It’s almost the end of the year and that means year-end lists! 2015 has been a crazy ride for me, and sadly, I may not be able to make it to my personal goal of reading 100 books this year (because I’m a super slow reader and I’m as lazy af). But I’m very proud to have read a lot of Filipino-authored books, which is a personal advocacy for me here at the blog. The quality and variety of local books have grown by leaps and bounds, and I’m very excited how this will all develop in terms of numbers in genre representation and new authors.
I thought to write this post as a Top 10 list, but as I sifted through the books I’ve read, I realized that it’s hard to rank them in order of awesomeness because they all have special reasons why they’re in my favorite list (and I couldn’t pick the best out of everything…it would be like picking a favorite child). One thing is for sure: the feels these books have given me left me in such major book hangovers (maybe this was why I had a hard time moving on to the next book?). So without further ado, here are my favorite Pinoy reads in 2015:
Only A Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao
Ines is my default author for heartwarming reads that make me reminisce the warm and fuzzy feels of certain memories. Only A Kiss brought me back to the most memorable times of my youth, and it also made me live vicariously through the main heroine, Katie. And well, just look at the gorgeous cover! I’m twice as happy that the cover and synopsis delivered its promise after reading the story. It was even more amazing to have been given the opportunity to interview Ines on her thoughts about writing the book.
Play With Me by Marian Tee
My first reaction after reading this super hot book: Marian Tee, where have you been all my life? The author has been around for years, churning books on a monthly basis and here I only picked up one of her titles this year and I was unceremoniously blown away. The woman wasn’t kidding when she said she writes romantic comedies–I really LOLed and swooned reading this sports romance new adult story, that I just had to snatch a copy of the sequel. Next in the pipeline is to badger her for book 3 because you can never go wrong with a trilogy, especially if the story’s characters and universe are THAT amazing.
Playing Autumn by Mina V. Esguerra
When Mina ventured into writing romances for a global audience, it opened up many things in terms of character growth, plot complexities, and more moments to swoon. I loved Playing Autumn because it speaks to my fangirl heart so well. I wanted to hug this book on many accounts for the rollercoaster of feels and the very satisfying, swoon-worthy ending.
Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera
I’m not ashamed to admit that this YA novella made me hungry. It made me cry like a baby, too. I don’t know about you guys, but this book is just the best I’ve seen Agay write. I’ve read her other novellas, and this author has this amazing gift of unearthing emotions that have long been buried. Agay writes with such honesty and sincerity that even a person with a heart of stone would be reduced to a bawling mess of feels.
Songs of Our Breakup by Jay E. Tria
This book should come with a warning: prepare for an explosion of feels. Most people have experienced a bad breakup or unrequited love at some point in their lives. Reading this book would make you relive those feelings, but instead of locking those memories away, you get to see them “acted out” by the characters in this book, and then you get to see the “what ifs” happen (even if it’s fictional). There are songs to go with the feels, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Blossom Among Flowers by Jay E. Tria
Here’s another book that reduced me to a blabbering idiot. I’ve watched Hana Yori Dango and have always felt bad for Hanazawa Rui not being the “chosen one”. I honestly had no idea what I signed up for when I read this book, but damn, I found myself live tweeting my feels while reading. It’s like reading manga and watching a Japanese soap opera and the guy you were rooting for all this time gets the girl (yassss!). I don’t want to embarrass myself further, but you just have to get this book because…gah! I really am at a loss for an intelligent thing to say. Just. Read. It.
Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Manananggal-Mambabarang by Edgar Calabia Samar
I’m going to go do something different by featuring a local book written in the local language because I can’t NOT talk about it. This pretty much encapsulates everything that I love about Philippine mythology…and it was given a modern and interesting take that’s as engaging as a Harry Potter novel. This book is brilliant, jaw-dropping, and awe-inspiring that I wish there’s an English translation so more people could appreciate its awesomeness.
Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra
This book took me by surprise—I enjoyed reading Team Stayson’s chemistry, and genuinely loved Steph and rooted for Grayson to wear down this quirky woman’s defenses. And the blog challenges! This is the most fun Mina book I’ve read and a brilliant one at that.
The Last Night of Her Wake by Chrissie Peria
This is actually a short story, but it packs a punch right in the gut. There’s so much mystery and outright sadness in this piece that it begs to be heard (or in this case read). It’s perfectly written to get you all intrigued and frustrated at the same time because something so good should NOT be a short read. Yes, I’m looking at you, Chrissie.
The “Forget You” Brew by Tara Frejas
Now here’s a quirky and fun read that would make you feel you’re watching a Studio Ghibli animated movie. What I loved about this novella: world-building, magic, and the characters of Nowheretown. And bunnies!
…and Tim. (Teehee!)
I may be a slow reader, but I already have these books lined up to read…hopefully before the year ends (which is in, like, less than three weeks from now).
This Side of Sunny by Agay Llanera
She made me cry in Choco Chip Hips, so I’m curious what state I’ll be in after reading this latest novella of Agay’s.
The Suffering by Rin Chupeco
I am a fan of Rin’s first book The Girl from the Well. I was genuinely scared like crap that I had to read it during daytime. Since this is book 2, I’m excited to revisit the spook factor and scare myself on what’s supposed to be the happiest season of the year.
Majesty by Jay E. Tria
I’ve read the first few chapters and it looks promising! And don’t get me started with the cover…it’s just gorgeous!