On vacation: Gone snorkeling

WRFF-vacation-2016-May

Hi, guys! Just letting you know that I’m taking a week off for sun, sand, and sea, and while I won’t be posting any new reviews or interviews (as my Internet situation will be pretty iffy), rest assured I’ll be reading and prepping reviews for posting once I get back from my vacation. Will Read for Feels’ normal posting schedule on Wednesday, March 25, with a review of Lauren Layne’s Good Girl, so watch for that!

Liana out!

Book Review: How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Really Trying by Alma Anonas-Carpio

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Really Trying by Alma Anonas-CarpioHow to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Really Trying by Alma Anonas-Carpio
Published by the author on November 26, 2015
Genres: Erotic, Erotica, Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy, Romance
AmazonAdd to Goodreads
five-stars
What happens when a Babaylan finds herself a Tikbalang to tame?

Tala Bienvenido can’t help but be curious about a strange book in the attic of her clan’s ancestral home, and she finds herself thrust into a world filled with ancient lore when she takes the old tome.

Buhawi Batumbakal was caught and he knew it. Yet all that was clear to him was that he needed to find a way to make that Babaylan his forever, elemental disturbances and threats to his life (and hers) notwithstanding.

In Philippine lore and mythology, the Tikbalang is a monster hybrid of horse and warrior that is feared throughout the archipelago.

Just as fearsome are the priestesses of the pre-colonial animist religion: The Babaylanes. A Babaylan, it is said, can heal the sick and injured, commune with the gods and goddesses, speak and do battle with otherworldly creatures like the Tikbalang and, yes, strike her foes down with lightning called from the heavens.

So, what does happen when this Babaylan meets that Tikbalang?

* This work of fiction contains graphic depictions of sexual acts that some readers may deem offensive. It is not for the faint of heart or for anyone younger than 18.

Long have I lamented the absence of good romantica in the Philippines; while I’ve been seeing more steamy reads in English in the past year or two, these mostly merit threes or at most barely fours on the steam factor, and the general trend still seems to favor twos and ones (and nones!). Enter Alma Anonas-Carpio and her book How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Really Trying. I saw a post about the book on my Facebook feed, courtesy of author Marian Tee, and bought it because I liked the title and the idea of it. Because of past experience with local reads, my hopes weren’t raised too high in terms of the steam factor, but darned if this didn’t bring on the heat from my toes upward, until it blew the top of my head off! Read More »

Book Review + Giveaway: Devil’s Playground by Heather Eagar

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Giveaway: Devil’s Playground by Heather EagarDevil's Playground by Heather Eagar
Published by Clean Reads on January 11, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
three-stars
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Winters may be a witch, but she doesn’t know the first thing about magic—unless you count accidental bouts of spontaneous combustion. Elizabeth’s father, a wizard himself, has forbidden the use of her powers for her own protection, but when accusations of witchcraft start flying through Salem Village, she wishes she was more prepared.

Despite her lack of magical knowledge, Elizabeth appoints herself to save innocent women from the demise the village has in store for them. Elizabeth finds, however, that she is not the hero Salem needs her to be.

She meant to save them. She cursed them instead.

I’ve been interested in the supernatural and society’s attitude toward it since I was a child, and I remember studying witch hunts in Europe and the Salem witch trials in junior high and being greatly disturbed by them, not just because of the persecution and torture that went on but also because superstition turned supposedly good people into monsters so quickly. I was remembering this when I read Heather Eagar’s Devil’s Playground, in which the main character is not only a young girl during 17th century Salem, but an actual natural-born witch herself. Read More »

Guest Post + Bookalikes + Giveaway: Forever Night Stand by Ysa Arcangel

Guest Post + Bookalikes + Giveaway: Forever Night Stand by Ysa Arcangel

Guest Post + Bookalikes + Giveaway: Forever Night Stand by Ysa ArcangelForever Night Stand by Ysa Arcangel
Published by BLVNP Inc. on December 23, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
Brandy Curtis is a strong and independent career woman who does not care for commitment. She prefers no strings-attached, one night stands because that's all she can give with what little free time she has. This is the life she has chosen and the life she is used to.

However, everything changed when she met Ivo, a gorgeous doctor with irresistible charm. He was just supposed to be another hookup, but he quickly became so much more. The more nights they spent together, the more Brandy felt that life had given her something to live for.

Things seemed perfect… until a visit to the doctor sends her world crashing. The timing couldn't be worse. As her heart gets closer to Ivo, her memories begin to fade.

Will Brandy be able to actually live her life with Ivo… or will she succumb to the condition that threatens to claim her forever?

Amnesia stories are a tried-and-true trope in romance. Who hasn’t seen at least one TV show or movie or read at least one book that features a character losing his or her memory and finding or rediscovering love? Author Ysa Arcangel so enjoyed the trope that she decided to take a stab at it herself; keep reading to check out her Bookalikes list to learn about some of her favorite medical-inspired romances and learn what movie inspired her to write her book, Forever Night Stand. Read More »

Book Review: Omega by Lizzy Ford

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Omega by Lizzy FordOmega by Lizzy Ford
Series: Omega #1
Published by Captured Press on October 26, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy, YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Young Adult
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
five-stars
In a modern world ruled by territorial Greek gods, the human race has been oppressed, exploited and now, nearly destroyed by the constant infighting of gods.

However, a human girl with the power of a goddess is coming of age. Alessandra is the Oracle of Delphi – the last prophesized – and bears the mark of the double omega. Soon after she turns eighteen, Alessandra is told her destiny: to step between the warring gods and the human race and save her world from certain ruin.

For the gods, her appearance marks the beginning of the end – their end. They and the Triumvirate – leaders of the human elite – who serve them will stop at nothing to preserve their power.

Alessandra emerges from the forest where she spent her life hidden from gods and men and immediately plummets into a race against time, gods, and herself to discover who and what she is in a world where everyone she meets has a hidden agenda, and those pulling the strings remain in the shadows.

Before she can determine exactly what kind of savior her world needs, she must first master her power by completing three trials devised by the Triumvirate to enslave her.

One lone girl stands between warring gods and the people she’s destined to protect, but it’s the battle to understand who she is that she must win first.

I’m just going to dive right in and say I loved Lizzy Ford’s Omega, first in an all-new fantasy series. I was intrigued by the blurb, and I’m definitely a sucker for fantasy with heavy mythological influences, so I’m not so surprised I liked it. I don’t read quite as much YA as adult fiction, though, so I was surprised that more than liking it, I abso-freaking-lutely loved it. Read More »

Book Review: Waterkill by Mark Donovan

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Waterkill by Mark DonovanWaterkill by Mark Donovan
Published by the author on November 17, 2015
Genres: Suspense/Thriller
AmazonBarnes & NobleAdd to Goodreads
three-stars
A Yemeni man tragically loses his wife and daughter, a small plane disappears into the Alaskan bush carrying a deadly secret, and thousands suddenly die in a small German town. American business magnate and high tech entrepreneur Dave Henson is tapped by the U.S. government to help solve the related mysteries, but quickly finds himself drawn in deeper and his timeline shortened when his wife suddenly goes missing.

I watch a lot of TV shows involving special ops, special units, counter-terrorism, and so on, but it’s been a while since I read a thriller in the same genre. And Mark Donovan’s Waterkill seemed right up my alley. I’ve been fascinated by contagions and infectious diseases since I first watched Outbreak in the ’90s, not to mention the more recent Contagion and the new show Containment. I’ve watched documentaries on ebola and tuberculosis and bubonic plague, and while I’ll admit they aren’t my absolute favorite kinds of documentary (airplane crashes and serial killers probably fight for that top spot), epidemics are pretty high up on my list of things that fascinate me. Read More »

Book Review: Out Rider by Lindsay McKenna

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Out Rider by Lindsay McKennaOut Rider by Lindsay McKenna
Series: Jackson Hole #11
Published by HQN on April 26, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
two-stars
With her return to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, New York Times bestselling author Lindsay McKenna shows how love can find a way out of the darkness… 

A fresh start—that's all Devorah McGuire wants. As a former Marine and current Ranger with the US Forest Service, she's grown accustomed to keeping others safe. But when the unthinkable happens, she can only hope that a transfer to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will allow her to put the past behind her for good.

Dev's mentor at Grand Tetons National Park is fellow canine handler and horseman Sloan Rankin. He shows Dev the spectacular trails, never knowing the terror that stalks her every move. Despite her lingering fear, Dev feels an attraction for Sloan as wild as their surroundings.

With Sloan, Dev can envision a new life—a real home. Unless a vengeful man fresh out of prison succeeds in finishing what he started…

I wanted to like Lindsay McKenna’s Out Rider, book 11 in her Jackson Hole series, I really did. There was a lot the premise had going for it that was right up my alley, and these items I actually enjoyed. Read More »

[Video] Event Recap + Interview: Kate Evangelista launches No Love Allowed

While I’m not really big on young adult fiction (with the exception of young adult epic fantasy and occasionally science fiction), one of my personal writing inspirations is author Kate Evangelista, who has brought us books like Savor, Taste, Til Death, and so on. Her latest book was picked up by Swoon Reads (an imprint of Macmillan) through their community-based publishing process. Originally titled Warning! You Might Fall in Love with Me, the book has just been released as No Love Allowed.

As she’s based in the Philippines, the novel of course got a local book launch, which was held at National Book Store, Glorietta 1, Makati City. I had the opportunity to attend the event and get my copy of the book signed. Check out the video from the public event below:

Read More »

Review + Playlist + Excerpt: Scandalized by Tara Frejas

Review + Playlist + Excerpt: Scandalized by Tara Frejas

Review + Playlist + Excerpt: Scandalized by Tara FrejasScandalized by Tara Frejas
Series: Roadie Romance #1
Published by the author on May 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonAdd to Goodreads
four-stars
Fi Legaspi is living the dream working in Seoul as a road manager for one of South Korea's hottest bands, East Genesis Project. Until she isn't.

When she finds herself in the middle of a scandal and a hostile fangirl witch hunt, Fi seeks the comfort of home, and to her surprise, not the person she had been pining for for years. All too suddenly it's no longer her career on the line, but also her heart. Will she walk away from everything that matters to her or fight to keep her dream alive?

#AprilFEELSDay may be over, but the feels keep rolling in anyway, given how many of the #RomanceClass authors have published books in the past few weeks—with more to come, I’m sure! Tara Frejas, author of The Forget You Brew and Settle the Score (check out this live performance of an excerpt from that story), is one of the authors who is launching a new read in the aftermath of Feels Day. Her new book? Scandalized, which is out today, May 5!

I’m totally excited about it because it’s got a K-pop component. My hubby is a huge fan of Korean pop music, and I could probably sing along to half a dozen songs myself, despite not understanding a word of Korean beyond annyeong-haseyo and various types of food (you know, bulgogi, kalbi jjim, etc.). But surprisingly, the author’s playlist for Scandalized includes English and Filipino songs as well as Korean ones! Keep reading to check it out, plus find out what I thought of the novel.

Read More »

Review + Guest Post: Behind the Marquess’s Mask by Kristen McLean

Review + Guest Post: Behind the Marquess’s Mask by Kristen McLean

I received this book for free from Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review + Guest Post: Behind the Marquess’s Mask by Kristen McLeanBehind the Marquess's Mask by Kristen McLean
Series: The Lords of Whitehall #1
Published by Young Ink Press on April 30, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
AmazoniBooksAdd to Goodreads
three-stars
Even the mask of an expert spy is no defense against his own heart.

With a reputation as dark as his appearance, Greydon Sharpe, the Marquess of Ainsley, ought to have been the last agent assigned to the daughter of a well-respected Member of Parliament. However, when she is brutally attacked and left for dead, it becomes clear he is the only one with the skills to keep her alive. All it will take are a few lies to keep her breathing long enough to capture the villain. Then he can send her on her way. If she would only behave herself, he might be able to complete his mission before she turns his contentedly miserable life into a chaotic mess.

Marriage is not an option … until it is.

Lady Kathryn Bryant, the adventure-seeking socialite, has no plans to behave. Kathryn would much rather spend her time in subterfuge, nabbing villains and finding clues. However, when her memory is lost in an attack, she has little choice but to trust the handsome Marquess. Though she is almost certain he is hiding something, she is helpless against his disarming smile and warm touch. Eventually, his lies will come to the surface, leaving only one question: Is England’s deadliest spy equipped to save a broken heart?

By now, if you’ve been following this blog a while, you probably know I have a thing for Regency romances, especially when they feature lusty lords and ladies who defy convention and society’s dictates in some way. I also am fascinated by the idea of the gentleman spy, so given the opportunity to read a romance that promised both in the form of Kristen McLean’s first Lords of Whitehall book, Behind the Marquess’s Mask, I was more than happy to oblige. Plus, the author shared a list of her top historical romances for Will Read for Feels’ Bookalikes section that intrigued me because I enjoyed so many of her picks!

Keep reading to learn what they are and what I thought of Behind the Marquess’s Mask. Read More »

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May Reviews

Book Review: How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Really Trying by Alma Anonas-CarpioBook Review + Giveaway: Devil’s Playground by Heather EagarBook Review: Omega by Lizzy FordBook Review: Waterkill by Mark DonovanBook Review: Out Rider by Lindsay McKennaReview + Playlist + Excerpt: Scandalized by Tara FrejasReview + Guest Post: Behind the Marquess’s Mask by Kristen McLean

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