Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott



4/5


I'm a big fan of Kylie Scott's Stage Dive series. I haven't finished Ben's book though. Something happened somewhere in the middle of it that just didn't motivate me to keep going. Eventually, I'll finish it but even if that fourth book didn't quite do it for me, I'm still a fan of the series, the characters and the writing. Scott is one of the best voices of New Adult out there—upbeat, blunt and funny. 

There are no famous rock stars in this new book (well, there might be but this books' not about them) and I would almost say that the whole scene's been a bit scaled down. We're not out in the spotlight like we were in the first series but music is still definitely a huge part of it. This is a bit more about average people falling in love which can be refreshing in a sea of books about rock stars and CEOs. But just because they're more regular Joes doesn't mean the male lead isn't as hot as hell. And like most of Scott's heroines, Lydia isn't physically perfect but has the attitude and smarts to make her irresistible. This is one of the things that I adore about her works.

I'm not going to spoil too much of the story but Lydia and Vaughn's fast friendship quickly turns into more and not before long, they find themselves questioning the decisions they'd made before they met and the dreams they'd dreamed without each other. They're two people in very shitty times in their lives, both struggling for something, both insisting they don't need more than what they're settling with. 

I enjoyed this story a lot. I read it during the flights to and from New York last month. The fact that I didn't finish this in one sitting signifies that I wasn't as obsessed with it as I was with the first three Stage Dive books but it was still a good, sexy, funny read and I'll definitely be picking up the rest of the series.




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Monday, May 9, 2016

Never Forgetting New York City



I've always told myself that the first place I'd ever visit outside of the Philippines would be New York City.

Of course, that didn't happen because I first moved to Canada but nonetheless, it's always been on my bucket list.

It's hard not to be fascinated with the iconic city when you see so much of it in your beloved books, movies and TV shows. It's not just a place—it's a culture, a sense of identity, a catch in time where the old and new mix merrily, a world with its own beat.

I was lucky enough to have gotten the opportunity to visit with my hubby tagging along.

I'd already made him promise we'd go to New York when I hit the big 3-0 but since the opportunity came up, we thought we'd speed up the timeline just a little bit.

We only had a handful days there but we did our best to see and experience as much as we physically could. From pounding the pavement as we walked block after block to taking the subway everywhere and keeping pace with the hardworking locals, we tried to get a real feel of what it's like living in a place many people only dream about.

I would go back in a heartbeat because there's still so much to experience but even if the next opportunity isn't coming around anytime soon, I'm still happy we got to go.

Just as promised, New York City is unforgettable.

Its memories live in my heart forever.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Home of a Heart on AZN Modern

In case you guys missed it, check out this article about The Home of a Heart.

That book is close to my heart because so much of it comes from my origins, my own life, my own love story.

To Filipino readers out there, check out its Tagalog version also in Wattpad.

Check out the article here!

The Home of a Heart at AZN Modern

Check out the story here!

The Home of a Heart on Wattpad




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Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Barrage of Updates

Hello everyone!

I know it's been forever since I've been here, thanks to some domain issues I wasn't technical enough to sort through.

The year 2015 has come and gone so we'll just start over in this new year where there are so many other exciting things to come!

Before we do, here are just some highlights from last year that might be worth checking out.

1. The Mischievous Mrs. Maxfield on cosmopolitan.com

I was so thrilled to be featured at one of the most popular magazine sites in the planet.

Check it out through the link here: TMMM on Cosmo


2. A Year of Short Stories

I was excited to work with several brands last year, creating short stories that take readers into different worlds. I know I'm notorious for lengthy books but I was surprised to realize that I enjoyed writing short stories. I used to write them a lot in high school and college when I was writing for the school paper but it's been a long time. There's something about highlighting a certain arch in a story and capturing the essence of the tale in those few short chapters.

You can find them all through their links below!

At The Crossing inspired by the Nicholas Sparks's book and movie



Designs of Destiny inspired by the movie Age of Adaline




Pitching Happy inspired by the the Lays Wavy experience



The Home of a Heart inspired by the CIBC's efforts to bridge the financial needs of family and friends worldwide.
Kahit Nasaan Ka Man is its Tagalog version which had been fun to write!



3. New On-Going Story - When Stars Burn

I was so happy to have been able to start posting this story. Star is quite different from a lot of my female leads and her story reaches deeper into the shadows of our heart. I'm about halfway through this story and I hope to complete it by end of May.

Check it out through the link here: When Stars Burn




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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wattpad Writers Get to Shine!

This may be a small thing to others but this is phenomenal news for me.

An article in Entertainment Wise featured Anna Todd's skyrocketing journey from Wattpad-writing to publishing success. It also went on to list ten writers that are up and coming in Wattpad.

It's crazy to think about it, especially considering some of the names that are on the list, but I'm quite pleased to find myself listed. To think this was just me finding somewhere I could write more freely at first.

Wattpad in itself has grown to an incredible level—ripe with talents and opportunities and still very much evolving.

I just count myself lucky to be part of that circle.

If you want to check out that list, here you go: 10 Wattpad Writers That Could Be The Next Big Thing.

Congratulations to everyone on the list! =)


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: Lead by Kylie Scott



4/5

Lead is the third instalment in Kylie Scott's highly addictive Stage Dive series.

This is my second review because after I read the second one, I was in such a crazy, euphoric state I couldn't write and then I put it off and never got around to it. Which is fine because now I have an excuse to read it all over again so I could give it a proper review as it so rightfully deserves.

I was so looking forward to Jimmy's story that I called up a dozen book stores within three cities to see which one would have it on launch date and then I had my husband drive us in crappy winter conditions to pick up a copy. It was worth it.



First of all, the whole cast of the series is a fun, cool group to hang out with so I was looking forward to seeing the lot of them again in this book. It was good to see familiar characters in the periphery without their stories flooding this one. I've seen it happen before and it's painful (Beautiful Oblivion, anyone?)

Now, Jimmy and Lena immediately intrigued me when there were glimpses of them in Play. For one, Jimmy was such an a**hole in Book 1 that it made me curious what it would take to turn his world on its ear. And Lena had me piqued with the cool chic-nerd glasses and the unflappable attitude towards Jimmy.

Jimmy did not surprise me that he was still the same jerk he was in the first book. He was clean but he was still a bit of a crude ass. While I personally do not care for the swearing and mulish attitude, it fit in with Jimmy somehow. He wasn't kidding when he told Lena he wasn't a great guy. But what I do find commendable in all of this is that Scott actually integrated Jimmy and the flawed, impossible and infuriating character that he's supposed to be in one seamless persona. He didn't read like a character with multiple personalities (the one the author wants him to be and the one he comes across as). I was quite convinced that Jimmy really was the kind of guy you wanted far away from you if you weren't ready for an exhausting non-relationship-relationship. That conviction is important because I wasn't sitting there thinking, 'God, Lena. He's the perfect guy for you and here you are just being dumb and clueless about it. What are you waiting for?' I really felt like, 'God, Lena. He is not going to be easy. Life with him isn't going to be a walk in the park? Are you sure you're ready for this? I'll hold your hand, okay? And call me the moment shit hits the roof and I'll come smack him.'

Jimmy, up to the last page of the book, remained the gruff, brusque, no-niceties kind of guy and that was alright with me. Lots of people wouldn't agree because love is supposed to transform that kind of guy. In reality though, love doesn't always have the magical powers of romantic fictional prose. I'm saying this and I write guys readers want to order off Amazon because they are modern-day princes. Some guys will always have a tougher exterior. Jimmy was neither prince nor poet. He was crude a lot but he didn't strike me as evil. Some days, you wanted to run him off the road but deep down, he cared and in time, we could only hope that his relationship with Lena, and the kind of stability he'd missed in the first twenty-something years of his life, would soften those rough edges. Doesn't mean he'd be polished and shined then.

It takes a certain kind of girl to take Jimmy by the horns because while in this modern day and age we like to say that looks don't matter, they do, at least superficially, and since we have layers to the soul, there will always be a superficial side to us. And Jimmy's rockstar looks and bad-boy vibe make a combination potent enough to at least distract you from seeing the full picture right away.



I actually really enjoyed Lena's character.  She made me laugh so hard so many times. Her voice was vibrant and rich and highly entertaining. Her dry wit, self-depracating humor and sparkling comebacks made her the perfect antidote to Jimmy's overly brooding character. She spoke plainly, stirred him up and out and gave him sh*t when he deserved it. I loved how she was as a person. She knew her vulnerabilities and was very human about them. She had insecurities but didn't seem that hung up on them. She had bad relationships and terrible taste in picking people to surround herself with. While I couldn't directly relate to her exact example, I understood that many of us are like that in life in general—prone to the things we know aren't good for us but unable to stay far away for good. Sure, she gushed and pined for him but let's be honest here. Who doesn't do that (at least internally) when thrown in such close quarters with someone you want but can't have? I'm less sentimental than most people but I'm not made of wood. Lena wants love but she's had to toughen up. Anyone who'd suffered tough blows and got herself back on her feet because she deserved better would always be a bit of a contradiction that way. Lena knew she wasn't perfect but she was comfortable with herself and I liked that, no matter what body type her character may have been given. It's so easy as an author to decide to write about someone with body issues. You can tell a reader that. But it's an entirely different thing to make a reader feel what the character feels about who she is. There's an honesty to Scott's writing that makes her characters very grounded and relatable—even the rockstars. Lena embraced who she was, even her sexuality which I know lots of other authors write about in their books nowadays. I've read a book where someone's sexual liberation was so overly emphasized it felt like I'd stuck my nose right on an open bottle of very strong perfume. I get it, I get it. This doesn't have to sound, or read, like an oration of just how much you want to 'bump uglies' and how you should be able to do it all the time because you are empowered, etc, etc. Go, do it, whatever. I won't judge. But I won't sit here and have the knowledge of it crammed down my throat either.

So, back to the book before I start ranting about something else entirely... I loved how seemingly ordinary it started. I know some people seem unimpressed that there was no dramatic first meeting (although I personally thought their first meeting was quite amusing) or any grand falling in love twist. When they started out, they weren't heading there, which was a great thing sometimes because then it didn't feel too.. inevitable (which is a little ironic for me because I do want my romance books to feel a bit inevitable). It was like you could see it coming but with so many ups and downs, you could almost be certain that it might just not happen. I liked that it kept me on the edge, which was pretty much what Lena and Jimmy did to each other.

I enjoyed this story a lot because it made me feel a lot of things. The sex was pretty blunt and there was no shortage of dirty talk but that only made it more interesting than most. The dialogue was well-paced and felt easy and natural, even when they were saying incredulous things.




The end, while it was not the kind of declaration scene worthy of a blockbuster romantic comedy, felt pretty appropriate actually because I could just not picture out Jimmy doing it smoothly and perfectly. It would be too big a gap from who he was as a character if he suddenly swooped down in a horse like a white knight. It's just not Jimmy. But it doesn't mean he shortchanged Lena. While we mutter about his less-than-sterling manners, Jimmy really felt like he was struggling for ground when it came to dealing with people, not just women. You could feel him fumbling and finding no purchase sometimes, even with his brother. He still had a long way to go but coming to Lena like that was no small step. It was no big leap to prince charming either but it humbled him enough to own his actions this time around.

Ben's story is next and I think I know where it's going but as with the three Kylie Scott books I've read this year, I might still be very pleasantly surprised.

Read more reviews about it here in: Lead by Kylie Scott


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Best of Me



"Love like that doesn't go away. It's here with us forever."


They say first love never dies...

It only goes from one lifetime to the next.

Who could resist tales of first love? I know I can't.

There's something magical about first love—the ups and downs, the wrongs and the rights, the world and you.

Sometimes, the world wins. Sometimes, we lose the first thing we feel we can never live without.

And sometimes, we live lost only to find our way back again.

I love this story.

I love the fragility of first love and its incredible strength at the same time, enduring time and the worst and best of us.

October 17—along with Dawson and Amanda, we'll fall in love all over again.


*Image from pagetopremiere.com
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