Promdi Heart (Hometown Love Stories) by Georgette S. Gonzales, Agay Llanera, Chris Mariano, C. P. Santi, Jay E. Tria and Ines Bautista-Yao
Publication Date: March 29, 2017
Purchase here: Amazon
Synopsis: Take a quick tour of the Philippines with six hometown love stories.
Visit Jimenez, Misamis Occidental where a priest might just set you up with a man whose dimples are to die for. Visit Silay, Negros Occidental and get on a horse alongside hunky, hazel-eyed Negrense royalty. Visit Kalibo, Aklan and find yourself in the arms of a cute drummer boy who just happens to be your kuya’s BFF. Visit Hagonoy, Bulacan and spend All Saint’s Day next to a distracting boy who promises to write you a song. Visit Vigan, Ilocos Sur and meet the hot man you used to bully when he was a shy, chubby boy. Visit Pundaquit, Zambales and find love in a bronzed fisherman whose eyes hold depths you’ll want to explore.
Thank you to the authors for my e-arc of Promdi Heart. I really appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book early!
Promdi Heart is a cute anthology with short stories from six different authors. There were lots of romantic moments I enjoyed. However, there were a few issues I had with a few of the stories, which is why I have a hard time deciding where between 3 and 4 stars my rating lands. I think the most accurate rating is 3.5 stars but I do think my favorite stories of the anthology were worth a very strong 4 stars. I would definitely recommend this anthology, especially if you love #romanceclass, but I would warn you that the word crazy and lunatic are used in an ableist way in two of the stories and that in one of the stories a bully falls in love with her victim, and though it’s resolved it’s still something potential readers should be aware of. I love how food and culture were woven into all of the stories, and it even made me a little hungry at times, so I think people will really appreciate that.
Only the Beginning by C. P. Santi
Only the Beginning is a cute and romantic short story. I thought it was lovely to see Andi and Martin get to know each other. We see their friendship and relationship grow through their regular meetings and through texts, which was a nice way to show time passing. The story is a typical enemies-to-friends-to-lovers story that I know many will appreciate. I enjoyed that we got to see so much about the city of Jimenez, its culture, and rich food. There were a lot of Filipino expressions and names I did not know, but that made me that much more eager to want to look it up and find out. Also, all the talk about donuts gave me a craving. I thought the whole part with “choose your own happiness” part could have been done differently since not everyone can choose their happiness due to mental illness and whatnot. I understand what the author wanted to say but it could have been expressed differently.
Letters About a Boy by Ines Bautista-Yao
I liked how Letters About a Boy was a story told in a sequence of letters throughout many years. Slowly through the letters, we get to know Tin-Tin and Nicolas and how their relationship evolves. At times, the letters felt a bit too one-sided for real life, but it worked well in this story. In this story, there was some electric moments between Tin-Tin and Nicolas, as well as some cliché scenes that I know romance lovers will squeal over. However, I thought the ending felt too rushed and that one or two extra letters between the second to last two would have made it feel more natural in the grand scheme of things. I wanted Nicolas to woo Tin-Tin a bit more before they got their happily ever after because she really deserved it. Other than that, the ending was adorable and funny and fit the story perfectly.
Drummer Boy by Chris Mariano
Drummer Boy together with One Certain Day were my favorite stories in the anthology. Drummer Boy was filled with culture and music that will make any reader fall in love. The story is sexy, cute and I loved how the characters already had a backstory, which is a lot better when you’re thrown into a short story since you don’t need to spend unnecessary time on the “getting to know each other” part of the story. The relationship had real buildup and the trope younger sister falls in love with big brother’s best friend is strong in this one. This trope is one of my favorite ones. There are a lot of moments where you will swoon over the couple and love how romantic their entire story is. I love how the characters in this ship are really there for each other through everything, which is damn lovely.
One Certain Day by Jay E. Tria
One Certain Day is a story that is centered on one holiday, All Saint’s Day, every year and the interaction that happens between Jose and Alice. In the story, there is banter and a growing friendship between the two. It becomes very clear that despite them not meeting each other often, they speak regularly and have a real connection. I love how All Saint’s Day and the sense of family was such a big part of the story. I love books with a focus on family and this short story really delivers in a genuine way. The attraction between the characters is subtle and adorable, to be honest. I love how the ending was not a typical “and they lived happily ever after” but more bittersweet and realistic, making you wish for more.
Once Upon a Bully by Georgette S. Gonzales
Once Upon a Bully is the story about Bridgette and Miguel. Bridgette used to bully Miguel in elementary school before his parents died and he moved out of town. Later in life after many years they are both back in town and neighbors at that as well. I’ll admit, the idea of a romance between a bully and the one who was bullied honestly set me off right away. It’s not something that should be taken lightly and I hate it felt that way at times in this story. Miguel brushed the entire thing off because he was bullied by a girl and they were just kids, which didn’t sit right with me. However, Bridgette did apologize to Miguel and they were very sweet together, with a chemistry between them that is very apparent, which is why I still found the story enjoyable. The word crazy was used in an ableist way twice in the short story so be aware of that.
Back to the Stars by Agay Llanera
Back to the Stars is an enchanting short story and had the most amazing vibes. I loved that the story mostly took place by the ocean and that open starry nights played a large role in this couple’s story. This story has everything I love about romance. Wency was Leah’s closest childhood friend, they always spent summers together growing up, and he has been in love with her for years when she finally comes back to Pundaquit. This story has a lot of lovely themes that I enjoyed. It’s about growing up, what it means to change and still hold on to the things that matter. This couple is really swoon-worthy, I love Wency and think he’s probably my favorite love interest from the entire anthology. He was that amazing. The one alarming part of the short story was when Leah called her boss Luna, as in lunatic, which is ableist.