Friday, January 31, 2014

[Wrap Up] January 2014

Like Whoah!

Too many things happened in January that I just don't know where to start sharing. haha I've been too lax during the Christmas break so I had to double my efforts to get my groove back in my studies.

Last January 2, 2014, I won in the #5x5podcast on Twitter! I won an ecopy of Chrissie Perias's All's Fair in Blog and War, Chris Mariano's Cover (Story) Girl, Miles Tan's Finding X and their collab work entitled All I Want For Christmas. I also won a prize to have a book character named after me! Since I already have (and read) most of their ebooks, I might hold a giveaway for Valentine's Day. =)

Hohum... Next, the exciting #buqosteamyreads online writing class headed by Mina V. Esguerra started this January. I wasn't able to join the face to face discussion with Alpha male guest speakers because it was held in Manila and I'm all the way in Iloilo, but it has been such a fun class so far.

The one thing I really enjoy in the online writing class is the Twitter banter with my classmates! Seriously, I've found myself laughing out loud multiple times due to the hilarity we often ensue on Twitter. It goes without saying that my classmates bring out the silly pervert in me. (Not many people can do that!) *cough* Luu Triplets Half-Nekkid *cough* *cough* David Gandy GIF *cough* 

Aside from updating each other with our word count and heat-level progress, there's also plenty of fan-girling over David Gandy (Henry Cavill, Gerard Butler, Charlie Hunnam, etc.), beta-reading each other's works, sharing random thoughts, and the ever-important sharing of inspirations for our story's Love Interest (LI). Basically, the class is a really fun bunch!

Oh, and a shout-out to Chrissie Peria for helping out with my research in the work-process involved in an advertising agency! YOU ARE SO AWESOME IN SO MANY WAYS!! (Yes, your chocolate-chip-bacon cookie is part of the reason why you're awesome! *omnomnomnom*)

I also beta-read some of Jho's essays. They were quite heart-tugging and they landed straight to my feels! *ouch* Oh, I should probably call Jho 'Ate' since she's older. haha Through her essays and our online correspondence, I'd have to say that Jho is probably one of the strongest people I've met. =)

Lastly, here are the books I've reviewed for the month of January:

This coming February, the Luna East YA Anthology Volume 1 is coming out! There's going to be a blog tour and a book launch! =)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

[Book Review] Man vs. Child

Man vs Child
by Dominic Knight
October 1, 2013
Random House Australia
Contemporary Fiction, Humor


A witty, insightful romantic comedy, which draws on the author's experience of both the comedy world, working in radio, and being immature and childless! For fans of David Nicholls, Ben Elton and Nick Hornby. 
Dan McIntyre isn't ready to settle down. As a stand-up comedian with a career that's taking off, it was easy to walk away from his girlfriend's ultimatum: comedy or kids. 
But now he's starting to feel like he's the last man standing while all his friends are switching socialising for baby wipes. Sure, his mates are still wide awake at 3am with a bottle in their hand - but now it's for a very different reason. 
Dan reckons he spends enough time with spoiled brats in his day job wrangling a breakfast radio duo known as Bry Dynamite and Silly Sally. He can't understand why everyone's giving up their social lives for creatures who express themselves through loud, irritating noises and bodily fluids. But at least it's giving him material for a new comedy show, Man vs Child. 
Then Penny, the woman who broke his heart in high school, walks back into his life. She's newly single, and wants to reconnect with her old pal from French class - except now she has a one-year-old son...

Monday, January 27, 2014

[Book Review] A Boy and A Girl

A Boy and A Girl
Jamie S. Rich (Author)
Natalie Nourigat (Illustrations)
December 31, 2013
Oni Press
Sci-Fi, Contemporary Romance,
Graphic Novel


Travis and Charley have just met. It's Charley's last night in town, and Travis can't let her leave without getting her to go on a date. In a future where real people are rapidly being supplanted by lifelike androids, sometimes one shot is all you get! Intelligence may be artificial, but the emotion is real in this futuristic romance from the writer of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and the cartoonist behind Between Gears.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

[Book Review] Presevation

by Rachel Wade
May 25, 2012
Rabbit Hole Press
Contemporary Romance


Fear is sabotage’s sweetest weapon. 
Kate has no time for meaningless romantic charades, and definitely no time for hot college professors who are full of themselves and smitten with her. Constantly battling eviction notices, tuition she can’t afford, and a sick, dependent mother, the last thing she needs is to be distracted with someone else’s complicated baggage.

When she stumbles into Ryan Campbell’s creative writing class, he is only “Mr. Campbell” to her, until Ryan finds himself captivated by her writing and she is forced to face their mutual attraction. His cocky know-it-all syndrome is enough to send her running in the other direction, and his posse of female admirers and playboy reputation are enough to squander any odds in her favor.

But underneath Ryan’s abrasive facade is something to behold, and she can’t stay away for long. Ryan and Kate must decide who they’re willing to become and fight against their former selves if they want to make things work. That’s if academia, vicious vixens, old skeletons, and their own mastery at self-destruction don’t pummel their efforts first.

Monday, January 20, 2014

[Book Review] The First True Lie

The First True Lie
By Marina Mander
January 21, 2014
Psychological, Drama


Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother, a taciturn woman who "every now and then tries out a new father." Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his words--his favorite toys. One February morning his mom doesn't wake up to bring him to school, so Luca--with a father who's long gone and driven by a deep fear of being an orphan ("part of you is missing and people only see the part that isn't there")--decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive. Luca has a worldly comprehension of humanity, and grapples with his gruesome situation as the stench of the rotting body begins to permeate his home.

But this remarkable narrative is not insufferably morbid. Luca also pretends that Blue is his personal assistant and that they're on an expedition in outer space together; he goes for observant trips to the store, where he uses the contents of a basket to astutely assess the person who's filled it; he fantasizes about marrying his school crush, Antonella (whose freckles on her nose are described as being a pinch of cinnamon on whipped cream.)
Ultimately, we are witness to something much more poignant that needs no translation: the journey of a young boy deciding--in a more devastating manner than most--to identify himself independently, reaching the point at which he can say: "I am no longer an orphan. I am a single human being. It's a matter of words."

Saturday, January 18, 2014

[Personal Update] Darkly Dangerous

... is what I chose for this blog's new look!

How do you like it?

The previous lay-out was a little too sunny and sickeningly feminine for my taste. I tried it out just for kicks. Been wanting to change it for weeks but only had the time to do so now. As a result, I went overboard and over-compensated for the previous pink-festation by being all dark and gloomy. Heh.

Got a new chibi avatar, too!

Today marks the start of #SteamyReads, an online writing class spearheaded by author Mina V. Esguerra and sponsored by Buqo, and of which, I am a student. There's a face to face discussion, but unfortunately I am all the way from Iloilo and the class is in Manila. I want to go, but aside from the hecka expensive air fare, I have classes today. So here I am, wallowing in a downward helix of envy and self-pity, with abundant tears flowing from eyes and deep sadness resounding from the depths of my heart. (I am being dramatic. Ignore me.)

It just so happens that today is also the book signing event of Gayle Forman, sponsored by National Book Store. Then again, the signing is in Manila and I'm here in Iloilo. (Double the theatrics I put into words above and you pretty much get a clear picture of what I am feeling at the moment.)


On a positive note, I have a darkly dangerous new look for this blog! That counts as something, right?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

[Book Review] Sugar Babies

Sugar Babies
by Mickey Corrigan
November 4, 2013
Champagne Books
Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Suspense


A sugar daddy can make your money woes disappear overnight. But for sugar babies, life is like a chocolate covered time bomb: sweet on the outside, deadly on the inside. 
Young, beautiful, and hungry, Maire, Esme and Niki want what every woman wants: love, work, safe shelter, the bills paid off, a diamond-studded Rolex, and a two-bedroom condo with an ocean view. Working as sugar babies seems to be the only way to make this happen. But the sugar life is more dangerous than they thought. 
Maire O’Rourke is too hot to handle herself properly. She tends to wear too tight clothes and too much make-up, but she’s got more than sex on her mind. She’s already landed one of the richest sugar daddies in Coconut City, a tropical paradise boasting more lonely men per multimillion dollar estate than just about anywhere else. 
Sweet Esme Grant is a buxom blonde with a rough and tumble lover she’s left behind somewhere in hill country. She’s come to Coconut City in order to find herself a sugar daddy, a rich older man willing to fund her, along with her hometown boyfriend and their Mayberry-gone-bad dreams. 
Niki Stephanopoulos, a dark, iconoclastic artist enrolled in a teaching certification program at Coconut College, struggles with depression fueled by guilt. She is embarrassed by her dependence on her family for the money she needs to survive. But she feels even worse after sleeping with her sexy, much older landlord when she’s short the rent. 
Welcome to the secret lives of sugar babies. On the first day of the month, Maire, Esme and Niki struggle with overdue bills and sexy beaus. Readers can join them as they figure out ways to pay the rent, make decent love to indecent men, and stay upright on the rough road to happiness. Sugar Babies is a modern-day romance, a blue martini with a nasty twist. An intoxicating mystery steeped in social satire, the story of Esme, Niki and Maire is an all-American morality tale. 
Three beautiful young women: place your order now.

Monday, January 13, 2014

[Book Review] Hussy

By Selena Kitt
August 29, 2013
Excessica Publishing


The Eskimos may have over a hundred words for snow, but that doesn’t even come close to how many words the English language has for “slut”—and Lindsey has been called them all. “Hussy” is Lindsey’s personal favorite, given to her by her own grandmother, who likes to pat her on the hand and whisper, “Don’t worry, dear—a hussy is just a woman with the morals of a man.”

But Lindsey’s not ashamed of her reputation. She knows she’s earned it—and she’s proud of it. After all, you only live once, right? In fact, she goes out of her way to make it known to every guy she comes in contact with, she’s available for the taking—the rougher, the better.

That is until Lindsey meets Lieutenant Zachary Davis, a man who refuses to treat her like the trash she believes she really is.

But can Lindsey change her impulsive ways and learn to value herself the way the Zach does?

Warnings: This title contains graphic language and extreme sexual situations as well as a girl with a slutty attitude bigger than Texas covering a haunted past, and a sweet, hot man in uniform dead set on rescuing her from herself.
Note to Readers: This novel was previously released as “Falling Down.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

[Book Review] The Lotus Palace

The Lotus Palace
By Jeannie Lin
August 27, 2013
Halerquin HQN
Historical, Mystery, Romance


It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China...
Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress—until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, yet alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang's position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine—will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?

Monday, January 6, 2014

[Book Review] Love Overdue

Love Overdue
By Pamela Morsi
August 7, 2013
Harlequin MIRA
Contemporary Romance


Meet Dorothy Jarrow: devotedly unsexy librarian

Buttoned-up book lover DJ is all sensible shoes, drab skirts and studious glasses. After an ill-advised spring-break-fueled fling left her mortified, she's committed to her prim and proper look. When she's hired by a rural library in middle-of-nowhere Kansas, she finally has the lifestyle to match-and she can't wait to get her admin on.

But it's clear from day one that the small-town library is more interested in circulating rumors than books. DJ has to organize her unloved library, win over oddball employees and avoid her flamboyant landlady's attempts to set her up with the town pharmacist. Especially that last part-because it turns out handsome Scott Sanderson is her old vacation fling! She is not sure whether to be relieved or offended when he doesn't seem to recognize her. But with every meeting, DJ finds herself secretly wondering what it would be like to take off her glasses, unpin her bun and reveal the inner vixen she's been hiding from everyone-including herself.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Best Reads in 2013

For The Year 2013

I've already recapped the highlights of 2013 for me as a book blogger, so now, I think it's but right to list the books which gave me epic thrills and feels in the year 2013.

I need to mention that making this list was VERY hard. I read a lot of great books in the year 2013 and it's just to hard to choose which are the best!

My Top 5 Picks are:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - This book is a highly recommended read. It's touching and sweet, and just plain epic. The amount of quotable quotes and feels in this book ensured it a spot in my Best Reads for 2013. Oh, and Augustus Waters is a huge part of the reason, too. (Now, that upcoming movie better NOT disappoint or I shall really throw a big tantrum. This serves as a warning.)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - How do I even begin to describe the delight that is this book? Hmmm. Well, let me just say that the female protagonist, Cather, holds a special place in my heart. Why? Because she's like a fictional version of me. Well, I don't write BL (Boy Love a.k.a. M/M fanfiction) but fanfiction is such a familiar place for me.

This Girl by Colleen Hoover - The feels! This book made me swoon. Nuff said. (For the record, I do NOT swoon. I rant, I rave, but I do not normally swoon. This book was the exception.)

Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman - The dark horse! This novel broke fictional conventions by having very flawed individuals as main characters, and I don't mean just mentally or emotionally flawed characters. I mean physical. This goes against most heroes and heroines in novels who are mostly described as handsome, pretty, hot, or intense. Kudos to Ramsey Hootman for creating such a masterpiece!

The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao - (Yes, Miss Kesh, your book is really included in my Best List.) This novel made me write hate tweets against the author at three o'clock in the morning. That is how much this story affected me. The emotional roller coaster ride in this book kept me awake and in a manic mood swing all night long. Hence the hate tweets. Hee. Good thing author Kesh Tanglao is awesome!

Fiction Gems!
These books are great reads and they need more love from readers!

Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano

I happen to love KDramas so this was a treat! Oh, and the beach setting was perfect for the interracial romance, too!

Claim Me, Release Me and Complete Me (The Stark Trilogy) by J. Kenner

Intense characters, and great balance between calm moments and plot twists.
Plus, you have to admit, Damien Stark really knows how to take care of his lady.

The Temple Dogs by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy

Violent and gory yet fascinating! The intermingling of Western Mafia versus the Eastern Yakuza makes for a very thrilling read!

Vintage Love by Agay Llanera

The bit about looking presentable as a form of public service was like an arrow straight to my gut. I don't really take that much care of how I look. haha!

Interim Goddess of Love, Queen of the Clueless and Icon of the Indecisive
(Interim Goddess of Love Trilogy) by Mina V. Esguerra

A love story entwined with Philippine folklore, and with a modern setting! The idea is just brilliant!! The ending wasn't what I hoped for, but I felt that it was proper. I felt vindicated. 

All's Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

Egg tarts, bungee jumping and a love-hate relationship between two people in a foreign country makes a very delicious recipe for romance!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Who could resist an eccentric and socially-inept male character? Personally, I can't! Plus, it's fun to read about such character stumbling into unfamiliar territory, most especially with a woman. haha!

Happy New Year, Everyone!
I wish you more books, more blessings and more love in 2014!!

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