Blog Tour: The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk (Review)

I am super excited to be part of the international blog tour for The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk, organized by Penguin Random House International. This is a debut contemporary novel from the author who I must say done a great job for her first novel. Ashley Woodfolk delivered a powerful story in the Beauty that Remains. Check my review below for more of my thoughts about the book and also I’ll be sharing a mood board below.

Personal Thoughts:

The Beauty That Remains tells the story of three teenagers coping with griefs and how music become integral part of their lives.

Autumn’s lost her best friend, Tavia in a car accident; Logan’s ex-boyfriend, Bram has committed suicide; and Shay’s twin sister, Sasha died from leukemia. All three suffered from loss of love ones, and connected through grief and music. Each deals with their own griefs on their own way. Autumn is eaten by guilt for not being there with her best friend blame herself for Tavia’s death; Logan is in denial hiding behind alcohol; while Shay pretends to be fine and put on a brave face despite of all the panic attacks and anxiety. All three have to face their own griefs to fully continue with their lives even at times when they don’t feel okay.

For a debut novel, The Beauty that Remains is well written and surprisingly affecting. Author Ashely Woodfolk successfully delivered a heartwarming tale of griefs in different perspectives. Even if you are not on the stage of grieving someone in your own life, the story still easily resonates. The heartaches and griefs of the main characters feels achingly real that sometimes you will wish for them to find peace and acceptance.

The diverse characters are realistically drawn and explored very well as Ashley write the story in three different points of view. Not only their feelings become easily accessible, but also their griefs more painfully heartbreaking. Ashley also didn’t shy away in adding sensitive topics to make these characters more believable, making the book more of a heavy read. But still, in-spite of all the heartache and loses, The Beauty that Remains also offers hope not only to the characters but also to the readers. As the characters deals with their own grief and eventually find their path to move forward with the help of friends and friends, readers will also be reminded that losing someone we love is not the end and that there are other people left who also love and care for us. We are not alone in loneliness.

The novel theme of grief will also reminds readers that it is normal to undergo heartbreak and loses. That we don’t need to always put up a strong facade in front of others. And sometimes it’s okay to be vulnerable and accept defeat. Heartache is part of life.

“There’s no way to measure grief.”

All in all, The Beauty Remains is both heavy and surprisingly hopeful read. A touching and heartwarming story of loss, grief and moving on that will break readers’ heart and put back together. The three protagonist at the heart of the story are all flawed, and believable and through them readers will be reminded that heartache and loses are part of life, but there’s still beauty that remains even after those tragic times.

* This review is based on an eBook I received from the publisher, Penguin Random House International (@prhinternational) via Netgalley.




Book Details:

Title: The Beauty that Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9780525578284

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.


Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

In Real Life by Jessica Love

In Real Life

“Don’t sit back and let life happen to you. Go grab what you want, whatever it is.”

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, Skype all the time, regularly send each other presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem…Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker at school, she decides to finally break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, with her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-a-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend, whom he failed to mention to Hannah for the past three months. And it turns out his relationship status isn’t the only thing he’s been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Personal Thoughts:

Music and contemporary novel are always a good combination. They never failed to entertain me and In Real Life is no exception. I basically read the whole book straight for few hours. I was so invested in it even though I am positive that I already know how the story will end.

Hannah and Nick are both like-able characters. Even Hanna’s frustrates me sometimes with her indecisiveness, I still root for her. Her friendship with Nick is not only sweet but also endearing, something that you want to have on your own. Because sometimes having someone who knows you more than you know yourself is really handy.

Hanna’s and Nick friendship though started online is anything but superficial. Their friendship like any relationship develop through constant communication, sharing, caring, understanding and more. It shows that strangers we meet every day on the other side of our screens are also human beings –real people that we can know and trust eventually.

Jessica Love successfully delivers a realistic story in In Real Life. Though Hannah and Nick’s situation is anything but common their friendship and care for each others rings true. They reminds me of my friend who also have a long distance relationship with someone she never met in person yet. Sometimes I can’t help but picture my friend and her boyfriend in some of Hannah and Nick’s situation. Some of Hannah and Nick’s experiences and dialogues are things and words I already heard before from my friend, which simply means that Jessica successfully portray a realistic story of long distance relationship. Even I am not exactly and never been in any of the characters situation I can easily relate and understand them.

The whole Vegas trip reminds me of my travel to Macau two years ago with all the casinos, pubs and hotels. My experience though not exactly the same with Hannah basically tug some strings from memory lane. Like when casino stuffs asked for my ID/passport because they thought I was too young to enter the vicinity or when my friend and I tried to reach another hotel through walking but end up taking a cab because our destination is not exactly as near as we thought it is. Even I am not exactly eager to go to Vegas right now, I can still say that Jessica successfully written a realistic settings and relate-able experiences.

The ending though satisfying left me wanting for more. More specifically the full lyrics of the song “Hunted” and if there’s a melody too, much better. I really want to hear the whole song if not the whole album of Automatic Friday. I hope Jessica write and share it to us someday, like a bonus chapter or something. But for the mean time, I will just listen to the playlist that Jessica shared during my interview with her for the In Real Life Blog Tour.

With interesting and diverse cast of characters, endearing romance, Vegas adventure and fun scenes, In Real Life is a quick, hugely enjoyable and absorbing read. Jessica Love successfully delivery a story that will surely appeal to fans of music centered YA readers.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Dunne Book, an imprint of St. Martin’s Griffin via NetGalley.

P.S. Check my interview with author Jessica Love for In Real Life Blog Tour with playlist and giveaway!

Book Tour: In Real Life by Jessica Love (Author Interview + Playlist + Giveaway)

Today I’m super excited to kick off the promotional tour for IN REAL LIFE by Jessica Love. I absolutely adore this book — there’s music, vegas adventure, swoon-worthy guys (yes plural) and lots of fun. If you love music and contemporary reads like me, In Real Life should be on your reading list. And the good news, you don’t have to wait, because the book finally released today!

Jessica was nice enough to answer a few questions for me and also share a fantastic playlist of In Real Life for us to listen too. I hope you guys enjoy the interview and listen to the playlist below.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour for more interviews, reviews, guest posts and giveaways! And watch out for my review for In Real Life in two days.

Interview with Jessica Love

Hannah and Nick met online and become friends, for an author like you what do you think is the advantage & disadvantage of internet or social media?

I love the internet and social media so much! It’s helped me so much as a writer to keep in touch with other writer friends. I’m able to have people cheering me on and brainstorming with me at all hours of the day and night, even when they live far away. Much like Hannah and Nick, the friendships I’ve made online are some of the most special in my life.

Disadvantages? It’s a huge distraction! It’s way too often that I should be writing and I find myself on twitter or instagram or websites I don’t even care about. I could get books written twice as fast if I could just completely disconnect. But I can’t. Because I love it.

In Real Life has diverse characters (Hannah is korean, her best friend mexican), how did you manage to create those cast of characters? Is there any research you have done to make sure they sound real?

I just wanted to make the cast of characters in IN REAL LIFE look like the people in my life. For me, “write what you know” means writing characters that reflect the world I live in, and I don’t live in a world where everyone is white.

Hannah is Korean, my two best friends growing up were Korean, and my husband is Korean, so I have a whole Korean side of the family I can draw upon for research.

If Hannah and Nick could say one thing to you about the direction of their story, what would they say?

I think both of them would be irritated that everything takes so dang long…but these two have a lot of drama they need to work out. And Nick would definitely have a bone to pick with me about Hannah’s encounter with a certain member of his band.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating Hannah?

When I first started writing Hannah, I didn’t intend for her to be like me at all. But as I worked on this book more and more, Hannah started looking more and more like me. She shares some of my insecurities and issues, and this is not something that happened on purpose.

If Hannah could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your teenage years, what would the title of that book be and what would be the first line?

Oh, man. That would be the most boring book ever. My teen years were not very exciting.

The title would be something like “My So-Called Life” (which I think might be taken, but whatever)

And the first line would be “Another day of summer vacation, another day playing solitaire alone in my bedroom.”

Are you working on any project right now? What we should expect from you in the near future?

I just had a baby a few months ago, so it’s been tough getting back in the swing of writing. I am finishing up my last semester of my MFA program, so I’ve been working on a book for my thesis. I have a few things I’m going to send to my agent soon, so we’ll see if any of those have some staying power. I’d love to have some more books out in the near future!

Thank you so much Jessica for stopping by today and for taking the time to answer all my questions above.



Jessica Love AuthorJessica Love is a high school English teacher in Los Angeles, California, where she met her husband and her two tiny dogs online. She is the co-writer of Push Girl with Chelsie Hill.

Find Jessica

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr| Snapchat | Goodreads


In Real LifeBook Details:

Title: In Real Life
Author: Jessica Love
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 237
Formats: Hardcover 978-1-250-06471-4 / $18.99 eBook 9781466870994 / $9.99

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, Skype all the time, regularly send each other presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem…Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker at school, she decides to finally break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, with her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-a-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend, whom he failed to mention to Hannah for the past three months. And it turns out his relationship status isn’t the only thing he’s been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Book Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | iBooks | GooglePlay | Goodreads | Publisher


“A sweet, honest story that begins as so many of our relationships do: online.” —Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer

“Love expertly creates a timely and entertaining story set on the glamorous Vegas strip, complete with rock and roll, gambling, love, and drama. Readers will relate to the characters in this book and their effortless use of technology to support relationships.” —School Library Journal

“[A] sweet story ideal for contemporary teens whose lives play out in similar computer-and-text-message-related ways.” —Booklist

“The story manages to find its heart when it focuses on Hannah and Nick’s relationship. The warmth and intimacy of their friendship is convincing, and readers sighing over their long history will root for their relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“As Hannah and Nick work out the kinks of having to interact in person, they discover the advantages of taking things to the next level in this sweet, straightforward romance.” —Publishers Weekly

“A witty and entertaining story of friendship and secrets with a sparkly Vegas backdrop. Jessica Love knows love!” —Kristin Rae, author of Wish You Were Italian


What’s up for Grab?

  • one finished copy of IN REAL LIFE by Jessica Love

The Rules:

  • Open to US / Canada addresses only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends March 22, 2016
  • Prize will be sent by the publisher

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore (Author Interview + Playlist + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016

Today I’m super thrilled to welcome author Libby Cudmore to the blog to answer a few questions about her debut novel, The Big Rewind. She also share two fantastic playlist for us to listen too. I hope you guys enjoy the interview and listen to the playlist below. And be sure to check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fabulous giveaways!

Interview with Libby Cudmore

In writing this The Big Rewind, as a writer, did you feel like or did you discover that you were writing pieces of yourself or your personal experience in the book?

There are certainly little pieces from my life–I did live in Brooklyn and work at a temp agency, and a lot of the music is my own. But I found the more I wrote, the less personal it got. Jett became her own character, her life became her own rather than a wish-fulfillment version of mine.

How different was the first version of The Big Rewind from the final version? What changed?

Early drafts were a lot darker, a lot meaner. If you read any of my short work, it’s ugly stuff, but I wanted to write something that was a little more light-hearted, a little more fun. It’s still dark in places, but a lot of that ugliness is gone.

Did you encounter any challenges while writing the book? How did you deal with it?

Writing a book is always challenging, especially when you work full time. I write for a newspaper, so I write all day, then I come home and write some more. It can be exhausting, but this book went easier than any other I’d written. I think it took about eight months to finish a first draft.

How has your background working in record stores influenced your writing?

It surrounded me with music, good and bad, as well as made sure I was constantly talking to people, hearing their stories. Same with journalism. When someone locks themselves away from the world or only surrounds themselves with their exact friend group, you can see it in their writing–it’s static and, often, didactic. But having to be in public, overhear conversations, talk to people, you get a better sense that people’s lives are complicated, and it makes for more sympathetic characters.

Could you tell us about the hipster culture involved in the book?

It’s a loving mocking of hipster culture. I am a bit of a hipster myself, so for as much as I’m making fun of their decopaged tables and record collections, my coffee cup is currently sitting on a decopaged table and I live-tweet from my own vinyl collection every weekend (#RecordSaturday). And while Jett often rolls her eyes at what her hipster friends are doing, she also desperately wants to be part of that scene, to belong.

What kind of research, if any, did you do for The Big Rewind?

I haven’t lived in NYC in about 10 years, so I did a lot of research to make sure I was as up-to-date as I could be. For instance, the Grey’s Papaya in Greenwich Village closed while I was writing the book, so a scene where a character said they were going to go to Grey’s after dancing at a nightclub had to be rewritten so that she could lament the loss instead.

But ultimately I wrote the NYC I remembered, the feeling of living there in my early 20s. That will never change, no matter what buildings go up or come down.

Could you tell us about Jett? How did you mold her character?

I wanted to Jett to be curious and compassionate, but I didn’t want her to be a goody two-shoes. She screws up–a lot–but she learns from her mistakes. To me, there’s nothing worse in fiction than a character who a) Never makes a mistake or b) Makes a ton of them but never learns from them, and all the other characters just forgive her because she’s the super-greatest-most-awesome (aka wish fulfillment for the writer).

Could you confirm Jett’s age in this interview? There were reviews mentioning that there was no confirmation and we’re just curious. 

I’m surprised that so many people are so focused on her age! I didn’t give it much thought when I wrote her. I knew she was younger than 30 but older than 25. So pick a number that works for you and go with it.

If you had a past boyfriend remembrance box, what would it contain and why?

I DO have a Boyfriend Box! I got married last summer and we’re buying a house, so in that process, we’ve been purging a lot of stuff, and with that went a LOT of ex-boyfriend ephemera. But I’ve archived all my old love letters, and I will not part with the plushie James (from Team Rocket) that my high school boyfriend Martin had custom-made for me. I would run into a burning building to rescue it. Martin broke my heart, and although we’ve since made amends, for a long time, that doll meant the entire world to me. I probably stuck white pins in it at one time or another, trying voodoo to win him back.

I also keep all the mix CDs my former loves made me, soundtracks to our time together. Some of those tracks are in the book (but I won’t tell which ones!)

Thanks so much Libby for taking the time to answer all the questions above.


The Big Rewind Sid’s (click here to be redirected to Spotify)

Super-Romantic 80s Mix (click here to be redirected to Spotify)

I’ve been listening to the two playlist above ever since Libby sent us the link. I even added them to my music from Spotify and I’m just thrilled to finally share them to all of you. Though I haven’t get the chance yet to read The Big Rewind, I’m sure will be reading it soon with these songs in mind.


Author Libby Cudmore

Libby Cudmore worked in video stores, bookstores and temp agencies before settling down in Upstate New York to write. THE BIG REWIND is her first novel, and her short stories have appeared in PANK, The Stoneslide Corrective, The Big Click, Big Lucks, the HANZAI JAPAN anthology and others. She makes all her own writing journals and has a halfway-decent record collection.

Find Libby

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


The Big RewindBook Details:

Title: The Big Rewind
Author: Libby Cudmore
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 02, 2016
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback, eBook

Jett Bennett moved to New York to become a music journalist. What she found was a temp gig as a proofreader, but at least she’s fitting in with the artists and musicians in the tragically hip Brooklyn neighborhood she calls home.

But when Jett opens up her mail and finds a mix tape meant for her neighbor, KitKat, a local queen bee renowned for her “enhanced” baked goods and retro videogame collection, everything changes. Jett drops off the cassette and discovers that it’s game over for KitKat: someone bashed her head in with a rolling pin… and left her pot brownies burning in the oven.

KitKat’s boyfriend, Bronco, is M.I.A. Her sister is so desperate that she asks Jett to snoop around. Then there’s that mix tape. Jett didn’t know KitKat well, but she knows music. And a tape full of love songs from someone other than Bronco screams motive—sending Jett and her best friend, Sid, on an epic quest to find KitKat’s killer through record stores, strip joints, vegan bakeries, and basement nightclubs—a journey that resonates with Jett, and her past, in unexpected ways.

Book Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Indigo | Goodreads | iBooks | Kobo


What’s up for Grabs?

  • One hardcover copy of The Big Rewind (US) and
  • One eBook copy of The Big Rewind (International)

The Rules:

  • Open to US and International
  • There will be two (2) lucky winners
  • Winners will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winners will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends March 11, 2016
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post!

celebrating debutantes 2016 collage


Jason Mraz Yes Concert Tour in Manila

Last Thursday night, November 27th is another insanely aMRAZing night with Mr. A-Z, Jason Mraz. It’s Jason’s seventh concert here in Philippines and just like the other concerts of him I’ve seen, it’s really a wondrous and delightful experience.

In this latest concert Jason bring with him the four girl band, Raining Jane, composed of Mai Bloomfield, Becky Gebhardt, Chaska Potter and Mona Tavakoli. I still remember Mona as the woman who drums to Jason’s guitar last year in Araneta which awe the audience that night. She’s really talented and seeing her again with Jason, together with other three more talented musician is really wonderful.

The concert started with Jason Mraz’s as a voice over introducing Raining Jane for the opening act. The girls played a few songs like “From Me To You” and “Opposite of Blue”. In between songs, Mona tell the audience their story – of how they become part of Jason’s Band. I’m surprised to find out that they actually first met Jason when they performed as an opening act in one of Jason’s concert. It’s the start of their friendship and since then they collaborated and make music together. One of the song they made is Jason’s big hit Beautiful Mess.

“When we saw him, we stopped ourselves from fainting….
“After we performed he was there, smiling big and told us, ‘You guys are good. You’re good,’ and we just fainted.” – Mona

After a few songs from Raining Jane, the girls introduced Jason Mraz which makes the big dome boomed with the audience’s excitement and shouting. Obviously everyone is thrilled to see and hear Jason again. His first song that night is “Life is Wonderful”, my favorite song from Jason’s 2005 album, Mr. A-Z. Just imagine how wonderful I feel when I hear him singing that lovely song live again. After the first song he greeted us “Magandang Gabi” (good evening) and then sing his next songs, “Everywhere” and “Sweet Dynamo”.

Jason Mraz Manila Yes Concert Tour

Jason in concert mode is really different from what you will here in his recorded album. I feel like everyone must see him performed live at least once in their life. He is talented and very inspiring. He constantly change his song’s line to get more personal with the audience, like when he say “Life is Mabuhay” in his song ‘Life is Wonderful’. He learned some Tagalog/Filipino words which makes the audience more crazy for him, because who doesn’t want hearing your idol conversing to you in your language?

As always, watching Jason Mraz perform live is more than entertaining. He sing, he dance, and played different musical instruments such as Ukelele, piano, and of course his guitars. He even played guitar backward over his head while bouncing/dancing to his music. In between songs he interact with the audience with full enthusiasm and honesty. He tell stories about his travels, his life experiences, his music, and advocacy. There’s one point during the night where Jason show to the us the screen footage of his trip to Antarctica. The video shows him and Mona singing “Bottom of the Sea”, but more than the music video, beautiful Antarctic glaciers, and cute penguins the video actually promote love for mother earth because in that trip Jason learn the realities of climate change.

“In that trip I’ve learned how the world is dramatically changing, it’s what inspired me to plant trees and be a better farmer, to be really responsible for the energy that we consume.”

He also encourage us to support our local farmers while showing photos of his beautiful garden. Seeing those photos and videos makes it easier to connect with him. Like he is telling us that he is one of us and not some celebrity who is surrounded by fame and glory. He is really inspiring. I’m at awe of his humility and his talent. His songs and performance are emotionally honest, soul touching and full of optimism. They inspired, humble and shake me and that for me is more than just artistry.

I don’t know how he do it, but for a big place like Araneta that is full of people, that night feels like intimate. As if he is actually performing in few selected people. He truly gives a stellar performance that night. When he sings “Mr. Curiosity” with the opera rendition the crowd go silent then dramatically applause and sing their praises for him. I’ve already heard him sing the lady part of “Lucky” live in one of his previous concert and I know he can sing the perfect girl note but that is nothing compare with his opera version of Mr. Curiosity. It’s jaw dropping and show stealing.

Just like last year, Jason is full of life on stage. He looks so happy and contended which is somehow contagious. As he and Raining Jane sings songs from their Yes album, some from Jason’s old albums, and few remix the crowd is having the best night of their lives.

The shows end’s with Jason singing “I Won’t Give Us” during the encore while the whole Araneta Coliseum turned into a night sky filled of stars. It’s a breath taking scene seeing how the crowd automatically raised their phone with lights on as their final salute to Jason and Raining Jane memorable performance.

As Jason and Raining Jane take their final bow, he make a promise to everyone in Araneta that night, “Salamat Po. Kita-kits!” (Thank you. See you all!). I’m looking forward watching his next gig in Manila or maybe his other live performance outside the country.