Interim Goddess of Love

Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra

Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra
Interim Goddess of Love # 1
Publisher: Bright Girl Books
Number of pages: 180
My copy: ebook from Amazon Kindle Store

College sophomore Hannah Maquiling doesn’t know why everyone tells her their love problems. She’s never even had a boyfriend, but that doesn’t stop people from spilling their guts to her, and asking for advice. So maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise when the cutest guy in school tells her that she’s going to have to take on this responsibility — but for all humanity.

The Goddess of Love has gone AWOL. It’s a problem, because her job is to keep in check this world’s obsession with love (and lack of it). The God of the Sun, for now an impossibly handsome senior at an exclusive college just outside of Metro Manila, thinks Hannah has what it takes to (temporarily) do the job.

While she’s learning to do this goddess thing, she practices on the love troubles of shy Kathy, who’s got a secret admirer on campus. Hannah’s mission, should she choose to accept it, is to make sure that he’s not a creepy stalker and they find their happily ever after — or at least something that’ll last until next semester. (As if she could refuse! The Sun God asked so nicely. And he’s so, well, hot.)

* * *

You know a book is good when you go back and reread some most of the book the moment you’re done. Sometimes it’s just to read your favorite parts, but for others (especially for novellas), it’s almost like reading the entire book because you just can’t get enough of it and you want to relive the events of the book.

Such is Mina V. Esguerra’s newest novel (and her YA debut), Interim Goddess of Love. College sophomore Hannah Maquiling is a scholar in exclusive Ford River College, and she’s caught the eye of Joaquin Apolinario, aka Quin, one of the hottest guys in school. But it wasn’t in a way that she (or anyone else) expected. She caught Quin’s eye because Quin is also the Sun God, and he needs her to be the Interim Goddess of Love. The real Goddess of Love has gone missing, and someone needs to fill in her shoes for a while, and Hannah fits the bill. Hannah accepts (because the Sun God was nice, not to mention cute), and starts using her powers on Kathy Martin, a shy classmate who’s all flustered about her secret admirer.

So cute. I’ve always loved Mina’s books, but Interim Goddess of Love had me giggling and grinning when I was done (and when I was rereading some parts), almost like how I was when I was reading Fairy Tale Fail. I admit that I may have already loved Hannah before I read the book — she had me at this: “She’s never even had a boyfriend, but that doesn’t stop people from spilling their guts to her, and asking for advice.” But I loved her even more as I got to know her. Hannah’s voice sounds authentic and different from other YA heroines — it’s nice to read someone who isn’t too whiny and who doesn’t sound too old for her age, too. She’s a very likeable and reliable narrator, and she sounds like someone I would want to be friends with. It was so easy to stick with her and to root for her and hope for a happy ending for her. She’s not perfect, but boy did I find her easy to relate to. :P

Speaking of happy endings, there are the boys. As usual, Mina created very crushable guys to go with her heroine, not just as romantic interests. I found it funny that one of the questions that came up while reading this book was “Who’s your favorite?” That’s because there’s not one but three guys in the book, each with their own charm. I am particularly fond of Quin, but mostly because he’s the one in spotlight, but the other two guys provide good contrast (and competition) for the god of the sun.

That’s another thing to love about this book too: Interim Goddess of Love is not your usual contemporary YA romance because it had elements of Philippine mythology in it. Oh, you thought the gods and goddess reference were just figurative? It’s not. It doesn’t provide an in-depth discussion on Philippine mythology, but if just a taste of it, then you’ll get just that in this book. Then like Hannah, you’d end up wanting to know more because there’s just so much more to know. I look forward to reading more about them and how exactly they all relate to each other in the next books. :)

Interim Goddess of Love is another great book from Mina, and I still can’t stop grinning when I think of my favorite scenes. My only wish was it was longer because I definitely wanted more when I was done. I am so glad that this is the first book of a planned series and that the next book will be released later this year. I can’t wait to read about Hannah’s next goddess project (and more Quin moments, hihi :”> ).

Rating:

Other reviews:
Ficsation

More info: Interview with Mina V. Esguerra at Rocket Kapre

Happy book birthday, Alternative Alamat!

Ever since I started my book blog, I’ve made it a point to read and review local stuff. You know, books written by Filipinos (or even half-Filipinos) even if they are not necessarily set here. I mean, I read so much of the foreign stuff, so it’s just right that I should also read (and write about) things from my homeland. It’s not just about loving your own, but also because I think we have a lot of good stuff out there but people just need to know about it.

So with that, I am very excited to blog about Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology, which is out today! :)

Alternative Alamat

Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers eleven stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales. “Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

The digital edition of “Alternative Alamat”, co-published by Flipside Digital Content, may now be purchased for US$4.99 at the Amazon.com Kindle store and for PHP235.00 at Flipreads.com, and will soon be available at the Apple iTunes and Barnes & Noble Nook stores.

I’ve been hearing/reading about this for a long time now, from the Rocket Kapre blog and through its editor, Paolo1 and it’s really cool to see it out in the world now. And the release is just timely because I still need to buy presents for some friends, and this is the perfect one to give for them. :)

You can read an introduction to the contributors and an overview of the stories included in the anthology here, and also some interviews of the authors. There’s also a spotlight on the book (and the editor!) up at the Flipside blog if you still need more info. :)

Now, to finish reading those books I have lined up so I can get started on this. :)

  1. Who is celebrating his birthday today, too — Happy birthday! []