ARC Book Review – East In Paradise

I’ve read and loved thousands of romance novels for over thirty years. My biggest complaint and the reason I’m writing my own series is that I haven’t read MY story yet. Right now, I can honestly say Tif Marcelo’s East in Paradise, Book 2 of her Journey to the Heart series, has come the closest.

A Filipino-American heroine. Check. Military Veteran hero. Also check. Heroine has a younger sister. That’s me as well. Our first date was at Napa Valley, quite similar to the setting of Paraiso Retreats.

I can say though that you don’t have to be a Filipino to relate to the characters and enjoy this book. East has a feisty, resolute heroine in Bryn, who has a goal and knows what she has to do in order to achieve it. It has an admirable hero in Mitchell, who served his country and has a great sense of responsibility towards his family’s legacy. This book is about dreams, family, and love.

The conflicts are very current, very real in the world we live in today. The secondary characters are well-rounded with both good and bad mixed in. The hero and heroine are characterized realistically with strengths and weaknesses.

Where it might have faltered for me a bit is when Bryn appeared to be too aggressive and Mitch didn’t assert himself fast enough. I knew they were going to get their happily-ever-after eventually, but it was an uncomfortable feeling reading it so close to the end without their final and most explosive conflict being resolved.

Overall, I enjoyed East in Paradise, especially the celebration of Filipino culture in the food and relationships. I give it four solid stars.

Note: I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About The Book:

When an entrepreneur and an Army reservist end up in their own reality show fauxmance, they have to decide whether their love exists just for the cameras…or if it’s for real in this warmhearted romance, perfect for foodies and wine lovers!

Bryn Aquino, the former manager of a Filipino restaurant, knows the value of hard work. With a shiny new MBA in tow and an investor, she’s ready to start her own business: a culinary retreat where visitors can relax, cook, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Dubbed Paraiso Retreats, she leases the childhood home of army reservist Mitchell Dunford—who returned from Afghanistan to revive his family’s vineyard—but finds herself in a bind when her investor pulls out of the business.

When the retreat catches an internet live stream producer’s eye through social media channels, Bryn is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to document her journey in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Excited, Bryn happily agrees to the arrangement…only to find out that she’s going to have to fake an onscreen romance with her indifferent landlord in order to keep her audience interested.

As Mitchell and Bryn put on a show for the cameras, they find their romance isn’t hard to fake. They’ve got more in common under their bluster, banter, and doubts. As their relationship heats up and the cameras keep rolling, the line between show and reality blurs. And when the pressures of family, business, and the audience stack against them, will their romance survive internet stardom? Or was it just for show?

East in Paradise is available today from the following retailers:

Amazon
B&N
Kobo
iBooks

 

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One Liner Wednesday – What Happens Next

The Magician’s Curse kept me turning page after page – I wanted to see what happens next.

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Book Cover for ‘The Magicians Curse’ by Author Linda G.Hill

I gave Linda Hill’s The Magician’s Curse four stars on Goodreads and Amazon. This was an entertaining read. Oftentimes, if you’ve read as many books as I have, you’d be able to predict what’s going to happen next. With The Magician’s Curse, I couldn’t. That’s what kept me turning page after page – to see what the characters will do next, what will happen to them. It’s certainly different from the typical books I read and a great palate cleanser. It’s not cookie-cutter or formulaic at all. I don’t normally read books with young characters (18/23) anymore, but I made an exception for this. I’m glad I did because the heroine and hero (Herman and Stephen) are mature for their age. I’d recommend this book for those who are looking for a fresh voice in New Adult Paranormal romance.

 

 

 

Note: Photo credits: What Happens Next – wloy.org; The Magician’s Curse – Linda G. Hill; One Liner Wednesday Badge – Dan Antion

 

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“No two persons ever read the same book.”

The quote was attributed to Edmund Wilson, a noted American writer, editor, and critic. I agree with him.

This year, I have decided to write a short review of every book I read or reread and post it on Amazon/Goodreads. Before 2017, I used to only rate the books without giving my reasons for the number of stars. After posting my rating, then and only then will I check out other people’s reviews. I always look for the ones that are most diametrically opposed to mine and just shake my head and smile at the reasoning behind their grades.

Here are a couple of examples:

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

M: “Five flamethrowing stars. This book is fresh and young, utterly delightful. Josh and Lucy are fantastic characters, their chemistry is electric. I adore their conversations. I didn’t want the book to end. One of my new favorites.”

S: “DNF. Lucinda and Joshua are extremely annoying. I don’t care about how much she hates Josh 4Ever.”

The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath

M: “Five heartrending stars. This novel broke my heart and put it back together again. Avendale – he’s so flawed and yet so amazingly heroic. Rose — a swindling angel. Harry — the best part, the heart of the book.”

E: Two stars. DNF. Barf. Cannot stand the prose.

We’re all different and what appeals to one may not be attractive to others. This brings to mind another (cliché) quote, “One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure.” This is one of the reasons why I appreciate my favorite Facebook Group–Old School Romance Book Club (OSRBC)–so much. We all just agree to disagree. The members’ thoughts and opinions are respected and supported. They might have been the cause of my out-of-control TBR pile, but I won’t ever regret joining them. #OSRBCRocks