Magic in Food, Magic in Words: Author Agay Llanera On Getting Writing Right

by Romy Peña Cruz Author Agay Llanera enjoys writing about food, and her readers are rewarded well for it. In her books like young adult novellas Choco Chip Hips and This Side of Sunny, she displays her talent for mixing topics of self acceptance, body image and family issues with scenes about baking confections and sampling Pinoy delicacies. Mango Summer, her latest release—an adult contemporary romance, doesn’t delve too far away. In it, Agay once again adds a food (and fantasy!) element to the love story: (magical!) mangoes from our shores. Magic is in the air…  For the first time…

10 Lines to Love from the #StartHere Anthology, No Matter Your Gender Identity

by KB Meniado Been wanting some Filipino LGBTQIA+ romance? Celebrate! The book you’ve been looking for is here. Featuring M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings (and heat levels), the Start Here anthology is ready to serve you—yes, you, whatever pronoun you use—some real feels and maybe, also a few happy tears~ Check out this list of some of the most memorable lines from each of the story in the collection! 1.“To loving ourselves,” Ezra repeated with a smile, holding up his glass of water that by now, Caleb knew was all he ever drank. “I hear it’s the greatest love story ever.”—In…

Where A ‘Promdi Heart’ Goes (Part 2): An Interview with Chris Mariano and Agay Llanera

by Kevin Dones Preparing your to-read pile for the next month? You might want to add Promdi Heart, a romance anthology set in different Philippine provinces that is sure to take you on adventures! (Also good for #BookbedReadsPHLit!) In this interview, we talk to two of the authors, Chris Mariano and Agay Llanera, about summer festivals, fishermen’s abs and how to write about love! (Read Parts 1 and 3 here.) Hi, Chris! I love that Drummer Boy’s central setting is in Kalibo, Aklan during the famous Ati-Atihan festival, and that it is about the titular character! What inspired you to write this story? Ati-Atihan…

#BookbedReadsPHLit Report for February

Welcome to the second book report for #BookbedReadsPHLit this 2017! In this challenge, readers must choose one book by a Filipino every month throughout the year. Check out our picks for February below! 1. The Big Fat Book of Self-Love by Danah and Stacy Gutierrez I follow the authors (who are twins!) on Instagram, and when they first posted about publishing their own book, I I knew I had to get it! With every page creatively done, this book was a pure pleasure to read. It contains self-confessions and their struggles to be accepted for what they are, plus styling tips for…

Bookbed reviews: ‘This Side of Sunny’ by Agay Llanera

by Nicai de Guzman THE STORY Like her boyfriend back in the States, 18-year-old Mela Connor is spending Spring Break by the beach. But the difference is she’s spending it on an exotic island in the Philippines, where she’ll spend the next six days finding her estranged mother, of whom she has no memory. In the process, Mela meets her self-appointed tour guide, Paolo, who helps Mela make amends with her past while struggling not to fall in love with her. Read reviews: Goodreads WHAT I LIKED This balikbayan tale of love, loss and love found again follows the formula of…