Chachic's Book Nook


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Meet up with Tina (Ana Tejano) in Singapore

In my last blog post, I mentioned that October kicked my butt and that’s why I haven’t been able to catch up on blogging. Looks like November is doing the same! But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to set aside more time to write because I miss blogging.😦 Let me kick things off with a quick update about my meet up yesterday with Tina a.k.a. Ana Tejano, who is in Singapore for a short trip. Tina and I have known each other for years – starting from when we were newbie Filipino book bloggers (she was blogging at I Like It Dog-Eared). I remember we were reading more YA back then and now I think both of us read more romance. We’ve also been part of various bookish groups/events in Manila like The Filipino Group in Goodreads and Filipino ReaderCon. And now she’s an author of #romanceclass novels! She writes under a pseudonym (Ana Tejano) and has already released several titles. I’m such a bad friend, I still haven’t had a chance to read her books. You guys know how it is – so many books, so little time. Anyway, I’m so glad we got to catch up one on one yesterday over tea time at Antoinette and a visit to Kinokuniya.

Here are the goodies that we had for tea time:

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And here we are in front of Christmas tree, as well as with our book purchases from Kinokuniya (which we were able to get at 20% off yay):

With Tina in Singapore

With Tina in Singapore - Kinokuniya

We both bought romance graphic novels so of course, we had to take a selfie in the romance section of the bookstore.πŸ™‚ As always, I had a lot of fun hanging out with a bookish friend especially since it feels like I haven’t had a chance to catch up with Tina one on one in years.

It’s almost midnight on Sunday over here and I’m in denial again that the weekend is over. Will probably squeeze in some reading before bed. If you don’t see me here on WordPress, I’m always on Twitter, Instagram and Litsy (username: Chachic) because it’s a lot easier for me to update apps that I have on my smartphone. Which reminds me that I still need to write a blog post about Litsy to convince the rest of you to join me over there.πŸ˜›


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Meet Up With Honey

Yesterday was a public holiday in Singapore, which is a good thing because I was able to sleep in (haven’t been feeling well since Saturday) and I got to meet Honey while she’s here. Honey is the blogger behind Coffeespoons, co-founder and head of the annual Filipino ReaderCon and currently the Southeast Asia sales manager of Penguin Random House (a.k.a. dream job of book nerds). An all around bookish person! Because of various bookish events, we used to see each other on a regular basis back when I was still based in Manila. But we haven’t really had a chance to meet up since I moved to Singapore. So I was glad that Honey had enough time during her trip for a catch up. We met up at Ah Teng’s Bakery at Raffles Hotel:

Ah Teng's Bakery

I wasn’t able to take a pic of what we had because I wasn’t really planning to document this meet up. But I need to thank Honey for shouldering the cost of the first round of our merienda (snack time). Maraming salamat!πŸ˜€ Here we are at the courtyard of Raffles Hotel, one of Singapore’s historic places:

With Honey at Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel ourtyard

We walked around CHIJMES, which was a former convent that has been converted into a very commercial area with various bars and restaurants. Both of us were trying to figure out Instagram Stories while we were walking around:

CHIJMES

CHIJMES 2

CHIJMES 3

And then we headed to Tiong Bahru Bakery for a second round of merienda, which again I didn’t get to take a picture of. It was so much fun chatting with Honey for several hours because we had LOTS to catch up on. We talked about books, of course. Jobs, both previous and current ones. Life in general. I think we could have kept going on and on if we didn’t have other things that we wanted to do. A holiday well-spent.πŸ™‚ I hope more bookish friends get to visit Singapore soon.


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Tweedle Book Cafe on a Friday Night

I’m back in Singapore soil but still behind on blog posts so I have a few more Manila-related posts that will (hopefully) go up in the coming days. I’ve been meaning to visit Tweedle Book Cafe again after my initial visit last December. So when friends asked me last Friday where I wanted to meet for dinner, I suggested this place. You know you’re a book nerd when you bring your friends to a book cafe on a Friday night. Woohoo, reading party! I’ve been encouraging them to read more so I wanted them to experience a book cafe.πŸ™‚

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - long table

Dinner (TWG first edition tea, salpicao with egg and kimchi) and signed copies of Agay Llanera’s books:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - dinner

Only Vintage Love is mine, given by Chris Mariano as a gift back when it was launched and recently signed by the author when I met her in person. I’ve yet to read it! The rest are copies I got for my friends Ena, Chuchay and Mich to read and share. These three have inherited and borrowed books from me before, and were also super excited to get signed books as Christmas gifts last year. I love it when real life overlaps with my book blogging life.

Here are #romanceclass books available at the cafe:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - romanceclass

Delicious hot chocolate infused with hibiscus, made in Cebu by The Chocolate Chamber. Served in a pretty tea cup:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - hot chocolate

Last but certainly not the least, I brought books that I wanted to pass on with me. Unread books are sad books so I’ve been passing on physical copies of my books because they just get neglected in Manila while I’m in Singapore. Some of these I’ve read, some I’m not planning to read anytime soon. Most of them have pages that have started foxing (getting brown spots) and yellowing because of heat and humidity, even when they’ve been stored in a bookshelf with a glass cover:

Foxing - donated books

I didn’t want them to waste away so I thought it would be better to pass them on. The upright ones on the left went to my friend Ena, the right-most stack went to my friend Chuchay and the two stacks in the middle were donated to the cafe. You can visit the cafe and read those books if you wanted to.

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - donated books

I think it was a Friday well spent. I was back in Tweedle a week later, but only to drop off more books to be donated. I passed by the cafe right before heading to the airport for my flight back to Singapore. This was the stash I donated:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - more donated books

I’m glad book cafes are becoming more of a thing in Manila. They aren’t as common in Singapore but I believe that’s because Singapore has a pretty good public library system, something that the Philippines doesn’t have. Obviously I want these book cafes to flourish, which is why I will try to keep donating books whenever I can.πŸ™‚


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#romanceclass Meet Up at Books and Borders

According to the group’s website, #romanceclass are Filipinos who read and write romance and publish them independently. I know a few of the members through my blog and I’ve been jealous of all the meet-ups and activities that they’ve been having on a regular basis. Which was why I was thrilled to find out that there was going to be a meet up during the time I’m on vacation in Manila. We met last May 21 at the Books and Borders branch in Tomas Morato. A book cafe is the perfect location for a meet up with romance readers and authors. Here’s a picture of the cafe from my previous visit:

Book and Borders - tables

Book and Borders - couch

We talked about books, of course. From romance to everything else that we’ve read or we’re planning to read. We talked about the type of romances and type of heroes we like. And we also talked about the most random things, just anything that we could think of. We also passed around books and swag that we wanted to pass on to fellow readers. Being based in Singapore, I don’t get to attend bookish meet ups like this as often as I would want to, so I was somewhat starved for that kind of conversation. I think it goes without saying that I had a great time! Here’s a group picture from Kat of Book Thingo:

romanceclass meet up - May 2016

From left to right: Agay, Chris, Kim, Anna, Kat, Mina, Jothee, Tina, Ron and me. We all look like we’re having fun, right? My haul included signed books, a magazine, bookmarks, postcards, shortbread and Philippine MANGOES! Thank you for the goodies, friends.πŸ™‚

#romanceclass - May 2016 haul

I also just wanted to share the awesomeness that is the back cover of Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera, which includes a quote from my review of the book:

Choco Chip Hips - back copy

Too bad it’s a limited indie edition and there probably wouldn’t be more copies of it. I bought three to give to my friends!πŸ˜€


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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.πŸ˜› 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, β€œpersonal experimentation,” influenza, mystery mold, nuchauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of β€œacademia,” 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.


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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?πŸ™‚ I hope this wouldn’t be the one and only time that Pip and I would get to meet.


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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.