Sunday, April 12, 2015


Author: Mina V. Esguerra (Website | Twitter
Publisher: Bright Girl Books
Publication Date: March 13, 2015


Haley Reese is going back home to Houston and she's dreading this trip. She volunteers as a mentor to young musicians at an annual festival, and the longer she's been doing it, the more she feels like a fraud. It's been years since the web videos that made her sort-of famous first came out, and she hasn't done anything else to pursue the career in music she's always wanted. Things start looking up when she shares a plane ride with Oliver Cabrera, music prodigy, rock star, and the reason why she picked up an instrument in the first place.

Oliver Cabrera hasn't called any place "home" since he started touring professionally in his teens, but Houston is as close to it as any. He's also nearly broke, his career just about over. When he gets the invitation to mentor at the Breathe Music Festival again, he decides, what the hell, he should finally show up. He meets Haley, Hot Piano Girl herself, and finds her own fear of failure might be easier to fix than his own.

Playing Autumn was first released in 2013 in the Rock Gods of Romance ebook anthology. This is a revised, expanded, and steamier edition.

Purchase links: Amazon | PH Residents can sign-up here to order a paperback copy!

The Bookish Diaries Book Tours recently organized a Philippine Blog Tour for Mina V. Esguerra’s Playing Autumn. I didn’t sign-up for a review post at that time because I already know that I’m going to be so busy during the scheduled tour dates. So, I opted for an excerpt and giveaway post only. Where you able to check my blog post of it back in March 26th? Good for you if you did! Anyways, since I’m the other half of TBDBT, I decided to read and review Playing Autumn too once I have the free time to do so. Thus, here I am and will be sharing to you my thoughts about this book.

Playing Autumn is the first book I’ve read written by Mina V.  Esguerra. This is quite the perfect book to read in a hot summer day and you would just want to chill out. I had fun reading it and the story and characters really aided me to have a very relaxing day. I like the premise of the story and that the main characters (Haley and Oliver) are quite different from each other but their passion for music is what binds them together. Through music, we witness Haley and Oliver getting to know each other and in which it eventually led to them falling in love.

Haley’s and Oliver’s personalities and actions could’ve used a little more tweaking here and there for it to pop more. They were quite lacking with that spark, spunk, x-factor that I’m looking for in characters. Though, I’m very sure that Haley will really come across as a very relatable character since she’s a fangirl and today’s generation seems to be like a pool of fangirls and fanboys.

Myself included.                                                                  

I go nuts over books, authors, Hollywood celebrities and various artists. I also do whatever fangirls do – talk about the things that I love over Twitter, Facebook or any of my social media accounts, join some forums, collect memorabilias and always being on the loop for the latest and juiciest news about these stars. I haven’t experienced stalking (only cyber stalking) and camping out for an artist like the Trey girls but I’m sure a lot of people have done those things already. Haley’s current situation and luck will be a highly coveted one by any fangirl out there. Seriously, it’s like one in a million chance to personally meet and spend an entire weekend with the artist who you’ve been particularly fangirling for several years already! Haley’s so lucky! But at least thru this book we can escape for the time being and be on Haley’s shoes. That’s exciting, right?

There were moments when it felt like the romance part of the story is separated from everything else. I think that’s what Mina would like for her readers to feel since there’s also this dilemma with Haley’s character into feeling that. I really love that the romance between Haley and Oliver didn’t overpower the story because the story itself was interesting already. Though, I would’ve liked it better if the details about the festival were given more attention to in the book. In that way it would feel very realistic to the readers. Here, we were just given scenes wherein Haley and Oliver are mentoring their assigned students and some scenes with their students performing. What about the others? What are the other things that take place during this festival? Haley and Oliver keep on sneaking out and missing some parts of the festival too. I know that it’s used to move the plot along and to use those moments to insert more things for them to do, people to interact with and to give range to the book since the story only takes place over the weekend but yeah, I would’ve liked it more if the festival was given more depth and foundation.

But I assure you, this book definitely ended with a big production and it’s something that you wouldn’t really forget. You’ll forever remember it as to how Playing Autumn ended. I was so surprised and in awe with Oliver’s gesture towards Haley. I loved everything about that scene. I loved it. A lot.

Oh joy, another thing that I love about this book is that it exposed the other side or the inner workings of the music industry wherein it showcased how toxic it can get. An industry somewhat filled with lies and people who will do everything for the sake of their business to flourish. Yes, this is fiction but it also happens in real life. Publicity stunts, check mark. It happens and I’m very familiar with that. I’ve been a fangirl for a very long time now and I’ve learned to be a very keen observer, to question every action made by the artists and to never jump the train and immediately buy the BS being fed to the general public. My goodness, this is hitting so close to my thoughts about the things that’s been happening recently. *coughs* One Direction *coughs* and I’m going to zip my mouth about that now because I’m sure it’ll consume this blog post if I divulge my thoughts about them.

Playing Autumn certainly isn’t the last time you’ll be seeing something written by Mina Esguerra here on my blog because I’ll totally be hunting down her other books now that I’ve had a taste and feel of how she is as an author. I’m also fully supporting her since she’s a Filipina and Filipina rocks. I recommend this book: 1) to aspiring artists out there who needs some inspiring words and 2) to fangirls because reading Playing Autumn will open your mind and eyes on things you might not be aware of.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading this book too!

3.75 stars

Oh how I wish that I live in Manila and would be able to attend her event over Powerbooks. But sadly, I live in Narnia. Anyways, I’ll just leave you with this post by Powerbooks.

#PBevents Join blogger and author Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) for the launch of her books “The Harder We Fall”, "Never Just Friends", and "Welcome to Envy Park" on April 25, 2015, 3 p.m., at Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4.

Click on the link for more details:

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