Welcome to my stop at the blog tour of Once Upon a Player by Agay Llanera. I'm really excited about this book as this is not only Agay's sophomore romance novella, but it's really such an amazing and enjoyable read. Many thanks to Dianne of Oops I Read a Book Again for letting me be part of this exciting (virtual) event.
Don't forget to read through the end of this post because there's a giveaway! :)
So anyway, let's get crackin'!
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Gorgeous college senior Val Fabian is a player in every sense of the word. She's the star spiker of her university's volleyball team, and she never runs out of dates. But it seems that this year, she has finally been bitten by the commitment bug. She sets her sights on an unexpected target--the unassuming yet ultra-cute Jake Clementia. Val is used to getting what she wants, and is sure she'll snag him before graduation. But in the process of winning his heart, she is sideswiped by a surprise move that sends her tumbling from her pedestal.
Agay Llanera is a freelance writer for television and a published writer of children’s books. She is a member of KUTING, a private, non-stock, non-profit organization, which aims to be the Philippines’ foremost writers’ organization for children.
Her first romance novella, Vintage Love is available on e-bookstores (Amazon, Kobo, Buqo, Smashwords).
Read the book excerpt and my review after the jump!
I first read Agay's debut #romanceclass novella and I liked the authenticity of her characters in terms of voice, motivations, and decisions. That's why when a blog tour of her latest work was announced, I jumped at the chance to join. Once Upon a Player did not disappoint. If anything else, Agay's writing chops have "leveled up" even more as evidenced in the fluid narrative and loveable characters.
Speaking of characters, I loved Val Fabian, the story's protagonist. The title of the book alone was a dead giveaway on what kind of heroine Val was, but instead of hating her guts, I became a fan! I haven't read a lot of anti-heroines in other stories and Val may seem to be on the "tame" side of being a bitch. Nonetheless, her background and personal motivations made me understand the reason behind her reputation and why she did that nasty stuff to a loved one. A lot of us have experienced that moment where we want to keep the good things to ourselves because we need that breather from this so called thing called life. What I loved about Agay's writing was how she expertly depicted Val's eureka moment that turned things around for her. That scene was the golden moment for me (so much feels for her mom, too!).
Jake Clementia was mentioned in the book's synopsis but he didn't figure into the story until Val's character exposition started rolling. I wish there was more to Jake other than what was mentioned by Val's best friend, Dessa. It would have been interesting to see the interaction between him and Val at the beginning.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the chemistry between Val and EJ, although the romance aspect between the two of them could have been played up a bit more for the kilig factor. EJ initially seemed like a very minor character that only started to play a significant part in the middle of the story. However, the ending was pretty satisfying and well told. I liked the story's "universe" that I hope Agay would think of writing the stories of the other girls in the volleyball team. It would definitely make for another interesting read.
And as promised, join the giveaway for this tour!