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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

rosebloodRoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books on January 10, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

2.5 Stars, Completed January 14, 2017

– read bold text to avoid SPOILERS –

I need to know why I’m so broken, so I can fix myself. One way or another. Maybe this place can help me do that, and then I can finally look forward to my future. Because I’m starting to realize there’s something worse than stepping up and facing your fears – and that’s living as if you’re already dead.

RoseBlood is a modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale, The Phantom of the Opera. In this YA retelling, Rune Germain is a girl with a peculiar operatic talent. In the most unexpected moments, Rune will burst into song if she hears music that speaks to her. And, unfortunately, this all consuming musical flair has also lead to some tragic events. Rune’s mother decides to enroll Rune at RoseBlood, an elite French arts conservatory that is the very opera house rumored to have ties to the original classic, in hopes that Rune will tame this musical blessing/curse. There she secretly befriends the masked Thorn, a mysterious violinist who lurks in the school’s shadows and helps guide her musical transformation but with a dark, ulterior motive. The two will uncover that they have an otherworldly, soul-deep connection, and Thorn is forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the only father he’s known, the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century.

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Summing It Up: January 2017

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Happy February, everyone!

I guess it’s been pretty evident with all the comments being left unanswered (again) and my sporadic activity in the blogosphere that I’ve returned to school for the spring semester! I don’t know how but I managed to remain on a reading roll even with my hectic schedule. I read 5 books (which is a lot for me!) and published 9 blog posts in January-with many of them being book reviews. Like where did this ridiculous (but good) streak come from? :’)

Anyway, there’s much to share from January so let’s move on, shall we?


– What I Read –

That is correct! I decided to add a whole new section to these monthly features. I do consider Xingsings to be mainly a book blog… so I have no idea why I didn’t share the books I read in a month in the past. Anyhow, I’m going to starting do this for future Summing It Up posts. And I got this original gif idea from the amazing Miguel at The Quirky Reader after noticing this post of his mid last year; he’s truly a master at making graphics! Anyway, I was waiting for my first monthly rewind of the year to give this a try.


– January Blog Posts –

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Blue Spring Ride

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0072Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) (アオハライド)
Original Story by
 Io Sakisaka
Art by Io Sakisaka
Published by Bessatsu Margar from 2011 to 2015
Genres: [Shoujo] Romance, School, Slice of Life
Volumes: 13
Chapters:
53
Status of manga:
 Completed*
My rating for the anime: 8/10
My rating for the live action film: 6.5/10

*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.

3.5 Stars, Reread January 1, 2017

– read the bold text to avoid minor SPOILERS –

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Gif credits to wordstuck

If I had to choose one word to describe this manga series, it would be the Japanese adjective, “懐かしい” (natsukashii). This term is difficult to translate into English accurately and completely, but it is often used to express a yearning for something, or a slightly nostalgic feeling of missing. As a non-native and amateur learning the foreign language for my own fun, how I’ve personally interpret natsukashii is the feeling you get when you’re reminded of the past. And Blue Spring Ride made me feel just that.

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The story begins with two middle schoolers, Futaba Yoshioka and Kou Tanaka, that like each other making plans to attend a festival together during their school break. However, misunderstandings arise after Futaba accidentally blurts that she hates boys because of their obnoxious behavior. Kou hears her exclamation, and doesn’t meet up with Futaba the day of the event. Futaba believes that he stood her up for the outburst that he overheard, but really he couldn’t make it because of family issues. So she decides to address this misunderstanding when they return to school. But on the day of the new semester, Futaba discovers that Kou has already transferred schools to another town. With a lot of loose ends left and the strength of first love, the two never forget each other in spite of the distance. And then years later, fate makes them enrolled in the same high school. Will they finally face each other after all this time? And will the attraction they shared from the past be rekindled?

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Summing It Up: December 2016

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Happy 2017, friends! 🎉 It seems that I’ve decided to start the year strong with three scheduled blog posts in a row, haha. Make sure to check out my 2017 Resolutions and Blogiversary post if you haven’t already and would like to.

So, the beginning of December was slightly stressful because final exams had me like:

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But I managed to survive. I did end up getting a couple of B’s/B+’s in 4 of the 9 courses I took, which is disappointing to a degree because it’s worse than how I normally do in school. But you know what? I’m totally happy with the results, because my GPA didn’t suffer too much and I have no plans on pursuing further education after I graduate pharmacy school. Plus, one of the B’s resulted from a ridiculous curve in pathophysiology (and pharmacology; it’s a combined course), so I should be very thankful. 🙏🏼

As for the second half of the month, it was quite restful and relaxing. I did stay busy with working at the family salon and running errands that I’d put off for the entire year in my free time but I also indulged in countless of frappucinos when I was out, finished an awesome drama called Nirvana in Fire (if you haven’t already read about how it gave me all the feels, click here), and spent time with my good friends and father.

And I’m still on winter break, which means I have some time to finish catching up with book reviews and blog hopping before I return to school. The spring semester begins less than a week on the 9th, however, and then I’ll be in hibernation again.

So that was my month in a nutshell. Now let’s get on with recapping the other parts of my December (plus pictures), shall we? 😉

December Blog Posts*

*in publication order

What a sad, sad month in the book blogging department. This is the first month since I’ve started to blog where I didn’t post a single review on here (or on my Goodreads). I’m in the process of drafting six but I haven’t had the will to finish them. Sigh. I’ll be better, I promise.

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Princess Weiyoung

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Edit 1/4/2016: 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’d like to, here’s my post on Nirvana in Fire. 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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Summing It Up: November 2016

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Hi friends! Yet another month has passed and it looks like we’re nearing the end of 2016. Gosh, where did this year go?

A few of the things I compounded in lab this semester. >.<

Overall, I’d say November was a pretty chill month since I had only three exams total. Compounding lab also reached an end. (Goodbye, long Tuesdays!) And the semester is fast approaching its final stretch. (Woot! Woot!) With that being said, I know I won’t be scheduling/posting anything on here (or my other social media accounts) after this post goes live. Finals will certainly be tough and I’m really going to have to study hard. I’ll also be occupied with submitting end-of-term assignments/papers (not really a big deal) and placing my preferences for summer rotations (kind of a huge deal) very soon.

Looks like a hectic schedule ahead. But look at all that washi tape representing winter break! :D

Looks like a hectic schedule ahead. But look at all that washi tape representing winter break. Ah, I seriously cannot wait! 😀

Sigh. The beginning half of December is going to look mighty busy and stressful, not going to lie. However, I’m looking forward to it! Because on the flip-side, winter break begins the second I’m finished taking the last exam. (Well, really, the moment when I know my grades. I don’t think I’ll rest at ease until then, haha.) Then I’ll get to enjoy my holiday! And finally be able to catch up on the comments and visit all the blogs I’ve missed in the last few months. (I already have a number of them bookmarked. This big blog hopping spree can’t come soon enough. I’ve missed interacting and chatting with everyone and meeting new bloggers, omg.) In addition, I look forward to indulging in all the things I love aside from blogging (e.g. Exo, frappuccinos, and Asian dramas).

November Blog Posts*

*in publication order

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Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

bloodforblood_coverBlood for Blood by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #2 (2/2)
Published by  Little, Brown Books on November 1, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Science Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pages: 481
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buddy Read With: Lois at My Midnight Musings

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

3.5 Stars, Completed November 8, 2016

– read only the bold text to avoid major SPOILERS  –

Blood for Blood is the second and final installment to the Wolf by Wolf duology. It begins with Yael on the run after having just assassinated Adolf Hitler on live television. But it seems like the truth of what happened at the Victors’ ball is much more complicated than what the world saw. The man Yael shot was only another skinshifter, like herself, that took up Hitler’s face as a guise. The consequences for treason and murder is inescapable, and the Resistance is unable to recover after having started Operation Valkyrie too soon. The only way in saving the few people Yael has left in her life is for her to travel across enemy territory in hope of reversing the New Order and completing this last mission without fail.

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The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

thesunisalsoastar-680x1024The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Press on November 1, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 349
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Publisher

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

4 Stars, Completed November 6, 2016

– SPOILER free –

Gosh, I adored this book so much.

The Sun is Also a Star is a story about two teenagers, living very different lives, that happen to meet. Natasha is a girl that has solely relied on her knowledge of science and facts. When her father carelessly exposes their family of being undocumented immigrants, Natasha finds that she has to leave the “land of opportunity” and return back to the place she was born, Jamaica. But she can hardly view the island as her home since she hasn’t lived there since she was a young girl. She feels more American than anything. Then there’s Daniel. He has always been the good son-the one that has made the good grades, proudly kept his Korean roots, and met his parents expectations. So when his brother receives a suspension from an ivy league college, all the more pressure is put onto Daniel to redeem and save face for the family. However, deep down, Daniel knows he doesn’t really want to be a doctor but rather a poet. So when Natasha and Daniel encounter each other to say that they have an instant connection is too unrealistic.  But both find that this serendipitous meeting and the company of the other is exactly the distraction they need in their lives at that moment.

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Summing It Up: October 2016

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Happy November!

It’s that time again where I recap the events of the previous month. In terms of academics, it was uneventful and the usual. I did, however, participate in a number of volunteer events that proved to be super fun. (I’ve been a total bum and haven’t been involved with the community as much as I would have liked.) As for blogging, to my great surprise, I was actually productive and released a handful of posts! (I know… I can never take a real hiatus from blogging for long.) But this has only made me even more behind with replying to comments, unfortunately. The end of the school semester isn’t too far away. (In fact, I’m already bracing myself for weeks of nonstop studying in preparation of finals; I’m so dreading November.) So I really hope to catch up on all the comments in December at the latest! 🙂

And that in a brief nutshell is what I’ve been up to. Anyway, let’s get on with the more fun stuff and actual post, shall we?

October Blog Posts*

*in publication order

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When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

when-the-moon-was-ours-new-1When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Published by Thomas Dunne on October 4, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Magical Realism, LGBTQ+
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

3.5 Stars, Completed September 25, 2016

– SPOILER free  –

When the Moon Was Ours is a magical realism tale that intricately weaves multicultural elements and LGBTQ+ themes by narrating a romance between two childhood friends. Miel, the mysterious girl found in the town’s water tower, has always been considered an outcast because the hem of her skirts are often a little damp and she has roses growing out of her wrist. Sam, also thought peculiar by the community for his deep olive tone skin and silent demeanor, is the boy that paints moons and hangs them in trees so that the town’s children can sleep with sweet dreams. Since the moment they met they’ve been totally inseparable; it’s only natural that when they grow up the platonic love they had as kids develops into something more. However, they aren’t able to earn their happily ever after immediately because the Bonner sisters, four beautiful girls rumored to be witches, have decided they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, and they’re prepared to reveal all of Miel’s secrets to the townspeople until she gives them up.

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