Xiamen Tour 2016 Experience

Hi guys!

We know that we've been gone for quite some time (jk) not just quite some time, we've been inactive for three months! We're really sorry for that but it's because we went to Xiamen, China! We went there on March 31 and came back last week! Pretty crazy, but we really did stay there for that long. It wasn't just any other tour, it was a study tour. You might think that that wouldn't be fun at all, but it was actually a really great experience. We got to familiarize ourselves with dorm life, being independent, wandering around a foreign country on our own, making new friends, conversing with others in a language you're not great at, and much more. Although it could get tiring and a little stressful at times, it was certainly an enriching experience.

Audrey: On my first day there, I remember thinking that the campus was huge and that I'd get lost in it everyday. I also remember being really exhausted when I got there after waking up having gotten nearly no sleep, and as I placed the luggage by my bed, I instantly flopped down onto the mattress covered in amusing green sheets that reminded me of green tea or matcha ice cream. I regretted that. The mattress was very thin, therefore I, jumping onto the bed, expecting it to be as bouncy as my bed back home, was thoroughly disappointed and also in pain. I also remember having this bruise on my hip because I was clumsy and had fallen, and it made sleeping on that bed seem like torture. Nevertheless, I grew used to the dorm beds, and they became the most comfortable thing I could find in China. It wasn't long before I started referring to my dorm room as "home", and to me, it really did feel like it. My dorm room inevitably became my home in China.

Even though it was a study tour, it was one of the best trips we've had! Studying wasn't stressful there and honestly you don't have to take it seriously haha. It's so fun because there's a lot of free time wherein you could just go out with your friends and go to the night market, cafes, restaurants and mall nearby!

One of the best parts of the tour was meeting new people! We met a lot of new and awesome friends there. Like seriously it's heartbreaking that we had to separate and return to the Philippines! This was truly an unforgettable experience!

Here are some of the pictures we took! :)
Performance day :)

Roomie :)

Umbrella dance x Fan dance

Signs Tea at Laughings Cafe :)

Wuyishan Adventure Day 2 :) 

At a milk tea shop located in the night market 

Wuyishan Day 1 with my roomie :)

Xiamen Buddies

Feeding pigs and monkeys at an amusement park :)

Room 104 ever

Beryl's best friend HAHAHA sorry Andrea

At a random temple :)

Heading back to the campus

Beryl, Nadine, Audrey and Andrea

Dress day at SM :)

Zhongshanlu with roomies (with a cameraman HAHA)
Our campus

Another gorgeous temple

Just a little Xiamen culture

Day 1 antics

Drinking one of the many milk teas I've had during my stay

Sunset in Xiamen

Shopping at Zhongshanlu

This cute little flower shop at Zhongshanlu

So cute, right?

What I do every break: take selfies, lots of them

Enjoying ice cream from this chemistry themed shop

River rafting at Wuyishan

Another one of the many temples we visited

A maze on water

Audrey's Wushu teacher

Eating Japanese food in China because why not?

Xiamen in our hearts

We've had a lot of experiences in Xiamen that are so meaningful and can't ever be fully expressed in photos. This has honestly been the best summer we've had, and the most memorable one. It felt like the trip was over way too quickly, but in that short span of time, we've experienced so much, learned so much. Xiamen will forever be in our hearts. 


Hey everyone! Along with our inability to post lately, we also haven't been able to read books or partake in blog tours, cover reveals, etc. This is not something that stems merely from irresponsibility or lack of time; it also comes from a lack of motivation. Reading is something that we've been neglecting for a while now, and it can be obviously seen from the lack of book reviews and all. This is why we just wanted to inform you all that there might be a lot less blog posts about books here for a while. We've been stuck in what seems to be a book rut. Nothing seems to pique our interest for long enough, and from that, we've lost motivation. This doesn't mean that this blog will stop being updated or that there will be no more posts about books. We will all try and start getting back to reading and hopefully begin to put up book reviews and get back to the same blogging frequency we've had before, but for now, we will be posting a different type of content. Geeky Chiquitas has always been a blog about all aspects of our lives, not just books, so now we're going to bring in the 'our lives' aspect of it all. We are sincerely sorry for not being able to keep up with the book blogging, but we hope that you all continue to read our blog. Thank you guys for all the support we've received from you until now, and we promise to make our content worthwhile. :)

-Geeky Chiquitas x (Kimi, Beryl, Audrey)

Guest Post: Dane Cobain on How My Book Blog Helps Me to Keep Up With Current Trends

It's always a great idea to get to know more authors and their insights! 

Since we believe that creating a book blog has benefited us in many ways, we would like to encourage you to create one yourself. We'll be handing the baton to Dane Cobain, who is not only an author but a book blogger as well, to show you his perspectives on book blogging. 

How My Book Blog Helps Me to Keep Up With Current Trends

Hi, folks! My name’s Dane Cobain, and I’m the author of a book called No Rest for the Wicked, as well as the proud owner and operator of a book blog called SocialBookshelves.com. In fact, that’s what I’m here to talk to you about today!

One of the perks of owning a book blog is that you get sent a lot of freebies – in fact, I’ve been offered free train travel and two nights in a 5* hotel in York so that I can cover York Literature Festival, and I’ll be talking about that a lot more in the coming months.

As a writer, it’s actually an invaluable source of inspiration, because I get sent books that I just wouldn’t usually buy. I’m a big fan of a lot of old authors, and so I could quite happily only purchase books from before I was born without being too upset.

But owning a book blog means that I get sent all kinds of stuff, from contemporary thrillers to children’s books, non-fiction and even erotica. One time, someone sent me an erotic novel which was customised to feature myself as the main character, and it was actually pretty good. Maybe not one to read on the bus, though.

If I didn’t receive this constant stream of contemporary work by the publishers and publicists that I work with, then I wouldn’t be able to compete with those same writers in the crowded marketplace. Plus, it’s a constant flow of new inspiration – literature is like a pool that we all swim in, and I find that the best thing to do is to just jump right in by reading any book that takes your fancy.

As a reader, I don’t confine myself to individual genres – in fact, that’s kind of what I’m like as a writer, but as a reader it’s even more noticeable. I don’t think that there’s a single genre that I wouldn’t be interested in reading, as many of my PR friends have found out.

So if you’re looking to be a better writer then you should work on being a better reader, too. Think about setting up a book blog – it’s a lot of fun, and you’re guaranteed at least one reader because if you do, I’ll check it out myself!

No Rest for the Wicked: Synopsis

When the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.

Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.

The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.

When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

BOOK IN REVIEW: Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black, JustineLarbelestier, and More

7171748As I promised, here's the second part of my boom review for Zombies vs Unicorns!

The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund

This particular story strikes my interest because it portrays unicorns differently from the usual. When we say unicorn, we typically refer to a majestic creatures with magic and healing abilities. We also think sparkles and rainbows, but here, the unicorn is just an animal. I love the way Diana talked about unicorns, completely turning them into creatures of her own making. She places a twist in the typical unicorn tales and created a story that is truly unique. The unicorns in her story are still magical creatures, but they do not heal or find virgins, instead, they are deadly creatures with a poisonous horn that is treated like any other animal that poses danged to the human society. This story adapted the unicorn tale into something that is a bit more plausible today without losing that magical touch. Diana made a story that didn't feel like she was talking about mythical creatures. It was more about the heroine struggling with her religion, the views of society, and the caring for a baby unicorn even though the unicorn species had done horrible things in the past. I believe that she has done a great job in writing this story and although I wanted her to explain further the events that lead to Wen's cousins' deaths and the actual killer unicorn, Peterfreund has already done a great job writing this and creating a familiar yet completely different world.

Inoculata by Scott Westerfeld

Inoculata is probably one of my favorite stories in this entire anthology. I found myself hanging onto every single word written by Westerfeld. From the very start, I found myself enraptured by this book. Reading a book that turns the typical zombie plot into something very different gives me happiness. I don't know exactly what it was about this story that I liked. Maybe it was the slightly twisted heroes and heroines. Maybe it was the interesting in-between zombies. Maybe it was the interesting portrayal of the human's desperation to survive even in the dreariest of times. It was certainly a tale the piqued my interest from start to finish, and although it wasn't very long compared to some other stories, it definitely created impact. To be honest, it felt more like an excerpt of a really long book because this story has so much potential. The author could have made this a full-length novel and I would read it. 

Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot

This story. OMG, this story. I love it from the bottom of my heart. It's not because it's hauntingly beautiful or deeply moving, but because in its simplicity, it was able to bring out and address something that I think is really important while keeping it light and sparkly the Meg Cabot way. The sheer fabulosity of Princess Prettypants partnered with the sass of our heroine, Liz, and her best friend, Alecia, who can stand up for herself when she needs to despite being homeschooled and naïve create the best trio I have read about in a while. Not everyone will find anything special in this, but I did. Reading about the strength of women brought together while fighting against assholes will never get old for me. It brings me joy from my very core. Add in an impossibly sweet guy, and you've got a perfect teenage girl read that is unrealistic but completely satisfying and delightful. Not everyone will like it; I'm sure, but I did and that's what matters.

Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare

For me, this story was kind of meh. I mean it was interesting and nice, but it was also somewhat lacking. The story follows a rather typical storyline where the man who is currently in power wants to keep the throne so when it's time for the rightful ruler to step up, the man murders them in an elaborate ploy. I feel like a lot more could be done with the story though since the portrayal of zombies here is very interesting. It was, well, I don't know... Just kind of missing something. It needed more impact more elaboration. One of the interesting things in this story was how the dead and the alive were somehow united because of their rulers, one dead and one alive. Imagine what she could do with that. She could have explored the oddness and complexity of that relationship, the relationship between a zombie and a human. She could have shown a little bit more of life afterwards. I just feel like there could be more.

The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey

This story explores a concept of an atypical unicorn. What we see here is not the type of unicorn that we always hear about. It's not the majestic creature or the one that's all sparkles and rainbows or the one that makes everything it touches wonderful and magical. One of the reasons why the unicorn here was so different was simply that it was actually a pretty bad unicorn. When I say 'bad', I'm referring to the unicorn itself. I mean the unicorn was basically a horrible being that is far from being that beautiful creature we know of. Instead, the unicorn here was greedy, weak to its vices, and most importantly, a murderer. Even so, it was a creature that needed love. The unicorn was sort of like a lonely and immortal serial killer. It was a unicorn that sought love in all the wrong places, yearning to feel that rush and relief when they find someone who needs them and then takes their life. It's so incredibly screwed up, and that's just so fascinating. I never expected to read something like this when I picked up this book and first flipped its pages.

Prom Night by Libba Bray

Being the last story in this anthology, I had very high expectations for Prom Night. Libba Bray did not disappoint. Even in a post-apocalyptic setting, Prom Night is more about how life just goes on. This story showed its readers how humans, especially the youth, tend to continue and enjoy life even at the most depressing of places. Through all the stories about death or finality, this one was just a refreshing end that hints at continuity. It's an ending that gives us more possibilities than conclusions, and I think that that's actually a really good way to end an anthology like this. It's haunting but also hopeful, and I, for one, thought that the ending was beautiful. I think that Prom Night by Libba Bray is the perfect ending to a good anthology. It doesn't seal everything up in a neat little bow; instead, it lets the reader think of what's to come.

Zombies vs. Unicorns is an anthology that I believe is very unique. The concept itself is something that I don't think I could've though of in a million years. Reading this was highly enjoyable since if had a good mix of humorous and haunting. I also believe that the difference in writing styles of the authors is something that makes the comparison/ argument between zombie team and unicorn team even better. With the different writing styles and different themes that the authors had, readers get to see so many more sides to myths that have had set characteristics to them. There were some stories I enjoyed more than others. There were some stories that dragged at some points, while others needed to be longer. It's far from a perfect anthology, but I had fun with it. It's very easy to read, and it quickly captures its readers. It's a fresh, fun, and witty book that I can definitely say is ome of a kind.

So what did you think? Are you Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

BOOK IN REVIEW: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Pages: 306, Paperback

Summary (via Goodreads):

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

It's a bit difficult for me to start this book review because I don't know what I should say first. There are a lot of feeling involved in this book, and I'm not sure I can put them to words. Confess is a rollercoaster of emotions from the start to the finish.

Colleen Hoover begins the story with 15-year-old Auburn's boyfriend dying, a scene which immediately alerts the readers that this book is not gonna be fluff and sunshine. Not at all. Afterwards, the reader is taken to the current Auburn who is trying to make a living after having just finished college. Now, I thought this book would be your typical love story, maybe just a little bit sadder, but it was so much more than that. To be honest, even if the book was centered around romance, it wasn't the romance I was into—it was the raw emotion being brought out. There's just something about the pain inside the protagonists that you just know are utterly real. The writing brought out all of these perfectly despite having a simple and direct style. It shows us that emotions aren't always complex; in truth, the feelings that hit you hardest are those that every human knows of, those that are simple and basic, but still every bit as felt if not more.

Our heroine, Auburn, is not just your average protagonist. She is so incredibly strong, and she feels everything on a much deeper level than an average human, which I guess is why this book brings out so much emotion. She's someone who is mature enough to know what she wants, smart enough to know what to do, and strong enough to do what is right, all of which are qualities that make me admire her greatly. It took me a while to warm up to her because when the story opens, I just thought she was too young to feel that way, and when she found Owen, I felt like she felt too strongly about him as well. However, that's the type of person she is, and I grew to appreciate that, especially nearing the end of the book where a bunch of stuff just went down, and we get to see how her brain works in ways that make you admire her. I wish I could detail to you all this 'stuff', but I'm afraid I'd spoil everything so I'll leave it to you to read this book and get what I'm saying. 

I thought I would hate Owen when I read the first chapter that was written in his POV. He seemed a bit too forward and a bit too structured. Reading further, I got to see more of Owen's motives and his situation which makes me realize that even that structured, stiff feeling now has a meaning to it. It's not directly said in the book, but it was something that I realized practically just now while I'm recalling everything that happened. Owen is someone that has been through a lot. He knows the right thing to do, and he does it. That's something that I find admirable about his character, how he knows when he's in the wrong, he's knows when he isn't to blame, and he knows how to be selfless for the people he loves. It frustrates me that I can't say more because I have a lot of feelings that I can't properly get out, but I really don't want to spoil anything. OMG why is this so hard? (OMG, comment below if you read the book and got that). ;)

Colleen Hoover did a magnificent job of creating two unique characters that might as well be real. They aren't your typical protagonists, mainly because of their experiences and how they react to things. Although the Auburn x Owen pairing didn't bring me the feels or excite me all that much, I think they're good together. They deserve each other as well with all the hardships they've been through and all the crap they've put up with, these two incredibly nice people just need to get together and have a date or something.

With love stories nowadays, you tend to have the same people recycled over and over again. Now that sounds completely off right now, so I'll rephrase it. With love stories nowadays, authors tend to write about characters that are just the same, no matter how unique the plot may be. You could finish one love story, then crack open another romance novel, and you'd feel like you're reading about the same people, just with different names. That's what I love about this book. I think the characters are very human, and being human is what makes them different. They're not unbelievably odd because that's not what you need when you want to have realistic characters, you just have to have them be human. It's hard to explain, but I think you would be able to understand my point.

I think I've raved too much at this point, so I'll bring into light a couple of things that I do have complaints about. All of these are mostly at the ending, honestly. For such a cool and imaginative concept, the resolution was a bit cliché, and everything seemed to fit in too perfectly. I guess you could look at it two ways: you could say it was fate, or you could say it was pushing it. Either way, it seems a bit too perfect to have everything tied up that neatly, especially with all the ups and downs 
leading up to it. I'm a bit grateful that it had that ending because I'm not sure my heart could take it, but I think I'd be happier with a more painful and more impactful ending since they gave me pain for nine-tenths of the book, why not just ultimately leave me a mangled, crying mess? I mean, if you're gonna write a book like this, it would fit the aesthetic better to have a sort-of messy ending, if you get what I mean. I liked the plot, the execution, the art, and the tiny confessions fitted here and there, but I think we could squeeze a bit more from the ending, rough up the perfectly tied bow that locks the whole story into place.

All in all, I really liked this book. Although it's a bit heavy, it's easy to read, and I would recommend it to people who are interested in meaningful stories that delve into topics much deeper than romance. I will definitely be checking out more of Colleen's work though. Tell me what you think of this book! If you have any book recommendations, leave a comment down below, as well!

Book in Review: Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier, and More PART I

Authors: Holly Black (Editor), Justine Larbalestier (Editor), Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Diana Peterfreund, Carrie Ryan, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Meg Cabot, Kathleen Duey, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Maureen Johnson, Margo Lanagan
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2012
Pages: Paperback, 418 pages

Summary (via Goodreads):
It’s time to decide: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn? A must-have anthology with contributions from bestselling YA authors is now available in paperback!
It’s a question as old as time itself: Which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? This all-original, tongue-in-cheek anthology edited by Holly Black (Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie), makes strong arguments for both sides in the form of  spectacular short stories. Contributors include bestselling authors Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan.

Discover how unicorns use their powers for evil, why zombies aren’t always the enemy, and much more in this creative, laugh-out-loud collection that will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

I don't often read anthologies. This is one of the first ones I've ever read. Since anthologies are quite new to me, I don't exactly have a method on how to review them, but I thought that the best way to do so was to give a brief review for each story. This way, with all the stories laid out in front of me, I can objectively decide if this anthology in its entirety was a good one. However, my review ended up becoming incredibly long, so I decided to split this up into two parts. The first part is this one which has a brief introduction and reviews for the first six stories. The second part will contain the other six and my thoughts on the anthology itself.

Before I start, I'd like to tell you a little about how I came to read this particular book. I have actually  known about this anthology for a really long time but could never find it in bookstores. I recently went out with my friends and by some sort of miracle, I found this. I immediately bought it, and I am so glad that I bought the physical copy because the illustrations are simply gorgeous, and I don't think an ebook would carry the same feel. I love the aesthetic, the black cover, the font used for the names of the authors. I just really liked the appearance of the book. Of course, appearances alone are not enough, so below are the reviews for the first six stories. :)

The Highest Justice by Garth Nix

Being the first story in this anthology, The Highest Justice basically sets the mood of the book. Though I do not think it is the best work, it did a pretty good job of drawing the reader in, encouraging them to read more. The story in itself wasn't very special. It was the basic storyline of evil king and a mistress wanting the throne while the princess is on a mission to make things right. However basic the storyline might be, the element of a zombie queen and a unicorn gives it a wonderful twist. It had the right amount of thrill and originality to keep you interested, and its ending was satisfactory. Although I thought the motives of the princess and the zombie queen were odd, and I felt like the story was a tad bit rushed, I will cut it some slack, for it is just a short story and the oddness manages to solidify Nix's writing style.

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson

I did enjoy the concept and the thought put into this book, which is what kept me reading it. Alaya Dawn Johnson shows a different kind of zombie to her readers, and I found this kind of zombie utterly fascinating. I was disappointed though because I had hoped for more explanation about Grayson's condition in the scientific side. The story was also highly improbable, or at least it seemed improbable to me, because I just couldn't wrap my head around the thought of someone being able to sacrifice their parents for someone who is not only a murderer but also someone who was never close to them in the first place. I felt like the story was too short for the concept it tried to bring to life. I wanted it to talk about what had happened to Grayson. I wanted it to talk about Jack's dad's job and motivation. I wanted it to give more of a backstory on who Jack was or what he had gone through. The plot was good, but the execution was lacking.

Purity Test by Naomi Novik

I liked this story. It wasn't a very serious one, and among all the other stories, this definitely gave off a lighter, more humorous vibe. Since the aim of the story was to be somewhat comical, I will judge it by its success in that area, and I do think Novik managed to achieve that. The story was different; the heroine, although she acted unrealistically and her backstory needed to be expounded upon, was funny and nice; the portrayal of the unicorn was cute. All in all it was a light and happy read that was more modern than old time-y.

Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan

This was a story that really stood out to me. I thought that the story was not only unique, but also written really well. The heroine was given sufficient backstory, and the zombies were thoroughly described. I liked how in just a few pages, Carrie Ryan managed to create a world of her own, complete with 3D characters and interesting backstory. I really appreciated the ending as well because it could have gone another way, and I would completely hate the story, but it went the way it did, and I really appreciated that 'twist'. That statement would probably make more sense if you've read the book, but that's the best way I could describe it.

A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan

This was a slightly disturbing story. It was good and beautifully written, but also contains a topic material that is not often discussed in literature. I like the way she described the romance, the childbirth and more. I'll be honest about how I had to reread a couple of parts because reading it the first time left me quite confused, but as I finished the book, everything made perfect sense. The twist didn't surprise me, really, because I had already been expecting it, but the revelation was built up well, and the sequence of events plus the complex layers of writing complimented the story really well.

The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson
The Children of the Revolution was a story that really creeped me out, in a good way. It's a really memorable one as well. I liked the fact that the zombies were related to a certain religion which gives us the motive, however crazy it is, to create these zombies. Sofie was a character that I couldn't really relate because following your stoner boyfriend to go work in England, opening the gate and going near sketchy children, and trusting a crazy actress, are just things that I don't think anyone would do in a million years. Sofie came across as stubborn, shallow, and also quite stupid. Even so, I can't say I disliked this book because with the amount of stuff going on, and the constant action and fast-paced events, there was barely any room to think of the characterization. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and even if it's lacking in some areas, it's still worth reading and very entertaining.

The second part of this review will be up on February 10, guys! What do you think about this book so far? Have you read it before? Leave a comment below!

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2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Kimi has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.