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?

May prompts | monthly TBR challenges

I’ve been doing these monthly prompts since January, and I really like it. April wasn’t as successful as the previous months because I participated in a month-long readathon as well, and there’s only so much I can read. This will probably be the case for May as well, but I think it’ll be easier to combine this month’s prompts with the Asian readathon.

If you haven’t read one of these posts before, I use a random number generator to pick 4 prompts from the Popsugar 2019 reading challenge to guide my reading every month. It gives me some direction and push, but doesn’t give me a set TBR (which never really works well for me).

Let’s take a look at the challenges for May!

a book published in 2019

holy sister

Finally an easy challenge! Last month, I received my pre-order of Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence, the third book in the Book of the Ancestor series, and I still haven’t read it. Since the previous two books were on my favorite books of last year list, I can’t wait to read the conclusion to the trilogy. MY FAVORITES BETTER BE OKAY, MARK.

a book written by a musician

every heart a doorway

I had to do some digging for this prompt, not going to lie. I didn’t really feel like reading a biography (although that might change during the month of May) so I felt a bit discouraged here. Then I discovered that Seanan McGuire is a musician, thanks to the lovely Goodreads group dedicated to completing the Popsugar challenge. Every Heart a Doorway has been on my to-read list for a while and it’s quite short so I should be able to read this in May.

a retelling of a classic

I have two options for this prompt! Longbourn is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice told through the eyes of a servant of the Bennet family. I’ve had a copy ever since I read P&P in late 2016, and still haven’t picked it up. This is the perfect time to change that! I might end up listening to The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein instead though, which is available on Scribd. I’m intrigued by this retelling of Frankenstein, but I haven’t heard the best things about the book in reviews…

zodiac sign or astrology term in the title

Another novel that has been sitting on my bookshelf, still unread, for ages is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I’m so intimidated by Khaled Hosseini’s works, and I have no idea why. I need to get over this ridiculous fear I won’t like it, and just pick it up. If I somehow still don’t get to that one, I can pick up Starfish on Scribd instead. I honestly have no idea what this is about, all I remember is that the main character is half-Japanese and has social anxiety.

There you have it, my monthly prompts for May! I think achieving these should be doable, right? I can even read the books for the last prompt for the Asian readathon as well, which is perfect. I’m all for combining challenges. Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I get to first? I’d love to hear your opinion!

May Wrap Up | Books, Music, Movies and TV Shows

what i read 80c8b0

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan // ★★★★ // I read this in a matter of hours. I think it’s the first novel I’ve read that is written in verse. And if it isn’t, the last one must have been so long ago I’ve completely forgotten about it. This was a really beautiful read, yet so rough at the same time. It’s about a boy whose brother is on death row. It forces you to think about death row, the death penalty, innocence and how to truly prove that someone is guilty. I’d highly recommend it. 

A Close and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers // ★★★★ // After reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet I knew I had to read the sequel immediately. I was bit surprised to realize that it’s actually a companion novel! It follows Pepper and Lovey, and I can’t really say more without spoiling part of the first novel. Although I truly enjoyed this novel, I didn’t love it as much as the first one. Still, I absolutely adored learning more about Pepper, and Lovey’s life brings a lot of interesting debates on tech to the surface. I can’t wait to meet Becky Chambers in July (at least I hope I will), because she’s a true genius. 

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli // ★★★★ // You knew this would be on the list, didn’t you? After falling in love with both Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited, I had to read Becky Albertalli’s latest release as soon as possible. Once again, I was completely blown away. Every time I think Becky Albertalli can’t make a character more relatable, she proves me wrong. I don’t identify as bisexual, yet so many aspects of Leah’s character are familiar to me. The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars is because of the way Leah reacted when someone came out to her. I believe that could’ve been handled differently. Every other aspect of this book was absolutely incredible, and I love it endlessly. (IT WAS SO ADORABLE!)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee // ★★★★ // From an adorable read like Leah on the Offbeat to a realistic and horribly sad one like Pachinko. I saw this book on a BookTubers “favorite books of 2017” list and thought it sounded really interesting. Side note, I can’t remember whose video that was so if you did put Pachinko on your favorites list and I have commented on your video, feel free to let me know so I can refer to your video! This book follows 4 generations of one family through 8 decades in Korea and Japan. It starts in 1911, shortly after Japan annexed Korea, in Yeongdo. This book hit me hard. It is so sad and honestly, not many good things happen to this family. It’s an incredible novel though, and I would still highly recommend it. It taught me a lot about Korea’s history, as well as the lives of Koreans who moved to Japan after the annexation and how they were treated. 

what i watched 80c8b0

I started watching Sense8 again. I don’t know why I stopped watching for a while, because this show is absolutely incredible. I’m currently finishing up season 1 and am hoping to move on to season 2 immediately afterward. 

I also watched 2 episodes of Rich Man, Poor Woman. This is a K-drama that stars Suho from EXO! Not going to lie, that’s why I started watching. However, I’m enjoying the female lead even more? Ha Yeon-Soo is so beautiful and seems so kind. This is a remake of a 2012 series, if I’m not mistaken. I can’t really say much on the show yet, because I’ve only seen 2 episodes but I do want to continue watching. 

I binge-watched Just Between Lovers this past month. This K-Drama was just so incredible, I couldn’t stop watching! It’s a very sad story though, and will play with your emotions. But if you haven’t seen it, please go do so. Won Jin Ah was absolutely gorgeous in this drama, and I can’t wait to watch her in more movies and/or shows. And can we talk about Lee Junho for a second? Because wow… 

lee junho in just between lovers

I’m currently also watching Between, a Taiwanese drama. It’s about a “sandwich” girl, which I believe is a girl who is always stuck in the middle. At work, she’s stuck between the management and the employees because she’s a supervisor. And obviously, she’s stuck between two guys as well. I’m quite enjoying this drama, although it’s so utterly cheesy at times. I can handle a bit of cheesiness or clichés, but this has a lot of them. It just makes me laugh after a while. BUT I’m enjoying it enough to eagerly anticipate new episodes (and subtitles). And can we talk about how beautiful the female lead is? I feel like I’ve said that multiple times, but really, her smile is so adorable. 

And the most exciting news of the month? I won 2 tickets for an early viewing of Love, Simon! I know what you’re thinking. Jolien, that movie has been out for months? What do you mean, early viewing? Well, in some countries it was released in March. Yet in Belgium (and I believe the Netherlands too) Love, Simon is only scheduled for release on June 20th. Which means I got to see it a month before it hit theaters here. It was everything I could ever have asked for. I will be going to the cinema once it does release, pay for a ticket and watch it all over again. I want to watch this movie a million times (and support it with my money). 

what i listened to 80c8b0

DAY6 – I Need Somebody

I have been in love with DAY6 for months. Moonrise might be one of my favorite albums, in fact. Partly because of this song. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, the lyrics are incredible too. I understand this song and the feelings behind it so well, it’s a bit terrifying to be honest. 

MOMOLAND – BBoom Bboom

A completely different song, but I have been loving it. It makes me want to dance every single time I hear it. 

BTS – Fake Love

Obviously, this was going to be one my list. I don’t think anyone is really surprised here. I’m really enjoying BTS’ new comeback and I’m digging the songs. I have to admit that some of their “older” songs are still my favorites. I have a special place in my heart for Silver Spoon and Blood, Sweat and Tears in particular. 

What did you read, watch and/or listen to this past month?

My April Wrap Up

I’m back with another monthly wrap up! I’ve finally started reading again, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

what i read 80c8b0

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco // ★★★★ // This was a re-read for me. I read this for the first time in 2016, before its release, and absolutely loved it. When I got my pre-order of the sequel, I knew I had to re-read this one first because there was so much I’d forgotten. I still adored it the second time around -and it actually helped get me out of my months-long reading slump.

The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco // ★★★★★ // After re-reading the first book, I was ready for the sequel. I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint at all! Rin Chupeco mentioned that The Heart Forger is about loving someone despite their flaws and disagreements – about how living separate lives does not mean the lessening of bonds. What an accurate and wonderful summation of this book. 

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller // ★★★★ // I read this one for work, to be honest. It’s a very interesting read though! I’d highly recommend it.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo // ★★★ // I’m sad to say I was a bit disappointed by this. Yes, I knew going in to it that it was based on K-dramas and romance and that those tend to be a bit cliché and over the top. No hate here though, because I love K-dramas!! I wasn’t prepared though for the absolutely ridiculous levels the MC went to. Honestly, she was a danger to humanity. Yes, it was cute and fluffy too. Yes, I loved learning more about her Korean-American background. Yes, I adored her dad. But that wasn’t enough to make up for the fact that she did seriously dangerous things without them having true consequences.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers // ★★★★.5 // I FINALLY READ THIS. I’ve had the first two books om my shelves for almost a year now, and I still hadn’t read them. Now that Becky Chambers will be at YALC though, I knew I had to read them. And so glad to say this didn’t disappoint. It was incredible, and it forced me to think about things I never really considered before.

Circe by Madeline Miller // ★★★★★ // The long-awaited second novel by Madeline Miller. You knew I was going to read this as soon as possible. Once again, didn’t disappoint. Did I love it as much as The Song of Achilles? No. Do I think she wrote an amazing novel about a woman who had been vilified in mythology and made you see her in a different perspective? Yes. 

what i listened to 80c8b0

This has become one of my favorite sections, to be honest! 

buffering the vampire slayer

I don’t really think I need to say a lot about the podcast I’ve been listening to, Buffering the Vampire Slayer, because I’ve made an entire post about it. You can read that one here, if you’re interested.


B.A.P – Hands Up

I know that this isn’t a new song, but I’ve only recently started listening to it! I’ve actually only recently started getting into B.A.P. I’m not familiar with them yet, but I do want to dive more into the group, because I feel like they’re kind of underrated.

NCT 2018 – Black On Black

Well, no surprise there. NCT has been killing it in 2018, and this might be my favorite one yet. I know there isn’t really any singing in here, but the performance is just so good.

Eric Nam – Honestly

Eric Nam is another artist I feel is criminally underrated. He has so many amazing songs! Many of his songs always put me in a good mood, like this one. 

Ten – New Heroes

Ten might be my NCT bias. Sorry, Taeyong… He’s just so talented. Not only is he an incredible singer but he’s such a talented dancer too!

EXO-CBX – Blooming Day

So many amazing songs this month! I also loved EXO-CBX’s comeback called Blooming Day. Such a fun rhythm. Again, it’s one of those songs that just puts me in a good mood. 

That was my month? What did you read and/or listen to?