Chachic's Book Nook


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Holiday Book Haul

I think I may be allergic to the office. I went back to work on Tuesday and then I got a fever and a sore throat that evening. I kept going to the office and just slept as early as I can at night but I lost my voice yesterday evening so today, I gave in and went to the doctor to get a medical certificate so I could take the rest of the day off to rest.

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While I was able to take a nap this afternoon, I wasn’t able to get any reading done. In fact, I should be getting ready for bed now but I wanted to squeeze in a quick post about my book haul during the holiday season. The order is kind of a mess but these were the books I acquired:

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Last Friday's brunch meet up with Filipino readers and authors: Celina, Chris, Mina, Honey and Kim

Brunch meet up with Filipino readers and authors: Celina, Chris, Mina, Honey and Kim

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Some other books I bought/downloaded for free, but were only posted on Litsy and not Instagram so I can’t embed them here:
Dark Horse by Michelle Diener
The Future Chosen by Mina V. Esguerra
Big Rock by Lauren Blakely
The Art of Deception by Stephanie Burgis
Alex + Ada Volume 3 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

I was also very excited to receive these review copies of my anticipated books:

Not my usual bookstagram, I initially posted this on Litsy then Ilona Andrews herself shared retweeted my tweet about this so I thought might as well share it here: I'm a small time blogger so I rarely get approved for review copies. It was such a surprise when I got approved for an advanced copy of White Hot! It was like receiving a Christmas present. Devoured it, loved it, got a book hangover. I didn't want to leave the world so I went back and reread Burn for Me (again). One of my favorite reads in 2017, full review closer to the release date.๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ“– . . . #WhiteHot #IlonaAndrews #HiddenLegacy #BurnForMe #AvonBooks #romance #urbanfantasy #bookhangover #bookblogger #reviewcopy #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #IGreads #IGbooks #Litsy

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A new Laura Florand is always something to be happy about. She's one of my favorite romance authors. I've loved all of the other titles in her La vie en Roses series set in Grasse, France, featuring a family in the perfume business. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this one too. I couldn't resist taking a pic of A Crown of Bitter Orange with this bottle of orange blossom EDT (I bought the cologne version). Maybe I should have done this for Once Upon a Rose and A Wish Upon Jasmine too? ๐Ÿ“–๐ŸŒน FYI, Once Upon a Rose is on sale for just 0.99usd now. Such a good bargain! . . . #LauraFlorand #ACrownofBitterOrange #LavieenRoses #romance #bookblogger #reviewcopy #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #IGreads #IGbooks #booksPH #Litsy #ChristineLhuillierParfumerie #fragrance #perfume

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When I woke up this morning, I saw the notification that @berkleyromance approved my NetGalley request for Julie James' latest novel. Thank you!!๐Ÿ“–๐ŸŽ‰ One of my most anticipated titles in 2017 because she writes the best romantic banter.๐Ÿ’– I'm always surprised (in a good way) whenever I'm approved for a review copy because as an international reader/blogger, my default expectation is to be rejected.๐Ÿ˜‚ @fantaghiro23, we were just talking about this book yesterday! . . . #JulieJames #TheThingAboutLove #BerkleyRomance #romance #bookblogger #reviewcopy #bookstagram #instabooks #bibliophile #IGreads #IGbooks #booksPH #Litsy #NetGalley #Kindle #bookandlunch #CafeBreton #cafehopping #foodstagram #Manilafoodie #foodieManila

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I feel like this moment of my book blogging experience should be highlighted because I have review copies by my favorite authors: Ilona Andrews, Andrea K. Host, Julie James, Laura Florand and Lucy Parker! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve already read White Hot and In Arcadia (short review on Litsy) but I’m having a difficult time choosing which one to prioritize among the remaining three. Now I just need Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner and The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein and I’ll be all set. ๐Ÿ˜€

I was also able to pass on some of the physical books that I have in my Manila bookshelf to friends when we had a get together. I really feel bad that my books have just been sitting neglected on my shelf and they’re aging fast because of heat and humidity. I feel better that they’re now with people who would potentially enjoy reading them. I think I’ve culled like half of my bookshelf back home, I’ve mostly kept signed books and the ones that I plan to reread.

I hope this post wasn’t too confusing with its mix of Instagram and Litsy links. As you can see, I’ve tried to be active on other social media sites but I know it’s also a good idea to consolidate all of those posts here on WordPress. I’m off to rest! What about you, have you received or bought any books recently? ๐Ÿ™‚


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#romanceclass Meet Up at Books and Borders

According to the group’s website, #romanceclass are Filipinos who read and write romance and publish them independently. I know a few of the members through my blog and I’ve been jealous of all the meet-ups and activities that they’ve been having on a regular basis. Which was why I was thrilled to find out that there was going to be a meet up during the time I’m on vacation in Manila. We met last May 21 at the Books and Borders branch in Tomas Morato. A book cafe is the perfect location for a meet up with romance readers and authors. Here’s a picture of the cafe from my previous visit:

Book and Borders - tables

Book and Borders - couch

We talked about books, of course. From romance to everything else that we’ve read or we’re planning to read. We talked about the type of romances and type of heroes we like. And we also talked about the most random things, just anything that we could think of. We also passed around books and swag that we wanted to pass on to fellow readers. Being based in Singapore, I don’t get to attend bookish meet ups like this as often as I would want to, so I was somewhat starved for that kind of conversation. I think it goes without saying that I had a great time! Here’s a group picture from Kat of Book Thingo:

romanceclass meet up - May 2016

From left to right: Agay, Chris, Kim, Anna, Kat, Mina, Jothee, Tina, Ron and me. We all look like we’re having fun, right? My haul included signed books, a magazine, bookmarks, postcards, shortbread and Philippine MANGOES! Thank you for the goodies, friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

#romanceclass - May 2016 haul

I also just wanted to share the awesomeness that is the back cover of Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera, which includes a quote from my review of the book:

Choco Chip Hips - back copy

Too bad it’s a limited indie edition and there probably wouldn’t be more copies of it. I bought three to give to my friends! ๐Ÿ˜€


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Bookish Meet Up at Tweedle Book Cafe

Tweedle Book Cafe - counter

I briefly mentioned in my earlier post about shopping for books in Manila that I was able to attend a meet up with bookish friends at Tweedle Book Cafe. Last Sunday, December 20th, I met up with authors Mina V. Esguerra (with her husband and daughter), Tina Matanguihan, my friend Kim and newfound friend Jothee. Author Agay Llanera also stopped by just to drop off some presents, which was very thoughtful of her! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tweedle Book Cafe - shelf

First of all, I thought Tweedle Book Cafe was the perfect choice for book lovers like us so thank you, Mina, for suggesting it. As expected, most of the discussions were about books that we’ve read and wanted to recommend. We also talked about the book scene in the Philippines right now, like how there are more and more books being published and also how Filipino ReaderCon was a bigger event than it was when it first started. It was a very casual and laidback get together so I wasn’t able to note down all the topics that we discussed. What I’ll remember was that it was fun to be able to meet up with bookish friends in person and to talk about books. Makes me wish that I also have real life meet ups with bookish people in Singapore.

Tweedle Book Cafe - ceiling

Ceiling with a list of authors

Tweedle Book Cafe - other bookshelf

Bookshelf near the cafe’s entrance

We were too busy talking that we forgot to take a group pic with everyone in it! I think we have one in someone else’s phone camera. Here’s a fangirl pic of me sandwiched between Agay and Mina:

Tweedle Book Cafe - Agay Llanera and Mina V. Esguerra

With Agay Llanera and Mina V. Esguerra

And I got presents! Thanks to Kim, Mina and Agay. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tweedle Book Cafe - book haul
Signed copies of:
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra (my review)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (my review)
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I also took pictures of the food that I had at the cafe:

Tweedle Book Cafe - omelette

Omelette with longganisa (Filipino sausage)

Tweedle Book Cafe - pancakes

Pancakes

Tweedle Book Cafe - hot chocolate

Locally made hot chocolate infused with jasmine

Because it was a bookish meet up at a bookish location, of course I had to wear my bookish skirt:
Tweedle Book Cafe - OOTD

I need more bookish outfits! I’ve visited a few more book cafes in Manila since this meet up happened, so watch this space for more updates.


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Blogger/Reader Meet Up: Estara

I mentioned in my write-up of the Munich leg of our vacation that I was able to meet up with one of my bookish online friends, Estara. Itโ€™s always fun for me to meet an online friend in the flesh! I have been friends with Estara on Goodreads for years. Over the years, we’ve exchanged messages and emails about books and so much more. We share some favorite authors such as Elizabeth Wein, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Neumeier. I always pay attention to Estaraโ€™s recommendations because she takes into consideration my reading tastes whenever she recommends titles. She was the one who introduced me to Andrea K. Host and Eileen Wilks.

Kim and I met Estara on a sunny Thursday. We started off with lunch at a lovely Italian restaurant called Cupido. I had a delicious tortellini dish followed by tiramisu:
Cupido tortellini Cupido tiramisu

We then visited Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, the national museum of Bavaria. Estara was kind enough to be our host and tour guide for the whole day! There were so many things to see in the museum and we walked around for several hours, admiring the exhibits.
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

Some of the interesting things we saw:
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All that walking and admiring tired us out so we had to sit down in a nice, shaded area and have some refreshments, which included this delicious plate of tartufo with fruits:
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On top of all that, Estara was thoughtful enough to give me some German goodies:
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It made me so happy that I had a chance to see Estara face-to-face! It was such a lovely day in terms of the weather, the food and the great conversation. I really had a lot of fun.

Estara, danke schรถn! ๐Ÿ™‚

Previous meet ups with other bookish friends:
Jo of Wear the Old Coat
Liyana of LiyanaLand
Alexa of Alexa Loves Books
Steph and Tarie
Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous
Michelle of See Michelle Read


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Blogger Meet Up: Jo of Wear the Old Coat

I was thrilled when my friend Jo of Wear the Old Coat sent me an email a few weeks ago that she’ll be passing by Singapore on her way back to the UK from her backpacking trip in Australia. Of course I told her I would be more than happy to meet her in person! She only had a day in Singapore so we packed as much as we can and made a mini tour of the things that she wanted to see here.

We started off with brunch at Din Tai Fung for their famous xiao long bao:wpid-img_20150404_193800.jpgThen we went to One Fullerton to get a niew view of Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion:

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Next on the list was the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I’ve been meaning to go these gardens for a while now! I’ve been based in Singapore for 2.5 years and it was my first time in the Botanic Gardens.

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It was such a hot and humid day that we craved for some ice cream while walking around. Too bad there wasn’t an ice cream shop in Botanic Gardens. I searched on my phone and found one in Holland Village, which was a few train stops away so we decided we could just go there for a snack. I had a scoop of mint chocolate (my all-time favorite flavor) and another one of hazelnut.

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We had some time left before Jo had to head back to her hostel so we did a quick stop at Chinatown.

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I had so much fun with Jo – we talked about books, the blogosphere, authors, traveling, work, food and basically anything else that popped into our heads. I’m really glad we got to meet in person and hopefully we’ll see each other again in the future!

Previous meet ups with other bloggers:
Liyana of LiyanaLand
Alexa of Alexa Loves Books
Steph and Tarie
Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous
Michelle of See Michelle Read


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Blogger Meet Up: Alexa of Alexa Loves Books

Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I are both Filipino book bloggers but while I’m based in Singapore, she’s based in New York. This is why we haven’t had the chance to meet in person until yesterday. I think Alexa is such a sweet person, she keeps leaving thoughtful comments on my blog and we’ve also chatted online about what it’s like to be away from family and friends in the Philippines. She recently went back home to get married (check out her lovely wedding video) and this weekend, she and her hubby, Mr. A, traveled to Singapore for a short vacation. I’m so glad they both agreed to meet up with me!

Alexa and Chachic

We had lunch at Thai Express and just kept talking about so many things over grilled chicken and Pad Thai. We realized that all three of us studied in the same university but graduated in different years, which was probably why I never met them. It was a given that we would talk about books and blogging but what was even more fun was talking about our mutual love of postcards, animals, the Singapore Zoo and Universal Studios. We also talked about what it’s like to live abroad – Alexa mentioned that New York is similar to Singapore in the sense that they’re both the most expensive cities in their respective areas. We also had a discussion about Chasing Dreams and how we would both love to have a job that’s book-related but it’s difficult to make that happen.

Roald Dahl books in Times

I wore my Matilda stamp pendant because a I knew a fellow book lover like Alexa would recognize it and sure enough, we had quite a long discussion about the Roald Dahl books that we read and loved as kids. Even Mr. A is a Roald Dahl fan. ๐Ÿ™‚ We love Matilda because we could totally relate to her life as a bookworm but we were also quite taken with The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG. We also talked about how all three of us are part of the Harry Potter generation because we grew up reading the books and watching the movies. All throughout high school and college, the anticipation for a new book or movie in the series was there. If you’re familiar with our blogs, you would notice that both Alexa and I read a lot of YA. But we also talked about how we enjoy reading romances – more of contemporary on for me and historical for her – and we agreed that they’re good books for cleansing the reading palate.

The Dream Thieves in Times

Both Alexa and I are in the middle of The Dream Thieves

You how sometimes, you’re worried that when you finally meet someone in person, there would be awkward silences and you wouldn’t know what to say to each other? We definitely didn’t have that problem yesterday! I felt like I could talk to both Alexa and Mr. A for hours because we wouldn’t run out of things to discuss. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time we’ll see each other. It’s always a pleasure to meet book blogging buddies in person – to finally put a face to the person you have been communicating with for months (or years, in some cases). I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to meet several book bloggers this year.


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Blogger Girls Night Out: With Steph and Tarie

I found out about Steph of Steph Su Reads soon after I started blogging a few years ago. I think she writes thoughtful reviews and I love how nice and friendly she is. I then discovered that she’s also a huge fan of postcards and we’ve been exchanging snail mail for a while now. It’s always fun to receive postcards from Steph since she travels to so many exciting places. When I found out that Steph will be in Singapore for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), I knew that we had to meet!

postcards from Steph

Some of the postcards that I’ve received from Steph

You can check out Steph’s account of her experience as a speaker and moderator in the AFCC here. It looks like she had an amazing time. I love what she said about how blogging should be more a personal rather than professional thing because I agree with that. I love the blogs that I follow because it gives me a sense of the person behind the blog rather than just getting a stranger’s opinion on books. I also think the best reviews are the ones that come from the heart, when a reader is able to personally connect with the story and the characters.

With Steph Su

Steph and I having chicken rice for dinner

I feel quite lucky that I got to meet up with Steph last Tuesday. We had chicken rice for dinner at one of the food courts in the city area. We chatted about food, postcards, blogging and what’s it like for readers like us to live abroad (Steph in Shanghai and me in Singapore). We talked about so many different things, it would be hard to enumerate everything here. Steph is such a nice person, I would have gladly spent hours just talking to her.

Steph with cupcakes

Steph with cupcakes

After dinner, we moved to a cafe to have local drinks and cupcakes. Fellow Filipino book blogger Tarie (blogger behind Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind and Into the Wardobe) was able to join us after her AFCC activities for the day. We were supposed to meet with Liyana of Liyanaland as well but unfortunately, she wasn’t able to make it. It’s okay though, Liyana and I plan to meet soon since we’re both in Singapore. I haven’t seen Tarie since I moved to Singapore so it was nice catching up with her. I asked both of them what the AFCC was like since I wasn’t able to attend.

Tarie, Steph and I

Tarie, Steph and I

Thank you, Steph and Tarie, for agreeing to meet with me while you were both in Singapore. I had fun and will definitely be willing to do this again when we get the chance. ๐Ÿ™‚