Monday, September 30, 2013

[Wrap Up] September 2013

Blogging is hard, ya'll!

When I started blogging some six years ago (on different blogs), I found blogging to be therapeutic. It's like having an online diary, but not really a diary. It's like having a place where you could pour your heart out and vent, especially when things sucked in real life.

Then I started this book blog last year, and took blogging seriously. I had to set aside a few hours of quiet time per week to work on my posts, and even plan months ahead! Man, it's hard! LOL. But since I'm a little bit of an OC and a self-confessed masochist, what the hell?

Anyways, it's the end of September already! Wow! Can you believe it?

My September was spectacularly special! Why? I arranged three week-long blog tours for five independent Filipino authors (authors Katrina Ramos Atienza, Chrissie Peria, Addie Lynn C. Co, Agay Llanera and Chris Mariano), and one experimental social media tour for author Chris Mariano's Cover (Story) Girl! Yowza~! I was on a roll! Hee.

Go grab a copy of these babies on Amazon now~!
Just clickety-click below!

Oh, and I believe a little bragging is in order.

Hee! Lookie what I received from author Chrissie Peria! I arrived home to find a little package addressed to me and inside were awesome goodies~!

And she signed the paperback copy she sent me, too! Hee. If you wish to read a more detailed account of the package I received from Chrissie, just click HERE.

Oh, and aside from Chrissie, I also got goodies from author Chris Mariano and Miss Maricris Tobias! You can read about the goodies I got from them HERE.

I also submitted a short story to be published (eeep!) as part of a collection of short stories set in the fictional high school setting of Luna East Arts Academy. (Go wolves!) I'm still crossing my fingers as we speak, but I really do hope that my story ends up as part of the published book. Oh, and a shout-out to author Agay Llanera for editing my manuscript!

Also, I may or may not have to tell two of my real life friends that their names are to be immortalized in a paperback anthology. In my defense, I suck at making up names and tend to over think, so I had to resort to using the names of those familiar to me, preferably the names of two people who had a romantic history together. Please don't kill me. I LOVE YOU, LAIKA! On the plus side, I changed the surnames, and the name "Laika" wouldn't just be a dog sent to space now. Hee.


So to officially complete this wrap-up for the month of September, here are the books I've read and reviewed:



Saturday, September 28, 2013

[Personal Update] Today, I got some goodies!

I got a bag, a bookmark and a paperback copy of Cover (Story) Girl from author Chris Mariano! And it's signed!! Thank you very much, Miss Chris! I showed it off to my Mom. Heh. And she wanted the bag!

As soon as I got my own copy of Cover (Story) Girl, it was included in my collection of novellas by Filipino authors. The picture on the left isn't my complete collection because my guy cousin in high school loves borrowing books by Filipino authors from me, and no, he's not gay. He even urges me to buy books like Diary ng Panget because he loves reading books like those. (Which reminds me that my copy of She's Dating the Gangster is still with him.)

Read my review of Cover (Story) Girl here! And don't forget to grab your own copy! Just click on the image on the left! It'll lead you directly to its Amazon page where you can buy the book with just one-click! =)

Meet Denver, my guest reviewer for the upcoming
Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour!
I also got a package from Miss Maricris containing two copies of two children's books! I got two copies of Guardians of Tradition and Bayong ng Kuting -- both books by author Mae Astrid Tobias. I also got food in the form of peanut-butter Trader Joe's Cookie Butter! Yum! Thank you, Miss Maricris! (Food and books from Miss Maricris automatically puts her in my Awesome People List!)

Denver -- my adorkable six-year old little brother was more excited than me when he saw the children's books. The grin on the picture above is a dead-giveaway. haha!

Since there are easy activities for children in Guardians of Tradition, I was thinking of doing an activity from the book featuring my little brother to show that the book is very easy for children to follow. It's perfect because my little brother is already capable of reading.

Below is a video of Denver reading the intro page of Guardians of Tradition.

And since we're on the topic of my little brother, I shall now end this post by bombarding you with cuteness!

The best thing about having a little brother is that he's like my mini-me. We do on-the-spot photoshoots, and he even knows how to act! Proof is below~! =)

Note: The glasses on the 1st pic has no grade..

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

[Book Review] Gaming For Keeps

Gaming for Keeps
Author: Seleste DeLaney
Date Published: June 10, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Ever After
Source: ARC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense, New Adult

Barnes & Noble

Book Information:
Pen Holloway’s done with men—in real life. Guys in game are so much less drama. But when her partner from Heroes of Fallen Gods invites her to the convention of the year, she panics. What if he’s another jerk? What if he’s not? Cal Burrows is living his dream of being a spy. One of TRAIT’s misfit spies, but still a spy. It’s the perfect job… until an arms dealer with a taste for blood invades his not-so-secret geek haven. All Cal wanted from ConDamned was to meet his on-line girl. Now, with the threat of mass murder looming, he’s forced to choose between keeping his mission a secret and protecting the girl of his dreams.Despite their attraction, Pen can’t help but suspect Cal’s hiding something. She also can’t shake the feeling he’s not as much of a stranger as he seems.

Rating: ★★★

Move over, James Bond! There's a new spy in the neighborhood! He's geeky and he's awkward but he's out to prove that chivalry is not dead!

When I was reading Gaming for Keeps, I remember the many late night computer-gaming sessions I had way back in College. I was addicted to an MMORPG game then, and spent many nights in an internet cafe just to play. I wasn't proud of it because it created a serious dip in my grades, but it had been fun. In fact, up until now, I still visit my MMORPG account every once in a while and play for a few hours. (Gamer right here! Hee.)

Story-wise, I love the incorporation of an MMORPG game and a game convention into the story. It's like stepping into a familiar territory: Geekdom! Also, I love the inclusion of cosplay, because seriously, what's a game convention without cosplay? LOL! (I used to cosplay, too, so yeah...) Also, I love the mystery bit included in the story, and how Pen became a sort of ticket for Cal to infiltrate the convention program involving the arms dealer.

Character-wise, I find Pen relatable. Aside from the fact that she's a gamer and she cosplays, it's easy to understand why she became jaded with men. When she agreed to meet a guy she only knew online without even asking to see a picture of him first before their meeting, I wanted to smack her with a broom just to knock some sense into her. I understand that asking a picture would probably be anticlimactic to the story, but it was the smart thing to do, in my opinion.

As for Cal -- well, any guy who could pull off an elf costume without his head blowing up because of fan-girls in a con is just awesome. Hands down. On the other hand, I feel slightly affronted because Cal said he doesn't like anime though. I mean, how could you not like anime?! Oh, well, at least he's a spy with superb coding skills. That definitely earn him points from me.

I really liked Gaming for Keeps, but I couldn't give it a higher rating because it's a little short, and the romance aspect between Pen and Cal felt a little forced. Seriously, sleeping with someone you just met in a convention is a little careless. And I felt that the part about their attraction and sparks was a little over the top. All in all, I still enjoyed it though.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

[Personal Update] A Pleasant Surprise!

...from author Chrissie Peria~! *squeeaaal*

Last September 20, 2013 (Friday), I was surprised when my Mom texted me about a package which arrived for me at home. As I am staying in an apartment near my school during weekdays, I had to wait for a day before I could get my claws hands on it.

When I finally got the package, I also had to explain to my Mom that it was from a Filipino author from Manila whom I helped out with her book marketing. *sweat* *sweat* 

Actually, even though I've been book-blogging for a little less than a year now, my Mom has yet to know about it. She just thinks I'm always working on the computer. She doesn't know that I have a book blog and I actually arrange blog tours for authors. 

And it's not that I'm keeping it a secret from her. It's just that it's a little hard to explain to my Mom what I actually do online. She just recently learned to use Facebook. I had to tutor her for weeks and had to leave detailed instructions on how to log into her Facebook and Email. Hee! But I'm so proud of my Mom. She and Dad exchange emails everyday! Dare I say techie?!


Anyways, moving on to the package I received!

I got a paperback copy of Chrissie Peria's first book All's Fair in Blog and War! I also received three bookmarks, a postcard, a celphone charm and CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH BACON BITS!!! GENIUS!!!

I mean, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH BACON!!! It's like all the goodness in the world was poured into a compact cookie for a tiny taste of heaven! (I'm exaggerating, but you get what I mean, right? RIGHT?!)

I wanted to post a picture of the cookies, but my sister snatched one before I could take a picture. We had to wrestle over one cookie, and before I knew it, all of them were devoured. haha!

Oh, and did I mention that Chrissie also signed my paperback copy? It's my first signed paperback copy EVER!! I'm just so happy to receive it that I feel like puking rainbows! =) Thank you so much, Chrissie! You really made me so happy!

And if you haven't yet, please do get a copy of All's Fair in Blog and War on Amazon! Just click on that tiny book cover below! =)

It will entertain you, cheer you up, make you crave for egg tarts, and will bring out that brave daredevil inside of you! Promise! =)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

[Blog Tour - Giveaway Winners] Cover (Story) Girl

881 Entries~! Thank you so much for making Cover (Story) Blog Tour a blast! You guys are awesome!!

And now, for the winners!

Congratulations to:

Josephine L.
Roxanne G.

*Emails have been sent to the winners on how to claim their prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do watch out for upcoming blog tours and giveaways! I assure you that there's going to be more! For now, I think we all deserve a little break from all the excitement. =)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[Blog Tour - Book Review] Cover (Story) Girl

Cover (Story) Girl
Author: Chris Mariano
Date Published: July 30, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Links: (Grab a copy now!)
Amazon // Smashwords

Book Info:
1) She has amnesia.2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.
Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what's true from what isn't? Their worlds are getting unraveled -- one story at a time.


Book Review:
Filipino charm meets Korean cute in a romance novella set in a picturesque tropical paradise! We get a dose of calamansi muffins over Kdrama-esque escapades!

What I really liked about Cover (Story) Girl is that it's told from the side of Gio, a stoic museum curator with a clear case of obsessive-compulsiveness. Admission: I have a soft spot for serious and stoic characters whose lives are turned upside down by the arrival of their love interest. Gio definitely count as a serious and stoic character, so I was a happy camper. Besides, he's also a bit of an OC with his work, which is definitely relatable for me (OC right here!), and he perfectly personifies filial piety, which is prevalent in Filipinos.

Another reason to read this novel is Boracay. It's one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines and it's a place where people can escape their lives for a little while. I've always found the beach setting to be one of the most ideal places for a romance story, and in Cover (Story) Girl, it's exactly what you get!

As for Min Hee, I have another admission: I used to watch a lot of KDramas. I love rom-coms and eyecandies, and KDramas have them. In fact, while I was reading this book, I told author Chris Mariano that I kept imagining Min Hee to be Taeyeon from KPop group Girl's Generation. She told me she was imagining Min Hee to be actress Yoo In Na. I started picturing Yoo In Na as Min Hee by then because I've watched several dramas that she's been in. Hee. I think part of the reason why I really enjoyed reading this book was because I could vividly imagine the scenes happening in my head.

Gio and Min Hee taken together equals banter, which is something I really enjoyed. Min Hee pushes Gio to be out of his comfort zone, while Gio balances out Min Hee's hyperactive brain. Like Gio said in the book, I also wouldn't want to be in Min Hee's brain because there's too much activity for me to digest. Being an OC myself, I perfectly understood where Gio was coming from. I'd probably heave and itch to organize everything. Hee.

All in all, this story perfectly blends its tropical beach setting with its contradictory characters to produce a simple yet charming interracial love story. I recommend that everyone get a copy of it and read!

As a bonus, I'd like to present to you my own Gio and Min Hee:
Filipino Actor Joseph Marco and KPop Group Girl's Generation Leader Taeyeon.
- x o O o x -

Author Bio:
Email // Blog // Twitter

Cover (Story) Girl is Chris Mariano’s first published romance work, but her speculative fiction and poetry have appeared in Fully Booked's Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards Prose Anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 7, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Ideomancer. When she’s not writing, she supports Eskritoryo Pilipinas, an organization that encourages kids to appreciate Filipino literature and culture. She divides her time between Manila and Aklan.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[Book Review] This Girl

This Girl
Author: Colleen Hoover
Date Published: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: ARC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Barnes & Noble

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Information:
There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from hispoint of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

[Blog Tour - Book Spotlight] Cover (Story) Girl

Cover (Story) Girl
Author: Chris Mariano
Date Published: July 30, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Links: (Grab a copy now!)
Amazon // Smashwords

Book Info:
1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.

Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what's true from what isn't? Their worlds are getting unraveled -- one story at a time.



“Careful,” Gio warned her softly. “Rocks here can be slippery with guano.”

“I’m not—” she began, turning to face him abruptly. But the move made her lose her balance, Gio rushed to catch her before she could hit the ground.

“Careful,” he said again, holding her firmly, one hand on her upper arm, the other on her back. Her fingers raked against his back lightly as she clutched his shirt. He felt something twitch in him at their unexpected contact, a lightning storm in the middle of a hot afternoon.

“I heard you the first time,” she told him rather breathlessly.

That was when Gio realized that he was still holding her, that maybe he was still a little too close, a little too forward. He helped her straighten up. “You’re good,” he said, a little too loudly.



“Thank you.”

“You’re good.”

She smiled. “You said that already.”

- x o O o x -

Author Bio:
Cover (Story) Girl is Chris Mariano’s first published romance work, but her speculative fiction and poetry have appeared in Fully Booked's Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards Prose Anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 7, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Ideomancer. When she’s not writing, she supports Eskritoryo Pilipinas, an organization that encourages kids to appreciate Filipino literature and culture. She divides her time between Manila and Aklan.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

[Blog Tour - Giveaway Winners] Hello + Vintage Love

1,399 Entries for the Hello + Vintage Love Blog Tour! Amazing! 
Thank you so much for participating, everyone! 

As for the winners, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to:
Rain G. - Grand-prize Winner
Claire P. 
Tere D. 
Luna C.

*Emails have been sent to the winners on how to claim their prizes.

This officially concludes Hello + Vintage Love Blog Tour!


Make way for Cover (Story) Girl Blog Tour!

These awesome prizes are to be given away:

[Blog Tour - Book Review] Vintage Love

Vintage Love
Author: Agay Llanera
Publication Date: July 15, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit


About the Book:
26-year-old Crissy Lopez’s life is in dire need of a makeover. Her wardrobe revolves around ratty shirts and beat-up sneaks; her grueling schedule as a TV Executive leaves no room for a social life; and worst of all, she’s still hung up on the Evil Ex who left her five years ago. 
When her fashionable grand-aunt passes away and leaves behind a roomful of vintage stuff, the Shy Stylista inside Crissy gradually resurfaces. Soon, she feels like she's making progress -- with a budding lovelife to boot! But the grim ghost of her past catches up with her, threatening to push her back into depression. To finally move on, Crissy learns that walking away is not enough. This time, she needs to take a leap of faith.

Book Review:
Fashionably and impeccably engrossing! Author Agay Llanera mixes the potent combination of love and fashion in her romance novella Vintage Love.

In Vintage Love, we meet Crissy, an overworked twenty-something woman who rediscovers her passion for fashion and even finds love all because of her aunt's vintage collection. From the on-set, I really liked Crissy. She's hard-working and dedicated to her work, which is something we can glean from the way it took over her life.

As for Vince -- the love interest. I really liked that he's quirky. He came off a snob, but I like how it was justified. And when he and Crissy started getting to know each other, it was sweet. I like how he found reasons and excuses just to see and talk to her.

I appreciate that the romance aspect in this novel wasn't forced or didn't happen too soon. I love how everything was allowed to grow and branch out naturally.

Story-wise, Crissy's story is easy to follow. I find her voice really relatable. She's an example of a person who set aside her artistic passions for a more realistic life plan, which is something most people do. Fact: artistic pursuits are often inadequate as a means of livelihood, hence most people settle for a regular non-artistic job. This is why Crissy is very relatable. She settled for what's practical, rather than pursue her passion. However, I appreciate that when she finally decided to take her own leap, she did it for herself and not because of some other reason like heartbreak.

What else?

Ah! The ukay-ukay (pronounced as 'ookai-ookai')! In the Philippines, it's okay to shop for used clothes, bags and shoes in little tents. I used to go with my Mom in ukay-ukay shops, but I never really got the hang of scouring for clothes. I guess finding a treasure in an ukay-ukay shop is an art, it takes practice, and I never really had the time and patience for it. Hee.

And of course FLAMES! Way back in elementary, I and my friends used to do this. It was silly, but it was fun. Actually, even until now, some of my classmates in law school still do this just for the fun of it. It was fun to read about this in a romance novella. Maybe someone from abroad can try it out, too, and see the fun in it.

Oh, and I also love the message of positivity that is imbibed within this little treat of a romance novella. The message of this novella is this: everything is a choice. Being happy is a choice. If you experience a setback, you still have the option on whether to wallow on pity or pick yourself up and live on. I love how Crissy chose to be happy and live her life rather than allow her pains to consume her. She's on touch cookie, that she is.

- x o O o x -

Author Profile:

Agay Llanera is a freelance writer for television and video, and a published writer of children’s books. She is a member of KUTING, a private, non-stock, non-profit organization, which aims to be the Philippines’ foremost writers’ organization for children. Email her at

Links: Twitter // Blog

Thursday, September 12, 2013

[Blog Tour - Book Spotlight] Hello

Author: Addie Lynn C. Co
Date Published: June 23, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit

Paperback Order
Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
What if The One actually walks up to you and even says hello, would you greet back or turn your back unknowingly that you have actually met? Would you know when you’ve actually met? 
Serendipity is a funny thing that brings a tinge of bittersweet bliss to anyone who is fortunate to experience it. Hello is a trilogy that explores how serendipitous life can sometimes be. 
Definitely, Maybe is a story of how fate plays with two people as they meet each decade hoping that maybe this time around, they can finally be together.
Almost Mismatch tells how two people so right for each other be so wrong and no matter how much they try to suppress their feelings, true love will not stop at anything. What is meant to be will be.
Finally, Dinner Date portrays how two people’s search for love could take them to different places and people only to lead them back to where they started.
The world is just like a huge maze that no matter what direction one walks to, there will always be one final destination. There seems to be an invisible string that is handcuffed to two people on each end and unsuspectingly pulls these two people destined for each other back together no matter how long it takes.

Don't forget to join the giveaway!

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