What Kind of Day Guest Post: See This Manila

Very happy to have romanceclass author (and foundress) Mina V. Esguerra on the blog today for a guest post about her latest release: What Kind of Day. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but it’s been generating a lot of buzz on my social media timelines. In the book, the heroine takes people on an alternative tour of Metro Manila and Mina shares some of the real-life spots in the metro that inspired some of the locations in her book. Personally, I love the idea of going on a tour in your own city. I feel like there’s always something new that you can discover even if you’ve lived in the same place your whole life. And based on the places Mina highlighted below, I feel like Naya and I can be good friends. 😛

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See This Manila by Mina V. Esguerra

I absolutely love traveling, and tried to do a lot of it even when my salary was tiny and could barely cover the big things you were supposed to pay for as an adult. A habit I picked up during that time was having to DIY my tours. City tours tend to have a specific kind of traveler in mind. They were hit or miss for me…and often I opted out of them. I don’t know if this is a habit formed from having to save up and stay on budget, but I often go to a city just wanting to experience how people did the things I loved to do. Where do they get their books, what do they create here, and what do they eat?

I had all of that in mind when writing my book What Kind of Day. My female main character Naya is a tour guide, but she won’t bring you to the exact same spots you’d get from a conventional tour of Manila. Half of the book is Naya’s tour from start to finish, and I designed a tour that was fictional, but based on actual things you could see and do in the city in one day.

I wanted to mention a few real-life inspirations for the tour stops, or at least in theory, because I don’t want to spoil anything else in the book for you.

Some real-life suggestions for a trip to an art gallery, a kare-kare lunch, a people-watching walk, that may or may not have influenced the settings in the book!

Pinto Art Museum (technically not in Metro Manila, but a must-see)

Bonifacio High Street

If you live in Manila, what do you think should be part of an “alternative” tour of it? What’s your favorite city spot?

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What Kind of DayBook Description:
It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

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#RomBkLove Day 26: New-To-Me Authors

RomBkLove Day 26 NewToMe

The theme for day 26 of #RomBkLove is New-To-Me Authors. For those who don’t know, #RomBkLove is a month-long celebration of romance books. The event was organized by Ana Coqui of Immersed in Books and you can check out her introduction post here. Various readers and bloggers have hosted each of the daily themes either on Ana’s blog or on their own platform. I have mostly been participating on Twitter, but I know some people have joined the conversation over at Instagram and Facebook. It has been so much fun seeing so many romance recs! I’ve been so tempted to one click a lot of titles.

I’m so excited to kick off today’s discussion about new-to-me authors because discovering new authors to enjoy and fangirl over is one of the reasons why I love being active on romancelandia. How new is new, you might ask? For the purpose of this discussion, let’s set it to authors you’ve discovered and loved in the past year or so. They don’t have to be new releases, just titles that are new to you. To start things off, here are some of the authors and books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend:

Beginner's Luck Ghost of a Feeling Submission Moves - ebook

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn – Loved the slow burn romance between the heroine working in STEM and the hero trying to recruit her for his corporate firm. I found it really cute how they slowly got to know each other before acting on their attraction. Also the teasing and banter from friends and family were hilarious.

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad – The couple has such an unusual meet cute when the hero, dressed as a ghost for Halloween, stops the heroine from jumping off the building. Mental health rep! And an interesting look at how difficult it is for the heroine to build a medical career in the Philippines. The author herself is a doctor so everything feels very realistic.

Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco – Such a fun and steamy romance between a feminist heroine and a mixed martial arts hero who have a one night stand in Vegas, then meet a few years later. This is the only title that’s been written by this Filipino author and I keep hoping she’ll write more!

Captive Prince Queen's Game A Princess in Theory

Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat – I had the worst (or should I say best?) kind of book hangover after finishing this trilogy because it was SO GOOD! I loved this slow burn male/male romance between two princes of rival kingdoms. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes. So much political intrigue. And such smart writing. Exactly my type of fantasy series. Please feel free to rec anything similar but I think it’s in a class of its own.

The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman – The Filipino royal romance that we didn’t know we needed! Partially inspired by one of my dream vacation destinations in the Philippines: Batanes. A quick and sweet read featuring a romance between the prince and princess of neighboring kingdoms. I have expressed my desire for more books in the same setting and Carla has promised (putting it here for accountability) that there will be more.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole – Another non-European royal romance that I loved with a STEM heroine who first thinks it’s a joke that she’s betrothed to an African prince. Loved the worldbuilding and the witty banter in this one. Also, that gorgeous cover deserves a shout out! A custom African print dress on the heroine and a matching bowtie on the hero.

Slightly Dangerous Hot in Hellcat Canyon FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh – I’m not much of a historical romance reader but this Pride and Prejudice retelling was so much fun to read! I love how the heroine blindsided the hero in this one.

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long – Really enjoyed this small town romance between two people who have such a strong connection in spite of the differences in their backgrounds.

You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria – Last but certainly not the least, my introduction to romanceclass author Jay E. Tria’s writing was such a good one! This title has been fondly called tita (auntie) romance because of the older heroine. I was rooting for the couple right from their train meet cute.

These are the romance titles I discovered and enjoyed in the past year or so! I’ve been meaning to read more books from some of these authors, but I haven’t found time for that yet. Writing this post is a good reminder for me to start doing that soon. What about the rest of you, who are new-to-you romance authors you’d highly recommend? 🙂 Hope you folks enjoy participating in today’s #RomBkLove topic!

Chasing Mindy Guest Post: Paris Travel Diary

Last week, author Carla de Guzman shared her romanceclass origins and today, she’s here on the blog to share the location inspiration for her latest title Chasing Mindy. Paris is a city that’s close to my own heart and I love that Carla chose to set her book there. Check out what she has to say about this glorious city in relation to her book!

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Paris Travel Diary by Carla de Guzman

One of my favorite things about writing Chasing Mindy was being able to re-write my experience of Paris. It’s one of those places that you never, ever, ever think you’ll be able to visit. You dream about it and hear about it, but you can’t really picture yourself there until you’re actually there. Mindy’s awe over the things she saw was very much my own.

Honestly guys, this city though. It’s so pretty you want to hug it.

For my little stint here on Chachic’s Book Nook, I’m sharing my photos and a little travel diary of the places Mindy and Javier visited!

Chasing Mindy - Rue de Depart

Rue de Depart
Mindy’s first scene ever in Paris is here–on a street corner, looking at the golden light and cursing the city for being just so gosh darn perfect. And how could she not, if she was looking at this? This is the corner not too far from our hotel in Montparnasse. It’s my phone’s wallpaper!

Chasing Mindy - Metro

Paris Metro
Call me a nerd, but I like the Paris Metro stations–they’re all so different, and how fancy is it that the ads have a pretty sienna tile surrounding it? It even has Napoleon’s crest on top of each one.

Chasing Mindy - Shakespeare and Co

Shakespeare and Co.
You see this a lot in pictures, and I never realized it was just across the Notre Dame until someone pointed it out like, oh no big deal, there it is! The inside is crammed with books to browse, and there was a bunch of lavender growing in front of the store so it smelled so nice. I realized later on that there are lots of Shakespeare and Co. bookstores in Europe, but there’s just something special about that green awning!

Chasing Mindy - Square Rene Vivani

Square Rene Vivani
Javi makes Mindy frog march over to the park next to Shakespeare and Co where they sit and have their coffee. Look at that view of the Notre Dame! With the rose arch and everything. There were quite a few painters taking a rest there, and couples falling asleep on the benches–which is totally normal. This place had to appear in the book, just because of the roses!

Chasing Mindy - Saint Chapelle

Saint Chapelle
This church! You don’t run out of churches in Paris, but this one is lovely! I experienced it exactly the same way Mindy did, where she runs up the smallest staircase, thinking that this was a scam, (and we had to line up for an hour!) only to find this gorgeous illusion of light on top. I believe I used the words ‘HOLY CRAP’ in my travel diary at the time.

Chasing Mindy - Giverny

Giverny
When I visited Paris for the first time, I became a little obsessed with the Impressionists. I looked up their works and read up on their history, which is why I knew that the next time we went to Paris, I had to make sure we went to Monet’s home in Giverny. Imagine a garden of flowers and multiply it by like, a thousand. I could barely breathe I was so happy.

Chasing Mindy - Olympia

Olympia by Manet
Sorry for the sudden nudity, but this girl is my goddess, okay. Manet painted one of his favorite muses totally naked. I could go into detail of why he painted it and why this painting was one of the most controversial of his time (someone stop me!), but I settled for putting it in the book, for now.

Chasing Mindy - Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
An excerpt from my travel diary, ‘Damn it, Eiffel Tower, I thought I was over you!’ The perfect last thing to do in Paris is to buy some food, sit in the Trocadero Garden and wait for the tower to light up. You half-expect there to be music. Look at it. So pretty.

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Chasing MindyBook Description:
Mindy and Javier are not friends, okay.

Despite their mothers’ matchmaking, they’ve managed to stay out of each other’s way. Until Mindy goes to Paris for a week, and her mother insists she meet up with Javier. He’s in Paris to study, really looking forward to see you, she says. Watch over each other.

No thanks. Javier is taciturn and boring, Mindy is dramatic and has a tendency to yell at things when her eight siblings are brought up. It’s not a great combination.

But things start to look a little different under the Paris lights, and what felt like hate feels a lot closer to love.

Ten Series I Could Reread Forever

Top Ten Tuesday - That Artsy Reader Girl

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature previously hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and have now been moved over to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is books we can reread forever, but I’m twisting it a bit to show book series instead. Here are my picks:

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
thick-as-thieves

The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein
The Winter Prince ebook A Coalition of Lions ebook The Sunbird ebook The Lion Hunter ebook The Empty Kingdom ebook

The Damar books by Robin McKinley
The Hero and the Crown Blue Sword

The Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier
Daughter of the Forest Son of the Shadows

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
Magic Bites Magic Burns Magic Strikes Magic Bleeds Magic Slays

Magic Rises Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews Magic Shifts magic-binds

The Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews
Burn for Me White Hot Wildfire

The London Celebrities books by Lucy Parker
Act Like It pretty face

Amour et Chocolat series by Laura Florand
The Chocolate Thief The Chocolate Kiss The Chocolate Touch

The Chocolate Heart The Chocolate Temptation The Chocolate Rose - new cover

La vie en Roses series by Laura Florand
Once Upon a Rose redesign A Wish Upon Jasmine redesign A Crown of Bitter Orange A Kiss in Lavender

Chic Manila series by Mina V. Esguerra
My Imaginary Ex - 2017 Fairy Tale Fail 2017 No Strings Attached_New Cover Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition That Kind of Guy 2017

Welcome to Envy Park What You Wanted 2018 Iris After the IncidentBetter At Weddings Than You cover

Have you read any of these books? What about you, what are books or series that you can keep rereading over and over again?

Recent Book Haul

I haven’t done a book haul post in ages! I’ve done some bookstagrams for some of my newly acquired books so I thought it would be a good idea to put them all together in one page. One of my bookish resolutions this year is to buy more ebooks than physical books because I find it easier to read on my Kindle. I’ve been able to follow this resolution, so far! I attended the Book Binge Bazaar hosted by National Bookstore, and only bought one book for the signing we went there for:

And here are some Kindle editions that I either bought or received as gifts:

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

It's rare for me to receive books as gifts so getting one is a cause for celebration. I was delighted to receive The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli as a surprise Valentine's/Galentine's gift from my romanceclass roommate, bookstagram partner-in-crime and sister in smut @readbyher! THANK YOU SO MUCH, BES!🙌 As soon as I got my copy of the book, I knew I had to take a pic of it with this hibiscus hot chocolate because we both love this drink.❤☕ I've had this book in my wishlist since @bookthingo recommended it and I look forward to reading it. PS: Most friends IRL don't give me books as gifts because they say they never know what to get for me. Hi friends, just so you know... I'm always willing to accept Amazon gift cards or I can send you a wishlist if you ask for one.😉

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The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman

From one royal romance to another!👑📚 The last book I finished was A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole set in the fictional African kingdom of Thesolo (which I'm now confusing with Wakanda, having just seen The Black Panther movie). I jumped straight into The Queen's Game by @carlakdeguzman, a contemporary romance set in the kingdom of Cincamarre which I believe is modeled after Batanes. This is a #romanceclass title I've been really curious about because of the live readings that have been performed for it. THANK YOU FOR MY COPY, CARLA!🙌🍋 So far I've been able to follow my self-imposed romance theme for February, where I alternate between Filipino romance and romance written by foreigners. What about you, what's your current read? If you're not in the middle of a book, what was the last title you finished?

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Speak Easy Speak Love by McKelle George

Speak Easy Speak Love by McKelle George is a YA retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing set during the roaring 20s. It's one of those titles that I wouldn't have picked up (even though it was recently a Kindle deal for 1.99usd) if it hadn't been recommended by a person I trust: good friend and book pusher extraordinaire, @angiegirl. I've been relying on Angie's book recs for years! She's the one who introduced me to authors who have now become favorites of mine, like Ilona Andrews, Juliet Marillier, Lucy Parker, and Sarina Bowen. For me, meeting friends like Angie is one of the highlights of being active in the online book community. I get to discuss with people who share my taste in books, plus I get excellent book recs.❤📖 What about you, who are some of your trusted book pushers and recommenders?📚🙌🏻

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I’m planning to go to Komiket, a local indie comic book convention and I have a few titles on my wishlist so I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding more to this pile! Comics and graphic novels are the exception to my rule of buying physical copies of books.

What about the rest of you, have you guys bought or received any books lately?

romanceclass origins: Clare E. Marquez

romanceclass origins

romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. Whether they’re a reader or an author, all community members have their romanceclass origin story… various stories of how and when they joined the community. romanceclass origins is a blog feature that highlights these origin stories.

Visit the earlier romanceclass origins posts here. Today, romanceclass author Clare E. Marquez, nicknamed Jang, shares how she first found out about the community. Jang is one of the sweetest people I’ve come to know through the group, she’s so thoughtful and always has something nice to say in any situation. Thank you for being a guest on my blog today, Jang!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

A friend of mine, Veron, told me about an online writing class that Mina V. Esguerra will facilitate in March of 2015. She was an avid follower of Mina and when she saw her advise, she thought of asking me to join her in this class. So I did and it was one of the best things that happened to me in terms of reviving my dream of being a writer.

Writing took a backseat after college for me. I had some scribbles here and there, mostly unfinished scenes, dialogues, stories that really never saw the light of day. I have notebooks since I was ten with all stories. My goal in attending Mina’s class was to just finish a full-length novel in less than 3 months – that was the length of the class – and that’s what happened. I was so happy about it.

Jang - Romanceclass 2015

So from Mina, I discovered this world of Filipino authors who write in English. I attended #AprilFeels in 2015 at the Pegi Waffles and met in person Filipino authors, experienced my first live reading of #GaHoates (Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates). It was so much fun but more than anything so meaningful to me. I was in awe and so impressed by everyone. It was a great place to be for people like me who loves to read – and write! – romance novels. I felt I was in a good place with the company of amazing people. So I started following other members of #romanceclass in Twitter, always checking out the happenings of the community.

When my first novel Simply Joei was chosen by Anvil as one of the novels to be printed from the 2015 class of Mina, I was ecstatic. It was nothing I expected but everything I hoped for. I learned a little about the ins and outs of traditional publishing when I was dealing with Anvil. Then I also learned about self-publishing and the #romanceclass people are the most selfless, supportive people one can find in this industry. All people I’ve messaged, whether I met in person or not, have helped me patiently, answered my questions and was so open to any other help I needed. So two months after Simply Joei was launched by Anvil in 2017, I launched my self-published book Just Kate in April 2017.

Again, the support of #romanceclass was unbelievable and I have never been luckier to find a place where I am so proud to belong.

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2) What does being part of the romanceclass community mean to you?

To belong to a community that pushes you forward to be the best you can be, who accepts you for who and what you are and understands your passion – supports you selflessly – is a GIFT. #Romanceclass membership is a special gift to me, one I know I will forever be grateful for.

Being a member of #romanceclass means the world to me. It opened many doors for me, introduced me to awesome people (the best!) and I learned so many things about writing, publishing, (also food, k-pop, science, arts, politics, theater, Minola oil, among other things). When I participated in the #GoReadWrite2017 event at Raffles in 2017, it was so wonderful to share the experience with veteran and first time authors like me. I know for sure I would not have done anything I did in the last two years – writing, publishing, public speaking – without the #romanceclass community. I witnessed first-hand the unwavering, generous support the community has for each other. The community lift up each other and we have the pompoms to prove it.

My heart will forever be grateful for this world-class community and to be part of it is something I will always wear in my heart.

Jang - Go Read Write Panel 2017

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3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

There are A LOT of books written by #romanceclass authors and here are some of my favorites:

Learning to Fall by Mina Esguerra
Midnights in Bali by Carla de Guzman
All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao
The Duke Takes a Bride by Suzette de Borja
Bucket List to Love by C.P. Santi
Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

Learning to Fall Midnights in Bali All's Fair in Blog and War Sounds Like Summer

The Real Score The Duke Takes a Bride Bucket List to Love The Duke Takes a Bride

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Clare E. MarquezClare Elisabeth Marquez enjoys sitting in her pajamas while looking out the window from her amazingly massive writer’s desk, reveling in the glorious beauty of snow-capped mountains as she sips her warm, soothing coffee.

Then she wakes up. And writes.

A closet romantic through and through, C.E. Marquez is a voracious reader, writer, and dreamer, never failing to believe that dreams can come true for those who wait… and do something about it! Her towering piles of notes of handwritten stories (which she started collecting when she was ten!) are her well-kept treasures, tattered and bruised, but still waiting for their chance to see the light.

She writes about things that matter: love, life, and everything else in between.

You can contact her through authorcemarquez@gmail. com — but only if you want her to reply!

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Favorite Literary Couples 2018

I’m here to present a list that has become one of my blog traditions. Every year on Valentine’s Day, I post a list of fictional couples I’ve loved from books that I’ve read in the previous year. You can check out posts from years past through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. This is the NINTH edition of this post and I can’t believe I’ve been able to keep it up over the years. I feel like one of the oldies in the blogging community. LOL. 😀

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you can probably tell that I’ve found it easier to post bookstagrams and cross-post them here, instead of writing a WordPress blog post from scratch. I have bookstagrams for all five of the couples in my list this year, so I’m sharing them below and you can read the captions on why I had so much fun reading about these characters. Look at me not wasting previously created content! Also no need to repeat myself. Yasss to making life easier, am I right? 😛

Dina and Sean from Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, and One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Earlier this year, I devoured the three books that are currently out in the Innkeeper Chronicles: Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep. They got me out of a bad reading slump (which I knew they would). I'm continually amazed at how awesome Ilona and Gordon's writing is! Consistently entertaining, like this free fiction that was available as serials on their blog. I waited to read until they were released as self-pubbed books, and predictably loved them. . . Such creative worldbuilding, I think it's fantasy mixed with sci-fi? I loved everything about it - from the innkeeper magically bound to an inn that caters to supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires. And the characters were all so much fun to get to know! Dina is such a kickass heroine, and I love how she's able to hold her own amidst the various disasters the inn faces. Knowing how I'm such a sucker for romance, I also really loved the slow burn romance between the main characters, as well as the secondary romance that's been building. . . Included in my best of 2017 list, I highly recommend this series for specfic fans! If you feel like we have similar taste in books then you should definitely be reading Ilona Andrews, try any of their series. I've loved them all.❤ . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved.

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Christine and Wulfric from Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh

I'm not a huge fan of Regency romances, I enjoy them while I'm reading them but they all tend to blur together in my mind afterwards. I normally don't read one unless it comes highly recommended, which was the case with Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. @lucyparkerauthor was very enthusiastic in recommending this Pride and Prejudice retelling, and I have to thank her for it because I stayed up until early morning to read this in one go. I was hooked right from the time Christine meets Wulfric! Actually I was laughing so hard. Christine is a smart heroine who is just so vibrant and full of life, a very pleasant character to read about. And she takes the dark and broody Duke of Bewcastle completely by surprise. I really enjoyed how Mary Balogh took elements of Pride and Prejudice but made the story completely her own. Had so much fun reading this book. Highly recommended for historical romance readers and fans of Jane Austen retellings. . . . What's your favorite retelling of a classic? Or Pride and Prejudice in particular, if you have one?

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Daphne and Aaron from Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra

I have been enjoying @minavesguerra's books since I discovered them in 2010. Better At Weddings Than You is no exception. Happy to share another #romanceclass title in my Best of 2017 list. The story starts during Christmas eve dinner buffet at one of the metro's hotel (I suspect it's Spiral, I'd say I'm jealous but good thing we're going to a fancy buffet tomorrow). So this evening is the perfect time to talk about this book! . . Read this to get to know Daphne and Aaron, both wedding planners with the former having more experience in their field. Daphne is a strong, idependent woman who is very good at what she does. I loved that she's a Filipino woman in her 30s who doesn't give a shit that she's single, a pretty refreshing take for a book set in the Philippines. Plus she likes fancy tea as much as I do. So much fun to watch Daphne and Aaron reluctantly agree to work together... then try to fight off their growing attraction... and eventually give in to it. . . Read this for the food references (yes to chicharon salad), for the Manila setting, and for the relatable characters! A fun and sexy read that's easy to get into. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Kris and Ringo from You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone! Here's another title in my Best of 2017 reads: You Out of Nowhere by @jayetria, the first #romanceclassFLAIR title! An age gap romance with an older heroine, what we fondly dubbed "tita romance" (tita means aunt in Filipino) with a train meet cute. Hot guy reading Pride and Prejudice on the train, of course the heroine noticed him right away! . . I loved that Kris is older than Ringo but she's the one who isn't interested in a serious relationship. It was a lot of fun watching the two of the get to know each other - because they really click even though their personalities are distinctly different. Also, I enjoyed seeing Ringo scale her walls - first when they met in Manila and then later on when they become unexpected travel buddies in Seoul. Points to Ringo for knowing the benefits of collagen in skincare. . . Novella-length and available as a Kindle edition, this is a perfect holiday read because the story starys on November and ends in December. Full disclosure, I'm part of the #romanceclassFLAIR team but I really did enjoy You Out of Nowhere as a reader and would recommend it to those who think we have similar tastes in books. More tita romance, please!

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Jett and Adrian from Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes

I read Feels Like Summer by @sixdlr while I was on vacation in Moalboal, Cebu. I had a feeling it would be an excellent beach read because this Filipino romance starts during a beach music festival, and I was right. I was drawn in right from the start - when the heroine pretends to be the hero's girlfriend. Fake relationship trope FTW!🙌 . . Strong, independent heroine who has no interest in a relationship. Also works in a science museum. Easygoing hero, frontman of a band. Brings pizza during a booty call. Bandmates all up in their business (they totally deserve their own books). Surprise abs. Creative references to lightsabers. Add all of these ingredients, mix them up and have such an enjoyable and absorbing romance. Not sure if my summary makes sense, better just check it out for yourself.😂 Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! . . PS: Barcino's sangria included in the pic was delicious.

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BONUS couple:
Nevada and Rogan from White Hot and Wildfire by Ilona Andrews – I had already featured this couple in my 2015 list but I want to mention them again because they were awesome in the two sequels that came out last year. Can’t wait to hear more news about what direction this series will take!

Before 2017 ends, I want to highlight the books that I've loved this year! High up in that list are White Hot and Wildfire, sequels to Burn for Me, released three years after the first book. I have so much love for Ilona and Gordon's writing, and I devour their books as soon as I can get my hands on them.❤ Hidden Legacy is an urban fantasy series that has their trademark humor and banter, action-packed adventure, strong character development, and the best kind of slow burn romance.🔥 . . I was engrossed from start to finish of each title, and had a book hangover after. And they've become comfort rereads. This series is an excellent introduction to their writing, highly recommended to anyone who wants to read something awesome. Even if you're not a fan of urban fantasy. . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved. Thanks for the assist in this photo, @crisevert.

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Runners-up for the past year are:
Cris and Nathan from Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad
Elena and Lucien from A Kiss in Lavender by Laura Florand
Britt and JT from Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Ann Long
Feyre and Rhys from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Yeva (as Beauty) and the Beast from Hunted by Meagan Spooner

What about you, who are your favorite fictional couples from books that you’ve read within the previous year? Are you planning to do anything special for Valentine’s Day? I’m mostly reading romance this February, and trying to alternative between books by foreign authors and romanceclass books (Filipino romance in English). Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! ❤

Ten Books I Liked But Can’t Remember Much About

Top Ten Tuesday - That Artsy Reader Girl

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature previously hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and have now been moved over to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is books I enjoyed reading but can’t remember much about. It sucks when I remember enjoying a book but can’t remember most of what happened in it! This usually happens when I don’t write a review for a book, I tend to forget what the story is about. Here are ten books that I really liked (rated 4 stars on Goodreads) but unfortunately, can’t recall most of the contents of the book:

Radiance Masque Warprize Cruel Beauty For Darkness Shows the Stars

Rise Carolina Dreaming His Road Home A Bollywood Affair Pairing Off

That’s five specfic romance (or specfic with romantic elements) and five contemporary romance titles. What about you, do you have problems remembering books that you enjoyed reading too? If you were to make a list like this, what titles would you include?

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?

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

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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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