Chachic's Book Nook

1 Comment

Cover Reveal: This Side of Sunny by Agay Llanera

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Agay Llanera book that I ever read, which was her YA novel Choco Chip Hips. It’s on my best of 2015 Filipino reads, and I even nominated it for the Cybils (because yay Filipino books). So when Agay mentioned that she’s working on another book that will be released in December, I was immediately curious. Here’s the cover (designed by Gerry Isaac) and book summary for her next title, This Side of Sunny:

This Side of Sunny

Like her boyfriend back in the States, 18-year-old Mela Connor is spending Spring Break by the beach. But the difference is she’s spending it on an exotic island in the Philippines, where she’ll spend the next six days finding her estranged mother, of whom she has no memory. In the process, Mela meets her self-appointed tour guide, Paolo, who helps Mela make amends with her past while struggling not to fall in love with her.


What a bright and eye-catching cover! It’s definitely the type of cover design that would make you take a second look to check out the details. Based on the summary, it looks like the cover matches the story. It has a vacation/summer vibe going for it, with the suitcase, scooter and halo-halo (a type of Filipino snack). It makes me curious whether these things will play a part in Mela’s journey. Good thing the book will be released soon because I’m looking forward to reading this.

What do you guys think of this cover?


Society6 Bookish Shirts

The only piece of bookish clothing I own (that still fits) is my bookish skirt. I had a thing for literary shirts from Threadless a few years ago, but sadly, the shirts that I bought don’t fit anymore. I look like a sausage/longganisa when I try them on. :( I’ve been seeing a few bookish shirts on Instagram and I checked out one seller’s Society6 page to see her designs. Big mistake! I ended up browsing through all the bookish shirts on the site and now I want ALL THE SHIRTS. Here are some of the designs I loved:


The Library by Bookwormboutique

 Professional bookworm by Bookwormboutique

Professional bookworm by Bookwormboutique

I Like To Party... by Bookwormboutique

I Like To Party… by Bookwormboutique

Read Books and Drink Tea by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Read Books and Drink Tea by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Book is a dream by Risa Rodil

Book is a dream by Risa Rodil

I Cannot Live Without Books - Watercolor by Evie Seo

I Cannot Live Without Books – Watercolor by Evie Seo

Books are my H2O typography design by Evie Seo

Books are my H2O typography design by Evie Seo

Woodland Creatures series: Fox Loves Books by Evie Seo

Woodland Creatures series: Fox Loves Books
by Evie Seo

Aren’t they cute? I haven’t allowed myself to buy any of them yet because it’s so hard to choose only one or two designs. If only I can buy all of them. To be honest, I’m not really into t-shirts because I’m not skinny and cotton shirts like these tend to be unflattering on me. But I’m willing to make exceptions with bookish designs. I’ll probably just go for the unisex shirts so the fit won’t be as tight. Oh and all these designs are also available as tote bags so I’m also tempted to get those.

Have you bought bookish shirts from Society6? Or do you know of other online stores (or physical stores in Singapore or Manila) that sell bookish apparel?


Filipino Fridays: Five Ways I’ve Shown Support for Filipino Authors/Books

It’s past midnight so it’s Fridaaay in this part of the world! I’m staying up late to write this blog post because I have no idea what time I’ll finish work later/tomorrow… Deadlines, I have them. I was in the office until 9:30pm tonight so I might not be able to put up a Filipino Fridays post if I don’t do it now.


Filipino Fridays is a weekly meme that has become a tradition leading up to the Filipino Reader Conference. Unfortunately, I won’t be in Manila during the actual date of the ReaderCon so I’m only able to participate through Filipino Fridays. Links to my past two posts: Five Ways Reading Has Changed My Life and My Five Wishes as a Filipino Reader

This week’s topic is how Filipino readers can support Filipino authors and books. Now I know I can do better at encouraging and helping Filipino authors, but here are some ways that I’ve tried to show my support:

Buy Filipino books. I think the best way to support books written by Filipino authors is to buy copies of them and read them. Since I’m all the way over here in Singapore, it’s easier for me to read Filipino books when they have ebook editions. But I do make a point of buying print editions of Filipino books whenever I fly home.

Spread the word about them. Whenever I’m in the middle of a Filipino book, I try my best to talk about it – both through my blog and with friends in real life. I bookstagram it, share quotes and excerpts on Goodreads updates, and recommend it to friends who might be interested.

Feature them on the blog. Now the best blog-related thing that I can do is to post a review of the book. But that doesn’t always happen because sometimes real life gets in the way of things, and I don’t always have time to sit down and write reviews even if I want to. Which is why I’m willing to do other blog posts for Filipino books, such as round ups of books I’ve read, cover reveals, release date announcements, guest posts from authors, etc.

Give them as gifts. I love that Amazon has a “give as gift” option, which I’ve taken advantage of to send Filipino ebooks to friends who read. I’ve also made the decision of buying Filipino books and giving them as Christmas gifts this December (which is why I haven’t started on my Christmas shopping). Because I’ll be killing two birds with one stone – encouraging friends to read while supporting Filipino authors.

Share ideas and give feedback to Filipino authors. Now of course this depends on your rapport with the author and whether he/she will be willing to receive feedback from you. I’m always willing to share my thoughts and ideas, if any Filipino author wants to hear from me. :) Like I said in a previous post, I’m not sure if it would help but if you’re a Filipino author and you think I’m part of your target market, I would be willing to be a beta reader or give feedback (as time permits).

Okay, I’m about to fall asleep in front of my laptop so I’m ending this post here. Any ideas on how else we can support Filipino authors?


Influenced by a Book: Lavender Oil

As a reader, there have been times when something that I read in a book has influenced some of my actions. I’m starting this new feature Influenced by a Book to talk about things like that. I have no idea how often I’ll do posts like this so let’s just see how it goes.

First up is something influenced by one of my favorite reads this year, A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand. This lovely romance is set in Provence. It features a heroine who is a top perfumer and a hero who is a perfume executive (and is part of an old perfume family who has a strong presence in the business). So being the serious business guy that he is, the hero gets tension headaches which he usually just tries to live through. A thoughtful solution that the heroine suggests? Lavender oil. Check out this snippet:

It said: If you get a headache, try this.

And for some reason – it must be his fucking head – that made his eyes sting.

He uncapped the vial, and the scent of lavender hit him immediately, spicy, fresh, optimistic. The scent of a bee sting easing. The scent of a field on the plateaus, high up, away from the world, with a wind rippling waves of purple. The scent of an afternoon making love in a small, shadowy room above an old perfume shop.

He held the vial to his nose, his eyes closed, and his breathing slowing and deepening. That tight pain eased the minutest degree at the first breath, and then a little bit more with the second, and a little bit more, like a guitar string close to snapping being slowly, slowly adjusted back to proper tightness. It eased until he almost forgot about it, his lashes growing heavy, his face muscles relaxing.

lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil that I recently bought

That scene makes me go awww. I love the way lavender smells and I’ve used lavender-scented perfumes, shower gels, shampoos, and other bath products. I also love its flowery taste and have eaten lavender-flavored cakes and ice cream, and I’ve savored lavender tea. But I’ve never thought to use lavender essential oil for headaches, which I get from time to time, especially when I’ve been working long hours. I try to avoid taking Biogesic / paracetamol if I can help it because I don’t want to depend on it. So when I felt a headache coming on, I decided to try the treatment that Jess suggested. While my headache didn’t completely go away, the lavender oil did help me relax. Maybe I need to inhale more of it.

What about you, have you recently done something that was influenced by a book that you read? Also, what do you think of this new feature of mine? :P


Strangelet Journal: call for submissions

Strangelet is a speculative fiction literary journal that publishes short stories, poetry, and comics. They want to receive submissions from Filipino speculative fiction authors so I volunteered to write a post, in case anyone who reads my blog is interested in this. Here’s the relevant info:


Strangelet is a new journal publishing speculative fiction, poetry, and art by new and emerging writers and artists. We welcome English-language submissions from around the world, and are especially interested in short stories, poems, and short comics. To learn more about our submission guidelines and how to submit your work, visit

I haven’t read any of the issues of this journal but I did receive a review copy of Strangelet Volume 1. Looking forward to diving into it!


Ten Quotes I Liked from Books I Read in the Past Year

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I like taking note of passages that I like (I highlight them when I’m reading on my Kindle) whenever I read books. So this was a fun topic for me to put together. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite quotes from books that I’ve read in 2015:

Learning to FallLearning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

In theory, blogging shouldn’t take a lot of time. Read a book, then write about it. Simple, right? Obligation fulfilled to the publisher or author who sent the book, to the readers who read the blog.

Not quite.

Blogging found me at a time when I needed people. I knew this, didn’t need a therapist to tell me. Moving to another state, starting college, figuring out how to be a fully functional adult and artist… there was so much comfort in being friends with people who liked the same things. Believe me, I tried being friends with real people, but the friendship offers stopped coming when I missed one too many dorm parties.


Choco Chip HipsChoco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera

I looked at the mug of thick, hot chocolate, like I was seeing it for the first time. The sides of the cup were smudged with dark brown liquid, dotted with grains. To get this thick consistency, you had to melt the tablea in water with milk, stirring the pot tirelessly with a wooden molonillo. You whisked and whisked until your arms protested, until the ingredients melded in a rich and silky brown. It was a labor of love.

I pulled the mug closer, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and inhaled. It smelled – what was it, exactly? – full. It smelled so many things: dark, earthy, and fruity. I held the rim to my lips and took a long, thoughtful sip.

“It’s not as sweet as you’re used to,” Dad said apologetically.

It tasted a hint of the sweet, a hint of the bitter – the way life always had been.


Loveless Childless CluelessLoveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores

The sea is for me. I make this declaration silently, standing chest-deep in the water, staring at that point where the horizon meets the sea. I close my eyes and revel in my favorite natural sound in the world – the waves. It’s a hypnotic rhythm, a soothing rhythm, the sweetest, I’m-so-glad-I’m-alive rhythm.


I'll Meet You ThereI’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

In my essay for San Fran, I’d written about how I’d always felt like there was something magical about taking bits and pieces of the world around me and creating something whole. It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.


Once Upon a RoseOnce Upon a Rose by Laura Florand

She took a deep breath, and that sense of nothing shimmered like a mirage before all the things that filled her lungs. An air rich with scents and with the vitality of the man beside her. Cliff-hills rose and narrowed around them as they headed into the pass that led out of the valley. All the rest of the world seemed so far away here. Songs lurked in the scents of rosemary and thyme and pine and roses in this car, teasing at her to hit the right note and distill their essence into words and melody. That would be fun, to capture a scent in song, and nobody else but her might ever even realize what perfume teased through the notes.


A Wish Upon JasmineA Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand

Sexy and sophisticated required so much work and attention to unimportant things, like how much you ate and how you fixed your hair. It was a particular skill, requiring a certain amount of luck in your genetics and then, exactly like most other accomplishments, at least seventy-five percent hard work, practice, and persistence.

And she’d chosen to practice something else, something that mattered to her more. Those models who looked so great as they marketed her perfumes to the public could no more have made a perfume than she could have looked that sleek and alluring. They worked in symbiosis, she and those models, but she was the secret element of that symbiosis, the elusive magic, and they were the glamorous show.

So naturally, it made sense to assume that the elegant Damien Rosier might prefer the glamor.

And yet… here they both were. Together.


Bone GapBone Gap by Laura Ruby

She closed the book and smoothed the quilt on her bed. Unlike the girl in the novel, she hadn’t made it herself, knew little about quilting or sewing or craftiness. And unlike the girl in the novel, she understood heat and wind more than ice and snow, and had no intention of breaking anyone’s heart, except maybe her own. Even Get Real had said nothing about this, about sitting on your bed in your room, stomach and head buzzing, nerves thrumming, heart beating in your earlobes and your toes, hoping so hard that there was one boy out there who wanted you as much as you wanted him, because you wouldn’t know what you would do with yourself if this were not true.


Archivist WaspArchivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Find the girl with the knife in her belt and the scars on her face, they told me. She’s different from the other girls who’d come before her, even though they’d carried the same knife, worn the same scars. She helps the dead, when she can, even when the living punish her for it. She probably will not want to be found. But she is worth finding.


UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

He looked at me, baffled and for the first time uncertain, as though he had stumbled into something, unprepared. His long narrow hands were cradled around mine, both of us holding the rose together. Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song. I was abruptly too hot, and strangely conscious of myself. I pulled my hands free.


Girl Before a MirrorGirl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

What do I want?

I want to be happy and not feel guilty about it. I want to be curious without being called indulgent. I want to be accepted regardless of what I look like, what I do for a living, my marital status, whether I have kids, or whether you think I’m nice enough, hospitable enough, or humble enough to measure up to your impossible standards. I want purpose. I want contentment. I want to be loved and give love unreservedly in return. I want to be seen, I want to matter. I want freedom.


What about the rest of you, what are some of quotes you’ve liked from books that you’ve read this year?


Freebie Alert: Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra

Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra is free on Amazon now until the 17th. It’s the prequel to Mina’s upcoming Chic Manila book, What You Wanted. While this short story is a freebie, I thought it would be the perfect time to write an equally short review for it. :)

Wedding Night StandHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

A wedding, a moody bridesmaid, a man in pursuit – of someone else.

Andrea Crisostomo is no longer your Ms. Right Now, thank you very much. She’s had enough of guys who like her “free spirit” but then break up with her before things get serious. One guy in particular screwed her over so much that she now hates weddings, but she has to suck it up to attend her sister Julie’s big day.

Damon Esquibel enjoys the slow and steady chase, and it looks like his two-year pursuit of Geraldine is about to pay off. He’s at his friend Anton’s destination wedding only because of her. But then he meets the sister of the bride, who doesn’t seem to want to be there, and it’s enough to question his plans for the evening – and the rest of the weekend.

As the title and the premise suggests, Wedding Night Stand is set during a wedding a few hours away from Manila. The happy couple who tied the knot? Julie and Anton from That Kind of Guy, another book from the author’s Chic Manila series. I think it’s pretty cute how these books are loosely connected. They’re standalones but it feels like a treat whenever I see cameos of previous MCs. Also, it feels realistic because even though Metro Manila has a population of almost 12 million (according to Wikipedia), it still feels like such a small world sometimes.

I started reading Wedding Night Stand past midnight last Sunday. You might be wondering why I would start a book that late when I would have to wake up early the next day for work. That’s because I was in denial that the weekend is over. Anyway, this was the perfect choice because I was able to finish it in one go. And I didn’t have to give up that much sleeping time for it. It’s short, flirty, and steamy with just the right amount of sexual tension for two attractive individuals who happened to be assigned seats next to each other. Can I just say that Damon’s a really hot guy? Kulang na lang ng kanin. There’s also a tiny bit of sweetness in there, when the two characters side with each other after learning about the other person’s story. I picked this up, knowing that Damon and Andrea’s romance would be continued in another book. But I think it can stand well enough on its own. So grab it while it’s free!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,572 other followers