Chachic's Book Nook


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#ArmchairBEA 2014: Wrap Up

ArmchairBEA 2014

I’m glad I was able to participate this week in ArmchairBEA because I had a lot of fun with the daily topics and the discussions with other bloggers through comments. To all those who dropped by my blog to comment, THANK YOU! I’ve replied to most of the comments and will catch up with the rest later. I’m sorry I missed the Twitter chats because of the time difference.

Here’s a recap of my ArmchairBEA posts:
Introduction
Author Interaction
Expanding Blogging Horizons
Novellas and Short Stories
Beyond the Borders
Young Adult

I really enjoyed the Instagram challenge. I’ve tried joining month-long Instagram challenges but I never completed any of them so I like the week-long time frame of ArmchairBEA since I was able to keep up. Recap of Instagram posts:
My Armchair
Shelfie
Current Bookmark: ebook and physical
Where I Armchair From

I hope the rest of you had as much fun as I did. See you all in next year’s ArmchairBEA!


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#ArmchairBEA 2014: Young Adult

Our final genre of discussion is one that we know is a popular one these days: books for the younger crowd, from middle grade to young adult. If you do not normally talk about this genre on your site, maybe you want to feature books that you remember impacting you during this stage in your life. If this is where you tend to gravitate, maybe you want to list your favorites, make recommendations based on genres, or feature some titles that you are excited to read coming later this year.

I read a lot of YA books so I’m half-tempted to just write “too many too mention” for this ArmchairBEA topic. But then where’s the fun in that? That wouldn’t enable me to share some of my favorite titles and discuss them with other bloggers. So I’ve put together lists divided by category/genres of YA novels that I’ve truly enjoyed reading:

Epic Fantasy
Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Sabriel by Garth Nix
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow
Northlander by Meg Burden
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Alternate History/Historical Fiction
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Urban Fantasy
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

Fairy Tale Retelling
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Contemporary
I Do by Elizabeth Chandler
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Easy by Tammara Webber
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Aussie YA
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield
Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host

WeLoveYA

I probably forgot some titles while putting this together, maybe I’ll edit the post when I remember anything else. Do you have any recommendations for me based on the books I listed here? What about the rest of you, what are some of the MG or YA titles that you’ve enjoyed reading?


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#ArmchairBEA 2014: Beyond the Borders / Recommending Filipino Fiction

ArmchairBEA 2014

It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

I’m a Filipino currently living and working in Singapore. So basically, most of the books that I read are outside my own culture because a lot of them are either set in a fantasy world or in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. I do think it’s great that there’s more of a push for readers to pay more attention to diversity in books. Reading is like a form of traveling in the sense that it opens your mind to what is outside your comfort zone and how things are different compared to the things that you’re used to. And at the same time, it also makes you realize how some things are the same wherever you are in the world (or even if you’re in a different world). I wouldn’t be reading the books that I read if I couldn’t relate to them. I can relate to the characters, their feelings and their reactions to the situations they find themselves in, even if we have different cultural backgrounds and we live in different places. I’ve also traveled outside of Asia so that gives me the small advantage of being able to relate to books set in some of the other cities/countries I’ve visited.

In the spirit of encouraging readers to pick up diverse books, here are that I would recommend that are either set in the Philippines or have Filipino characters:

Any of Mina V. Esguerra’s books – Mina writes contemporary romance or chick lit set in the Philippines with Filipino characters. I recommend her books because they give readers a good picture of what life is like for a young woman in her twenties back home.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – Candy is also a Filipino author and her middle grade contemporary novel about two siblings is partially set in the Philippines.

Trese graphic novel series by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldissimo – I can now happily recommend this urban fantasy/horror graphic novel series because it’s available on Amazon! Written and illustrated by Filipinos, I love how this series has supernatural creatures based on Filipino myths and folklore.

Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano – This is such a perfect summer read because it’s set in Boracay, one of the most well-known beaches in the Philippines. It’s a sweet romantic novella with a Filipino guy and Korean girl as MCs.

All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria – Another Filipino romance, this one is between two travel bloggers who win a free trip to Macau in exchange for featuring the country in their blogs.

Interim Goddess of Love_digital coverTall Story UKTrese Mass MurdersCover Story GirlAll's Fair in Blog and War

How about you, care to recommend some diverse books?


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#ArmchairBEA 2014: Novellas and Short Stories

ArmchairBEA 2014

Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors?

I don’t know why but I’m not that much of a short story reader. I usually only read short stories that are connected to a series that I’m following or a book that I’ve read. Whenever I buy an anthology, I end up reading just a few short stories in it. I love reading novellas though. I think some stories are just the perfect length for a novella. I like how satisfying some novellas can be because you can read them in one sitting. Novellas are also a good way to get introduced to an author if you’ve never read any of his/her books. Some novellas that I think deserved more attention are:

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – A light and fun read, this is still my favorite Filipino chick lit title.

Silent Blade and Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews – Ilona and Gordon are in my auto-buy list because I love the Kate Daniels series but also because everything that they write is awesome, as proven by these two sci-fi novellas that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I reread both of these just the other month.

A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand – A delightful Christmas romance set in Grasse, France. One that I’ve also reread just this month.

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers – Short and intense, I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet the romance was in this novella.

Big Boy by Ruthie Knox – This was my introduction to Ruthie’s romances and it made me want to read the rest of her books.

Fairy Tale Fail_SummitSilent BladeSilver SharkNo Place Like HomeThe Story GuyBig Boy

I find it funny that most of these titles are contemporary romance. I guess it’s just nice to curl up with a good romance when you feel like unwinding after work or during the weekend. What about the rest of you, do you enjoy reading short stories or novellas? What are some of your favorites?


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#ArmchairBEA 2014: Expanding Blogging Horizons

ArmchairBEA 2014

What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.

When I think about going beyond blogging, what comes to my mind is the friendships that I’ve formed through my book blog. I love having book blogging buddies who get what it’s like to go crazy over the books that we read. Not a lot of my friends in real life read the same books that I do (unless I manage to persuade them) so it’s good that I have fellow bloggers to talk to about books that I’ve loved or hated. Also, only book blogger friends would understand what it’s like to fangirl over beloved authors. I’ve noticed that some of the book bloggers that I follow have slowed down (or have stopped altogether) in terms of writing reviews or posting on their blogs. Even if that’s the case, I’m still able to keep in touch with them through emails, social networking sites, messaging apps and postcards. I love that I’ve gained bookish friends through my blog and I think it’s great that we manage to keep in touch even if we don’t post as often as we used to. It’s kind of nice to feel that these friendships don’t depend on our blogs.

friends reading

Image from We Heart It

I know it was yesterday’s topic but I also just wanted to mention that I love how blogging has let me interact with authors. I don’t think I would have been able to reach out or stay in touch with authors if it weren’t for my blog. Sure, I could send them fan mail but it’s much easier to follow and stay in contact with them through Twitter.

I’ve never really thought of making a career out of something blog-related like freelance writing or publishing a novel so I’ve never branched into that. I have thought about shifting to a book-related career though, which is what inspired my Chasing Dreams feature (which hasn’t been updated recently). However, I still have doubts on whether that would be a smart move or if it would be better to keep reading and blogging as a hobby. I also have no idea how to go about doing that so I haven’t actively pursued it. I would love to hear thoughts from other readers/bloggers regarding this because that may give me some clarity. It would be interesting to see what others would have to say about how they’ve expanded their blogging horizons. :)


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#ArmchairBEA 2014: Author Interaction

ArmchairBEA 2014

Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger.

I love this topic! Because as an avid reader, I’m a bigger fan of authors than celebrities or rock stars. I love that blogging has let me interact with authors both in real life and online. As a blogger, I’ve been constantly amazed at how friendly and approachable some authors are. Some of my favorite author moments are when they:

Reply to tweets, emails and blog posts – It always makes my day when an author replies to my tweets or emails or even comments on a blog post. Or when they retweet a review that I’ve written.

Write guest posts for my blog – I am always happy to host guest posts on the blog because I feel like it spices things up to have someone else share their thoughts in this space. Whenever I ask an author for a guest post and he or she says yes, I’m usually in a state of disbelief that someone who writes books for a living would be willing to write for my blog. I’m super thankful that they’re willing to do that.

Read books I recommended – During the rare times that an author picked up a book based on my recommendation, I felt that it was a huge compliment because they were willing to give a book that I liked a try.

Rose Under Fire US edition

Send me signed copies of books – The authors of the books I read don’t usually come to Singapore (or even to Manila back when I was based there) so I only have a handful of signed copies of books. I get really excited whenever I get a signed copy of a book because they’re not so easy to obtain. I feel like these signed copies are prized possessions!

Include me in the acknowledgments section of the book – I can count in one hand the number of times that this has happened and it’s such a lovely feeling to see your name in print like that.

It hasn’t happened yet and I don’t know if it ever will since I don’t think I write the kind of reviews that get quoted, but I would love to have a blurb of mine included in a book. What about the rest of you, care to share how you’ve interacted with authors as a book blogger?


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#ArmchairBEA 2014: Introduction

ArmchairBEA 2014

Hello everyone! It’s Armchair BEA time again. I really am glad that there’s an online blog event that coincides with BEA so bloggers based abroad can participate. It’s going to be a fun week interacting with fellow book bloggers!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?
As you can probably tell from my blog name, my name is Chachic and I’m a Filipino book blogger currently based in Singapore. I started this book blog around four years ago and I was based in the Philippines at that time. I’ve been in Singapore since 2012 when I moved for a job opportunity (which isn’t book-related, unfortunately) .

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online.

My blog has a pretty eclectic mix in terms of genres, which include epic and urban fantasy, fairy tale retellings, contemporary and historical fiction. I can be found in the following social networks:
Chachic on Goodreads
@chachictweets on Twitter
Chachic’s Book Nook on Facebook
chachickenpie on Instagram
chachic on Tumblr

What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

I wouldn’t be able to name just one title as an answer to this question! I have a list of favorite books from last year, which can be viewed here. As for this year, here are some titles that are tentatively in my best of 2014 list:
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier
Medair duology by Andrea K. Host
Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host
The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand
It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

Black DogMedairTouchstone TrilogyThe Chocolate TemptationIt Happened One Wedding

What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like?

I love to read in a space that’s comfy enough to sit or recline on with great lighting. I have an armchair in my room that I love sitting on but it gets dark in that corner at nighttime. I need to find a nice (but affordable) stand lamp! Just to have a change of scenery, I also like hanging out in coffee shops to read for a couple of hours while having snacks.

What is your favorite blogging resource?

I’m not sure if it can be considered blogging resources but I love social media sites Twitter and Instagram. I interact with fellow bloggers and even authors through Twitter. While I enjoy going through photos, bookish or otherwise, on Instagram. I think it’s nice to get a feel of the blogger’s personality through tweets and Instagram photos.

That’s it for me, I will be browsing and commenting through other ArmchairBEA posts so see you all around this week.

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