March Bookstagram Reviews

Here’s a round up of bookstagram reviews I did for March. You can see my round up posts from previous months here: January and February.

What books have you read in March and what did you think of them? Any stand out reads?

Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa

Last Saturday, the Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa art / zine / book fair was held in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This event was organized by Gantala Press and featured Filipino female authors and creators.

Gandang Ganda sa Sariling Gawa

Here are photos that I uploaded on the day itself, showing some of the products available there. Swipe to see everything:

It was seriously difficult to narrow down what to get because I wanted so many things! My haul includes comics, postcards and stickers which you can see below (again, swipe to see everything):

As mentioned in one of the captions above, this kind of event is a great for readers like me who are interested in supporting local female authors and artists and komikeras. I hope there will be more like it in the future!

February Bookstagram Reviews

Oh wow, February passed by so quickly! Maybe because it’s a shorter month? I didn’t even get to do this round-up of bookstagram reviews on the last day of the month. So here I am catching up on them today. You can check out my January bookstagram reviews here.

It was a pretty good reading month, I enjoyed reading four out of the five books I finished. I planned to read only romance titles in February but couldn’t help but read the latest issue of Sagala when I got a copy of it at Komiket. I’m planning to read whatever I want in March. I’m really a mood reader and I mostly stuck to a theme in January because I wanted to read more fantasy and February seemed like the perfect month for romance. Maybe I’ll read some of the comics I just bought, let’s see how it goes.

What about you, what were the books you read in February?

Book Haul: Komiket February 2018

In my last book haul post, I mentioned that I’ve mostly been buying ebooks since the year started. The exception to my rule of buying just ebooks is comics or graphic novels, and I bought a lot of them when I dropped by Komiket last weekend. Komiket is a weekend market where Filipino creators sell their comics and artwork like posters and stickers. Some of the comics are trad pubbed by local publishers while some are self-pubbed. Some are written in English, while others are in Filipino, or a mix of both. Some are printed in black and white while others are in full color. In general, it’s a great way to support Filipino artists so they can keep creating more of their work.

Sharing my Twitter thread, where I uploaded some photos while I was at the event:

I went with some friends although we did separate at one point so we could browse on our own. I was so tempted to buy stickers and artwork but I wanted to focus on comics as a priority, because there are so many good titles that I was interested in.

Sagala #1-3 by Tori Tadiar
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfktm1nlkok/

Tabi Po #1-3 by Mervin Malonzo
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfkxs8EFy4v/

Dead Balagtas by Emiliana Kampilan
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfk1z38Fboc/

Palaso by Marianie and The Outer Garden and Its Manifold Blossoms
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfk4afWlS_L/

Lakambini by Diego Torres
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfk5OcAFfxI/

Strange Natives by Paolo Herras and Jerico Marte
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfk6rU8lc22/

I had so much fun going around Komiket, browsing and choosing which titles to get. I would have loved to get more! While checking other people’s haul posts, I kept seeing titles that I want to try too. BUT! I still have a couple more comics in my TBR pile aside from the ones shown here, so I really should read the owns I one before I buy even more.

Do you guys read graphic novels or comics? What are some of your favorites?

Graphic Novel Challenge: The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi

I read The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi months ago when I was in Manila for a vacation. I brought it with me to the hair salon and was able to read a good chunk of it while I was there, and I finished reading the rest of it when I got home. Months have passed and it’s taken me this long to write a review. I was thinking about catching up on my 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge when I remembered that I had already read the first Amulet book and I just needed to review it.

Amulet The StonekeeperHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

I can’t even remember who specifically recommended the Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet graphic novel series to me but I’ve had it in my radar for a while. For some reason, I was curious enough about it to grab a copy from Kinokuniya during one of their book sales. I’m so glad I decided to give the first book in the series a try because I had a lot of fun reading it! I was pleasantly surprised at how much depth there was to the story right from the start, something that I didn’t expect from a middle grade series. I sympathized with Emily, Navin and their mother and I wanted to give all of them a huge hug. The three of them bravely move to a new home, hoping to make a fresh start. Instead, they encounter one adventure after another and they all get to show their courage in unexpected ways. The Stonekeeper is an action-filled introduction to the series, and I can just imagine how fast the pace will be in the next installments in the series. It was really easy to get into The Stonekeeper – I liked all of the main characters and I wanted to keep reading to find out more about them. I found the worldbuilding intriguing and would be interested in learning more about it. The artwork reminded me of Japanese cartoons that I used to watch as a child, and it went very well with the story. This would definitely have been a book that I would have loved as a young reader, and something that I can recommend and give as a gift to my godsons and younger cousins. As it is, I have already passed along my copy to two other friends who have read and enjoyed The Stonekeeper too.

I’m looking forward to reading the sequels. I believe there are currently seven books in the series and I’m not sure when it will end. If you’re planning to read this series then I suggest having a few of the books on hand so you can read all of them together. I’m sure I would have enjoyed doing that if I had the chance. I saw copies of the other books in the series at a Manila bookstore, and wanted to get them but the lines to the cashiers were super long at that time because everyone was busy buying school supplies. Just means I need to find another way to get copies! In the meantime, I will keep my fingers crossed that I’ll enjoy reading the rest of the books in the series.

Here’s a link to the 9th Annual Graphic Novels & Manga Challenge 2016, credit to Kim for the graphic below:
graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

Graphic Novel Challenge: Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

I feel like I’ve been waiting for Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda to be released for ages! I’ve been hearing good things about it from various sources since the first issue was released but I don’t want to start reading graphic novels per issue, so I to wait for Volume 1 to be released before I could read the series. I was thrilled to find that not only did Kinokuniya Singapore carry copies of Monstress, they also had a variant cover for it:

 

I recently finished reading a graphic novel that I wasn’t such a big fan of, which made me want to pick up another graphic novel that I was more likely to love and that led to me reading Monstress. I read this along with my good friend Kim of Dreaming of Espresso, who is based in Malaysia but was also able to get the Kinokuniya variant copy. Also, this counts as another book for me to include in my 2016 Graphic Novel and Manga Challenge, which hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on in the coming months.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, Monstress tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both.

Monstress was brilliant! I loved reading every bit of it. If I wasn’t busy with work, I would have gulped down the whole thing in one sitting but I guess it was also lucky that I was able to stretch out my reading of this because I could savor both the gorgeous artwork and the intriguing storyline. I thought Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda did a fantastic job in collaborating on this graphic novel, and I could see why people have been raving about it. The first thing I noticed about Monstress was how detailed and intricate the artwork was, I couldn’t stop staring at the drawings. Looking at the artwork was like a visual feast. I’m not usually a fan of too much blood, gore and violence in graphic novels because I find them a bit more difficult to swallow than when I’m just reading about them as text. The violence was the one minor quibble that I had with this book, but that was overshadowed with how much I loved everything else about it. Monstress is dark in tone but I found that it was a necessary aspect of the storytelling. The setting of the story is not exactly a happy one.

The worldbuilding is incredible. It’s a world inhabited by humans, ancients, arcanics (half-human and half ancient), the old gods and last but not the least are (talking) cats. It’s a war-torn world with a rich history behind the current situation that the heroine finds herself in. I feel like we’ve only been shown the tip of the iceberg in terms of worldbuilding and there’s so much more that can be explored. I kept reading not just because I wanted to learn more about Maika and her past, but also about the world she lives in. Maika is not content to have survived the war, she won’t rest until she uncovers the secrets behind the psychic link that she has with the monster inside her. I thought the story was paced very well, and there was never a dull moment throughout the course of this volume. I loved that the setting is a matriarchal Asia in the 1900’s, and I thought it was awesome that I kept seeing strong female characters in this book. Considering the short length of Monstress, I was amazed at how it was able to tackle important themes such as identity, race, class, and power. There really was a lot going on in this volume and I have a feeling I’ll be itching to reread it sooner rather than later. Having said all of that, I guess it’s not surprising for me to say that Monstress is one of my favorite reads this year. I think the last graphic novel I loved this much was Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. I really, really hope I’ll keep loving the series because I’ve come across two Image Comics series (Saga and The Wicked and the Divine that seemed promising at the start but I eventually decided wasn’t for me after reading Volume 3.

Sharing my other bookstagrams of Monstress so you can see for yourself the gorgeous artwork that I’ve mentioned:

 

 

And a link to the 9th Annual Graphic Novels & Manga Challenge 2016, credit to Kim for the graphic below:

graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

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. 🙂 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. 😀 Also, what books did you HAVE to buy but still haven’t read? What TTT topic did you choose this week?

Ten Books I’d Bring If I Was Going to the Beach

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There are many, many beautiful beaches across the Philippines and I think that’s one of the reasons why most Filipinos grow up to become beach lovers. I’m a huge fan of beaches but I’m also very lazy when it comes to planning a beach trip (I usually just say yes when friends ask me to go with them), and there aren’t any that are easily accessible from Manila. Which is why I don’t have any recent beach trips even if I’m currently on vacation in the Philippines. 😦

The Scorpio Races - beach

A quote from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater with Bintan Lagoon Resort in the background

I do have ideas of what books I’d bring with me IF I had a beach trip. In the past, I would usually just bring whatever book I was currently in the middle of. If I haven’t started anything, I’d bring a contemporary romance because they’re easy to get into. But what I recently realized is that graphic novels are also great reading material when you’re on the go… A graphic novel is something that can be instantly absorbing and also something that can be read in small chunks. So if I had a beach trip planned, I would have brought these books with me:

Amulet The Stonekeeper's Curse Alex + Ada 5,000 km per second Ms. Marvel The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl - Squirrel Power

This One Summer American Born Chinese Anya's Ghost Lazarus Mythspace

I really need to step up in reading these graphic novels that are on my TBR pile. What about you, what books will you bring with you if you had a beach trip? Do you have a go-to genre or type of book when it comes to beach reads?

Reading at the hair salon

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m currently on vacation in Manila. You’d think that because I’m on vacation, I’d have more time to blog. As always, I’m behind on posts! There are several things I want to blog about but I always feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze in some blogging time. So I thought I’d come up with a short, book-related update.

Earlier today I was at the hair salon getting a hair cut and treatment. These are services that I usually try to do whenever I’m in Manila because they’re way too expensive in Singapore. In my almost four years of being based in Singapore, I’ve never gotten a hair cut or treatment there. Same goes for my Filipino girl friends in Singapore. Usually when I go to the salon, I’d just bring my Kindle with me and read whatever I’m currently in the middle of. Or I’d go through the magazines provided by the salon. But since I brought my copy of Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi all the way from Singapore, I thought I might as well bring it with me when I have a few hours to kill. What a great idea it was! This is such an engaging book and it’s super easy to get into. I was instantly absorbed and was able to read quite a huge chunk while I was waiting. It’s also easy to read in installments whenever I had to stop for them to rinse my hair. I will probably finish the book tonight and will try to look for copies of the sequels in local bookstores.

Amulet at the hair salon

The hair salon served coffee. Yay!

Note to self: bring more graphic novels with me whenever I have errands to run. What about you, what books do you usually bring with you when you know you’d have some time to kill?

Belated Birthday Book Haul

Last March 29 was my birthday and I bought a few books leading up to it. Birthdays are always the perfect excuse to buy books for myself. 🙂 There was a Kinokuniya members’ sale in March so I took advantage of the 20% discount and bought these:

Lazarus and Shortcomings

Because I was able to buy books during the sale, I wasn’t planning to purchase anything else on my birthday. But I ended up dropping by the bookstore to buy some watercolors for my coloring books. I saw my friend try them out and it looked a lot more fun than using colored pencils. Aaand it wasn’t just watercolors that caught my fancy, I saw this newly released graphic novel with watercolor artwork so I decided to grab it too. Seemed like a fitting choice:

5,000km per second

My graphic novel haul:
Lazarus, Vol. 1: Family by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Santiago Arcas
Lazarus, Vol. 2: Lift by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Santiago Arcas
Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
5,000 km Per Second by Manuele Fior

Next, three generous friends pooled their money to give me an Amazon gift card worth USD100. Woohoo! Let’s see how long it will last. 😛 So far, I’ve already bought and read these:

Bryony and Roses

In the Middle of Somewhere

Kindle purchases:
Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher
In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish (currently reading but not included in the pictures)

Those two last shots just show how much I love tea and desserts. And that last pic is a little bit funny because of the contrast of the smexy book cover versus the dainty tea cup and cake.

It’s Sunday night in this part of the world and as usual, I’m in denial that the weekend is over. I’ll try to squeeze in a little reading time before going to bed. Hope you all had a good weekend! If you’ve made any recent book purchases, feel free to mention them in the comments.