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. 😀

Discount Coupons for Mina V. Esguerra’s Books

It’s no secret that Mina V. Esguerra is my favorite Filipino chick lit author. I’ve pimped her books so many times here on my blog and it always makes me happy when friends listen to my recommendations and read her novels. Since it looks like several of her readers found out about her work through my blog so she wants to show her appreciation but offering discounts on her Smashwords titles. Use the codes below to get a dollar off when you purchase the ebooks.

Here are the links and codes, click on the images to see my reviews:

Fairy Tale Fail
Smashwords link: Fairy Tale Fail
Code: VF92P

Love Your Frenemies
Smashwords link: Love Your Frenemies
Code: CK34B

Interim Goddess of Love
Smashwords link: Interim Goddess of Love
Code: RY33Q

Mina is being generous, she says that the coupon codes will be valid for a year. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and buy them! I’m already planning to get several copies of the Summit edition of Fairy Tale Fail when I arrive in Manila because I want to give them as gifts this Christmas.

Fairy Tale Fail_Summit

Snippets of an Interview with Mina V. Esguerra

My friend interviewed my favorite Filipino chick lit author, Mina V. Esguerra, for one of his classes. Mina talked about it a bit in this post. My friend sent me a copy of the entire interview and I got permission to post some of the questions and answers here on my blog. I thought it would be a good idea to share snippets of the interview with the rest of Mina’s fans. If you haven’t read any of her books and would like to check out my reviews, here are the links: Fairy Tale Fail, My Imaginary Ex, Love Your Frenemies, No Strings Attached, Interim Goddess of Love.

When did you start to write?
I started experimenting with writing when I was in Grade 5. We didn’t have school newspaper for our elementary school and that’s when I started trying to set one up although we only have one issue for it in a year. In Grade 6, that’s when I started to write more in fiction, trying to write short stories and in High School, that’s when I seriously write, plotting things and finishing stories.

How has social media helped you as an author? Has blogging community help you find your audience and vice versa?
I started the blog because I felt that I should as everyone else was doing it. My benchmark were international authors who have their own blogs, talking about what they did, talking about their process. Then I started to see reviews of my books in social media, in blogs, in Facebook, in Friendster. I saw that when I had published a book, people were mentioning it in their social media accounts. Before, I was just hiding, just looking at them without commenting back or replying. After a while, I realized I should say something as it has been so nice of them to have bought the book, read it and shared it with their friends. And I should acknowledge it somehow so I started all the social media accounts in case they want to reach out to me and I can actually reply.

It also did help me find my audience as that’s where I discovered book bloggers. I didn’t realize how active they were and that they actually would pay attention to the book I had just released. Through people’s blog, I also discovered what kind of people who read my books, their age range, where they live, if they are Filipinos or they aren’t. And vice versa, it helped certain people to find me by just being there.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in relation to your work as a writer?
There is little victory in each book especially Fairy Tale Fail. I put it up on Amazon and it exceeded my expectations in terms of sales. I’m very proud of that because it sort of proves in my mind that international market for Filipino written work is there. At that time, I really set it as an experiment if people would buy it and people bought it. That is an achievement I am proud of.

Of all the books you have written, do you have any personal favorite?
I feel proud of each one in different ways. For example, “My Imaginary Ex”, which Im proud of because it is the first one I sold and the first one to have been published. I am very proud of how it turned out story wise. “Fairy Tale Fail”, on the hand, is because of what it achieved overseas. “No String Attached”, the third one, which was also published by Summit, has a premise of a 29 year old girl dating a 24 year old guy. Certain people are affected by it. I am proud of it because the kind of responses and feedback I got for that book is different. The fourth one, “Love your Frenemies”, I am proud of that because it was difficult to write. It was a personal writing challenge and the fact that there are positive reviews, I was able to validate that I took on the challenge and survived it. Then the latest book, “Interim Goddess of Love”, because it too was an experiment for younger crowd and so far the response is very nice.

Are we expecting more books soon?
I have a Summit book coming out in a few months. Then I plan of releasing two more in Amazon. The one in Summit is already done. The other two, I still have to write but the outline is already there and it’s just a matter of filling out the books.

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Thank you, Mina and Mister O, for letting me post this! Looking forward to Mina’s next book. 🙂

Interview with Mina V. Esguerra and Giveaway

Today, I’m delighted to have one of my favorite authors, Mina V. Esguerra, here on the blog to answer some questions. Mina V. Esguerra’s novels are light romances/chick lit set in the Philippines and written in English, usually with a twenty-something woman based in Manila as a main character. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love reading her work. Her latest novella, Love Your Frenemies (Amazon, Smashwords) was released early this week.

Your latest novella, Love Your Frenemies, has a main character who was an antagonist in one of your other books, My Imaginary Ex. Did you have the former in mind while you were writing the latter?
The simple answer is that I didn’t have Love Your Frenemies in mind when I wrote My Imaginary Ex. I was happy just to have finished MIE and gotten it published, and didn’t have any grand plans for doing more.

The possibly more interesting answer is that after MIE got published I did think that I could do more. I wasn’t sure yet what I would write about, but I did know that it shouldn’t be about falling for the Best Friend (been there done that). So I challenged myself to write two more: about falling for the Unattainable Crush, and the Jerk. These three guys always show up in the YA romances I read growing up.

Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies came out from this. And then when I was planning to write the one about falling for the Jerk, I felt like I had to make the protagonist stronger so she could survive the way he treated her. Kimmy the former villain sort of got cast into that, which was easier than having me create another character who’d be just like her.

You write books that fall under chick lit or contemporary romance, what made you decide to write books in that genre?
I suspect now that this is the only genre I can write with any confidence or authenticity. I’ve tried branching out and always end up quitting. My first novel pitch ever was YA, but that was surprisingly difficult to write, and didn’t even get picked up. Or maybe I just need to work harder on the other genres.

What are some of your favorite chick lot or contemporary romance novels?
I wish I could say more, but only one comes to mind – Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation. I haven’t read enough books in this genre, but I’m starting to.

No longer “contemporary”, but I read a lot of Sweet Dreams novels. I especially like the ones that feature banter, like The Right Combination and Kiss Me, Creep. But my favorite – and is still my favorite romance TO THIS DAY – is Wrong-Way Romance by Sheri Cobb South. Years ago I emailed her and told her how much I loved her book, and she sent me a signed copy. It’s the jewel of my book collection!

I love how you have such a strong online presence unlike other Filipino authors. You connect with your readers through your blog, Facebook page, Twitter and email. This makes me curious as to how you feel about reading reviews of your work. Can you please share your thoughts?
Love reading them, have to say. I used to pretend I didn’t see them, then I caved and started thanking people for the review. Because that took some effort, and I want to thank them for their time, no matter what they end up saying.

At the same time I don’t want to go into that review and really discuss things point by point, because by then a person’s read and judged the work and that judgment belongs to them. I don’t want to be so involved and visible that a reviewer will feel awkward knowing that I’m just there hovering.

You decided to go the e-publishing route with some of your work while others were published the traditional way. In your experience, what are the pros and cons of both experiences?
Hmm, it’s kind of a toss-up.

The two books published locally (My Imaginary Ex and No Strings Attached) are more popular to Filipinos, because my publisher markets and distributes these very well. Cons for traditional publishing in general – printing costs, availability of copies, and if an international reader wants a copy, shipping is always a problem. Summit has dropped hints that they’ll have digital publishing soon, so maybe this will change.

The audience for the two ebooks (Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies) is more international. Amazon is a great distributor because it made the book available to the world. Every day the sales figures are a pleasant surprise, and so is the feedback from international readers. The “con” here is that Filipinos aren’t more aware that these are available. And if they know and want to buy, there’s always some hurdle – no credit card, or they think they need to own a Kindle to read it (not necessary), or they prefer paperback period.

So until the game changes again, the formula is this: If I want the work to be read by the world, I go with e-publishing. If I want the work to be read by my family, community and kababayans, I pursue traditional publishing.

On your blog, it’s mentioned that you have a day job. How do you balance that with your writing career?
It probably seems like I’m writing all the time, because the last three books came out within months of each other! But the very first drafts ever of Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies were done in 2009. So it wasn’t difficult finishing these and having a day job, because once I got the drafts done, the only work I did was to revise.

No Strings Attached was different, because I imposed a regular schedule. I wrote for it for about half an hour every day, while waiting for my husband to pick me up from work. After a few weeks I got used to it, and if I got inspired at any other time I’d just note it down but only seriously write it at the appointed time.

Your previous work involved novellas and I was wondering if you’re planning to write something longer in the future like a full-length novel?
I’m trying! Got used to plotting and designing a story that builds up and peaks in under 40K words. The instinct there is to trim things, rather than add. I’ll need to work on it.

I’m sure your readers want to know what you’re writing now so can you please give us a hint and maybe an idea of when it’ll be released?

If I’m able to go back to my writing schedule and stick to it, I could release another novella this year. Likely one featuring Tonio of No Strings Attached, because I’ve been wanting to explore what it’s like to date someone as slutty as him. 🙂
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Thank you so much for your answers, Mina! I was really curious about these things that I asked and I enjoyed reading your answers. I need to find a copy of Wrong-Way Romance so I can read it and let you know what I think. As always, I’m excited to read your work so I’ll be waiting for Tonio’s story. Now that Amazon allows people to give Kindle ebooks as gifts, I’m more than happy to give away a copy of Fairy Tale Fail. I believe I can send the ebook to anyone who has an email address so it’s an international giveaway. To join, just leave a comment about anything related to Mina’s answers or why you’re interested in reading Fairy Tale Fail. Giveaway ends March 11, winner will be chosen through random.org.

Read my reviews of Mina’s books by clicking these links:
My Imaginary Ex
Fairy Tale Fail
No Strings Attached
Love Your Frenemies

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

In my post asking for chick lit recommendations, Tina mentioned Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra. The premise was interesting and when I saw that it’s available in Smashwords for only $0.99, I went ahead and bought it. I felt like reading some chick lit so I started reading it and to my surprise, I ended up finishing the whole thing in just one sitting (note that I lost a couple of hours of sleep because of this). Looks like this week is turning out to be chick lit week for the blog!

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Of all the twenty-something women who are hopeless romantics, Ellie Manuel is more “hopeless” than “romantic.”

Even after her Prince Charming broke up with her, she just won’t give up … because fairy tale heroines don’t live “happily ever after” right away, silly, they’re tested first!

Determined to pass the test, she spends the next year restoring herself to the girl Prince Charming had fallen in love with in the first place.

Until she discovers that life without him might not be so bad after all: her career is taking off, her confidence is back, and the cute guy at work is no longer a stranger.

So when is it okay to quit on a fairy tale?

I always say that in order for me to like a book, I have to be able to relate to it somehow. No worries on that department when it comes to this one because I could TOTALLY relate to Ellie. Twenty-something Filipina working in a corporate job but really doesn’t know what her career path is? That could be me! Ellie’s thing is traveling and making plans for hypothetical trips abroad. While I do love to travel, I don’t get to do it that often so I guess it would be better to say that my thing is reading and blogging about books. I’ve never experienced an office romance like Ellie did but the breaking up with a boyfriend-who-was-a-friend-before-you-became-a-couple? Been there, done that. Ellie also has several circles of friends, from her high school barkada to her office mates and I’m like that as well. Each set of friends has a different personality and I like to think that each group brings out a different side of me. Ellie is really believable as a character – she’s a representation of me, my friends and every young Pinay out there looking for her own fairy tale.

I keep my reviews spoiler-free so I don’t want to mention any names but I want a guy like the male protagonist! Seriously.♥ I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ellie and her attempts to get her life back in order after the breakup. Fairy Tale Fail is a light and fun contemporary romance that gives a glimpse of middle class life in the Philippines. If only the paperback was as cheap as the e-book edition, I’d buy lots of copies and give them as Christmas gifts to my girlfriends. Unfortunately, the paperback is more expensive at P350. The good news is the e-book is available both in Smashwords and Amazon so for all international readers out there, you could order this anytime you want. If you want a peek at what our lives are usually like (and by us I mean young professionals in the Philippines), then go and read this book! At $0.99, it’s cheaper than your average Starbucks coffee. It’s really short too, more like a novella than a novel. I’m interested to see how readers outside the Philippines will react to this one. One minor quibble though, I wish Mina included footnotes to define some of the Filipino words used in the book like kuya, barkada and bulalo so that foreigners will be able to understand them. That said, I’d like to thank Mina for coming up with a well-written Filipino chick lit novel. 🙂 I look forward to reading her other book, My Imaginary Ex and I hope she comes up with a thicker novel next time.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
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