SNIPPET SUNDAY: Today

SF bed No guarantees

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Fourteen

She loved Krista and Blake. She was happy for them. But seeing them together reminded her of what she wanted but didn’t have. Yet.

Maybe Krista and Blake had it right, carpe diem-ing their decisions in life. There were no guarantees for their future. Today was the only day that mattered.

If she told Aidan she loved him, what was the worst thing that could happen? That he didn’t love her back. But, what if he did?

Aargh! She was going to give herself a headache with these thoughts, and that would make sleep difficult. She did need to be early at work in the morning, as she was leading a pitch. If tomorrow came, she’d seize the day. For now, it was time to hit her lonely bed.

 

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.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Hope

couple on a bed holding hands

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Nineteen

Dear Maddie,

I’m sorry. For stealing the privilege of using the name only your friends call you. You may no longer consider me your friend, but I will always think of you as mine.

I’m sorry for letting my job take precedence over you. It was never my intention to hurt you, yet my choices took away yours. I will give up my career if it means having you by my side and in my arms again.

I’m sorry for my selfishness in holding on to your things. As long as they remain with me, I have hope that you’ll return.

I’m sorry my words are inadequate to express my regret for hurting you. I will wait until you grant me the opportunity to say it in person and seek your forgiveness and love.

Always yours,

Aidan

 

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.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Crave

vanilla massage v2

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Twelve

The moment the heady scent of vanilla infused the air, she knew what he was going to do. Just like that, all tension left her.

“I bought this from your perfumer,” he said as he spread the fragrant oil on her shoulders and all over her back. “It promises to soothe tired and sore muscles, promote rest and relaxation, and nourish your skin.”

It was working. The soothing and relaxation part, at least. Maddie sank deeper on the bed as Aidan alternated the pressure and pace of his ministrations, digging hard and slow at the base of her neck and shoulder blades, while sweeping fast along the fleshy parts of her back and thighs.

He delivered on his promise to take care of her, sliding off the bed to better reach her entire body.

There was pain—was there ever. The tear-inducing force of the heel of his hand on her left calf, the jolt caused by his thumb on her right instep that had her gasping for breath, she’d expected all of that. It was part of the therapy.

She also anticipated the healing and the pleasure. Especially the pleasure. There was relief when he scratched the marks her tight bra had left on her flesh. Tingles fluttered on her skin from the glide of his palms on the sides of her breasts.

”’

Aidan’s voice was rough as he tipped the vial over his palm, catching the drops as they fell. “Did you know when you chose vanilla to be your signature scent that it’s a powerful aphrodisiac?” He rubbed his hands together, warming the oil.

“Yes,” she gasped as he brought his hands down to her chest, smoothing the oil in circular motions.

“That’s why I can’t keep my hands off you. The reason I can’t get enough of your scent,” he said, bending down, inhaling deeply. “Why I enjoy the feel of your skin, why I crave your special taste.”

 

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.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Please

bed 1

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Sixteen

… tonight was for giving, not taking. Tonight was for Maddie, not him.

He lowered her to her feet beside their bed and took the towel from her.

“I can dry myself,” she protested but released the fabric at his tug.

“I know you can. I want to do it for you. Will you let me?” When she sent him a questioning look, he said, “Please?”

Please forgive me for keeping secrets from you.

Please remember tonight.

Please know how much I love you.

Her nod of assent felt like an absolution that he didn’t deserve, but that he wanted more than anything else.

Soft pats burst the bubbles that still clung to her silky skin. Gentle swipes dried most of the moisture from her body.

He’d get her wet again, Aidan promised himself as he laid them both down on the bed.

He’d get her hot. It wouldn’t take much. It never had.

One kiss. All they needed to set fire to their passion for each other.

As if she’d read his mind, Maddie reached up to twine her arms around his shoulders and pulled him to her. “Kiss me, Aidan,” she murmured against his lips.

 

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.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Coffee

coffee 3

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.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Bathtub

bathtub scene

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Sixteen

A baby. An image of a black-haired, brown-eyed little girl flashed in his mind. She’d have her mother’s beauty and his height. Their child. His and Maddie’s. Without thinking, he dragged the sponge to Maddie’s flat stomach. “Do you want to have children?”

She stilled in his arms for a second before resting her head on his shoulder. “Yes. At least one.” She exhaled a soft whish of breath against his neck. “But not yet. Before I turn thirty-five for sure,” she said in a perkier voice, but he still heard the wistfulness she tried to hide.

Aidan, who’d never planned anything long term, was all of a sudden dreaming of babies with the woman in his arms. If this wasn’t love, he didn’t know what else it could be.

 

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.

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

cherry blossoms tkthea

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

 

 

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.

20180619_135303128_iOS

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.