Promdi Heart (Hometown Love Stories) by Georgette Gonzales, Agay Llanera , Chris Mariano, C.P. Santi , Jay E. Tria, Ines Bautista-Yao

Promdi Heart (Hometown Love Stories) by Georgette Gonzales, Agay Llanera , Chris Mariano, C.P. Santi , Jay E. Tria, Ines Bautista-Yao
Publication Date:
 March 9th 2017
Source: ARC from the Authors
Rating: ★★★★★


Take a quick tour of the Philippines with six hometown love stories.

Visit Jimenez, Misamis Occidental where a priest might just set you up with a man whose dimples are to die for.

Visit Silay, Negros Occidental and get on a horse alongside hunky, hazel-eyed Negrense royalty.

Visit Kalibo, Aklan and find yourself in the arms of a cute drummer boy who just happens to be your kuya’s BFF.

Visit Hagonoy, Bulacan and spend All Saint’s Day next to a distracting boy who promises to write you a song.

Visit Vigan, Ilocos Norte and meet the hot man you used to bully when he was a shy, scrawny boy.

Visit Pundaquit, Zambales and find love in a bronzed fisherman whose eyes hold depths you’ll want to explore.

I received an ARC of this book from the Authors. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

These past two months, I’ve been trying to do rounds and read more authors from the #RomanceClass community. That’s why I was very excited when the Promdi Heart ARC blog tour was announced. Not only will I be able to read six lovely stories from six Philippine provinces, I will also be reading the works of six different Filipino authors. I would also like to mention how much I love, and how gorgeous the cover of this anthology is! ❤

Only The Beginning by C.P. Santi

First, I’m quite convinced that Jimenez and Misamis Occidental is a lovely place to visit. I would especially like to go to the church where the priest, Father Danny, caught Andi (the MC) and Martin (the LL) eating donuts, did you know he also caught Tony and Rina there, once upon a time. I honestly laughed out loud at that scene.

My heart was very happy when I found out that Andi is Tony’s niece, because I have such a huge crush on Tony (see my review for Maybe This Time to see the entirety of my feels on Tony and Rina).

I loved the fact that Andi has a such a strong personality in this story, she’s also a little bit bitter and sarcastic (hugot girl indeed), while Martin is pretty chill and joke-y. This made their text messages and banters so entertaining and funny. I think that was my favorite part of the story! I don’t know about you, but my smile was so full when Andi called Martin, Dimples. Heehee.

I also like that Martin kept bringing food that his mom makes to Andi. Actually, I like that they were exchanging foods to send to each other’s home. In addition, Andi talking to his dad’s grave in the cemetery was really endearing.

Letters Abouy A Boy by Ines Bautista-Yao

I am so in love with the letter-themed writing of the story. In addition, the 1990’s time period, and the location (Silay,Negros Occidental) with its haciendas and horses, made it feel like I was reading a teleserye. It was really so fun to read.

Tin-tin was consistently entertaining and relatable throughout the story. I found her voice, so full of innocence and hope, quite refreshing. Her unrequited crush, that developed into love, was familiar. Honestly, didn’t we all go through that phase at one point in our lives? 😂

I also really appreciated that upon Nicolas’ realization that the one he truly loved was right in front of her, he didn’t dilly-dally. He immediately showed his intentions to Tin-tin, to be honest, enough time was already lost. I was easily won over by Nicolas after that, I mean, come on, the singing, the touches and that letter! That letter was super sweet, I can’t even!

Drummer Boy by Chris Mariano

Visiting the Ati-atihan had always been a thing I wanted to do since I was in elementary and we’d been taught about Philippine festivals. So to be smack-dab in the middle of all the Ati-Atihan action was something I really appreciated because at least I was living it vicariously through the story.

Reina’s narration was really funny, another thing that was funny was how his brother, Dex, insisted to come on Reina and Ben’s first date because he was trying to be the protective brother. Okay, that was so cute for me because I’ve always wanted an older brother.

I liked the fact that Ben first appeared very shy, albeit very hot with his drummer’s biceps, but then became very, very smooth and sweet after. I literally swooned when he described what the date could have gone like, if Dex didn’t come. I squealed out loud when he said, they’d stroll by the sea and he’d have to “drive home very, very carefully because by then I might be a little drunk on you”.

This story is already super sweet and nice, but I think there are still issues that were unresolved, like Reina and Ben finally deciding on what job they want to focus on, or Ben’s problems with his dad. I would really appreciate it if a longer story about Reina and Ben would be released someday.

One Certain Day by Jay E. Tria

I really appreciate and seriously needed this story because it’s set during All Saints Day in Hagonoy. I was feeling sad because I’ve missed the last two All Saints’ Day with my family. During 2015, I was in New York finishing a short course (check out my recap for my time in NY here). And last year, I needed to finish experiments in the lab so I worked overtime all through the holidays. My family, like theirs, is also always complete during this time of year, and sadly this is the only time I get to bond with my cousins.

I started liking Alice immediately when she talked about dressing up as Sailor Moon for Halloween, and when she mentioned Meg Cabot. She’s also shy and I relate to that.

Jose Antonio Luis Castillo is a really long name, and I found it funny how he shortened it to just Son. I already liked Son in the Playlist series but I really, really, really loved Son in this short story. The main reason is because he reminded me of Joon Hyung from a K-drama, titled Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, he was really touchy and he’d say things like “Hello. Panganibans of Hagonoy!” really loudly. He’d also share jokes and profound things, and then he’d look really smug and proud of himself afterwards. My heart melted at the song he wrote Alice!

I loved how their friendship, and then their feelings grew for each other even though they only meet once a year. It didn’t feel forced, it felt really right. So to tell you the truth, I was heartbroken by how it ended. But, I think they need this time to grow into their future selves, I believe their future selves will be right for each other. And, also Jay assured me they will, I trust her, ha-ha!

Once Upon A Bully by Georgette Gonzales

Vigan! Even though I’ve never been to this place, I already know that I will love it. Ahhhhhhhhh, the art, the old houses, the history, the FOOD! It’s so perfect!

Another thing that’s perfect about this story? Miguel! I really love Miguel’s character because even though he was bullied by Bridgette throughout elementary, and his parents also died, he still maintained a great attitude and disposition. He never fought back to Bridgette because he was taught not to, and he never harbored ill-feelings towards her. I will surely not turn out that way if those things happened to me. On top of that, he was really sweet and a little bit shy when wooing Bridgette!

I’m happy that Bridgette regretted the things she has done in the past, and was really apologetic. I really liked that their first date practically toured us around Vigan. Also, the ending where they teased Bridgette’s best friend was just the best!

Back to the Stars by Agay Llanera

Am I the only one who dreams of having a house in a beachfront? The MC of this story, Leah, owns one in Pundaquit, Zambales, and I think she’s very lucky!

I am really all for the childhood friends to lovers trope. This one is so endearing because you’ll see that Leah and Wency’s friendship really runs deep. You could also see how much it affected the both of them when Leah left.

I really loved their talks at the hill, they talked about so many things that resonated with me, and I wanted to highlight so many lines! I also loved that Wency called Leah out for talking bad of Corrine. I think girls shouldn’t bring other girls down.

Overall, I liked the writing, the pacing, and the ending of this one. I do wish it’s a little bit longer. I would totally read a full-length novel on Bridgette and Wency.

PS. I think Wenceslas name is so cool, and Botbot is an adorable nickname.

Final thoughts

The Philippines is a beautiful, wondrous, and diverse country, culturally and geographically. This book is a gentle reminder that there are so many places left to be explored in our lovely country. Despite this fact, your hometown will always hold the most special place in your heart… just like this book. ❤

PS. If you are planning to take a vacation anytime soon, you could try playing this fun quiz made by the authors. It might help to bring this book with you too on your vacation, just saying. 😛

If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman

If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Publication Date: October 15th 2016
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★


Martha Aguas kind of has it all–she’s an accountant who loves numbers, an accident-prone puppy that loves her, and the perfect wardrobe.

Yes, she wears a dress size 24, her bras don’t fit and she’s never had a boyfriend, but so what?

It becomes a big deal when her perfect cousin Regina announces her engagement to Enzo, the only boy she’s ever loved (he doesn’t know, so don’t tell him!) Suddenly Aguases from all corners of the globe are coming for the event, and the last thing Martha wants is to be asked why she still prefers her lattes with a waffle on the side.

Thank god for Max. Goofy, funny, dependable Max, who finds himself playing the fake boyfriend at the family festivities. But why does it feel like only one of them is pretending?

There are just some books that you will relate to so much, thus you will fall in love with every single page of it.

For me this book is one of those. It might just be my favorite read of this year, so far. First things first, isn’t the cover gorgeous?

Martha is an amazing MC. She is very, very relatable, and I have nothing, but the purest and highest form of admiration for her. She is a fat girl, and she accepts it, heck she loves it, and she’s proud of it. She has moments of doubts, and yes, she gets hurt by people’s mockery sometimes, but she takes it in stride. She’s also very passionate, and she takes what she wants.

Max, oh Max, is a ray of sunshine, a rainbow, he is everything that’s good with this world. Max is a hopeless romantic. He is patient, he is there for you when you need someone to hangout with or do errands with or cry with or have sexy times with. He understands you, he accepts all of you. I swear, he is everything you would want in a man. To make matters more intense, he loves reading and he spends his life helping sick and injured pets! (PS. I have been in love with Max even before reading this.)

You’d also appreciate the other characters as well, I enjoyed Maggie’s jokes and her #fitspirations, it reminds me of my own sister. I also enjoyed the cousin rivalry with Regina. Also, Martha’s Titas being so very titas is so cute and familiar.

But my favorite is Martha’s relationship with her dad, Martha’s dad is so supportive and loving that I could cry.

The book is also so full of references to other books or movies, and cheese hopias in Tagaytay. Aaaaah, I just really love this book and I can’t give it any less than a five star. ❤

Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano

Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano
Publication Date: July 31st 2016
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★


As a community development worker, Faith was quite familiar with heartbreak and recovery after all the time she spent on disaster relief missions. So when her five-year relationship ends right before she left for a mission trip to a typhoon-stricken town in Iloilo, she tries not to make a big deal out of it. How can she be broken up about a breakup when she’s with people who literally lost everything?

But now that she’s back, all Faith wants is for her life to go back to normal and have people stop looking at her with pity. Never mind that she still has a lot of questions about the breakup, or that she feels a tiny ache every time her ex comes up in conversations. She’s okay now, and happily distracted by Nico Tamayo, the attractive new guy at work.

With new possibilities in the horizon, Faith thinks she is well on her way to moving on. But when her past comes calling back to her, will all the good things in her present be enough to keep her on the path? Or will she finally learn that there was more to heartbreak and recovery than what she knows?

I enjoyed this one so much. It was such a fast read that it’s hard to keep up with my emotions.

The story was patched so well, you don’t realize that you’re almost done. The characters were all lovable and relatable, and you’ll get where they’re coming from.

Faith’s dedication to helping people is something I really admire. She has a good heart at the very core, a heart that tries to be strong for others but really a heart is just a heart, and there’s only so much it could take. This is what makes Faith so relatable. We pretend we’re okay, we try to keep things the same way, we try to hold on, hurting ourselves and others around us over and over again. But her story of moving forward is so beautiful and heartfelt.

Also, it’s so refreshing and satisfying that she took a few months to completely move on and set her path before she told Nico she loved him too. I believe she did it for hersef and for Nico’s sake too, so that when she finally gives herself to him, it will be pure and true.

Nico, oh Nico. This guy is really the guy you hope to be with someday. He, who you can talk to and never be bored of. He is Funny. Patient. Kind. Understanding. Let’s not forget that he is really hot, and he has dimples! ANYWAY, ISN’T FRENCH FRIES JUST THE MOST ADORABLE PET NAME EVER?

I also like Faith’s friends and family, they’re a good bunch of support system to have in times of need.

My favorite parts were the closure, the self realizations and the reconciliations. I loved those so much.

I honestly think that James should have been honest about the reason for their breakup earlier. Not knowing why your relationship crumbled really hurts, and you spend so much time with whys. His words and actions were confusing, to be honest.

Meah and Faith’s reconciliation also affected me very much, but what made me tear up were the mother-daughter moments, especially when Faith’s mom gave her a box to get rid of James memorabilias (tough love, we need it sometimes) and especially when she finally said I’m proud of you.


Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra
Publication Date: January 1st 2015
Source:  E-book from Author
Rating: ★★★★


“Go out with a stereotypical romance novel hero WHO ISN’T YOUR TYPE.”

Avid reader and art student Steph is participating in a monthly blog challenge to Live Like Fiction, and this was the task for October. When Grayson, former co-captain of her university rugby team, walks into her class, she knows it’s meant to be – she has to go out with this guy. Even if she’s never been attracted to big, hunky, athletic types. With Grayson’s “player” reputation off the field, Steph thinks he’ll be good for one date that’ll be worth blogging about, and that’s it.

But you know how it goes: Soon, it becomes more than just one date – and Steph and Grayson are caught up in “living like fiction.” How long can they keep playing their roles before reality steps in?

The author offered a free ebook of any of her books to people who have watched and supported the Metro Manila Film Festival last December.

So I think this is by far the steamiest #romanceclass book I’ve read. Heck, the meet-cute was already something else, as it featured hot, confident and almost naked Grayson.

Grayson and Steph’s chemistry is organic (I don’t know if i’m even qualified to say this). But that’s it, they just work together really well.

Steph is a character I really, really enjoyed reading. I get her indecisions, the feeling of being stuck and overwhelmed, and being scared of what’s gonna happen next. We’re not really alike though, for one, the closest I got to making art are the drawings of forage and insects we drew for a laboratory class.

I also don’t consider myself a legit book blogger, I think of myself as someone that reads a lot, but only sometimes contributes to the blog. (I’m really sorry, Inah! Hahaha) I think I always have one foot out when it comes to blogging, but I get it, I get how you will be totally caught up in it, which is not necessarily bad though. This community is so amazing, with really diverse thoughts, and I can attest that the friends you meet in this community are just the most lovable and supportive people in the world.

Grayson is kinda too good to be true for me. He always appears so calm and so reasonable, he always says the right things, and he is so good at juggling things. I kind of envy him! Anyway, I still want him for a boyfriend though. Ha ha!

Delilah is my spirit animal, especially when she fangirled and stalked Steph’s relationship with Grayson so hard. She was so relatable and funny, plus the verbal whipping she gave Steph during the last parts of the book was fire (and on point)!

I also think Live Like Fiction is an amazing challenge. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS! (Lol jk, I doubt if I can even go through one challenge)

This one has a good pace, it was light and easy to read, but it was really “exciting” (that is putting it very mildly, wink wink). Overall, this is a very enjoyable book to read, and I cannot wait to read more books my Ms. Mina!