Chachic's Book Nook


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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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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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Shoot That Book: Lersta Reading Lamp

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.

A couple of months ago, I moved to the room that I’m currently renting and wrote about the aspects of the move related to reading and blogging. In that post, I mentioned that I couldn’t really read in the reading corner where my armchair is placed because there’s not enough light at night. I had a desk lamp that I used to balance on the armrest but even that has given up on me (the switch is broken). I also mentioned that I thought about buying a stand lamp but the ones that I saw in Ikea were too expensive. The other day, my friend mentioned that she saw a lamp that was only SGD19.90 and I wanted to get one as soon as I heard about it. So today, I dropped by Ikea after work and got a Lersta reading lamp.

Ikea Lersta and bulb

This is the cheapest stand lamp that is available in Ikea. All the other ones are a little pricey. Now I’m berating myself for not searching through the online store to check if there are cheaper alternatives to the ones I saw in the physical store. This lamp is just a bit more expensive than the book light that I bought a few months ago (which has also died and I didn’t bother replacing the batteries since it wasn’t any good)! Anyway, just wanted to give a quick update because I’m happy that I now have a bright and shiny lamp in my reading corner:

Ikea Lersta lamp with armchair

Now I just need to decide what to read next…


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One Less Lonely Person

blogging August 15 2014

The other day, my friends and I were talking about how it’s very difficult to adjust to living in another country, away from family and friends. Most Filipinos have very strong ties to family and friends so when we do move abroad to explore better job opportunities, more often than not, we get lonely and homesick. At least it’s easier to keep in touch because of messaging and calling apps nowadays. But we also talked about how important it is to have hobbies to keep ourselves busy. Of course, I brought up reading and blogging. My friends said it’s good that I’m able to do something that I love and I absolutely agree. I would be pretty lonely if I didn’t have reading and blogging to keep me busy.

In a blog post three years ago, I discussed how much reading is a part of my life so I won’t expand on that. I have also talked about how I love the book blogging community, how I think people are so warm and friendly and I feel like I’ve made some good friends over the years. I don’t mind talking about it again though. It may not seem obvious at this point in time because I’m not blogging as often as I want to and I don’t get as many comments as before but I still feel like reading and blogging are a big part of my life. It’s more than a hobby, in terms of how much thought, time and effort I put into it. It’s more like a lifestyle because I’m in constant conversation (through comments, Twitter, emails or even messaging apps) with blog friends about books. It’s not even as lucrative as other forms of blogging, like fashion or food where other bloggers can get sponsors through ads, but we keep doing it out of love for the written word.

Sometimes, my enthusiasm (or frustration) spills over to real life and I influence my friends to read the books that I love (or stay away from the ones I didn’t think were any good). I also have several friends who ask me for recommendations for themselves or for other people when they need ideas for giving books as gifts. My mom doesn’t really read my blog but it’s funny how she tells her friends that I’m a book blogger. There was also one time when I was telling her that I spend so much money buying books and she said that’s not really a bad thing, it’s better to spend money on books rather than harmful addictions.

I have to be honest and say that I really had a hard time adjusting to living in Singapore when I first moved two years ago. Actually, there are times when I feel like I’m working in Singapore but still living in Manila just because the latter is still home. But I’m very thankful with how reading and blogging has helped me. Reading affects my mood and I’m a lot happier when I just finished an amazing book. Same thing goes when something positive happens that is blog-related, like when I get a response from an author or when I win a giveaway. When I’ve had a bad day or when I’m worrying about something, I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it, I want to keep my blog a happy place. This is why I try to stay away from blog drama whenever possible. I’m an outgoing person but I also enjoy having alone time and I like how reading and blogging lets me do both. I can read by myself and then engage other readers in discussions whenever I feel like it. I can do that whenever and wherever I want to. Both are hobbies that have flexibility in that sense.

I just wanted to share these thoughts and also to thank everyone who has been part of my reading and blogging life so far. Maraming salamat!


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July 2014 Recap

Fully Booked July 2014

I went home to Manila for a long weekend at the end of the July. This was a shot taken in Fully Booked’s Fort branch.

Hello everyone! I recently read one of my most anticipated titles this year – Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews, the newest installment in the Kate Daniels series – and I’ve been meaning to write a review but haven’t found the time to sit down and work on it. I know I’ll get to it eventually because I loved the book and I want to promote the series but in the meantime, here’s a recap of books I read last month:

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty – I liked this sequel about as much as I liked the first book. Found the first half a bit slow but the pace picked up towards the end. I’m still not in love with the series but curious about the final book.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – One of my favorite books this year. Review can be found here.

Wildlife by Fiona Wood – Another favorite for this year. Review can be found here.

Laura’s Wolf by Lia Silver – Some thoughts I posted on Goodreads: Recommended by Sherwood Smith and Estara. I wasn’t blown away by Laura’s Wolf but it’s an interesting read. I liked both Laura, the ex-con artist, and Roy, the veteran Marine. I thought they were a good match. There’s a lot of action in the book but a huge chunk of it also focuses on PTSD and how it affected Laura and Roy and their relationship. I would have liked for the book to have included more worldbuilding when it comes to the werewolf lore, like more history about werewolves in this world and how they came to be. Maybe the next book will have more about that? I’m curious about it because of I want to know more about Roy’s Filipino American best friend DJ and his family.

Prisoner by Lia Silver – Some thoughts I posted on Goodreads: I liked that DJ is Filipino-American – I found it hilarious that his nickname is Lechon and he listens to Pinoy hiphop. I did find it a bit weird that he calls his mom “Nanay” but he doesn’t call his grandma “Lola”. It was interesting how different DJ’s personality is from his best friend Roy. He’s much more outgoing and playful than Roy. It was also interesting to see a different perspective to the same war experiences that Roy had in the first book. DJ is the perfect match for Echo, who has tried to distance herself from emotions after losing her sisters. It was fun to watch them get to know each other and form a friendship. For some reason, I thought this was going to be a standalone and was surprised to find out that it’s the first book in DJ and Echo’s trilogy.

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren – The premise of this looked so interesting. A guy and a girl meet in Vegas and they hook up. The girl follows the guy to Paris for some soul searching. I felt like this book had so much potential but unfortunately, I didn’t think it was executed well.

The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao – Some thoughts I posted on Goodreads: Very easy to read and fall into (finished it in a span of one day) but a little too much angst for a best friend turned lovers story. I find it hard to believe that they’ve been best friends for several years without having a DTR (Define the Relationship) type of conversation. I’ve had that kind of talk with a few of my close guy friends over the years, like “Dude, you know I love you but not in THAT way.” or “My friends think we should date, we both know that will never happen.” or “I will smack some sense into you if you ever think you’ve fallen in love with me.” Also, I felt that I was being told about their friendship instead of being shown. Like the drunk calls and long-distance calls/text messages were just mentioned in passing instead of being actual scenes in the book. I would have been more convinced of their friendship if I saw more concrete examples of how it formed. I don’t know if the length is a factor for the Romance Class that produced this book, maybe it had to keep to a novella-length?

The Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw – This book came highly recommended by Rachel Neumeier (thanks again for sending me a copy, Rachel!) and it’s my first Gillian Bradshaw. It was a bit intense and serious in terms of political situations I’m not familiar with but I enjoyed reading it overall because I liked how Charis loved the art of healing and how determined she was to be a doctor. It’s also more believable for her to pass herself off as a eunuch rather than a man.

As a reading month, I think July started off really strong since I found two books to love – Open Road Summer and Wildlife. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll discover some good ones this August. I also had a lot of fun organizing and hosting Amour et Florand, which was a celebration of Laura Florand’s lovely writing. For those of you who have read Laura’s books, I hope you enjoy the posts. And for those of you who haven’t had a chance to try her novels, I hope the event has convinced you to check them out!

Antoinette macarons

Of course I had to have macarons while Amour et Florand was running on the blog. These were from Antoinette, I really liked their early grey macaron.

That’s it for me this July. How about the rest of you, what are the books that you read last month? Any good ones that stood out?

Recap of previous months:
January
February
March
May
June


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June 2014 Recap

June has ended and with it, the first half of the year. I feel like that went by pretty quickly? Probably because I had a couple of trips earlier this year. I should do a mid-2014 recap and see which books have become favorites for this year. I’ll think about doing something like that. For now, here are the books that I read in the past month:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore – This was a reread for a YAckers discussion. It’s such a comfort to reread old favorites. Graceling was just as good as I remembered. I ♥ Katsa and Po.

Baiting the Maid of Honor by Tessa Bailey – I’ve become a Tessa Bailey fangirl and I enjoy her books so much that she’s become an auto-buy author for me. Like with all of her books, I finished Baiting the Maid of Honor pretty quickly and I enjoyed reading it but I don’t think it’s as good as her Line of Duty books. Looking forward to seeing what she publishes next!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Review can be found here.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – Review can be found here.

Summer Rain is a romance anthology. I bought it because it has short stories by Ruthie Knox and Mary Ann Rivers. I’ve read and enjoyed both of those short stories and a couple of others in the book but I wasn’t able to finish the whole thing.

Killer Instincts series by Elle Kennedy (Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits) – Seems like I’ve been reading more and more romances lately. I can’t help it, they’re just so easy to get into. I liked the premise for this Elle Kennedy series because the main characters are assassins and mercenaries. It’s funny because I didn’t love any of the books on their own but I realized that the series is a much stronger read when the books are read all together. I’m now invested enough in the characters that I’m really, really curious about the next book which will be released later this year.

Saga Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – I follow only two graphic novel series: Saga and Trese and I read them when I feel like taking a break from full-length novels. Saga is such a good series with excellent writing and great artwork. I’m not a fan of all the gore/death/injuries in the series but I will keep reading because I want to know what happens to the characters.

Nowadays, I don’t feel like I’m not super behind on blogging anymore because I get to review some, if not all, of the books that I read. I would still like to post more often that I do now but I don’t want to sacrifice my reading time for it. Which is why I do these recaps, to keep track of the books that I’ve read even if I haven’t written reviews for them. I’m hoping that July will be an amazing month in terms of books, I have a few in my TBR pile that I’m really excited about (to the point where it’s difficult to choose what to read next). Also, I will be hosting Amour et Florand at the end of the month so watch out for that.

What about the rest of you, what are the books that you read last June? Any titles that became favorites?

Recap of previous months:
January
February
March
May


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Late Night Reading

I do most of my reading at night. I used to have a longer commute to work and I got to read on the train then. But since I moved, there are only a few stops from my current flat to the office so I don’t get to read while traveling. I barely get enough time to check messages on my phone during that train ride. There are times when I could squeeze in some reading time while having dinner but I read mostly after dinner and before going to bed. This is also the time when I try to do anything else that I need to do – like blogging or catching up on chores – but I tend to ignore those other tasks when I’m immersed in a good book. And when I’m in the middle of a wonderful book, I’m also willing to give up sleep and stay up late to have more reading time or to finish the book.

Kindle on bed

However, there are also instances when I stay up late to read not because the book is good but because I just want to get it over with. It may be because something has thrown me out of the story – an annoying character or a frustrating situation – and I just want to find out what happens in the end. Very rarely do I DNF a book. Plus there are times when I would rather not DNF because even if I’m not really enjoying the book, I still want to know how it ends. But then when I stay up then the next day rolls around and the lack of sleep affects me, I get irritated with myself for wasting precious sleeping time over a book that is less than amazing. The point of this random rambling is to ask the rest of you if you also encounter this situation. Does staying up late to read or finish a book always mean that you’re reading a good book? Or do you also stay up late just to get things over with, like I do? I’m curious to hear what you guys think.

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