Summer

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
Summer has been MIA
but now she’s back with a giveaway.

It’s on Instagram though. I just thought I’d tell you, friends, on here about it, too.

Hope you’re all well and having a great summer so far!

— Summer

P.S. I would advise not missing out because you have the chance to win two of my favorite bookish things: books and HHA bookmarks.

P.P.S. This may be my shortest blog post yet. /proud/ :’)

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Happy International Women’s Day + My Most Listened to K-pop Girl Group Songs

I’m always going on and on about K-pop (probably Exo specifically), and I noticed that I rarely talk about girl groups for some reason. So in honor of International Women’s Day I thought I would share the top 20 K-pop girl group songs I’ve listened to the most. I won’t be talking about each track because that would be quite redundant, but I will say that if I had to choose favorites… Taeyeon, F(X), and Spica are the most consistent artists in that I normally like all their releases.

Oh and a brief history of me and K-pop (if you’re curious and/or new to this blog)… I started listening to Korean pop music when I was in high school (about late 2011). And I believe the biggest reason why I haven’t outgrown the musical genre and still listen to it to this day is because of the great stage presence these idols have. They train at a young age and for many years before they can debut. (Actually the K-pop industry like many music industries anywhere around the world are pretty cutthroat and unstable.) During that time, they learn a variety of skills including singing, dancing, variety sense and humor, languages, etc. Their live performances are always so phenomenal due to the thorough lessons they had as trainees. And for that reason, I have huge respect for these idols and truly think they’re are on a whole other level compared to other international artists. Haha, so that’s my short spiel.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the list. They’re in the order from most listened to least listened to. But even the least listened to… have been listened to many times seeing as this is only 20 songs out of thousands I have on my iTunes. (Yes, my music listening is no joke.) Lastly, keep in mind some of these releases are pretty old because, well, I did begin listening to this genre of music 5+ years ago. XD

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Happy New Year + Looking Back at 2016 + 2017 Resolutions

happy-2017

Happy new year, everyone! 🎉

Gee, where does the time go, right? Though 2016 wasn’t the best year for the world, I had a pretty okay 2016 myself. I left teenagehood and started my 20s. I began pursuing my dream career by beginning pharmacy school. I managed to still schedule posts for this blog every month (some months with a mere 1 post-but still), completed my Goodreads reading challenge of 30 books with surpassing it by 16, and learned to achieve a better (personal) balance between my internet and real life.

Anyway, I’m in disbelief with all that has happened this past year-the bad and the good; it’s unbelievable that we’ve made it to another year already. But I hope that this year will come with good (if not better) surprises for us all. And I wish you all a very safe and healthy 2017.

And with a new year I think that means another list of resolutions is due? But before I share what goals I have for 2017, I think it’s only proper to see if I was at all successful with the ones from 2016 first.

Here are my finalized thoughts on that subject:

Evaluating My 2016 Resolutions

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Nirvana in Fire (A Long Review + Appreciation Post for the Best Historical C-Drama Out There)

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Despite having been on winter break for the past ten days, I’ve neglected this blog badly. Simply because life has been busy. I’ve been helping out with the family business since the holidays are our busiest, and on my days off I’ve been running many errands. In between working, getting things done (like Christmas shopping, visiting the optometrist, renewing my driver’s license, etc), and just having finished an academic semester, I also have not felt that motivated to read. And, subsequently, I haven’t been inspired to blog. Of course, (I know I keep saying this but) I promise I’ll get back to comments and bookish related posts before my winter break ends if not very soon. However, for now, aside from this small update, all I can offer is sharing my most recent non-bookish obsession that has taken over my life as of late.

A few weeks ago, I posted a quasi review of Princess Weiyoung, a Chinese historical drama that was extremely compelling and entertaining but not necessarily flawless for its jarring plot holes, sometimes awkward acting, and repetitive storyline. Soon after completing that one, I moved onto yet another lengthy period drama also set during the Southern and Northern dynasties called Nirvana in Fire. What reservations I had with Princess Weiyoung were completely absent with the latter.

To not give too much away, Nirvana in Fire is a story about a man’s quest of revenge and his path on clearing his family’s name of crimes they did not commit as well as secretly help his childhood friend, an unfavored prince, become emperor. Though this one line synopsis suggests that this series is quite simple, straightforward and uncomplicated it certainly was not.

Nirvana in Fire has been called “China’s Game of Thrones” for the vast recognition its received since airing in late 2015; it reached commercial and critical success with its positive ratings and viewership numbers (exceeding 10 million views by the second day!). Despite its popularity, I’ve put this title off because there are fifty four 45 minute episodes, which is a great commitment to juggle with school-especially since I was already watching Princess Weiyoung at the time. So once my break began, I knew it was about time to marathon this series. And, gosh, Nirvana in Fire went beyond my expectations and absolutely blew me away.

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Princess Weiyoung

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Edit 1/4/2017: In hindsight, I feel like I overhyped Princess Weiyoung with this review post. After completing (and loving!) Nirvana in Fire subsequently after this one, I thought the latter was much, much better. So if you’re curious what my thoughts were on Nirvana in Fire here is my (massive) review post for that series. I highly suggest watching NiF instead if you haven’t already. It’s also set during the Northern and Southern dynasties and has a revenge plot (like Princess Weiyoung), but the storyline, acting, and execution is more phenomenal!

Alright, everyone, brace yourselves for an extremely long, intense fangirl session. (You’ve been warned.)

Many of you know I’ve been on a hiatus because of school. But fall finals hasn’t been the only thing keeping me occupied. I’m not sure why this always happens… but near the end of the semester (when it’s pretty much a dark time for students), for some stupid reason, I think it’s okay to start watching a drama. Even crazier and worse is that the one I choose tends to become one that I totally obsess over. Last year it was It’s Okay, That’s Love, and this time (no surprise really if you’ve read my latest post or have talked to me outside XingsingsPrincess Weiyoung.

Princess Weiyoung is essentially another revenge plot that takes place during the Northern and Southern dynasties (so roughly sometime between 400 to 600) adapted from a Chinese novel called The Poisonous Daughter by Qin Jian*. The story begins with a general from the Chiyun clan falsely accusing and murdering the Northern Liang’s royal family, turning the young, care free Liang princess, Feng Xin’er, into a girl without a family and identity. Then perhaps by fate, Xin’Er meets and befriends Li Weiyoung, the illegitimate daughter of a general that works for the Northern Wei. Weiyoung dies while protecting Xin’Er, and the latter assumes Weiyoung’s identity and vows to avenge her friend’s death as well as her late family.

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Yallfest 2016

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Some of you may already know this (through my Instagram or from me just chatting with you recently) but I visited Charleston, SC for a bookish event on November 12th! My feet and arms are actually still a little sore from Saturday (lol) but the trip was so worthwhile because I got to meet many wonderful authors and hang out with the coolest bookworms.

This was my second year attending Yallfest, the biggest YA book festival and event in the southeast US. I want to say the level of excitement was about the same as last year, and the turnout of people attending and participating were a lot higher, which was to be expected since this event only grows each year.

Since I had already gone in 2015, I had the routine down to a tee this year. Driving and parking was so much easier. (Though I’ve been to Charleston many times before I had never driven there myself. So it was a bit of a struggle with the congested streets to find a parking garage last year.)

I also learned my lesson and didn’t bring a book bag. I do think it’s an absolute must that attendees bring something to carry their books in, such as a backpack, tote, or even suitcase (don’t worry people actually bring wagons of books to this event-it’s pretty intense). However, if you plan to drive there like I did and find a parking space near the venue, you can easily go to your car to exchange and get books throughout the day. But I must say this only works well if you can coordinate these mini runs. Personally, I really liked this technique because it really saved my back. I would only carry about five books at a time, which wasn’t any trouble at all, and after each signing I tried to use my time efficiently so that I could make a trip to the car to exchange it for another set of books for the next signings. I did this about twice in the day. Like I said, it may not be practical for some, but this method gave me a much better experience because I was more comfortable as I was walking around.

Oh! Plus, throughout the day it’s very unlikely for you to not get free totes along the way to signings and panels. So you’ll end up with more bags than books by the end of the day anyway. (I literally had a huge book bag and 5 totes to lug around last year hence the body aches the following days.)

Also, this year was much more meaningful with signings for me. Because I took a long hiatus from reading during high school and the beginning of college, I wasn’t up to date with new authors that wrote YA fiction. It wasn’t until I started blogging early 2015 did I come to learn about these authors (such as Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, etc). So the author line up from last year had a lot of familiar names but only a handful were ones that I had read books by them. And since I wanted to see as many authors as I could, all the while trying to avoid picking those that I read their books pre-2010, I decided on authors of books I’d already owned (regardless if I read their books yet) to get signed. (Man, what a wordy sentence. I hope I made my point…) I was somewhat greedy, and didn’t want to waste the opportunity of getting to meet those authors even if I hadn’t read their books. (Honestly, it was only three authors that I did this: Alexandra Bracken, Renée Ahdieh, and Victoria Aveyard. This proved to be a smart move since both Bracken and Aveyard became “wristband authors” this year where only a limited number of readers could get the chance to meet them if they had a wristband.) I was still able to make great conversation, but because this year I only chose to meet authors where I’ve read nearly all their published work (and quite recently)… I was able to have much more meaningful, memorable conversations.

Anyway, I don’t want this post to be just text… so like last year’s Yallfest blog post, I will continue to recount my fun day in pictures and captions from here on. Hope you guys enjoy!

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To begin my day off right, I met one of my all time favorite authors (and absolute favorite YA contemporary author), Sarah Dessen. She said she loved my name, guys. T_T And that she liked it so much she was close to naming her daughter Summer. (Dessen’s husband insisted on a different name though so their daughter’s name is Sasha.) Also, she was the only author where I wrote an actual letter to. I made it the day before because I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to adequately express how much I love her books in the short time I got with her. (And the other author also signing in the background is Adam Gidwitz.)

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The Summer Reader Book Tag

the summer reader book tag

Hello everyone! I haven’t done a tag in ages and, funnily enough, I found The Summer Reader Book Tag waiting patiently (since last summer) in my drafts. So yup, today, Summer (🙋🏻) is going to do a summer (☀️) tag before the season ends. I was tagged by Alex Alextheshadowgirl’s Blog, Ashley Dreamingthroughliterature, and Analee at Book Snacks. Thank you, ladies!

Note: I am an award/tag free blog in that after I finish the last few-okay maybe more than a few-drafts of 2015 tags/awards that I was tagged/nominated in last year, I won’t be doing any more tag/award posts.

And here’s a fun tidbit about summer, the season, and me… I probably have mentioned it before but it’s my least favorite season ironically. It just gets way too hot where I live. I also remember spending most of my summers at the salon hanging out (when I was younger) and working (when I was older) mainly because it is the busiest season in the nail industry (with people in their flip flops and in need of pedicures all the time). Haha, good times! 😛

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Hate Comments + Taking a True Hiatus (Sort Of) + Dragon’s Loyalty Award

Dragon's Loyalty Award

Hi, everyone!

Lately I’ve sort of been feeling really uninspired to blog hence all the scheduled book reviews. Since the end of the semester is slowly creeping to an end anyway and I know that I’ll soon be swamped with end of the course assignments and final exams, I will go ahead and say I’m taking a break. But then again I’ve already been saying I’ve been on a “hiatus” for a while now according to my blog’s sidebar disclaimer, I guess. As other bloggers have pointed out, my breaks are never true ones anyway. But I think this time I’ll be even more absent then usual even for me. I’ll still continue to schedule the usual posts and remain present on my Instagram and Goodreads accounts, but I won’t be replying to comments on my blog until May-ish. And I’ll do the best of my ability to still check in with the blogosphere and leave mini Summer bombs here and there. But those will be sparse, too.

Along with my semester coming to an end soon and the fact that I think I’ve fallen into a true blogging slump, I also got my first hate comment back in February. I created several drafts titled as “Hate” but I never could bear to actually publish them. February was actually a pretty rotten month for me because I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I would in one of my classes (Organic Chem II is just ugh), my speech class gave me so much anxiety, and I had a bunch of family (that I didn’t really like) living with me and my dad. So when my first hate comment showed up on Xingsings it just felt like everything was so wrong.

(I knew it was going to happen sometime along my blogging journey… and it was only one comment… but it was still unpleasant to read all the same. I understand that people will have different views and opinions. But why do they have to word things so harshly? Also, the comment that I got wasn’t even an opinion about my post or the books I talked about in it, but it was about me as an individual. Anyway, enough ranting. Have any you guys received any negativity on your posts?)

Edit: I saw some of the comments you guys have already been leaving. And I just wanted to let you guys know I’m definitely okay!! I don’t want you guys to think I quit blogging for a bit because of that. I love blogging and I’m actually extremely proud of the place I’ve created with Xingsings. So you don’t have to worry or anything. The hate comment was back in February and it wasn’t a big of a deal when I got over it. Thank you all for staying so dependable and supportive. Thanks, as always. – Summer

But, of course, I soon got over all of that. I started doing better in Speech and studying harder in Organic; my family members (there were 4 of them) finally moved out; and I just deleted that hate comment from my blog so I wouldn’t have to see it. But after all this, I think it’s about time I recharged for real. So, in short, I’m taking a true hiatus for a bit (still posting, not replying to comments on my blog, still dropping Summer bombs on other blogs, etc).

pikachu-charging

Time to recharge! (All credits to the original owner.)

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The Blog Most Likely To… Tag

The Blog Most Likely To... Tag

Hello, friends! Today I wanted to share a super cool tag that I think all bloggers should participate in, The Blog Most Likely To… Tag! I was tagged by Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts. Thanks, Joey! (By the way… you never suggested a blogger superlative to me… but that’s okay!)

Like Joey explained in his post, this challenge was actually inspired by Huntley Fitzpatrick’s release of The Boy Most Likely To back during the summer of 2015. Like Joey, I haven’t read any of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s work despite having heard so many wonderful things. But I do plan to eventually. My Life Next Door being the one that holds the most anticipation; that premise just appeals to me the most out of the rest of Fitzpatrick’s work.

But anyway, before I reveal what my blog superlative is… I just wanted to let you guys know that early 2015 I also completed the More Happy and Not Tag, which was created by Shelumiel at Bookish and Awesome. That tag was also inspired by a book release, More Happy Than Not. It’s such a feel good post that I also encourage you guys to do if you haven’t already. (By the way, despite all the promises and “I’ll read it soon”s, I never managed to pick that book up in 2015. Sigh. Will 2016 be the year?)

Note: This is a 2015 tag, meaning I was first tagged in 2015. I’m just trying to go through all the awards and tags from my 2015 queue. But I am an tag/award free blog in that I won’t be doing any more tags/awards after I go through the 2015 drafts. Sorry for the confusion!

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