VAMPIRES OF PORTLANDIA by Jason Tanamor – Book Blog Tour

VAMPIRES OF PORTLANDIA

by

Jason Tanamor

Publisher: Parliament House Press
Publication date: 29 September 2020
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy, Folklore

SYNOPSIS

When Marcella Leones relocates her family of aswang vampires from the Philippines to Portland, Oregon, she raises her grandchildren under strict rules so humans will not expose them. Her only wish is to give them a peaceful life, far away from the hunters and the Filipino government that attempted to exterminate them.

Before she dies, she passes on the power to her eldest grandchild, Percival. He vows to uphold the rules set forth by Leones, allowing his family to roam freely without notice. After all, they are aswangs.

However, when the aswang covenant is broken, the murder rate in Portland rises drastically. Who is behind the murders? And who is behind the broken covenant? Along with sensie Penelope Jane, Percival must find the truth.

It’s then they discover that there are other breeds of aswangs—werebeasts, witches, ghouls, and viscera—who have been residing in Portland for years.

Based on Filipino folklore (aswang), “Vampires of Portlandia” is a fantastical tale of different monsters coexisting in the weirdest city in America.

Purchase Links:

Amazon          B&N          Google Play          Kobo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Tanamor is the critically acclaimed author of the novels “Anonymous” and “Drama Dolls.” His new novel “Vampires of Portlandia” is a NA urban fantasy about Filipino folklore – aswang. His writings have appeared in more than 250 publications. He’s interviewed personalities such as Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Pete Rose, and Dane Cook, and has covered U.S. President Barack Obama. Tanamor currently lives and works in the Portland, Oregon area. 

Author Links:

Website     Facebook     Goodreads     Instagram     Twitter

REVIEW

This book has an intriguing premise that excited me when I first heard about it. The aswang supernatural creatures have been staples of Filipino folklore for ages and a story of them being present here in the US is an endeavor I like to support. 

In Vampires of Portlandia, a family of vampires settles in Portland after a narrow escape from being killed by an hunter and a manananggal (viscera) in the Philippines.  Ten years later, the head vampire Marcella Leones is dying and has to pass on the power to her eldest grandson Percival. A huge problem is that aside from some rules she imposed on her four grandchildren, Marcella never told them anything about their powers and responsibilities. Nothing about the existence of other aswang beings (werebeasts, witches, ghouls, viscera), nothing about the covenant that governs their behavior, and nothing about their kind being the supposed leader. So when other creatures are preying on the homeless and one of his siblings breaks the covenant, Percival is overwhelmed with no recourse other than to surrender the amulet that gives him his power and ultimately, sacrifice  his life.

I don’t know how many more revisions the book underwent after I received it, but it was severely unpolished and could have gone through more developmental and copy editing. The world building was inadequate, the device of breaking the fourth wall should have been deleted, the nouns used to refer to the same person were confusing, some of the information about the Philippines were incorrect, the plot holes were too numerous, and the characters needed more fleshing out. 

I wish I liked it better, but I can only give it three stars. I appreciate the effort to bring the Filipino culture into the American publishing mainstream. The book was easy to read with its use of simple language and it’s also quite diverse with the inclusion of multiethnic characters and LGBTQ romantic subplot. 

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour. 

#AswangInPortland book blog tour conducted by Caffeine Book Tours.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Coffee

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SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Three

Maddie started at the sound of his amused voice. She turned in her seat to stare while Aidan made his way to her side. He’d changed into a moisture-wicking top and track pants, both black, better suited for walking than the cotton he wore earlier. Again, he looked like the spy Rini had thought he was.

And now, she was wide awake once more. This morning, she’d likened Aidan to dark chocolate.

Wrong.

He was coffee. Black, no sugar, the way she preferred it: strong, hot, addictive.

Maddie let out a sigh filled with regret. She should have jumped him when she’d arrived. In white t-shirt and gray sweatpants, jaw shadowed by a day’s growth of stubble, he had looked totally jumpable.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

ONCE UPON A SUNSET by Tif Marcelo – Release Day Review and Giveaway

OUAS graphic 2

ONCE UPON A SUNSET

by

Tif Marcelo

SYNOPSIS

OUASbookcoverDiana Gallagher-Cary is at a tipping point. As a Washington, DC, OB/GYN at a prestigious hospital, she uses her career to distract herself from her grief over her granny’s death and her breakup from her long-term boyfriend after her free-spirited mother moves in with her. But when she makes a medical decision that disparages the hospital, she is forced to go on a short sabbatical.

Never one to wallow, Diana decides to use the break to put order in her life, when her mother, Margo, stumbles upon a box of letters from her grandfather, Antonio Cruz, to her grandmother from the 1940s. The two women always believed that Antonio died in World War II, but the letters reveal otherwise. When they learn that he lived through the war, and that they have surviving relatives in the Philippines, Diana becomes determined to connect with the family that she never knew existed, though Margo refuses to face her history. But Diana pushes on, and heads on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that challenges her identity, family history, and her idea of romantic love that could change her life forever.

Buy links: 

Tif’s Website
Indiebound
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
Simon & Schuster

 

REVIEW

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This richly-layered and immensely touching tale of family, friendships, and love is another winner from Tif Marcelo. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to read both an early draft and an advanced copy of the final version. Both solidified my respect and admiration for the author of such engaging reads as Once Upon a Sunset.

At the forefront is the complicated relationship between super-analytical Diana and her social media-savvy mother Margo. Both are still reeling from the death of Leora, the third female lead of the book whose secrets affected her descendants’ present and future in ways neither of them imagined. Their separate quests to find answers to  individual questions about identity and purpose eventually brought them closer to each other which is as satisfying an ending as any happily-ever-afters out there. That both also found romantic love in the process makes this an all-around enjoyable read.

Set in both the US and the Philippines, Once Upon a Sunset presents aspects of Filipino-American culture that only someone who belongs could articulate. There’s plenty of delicious food, a smattering of Filipino language, and a bit of intricate family setup. And then, there’s the matter-of-fact acknowledgment of the Filipino migrants’ contributions to many US historical causes, particularly to their service during World War II through the character of Antonio Cruz.  That’s something that is seldom celebrated in publishing to the point that it adds to the sense of erasure that the minority group to which both Tif and I belong to experiences. For this solid piece of representation, I give this book top marks.

PS: I read this novel in both eBook and paperback and I have to state my preference for and recommendation of the paper version. The formatting of the letters and text messages added an extra-special dimension that enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

5 stars

ABOUT TIF 

Tif Marcelo

Tif Marcelo is a veteran army nurse and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She is also the author of The Key to Happily Ever After and the Journey to the Heart series.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Gallery Books is generously sponsoring a paperback giveaway of Once Upon a Sunset to one of my followers. All you have to do to enter is follow Tif Marcelo on BookBub and tell me in the comments that you’ve done so. Bonus entry if you also follow me. I’ll draw the winner on Tuesday, March 10 at 12 noon Central Time.

 

Tif Heartwarming Fiction

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

BOOK A MAGICAL TRIP

Book a Magical Trip

“A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair.” ~ Katrina Mayer

I grew up in the Philippines and, coming from a poor family, I did not have the resources to travel out of my birth country until I was already a working adult. Thankfully, I had a bookworm for a father and a teacher for a mother who both encouraged me from a young age to read books that took me all over the world before I was able to actually travel to the locations in which they were set.

Judith Krantz’s I’ll Take Manhattan familiarized me with New York City landmarks prior to my first visit there in 1994 and gave me the confidence to set my novella New York Engagement there. I had seen the grandeur of the Sydney Opera House through Emma Darcy’s Harlequin romances set in Australia before I beheld it for the first time in 1998. Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence had me enthralled with the South of France years before I toured Europe in 1999. Imagine how often I’ve been to England from reading books by Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Barbara Cartland, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, and Johanna Lindsey. Truly, if there’s a special passport that gets stamped every time I travel in books, I would have to renew it every year.

I want to believe that this is the same for millions of readers all over the world. In reality, however, the US-centric world of Romancelandia has limited book travel options to Asia. There’s Sonali Dev’s angsty A Distant Heart which transported me to India and Hong Kong, Sherry Thomas’s epic The Hidden Blade and My Beautiful Enemy duology set in Imperial China, and Mina V. Esguerra and her Romance Class cohorts’ works which always bring me home to the Philippines.

There are a few others but I feel strongly about the need for many more books to take readers to the biggest continent on Earth without leaving their homes. That’s why, when I started writing, I’ve chosen to conjure the magic of traveling through books by setting my first series in my home region of Southeast Asia. I’d like readers of Carpe Diem Chronicles to not only visit the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand when they read Boracay Vows, Singapore Fling, Samui Heat, and Palawan Promises, but also to experience the cultures through the languages, customs, and food I feature in them.

People fall in love all around the world. The magic is in witnessing that love blossom within the pages of a book.

 

*This article was first posted at Read-A-Romance-Month https://www.readaromancemonth.com/2019/08/rarm19-maida-malby-book-a-magical-trip/

It was also featured in the All the Ups and Downs blog during the Singapore Fling Book Blog Tour with Lone Star Lit.

SINGAPORE FLING Lone Star Lit Book Blog Tour

BNR Singapore Fling

SINGAPORE FLING is on a book blog tour with Lone Star Literary Life from November 12 to 21. Get to know more about me and Singapore Fling through special features like Maddie’s Top Five List, an Author Interview, my thoughts about traveling through books, a favorite recipe, and a Scrapbook Page. There will also be book reviews and fantastic giveaways.

Here’s the schedule (Bold links are published posts):

11/12/19 	Top Five 		The Clueless Gent
11/12/19 	Bonus Post 		Hall Ways Blog
11/13/19 	Review 			Forgotten Winds
11/14/19 	Author Interview 	Chapter Break Book Blog
11/15/19 	Guest Post 		All the Ups and Downs
11/16/19 	Review 			Missus Gonzo
11/17/19 	Review 			Reading by Moonlight
11/18/19 	Scrapbook Page 		That's What She's Reading
11/19/19 	Review 			StoreyBook Reviews
11/20/19 	Guest Post 		The Page Unbound
11/21/19 	Review 			The Book Review

Check out these giveaways!

1ST PRIZE (US only)
Kindle Fire 7 + Signed Copy of Singapore Fling
2ND PRIZE (US only)
Signed copies of Boracay Vows and Singapore Fling + charm bracelet
3RD PRIZE (US only)
A signed copy of Singapore Fling + spice paste packets (Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa)
4TH PRIZE (international)
eBooks of all three books in the Carpe Diem Chronicles series

NOVEMBER 12-22, 2019

Giveaway Singapore Fling LARGE

 

blog tour services provided by:LSBBT pairing

CELEBRATING FILIPINO-AMERICAN ROMANTIC FICTION

Celebrating Fil-Am Rom Fic 2

In celebration of Filipino-American History Month, my author friends Tif Marcelo, Mia Hopkins, Sarah Smith, and I are getting together in California to talk about Fil-Am romantic fiction and sign our books.

We will be at The Ripped Bodice on Saturday, October 19, from 3-5 pm. A panel discussion on our writing, Filipino heritage, and popular culture will start the event, followed by socials. RSVP here if you’re coming: https://www.therippedbodicela.com/events-and-tickets. Filipino snacks and some wine will be served.

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On Sunday, October 20, Tif, Sarah, and I will continue the tour at Books Inc in Alameda from 4-6 pm. https://www.booksinc.net/event/tif-marcelo-sarah-smith-maida-malby-books-inc-alameda

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I’ll update this post with photos from both events. Hope to see you there!

THE KEY TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Tif Marcelo – Happy Release Day

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THE KEY TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER

by

Tif Marcelo

KeytoHappilyEverAfter (1)

All’s fair in love and business.

The de la Rosa family and their wedding planning business have been creating happily ever afters in the Washington, DC area for years, making even the most difficult bride’s day a fairytale. But when their parents announce their retirement, the sisters—Marisol, Janelyn, and Pearl—are determined to take over the business themselves.

But the sisters quickly discover that the wedding business isn’t all rings and roses. There are brides whose moods can change at the drop of a hat; grooms who want to control every part of the process; and couples who argue until their big day. As emotions run high, the de la Rosa sisters quickly realize one thing: even when disaster strikes—whether it’s a wardrobe malfunction or a snowmageddon in the middle of a spring wedding—they’ll always have each other.

Perfect for fans of the witty and engaging novels of Amy E. Reichert and Susan Mallery, The Key to Happily Ever After is a fresh romantic comedy that celebrates the crucial and profound power of sisterhood.

Buy here: 

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2HitZik
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LH1Dni
B&N: http://bit.ly/Key2HEABN
ibooks: https://apple.co/2wYD7En
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2WEIh3f 

 

REVIEW

tkthea flowersI hardly ever see myself represented in romantic fiction (which is why I write them myself), so I can’t help but gush whenever I read one that has someone like me as a main character.

Vanity, thy name is Maida, for when I read The Key to Happily Ever After–the latest work by Tif Marcelo–I feel like she based her heroines on me. I’m Filipino-American, a (former) wedding planner, and I lived in Alexandria. Like Marisol de la Rosa, I’m the eldest, the one who is expected to be responsible, to take care of her younger siblings, and someone who is a tad dictatorial. I’m also Jane, the middle sister, who is good with numbers and has a sweet little boy. Like Pearl, I’m resourceful, creative, I (used to) do yoga, and a little impulsive at times.

Even if I wasn’t Tif’s inspiration for her characters, I can still lay claim to these wonderful women like I never can for all the other female main characters in the hundreds of books I read and review every year. That’s what makes this book and this author special to me.

Not to say that only Filipinas can relate to these beautiful, complicated women. For surely, everyone who has ever had siblings, especially sisters, can put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists in this book. These are women who want to break free from long-held stereotypes regarding birth order, who struggle for individuality even as they remain loyal to the family, who retain unresolved issues from the past that color, if not outright dictate, their present attitudes and actions. They attempt to balance work and love amidst family drama and mostly succeed. Hey, it’s romantic fiction, after all.

Light but not fluffy, deep but not angsty, The Key to Happily Ever After is well-written, well-told, well done. I highly recommend this book to readers who value excellent storytelling  and who are open to reading books that accurately reflect the diverse world we live in today.

 

ABOUT TIF MARCELO

Tif Marcelo

Tif believes in and writes about heart-eyes romance, the strength of families, and the endurance of friendship. A veteran Army Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration, she is a craft enthusiast and food-lover. As a military spouse, she has moved nine times, and this adventure shows in some of her free-spirited characters. Tif currently lives in the DC area with her own real life military hero and four children.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

 

MEET THE PARENTS – A Carpe Diem Chronicles Foodie Event

Like many cultures, Filipinos attach great significance to the introduction of a special someone to their immediate family. It’s a signal of deep commitment to the relationship often called “taking it to the next level.”

In Boracay Vows, it was extra special for Blake when Krista’s mother invited him to their home in the province of Quezon. Marissa Lopez had been opposed to her daughter being in a relationship with a foreigner. He was understandably nervous right before their meeting but their warm hospitality, which Filipinos are known for, put him at ease immediately. Blake knew things were going to be all right when he and Krista were presented with a feast.

Here’s an excerpt from that meeting:

Krista stroked Blake’s back as they walked, and asked, “You okay?”

“I’m great, baby.” He smiled down at her. “They’re nice—your parents. I like them.”

“I told you—” The sight of their dining table, groaning under the weight of the platters and platters of her favorite dishes, brought her up short. Pancit Malabon, lechon kawali, embutido, menudo, kare kare, lumpiang Shanghai, relyenong bangus, sapin-sapin, maruya, and rice crowded the long table.

 

In New York Engagement, it was Krista’s turn to be introduced to Blake’s family. That meeting also involved food since it took place at the pub the Ryans co-own with the O’Connors. They serve a fusion of Irish and Filipino dishes since the cook/part-owner Belen O’Connor is from Palawan in the Philippines.

These were the food served as explained by Craig, one of Blake’s brothers who will be the hero of Samui Heat:

“In front of you, Krista, is Guinness caldereta, our version of beef stew. There’s steamed rice, of course. Or brown soda bread, if that’s what you prefer. Next to that is longganisa coddle. Instead of regular bangers, we use the sweeter Filipino pork sausage. Lastly, we have chicken lechon with mushrooms and whiskey-cream sauce. Enjoy.”

Both “Meet the parents” events were successful for Blake and Krista and at the end of New York Engagement, we see them planning a wedding for the following Christmas in the Philippines.

I will be writing that story soon, so watch out for announcements on publication here. In the meantime, please accept my gift for you this Christmas: the recipe of Longganisa Coddle.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 8 pork longganisa
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (substitute with 2 tablespoons dried if fresh is not available
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 pieces dried bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • my secret ingredient: patis (fish sauce) to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; cut into 1-inch pieces. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon drippings.
  2. Add longganisa to saucepan; cook about 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; leave whole.
  3. Add onions to saucepan; cook and stir about 8 minutes or until translucent. Return bacon and sausages to saucepan. Add carrots, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme; sprinkle generously with pepper. Pour broth over vegetables; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low; partially cover and simmer about 1 hour 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add fish sauce to taste. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired. Serve with rice or soda bread.

**Recipe adapted from Irish Pub Food by Publication International, Ltd.

Boracay Vows and New York Engagement are available in both eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed copies can be purchased on this website.

Happy Book Birthday – NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT

NYE e-book FINAL

Love takes you to unexpected places
Krista Lopez has traveled from the white sands of Boracay Island to the bright lights of New York City for love. Once again out of her element, Krista embraces Carpe diem as a motto. With her boyfriend by her side, she has confidence to take on The Big Apple and the prospect of …

Meeting the Parents
Blake Ryan won the approval of his girlfriend’s conservative family when they met in the Philippines. Now, he’s eager to introduce the woman he loves to his Irish-American clan. To share his past with her as he prepares to ask her to be part of his future. But an urgent call in the middle of the night reminds him that things can change …

In a New York Minute
A terrible crime and his family’s mixed reception of Krista conspire to derail their plans for a stress-free vacation. Will the circumstances cool Krista and Blake’s romance? Or will they seize the day and strengthen their bond?

add to goodreads

Now available from your favorite etailers:

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

To my husband, B, and our son, Stevie, for always inspiring and supporting me.

To my editor, Linda Hill, for giving me proper guidance. This could have gone so differently if you didn’t show me the way.

To Trish Smith, for brainstorming the plot with me.

To my high school kabarkada, Dr. Love Mariano and Grace Soriano, for the expert medical consult.

To my Beta Readers: Milly Bellegris, Gena Gilliam, Sue Schober, and Violet Olivo, for your invaluable input. They improved my story tremendously.

To my cover artist, Lucy Rhodes, for finding Krista in New York. I adore working with you. You’re so spot on and we’re super in-sync. I always look forward to our working chats.

To Tessa Dare, for giving me the idea for Krista’s back story.

Thank you all. Marami’ng salamat.