My Anticipated 2018 Titles

My last blog post was all about my best of 2017 reads, and now it’s time to talk about the new releases that I’m looking forward to in 2018! In no particular order, these are the books that I can’t wait to read this year:

Magic Triumphs Spinning Silver Obsidio Children of Blood and Bone City of Lies

Start Here - ebook The First Time At Firelight Falls A Princess in Theory The Wedding Date Hurts to Love You

Titles that don’t have covers yet:
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (Hugh D’ Ambray’s book that will be released before Magic Triumphs)
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
Making Up by Lucy Parker
Saving Project Noah by Six de los Reyes
Chasing Mindy by Carla de Guzman

No titles or covers yet but I want the next installments in the following series:
Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews (the new serial has started on their blog but I prefer waiting for the full book)
Chic Manila series by Mina V. Esguerra

Are you also planning to read to any of the titles I listed here? What 2018 releases are you looking forward to?

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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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Book Thingo Podcast: Chachic and April

Kat, April and I for the podcast - August 2017

Kat, April and I right before we started recording

A few weeks ago, I shared the link to my good friend Kat’s podcast featuring romanceclass actors and live readers. This week’s Book Thingo podcast episode features me and another friend, April (Twitter, Instagram, Blog). Kat, April and I are partners in #romancelandian, which is a play on Romanlandia: “landian” in Filipino means flirting. I’m so glad we got to record this podcast when Kat was in Manila! It’s actually an impromptu discussion, we were just able to squeeze it in after the podcast recording with the live readers.

Book Thingo Podcast - behind the scenes August 2017

April, Me and Mina while Kat recorded the podcast with the live readers

Click on the embedded audio file below to listen to the podcast, or on the image to get redirected to the Book Thingo site:
Book Thingo Podcast

Please let me know what you think if you’ve listened to it! I know some of you don’t like listening to podcasts, but there’s no available transcript for this. As a summary, we talked about how we were introduced to romance, what were our gateway titles, and what are our deal breakers. A bit more info from my end… I mentioned that I started reading romance in my teens, first with Sweet Valley titles then with Bantam’s Love Stories series, two of my favorites from that series were I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler. Then I moved on to my mom’s Harlequins and Mills and Boon pocketbooks, having nothing else to read during summer vacation because I didn’t have access to good public libraries. Before #romanceclass started, Summit Books were my go-to when it came to Filipino romances. And of course, we also talked about Mina V. Esguerra’s Fairy Tale Fail (my review) as our introduction to romanceclass books. It will always have a special place in my heart because I felt like the story was a slice out of my life, like that kind of romance could have happened to me or one of my friends.

Some of my favorite romance authors that I mentioned were Ilona Andrews, Julie James, Laura Florand and Lucy Parker. I feel like they all have their own unique way of writing and no one writes like they do. I love how Kat said that she owes me for introducing her to Ilona Andrews. I got her started on their writing by sending her a gift of Burn for Me and now she’s a fan. I love it when friends fall in love with the same books that I also love.

That’s it! I really enjoyed this discussion and I hope you did too (if you listened to it). Tune in for more Book Thingo podcasts that were recorded in Manila. They will be going live in the coming weeks.

Book Thingo podcast - group pic August 2017

Kat, April and I. Together with Mina, Six and Jay (guests for the next podcast episode)

Book Thingo Podcast Features romanceclass Actors

A few months ago, I talked about my friend Kat of Book Thingo visiting Manila and meeting up with her to record some podcasts. This turned out to be a series and the first of them are live on her blog!

Sharing the pictures back in August here again, in case you need a visual. Swipe left to see everything:

In the first episode of the romanceclass series, Kat recorded a podcast with actors Rachel Coates, Miguel Almendras, Fred Lo and Salve Villarosa. These four guests have all participated in romanceclass events as live readers, where they read excerpts from various romanceclass books. These readings provide a different perspective to the books, even if only a few scenes are presented. This part of the program is a huge hit with everyone and you can get a taste of it by listening to this particular podcast.

Click on the embedded audio file below, or on the image to get redirected to the Book Thingo site: (warning: NSFW).

Book Thingo Podcast

If you do decide to listen to this, please comment below to let me know what you think! 🙂

Introducing romanceclassFlair

romanceclassFlair

I’m super excited to share this news with all of you! If you follow me and the #romanceclass hashtag on social media, you’ll be seeing a lot of this in the coming months. FLAIR (or #romanceclassFlair) is a new, ongoing project to release steamy contemporary romance (in English) by Filipino authors. There are four new titles from four different romanceclass authors about to be released, and these books will be unapologetically sexy.

Flair is not a publisher, but there is a single Flair team that is working with the authors on all the books. The team is composed of romanceclass community authors, readers, editors, designers. We all agreed on what sexy contemporary Filipino romance should be, and the books should show it. What can you expect? Alternating POV. New ways of telling favorite tropes. Filipino characters. Lots of heat.

The first Flair book will be released in November. Follow romanceclass books on these social media accounts to see more details in the coming weeks: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Cover Reveal: Making it Complicated by Clarisse David

Today, I’m participating in the cover reveal for Making it Complicated by Filipino author Clarisse David. This cover reveal was organized by Lola’s Blog Tours, and the cover was designed by Daniel Tinagan. This is the second book in the I Heart Iloilo series, which are standalone romances set in the province of Iloilo in the Philippines. The first book in the series, Keeping the Distance, is on promo for only 0.99usd for a few days. I haven’t read Keeping the Distance yet but I keep hearing good things about it! I already have a copy of the book in my Kindle and I look forward to reading it soon.

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Making it Complicated (I Heart Iloilo #2)
By Clarisse David
Genre: Romance
Age category: Young Adult, New Adult
Release Date: October 16, 2017

Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo 2) by Clarisse David Cover Ebook

No promises. No expectations. Just one night on a paradise island that could mean everything.

Nineteen-year-old Cam has a metric ton of emotional baggage and is in no mood to unload them on anyone. After her parents’ marriage imploded, stress-free is the only way she wants her life to be. And what could be more freeing than spending the summer on Boracay? Absolutely nothing… until she bumps heads with Hunter, the hot drummer who screams incoming heartbreak from a mile away.

Hunter has grand plans, none of which include angry-at-the-world Cam, best friend to the girl he always thought he’d end up with. He likes his life steady, thank you very much. But steady has now become synonymous with boring. His grand plans don’t seem so grand anymore. So when Cam comes home to Iloilo City and reaches out to him, he surprises himself when the one answer he can think of is… yes. Definitely yes.

Sometimes, complications are the only things that make sense.

You can find Making it Complicated on Goodreads.

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About the Author:
Clarisse David is a Young Adult and New Adult author from the land of epic heat waves a.k.a. the Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and cannot survive without red lipstick and books. When not hanging out on Twitter, she can be found working on her latest writing project.

You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also send her an email at clarissedavidwrites[@]yahoo[.]com.

You can find and contact Clarisse here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
Pinterest
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Making it Complicated. Five winners will each win an ebook of Making it Complicated by Clarisse David. Open internationally. For a chance to win, enter the giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas

Like Nobody’s Watching by Tara Frejas is an upcoming Filipino romance written in English, and the companion novel to Waiting in the Wings (learn more about that particular book here). I believe it can stand well enough on its own, but I plan to read Waiting in the Wings first to avoid any confusion. While I haven’t read any of Tara’s books, I have most (if not all) of them in my Kindle! Sigh, I have no idea when I’ll be able to conquer my ever expanding TBR pile but for today, I’m happy to be a part of the cover reveal for Like Nobody’s Watching. This book cover was designed by Filipino author and graphic artist Miles Tan, just like the cover for Ghost of a Feeling that I shared a few days ago. As always, Miles did a wonderful job with the cover design! The cover features Filipino theater actor Fred Lo as the model. Isn’t it awesome that a Filipino romance novel with a theater actor hero has an actual theater actor on the cover? 😀 Looking forward to reading this one!

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Like Nobody’s Watching
by Tara Frejas

Release date: October 24, 2017

It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.

If there’s something Pio Alvez is good at, it’s pretending to be someone he’s not. On stage and on-screen, the actor has mastered the art of becoming the characters he plays, and his new role should be no different. After all, how difficult would it be to pretend to be smitten with a beautiful, intelligent go-getter like Audrey Alonzo?

Perhaps it’s more difficult pretending not to be.

Add Like Nobody’s Watching on Goodreads
Pre-order Like Nobody’s Watching on Amazon

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Fun fact: She’s a Piscean. Go figure.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Cover Reveal: Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad is an upcoming Filipino-romance-in-English that I’m very much looking forward to. I believe this is the first standalone novella by Celestine (nicknamed Leslie). I haven’t read anything of Leslie’s yet but I do have some of her short stories that are part of anthologies I own. Interesting tidbit of information, Leslie is actually a high school batchmate of mine but we didn’t really interact back then. Glad to have reconnected with her online due to our mutual love for fiction. 🙂

Today, we get to see the gorgeous cover for Ghost of a Feeling designed by the talented Miles Tan. September is the National Month of Suicide Prevention and since suicide is a theme of the book, it seems fitting to have the cover reveal before the month is over. I’m intrigued by the premise and I also think the book cover is so pretty! I love the starry night sky background and even the colors and textures included in the design. The silhouette of the characters, with the guy reaching a hand out to the girl seems very fitting for the story. Definitely looking forward to finding out more about this.

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Ghost of a Feeling
by Celestine Trinidad

Release date: October 31, 2017

Ghost of a Feeling

All Cris Villareal had ever dreamed of was becoming a doctor. But after the death of a patient under her care and the subsequent humiliation she suffers under a senior resident in her hospital, she begins to lose faith in herself. And no one else could understand her and her despair.

So one Halloween night, up on the rooftop of her apartment building, she decides to end it all.

She is stopped from jumping by Emilio, the ghost of a young man who haunts her building, who also committed suicide there many years ago. Eventually, Cris finds herself opening up to him, in a way she had never before, with anyone living or dead.

There is only one problem.

Emilio isn’t really a ghost.

He is actually a living young man named Nathan Morales, and Cris was just one of the unwitting victims in a prank he had once played on the tenants of her apartment. But being Emilio was the only way he could think of to stop her that night, and the only way now he could get her to open up to him. As Emilio, he was someone she could trust enough to help her, in a way Nathan himself never could.

As their relationship grows deeper and their feelings grow stronger each day, can he finally help her find a reason to keep living?

But how long can he keep lying to her?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Celestine Trinidad is a physician (particularly, a pathologist) by profession. In her spare time, she writes fiction of several genres, including romance, speculative fiction, crime fiction, and children’s stories. Her other stories have been published in other print and online venues, such as First Love, The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction, Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic, and Insignia.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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. 😀

#romanceclass Book Cover Photo Shoot

Last July, I was able to join a romanceclass photo shoot for some of the authors’ book covers. I was lucky enough to be a part of it a second time around when another shoot was held last Sunday. romanceclass books are indie pubbed so they rely on stock photos or illustrations for their cover designs. They came up with the brilliant idea to pool resources and co-sponsor photo shoots with Filipino models or theater actors as cover models. Yay, for more Filipinos on book covers! You can learn more about the initiative through this link: romanceclasscovers. Some photos are available for purchase in the catalog.

So the photo shoot last Sunday had four cover models with different sets. They changed into outfits styled by Alex Lapa, who came up with the styles based on character descriptions. The cover models were real life couple Celine Bengzon and Bibo Reyes, as well as Fred Lo and Migs Almendras. This is actually a historic moment for the community because this is the first ever cover shoot for a male/male romance! So exciting. Here are some outtakes from the phone:

Swipe left to see all the photos. I love how these turned out on my phone, and I’m pretty sure the final versions will be even better. I can’t wait to see the resulting book covers! You can see more pictures of the shoot on Veronica’s blog over at Brain Tabs, here and here.

Here are some of my favorite behind the scenes photos from last Sunday, always a good time when you’re with romanceclass people:

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017

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romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v2

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v4

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v5

Here are photos of authors Mina V. Esguerra and H. Bentham squished between cover models Fred and Migs:

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v7

From Mina’s Instagram, here’s a shot of Ben and I being silly while we copy the cover model’s pose for Iris After the Incident:

Meron pala nito @romanceclasscovers #romanceclass

A post shared by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on

Also, a group pic of the romanceclass people present there, together with the cover models:

And last but not the least, here I am with Fred and Migs, first time to have a pic taken with them!

romanceclasscovers Sept 2017 v8

After the photo shoot, four of us had dinner had Manam, a Filipino fusion restaurant that has quickly become a favorite of mine. Here are some pics of the meal we had:

Sunday well-spent, wouldn’t you say? 🙂 Hope you all had an awesome weekend and you’re having a good week so far.