Ripped Pages

f/f Rapunzel retelling novelette ♥

Ripped Pages by M. Hollis
Young Adult, Retelling, LGBTQ+, Novelette
September 22, 2017

Princess Valentina lives a reasonably comfortable life, but after her mother’s death, her father gets tired of taking care of her and locks her in a tower. She spends years on her own, talking to the birds on her windowsill, and reading books with adventures she will never experience. Her plans of running away are usually left for another day because she knows the vast forest surrounding her tower is too dangerous to cross alone.

Until one day, another girl passes by on her horse and Valentina wonders if she’s finally brave enough to seize her chance of freedom.

Ripped Pages is a Rapunzel F/F retelling in the format of a novelette.


TW: emotional abuse; child abandonment; forced imprisonment; minor violence; trauma recovery

“They ran out of the room, hand in hand. Val followed Agnes without fear, knowing that from now on, her life would be an entirely new and wonderful adventure. Things wouldn’t always be perfect, and happiness would sometimes feel like a distant fragile thing. But despite everything, she was ready to embrace this new life, glorious and unpredictable and finally hers.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 993)

Kingdom of Pouso Dourado

The home of Princess Valentina.

Belo Vale

Home of Princess Agnes, and Princess Val’s new home.

“There were little houses with gray slated roofs all around, and at the end of the road, a large castle.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 624)


  • f/f romance between two princesses
  • Rapunzel retelling
  • Short but cute read
  • An undercover princess saves the princess from the tower
  • Prince charming doesn’t exist here
  • One of the princesses is a reader/bibliophile
  • Queer main characters and QPOC secondary characters (kind of wish we saw more of them in the story though)
  • Accepting and tight-knit royal family (at least from Agnes’ side) who welcomes Princess Valentina with open arms
  • Justice is served
  • Not only did Agnes save Val, but she also saved Val’s books. All of them. No, you’re crying.
  • The princess gets her dream girl
  • Adventures, road to healing, new life and happily ever after

[Also posted on Tumblr]

“One book caught her attention–a drawing of two women in a loving embrace on the cover. And it wasn’t the only one; she found several more like it. Excited and eager, Valentina brought a pile to the floor and opened the first page.

In that story, it wasn’t men who had adventures or saved the world, but women themselves. Valentina flipped the pages holding her breath, her eyes widening at every new word she read. There were girls kissing other girls! They could kiss whoever they wanted! And some people in the book didn’t want to kiss anyone. There were even those who didn’t call themselves men or women, but something else, something entirely their own.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 161-167)

“That night, Valentina sat down on her window ledge and gazed at the stars, wondering if she would ever be lucky enough to kiss a girl one day. She knew nothing in the world would ever make her happier–even seeing the world beyond her tower’s walls.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 174)

“[P]age by page, these precious books were teaching her that she was worthy and the she deserves to be happy.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 181)

“Agnes…. Have you ever been in love?” she asked impulsively.

“Once or twice,” Agnes answered. “I find people fascinating and easy to love.”

“Do you love men?”

“I love men, women, and people who are neither or both at the same time. Why do you ask?”

“Because I think I can only love women. Is that wrong?” Val asked, thinking about how her father had been so insistent on marrying her off to a man.

She felt careful fingers on her chin. Val looked back at Agnes, and her eyes were full of compassion and understanding. “There is nothing wrong with you. Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise, Val.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 410-418)

“I believe our hearts will always grow to love as many people as we can fit into our lives.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 454)

“There are so many. I don’t think we’ll be able to fit all of them in here,” Agnes said coming in with another load of books in her arms, then left them on the table and turned to Val, looking insecure. “Was this all right? I remembered you mentioning how much you love them and felt we shouldn’t throw them away.”

–M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 929)

Agnes saved Val’s books. My heart! She’s a keeper.

M. Hollis could never decide what to do with her life. From the time she was a child, she has changed her ideas for a career hundreds of times. After writing in hidden notebooks during classes and daydreaming during every spare moment of her day, she decided to fully dedicate herself to her stories. When she isn’t scrolling around her social media accounts or reading lots of femslash fanfiction, you’ll find her crying about female characters and baking cookies.

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All’s Fair in Blog and War

It’s a battle of Blogger vs. Photographer — See how the Filipino blogger and photographer fare on their trip in Macau.

All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria
Contemporary Romance, Travel, Filipino Fiction, #ownvoices
June 24, 2013

Five Cuevas @fivetravels
Three guesses to where I’m going next. Starts with an M. Ends with a U. Has a lechon named after it. #travel

Twenty-something travel blogger Five thinks she has hit the jackpot when she gets invited to glittering Macau for an all-expense-paid bloggers tour. Think majestic old churches, sparkling casinos, exhilarating bungee jumps, and the world’s most unforgettable egg tarts. The trip is practically perfect, except for one little glitch. She gets assigned to be travel buddies with Jesse, the world’s most infuriating photo blogger, and it’s definitely war at first sight.

Will Five let Jesse turn her dream vacation into a total nightmare? Or will falling in love be on the itinerary?

(Image Source)

“We are currently in Taipa, an island to the north of the Macau Peninsula. . . .For the next few days, you’ll be making your home along Ponte 16. It used to be the first fisherman’s port and is known for its iconic clock tower.”

–Chrissie Peria, All’s Fair in Blog and War (Loc 424)

City of Dreams

aka “the Las Vegas of Asia”

(Image Source)

Ruins of St. Paul

(Image Source)

“The church facade behind me is all that’s left of the church of Mater Dei. It was built in 1602 but it was destroyed by a fire in 1835. Most of the church and the college beside it was made of wood, so other than the facade, most of the foundations, and the church’s front steps, everything burned. . . .The ruins of St. Paul is an icon of Macau. . .”

–Chrissie Peria, All’s Fair in Blog and War (Loc 616)

Macau Tower

(Image Source)

“Macau Tower is an internally acclaimed convention and entertainment center that offers the highest and most dramatic views of Macau.”

–Chrissie Peria, All’s Fair in Blog and War (Loc 652)

Lord Stow’s Cafe

(Image Source)


Clube Militar de Macau

(Image Source)

Read about the history of Macau’s most historic buildings here.

Senado Square

(Image Source)

“(T)his part of town turned sleepy as the stores closed before 9pm. Instead of the glittery bright lights from the hotels, the only illumination came from yellow-tinged incandescent street lamps. All around us were shuttered storefronts. . .”

–Chrissie Peria, All’s Fair in Blog and War (Loc 1024)

Margaret’s Cafe e Nata

(Image Source)

“Margaret’s Cafe e Nata was a small bakery coupled with outdoor seating nestled along one of Macau’s side streets.”

–Chrissie Peria, All’s Fair in Blog and War (Loc 831)


Five, our MC, sets 5 goals to do while on the trip to Macau.

  1. Explore Senado Square and surrounding streets at night
  2. Share a meal with the locals
  3. Taste every stall’s offering along the road to St. Paul’s
  4. See St. Paul’s Ruins at night
  5. Bungee jump off the Macau Tower

— What would be on YOUR list if you visited Macau? —

Pasalubong = souvenir
Manong = older male relative
Manang = older female relative
Chedeng = car (specifically Mercedes-Benz)

It was a bit disappointing, that for this story taking place in Macau, that there wasn’t much or at all Macanese or Portuguese (languages mainly spoken in Macau) spoken besides Bienvenido a Macau, which is said to mean: “Welcome to Macau.”


There’s so much glorious food in this book, take a look at a few of them below.

Hungry yet?

“Blog events create the strangest bedfellows.”

–Chrissie Peria, All’s Fair in Blog and War (Loc 208)

“I’m really really sorry. I know I should’ve made reservations,” Jesse explained. “Sorry for dragging you all the way here. I’m such a dumbass,” he laughed dryly.
“Hey, don’t beat yourself over it. It’s an honest mistake. We’re Filipino, we’re not the reservation making kind.”
–Chrissie Peria, All’s Fair in Blog and War (Loc 978-983)

Hahahaha where is the lie!? We also are the late-to-everything kind. XD

Chrissie Peria is the author of All’s Fair in Blog and War, a contemporary romance novella set in Macau, featuring a pair of feuding travel bloggers. While it is her first foray in writing a novella, she isn’t a stranger to writing, having been an advertising copywriter in her past life.

When not writing, Chrissie looks after Miffy, her boss and overlord; and Miffy’s minion, Cooper, a miniature red poodle. She also enjoys reading, taking photos, cooking, and playing with dolls.

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The Queen’s Game

Filipino royalty — check
Fake dating — check
Childhood friends to lovers — check
Filipino rep AND #ownvoices!? Yes, please!
The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman has it all in spades, so look no further and dive into the royal world of kingdoms and long-time friends in the Philippines.

The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman
Contemporary Romance, Filipino royalty, #ownvoices
August 1, 2017 from Midnight Books

There are only two reasons why Nina would come back home to Cincamarre–one, if Auntie Delia promises to stop butting into her business, two, if her father died and she was made to ascend the throne to be queen.

Unfortunately for her, it was the second thing that brought her home.

As a princess who’s sunk a yacht and been caught kissing popstars, it’s easy for her aunt, the regent, to think she’s ill prepared for the throne. But Nina doesn’t think that having to fake date Felipe, the handsome, squeaky clean Prince of Concordia was the best solution for that.

Nina’s ready to learn the ropes of her new role and make it hers, and reconnecting with Felipe only makes her want to be a better queen. But is the monarchy ready for Queen Nina?

Kingdom of Cincamarre

“From the clouds, the island nation of Cincamarre looked small, and it was. They prided themselves in their smallness, their fantastic rolling hills, and breathtaking views. There was a famous saying that any window that looked out of Cincamarre had the view of the sea with it.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 137)

“The houses in Cincamarre were built with brick or stone, painted white when appropriate. As the islands were conquered by the Spanish in the 1500s, the palace had sprawling villa feel to it, with bright magenta bougainvillea cascading down from the second floor.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 387)

It is said that Cincamarre is based on the very real and beautiful province of Batanes, Philippines! Telling from the description and pictures, it kind of does resemble Cincamarre.

(Batanes, Philippines | Image Source)

I haven’t been since I was a kid, but this book made me want to go back. My cousins there said that its changed a bit since then.

Kingdom of Concordia

“Concordia had flatter, heartier lands, better suited to fields of wheat and other crops. It made both islands prime targets for both the Portuguese and the Spaniards during the age of exploration. Both countries decide to compromise and split up the twin islands, while the Portuguese held on to Concordia until 1800s when they sold the island to the Macasaet family.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 510)

(Lanzones | Image Source)

The Legend of Lanzones

Lansium Parasiticum, or Lanzones for short, are a beloved fruit in Philippines. It’s mostly grown in plantations in the province of Laguna, though the sweetest ones are often found in Camiguin Island. There’s even a huge Lanzones Festival every year in Camiguin.

Anyway, there’s a legend around the Lanzones and you can read a bit about it here.

“According to local legend, the lanzones fruits were poisonous until an angel descended from heaven and touched them. The black and brown spots on the yellow fruits were fingerprints, and was a sign of a ripe lanzones fruit. Some say it made the fruits even sweeter.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 231)

Funeral traditions

It’s tradition that following a wake and funeral, families and friends of the deceased go to out to eat afterwards. It might have something to do with a superstition that is said a ghost will follow you home if you go straight to your house after, but mostly that’s not the case. It’s just a superstition that derives from folklore.

Some believe that it’s good luck to eat if the deceased was old. It may be neither of those reasons — we just like food. We will eat our feelings if we damn well please.

(Banana-cue | Image Source)

Saba banana / Bananaque

Bananaque, aka banana-q or banana-cue, is pretty much how it sounds: a BBQ…but with bananas. Deep fried bananas coated in brown sugar on a stick. Yum.

Saba bananas are a hybrid fruit originating in Philippines, that is a staple in many Philippine cuisines.

Novena prayer

Majority of Philippines’ religions are Catholic (some call it Christian) and Muslim. Novena prayer is a Catholic prayer where you recite a series of specific prayers with an intention in mind, and occurs over the course of nine days or hours. When you pray your novena, you pray with trust and faith in God that He will provide you with the right answers the right way, and in His time.

The word “novena” comes from the Latin word for “nine“, hence the nine prayers and days. There’s more to the prayer, but that’s the gist of it.

(Pan de sal | Image Source)

Pan de sal

A bread roll very common among Philippines or Filipino families, served before or with meals. If you ever come across a local Filipino bakery, find pan de sal and give it a try. Or you can make it yourself; there’s a bunch of recipes online that consists all the ingredients you will need.

(Pan de leche | Image Source)

Or if you have a sweet tooth, there’s another similar but sweet bread roll called Pan de leche. Either way, both are delicious.

Tito = uncle
Ate = sister
Palasyo = palace
Manong = older male relative
Tita = auntie
Ukay-ukay = thrift store
Beso = cheek-to-cheek kiss
Korona = crown

“My worth is not determined by reputation,” Nina finally said.

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 471)

“This [sunflower] field is my heart out on display for everyone, which isn’t at all manly, but I find that I don’t really care. So…don’t laugh.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 1044)

“Nina wanted to hold all of the flowers in her hands. They were so bright that she wondered if she could use them to fill the black hole in her heart.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 1052)

“There’s only one thing I’ve done recently that makes me as happy as this does.”

“What?” She asked him, tilting her head.

“Spending time with you,” he said.

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 1066)

“Casual sex was still very much a taboo topic in their very religious nations. . . .Sex could be fun and hot. It didn’t have to be shameful and ugly, and if you kept your wits about you, it didn’t need to be too complicated.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 1112-1114)

“There’s a fire in you, Nina. It lights up everything you touch.”

“Including you, I suppose?”

“Especially me.”

–Carla de Guzman, The Queen’s Game (Loc 1144)

If you ask Carla what she does for a living, she will tell you that she’s not quite sure.

By day, she works a regular day job and writes for a lifestyle website. By night, she’s an author and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk and making these silly love stories. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family.

She’s currently on a quest to see as many Impressionist paintings as she can, and is always in search of the perfect pain au chocolat.

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