Chachic's Book Nook


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Favorite Literary Couples VII

I’m aliiiiiive! Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t been posting lately but real life has been taking up most of my time, and honestly whenever I have some free time, all I want to do is read (or take a nap). I have been on Litsy A LOT (username: Chachic) because that’s easier to update on my phone than WordPress. But I wouldn’t want to miss this yearly post! 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. Whoa, how awesome is it that this is the eighth edition of this post? I’m so glad I’ve been able to keep it up.

I will be inserting some of my bookstagrams below, and the captions are automatically displayed… some of them aren’t applicable anymore (e.g. I posted a pic before I read the book) so please feel free to ignore them.

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Lily and Luc from Pretty Face by Lucy Parker – I’m cheating a bit with this one because it hasn’t been released yet but I’m grateful I was approved for an early copy. Lucy Parker was in my list last year so I knew I would enjoy her latest romance, and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved how she was able to portray such a strong connection between Lily and Luc in spite of their age gap and the obstacles in their way. They just understood each other, they have the kind of relationship that you’d want for yourself. It was just so much fun reading about them. The West End setting was another aspect that I enjoyed, and of course I loved that Lily is a reader as shown by this passage:

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Malorie and Tristan from A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand – All of the books in Laura’s La vie en Roses have been a delight to read and A Crown of Bitter Orange is no exception. Aside from the strong sense of place, Laura just makes scents and textures leap off the page. Malorie and Tristan were both secretly infatuated with each other while growing up and it was funny that they both had no idea. I liked the contrast between their personalities, their work/passion and the way they think… and also how well they knew each other even though they’re so different. They admired each other not because they don’t recognize the other person’s flaws, but because they could see past those to what makes them the person they are. I’m not sure I’m making any sense here but they really just saw each other clearly. As always, I enjoyed the Rosier family dynamics and absolutely can’t wait for the next installment in this series.

A new Laura Florand is always something to be happy about. She's one of my favorite romance authors. I've loved all of the other titles in her La vie en Roses series set in Grasse, France, featuring a family in the perfume business. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this one too. I couldn't resist taking a pic of A Crown of Bitter Orange with this bottle of orange blossom EDT (I bought the cologne version). Maybe I should have done this for Once Upon a Rose and A Wish Upon Jasmine too? 📖🌹 FYI, Once Upon a Rose is on sale for just 0.99usd now. Such a good bargain! . . . #LauraFlorand #ACrownofBitterOrange #LavieenRoses #romance #bookblogger #reviewcopy #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #IGreads #IGbooks #booksPH #Litsy #ChristineLhuillierParfumerie #fragrance #perfume

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Iris and Gio from Iris After the Incident by Mina V. Esguerra – Filipino romance (#romanceclass) at its finest! I have been reading and actively promoting Mina’s books ever since I discovered her writing way back in 2010. I think it’s amazing how she’s been exploring and growing in her writing. I think this one has such a unique and intriguing premise, with a plot that I thought was a brave choice for a Philippine setting. Iris and Gio both have painful experiences that have shaped and scarred them, and I felt that their romance and their issues were handled thoughtfully. I’m purposefully being vague because I don’t want to share any spoilers!

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Lila and Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – These books are awesome and the romance(s) are not the central part of the story but of course, I enjoyed reading about them! I loved Lila and Kell’s interactions right from start, from trying to one-up each other to slowly realizing that maybeee what they feel for the other person goes beyond friendship (or unwilling partnership?). Some of the best scenes in the books were the ones where they were together (even better when Rhy and Alucard were also there). I’m so glad the third book will be out soon because I need to know what happens next! These two seriously deserve all the happiness they can get so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them.

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Jess and Mitch from Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar – I’m basically just going to quote my own review: “I seriously could not get enough of Jess and Mitch! I loved all of their interactions, and I kept waiting for scenes that had the two of them together. I’m normally not a fan of drama in a romance but everything that Jess and Mitch went through felt necessary. They needed to experience all of it to grow and develop both individually and as a couple. I wouldn’t call their romance slow burn because sparks fly the moment they meet and they do act on it, but the depth in their relationship is earned the hard way. Also, I thought it was really cute that their family and friends were invested in their relationship.”

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Runners-up for the past year are:
Jess and Blake from Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Daniel and Rex from In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Cat and Griffin from A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Martise and Silhara from Master of Crows by Grace Draven
Catherine and Andrew from Ruined by Sarah Vaughn and Sarah Searle in the Fresh Romance graphic novel anthology (is there any news about the next volume??)

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I feel like I read a lot of romance and even the fantasy novels I’m usually into have some sort of love story in them, but when the time comes for me to round up my list like this, I keep thinking I WANT MORE. 😀 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? It’s going to be a regular work day for me but I’m hoping I’ll have time to read a good romance after work. 🙂 Also hoping I won’t be too sleepy in the office because I stayed up late to work on this post. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! ❤


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Best of 2016

Happy New Year! 😀 I think we can all agree that 2016 was a difficult year on so many levels. There was so many things happening on an international scale, as well as in the Philippines (which still affects me a great deal even if I’m based in Singapore for work). On a personal front, I resigned from my previous job and started a new one. It hasn’t been smooth sailing and I’ve been struggling with having a sense of belonging. Of course, all of these have affected my reading and blogging life, which is why I haven’t been posting as much as I would want to. 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. Going forward, I think this will continue for a while. It’s just so much easier for me to check, update and reply on my phone. My laptop has been acting up and it’s been a pain to open it up and go online. Plus real life stuff happening has made everything harder. The struggle is real!

Anyway, I have a tradition of posting my favorite reads for the previous year whenever the new year rolls around, I’m a few days late but it’s still within the first week of 2017! You can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. In no particular order, here are the books that I loved in 2016 (linked to my reviews if I have them):

a-darker-shade-of-magic a-gathering-of-shadows The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms the-broken-kingdoms

a-promise-of-fire magic-binds master-of-crows

Act Like It Summer Skin In the Middle of Somewhere Out of Nowhere

Amulet The Stonekeeper Monstress fresh-romance

It’s safe to say that I read more than I blogged in 2016. 😛 That’s seven speculative fiction titles, four contemporary romance and three graphic novels. It’s funny because the easiest genre for me to get into is contemporary romance but it looks like the books that stand out more for me are fantasy titles. I think my sweet spot is fantasy with a well-written romance. In addition to these, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would know that I’ve been trying to read and promote books written by Filipino authors. I haven’t read that many of them this year but the ones I enjoyed reading have been:

Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Iris After the Incident

That’s 2016 for me. How was yours? What were your favorite reads from the past year? 🙂


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Christmas 2016

The 25th of December is almost over in this part of the world but I just wanted to put up a quick post to greet all of you a very Merry Christmas! 🙂 Maligayang Pasko! I just traveled from Singapore to Manila yesterday and it’s so good to be home just in time for Christmas. I’ve mostly been spending time with my family but I plan to meet up with some friends in the coming days. I hope all of you are having a festive and joyous holiday season, filled with good food and great books. 🙂 Here are some Christmas-related pics:

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Merry Christmas, everyone! Maliyang Pasko sa inyong lahat! 🎄🌟🏰

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In keeping with a tradition I started last year, I’ve bought books written by Filipino authors to give as Christmas gifts to friends:

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Author Guest Post from Thessa Lim

Hello, bookish friends! Today, I have a guest post from Filipino author Thessa Lim. Both Thessa and I are based in Singapore (and also studied in the same university) but we’ve yet to meet. Hopefully we can do that soon. 🙂 She has recently launched her debut contemporary novel in her Of Heads and Hearts series. I’ve received a review copy of it but because of my huge TBR pile, I have no idea when I’ll be able to read or review it. But because I’m always interested in promoting Filipino authors, I invited her over on the blog to give all of you a better idea of what her life as a writer is like. Please give Thessa a warm welcome!

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All in a Day’s Work
By Thessa Lim

thessa-lim-1

Since I’ve published my first novel, people have been asking me how I find the time to write. At first, it might seem like a writer is able to set a whole day simply and purely for writing. He would just drive to a nice café and write effortlessly as inspiration runs loose in his head. But a lot of writers maintain day jobs and have families to tend. And so here goes my version of a working-mother-slash-writer’s day.

thessa-lim-3The Early Morn Apparition – My day as a writer does not start at eight a.m., with me lounging next to my laptop, having a slice of toasted baguette and a cup of hot cocoa on hand. It starts at three a.m., which is when I usually rouse into some state of consciousness after having put my little boy to sleep five hours back. My husband is out like a light too. Yes! I position my Lenovo Yoga at the foot of the bed, sit on my son’s little blue chair, turn on my book light, and start working. I look pretty much like a White Lady staying by people’s bed at night, but my husband knows better. So if he somewhat awakens while my mouse goes a-clicking, he doesn’t scream. Although it is spent in semi-darkness, this is my writer’s me time. It’s like gold.

thessa-lim-2The Lunch Hour Rush – I grab my tablet, hurry out of the office, and head to the nearest café. While silently condemning the customer before me in the queue for taking time with his order, I check that my favorite spot is free. I then quickly chope it. Later, I settle down at the table and take a bite out of a cheap eat from the menu. Didn’t I just have this the other day? I scan the food list again for more scrumptious offerings. I see the prices. This’ll do. Nomnomnomnom.

thessa-lim-5The Final Fix at EOD – I step onto the station’s platform. Two trains going in opposite directions whizz by. I glance at the clock. Fifteen minutes before I definitely have to head home—this window is good enough. I sit on a bench. After ten trains have come and gone, I’ve either edited half of a chapter or added in a couple of paragraphs. I then squeeze into a train with the rest of the throng and continue tapping on my device’s screen, like a freaking nerd who won’t give it a rest, balancing the gadget so that I could work on it without hitting other people.

I reach home, where my husband and son would be — my two other great joys.

My days are hectic, tiring. And while I look forward to more leisurely days, I’m grateful that I’m inspired, able to write, and able to publish.

This is my writer’s daily grind. What’s yours like? 🙂

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Thessa is the author of the book Of Heads and Hearts in the Metro, a new adult fiction for women set in modern-day Philippines. The book, which revolves around the struggles and triumphs of four Filipinas and which is the first installment in the Of Heads and Hearts series, reveals the life-saving element of friendship and the intricate dynamics within it. To know more, visit her website at http://www.thessalim.com or like her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ThessaLimOfficial.

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Litsy Addict

litsy-logo

I signed up for Litsy when it first became available for Android and I’ve been having fun with it ever since. I know I keep mentioning it here on the blog so it’s high time that I write another post about it. Given how much I enjoy shooting bookstagram shots, I knew it was likely that I would get addicted to Litsy. While I don’t want to call this a review for the app, I did make a list of reasons why I think Litsy is awesome and also the things about it that bug me:

Pros:
– Unlike Instagram, it’s an app specifically made for book-lovers, everyone on it is a reader. One issue I have with Instagram is that the people I follow and also my followers on it are a mix of real life and bookish friends but because it’s a public account tied to my blog, I usually just post book or food-related pictures instead of personal updates. At least with Litsy, I feel like my posts are more relevant to my followers there
– You can link your posts to book titles, which you can then click to see what other people have said about them
– There are a whole slew of hashtags that can be used like #Recommendsday every Wednesday or #BlameitonLitsy if you pick up a book because of Litsy or #SignedSundays on Sundays. I like having prompts like these to make it easier for me to decide what to take pics of!
– Other hashtags I use: #romantsy, #bookandtea, #bookandcoffee, #bookandbrew, #bookanddinner and one that I created: #bookanddessert
– #LitsyFeature is a hashtag that everyone can use if you’re interested in being featured on their Instagram page. One of my posts has been featured here
– URLs are clickable whenever you want to link to something like a blog post or an Amazon link to a book
– The app doesn’t count the number of posts you make, which for me is a good thing because I can post as much as I want and not worry about flooding my followers with too many book pics. I take pics of all sorts of books – my current reads, books I just bought, books I’m thinking of buying (whenever I visit the bookstore), books that I’ve read and would recommend, books that have been in my TBR pile for ages and I still haven’t read, and so many other books! Just whatever I could think of 😛
– Instead of number of posts, the site counts your “litfluence” which increases based on other people reacting to your post (e.g. liking, commenting, adding the book to their stack)
– It’s a mobile app that I can easily update on the go, so it’s much easier to post on it than here on WordPress. My personal laptop has been acting up lately so that’s also why it’s been difficult for me to blog. With an app like Litsy, I don’t have to put in as much effort but I still get to interact and chat with fellow book nerds
– There’s a 451 character limit on posts, including reviews, which is a good way of making sure everything posted is succinct and to the point. This means each of the posts in my feed won’t be too long, and it also makes it easier for me to write a review for a book because it’s a short post!
– I get to meet new bookish friends that I’ve missed meeting through all my other bookish social networks. Always a good thing in my eyes. 🙂 And it never fails to make me happy when one of them picks up a book based on my recommendation
– I’m being followed by romance authors Eloisa James and Julia Quinn! Okay sure, they follow a lot of people there but it’s still a pretty big deal for me. I will never get tired of being able to connect with authors (who are rock stars for a reader like me). If you know of any other authors who are on Litsy, please feel free to let me know
– I’m also followed by Filipino romance authors Mina V. Esguerra, Ana Tejano and Miren B. Flores but we all follow each other on Twitter so that’s not a surprise. 😀 I hope more #romanceclass people join the fun on Litsy so we can talk more about their books

Litsy screenshot

Here’s my current litfluence

Cons:
– Not a lot of people have it or if they do, they’re not updating their accounts. I need more bookish friends to be on it! If more of my bookish Twitter or Instagram friends become active on Litsy, that would be awesome. I would also be open to following more people who either read the same kinds of books that I do or who post pretty book pics (because come on, who doesn’t like seeing beautiful book shots? 😛 )
– Cross-posting to other social networking sites is done manually. There isn’t a way to link your sites together and cross-post automatically
– I can’t link to my Litsy profile, only to individual posts. So I usually just mention my username whenever I want to spread the word about my profile. Even on this blog’s sidebar, I only have the Litsy logo and my username
– I can’t embed my Litsy posts here on WordPress, which I can do with Instagram posts. If I could, I would have probably done weekly recaps of my Litsy posts. I could have also added Litsy pics to this post!
– Their database is still being updated, so there are times when I have to manually ask for books to be added so I can tag them. But there are ways to work around this, such as tagging another book by the same author
– The editing tools for pics (e.g. brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.) aren’t as good as the options in Instagram

Like I said, this isn’t really a review of the app but just me sharing my thoughts about it. The issues I have with it are minor and you can probably tell from what I’ve said that I love using the app. I’m sure I’ll remember some things I’ve forgotten to include once I hit publish on this post, but I’ve been sitting on a draft of this for a while now so I want to put it up. Are you on Litsy? If you are, what’s your username? If you aren’t, what’s holding you back from signing up? 🙂


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Cover Reveal: A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you would know that I’m a huge Laura Florand fangirl. She’s an auto-read author for me ever since I discovered and fell in love with The Chocolate Thief back in 2013. I’m a (slightly) bigger fan of her La vie en Roses series set in Provence and featuring a family that has been in the perfume business for generations. Two of the earlier books in the series, Once Upon a Rose and A Wish Upon Jasmine, were included in my best of 2015 list so I’m pretty excited to read the next installment. I’m also itching to reread a novella in the series, A Rose in Winter, because it’s such a charming story set during Christmastime in the South of France. The next book in the series will be released early next year, and the cover and premise have been shared just this week:

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A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand
Book 3 – La Vie en Roses – on sale February 2016

Laura Florand, bestselling author of The Chocolate Kiss, combines lush description, smart dialogue, provocative sensuality, and the perfume of love itself in A Crown of Bitter Orange, an irresistibly lush novel that is an ode to the scents and pleasures of the south of France and the beauty of falling in love.

A Crown of Bitter Orange

Childhood friends. Tristan Rosier might have asked Malorie Monsard to marry him when he was five years old, but things had only gone downhill from there. She’d spent the rest of their lives ignoring him, abandoning him, and destroying his perfumes. Now she was back, to wreak who knew what havoc on his life.

Lifelong enemies. Tristan might choose to dismiss the generations-long enmity between their two families, but Malorie didn’t have that privilege. Like all the other privileges wealthy, gorgeous Tristan took for granted that she couldn’t. But if she was going to restore her family company to glory, she might just need his help.

Or the perfect match? They’d known each other all their lives. Could these childhood friends and lifelong enemies ever uncross their stars and find happily ever after?

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Laura FlorandABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Her international bestselling books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Romantic Times and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

After a Fulbright year in Tahiti and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, and several years living in Madrid and Paris, Laura now teaches Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, this means she primarily teaches French language and culture and does a great deal of research on French gastronomy, particularly chocolate. For more information, please see her website: http://www.lauraflorand.com.

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I can’t wait to read this book! I had initially thought that the next book would have a title like Love in Lavender or something like that, but I’m not picky. It would be interesting to find out what the significance of bitter orange in the story is. I think the cover is beautiful and I’m loving the redesign of the earlier books to match this one. Behold the prettiness:

Once Upon a Rose redesign A Wish Upon Jasmine redesign

What do you think of these new covers? Do you like them as much as I do? If you haven’t read any of Laura Florand’s books, you should definitely get started on them as soon as you can.


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Fiction Friday Outfit – Part 2

Last Friday was the year end party for our office and we had a theme of childhood aspirations – we were supposed to dress up in outfits that represented what we wanted to be when we grew up. Now I had a lot of childhood aspirations – I wanted to be a journalist and at one point, kept telling everyone I will be majoring in mass communications, and I also wanted to be a grocery cashier because it seemed fun to push all those buttons in the machine. But I have always been a reader for as long as I could remember, and one of my childhood aspirations was to become a librarian (difficult to achieve in a country like the Philippines where there are no good public libraries). Also, I already have an outfit ready for it – I just modified last year’s Fiction Friday Outfit.

I had lost the letter “B” in my necklace while I was changing the chain because the old one had turned a rusty green color, so now it spells “read more” instead of “bookworm”. I also included my time turner necklace which I didn’t have last year, and also glasses for a more nerdy look. Last but not the least, I had a bookish tote bag and I carried around the hardcovers of Elizabeth Wein’s books. Here’s the whole look:

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I’m pretty happy with the whole outfit but everyone thought I was a teacher, so I had to keep pointing out that I’m a librarian and my necklace says “read more” and not “study more”. One co-worker did ask me where else am I, after she noticed my time turner necklace. My very boring and safe answer was working, but I really should have said I was reading ALL THE BOOKS. I wouldn’t mind wearing this on a regular basis, the only reason I don’t is I have to iron the skirt and I’m a lazy girl. I need to find more bookish accessories and clothes so feel free to suggest some if you know of any. 🙂 Hope everyone is having a great weekend!