Mina Esguerra's best work (IMHO)

My son is taking a nap, and I should be writing the next chapter of my project, but I just finished Mina Esguerra's Greedy and Gullible, the last of her Young and Scambitious series, and I had to take a deep breath, switch on my laptop and write a review.

As soon as I read the first few lines of the first book, i was hooked. It had a different flavor  that distinguished it from all of Mina's past work. I liked the snappy, classy and not-a-word-wasted kind of writing. And because Manila was its main setting, it made me see the capital in a different light--one seeped in intrigue and secrecy.

I liked that I had to think while reading, especially since the books were fast-paced and jumped from one subplot to another, which was good brain exercise. Though I read what the characters were saying out loud, I wasn't privvy to their innermost thoughts and intentions. This technique made me turn page after page, and snap up the next book until everything slowly started to make sense. And despite all the high action, criminal acts and witty exchanges of words, there was still a touch of romance, which I found satisfying until the very end. 

If you want to know what the books are about, do check out the blurbs on Amazon. Better yet, buy the whole series. If you like books that don't waste words and are smart, these are for you.


Fil-Jap Fun

Now that my story is in the hands of able beta readers, I have more time for my other passion, which is reading.  Aside from devouring books from my fave genres--YA, Fantasy, Romance, and Mystery, I also make it a point to read local authors. Here's a recent one I read:

Be Careful What You Wish for - C.P. Santi
I bought this e-book two months ago, and only got to read it a week ago. It was a pleasant surprise of a book, because I absolutely had NO expectations when I bought it. 

A bit of disclaimer though: I know the author because of a common friend. But the last time I saw her was probably around 15 years ago when we bar-hopped in Malate with my friend and her college barkada, which included C.P. Recently, we re-connected in Wattpad (of all places). She added me to her contact list (not knowing who I was; she knew me by another name), and when I read her profile, I thought, hey, I think I know this girl. So we exchanged a few private messages, squeeing over the fact that yeah, we knew each other!

Back to the book--there was a time (when I was still childless) when I'd spend my free time marathoning koreanovelas and j-doramas. So imagine my delight when I discovered that Santi's novella read like a j-dorama from start to finish. But the refreshing twist was its endearing Filipino elements (the MC is a Pinay working in Japan). It was like something straight of my daydreams when I still had the time (and energy) to fantasize about my ultimate Jap actor crushie, Mokomichi Hayami (I wonder what happened to him. MUST google later). I also liked how Santi injected both Pinoy and Japanese expressions in the conversations, and thoughtfully included a glossary of the terms used at the end pages.

Despite the foreign setting, the story reads and feels authentic because the author currently resides in Japan. So aside from the love story itself, you also get to learn some interesting facts about Tokyo, including a peek into its thriving night life.

If you want a fun, kilig read, and you're a bit of a Japanophile, I highly recommend this read. In fact, I hope someone produces it as a TV series in Japan. :-)

Buy it on Smashwords and Amazon.
Author's blog: The Japayuki Chronicles

Will be reviewing more local novellas in the coming days!