Sassy romance with a dose of new release alerts and book recommendations.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Emerald Pep Rally | Review | Settle the Score and Hustle Play by Tara Frejas


Settle the Score

College senior Garnet Figueroa lives and breathes basketball. A reliable asset to her varsity team, she is equipped with the skills and smarts to get the De La Sierra Lady Hunters closer to this year’s championship title. But Garnet soon finds out that her good friend (and long-time crush), cheerdancer Charles Crisostomo, is being cheated on by his girl, and she lets her emotions get the best of her.

Will she be able to come up with a game plan to save herself from heartbreak before the buzzer signals Game Over?

Hustle Play

Running on pure adrenaline and working with game strategies is something a basketball player like Garnet Figueroa is trained for. On the court, she is unbeatable. Off the court... that's a completely different story.

Because falling in love is trickier than a ball game, and Garnet finds herself fumbling over her feelings for Charles Crisostomo. The fact that her attention gets divided between him and rival school hard-court hottie Chris Barcelo doesn't help.

Or does it?


I was never a big fan of the friends-to-lovers trope and instead preferred books where the characters went from driving each other crazy to being, you know, crazy about each other.

Tara Frejas, however, changed my mind with Settle the Score and Hustle Play.

Basketball ace Garnet and male cheerleader Charles won me over instantly. Garnet is the type of person who isn’t good with words. She prefers showing her feelings through actions, and this can be seen in the way she takes care of the people close to her. I loved her strength as a character.

Charles is also totally adorable. I was fascinated with his backstory, especially the part about how he became a male cheerleader. He’s charming and easy to be with, but he also has a tendency to make bad decisions. This makes him feel even more real, like maybe you could run into someone as swoon-worthy in real life. Haha.

I loved seeing how their easygoing yet steadfast friendship developed into something more. Yes, they were attracted to each other, but that was just the cherry on top of being with a wonderful, kind person. The sneak peeks into what I like to call their Pre-Messy Feelings Stage felt real and relatable. They supported each other through difficult times, doled out tough love when necessary, and laughed through, um, awkward situations. Charles and Garnet = #relationshipgoals.

People always make a big deal about instant attraction, but there’s a lot to be said about feelings that develop over time, about having faith that this particular person is always going to be there. Who knew falling in love with your comfort zone could be so freaking romantic?

On second thought, it’s always been romantic, and it’s my fault for not appreciating it until now.

Settle the Score and Hustle Play are perfect reads for when you’re in bed on a lazy Sunday. The book does have a love story that’ll make even the most bitter of hearts feel things, but it’s still firmly grounded in reality, you know? Basically, this is me telling you to go read it. Right now.

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About the Author

TARA FREJAS is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not in work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

While not exactly a huge basketball fanatic, she does love and support the national team, Gilas Pilipinas (Hi, Gabe Norwood! Hee~) and has a tendency to get rather emotional watching their games.

In a parallel universe where she doesn’t have asthma, Tara played for her high school and college basketball teams as a shooting guard. She wore jersey number 21, and ended her college career with triple-double averages. In short, beast mode ang ate niyo. Pak.

Her other print-on-demand titles include Paper Planes Back Home, The “Forget You” Brew, and Scandalized.

Get in touch with the author:
Twitter: @tarafrejas
Instagram: @tarafrejas

Want more indie romance books in your life? Go to for more than a hundred titles by Filipino authors!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review | Well Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza


Amazon | Gooodreads

Patrice Reyes is starting her junior year at the University and she's convinced it's going to be the best semester ever. For starters, it looks like this is the year her team will win the regional football (soccer, for you Yanks) championships. Her subjects are looking good, and there's even a chance she might finally get somewhere with her rock star crush. But a new classmate—arrogant, cold math nerd—is seriously throwing off her groove. Will she ever get rid of him and have the awesome semester she deserves? Or is there truth to never judging (math) books by their cover?


Reader reactions to retellings of beloved classics often fall under two camps.

A) The author gets the characters wrong, forcing the reader hurl the book in the direction of the nearest wall and scream, "NO! I don't care if this is a retelling. Elizabeth Bennett/Jane Eye/Sherlock Holmes would never do that shit!"

B) The author gets everything right. You get the sense that the characters are basically the same people you first loved, but you get to see them in a different setting. This might be the literary nerd in me talking, but that's what makes retellings so darn enjoyable.

Well Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza falls under B.

I adored Patrice and Paul, the book's versions of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Patrice is a varsity player for her university's football team. It was wonderful seeing how she was so focused on her schoolwork, football, and her friends. Girl's got goals, something I always enjoy reading about. As a character, I enjoyed seeing her realize her impressions of people weren't always right.

And Paul! Sorry, Patrice, but he's my favorite character in the entire book.
There are plenty of love stories where the hero is charming but still a total alphahole. Paul is the exact opposite of that. He has no social skills whatsoever and comes across a jerk despite being a great guy.

Since the book is told mostly from Patrice's point-of-view, I enjoyed her reactions to his awkward attempts at flirting and cringed on his behalf. The boy has no game. At all. But it only made his efforts seem even more sincere.

The author made the setting come alive for me as well. I attended a university in my hometown, so I never had to live in a boarding house or a dormitory. As a result, I enjoyed living the dormitory life vicariously through Patrice and her friends--buying barbecue from a stall right outside, enduring a roommate's band practice on the terrace, and a bunch of other experiences depicted in the book.

If you want something sweet that'll reach inside your chest and tug at your heartstrings, I highly recommend this Pride and Prejudice adaptation with a setting that'll make you want to be a college student again. Crazy extracurricular activities and all.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Prom Queen Perfect is Free Until 11.13.16!

Prom Queen Perfect is *FREE* until November 13, 2016. Yay, right? You can get your copy right here.

Warning: It contains a sarcastic anti-heroine, one major makeover, red lipstick, and an exasperated boy said heroine might or might not hate. It depends.

Once you're done reading, I would highly appreciate reviews on Goodreads and/or on Amazon.
© Clarisse David
Maira Gall