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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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Top Ten Tuesday: My Recommended Filipino Books

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is this: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters. Because I’m a Filipino book blogger, I’m modifying this topic to list books by Filipino authors that I would recommend to other readers. I want to take this opportunity to spread the word about Filipino authors because for me, that’s part of promoting diversity in the blogosphere. I hope that this will encourage more readers to pick up these titles because they’re all written mostly in English, with just a few phrases in Filipino.

Chic Manila books by Mina V. Esguerra’s – These are contemporary romance or chick lit set in the Philippines with Filipino characters. I recommend her books because they give readers a good picture of what life is like for a young woman back home. Her Interim Goddess of Love trilogy is new adult while the rest feature characters in their mid to late twenties (my favorite out of those is still Fairy Tale Fail.

Spotlight New Adult by Mina V. Esguerra – This series is different from Mina’s other books because they’re set in the US and are more steamy. I’ve read The Harder We Fall and Never Just Friends and really enjoyed both, I finished each in one sitting. Watch this space for my reviews.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – Candy is also a Filipino author and her middle grade contemporary novel about two siblings is partially set in the Philippines. I have Candy’s other book, Shine, in my TBR pile.

Trese graphic novel series by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldissimo – I can now happily recommend this urban fantasy/horror graphic novel series because it’s available on Amazon! Written and illustrated by Filipinos, I love how this series has supernatural creatures based on Filipino myths and folklore.

Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano – This is such a perfect summer read because it’s set in Boracay, one of the most well-known beaches in the Philippines. It’s a sweet romantic novella with a Filipino guy and Korean girl as MCs.

All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria – Another Filipino romance, this one is between two travel bloggers who win a free trip to Macau in exchange for featuring the country in their blogs.

Interim Goddess of Love_digital cover The Harder We Fall Tall Story UK Trese Mass Murders Cover Story Girl All's Fair in Blog and War

All of the books I mentioned above are available online and can be read by readers outside the Philippines. Unfortunately, the rest of my list will only be applicable to readers based back home because they’re either out of print or only available in the Philippines:

After Eden by Arnold Arre – I really liked this graphic novel romance!

The Breakup Diaries by Maya O. Calica – I can still remember the first time I read this book when I was in college. I could relate to the barista MC who was trying to get over the breakup with her college boyfriend. I made all my friends read this title back then and I’m glad it was recently reprinted.

Have Baby, Will Date by Andrea Pasion – I thought this was cute chick lit featuring a new mom.

Tough Love by Melissa Salva – I liked that the MCs had a meet cute while traveling abroad and later they find out that they’re both into karate.

After Eden The Breakup Diaries 2 Have Baby Will Date Tough Love

I hope I’ve managed to get you guys interested in Filipino fiction! This serves as a reminder to me to pick up some of the Filipino titles that I have in my TBR pile. What about the rest of you, what comes to mind when you hear of diversity in books? Any strong recommendations of diverse titles?


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Europe 2015: Regensburg Update

After being wowed by Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic, we decided to visit a medieval city in Germany too. We checked travel forums and asked German friends and Regensburg kept being recommended as a nice place to visit. Other cities that we would have loved to visit were Rothenburg and Nuremberg but they’re farther away from Munich and we didn’t want to waste too much time on train travel. About an hour and a half away from Munich, Regensburg is a charming city by the Danube river with a rich history – first capital of Bavaria, previous center of the Holy Roman Empire, the residence of the Thurn and Taxis nobility and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We started with lunch at a cafe across the church:
Regensburg cafe - across church Regensburg church

Here’s the view of the city from the bridge tower:
Regensburg - from bridge tower Regensburg - from bridge tower 2

This 12th century Stone Bridge was one of the first built-in Europe. I read somewhere that it helped inspire the Charles Bridge in Prague. It’s currently under construction so I couldn’t get a good shot:
Regensburg - bridge

The Porta Praetoria was the gate to the Roman camp Castra Regina from 179 AD. It’s amazing that a structure that old has been maintained and incorporated into the city’s architecture:
Regensburg - Porta Praetoria 3 Regensburg - Porta Praetoria
Regensburg - Porta Praetoria 2

Goliathhaus is a 13th century patrician residence with a mural of David and Goliath:
Regenburg - Goliathaus

The Schloss Thurn and Taxis is within the grounds of St. Emmeram. It’s a 19th century neo-Renaissance palace built from a monastery. The Thurn and Taxis family built a postal system in Europe in the 15th century. No pictures were allowed inside Schloss Thurn and Taxis so I only have a courtyard picture and a paparazzi shot of the floor of the winter garden:
Regensburg - Schloss Thurn and Taxis Regensburg - Schloss Thurn and Taxis floor

A sign with directions and a medieval house which has become a shop:
Regensburg - signs Regensburg - medieal house

This is the last of my series of posts about the places we visited in Europe during our two-week trip a few weeks ago. If you want to check out the rest of my travel updates, here are links to them:
Prague
Kutna Hora
Cesky Krumlov
Munich, where I met up with my Goodreads friend Estara
Neuschwanstein Castle

I’m waiting for some rolls of film to be processed and I’ll try to share some lomography shots when I get the results.


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Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I have been curious about Naomi Novik’s standalone fantasy, Uprooted, ever since I first heard about it. I read the first few Temeraire books and thought they were well-written. I just didn’t feel like continuing with the rest of the series. Closer to Uprooted’s release date, I saw glowing reviews pop up in the blogosphere and that just made me want to read the book even more. I picked it up when I was in the mood for a good fantasy novel – Uprooted delivered and even went beyond my expectations. It’s one of my favorite reads this year.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
UprootedAgnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows — everyone knows — that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

I love how Uprooted’s first line just drew me in. Right away, I wanted to know more about Agnieszka and her village’s arrangement with the Dragon (who is a wizard and not a mythical beast). I really liked Agnieszka’s character. She had a lot of freedom because she was a Dragon girl and was able to run wild as a young girl. She used to think that one of her greatest skills was that she could always be counted on to mess up her appearance, getting her clothes torn and having mud stick to her skirts. But I think what’s great about her is that she cares deeply about people, especially her family and her best friend Kasia. I knew this was a significant trait that would shape her actions for the rest of the novel. At the start of the book, she has no idea why the Dragon chooses her and was as surprised as anyone else to discover that she is actually capable of doing magic. It was interesting to see her grow and develop her skills as a witch, more so because she has a different way of doing magic. I found her interactions with the Dragon entertaining! Some of the scenes were surprisingly funny for me. The Dragon was so ill-tempered, arrogant and a little vain. He was very reluctant to be a teacher to Agnieszka, he only did it because he felt it was his duty to train anyone who has magical abilities. He was snooty and kept looking down at Agnieszka when she couldn’t manage the simplest forms of magic. He thought she was a hopeless case. He strongly reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, which is not a bad thing because I loved that book. I just wish there was more about the Dragon, I wanted to know more about his backstory and I also wanted him to have more scenes in the latter half of the book. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Kasia. I thought she would have a small role to play in the story but she has an inner strength that’s very different from Agnieszka’s. I loved how solid their friendship was because I always enjoy reading about strong friendships in fiction.

Uprooted - first line

I loved the fairytale feel of the writing. It reminded me of some of my favorite authors like Robin McKinley, Juliet Marillier and Diana Wynne Jones (because of the Howl-like character). I thought the first half of the book had great pacing. I was very absorbed and wanted to ignore everything else so I can keep reading. The pace slowed down a bit after reaching the halfway mark, but it picked up again for the last few chapters. I enjoyed reading about the world that Naomi Novik created, from the mysterious and horrifying Wood to how magic works in different ways. Agnieszka’s magic is more instinctive and closely tied to nature and her environment. While the kind of magic that the Dragon wields is a more traditional (in their world), more scientific, with specific steps that need to be followed in order for a spell to be executed well. I also liked the experimental feel of the two kinds of magic being combined, I thought that was described beautifully. It felt like the combined magic worked specifically because it was Agnieszka and the Dragon doing them. Even though I wanted to read more about this world, I’m very satisfied that Uprooted is a standalone novel. Nowadays when so many series books are being released, it’s refreshing to read a book that is complete on its own. Beautifully written, Uprooted has everything that I love in a good fantasy novel: solid worldbuilding, political intrigue, strong heroine, friendships and family ties, and a romance that has a bit of a love-hate flavor. Highly recommended for fantasy fans. I felt like I was reading an old favorite when I picked this up. I’m pretty sure it’s a book that I will be rereading in the future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Naomi Novik will write a companion novel set in this world with cameos from Agnieszka and the Dragon! I’ve also heard the news that the rights for an Uprooted movie adaptation have been bought and I’m really hoping they’d do a good job with that.

Other reviews:
Random Musings of a Bibliophile
By Singing Light
Angieville
Fantasy Cafe
The Book Smugglers
Me and My Books


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Shiny, New Kindle Paperwhite

Back in 2010, I got my first ever Kindle. It was a Kindle Keyboard. It died two years later and I got a Kindle Touch to replace it. I thought my second Kindle will last only two years but surprisingly, I’ve had it for almost three years and it’s still doing fine. In that span of time, it’s traveled with me from the Philippines to Singapore. And also to the US and Europe when I’ve gone there for vacations. It’s been a steady companion but I’ve been tempted to get the Kindle Paperwhite ever since it was released. I just felt like having a built-in light on my Kindle would make it easier for me to read. I would be able to read wherever I wanted without worrying about how good the light is. When the Kindle Voyage came out, I couldn’t decide whether I should get that or the Paperwhite. It’s taken me months to finally make a decision! The Paperwhite won when Amazon released a new version towards the end of June, which has an increased resolution.

The arrival of a package containing these brightened up my Monday:

Kindle Paperwhite

2015 Kindle Paperwhite and navy blue leather cover

Real life has been keeping me busy so unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to dive in and play around with my new toy. But I’m planning to read this as soon as I can:

Kindle Paperwhite - Harder We Fall

Roasted hazelnut mocha, banana chocolate bread and an ARC of The Harder We Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

I’m doing my best to buy and read more ebooks because it’s just more practical to do so. Since I’m working in Singapore and I keep moving around because I don’t have a permanent residence here. Also, most of the review copies that I receive are ebooks because I live all the way over in Southeast Asia. So the Kindle Paperwhite is totally a valid purchase for me, right? LOL. Hopefully this new Kindle will last several years too.

What about the rest of you, do you have Kindles or any other kind of ereader? Care to share what your digital reading experience has been like?

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