Chachic's Book Nook


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Mini Review: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

The Goblin EmperorThe youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend… and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

I had high hopes for this one since it kept being recommended by bloggers I trust. Also, they said that it’s a good read for fans of Megan Whalen Turner. In my eyes, that’s the highest praise that they can give! I did enjoy reading The Goblin Emperor and I really liked Maia’s character. But it didn’t become a favorite novel. I just didn’t love it as much as I was expecting. It’s a quiet kind of fantasy, a lot more introspective than action-oriented and filled to the brim with political intrigue. Maia was never groomed to become the emperor and his education is sadly lacking but he rises to the occasion beautifully. He’s a smart guy and never loses the compassion that’s such a big part of him even though he had a gloomy upbringing. He has an inner strength that others gradually recognize and admire, which helps him gain allies along the way. I like how Maia inspires loyalty because of how kind he is and how unusual that kindness is in an emperor. He deserves all the help that he can get so it’s a good thing that there are some people on his side. One thing that I liked about the novel is that it’s a standalone… as much as I love reading fantasy series, it’s refreshing to read a book that is complete on its own. While I believe this story wouldn’t linger in my mind, I did have fun reading it and would recommend the book to readers who like quiet fantasy with a strong dose of politics.

Other reviews:
By Singing Light
The Book Smugglers
Things Mean a Lot


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How did you come up with your blog name?

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This post was inspired by a similar discussion in my friend Sandy’s blog, Pirate Penguin Reads. I got her permission to also talk about how I named my blog because it’s an interesting topic for all bloggers.

I maintained a personal blog on LiveJournal for years and when I started focusing on more book-related topics, I figured it would be a good idea to move to a different platform and start a book blog. I love the layouts and designs of WordPress blogs, I think they look clean and clutter-free. Now I’m not very creative when it comes to naming things so I went ahead and signed up on WordPress with “Chachic” as my username. After that, I had to figure out a blog name that would include my name and would also be related to books. I wanted the URL to match the blog name because I didn’t want to confuse people. I thought about it for a while and even asked some friends if they had any bright ideas and it was actually a friend who suggested I should go for Chachic’s Book Nook because of how it rhymed. I liked how it sounded so I settled on that name.

Not a very exciting story, huh? If I could go back in time and choose a blog name again, I would do it prior to signing up on WordPress so I would have more flexibility in choosing a name. I would have probably chosen Throwing Inkpots as my blog name if that was the case. That’s what my Tumblr blog is called and it’s a shout out to Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series, one of my all-time favorite series. Actually, I just looked it up and it is possible for me to change my WordPress username but then I’ve had Chachic’s Book Nook since 2010 and that’s what people already know. It might create confusion if I change my blog name now (I have no problem changing blog banners though, which I did sometime in 2013).

Some samples of creative book blog names that I love:
The Book Smugglers
Angieville
SpecficRomantic
Inkcrush
Wear the Old Coat

How about the rest of you, care to share how you came up with your blog name?


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Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand

I think if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Laura Florand’s writing. I discovered the first two books in her Amour et Chocolat series in March 2013 and I’ve been devouring her books since then. Last year, I even organized a blog event called Amour et Florand to celebrate her books. Once Upon a Rose is one of my highly anticipated releases for 2015 especially since I loved A Rose in Winter, a novella that introduced me to the Rosier family. I loved reading about the Rosiers and their home in Grasse so when Laura offered a review copy of Once Upon a Rose, I jumped at the chance to read it as soon as I can. This happened a few months ago and I just haven’t been able to work on a review for it until now. I’m so behind on reviews!

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Once Upon a RoseShe stole his roses.

Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.

While I was in the middle of Once Upon a Rose, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it slowly so I can savor the words or to gulp it all down in one go because it was just so good. Laura Florand is amazing at making the scenes leapt out of the page. So much so that you feel like you’ve traveled to Paris or Grasse just by reading her books. I’m always delighted by books that have such a strong sense of place because they let me travel just by reading. I also love how she focuses on the senses – with tastes and textures in her Amour et Chocolat series, and with scents and sounds in Once Upon a Rose. With Matt as the heir apparent for the Rosier perfume business, he knows everything there is to know about the fragrance industry. Layla, a musician struggling with creative burnout, finds solace in the Rosier valley when she unexpectedly inherits a house there. I enjoyed reading about the sweet and tentative romance that blossomed between Matt and Layla, from their hilarious first meeting until the beautiful ending of the book. I loved how careful they are of each other, showing a wariness that developed from past romantic mistakes. Matt is a big marshmallow who tries to hide his soft side by being all growly and grumpy but Layla was able to see through him right away. A snippet that I loved:

“You always do that,” he murmured. “It’s as if you take everything I know, wrap it up in wonder, and hand it back to me like this bright, shiny new present. It’s like my whole life is Christmas when you’re looking at it.”

I loved how present Matt’s cousins are in this story. It’s so much fun to see them tease and annoy the hell out of each other but at the end of the day, they’re always there whenever one of them needs help. I also thought it was endearing how vulnerable Matt is when it comes to his family – how he tries to hide his weaknesses to let them see that he’s a strong leader. And yet his cousins are actually aware of what he’s really like. I just think it’s great that the Rosier guys were involved in Matt and Layla’s romance. While Layla’s family isn’t as big as Matt’s, she does have a strong connection with her mom. It’s always nice when the romance isn’t the sole focus of a book (even if it is a romance novel). It’s much more realistic to see the relationships that MCs have with their families or friends instead of having one person as their entire world. I also really liked the contrast between Matt’s rootedness in the valley vs. Layla’s life as a traveling musician. Matt knows that his rightful place is at the stronghold of their family’s business while Layla has never had a permanent home of her own. It was interesting to see how their different experiences shaped who they are now. Once Upon a Rose is a strong start to the La Vie en Roses series and I can’t wait to read the next book featuring a Rosier hero. It would be so much fun to dive back into this Provencal world filled with the sweet scent of roses. I know this wouldn’t come as a surprise but I’m happy to announce that Once Upon a Rose is now firmly placed in my best of 2015 shelf.

My Instagram shot of my copy: Once Upon a Rose

Other reviews:
By Singing Light
From Cover to Cover
Girl Meets Books
Smexy Books


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Cover Reveal: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy’s new adult hockey romance The Deal is one of my favorite reads this year. I’m so behind on writing reviews so I haven’t written one for it but I have been recommending it to both blogging and real life friends. Some of them have loved it just as much as I did. :) So now I have two NA hockey series to love: Off-Campus by Elle and The Ivy Years by Sarina Bowen. These two authors, together with other sports romance authors, have a fun Facebook group called The Locker Room – you should check it out if you’re a fan.

Moving on to the sequel of The Mistake… I’ve been curious about it right after I finished The Deal! I really want to know Logan’s story after we saw glimpses of him in the first book. Good thing there’s only a few weeks left until its release date. In the meantime, check out the cover and book summary below.

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Off-Campus #2
The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Release date: April 28

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

He’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

​Pre-Order Links
Amazon
B&N
iTunes
Kobo
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New Release: Black Dog Short Stories by Rachel Neumeier

YA urban fantasy Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier was one of my favorite reads last year and I wanted to read more from this world as soon as I finished reading the book. Thankfully, a set of short stories, called Black Dog Short Stories, has been released this week! I wanted to give the rest of you a heads up in case you missed it.

Black Dog Short StoriesNatividad is delighted when the Master of Dimilioc gives her permission to go Christmas shopping in a real town, since she definitely needs to find gifts for her brothers. But did Grayson have to assign Keziah to go with her?

Étienne Lumondiere has annoyed Miguel once too often, throwing his weight around and belittling ordinary humans. But Miguel’s going to fix that. He just needs to work out a few more details of his clever plan.

It’s tough for a black dog raised outside Dimilioc to adjust to being a team player. But Thaddeus is determined to impress Grayson . . . until he is unexpectedly confronted by a black dog kid who reminds him a little too much of himself.

The Dimilioc executioner is the mainstay of the Master’s authority, as Ezekiel knows better than anyone. He has never questioned his role in Dimilioc . . . until now.

“Christmas Shopping,” “Library Work,” and “A Learning Experience” all take place between Black Dog and Pure Magic. “The Master of Dimilioc” is a prequel story that takes place several years before the events of Black Dog.

I’ve received review copies of this and the next book in the series, Pure Magic, from the author and I look forward to reading both! I believe Pure Magic will be released sometime in May.


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Top Ten Characters I Would Like To Check In With

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You know how there are times when a book just stays with you and you’re stuck in that world and you want to keep thinking about those characters? That’s always a great experience, when you get a book hangover. And even if there’s no cliffhanger and the story has been resolved, you still want more. Here are some of the characters I would love to check in with (and I’m including books that are part of an unfinished series):

King Of Attolia

I know it takes MWT years to write a book but we’ve been waiting SO LONG for news of the next one in her series. This series is one of my all time favorites so of course, I would be thrilled to read more about the characters and see how they’re all doing.

The Empty Kingdom

Telemakos! EWein has mentioned before that she has another book planned for this series (I don’t know whether there will be more than one) and that it will get published but there’s no release date for that yet. I would love to see Telemakos grow up and maybe even have a bit of romance in his life.

Pegasus

This beautiful book had such a cliffhanger ending! Are we ever going to get the sequel?

Jellicoe Road

Loved how this book ended but honestly, I would also love for it to have a companion novel set a couple of years down the road. Kind of like how The Piper’s Son is set a few years after Saving Francesca.

Medair

I love that the Touchstone trilogy has a Gratuitous Epilogue and if it were possible, I would jump at the chance to read something similar for Medair.

Honorable mentions (because the next book in these series have set release dates but I just can’t wait to read them):
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews Burn for Me The Understatement of the Year The Deal Once Upon a Rose

What about you, who are the characters you’d like to check in with to see how they’re doing?


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Blogger Meet Up: Jo of Wear the Old Coat

I was thrilled when my friend Jo of Wear the Old Coat sent me an email a few weeks ago that she’ll be passing by Singapore on her way back to the UK from her backpacking trip in Australia. Of course I told her I would be more than happy to meet her in person! She only had a day in Singapore so we packed as much as we can and made a mini tour of the things that she wanted to see here.

We started off with brunch at Din Tai Fung for their famous xiao long bao:wpid-img_20150404_193800.jpgThen we went to One Fullerton to get a niew view of Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion:

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Next on the list was the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I’ve been meaning to go these gardens for a while now! I’ve been based in Singapore for 2.5 years and it was my first time in the Botanic Gardens.

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It was such a hot and humid day that we craved for some ice cream while walking around. Too bad there wasn’t an ice cream shop in Botanic Gardens. I searched on my phone and found one in Holland Village, which was a few train stops away so we decided we could just go there for a snack. I had a scoop of mint chocolate (my all-time favorite flavor) and another one of hazelnut.

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We had some time left before Jo had to head back to her hostel so we did a quick stop at Chinatown.

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I had so much fun with Jo – we talked about books, the blogosphere, authors, traveling, work, food and basically anything else that popped into our heads. I’m really glad we got to meet in person and hopefully we’ll see each other again in the future!

Previous meet ups with other bloggers:
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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