Reread: Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Fairy Tale Fail was the first ever Mina V. Esguerra book that I read way back in 2010! It’s part of her Chic Manila series, which has several standalone titles that are loosely tied together only in the sense that the books are set in Manila and the main characters from each book know each other in some way. A new edition of this book has been released with a cover featuring theater actors Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan, and a short epilogue. Here’s the cover and synopsis:

Fairy Tale Fail 2017

Ellie Manuel is a hopeless romantic, stuck in a cubicle all day. She’s in her twenties and should be having more fun. But instead of doing what she really wants, like traveling wherever her Philippine passport can take her, she’s hung up on the guy who dumped her for not being “ambitious enough.” Someone should tell her that there are other cool guys — who probably even eat at the same office cafeteria! — who would encourage her just to be her fabulous self.

I couldn’t help but reread it when I got my hands on thew edition. I have fond memories of this book and have been recommending it to all my friends, along with the rest of Mina’s books. I’m still waiting for Litsy posts to become embed-able on WordPress so in the meantime, I’ll just copy and paste my Litsy review: I remember when I read this for the first time in 2010, I felt like the story was a slice out of MY real life. Philippine setting (complete with typhoons, bulalo and siomai), Manila corporate work environment. And I was the same age as the characters at that time. Reread it in one sitting today, and it felt like catching up with old friends. The kilig/swoon factor is still there and the new epilogue was a nice bonus.💖

I did notice that the heat level for Fairy Tale Fail was very low. It’s the same for all of Mina’s earlier books. I guess it was just the expectation and trend at that time for Filipino-romance-in-English to have fade to black love scenes. I’m very happy to report that this isn’t the case nowadays. 🙂 I had fun revisiting Ellie and Lucas, more so because I don’t get to reread old favorites as much as I would want to. Now that the rainy season is here, I want to have bulalo (a Filipino type of broth that has meat and marrow) because it was mentioned in one of the pivotal scenes in the book. I think every Filipino romance should mention at least one Filipino dish that would make readers crave for it.

If you’re ever in mood for Filipino romance, Mina V. Esguerra’s books are always a good place to start. 😀

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#romanceclass events: #FeelsSoHot and #romanceclasscovers

I have been back in Manila for a little over a week and it’s about time I gave an update! I flew back home just in time to attend two bookish events and both of them were so much fun. You might be wondering why my blog post’s title has so many hashtags, but I just got use to talking about these events on Twitter and Instagram where hashtags are used. I’ve talked about romanceclass before but as an introduction, romanceclass is a community of authors and readers of indie Filipino romance. You can find out more here. It is a pretty active group here in Manila and they’ve had a lot of events. Feels So Hot is the tenth romanceclass event where they host live readings of books, certain scenes from some titles are read out loud by local actors and actresses. It’s a great experience because everyone gets to see the actors breathe life into the story with the nuances and expressions that they act out for the characters. I had fun watching the live readings but for me, the best part was seeing the reactions of all the authors and readers during the event! I could really see how passionate everyone was about these books. Here are some pictures from the event, click the right arrow to see all of them:

#romanceclass is a community of authors and readers of indie pubbed Filipino romance. #FeelsSoHot was the 10th event organized by the group, and the first one I was able to attend because I was in Singapore for all the previous ones. During the event, books were sold and the authors were there to sign them, as well as chat with the readers. Pic of my haul at the end of the album, all of those books will be given as gifts! . . Also, actors and actresses did live readings of certain scenes from the books (theme for the night was steamy romance 🔥🔥🔥), and I think this is such an interesting way of bringing the story to life. More than anything, I enjoyed seeing how responsive the audience was to these readings. Fangirling at its finest. There was even a sleepover at a nearby hotel so attendees can process ALL THE FEELS. Always, always incredible to see so much passion in one place. I'm glad I was able to be a part of this community in whatever capacity I'm able to. It's moments like this that make me feel it's SO GOOD to be home.💖💖💖

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Feels So Hot was also the first romanceclass event where the live readings were of steamy scenes from the books. For extra feels! I think I arrived in Manila just in time? 😛 I haven’t read all of books that were part of the program but after seeing the live readings, I’m now curious about all of them. Watch this space for future reviews (or maybe not since I haven’t been very good in reviewing books this year. Real life, tsk tsk).

The next romanceclass thing I was lucky enough to be a part of was a photo shoot for book covers! Since their books are indie pubbed, some romanceclass authors have relied on stock photos as the basis of their book covers. Unfortunately, there are slim pickings for Filipinos or Asians in stock photos. They came up with the brilliant idea to contribute and sponsor photo shoots for their books. For each photo session, models or actors are hired to pose for the authors and their cover artists. The authors contributing to the session have a say in what kind of outfits the models will wear and how they will pose for the photos. This was such a fun experience for me, especially when I got to help out with the blocking and staging of some of the poses (a friend mentioned later on that this is what art directors do?) I felt that the models, Cora and AJ, deserved a round of applause for being like chameleons for every photo set. They were able to channel different types of romances and it was amazing. Here are some photos from that day:

Today's super fun activity was a photo shoot for @romanceclasscovers. #romanceclass is a community of authors and readers of indie pubbed Filipino romance. Stock photos have slim pickings when it comes to pictures that could be used as covers for Asian/Filipino books. So romanceclass authors chip in to fund photo shoots!📷📚 In this session, models AJ and Cora took on various looks for books-to-be-published. These two were like chameleons - they were able to change their look and style for every backstory. Some themes they represented were young adult love story, beach romance, friends to lovers, hate to love. Authors, editors, cover artists were there to provide input. And everyone became even more energized about these upcoming titles because of the shots that came out. Really, really looking forward to seeing these books published! Such a vibrant and passionate community to be in.🙌🙌🙌 Check out @instapach's feed for some high res samples.

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I honestly can’t wait to see the covers that will be designed based on these photos! Some of them I’m tempted to one-click without even knowing the synopsis. I wanted to share some romanceclass book covers that have photos from past sessions, to give you guys an idea of what the outcome will be:

No Strings Attached_New Cover Iris After the Incident

You Could Be the One Kate Finally

Cover Reveal: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

I’m a huge fan of Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series so I was thrilled when I heard the news that she has a new series that will be released this year. Yay, for more hockey romance! Trevi and Georgia’s high school romance was briefly mentioned in The Fifteenth Minute (Ivy Years #5), and I’ve been curious about them ever since. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that they’re getting their own book. Both the cover and the premise have made me even more excited to read more about this couple.

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Rookie Move

COMING SEPTEMBER 6th: A sexy new hockey series from Sarina Bowen.

In high school they were the perfect couple — until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold…

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist — his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do — and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast…

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“Romantic and hilarious, Rookie Move will hook you from page one. Nobody does hockey like Sarina Bowen.” – Elle Kennedy, New York Times bestselling author of the Off Campus series.

ForeverNightStands

SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY: Sarina is giving away a signed paperback (reader’s choice) and the right to name a teammate in Brooklyn Bruisers #2. WordPress doesn’t allow me to embed a Rafflecopter in a post but if you want to join the giveaway, here’s the link.

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Cover News: Cloudwish and In-between Days

I know I just did a cover reveal post yesterday and here I am, doing another cover-related post. But I just wanted to share the news about two Aussie YA novels that I’ve been looking forward to reading: Cloudwish by Fiona Wood and In-between Days by Vikki Wakefield. I found out yesterday that both of them will be published in the US (and will therefore be readily available internationally)! This is exciting news because I’ve previously enjoyed reading books from these two authors (my reviews of Six Impossible Things, Wildlife and All I Ever Wanted). I also think both covers look pretty, the type of covers that would encourage me to pick up the book even if I don’t know anything about the contents.

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I found out about Cloudwish’s cover reveal in this announcement. To be released October 18, 2016.

Cloudwish

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality–keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably–possibly magically–comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

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I found out about In-between Days from a tweet from the author. To be released August 30, 2016.

In-between Days

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Jacklin Bates (aka “Jack”) believes the only way to soar beyond her life is to drop out of school and move in with her free-spirited sister, Trudy. But Jack quickly discovers her sister isn’t the same person she used to be. And when Jack loses her job and the boy she loves breaks her heart, she becomes desperate for distractions.

She strikes up an unlikely friendship with Pope, a lost soul camping in the forest behind her house. And then there’s Jeremiah, the boy next door with a kind, listening ear and plenty of troubles of his own. Together, over an endless summer, Jack and Jeremiah fix up the abandoned drive-in theater at the edge of town. But even as a fragile romance builds between them, Jack knows deep down that she can’t stay in limbo forever.

When Jack faces losing Jeremiah, she searches for a way to repair their relationship — beginning with the other broken pieces in her life. Only, sometimes the hardest part of starting over isn’t choosing a path… it’s figuring out how to take that first step forward.

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Now I just need Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar to be published in the US and I’ll be all set! But I heard it’s available from the Book Depository so maybe I should try ordering it from there. Aussie readers are so lucky that these books are readily available to them.

What do you guys think of these covers and book summaries? Do they make you curious about the books? Also just wondering in general, are you familiar with Aussie YA?

Cover Reveal: Chase Me by Laura Florand

I’m delighted to be a part of the cover reveal for Laura Florand’s next novel, Chase Me. It’s the second book in the Paris Nights (previously Paris Hearts) series featuring three young women striving to make their way in the male-dominated world of French haute cuisine. I’ve been a huge Laura Florand fan since I discovered her books back in 2013 and I feel like I keep talking about her here on the blog. Two of her releases last year, Once Upon a Rose and A Wish Upon Jasmine, were included in my best of 2015 so I’m looking forward to reading more from her this year!

Both the cover and premise for Chase Me look intriguing, and I find it very interesting that we’re going to get a Navy SEAL hero from the author. As always, I think it’s good that Chase Me’s cover design matches the cover of All for You, the first book in the series. The leather-clad blonde looks totally fierce and I look forward to finding out more about her when this book is released.

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Chase Me by Laura Florand
Book 2 – Paris Nights – on sale April 2016

Laura Florand, bestselling author of The Chocolate Thief, combines smart dialogue, provocative sensuality, laughter, a touch of danger, and two irresistibly strong characters in Chase Me, an ode to the romance of Paris and the beauty of falling in love.

Chase Me

A Michelin two-star chef at twenty-eight, Violette Lenoir could handle anything, including a cocky burglar who broke into her restaurant in the middle of the night.

Or so she thought.

Elite counterterrorist operative Chase “Smith” had been through things that made Hell Week look easy. But nothing had prepared him for a leather-clad blonde who held him at bay at knifepoint and dared him to take her on.

Now if only saving the world didn’t require he ruin her life.

Two people who thought they could handle anything now have to take on each other.
It’s a battle neither one expected.  But with their futures on the line, they have nothing to lose… but their hearts.

Warning: This book contains one arrogant Navy SEAL, nights of Paris passion, and a woman who wants to have it all.

Click here for a sneak peek of the first chapter.

Pre-order Links
Amazon
Kobo
iBooks

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Laura FlorandABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Since then, her books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In 2015, NPR gave her the enormous honor of naming her Chocolate Kiss to its list of the Top 100 Romances of all time.

For more information, please see her website.

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Cover Reveal: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen have both written awesome new adult hockey romances (The Ivy Years, Off-Campus) and I was thrilled when they decided to team up to write Him. I did both a cover reveal and review for it. I thought Him was going to be a standalone novel so it came as a pleasant surprise that the authors were inspired to write a sequel! It’s going to be so much fun to find out how Wes and Jamie have been doing. Both the premise and the cover look great. I like how the cover design matches the first book in terms of look and feel and muscles on display. Simple and such a good fit for the story.

Us

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes’s noisiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes, and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

To be released on March 8! Check out its Goodreads page, and add it to your shelf.

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Social media links for the two lovely authors:

Sarina Bowen
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

Elle Kennedy
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

Cover Reveal: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

Ahem, ladies and gentlemen, we have a book cover for The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen! This is the next installment in the Ivy Years series which I glommed through late last year. Sarina made me realize how much I enjoy sports romance novels, and I can’t wait to read her one. Boy, does she write fast! I’m thrilled that we’re getting another Ivy Years book before the year is out, considering that The Shameless Hour was just released a few months ago.

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Announcing: Ivy Years #5
The Fifteenth Minute
by Sarina Bowen

The Fifteenth Minute

Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel “DJ” Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something’s haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more.

DJ’s genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can’t get close to Lianne, and he can’t tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

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Pre-order on Amazon

LINKS for Sarina Bowen:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
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Gorgeous cover, right? I like the scruffy look that this hot guy is sporting. And I’m a fan of aviator sunglasses (I have two RayBans myself). I always appreciate series covers that have consistent matching designs – The Fifteenth Minute definitely has the same look and feel as the rest of the covers in the series. Partially hidden faces, sky background, and a color scheme that’s easy on the eyes. I’m not sure how to describe it but I also like the type of filters and faded effect used on the photos. Funny, but I just realized that all of the Ivy Years cover designs have nekkid people on them! How could I have missed that? Here, I’ll make it easy for the rest of you to check them out:

The Year We Fell Down The Year We Hid Away The Understatement of the Year ShamelessHour

So, so, so, what do you guys think of this shiny, new cover? And if you haven’t read Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years, you still have time to catch up before the release of The Fifteenth Minute. 🙂

Cover Reveal: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy’s new adult hockey romance The Deal is one of my favorite reads this year. I’m so behind on writing reviews so I haven’t written one for it but I have been recommending it to both blogging and real life friends. Some of them have loved it just as much as I did. 🙂 So now I have two NA hockey series to love: Off-Campus by Elle and The Ivy Years by Sarina Bowen. These two authors, together with other sports romance authors, have a fun Facebook group called The Locker Room – you should check it out if you’re a fan.

Moving on to the sequel of The Mistake… I’ve been curious about it right after I finished The Deal! I really want to know Logan’s story after we saw glimpses of him in the first book. Good thing there’s only a few weeks left until its release date. In the meantime, check out the cover and book summary below.

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Off-Campus #2
The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Release date: April 28

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild

​Pre-Order Links
Amazon
B&N
iTunes
Kobo
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Cover Reveal: All For You by Laura Florand

If you have been following my blog for a while then you would know that I have been bibliovangelizing Laura Florand’s books. I have been talking about her nonstop since I discovered The Chocolate Thief back in 2013. Back then, she only had two Amour et Chocolat books that were out. I’ve closely followed her new releases since then and I even organized a blog event about her writing. So it comes as no surprise that I was thrilled to find out that she has a new series in the pipeline. Her newest novel, All For You, features one of the secondary characters in The Chocolate Touch and I’m looking forward to reading more about her! I also think the cover looks great, I love how the color red stands out. I also like how the font in all of her self-published covers have been pretty consistent.

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Laura Florand, bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, The Chocolate Heart) and the Vie en Roses series (Once Upon a Rose) now brings us her sexiest, sweetest series ever, Paris Hearts. Three young women strive to make their way in the male-dominated world of French haute cuisine. But in Paris, you must always place your heart on the line…

All For You

Some crushes aren’t meant to be
When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.

Let alone the same man.

But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.
Especially when he did it all for her.

Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…

Release date: May 5, 2015

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Laura FlorandABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Her international bestselling books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Romantic Times and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

After a Fulbright year in Tahiti and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, and several years living in Madrid and Paris, Laura now teaches Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, this means she primarily teaches French language and culture and does a great deal of research on French gastronomy, particularly chocolate. For more information, please see her website: http://www.lauraflorand.com.

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PRAISE FOR LAURA FLORAND’S NOVELS:

“Chocolate, Paris, and a Greek god for a hero; this delectable confection has it all!” – Library Journal Starred Review

“(Florand) captures the nature of love, its fierce, soul-warming necessity, in a way that will make you as happy as the finest bonbon could.” – Eloisa James, The Barnes & Noble Review, a Best Book of 2013 selection

“Florand outdoes herself with this exquisite confection… painstakingly crafted and decadent as the sweets it portrays, leaving the reader longing for just one little taste.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Adorable, charming, whimsical.” – Smexy Books

“Florand serves up a mouth-watering tale of slow-burning passion and combustible consummation that’s as perfectly crafted as the hero’s surprisingly complex confections and as silky and addictive as the heroine’s dark chocolat chaud.”– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK!, RT Seal of Excellence, RT Reviewers Choice nomination Best Book of 2013

“A delectable summer bonbon.” – NPR Books

“This is one of the cleverest, most persuasive enemies-to-lovers stories I’ve read in a long time.” – Dear Author, RECOMMENDED READ

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