Book Haul – Christmas 2015 Edition

I rarely receive books for Christmas, or even for my birthday. I usually only get books when I join bookish Secret Santa events. Most people tell me that they don’t give me books as gifts because they don’t know what to get for me. So it feels like a special treat whenever I get books for Christmas. In 2015, I got several of them! Which was why I thought I should put up a post to mark the occasion.

On the last work day of the year, right before I flew home to Manila, I got these two:

Christmas 2015 - SG haul 1

When I was in Manila, I was able to attend a bookish meet up and got the following:

Tweedle Book Cafe - book haul

Sadly, I had to go back to Singapore for work. But I did have some lovely snail mail waiting for me when I got back:

Christmas 2015 - SG haul

While on vacation in Manila, I bought a few graphic novels (Ms. Marvel, The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium, Halina Filipina and Maktan 1521). I received The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1 from a friend, and used the Kinokuniya gift vouchers I received from our office Secret Santa to buy Soppy and Giant Days.

Christmas 2015 - graphic novels

For someone who doesn’t usually get books for Christmas, this really is quite a haul! Here are the titles I was lucky enough to receive:

Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles
Soppy by Philippa Rice
Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman

Thank you, Donna, Estara, Kim, Mina, Gene, Nellie and my office Secret Santa for these books! I’m really grateful for the generosity. 🙂 I’ve already started reading the first Elantra book and Soppy. Looking forward to reading the rest of the titles in this pile.

Christmas 2015

Christmas tree - Manila 2014

A section of our Christmas tree in Manila

It’s December 25 in our side of the world. As usual, I want to greet everyone a very Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it! 😀 Maligayang Pasko! Hope you’re all having a good holiday season and spending it in whatever form works for you.

It’s been a crazy busy past couple of days since I landed in Manila on the 19th. I’ve been meeting up with friends and family. It’s been great so far, I love catching up with people especially the ones who also flew in from other parts of the world to celebrate Christmas home. I’m looking forward to doing more of that while I’m home for what’s left of the year. 🙂 Also looking forward to sneaking in some reading time, which I haven’t been able to do because of all the get togethers. I’m still in the middle of the books that I was reading when I left Singapore.

Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Top Ten Tuesday2

Hello from Manila! I’m here for the holiday season. It’s always good to be home but I haven’t had that much time to read or blog since I got here because I’ve been busy meeting up with friends and spending time with family. I’m glad I found some time to do this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post because I have some books on my wishlist that I would love to receive as presents. As always, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. All of the titles in my list today are graphic novels because I want to read more of those kinds of books. In no particular order:

Halina Filipina The Mythology Class Maktan 1521 Giant Days Seconds

Ms. Marvel Bombshells The Plain Janes Lazarus Loki Agent of Asgard

The first three are Filipino graphic novels and since I’m all for supporting the local writing community, maybe I should just buy them for myself. I suspect that is what will happen for most of these titles, I probably wouldn’t be able to resist buying them if I see them in bookstores. Also, books in Manila are more affordable than books in Singapore so I want to take advantage of that.

How about the rest of you, what books would you like Santa to leave under the tree for you? 🙂 Have you started receiving any books for Christmas? I usually don’t get books from friends but I’m luckier than usual this year and have already received a few.

Christmas Shopping – Manila Edition

In my previous post about Christmas shopping, I mentioned that I was planning to get Filipino titles to give as gifts to friends. I wanted to support the local writing community and at the same time, encourage my real life friends to read. So I ordered books from Filipino authors even before I flew home to Manila. To make the gifts even more special, I asked the authors if they could personalize the books and they very kindly agreed to do so.

When I got home, a package was waiting for me. It contained five copies of Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores:

Loveless. Childless. Clueless gifts

On the same day that I landed, I met up with my friend Chris Mariano, author of Cover (Story) Girl. We had dinner at Cibo in ShangriLa but I was super hungry so I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the food. Here’s a fangirl pic instead:

Chris Mariano fangirl shot

Cover Story Girl gifts

I also dropped by the bookstore in that mall and grabbed three copies of the first installment of the Trese graphic novel series:

Trese gifts

The next day, I met up with authors Mina V. Esguerra, Tina Matanguihan, my friend Kim and newfound friend Jothee at Tweedle Book Cafe (more about that meet up in a separate post). I was able to get the pile of books that I ordered from Mina plus a freebie of What You Wanted:

Mina V. Esguerra books as gifts

Here’s the whole pile of the various titles that I bought:

Filipino books as Christmas gifts

I was really excited to start giving these books as gifts that I didn’t even bother with wrapping them up, since I wanted my friends to see the signature and messages inside as soon as they could. Fellow book blogger Kim was the first recipient:

Kim with Loveless Childless Clueless

Followed by three girlfriends who were thrilled to receive personalized copies of books. I think this is the first time they’ve gotten books specifically signed for them. They were so happy that they took pictures of the books (here, here and here) as well as the messages (here, here and here).

Chuchay, Mich and Ena with gifts

They wanted to start reading the books right away. I made a point of giving them different titles so they can swap and borrow each other’s copies once they’re done. Based on my friends’ reactions, I think I can safely say that my mission has been accomplished. 🙂 Fingers crossed that my other friends will be just as happy with what they’re getting.

Pratical Guide to Christmas Gift Giving

My friends in real life always say that even if they wanted to give me books as presents, they never know what to get for me. Aside from not knowing what title I would enjoy reading, they also have no clue whether I already have a copy of a particular book. I do keep my Goodreads shelves updated but I don’t think my friends would think of checking that site since they don’t have accounts there. I’ve mentioned several times that I would be happy to receive bookstore or Amazon gift cards but some friends refuse to give gift cards, saying that it’s equivalent to just handing money over (I don’t see why that’s a bad thing when it’s money that would be allocated for buying books). I think for them that takes out the fun in gift giving?

Of course, the best way to get a good gift idea is to just ask me directly. Which is what one of my Singapore-based friends did. One of the days we were out together, I brought her to the bookstore and gave her five books that I wanted. We’re both into graphic novels so those were the ones I gave her. I then asked her to choose a title that she would be interested in borrowing. And viola! She has then bought and given me a gift that we’re both happy with:

Christmas 2015 - Nellie's gift

Yes, I know what’s inside but the bookstore offered to gift wrap it for free so it’s nicely covered until I read it. I’m going to suggest this practical gift buying procedure to any friend who wants to buy books for me. 🙂 What do you guys think, do you agree that it’s a good idea? Do you have any other tips regarding this topic?

Christmas Shopping – Singapore Edition

As I mentioned in one of my posts last week, I love the Christmas season. It doesn’t really start feeling like Christmas is near until I start my Christmas shopping. I think it’s a lot of fun to browse around malls, go into stores with Christmas carols playing on their speakers, and try to decide what would make great gifts. This year, I’ve decided that I’ll mostly be giving books as gifts. I was at the bookstore the other day and was able to get Christmas-themed board books for my newborn godson:

Christmas 2015 - Kinokuniya books for Adrian

The bookstore offered free gift wrapping services and I think their Christmas gift wrappers are adorable. These two titles are inside:

Dream Snow Little Santa

I hope my godson enjoys these books! Or I guess I should say, I hope his parents enjoy reading these aloud to him. Another bookish shopping experience that I enjoyed was putting together a Secret Santa package for my book club. This has become a tradition that I’ve participated in for the past three years (the Secret Santa haul I got from previous years: 2012, 2013, 2014). Of course I can’t share the contents so here’s a preview instead:

Christmas 2015 - YAckers Secret Santa

That gift bag is from Kikki.K, the same store where I’ve been getting my planner for the past few years. Fingers crossed that my YAckers Santee will like the stuff I put inside! Now I just need to drop by the post office during the hours that they’re open.

For my friends back home, I’m planning to buy Filipino titles. I was thinking Filipino romance titles (lots of new releases this year) for my girlfriends, Filipino graphic novels for guy friends, and Filipino kiddie books for my godsons. And for those, I wouldn’t be able to start buying them until I’m in Manila. So watch this space for another bookish Christmas shopping update!

What about the rest of you, have you started your Christmas shopping? Planning to give any books as gifts?

2015 Christmas Reads

Laduree Christmas tree

A macaron Christmas tree care of Laduree Singapore

December is here! That means it’s time to think about Christmas reads again (previous posts here and here). I love this time of the year and I think part of the fun of the holiday season is reading Christmas reads.

Here are the Christmas-themed books I’m planning to reread:
At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler
A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
At First Sight No Place Like Home My True Love Gave to Me

I didn’t read all of the stories in the My True Love Gave to Me, just the ones written by authors I like. So maybe I can go back and reread those or read the ones that I didn’t finish last year.

And these are the new-to-me Christmas reads that I have on my TBR pile:
A Midnight Clear by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner
Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas
MidnightClear Top Ten Clues You're Clueless

Both of which were recommended by my friend Brandy. What about you, what are the Christmas titles that you’re planning to read this month? What are the holiday reads that you’ve loved over the years? I would be delighted to get some new recommendations. 🙂

Also, because there’s less than a month left in 2015, feel free to let me know what are the best books that you’ve read this year. I might be tempted to read them before the year ends. I keep track of mine via a Goodreads shelf, and I will post my best of 2015 list on January 1 (yearly habit).