Several weeks ago, American author Jennifer Hallock came here to the Philippines to deliver a talk on how she does her research for the Philippine-set historical romances that she writes. It was a great and informative talk, with lots of *ahem* visual aids.
I have to confess that when I attended the talk, I was only barely a quarter into reading Under the Sugar Sun, the first book to be published in the Sugar Sun series. I got all the incentive to finish the book after that talk, though!
Fred Lo and Gio Gahol reading Agay Llanera’s Another Word for Happy
It’s been a year since the last #AprilFeelsDay, and so much has changed for the #romanceclass community since then. The books keep coming and so do the invitations to hold events at different locations, and I’m constantly amazed at how this community continues to grow. And not just in size, but also with the books that it puts out.
Oh Mylanta, it’s been six months since I last put up anything on this here blog. So many things happened — a new job, even more #romanceclass events that I love going to ut can’t seem to write about, and the daily struggle of trying to finish something creative.
Lost in all of that was my plan to post a review of C.P. Santi’s Dare to Love. I was given an ARC of this and even had time set aside to blog about it, but life and responsibilities piled up and now here we are, posting about it five months after I finished reading it.
When I was asked to review this new book by C.P. Santi, I didn’t hesitate at all as i enjoyed her work in Maybe This Time. As I’ve never read a full-length work from her, I wanted to know what she would be able to do beyond the restrictions of a short story.
In case you guys didn’t know, Come To My Window is a lesbian anthem.
SO. Guys. It’s been what…three months? Three months since I last posted anything. Believe you me guys, I had plans to do more posts since Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I wanted to write about all the great work #romanceclass has been doing, how great the reception was for #romanceclass at the Manila International Book Fair, and a host of many other things.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I re-entered the rat race, and getting back on the corporate carousel often had me just faceplanting on whatever flat surface as soon as I got home. It was that or I didn’t want to do even more writing after spending the whole day writing.
So what is it that finally lifts me up from the blogging/writing rut I’ve found myself in recently? As with most aspects of my life, rage and indignation is what’s got me going now. See, at the Manila International Book Fair, Precious Hearts Romances launched their Rebel Fiction imprint, and one of the books launched was Lesbi In Love. Here’s the blurb:
Mary Jovelyn Salazar or MJ for short can’t feel any sexual attraction towards the opposite gender. Sagad hanggang buto ang pagkainis niya sa mga lalaki. Mas gusto pa niyang magsuot ng mga damit-panlalaki kaysa magpaka-girly girl. Secretly in love din siya sa best friend niyang babae mula pa noong high school. Kaya, bakit may nararamdaman siyang something kay Ross Eliseo Valentin, ang notorious playboy ng school campus?
So, in case you weren’t aware, today was the launch for the “eighth” Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I know I made a fuss about it with the blog post yesterday, and I fully intended to come to the event on time. I even slept earlier for it!
Well guess what. I still woke up late for it, even with a freaking alarm set. F. M. L. I didn’t catch either the countdown or the unboxing of the books, which were done at the same time as the rest of the world did it.
Traditional American publishing may from upon short story collections — unless you’re Neil Gaiman, of course — but it’s always had a place in Philippine literature. Gilda Cordero-Fernando had The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, while Nick Joaquin had Prose and Poems, Pop Stories for Groovy Kids, and Gotita de Dragon and Other Stories.
I definitely have no problems with it at all. As you all know, I’m even part of a collection of short stories entitled Kids These Days: Stories from the Luna East Arts Academy (which you can buy here and here!) so I didn’t think twice when I was asked to review C.P. Santi’s collection of romantic short stories entitled Maybe This Time: Stories of Love and Second Chances.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Kate Evangelista has been a longtime fixture on this blog. Over the years, I’ve interviewed her, reviewed her books, and even had lunch with her. She’s a nice lady, who you can’t help but feel happy for when she gets nice things.
And one of the nice things to happen to her recently was the launch for her newest book, No Love Allowed. Published by Swoon Reads – a Macmillan publishing imprint – No Love Allowed tells the story of Didi and Caleb and serves as a sort of prequel to No Holding Back, which I reviewed recently.
Here’s the book’s blurb!
Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!
Anyone who’s had even just a passing encounter with this blog knows that I haven’t had the best luck with books that feature a romance with a KPop star. There was the thrilling saga that was the Popped trilogy, and the one problem I had with Carla De Guzman’s Citieswas the fact that parts of the novel so perfectly captured the tropes of K-Drama that I had difficulty making my way through it.
Naturally, I went into Scandalized very, very apprehensive. The premise hews a little too closely to that of Popped Too, and boy did I not enjoy that. Will Scandalized frustrate and infuriate me in equal measure? Or will this finally be the work that breaks the KPop curse?
If you’ve been following this blog for as long as it’s been around – five years now? – you’d know that this blog has been an early supporter of Filipino author Kate Evangelista. I featured her as far back as 2012, when she only had Taste out in stores. Then, I featured her twice in 2014: one was an interview, while the other was a review of Savor.
She hasn’t stopped putting out books since then, and her most recent offering, set to be out in the wild on October 18 this year, is an M/M romance entitled No Holding Back. I was fortunate enough to be provided an ARC by Kate herself, and I’m more than happy to share my thoughts on the book under the cut!