Review of “Boracay Vows” (Carpe Diem Chronicles #1) by Maida Malby

It’s an amazing feeling to receive an awesome review such as this. Thanks, Courtney. This encourages me to continue to strive for authenticity and to share my culture with the world of romance.

Courtney Reads Romance

Malby, Maida. Boracay Vows. San Antonio, TX(?): EOT Publications, 2017.

Paperback | $12.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0999543214 | 234 pages | Contemporary Romance

5 stars

I received this book as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

When an author is a friend, especially the longer I know them, I often worry about their book possibly disappointing me, as tastes can differ widely, as I have found from my experience as a member of a number of book groups. But my fears with Maida Malby’s debut were unfounded. In fact, her book is one of those rare debut novels that not only shows the promise of the writer, but will instantly suck you in.

She strikes a great balance between an authentic exploration of Filipino culture, including language and cuisine, as well as family values, with which she is obviously familiar, and presenting the characters as people 

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BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Lumpia

In Boracay Vows, lumpia is one of the dishes Marissa Lopez prepared for Krista and Blake when they went to Quezon to meet the family. It also happened to be a belated birthday celebration for Krista, so there were plenty of food.

There are many variations of lumpiasariwa (fresh), Shanghai (thin pork spring rolls), hubad (unwrapped), vegetable, or with meat. The latest version I made has chicken in it, but can be done with ground pork or shrimp. Some people call it lumpiang togue, which translates to spring rolls with bean sprouts. Others use cabbage instead of bean sprouts, or sometimes both in their vegetable spring rolls. There’s not just one way of making these, all of them delicious.

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Ingredients: 

  • Vegetable oil
  • extra firm tofu, drained and cut into small squares
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 cup of shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut thinly on a bias
  • 8 oz. mung bean sprouts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of lumpia wrapper

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or pan. Add tofu and fry until brown. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add garlic and onion to hot oil and cook until softened. Pour the fish sauce on the side of the wok. Cook until smell goes away (2-3 minutes).
  3. Stir in shrimp (if using) and cook until pink. Add chicken, green beans, carrots, and bean sprouts. Cook until all ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and drain. Mix in the tofu. Let cool.
  4.  Lay the wrapper on a flat surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling two inches from the top. Fold the top end of the wrapper over the mixture. Fold the sides and roll tightly into a log. Brush the bottom end with water to seal completely. Repeat until there’s no more filling or wrapper. (At this point you can stop to freeze the wrapped lumpia until you’re ready to eat it.)
  5. In a skillet, heat about two inches of oil. Add spring rolls with the seam side down. Fry, turning once or twice (about 2 minutes per side) until golden brown.
  6. Serve hot and crispy with garlic-spiced vinegar dip. Enjoy!

Boracay Vows is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed copy of the paperback can be purchased from this website.

Book Sale Alert – BORACAY VOWS

99c tease NYE v2

For the very first time since its release, BORACAY VOWS is on sale for only $0.99. NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT, the sequel to Krista and Blake’s romantic story is coming out this month and I want as many people as possible to read first how they fell in love in the island-paradise of Boracay.

I’ve also set Boracay Vows as FREE for libraries and for those who bought it on paperback.

You can one-click here: books2read.com/Boracay-Vows

If you already have Boracay Vows and enjoyed reading this multicultural contemporary romance, kindly post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or BookBub. I’d really appreciate it. This helps my book get in front of other readers. Thanks in advance.

 

FIGHTING IRISH by Katy Regnery – Book Birthday Review/Giveaway

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BOOK INFORMATION:

FIGHTING IRISH, The Summerhaven Trio #1

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Blueberry Lane series comes a new trio of romances featuring the Haven triplets!

Rory Haven and Brittany Manion knew one another as children…
…but it’s been a long time since their childhood summers at Summerhaven.

The Havens weren’t the children who attended exclusive Summerhaven Camp in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire. They were the children of the owners, expected to “pull their weight” and absolutely forbidden to fraternize with the paying guests. But that didn’t keep Rory from having a quiet, unrequited crush on gorgeous, popular, insanely-rich, Brittany Manion for four tortuous summers.

When all-grown-up, recently-engaged Brittany books the off-season summer camp for her upcoming spring wedding, she immediately recognizes Rory as the scorching-hot boy who wouldn’t give her the time of day. Meanwhile, Rory, who senses that Brittany’s nuptials are less about Mr. Right and more about Mr. Right Now, launches the fight of his life to win the heart of the girl he’s always wanted.

 

AVAILABLE FROM:

~Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B2NL7G8
~Apple iBooks: https://apple.co/2GDStBm
~Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2DVvdRW
~Kobo: http://bit.ly/2DT6n54

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~THE SUMMERHAVEN TRIO~
Book #1: Fighting Irish (Rory and Brittany)
Book #2: Smiling Irish (Tierney and Burr)
Book #3: Loving Irish (Ian and Hallie)

MY REVIEW: 

Fighting Irish is a sweet story of second-chance love amidst class differences and a history of betrayals suffered by the heroine Brittany Manion. Rory Haven is an ideal hero–responsible, kind, understanding, and patient. He’s had a crush on Brittany since they were fourteen, but his obedience to his mother’s edict of non-fraternization with their summer camp’s attendees won out over his adolescent feelings. Given another chance with the woman of his dreams, he took it, but he waited until she was ready and had developed feelings for him in return.

I liked that this was slow-burn and Rory and Brittany did not get together until they’ve declared their love for one another. I absolutely adore the highlighting of love for family in this novel. It’s Brittany’s dream and the happy ever after she deserves after all she’s been through. Rory’s bond with his siblings was celebrated without having it take over the book.

One mark of a good book for me is when I had a hard time putting it down. Fighting Irish is one such book, that’s why I’m giving it five stars.

For a chance to win a copy of Fighting Irish, check out my Carpe Diem Chronicles by Maida Malby on Facebook.

 

“A Tea Party & Books” Scavenger Hunt

Hi, Romance Readers!

I’ve got a special treat for you. I’m one of the sponsors of the Night Owl Romance “A Tea Party & Books” Scavenger Hunt.

During this event I’m going to help you find some great new books. Make sure to check out Boracay Vows along the way, if you haven’t done so yet. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited.

The grand prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Enter Now at: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Tea-Party-Books-2018

Event Dates: Feb 15 – Mar 8

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BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Pork Sinigang

Blake loves to watch Krista eat. In Chapter Three of Boracay Vows, they have their first “date”. Here’s a snippet:

“Krista tucked into her meal with gusto, leaving Blake enthralled by the way she puckered her lips after taking a sip of the broth from her sour sinigang soup. He had to mentally shake himself to pay attention to his own food.”

Sinigang, one of the most popular viands in the Philippines, is a sour and savory soup. It’s usually made with pork, but can also can be cooked using beef, shrimp, salmon or just vegetables. The typical sour ingredient is green tamarind fruit, but other fruits like kamias (bilimbi), guava, or santol can be used as well. As fresh tamarind is hard to find here in the US, I’ve taken to using a tamarind seasoning mix as a shortcut.

Sinigang na Baboy sa Sampalok

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Ingredients:  

  •  1 pouch soup base mix (I recommend also Mama Sita’s Tamarind Seasoning Mix)
  •  2 lbs. pork (I use pork belly, but other parts like shoulder or neck are fine, too)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 cup tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup onion, quartered
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 2″ length (Filipinos use sitaw or long beans)
  • 2 cups radish
  • 2 cups eggplant
  • 1 pc. long green pepper (Anaheim or other)
  • 2 cups leafy vegetables (spinach or kangkong/morning glory)
  • patis (fish sauce) to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring water, pork, tomatoes, and onion to a boil. Cook until pork is tender. Approximately 30 minutes. Simmer for five minutes.
  2. Pour in soup base mix. Increase the heat and bring to a roiling boil.
  3. Add green beans, radish, eggplant, green pepper, and fish sauce. Cover and simmer for five minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the leafy vegetables. Cover to steam-cook.
  5. Serve hot with rice.

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Like Krista in the book, I eat it with fried fish–tilapia, bangus (milkfish), or galunggong (mackerel scad)–but it can be served on its own.

Enjoy!

 

Boracay Vows is available in eBooks and paperback from major online retailers. Signed paperback copies can be purchased on this website.

 

Happy New Year – 2018 Goals

A review of my 2017 Goals/Plans:

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  • Rewrite and edit Boracay – Done
  • Write New York and Singapore – partially done
  • Publish Boracay and New York – Boracay Done
  • Set-up a blog – Done
  • Set-up a Facebook Author page – Done
  • Join Romance Writers of America – Done, plus the San Antonio Romance Authors chapter, too
  • Win NaNo again – Not done
  • Read 180 books – Read and reviewed 208.
  • Spend only $240 on books – Success! Spent only $190.
  • Attend a writing conference – Not quite. Attended a one-month editing workshop and four reader events all over Texas.

Based on these results, I consider 2017 to be a successful year.

 

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For 2018, here are my goals/plans:

  • Finish writing New York Engagement, have it edited and published. Target date: Saturday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Finish writing Singapore Fling. Publishing target: July 2018.
  • Achieve full PAN status at RWA.
  • Get Boracay Vows into independent bookstores all over the US.
  • Secure local distribution for Boracay Vows in the Philippines. Attempt a movie deal.
  • Read and review at least 120 books for Goodreads Reading Challenge:
    – 1 craft book on writing/editing/publishing
    – 1 male author/non-romance
    – 4 historical romance (2 from my Mount TBR, 1 ARC, 1 new/new-to-me)
    – 4 contemporary (2 from Mount TBR, 1 ARC, 1 indie author)
    Rereads will be after the 10 have been fulfilled.
  • Attend a writing conference.
  • Spend only $180 on books.
  • Register a profit on all books.

So, here’s to 2018. May it be the Best Year Ever.

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Pancit Bihon

The second recipe I’m sharing with you is pancit bihon, one of the three variants of pancit mentioned in Boracay Vows.

  • In Chapter Three, Blake included pancit bihon among his favorite Filipino dishes along with adobo and lechon.
  • In Chapter Seventeen, Krista ordered pancit canton at the restaurant.
  • In the Epilogue, Krista’s mom cooked pancit Malabon for her and Blake.

Usually stir-fried, pancit or pansit is a noodle dish the Filipinos adapted from the Chinese. It can be eaten for lunch, snack, or dinner and is a staple during fiestas and especially during birthday celebrations to accompany the wish for long life.

Again, there are as many ways to cook pancit bihon as there are islands in the Philippines. This is my version.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. cooking oil
  • minced garlic (from 2 cloves to a whole head)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup boiled pork (or chicken, and/or shrimp), sliced
  • 1 small cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, strips
  • 2 tbsps. soy sauce (add more for desired taste and color)
  • 1 1/2 c. broth (I use chicken)
  • 1 bunch Chinese leeks (or green beans)
  • 1 bundle first class bihon (rice noodles)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • (Optional) 2 pcs chorizo de bilbao or lap cheong (Chinese sausage)
  • spring onion, chopped
  • calamansi (or lime/lemon)

 

Instructions:

  1. Saute garlic in cooking oil, add onion, pork, carrots, and cabbage. Season with soy sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Add broth and simmer, add the leeks (or green beans). If using shrimp, add here.
  3. When the vegetables are cooked, mix in softened bihon noodles and season with salt.
  4. Garnish with chorizo and spring onions. Serve with calamansi.

 

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Boracay Vows is available in ebooks from all your favorite etailers and in paperback from Amazon. An autographed copy can be ordered on this website.

 

 

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Adobo

I am so happy that several of the reviews for Boracay Vows have mentioned the food.

An Amazon customer titled her review, “Made me sooo hungry,” and proceeded to say, “I also loved the setting and learning a little about the Philippines and the amazing food that I HAVE to try!”

An iBook reader enthused, “Congratulations and now I want Filipino foooooooood!!!!!”

A photographer friend endorsed Boracay Vows on her page and inspired the quote I used here, “… it’s got plenty of steam and mouth-watering descriptions of food.”

In the Author’s Note, I promised I will post recipes here and I’m starting with adobo, the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.

On Chapter Four, Blake and Krista had their first meal together. Blake ordered chicken and pork adobo, one of his favorite Filipino dishes and raved about it.

““Hmm, sarap!” The garlic saltiness of the adobo sauce and the perfect tenderness of the meat hit his taste buds and made him groan in satisfaction.”

With 100 Million Filipinos scattered over 7,100+ islands, it is not surprising that adobo is cooked in a variety of ways. Pork and chicken are most commonly used, but other meats, seafood, and vegetables can substitute as well. This recipe is the way I’ve cooked it for more than 20 years. It serves four and can be prepared in as short as 2 hours to as long as 10.

CHICKEN AND PORK ADOBO

20180811_234836883_iOSIngredients:

  • 1 lb. pork belly (loin for leaner option), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. chicken (boneless/skinless for lower-fat), cut into serving pieces
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced or crushed
  • 4 pieces dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low-sodium, if available)
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Instructions: 

  1. Combine first seven ingredients and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Best if left in a closed container overnight.
  2. Heat pot, put in meat, marinating liquid, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour, or until meat is tender. If necessary, add more water.
  3. Strain the meat from liquid, then set aside. In a skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the crushed garlic. Stir in the meat and cook until all sides are browned. Pour the liquid over the meat and continue simmering until sauce thickens.
  4. Serve hot over rice or with your favorite pancit.

Boracay Vows is available in ebook from your favorite etailers and in paperback from Amazon and The Ripped Bodice.

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Credits:

 

#Thankful – Boracay Vows

On November 21, I celebrated my birthday and the book birthday of Boracay Vows and it was awesome!

This has been an incredible year and I wouldn’t get here without the love, encouragement, generosity, and support of my family, friends, and even strangers.

My husband is a Rock Star. His belief in me is unwavering. I am not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t have accomplished this without him. He gave me the means to put this book together and have it published. Our son is my inspiration, my heart. I am grateful that at eight years old he can already prepare his own meals, otherwise he’d starve. Expert of things Stevie. Bad mommy.

I am ta novel byhankful for my book club OSRBC. They were there for me from the very beginning of this journey. Their encouragement propelled me to turn my two-pager opener into a full-length novel. OSRBC members informed me about the National Novel Writing Month and cheered me on as I pantsed my way into winning in 2016 with Boracay. They’re the first ones to pre-order my book and help me spread the word around. Best book club in the world!

My editor Linda Hill is from OSRBC. She saw me through dozens of drafts from December in 2016 all the way to proofreading in November. If there are mistakes in the book, they’re most likely things I changed after she gave the final manuscript back to me. Thanks, Linda.  Sorry, Linda. To my writer friends who are planning to publish independently, you are going to need an editor. I recommend you contact Linda ASAP.

Many of my Beta readers are also from OSRBC – Eva Moore, Rizalee, and Cecille. They’re the ones who pointed out what’s missing as well as what’s there that they loved. Thanks, ladies.

My cover designer also belongs to OSRBC. Lucy Rhodes of Render Compose was recommended to me by a common friend Leni Browne and I just marvel at how in sync we were while doing the covers. She’s in Australia, I’m in the US, but there were no barriers to our communication. Another note to my indie friends – ask me for Lucy’s contact information. You won’t regret it.

There are so many people to thank: my sister Myrtle and future brother-in-law R.G. Gallardo; one of my forever friends Chiqui; my first boss and fellow book-addict N; my Belarusian sestra Yulia; design consultant Celeste Odono; fellow Indie writer Rainne Mendoza; reenactors of my cover concept Renee, Tiara, Chippy, Lia, and Jonathan; my ARC readers, and my barkadas UNYLACE, CPP, and Burlesque. Thank you very much. Maraming salamat.

Special thanks to Tessa Dare for her wonderfully motivatTessa Dare noteing words at the beginning of the year. She told me, “Doubt not.” Sometimes I did, but I persevered and now I’m a published author.

And now, I’m thankful.