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.

Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco

My first #romanceclass read this year is Submission Moves by Camilla Sisco, brought upon by leftover lemony feels from #FeelsSoProm. I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt presented as a live reading during the event, and it made me want to read the book as soon as I can.πŸ‹ I chose a good one to kick off my romanceclass reading year because this was so much fun to read. Smooth writing that's easy to get into, featuring a professional MMA fighter as a hero and a feminist heroine who works in a women's crisis center. They hook up in Vegas but part ways soon after, only to see each other again in Chicago four years later. I have to admit that it's the hero who makes this story shine. He's cocky and arrogant but tempered with enough self-awareness for it to not be overbearing. It just seems like he's comfortable in his own skin, and he knows his own weaknesses and strengths (and plays it to his advantage). One minor quibble was that I wanted to like the heroine as much as the hero, but I needed to see her let her hair down a bit more for that to happen. That didn't keep me from enjoying the book overall. There were scenes that sparkled with wit and humor, and the sexytimes were smoking hot.πŸ”₯ It's such a strong debut novel and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the author will keep writing more. I'm probably going to read and reread a lot of romance this month. LOL who am I kidding, I read a lot of romance regardless of the time of the year. But for the rest of you, are you planning to read romance this February? What are some of the romance titles that you highly recommend?

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Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria is a contemporary romance that has gotten a lot of buzz on #romancelandia Twitter. I jumped at the chance to read it when the title went on sale for 1.99usd. Partially set in Alaska, New York and California, this is a romance between a professional dancer and a celebrity on a survival TV show, as they're paired together on a dance competition. The heroine has to teach the hero to dance as they compete with other couples on the reality TV show. I thought it started off strong, I really enjoyed the way the hero and heroine met. They obviously had chemistry and I was looking forward to seeing how that would play out. Unfortunately, there was way too much dramarama in this book for me. I felt like the characters kept on harping on the same issues, and they were being stubborn and petulant instead of trying to find a compromise. I think I also enjoyed this less than other readers did because I'm not a fan of reality TV, and I've never even seen a single episode of Dancing With the Stars, which this book is based on. The pace was so slow that I found myself skimming some parts. I really wanted to enjoy this but sadly, I have to say that Take the Lead wasn't my cup of tea. Still planning to read more romance this month, and keeping my fingers crossed that I'll come across some titles that will stand out for me. Have you recently read any romance titles that you've loved?

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Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad

Ghost of a Feeling by @luckychanmd is a strong #romanceclass debut novel. It starts off with a meet cute of sorts (meet sad?): the heroine is a medical student who loses a patient during her junior internship. She's subsequently humiliated by the resident in charge, and becomes overwhelmed with everything. She hits rock bottom and decides to end it all, she's stopped by what she thinks is her building's resident ghost but is actually the hero in costume for Halloween. Thus begins an unlikely friendship that blossoms into something more. A slow burn romance that was handled with the sensitivity needed for the heavy themes depicted in this book. . . I was equally curious and worried about how this story will unfold, given its unusual premise. But there was no need to worry because Cris and Nathan were in good hands, and I gladly let myself be swept away by their story. For such a short book, the characters had real depth with both of them learning to deal with their own baggage, and trying their best to move on. It was interesting to get a closer look at the difficulties of becoming a doctor in the Philippines. I've heard stories from friends who eventually became doctors, but I guess it's different when you get to experience it through the eyes of a fictional character. Brings it somewhat closer to home. One thing I enjoyed was how present Cris and Nathan's family and friends are in their lives, it wasn't just their budding romance that was a significant relationship for each of them. . Heartfelt and hopeful, this is one Filipino romance title that I will happily keep recommending, and I will definitely be watching out for more books from this author. Here for your upcoming Pisay romance, Leslie.πŸ˜‚ . . . πŸ“Έ @bentchbites (Good job bes, kita na yung book cover this time)

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A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

A Princess in Theory was my introduction to @alyssacolelit's writing and I have no idea why I waited so long to read a book from her. This was such a good read! A royal romance between an epidemiology grad student and a prince from the fictional African country of Thesolo. Naledi's parents passed away when she was young so she has no idea that she was born in Thesolo. She grew up in the US foster care system and has learned to take care of herself at a very young age. . . I loved how fully fleshed out the hero and heroine are: smart, independent and hardworking individuals who also have their own hang-ups and issues about letting someone get close to them. They're very competent in their professional lives, but have never really had a successful romantic relationship. They feel a connection with each other but had their reasons for trying to keep the other person at a distance. It was so much fun waiting to see them to break down each other's walls. And their interactions were hilarious! I kept laughing and smiling while reading. I enjoyed their banter right from the moment they meet. Their conversations with their friends (Naledi with her best friend Portia, and Thabiso with his assistant Likotsi) were also funny and provided even more depth to their characters. There were emojis used in their convos and that's such an accurate portrayal of how people converse these days.πŸ™ŒπŸ˜‚πŸ‘ . So glad to have discovered a new romance author to love. A Princess in Theory will be released in February 27 and it's a romance title that you should take note of. Go forth and pre-order! The cover and blurb for the next book has been released and I'm excited to reading Portia's story. And I will also be diving into Alyssa's backlist. . . πŸ“Έ @readbyher

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Sagala #3 by Tori Tadiar

Sagala 3 is an excellent continuation of what has fast become one of my favorite Filipino comics. This is a Filipiniana fantasy series focusing on siblings Riel and her protective older brother Constantino. Set in a fictional land called Hiraya, an independent nation with tenuous ties to a larger and stronger continental neighbor. Elegent storytelling, strong character development, solid worldbuilding with a light dose of magic, peppered with political intrigue. Mix all of these together and I'm one happy reader. I'm not an expert but the art style reminds me of anime, very easy to follow with expressive characters. It had an even pacing that flowed really well. I continue to be in awe of how much depth is packed into just 40 pages. There are certain scenes that I would have loved to see a few panels dedicated to, but hopefully more clarity will be provided as the story develops. Happy to report that Sagala is written mostly in English, and @haitori.art is working on making it digitally available for purchase so readers abroad can buy it too. I'd be very, very curious about what non-Filipino readers would think of this. Bought my copies at Komiket but you can reach out to the author directly should you be interested in giving this a try. Definitely looking forward to the fourth and final installment in this series, which will probably be released with the earlier three as one volume, hopefully in color.🀞🏻 I mean, just imagine kuya in full color! My #KuyaUmayosKa campaign continues, but I do understand him better now. Just give me the link and I will pre-order as fast as my fingers can type.

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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?

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January Bookstagram Reviews

I have been going on and on about not being more active here on the blog, and how it’s easier for me to update both Twitter and Instagram because I can do that on my phone. So I figured I might as well write shorter reviews as bookstagrams and tweets, instead of longer ones here on WordPress. Path of least resistance, my friends. So here I am doing a round-up of books I did bookstagram reviews for. I’ll be doing this on a monthly basis and today, I’m sharing the ones from January. You can also check my Twitter profile where I have an embedded tweet that’s the start of a thread with similar content.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

My first read in 2018 was The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which came highly recommended by my friend Kristen (fantasycafe on Twitter). So glad this fantasy debut novel was a Kindle deal a few days ago, and I was able to buy it for just 2.99usd. It started off real slow, I feel like the first half could have been edited better. But the pace picked up and I enjoyed it overall. An atmospheric read that has a fairytale feel, set in medieval Russia, steeped in folklore of that era. I've been itching to read a good fantasy book and this hit the spot. The sequel is already out so I'm going to try a sample before deciding if I want to shell out 13.99usd for it or wait for another Kindle deal. Why are fantasy ebooks so expensive compared to romance ebooks?😭 . . . How about you, have you finished your first book this year? If not, what are you currently reading? Also, what was the last fantasy title that wowed you?

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Sagala #1 and #2 by Tori Tadiar

I have been curious about Sagala by @haitori.art ever since I saw that both @itstimeana and @minavesguerra loved it. I wasn't able to attend the last Komikon so thanks to these two ladies for offering their copies! Sagala is a Filipino historical fantasy in comics format, featuring siblings Riel and Constantino. I was surprised at how the author was able to include such strong worldbuilding and character development in the short length of these issues. I really liked the artwork and found it fitting for the story. Good thing I was able to read two issues back to back because one wouldn't have been enough. I'm fully invested in these characters and can't wait to find out what happens to them next. Having said that, I have one minor quibble about the end of the second issue. To avoid spoilers, I will just say this: OMG KUYA, WHHHYYYY??? #KuyaUmayosKa

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Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh

I'm not a huge fan of Regency romances, I enjoy them while I'm reading them but they all tend to blur together in my mind afterwards. I normally don't read one unless it comes highly recommended, which was the case with Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. @lucyparkerauthor was very enthusiastic in recommending this Pride and Prejudice retelling, and I have to thank her for it because I stayed up until early morning to read this in one go. I was hooked right from the time Christine meets Wulfric! Actually I was laughing so hard. Christine is a smart heroine who is just so vibrant and full of life, a very pleasant character to read about. And she takes the dark and broody Duke of Bewcastle completely by surprise. I really enjoyed how Mary Balogh took elements of Pride and Prejudice but made the story completely her own. Had so much fun reading this book. Highly recommended for historical romance readers and fans of Jane Austen retellings. . . . What's your favorite retelling of a classic? Or Pride and Prejudice in particular, if you have one?

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Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett is the first book in the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series, which came highly recommended by @lucyparkerauthor. She first mentioned it when I asked for book recs similar to my all-time favorite Ilona Andrews, and it was brought up again recently. I'm still in a fantasy kind of mood and this was just 1.99usd so I gave it a try. I enjoyed reading this overall but found some parts of it a bit slow, which can be expected since it serves as the introduction to this world. The magical system involving human magicians and demons with abilities had to be explained. I found the main characters (Cady, Lon and Jupe) interesting and I had fun getting to know them. I really enjoyed the age gap, slow burn romance. Both heroine and hero have trust issues but I liked how easy things were between them, no unneccessary drama. Plus points for the hero being a single dad. A solid urban fantasy title that I think can be read as a standalone. I was curious enough about the series to keep going. Also planning to check out the author's contemporary YA and paranormal romance titles, which I've heard good things about. Have you guys read Jenn Bennett's books? What did you think of them? If you're an urban fantasy fan, please feel free to comment with your fave titles. Included in this shot was my mocha the other day. Fair warning: don't try this pose unless you're willing to spill coffee on your skirt.πŸ˜‚

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Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett

Summoning the Night is the second book in the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series. I enjoyed reading the first one so I dove straight into this. . . I like how the main characters (Cady, Lon and Jupe) have all developed since the start of the series. And the age gap romance remains strong and drama-free. But I liked this a less than the first book because I found bits of it creepy, it gave off more of a horror vibe than urban fantasy. I'm willing to admit that I'm a huge scaredy-cat, which is why I stay away from the genre in all its forms (e.g. books, movies, etc.) Maybe this was a bit darker than the first one because it's a murder mystery? It never got too much but I was still a bit nervous while reading it. And again, this is probably just me. I'm still waffling on whether I want to continue with the series because I like the characters or give up because the last two books might have a similar feel to this one. . . What about you, do usually finish the whole series once you start it or you're okay with quitting in the middle of it? I usually try the first two books before deciding if I want to quit the series.

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I think this is a pretty good mix considering that it has epic fantasy, comics, historical romance and urban fantasy. I have a few other bookstagrams that aren’t reviews and I’m trying to decide whether I should also do a different round-up for these miscellaneous shots. What do you guys think of these bookstagram round-ups? And what were the books that you read in January? Were there any titles that you loved? πŸ™‚

Reread: Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Fairy Tale Fail was the first ever Mina V. Esguerra book that I read way back in 2010! It’s part of her Chic Manila series, which has several standalone titles that are loosely tied together only in the sense that the books are set in Manila and the main characters from each book know each other in some way. A new edition of this book has been released with a cover featuring theater actors Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan, and a short epilogue. Here’s the cover and synopsis:

Fairy Tale Fail 2017

Ellie Manuel is a hopeless romantic, stuck in a cubicle all day. She’s in her twenties and should be having more fun. But instead of doing what she really wants, like traveling wherever her Philippine passport can take her, she’s hung up on the guy who dumped her for not being β€œambitious enough.” Someone should tell her that there are other cool guys β€” who probably even eat at the same office cafeteria! β€” who would encourage her just to be her fabulous self.

I couldn’t help but reread it when I got my hands on thew edition. I have fond memories of this book and have been recommending it to all my friends, along with the rest of Mina’s books. I’m still waiting for Litsy posts to become embed-able on WordPress so in the meantime, I’ll just copy and paste my Litsy review: I remember when I read this for the first time in 2010, I felt like the story was a slice out of MY real life. Philippine setting (complete with typhoons, bulalo and siomai), Manila corporate work environment. And I was the same age as the characters at that time. Reread it in one sitting today, and it felt like catching up with old friends. The kilig/swoon factor is still there and the new epilogue was a nice bonus.πŸ’–

I did notice that the heat level for Fairy Tale Fail was very low. It’s the same for all of Mina’s earlier books. I guess it was just the expectation and trend at that time for Filipino-romance-in-English to have fade to black love scenes. I’m very happy to report that this isn’t the case nowadays. πŸ™‚ I had fun revisiting Ellie and Lucas, more so because I don’t get to reread old favorites as much as I would want to. Now that the rainy season is here, I want to have bulalo (a Filipino type of broth that has meat and marrow) because it was mentioned in one of the pivotal scenes in the book. I think every Filipino romance should mention at least one Filipino dish that would make readers crave for it.

If you’re ever in mood for Filipino romance, Mina V. Esguerra’s books are always a good place to start. πŸ˜€

May 2017 Update

May has come and gone and I just realized that I had zero blog posts for that month. When I first started blogging, I’d blog everyday. Then eventually when real life started getting in the way of things, I’d be happy if I’m able to blog every week. And now apparently I can’t even do one blog post a month! Sigh, that’s what happens when too many real life stuff needed to be taken care of. It’s not that I’ve stopped reading (although I’ve had a bit of slump in April), it’s just that I haven’t been able to update my blog because it’s more difficult for me to open up my laptop to type up posts than to update apps that I have on my phone. So my Instagram, Litsy (username: Chachic) and Twitter accounts are constantly update but not WordPress. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Litsy posts can become embedded on WordPress soon, because I will have more updates to share then! In the meantime, below are some Instagram updates.

As mentioned earlier, I found myself in a bit of a slump in April and I was got over it by reading Ilona and Gordon’s books:

In denial that the long weekend is almost over.😭 I haven't had much time to read in April but I also just realized I might have been in a reading slump. So last night I started rereading Silent Blade before bed, then followed it up with Silver Shark today because Ilona Andrews is always a good idea. Now that I'm done with those two, I'm starting the Innkeeper Chronicles. The only reason I haven't read them yet is I've been saving them for a rainy day. Looks like that time has arrived.πŸ˜† . . . #CleanSweep #IlonaAndrews #InnkeeperChronicles #fantasy #Kindle #AmazonKindle #bookstagram #bookblogger #booknerd #bookworm #bookphotography #IGreads #Litsy #bookanddinner #Poulet #foodstagram #SGfoodie #SGeats

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I inhaled the three books that are currently out in the Innkeeper Chronicles and hopefully I’ll get to write a review for the series at a later date (not making any promises though!) Another major bookish event for me in May was the book release of Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner:

But I didn’t read Thick as Thieves right away! Because I wanted the earlier books to be fresh in my mind before diving into the new one – sort of prolonging the whole reading process. So I reread the earlier books first, and it took me a while to get through them.

Those are mostly pics of The Queen of Attolia because my updates for The King of Attolia and A Conspiracy of Kings are mostly on Litsy. Unfortunately, I can’t embed them here. I have finished rereading them though, and have started on Thick as Thieves:

I'm FINALLY going to read my most anticipated 2017 title. Just finished rereading the earlier books (took a while because real life kept getting in the way). Can't wait to find out what happens next to my favorite characters!πŸ’– Fellow Queen's Thief fans, please be ready to receive messages from me when I finish reading this.πŸ“– Mocha and jasmine scone on the side. . . . #favoriteseries #favoriteauthor #ThickasThieves #MeganWhalenTurner #QueensThiefSeries #Sounis #Attolia #EpicReads #GreenwillowBooks #HarperCollins #Kindle #ebook #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #bookblogger #bookphotography #IGreads #IGbooks #Litsy #bookandcoffee #cafehoppingSG #mocha #coffee #scone #TiongBahruBakery

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Looks like it will take me a while to get through this too, we’ll see how it goes. I plan to reread both Burn for Me and White Hot after I finish with the Queen’s Thief series. Although I’m eyeing a certain Beauty and the Beast retelling because of reviews from two good friends, Angie and Holly. If they both loved it, then I have a feeling I will as well. I would have one-clicked it but the Kindle edition is still pricey.

So, so, so. How have you all been? Hope you’ve had a less hectic May than I did. As always, please feel free to leave a comment if you’ve come across a book that you think I’ll enjoy reading.

My Favorite Bookish Instagrammers

I missed this week’s Top Ten Tuesday because work has been tiring me out the past few days and I just don’t have the energy to blog whenever the work day ends. But I love Angie’s take on it, so I’m taking a page out of her book (pun intended) to talk about bookish Instagrammers I follow. Next to Twitter, Instagram is my second favorite social media platform. It’s kind of embarrassing how much stuff I post there. I don’t even care that I have way more shots than followers. πŸ˜› I also like how the site lets me share non-bookish aspects of my life like all the coffee, tea and desserts that I have. Of course, I still share book pictures and whenever I do, I check out the hashtags for those titles and authors to see what other bookstagrammers have said about them. And they’re so many bookstagrammers out there and they come up with such creative shots that look amazing. If you’re not on Instagram and you like taking and sharing pics, you should definitely check it out.

Going back to my favorite bookish folk on Instagram, here are screenshots of their profiles:

Instagram - Angie Β  Β  Instagram - MaggieΒ  Β Β  Instagram - Kimee

Instagram - Mina Β  Β  Instagram - Pip Β  Β  Instagram - Mands

Instagram - Alexa Β  Β  Instagram - Wendy Β  Β  Instagram - Jamie

As a bonus, I think most female readers will be able to appreciate this account:
Instagram - Hot Dudes Reading

Do you guys have Instagram? If you do, what are your favorite bookstagram accounts? πŸ™‚

Instagram Challenge: #FYAPhotoaday

This month, I’m joining Forever Young Adult’s Photo-a-day challenge on Instagram. I saw that several of the bloggers I follow on Instagram were participating in this so I thought it would be fun to do it too. I’m chachickenpie on Instagram if anyone wants to check out my posts. I have no idea if I’ll be able to keep up with the challenge for the whole month of September but let’s see. I may not be able to post every day since a lot of my books are back home in Manila. And I’ve been reading a lot on my Kindle lately and I have to admit that it’s difficult to take creative pictures of Kindle editions.

Here’s the list for the challenge:

fya_photo-a-day

I like Instagram bookish challenges because I think is fun to browse through book pictures. Do you post book pictures on Instagram? Have you joined any bookish challenges there?