Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Delacorte Press on May 2, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 432
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Publisher

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

3.5 Stars, Completed March 22, 2017

– minor SPOILERS ahead –

windfall
/ˈwin(d)fôl/
noun

a piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck and especially not after she experienced the worst kind when she lost her parents nine years ago. But as a joke she decides to buy a lottery ticket as an eighteenth birthday present for her best friend that she has secretly loved for years, Teddy. To their utter disbelief, he wins $140 million and, suddenly, everything changes. Teddy’s newfound wealth will put an unexpected strain on their friendship; their once effortless understanding and dependence of one another after having grown up in tough circumstances together dissipates completely as they argue more and more. Thus, the money begins to feel more like a curse than a windfall. As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice will discover more about herself and what she wants from life in moments she least expects.

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By Your Side by Kasie West

5By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen on January 31, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 342
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Yallfest

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

3 Stars, Completed February 15, 2017

– SPOILER free –

By Your Side is a light contemporary about two teenagers that develop an unlikely friendship after they’ve been accidentally locked in the library for a weekend. Dax is the school’s loner with a bad reputation. Whereas, Autumn is a do-gooder that doesn’t notice much beyond her camera’s viewfinder and inner group of popular friends. At first, Dax and Autumn only recall the negative impressions they have  of each other and do not get along. But after a few nights of shared vending machine snacks and real talks, both realize that the other is much more than what first meets the eye. They decide to call an amiable truce and soon begin to enjoy each other’s company. And when the pair are finally found and released, the question is after all they’ve shared will they remain friends or will they ignore each other as they had before?

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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. 😄

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Summing It Up: February 2017

summing-it-up_-february-2017

Hello, happy March!

I’m not at all surprised that the shortest month of the year flew by so quickly. How were your Februaries?

Personally, I fell in a blogging slump last month. I actually have nearly 10 draft posts (all are reviews and one is a book haul) and I am hopelessly behind with getting to the comments on my blog and visiting others. I truly miss talking to you guys… School has just kept me occupied. I’m also still applying for internships, which has contributed to my busyness. (And I imagine if I do end up getting a second job, my life will only become more hectic.) However, my spring break is next week. So I’m hoping to catch up with everything then!

Also, you might will notice that in this post I shall be omitting the “events” section particularly because I’ve simply had a boring February. School was my main priority and consequently my non-academic life was pretty stagnant. (I did read some books and, finally, started a few dramas though.)

Anyhow, let’s get into the fun stuff, yes?


– What I Read –


– February Blog Posts –

*This review can only be found on my Goodreads; I don’t have plans on crossposting it on Xingsings. (I don’t publish DNF reviews on this blog.)

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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

summing-it-up_-jan-2017

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

summing-it-up_-december-2016

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:

1fhlhd

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

summing-it-up_-november-2016-2

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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