Blog Tour · Book Review

The Emerald Pep Rally: Settle The Score / Hustle Play Blog Tour

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Title: Settle the Score / Hustle Play

Author: Tara Frejas

No. of Pages: 66 pages (available in e-book)

Published in October 15, 2016 by Tara Frejas 


Rating:    gyep8668


Settle the Score

College senior Garnet Figueroa lives and breathes basketball. A reliable asset to her varsity team, she is equipped with the skills and smarts to get the De La Sierra Lady Hunters closer to this year’s championship title. But Garnet soon finds out that her good friend (and long-time crush), cheerdancer Charles Crisostomo, is being cheated on by his girl, and she lets her emotions get the best of her.

Will she be able to come up with a game plan to save herself from heartbreak before the buzzer signals Game Over?

Hustle Play

Running on pure adrenaline and working with game strategies is something a basketball player like Garnet Figueroa is trained for. On the court, she is unbeatable. Off the court… that’s a completely different story.

Because falling in love is trickier than a ball game, and Garnet finds herself fumbling over her feelings for Charles Crisostomo. The fact that her attention gets divided between him and rival school hard-court hottie Chris Barcelo doesn’t help.

Or does it?

Book Thoughts:

(I would like to thank the author for the free e-book sent to me in return to make an honest review. This will in no way affect my book thoughts.)

As someone who have read her other works such as Scandalized and The Thing About Hug Replacements, I certainly knew what kind of writing I was in for. And in every story, there’s a different concept. For this one, it’s obviously a friendship turned into romance while simultaneously revolving around sports. I liked the author’s idea in breaking the stereotypes when it comes to sports. The roles were reversed, and the girl (Garnet) was the basketball player while the guy (Charles) was the cheerleader.

Because of this, you will also find a lot of analogies between basketball and Garnet’s feelings/situations which I enjoyed. I have some backgrounder when it comes to playing basketball but there were technical terms which I had only encountered in this novella and I love adding new vocabularies on my own dictionary.

I also liked how Garnet and Charles did not let ‘certain circumstances’ get in the way of their friendship.

I understand how this novella was specifically written under certain rules (it should only contain 7 chapters) but I kind of wish that it was longer and contains more details. Nevertheless, the 7-chapters rule did not hinder the author in establishing the characters’ identities. Suffice it to say, were it more longer, it would have been more awesome!

Affection and romantic feelings were certainly there, though it may seem lacking at times. Maybe this was one of the things that was hindered by the fact that it was only a novella. In hindsight, it’s easy to understand that they liked each other way before they knew it themselves. Though the unraveling of this fact was unique on its own sense, I still feel like it could have happened in a more seamless way.

Which is why, for this blog tour, I grabbed the opportunity to interview the characters themselves! I felt like this was a way to understand the characters more while also unraveling some facts that may not have been shown on the story itself.

WARNING: It may contain spoilers!

Interview with the characters: Charles & Garnet

Questions for Garnet Figueroa:

  1. When did you realize that you liked Charlie?

Gosh. I can’t even remember, haha!

Okay, maybe I started having a little crush on him during his track tryouts in freshman year. And I’m going to be completely superficial and say it’s because he looked good in his black singlet and itty-bitty shorts.

Kidding aside, I think I might’ve fallen hard when he started making efforts to understand my game more and became sorta-kinda like my little coach. That was cute, and I appreciated that a lot.

  1. While he was dating Nica, was there a time when you were tempted to confess your feelings for him?

God no. That would’ve been as desperate as a hail mary three-pointer from the bottom of an opposing team’s basket using your weak hand. Nope, nope, nope.

  1. When you met Chris, did you feel like at some point he wanted something from you that’s just more than being a “magazine girlfriend”? Or was he just naturally nice to you?

Here’s a thing I learned from Justine: Expectation only leads to heartbreak.

Honestly? Hearing the word “girlfriend” when Chris referred to me felt good. It did. I mean, come on. One of the most good looking campus kings (of the rival school, that is) was flirting with me? Wow. You might as well have asked someone in Hawaii to comb my hair!

But no, I never entertained the thought that Chris might be into me. Besides, I was too busy sorting out my feelings for Charles to even consider having something with Chris.

  1. If Charles didn’t break up with Nica, do you think there could have been a chance that something might blossom between you and Chris?

I really can’t tell. Maybe my fangirly crush over Chris could have intensified, but I think if I caught myself feeling an unusual kind of kilig, I’d nip it in the bud before it could blossom. Expectation leads to heartbreak, remember!

  1. Was there any part of you which was tempted to distance yourself from Charles because Chris is finally paying attention to you? (Considering the fact that you’ve been crushing over him for years)

Not one bit. If I’d spent more time with Chris than Charles back then, that wasn’t on purpose.

  1. In a parallel universe, do you think another version of Garnet could have fallen in love with Chris instead of Charles?

 I might have. J

Questions for Charles Crisostomo:

  1. You said you’ve always liked Garnet. When did you realize your feelings for her? Were your feelings not strong enough to take courage in asking her out instead of being insecure with a “campus royalty” aka Chris Barcelo?

There was one time in freshman year Garnet went to my track tryouts. With snacks. Call me mababaw, but I was touched. Since then, she’d always look out for me in different ways, especially when I got injured in sophomore year. That was one of the worst times of my life and she was just there and that made me happy.

I wasn’t brave enough to ask her out, that was just it. Garns was my first friend at De La Sierra. She’d always been there for me, and I felt like owning up to what I felt was going to ruin whatever good thing we’ve got.

  1. Do you have any regrets in dating Nica?

 I’m not going to do the whole “No, I don’t regret anything because blah blah blah” shit. I do have regrets. There were good times, and I’m keeping them in my memory. But there were bad times I wish I could’ve learned quickly from.

 3. If you really liked Garnet, how did you end up dating Nica in the first place?

This will make me sound like such an asshole, but I met Nica during the time I was trying my best not to fall any harder for Garnet. And Nica’s bubbly, smart, and pretty—it was easy to like her. Heck, a lot of guys liked her. And honestly, it was a boost to my ego too when she gave me the time of day. I asked her out on a date, and then it became more dates until we found ourselves in a relationship.

  • For everyone who have read this novella, I hope some of your own queries were answered in this particular interview! (And thank you miss Tara for your patience and effort!)

Want to read an excerpt from the book? Check this out! Why don’t you watch the video for the Live Reading during #AprilFeelsFest while you’re at it? Link is here!

About the Author

TARA FREJAS is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she’s not in work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.

While not exactly a huge basketball fanatic, she does love and support the national team, Gilas Pilipinas (Hi, Gabe Norwood! Hee~) and has a tendency to get rather emotional watching their games.

In a parallel universe where she doesn’t have asthma, Tara played for her high school and college basketball teams as a shooting guard. She wore jersey number 21, and ended her college career with triple-double averages. In short, beast mode ang ate niyo. Pak.

Her other print-on-demand titles include Paper Planes Back Home, The “Forget You” Brew, and Scandalized.

Get in touch with the author:




Twitter: @tarafrejas

Instagram: @tarafrejas

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