I won’t be posting much in the coming weeks…

I’ve finally accepted the fact that a) I’m in a blogging slump, and b) I can’t seem to fit it into my life at the moment. There’s only so much we can all do in a day, or even a week, which means something always has to give. At the moment, I want to focus on doing a good job at work (which takes up about 40 hours a week), spending time with my family and friends, traveling, and working out.

You read it. Working out. I’m really dedicated to becoming healthier and stronger, and I’m finally in a good mindset on fitness. Before, it always used to be about appearance for me which soured every workout I did. Now, it’s about being strong and healthy. I just became a member at a gym close to work, and I’ll be going for the first time tomorrow. I want to dedicate time to working out and having fun with that around 3 times a week, which means I’ll probably only get home at 9 PM.

I wanted to warn you all before you started questioning my absence here. I will still post whenever I can or when I feel inspired, but it will be far less frequently. This might change in a few weeks or months if I get a bout if inspiration, you never know!

Like I said, something’s always got to give. At the moment, it’s this blog for me. I won’t disappear! I’ll just be in the background for a while. I’ll still participate in things like the N.E.W.Ts readathon, but I haven’t figured out whether I’ll post updates here or simply on Twitter. Guess we’ll find out soon 🙂

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?

Week 2 of the #NEWTsReadathon2018 | an update

Last week, I managed to read 3 books for the #NEWTsReadathon2018. This week was not quite as productive in terms of reading, unfortunately. I’m trying to combine my current reads for the NEWTs readathon with the #POCathon that’s going on from August 12th to August 19th, as well. Let’s see what I managed to read for my NEWTs from August 8th until August 14th!

long way down

 

I started my week off by listening to the audiobook of Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. This is a very short yet impactful book. It takes place in the span of 1 minute, when Will gets on the elevator to go out and kill the person who shot his brother. In that minute, lots of people in Will’s life get on the elevator to talk to him; only all of them are dead.

This story is told in verse, which gives it a sense of urgency and reality, and I’d highly recommend listening to the audiobook. The author narrates the book himself, and he brings it to life.

I gave this 4/5 stars, and I would encourage everyone to pick this book up.

Book Finished: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Grade earned: Acceptable in Transfiguration (book with a grey cover)

That’s the only book I managed to finish for the NEWTs readathon this week. I did start another book and it will count for an Exceeds Expectations in Transfiguration when I finish it, so let’s talk about it for a second.

on such a full sea

 

I started reading On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee. This is a science fiction story set in the future in B-Mor, a worker colony formerly known as Baltimore.

It’s the story of a woman called Fan, who disrupts the whole order of B-Mor society by leaving after her boyfriend is removed from the colony.

So far, it’s very interesting! It’s told from a removed position. It’s like someone in B-Mor is telling us the legend of Fan. What her life was like, what lead up to her leaving, how it affected the rest, etc. It creates more of a distance between you and the main character, but I honestly don’t mind. It’s such an interesting way to tell a story, by creating a legend around it already.

I’m looking forward to reading more of this book in the coming days!


That’s it! I did read another book but it didn’t count for the #NEWTsReadathon2018. I’m hoping to read some more this week, and I really want to finish On Such a Full Sea. How are you doing with the readathon?

Week 1 of the #NEWTsReadathon2018 | An Update

The first week of the N.E.W.T.s readathon has passed, and I’m here to give you a little update. Usually I would wait until the end of the readathon and do a wrap up then but since this readathon spans the entire month of August, I figured it would be easier to give you updates every week. So what did I manage to read for the first 7 days of the readathon (August 1-7)?

IMG_20180806_131956_669

I started the readathon off by picking up The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson.

I’ve been meaning to pick this book up for ages. I started reading the Mistborn series in 2014, which means I’ve been invested in this world for quite a while already.

To be honest, I was afraid I wouldn’t like The Alloy of Law as much as the first three books in the series. After all, it’s set 300 years after the events of The Hero of Ages, and revolves around an entirely different set of characters.

I am happy to be proven wrong by Brandon Sanderson. I ended up really enjoying this book, even though it does feel like the first book in a series: a lot of time to set up the world and characters, so they can be fleshed out in the next books. I gave it 4 stars, and I can’t wait to read the next book. Even though I’ll have to buy it first and I’m really trying to lessen the amount of books on my shelves.

Finished: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Earned: Acceptable in Charms (read a book with magic in it)

spellbook of the lost and foundNext, I decided to start reading Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle. I’ve had this on my shelf for about a year, and I still hadn’t picked it up. The challenge to reach an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ in Charms is to read a book with a cover that charmed you. The cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous.

I was a bit disappointed in this book, to be honest. I had quite high expectations because I’d seen people rave about it before. For me, it was an okay read. It wasn’t really a 4-star read, especially when compared to The Alloy of Law, but I also liked it better than the books I’ve rated 3 stars this year. So a 3.5/5 it is.

I’m not sure what it is about this book that made it so hard for me to connect to the characters and get invested in their story. The only thing I know for sure is that this book could’ve been shorter. I felt like it dragged in some parts, and kept repeating others. I know the repetition serves a purpose, but it still gets annoying after a while.

Finished: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Earned: Exceeds Expectations in Charms (cover that charmed you)

IMG_20180807_142431_335

After reading Spellbook of the Lost and Found, I decided to pick up Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland. I bought this at YALC last week, because it seemed interesting and was signed by the author.

I needed something completely different after just reading an epic fantasy novel and a magical realism one, so this seemed perfect. In addition, the prompt to earn an Outstanding in Charms was ‘read a book you think will leave a mark’. Since this is a non-fiction book about the author’s life in North-Korea and his eventual escape, it was perfect for this readathon.

I absolutely flew through this book and managed to read it in only a few hours. Sungju Lee’s story is so powerful, interesting and harrowing. It taught me quite a bit about life in North-Korea, without the prejudices we get as Western people. I already know this will be one of my favorite books of the year, and I’ll recommend it to everyone.

Finished: Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland
Earned: Outstanding in Charms (book that will leave a mark)


That’s what I read during the first 7 days of the readathon!
Have you read any of these books? 

Are you participating in the readathon?

What Have I Been Up to Lately?

Hello everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, typing away. I know you’ve seen some Top Ten Tuesday posts appear in the past few weeks. Thank the universe for scheduling, right? Otherwise it would have been complete radio silence. 

I haven’t been posting lately. Whether on my blog or my YouTube channel, I just haven’t found the time or motivation. I could come up with a 1000 excuses. And I do still feel like I need to apologize to you for my absence. To be honest, I know I shouldn’t. This blog, and my channel, are a hobby of mine. I love reading. I love talking about the books I’ve read. I love reading your blog posts and leaving comments. My love for the bookish community has never faded. But I just don’t have much time right now. So here’s what’s been going on in my life lately. 

I’m still working. No surprise there, right? I’m finding it harder than I thought I would to combine a full-time job with reading, blogging, and every other hobby.

I’m excited again about working out. I know, that doesn’t happen often. I usually have to force myself to work out. But in the beginning of September, I participated in a 6K run in support of Think Pink with my colleagues. And to prepare somewhat for that run, I decided to go back to the gym. I’ve discovered that I really, really enjoy weight training. I love the machines, I love pushing until the last rep and seeing how much weight I can challenge myself to push. I haven’t found to courage to start with barbell workouts yet, but I’m hoping I will in the near future. 

I’m excited again about cooking some new, healthy veggie/vegan meals. I want to invest time back into my food, so I start eating a bit healthier. 

I’ve fallen down the KPOP rabbit hole. Yup. It started with BTS, now I’m just all over the place. I’m listening to music, watching music videos and dance practices and random videos of the group members. You’ve sucked me in. 

I started watching Descendants of the Sun. I want to get back into TV shows, and this one looked like a lot of fun! I’ve watched 10 of the 16 episodes so far (I think) and I absolutely love it. 

I turned 23. 

My blog turned 3.

I went on a trip to Naples, Italy. It was wonderful -and sunny!

I’m exhausted. I know, not a fun item, right? But it’s true. I’ve been feeling so exhausted lately. Sleeping 9 hours a night and still being tired. 

That’s what’s been going on in my life lately! I do apologize for my lack of comments on your posts. I just haven’t had the time. I am not abandoning my blog, don’t worry. But I won’t be able to post as much as I used to either. I hope you’ll bear with me.

In Which I Apologize for Being a Terrible Blogger

I have been a terrible blogger the past few months. I took a month-long hiatus a while back, and then decided to pick my blogging back up. That went fine during the month of June. Since July has started though, I’ve been slacking. I’ve barely posted anything, aside from Top 5 Wednesdays and my weekly wrap ups. And I’m sorry. 

I do want to keep my blog going. And I want to create amazing content for you guys, and review the books I’ve been reading. I think half of the books I’ve read this year, I haven’t reviewed yet… 

I haven’t been feeling my best lately. I just don’t quite feel like myself at the moment, and can’t bring myself to write anything. I also haven’t read a single book this week. I’ve read tons of fan fiction though. What I’m trying to say here is: I’m sorry for not being present here. I’m sorry for not reviewing any of the books I’ve read, or writing any posts. 

I can’t write posts that I’m not 100% behind. And so I’ll have to cut back on writing posts and making videos until I’m feeling up to it. Or until I’m reading anything, for that matter. 

I hope you’ll all understand! 

I’M ON HOLIDAY!

As you’re reading this, I’m either on my way or have arrived in Kemer, Turkey. I’m going on a trip with my parents from today, the 19th, until the 30th of July.

I did try to schedule some posts so my blog won’t be completely empty while I’m gone. But I think the WiFi in the hotel will be pretty bad, so I don’t expect I’ll be able to keep up with your posts and comment as much as I want. So expect a lot of comments from me in August, I’ll be trying to catch up!

I can’t wait for sun, lying at the pool, reading, taking walks on the beach and EATING ALL THE FOOD.

I won’t be able to write any weekly wrap ups though, so I’ll try to make a semi-monthly one when I get back so I can show you what I read while I was away.