Until November || highly problematic

Title: Until November
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds
Genre: Romance
Category: New Adult/Adult
Series info: Book #2 in the Until series but can be read as a standalone.


Synopsis

November is looking forward to getting to know her father and the safety of a small town. After leaving the Big Apple and her bad memories for Tennessee, November starts working for her dad at his strip club doing the books. The one time she’s allowed there during club hours she runs into Asher Mayson. He’s perfect until he opens his mouth and makes assumptions. November wants nothing to do with Asher but too bad for November, fate has other plans.

Asher Mayson has never had a problem getting a woman, that is until November. Now all he can think about is making November his and keeping her safe. 

Warning:18+ sexual content and a strong Alpha Male.

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

To me, Aurora Rose Reynolds has always written problematic books. The degree of the issues in the books vary, though. The reason I keep going back to her books is because:

  • they’re easy to read. I usually finish her books in a day, if not a few hours.
  • they always have a happy ending so you don’t have to worry about the characters.
  • they doesn’t require much attention. If I just feel like reading to pass time without getting attached, her books are good for it.

But every time I read her books, I always get annoyed because of the characters. Until November is the most problematic book by Reynolds that I’ve read.

I re-read this book (yes, I re-read it) because I thought I liked it and I was in the mood to re-read an old romance book. Also, I frankly did not even remember that I had read it once until I saw that I marked it as read in Goodreads.* Now, I really need to write a rant review to get my thoughts out.

*Goodreads is honestly my saviour.

The Plot

The book follows November, a twenty-five year old woman who moves to Tennessee from New York after being assaulted near her apartment one day. And by assaulted, I mean she got beaten up. She moves to Tennessee to stay with her dad and to put distance between New York and herself.

Once her bruises are healed, she starts working for her dad. Her dad owns a strip club and she works the books to help. It is during her first visit to the club that she meets Asher.

Oh my god. Asher James Mayson. He is a jerk* right from the start. He snaps at November and they’re immediately on outs. The next time he meets her, which is a few weeks later, is at a place for the elderly. November became friends with Asher’s grandmother without knowing their connection and Asher doesn’t react well on seeing them together.

So November does what anyone in that situation will do. She quickly excused herself and left. BUT. Asher FOLLOWS her out and asks her out on a date for that evening. (Talk about hot and cold.)

This starts off their relationship in which Asher is like a steam roller going for what he wants without accepting a single “no” or argument. November argues at times but eventually lets it go. The book also has a small “danger” element to it to spice up things but it’s mostly about November and Asher’s love story.

Oh joy.

*I’m trying really hard to not use curse words.

What I liked:

  • I liked November.

Her character was developed well, we got small facts of her everywhere which made her real and wholesome. She’s a strong woman who didn’t have a good life until the beginning of the book. Her mum had kept her separated from her dad and never acted like a mother. November grew up with a neighbour and has insecurities because her mother.

  • I liked the families.

The families shown in Reynolds books always make me jealous. Asher’s family is huge and loving. November’s dad’s side of the family are also really good. I like that there is a heavy presence of family in this book. Books where family doesn’t make an appearance at all are weird.

  • The dog.

Beast is an absolute cutie. When Nivember was being attacked, Beast found her and attacked her attacker. He basically rescued her. November keeps him with her because he’s her saviour and they become fast friends. She speaks to him as if he can reply and dotes on him. It’s even better than Beast is a Great Dane who comes up to half of November’s height when on his four limbs. He often knocks November over in excitement.

What I didn’t like:

You might want to get popcorn and settle down for this one.

  • ASHER.

I just could NOT like Asher. You know those alpha male stereotypes in romance? Take ten of them and combine them into one character—you’ll get Asher. He’s such a caveman and an alpha male stereotype. He also becomes angry very fast. 0 to 200 in ONE second.

  • Asher did NOT let November make any decisions!

He literally just VETOED everything. If November wanted to do something which Asher didn’t approve of, he would just say no and not let her do it. He doesn’t have a right to say that, even if he were her husband he wouldn’t, but he acted like he was the boss of her.

November would STRONGLY oppose and argue but Asher would just argue more, without a legitimate reason, and won’t listen to her.

  • Asher curses in every single sentence.

I barely read any sentences where he did not use a curse word. He would use it literally EVERYWHERE. For no reason. I did not see any reason why he had to use expletives so much.

I use my fair share of expletives but not in every single sentence. Asher curses at everyone, for everything. He even curses at November.

I’ve seen many “alpha-male” characters who use expletives very freely but again, Asher uses way too much. It was as if that was one of his characters traits. Excessive use of expletives is not attractive. I tweeted this while reading the book because it was meant to make him more appealing. I don’t how that works.

  • Asher makes November agree with him by kissing her.

Consider a situation where Asher and November are arguing about November’s freedom (indirectly). Eventually, to end the conversation and win, Asher would kiss her with force and MAKE HER PLIABLE.

So basically, by the time they part, November is so filled with lust that she can’t think straight and can’t argue. Asher would then repeat his point, which is basically “no”/”you won’t do this”, smirk and leave.

IF THIS DOESN’T SIGNAL A RED FLAG, I DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL.

What troubled me even more was that November LETS IT GO. She doesn’t argue further, even after coming back to her senses!

I just… I’m so disturbed by how this is romanticized in the book. The fact that November’s basic freedom of choice is taken away again and again, and it’s sold as a romantic thing.

  • “Boys will be boys” is accepted and praised in this book.

Asher would curse, force November to not do something or do something, and would do whatever he wants without consideration of anyone else because “it’s for November”. And he GETS AWAY WITH IT.

He forces her to kiss him in front of her father and uncle, BEFORE THEY LABELED THEIR RELATIONSHIP, and no one says anything. He does this again in front of his mom, and nothing is said again. Everyone who is a witness just smiles knowingly and accepts it. How. Why.

The fact that Asher is like a steam roller, just going and taking whatever he wants i.e. November, is not questioned at all. The fact that he is jealous of every guy who looks at her, INCLUDING HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS, and literally orders her in front of everyone does NOT MAKE HIM THE PERFECT GUY. But all of this is romanticized in this book.

Everyone around Asher just smiles indulgently, even his mom. She’s like “that’s how Asher is”. I do not have words for this.

  • Even November’s dad didn’t protest or question much.

I found this even more disturbing. The fact that November’s FATHER, who is supposed to protect her and cherish her, doesn’t say anything when Asher literally forces her to kiss him. November’s father barely said TWO SENTENCES throughout the book about Asher bossing November around.

I’m sitting here, trying to process how did I ever like this book. Right now, my reaction is just putting my head in my hands and shaking my head.

Overall

What a WRECK of a book. I wouldn’t come back to this even if I was looking for a very easy read. I do not recommend this and I hope that, through this review, lesser people will romanticize this love story.

One out of five stars.
My rating: 1/5 stars.

The Hooker and the Hermit // refreshing read

the hooker and the hermit book cover

Title: The Hooker and the Hermit
Author: L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid
Genre: Romance
Category: New Adult
Series info: Book 1 in the Rugby series, can be read as a standalone.


Synopsis:

New York’s Finest
Blogging as *The Socialmedialite*
April 22
LADIES AND GENTS! I have an announcement!

You know that guy I featured on my blog a few months ago? The really, really hot Irish rugby player who plays the position of ‘hooker’ in the RLI (Rugby League International)? The one with the anger management issues, the body of a gladiator and the face of a movie star? The one with the questionable fashion choices leading me to ask whether he was the lovechild of a leprechaun and a hobbit? Ronan Fitzpatrick? Yeah, that guy. 

Well, I have a confession to make…

THE HERMIT

Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much.

THE HOOKER

Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite…

THE PLAN

When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together.

What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is?

my-review-graphic

This book had been on my To Read list for ages. I read the third book in this series The Cad and the Co-ed and added the first two books to my list but never picked them up until recently.

I was looking for some good and refreshing romance books because all the New Adult Romance books I’ve been reading lately aren’t that good. I find that a lot of books use the same formula of characters, plot and twists. They became very predictable and I didn’t like them much.

So I went through my to read list and found this one. And I got it immediately.

The Plot

Annie Catrel is a social media whiz and a secret blogger. She is popular with her real name as a very talented social media handler who can change anyone’s social image. But she’s even more popular as The Socialmedialite, her online persona, who sounds completely different than her real self.

Annie makes fun of celebrities and famous people on her blog, and how she does it is very entertaining. She writes a post on Ronan Fitzpatrick one day, completely oblivious to who he is. The funny part, though, is that he is introduced to her the next day as her new important client.

Ronan Fitzpatrick is a rugby player who is VERY popular back home. But after a recent stint where he beat up his teammate, his public image is in shambles. His manager decided to look for a team to revamp Ronan’s image, and introduce him to Americans. And Annie is brought in for the job.

Ronan and Annie have chemistry IMMEDIATELY. And Ronan pursues her the next second, oblivious to Annie’s alter ego.

I absolutely loved watching the two interact and come together. They’re very different people with other own issues who have a lot of chemistry and compatibility. It doesn’t hurt that the book is humorous and highly entertaining.

The Characters

Annie is a social media whiz who can turn anyone’s reputation into something else. Because of her talent, she’s allowed to work mostly from home which is perfect for her highly introverted self. But Annie also has another side.

When Annie blogs as The Socialmedialite on her blog New York’s Finest, she’s a whole different person. She’s confident, sassy, funny and entertaining. She’s also very popular online through her alias, but no one knows that Annie Catrel and The Socialmedialite are the same person.

I found Annie VERY relatable. I used to be very introverted like her and I found another side of myself through blogging. I used to find comfort in my anonymity then, as well, before I started using my real name and telling people I know in real life about this blog.

What made Annie an amazing main character was her charm. She has charm in SPADES. I immediately liked her. Her inner monologue, thoughts, actions, everything drew me in.

“Bollocks, bitches, and Battlestar Galactica,” I mumbled. I have a bad habit of mumbling curse words when I’m aggravated; honestly, I think I might have a mild case of Tourette’s. To soften the string of foul language and make me feel like less of a freak, I try to throw in a pop culture reference at the end. It usually works, but not today.” 

Ronan Fitzpatrick is used to being popular. He’s one of the best rugby players of his team and is very popular in Ireland. With the limelight, comes all the issues that he doesn’t care about. Ronan just wants to play the sport and not have to deal with maintaining his image, watching himself everywhere, and going to events.

It worked fine before but after Ronan pummeled his teammate enough to send him to the hospital? His image is in serious shambles. With the three month suspension period, Ronan comes to America to escape his problems. Specifically, his ex who cheated with the aforementioned teammate and the public only talking about his personal life.

Being in America isn’t a vacation, though. Ronan has to work with Davidson & Croft Media to fix his image and also gain popularity in America. Basically, the one thing he’s not interested in doing. But he meets Annie and his whole attitude changes.

Ronan is someone who takes life as it is and tries to make the best of it. He is headstrong, going for what he wants without reservations. I liked that while Ronan is headstrong and persuasive, he’s also attuned to the people around him. He is thoughtful and intuitive under the surface of confidence.

I found Ronan very entertaining as well. He has his own charm which makes me smile every time I read about him.

“I wanted to high-five the fuck out of myself then do a victory dance. But I didn’t, because, you know, manly.” 

Overall

I absolutely loved the book. The authors have written this wonderfully. I definitely recommend it if you want a refreshing romance that will make you laugh, make you swoon and that gives you all the feels.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

four stars
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10 things that make me pick up a book

Hey everyone!

There are many different factors that contribute to us picking up anything, be it clothes, books, stationary item etc. I never really thought of what makes me pick up a book until now. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is things that make you pick up a book and it made me sit back and think about why I pick up books. I’m really looking forward to reading other bloggers’ takes on this as well.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl.

The 10 things that make me pick up a book are, in order:

[1] The cover

Book covers make a HUGE impact on how we see the book. Whoever says that they never judge a book by it’s cover is lying. All of us like aesthetic and beautiful things, whether we want to be that way or not. At this point, I accept that book covers play a HUGE role in me picking up the book.

If the book has blue or pink on the cover, I’ll at least give it a second glance. If the book has a pretty font, I’ll consider it. If the book has cool art on the cover, I’ll pick it up.

The cover makes a lot of difference for the book.

[2] The author

I’m way more likely to pick up a book by an author who’s works I’ve liked or an author who is very popular in the book community.

I picked up My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella in the bookstore immediately even though I didn’t even know the book existed, nor did I know it’s synopsis. I bought the book because I know I’ll like any book by Kinsella.

In another instance, I had to choose between Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami and What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli at the bookstore one day. After a few minutes of deliberation, I went with the latter, just because I knew Albertalli and I’ve heard a lot about Silvera.

Hence, the author matters a lot.

lady midnight picture
I bought this because it’s my Cassandra Clare but it’s cool cover doesn’t hurt (:

[3] If it’s recommended by a friend/someone I share favourite books with

I always consider recommendations, especially if it’s a real life friend. Even if I don’t read the book immediately, I at least add it to my TBR.

The two people whose recommendations I take highly are Maiti and Nisha, two of my friends in real life. Maiti once recommended Every Day by David Levithan, which I hadn’t heard of, and I read it immediately. I really liked it! So yeah, I trust readers whom I’m close to.

[4] The hype

I don’t always fall for the hype, and even if I do, it’s not immediately. But I do try out the popular books to see what’s so great about them. I’ve read many great books this way, and I’ve also read books which I hated.

The hype is a funny thing. Sometimes I really wonder why everyone absolutely LOVE a book, and other times I totally understand and add to the hype.

In conclusion, the hype matters. If a book is really popular, I’ll at least see it’s synopsis in Goodreads.

[5] The Synopsis

This is obvious. It’s so low in my list because the synopsis isn’t always written well. I’ve seen a TON of romance books which have synopsis written like:

~name~
I saw her.
I loved her.
She broke my heart.

I hate such synopsis and it turns me off so bad. There are many books whose synopsis is just random sentences that don’t give any clue to the story. There have been several instances when the synopsis has turned me off the book.

Synopsis matters but only when it’s written well so that I know what the book is really about.

open book with tabs

[6] Reviews by bloggers I follow

I’m very picky about who’s opinions I trust, though. Only if there have been many books in common between me and the blogger do I really consider their reviews. Other reviews make a smaller impression on me. I actually check out the books on Goodreads and add them to my TBR if I trust the bloggers.

Bloggers who’s opinions I take into high consideration:

[7] Blog listables

This is similar to #6 but just a little different. I really like reading listables and usually get most of my TBR books from the listables. And by listables, I mean posts such as “My favourites books of 2018”, “My top 10 Romance books” etc.

No matter the blogger, I always like seeing their listables posts and check out books from the lists that catch my eye.

When I’m looking for listables, I usually just go through Top Ten Tuesday posts. This blogging meme is my favourite listing meme.

[8] Blurbs by other authors

If the book I’m considering has been blurbed by an author I like, I will at least read the synopsis and consider adding it to my TBR. My favourite authors will have great taste which matches mine, right?

I would immediately pick up a book if it has been blurbed by:

  • Victoria/V.E. Schwab
  • Penny Reid
  • Sophie Kinsella
  • Cassandra Clare
  • Colleen Hoover
A Darker Shade of Magic, and Warcross

[9] Negative reviews

Some times when I think the book is getting TOO much love and that it’s too good to be true, I look for negative reviews on Goodreads.

This actually makes a lot of impact on me. If the issues pointed out in the negative reviews won’t bother me, I go ahead to read the book. It has even happened that I’ve picked up books just because there are so few negative reviews, but strongly-worded ones, so I can see whether the negative reviews are right.

[10] If it’s on sale

This usually doesn’t influence me to pick up new books, but it has happened a couple times. I would only do this if there aren’t any books that I want on sale or if I have money to spare.


What makes you pick up a book? Do we share any? Tell me in the comments! Also feel free to link your TTT posts 🙂

Fake It Till You Break It // Can’t Wait Wednesday

Hey everyone!

I’ve never done a Can’t Wait Wednesday post because I usually just read books according to my mood. (I’m a huge mood reader.) But recently, an unreleased book caught my eye and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to share the books that we’re waiting for.

Fake It Till You Make It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

I found this book on the waiting list of a blogger (I forgot who) back in January. I just love the synopsis so much that I want this book RIGHT NOW. Since the time I found out about it, I’ve checked it’s release date at least 4 times until now.

Why does this book appeal to me?

  • It’s a hate-to-love romance!! It’s one of my favourite tropes!
  • The book has meddling moms. It’s always funny when family meddles in teenagers’ love lives.
  • It’s the first YA contemporary in SO LONG that has really appealed to me. The others that I’ve read this year have had a unique thing about each of them, such as focus on #BlackLivesMatter or autism. It’s been a while since I wanted to read a YA book just for the romance.
  • The story contains a fake relationship! Everyone knows how fake relationships end. It’s a trope and yes, I like it.
  • IT’S GOING TO BE SO CUTE I JUST KNOW IT AND I WANT TO READ IT RIGHT NOW.

Fake It Till You Break It releases on June 18th, 2019.

Is there any book that you’re waiting for? Tell me in the comments!

the Sunday post header image

The Sunday Post // Kdrama binges and busy schedules

Hey everyone!

It’s been SO LONG since I last posted a Sunday Post. I feel like I’ve got so much to say but also I don’t know how to even write it all anymore. It’s weird being back.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer to update our followers about our last week—be it about books, life or anything else.

Okay let’s start with..

My Internship

I got an internship in January through a friend of mine from school. It’s at a start-up called Open My Book. It’s a mobile-based lending library where we rent out books to people! We’re now on Google Play Store so you should definitely check it out.

Anyway, I’ve been really enjoying my internship. It’s a little time-consuming, with me doing something or meeting people from the team around thrice a week, but it’s rewarding. I’m learning things and I’m getting advice so it’s pretty cool.

It’s also really filled up my schedule. I’m quite busy nowadays, what with internship, this blog, my Instagram handles, twitter etc. along with college. But I like it! For the first time, I’m this busy doing productive things while also enjoying with friends, so it’s really nice.

My Reading

Hah more like my non-existent reading.

I get into a book slump every year at least once where I just don’t end up reading. This year it came pretty early. It’s all because I got a Netflix subscription and I’m bingeing on Kdramas like crazy.

Goodreads says I’m still somehow 2 books ahead on schedule for 150 books this year so.. I got time!

I also started reading On The Come Up by Angie Thomas yesterday at the bookstore while I was killing time before a meeting. I bought it because I trust Angie Thomas and I already like the book 32 pages in. Let’s hope it brings me out of my reading slump!

Kdrama updates

Yeah so I’VE GOT A LOT.

I watched My ID Is Gangnam Beauty, which I hadn’t planned on watching because I felt it’s controversial and doesn’t send the right message. Quite a few people told me to try it because they liked it so I did, and I actually liked it! It talks about a lot of issues such as body image, plastic surgery and the stigma that comes with it, pretty people privilege, beauty on the inside etc. I totally recommend it if you can handle the above topics.

I also watched The Girl Who Sees Scents. My mum was the one who showed me the trailer, actually! It came on her feed on Facebook and she called me over because I’m into Kdramas. It turned out to be quite good! I loved the beginning but I was disappointed in the last few episodes. The climaxes and reveals could have been executed in a much better way, in my opinion. I have mixed feelings about this drama.

I Am Not A Robot was the last drama that I completed. I finished it a couple days back. I absolutely loved it. While it has plot holes and some unbelievable things—more about human perception than the technology, I still really liked it. I loved the main characters and the plot was quite good. I recommend it if you want a funny and new drama to watch. It’s currently trending on Netflix.

Romance Is A Bonus Book is the ongoing drama that I’m watching. The drama’s last episode will be releasing tonight, in my time. I’m absolutely loving it because Lee Jong-suk is brilliant in it. He’s charming, adorable, and really attractive. I love his character in the drama. I also like the plot, which isn’t all that special, but it brings out feelings in me. At some parts the drama was quite slow but it’s not bad. I love that it’s mostly based in a book publishing company.

Mandarin drama

Netflix recommended Accidentally In Love and I thought it’s a Kdrama so I gave it a go. Turned out that it’s in Mandarin. The story looked pretty nice, though, so I continued watching.

It was really good until a little over halfway through the show. The last few episodes got really draggy. Overall, it wasn’t that great. The one thing I had a hard time with was connecting their speaking tone to the emotion that they’re trying to convey. The cast always spoke fast and, frequently, in high tones no matter what the situation was. I found it weird that they spoke the same way even when the emotions are different.

It was something new that I tried and it was okay. I probably won’t see another Mandarin show any time soon.


I think that’s all I’ve got to say this week? Honestly there must be more but my mind is full of the things I have to do today so I’ll end this post here.

How was your week? Any highlights? Tell me in the comments!

It’s In His Forever || short romance

it's in his forever book cover

Title: It’s In His Forever
Author: Shelly Alexander
Genre: Romance
Category: New Adult
Series info: Book 5 of Red River Valley series, can be read as a standalone.


Synopsis:

Red River’s most eligible bachelor has been keeping secrets…

Flight medic Langston Brooks has built a good life for himself in his hometown of Red River. He’s got it all—a close-knit group of friends and family, an exciting career on a life-flight helicopter, and ridiculously good looks that have made him one of Red River’s most eligible bachelors. The only thing missing is someone to share it with.

His secret lover for the past decade isn’t a forever kind of girl. Not with a tarnished reputation over something she didn’t do, and it’s still following her. Now that she’s brought an international winter sports event to Red River, it’s her ticket out of town. She can finally make a clean break as soon as she collects the nice payday that’s coming her way. The only problem with her plan is she’ll have to leave Langston behind, too.

After keeping their relationship under wraps for years—at her insistence—she finally breaks it off with Langston for good. Moving on alone is best for everyone, especially Red River’s sexy flight medic, who doesn’t deserve the baggage from her troubled past. When they’re forced to work together to make the event a success, can she keep up the pretense that she doesn’t love him anymore? Or will she finally give in and become his forever love?

Return to Red River–where the nights are cool and the romance is hot–in this sexy novella.

Find out who hot alpha flight medic, Langston Brooks has been seeing on the sly for years. After keeping their love affair a secret for a decade, will they finally get their happily ever after? 

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

Note: I received a free e-copy of the book in return for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own.

It’s In His Forever is a short book about two people who love each other but have kept their relationship a secret for over a decade.

Sandra has always been blamed for the con act that her father pulled before leaving town and she has lived with it without revealing the truth. She has never been trusted by the townsfolk due to that incident.

Sandra doesn’t want to reveal her and Langston’s relationship for fear that he will be treated with mistrust only because he is with her. Langston has always gone along with it but is now done. He wants to show off Sandra and his relationship—if people can’t accept it, they can look away.

I found the book unimpressive. The plot wasn’t special or specifically unique. I wasn’t intrigued by it and, hence, wasn’t reading the book with interest. As the book was short, I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters as well.

I also didn’t find much depth in the characters. I could describe the main characters in one line each, and that takes away any interest I could have in them.

Sandra was very boring. After all the amazing female leads I’ve read about, she falls very short. Sandra is stubborn about her decisions, refusing to budge, but I saw her give way easily suddenly. That completely turned me off. She wasn’t constant.

Langston was the typical charming alpha male who is loved by everyone. Langston was such a cliche and I could pretty much predict every move of his. I was never surprised and hence I never looked forward to reading more because I vaguely knew what would happen.

Overall

It was just okay. It was a short read with no highs and lows. If you’re invested in the series, you may like it, but I’d suggest skipping this one otherwise.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

What If It’s Us // sadly disappointing.

What If It's Us book cover

Title: What If It’s Us
Authors: Becky Albertalli, Adam Silver
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

Synopsis:

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

I was so looking forward to this book. I liked both of the authors’ previous works and couldn’t wait to see how their collaboration would turn out. It felt like the whole YA book community was talking about this book when it was announced, it’s that popular.

When I saw it in the bookstore, I immediately picked it up. In fact, I chose it over a Murakami book because I knew these authors and I thought I’d like the book.

HA. Let’s get to my thoughts now that I’ve finished the book.

My thoughts in a list, because lists are awesome:

  • I’M SO DISAPPOINTED, Y’ALL. I’m not kidding.
  • I expected so much from this book. Becky Albertalli plus Adam Silvera, two really good YA authors, collaborated on this. Of course I expected it to be really cute and make me love it.
  • While the book was cute in some areas, I was mostly bored with the book.
  • I liked the beginning of the book. Arthur and Ben’s meeting was super cute and I started shipping them immediately. I liked the book when they looked for each other, anxious whether their feelings would be returned.
  • When they finally met again was when my problem began.
  • About two paragraphs into their first date, I stopped shipping them. They did not feel like the same boys who had a connection.
  • After that my disappointment continued growing.
  • The biggest problem was that there was ZERO chemistry between Arthur and Ben. There was nothing. When they met again, I immediately felt the lack of it.
  • The reason I started disliking the book was because the two main characters were not right for each other.
  • The characters had too many individual issues, and they weren’t in the place in their lives to date, especially each other.
  • Ben had just broken up with his ex Hudson, and he hadn’t moved on yet.
  • Ben pursued a relationship with Arthur even though he wasn’t ready for a new relationship and THAT ANNOYED ME. That wasn’t right. Ben thought about Hudson a lot during that first date with Arthur.
  • Ben was also really sensitive about a few topics and became offended/upset easily. I didn’t like that.
  • Let’s just say that at that point, I was ready to dislike the book completely.
  • Arthur had his own issues but his were understandable.
  • I felt that Arthur was a pushover. He tried really hard to have a good time with Ben and put way more effort into their relationship.
  • I didn’t like the fact that he kept being optimistic about him and Ben, and that he gave Ben too many chances. Arthur never argued or fought. He kept giving.
  • Arthur was also insecure, but I completely understood that.
  • So basically, I didn’t like the main characters.
  • I didn’t like any of the supporting characters as well. I didn’t relate or connect with any of them.

Some miscellaneous points:

  • There were way too many Harry Potter and Hamilton references. I like fandom references in a book but that doesn’t mean that a huge part of the book is just references.
  • I know Harry Potter so I could at least understand references to that, but I was completely lost about Hamilton. It wasn’t a good move to connect many important parts of the book to references. I didn’t understand completely, and hence, I didn’t connect to the book.

In conclusion, I didn’t like most of the book. There were very few cute parts in between which made me smile, but I was bored for most of it. I took a long time to finish the book, I even considered giving up on it a couple times.

I don’t recommend the book, honestly. You may like it but I say skip it. I had wondered before how the book would turn out considering that the two authors have completely different styles (Adam Silvera—characters with layers and sad endings, Becky Albertalli—adorable characters and happy endings), and I’m sad to say that the result isn’t great.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? If yes, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments!

Songs on repeat header

Songs On Repeat // January ’19 edition

Hey everyone! We’re at the end of January, y’all. A whole month has passed already. I just took one day at a time and it’s been so long already. Is it just me who already feels like I’m letting 2019 go to a waste?

This month, I was listening to a lot of old songs on shuffle, not much on repeat. Which meant that I didn’t find many new songs. But I do have a few songs so let’s get to it!

(This post was actually supposed to go up 5 days back but I forgot to hit publish, wow. I’m noticing it only now.)

Bellyache by Billie Eilish

I really got into a Billie Eilish kick early in the month. While I was listening to multiple songs on YouTube, this one stood out. I love the lyrics and her dance in the music video.

7 Rings by Ariana Grande

I was obsessed with this song from the first time I heard it, not gonna lie. When I saw the trending hashtags on twitter, top 2 of which were #7Rings and Ariana, I had to listen to it and see the hype. And I totally get the hype.

Firstly, Ariana RAPS. Secondly, the lyrics are really good. Especially a couple lines here and there were great. Also the music video got me crushing on Ariana so hard.

Watch by Billie Eilish

This was the next song that I got obsessed with. I’m sure I’ll have phases where I’m obsessed with Billie Eilish’s songs one by one.

Pieces by Sum 41

I actually discovered this song through one of my friends a couple months back. I liked it then but I’ve been really loving it for the past few days. I have been listening to it on repeat along with Sea by BTS which I mentioned in a previous Songs On Repeat edition.

And that’s it from me this month! It’s only now that I realize that I barely listened to new music. Oh well.

What songs did you listen to on repeat? Are any of the songs I mentioned a favourite of yours? Let me know in the comments!

They Both Die At The End || hello sadness

Title: They Both Die At The End
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone
Goodreads

Synopsis:

On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but for different reasosn, they’re both looking for a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.

my-review-lightuptheshiningnightstars

I have got to say, the hype held true. I have heard SO MUCH about Adam Silvera that it is not even funny anymore. It’s as if I knew his books even without reading them because of all the talk.

I saw this book with a discounted price in a book fair that I went to, and I HAD to get it. Doesn’t the book sound absolutely fun?

Just kidding, I love sad stories.

The Plot

The book mainly follows Mateo and Rufus, who get a call saying that they will be having an untimely death in the next 24 hours. And then they freak out, as expected.

Through the app The Last Friend, they find each other and agree to spend their End Day together.

The book follows their entire last day through issues they have, memories they try to make and whatever else they encounter.

First of all, what a good concept. Death-Cast is a really intriguing idea. It would change the game and the way the world worked. Imagine if you had the chance to make amends with people, say proper goodbyes and fulfill at least one thing on your bucket list.

You would have a chance to work on the regrets and change things, at least a little.

I really liked the plot. It made a lot of sense and I liked how Silvera went about the book with the characters.

The book is told from multiple perspectives. We see mainly from Mateo and Rufus’s point of views but we also see small chapter of other characters. While it’s informative about the world and shows other perspectives, I did not like reading about other characters. It just interrupted in the main story and I did not care about them at all.

No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.

Mateo Torrez

The title tells the ending. I thought I was ready for it, but I wasn’t.

I did like how the ending went though, writing-wise. My heart was broken by the end, BUT IT WAS GOOD.

The book also ended quite abruptly, as you would expect if the character died. It left me at a note where I was in a book hangover. I couldn’t stop thinking about the book for the next day, at least.

The Characters

Yo so I LOVED MATEO AND RUFUS.

I did not really like Rufus in the beginning, was just okay with him, but he grew on me! I like that. He had character development through the book and I liked him more and more.

Rufus is the guy taking pictures of everything and posting them on Instagram. He literally documented their End Day on his Instagram. Capturing moments is his thing.

Mateo is a precious cinnamon roll. He sticks to his dad and best friend, does not interact with anyone else and prefers books over the outside world. As a result, he has practically no experiences or memories of the outside world.

He’s shy, heavily introverted and TOO GOOD. He’s too pure for life. He cares about everyone, stranger or not. Mateo even buries a dead bird lying on the street because he feels bad for the bird.

Mateo and Rufus are complete opposites and they helped each other grow on their End Day. They influenced each other and it was really cool to watch.

Much like Rufus can’t expect me to be instantly brave, I can’t expect him to be instantly generous.

Mateo Torrez

I also quite liked some of the supporting characters. Namely Lidia, Mateo’s best friend, and Penny. I just loved Lidia’s infant daughter Penny. She’s so cute and lovable. Aaah.

Rufus’s foster brothers were really cool as well. The three are a unit and it was a proper beautiful friendship.

Overall

I really liked the book. It made me think, gave me feels, was a new concept and didn’t disappoint. Apart from the extra point of views from random characters, I liked everything.

Definitely recommended if you’re hesitating to pick up this book due to the hype. It’s really good, y’all.

four stars

Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

I love lists. I feel like it’s been forever since I made lists on my blog, so it’s high time to make one.

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl where we get topics for every week and make bookish lists on them. This week’s topic is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List.

All my recent additions are because I’ve seen then being raved about in wrap-up blog posts of 2018, and I’m super excited to share it with y’all now. So let’s get to it!

1. 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

180 seconds book cover

This book is about Allison who always keeps people at a distance but in an event, when forced to interact with social media star Esben, she begins to open up.

This book is about transitioning and opening up so I’m really interested in it. It sounds nice.

Add it on Goodreads.

2. Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister

cinderella boy cover

I love retellings based on Cinderella. I love them. I’ve read so many books and seen most of the movies based off of Cinderella. So it’s not a surprise that I immediately to my TBR.

This book is about a gender-bent Cinderella story. Declan, transformed into Delia, enamours Carter. Carter, who is the most popular boy in school.

It sounds so cool and I can’t wait to read it.

Add it on Goodreads.

3. Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips

sometime after midnight cover

#AlexFromTarget meets queer Prince Charming in this glittering romcom following a teen music prodigy and the handsome socialite who unwittingly turns him into an internet sensation.

Doesn’t that sound so good?! This just grabbed me. I added it to my TBR immediately.

This is also based on Cinderella so.. I’m sold.

Add it on Goodreads.

4. The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

The Accidental Beauty Queen cover

This about a pair of twins who enter a beauty pageant. Ginny drags reluctant Charlotte into the pageant and, due to an allergic reaction, Ginny convinces Charlotte to switch places with her.

Now Charlotte has to compete truly because Ginny wants to win the pageant, and needs Charlotte to do it for her.

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

Add it on Goodreads.

5. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

the friend zone cover

This is a funny romance book and after The Kiss Quotient and The Hating Game, I’m all for similar books.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

Add it on Goodreads.

6. One In A Million by Lindey Kelk

one in a million cover

This is another lighthearted romance.

It’s not only romance but also follows the self-discovery of the main character as she also gets to know more about herself.

Annie Higgins has given up on love: she’s too busy trying to get her tiny business off the ground. Infuriated by the advertising agency across the hall making fun of her job, Annie accepts their crazy challenge – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just thirty days.

Add it on Goodreads.

7. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

i owe you one cover

This was added to my TBR purely because it’s by Sophie Kinsella. I’ve read most of her books and have liked all of them, so it’s not a question of whether I’ll read her new book. The question is just when will I read it.

This book shows Fixie and Seb who meet as strangers and end up exchanging IOUs. It sounds adorable and I can’t wait to read it.

Add it on Goodreads.

8. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Rosie Lim

natalie tan's book of luck and fortune

This book follows Natalie’s return to her hometown after her mother’s death. She’s been estranged with her mother for years because her mother did not support her choice to become a chef.

Natalie finds out that she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant and sets about to turn it into a success.

This was added to my TBR purely by recommendation. Let’s see how it is.

Add it on Goodreads.

9. Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

fix her up

This, I found in a blog post of a blogger’s top 10 books of 2018.

This book is a contemporary romance and it sounds really good. It looks t be humourous and I think I’ll really like the main character.

Georgette and Travis decide to pretend to date in order to shock her family and get him a new job. Now, obviously they’re going to fall in love. I like the trope.

Add it on Goodreads.

10. Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Fake It Till You Break It cover

This is another fake-dating-to-love trope. And this sounds particularly adorable.

Mia and Jake’s moms are best friends and for all their lives, their moms have shipped them together. It’s gotten to the point that Mia is unable to date anyone else because her mom drives the boys away.

Mia and Jake decide to fake date and stage a really bad breakup. That ought to put a stop to their mom’s plans.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

Add it on Goodreads.

What about you?

What books have you added recently to your To Be Read list? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Talk to me in the comments!

I Believe In A Thing Called Love || such a cute book

I believe in a thing called love

Title: I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone book
Goodreads

Synopsis:

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

my-review-banner

I got onto a Kdrama kick about a year back and while the obsession levels have gone down in the past few months, I’m still fond of Kdramas.

So when I read the synopsis of this book, I was hooked in. After keeping it in my TBR for a while, I finally read it and I’m so glad I didn’t leave it idle in my TBR.

the plot

I love the concept! Desi Lee takes inspiration from the Kdramas that her dad loves to make a formula to love. And to be honest, it’s accurate! I’ve noticed all those deductions of hers in all the Kdramas I’ve seen.

She believes that by following the formula, she’ll win the heart of a new boy whom she’s heavily crushing on. Plans and schedules have always worked for her, so it should work even to get a boyfriend.. right?

All the Kdrama references gave me life. I’ve seen most of the Kdramas that are mentioned in the book so it made it all so much more relatable. The book is a YA version of romance Kdramas, in a sense. It has all the elements and is super cute.

the characters

I really liked Desi Lee. She’s endearing, adorable and relatable. She has worked hard to get to her current position in school and to achieve so much. She has everything—except a boyfriend.

While a little misguided at some points, because some parts of the steps to love were kinda out there because Kdramas are dramatic, she tried her best.

The relationship between her and her dad was adorable. I liked their relationship and their dynamics.

The book is majorly about Desi but we do see quite a bit of Luca, her crush. I liked Luca. He seemed to be the perfect counterpart for Desi and I could see them together right from the beginning.

Luca is a calm and collected person, which is exactly what I picture someone like Desi to be with. Desi is, while organized in all parts of her life, actually a mess. She’s awkward, clumsy and not suave at all. So Luca and Desi were perfect for each other.

what I did not like

Kdramas are dramatic. That’s how they are. The “steps to love” is actually ridiculous in real life. Desi did not think about skipping some questionable steps and just went for it. I didn’t like that she wasn’t rational sometimes, even though it made for good plot.

At some point, the author gives a spoiler about a really good Kdrama, Descendants of the Sun. I hated that because if I had read the book without seeing the Kdrama, I would have been pissed. So if you’re going into the book and you love Kdramas, please watch DotS first so you don’t get spoiled.

overall

The book was like an adorable mess. It’s chill, entertaining and promises a good ending.

I recommend it to Kdrama lovers and if you like adorable YA books.

three and a half stars

My 2018 Reading Highlights

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time. At least my finals are done! It’s why this post is super late, so humour me.

I love doing wrap-up posts. I used to do monthly wrap-ups as well but eventually I didn’t have time for it.

The Annual End Of Year Survey was created by The Perpetual Page Turner and it is the best way to look back on the year on both reading, blogging and other areas.

Okay let’s get to it!

2018 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 146 (not counting rereads)

Number of rereads: 13 (I thought I had reread a lot. Huh.)

Genre I read most from: Romance (Not surprising at all. I seemed to gobble up the romances.)

Best In Books

1. Best book you read in 2018?

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, hands down. It was too good. The perfect end to the brilliant The Dark Artifices trilogy.

the dark artifices trilogy books

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love but didn’t?

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. So much disappointment.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. In a bad way.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

I have three books for this.

  1. Radio Silence by Alice Osman.
  2. I Was Born For This by Alice Osman.
  3. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare.

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

Again, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. Special mention to Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi, which was also pretty good.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2018?

  1. Sally Thorne, author of The Hating Game.
  2. Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient.
  3. Alice Osman, author of I Was Born For This and Radio Silence.
the hating game

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Honestly, I didn’t get out of my comfort zone.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/un-putdownable book of the year?

Wildcard by Marie Lu! What a ride.

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I already reread this one as my first read of the year. It’s Wall of Winipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi! It’s beautiful.

restore me

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Hazel from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. I loved her so much.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

Radio Silence by Alice Osman. I loved the writing, I loved the vibe and it was perfect for the story.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

I Was Born For This by Alice Osman. It’s largely about fandom culture, which I can totally relate to. When I was reading the book, two of my friends had just become die hard fans of BTS so I could very easily draw parallels between them and Angel from the book.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner! I loved that book so much and I can’t believe I waited until 2018 to pick up more of the author’s books, whom I first found several years back.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

I thought I was the smartest person in the whole world. But now… I’m just… when you get to this age, you realise that you’re not anyone special after all.

Radio Silence by Alice Osman

I related a lot to this quote because it accurately sums up the transition from high school to college. It shows that what we believe might not be true and how we feel when we realize the truth.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Shortest: Son of Dawn by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, which is a short story in the Shadowhunters world.

Longest: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas.

open book with tabs

17. Book That Shocked You The Most?

Wildcard by Marie Lu. I could never have predicted the way it would go in the whole year of waiting for it to release.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Josh and Hazel from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren! They’re the cutest.

19. Favourite non-romanic relationship of the year?

All the non-romantic relationships in Queen of Air and Darkness. Especially Christina and Emma. I loved ’em all.

20. Favourite book you read in 2018 from an author you’ve read previously?

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover. It was really interesting. I couldn’t stop reading it.

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, etc.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. It was nice but I found it a overrated. I didn’t find it as good as the hype led me to believe.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

Matt from Dating-ish by Penny Reid! I loved him.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I LOVED IT.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Queen of Air and Darkness. I can’t explain without spoiling things. (I promise I’ll try to mention books other than this one from now.)

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I was smiling only few pages in. It was too good.

me smiling next to stacks of books teehee.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

Again, All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover. It made me feel a lot.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting much because I like the author duo’s other works, but I just didn’t. It turned out well though.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi. I think Mafi just concentrated on how to break our hearts as much as possible in this book.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan. It was very vivid with the images and the inclusion of Taiwanese myths. It was definitely unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. It made me really mad until half the book when I finally decided to just skim as fast as I can and get done with it.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

Paperbackdreams on YouTube. I really like the way she talks in videos. It’s entertaining.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

My review of the Kdrama While You Were Sleeping. For my first Kdrama review, I did really well! For later posts, I usually referred that post to see the structure I used.

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018?

I’m not able to embed the Instagram post for some reason so here’s the link.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?

I didn’t participate in any events, sadly.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Being featured in the Bloggers’ Spotlight back in August! My review on While You Were Sleeping was featured amongst the top posts and I was honoured.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Keeping up with it, especially during the later half of the year when my schedules and planning started slipping through my fingers. Although it did mean that I concentrated on academic things, and I’m glad because they turned out really well.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My January 2018 bullet journal setup post!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My post on my experience with Burn The Stage, the first BTS movie based on their worldwide Wings tour. I worked really hard on it, and I’m quite proud of it, so I’m kinda disappointed it didn’t get as much love as I wanted it to.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

A book club of bookstagrammers in my city. I joined and have been enjoying interacting with them all. I’m actually meeting them this Sunday to discuss this month’s book pick which is Pride and Prejudice.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I only completed by Goodreads reading challenge which I had set to 150 books. I had also joined in on the Commenting 365 challenge but couldn’t keep it up after September. But I lasted that long so I’m happy.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi and The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I’ve been seeing these two books everywhere and really want to read them this year.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare which is the first book in a new trilogy. I’m so excited for it.

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. This sounds so good! The main character is non-binary and the plot sounds really cute. I cannot wait.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi. After the heartbreak that was Restore Me, I can only hope that Defy Me goes easier on my heart (although I’m expecting otherwise).

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

On reading, I want to read more thriller books. I’ve been reading way few of these, and have bought quite a few thriller and mystery books so that I get back into the genre.

On blogging, I want to do more personal posts, bullet journalling posts and other random posts. I also really want to bring on guest bloggers because I used to love the content they brought. It’s refreshing and inspires me as well.

laptop, notebook and coffee.

What about you?

How was your 2018? What were your favourite books? Have you set any goals for this year? Tell me in the comments!

Best Reads of 2018

I should probably name this blog post “top ten books of 2018” so I’m restricted to a certain number. But I also really want to shower aprreciation on all the books I loved, you know?

We’re almost a week into 2019! How many times have you written 2018 instead of 19 while writing the date, yet? I can proudly say none, especially considering I had my finals. I was very conscious about the right date.

I had wanted to this post earlier but considering my finals, and also being sick ‘cuz of food poisoning a few days back, I couldn’t. But better late than never, right?

I’m just looking at my Goodreads list of 2018 reads and mentioning books I loved. I’m not choosing based on my rating but based on how much I remember and still like it. Let’s hope this post doesn’t become too long because I read 158 books in total, and there were many good books.

From Lukov, With Love by Mariana Zapata

from lukov with love cover

I found this book in the New Adult book lists on Goodreads and I LOVED IT. I like a good hate-to-love trope and this book kicked up my standards for the trope. Good characters, great plot and even better setting.

The book is not only about romance but also about character development, the female lead questioning herself, working hard to achieve her dreams while navigating personal relationships. The lead meant more to me than the plot.

If you like hate-to-love romances, I definitely recommend this book.

4.5/5 stars | My review

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

the loneliest girl in the universe cover

This is now my favourite Science Fiction book. It’s way too good. It delved into a whole new situation, which is hard to find when genre is not fantasy. I almost did not pick it up thinking that it’s another Sci-Fi book with only teenage romanc, but I’m really glad I read it.

We follow Romy who is alone on a spaceship, hurtling towards another galaxy. She’s been alone for years, and constantly longs for company. One day she receives a message about another spaceship for the same destination, with advanced technology, which will soon catch up to hers. Suddenly, she has hope to meet and talk to someone!

The ending plot twist took me completely off-guard, and it couldn’t have been better.

4/5 stars | My review

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the hate u give cover

I cannot believe I waited a YEAR to read it. It had buzz before it’s release itself and I, not completely buying into the hype, added it to my TBR and didn’t get to it until 2018.

If there’s one book which is worth the hype, it’s THUG. If there’s one book recommendation you take from me, let it be this.

This book talks about the black lives matter movement, follows a black teen who witnessed her best friend get shot by a police officer, who walked without charges, and the impact of racial discrimination on her community.

The book, set in America, is very profound and gave me insight into so many things that I did not know before.

5/5 stars | My review

American Panda by Gloria Chao

I completely forgot that I read it in 2018?? The year was so long, oh my goodness.

I love books which follow characters juggling between cultures, and this was a perfect example of it with an Asian teen in America.

I related SO much to Mei. The familial expectations, strict parents, academic goals etc plus wanting freedom to like who she wants was all spot-on. I’m not Taiwanese but I can relate to some of it because I’m Asian.

I really liked the fluffy contemporary. It’s a good read.

4/5 stars | My review

Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner

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I am forever fangirling about Lisa Gardner. This was only my second book by her but I was already a stan.

This book BLEW ME SOCKS OFF. I kid you not. The mystery and the thriller was too damn good. I could not guess a single a plot line or twist. It kept me on the edge.

The book starts off with Nicky who gets into a car accident while drunk and all she can think about is Vero, her little girl. The only problem? She doesn’t have a daughter, nor is there any young girl named Vero in that area. It sets off police investigations and her husband getting questioned, which brings up obvious gaps in stories.

If you’re looking for a good mystery novel to read, I definitely suggest this one.

5/5 stars | My review

The Wall of Winipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

book cover

It’s honestly surprising how much I love this book. I’ve reread it so many times. My last reread was a few days back, in fact!

I think the fact that this book had clear relationship development, which was slow and realistic, sealed the deal for me. Relationship development is such a turn on for my romance loving self.

I found it right after I jumped on the Mariana Zapata train when literally everyone compared all of her other books to this one, holding this as the pinnacle of standards. And I am not disappointed in the least.

It didn’t feel that great in my first read but the more I think about it, and the more I reread it, I love it more. That’s the best thing you can look for in a book.

5/5 stars

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

the night circus cover

I cannot describe what a ride this book took me on.

I had heard of the hype and eventually bought the book because the cover was too beautiful, and I fell in love with the story inside as well.

It’s everything I love in one. It’s fantasy, magic, love, hate-to-love (sort of), A CIRCUS, AN AESTHETIC, an in-book fandom and great writing!

It’s a book which you can keep fangirling about. I did not stop talking about it for DAYS.

If you’re into fantasy and magic, I suggest this book.

4/5 stars | My review

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

book cover

This is one of my top 5 reads of 2018.

The book has an autistic female lead who wants to become comfortable with intimacy and hence hires an escort to help with that. The male lead is a very handsome man who has taken up escorting to earn fast to pay his mother’s hospital bills.

It’s very interesting because not only do we get a insight into Asperger’s but also get to see the perspective into the life of an escort.

This is a very good romance book and I highly recommend it.

5/5 stars | My review

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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Another one of my top 5 books, and a brilliant and entertaining read.

This is a hate-to-love romance as well but this is almost comical. The first few pages of the book, where we get to know Lucy and Josh IS comical.

It’s very entertaining, funny and also got me swoon in a couple points of the story.

We follow Lucy and Josh who are colleagues and spend all working day in the same room. They exchange jabs and play silly games which are usually seen kindergarten classrooms. They are entirely adorable.

It had a LOT of hype, which made me wary, but I’m glad I finally picked it up.

5/5 stars | My review

I Was Born For This by Alice Osman

I was born for this cover

I considered including this and Radio Silence by the same author but this book made was more of an impact on me than Radio Silence.

The book follows two perspectives—Jimmy, who is a band member of “The Arc”, and Angel who is a super fan of the band.

So we see the life of someone who idolizes a celebrity, and also the life of the celebrity being idolized.

It showed the difference between media and real life so much. It showed human imperfections and flaws. It was so realistic that it took my breath away.

It made so much of an impact because it talks about the lives of fans and the obsessive fandom culture. At the time I read this, my friends had just gotten into BTS and were COMPLETELY obsessed. I wasn’t a fan then so I had an outsider’s perspective.

Now that I am a fan of BTS, I relate to Angel even more.

4/5 stars

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

book cover

Ever since I read the first Christina Lauren, I’ve been a fan of the author duo. Their books always have proper relationship development, which is a big requirement for me.

This book is a best-friends-to-lovers romance story, and I’m LIVING for it. It’s my favourite trope, with hate-to-love as a close second.

Hazel is chaotic. I cannot describe her in any other way. She’s “eccentric”, as some would call her. I love that she’s the complete opposite of a composed, graceful woman which is what the media throws at us as the “ideal woman”.

Josh is the perfect counterpart because he’s mellow and thoughtful. I could not have made up a better pair in my head.

It’s a light read with humourous moments and swoon-worth moments with bits thrown in about each character’s issues individually.

5/5 stars | My review

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

book cover

Of course this list contains this book. Queen of Angst and Depression (as I like to fondly call it) is in a completely different level.

I did wonder how CC was going to top Lord of Shadows (which was bloody heartbreaking on it’s own), but she did it SO WELL. I cannot compare this book to any other book from this list. It’s simply impossible.

I got so many feels while reading this book, it’s not funny. It made me feel SO MUCH and so many variety of emotions. And I still want more.

I hope Cassandra Clare is an immortal because I would rather die first than her stop writing books. We’ve have TMI and TID along with The Bane Chronicles, The Shadowhunter Academy and now The Dark Artifices. We also have Ghosts of the Shadowhunter Market coming soon along with The Red Scrolls of Magic and The Lost Hours trilogy.

And I CANNOT WAIT.

I have not been able to write a review because of finals. I’ll see if I can write it on a later date.

5/5 stars

Talk, bro.

What were your best books of 2018? Do we have any books in common? Do you have a reading goal for 2019? Tell me in the comments!

Life Update // I’m 20!

Happy New Year everyone! I think it’s been about a week since I last posted. (NOT gonna make any “a year back jokes”) I feel like so much has happened but maybe it’s not much. We’ll see as this post goes on.

I turned 20 years old!

I’m not a teen anymore! I’m going to find it so hard to not consider myself as a teen.

It’s kinda sad to have my birthday during finals but oh well, what can I do.

I celebrated my 20th birthday on 30th Dec, a day before one of my finals, but my best friends made it perfect. They surprised me at 12am at home with a cake (with BTS written on it along with the official symbol!) and a bunch of balloons.

(Side note: BTS member V’s birthday and mine is the same lol)

We had a sleepover the previous night as well, at one of their houses, which was our first sleepover and was at a wrong time when all of us had finals but hey, hallelujah.

On my birthday, after having some of the cake, we studied until about 2am and fell asleep. Trust me, we couldn’t believe we were studying during a sleepover but we had to. We studied a little the next morning as well before they both took off.

My college friends group also surprised me the next day by gifting me a pair of headphones before the exam. I was totally caught off-guard since I didn’t expect anything. It was the perfect gift since my earphones stopped working and headphones is a definite upgrade.

Surprisingly, more people wished me than I expected. I was honestly surprised and overjoyed. It was a good welcome into my twenties 🙂

I’m done with 3 of my finals.

Out of 6. Which is sad, considering it’s been years since my exams started.

My university is weird with different schemes and back papers and too many streams, subjects etc so basically, my exams last VERY long. Once they lasted 5 weeks. And I had a week of break before the next semester’s classes began.

This time my finals end on the 14th of this month and I’ve got college from 24th again. I believe it’s pre-placement training and not regular classes for 10 days but who knows. Honestly I’m just keeping track of when I should show up at college at this point.

It’s my 3rd year out of 4 years. I wonder how much more I can stop caring in the next three semesters, especially when they’re the most crucial. MOST.

Sigh.

I got food poisoning.

This was sad experience.

I don’t know what caused it exactly. I had dinner out in a NYE party, but the food in that place is pretty good usually and I’ve never had a problem in the past several years. I had a slice of my leftover birthday cake on 1st so I guess it could be that? I usually eat leftover cakes and pastries and it never happened before so.. who knows.

Anyway gory details ahead. Feel free to skip.

I puked from 2am to 8am that night. Eventually I just couldn’t hold myself up or process anything other than trying not to choke to death. I puked up all the medicines I took as well, within minutes. I puked any water too. It got really bad.

I went to the hospital in the morning (2nd Jan) as soon as I could stand and walk, which ended up being around 8:30.

I was given a couple injections and IV drips for a few hours. I just rested there. It worked well.

I got back home around 3pm and just crashed because I had next to no sleep. Considering I had my exam today, 3rd, I started panicking the second I woke up later in the evening. Kinda a good sign that I finally started worrying?

I just studied as much as I can until 11:30 and crashed again.

Thankfully my final was at 2pm (to 5pm) so I had the time to revise in the morning. I usually revise with my friends, which I find very helpful, and it literally saved my exam today.

The exam went pretty well! Considering how much I studied, and what my state was (still tired and not yet back to eating full meals), I did really well.

I came back home and took a nap after having some tea. I’m feeling much better now. Figured I might as well blog since I have three days until the next exam.

Reading Updates

I finished my 2018 Goodreads challenge at 158 books! I got onto a romance kick at the end of the year, which I gobbled up in all my study breaks. My original goal was 150 so that’s really good.

I set my 2019 reading goal to 150. Considering this year will be super hectic as well, I might lower it later. Let’s see.

(I tried putting the Goodreads challenge widget in this post but it looked ugly so I removed it lol.)

Anyway, speaking of the 2019 challenge, I quite like the colour this year! We’ve had bright colours for the past three years so I like the change of having a dark colour. It’s a really dark purple, I think?

2019 resolutions?

I’ve set nothing. I haven’t had the time to even think about it and consider properly but I think I’m just freestyling it.

I find that I do better with short-term goals, if it’s personal. I also had most of my best times in 2018 through spontaneous decisions. I’ll see as I go on.

Honestly, 2018 was a good year. I cannot really come up with regrets but I can name a lot of happy times and things I’m grateful for. I had bad times but no regrets as such. That’s how I want to remember 2018, that the good times were good enough and that I did my best.

What’s up with you?

Now that I just ranted about my last few days, I want to hear about you. How was the end of 2018 and the start of 2019 for you? Have you set any resolutions or goals—for lifestyle, reading or anything else? Any bucket list? Tell me in the comments!

Songs on repeat header

Songs On Repeat // December ’18 edition

Hey everyone! We have only few days left in this month and I’m kinda sad to see this year end, because I’ve had some great times, but I’m also happy to be moving on to hopefully better things.

Now, get your earphones/headphones and settle down because I’ve got some really great songs this month. And it’s NOT all Korean this month.

The Other by Lauv

I’m slowly listening to more and more songs by Lauv, and I’m loving all of them. I especially love the chorus of this song.

Sea by BTS

No, I’m still not over BTS. This song evokes so many emotions from me, I cannot handle them. It’s such a raw, truthful and emotional song I CAN’T. I definitely recommend listening to it, and do pay attention to the meaning of the lyrics.

DDU-DU DDU-DU

THIS CHOREOGRAPHY, GUYS. I was OBSESSED. I couldn’t stop rewatching this video again and again, and somewhere in between I started to love the song as well. I don’t know if I would have liked the song this much without the awesome dance moves, but oh well. Do watch it!

Hann (Alone) by (G)I-DLE

I started liking (G)I-DLE immediately after listening to this song. I just love the vibe and the vocals of this. This girl group is definitely underrated.

POP/STARS by K/DA ft. (G)I-DLE, Madison Beer, Jaira Burns

I had heard of the kpop song for League of Legends but I never actually listened to it before. My friend told me to listen to it one day and after one listen, I was done.

I listened to this song on repeat for over a week. I still listen to it very frequently. I LOVE IT. It doesn’t hurt that the video is super cool as well.

Thanks by SEVENTEEN

Not gonna lie, it took me a few listens to like this song. But once I did, I couldn’t get enough of it. Especially the ending where you’re like I WANT MORE and they actually give you a tiny bit more before stopping. Argh I love.

Some by Bolbbalgan4

My friend suggested this song to me and I’m SO GLAD. I love this song! It’s so cute and happy and I just love it so much. Especially the chorus.

I kept playing this on repeat along with Thanks and POP/STARS. All of them are different vibes but I loved all of them so much that I needed more of each.

Dangerous by David Guetta ft. Sam Martin

My friends and I were on Discord one day, just playing music and doing our own things, when one of them played this song and I WAS IN. Damn, what a good song. How have I never come across this before?

Reflection by BTS

I have heard this song before but that was while watching the WINGS short films and I was too into the theories to properly listen to the song. It got added to Superstar BTS recently and the game got me to actually listen and like the song. I love RM’s voice in this.

Eastside by Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid

I weirdly like this song? I don’t like the lyrics and I don’t find the song that special but I just really like the beats. It’s also quite catchy.

Lovely by Billie Eilish, Khalid

HI THIS SONG IS BEAUTIFUL AND IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD IT YET YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO IT RIGHT THIS SECOND.

I just cannot get over it! I’m listening to it on repeat right now and I just. LOVE. THEIR VOICES TOGETHER. It’s so soothing and lovely and arrrrgh. I stan.

What songs did you listen to on repeat this month? Do we have any favourites in common?