by Chris Mariano
Boracay is one of my most favorite places on earth. It’s not just because of the beautiful beach, the lovely white sand and the breathtaking sunsets – it is also a place that holds so many memories for me and my family. I have been there several times already – the last three was with my husband and daughter – and after each visit, I always end up feeling excited and looking forward to the day when we can go back.
So when Chris Mariano, a writer who I only came to personally meet last December (but have known online since 2010), fellow Sweet Dreams reader/collector and an alumna of Mina V. Esguerra’s #romanceclass last year, came out with this novella set in sunny Boracay, I just knew I had to read it. In fact, I began to read it on my family’s most recent vacation in the island last December, and was quickly drawn into the love story of local boy/Mr. Museum Gio and Korean actress Min Hee.
In a nutshell, I totally, completely adore this book. I love how it was written – I am a sucker for simple, clean prose. The exchanges between Gio and Min Hee, more particularly the romantic ones, completely did me in. (I will never forget "One for coconut. One for vanilla.” – and if you want to know the scene and the context in which these were said, you have to read the book!) The story was told in the third person POV of Gio, and you don’t get to read a lot of contemporary romance novels narrated from the guy’s point of view. The characters were fun and entertaining: Gio wasn’t the typical hot, gorgeous hunk of a guy but he was charming and cute – the kind of guy you’d be proud to bring home and introduce to your mama. On the other hand, Min Hee was more frivolous and quirky, and she was perfect for Gio because she was his perfect opposite. I also love how the novella explored various facets of Boracay, providing the reader with snippets of island life and the many things it has to offer: island hopping, water activities, and of course, calamansi muffins. YUM.
And the ending! That was a lovely ending, wasn’t it? The circumstances leading to it were admittedly fairytale-ish, and Gio was fortunate enough to have the financial means to carry out his plans. I would gather that in real life, the underprivileged Gios out there – and I know they exist – would have to content themselves with e-mails and other internet-based communication in order to cope with long distance relationships, should they even come to that. But it worked in Mr. Museum’s case here, and who are we to deny him that? Oh, definitely not me.
So yes, Cover (Story) Girl is a charming romantic novella, and I love it. Even if I am not a fan of anything Korean, and never will be. :D
Book Details: Digital edition from Amazon
All I Want For Christmas
by Chris Mariano, Chrissie Peria and Miles Tan
"His hands on the small of her back felt like they belonged."
What a sweet Christmas story. Thank you for the lovely gift! :)
Book Details: Digital edition, free from the authors :)