15 May 2016

REVIEW: Scandalized by Tara Frejas

Woot! So happy to have read this book!
Tara Frejas' Scandalized is the first of last year's #SparkNA stories to be released. Congratulations, Tara!

Loved all the effort that Tara put into this book---from the promotional cards she distributed during #AprilFeelsDay, to the review signup sheets, and emails----everything looked so professional.

And that cover. I cannot say it enough times. That cover is simply gorgeous! Don't you agree?

Fi Legaspi is living the dream working in Seoul as a road manager for one of South Korea's hottest bands, East Genesis Project. Until she isn't.
When she finds herself in the middle of a scandal and a hostile fangirl witch hunt, Fi seeks the comfort of home, and to her surprise, not the person she had been pining for for years. All too suddenly it's no longer her career on the line, but also her heart. Will she walk away from everything that matters to her or fight to keep her dream alive?


This is something you'll really enjoy, even if you don't know anything about K-pop (I don't. Well, didn't---until this book). This made me realize the similarities and differences between the J-pop and K-pop fandoms.

But seriously, this book is more than just handsome K-pop stars and hunky PR guys (though those help too!). Because this is a book with so much heart. This is a book that just isn't about romance, it deals with the dark side of the entertainment industry and how stories are seeming manufactured from the flimsiest of evidences. This book deals with the shameful habit of (cyber)bullying, and how a few careless words and a picture or two can distort reality and ruin someone's life.

Super loved the band East Genesis, not only because they were totes adorable, but because of how much they loved Fi---how they all banded together (Hee. Pardon the pun) to help her out.

And Fi. I admired how strong she was the whole time. How she wanted the best for her band. She wanted to stay with them, yet she walked away and let them find their way without her support. How she found something worth doing.

And Carlos. Potres. Tawang-tawa ako sa kanya.

The feels were very real. And the prose was beautifully written. Grabe. As in. To illustrate, here are some of my fave quotes:

"See that's the thing. 
I never wanted to be a refrain in your head . . . 
I wanted to be the song."
- Fi  to Yihwan

- - -

"You are all my songs . . . 
But you were the one who decided 
I should stop singing."
- Yihwan to Haera

- - -

. . . Fi is Gabriel's sun, 
and right now he needs to protect her light 
before it gets snuffed out for good.

But perhaps what I loved most about the book was how real the characters felt. There were bits of IG / Twitter / IG / newsfeed posts interspersed throughout the book. And the comments---the comments helped ground the narrative. Very well done!

And OMG, so much culture packed into this one! So Pinoy, and yet so Korean. The settings, the mannerisms, the dialogue, and the food were all on point :-)

My only beef here is I wanted more of Gabe. Hahaha! 

But in the end, everything was just . . . Golden. Just right.

About Tara Frejas 

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she's not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.
Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes. Scandalized is her second novel after Paper Planes Back Home.
Fun fact: She's a Piscean. Go figure.
Want to know more about East Genesis? (They live!)


21 April 2016

#AprilFeelsDay Feels

It's been almost a week, but I still have an #AprilFeelsDay hangover. Dayum.
Almost didn't make it---the babysitter I’d engaged flaked out on me at the last minute. Good thing my brother-in-law came to the rescue.
And I got lost. Wahaha! Was supposed to meet people at Megamall and got off at the wrong station and ended up walking a good ten minutes in the scorching heat. But all’s well, we were able to get to the venue on time :-)

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I volunteered to do tarot readings, so I was in another world most of the time, but that didn't prevent me from being affected by the live readings and hooting my approval along with the rest of the crowd.
I’d planned to read the tarot for at least 25 people. After all, I’d once done 43 in one sitting. In the future, I have to remember that that record was twenty-two years ago---I was younger and more resilient. Plus I had beer and the rave party was during the nighttime. So to the people I was unable to do readings for, will do so next time! Pinky promise! :-) And will probably restrict myself to ten (or less depending on temperatures. Hahaha!) next time. Hahaha!
Other people have written better recaps than I ever will, so I’ll just stick to things I have learned from the event:
(1) Buy books early. Because they sell out FAST. Geez, I was right beside the table selling books the whole time, but still, I missed out on some titles! If you reserved books directly from the authors, get them before the event starts. If you’re an author, keep a list of people who reserved stuff, because you’ll forget in the crush;
(2) Take pictures! Or jump up when someone points a camera. Hahaha! The latter is me because I refuse to commute with a smartphone and my low-tech phone camera is simply . . . well, low-tech. So thanks to people who’ve been tagging me :-) Appreciate it;
(3) Say hi to people when you have a chance. Because it was such a crush, it was hard to reconnect with people at the other end of the room. Hahaha!
(4) Stay for the readings. I was supposed to go home early. Then British Gio happened. Homaygath. Factor that in. Hahaha; and
(5) Eat. Holy kamote. Discovered the buffet only after the readings. Dyosko, I still have major waffle hangover!
It was also pretty surreal to have ‘history’ with people I’d met for the first time. Hahaha! I must’ve said “It’s great to finally meet you!” a gazillion times! But I really, really enjoyed myself! Can’t wait for the next event!

+ + +

Thanks to everyone who bought print copies of When Cocoy Became Kikay and Be Careful What You Wish For! Hope you enjoy them!

+ + +

Thanks to everyone who stopped to say hi! And to the kind souls who made paypay during the worst of the afternoon heat. Aylabyuporeber!

10 February 2016

Release Day Blitz: Minsan Pa by Jessica F. Larsen

Hi y'all! Joining Jessica E. Larsen's release day blitz! Congrats on your new book, Jessica! 
Read on and don't forget to join the giveaway at the bottom!

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Title: Minsan Pa
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Drama
Word count: 37,300 words
Natutong mahalin ni Neena si Yuusuke noong teenagers pa lamang sila. Subalit sobra siyang nasaktan sa bigla nitong pagkawala ng walang paalam. Sa paglipas ng mga taon wala siyang naging balita rito maliban sa mga scandal nitong nababasa niya sa mga magazines. But after eleven years, Yuusuke's back as her boss at muling pinalalambot ang puso niyang akala niya ay naging bato na pagdating sa pag-ibig.

NANG nasa labasan na sila ng squatters' area ay hindi mapigilan ni Neena ang mapanganga sa kotseng itinuro sa kanya ni Isabella. Hindi nga nagsisinungaling ang kapatid. Napakagara nga ng makintab na kulay asul na kotse. Tinted ang salamin nito kaya hindi nila makita kung sino ang nasa loob, pero sa gara noon ay halos matatakot ang sinuman na hipuin man lang ang sasakyan dahil baka magasgasan. Nakontento na lang sa pagtingin ang mga tao sa paligid maliban kay Neena na patuloy ang paghakbang palapit sa kotse at kinatok ang salamin na agad namang bumaba. 
Mukha ni Yuusuke ang tumambad sa kanya.
“Ano'ng ginagawa mo rito sa lugar namin?” matabang na tanong niya.
“Dinadalaw ka.”
“Hindi pa ako pinaglalamayan, bumalik ka na lang pagtanda ko.” Nagngingitngit ang kalooban na tinalikuran niya ito. Ewan niya kung bakit siya sabay na natuwa at nainis nang makita si Yuusuke. Naiinis siya dahil simula nang tapatin niya ito ay hindi na ito muling nagpakita pa. Pero ngayon namang dumalaw ito, hindi rin niya mapagbawalan ang suwail niyang puso na huwag matuwa.
“Neena wait!” tawag ni Yuusuke sa kanya. Lumabas ito ng kotse at hinabol siya papasok sa squatter. Lahat ng babae ay napalingon pagkakita rito. 

Get Minsan Pa here: 

About Jessica Larsen

Jessica E. Larsen is an author of contemporary romance, YA, NA and Paranormal stories. She writes in both English and Taglish/Filipino language.

Jessica’s not hundred percent sure what her characters are thinking, but most of the heroine in her stories love to bite her head off and fall for the guy they dislike, then blame her for their misery.

When she's not writing, you'll find her reading or creating digital art.

Jessica doesn’t like doing housework, but love hearing from her readers. She might be late at times, but she always takes the time to reply to comments and messages.

Connect with Jessica Larsen today!

Join the Giveaway!

Click the link for the chance to win a $5 Amazon gift certificate and a copy of Minsan Pa!