Chachic's Book Nook


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Ten Contemporary Romance Books I’ve Recently Enjoyed

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today is a special Tuesday because it’s MY BIRTHDAY. Woohoo! *throws confetti* *shares cake with everyone* And because I’m such a book nerd, talking about books on my birthday is always a good idea. This week’s TTT topic is supposed to be 5 star reads, but I rarely give a 5 star rating so I thought I’d share books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since the beginning of the year. I’m going to go for a contemporary romance theme on this post, because I’m always up for a good romance. They’re so easy to get into and I can usually finish a book in one sitting. Writing a review is a different matter, however. Which is why I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the titles I’ve really liked.

Summer Skin Act Like It Artistic License Pairing Off Us

His Road Home Night Wish MidnightClear Carolina Dreaming Soppy by Philippa Rice

Have you read any of these titles? If yes, what did you think of them? If you read contemporary romance, I would love to get some good recommendations! If you’re not into this genre, please feel free to talk about books that you’ve recently loved because I’d be interested in hearing them. I have pretty eclectic tastes when it comes to the books I read and I can never predict what I’ll be in the mood for.

And now I’m off to enjoy the day! I took time off from work and my goals are simple: have some good food and read a great book.


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Top Ten Couples from Non-Romance Books

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a Valentine’s Day freebie. I’m a huge fan of romance novels and tend to read a lot of contemporary romance, both YA and adult. But I also enjoy hopping from on genre to another and I’ve come across love stories that I’ve loved in non-romance books. The romance isn’t the focus in these books but they’re done so well and I loved reading about the couples getting together. Here are some of my favorite non-romance novels that feature fictional couples I love:

QueenOfAttolia Crown Duel2 Blue Sword Fire Howl's Moving Castle

Son of the Shadows Magic Bites new cover Archangel Touchstone Trilogy Scorpio Races UK

Most of these books aren’t recent reads for me but I wanted to highlight them for this topic. On Valentine’s Day itself, I will be posting my usual favorite literary couples from books I read within the past year. Do we share any favorite fictional couples? If not, would you care to share who are your favorites?


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Ten 2015 Releases I Meant to Get to But Didn’t

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. While I try to keep up with new titles, I don’t always get to do so because I pick up books based on my mood. And sometimes, I just feel like reading older titles. Then real life gets in the way of reading time and some books just get pushed back. So there are quite a few 2015 releases that I wanted to read last year but wasn’t able to. Here are ten of them:

A Thousand Nights The Wrath and the Dawn Binti The Lie Tree Crimson Bound

Black Dove White Raven - UK Under a Painted Sky The Start of Me and You The Friend Zone The Royal We

Some of these authors are new-to-me (e.g. E.K. Johnston, Nnedi Okorafor) while some have written books that I’ve loved (e.g. Elizabeth Wein, Frances Hardinge). One thing they all have in common is that I’ve heard good things about these books, which was why I was curious about them to begin with. I already have copies of all of these either in my Kindle or on my bookshelf so I hope I’ll be able to read them in 2016. If you’ve read and loved any of these titles, feel free to comment and I’ll try my best to bump it up. What about you, what are 2015 releases that you meant to read last year but were not able to do so?


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Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today is the first TTT of the year! I did this topic last year and will be adding on some of my resolutions from before because I want to keep doing them this year. In no particular order, here are my blogging and reading goals for 2016:

Keep blogging without pressure. In order to keep blogging fun, I need to blog without pressure. No pressure to write posts or review books if I don’t have the time or if I’d rather do something else (like read or rest).

If I can manage to do so, visit more book cafes or indie bookstores. Because exploring bookish locations is fun. I might even donate books to one or two of the book cafes I’ve visited in Manila, maybe on my next trip home.

Tweedle Book Cafe - shelf

Tweedle Book Cafe

Read more Filipino fiction. I think I read a decent number of books written by Filipino authors last year but I want to do more of that this year. Also review more of them.

Read more speculative fiction. I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to dive into contemporary fiction rather than sci fi or fantasy because I feel like the former is easier to get into. But I do love spec fic! I just need to remind myself to read more of it from time to time.

Read more books from my TBR pile. I have so many books that I still haven’t read and I need to make more of a conscious effort to prioritize them.

Read more graphic novels. I’ve enjoyed a few graphic novels in 2015 and would like to discover more titles this year. The ones that I already have copies of are Halina Filipina, Mythspace, Rat Queens, The Wicked + The Divine, Ms. Marvel, This One Summer, Anya’s Ghost and American Born Chinese. Feel free to make suggestions if you have any!

To avoid clutter (since I’m only renting in Singapore), buy ebook editions instead of physical copies. Except for graphic novels or illustrated books.

Pass on physical copies of books that I don’t plan to reread. Again, this is to avoid generating clutter since I can’t afford to collect books when I don’t have a permanent residence. I’ve been doing a bit of this last year, even passing on some of my books from my Manila bookshelf whenever I fly home.

Don’t hesitate to DNF books. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, life is too short to read books we don’t like. But even so, I have a hard time DNF-ing books. I’m more likely to skim until the end. But why should I do that when I could read something else that I would like more?

Buy more bookish clothes. Because it makes me happy to wear a bookish outfit, and I also get to blog about it whenever I do so.

Chachic - ootd - book skirt 2

What about you, what are some of your goals and resolutions for the year?:)


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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 “Instalove” – 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?:) What were your favorite reads from the past year?


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On reading and making friends

Littered With Books 2

Littered with Books, one of the indie bookstores in Singapore

I saw my friend Estara share this quote from author Michelle Sagara on Goodreads, and it just resonated with me:

“Life wears us down around the edges. The stress of life and its neces­sities cracks things. We learn to protect ourselves. We learn not to let so much of the world in, because some­times it’s all too much, and we don’t have the resilience we need to survive it. When we’re six, we make best friends easily. When we’re fifty, we don’t. That’s age and expe­rience for you.

But books are different. We can let books in. We can wrap them up in our hearts. We can approach them as if we’re still young and open. Even so, it’s not as simple. Because we’re not as simple.”

(Source: Michelle Sagara “State of the Writer, sort of, September 2015”)

I love this quote because I can relate to it 100%. I have thought about how difficult it is to make friends as I grow older. Most of the (real life) close friends that I have now were people I met in high school or college. I have met some good friends through work but it gets more difficult to keep in touch after we go our separate ways.

In the blog post where that quote came from, Michelle Sagara was talking about Terry Pratchett and how much his books mean to her. And that’s also something that I can definitely relate to, how some books just have so much meaning for us as readers. Like she said, maybe it’s because we’re a lot more open to letting books (rather than people) into our lives. Maybe that’s why some of the books that we read can hit us hard and make us FEEL. I love having that kind of reading experience. And I also love sharing it with bookish friends I’ve met through my blog. I think the same idea applies – I’m probably more open to making friends with bookish folk because I know all of you can understand a side of me that most of my family and friends in real life would not be able to comprehend. Also, with online friendships, I feel like it’s up to me how much I want to engage. So if I ever feel like I need a break (which I rarely do), I just go offline for a bit.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled enough for this post. I just really wanted to share that lovely quote. And to remind myself that I need to try reading Michelle Sagara’s books.


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Ten wishes I’d ask the book genie to grant

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I think this week’s topic is awesome! If only there was a book genie or a fairy book godmother, I would wish for these:

To earn money by reading or by blogging about books. Seriously, I feel like I keep saying on Twitter or Goodreads that I wish I could just read the whole day instead of go to work. Wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t have to worry about going to an office and contributing to society because I can just earn money by reading?

To have a book-related job. Okay, if I can’t get my first wish then I would love to have a job related to books. Some of you may say that I could make this a reality but I really wouldn’t know how to do it since I work in a completely different field (I make a point of not talking about my job in my blog) and I don’t have the background for it. If I didn’t have to worry about having the capital or making a profit, I would love to run my own book cafe. I love good food, coffee and tea… add books to that mix, then I would be a very happy person.

To burn calories while reading or blogging. Who wouldn’t want to be fit? It’s just that most of the time, I would rather read than exercise. The most exercised part of my body are my eyes because I’m always reading either books or a computer screen.

To meet my favorite authors in person. I would probably faint from excitement if I ever get to meet some of my favorite authors face to face, like Megan Whalen Turner, Elizabeth Wein, Laura Florand, Ilona Andrews, Robin McKinley, Kristin Cashore, etc. (I actually made this list for a previous TTT but it can also go on and on) I would love to have some sort of conversation with them, if possible. And also to get signed and personalized copies of their books as souvenirs!

To meet blogging buddies from other countries in person. I have met awesome people through our shared love of reading and while it’s been fun to get to know them through the internet, it would be even better if I get the chance to see them in person. I’ve tried to do that wherever possible, like I’ve done meet ups with bookish friends in Manila, Singapore, Los Angeles and Munich. But there are so many other bookish friends I’ve been communicating with for years and still have never laid eyes on.

Paris - Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company in Paris, which I got to visit last year

To visit as many amazing libraries and bookstores all over the world. I don’t get to do it as often as I would like because of budget constraints but I love to travel. And part of the fun of traveling is coming across cozy bookstores and gorgeous libraries. I would love to visit more of them if I can.

To have my own beautiful personal library. Like Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. If I ever get around to buying my own place, I would love to have a library in it. With gorgeous hardwood shelves, enough natural light during the day and a comfy couch or armchair.

To have the ability to erase a particular memory so I can read a book for the first time. As much as I love rereading old favorites, there’s something to be said for falling in love with a book for the first time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets jealous of other people who haven’t read my favorite book.

To have any book that I want to read whenever I feel like reading it. I read based on my mood. Sometimes, even when I have already so many books in my TBR pile, I don’t pick them up because I don’t feel like reading them. I would like to have access to any book that I’m currently in the mood for. This wish would include books that haven’t been written or published yet. Like the next book in the Queen’s Thief or Lion Hunters series.

To have a stronger and more developed selection of titles written by Filipino authors. More and more Filipino titles in the genres I read are being published but I would love to have more of them. Like how I keep saying I wish the Filipino YA scene would become as well-developed as the Aussie YA market, where there are so many amazing titles to choose from (e.g. some of the Aussie YA authors I love are Melina Marchetta, Andrea K. Höst, Fiona Wood, Vikki Wakefield, Cath Crowley, Kirsty Eagar).

Sigh, now I wish the book genie was real! I would love to have some of these wishes granted. What about the rest of you, what would you wish for if there was a book genie?

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