Reposted from my previous blog.
Would you do a set of dares to prove someone wrong? Would you risk your friendship so you can find love? Would you admit your real feelings? There are a lot of complications when it comes to finding love. Get the feels when you read these sweet stories.
I was given an Advance Review Copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest opinion.
Plain Vanilla by Ines-Bautista Yao
Despite her quirky name and equally quirky family, 16-year-old Tempest Juan knows she’s ordinary. After reading a comment on Facebook which likened her to vanilla ice cream, Tempest decides she has to do something about it or be forever branded as plain, lukewarm, and well, vanilla. It doesn’t help that the comment was made by Paco Lorenzo, her cousin’s cute friend (no longer cute in her book!). When she happens upon a book of dares, she decides to attempt each one, no matter how hard. This is her personality at stake, after all. But somehow, Paco, the cause of all this, finds a way to be at every dare Tempest attempts, confusing her and forcing her to question what’s really going on inside her heart.
Review: Ines is one of my favorite authors because she always comes up with sweet stories that never fail to pull my heartstrings. And Plain Vanilla wasn’t an exemption. I love vanilla ice cream! In fact I’ll choose that flavor anytime, anywhere—plain, boring, colorless be damned. This book would make you think of ice cream flavors in a larger, more mature scale. I love that this book covered a lot of relatable bases like family, friendship, school. You’d be amazed at how on point each of those was. Like the Juans throwing in a themed-party for an event that was not-so-throwable-worthy. Crazy family. Or Tempest’s even crazier cousins pushing her to exceed her limits because, well, Tempest was such a vanilla as Paco said. What with the crazy and talented Juans, Tempest seemed to be the only ordinary. Thus, proving him wrong and choosing to challenge herself with dares from the Book of Dares. (Ines included some of those dares in the book that us readers may want to try. I’m trying one!) Little did Pesty know that’s exactly what made her stand out of all the Juans and Paco crazy for her. Or the prom that most girls are waiting for their entire highschool life. Take note of that last one because you’re in for a treat with that scene. Sweet, warm and sooo Paco!
Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.
She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head: http://theeverydayprojectblog.com/inesbyao-author-project/
Once Upon A Sticky Note by Kristel Ann Cruz
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.
Review: I looove sticky notes! There’s something about them that’s so cute and can make you feel like you’re very organized. Even when you’re not. Sticky notes were overly used by the inseparable best of friends Nat and Tan as form of communication in class. And also because Tan loves to write that she wanted to take creative writing in college. I admire how both characters could easily read each other the way usual best friends do. Tan was very thoughtful of Nat and so was Nat to Tan. You have to prepare yourselves with a little complication that will arise there but fret not, because it’ll be worth it! By the time you reached the ending, you’ll end up swooning—that I’m sure of!
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.
One Lovely Summer Day by Amae Dechavez
Kwento ng Pag-Ibig, Pangarap, at Pag-asa… Sa Pila, Laguna, bakasyon at abala ang lahat sa bahay nila Tiya Isidra—“general cleaning” ika ng matanda. Bukod pa roon ay darating si Maylie, ang paboritong pamangkin niyang galing ng Maynila. Gaya ng inaasahan, naroon si Ethan para tumulong sa paglilinis at paghahanda. Bagamat mukhang tahimik ang dalaga, unang sulyap pa lang ay agad na nagandahan at nabaitan si Ethan sa kaniya. Naging matalik na magkaibigan ang dalawa. Sa isang di inaasahang pangyayari at proyektong kailangang lutasin nilang dalawa, lalong napalapit si Ethan at Maylie sa isa-isa. Gayun pa man, alam ni Ethan na isang araw ay aalis din si Maylie at maiiwan siya. Sasabihin ba niya kay Maylie ang nararamdaman niya?
Review: From the settings (think Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo era), to the characters (witty Maylie and gentleman, down-to-earth, typical probinsyano boy Ethan. Ohhh Ethan, I love you!) and their easy, playful and funny conversations (see quotations below), One Lovely Summer Day no doubt tops the list of kilig stories out of the six in this bundle. I was like travelling back in my childhood days where time seemed to stop and I just have to enjoy a perfect, endless summer with my friends. It also didn’t hurt that this book was infused with Philippine culture (e.g. bayanihan). You don’t just get a book which will leave you wanting for more but a story with more depth for a YA novella. The language used to tell the story (Filipino) made the feels even more felt and relatable.
Maylie: Ang gusto ko bitawan mo muna ‘yung kamay ko. Chancing ka na eh!
Ethan: Tipong banat ko sa mga girls na, ‘Sorry, kailangang mag-aral muna ako, hindi kita pwedeng maging girlfriend (bukod sa hipon ka)’
Ethan: Gusto mo bilhan na lang kita ng lobo?
Maylie: Lobo? Ano ‘ko? Bata?
I can’t remember how many times I doubled over laughing at both of them! Gosh, I’m easy! Haha. With that, Amae just scored a spot under my Most Favorite Authors list.
Amae Dechavez (amaeauthor) is a blogger, fiction author, YA novelist, and children’s book writer. She was born in Quezon City, Manila in 1983 and has a Penn Foster diploma in Child Daycare Management. She has been authoring for several digital distributor hubs in (the Philippines) and has been writing for many free online/ social media platforms. When not hugging or arguing with her dog, you can find her at Writerscafe.org.
Travel of Two by Irish Fleur
Biyahe mag-isa? Check! Isa na namang item sa bucket list ni Isobel ang matutupad. Sino bang hindi magiging masaya kapag nagawa mo na ang gusto mo? Pero hindi lang pala si Isobel ang nagso-solo travel–si Arty rin. Si Arty na suplado, na-friendzone, makulit, at nakilala ni Isobel sa paglalakbay niya. At kahit ganito si Arty, mas naging exciting ang pagbiyahe ni Isobel.
So, magka-boyfriend… mache-check din nga ba ito ni Isobel sa sa bucket list niya?
Review: If One Lovely Summer Day gave me all the kilig feels, Travel of Two left me smiling like a freaking lunatic until the very end. Isobel and Arty were very cuuuute together! And don’t get me started on how each of them has a kulit side of their own. Isobel was chatty, know-it-all girl even to strangers like Arty, who was snob at first but definitely straight-to-the-point kind of guy. Arty was smart and charming (I mean who gives puto then asks if he could court the girl? Arty—that’s who!) and so was Isobel who seemed to resist Arty’s charms and kulit but really failing that’s why I felt like they belong to each other already. I imagined myself being there with them while travelling by sea and land and getting lost in their conversation while they get to know one another because I’m nosy like that. Hey, can’t blame me! Both of them were really adorable! But put together? Crazy! Haha! I’m sure I was screaming mooooore! in my head by the time I learned I had reached the ending.
Irish, if you’re reading, #LAMNADIS! I hope you get that. ;)
Irish Fleur is a Licensed Pharmacist, cat lover and travel junkie who loves writing since she was seven years old.
D’01 by Sassy Fova
Kat Arcanghel has just turned 18 and she feels that it is the right time to fall in love. She finds herself falling for Alech Crisologo, but she has always thought of herself as adeviant/rebel and there’s nothing more mainstream than crushing on the guy that everybody loves, thus she fights her feelings and tries to search for the right one—just not him.
Will Kat continue rebelling against her own heart, or will she let her heart conquer the battle and let it lead the way? She’ll find the answer when she meets D’01.
Review: Set in one of the places I want to go to before I die, Vigan City, D’01 made me feel like I was really there. Good job at that Sassy! Kat was our rebellious heroine but she got valid reasons for doing what she did while Alech was our rich kid, totally hot and handsome and perfect and hello-he’s-a-Crisologo (Calle Crisologo? Ring a bell?) hero. And Kat’s best friend, Sheena? She’s freaking brilliant! I like her. She lawyered Kat into thinking how Kat seemed to be so sure of herself that she thought she’s smarter than Sheena until Sheena made her realized she’s not.
Kat was an Econ student that’s why she thought she knew better about investments when Sheena asked her about it and long-term profit, until…
Kat: I’d be happy for a while if I invest on Alech. He is rich and smart.
Sheena: And good looking.
K: But in the long term, I will not be happy. It will be a relationship that will not end in marriage; I do not fit his lifestyle; I am not good enough for him or his family; He doesn’t even like me to begin with!
S: So why Marvin?
K: Marvin is a good investment. He is a gentleman; he is a responsible son so, he will surely be a responsible husband and father; […] and he likes me. In short, a relationship with Alech will not end well, while a relationship with Marvin is a sure deal.
S: What if Alech likes you?
K: He doesn’t. Think about the long-term happiness. The SURE DEAL.
S: Now, can you tell me about being a good investor?
Kat: A good investor is a risk taker…
See? Now who’s smarter? I have mixed feelings about this book but it doesn’t mean I hate it. More than the Alech-Kat moments, I think the story was a lot about relationship restoration. The pacing was just a bit slow for my liking and the ending was quick. I was expecting more of them at the very least. Most the time I was chanting in my head “Hey, Alech, man up!” or “What the hell, Kat? Seriously?” I also had to disagree with the author about a comparison regarding a certain thing on the book but that’s just me and my fear of that thing. Overall, the book was still good! I was blown away by that unexpected twist that everything made sense at laaast! I was hurt, swooned and cheered for both of them until the end. I’m definitely hoping for more of these two! I want more of this sweet Alech that almost everybody didn’t know about.
Sassy Fova is just your average girl from Ilocos Norte, PH. Sassy is a hopeless romantic who’s got her head in the clouds, and comes back down just long enough to write about it. Being an Ilocana, she is thrifty, but she spares none when it comes to sharing all the love.
Same by Charm Lee
Of all places, Atasha never thought that she would end up in a hospital on this specific day. Rush was looking forward to just enjoying the day.
But with the white walls and medical noises around them, two young and very different souls cross paths. Rush and Atasha discover that even if they are as alike as night and day, they aren’t as different as they thought after all.
Review: Well despite how short (don’t let the length of a book stop you from reading this one) this particular story was (though, it wouldn’t hurt if only the author extended it a little bit) , I still enjoyed it! How could I not? It was told in two POVs (both by Rush and Atasha), you could really feel there’s a simmering attraction between the two of them because they have a lot in common (food, sense of humor, mothers) and that they super get along well the moment they met, and most importantly, I’d like to think fate brought them together AKA serendipity. Feel good, funny book that would make you crave for more! If only it were longer, I’d definitely be upping my score.
Oh my gosh, you’re still reading?! You must love me then! Haha! Kidding aside, thank you for staying! You don’t know how much that means to me!
Dear authors of Sweet Complications
I demand a full-length novel for each story! Pretty please???? Willing to wait here and even to send over sweet treats your way! Just, you know, please? Full-length novel?