Buqo YA 4: Heart Choices Blog Tour – Guest post from Fay Sebastian

So let me take a step back here. This is the fourth blog tour for this, and there are 5 bundles, and in each bundle, there are 6 stories. That’s 30 new YA romances by Filipino authors, friends. That’s a lot. Now when will I have time to read them all is another thing, so now instead of blabbing about that, let me welcome one of the authors in the 4th Buqo YA bundle over to the blog. Here’s Fay Sebastian, author of Waiting for Whatever, talking about her writing playlist. :)

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Hello! I’m so excited to share my playlist while writing my #buqoYA story, Waiting for WhateverWaiting for Whatever is about Denise, who was waiting for true love since the time when she first experienced heartbreak. Denise soon learns that she already met her true love, but is surprised to find out that he’s actually someone who broke her heart before.

THE SONGS AND WHEN TO LISTEN TO ‘EM

Waiting for Whatever has three POV’s: Denise’s, Seth’s and Robin’s. However, the POVs don’t follow a specific order (e.g. Denise-Seth-Robin) and they were arranged in a way that I felt most appropriate for the story.

While writing this story, I needed all the feels that I can get. So I added a song even if I used it to get feels for just one paragraph.

Someday by Nina

Denise’s song for every guy who broke her heart. [Listen to this every time there’s a heartbreak]

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It Might Be You by Stephen Bishop

Denise’s theme song for Seth. You know, before he broke her heart and when things are still okay. [Listen to this every time you find yourself rooting for Seth and Denise]

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Buqo YA 3: Finding Fairytales Blog Tour

buqoYA-3Buqo YA 3: Finding Fairytales
Publisher: Buqo

We all want the happy ending, the dream come true. But what if it doesn’t happen? How far would you go to get that “ever after?” Would you change who you are? Would you swallow your pride? Is the story really going to be as perfect as you think? Follow the path of these characters and see where they lead.

Stories in the bundle:

  • Fall for Grace by Anne Plaza
  • Just the Way You Are by Kat Sales
  • Love In the Time of Viral Videos by R. Linea
  • The Path of Us by Cassandra Javier
  • The First Time They Met by Ana Valenzuela
  • When Cocoy Became Kikay by C.P. Santi

It’s another blog tour week for #buqoYA! Can I tell you something not-so-secret? I really like the title of this bundle. It must be the fairy tale fan in me, or the romantic, because whenever someone says “fairy tales,” I think of happily ever afters. And those are really fun to read, yes?

So for this stop, I shall share two excerpts from the stories in this bundle. I have a copy of this bundle waiting in my phone, and from the excerpts, I cannot wait to settle down and read them. :) Enjoy!

The Path of Us by Cassandra Javier

“I’m sorry, okay? But Clara, you’ll do great. You’ll do amazing things because that’s who you are. You’ll manage out there because this is what you’ve always wanted, right?”

He went on, “And you know what’s even better?”

She looked at him and waited for what he had to say next.

“You’ll finally be able to get away with Pink or Purple streaks on your hair or whatever.”

She found herself laughing despite of herself. “Without you ratting me out?”

It depends.” He quipped, smiling. “I might see you in college.”

“Oh god no.”

They laughed. “See? You look so much better when you smile.”

“I still hate you.”

He laughed. “If you say so.”

She didn’t know what came to her mind right at that moment but she found herself inching towards him. In a span of seconds, she was planting a kiss on his lips. It didn’t last long—just a few seconds or so, and she wanted to bask in that moment, feel the butterflies in her stomach, the warmth of the air, the romance that the light of the fireflies gave, but she remembered that a) she had a boyfriend, and b) she hated Andrew—this shouldn’t be happening.

“Clara—“

“I’m sorry.” She said. “I shouldn’t have—“

“No.”

Please.” She said with finality. “I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”

She then ran away, leaving him and High School behind.

About the author: Cassandra Javier
Cass is a cat lady who graduated with a degree in Broadcasting and has worked as a copywriter, a researcher in an IT company, a call center agent and was even a trainee for a time in a television network. She writes articles for a living. When not writing articles, she writes novels, fanfiction, short stories and whatever she may think of. She loves TV series, movies, music, and is a very big bookworm. She’s also addicted to butterflies, faeries and Ice Cream.

When Cocoy Became Kikay by C.P. Santi

“Since when did you start having a lablab, Coy?” Dags lifted a brow.

So much for keeping secrets. “So I like someone. Big deal.”

“Is . . . is it a guy or a girl?” Paulo asked tentatively.

I turned incredulous eyes toward him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Dude, whichever way you roll . . .” Dags shrugged.

Oh, c’mon. True, I was a T-shirt-and-jeans kind of girl and I hung out with guys, but that didn’t automatically translate to such gender assumptions. Sure, I loathed boy bands. And I loved basketball, camping, and shooting more than the average girl should. Living with my dad hadn’t exactly encouraged girly pursuits. But still.

I sighed. “Dude, if I were gay, I’d tell you. But I’m not.”

“So, who is it? You have to tell us,” Paulo protested. He stood to tower over me, arms crossed over his chest.

“Aw, Coy, aren’t we friends?” Dags cajoled as he strummed the first notes of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.

I sighed. Paulo, Dags, Joel, and I had been friends for years. The four of us were the only ones crazy enough to take up a dare issued by our neighborhood playmates—to see if a manananggal indeed left the lower part of its body at the abandoned Siangco house on Lilac Street.

Over the years, our friendship had been further cemented by bruises and scraped knees, basketball games, camping trips, fish balls, turon, and buko pandan royale, day-long village-hopping bicycle trips, and innumerable fries and Coke floats.

I never kept secrets from them. Usually.

“So who is it?” Paulo asked again.

Fine. I cleared my throat. “It’s . . . it’s Jaime.”

I counted five seconds of absolute silence.

Dags frowned. “Jaime?”

“Jaime Arguelles?” Paulo bent over, laughing. “Cocoy, you are so predictable!”

About the author: C.P. Santi

C.P. Santi is a Filipina author based in Tokyo, Japan. She is a wife to an engineer/musician/jokester and a full-time mom to two energetic boys. She loves cooking and baking, and enjoys feeding people, gorging on chocolate, watching J-doramas, belting it out in the karaoke box, and running around the house playing tickle tag. She also loves dreaming up stories about the people she meets.

In another life, she is also an architect and academic.

Her first book, Be Careful What You Wish For, is a contemporary romance based in Tokyo.

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Buqo YA 2 Blog Tour: Sweet Complications

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Buzzer beater in today’s tour stop because work and life are in the way of the reading and blogging life (as always). But today, before the day ends, I’ll be reviewing one of the stories in the second Buqo YA bundle!

Once Upon a Sticky Note by Kristel Ann Cruz
Buqo YA 2: Sweet Complications (buy on Buqo!)

Nate and Tanya have been “talk all day, every day” best friends for years but on the eve of Nate’s birthday, Tanya realized she has started developing more-than-platonic feelings him. They’re going off to college soon so confessing anything that might make things complicated between them doesn’t sound like a good plan, especially now that Campus Sweetie Armi has entered the picture. What would Tanya do? Could she? Should she? Grab a sticky note and place your bets.

I’ve been seeing this story in the #buqoYA twitter feed during the time the stories were being written, and I thought this was such a cute title. I love sticky notes, too, and I was really curious on how this item would fit in the Nate and Tanya’s love story.

This is a short, short story, but despite its length, I was really convinced that Nate and Tanya were truly best friends, with the way they knew each other and the history they had together. I think that is the most challenging about writing friends-turned-lovers stories – building on their history and making the readers believe that they are meant to be even from the start (except writing that trope for YA is a bit easier because the characters are younger). I liked their back story, which was simple, and how Tanya truly loved Nate as her best friend and not just a guy she liked.

Once Upon a Sticky Note had both the sweet and the complications, as this bundle is all about. Don’t worry, the ending is more sweet than complicated. :P My only wish for this story is that it was a little bit longer, if only to flesh out their characters and their stories more. Nevertheless, this is a very sweet and cute YA story that you should not miss. :)

Rating: 

Excerpt:

Of course it also doesn’t hurt that he is nice to look at. I have always pegged Nate as a pretty boy, but his unassuming ways make him look more attractive. I like his thick eyebrows, his smiling eyes, and the dimple on his left cheek that mirrors mine. I can’t even tell you how many jealous stares I have fielded when we walk through the school together, or how my heart secretly swells seeing these.

It’s quite melodramatic to say that our lives have never been the same since we became closer because we are still very young, but that fact doesn’t make it any less true. I will feel so lost when the time comes he or I would have to go our separate ways. Graduation is coming soon and to be honest, I’m dreading college. I wonder if we will be as close as we are now or whether I will be left behind, a mere footnote to carefree high school days.

It was almost morning when I realized I am in love with my best friend.

About the author:

It boggles the mind how someone so shy and awkward found herself in Public Relations, but somehow Krissy makes it work. If she were a fictional character, she’d be a female Ted Mosby. Whether it be prose, poetry, a watercolor painting, or a craft project, she is happiest when she makes. Talk about books, movies, and lipsticks with her on www.krissyfied.com

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BuqoYA 1 blog tour: Taking Chances Review

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Buqo YA 1: Taking Chances by Justine Camacho-Tajonera, Raquel Sarah A. Castro, Six de los Reyes, Kaye Dee, Rafael P. Pascual, and Jen Suguitan
Publisher: Buqo
My copy: review copy

Whether looking for closure, proving their worth, or wondering what happens after a moonlit night, the characters from these stories will invite you to take a chance for love. Will they find what they’re looking for? Or will their hearts get broken? Step into their shoes and find out.

A little history: I was supposed to be a part of this (or any of the other bundles in the Buqo YA books), but I sucked at time management back when the class was ongoing and I totally wasn’t able to focus and write. I did get a new job by then, plus it was Papal Visit week. Granted, I was two chapters away from finishing my story by the last day of the class, but I realized that I didn’t want to turn what I had in because it was far from publishable form, and I had zero time to edit after the class ended because life, and work.

So I let my story rest (and it’s still resting). But that doesn’t mean I don’t get to support my fellow authors, right?

So, Taking Chances is the first Buqo YA bundle. Each bundle contains six stories, and the stories in this book are all about what the title says: taking chances. The stories are short and sweet, because they’re all romance, and they’re all set in the Philippines, so yay, because we can never have enough of Filipino YA novels/short stories, right?

Of all the stories in this bundle, three are my favorite: Justine Camacho-Tajonera’s A Portrait of Jade, Six de los Reyes’ After the Moment, and Jen Suguitan’s Never Too Late. A Portrait of Jade is about Jade who goes to an art camp in Baguio to escape being under her sister’s shadow. She meets Alex, a snotty art boy who criticizes her work, and they get paired up with their final project for the camp. I liked the whole concept of the camp, and how the two worked on the projects. It was really sweet and interesting, and Jade’s growth at the end was a pleasure to read.

After the Moment – thinking about this story makes me want to giggle and sigh incoherently. There’s something about the characters and how the story was written that makes it so engrossing. I rooted for Aria from the start, and I was immediately in her head. Her banter with Kris was so real that I kept on smiling all throughout. This is my favorite in this bundle, and I’m really, really glad that there will be a continuation for this. :)

The bundle ends with Never Too Late, which was about Cass who goes on a trip to Corregidor and ends up being in the wrong tour group because of her tardiness. Cass is struggling to deal with the death of her older sister, Sam, and she was terribly at odds with her other sister, Anj. Then she meets Noah from the tour group, who accompanies her through the trip, where Cass learns an important lesson on beginning again. I like how this didn’t deal too much with the romance, but also with Cass’ grief and her family. Noah felt like the icing to the cake here, but not in a bad way – because why eat cake without icing, right? This story made me want to go to Corregidor soon. :)

If all the stories in the other Buqo YA bundles are as enjoyable as this, then I am so excited to read the rest. :) You can get this book (and the other Buqo YA bundles) from Buqo YA 1 for only Php 45. Totally worth it. :)

Rating: 

Check out the other blog tour stops here! 

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Minis: 2015 reads, so far

So in an effort to revive this blog out of silence, here’s another post! I thought I’d write about the books I read in the first months of 2015, just so I could catch up. Consider this a Minis post, although mini-er, because I’m going to try to sum  up my thoughts for each book I’ve read in 5 sentences, or less. :)

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
St. Martin’s Griffin | 320 pages | Ebook

Cute collection of holiday love stories, and it was a very good companion for the Christmas season. Not a super fan of all stories, though,  but I didn’t expect I’ll love all anyway. Favorite stories: Midnights by Rainbow Rowell, Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han, Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White (loved the small town setting), and Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter. :) Best paired with a mug of hot chocolate (as long as the weather is cool enough). :)

I sang because that is what I do when I am happy and when I’m sad. I sang because it is who I am when I am being the best possible version of me. I sang because I wasn’t alone as I held Aunt Mary’s hand. I sang because it was Christmas. (Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter)

Rating:

* * *

Navigating EarlyNavigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Delacorte Books for Young Readers | 306 pages | Ebook

TFG’s F2F book for the month for January. Lots of suspension of disbelief in this one, with their adventures. It’s a good read about family and grief and friendship, but

“I got lost.”
“I know, but you found your way back. Finding your way back doesn’t mean you always know where you’re going. It’s knowing how to find your way back home that’s important.”

Rating: 

* * *

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Dutton | 307 pages | Hardbound

A reread of one of my favorites for TFG’s February discussion. I still loved this as much as I did before, even if I knew what was going to happen. The other opinions of my book club friends did remind me of how some things happened conveniently for Cornelia’s sake. But even so, I loved the writing, and I still have a huge crush on Teo Sandoval. I think the sequel, Belong to Me, is still better than this. :)

Watching Teo ahead of her carrying the bag and turning around to smile, she understood what the difference was, such a simple change: She’d been alone for a long time; she wasn’t alone anymore.

Rating: 

* * *

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg 
Point | 276 pages | Paperback, borrowed

Read this as a reference for a writing project, borrowed from my friend Kai. This was cute, in so many ways. Slow in some parts, but still rewarding in the end. :)

Rating: 

* * *

painteddesertsThrough Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road by Donald Miller
Thomas Nelson | 272 pages | Ebook/Audio

I’ve had this on hold for a year, and finally read it again this  year because of some life changes that happened to me. In signature Don Miller style, he talked about a road trip and all the little things that he learned from this, and somehow made it relevant to everyone. I really liked this, and while it didn’t make me want to sell everything and pack up to go to a road trip, it made me more excited to set off on little adventures, figuratively and literally. :)

I think we are supposed to stand in deserts and marvel at how the sun rises. I think we are supposed to sleep in meadows and watch stars dart across space and time. I think we are supposed to love our friends and introduce people to the story, to the peaceful, calming why of life. I think life is spirituality.

Rating: 

* * *

Shine by Candy Gourlay
Anvil | 232 pages | Paperback

This was magical and a bit dark, almost like a Tall Story  grew older and tackled a few more issues. I liked how Candy wrote it all, though, and I was truly invested in Rosa and her family, and I wanted to them to get their happy ending. I really liked the setting, too – always raining? That’s us during July to September. ;)

Rating: 

* * *

tgostThe God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Random House | 333 pages | Paperback

This is one of those books that I have on my “I-should-read-this-sometime-in-my-lifetime” list, and I’m glad I finally had the chance to read it. This is a story about a family, and Love Laws, and India. Beautifully written, it examines what happens to families who try not to fall apart but still do. It’s a little bit sad, though, but still beautiful, and it helped that we had a really great discussion about this after in the book club. :)

…the secret of Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen….In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

Rating: 

* * *

Aaand there! Whew. All of them are 4-star books, huh. Interesting. I hope I can write a full review on my next post.  :)