Author Chat with Kate Evangelista + Giveaway

We welcome Filipina Author Kate Evangelista on the blog today as part of the second leg of the blog’s 2nd Blogoversary! Kate’s newest novel, No Love Allowed (check out my review here), has just been published last month!  So check out our short interview with Kate!

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Can you tell us about it?

Yes. It was a gender bending story about a girl sent to a farm so she could learn how to be a girl and a boy who worked at the far who was so pretty he looked like a girl. I’m actually planning on expanding this story into a novel in the future.

Having books with paranormal and contemporary themes, which genre do you think is more challenging to write?

Contemporary, definitely. There are moments when I reach a point in a contemp book where I’m tempted to add a wizard or a vampire or something equally supernatural or magical. *laughs*

How do you usually find inspirations for story ideas or characters?

Inspiration usually just come. I have a ton of stories lined up in my head waiting to be written. The question always is: who goes first?

Filipino authors being recognized by international publishing companies is a big game-changer for literature in the Philippines. What advice can you give to aspiring Filipino writers like me?

Keep writing. Don’t let doubts and insecurities stop you from achieving your goals. There will be many roadblocks. It’s those who persevere who will make it to the end.


Can you describe how you felt the night before No Love Allowed was released?

I was so nervous I couldn’t sit still. I’m always like that when a new book comes out. As a writer all I want is for readers to enjoy the stories I put out there. I believe that the stories of my characters deserve to be read, which is why I’m always at the edge of my seat for the readers who discover my novels.

Do you have any bookish news to share?

If you’ve finished reading No Love Allowed, first of all thank you! Second, if you want more? Don’t fret. No Holding Back, which is Nathan and Preston’s story, will come out October 18, 2016. Yes, that’s right! You only have to wait a couple of months and you get another Dodge Cove novel. If fact, you can pre-order their story already. Let them take you on a European adventure.

no holding back

Check out NO HOLDING BACK on Goodreads.


kate evangelistaWhen Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University – Manila with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full-time and is based in the Philippines.

Author Links:  
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Getting to know Joss Byrd

Hey guys! We have a special guest today! Young Hollywood star Joss Byrd is here with us to celebrate our 2nd Blogoversary!

Hi Joss! This is actually the first time I’m ever going to feature a celebrity in the blog and I’m feeling really excited about it. I’m really excited to have you here!

Thank you. Hi, Inah. I like your glasses. I’m thinking of getting glasses. Do you feel smart in them?

I do, actually! At such young age, you have already shown exceptional talent in acting. Did you ever dream of being anything other than an actress? Or was this the first thing you wanted to be?

Um, I didn’t even know I wanted to be an actor. My mom just brought me to an audition when I was six. But after I started doing it I liked it, so now I always want to be an actor or maybe a producer. I just learned surfing, but it can’t be a job, I don’t think. Can it be a job?

I haven’t heard of professional surfers, but maybe there are! Tell us more about The Locals. How was it any different from the last film you made?

My director wrote The Locals about his childhood, so I had to play a real existing person, not just a made up character. And I got to work with other kids for the first time, so that was good. Sometimes.

How hard was it getting into Norah’s character, considering she had a dark past?

It was hard, but I won’t say why. Not to be rude, but some things are nobody’s business.

I heard some stories about celebrities being pranksters, were there any of your co-stars who tried to set up a prank on set?

The Locals wasn’t really a pranking kind of set, but I wish it was more like that.

It seems like the set was too tense sometimes. Which celebrity are you most looking forward to meeting in the future?

People say I remind them of Tatum O’Neal, so I’d like to meet her. I want to talk to her about acting and also about her tough dad. I think we have things in common besides movies.

Do you have any celebrity crushes? <3

I don’t want to say. It’s too weird.

Last question, do you have any upcoming projects you can share with us and what should we look forward to from Joss Byrd?

I’m filming a new movie now that’s still a secret. After this one I hope to do another and then another and then another and then another. Well, you get the idea.

Check out UNSCRIPTED JOSS BYRD by Lygia Day Penaflor!



Hollywood critics agree. Joss Byrd is “fiercely emotional,” a young actress with “complete conviction,” and a “powerhouse.”

Joss Byrd is America’s most celebrated young actress, but on the set of her latest project, a gritty indie film called The Locals, Joss’s life is far from glamorous. While struggling with her mother’s expectations, a crush on her movie brother, and a secret that could end her career, Joss must pull off a performance worthy of a star. When her renowned, charismatic director demands more than she is ready to deliver, Joss must go off-script to stay true to herself.

Pre-order on: Amazon / Book Depository
Read my review here.



Review + Giveaway: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

the star touched queenTitle: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publication Date: April 26th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: ARC from Publisher via Netgalley
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads


Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

I don’t actually read much fantasy novels because I visually enjoy the genre more than reading it but this book was such a delight to read. At first glance, I never thought that I would pick this book up because it feels a bit overwhelming. I have zero idea on Indian mythology but I have read from somewhere that this novel parallels Hades and Persephone so I gave this book a shot. Not to mention, my personal idea to widen the range of the books that I read.

The first thing that had me going with the book is the writing style. Chokshi’s writing is lyrical and poetic that it made the whole experience magical and surreal. Another thing I loved in this book is the chemistry, sizzling if I may say so, between Maya and Amar. I could honestly feel their emotions radiate from my reader and they never fail to make me smile. Their banter is one of the things to look forward to because it’s sweet yet snarky.

“When I looked up, I could imagine an existence as vast as the sky. Just as infinite. Just as unknown.”

Maya’s journey is not that different from other heroines I have read before but I did feel that there is a certain strength in her personality, something that makes her unique. Her journey is more of a personal discovery and facing reality amidst the presence of magic and power.

Amar’s character development fell short but it had a great potential. He just seems a little flat for me, but I’m looking forward to seeing more of him. I’m just glad there’s going to be a next book! Same goes for Gupta and Kamala.

“Weakness is a luxury you can no longer afford.”

Overall, the book is written beautifully. It’s vibrant, enchanting, and poetic. I had a great time learning about Indian mythology. This book is perfect for fans of high-fantasy.

As part of our 2nd Blogoversary Celebration, Roshani and I will be giving away a copy of The Star-Touched Queen! Open to INTL residents, as long as The Book  Depository ships to you!

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Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup (ARC)


frannie and truTitle: Frannie and Tru
Author: Karen Hattrup
Publication Date: May 31st 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads


When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.

The first time I’ve heard about this book, I immediately wanted to pick it up. So when Yani of Paper Boulevard was looking for bloggers to participate in the blog tour, I immediately signed up. Upon reading the synopsis, it’s pretty much given that the story was set with a dark aura, which gave off a mysterious vibe to the story.

It was difficult to get into the characters and relate to their situations. Growing up, I wasn’t really that close with my cousins so I’m sort of naive when it comes to the cousin situation. It was also obvious that Frannie was a bit of a wallflower, dragged by Tru in different circumstances that made her question things and learn from them. Frannie and Tru had a very complex relationship and it was great to see it unfold. However, I really wished that there was a wider character development for Frannie. Her personality was hard to catch and she mostly lowers herself. I think it went with the fact that she seemed to idolize Tru too much.

“We ran until my lungs burned and my legs ached. We ran from nothing. We ran for our lives.”

I also think that the book would have been more fun to read if some of the parts were in Tru’s POV. The guy was a delight to read and I would’ve really enjoyed to read his thoughts in the story.

I was enticed by the fact that this book has a gay character but it actually went beyond that. The book tackled pressing issues such as race, sexuality, family relationships, and friendships. I wouldn’t say each of these were tackled well but it was nice to see the effort. Overall, this book is a great debut



karenhattrup1Karen Hattrup grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her parents and brother, devouring books from an early age. At Loyola University Maryland, she studied journalism and spent a semester abroad in Thailand. She went on to become a newspaper reporter, first in Maryland and then in Indiana, writing features and serving as an award-winning arts critic. Karen later studied nonfiction writing at the Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Baltimore City with her husband, daughter, and son.

Author Links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads