5th #FilReaderCon Recap!

The 5th Filipino ReaderCon was held in DLSU yesterday, November 28, 2015. The main event and booths were located at Henry Sy Hall. While the sessions were held at the Yuchengco Bldg. Their theme for this year was "Toward a Reading Revolution". Here are the activities and sessions from the event:
There were booths from publishers and authors outside The Verdure hall but I hovered by the #romanceclass booth frequently.

Paolo Chikiamco hosted the plenary session at The Verdure.

After the welcoming ceremony, it's time for the sessions to take place. I attended The Blog Tour panel, so i wasn't able to take photos of the other parallel session, Readers Take the Rein (Eriele, Blooey, Tarie and Zarah). Go check out the blogs of Anne and Xi:

After the quick break for AM snacks, we went to watch the session Supporting Authors You Love. Mina, Bebang, Tepai and Kim shared what's the best way to show support for authors. It was enlightening to hear things from an author's perspective, it was really fun and an interactive discussion. Ms Bebang was so hilarious.
Left to right: Mina, Kim, Tepai, Bebang
We ate lunch then resumed the sessions at 1:30PM. I attended the Speed Dating with Authors. Not sure how speed dating works but during the session, we had 3 minutes to talk to each authors. It was a fun experience and a nice way for the authors to interact with the readers.

At 2:30PM, we gathered in the Verdure Hall for the live reading with Rachel and Gio. They read excerpts from Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano, The Boyfriend Backtrack by Dawn Lanuza, Songs Of Our Breakup by Jay E Tria, The Kitchen When It Sizzles (tamed version) by Chrissie Peria and Finding X by Miles Tan. Let's just say the feels were all over the place.

#romanceclass authors with Rachel and Gio

Jay E Tria

Miles Tan

Dawn Lanuza

Chrissie Peria

Chris Mariano
We were given plenty of time to pick up feels on the floor before the Filipino Readers Choice Awards Ceremony. Some went in line to get a free book! I went and shopped books. Couldn't end the day without book shopping! Signings also happened.

Last photos were taken after the reading so i wasn't able to capture when The Kitchen When It Sizzles won the award for Best Romance in English or the hunger games for free books that happened.

All in all, it was a fabulous day for fabulous readers and authors. What an awesome experience for my first time at the Filipino ReaderCon.

Blog Tour: Perfectly Series by Linda O' Connor

Perfectly Honest (Book 1)
You never know where your words will take you . . .

When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor.

Sam O’Brien, a.k.a. ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down. But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, Sam might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted.

Lies and deceit— it’s a match made in heaven!

Perfectly Reasonable (Book 2)
Love what you do and do what you love. Sounds perfectly reasonable, but chances are, you’ll find your passion in the last place you look . . .

Margo MacMillan finished medical school, but in the process, her self-confidence and self-esteem took a beating. So for the sake of self-preservation, she’s stepped away from medicine to re-group. In the meantime, painting soothes her soul and pays the bills.

Trace Bennett set his sights on a medical degree and has to prepare the perfect medical school application. His big plan is to paint his condo for a little feng shui divine luck. When Margo shows up to paint, he realizes he’s found exactly what he’s looking for. He just has to convince Margo to share more than the art of medicine.

She’s got it. He wants it. It’s Perfectly Reasonable.

Book 1
Midnight. She really should get up, clean the paintbrushes, and go home. Then crawl into bed and sleep for, well, she groaned, six hours. If she was lucky.
Just five minutes.
As every muscle in her body relaxed, Mikaela smiled to herself and wondered what the homeowner would think if he knew he had the highest paid painter in the city.
Mikaela woke with a start to the sound of voices. Disoriented, in unfamiliar surroundings, she looked down at her short shorts and loose shirt covered with spatters of paint. Painting, of course. She must have fallen asleep in the chair, and checking her watch, she saw that it was two o’clock in the morning. Shit. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. Pulling herself out of the chair, she listened to the voices. One voice was female, sounding impatient and unhappy and one male, sounding apologetic and resigned.
“I know it’s not ideal, Sophia, but it’s what I want. I’m tired of the large city, the tertiary care center, and all the politics. I’m tired of all the meetings and all the committees. I want a smaller hospital in a smaller city. I want a life.”
“Nonsense, Sam,” the woman shot back. “You don’t know what you want or what’s good for you. You need to pay your dues now to reap the benefits later.”
“Look, I don’t expect you to understand. I’m grateful you’ve agreed to help me out, but . . . ”
Mikaela wandered into the hallway and stopped when she saw the two of them at the front door. The woman had unbuttoned her coat, and as she put her hands on her hips, there was a flash of the red cocktail dress she wore underneath. The man was a foot taller and wearing a suit. A very nice fitting suit, Mikaela mused, as she came up behind him.
The woman noticed Mikaela first, and her startled gasp had the man looking over his shoulder. Mikaela wasn’t sure who looked more shocked, the man, who moved to shield the woman, or the woman, who raked her gaze over Mikaela from head to toe. As Mikaela fought the urge to straighten her shirt and fix her hair, she decided, definitely, the woman.
The woman’s eyes narrowed, the hands on her hips became clenched at her sides, and her face flushed red. Mikaela held her breath.
The woman pushed at the man’s shoulder and spun him around to face her. “Why you! You! ‘I can’t invite you in, the house is being painted,’” she mimicked. “Is that the new code word for ‘mistress?’ You could have just told me we were through. Well, I’m done. This is the last straw. You pig!” The woman spun on her heel and wrenched the door open.
“Sophia, wait!”
“No, wait,” Mikaela added. She lurched forward, now wide-awake.
The woman stormed out and slammed the door.

The man turned to Mikaela. “Who the hell are you?”
Book 2
“It has to be done by Tuesday,” he insisted.
Fat chance of that happening, considering it was already Friday afternoon. Too bad. He really was . . . breathtaking. “No can do. I have another client lined up for next week.”
“Bump them.”
Her eyebrows winged up. “I can’t do that. They’re waiting for me, and I promised to start Monday.”
“Trades do it all the time.”
She frowned at him. “Not me. If I say I’m going to start a job on Monday, I start on Monday. You’ll have to find another painter.” Her curls bounced as she turned to go.
“Wait.” He touched her arm, and Margo felt a zing of electricity shimmer through her. “You could do it this weekend.”
“I don’t work weekends.”
“I’ll pay double.”
Margo looked him in the eyes. Eyes that were icy pale blue, almost silver, and too intense to focus on, except they were set in a chiseled face with a square jaw and the most disarming smile.
Her fees were already pretty high. What could possibly be so urgent that he’d pay twice what it was worth?
She glanced around the room. Big open space and pristine beige walls. Sleek leather furniture. Glass, metal, and a zebra-skin rug. And staged for a cover shoot.
What was the deal? Was he desperate to erase the memory of a girlfriend? It was more than possible with the combination of those low-slung jeans, gray T-shirt showing off broad shoulders and flat abs, and that close-cropped blond hair. He towered over her, and she was taller than average. Yeah, it was definitely possible. Or maybe a new ladylove he had to please? She raked her gaze over him. Nah. He wouldn’t need a new paint color for that.
She sighed and thought of the student loan she had yet to pay off. If she prepped the walls that evening, she could probably get the painting done by Monday. “All right. But I’d have to start tonight and come back early Saturday and Sunday.”
His shoulders relaxed. “Not a problem. I can be here.”
“Have you chosen the paint color?”
“No, but it has to be blue.”
“Yes. Pale blue, gray-blue, dark blue, I don’t care. Just as long as it’s blue.”
She shrugged. “Okay then. I’ll bring over some paint chips later and you can choose. You’ll have to make a decision tonight, so I can stop on my way tomorrow to pick it up.”
“I can do that. And I’ll invite some of my buddies over to move the furniture.”
“That would be great. Just push everything to the center of the room. I can cover it with plastic.”
Trace nodded. “Thank you for this. I really appreciate it. I’ve heard you’re the best.”
She smiled. Charm and good looks. He’ll go far. “You’re welcome. I’ll finish the job next door and come back at about seven.”
“Works for me. See you then.”

Linda has been writing romance novels for three years and sincerely thanks Debby Gilbert at Soul Mate Publishing for the ultimate encouragement to her writing - with the leap to publishing. She has many titles including Doctor, Mom, and proud Canadian, but "Linda O'Connor - hereinafter called the Author" is one of the sweetest.

Contemporary romantic comedies are her favorite novels to read and write. Linda balances writing with her work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic and being a mom to three sons (luckily grown and capable of throwing together a decent meal, in a pinch). She also likes to keep active and cycle, cross-country ski, skate, walk with her husband or dance every day.

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Blog Tour: Live Me by Celeste Grande

Live Me ~ a Pieces of Broken novel by Celeste Grande 

Publication date: October 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

How can you begin to live again when you’ve already been forced to…die?
Evangelina Ricci is trapped in a world that’s a never-ending nightmare, a constant ache in which consumes her every breath. Unable to bear the torture any longer, she does the one thing she can to take back control.
With her best friend Jace in tow, Evangelina attempts to escape her darkened past by leaving for college and diving head first into an aggressive schedule, determined with everything she is to make a name for herself. There’s only one problem—she can’t run away from the demons she struggles with. The demons that’ll forever be there, locked inside, battering her soul. Hiding behind a flawless façade, Evangelina faces her ghosts until her world is turned upside down, invaded by…him.
Blake Turner. Sweet, witty, flirtatious and drop-dead gorgeous, he finds Evangelina at every turn. Scared he’ll uncover the truth she keeps so well guarded, Evangelina tries her best to put on her act, deterring him like she has so many times before—only this guy’s different. He’s relentless. Utterly, absolutely and completely relentless. He sees her and he wants her and won’t stop until she’s his.
Will Evangelina succeed in pushing Blake away? Or will he break down her walls and be the person to make her realize life is worth living?


Broken…Shattered…How can you begin to live again when you’ve already been forced to…die?
These first words in the synopsis speak volumes on what the book is all about. It is not just about finding love at the (in)opportune time or discovering someone that can speak to the innermost part of yourself and just find who you are, your soul of souls. More so, it's about fighting those demons that left non-physical scars, the daily reminders of what transpired and what would come haunt you until you learn to not let them control your life. And that is what struck me most in this book, not the romance but the strength she tries to build as Evangelina Ricci, or Eva, reclaim who she is and what she would become after what happened to her: stronger.

Eva could never set herself free from the shadow of her past. It is always a subconscious thought because of her relation with the person and the initial encounter they had. It was worse because it affected not only them but also those who she loves. It was never of her own volition and yet, because of that first time, she placed the blame on herself. Until, with the help of her friends both old and new, and also Blake, realization struck and she builds her strength to not let it define her.

Personally, I have never encountered nor do I wish for anyone to go through with what Eva has gone through. Reading through her story, it is painful to see what happened and what's happening to her and to those around her. And yet, above it all, what struck me the most is her journey to finding the strength to not let what happened consume her in more ways than one.

And that is what I got amidst all the romance between her and Blake. Don't get me wrong, Blake is a good character and yet, I cannot connect with him. Maybe it is just preference but the way his sweetness towards Eva struck me in the wrong way. His dominating personality rises up at times that I think it shouldn't and though he says he considers Eva's predicament, and would stay with her, he gives her an ultimatum. Granted, he may have problems of his own but with both of them broken, I am glad with how things turned up in the end.

I would definitely read the second book just to see how much Eva would grow and would she let her past take her or would she move forward, a stronger person.

Celeste Grande grew up loving words. From an early age, it was easy for her to open her heart through pen and paper and come away with something poetic. She never thought anything more than releasing her emotions would come of it though. A workaholic that can’t keep still, in her ‘real’ life, she’s a Certified Public Accountant who dreams of writing sexy books all day long. When she isn’t working, she’s reading, writing, mommying and being a wifey to the love of her life.
She lives in New York, still putting pen to paper and anxiously awaiting the debut of her first novel, Live Me, a new adult romance, in October of 2015.

Author links:

Promo Post: Love and Intrigue by Kimberly Kolb

Welcome to my tour stop for Lindsey: Love and Intrigue by Kimberly Kolb. This is a young adult mystery and the tour runs Nov. 16-27th with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.


Love and Intrigue by Kimberly Kolb
YA, Mystery

Fifteen-year-old Lindsey Morgan Brooks is still considered the new kid in the small town of Emit, Michigan. Both of her parents are lawyers, but her father has built his reputation prosecuting some of the worst criminals in New York and Chicago. Now, as a high school junior, she is trying to choose her own path.

Lindsey feels the demands and pressure from school, gymnastics, and her parents as she battles insecurities to build friendships while steering clear of the many land mines in high school-such as the group of popular girls she has dubbed the "Fab Five" Busy with activities and consumed with thoughts of her secret crush, Chris, she takes little notice of what's happening around her.

She gets a flat tire, gets caught with the lights-out and starts receiving strange text messages-things she assumes are just high school pranks gone too far. Her father wants her to be able to handle herself, so she should be able to handle this.

 But while she steals a glimpse at Chris, who is watching her?

Kolb, Kimberly - 2013 Woods Head shot (1) Kimberly Kolb earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial organizational psychology from the University of Illinois. She began writing while waiting for her daughter to finish ballet and tap classes. Kolb lives with her husband and three children north of Chicago. This is her debut novel.

Kimberly Kolb received the Editor's Choice and Rising Star Award from iUniverse.

$50 Amazon gift card (INT)
Ends Dec. 2nd, 2015
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Guest Post: Stacey Donovan, author of Dive, Writes About Character Development!


A Novel


When V’s life crumbles around her, she has two options: let it take her down with it or dive straight in

Virginia “V” Dunn is alone when her dog is hit by a car. Lucky’s back leg is shattered, and when she comforts him, his blood is wet on her hands. Suddenly, the monotony of V’s suburban life dissolves: Lucky is in a cast; her best friend, Eileen, is avoiding her; her mother’s drinking is getting worse; and her father is sick with a mysterious illness. Although V is surrounded by family, she is the loneliest girl in town.

As V begins to question everything—death, friendship, family, betrayal—she finds there are few easy answers. The people she thought she knew are strangers, and life’s meaning eludes her. Into this mystery walks the captivating Jane, and V soon realizes that the only way forward seems to break every rule, and go beyond all limitations.

by Stacey Donovan, author of Dive

When I was a teenager, traveling to the faraway places my favorite uncle went was not part of my experience. He sent postcards, always a thrill. From Europe he once wrote: Enjoy everything, even the unpleasant things. I loved him even more for sending such a sophisticated message. It made me feel special and that maybe I could learn special things about life. I must admit that it has been a challenge to enjoy unpleasant things, especially what hurts, or makes no sense, violence toward innocent creatures, wet feet in snow.

I was lucky to have parents who both read a lot of books, to discover the musty classics in the basement: the Greeks, Russians, French, Irish – and more. Upstairs the shelves held the contemporary stuff: espionage, romance, thriller, fantasy, crime, glorious trash fiction, literature whose words reeled through me. The uncle I mentioned, a writer, would send picture books a few times a year.

Those books – realities in my life – led the way to my own character development.

It has been a challenge to think of what is behind character development, and also about character inspiration, which I believe is different from development. Inspiration in regard to creating characters has come as a result of not only observation (an aspect of development) but as part of my search to understand life, what it is to be alive, and sometimes, to try to enjoy everything, even the unpleasant things.

In Dive, there is protagonist V’s younger sister. Her nickname is Baby Teeth, so named because her deciduous teeth stuck around long past the usual time. My own little sister experienced that, and I called her Baby Teeth for a while. I also rode her home from school on my bicycle handlebars and tried to protect her from some of the unpleasant things that had come my way before she showed up. What Baby Teeth the character does next is not what happened in real life.

As the story unfolds, Baby Teeth’s habit of appearing uninvited at neighbors’ houses escalates. It’s her way of trying to understand what’s happening in her own little world, to observe with surprise someone wearing slippers midday, another’s fondness for baloney sandwiches, to watch a spider intently spreading its web while BT pees in an unfamiliar bathroom. Baby Teeth (at the suggestion of someone else’s mother) would call home to say where she was and V usually traipsed over to collect her. They had many talks about cowbirds, buffaloes, how celery could be so long and was it really a vegetable, what it meant to let the wind in. Underneath Baby Teeth’s questions was her desire to understand more about the living in the world.

That was because her world now teemed with uncertainty. Why was her daddy in the hospital, who ran over their little dog and could just drive away after that, how come her mother sat in the blue chair all night, why did her older brother only grunt instead of talk to anyone these days.

The three siblings wrestled with uncertainty. They did not yet understand that change is the nature of life, that a parent can become fatally ill in an instant, that cruelty races down the road with no warning, that decisions no one anticipates insist to be made.

V’s own challenges develop through the story. Many firsts occur: love, death, betrayal (*no story spoilers here). Amid these experiences, poetry becomes an elemental part of her passion, and learning that life means you can find hope in pain and loss. V grasps onto words as she tries to make sense of life.

I did not write Dive yesterday – it was my first novel. With the opportunity to revisit it again, I realize now how much writing it meant so much to my own development as a person, and that inspiration has arisen out of uncertainty. It’s all about diving into life.

Stacey Donovan

Stacey Donovan is a critically acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. She is the founder of Donovan Edits, and has edited or ghostwritten more than twenty-five books, including three New York Times bestsellers and several nonfiction titles that have become leading works in their respective fields. Donovan lives in New York, where she continues to write and edit.