit!” I say, loud enough to make the old Spanish dude beside me look up from his newspaper.

        I sheepishly offer him my apologies, then reread the email.  Oh my God oh my God oh my God I totally wasn’t expecting this to happen.  The internship is prestigious and highly competitive.  I didn’t think I’d even make it past the résumé stage, much less the final round.

        Wow.  Now that this sports medicine thing might really happen, I recognize how badly I want the internship.  The thought of getting it and working at the athletic department all summer long makes me so excited I can hardly sit still.  I want this.  I really, really want this to work out.

        Sports medicine combines two of my favorite things: sports (obviously) and science.  Mom wants me to channel my interest in science into a career being a superwoman surgeon like her, but over the years, I’ve seen how her job absolutely consumes her life.  How stressed and overwhelmed she always is.

        I’d like a career that offers at least a little more balance.  I want to work to live, as cheesy as that overused byline is, and not the other way around; I want there to be enough room in my life for things like travel.  Books.  Kids—lots of kids—and fun.  I’ve talked to several people—doctors, physical therapists, trainers—and from what I can tell, I have a much better chance of finding that balance in sports medicine than I do in cardiothoracic surgery (mom’s specialty).

        But I know how disappointed mom will be if I don’t go the surgeon route.  And if there’s one thing I really hate, it’s letting her and dad down.  They’ve just been so good to me.  They’ve worked so hard to make my dream of going to Meryton University come true.

        Probably why I haven’t told them I’m applying to sports medicine internships.  Just the thought of having that call with mom that makes my stomach hurt.

        I blink when an IM pops up at the bottom of my screen.

        It’s mom.  Of course.  My heart falls.  I don’t know why I’m surprised; she’s always had an eerie sixth sense of when to appear so she can burst my bubble.

        I left you a voicemail this morning, she types.  I’ve been waiting for you to call back—I heard from the head of the anesthesiology team. Said he may be able to get you in for some shadowing this summer.

        I stare at the screen.  I’ve shadowed doctors in mom’s hospital before, and I pretty much hated it every time.  I can’t imagine having to do that again instead of working at the athletic department.

        I also can’t imagine telling mom I’m passing up anesthesiology for sports medicine.

        Ugh.

        Something must be up with my phone—I didn’t get any voicemails today.  Weird.  I reply.

        Maybe you should get it checked out?  It would be a catastrophe if you missed a call about an internship opportunity.

        I roll my eyes.  Of course mom would use the word catastrophe.  Like my phone dropping a call is on scale with a category five hurricane.

        I’ll see what I can do, I type.

        You need to make a decision soon. Have you applied to the research group I told you about?  They are doing some great work with stents.  This summer is huge for you.  That’s when I interned at the CDC, remember?  And I met Dr. Zhu, who got me into Yale.

        Yes, I remember.  You tell me that story every time we talk.  Couldn’t forget it if I tried.

        You don’t need to get so snippy, you know, she says.  I’m only trying to help.  You have to do something with yourself this summer, and it’d better be amazing.  I’m not paying forty grand a year for Meryton for you to end up working at a gym. You can do so much better than that.

        I’m working my ass off trying to figure it out, trust me, I reply.

        But even as I type the words, a well-worn feeling—something like panic—makes me short of breath.  Two minutes ago, I was pretty sure about what I wanted.  I wanted to get my dream sports medicine internship.  I was so excited about checking out the training facility of the best soccer team in the world.

        Now I’m not so sure.  I’m not excited.

        I’m stressed.

        A familiar set of memories moves through my head like the slides on a projector.  Mom’s grinding frustration over not getting the promotion she wanted turning into a howl of joy the day I got into Meryton (her top pick for me); how the stress she wore like this giant, heavy overcoat every day would disappear if I came home with all As on my report card; how I distracted her from another fight with dad by telling her I’d take up violin, even though I so wasn’t into music or instruments or the creepy lady who taught orchestra.  She, however, was thrilled, mostly because she’d read somewhere that playing music helps increase your standardized test scores.

        My mother is not the happiest person in the world.  I recognize that.  But when I can make her happy—when I can make her proud—it’s the best feeling ever.

        I want to see mom happy more often.  I mean, duh, I love my mom.  She’s my mom.  But her bouts of happiness never seem to last, which leaves me scrambling for another accomplishment, another achievement to wave in front of her.  I keep thinking that maybe this will be the thing that tips the balance.  This semester’s GPA or this exam score or this internship will be the thing that finally keeps her happy.

        Doing this internship at the Meryton athletic department is definitely not that thing.  As great as it feels to make mom smile, I can only imagine how awful it’s going to be if I piss her off, or, worse, disappoint her.

        I mean, maybe I should be more worried about ending up at a gym, the work-life balance I’m looking for be damned—although, honestly, what’s wrong with working at a gym?

        Maybe I should be shadowing anesthesiologists; it’d look great on my med school application.  Maybe I am wasting mom’s hard earned money by not working harder.  I’m really, really lucky that I don’t have to worry about paying for college, and I definitely don’t want to be the kid that freeloads off her parents’ generosity.

        I’ve just been really busy getting ready for exams, I type.  I’ll get going on my summer plans once they’re over.

        All easy As, she replies.  At least this semester won’t be a total waste for you—those grades will help your GPA, and medical schools will love that.

        Right, I say.  That’s exactly why I came to Spain.  To boost my GPA.

        That’s my girl, mom types, clearly not picking up on my sarcasm.  I can’t wait for you to come home.  We can work on the essays for your applications together.  I already have some good ideas for the Yale essay—you know the one about rising to meet a challenge?  I figure you can talk about the research you did at the oncology center.

        I fall back into my seat with a heavy sigh.  When I think about pursuing mom’s route, I feel this surge of satisfaction at how thrilled and proud she’ll be of me if I do get into Yale.  But at the same time, my gut ties itself in knots.  It knows it’s not the path for me.  It tells me in no uncertain terms that I’m not going to be happy.

        Mom will be, though.  Maybe her happiness will be big enough and bright enough to keep me happy, too.  I don’t know.

        I do know that if I have to talk to mom for another second, I am going to fling myself down the nearest elevator shaft.

        Gotta run, I type.  Call you later.

        Good luck studying. Can’t wait to see those grades!

        I slam my laptop shut.  Shut my eyes, too, against the sudden sting behind my lids.  I swallow, hard, and take a deep breath.

        Today is a really great day.  I’m not going to let mom ruin it for me.  How often do I get to rub elbows with some of the best physical therapy professionals on the planet?  I’ll worry about my summer plans—and my future—later.

        I decided when I arrived in Spain that this would be my semester of YOLO.  And so far, I’ve done a pretty great job of living in the moment.

        This tour will be no exception.  I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it.  After that—who knows?  Maybe I’ll get lucky and enjoy the hell out of Fred, too.

***

        My heart is pounding as the driver—Fred sent a guy in a ridiculous giant black Mercedes to pick me up from school—glides through security at the gate to the football club’s training facility.  I wasn’t kidding when I said the place is guarded like the Pentagon; there are fences and cameras everywhere; there’s a guardhouse, even a couple security officers patrolling the perimeter.  I knew Fred’s team was a big deal in Spain, but it’s hitting me just how huge this whole operation is.

        And how famous.  A couple minutes ago, we turned off the highway and took an unmarked, one lane road that wound through a mile or two of arid countryside before the giant training facility came into view like a spaceship that landed in the middle of nowhere.  My driver explained that the facility “must remain hidden” so that fans and the media, and even rival football clubs, can’t get a glimpse of the players as they train.  It’s like their tactics are a closely guarded national secret or something.

        I shiver.  This is wild—the fact that I’m here.

        Wild, and really exciting.

        The driver makes his way through an orderly parking lot packed with brand new Range Rovers and sports cars with blacked out windows.  I wonder which one is Fred’s.  I don’t know him, not well, but I get the feeling he wouldn’t drive anything quite so flashy.  Just doesn’t feel like Fred—he’s more understated than that.

        Finally the driver pulls up to the medical facility, all glass and gleaming angles, and hurries to open my door.

        Thanking him, I make my way to the entrance.  I catch a glimpse of one of several practice pitches just off to the side of the building.  It’s a cold day, a little before three o’clock; the sky is clear but already darkening, the blue tinged with purple.  A couple guys are out on the field, running some pretty brutal looking drills.  I can faintly make out shouts, a bark of laughter.  I look for Fred’s tall, well-muscled figure, but I don’t see him.

        My heart falls.  He didn’t say if he’d be here or not today, but I secretly hoped he would be.

        I hope he’s here.  I really do.  He still has my coozie, for one thing, and for another, I’d like to thank him—with dinner, maybe? a drink?—for putting this whole thing together.  He doesn’t know me, and he didn’t have to help me out.  But he did, and I want to show my appreciation.

        I’d also like to make out with him, pretty badly.  It could be totally one-sided, but the attraction I felt between us practically sizzled.  I’m getting tingles just thinking about it.

        I head inside the training facility, and I’m immediately greeted by a cute woman, forty, maybe forty-five, in a snazzy Madrid tracksuit.  Her name is Valentina, and she is the first team physiotherapist—meaning she works with the best players on the team to prevent and rehabilitate injuries.

        Valentina doesn’t speak great English, so I get to practice my Spanish as she gives me a tour.  She’s warm, friendly, and very funny; she answers all my idiot questions patiently.  I have a lot of them.  Like, a lot.  Probably because I’m so enthralled by everything I see and everything she says I can hardly stand it.

        We start in the training facility’s main building, a gargantuan complex that is as big as a mall.  Maybe even bigger.  It’s sick.  Not only is there an Olympic-sized pool; there are actual treadmills and stationary bikes in the water.  We pass through an enormous gym, an indoor running track, two weight rooms, massage therapy rooms, saunas and steam rooms, and a mod, chic-looking cafeteria.  Everything is new and clean and state of the art.

        My head is on a swivel.

        Players greet Valentina as they pass us.  She asks one guy about his knee; she promises to help another with his hamstrings.  She turns to me, eyes lit up, and for the next twenty minutes tells me all about hamstrings and how to rehabilitate them and how to keep from hurting them and how they work.  Her delight is infectious; as her smile grows, so does mine, even though I don’t understand half of what she’s saying.

        How different she is from my grim-faced mother, who wears the weight of the world on her shoulders as she charges down the halls of her hospital.

        We head into one of a dozen physiotherapy treatment rooms, where Valentina introduces me to Dr. Jimenez, the club doctor, and Sebastián, the player whose ankle Dr. Jimenez repaired after Seb took a nasty spill a few months back.  They let me watch as Dr. Jimenez checks everything out; after, Valentina and Seb put together a list of exercises and stretches, cracking dirty jokes in Spanish as they go.

        After that, Valentina and I pore over her schedule in her office—she’s filling me in on what her typical day looks like.  It seems she’s got a pretty great work-life balance; she seems to have time for both work and play.  She says with two kids and a husband who also works that it’s not easy, and some days are absolute hell.  But for the most part, she enjoys her time at the facility and at home.  Her job is interesting and challenging.  She knows she is part of something bigger, something important.

        I don’t know Valentina well, but I can just tell she’s a happy person.  It radiates from her.  She is patient and kind.  She lights up when she talks about her kids, her work, her husband.

        This—finding this kind of life—this is what I want.  My own version of this kind of contentment.  Of balance.

        If I could just find the courage to go after it, instead of towing the line and doing what mom wants me to do.

        I’m asking Valentina about her post-graduate path when a familiar voice sounds at the door.

        “Enjoying yourselves, ladies?”

        I start, my pulse leaping as I look up.  Fred.

        He fills the doorway, leaning a hip against the jamb.  He’s still in his practice clothes—black compression tights underneath shorts, a sweatshirt, gloves, cleats covered in grass—sweaty and huge and smiling.

        It’s like a bullet straight to the chest.  I grab onto the edge of Valentina’s desk, hoping my legs don’t buckle as I meet his eyes.  I can smell him from here.  Soap, something simple but clean, cut with an edge of sandalwood.

        Heaven help me.

        I am attracted to Fred.  Very, very attracted.

        “Hello, Fred,” Valentina says in heavily accented English before switching to Spanish.  I am having fun showing Rachel around.  I can tell she likes it here.

        “Hey,” I manage.

        “You came,” he says, his eyes getting all squinty with pleasure.

        “This place—it’s pretty incredible, Fred,” I say.  “Thank you.  Seriously.  I can’t thank you enough.”

        “My pleasure.”  I love his weird little accent, his words flavored with a bit of German, a bit of British, too.

        He glances at Valentina.  “Are you done with Rachel yet?  I don’t want to rush you…”

        “She is very much yours now, yes?” Valentina says with a knowing grin.  She kisses my cheeks.

        Come back anytime, Rachel, she says in Spanish.  If you’re interested, we have a formal internship program you can apply to for the spring.  It is very competitive, but also a fantastic opportunity.  You are always welcome here.  Mostly because I’ve never seen Fred smile like that.

        Color creeps into Fred’s face as he laughs.  Man he’s cute.  Hot.  Huge.  He is all those things, and it is all I can do not to stare.

        He tilts his head.  “Come on, then, Rachel.  There’s something I’d like to show you.”

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Future Classics

This weekly meme is created by Lainey of Ginger Reads Lainey and with its new host, Sam of Thoughts on Tomes . You can check out the weekly topics on the Top 5 Wednesday – Goodreads Page. This week’s topic is about books that I think can be future classics. 🙂

  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – Without any doubt, this is my top answer. haha
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – This introduced me to my all time favorite badass heroine: Lisbeth Salander. She’s a misfit in the society, a professional hacker and a protector. She hates misogynists and if anyone pulls out a weapon, she’ll get a bigger weapon than yours. I admire this woman very much.
  • Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer – This Saga might got you into reading / brought back your reading mojo. It was a sensation back when I was in High School and I owe this series for a reason.
  • Easy by Tammara Webber – One of the best pilot NA books I’ve read along with Slammed by Colleen Hoover, and The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski. The story was captivating and romantic. You’ll also learn something here to prevent abuse. It’s handled really good.
  • Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen –  The most relatable YA / MG book ever. An innocent puppy love story that I adore up to this day. I’m forever obsessed with this. Both book and movie.

 

What are the books that you think should be a future classic novel/series? Let me know on the comments. 

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Angsty Romances

This weekly meme is created by Lainey of Ginger Reads Lainey and with its new host, Sam of Thoughts on Tomes . You can check out the weekly topics on the Top 5 Wednesday – Goodreads Page. Here are my 5 Favorite Angsty Romances 🙂

  • On Dublin Street by Samantha Young – One of my all time favorite NA/ Adult novels. Joss Butler and Braden Carmichael’s chemistry was off the charts and the constant push-pull makes their moments intense and steamier. Joss grieves over the loss of her family and isn’t ready for commitment while Braden pursues this lovely yet closed off lady. He encourages her to slowly open up her feelings.
  • Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard – If you’re into slow burn forbidden romance, I recommend this book. This is about a graduate student and a Dante specialist. I have a soft spot for brooding heroes and Professor Gabriel Emerson is my favorite. He has a troubled past and hopes to redeem himself. *sighs* I love him for being passionate, romantic and protective man.
  • The Bastard Billionaire  by Jessica Lemmon – I’ve read this recently and I love it! Elijah Crane is one of the broodiest hero I’ve encountered and I adore this guy to bits. This is the third book in a trilogy but it can be read as a standalone.
  • Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower – Ignazio Vitale is complex and holds many secrets.  I devour this trilogy and I’m impressed on how it turned out. The second book in this trilogy has the most angst as the protagonists try to regain trust with each other. If you love Romantic Suspense or Mafia Romance, you’ll enjoy this one.
  • Any book by Penelope Douglas – When it comes to angst-y romances, you can never go wrong with Penelope Douglas. I love her Fall Away series and her standalone novels: Misconduct and Punk 57. I have yet to read her other series Corrupt.

 

What are your favorite angsty romance novels? Feel free to share it in the comments below. 

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2017: A New Bookish Beginning

Happy New Year Lovely Bookworms! 

I hope you guys had an amazing celebration as we welcome 2017. Last year is an awesome reading year for me as I achieved my Goodreads Reading Challenge and it went beyond my expectations. I may have failed to complete 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge and Around the World in 52 Books, it wasn’t that bad since I filled out half of each lists. You can check out my wrap up here.

I will be participating on a couple of reading challenges this year:

  • 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge | I’m going to set my goals to 75 books. I may increase or decrease it depending on my reading pace.
  • 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge | I don’t expect to complete this. haha! The categories are easier than the previous year.
  • 2017 New Adult Reading Challenge | This is hosted by Catia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much. I’m reading challenge – 24 books (New Adult Intermediate) and Bingo. If I’m on a good roll for this, I’ll increase it to 36 books (New Adult Advance).
    na-intermediate
    na-bingo
  •  Around the Year in 52 Books | You may check out the list here if you are interested.
  • 2017 Diverse Reads Book Challenge | This is hosted by Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales and Shelly @ Read.Sleep.Repeat

No pressure on doing these challenges and I’m just going to read according to my own pace and mood.  I have bookish resolutions this year and some of them are mentioned on my previous resolutions:

  • Read more physical books. I enjoyed reading using my e-reader lately that have abandoned the books on my shelves. I’ll catch up with my physical books and get a book light.
  • Clean up the e-ARCs. I was able to clean up my 2016 arcs. Thank goodness. About time to tackle all my 2017 e-ARCs.
  • BookSale Hunt. YES. I found great books on our local secondhand bookstore. Cheers to more book gems!
  • Read more Underrated and Indie books. Some underrated and indie books have amazing stories and they need more recognition.
  • Read variety of books. Most of the books I’ve read are romance novels and I was able to explore its sub-genres. It’s still a success since I’ve read a few that are outside romance. I want to do it again this year because it’s always refreshing to read something different.
  • Read more Diverse and Thought Provoking books. Same as last year, I want to read more books about LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,Queer/Questioning, Asexual/Aromantic), Mental Illness (probably my fave diverse topic), Person of Color etc. and also books with subjects that will test my comfort zone. Controversial or not, I will give my feedback based on what I’ve read.
  • Limit requesting/accepting ARCs. I’m going to limit and be selective on ARCs this year because my schedule is going to be busy and I might not beat the deadline.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do the Pinay Bookaholic Recommends. I had a hard time catching up of what books to recommend. I don’t know if I should revive it and focus more on Romance novels. These are my bookish plans this year,  what are your bookish plans this year? 

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2016 Reading Challenge Wrap Up

I participated 3 reading challenges this year:  Goodreads Reading ChallengePopsugar Reading Challenge and Around the Year in 52 Books. Out of these three, my Goodreads Reading Challenge is a success as I’ve read 184 books out of 150 books. Even though I wasn’t able to complete the other two challenges, it wasn’t that bad because I filled most of the categories and I enjoyed it. To wrap it up, here are the categories I’ve completed:

POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE:

  • Book based on a Fairy tale | The Bachelor Auction by Rachel Van Dyken (Cinderella)
  • YA BestsellerRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Book you haven’t read since High School | Lenobia’s Vow by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
  • Book set in your Home State | Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours by Clara Mae Quiambao (set in the Philippines)
  • Book Translated in English | Tekken: The Dark History of Mishima by Takashi Yano
  • Romance set in the Future | The Crown by Kiera Cass
  • Book set in Europe |The Shadow by Sylvain Reynard (Italy)
  • Book Under 150 Pages |The Duterte Manifesto by Rodrigo Duterte (122 pages)
  • Book that’s Becoming a Movie this Year | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (reread)
  • Book you can finish in a day |The Best Goodbye by Abbi Glines
  • Book more than 600 Pages | The Host by Stephenie Meyer (864 pages)
  • Sci-Fi Novel | The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Book recommended by a family member | The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (recommended by my aunt)
  • Written by a comedian | Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
  • Graphic Novel |Saga vol. 1  by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • 2016 Book | The Goal by Elle Kennedy
  • Book Takes Place on Summer | The Moment of Letting Go by J.A. Redmerski
  • First Book You See in the Bookstore | Evernight by Claudia Gray
  • Book from Library | True Believer by Nicholas Sparks (my aunt bought it on a Library sale)
  • Book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with | Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • Satirical Book | Zeke and Angelique by Holly Tierney Beddord
  • Book that takes place on an island | Everafter by Elizabeth Chandler
  • Book Guaranteed to Bring You Joy | The Score by Elle Kennedy

Categories I didn’t complete:

  • National Book Award
  • Book recommended by someone you just met
  • Self-improvement book
  • Book written by a celebrity
  • Book at least 100 years older than me
  • Book from Oprah’s Book Club
  • Murder Mystery
  • Classic from 20th century
  • Autobiography

AROUND THE YEAR IN 52 BOOKS

  • Book you meant to read in 2015 but didn’t | The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
  • Book set in a different Continent  | Into the Deep by Samantha Young (Europe)
  • Book from Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 Winner or Nominated | The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
  • Book by an Author You Discovered in 2015 | You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
  • Book title beginning with the first letter of your name | Broken Prince by Erin Watt
  • Highest rated on your TBR | Empire by Rachel Van Dyken (4.60 / 5 stars)
  • Book that was mentioned in another book | Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier (mentioned in Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas)
  • Book by an author you feel you should have read by now | One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy
  • Book from Rory Gilmore Challenge | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (reread)
  • Reader’s Choice | Raw by Belle Aurora
  • Book with one of the 5W’s or H in the title (What, Who, When, Why, How)What the Dead Want by Katie Olson
  • Beautiful Cover | The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
  • Summer / Beach Reading List | Ladies Man by Katy Evans
  • Nonfiction | Words to Love by by Mother Theresa
  • Book with first name in the title | Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski
  • Goodreads Recommendation Page | One With You by Sylvia Day
  • First Book in a New to You series | Changing Course by Aly Martinez
  • Next book in a series you’re reading | Reviving Izabel by J.A. Redmerski
  • Between the Numbers book of series | Declan + Coraline by J.J. McAvoy (Ruthless People, #0.5)
  • Book whose MC is in a profession that interests you | Smut by Karina Halle (Writers/Authors)
  • Book that everyone is talking about | It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  • Book with a Beautiful title (in my opinion) | Seeds of Iniquity by J.A. Redmerski
  • Biography / Autobiography / Memoir | *same entry as Political Memoir in PopSugar Reading Challenge*
  • Book by an author who writes under more than one name | Vision in White by Nora Roberts (she’s also J.D. Robb)
  • Fairy tale from a culture other than your own | Grim by Christine Johnson
  • Work of YA Fiction | Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler
  • Historical Fiction | Diamonds in the Rough by Portia Da Costa
  • 16th Book in your TBR | The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  • Mental Illness | Real by Katy Evans (Bipolar)
  • An Identity book – Different Culture, Religion or Sexual Orientation | The Suffering by Rin Chupeco (Japanese Culture)
  • Book I’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the book | Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • Book about an Anti-Hero | Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
  • Book suggestion that didn’t make it on the list | The Baller by Vi Keeland (Indie Book)
  • Novella from your favorite genre | Never Never part 3 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher [New Adult]
  • Book about a thing that goes bump in the night | The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
  • Book you’re embarrassed to read in Public | Losing It by Cora Carmack
  • Book related to hobby / passion you have | The Summer Games by R.S. Grey (Swimming)
  • Book About a Major World Event | *same entry as Political Memoir in PopSugar Reading Challenge* Killing Lincoln – Civil War
  • Dystopia Novel | Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • Book with a great opening line | The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  • Book originally written in a different language other than English | Flights of Love by Bernhard Schlink [Originally written in German]
  • Short Story from a well known author | Beautiful Boss by Christina Lauren
  • Book Published in 2016 | Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven

Categories I didn’t complete:

  • Books about books
  • Classic book less than 200 pages
  • Childhood classic
  • Book set in the past (>100 years)
  • Book from the top 100 mystery novels
  • Top 100 Fantasy novels

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Most Disappointing Books of 2016

This year I have read many good books and listed my favorite Books / Series of 2016, I also have books that disappointed me. Most of these books I’m going to mention have a rating of 3 stars and below and give a brief description why I didn’t like it. No hard feelings just in case I’ve mentioned your favorite book. 😉 This list is in no particular order.

MX

  • Madame X by Jasinda Wilder | This is an erotica-suspense book.  I’m not a fan of the writing style as it switches from second person to first person. Often times it’s confusing. The romance in this book seems off and quite disturbing.

IMG_4585

  • Hush by E.K. Blair | The conclusion to the Black Lotus series pissed me off. Fucking shit caterpillars and Carnegie my ass. The first two books are promising and mind blowing.

GS

  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard | Honestly, this could have been a good sequel if only some parts didn’t dragged on and repetitive. Plus, the action scenes were rushed and I didn’t notice the battle was over.

blow

  • Blow by Heidi McLaughlin | Insta-love, toxic relationship, lack of development and unrealistic portrayal of addiction. Recovery process takes time and doesn’t disappear with a snap. Romance isn’t a cure to addiction.

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  • Dirty by Belle Aurora | I find Julius Carter’s story a filler and a tease. I don’t hate him, I just want a continuation to Twitch and Lexi’s story. TWITCH. NOW. JULIUS. LATER.

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  • The Crown by Kiera Cass | My ship fucking doomed. That is all. Eadlyn and the person she ended up with have no chemistry. It was forced.

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  • Never Never Part 3 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher | I have waited MONTHS for this conclusion and I’m dying to know the answers with all the craziness. Knowing these two authors can pull off crazy plot twists? In the end, it’s a lackluster when I thought this is going to be a mindfuck ending. Na-da.

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  • Evernight by Claudia Gray | Boring vampire story with an over-dramatic and clingy heroine.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what your think of it.  What is your most disappointing reads of 2016? Feel free to share on the comments. 🙂

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My Most Anticipated Books of 2017

There are only days to go before 2016 ends! Here are some of the books I look forward on 2017. I’ll be categorizing it according to: Young Adult, New Adult / Adult. Note: Some of the books don’t have official covers and publication dates are TBA (To Be Announced). I will be updating this list if there are any changes.

Young Adult:

  • Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios | January 13th | Standalone
  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth | January 17th | Series position: 1st
  • Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson | January 24th | Standalone – Debut
  • City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson | January 24th | Standalone -Debut
  • By Your Side by Kasie West |  January 31st| Standalone
  • Long Way Home by Katie McGarry | January 31st | Series position: 3rd
  • King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard | February 7th | Series position: 3rd
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | February 28th| Standalone – Debut
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco | March 7th| Series position: 1st
  • You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner | March 7th | Standalone- Debut
  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi |  March 28th | Series position: 2nd
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han | May 2nd | Series position: 3rd
  • Seeker by Veronica Rossi | May 16th | Series position: 2nd
  • Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | May 30th | Standalone
  • When It’s Real by Erin Watt | May 30th | Standalone
  • Once and for All by Sarah Dessen | June 6th| Standalone
  • Trusting You & Other Lies by Nicole Williams | June 20th | Standalone
  • The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young| June 27th | Standalone
  • What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum | July 11th | Standalone
  • Lucky in Love by Kasie West |  July 25th | Standalone
  • The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby | August 1st  | Standalone
  • After the Game by Abbi Glines | August 22nd  | Series position: 3rd
  • Warcross by Marie Lu | TBA | Series position: 1st
  • Untitled (The Shaw Confessions) by Michelle Hodkin | TBA | Series position: 1st
  • The Book of Ezra by Carolyn Lee Adams | TBA | Standalone
  • Untitled by Stephanie Perkins | TBA

New Adult / Adult:

  • Infini by Kristina & Becca Ritchie | January 2017| Standalone
  • Commander in Chief by Katy Evans | January 5th  | Series position: 2nd
  • Egomaniac by Vi Keeland | January 16th | Standalone
  • Menace by J.M. Darhower | January 16th | Series Position: 1st
  • Next to Never by Penelope Douglas | January 17th | Series position: 4.5
  • Becoming Mrs. Lockwood by K.I. Lynn | January 30th | Standalone
  • Crown of Lies by Pepper Winters | January 31st | Standalone
  • Love in Lingerie by Alessandra Torre | January 31st  | Standalone
  • Royally Matched by Emma Chase | February 21st | Series position: 2nd
  • The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon | February 28th | Series position: 3rd
  • Every Little Thing by Samantha Young | March 7th  | Series Position: 2nd
  • Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker | March 7th | Standalone
  • We Sold Our Souls by K.A. Tucker | March 7th  | Standalone
  • Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige | March 27th | Standalone
  • Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker | May 2nd  | Standalone
  • Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren | June 6th | Standalone
  • Royally Endowed by Emma Chase | June 15th | Series position: 3rd
  • Without Merit by Colleen Hoover  | August 1st | Standalone
  • Children of Vice by J.J. McAvoy | December | Series positon: 1st
  • Autoboyography by Christina Lauren | TBA | Standalone
  • Everything Under the Sun by J.A. Redmerski | TBA | Standalone
  • Spiders in the Grove by J.A. Redmerski | *No date but I’m hoping it’s 2017, this might be a surprise release.*  | Series postion: 7th
  • Hideaway by Penelope Douglas | TBA | Series position: 2nd
  • The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne | TBA | Standalone
  • The Edge of ? by J.A. Redmerski | TBA | Series position: 3rd
  • SALT by E.K. Blair | TBA | Standalone
  • 9 Crimes by E.K. Blair | TBA | Standalone
  • Secret Lucidity by E.K. Blair | TBA | Standalone
  • Damage Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie | TBA | Series position: 1st
  • Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey | TBA | Standalone

Graphic Novels / Nonfiction:

  • Saga, Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples | March 28th | Series position: 7th
  • Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by A.J. Mendez Brooks | April 4th

For more books to be released on 2017, you can check out these lists:

What are your most anticipated books of 2017? Feel free to share your thoughts or links (if you have a post) on the comments below. Happy Holidays everyone! 🙂

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Cover Reveal + Teaser: The Man Who Won the World by O.E. Boroni

Hello everyone! I want to share with you guys that O.E. Boroni, author of The Never trilogy (The Beginning of Never, The Way to Never and The Truth of Never), has an upcoming novel titled: The Man Who Won the World. It’s expected to be released on January 31st, 2017!

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Summary [Goodreads]:

When you refuse to conform to the world you were born into, do you then create your own?

This is a story about a man who founded his own kingdom.

All Choi Jiyong knows is his carefree days hawking vegetables at the Namdong market, and his service as a jolly hand at a river-side tavern

But one day, it all changes when he saves the life of a mysterious girl.

Suddenly, he is plunged into a world of political rivalry, deadly turmoil, and incomprehensible tragedy. However, what he thinks is just an end to life as he has known it, becomes the start of his journey towards a destiny that has been ordained in his name: his hand will bring to its knees, dynasties that have been since the beginning of time.

This is a tale of supernatural forces, of love and of guilt, of revenge and of truth. Wars will arise and kingdoms will fall, kings will become victims, and slaves will become gods.

Author’s note: This is a historical/period romance novel set in Korea in the 900’s.

Teaser:

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About the Author:

O. E. Boroni currently lives in the United Kingdom. Her days are spent in the Project Management field while her nights are spent with books. She’s either reading them or writing the ones that she wants to read.

Social media sites: Website Goodreads | Twitter

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My 20 Favorite Books / Series of 2016

It’s time to wrap up with my favorite books or series (I binge) read this year. This is probably the most challenging year to rank my favorite books / series so far because they’re amazing and it overwhelmed me. I will count series as one because I just can’t separate them. Haha! Some authors have multiple entries on this list.  😉

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  • #20 – Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow | An eye opening debut novel about self-harm. The character’s emotions are raw and it feels real. It’s a must read.

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  • #19 – The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre | Deanna Madden is one fascinating anti-heroine. She is a creepy character because of her urge to kill someone and I still find her badass in some ways.. Alessandra Torre is really good at writing suspense/thrillers.

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  • #18 – Ladies Man by Katy Evans | This is such a guilty pleasure read. Tahoe and Gina’s story is so cute. Of course, Katy Evans’s knows how to make her readers swoon over her male leads 😉

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  • #17 – Misconduct by Penelope Douglas | Penelope Douglas is great at writing love stories with angst and steamy romance. Aside from these, it has family drama and issues, modern education, politics etc.. It’s really entertaining and complex.

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  •  #16 – Mr. President by Katy Evans | Damn, this political romance is so sexy and Matthew Hamilton is …. *fan yourself* I just want Commander in Chief. ASAP.

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  • #15 – The Host by Stephenie Meyer | Honestly, Stephenie Meyer should continue writing sequels for The Host. The love triangle here is well done, it’s not annoying and I love the slow burn romance in this book. It has so much potential and I find it better than the Twilight Saga.

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  • #14 – The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand | An emotional story about grief. It’s well-written and my goodness, tears are shed in this book. Cythia Hand’s writing style is really good and I’m looking forward to read more of her books.

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  • #13 – The Suffering by Rin Chupeco | A fantastic horror sequel and conclusion! I swear, it didn’t put me to sleep. It really scared the heck out of me. This is like The Grudge / The Ring book version. Okiku is my favorite ghost.

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  • #12 – Saga Series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples | I don’t usually read graphic novels but Saga series captivated me. I love the story, characters and artwork. Hazel is my favorite character, she’s so cute and brilliant!

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  • #11 – Sempre Duology by J.M. Darhower | If you want to dive in to Mafia-themed books, I recommend this duology. This is a love story between a slave and a mafia prince. Unlike the other mafia books I’ve read, this is less violent and all the characters played their role in the story. The sequel focuses more on the mafia aspect than romance.

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  • #10 – Monster in His Eyes trilogy by J.M. Darhower | Another entry for J.M. Darhower. She’s so good at writing mafia books (this is my obsession along with sports romance. haha) and Monsters in His Eyes trilogy takes on a darker turn about love, lies, revenge, betrayal and grief.  Ignazio Vitale and Karissa Reed have an awesome chemistry and the romance between them is HOT. Goodbye Ovaries!

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  • #9 – Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven |  One of my favorite book covers this year. Leisa Rayven once again made me swoon with Liam Quinn and Elissa Holt’s story. MY GODDAMN FEELS. I WANT MORE LEISA RAYVEN BOOKS.

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  • #8 – One Day Soon by A. Meredith Walters | If there’s another author who writes beautiful and emotional stories, it’s definitely A. Meredith Walters. Last year, one of her books made it to my favorites and it’s no wonder this is a win. One Day Soon is one of the best emotional stories I’ve read this year. I WEPT!

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  • #7 – November 9 by Colleen Hoover | I find the concept in this book unique and I enjoy its plot twist. Also, it was an emotional roller coaster. Ben Kessler ❤ ❤ ❤

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  • #6 – The Score by Elle Kennedy | For the love of Hockey players, Elle Kennedy knows how to do it. Of course Dean Heyward Di Laurentis is included here…and Winston. ;)) HAHAHAHA! PINK WINSTON.

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  • #5 – The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon | This is my first Nicola Yoon book and I love it! The story is heartwarming, cute and compelling. It also tackles about immigrants, racism and culture.

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  • #4 – Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas | This book gave me a bad book hangover. I am speechless on how amazing this book is. The characters are flawed and they did things that will make you hate them. However, both have an amazing character and relationship development. In the end, they learned their mistakes and redeem themselves by doing what’s right. Also, sexual tension = Off-the-Freaking-Charts!

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  • #3 – The Royals trilogy by Erin Watt | This debut trilogy has the craziest cliffhangers EVER. I don’t know how many times I cursed while reading and the plot twists… . Jaw droppers. I almost drop my e-reader. Hands down to Erin Watt a.k.a Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick! I can’t wait for them to write more books.

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  • #2 – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover | I really enjoyed most of Colleen Hoover’s books because of the romance and the emotions it bring to her readers. However, It Ends With Us is different among her books. It’s not a romance novel but women’s fiction. It’s thought provoking and it tests your decision making as this book lets you step in a difficult situation. Life has no trigger warnings and there are some things you don’t expect. With its realistic ending, it’s a win for me.

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  • #1 – In the Company of Killers series by J.A. Redmerski | Without any doubt, this series reigned supreme for me this year and automatically became my all time favorites. It’s a mafia/assassin themed and romantic suspense series. Each book keeps getting better, the plot twists are intense, unpredictable and mind blowing and the characters are ALL freaking BADASS. It’s action packed, and thrilling. It never failed to put me on the edge of my seat and hold on to dear life. 😉 #AssassinSquadGoals

These are my top reads of 2016. Have you read any of these?  Let me know your top reads this year and if you have a post, feel free to share your links 🙂 Happy Holidays lovely bookworms! 🙂

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