Friday, August 19, 2016

Review: Takedown Trilogy (Part 1 of 2)

In Too Deep (Takedown, #1) Goodreads blurb:
A private island….an exclusive guest list…a hot, friendly guy who's more than willing to have that proverbial summer fling…it's the perfect getaway. Or is it?

Mary Shaw works hard and plays harder. Off a difficult project that doesn't go quite according to plan, she heads off on a solitary vacation to recharge her nerves and get things together. That there's a dimpled man-candy who wants to take things up a sexy notch? Perfect bonus. But all is not what it seems, and the things that Mary seeks to escape have a way of catching up with her.

Mary is obviously a hot ginger  who's caught the eye of fellow vacationer Carson.

Part of a small group, Mary and Carson  couldn't help but have a little fun of their own. Especially when they have a quickie on a lagoon. Ooh-lalala! They both wanted it, after all, Mary did say it was just a beach hook-up.

But, after the intense sex, it makes you wonder, who is Mary?

Mary has got a good head, as when the storm did land on the island she took charge. Rationing power, food, and water. And as a way to save power, she gets to room with Carson. Score again!! When storm passes, Mary's mask must also be lifted but it isn't just hers.

Peyton Riley (Takedown #2)  

Not to get Liam Neeson on your asses, but the fact is that Peyton Riley has a very specific skill set. She's good at her job and has just gotten off a major project when she crosses paths with the gorgeous snake-in-the-grass calling himself Carson Varis. He's taken her against her will, but to where, and to what end? She's got days to figure this out and escape–before her boss finds out where his favorite specialist has disappeared.

Carson Varis has got an eye for art and a mania for professionalism. No one does work-life balance like he does. But a certain fiery redhead has gotten his goals in a twist. He has his employer's order to fulfill, but can't get the memory of her body (and her hair, and her deep blue eyes, and oh, that mouth) out of the way. Can he get it together and pull off a job well done?

It's in the second book when we finally learn who Mary, or rather Peyton Riley, is and boom!

Yah! It's actually a big explosion not of the romantic kind but of the action kind, as this is where the thriller part kicks off.

"Randomly choosing to sleep with the first hot guy who'd drooled over her bikini was exactly why she was in this mess. Never again" - Bianca Mori,

Peyton specializes in takedowns, or to be more precise stop things from happening, be it a wedding or an acquisition deal. Peyton's last Barcelona job cost the life of a woman, who turns out to be the sister of Carson's employer. Now, the two of them must join forces to stop the sale of a fictitious art masterpiece. Peyton has the skill set, and Carson has the art know how. Peyton is the brains of the operations. Carson serves as the moral compass.

Reading Peyton Riley asserted what I have long suspected, that I'm actually a fade to black kind of girl. However, I still need the romantic build up that In Too Deep provided, especially if it's a romantic thriller such as this.

Sex wise things between Carson and Peyton are nil but that doesn't mean things aren't heating up. The chemistry between the two is undeniable. Take this chapter ender for example:

No, this scene did not have any sex in it, but the chemistry with the characters that Mori has carefully crafted were so human, that I wanted but how could that I start treating them as friends. vIf they were to meet at different circumstances, could they still have that same attraction, probably, but, but, but. Argh!

While reading the second book, I stumbled upon a quote in social media that books talk to you and this one does. I wanted to tell Peyton to swallow your damn pride woman, there's a perfectly good catch you have there and he's in love with you, but of course I couldn't blame Peyton.

If I was her real friend, I'd tell her to just go with what makes her happy, damn it, even if it goes against my conscience, (ehem, thank you Bianca for Carson).

The second book ended just like the first, with a cliff hanger. So before we go into the third book, there are a lot of questions going into my head.

Some of the questions that I hope will be answered by book three (which I am currently reading:
How did anja come into Roi's employment? What is the connection?
How did Roi know about Amsterdam and why cant he just save Peyton after all Peyton did say she could just call Roi? What made Roi so mad? Couldnt she just explain it to him?

Side note: There are some chapters wherein the voice in my head has a British accent, I don't know why.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Read: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

JK Rowling's world building is enough to pull a fan and use his or her imagination to recreate Hogwarts, Harry Potter, and all the other elements of the wizarding world.

With that, even though the book says story by JK Rowling, and this is something I will continue on telling people, even though I don't believe it myself, I feel like the story just didn't come from Rowling. Maybe bits of it did. parts of it did, but the time turner and alternate reality thing just didn't come off to me as something that would exist in the same universe as the story of the Prisoner of Azkaban. and, and, and ---Ron, come on Ron Weasley! He felt like a stand in for the twins!

Still, like what I do with everything else that I read, I take it in as fact (even though it may be contradictory or even fallacious) and just get on with it.

Surprisingly, it made me laugh and there were moments that made me cry.

Good reads blurb:

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Author Interview: Yeyet Soriano and her retreat

What were the hurdles that you had to overcome when you were writing the retreat?

Initially, the hurdle was that there were four story ideas in my head and I couldn’t make up my mind which one to focus on. I wanted to do a 90’s inspired murder mystery where the lead singers of popular local rock bands were getting killed off one by one (the title is 3B4U). I also wanted to do a family massacre story where the sole survivor is an eleven-year-old girl and the prime suspect is her twelve-year-old guy best friend (the title is Breathe). Then there is the modern akyat-bahay story (the title is Climb) that I wanted to write because it was happening in our village. And lastly, there was the story of a woman who was raped as a five-year-old child by a neighbor (the title is Lost). And the way I overcame the hurdle? I told myself, I will cover ALL four, so I had to think of a premise where that would be possible. So I basically fictionalized the #HeistClub writing workshop into something a bit more mysterious, sinister, and provocative. A challenge from one of the biggest publishers in the country, for authors to write a true-to-life crime story set in the Philippines, not fully resolved. The authors should be willing to go on a writers’ retreat in an undisclosed place, cut-off from the real world, without telling anyone. And the prize would be enough money to retire and just write with a guaranteed platform for release.

And with that, I had the stories of my four writers retreat participants.

What made you take a chance to write crime fiction?

I love crime fiction. I love reading and watching it (TV series or movies) and am really just interested in anything related to crime, mystery and suspense. I also am interested in police work and the workings of court cases. I used to want to be either a detective or a lawyer, then I said maybe I would be better as a psychologist and focus on abnormal psychology and be a profiler, but I ended up as an Accountant who went into IT and Project Management. Reality bites, huh? So I guess, the next best thing for me was to write about crime and crime solving, since I couldn’t live it.

How was it different from your other books: genres you write in?

I always said that I could write in any genre. It all depends on what story is stuck in my head and needs to come out. Having said that, I’ve written speculative fiction (time travel and alternate realities), paranormal romance, children’s literature, romance and now crime. What’s different is that crime fiction needed more research and more believability. I had to ensure that I had all my facts straight. A lot of my crimes had to be psychologically sound, so I use a lot of resource persons to validate my character portrayals.

Have you always wanted to write crime fic? Why so?

My earliest writings when I was a child could be filed under crime fiction, because I was a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys fan – the books and the TV series way back. So yes, crime fiction has always been something I wanted to write and the #HeistClub writing workshop was a welcome surprise and suddenly, I was back to my first love in terms of writing.

The retreat is not your first book right? There's turning points and in my dreams, right? So this is your third book?
Yes, The Retreat is my third book released. Turning Points was the first. This is the speculative fiction book about time travel and alternate realities. It is also a product of a writing workshop-#JustWritePH. In My Dreams is the paranormal romance which was written as part of Mina V. Esguerra’s #StrangeLit workshop. So you could say that I write mostly well under pressure and on a deadline, as those three books would be proof of. I am working on a romance book right now, again for Mina’s #romanceclass workshop, and let me tell you, out of all the genres, romance is probably the most difficult for me to write. And it’s because of the dark part of my brain which lets me write crime fiction well. I always want something dark and sinister to happen, and in romance, everything needs to be done based on a structure, with of course a happy ending. My initial draft actually had elements of crime that I was not aware of, and I have to clean it up so it becomes a real contemporary romance story. So yes, crime fiction is in my blood.

Other things that you would like to share

I mentioned earlier that I included the concept of four stories in The Retreat, as these were the manuscripts brought by the authors participating in the writers’ retreat that were reviewed, critiqued and in the process, solved. These four “manuscripts” will be released as the next part of The Retreat. They may be released individually (probably in ebook format), or in tandem (maybe 2 in a book for print release), or maybe as a whole – an anthology with four stories for print release. But the four stories have more or less been written, three completed and in the process of beta reading and revisions (3B4U, Breathe, and Climb), while one is in the process of being completely written (Lost)—it is a bit more challenging, and it is because of the nature of the topic. This is the story of the woman who was raped when she was five years old. What is hard is that it is a true-to-life story and I need to be able to write it well and get it right, in fairness to the person this horrible crime happened to. That is my challenge right now.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Author Interview: Till Death Do Us Part's Irene Recio

*This is the full transcript of the author interview, parts of which came out in in an article in Manila Bulletin titled Criminal Minds last July 11, 2016.

Mother and author Irene Recio talks about juggling motherhood and a writing career. She's raising a wonderful daughter, that my best friend swear is the best kid ever. But. it's not an ordinary motherhood blog that she's engaging in, it's more of the troublesome kind, as she engages in crime fiction.

What were the hurdles that you had to overcome when you were writing Till Death Do Us Part?

Time is always a problem when I write. I usually write late at night when the whole house is asleep – when there are less distractions. But I wake up everyday at 3am so I usually pass out from exhaustion around 8 in the evening after all the chores have been done. Sadly, there goes my time to write. So I just try to write whenever I can. Like small pockets of opportunities at any given time of the day. 

I also found it hard (and scary) at times when I have to dive into the dark side to write about the antagonist or even the aggrieved character and suddenly switch back to high-energy positivity that motherhood requires. It can be challenging to stay in character when your bubbly happy child calls to mommy to proudly show her artwork or an impromptu performance. It’s funny now that I look back, but it was kind of crazy switching from character to real life back and forth! J 

Another thing, even though I love to watch police procedural and crime fiction, I pretty much avoid the gore and carnage that most crime stories offer. I’m not a big fan of guts and extreme violence. I found it difficult to research on violence and motivations and take on that kind of mental state while writing. And I think one of the hardest parts in writing in this genre is that it would stir up the darkest fears I have. Being a wife and mother, my fears are so much more than my own already. Writing about it was very stressful and challenging.

For a review of this book:

What made you take a chance to write crime fiction?
I’ve always loved reading mysteries. It all started in grade school when I would borrow Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys from my school’s library. It was addicting. These books would take me to thrilling adventures and be part of their crime solving activities. And my love for a good suspense thriller really motivated me to try writing crime fic. 

How was it different from your other written works?
This is my first attempt at writing crime fiction. My other stories are about romance and others are for children’s literature. So this is really different from the ones I’ve written before, but not so totally different because it still has a romance angle to it. 

Have you always wanted to write crime fic? Why so? 
Aside from my love of books stemming from my discovery of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, I also love how women are now represented in tv and movies as strong, independent, and very capable – deviating from the usual damsels in distress. I’ve always wanted to be able to write about such women. I want my women characters not just to be strong, smart, clever, independent, and capable, but also show their vulnerable and human side. And it was so awesome that #HeistClub gave us this platform where we could create characters to our liking. 

She ends, "We have the most awesome group of #HeistClub writers where people support one another. How cool is that??! This is such a nurturing and uplifting group!"

For a review of Till Death Do Us Part:

Till Death Do Us Part and other #heistclub books are available here   href="">

For more about #HeistClub:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Sampaguita by Mark Manalang

Goodreads blurb

What would you do when a crime happens before you? When Japanese expat Keniichi Daimon witnessed a kidnapping, he failed to answer that question.

His moment of indecision would later cost a little girl her life, and endanger what he dearly holds the most. With innocent blood now in his hands, Keniichi will aim to atone by seeking out the perpetrator, but his quest will expose a greater evil hiding in Manila's lights and shadows, a force as terrible as the crime and corruption seeping into society itself.

Thus begins a story of vengeance, love, unbreakable will, and justice.

Review (Warning: may contain spoilers)

Keniichi's love Manila is transparent as he takes walks by his lonesome in the red light district of Manila. But not to ogle at the girls mind you, but to relish (I hope, as I feel the same way) the old glory. Surely, he's not the prime target in a place full of whites, and nobody will automatically peg him as a CEO of a multimillion company. Maybe for some, he is just some random Tsinoy, but what Manila is and Keniichi's crime-conscious ways is an odd if not affable mix.

Strong female characters in the novella Sampaguita are not lacking. Maya is in control of Keniichi even of the office that she manages to run things on the day that her boyfriend cannot function, Jasmine stood as the parent for her younger sister providing for her in both physical and emotional support.

These women's weakness, however, seems to be in the sexual aspect. They both cannot seem to say no, or rather they cannot manipulate the opposite sex when it comes to physical desires, the way that they can manipulate fate in everything else.

Maya, even just a humble secretary, rose to power and can control a company but cannot ward off the hungry predators who are the Keniichi's business partners. Jasmine, who grew up in the streets and knew what GRO meant, cannot fight off her urges towards an expat even in the most crucial times.

I have to say, that I was affected with Maya's passing, but call it as a McGuffin, as if the lovely Filipina had not died, would Keniichi have acted out the way that he did?

This may seem trite and all, but I cannot wait to know what will happen to Keniichi, especially since Maya is now gone.

Guest Post! Racquel Castro and #HeistClub

I was so skeptic in joining #HeistClub for it talked about dark souls and offenses. As a born again Christian, I have to show them that people was not born evil. I could make a story that would open the eyes of every man that being evil was always a decision. It has pros and cons; every evil man has his reason. It maybe envy, revengeful heart, or seeking justice. Everyone has needs; some people seek their needs in the wrong way. I answered the challenge by Mina V. Esguerra to write crime fiction because I wanted to expand my horizon and learn from the best Filipino crime fiction authors. The class started September 20 up to November 7, 2015. We had assignments regarding our Introduction, Concept or Story Description, First Three Pages, Last Three Pages, and the Final, Edited story.

After the schedule was given, we were blessed to start with a long inspiring message from F.H. Batacan, the author of Smaller and Smaller Circles. After that, Kevin Uy shared the topic of valuable things that we treasured. Aside from Tips on Good Pacing and the formula of a typical thriller by Jennifer Hiller, the author of Creep, Juliet Grames, who is currently with Soho Press, shared the tips for the aspiring crime fiction authors.

I personally enjoyed the lessons by R.J. Taduran, a forensic anthropologist; CSI 101, Forensic Behavioral Science and Evidence 101.

In choosing for the perfect crime fiction for me, I scraped out murder and ended up researching about theft. Aside from the fact that many crime fiction dealt with murder, I really cannot imagine myself writing a murder story.

I considered embezzlement first but after watching the news about ATM Fraud, I already have the idea to write a crime story about the schemes of ATM Fraud because everyone has an ATM Card.

The choice of a ruthless female antagonist was a right decision that I made so far. The scary part for me has to be day dreaming of a woman with a gun on one hand and stilettos on the other hand. Why is it that the main character, Gabe Jacinto, was a millionaire? It is because I wanted the readers to see a millionaire risking his life for some good reason. Other characters to watch for are Cherry and Manuel.

The subplot of Chasing an ATM Schemer is romance. What do you expect with a romance writer like me? We breathe romance and as we explore different literary genres, it will have a romance subplot. Expect romance blooming on the next book.

Lastly, I have to say that writing crime fiction is more than the love for writing because it is mainly a privilege and a responsibility. I really enjoyed it seeing every reader aware, vigilant and satisfied. Their comments and reviews are a boost to make the second book even more exciting.

Punishment is a part of justice. You will see how God works in the heart of every man; reminding them the greatest gift of all, forgiveness.


Gabe Jacinto is assigned to capture a lady ATM Schemer, Teri Francisco. When Teri heard that he was dating the beautiful Carrie Rios, she plots on using her to trap the fraud hunter. Will Gabe risk his life and money to save Carrie even though he knows her true identity?
For print edition, contact the author:

About the author: 
Racquel Sarah A. Castro is living with Cerebral Palsy. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology in AMA Computer College-Binan Campus. She always wanted to inspire people in all ways. She also desires to prove the goodness of God through her life. Racquel is living with her parents in Binan City, Laguna, Philippines. She is a geek, a math tutor, a food addict, a web designer, and a free lance programmer. Her family is currently a ground volunteer of Basics Global, a non-profit organization based in Dubai, UAE. She also leads a music ministry branch in Jesus Christ Rules Bible Christian Church. She aspires to be an emissary of People with Disabilities. She started the campaign on Novel Cerebral Palsy Awareness Drive by featuring her disability on her works.

Contact the author:
Check out other stories from Racquel:
Twitter: @rsacastro017

For Alice's review of Chasing an ATM Schemer:

Chasing an ATM Schemer and other #heistclub books are available here

For more about #HeistClub:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Guest Post! Writing with The Gung Ho Lady, one of the #HeistClub Books

Hi everyone! Arlene Manocot here, and the generous Ana offered me to do a guest post on her blog that’s why I’m here. Thank you

This is part of the #HeistClub Blog Tour this month, and I’ll be talking about my #HeistClub story. Take it away! :)

The Gung Ho Lady was the second book I published after the Vengeance: The Awakening from the #StrangeLit class. My first crime fiction TGHL was produced from the #HeistClub online writing workshop facilitated by Ms. Mina V. Esguerra. I didn’t intend to write any genre in particular, but the opportunity knocked and who was I to resist.

It was not easy to write in this genre, but with the help of F.H. Batacan, R.J. Taduran and Jennifer Hillier, at least I was able to get a glimpse of what was writing crime fiction like. The hardest part would naming the procedures, and the technical terms and the likes, and the World Wide Web helped a lot. It was also fun writing the book, the whole writing process per se. Also, I was able to get my very first help from a beta reader, Amae, and I realized the importance of having someone to read my manuscript.

In the Philippines, F.H. Batacan was the first crime fiction Filipino writer, I heard of, if my memory would serve me well. It would be safe to say that there’s really no comprehensive selection of in print crime fiction in our country, but don’t fret anymore because we’re here, the 16 #HeistClub Authors with your support and patience, dear readers, we would be able to write more stories in this genre. Writing in this genre is very important because it’s a reflection of what kind of society we have in our country, and it can serve as an eye opener to some certain issues we are facing now. Hopefully, we can get solutions for these issues through writing Filipino crime fiction. Together, let’s fight crime through writing crime fiction! Aja! Fighting!


DARKNESS is buried within the deepest part of her soul. A blurry past unceasingly haunts her passive and calm universe and her distorted mind is a burden she can’t get over with. Involved in a murder case, will she be able to prove her innocence?

Margaux Dela Cruz has always viewed the world as a place for repentance. A place to pay the debt of sins, a place where humans pay the price of being alive. The price that can never be sufficed by anyone in this world and while praying for the permanency of her everlasting solitude, men, creatures from another herd, appears and bedlam begins to ensue in her once placid life.

A story of Sins. Repentance. And Love.

Add to Goodreads: 

 About the author:

Arlene Manocot is a fantasy-suspense-romance fiction Filipino author. She also writes poems about life and love (mostly unrequited). She is an avid fan of anime and manga. Her works are available on Amazon, Kobo and Buqo, or for print edition.

Twitter and Instagram: @arlenemanocot
Wattpad: ArleneManocot

The Gung Ho Lady and other #heistclub books are available here

For more about #HeistClub:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Author Interview: Georgette Gonzales and her book Classified

Georgette Gonzales (aka Edith Joaquin) has set out a four part crime series. We talk about what made her decide to make women as the main characters and what were the challenges.

How long did it take you to conceptualize the story? You said that it was a four story book right, how long was the idea in your head?
This series was meant initially for My Special Valentine (Bookware Publishing Corp.). Or at least the next four books after Classified. The concept and plot was given to me by a fellow author who believed I could give the story better justice than she ever could. She wanted it full-blown action and she said between her and me, I can do it better.

So with that, technically, I didn't spend time with the concept. What I will be spending so much time on would be researching for the details. The plots for the books are rather complicated (and I like making things difficult for myself) because the stories involve terrorist plots and such.

What made you decide to make women as the protagonists in your book?
When we speak of crime lit, usually, men take the lead. And although I love taking the male POV when I write my romance novels, I feel women kicking ass give a higher adrenaline rush. Like, I know the lead for Salt was first intended for a man. Tom Cruise, to be exact. But the producers (or director ba?) changed their minds and offered the role to Angelina Jolie. Made the role more interesting, yes?

What was the most difficult part of writing the story? Was it the research oe maybe writing the actual crime?
In any of my work, the more difficult part is writing the ideas down. Research is enjoyable even if it's difficult but to translate the details into a story that I want readers to enjoy, that's a different thing.

I can also say that writing the actual crime could be difficult, but I enjoy it because it gives me a chance to practice being evil and devious (insert wicked laughter here, with thunder and lightning). I love delving into the mind of the perpetrator, the problem solver, the victim.

Were there any character or scene that you had a problem writing about? How about you found easy? How so?
Conspiracies are easy enough to come up with but it's the tedious task of nitpicking which ones are believable but obviously fiction, and those that are fiction yet appear to be too close to the real thing. Because that last thing? That could get me into trouble with the law. I could be labeled a terrorist or conspirator. Thank God, though, I haven't encountered that kind of road block. Otherwise, I'll see you in Muntinlupa. Har har

Do you have any learnings that you would incorporate into the next books of the series?
When I come up with stories, I make it a point to outdo myself from the last. I can't specify what particular learning point to apply, but I know, and I can feel if my current WiP is something I can be prouder of than the more previous one. If not, then that only means I didn't work hard enough.

Other things you would like to share
This is not the first crime plot I came up with. In the interview by Bookbed for the #HeistClub bundles, one of the questions were about how crime fic fares in the local scene. I said there are readers who love reading crime but as a subgenre of romance. And that's what I had been writing for My Special Valentine. That being so, crime fic has become a genre I enjoy writing. I hope to come up with more of these stories as I fulfill my dream of putting out a Tom Clancy-ish series sometime in the future. Crossing my fingers. ;)

Classified and other #heistclub books are available here

For more about #HeistClub:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Author Interview: Bianca Mori talks about #HeistClub

*This is the full transcript of the author interview, parts of which came out in in an article in Manila Bulletin titled Criminal Minds last July 11, 2016.

Romance author Bianca Mori, known for Tame the Kitten tries her hand at a completely different genre, she shares her experience with us. 

What were the hurdles that you had to overcome when you were writing Snakehead?
Time, mostly! We had about two months to submit the first draft, and I was really busy with work, so at one point I locked myself in one Saturday and banged out 8 chapters in order to make the deadline. In retrospect...not the best way to write a procedural. Editing was brutal. Another hurdle is just getting into that headspace which allows a person to write about crime. Crimes are an aberration - basically an act that declares rebellion against moral and legal mores that we all agree to live with in exchange for a relatively harmonious society. So trying to understand why a person would commit such an aberration - exploring their motives, and the fallout/consequences of their act - that's not an easy place to inhabit.

What made you take a chance to write crime fiction?
It's one of my favorite genres. I love a good procedural. I had a true crime phase when I was all caught up with heinous murders and such, but in time I had to stop because it was really disturbing. So I guess I just wanted to write something that I also liked to read.

How was it different from your other books, genres you write in? Romance right?
I've mainly written romance, but since last year I shifted towards romance-suspense which shares some aspects with crime (i.e. morally compromised characters, violence, tricky procedurals). I also used to write a lot of horror so writing crime was like revisiting the same well. There are a lot of differences especially in the genre conventions. Romance mandates a happily ever after, for example. You also have to root for the characters, which is not necessarily the case with crime.

Have you always wanted to write crime fic? Why so?
 It was something I really wanted to try, since I enjoy reading it. There's a technical aspect to writing crime / mystery / thrillers that really interests me, that sleight-of-hand, misdirection thing that is so satisfying when done well. I don't think I'm at that level yet, but it's fun to figure out how it's done!

Other things that you would like to share?
I re-read Snakehead prior to adding it on Amazon and I just realized how influenced it is by Gillian Flynn. I remember reading Dark Places in preparation for #HeistClub and that book is so distasteful, but I kind of have echoes of that in my story.

Snakehead and other #heistclub books are available here

For more about #HeistClub:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Interview with #HeistClub Facilitator Mina V. Esguerra

*This is the full transcript of the author interview, parts of which came out in in an article in Manila Bulletin titled Criminal Minds last July 11, 2016.

Romance queen Mina V. Esguerra initiated an online class; but instead of all the usual feels, she went on a different route, and set out to stir trouble.

Esguerra author of Young Adult (Interim Goddess of Love) and contemporary romance novels (Fairy Tale Fail, The Harder We Fall) helmed an online writing class where sixteen crime stories where produced.

Why crime? Why did you choose this genre?
I enjoyed reading it, and have dabbled in writing it. I'm not alone in this and apparently many authors were up for it, but were maybe overwhelmed by the research and procedure aspect of crime fiction. So I tried to provide a basic set of resources for the authors, that would make it easier to start writing their stories.

Mina V. Esguerra

You yourself is a mentor, but was it hard to get insights from other mentors (FH Batacan, Jennifer Hiller, etc)? How so? 
It wasn't difficult reaching out to established authors Jennifer Hillier and FH Batacan. I knew people who knew them and worked with them, and once they found out about the class they were happy to share their advice.

Do you think that there is a market here in the Philippines for crime? 
I think if we can watch Hollywood movies about it, and read foreign crime fiction books, then there will be an audience for the kind of crime fiction that #HeistClub authors wrote.

When comparing readership to your online (romance, YA, etc) books, how does the Philippine market fare?
What are the top countries which hou sell the most? Anyone already on Amazon is probably already paying for ebooks, and that's why it's been easier for years to just market to Amazon's audience which is primarily international. But the Philippine market is still substantial, in terms of sheer number of readers. When a free story can get thousands (or over 100,000!) downloads and reads just within our country, and then the challenge becomes producing something that a percentage of them will be willing to pay for.

Was it hard to encourage writers to join and finish their stories? What were the challenges? Over 30 authors signed up for #HeistClub and about half of them completed stories. That's an awesome enough turnout and finishing rate, but a romance class for example will get 100 interested authors. I guess it's so far been a genre that many authors think is difficult to start with, so they don't. I hope the story of the #HeistClub class makes it seem a little more accessible.

How do you think can we get the Philippine market to read crime (and even romance for that matter)? 
Write good books and get them in the hands of people who already like reading them, or were curious to begin with. I'm not for converting the uninterested--this was done for fun and we welcome readers who approach the process of reading and discovering new books with the same spirit of fun and joy.

What other genres will you be exploring? 
I'm not sure yet if we should do more genres or just do a batch 2 of the classes we already tried!

Other things that you would like to share.
Anyone interested in reading the books should go buy the ebook anthologies on If you buy from Amazon, you can also support the authors there. Here's a list of what's available:

For more about #HeistClub:

Friday, July 08, 2016

Read: Chasing an ATM Schemer

This book is part of #HeistClub, where authors were challenged to create a book one of a crime series. This is a fast paced intro to what seems to be a promising expansive series.

Gabe Jacinto is a famed detective who has been nicknamed the Fraud Hunter.  In his first outing, he goes after Teri Francisco. The two know each other, and they both know that they are not friends. Teri, whose real name is Ella, plots out her illegal moves not to get rich but to get even to an ex-lover. That former flame is engaged to Jacinto's sister. Oh, how the world is small and these two characters go after each other, it gets smaller and smaller.

ATM schemes are just one of the many fraudulent (estafa) acts in the country. So, looking forward to more of that. Hopefully, the next books in the series will expound how Jacinto garnered popularity and how his intel sources grew.

Goodreads blurb:

Gabe Jacinto is assigned to capture a lady ATM Schemer, Teri Francisco. When Teri heard that he was dating the beautiful Carrie Rios, she plots on using her to trap the fraud hunter. Will Gabe risk his life and money to save Carrie even though he knows her true identity?

This books and other #heistclub books are available here at

For more about #HeistClub:

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Read: The Retreat by Yeyet Soriano

Goodreads blurb:

What would you be willing to do to secure a publication deal of a lifetime from the biggest publisher in the country?

The challenge: You have to write a true-to-life crime story set in the Philippines. The case should not be completely resolved. At least 75 percent of the manuscript needs to be completed within thirty days. You have to be willing to go on a week-long writers’ retreat in an undisclosed location to discuss your manuscript and be critiqued by the other participants. Afterward, you have to be ready to revise and edit the manuscript for final publication.

The prize: Enough money to retire and just write with a guaranteed platform for release locally and internationally.

The catch: You can’t breathe a word to anyone. Post anything on social media and you are out. You will be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement and a release that removes any responsibility from the organizers should anything untoward happens to you. You will not be allowed to bring any gadgets to the retreat. You will be completely cut off.

So . . . are you game?

Alice's review

Great, entertaining read.

The characters each had a chance to open up about wrong doings (whether they did it, it was done to them, or they were in any way a spectator). A

Simon (rockstar murder who I guessed right (yippy)) and Philip's (akyat-bahay) story were interesting, but it was the women's who moved me more. Pity, Maggie and Rhodney though.

However, statistics speaks true about this. One out of every four girls have been sexually harassed, abused, or raped. I can only imagine the horrors of their childhood. Thank goodness Rhodney came to this retreat for she finally confronted her demons. Even though Maggie had no knowledge that was being done to her was wrong, the implications that it gave her were more severe. Case in point, is the recent Stanford rape victim letter.  Part of my advice to these women is to accept it, but do not let the perpetrators run free. Make them accept the greater consequences, just as you have had. It will be a hard road to travel, but never give up.

The story of the four authors have already been talked about in this book, which makes me wonder what the other four books will offer that has not been spoiled by book 1.

That's something to watch out for, yes?

The Retreat and other #HeistClub Books are available here at

For more about #HeistClub:

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Read: Silkworm by Robert Gall

Just like the first novel, this had me guessing who the killer was, which I again did not get right. Hahah!

The reason why I'm blogging about this (apart from the fact that it is a great thrilling read) is that there are Filipino characters in the story, Manny and his mother Nenita.

I am not going to call the author racist because she portrayed the Pinoys as househelpers. I will just leave it as it is.

It makes me proud each time I read or hear the word Filipino or Philippines. It makes me even prouder is that wherever you are in the world, there will always be someone who you can hear or talk to in Filipino. So, if ever you get lost, you know you can truly trust in that person.

Finding a Pinoy (whether in real life or in the books) is like finding a long lost sibling. #luksongdugo

From Abante (tabloid):

Pinoy ang mag-inang Nenita at Manny na minor-minor characters sa nobelang The Silkworm, bagong akda ni Robert Galbraith.

Ang ‘Robert Galbraith’ ay pseudonym ni J. K. Rowling, ang may-akda ng mga nobela tungkol kay Harry Potter.

Sa The Silkworm, nag-pose nang walang saplot ang poging si Manny sa amo niyang latent homosexual (publisher na si Daniel Chard).

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Read: Till Death Do Us Part by Irene Recio

A great husband was what Nikki thought she has. Even though he's too busy with work and even though he will get angry for little things such as having her hair cut, her husband knows how to make amends like surprising her with a bouquet of flowers and arranging for an anniversary in Baguio.

That same weekend that the couple were in Baguio, a serial killer named the Tailor makes his kill. And, just as Nikki thought that she had made a life changing decision for them, then she finds out something that will make your heart race.

A great and fast read that will leave you wondering what comes next. If this was movie, I'd peg it as Audrey Hepburn's Charade meets Christian Bale's American Psycho.

This book is part of #heistclub

Goodreads blurb: 

Everything in Nikki's life is picture perfect: her photography has taken off and is now a thriving business, she is reconnecting with old friends, and her husband is nothing but devoted to her. That is, until she discovers a shocking truth that might put her and her family in danger.

Till Death Do us Part and other #HeistClub Books are available

For more about #HeistClub:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Underneath it All by Ysa Arcangel

"Breaking the rules have never felt so right..."

The tagline summarizes the love story between a college student and her dean.

Sounds inappropriate? Taboo? Dramatic?

Well, because it is and Agata(called Gats by her friends) knows it. But that doesn't stop her to join a sorority because she heard that Reeves (the young hot dean) likes, sorority girls.

Thankfully enough, before she can pledge herself, Reeve came to her rescue in the middle of a storm, swooped her off her feet, and voila! Fireworks!

Agata loves her family so much, that was why Reeve had the opportunity to meet them before they were, um, official. The dilemma? Reeve's sister is actually dating Mik, Gat's twin brother.

Reeve on the other hand has so much family drama going on, that most of the plot problems were (and even had Reeve) focused on that. He wants to seek revenge at his pops, just when the latter appointed him as dean. That leads to him shutting down the school. As expected, Agata's friends and co-students rally to have his decision upturned.

Wait there's more!

Caleb, a photog is pining after Gats, and even got her to move to LA. So, what will happen to Reeve

A little caveat, for you to really enjoy this book, you have to take in everything as fact. Some of that may include Reeve's side of the story, like that of his stepmother and of Red (is he really his half-brother? Cause, he is older than Rogue, who is only a teenager, yet his pining for a girl who is after Reeve).

I couldn't for the love of me, take in Agata's question to Reeve's father when the latter told her that his stepmother was found dead with his baby. I mean, when you are relayed that kind of information, what is the first thing that comes to your mind.

Just like any other series, I have to say I liked the first one better. Probably why, I get squishy inside every time Ivo and Brandy has a scene together. Plus, I think Brandy is getting better. Who-hoo!

I received this book as an ARC for a honest review. Receiving this for free doesn't affect my review.


Goodreads blurb:

A senior at Gates University, Agata Ferrero knows without a doubt that Reeve Gates is off limits…

Students can’t date faculty, and Reeve has been appointed by his father as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. But when a near accident with the front end of Reeve’s sleek sports car brings her in close contact with him, Agata can’t deny the flash of desire that consumes her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Read: All's Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

Set to go on a blogtour on the land of egg tarts, Macau, Five was running late, and missed the elevator thanks to a boy who closed it on her. From that awkward (irritating) first meeting, you known right then and there that it was really Jesse who Five will end up with together.

Hk macau
Ruins of St. Paul's Macau. Photo taken by Alice Kamatis
(I'll try no to spoil anything, because I want you to read it for yourself.)

Five's irritation toward Jesse was so cute that I didn't even notice that I was smiling because of all the feels coming from the pages. #kiligpamore! It was Jesse and all his gentlemanly ways (being a hand to hold onto in that rough patch, willingness to help, encouraging words) that made us,made me like him even more for Five. It was also this that made Five fall in love with him.

The main dilemma is pride. A little bit of pride, pride that drives us not to think logically and not to ask the other party concerned on what happened drove this two apart. However, life has a way in straightening out this misunderstanding, and you guessed it an egg tart or in this case an egg pie delivered by a cutie saves the day.

In the end there's a little caveat  it was a reminder from Five that happy endings only happen in books and movies. But, that doesn't mean we can learn how make to our own stories.

Extra: an epilogue of sorts how one guy's ka torpehan can be upturned thanks to the patience of a gal.

Goodreads blurb:

Five Cuevas @fivetravels 
Three guesses to where I'm going next. Starts with an M. Ends with a U. Has a lechon named after it. #travel 

 Twenty-something travel blogger Five thinks she has hit the jackpot when she gets invited to glittering Macau for an all-expense-paid bloggers tour. Think majestic old churches, sparkling casinos, exhilarating bungee jumps, and the world's most unforgettable egg tarts. The trip is practically perfect, except for one little glitch. She gets assigned to be travel buddies with Jesse, the world's most infuriating photo blogger, and it's definitely war at first sight.

 Will Five let Jesse turn her dream vacation into a total nightmare? Or will falling in love be on the itinerary?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

#HeistClub: The Launch

Let’s write Crime! Filipino writers were challenged to write tales of dark pathways and mysterious psyches, misdemeanor and trouble, dread and doubt.

#HeistClub was an online workshop facilitated by Mina V. Esguerra in the last quarter of 2015. The class was organized by Bronze Age Media and sponsored by Buqo and Enderun’s The Study.

Each crime story had to be set in the Philippines, and it had to be written in English. Each story should pave the way for a series, so it should be Case #1, with the next cases in the works for subsequent release. A foreign language needed to be incorporated into the story, with our sponsor, Enderun providing the writers free translation services.

 The following mentors gave invaluable tips and lessons to the writers during the course of the workshop: Jennifer Hillier, F.H. Batacan, R.J. Taduran, Kevin Uy, Juliet Grames, and Andrea Pasion-Flores.

 In the end, sixteen crime stories were produced. They were released in three ebook bundles on the Buqo application early this year. The bundle names are: What We Fear, Why We Run, and What We Hide.

#HeistClub: Why We Run ·
 Bayawak’s Trail by Justine Camacho-Tajonera ·
The Fraud Hunter Book 1: Chasing an ATM Schemer by Racquel Sarah A. Castro ·
The Retreat by Yeyet Soriano ·
Come With Me by Michael Recto ·
Inertia by Sette Luis

#HeistClub: What We Fear ·
Till Death Do Us Apart by Irene Nicholas-Recio
Soul Makers by Jee Ann Guibone ·
 Classified by Georgette S. Gonzales ·
 High Stakes by Ana Valenzuela ·
 Dressed to Kill by Cassandra Javier

#HeistClub: What We Hide
Snakehead by Bianca Mori
Sampaguita by Mark Manalang
Let’s Play Murder by Farrah F. Polestico
Corpus Delicti by Porcupine Strongwill
The Flame Squad: Sly Prince by Jessica E. Larsen
The Gung Ho Lady by Arlene Manocot

On June 25, 2016, at 6:00 to 9:00 PM at Enderun’s The Study, located at 4th Floor, Podium, Ortigas Center, the sixteen stories will be officially launched to the public. From the time they were released in their ebook bundles, some of the authors have refined, updated and enhanced their respective stories for release as stand-alone novels/novellas in multiple platforms: Buqo, Kindle, Smashwords, and print.

Event page:
Facebook page:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Read: Forever Night Stand by Ysa Arcangel

Brandy is a strong willed woman who only wants no strings attached hook-ups. That's why when she was in Italy, she put that out to handsome Ivo. A vacation fling, and nothing more. As the days progress, she seems jealous of Ivo's ex, can't get enough of him, and more.

The reason why Brandy only wants one night stand is because of her mother. She's worried about getting Alzheimer's as her mother is suffering it. Too worried in fact that she might have actually conditioned her mind into that( just me, okay). Too worried that she had set herself up as a test subject. Tsk tsk.

I really love the names of the characters. Although when you say Brandy, it's actually Brandy the singer who first comes to mind. But glad to have met this second Brandy.

Brandy has a short fuse but Ivo goes into beast mode when Brandy is concerned.

Eventually, Ivo and Brandy moves their romance from Italy to the States. When Ivo plans a beach getaway, they do the impulsive and get married in the Philippines (forget the documents, it is more fun in the Philippines after all). Glad that Arcangel chose the Philippines (Boracay!) as the setting for the two main character's beach wedding.

When Brandy decided to to undergo surgery for her condition, she forgets the last few years of her life, making Ivo pursue her again.

Think of it this way it's the Notebook meets the Vow. If you cried in any of those, ready the tissue. Not a fan of Nicholas Sparks, then maybe a little (er actually a little more and a little more than that hahah) bed action can convince you to give this romance a try.

Monday, May 23, 2016

References this Sunday night

There was this one story I read about St. Augustine of Hippo back when I was a child that struck me.

St. Augustine was walking by the beach thinking about the Holy Trinity, how can there be one God with three personas. He walked along that beach puzzled and in deep thought ubtil he saw a child who was digging a hole through the sand.

St. Augustine asked the boy what he was doing, and the boy answered he is diggingahole and getting water from the sea. This is so he can transfer all of the water of the sea into that hole that he was digging.

The boy made one of the doctors of the church realize something. How can the sea fit into this tiny hole? How can his mind comprehend something as big a mystery such as the divine Trinity?

Ever since then, each time I cannot come up with the answer to anything related to God, I reflect upon this story that I read in My Book of Saints. How can we understand such big a mystery such as this? It is bigger than ourselves thanwhat our world is.

A while ago, the priest retold this story in his homily. What puzzled me a great deal was that the priest said that the boy was Jesus who then suddenly disappeared. I like to believe that the story I read had more truth to it and if ever it was a divine power that brought the kid there, then it was done by God through the power of the Holy Spirit.


A refernce made by the bad boy of Philippine cinema in Pilipinas Got Talent finals made me twitch. He commented to the last contestants that they were the "Helen of Troy" of Pilipinas Got Talent.

I wonder what he meant by that? Helen of Troy is the face that launched a thousand ships and was known for her beauty. Certainly this was a talent competition and not a beauty contest. Hay. I wonder if Robin Padilla even knew the story of Troy? Anyway, it is said to be true as some archeologist dug up evidences.

If it is, did the gods really played a big part as what Homer's epic tells. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Read: Badger by CM Kenna

I have been a fan of Cara McKenna's prose ever since a friend raved about her work Willing Victim and Hard Times. As always Cara has fleshed out her characters (a vigilante who rides a yellow bike and a recovering pill addict) and the plot is always great. I found this one's more entertaining than all that steam and heat (you know what I'm talking about). Not unlike in her other books, which I found all those scenes crucial to the plot. I take that half back, it actually showed the pain in the characters.

McKenna often has a Happy For Now ending, well this one kind of, sort of has,I guess for me in the romance department. HAHHAH! Well it's a bittersweet ending. Plus, I wanted Adrian to end up with the other guy, Rey (just like how I felt in Ruin Me, where I wanted the girl to end up with Jay).

I don't have to hide it already as the summary here in Goodreads already say that there is a death somewhere. So, I was waiting, waiting, waiting for it, checking on what page I was. LOL

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Review: Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano

There is more to Boracay than the powdery white sand.There are activities on Bulabog Beach, there's the party scene in White Sand Beach, but this book gives more than just that.

Enter Gio, a local guy who had to go back to the province to work for his family's museum so that he support his little sister's studies and at the same time be there for his mother and grandmother. Gio plans things to the littlest detail. So, imagine when Min Hee, a Korean model, CEO, amnesiac, and other things which you can believe what she says asks that he be her tour guide, well let's just say he also planned those two days carefully. LOL!

There is a flight to Kalibo from somewhere in Korea flight, that's probably why I can see Min Hee choosing Boracay as her quiet spot. However, just like what the book did say, there are a lot of Koreans in Boracay, Last time I was there July last year, it was like half of the tourists where Koreans.

I like the premise that it is a tourist and a local, especially since I've heard stories like this. Plus, I think that if you are a tourist, there is no one or less people who will recognize you. People wouldn't know if you are the daughter of a CEO, a boss of a big start-up, a model or an actress, or just about anything.

I knew it, Min Hee is a Korean actress, that's why she hides whenever she sees fellow Koreans.
This book has a Notting Hill feel to it, especially the ending! I really, really, really love this!

The story has been told from Gio's point of view, and it is a welcome change. You feel like it is not only Min Hee who is getting toured around Boracay, you too. There's the bat cave, the pineapple farm, and the indigenous village that I can only wish I could visit the next time I go there.

Plus, the apology gift, the calamansi muffin, I wish I could have one right now! 
The author certainly had done her research and has (I think) lived it. Well, according to her bio, she is from there.

Forget #laBoracay and instead have Chris Mariano transport you to these beautiful islands.

Trees V Humans

Data by the numbers:

7 Billion +++  Human Population
3 Trillion Estimate number of trees
24 Billion Estimate number of livestock
100 Billion Estimate number of land mammals
1 Billion to 1 Trillion Estimate number of land reptiles
1 Billion to 1 Trillion Estimate number of land amphibians
22 trees needed to provide oxygen for one person

In 2006 72.39 Million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide which gave a 20% increse in the last two decades, bigger than the 7% growth of US and 5% growth in Russiaa

Links and additional readings:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: Cities by Carla de Guzman

The book opens on a rainy day in Manila with Celia Alix navigating through the streets of quezon city to reach her best friend Henry as today is the day of her other best friend's, vivian, wedding. The catch? Vivian is marrying Ben, an old lover of sorts of Celia Celia, prodded by her father and Vivian, wonders what would have happened if she continued on with her program at South Korea. With this, the story takes us to ither multiverse., Manila is the setting of the first timeline.

Second Timeline:

The 2nd timeline plays almost like a koreanovela, rightly so, as this is conveniently set in South Korea. The elements are there rich boy, poor girl, with two guys pining for one girl (one of them aggresive, Ben who in this universe the son of korean millionaire,  and the other prefers to watch at the sidelines, Henry). Plus there is also a love traingle number two with a scheming gurl, Vivian, who wants to break apart the 'main' couple.

Third timeline: 

London, apparantly Celia was not the only one who was offered scholarship abroad as our hero was offered one in London. In this timeline, everybody's British except Ben. Henry is now the son of a rich dude. Ben is partners with benefits with Vivian and Celia is Viv's roommate. Henry, who is Celia's classmate at grad school, is all puppy dog eyes for Viv.
This timeline ends like a romcom with one admitting love for the other and *boom* fireworks.  

Fourth Timeline: 

Just after Ben and Vivian says their I Dos in the first timeline, Cely gets a vision of her and Ben, married and living in new York. What's the problem of these newlyweds in a strange, new, and utterly big city? Well, this is where Henry and Viv come to play.

On the Characters


A llttle too romantic and desperate in the first timeline, your bestfiremd is getting married to your dream guy and you are still hoping you need a good whack in the head. The korean timeline, that made me mad at her. Come on girl, this guy is accusing you of being a stalker! I like her better in the next timelines, as she showed strentgth and her love for all things nerdy, este, geeky.


In all timelines his love for Iced Americano comes in as a signature.  He also shared a love for scif with Celia in some of the timelines (Star wars, star trek, Doctor who), probably why when you move to another timeline that they do get togethet you know why.
However,  I didnt like him that much and didnt want Celia to end up with him. Alam mo yung paasa. That's what he is, especially in the first timeline. In the second timeline, he was such a douche. Thankfully, he redeemed himself in the third and the fourth timelines. 


Sorry Ben, but I like Henry better. He seems to be the beta male, always there when you need him, silent at times. (But this does not mean that Ben is the Alpha, okay. Vivian is. Hahaha)
Probably why he deserved that happily ever afyer as much as Celia did, as they finally get together!


As I read this book, I hoped that in other universes I won't make my bestfriend an archenemey for the love of one man. She is smart and all the timelines depict her as such. Only the Manila timeline is she not much of a schemer. Love her just the same.


I assumed that the Korean timeline will bump off Vivian completely (as she and Celia met because she didn't go to Korea and met in Manila at that time, not that Ben is suddenly Korean and rich at that) and so on affecting the story and other elements similar to this in other timelines (Vivian and Ben growing up together in California, everybody else is British; etc). 

For me, a parallel universe will is of what ifs, what if I graduated from another school? What if I took that scholarship? But, the author seems to think another as there are what if we were Korean? What if we just met? Plus, the characters (to be more specific Ben and Cely) knew about the alternative timelines.

Yet, this is the author's universe so best to take in an everythibg as fact or take in what you may attitude when reading this work of fiction. Especially also, it would't be titled Cities if it was set only here in Manila. 

I have to admit that it was really the cover which drew me to this story. I've seen it so many times on the romance class site and have always wanted to read it, that was why I grabbed the opportunity to review this book. Shala!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dead by 2030?

I have never considered myself an advocate of the environment. However, I do little things such as reusing plastic bags, reusing plastic containers (and even making my work teammates to do the same), and keeping small later in my pockets or bag.

But, after watching Bill Nye (the science guy) get therapy from the governator on National Geographic, this made me realise that there is little time for us to act now, or face the eminent end of the world with a estimated 100 million (like the Philippine population) dead by the year 2030.

Did you hear me?

Dead by 2030! The apocalypse is near, and it is even worse than any zombie apocalypse.

In fact, there was an ecologist featured in the documentary who decide to leave his tenureship and live in New Mexico as he finds that the environment there can sustain him bit much after 2030. This is the same guy that predicted the 2030 end of the world.

So what is happening? How is climate change affecting us?

Climate change can see that the Philippines will sink. Parts of the Philippines will submerge, as in our country's sea levels is rising five times faster than the global average. Think about those at the fishing villages. Not concerned, okay? Think about Boracay, think about El Nido, think about Puerto Galera, and all your favourite beaches. Where then will you go for the summer? Where will you take your next selfie with that bikini bod?

People often fear that the sea levels are rising because of the rising temperature, making snow caps melt. One would think that more sea equals more fish right? Wrong! For a paper that I did for my MA studies, I found out that climate change can affect even the marine life.

As the temperature rises, so too is the temperature in the seas, and most marine life are not susceptible to hot weather. Probably why as deeper you go into the ocean, the colder it gets.

Climate change affects all of us. Your dog, the lion, or any of your spirit animals will be wiped out due to the gases that we emit.

What can you do? 

1. Reduce, reuse and recycle
2. Don't waste water
3. Walk, especially if its just a short distance (plus it will also be good for you)
4. Let your wallet of the talking by buying environmentally products and not buying from companies with large carbon footprint.
5. Make suggestions. It might be through your company or even by writing to a local official.

Additional links:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Read: The Mystery Knight by George RR Martin

This prequel series deserves its place alongside the main books.

The bond between Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire has grown deeper. I just find Egg funny and heart warming, and Dunk's 'clout in the ear' threats and his sincerity to Egg to be of equal value.

 I wish I had read this sooner, but since I am saving up on my ASOIAF and GoT text (since WoW still has no release date), I just had to suspend reading the third novella. Also, so glad to have read this after the World of Ice and Fire. I kept on consulting the Daeron II and Aerys parts of this encyclopedia. Finally, glad to have uncovered the second Blackfyre Rebellion.
With the Red Dragon getting caught in the end. 

So happy that Brynden Rivers
the Three Eyed Crow in the ADWD
has made his appearance, as Bloodraven was only mentioned in the second book. I am more interested in his story

(with why he was sent to the Wall, if his powers were realized before he became hand, etc)
rather than the Blackfyre rebellion. But, if ever Martin does release a short story of any of these, I would be more than willing to buy and read. I wish and hope against hope that this isn't the last of Dunk and Egg's adventures. P.S. if you think the Game of Thrones is confusing (which some of my friends often complain) try reading this series or the Princess and the Queen and the Rogue Prince.

Goodreads blurb: 


The Mystery Knight is a novella published in 2010 as part of the Warriors anthology, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. It is the third in the series of "Dunk and Egg" stories. Previous stories are The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Read: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects

by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gillian Flynn slowly weaves out the story of Camille Preaker. First giving hints of her alcoholism, then her cutting streak, and most importantly what was it about her (numb and stiff neck) mother that made her who she is.

Camille comes back to Wind Gap, Missouri against her better judgement to cover a possible serial killer who kills young girls and takes out their teeth. As the story progresses, Natalie, the second victim is found, confirming her editor's hunch and making Camille stay with Wind Gapians (that's what they prefer to be called). But, it isn't only the police or her friends that Camille gets to interact with, there is also her mother Adora, never present step-father Allan, her crazy, attention-craving step-sister Amma (whose named bothered me because that's my mama's name on my phone), and the ghost of her sister Marian.

Who killed Natalie and Ann? Hmm, read the book, promise you won't regret it.

My first guess was really the mother. How can she be so cold to her own daughter? She does not even address or communicate with Camille? She was, she was, as it turns out an attention seeker and she took it out on her daughters. This was confirmed later by what Camille found on Marian's files.
Amma, I ruled her out because of her age. I mean a 13 year-old killer. But hey there have been younger killers (I checked), plus the girl had accomplices. This really is a good case of the nature vs nurture. Adora was making her sick, and then she suddenly pours her attention to other girls who reminded her of Camille. Adora made her into this killer, sorry, but I just had to call it. Thankfully, she needed the approval of Camille later on, which am sure the girl and her family from Chicago was not that thankful for.

Sharp Objects


WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.