#ArmchairBEA 2014: Wrap Up

ArmchairBEA 2014

I’m glad I was able to participate this week in ArmchairBEA because I had a lot of fun with the daily topics and the discussions with other bloggers through comments. To all those who dropped by my blog to comment, THANK YOU! I’ve replied to most of the comments and will catch up with the rest later. I’m sorry I missed the Twitter chats because of the time difference.

Here’s a recap of my ArmchairBEA posts:
Author Interaction
Expanding Blogging Horizons
Novellas and Short Stories
Beyond the Borders
Young Adult

I really enjoyed the Instagram challenge. I’ve tried joining month-long Instagram challenges but I never completed any of them so I like the week-long time frame of ArmchairBEA since I was able to keep up. Recap of Instagram posts:
My Armchair
Current Bookmark: ebook and physical
Where I Armchair From

I hope the rest of you had as much fun as I did. See you all in next year’s ArmchairBEA!

#ArmchairBEA 2014: Young Adult

Our final genre of discussion is one that we know is a popular one these days: books for the younger crowd, from middle grade to young adult. If you do not normally talk about this genre on your site, maybe you want to feature books that you remember impacting you during this stage in your life. If this is where you tend to gravitate, maybe you want to list your favorites, make recommendations based on genres, or feature some titles that you are excited to read coming later this year.

I read a lot of YA books so I’m half-tempted to just write “too many too mention” for this ArmchairBEA topic. But then where’s the fun in that? That wouldn’t enable me to share some of my favorite titles and discuss them with other bloggers. So I’ve put together lists divided by category/genres of YA novels that I’ve truly enjoyed reading:

Epic Fantasy
Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Sabriel by Garth Nix
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow
Northlander by Meg Burden
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Alternate History/Historical Fiction
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Urban Fantasy
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

Fairy Tale Retelling
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I Do by Elizabeth Chandler
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Easy by Tammara Webber
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Aussie YA
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield
Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host


I probably forgot some titles while putting this together, maybe I’ll edit the post when I remember anything else. Do you have any recommendations for me based on the books I listed here? What about the rest of you, what are some of the MG or YA titles that you’ve enjoyed reading?

#ArmchairBEA 2014: Beyond the Borders / Recommending Filipino Fiction

ArmchairBEA 2014

It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

I’m a Filipino currently living and working in Singapore. So basically, most of the books that I read are outside my own culture because a lot of them are either set in a fantasy world or in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. I do think it’s great that there’s more of a push for readers to pay more attention to diversity in books. Reading is like a form of traveling in the sense that it opens your mind to what is outside your comfort zone and how things are different compared to the things that you’re used to. And at the same time, it also makes you realize how some things are the same wherever you are in the world (or even if you’re in a different world). I wouldn’t be reading the books that I read if I couldn’t relate to them. I can relate to the characters, their feelings and their reactions to the situations they find themselves in, even if we have different cultural backgrounds and we live in different places. I’ve also traveled outside of Asia so that gives me the small advantage of being able to relate to books set in some of the other cities/countries I’ve visited.

In the spirit of encouraging readers to pick up diverse books, here are that I would recommend that are either set in the Philippines or have Filipino characters:

Any of Mina V. Esguerra’s books – Mina writes 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 in her twenties back home.

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.

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 coverTall Story UKTrese Mass MurdersCover Story GirlAll's Fair in Blog and War

How about you, care to recommend some diverse books?

#ArmchairBEA 2014: Novellas and Short Stories

ArmchairBEA 2014

Now it is time to give a little love to those little stories in your life. Share your love for your favorite shorts of any form. What is a short story or novella that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves? Recommend to readers what shorts you would recommend they start with. How about listing some short story anthologies based upon genres or authors?

I don’t know why but I’m not that much of a short story reader. I usually only read short stories that are connected to a series that I’m following or a book that I’ve read. Whenever I buy an anthology, I end up reading just a few short stories in it. I love reading novellas though. I think some stories are just the perfect length for a novella. I like how satisfying some novellas can be because you can read them in one sitting. Novellas are also a good way to get introduced to an author if you’ve never read any of his/her books. Some novellas that I think deserved more attention are:

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – A light and fun read, this is still my favorite Filipino chick lit title.

Silent Blade and Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews – Ilona and Gordon are in my auto-buy list because I love the Kate Daniels series but also because everything that they write is awesome, as proven by these two sci-fi novellas that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I reread both of these just the other month.

A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand – A delightful Christmas romance set in Grasse, France. One that I’ve also reread just this month.

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers – Short and intense, I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet the romance was in this novella.

Big Boy by Ruthie Knox – This was my introduction to Ruthie’s romances and it made me want to read the rest of her books.

Fairy Tale Fail_SummitSilent BladeSilver SharkNo Place Like HomeThe Story GuyBig Boy

I find it funny that most of these titles are contemporary romance. I guess it’s just nice to curl up with a good romance when you feel like unwinding after work or during the weekend. What about the rest of you, do you enjoy reading short stories or novellas? What are some of your favorites?

#ArmchairBEA 2014: Expanding Blogging Horizons

ArmchairBEA 2014

What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.

When I think about going beyond blogging, what comes to my mind is the friendships that I’ve formed through my book blog. I love having book blogging buddies who get what it’s like to go crazy over the books that we read. Not a lot of my friends in real life read the same books that I do (unless I manage to persuade them) so it’s good that I have fellow bloggers to talk to about books that I’ve loved or hated. Also, only book blogger friends would understand what it’s like to fangirl over beloved authors. I’ve noticed that some of the book bloggers that I follow have slowed down (or have stopped altogether) in terms of writing reviews or posting on their blogs. Even if that’s the case, I’m still able to keep in touch with them through emails, social networking sites, messaging apps and postcards. I love that I’ve gained bookish friends through my blog and I think it’s great that we manage to keep in touch even if we don’t post as often as we used to. It’s kind of nice to feel that these friendships don’t depend on our blogs.

friends reading

Image from We Heart It

I know it was yesterday’s topic but I also just wanted to mention that I love how blogging has let me interact with authors. I don’t think I would have been able to reach out or stay in touch with authors if it weren’t for my blog. Sure, I could send them fan mail but it’s much easier to follow and stay in contact with them through Twitter.

I’ve never really thought of making a career out of something blog-related like freelance writing or publishing a novel so I’ve never branched into that. I have thought about shifting to a book-related career though, which is what inspired my Chasing Dreams feature (which hasn’t been updated recently). However, I still have doubts on whether that would be a smart move or if it would be better to keep reading and blogging as a hobby. I also have no idea how to go about doing that so I haven’t actively pursued it. I would love to hear thoughts from other readers/bloggers regarding this because that may give me some clarity. It would be interesting to see what others would have to say about how they’ve expanded their blogging horizons. 🙂

#ArmchairBEA 2014: Author Interaction

ArmchairBEA 2014

Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger.

I love this topic! Because as an avid reader, I’m a bigger fan of authors than celebrities or rock stars. I love that blogging has let me interact with authors both in real life and online. As a blogger, I’ve been constantly amazed at how friendly and approachable some authors are. Some of my favorite author moments are when they:

Reply to tweets, emails and blog posts – It always makes my day when an author replies to my tweets or emails or even comments on a blog post. Or when they retweet a review that I’ve written.

Write guest posts for my blog – I am always happy to host guest posts on the blog because I feel like it spices things up to have someone else share their thoughts in this space. Whenever I ask an author for a guest post and he or she says yes, I’m usually in a state of disbelief that someone who writes books for a living would be willing to write for my blog. I’m super thankful that they’re willing to do that.

Read books I recommended – During the rare times that an author picked up a book based on my recommendation, I felt that it was a huge compliment because they were willing to give a book that I liked a try.

Rose Under Fire US edition

Send me signed copies of books – The authors of the books I read don’t usually come to Singapore (or even to Manila back when I was based there) so I only have a handful of signed copies of books. I get really excited whenever I get a signed copy of a book because they’re not so easy to obtain. I feel like these signed copies are prized possessions!

Include me in the acknowledgments section of the book – I can count in one hand the number of times that this has happened and it’s such a lovely feeling to see your name in print like that.

It hasn’t happened yet and I don’t know if it ever will since I don’t think I write the kind of reviews that get quoted, but I would love to have a blurb of mine included in a book. What about the rest of you, care to share how you’ve interacted with authors as a book blogger?

#ArmchairBEA 2014: Introduction

ArmchairBEA 2014

Hello everyone! It’s Armchair BEA time again. I really am glad that there’s an online blog event that coincides with BEA so bloggers based abroad can participate. It’s going to be a fun week interacting with fellow book bloggers!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?
As you can probably tell from my blog name, my name is Chachic and I’m a Filipino book blogger currently based in Singapore. I started this book blog around four years ago and I was based in the Philippines at that time. I’ve been in Singapore since 2012 when I moved for a job opportunity (which isn’t book-related, unfortunately) .

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online.

My blog has a pretty eclectic mix in terms of genres, which include epic and urban fantasy, fairy tale retellings, contemporary and historical fiction. I can be found in the following social networks:
Chachic on Goodreads
@chachictweets on Twitter
Chachic’s Book Nook on Facebook
chachickenpie on Instagram
chachic on Tumblr

What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

I wouldn’t be able to name just one title as an answer to this question! I have a list of favorite books from last year, which can be viewed here. As for this year, here are some titles that are tentatively in my best of 2014 list:
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier
Medair duology by Andrea K. Host
Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host
The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand
It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

Black DogMedairTouchstone TrilogyThe Chocolate TemptationIt Happened One Wedding

What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like?

I love to read in a space that’s comfy enough to sit or recline on with great lighting. I have an armchair in my room that I love sitting on but it gets dark in that corner at nighttime. I need to find a nice (but affordable) stand lamp! Just to have a change of scenery, I also like hanging out in coffee shops to read for a couple of hours while having snacks.

What is your favorite blogging resource?

I’m not sure if it can be considered blogging resources but I love social media sites Twitter and Instagram. I interact with fellow bloggers and even authors through Twitter. While I enjoy going through photos, bookish or otherwise, on Instagram. I think it’s nice to get a feel of the blogger’s personality through tweets and Instagram photos.

That’s it for me, I will be browsing and commenting through other ArmchairBEA posts so see you all around this week.

#ArmchairBEA 2014 starts next week!

ArmchairBEA 2014

I’ve always been curious about Book Expo America because it seems like such a fun book event. However, I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on traveling from Singapore to New York to attend BEA. Which is why I’m glad there’s an online blog event that runs in parallel with BEA: ArmchairBEA! I’ve participated in ArmchairBEA in previous years and I’m looking forward to participating again next week. The daily topics can be found here and I will also be joining the Instagram challenge. I might not be able to post everyday but we’ll see. Anyone else planning to join ArmchairBEA next week? To those heading off to the actual BEA event, I’m sure you guys will be having lots of fun!

ArmchairBEA: Blogger Development


I’m glad I was able to squeeze in another ArmchairBEA post for this week. I was getting worried that I wouldn’t have time to work on it because this week has been really busy. I really like today’s topic because we get to talk about how we develop our own blogs, which can be done in many different ways. Here are the guide questions:

Day 2 we talk about how we develop ourselves as bloggers. Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other bloggers? Have you gone “pro” or begun supplementing your income through your blog? Are you a long-term blogger, and how has your online personality developed over the years? These are simply ideas. Think development and tell us what comes to mind.

As I mentioned in my ArmchairBEA introduction post, I love interacting with fellow book lovers in the book blogging community. I’m on several social media sites and I chat and reach out to other book bloggers through Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. I also enjoy participating in certain memes as a way of connecting with other bloggers, I really like Retro Friday and Top Ten Tuesday. When I have time, I also join community-wide events such as ArmchairBEA, Bloggiesta and Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

Since I’ve been blogging for more than three years now, I feel like I’ve gotten to know some of my blogging buddies pretty well. Aside from blog comments (I just wanted to mention that it might take me a while but I do reply to all the comments on my blog) and chats through social media sites, emails also let us share information in more detail. I always consider it a very good thing when I get to meet up with blogger friends in person. When I was living and working back home in Manila, I got to meet fellow Filipino Book Bloggers on a regular basis but I haven’t been able to do that as often as I’d like now that I’m based in Singapore. Last March, I was lucky enough to meet Michelle of See Michelle Read and Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous in Southern California when I was there to visit relatives. And yesterday, I had dinner with Steph of Steph Su Reads!

With Steph Su

Steph and I having chicken rice for dinner

I think readalongs are a lot of fun and I like doing it with blogger friends because at least we can discuss books as we read them even if we can’t meet in person. It feels great to be able to have someone to share your reactions with as you read, instead of waiting until you finish a book. As an added bonus, we avoid including spoilers in our reviews but we can include them in discussions when we’re doing readalongs. In fact, my friend Michelle and I enjoy readalongs so much that we decided to come up with a feature for it called Novel Gossip, we’ve only discussed The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand so far but we’re definitely planning to do more!

Novel Gossip

I feel like my personal interests heavily influence what I post on my blog. I love eating so I pepper my blog with food-related pictures. I’m a big fan of snail mail and I exchange postcards with several book bloggers so I started doing a Postcard Love feature. It seems like other people enjoy reading my posts even if they’re not all about books. I think what makes blogs interesting is when you can see the individual personalities of the bloggers behind the blogs. Personally, I like the feeling that I’m getting to know the person through his or her posts.

In closing, I just wanted to mention that I’ve never monetized my blog and I’m not even sure if it would be worth the trouble. What I would like to happen is for my blog to help me explore my options career-wise. I’ve talked about working for something that you’re passionate about and I’m obviously passionate about books. I’m in the process of finding my purpose and whether that’s related to my passion so let’s just see how it goes. Expect to hear more about this in future posts.

What about you, how have you developed your blog through the years, months or even just weeks since you first started? Care to share ideas on what have worked for you?

2013 ArmchairBEA Introduction


It’s that time of the year again – ArmchairBEA! I’ve participated in ArmchairBEA before so I know that it’s a fun event to celebrate blogging and to get to know fellow bloggers. Today, we get to introduce ourselves through a self-interview post. If this is the first time you’re visiting my blog, thanks for dropping by and I hope you like what you see. 🙂

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

Hello everyone! My name is Chachic and I’m a Filipino book blogger, currently based in Singapore. I started my blog a little over three years ago – I was living and working in Manila then. I moved for a job opportunity in Singapore last year. I started my blog because I wanted to get in touch with fellow book lovers and to get recommendation similar to the books I read. I’ve been able to do that and so much more.

Santouka ramen

Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures.

As previously mentioned, I’m blogging from Singapore. I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and this is the first time I’ve lived outside of my home country. For such a small country, Singapore packs quite a punch – it’s one of the wealthiest countries around the world. It’s a very modern place and I feel like it’s a melting pot of various cultures because different types of people have settled down here. Because I enjoy eating good food, I love that there are so many restaurants and cuisines that are present in Singapore. It’s also pretty convenient to go around because there’s a good public transportation system. One of the advantages of moving here for me is that I now have access to a good public library, which we don’t have in the Philippines.

Central Public Library

Singapore library

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?

Oh wow, we’re almost halfway through the year. This question made me go back through the list of books that I’ve read to see which are the ones in the running for my best of 2013. I really enjoyed reading A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, The Chocolate Thief and The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand and Tiger Lily by Jody Lynn Anderson. Let’s see if all titles will make it to my list at the end of the year.

A Face Like GlassThe Chocolate ThiefThe Chocolate KissTiger Lily

Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?

Instead of pointing out a single post, I’d like to highlight two week-long blog events that I had so much fun organizing last year: Queen’s Thief Week and Marchetta Madness. The former celebrates the novels of Megan Whalen Turner while the latter was all about Melina Marchetta’s books. Both Megan Whalen Turner and Melina Marchetta are two of my favorite authors. If I manage to find time this year, I would love to do something similar!

Queen's Thief Badge

Marchetta Madness badge

What is your favorite part about the book blogging community?

I love the networking aspect of the book blogging community in the sense that I get to reach out to other people who get what it’s like to be into reading. I have friends and relatives who enjoy reading but none of them are as enthusiastic about it as I am. So it’s good to have a set of friends who understand what it’s like to geek out over books, to be ridiculously excited to finally have access to certain titles, to stay up late just to finish a good book and to fall in love with a story to the point where you can’t stop thinking about it. I have met so many amazing people through my blog and I hope that’s something that will continue in the years to come. 🙂

What about you, what are your answers to the questions listed above? Are you participating in ArmchairBEA this year or are you lucky enough to attend BEA in New York?