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 #bookquoteΒ #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 #bookquoteΒ #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?

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. πŸ˜€

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? πŸ˜›

Dina and Sean from Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, and One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

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!πŸ™Œ . . 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.πŸ˜‚ 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!

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?

Character Profiles: You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria

Earlier this week, the title, cover and synopsis for the first romanceclassFLAIR title was revealed. Click here to see the post about You Out of Nowhere by Jay E. Tria. Now for something fun, here are character profiles for the heroine and hero:

You Out of Nowhere - Kris

You Out of Nowhere - synopsis

You Out of Nowhere - Ringo

Join the You Out of Nowhere blog tour from November 13-17! Sign up HERE.

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About FLAIR

romanceclassFlairFLAIR (or #romanceclassFlair) is a new, ongoing project and it’ll bring you steamy contemporary romance (in English) by Filipino authors. There are four new titles from four different #romanceclass authors about to be released, and these books will be unapologetically sexy. What can you expect from Flair? HEAs, Filipino characters, fresh telling of familiar tropes, lots of heat.

Flair is not a publisher, but there is a single Flair team that is working with the authors on all the books. The team is composed of #romanceclass community authors, readers, editors, designers. Follow Romanceclass Books on FB, romanceclassbooks on IG, and #romanceclass on Twitter to get the updates!

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About the Author

Jay E. Tria is inspired by daydreams, celebrity crushes, a childhood fascination of Japanese drama and manga, and an incessant itch to travel. She writes contemporary young adult and new adult romance. Sometimes, paranormal fantasy too.

Visit her website http://www.jayetria.com.

Email: jayetria@gmail.com
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wattpad: jayetria

New Blog Banner by Clarissa Ines

The last time my blog banner was updated was in 2013. As much as I loved the previous design, I wanted a fresh new look for the blog! So I contacted Filipino graphic artist Clarissa Ines to request for her to design artwork specifically for Chachic’s Book Nook. She has designed book covers for romanceclass titles in the past, some examples of which are:

Bucket List to Love Learning to Fall - Anvil Promdi Heart

The Kitchen When It Sizzles What About Today Tame The Kitten

Aren’t they pretty? She doesn’t just design book covers, she’s a romanceclass reader too! That was a pretty good sign that we’d get along well. πŸ™‚ I love pretty things but unfortunately, I can only draw stick figures so I relied on Cla’s expertise in the design process. She gave me some sketches to start with, basically to choose what design to use as a base before moving forward:

chachic-sketches

I loved all of these! I had to stare at them for a long while before I could decide what to go for. Of course they’re all book-themed, but I feel like all of these designs would have worked well for my blog. Cla said the third one was actually based on my bookstagrams and flatlays. πŸ˜› After seriously considering my options, I went with the second one because I love how it’s a throwback to Cla’s work in designing book covers. I gave her some details that I wanted to be included on the design and she got started on it. She does her own calligraphy and she mentioned that it will be included as part of the design, isn’t that awesome? This was the black and white digital artwork that I got as an update:

Cla Ines blog banner draft

No colors yet but even in just black and white, I think the design is already pretty. πŸ˜› I told her that I would love to have a color scheme that we call “malamig sa mata” in Filipino which I think can roughly translate to cool colors that are pleasant to look at. I said I preferred blues and purples, and she really followed my suggestions! This was the next update, which is a colored version:

Cla Ines blog banner - draft color

I absolutely love the color scheme she used, and look at all the details in the book spine. I had mentioned earlier that I would love for the book cover to have the feel of an antique fairy tale book and I think Cla’ss design is spot-on. I can’t get over how beautifully detailed the book spine and cover edges are. I also asked for cake and coffee to be included because you probably all know by now that I equally love both food and books. πŸ™‚ The genres in the book pile that the girl is sitting on are the genres that I mostly read (with a special shout out to romanceclass). This is close to the final design and she just needed to add in some textures and tweak a few details to get to this:

ChachicsBookNook 2017 banner FINAL

IT’S GORGEOUS! I’m so happy with the final outcome, I told Cla that I’ll probably use this blog banner until I decide to give up on WordPress (which isn’t too much of a strech, given how seldom I blog nowadays :P), and I can also use variations of the design in all my other social media accounts. As a bonus, she sent me the full book cover design that she used as the base before cropping and tilting it:

Cla Ines blog banner - book spread

It was a real pleasure working with Cla because she’s super accommodating, she really paid attention to my requests and incorporated them into the design. If you need to commission graphic art, then I highly recommend that you reach out to Cla because I’m sure she’ll do an amazing job like she did with my banner. THANK YOU SO MUCH, Cla! You are the best. πŸ˜€

YAY, now my blog looks amazing! I hope this encourages me to write even more posts for this blog. πŸ™‚ What do you guys think of this new blog banner? Would love to hear from you, and I’m sure Cla will also appreciate getting some feedback.

Recent Haul: Graphic Novel, Lipstick and Bookish Shirts

Quick post to share some of the book-related stuff I’ve acquired. I actually only bought one book: Monstress Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, which I’m been waiting to become available here in the Philippines. I loved Vol. 1 and I can’t wait to dive into Vol. 2. On the same day, I also bought a sort of bookish lipstick because it has a Beauty and the Beast theme. Check it out:

Swipe right to see more pics. πŸ™‚ Next is my haul of bookish shirts! I found a local seller here in the Philippines who does custom prints and I ordered the designs below. Honestly, it was so hard to narrow down the choices to just five designs. I wanted to many more. But then I can always order more later on, right? πŸ˜› The last time I had bookish shirts was when I ordered them from Threadless, and sadly those shirts don’t fit anymore. These new shirts of mine will be perfect with my bookish skirts.

Swipe right to see more pics of the shirts, and a pic of me wearing one of them. πŸ™‚ I shared the pic on Twitter and Ilona shared it, yay:

I’m traveling for a few days, so I wouldn’t be online here on WordPress that much but I will be updating all other social media apps that I have on my phone.:D What books or other bookish stuff have you acquired lately?

Book Hungry vs. Book Full

As a book lover, I think I usually have two modes when it comes to book acquisition: book full vs. book hungry. Book full means that I feel like I have way too many books in my TBR pile and I would never be able to read all of them (and that’s okay, I wrote a blog post about that years ago). While book hungry means I feel like I do NOT have enough books or that I need more because I don’t feel like reading the ones that I already own. In another older blog post, I shared this quote which nicely sums up why we keep hoarding books:

β€œOf course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.” – David Quammen

Whenever I’m book hungry, I’d go buy one or two books that I REALLY, REALLY want. Enough to justify a purchase when I already have such a huge TBR pile. Nowadays, I try to control my book buying tendencies by only getting physical copies of either signed books or graphic novels. Those are the only titles I allow myself to get, because I can get the rest in ebook format. I’ve noticed that I don’t really go book hungry that often anymore because I always just one-click Kindle deals or freebies whenever I come across them. πŸ˜›

When I’m feeling extremely book full, that’s when I want to pass on physical copies of my books either to friends, a book drive or a book cafe. I did a somewhat ruthless culling of my bookshelves last year because I hated that my books were sitting unread in my bookshelves in Manila while I was in Singapore. And it’s not like they would stay in good condition forever, foxing and yellowing is a constant problem in a hot and humid country like the Philippines. Some of my friends in real life got a huge TBR pile because of it, and I also donated some books to a book cafe and a book drive.

I thought my pile of books has gone down to a more manageable size after last year’s cull but I was feeling book full again as I unpacked the books that I sent home from Singapore to Manila. If only I could convert these books into ebooks so I can save them in my Kindle! Then I wouldn’t have to worry about the space they occupy or that their pages have foxing and yellowing. So again with the culling, and I tried be ruthless again by telling myself that I need to give up even the books that I haven’t read because if I’ve had them for more than three years and I still haven’t read them, then it’s unlikely that I ever will. It’s not always easy to give up books especially when you don’t have access to good public libraries, but I think I’ve gotten to the point where I know that if I want to read something, I’ll find a way to get it (e.g. buy another edition so I can read it on my Kindle or borrow a copy from a friend). Also, I keep thinking that someone else might enjoy these books instead of them sitting ignored in my shelves. So here’s another pile that have gone to a friend’s book cafe in Cebu:

book donation August 2017

And here’s a section of my shelves after the cull, the books are randomly arranged wherever they could fit because I didn’t have the energy to arrange them properly:

Manila bookshelf August 2017

I think it looks pretty. πŸ™‚ I haven’t decided if I’m done with culling or if I should go through the books that I’ve already read and think about passing them on to other friends. For now, I’m glad I was able to pass on a significant number of them. What about you, do you cull your bookshelves on a regular basis or you keep your books forever? Let me know in the comments because it’s interesting to hear what other readers’ habits are.

Book Blogging Over the Years

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Coffee in one hand, Kindle in the other.

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I’ve been book blogging since 2010. That’s seven years of being active in the online book community. That’s longer than any romantic relationship that I’ve had and even longer than any of my work stints in each of the companies I’ve worked for. πŸ˜‚ I keep doing it not because I earn any money from it, but because it’s so much fun to interact with fellow book lovers and authors, to discuss books with people who get you. Over the years, I’ve tried to influence family and friends to read books and I’ve been successful with some of them… but they’re not book nerds like book bloggers are. There are also fellow book bloggers who have become wonderful friends, and some of those have become more than just “online” friendships. I’ve met some of them in person when I traveled abroad and even the ones I don’t think I’ll ever meet, I’ve been comfortable enough with them to share more than just book updates. In a previous post, I mentioned that I feel like I have a sense of belonging in the online book community because I feel like I’ve carved out a niche for myself. I will keep doing this as long as it keeps me happy. And what makes me happy and engaged and excited to talk about books has changed from when I first started.

When I first started blogging about books, most of the posts that I made and the interactions that I had were through my blog (this WordPress site right here). I used to blog daily then it became weekly then it became monthly. Now I’d be happy if I manage to publish one post every month. There was a time when I would feel guilty about this, but like I’ve said plenty of times before, I want to keep my bookish interactions fun and part of that is blogging when I feel like it. I used to think that the reason why I didn’t blog as much was because I was busy – with work, with chores, with my social life. But now I understand that it has increasingly become more difficult to open my laptop and sit down to write a post. I don’t know why this is, maybe because being on apps on a smartphone just makes things easier? Or maybe because opening up a laptop feels too much like work, and blogging is something that I don’t want to feel like work. So now I’ve learned to not be too hard on myself. My WordPress blog will always be here whenever I’m in the mood to type out a post. I will keep updating my yearly posts like best books I’ve read in the year or my favorite fictional couples. But for more stream of consciousness type of updates, I’m on Twitter and Litsy (username: Chachic) on a daily basis, and Instagram whenever I feel like updating it. I know social media apps are not everyone’s cup of tea so please feel free to comment on any of my posts or send me a direct message in any of the apps I mentioned or an email if you feel like just chatting. πŸ™‚

What about you, what are the things that you’ve done to keep blogging fun? Is it also easier for you to interact using bookish apps? Or do you prefer something more personal like sending an email or messaging directly?

#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy 2017 – time to read Filipino books!

It’s that time of the year again! Today marks the start of #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy, a campaign that I participated in last year and the year before that. August is Buwan ng Wika in the Philippines, which is the month dedicated to celebrating the Filipino language. To coincide with this, a campaign is being hosted by Edgar Calabia Samar (Twitter, Facebook), author of the Janus Silang series, to encourage people to read Filipino books. #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy can be roughly translated as β€œMonth of Filipino Authors” or even “Month of Filipino Books”. Anyone can participate by using this hashtag on various social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. So if you’ve been meaning to try reading a Filipino book, this is your chance!

There’s an overview of the campaign, which you can read over here (it’s written in Filipino). Since the title of the campaign is in Filipino, I believe the main goal is to encourage Filipino readers to pick up titles by Filipino authors. But I am also hoping that non-Filipino readers would be interested in picking up Filipino books. There are loads of books by Filipino authors that are written in English. Those are actually the type of books I plan to read. πŸ™‚

I will mostly be posting on Litsy (username: Chachic) and Instagram with links shared on Twitter, but I will try my best to do round up posts here on the blog as well. I would love to see the rest of you join this campaign as well, even if you read just one book written by a Filipino author this month. πŸ˜€

Best Books I’ve Read So Far In 2017

The first half of 2017 has come and gone! I’ve been meaning to write this post since June ended but we all know how real life gets in the way of things so I’m only able to do this now, when we’re already halfway through July. Better late than never! I’ve shared best books I’ve read for the first half of the year in 2016 as well as 2015, and wanted to do it again this year. While I haven’t been blogging that much, I’ve still been reading a lot. And it’s nice to look back on what titles have stood out for me. Also, it makes things easier for me at the end of the year when I share my Best of 2017 list. Here the books that I’ve read and loved in the first half of the year:

White Hot Clean Sweep One Fell Sweep

A Crown of Bitter Orange pretty face

thick-as-thieves Hunted

Four titles by Ilona Andrews (the Innkeeper Chronicles got me out of a bad slump in April), three contemporary romances from authors I love, and two YA fantasy titles. Of course THICK AS THIEVES is here… we’ve only waited SEVEN YEARS for this latest installment to be released! All of these books except for Hunted were written by my trusted authors so it’s not surprising that they’ve become favorites for this year. Hunted is a beautifully written, Russian-inspired retelling of Beauty and the Beast and my introduction to Meagan Spooner’s writing. Note to self: I need to try more new-to-me authors in the second half of the year to see if I’ll love any of them. Also, I need to read more books written by Filipino authors because I only have one on my list so far.

What about the rest of you, what have been the best books that you’ve read in 2017 so far? πŸ™‚ Do you have some of my picks in your own list? I would love to check out the books that would come highly recommended by bookish friends so please feel free to leave a comment.