I don't get to feature Filipino fiction as often as I'd like here on the blog so it feels like a treat when I get to do so. I c...moreOriginally posted here.
I don't get to feature Filipino fiction as often as I'd like here on the blog so it feels like a treat when I get to do so. I can still remember the first time I read The Breakup Diaries a few years ago. I was still in college then and this title was my favorite out of all the Summit Books that were available at that time. After I finished reading it, I worked on convincing my girlfriends to pick it up as well so we could discuss it. Preferably while hanging out in a cafe because Monica, the main character, is a barista. When I saw that it has been reissued, I decided to grab a new edition and read it on my flight back to Singapore from Manila. I ended up enjoying the book just as much as when I first discovered it.
One of the main reasons why I enjoyed reading The Breakup Diaries so much is because it's easy to relate to Monica's situation: how difficult it us to pick up the threads of your life after a breakup, especially when you didn't see it coming. Monica had no idea that her boyfriend would decide to call it quits on their anniversary dinner date. Pretty harsh, noh? I felt so bad for her but what I liked about the book is that it was still fun to read even though the character was experiencing a major setback. There were several hilarious moments within the story and all throughout everything, you're rooting for Monica to heal her broken heart. Her reaction to the breakup felt realistic, from wanting to get back together with her boyfriend to re-evaluating her life and seeing things in a different light. It's also nice that Monica had friends and family who were there to support her - as with any problem, it really helps to know that other people have your back. I also liked how The Breakup Diaries gave me a better idea of what it's like working in a magazine publishing company. I don't want to say too much about the book because it's a short and sweet read, something that you can finish during a flight or an evening when you're in the mood for something light. I think it's fitting that my first review for 2013 is about an old favorite. If you've ever experienced a breakup, then you'll probably be able to relate to Monica as well.
One thing I noticed about the new edition is that it had several typos. I don't remember seeing those in the original edition - it's a minor thing but I thought I'd just take note of it. I do like the new cover more than the old one:
This book is more middle grade or younger YA for me, just to give you guys fair warning. The story is told in alternating persp...moreOriginally posted here.
This book is more middle grade or younger YA for me, just to give you guys fair warning. The story is told in alternating perspectives of Bernardo and Andi (real name: Amandolina, such an old school Filipino name). Andi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives in London with her parents. She has a half-brother named Bernardo and he lives in the Philippines. Their mum came to the UK to work as a nurse and that's when she met Andi's father, who also works as a nurse. They've been trying to get Bernardo to the UK ever since they settled down but the immigration process is taking a long time. Andi can't wait to meet her brother because she's crazy about basketball and her mum says Bernardo is tall. Also, basketball is a popular sport in the Philippines so Bernardo must love basketball! Bernardo is sixteen when he receives the news that he can finally go to his family in the UK. The story focuses on Bernardo's experiences as he adjusts to a new life in a foreign country with a family that he loves but doesn't really know. Bernardo is tall, awkward and shy but he strives to do all that he can for his friends and family. Andi is a spirited tomboy of a girl and she's determined to play basketball even if she doesn't have the height for it. I think it was a good idea to tell the story from both of their points of view because it gives the readers a better idea of the whole situation. It's easier for us to understand what both of them were going through.
Tall Story is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about friendship and family and how certain bonds can transcend the physical distance. As cheesy as this sounds, I really think this book shows how people can be involved in each other's lives even if they are continents apart. And this happens all of the time! I have friends and family all over the world and even if I don't see them that often, I still feel the connection. A lot of you readers and book blogger friends live abroad and even if I haven't met you in person, I feel like I know you. Isn't that amazing? Most people have relatives and friends abroad so I have a feeling a lot of us can relate to Bernardo's story and how hard it is to live away from those you love. I think it's great that a Filipino author with a young adult book has been published internationally because I'd love for you guys to read this book. It has a wonderful blend of contemporary fiction and Filipino mythology, resulting in a cohesive story that has a lot of heart. Superstition plays a big part in this story because Filipinos are big on superstition, probably more so in the provinces.
I also think Candy Gourlay's portrayal of Filipinos in foreign countries is pretty accurate. Andi's mum gets carded whenever she buys wine because she's such a small person. I'm five foot flat and I had the same problem when I went to the States for a vacation. Whenever I ordered alcohol, the servers would ask for my ID and they couldn't believe that I was twenty-four years old at that time. They all used to think I was seventeen or younger. Also, Andi doesn't understand why her mum calls her aunt in the Philippines when they spend most of their time on the phone saying "Hello? Can you hear me? Hello? Hello?" That is EXACTLY how my aunt in the States talks to my grandmother! They use up the call card just saying "Hello."
All in all, a lovely debut from Candy Gourlay and I'm going to watch out for more of her books.(less)
A lot of Filipino girls in their late twenties will be able to relate to Grace and what she's going through - how she's constan...moreOriginally posted here.
A lot of Filipino girls in their late twenties will be able to relate to Grace and what she's going through - how she's constantly pressured by friends and family to settle down and get married to the point that she agrees to go on several blind dates. She gets lucky on her seventh try when she meets Mike and they hit it off. They start dating regularly and two years later, he proposes. Unfortunately, Mike has to move to a different country for work and that's when their relationship problems start. We all know how difficult long distance relationships are, more so when one of the parties doesn't seem committed to the relationship. The writing style takes some getting used to as Tara FT Sering uses the second person point of view, which I don't usually encounter.
While it was fun to read Grace's adventures as she navigates the tricky waters of love, I don't agree with some of the choices that she made throughout the book. I mean seriously, Mike was the one at fault and Grace still decides to go after him to try and salvage their dying relationship. I wanted to smack her and tell her not to bother going after someone who's obviously not that into her anymore. I guess the author needed a reason for Grace to hop from one country to another and experience several things that will help her with her realizations. I still enjoyed reading the book as a whole as there were some funny scenes that made me smile. I also liked where the author went with the ending. I'm going to be on the lookout for Tara FT Sering's other books and I hope she comes out with new titles soon. I recommend this to anyone who's interested in chick lit and Asian cultures, it's light and fluffy so very easy to read. (less)
I always say that in order for me to like a book, I have to be able to relate to it somehow. No worries on that department when...moreOriginally posted here.
I always say that in order for me to like a book, I have to be able to relate to it somehow. No worries on that department when it comes to this one because I could TOTALLY relate to Ellie. Twenty-something Filipina working in a corporate job but really doesn't know what her career path is? That could be me! Ellie's thing is traveling and making plans for hypothetical trips abroad. While I do love to travel, I don't get to do it that often so I guess it would be better to say that my thing is reading and blogging about books. I've never experienced an office romance like Ellie did but the breaking up with a boyfriend-who-was-a-friend-before-you-became-a-couple? Been there, done that. Ellie also has several circles of friends, from her high school barkada to her office mates and I'm like that as well. Each set of friends has a different personality and I like to think that each group brings out a different side of me. Ellie is really believable as a character - she's a representation of me, my friends and every young Pinay out there looking for her own fairy tale.
I keep my reviews spoiler-free so I don't want to mention any names but I want a guy like the male protagonist! Seriously.♥ I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ellie and her attempts to get her life back in order after the breakup. Fairy Tale Fail is a light and fun contemporary romance that gives a glimpse of middle class life in the Philippines. If only the paperback was as cheap as the e-book edition, I'd buy lots of copies and give them as Christmas gifts to my girlfriends. Unfortunately, the paperback is more expensive at P350. The good news is the e-book is available both in Smashwords and Amazon so for all international readers out there, you could order this anytime you want. If you want a peek at what our lives are usually like (and by us I mean young professionals in the Philippines), then go and read this book! At $0.99, it's cheaper than your average Starbucks coffee. It's really short too, more like a novella than a novel. I'm interested to see how readers outside the Philippines will react to this one. One minor quibble though, I wish Mina included footnotes to define some of the Filipino words used in the book like kuya, barkada and bulalo so that foreigners will be able to understand them. That said, I'd like to thank Mina for coming up with a well-written Filipino chick lit novel. :) I look forward to reading her other book, My Imaginary Ex and I hope she comes up with a thicker novel next time.(less)
Zack and Jasmine went to the same high school but they were never that close. They reconnect when they bump into each other in...moreOriginally posted here.
Zack and Jasmine went to the same high school but they were never that close. They reconnect when they bump into each other in college and they become good friends. Zack then asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex because he's never had a girlfriend before and the girl that he likes doesn't want to be with someone who's never been in a relationship. Jasmine agrees, not knowing the consequences of that little lie. Fast forward to the present day, Zack is about to get married to a girl that none of his friends and family really know. It's up to Jasmine to confront Zack but before she can do that, she has to sort through her own feelings first. My Imaginary Ex was pretty easy to read even though the story is interspersed with flashbacks to fully flesh out Jasmine and Zack's friendship. The story sort of reminded me of My Best Friend's Wedding because it has a similar theme with the movie.
I'm not a fan of best friend love stories probably because my high school boyfriend was my best friend and we didn't really get our Happily Ever After together. Don't get me wrong, we're still good friends but now I feel like I have a certain fondness for love-hate relationships more than best friend love stories. Does that make me sound weird? :P In any case, I'm sure there are more people who will appreciate the friendship that is the foundation of Jasmine and Zack's relationship. While I didn't get to connect with the characters in this one as much as I did with the characters of Fairy Tale Fail, it's still quite an enjoyable, light read. The characters are believable and the author does a good job of describing the life of a young professional in her mid-twenties, living in Manila. Mina mentioned over Twitter that Summit is going to release another book of hers any day soon. I'm looking forward to that!(less)
Based on the summary above, you'd think I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the book is composed of short stories about di...moreOriginally posted here.
Based on the summary above, you'd think I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the book is composed of short stories about different people and yet I was. For some reason, I thought it was going to be one cohesive story with just multiple characters. As a result, I was confused at the start and I wasn't able to connect with the characters as much as I'd hope because the narratives about them were so short. Also, the stories have varying points of view that added to the confusion - some of them were in first person and others in third person, some of them were from guys' points of view and some from girls' (although I think that's actually a good thing). It really is a shame that I didn't like the book that much because I think the writing was beautiful. I even added a couple of favorite quotes in the Goodread's page of the book.
If the novel was lengthier, the author might have been able to pull off a Love Actually-esque story, where all the anecdotes are tied together by the cozy coffee shop where they all hang out. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Still, the writing is a redeeming factor of the book and I recommend this to anyone who likes reading Filipino chick lit. Again, I'm sorry to international readers out there but this book is only available locally.(less)
Between Dinner and the Morning After by Tara FT Sering is one of the local chick lit books that I collected back when I was in...moreOriginally posted here.
Between Dinner and the Morning After by Tara FT Sering is one of the local chick lit books that I collected back when I was in college. It was published in 2005 and I believed it's now out of print because I haven't seen it around local bookstores. I bought a copy of Amazing Grace by the same author recently and I thought it would be good to re-read this one before I read Amazing Grace. If anyone knows where I could but brand new copies of this book, please let me know!
Abigail Cortes is 29 and she's stuck in a rut. She's working for the number one furniture designer in the country but she's stuck as a minion with tasks such as grocery shopping for her boss' dogs. She's in a two-year relationship with a guy that a lot of people would consider quite a catch but she feels like the relationship has lost its spark. Her prospects brighten up when she receives a random email from a guy she met in Dumaguete eight years ago. Juno isn't quite Abi's ex-boyfriend because they only spent a few days together but those days were memorable. So when Juno suggests that they meet for New Year's Eve in San Francisco, Abi has to decide whether she's willing to leave everything behind for a chance at true love.
I really couldn't remember anything about the story, which is a good thing in this case because it felt like I was reading the book for the first time. This goes to show how a book never changes but your perception of it does. I probably couldn't relate to the characters five years ago so the story didn't stick in my mind. I'm happy to announce that that is no longer the case now because I enjoyed reading about Abi and the trials and tribulations of her life. The story jumps back in time several times but it never gets confusing. Throughout the book, Abi interacts with a bunch of quirky characters that add depth to her story. Here's my favorite line from the book:
"If he was meant for you, you will be brought together, and you should expect the world from that. You cannot wish for something without conviction."
The ending left me smiling, I can't say any more than that for fear of spoilers. If you get a chance to grab a copy of this book then I encourage you to do so because out of all the local chick lit books out there, I think this is one of the better ones. Sorry international readers but I don't think this is available outside the Philippines.(less)
I was expecting to love this one but sadly, that didn't happen. I guess mostly because I was expecting something along the line...moreOriginally posted here.
I was expecting to love this one but sadly, that didn't happen. I guess mostly because I was expecting something along the lines of The Breakup Diaries, a believable story of a young girl searching for love. Instead, I got an action-adventure type of story that required suspension of disbelief right from the start. Don't get me wrong, Undercover Tai Tai is a lot of fun, it just didn't work out for me. Amanda Tay is used to not being noticed by anybody. She's been in Singapore for a couple of months and she doesn't really have any friends. Even her flatmates can't remember her name right. Everything changes when she gets drafted to work as an undercover agent to discover the whereabouts of a missing tai tai. Tai tais are the elite socialites of Singapore - Amanda's mission is to pretend to be one of them to infiltrate their circle.
While I'm thrilled that Filipino authors are getting international deals, I wasn't that enamored of this one. I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters and I felt like the story wasn't really plausible. The events were so sudden and there wasn't enough build-up to make them realistic. I think the author was going for something that would read like a screenplay of a movie. Feel free to give it a try though because some of you might like it more that I did. Read this if you're interested in the premise and you want something lighthearted. Some other chick lit books by Filipino authors that I enjoyed more than this are Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra and Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering.(less)
First off, I want to say that I love how simple yet appropriate the cover for this and Mina's other ebook, Fairy Tale Fail, ar...moreOriginally posted here.
First off, I want to say that I love how simple yet appropriate the cover for this and Mina's other ebook, Fairy Tale Fail, are. I like them much better than the covers of My Imaginary Ex and No Strings Attached. I also find it convenient that Mina decided to go with an ebook for this one because it's much easier (and cheaper) to obtain a copy. You can buy it from either Amazon or Smashwords. I know it's a sequel of sorts to one of her other books but I believe it stands well on its own and there's no need to read that one first. It would be a good idea though because you'd get a picture of how other people see Kimmy instead of just being inside her head. Love Your Frenemies is told from alternating past and present situations so you get an idea of what Kimmy was going through during the events of My Imaginary Ex. Kimmy got dumped by her fiancé days before their supposed wedding. He suddenly realized that he's still in love with someone else and that he couldn't go through with the wedding. Harsh, right? But a lot of people believe that Kimmy deserved what she got because she's such a bitch.
I was surprised by how much I liked this book more than My Imaginary Ex. You know the saying that goes, "there's always two sides to every story"? This is Kimmy's side. I can understand why other people find her rude, manipulative and heartless. Kimmy is smart, beautiful and she knows it. She admits that she tends to be overconfident. She doesn't go out of her way to hurt and manipulate other people, it's just that she can't be bothered to be nice. Kimmy has a turbulent relationship with her best gal pal, Chesca, because they're the epitome of mean girls. Kimmy and Chesca ruled their high school - they got to decide who would become members of their clique based on how useful their classmates were. Both girls understand how the other person thinks and that's why they're such good friends and why they also have the worst fights. They know what to say to get the other person riled up. Another person who is one of the major reasons why Kimmy's so messed up is her first love, Manolo. Handsome, charming and witty Manolo. Can I just say that I can't get over his name because it's such an old school Filipino name? I feel like if I knew someone named Manolo, he'd be nicknamed something shorter and more modern like Manny or Nollie. Ever since they were teenagers, Manolo has been blowing hot and cold and Kimmy knows it's stupid to hope for a steady relationship but she can't help it. Kimmy's story isn't centered on the romance but instead focuses on her relationships with the Country Club set of people that she grew up with. It's not surprising that she's not a nice person because of all the drama in her life - it's like a constant soap opera.
What I love about Mina's books is how believable they all are. I may not love all of her books but I can believe that her stories actually happen to other people. It's everything about her work - the familiar places, the situations that you can relate to, the characters that feel like they could be your friends. Maybe it's also because I feel like I'm the target audience of her books - a twenty-something Filipina. This is another enjoyable read from Mina V. Esguerra and as always, I look forward to reading her next one. (less)
I'm a Mina V. Esguerra fangirl. I've read and reviewed all of her books and even did and interview and giveaway last year. She's my favorite Filipino chick lit writer and I keep recommending her books to my girlfriends because all of her novels are so light and fun. I knew she was planning to release Interim Goddess of Love in 2012 and I was really looking forward to it, not only because I'll read anything she writes, but because she's tackling a new genre. All of Mina's other books are contemporary romance with women in their twenties as main characters. This time, she decided write a contemporary young adult novel, with a hint of Philippine mythology in it.
I initially thought the "goddess of love" bit in the title and the premise was figurative. It's not. Hannah is a descendant of one of those unions between a mortal and a god so she has enough magic in her to be the interim goddess of love. Basically, she has to help out fellow students in Ford River College with their love problems. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that one of my frustrations is not having enough Filipino YA novels to read. Which is why I'm thrilled that Mina has written Interim Goddess of Love and has two sequels scheduled to be released this year. I loved the college setting of the novel because Ford River reminded me of my own college. If you want to get a feel of what college (or university or uni in other parts of the world) is like here in the Philippines, then read this book. I know I keep saying this about Mina's novels but I could really relate to the characters because they're all Filipinos. Interim goddess role aside, I could connect with Hannah's college experiences. It felt like I was back in my own school - attending core curriculum subjects, hanging out with friends in the cafeteria, participating in school organizations and getting to know classmates. Based on just the title, you know that romance is a focus of this novel and I think that's pretty realistic because most college teenagers tend to worry about their love lives. Here's a snippet that I really liked:
Some girls can’t stand to be around the guy they like. They get really nervous, and rather than make fools of themselves, they just stay away. I was the opposite; the more I liked a guy, the more I wanted to be around him. I was the type who’d join the same org, or pick the same elective. Sure I was probably looking like a fool five times a day over a bunch of things, but I liked being close to someone I admired.
The act of doing something about the feelings, no matter how futile the exercise, was still way better than sitting around just hoping they’d notice the girl who never said anything.
Hannah has never had her own boyfriend but she's not willing to be a wallflower either and I liked that about her. The huge cast of characters in this short work of fiction may be confusing for some people but that's one aspect of Interim Goddess of Love that I really enjoyed. Thank you, Mina, for giving us so many swoon-worthy guys in one book! I couldn't decide which guy I should root for. This installment is about Kathy's romance but in the process of finding her true love, we get hints about Hannah's possible love story as well. I think the number of characters sets up the sequels quite nicely - I'm hoping to read more about the other characters in the next books. Interim Goddess of Love is a promising introduction to Mina's YA work and it's just as charming and fun as her other books. After finishing this, I went online so I could bug Mina about the sequels. I can't wait to read them and I will recommend this one to anyone interested in reading Filipino fiction because I have a feeling they'd enjoy reading Interim Goddess of Love as much as I did.(less)
Icon of the Indecisive by Mina V. Esguerra is the third book in the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy. The first two books in the...moreOriginally posted here.
Icon of the Indecisive by Mina V. Esguerra is the third book in the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy. The first two books in the series are Interim Goddess of Love and Queen of the Clueless. Do you need to read the books in order? Yes, unless you want to get really confused. They're all tied together, with Hannah as the main character, tasked with helping college students with their love problems. Mina compared the series to a TV show, with the first two books as different episodes and Icon of the Indecisive as the season finale. I received an advanced review copy of this for the audio commentary that Mina organized with several other bloggers. Here's my account of that experience and feel free to download the file over at Mina's website.
It was nice to be back in Ford River College, a setting that I enjoyed reading about because it reminded me of my own college experience. I feel like I keep saying this but since I had fun in college (in spite of not loving my major), I take pleasure in reading anything that takes me back to those years. Even though Hannah and the other characters in the series weren't ordinary college students, because they had abilities as gods and goddesses, I could still relate to them. To be honest, I was a little worried about Icon of the Indecisive. I felt like we were left hanging at the end of the second book and there were too many questions that needed to be answered in the final book. I shouldn't have worried because the whole trilogy was wrapped up quite nicely in this installment. In the first two books, readers were able to see glimpses of Hannah's own love story interspersed with the cases that she needed to solve as interim goddess. I was rooting for Hannah to get her own happy ending - I felt like she deserves to have her own beautiful romance after going through the trouble of comforting and supporting other people through their love-related difficulties. I had no idea where things would go when it came to Hannah's leading man and I liked not being able to predict what would happen. While I didn't think the ending was perfect because I thought it could have gone in a different direction, I still found it quite satisfying.
The Interim Goddess of Love trilogy is different from Mina's usual contemporary romance with main characters in their mid-twenties. The series is young adult, set in college and has a mythology aspect to it. Granted, it's light on the mythology and doesn't have as much worldbuilding as other fantasy novels that I'm used to. Still, I think it's a good idea for an author to branch out and try writing something different. In this case, I think it worked well because romance is still a big element of this series, something that it has in common with the author's previous work. Like all of Mina's other books, Icon of the Indecisive was a quick read for me. Thank goodness it didn't take long for this one to get published so the story was still quite fresh in my mind and I didn't have to reread the first two. You're pretty lucky if you haven't started on the series and you're curious about it, because now you can read all of them in one go. Recommended for fans of romantic novellas, readers who want something light and fun, and anyone interested in giving Filipino fiction a try.
It's funny how Interim Goddess of Love has several cover designs. I just wanted to mention that I really like that it got redesigned and now all three installments have matching covers:
All three covers were designed by Tania Arpa using photographer/blogger Rhea Bue's photos. Aren't they lovely? I like that the covers feature a Filipino fashion blogger and how all the photos give off a college vibe that represent the series well.(less)
I heard about All’s Fair in Blog and War as soon as it came out. While I’ve never met Chrissie Peria in person, we share some c...moreOriginally posted here.
I heard about All’s Fair in Blog and War as soon as it came out. While I’ve never met Chrissie Peria in person, we share some common friends (she’s good friends with my flatmates as well as fellow Filipino book blogger Chris of Ficsation). Plus, she wrote her novella for Mina V. Esguerra’s romance class so Mina is another person who is actively promoting this title. I was planning to read All’s Fair in Blog and War sooner or later because I was curious about the premise and I think the cover is pretty cute. I just decided to bump it up the TBR pile because of all the recommendations floating around.
It’s always fun to read about bloggers even if they don’t blog about books. The last novella that I read that had a blogger main character was All’s Fair in Love and Chocolate by Laura Florand (funny that the two titles are so similar). I really enjoyed the blogging aspect of Five’s life because I could relate to it – how her blog shapes her vacation plans and how it’s more than just a hobby for her. That’s how I feel about my blog as well, a niche blog can take over your life like that. She’s a lot luckier than me though because look at how she won a contest to visit Macau to blog about it! Would love to have a similar huge blog-related experience. I was also interested in reading more about the tourist attractions in Macau because I’ve never been there. From what I heard from friends, I always thought there wouldn’t be a lot to do in Macau if you’re not into gambling but looks like I made the wrong assumption because Jesse and Five found more than enough things to occupy their time. As a foodie, I also enjoyed hearing details about what kind of dishes and snacks are available in Macau. This novella made me want to have an egg tart! Good thing they’re pretty common here in Singapore. One other thing that Five and I had in common was this:
I knew I was early, so I found a comfortable spot and pulled out a well-worn copy of Pride and Prejudice. I always revert to Austen when I'm in between books. P&P has always been my favorite, so it was the book I decided to pack for this trip.
That little snippet was while she was waiting at the airport. I always bring a book (or my Kindle) with me whenever I travel so I can't even count the number of times I've read books in airports. And Pride and Prejudice is also my favorite Austen. *P&P high five* While I think that All’s Fair in Blog and War is a light and fun read, I also felt like it would have been better if it was a little longer. I'm not sure if word count was a factor that had to be considered for the romance class which produced this novella, but I would have liked to see more character development, more tension or kilig (swoon-worthy) moments between the two main characters. Other than that, I found this an enjoyable read. Recommended for contemporary romance readers who would like to try Filipino fiction. This is the kind of book that you can finish in one sitting, maybe while waiting to check in or board or even during a flight. For a more interactive experience, readers can follow the characters on Instagram: fivetravels, and Twitter: @5travels and @wanderingcamera.
What a coincidence, I received a postcard from Macau today!(less)
I grabbed Young and Scambitious while it was available for free on Amazon. I think the cover looks great, it has an intriguing...moreOriginally posted here.
I grabbed Young and Scambitious while it was available for free on Amazon. I think the cover looks great, it has an intriguing and glamorous feel that goes well with the premise. Yesterday, I couldn’t decide what to read next so I thought I’d start on this short story because it would be easy to get into. I started reading it on the train ride on the way to work in the morning and was able to finish it on the way back in the afternoon.
I like that this story focuses on the Manila socialite scene and the people who prey on the rich. While I’ve never been into that kind of scene, I think it’s interesting to read about it. Even though Jane is a con artist, I really liked her as a character. I feel like she’s only doing what she has to do in order to survive. She’s good at playing out different roles and she takes advantage of that skill. I also like that she’s a reader, I think it’s always nice when a character likes to read.
"Jane liked to go to libraries. She spent a lot of time in them growing up, and she had had to grow up in several places. Later she started seeing how each building was different. In one place, old and regal; in another, shabby and musty.
So since the preparation for the Chrysalis Magnolia job had her visit Singapore, a city with a (shiny and modern) public library, she naturally had to go there on her only day free."
I thought it was pretty cool that the story was partially set in Singapore, in a library! I could totally relate to that. I also liked that even though the story is so short, there was still enough room for some romance. My only issue with this short story is that I felt like the whole thing ended a bit abruptly. I kind of got the feeling there should be more to the ending that what I got. Maybe I wouldn’t have minded if I knew that the ending was meant to leave readers hanging? According to Mina, there will are probable sequels to this but no definite date on when they will be published. I think that will give readers a fuller perspective of the story that was introduced in Young and Scambitious. Check this out if you want a quick read that you can finish in one sitting or if you want to give Mina's writing a try.(less)