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Top Ten Favorite Fairy Tale Retellings

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I’m a huge fan of fairy tale retellings. I love seeing an author take the familiar elements of a fairy tale and make it his or her own story. So when I found out about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, I jumped at the chance to make a list of my faves.

Beauty and the Beast:
Beauty by Robin McKinley Cruel Beauty

Cinderella:
Ella Enchanted Six Impossible Things

The Goose Girl:
Goose Girl_Alison Jay

The Six Swans:
Daughter of the Forest

Sleeping Beauty:
Enchantment

Peter Pan:
Tiger Lily

Last but certainly not the least, I love how Laura Florand weaves flavors of some fairy tales into her stories:
Once Upon a Rose The Chocolate Kiss

What are your favorite fairy tale retellings? Or which fairy tales would you love to be retold?

Pico de Loro - Beauty and the Beast

My copy of Robin McKinley’s Beauty with Ipanema Beauty and the Beast flipflops in the background


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Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

In my cover reveal post for Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, I quoted a Twitter conversation where I mentioned that I would be thrilled if these two hockey romance authors worked on a collab title. Given how much I enjoyed both the Ivy Years and the Off-Campus series by these authors, I was pretty sure that I’d enjoy Him. I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of this title and I was so glad it was sent out just as the weekend started. That gave me enough time to read it without worrying about real life getting in the way. As is the usual case lately, it took me a while to write a review so Him has been released since then so feel free to grab a copy of it!

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

HimThey don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions — can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend… and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

I had so much fun reading Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s Him. So much so that the next day, my flatmate asked me what I was reading in the middle of the night because she said she could hear laughter from my room. Yep, some of the scenes in this book really made me laugh and smile along with the characters. It’s hard not to when Wes and Jamie tease the hell out of each other. I really liked that they have a solid friendship that was formed through years of spending summers together in hockey camp. They come from different family backgrounds but they’ve always had hockey to bond over. That friendship get a break after Wes walks away because he mistakenly thinks that he ruined what they had with a careless bet. On the other hand, Jamie didn’t think that incident was a big deal and was more hurt by the silence from Wes more than anything else. After reconnecting at a championship game, Wes decides to join Jamie as a coach in their old hockey camp. Surprisingly, there wasn’t that much angst in their story as these two guys change the status of their relationship from friends into something more. It felt like a natural and realistic transition of friends to lovers, with a nice summery vibe while they’re both having fun coaching a sport they’re both passionate about.

I thought it was nice that Jamie and Wes had such distinct personalities, that were contrasting to a certain extent. Jamie is an easygoing, California surfer type of guy while Wes is more serious and prickly. I think their personalities are reflective of their upbringing. Jamie comes from a big family who supports him in basically everything, which is saying something considering how he makes some pretty big decisions during the duration of this book. Wes comes from a wealthy but cold and uptight family. He makes a point of keeping people at a distance because of this. I felt so bad that Wes doesn’t have a warm and welcoming family but at least he has Jamie in his life. I wish there were more scenes that had Wes interacting with Jamie’s family because they’re awesome. I also really liked Jamie’s friendship with Holly and how understanding she is of his predicament. Even with their career decisions, these two guys were in different places. Wes was totally committed to being the best professional hockey player that he can be, while Jamie was indecisive about playing pro. I really don’t know much about hockey but I liked that these aspects of their stories were fleshed out because it’s something that guys their age think about. Also, these career decisions affected their relationship as well.

Him was an engaging read that had me rooting for Wes and Jamie right from the start. Sexy, funny, sweet and swoon-worthy! To be perfectly honest, M/M sports romance wasn’t something that was at the top of my list of books to read. I tried it because Sarina Bowen wrote The Understatement of the Year in the middle of a series that had earlier M/F books. That was the first M/M book that I read and thus has a special place in my heart given how much I cared for the characters. So yay Sarina for that strategy! Him is only the second M/M romance that I’ve read and it solidified my resolve to read more books like it. If M/M isn’t really your thing, I still recommend giving Him a try. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Elle and Sarina will work on another collab title because I would love to read more from them!

Other reviews:
SmexyBooks
Me and My Books

Him2


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Book Haul: SG Book Deals

Last weekend, I posted an announcement of the SG Book Deals warehouse sale and today, I dropped by to check it out. I wanted to go today because it’s the first day of the sale and I was thinking there would be more stocks than any other day. I had to figure out how to get to the place – took the MRT to Bishan and then took the bus – so I arrived there sometime in the late afternoon. I was surprised to see so many people hunting for books! Originally, I wanted to buy kiddie books for my godsons but looks like they ran out of good titles. They said they will replenish stocks tomorrow but I don’t think I would have time to go.

SG Book Deals - August 2015

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 2

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 3

They’re having an SG50 promo where you can fill one of these boxes with as many books that can fit into it and just pay SGD50! Of course, people took advantage of this and I saw a lot of them holding boxes while browsing around.

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 4

I didn’t fill a box but the sellers were kind enough to give me an eco bag while I was browsing. My book haul includes these titles:

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 1

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 2

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond and Dave McKean
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
Preloved by Shirley Marr
Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart
Red Ink by Julie Mayhew
West End Girls by Jenny Colgan
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend by Jenny Colgan
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter
The Prince Who Walked with Lions by Elizabeth Laird
Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart
Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers by John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh

FYI, I wiped the floor before putting down the books. :P I think it looks nicer when you can see all the covers. I thought it was awesome that they had some Aussie YA titles! I also couldn’t resist getting copies of two favorite books, Code Name Verity and A Monster Calls. I don’t have this particular edition of the former and I can always give away copies of the latter.

The sale will last until August 10 so I’m including the details again, in case you want to check it out:
SG BOOK DEALS WAREHOUSE SALE POSTER

Event details:
Date: 1-10 August 2015
Time: 11am to 7pm (Weekends & Public Holiday); 11am to 2pm (Weekdays)
Venue: No. 438 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1, Singapore 569619 (Opposite Pathlight School, above Rozel Furnishing Store)


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Impromptu SG Indie Bookstore Hop

Last weekend, I did an impromptu bookstore hop. I’ve been meaning to visit Littered With Books ever since I saw pictures of it pop up on my Instagram explore page. I finally got to do so last Saturday.

Here are pictures of Littered With Books, located in the Tanjong Pagar area:
Littered With Books 1

Littered With Books 2

Littered With Books 3

Littered With Books 4

I bought one of these canvas bags from the store, which brings my bookish tote bag collection to a grand total of two.

Littered With Books 5

I’ve always loved this quote because books + travel ♥♥

On Sunday, I met up with friends for brunch at Forty Hands cafe and since we were already in the area, we dropped by Books Actually and Woods in the Books.

Forty Hands

Brunch at Forty Hands. Poached eggs with mushroom and spinach. Bacon. Mocha.

BooksActually - July 2015

BooksActually - July 2015 - corner

BooksActually - July 2015 - cats

Cats of BooksActually

BooksActually - Math Paper Press

Books published by Math Paper Press.

Last but not the least, we dropped by a bookstore specializing in children’s books:
Woods in the Books - July 2015

It was a fun weekend because I got to visit these three indie bookstores even though I didn’t plan it. What about you, have you visited any nice bookstores lately?


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SG Book Deals Warehouse Sale – August 2015

Pansing, one of Singapore’s major book distributors, is hosting a warehouse sale in August! I’ve mentioned before that books are expensive in Singapore so it’s always a good idea to take advantage of sales and discounts whenever possible. I need to see what my weekends will look like in August because I want to drop by this sale. If you’re a reader based in Singapore then I definitely recommending checking out the details below to see if this is something that will interest you. They have some pretty good deals for this warehouse sale.

SG BOOK DEALS WAREHOUSE SALE POSTER

Event details:
Date: 1-10 August 2015
Time: 11am to 7pm (Weekends & Public Holiday); 11am to 2pm (Weekdays)
Venue: No. 438 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1, Singapore 569619 (Opposite Pathlight School, above Rozel Furnishing Store)

More information:
– SG50 Box Sale – only at S$50, in line with SG50 celebrations (it was going for S$100 at the sale in April)
– Free Book for Seniors – aged 50 years old and above, limited to ONE book of your choice per person, proof of identity/age is required.
– Prices for single titles as low as 50 cents
– Good range at great value
– Over 10,000 titles available at the sale
– Get updates via http://www.facebook.com/sgbookdeals


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Coming Soon: A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand

One of my favorite contemporary romance authors is Laura Florand. Her next release will be the second installment in the La vie en Roses series and will be called A Wish Upon Jasmine. Her post about the cover, premise and first chapter excerpt can be found here. I’ve read the excerpt and it’s so good! I think I now have an idea of what the fairytale inspiration will be in this book. :) Nice play on the character’s name if I’m right.

I loved Once Upon a Rose and it’s one of my favorite reads this year so I’m pretty excited that we’re getting another Provence book soon. I thought we’d have to wait until next year!

A Wish Upon Jasmine

Ruthless.
That was what they said about Damien Rosier. Handsome. Wealthy. Powerful. Merciless. No one messed with his family, because to do so they would have to get through him. No one thought he had a heart. Not even the woman he gave his to.

Cynical.
That was what they said about Jasmin Bianchi. A top perfumer of her generation, Jess had achieved commercial success by growing a protective shell over a tender heart. The one time she cracked it open to let Damien in, he crushed it—after a night of unbelievable passion.

Lovers.
That one magical night couldn’t survive the harsh light of dawn. When Jess woke up to discover the man in bed beside her had stolen her company, she fled.

Enemies.
Now she’s come to the south of France with a threat to his family heritage. If he wants to reclaim both it and the woman who walked away from him, he’s going to have to fight as dirty as only Damien can.

But Jess knows how to fight dirty, too. And these days, she has nothing left to lose.

Certainly not her heart.

____________________________

Doesn’t that look interesting? On her Facebook page, Laura posted cover ideas before finally settling on this particular cover design. I think it’s looks good because it matches the cover of Once Upon a Rose. I also like how the titles focus on a specific flower – rose and jasmine. Maybe the next ones will be something about lavender or lily of the valley or violet. Or mimosa! I had a Fragonard perfume that was mimosa scented. I guess we just have to wait and see. :)


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NCBD Blog Tour: Filipino Children and YA Books Wish List

NCBD Blog Tour Header

Yesterday, I wrote about my recommended books written by Filipino authors for Top Ten Tuesday. Today, I’m continuing the Filipino theme with this post. I believe the Philippine’s National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) is being celebrated for most of the month of July. There are weekly topics for the NCBD Blog Tour where everyone can participate. I joined the NCBD Blog Tour earlier this month by listing my favorite Filipino children and YA titles. This week’s topic is:

Hulyo 20 – 25: Wish List
Anong Pilipinong aklat pambata o pangkabataan ang gusto mong mailimbag? (Maaaring paksa, uri ng aklat, o ng isang manunulat o ilustrador. Maaaring maglista nang higit sa isa pa.)

Which I translated as:

July 20 – 25: Wish List
What Filipino children or young adult book would you want to be published? (It can be a topic, type of book or a specific author or illustrator. Feel free to list more than one.)

Over the years, I’ve browsed the kiddie section of Manila bookstores to buy children’s books written by Filipino authors for my godsons. I’ve noticed that there’s a pretty good selection of titles that are available nowadays, a lot more than what was published when I was a kid. I love the ones where the stories are written in both Filipino and English because I can give those as gifts even to non-Filipino friends. So I think when it comes to children’s books, there’s a good slate out there.

When it comes to Filipino middle grade and young adult fiction, I think there’s a HUGE gap. I’ve scoured bookstores to look for MG or YA titles that I can read and frankly, there doesn’t seem to be that many that have been published. So my wish is simple: I want to read more Filipino MG or YA titles across different genres. Contemporary, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, romance, historical, etc. Series or standalones. I’m not picky. As long as it’s a well-written novel, I’ll read it. It would be great if the Filipino MG and YA scene would become as developed as the Australian YA market, where there are now so many amazing titles being published. Some of which are released first in Australia and later published in the US or UK.

Also, another wish of mine would be that these titles be available in ebook format. Since I’m based in Singapore, I only get to buy physical copies of Filipino books whenever I travel home and that doesn’t happen as often as I would like.

What about you, what are Filipino children, MG or YA books that you would like to be published? Do you have any recommendations written by Filipino authors?

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