Bookbed reviews: ‘Zona Cero’ by Faye Villanueva

by Nicai de Guzman THE STORY Zona Cero by Faye Villanueva is a steampunk comic on the Philippine war against Spain, except that the countries are named differently, and there is also an element of fantasy involved. The story follows Antonio Malik, a teenage Ilustrado or upper class who lives in the huge archipelago of Intramuros (Luzon), a colony of Iberia (Spain). It is 1892, and Intramuros has failed numerous times to conquer Manuvu, a big island fashioned after Mindanao which is known for its minerals that Intramuros needs to create weaponry. Intramuros has always used Aserong Soldado, or robot soldiers,…

Bookbed reviews: ‘Detective Boys of Masangkay: Ang Mangkukulam’ by Bernalyn Hapin Sastrillo

by Nicai de Guzman THE STORY Nawawala ang alagang pusa ni Ate Lotlot at ang alagang tuta ni Junjun. Ninakaw ang mga sinampay ni Aling Cora. Pinatay ang mga panabong na manok ni Mang Jimmy. Na-kidnap ang sikat na Shino Kid. May isang mangkukulam. May isang dalagitang bagong lipat. May tatlong binatilyong fans ni Detective Conan. Sila ang lulutas sa lahat ng misteryong bumabalot sa Barangay Masangkay. Read reviews: Goodreads WHAT I LIKED The story is set in the 90’s at the height of the anime craze among Pinoy children and teens. Filipino 90’s kids will definitely love the references made…

Bookbed reviews: ‘What Things Mean’ by Sophia N. Lee

by Nicai de Guzman THE STORY Olive is your typical teenage girl with growing pains. She has weird taste in food, she knows nothing about makeup and she feels she doesn’t belong in her family. This is aggravated by her physical appearance that couldn’t have come any farther from her mom’s and her extended family’s. Olive has dark skin, curly hair that can’t be tamed, and is taller than most girls her age. On top of all these, a dark cloud looms over Olive’s everyday life—she has never met her father and her mother refuses to talk about him. As Olive…

Writing for the Little People: An Interview with Children’s Book Author Liwliwa Malabed

by Nicai de Guzman I met Ate Liwa in one of our workshops in Probe Media Foundation a few years ago, when I was still a young reporter of Kabataan News Network. As the years went by and I graduated from the program and eventually became one of the bureau’s managers, I started to facilitate these training workshops for young people alongside her. Just last November, we were together for a writeshop by Educo and Council for the Welfare for Children, where we taught teenagers how to write for children. I could really see she was passionate about her work with children…

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…

Bookbed reviews: ‘Mondo Bohemiano’ by Quentin J. Parker

by Nicai de Guzman THE STORY Is there life after having your heart destroyed? When ‘happily ever after’ crashes and burns?  In the shadow of losing the love of his life, one man attempts to salvage his soul. He is Nigel Q. Bunnytail. Twenty-something, artistic warrior prince, and sex fiend par excellence.  To accomplish this, he decides to leave behind the tainted trappings of his Philadelphia and his band of gifted friends, for the rustic charm of Spokane, Washington – and the white-haired therapist Sigrid Anderson, who can’t wait to either marry him or dissect him.  Whichever.  Mondo Bohemiano is a…

Bookbed goes to: Press by Fully Booked

by Nicai de Guzman, photos by Juan Sinag Cano Have you dropped by the new Press by Fully Booked in Rockwell? They encourage reading inside the café by allowing their patrons to borrow the books they have on their shelves! The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the café is that it’s heavily designed with books. The next thing you’ll see is a pillar is designed with the diagonal, slot-type book shelves. Beside it is their new reading lounge. There are about a hundred titles on the shelf curated by the Fully Booked team. There are books about business and politics…