Chachic's Book Nook


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Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week, we get to talk about our recent book haul. For me, this serves as a reminder of the titles that I need to read soon!

Pansing, a book distributor in Singapore contacted me and asked whether I would like to receive review copies from them. Of course I said yes! As a book blogger in Southeast Asia, it’s rare for me to receive physical review copies. But I also wanted to only get copies of books that I’m actually interested in. These are the titles that I requested and received last week:

Pansing
Pansing - July 2015

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

Once I asked Filipino chick lit author Mina V. Esguerra if she would be interested in writing a book with a book blogger MC. She was not only interested, she went ahead and did it! I received an advanced copy of that book called Someone Else’s Fantasy:

Someone Else's Fantasy

I have been looking forward to Him, the MM romance collab between Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen and I was thrilled when I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy. I couldn’t resist reading it as soon as I could. It made for a delightful weekend read. Here it is with my Sunday tea:

Him - high tea

Other ebooks recently added to my Kindle:
Suddenly One Summer by Julie James
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Suddenly One Summer Bone Gap The Wrath and the Dawn Off Campus Trust the Focus

What about the rest of you, what are the books that you’ve recently acquired?


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Europe 2015: Neuschwanstein Castle

It’s been more than a month since I came back from Europe and I’m still not done with my travel updates here on the blog. I’ve even gone back home to Manila since then. I’ve been distracted by real life, reading and writing book-related posts (which is what this blog is actually about LOL). As promised, here’s an update on Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the sites we visited that I LOVED.

Neuschwanstein Castle is probably one of the most famous castles in Europe. It was the inspiration for Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty castle. It’s located above the village of Hohenschwangau, which is 2 hours away by train from Munich. I really, really wanted to see Neuschwanstein which was why I chose Munich as the exit point (with Prague as the entry point) when I was booking tickets for Europe. Check out the pictures and let me know if you agree with me that Neuschwanstein Castle is worth a visit.

View of the town of Hohenschwangau and Alpsee, the lake nearby:
Hohenschwangau 2

Some shots of the front of the castle:
Neuschwanstein - front Neuschwanstein - front 2

And the back of the castle:
Neuschwanstein - back

We joined a tour of the castle interiors but pictures weren’t allowed inside, which is too bad because the rooms we saw were all beautiful. Not surprisng since King Ludwig II intent was to make the castle his refuge from court life. There is a magnificent view of the castle from a bridge called Marienbrücke:
Neuschwanstein Castle

From this area, there is a view that shows Hohenschangau Castle, where King Ludwig II grew up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to explore this yellow castle.
Hohenschwangau Hohenschwangau castle

I’m so glad I got to see Neuschwanstein Castle in person, and in such gorgeous weather too. It’s really the stuff fairytales are made of.


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NCBD Blog Tour: Favorite Filipino Children and Young Adult Titles

I found out about the upcoming 32nd National Children’s Books Day from Chrissie’s blog post. I loved that she highlighted Filipino children and young adult titles. There is an ongoing NCBD blog tour and this week’s topic is this:

Hulyo 7-13: Paboritong Aklat
Ano ang paborito mong aklat pambata at pangkabataan? (Kailangang isinulat o iginuhit ito ng isang Pilipino. Maaari namang maglista nang higit sa isa pa.)
________

July 7-13: Favorite Book
What is your favorite children and young adult book? (It should have been written or illustrated by a Filipino. Feel free to list more than one.)

NCBD Blog Tour Header

I am so jealous of the titles available to Filipino children and young adult readers today. When I was young, there weren’t as many local books to choose from. But there were a few that I loved. I distinctly remember being a huge fan of books published by the Batibot brand. Batibot was a Filipino kiddie TV show similar to Sesame Street. Some of the kiddie books I read over and over again were:

Sina Linggit Laban kay Barakuda ni Tom F. Agulto & Rene O. Villanueva
Ang Pamilya Ismid ni Ramoncito Serrano & Rene O. Villanueva
Si Inggolok at ang Planeta Pakaskas ni Rene O. Villanueva & Lem Garcellano

Sina Linggit Laban kay Barakuda
Ang Pamilya Ismid
Si Inggolok at ang Planeta Pakaskas

I remember my nursery school even put up a play enacting Sina Linggit Laban kay Barakuda and I was Linggit! Too bad my photo albums are all back in Manila, otherwise I’d try to hunt down a picture.

Nowadays, I try to encourage my godchildren to read by giving them books for their birthdays and during Christmastime. I’ve read several Filipino children’s books while choosing what titles to buy for them. A recent favorite was Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki, which I discovered through Filipino author Mina V. Esguerra.

Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki

A few years ago, I attended the Manila book launch of Candy Gourlay’s Tall Story, a middle grade novel partially set in the Philippines. I enjoyed reading it and I’ve recommended it to other people as well. I have Candy’s Shine in my TBR pile and I’m planning to read it soon. These two books are available internationally so I happily recommend them to reader friends who are interested in reading Filipino books.

Tall Story

What about you, what are Filipino children or young adult books have you enjoyed reading?


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Cover Reveal: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

I am thrilled to be participating the cover reveal for Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s Him. I’m a big fan of both of their new adult hockey series, the Ivy Years and Off-Campus. It’s funny because I have been looking forward to their collab even before I knew they were writing a book together! Check out this Twitter conversation:

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out about Him! I seriously cannot wait for this book to be released and you can bet that I will be recommending it to everyone I know. I’m so glad they chose to write a MM novel because The Understatement of the Year was one of my favorite reads last year (Rikker and Graham! ♥♥♥) and I would love to read more books like it.
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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the cover for Him:

Him

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend… and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Him2

To be released on July 28!

Links:
Goodreads
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

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Social media links for the two lovely authors:

Sarina Bowen
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

Elle Kennedy
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

And there’s also a great Facebook group called The Locker Room where both Sarina and Elle are coaches.


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Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. One of the advantages (which can also be a disadvantage sometimes) of being a book blogger is hearing buzz about certain books. For this week, I’m choosing titles that have been hyped by people I follow. I plan to read most of these titles eventually, I just haven’t found time to read them yet.

Ancillary Justice The Song of Achilles An Ember in the Ashes The Burning Sky Among Others book cover
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms The Emperor's Soul The Wrath and the Dawn The Start of Me and You Since You've Been Gone

There are obviously a lot more fantasy titles in this list because I’ve noticed that I’ve read more contemporary than fantasy books in the first half of the year. So I’m trying to make up for lost time. How about you, what are some hyped books that you’ve never read? Are you planning to read them or not?


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Blogger/Reader Meet Up: Estara

I mentioned in my write-up of the Munich leg of our vacation that I was able to meet up with one of my bookish online friends, Estara. It’s always fun for me to meet an online friend in the flesh! I have been friends with Estara on Goodreads for years. Over the years, we’ve exchanged messages and emails about books and so much more. We share some favorite authors such as Elizabeth Wein, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Neumeier. I always pay attention to Estara’s recommendations because she takes into consideration my reading tastes whenever she recommends titles. She was the one who introduced me to Andrea K. Host and Eileen Wilks.

Kim and I met Estara on a sunny Thursday. We started off with lunch at a lovely Italian restaurant called Cupido. I had a delicious tortellini dish followed by tiramisu:
Cupido tortellini Cupido tiramisu

We then visited Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, the national museum of Bavaria. Estara was kind enough to be our host and tour guide for the whole day! There were so many things to see in the museum and we walked around for several hours, admiring the exhibits.
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

Some of the interesting things we saw:
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All that walking and admiring tired us out so we had to sit down in a nice, shaded area and have some refreshments, which included this delicious plate of tartufo with fruits:
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On top of all that, Estara was thoughtful enough to give me some German goodies:
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It made me so happy that I had a chance to see Estara face-to-face! It was such a lovely day in terms of the weather, the food and the great conversation. I really had a lot of fun.

Estara, danke schön! :)

Previous meet ups with other bookish friends:
Jo of Wear the Old Coat
Liyana of LiyanaLand
Alexa of Alexa Loves Books
Steph and Tarie
Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous
Michelle of See Michelle Read


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Off-Campus Series: The Deal and The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

I’ve read a few of Elle Kennedy’s super steamy romances before so I was really looking forward to her new adult series. One of my favorite discoveries last year was Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years books, which had hockey players as MCs and an Ivy League college setting. I was hoping that the Off-Campus series would be just as good as that. And it was! Both The Deal and The Mistake were so much fun to read. Elle Kennedy writes so fast (or I’m just really behind on reviews) because the sequel has been out for a while now and it’s taken me this long to write a review for The Deal. I have been recommending these books to friends both online and in real life though. Several of them have gotten back to me to say that they thoroughly enjoyed these books.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

The DealShe’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice… even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

The Deal is a lighthearted and fun novel to read which also manages to tackle a number of serious issues for the characters. Even though they’re young, both Hannah and Garrett have gone through horrible experiences but what I liked about them was they didn’t let those experiences define them. I liked how thoughtful Elle Kennedy was in handling the traumatic experiences of her characters, balancing all of those with humor. The book was funny because of the banter between the characters, not just the romantic development between the hero and heroine but also how they interacted with their friends. With how different their college interests are, Hannah and Garrett don’t even make sense as friends, let alone a couple, but the process of their getting to know each other felt very natural. Hannah wouldn’t have attended hockey games if she didn’t know Garrett, in the same way that Garrett wouldn’t have been interested in his school’s musical production if Hannah wasn’t involved in it. Hannah didn’t even want anything to do with Garrett, at the start of the book. It was hilarious how he tried to convince her to help him out. He was cocky and arrogant but not in an annoying way. As they spend more time together, they realize that there’s more to the other person than the usual stereotypes. Their transition from (reluctant) tutor and tutee to friends to more than friends felt realistic. And I thought it was nice how their circles of friends also started overlapping because of them. The Deal is really my kind of new adult romance. I wanted to read the sequel as soon as I finished it and I’m glad I didn’t have to wait too long for it to be released.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
The Mistake by Elle KennedyHe’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.

I read The Mistake as soon as I got my grubby hands on it, meaning when I was very generously given a review copy. I feel like I need to apologize that it took me so long to review this title but most of the time, real life gets in the way of reading and blogging. In The Deal, Logan seemed like a typical playboy jock. But he has his own reasons for enjoying his college years as much as he can. He has a lot to deal with because of his family. I liked how intensely loyal Logan is to those he loves but it was also frustrating how that got in the way of pursuing his dreams. He has never been in a serious relationship, nor has he wanted one, until he sees how things are between Hannah with Garrett. I was wondering why he was acting so weird in the first book and his situation becomes much clearer in this sequel. I really liked Logan as a character and I think he’s a great guy. However, I didn’t like Grace as much. I don’t know why but I just got the feeling that she didn’t have that much personality. In spite of not liking Grace as much as I wanted, I still enjoyed reading The Mistake as a whole because Elle Kennedy writes great romance. I liked how the relationship developed in this one and that there wasn’t any unnecessary drama. Some new adult titles lay the drama on thick but that wasn’t the case in this one. The Mistake was an enjoyable read but I think The Deal is a stronger installment in the series. One thing that The Mistake had which The Deal didn’t was more explanations regarding drafts for pro hockey players. For someone like me who knows next to nothing about hockey, it was interesting to read more about the process.

Looking forward to the next book in this series! I’ve seen Elle Kennedy mention that it will be about Dean.

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