Chachic's Book Nook


Leave a comment

Filipino Friday 2014: Have you ever wanted to write a book?

filipinofriday

I thought it would be fun to participate in this week’s Filipino Friday. For those who don’t know, Filipino Friday is a weekly meme that started with the Filipino Book Bloggers, and has evolved into a yearly pre-Filipino ReaderCon tradition. Every Friday, a topic will be posted and all Filipino readers are encouraged to make their own post about it. I can’t attend the ReaderCon in Manila but I can join in this virtual meme. Here’s this week’s topic:

As a reader, have you ever thought about writing a book? What kind of books/stories do you want to write? Or are you now a published author, and what compelled you to go fulfil this dream? How was your journey from reader to writer? How did you go about getting your book out there?

No, I haven’t really considered writing a novel or a novella. I have some friends who have asked me the same question because they know that I have a book blog and I’m passionate about reading. But I just never felt driven to become an author. I mean, it’s hard enough to keep up with blog posts nowadays. I remember there was a time when writing reviews was easy but now that’s just a distant memory and I keep struggling with blogging. I think writing fiction would be even more difficult. I did write short stories and poems back in high school and college for my literary classes but that was extent of my journey into fiction writing.

I also feel like I would have high standards if I ever decide to write something. If I want to publish something, I would want it to be as well-written as some of my favorite novels. Otherwise, I don’t think it would be worth publishing. If I ever decide to write fiction, it would either be set in the Philippines or have Filipino characters if it’s contemporary. If it’s fantasy, I would want the mythology to be reminiscent of Filipino folklore or history. I know some authors were inspired to write books because what they wanted to read wasn’t available in the market and I think it would be great to have more Filipino fiction in the genres I read. Also, I’ve heard authors say that some of them write because there are plots/characters/stories in their minds that are just begging to be written. That’s not something that I’ve ever encountered, personally. I’m not saying it’s not going to happen because who knows what the future will bring but as of this moment, I’m not planning to become an author.

What about the rest of you, any plans of writing fiction? Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all have some fun weekend plans.


6 Comments

Top Ten Places I Want to Visit Because of Books

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I really like this week’s topic! I love novels that have a strong sense of place because it feels like I get to travel with the characters when the setting is so vivid. I love traveling and exploring new places but I don’t get to experience it as often as I’d like because I’m not a millionaire. Some of the places that I want to visit because of books I’ve read are:

Greece – I’ve been wanting to visit Greece ever since I fell in love with the Greek mythology stories that I used to read back in high school. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series is set in a fictional place reminiscent of Greece and because it’s one of my absolute favorite series, it made me want to visit Greece even more. Photo from Megan Whalen Turner’s Tumblr:

MWT - Greece pic from tumblr

Eddis’s secret temple. (The Erechtheion’s other porch.)

France – Laura Florand sure knows how to describe a place well. Her Amour et Chocolat series made me want to visit Paris and I’m very grateful that I was able to do so. I still want to visit Grasse and the surrounding areas (Nice, Cannes) because of her La Vie en Roses series. I would love to visit perfume manufacturers to make my own personalized perfume. And to see lavender and rose fields in person. Photo taken by Laura Florand and shared for Amour et Florand:

Exploring the streets of the towns around Grasse leads here, in Cagnes (Haut de Cagnes), France.

Exploring the streets of the towns around Grasse leads here, in Cagnes (Haut de Cagnes), France.

 

Australia – ALL of the wonderful Aussie YA novels that I’ve read have made me want to visit Australia. I feel like there’s something in their water that enables their authors to write such amazing books. Some of the Aussie books that I’ve loved are written by Melina Marchetta, Fiona Wood, Cath Crowley, Vikki Wakefield, Kirsty Eagar and Andrea K. Host. Video of Melina Marchetta and Kirsty Eagar hanging out in Sydney, shared for Marchetta Madness back in 2012:

 

Prague, Czech Republic – So many friends who have visited Europe keep saying that Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I loved reading about Prague in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, which had such an atmospheric setting. This reminds me that I’ve yet to read the sequels to that book.

Ireland – Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series is my favorite when it comes to historical fantasy. The books are set in an ancient version of Ireland with the added benefit of having magic. The setting is such an important part of the story and it’s described so well that it makes me want to visit the modern, non-magical version of that world.

New York, USA – In Truly by Ruthie Knox, May hates New York at the start of the novel so it becomes Ben’s mission to show her around the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. I love that Ben tries to convince May to like New York by bringing her to restaurants that serve delectable dishes. I would love to try all the delicious food that was featured in that book! Also, New York always seems like a good idea because of Broadway. Musicals galore!

Russia – I loved how Russia was described in A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson and Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, two of my favorite books. It seems like a country rich in culture and filled with beautiful sights. Plus I have a Russian co-worker who constantly talks about his homeland and everything he says just encourages me to visit the country. Also, I’ve tried Russian food and it’s delicious.

Scotland –  I was born and raised in the Philippines so beaches for me have always meant tropical beaches. So I would be very eager to see a different kind of beach like the one described in The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley: harsh and cold but it has its own beauty. Scotland was also described with fondness in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which is another reason why I want to visit the country. Also, EWein lives there! I would love to meet her in person.

World of Harry Potter – It’s not very common for a series that you love to have a theme park dedicated to it. So of course, I would love to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter either in Florida or in Japan. I’m super jealous of friends who have been to those places! I’m pretty sure I’ll have a great time if I ever get to visit either of those theme parks and I would probably be tempted to buy a lot of souvenirs.

New Zealand – I would love to visit the sets created for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Who wouldn’t want to visit The Shire? I’ve always felt like a hobbit because I’m tiny (I’m five feet flat) and I like having several meals a day.

What about you, what are the places that you’ve read about that you want to visit?


22 Comments

Top Ten Underrated Authors in Epic Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I think epic fantasy is becoming more of a trend lately because I have seen other bloggers raving about recently published novels that they’ve loved. I’ve tried some of them but unfortunately, I didn’t think they were as strong as some of my favorite epic fantasy books. So for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I wanted to focus on one of the genres that I love. Some of the epic fantasy authors I think more readers should check out:

Megan Whalen Turner – I think I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love MWT’s books. I know it’s gotten a bit more attention from authors and bloggers in the past few years but I still don’t think it’s enough!

Robin McKinley – I love Robin McKinley’s lyrical writing style and how her books have a fairy tale feel to them (of course, some of them are fairy tale retellings). My favorites are The Blue Sword, Beauty and Pegasus.

Diana Wynne Jones – I haven’t read all of DWJ’s books but I’ve really enjoyed the ones that I have. I wish I discovered her novels much sooner. I loved Howl’s Moving Castle and also enjoyed the Hayao Miyazaki film adaptation of it.

Sherwood Smith – I think Sherwood Smith writes fun adventure stories and I also love the slow burn romances in her books. I need to catch up on her books because I haven’t read her more recent releases. My favorites of hers are Crown Duel and the Sasharia en Garde duology.

Kristin Cashore – I recently reread Graceling and Fire for a book club discussion and I was reminded of how beautiful Kristin Cashore’s writing is. Strong female protagonists, wonderful worldbuilding and love stories I could root for.

Meg BurdenNorthlander and The King Commands are seriously underrated novels that they’re now out of print. I really enjoyed reading them and I wish they would get more attention. Also hoping that Meg Burden will publish more books.

Andrea K. Host – AKHost is a fairly recent discovery for me, I read and loved her Touchstone trilogy (YA sci fi) and Medair duology (epic fantasy) earlier this year and I’ve been itching to reread them. I’ve been recommending her books to anyone who will listen.

Rachel Neumeier – I thought House of Shadows was a really good read and I’ve been meaning to read The Floating Islands for a while now! I like that Rachel’s books are standalones, which is rare for the genre.

Frances Hardinge – I thought both A Face Like Glass and The Lost Conspiracy were amazing and I feel like Frances Hardinge is a reliable author when it comes to epic fantasy. These two books are also standalones so you can start with either of them.

Juliet Marillier – Another author I need to catch up on since she has several books that I still haven’t read. I highly recommend her Sevenwaters series, Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows are brilliant works of fiction.

Have you read any of these authors? Would you have recommendations for me that would have similar writing to these authors?


38 Comments

Top Ten Blogging Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this week’s topic is such a fun one. I’m not sure if the things I’ve listed here can all be considered confessions or if they’re just random facts about me. In any case, I had fun coming up with this list and would be interested to know if any of you share my sentiments in any of these things.

1. I have ARC envy from time to time. I can’t help it, it’s hard to wait for books that you want to read right away. So when I see other bloggers sharing pictures or tweets of books that I’m dying to read, I get jealous. Then I have to remind myself that I have so many good books waiting to be read from my own stash.

2. I also get jealous of all the author and book-related events or conferences that are held in other countries. Even Manila has started getting more author events organized by major bookstores (e.g. Stephanie Perkins in the Philippines). If Megan Whalen Turner or Elizabeth Wein or Melina Marchetta ever have a Manila event, I’m definitely booking a flight to see them. Sigh, I can’t even remember the last time I attended a book event.

3. I want a new Kindle. My trusty Kindle Touch is just about to turn 2 years old and it’s still working fine so it wouldn’t be very practical to get a new one. I love that I’ve brought my Kindle with me on my travels (it’s been to Manila, Singapore, Los Angeles, Paris, Barcelona, Aix-en-Provence and Milan) but I really want a Kindle Paperwhite. Mostly for the convenience of having a lighted device.

A shot of my Kindle on the train on the way to Milan. I was reading Thorn by Intisar Khanani

A shot of my Kindle on the train on the way to Milan. I was reading Thorn by Intisar Khanani

4. I tend to ignore the paperbacks and hardcovers in my TBR pile. I’ve become really bad at reading the physical books that I have just because my Kindle is so easy to carry around in my purse. But I still enjoy buying and receiving physical books and I like the comfort of having a bookshelf full of books so now I have quite a number of unread titles. I really should make more of an effort to read these paperbacks and hardcovers, maybe alternate them with ebooks.

5. I measure the prices of things based on books. For example, if I’m considering buying something – let’s say a pretty necklace or a cute dress – and it’s more expensive that what I would usually spend on a thing like that, I would think to myself, “This is expensive, I could buy *insert number of books here* with this price.”

6. Whenever I buy a purse or handbag, I have to check and make sure that at least my Kindle or one book will be able to fit into it. Even if I don’t really get a chance to read during the day, I just feel more comfortable having a book with me.

7. My mood is affected by what I read in the sense that I’m in a good mood when I’m in the middle of (or just finished) a really good book. I also feel a bit lost when I’m not reading anything or if I’m not really enjoying what I’m reading.

8. I used to unfollow people on Twitter but now just use the mute button. I check my Twitter and Instagram feeds on a daily basis so I unfollow or mute people for several reasons: I may find their tweets or posts annoying or I’ve replied to their tweets but they’ve never responded – I mean I get when famous authors don’t respond but for fellow bloggers? I just feel like it’s not a good thing when I’m not able to have a conversation with that person.

9. I feel like I already spend a significant chunk of time on my blogging and yet it’s never enough. I spend a lot of my spare time on reading and blogging because they are my main hobbies. But even though I do that, I’m still behind on blogging in the sense that I don’t get to review all of the books that I read and I don’t get to post as often as I would like. Back when I had more time in my hands, I would also read and comment on all of the posts of the bloggers I follow but nowadays, I’m not able to do that anymore.

10. I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about what got me to start a book blog. Prior to starting my own book blog, I had a personal blog and was a lurker in LiveJournal communities. My friends kept telling me that I should review books because I enjoy reading so much, and I just kept saying that I’m a reader and not a writer. I was in awe of some of the book blogs that I discovered and felt that I wouldn’t be able to come up with something similar. But then I also started seeing other book blogs that were poorly maintained and realized that I could do better (I’m sorry if that sounds mean!) and that pushed me to start my own blog.


1 Comment

Retro Friday: Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

The news of Mary Stewart recently passing away reminded me that I’ve been meaning to read more of her novels. I have a few of her romantic suspense novels in my TBR pile, one of which is her first novel Madam, Will You Talk? When I found out that this book is set in Provence, I was immediately curious and I wanted to read it sooner rather than later.

Madam Will You TalkHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

Charity had been looking forward to her driving holiday through France with her friend Louise – long, leisurely days under the hot sun, enjoying the beauty of the Provencal landscape. But very soon her dreams turn into a nightmare, as Charity becomes enmeshed in the schemes of a gang of murderers.

While I do read cozy mysteries from time to time, I can’t say that I’m a big fan of them. But there’s something about Mary Stewart’s writing that just draws me in. There’s a certain charm in her books that lets me see what life must have been like at that time. I like that her heroines are smart and capable ladies, even if they don’t believe they are. Madam, Will You Talk? is about Charity, a young English widow who goes off with her friend Louis on a summer vacation to the South of France and unexpectedly gets involved in a murder mystery. This is how she feels when she runs right smack into trouble:

“I was alone. Any help I got now would only come from myself, and I was well aware that I am not the stuff of which heroines are made. I was merely frightened and bewildered, and deeply resentful of the situation in which I found myself.”

I believe Charity handles herself very well for someone who was supposed to be on a holiday but ended up being chased all around the country instead. I love how Charity’s excellent driving skills come in handy and a powerful car becomes her weapon:

“I laughed. I was as cool as lake-water, and, for the moment, no more ruffled. The feel of that lovely car under my hands, in all her power and splendour, was to me like the feel of a sword in the hand of a man who has been fighting unarmed.”

I wish I could drive like that! The setting of the book starts in Avignon and explores the surrounding areas including Nimes and Marseilles. Mary Stewart’s descriptions made me want to visit Provence and all the places that Charity went to. One of the reasons why I enjoy this author’s romantic suspense novels is because each book is set in a beautiful and vibrant location. It says something about Mary Stewart’s writing that she can make these places come alive. She also has a way of keeping readers in suspense all throughout the story. I feel like I was right there with Charity, while she was being chased by a suspected murderer. I was cheering her on while she zoomed her car through all those French highways. I kept turning the pages because I wanted to get more information. I was very curious about how the mystery will be solved and how the romance will develop. As with all other Mary Stewart mysteries that I’ve read, Madam, Will You Talk? ended on a satisfying note. Another good romantic suspense read. I look forward to reading the rest of her books.

Other reviews:
Miss Darcy’s Library
Quirky Bookworm
Gudrun’s Tights
Bookwitch


14 Comments

Top Ten Books About Friendships

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I love this week’s topic because friendship is a theme that I would happily read about at any given point in time. This reminded me that I did a friendship post a few years ago and I should have probably kept doing that as a yearly thing but it slept my mind. Anyway, in no particular order, here are some books that have strong themes of friendship that I have enjoyed reading:

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger – The two main characters formed a bond strong enough that they wanted to be brothers (from different parents) instead of best friends. Such a sweet story.

Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta – Melina Marchetta’s stories are pretty intense, including the friendships that are formed in her books.

Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow – I loved how resilient Otter, Kestrel and Cricket’s friendship was and how it never wavered even when two of the trio became a couple.

Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host – Cass felt so alone and homesick at the start of the book, it was a relief when she started making friends among the Setari. It’s also great how her relationship with younger kids developed in the latter part of the series.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – The ultimate story about female friendship in the midst of war. Kiss me, Hardy!

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – Liesel has a different kind of friendship with both Rudy and Max but both are a significant part of the story.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I think most of us would be familiar with how constant Harry, Ron and Hermione’s friendship is from start to finish.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson – Beautiful writing in this book about Tiger Lily, told from Tinker Bell’s point of view, who has stood by Tiger Lily’s side through thick and thin.

The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – The boys and Blue may not always get along with each other but they’re very loyal and would go to great lengths to protect their friends.

Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews – Kate tried to be a lone wolf but it didn’t exactly work for her. Love her friendship with her BFF Andrea and how snarky they are. Also really like Kate’s friendship with other members of the Pack like Jim, Dolittle and even Mahon.

What about you, what are your favorite books that are about friendships?


7 Comments

Want Books: Thorn

Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted here at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now. Everyone is free to join, just grab the image above. Leave a comment with a link to your post so I can do a roundup with each post.

Last week, I asked for recommendations for books that will wow me. One of the commenters, Mary Anne, mentioned a title that stood out to me: Thorn by Intisar Khanani. This is the first time I’ve heard of this title or this author but I was immediately curious because Thorn is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm Goose Girl fairy tale. It doesn’t hurt that the book has a pretty cover. I’m a big fan of fairy tales retold and the only Goose Girl retelling that I’ve read so far is Shannon Hale’s. Definitely planning to check this out. I’ve had a sample sent to my Kindle and if I end up liking it, I’ll probably grab the whole novel. I’m trying to be better about buying ebooks because I have so many unread titles in my TBR pile. I keep telling myself that I should only buy books that I’ll read right away (it doesn’t always work).

ThornHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies–and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometime the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

Thanks to Mary Anne for this rec! As always, let me know what you think if you’ve read this book. Would be helpful to know more about it. Also, what book is at the top of your wishlist?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,389 other followers