Welcome to Envy Park by Mina V. Esguerra

I think it’s pretty clear by now that I’m a Mina V. Esguerra fangirl. I grab copies of her novellas and short stories when they’re released and I try to read and review them as soon as I could. The early chapters of Welcome to Envy Park were uploaded to Wattpad so I was able to sample part of the story. I was really looking forward to reading this particular title because it’s about a Filipino lady in her mid-twenties who worked in Singapore for five years and is now back in Manila, trying to figure out what her next move is. I think Welcome to Envy Park’s cover looks pretty good. I like how bright and happy the colors are. I think it’s a great idea for Mina to partner with Filipino fashion bloggers for her book covers. I think the outfit that the girl is wearing is cute and girly although I don’t really picture Moira wearing something like that.

Welcome to Envy ParkHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

Moira Vasquez is a doer. A planner. A get-up-and-goer. At twenty-two, she left her hometown to work in Singapore, to satisfy a need to travel as well as give her savings account a boost. Five years later and she’s back in Manila, with a shiny new apartment to her name, but no job, no career, no boyfriend. She meets Ethan Lorenzo, the quiet hunk of an IT consultant on the ninth floor of her condo building, and he’s a welcome distraction during this period of having absolutely nothing going on in her life.

But she has a plan – of course she does – and this is just a short layover on the way to the next country, the next job, the next big thing. Or will she be missing out on something great that’s already there?

I’m glad that Mina gave us a character who has lived and worked abroad because that’s such a common occurrence for Filipinos. I’m proof of that. I think half of my friends are currently studying or working abroad and I’m not sure when they’re planning to go home or if they’d rather settle down outside the country. I could totally relate to Moira because of the similarities in our working experience and because we’re about the same age. Her descriptions of what her life was like in Singapore is pretty accurate, although I was hoping it included more details. I would have wanted to know what her hobbies were, where she hung out, what her favorite restaurants or dishes were, etc. But maybe I’m just curious about those things because I’m currently based in Singapore. I feel like I could be friends with Moira, we would have conversations about OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) life while trying out new restaurants. Once she’s back in Manila, it was expected that she’d compare herself to her friends who stayed back home and here’s a section of the book that I really liked:

Maybe it was the tequila buzz, but I really did think that I had come out ahead. Surely the lessons in independence that leaving home provided a person counted for something. Counted for more, at least, in terms of emotional growth, and maturity, because those years were the most difficult and humbling of my life so far.

You got that right, sister. Living independently, away from the support system of family and friends, is definitely good for emotional maturity and growth but it’s damn hard. It’s the second most difficult experience of my life, the first was when my dad passed away. I can’t believe that in the five years that she was away, Moira only came home for Christmas visits. I think I wouldn’t last here if I didn’t get to go home three or four times a year. I liked that Moira was also not sure about her career plans, that she was still trying to decide what to do next. I’m also at that stage in my life and I believe most of my friends are also like that – in the process of understanding in what direction our career should go or figuring out what our calling is. The one big difference between me and Moira is that’s she’s a doer and I’m more of a go with the flow type of person, which makes me more like Ethan in that regard. I didn’t really plan to move to Singapore, the opportunity presented itself and I knew it would be stupid not to take it. Anyway, I liked how Moira and Ethan got to know each other through their gym sessions and food trips. I always enjoy reading Mina’s books because of the romance and while I have no complaints about how Moira and Ethan’s relationship developed, I would have loved to see more swoon-worthy scenes. That’s a minor quibble because I enjoyed it overall. What I really liked was that while Welcome to Envy Park is a light and fun romance, it still makes you think about life choices – why people choose to work abroad and why others would rather stay in the Philippines. I will definitely be recommending this title to my friends because I feel like they would be able to connect with the story, regardless of what their choices are. There’s just something about Mina’s novellas that make it easy for me to both read and review them. In my dashboard, there are several other drafts of reviews for other books that I’ve read but here I am talking about Welcome to Envy Park.

My reviews of Mina’s other books:
My Imaginary Ex
Fairy Tale Fail
Love Your Frenemies
No Strings Attached
That Kind of Guy
Interim Goddess of Love
Queen of the Clueless
Icon of the Indecisive
Young and Scambitious

WWW Wednesdays: November 20

WWW Wednesdays

WWW WEDNESDAYS… is a weekly event where you share (1) What you’re currently reading, (2) What you recently finished reading, and (3) What you think you’ll read next.

Yay, it’s Wednesday and the middle of the week. Just a few more days until the weekend. I’m looking forward to this weekend because I’ll be seeing two movie adaptations: Catching Fire on Friday and then Ender’s Game on Saturday. I hope I’ll be able to squeeze in some reading time as well. So here’s a quick mid-week update care of WWW Wednesdays.

The Boneshaker

I just finished reading The Boneshaker by Kate Milford, which we are discussing in the YAckers book club. I had a hard time getting into it because I found the first half slow but things picked up towards the end. But by that time, I just wasn’t invested in the characters so I didn’t like it as much as I was expecting. Still, check it out if you’re a fan of MG fantasy because it might be something that you’ll enjoy.

Welcome to Envy Park

I just started reading Welcome to Envy Park by Mina V. Esguerra, a Filipino chick lit novella, on my Kindle. It’s always fun to read Mina’s books because I can relate to the characters. Even more so for this one because the MC worked for five years in Singapore and is now back in Manila. I’m liking it so far. I’m also in the middle of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak but I have the paperback and I usually leave my copy at the flat. Since I do most of my reading on the train, I haven’t made that much progress on it. This made me realize that I’m really using my Kindle a lot more these days so maybe I should get more ebooks rather than physical copies in the future.

For Darkness Shows the Stars

As for my next read, I haven’t really decided what to pick up next. I think I’ll just go with what I feel like. If I’m in the mood for fantasy, maybe For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, followed by Across the Star-swept Sea. Or the Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Höst. If I’m in the mood for contemporary YA, I’m considering Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (since I enjoyed reading Fangirl), Girl Defective by Simmone Howell and Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller. As you can see, there are way too many tempting options in my TBR pile. But I think having a hard time deciding what to read next is a good problem to have so it’s all good. 🙂

What about the rest of you – what book have you just finished, what are you in the middle of and what are you planning to read next? Have you seen Ender’s Game or Catching Fire? If yes, what did you think of it?

New Release: Welcome to Envy Park by Mina V. Esguerra

My favorite Filipino chick lit author Mina V. Esguerra has a new novella that’s just been release. It’s called Welcome to Envy Park and I’m really excited to read it because the main character is a girl in her twenties, who just came home after working for a few years in Singapore. That is a work of fiction that has Chachic written all over it. I’m really curious what bits of an OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Worker) life will be included in here.

Welcome to Envy ParkHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

Moira Vasquez is a doer. A planner. A get-up-and-goer. At twenty-two, she left her hometown to work in Singapore, to satisfy a need to travel as well as give her savings account a boost. Five years later and she’s back in Manila, with a shiny new apartment to her name, but no job, no career, no boyfriend. She meets Ethan Lorenzo, the quiet hunk of an IT consultant on the ninth floor of her condo building, and he’s a welcome distraction during this period of having absolutely nothing going on in her life.

But she has a plan – of course she does – and this is just a short layover on the way to the next country, the next job, the next big thing. Or will she be missing out on something great that’s already there?

The cover is designed by Tania Arpa, featuring Dominique Tiu. I love that Mina and Tania have tied up with fashionistas for book covers. I already have this downloaded on my Kindle so hopefully I’ll have time to read (and review) it soon. Any new releases that you’re looking forward to?

Welcome to Envy Park Author's Note

Thanks for the shout out, Mina!