The Harry Potter Tag

Harry Potter Tag

Hi! I was tagged by Shelby @Bookish Royalty, one of my first WP friends when I started Xingsings, to do The Harry Potter Tag. I think Shelby is currently on hiatus and offline, but thank you Shelby! Gosh, this tag was long overdue.

As some of you guys know I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. Consequently, I unconsciously talk about HP in almost all of my posts (I searched “HP” on my blog and 12 posts came up, LOL). So I thought before I get into these questions I’d share with you my HP story and how I got into the series-in case, some of you are new to this blog and don’t know of it.

I’ve never been much of a reader and it was that way for the majority of my childhood. It wasn’t until the summer before 5th grade, when I was eleven and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released did I enjoy reading. (My dad’s smart logic was to get me the most hyped book of the summer. It worked though!) But yes, I ended reading the last HP book first. Naturally, I was hooked… and so confused. So I ended buying my paperback box set and breezing through those in two weeks, which was mighty fast for a non-bookworm now that I think about it. Therefore, you can say HP was the magical turning point in my childhood, in regards to reading that is.

Now that I’m older and have reread HP many times, I have found parts to not awe me as easily. However I still believe the HP books are timeless reads that any reader at any age should give go if they haven’t already-or you can just watch the movies, up to you. Speaking of movies, since I joined the fandom later I’m totally guilty of watching the movies prior to reading the books as well…

But yeah. I thought I’d share that because it only seemed appropriate in this post. Plus, this’ll become an easy post to find if I every need to explain how HP changed my life. LOL. So onto the questions!

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

ruinandrisingRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #3 (3/3)
Published by Henry Holt & Co. on June 17, 2014
Genres: [Young Adult] High/Epic Fantasy
Pages: 422
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

Rerated: 3.5 Stars
3 Stars, Completed July 5, 2015

I prolonged this review as long as I could because I was so confused-I’m still confused, actually-with the book itself and how to rate it. Like the first two installments, there was Bardugo’s trademark pacing: so much happened towards the later half however this time a lot was left unexplained as well. And I had more questions especially knowing this was the conclusion.

Ruin and Rising naturally takes place right after the (super crazy) events in Siege and Storm. Alina, Mal, and the other remaining Grisha of the second army are somewhat held captive underground by the Apparat. Alina is getting weaker by the day after her duel with the Darkling and it doesn’t help that she’s unable to summon her powers underground. Nikolai’s survival and location remains unknown, and the Darkling is stronger than ever. In this final installment, Alina must find the third amplifier and save all of Ravka once and for all.

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The Reader Problems Tag

The Reader Problems Tag-2

Hi! I was tagged by Briana and Joey (thank you both for tagging me!) back in April to do The Reader Problems Tag, and I’ve finally decided to post it! Hopefully you all will learn a little more about me through this post. I’ll try my best not to be so roundabout, haha.


1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
Ahh, my TBR is quickly reaching that number… Just kidding, but no joke my TBR is piling up mighty fast! XD I always decide what to read next with intuition and feeling. So I grab whatever book that comes to mind, whether it be one from the TBR, read/reread, or library shelf. I’m actually a huge rereader; and (this is insane) my goal is to read and review every single book I’ve shelved on GR, including the already read ones.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?
I would just continue. Even if I don’t like a book, I often finish it. However, skimming is certainly allowed in these circumstances.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Feature Characters of Asian Descent

TTT #12

Hello! I wasn’t planning on participating in Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly bookish meme by The Broke and the Bookish, this week because I don’t read a lot of diverse books (I hope to change that though). But after grabbing some Chinese takeout and reading some other bloggers’ posts, I’m like why not?

I tweaked this week’s topic a bit. It was originally “Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters” (examples: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC, neurotypical character, LGBTQ, etc.) and I decided to make this a narrower focus by sharing some books that feature characters of Asian descent since I’m Vietnamese-American and find these characters’ perspectives interesting-especially if the author isn’t Asian himself/herself. (And I have to admit, there was some literal food for thought involved in this. Chinese food is always a good idea; it definitely helped with the inspiration for this post today!)

And I don’t own a bunch of the books I’m about to mention and I’m starting this post really late in the day, so using google images will have to suffice this time. Hope you guys don’t mind! Actually, for once, it may actually look uniform, haha. And I’m not going to go through each one explaining who the Asian characters and what their nationalities are… Instead I have all the titles linked to GR, so you can read these titles if they interest you!

Okay, let’s get to it!


Girl_in_Translation_Paperback_highres Girl in Translation
by Jean Kwok

I’ve been wanting to read this title for years now because the majority of my GR friends have loved it and it’s won several awards as a debut novel. Really looking forward to it.

SPACE. Ugh I must have these in place sometimes for the format to work.

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The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

the summer of chasing mermaids by sarah ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Published by Simon Pulse on June 1, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

5 Stars, Completed July 18, 2015

– SPOILER free –

I borrowed The Summer of Chasing Mermaids from the library and had it in my possession for about two weeks before I actually started reading it, right when it was due. There was a long line of readers that put this title on hold (not surprised as to why, now that I’ve finished it) so I wasn’t able to renew it. Therefore I ended up reading this book in a day, hoping the overdue fee would be worth paying. And it was.

Elyse d’Abreau has always had her life mapped out. She was supposed to become a singer, tour with her twin sister around the world, and grow famous. Then one tragic boating accident changes this all and she’s left mute, unable to sing or even speak. Elyse then decides to leave her Caribbean home and seek quiet solitude in Atargatis Cove, an Oregan seaside town named after the mythical first mermaid. There Elyse meets Christian Kane, a charming and ambitious playboy, and his sweet younger brother obsessed with mermaid lore. Elyse’s life changes course once again when she becomes Christian’s first mate in the upcoming Regatta. Along with the sudden camaraderie, Elyse feels a connection with Christian and it seems like he’s the only person that actually hears her. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a summer adventure about a girl facing her past, finding her inner voice in the present, and, bravely, taking on the future.

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Siblinghood (Sisterhood) of the World Bloggers Award

Hello! As I mentioned in a few of my last posts, I’ve been hoping to get to some awards/tags these next couple of weeks. So here I am with the Sisterhood Siblinghood of the World Bloggers Award. I was nominated by JoeyErikaTiffani, Casey, Carolyn, and MariaThank you guys! They’re all great book bloggers with very different reading tastes and blogging styles; check out their blogs if you haven’t already!

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Joey actually made this into the Brotherhood of the World Bloggers because he wanted to recognize some male bloggers. Since I’m also going to nominate some male bloggers I decided to just go ahead and make this the Siblinghood of the World Bloggers, but feel free to call it whatever you want!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

Hi! So it’s been a little over a month since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post and I thought this week’s topic would be fun since I don’t do book hauls that often. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it’s a great way to see what other readers have on their shelves.

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As you guys have noticed, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of the pictures and banners in my posts. I’m not sure what I like yet. Today was really nice outside albeit a bit gloomy (you can’t really see the cloudy skies in this but it looked like it was going to rain any minute) so I brought my books outside.

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

siegeandstormSiege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2 (2/3)
Published by Henry Holt & Co. on June 5, 2013
Genres: [Young Adult] High/Epic Fantasy
Pages: 435
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

4 Stars, Completed June 25, 2015

– contains minor SPOILERS  –

I honestly still have no clue how I feel about this book. So prepare to read a confusing review. Oh, and I hate using caps in my reviews but it was (sort of) necessary for this one.

Siege and Storm begins with Alina and Mal on the run after the events of Shadow and Bone. At the end of the first installment, Alina makes a vow to leave the Grisha life. However, the Darkling’s advice about Mal never being able to understand her innate Grisha gifts and the loneliness that comes with immortality starts to settle in, and Alina is beginning to have doubts. Alina’s even more confused about her own feelings when she learns that another amplifier exists. She’s not sure whether her motivation to seek out the Sea Whip is fueled by her desire to stop the Darkling from controlling her and ruining Ravka further or whether it’s for her own avarice. And it troubles her that this possible greed ties her to the Darkling and his selfish endeavors. Siege and Storm is another story focusing on the battle to free Ravka, but this time Alina has to fight the war between right and wrong raging in her mind as well.

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Summer Says: A New Blog Series and Xingsings’s Origin

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For the past couple of months I’ve felt really unsettled with my blog especially with the absence of my weekly participation in Top Ten Tuesday. And for a while I’ve been quite jealous that other bloggers are just so witty, funny, and creative; all three characteristics that I lack naturally. So I decided to finally start my own discussion blog series called Summer Says in hope of finding my own creative bubble and voice. It’s going to be difficult for me and this may be just a sporadic feature, but I’m hoping this will allow you guys to get to know me better and give you a chance to join in the discussion. And, ultimately, allow me to engage with some readers I haven’t been able to chat with yet.

So my first topic is one that is long overdue and I probably should have addressed in the very beginning of Xingsings: why I started this blog.

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