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Freebie Alert: Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra

Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra is free on Amazon now until the 17th. It’s the prequel to Mina’s upcoming Chic Manila book, What You Wanted. While this short story is a freebie, I thought it would be the perfect time to write an equally short review for it. :)

Wedding Night StandHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

A wedding, a moody bridesmaid, a man in pursuit – of someone else.

Andrea Crisostomo is no longer your Ms. Right Now, thank you very much. She’s had enough of guys who like her “free spirit” but then break up with her before things get serious. One guy in particular screwed her over so much that she now hates weddings, but she has to suck it up to attend her sister Julie’s big day.

Damon Esquibel enjoys the slow and steady chase, and it looks like his two-year pursuit of Geraldine is about to pay off. He’s at his friend Anton’s destination wedding only because of her. But then he meets the sister of the bride, who doesn’t seem to want to be there, and it’s enough to question his plans for the evening – and the rest of the weekend.

As the title and the premise suggests, Wedding Night Stand is set during a wedding a few hours away from Manila. The happy couple who tied the knot? Julie and Anton from That Kind of Guy, another book from the author’s Chic Manila series. I think it’s pretty cute how these books are loosely connected. They’re standalones but it feels like a treat whenever I see cameos of previous MCs. Also, it feels realistic because even though Metro Manila has a population of almost 12 million (according to Wikipedia), it still feels like such a small world sometimes.

I started reading Wedding Night Stand past midnight last Sunday. You might be wondering why I would start a book that late when I would have to wake up early the next day for work. That’s because I was in denial that the weekend is over. Anyway, this was the perfect choice because I was able to finish it in one go. And I didn’t have to give up that much sleeping time for it. It’s short, flirty, and steamy with just the right amount of sexual tension for two attractive individuals who happened to be assigned seats next to each other. Can I just say that Damon’s a really hot guy? Kulang na lang ng kanin. There’s also a tiny bit of sweetness in there, when the two characters side with each other after learning about the other person’s story. I picked this up, knowing that Damon and Andrea’s romance would be continued in another book. But I think it can stand well enough on its own. So grab it while it’s free!

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Filipino Fridays: My Five Wishes as a Filipino Reader


Filipino Fridays is a weekly meme that has become a tradition leading up to the Filipino Reader Conference. Unfortunately, I won’t be in Manila during the actual date of the ReaderCon so I’m only able to participate through Filipino Fridays. Last week’s posts was about five ways that reading changed my life. This week’s topic:

What are the five Things You Wish as a Filipino Reader?

This could be anything! What stories do you want to see from our local authors? Which author do you want to visit the country? Would you want to see your favorite comic book become a live action movie? It’s time for you to share your ultimate wishlist from your perspective as a Filipino Reader. Go wild, go crazy!

I found out that this topic was apparently partially inspired by my Top Ten Tuesday book genie post a few weeks ago, so of course that made me even more eager to come up with a list for this topic.

I would love to have more books written by Filipino authors in the genres that I read. That would include contemporary, romance, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, sci fi, graphic novels. Both in young adult and adult categories. I think there has been an increase of Filipino romance books because of #romanceclass, and it would be great to have more books in other genres too.

It would be amazing if I can find more Filipino books that give me book hangovers. If my first wish is about quantity, my second wish is about quality. I would love to have Filipino books that would make me go WOW. The kind that wouldn’t let me leave the world or story for a few days. The kind that would make me bibliovangelize. I’m not sure how to help make this happen? But if you’re a Filipino author and you think I’m part of your target market, I would be willing to be a beta reader or give feedback on your book if you think it would help.

I wish more Filipino and non-Filipino readers will pick up and promote books written by Filipino authors. I admit that I could be better at this too. But whenever I do read a Filipino book, I try to spread the word about it as much as I can. I try to write a review or at the very least, post about it on Instagram. I’ve noticed that my posts about Filipino titles get less attention that posts about foreign books and that makes me sad.

It would be awesome to have more indie bookstores or book cafes in the Philippines. Apparently, book cafes are now a thing in Manila? If I was still based there, I would be cafe hopping in these places like nobody’s business. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out in a cafe that’s meant for readers? They seem like great places to have book club discussions and meet ups too.

I wish there were more online or blog events for Filipino readers, kind of like Filipino Fridays. :) If I was in Manila, I would be wishing for more face-to-face events. But because I’m in Singapore, I can only participate in online stuff.

A very selfish wish that I would add just as a bonus item is for friends or family to give me bookstore or Amazon gift cards if they have no idea what to get for me for Christmas or my birthday. :P I don’t want to seem ungrateful but I think this is something that every reader will be able to relate to? We probably spend so much on books that it wouldn’t hurt to get gift cards.

What about the rest of you, what are your readerly wishes?


Ten Book to Movie Adaptations I Still Need to Watch

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I’m not very good at keeping up with movies, I think mostly because reading takes up most of my free time. So I’m usually not able to keep track of when movies are released unless I’m REALLY excited to watch them. So that’s why there are some movie adaptations that I still haven’t seen, even if I’ve already read the books they’re based on. Such as:

Looking for Alibrandi The Book Thief The Giver Coraline The Duff Vampire Academy Time Traveler's Wife

And then there a few movie adaptations that I haven’t watched because I haven’t read the books:

Paper Towns Me and Earl and the Dying Girl The Martian

If you’ve seen the movies for these books, let me know if they’re really good adaptations and whether I should prioritize them. What are book to movie adaptations that you have in your to-be-watched list?


Singapore Writers Festival: “Instalove” – Romance and the YA Novel

Today’s fun activity was a panel event that was a part of Singapore Writers Festival. The event title was “Instalove” – Romance and the YA Novel with Joyce Chua, Joyce Chng and Rachel Hartman as panelists. My friend Liyana of LiyanaLand mentioned that she will be attending the event so we made plans to meet up and hang out.

SG writers fest 2015 - instalove

Bean bags galore. Made the event seem cozy.

I actually found out about the event when I saw Rachel Hartman mention on Twitter that she’s in Singapore for the Singapore Writers Festival. Seraphina was one of my favorite reads back in 2012, and it’s rare for authors I read or follow to make it to this part of the world. So it’s always a cause for excitement when one does. I’ve been following Singaporean author Joyce Chng on Twitter for a while now and I’ve been meaning to read her fantasy novel, Rider, but just haven’t found the time to do so. Joyce Chua is a new-to-me author and I will be checking out her debut novel, Lambs for Dinner.

The event started with the authors saying a little something about the romances in their books and then reading excerpts:
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove 2

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take detailed notes on the discussion so I will just share what I remember off the top of my head. The topic of whether romance is necessary in a YA novel was broached, and the authors answered that of course, it isn’t. There are many wonderful stories out there that do not have romance. And also they mentioned that there are many different kinds of non-romantic love that can also be highlighted in YA (e.g. platonic love, family love). Rachel mentioned that in the early drafts of Seraphina, there wasn’t any romance. But her editor persuaded her to add it in, so she did but she wanted it to be the kind of romance that speaks to her so she made it a very nerdy romance. Joyce Chua mentioned that one of her favorite authors is Sarah Dessen, who mainly writes contemporary YA novels. These books usually have romance in them but the main theme is character growth, and the romance is more like a secondary aspect.
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove 4

I thought it was pretty cool that the venue was packed. The bean bags gave the whole thing a cozy and laidback vibe but I could tell that the audience (or most of it) was listening to the discussion, which was proven when several people wanted to ask questions.

After the Q&A, there was a book signing for the three panelists:
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove 5

Fangirl pic of the day:
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove - Rachel Hartman fangirl

It was lovely to meet Rachel! She was super nice and friendly. We had a bit of a chat because during the panel, I remembered she mentioned that she’s not a big fan of romance in books. Which I told her I found a bit surprising because so many YA fantasy classics have romance (Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, Tamora Pierce and of course, I mentioned my all time favorite Megan Whalen Turner). She said that for her to like romance, there has to be something different to it, not the usual fare. I found that interesting because that’s something I can definitely relate to. I mean, we don’t want romance to be boring, right?

My US hardcover of Seraphina is back home in Manila so I bought two copies (one for a friend), which Rachel very kindly signed. Now I have a copy to reread before I start Shadow Scale, which is patiently waiting on my Kindle.
Seraphina - signed copy

Sunday well spent! If I’m still in Singapore next year, I should check out the SG Writers Fest panels early to see which are the ones I should join.

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Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores

Loveless Childless CluelessI first found out about Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores from Filipino romance authors Mina V. Esguerra and Chris Mariano. I saw them posting about it on social media and that made me curious. Both the cover and the premise looked interesting so I decided to try a Kindle sample. I bought a copy after finishing the sample because I liked it well enough to continue.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Standing amidst the wreckage of a fifteen-year relationship, Anna finds herself single, unmarried, childless and, at the rickety age of thirty-five, trying desperately to pick up the pieces.

There’s a lot of crying and punching, a trip or two, and a list of things to do and be to get her self back. There’s the heady scent of a (possible) spankin’ new man sparring with the memory of the boy who first captured her heart — and may have stomped all over it.

But what would she know? After all, here she is — loveless, childless, and totally, utterly clueless.

At first glance, I had a feeling I would be able to relate to this title because I am loveless, childless and clueless too (although I’m a few years younger than Anna). But more than anything, Loveless. Childless. Clueless. is a breakup book and it’s about Anna trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her fifteen-year relationship ends. It reminded me a little bit of another Filipino chick lit title Breakup Dairies by Maya O. Calica, but this book has a much more serious tone because of the age and maturity of the characters. It was easy enough to like Anna. I could understand why she chose to end such a long relationship, she could see that she and Miggy were stuck in a rut and they could see no way out of it because both of them weren’t willing to change. That kind of breakup is probably even harder to endure, because it’s not like they fell out of love. The relationship just became too much work, on top of everything else they have to face in their lives.

I thought Anna handled the moving on process well. Sure, there was some drama but it never felt like it was too much. There’s the usual crying and drinking wine and meeting up with friends. But she didn’t just wallow in her own misery. I liked how proactive she was in going after the things that she wanted to do, the things that she felt she missed out on while she was busy trying to keep her relationship afloat. It felt like she was going on mini adventures while trying to find herself. I was rooting for Anna and I wanted her to have, if not a happy ending, at least some closure. I just have a minor quibble with how she kept waffling near the end. I know how confusing her situation must be but I just wanted her to make a decision and stick with it, not go back and forth questioning whether she’s right or wrong. Anyway, there were more things to like than dislike in Loveless. Childless. Clueless. and I enjoyed the book overall. I think the writing is pretty solid and consistent, always a good thing in an indie debut novel. Non-spoilery snippets that I particularly liked, plus some pictures that I took that I think go well with the quotes:

We talk about how Paris is a city built for both lovers and loners; about how it can be both familiar and new, how she can feel like home but never get old. We talk about the museums and the gardens, the bridges and the streets, and wonder how every corner can be so darn pretty.Lomo - Montmartre

The sea is for me. I make this declaration silently, standing chest-deep in the water, staring at that point where the horizon meets the sea. I close my eyes and revel in my favorite natural sound in the world – the waves. It’s a hypnotic rhythm, a soothing rhythm, the sweetest, I’m-so-glad-I’m-alive rhythm.ScorpioLomo

A woman after my own heart! Paris was the first city in Europe that I ever visited and I will always have fond memories of it. And I can relate to how Anna describes the sea and the waves, how they soothe her and manage to give her perspective. I don’t know if that’s something that’s common to most Filipinos, having experienced the ocean and beaches throughout our lives. Like I mentioned earlier, Loveless. Childless. Clueless. has some pretty solid writing and it will be interesting to see what Miren B. Flores will write next. It makes me happy whenever I find another Filipino author to follow.


Filipino Fridays: Five Ways Reading Has Changed My Life


Filipino Fridays is a weekly meme that has become a tradition leading up to the Filipino Reader Conference. I won’t be in Manila during the event so I can only participate through this virtual meme. This week’s topic:

How do you think has reading changed your life? Please share with at most five significant ways that will show how reading has influenced your life. These could be in terms of personality, career, studies, and other parts of your life this influence has taken place. :D

Reading has given me a default activity. I’ve written a blog post before about how books are my constant, about how I may like certain things at any given point in time but that always fades while I will always be a reader. If I’m bored or can’t think of what to do, I can always just pick up a book. Actually in whatever mood I’m in, I can always just read a book.

Reading keeps me steady. There have been times in my life when I’ve been in difficult situations and I felt like reading and book blogging have helped keep me grounded. For example, I had a tough time adjusting to living abroad on my own, when I first moved to Singapore more than three years ago. And I really wouldn’t have known what I would have done if I didn’t have books to read and the book blogging community to relate to. Sometimes when I had a bad day at work or I’m unhappy for some reason, I just tweet and say “I need a good book, stat.” and I would get recommendations. And when I read a book that’s able to take me away from my current situation, it really helps keep me on my feet when I have to face reality.

Reading has led me to book blogging and has helped me make friends. Of course I’m talking about all the book friends I’ve made through reading communities and the book blogosphere. Our love of the written word connects us all. Even better is when we find people who love the same kind of books that we do. In another one of my previous posts, I mentioned that book blogging is more than just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. So much thought, time and effort goes into maintaining a book blog, and the social media sites connected to it, that it’s much more fitting to describe it as a lifestyle.

I have learned to break my boundaries because of reading. This statement can be interpreted in many ways, such as how I’ve learned to explore genres that I wouldn’t have tried if not for recommendations from trusted authors and bloggers. Or how I’ve been able to explore and travel to other worlds, both real and fictional, through the books that I’ve read. I just like how reading enables us to be more open to experiences.

Reading helps me lose myself but also helps me find myself. I’m an escapist reader so I love losing myself in a good book. But even if the characters in the book that I’m reading are in situations that I would never find myself in, there are still instances where I could totally relate to what they’re thinking or feeling. Certain lines or paragraphs would make me go, “YES! Exactly this!” So in a way, I feel like I find parts of myself in the books that I read.

I can go on and on about this topic but the prompt says maximum of five so I’ll stop here. What about the rest of you, how has reading changed your life? You don’t have to be a Filipino reader to share your thoughts on this topic. :)

Filipino ReaderCon 2015


Sports Romance Mini Reviews

I’m always up for a good sports romance. I think they’re a lot of fun to read and they can also serve as great palate cleansers in between fantasy or sci-fi reads. For some reason, I find myself unable to write full reviews for most of sports romance books that I read so I’m lumping a few together into one blog post.

Rush Me
Rush Me by Allison Parr
I can’t say that I loved this, exactly. But I was absorbed by it and stayed up way too late last night to finish reading the whole thing. I really liked it but was kept from loving it by the climax, I just felt like the conflict felt a little tired because they kept fighting about the same things. I really liked Rachael and Ryan. Of course it was fun to read about Rachael’s bookish ways and it was cute how Ryan could keep up with her intelligence and her quirkiness. I liked how Rachael’s friendship with the football players developed and would love to read to see the other guys get their own HEA. I also liked Rachael’s roommate and her other girlfriends. One conversation about Pride and Prejudice was a winner:

“Ryan Carter wants to have dinner with me on Friday. And like a dozen other people. But still.” I collapsed onto the sofa and kicked off my shoes.

Eva frowned. “But aren’t you in a fight?”

“Yes. I don’t know. Is this a really bad idea? Apparently he suggested it.”

Eva’s grin broadened and her dark eyes twinkled. She peeled off the rubber dish gloves and dropped down next to me on the sagging cushions. “I think it’s a great idea.”

“But what if he’s a Wickham?”

She shrugged. “Maybe you’re a Lydia.”

I shuddered. “Don’t say such things.” Lydia might have caught Wickham in the end, but she was still vain and flippant and unlikeable. “I want to be Elizabeth.”

Eva gave me a look.

“Fine.” My head dropped against the back of the couch. “I’m a Jane. I’m a Jane, okay?” The staid older sister.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a Jane.”

“That’s what the Elizabeths always say,” I muttered darkly.

I was in the mood for a fun sports romance and this was exactly what I needed. Looking forward to reading more of the author’s writing!


Sacked (Gridiron #1) by Jen Frederick
I had fun reading this football romance. It reminded me a little bit of The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan, but I liked this one more. Both Knox and Ellie were pretty easy to like and they really were perfect for each other. It was cute how Knox was convinced that they’re meant to be together the moment he sees Ellie. I also thought it was nice that Ellie is a big football fan, partly because her brother also plays the game. One of the reasons why Knox was drawn to Ellie was because it seemed like she loved and understood the game just as much as he did. A non-spoilery snippet:

I haven’t been reasonable or completely honest. If I’m honest, I’ll admit that Knox Masters is exactly the type of guy I want to date. He dominates a sport I love. He’s confident but not arrogant. He’s funny, able to laugh at himself, and… shit, hot as the first of Mordor. I mean, the One Ring could be forged in his hotness.

Isn’t that funny? Knox and his twin Ty are super close and the same can be said for Ellie and her brother, which was something that I also liked. These family connections became an important aspect of the growing relationship between Ellie and Knox. There was also a fun bookstore scene that I think all book lovers will appreciate. I know next to nothing about American football but I still enjoyed reading this book even if I didn’t understand the sport. Will be watching out for the next book in the series! I hope Knox’s twin brother gets a book of his own.


Kulti by Mariana Zapata
This was almost a DNF for me because I found the first few chapters dragging. But I kept reading, hoping that it would get better and it did. Although there were still sections of the book that I skimmed. It would have been a stronger novel if it was shortened a lot more. I did like the characters a lot. Sal is a great character, so dedicated to soccer but not so much that she doesn’t lose focus of what’s important in her life like her family and friends. I really enjoyed seeing her interactions with her dad, they’re pretty funny together. I also liked Kulti, this intense soccer legend who started off as aloof but slowly warmed up to Sal’s warmth and kindness. He knows he’s made mistakes in the past but he’s willing to atone for them, and to become a better person. His character could have been further developed, I felt like we didn’t see much of what his life was like prior to his retirement. I thought their romance was pretty sweet – friends first, with a history of admiring each other’s sports talent. I did think it took too long for them to get together – I’m all for slow burn romance but if the couple hasn’t even admitted their attraction to each other when you reach the 90% mark in the book? I think that’s a bit much. Kulti could have been really good but unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.


Scoring Wilder
Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
After reading Kulti, I was still in the mood for a soccer romance so I searched for another title that I could read. I came across Scoring Wilder and both the cover and the premise looked interesting so I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did because it was a lot of fun to read! This is exactly the type of sports romance that I enjoy reading. Kinsley is a hilarious girl, I really enjoyed seeing how her quirky mind worked. She’s smart, funny and works really hard to succeed in her sport. Some examples of things she’s said:

If only we actually were in Harry Potter. I’d totally Crucio her ass. Yeah, that’s right, I’d use one of the Unforgivable Curses. Come at me, Ministry of Magic.


Damnit, he was distracting me. I was supposed to be Nancy Drew, and instead I was Nancy Draw-the-blinds-and-put-it-in-me. Wait, what?


I wanted to exceed everyone’s expectations of me. I wanted them to say, “I thought she’d be good, but that girl is on fire.” They’d have no choice but to compare me to Katniss.

Makes me feel like it would be great to hang out with Kinsley. Liam is also a great guy, he might be known as a soccer bad boy but from how he acted in the book, he seemed pretty sweet. Or maybe it took just the right girl for him to settle down. Kinsley and Liam’s friends and family were also an important part of the story, and they provided support while the couple’s relationship developed. This book was a nice intro to R.S. Grey’s writing and I’m interested in giving her other books a try.


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