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When reading trumps blogging

"There's always time to read." A snippet from The Winter Sea

“There’s always time to read.” A snippet from The Winter Sea

I apologize for the silence on the blog lately. I feel like I should put up a sign saying, “Do Not Disturb. Busy Reading Books” or something like that. It’s not that I don’t want to blog, it’s just that I would much rather read. Some of the books that have kept me occupied the past few days (weeks?) are:

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

I would really like to review all of these but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to. I’ve learned not to put pressure on myself when it comes to blog-related stuff. I’m just thankful that I haven’t experienced a reading slump in ages and that good books have been distracting me lately. If anyone is curious about what I’ve been up to, I keep Goodreads fairly updated on what I’m reading. I also update Instagram quite regularly but most of it is random stuff that I’m doing and not always book-related.

Anyway, just wanted to drop by and say hi to everyone. What has been keeping you all busy recently? Have you guys read some good books that you think I should check out?


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How often do you reread?

Son of the Shadows Kindle

I just started rereading one of my favorite fantasy novels, Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier. I decided to reread it because my good friend Maggie started the Sevenwaters series recently and has been raving about the books. It reminded me of how beautiful Marillier’s writing is and I wanted to experience it again. Also, I haven’t reread any of the Sevenwaters novels since I first discovered the series back in 2010. This got me thinking about how seldom I get reread books. I always feel like I want to read ALL THE BOOKS and that I don’t have enough time to read all of the titles in my TBR pile. There’s just something about the potential of discovering a new book to love that draws me in, so I have this tendency of picking up a new book instead of revisiting an old favorite. This is why I don’t get to reread favorite titles even though there are times when I really want to. Another reason that prevents me from rereading is that most of the books that I’ve loved have been reviewed on my blog and when I reread, I wouldn’t have anything new to write about. Although that’s not such a major issue since I don’t want to pressure myself when it comes to blogging.

I’ve been better about rereading books this year because of the no pressure policy. Some of the books that I’ve reread are:

Silent Blade and Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore (for YAckers discussions)
The Chocolate Thief and The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand (influenced by Amour et Florand)
A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier

I know that still doesn’t seem like  a lot but it’s better than nothing. Some of the titles I want to reread if I find the time for them:

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
The Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Something About You by Julie James and maybe some of the other books in her FBI series
The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, but I’m planning to reread this when the release date of the next book has been announced
Pegasus by Robin McKinley, but closer to the release date of the sequel
The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, in preparation for the next book
The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix, in preparation for Clariel

Let’s see if I get to reread any of these titles. I know some people have traditions of rereading certain favorites every year so I’m curious about what the rest of you have to say about your rereading habits. Do you allocate time for it? Are there books that are part of a series that you reread right before the latest installment is released? Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to read/reread?


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Chocolate Book Meme

I love love LOVE chocolate. I’ve always been a fan of it. So I thought it was fun when Camille of Girl Meets Books tagged me for the chocolate meme. This meme mixes two of my favorite things: chocolate and books.

Aix-en-Provence - real chocolate

Slabs of chocolate in Real Chocolate, Aix-en-Provence

Dark Chocolate — A book that covers a dark topic (abuse, domestic violence, rape, loneliness, bullying, death, etc):
So many good ones to choose from! For contemporary, I’d go with Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, which is not an easy read because there’s so much pain and suffering for two generations of characters but it’s totally worth reading. For fantasy, I’d go with Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows, both difficult reads but oh so rewarding.

White Chocolate — Your favorite light-hearted/humorous read:
Julie James’ novels are always light and fun reads. I feel like they’re the book version of chick flicks so I always enjoy reading them. My favorite is still Something About You.

Milk Chocolate — A book that has a lot of hype that you’re dying to read:
I’ve seen several bloggers raving about I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson so I’m really curious about it. I’m looking forward to its release day since I remember enjoying her debut novel. It doesn’t hurt that I think the book has a pretty cover.

Chocolate with a caramel center — Name a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle while you were reading it:
Books that make me feel all gooey are usually romances. I think Laura Florand’s books are a perfect choice for this category, especially since her Amour et Chocolat series focuses on chocolatiers and pastry chefs. Although I think I would have to change this category to premium chocolate ganache or truffle to satisfy her MCs (who tend to look down on mass-produced chocolate).

Wafer-free Kit-Kat — Name a book that surprised you lately:
I feel like I keep talking about them lately but I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I loved Andrea K. Host’s Touchstone trilogy and Medair duology. I knew I was going to enjoy them but I didn’t expect to get a book hangover after reading them.

Snickers — A book that you are going nuts about:
I think the last book that I loved was Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews, which is a fitting choice for this category since I’m crazy about the Kate Daniels series. It’s my favorite urban fantasy series.

Hot Chocolate with cream and marshmallows — What book would you turn to for a comfort read?
I consider most of the books in my list of favorites as comfort reads. I reread them based on how I’m feeling. Most recently, I’ve reread Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore (for book club discussions) and Silent Blade and Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews.

Box of chocolates — What series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and a little something for everyone
The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner! It has action, adventure, clever writing, wonderful characters and a complex, slow burn romance.

Swiss and Russian chocolates

Swiss and Russian chocolates from co-workers

I’m not going to tag anyone for this meme but share a link of your post if you’re doing this. :)


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Book to Movie: If I Stay

There was a lot of buzz leading up to the release of the If I Stay movie adaptation and I kept seeing posts about it all over various social media sites. I really enjoyed reading If I Stay and Where She Went a few years ago so I was curious about the movie but I was fine with waiting. It was released in Singapore in early September and I got to see it last Saturday. I wanted to share my thoughts about the film, mostly in relation to the book and how I felt while I was watching it.

If I Stay movie

With Gayle Forman as an executive producer of the film, If I Stay remained true to the book. Granted, it’s been some time since I read the book but all of the major scenes that I remembered seemed to be in the movie as well. I felt like the movie had the same bittersweet tone and feel as the book, where it lets you experience the emotional ups and downs with the characters. In terms of casting, I think the actors that they chose were a good fit for the roles. Whenever I read, I don’t really get into specifics of what the characters look like and I tend to focus on the emotions they feel instead. So I’m not very particular with appearances when it comes to casting choices. This is the first time I’ve seen a movie with either Chloe Moretz or Jamie Blackley so I have no preconceived notions about them. Overall, I think Chloe did a good job of portraying Mia although I felt that she wasn’t as strong as I would have liked her to be in her emotionally heavy scenes. In some of her interviews, she mentioned that she’s a fan of the book and I think that’s a plus point for her. Jamie was also a good Adam, he was able to exude that rocker guy vibe. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he also did Adam’s singing voice in the movie and he really knows how to play a guitar.

One of the things I really liked about the book was that it wasn’t just about Mia and Adam, it was also about their friends and family. The movie made this come alive too, and I have no complaints on the casting of the secondary characters. One of the scenes I liked best in the book was when Mia’s grandfather talks to her while she’s in a coma, and I believe the movie nailed that scene. That was one of the scenes that made me teary-eyed. The cinema was only half-full but I could hear other people sniffling as well.

One advantage the movie had over the book was that it had music. Both Mia and Adam are musicians and music is a big part of their lives and is also what brought them together. When I was reading the book, I wondered what it would be like to hear Mia playing the cello or to hear Adam singing while playing the guitar. We definitely got that in the movie. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the movie’s soundtrack after watching it onscreen but I think it sounded pretty good. I think the songs in the movie were chosen well. I really liked the bonfire scene in the movie because it seemed like such a happy, music-filled moment for everyone.

I really enjoyed watching If I Stay but similar to The Fault in Our Stars, I feel like it’s a quiet kind of movie that focuses on human interactions and emotions. I liked watching both films because I’ve read both books and I feel like that gave me a richer experience compared to just watching the movies on their own. So what I’m trying to say is I have no idea whether those who haven’t read the book will like the movie. Other people may find the flow of the scenes a bit disjointed because of the flashback format of the storytelling. Like I said, the movie worked for me and because it did, I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a movie adaptation of Where She Went.

Have you seen If I Stay in theaters? What did you think? Have you read the book and are you planning to see the adaptation on the big screen?


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Instagram Challenge: #FYAPhotoaday

This month, I’m joining Forever Young Adult’s Photo-a-day challenge on Instagram. I saw that several of the bloggers I follow on Instagram were participating in this so I thought it would be fun to do it too. I’m chachickenpie on Instagram if anyone wants to check out my posts. I have no idea if I’ll be able to keep up with the challenge for the whole month of September but let’s see. I may not be able to post every day since a lot of my books are back home in Manila. And I’ve been reading a lot on my Kindle lately and I have to admit that it’s difficult to take creative pictures of Kindle editions.

Here’s the list for the challenge:

fya_photo-a-day

I like Instagram bookish challenges because I think is fun to browse through book pictures. Do you post book pictures on Instagram? Have you joined any bookish challenges there?


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August 2014 Recap

Extraordinary Child by Lim Xiufen Silver

Extraordinary Child by Lim Xiufen Silver in the Singapore Art Museum

September is here! Once the ber months have started, that means that Christmas is just around the corner. I still haven’t booked my flight to Manila in December, I really should do that soon since prices are steadily going up. Anyway, here’s a list of the books I’ve read in August:

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews – Review can be found here.

Fiancee for Hire by Tawna Fenske – I read this based on Mina V. Esguerra’s recommendation since I’m always on the lookout for fun contemporary romance books. However, I was disappointed because I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was expecting. I didn’t think it was as good as other romance novels that I’ve read.

One Night of Sin by Elle Kennedy – Quick, fun and smexy read. There are two more books in this series and I look forward to reading them.

(Reread) Fire by Kristin Cashore – Review can be found here. Still can’t believe that I’ve never reviewed this earlier!

Isla and the Happily Ever After plus Paris postcard

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – Review can be found here. I bet a lot of book bloggers read this one in August!

Firelight and Moonglow by Kristen Callihan – I believe I saw Laura Florand recommending this author on Twitter and the premise for this historical paranormal romance looked intriguing so I gave it a try. Firelight is also a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I’m a sucker for those. Overall, I thought these books were just okay. Not bad but not great either. Not sure if I’ll continue reading the rest of the series, I started the third book but couldn’t really get into it.

Another author that has been recommended by Laura Florand and book blogging buddy Li is Kelly Hunter. I’ve been glomming through her backlist the past couple of days and have finished the following titles:

The Man She Loves to Hate
Wife for a Week
Bedded for Diamonds
The Maverick’s Greek Island Mistress

I have mini reviews on Goodreads for these Kelly Hunter books and I’ll try to consolidate all of them into one blog post later on.

That’s it for my August reading month. In summary, I would say that the highlights of the month for me were Magic Breaks, Isla, Fire and discovering Kelly Hunter. How about the rest of you, how was August as a reading month for you?

Recap of previous months:
January
February
March
May
June
July


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Sola Musica: As Heard on TV by Marla Miniano

Today is SOLA MUSICA‘s release day! Go and grab a copy.  My copy has already been downloaded in my Kindle.

A beach cove, a hot summer weekend… SOLA MUSICA is where everyone’s going, to enjoy the best new music from all over. Bestselling Filipino YA/chick lit authors Mina V. Esguerra, Marla Miniano, Chinggay Labrador, and Ines Bautista-Yao each tell a story about this festival: the music, the people, the hearts that will soar (or break).

Sola Musica

BREAK by Marla Miniano
Natalie is about to watch her favorite band in the world, with a guy she’s crazy about — if only she can get through forced family bonding with her grandmother, her little brother, and her grandmother’s boyfriend.

Author links:
@marlamini
marlaminiano.blogspot.com

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As Heard on TV by Marla Miniano
I believe in the right song at the right time.

Sola Musica was brought to life because Ines, Mina, Chinggay, and I all understand and acknowledge the power of music: it can summon and create memories, fuel joy, foster relationships, and either exacerbate or soothe heartache. It can also make pivotal moments in your favorite TV shows absolutely perfect. Here’s a quick list of my favorite songs in TV soundtrack history.

1. “With or Without You” by U2 on FRIENDS

At several pathetically heartbroken points in my early twenties, I sat on the floor and stared out the window at the vast night landscape while blasting this song on my computer. This is mostly because a lot of my romantic decisions back then were greatly influenced by Rachel Green—a fact that I am both thrilled with and embarrassed of. I love how this song resurfaced the following season, when Ross cheated on Rachel at an office party. I know, I know though: they were on a break.

2. “Dice” by Finley Quaye and William Orbit on The O.C.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and Ryan needs to kiss Marissa before the clock strikes twelve, because that’s how it works when you’re a nobody from Chino trying to get with the popular blonde girl strategically sighing into her champagne. There are no functioning elevators in the building, of course, but Ryan bursts into the room just as everyone shouts “3, 2, 1,” and there is confetti and a belated declaration of love and glorious making out. Cut. I watched The O.C. religiously in college, and although I’ve always been more attracted to the Seths of the world, Ryan’s mad dash to midnight inevitably became my (slightly misguided) benchmark for grand gestures.

3. “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn on Girls

Holy Horvath, this scene… where do I even start? It’s funny and tender and sweet and a little bit sad and ridiculously, painfully real. None of the characters, with their less than stellar EQs and erratic bouts of self-awareness, can seriously be considered great defining forces in my journey to adulthood — not at this point, anyway. But I do grasp the intricacies and complexities of friendship the show illustrates so well: how platonic relationships are supposed to get easier as you grow up, but rarely do. In the end we are all “adventurous women,” and if a dance break is what you need to survive, then go ahead, grab a partner, and press play.

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Salamat, Marla! Love the topic that you chose. I also get hooked to certain songs because of how they accompany scenes in the TV shows that I enjoy watching.

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