Quick Reviews: Trese by Budjette Tan | Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra | Unseen Moon by Eliza Victoria

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*Doing this post as a remedy to my ever-growing review backlog.

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Murder on Balete Drive (Trese #1)

by Budjette TanTrese #1

Summary from Goodreads:

When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don’t you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly-lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions.

When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.

Trese: Murder On Balete Drive contains the following:
Case 1: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street
Case 2: Rules of the Race
Case 3: The Tragic Case of Dr. Burgos
Case 4: Our Secret Constellation

My Rating:  4/5 stars.

My Thoughts:

My first encounter with Alexandra Trese was when I read Manila Noir and even though I am not a die-hard fan of graphic novels, I got interested enough to read this book. I requested a friend to get me a signed copy during the Komikon and when I finally decided to read after several months, I only finished it in one sitting. What I loved about this book was how it was so distinctly Filipino. I loved the portrayals of supernatural beings such as the tikbalang and the white lady. I also loved the mysteries that comprised each story. I am not really a visual reader because I am more drawn to the text rather than the drawings but when I did give attention to the illustrations in this book, I liked them as well. I am not so keen on reading other graphic novels in the future but I sure would love to read the succeeding books in this series because I have grown fond of Alexandra Trese.

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Wedding Night StandWedding Night Stand

by Mina V. Esguerra

Summary from Goodreads:

Andrea Crisostomo is no longer your Ms. Right Now, thank you very much. She’s had enough of guys who like her “free spirit” but then break up with her before things get serious. One guy in particular screwed her over so much that she now hates weddings, but she has to suck it up to attend her sister Julie’s big day.

Damon Esquibel enjoys the slow and steady chase, and it looks like his two-year pursuit of Geraldine is about to pay off. He’s at his friend Anton’s destination wedding only because of her. But then he meets the sister of the bride, who doesn’t seem to want to be there, and it’s enough to question his plans for the evening – and the rest of the weekend.

My Rating: 2/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Mina V. Esguerra is one of my favorite Filipino authors when it comes to contemporary novellas (I especially loved Love Your Frenemies, Welcome To Envy Park, and the Scambitious series) but her recent work, Wedding Night Stand, failed to wow me. Maybe because it was so short and I didn’t get enough time to become invested in the characters.  The thing is, some of Ms. Esguerra’s novellas were as short as this one but they still made me root for or rant against the characters. In this book, however, Andrea felt like an angsty, confused girl while Damon, well, he seemed creepy to me. I would have loved to read more back story. The writing’s still good, as always, only that I think that this book isn’t for me.

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Unseen MoonPrint

by Eliza Victoria

Summary from Goodreads:

Ghosts in a mansion. A home invasion. A group of friends haunted by a murder. An unlikely friendship, a dead body in an abandoned house. A girl falling to her death, and another falling into the viewless darkness.

Unseen Moon collects five suspenseful stories by award-winning author Eliza Victoria.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I got a digital copy of this anthology which contains only 4 stories instead of 5 which is the case with the print copy. I wanted to wait until I have the print copy but I was in the mood for some quick reads so I decided to just go ahead and read this. It has been a while since I last read an Eliza Victoria, anyway. Unlike A Bottle of Storm Clouds, I found the stories contained in Unseen Moon more eerie and haunting, and even though I am not easily scared of ghost stories, The Ghosts of Sinagtala actually gave me goosebumps. Needle Rain and Summer Evening are equally disturbing and I sometimes could not wrap my head around the criminal inclinations of the young characters. December, on the other hand, reminds me of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. I am looking forward to reading The Viewless Dark, which is the last story which was omitted in the digital copy. Truly, Eliza Victoria writes with sharp precision and I will always remain a fan of her crazy and sometimes scary imagination.

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