personal

[personal]: hello, yes i am still alive

Hello, WordPress! It’s been… a fucking long while.

I am probably speaking to void right now, all my followers from seven (???) months back gone and happy with their lives and grandchildren, I guess. But anyway, hi void. It’s me. Adgie. Greeting you from the Land of Camels and Tall Buildings.

So a quick recap: I’ve moved (not quite) recently to Dubai to seek greener (drier, tbh) pastures. It was– an adventure. I can’t quite confidently say I’m happy after I moved, contrary to my, and other people’s, expectations. It wasn’t easy, for sure. It was – is – a Russian Roulette of emotions every day. I mean, I moved places. Doesn’t mean I left my demons at home.

Speaking of home, I intended for this first blog post post-move to be a little like my friend Ange’s blog post when she moved to Canada. Like a list of things I miss from the Philippines, which to be honest is quite a lot more than I expected. 😦

(I’m rambling, I’m so sorry. Writing for my own has never felt this relieving. It’s like opening a pressurized jar – everything is just spewing out of my mouth/fingers.)

So, yeah. The truth is, I moved because I couldn’t take living in the Philippines anymore. I was a fresh grad crippled by the mundanity of the everyday. I kept on looking for More More More out of Adult life and I felt like a failure for not seeing the worth of that life. I’ve spent years in college, looking forward to the day I can finally contribute something of significance to the world. Only when I did come out of school, I was flailing and failing miserably.

I lost hope.

It was the unsolvable traffic, the horrible train experiences every damn day, the low pay and high taxes for a job with too-long hours. I dreamed of that job for so long and it ended up as another item on my list of disappointments. (Btw, you all know about this. I’ve written about this before.)

After that first job, I made up my mind. I’m moving to Dubai, where my parents are, where transportation doesn’t feel like The Hunger Games, where the tradeoff is better. I hoped.

And then I headed off to my second job, which was fine and dandy at first. Definitely, the only place where I felt so connected with my colleagues – and still is my standard, btw. But then a lot of things happened. The work environment wasn’t all fine and dandy, after all.

(But, eventually, you learn that everywhere is never a fine and dandy place. There will always be reasons to not feel happy or comfortable. Always.)

But then, it was okay. I know I was moving soon anyway. It wasn’t a difficult decision to leave.

And then I left.

I left the country. Of course, I was looking forward to finally living the life I’ve always dreamed of. Sure, the guilt was eating me as well. Every damn day. But I thought of it as a trade-off. Something I have to bear in order for me to gain something worthy out of life. Equivalent exchange, if you will.

It wasn’t easy.

I wish I could tell you all how worth it it was to move away. To finally commute without feeling like you have to sell Satan your soul just to get where you want to go on time or within this lifetime. To earn a paycheck that pays the bills and still have a little nest egg you can look forward to on rainy days. To diversify your work environment and learn loads of new things. Yay Self-Improvement!

It’s… well, yeah. All of these things. And more.

It’s adjusting to people from literally all walks of life. People who know you from your nationality. It’s adjusting to living in cramped quarters and paying a fortune for rent. It’s a lot of new food and missing the food you’ve been familiar your whole life with. It’s looking for comfort from your friends when it feels like you’ll also fail here, 6,904 km away from home, and finding a hard time to vent, rant, cry, have a good release. It’s looking for people who would even a quarter of the way understand how your brain works and find that they have theirs wired differently from yours. (Yes, you’ve realized this from waaaaay before but now, you’re slapped in the face by this fact you’ve long ignored.) It’s being visited by your old demons and meeting new ones.

It’s difficult.

And if you ask me what I’m still doing here if it’s so difficult after all, it’s because I know I still have a lot more to learn and experience. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve traded off a life full of potential for something that feels a little lackluster. But… it also feels like I cannot contribute anything to my country at this time. Who am I, anyway? What do I have with me that can help my country? My blind ideals will get me killed for nothing. A casualty of war who died prematurely. It’s not the fight I want to fight.

I still want to come back and help. I still want to give something of myself that I know will be worthy of my country. And I still don’t have anything with me yet.

If there is something good I found abroad that I didn’t find while I was back home, it was Reason to Fight for My Country. Out here, there are lots of us Filipinos. Some will help you from the smallest of things to life-changing ones. Some will tear you down the minute you stepped on their little toes. Some lost their identity after finding another one. And I realized, for all my hate of my country while I was there, it wasn’t the hate that would drive me to fight against my fellows. It wasn’t the kind of hate that will make me call them names and treat them like trash. It’s the hate borne of frustration and helplessness.

6,204 km away from home and I found my Reason.


Okay, enough of the cheeseballs time. So, having been back again I’ll probably write more. This is really therapeutic. Thanks for the push, Mumshie. ❤ Next time, I’ll write about my brief time in Oman, More Work Things, and Other Writing Things. One at a time.

Advertisements
media blitz

[Blitz] Easy Nights by Kristen Proby

Easy Nights
By Kristen Proby
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: New Adult

Blurb:

No one said change was easy…

Savannah Boudreaux knows what it is to hurt. To bleed. To be afraid that the man she’s promised to be true to until “death do us part” might in fact separate them far sooner than anyone had ever anticipated. But Van also knows what it is to survive. To move on. To live life to the fullest. With five brothers and sisters and a loving mother as her constant source of strength during the pain and the healing, Van realizes there is little else she needs.

But some things never change…

Benjamin Preston sat on the sidelines of the Boudreaux family for years, in love with a woman he couldn’t have. As the best friend of the Boudreaux brothers since childhood, Ben has seen both tragedies and joys in the family. And as a former MMA fighter and Krav Maga expert, Ben’s used to fighting for what he wants—and winning. His hands were tied when Savannah married her high school sweetheart not long after graduation, but now two years have passed since Ben found Savannah broken in her own home.

Sometimes what you need most has been right in front of you the whole time…

Van’s convinced that happiness isn’t in the cards for her, no matter how right it feels to be in Ben’s strong arms—and his bed. Ben is determined to win her heart and fight for her trust. He’s promised to protect her, to be her friend. But more than anything, he wants to finally make her his, and this is one fight he’s not willing to lose.

Pick up your copy of EASY NIGHTS today!

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2qgIVU1
Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/2qaifFj
Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/easy-nights
iTunes: http://apple.co/2pkdgC5
Audible: http://adbl.co/2tJUrd2
Add to your Goodreads

And don’t miss the first standalone titles in the Boudreaux Series!

EASY LOVE-FREE for a limited time only
EASY CHARM-$.99 for a limited time only
EASY MELODY-$1.99 for a limited time only
EASY KISSES
EASY FOR KEEPS: A Boudreaux Novella
EASY MAGIC

 

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

media blitz

[TBR] Damaged Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Happ Pride Month, y’all! I don’t know how else this month could get any better, but apparently, it can! Damaged Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie comes out today!

Damaged Like Us
By Krista and Becca Ritchie
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: New Adult

Blurb:

Don’t date your bodyguard. 
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. Damaged Like Us can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca’s other novels.

Buy Links

About the Author

Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Now in their early twenties, they write about other twenty-somethings navigating through life, college, and romance. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.

They are the New Adult authors of the Addicted series and Calloway Sisters spin-off series, and you can find them on almost every social media, frolicking around like wannabe unicorns.

Book Review, Recommendations

[REVIEW] Beginner’s Guide to Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes

This one’s for my old [STEM gurl from Science HS] life. 😉

Beginner’s Guide to Love and Other Chemical Reactions
By Six de los Reyes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: New Adult
Rating: 5/5

Blurb:

Falling in love is a chemical reaction.

Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts’ relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin’s wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, café owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.

But when Kaya’s recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn’t always happen inside a lab.

Review

I’ve been meaning to read this one since Sounds Like Summer. The cover and the blurb were just instant wins for me. I mean, that minimalist blue cover with a test tube. Of course, it’s going to be about Science, my weakness. My love even when we did not exactly work out together.

And it lived up to my expectations! Granted, the start of the story needs a little getting used to. The pacing and the language of a scientific journal can be a little alienating. I get that the use of the clinical language could have been intentional, since Kaya is a scientist and this book is her headspace.

But power through it and you will be rewarded!

Characters

I am a little wary of falling in love with LIs lately. I want to firmly love the MCs first before loving the LIs. Maybe I just want to give more airtime to the female characters. I feel like I always owe them more time to gush over.

But then Nero happened. Nero, who was the perfect ideal guy for girls who refuse to face their emotions, for stubborn but passionate women bent on succeeding. And sigh, it’s hard to keep the love for LI from showing.

Six’s strength in her storytelling lies in the complexity of her characters. I love how dynamic everyone is, from Sounds Like Summer to Feels Like Summer. Her characters feel so real and the richness of the world building just follows.

I also love her way around steamy scenes. They are Really Fucking Steamy. I could feel how single I am with her stories. As in, I want a Nero to make out with, kind of awareness.

So yes, read this! Read this is if you’re a fan of Penny Reid. Science and romance can happen. There’s no binomial opposition here, only a union of two sets of amazing and awesome fields of passionate women.

Book Review, Favorite, Recommendations

[REVIEW] The Royal Treatment by MJ Summers

The Royal Treatment
By MJ Summers
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: Adult
Rating: 4/5
Release Date: Summer 2017
Blurb:

Enough laughs to satisfy fans of Bridget Jones. Enough sparkly shoes and breathtaking ball gowns for fans of Cinderella…

Twenty-eight-year-old Tessa Sharpe, a.k.a. The Royal Watchdog, hates everything about Prince Arthur. As far as she’s concerned, he’s an arrogant, lazy leech on the kingdom of Avonia. When he shocks the nation by giving her the keys to the castle in an attempt to boost his family’s dismal public approval ratings, Tessa has no choice but to accept and move in for two months. It’s lust at first sight, but there’s no way she can give in to her feelings—not if she wants to have a career or a shred of pride left when her time at the palace ends.

Ultra-private, ultra-hot Crown Prince Arthur has always gotten by on his charm. But that won’t be enough now that the Royal Family is about to be ousted from power once and for all. When Prince Arthur has to rely on the one woman in the kingdom who hates him most, he must learn that earning the love of a nation means first risking his heart…

Can two natural enemies find their forever in each other’s arms, or will they ruin each other to save themselves?

[PLEASE NOTE: The Crown Jewels Series is not a typical MJ Summers book. It’s a light romantic comedy, very heavy on the laughs with a low steam level (but lots of delicious sexual tension and some swearing).]

Review

I absolutely loved every second I spent reading this book! I can’t believe I haven’t read any of MJ Summers book yet. The Royal Treatment was a breath of fresh air in the contemporary royal romance trope. It has that perfect blend of romantic fantasy and contemporary reality that pitch the readers into a rollercoaster of emotions and adventure.

I wasn’t too keen on the royalty thing, to be honest. There are lots of royalty romance books floating around that disappoints more than they satisfy the readers so I developed a tread-carefully perspective before reading one. I am so delightfully surprised with MJ Summer’s writing style and world building! She has a very engaging tone that easily lures in the readers into the wonderfully rich world, or kingdom to be more precise, of Tessa Sharpe and Prince Arthur.

I particularly love the fact that the story did not pander to any possibly predictable outcome. (I hate to spoil so you have to read to know what happens!) From the beginning to the very end, Tessa holds on to her principles strongly. While she and Prince Arthur did come to realize their faults, neither one changed into something their characters are not. They grew into their characters beautifully, even when the journey to get there was painful and full of sacrifices.

There is also the always-present reminder that at the end of Tessa’s stay, her commoner problems, problems we all have, are still waiting for her. Ultimately, she finds a way to resolve everything through her own courage and talents and I absolutely loved that above everything else. The Royal Treatment doesn’t set you up to any unrealistic expectation that falling in love with a prince will magically solve all your problems. (Well, there are problems they can handily solve but) There are more problems that come with the responsibility that tests the mettle of anyone stepping up to the plate. Tessa did not let anyone down.

A large part of the reason why I absolutely enjoyed this book also happens to be the comedic timings it has in delivering punchlines. They give a nice break for the really complex and serious crisis the story has.

Will I read the next book MJ Summers has? Absolutely! I wish it’s the next book already. Meanwhile, I’ll try to read some of her past works and know I’ll be shelving on a trusty author I know I’ll always re-read.

Dive into this goodness by getting a copy from Amazon here.

Book Review

[REVIEW] All That Glitters by Tracy Krimmer

All That Glitters banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for All That Glitters by Tracy Krimmer. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 19 till 25 June. See the tour schedule here.

All That GlittersAll That Glitters (All That #1)
By Tracy Krimmer
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction
Age category: Adult
Rating: 3/5
Release Date: Summer 2017
Blurb:
Country-music star, Dory Walker, never wanted to come back to the small town of Sycamore Bay. But after her fairy-tale life is flipped upside down, and her marriage becomes a casualty, she has no choice.

Harris Malone is a man with few commitments. He keeps a low profile most days while he cares for his young daughter and helps run his dad’s hardware store.

But when he and Dory run into each other at the local gas station, all either can think about is the searing kiss they shared many years ago.

Can a woman who only wants to rekindle her career and a man who enjoys a no-strings attached lifestyle find everlasting love?

Review

All That Glitters was a nice read, very easy to follow and get lost into. However, the characters read very two-dimensional. Dory was consumed by her pride most of the time and it gets really annoying at times. Her prejudice gets the best of her and it was really irritating to read. I almost did not finish the book because of her.

Harris was Too Great. Seriously, where is the character flaw? And the way he fell in love with Dory was a little too shallow for me. It was too sudden. Dory was The One That Got Away and they picked up exactly where they left off. That’s not even realistic. It’s not very satisfying to read.

Overall, I was expecting the characters to grow into better versions of themselves. I was expecting the struggles, sure, but I also wanted the clarity of mind and resolution of crises in a logical and realistic way. A lot of things are maybe plotted and outlined but didn’t get fleshed out well. I would recommend for another round of line edits. It would have been a nice premise to start with, though.

You can find All That Glitters on Goodreads

You can buy All That Glitters here.

Tracy KrimmerAbout the Author:
Tracy’s love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She’s been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her loves include fitness, reading, coffee, dogs, and naps (not in that order), and her dislikes are blue cheese, cold weather, and burpees.

You can find and contact Tracy here:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon
Bookbub
Instagram
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of All That Glitters. One winner will win a $10 Amazon gift card!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

banner Lola's Blog Tours

Book Review

[REVIEW] How We Fall by Melissa Toppen

I have been given an advanced reader copy (ARC) by Buoni Amici Press in exchange for an honest review.

How We Fall 
By Melissa Toppen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: New Adult
Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:

It’s not always about how we fall- it’s about where we end up once we land.

I remember the very first time I laid eyes on Cole Lincoln. It still feels like yesterday when he stumbled into my life with his messy brown hair and dark eyes. Even though I was only ten years old at the time, I knew right then and there that he was going to change everything.

From that point on Cole and I were always together—inseparable—and I naively believed we’d be best friends forever. But forever didn’t last nearly as long as I expected.

We grew up and grew apart, life driving the distance between us, but my love for Cole never faltered. Even long after he moved away, leaving me and our little town behind, I still carried a piece of him with me every single day. Because Cole wasn’t just my childhood best friend- the boy who knew me better than anyone else in the whole world. He was also my first love- a part of my very core.

When a tragic death brings us face to face again after six years, every single memory comes rushing to the surface. Only this is not the boy I fell in love with all those years ago. The man before me is hardened, intimidating, and so damn sexy I practically melt when those dark eyes meet mine for the first time in six years.

And like the first time he walked into my life, I know with complete certainty that everything is about to change.

Review

Often, we read about reviews of romance books as ‘cheesy’ stories that make us cringe and irate. I always hate it when romance falls into that branding because it’s not always ‘cheesy’. Emotions, in general, are scoffed at because we live in a patriarchal world where they are treated as weakness. And when romance novels are rounded down to being cheesy, it really sparks the Anger inside me.

How We Fall by Melissa Toppen, sadly, falls into the cheesy category. I hate to say this but here’s why:

Toppen’s How We Fall starts off promising. Childhood friends Cole and Mel always teetered between friends and Something More. They never crossed the line when they were teens because of course, they don’t. Only after the death of their close friend, many years after, did they reconnect and found the courage to tip over the Something More field.

Before I launch into the plot analysis, I’d like to point out that when they did reconnect, Mel was in a relationship with another guy. I feel like it is too convenient that her relationship with Nate, the boyfriend, was ‘unhappy’, she’s always the second choice from his job, that ultimately made their breakup and her reconnecting with Cole conveniently easy.

In fact, the crises in the story, while many and good, conveniently solve themselves for the couple without any agency from them. The story reads like a huge Deus ex machina-propelled narrative. I am really sad about the wasted potential of this book.

I understand how Toppen might have loved Mel and Cole. After all, it shows how much the characters love each other so much. (By how they declare their love for one another every single time. It’s too much! There is a thing called too much.) This is the love conquers all story that might read well technically (in terms of grammar and syntax) but the plot really needs more work.

We don’t just need a couple in love with each other. We need crises and ritual deaths and reconciliations that will mean significantly for the characters, both as individuals and as a couple. Romance is not just for feelings. Romance can deliver the edge most good stories have so please don’t do it this kind of disservice.