What Kind of Day Guest Post: See This Manila

Very happy to have romanceclass author (and foundress) Mina V. Esguerra on the blog today for a guest post about her latest release: What Kind of Day. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but it’s been generating a lot of buzz on my social media timelines. In the book, the heroine takes people on an alternative tour of Metro Manila and Mina shares some of the real-life spots in the metro that inspired some of the locations in her book. Personally, I love the idea of going on a tour in your own city. I feel like there’s always something new that you can discover even if you’ve lived in the same place your whole life. And based on the places Mina highlighted below, I feel like Naya and I can be good friends. 😛

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See This Manila by Mina V. Esguerra

I absolutely love traveling, and tried to do a lot of it even when my salary was tiny and could barely cover the big things you were supposed to pay for as an adult. A habit I picked up during that time was having to DIY my tours. City tours tend to have a specific kind of traveler in mind. They were hit or miss for me…and often I opted out of them. I don’t know if this is a habit formed from having to save up and stay on budget, but I often go to a city just wanting to experience how people did the things I loved to do. Where do they get their books, what do they create here, and what do they eat?

I had all of that in mind when writing my book What Kind of Day. My female main character Naya is a tour guide, but she won’t bring you to the exact same spots you’d get from a conventional tour of Manila. Half of the book is Naya’s tour from start to finish, and I designed a tour that was fictional, but based on actual things you could see and do in the city in one day.

I wanted to mention a few real-life inspirations for the tour stops, or at least in theory, because I don’t want to spoil anything else in the book for you.

Some real-life suggestions for a trip to an art gallery, a kare-kare lunch, a people-watching walk, that may or may not have influenced the settings in the book!

Pinto Art Museum (technically not in Metro Manila, but a must-see)

If you live in Manila, what do you think should be part of an “alternative” tour of it? What’s your favorite city spot?

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What Kind of DayBook Description:
It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

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Texas 2018 Bookstagrams

Hey everyone, I wasn’t able to do a blog update prior to leaving but I was in Texas from end of April to the first week of May to attend a friend’s wedding. The last time I traveled to the US was in 2013 which was also to attend a wedding. And my last long haul flight was in 2015 when I visited Prague and Munich! So it’s been a while since I traveled that far. I was updating my bookstagram account while I was there and I wanted to share those posts here too.

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These gorgeous hand-painted art prints by @jveruditeartist and delicious single origin chocolates from @aurochocolate were part of my haul from #AprilFeelsDay2018 laat Saturday. If you were able to attend the event, what was your favorite thing that happened? If you weren't there, what was the last book-related event that you enjoyed? . . Arrived in Dallas this afternoon, wasn't able to do much except check in at the hotel and meet with friends. Now about to catch up on much needed sleep. So tired from traveling halfway across the world. Good night, everyone! . . . #Kindlebooks #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #artPH #calligraphyPH #AuroChocolate #artisanchocolate #Dallas #Texas

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"the sun rises every morning and i wait, in patience for a new beginning" Happy book birthday to One Day Closer by @laylatanjutco, a poetry collection that is a story in verse. Her debut book Before I Lose My Never is also available as a Kindle freebie right now, go and grab copies! . . Bookstagramming in my hotel room made easier by @aurochocolate and artwork by @jveruditeartist. What do you usually like including in your bookstagram shots? I like to keep mine simple but I also like adding a bit of color into my shots because I usually use my Kindle. Coffee, tea and desserts usually when I'm out and about. And whatever I find lying around the house when I'm at home. . . . #OneDayCloser #LaylaTanjutco #romanceclass #poetry #Filipinopoetry #Filipinobooks #Filipinoauthors #readlocalPH #diversereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #artPH #bookandcoffee #coffee #coffeetime #chocolate #AuroChocolate #Dallas #Texas

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We were running errands today and dropped by a few thrift stores. One of those stores had these massive shelves of books! I took a photo but wasn't able to browse because we didn't have that much time to spend in there. Also, I prefer reading on my Kindle nowadays. I used to buy a lot of used/secondhand/preloved books but not anymore. I can't even remember when was the last time I bought those kinds of books. I rely on Kindle deals these days. What about you, do you like hunting down bargain books? Or do you prefer reading on a "book device" (that's what a friend called my Kindle earlier today) too? . . . #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookphotography #usedbooks #secondhandbooks #thriftstore #bookstore #Dallas #Texas #bookstagramUSA

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Amazon and Gumroad comics and graphic novels haul
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I ordered comic books/graphic novels online that aren't available in the Philippines. My haul includes Smut Puddler's My Monster Boyfriend, Tabula Idem, Princess Princess Ever After, The Tea Dragon Society, and The Prince and the Dressmaker. My friend got I'd Rather Be Reading as a gift for me because she thought I'd love the illustrations inside and I did). I'm so excited to read all of these! I had so much fun browsing and checking out reviews to see which titles are a must have. Let me know what you think if you've read any of these. What book/s have you bought recently? . . . #bookhaul #comics #graphicnovels #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookphotography #MyMonsterBoyfriend #TabulaIdem #PrincessPrincessEverAfter #ThePrinceandtheDressmaker #IdRatherBeReading #bookstagramUSA

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Indie bookstore: Wild Detectives
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Dropped by @thewilddetectives this afternoon, one of Dallas' indie bookstores/cafe/bar. I had a blackberry and rosemary latte which was delicious. What an unusual coffee flavor that you've tried (and hopefully liked)? . . Happy to have visited this bookstore to see it for myself, but I wasn't able to buy anything because there wasn't that many genre fiction titles available, most of their books are literary fiction. And there also wasn't bookish or Dallas-related small merch like bookmarks or postcards. Aside from books, what else do you like seeing in indie bookstores? . . . #TheWildDetectives #Dallas #Texas #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #indiebookstore #bookstore #independentbookstore #Society6 #bookishtotebag #totebag #bookstagramUSA

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Indie bookstore: Deep Vellum
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Deep Vellum is an indie bookstore in Dallas that specializes in indie pubbed books, and even has its own publishing arm. They also have translated editions of books by foreign authors. I loved how cozy this bookstore was, and it had a great selection of books by local authors although most of them were literary fiction and poetry. I mostly read genre fiction and there wasn't a lot of that available there. The bookstore lady Tanya (I hope I got her name right) who helped me out was so nice and friendly and knew their available titles inside out. While I'm not much of a poetry reader, I tried reading bits and pieces of the titles written by authors from Dallas and ended up buying two books. I'm all set in terms of souvenirs for this trip! I love buying books whenever I travel because they make great souvenirs. I'd prefer local titles but if they're not available or I can't find something suited to my tastes then I'd buy copies of books that I'm interested in. I also like getting bookmarks and postcards by local artists from bookstores if they're available. Do you guys buy books as souvenirs? Do you visit local bookstores on your trips abroad? . . . #DeepVellum #LiteraryDallas #independentbookstore #indiebookstore #bookstore #travel #Dallas #Texas #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #poetry #bookstagramUSA

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Deep Vellum haul
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Pictured with strawberry rhubarb pie and coffee are the two poetry collections I bought from @deepvellumbooks: Voices from a Hanging Cliff by Michael Neil (signed and numbered) and Time Travel for Daydreamers Vol. 2 by James Barrezz Rodehaver and Nadia Wolnisty. These were both written by authors from Dallas and as I mentioned in my earlier post, they make great souvenirs. Planning to read these when I'm back home in Manila and maybe let my friends borrow them too. . . What have been memorable book purchases for you while you were traveling? I have fond memories of buying The Little Prince, American Gods (which I still haven't read), bookstore postcards and a tote bag from the Shakespeare and Co. in Paris way back in 2014. . . . #VoicesFromAHangingCliff #TimeTravelforDaydreamers #DeepVellum #LiteraryDallas #SpontaneousAfflatus #CWPCreativePress #independentbookstore #indiebookstore #bookstore #travel #Dallas #Texas #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #poetry #bookandcoffee #coffeetime #bookstagramUSA

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I apologize for the radio silence the past few days. As mentioned in my previous posts, I was traveling for a wedding and I thought I'd be able to keep up with bookstagramming on the go but I wasn't in the right head space for it leading up to the wedding. Too busy helping out with wedding prep and everything else! I also wasn't able to read at all while I was there. . . Anyway, I wanted to share a shot of the wedding venue. It was held in a bed and breakfast place that was previously a ranch. It has a red barn, cottages and a main house, as well as a pond that you can see from this shot. As I was going around the place, I kept thinking that it had so many reading nooks. A great place where you can relax and read if you have the luxury of time for it. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to go back someday? What have you all been up to lately? . . . #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #Kindlebooks #Texas

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Wedding Night Stand book quote
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"They ran up to the gazebo, getting there through a winding rocky staircase that very nearly broke her shoe and sprained her ankle. He insisted they press on though, wrapping an arm around her waist when her legs wobbled in her tall shoes. When they got up there she forgave the stairs, and him, because it was far enough from the reception area and no one would bother to go after them. And the view from up there was spectacular." . . An excerpt from the short story Wedding Night Stand by @minavesguerra. I just had to take this shot of this wedding-themed story against a gazebo at the wedding venue I attended. Sometimes bookstagram shots just work out that way. What are bookstagram shots that you've taken against backdrops relevant to the story? . . . #WeddingNightStand #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #bookquote #Filipinoauthor #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diverseromance #ownvoices #romancereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #RoundTop #Texas

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Always ready to Kindle! This lovely calligraphy and watercolor artwork by @jveruditeartist went so well with the flowers used for the wedding. My favorites were these amnesia roses that had a dusty or smokey lavender color to them. I think this is the first time I've seen roses that are this color, I'm not even sure if they're available only in the US or if I can find them in Manila. . . What's your favorite kind of flower? I used to say I love carnations but really, I like all kinds of flowers. I'd probably be happiest with a mix of different types. . . . #IGreads #instabooks #readersofIG #booknerd #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #bookphotography #bookishart #artPH #calligraphy #artwork #weddingflowers #roses #Texas

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Better at Weddings Than You book quote
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"You watch weddings all the time," he said. "What do you think about all of it? You think they're just kidding themselves?" . . "Some of them are. The others - I don't think they're kidding themselves. They really want this. And you have to want it, I think, because that's the only way it can work for that long. You guys know this. YOU would know, because you don't do relationships. You don't do it because you don't need it, and you never wanted it badly enough." . . So much yes to this book quote from Better at Weddings Than You by @minavesguerra! Daphne is a heroine after my own heart: such a strong, independent type of woman. She's in her 30s, still single and plans weddings as a career but she doesn't care that's she's not married or that she doesn't have a boyfriend. She doesn't let it bother her. I loved so many things about her character, and also her insights about relationshipsnas shown by the passage above. What was the last book that you read where a passage or something a character said resonated with you? . . . #BetterAtWeddingsThanYou #BAWTY #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #bookquote #Filipinoauthor #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diverseromance #ownvoices #romancereads #Kindlebooks #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramUSA #RoundTop #Texas #weddingflowers

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I wasn’t able to do that many touristy things but I’m glad I was able to go to two indie bookstores, thank goodness for Uber for letting me go around Dallas. I wouldn’t have been able to visit those stores otherwise! And I also need to pat past Chachic on the back for ordering ahead and taking care of my comics/graphic novels and bookish tote bags haul. Back in Manila now and back to regular programming. I’m still catching up on sleep and errands so I haven’t really been able to read but hopefully that will change soon. What have you all been up to lately? Read any amazing books that you’d like to talk about?

Chasing Mindy Guest Post: Paris Travel Diary

Last week, author Carla de Guzman shared her romanceclass origins and today, she’s here on the blog to share the location inspiration for her latest title Chasing Mindy. Paris is a city that’s close to my own heart and I love that Carla chose to set her book there. Check out what she has to say about this glorious city in relation to her book!

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Paris Travel Diary by Carla de Guzman

One of my favorite things about writing Chasing Mindy was being able to re-write my experience of Paris. It’s one of those places that you never, ever, ever think you’ll be able to visit. You dream about it and hear about it, but you can’t really picture yourself there until you’re actually there. Mindy’s awe over the things she saw was very much my own.

Honestly guys, this city though. It’s so pretty you want to hug it.

For my little stint here on Chachic’s Book Nook, I’m sharing my photos and a little travel diary of the places Mindy and Javier visited!

Chasing Mindy - Rue de Depart

Rue de Depart
Mindy’s first scene ever in Paris is here–on a street corner, looking at the golden light and cursing the city for being just so gosh darn perfect. And how could she not, if she was looking at this? This is the corner not too far from our hotel in Montparnasse. It’s my phone’s wallpaper!

Chasing Mindy - Metro

Paris Metro
Call me a nerd, but I like the Paris Metro stations–they’re all so different, and how fancy is it that the ads have a pretty sienna tile surrounding it? It even has Napoleon’s crest on top of each one.

Chasing Mindy - Shakespeare and Co

Shakespeare and Co.
You see this a lot in pictures, and I never realized it was just across the Notre Dame until someone pointed it out like, oh no big deal, there it is! The inside is crammed with books to browse, and there was a bunch of lavender growing in front of the store so it smelled so nice. I realized later on that there are lots of Shakespeare and Co. bookstores in Europe, but there’s just something special about that green awning!

Chasing Mindy - Square Rene Vivani

Square Rene Vivani
Javi makes Mindy frog march over to the park next to Shakespeare and Co where they sit and have their coffee. Look at that view of the Notre Dame! With the rose arch and everything. There were quite a few painters taking a rest there, and couples falling asleep on the benches–which is totally normal. This place had to appear in the book, just because of the roses!

Chasing Mindy - Saint Chapelle

Saint Chapelle
This church! You don’t run out of churches in Paris, but this one is lovely! I experienced it exactly the same way Mindy did, where she runs up the smallest staircase, thinking that this was a scam, (and we had to line up for an hour!) only to find this gorgeous illusion of light on top. I believe I used the words ‘HOLY CRAP’ in my travel diary at the time.

Chasing Mindy - Giverny

Giverny
When I visited Paris for the first time, I became a little obsessed with the Impressionists. I looked up their works and read up on their history, which is why I knew that the next time we went to Paris, I had to make sure we went to Monet’s home in Giverny. Imagine a garden of flowers and multiply it by like, a thousand. I could barely breathe I was so happy.

Chasing Mindy - Olympia

Olympia by Manet
Sorry for the sudden nudity, but this girl is my goddess, okay. Manet painted one of his favorite muses totally naked. I could go into detail of why he painted it and why this painting was one of the most controversial of his time (someone stop me!), but I settled for putting it in the book, for now.

Chasing Mindy - Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
An excerpt from my travel diary, ‘Damn it, Eiffel Tower, I thought I was over you!’ The perfect last thing to do in Paris is to buy some food, sit in the Trocadero Garden and wait for the tower to light up. You half-expect there to be music. Look at it. So pretty.

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Chasing MindyBook Description:
Mindy and Javier are not friends, okay.

Despite their mothers’ matchmaking, they’ve managed to stay out of each other’s way. Until Mindy goes to Paris for a week, and her mother insists she meet up with Javier. He’s in Paris to study, really looking forward to see you, she says. Watch over each other.

No thanks. Javier is taciturn and boring, Mindy is dramatic and has a tendency to yell at things when her eight siblings are brought up. It’s not a great combination.

But things start to look a little different under the Paris lights, and what felt like hate feels a lot closer to love.

Giveaway on Instagram

I’m hosting a giveaway for Palaso by Marianie and You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria on my bookstagram account. Go and check it out if you’re interested!

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GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Winner has been announced. Philippines only, sorry international folks. I recently reached 1k in terms of number of followers here on bookstagram so as a way to thank all of you, here's a giveaway for two titles I've read: Palaso comics by @marianieart and You Out of Nowhere by @jayetria. These are signed copies, both by Filipino authors. I posted about each of these earlier in my feed if you want to browse and learn more about them. To join: • Must be a follower (please don't follow then unfollow because that's rude) • Must be a bookstagram or author account • Must have a delivery address in the Philippines • Leave a comment answering these questions: What's your favorite book by a Filipino author, and why? That's it! One winner will be chosen by April 12. Please feel free to spread the word through Instagram stories or by tagging your friends. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram. Books were purchased out of pocket. . . . #bookgiveaway #bookstagramPH #booknerdPH #romanceclass #Pinoykomiks #Filipinoauthors #readlocalPH

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Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa

Last Saturday, the Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa art / zine / book fair was held in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This event was organized by Gantala Press and featured Filipino female authors and creators.

Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa

Here are photos that I uploaded on the day itself, showing some of the products available there. Swipe to see everything:

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Today's @gantalapress art/comic/zine/book fair called Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa in CCP. So many cute stuff here by female creators from @romanceclassbooks @haliyapublishing @marianieart @deadbalagtas @catgablin @studiosouplibrary.ph. I wish I could afford to buy EVERYTHING! Swipe to see the goodies. Drop by and check them out, the event runs until 7pm. . . This is my entry for @bentchbites' #MarchBookstagram2018 prompt for local. . . . #GGSSG #artPH #GantalaPress #romanceclass #HaliyaPublishing #DeadBalagtas #CatGablin #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #readlocalPH #diversebooks #diverseromance #Pinoykomiks #ownvoices #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography

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It was seriously difficult to narrow down what to get because I wanted so many things! My haul includes comics, postcards and stickers which you can see below (again, swipe to see everything):

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In one of my posts last Saturday, I mentioned that I was at the Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa art/zine/book fair organized by @gantalapress featuring various Filipino female authors and creators. It's a great event if like me, you're interested in supporting local titles. This is my haul, which includes: . - Kabuwanan anthology by @haliyapublishing . - La Mujer Filipina zine by @deadbalagtas . - Uwian female/female anthology by @catgablin . - Nagmamahal, Maria Clara 1 and 2 comics, and stickers by @marianieart . - UGH postcards by @hulyen I received some other stuff but they're gifts so I'll include them in a different haul post. Swipe to have a closer look at the merch and see inside the comics. I tagged the respective creators so you can feel free to contact them if you missed the event and want to get any of these items. . . Were you able to go to the GGSSG event? What's in your haul? If you weren't able to go, which of these items look intriguing? . . . #GGSSG #artPH #GantalaPress #Kabuwanan #NagmamahalMariaClara #HaliyaPublishing #DeadBalagtas #EmilianaKampilan #Hulyen #CatGablin #Filipinoauthors #Filipinobooks #Pinoykomiks #readlocalPH #diversebooks #ownvoices #IGreads #readersofIG #instabooks #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bookworm #bibliophile #booknerd #bookphotography #artfair #bookfair #supportlocalPH

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As mentioned in one of the captions above, this kind of event is a great for readers like me who are interested in supporting local female authors and artists and komikeras. I hope there will be more like it in the future!

Birthday Wish List

My birthday is 10 days away, on the 29th. 🎂 I wanted to create a wish list even though no one has asked me for it, because lists are fun. And who knows, friends may ask me for what I want when my birthday rolls around. I did a similar list for Christmas last year and it’s fun to look back and take note that I already have most of the titles from that list, and I’ve even read and reviewed (on bookstagram) half of the books in that list. Like I said, lists are fun. 😀 For my birthday, I would love to receive these books:

Captive Prince Prince's Gambit Kings Rising

Other Than Easy Don't Tell My Mother The Duke Takes a Bride Making It Complicated (I Heart Iloilo 2) by Clarisse David Cover Ebook

After Lambana Kabuwanan UGH Zona Cero

The Obelisk Gate The Stone Sky The House of Shattered Wings Red Sister

That’s a mix of M/M fantasy romance, F/F and M/F romanceclass books, Filipino graphic novels and epic fantasy titles. I suspect that I will be buying most (if not all) of these for myself if I don’t receive them as gifts. My justification would be they can be my gifts to myself. 😀 What about you, what are books that are at the top of your wish list?

Cover Reveal: The Secrets That We Keep

The book cover for The Secrets That We Keep has been revealed! I’m actually a day late in posting this but better late than never, right? 😛 The Secrets That We Keep is a Filipino crime fiction anthology edited by Georgette Gonzales and Yeyet Soriano. Check out the cover spread for this upcoming title, with details about the book launch shared below:

The Secrets That We Keep

The Secrets That We Keep has five stories from new crime fiction authors. Four short stories from current authors. Nine bonus excerpts from upcoming releases. Cover design and layout by Porcupine Strongwill.

Join the book launch on March 24, 2018, 3-6pm at the Tweedle Book Cafe, Sct. Gandia, Quezon City, Philippines. More information can be found on the Facebook event page http://bit.ly/TSTWK_Launch.

Pre-order your print copies via http://bit.ly/HeistClubAntho_Secrets.

Favorite Literary Couples 2018

I’m here to present a list that has become one of my blog traditions. Every year on Valentine’s Day, I post a list of fictional couples I’ve loved from books that I’ve read in the previous year. You can check out posts from years past through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. This is the NINTH edition of this post and I can’t believe I’ve been able to keep it up over the years. I feel like one of the oldies in the blogging community. LOL. 😀

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you can probably tell that I’ve found it easier to post bookstagrams and cross-post them here, instead of writing a WordPress blog post from scratch. I have bookstagrams for all five of the couples in my list this year, so I’m sharing them below and you can read the captions on why I had so much fun reading about these characters. Look at me not wasting previously created content! Also no need to repeat myself. Yasss to making life easier, am I right? 😛

Dina and Sean from Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, and One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
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Earlier this year, I devoured the three books that are currently out in the Innkeeper Chronicles: Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep. They got me out of a bad reading slump (which I knew they would). I'm continually amazed at how awesome Ilona and Gordon's writing is! Consistently entertaining, like this free fiction that was available as serials on their blog. I waited to read until they were released as self-pubbed books, and predictably loved them. . . Such creative worldbuilding, I think it's fantasy mixed with sci-fi? I loved everything about it - from the innkeeper magically bound to an inn that caters to supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires. And the characters were all so much fun to get to know! Dina is such a kickass heroine, and I love how she's able to hold her own amidst the various disasters the inn faces. Knowing how I'm such a sucker for romance, I also really loved the slow burn romance between the main characters, as well as the secondary romance that's been building. . . Included in my best of 2017 list, I highly recommend this series for specfic fans! If you feel like we have similar taste in books then you should definitely be reading Ilona Andrews, try any of their series. I've loved them all.❤ . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved.

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Christine and Wulfric from Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
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I'm not a huge fan of Regency romances, I enjoy them while I'm reading them but they all tend to blur together in my mind afterwards. I normally don't read one unless it comes highly recommended, which was the case with Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. @lucyparkerauthor was very enthusiastic in recommending this Pride and Prejudice retelling, and I have to thank her for it because I stayed up until early morning to read this in one go. I was hooked right from the time Christine meets Wulfric! Actually I was laughing so hard. Christine is a smart heroine who is just so vibrant and full of life, a very pleasant character to read about. And she takes the dark and broody Duke of Bewcastle completely by surprise. I really enjoyed how Mary Balogh took elements of Pride and Prejudice but made the story completely her own. Had so much fun reading this book. Highly recommended for historical romance readers and fans of Jane Austen retellings. . . . What's your favorite retelling of a classic? Or Pride and Prejudice in particular, if you have one?

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Daphne and Aaron from Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra
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I have been enjoying @minavesguerra's books since I discovered them in 2010. Better At Weddings Than You is no exception. Happy to share another #romanceclass title in my Best of 2017 list. The story starts during Christmas eve dinner buffet at one of the metro's hotel (I suspect it's Spiral, I'd say I'm jealous but good thing we're going to a fancy buffet tomorrow). So this evening is the perfect time to talk about this book! . . Read this to get to know Daphne and Aaron, both wedding planners with the former having more experience in their field. Daphne is a strong, idependent woman who is very good at what she does. I loved that she's a Filipino woman in her 30s who doesn't give a shit that she's single, a pretty refreshing take for a book set in the Philippines. Plus she likes fancy tea as much as I do. So much fun to watch Daphne and Aaron reluctantly agree to work together... then try to fight off their growing attraction... and eventually give in to it. . . Read this for the food references (yes to chicharon salad), for the Manila setting, and for the relatable characters! A fun and sexy read that's easy to get into. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Kris and Ringo from You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria
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Happy Christmas Eve to everyone! Here's another title in my Best of 2017 reads: You Out of Nowhere by @jayetria, the first #romanceclassFLAIR title! An age gap romance with an older heroine, what we fondly dubbed "tita romance" (tita means aunt in Filipino) with a train meet cute. Hot guy reading Pride and Prejudice on the train, of course the heroine noticed him right away! . . I loved that Kris is older than Ringo but she's the one who isn't interested in a serious relationship. It was a lot of fun watching the two of the get to know each other - because they really click even though their personalities are distinctly different. Also, I enjoyed seeing Ringo scale her walls - first when they met in Manila and then later on when they become unexpected travel buddies in Seoul. Points to Ringo for knowing the benefits of collagen in skincare. . . Novella-length and available as a Kindle edition, this is a perfect holiday read because the story starys on November and ends in December. Full disclosure, I'm part of the #romanceclassFLAIR team but I really did enjoy You Out of Nowhere as a reader and would recommend it to those who think we have similar tastes in books. More tita romance, please!

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Jett and Adrian from Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes
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I read Feels Like Summer by @sixdlr while I was on vacation in Moalboal, Cebu. I had a feeling it would be an excellent beach read because this Filipino romance starts during a beach music festival, and I was right. I was drawn in right from the start - when the heroine pretends to be the hero's girlfriend. Fake relationship trope FTW!🙌 . . Strong, independent heroine who has no interest in a relationship. Also works in a science museum. Easygoing hero, frontman of a band. Brings pizza during a booty call. Bandmates all up in their business (they totally deserve their own books). Surprise abs. Creative references to lightsabers. Add all of these ingredients, mix them up and have such an enjoyable and absorbing romance. Not sure if my summary makes sense, better just check it out for yourself.😂 Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! . . PS: Barcino's sangria included in the pic was delicious.

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BONUS couple:
Nevada and Rogan from White Hot and Wildfire by Ilona Andrews – I had already featured this couple in my 2015 list but I want to mention them again because they were awesome in the two sequels that came out last year. Can’t wait to hear more news about what direction this series will take!
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Before 2017 ends, I want to highlight the books that I've loved this year! High up in that list are White Hot and Wildfire, sequels to Burn for Me, released three years after the first book. I have so much love for Ilona and Gordon's writing, and I devour their books as soon as I can get my hands on them.❤ Hidden Legacy is an urban fantasy series that has their trademark humor and banter, action-packed adventure, strong character development, and the best kind of slow burn romance.🔥 . . I was engrossed from start to finish of each title, and had a book hangover after. And they've become comfort rereads. This series is an excellent introduction to their writing, highly recommended to anyone who wants to read something awesome. Even if you're not a fan of urban fantasy. . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved. Thanks for the assist in this photo, @crisevert.

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Runners-up for the past year are:
Cris and Nathan from Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad
Elena and Lucien from A Kiss in Lavender by Laura Florand
Britt and JT from Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Ann Long
Feyre and Rhys from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Yeva (as Beauty) and the Beast from Hunted by Meagan Spooner

What about you, who are your favorite fictional couples from books that you’ve read within the previous year? Are you planning to do anything special for Valentine’s Day? I’m mostly reading romance this February, and trying to alternative between books by foreign authors and romanceclass books (Filipino romance in English). Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! ❤

My Anticipated 2018 Titles

My last blog post was all about my best of 2017 reads, and now it’s time to talk about the new releases that I’m looking forward to in 2018! In no particular order, these are the books that I can’t wait to read this year:

Magic Triumphs Spinning Silver Obsidio Children of Blood and Bone City of Lies

Start Here - ebook The First Time At Firelight Falls A Princess in Theory The Wedding Date Hurts to Love You

Titles that don’t have covers yet:
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (Hugh D’ Ambray’s book that will be released before Magic Triumphs)
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
Making Up by Lucy Parker
Saving Project Noah by Six de los Reyes
Chasing Mindy by Carla de Guzman

No titles or covers yet but I want the next installments in the following series:
Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews (the new serial has started on their blog but I prefer waiting for the full book)
Chic Manila series by Mina V. Esguerra

Are you also planning to read to any of the titles I listed here? What 2018 releases are you looking forward to?

Best of 2017

Happy New Year! 😀 Hope your 2018 is off to a good start. I usually post my favorite books from the previous year as soon as the new year starts but I’ve been busy with a few post-holiday gatherings with friends so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and work on a post until now. You can check out my lists from previous years through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Eight years’ worth of favorite reads! That’s a lot.

I still haven’t been blogging as much as I would want to, most days I feel like logging into my laptop involves too much effort. I’m still online on a daily basis but it has been easier for me to constantly update the social networks that I have on my phone such as Litsy (username: Chachic), Twitter and Instagram. And I did something different with my best of 2017 reads this year: I did bookstagrams for all of them! With brief summaries of why I loved them. I felt like I didn’t get to talk about them that much so I wanted to highlight these titles before 2017 ended. Here are the speculative fiction reads I loved last year:

Clean Sweep Sweep in Peace One Fell Sweep

White Hot Wildfire

thick-as-thieves

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Before 2017 ends, I want to highlight the books that I've loved this year! High up in that list are White Hot and Wildfire, sequels to Burn for Me, released three years after the first book. I have so much love for Ilona and Gordon's writing, and I devour their books as soon as I can get my hands on them.❤ Hidden Legacy is an urban fantasy series that has their trademark humor and banter, action-packed adventure, strong character development, and the best kind of slow burn romance.🔥 . . I was engrossed from start to finish of each title, and had a book hangover after. And they've become comfort rereads. This series is an excellent introduction to their writing, highly recommended to anyone who wants to read something awesome. Even if you're not a fan of urban fantasy. . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved. Thanks for the assist in this photo, @crisevert.

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Earlier this year, I devoured the three books that are currently out in the Innkeeper Chronicles: Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep. They got me out of a bad reading slump (which I knew they would). I'm continually amazed at how awesome Ilona and Gordon's writing is! Consistently entertaining, like this free fiction that was available as serials on their blog. I waited to read until they were released as self-pubbed books, and predictably loved them. . . Such creative worldbuilding, I think it's fantasy mixed with sci-fi? I loved everything about it - from the innkeeper magically bound to an inn that caters to supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires. And the characters were all so much fun to get to know! Dina is such a kickass heroine, and I love how she's able to hold her own amidst the various disasters the inn faces. Knowing how I'm such a sucker for romance, I also really loved the slow burn romance between the main characters, as well as the secondary romance that's been building. . . Included in my best of 2017 list, I highly recommend this series for specfic fans! If you feel like we have similar taste in books then you should definitely be reading Ilona Andrews, try any of their series. I've loved them all.❤ . . What are some of your fave reads this year? Join me in posting about them because I love seeing people talk about the books they've loved.

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No big deal, fans of the Queen's Thief series have only been waiting SEVEN YEARS for Thick as Thieves to be released. Easily my most anticipated 2017 release, this book was just as brilliant as I expected a Megan Whalen Turner title would be. I reread the earlier books prior to diving into this one and I believe that gave me a better appreciation of how the story progressed. SO, SO GOOD. . . . The best kind of storytelling. Set in a world reminiscent of ancient Greece, with layers upon layers of political intrigue. And clever characters who never hesitate in using the weapons at their disposal - whether it be sharp wit or blade. I love them so much.❤ This series is one of the finest YA out there, and do me a favor and just read it then let me know what you think. I HOPE THE NEXT ONE WON'T TAKE SEVEN YEARS. #ILoveYouMWT #ButPleaseWriteFaster

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Here are the contemporary romance novels I loved:

pretty face A Kiss in Lavender

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Lucy Parker has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. Pretty Face was released earlier this year, and I loved this age gap romance set in West End featuring a TV-turned-theater actress and the director who casts her. . . There was such a strong connection between Lily and Luc, the tension was palpable right from the moment they met. And it was so much fun to watch their romance unfold as they got to know each other better, and gained mutual trust and respect. This was one of those romances where both hero and heroine feel seen and understood by the other person. I love reading about characters like that! It seems like the kind of romance that everyone should want for themselves. . . Lucy writes romances with a strong sense of place that feels realistic, and she's a must read for anyone who enjoys theater romance (or even just romance in general). I'm so grateful for her generosity in sending me signed and personalized copies of both Act Like It and Pretty Face. Can't wait to read the third book in the series! . . PS: My shirt says "Gimme HEA" which stands for Happily Ever After, a must for romance as a genre! That or HFN (Happy For Now). . . 📷 @fantaghiro23

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Laura Florand's romance novels has such a strong sense of place and rootedness that it almost feels like you traveled to France when you read one of her books. Her descriptions of Provence leap off the page in her La vie en Roses series, where she focuses on the Rosiers, described as the most influential agricultural perfume family in the region.🌹🍃 Such a well-written series with great banter, strong family ties, and characters you can't help but love. . . A Kiss in Lavender is a romance between an officer in the French Foreign Legion and the museum curator who brings him back home to Grasse. I've been waiting to read about Lucien's homecoming since I started this series! And it was as lovely and bittersweet as I expected it to be. I wanted this book to be longer because I would have loved to spend more time with the Rosiers. . . I've only been to Aix-en-Provence but someday, I'm going to travel to Grasse to experience what it's like to be a Laura Florand heroine.😂 If you're a romance reader and you haven't tried reading Laura Florand's books, that's something that you should remedy immediately. Her books feel like comfort reads even when you're reading them for the first time. Highly recommended.❤📚

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Last but not the least, these are the romanceclass titles that stood out for me:

FLAIR You Out of Nowhere Better At Weddings Than You cover Feels Like Summer Another Word for Happy

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Happy Christmas Eve to everyone! Here's another title in my Best of 2017 reads: You Out of Nowhere by @jayetria, the first #romanceclassFLAIR title! An age gap romance with an older heroine, what we fondly dubbed "tita romance" (tita means aunt in Filipino) with a train meet cute. Hot guy reading Pride and Prejudice on the train, of course the heroine noticed him right away! . . I loved that Kris is older than Ringo but she's the one who isn't interested in a serious relationship. It was a lot of fun watching the two of the get to know each other - because they really click even though their personalities are distinctly different. Also, I enjoyed seeing Ringo scale her walls - first when they met in Manila and then later on when they become unexpected travel buddies in Seoul. Points to Ringo for knowing the benefits of collagen in skincare. . . Novella-length and available as a Kindle edition, this is a perfect holiday read because the story starys on November and ends in December. Full disclosure, I'm part of the #romanceclassFLAIR team but I really did enjoy You Out of Nowhere as a reader and would recommend it to those who think we have similar tastes in books. More tita romance, please!

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I have been enjoying @minavesguerra's books since I discovered them in 2010. Better At Weddings Than You is no exception. Happy to share another #romanceclass title in my Best of 2017 list. The story starts during Christmas eve dinner buffet at one of the metro's hotel (I suspect it's Spiral, I'd say I'm jealous but good thing we're going to a fancy buffet tomorrow). So this evening is the perfect time to talk about this book! . . Read this to get to know Daphne and Aaron, both wedding planners with the former having more experience in their field. Daphne is a strong, idependent woman who is very good at what she does. I loved that she's a Filipino woman in her 30s who doesn't give a shit that she's single, a pretty refreshing take for a book set in the Philippines. Plus she likes fancy tea as much as I do. So much fun to watch Daphne and Aaron reluctantly agree to work together... then try to fight off their growing attraction... and eventually give in to it. . . Read this for the food references (yes to chicharon salad), for the Manila setting, and for the relatable characters! A fun and sexy read that's easy to get into. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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I read Feels Like Summer by @sixdlr while I was on vacation in Moalboal, Cebu. I had a feeling it would be an excellent beach read because this Filipino romance starts during a beach music festival, and I was right. I was drawn in right from the start - when the heroine pretends to be the hero's girlfriend. Fake relationship trope FTW!🙌 . . Strong, independent heroine who has no interest in a relationship. Also works in a science museum. Easygoing hero, frontman of a band. Brings pizza during a booty call. Bandmates all up in their business (they totally deserve their own books). Surprise abs. Creative references to lightsabers. Add all of these ingredients, mix them up and have such an enjoyable and absorbing romance. Not sure if my summary makes sense, better just check it out for yourself.😂 Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! . . PS: Barcino's sangria included in the pic was delicious.

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I've had Another Word for Happy in my TBR pile ever since it was released. I knew I would enjoy reading it because it's written by @agayllanera and edited by @islandstorygirl. But it wasn't until I saw @giogahol and @mrfredlaw reading the book that I finally picked it up too. Thanks, guise. Galing nyo magbenta.😂 . . It's a beautiful and heartfelt coming of age story. It's about the main character Caleb: teen guy, piano player extraordinaire, bowtie wearer... and how he falls in love for the first time. With another guy. This story has all the highs and lows of first love, and the confusion that comes from trying to learn more about yourself as you grow into a young adult. I have to caveat that although this is a #romanceclass book, it's technically not a romance. . . Both Another Word for Happy and Choco Chip Hips are titles that I'd recommend to anyone who wants to give Filipino YA a try. I feel like Agay has such a distinct writing voice. I need to read the rest of Agay's backlist! And I'm also looking forward to whatever she writes next. . . PS: Auro dark chocolate with cacao nibs is SO GOOD! Current fave Filipino artisan chocolate.

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In case you haven’t noticed, I also have a new blog banner designed by Filipino graphic artist Clarissa Ines. Learn more about the process here. I love how it gives my blog a fresh new look! I think it’s awesome that it’s a play on a book cover design, because Cla has designed locally published book covers.

ChachicsBookNook 2017 banner FINAL

Because I’m back in Manila, 2017 is also the year I became a lot more active in the romanceclass community. I’ve been posting a lot on Instagram and Twitter (and occasionally here on the blog) about the shenanigans I’ve been a part of. It’s been so much fun to have a sense of belonging in a local book community because I love books and I love interacting with people who love the same thing. You can see more of my romanceclass posts on the blog through this romanceclass tag.

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You know that feeling when you're with people who love the same things you do, who understand you and accept you for who you are and what you're capable of? A warm and welcoming crowd, everyone giving as much of themselves as they can, extreme appreciation of what is offered, conversations that don't quit, hugs all around. The very definition of being part of a community. That's what it means to be in #romanceclass. ALWAYS A BLAST! Kayo talaga yung dahilan kung bakit ako umuwi ng Pinas, cheret. Love you, guys.💕🙌 Thanks for being extra. #FeelsFest2017 . . . . PS: "Landian" in Filipino means "flirting" so #romancelandian is romance + flirting, a play on #romancelandia coined by @readbyher. Just add one more letter, totally different meaning.👌

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That’s 2017 for me. Hope you guys enjoyed seeing the different direction that I took for posting my best of 2017 list. How was your 2017 reading year? What were your favorite reads from the past year? 🙂