Updated: May 22
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So what happens when you put 6 Filipino American authors together?
You get Pasko Na, My Love - A Holiday Romance Anthology by Elle Cruz, Maan Gabriel, Maida Malby, Mia Hopkins, Sarah Smith, and Tif Marcelo.
Over the Christmas break, I decided to read Pasko Na, My Love. I don't usually read anthologies, but I absolutely love holiday stories so this was the perfect book during a very busy Christmas week.
The book follows the love story of different members of the Moore family as they get together to celebrate Lola Naty's 100th birthday. Six different stories intertwined by the love for family and love for Lola Naty.
I was happy with the variety of love stories and each story was distinct - ranging from enemies to lovers, brother’s best friend, instant love, forbidden romance, secret romance and second chance romance. Some of the stories are told in dual POV.
Here's a lil description for each story ...
Last Minute by Sarah Smith. Ruby is in charge of catering her grandmother's 100th birthday party. She feels a lot of pressure on her which only gets worse when her head chef bails at the last minute. The replacement turns out to be Mason, someone that Ruby has been carrying a grudge against since culinary school. This was cute. 🥰
Volcanic Love by Elle Cruz. Sophie is a thirty-year-old with a wildly successful sex podcast. By the way, I was surprised by how supportive some of her Filipino relatives were of her professional activity- kudos to her! Anyways, she has been secretly in love with Travis, her older brother’s best friend for years and Lola Naty's birthday is the perfect opportunity for them to reconnect.
The Deal by Tif Marcelo. Oliver wasn't on his grandmother's guest list for her 100th birthday because the slacker completely forgot to RSVP!! Ugh, how annoying, right? Norah is the event planner and she wants the party to go well and for everyone to be contented. But that's not counting on Oliver who tries to sneak in. This was probably my least favorite one. 💔
Illicit by Mia Hopkins. Eden and priest Nick reunite in this short story. I was surprised to read this from a Filipino author, but I'm told Mia Hopkins likes to write about sexy characters who like to get down and dirty. With that said, after my initial shock, I thought that there could have been some more spice between Eden and Nick.
So It's You by Maida Malby. Vida is Lola's granddaughter and has been her right hand person for decades. Lola's physician Rafa and Vida have fallen in love but she insists on keeping their relationship a secret. He wants everyone in the family to know about their love but it doesn't help that he is ten years younger than Vida. What will the family think?
My Only Love by Maan Gabriel. Drew and Angelica were madly in love with each other but sadly broke up years ago while in law school. Years later, he’s on his way to the White House and she's fighting for women's rights. Everything is going well in their professional life, but something is clearly missing in their personal life. So, for his grandmother's 100th birthday, Drew wants them to pretend they are together to please his family. It's undeniable that the chemistry between them sizzles. Ahhh, second chances. ❤️
Despite the fact that it was set in Northern California, the Filipino heritage atmosphere was very much present. I felt nostalgia but at the same time a feeling of comfort enveloped me as I was reading this. Kinda felt like a warm hug. I like all the stories but the one by Mia Hopkins (Illicit) made my eyes go 😳😳 but I also laughed at the same time. Sadly, I didn't connect much with The Deal. But without a doubt, my absolute fave was by Maan Gabriel (My Only Love). Cute ending and I love second chances 🥰
Perhaps, the only thing I disliked about this series was how short the stories were - I just wanted them to keep going!
⭐: 3.5 / 5
What's the last book you read?
Book Club Questions:
Do you like reading anthology books?
Do you like holiday stories? What is your favorite holiday story?
Would you have given the book a different title? If yes, what would your title be?
What did you think of the writing style of each author?
Were there any quotes (or passages) that stood out to you? Why?
What did you like most about the book? What did you like the least?
How did the book make you feel? What emotions did it evoke?
Are there any books that you would compare this book to?
Have you read any other books by the authors?
What did you learn from this book?
Would you recommend the book to a friend?
Was the book satisfying to read? Why or why not?
Which story did you like best? Least?
Which character did you most relate to and why?
Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone you know?
Which character would you most like to meet in real life?
Were you rooting for the couples to get together all along? Why or why not?
What songs did you think of while reading this book?