Start Here Blog Tour: Short Story Blurbs and Quotes

This week is Start Here’s blog tour! Late last year, I shared the cover reveal for this Filipino romance anthology featuring male/male, female/female and female/non-binary short stories. Today, I’m here to share blurbs and quotes from each story and I hope these will encourage you to give this anthology a try. Both print and ebook editions are available internationally and links on where to order them are shared below. I already have a copy on my Kindle and I’m looking forward to reading it. 🙂

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Start Here - print cover

Start Here

Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista. Featuring short stories by Agay Llanera, H. Bentham, Ella Banta, Danice Sison, Yeyet Soriano, Barbie Barbieto, Katt Briones, Bobbi Moran, Motzie Dapul, and Brigitte Bautista. This anthology contains M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings. Some stories have a high heat level.

Release Date: January 27, 2018
Book Cover Design: Dani Hernandez

SYNOPSIS
There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.

Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.

So, go on.

Turn the page.

Start here.

Add Start Here on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37880247-start-here
Order Start Here on Amazon (int’l ebook and print): https://bit.ly/rcStartHere
Order Start Here on paperback (PH only): https://bit.ly/StartHere-PrintPH

Start Here - ebook

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In the Moonlight by Agay Llanera

Seventeen-year-old Caleb has been burned by a previous relationship. While on vacation, he meets Ezra of the sculpted calves and disarming smile, who surprises him with a moonlight kiss. Caleb retreats – and regrets his decision. Thanks to the internet, he knows where to find his summer crush, but the more pressing question is, will Caleb have the courage to bare his heart again?

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Come Full Circle by Bobbi Moran

You know you’re in love when you put somebody else’s happiness before yours. But waiting for fifteen years for someone to realize you are THE ONE may be taking this to the extreme.

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Gorgeous by Motzie Dapul

New love in New York with a twist!

Two home-grown Filipinos fall in love after a chance meeting on a train to Little Manila in Queens, NY. They learn, over time spent enjoying the colorful culture of New York City’s streets, that they are, by all accounts, perfect for each other — before some unexpected baggage and a surprising history threatens to tear them apart.

Some things just don’t heal with time alone, but sometimes it’s only when it hurts that you know it’s worth trying for.

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Shipping Included by Danice Sison

Two cute guys sneak into a K-pop concert. Neither one could be called a fan of the music, but by the end of the night, they might just find themselves with a new favorite song and a few romantic possibilities.

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Delubyo by Barbie Barbieto

Pebbles has a strict four-month rule when it comes to relationships. But she’s about to find out what happens when you meet a woman who defies all your ideas of how long the space between endings and beginnings should be.

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The Other Story by H. Bentham

A bored twenty-something goes to a sex club he frequently visits to while away the night and find that love sometimes comes at unexpected places.

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Blooms and Hues by Ella Banta

Experience love in color and flowers.

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Another First by Yeyet Soriano

Jess finally gets to have a long-delayed romantic get-away to Bohol with her hot but busy boyfriend Matteo. Beautiful resort, check! Romantic ambience, check!

But wait… Lily Rose, the resort’s resident singer and self-proclaimed mermaid, is distracting the hell out of everyone.

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Luck From the Skies by Katt Briones

Asher Lee knew from the beginning that he was going to win the teen model search, but didn’t expect to share the title with his biggest competitor, Chan Valiente. Previously threatened by his former adversary’s talent and looks, Asher kept his walls up, only to find them crumbling down with Chan’s charms.

Would Asher be brave enough to take the leap and actually find his chance at love? Or will he and Chan remain to be a fan-made bromance?

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Lemon Drop Friday by Brigitte Bautista

Tala has been secretly in love with her best friend Liv for years. Living right across the hallway, she has seen through Liv’s revolving door of Friday one-night stands. The rule: they always say goodbye in the morning. But, what happens when a rainy Friday night leads Tala to Liv’s apartment in what looks like another one-night stand?

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Cover Reveal: Start Here, a romanceclass anthology

I’m so excited to share the print and ebook covers for an upcoming romanceclass anthology: Start Here, Short Stories of First Encounters! This LGBT-themed anthology has 10 short stories from various romanceclass authors, and was edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista. It will be released some time in 2018, and I really can’t wait to read it. The book covers were designed by Dani Hernandez, featuring cover models Migs Almendras and Fred Lo, and (real life couple!) Rachel Coates and Sam Aquino.

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Start Here: A #romanceclass anthology
Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista
Release date: 2018

Sign up for updates here.

Start Here - print

There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.

Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.

So, go on.

Turn the page.

Start here.

Featuring stories by Agay Llanera, Bobbi Moran, Motzie Dapul, Danice Sison, Barbie Barbieto, H. Bentham, Ella Banta, Yeyet Soriano, Katt Briones, Brigitte Bautista

This anthology contains M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings. Some stories have a high heat level.

Start Here - ebook

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What do you guys think of these covers? I like how bright and colorful the rainbow design of the print cover is, and how fitting it is for the theme of the anthology… but I love the ebook edition A BIT MORE because it features cover models. A few months ago, I blogged about the cover shoot for this cover. Linking the behind-the-scenes shots I have here again, in case you guys want to check them out – swipe left to see all the Instagram shots and click on the embedded tweet to see the whole Twitter thread:

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Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

In my cover reveal post for Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, I quoted a Twitter conversation where I mentioned that I would be thrilled if these two hockey romance authors worked on a collab title. Given how much I enjoyed both the Ivy Years and the Off-Campus series by these authors, I was pretty sure that I’d enjoy Him. I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of this title and I was so glad it was sent out just as the weekend started. That gave me enough time to read it without worrying about real life getting in the way. As is the usual case lately, it took me a while to write a review so Him has been released since then so feel free to grab a copy of it!

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

HimThey don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions — can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend… and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

I had so much fun reading Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s Him. So much so that the next day, my flatmate asked me what I was reading in the middle of the night because she said she could hear laughter from my room. Yep, some of the scenes in this book really made me laugh and smile along with the characters. It’s hard not to when Wes and Jamie tease the hell out of each other. I really liked that they have a solid friendship that was formed through years of spending summers together in hockey camp. They come from different family backgrounds but they’ve always had hockey to bond over. That friendship get a break after Wes walks away because he mistakenly thinks that he ruined what they had with a careless bet. On the other hand, Jamie didn’t think that incident was a big deal and was more hurt by the silence from Wes more than anything else. After reconnecting at a championship game, Wes decides to join Jamie as a coach in their old hockey camp. Surprisingly, there wasn’t that much angst in their story as these two guys change the status of their relationship from friends into something more. It felt like a natural and realistic transition of friends to lovers, with a nice summery vibe while they’re both having fun coaching a sport they’re both passionate about.

I thought it was nice that Jamie and Wes had such distinct personalities, that were contrasting to a certain extent. Jamie is an easygoing, California surfer type of guy while Wes is more serious and prickly. I think their personalities are reflective of their upbringing. Jamie comes from a big family who supports him in basically everything, which is saying something considering how he makes some pretty big decisions during the duration of this book. Wes comes from a wealthy but cold and uptight family. He makes a point of keeping people at a distance because of this. I felt so bad that Wes doesn’t have a warm and welcoming family but at least he has Jamie in his life. I wish there were more scenes that had Wes interacting with Jamie’s family because they’re awesome. I also really liked Jamie’s friendship with Holly and how understanding she is of his predicament. Even with their career decisions, these two guys were in different places. Wes was totally committed to being the best professional hockey player that he can be, while Jamie was indecisive about playing pro. I really don’t know much about hockey but I liked that these aspects of their stories were fleshed out because it’s something that guys their age think about. Also, these career decisions affected their relationship as well.

Him was an engaging read that had me rooting for Wes and Jamie right from the start. Sexy, funny, sweet and swoon-worthy! To be perfectly honest, M/M sports romance wasn’t something that was at the top of my list of books to read. I tried it because Sarina Bowen wrote The Understatement of the Year in the middle of a series that had earlier M/F books. That was the first M/M book that I read and thus has a special place in my heart given how much I cared for the characters. So yay Sarina for that strategy! Him is only the second M/M romance that I’ve read and it solidified my resolve to read more books like it. If M/M isn’t really your thing, I still recommend giving Him a try. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Elle and Sarina will work on another collab title because I would love to read more from them!

Other reviews:
SmexyBooks
Me and My Books

Him2

Cover Reveal: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

I am thrilled to be participating the cover reveal for Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s Him. I’m a big fan of both of their new adult hockey series, the Ivy Years and Off-Campus. It’s funny because I have been looking forward to their collab even before I knew they were writing a book together! Check out this Twitter conversation:

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out about Him! I seriously cannot wait for this book to be released and you can bet that I will be recommending it to everyone I know. I’m so glad they chose to write a MM novel because The Understatement of the Year was one of my favorite reads last year (Rikker and Graham! ♥♥♥) and I would love to read more books like it.
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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the cover for Him:

Him

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend… and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Him2

To be released on July 28!

Links:
Goodreads
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

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Social media links for the two lovely authors:

Sarina Bowen
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

Elle Kennedy
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

And there’s also a great Facebook group called The Locker Room where both Sarina and Elle are coaches.