[Book Excerpt] The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao

A talented group of writers broke into the chick lit scene a little over a year ago and gave us fabulous reads since. It’s been a busy time for all of them, but let’s take a break and look into one of my favorite books from this bunch, Kesh Tanglao’s “The Real Score”.

The Real Score - Cover

I met Kesh during one of the Philippine Volcanoes’ rugby games here a few years ago. While we bonded over the game and its players, I never realised that she was such an amazing writer too. When “The Real Score” came out in 2013, there wasn’t any doubt that I would read it.

So what’s the book all about?

Caitlin’s friendship with Marcus, the de facto frontman of the world’s biggest boy band Gezellig, has long been an object of scrutiny by almost everyone–their friends and families, the media, and his fans–ever since they “went public” a couple of years back. Who wouldn’t be interested? She was a nobody, catapulted into the limelight of his fame when he struck an unusual friendship with her.

To both Caitlin and Marcus, what they have is a “perfect little thing.” But then something comes along and threatens it.

In a no-holds-barred interview, will they finally be forced to settle the score?

I won’t be reviewing the book, but instead I’ll let you take a peek into its pages. Here’s an excerpt from “The Real Score”.

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10 Reasons Why NexCon Rocked: Part 2

Continued from 10 Reasons Why NexCon Rocked: Part 1

5. The awesome panels
Most cons here are about the merchandise, cosplay and stage events. It’s only in book or comic related cons do I get to see any panels. NexCon had three of them, and each one was something worth attending. I managed to go to the Komiks Reborn and Cinema Fantastica. I know a lot of people were hoping to see foreign guests (actors particularly), but the NexCon panels were jampacked with Filipino greats in the field of comics, movies, and literature.


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4. Geekfight
Geek trivia game amped to the higher level! Fellow Whovians made a group of six and named it “Gallifrey Stands” (represent, Torchwood Manila as well). We didn’t win, but it was a respectable finish all the same. It was also their 5th anniversary, so the game was pretty intense. Lots of laughter and shenanigans, and thankfully I don’t have to turn in my geek card.


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10 Reasons Why NexCon Rocked: Part 1

It’s been a while since there has been an event dedicated specifically to sci-fi and fantasy. There are a lot of cons happening yearly around the Metro, but anime usually dominates over other fandoms. There was New Worlds a few years back, but nothing in recent history.

That is, until NexCon. Held last Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1, it was a gathering of fans of sci-fi and fantasy, be it a TV show, books, video games, name it and they were there. The Bayanihan Center was home to these geeks for the weekend, and boy, was it ever crazy.

10. No crowds
I’ve long stopped attending local cons on a regular basis because of the crowds that overwhelm me every time. I usually go there to look for merchandise, but leave as soon as I got what I wanted. Most cons here are anime-centric, and while I was an anime geek from waaaaay back, I haven’t been keeping up with the new stuff these days.

NexCon was a refreshing change of pace. Aside from being able to recognize plenty of characters, it was a place where my favorite TV series was able to make an impact. There were a lot of people, but there’s still plenty of space to move around. The numbers may not have been the same as that of past cons, but still very respectable.

9. A place for everything
I like that the Bayanihan center has different halls and rooms. Merchandise and exhibitors were located in one hall, while panels and other events were located in their respective rooms. There was even space for cosplayers to place their baggage (a fact that was made known to us after the event haha).

8. NexCon Rocks
Did you stay til the end of day 2 and went to the concert featuring Stereodeal, Peso Movement and Paranoid City? We partied to amazing music, danced and pretty much celebrated our geekdom.

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Stereodeal

Peso Movement.
Peso Movement

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Paranoid City


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[Book Review] Finding Mr. Write by Adelaide Penne

Apologies first and foremost, because this post was supposed to be up last April 30. I blame all
the Justin Timberlake posts of “It’s gonna be May” on my Facebook timeline. Nah. I just plain
forgot.

Finding Mr. Write is one of the five books under the label #BuqoSteamyReads Sizzling pack. I
hope you were able to get this bundle, as well as the others, early on because now it’s P45 per
story instead of P45 for each book. No worries though, as you can check out the giveaways my
fellow book lovers are doing (link:

http://bookjunkieblogtours.blogspot.com/2014/04/blog-tour-buqosteamyreads-sizzling.html)

Finding Mr. Write by Adelaide Penne

Finding Mr. Write

Sometimes the best things come from the past…

Marcia Pelaez has it all: the curves, great friends, a successful career, and a loving boyfriend.
Or so she thought. After getting dumped by her boyfriend of three years, her best friends set her
up with blind dates from hell…until she meets Mystery Guy Number Three.

Clark has finally gotten everything he worked so hard to achieve: money and a successful
career. But he has never forgotten the woman who had stolen his heart eleven years ago. And
now that he finally has the chance to win back the feisty and independent Marcia, he’s willing to
pull out all the stops.

In a battle of wits, and between the sheets, will they both finally triumph and find a love that could
last forever?

I first thought that the main female protagonist (MFP) of this story was a writer and who was looking for her Mr. Write because, y’know, she was Miss Write. Play on words and all that. Imagine my surprise when I found that it was the guy who was a writer, and of erotica to boot. Not an unusual occurrence, but still pretty surprising.

I like that Marcia was portrayed as a strong, intelligent woman who doesn’t take any bullshit from people, both in her personal life and at work. At the same time, she’s still human and has a vulnerable side that she tries hard to cover.

Her friends rally around her, and that’s something all women can relate to. But my favorite character, if only for just one line, is Yaya Belen. I’m sure that at one point in our lives, we’ve had someone like her: One who isn’t a blood relation but cares for you like you were. Her “Stay the night!” comment had me laughing. It also reminded me of Mulan’s grandmother who said, “Would you like to stay forever?”

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[Book Review] The Best Friend Hook Up by Suzette de Borja

A few months ago, I participated in a writing class lead by Mina Esguerra and Buqo. I never got around to finishing my story, but quite a few of my classmates have and the results have been amazing. You can get the books from Buqo, a local online ebook store.

The first five books are bundled as “Sizzling: #buqosteamyreads Vol.1″, which you can get at the store for only P45! Five awesome reads for that price, it’s a bargain. But if you want to take a chance and win copies of the ebooks, you can check out the giveaways fellow book lovers have on their blogs.

The Best Friend Hook Up by Suzette de Borja

The Best Friend Hook Up

A bridesmaid in distress…

Mara is desperate to find a “hot” date for a beach wedding she has no wish to attend. The groom is her almost-boyfriend and the bride, her hated cousin. Her list of available, eligible men is virtually nonexistent. What is a girl to do?

Enter scorching hot Ian Stapleton, Mara’s best bud and go-to guy, to the rescue. Seeing his best friend in a red bikini for the first time is triggering a lot of reactions in Ian, the non-platonic kind! Does Ian dare take their friendship to a whole new level?

I’m a sucker for friends-turned-lovers stories, which is what got me reading Suzette’s story. There’s something quite satisfying about seeing people who know so much about each other stumble about falling in love and then getting it on.

I love Ian’s character. He seems like the kind of guy all girls want to have as a boyfriend and all the guys want as a buddy. On the other hand, I can relate to Mara because of my moments of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. Yet she found herself, and got the guy to boot. Let’s not forget that hot encounter by the beach and… Whoops. Spoilers.

Some parts of the story tend to run into each other, to the point where I got confused. Perhaps it was the book’s formatting, but at one point I didn’t know if what I’m reading was a flashback or an event currently happening. I guess it’s the limit of the words (10,000 or less, if I remember it right) that makes it seem that way.

That aside, the story is a fun, fast read. Personally, I couldn’t help but cheer for Ian as he pushes his way through Mara’s defenses, and it was endearing to see Mara become more confident in herself (even if she’s a bit of a drama queen). If you’re interested in a friends-to-lovers story with a lot of sweetness, this one’s for you.

Disclaimer: Story copy was received for review. No compensation was given.

 

Jars of Clay and Gungor Manila 2014

The eve of my birthday was full of fun, great music and positive vibes. Shabby and I were back in Bonifacio High Street for Jars of Clay, who the people of Church Simplified brought back for this year’s Walkway. Gungor is with them this year.

The concert started off with the talented Church Simplied band, whetting the crowd’s musical appetites with upbeat and positive tunes.

Gungor was a revelation. I’ve been living under a rock so I haven’t really heard their music, but I was blown away by their performance. Michael Gungor, lead vocalist and for whom the band was named, said that they don’t believe in genres, and it shows. In their hour-long performance I’ve heard them do rock, country, blues, jazz and even some sort of dubstep mix.

Shabby and I were trying to figure out who he sounded like. I thought Chris Martin of Coldplay, but in most songs he sounded like Dave Matthews.

I enjoyed all their songs, and according to Michael it was a different sort because Lisa, his wife and music partner was back home (pregnant and ready to give birth soon. Wishing you the best!).

Favorite songs: I Am Mountain, Let It Go

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International Tabletop Day 2014 at the Appraisery

My mom and her siblings love playing board games and they had a collection of the classic games when they were growing up. Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Scrabble, Boggle, Snakes and Ladders, and even the local titles like Millionaire’s Game. This love was transferred to me, my siblings and cousins, and we try to play whenever we get together (a rare opportunity these days, sadly).

Games like these are referred to as tabletop games, because, well, you need a table to play them (with a few exceptions). These include the pen and paper RPGs my friends loved to play back in college, as well as the card games like Magic and L5R.

Last Saturday, April 5, was the International Tabletop Day. What’s it about? As seen on the site the link above leads to:

On April 5th, 2014, we ask you to go to your favorite local game store, coffee shop, library, community center, or host a game day at your home and play more games.

My classmate Joscar is one of the proprietors of Meeple Power Games which has its HQ at the Appraisery in Cubao X. They were hosting a day long event for Tabletop Day, and he invited the rest of the class along. I invited some friends too, but only Drew was able to come.

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From 2 PM til midnight, we played as many games as we could. Points were given to winners, people who brought games, people who taught others how to play games and people who were voted “favorite player” by the people they played with. It was wild. Everyone was more than enthusiastic about the games they played, and I don’t think anyone was bored. New games were learned, new friends made and a festive mood prevailed.

Spartacus!

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Need your assistance

Hi blog readers (the five of you, or so hehe).

I just moved to a different host and I’m in the process of updating a lot of blog posts for the lost links to images.

If you happen to come across a post with broken image links or just codes, please comment here and include the URL to that post. I’ve got a few down already, but I might have missed some.

Thanks! I appreciate your help. :)

Booking Through Thursday: Fanfiction

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

The first fan fiction I’ve ever read was of the anime series Ranma 1/2. This was back in the early 2000s, and I wasn’t happy with the way manga-ka Rumiko Takahashi left Ranma and Akane’s story as open-ended. I had stumbled across fan fiction quite accidentally, and while I have read many terrible works, there were still plenty of great ones that filled the gaps and what kids these days now call “feels”.

Over the years I’ve read fan fiction of the fandoms that I loved: Harry Potter, Danny Phantom, ​Sailor Moon… even encountering some zany cross-overs (Louis-Philippe Giroux​’s Lines of Destiny remains my favorite, even though the author as discontinued it and someone else has gotten his permission to continue it).

I have tried my hand at writing fan fiction too, particularly back in the days when I first started reading them. These stories were written in longhand, spanning several notebooks and various pieces of paper that I can no longer keep track of.​ After a time I’ve started writing on the computer, but none of these will ever see the light of day (mostly because I think they’re terrible and I haven’t got time to encode and edit them). However, I have published one very short Harry Potter fan fiction and an unfinished one over at FanFiction.net.

Obviously, I am a fan of fan fiction. That isn’t to say that I don’t respect what the writers who do not support it feel about it. If they don’t like their fans writing fan fiction about their work, they are well within their rights to say so and do something about it. I can also understand why they don’t want it, as authors tend to feel protective about their characters like they were their children, and take pride in how they wrote it. It’s also one of the reasons why I don’t publish my fan fiction, or when I do, I try to write them in a way I feel the author would.

For me, writing and reading fan fiction fills the holes that the original work failed to do. Not that I don’t love them any less, but I want more. The variety of fan fiction works gives me options that allow me to find what it is exactly that I want to fulfill. For example, I’m frustrated that Jo March and Laurie Lawrence (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott) did not end up together, so fanfics give me alternatives. Maybe they got together after a few years, or when they were older. Nothing will change the original story, but for a moment, I feel better about them.

Of course, there are many issues when it comes to fanfiction, particularly along the lines of plagiarism. It’s a pretty grey area, especially if the fanfic writers established that they do not own any of the characters or worlds, but have exercised some liberties but still acknowledge the rights of the original author. There are recent issues as well, particularly in the case of Cassandra Claire, which I won’t go deeper into. But for fun, I think fan fiction is all right. It’s good practice for aspiring authors. Just be considerate of the original author’s wishes and never ever claim others’ work for your own.

P.S. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl gives insight on the world of fan fiction and the mind of a fanfic writer.

Project Four Update

I’m on the third incarnation of the scarf. I began on Wednesday, using the colors that I already had. But on Thursday I found a better yarn and a better pattern, so I started all over again. I was able to reach about 10% of the scarf by Friday, which had me feeling pretty good about myself. Sure there were probably some dropped stitches, but it wasn’t bad for a beginner.

Saturday afternoon after class, I passed by an ukay-ukay shop that I frequent. On the way out of the store, I spotted a plastic bag full of yarn! Digging through it netted me unused skeins in the shades that were very close to what I need for the project. I asked how much it was and when I was told it was P10 each, I grabbed what I can. My friend Ivy said I should grab everything and she was willing to lend me money to pay for it. I regret now that I didn’t take her up on that, but then again, what would I need the others for?

*whispers* Future project, ano ka ba?

Yarns

Here be the yarns. The purple ones are made of wool, and the brand is Paton’s. The maroon-ish one is a Chinese brand called Si Wang. The Lego Minifig is for size comparison purposes, since I don’t now what is the size of this skein.

Comparing colors

The two yarns have a more muted color than the ones that I’m currently using and seems more appropriate for the project. This resulted in my dilemma on whether or not I should unravel what I have done.

After a day or so of thinking, asking other people’s opinions and asking other crocheters what they think, I ended up unraveling it and starting over. I like the colors better now… but I’m re-thinking of undoing it all again because I dropped a few stitches and it’s looking very uneven. But I’m controlling myself from doing that.

Here’s a pretty neat tool that shows my progress. I’ve done this much since I started over yesterday morning. I think that so long as I don’t run out of yarn, I should be able to finish this in two weeks. Not bad.

P.S. It’s also kinda addicting to go around looking for yarn and buying them even though I have more than enough… danger!