Saturday, February 25, 2017

Book Review: Simply Joei by Clare Elisabeth Marquez + Q&A with the Author + My Dream Cast

Title: Simply Joei
Author: Clare Elisabeth Marquez
Release Date: January 2017

About the Book:

Pay -up Time! Or Is it?

One never gives up on true love. So Jake didn't.

Holding on to the one that shouldn't have gotten away, gorgeous Jake Calleja - engineer, entrepreneur and all-around hunk of a man - brings up old debt to bring in possibilities of future love with the beautiful and elusive Josephine Telencio. The two had a brief but unforgettable "history" in college, a past that Jake would seek to bring back in order to bring his "Joei" back in his life. To face their "unfinished past" entails a make-believe relationship for the sake of an ailing matriarch, an unforgettable country drive into the heart of the storm, a family drama of the queen mother and the wicked sisters, the inevitable supermodel ex, and lots of sparks in between.

A story of second chances and risking it all for a journey to a lifetime love - Jake and Josephine will take you to laughs and tears, to the highs and lows, to knowing when to hold on ... or to let go.

Are things better left in the past? Or will true love prevail in the future?


This book should have a warning on the cover. It is filled with so much kilig and sweetness that might have gave me diabetes. I mean who need chocolates when you have this book and Jake Calleja. I am never much of a hopeless romantic but this book changed me. There is just something about this book that makes me gush over it like a fangirl seeing her favorite boy group. Maybe it is because Jake Callejo is so damn perfect and Josephine is a very relate-able character.

I actually have a funny story behind this book. I'm not going to lie I almost did not buy this book. I was a bit hesitant in reading this because the synopsis seems like it was not up in my ally but I am a sucker for books with road trips on them so I decided to give it a go and it was one of the best decision I have ever made. When I read this book, I just came home from the mall and it was already past midnight and I couldn't sleep so I decided to read this book and thought that maybe it could help me fall asleep. Boy was I wrong as soon as I read the first chapter where Jake save Joei in the library I could not put this book down. I had to finish it before going to bed but even when I was done I still fangirl over it before exhaustion hit me.

The storyline is very entertaining. I like how it deals with second chances and it shows that not all relationships are perfect and that communication is vital in a healthy relationship. In the case of Joei and Jacob, they have a problem communicating with one another because Joei is a girl that doesn't like confrontation and she was not sure of herself. She kept doubting Jake's interest in her. She thinks that she is not good enough for him. Plus Gretchen and Jake's sisters are not helping with her insecurities but rather adds problems to her and Jake's relationship. But in the end, Joei matures and stood up for what she wants, which is Jake. Meanwhile Jake is someone who is bossy but sweet at the same time. In my opinion, he is the bearable kind of alpha male. He is like the perfect guy; smart, handsome, and has an attractive personality. Then we have their two crazy friends Kate and Francis. Kate is very outspoken and she is very protective of her friend, Joie. While Francis is a very dependable guy. He is always there to comfort Joei during her stay with Jake's family. And the sexual tension between Kate and Francis is very evident. I cannot wait to read their story soon. And despite the different personalities of the characters the author made it work. I love their dynamics and how they interact with one another.

I also love the kinda cinderella feels of this book with Joei being like Cinderella and with Jake's sisters and ex-girlfriend being Cinderella's mean step sisters. But it is different with Cinderella because Joei did not transform on the outside but rather she transformed on the inside. I love how the author did not make Joei transformed aesthetically but she made Joei changed to be more sure of her self and more confident. And I love that because it means that Jake's love for her is not because of her looks but more in her personality and character. I also understand why Jake's sister acted the way they acted towards Joei so I can't be mad at them. And like them I also want what is best for my siblings that is why I can get kinda protective. I guess I an not alone with this, a lot of this kind of scenario is prevalent especially in Filipino families. Furthermore, I highly recommend this book to everyone. I have read this four times already and I am not close to being sick with it. It is just a good feel book and it is nice easy read. This book will definitely make you believe in love and be not afraid of taking second chances.

Kilig Level: 100/10

Swoon Count:

My favorite parts

- Truth or Dare part because wiping all the sodden, sopping, dripping, drenched parts of Jake sounds like a dream.

- Chapter 5: Inntimate. If you've read the book you know what I am talking about. Plus, Jake and his furious, hungry, aching mouth your beautiful, luscious lips *Sigh*

- The talk between Mamang and Joei

- Kate and Francis meeting for the first time

My dream cast
Joei - Maine Mendoza or Julie San Jose

Jake - Paulo Avelino

- Yassi Pressman

Francis - Andre Paras

About the Author: 
Clare Elisabeth Marquez enjoys sitting in her pajamas while looking out the window from her amazingly massive writer’s desk, reveling in the glorious beauty of snow-capped mountains as she sips her warm, soothing coffee.

Then she wakes up. And writes.

A closet romantic through and through, C.E. Marquez is a voracious reader, writer, and dreamer, never failing to believe that dreams can come true for those who wait . . . and do something about it! Her towering piles of notes of handwritten stories (which she started collecting when she was ten!) are her well-kept treasures, tattered and bruised, but still waiting for their chance to see the light.She writes about things that matter: love, life, and everything else in between.

You can contact her through authorcemarquez@gmail. com—but only if you want her to reply!

Twitter: @ClareEMarquez
Instagram: @CEMarquez


Hi Ms. Clare Elisabeth Marquez and thank you for answering some questions for me,

First things first, can you give me five fun facts about yourself?

1. I have two Kindles. One for Kristen Ashley books (she has over 50 and counting). And the other for all others.

2. I do yoga and cross-training.

3. I love to bake.

4. I am a mother of two stray cats, an aunt to a Beagle and soon-to-be mother to a Jack Russel Terrier.

5. I’m a closet singing diva and rockstar! J

Why write about second chances and forbidden romance?

I love second chance romances. Not all are given second chances, especially in love. And these kinds of love are the ones you really need to try to hold firmly and closest to your heart because it doesn’t come often. Second chance love gives us hope that we can have a moment in our lives to re-do things in our story and come up with a different outcome, hopefully an ending we have wanted to happen the first time around - Happy.

I think Joei and Jake’s love story is not necessarily a forbidden romance. But I guess, in a sense, when Jake’s family was against it – at least his sisters! – it became a bit problematic to Joei who was starting to fall in love with Jake. It’s not easy to love someone when the people closest to that person don’t like you. Worst, if they rub it in your face and blatantly parade the competition! But life isn’t always easy, we don’t always get what we want in the most convenient ways possible. There are struggles, hurdles we need to overcome. And sometimes, the beauty of life – and love - is with knowing you have conquered it in the end.

Who or what was your inspiration for Josephine Telencio and Jake Calleja?

Joei was inspired by one of the female leads in an old, 90s TV show Dawson’s Creek. Plus I’ve always like the name Josephine. For me, it’s a sophisticated, classic, feminine name. I wanted Joei to be reserved, someone who is quiet but must not be mistaken as a wallflower. I wanted her to be wise for her years but a little gullible too when it comes to matters of the heart. I wanted her to have a good, strong sense in the head and a bigger, beautiful, brave heart.

Jake Calleja is a man of his own image in my head. He’s the strong-willed ‘manly man’ that we all need our love interest to be. I wanted Jake to come out as the strong and sensitive kind of a man, someone very intelligent and funny, someone family-oriented. I wanted him to want Joei in ways he knows he will never want or need any woman in his life. That’s why he was risking it all to make Joei his.

What was it like writing Simply Joei? Did you experience some trouble?

Writing Simply Joei was a rewarding experience. Finishing the novel was the reward itself. It was a product of an online class facilitated by Mina Esguerra, the first time I was introduced to this amazingly talented community of romance writers, bloggers and readers. There were challenges because of the deadline (though they were reasonable deadlines!) because I also have a day-job and other stuff to do. Writing the story really needs to be given thoughtful reflection, time to put all ideas into words as well as allow some head-space for the swirls of ideas about it. It wasn’t much trouble at all because I always enjoy my time writing. I remember spending five solid hours of writing Simply Joei at Starbucks in Eastwood on my birthday. It was a happy experience, doing something I love on my birthday.

One of the things that caught my interest in the book was the relationship between Josephine and Jake’s sister, is there a story behind that or was it based from your own experience?
Heaven forbid I wouldn’t get along with my future sister(s)-in-law! I wouldn’t want that and I didn’t want that for Joei, really. But I wrote the relationship struggle between Joei and Jake’s sisters because it does happen in real life. The conflict between the family and the woman/ man we love happens in the real world. We are sometimes caught between this struggle and it’s a pain in the tush!

I think Filipino men are still very family-oriented. They hold a special place for their family, especially their mothers and sisters. They value their opinions and thoughts and subliminally, they do want them to love the woman they want to spend their lives with. So that being said, I wanted the story to reflect this kind of dynamic love between a young man introducing the woman of his dreams to his family, who happens to be an all-women team. I want to show how it’s a painful burden for both parties because it’s never easy to choose one over the other, right? I’m just glad that Joei and Jake’s sisters were able to reconcile in the end and find common ground for Jake’s sake.

What advice would you give to teens that are going through what Joei was going through throughout the book, which is unsure about second chances and afraid of taking risks?

There really isn’t anything sure in life and to feel uncertainties is, I think, normal. Even the most confident individuals are afraid, were in doubt at one point in their lives. I think when it really comes to what truly matters, especially matters of the heart, we have our own insecurities. We sometimes measure ourselves short. BUT I do think we need to rise above these self-deprecating feelings, we need to doubt in one beat and then bounce back in confidence next. Because the reality of it is that nothing will ever come to you if you do not take the risk you need to take. You will never make it happen if you don’t do something about it. You need to make it happen. You need to make it happen. You have to at least try and make it happen. It is only then you know you have lived, anyway.

Not everyone is given a second chance. So when you are given one, grab it and change the outcome of your story. So in the end, you do not have the nagging regrets and painful what-ifs.

Are you planning or writing another book? Maybe about Francis and Kate.

I have finished Francis and Kate’s story! It has been read by my editor and I am re-reading it for another round of edits. I plan to pass it on to another author to get a feel of the manuscript. Then from there, we’ll see. I hope to be able to release these two nuts before April Feels (April 30)!

I have also started writing another NA where the characters are best friends - Kulas and Luna. Theirs is a life caught between the friendship they value so much to keep and the changing, tumultuous emotions that each felt toward the other amidst their crazy, busy college life. Kulas is a genius, computer guy - the nerdy type who wears swimming trunks for the varsity team, ala Michael Phelps while Luna is the bookworm who works part-time in a coffee shop she wishes to own someday. There are different characters that will be mentioned here and you might recognize some people from the first two stories I wrote.

Then there is another outline to draft where characters are in their late 20s, early 30s. This will be Andres Bagatsing's story. He's a lawyer who needs freedom from the pressure and expectation of his family as well as the heavy responsibility of his job as a man of law. I'm still thinking of a strong woman who can love a wounded soul like Andres. He needs the strongest one because he's not an easy man to love. Thoughts on this, people? Please let me know. Email me at

The characters in these story drafts have had appearances in the other stories I made/ am making as they sort of lived in the same universe. In my head, they all do.

Last question, what advice would you give to people who would like to be an author someday?

You know, I started writing when I was ten. I knew it was something I wanted to do. But sometimes, life happens that you need to make some choices that writing takes a backseat over more seemingly important stuff. But it’s in me, the passion to write so even if it was for my own pleasure, I continue to do it.

I’ve never dreamed of becoming a published author, to be honest. But opportunity comes in the most unexpected ways and here I am with my first published book.

It’s NEVER too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do. Just write. Your thoughts, the stories in your head, your ideas, your opinions. Just get it out there and write. Doesn’t even matter if it isn’t perfect just yet. Practice makes perfect. Getting published nowadays is easy because of the proliferation of indie publishing. But you have got to write first. And as in life, all else will follow.

BTW, I think to be a good writer, one must be well-read. Read. Read. Read. You learn from others’ work. You get inspiration from it. You learn the tricks of the trade.

Thank you so much for answering my questions and congratulations on your book, Simply Joei.

Simply Joei is now available. Purchase the in the following for 225 pesos 
Anvil Publishing , National Bookstore, and Powerbooks Branches.  


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