It’s Been A While…

Have you ever had that sinking feeling of guilt over not giving attention to one of your children? Well, I don’t have any kids yet but if this blog was a living breathing human being offspring of mine then I think it might have been dead without me realizing it (sorry for the morbid analogy, but I hope you get what I’m saying).

There is a multitude of potential excuses I can come up with like…

“I’m so busy…”

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“Life is just a little complicated right now…”

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“Work is eating me up…”

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However, the honest truth is that I’m just too lazy to write anything here.

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Yep, I’m that kind of loser.

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Truthfully (and I want to be frank with you all), I have a lot of free time to be able to write a decent post once a week but the evil spirits of laziness have possessed me!

This is why I decided to finally write an update post of some sort in order for me to dispel these malignant leeches, once and for all (and I hope to the universe that it will be kept at bay for a very long time).

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Me slaying my laziness! Booyah!

I am still alive and kicking (well I am too lazy to kick so maybe sleep?)! I am currently in Australia on vacation and I’m going to be here for a few more months, so more time for content creation. Yipee!

 

Speaking of content creation, aside from book reviews (which I have a couple, under my sleeves) I just want to get your input and suggestions. My creativity is currently not coming up with anything interesting for my blog, so I really hope you guys could help me out on this front. What kind of things would you like to read here?

Discussions?

Tags?

Fiction, maybe?

Again I would highly appreciate your help and that’s basically it for me. I really miss blogging, just writing away my thoughts about bookish stuff here on this platform, and I cannot wait to go back to my roots.

Onwards,

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All That Glitters by Ines Bautista-Yao | Book Review + Discussion

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Title: All That Glitters

Author/s: Ines Bautista-Yao

Publication: Kindle Book, March 31st 2016 (original publication thru Sparks Books, 2016)

Format: Paperback

Source: e-book from the author

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon

Plot in a Nutshell:

When they have nothing better to do, college students Billie Santiago and Carlos Angeles enjoy imagining what their lives will be like five years into the future. It’s never serious—just a whole lot of teasing and poking fun at each other. Until blindingly handsome, PR professional Iñigo Antonio saunters into the university bookstore where Billie works. All of a sudden, she finds herself face to face with the physical manifestation of the very dream she tells Carlos about.

Captivated by Iñigo’s magnetic personality, Billie is lured into his dazzlingly glamorous world—much to Carlos’s frustration. But as Billie notices Iñigo might not be playing by the rules, Carlos begs her to stay away from him. When Billie doesn’t listen, she realizes too late that she is in over her head and it may take a miracle (or a boy who cares deeply about her) to help get her out of it.

From Goodreads

Thoughts in General:

(DISCLAIMER: I received this e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All analyzations and opinions within this review are entirely my own.)

All That Glitters by Ines Bautista-Yao is certainly a contemporary romance page-turner! It was such a nice narrative that just took hold of me and I could not stop reading it. Yes, I do admit that the story is simple, but the way she wrote the novel just sucked me in. It was written in a way that made me feel invested in the story of Billie and her best friend Carlos. Despite finding some minor issues with the book, which I will delve deeper into the spoiler discussion later on, I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to read it and be entertained by it. So if you like a light YA romance that has a tinge of drama and will spark the feels then I recommend All That Glitters.

Aesthetics

Since I received and read an e-book, I cannot fully review the overall design of it aside from the cover, which is done really well.

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It represents a particular scene in the novel and it was done beautifully by the illustrator (to which, I’m not familiar with the name).

Story

The overall story is sort of like a very loose Devil Wears Prada situation, wherein our main character Billie is your typical college student who is suddenly captivated by a man named Iñigo Antonio and is swept off into the glitzy life of being in his PR company. However, she suddenly loses track of her friends, family, and even herself.

I think what really made me like the novel is the friendship between Billie and Carlos. I just like their dynamic in the story because Billie is the headstrong personality while Carlos was the gentler type. I like how it depicted that not all male characters are supposed to be the cocky Adonis. I also enjoyed seeing Billie’s interactions with her brothers, because it made her more real to me.

Although, as I mentioned before, there were certain parts in the story that I found a tad bit dramatic and over-the-top, which caused me to suspend my disbelief to an extent (particularly during the climax of the story). Again, I’ll talk more about it in the discussion part of this review.

Characters

I really enjoyed the POV of Billie because of how she was written. It was like reading from the perspective of a close friend and I couldn’t help but be invested.

Carlos was a pretty neat guy and I liked how he wasn’t your typical macho-type. He was shy, in-tuned with his feelings and, frankly, relatable.

Nicka was an unexpected surprise. I like how she provided comfort to Billie, especially in her time of need.

I can’t talk about Iñigo without spoilers, so please read on to my discussion portion if you want to know my true feelings for this character.

All That Glitters is a solid YA novel that left me happy and contented.

 Thoughts in Details (SPOILERS):

Okay, let us discuss some vague things I mentioned earlier…

I honestly did not like Iñigo from the get-go. He was a smooth-talking douche and a freaking greedy a-hole, especially in the latter part of the novel. I actually am thankful I went on reading All That Glitters completely blind because I did not expect that he would be that slimy.

The plot issue I kept mentioning in this review is the melodramatic way the road to the climax went down. Okay, so during that scene when a scandal hit that politician and Billie finally figured out that Iñigo was behind all of it, the first thing that came to my mind was “this is like a teleserye (a.k.a soap opera).” This is especially true in the way that Iñigo revealed himself as the villain to Billie and the way he threatened her was such a true teleserye moment. This is necessarily not a bad thing and it all boils down to my own personal preference. I just wished that the reveal wasn’t as sinister as it played down in order for Inigo’s villainy to appear less caricaturish. However, I enjoyed the “showdown” at the climax of the novel when that reporter finally went a step ahead and exposed his dirty work.

Another issue that got me is the fact that Carlos realized his feelings for Billie when she had a makeover. I know that he always had feelings for her, but why did he suddenly acted so weird around her after the makeover. This issue was really minuscule that I could easily brush off.

The chemistry between Billie and Carlos really took off during that observatory scene, where the cover of the book was inspired of.

And of course, let us discuss the cute ending where Carlos created that constellation of Billie during that workshop they hosted for those kids.  That was sweet and really kilig-inducing.

*END OF SPOILER DISCUSSION*

Thank you very much to Miss Ines Bautista-Yao for giving me the opportunity to review her book!

Have you got your opinions regarding All That Glitters? Then feel free to share it down below and let us discuss!

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Maybe This Time by C.P. Santi | Book Review

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Title: Maybe This Time

Author/s: C.P. Santi

Publication: Self-published June 3rd 2016

Format: Paperback

Source: Personal Purchase

Amazon

Plot in a Nutshell:

An accidental reunion . . . a sneaky plot . . . things finally falling into place.

Maybe This Time contains three heart-warming stories of love and second chances. Because when fate gives you a break, you grab the chance to finally make things right.

In Sweeter by the Second, when paintings conservator Rina David arrives for the Arts Festival in the heritage town of Jimenez, she’s reunited with Tony, the guy she once loved and lost. Now vice-mayor of Jimenez, Tony wants Rina back in his life and will do everything he can to convince her that they belong together.

Pamela Quiroz hatches a plot to get her parents back together in Exorcising my Ex. But will a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner succeed in reconciling Geno and Viv? After all, it’s been more than fifteen years since they first got together and they aren’t the hormone-driven teenagers they once were. Will wine and cheese balls still do the trick?

Torch, meet hand. Arne Weichmann has been waiting twenty-one years for Bea. Is it finally the right time to make his move and convince her that they are Meant to Be? He hopes so. Because he doesn’t think he’ll survive losing the one person who brought warmth and sunshine to his life.

Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:

Maybe This Time by C.P. was a book that I honestly didn’t intend to purchase when I went to the Feels Fest activity that happened last October 2016. However, when a live reading of the first short story in the collection was done by two awesome stage actors, I got swayed to purchase it and I did not regret it at all. It’s a book that is focused on love and second chances, which is my personal favorite kind of stories in the romance genre. I’m going to say right off the bat that all of the stories here are cute, fluffy, and steamy.

 Aesthetics:

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The book cover is nice, but frankly I just don’t immediately feel the connection between it and the stories. It’s an okay book cover for me to be perfectly honest.

Story and Characters:

Since this is a short story collection I will be reviewing each story separately and then I’ll discuss by the end my overall feelings regarding its entirety.

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The first story in this collection is titled Sweeter by the Second and it is all about Rina and Tony. This particular story felt like a sweeping contemporary rom-com movie! I like how smooth the story flowed and what the struggles of both Rina and Tony had in the past before they finally got their second chance. It was also really funny and, there I say, hot too.

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The second story is Exorcising my Ex which revolved around Geno and Viv. Guys this is probably my favorite story in the entire collection. First off, the story is actually told from the first person POV of Gino, which I rarely see in a romance novel. The characters are definitely older and I think it was refreshing to read from the perspectives of mid-thirty year olds since I normally read Young Adult. It started off in a very Parent Trap way and I just love the way how the story was told. The setting and situations of the characters were realistic enough that it was not extremely dramatic. It was sweet, romantic, and incredibly hopeful. (Sidenote: I still couldn’t figure out the connection of the title with the story. Maybe it’s the symbolism, but I am still not sold on that.)

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The last story, Meant to Be is about Arne and Bea. This is another feel-good love story that was simple yet enjoyable. However, I have to say that this is my least favorite among the three. I just did not feel connected with the story compared to the first two that I read from this collection. But don’t get me wrong, this story is still well-written and sweet.

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Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the stories in Maybe this Time by C.P. Santi because they were all cutesy romance that I enjoy. The writing was easy and I love the way the author sprinkled Filipino culture in her stories (especially in Sweeter by the Second).   The situations in most of her stories were not overly dramatic, which made them all realistic and ultimately relatable.

What are your own thoughts regarding Maybe This Time? Don’t hesitate to comment it down below and let’s chat about it.

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Love & Gravity by Samantha Sotto | ARC Book Review

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Title: Love and Gravity

Author/s: Samantha Sotto

Publication: February 7th 2017 by Ballantine Books

Format: e-ARC

Source: NetGalley

Amazon

(DISCLAIMER: I received an e-ARC of this through Ballantine Books via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This fact did not affect my views regarding the book in any form or manner. Everything stated here in this review are my own honest opinions.)

Plot in a Nutshell:

In this unforgettable novel for fans of One Day and The Time Traveler’s Wife, a young Isaac Newton falls in love with a girl living in modern-day San Francisco, defying the laws of physics to forge a seemingly impossible connection.
 
Andrea Louviere is seven years old the first time he appears. While she’s alone in her bedroom, practicing her beloved cello, the light shivers and a crack forms in the wall. Through the crack, she sees a candle, a window, a desk—and a boy. Though no sound travels through the wall, the boy clearly sees Andrea, too. And then, just as quickly as it opened, the crack closes, and he vanishes.
 
Over the years, summoning the bright, magnetic boy becomes something of an obsession for Andrea. Then, on her seventeenth birthday, she receives a three-hundred-year-old love letter from Isaac Newton. Andrea knows that Isaac will change the world with his groundbreaking discoveries; the letter tells Andrea that she will change him.
 
As Isaac’s letters intensify in passion and intimacy, Andrea grows determined to follow his clues to their shared destiny—despite a burgeoning romance in the present. Only when she discovers the way into Isaac’s time does Andrea realize that she faces a heartbreaking decision: between what was . . . and what might be.

Thoughts in General:

Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of Samantha Sotto’s debut adult novel Before Ever After. I admit, I have been patiently waiting for a follow-up book since 2012, so you can only imagine how excited I got when I heard about Love and Gravity…

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This was my actual reaction! LOL!

So when Samantha Sotto herself asked people on Twitter if there were bloggers who were willing to read and review an e-ARC of Love and Gravity, I jumped on that opportunity like my life depended on it and I got approved!

Aesthetics:

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Traditionally, I would talk about the over-all aesthetics of the book in this portion, but since I read an e-ARC of it I can’t really talk about anything else aside from the cover. Frankly, the cover is just okay for me. It did not blew me away or made my eyes tear up blood from ugliness. It’s simple and still relevant to the story, but I just wish that the silhouette of the two people on the side did not exist because it just added an unnecessary cheesiness factor to it.

Story:

After learning about the plot of the novel my initial reaction was “that is one hell of a complicated story!” and I still can’t believe that Samantha Sotto actually pulled it off. She was able to manage different pieces of the story and meld it so seamlessly that I’m just amazed at how talented she is as a writer.

I’m not by any means a history buff or an Isaac Newton fanatic, but in my opinion the book was well-researched and it made me appreciate this revolutionary mathematician more. The author was able to sneak in a few historical tidbits about Newton in such an interesting way while maintaining the plausibility of the plot (i.e. his discovery of the various spectrum of colors in light).

The only issue I encountered is actually the romance. I know that it is like the soul of the whole book, however, I questioned the authenticity of it. I honestly felt like their was something missing in the development of the main relationship in the novel. Despite this fact, I eventually got swept along the love story between the characters. It was engaging enough to grow on me and stay with me until now.

Characters:

Admittedly, the characters are the highlight of Love and Gravity because majority of them felt realistic.

Andrea, the main character, was such a well-rounded protagonist because she exhibited so many flaws that made her feel authentic. Yes she made mistakes that had me rolling my eyes like…

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… but oddly enough I did not give up on her. I continued to root for her until the very end.

As I said earlier, I am clueless when it came to Isaac Newton‘s life and what his other contributions in the grand scheme of things were. But having read this novel I feel like I got a handle of what he was all about and Love and Gravity made me appreciate him more. Although he seemed to be the cookie-cutter type leading male in a romance and I guess being stuck majority in Andrea’s perspective made me think of him that way.

Then we have Nate who is Andrea’s faithful best friend and he’s my favorite character in the novel. I can’t really delve into the details as to why he stood out to me because I don’t want to spoil things for you, but I really liked how he was characterized in the book.

Despite some minor issues I had with it, Love and Gravity is a whirlwind romance that really stirred my emotions. It is a book that is created with such craftsmanship, it only takes an incredibly talented novelist  to weave in such a complicated plot combined with magical realism  and became this coherent and heartfelt piece of fiction. It only proved to me that Samantha Sotto is an amazing storyteller and she’s now officially one of my favorite authors ever.

Love and Gravity is slated to release on February 7th, 2017! In celebration of that, National Bookstore will be hosting a book signing event this February 11th, 2017 in National Bookstore Glorietta 1 at 3:00PM! For more details please see the event poster below!

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Photo Credit: National Bookstore

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My Dream Crate

Hey guys! So I just want to start off by greeting you all a…

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It has been a long, long, long, LONG while since I last posted anything in this blog of mine and I hope that you can forgive me for leaving you hanging for quite a while, but I will be more active in the blogosphere this year (I promise).

Anyway for my very first post for 2017, I’m totally in a wishful thinking mood and I decided to write about my “Dream Crate!”

I have been recently contacted by Loot Crate who is on the lookout for fanboys and fangirls that would love to share their ultimate dream crate! They want to know, if you were given a chance to craft your own monthly subscription box what will it be about and what’s inside? For those who are not in the know, Loot Crate is a monthly subscription service that delivers über cool merchandise for geeks, nerds, and fans of different fandoms!

Today I’ll be sharing what my ideal crate would contain, so without further ado let’s get cracking!

I decided to go for a specific theme for this dream crate just to simply narrow down my options and I went with something that would really appeal to my personality. The theme for my dream crate shall be…

WITCHY

You guys might be jumping to the conclusion that this is totally Harry Potter-related, but alas it is not. Instead, I’m talking about The-Craft-and-Charmed kind of witches!

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This…
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And This.

You might be wondering, “why choose something this weird?”

Well because the blogger that writes here is a weirdo that really likes this stuff and he would love for a crate filled with witch-related items to exist!

The Content:

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the following creators of the merchandise I have included here in this post. Truth be told I just searched the nearest items from the one in my imagination. Also the images I shall provide was borrowed from their website and shall be credited accordingly.)

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Photo Credit: Hearth & Hammer

 3 Literary Candles – I can’t imagine a witch not having a candle in his/her arsenal of magical paraphernalia and three is generally a powerful number. Of course since we’re book lovers might as well make them all literary ones.

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Photo Credit: TwilightCraftsLLC (Etsy)

Charmed “Book of Shadows” Journal – every witch must own a journal to write their thoughts, spells, and other magical workings. What better way to do this than to use the coveted Books of Shadows of the Halliwell sisters!

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Photo Credit: Cotton On (Typo)

Hamsa Hand Pen – if you have a magical grimoire as your journal, you shouldn’t settle for a plain old boring ballpoint pen. Instead try out this totally rad amulet looking pen from Typo and write witchy style!

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Photo Credit: Amazon (Kiki’s Delivery)

A Black Cat Plushy – majority of witches have their own pet animals that help them with their magic, which they call familiars. Since I feel like it is totally unethical to include a living thing inside a subscription box, I decided to settle with a plushy of Jiji from Studio Ghibli’s: Kiki’s Delivery Service. A black cat is like the traditional witch companion!

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Photo Credit: GitanaCrystals

Quartz Crystal Necklace – this is the perfect necklace for those witches that either want to look for someone (Charmed-style) or to just to imbibe in themselves the natural powers of their chosen crystal.

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Photo Credit: ClashCases

Ouija Board Cellphone Case – a modern witch couldn’t live without his/her phone so what better way to dress it up than to encase it with something as occult as the mystifying oracle itself! You can now contact both the living and the dead with this cool case!

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Photo Credit: Amazon

The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot Deck by Maggie Stiefvater – divination (or loosely speaking fortune-telling) is part of a witch’s repertoire of talents and I personally like the style of the tarot! Since this is a book blog, I’m highly interested in the tarot deck by Maggie Stiefvater (author of the Shiver trilogy and The Raven Cycle quartet) because she’s a very prominent YA author and her art style is so on point. However, any tarot deck will also suffice.

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Photo Credit: Watchover Voodoo

Watchover Voodoo Doll – Despite the stereotype, witches don’t really use “voodoo dolls” to hurt people (heck they are above hurting anything at all). But just to acknowledge this misconception, I just want to include this cute keychain in the box! Watchover Voodoo has a wide variety of voodoo dolls with special properties that will cater to any of your needs.

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Photo Credit: Funko

Wicked Witch Funko Pop – since there aren’t any The Craft and/or Charmed Funko Pop figurines (which is a total travesty by the way) I’ll settle for the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz just because.

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Photo Credit: The Wild Unknown

The Wild Unknown Spirit Cloth – You can definitely spruce up your room and make it hella witchy with this Spirit cloth! You can also use this alongside with your brand new tarot deck to boot because it actually has certain tarot spreads ready for you!

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Sweep: Book of Shadows, The Coven, and Blood Witch Volume 1 by Cate Tiernan – Since this is a book blog, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to recommend one of my favorite YA witch series ever. I haven’t encountered any other Wiccan-based YA fiction that is witchy-ier than the Sweep series. The story mainly follows a girl named Morgan who discovers that she’s actually a witch and guys I love the traditional Wicca-inspired magic system here!

So yeah those are the main content of my completely magical dream crate! I hope you guys were entertained with this post. Please do comment down below your thoughts regarding my selection. Are you totally freaking out right now?  I hope not because I admit I am weirdly eccentric!

happy2breading

 

#FeelsFest: My First #RomanceClass Event | Signed Adventures

October 22, 2016 – What’s a better way to spend a Saturday than with friends, books, authors, and a whole lot of feels! It was such an inspiring day I just had to document it here!

Anyway for those of you who are not aware, Mina V. Esguerra (author of The Interim Goddess of Love trilogyWelcome to Envy Park, etc.) spearheaded a writing class that turned into a community of local Filipino romance writers and readers known as #RomanceClass.

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If you want to learn more about #RomanceClass, click the image above.

In celebration of Filipino romance literature, Miss Mina and the rest of the #RomanceClass community host events such as #FeelsFest to promote their books and to spread the word of the rising popularity of English romance novels written by Filipinos. It is just amazing to see how far Philippine Literature has spread its wings and encompassed other genres not just literary fiction.

Anyway, I arrived at the event at around 1:30 in the afternoon and it was already buzzing with activity. There were different booths in the area and of course I had to check them out.

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BOOKS!
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MORE BOOKS!
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So many cool stickers, but I had no more money left so I wasn’t able to buy one. The NYC one was calling me, but I had to let it go (#DRAMATIC).
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Talecraft was a game I discovered back in High School when one of my best friends brought her pack for us to play with and I fell in love with it. I highly recommend all writers to pick up a deck and play the game because it’ll get your creative juices flowing. (NOTE: This is not sponsored by Komikasi in any manner. I am just a fan of their product and I wanted to share my two cents to you guys.)

It was really such a treat to see some of my book blogger friends and acquaintances at the event.

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Camelle of Home of A Book Lover
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Fay of The Bibliophile Soprano

I wasn’t able to take a photo with Leia of Random Reviews PH, Sab of Sab the Book Eater, Dianne of Oops I Read A Book Again, Anette of Anette the Wicked, and KB of Book Bed which sorta sucks. C’est la vie.

At around 2:00 Mina walked up to the stage and announced that the live readings will finally commence which will be played by some amazing performers namely Gio Gahol, Gab Pangilinan, Herv Alvarez, and Rachel Coates. Here are some of the clips I took during that day…

I wasn’t able to complete the entire live reading session because my arms got sore (the struggles of not having a tripod got real at that moment). The actors were all so good I actually got influenced to buy one of the books they read on stage, which I’ll be showing you guys later on.

A short break followed the live readings and I decided to pursue my 2 missions which were: 1) Find Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six De Los Reyes and Someday with You by Ines Bautista Yao and 2) Hunt down all of the book by #RomanceClass authors that I already own and get them signed.

How did I do? Take a look…

with Mina V. Esguerra

with Stella Torres (author of Save The Cake)

with Agay Llanera (author of Vintage Love)

with Chris Mariano (author of Cover [Story] Girl)

I successfully bought the two books on my wish list and more…

with Six De Los Reyes (author of Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions)

with Ines Bautista-Yao (author of Only A Kiss and Someday With You)

with C.P. Santi (author of Maybe This Time)

Fun Fact (for me, at least): The main reason why I immediately purchased her short story collection was due to the awesome live reading performance of Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan!

with Kristine Cuevas (author of Let’s Call It Love)

Fun Fact#2: I was introduced with Kristine Cuevas due to a former colleague at work, who I was completely surprised to see at the event. She told me that the author was actually a co-worker of hers at her current employment, which was awesome!

To say that I enjoyed myself with #FeelsFest is a complete and utter understatement. It is so cool to see the growth of the Philippine’s writing community. Honestly, I felt so empowered and inspired to just pursue my dreams of writing a book and I hope that it will happen soon! Will you guys be interested in seeing this come to life?

Congratulations to all the authors and organizers of the event! #FeelsFest was everything I could have hoped for and more! I cannot wait for the next one!

Did you guys attend #FeelsFest? What are your thoughts regarding the event? Have you read any book by #RomanceClass, if so what was it?

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#WriteTeaWriteNow: Tea, Tiffany, and Tomes

Where do I even begin?

Seriously, I am trying my best to encapsulate the experience I had one afternoon with some of the Philippines’ notable literary connoisseurs but I can’t don’t know if I’ll be able to do it justice.

Okay.

I think it’ll be best if I gave you guys a backstory of how this came to be…

Origin

Last March, Eunice (of The Nerdy Talks Book Blog) and I decided to do a buddy read of A.A. Patawaran’s poetry collection titled Ha[Na]Ku and we had fun reading it. The array of poetry in this collection ranges from love, travel, history, and social satire which were all written in such an accessible way. Being bookstagrammers, Eunice and I posted this on our accounts and Sir A.A. Patawaran was always kind enough to leave a comment and to share our photos.

After a few months, Sir A.A. told Eunice and I about an idea of him hosting a tea-party dedicated to literature (sort of like a book club) and he would gladly include us. Of course we were down with this and after a few weeks of discussions, jitters, and surprises it finally came to fruition last September 24th, 2016!

To say I was excited for this event would have been such an understatement and I still couldn’t believe that it happened!

Pre-#WriteTeaWriteNow 

I decided to go Glorietta (a shopping center near the venue) earlier than expected so I wouldn’t be so dang haggard when I meet everybody.

On that note I have to confess I have never met Eunice in real life, which was pretty odd considering we’ve been internet friends since the early days of bookstagram (circa 2014, possibly). Nonetheless I was über excited to have a face-to-face conversation with her about books, life and everything in between. We met at the mall a few hours before the tea party and I was so blown away by how immediately comfortable I felt with her, as if we’ve really known each other since forever (kinda cheesy I know).

After  strolling around some bookstores (a.k.a every book enthusiast’s natural habitat), we went to Raffles Makati! When we got there we took a selfie…

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Then one of our fellow guests arrived and it was none other than Miss Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio who is a local celebrity in the Philippines, a blogger, and entrepreneur.

I was truly starstruck when she first came into the lobby of the hotel that I was rendered a little bit speechless. After pleasantries she asked about what Eunice and I do. After we discussed the basic premise of what #bookstagram was, I was really surprised by Miss Rica’s enthusiasm over it. She told us that she wanted to try her hands on it and of course we encouraged her.

Then Sir A.A. Patawaran finally arrived and he invited us over to the hotel’s famous Writer’s Bar.

#WriteTeaWriteNow

The event started and I finally got to meet the guests of this sophisticated tea party (sorry for the grainy photos)…

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First, we have our esteemed host and mastermind behind this soiree Sir A.A. Patawaran who is a prominent lifestyle editor and writer in the Philippines. He is also a successful author of two books which are Write Here Write Now (a writing guide) and, of course, Hai[Na]Ku

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Again, Miss Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio.

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Miss Erlinda Mae Young who is a Carlos Palanca Awardee (the most prestigious literary award in the country) for her one-act play titled Photo Finish.

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Miss Louella “Lola”Tumaneng who works in National Bookstore as a book buyer for fiction and literature.

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Koji Arsua who is a senior features editor for When In Manila which is a popular lifestyle and travel blog here in the Philippines.

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Jacky Oiga a writer for the newspaper Manila Bulletin.

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Hazel Ureta who is the creative blogger behind Stay Bookish and one of my book blogger buddies and of course, Eunice!

(If you aren’t impressed with the guest list I don’t know what will.)

After introducing ourselves we were served with some delectable pastries and soothing teas. The theme of the tea that we got was Tiffany’s and it does show with the designs of the pastries!

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When it was time to choose the flavor of tea, I went with Moroccan Mint because of how exotic and fancy it sounded. Plus, I’m vaguely familiar with Morocco being known for their teas and their interesting way of serving sugar in chunks, which is another reason why I opted for it. Sadly the sugar tradition was left out and it took a few sips before I got the hang of the interesting taste of the tea, but the over-all dining experience was immensely enjoyable.

As the tea party commenced we began our discussion, which was free-flowing and not at all scripted. Here are some of the things we talked about that I remembered (which are only a handful):

  • We were all just fascinated with Miss Lola’s profession. She explained that the function of a book buyer is that they are the ones that determine which books to sell in their stores. She is sent books to read and we all just collectively found that intriguing and enticing.
  • Miss Mae talked about how she discovered her win at the Palancas and what her reaction was.
  • 2012 was truly a redefining year for Sir A.A. Patawaran. Write Here Write Now was published that year and he described how it launched this newfound appreciation he had for writing and reading.
  • We got to chat about our different literature-related professions and/or hobbies. Koji talked about his experiences as a writer for When In Manila and how people are still responding to entertainment articles, while Eunice and I talked about our blogs and bookstagram.
  • Hazel recommended a Middle Grade book titled Blackbird Fly and I seriously want to read it ASAP! It is about the experiences of Filipino-American immigrant in the States and how she deals with friendships, cliques, and exploring ones identity.
  • There was this discussion about the impact and importance of fiction in our society and how it is able to shape the Philippines in a positive light. The masses are now turning to fiction to better understand certain topics (such as taxes and agriculture).
  •  Sir A.A. asked “If you were stranded in an island and you were only allowed to bring one book with you, what would it be and why?” For many book lovers this question is difficult, so you can only imagine how hard it was to find the answer. Miss Mae was clever enough to think of the Bible and we all agreed because of its versatility and reverence.
  • We were also asked “Which do you prefer: good writing or good content?” which housed conflicting yet interesting points. My answer was “good content” because personally I love a book that had a resounding effect in me regardless if it was written in an elegant way.

I am amazed that I got to spend time with writers and literary influencers in the country within such a fancy setting! This tea party truly made me see how far I had come as a book blogger and bookstagrammer.

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A candid shot during our discussion!

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Sir A.A. Patawaran for inviting me to be part of this; to the amazing participants of this tea party for sharing your insights on literature; and of course to Eunice for influencing me to read poetry. I really do hope that there’ll be a part two of this wonderful experience.

I would also like to thank you my readers and friends for supporting this blog, my booktube channel, and my bookstagram account! You guys are the real reason why these kinds of opportunities are coming my way, so again thank you!

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#MorganMatsonInPH + #MIBF2016

September 18, 2016 was a very bookish day for me because I was able to attend two literary events, which were Morgan Matson’s book signing event and the 37th Annual Manila International Book Fair! Let’s begin discussing things shall we?

#MorganMatsonInPH

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Morgan Matson is a name I’ve heard countless times in the book blogging and booktube scene. Her books have been raved upon by various online YA literary personalities like Hazel from Stay Bookish, Heather from Bookables, Ariel Bissett, and Maureen Keavy. So when National Bookstore  announced that she’ll be coming to the Philippines for a book signing, I knew I had to be there. Truthfully, I have only read Since You’ve Been Gone and I enjoyed her easy-going yet immersive writing style so I wasn’t completely clueless to who I was meeting.

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Morgan Matson’s personailty was so bubbly and down-to-earth! She answered every question with a smile and her personality just drew me in. I heavily related when she talked about finishing a first draft because like her I think that I am the Prince of First Twenty Pages! It was really encouraging to hear her talk about her craft and it made me want to work on my project ASAP!

Meeting Morgan Matson

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When I finally had my one-on-one chance to talk to her, I knew I had to ask something worthwhile and so I was sort of prepared! No talking about the weather this time on Kevin’s Anecdotes which is a step up! Anyway I asked Morgan about revisions, editing, and rewriting.

I told her that I was struggling with rewriting my current Work In Progress and I was hoping to get some insights from someone who had done it four times already! She told me that normally she rarely rewrite large chunks of her books until her latest project came along. This project of hers faced some major rectifications and rewrites, which was frustrating at times. However, she said that it was totally necessary in order for her to put out the best work she could give to her readers.

Then I asked if she outlines her novels and she told me that she was a pantser-outliner hybrid. For those of you who are not in the know, in the writing communities there are three kinds of writers (these explanations are my own understanding of the terms and not the “official” definitions):

  • Pantsers are those who “writes by the seat of their pants.” These writers are the adventurous types that have a general idea of their projects or none at all and they just go with the flow of their stream of consciousness and type away until they produce something.
  • Outliners are planners. They prepare before undertaking any project, moulding the worlds and characters before they even start to write.
  • Hybrids are those who does outline or prepare beforehand but they are also willing to be flexible and just wing it as they go along.

It was amazing to have picked her brain about writing and learned about her as an author!

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Morgan signing these amazing prints made by Hazel of Stay Bookish!

Meeting Kate Evangelista

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Then I also had the amazing opportunity to finally talk to Kate Evangelista (author of No Love Allowed, Til Death, Savor, etc.). I’ve met her countless times in these events, but I never had the guts to talk to her. I get so shy around writers, but I decided to just go for it and it turned to be  a great decision. She was so bubbly, nice, and accommodating!

Talking to her about her books was such a treat (even though I haven’t read any of them, I know shame on me)! Here are some of the scoop I uncovered:

  • Savor‘s sequel will be published by Anvil and it’ll come out soon (maybe late October or early November)!
  • She talked about her current work in progress which is a totally baller take on Beauty and the Beast! It sounded unlike anything I’ve ever encountered. I hope it’ll be published ASAP!

Of course I also got to spend time with my fellow book bloggers!

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From Left to Right: Kim of Divergent Gryffindor, Nina of The Bookish Confections, Kai of Amaterasu Reads, Leslie of The Bibliophile Kid, and Algel of Tea-rrific Reads!
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Top (Left to Right): Jelo, Dea and May Ann of Teen Readers’ Diary, Louisse of The Soul Sisters, Sab of Sab The Book Eater, Kai and Nina!  Bottom (Left to Right): Dianne of Oops I Read A Book Again, Jesselle of The Lifelong Bookworm, and Maricar of Black Plume!
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Photo Credit: Jesselle of The Lifelong Bookworm 

It is always a great pleasure spending time with these wonderful people!

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THANK YOU Kate (of The Bookaholic Blurbs) for giving me a spare instax film! 

Thank you very much to National Bookstore for hosting these events and for their continued promotion of all forms of literature in the country.

#MIBF2016

My personal MIBF 2016 experience wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies because of the dizzying amount of people that went to the event and how literally jam-PACKED it was (like sardines-in-a-can tightness). I got so frustrated I even tweeted that I won’t be doing a blog post about the 37th Annual Manila International Book Fair…

However, after a week of pondering, I realized that I just got caught up with the stress and chaos of the day and I didn’t even thought of the wonderful picture that this chaos portrayed, which was that the Filipinos are becoming more bookish! People from all walks of life were seen in the event and it still amazes me how vastly popular MIBF has gotten through the years. I still distinctly remember my very first MIBF experience back in 2012, it was calmer and more laid-back.

Here are some of the photos I took during the event…

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The map of the realms of MIBF! I wasn’t able to explore every single booth because it was all crammed! Next year I’ll go the first day so there’ll be less stress.
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The amazing (and sometimes frustrating) crowd at MIBF!
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The booth that I was dying to go to, but sadly the books I wanted to get were all sold out.
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The throng of people inside National Bookstores area!
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Looks like a hurricane flew by!
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I bought a set of seven Children’s books here for my nephew! #BookNerdUncle
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These are so precious!
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REX’s booth was really exotic!
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This really reminded me of the Crash Bandicoot mask character I’ve played when I was a kid!
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This series of Filipino Middle Grade fantasy looks interesting!
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Summit Media’s booth is always a staple of mine but…
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…this insane crowd just turned me off. I was looking forward to buy a couple of titles though, but I was too tired to battle my way inside.
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I did get a glance of the voluptuous Jinri Park at her signing!

I am just so proud of the literary scene that is currently growing in our country! People are becoming more interested in the written word (whether be it in the digital or traditional formats) and in turn creating a generation that gives importance to this noble craft. I hope that this will snowball into something enlightening and truly revolutionary.

Did you guys attend both of these events? What were your experiences and what books did you get from the book fair? Comment it down below and let’s have a conversation!

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson | Book Review

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Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author/s: Morgan Matson

Publication: May 6th 2014 by Simon & Schuster

Format: Hardcover, 449 pages

Plot in General (Synopsis from Goodreads):

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

Thoughts in General:

Since You’ve Been Gone is actually my very first Morgan Matson read and I am happy with my choice. I have heard a lot of positive things about Morgan through Booktube and I am really adamant in pursuing to read every body of work by this wonderful author!

Then National Bookstore announced that they were bringing the author in the Philippines for a signing and it was like kismet. Anyway, the book was a cute contemporary that’ll really give you the summer feels.

Although I did find some aspects of it predictable and there were moments that just made me cringe, the overall feel was still satisfactory and I’m really happy with the entirety of the book.

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Let’s get into the shallow part of the review! The cover really captured the essence of the book! I just love how everything was styled and designed considering that there are people on the cover (I’m not greatest fan of models on books).

Then when you take off the dust jacket…

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GLORIOUS!

The characters were all fun to read about. I strongly connected with Emily because we share the same attitudes towards stuff like parties, bars, and social situations. Which is why her character growth throughout was fun to witness and it made me think…

“If one of my best friends gave me a list similar to this, will it change me the way it changed her?”

Of course there were moments that showed the flaws of Emily and I wouldn’t be honest if I said that I didn’t judge her for it. However, these flaws made her feel more authentic and I eventually got over it.

Sloane reminded me so much of Alison DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars (except she wasn’t a vindictive, manipulative bitch). I guess the fact that they share the same alluring, cool, and mysterious traits made me think of this weird parallel. I liked how their friendship wasn’t perfect and that Sloane did lead their little clique.

Frank Porter was okay. I liked his and Emily’s friendship in the book.

Collins was much more interesting than Frank to be perfectly honest. Although he was kind of a cliche, I still enjoyed getting to know him better as the story progressed (especially the moment he had with Emily).

Dawn was also a nice edition to the crew and totally unexpected for me (especially the way that she was introduced in the book).

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I truly enjoyed how Emily ticked off the list Sloane gave her and finding out how she’ll be able to do it. It was so fun to see how Emily grew and how she became a much more adventurous person!

I also liked how the book featured family dynamics and not every home was perfect.

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However I have a few qualms about some aspects of the story:

*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*

I did not like how the romance unfolded. Yes YA contemporary stories feature loads of love and all the gooey stuff, but I just didn’t appreciate how easy the resolution was for that part especially in the plot. I was really hoping that things wouldn’t go down that route, but I knew that it was futile because it’s contemporary.

I wished that there was a closure for Emily and Dawn’s friendship because the situation was left wide open. Did they still became friends or was it truly over for them? I guess I just have to put the puzzle pieces on my own.

*YOU MAY NOW PROCEED*

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson is an enjoyable read about friendships and challenging ones self for growth. If you’re in the mood for a YA contemporary without the excessive drama then pick up this book!

Have you read Since You’ve Been Gone? What are your thoughts regarding the book? Please don’t hesitate to share your feels down below!happy2breading

 

 

Love and Gravity by Samantha Sotto | Waiting on Wednesday #3

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

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Title: Love and Gravity

Author/s: Samantha Sotto

Publication Date: February 7th 2017

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Synopsis:

“In this unforgettable novel for fans of One Day and The Time Traveler’s Wife, a young Isaac Newton falls in love with a girl living in modern-day San Francisco, defying the laws of physics to forge a seemingly impossible connection.
 
Andrea Louviere is seven years old the first time he appears. While she’s alone in her bedroom, practicing her beloved cello, the light shivers and a crack forms in the wall. Through the crack, she sees a candle, a window, a desk—and a boy. Though no sound travels through the wall, the boy clearly sees Andrea, too. And then, just as quickly as it opened, the crack closes, and he vanishes.

Over the years, summoning the bright, magnetic boy becomes something of an obsession for Andrea. Then, on her seventeenth birthday, she receives a three-hundred-year-old love letter from Isaac Newton. Andrea knows that Isaac will change the world with his groundbreaking discoveries; the letter tells Andrea that she will change him.

As Isaac’s letters intensify in passion and intimacy, Andrea grows determined to follow his clues to their shared destiny—despite a burgeoning romance in the present. Only when she discovers the way into Isaac’s time does Andrea realize that she faces a heartbreaking decision: between what was . . . and what might be.”

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I have been a die-hard fan of Samantha Sotto’s debut novel Before Ever After (click the link for my earlier and poorly written review), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I am beyond stoke for the release of this long-overdue follow-up to that amazing novel. I am extremely confident that Miss Sotto will knock this one out of the park again and I just can’t frigging wait to get my hands on this book!

What’s your choice for this week’s Wishlist Wednesday? Please share your posts down below!

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