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!
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?
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.
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!
Would you look at that? Yet another post, just a week after the last one! Am I getting back into the swing of things? I SURE HOPE SO.
This week, I was asked to be part of the blog tour for Lena Bourne’s His Whims, the first part in her His Forever serial. I thought that it would be a good choice as I start getting back into the swing of things, as it’s only 27 pages long and 9,000 words short. Will I end up regretting this choice? Or is this just what i need to get my blogging groove back?
I am well aware that this video is about hedgehogs.
It’s been literal months, I know. But to be fair, I have been busy. With my job, with taking part in writing workshops – I finished nothing, by the way – etc., etc., etc. But I’ve now finally managed to carve out some time from my “busy” schedule to pencil in this review.
I got my copy of Bill Konigsberg’s The Porcupine of Truth from the fine, fine people over at Scholastic, who had emailed me about reviewing James Phelan’s Thirteen (which I will talk about once I finish reading it) and included this book as a bonus, I guess? But it just goes to show that they do know me well, because on the surface, The Porcupine of Truth is right up my alley.
LGBT characters? A healthy distrust of the pastor next door? A road trip? It was ticking all of my boxes and I ended up reading it first before Thirteen. But did this end up being a good decision on my part? Or did I just make another mistake in my long, long life of mistakes? Check under the cut to find out!
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m generally not the inspirational/self-help book kind of guy. It’s not a knock on them at all – it’s more because I’ve got a black, tiny heart that doesn’t let any light shine through or escape.
There’s no question that a lot of people find them useful. One just needs to look at any bestseller list to see that there’s a healthy audience for these kinds of books; an aspiring inspirational author needs only to find that niche that he can cater to and serve.
Mighty Rasing is one such author, and he’s set his eyes on a key demographic – young people who’ve grown up on a steady diet of comic books and the movies that have been adapted from them. In his new book, May Powers Ka To Be #SuperEpic, Rasing utilises superheroes and their larger than life personalities to give some life advice to young people looking to make something out of their lives.
But will this approach be something that young people latch on to? Or will this thing just end up being an #epicfail?
Ever since I changed jobs — and tried to venture into actual fiction/novel writing — I haven’t had as much time to keep my ear close to the ground to keep track of what’s going on in the publishing world. I mean sure, big thing’s like Harper Lee’s new novel I get to hear about because that’s hard to ignore, but the smaller stuff mostly pass me by now.
Which is why it’s a good thing that the good people from Scholastic have been nice enough to still keep me in the loop. They sent me an email some time ago about Vendetta, the debut YA novel of 24-year-old Irishwoman Catherine Doyle. And you know what? It seems like they really knew what I was into just basing from the book’s synopsis:
“When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families.”
C’mon. A hot Italian bad boy? If you gave me that along with a lifetime supply of French fries I’d willingly give you my firstborn. My second-born, even. And while I tempered my expectations – it’s still a YA novel, even if it did come from the same publisher that brought us Numbers – I thought I would be getting into some hot Italian bad boy action. So did I?