Introducing romanceclassFlair

romanceclassFlair

I’m super excited to share this news with all of you! If you follow me and the #romanceclass hashtag on social media, you’ll be seeing a lot of this in the coming months. FLAIR (or #romanceclassFlair) is a new, ongoing project to release steamy contemporary romance (in English) by Filipino authors. There are four new titles from four different romanceclass authors about to be released, and these books will be unapologetically sexy.

Flair is not a publisher, but there is a single Flair team that is working with the authors on all the books. The team is composed of romanceclass community authors, readers, editors, designers. We all agreed on what sexy contemporary Filipino romance should be, and the books should show it. What can you expect? Alternating POV. New ways of telling favorite tropes. Filipino characters. Lots of heat.

The first Flair book will be released in November. Follow romanceclass books on these social media accounts to see more details in the coming weeks: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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romanceclass origins: A New Blog Feature

romanceclass origins

I’m thrilled to introduce a new blog feature called romanceclass origins! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would have heard me mention romanceclass several times. If you’re new here, romanceclass is a community of:
– Authors who attended romanceclass, the steamy reads, YA classes organized by Mina V. Esguerra
– Readers of the books by those authors
– Readers of English-language romance books by Filipino authors

Basically a group of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. The first actual class was held in 2013. Since then, 78 authors have written and published more than 150 books (some have gone on to be traditionally published both locally in the Philippines and internationally). Alongside that growth, the community has also gained a solid readership base that will hopefully keep growing in time.

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. These are what I want to highlight with romanceclass origins. The blog posts would be interesting for community members, and would also serve as an introduction to romanceclass for those who aren’t familiar with it. I would like to thank Mina and Layla for helping me come up with the feature name when we recently met up, and for Miles Tan for creating the logo for this feature. I’m keeping it simple with three questions, and I thought it would be fun to start things off with my own answers. 🙂

1) How did you discover romanceclass?
I met Mina and have read her books before she started romanceclass. Authors Chris Mariano and Ana Tejano were book bloggers like me before their romanceclass books were published, so I feel like we’re sort of batchmates. 😛 I love reading and supporting books written by Filipino authors so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since romanceclass books have been released, and that’s how I started meeting other members of the community.

2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?
I’m very grateful to be part of the romanceclass community, in various capacities over the years. I borrowed my good friend April’s words and have called myself a romanceclass ninja, because I feel like that best describes and encapsulates my involvement in the community. I’ve talked about having a sense of belonging in the worldwide online book community in a previous post, and that’s how I feel about being a member of the romanceclass community. I feel like I’ve carved out a niche for myself, and I’ve found people who enjoy reading as much as I do, read the same type of books that I like (ROMANCE), and are more than happy to have discussions about these books. More than that, I enjoy actively participating in the various events that the romanceclass community has, or even just the impromptu meet ups with other readers and authors. I love that being involved in the community simply means putting your hand up when something is needed, or randomly volunteering to do something that you think would be beneficial to other people. I feel like the romanceclass community is such a supportive, warm and welcoming group. I have met so many wonderful people through romanceclass, and it will take way too long to list all of them. You know who you guys are, and I want to thank all of you for making me feel like I’ve found my people. ❤

Some pictures to show how much fun we have, swipe left to see everything:

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?
Here are some of the titles I’ve enjoyed reading, linked to my reviews if I have them:

Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Learning to Fall Better At Weddings Than You cover Iris After the Incident What You Wanted

Cover-Story-Girl Choco Chip Hips Loveless Childless Clueless One Night at the Palace Hotel Feels Like Summer

Mina is one of the most prolific authors in the group, so I’ve read and enjoyed the most number of books written by her, but there are many other authors in my TBR list. I actually feel bad that my TBR pile is longer than the list of books that I’ve already read. Forgive me for being a slow reader! I feel like romanceclass authors publish books faster than I can read them. All of these books are available as Kindle editions on Amazon, so you can get a copy wherever you are as long as you have an Amazon account.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this first ever romanceclass origins post! I’m hoping to make this a weekly feature, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be asking some of the romanceclass authors and readers I know personally to join this, but please feel free to reach out to me if you want to participate. 🙂 To those joining the FeelsFest 2017 event tomorrow, see you soon!

Looking for Urban Fantasy Recommendations

Ilona and Gordon shirt and Wildfire on Kindle

I’m a huge Ilona Andrews fangirl. I even have the shirt to prove it.😂 I’m looking for urban fantasy recommendations similar to their writing. I’ve already tried Patricia Briggs, Seanan McGuire, Nalini Singh, Eileen Wilks, Stacia Kane, Thea Harrison. But haven’t found any other series that I loved as much as the Hidden Legacy and Kate Daniels series, and the rest of Ilona and Gordon’s books.

I’ve already made this request on Twitter (see tweet below) and Litsy, and of course I had to ask for recs here on the blog too. Plus I can update this post with a list of the recs I receive so it would be easier to keep track of them.

Recommendations from Twitter:
Jenn Bennet’s Arcadia Bell
Lauren Dane’s Goddess with a Blade
Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld (tried her first Darkest Powers book but wasn’t a fan)

Recommendations from Litsy:
Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia (not urban fantasy but similar slow burn romance… tried the first two books and enjoyed them but didn’t feel compelled to continue)
Karen Marie Moning’s Fever
Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams
Blade Song by J.C. Daniels
Written in Red by Anne Bishop

I’ve already sent some samples on my Kindle, but I haven’t started reading any of the titles mentioned yet. Please feel free to suggest titles that you think I’d enjoy! 😀

Cover Reveal: Making it Complicated by Clarisse David

Today, I’m participating in the cover reveal for Making it Complicated by Filipino author Clarisse David. This cover reveal was organized by Lola’s Blog Tours, and the cover was designed by Daniel Tinagan. This is the second book in the I Heart Iloilo series, which are standalone romances set in the province of Iloilo in the Philippines. The first book in the series, Keeping the Distance, is on promo for only 0.99usd for a few days. I haven’t read Keeping the Distance yet but I keep hearing good things about it! I already have a copy of the book in my Kindle and I look forward to reading it soon.

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Making it Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2)
By Clarisse David
Genre: Romance
Age category: Young Adult, New Adult
Release Date: October 16, 2017

Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo 2) by Clarisse David Cover Ebook

No promises. No expectations. Just one night on a paradise island that could mean everything.

Nineteen-year-old Cam has a metric ton of emotional baggage and is in no mood to unload them on anyone. After her parents’ marriage imploded, stress-free is the only way she wants her life to be. And what could be more freeing than spending the summer on Boracay? Absolutely nothing… until she bumps heads with Hunter, the hot drummer who screams incoming heartbreak from a mile away.

Hunter has grand plans, none of which include angry-at-the-world Cam, best friend to the girl he always thought he’d end up with. He likes his life steady, thank you very much. But steady has now become synonymous with boring. His grand plans don’t seem so grand anymore. So when Cam comes home to Iloilo City and reaches out to him, he surprises himself when the one answer he can think of is… yes. Definitely yes.

Sometimes, complications are the only things that make sense.

You can find Making it Complicated on Goodreads.

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About the Author:
Clarisse David is a Young Adult and New Adult author from the land of epic heat waves a.k.a. the Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and cannot survive without red lipstick and books. When not hanging out on Twitter, she can be found working on her latest writing project.

You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also send her an email at clarissedavidwrites[@]yahoo[.]com.

You can find and contact Clarisse here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
Pinterest
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Making it Complicated. Five winners will each win an ebook of Making it Complicated by Clarisse David. Open internationally. For a chance to win, enter the giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Impromptu Bookish Dinner: Sushi and Coffee

Impromptu meet ups and meals with bookish friends is one of the best things about being back home in Manila. Yesterday, I met up with Filipino authors Mina V. Esguerra and Layla Tanjutco. We had sushi for dinner, and then cake and coffee afterwards. That combo doesn’t make much sense but we had our reasons! The informal theme for yesterday’s meet up was Mina’s What You Wanted, because the hero in that book has his birthday on October 5. 🙂 I really enjoyed reading What You Wanted back when it was released, and you can read my review here. It’s currently on sale for just 0.99usd and can be read as a standalone, go and grab a copy ASAP if you haven’t read it yet.

What You Wanted - Dinner with Mina and Layla

In one of the scenes of the book, the hero takes the heroine to a sushi place. So it totally made sense for us to have dinner at Genki Sushi:

What You Wanted - Genki Sushi

The hero is also a huge fan of coffee so we said we had to grab dessert and coffee after dinner. We ended up at a cafe called The Chocolate Kiss:

What You Wanted - The Chocolate Kiss

“Coffee isn’t exactly a sexy smell for other people, you know.”
“It’s not? They’re lying.”

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that bookish shirts are my current apparel of choice and I love pairing them with printed skirts. I love midi skirts but some of them look like maxi skirts on me because I’m hobbit-sized. Here are some OOTD shots for fun:

I M Reader OOTD

I M Reader OOTD 2

The photos above were taken by Layla. Thank you, Layla! 😀 And of course I also had to wear my bookish earrings, received as a gift from my friend Kat of Book Thingo:

Wearing bookish earrings

Bookish earrings

Bookish earrings 2

I’ve had people say that these earrings actually match my current blog banner. 🙂

Last but not the least, I wanted to share this Twitter thread of Filipino-romance-in-English titles that are currently on sale. Click on this to see the thread with buy links:

I’m sure you can tell based on the pictures that it was a Saturday evening well-spent. I hope you had an equally good weekend! 😀

Cover Reveal: Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas

Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas is an upcoming Filipino romance written in English, and the companion novel to Waiting in the Wings (learn more about that particular book here). I believe it can stand well enough on its own, but I plan to read Waiting in the Wings first to avoid any confusion. While I haven’t read any of Tara’s books, I have most (if not all) of them in my Kindle! Sigh, I have no idea when I’ll be able to conquer my ever expanding TBR pile but for today, I’m happy to be a part of the cover reveal for Like Nobody’s Watching. This book cover was designed by Filipino author and graphic artist Miles Tan, just like the cover for Ghost of a Feeling that I shared a few days ago. As always, Miles did a wonderful job with the cover design! The cover features Filipino theater actor Fred Lo as the model. Isn’t it awesome that a Filipino romance novel with a theater actor hero has an actual theater actor on the cover? 😀 Looking forward to reading this one!

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Like Nobody’s Watching
by Tara Frejas

Release date: October 24, 2017

It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.

If there’s something Pio Alvez is good at, it’s pretending to be someone he’s not. On stage and on-screen, the actor has mastered the art of becoming the characters he plays, and his new role should be no different. After all, how difficult would it be to pretend to be smitten with a beautiful, intelligent go-getter like Audrey Alonzo?

Perhaps it’s more difficult pretending not to be.

Add Like Nobody’s Watching on Goodreads
Pre-order Like Nobody’s Watching on Amazon

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Fun fact: She’s a Piscean. Go figure.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

More Bookish Shirts

Bookish shirts are my current apparel of choice! Last August, a got a few of them (which you can see in this post) and I ordered two more recently:

Have I mentioned that I love bookish shirts?

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

I haven’t had a chance to wear these two yet, but I’ve had fun wearing the shirts I bought previously. I always try to wear something book-related whenever I meet with bookish friends. Some selfies to show examples:

Gimme HEA selfie

Slytherin selfie

I usually pair them with a printed skirt, as shown in these:

Shelf Aware ootd

Single and ready to Kindle ootd

Forgive the vanity in this post! I usually don’t show so many pictures of myself in one go, but I think the shirts look better when worn so I wanted to share what they look like. 🙂 What do you think of these shirts? I think they’re pretty awesome. Do you own bookish shirts? If yes, what are the ones you own and where did you get them? All of the shirts pictured here were bought from local sellers here in Manila. I wasn’t able to find shirts like these while I was in Singapore.

Cover Reveal: Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad is an upcoming Filipino-romance-in-English that I’m very much looking forward to. I believe this is the first standalone novella by Celestine (nicknamed Leslie). I haven’t read anything of Leslie’s yet but I do have some of her short stories that are part of anthologies I own. Interesting tidbit of information, Leslie is actually a high school batchmate of mine but we didn’t really interact back then. Glad to have reconnected with her online due to our mutual love for fiction. 🙂

Today, we get to see the gorgeous cover for Ghost of a Feeling designed by the talented Miles Tan. September is the National Month of Suicide Prevention and since suicide is a theme of the book, it seems fitting to have the cover reveal before the month is over. I’m intrigued by the premise and I also think the book cover is so pretty! I love the starry night sky background and even the colors and textures included in the design. The silhouette of the characters, with the guy reaching a hand out to the girl seems very fitting for the story. Definitely looking forward to finding out more about this.

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Ghost of a Feeling
by Celestine Trinidad

Release date: October 31, 2017

Ghost of a Feeling

All Cris Villareal had ever dreamed of was becoming a doctor. But after the death of a patient under her care and the subsequent humiliation she suffers under a senior resident in her hospital, she begins to lose faith in herself. And no one else could understand her and her despair.

So one Halloween night, up on the rooftop of her apartment building, she decides to end it all.

She is stopped from jumping by Emilio, the ghost of a young man who haunts her building, who also committed suicide there many years ago. Eventually, Cris finds herself opening up to him, in a way she had never before, with anyone living or dead.

There is only one problem.

Emilio isn’t really a ghost.

He is actually a living young man named Nathan Morales, and Cris was just one of the unwitting victims in a prank he had once played on the tenants of her apartment. But being Emilio was the only way he could think of to stop her that night, and the only way now he could get her to open up to him. As Emilio, he was someone she could trust enough to help her, in a way Nathan himself never could.

As their relationship grows deeper and their feelings grow stronger each day, can he finally help her find a reason to keep living?

But how long can he keep lying to her?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Celestine Trinidad is a physician (particularly, a pathologist) by profession. In her spare time, she writes fiction of several genres, including romance, speculative fiction, crime fiction, and children’s stories. Her other stories have been published in other print and online venues, such as First Love, The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction, Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic, and Insignia.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Reread: Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Fairy Tale Fail was the first ever Mina V. Esguerra book that I read way back in 2010! It’s part of her Chic Manila series, which has several standalone titles that are loosely tied together only in the sense that the books are set in Manila and the main characters from each book know each other in some way. A new edition of this book has been released with a cover featuring theater actors Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan, and a short epilogue. Here’s the cover and synopsis:

Fairy Tale Fail 2017

Ellie Manuel is a hopeless romantic, stuck in a cubicle all day. She’s in her twenties and should be having more fun. But instead of doing what she really wants, like traveling wherever her Philippine passport can take her, she’s hung up on the guy who dumped her for not being “ambitious enough.” Someone should tell her that there are other cool guys — who probably even eat at the same office cafeteria! — who would encourage her just to be her fabulous self.

I couldn’t help but reread it when I got my hands on thew edition. I have fond memories of this book and have been recommending it to all my friends, along with the rest of Mina’s books. I’m still waiting for Litsy posts to become embed-able on WordPress so in the meantime, I’ll just copy and paste my Litsy review: I remember when I read this for the first time in 2010, I felt like the story was a slice out of MY real life. Philippine setting (complete with typhoons, bulalo and siomai), Manila corporate work environment. And I was the same age as the characters at that time. Reread it in one sitting today, and it felt like catching up with old friends. The kilig/swoon factor is still there and the new epilogue was a nice bonus.💖

I did notice that the heat level for Fairy Tale Fail was very low. It’s the same for all of Mina’s earlier books. I guess it was just the expectation and trend at that time for Filipino-romance-in-English to have fade to black love scenes. I’m very happy to report that this isn’t the case nowadays. 🙂 I had fun revisiting Ellie and Lucas, more so because I don’t get to reread old favorites as much as I would want to. Now that the rainy season is here, I want to have bulalo (a Filipino type of broth that has meat and marrow) because it was mentioned in one of the pivotal scenes in the book. I think every Filipino romance should mention at least one Filipino dish that would make readers crave for it.

If you’re ever in mood for Filipino romance, Mina V. Esguerra’s books are always a good place to start. 😀

Cover Reveal: How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Even Trying by Alma Anonas-Carpio

How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Even Trying by Alma Anonas-Carpio is an erotic romance novel that came highly recommended by my friend Liana of Will Read for Feels (check out her review of it). Liana was raving about this book when we met each other in Cebu, so I started reading it as soon as I could. I felt that it was a refreshing read because it was the first time I tried erotica written by a Filipino author. Given that it’s erotica, the heat level is off the charts. But at the same time, the story is infused with so much Philippine culture and mythology that I found endearing. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Even Trying. I’ve yet to write a review for this because I still need to gather my thoughts, but I wanted to share its new cover! The new edition has a book cover designed by Rica Palomo-Espiritu, and I think it’s a better fit for the story than the earlier cover:

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How to Tame Your Tikbalang Without Even Trying
by Alma Anonas-Carpio

Cover Redesign by Rica Palomo-Espiritu

How To Tame Your Tikbalang_New Cover

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?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alma Anonas-Carpio is a journalist — and she has been one for two decades — who pens poetry and fanciful fiction between deadlines. She is also the literary editor of the last news weekly magazine standing in the Philippines.

Her feet got set on the writer’s path by her mother, who told her that if she didn’t like the real world, she could create a world she likes better in her head. So she did — complete with characters, worlds and plots — and she wrote them down. When those worlds got too big to stay in her head, she began putting them down on paper, complete with population, personalities, vital statistics and back-stories.

Alma’s foray into writing erotica was spurred by a need to write something that was as different from news reportage and analysis and poetry as it is possible to get. Challenges, after all, are a very good thing—when they don’t kill you, that is.

Oh, and her first book was a cookbook. Because, food.

You may drop Alma a line at pusangitim(at)yahoo(dot)com, or read her work online at http://www.literotica.com. Look for SkinandSin.

Twitter | Goodreads

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Cover image from the author, book description and author bio from Amazon. I think the new cover is a good representation of the book’s premise – it definitely gives off an erotic romance fantasy vibe. What do you think of this new cover? Does it make you curious about the book? As always, feel free to share what you think in the comments section below. 🙂