Ten Books I Liked But Can’t Remember Much About

Top Ten Tuesday - That Artsy Reader Girl

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature previously hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and have now been moved over to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is books I enjoyed reading but can’t remember much about. It sucks when I remember enjoying a book but can’t remember most of what happened in it! This usually happens when I don’t write a review for a book, I tend to forget what the story is about. Here are ten books that I really liked (rated 4 stars on Goodreads) but unfortunately, can’t recall most of the contents of the book:

Radiance Masque Warprize Cruel Beauty For Darkness Shows the Stars

Rise Carolina Dreaming His Road Home A Bollywood Affair Pairing Off

That’s five specfic romance (or specfic with romantic elements) and five contemporary romance titles. What about you, do you have problems remembering books that you enjoyed reading too? If you were to make a list like this, what titles would you include?

Advertisements

romanceclass origins: H. Bentham

romanceclass origins
romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

First post for this feature can be found here. And today, we have author H. Bentham on the blog for his guest post for romanceclass origins. Please give him warm welcome!

______________________________________________________________________________________

1) How did you discover romanceclass?

My first writing class was actually #StrangeLit in 2015 and although Mina V. Esguerra was one of the mentors, I didn’t really know of the community until after that class was over. See, I wasn’t able to finish my ambitious novella for that – it’s still in progress to this day, tbh – and as I was tweeting to cheer on everyone else, I got to talk to other authors who were part of this community. One of those authors was Jay E. Tria, whose Songs of Our Breakup opened the doors to this marvelous world of Filipino Romance for me. Other authors who welcomed me to the fold were C.P. Santi (Be Careful What You Wish For), Tara Frejas (Paper Planes Back Home), Ana Tejano (Fall Like Rain) and Chris Mariano (Cover (Story) Girl).

I will admit that I have not given the romance genre, and Filipino books for that matter, the time of the day before I got my hands on these, but now I don’t read much of anything else aside from romance and my favorite books are by Filipino writers.

Eventually, I joined #romanceclass2016 and finally got to finish a manuscript of my own! And while that MS will probably never see the light of day (I was deeply problematic back then, don’t ask) one of my other stories reached publication a year after, through Summer Feels!

H. Bentham - romanceclass origins

Ben’s first romanceclass TBR pile

2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?

It means I get to do the things I love most – reading and writing – alongside people who get it. The kilig and abs the community constantly deliver (from the books, to the live-readings, to the Facebook Group discussions!) is a wonderful bonus!

I am very grateful to everyone, especially Mina and all the other authors I look up to, for allowing readers and beginning writers like me have this safe space to discuss things we’re passionate about, while also supporting us in reaching our dreams. I mean, I knew what I wanted to read about, what I wanted to write about and I’ve joined a ton of reading/writing groups because of that but only #romanceclass allowed me to learn the HOW to do it. It allowed me to experiment, to make mistakes, and essentially, to be my true self.

Honestly, becoming an actual writer is an amazing thing to achieve, but having all these wonderful people and call them friends? That’s the best part. 🙂

H. Bentham - romanceclass origins

Author Jay E. Tria signs something for Ben

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

The thing with #romanceclass books is if you enjoy even 1 short story in the catalogue, you’ll CRAVE to read more of it. And then you’ll discover each book has this special something of their own while still staying true to the trademark #romanceclass kilig! It then becomes impossible to recommend even a just handful. LOL. Still, here’s my attempt to list my favorites:

  • Chic Manila Series by Mina V. Esguerra
  • Playlist Series – by Jay E. Tria
  • THE MULTI-AUTHOR ANTHOLOGIES, OMG: Kids These Days, Make My Wish Come True, Summer Feels, Summer Crush, Promdi Heart, 12 Months of Romance | 24 Stories to Love, and the upcoming Start Here!
  • Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
  • Don’t Tell My Mother by Brigitte Bautista
Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition Songs of Our Breakup Another Word for Happy Don't Tell My Mother

Kids These Days Make My Wish Come True Summer Feels Summer Crush

Promdi Heart 12 Months of Romance Start Here - ebook

That’s my top of mind faves. LOL. I’m pretty sure I missed out on some of my favorite authors but I’m pretty sure the anthologies more than cover up for it.

Thank you Chachic for having me in your blog (so cute)! I didn’t expect to answer that second question so dramatically, but what can I say? I love talking and writing about romanceclass so much!

______________________________________________________________________________________

H. BenthamH. Bentham’s stories are inspired by daydreams and aspirations that are not entirely his own. He wrote “Guide for A Day” for Summer Feels, a #romanceclass Anthology; and “The Watch Repairman’s Son” in the multi-genre anthology Beyond Light and Darkness. Reach him: @bentchbites everywhere (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Wattpad) and authorh.bentham@gmail.com

______________________________________________________________________________________

Book Haul: Signed and Personalized Copies

In yesterday’s blog post about resolutions, I mentioned that I need to incorporate more of my bookstagrams here on the blog. If you have an Instagram account and you’re interested in following me, I’m chachickenpie over there. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a few signed and personalized copies of my favorite books in the past month or so, and I wanted to share them here.

First is a lovely package sent by one of my favorite authors, Lucy Parker. Swipe left to see all of the photos:

@lucyparkerauthor is one of my all-time favorite romance authors. She writes witty contemporary romances set in West End, and I have so much love for her books.💙💚 She's not just an awesome writer, she's super generous as well! Not only did she send me personalized copies of her books (together with fancy Whittaker's dark chocolates), she also sent a whole stack of signed copies to @minavesguerra, which were distributed to the #romanceclass community.📚🍫 Everyone who got physical copies already have her books in ebook format, which goes to show how much we love them. Maraming salamat, Lucy! THANK YOU SO MUCH.💜💛 Please visit us in Manila, promise we'll do something fun that's romance/theater-related.😉

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Next, my good friend Michelle of See Michelle Read had Megan Whalen Turner personalize The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia for me! Again, swipe left to see all of the photos:

So, so, so. In my last post, I talked about Thick as Thieves as part of my Best of 2017 list. Lo and behold, I get a notice to pick up a package from the post office and it's a Queen's Thief-themed one! THANK YOU SO MUCH to my generous friend @seemichelleread for thinking of me when she saw Megan Whalen Turner at Y'ALLWEST earlier this year!❤🙌 . . Now I have signed and personalized copies of two of my all-time favorite books: The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. Perfect for all the times I'll be rereading these in the future (These are my fourth copies, I think? I have paperbacks of the old editions, ebooks, and my lending copies are with a friend). I love that Michelle wrapped them up nicely for Christmas.🎄😊 So glad they arrived just before Christmas. Thanks also to MWT for including a message and bookplates for additional books! . . If you haven't read this brilliant YA fantasy series, you really should start on it ASAP. No one writes like MWT does. I will forever be in awe of how beautifully she pulls off plot twists and turns, and also how she delivers clever dialogue. Reading order: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings, Thick as Thieves. . . If you've read this series and have book recs for MWT fans, feel free to share them!

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Last but not the least, new-to-me author Alyssa Cole sent me a signed copy of her upcoming book A Princess in Theory:

Thank you so much for all of these, Lucy, Michelle (and Megan), and Alyssa! 🙂 I actually have more books acquired in my Kindle, maybe I should do a book haul post for those sometime. What about you, what books have you acquired lately?

Ten Bookish Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday - That Artsy Reader Girl

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/feature previously hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and have now been moved over to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is bookish resolutions or goals. I wanted to participate because this is something I’ve been thinking about lately. Here are my book-related resolutions for 2018:

Keep blogging without pressure. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and not putting pressure on myself is something I’ve always been conscious of. In order to keep blogging fun, I need to blog without pressure. No pressure to write posts or review books if I don’t have the time or if I’d rather do something else, like read or rest.

Read more books from my TBR pile. I have so many books that I still haven’t read and I need to make more of a conscious effort to prioritize them, instead of buying new ones. This is actually easier said than done because I’m a mood reader and sometimes, I’m in the mood for new books.

Continue to actively participate in the romanceclass community. romanceclass is a community of readers and authors of indie pubbed Filipino romance in English. The community organizes several events to promote and market books, and to encourage more readers and authors to join the group. It’s been so much fun to have a sense of belonging in a local book community because I love books and I love interacting with people who love the same thing.

Don’t hesitate to DNF books. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, life is too short to read books we don’t like. But even so, I have a hard time DNF-ing books.

Read more speculative fiction. My two most favorite genres are romance and fantasy, but I noticed that last year I read a lot more of the former than the latter. I think it’s because romance is easier to get into than fantasy. But I really want to discover more books and new-to-me authors in fantasy.

My first read in 2018 was The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which came highly recommended by my friend Kristen (fantasycafe on Twitter). So glad this fantasy debut novel was a Kindle deal a few days ago, and I was able to buy it for just 2.99usd. It started off real slow, I feel like the first half could have been edited better. But the pace picked up and I enjoyed it overall. An atmospheric read that has a fairytale feel, set in medieval Russia, steeped in folklore of that era. I've been itching to read a good fantasy book and this hit the spot. The sequel is already out so I'm going to try a sample before deciding if I want to shell out 13.99usd for it or wait for another Kindle deal. Why are fantasy ebooks so expensive compared to romance ebooks?😭 . . . How about you, have you finished your first book this year? If not, what are you currently reading? Also, what was the last fantasy title that wowed you?

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Declutter by giving away and passing on some of my physical books. I feel bad when it’s been years and certain books are just sitting on my bookshelves without being read or reread. So I think it’s better to find new homes for them, where they could possibly make a new reader happy. An exception to this resolution would be signed and personalized editions, because of course, I want to keep those.

Buy ebook editions instead of physical copies. Again, this is related to decluttering but I’ve also noticed that I’m more likely to read a book in my TBR pile if I can read it on my Kindle. I find it more convenient to read on my Kindle nowadays because I can adjust the font size and style, and also adjust the Paperwhite’s light function.

I caved and bought The Bird and the Nightingale's sequel for 13.99usd because I wanted to read it while the story is still fresh in my mind. I keep hearing that The Girl in the Tower is even better than the author's debut novel so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'd find it worth the purchase. I realized that I find it difficult to convince myself to buy pricey Kindle editions for fantasy titles because romance (the other genre I read a lot of) ebooks are a lot more affordable. The hardcover edition would have been about the same price, and I actually prefer ebooks nowadays. I think I just need to get used to this price range for fantasy, which I would to read more of. How about you, how much are you willing to pay for ebook editions? 📷 @ssshortzzz

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Be more conscious about integrating the content I create on other social media platforms into my blog here on WordPress. I’m very active on both Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy (username: Chachic), because it’s easier to update apps on my phone than open up my laptop to blog. So there are some conversations that happen on those other sites that I don’t share here on the blog. I want to change that in the coming year, and try to update WordPress more. As an example, I’ve included some of my bookstagrams to make this blog post more fun. I should do more of that moving forward.

Do more guest posts and host more guest posts. This is something I used to do more of, write guest posts for other people’s blogs and host fellow readers or authors on my blog. It’s a nice way of interacting with the book blogosphere and something I want to do more of in 2018.

Try something new. It can be a new blog feature, or doing something different like recording a video review. I’m clueless about video editing though so maybe I can try it on Instagram live or maybe I can ask friends to join me on Google Hangouts to discuss a book. An example of doing something new: last year I took part in two podcasts with my friend Kat from Book Thingo (click here and here to check them out).

Those are my bookish resolutions and goals for 2018, I hope I’m able to stick to them! What about you, what are your resolutions for this year?

My Anticipated 2018 Titles

My last blog post was all about my best of 2017 reads, and now it’s time to talk about the new releases that I’m looking forward to in 2018! In no particular order, these are the books that I can’t wait to read this year:

Magic Triumphs Spinning Silver Obsidio Children of Blood and Bone City of Lies

Start Here - ebook The First Time At Firelight Falls A Princess in Theory The Wedding Date Hurts to Love You

Titles that don’t have covers yet:
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (Hugh D’ Ambray’s book that will be released before Magic Triumphs)
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
Making Up by Lucy Parker
Saving Project Noah by Six de los Reyes
Chasing Mindy by Carla de Guzman

No titles or covers yet but I want the next installments in the following series:
Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews (the new serial has started on their blog but I prefer waiting for the full book)
Chic Manila series by Mina V. Esguerra

Are you also planning to read to any of the titles I listed here? What 2018 releases are you looking forward to?

Best of 2017

Happy New Year! 😀 Hope your 2018 is off to a good start. I usually post my favorite books from the previous year as soon as the new year starts but I’ve been busy with a few post-holiday gatherings with friends so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and work on a post until now. You can check out my lists from previous years through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Eight years’ worth of favorite reads! That’s a lot.

I still haven’t been blogging as much as I would want to, most days I feel like logging into my laptop involves too much effort. I’m still online on a daily basis but it has been easier for me to constantly update the social networks that I have on my phone such as Litsy (username: Chachic), Twitter and Instagram. And I did something different with my best of 2017 reads this year: I did bookstagrams for all of them! With brief summaries of why I loved them. I felt like I didn’t get to talk about them that much so I wanted to highlight these titles before 2017 ended. Here are the speculative fiction reads I loved last year:

Clean Sweep Sweep in Peace One Fell Sweep

White Hot Wildfire

thick-as-thieves

Before 2017 ends, I want to highlight the books that I've loved this year! High up in that list are White Hot and Wildfire, sequels to Burn for Me, released three years after the first book. I have so much love for Ilona and Gordon's writing, and I devour their books as soon as I can get my hands on them.❤ Hidden Legacy is an urban fantasy series that has their trademark humor and banter, action-packed adventure, strong character development, and the best kind of slow burn romance.🔥 . . I was engrossed from start to finish of each title, and had a book hangover after. And they've become comfort rereads. This series is an excellent introduction to their writing, highly recommended to anyone who wants to read something awesome. Even if you're not a fan of urban fantasy. . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved. Thanks for the assist in this photo, @crisevert.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Earlier this year, I devoured the three books that are currently out in the Innkeeper Chronicles: Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep. They got me out of a bad reading slump (which I knew they would). I'm continually amazed at how awesome Ilona and Gordon's writing is! Consistently entertaining, like this free fiction that was available as serials on their blog. I waited to read until they were released as self-pubbed books, and predictably loved them. . . Such creative worldbuilding, I think it's fantasy mixed with sci-fi? I loved everything about it - from the innkeeper magically bound to an inn that caters to supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires. And the characters were all so much fun to get to know! Dina is such a kickass heroine, and I love how she's able to hold her own amidst the various disasters the inn faces. Knowing how I'm such a sucker for romance, I also really loved the slow burn romance between the main characters, as well as the secondary romance that's been building. . . Included in my best of 2017 list, I highly recommend this series for specfic fans! If you feel like we have similar taste in books then you should definitely be reading Ilona Andrews, try any of their series. I've loved them all.❤ . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

No big deal, fans of the Queen's Thief series have only been waiting SEVEN YEARS for Thick as Thieves to be released. Easily my most anticipated 2017 release, this book was just as brilliant as I expected a Megan Whalen Turner title would be. I reread the earlier books prior to diving into this one and I believe that gave me a better appreciation of how the story progressed. SO, SO GOOD. . . . The best kind of storytelling. Set in a world reminiscent of ancient Greece, with layers upon layers of political intrigue. And clever characters who never hesitate in using the weapons at their disposal - whether it be sharp wit or blade. I love them so much.❤ This series is one of the finest YA out there, and do me a favor and just read it then let me know what you think. I HOPE THE NEXT ONE WON'T TAKE SEVEN YEARS. #ILoveYouMWT #ButPleaseWriteFaster

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Here are the contemporary romance novels I loved:

pretty face A Kiss in Lavender

Lucy Parker has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. Pretty Face was released earlier this year, and I loved this age gap romance set in West End featuring a TV-turned-theater actress and the director who casts her. . . There was such a strong connection between Lily and Luc, the tension was palpable right from the moment they met. And it was so much fun to watch their romance unfold as they got to know each other better, and gained mutual trust and respect. This was one of those romances where both hero and heroine feel seen and understood by the other person. I love reading about characters like that! It seems like the kind of romance that everyone should want for themselves. . . Lucy writes romances with a strong sense of place that feels realistic, and she's a must read for anyone who enjoys theater romance (or even just romance in general). I'm so grateful for her generosity in sending me signed and personalized copies of both Act Like It and Pretty Face. Can't wait to read the third book in the series! . . PS: My shirt says "Gimme HEA" which stands for Happily Ever After, a must for romance as a genre! That or HFN (Happy For Now). . . 📷 @fantaghiro23

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Laura Florand's romance novels has such a strong sense of place and rootedness that it almost feels like you traveled to France when you read one of her books. Her descriptions of Provence leap off the page in her La vie en Roses series, where she focuses on the Rosiers, described as the most influential agricultural perfume family in the region.🌹🍃 Such a well-written series with great banter, strong family ties, and characters you can't help but love. . . A Kiss in Lavender is a romance between an officer in the French Foreign Legion and the museum curator who brings him back home to Grasse. I've been waiting to read about Lucien's homecoming since I started this series! And it was as lovely and bittersweet as I expected it to be. I wanted this book to be longer because I would have loved to spend more time with the Rosiers. . . I've only been to Aix-en-Provence but someday, I'm going to travel to Grasse to experience what it's like to be a Laura Florand heroine.😂 If you're a romance reader and you haven't tried reading Laura Florand's books, that's something that you should remedy immediately. Her books feel like comfort reads even when you're reading them for the first time. Highly recommended.❤📚

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Last but not the least, these are the romanceclass titles that stood out for me:

FLAIR You Out of Nowhere Better At Weddings Than You cover Feels Like Summer Another Word for Happy

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone! Here's another title in my Best of 2017 reads: You Out of Nowhere by @jayetria, the first #romanceclassFLAIR title! An age gap romance with an older heroine, what we fondly dubbed "tita romance" (tita means aunt in Filipino) with a train meet cute. Hot guy reading Pride and Prejudice on the train, of course the heroine noticed him right away! . . I loved that Kris is older than Ringo but she's the one who isn't interested in a serious relationship. It was a lot of fun watching the two of the get to know each other - because they really click even though their personalities are distinctly different. Also, I enjoyed seeing Ringo scale her walls - first when they met in Manila and then later on when they become unexpected travel buddies in Seoul. Points to Ringo for knowing the benefits of collagen in skincare. . . Novella-length and available as a Kindle edition, this is a perfect holiday read because the story starys on November and ends in December. Full disclosure, I'm part of the #romanceclassFLAIR team but I really did enjoy You Out of Nowhere as a reader and would recommend it to those who think we have similar tastes in books. More tita romance, please!

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

I have been enjoying @minavesguerra's books since I discovered them in 2010. Better At Weddings Than You is no exception. Happy to share another #romanceclass title in my Best of 2017 list. The story starts during Christmas eve dinner buffet at one of the metro's hotel (I suspect it's Spiral, I'd say I'm jealous but good thing we're going to a fancy buffet tomorrow). So this evening is the perfect time to talk about this book! . . Read this to get to know Daphne and Aaron, both wedding planners with the former having more experience in their field. Daphne is a strong, idependent woman who is very good at what she does. I loved that she's a Filipino woman in her 30s who doesn't give a shit that she's single, a pretty refreshing take for a book set in the Philippines. Plus she likes fancy tea as much as I do. So much fun to watch Daphne and Aaron reluctantly agree to work together... then try to fight off their growing attraction... and eventually give in to it. . . Read this for the food references (yes to chicharon salad), for the Manila setting, and for the relatable characters! A fun and sexy read that's easy to get into. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

I read Feels Like Summer by @sixdlr while I was on vacation in Moalboal, Cebu. I had a feeling it would be an excellent beach read because this Filipino romance starts during a beach music festival, and I was right. I was drawn in right from the start - when the heroine pretends to be the hero's girlfriend. Fake relationship trope FTW!🙌 . . Strong, independent heroine who has no interest in a relationship. Also works in a science museum. Easygoing hero, frontman of a band. Brings pizza during a booty call. Bandmates all up in their business (they totally deserve their own books). Surprise abs. Creative references to lightsabers. Add all of these ingredients, mix them up and have such an enjoyable and absorbing romance. Not sure if my summary makes sense, better just check it out for yourself.😂 Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! . . PS: Barcino's sangria included in the pic was delicious.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

I've had Another Word for Happy in my TBR pile ever since it was released. I knew I would enjoy reading it because it's written by @agayllanera and edited by @islandstorygirl. But it wasn't until I saw @giogahol and @mrfredlaw reading the book that I finally picked it up too. Thanks, guise. Galing nyo magbenta.😂 . . It's a beautiful and heartfelt coming of age story. It's about the main character Caleb: teen guy, piano player extraordinaire, bowtie wearer... and how he falls in love for the first time. With another guy. This story has all the highs and lows of first love, and the confusion that comes from trying to learn more about yourself as you grow into a young adult. I have to caveat that although this is a #romanceclass book, it's technically not a romance. . . Both Another Word for Happy and Choco Chip Hips are titles that I'd recommend to anyone who wants to give Filipino YA a try. I feel like Agay has such a distinct writing voice. I need to read the rest of Agay's backlist! And I'm also looking forward to whatever she writes next. . . PS: Auro dark chocolate with cacao nibs is SO GOOD! Current fave Filipino artisan chocolate.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

In case you haven’t noticed, I also have a new blog banner designed by Filipino graphic artist Clarissa Ines. Learn more about the process here. I love how it gives my blog a fresh new look! I think it’s awesome that it’s a play on a book cover design, because Cla has designed locally published book covers.

ChachicsBookNook 2017 banner FINAL

Because I’m back in Manila, 2017 is also the year I became a lot more active in the romanceclass community. I’ve been posting a lot on Instagram and Twitter (and occasionally here on the blog) about the shenanigans I’ve been a part of. It’s been so much fun to have a sense of belonging in a local book community because I love books and I love interacting with people who love the same thing. You can see more of my romanceclass posts on the blog through this romanceclass tag.

You know that feeling when you're with people who love the same things you do, who understand you and accept you for who you are and what you're capable of? A warm and welcoming crowd, everyone giving as much of themselves as they can, extreme appreciation of what is offered, conversations that don't quit, hugs all around. The very definition of being part of a community. That's what it means to be in #romanceclass. ALWAYS A BLAST! Kayo talaga yung dahilan kung bakit ako umuwi ng Pinas, cheret. Love you, guys.💕🙌 Thanks for being extra. #FeelsFest2017 . . . . PS: "Landian" in Filipino means "flirting" so #romancelandian is romance + flirting, a play on #romancelandia coined by @readbyher. Just add one more letter, totally different meaning.👌

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

That’s 2017 for me. Hope you guys enjoyed seeing the different direction that I took for posting my best of 2017 list. How was your 2017 reading year? What were your favorite reads from the past year? 🙂

Book Thingo Podcast: Filthy Things with Me, Kat, Mina and Gio

A few months ago, I blogged about my good friend Kat of Book Thingo visiting Manila and recording a series of romanceclass podcast episodes. All of them have gone live, and the last episode includes me, Kat, author and romanceclass founder Mina V. Esguerra and actor Gio Gahol. We talked about the history of the romanceclass live readings, where actors read excerpts of books in front of authors and readers. It’s funny because what I remember the most about recording this podcast was we had a nice discussion and there was a lot of laughter. But listening to it again was a pleasant surprise because wow, we were able to go into a lot of depth not just about the history of the live readings but also some of the issues that romanceclass faces in the Philippines. Such as empowering female authors and readers by focusing on contemporary romance as a genre, these books reflecting our reality in the Philippines, as well as deeply ingrained colonial mentality and how it affects perception of the books. I hope you guys enjoy listening to it as much as we had fun recording it! As always, would love to hear what you guys think if you do manage to listen to this episode.

Click on the embedded audio file below to listen to the podcast, or on the image to get redirected to the Book Thingo site:
Book Thingo Podcast

I did live tweets while listening to the podcast, check out this thread:

Pictures from that day, swipe left to see everything:

Catch up on the previous romanceclass podcast episodes, sharing the links to the Book Thingo blog posts below:
BT047. Jay E. Tria, Six de los Reyes and Mina V. Esguerra: #romanceclassFLAIR
BT046. Chachic and April: 100% no cheating
BT045. #romanceclass actors: Makes your heart race

Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. Hello from Manila! Where the weather is rainy but pleasantly cool for a tropical country. The Christmas-related gatherings have already started in this part of the world, and I can’t wait to catch up with more family and friends. A preference that would surprise no one is that I would love to received books as gifts – even ebooks! 🙂 Actually, Kindle editions are better for me nowadays. I rarely receive books though, because I think most friends are not sure what are the titles that I have and don’t have yet. So it’s fun to make a Christmas wishlist so I can just share it on the off-chance that someone asks. Without further ado, here are the books that I would be delighted to receive for Christmas:

Queen's Game Submission Moves - ebook Don't Tell My Mother Sounds Like Summer Take the Lead

Hate to Want You Beginner's Luck An Enchantment of Ravens The Last Namsara Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Four romanceclass titles, three contemporary romance books, and three fantasy new releases. These are basically the books that are at the top of my wishlist. I should also mention that I’d be happy to accept Amazon gift cards if that makes things easier for the gift giver LOL. What about you, what books would you like to receive this Christmas? 🙂

Cover Reveal: Start Here, a romanceclass anthology

I’m so excited to share the print and ebook covers for an upcoming romanceclass anthology: Start Here, Short Stories of First Encounters! This LGBT-themed anthology has 10 short stories from various romanceclass authors, and was edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista. It will be released some time in 2018, and I really can’t wait to read it. The book covers were designed by Dani Hernandez, featuring cover models Migs Almendras and Fred Lo, and (real life couple!) Rachel Coates and Sam Aquino.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Start Here: A #romanceclass anthology
Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista
Release date: 2018

Sign up for updates here.

Start Here - print

There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.

Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.

So, go on.

Turn the page.

Start here.

Featuring stories by Agay Llanera, Bobbi Moran, Motzie Dapul, Danice Sison, Barbie Barbieto, H. Bentham, Ella Banta, Yeyet Soriano, Katt Briones, Brigitte Bautista

This anthology contains M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings. Some stories have a high heat level.

Start Here - ebook

______________________________________________________________________________________

What do you guys think of these covers? I like how bright and colorful the rainbow design of the print cover is, and how fitting it is for the theme of the anthology… but I love the ebook edition A BIT MORE because it features cover models. A few months ago, I blogged about the cover shoot for this cover. Linking the behind-the-scenes shots I have here again, in case you guys want to check them out – swipe left to see all the Instagram shots and click on the embedded tweet to see the whole Twitter thread:

______________________________________________________________________________________

Book Thingo Podcast: Chachic and April

Kat, April and I for the podcast - August 2017

Kat, April and I right before we started recording

A few weeks ago, I shared the link to my good friend Kat’s podcast featuring romanceclass actors and live readers. This week’s Book Thingo podcast episode features me and another friend, April (Twitter, Instagram, Blog). Kat, April and I are partners in #romancelandian, which is a play on Romanlandia: “landian” in Filipino means flirting. I’m so glad we got to record this podcast when Kat was in Manila! It’s actually an impromptu discussion, we were just able to squeeze it in after the podcast recording with the live readers.

Book Thingo Podcast - behind the scenes August 2017

April, Me and Mina while Kat recorded the podcast with the live readers

Click on the embedded audio file below to listen to the podcast, or on the image to get redirected to the Book Thingo site:
Book Thingo Podcast

Please let me know what you think if you’ve listened to it! I know some of you don’t like listening to podcasts, but there’s no available transcript for this. As a summary, we talked about how we were introduced to romance, what were our gateway titles, and what are our deal breakers. A bit more info from my end… I mentioned that I started reading romance in my teens, first with Sweet Valley titles then with Bantam’s Love Stories series, two of my favorites from that series were I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler. Then I moved on to my mom’s Harlequins and Mills and Boon pocketbooks, having nothing else to read during summer vacation because I didn’t have access to good public libraries. Before #romanceclass started, Summit Books were my go-to when it came to Filipino romances. And of course, we also talked about Mina V. Esguerra’s Fairy Tale Fail (my review) as our introduction to romanceclass books. It will always have a special place in my heart because I felt like the story was a slice out of my life, like that kind of romance could have happened to me or one of my friends.

Some of my favorite romance authors that I mentioned were Ilona Andrews, Julie James, Laura Florand and Lucy Parker. I feel like they all have their own unique way of writing and no one writes like they do. I love how Kat said that she owes me for introducing her to Ilona Andrews. I got her started on their writing by sending her a gift of Burn for Me and now she’s a fan. I love it when friends fall in love with the same books that I also love.

That’s it! I really enjoyed this discussion and I hope you did too (if you listened to it). Tune in for more Book Thingo podcasts that were recorded in Manila. They will be going live in the coming weeks.

Book Thingo podcast - group pic August 2017

Kat, April and I. Together with Mina, Six and Jay (guests for the next podcast episode)