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CNY 2015

CNY 2015

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year to those of you who celebrate it! I don’t really do anything special for CNY but there will be a celebratory lunch and lion dance in our office in the coming days. Also, I got the red packets pictured above. :) Thursday and Friday were public holidays in Singapore but I didn’t make any plans to travel because I have to finish packing this weekend. Moving day is scheduled for March 1. It seems like I just moved into this current flat and now I’m getting ready to leave again. I really don’t like packing and unpacking so it’s been slow going for me. I feel like I’ll never finish! Also, I’m amazed that I have so much stuff when I’ve been in Singapore for only two and a half years. I need to stop accumulating crap.

So this is why I haven’t been able to work on any blog posts even though I want to review three books that I’ve read and loved in 2015 so far:

Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand
Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I can’t even squeeze in reading time. I apologize for the radio silence on the blog (what’s new, right? Haha I barely update anyway) but it looks like I wouldn’t be able to come up with posts until things have settled down. Hope you’re all having a good weekend and have some fun activities lined up that don’t involve packing (or unpacking).


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Favorite Literary Couples VI

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. I can’t believe this is the sixth time I’ve created a list like this!


Image from We Heart It

Medair and her love interest from Medair by Andrea K. Host – I’m being purposely vague to avoid spoilers but I just wanted to say that I really loved the slow burn and unexpected romance in this duology. More readers need to pick up Andrea K. Host’s books (one of my fave couples from last year was from her Touchstone trilogy).

Layla and Matt from Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand – I’m a huge Laura Florand fangirl (see Amour et Florand) and she’s one of my go-to contemporary romance authors. Loved this sweet and tentative romance set in the beautiful region of Provence, the first full-length novel in what is sure to be a lovely series.

Nevada and Mad Rogan from Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews – Ilona and Gordon’s books are auto-read for me and they gave me another couple to love in Nevada and Rogan. Love-hate romance filled with banter that will span a whole trilogy? Yes, please!

Rikker and Graham from The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen – I believe this is the first time I’ve read a male-male romance and I adored it. I loved the whole Ivy Series by Sarina Bowen but Rikker and Graham’s bittersweet story lingered with me days after I finished reading the book. These two just went through so much together.

Sidney and Vaughn from It Happened One Wedding by Julie James – It’s always fun to read a Julie James novel because it’s like a chick flick in book form. Really enjoyed the banter in this one and I liked that Sidney is a bit older than the heroines in Julie’s earlier books (and therefore has a different set of problems).

Runners-up for the past year are:
The couples from Virginia Kantra’s Dare Island series because I couldn’t choose just one
Anna and Lincoln from Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
Reagan and Matt from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Mili and Samir from A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
Sarah and Patrick from The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand

Who are your favorite fictional couples from books that you’ve read within the previous year? Are you planning to do anything special this Valentine’s weekend? I don’t have anything planned but will definitely try my best to curl up with a romantic book sometime this weekend. Happy Hearts Day, everyone!


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Author Matchmaker: Liza Palmer and Laura Florand

So this conversation happened on Twitter:

I love several things about this conversation on Twitter because
– I’m excited for these two new releases. I’ve finished Once Upon a Rose and loved it. Currently in the middle of Girl Before a Mirror.
– it’s always awesome when authors respond to readers on social media
– it’s great when favorite authors read each other’s work

Just something random to be happy about this week. :) Have you had a similar experience with some of your favorite authors on social media?


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Best of 2014

Happy New Year, everyone! Ever since I started blogging, I’ve been posting my favorite reads whenever the new year rolls around – you can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Usually, I post this list on the first day of the year but I wasn’t able to do so because I wanted to make the most out of my remaining days in Manila and then I had to fly back to Singapore and go back to work this week. My brain is still trying to catch up since it’s still in vacation mode. Without further ado, here are my best of 2014 books:

Black Dog Touchstone Trilogy Medair The Chocolate Temptation It Happened One Wedding

Open Road Summer Wildlife The Winter Sea Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews Burn for Me

Aside from these books, I also discovered two series that I loved:

The Ivy Series by Sarina Bowen
The Year We Fell Down The Year We Hid Away Blonde Date The Understatement of the Year

Dare Island by Virginia Kantra
Carolina Home Carolina Girl Carolina Man Carolina Blues

I really can’t wait for the next installments in these two series! From a blogging perspective, 2014 was the year I hosted Amour et Florand. This was an event that focused on Laura Florand’s writing because she has become one of my most favorite authors. Click here to view all the posts.

Amour et Florand

I was also able to (finally) meet in person Singapore book blogger Liyana of LiyanaLand.

Liyana Meet Up

I started two new blog features called Snapshot from a Book and Book to Movie but I don’t have a lot of posts under them since I’m all about blogging with no pressure. Other big things that occurred in 2014 were my move to a different flat and my first ever visit to Europe (links to my posts: Paris, Barcelona, Aix-ex-Provence and Milan).

Aix-en-Provence - Bibliothèque Méjanes

How about the rest of you, what were some of the best books that you read in 2014? What were the blogging or reading highlights of the year for you?


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Christmas 2014

Office window - Christmas

Silhouette cut outs that I put up in my work area at the start of the month

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 would have to agree with the Philippine tourism tagline that it’s more fun in the Philippines. I can’t imagine spending the holiday season anywhere else because it wouldn’t be Christmas without family and friends. I’ve already met up with several friends, some of them also flew in from other parts of the world to be home for Christmas. We also visited some of my relatives today. I’m enjoying catching up with everyone that I haven’t had a chance to read and blog during my vacation. Let’s see if I’ll be able to squeeze some of that in the coming days.

Christmas tree - Manila 2014

A section of our Christmas tree in Manila

Hope you’re all having fun this holiday season!


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2014 YAckers Secret Santa

My online book club now has a tradition of having a Secret Santa for its members. Since I post my 2012 and 2013 book hauls, I wanted to be consistent and post about what I got this year too. A few weeks ago, I got a mysterious package that contained this gorgeous postcard-themed scarf:

YAckers Secret Santa 2014 - postcard scarf

Photo taken using Instagram.

Isn’t it beautiful? The fabric is also soft and I have a feeling it will be comfortable when I finally get the chance to use it. Turns out this lovely present is from my good friend Michelle! Since I’m such a big fan of postcards, I think it’s a perfect gift. Thank you, Michelle. :)

Since I looked back on previous book haul posts for YAckers Secret Santa, I wanted take note that I still haven’t read Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor and The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. Sigh, the TBR pile just keeps expanding. I hope I’m able to go get to these soon!

How about the rest of you, have you joined any book club or book blogger Secret Santas? Or have you received any books for Christmas?

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Edited to add (December 25, 2014):

I was pleasantly surprised when Michelle sent me the ebook edition of Greenglass House by Kate Milford to go with the scarf as her Secret Santa present. I’ve already started reading it since I heard that it’s a story set during Christmastime. Thanks again, Michelle. :D

YAckers Secret Santa 2014 - ebook


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2014 Christmas Reads

Kindle Christmas washi tape

Photo taken using Instagram.

December is here! That means it’s time for Christmas reads. One of the books I recently finished, Carolina Man by Virginia Kantra, was partially set during Christmastime. I’m glad I read it leading up to December. I’m planning to read My True Love Gave to me, an anthology which was edited by Stephanie Perkins. It has a good line up of YA authors but I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it since I’m not very good at reading anthologies. Let’s see how it goes. I’m also planning to reread A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand, which I LOVED. Such a good Christmas romance set in Provence. I might reread At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler, which I’ve been rereading since I discovered it when I was a teen.

It would be good to hear about other holiday-themed titles that I can try so feel free to make suggestions. What Christmas reads are you planning to pick up?

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