Giveaway: Interim Goddess of Love Trilogy

Interim Goddess of Love_digital coverQueen of the CluelessIcon of the Indecisive

Mina V. Esguerra’s Interim Goddess of Love trilogy is now available in an omnibus Kindle edition. This is a series set in a fictional college in the Philippines. It has a contemporary setting with some Philippine mythology mixed in. Mina has very generously offered a Kindle edition up for grabs, you just need to have an Amazon account (or be willing to sign up for one) to join. As always, I can’t embed the Rafflecopter widget on my blog so click HERE instead.

Summary of the trilogy:

College sophomore Hannah Maquiling doesn’t know why everyone tells her their love problems. She’s never even had a boyfriend, but that doesn’t stop people from spilling their guts to her, and asking for advice. So maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise when the cutest guy in school tells her that she’s going to have to take on this responsibility — but for all humanity.

The Goddess of Love has gone AWOL. It’s a problem, because her job is to keep in check this world’s obsession with love (and lack of it). The God of the Sun, for now an impossibly handsome senior at an exclusive college just outside of Metro Manila, thinks Hannah has what it takes to (temporarily) do the job.

INTERIM GODDESS OF LOVE: While she’s learning to do this goddess thing, she practices on the love troubles of shy Kathy, who’s got a secret admirer on campus. Hannah’s mission, should she choose to accept it, is to make sure that he’s not a creepy stalker and they find their happily ever after — or at least something that’ll last until next semester. (As if she could refuse! The Sun God asked so nicely. And he’s so, well, hot.)

QUEEN OF THE CLUELESS: If you’ve been feeling neglected by the Goddess of Love lately, don’t worry — Hannah Maquiling, college sophomore, is in training to take over. The Original Goddess is missing, but Hannah is Interim Goddess now, and she should figure out how to solve humanity’s love problems soon. Quin (God of the Sun) is still her mentor, still really hot, but apparently isn’t as honest about his other earthly relationships as she thought. It’s frustrating, and enough to make her check out possibilities with Diego (God of the Sea) and Robbie (Cute Human).

In the meantime, she’s decided to spend some of her precious training time helping to break up a relationship, instead of putting one together. Why? Because the girl in question happens to be her best friend Sol, whose boyfriend is stealing not just from her, but from other people on campus. Sol didn’t exactly summon the Goddess, but this is what power over Love is for, right? Surely it’s not just about matchmaking, but ending doomed relationships too. (Even when it’s not what people want.)

ICON OF THE INDECISIVE: College student Hannah Maquiling, also temporarily working as the Goddess of Love, has had enough of everyone asking for her help when it comes to relationships. It’s her turn to find romance! She deserves it, after serving as matchmaker and confidant to everyone else in Ford River College for the past year. She’s had a crush on handsome senior (and God of the Sun) Quin forever, but he’s destined to fall in love with an extraordinary mortal woman, so she’s figured her chances with him have pretty much dropped to zero.

It’s not like she doesn’t have any options for a classic college romance though. There’s Diego, God of the Sea and Quin’s best friend/enemy. And regular guy Robbie is stepping up, making sure she knows how he feels about her. How hard can it be for a goddess to find someone to love, and be loved in return?

My reviews:
Interim Goddess of Love
Queen of the Clueless
Icon of the Indecisive

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EWein Special Ops: Giveaway (Ebook and Signed Copies)

Maligayang Pasko! 🙂 Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you’re all having a festive holiday season with your friends and family. Ours is more subdued than usual because my Lola (grandmother) passed away a few days ago and we spent Christmas at the funeral home.

EWein Special Ops

I hope you’re all enjoying the guest posts for EWein Special Ops so far? To celebrate the blog event, both Open Road Media and Elizabeth Wein have generously provided copies of her books to be given away during this week. I thought Christmas is the perfect day to bring up giveaways. The three copies are:

  • One ebook copy of either The Winter Prince or The Sunbird from Open Road Media (winner gets to choose)
  • One signed print copy of A Coalition of Lions from Elizabeth Wein
  • One signed print copy of The Sunbird from Elizabeth Wein

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow users to embed Rafflecopter widgets in free blogs so please click on the links instead:

The giveaways are open internationally and the winner will be chosen on January 2. Good luck and please spread the word about it!

Giveaway: Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano

Cover Story Girl wallpaper

Last July 30, 2013, my friend Chris Mariano published Cover (Story) Girl, a contemporary Filipino romance written in English about what happens when an assistant museum curator meets a Korean tourist with a secret or two. The novella features Boracay Island and Aklan prominently. It also contains about 40,200 words, including a glossary for Tagalog and Aklanon terms mentioned in the story. It was published independently.

From the Amazon page:

1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from herfather’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying herlast days on earth.

Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’ssmall museum,she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing atscenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himselfscrambling overrocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But howcan Gio tell what’strue from what isn’t? Their worlds are getting unraveled – one story at a time.

About the Author:
Cover (Story) Girl is Chris Mariano’s first published romance work, but her speculative fiction and poetry have appeared in Fully Booked’s Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards Prose Anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 7, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Ideomancer. When she’s not writing,she supports Eskritoryo Pilipinas, an organization that encourages kids to appreciate Filipino literature and culture. Chris divides her time between Manila and Aklan. Boracay is a two-hour trip from their home in Kalibo. She’s also a fan of Korean telenovelas, which is why common K-drama plot devices are referenced in the story. She’s already working on her next novella, also set in Aklan.

Follow Chris through Twitter or her blog.

Download links for wallpapers, in case you want them:
1280 x 960
1440 x 900
1600 x 900

Now for the giveaway! Five lucky winners will get an ebook edition of Cover (Story) Girl just by leaving a comment with an answer to this question: who would you want to go on a beach vacation with? Giveaway ends on August 24, I’ll randomly pick the winners the next day. Open internationally to anyone who has a Smashwords account.

Giveaway is closed. Winners have been contacted.

Review and Giveaway: All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

I heard about All’s Fair in Blog and War as soon as it came out. While I’ve never met Chrissie Peria in person, we share some common friends (she’s good friends with my flatmates as well as fellow Filipino book blogger Chris of Ficsation). Plus, she wrote her novella for Mina V. Esguerra’s romance class so Mina is another person who is actively promoting this title. I was planning to read All’s Fair in Blog and War sooner or later because I was curious about the premise and I think the cover is pretty cute. I just decided to bump it up the TBR pile because of all the recommendations floating around.

All's Fair in Blog and WarHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

Five Cuevas @fivetravels
Three guesses to where I’m going next. Starts with an M. Ends with a U. Has a lechon named after it. #travel

Travel blogger Five thinks she has hit the jackpot when the Macau Tourism Board invites her over for an all-expense-paid blogger tour in exchange for blogging about Macau. But while she happily signs up for the trip, she didn’t sign up to be travel buddies with the infuriating Jesse. Will her dream vacation turn into a nightmare junket? Or will falling in love be on the itinerary?

It’s always fun to read about bloggers even if they don’t blog about books. The last novella that I read that had a blogger main character was All’s Fair in Love and Chocolate by Laura Florand (funny that the two titles are so similar). I really enjoyed the blogging aspect of Five’s life because I could relate to it – how her blog shapes her vacation plans and how it’s more than just a hobby for her. That’s how I feel about my blog as well, a niche blog can take over your life like that. She’s a lot luckier than me though because look at how she won a contest to visit Macau to blog about it! Would love to have a similar huge blog-related experience. I was also interested in reading more about the tourist attractions in Macau because I’ve never been there. From what I heard from friends, I always thought there wouldn’t be a lot to do in Macau if you’re not into gambling but looks like I made the wrong assumption because Jesse and Five found more than enough things to occupy their time. As a foodie, I also enjoyed hearing details about what kind of dishes and snacks are available in Macau. This novella made me want to have an egg tart! Good thing they’re pretty common here in Singapore. One other thing that Five and I had in common was this:

I knew I was early, so I found a comfortable spot and pulled out a well-worn copy of Pride and Prejudice. I always revert to Austen when I’m in between books. P&P has always been my favorite, so it was the book I decided to pack for this trip.

That little snippet was while she was waiting at the airport. I always bring a book (or my Kindle) with me whenever I travel so I can’t even count the number of times I’ve read books in airports. And Pride and Prejudice is also my favorite Austen. *P&P high five* While I think that All’s Fair in Blog and War is a light and fun read, I also felt like it would have been better if it was a little longer. I’m not sure if word count was a factor that had to be considered for the romance class which produced this novella, but I would have liked to see more character development, more tension or kilig (swoon-worthy) moments between the two main characters. Other than that, I found this an enjoyable read. Recommended for contemporary romance readers who would like to try Filipino fiction. This is the kind of book that you can finish in one sitting, maybe while waiting to check in or board or even during a flight. For a more interactive experience, readers can follow the characters on Instagram: fivetravels, and Twitter: @5travels and @wanderingcamera.

Macau postcard from Anj

What a coincidence, I received a postcard from Macau today!

All right, giveaway time! Chrissie was generous enough to provide codes for free copies for the Smashwords edition of All’s Fair in Blog and War. To join the giveaway, leave a comment letting us know what country in Asia are you most interested in visiting? Aside from Macau, I’d love to go to Cambodia, Vietnam and South Korea. Giveaway ends July 19 and three winners will be chosen randomly. Open internationally to anyone who has a Smashwords account. Oy, if you don’t win, the book is only USD 0.99 so feel free to grab your own copy.

Giveaway has ended and winners have been notified.

Other reviews:
One More Page

Queen’s Thief Week: Giveaway

Hello everyone! What do you think of the Queen’s Thief Week festivities so far? I hope you’re all enjoying the posts. 🙂 I can’t wait to publish the rest of the guest posts sitting in my drafts section right now. In the meantime, here’s a giveaway for all of you. One lucky winner will win a book of his or her choice from this list of recommendations for Queen’s Thief fans, as long as it’s available in the Book Depository. The winner can even choose a book that has been recommended in the comments section. Either that or choose one of Megan Whalen Turner’s books (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings, Instead of Three Wishes). Winner will be chosen randomly, giveaway ends on January 29 and is open to wherever the Book Depository ships. To join, leave a comment stating what title you’d choose if you win. I would also appreciate it if you can spread the word not just about this giveaway but about the Queen’s Thief Week event.

Here are some of my suggestions, all of which are available from the Book Depository (yes, this is me trying to influence your choice):

Birthday Giveaway Winner

The winner of my birthday giveaway is:

Lee M.

And he chose Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen from my list of favorites. Congrats! Expect an email from me inquiring about your address, Lee. Thank you to everyone who joined and thank you as well to those who left comments just to greet. 🙂 Funny, there were 29 people who joined and my birthday is on the 29th.

In other news, I’m headed off to Bangkok later tonight. It’s my first time to go there so I’m excited to experience new things. From what I’ve heard, lots of shopping and food trips will be involved. I will try to schedule some posts while I’m away but I’m not sure if I’ll be successful in that because I haven’t even started packing yet! We’ll see. In any case, I won’t be able to reply to comments on my posts or the Facebook page or Twitter mentions but I’ll be back online probably Sunday night.

Birthday Giveaway

It’s the 22nd already so my birthday, March 29, is a week away. I thought I’d celebrate it by having a birthday giveaway! I’m giving away one book from my list of favorites, the winner gets to choose what he or she wants as long as the Book Depository has it. To join the giveaway, spread the word about it through Twitter, Facebook or your own blog and leave a comment including the link to that and of course, the book that you choose. Giveaway ends March 29, open to wherever the Book Depository delivers, winner be randomly chosen.

Following is not a requirement but feel free to follow using the RSS feed, through Goodreads, Twitter or Facebook.

Interview with Mina V. Esguerra and Giveaway

Today, I’m delighted to have one of my favorite authors, Mina V. Esguerra, here on the blog to answer some questions. Mina V. Esguerra’s novels are light romances/chick lit set in the Philippines and written in English, usually with a twenty-something woman based in Manila as a main character. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love reading her work. Her latest novella, Love Your Frenemies (Amazon, Smashwords) was released early this week.

Your latest novella, Love Your Frenemies, has a main character who was an antagonist in one of your other books, My Imaginary Ex. Did you have the former in mind while you were writing the latter?
The simple answer is that I didn’t have Love Your Frenemies in mind when I wrote My Imaginary Ex. I was happy just to have finished MIE and gotten it published, and didn’t have any grand plans for doing more.

The possibly more interesting answer is that after MIE got published I did think that I could do more. I wasn’t sure yet what I would write about, but I did know that it shouldn’t be about falling for the Best Friend (been there done that). So I challenged myself to write two more: about falling for the Unattainable Crush, and the Jerk. These three guys always show up in the YA romances I read growing up.

Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies came out from this. And then when I was planning to write the one about falling for the Jerk, I felt like I had to make the protagonist stronger so she could survive the way he treated her. Kimmy the former villain sort of got cast into that, which was easier than having me create another character who’d be just like her.

You write books that fall under chick lit or contemporary romance, what made you decide to write books in that genre?
I suspect now that this is the only genre I can write with any confidence or authenticity. I’ve tried branching out and always end up quitting. My first novel pitch ever was YA, but that was surprisingly difficult to write, and didn’t even get picked up. Or maybe I just need to work harder on the other genres.

What are some of your favorite chick lot or contemporary romance novels?
I wish I could say more, but only one comes to mind – Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation. I haven’t read enough books in this genre, but I’m starting to.

No longer “contemporary”, but I read a lot of Sweet Dreams novels. I especially like the ones that feature banter, like The Right Combination and Kiss Me, Creep. But my favorite – and is still my favorite romance TO THIS DAY – is Wrong-Way Romance by Sheri Cobb South. Years ago I emailed her and told her how much I loved her book, and she sent me a signed copy. It’s the jewel of my book collection!

I love how you have such a strong online presence unlike other Filipino authors. You connect with your readers through your blog, Facebook page, Twitter and email. This makes me curious as to how you feel about reading reviews of your work. Can you please share your thoughts?
Love reading them, have to say. I used to pretend I didn’t see them, then I caved and started thanking people for the review. Because that took some effort, and I want to thank them for their time, no matter what they end up saying.

At the same time I don’t want to go into that review and really discuss things point by point, because by then a person’s read and judged the work and that judgment belongs to them. I don’t want to be so involved and visible that a reviewer will feel awkward knowing that I’m just there hovering.

You decided to go the e-publishing route with some of your work while others were published the traditional way. In your experience, what are the pros and cons of both experiences?
Hmm, it’s kind of a toss-up.

The two books published locally (My Imaginary Ex and No Strings Attached) are more popular to Filipinos, because my publisher markets and distributes these very well. Cons for traditional publishing in general – printing costs, availability of copies, and if an international reader wants a copy, shipping is always a problem. Summit has dropped hints that they’ll have digital publishing soon, so maybe this will change.

The audience for the two ebooks (Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies) is more international. Amazon is a great distributor because it made the book available to the world. Every day the sales figures are a pleasant surprise, and so is the feedback from international readers. The “con” here is that Filipinos aren’t more aware that these are available. And if they know and want to buy, there’s always some hurdle – no credit card, or they think they need to own a Kindle to read it (not necessary), or they prefer paperback period.

So until the game changes again, the formula is this: If I want the work to be read by the world, I go with e-publishing. If I want the work to be read by my family, community and kababayans, I pursue traditional publishing.

On your blog, it’s mentioned that you have a day job. How do you balance that with your writing career?
It probably seems like I’m writing all the time, because the last three books came out within months of each other! But the very first drafts ever of Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies were done in 2009. So it wasn’t difficult finishing these and having a day job, because once I got the drafts done, the only work I did was to revise.

No Strings Attached was different, because I imposed a regular schedule. I wrote for it for about half an hour every day, while waiting for my husband to pick me up from work. After a few weeks I got used to it, and if I got inspired at any other time I’d just note it down but only seriously write it at the appointed time.

Your previous work involved novellas and I was wondering if you’re planning to write something longer in the future like a full-length novel?
I’m trying! Got used to plotting and designing a story that builds up and peaks in under 40K words. The instinct there is to trim things, rather than add. I’ll need to work on it.

I’m sure your readers want to know what you’re writing now so can you please give us a hint and maybe an idea of when it’ll be released?

If I’m able to go back to my writing schedule and stick to it, I could release another novella this year. Likely one featuring Tonio of No Strings Attached, because I’ve been wanting to explore what it’s like to date someone as slutty as him. 🙂
________________________________________________________

Thank you so much for your answers, Mina! I was really curious about these things that I asked and I enjoyed reading your answers. I need to find a copy of Wrong-Way Romance so I can read it and let you know what I think. As always, I’m excited to read your work so I’ll be waiting for Tonio’s story. Now that Amazon allows people to give Kindle ebooks as gifts, I’m more than happy to give away a copy of Fairy Tale Fail. I believe I can send the ebook to anyone who has an email address so it’s an international giveaway. To join, just leave a comment about anything related to Mina’s answers or why you’re interested in reading Fairy Tale Fail. Giveaway ends March 11, winner will be chosen through random.org.

Read my reviews of Mina’s books by clicking these links:
My Imaginary Ex
Fairy Tale Fail
No Strings Attached
Love Your Frenemies

Queen’s Thief Giveaway Winner

So the winner of my Queen’s Thief giveaway is… *drum roll please*

Heather Z.

and her answer is:

Signed? What body part did you have to sacrifice for that? o.O

Seriously, I loved having Gen in the YA Fantasy Showdown (and I was so glad it came down to Howl and him. It was beyond perfect for me, even though it was never remotely anticipated that way).

I would do a week-long FEATURE of this series if I were to win it (even though it would be breaking my cardinal rule of featuring unknown fiction. But the awesome may make up for it. This series is truly incredible).

Thieves always seems to have this enormous heart to them in fiction. I must say I have a soft spot for them. Eugenides always my favorite. And Eugene from the recent Tangled definitely has my heart right now too. (Eugene, Eugenides… Correlation? I think so).

Congratulations! I may put you up to that week-long feature. 😛 I also thought it was great that Gen and Howl were the finalists in the YA Fantasy Showdown. Thank you to everyone who joined and I’m really sorry there could only be one winner. I loved hearing about your favorite thieves in fiction. Gen was a popular answer, of course. So was Robin Hood. Other answers include George Cooper, Arsene Lupin, Artemis Fowl, Mundungus Fletcher, Liesel Meminger, Locke Lamora and so many others. I should check out all of the books that you guys mentioned because I’m fond of thieves.

Anyway, to those who are wondering, I didn’t give an arm or a leg for these signed copies. I wasn’t even able to meet MWT in person since I live in the Philippines. I just ordered them from the indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy and MWT was nice enough to drop by the store and sign the books when I purchased them. Not sure if she’s still based in San Diego though.