- File Size: 688 KB
- Print Length: 168 pages
- Publication Date: March 29, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XY73Q4T
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,945 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Promdi Heart: Hometown Love Stories Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Only the Beginning by C.P. Santi
I did not enjoy this story for a few reasons, primary of which is that I couldn't get into the story. The action didn't seem to have a clear pace. The characters, especially the main one (Andrea), were confusing. Andrea starts the story objecting to a project, vehemently speaking out against it at a meeting, but this objection seems to slide to the side because someone close to her is actually in charge and gets her a job involved in the project.
The "chapters" were cut off seemingly at random and quite abruptly, another thing that bugged me. The timing was another matter that made the story difficult to process; it jumped from saying a couple days later, a couple days later, etc. It felt weird and like saying dates or even specifying the times would've flowed better.
The basis of the story sounded like it could have been really interesting. Gathering the stories of the community, learning things about them, could have been a great way to share details with the reading audience, but I never got that sense of community from this particular story. The romance itself never felt real, either, whether it was because of the jolting nature of the storytelling or because there simply wasn't enough time to develop the relationship, I'm not sure. In either matter, this was not my favorite story of the collection.
Letters About a Boy by Ines Bautista Yao
Told in a series of letters from Tin-tin to her friend/cousin Annette, this story shared the trait of odd timing with Only the Beginning. Since these are letters, dates would've made infinitely more sense rather than "end of summer" or "a few weeks into high school year".
Tin-tin herself was not a sympathetic character. She came across as a bit whiny and more than a little petulant. She's pining over a boy, Nicholas, who gives her mixed signals about his interest. Over the years he dates, but never gets over Regina, a girl he was interested in at the beginning. Tin-tin is quoted as saying:
"My god, Annette, it's been so freaking long. Why can't he get over this girl?"
That is a classic pot calling the kettle black situation if I ever heard one. It didn't help that in the next paragraph she started tearing Regina apart, wondering why Nicholas liked her because Tin-tin doesn't think she looks like anything spectacular.
I really didn't like the relationship that "developed" between Tin-tin and Nicholas. She really did end up pining after him all these years, he made excuses for why he didn't "see" her sooner, and everything wrapped up far too nearly too quickly. They may have know each other for a long time as friends, but that's different than being in a romantic relationship. These two seem to have skipped several steps in between, making the finale a letdown.
Drummer Boy by Chris Mariano
This was the most visually appealing story of the novel. Taking place during the Ati-atihan Festival, the description of a party in the street, full of bright colors and loud music gave the piece a jubilant air.
I liked the familial relationship between Reina and Dex more so than the romantic one between Reina and Ben. Though brief, I got a real sense of caring from Dex. He was the annoying big brother, sure, but he was also helpful to Reina when he realized that she liked Ben (which he found out when he elbowed his way into their first "date", but that's a whole other thing). It was a weird situation to come to terms with in his mind, but he knew it was his sister's decision, would make her happy, and what he could do was support her (and take her side in any fights she and Ben might have 😉).
While there was still an insta-love feel to the relationship, it didn't feel quite as strong as some of the other stories. Reina and Ben have loosely known each other 8 years, but their interest is thrown into overdrive at the commencement of this tale. A little drama and it ends at a decent place: not solved, not a huge cliffhanger; just right for a short story.
One Certain Day by Jay E. Tria
I enjoyed the writing at the beginning of this story more than the previous stories and thought that it spoke of a turnaround for the collection as a whole. While it turned out that story's quality didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, the quality of telling it was good enough that I'd considered trying this author again in the future. This story in and of itself could have blossomed into a longer piece, I think, and been a contemporary YA novel. Things felt too rushed, too shoved into a too-small space.
There were some things that didn't make sense to me, such as Alice's interest in being an actress being mentioned offhand at one point. She mentions a part she gets called back for, but someone else is up for it so she's not sure she'll get this coveted role. Until then I'd had no idea what really spoke to her in terms of interests, other than All Saint's Day and Son's writing a song for her.
I'm glad they were able to reconcile their feelings and be friends at the end, even though Alice had hoped it would be different. Alice and Son, close as their are, do seem like they could be best friends. Things may change in the future, they may not, but the note they ended on was a decent one, if not wholly exuberant.
Once Upon a Bully by Georgette S. Gonzales
This story was a bit of a conundrum for me. The writing was decent, the characterization good (even if I didn't like the characters, the way they were written certainly managed to evoke specific emotions), but there were elements of the tale itself that did not make sense.
Bridgette has spent the last decade of her life somewhere, in stasis, but where? Her family is a bit far flung (Germany, Ontario) and remaining in the Philippines was her choice, though I'm unsure why. She says she's never lived away from her family, claims to be living alone, but it sounds like the place she's moved into on page one is an apartment/glorified room in a compound of her aunt's. Does this really count as living on her own?
This got relegated to the background of my mind when we were introduced to how she treated Miguel, her new neighbor and former childhood classmate, when they were children. It was abominable behavior and made me dislike her for the rest of the story. She seemed to show some guilt, but I have to wonder whether that guilt was tainted by her childhood fear of getting into trouble for torturing a fellow person.
I'm not sure if it was a cultural difference, Miguel's handling of the bullying. Perhaps a fellow reader could clear this up for me. He says:
"...he didn't hate or dislike her. He was not brought up that way. He tolerated her bullying because his mother told him to never tease girls nor strike back and hurt them."
I'm not sure I could agree fully with his assessment that harboring ill feelings was pointless. Maybe you could move on from someone making your life horrible for months on end as a child, but would you really grow up to fall in love with them? That whole aspect of this story felt disingenuous and had me pulling faces the further I read.
"Of course, just because he said there was no reason to be nasty, it meant she was absolved from her bitchiness. Or maybe she was absolved from that but not from apologizing."
This passage further highlighted something that Bridgette interpreted from her interaction with Miguel that I couldn't understand. I'm "glad" she feels she's been absolved of her bullying past, but that kind of past speaks to her character. She never really faced consequences for her actions; a slight embarrassment, maybe, but nothing that was anywhere near what she put Miguel through. This goes back to my wondering whether it's a cultural handling of bullying, but are things different in the Philippines than in the US? Was there any consideration for what bullied children actually go through and what it's like to see a story in which a bullied child enters a romantic relationship with their tormentor?
Back to the Stars by Agay Llanera
This story was by far my favorite because, while there were some parts that were not as fleshed out as I'd have liked, it felt like there was a good, solid story. There was conflict, happiness, and I could follow along on the action, the most important thing of all.
Leah's conflict between two love interests had me a bit unsteady at first, but when she and her work group (love interest #1 included) went to her beach house for the weekend, we got a peek at her life growing up. Wency (love interest #2) was there waiting for her, a summer time childhood friend, and we learned more about Leah, about what her hesitation regarding the past really meant for her, what it meant for her future. This story had the most heart of the collection, to me, and the least amount of difficulties.
I had some difficulty enjoying this book because I was out of my depth with the culture and the terms that were being used. I spent a lot of time having to look up terms that, while I could get the general context of, made it difficult to sort out who was related to who, or what their exact relationship was. The constant going to Google kept taking me out of the story, preventing me from really settling in to any one of them.
The stories were about 50/50. Three I liked fairly well, the other three I did not like much at all. With short story collections from different authors, or even from collections by the same author, this kind of thing is bound to happen. The ones I liked, I'd recommend seeing if you can find more from those authors and trying their longer fiction out. At the conclusion of the book is a brief bit on each author, including previous titles.
Only the Beginning By C. P. Santi
First things first, the hero has dimples! i'm a sucker for them ok :) Dimples aka Martin and Andi first meet when she basically interrupts his speech with her outburst at a meeting, and they meet again when she’s visiting her dad’s grave.
I love how aspects of the culture are revealed in there. Andi goes to visit her dad’s grave and we get this nugget of info:
“I wore Nanay’s ring— the one with a diamond in the middle— because it was common knowledge that the sparkle of precious stones kept evil spirits at bay.”
Now Andi and Martin have to work together. She as his liaison and the reaction to this is priceless. My fave thing ever is watching budding relationships through text messages. I love that! Because this is my reality. If someone went back through all my texts you would certainly see the growth of my relationships with people who became great friends, or more ;) There was banter and cuteness in ample supply between these two! My fave things :D
As their relationship grows, so too does Andi find the connection with her province rekindled.
“It was fascinating. I’d lived in Jimenez most of my life, but I was seeing it with fresh eyes.” “All those little things I’d taken for granted had helped shape me.”
This definitely made me want to get to know my island more, and just take some days, a few weekends even and explore. Because sometimes we never see the gems that are right there until we see it through another's eyes. I really enjoyed this. A really cute read.
Also, if you've read this author's story in the Maybe This Time antho, this little gem will make you cackle, for reasons
“Caught Tonying and Rina here before too.” Father Danny strikes again LOL
Letters About A Boy By Ines Bautista-Yao
Told in written letters format this story is about Tin-Tin’s crush on Nicolas. Through the letters Tin-Tin writes to her cousin Annette we see the passing of time: as she’s at college, graduates etc Even though it's her cousins she's writing to, it still had this great pen pal feel to it, as after emails become a thing Tin still enjoys actually penning her letters.
We get to see Tin and Nicolas living their own lives, in different places, sometimes their lives intersects when they return home but it’s only after Tin has to return to her province (Bacolod) to take care of her mother that they truly reconnect. Nicolas is back too, working on the horse farm and it’s almost like he’s seeing her in a new light for the first time. Noticing little things.
I'll admit Nicolas only started to grow on me then. Before I wasn’t sure of him, as I couldn’t see the connection right off. They were off living their own lives after all, but the horse ride, his singing. He took Tin’s mom to her therapy session (*cue me falling hard) it’s really the little gestures that seal the deal for me. Finally we get to see just what made Tin like him so much. :)
It was pretty funny the more confident Nicolas gets in winning Tin over, the more frazzled she becomes. Poor Tin hehhee. And then we get Nicolas’ POV too! via his letter to Tin listing all the things he loves about her, and that was that. An adorable friends to more story.
Drummer Boy By Chris Mariano
Reina runs into Ben at the Ati-Atihan festival and...
"Her brother’s best friend was incredibly tall..."
Another thing i'm a sucker for the bro's best friend trope so this hooked me immediately, and we get hints that maybe there was some sort of flirtation there years ago at her 18th birthday. So right off I wanted to know more about these two.
We get to learn these intriguing details about the festival and it reminded me of our Carnival with its street music and crowded streets. I love how the festival itself felt like this other character, after all it's pretty central to Reina’s and Ben’s story.
This one was fun and colourful and hilarious, especially when Reina's brother basically invites himself along to the date Ben had set up, thus throwing a little wrench into Ben's plans. Ben doesn't let that stop him though, and he manages to get the girl in the end anyhow ;)
One Certain Day By Jay E. Tria
This one is set in Hagonoy and features All Saints’ Day and the boy next door trope. I swear all these tropes are my faves :D
Here we get to learn about how the dead are mourned. I love seeing this tradition unfold, learning the little tidbits about it
“It’s weird isn’t it? How someone’s death can bring people together.”
This resonated with me. I have a large family and most times we only all come together when someone passes.
So all Saints’ becomes Alice and Son’s thing. They sit next to each other while their families hold their vigil and the deceased’s grave. I didn’t see that ending turning out the way it did but you know what? it worked. Not everything works out the way you hoped, but sometimes you just have to try and know. Alice took the plunge and kissed Son and while I was rooting for her, the fact that maybe friends is all they’ll be is good too. It didn’t ruin their friendship and I’m glad. Although, this is sort of a look at young Son’s life, and while I haven’t read the novels with him and his band yet I see Son’s story hasn’t yet been told. Maybe there’s hope for these two yet? >.>
Once Upon A Bully By Georgette S. Gonzales
Hot new neighbour that turns out to be old classmate? Yes please. BUT it turns out Bridgette used to bully poor Miguel years ago. We get to see this via a flashback. One that had me cringing because we know how cruel children can be at times and Bridgette was awful to him basically tormented this poor kid.
Bridgette agonized over what she'd done all those years ago and was rightfully embarassed when they met face to face again but Miguel, oh Miguel stole my heart for sure
“He stared at her like they had just met and that he was waiting to get to know her. No anger, no judgement, no bitterness. And it was that last bit that got to her.”
I was glad we get Miguel’s POV as well. He held no ill will for Bridgette and in fact had a crush on her. I loved him because he isn’t this self-assured, confident guy with women. He’s so awkward, stammering around B while trying to ask her out. I loved that! Awkward heroes are also my kryptonite. ;) More awkward heroes please and thanks!
Back to the Stars By Agay Llanera
Child hood friend trope. Another fave. (These authors are in my head with these trope i swear !!) And yup this story has to be my fave in the whole anthology. No I know it is! It is my fave for sure!
My word, the author’s writing style, i loved it so much! Descriptive with some really great lines, I wanted to highlighted so many things:
“It was as if the sun had missed me too much, and it couldn’t help planting kisses on my skin.”
Again i found myself falling for the love interest. Wency was truly a great character. Definitely my top guy out of all the ones in this anthology.
“He had a way of quieting the storms inside me without saying word. Just his presence— solid and steady— was enough.”
He was so sweet and kind. I really adored this guy.
I have to admit Leah got on my nerves, especially where Corinne was concerned so I was glad Wency called her out for calling Corinne “that man-crazy airhead.” Wency said she’s changed, and she has had to, to keep up with the Manila pace I guess. But in spite of that I did think they fit.
And that ending, so good, so perfect. I really wished this story were longer lol
Overall i really liked this antho. There were aspects of each story I enjoyed, some more than others but a really interesting, fun read
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