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Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance and young adult novellas. She has a bachelor's degree in Communication and a master's degree in Development Communication, put to good use in her work as trainer and content management consultant. Mina lives in Metro Manila, Philippines, with her husband and daughter.
She finds inspiration in the lives and experiences of other people, so the answer to "Is this story based on you?" is always, always "No."
Janus Vielle Aragones
on Sep. 08, 2012 :
Fairy Tale Fail introduces readers to Ellie. A girl in her twenties who believes life is like a fairy tale, and she falls in love with the idea of a happily ever after – oh girl, are you in for a huge reality check!
Fairy Tale Fail kind of reminds me of the movie, Legally Blonde. You know, the movie where this blonde girl gets dumped by her boyfriend, and she goes into law school where the guy is at and tries to prove herself so that he’d take her back. But in the end the guy’s a douche and she realizes she doesn’t want the guy anymore – something like that.
I think (and correct me if I’m wrong) that this book is the shortest one I’ve read from Mina Esguerra. I guess that’s one reason I find myself speechless over reading this book – uh, dumbstruck (?) might be more appropriate (since I’m typing all this). It doesn’t have the kind of foundation or character development like the other books have.
Ellie is a good character, but she’s not as memorable as the rest of the protagonists from the author’s other books. Same goes with the leading man, Lucas is okay. But I didn’t get to know him that much so I can’t really say I like him. But if I had to choose between him and Don, I’d say Lucas all the way. I’ve been with someone like Don, and I hated the way I was told I’m not ready for this and that because I’m not “dedicated” enough to the job at hand. Dude, seriously, lay off! Been there, done that! Trust me, they always think they know better on how you should live your life.
What stood out for me while reading this is the way Ellie portrayed a strong kind of woman. She never really needed to change in the first place just so she could find true love. I think that’s one important matter that women should come to realize.
So yeah, it was good, just too short. But I say, “Yay!” to women empowerment. :)
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Aug. 14, 2011 :
Faily Tale Fail is my third book for Mina Esguerra, and so far, in all fairness to her, she never fails to amuse me with her stories. Just like the two other books by Mina Esguerra that I've read, this novella's plot is cute, easy to read and has the "kilig" moments that I can easily relate to.
Generally, the story is not something that is so unique and different for me because I've read some stories with similar plot. What I like most about this book are the characters and...moreFaily Tale Fail is my third book for Mina Esguerra, and so far, in all fairness to her, she never fails to amuse me with her stories. Just like the two other books by Mina Esguerra that I've read, this novella's plot is cute, easy to read and has the "kilig" moments that I can easily relate to.
Generally, the story is not something that is so unique and different for me because I've read some stories with similar plot. What I like most about this book are the characters and the setting. I always love reading novels with stories that remind me of some feelings and situations I had before or with characters that I can relate to myself or remind me of someone I know. Apparently, Don and Lucas reminds me of two guys I used to like before so I really cant help but smile the whole time I was reading this book hahaha!
Reading is my past time so I read books for pleasure and entertainment purposes, and a good book for me, is usually something that would make me smile and think happy thoughts all through out the time that Im reading it and of course, as I've mentioned earlier, the story should be something that I can easily relate to in one way or another.
Like Ellie, I am free-spirited, loves travelling and admittedly a hopeless romantic. If I would have a Prince Charming of my own, I would like to him to be Mr. Perfect, with stable job, hardworking,gentleman, no vices and all that, just like Don. I would like to meet him as an "aloof and arrogant guy who gets over himself and reveals his other side – sensitive, caring and responsible" but I would like him also to be someone who shares the same principles and interest with me and supportive of my passion. Sometimes, Mr. Perfect is not necessarily Mr. Right and if you insist that the fairy tale that you've designed is something that involves Mr. Perfect and Mr. Right as the same person,then things would definitely turn out differently from happily ever after.
This is the reason why Ellie's first relationship did not end up well. She keeps on insisting that Mr. Perfect is the right man for her and she holds on to her fantasy that their break-up is part of the test so she can't move on and be happy.
Having not able to experience the break-up that Ellie had, I know I dont have the right to talk about getting over and moving on but my feminist side of always makes me want to hit people like Ellie in the head for holding on to undeserving guys like Don. And in a fairy tale, there is always this knight in shining armour so here comes Lucas, the cool and fun-to-be-with and definitely the better guy, but she could not accept because he is not the good guy she thought she want. So when she finally realize that Don is not the right one for her I kind of felt so relieved and happy that she ended up with the right guy
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Jan. 10, 2011 :
What sets Fairy Tale Fail apart from the other Filipino romances that I've read is that it's highly believable. Mina Esguerra's characters are real -- they're your best friends, your office crush. Her main character in particular, for all her weaknesses and insecurities, has a familiar story. Best of all, I liked how the romance between the main characters was developed, a romance that grew out of genuine friendship (and between two people who were their own persons).
Pinoy readers looking for a fun chick fic shouldn't pass this up. Same goes to foreign readers who aren't afraid to explore a new contemporary setting for their romances. I'll definitely be looking forward to more of Mina Esguerra's work.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Nov. 23, 2010 :
Originally posted here.
I always say that in order for me to like a book, I have to be able to relate to it somehow. No worries on that department when it comes to this one because I could TOTALLY relate to Ellie. Twenty-something Filipina working in a corporate job but really doesn’t know what her career path is? That could be me! Ellie’s thing is traveling and making plans for hypothetical trips abroad. While I do love to travel, I don’t get to do it that often so I guess it would be better to say that my thing is reading and blogging about books. I’ve never experienced an office romance like Ellie did but the breaking up with a boyfriend-who-was-a-friend-before-you-became-a-couple? Been there, done that. Ellie also has several circles of friends, from her high school barkada to her office mates and I’m like that as well. Each set of friends has a different personality and I like to think that each group brings out a different side of me. Ellie is really believable as a character – she’s a representation of me, my friends and every young Pinay out there looking for her own fairy tale.
I keep my reviews spoiler-free so I don’t want to mention any names but I want a guy like the male protagonist! Seriously.♥ I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ellie and her attempts to get her life back in order after the breakup. Fairy Tale Fail is a light and fun contemporary romance that gives a glimpse of middle class life in the Philippines. If only the paperback was as cheap as the e-book edition, I’d buy lots of copies and give them as Christmas gifts to my girlfriends. Unfortunately, the paperback is more expensive at P350. The good news is the e-book is available both in Smashwords and Amazon so for all international readers out there, you could order this anytime you want. If you want a peek at what our lives are usually like (and by us I mean young professionals in the Philippines), then go and read this book! At $0.99, it’s cheaper than your average Starbucks coffee. It’s really short too, more like a novella than a novel. I’m interested to see how readers outside the Philippines will react to this one. One minor quibble though, I wish Mina included footnotes to define some of the Filipino words used in the book like kuya, barkada and bulalo so that foreigners will be able to understand them. That said, I’d like to thank Mina for coming up with a well-written Filipino chick lit novel. :) I look forward to reading her other book, My Imaginary Ex and I hope she comes up with a thicker novel next time.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Aug. 10, 2010 :
Restless Ellie is always looking for excitement and her own fairy tale. Not surprising then that her hobby is researching and planning travel/trips abroad.
I enjoyed this novella. It’s not a “girly” romance but it is an easy read. While there were times I would’ve liked to have shaken Ellie, her blinkered outlook added to the characterisation. Set in Manila, the story also gives a glimpse into another culture. I learned a few Filipino terms like “barkada” and “kuya” that I hadn’t come across before.
Recommended for anyone looking for a quick, entertaining read.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 27, 2010 :
*There may be spoilers in this review*
I enjoyed this short novel/novella - cute chick lit set in the Philippines. I really enjoyed Ellie's voice, and Lucas was adorable. I rooted for them to get together, and I'm so glad that Ellie didn't go back to Don. He may have been a "good guy," but he was a "bad boyfriend."
I'm not totally sure I understood the sprinkling of Tagalog words throughout the story, but that didn't detract from my overall understanding. I was hoping for an author's note or glossary at the end to define these words, but I had to settle for Google ;) Still, I enjoyed learning new words, and I think they added to the feel of the book.
I wanted to see more of the development of Ellie and Lucas's friendship. What we did get to see was really sweet, and I liked it a lot, but I was left wanting to see more. I love stories in which the "true loves" start out as just friends and the friendship just grows and changes into something more, so this story was just the kind of story I like (could be why I love the Anne of Green Gables books so much - I love to watch the friendship between Anne and Gilbert grow into more).
I will definitely be on the lookout for more by this author.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)