My #YARC2019 progress in the past 3 months

At the end of March, I made a first Year of the Asian Readathon Challenge update post (what a mouthful that was), to let you all know which books by Asian authors I had read in the first three months of the year. I want to keep creating update posts every 3 months, so I can share my progress throughout the year and keep myself accountable.

If you’re unaware, YARC is a year-long reading challenge hosted by Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea, CW @ The Quiet Pond, Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams, and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads, encouraging us all to read books by Asian authors.

What was my goal?

The hosts made different tiers based on wonderful animals, and I chose the level of Philippine tarsier, which meant reading 1-10 books for the challenge in 2019.

When I posted my first updated in March, I had already read 9 books for the challenge and knew for sure I’d pass the Philippine tarsier level. I’ve been reading a lot of manga this year, which are all by Japanese authors – obviously…

I won’t choose a new level, even though I’ve already surpassed the one I’d chosen at the start of the year. I’m just going to continue reading all the Asian authors and see how much I’ll end up with at the end of the year.

What did I read in April, May, and June?

The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
This was an obvious read for me this year. I absolutely adore this trilogy, and the final book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I may have shed a tear or two while reading this on public transport, but I don’t regret it whatsoever. If you somehow haven’t read this series yet, please do me a favor and give it a try.

Death Note Black Edition Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★ – really liked it
A while ago, I read the first volume of Death Note and didn’t really love it. However, this manga is so popular I didn’t want to give up either. I bought the black editions that contain two volumes per book, and gave it another go. This time around, I really liked it! The translations in the first volume feel a little bit awkward, but that problem gets resolved by the second one. I knew I had to continue with this manga asap.

The Wrath and the Dawn (Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renée Ahdieh – ★★★ – it was okay
I finally read this hyped up novel during the OWLs readathon in April, and I’m grateful the readathon gave me the push to pick this up. I’d been putting it off because I had a feeling I wouldn’t really love it, and I was right. I couldn’t get into this novel, and the romance made me cringe.

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★ – really liked it
I read the first volume at the start of the year and fell in love with it. When the sequels I ordered finally arrived, I continued the manga immediately. I really love the story line, the characters, and the humor of Fullmetal Alchemist.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – ★★★★ – really liked it
Another book I read for the OWLs readathon in April! This is an adult contemporary novel about a Japanese woman who works in a convenience store and loves the routine her life has, the part she plays in the cycle of society. However, people tend to look down on her because she isn’t married and works in a store. To make her family happy, she tries to break out of her self-assigned role. It’s such an interesting read, and I would highly recommend it!

Black Butler Vol. 2 by Yana Toboso – ★★★.₅ – liked it
I quite enjoyed the first Black Butler volume so I picked up the second one in April. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as the previous volume… I will continue the manga, but it’s not a priority anymore.

Fruits Basket Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya – ★★★★ – really liked it
After reading a few action-packed and “serious” manga volumes, I wanted to read one that was more light-hearted. Enter Fruits Basket! I had never read the manga nor watched the anime, so had no idea what to expect going in. I ended up really enjoying it, and will be buying the Collector’s editions so I can continue the manga!

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1) by Cixin Liu – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
The Three-Body Problem had been on my to-read list ages before reading it. I was quite intimidated by this epic Chinese science fiction series because a) I’m still not used to reading hard sci fi, and b) I was afraid I wouldn’t love the translation, or that it wouldn’t come across as well as the original. I shouldn’t have been scared. This novel is fantastic, and I can’t wait to continue the series.

Death Note Black Edition Vol. 2 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
As I mentioned earlier, I knew I wanted to continue with the Death Note manga soon. The second volume of the black editions ended up blowing my mind. The sequels were even better than the first volumes. This volume solidified my need to own all the other volumes and read them soon.

Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 3 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★ – really liked it
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been enjoying the Fullmetal Alchemist manga so much. I always look forward to reading it, and once I’ve picked a volume up I don’t want to put it back down at all.

Death Note Black Edition vol. 3 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★ – really liked it
While I didn’t love this volume as much as the previous ones, it’s still an incredible series.

Death Note Black Edition vol. 4 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★ – really liked it
This volume blew my mind. Something unforgivable happened, and I still haven’t entirely recovered. I truly sped through this manga, because I loved it so much.

Death Note Black Edition vol. 5 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★ – really liked it
Once I finished volume 4, I knew I couldn’t wait to finish the series. There was no time to pick up something else first. I had to know how this manga ends! It’s just such a wild ride. If it wasn’t obvious already, I highly recommend this manga, if you haven’t read it already.

Death Note Black Edition vol. 6 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
The ending has come. I finished it. I binge-read Death Note, and now I’ve come to the end of the tunnel. What an emotional rollercoaster it has been. I absolutely adore this manga. I only have one issue with it overall, but I’ll get into that in a later review. I can’t wait to watch the anime!

Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 4 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★ – really liked it
In my effort to crawl out of the black hole the ending of Death Note left me in, I continued the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. This one is just so much fun. It’s packed with action, yet isn’t as serious or psychological as Death Note. I’ve grown so attached to these characters, it’s insane.

Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 5 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★ – really liked it
I’m running out of things to say here. I think you get the gist, right? I’m loving this manga so much.

Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 6 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
This volume. CATCH ME CRYING. Volume 6 focuses on the backstory of the brothers. It talks about their childhood, their relationship with their parents, and what happened after their mother died – no, that’s not a spoiler. All the emotions, people. I just want to protect them!!

Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 7 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★ – really liked it
While it can’t top how I felt about the previous volumes, I do like where the story is going. After finishing this volume, I bought 4 of the 3-in-1 editions of the manga because I wanted to start collecting those instead. I can’t wait to continue!


I’ve read quite a lot towards the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, mostly thanks to my love for manga. I’ve been in such a manga mood lately, and while I do want to branch out with regards to the ethnicities of the authors, I don’t want to stop reading manga either. I guess we’ll see what the next 3 months bring!

Have you read any of these books? Have any recommendations for me?

may in the life, a personal wrap up

As always, I write a bookish monthly wrap up and a personal one, in which I talk about the movies and shows I watched, the music I listened to, and the things I did in the previous month.

what i watched 19

I didn’t watch that much this month, which makes me wonder what I actually did in my free time in May. I didn’t read that much, I didn’t watch that much… What on Earth did I actually do?

Either way, I watched a few more episodes of Game of Thrones season 8. I’ve only watched three episodes of the last season, but thanks to the wonderful people of the internet who tweet spoilers without any contextual words in it, I already know how it ends. I muted SO MANY words, but obviously that doesn’t help when people live tweet pictures without words.

I also finished watching Put Your Head On My Shoulder, a Chinese drama I’ve been obsessed with. I think it’s one of those shows that’s quietly beautiful, since there isn’t that much drama in this romance. The main love interest is a soft boy, and you know that’s what I’m about.

what i did 19

I feel like I didn’t do many noteworthy things in May, to be honest. Seriously, what did I actually do last month? I had my nails done twice, and went to a shoe sale. I went to a restaurant with my family to celebrate some birthdays. I helped my mom with a garage sale she did. I went and voted in the regional, national, and European elections. Let’s not talk about that one though, before I become a fiery pit of rage again. I also went to a Korean restaurant/take-out place in Ghent with one of my friends, which was phenomenal.

Since I needed something to return to in order to keep my sanity intact, I started doing some yoga again for the first time in months. I’m really going to try and keep up with it this time because it does me so much good.

what i listened to 19

Time for the music part!

WINNER – Ah Yeah
I’ve been playing this song on repeat ever since it came out. It’s such a fun summer song, even if it’s about a breakup.

ONEWE – Reminisce about all
A completely different vibe than the previous song, but no less beautiful. I absolutely love bands, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for them.

A.C.E – Under Cover
THIS SONG! AND THESE OUTFITS. Don’t talk to me about the yellow bee/wasp outfit, because I’m deceased. How does he manage to look badass and good in that getup? I can’t fathom.

ONEUS – Twilight
I absolutely loved ONEUS’ debut song Valkyrie so I listened to their comeback as soon as it was released. There’s something about the vibe of their songs I really dig. I’d also like to know where they filmed the MV because the scenes are stunning. I’d guess it was somewhere in (Southern) Europe, but I’m not sure.

Lee Hi – No One (ft. iKON’s B.I)
This might be the catchiest and most fun song on the list this month. I love her voice, and the drop is fantastic. The MV is slightly weird though, with the whole cat thing… Also: B.I!

How was your month? Did you watch anything fun? Listen to any good music? Do some fun things?

may wrap up – everything I read last month

A mini reading slump hit me last month, and I found myself unable to commit to a book. I finished a lot less books than I did in the previous 4 months, but that’s okay! Reading is a hobby, after all, and shouldn’t come with pressure. Let’s talk about what I managed to read in May, shall we?

Death Note Black Edition Volume 2 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★★
The first volume of these black editions left me pleasantly surprised and wanting to continue the series, which is exactly what I did at the start of May. This might be my favorite Death Note volume yet. It was absolutely brilliant, and I ended up devouring it.

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence – ★★★★.₅
You knew Holy Sister would end up in the wrap up, didn’t you? I fell in love with this series last year, and was both excited and sad to read the final book in the trilogy. I have to admit that it was a lot shorter than I was expecting. While I still adored it, I prefer the first two books in the trilogy over the conclusion. It seemed a little bit rushed at times, and I just wanted a tad more from the romance. It’s still a 4,5-star read though. If you haven’t picked up the trilogy yet, please do so.

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 3 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★
Aside from Death Note, I’ve also been endlessly fascinated by Fullmetal Alchemist ever since I started the manga this year. I think the first volume is still my favorite, but I really like every volume I’ve read so far!

Death Note Black Edition Volume 3 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
After the brilliance of the second volume, I had to continue with the manga as soon as possible. Death Note is so compelling! I find myself glued to the pages whenever possible. Volume 3 wasn’t as great as volume 2, but I don’t think it’s possible to be as great or better than the second one.

Death Note Black Edition Volume 4 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
Once again, after finishing volume 3 I immediately picked up the next one. I was absolutely devastated at something that happened in this one, let me tell you. I might never be the same again.

Death Note Black Edition Volume 5 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
After the devastation of volume 4, I was hooked. I immediately bought the remaining two volumes and devoured them. I don’t love this volume as much as the early ones, but it’s really incredible to see the characters’ journeys. Light has come from a arrogant high school boy into an adult with the largest God complex I have ever seen. It’s fascinating!

 

Death Note Black Edition Volume 6 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★.₅
This finale had me stressed to the max. I didn’t even know how I wanted it to end. Good vs.  evil – who should win? I’m very satisfied with the conclusion to the series, even though I’m a little sad the story is over. I’m definitely watching the anime adaptation soon.

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart – DNF
There you have it, my first DNF of the year. The Sacrifice Box is a YA horror novel of which I received an ARC at YALC in 2017. I know, I got a copy almost two years ago and still hadn’t read it. After 200 pages, I still couldn’t care less about the novel. I wasn’t attached to any of the characters, wasn’t interested in what the evil actually was, or how they would survive what was happening to them. I simply didn’t care, so I decided to put it down.


Apparently, May was the month of manga for me. Or maybe it was just the month of Death Note? I fell into a mini reading slump at the start of the month, and manga is a great way to try and crawl out of the slump. If you have any manga recommendations for me, I’d love to hear about it! There are so many on my to-buy list, but I can always use more!

Have you read any of these books? What did you read in May?

April in the life | a personal wrap up

As you may know, every month I write both a reading and personal wrap up. In this “in the life” post, I talk about the TV shows and movies I watched, the music I listened to, and the things I did in the previous month. Let’s take a look at my April!

what i watched black

I was 2 seasons behind on Game of Thrones before the start of the last season, so I watched a recap (GASP!) before the first episode of season 8 was released. I’m following along with season 8, so I’ve now watched the first episode. I still have to catch up on episode 2 and 3. NO SPOILERS, EVERYONE.

I’m also watching Skam France season 4. I watched season 3 as it was released, and absolutely loved it. I think it’s the first remake that comes close to the brilliance of the Norwegian show. As I really liked Imane in season 3, I knew I wanted to watch her season as well. So far, it’s incredible.

I also started watching Put Your Head On My Shoulders, a Chinese drama I randomly found thanks to MyDramaList and YouTube. You can actually follow along on YouTube, as episodes with English subtitles are posted twice a week! I’m really loving it so far. I’ve completely caught up, and am now eagerly awaiting the next episodes. I adore the fact that the main male character is smart, kind, considerate and just a soft boy. Yes, please.

While I was home sick, I also managed to watch the entirety of W – Two Worlds Apart, a Korean drama that’s been on my to-watch list for ages. I really enjoyed it, and think I gave it a rating of 9/10. It became a little bit too convoluted at the end, but overall it’s a fantastic drama. If you want to watch an action-packed series with romance, this is a great choice.

what i did black

April flew by, honestly, because it was so busy. I went to the ATEEZ concert on the 12th in Amsterdam, which was pretty great. I really enjoyed it! They’re incredible dancers and performers.

I also celebrated Easter with my family, even though none of us are actually religious. The weather was fantastic for a few days in April, and everyone was basking in the first sun. So did I. I already had two BBQs, and it’s only May!

Yeah, that’s it really. I went to a concert, spent time with my family, and enjoyed the first sun. I know that doesn’t sound busy at all, but somehow I still barely had any time at home. Where did my days go?

what i listened to black

BTS – Dionysus
Aside from Intro: Persona, this might be my favorite song in BTS’ new album. I’ve listened to it countless times, and just can’t get enough of it. The stage looks incredible as well, and I can’t wait to (hopefully) see it live in June!

Jonas Brothers – Cool
I am living for these Jonas Brothers songs! Both Sucker and Cool are so catchy and fun, and I’ve been listening to them on repeat.

Stray Kids – Chronosaurus
I don’t often fall in love with an entire album. Usually, I will pick two or three songs from it I absolutely love, and add those to my playlist. That wasn’t the case with Stray Kids’ MIROH. I added pretty much the entire album to my playlist, and Chronosaurus is one of my absolute favorites.

Angèle feat. Roméo Elvis – Tout Oublier
I just love this song. I don’t have much to say about it, since I figure most of you have heard it countless times already. If you haven’t, please listen to it now!

CHEN – Love Words
Chen’s new mini album is absolutely beautiful, but Love Words is undoubtedly a new favorite of mine. It’s just so gorgeous. His voice is to die for.

5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood
This is another one I feel needs no explanation. This song is just catchy and fantastic.


What did you watch, listen to, and do in April?

#OWLsReadathon2019 wrap up (am I on track to become a curse breaker?)

As the O.W.L.s readathon took place throughout the entire month of April, this monthly wrap up also functions as my magical readathon wrap up. Everything I read this month counted for an O.W.L.s exam! Here’s everything I read.

curse breaker owls

As I mentioned in my TBR post I wanted to go for the wizarding career of curse breaker, which required me to finish 6 exams. Let’s see how I did, and whether I’ll be able to take my N.E.W.T.s for my chosen career.

ancient runes
>The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh – ★★★ – it was okay
> The prompt for ancient runes was to read a retelling. I decided it was finally time to pick up The Wrath and the Dawn which had been on my TBR for years. I have to admit that I was disappointed by this novel. I thought it was just okay, and kind of struggled with finishing it. I think if I weren’t motivated by the readathon, I might have chosen to DNF this book. It was just so ‘meh’. I’ll write a full review soon so you can read more of my thoughts on it.

arithmancy
> Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
> I listened to the audiobook of Gemina for the prompt of reading a book by more than one author. I had fallen in love with Illuminae a few months earlier, and couldn’t wait to continue the series. This took me a bit longer to get into, but I ended up really loving it. The audiobooks of this series are truly fantastic. I still prefer the first book, but got so attached to the characters in this sequel too.

charms
> Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – ★★★★ – really liked it
> I saw this one was available on Scribd, and figured it was the perfect pick for the charms prompt of reading an adult novel. It was funny yet thought-provoking, and a book I would recommend to everyone.

defence against the dark arts
> The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1) by Cixin Liu – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
> Honestly, it was quite difficult to find a book that started with the letter ‘r’ on my shelves! Luckily, I just got The three-body problem from the library! The series name starts with an ‘r’, as you can see above. I’m glad the O.W.L.s finally pushed me to read this book because it was quite the experience. On the one hand, I think this novel is brilliant. I could stop reading once I reached the middle, and devoured the last half. On the other hand, so much of the physics talk went way over my head, and I feel like I missed out on something because of it.

potions
> The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
> Who is surprised this ended up being a 5-star read? Definitely not me. I’ve been in love with this series for years, and know I had to read the final book as soon as possible. It did not disappoint, and I shed some tears by the end. In public. On the tram. Yes, it was kind of embarrassing. The Shadowglass was the perfect read, and fit really well for the prompt of read a sequel.

transfiguration
> Death Note, Black Edition, Volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★ – really liked it
>The prompt for transfiguration was to read a book with sprayed edges or red on the cover, which I completely by reading the first volume of the Death Note Black Editions. They all have black sprayed edges. I liked it a lot more than I expected to, and will continue the manga in May.

other owls I’ve taken

I mentioned that if I had time left or felt like it, I would try to take other OWLs as well. I managed to finish so many this month, and I’m quite proud of myself! Here are the other OWLs I took, ones that didn’t count for the curse breaker career.

care of magical creatures
> Fruits Basket volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya – ★★★★ – really liked it
> The prompt for this O.W.L. was to read a book with a land animal on the cover. As Fruits Basket is centered around the Chinese zodiac signs, and they are represented on the cover of the manga. The first volume was a tad confusing at the start, which got better after the first 20 pages or so. It’s such a fun and cute volume, and I can’t wait to continue the manga.

history of magic
>
 Fullmetal Alchemist volume 2 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★ – really liked it
> I really wanted to continue this manga after reading the first volume a little while ago, and the prompt for history of magic provided me with the perfect excuse. This one was definitely published more than 10 years ago, which is kind of insane to think about. I didn’t love it as much as the first volume, but I’m still loving the series and will definitely continue with it soon.

herbology
>
 Black Butler volume 2 by Yana Toboso – ★★★.₅ – liked it
> Another O.W.L. that provided the perfect excuse to continue a manga series! For herbology, you had to read something with plants on the cover. On the back of this volume, there are a bunch of bushes and roses. I know you can’t see it here, but I promise it’s there. Once again, I didn’t love this as much as I did the first volume, but I do want to continue the series. I might start watching the anime in the meantime though.

divination
> Obsidio (Illuminae Files #3) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman – ★★★★ – really liked it
> After finishing Gemina,  I knew I wanted to read the conclusion to the series as soon as possible. As the prompt for divination was to read a book set in the future, I decided to listen to the audiobook for this O.W.L. exam. This might be my least favorite of the three, because I didn’t much care for the first 20% or so of the book. However, I still really liked it and believe it’s a great conclusion to the trilogy. THAT ENDING THOUGH.

muggle studies
> The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
> I bought this at YALC a while ago because it sounded absolutely fantastic. It’s a YA contemporary about a girl who grew up in a cult, had her hands cut off, and is now in juvie. Yeah, it’s a wild ride. I would recommend this book to everyone, because it’s absolutely brilliant. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it! It fit perfectly for the prompt of reading a contemporary novel.


Those are all the O.W.L.s I managed to finish – and thus all the books I read in the month of April. I finished 11 O.W.L.s which is both amazing and kind of disappointing. I’m very happy with what I read, but if I had read one more book, I could have finished all 12 O.W.L.s… I don’t feel too bad about it, since I didn’t have a book on my to-read list that would fit for the astronomy prompt. I’m pleased I managed to finish the O.W.L.s I need for my future career in curse breaking though. Did you take part in the #owlsreadathon2019? Which exams did you take? Did you finish the courses needed for your chosen wizarding career? I’d love to chat about it in the comments below!

 

March in the life | personal wrap up

As always, I’m making a separate monthly wrap up to discuss the movies and TV shows I watched, the music I listened to, and the things that happened to me in the past month.

what i did black

So, March… It was quite the interesting month!

I started the month off by getting two wisdom teeth extracted, which wasn’t very fun if I’m being honest. I didn’t read or do much in the 10 days following the extraction, which is why I ended up watching so many TV shows last month. Be warned, the next section of this wrap up will be long!

In more exciting news, I got a new job! I started on the 18th, and I’m really happy about it. I was definitely nervous on my first day, but it’s been such a good experience so far. Obviously, it’s time-consuming, and I expect I won’t be watching many shows or reading many books in the coming weeks. That’s okay though. I watched plenty in March…

what i watched black

The only movie I managed to watch in March was Arrival, but it was definitely a hit. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a movie so thoroughly, and it truly took me by surprise. I know people had been screaming about it for years, but I somehow thought it wasn’t one for me. How wrong was I? It was brilliant. A new favorite for sure!

I also watched the entirety of Coffee Prince, which is arguably one of the most famous Korean dramas ever. It has the girl-disguises-as-boy trope we all happen to love, but it’s a tad deeper than most shows that revolve around the topic. I loved this show far more than I expected to -see, there’s a trend here- especially since it’s now about 12 years old. Either way, you can read my full thoughts on the show in my review, here.

I also (finally) started watching La Casa de Papel. This show has been on my Netflix to-watch list for absolute ages! I’ve seen 7 episodes so far, and I’m hooked. Once I start watching, I can’t seem to stop. It’s so intense, and I’m invested in all the characters already. I’ve been putting off continuing the show, because I haven’t had much time the past few weeks, and know that once I start watching, I’ll end up glued to the screen for hours.

 

I also watched Romance is a Bonus Book in March, a Korean drama I’ve quickly fallen in love with. I already knew Lee Jong-suk was one of the most beautiful men ever, but I truly enjoyed his acting in this show. I also loved Lee Na-young in this drama, as she portrayed such a refreshing and fun woman. Truly, Kang Dan-yi is a woman I’d like to be friends with. Thanks to Netflix and the enormous backlist of Asian dramas I want to watch, I haven’t watched a show where I had to wait a week for an episode in ages. I saw this one on Netflix though, and couldn’t resist. All too quickly, I had caught up with the show and had to wait for 2 new episodes every Tuesday. You best believe I binged those ones as soon as I possibly could.

I also watched the Flemish show called De Luizenmoeder, which is an adaptation of the Dutch show of the same name. If you translate the title literally, it makes The Lice Mother. It follows the mothers of a group of elementary school children, and the staff at the school. It’s absolutely hilarious, and I binged it in one weekend. I did watch the Flemish version instead of the original Dutch one, because I am Belgian (and Flemish) so it’s far more relatable for me.

Inbetween all that, I watched season 3 of SKAM France. You may know that I’m a huge fan of the original SKAM, a Norwegian TV show about the lives of a group of teenagers from the same school. I haven’t really been interested in watching the remakes, because I already know the story and think no one can really top the original actors. HOWEVER, I fell into the French remake somehow, and watched the entirety of season 3 – Elliot and Lucas’ story. I love it. They’re the first ones to come close to the original Isak and Even. Sometimes, I can’t even tell who I prefer more. I think they’re incredible actors, especially Axel Auriant – who portrays Lucas/Isak.

Lastly, I watched the entire third season of Queer Eye. Who is surprised? NOT ME. Once again, I love this show. The new season is no exception on that rule. It’s fantastic.

what i listened to black

Ready for the music section? Let’s go!

The Jonas Brothers – Sucker
Who is surprised? NOT ME. You know I’ve been listening to this song on repeat since March 1st, and I’m not apologizing for it. It’s absolutely fantastic. I think it leans more towards the music Joe’s been making with DNCE – and I love it. Can we also talk about the MV? It’s so beautiful, silly, and fun, and I’m so happy all their significant others are in it.

ONEUS – Valkyrie
I finally watched ONEUS’ debut song, Valkyrie, and consequently fell in love with it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to this song in March. It’s an embarrassing amount, for sure.

Jus2 – Focus on Me
GOT7’s music has always been hit or miss for me, but this sub-unit blew me away. I don’t know what I was expecting from a Yugyeom-Jaebum song, but it wasn’t this. It might be my favorite song of them so far? It’s so chill, yet demands your attention. The choreography is amazing, and can we talk about the editing in this video? Damn. I love the smoothness of this song, though, and can listen to it again and again.

MAMAMOO – gogobebe
It’s official, MAMAMOO is my favorite girl group. I love all their music. They’re such incredibly talented women, and I am filled with endless admiration. It’s silly, fun, and catchy.

Stray Kids – MIROH
Listen, Stray Kids is one of my absolute favorite groups. They’ve never had a comeback I didn’t like/love, and Miroh is no exception. I have to admit that I had to listen to it twice when it was first released, because the song is so overwhelming that I didn’t absorb anything on the first listen. Now, it’s been on repeat ever since its release. The entire album is filled with amazing songs though.

BTS – Persona (Comeback Trailer)
I usually don’t fall in love with BTS’ comeback trailers – don’t kill me. However, RM is absolutely fantastic in persona, and I’ve had so much fun diving into the lyrics. I wish this was on Spotify already so I could add it to my playlist.


That’s everything for March! Have you watched any of these shows, or listened to any of these songs? If you have any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear it!

March wrap up | everything I read last month

While I didn’t read as much in March as I did in January and February, I still had a pretty good reading month – aside from that one book, but we’ll talk about it later. As always, I’m sharing the books I managed to finish this month, and what I thought about them.

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
As you may know, I’ve been trying to read more graphic novels and manga in the past few months because I truly feel like I’m missing out on some great stories. Last year, I bought a secondhand copy of the first Fullmetal Alchemist volume. I figured it would be a great place to start, because it’s so famous. I absolutely loved it. Actually, I immediately bought volumes 2-7 on better world books… I want to continue the manga first before checking out the anime, because I want to story to surprise me in book-format – if that made sense.

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders…even to kill.

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I always feel weird rating nonfiction books. Does anyone else have that issue? Anyway, this is another book I picked up used, and it seemed like an intriguing read. The author, Barbara Demick, is a journalist who made news reports on North Korea for years. For this book, she interviewed 6 North Korean citizens (defectors) and follows their lives over a period of 15 years. This was published in 2009, so before Kim Jong-un became the Supreme Leader. She followed people from the same city, so she could get a clearer view on their lives from a number of different perspectives. It’s such an interesting read! Especially because she addresses that a lot of today’s defectors would return to North Korea if the government fell. They’d want to go back and help their fellow country men assimilate and get back on their feet.

In this landmark addition to the literature of totalitarianism, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years–a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il (the father of Kim Jong-un), and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I’ve recently revised my rating of The Cruel Prince. I originally rated it 3.5 stars but rounded it up to 4 on Goodreads. Looking back on it, that was a tad too generous. I had quite some issues with the pacing of the first book, because nothing really happened for the first 80%. I had no such issues with The Wicked King. I love political stories, strategy, and power struggles. This book was right up my alley, and I loved it so much. I can’t wait to read the third book! I’m glad I decided to give the sequel a try, even though I didn’t love the first one.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – ★★★.₅ or ★★★★
Yes, I’m using an ‘or’ in my rating. I feel so conflicted right now, I don’t know how I feel about this book. For the first 75% of this novel, I was sure it would end up being a 5-star read. I simply loved it! It was adorable, funny, and sweet – and I do love me a soft boy. I was afraid at first that Hazel would become that quirky girl who is just so special, but it really didn’t feel like that. She just seemed genuine and 100% herself the entire time. But the last 25% of this book RUINED it for me. What was that? Why did you have to add one of my most hated tropes? It was NOT necessary at all.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. Their loss. Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air. Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman – ★★ – really didn’t like it
Listen, I only made it through this book because a) Armie Hammer narrates the audiobook and his voice is fantastic, b) I shared the worst moments with some of my lovely friends so I didn’t have to suffer alone, and c) I felt challenged by this book and didn’t want to let it win by DNFing it. I watched this movie in 2017 and absolutely adored it. I HATED THIS BOOK. IT’S THE FUCKING WORST THING I HAVE READ IN A WHILE. I honestly felt violated while reading this. My brain needed to be submerged in bleach to erase the stain of it on my soul. Here’s my review of this novel, so your brain can feel like it need disinfecting too.

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them.

I Hear the Sunspot Volume 1 by Yuki Fumino – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
I needed to cleanse my soul after finishing the book we shall never mention again, and I Hear the Sunspot seemed like the perfect manga to do so. I read this on MangaRock, which is an app where fans translate manga from the original Japanese. A lot of manga never get translated, so that’s nice. I did find out after finishing this that the first three volumes were recently translated into English and I’ve already bought them all. This was the most wholesome thing I’ve read in a while. It’s the cutest thing. I will scream about this manga forever, until everyone has read it. (Yes, I’m serious. I really will.) Here’s my review of the first three volumes! I manage to explain why I love it in more detail, and don’t give away any spoilers – don’t worry.

Because of a hearing disability, Kohei is often misunderstood and has trouble integrating into life on campus, so he learns to keep his distance. That is until he meets the outspoken and cheerful Taichi. He tells Kohei that his hearing loss is not his fault. Taichi’s words cut through Kohei’s usual defense mechanisms and open his heart. More than friends, less than lovers, their relationship changes Kohei forever. 

Bye Bye Liberty Volume 1 by Ayuko Hatta – ★★★.₅ – liked it
Bye Bye Liberty was another random MangaRock pick that I ended up liking. It’s a fun manga that follows a girl who has never had a crush nor been in love, and an immensely popular boy. It’s cute and funny, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. I also didn’t like how she went from ‘never have had a crush’ to ‘I might be in love with this person’ so soon. This could have been a chance to write about a demiromantic character, and it feels like a missed opportunity somewhat. I’ll probably continue the manga some day, but I’m not in a rush.

I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness by Yuki Fumino – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
I was in a rush to continue this manga, though, and ended up reading it immediately after my purchased volumes came in the mail. I devoured this series, and am so in love with it. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve written a review on the first three volumes that are published in English, which you can find here.

i hear the sunspot 3

I Hear the Sunspot: Limit 1 by Yuki Fumino – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I didn’t love this as much as the previous two volumes mainly because I think it’s too short. The Japanese chapters that have been published in ‘Limit’ are far more than the ones in here, which is why I assume it’s called Limit 1. I don’t see why they were split up though. I continued reading the rest of the Limit volumes on MangaRock, and can I just say that a) I’m truly in love with this manga, and b) WHAT IS THAT ENDING? YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO ME.


That’s everything I managed to read in March! I barely read anything in the last two weeks of the month, but I think I had a pretty good month nonetheless. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What did you read in the past month? I’d highly recommend reading I Hear the Sunspot – and avoiding CMBYN.