Falling in love with The Bye-bye Bouquet: a review

The Bye-bye Bouquet by Chi Yu Rodriguez

The Bye-bye Bouquet is about Meile, the owner of Hope’s Garden, Philip Leigh, her mysterious customer-slash-heart breaker, and Warren, the handsome coffee drinker. Meile’s life is all about flowers: how they should make people happy and how Philip Leigh is destroying all that by using her shop to send “goodbye” bouquets to different girls every month. Despite her dad’s prodding and Rachel’s (her best friend) constant invitations to meet boys, Meile meets handsome smiling Warren in a coffee shop. But, as Meile soon finds out, there is more to Philip and Warren than meets the eye.

“I’m more than sure that you’re worth the effort to at least try though…” We’re attached by our foreheads, eyes closed, breaths shared. His grip tightens around my hand, and I hook my leg over one of his as if to anchor him. “You reminded me how much it can be worth to try.”

Chi Yu Rodriguez writes as if she actually owns a flower shop and knows her way with flowers. Her characters are believable and relatable; it was so easy to see Meile (you’ll have to read the book to find out how to pronounce her name) and the others as real people or to see part of myself in them. I will confess that I wanted to call my fiancé at certain points in the story because the scenes between Meile and her leading man were turning me into a mushy puddle of goo.  It reminded me so much of how it felt like to fall in love. Kakilig!!! There, Chi, I said it; there is no English equivalent for that feeling. ♥ Fangirling aside, Rodriguez was able to end the story without going overboard; a promising sign for her. I can’t wait for your next novella (or novel), Chi! Kudos for a job well done!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

The Bye-bye Bouquet is available at Amazon for $0.99 for a limited time only. Get your copy now!

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Being in the right place at the right time: Buqo YA 5 – Perfect Moments Blog Tour

buqo YA Bundle 5 – Perfect Moments
A Moment Like This by Sue Donymko | Anything You Want Me To by Audrine Pascal | Something Real by Charm Jacinto | Match Point Mishap by Madelyn Tuviera |
Someone To Care by Jessica Larsen | The Offside by KZ Riman

Sometimes you’ll meet your match: at detention, on the badminton court, in a resort hotel in Davao, at a lab, in a foster home, at an epic party. You’ll never know. But always keep your heart ready for that perfect moment. Read these stories and experience the bliss of first love.

The Little Writer joins a blog tour for the first time! Buqo YA‘s fifth bundle, Perfect Moments, features six stories of love taking place at the exact and most unexpected moment.  All six stories were written by Filipino authors and are set in the Philippines.  TLW will be featuring three of the six stories in the bundle: A Moment Like This, Anything You Want Me To, and Match Point Mishap.

In A Moment Like This, Kris finds herself stuck in Davao during the height of a storm.  Her only refuge is an expensive room at Mango Hotel.  Before she could even decide if she should take it or not, a very sick-looking Noel comes and tries to take the room for himself.  Kris is faced with two choices: leave the hotel and brave the storm or share the room with the handsome stranger.  I have never been to Davao, but I have been stuck outside in the middle of a storm.  I know that desperate times would call for desperate measures, so despite all of the Criminal Minds and Bones episodes I’ve watched, I would’ve taken Noel’s offer as well.  (Well, it does help that Noel’s supposedly handsome.  Haha!)  This is one of the story’s strengths: Sue Donymko managed to make Kris’ decision practical and logical.  It was also nice to see how Kris and Noel forged a friendship despite the latter’s recent heart break.  Usually, characters who recently had their heart broken would be cold and annoying, but Noel was the opposite and that characterization was refreshing.  Sue managed to pull off a seemingly cliché situation and give it a twist in the end.

While Kris’ storm is nature-related, Via’s is more on the relationship side.  Before she even gets to show off her new beau, Via of Anything You Want Me To finds out through Facebook that her relationship has been one-sided.  Enter Franco, BFF Inez’s big brother.  They’ve never really been close, but for some reason, he tries to uplift her spirits by pulling her into a handful of crazy situations.  Suddenly, Via is seeing Franco in a whole new light.  Author Audrine Pascal reminds us ladies who have had BFFs with older brothers to stop and look at said brothers.  I’ve had a best friend with an annoying kuya and I honestly never thought of hooking up with him.  Franco, though, makes me reconsider things.  Audrine created a kuya we will break the rules and fall in love with.  Via is a younger version of us in the social network generation.  She is creative and responsible, but also very assuming and naive.  I liked how she learned from her mistakes and apologized for them in the end.  Audrine didn’t only share a love story; she also taught the readers some valuable life lessons.

Of all the stories in this bundle, Madelyn Tuviera delivers the most controversial one on Match Point Mishap.  Lester is trying get back on his feet—both on and off the court.  The last thing he needs is someone like Wency David who will just turn his world upside down.  But the more Lester tries to pull away, the more he finds himself being pulled in.  Despite the 60,000 plus word count, Madelyn manages to keep me wanting for more of Lester and Wency’s story.  I’ve read my fair share of M/M stories before, but this one even makes Lester’s girlfriend, Jessica, lovable.  Girlfriends in these kinds of stories are usually bitchy and childish, but Jessica is smart and mature.  Jude also deserves his own fan club for being the best friend any guy could have.  (Is it too much to ask for a part two or a side story for Jude and/or Jessica?)  A warning to all who will read Lester and Wency’s love story though: Madelyn turns up the heat a little and boy does she know how to make the moment hot!

Want more?  Perfect Moments features three more stories that will make you fall in love and wish that you’d have your own, well, perfect moment.  Get a copy of this book (and all the other bundles) on Buqo for only Php 90.00.   I promise you won’t regret it!

Also, don’t forget to join the giveaway and win a powerbank from Buqo! (The giveaway is open to Philippine residents only. Prizes to be picked up at the Buqo office in Manila.)

Rating : ★★★★✩

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The Thesis Chronicles 1 : Figuring Out What To Write About

While the rest of the country tries to visit one last beach before the summer ends, I am facing one of the toughest challenges yet—thesis proposal.  The last time I wrote a thesis proposal (for a real thesis and not just for a class) was eight years ago!  My God, that was a long time ago.  No wonder it has taken me so long to think of what to write! m(_ _)m

Thanks to my sister and my co-teacher, Pat, I was able to somewhat figure out what to write about.  Even though my mentor, Dr. V, has approved the topic, I still don’t feel confident about meeting her tomorrow.  I don’t know if I can put my ideas into words.  Hopefully, I don’t fail Dr. V tomorrow. Pray for me, alright?

Falling in love in a bookstore: MVE launches three new books!

The Harder We Fall and Never Just Friends by Mina V. Esguerra

The Harder We Fall and Never Just Friends by Mina V. Esguerra

Last April 25, Mina V. Esguerra officially launched three of her newest New Adult novellas – Never Just Friends, The Harder We Fall, and Welcome to Envy Park. I arrived a few minutes before 3 p.m., excited and in full fangirl mode. After purchasing two of the three books (they were discounted, yay!), I found out that buying the books that day meant that I could pick a prize. I’m not particularly lucky when it comes to palabunutan, so I didn’t expect anything. But that day, I was two for two; I was one of the first people to win a bottle of wine! Woohoo!

I took a seat near the front and excitedly waited for the event to start. While waiting for everyone to arrive and settle down, Ms. Mina went around and greeted us. We talked a little about her books and about her successful #buqoYA class. Half an hour later, two of the bloggers from Will Read For Feels opened the event. There was a short introduction about the three books being launched before the interview started. Ms. Mina talked about the books, self-publishing, her choice of leading man, and her current and future projects. I was particularly interested in the Mystery/Suspense class that she’s planning towards the end of the year. Hopefully, I’ll get to join and finish a story this time around. That is, if I can juggle that with my MA thesis. T.T

After the interview, the MCs asked everyone to line up for the book signing. They also mentioned that there was an official photographer, but we could also take selfies with Ms. Mina if we wanted to. I have never been good with taking selfies, but for this once in a lifetime event? I was definitely game. (^_^)v

While listening to the bloggers and Ms. Mina talk about books, I remembered the first time I decided that I wanted to write. I haven’t written anything in years and part of me doubts that I can still write. However, hearing Ms. Mina talk about her fears gave me hope that I could do it, too. Thank you for being an inspiration, Ms. Mina. I can’t wait to read your books and write again!

Mina V. Esguerra with the bloggers of Will Read For Feels.

Mina V. Esguerra with the bloggers of Will Read For Feels.

Readers/fans line up to have their books signed.

Readers/fans line up to have their books signed.

L-R: Selfie with Ms. Mina; the books with the bottle of wine I won that day.

L-R: Selfie with Ms. Mina; the books with the bottle of wine I won that day.

The Fun Theory – Adding just the right amount of fun

In a world where work now takes precedence over almost everything, most people have forgotten what it is like to actually find something fun in what we do. My new boss at my new job was thinking out loud, throwing ideas into the air – trying to figure out how we could solve the problem of waiting when he mentioned Volkswagen’s Fun Theory. Only one out of us five heard of it so he eagerly told us all about it and do we think it’s possible to apply this in a hospital setting?

It took me a few days before I could get around to do my own research about it. My internet connection was down so it was only when I got to work the Monday after that discussion that I got to see with my own eyes exactly what he meant.

And boy, was I amused (intrigued, curious – you pick the synonymous adjective)!

Instead of bombarding people with the advantages of the new Volkswagen products, Volkswagen and DDB Stockholm decided to take a more subtle approach. They chose to use the thinking behind the whole campaign – actually having fun. However, shoving theories down people’s throats can prove to be more disadvantageous than advantageous and this is very much applicable to human behavior. So how do they get everybody to listen?

Experiments.

One of their experiments involved using the stairs instead of the escalator. Yours truly isn’t a big fan of stairs. I loathe those flights of steps to the highest degree possible. Why use the stairs when you can use the escalator, right? Where’s the fun in climbing and sweating like a pig once you’ve reached the top? Well apparently, Volkswagen’s ad campaign had set its heart out to prove me wrong.

By transforming the usually boring flight of stairs into a life-size set of piano keys, 66% actually climbed the stairs – and had fun doing so! The response and the change in everybody’s behavior were astounding. I even got to thinking that if all of the flights of stairs around the world were like that, I’d gladly climb them all! How’s that for a change of heart!

The Fun Theory campaign caught on and everybody around the world began sharing the videos, tweeting them, discussing them with their friends. Language was not to be a barrier; everybody could understand fun when they saw it.

However, not all of us have the luxury of time and money to create a piano out of our stairs. Could we recreate this change of behavior even in a smaller scale? The answer is a big YES. Change in behavior mostly comes from inside us. We can make our own dull, boring and routine life fun again. Filing something? Get colored post-it tags to assist you. A long commute to work? Listen to some music and break out into song. Just be sure that you’re in your own car if you’re going to do the latter. If not, create an imaginary concert in your mind.

Yes, making normally mundane things fun requires effort – and lots of it! But look at the repercussions. People who have fun doing the stuff they usually hate don’t feel like they’re doing it. They smile more, laugh more – and bosses, they accomplish more work! How’s that for productivity?

So the next time you are faced with an incredibly boring job or day, try to step back and think of a way to make it fun. The results just might surprise you.

Looking for love? Try Monte Carlo.

monte carlo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first time I saw the preview for Monte Carlo, I told myself I would watch that film. I’m not a fan of Selena Gomez, but when I learned that Leighton Meester and Cory Monteith would be in the film, I told myself that there was no way I would let it pass. However, the movie’s release date was so near the last Harry Potter film’s own release date that my heart sank. I would have no choice but to wait for it on DVD or HBO.

But, this lady believes in miracles. And a heaven-sent friend.

Monte Carlo opens with a very simple plot: a girl who dreams of going to Paris to escape her horrible high school experience (Selena Gomez as Grace), a friend who wants to get out of Texas (Katie Cassidy as Emma), and a step-sister who is forced to do things she doesn’t want to (Leighton Meester as Meg). For a chick flick fan, you would say that the next hour and a half would be pretty predictable. Though you won’t be disappointed with that prediction, Monte Carlo still manages to surprise you. Well, if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t get tired of stories of finding love in the most unexpected time, that is.

❝ I finally meet a guy who likes me for me.  
And I’m not even me. ❞

Selena, Leighton and Katie all manage to make their characters easy to relate to. We all want to find ourselves, find our place in the world, and, most especially, to find love. The stories of these girls tell us that there are times when you have to leave your comfort zone to find all three things. And sometimes, you have to leave in order to realize that what you’ve been looking for has been with you all along.

Towards the end of the film, the woman beside me suddenly commented in a voice loud for a theater. “Ganun ba talaga kaliit ang mundo para magkita sila uli?” (Is the world so small that it’s possible for them to meet again?) I fought the urge to tell her that yes, it is. That if those two people are really for meant for each other, those two people will brave anything and break all barriers just so they can be together. That destiny — yes, destiny! — can make everything possible.

Call me a hopeless romantic. Call the movie an ordinary, predictable chick flick. Call me and the film cliché, it’s okay. After all, most clichés are real.

The search for My Imaginary Ex

my imaginary ex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw Mina Esguerra’s My Imaginary Ex a few months ago and I promised myself that I would buy it. I have read M.D. Balangue’s Mr. Write and Claire Betita’s No Boyfriend Since Birth and I have enjoyed both immensely. Unfortunately, every time I had the money to buy Miss Esguerra’s book, I couldn’t find it. And whenever I saw it, I didn’t have any money. It was as if I wasn’t meant to buy her book.

And then, by some stroke of luck, I saw her book again—and I had the money to buy it! The only thing that prevented me from buying it was that the copy had a torn cover. I quickly asked one of the salespeople if they still had another copy of the book. They didn’t. I asked if the book would be discounted because of the torn cover. They told me I’d still have to pay for the regular price of a hundred and fifty pesos.

Now while I had nothing against paying that amount for a book made by a kababayan, I still wanted to pay for a new copy of the book. So, I didn’t buy it. I searched for it in numerous bookstores and still came up with nothing. I promised myself that the next time I saw that book, I’d buy it—even if it was torn.

On February of this year, I saw the book again in the same book store. It was still torn, but I bought it anyway. I did not regret my decision.

Mina Esguerra skillfully writes the story of two unlikely friends, Jasmine and Zachary. It’s boy meets girl in a classic way, but Esguerra manages to change some of the rules, giving it a fresh feeling. Instead of a common interest, it is a lie that binds their friendship. In a desperate attempt to get the girl he liked, Zack asks Jas to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend. Though hesitant at first, Jas eventually agrees.

However, ten years after, everyone still considers that lie the truth.

Here’s what happens when you play pretend. Those are the first words you see on the cover of My Imaginary Ex and it is quite appropriate. Somewhere along the way, the lines blurred and both Jas and Zack forget what is canon and what isn’t. And for a friendship between a man and a woman, blurred lines always make everything more complicated.

I think one of the reasons why I was so adamant in buying the book was I could somehow relate to it. No, I have not been anyone’s imaginary ex-girlfriend, but I knew how it felt like to be thought of as your best friend’s girl. I understood why Jas never thought of Zack as anything but her best friend. He was her best friend and to think of him as something more than that would be crossing a line.

Here’s what happens when you play pretend. After reading the book, I kept looking at those words. At some point in a friendship between a man and a woman, one of them blurs a line and tiptoes to the other side. If it works out, we thank God for the courage He gave us. If it doesn’t, we blame ourselves and regret we even played along. No one can predict the outcome and most of the time, this is what scares us more. Sadly, more of us never try to cross the line—contently watching that person we love become someone else’s. As one song says, I’ll always have the memories. And she’ll always have you.

My Imaginary Ex is a very entertaining read for everyone who has had that friendship with blurred lines and complicated feelings. It reminds us that sometimes a seemingly innocent game of pretend can change everything. Especially when you have two meddlesome exes—and an imaginary one to boot.

As posted in themonestery.