[Book Review] Kiss and Cry – Mina V. Esguerra // a second chance sporty romance that’s also all about compromise

Honestly? I have no excuse for how long it took me to post this review. This book was so good, y’all.

As always, thank you Mina and #romanclass for the lovely ARC!

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Title: Kiss and Cry

Author: Mina V. Esguerra

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 4.5/5

Summary:

Calinda met Ramirez when she was 20 and he was 22. She was the rising star of women’s skating, and he was the superstar forward of men’s hockey. Her parents and coach were against their relationship, and because Calinda wanted to prove that no hot guy would ever distract her from her dream, she chose skating over him — and also avoided him all together.

Ten years later, they meet again as gold medalists and prominent sports advocates, still single and undeniably attracted to each other. It’s still not a good time for them, because Ramirez is retiring from hockey and moving back to the United States. Calinda doesn’t do relationships, really, and proposes they use his final three weeks in Manila to explore what might have been, and do all the things they wish they’d done (there’s a list!). Then he can leave for good, and they can both move on with their lives without this one regret.

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[Book Review] Bloom – Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau // Yuri on Ice, but in a bakery (Yuri on Icing…?)

Let me preface this review by saying that this was due over a week ago, because I am premium trash. And because JM @ Book Freak Revelations, who hosted this book tour, is a treasure of the first water, he forgave me for being late. You are the light of my life, JM!

I’m gonna ask my readers to please cut me some slack for this one, because – pause for effect – I’ve never read and reviewed a graphic novel before. I KNOW, I KNOW. My boyfriend swears I’m the devil or something (for the record, it’s one of two things he and my dad can agree on; the other is that DC has better villains but Marvel has better heroes). So I don’t have the same critical eye with assessing a comic that I do a novel, to say nothing of being able to critique the art! Nevertheless, I will try!

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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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[Book Review] Empire of Sand – Tasha Suri // a love story wrapped in a tale of survival and sacrifice

Hey there, comrades! Today I’m going to talk about Tasha Suri’s debut novel, which has been on my radar for quite some time. I even talk about it in my most anticipated 2018 releases post. When it finally dropped, I was super excited to get started – but unfortunately, my blog hiatus happened.

Well, I finally got around to reading it just before the New Year festivities, and I finally finished it the morning of January 1st! And I think this is a great way to start the year because not only did I get to add one book to my 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge, I got to add a five-star read to my 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge!

So here’s what I thought of Tasha Suri’s amazing book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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[Mini Review] #Romanceclass Recent Releases: How She Likes It and Mango Summer

Now just because I was on a blogging hiatus didn’t mean my reading had come to a complete standstill! I read a ton of books over said hiatus that I can’t wait to review – including recent #romanceclass releases, How She Likes It by Carla de Guzman and Mango Summer by Agay Llanera, both of which were launched at the last #romanceclass event, Feels Fest 2018 (read my recap here!).

After hearing the summaries of both books, I just knew I had to have them. (Also, y’all know I am a certified first-class #romanceclass ho.) Female CEO and her single father assistant? Magic mangoes on a farm in Zambales? Um, yes? I was lucky enough to get an ARC of of How She Likes It, and managed to get Mango Summer at its intro price just shortly before it was released on Amazon.

Read on the find out what I thought of these two recent #romanceclass releases!

Purchase Links:
Mango Summer
How She Likes It

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[Book Review] Mirage – Somaiya Daud // a lush Moroccan fantasy set in outer space

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Title: Mirage

Author: Somaiya Daud

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5/5

Summary:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Content warnings:  Themes of colonialism, graphic violence and injury

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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[Book Review] Second Wave Summer – Multiple Authors // romance, the beach, and a music festival

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Title: Second Wave Summer

Author: Six de los Reyes, Tara Frejas, and Jay E. Tria

Age Range: Adult

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Anthology

Rating: 4/5

Summary:

All roads lead back to beachside music festival Summer Crush for another weekend of high waves, rock & roll, and the promise of summer romance.

On any given day, Michael Brian doesn’t need to do much to hit the right notes with a girl, but there’s something about this day—and something about this girl—that’s got him out of tune.

Indie filmmaker Datu puts on his dusty event videographer hat for Summer Crush. But memories of a love he let slip away resurface from every corner of this surf town. Now what he thought would be an easy job just isn’t so easy anymore.

Corporate-highflyer-on-vacation Ringo has a question to which cookie bar boss woman Kris has the answer, if only they’d stop getting in each other’s way.

Content Warnings: Explicit sexual content

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[Book Review] From Twinkle, With Love – Sandhya Menon // film nerds, Shakespeare references, and gender-swapped Dracula

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Title: From Twinkle, With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Epistolary

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

Content Warnings: Bullying

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[Book Review] What Kind of Day – Mina V. Esguerra // a romance moonlighting as a stark look into the reality of Philippine politics

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Title: What Kind of Day

Author: Mina V. Esguerra

Age Range: Adult

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

Content Warnings: Explicit sexual content

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[Book Review] The Wrath and The Dawn – Renée Ahdieh // love, magic, and revenge in the desert

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Title: The Wrath and The Dawn

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Age Range: New Adult

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

My Rating: 3/5

Summary:

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Content Warnings: Character death

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[Book Review] Love at First Run – Angel C. Aquino // a sprinty kind of romcom featuring a hot fit nerd

Title: Love at First Run

Author: Angel C. Aquino

Age Range: New Adult

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 4/5

Summary:

After getting her heart broken, 23-year-old Diana Gomez is afraid to fall in love again. But when her office crush Paul invites her to join a running club with him, she goes for it. What she doesn’t know is that to be a part of the club, she actually has to train for a half marathon—and that she’ll meet Joshua, the handsome club veteran who becomes her unofficial running buddy. As if it isn’t hard enough to do speed work, interval training, and long runs after work and on weekends, she has to deal with her feelings for both boys and face her fears of falling in love.

Will she reach the finish line without getting herself (or her heart) injured? Journey with Diana as she reaches running milestones, overcomes obstacles, pushes herself to the limit, and discovers the strength within her… one kilometer at a time.

Content Warnings: Slut-shaming

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