Chachic's Book Nook


Top Ten Tuesday: Worldbuilding 101

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. It was a little difficult for me to decide what topic to focus on for this week but I decided to Worldbuilding 101 because I love reading books that let me sink into their world. If I ever teach or join a worldbuilding class as a student, I would love to read and discuss the books in my list below. I feel like they represent books or series that have detailed, imaginative and intelligent worldbuilding.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – This series was a huge part of my teen years and I definitely loved the magical world that Rowling created. Although I was past the right age, I wanted to receive an invitation to attend Hogwarts!

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Another magical world which I loved reading about as a child. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in Narnia, with all its magic and talking animals and Aslan?

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – How can a class about worldbuilding not have Tolkien in it? Such a classic example of intricate worldbuilding that includes history, language, and everything else.

Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner – One of my favorite series of all time, I feel like I keep mentioning it in my TTT lists. But it’s really appropriate for this one because MWT created an amazing world reminiscent of ancient Greece, complete with gods and goddesses who influence major events but in such subtle ways.

Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews – I really like the magic vs. tech background of this world. And I like how each book deals with a different kind of magic and mythology originating from various countries. (Bonus: I’m also a fan of the worldbuilding in the authors’ Burn for Me, with the mafia-like magical families.)

Cesky - view from palace

A shot of the fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov, which seemed like a good choice for this post.

Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore – Technically these two books are set in the same world but they’re so different. I liked both kingdoms that had different sorts of people with magical abilities – in Graceling, they have a special skill called a Grace while in Fire, there are radiantly beautiful (and colorful) animals and humans called monsters who can control minds.

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – One of the first YA fantasy titles that I fell in love with, I really enjoyed being immersed in this world. I liked that Harry is a character from a world similar to our own, with a magical world bordering it. Aside from the magic, I liked the tension between the two cultures and how it represents colonization. (Bonus: I also loved the worldbuilding in McKinley’s Pegasus. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get the sequel for that soon!)

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith – This is actually just one of the titles set in Smith’s fictional world Sartorias-deles. She’s been writing that setting ever since she was a child and I like how her books are set in different time periods of the same world, so that it keeps building the history. There’s a little bit of magic in this book but focuses more on court intrigue while a new government is being built after the fall of previous ruling family.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – I remember being amazed that the two main characters came from parallel worlds, and the series of events lead them together. I was really impressed with Lyra’s world and intrigued by humans and their daemon counterparts.

Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host – I had a hard time choosing between Host’s Medair and Touchstone because both have excellent worldbuilding. I’m going with Touchstone for this list because I liked that the heroine was just walking home from school one day when BAM, she makes a turn or something and steps into an alternate universe that’s way more technologically advanced than our own. I also love that she’s from Australia.

If you taught or studied a Worldbuilding 101 class, what books would you include?


Top Ten Tuesday: My Most Read Authors

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. For this week’s topic, I extracted my Goodreads database, did a pivot table and sorted the numbers to get the top ten:
Author Count - August 2015
Pretty eclectic list of authors right there! I didn’t even know some of the authors above had written that many books. I went and checked Goodreads and the numbers don’t lie.

But that list doesn’t take into consideration the number of books that have been published by the author. For example, there are some authors who have published less than ten books (the cut off for the list above) but I’ve read most, if not all, of those titles. Such as:

Melina Marchetta
Megan Whalen Turner
Laini Taylor
Kristin Cashore
Stephanie Perkins
Erin Bow
Elizabeth Wein (all except her latest)
Julie James (all except her latest)

So that extends my list a bit further than just ten but I wanted to be more accurate. Do we share anyone in our lists? Would you have recommendations for me based on this list of authors?


Book Haul: August 7

Just a quick book haul post at the start of this long weekend. We’re having a four-day weekend to celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of independence. Happy Birthday, Singapore! :) I would have loved to take advantage of this long weekend by traveling but flights are so expensive because I wasn’t able to book anything months in advance. So I’m looking forward to a weekend of just relaxing and reading books.

Earlier this week, the latest installment in my favorite urban fantasy series was released: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews!

book haul - Magic Shifts

I had to take a pic of this book with my blog header because the Kate Daniels series was one of the inspirations for my current header’s design. I’ve been really good about waiting to read Magic Shifts because I knew that once I start, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I’m going to devour it this weekend!

Before the long weekend started, I got book mail from the distributor Pansing yesterday:

Pansing book haul - Aug 7

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil
A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston

An Aussie YA novel and an ARC of a retelling of Arabian Nights! I haven’t tried both of these authors and I’m looking forward to doing so. I also have Melissa Keil’s other novel, Life in Outer Space, which I grabbed from the SG Book Deals warehouse sale. I really think it’s pretty cool that some Aussie titles pop up in SG. As I mentioned in a recent TTT post, I love reading retellings so it would be interesting to see what A Thousand Nights will be like.

What about the rest of you, have you acquired any new books lately? What are you planning to read this coming weekend?


Top Ten Favorite Fairy Tale Retellings

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I’m a huge fan of fairy tale retellings. I love seeing an author take the familiar elements of a fairy tale and make it his or her own story. So when I found out about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, I jumped at the chance to make a list of my faves.

Beauty and the Beast:
Beauty by Robin McKinley Cruel Beauty

Ella Enchanted Six Impossible Things

The Goose Girl:
Goose Girl_Alison Jay

The Six Swans:
Daughter of the Forest

Sleeping Beauty:

Peter Pan:
Tiger Lily

Last but certainly not the least, I love how Laura Florand weaves flavors of some fairy tales into her stories:
Once Upon a Rose The Chocolate Kiss

What are your favorite fairy tale retellings? Or which fairy tales would you love to be retold?

Pico de Loro - Beauty and the Beast

My copy of Robin McKinley’s Beauty with Ipanema Beauty and the Beast flipflops in the background


Book Haul: SG Book Deals

Last weekend, I posted an announcement of the SG Book Deals warehouse sale and today, I dropped by to check it out. I wanted to go today because it’s the first day of the sale and I was thinking there would be more stocks than any other day. I had to figure out how to get to the place – took the MRT to Bishan and then took the bus – so I arrived there sometime in the late afternoon. I was surprised to see so many people hunting for books! Originally, I wanted to buy kiddie books for my godsons but looks like they ran out of good titles. They said they will replenish stocks tomorrow but I don’t think I would have time to go.

SG Book Deals - August 2015

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 2

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 3

They’re having an SG50 promo where you can fill one of these boxes with as many books that can fit into it and just pay SGD50! Of course, people took advantage of this and I saw a lot of them holding boxes while browsing around.

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 4

I didn’t fill a box but the sellers were kind enough to give me an eco bag while I was browsing. My book haul includes these titles:

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 1

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 2

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond and Dave McKean
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
Preloved by Shirley Marr
Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart
Red Ink by Julie Mayhew
West End Girls by Jenny Colgan
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend by Jenny Colgan
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter
The Prince Who Walked with Lions by Elizabeth Laird
Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart
Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers by John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh

FYI, I wiped the floor before putting down the books. :P I think it looks nicer when you can see all the covers. I thought it was awesome that they had some Aussie YA titles! I also couldn’t resist getting copies of two favorite books, Code Name Verity and A Monster Calls. I don’t have this particular edition of the former and I can always give away copies of the latter.

The sale will last until August 10 so I’m including the details again, in case you want to check it out:

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)


Top Ten Tuesday: My Recommended Filipino Books

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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?


Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week, we get to talk about our recent book haul. For me, this serves as a reminder of the titles that I need to read soon!

Pansing, a book distributor in Singapore contacted me and asked whether I would like to receive review copies from them. Of course I said yes! As a book blogger in Southeast Asia, it’s rare for me to receive physical review copies. But I also wanted to only get copies of books that I’m actually interested in. These are the titles that I requested and received last week:

Pansing - July 2015

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

Once I asked Filipino chick lit author Mina V. Esguerra if she would be interested in writing a book with a book blogger MC. She was not only interested, she went ahead and did it! I received an advanced copy of that book called Someone Else’s Fantasy:

Someone Else's Fantasy

I have been looking forward to Him, the MM romance collab between Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen and I was thrilled when I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy. I couldn’t resist reading it as soon as I could. It made for a delightful weekend read. Here it is with my Sunday tea:

Him - high tea

Other ebooks recently added to my Kindle:
Suddenly One Summer by Julie James
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Suddenly One Summer Bone Gap The Wrath and the Dawn Off Campus Trust the Focus

What about the rest of you, what are the books that you’ve recently acquired?


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