Book Blogging Over the Years

Coffee in one hand, Kindle in the other.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

I’ve been book blogging since 2010. That’s seven years of being active in the online book community. That’s longer than any romantic relationship that I’ve had and even longer than any of my work stints in each of the companies I’ve worked for. πŸ˜‚ I keep doing it not because I earn any money from it, but because it’s so much fun to interact with fellow book lovers and authors, to discuss books with people who get you. Over the years, I’ve tried to influence family and friends to read books and I’ve been successful with some of them… but they’re not book nerds like book bloggers are. There are also fellow book bloggers who have become wonderful friends, and some of those have become more than just “online” friendships. I’ve met some of them in person when I traveled abroad and even the ones I don’t think I’ll ever meet, I’ve been comfortable enough with them to share more than just book updates. In a previous post, I mentioned that I feel like I have a sense of belonging in the online book community because I feel like I’ve carved out a niche for myself. I will keep doing this as long as it keeps me happy. And what makes me happy and engaged and excited to talk about books has changed from when I first started.

When I first started blogging about books, most of the posts that I made and the interactions that I had were through my blog (this WordPress site right here). I used to blog daily then it became weekly then it became monthly. Now I’d be happy if I manage to publish one post every month. There was a time when I would feel guilty about this, but like I’ve said plenty of times before, I want to keep my bookish interactions fun and part of that is blogging when I feel like it. I used to think that the reason why I didn’t blog as much was because I was busy – with work, with chores, with my social life. But now I understand that it has increasingly become more difficult to open my laptop and sit down to write a post. I don’t know why this is, maybe because being on apps on a smartphone just makes things easier? Or maybe because opening up a laptop feels too much like work, and blogging is something that I don’t want to feel like work. So now I’ve learned to not be too hard on myself. My WordPress blog will always be here whenever I’m in the mood to type out a post. I will keep updating my yearly posts like best books I’ve read in the year or my favorite fictional couples. But for more stream of consciousness type of updates, I’m on Twitter and Litsy (username: Chachic) on a daily basis, and Instagram whenever I feel like updating it. I know social media apps are not everyone’s cup of tea so please feel free to comment on any of my posts or send me a direct message in any of the apps I mentioned or an email if you feel like just chatting. πŸ™‚

What about you, what are the things that you’ve done to keep blogging fun? Is it also easier for you to interact using bookish apps? Or do you prefer something more personal like sending an email or messaging directly?

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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:

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:

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.

Best of 2016

Happy New Year! πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜› 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

That’s 2016 for me. How was yours? What were your favorite reads from the past year? πŸ™‚

Weekends are for drinking tea and reading

I have been such a slow reader lately because real life keeps getting in the way of reading and blogging time. I’ve been reading V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic books for the past few weeks and I thought I’d finish A Gathering of Shadows this weekend but now it’s almost over and nope, I’m nowhere near the end. I did notice that I’ve visited TWG cafe for three weekends straight, and I brought the two books with me to read. So I thought I’d share some of the pictures that I took.

TWG cafe - group

It all started with this Hobbit-like brunch spread with my ex-flatmates

I’m actually a bit surprised that I’ve never talked about TWG on the blog before. TWG is a Singaporean premium tea brand and I fell in love with their teas when I first moved to Singapore. I was heavily influenced by one of my flatmates who is also a huge fan. My appreciation for TWG tapered off a bit and was recently renewed when I discovered that their all of their food items are infused with tea. I’ve always tried just their pastries and macarons, but now I’ve become a fan of their savory dishes and their scones served with cream and tea jelly.

TWG cafe - brunch

I went back the next weekend to have brunch there again. The tea book has the full list of teas that they serve, including descriptions for each.

TWG cafe - flower tea, scones and macarons

The brunch set included tea, macarons and scones.

TWG cafe - A Darker Shade of Magic

Reading A Darker Shade of Magic with tea in the background.

The picture above was actually regrammed by TWG in their official Instagram account. I thought that was pretty cool.

TWG cafe - A Gathering of Shadows

Scones with two kinds of tea jelly: 1837 Black and Red of Africa. Plus my current read: A Gathering of Shadows.

TWG cafe - A Gathering of Shadows chapter illustration

Chapter illustrations of the UK edition of A Gathering of Shadows.

As always, the resolution is better over at my Instagram account if you guys want to check that out. How about you, how was your weekend? Also, do you enjoy drinking tea as much as I do? Even though I didn’t get to read like I originally wanted to, I had a restful Saturday (woohoo nap time) and was able to visit a new-to-me place on Sunday. So still a pretty good weekend overall… which I need to remind myself as I face the dreaded Monday.

Best Books I’ve Read So Far In 2016

Yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year but since I read based on my mood, I don’t usually read all the books that I want to during the year they’re released. Instead, I want to do a recap of the books that I’ve enjoyed the most so far in 2016, regardless of when they were published. I did a similar post last year, where I six books in my list. This year’s list isn’t too far behind with five titles:

Act Like It Summer Skin Amulet The Stonekeeper

In the Middle of Somewhere Out of Nowhere

I can’t believe half of the year is almost over! I’m super behind on reading and blogging because of all the major changes that are happening in real life, but I hope things will settle down soon and I’ll be able to spend more time being a book nerd. I’m still in the middle of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and it’s taking me a while to finish it. Fingers crossed that I’d end up loving it as much as some of my friends did.

What about you, what are the best books that you’ve read so far in 2016? What titles have you enjoyed reading the most?

Book Drive: #AReaderEveryDay in Manila

bookbed and When In Manila currently have an ongoing book drive to benefit the Suit Elementary School in Dagupan City, Pangasinan through The Storytelling Project (TSP). TSP is a non-government organization that shares the same advocacy of spreading the habit of reading. They implement a three-phase program: 1) month-long storytelling sessions, 2) library project, and 3) reading club formation.

The school, which is now on Phase II, accepts children’s books, young adult books, reference books for kids and teens and activity books, provided they are in good condition. I believe they are accepting donations until the end of June.

Donations may be dropped off at the establishments listed below:

  • Z Hostel at 5660 Don Pedro Street, Makati City
  • The Learning Library at 2F, 41 Esteban Abada Street, Quezon City
  • Tweedle Book Cafe at 106B Sct. Gandia, Quezon City
  • Tambayan Capsule Hostel at 607 Bocobo Street, Malate, Manila
  • Diner on 16th at 16 United St. Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig (Behind Uncle Moe’s)

areadereveryday-in-manila

You can also visit posts from both bookbed and When In Manila. For more information and other inquiries about #AReaderEveryDay, please e-mail sky.wheninmanila@gmail.com or hello@bookbed.org with the campaign project β€œ#AReaderEveryDay” as the subject.

I’m happy to report that I was able to share some of my own books to this book drive before flying back to Singapore. I was worried I wouldn’t have time to do it but I was able to squeeze it in at the last minute. I dropped by Tweedle Book Cafe on my way to the airport and left these books with them (about half for the cafe and half for the book drive):

May 2016 - books donated

If you’re in Manila, I hope you can pass on some of your used books to #AReaderEveryDay.

Reading at the hair salon

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m currently on vacation in Manila. You’d think that because I’m on vacation, I’d have more time to blog. As always, I’m behind on posts! There are several things I want to blog about but I always feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze in some blogging time. So I thought I’d come up with a short, book-related update.

Earlier today I was at the hair salon getting a hair cut and treatment. These are services that I usually try to do whenever I’m in Manila because they’re way too expensive in Singapore. In my almost four years of being based in Singapore, I’ve never gotten a hair cut or treatment there. Same goes for my Filipino girl friends in Singapore. Usually when I go to the salon, I’d just bring my Kindle with me and read whatever I’m currently in the middle of. Or I’d go through the magazines provided by the salon. But since I brought my copy of Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi all the way from Singapore, I thought I might as well bring it with me when I have a few hours to kill. What a great idea it was! This is such an engaging book and it’s super easy to get into. I was instantly absorbed and was able to read quite a huge chunk while I was waiting. It’s also easy to read in installments whenever I had to stop for them to rinse my hair. I will probably finish the book tonight and will try to look for copies of the sequels in local bookstores.

Amulet at the hair salon

The hair salon served coffee. Yay!

Note to self: bring more graphic novels with me whenever I have errands to run. What about you, what books do you usually bring with you when you know you’d have some time to kill?

Ten Contemporary Romance Books I’ve Recently Enjoyed

Top Ten Tuesday2

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.

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?

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

Top Ten Tuesday2

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?