Book Review: Matt Monroe and the Haunted House

This book begins with a quick recap of what happened on Matt Monroe’s first adventure to Paragon, a parallel universe that can be accessed through a portal. When Matt was in Paragon, he and his friends battled Damien and his evil forces. In this book, Damien makes a surprise return and his resolve has not wavered. Matt and his friends are blindsided when Damien sends his agents over to their world. They soon catch up to Damien and plan to bring him to justice once and for all.

Matt Monroe and The Haunted House, is an epic adventure tale that will thrill you and capture your imagination. This book stands on its own even though it’s part of a series. I was able to follow the plotline and enjoy the story without reading its prequel. It was engaging, interesting and held my attention from start to finish.

Edward Torba is an excellent storyteller; he brought out all the elements necessary to make a story magical. The characters in this book made me nostalgic for my childhood friendships. The camaraderie exhibited by Matt and his friends is heartwarming. This isn’t just enjoyable, but also choke full of lessons for young adults. It will help them enhance their social skills.
This is for the young and the young at heart. Gifting season is almost here, so grab a copy for yourself and your loved ones.


Book Review: Unconditional Love by Cherene Gouin

Five years after the death of her husband, Maria is yet to heal from the loss of the love of her life. He left her behind with seven children to raise and she’s all but crumbling from the pressure. Maria has a loving family that’s always ready to lend a hand. Maria decides to celebrate her fortieth birthday in style by going to New York to spend some time with her best friend Tiffany. She leaves her children behind with her brother Juan. She knows they will be well cared for while she’s gone.

Mason, a successful businessman has everything going well for him. He has money, influence and an actress for a girlfriend. Despite his enviable lifestyle he still feels empty inside. He is unhappy with his girlfriend Misty and is looking for something more meaningful. An unscrupulous business associate of his introduces him to Maria so that she could take the trip back to Los Angeles with him. At this stage Tiffany and her husband Matt have already tried unsuccessfully to find a partner for Maria. However, Mason is perfect for her. Will these two yearning hearts find solace in each other?

Unconditional Love is a steamy romance with an unconventional protagonist. Maria is getting a second chance at love. Not too many romance novels focus on characters like her. She is a typical busy mum who doesn’t have much time to focus on superficial beauty. She is kind, loving and deserving of a good partner.

I found this book interesting and relatable, especially in this day and age where the divorce rate is at fifty percent. This is no teenage romance, I recommend this book to anyone who’s lost love and needs a fresh outlook of love. If you’re just a sucker for happy endings then you won’t be disappointed either.🙂

Get to know Edward Torba, author of Matt Monroe and the Haunted House

Where did you get the idea for this book?

I realized there was nothing in the middle school fiction genre about dentistry. I combined my knowledge of dentistry and my childhood experiences. I mixed them together and created this book.

Have you gone on any literary pilgrimages?

No, sorry to say I haven’t. I am a full-time general dentist who uses most of my free time writing. That said, my favorite author is Charles Dickens, so I plan to travel someday to London to pay homage to one of the greatest writers in the western world.

What famous children’s author shares your writing style?

I guess I would have to say C.S. Lewis. His imagination is what sparked many of my ideas for the Matt Monroe series.

Do you think a person could be an author if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Absolutely not! It is only with deep emotion that a story can be developed. A book is like your child and you use everything in your emotional being to bring it into the world.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

To me, a great writer draws from his/her life experience. I am in my 60’s. Now that I have experienced most phases of life, I feel I have something to offer. That is why I only began writing a few years ago. I like people and have always observed human nature. This has been a great asset in my writing.

How did you select the names of your characters?

I use physical attributes, along with the person’s perceived personality, to name by characters. For Example the name, Agregeous Payne is a play on the words, Egregious Pain. He is a dentist who has a nasty temperament.

What was your hardest scene to write?

That’s an easy question to answer. It was the opening scene of the book. You want to set the mood for the reader, using an electrifying “hook” to entice them to continue reading the rest of the book. From the feedback I’ve received so far, I think I achieved my goal.

What is your favorite childhood book?

Narnia. I love magical worlds, and C.S. Lewis books are right up my alley. I wish I could have met him and picked his brain.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

At first, they were skeptical. But as they have read my books, I feel I’ve won them over. It’s rewarding when family and patients in my dental practice bug me about my next book, and tell me they can’t wait till it comes out.

Do you believe it writer’s block?

Yes. Writing is a strange process. Some weekends, I can outline many chapters of a book. While at other times sometimes I go blank. I think it is due to outside pressures in my life. I like total quiet when I write. My mind is too easily distracted from the work at hand.

From the Bottom of the Bay by Brian Eykholt

Alexa Drake is on a smuggling job with her partner Wayne when they notice customs officers waiting to search their ship when it docks. That is only the beginning of her troubles, soon Wayne is killed for disappointing the client and Alexa misses her payday. Her rent is late and she gets kicked out of her apartment. Luckily, she makes a friend who takes her in and nurses the wounds inflicted on her by her nasty client.

From the Bottom of the Bay is a crime thriller set in San Francisco bay. The protagonist, Alexa, is a young girl who was forced to drop out of college and has no other means to survive except smuggling. She could take other jobs of course, but none will pay nearly enough for her to start a life elsewhere. She has only herself to rely on as her parents already gave up on her.

This is a riveting tale with drama, action and suspense. Alexa finds a new partner to run her smuggling business with, but this does not escape the notice of agent Sonia. Sonia has been hot on her trail ever since Alexa’s first smuggling job with Wayne. Alexa has evaded Sonia long enough, but soon they must come face to face. The book comes to a climax as Alexa is working on one final job for a dangerous criminal called Santiago. Can Alexa finish the job and skip town, or will Sonia catch up with her and put her behind bars?

Fragrance Fridays: Chanel Gabrielle

Has Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Intense become everyone’s signature in your city? Mine too, and I can’t stand the smell of it.

There’s a time I adored that scent, I couldn’t afford it though, so I had to settle for a dupe by Body Fantasies. And a good dupe it was, I smelt Light Blue Intense severally at a fragrance store and couldn’t tell them apart.

Then it happened. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I thought maybe the notes in my dupe had gone sour, that I just needed to smell the original to remind me of the notes that I fell in love with.

So I went to the store with the purpose of buying Light Blue Intense, but my nose hated it too. It even started to give me a migraine aura.

A few weeks later I decided to buy my first Chanel fragrance and something about it reminds me of light blue intense (without the migraine causing effect).

Fragrance notes on light blue intense.

Chanel Gabrielle smells zesty and bubbly. The first whiff I got when I first unboxed it smelt like a very acidic passion fruit beverage. One that is sure to make your teeth sensitive. It smells better now that it has mellowed out. Everything smells funny when I bring it home for the first time, but by and by this is starting to grow on me.

I like wearing it on hot days to go to the market. Conceptually, a fresh zesty fragrance like this would be ideal for hot days. It’s been hot where I live, but literally no-one can smell this on me. I think it’s better suited to an air conditioned environment. If I had an office job I would wear it to work. This is not a special scent on me, it’s unremarkable in the way that inoffensive fragrances tend to be, like shower gel or hair spray or laundry detergent. If it’s not within your budget you’re not missing out on much, spend your money on good quality personal care products.

If you’re looking for something fresh and suitable for the office then this might be it. It doesn’t project too far or dominate, no matter how much of it you spray.

This is an expensive fragrance and I hope that I have described it objectively. I don’t hate Chanel, but I don’t buy into brand names.

Next I might try Chanel no. 19 edt. What are your thoughts on that one?

Thanks for stopping by!


Fragrance Friday: Dolce&Gabbana The Only One

Are you a lover of gourmand scents? I’m not, my style philosophy is to look like a snack not smell like one.

With that in mind, I still went ahead and bought Dolce & Gabbana The Only One. In my defence, I was misled by an article about perfumes that smell like coffee. Who doesn’t like the smell of coffee?

I knew I’d like a coffee note in perfume, I smelt it on someone and completely fell in love. Instead of asking them what they were wearing I went on google and found the misleading article that led me to Dolce & Gabbana.

There is a coffee note in there but it is strongly overpowered by caramel, almonds and some chocolate type dessert whose name I can’t remember. It’s not a bad smell, I had a lotion that smelled exactly like it. I would get compliments on how I smelt all the time. I only stopped using it when it started making me dizzy.

The Only One has the same effect on me. I’ve only ever worn it once since I bought it and it gave me a migraine aura. I can’t figure out who to give it to. It’s got to be someone deserving, but not someone I’ll spend long hours with. I don’t want to smell it on them.

Jeremy perfumes on YouTube says this is an office appropriate scent, but I disagree. It induces migraines and projects very far. Every time I smell this my jaw clenches involuntarily. However, it might be appropriate for someone working in the food industry as it won’t clash with the ambient odours.

Get this if you love YSL Black Opium, some say it’s the same thing blended better.

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Fragrance Fridays is back!


As promised, I’m reviving the fragrance segment of this blog. I’ve been on a perfume binge lately so I might as well share my purchases.

I hope you enjoy reading and save some coins on the ones that aren’t worth it.

Starting us off this week is Twilly d’ Hermès, a lovely fragrance by Hermès targeted at young women.

Fragrantica notes

Out of all these notes I can only smell crystallized ginger. There is also an indistinct flowery smell in the background and a powdery texture to the perfume.

On me this doesn’t last very long, my skin eats it up. If I want it to last I’ve got to spray it on my clothes.

The unusual ginger note is what sold me on this perfume. It does smell really nice, also it helped clear my nose when I had a cold. Spraying this directly on skin produces a warming sensation, like you’ve put actual ginger on your skin. Be careful if you’ve got sensitive skin.

I would reach for this on a cold day. It’s warm and comforting, but still fresh.

I’m at the end of my bottle and I don’t know if I will repurchase this. It’s nice and everything, but it doesn’t project far enough for me.

If I sprayed it on to project as far as I like my perfumes to project, then the full sized bottle would last me ten days. I wish it came in a bigger bottle 85ml is not enough. 😔

Thanks for stopping by!