Chachic's Book Nook


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Best of 2016

Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ˜€ I think we can all agree that 2016 was a difficult year on so many levels. There was so many things happening on an international scale, as well as in the Philippines (which still affects me a great deal even if I’m based in Singapore for work). On a personal front, I resigned from my previous job and started a new one. It hasn’t been smooth sailing and I’ve been struggling with having a sense of belonging. Of course, all of these have affected my reading and blogging life, which is why I haven’t been posting as much as I would want to. I’m still online on a daily basis but it has been easier for me to constantly update the social networks that I have on my phone such as Litsy (username: Chachic), Twitter and Instagram. Going forward, I think this will continue for a while. It’s just so much easier for me to check, update and reply on my phone. My laptop has been acting up and it’s been a pain to open it up and go online. Plus real life stuff happening has made everything harder. The struggle is real!

Anyway, I have a tradition of posting my favorite reads for the previous year whenever the new year rolls around, I’m a few days late but it’s still within the first week of 2017! You can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. In no particular order, here are the books that I loved in 2016 (linked to my reviews if I have them):

a-darker-shade-of-magic a-gathering-of-shadows The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms the-broken-kingdoms

a-promise-of-fire magic-binds master-of-crows

Act Like It Summer Skin In the Middle of Somewhere Out of Nowhere

Amulet The Stonekeeper Monstress fresh-romance

It’s safe to say that I read more than I blogged in 2016. ๐Ÿ˜› That’s seven speculative fiction titles, four contemporary romance and three graphic novels. It’s funny because the easiest genre for me to get into is contemporary romance but it looks like the books that stand out more for me are fantasy titles. I think my sweet spot is fantasy with a well-written romance. In addition to these, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would know that I’ve been trying to read and promote books written by Filipino authors. I haven’t read that many of them this year but the ones I enjoyed reading have been:

Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Iris After the Incident

Thatโ€™s 2016 for me. How was yours? What were your favorite reads from the past year? ๐Ÿ™‚


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Ten Books I Loved That Have Under 700 Ratings On Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, we’re supposed to talk about books that we enjoyed that have under 2000 ratings on Goodreads. This is a great topic because we get to highlight under-the-radar books that we’ve read. So it looks like SO MANY of the books that I’ve enjoyed reading are underrated because they haven’t even gotten 1000 ratings on Goodreads. These were the books that I loved (they were my favorites the year I read them) that have less than 700 ratings on Goodreads. Why 700? Because that was the number of ratings I reached when I got to ten titles. I could have kept going but I wanted to focus on these for now:

Loveless Childless Clueless Choco Chip Hips Learning to Fall A Wish Upon Jasmine Girl Before a Mirror

Northlander The Sunbird Medair Touchstone Trilogy Black Dog

Five contemporary, three fantasy, one sci-fi and one historical fiction… that’s a pretty good mix. I thought all of these books were great and would love for more readers to pick them up. If you feel like we like the same type of books then you should definitely check these out. You can click on the image to see my reviews. What about you, what are underrated books you loved?


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Top Ten Historical and Futuristic Books

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, we were given the option of choosing topics that feature historical or futuristic books. Since I can’t make up my mind, I’m doing halfsies. Also, I don’t think I have enough for each genre to make a full list.

Five books set in the past that I loved:
The Sunbird ebook Code Name Verity - UK2 The Book Thief - UK The Secret Countess Nine Coaches Waiting

Five books set in the future that I loved:
Touchstone Trilogy Illuminae Archivist Wasp Silent Blade 2 Ender's Game - movie cover

I’ve tried read-alikes of these titles but I didn’t enjoyed them as much as the ones I mentioned here. I would love to discover more books that I can add to this list. Have you read any of these? What are books set either in the past or in the future that you would recommend based on the titles I have here?


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Best of 2015

Happy New Year, everyone! Ever since I started blogging, I’ve been posting my favorite reads whenever the new year rolls around – you can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In no particular order, here are the books that I loved in 2015 (linked to my reviews if I have them):

Once Upon a Rose A Wish Upon Jasmine Girl Before a Mirror The Deal I'll Meet You There

Pure Magic Uprooted Bone Gap Archivist Wasp Illuminae

That’s five contemporaries and five speculative fiction titles! I’ve also been meaning to read more graphic novels and found a few that I loved in 2015:

Rat Queens Vol 1 Sass and Sorcery Nimona Midnight Tribunal High Tide at Midnight

Midnight Tribunal and High Tide at Midnight are the latest installments in the Trese graphic novel series, one of my favorite Filipino works of fiction. Here are other titles written by Filipino authors that stood out for me this year:

Choco Chip Hips Learning to Fall Loveless Childless Clueless

Speaking of Filipino reads, I made a point of buying Filipino books to give as gifts this past Christmas. I was lucky enough to get most of them signed!

Filipino books as Christmas gifts

Pile of Filipino books as Christmas gifts

2015 has been a good year for reading but not so much for blogging, because I’ve always been behind on reviews. Real life keeps getting in the way so I have missed reviewing some of my favorite reads this year. Let’s see if I can catch up on reviewing some of them in the new year. Keeping my fingers crossed on that.

As for other bookish things, I was delighted to discover that book cafes have been popping up all over Manila and I was able to visit three of them during my trip: Tweedle Book Cafe, Cool Beans Cafe and Book and Borders Cafe.

Tweedle Book Cafe - shelf

In November, I was also able to attend Singapore Writers Festival’s panel on โ€œInstaloveโ€ โ€“ Romance and the YA Novel, where I got to meet authors Rachel Hartman and Joyce Chng in person.

SG writers fest 2015 - instalove 5

Singapore Writers Festival “Instalove” panelists Joye Chng, Joyce Chua and Rachel Hartman

My travel activities aren’t exactly book-related but I enjoy posting about them on the blog. Earlier this year, I was able to visit: Prague, Kutna Hora, Cesky Krumlov (like the setting of a medieval fantasy), Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle (straight out of a fairy tale), Regensburg.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

After I had my rolls of film developed, I did a Snapshot From a Book post and matched pictures of Prague with quotes from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the same for the other places we visited because I haven’t come across books set in them. However, it made me happy to be able to meet in Munich my bookish friend Estara. I’ve known Estara for years and I was delighted to finally get the chance to chat with her in person.

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

We visited Bayerisches Nationalmuseum with Estara

Another notable meet up this year was with Jo of Wear the Old Coat when she had a stopover in Singapore while traveling from Australia to the UK. We had dimsum and loads of jasmine tea for lunch, and played tourists for the rest of the day.

Din Tai Fung lunch with Jo

Din Tai Fung lunch with Jo

It’s always fun for me to have these meet ups because I don’t get to do them as often as I would like. So it’s a special treat when I meet a bookish friend I’ve known for years.

So, so, so. That’s 2015 for me. How was yours? ๐Ÿ™‚ What were your favorite reads from the past year?


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Top Ten Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There are so many books that I’ve enjoyed reading as a child that I would love to reread as an adult. I’m wondering if they would hold up as rereads and whether I would like them just as much. Some of the titles that I would love to revisit are:

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe The BFG Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Harriet the Spy From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil A Wrinkle in Time A Ring of Endless Light The Giver The Tombs of Atuan Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I wonder when my huge TBR would let me go back to these old favorites for a reread? What about you, what are some of your childhood or teen books would you love to read again?


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Books That Make Me Bibliovangelize

The credit for this post goes to my good friend Brandy of Random Musings of a Bibliophile who also wrote about this topic. I got the word “bibliovangelizing” from professional book pusher Angie and I thought it would be fitting for this post. You know how some books are just SO GOOD that the moment you finish reading them, you just want to share it with the whole world? You want to convince all your friends and everyone you know to read these books? Well, those are the titles that make me want to bibliovangelize by spreading the word about them. That’s one of the reasons why I have a book blog, because it’s the perfect platform for pushing people to read the books that I love. To the point where I won’t shut up about the books and would even organize and host blog events about them. For some of my favorite series, I’m including only one book to represent the series. Click on the covers to check out my reviews (if I have them). Here are my choices, broken out by genre:

Fantasy:
QueenOfAttolia Crown Duel Blue Sword Fire

Howls Moving Castle Son of the Shadows Scorpio Races UK Medair

Urban fantasy:
Magic Strikes Burn for Me

Historical fiction:
The Sunbird Code Name Verity A Countess Below Stairs Nine Coaches Waiting

YA and NA contemporary:

Jellicoe Road Australian cover for The Piper's Son Such A Rush The Understatement of the Year The Deal I'll Meet You There

Adult contemporary romance:
The Chocolate Thief Once Upon a Rose Nowhere But Home Girl Before a Mirror Something About You

Fairy Tale Fail_Summit Carolina Home Big Boy The Story Guy

Sci-fi:
Touchstone Trilogy Silent Blade

I might have missed out on some titles but these are the ones that I could think of while writing this post. What about the rest of you, what are the books that make you bibliovangelize?


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Retro Friday: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I read both Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore when they first came out. That was a few years ago, back when I didn’t have a book blog. I recently reread them for a discussion with my online book club YAckers. I loved rereading both and realized that I have never written a review for Fire. Itโ€™s a good thing I refreshed my memory by rereading it recently because that gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my absolute favorite epic fantasy novels.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

FireIt is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, the royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

Fire is such an achingly beautiful novel. It is wonderfully written with engaging characters, set in a dazzlingly colorful world. Fire is a human monster, an amazingly beautiful person who can read minds and manipulate people through her powers โ€“ either with just the way she looks or by compelling them to say or do things. Having seen what her cruel father Cansrel was able to do with his own monstrous powers, Fire is very cautious with hers. She has no intention of manipulating people and doesnโ€™t even want to be involved in court politics. But the kingdom is on the brink of civil war and Fire has a role to play in all of this.

I loved Fireโ€™s character. It was a pleasure to see her stretch as she opens herself up to possibilities. Itโ€™s understandable that sheโ€™s afraid of what sheโ€™s capable of but she has such a good heart that she doesnโ€™t really have to worry about it. Aside from Fire, there are also plenty of fully fleshed out secondary characters to love in this novel. Can I just take a moment to say how much I love Brigan? Remarkable character and brilliant in so many different ways. I loved how Kristin Cashore portrayed the relationships in this book โ€“ theyโ€™re very messy and complicated but work so well in the context of the story. I liked seeing the dynamics of different types of relationships โ€“ romantic, platonic and within families โ€“ in the story. Thereโ€™s a lot of love in there but also has some sadness and violence mixed in. Here’s a snippet that illustrates this:

โ€œShe had thought she’d already reached her capacity for pain and had no room inside her for more. But she remembered having told Archer once that you could not measure love on a scale of degrees, and now she understood that it was the same with pain. Pain might escalate upwards, and, just when you’d thought you’d reached your limit, begin to spread sideways, and spill out, and touch other people, and mix with their pain. And grow larger, but somehow less oppressive. She had thought herself trapped in a place outside the ordinary feeling lives of other people; she had not noticed how many other people were trapped in that place with her.โ€

Fire just has everything that I look for in my epic fantasy reads. Great characters, solid worldbuilding, a slow burn romance that I can root for and complex relationships that feel realistic. I cannot recommend it enough. It makes me happy that Fire stood up to a reread and I loved it just as much as when I was first introduced to it. In fact, I had to wait a couple of days for the story to fade from my mind before I could move on to another book. After rereading both Graceling and Fire, I am now craving for a new Kristin Cashore novel. I will be eagerly waiting for news about what she will publish next.