REVIEW: What Kind of Day (Six 32 Central Book 1) by Mina V. Esguerra
It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.
It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.
She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.
Dear Ms. Esguerra,
A while ago, one of our other reviewers read and reported on one of your books which looked interesting. Since “What Kind of Day” is from your most recent series, I decided to try it. There are things I loved about this book and aspects that didn’t work as well for me. Discovering Manila was fabulous. Seeing people who, at the end of the book, are still unsure and grappling with career choices was unusual and daring. The romance was a disappointment and after a while, I got bored with Ben’s internal debates about government jobs.
Naya is dedicated to showing the city she loves – all of it, warts included. After a “take this job and shove it” exit from her government job – which she suspects she got due to her looks and the fact that she was basically told to show some cleavage and smile while making touristy promo films – she floundered a bit before taking her “hobby” (per family) and turning it into a way to pay her bills.
I love that I’m getting a tour of Manila and being shown Philipino culture. There’s enough detail so that I’m not totally lost but none of the things on Naya’s tour that day get over explained to the point of turning it into a “there will be a pop quiz at the end” lecture. For me this is just the right amount of background shading for a book – enough to grab my interest and make me want to learn more.
Ben’s got his story of working in government, too. Up until the day before the tour, it would have been (mainly) good as Ben believes in the Senator he worked for. Now that there’s a scandal and his plan is to volunteer a person to fall on the party sword and the person then voluntold to do it is him? Yeah, he’s not much of a fan anymore. All those years of dedication and hard work are just gone with him being the public fall guy. Yep, his day sucks.
After a day together, Naya and Ben fall into some hawt sex – with massive consent – but as hawt fling only and not expecting anything in way of a relationship. The story then jumps forward by five months with no contact between them. There are thoughts of the other but no actual contact of any kind.
Then the two meet again and there are some major decisions they will need to make. Is Naya going to have to swallow her principles and go back into the seventh level of (government) hell for a job to pay the rent? Will Ben be able to get his old job back – because he still thinks the Senator is the best man for the job and that he can help make a difference? Whoa this is different from the usual “quit the soul sucking job and then have a spectacular success at your boutique/hobby job that suddenly makes you a butt load of money” plot. This is how life really is.
But after another night of hawt sex, Naya and Ben again separate with no contact for a number of months. Then suddenly, WHAM, they’re in a relationship? Nope, I didn’t buy that and was left thinking, is that all I’m going to get here? The characterization shown is wonderful. I feel I understand why Ben decided what he did about his job and why Naya decided the way she did. All that makes perfect sense. What baffled me is that they decide they’re ready for a relationship after basically two days together and two nights of (admittedly top notch) sex. I’m afraid I needed more for even a HFN ending. C