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

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cover Reveal | The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis

Today is the cover reveal for The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis. The author and I became friends over Twitter, and she's an amazing person and writer.

So, without further ado, here's the gorgeous cover of her new book:


Summary

Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.

A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.

Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.

Author Info

M. Hollis could never decide what to do with her life. From the time she was a child, she has changed her ideas for a career hundreds of times. After writing in hidden notebooks during classes and daydreaming during every spare moment of her day, she decided to fully dedicate herself to her stories. When she isn’t scrolling around her social media accounts or reading lots of femslash fanfiction, you’ll find her crying about female characters and baking cookies.

Contact: lillactown@gmail.com

Links

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33299493-the-paths-we-choose
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6302358.M_Hollis

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Excerpt | Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

Keeping the Distance will be out in less than two weeks! Right now, it's on sale for 0.99. The price will go up to 2.99 on February 6, 2017. If you want to grab a copy, I suggest you go get one now. *wink. wink. nudge. nudge* CLICK HERE.

Anyway, I thought I'd share an excerpt from the book with you today. It's a scene that literally made me laugh out loud while I was writing it.

Here it is:

***

“Sorry, but being another notch on your bedpost isn’t my lifelong ambition.” Melissa didn’t even bother to turn around. She merely leaned back on her chair and crossed her arms over her chest, the movement bringing her neck closer to his face.

The smell of lavender struck him with sudden force. His eyes were drawn once more to the constellation-shaped moles on her neck and wandered down to the vague outline of a bra clasp showing through her white blouse. That outline alone tilted his world on its axis.

If she could tell what he was thinking, she was going to wrap her fancy braid around his neck and simply pull.

He cleared his throat and shook his head even if she couldn’t see him. “I never said being a notch on my bedpost was your lifelong ambition, just your deepest, darkest fantasy.”

A squeak of indignation escaped Melissa’s lips, and the gravity in his world was restored. They were back on equal footing as her cheeks turned red.

His eyes were back on her neck again. He wasn’t doing himself any favors by sitting there and ogling her neck, like a thirteen-year-old who was getting his first look at a real pair of boobs.

Needing to get a grip on himself, he attempted to go talk to one of his teammates who sat a few rows away. Attempted was the keyword. He pushed himself off his chair, but it wouldn’t budge. It had attached itself to his slacks, some sort of superglue seeping through the fabric and latching onto his skin.

“You did this,” he said to the back of Melissa’s head, unable to keep the reluctant admiration out of his voice.

This time, she deigned to glance at him over her shoulder. Her face the picture of innocence, she said, “Prove it.”

Un-freaking-believable.

But all the smugness evaporated from her face when Mr. Rodriguez, their Physics teacher, walked into the room. No matter how smart you thought you were, there was always one thing you overlooked when you were new to the art of troublemaking.

Melissa forgot to plan for the aftermath. It showed in the way she nervously doodled in her notebook, each stroke leaving a deep dent on the pages. He didn’t have much of a choice since he was glued to his seat, but he was going to enjoy the coming fireworks show.

In fact, he was going to milk every minute of it.

Mr. Rodriguez soon filled the blackboard with equations and formulas that barely made sense to any of them. When he noticed that most of their eyes were glazing over, he stopped, his gaze bouncing around the room in search of his next target. His eyes locked on Lance. “Mr. Ordonez, you seem to be uncharacteristically quiet today. Why don’t you go to the front of the room and regale us with your answer to this problem?”

Lance knew as much about the class discussion as he did about his father’s daily life in Manila.
Absolutely nothing.

He gained a sense of satisfaction when Melissa’s face turned as white as the notebook page she was writing on, knowing full well he couldn’t stand up without dragging his chair to the front of the room.

“I’d love to, Mr. Rodriguez, but I can’t.” Lance tried to keep his voice even. He watched Melissa’s grip tighten on her pen, her knuckles turning white with exertion.

“And why not? Can’t you grace us mere mortals with your presence?” Mr. Rodriguez raised his bushy eyebrows.

“Melissa’s beauty is binding me to my seat.”

It wasn’t that far from the truth.

Under other circumstances and with any other teacher, the class would’ve tittered with laughter by that point, but their Physics teacher was like some dark, pulsating thing that sucked joy out of the atmosphere.

No one even dared to smile.

“I’m not kidding.” Mr. Rodriguez said, narrowing his eyes. “Come here and answer this problem before I make you.”

He shook his head. “I can’t.”

“Well, then, I don’t have a choice, Mr. Ordonez.” Mr. Rodriguez’s face hardened, a line forming between his eyebrows. “Get out of my classroom.”

He scratched the back of his head, looking at his teacher in exasperation. “I can’t do that, either.”
Then class went so still you could hear people breathing. It was common knowledge that no one in his more than twenty years of teaching had ever defied Mr. Rodriguez. The man had no mercy when it came to failing students and was quite trigger-happy with his red pen.

“And why not?” A dangerous look glinted in Mr. Rodriguez’s eyes. He started bouncing a stick of chalk in his left hand, almost salivating at the prospect of kicking him out of Saint Agnes Catholic Academy.

Lance had no other choice but to tell the truth. He sighed. “Because, Mr. Rodriguez, I happen to be glued to my chair.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cover Reveal | Keeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo #1) by Clarisse David

Today, I finally get to show you the cover of Keeping the Distance!

Are you ready?

Really?

Are you sure?!?!

Okay. Let's do this.

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It's gorgeous if I do say so myself. My friend, Dan, designed it for me. He's an amazing artist and totally got my vision for the cover. Maj and Carl, two co-workers, agreed to model. They even checked out my Pinterest board for Keeping the Distance, so they could pick out outfits my characters would actually wear. So, so thankful.


Aside from the cover reveal, I also have some news for you. Keeping the Distance is now available for pre-order and will only be 0.99 until release day (February 6, 2017)! I highly recommend getting a copy before the price goes up to 2.99. *wink. wink. nudge. nudge*

Thursday, January 19, 2017

3 Romance Writing Lessons from Korean Dramas


Korean dramas lure you in with seemingly simple premises, pretty boys, and hard-working but “plain” heroines you can relate to.

You tell yourself you’re only going to watch one episode, but emerge hours later looking like one of the undead. Before you know it, you’re telling your friends you’re busy on weekends, so you can stay in for a marathon.

In case you couldn’t tell by this point, I have a serious addiction to Korean dramas. I also happen to be a writer.

With those two traits combined, I often find myself overanalyzing my favorite Korean dramas in search of ways to further improve my writing. Why did the friends-turned-lovers trope work so well in Weightlifting Fairy: Kim Bok Joo? What was so great about Yoo Si Jin from Descendants of the Sun? Most importantly, why is Nam Joo Hyuk so HOT?!?!?!

Now that we have that out of the way, let me share some of the things I’ve learned about writing romance from Korean dramas.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. You’ve been warned.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book News | 2017 Publishing Schedule

This is a little late, but I still want to announce my grand plans for 2017.

Keeping the Distance will be released on February 6, 2017. If you follow me on any of my social media accounts, you’re probably sick of hearing me scream about it.

However, I failed to tell you that Keeping the Distance is the first book in my first-ever series. The series is called I Heart Iloilo, and it’s going to be a bunch of YA/NA novels set in—you guessed it—Iloilo, my hometown.

I’m proud of my first book, Prom Queen Perfect, even if it’s far from, well, perfect, but every time I reread it, I regret that I didn’t give it a stronger sense of place. There were no specifics about what it’s like to grow up in Iloilo, to eat oysters in Annie’s Talabahan, or to attend school here and end up seeing the same faces from elementary school until college.

True Story: About 20% of my high school classmates and I graduated from the same university.

Basically, Iloilo is a place that’s wonderful and suffocating all at once. I want to capture that feeling in a book. Whether I succeed or not is, of course, up to you, dear readers.

Keeping the Distance is obviously going to come out in a few weeks, and I hope you guys like it. I’ve finished the rough draft of the second book, and I’ve already begun editing it. The third book is currently in the outlining stage. It’s a wonderful time where I get to toss around ideas and the excitement to start writing builds.

I intend to release all three books this year. The first one in February, the second one in June, and the third one in October. Please don’t consider the June and October release dates set in stone, though, because life might get crazy.

Anyway, I’m very excited about the I Heart Iloilo series. It feels like I’m writing the stories I always wanted to read when I was a teenager and telling the stories I was always meant to tell. Let’s go on a wild ride together this 2017, okay?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review | Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes

Summary

Amazon | Goodreads

Falling in love is a chemical reaction.

Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts' relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin's wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, café owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.

But when Kaya's recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn't always happen inside a lab

Review

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes is like that super smart girl at work you’re scared to make friends with but who turns out to be funny, relatable, and kind of awkward. In book form.

It took me a while to pick up this book, because I found all the science stuff intimidating. When I finally started reading it during Christmas vacation, I wanted to smack myself for waiting so long. Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions is beyond amazing. It’s everything I never knew I wanted in a book.

Kaya is one of the most unique characters I’ve ever come across. She breaks life down into processes and chemicals and experiments, things I struggled to understand. It’s no wonder I thought I couldn’t relate to her at first.

But when her spinster aunts started bugging her about her lack of a significant other at a family event? OHMYGOD. It was like I was reading a page ripped right out of my life. Soon, I found myself nodding along to certain passages, ones about how difficult it can be to be overly enthusiastic about something but the rest of the world doesn’t care. How it feels to drown in social situations and not know how to swim your way out of it. Isn’t it wonderful how fiction holds up a mirror and lets us see ourselves?

The OTP was definitely my favorite part of the book. I love it when the Love Interest gives little signs that he likes the Main Character, but she doesn’t have a clue, not because she’s too stupid to live but because she doesn’t have the required social skills to determine if he’s flirting with her or not. I squealed in delight every time Nero gave Kaya a compliment and it flew right past her head. I wanted to scream, “Look! He just said he thinks you’re pretty. Process this!”

SO. FUN.

I give 5 out of 5 starts to Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions. It’s a great read about how we can never predict or control love, no matter how much we try or how much scientific data we have on our hands.
© Clarisse David
Maira Gall