World Cup Hook Up

Buy on Amazon for $0.99.

Synopsis: Stacy missed the excitement of the World Cup, but when a certain incognito guest checks into her dad's inn, not even her craziest soccer dreams could have prepared her for this golden goal.

Consisting of only a few chapters, World Cup Hook Up still manages to punch a pack of feels in the ordinary girl-meets-hot celebrity romance department. I think the real strength of this short story lies in the writing--how Atienza describes settings and the tiny details of relationships: between friends, family members, and of course, potential lovers.

And Greece, oh, Greece! One of the stories I'll be sure to tell my grandkids is that I've been to Greece once upon my singlehood--to the ruins in Athens, and the tiered blue and white domes and squares of Santorini overlooking the caldera. Reading this book made me sigh and remember my trip, and I loved how the author captured my experience and memories of the place with her vivid descriptions.

Another thing why this book has a special place in my writer's heart is its unconventional ending. I've always loved movies with this kind of ending (One Million Yen Girl comes to mind), and I've never been brave enough to write it myself. So for this, I give the author a standing ovation.


Rules We Like Breaking

Victoria Bennett is in control and in charge all day every day, but she needs help sometimes.
Organizing a romantic proposal weekend for her client in Mexico (she’s never been) would be that time – and the only person available to help her is Nathan Grant, notorious heartbreaker. She knows his past and shouldn’t want him, shouldn’t fall for guys like him, but that hasn’t prevented her from lusting after him for years. It’s just one weekend on the beach, away from people they know, alone with the guy who could cause her perfectly coordinated world to crumble. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?

Reading this book by Mina V. Esguerra is a breeze. It's so short, sexy (and sweet), and nicely paced, that you'll be done reading it before you know it. And that's a good thing 'cause it meant that there was something in it that kept you flipping the pages effortlessly.

I liked the tension between the characters. I thought Nathan was a real gentleman despite his obvious sexual appeal, which Victoria tried so hard to deflect. I like the romantic build up, and as usual, Mina has a way of crafting dialogues that feel and read natural. She doesn't have to say so many words, and go into so much detail to paint a conversation. She leaves some to the viewers to figure out--and this shows just how smart and skilled she is as a writer.

I actually read this right after one of her earliest novellas, Fairy Tale Fail, and I could see how her writing voice has matured, adopting the right tone for the New Adult genre. It was as if Esguerra grew up with characters themselves.

I liked the cover of this one the best (among her Spotlight series) because it's bright and colorful, shot outdoors, and didn't show the usual guy and girl being touchy-feely. And as the cover suggests, this would be a good beach read: light and kilig while you're lounging by the seaside, hearing the waves washing over the shore.