#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy Round Up

At the start of August, I talked about the #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy campaign. I tried to read and feature as many Filipino books as I could but sadly, I wasn’t able to read all of the ones that I have on my TBR pile. Anyway, I posted these shots either on Instagram or Twitter and wanted to consolidate everything in one place so here we go…

Books I read:

Una & Miguel

Una and Miguel by Lilledeshan Bose, a Filipino YA novel. The bright yellow and purple cover went well with the table setting at PS Cafe.

Shine by Candy Gourlay

Yes, I’m in Singapore but I still read (and promote) Filipino books! Shine by Candy Gourlay at Cocoa Colony. This Filipino MG novel was also published in the UK so it’s available all over the world if you’re interested in reading Filipino lit.

Shine by Candy Gourlay - chapter heading

Sneak peek inside Shine by Candy Gourlay

Someone Else's Fantasy by Mina V. Esguerra

I know it’s not obvious but this is an early copy of Someone Else’s Fantasy by Mina V. Esguerra with my matcha latte. I believe this will be released with a different title and cover soon.

Still reading:

Banana Heart Summer

Banana Heart Summer by Merlinda Bobis

Books I’ve read but wanted to encourage other readers to pick up:

Cover Story Girl with mocha

Cover Story Girl by Chris Mariano, Set in sunny and gorgeous Boracay, one of the most famous beaches in the Philippines, this is a sweet romance between a Filipino guy and a Korean girl.

Interim Goddess of Love paperbacks

Signed copies of the first two books in the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy, with cucumber mint tea and blueberry chocolate lavender tart.

Looking back on these pictures, I think it becomes obvious that I have a thing for coffee and tea. 😛 As always, I hope more readers will be encouraged to read these Filipino titles!

Giveaway: Interim Goddess of Love Trilogy

Interim Goddess of Love_digital coverQueen of the CluelessIcon of the Indecisive

Mina V. Esguerra’s Interim Goddess of Love trilogy is now available in an omnibus Kindle edition. This is a series set in a fictional college in the Philippines. It has a contemporary setting with some Philippine mythology mixed in. Mina has very generously offered a Kindle edition up for grabs, you just need to have an Amazon account (or be willing to sign up for one) to join. As always, I can’t embed the Rafflecopter widget on my blog so click HERE instead.

Summary of the trilogy:

College sophomore Hannah Maquiling doesn’t know why everyone tells her their love problems. She’s never even had a boyfriend, but that doesn’t stop people from spilling their guts to her, and asking for advice. So maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise when the cutest guy in school tells her that she’s going to have to take on this responsibility — but for all humanity.

The Goddess of Love has gone AWOL. It’s a problem, because her job is to keep in check this world’s obsession with love (and lack of it). The God of the Sun, for now an impossibly handsome senior at an exclusive college just outside of Metro Manila, thinks Hannah has what it takes to (temporarily) do the job.

INTERIM GODDESS OF LOVE: While she’s learning to do this goddess thing, she practices on the love troubles of shy Kathy, who’s got a secret admirer on campus. Hannah’s mission, should she choose to accept it, is to make sure that he’s not a creepy stalker and they find their happily ever after — or at least something that’ll last until next semester. (As if she could refuse! The Sun God asked so nicely. And he’s so, well, hot.)

QUEEN OF THE CLUELESS: If you’ve been feeling neglected by the Goddess of Love lately, don’t worry — Hannah Maquiling, college sophomore, is in training to take over. The Original Goddess is missing, but Hannah is Interim Goddess now, and she should figure out how to solve humanity’s love problems soon. Quin (God of the Sun) is still her mentor, still really hot, but apparently isn’t as honest about his other earthly relationships as she thought. It’s frustrating, and enough to make her check out possibilities with Diego (God of the Sea) and Robbie (Cute Human).

In the meantime, she’s decided to spend some of her precious training time helping to break up a relationship, instead of putting one together. Why? Because the girl in question happens to be her best friend Sol, whose boyfriend is stealing not just from her, but from other people on campus. Sol didn’t exactly summon the Goddess, but this is what power over Love is for, right? Surely it’s not just about matchmaking, but ending doomed relationships too. (Even when it’s not what people want.)

ICON OF THE INDECISIVE: College student Hannah Maquiling, also temporarily working as the Goddess of Love, has had enough of everyone asking for her help when it comes to relationships. It’s her turn to find romance! She deserves it, after serving as matchmaker and confidant to everyone else in Ford River College for the past year. She’s had a crush on handsome senior (and God of the Sun) Quin forever, but he’s destined to fall in love with an extraordinary mortal woman, so she’s figured her chances with him have pretty much dropped to zero.

It’s not like she doesn’t have any options for a classic college romance though. There’s Diego, God of the Sea and Quin’s best friend/enemy. And regular guy Robbie is stepping up, making sure she knows how he feels about her. How hard can it be for a goddess to find someone to love, and be loved in return?

My reviews:
Interim Goddess of Love
Queen of the Clueless
Icon of the Indecisive

Saturday Afternoon Discussion: Interim Goddess of Love Trilogy

Last Friday was a holiday here in Singapore and I was lucky enough to get a budget flight to fly home to Manila for the long weekend. Aside from spending time with friends and family, attending a wedding and running errands, I was able to attend a discussion for Mina V. Esguerra’s Interim Goddess of Love trilogy. The books in the series are Interim Goddess of Love, Queen of the Clueless and Icon of the Indecisive (to be released soon). Basically, Mina wanted to record a conversation focusing on her first young adult series. Other Filipino book bloggers who participated in this were Tina of One More Page, Chris of Ficsation and Meann of Girl Who Read and Other Stories.

IGoL all editions

All the editions of the books in the series

We sat down and Mina facilitated our discussion by sharing information about her writing process involving the three books. It was fun to have a face-to-face discussion and share our thoughts and feelings related to the series – what we thought of the setting, the characters and who were the guys that we were swooning/rooting for.

Thanks to Chris for this collage!

Thanks to Chris for this collage!

Thank you, Mina, for letting me be a part of this! I’m glad it happened on a day that I was in Manila. Check out Mina’s website for announcements on what she plans to do with the discussion that we recorded.

Gigi's cupcakes

We got rewarded with rose and red velvet cupcakes after the discussion!

Queen of the Clueless by Mina V. Esguerra

Queen of the Clueless by Mina V. Esguerra is the sequel to Interim Goddess of Love. Do the books need to be read in order? I think so because that will give the reader a better understanding of the story. In fact, I reread the first book before starting on this because I didn’t want to be confused about the characters and everything that happened before. These books are Filipino young adult fiction that has a hint of local mythology (so “goddess” in the title of the first book isn’t a metaphor). It’s going to be a trilogy and there’s no release date for the third book yet but I’m hoping it will be published soon.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Queen of the CluelessIf you’ve been feeling neglected by the Goddess of Love lately, don’t worry – Hannah Maquiling, college sophomore, is in training to take over. The Original Goddess is missing, but Hannah is Interim Goddess now, and she should figure out how to solve humanity’s love problems soon. Quin (God of the Sun) is still her mentor, still really hot, but apparently isn’t as honest about his other earthly relationships as she thought. It’s frustrating, and enough to make her check out possibilities with Diego (God of the Sea) and Robbie (Cute Human).

In the meantime, she’s decided to spend some of her precious training time helping to break up a relationship, instead of putting one together. Why? Because the girl in question happens to be her best friend Sol, whose boyfriend is stealing not just from her, but from other people on campus. Sol didn’t exactly summon the Goddess, but this is what power over Love is for, right? Surely it’s not just about matchmaking, but ending doomed relationships too. (Even when it’s not what people want.)

Hannah is still the temporary Goddess of Love and while she’s still pretty clueless about certain aspects of the job, she’s learning slowly and surely. She gets regular training sessions with Quin, God of the Sun, on how to improve her game as a goddess. She enjoys these sessions with Quin but keeps hoping that they will lead to more than just doing “work” stuff. What’s funny about Hannah’s situation is, she helps other people navigate the tricky waters of love and yet she’s hopelessly in love with someone she can’t have. I think that’s what makes Hannah a relatable character – even if she’s part-time goddess now, she’s still a normal college girl in so many ways. Clearly, she doesn’t have things figured out and like any non-goddess person does, she just goes with her instincts and what she feels is right. I also think it’s ironic that the main plot thread in this installment is Hannah trying to break up a couple instead of bringing them together. I liked that Queen of the Clueless focused on Sol’s love story, it was nice to get to know Hannah’s best friend since we really didn’t get to do that in the first book. I also liked that we learn more about some of the other secondary characters, like Diego and Robbie. Although I wish there was more of Quin in the story, I felt like he didn’t get enough face time in this book. I would have liked to learn more about Quin’s character, a little more insight on how he is both as Quin the mortal guy and as God of the Sun.

I’m really, really curious about the third book in this series. If I had a copy of it right now, I’d dive into it right away. I have no idea how Hannah’s story arc will get resolved and I’m hoping it won’t feel rushed because these books are on the short side. I found Queen of the Clueless an enjoyable read but I definitely wouldn’t have minded if it was a little longer. I think it was a good idea on Mina’s part to try writing a different genre from her usual contemporary romance featuring women in their twenties. I’m all for Filipino fiction with a college setting, especially if it reminds me of my own college experience. I know I’ve mentioned this before but I really couldn’t help but feel that Hannah’s school is like a smaller version of my own alma mater. So many details about the school was reminiscent of my own school – the cafeteria, some of the classes, the rich kids and scholarship kids. I know that Mina attended the same college so maybe it served as an inspiration for her writing. Since I loved my school, I think that’s a good thing. I recommend this to fans of Mina’s writing and readers curious about Filipino fiction. I know I don’t feature enough of them here in my blog so I would gladly recommend this.

Some lomo shots of my college, which can pass off as Ford River:

LomoAteneo

lomoateneo5

lomoateneo4