Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit


Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
Published by Knopf on January 26, 2016
Genres: [Adult/YA] Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
Pages: 232
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Publisher

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Rerated: 4 Stars
4.5 Stars, Completed December 31, 2015

– SPOILER free –

“I need a SparkNotes interpretation of this” was the first thought that popped into my head when I finished page 232.

Initially, I thought this was going to be a light historical fiction novel set during the early years of World War II (but then again when is a book about WWII every light?), but I’m quite surprised by how this read more like a fairy tale mixed with some magical realism. And strangely, as I was flipping through each page I had these sudden urges to recognize every rhetorical device and wanted to annotate the entire thing. Anna and the Swallow Man rekindled the literature student in me (in a pleasant way).

In Anna and the Swallow Man, readers meet young, precocious Anna. Her father is a linguistic professor and naturally he knows many languages. In fact, so many that Anna doesn’t know what her father’s native tongue is. She grows up not really knowing how to identify herself. All she has are the many ways to say Anna. Anja. Khannaleh. Anke. Anushka. Anouk. But then one day her father leaves her in the care of an old friend and he never returns. Soon after, with the war wearing down the civilians, the hospitality her father’s friend once has dissipates and she finds herself at a level of despair and fear she’s never anticipated to experience before. All changes when she meets the mysterious Swallow Man. Despite his intimidating looks, Anna grows attached to this tall and peculiar man because he’s just like her and her father, one that is skilled in many tongues. They embark on a seemingly aimless journey and he teaches her his language, Road. A language that uses deceit for the purpose of protection and survival.

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My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors

My True Love Gave to MeMyTrueLoveGaveToMe_animated_PS[4] by Various Authors (Edited by Stephanie Perkins)
Published by St. Martin’s Press on October 1, 2014
Genres: [Young Adult] Anthology
Pages: 321
Format: Hardcover, Review Copy
Source: Publisher

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

3.5 Stars, Completed December 29, 2015

– minor SPOILERS ahead –

Like my recent review of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, this is going to be yet another unconventional one since it’s an anthology this time. I’ll be reviewing each story on it’s own, in depth, and doing a tl;dr for the overall anthology at the end.

“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell – 5 Stars, Completed December 3, 2015
It’s kind of weird how this always happens to me, but often times my first experience with an author’s work is through these Christmas anthologies. For example, I still haven’t read any John Green aside from his short story contribution in Let it Snow, another holiday young adult anthology. Anyway, unlike my indifference with John Green’s snippet in that bind up, I really enjoyed my first Rainbow Rowell work in this one. It was short and sweet, exactly what a holiday short story ought to be. I also really loved how there were skips in time with this one, which made it fast paced. The characters were relatable. And you can really feel the power of Rowell’s writing as a reader. I mean I was already aboard the Mags/Noel ship only having gotten a couple of pages in. On a personal level, I also really liked the storyline of “Midnights” because I found Mags character to be similar to myself. In real life, I’m very shy and the party scene has never been comfortable for me. I also found it interesting, that this also gave readers a glimpse of Mags life as a college student that stayed in her hometown, which is exactly what I did. And Rowell perfectly described how such a teen would feel when all her friends in her life left to pursue their separate careers. The motif that life and people are always changing is a solid one, and I really loved how Rowell decided to include it.

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Exploring My Bookshelves: December (and Announcing Some Changes to Xingsings)

First off, I wanted to wish you all a very merry and safe Christmas! And for those of you that don’t really celebrate the holiday (like myself), happy Friday! (Oh and this is a scheduled post, even though I don’t celebrate Xmas we still close the family business; I’m visiting my birth town, Atlanta, today. 😀 )

Anyway, so I’m guessing when you read “Announcing Some Changes to Xingsings” you thought I was going to go self hosted (or something along the lines of that) right? Haha, sorry for the false alarm, but actually it’s some news regarding future memes, tags, and awards.

After giving it much thought, I think I’m going to become tag and award free starting from the beginning of 2016. I know several people have different interpretations of what this means. For me and how this will be applied to Xingsings is that I’ll still continue to complete the tags and awards that are in the draft queue. But I will no longer be doing tag and award posts that I’m tagged/nominated in 2016 and onwards. And for the remaining tags and awards I still plan to do, I will continue to tag my usual blogging buddies and five bloggers I want to get to know each time. And it’s up to them if they want to do them. However, if you’re tagged/nominated by me but have also become tag/award free please let me know so I don’t unintentionally spam you.

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12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

Hello everyone! I was tagged by Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Deanna at A Novel Glimpse to do the 12 Days of Christmas Book Tag! Thank you both so much.

The way the questions were introduced for this tag were super fun. “Twelve Days of Christmas” is such a classic song, and a really easy tune to play. I remember growing up playing this and few other Christmas carols on the piano, haha. In case you’re a pianist or love music as much as I do, you should stop by Kyle Landry’s channel and listen to his epic Christmas medleys (my favorite Xmas medley of his). His occasional improvs are brilliant!

Anyway, there’s no telling when I’ll schedule this post. I’m hoping to squeeze this in before Christmas day though since the holiday happens to fall on the last Friday of the month, meaning I’ll be posting an Exploring My Bookshelves post then. But yeah.

Alright, let’s do this!

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

How-Grinch-Stole-ChristmasHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
Published by Penguin Random House on October 12, 1957
Genres: [Children] Fantasy (Picture Book)
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

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4 Stars, Completed December 18, 2015

– SPOILER free –

I can’t believe it took me this long to finally get to this story despite having watched the animated and motion picture adaptations countless of times. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was just as heartwarming as the films, and a picture book I highly recommend to families with children that are a fan of Dr. Seuss.

In this story, readers meet the Grinch, a grouchy creature that simply cannot stand Christmas and the idea that the Whos down in Who-ville celebrate and sing on the merry day. So then he comes to a “wonderful, awful” idea and devises a plan to steal Christmas. However, he soon realizes it isn’t so easy to ruin the Whos cheerful attitude and the joy of Christmas.

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‘Tis the Season Book Tag

'Tis The Season Book Tag

Hi! I’m back today with another holiday book tag, the ‘Tis the Season Book Tag! I was tagged by Analee at Book Snacks. Thanks, Analee! I probably should have combined the Dashing Through the Snow and this book tag since there are a lot of repeat questions. But I didn’t realize this one existed until more recently. Ah well.

Alright, let’s do this!

1. Do you have a favorite winter read?
As I mentioned in my last holiday tag, Dashing Through the Snow, I’m currently reading My True Love Gave to Me and I’m really enjoying it so far. There’s some short stories I didn’t particularly care for but some of them are adorably cute. However, to answer this question probably Let It Snow, another winter anthology I’ve read. To be honest, I only enjoyed the first short story in that one; it was three short stories that took place in the same town and connected to each other but it kind of digressed as the book went along.

2. Find a book with blue on the cover!
Umm, okay. This is kind of random. XD Blue is my favorite color so I’m often drawn towards the blue spines/covers in bookstores; therefore I have plenty of blue books. But for this tag, I’ll share Crystal Kingdom. I actually received this from St. Martin’s Press (thank you!) back in August but since I haven’t read this series so I can’t start it yet. Fortunately, I bought the first two installments on sale so I hope to get to it one day. The cover is gorgeous though, huh?


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Dashing Through the Snow Book Tag

Dashing Through the Snow Book Tag

Hi, I hope you all are having a lovely Sunday so far!

Before I introduce this tag I have some really awesome news to share if you haven’t already seen my tweet… I got accepted into pharmacy school this past Tuesday! I’m also done with all my fall semester finals and I’m officially on winter break (that means I’ll be posting/blog hopping more this month!).

So I thought what better way to celebrate the start of my break by scheduling this fun and festive tag, originally created by Astra at A Stranger’s Guide to Novels. I was tagged by Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts. Thanks, Joey! I’m so excited to dive right into it since winter is my favorite season ironically.

Name a book you’d like to see under your Christmas tree?
Probably the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone because I’ve seen it in store several times and it’s completely gorgeous!

I was so tempted to buy it but I ended up just getting that Peppermint Bark Frappucino you see on the left.

I was so tempted to buy it but I ended up just getting that Peppermint Bark Frappuccino you see on the left.

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It’s Okay, That’s Love


Hi! I’m taking a break from studying and exams to write this post. I’m not quite ready to create a book review yet so this is going to be a non-bookish post, but I’m really excited to share it with you guys nonetheless. While I was on my reading hiatus (aka reading slump) I decided to start a subscription to DramaFever because it’s just been so long (a year?) since I’ve watched any Asian dramas (I did have a fun Netflix marathon with Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, and Reign this year though; boy, am I a CW fangirl) and so I binge watched a couple of dramas. She Was Pretty was one of them; though I wasn’t much of fan of that one I finished watching all 16 episodes anyway. Maybe I’m just really tired with the whole magazine/journalism theme and “oh! I find my cranky boss so attractive” approach (it’s way overused in lots of entertainment). Although, I have to recognize its merit for the plot with role reversals (a pretty teenage girl ages into an physically unflattering woman, while a chubby boy “blossoms” into a handsome guy). But anyway, I wasn’t planning to make this post about She Was Pretty but rather another show.

I recently finished watching It’s Okay, That’s Love, which has now become one of my favorite dramas. I’m not sure if it’s the post binging high or what, but I seriously fell in love with the story. It made me laugh and cry… and just experience a ton of emotions I wasn’t expecting. So I thought I’d share this while I’m still fangirling over it.

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Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag

Secret Life of a Book Blogger

Happy Tuesday everyone! I decided to schedule yet another post today (I am away busy taking my fall semester finals when this posts) because I really, really need to catch up with my tags and awards. I mean I have tags since May. That’s like 6+ months ago!

Anyway, this was one of my “May” tags and I’m pretty excited to share this one. Maybe you’ll get to learn a little more about me as a blogger… because this is the Secret Life of Book Blogger Tag! I was tagged by Trey at Trey Schnarr Books, Casey at Inspired by the Page, Raven at Dreamy Addictions, Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts, and Kelly at Dancing Through the Pages. Gosh, this post is way belated, but thank you all again for thinking of Xingsings and tagging me!

Okay, this is going to be a text heavy post so let’s move on with the questions!

  1. How long have you been a blogger?
    Well before this one I ran an Exo blog on tumblr that I still use to this day actually. It’s also called Xingsings. So yup I’m the very Xingsings from tumblr! This blog stemmed from the moment I had an idea that I’d like to share my passion for books with other people. So this WP blog Xingsings was born on January 2nd, 2015. There’s actually a funny story to this though… My first blog post (don’t try to look for it; so embarrassing) was actually created in 2014 and was supposed to be scheduled to published on New Year’s Day (I wanted an easy blogiversary date to remember) but being the newbie blogger I was at the time I’m not sure what I pressed but it never scheduled when I checked on January 2nd. So yup, after that incident I never scheduled my posts again… until October 2015, when I decided to try that WP feature again.

  1. At what point do you think you will stop?
    I think most people that have done this tag have said something along the lines of “not anytime soon.” For me… it may be when I start pharmacy school which may or may not be soon depending what the admissions committee thinks of me (for those of you that are new to Xingsings; yup, I applied to professional school this year as a sophomore in my undergraduate studies. It’s a little complicated to explain how I was eligible to apply, maybe I’ll do a separate personal post about it if I happen to get in). Since the rigor and course load is so much different in professional school compared to undergraduate… it’s probably the best idea if I took a break while I’m on that path. I really do love blogging but I’m the type of blogger that likes to interact with the community (not so much on social media but through catching up with other bloggers via blog hopping). And I just can’t do that while being in pharmacy school; sometimes real life has to receive priority. With all this being said, I don’t think I would quit completely though since I really enjoy this hobby too much. Hopefully I would still be able to publish a few posts here and there and still keep in contact with all of you (maybe even get the hang of using Twitter and joining Twitter chats; I really should use that social platform more).

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The Fairy Wren by Ashley Capes

516dghGor3L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_The Fairy Wren by Ashley Capes
Published by Close-Up Books on October 31, 2014
Genres: [Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 238
Format: DRC
Source: Author

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

3.5 Stars, Completed October 17, 2015

– SPOILER free –

Not only have I been in an awful reading slump for the past few weeks but also a reviewing/blogging slump as well. This was the last book I was able to read before I fell into that strange non-reading period, and I’m so glad that during my time away I finally found the words to describe how I felt about The Fairy Wren.

This book begins with the readers meeting Paul Fischer, a guy who just can’t seem to catch a break. His bookshop is doing poorly, his wife has left him, and on top of all things he meets a preteen, Nepali runaway, has a shady friend struggling with his own problems and needs Paul’s help, and notices a blue, magic wren suspiciously following him. Throughout the story, it seems like questions are only followed by even more questions and uncertainties.

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