Chachic's Book Nook


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Book Haul: YAckers Secret Santa

I’m sorry for the radio silence for the past few days. There’s so much going on ever since I’ve been back in Singapore that I haven’t had a chance to update the blog. I thought I’d post a quick update on a package that was waiting for me when I got to the office last Tuesday. I knew it was from the YAckers Secret Santa and I was excited to see what was inside:

YAckers Secret Santa 2013

YAckers Secret Santa 2013_2

YAckers Secret Santa 2013_3

It’s a package from Angie! Thank you so much for the lovely books and chocolates, Angie. I’ve already started on the Godiva chocolates and they’re yummy. I’m looking forward to reading these two books. :) This reminds me that I still haven’t finished reading the books that I got from last year’s YAckers Secret Santa.

What about the rest of you, did you get some nice books for Christmas?


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Book Haul: Times Book Sale

I veered away from my usual Sunday library visit because my friend invited me to go with her to the book sale organized by Times. Since books are pricey here in Singapore, I wanted to take advantage of the availability of bargain books.

Times Book Sale

I was delighted to discover that there were several shelves of books in that place and all of them were being sold at a discounted price. So of course, we spent a few hours browsing through everything. I was pleasantly surprised to see novels written by Filipino authors available in the sale:

Filipino books in SG book sale

I was thrilled when I saw this edition of The Queen of Attolia because I don’t have a copy of it yet and one can never have enough copies of one’s favorite books:

Queen of Attolia in Times

Remember when I said that I haven’t bought books for myself ever since I moved here in Singapore? I’ve only purchased books given as gifts to friends. For my own reading, I just borrow from the library. Well, I made up for that with this stash:

Times book sale haul Dec 2012

Thunder on the Right by Mary Stewart
Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Kiss It by Erin Downing
Hangman’s Holiday by Dorothy Sayers
Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy Sayers
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
The Chocolate Run and The Cupid Effect omnibus by Dorothy Koomson

I got all of these for only SGD 32. Not bad, right? I like seeing them all lined up on the shelf in my room. Yay for more books! What about you, what books have you bought or borrowed this week?


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Shoot That Book: The Gabriel Hounds

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

Shoot That Book nail polish edition is back! See, I have this thing of taking pictures of my nail polish with a book cover that matches it. I know it’s a bit silly but I think it’s fun. Click here to view previous photos. The nail polish colors that I’m wearing in these pictures were actually just borrowed from my officemate. I think the light blue, kind of aqua tones go well with the pretty cover design of The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart. I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t read this book but I hope to do so soon.

What’s great about this special nail polish is it changes color depending on temperature. See what happens when I dip my hands in cold water:

Pretty cool, huh? I’m no longer wearing these shades but I’ll keep you guys posted the next time I have nail polish on – if I manage to find a book cover to match it. Also, I think I’m getting better at putting on my own polish (a lot cheaper than going to a salon to get a manicure).


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Shoot That Book: Mary Stewart Twins

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

I know I’ve featured Mary Stewart’s books often enough here on my blog even though I’ve only read a couple of them. This week, I started on another of her romantic suspense novels set in Greece: My Brother Michael. I couldn’t help but notice how similar the reissued Hodder & Stoughton copies of My Brother Michael and Nine Coaches Waiting are. It looks like the young women on the covers are twins:

They’re even wearing the same outfit, in different colors. Plus, they’re both doing the same thing: smelling flowers. I know this happens a lot in book covers – similar images or illustrations or models are used. But it’s the first time that I’ve noticed it in books written by the same author and from the same publisher. What other book cover lookalikes have you spotted lately?


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Retro Friday: The Moonspinners 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.

I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. It seems like such a lovely place, rich in culture and I would love to try authentic Greek food. I have no idea when I’ll be able to go though so I have to content myself with reading books with Greek settings. The Moonspinners is set in Crete and is the second Mary Stewart romantic suspense novel that I’ve read. I’m slowly enjoying going through her entire backlist.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Nicola Ferris, on leave from her job as a secretary in Athens, has been looking forward to a quiet week’s holiday in Crete, enjoying the wild flowers and the company of her cousin Frances.

But before she even reaches her destination Nicola stumbles on evidence of a murderous crime involving a young Englishman and a group of people tied together by blood and the bonds of greed. For the first time in her life Nicola meets a man and a situation she cannot deal with…

I love that Mary Stewart’s books have different settings. I may not be able to afford a trip to Crete, but I can afford to read a book about it. The Moonspinners has such an atmospheric setting and it was one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading it. I liked seeing Crete through Nicola’s eyes because even if she’s lived and worked in Athens for a year, she’s still a foreigner. The little town she stayed in is a quaint and quiet little place, on the brink of being discovered by tourists. She described Greeks as warm and welcoming, fascinated by newcomers and eager to please. The descriptions reminded me a bit of the Philippines – beautiful beaches, pleasant weather and people known for their hospitality. It sounds like a tourist’s dream place, right? It would have been if Nicola didn’t land right smack in the middle of a mystery. Being a nice person, she volunteers to help out even if those involved don’t want to endanger her.

I’m not a big fan of suspense or mystery novels but there’s something about Mary Stewart’s writing that draws me in. I’m never sure of the characters in the novel. I feel like I’m always nervous and worried for her main character, some of her scenes can really make my heart pound. And I’m never sure of the other characters in the novel – who is at fault, who is innocent and if they are hiding anything. I also like how Mary Stewart blends romance and suspense in her novels. Although I did feel like the romance in The Moonspinners was underdeveloped. I would have liked more scenes and conversations between Nicola and her man, I felt like they didn’t have enough time together. I liked the romance much more in Nine Coaches Waiting. Still, The Moonspinners is an oldie but goodie, I believe all of Mary Stewart’s novels are like that. I can’t wait to read the other Mary Stewart novels set in Greece: My Brother Michael and This Rough Magic. I have a feeling I’d enjoy reading those as well. Also, I’ve heard that there’s an old Disney movie based on The Moonspinners, I need to find a copy of that too.

Other reviews:
At Home With A Good Book and the Cat
Kate’s Bookcase


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Want Books: Mary Stewart’s Books

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.

I know I usually only post about one book in each of my Want Books posts but I couldn’t help but write about all of Mary Stewart’s books. So far, I’ve only read one of her books: Nine Coaches Waiting. She’s such a delightful author and it seems like so many readers are fans of her work. That made me more excited to read the rest of her books. Her romantic suspense novels have all been re-issued in these lovely modern classics edition and I’ve managed to acquire five more of them.

Only a couple more until I have the entire set! Although I’ve been telling myself that I should finish reading the ones that I have before I buy the rest. I’m currently in the middle of The Moonspinners. Aside from her romantic suspense novels, Mary Stewart also wrote an intriguing Arthurian series, from Merlin’s point of view. I want these as well but they’re not locally available.

Someday, I will have a complete Mary Stewart collection. Maybe when I’m done trimming down the TBR pile. What about the rest of you, what books are in your wishlist? Are you obsessing about one particular author as well?


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In My Mailbox: The Mary Edition

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. This meme is about books that you received or bought during the week.

For the past two weeks, I was able to acquire five actual books, four of which were written by someone named Mary.

The King Must Die by Mary Renault
The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault
My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart
The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Not included in the picture because it’s an ebook, Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra:

All of them have such pretty covers, don’t they? The Mary Renault books were recommended by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Wein, and I’m really excited to read them. I bought the two Mary Stewart books because I want to collect all of her romantic suspense novels. Five Flavors of Dumb is a gift from a good friend of mine, fellow Filipino book blogger Tina of One More Page. Thank you, Tina, for the belated Christmas gift! :) Here’s another bookish gift that I received from Celina:

It’s a leather bracelet that says “READ” and I love it. Thank you, Celina! I’ve already used it. I know it’s not book-related but I also received this postcard from a friend who’s visiting Paris, I think it’s the first postcard that I’ve gotten from France:

Sigh, it’s only the first month of the year and I’ve managed to buy several books. Note to self: read these books before buying new ones. Let’s see if I can read the books in my TBR pile instead of steadily increasing its number. What about the rest of you, what books did you get this week?


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Shoot That Book: Mary Stewart Lovelies

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

I know I already posted a picture of my latest Mary Stewart acquisitions in my In My Mailbox post this week but I couldn’t help but take more pictures of these pretty editions. I’m now the proud owner of four of her stand alone romantic suspense novels – only ten more to go until I have the complete set. Here’s a shot that shows the lovely heroines on the cover:

That’s Charity, Nicola, Linda and Mary. The details on the upper right hand of the covers:

I like the ones representing Paris, Crete and Northumberland. I don’t know why the image on the lower right corner just has a plant instead of a place. Here’s a group shot of all the covers:

Really excited to read all of these and to get the rest of the books in the set. Don’t you all agree that the covers are beautiful? Are any of you planning to complete a certain set or series of books lately?


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In My Mailbox: Gift Certificates Edition

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. This meme is about books that you received or bought during the week.

I still had a couple of gift certificates left over from the holidays and I decided to use them to buy books (no surprise there):

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart
The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I used the Sodexo gift certificates that were given by the office to buy The Fault in Our Stars by John Green from National Bookstore. I was so excited to find out that this much-anticipated novel has made it to Philippine shores! I didn’t hesitate in grabbing a copy. The signature in mine is blue, what color is in yours? Were you lucky enough to get a yeti or a hanklerfish as well?

I got several Mary Stewart recommendations in my review of Nine Coaches Waiting so I bought three of her books using the Fully Booked gift certificate that I got through the office gift exchange. Thank you, gift exchange Santa! :D Sigh, bookstore GCs never last long in my hands. But it makes me happy to have copies of these pretty Mary Stewart editions! I really want to collect all of the books in the entire set.

I sent off postcards today and grabbed some philatelic stamps while I was at the post office. Will be using these in the next batch of postcards that I send:

What about the rest of you, what books did you get this week?


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Retro Friday: Nine Coaches Waiting 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.

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart is one of the titles that Angie suggested when I asked her for recommendations similar to Eva Ibbotson’s novels. I’ve never read a Mary Stewart novel before so I decided I should give her books a try, they seem intriguing. I called the local bookstore and was thrilled to discover that the branch near my house had a copy. This book probably spent the shortest time on my wishlist – bought a copy on the same day I found out about it. Holly mentioned that she’s also interested in reading Nine Coaches Waiting so we decided to do a read-along. As always, it was a lot of fun reading a good book with a friend, even if we can only discuss our thoughts through online means. I think one of the perks of having read-alongs is you get to talk about spoilery details and things that you can’t mention in a review.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

When lovely Linda Martin first arrives at Château Valmy as an English governess to the nine-year-old Count Philippe de Valmy, the opulence and history surrounding her seems like a wondrous, ecstatic dream. But a palpable terror is crouching in the shadows. Philippe’s uncle, Leon de Valmy, is the epitome of charm, yet dynamic and arrogant — his paralysis little hindrance as he moves noiselessly in his wheelchair from room to room. Only his son Raoul, a handsome, sardonic man who drives himself and his car with equally reckless abandon, seems able to stand up to him. To Linda, Raoul is an enigma — though irresistibly attracted to him, she senses some dark twist in his nature. When an accident deep in the woods nearly kills Linda’s innocent charge, she begins to wonder if someone has deadly plans for the young count.

Linda is a very lonely young woman. Brought up as an orphan in England, she dreams of going back to her beloved France and jumps at the chance to work as a governess in a chateau located in the French alps. I thought the writing in Nine Coaches Waiting was beautiful and I was charmed by the atmospheric setting. Here’s a passage that I really liked:

“I’d live with loneliness a long time. That was something which was always there… one learns to keep it at bay, there are times when one even enjoys it – but there are also times when a desperate self-sufficiency doesn’t quite suffice, and then the search for the anodyne begins… the radio, the dog, the shampoo, the stockings-to-wash, the tin soldier…”

Linda forgot to include books, which are the best anodyne (had to look up the meaning of that word) for loneliness. It’s not surprising that she bonds with her charge, Philippe, who is also an orphan. Young Philippe may be a count but it sure doesn’t make his life easier. His Uncle Leon and Aunt Heloise may be interesting individuals but they aren’t exactly warm people – I was glad that he slowly became friends with Linda so that there was at least one adult who cared about him. When Raoul de Valmy enters the picture, the novel takes on a Jane Eyre and Cinderella feel. What’s even more delightful is that Linda was aware of it and kept making references to both stories. There’s a slow build-up at the start of the novel, plenty of time to enjoy the writing and get to know the characters. While the mystery wasn’t that surprising, the last few chapters had my heart pounding. I was scared for both Linda and Philippe and I wasn’t sure about a certain character’s innocence. There are enough twists and turns in novel to keep readers guessing. I breezed through the latter section of the book and was more than satisfied with how things ended although I wanted more of the romance. Don’t get me wrong, I think the romance was developed well but I just wanted more scenes between the heroine and her hero.

Nine Coaches Waiting is the first book that I finished this year and if all of the books that I read in 2012 are just as good, I would be one happy reader. Recommended for fans of Gothic mysteries and romantic suspense. I enjoyed reading Nine Coaches Waiting so much that I knew it wouldn’t be the last Mary Stewart book that I’ll read. I’m looking at My Brother Michael or The Moon-Spinners for my next Mary Stewart read because both books are set in Greece and I’ve always wanted to go there. Feel free to recommend your favorite Mary Stewart, would love to check them out!

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Angieville
She Reads Novels
At Home With A Good Book and the Cat
Everyday Reading

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