Chachic's Book Nook


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Best of 2016

Happy New Year! πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜› 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? πŸ™‚


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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 πŸ˜›
– 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜€ 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? πŸ˜› )
– 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? πŸ™‚


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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. πŸ™‚ Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


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October kicked my butt

I can’t believe October has come and gone! It totally kicked my butt. After the short Chiang Mai trip, I went home for a couple of days to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. She didn’t want a big party so the three of us (together with my brother) had this fancy meal instead:

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Annnd then I got swallowed whole by work. I was super, super busy the past few weeks for a project. So I wasn’t able to do any blogging even though I wanted to. I was still able to read and I’ve been updating both Instagram and Litsy because I’m always online on my phone and it’s much easier to update stuff on those social networks that on my blog. But I miss blogging! So hopefully I’ll be able to work on some posts in the coming days (I said that before the weekend started and Monday is here and I’m still in the middle of this post). Let’s see how it goes. πŸ™‚ I need to do a separate post about Litsy to talk about how I’ve become addicted to it. If you have Litsy, let me know! I’m Chachic over there. For book-related updates, this is my current read and my most recent purchase:

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I also bought these ebooks but Litsy posts can’t be embedded on WordPress so I could only link for now. Okay, I need to wake up early so I’m going to bed soon. Read any good books lately? Bought any titles that you’re excited to read? Feel free to let me know in the comments!


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Queen’s Thief News: Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

What kind of Megan Whalen Turner fan would I be if I didn’t write a post about the latest news that we’ve been receiving about the Queen’s Thief series? It’s just that real life has been keeping me super busy lately (I’m in Manila in the weekend for my mom’s birthday) and I haven’t had a chance to blog until now. Anyway! During the past week, Greenwillow has released the repackaged covers for the earlier books in the series AND FINALLY made an announcement about book five: Thick as Thieves, which will be released May 2017. Behold, the cover from Publisher’s Weekly and the synopsis from Amazon:

thick-as-thieves

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission.

We’ve only waited SIX LONG YEARS for this installment. You can imagine the explosion on Twitter when all the MWT fans found out about this. Mostly all of us speaking in all caps and !!! and general squeeing. Absolutely cannot wait for this! I’m super excited.

Here are the redesigned covers for the earlier books:

the-thief-repackaged queen-of-attolia-repackages the-king-of-attolia-repackaged a-conspiracy-of-kings-repackaged

I must admit that I’m not such a big fan of these new designs. I’ve always thought that the earlier covers designed by Vince Natale were creatively and thoughtfully drawn. I loved that they were relevant to the stories, and that there was a theme of featuring hands and partial faces in all of them. But it’s understandable that redesigns happen in the publishing world and if these new covers manage to attract new readers, well and good!

The Queen’s Thief series is one of my all-time favorite series and I think MWT is a brilliant author. I even organized a Queen’s Thief Week a few years ago to celebrate my love for these books. If you’ve been following my blog and you think we have the same taste in books, then I highly recommend that you read these books if you haven’t had a chance to do so. This series means so much to me, not just because of how much I love the books, but also because I met some of my best bookish friends through this series. I first started being active in the book community when I joined Sounis on LiveJournal, and kept in touch with fellow Sounisians even after moving to WordPress. It’s also one of those series where once I find out that someone is a fan, I immediately want to be friends with them. And I tend to trust book recommendations from fellow MWT fans more. This is how I discovered more favorite authors like Elizabeth Wein. If I find out an author is an MWT fan, I’m also more likely to read their books. Or if I’ve already read their books (like in Melina Marchetta’s case), my view of them goes up even higher. So, so, so. All of that just means that 2017 will be a good year because Thick of Thieves will finally be released!


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Litsy on Android

The bookish app Litsy is now available on Android. I found out about it thanks to a heads up from my good friend Brandy. I downloaded it and signed up as chachic over there. It’s described as a combination of Instagram and Goodreads, and I’m trying to see if it would be fun to be an active member over there. I like that it’s more book-focused that Instagram and more visual than Goodreads. I think my main problem with it is that there aren’t a lot of my friends on it (no surprise there given that they just started with Android) but it might get better if more people sign up.

Litsy screenshot

Are you on it? What’s your username? Also, what do you think of it so far?


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#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy – Week 2 Round Up

Second week of posting about Filipino books! I’m glad I was able to keep this up for another week. Week 1 round up can be found here. All posts are from Instagram. Again, I hope this will encourage other readers to become interested in featuring or reading Filipino books… there’s still more than half a month for everyone to join #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy.

Day 8:

"I looked at his plate. The chocolate cake crumbs looked so forlorn, scattered and stark on the white porcelain. If it were me eating, I'd scrape the plate clean. I wouldn't want food to feel the way I was feeling now: forlorn and undesirable." – Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera . . . Really enjoyed reading this Filipino YA novel, which is also available internationally through Amazon. Included in this shot are Gryphon Tea's Pearl of the Orient and Martin's Marvelous cookies. . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #ChocoChipHips #AgayLlanera #romanceclass #youngadult #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #bookandtea #tea #teatime #teacup #cookies #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 9:

Happy Birthday, Singapore! For today's #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post, I had to choose a book that has (loose) ties to SG. @minavesguerra's Welcome to Envy Park has a main character who worked in SG for several years before moving back to Manila. I have gifted this book to most of my girlfriends who have worked in SG. . . . I chose to take this pic in front of the historic Fullerton Hotel because it's one of my favorite structures in SG, the old central post office that got converted into a hotel. Also, this shot can be called buwis Kindle at smartphone shot. Medyo katakot malaglag sa river. . . . #WelcometoEnvyPark #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #Kindle #ebook #TheFullertonHotel #SingaporeRiver #ExploreSingapore #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 10:

 

Day 11:

"When I first developed a love for this kind of storytelling, cameras were much larger. Today I was wrapping my palm around a digital video camera so small that I kept it on a chain around my neck so it wouldn't accidentally get knocked out of my hand by a gentle breeze." – Falling Hard by @minavesguerra . . . I don't have a video cam so I had to make do with my (barely used) point and shoot. Falling Hard was previously published as The Harder We Fall and is a fun new adult romance between a film major and a rugby player. . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #FallingHard #TheHarderWeFall #MinaVEsguerra #AddisonHill #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #camera #Canon #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 12:

"She liked air. The very idea of it. Of something ever present, always needed, but virtually invisible. Now, one could LIKE something, on a philosophical level, that much, without having to put herself through an evinronmental science degree, do internships, move to New York City to take a job as an air quality consultant, but that was Lindsay Kresta. Admittedly she took things too far sometimes." 🌬🌬🌬 – Fallen Again by @minavesguerra . . . I forgot to do a #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post yesterday so I have two for today! "Air" is a little difficult to take a pic of so I went with this shot. . . . #FallenAgain #NeverJustFriends #MinaVEsguerra #AddisonHill #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #air #trees #window #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 13:

You know you're a book nerd when you bring three paperbacks to brunch, not because you're reading them but because you want to take a nice pic for #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. I'm probably not the only one who does that, right? πŸ˜…πŸ“šπŸ’ Thanks to my good friend @dementedchris for copies of these Visprint pretties. I've only read Cover Story Girl but definitely planning to read the other two! . . . #SavetheCake #StellaTorres #VintageLove #AgayLlanera #CoverStoryGirl #ChrisMariano #Visprint #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #paperbacks #TWGcafe #TWGtea #cafehoppingSG #IonOrchard #flowers #bouquet #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 14:

The book that started it all! I was introduced to @minavesguerra's writing through Fairy Tale Fail. I bought it based on a rec by @storiestotell, read it in one sitting and kept recommending it to all my friends after.πŸ’–πŸ“– I remember my kabarkada @chuchayed read it on my Kindle while we were hanging out in Starbucks one time. I could TOTALLY relate to Ellie, more so because I was the same age as she was when I read the book. And Lucas is an awesome hero. Ellie's thing is traveling and planning hypothetical trips so I included bits of stuff from my own travels in this shot. No major trip for me this year though. Sad. πŸ˜” . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #FairyTaleFail #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #Kindle #ebook #travel #passport #postcards #stamps #bookmarks #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on