I think I have just found the first Filipina author whose book I immensely loved, and for that, she is rapidly becoming one of my favorites as well.
Title: Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra
Release Date: January 14th 2012
Published by: Bright Girl Books
Source: Kindle lending (Thanks, Tina!)
College sophomore Hannah Maquiling doesn't know why everyone tells her their love problems. She's never even had a boyfriend, but that doesn't stop people from spilling their guts to her, and asking for advice. So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise when the cutest guy in school tells her that she's going to have to take on this responsibility -- but for all humanity.
The Goddess of Love has gone AWOL. It's a problem, because her job is to keep in check this world's obsession with love (and lack of it). The God of the Sun, for now an impossibly handsome senior at an exclusive college just outside of Metro Manila, thinks Hannah has what it takes to (temporarily) do the job.
While she's learning to do this goddess thing, she practices on the love troubles of shy Kathy, who's got a secret admirer on campus. Hannah's mission, should she choose to accept it, is to make sure that he's not a creepy stalker and they find their happily ever after -- or at least something that'll last until next semester. (As if she could refuse! The Sun God asked so nicely. And he's so, well, hot.)
Mina's YA debut novel, Interim Goddess of Love, tells the story of Hannah, a college sophomore who always happens to lend an ear for anyone and everyone's love woes. She might not have a special someone just yet, but that doesn't stop her from giving advices, an encouraging word or two, so she wasn't really surprised when the Sun God, who happens to be a handsome senior studying at the same school, picks her to be the Goddess of Love, temporarily. Hannah's first assignment lands Kathy Martin on her desk, the shy sophomore who wishes she wasn't invisible to everyone else. Kathy has a secret admirer, and Hannah plans to uncover his identity and bring him and Kathy together with her newfound powers. But as always when it comes to love, nothing is ever easy.
I've always loved smart, witty heroines and Hannah is just that. She's got a good head on her shoulders that it isn't a wonder why people are attracted to her. She always seem to know the right things to say to people, but she doesn't sound like someone who is trying too hard to be too smart for her age. You get to feel what it's like to be like her, eighteen, single, trying to navigate the world of relationships and love even when she has no clue just what it is she needs to do. Hannah's voice is very likable, easy to connect with and relate to. She's got a very pleasant personality, she's very nice and has this quiet charm that you wouldn't be able to resist yourself and just cheer for whatever it is she does, relationship wise or not.
Interim Goddess of Love has no shortage when it comes to hot boys. There's Quin, the rich, popular jock who also happens to be The Sun God. He takes his job seriously, and his stoic, oftentimes serious demeanor just adds to the mysterious vibe he projects and it makes him very likable. And then there's Diego, who I took a particular liking to. I like my boys brooding and temperamental, but Diego, for all his reckless, violent and frightening bursts of anger, has a surprisingly nice side to him. Lastly, there's Robbie. If he was part of a boy band, and Quin is the leader, Robbie is the 'cute one', without the divine powers but definitely worth a look as well.
What particularly endeared this story to me was the fact that I was given a glimpse in a story mixed with elements from Philippine mythology. I appreciated our rich culture just a little bit more with the touch of Gods and Goddesses in this book, presented in a more modern form. Mina dropped quite a few hints that will tempt the readers to know more about who they are, and what it's really like being a God and Goddess before and in the modern times. I rediscovered my love for mythology upon meeting the Sun God, the God of the Sea and the Moon Goddess, all of which were brought to life in and presented in a different light.
There's much to be discussed about love in this book, and I loved that even though I am rooting for Kathy and her secret admirer, I find myself wanting to let Hannah have her own happy ending as well. It doesn't seem fair if the Goddess of Love's love life is severely lacking, right? Those fleeting flashbacks of previous lives are very intriguing, but mostly I just want to see Hannah experience some happiness of her own. Hopefully in the next book she does! I am still rooting for her and Quin. :)
Mina Esguerra's awfully sweet, cute and engaging novel, Interim Goddess of Love just made me fell in love with her writing. I found myself wanting and asking for more even when I've reached the last page. This first book in the series will definitely get you hooked! Read the book now!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Oh, Quin! I can't decide if I like you or Diego more!
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
I really want a hard copy of this book!