TPRWF2016: Book Blogging 101 was a Success! (RECAP)

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BeFunky Collage

(L-R: Kai, Me, Kate, Hazel and Lyra)

So this happened, and up until now I am in shock. Haha. I can’t believe I was a part of it and was seated next to these amazing ladies who really know their craft. It was such an honor to talk alongside these beautiful women. National Bookstore held The Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2016 at Raffles Makati last August 26 to 28. It was filled with panel talks from respected Filipino and foreign authors, workshops and book signings. It was indeed the festivity that everyone should be a part of. (And as early as now, I am looking forward to the next year’s festival).

It was my first time to meet these ladies, I was kind of nervous since they all know each other from before, but then they were all nice and welcomed me to their group. I have gained new friends, that’s the most awesome take away out of all this.

I have been cyber friends with Kate for quite some time, and was too happy that I finally have met her! #RektahanGirls HAHA. And again thank you Kate, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be a part of this panel. Kahit binigla mo ko, hahah lakas mo saken eh!

With Kai 🙂

With Hazel and Ly 🙂

Look how fancy and “legit” this is! Hahah.

 

Before our panel talk, we were all worried about the number of attendees, but upon entering Namayan, we were so happy to see that it’s almost full. We were delighted to see each and everyone of you there, of how much effort you put to attend the talk and for that I am eternally grateful.

Excuse my face, hahah it looks like I am in the middle of an argument HAHA

Here are the key points of our discussion:

Platform: Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular blogging sites. We were divided when it came to this. Kate, Kai and Ly were all #TeamBlogger and Hazel and I are #TeamWordpress. It was fun to have that cute debate as to which one is better. Know that I stand by WordPress! Haha. I guess it is just a matter of where you are comfortable. Blog away, and take it from there. See what suits you and just have fun with it.

Bookstagram: This is where I let people in on my secret haha. Which I will not be divulging here since it was exclusive to the attendees. But of course I’ll tell you something else. The key to a great photo is natural lighting. Almost everything is beautiful when it is taken using a natural light, I think we can all agree to that.

Oh a disclaimer, I am not a professional photographer, not by any stretch of imagination. I’m just a girl who takes 20 shots of photo using my ever trusty Samsung fone, use photo editing apps and VSCO for filter (what filter you ask, that’s a secret), and just have fun. I’ve said that another tip is to find an inspiration and recreate the same, but make sure you will put your own twist to it.

About props, Daiso and Thrift Stores will be your best friend. You don’t need expensive stuff, work with what you have. It is all in your creativity. (I want to say more, but I guess I would just have to make a separate post about it. Hehe).

Book Reviews: The advice I gave was “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Only request/accept request of books you are genuinely interested about. You will have negative connotation if you cannot deliver at the time given.

Also it is very important to note that there is a fine line between reviewing the book and reviewing the author. We go for the former, we review THE BOOK, not THE AUTHOR. Don’t make unnecessary comments about the personality of the author, stick to what the book is about, how it made you feel, your over-all rating, its impact on you or how you perceived it. It is best to be honest when doing reviews and never ever bad mouth an author.

Genre: Should you focus on one, or try a little bit of everything? It’s always up to you. There are advantages and disadvantages for both. Choose what works for you and know who your intended audience are.

Time Management: We all agreed that you should do it at your own pace. Never force yourself to do something you don’t want to do. As Kate pointed out, if you force yourself it will show on your review or the content of your blog. If you don’t feel like blogging, it’s totally fine. Never think blogging is a burden or a job you just want to get over with rather think it as a job that you really love to do. Put your heart in it, and everything else will follow.

Blog Design: Our dear Hazel is the master of it. I practically just listened because I cannot for the life of me understand CSS codes and all that tweaking to make a nice blog. I guess it all boils down to how you would want your blog to look, it is how you are remembered. So make it a point that your blog speak for itself, make a blog you want people to see.

Advanced Reader Copies: It is important to be aware of the territorial rights of publishers, that way whenever you try to request a book you would know which ones have the rights here in Philippines and which ones who do not have.

        Also, don’t be disheartened if your request has been denied, we’ve all been there. The key is request again, show them the statistics of your blog and your social media presence, show them that they ought to choose you or it’s their loss haha! Kidding aside, you have to be patient. In the end everything will work out fine.

I specifically enjoyed the Q&A part. I saw how driven and eager all the people there. How they would want to grow as a blogger. I think my heart just doubled in size when the attendees valued what we said. It was indeed one of the best experiences ever!

The cherry on top of it all was when Sir Bienvenido Lumbera, a National Artist and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, a poet, a writer – a force to be reckoned with, graced us with his presence. He pointed out that in the barangay levels, there is a dire need to teach the youth of literature, to open up their minds to the state of our government. He noticed that youth of today were just all dictated by what the government and society told them to do. He wanted us bloggers to use blogging to reach and influence other youths. I loved that our panel talk ended in that note. It was truly something we, not only us bloggers, are responsible for – to be the voice of the millennials, and be something out of the box, to think for ourselves without any reservations and be able to express ourselves to further better the society we live in.

The whole panel talk was about our passion. We wouldn’t be there speaking in front of people, if it weren’t for our passion. It’s our common denominator. Book blogging is hard work, you don’t make it right the first time, it happens to the best of us. What is important is you keep trying, learn from your mistakes and be able to adapt to the ever changing times. It is always nice to offer something fresh. It’s nice to put yourself out there and inspire others.

Here’s what went down after. I met amazing bunch of people!!! From Upper Left to Lower Right – Vitto, who was so bubbly; Yssa – who I immediately hugged the moment I saw her; Kat, my new found BFF who will be a lawyer soon!! I’m counting on you! hihihi; with Arnie Mejia, who has a new memoir coming out, let’s support him!; I wasn’t able to get her name but she’s super nice too!; with Jenni – I love how enthusiastic she was; with Allie Im happy to have finally met you I really hope to see you again; with JM  – thank you so much for the support, it meant alot!; lastly with Kams another amazing person, hope to see you again too!

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With my dear friend Kat. Thanks for the support, you owe me lots of chika! HAHA

With Ursula Uriarte, who was super awesome and stayed the whole panel talk. She is amazing.

Yayyyy with Anna Todd, it was so nice to meet her.

This is what I call our Familia Zaragosa Shot #FIERCE

And of course we couldn’t hold our straight faces a second longer.

It was indeed a day to remember. I would like to extend my gratitude to National Book Store for making everything possible! I really enjoyed the panel talk and the whole experience.

Who amongst you attended the event? Did you have fun? Hope to see you all again soon! 🙂

XO

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The Philippines Readers and Writers Festival 2016: Book Blogging 101

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I am very excited to share with you guys this great news! I along with these beautiful ladies (Kate of The Bookaholic Blurbs, Kai of Amaterasu Reads, Hazel of Stay Bookish and Lyra of Defiantly Deviant) will talk about all things bookish! We will be having a panel discussion about book blogging and its promotion on social media. It would mean a lot to me if you could join us. That would be on August 28, 2016 9:30 am to 12 nn at Raffles Makati. This is part of the The Philippines Readers and Writers Festival 2016. Admission is free guys! For more details check readersandwritersfestival.com or visit National Book Store’s Facebook Page.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my dear friend Kate, for including me as one of the panelists. I admit this is my first time to talk about what I love the most – books and book blogging, in front of a lot of people, so you can just imagine how nervous I am. But I will try my best to say sensible things and answer all your questions to the best of my ability. Hope to meet you all there! And oh, we’ve prepared a little something-something for our participants! I can’t wait to see you guys! Let’s geek out together!

Thank you National Book Store and Raffles Makati for this amazing opportunity!

XO,

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Amy’s Tea Book Tag

So as per usual I’ve been wasting a lot of time watching youtube, and I stumbled upon this book tag created by Amy from TheDustyBookShelf, and decided (yet again) to have my version of it in blog form. Since I love love love tea, this book tag is very well right up my alley. So without further ado, here are the questions. 🙂

1. Double Bergamot Earl Grey – A robust, deep, intellectual and flavourful book

I would have to say Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk oh it was indeed a flavorful book, it tackled about sexuality and how a person come to terms with the demons he has inside himself. It was one of my favorite books of all time. It was intellectual in the sense that, the chapters were arranged in a non-conventional way, there was readers’ participation on the matter, which I found cool and very engaging.
2. Tim Horton’s Steeped- A book you read on the go, that you come back to again and again

I’m choosing Harry Potter series (which I have yet to finish haha, I’m already on book 4 so fret not) Harry Potter feels like home and childhood so it will be the book that I go back to over and over again.
3. Meyer Lemon- A tangy, fast-paced read. Gone before you’ve fully savoured the flavour.

I’m choosing The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn, it was super short read, it was over before I could say “what the fuck” haha. It was so good I didn’t want it to end.
4. Chamomile Lavender- a relaxing, calming late night read

This is A Love Story by Jessica Thompson is a read that would make you feel relaxed and calm. I reread few of its chapters whenever I have the chance. It was one of my  favorite books of all time as well. The writing was just really good!
5. Lady Grey- A smooth, subtle, classic book, perfect for a serene winter morning

Because I am not so much of a fan of classic books and there is no winter here in the Philippines (don’t worry I try to read as many as I could, but is done sporadically over time, I could not bring myself to binge read classics, let’s be honest here I have a very short attention span) but I am choosing The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was subtle to me until the ending happened.
6. Orange Pekoe- A popular novel that everyone’s read

Hmm, this one is hard to answer, there are so many popular novels that everyone has read, but I’ll go with Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, I have not read it, oops! But I just got this nice purple leather-bound from Barnes and Noble and I can not simply wait to read it!
7. English Breakfast- a British classic

It would be Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, because it is the perfect embodiment of a British Classic.
8. Canadian Breakfast- a title that tastes a little like English Breakfast, but read’s like the New World (an early Canadian-or American-work)

Oh men I don’t have an answer for this, so I’ll be skipping this for now. I’ll get back to you guys once I have read one.
9. Green- A healthy book that feeds your mind.

I would have to choose How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran, it taught me a lot of things about feminism.
10. Iced- a sweet summer treat, brewed for the lazy brief days of summer.

So for this category I am choosing poetry books by Lang Leav. It was subtle and sweet, but sometimes can be a little heartbreaking, perfect to read lying on a hammock under the beautiful palm trees.

 

So there you have it guys, if you are interested in doing this tag feel free to do so! 🙂 See you next post!

Mug and Tea Cup Collection

 

Heyya! So I have been a little missing in action here. Life happened to me and I was too caught up with too much decision making my barely adult self could hardly keep up. So there’s that.

But I’m back, hopefully with a lot of blog posts. I need to make a review for two books, and do some tags. So I’m taking it one post at a time. Bear with me. (This is me stalling, haha)

I have wasted a good amount of time on youtube watching people’s mug collection and I was so addicted I had to make one, at least in blog form. Aside from books, well duh haha, I collect mugs and teacups. It was only recently where I decided to collect mugs or tea cups from countries/places I’ve been to. So here are some of them.

1.

Got this big ass cup from a thrift shop (wag-wagan or ukay ukay in Baguio.) One for me and for my best friend. We were on the hunt for vintage stuff and we stumbled upon these big cups with the word CAPPUCCINO written on it. It was super cheap! We got them for Php50.00 each or 1$. We immediately used it the next day, don’t worry, of course we washed them. Haha. I got a lot of questions from my instagram friends where I got them, so here! 🙂

 

2. 

So while my sisters are being the “basic” tourists buying mugs from Starbucks (I’m pretty sure you are all aware of it), I had my eyes on this huge mug. I got them from Macau when we went there last year. I love the details of it, a painting of some sort of the The Venetian. I got it for 60 HKD.

 

3. 

 

This is actually a gift from my dear friend Jovel of travelthrubooks on Instagram, please give her a follow. The mug says If you think reading is boring, you’re doing it wrong. Pretty much sums up what I say to non-reader friends. Haha

4. 

This was sent to me by Pia of Cozy Daily  (they also have a Society6 account) and I super love it. Been abusing this one, how can you not, it is so cute!! Bring out your inner Harry Potter fangirl with this rad mug!

5. 

Another mug I love so dearly. This was sent to me by Nikki of Alice.In.Wonderbookland on Instagram. You can order here. This mug was the pure definition of myself on any given day. Haha

 

6. 

This one right here is another gift from Arra or arrabelreads on Instagram, give her a follow. This was the mug that I always use, basically my favorite. So whenever one of my siblings uses this, I go batshit crazy, especially when I am about to make a hot coco and this favorite mug is being used by one of them. How could they! Haha

7.

 

So this cutie is a gift from my sister. I love it so much that I barely use it, afraid that I might accidentally break it, you have no idea how clumsy I could be. So I just take it out for special occasions, or for whenever I am feeling fancy. Haha. How could you not adore such beauty.

 

There you have it my mini mug and tea cup collection. Expect a lot of this in the near future, as I already made a vow to buy one from places I’ve been to. And no don’t expect those overrated Starbucks mugs in here, nope, that’s not happening. Haha!

Have a great day guys! 🙂

Best Opening Lines

Do you buy books solely because the opening sentence really got you? That the moment you read it, you just knew you are in for a great surprise or for the best reading experience. It could be the most weird, the most relatable, or just plainly gut wrenching that you just could not pass up the great opportunity of reading that book and experience all “the feels”. Sometimes the opening sentence itself can make or break a book, it sets the mood, gives out expectations. It is the magic that will attract you or the curse that will make you hate the book, yes by just some play on words. Opening lines will always be a hit or miss. So here, I will share with you some books I have read that has the best opening lines. Enjoy!

1. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

“I didn’t stop giving hand jobs because I wasn’t good at it. I stopped giving hand jobs because I was the best at it.”

2. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

“I was raised to marry a monster.”

 

 

3. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“Is today a good day to die?”

4. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

“THEY SAID I MUST DIE. They said that I stole the breath from men, and now they must steal mine.”

5. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

“Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.”

6. Winger by Andrew Smith

“I said a silent prayer.

Actually, silent is probably the only type of prayer a guy should attempt when his head’s in a toilet.”

7. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

“Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.”

8. The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher

“I am Olivia Kaspen, and if I love something, I rip it from my life.”

9. Memories of My Melancholy Whores

“The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin.”

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.

 

So there you have it, I hope these opening lines will give you the extra push to read these books! What are your favorite opening lines! Let’s make this a tag! Tagging whoever wants to do it! 🙂 Mention me so I could check out all those amazing opening lines! Have a great day you guys!

NY Times By The Book Tag

 

This tag has been going on the booktube community, and it piqued my interest. And because I don’t have BookTube channel, I am doing it again in blog from. This tag was originally created by Marie Berg on Youtube.

So let’s begin, here are the questions:

1. What book is on your night stand now?

Well, books actually. I am simultaneously reading four books now, one in ebook form hahah I know what have I gotten myself into? The physical books are: A Clash Of Kings by George RR Martin which i’m already 312 pages in. I find it a little slow-paced as compared to Game of Thrones. Second book is Practicing Misis by Rosan Katlea Reodica a book written by a Filipina, which I am really enjoying, super funny and informative! Third book is Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, I am already 32 pages in and I am enjoying it so far. I have heard nothing but great things.

2. What was the last truly great book you read?

Oh, this is hard to answer. But I’d have to go with Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, oh how I’ve missed Palahniuk’s writing. I think I have established the fact that Chuck P is one of my favorite authors of all time. So this comes as a no brainer, I have loved Fight Club a little too much, its concept is twisted yet very addictive! It is full of testosterone, which is fine by me, most readers are opposed to books with too much masculinity in it, for lack of a better word. But as for my case, I really enjoy books with such themes and with an abundance of testosterone.

3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

I would choose Pablo Neruda, his life seemed to be a really interesting one, I would like to know the person he was thinking about when he was writing majority of his poems.

4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Hmmm, I don’t think there is a specific book that someone will be surprised to see on my shelf. I read a little bit of everything, but because I had to choose maybe you will all be surprised to see the book American Gangbang by Sam Benjamin. Basing from the title itself, you pretty much know the rundown. It was a memoir about a guy who dreams to make quality porn films, trying to make a difference in the said industry. It could be pretty graphic, but I tell you, the writing is really impeccable, it was flawless. I wish he would write a novel, because I will surely read it.

5. How do you organize your personal library.

By authors, sometime by height. Hahah I don’t know. My shelf is pretty messed up right now.

6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

The book I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around yet is Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I’ve been meaning to read any Ernest Hemingway, and I’ve been told it is best to start with this book, but I couldn’t bring myself to crack open the spine and immense myself in his writing. Soon, though soon.

I feel embarrassed never to have read would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, yep you read that right. I have not read an Austen book, ever in my life. Well, I never claimed I have, so… I will remedy that soon, I promise.

7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

For me it is the Selection series by Kiera Cass, I never say this a lot, because I truly respect people who enjoyed them. But the series just wasn’t for me, I found the characters too weak and whiny, the plot too mediocre and just too predictable to a fault. So yep, I don’t want to use the word hate, but it is so close to that. So sorry to big fans. I know we vary tastes in books. I respect your tastes, and please respect mine.

The last book I put down without finishing is Behind Your Back by Chelsea Cameron, I love NA, but this specific book, aint doing it for me. It’s going on in circles, and I just grew tired with all the nonsense, in my defense I was 65% or so, and I thought to myself if it continues to be this boring at that point, then I don’t know what could be its saving grace. I never DNF a book, I don’t want to make it as habit, but this book just brought our that side of me.

8. What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I love stories with angels, or FBI agents or marines, captive-captor, any of that and Im sold.

I stay clear from horror stories. I tend to have nightmares. I’m a baby deal with it. haha

9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Hmm, I would suggest Woman Alone and Other Plays by Frana Rame and Darlo Fo, presidents should read more feminist themed books, not that I am insinuating something. haha

10. What do you plan to read next?

After Im down with all the books on my night stand hahah and the binge reading of NA I am planning on, I’ll be reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It is about damn time.

 

Yay! I’m tagging dear friends to do this tag:

Cath of To All The Books Ive Read Before

Jenny of Jayne V Books

Elena of The Queen Reads

Janna of BibliophileMom

Pearl of Bibliopearl

Bea of Confessions of a Pinay Bookaholic

 

If you want to do this, then consider yourself tagged! 🙂

25 Bookish Facts About Me

 

It’s almost 2 am here and I cannot bring myself to sleep. You know, one of those nights when everything that happened to you three years ago all suddenly came rushing in. Yep. So instead of wallowing to some nonexistent dilemma, let me put this time into a good use.

I have seen a lot of booktubers do this 25 Bookish Facts About Me on their respective channels, I am sorry I haven’t done enough research as to who really started it (i’ll include it and give credit once I have learned about it), so I thought why not do it in a blog form?

These facts may not be as surprising as you all may have expected, but come on humor me on this one. Pretend it interests you. Haha

1. The first classic I have read was The Last of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. and I completely forgot what it was about haha.

2. I prefer hardbacks, but dang why are they so expensive?

3. I am addicted to Bookstagram. Yep give me a follow hahah @nerdytalksbookblog hashtag shameless plugging haha

4. I take bookstagram seriously, hahah, what with all the props I need. Haha. I kid you not, I take a lot of time at the home & decor section of H&M or any home & decor section of the mall just to find some cutesy stuff I could throw in as props. My super best friend and go to place for “props” nowadays is Japan Home Centre or Daiso where everything is P88 or 2$. From chopping board, to cute kettles down to clear teapots. I could spend hours in that place.

5. While we are at the bookstagram topic. I usually take pictures around 3-4 pm. I loved the lighting, that faint yellow glow, au naturale lighting is the key to a bookstagram worthy photo. I use the app Snapseed to edit my photo and VSCO cam to apply filters. I even bought the paid filters. Go back to fact 4, I take bookstagram seriously. haha

6. I never dog-ear a book or highlight one. I use sticky tabs before, but not anymore, it was time consuming to put tabs, and kind of kill the moment especially when I am already engrossed by what was happening in the book I am reading.

7. I have a lot of bookmarks, and yes I try to use every single one of them. I have a different bookmark for different books, your argument is invalid. haha

8. My favorite genre is Fantasy and Romance.

9. I was once addicted to Sweet Valley High. Elizabeth and Jessica yay!

10. I love poetry books, especially when it is about love, life and death.

11. I dream of writing my own poetry book someday.

12. Tom Hardy and Kit Harington are the only ones I picture as book boyfriends. Hahah no matter what was the description.

13. Love triangles are the bane of my existence.

14. I have a hard time reading SciFi books, definitely not my cup of tea. But I’m trying. I loved These Broken Stars, so that’s a start right?

15. My most read book is This is A Love Story by Jessica Thompson. 

16. I don’t like ARCs.

17. I never join the hype, save for some exceptions. I let it die down before I pick up the book.

18. I love books with angels in it, or marines!

19. I love secondhand bookstores! Who doesn’t?

20. There is no such thing as having too many books. Do you agree or do you agree?

21. I stopped reading in ebook form. My eyesight suffered tremendously. But I am planning to get a Kindle haha, what a contradiction.

22. I look at my shelf and smile. The first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. 🙂

23. I get too emotional when reading. I think of the characters for days on end.

24. I roll my eyes pretty much all the time when reading a very annoying character, and there maybe some pulling out of hair too and occasional muffled scream of frustration. I swear I get too animated when reading haha. I am truly a sight to behold. And don’t start with me with funny books being read in public, you will definitely think I lost it.

25. Lastly, I never liked people who book shames. What do I mean by this, these are the people who judge you by what you read, or have not read. I mean, read and let read guys. If the person likes Fifty Shades of Grey, then let them be and leave them the hell alone, don’t tell them what to read and what not to. But then, I don’t like people who claims to be at the upper echelon because they have read a certain book and so on and so forth, acting like they are the superior of all races, no, that’s not cool either. Be kind to new readers, you were once a new reader too, you definitely know how it felt.

So that’s just about it. Who wants to be tagged? Come do this with me!

I’ll be tagging a few friends. 🙂

Bea of Confessions of A Pinay Bookaholic

Cath of To All The Books I’ve Read Before

Jenny of Jayne Vs Books

Elena of The Queen Reads

Pearl of BiblioPearl

 

Hope you’ll have fun sharing bookish facts about you guys!

Til next time, and I’m still not sleepy. Ugh