February Greetings + January Wrap-up

AHH! A new month has come which means January is over!! I honestly can't believe how 2016 is going by so fast. I feel like I just made our Happy New Year post yesterday. Anyway, this month is love month! Valentines Day is coming up which means there will be Valentines posts. Also, this month, we started to organize our posts to make sure that we will be able to post around 3-4 times a week! We've been brainstorming a lot to make good content! Today, we just want to share to you some things we're looking forward to this month, and last month's highlights!


1. Kimi went to Hong Kong!

2. Audrey celebrated her birthday for four days!!

Audrey: The day before my birthday, my friends and Beryl prepared a surprise party for me. We were actually supposed to finish up a project, but the friend who was giving me a ride there brought me to a restaurant instead, and as soon as I walked in, I was greeted with a slice of cake and a birthday lunch/dinner (linner?). On my actual birthday, I brought, like, six boxes of pizza and celebrated with my Pep Squad teammates. The day after, I had training again, and when we were getting ready to start jogging, our cheer captain came out with a makeshift Puto Cake and a bunch of letters signed by the entire squad. On the fourth day, I celebrated with my family and ate really good chocolate cake. It was seriously the best birthday ever!!!

3. Beryl tried the Cotton Candy frappe from Starbucks!


1. Chinese New Year is coming up!

2. Long weekend!!

3. Zambales Trip with Fambam and friends!

4. Valentines Day!!! (jk)

Honestly, we don't have a whole lot planned yet for February. That's really the incredibly short list of what we have for now, but we're gonna make the best of what's to come and enjoy the month. We'll blog about anything we find fun, promise! We hope that you enjoy your February, and whether or not you've got a special someone this Feb, remember to have fun and love the person that matters most, yourself. :)

Blog Tour: The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos (REVIEW + PLAYLIST)

Synopsis (via Goodreads): All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life. 

Rebecca Podos' debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us - the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

Author: Rebecca Podos
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary
This is another book that tackles important topics well. It gives us a glimpse of mental illness and shows us the impact of a broken family to an impressionable child. Being someone who has never experienced any of these things, I thought I would find it hard to empathize with this character, but it was surprisingly easier than I thought. I don't think I will ever be able to completely get everything that Imogene is feeling, but I feel as if I understand at least a little bit more now that I've read this. A large contributor to my being able to empathize with Imogene was that the story portrayed her not only as a girl in search for her mother but also as a troubled high school student who had a lot on her plate. 

It took me quite some time to get into this book since I always seem to have troubles getting into a story and for some reason, I had even more trouble getting myself invested in this book. Even so, I had a feeling that this would be a good book, and I'm glad I continued to read it. As I read more of the book, I realized that I really appreciated the way Rebecca Podos wrote. Her writing is beautiful and has depth to it. It truly seems like you have a work of art in your hands. It's clear and doesn't have something extremely different about it, but at the same time, it has this complexity to it that really hits you. I can say with full conviction that the author really does know how to use her words to create the effect and tone she wants to achieve.

The Mystery of Hollow Places gives a great portrayal of relationships, not just within the family, but also between contrasting yet complementing friends. I found it fascinating how she could write about these relationships so well, letting the readers feel everything deeply and getting all the points across. She writes about good people who have their flaws and are growing in many ways.

If I have one thing I would say against this book, it's that I felt like it needed a little more. The build-up was excellent, but the ending seemed a little lackluster. It was not a bad ending, far from it, but with the writing skill shown in the entire book, I believe she could have made it more impactful than it was. Even so, it was an excellent novel that was beautifully written, and I would highly recommend it. :)


Blog Tour: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk (REVIEW + PLAYLIST)

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV's Teen Mom.
People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. 
Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?
This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn't reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny--perfect for fans of Katie McGarry's novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

Author: Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Fiction, Retellings

A story about love, decisions, teenage pregnancy, and mythology all in one! It's amazing to think about all of these things being written in just one book. Reading this book, I found it a bit difficult to get through Karma's narration because it would start a rage-filled fire inside me, not for Karma, but for Danny. If this was any other book, and if the circumstances were different, I would have definitely hated Karma, but I understood the situation, and I just couldn't blame her. At the same time, she was also very nice and very talented. She was the type of character who had just been screwed over by life (or by Cupid's son), and you would just want everything to get better for her. 

What I like about this book was that it touched on sensitive topics that most authors don't dare to touch on or cannot pull off well. Teenage pregnancy and the unhealthy relationship between Danny and Karma are two of the issues Gorzelanczyk addressed, and I believe she did do them justice while also presenting to us a strong but realistic heroine. Another thing that I would commend the author for is being able to write about this topic without having to make the story dark, depressing, or sad. It was easy to get through it, and she was able to create an impact without having to change her tone in writing. 

One of my favorite things about this book was that the romance was not pushed to the forefront of everything. Because this story has a lot of important themes, I would absolutely hate to see the relationship drama get in the way. It was a beautiful addition to the story, but it never took the limelight away from the parts that really mattered. I also found it great that readers can also see the strong female bonds here. Oftentimes, female bonds in YA is shown as petty and shallow rivalry, and to see that in this book, the author created a female support system that really meant well and was essential to Karma's development.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. I believe that the author was able to portray the more sensitive issues accurately for the most part and was able to write a brilliant YA novel that deviated from the norms. It's a great book that's not too heavy and still very meaningful.


Blog Tour: A North Shore Story by Dean Economos

For the teenagers of Chicago’s North Shore, everyone has something to hide.
In a daring attempt to impress the elusive Sophia, Michael makes the biggest decision of his life, stealing over a hundred thousand dollars from St. Theodore Community Church.
That same night, Nichole’s insecurities are finally forgotten with a drug she soon won’t be able to control.
When Michael makes his getaway, he sees his friend Joseph cheat on his girlfriend with the priest’s daughter and knock over a candle that sets the church ablaze.
As the consequences of that night unfold, Joseph is blamed for the fire and the missing money. Can the teenagers of the North Shore confess their vices to help their friend? Or will their greed, infidelity and jealousy change all their lives forever?
An Interview With Dean Economos 

1. Give us some background, what did you do before writing this book?
I went to college at Loyola University Chicago and received my undergrad in Biology and a minor in Biostatistics. I then went on to receive my M.B.A. from Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

2. What were the events that inspired the book?
The book was inspired by different experiences growing up. Those key events and experiences were then intertwined with the more current events of our church’s media coverage.

3. Some parts of your book are things you actually experienced, they must have stuck with you for you to want to write about them years later. Did you always know you wanted to tell these stories?
I kind of had a premonition growing up that these events would be shared. My friends and I would always say we should’ve had a show like Laguna Beach, or something of that nature. So, in a way, I did think these stories would be told in one way or another, I just didn’t think I’d be the one to tell them.

4.  Like other stories of turmoil, we are drawn to A North Shore Story because we can relate to the characters. Can you elaborate on what is relatable about the internal struggles of the book’s characters?
 What makes these characters extremely relatable to readers are the confidence and relationship problems each one of them goes through, whether it be friendship or romantic.
 Some characters go through other internal struggles such as underage drinking, drug use, and sexual peer pressure. I think that everyone at one time or another has been in one of these circumstances. What was your favorite part of writing this book? Since this was my first book, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I was supposed to have a template or well-thought out plan before writing anything. Instead, I jumped into it head-first and developed the story as I wrote. I feel that doing it this way allowed myself to be more creative and not stick to a “script” per say. I was even surprised at what I was able to create.

5. What inspired you to write this story so many years later?
What originally got my gears turning was the media’s coverage of our former priest and his embezzlement of church funds. I then started to think about our time growing up at our church and the events that our friends and I experienced. After pinpointing key events, I began formulating the plotline which now makes up A North Shore Story.

6. You know some of these characters in your waking life. Who was the most exciting to write? How have they changed because of what happened?
The most exciting character to write about was definitely Kate. Kate, and the girl who she’s based off of, has a very exciting personality and a distinct attitude. When our friend read the story, she loved how she was portrayed in the storyline. I think that she, along with the rest of our friends, have changed in that we’ve learned how to tackle the problems that Kate and the rest of the group are dealing with right now.

7. Tell us more about your personal part in the stories. Are you in the book? How did you change your story for the fiction rendition?
 I am in the book. With my character, and with all the characters, I left elements of real life in the story and in the personality, but overall the fundamental qualities of each character are unique from their real life counterparts.

8. What strengths did you and Alyssa bring to the table to help one another write the book?
I felt more connected to writing the actual story. I was able to figure out and connect the different subplots of the book, while Alyssa is very familiar with novels and creative writing. With those skills, she helped make the book come alive.

9. Do you anticipate a sequel? I’ve thrown ideas around in my head, and I’ve talked about it with Alyssa. We’re open to it, but haven’t started writing anything yet

Social media handles:
  • Hashtag #northshorestory
  • @DeanEconomos, @lyssa_machinis, @prbythebook

Dean Economos
Alyssa Machinis

GCQ Travels: Tokyo and Osaka, Japan

Hi guys!

So we just got back from Japan a few days ago, and we wanted to share to you our experience! We compiled all our days there in a video, and we'll be sharing that to you through this post! It's actually funny how we arrived there on Christmas Eve and got back to the Philippines on New Year's Eve. We stayed in Japan for 8 days, but our first and last day were mostly spent on the airport.

The Japanese culture and people came as a shock to us because we weren't used to the atmosphere of the place. Everyone was very kind and helpful, not hesitating to approach you and guide you through everything. There were times when we really couldn't figure out how things worked there, mainly because of the language barrier and unfamiliar area, but people, even strangers that just happened to be around at the time were quick to approach and help out. Their disciplined and respectful nature also stands out. The streets are quite clean, their lines and systems are orderly, and their employees are cheerful and polite. It really is a great place to visit, even if you're new to traveling. Everyone is just really nice, and you'll find yourself enjoying the gorgeous scenery and colorful, lively culture.

I (Beryl) hope you guys enjoy the video especially since it's my first time to make something like this!!

Happy New Year 2016 + Feature Follow Friday!

Happy New Year from Geeky Chiquitas!

It's also our 2nd blog birthday! YAY!!!! So HAPPY 2nd BLOGVERSARY TO US TOO! :) It's been an awesome year, and we are grateful for all the blessings that came our way last 2015. We are looking forward to the new year and we wish everyone endless blessings their way!

For the New Year, I (Kimi) spent it having a Star Wars marathon with my family, then drinking and counting down with my cousins at their house after. I always love New Year's Eve because everyone seems to be in such a good mood and there's a heavy inflow of text and chat messages wishing a happy new year! It's definitely a great time to be alive! :D Hee-hee. For today New Year's Day, I woke up at around noon already and we're continuing our Star Wars marathon - now at Episode 6! Then we're probably going out later, and if we have time, maybe I can go swimming!

Beryl and I (Audrey) spent New Year's Eve at the airport actually. We woke up at around 8:00 to get ready, flew to Korea at 1:30 and arrived at around 4:00. From there, we had a connecting flight at 7:20 and when we finally got back home, it was already 11:30. The minute that the clock hit 12:00 to symbolize the coming of 2016, we were in line waiting for a taxi to take us home. There were fireworks, however the ceiling was quite low, so we couldn't really see anything. That didn't stop me from taking videos and pictures of what I could and greeting everyone on Snapchat. We got home really late, and when we finally got to sleep, it was already 2:00 am. I actually woke up at 8:00 because for some reason, I couldn't go back to sleep, but Beryl woke up at 10:00. For the rest of today, well, we'e probably staying home eating pizza and ham. It sounds pretty sad to start off the year like that, but trust me when I say that after all the stress from projects that we still have to do and traveling, staying at home like this is a blessing.

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2015 Reading Challenge

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