This is goodbye.

Happy 2019~! I’ve got some happy and sad news to share with you all today. It’s January 2nd so today marks my fourth year blogiversary (insane!), but after a lot of deliberation and careful thought for many, many months, I have decided that it’s time for me to retire Xingsings after four years.

Honestly, it feels utterly unbelievable and surreal to even type that since I never thought that I’d be part of the blogosphere for so long.

Many reasons contributed to why I came to this decision-from me knowing that I’ve lost the inspiration and drive to create posts to sillier (and sort of embarrassing) stuff like how I’m actually running out of WordPress media storage space and I’m unwilling to commit to moving onto a self-hosted site. Then there’s also the fact that I’m in my final semesters of pharmacy school and I can’t see myself blogging as I complete my P4 rotations, which are anticipated to be intense and full of high stress. And as much as I try to deny that it doesn’t, the fact still remains that it does really bother me when I leave comments unanswered and am unable to blog hop or visit other blogs like I used to.

However, with that all being said, there were factors that certainly made this decision difficult and encouraged me to want to stay as well. The declining viewership due to my inactivity was evident but it didn’t worry me because I always used this corner of the internet as a personal diary of sorts; I will definitely miss this aspect of blogging once I stop. And, most importantly, I truly believe that it’s because of the warm and kind community that has kept me a blogger reluctant to leave for so long. So I want to say thank you to the old and new friends that I’ve made over the years. I really appreciate all of you, and I can easily say that I consider many my best friends. To those part of the latter, I hope that we’ll be granted a chance to meet in person one day.

Anyhow, I really ought to end this post soon because I’m (for real) getting kind of teary. T_T Through this blog, in these last few years I’ve created a lot of content that I’m proud of, shared so much of my life online, made a lot of of incredible memories, had meaningful conversations with others from all over the globe, and built so many irreplaceable friendships. Thank you for joining me on this crazy ride that was Xingsings. My blog was a mess and had zero focus, but thank you for sticking with me for this long.

Of course, I can always be reached via my other social media accounts such as Instagram (@readxings) and Twitter (@xingsings). So feel free to keep in touch and contact me on those platforms anytime!

I am forever so thankful for my time here as a blogger and, perhaps, I’ll return someday. But for now, this is goodbye.

Love,
Summer Nguyen
xingsings.wordpress.com

P.S. This link might seem pretty random to share but it was one of the very first songs that got me into music in general (and that changed my life clearly since I don’t think I could live without it now). Anyway, this is my go to track when I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. So naturally this was on repeat as I was contemplating what to write for this final post. In true Summer fashion, I thought I would end with one last song on this blog. :’)

Summing It Up: August – December 2018

Hi there! It’s been a while since I’ve last done one of these recaps but I wanted to at least fit one last one before the year ended. XD

The academic semester has wrapped up (thank goodness!). I’ve been out of school for the past two weeks and I’ve spent most of my time of working and spending time with friends. The semester ended with a lot of stress from completing my final fall OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination-essentially a mock MTM (Medication Therapy Management) session where the student reviews a patient case for 10 minutes then goes over the patient’s medications and disease states and make pharmacotherapy recommendations/changes with that pretend patient) to my other 6 final exams. I also had a bunch of presentations (which I fretted over a lot, knowing me).

But! I really believe that my communication skills have improved and my stage fright has lessened substantially with weekly journal clubs and all this semester. I’m also more familiar/comfortable with reading medical literature and interpreting stats than I was before (e.g. when I was one my IPPE rotation this summer-honestly, thinking about how my presentation went down for that is still humiliating and makes me full of regret). Advanced drug information isn’t fun but it’s definitely made me feel a little more prepared for what’s to come next year with P4 rotations.

Speaking of those, I submitted my preferences for my rotations next year earlier this month. And I¬†already know I got an international rotation! November of next year, I’ll be in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve never traveled outside of the States so I’m nervous but ultimately pumped, too. The other rotations that I’m interested in are infectious diseases, pediatrics (particularly NICU), and nuclear pharmacy. Of course, (as expected) I asked for a lot of ambulatory care rotations and few community/retail ones but I also put in a few weird ones like mail order and drug information for my electives since they seem different and odd.

Aside from school, there’s not much else I want to share. I’m still working my two jobs and enjoying my free time when I have it. ūüôā

– What I’ve Been Reading –

If you didn’t gather by now… I’ve been a deep reading slump since the year has started.

Probably one of the best books that I read this year was Uprooted, a fantasy standalone. It totally gave me Howl’s Moving Castle¬†(my favorite Ghibli film) vibes. I also loved the characters and the fairytale like prose. It was a pleasant surprise and I wish I had read it sooner than I did. I gave it 4/5 stars.

I also finally picked up¬†The Star-Touched Queen, which had been on¬†my TBR list for forever. I had tried starting this book several times before, and I have to admit with this nth time trying to read it… I found it a struggle to immerse myself into the story. But I, ultimately, enjoyed it by the end after all the twists and turns that were revealed. 3/5 stars.

I was reading Vicious but, ultimately, I wasn’t enjoying myself that much as I was reading it so unfortunately I’ve put that one on an indefinite hold. I think it’s slower paced than I anticipated and I really need to be in the mood to read for those kind of books and I just wasn’t at the time. Plus, I had no clue the main story would be about two guys challenging themselves to near death experiences in order to reach superhuman strength, and I typically dislike most things vaguely related to superhuman/superhero type of stuff. (Don’t hunt me down.) I’m not going to put it in the DNF pile; I hope to maybe reach for it again another time.

I began To All the Boys I Loved Before after the immense hype it’s gotten when the Netflix film released this summer. From the 1/3 I read, it’s super cute and definitely a sweet and comical contemporary worth reading in the summer. Realistic fiction just isn’t my cup of tea so I sort of fell out of wanting to read that title, too. (I know, I’ve just been in a MAJOR reading slump.)

As I mentioned on my Instagram and my last posts, these recent months (or entire year, really) I’ve been more into manga. Consequently, I’ve started a ton of series. I’ve been rereading one my favorites, Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet and Daytime Shooting Star. Actually, the latter is going to be serialized in America starting the summer of 2019. It’s an understatement to say that I’m pumped.

I also started several ongoing series including Queen’s Quality, Living with Matsunaga-san, You Got Me, Sempai, Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight, Perfect World, Let’s Play (webtoon), I Love Yoo (webtoon), The Jinx’s Lover (webtoon),¬†Waiting for Spring,¬†and most recently They Say I was Born a King’s Daughter¬†(webtoon). I would say that all of these are enjoyable-some more guilty pleasures than others. Although if I had to choose one to spotlight it would be I Love Yoo for its unique characters, addicting storyline, and swoonworthy romance. I’m not as familiar with the webtoon verse having only read about a handful (<10)… but I would say this is the best one I’ve read so far!

– Blog Posts –¬†

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Manga Review: ReLife

ReLife¬†(Riraifu) („É™„É©„ā§„Éē)
Original Story by
 Yayoi Sou
Art by Yayoi Sou
Published by NHN Japan (online) from 2013 to 2018
Genres: [Shoujo] Slice of Life, School, Comedy
Volumes: 9
Chapters:
222
Status of manga:
 Completed*
My rating for the anime: 8/10
My rating for the live action: 4.5/10

*Review based on entire manga series

MAL | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

Purchase links are not available because, as of when this review is published, this manga has yet to be officially serialized in English. However, you can still read this online with fan-subs.

4.5 Stars, Completed March 11, 2018
(Originally: Completed September 18, 2016 at ch. 144)

‚Äď SPOILER free ‚Äď

If at some point in life, you made a mistake or kept failing over and over again, and you can’t help but think it’s useless and you’re a good for nothing; remember, you’re only taking a detour. And I’m sure further along your path there will come a day where you think, “It was a good life experience.” That’s why it’ll be fine.

I’m bringing this old review back to life (no pun intended) because this series has finally reached its end and I really miss it (especially after watching ReLife: The Final Arc, which recently released in the States). Plus, I didn’t think my mini-review on Goodreads in 2016 conveyed my thoughts well enough or gave this incredible series the spotlight it deserves.

This was the only manga (or I guess I should say webtoon) that I followed so faithfully every Sunday for several years.

Before my first fall semester of pharmacy school, (no clue why I thought this was a good idea but) I had a fabulous one day anime marathon of ReLife (because for some unknown reason the entire season was leaked by TMS Entertainment in one night). I had such a fun time with the show that I immediately had to do some research and found the webtoon to further indulge in the engaging storyline. And, no surprise, I found the manga to be even better!

ReLife follows the story of 27 year old Arata Kaizaki, a guy that can’t find a job due to his departure from his previous employer only three months after employment. Then he meets Ryou Yoake who offers Arata a second chance through a program called ReLife. ReLife is designed to reintroduce NEETs (Those “Not in Education, Employment, and Training”) back into society by physically transforming them (via a pill) into their youthful forms and having them return to high school, where the company believes the root of many NEETs’ problems began, for one year. During the experiment, the subjects actually attend a real high school with real young students, and all expenses are covered. At the end of the one year study, all evidence of the subject’s existence will be erased from his/her peers’ memories. The only catch is that the subjects are not allowed to talk about the company, program, or process; and if they do, the experiment will end and the subject’s memory will be erased.

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Pin Collection

Happy Halloween, friends!

I don’t have a bookish post ready since I seldom read nowadays, but I do have a different and (maybe?) interesting post to share instead: a brief look of my pin collection. I won’t be sharing all the ones I have but here’s a few photos that I shared on Instagram the past few weeks. I have a variety of pins honestly (form K-pop, movie/animation, to miscellaneous). ¬†And I think I started collecting them since 2013 but I’ve only been actively bulking my collection recently.

Anyhow, that’s it for now. Hope that you’re all well! ūüôā

Manga Shelf Tour

Hi there! I’ve wanted to do a post like this for some time now and if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’d know that I haven’t read that many books since 2018 started. Instead, I’ve resorted to reading more manga and comics.

It might be hard to believe but I actually wasn’t always into this genre. In fact, it wasn’t until high school did I read my very first one, which was Vampire Knight (good times, lol). And back then, I wasn’t even completely on board because up until last year I had only completed about a handful of series.¬†Anyway, I’m not sure what was the catalyst for this somewhat sudden interest but here’s a look of my current collection.

As for favorites… I read a lot of the more romantic ones or shoujo (stories that are targeted for young girls). I really love Dengeki Daisy, Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet (ongoing), Horimiya (ongoing), ReLife, and Skip Beat (ongoing). (If I’m being totally the honest, the last one is dragging a bit being one that’s been ongoing for over fifteen years; I’m ready for some closure. >.>)

I might create a manga recommendations post, like “if you liked this YA book, you’d like this manga series,” someday. With my sporadic blogging I guess we’ll have to see though.

Anyhow, I hope you guys enjoy the photos as much as I had fun taking them! I’m so proud of these shelves, honestly. :’)

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I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux on May 30, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | BD

1.5 Stars, Completed September 24, 2017

– read bold text ONLY to avoid MAJOR SPOILERS –

There’s been so much Asian rep lately with the hype around¬†Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, so I thought I’d share an old, belated review before the month’s end. However, to my dismay, I didn’t enjoy this title nearly as much as I did CRA¬†(in theater) and¬†TAtBILB¬†(my current read).

Real love: It was all about risk and having faith. There were no guarantees.

I¬†Believe in a Thing Called Love¬†is about hardworking perfectionist and star student, Desi Lee, and her plans of wooing her crush… not the traditional way but through the guidance of her beloved Korean dramas (catty girl fights, car crashes, and all). She’s certain that her K-drama list of to-do’s will win over Luka Drakos, because everyone surrenders to the magic of a good time-stopping, romantic straight out of a K-drama scene. But after a crazy turn of events, she realizes that love may be more complex and beyond simply “using a formula.” Desi may need to just learn to trust her heart and the process of falling it love itself (minus the drama and flair shown in films).

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Summing It Up: April – July 2018

Hi there! It’s been a while since one of these posts, hasn’t it? I’ve been tied up with school and work, and on my days off I mainly spend them hanging out with friends or visiting bookstores. It doesn’t help that lately I’ve been more into manga than actual novels so I also haven’t had much content to write on for this blog. Perhaps, I’ll make another manga review when one of them is finished (a lot of the ones I’m reading are ongoing). Anyway, I’ll try to briefly recap each month under this paragraph! I imagine that this post will be pretty long… but skim/skip around as you wish!

April was probably the least eventful and most stressful with wrapping up the end of the spring semester. Like I expressed in previous months’ Summing It Up posts,¬†I did have some classes I was¬†concerned about but, ultimately, I did well after¬†factoring¬†final exam grades and bonus points.

In May I didn’t have any academic worries since it was my “chill” month. However, I still didn’t have much free time as I was working a lot to save up for my rotation in this month in June. (Yes, unfortunately, students pay tuition/housing while they’re on rotation.)

June went by real quick.¬†This year’s rotation was my IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) at an institution; I was placed at St. Jude’s Children’s Research¬†Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to going, everything about the experience was daunting to me because I had never left home-let alone drive for 10 hours to somewhere I was not familiar with and didn’t know anyone. Plus, aside from the didactic curriculum of my school, I had little exposure to hospital pharmacy. Needless to say, my time here has been inspiring and will probably help my future studies/career. (Although, I did do more observing than hands-on work, which is understandable with St. Jude being a¬†place that is highly specialized, working with pediatrics and oncology.)

While on rotation, I learned a lot more about myself and my learning style than I ever did before. I was given an opportunity to do a presentation, and I was extremely nervous. Since taking speech class in undergrad, I think my stage fright has worsened drastically. Anyway, I was given great constructive feedback, and I hope to make some steps to improve by becoming more involved with my school in ways that will push me to be more verbal or present in front of an audience more. Talking in front of a group of strangers is almost an irrational fear because in theory there’s no reason to be afraid but it’s still a very real one for me. And I think it’s about time for me to address it before I continue on in my studies and commit to a profession that does require one to do some form of leadership and presentation.

Anyway, with that mini spiel about fear and self-awareness, I had a good time while I was away at home in Tennessee in June.

Mid-July I was in Winder, Georgia, which is about an hour away from Atlanta, for Camp Breathe Easy, a camp for kids that have asthma. I was there assisting with the medication side of things but I had a ton of fun and memorable moments while I was there. I love kids so it was wonderful (although my 11 to 12 year old girls were so boy crazy, lol). I even got to ride a horse and paddle a canoe for the first time. The latter was intense since it was about a 2 mile journey but it was a great workout. I also participated in other activities with the kids including capture the flag, which totally reminded me of The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, haha.

But that’s been my summer so far! A lot of traveling, which is cool since I don’t do it often!

– What I Read –

Thanks to my friend Amy, who is very much into anime and manga, I’ve been reading more manga (and even some comics!) again.

ReLife | Orange | Emergency Contact | Queen of Shadows | The Wicked King |  QQ Sweeper

– April/May/June/July Blog Posts –

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

9781780622309-crooked-kingdom-by-leigh-bardugoCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2 (2/2)
Published by¬†Orion Children’s Books¬†on September 27, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 536
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

4 Stars, Completed October 16, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

Oh my gosh, I’m a little horrified that I waited over a year to finally write this review…

Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.

Crooked Kingdom¬†is the second and final installment to the Six of Crows duology. Kaz and his crew have just pulled a deadly heist. Instead of becoming wealthy and free after the mission as they had hoped, they find themselves scrambling to survive after been double crossed. It doesn’t help that they’re missing a member and strong forces are making a move on Ketterdem for the secrets of the dangerous drug jurda¬†parem. But Kaz has a plan, and the team won’t stop until they get their revenge and redemption.

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Bookshelf Tour (May 2018)

Hi there! I’ve really, really slacked off this past year and haven’t been been blogging. Aside from book reviews, one of my favorite posts to share in the past were my book hauls. (Shameless plug: I do most of my hauls though my Instagram story these days though!) Anyway, I think my last one was around this time of the year, and I sort of miss doing them! And since there’s no way I can recall all the books I’ve bought in the last 365 days… I decided to share an updated bookshelf tour (which will just show all of my books – new and old) instead. Now that I think about it, my last tour was from early 2017 so this was probably overdue anyway. Also since my last bookshelf post, I actually unhauled a bunch (like 100 books). I’ll also include a picture of those but I have the titles turned away from the camera; mainly because it was for an Instagram photo and I can’t retake it now because I’ve since given away those books. :’) But yeah! That’s all I have for this preface. I hope you guys like the pictures! (Feel free to enlarge the photos by clicking on them.)

P.S. Everything, for the most part, is by genre and then split into subgenres. However, the manga section is alphabetical, with all the Hayao Miyazaki works in “H” and Makoto Shinkai works in “M.”

P.P.S. Also, not pictured are ones I have out on my desk (TID series, Queen of Shadows, The Shape of Water, and Almost Impossible)

the unhauled

schwab / magic / immortals / necromancy

ya high fantasy / fae / badass females fantasy

marine / angels / fairy tales / some fae

some hp / shadowhunters / vampires

shapeshifters / animals / grishaverse / harry potter

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Summing It Up: March 2018

Hello, hello! Happy April! ūüôā

Okay… so those promised book reviews never did happen, huh? Turns out I put the wrong year since a lot of them were drafts originally created in 2017. Sigh. (That is proof of how rusty I am with the whole (book) blogging routine, haha.) Anyway, I took them down for the moment and don’t plan to reschedule them just yet since I want to re-edit them at least once more… and since April is a heavy exam month… those aren’t going to go live anytime soon, unfortunately. (I have hopes for May though!) :’)

Anyway, time for the recap! March was a meh month for lack of better words. A lot was going on in my life but I felt like I was wading through water since it also felt like I wasn’t really accomplishing much of anything. I didn’t do so hot on several exams that month so my spirits were kind of low. (And I’m trying to recover my grades in those two particular classes-looks like I’ll be working extra¬†hard in April so I might not even be as active on my Instagram. I had plans of actually trying to limit my use with that app to twice daily anyway since I felt like I becoming too dependent. LOL, this makes it sound like a drug addict. XD)

But the good news is… I started reading again! I began marathoning the greatly popular fantasy series, Throne of Glass. The first few installments (particularly book 2,¬†Crown of Midnight) wowed me because I, honestly, wasn’t expecting to enjoy this series after some criticisms that I had heard with Maas’s stories and characters prior to picking the series up. To my relief, as I said, I quite liked them… that is until I got to¬†Heir of Fire¬†and¬†Queen of Shadows. The later drove me nuts because I was so mad with a certain character’s characterization and development (or lack of) and I have it on a temporary hold so that I can solely focus on school (and calm down after that traumatic turnaround mid-series).

But yeah, (I didn’t realize that I said this so much until people commented about it on my Instagram stories, haha.) that was an abridged version of my March!

– What I Read –

I could have easily finished¬†Queen of Shadows¬†by the end of March to include in last month’s “read” list since I’m nearly done… but, as mentioned before, I’m taking a break since that sequel is¬†vastly disappointing and I kind of need to prioritize school first. (I’m literally on the brink of not passing Pharmacotherapy II with a C. It is that bad, to my dismay. T_T)

Anyway want some initial thoughts? Literally:

Me while reading Crown of Midnight

Me while reading Queen of Shadows

I feel so betrayed right now. Sigh.

– March Blog Posts –

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