March Bookstagram Reviews

Here’s a round up of bookstagram reviews I did for March. You can see my round up posts from previous months here: January and February.

What books have you read in March and what did you think of them? Any stand out reads?

Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa

Last Saturday, the Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa art / zine / book fair was held in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This event was organized by Gantala Press and featured Filipino female authors and creators.

Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa

Here are photos that I uploaded on the day itself, showing some of the products available there. Swipe to see everything:

It was seriously difficult to narrow down what to get because I wanted so many things! My haul includes comics, postcards and stickers which you can see below (again, swipe to see everything):

As mentioned in one of the captions above, this kind of event is a great for readers like me who are interested in supporting local female authors and artists and komikeras. I hope there will be more like it in the future!

March Book Haul

In February, I did two book haul posts for the comics I bought at Komiket and other books I purchased. For March, these are the new books that I bought and received:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
https://www.instagram.com/p/BgMGzDrFMnn/

Review copies of Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat, After Eden by Arnold Arre, Private Iris by Jamie Bautista and Arnold Arre

Out of all of these, I’ve read and reviewed Children of Blood and Bone, which I’ll include in my round up of bookstagram reviews at the end of the month. I’m currently in the middle of Jade City and I’m enjoying it so far.

I went to an art/zine/book fair last Saturday called Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa but I’ll do a separate post for that since this one already has so many titles! And I also received a few gifts because of the birthday wish list I made last week so I’ll work on another post for that. What about you, what books have you acquired recently?

romanceclass origins: Georgette Gonzales

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.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting author Georgette Gonzales in person because she’s now based in the USA, but we’ve interacted online and I’m so glad she’s here on the blog to share her romanceclass origin story. Thank you for being here, Gette!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

I didn’t exactly discover romanceclass. More like romanceclass discovered me. I think. Lemme ‘splain.

It all started with Anne Plaza, Clara Romance, and her #buqoYA novella, Fall For Grace. (Anne and I first became friends through My Special Valentine.) First thing she asked of me was if I was willing to submit something for the website’s first issue. I did. And then during the #buqoYA season, she asked me to edit her work because it was in Tagalog. Following that, she introduced me to the Facebook group of Romance Writers of the Philippines. There, I got to “meet” many other authors who did not move in the same circle I did – romance authors who wrote in English and who self-publish their works. Mina V. Esguerra was among them although I already knew her by name and reputation. I added her as a friend on Facebook, followed her on Twitter too. I was feeling a bit shy (and a teeny bit stupid), but I “introduced” myself to her by sending her a Twitter comment or two about self-publishing on Amazon. Other than that, I just generally stalked her and the other writers I’d gotten to know.

Sometime later, she tweeted about going to Dumaguete for a talk and forum. And yay! Not one to pass up the opportunity, I asked at once if she’d maybe have time for a quick meet up. Happily, we were able to connect – over coffee and dessert on the first day, and lunch on the second day. Later on, she was already back in Manila, she informed me she added me to the romanceclass group. And that was it.

Gette and Mina

My first big involvement was helping edit some of the submissions for #TalesFromTheMetro. #Tales had also been the first solid building block for me to be able to put my English stories out there. After writing three of these short shorts, I came up with a whole anthology, and so there was Of Love And Special Things as a result.

While I do have short story contributions to Promdi Heart (Once Upon A Bully) and Summer Feels (Then Derrick Was Back), of course, the ultimate objective would be to publish a full novella that fulfills #romanceclass guidelines. I had hoped to achieve this with #romanceclass2017 but at the time, I was also stressing about leaving the Philippines so I wasn’t able to finish my story. Will get to that someday. Promise.

So far though, I am close to getting one done… Uh… Nope. Scratch that. I WILL get one done as soon as I’m able to. Lord help me.

Gette book launches

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

I love the family feels. That’s how I’ve seen and felt romanceclass members treat each other – like family. It’s amazing how we are each other’s best supporters, passing each other recommendations and opportunities, being the first patron for whatever we come up with. I am grateful for the new friends I have made, for the chances to learn new things whether about writing romance or just life, in general. Grateful mostly for the gift of feels. Woot!

The community and what we do are growing and becoming more important. I appreciate and applaud what we have achieved and what we will yet achieve for romance writers and readers, and how we have designated ourselves to be the (sort of) guardians of the romance genre. Don’t diss us. We will fight back. Rawr.

Gette

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

I have yet to plow through my romanceclass TBR pile because I’ve only read very few. But among those, I recommend:

Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
The Queen’s Game by Carla K. de Guzman
Iris After The Incident by Mina V. Esguerra
The Kitchen When It Sizzles by Chrissie Peria
Promdi Heart (because love your own)
Summer Feels (kasi nga love your own)

Dare to Love Queen's Game Iris After the Incident

The Kitchen When It Sizzles - indie Promdi Heart Summer Feels

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Georgette began writing novels as Edith Joaquin of My Special Valentine Tagalog (Filipino) Romance pocketbooks, published by Bookware Publishing Corp. She started writing in English and self-pubbing works in the middle of 2015.

Gette works best at night, is also an editor, a public/media relations consultant, loves to cook pasta dishes and to eat caramel cake.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Birthday Wish List

My birthday is 10 days away, on the 29th. 🎂 I wanted to create a wish list even though no one has asked me for it, because lists are fun. And who knows, friends may ask me for what I want when my birthday rolls around. I did a similar list for Christmas last year and it’s fun to look back and take note that I already have most of the titles from that list, and I’ve even read and reviewed (on bookstagram) half of the books in that list. Like I said, lists are fun. 😀 For my birthday, I would love to receive these books:

Captive Prince Prince's Gambit Kings Rising

Other Than Easy Don't Tell My Mother The Duke Takes a Bride Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo 2) by Clarisse David Cover Ebook

After Lambana Kabuwanan UGH Zona Cero

The Obelisk Gate The Stone Sky The House of Shattered Wings Red Sister

That’s a mix of M/M fantasy romance, F/F and M/F romanceclass books, Filipino graphic novels and epic fantasy titles. I suspect that I will be buying most (if not all) of these for myself if I don’t receive them as gifts. My justification would be they can be my gifts to myself. 😀 What about you, what are books that are at the top of your wish list?

Cover Reveal: The Secrets That We Keep

The book cover for The Secrets That We Keep has been revealed! I’m actually a day late in posting this but better late than never, right? 😛 The Secrets That We Keep is a Filipino crime fiction anthology edited by Georgette Gonzales and Yeyet Soriano. Check out the cover spread for this upcoming title, with details about the book launch shared below:

The Secrets That We Keep

The Secrets That We Keep has five stories from new crime fiction authors. Four short stories from current authors. Nine bonus excerpts from upcoming releases. Cover design and layout by Porcupine Strongwill.

Join the book launch on March 24, 2018, 3-6pm at the Tweedle Book Cafe, Sct. Gandia, Quezon City, Philippines. More information can be found on the Facebook event page http://bit.ly/TSTWK_Launch.

Pre-order your print copies via http://bit.ly/HeistClubAntho_Secrets.

romanceclass origins: Miles Tan

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.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Today, I’m delighted to have Miles Tan on the blog. She’s romanceclass’ resident tech support, graphic and cover designer, and the creator of the romanceclass logo! In case you didn’t know, the romanceclass logo is based on her handwriting. I’m also very grateful to her for designing the romanceclass origins logo (because yay, it’s consistent with the original one so that makes my feature legit). In true Miles fashion, this post includes some of her original artwork. Please give Miles a warm welcome as she shares her origin story!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

It was 2013 and I was struggling with a job where I thought I could stay and flourish in, but the hours and workload were pushing me to forget to take care of myself and my family. I was looking for any outlet that could help me just relieve the pressures of work.

It was also around this time that I had been playing online with friends on a text-based RPG message board. If you’re not familiar with this system, it’s a little like round-robin writing. A gamemaster would set the scenario and the player – characters would respond, and whole stories would unfold. This sparked my interest to get back into one of my first loves: writing.

Chris Mariano and Chrissie Peria (authors of Cover (Story) Girl and All Fair’s in Blog and War respectively) had introduced Mina V. Esguerra’s works to me and mentioned the class she was setting up. So what the heck, I already had the beginnings of what was going to be Finding X, and the rest is — as they say — history.

Miles Tan - sketch01

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

‘Found family’ is one of my favorite tropes, and I found one with #romanceclass. With the group I found a place that has a lot of heart and full of acceptance.

It is also a place of opportunities for anyone of any capacity. You don’t have to be a writer or a reader. Some of us have become beta readers, subject matter experts, editors, artists, event planners(!) and code monkeys, resources that are all available to the members when they decide to write their own stories. This is the most supportive community I found, and I love them for it.

I may have originally joined the group to write, but I’ve stayed because of the support. And I like supporting back. There’s art, there’s code, there’s showing up. Being given opportunities outside the group that are an offshoot of all these (a wider network, more art and coding jobs) is like extra cheese on an already hearty spaghetti bolognese.

It’s one of the reasons I designed the logo that way. It’s about and for a community that talks, writes, and does everything from the heart.

Miles Tan - sketch02(1)

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

There’s so much! Here are good starting points though

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra (not technically #romanceclass, but definitely paved the way for me)
Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
Blast from the Two Pasts by Kristel S. Villar
Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes
Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas

Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Cover Story Girl All's Fair in Blog and War

Blast From Two Pasts_ Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Waiting in the Wings

While I’m in between the stories in my own head, I also live vicariously through the books I’ve done covers of. Keep the Faith, Midnights in Bali, Summer Crush, Young Love, Summer Feels, and Ghost of Feeling are just some of those!

Keep the Faith Fall Like Rain Midnights in Bali Summer Crush Summer Feels

Young Love Ghost of a Feeling Waiting in the Wings Like Nobody's Watching FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Seriously though, I suggest browsing romanceclassbooks.com and you might just find a book you’ll love.

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miles-tanMiles Tan is a #romanceclass author, creative and tech support. And now also a pasta cravings instigator #StarchHere. She likes inhabiting imaginary worlds, from fantasy books to sci-fi shows to cheeky mysteries to role-playing games.

Finding X is her first published novella. Her short story, Something Real, is included in the YA Luna East anthology, Kids These Days.

Website: milestanbooks.com
Twitter: maedinn
Instagram: milestan.author

romanceclass origins: Six de los Reyes

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.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Today, we have romanceclass’ resident mermaid on the blog where she shares her SUPER SLOW BURN introduction to the group. I’m going to admit that what she had to say made me tear up. Please give Six de los Reyes a warm welcome!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

My first encounter with #romanceclass was at Aklatan 2013 where I very awkwardly (after circling the table too many times) met Mina V. Esguerra and Chris Mariano at their booth. They gave me the intro to the community, to Author at Once, and to the Facebook group. Naturally, I came in a skeptic. Still, I exchanged emails with Chris and thought to myself, maybe this could work? Then in November that same year I joined the #buqosteamyreads workshop. I didn’t expect much, didn’t want much, didn’t think I’d stick around long enough for anything to happen. I just thought to myself, at least I’m doing something about this writing thing? I had a book after all, and I had all these stories begging to be written.

Anyway, through the first two years I lurked about the community and went to whatever event without interacting with anybody – not online or IRL. I remember sitting at the very back of the room at the Luna East launch, just watching these people who seemed to know each other very well enjoy their success. I remember meeting “Camilla Sisco” at our #romanceclass2014 Intro batch. I remember making online friends at the #SparkNA hashtag. I remember thinking, just one more workshop, just one more book launch, just one more and maybe I’d get something out of it? I ended up joining every workshop that came up for the next two years. At the time, it didn’t occur to me what it was I had already found there with these people. That I already did get something out of it, just not in the way I’d thought.

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

#romanceclass is my safe space, my happy space. I say it all the time, #romanceclass saved my life. You hear this a lot because it’s true for so many of us. For so long I’ve felt unwanted and invisible – turns out I was loitering at the wrong end of the visible spectrum. Since joining the community, I’ve met people who see me as I am, socially inept, anxious, your resident 100% introvert hooman and all that applies and yet somehow I belong. After all these years, I finally found somewhere I belong. #romanceclass taught me it’s okay to have feelings, to feel the feelings however you feel your feelings. They’ve taught me how to acknowledge self-care is necessary because I need to show up either online or IRL otherwise there will be summons in ALL CAPS on Twitter or Instagram (and once at my doorstep). They’ve taught me that all the validation I need should come from me. They’ve taught me all this through the kindness (and patience) they show me, in the way they believe in me, and in the way they lovingly strong-arm me to just write the damn thing because later we can fix it. In this community, we have books, we have cute boys and girls, we have feelings, and most of all we have each other.

I came in thinking “What do I get out of this?” and now here I am thinking “What more can I do? What else can I give?”

#romanceclass, how dare you give me water and sunlight and room to grow?

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Iris After the Incident by Mina V. Esguerra
You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria
If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
Don’t Tell My Mother by Brij Bautista
Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
Finding X by Miles Tan

Iris After the Incident FLAIR You Out of Nowhere If the Dress Fits Waiting in the Wings

Don't Tell My Mother Another Word for Happy Finding X

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Six de los ReyesSix de los Reyes has been reading and making up stories for as far as she can remember. In fifth grade, she learned to write about the stories she wanted to read. As a pretend grownup, she writes contemporary romance novels. Her day job doing science has something to do with being a part-time mermaid and a part-time labrat. She currently lives next to the sea.

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Wattpad

February Bookstagram Reviews

Oh wow, February passed by so quickly! Maybe because it’s a shorter month? I didn’t even get to do this round-up of bookstagram reviews on the last day of the month. So here I am catching up on them today. You can check out my January bookstagram reviews here.

It was a pretty good reading month, I enjoyed reading four out of the five books I finished. I planned to read only romance titles in February but couldn’t help but read the latest issue of Sagala when I got a copy of it at Komiket. I’m planning to read whatever I want in March. I’m really a mood reader and I mostly stuck to a theme in January because I wanted to read more fantasy and February seemed like the perfect month for romance. Maybe I’ll read some of the comics I just bought, let’s see how it goes.

What about you, what were the books you read in February?

romanceclass origins: Abbie from romanceclasstrash

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.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Today, I’m happy to have a fellow reader as a guest on the blog. Abbie (Twitter, Instagram) is here to talk about how she first discovered romanceclass. Abbie is one of the girls behind romanceclasstrash (Twitter, Instagram) which is a group of dedicated readers of romanceclass books who tirelessly promote the community’s titles and events. Thank you for being here, Abbie!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

It all started when a friend of mine posted about Mina’s books that were published then under Summit Media. I got curious and looked for those books everywhere and when I finally got a copy and read That Kind of Guy, I instantly became a fan of hers. At September of 2013, I finally met her in person at Aklatan. I think she was with Chris Mariano that time selling romance class ebooks. I bought those ebooks, of course, and they were officially the first romance class ebooks in my collection. The rest, as they say, is history.

Abbie and Mina

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

Being a part of the romanceclass community is really a big thing for me.

• If not for this community, I would still be the aloof, awkward girl that I was years ago. I’m still an awkward potato every now and then but at least I managed to improve my social skills.

• I met a lot of awesome people (authors, readers and live readers) who share my passion for reading romance books

• romanceclass taught me to be more open, understanding and accepting of the LGBT community and other things. It’s not that I despise or don’t like them, but if I was the person I was before being part of the community, I will not comment on anything and just look on the other side when issues regarding LGBT arise. But now, I’ll stand and fight for those people because they deserve to be recognized and accepted.

• I feel like people from the community are not only my friends but are already my family.

Abbie - romanceclasstrash

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Oh. There are too many to mention! But whenever I want to enable people to read romanceclass books, these are the titles that I recommend:

All of Mina V. Esguerra’s books
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
Prep and Prejudice by Miren B. Flores
Playlist Series by Jay E. Tria
Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera
Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza
Before I Lose My Nerve by Layla Tanjutco
Dare to Love by C.P. Santi
Promdi Heart by Georgette Gonzales, Agay Llanera, Chris Mariano, Jay E. Tria, Ines B. Yao
Summer Crush by Jay E. Tria, Six de los Reyes and Tara Frejas

My Imaginary Ex - 2017 Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition That Kind of Guy 2017 What You Wanted 2018

If the Dress Fits Feels Like Summer Prep and Prejudice Songs of Our Breakup Waiting in the Wings

The Last Time I'll Write About You Before I Lose My Nerve Dare to Love Promdi Heart Summer Crush