Coffee in the Morning, Podcast in the Afternoon

My good friend Kat of Book Thingo is based in Sydney but she’s on vacation in Manila for a few days. I believe Kat and I first bonded over our mutual love of Melina Marchetta, and then we moved on to discussing and recommending romance titles. Mostly online, because she’s in Sydney and I was in Singapore at that time. Although we did get to meet in person last year. On Saturday morning, another bookish friend Honey organized a coffee tour for us at Toby’s Estate roastery here in Manila. It was such an awesome experience, worth my while to wake up early on a Saturday morning! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a morning person AT ALL. I talk more about the coffee tour (and of course include pictures) in this post:

Yesterday morning's super fun activity was a coffee tour hosted by @chiefcaffeinator at @tobysestateph's roastery.β˜•β˜• We got to try the signature Woolloomooloo blend that has been adapted to the Filipino palette (tasted chocolately for me), as well as the Salcedo blend which was specifically created to cater to Filipino taste buds (I could tell it was sweet but couldn't identify the guava note). My favorite Toby's drink is dirty chocolate chai but I also love how smooth the cappuccino is. We also got to watch a single origin from Bukidnon being roasted. @bookthingo says the coffee here is even better than Sydney's!πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­ So glad she's here on vacation and I was able to crash this tour organized by @fantaghiro23. The coffee enthusiast and cafe hopper in me loved the whole experience. The things I get to do because of bookish people never cease to amaze me. Thank you so much, Raoul, Honey and Kat! πŸ™Œ PS: Please help me petition for a Toby's branch to open up in QC.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

As always, scroll right to see everything! In the afternoon, we met up with romanceclass people to record podcasts. I thought I was just going to listen in, and observe while the rest of them do the recordings with Kat but hey, fellow Filipino blogger April and I got to record our own. We talked about reading, romance, and enjoying the dirty bits in the books we read. πŸ˜€ It was a lot of fun, mostly felt like just chatting with friends since I talk to both Kat and April on a regular basis anyway. Pictures here:

So excited to hear the final version of all the podcasts on Book Thingo. We wrapped up the day with dinner at Manam, a restaurant in the area that serves delicious Filipino food. If I was nearer to that place, I would definitely come back more often.

That was my Saturday, which was obviously a really good day for me. I love being able to spend more time with bookish people now that I’m in Manila because that’s something that I didn’t get to do abroad. Sunday was a quiet day spent at home, and now Monday is here! How was your weekend? Were you able to read or do anything book-related? πŸ™‚ Have you read any books that you’d like to rave about? I haven’t been able to sit down and write reviews recently but I really want to do so soon! Let’s see how it goes.

Cebu: Vacation and #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy

Hello, WordPress followers! If you also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Litsy, then you would know that I was on vacation on Cebu for a few days. Cebu is one of the provinces in the Visayas region in the Philippines, and I went to Moalboal and Cebu City. It was my first time in Cebu and I had a great time! Also realized that the last time I traveled on a domestic flight was in 2011 when I went to Bohol. I’m hoping to be able to do more local travel in the near future. While I was in Cebu, I was able to do some #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy posts so I’m including those in this update.

In Moalboal, we stayed at the gorgeous Hale Manna resort, which is owned by Liana’s family. Liana blogs at Will Read for Feels and I met her through the circle of romance readers in the Philippines. It never ceases to amaze me at how I keep meeting awesome bookish people, both online and in real life. I was able to meet with Liana while in Cebu, first at Moalboal and then we traveled together back to Cebu City. Here are some pictures of Hale Manna in Moalboal, scroll right to see all of them:

In Cebu City, first stop was Liana’s book cafe called Books and Brews. I love book cafes and if I lived in Cebu, I would definitely be a regular in this one. The cafe has an extensive selection of books written by Filipino and foreign authors which you can read while hanging out at the place. It’s also cozy and comfortable and a good place to study or work in, if you would prefer not to read.

When I was researching on what places I’d like to visit in Cebu, I knew I would want to check out ancestral houses if there were any in the area. We got to visit two of them: Casa Gorordo and Yap-Sandiego House. I’m a sucker for historic places and these two were a pleasure to view. They’re both typical “balay na tisa” or “bahay na bato”, built in the 1800’s with a mix of Spanish, Chinese and Filipino influences.

We also got to see Museo Sugbo, which is Cebu’s provincial museum. It was previously a provincial jail but has been converted to showcase the history of the province.

Last, but certainly not the least was getting to try the food options in Cebu that aren’t available in Manila! I loved both The Chocolate Chamber and AA Barbecue, and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell why based on these pictures:

I hope you guys enjoyed this update post. I had an amazing time in Cebu but it’s always good to be home in Manila. πŸ™‚ If you’ve been to Cebu, please feel free to share your own experience. Also, would be happy to hear suggestions on what ancestral houses in the country should be included in my bucket list. For those who haven’t been to Cebu, I hope I’ve made you more curious about the province, and that you’ll get to visit it eventually.

#romanceclass events: #FeelsSoHot and #romanceclasscovers

I have been back in Manila for a little over a week and it’s about time I gave an update! I flew back home just in time to attend two bookish events and both of them were so much fun. You might be wondering why my blog post’s title has so many hashtags, but I just got use to talking about these events on Twitter and Instagram where hashtags are used. I’ve talked about romanceclass before but as an introduction, romanceclass is a community of authors and readers of indie Filipino romance. You can find out more here. It is a pretty active group here in Manila and they’ve had a lot of events. Feels So Hot is the tenth romanceclass event where they host live readings of books, certain scenes from some titles are read out loud by local actors and actresses. It’s a great experience because everyone gets to see the actors breathe life into the story with the nuances and expressions that they act out for the characters. I had fun watching the live readings but for me, the best part was seeing the reactions of all the authors and readers during the event! I could really see how passionate everyone was about these books. Here are some pictures from the event, click the right arrow to see all of them:

#romanceclass is a community of authors and readers of indie pubbed Filipino romance. #FeelsSoHot was the 10th event organized by the group, and the first one I was able to attend because I was in Singapore for all the previous ones. During the event, books were sold and the authors were there to sign them, as well as chat with the readers. Pic of my haul at the end of the album, all of those books will be given as gifts! . . Also, actors and actresses did live readings of certain scenes from the books (theme for the night was steamy romance πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯), and I think this is such an interesting way of bringing the story to life. More than anything, I enjoyed seeing how responsive the audience was to these readings. Fangirling at its finest. There was even a sleepover at a nearby hotel so attendees can process ALL THE FEELS. Always, always incredible to see so much passion in one place. I'm glad I was able to be a part of this community in whatever capacity I'm able to. It's moments like this that make me feel it's SO GOOD to be home.πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

Feels So Hot was also the first romanceclass event where the live readings were of steamy scenes from the books. For extra feels! I think I arrived in Manila just in time? πŸ˜› I haven’t read all of books that were part of the program but after seeing the live readings, I’m now curious about all of them. Watch this space for future reviews (or maybe not since I haven’t been very good in reviewing books this year. Real life, tsk tsk).

The next romanceclass thing I was lucky enough to be a part of was a photo shoot for book covers! Since their books are indie pubbed, some romanceclass authors have relied on stock photos as the basis of their book covers. Unfortunately, there are slim pickings for Filipinos or Asians in stock photos. They came up with the brilliant idea to contribute and sponsor photo shoots for their books. For each photo session, models or actors are hired to pose for the authors and their cover artists. The authors contributing to the session have a say in what kind of outfits the models will wear and how they will pose for the photos. This was such a fun experience for me, especially when I got to help out with the blocking and staging of some of the poses (a friend mentioned later on that this is what art directors do?) I felt that the models, Cora and AJ, deserved a round of applause for being like chameleons for every photo set. They were able to channel different types of romances and it was amazing. Here are some photos from that day:

Today's super fun activity was a photo shoot for @romanceclasscovers. #romanceclass is a community of authors and readers of indie pubbed Filipino romance. Stock photos have slim pickings when it comes to pictures that could be used as covers for Asian/Filipino books. So romanceclass authors chip in to fund photo shoots!πŸ“·πŸ“š In this session, models AJ and Cora took on various looks for books-to-be-published. These two were like chameleons - they were able to change their look and style for every backstory. Some themes they represented were young adult love story, beach romance, friends to lovers, hate to love. Authors, editors, cover artists were there to provide input. And everyone became even more energized about these upcoming titles because of the shots that came out. Really, really looking forward to seeing these books published! Such a vibrant and passionate community to be in.πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ Check out @instapach's feed for some high res samples.

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

I honestly can’t wait to see the covers that will be designed based on these photos! Some of them I’m tempted to one-click without even knowing the synopsis. I wanted to share some romanceclass book covers that have photos from past sessions, to give you guys an idea of what the outcome will be:

No Strings Attached_New Cover Iris After the Incident

You Could Be the One Kate Finally

Snapshot from a Book: Better At Weddings Than You

Snapshot From a Book is a sporadic feature that I have on my blog where I match snippets of books I’ve read with pictures I’ve taken. I rarely get to do this because I don’t always get to visit the settings of the books I read. Last Sunday, as I was heading to TWG tea salon for brunch with friends, I remembered that there’s a scene in Better At Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra that was partially inspired by TWG. TWG is a Singaporean tea brand and they have tea salons all over the country, and even abroad. They have an extensive list of hundreds of different kinds of teas and part of the fun in going there is trying to decide what to get. I love how fragrant and delicious their teas are, and I’m also a fan of their scones served with tea-flavored jelly and clotted cream. I’ve previously mentioned this place in this post.

Here were the pictures from last Sunday, when I brought Better At Weddings Than You with me:

Swipe right to see all of the pictures, or hover over the image and click the right arrow. The scene in the book that’s set in a tea salon is actually the first time that the heroine gets to meet the hero. Both of them are wedding planners and they set an appointment at a tea shop:

He asked to meet her at a tea shop, exactly the one she’d been planning to visit as soon as she had a chance. It was suspicious, like he had tapped into her idle thoughts somehow. She walked into the coziest little tea place she’d ever seen and couldn’t help it, couldn’t help feeling the delight that unfurled in her chest, then letting it make her smile. She caught herself looking happy a split second later and tried to wipe it off.

This was a job.

It was not a date.

TWG cafe - flower tea, scones and macarons

“Need a recommendation?”

She knew from reading reviews that this place carried dozens of variants of tea. Also, she liked it. She was a tea person. Friends knew this about her; she got tins from all over the world as gifts.

Need a recommendation, my ass.

“No, thank you.” Her eyebrow reacted to this though the rest of her face hopefully did not. There was a menu in frond of her and she looked down at it instead. “I love tea. I’ll make my own choice.”

That she did, calling the server and asking for a grape-and-cherry blend with a black tea base, and asked for it hot.

I hope these snippets from the book has made you more curious to read Better At Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra, it’s a stand-alone title from her Chic Manila series, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I also hoped you enjoyed seeing these pictures of TWG that I shared. I hope I manage to do another Snapshot from a Book post soon!

TWG tea book

Previous Snapshot From a Book posts:
Pinto Art Museum, Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores
Anawangin Cove, Zambales, What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra
Prague, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Ateneo de Manila University, Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra
Paris, The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand
Paris, The Chocolate Thief

Better At Weddings Than You Blog Tour: Food Inspiration

Mina V. Esguerra is a prolific Filipino romance author and the founder of #romanceclass, a community of Filipino romance authors who publish books independently. I have featured her books and her writing countless times here on my blog, and I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for her latest release: Better At Weddings Than You. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I need to work on a review to share more of my thoughts about it. Aside from romance books, one thing that Mina and I share is our love of food! I noticed that Better At Weddings Than You had references to some restaurants and certain dishes, and I thought it would be a great topic for a guest post. I hope this guest post will make you curious enough to read the book when it comes out, and also to try the food mentioned here! πŸ™‚

================================================================
Food Inspiration: As featured in Better At Weddings Than You
by Mina V. Esguerra

My books are not about food, but they may as well be. I write contemporary romance but I also love food… and I keep talking about it. Especially when I’m writing anything set in the Philippines. With Better At Weddings Than You, the premise that the main characters Daphne and Aaron worked in the wedding industry formed the β€œmenu” for this book. Here’s a selection and the real-life counterparts!

  • Christmas Eve dinner (Real thing: Spiral Restaurant at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel)
.

Daphne and Aaron meet over Christmas Eve dinner at a fancy hotel restaurant by the Manila Bay, and if you’re familiar with the area it’s an easy guess that it might actually be Spiral Restaurant at the Sofitel. If you know me at all, then you’d be sure β€” I adore the large restaurant, the seafood, salads, meats, and the cheese room.

  • Tea shop meeting (Real things: Rustic Mornings and TWG)
.

So the tea shop I describe in an early chapter of the book doesn’t actually exist (that I know of) but it’s based on the many small restaurants popping up in the city. It would have a look similar to Rustic Mornings by Isabelo in Marikina, but with a tea list that would remind you of a page from the menu of TWG. Just a page, because TWG of Singapore’s full menu would be too much for a quaint neighborhood tea place!

  • Caterer Food Tasting scene (Real thing: K by Cunanan)

How do you choose your caterer for your wedding? You taste their food. While planning my own wedding I (seriously) sampled the menus of three caterers, and one of the visits kind of went like the scene in my book. K by Cunanan is one caterer you’d encounter in the industry, and they did our wedding. We loved the food and their reception venue styling.

  • Chicharon salad (Real thing: Chef Sharwin Tee’s Tempura Bacon Salad)

In one scene, Daphne gets to reveal something about herself and I get to describe a decadent salad. Everything I said about the salad is directly from a food memory – of eating my friend Sharwin’s Tempura Bacon Salad at his restaurant. I replaced the bacon with chicharon though. If you can make this salad happen, let me know! I think it works well with a fruit vinaigrette, by the way.

Believe it or not, I had to edit this list so I don’t go on and on. Thank you, Chachic, for giving me the space on your blog! Better At Weddings Than You comes out April 15 and its Amazon link is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKS8Y1T

================================================================

Book Description:
Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his weddingβ€”because he fears his fiancΓ©e Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)

================================================================

National Book Store’s #ReadOutLoudChallenge

National Book Store, the most popular bookstore in the Philippines, is hosting a #ReadOutLoudChallenge. They are inviting every reader to post a video on Facebook or Instagram, reading a few lines from their favorite books, using the mentioned hashtag. For every 75 videos posted, they will help build one public school library. The goal is to reach 75,000 videos. This is a pretty big deal since I’ve talked about how public libraries aren’t very common (nor are they well-supplied) so anything that would help promote reading in the country is a good thing. Anyone can join! Just make sure your post is visible to the public. If you do decide to join, please feel free to send me a link. πŸ™‚

National Book Store ReadOutLoudChallenge

My entry is posted on Instagram and linked below. For those of you who are wondering how my name is pronounced or what my voice sounds like, you can check out my video. Good thing I have a friend who knows her way around shooting and editing videos because I wouldn’t have been able to do come up with something this professional looking otherwise. We did it in one take though, so it’s not super polished. It’s probably obvious that I’m sitting in my desk at work, with my mini lomo wall as the background. As always, it feels a little weird seeing myself on video. πŸ˜›

@nbsalert's #ReadOutLoudChallenge accepted! I was challenge by @fantaghiro23 to participate - for every 75 videos posted, National Bookstore will help set up a library in a public school, and the goal is to reach 7,500 videos!πŸ“šπŸ“– I've mentioned more than once that the Philippines doesn't have good public libraries, so any initiative that helps give children access to books is awesome. I read from one of my favorite @minavesguerra books, Learning to Fall, which has a book blogger heroine.πŸ’– I challenge everyone to do this because more videos means more libraries! But I specifically challenge @dementedchris @alexalovesbooks @bookthingo. . . Special thanks to multimedia expert @karen_mrsg for shooting this video! πŸ™Œ . . . #NationalBookstore #readoutloud #reading #bookblogger #booknerd #bibliophile #IGbooks #bookstagram #bookworm #instabooks #romance #romanceclass #LearningtoFall #MinaVEsguerra

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

.

I know I keep apologizing for not being more active on WordPress lately, but there’s just so much going on in real life that I can’t keep up! Happy to report that I’m still plugged into the book blogosphere through Twitter, Litsy (username: Chachic), and Instagram because I have all of those on my smartphone. Click here, here, here, here, and here, to see some samples of my posts on Litsy, where you’ll be able to see that I’ve learned to utilize scrapbook embellishments in my books pics. So even if I’m not on WordPress a lot, I hope I still get to see all of you in all those other channels. πŸ™‚

#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy – Week 2 Round Up

Second week of posting about Filipino books! I’m glad I was able to keep this up for another week. Week 1 round up can be found here. All posts are from Instagram. Again, I hope this will encourage other readers to become interested in featuring or reading Filipino books… there’s still more than half a month for everyone to join #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy.

Day 8:

"I looked at his plate. The chocolate cake crumbs looked so forlorn, scattered and stark on the white porcelain. If it were me eating, I'd scrape the plate clean. I wouldn't want food to feel the way I was feeling now: forlorn and undesirable." – Choco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera . . . Really enjoyed reading this Filipino YA novel, which is also available internationally through Amazon. Included in this shot are Gryphon Tea's Pearl of the Orient and Martin's Marvelous cookies. . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #ChocoChipHips #AgayLlanera #romanceclass #youngadult #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #bookandtea #tea #teatime #teacup #cookies #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 9:

Happy Birthday, Singapore! For today's #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post, I had to choose a book that has (loose) ties to SG. @minavesguerra's Welcome to Envy Park has a main character who worked in SG for several years before moving back to Manila. I have gifted this book to most of my girlfriends who have worked in SG. . . . I chose to take this pic in front of the historic Fullerton Hotel because it's one of my favorite structures in SG, the old central post office that got converted into a hotel. Also, this shot can be called buwis Kindle at smartphone shot. Medyo katakot malaglag sa river. . . . #WelcometoEnvyPark #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #Kindle #ebook #TheFullertonHotel #SingaporeRiver #ExploreSingapore #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 10:

 

Day 11:

"When I first developed a love for this kind of storytelling, cameras were much larger. Today I was wrapping my palm around a digital video camera so small that I kept it on a chain around my neck so it wouldn't accidentally get knocked out of my hand by a gentle breeze." – Falling Hard by @minavesguerra . . . I don't have a video cam so I had to make do with my (barely used) point and shoot. Falling Hard was previously published as The Harder We Fall and is a fun new adult romance between a film major and a rugby player. . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #FallingHard #TheHarderWeFall #MinaVEsguerra #AddisonHill #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #camera #Canon #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 12:

"She liked air. The very idea of it. Of something ever present, always needed, but virtually invisible. Now, one could LIKE something, on a philosophical level, that much, without having to put herself through an evinronmental science degree, do internships, move to New York City to take a job as an air quality consultant, but that was Lindsay Kresta. Admittedly she took things too far sometimes." 🌬🌬🌬 – Fallen Again by @minavesguerra . . . I forgot to do a #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post yesterday so I have two for today! "Air" is a little difficult to take a pic of so I went with this shot. . . . #FallenAgain #NeverJustFriends #MinaVEsguerra #AddisonHill #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #air #trees #window #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 13:

You know you're a book nerd when you bring three paperbacks to brunch, not because you're reading them but because you want to take a nice pic for #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. I'm probably not the only one who does that, right? πŸ˜…πŸ“šπŸ’ Thanks to my good friend @dementedchris for copies of these Visprint pretties. I've only read Cover Story Girl but definitely planning to read the other two! . . . #SavetheCake #StellaTorres #VintageLove #AgayLlanera #CoverStoryGirl #ChrisMariano #Visprint #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #paperbacks #TWGcafe #TWGtea #cafehoppingSG #IonOrchard #flowers #bouquet #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 14:

The book that started it all! I was introduced to @minavesguerra's writing through Fairy Tale Fail. I bought it based on a rec by @storiestotell, read it in one sitting and kept recommending it to all my friends after.πŸ’–πŸ“– I remember my kabarkada @chuchayed read it on my Kindle while we were hanging out in Starbucks one time. I could TOTALLY relate to Ellie, more so because I was the same age as she was when I read the book. And Lucas is an awesome hero. Ellie's thing is traveling and planning hypothetical trips so I included bits of stuff from my own travels in this shot. No major trip for me this year though. Sad. πŸ˜” . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #FairyTaleFail #MinaVEsguerra #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #Kindle #ebook #travel #passport #postcards #stamps #bookmarks #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy – Week 1 Round Up

It’s been a week since #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy started (find out more about the event here) and I wanted to do a round up of the posts I’ve made on Instagram. I have been posting a pic of a book written by a Filipino author everyday, and so far, I think I’ve done a good job of finding a background or object that goes well with the story. It’s been fun to come up with these shots but I have no idea if I’ll be able to keep up with a post a day. Let’s see how it goes.

I’ve realized that I can embed Instagram posts on WordPress so I’m trying it out now, instead of uploading the pics from my phone like I used to.

Day 1:

Truffle ramen and a Filipino romance set in Japan. Perfect combination, right? While truffle fries are pretty common in SG, this is the first time I've tried truffle ramen and it was delicious. Thanks to @jambitzz for the heads up. August is #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy so I will be reading and posting about books written by Filipino authors during this month. Anyone can join and use the hashtag. If you've been planning to read Filipino books, then now is the perfect time to do so! πŸ’–πŸ“– some titles can even be requested on Overdrive. . . . #BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor #CPSanti #romanceclass #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #romance #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #Kindle #ebook #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotography #reading #KanshokuRamen #truffleramen #ramen #truffle #SGfood #SGeats #SGfoodie #IGSG #foodstagram #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 2:

My second #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post features my most recent read, Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes. This Filipino romance came highly recommended by Courtney Milan. While I didn't love it as much as she did, I found it to be sweet and cute in a really nerdy way. Full review up on my blog (link in my bio). Kaya, the main character in the book, loves matcha lattes. My go-to place for matcha is St. Marc's Cafe. . . . #BeginnersGuideLoveandOtherChemicalReactions #TalkingNerdy #SixdelosReyes #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #Kindle #ebook #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotography #StMarcCafe #matcha #matchalatte #cafehoppingSG #cafe #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 3:

 

Day 4:

 

Day 5:

Today's #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy post is @minavesguerra's Wedding Night Stand, a novella set during a wedding just outside Manila. I really enjoyed this and liked the MCs, Andrea and Damon. I was happy with where this book ended, but the couple's story is continued in a longer book called What You Wanted. . . Thanks to my SG BFF @nj_reyes for the assist in this shot. You know you have a true friend when she willingly looks for a bridal shop with you, just for the sake of a bookstagram. . . . #MinaVEsguerra #WeddingNightStand #ChicManila #newadult #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #Kindle #ebook #wedding #bridalgown #fashion #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 6:

Mocha, lemon tart and @minavesguerra's What You Wanted, the book that continues Andrea and Damon's story from Wedding Night Stand. This is probably the foodie-est out of all of Mina's books, and I approve!β˜•πŸ½ Check out this snippet about Damon, which was why I chose to take a pic of the book with coffee: "Damon's mealtimes where freakishly long, but he always ended them with coffee… Coffee meant he had digested, exhausted all topics of conversation, and was ready to go do something else." . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #MinaVEsguerra #WhatYouWanted #ChicManila #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #indie #cafehoppingSG #SGfood #SGdesserts #ExploreSingapore #TiongBahruBakery #coffee #mocha #latteart #lemontart #bookandcoffee #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

Day 7:

"We talk about how Paris is a city built for both lovers and loners; about how it can be both familiar and new, how she can feel like home but never get old. We talk about museums and the gardens, the bridges and the streets, and wonder how every corner can be so darn pretty. I love how the conversation is growing. It's full of twists and turns that we have no problem following – and it's been so long since I talked to a man this way, in a coffee shop, while wearing nice clothes. I feel so full, and I know it's not because I had way too many cookies."πŸ“šπŸ“–πŸ—Ό – Loveless. Childlesss. Clueless by @mirenbflores . . . I know the Kindle cover in this shot is a little too light, but it's so difficult to get a clearer pic. Sometimes, it can be frustrating when the book cover on Kindle isn't as nice as it is on a physical copy. Makes bookstagramming more challenging! . . . #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy #LovelessChildlessClueless #MirenBFlores #romanceclass #romance #Filipinoromance #Filipinoauthor #SupportFilipinoauthors #WeNeedDiverseBooks #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #bookworm #bookphotograph #bookquote #indie #postcards #Paris #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

These pictures are bigger than what I’m used to posting on the blog, but I like that it’s linked to my original Instagram post. I also couldn’t find a way to center the pics so they’re all on the left.

If you’re interested in featuring or reading Filipino books, there’s still lots of time for you to join #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. πŸ™‚ I would love for more readers (both Filipino and non-Filipino) to read books written by Filipino authors.

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes

I’ve had Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes on my wishlist for a while now. And I was pushed to grab a copy when I saw historical romance author Courtney Milan raving about it. I didn’t want to get left behind when it comes to supporting Filipino authors! I read it as soon as I could because I was curious. While I couldn’t say that I loved it as much as Courtney Milan did, I had a lot of fun reading this nerdy Filipino romance. I will definitely be watching out for other books written by Six de los Reyes.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical ReactionsFalling in love is a chemical reaction.

Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts’ relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin’s wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, cafΓ© owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.

But when Kaya’s recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn’t always happen inside a lab.

I’ve always thought of myself as a nerd because I studied in a high school that had a strong focus on science and math subjects, and I majored in electronics engineering in college. Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions reminded me of all the subjects that I had in high school and college where we had to conduct various lab experiments. There was a time when I spent most of my hours in a lab too. I used to say that I loved science and math but they didn’t love me back because I never found both to be easy. Which was probably why I didn’t pursue a career in those fields.

Having read Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions, I can definitely say that I’m nowhere near Kaya’s level of nerdiness. It took a while for me to get used to her way of narrating but I eventually found her endearing. She’s super smart, but she’s socially awkward. The sad thing is she knows it too, and she’s given up on pursuing stronger social connections because of previous failed attempts. I would gladly have been Kaya’s friend if she was a real person! It’s a good thing she has the support of her large and crazy family, so it’s not like she’s entirely alone. But it’s also her family that drives her to try an unusual experiment to find a boyfriend. I think most Filipinos would be able to relate to Kaya’s extended family, even if our own families don’t plan such elaborate parties. The way the Rubio clan was described was just realistically Filipino. Including the presence of nosy relatives. And like Kaya, I have been the recipient of many, many questions about why I’m still single, when am I planning to find a boyfriend, and why haven’t I settled down yet. I guess that’s just how Filipino titas (aunts) are wired? So yes, I could understand why Kaya thought it would be worth her while to embark on an unusual experiment to find a boyfriend.

While Kaya’s experimental dates were fun to read, I liked her interactions with her friends even better. She’s always been on good terms with her colleague and flatmate Eugene, but their friendship becomes stronger as he tries to help her navigate the dating field. I hope Eugene will get his own HEA in a later book. Kaya also becomes more willing to open up to the interns in her lab, as well as other researchers in their science institute. And of course, there’s Nero. Good-looking cafe owner, part-time graphic artist and definitely more experienced when it comes to relationships. On paper, it doesn’t seem like Kaya and Nero would really get along but it was interesting to see them get to know each other. How they’re both in totally different fields and have personalities that are poles apart but at their core, they’re just both flawed individuals looking to find someone who can see and appreciate their true selves. I’m glad that Nero got enough page time for readers to understand him better, and to see that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Nerdy, sweet and cute, Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions is an enjoyable romance with strong Filipino values. I’m glad to have discovered a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) romance series that is set in the Philippines. Looking forward to the rest of the books in the series! I need to mention that this book is indie pubbed and there were some sections that could have been edited better (missing words, typos, tense changes, etc.) but I wasn’t bothered enough to be pulled out of the story. Just wanted to give a warning in case that’s something that other readers watch out for.

Other reviews:
Oops! I Read a Book Again
bibliophile soprano
Back Porch Reader

Comics and Chocolates Haul

My favorite bookstore in Singapore is Kinokuniya because they have the best stocks. I signed up for membership last January and I have been steadily increasing the size of my TBR pile because if it. They have a marketing trick that works well on me – members get a 10% discount on regular days and a 20% discount on special sale dates. I think sales happen at least once a month? In any case, I’m always tempted to buy books whenever there’s a sale because I want to take advantage of the bigger discount. So this was my comics and chocolates haul last Thursday:

Comics and Chocolates Haul - July 2016

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

The dark chocolates are from La Cure Gourmande – the four on the left are mint ganache, the middle ones are dark chocolate ganache and the last four are pear-flavored. As for the books… I have been hearing good things about Monstress ever since the first issue was released. I didn’t want to start reading a graphic novel per issue so I had to wait for Vol. 1 to be released. I saw The Last Dragon in a previous bookstore visit and marked it as something I would come back for because I like standalone graphic novels. As for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I’ve had the first two volumes since January but still haven’t read them yet! So many books, so little time. I had not anticipated how much real life will be sucking time away from reading.

I also bought an ebook yesterday based on a recommendation from romance author Courtney Milan (you can see her tweets about it here).

Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions (Talking Nerdy #1) by Six delos Reyes is a Filipino romance novel that has a nerdy heroine. I’ve had it on my wishlist for a while but I one clicked it after I saw the rec for Courtney Milan because I don’t want to get left behind in supporting a fellow Filipino!

I really should stop buying more books when I still have SO MANY in my TBR pile but it’s so hard to resist. To be fair, I’ve already finished reading (but not reviewing) the last two books in my previous book haul post. I could use that as my excuse for buying more this time. What about you, have you acquired any new books lately? Have you read any of the titles included in this post? Let me know what you think of them if you have.