Chachic's Book Nook


Leave a comment

Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge: Giant Days

graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

Image designed by my friend Kim of Dreaming of Espresso. Thanks for letting me use it!

Giant DaysThe only book challenge that I signed up for this year is the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge, and I went for the Modern Age level. This challenge is kicking my ass! I thought it would be totally manageable, and I was half-right because it hasn’t been difficult to read at least one graphic novel a month. I just haven’t been able to keep up with the reviewing part. But hey, last month’s review was a 3 volumes in 1 review type of thing so I think I’m still good.😛 Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison and Lissa Treiman was supposedly my March graphic novel but I’m posting my review late, because this work week has been tiring and I wasn’t able to find time to sit down and work on a post.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery mold, nuchauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.

Giant Days, Vol. 1 was the book that I read during my birthday. I bought a copy of it earlier this year based on the recommendation of my good friend Maggie. I don’t think I’ve ever read a graphic novel with a college setting so I was curious when I found out about Giant Days. I was also drawn to the bright yellow cover and the illustration on it, showing a girl concentrating hard while she’s typing away on her phone. The art style seemed fitting for the storyline, and it reminded me a bit of some cartoons that I watched growing up. It had a young and fun vibe to it. Right off the bat, readers are introduced to Susan, Esther and Daisy. Three college girls who have totally different personalities but have become close friends in a short span of time. It was easy to sink my teeth into Giant Days and I found it an enjoyable read, but I couldn’t really say that I loved it. It was fun to get to know the girls and to see them supporting each other through their college-related adventures, but I wasn’t as invested in them as I would have liked to be. The length felt too short for me to get to know them enough. It would have been a stronger read for me if it had more character development. As it was, I felt that the storylines were spread a bit thinly to shine the spotlight on each of the girls. While it’s an interesting graphic novel, I’m a little undecided on whether I’d pick up the second volume due to be released sometime in April. I should probably read the rest of the graphic novels on my TBR pile before deciding to buy more.


2 Comments

Meet Up with Aussie YA author, Pip Harry

Last Saturday, I met up with Aussie YA author Pip Harry for brunch. I’ve been meaning to blog about our meet up but have been busy with work so I haven’t gotten around to it until now. First, I have to thank another Aussie YA author, Kirsty Eagar, for helping Pip and I connect. I wouldn’t have known that Pip has moved to Singapore if Kirsty hadn’t mentioned it! (As an aside, I’m trying to be patient while waiting for my order of Kirsty’s latest book Summer Skin, I hope it arrives soon.)

Pip and I decided to meet at one of PS Cafe’s branches, she took a pic of the place and posted it here. While I took a shot of the food that I had and the copy of I’ll Tell You Mine that Pip generously gave me, uploaded here. I told her that Filipino YA isn’t as well-developed as Aussie YA so I gave her some Filipino romance instead. We both forgot to take a pic together though!

Pip Harry's signature

We started chatting away the moment I sat down and we barely came up for air. We talked about books, life, and everything in between. We discussed Aussie YA books, of course. Who are the authors we loved, and which titles we’re both looking forward to reading. Some of the authors we talked about: Kirsty Eagar, Melina Marchetta, Vikki Wakefield, Fiona Wood, Justine Larbalestier, Melissa Keil, Ellie Marney, Amie Kaufman, and so many others. She said the community of Aussie YA authors is such a tight-knit and supportive group, which I thought was so nice. I mentioned that the way she describes that community seems similar to how the Filipino romance is developing now. And I also mentioned that I wish that Filipino YA would grow just like Aussie YA did. I also remember she asked me how I first got into reading Aussie YA, so I mentioned book bloggers who got me into it like Nomes and Maggie and a couple of others who have gone on hiatus. I can’t even remember who first recommended it but Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road was my gateway book into Aussie YA. Meeting Pip made me realize that I haven’t been reading that much Aussie YA books lately, which is a shame because I have more than a few of them on my TBR pile. I will try to bump them up! Aside from books, we also chatted about random things about living in Singapore, the Philippines and Australia.

Good food, great conversation and a personalized copy of a book that I’m looking forward to reading… Makes for a fun Saturday, right?:) I hope this wouldn’t be the one and only time that Pip and I would get to meet.


7 Comments

Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge: The Wicked + The Divine

graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

Image designed by my friend Kim of Dreaming of Espresso. Thanks for letting me use it!

The only book challenge that I signed up for this year is the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge, and I went for the Modern Age level. This means I need to read and review at least one graphic novel per month. On the reading part, that’s definitely not too difficult to accomplish! The reviewing part is more difficult. I received Vol. 1 of The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist), Clayton Cowles last Christmas and I bought the next two installments right after. I read all three volumes together so I’m consolidating mini reviews of them in this post.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

The Wicked + The Divine - The Faust Act The Wicked + The Divine - Fandemonium The Wicked + The Divine - Commercial Suicide

Vol. 1: The Faust Act – So many people were gushing about WicDiv and it kept being mentioned whenever I asked for graphic novel recommendations. I was excited to get started on Vol. 1 because I thought the concept for the series was brilliant. I was intrigued when I read the premise, and immediately wanted to find out more about these young men and women who turned into gods, and manifested their powers by performing concerts. They thrived on these performances, and the audience loved them. Kind of similar to how much influence rock stars and pop stars have in the real world, just a little bit more intense. I thought the artwork was gorgeous and reminded me a bit of Jem and the Holograms, one of my favorite animated shows when I was younger. Vol. 1 served as a quick introduction to the series, showing readers a wide range of characters. I enjoyed reading it but I was mostly confused by the time I reached the end. I felt like I couldn’t get a clear grasp of the storyline. Good thing I already had a copy of Vol. 2 with me so I could dive right in.

Vol. 2: Fandemonium – Vol. 2 continues with the story that Vol. 1 started and introduced a few more of the gods. I went through Vol. 2 pretty quickly because I wanted to understand what was going on. And yes, I did get some of the answers that I wanted but even more questions were raised. Just when I thought I would finally see everything come together, BAM! Something else happens that I can’t figure out. I know I’m being very vague here but I don’t want to accidentally mention any spoilers. Similar to how I felt when I finished Vol. 1, I wanted the next installment ASAP. I was lucky I started reading these just as Vol. 3 was released.

Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide – I was so glad Vol. 3 was readily available in Kinokuniya Singapore. I didn’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next. Going into Vol. 3, I had no clue that the illustrations would be different from the earlier two installments. Each chapter was illustrated by a different artist. While the idea may seem appealing to other readers, I really liked the original artwork and wanted the story to continue in that way. I found the abrupt changes jarring. On top of that, I still felt mostly confused even if I was already in the third book in the series. Sadly, it was a disappointing read for me. I just wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters.

After reading three volumes, my conclusion is that WicDiv isn’t a series for me. There’s too much violence, too many questions, and not enough answers. I wouldn’t have minded the violence if I loved the story, but sadly, that wasn’t the case here. As always, I’m glad I tried something new. But I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I would have a better experience with my March graphic novel read.


14 Comments

BBAW: Keeping It Fresh

BBAW 2016 - Blogger Burnout

Today’s the last day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) and the prompt is how do bloggers keep things fresh to avoid blogger burnout. This is going to sound totally random but my favorite lip balm brand is Fresh and I just stopped by that store earlier today. And now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, back to the topic that I should be discussing. I think blogger burnout and reading slumps are pretty common, there’s really no way to predict when or how they will happen. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and over the years, I’ve seen how the book blogging community has changed. So many of the blogging buddies, who were newbies with me, have given up on their blogs because other priorities have popped up. Even WordPress has changed its features and layouts during the time I’ve been a blogger. While I’ve never seriously considered giving this up, there have been times when I felt kind of meh about my blog. So what do I do to avoid that? It’s real simple, I read and blog without any kind of pressure. I pick up books based on my mood, and I blog whenever I feel like it. I don’t force myself to read something that I don’t want to, and I definitely don’t put pressure on myself to write a post when I don’t feel like doing so. I read and blog because it’s fun for me. And I hope it keeps being fun for a long time.

I’ve said this before and I will probably keep saying it until I stop blogging: my blog is my happy place. Going back through old posts, I noticed that some of the things I said in one of my BBAW 2012 posts are still applicable today. So I’m going to end this post by reiterating what I said before. I shared a quote about reading and explained why I chose it:

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” ― James Baldwin

I love this quote because it talks about reading opening up your eyes and making you realize that you’re not alone – the same can be said for blogging. It was blogging that taught me that the things that I loved the most were the very things that connected me with readers all over the world. I feel like my blog keeps me grounded because I get to focus on something that I love. It helps me unwind at the end of the day. I have a feeling that I’ll be a lot more homesick and more than a little lonely if I didn’t have my blog.

What about you, how do you keep yourself motivated to blog?


8 Comments

BBAW: Staying Connected

BBAW 2016 - CommunityConnection

I didn’t even realize that Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) got a reboot and is being hosted over at The Estella Society. I’ve joined BBAW in previous years and would have prepared more posts if I found out about it sooner. I’m glad that I found out about it just in time to join today’s prompt: how to stay connected in the book blogging world. Making and maintaining connections is probably the main reason why I blog. I love being part of the bookish community. I love being able to talk about an aspect of my life that my friends in real life and family don’t really understand. I have been blogging since 2010 (yeah, even I’m surprised at how long it’s been), and I’ve used various methods to stay connected with people over the years. Currently, I stay connected through these:

Blog events – This is the first thing that came to mind because hey, I’m writing this post as part of BBAW. Other blog events that I’ve joined are ArmchairBEA, Bloggiesta and online activities hosted by Filipino ReaderCon. I have also organized my own blog events such as The Queen’s Thief Week, Marchetta Madness, EWein Special Ops and Amour et Florand. I would love to organize more blog events but I haven’t been able to do so because real life has been getting in the way.

Meet-ups – I don’t get to do face to face meet-ups as often as I’d like since I moved to Singapore so I think it’s always great whenever I get a chance to meet an online bookish friend in person. I get so jealous of all the bookish events and meet-ups that are held in Manila, if I was still based there, I would definitely show up.

Memes – Nowadays, the only meme I actively join is Top Ten Tuesday. I like TTT because there’s a new topic every week and it also lets me discover new-to-me blogs.

Twitter – I’m on Twitter as @chachic_ because “chachic” is taken. I joined Twitter the year I started blogging, and I didn’t even have a smartphone back then. I thought it was awesome because it let me interact with authors. My day was made whenever an author replied to one of my tweets (actually I still feel that way until now). Also, it’s easier to keep in touch with fellow bloggers on Twitter because I can just check it whenever I have time like every morning while on the train to work. And it’s easy to send a tweet whenever I have a random thought or question that I want to share. Oh and I find out about book bargains on Twitter too, like when Kindle editions go on sale for just USD0.99 or they’re free for a limited time.

Goodreads – I keep my Goodreads profile updated because it helps me keep track of the books that I read and the ones on my wishlist. I always check my Goodreads shelves whenever I need to make a list or an update for the blog.

Instagram – I’m on Instagram as chachickenpie. It’s probably my second favorite social networking site after Twitter. It’s just a lot of fun for me to take pictures and to browse through my friends’ posts. While my Instagram posts are mostly book-related (and tagged with #bookstagram or #instabooks), I also share random pictures of my day-to-day life here in Singapore.

Facebook – I’m not as big of a fan of Facebook but I do have a Facebook page for the blog, where I share links of my blog posts. My book club, YAckers also uses Facebook to have discussions. I’m a member of some bookish Facebook groups but I’m mostly a lurker in those.

Messaging apps like Whatsapp / Viber – Aside from email, I keep in touch with friends through Whatsapp or Viber. I think these apps are more common in the Philippines and Singapore than abroad? They’re basically like texting. I use these apps to keep in touch with some of my bookish buddies who have given up blogging.

Commenting on other blogs – Leaving comments on other people’s blogs used to be the best way to have discussions but nowadays, more and more people are replying on Twitter or Facebook instead. I guess it’s easier for them to leave comments as they click on links shared. I try to reply to all comments that I receive in all platforms, be it WordPress, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I feel like it’s a way to show my appreciation for the comments that I get. LOL I also don’t get that many comments so it’s not a difficult for me to reply to all of them.

Those are the various ways I stay in touch with the book blogging community. Do we share similar ways of communicating? How do you stay in touch with the community?


11 Comments

2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge

One of my reading goals this year is to read more graphic novels! I was just browsing when I happened to stumble upon a challenge that will help me accomplish this goal: the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge. Instructions can be found here. And since it’s mentioned in the site that it’s never too late to join, I’m signing up now!

2016 graphic novel challenge

I haven’t joined a book challenge in ages but I feel like this is something that I wouldn’t have much trouble with. Since I’m a newbie, I’m going to choose the Modern Age level which means I have to read and review 12 graphic novels this year. One per month shouldn’t be too much, right? I even have one for January since I managed to read and post a (mini) review of Soppy. I’m glad my last book haul also has some titles that I can read for this challenge. To serve as a reminder to myself when I look back on this post, here are graphic novels / comics that I already have copies of:

American Born Chinese This One Summer Anya's Ghost

Maktan 1521 Halina Filipina Mythspace

The Wicked + The Divine - The Faust Act The Wicked + The Divine - Fandemonium Rat Queens Vol 2 Ms. Marvel Giant Days

I have a few more titles in my wishlist but we’ll see if I’ll be able to get copies of them. I have a feeling this challenge will make me want to browse the graphic novel section of Kinokuniya more often (or Fully Booked whenever I’m in Manila). If you have any recommendations for graphic novels, please feel free to leave a comment.:)


7 Comments

Bookish Meet Up at Tweedle Book Cafe

Tweedle Book Cafe - counter

I briefly mentioned in my earlier post about shopping for books in Manila that I was able to attend a meet up with bookish friends at Tweedle Book Cafe. Last Sunday, December 20th, I met up with authors Mina V. Esguerra (with her husband and daughter), Tina Matanguihan, my friend Kim and newfound friend Jothee. Author Agay Llanera also stopped by just to drop off some presents, which was very thoughtful of her!:)

Tweedle Book Cafe - shelf

First of all, I thought Tweedle Book Cafe was the perfect choice for book lovers like us so thank you, Mina, for suggesting it. As expected, most of the discussions were about books that we’ve read and wanted to recommend. We also talked about the book scene in the Philippines right now, like how there are more and more books being published and also how Filipino ReaderCon was a bigger event than it was when it first started. It was a very casual and laidback get together so I wasn’t able to note down all the topics that we discussed. What I’ll remember was that it was fun to be able to meet up with bookish friends in person and to talk about books. Makes me wish that I also have real life meet ups with bookish people in Singapore.

Tweedle Book Cafe - ceiling

Ceiling with a list of authors

Tweedle Book Cafe - other bookshelf

Bookshelf near the cafe’s entrance

We were too busy talking that we forgot to take a group pic with everyone in it! I think we have one in someone else’s phone camera. Here’s a fangirl pic of me sandwiched between Agay and Mina:

Tweedle Book Cafe - Agay Llanera and Mina V. Esguerra

With Agay Llanera and Mina V. Esguerra

And I got presents! Thanks to Kim, Mina and Agay.:)

Tweedle Book Cafe - book haul
Signed copies of:
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra (my review)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (my review)
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I also took pictures of the food that I had at the cafe:

Tweedle Book Cafe - omelette

Omelette with longganisa (Filipino sausage)

Tweedle Book Cafe - pancakes

Pancakes

Tweedle Book Cafe - hot chocolate

Locally made hot chocolate infused with jasmine

Because it was a bookish meet up at a bookish location, of course I had to wear my bookish skirt:
Tweedle Book Cafe - OOTD

I need more bookish outfits! I’ve visited a few more book cafes in Manila since this meet up happened, so watch this space for more updates.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,660 other followers