#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy 2017 – time to read Filipino books!

It’s that time of the year again! Today marks the start of #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy, a campaign that I participated in last year and the year before that. August is Buwan ng Wika in the Philippines, which is the month dedicated to celebrating the Filipino language. To coincide with this, a campaign is being hosted by Edgar Calabia Samar (Twitter, Facebook), author of the Janus Silang series, to encourage people to read Filipino books. #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy can be roughly translated as “Month of Filipino Authors” or even “Month of Filipino Books”. Anyone can participate by using this hashtag on various social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. So if you’ve been meaning to try reading a Filipino book, this is your chance!

There’s an overview of the campaign, which you can read over here (it’s written in Filipino). Since the title of the campaign is in Filipino, I believe the main goal is to encourage Filipino readers to pick up titles by Filipino authors. But I am also hoping that non-Filipino readers would be interested in picking up Filipino books. There are loads of books by Filipino authors that are written in English. Those are actually the type of books I plan to read. 🙂

I will mostly be posting on Litsy (username: Chachic) and Instagram with links shared on Twitter, but I will try my best to do round up posts here on the blog as well. I would love to see the rest of you join this campaign as well, even if you read just one book written by a Filipino author this month. 😀

Upcoming Event in Manila: #FeelsRushIn

There’s an upcoming #romanceclass event in Manila, and I’m sad to miss it. Would have definitely dropped by if I was back home! If you’re in Manila and you’re interested in reading Filipino romance, you should check out #FeelsRushIn.
FeelsRushIn poster

Print copies of these books will be available at the event:
FeelsRushIn

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?

Tweedle Book Cafe on a Friday Night

I’m back in Singapore soil but still behind on blog posts so I have a few more Manila-related posts that will (hopefully) go up in the coming days. I’ve been meaning to visit Tweedle Book Cafe again after my initial visit last December. So when friends asked me last Friday where I wanted to meet for dinner, I suggested this place. You know you’re a book nerd when you bring your friends to a book cafe on a Friday night. Woohoo, reading party! I’ve been encouraging them to read more so I wanted them to experience a book cafe. 🙂

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - long table

Dinner (TWG first edition tea, salpicao with egg and kimchi) and signed copies of Agay Llanera’s books:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - dinner

Only Vintage Love is mine, given by Chris Mariano as a gift back when it was launched and recently signed by the author when I met her in person. I’ve yet to read it! The rest are copies I got for my friends Ena, Chuchay and Mich to read and share. These three have inherited and borrowed books from me before, and were also super excited to get signed books as Christmas gifts last year. I love it when real life overlaps with my book blogging life.

Here are #romanceclass books available at the cafe:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - romanceclass

Delicious hot chocolate infused with hibiscus, made in Cebu by The Chocolate Chamber. Served in a pretty tea cup:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - hot chocolate

Last but certainly not the least, I brought books that I wanted to pass on with me. Unread books are sad books so I’ve been passing on physical copies of my books because they just get neglected in Manila while I’m in Singapore. Some of these I’ve read, some I’m not planning to read anytime soon. Most of them have pages that have started foxing (getting brown spots) and yellowing because of heat and humidity, even when they’ve been stored in a bookshelf with a glass cover:

Foxing - donated books

I didn’t want them to waste away so I thought it would be better to pass them on. The upright ones on the left went to my friend Ena, the right-most stack went to my friend Chuchay and the two stacks in the middle were donated to the cafe. You can visit the cafe and read those books if you wanted to.

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - donated books

I think it was a Friday well spent. I was back in Tweedle a week later, but only to drop off more books to be donated. I passed by the cafe right before heading to the airport for my flight back to Singapore. This was the stash I donated:

Tweedle Book Cafe - May 2016 - more donated books

I’m glad book cafes are becoming more of a thing in Manila. They aren’t as common in Singapore but I believe that’s because Singapore has a pretty good public library system, something that the Philippines doesn’t have. Obviously I want these book cafes to flourish, which is why I will try to keep donating books whenever I can. 🙂

#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy Round Up

At the start of August, I talked about the #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy campaign. I tried to read and feature as many Filipino books as I could but sadly, I wasn’t able to read all of the ones that I have on my TBR pile. Anyway, I posted these shots either on Instagram or Twitter and wanted to consolidate everything in one place so here we go…

Books I read:

Una & Miguel

Una and Miguel by Lilledeshan Bose, a Filipino YA novel. The bright yellow and purple cover went well with the table setting at PS Cafe.

Shine by Candy Gourlay

Yes, I’m in Singapore but I still read (and promote) Filipino books! Shine by Candy Gourlay at Cocoa Colony. This Filipino MG novel was also published in the UK so it’s available all over the world if you’re interested in reading Filipino lit.

Shine by Candy Gourlay - chapter heading

Sneak peek inside Shine by Candy Gourlay

Someone Else's Fantasy by Mina V. Esguerra

I know it’s not obvious but this is an early copy of Someone Else’s Fantasy by Mina V. Esguerra with my matcha latte. I believe this will be released with a different title and cover soon.

Still reading:

Banana Heart Summer

Banana Heart Summer by Merlinda Bobis

Books I’ve read but wanted to encourage other readers to pick up:

Cover Story Girl with mocha

Cover Story Girl by Chris Mariano, Set in sunny and gorgeous Boracay, one of the most famous beaches in the Philippines, this is a sweet romance between a Filipino guy and a Korean girl.

Interim Goddess of Love paperbacks

Signed copies of the first two books in the Interim Goddess of Love trilogy, with cucumber mint tea and blueberry chocolate lavender tart.

Looking back on these pictures, I think it becomes obvious that I have a thing for coffee and tea. 😛 As always, I hope more readers will be encouraged to read these Filipino titles!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Recommended Filipino Books

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is this: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters. Because I’m a Filipino book blogger, I’m modifying this topic to list books by Filipino authors that I would recommend to other readers. I want to take this opportunity to spread the word about Filipino authors because for me, that’s part of promoting diversity in the blogosphere. I hope that this will encourage more readers to pick up these titles because they’re all written mostly in English, with just a few phrases in Filipino.

Chic Manila books by Mina V. Esguerra’s – These are contemporary romance or chick lit set in the Philippines with Filipino characters. I recommend her books because they give readers a good picture of what life is like for a young woman back home. Her Interim Goddess of Love trilogy is new adult while the rest feature characters in their mid to late twenties (my favorite out of those is still Fairy Tale Fail.

Spotlight New Adult by Mina V. Esguerra – This series is different from Mina’s other books because they’re set in the US and are more steamy. I’ve read The Harder We Fall and Never Just Friends and really enjoyed both, I finished each in one sitting. Watch this space for my reviews.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – Candy is also a Filipino author and her middle grade contemporary novel about two siblings is partially set in the Philippines. I have Candy’s other book, Shine, in my TBR pile.

Trese graphic novel series by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldissimo – I can now happily recommend this urban fantasy/horror graphic novel series because it’s available on Amazon! Written and illustrated by Filipinos, I love how this series has supernatural creatures based on Filipino myths and folklore.

Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano – This is such a perfect summer read because it’s set in Boracay, one of the most well-known beaches in the Philippines. It’s a sweet romantic novella with a Filipino guy and Korean girl as MCs.

All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria – Another Filipino romance, this one is between two travel bloggers who win a free trip to Macau in exchange for featuring the country in their blogs.

Interim Goddess of Love_digital cover The Harder We Fall Tall Story UK Trese Mass Murders Cover Story Girl All's Fair in Blog and War

All of the books I mentioned above are available online and can be read by readers outside the Philippines. Unfortunately, the rest of my list will only be applicable to readers based back home because they’re either out of print or only available in the Philippines:

After Eden by Arnold Arre – I really liked this graphic novel romance!

The Breakup Diaries by Maya O. Calica – I can still remember the first time I read this book when I was in college. I could relate to the barista MC who was trying to get over the breakup with her college boyfriend. I made all my friends read this title back then and I’m glad it was recently reprinted.

Have Baby, Will Date by Andrea Pasion – I thought this was cute chick lit featuring a new mom.

Tough Love by Melissa Salva – I liked that the MCs had a meet cute while traveling abroad and later they find out that they’re both into karate.

After Eden The Breakup Diaries 2 Have Baby Will Date Tough Love

I hope I’ve managed to get you guys interested in Filipino fiction! This serves as a reminder to me to pick up some of the Filipino titles that I have in my TBR pile. What about the rest of you, what comes to mind when you hear of diversity in books? Any strong recommendations of diverse titles?

Book Haul: December 2014 in Manila

I haven’t done a book haul post in ages! Probably because I usually just post on Instagram if I receive books because it’s easier to keep that account updated. Also, I’ve been trying to read more ebooks instead of physical books because I keep moving in Singapore whenever the lease ends and it’s such a pain to pack and unpack paperbacks and hardcovers. I did acquire some books since I landed in Manila for the holidays so I felt that an update was in order.

I have two godsons at the moment, a toddler and an eight-year-old. I try to live up to my title as Book Godmother and I give both of them books for their birthdays and for Christmas. For this year, I grabbed some kiddie books written by Filipino authors for them to enjoy:

Christmas 2014 - gifts for godsons

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
EDSA by Russell Molina
Isang Harding Papel by Augie Rivera

While shopping for books for my godsons, I also bought some Filipino titles for myself:

Christmas 2014 - books for myself

Mythspace, Volume 1 edited by Paolo Chikiamco
Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology edited by Paolo Chikiamco
High Tide at Midnight (Trese, # 6) by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo
Shine by Candy Gourlay

Last but certainly not the least, I received a surprise gift from fellow Filipino book blogger Tin of Rabbitin! It was such a thoughtful gift because I’ve wanted a copy of The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams for ages. Also, I usually only receive books at Christmastime from my Secret Santa because friends in real life are pretty clueless on what titles to get for me. They’re worried that they might buy a book that I already have a copy of. So thank you, Tin! 🙂

Christmas 2014 - gift from Tin of Rabbitin

What about the rest of you, did you give or receive any books as Christmas gifts?

2012 Plans and Anticipated Reads

Hello 2012! 🙂 I feel like 2011 wasn’t such a great year for me, in terms of blogging. 2010 was my first year as a blogger and I was all “YAY, I HAZ BLOG! Look at me interact with all these wonderful bookish people.” While 2011 was the year of slumps, both reading and blogging. It’s funny because my most commented on post in 2011 was “Do you ever get tired of blogging?” But I believe I’ve found a pace that I’m comfortable with and I’m determined not to get pressured by blogging. So in 2012, I want to have fun again. Here are some of my plans:

  • more read-alongs because they’re fun. I’m going to read Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart with Holly this week
  • a week-long blogging event/feature scheduled for the week of January 22 (I’ll talk more about it once I’ve finalized the details)
  • reduce my “books I own but have not read shelf” in Goodreads to less than 100 by reading more books from my TBR pile or giving away some of the books that I’m not planning to read. This shelf has 167 books right now
  • more Retro Friday posts, which is a meme for older titles hosted by Angie
  • keep putting up Shoot That Book and Want Books posts
  • more discussion posts
  • more guest posts – Feel free to invite me to do a guest post on your blog if you feel like I can contribute something! I also want to have bloggers do guest posts on my own blog but I have to come up with specific topics first
  • read and review more books by Filipino authors

*keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to accomplish all of these* I haven’t decided if I’ll join any challenges in 2012 but if I do, I’ll probably only sign up for one or two. Moving on to some of the titles that I’m really looking forward to reading this year:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – January 10
Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale – January 31
Nine Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning – February 2
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – February 6
About That Night by Julie James – April 3
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – May 1
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – June 19
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan – September 5
Sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – September
Speechless by Hannah Harrington – September

I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this list within the year. What about the rest of you, what are some of your plans for your blogs in 2012? What are the titles that you’re excited about?

Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology

Buzzer beater post for today – I just wanted to give a shout out to Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology, which has been released today. It’s a book edited by my friend Paolo Chikiamco. I keep meaning to read more books written by Filipino authors but the giant TBR pile doesn’t always let me. I added this book to my wishlist because it looks pretty interesting and I’m always up for stories revolving around mythology. It doesn’t hurt that this one focuses on Philippine mythology, that makes it easier for me to relate to the stories, right? Plus I love the title (alamat is the Filipino word for legend or myth) and the pretty cover. Another nifty thing about this collection? It’s internationally available. So you can check it out if you’re interested in learning more about Filipino myths. You can buy Alternative Alamat in Amazon or Flipreads.

Here’s the description of the book from Rocket Kapre:

Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

Let me know what you think if you ever get around to reading this!

Recommended Filipino Books

Like I said in my previous post, I don’t get to read as many novels by Filipino authors as I’d like. But there are several Filipino books that I’ve enjoyed reading in the past year or so that I highly recommend to anyone who’s curious. All of these except for My Imaginary Ex are internationally available so you can read them even if you’re not based in the Philippines.

For middle grade or younger YA, I recommend Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (click on the image for my review):

For chick lit, I recommend Mina V. Esguerra’s books (again, click on the images for reviews):

I’m hoping that I’d have more recommended titles next year. I’m actually looking forward to browsing through the rest of this week’s Filipino Friday posts to see what the others recommended. Filipino Friday is the weekly meme tied to the promotion of the first Filipino Reader Conference on September 14. Just a few days away! 🙂