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Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes

I’ve had Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes on my wishlist for a while now. And I was pushed to grab a copy when I saw historical romance author Courtney Milan raving about it. I didn’t want to get left behind when it comes to supporting Filipino authors! I read it as soon as I could because I was curious. While I couldn’t say that I loved it as much as Courtney Milan did, I had a lot of fun reading this nerdy Filipino romance. I will definitely be watching out for other books written by Six de los Reyes.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical ReactionsFalling in love is a chemical reaction.

Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts’ relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin’s wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, café owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.

But when Kaya’s recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn’t always happen inside a lab.

I’ve always thought of myself as a nerd because I studied in a high school that had a strong focus on science and math subjects, and I majored in electronics engineering in college. Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions reminded me of all the subjects that I had in high school and college where we had to conduct various lab experiments. There was a time when I spent most of my hours in a lab too. I used to say that I loved science and math but they didn’t love me back because I never found both to be easy. Which was probably why I didn’t pursue a career in those fields.

Having read Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions, I can definitely say that I’m nowhere near Kaya’s level of nerdiness. It took a while for me to get used to her way of narrating but I eventually found her endearing. She’s super smart, but she’s socially awkward. The sad thing is she knows it too, and she’s given up on pursuing stronger social connections because of previous failed attempts. I would gladly have been Kaya’s friend if she was a real person! It’s a good thing she has the support of her large and crazy family, so it’s not like she’s entirely alone. But it’s also her family that drives her to try an unusual experiment to find a boyfriend. I think most Filipinos would be able to relate to Kaya’s extended family, even if our own families don’t plan such elaborate parties. The way the Rubio clan was described was just realistically Filipino. Including the presence of nosy relatives. And like Kaya, I have been the recipient of many, many questions about why I’m still single, when am I planning to find a boyfriend, and why haven’t I settled down yet. I guess that’s just how Filipino titas (aunts) are wired? So yes, I could understand why Kaya thought it would be worth her while to embark on an unusual experiment to find a boyfriend.

While Kaya’s experimental dates were fun to read, I liked her interactions with her friends even better. She’s always been on good terms with her colleague and flatmate Eugene, but their friendship becomes stronger as he tries to help her navigate the dating field. I hope Eugene will get his own HEA in a later book. Kaya also becomes more willing to open up to the interns in her lab, as well as other researchers in their science institute. And of course, there’s Nero. Good-looking cafe owner, part-time graphic artist and definitely more experienced when it comes to relationships. On paper, it doesn’t seem like Kaya and Nero would really get along but it was interesting to see them get to know each other. How they’re both in totally different fields and have personalities that are poles apart but at their core, they’re just both flawed individuals looking to find someone who can see and appreciate their true selves. I’m glad that Nero got enough page time for readers to understand him better, and to see that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Nerdy, sweet and cute, Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions is an enjoyable romance with strong Filipino values. I’m glad to have discovered a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) romance series that is set in the Philippines. Looking forward to the rest of the books in the series! I need to mention that this book is indie pubbed and there were some sections that could have been edited better (missing words, typos, tense changes, etc.) but I wasn’t bothered enough to be pulled out of the story. Just wanted to give a warning in case that’s something that other readers watch out for.

Other reviews:
Oops! I Read a Book Again
bibliophile soprano
Back Porch Reader


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Comics and Chocolates Haul

My favorite bookstore in Singapore is Kinokuniya because they have the best stocks. I signed up for membership last January and I have been steadily increasing the size of my TBR pile because if it. They have a marketing trick that works well on me – members get a 10% discount on regular days and a 20% discount on special sale dates. I think sales happen at least once a month? In any case, I’m always tempted to buy books whenever there’s a sale because I want to take advantage of the bigger discount. So this was my comics and chocolates haul last Thursday:

Comics and Chocolates Haul - July 2016

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

The dark chocolates are from La Cure Gourmande – the four on the left are mint ganache, the middle ones are dark chocolate ganache and the last four are pear-flavored. As for the books… I have been hearing good things about Monstress ever since the first issue was released. I didn’t want to start reading a graphic novel per issue so I had to wait for Vol. 1 to be released. I saw The Last Dragon in a previous bookstore visit and marked it as something I would come back for because I like standalone graphic novels. As for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I’ve had the first two volumes since January but still haven’t read them yet! So many books, so little time. I had not anticipated how much real life will be sucking time away from reading.

I also bought an ebook yesterday based on a recommendation from romance author Courtney Milan (you can see her tweets about it here).

Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions (Talking Nerdy #1) by Six delos Reyes is a Filipino romance novel that has a nerdy heroine. I’ve had it on my wishlist for a while but I one clicked it after I saw the rec for Courtney Milan because I don’t want to get left behind in supporting a fellow Filipino!

I really should stop buying more books when I still have SO MANY in my TBR pile but it’s so hard to resist. To be fair, I’ve already finished reading (but not reviewing) the last two books in my previous book haul post. I could use that as my excuse for buying more this time. What about you, have you acquired any new books lately? Have you read any of the titles included in this post? Let me know what you think of them if you have.


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Cover Reveal: Iris After the Incident by Mina V. Esguerra

Iris After the Incident is the latest book in Mina V. Esguerra’s Chic Manila series, and will be released on August 5. These are books set in the Philippines that have some overlaps (e.g. cameos of characters) but each can be read on its own. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that I’m a strong supporter of Mina’s books. My reviews of her Chic Manila books can be found here, and all my other posts about her books can be found here. The cover for Iris After the Incident was just released today! Cover design by Tania Arpa, photography by Pach R. Urrea and features one of the shots from #romanceclasscovers. I think it’s awesome how Mina keeps trying to properly represent her characters through her book covers. She has partnered with Filipino fashion bloggers for some of her other covers, and the photo for Iris After the Incident was from a shoot specifically intended for Asian/Filipino book covers. How cool is that? I really like the simple and clean design of this cover, and it seems like the photo matches the book description well. The cover makes Iris look like she’s at a turning point in her life. I still need to read the book to find out if the cover is a good fit for the story… looking forward to it!

Iris After the Incident

Which moment has defined your life so far?

Whether she likes it or not, Iris’s life has been divided into two: Before the Incident, and After the Incident. Something very private was made very public, and since then life has been about recovering from being shamed, discovering her true friends, and struggling to find a new normal.

Two years into this new life and she finally connects with a guy again. He lives in the apartment down the hall, he’s hot, and he doesn’t look at her that way. He doesn’t know what happened. But he also won’t give her his name, not right away—which has to mean he’s got something to hide too.

Iris wants to start over. Should she do that with the only person who will understand, or is this the same idiotic decision that got her in trouble in the first place?

Social media sites for Mina:
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
#romanceclass


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Ten Books Set Outside the US

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. So many books, especially the more well-known ones, are set in the States so I think it’s great that we get to highlight books set in other countries this week. To narrow down my pool of choices, I’m sticking with contemporary fiction that I’ve enjoyed. I also tried to limit my choices to what I’ve read in the past two years or so. Here are my picks (linked to my reviews if I have them):

Philippines
What You Wanted Loveless Childless Clueless Choco Chip Hips

India
A Bollywood Affair

Australia
Summer Skin Wildlife

France
Once Upon a Rose The Chocolate Temptation

UK
Act Like It The Winter Sea

What about you, what are books set outside the US that you’ve enjoyed?


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Upcoming Event in Manila: #FeelsRushIn

There’s an upcoming #romanceclass event in Manila, and I’m sad to miss it. Would have definitely dropped by if I was back home! If you’re in Manila and you’re interested in reading Filipino romance, you should check out #FeelsRushIn.
FeelsRushIn poster

Print copies of these books will be available at the event:
FeelsRushIn


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#romanceclass books on Overdrive

If you have a public library that can request titles from Overdrive, you might want to check out this list of #romanceclass titles that are available there. These books are indie published romance books by Filipino authors, and I think it’s awesome that they can be requested from libraries in other countries. I haven’t even read all of the books in that list yet! But I have read and reviewed some of them, which you can see on this tag.

romanceclass overdrive


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Ten Books I Loved That Have Under 700 Ratings On Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, we’re supposed to talk about books that we enjoyed that have under 2000 ratings on Goodreads. This is a great topic because we get to highlight under-the-radar books that we’ve read. So it looks like SO MANY of the books that I’ve enjoyed reading are underrated because they haven’t even gotten 1000 ratings on Goodreads. These were the books that I loved (they were my favorites the year I read them) that have less than 700 ratings on Goodreads. Why 700? Because that was the number of ratings I reached when I got to ten titles. I could have kept going but I wanted to focus on these for now:

Loveless Childless Clueless Choco Chip Hips Learning to Fall A Wish Upon Jasmine Girl Before a Mirror

Northlander The Sunbird Medair Touchstone Trilogy Black Dog

Five contemporary, three fantasy, one sci-fi and one historical fiction… that’s a pretty good mix. I thought all of these books were great and would love for more readers to pick them up. If you feel like we like the same type of books then you should definitely check these out. You can click on the image to see my reviews. What about you, what are underrated books you loved?

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