romanceclass origins: Six de los Reyes

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, we have romanceclass’ resident mermaid on the blog where she shares her SUPER SLOW BURN introduction to the group. I’m going to admit that what she had to say made me tear up. Please give Six de los Reyes a warm welcome!

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1) How did you discover romanceclass?

My first encounter with #romanceclass was at Aklatan 2013 where I very awkwardly (after circling the table too many times) met Mina V. Esguerra and Chris Mariano at their booth. They gave me the intro to the community, to Author at Once, and to the Facebook group. Naturally, I came in a skeptic. Still, I exchanged emails with Chris and thought to myself, maybe this could work? Then in November that same year I joined the #buqosteamyreads workshop. I didn’t expect much, didn’t want much, didn’t think I’d stick around long enough for anything to happen. I just thought to myself, at least I’m doing something about this writing thing? I had a book after all, and I had all these stories begging to be written.

Anyway, through the first two years I lurked about the community and went to whatever event without interacting with anybody – not online or IRL. I remember sitting at the very back of the room at the Luna East launch, just watching these people who seemed to know each other very well enjoy their success. I remember meeting “Camilla Sisco” at our #romanceclass2014 Intro batch. I remember making online friends at the #SparkNA hashtag. I remember thinking, just one more workshop, just one more book launch, just one more and maybe I’d get something out of it? I ended up joining every workshop that came up for the next two years. At the time, it didn’t occur to me what it was I had already found there with these people. That I already did get something out of it, just not in the way I’d thought.

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

#romanceclass is my safe space, my happy space. I say it all the time, #romanceclass saved my life. You hear this a lot because it’s true for so many of us. For so long I’ve felt unwanted and invisible – turns out I was loitering at the wrong end of the visible spectrum. Since joining the community, I’ve met people who see me as I am, socially inept, anxious, your resident 100% introvert hooman and all that applies and yet somehow I belong. After all these years, I finally found somewhere I belong. #romanceclass taught me it’s okay to have feelings, to feel the feelings however you feel your feelings. They’ve taught me how to acknowledge self-care is necessary because I need to show up either online or IRL otherwise there will be summons in ALL CAPS on Twitter or Instagram (and once at my doorstep). They’ve taught me that all the validation I need should come from me. They’ve taught me all this through the kindness (and patience) they show me, in the way they believe in me, and in the way they lovingly strong-arm me to just write the damn thing because later we can fix it. In this community, we have books, we have cute boys and girls, we have feelings, and most of all we have each other.

I came in thinking “What do I get out of this?” and now here I am thinking “What more can I do? What else can I give?”

#romanceclass, how dare you give me water and sunlight and room to grow?

3) What are your recommended romanceclass reads?

Iris After the Incident by Mina V. Esguerra
You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria
If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
Don’t Tell My Mother by Brij Bautista
Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
Finding X by Miles Tan

Iris After the Incident FLAIR You Out of Nowhere If the Dress Fits Waiting in the Wings

Don't Tell My Mother Another Word for Happy Finding X

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Six de los ReyesSix de los Reyes has been reading and making up stories for as far as she can remember. In fifth grade, she learned to write about the stories she wanted to read. As a pretend grownup, she writes contemporary romance novels. Her day job doing science has something to do with being a part-time mermaid and a part-time labrat. She currently lives next to the sea.

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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
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc1pgN9FW07/

Christine and Wulfric from Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh

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

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

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

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!
https://www.instagram.com/p/BcuG8pOlwxl/

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! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday: romanceclass Recommendations

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 a love-themed freebie. Since I’m always happy to spread the word about romance written by Filipino authors, I’m choosing to focus on my recommended romanceclass titles this week. For those who don’t know, romanceclass is a community of authors and readers who gather together to support indie published contemporary romance written by Filipino authors. If you’re new to romanceclass, here are ten titles that you can start with:

Ghost of a Feeling Submission Moves - ebook Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Feels Like Summer FLAIR You Out of Nowhere

Fairy Tale Fail 2017 Better At Weddings Than You cover One Night at the Palace Hotel Cover Story Girl Loveless Childless Clueless

Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad
Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco
Beginner’s Guide by Six de los Reyes
Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria
Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra
Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra
One Night at the Palace Hotel by Bianca Mori
Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano
Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores

Special mention to these romanceclass YA titles that I don’t really consider romance but more of coming-of-age stories:

Another Word for Happy Choco Chip Hips
Another Word for Happy by Agay Llanera
Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera

This month, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to read a few more romanceclass titles from my TBR pile, these ones are high on my list:

Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David
Tame the Kitten by Bianca Mori
Swept Off My Feet by Ines Bautista Yao
The Princess Finds Her Match by Suzette de Borja

All of these books are available in Amazon, I believe most are available for free if you’re on Kindle Unlimited. Some are on sale and I’m linking to a Twitter thread I created which lists titles currently available for just 0.99usd:

What about you, how did you choose to spin this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? Are you rereading and recommending some of your favorite romances this month? 🙂

Ten Hidden Gems in Filipino Romance

Top Ten Tuesday2

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday post in ages! As always, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie, we get to highlight hidden gems in any genre of our choice. Since August is Buwan Ng Mga Akdang Pinoy can be roughly translated as “Month of Filipino Authors” or even “Month of Filipino Books”. I mostly read romanceclass books (Indie pubbed Filipino romance written in English) so that’s what I choose to focus on for this post. 😀

romanceclass-logo

There are a few romanceclass titles that have gotten international recognition, such as Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra which was reviewed on Dear Author or Beginner’s Guide by Six de los Reyes which was reviewed on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and was included in NPR’s Book Concierge last year. But most of the titles are more under-the-radar, which is a shame because I think they can have appeal to a wider audience. Here are five romanceclass titles that I consider as hidden gems:

Feels Like Summer Iris After the Incident Cover-Story-Girl One Night at the Palace Hotel

And here are five more that I haven’t read yet, but are high on my TBR pile because of recommendations… these books would be my introduction to these authors:

If the Dress Fits Songs of Our Breakup The Princess Finds Her Match What About Today Waiting in the Wings

All of these are available as Kindle editions on Amazon, so you can buy copies of them wherever you are. I actually created a Twitter thread of Filipino romance titles in English that are currently on sale, in case you want to go through the list which already has links to the Amazon page of each book:

Some of them aren’t 0.99usd anymore but still pretty affordable! Some will be on promo price until the end of the month. I’ve been adding titles to the thread as their prices drop, and I’ve also been one clicking like crazy and stocking up on books that have been on my wishlist. 😛

Have you read any romances by Filipino authors? Let me know what you thought of them. If you’re familiar with romanceclass and have read books from the community, please feel free to share your own favorites and recommendations in the comments section. 🙂

Cebu: Vacation and #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy

Hello, WordPress followers! If you also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Litsy, then you would know that I was on vacation on Cebu for a few days. Cebu is one of the provinces in the Visayas region in the Philippines, and I went to Moalboal and Cebu City. It was my first time in Cebu and I had a great time! Also realized that the last time I traveled on a domestic flight was in 2011 when I went to Bohol. I’m hoping to be able to do more local travel in the near future. While I was in Cebu, I was able to do some #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy posts so I’m including those in this update.

In Moalboal, we stayed at the gorgeous Hale Manna resort, which is owned by Liana’s family. Liana blogs at Will Read for Feels and I met her through the circle of romance readers in the Philippines. It never ceases to amaze me at how I keep meeting awesome bookish people, both online and in real life. I was able to meet with Liana while in Cebu, first at Moalboal and then we traveled together back to Cebu City. Here are some pictures of Hale Manna in Moalboal, swipe left to see all of them:

In Cebu City, first stop was Liana’s book cafe called Books and Brews. I love book cafes and if I lived in Cebu, I would definitely be a regular in this one. The cafe has an extensive selection of books written by Filipino and foreign authors which you can read while hanging out at the place. It’s also cozy and comfortable and a good place to study or work in, if you would prefer not to read.

When I was researching on what places I’d like to visit in Cebu, I knew I would want to check out ancestral houses if there were any in the area. We got to visit two of them: Casa Gorordo and Yap-Sandiego House. I’m a sucker for historic places and these two were a pleasure to view. They’re both typical “balay na tisa” or “bahay na bato”, built in the 1800’s with a mix of Spanish, Chinese and Filipino influences.

We also got to see Museo Sugbo, which is Cebu’s provincial museum. It was previously a provincial jail but has been converted to showcase the history of the province.

Last, but certainly not the least was getting to try the food options in Cebu that aren’t available in Manila! I loved both The Chocolate Chamber and AA Barbecue, and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell why based on these pictures:

I hope you guys enjoyed this update post. I had an amazing time in Cebu but it’s always good to be home in Manila. 🙂 If you’ve been to Cebu, please feel free to share your own experience. Also, would be happy to hear suggestions on what ancestral houses in the country should be included in my bucket list. For those who haven’t been to Cebu, I hope I’ve made you more curious about the province, and that you’ll get to visit it eventually.

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes

I’ve had Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes on my wishlist for a while now. And I was pushed to grab a copy when I saw historical romance author Courtney Milan raving about it. I didn’t want to get left behind when it comes to supporting Filipino authors! I read it as soon as I could because I was curious. While I couldn’t say that I loved it as much as Courtney Milan did, I had a lot of fun reading this nerdy Filipino romance. I will definitely be watching out for other books written by Six de los Reyes.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical ReactionsFalling in love is a chemical reaction.

Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts’ relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin’s wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, café owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.

But when Kaya’s recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn’t always happen inside a lab.

I’ve always thought of myself as a nerd because I studied in a high school that had a strong focus on science and math subjects, and I majored in electronics engineering in college. Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions reminded me of all the subjects that I had in high school and college where we had to conduct various lab experiments. There was a time when I spent most of my hours in a lab too. I used to say that I loved science and math but they didn’t love me back because I never found both to be easy. Which was probably why I didn’t pursue a career in those fields.

Having read Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions, I can definitely say that I’m nowhere near Kaya’s level of nerdiness. It took a while for me to get used to her way of narrating but I eventually found her endearing. She’s super smart, but she’s socially awkward. The sad thing is she knows it too, and she’s given up on pursuing stronger social connections because of previous failed attempts. I would gladly have been Kaya’s friend if she was a real person! It’s a good thing she has the support of her large and crazy family, so it’s not like she’s entirely alone. But it’s also her family that drives her to try an unusual experiment to find a boyfriend. I think most Filipinos would be able to relate to Kaya’s extended family, even if our own families don’t plan such elaborate parties. The way the Rubio clan was described was just realistically Filipino. Including the presence of nosy relatives. And like Kaya, I have been the recipient of many, many questions about why I’m still single, when am I planning to find a boyfriend, and why haven’t I settled down yet. I guess that’s just how Filipino titas (aunts) are wired? So yes, I could understand why Kaya thought it would be worth her while to embark on an unusual experiment to find a boyfriend.

While Kaya’s experimental dates were fun to read, I liked her interactions with her friends even better. She’s always been on good terms with her colleague and flatmate Eugene, but their friendship becomes stronger as he tries to help her navigate the dating field. I hope Eugene will get his own HEA in a later book. Kaya also becomes more willing to open up to the interns in her lab, as well as other researchers in their science institute. And of course, there’s Nero. Good-looking cafe owner, part-time graphic artist and definitely more experienced when it comes to relationships. On paper, it doesn’t seem like Kaya and Nero would really get along but it was interesting to see them get to know each other. How they’re both in totally different fields and have personalities that are poles apart but at their core, they’re just both flawed individuals looking to find someone who can see and appreciate their true selves. I’m glad that Nero got enough page time for readers to understand him better, and to see that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Nerdy, sweet and cute, Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions is an enjoyable romance with strong Filipino values. I’m glad to have discovered a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) romance series that is set in the Philippines. Looking forward to the rest of the books in the series! I need to mention that this book is indie pubbed and there were some sections that could have been edited better (missing words, typos, tense changes, etc.) but I wasn’t bothered enough to be pulled out of the story. Just wanted to give a warning in case that’s something that other readers watch out for.

Other reviews:
Oops! I Read a Book Again
bibliophile soprano
Back Porch Reader

Comics and Chocolates Haul

My favorite bookstore in Singapore is Kinokuniya because they have the best stocks. I signed up for membership last January and I have been steadily increasing the size of my TBR pile because if it. They have a marketing trick that works well on me – members get a 10% discount on regular days and a 20% discount on special sale dates. I think sales happen at least once a month? In any case, I’m always tempted to buy books whenever there’s a sale because I want to take advantage of the bigger discount. So this was my comics and chocolates haul last Thursday:

Comics and Chocolates Haul - July 2016

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

The dark chocolates are from La Cure Gourmande – the four on the left are mint ganache, the middle ones are dark chocolate ganache and the last four are pear-flavored. As for the books… I have been hearing good things about Monstress ever since the first issue was released. I didn’t want to start reading a graphic novel per issue so I had to wait for Vol. 1 to be released. I saw The Last Dragon in a previous bookstore visit and marked it as something I would come back for because I like standalone graphic novels. As for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I’ve had the first two volumes since January but still haven’t read them yet! So many books, so little time. I had not anticipated how much real life will be sucking time away from reading.

I also bought an ebook yesterday based on a recommendation from romance author Courtney Milan (you can see her tweets about it here).

Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions (Talking Nerdy #1) by Six delos Reyes is a Filipino romance novel that has a nerdy heroine. I’ve had it on my wishlist for a while but I one clicked it after I saw the rec for Courtney Milan because I don’t want to get left behind in supporting a fellow Filipino!

I really should stop buying more books when I still have SO MANY in my TBR pile but it’s so hard to resist. To be fair, I’ve already finished reading (but not reviewing) the last two books in my previous book haul post. I could use that as my excuse for buying more this time. What about you, have you acquired any new books lately? Have you read any of the titles included in this post? Let me know what you think of them if you have.