Chachic's Book Nook


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Sense of Belonging

My smoked duck salad dinner while working one evening

My smoked duck salad dinner while working one evening

It has been a couple of months since I made major changes in real life and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since then. When I first moved to Singapore back in 2012, I had a very hard time adjusting to living in a different country for the first time in my life and being away from family and friends. It was one of the most difficult experiences that I’ve been through but I have no regrets because I’ve learned a lot, and hopefully, I’ve also grown both on a personal and professional level. When I made the transition to a new job a few months ago, I thought it would be easy to settle into this role. I figured that I’ve adjusted well enough to living in Singapore, and my new job is in the same industry as my previous one. I should have expected that in life, anything new would required an adjustment period! I have been trying to understand why it hasn’t been easy, and I don’t think it’s because of the company, the role, or even my co-workers (everyone has been as polite and professional as they can be). I realized that I can’t really say that I’m happy or comfortable in my current role (yet) because I don’t feel like I belong. Kind of like my presence doesn’t matter because I’m not making a relevant contribution (yet), which leads to feeling insignificant and lonely. This reminded me of a passage from a book that I loved, Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer:

β€œI can’t be the only one faking it. I’m not the only lonely small-town girl drowning in this big city. I’m not the only refugee feeling invisible and alone. I’m not the only one who wants to scream, “NOTICE ME! I MATTER!” Maybe everyone is faking it. Maybe they’re just better at it than I am.”

I know I matter! And I hope that I would start feeling like I do matter professionally in a few more months. I’d like to think that every newbie feels weird and awkward in the first few months, and that will change as time passes. A physical place where I would always feel like I matter is back home in Manila because that is where I’m the most comfortable and where I always feel like I belong. Virtually, I definitely feel a sense of belonging in the book blogging community. I feel like I’ve carved out a niche for myself, and I’ve found people who not only enjoy reading as much as I do but also read the same type of books that I love. I’m definitely not a famous or big time book blogger but it makes me happy to know that there are people who enjoy having bookish discussions with me and there are people who ask me what I think about books before they decide whether to read it. I have way more posts than followers on Instagram but I have a lot of fun taking bookish pictures, and friends have mentioned that they like seeing what I come up with. I’ve had authors respond to tweets or blog posts or emails, and that’s something that never gets old. I find myself lucky that I can even consider some of them friends, because we’ve had enough interaction to get to know each other. I’ve met so many lovely people in this community, and I still keep meeting more! With everything that’s happened in real life, it hasn’t been easy to keep blogging, tweeting or bookstagramming but I will keep doing all of those for as long as I can because I would miss it too much if I stop. I would miss the sense of belonging, the camaraderie, the blog comments, and the book recommendations. While I’m a firm believer of keeping blogging fun and not forcing myself to write a review or a blog post if I don’t feel like doing so, I will do my best to make more of a conscious effort to be an active blogger. For now, I’m here to stay because this is where I matter.


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Ten Books I Think Should Be Required Reading for YA Fantasy Fans

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a back to school freebie and I choose Required Reading for YA Fantasy Fans as my topic. Now I’m not claiming to be an expert on YA fantasy, it’s just that I’m a huge fan of the genre and these are the titles that I think can be used to introduce new readers to it. In no particular order, my picks are:

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Howl's Moving Castle Ella Enchanted QueenOfAttolia

Crown Duel2 The Blue Sword Goose Girl_Alison Jay The Golden Compass Fire

What about you, what book would you include if you had to come up with a required reading list for YA fantasy? Do we share some titles?


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Fantasy Romance Book Haul

Last week’s book haul featured three romance titles, the last of which (A Promise of Fire Amanda Bouchet) was a fantasy romance. Ever since I finished reading that book, I have been in the mood for more fantasy romance. Which is why this week’s haul is all about that subgenre:

 

After The Winter King, I read Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan but I didn’t get a picture! Which is a shame because I enjoyed reading the latter more than the former. If I ever find the time to actually sit down and write reviews, maybe I can do short ones for these.

I then went on a Grace Draven marathon this weekend, starting with Master of Crows:

 

Which was quickly followed up by The Lightning God’s Wife:

 

Which is so short that I finished reading it in one sitting! So then I read The Light Within:

 

Also finished that one in one sitting. I think both The Lightning God’s Wife and The Light Within are bonus short stories that serve like outtakes or epilogues for Master of Crows. The next in the series is a longer novella and is set a few years after the first book. I’ve already downloaded The Brush of Black Wings on my Kindle but haven’t started it yet:

 

I think I may have to pick up some contemporary titles after this. I don’t want to get burned out on fantasy romance! Also, it hasn’t been easy looking for fantasy romance books that I’m interested enough to try, so feel free to recommend titles if you have favorites.

Even though I’ve bought a couple of ebooks the past week, I’ve tried to be a good girl by resisting temptation in the form of a Kinokuniya sale. I still have so many unread physical books in my TBR pile so I resisted going to the bookstore because I know I might end up buying something. I need to go to bed soon because ugh, Monday will be here in a few minutes! But I’m curious, have you bought or received any books recently?


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Romance Book Haul

I acquired some books over the past week so it’s time for a book haul post! First is a package that I received from Lucy Parker, author of Act Like It, which is one of my favorite reads this year:

Snail mail from New Zealand! Act Like It by Lucy Parker is one of my favorite reads this year, so of course I jumped at the chance to get a signed copy when the author offered to send me one.πŸ’–πŸ“– with the added bonus of chocolates and a Jane Austen card. Thank you, Lucy! If you haven't read Act Like It, I highly recomment this fun romance set in West End. An actor and actress have to pretend to be in a relationship. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I have a feeling I'll be tempted to reread Act Like It while waiting for the next one. . . . #ActLikeIt #LucyParker #CarinaPress #romance #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #bookhaul #paperback #signedcopy #chocolates #snailmail #JaneAustenquote #PotterStyle #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Next is a debut contemporary romance from an Aussie author, I kept hearing good things about this love-hate office romance so I couldn’t resist grabbing it even though it’s more expensive that what I’d normally pay for:

Blueberry lavender chocolate tart, cucumber mint tea and The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Taking a break from posting Filipino books to talk about my current read. This debut romance was first recommended by @bookthingo, followed by rave reviews from other romance readers. I normally wouldn't spend 9.99usd on an ebook of a debut author but I tried the Kindle sample and wanted to keep going. I just got to a scene where the hero makes tea for the heroine. πŸ‘Œβ˜• . . . #TheHatingGame #SallyThorne #WilliamMorrow #HarperCollins #romance #officeromance #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #debutnovel #Kindle #ebook #TartBlanc #MilleniaWalk #tart #tea #teatime #cucumbermint #TeaForte #teapot #teacup #bookandtea #cafehoppingSG #SGfood #ChachicsBookNook

A photo posted by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Last but not the least, a debut fantasy romance that I’ve also heard positive feedback on:

 

I think it’s pretty obvious from these pictures that I like tea and desserts, right?πŸ™‚ I really should cut back on sweets but they’re just so hard to resist. Anyway, I’ve finished reading both The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet so I’m hoping I’ll be able to write reviews for both soon. As always, not making any promises because I’m always behind on reviews!

What about you guys, have you bought or received any books lately? Also, please feel free to share recommendations if you have titles similar to the ones I mentioned here. Would love to find similar reads.


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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


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Meet Up With Honey

Yesterday was a public holiday in Singapore, which is a good thing because I was able to sleep in (haven’t been feeling well since Saturday) and I got to meet Honey while she’s here. Honey is the blogger behind Coffeespoons, co-founder and head of the annual Filipino ReaderCon and currently the Southeast Asia sales manager of Penguin Random House (a.k.a. dream job of book nerds). An all around bookish person! Because of various bookish events, we used to see each other on a regular basis back when I was still based in Manila. But we haven’t really had a chance to meet up since I moved to Singapore. So I was glad that Honey had enough time during her trip for a catch up. We met up at Ah Teng’s Bakery at Raffles Hotel:

Ah Teng's Bakery

I wasn’t able to take a pic of what we had because I wasn’t really planning to document this meet up. But I need to thank Honey for shouldering the cost of the first round of our merienda (snack time). Maraming salamat!πŸ˜€ Here we are at the courtyard of Raffles Hotel, one of Singapore’s historic places:

With Honey at Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel ourtyard

We walked around CHIJMES, which was a former convent that has been converted into a very commercial area with various bars and restaurants. Both of us were trying to figure out Instagram Stories while we were walking around:

CHIJMES

CHIJMES 2

CHIJMES 3

And then we headed to Tiong Bahru Bakery for a second round of merienda, which again I didn’t get to take a picture of. It was so much fun chatting with Honey for several hours because we had LOTS to catch up on. We talked about books, of course. Jobs, both previous and current ones. Life in general. I think we could have kept going on and on if we didn’t have other things that we wanted to do. A holiday well-spent.πŸ™‚ I hope more bookish friends get to visit Singapore soon.


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Ten Books I HAD to Buy But Still Haven’t Read Yet

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is TTT Rewind and we could all pick any past topic that we’ve missed. I chose Ten Books I HAD to Buy But Still Haven’t Read Yet because this is totally applicable to me! Even though I already have a huge TBR pile, I still feel like there are books that I have to buy RIGHT AWAY for various reasons. It can be because I’m in the mood to buy books or because a book has been highly recommended by a trusted source or there’s an ongoing book sale. The funny thing is, these books just end up sitting on my bookshelf, waiting patiently to be read. I’m sure most of you will be able to relate.πŸ™‚ Here are ten books that I felt like I had to buy but still haven’t found time to read them yet:

Monstress The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl - Squirrel Power Ms. Marvel Lazarus Alex + Ada

This One Summer A Thousand Nights Black Dove White Raven - UK Roses and Rot Clean Sweep

I guess this post can work as a reminder for me to bump these up the TBR pile. Also, to TRY not to buy more books until I’ve finished reading these. Kinokuniya has 20% off today and I was able to resist! Mostly because my last book haul was just a few weeks ago. Anyway, have you guys read any of the books in my list? Feel free to encourage me to read any of them.πŸ˜€ Also, what books did you HAVE to buy but still haven’t read? What TTT topic did you choose this week?