by KB Meniado
I’ve always been a reader of romance. Started when I was in high school, and I’ve never looked back. All those Precious Hearts Romance and historical fiction with covers that could make judgmental onlookers uncomfortable. Some people, even friends, have questioned why this is one of my favorite genre choices, and sometimes, I actually consider explaining myself. But must not help contribute to the shame game. The better thing to do instead is to, of course, recommend romance other people can read.
Tara Frejas is a Filipino romance author I’ve been following since 2015. She writes in English, just like the rest of the #romanceclass community she belongs to, and has a pretty diverse range in the themes she explores in her books. Her writing style can sweep you off your feet and into the pages, and her characters are to swoon for. And if you’re the kind of reader who loves interacting with authors, Tara is always just an @ away. She regularly posts about her WIPs and does ~fan service~ too. Complete package, right? (Read her ‘Confessions of a Hesitant Romance Writer’ here.)
1. Paper Planes Back Home
When Gianna wakes up on a cloud, she is disoriented yet fascinated. She thinks she’s only dreaming until she gets a storm of paper planes—”They’re thoughts of people who remember,” a man on another cloud tells her—each pleading for her not to leave. The man tells her these planes are the key to get out of there, and while she thinks it’s hard to believe, she decides everything is worth trying if it meant finding her way back home. Get a copy.
What I thought about it: Read my review here!
Why you should read it: It’s a refreshing take on what the in-between of life and death is. Following the romance and journey of the four main characters was also a ~heavenly ride.
2. The “Forget You” Brew
For 20-year old Kyle Thomson, nothing in the world is more terrifying than the prospect of telling Allison Jeon that he loves her. That is, until he finds out that this mystical café in a peculiar place called Nowheretown had served her a cup of afforgeto—a brew for forgetting—a drink she ordered intending to forget him. Hoping to reverse the spell, Kyle reluctantly teams up with a bunny-eared hopeless romantic and a badass barista to retrieve Allison’s memory jar from the Repository of the Intangible. But when stealing back forgotten memories doesn’t quite turn out as expected, Kyle is left with no choice but to conquer his biggest fear.
Can the magic of Nowheretown supply him a fixer-upper, or will the magic in his steadfast heart be enough to grant them their happy ever after? Get a copy.
What I thought about it: Read my review here!
Why you should read it: Whimsical, imaginative and unforgettable. If you like coffee and magic and of course, romance, this can be a good introduction to this author’s worlds.
Fi Legaspi is living the dream working in Seoul as a road manager for one of South Korea’s hottest bands, East Genesis Project. Until she isn’t.
When she finds herself in the middle of a scandal and a hostile fangirl witch hunt, Fi seeks the comfort of home, and to her surprise, not the person she had been pining for for years. All too suddenly it’s no longer her career on the line, but also her heart. Will she walk away from everything that matters to her or fight to keep her dream alive? Get a copy.
What I thought about it: Read my review here! Also, I recommended this to Allana; read her review here.
Why you should read it: K-Pop world, bow. The story treads on bullying, too, which can inspire fruitful discussion and possibly, action.
4. Settle the Score / Hustle Play
College senior Garnet Figueroa lives and breathes basketball. A reliable asset to her varsity team, she is equipped with the skills and smarts to get the De La Sierra Lady Hunters closer to this year’s championship title. But Garnet soon finds out that her good friend (and long-time crush), cheerdancer Charles Crisostomo, is being cheated on by his girl, and she lets her emotions get the best of her.
Will she be able to come up with a game plan to save herself from heartbreak before the buzzer signals Game Over?
Running on pure adrenaline and working with game strategies is something a basketball player like Garnet Figueroa is trained for. On the court, she is unbeatable. Off the court… that’s a completely different story.
Because falling in love is trickier than a ball game, and Garnet finds herself fumbling over her feelings for Charles Crisostomo. The fact that her attention gets divided between him and rival school hard-court hottie Chris Barcelo doesn’t help.
Or does it? Get a copy.
What I thought about it: I brought this with me to South Korea back in 2016 and it kept me up a couple of nights. Read my review here!
Why you should read it: Sweet, sweeeet college romance! The story also presents/challenges gender stereotypes.
5. Waiting in the Wings
At twenty-three, theatre actress Erin Javier has yet to fall in love or kiss a boy offstage, away from the klieg lights. She is the perfect leading lady—whose heart men would fight for, win, and protect—unfortunately, only until the curtains fall and the lights go down. In real life, Erin is a certified NBSB whose heart has been hoping for a song to dance to.
But when two (two!) men enter from stage left and right, Erin is confused. Who deserves to take center stage in her heart—Mr. Theatre Royalty whose attention and displays of affection make her pulse race, or a good friend whose steady support has helped steer her to success and fulfill her dream? Get a copy.
What I thought about it: I volunteered to beta read this, and I’ve never been more excited to see how Tara’s writing process evolved. Read my review here and my interview with Tara here!
Why you should read it: The singing, the dancing, the acting, the romancing~
6. Like Nobody’s Watching
It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.
If there’s something Pio Alvez is good at, it’s pretending to be someone he’s not. On stage and on-screen, the actor has mastered the art of becoming the characters he plays, and his new role should be no different. After all, how difficult would it be to pretend to be smitten with a beautiful, intelligent go-getter like Audrey Alonzo?
Perhaps it’s more difficult pretending not to be. Get a copy.
What I thought about it: I signed up for an ARC last year when this launched, and then bought an ebook and then a print copy because I loved it. I think this is by far her best work—the setting vividly described, the characters well developed, the conflict and resolution sensibly crafted. And the heat level! I really like how Tara pushes her self every time, and how enjoyable her work turns out to be.
Why you should read it: How about fake-dating a celebrity crush who’s years younger (and perfect) for you?
Want more? Pick up the anthologies she’s a part of, too: Summer Crush (read our review of her story here),Second Wave Summerand Make My Wish Come True. ☁
Anything to share? :)