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.

The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman

The Queen's Game by Carla de Guzman is a #romanceclass title set in the fictional kingdoms of Cincamarre and Concordia, located north of the Philippines. They're based on Batanes, a province that has long been in my list of aspirational travel destinations. I hear it's gorgeous, and the descriptions in this book strengthens that knowledge. I can't say that I'm a big royal romance reader but I was fascinated by the idea that hey, we can have one set here! This was such a fun and cute romance with a feisty heroine and a soft boy of a hero. I wanted it to be longer, probably because the fantasy reader in me wants Cincamarre and Concordia to be explored further. But I'd be happy to read companion novels set in the same world. Please write more, @carlakdeguzman! If she releases more titles, you first heard the request here. Recommended for readers of royal romance, especially the ones who have loved A Princess in Theory by @alyssacolelit (*whispers* Alyssa herself recommends this title). . . . 📸 @milestan.author #TheQueensGame #CarladeGuzman #Filipinoauthor #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diverseromance #royalromance #romancereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH

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Palaso by Marianie

Palaso by Marianie is a standalone Filipino comics about Dark Cupid, the being in charge of pulling out the arrows from individuals who were mistakenly shot by Cupid (they fall in love but it doesn't work out). With one catch, they have to be ready to move on before he can pull out an arrow. . . This was such an interesting concept and premise for me! But given the nature of Dark Cupid's work, the whole story had a bittersweet tone to it. As we say in Filipino, hugot kung hugot. I know a lot of readers will be able to relate but I didn't love the whole thing as much as I wanted to, I'm chalking it up to me not being the target audience for this. The art is lovely, and I found the vibrant coloring enjoyable. This is Marianie's first work and I look forward to seeing more from her. I'm just waiting for her Nagmamahal, Maria Clara series to be finished before I buy it. That might be more my thing. . . In full color, written in Filipino. I bought my copy at Komiket but you can probably contact Marianie or Komiks Sundays if you're interesting in getting a copy. I picked it up based on @komikninja's recommendation, and you can read her review for an additional take on this. . . . #Palaso #Marianie #Pinoykomiks #diversecomics #comics #graphicnovel #artPH #readlocalPH #Komiket #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #coffee #cafehopping

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

I really wanted to love The Last Namsara but unfortunately, this was a debut YA fantasy that didn't really work for me. It had a promising start, I really liked the theme of old stories having so much power. And that dragons craved storytelling. Also, yay dragons! But I just wasn't invested in any of the characters. I felt like Asha being a dragon slayer was supposed to be a strong female character, and yet she just keeps doing what others tell her to do without questioning why. It also got on my nerves that Asha kept believing that she was wicked, because that's what she's been told. This is one of those times when a book just wasn't a good fit for me. I'm glad I gave it a try because I was curious about it. Go and look up the summary and read this if you find it interesting, I know a lot of readers enjoyed this much more than I did. . . . #TheLastNamsara #KristenCiccarelli #HarperTeen #fantasyreads #YAfantasy #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #booknerd #bookphotography #bookreview

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Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo

Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo is a comics series steeped in Filipino folklore and set during the Spanish colonial period. It features the aswang, a supernatural creature that hungers for flesh and blood. I've heard of Tabi Po before but probably wouldn't have picked it up if it hadn't been highly recommended by friends @fantaghiro23 and @komikninja. Tabi Po Isyu 1 is an intriguing start to the series, where we are introduced to main characters Elias, Tasyo and Sabel. They are all aswang, but have their own distinct personalities. Given the nature of the characters, the artwork shows violent scenes, full of blood and gore. It is not gratuitous violence though, and is necessary to the story. I'm mentioning it only because I'm not sure this is something that everyone would enjoy reading. If you've read Monstress, Saga and The Wicked and the Divine, then you'd have no issues with this series. Maybe check a browsing copy first to see if this is something you'd be interested in. Personally, I found it a refreshing palate cleanser in between my Kindle reads. Smooth storytelling with beautiful artwork and interesting worldbuilding, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more in Isyu 2 and Isyu 3, which I already own. But I'm pacing them because I'm going to admit that I can't take that much violence in one go. Written in Filipino and in full color, I bought my copy at Komiket and had it signed by the author, which you can also ask for if you order from his website. Also available in local bookstores. Hopefully as ebook editions soon! . . . 📸 @readbyher #TabiPo #MervinMalonzo #Visprint #Pinoykomiks #comics #diversecomics #graphicnovels #artPH #readlocalPH #Komiket #Filipinoauthor #diversebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #booknerd #bibliophile #bookphotography #cafehopping #cafe

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is a debut YA fantasy novel that has been getting a lot of hype all over the online book community. It's an epic fantasy that has a rich culture inspired by West Africa. I can see why so many readers loved this book, it's a well-written and action-packed adventure story that features strong chatacters. It moves at a fast pace that keeps readers engaged and entertained. At its core, Children of Blood and Bone is a story of how people capable of magic rise up against the oppression they have endured under a tyrant of a king. I recognize the relevance of this kind of writing, and that it's a story that deserves to be told. However on a personal level, I can't say that I loved this book. Purely because there's only so much pain and suffering that I can read before I distance myself from what's happening in the story. I keep reading just to find out what happens but I'm not as involved with the characters, and that stops me from loving them. I'm willing to see characters go through difficult situations but I need the darkness to be balanced with enough hope and light for me to keep going. Sadly, I didn't feel that was the case with this one. Still, look up the premise to see if it's something you'll enjoy. I know mine is an unpopular opinion about this book. You might love it a lot more than I did. . . . #ChildrenofBloodandBone #TomiAdeyemi #Macmillan #bookreview #YAfantasy #youngadultlit #diversebooks #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffee #coffeelover #coffeetime #cafehopping #cappuccino

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Kabuwanan anthology by Haliya Publishing

I loved the concept behind @haliyapublishing's Kabuwanan anthology: seven stories from various female comics creators. I'm always happy to support Filipino authors and artists and I'm glad Haliya shined the spotlight on women in this anthology. . Each story has its own distinct artistic style and way of storytelling. In full color, which I'm always a fan of. They're all interesting in their own way, but as with any anthology, not all stories worked for me. Even though I could appreciate the art, I wasn't able to connect with some of the stories. I chalk it up to me not being the target reader for them. I did love two stories though: the ones from @hulyen and @deadbalagtas. Hulyen's was hilarious and so relatable, and I've shared snapshots of her story because it resonates with other readers as well. Emiliana Kampilan's was a gorgeously drawn short story about a babaylan character. I loved the rich detail and history that she included in this tale. Would definitely love to read more from these two comics creators. . Kabuwanan is a title that I'd still recommend overall because out of seven stories, you're bound to love at least one or two of them. Kudos to Haliya, and I hope they publish more books like this. . . . #bookreview #GGSSG #artPH #Kabuwanan #HaliyaPublishing #Hulyen #EmilianaKampilan #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #Pinoykomiks #readlocalPH #diversebooks #ownvoices #comics #graphicnovel #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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

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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:

Today's @gantalapress art/comic/zine/book fair called Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa in CCP. So many cute stuff here by female creators from @romanceclassbooks @haliyapublishing @marianieart @deadbalagtas @catgablin @studiosouplibrary.ph. I wish I could afford to buy EVERYTHING! Swipe to see the goodies. Drop by and check them out, the event runs until 7pm. . . This is my entry for @bentchbites' #MarchBookstagram2018 prompt for local. . . . #GGSSG #artPH #GantalaPress #romanceclass #HaliyaPublishing #DeadBalagtas #CatGablin #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diversebooks #diverseromance #Pinoykomiks #ownvoices #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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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):

In one of my posts last Saturday, I mentioned that I was at the Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa art/zine/book fair organized by @gantalapress featuring various Filipino female authors and creators. It's a great event if like me, you're interested in supporting local titles. This is my haul, which includes: . - Kabuwanan anthology by @haliyapublishing . - La Mujer Filipina zine by @deadbalagtas . - Uwian female/female anthology by @catgablin . - Nagmamahal, Maria Clara 1 and 2 comics, and stickers by @marianieart . - UGH postcards by @hulyen I received some other stuff but they're gifts so I'll include them in a different haul post. Swipe to have a closer look at the merch and see inside the comics. I tagged the respective creators so you can feel free to contact them if you missed the event and want to get any of these items. . . Were you able to go to the GGSSG event? What's in your haul? If you weren't able to go, which of these items look intriguing? . . . #GGSSG #artPH #GantalaPress #Kabuwanan #NagmamahalMariaClara #HaliyaPublishing #DeadBalagtas #EmilianaKampilan #Hulyen #CatGablin #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #Pinoykomiks #readlocalPH #diversebooks #ownvoices #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #artfair #bookfair #supportlocalPH

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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:

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn

I've had Beginner's Luck by @kateclayborn.author on my wish list for a while, because I keep hearing good things about it from romance Twitter. So I one clicked as fast as I can when I saw that it's a Kindle deal for 0.99usd. Looking forward to reading this book! This bookstagram also applies to @bentchbites' #MarchBookstagram2018 prompt for today: new-to-me author. Beginner's Luck is a debut novel so it will be my intro to Kate Clayborn's writing.🙌🏻📖 Have you guys tried any new authors lately? . . . #BeginnersLuck #KateClayborn #LyricalPress #KenstingtonBooks #romancereads #contemporaryromance #Kindledeals #Kindlebooks #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #bookstagram #bookphotography #besfluencers

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Hotter Than Ever by Elle Kennedy

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Good coffee in one hand, a potentially good book in the other. It's how every weekend should look like!📖☕ I'm only at chapter 3 but I'm enjoying Children of Blood and Bone by @tadeyemibooks so far. Sometimes when a book gets a lot of hype, I want to wait for the buzz to die down before I read it. But sometimes, I like having that sense of connection with other readers all over the world when an exciting new release has just come out. Like, hey I'm here in Manila and I'm reading the same book that you're reading wherever you may be. Do you ever get that feeling? What was the last book that made you feel that way? . . . 📸 @chuchay.d #ChildrenofBloodandBone #TomiAdeyemi #fantasyreads #YAlit #youngadultbooks #Kindlebooks #diversebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #coffee #cafehopping

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Ashwin by Kit Rocha

Today's prompt for @bentchbites' #MarchBookstagram2018 is latest purchase and I just one clicked this 0.99usd Kindle deal a few minutes ago. Ashwin is the first book in the Gideon Riders series by @authorkitrocha. My original answer to this prompt was supposed to be my current read, Children of Blood and Bone. But I couldn't resist buying this title. I've had it in my wish list ever since it was mentioned in @bookthingo's podcast as a good dystopian romance series. Looking forward to reading it! What about you, what's your most recent book purchase? I'm not the only one who keeps one clicking Kindle deals, right? I used Palaso by Marianie in the background because I love its vibrant colors. Not sure if any of you have noticed but I've been using some of my comics when I take Kindle bookstagram shots to add some color to them.📸📚 . . . #KitRocha #GideonRiders #romancereads #romancenovels #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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

Today, I received book mail from @arnoldarrebooks and it includes three Filipino comics titles: After Eden, Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat and Private Iris. Also with matching postcards and bookmarks. Thank you so much, Chamber Shell Publishing! I read After Eden years ago when it was first released by a different publisher but apparently this newer edition has been revised. Looking forward to reading and rereading all these three titles! Have you read any of these? Let me know what you think if you have.📚📬 . . Do you read comics and graphic novels? Which ones have you loved? . . . #ChamberShellPublishing #ArnoldArre #AfterEden #AngMundoniAndongAgimat #PrivateIris #Pinoykomiks #diversecomics #comics #graphicnovels #artPH #readlocalPH #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #diversebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookphotography #bookhaul #bookmail

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The Tetethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

New book in my Kindle, and new cake discovery earlier today! I've had The Tethered Mage on my wish list ever since Kristen (fantasycafe) rec'd it on Twitter and I one clicked it the other day while it's still a Kindle deal.📚 Looking forward to reading this epic fantasy soon. Have you read this title? If you have, what did you think of it? Included in this shot is a slice of ube crepe cake from @papermooncafeph and IT'S SO GOOD. I've had crepe cakes in Singapore before and wasn't a fan of them so I've mostly been ignoring PaperMoon whenever I've seen it here in Manila but apparently I should have paid attention to it earlier. Definitely planning to have more of this cake in the future.🍰 What's a new title that you just purchased? Or a new cake/dessert that you've just tried? . . . #TheTetheredMage #MelissaCaruso #OrbitBooks #fantasyreads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #coffee #cafehopping #PaperMoonCafePH #ubecake

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Jade City by Fonda Lee

"...Shae was struck by a sense of nostalgia so profound she found it difficult to breathe. The humid air through the open window, the sound of her native language being spoken on the radio, even the terrible traffic... She swallowed, close to tears; she had only the vaguest idea of what she was going to do in Janloon now, but she was undeniably home." - Jade City by Fonda Lee . THIS. SO MUCH THIS. A passage that reminded me of what it felt like to move back home to the Philippines after years of living abroad in Singapore. Actually even just coming home for a visit felt like this. Jade City is a fantasy novel that has been at the top of my wish list after it's been rec'd several times on book Twitter, and by @anovelescape here. I jumped at the chance to read it when it became a Kindle deal. . It's an Asian-inspired mafia fantasy where jade is able to enhance certain people's fighting skills. I read some author interviews and discovered that this was inspired by Fonda Lee's own martial arts experience and her love for kung fu movies. The setting is fictional but based on Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Okinawa. I'm only at 17%, and just at the stage where the multiple POVs are being introduced but the worldbuilding is incredible so far. . Have you read Jade City? Feel free to share what you thought of it. What are other Asian-inspired fantasy that you've loved? . . . #JadeCity #FondaLee #OrbitBooks #fantasyreads #bookquote #diversefantasy #diversebooks #ownvoices #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass

Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass is an urban fantasy title that I heard about on book Twitter. The premise looked interesting so I tried a Kindle sample and I liked it well enough to buy it for 0.99usd (not sure if this is a Kindle deal or the usual price). The heroine has dangerous magical powers: she draws off energy from animate objects, absorbing thoughts and emotions, but draining the person in the process. It sounds really intriguing and I'm keeping it mind while I'm still in my fantasy binge. I'm always on the lookout for good urban fantasy titles, hoping that I'd find something that I love as much as I love Ilona Andrews' books. Haven't managed it yet but hope springs eternal. Have you read this book? Do you read urban fantasy? If you do, what are your favorite UF titles or series? . . . #ShadowBlade #SeressiaGlass #SimonandSchuster #urbanfantasy #fantasyreads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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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 YA-themed events

romanceclass-logoromanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance in English written by Filipino authors.

romanceclass hosts regular Feels events (examples: Feels So Prom and Feels Fest) but aside from these, the group has also hosted several young adult-themed events. Last year I was able to join two romanceclass school events. The first one was held in November at St. Theresa’s College in Quezon City. Author Carla de Guzman graduated from this school and she kicked off the event by talking about her own experience as a writer. Mina V. Esguerra then shared some information about romanceclass as a community. She talked about the kind of books that authors write, and gave some examples of reviews and reactions from readers and bloggers. Then actors Migs Almendras and Salve Villarosa did what has become a signature romanceclass event staple: live readings. They read excerpts from the following romanceclass titles:

Freshman Girl and Junior Guy by Mina V. Esgurra
Settle the Score by Tara Frejas
The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman
Holiday Crush by Suzette de Borja.

romanceclass STC - Carla

romanceclass STC Mina

romanceclass STC - Salve and Migs

It was so much fun seeing the students reacting to the live readings! There was a Q and A portion but I think most of them were too shy to ask questions.

romanceclass STC

romanceclass STC - with Mina and Carla

The next school event I was able to join was held in December at Mandaluyong Science High School. This was a fun event for me because I graduated from a science high school (ages ago, no need to share what year haha). Mina gave an introduction about romanceclass and then there were live readings by Migs Almendras and Sam Aquino. This time, all romanceclass titles featured were written by authors from science high schools namely:

Monito, Monita by Celestine Trinidad
Songs to Make You Stay by Jay E. Tria
Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
Before I Lose My Nerve by Layla Tanjutco

romanceclass Mandaluyong - Mina

romanceclass Mandaluyong - students

romanceclass Mandaluyong - Migs and Sam

The students loved that the program included authors from science high schools! They asked questions about the writing process, bought books, and asked the authors and live readers (and even me) to sign stuff. We also discovered that poetry books are a big hit with them, all the copies that Layla brought with her were sold out.

romanceclass Mandaluyong - group pic

romanceclass Mandaluyong squad

Aside from these school events, romanceclass was also able to host a writing workshop last month. This event was sponsored by patrons of the group from Patreon. More details in these Instagram write-up posts (swipe to see all the photos):

Some of the photos from this post are from Carla, Jay, and Ines. I hope these YA-themed events have encouraged teen readers to pick up and read romanceclass titles. Hopefully reading romanceclass books will encourage some of them to write and maybe publish their own stories later on. Watch out for more school events and YA titles from romanceclass in the near future!

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.

Hello, I'm a mermaid.

A post shared by Six de los Reyes (@sixdlr) on

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.

Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco

My first #romanceclass read this year is Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco, brought upon by leftover lemony feels from #FeelsSoProm. I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt presented as a live reading during the event, and it made me want to read the book as soon as I can.🍋 I chose a good one to kick off my romanceclass reading year because this was so much fun to read. Smooth writing that's easy to get into, featuring a professional MMA fighter as a hero and a feminist heroine who works in a women's crisis center. They hook up in Vegas but part ways soon after, only to see each other again in Chicago four years later. I have to admit that it's the hero who makes this story shine. He's cocky and arrogant but tempered with enough self-awareness for it to not be overbearing. It just seems like he's comfortable in his own skin, and he knows his own weaknesses and strengths (and plays it to his advantage). One minor quibble was that I wanted to like the heroine as much as the hero, but I needed to see her let her hair down a bit more for that to happen. That didn't keep me from enjoying the book overall. There were scenes that sparkled with wit and humor, and the sexytimes were smoking hot.🔥 It's such a strong debut novel and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the author will keep writing more. I'm probably going to read and reread a lot of romance this month. LOL who am I kidding, I read a lot of romance regardless of the time of the year. But for the rest of you, are you planning to read romance this February? What are some of the romance titles that you highly recommend?

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Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria is a contemporary romance that has gotten a lot of buzz on #romancelandia Twitter. I jumped at the chance to read it when the title went on sale for 1.99usd. Partially set in Alaska, New York and California, this is a romance between a professional dancer and a celebrity on a survival TV show, as they're paired together on a dance competition. The heroine has to teach the hero to dance as they compete with other couples on the reality TV show. I thought it started off strong, I really enjoyed the way the hero and heroine met. They obviously had chemistry and I was looking forward to seeing how that would play out. Unfortunately, there was way too much dramarama in this book for me. I felt like the characters kept on harping on the same issues, and they were being stubborn and petulant instead of trying to find a compromise. I think I also enjoyed this less than other readers did because I'm not a fan of reality TV, and I've never even seen a single episode of Dancing With the Stars, which this book is based on. The pace was so slow that I found myself skimming some parts. I really wanted to enjoy this but sadly, I have to say that Take the Lead wasn't my cup of tea. Still planning to read more romance this month, and keeping my fingers crossed that I'll come across some titles that will stand out for me. Have you recently read any romance titles that you've loved?

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Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad

Ghost of a Feeling by @luckychanmd is a strong #romanceclass debut novel. It starts off with a meet cute of sorts (meet sad?): the heroine is a medical student who loses a patient during her junior internship. She's subsequently humiliated by the resident in charge, and becomes overwhelmed with everything. She hits rock bottom and decides to end it all, she's stopped by what she thinks is her building's resident ghost but is actually the hero in costume for Halloween. Thus begins an unlikely friendship that blossoms into something more. A slow burn romance that was handled with the sensitivity needed for the heavy themes depicted in this book. . . I was equally curious and worried about how this story will unfold, given its unusual premise. But there was no need to worry because Cris and Nathan were in good hands, and I gladly let myself be swept away by their story. For such a short book, the characters had real depth with both of them learning to deal with their own baggage, and trying their best to move on. It was interesting to get a closer look at the difficulties of becoming a doctor in the Philippines. I've heard stories from friends who eventually became doctors, but I guess it's different when you get to experience it through the eyes of a fictional character. Brings it somewhat closer to home. One thing I enjoyed was how present Cris and Nathan's family and friends are in their lives, it wasn't just their budding romance that was a significant relationship for each of them. . Heartfelt and hopeful, this is one Filipino romance title that I will happily keep recommending, and I will definitely be watching out for more books from this author. Here for your upcoming Pisay romance, Leslie.😂 . . . 📸 @bentchbites (Good job bes, kita na yung book cover this time)

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A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

A Princess in Theory was my introduction to @alyssacolelit's writing and I have no idea why I waited so long to read a book from her. This was such a good read! A royal romance between an epidemiology grad student and a prince from the fictional African country of Thesolo. Naledi's parents passed away when she was young so she has no idea that she was born in Thesolo. She grew up in the US foster care system and has learned to take care of herself at a very young age. . . I loved how fully fleshed out the hero and heroine are: smart, independent and hardworking individuals who also have their own hang-ups and issues about letting someone get close to them. They're very competent in their professional lives, but have never really had a successful romantic relationship. They feel a connection with each other but had their reasons for trying to keep the other person at a distance. It was so much fun waiting to see them to break down each other's walls. And their interactions were hilarious! I kept laughing and smiling while reading. I enjoyed their banter right from the moment they meet. Their conversations with their friends (Naledi with her best friend Portia, and Thabiso with his assistant Likotsi) were also funny and provided even more depth to their characters. There were emojis used in their convos and that's such an accurate portrayal of how people converse these days.🙌😂👏 . So glad to have discovered a new romance author to love. A Princess in Theory will be released in February 27 and it's a romance title that you should take note of. Go forth and pre-order! The cover and blurb for the next book has been released and I'm excited to reading Portia's story. And I will also be diving into Alyssa's backlist. . . 📸 @readbyher

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Sagala #3 by Tori Tadiar

Sagala 3 is an excellent continuation of what has fast become one of my favorite Filipino comics. This is a Filipiniana fantasy series focusing on siblings Riel and her protective older brother Constantino. Set in a fictional land called Hiraya, an independent nation with tenuous ties to a larger and stronger continental neighbor. Elegent storytelling, strong character development, solid worldbuilding with a light dose of magic, peppered with political intrigue. Mix all of these together and I'm one happy reader. I'm not an expert but the art style reminds me of anime, very easy to follow with expressive characters. It had an even pacing that flowed really well. I continue to be in awe of how much depth is packed into just 40 pages. There are certain scenes that I would have loved to see a few panels dedicated to, but hopefully more clarity will be provided as the story develops. Happy to report that Sagala is written mostly in English, and @haitori.art is working on making it digitally available for purchase so readers abroad can buy it too. I'd be very, very curious about what non-Filipino readers would think of this. Bought my copies at Komiket but you can reach out to the author directly should you be interested in giving this a try. Definitely looking forward to the fourth and final installment in this series, which will probably be released with the earlier three as one volume, hopefully in color.🤞🏻 I mean, just imagine kuya in full color! My #KuyaUmayosKa campaign continues, but I do understand him better now. Just give me the link and I will pre-order as fast as my fingers can type.

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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?