#Project14Lists: Best Books I Read In 2018

Welcome to another list! Wow, I actually continued posting. Yes, I’m aware that no amount of catching up can change the fact that I am failing this challenge. I’ve been a busy adult (huhu no I am not comfortable saying it) for the past few days. I had a hurricane of a Christmas, and I was basically depended on to do chores the entire weekend. Let me tell you, cleaning up dishes on Christmas is not fun especially when everyone seemed to just want to stuff themselves silly. Then after a long day, you just want to lie down and sleep. I just want to discuss about my favorite books gosh darn it. Where do I get the energy??

Anyways, rant over. It’s time to talk about books again, hooray! Since it’s already the 31st here in the PH, I decided that I will be posting two lists today for Project 14 Lists created by Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch. The goal is to blog about lists, but I’m kinda failing here haha. Though I digress, I think this project made me think out of the box. Hence, I have a lot prepared for the next year without hopefully burning out and I received a lot of positive feedback with the posts I put up in participation of this event. While I was not able to share the posts I planned to put up, I’m optimistic that those will kickstart 2019 with a bang. Now, where were we? Right, of course it’s going to be all about the books and I am genuinely excited to be talking about my favorites for this year.

Analyzing it real quick, I love that this list is generally diverse and each book is quite unique. According to my stats, I rated 5 books with a will-save-from-a-fire status this year. One of them is a read that I’m not comfortable in sharing my feels on… yet, so I will only be tackling four specific titles today. Also, since I’m so extra, I have some graphics prepared! I thought, “Hey, why not design CD covers inspired by these books?” Because when a book inspires you so much, it’s easy to shower it with love. Plus, it’s cool to think about the possible songs that can be associated with these titles. Here are the best books that I read in 2018:

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

33294200Have you ever read a book so powerful and capable of delivering such a beautiful story in the form most endearing to you? That was The Poet X for me. Not only was it written in verse, but it exuded a driving and riveting story that speaks magnitude. Xiomara’s hauntingly beautiful story about finding her voice amidst the chaos of tradition, rules, and conventions easily made this novel a personal favorite of mine. With the writing bursting with the raw and purest emotions, it’s groundbreaking and deserving of all the awards that it has received. Never have I ever felt so strongly connected to a book like this one. It just spoke to me on a personal level and at the right moment. This book has inspired me so much that I decided to write my review in verse as well. Check out my full raving here.

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

What If It's UsI still end up in a puddle of feels whenever I see or hear about this book. I’ve been itching to reread it since I was done reading it. (Count how many times Bianca says read.) That’s how good this book is for me. Nothing like magnetic and unputdownable writing to save me from the abyss of craving for a book I want to save from a fire. 2018 was a better year when it came to reading romance, and I was thankful for the type of relationship that Arrhur and Ben had. For one, it’s not picture perfect with the montage and everything. Two, they leave room to grow for each other. Finally, the ending that made my heart swell. It’s ridiculously rare for me to finish a book in a day – let alone a love story that’s 400+ pages long. Yet here we are and this book definitely surpassed all of my expectations and doubts. Read my full review here, and maybe have some earbuds at hand because this one’s accompanied with actual playlists.

Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu

375345772018 really affirmed what I already knew about myself: I’m trash for stories as unique as Check, Please. It’s not common knowledge here on the blog, but I also love reading webcomics. They’re easy to read depending on the flow of the story, and you have a visual representation of what the characters look like. So when I heard that it was available online, I immediately jumped on the chance to read it. Now a public service reminder: Go do yourself a favor and update yourself with Ngozi’s fantastic work. Not only does it tackle hockey, but it also navigates through the topics of friendship, teamwork, and self-acceptance. Bitty’s pie-loving adorable self deserves all that is good in this world, and the slow burn romance makes you wonder if you should have been listening to Beyonce more. You’ll definitely fall in love with these characters faster than you can say “I can see your ha- YAAAAAAS THIS BOOK!” πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau

29225589Yet another graphic novel about boys falling in love, this one easily got me hooked because of the gorgeous art style and the color scheme. Little did I know that I was breezing through it, and in every turn I fell in love. Honestly, what more can I say? It’s lightheartedly heartbreaking because for me, I felt for Ari as a teen discovering themselves. At the same time, I’m falling for Hector’s charm and perseverance. It’s a one-of-a-kind slowburn summer romance that can make readers giddy with the feels. Not only that, but all the talk about the family working and earning their keep from making bread is both a joy and a treat to read about, and the friendship dynamics ring true. Readers are in for a feast come 2019, because this will definitely be that one graphic novel that will send everyone in a frenzied hook.

There you have it! I had a blast making those covers and it definitely added to the overall feels that I have for these books. 2018, you’ve been a good reading year. The books on this list are definitely for keeps, and I truly hope you’ll have a blast reading should you pick up one of these reads.

What are some of your favorite reads for 2018?

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#Project14Lists: Best Movies I Watched in 2018

This is the strangest morning before Christmas that we’ve ever had. We’re not even preparing a Christmas dinner… which is odd but in return gave me the time to actually sit down and type this blog post. Oh well. Anyways, it’s Day 6 for me doing Project 14 Lists! This lovely event is organized by the one and only Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch. The goal of this wonderful event is to write and post a bookish list every day from December 18th to December 31st, leading to a total of 14 lists. A challenge indeed and a challenge accepted. (But I’m running behind lol)

For today’s list, and since it’s the 24th, I want to be a little festive. For the next two days, I’m going to be sharing my best of 2018 in various forms. However, the best of the best is reserved for the end of this challenge so we can at least end this year with a bang haha. Today, I’m listing down the best movies that I have seen in 2018. Originally I wanted to share at least 10 but according to my stats, I only have 6 movies that I rated a full 5 stars. As much as I would love to include my 4.5’s, I got 20. At least I can enunciate myself and elaborate why I love these movies very much. Also as I’ve noticed with my last post, a lot of you were asking for some movie recs / best movies that I saw for this year. I hope this list clears that up. πŸ˜‰ Let’s get to it!

The Help (2011)

proxyI had to watch this movie for my World Literature class. Sometimes it’s a bore doing papers, but this movie changed the game and I have never had that much fun in writing a critical analysis. I honestly didn’t know what to expect because while I know it tackles racism, all I knew was the reputation that this movie gained in my old circle as that one movie with the poop pie. (No joke, because high school and ignorance.) But after watching it, The Help made me feel all kinds of emotion – anger, relief, restlessness, sadness, and contentment. I was blown away by everyone’s performance, especially Viola Davis’. It was something else with what it wants to convey, and I was deeply moved with the story it presented. While I still have questions with the entire premise of the movie in general, this movie just hit me real hard. So if you haven’t seen this one yet, THEN WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING HERE??

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

the-grand-budapestIf I probably didn’t see this available on Netflix, it would’ve taken me years of convincing to try and watch this movie. To my luck, I was just that into whatever floats my boat. That random decision of mine introduced a whole other dimension that is Wes Anderson’s filming style, technique, and method. Watching The Grand Budapest Hotel made me feel surreal, like I was witnessing a painting come to life. My eyes lit up the moment I saw the pastel colors that encompassed the screen. There’s always a certain focal point, an array of characters, and a dash of exaggeration. It was like the screen didn’t want me to miss a single detail, and I loved every aspect of it. I can finally see why everyone’s like, “Hey have you watched that new Wes Anderson yet? I MEAN DUH YOU HAVE TO.”

Coco (2017)

coco_ver6_xlgWho doesn’t love a good animation? I was only able to see it this year because I avoided Coco like the plague. Why? I don’t know… because I have feelings like a normal human being and Pixar’s life force is actually human tears and I don’t want to give them the satisfaction? Kidding aside, celebrating Dia de los muertos* will always have a place in my heart and any story dealing with family, loss, and remembering will make me shed a bucket of tears. Miguel’s journey to self-discovery through learning more about his family was funny and full of shenanigans, but it was also heartwarming and unforgettable. (DARN IT, I’m remembering it again. 😭) But seriously though, don’t be like me. Coco deserves all of the accolades that it has received and for a good reason. You can never go wrong with this one.

*We also have a dedicated “Day of the Dead” here in the PH, usually on November 1st.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder-on-the-Orient-Express-poster-3-600x888Just to be clear, I haven’t read the book. I love a good mystery, and I actually spoiled myself before watching this movie. I know who did the killing, but it was the investigation and the execution of the crime that made me chime in until the end. I have the simplest pleasures in life. While some panned this movie, I enjoyed all of it. In fact, I managed to see it twice because I was in awe. While the acting can be a bit better, it’s the cinematography and the use of colors that really had me hooked. I really hope they do another one because I’ll take it over any day.

Black Panther (2018)

black-panther-posterProbably one of the best decisions that I made this year was to convince my best friend (and movie buddy) to watch Black Panther while it was still in theaters. I’m more of a DC fan actually, but after the underwhelming mumbo jumbo that is Suicide Squad and Infinity War looming ahead then, I decided to catch up and watch this movie. Now, if you will excuse me, I will be screaming for a bit.

GUYS THIS MOVIE IS JUST AMAZING. THE WOMEN IN THIS MOVIE WERE ALL STELLAR AND I JUST WANT THEM TO ALL BE DEEMED QUEENS. I am really all for the conflict in this movie, because damn Killmonger had some strong points and T’Challa had to choose between tradition and cementing himself as a king in his own right. Would you believe that it’s the first time I actually really REALLY enjoyed a Marvel movie?? Okay, borderline is: watch it. If you already did: AGAIN.

Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (2018)

Goyo_Ang_Batang_Heneral_poster(English title: Goyo: The Boy General) For everyone else, Goyo is a historical film about one of the youngest generals here in my country whose name is Gregorio del Pilar. It continues a chapter in the Philippine-American War, concluding in the Battle of Tirad Pass. After the fiery Heneral Luna in 2015, Goyo easily became one of my most anticipated movies since the lead actor for the movie appeared in the mid-credits scene of the previous film. (It works like the Marvel Cinematic universe with the teaser in the end and all.) Though calmer in tone and in color, Goyo still asks the same questions presented by its predecessor. But this time rather, it asks the question of what really makes one an idol and a hero. Not only did it kill it with the historical accuracies and the technical aspects (and liberations for that matter), but it also left audiences in awe, thinking how deeply entertwined a historical film was with the climate of today’s society. I honestly can’t wait for the third movie in this series because the studio that makes these movies just gets it. If you’re interested in seeing a Filipino film, I highly recommend this one and its predecessor film Heneral Luna (2015). You can watch this movie alone, but seeing Heneral Luna gives it more of an impact.

Alright, everyone. 😊 That’s my list for today. I hope I was able to share the feels with you all with these favorites of mine. Or if not, hopefully I gave you an idea or an extra push to finally watch these movies. I just love the warm feeling after watching a really great movie. Hope you can join me again tomorrow for the usual programming? πŸ˜‰

What are some of the best movies that you have seen this year? What do you think you’ll definitely watch next year?

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#Project14Lists: 2018 In A Nutshell

It’s all about statistics today, my lovely friends! (aka evaluating my shenanigans for the year) Welcome to Day 5! For today’s prompt on Project 14 Lists hosted by the lovely Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch, I thought it would be fun to list down the major things that I tracked down for this year. Things can easily get jumbled if you’re an ultimate fangirl like me, especially when there’s just a lot of things to track and handle with your respective fandoms. Luckily, there is more than one way to do things.

I started jotting down my thoughts in January on Twitter by making a thread of threads, so I can also briefly say my feels about movies and TV series that I’m currently binging. I managed to track things down until November, but I gave up on it entirely after the amount of movies that I watched became too overwhelming. Despite failing, it was entertaining to see how the thread grew over the course of the year, and it inspired me to create this post as well. I originally planned to include these statistics with the posts that will go up in the next few days, but I reckon it’s more fun to see them side by side and see what I could reflect on. Now let’s break it down. Fasten your seat belts. This one’s going to be a bit technical.

Side note: My streak ended aghhh! A bit sorry for that but I was really blown away by yesterday. First, my brain just stopped functioning and went on a full – on wild party mode because my favorite anime *Haikyuu!! finally announced a fourth season! I was stuck in a state of shock and awe (and basically updated my socials with incoherent screaming). And second, our family had a personal celebration. Christmas is indeed going to be merry for us.

*shameless plug. Join the fandom.

Although I didn’t track all of the movies that I watched on Twitter, I did record all of it through Letterboxd. The only catch is: though Letterboxd sort off functions like Goodreads with it’s 5-star scale, I only use it for free. The stats are only available to users who pay for the premium membership, and I’m not about to cash in for a membership when I can’t even buy books. So I will have to ask you to bear with my own conclusive statistics. (Wow. I’ve really grown. I’m doing Math. Jk I used Excel.)

Total Movies Watched: 79
Average Rating: 3.8 / 5
Book-to-Movie Adaptations Watched: 15
Most Watched Genre: Romance, Comedy and Animation
Least Watched Genre: Horror

Overall Tally of Movie Ratings

5 Stars: 7
4.5 Stars: 20
4 Stars: 26
3.5 Stars: 8
3 Stars: 11
2.5 Stars: 2
2 Stars: 3
1.5 Stars: 2
1 Star: 0

Conclusion: I watched way too many movies this year. Way to go celebrate unemployment. This may or may not have been caused by my enthusiasm of having Letterboxd. I regret nothing though. I may have been a little too stingy with my ratings, but the number of movies having a 4.5 rating is already an indication of a good year for movies. We still have a lot more to go for 2019. Bring it on!

It was a lot easier to do stats on the books that I read this year because it can be done year round thanks to Goodreads. But a critical error of mine is that I didn’t exactly put in ~every~ book that I read. Nevertheless, I am already satisfied with the overall statistics that I managed to record. Now here are my statistics from Goodreads: 

Number of books read: 29
Average rating: 4.0 / 5
Total pages read: 9, 512
Shortest book: 38 pages
Longest book: 512 pages

I had so much fun with the stats that I did for the movies I watched so let’s see what stood out for this year with books:

Most Read Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Least Read Genre: Science Fiction

Overall Tally of Book Ratings

5 Stars: 5
4 Stars: 20
3 Stars: 3
2 Stars: 1
1 Star: 0

Conclusion: I had a generally good reading year! I rounded up some of the books that I rated a 3.5 to a 4 because they’re awesome anyways and my rating system has a broad spectrum. Despite reading less, I can say that only having ~disliked~ one book this year makes it a win. Hoping I can add one final read in this mix to make my read count 30 and having read at least 10,000 pages. *wink wink* On the bright side, there’s a lot of leeway to be reading more in 2019, especially with all of the new Asian YA releases and reading challenges!! I’m downright hyped.

I didn’t fully commit to using an app or a website to track down the TV shows I watched so thank to bits that my thread on Twitter is the most reliable source there is. It’s not a lot considering my streak last year. But let’s see what we can manage to tally.

Number of Series Watched: 15
Total Episodes Watched: 330
Average rating: 4.5 / 5
Number of Western TV Series: 8
Number of Asian TV Series: 7
Most Watched Genre: Animation
Least Watched Genre: Thriller

Number of series started but didn’t finish at least one season: 5

Overall Tally of Series Rating

5 Stars: 7
4.5 Stars: 2
4 Stars: 6

Conclusion: I’m generally gracious with rating series because I drop / avoid series that I know I generally won’t like. My time is too precious to loathe what can be avoided haha. Overall, it was a good year to be picky with the series that I wanted to watch. I blame Netflix for sucking me into binge watching the series available there. But I’m grateful for all the shows that I was able to watch this year because I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO BE WATCHING MORE NEXT YEAR. Imagine it people: Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Season 6, Haikyuu!! Season 4, Bungou Stray Dogs Season 3, and many more. It’s going to be a great year holy smokes!

As if the epitome of my trashiness hasn’t reached its peak yet, I also took note of my listening habits this year. Since I can’t live without music especially when commuting to the random places I went to this year, I used Spotify more often. What I like about the app is that they introduced this yearly feature called Wrapped, wherein they list a lot of random facts about your use of the app. Now according to Spotify:

Minutes Listened: 20, 292 minutes
Top Genre: Pop
Favorite Musical Subgenre: Dance Pop
Most Listened Artist: Backstreet Boys
Most Listened Song: Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song) by Bleachers
Artist’s Star Sign I Listened to the Most: Gemini

Conclusion: Okay I’ll stop before this list gets too silly. Although inconclusive, Wrapped still did a pretty good job. Of course I have no idea how many hours I spent listening to music on Youtube despite the annoying ads but there’s no way of knowing that at the moment. (Backstreet Boys should have been higher jk) But generally speaking, having discovered tons of new artists for this year is such a feat! This is why I love making playlists so much.

Last but definitely not the least, I want to be personal and level with you as a whole. 2018 was ride when it came to book blogging. This is not about bragging or anything, but I want to be as transparent as possible with how I fared this year. I’ve had worst stats, believe me.

Blogging Stats as of December 23, 2018
Views: 4, 351
Visitors: 2, 659
Total Posts: 26
Total Comments: 259
Total Likes: 399
Total Followers on WordPress: 819
Total Number of Followers: 2, 039
Most Viewed Blog Post: Newt Day 2016
Main Viewers from: USA, Philippines, UK, Canada, and India

Conclusion: 2018 has been a better year blogging-wise. The disaster that is the existential crisis of 2017 has come to a close. I finally reached my goal of having 800 followers, which is honestly overwhelming. I want to thank everyone who follows this overly giddy fangirl, and your comments and suggestions mean the world to me. That being said, I know I can do better. I know I can contribute a lot more creatively and positively. I can crank up more than 26 blog posts. I want to finally feel worthy of celebrating blogiversaries. There’s so much more to do. I want these stats right now to be my baseline, and it will keep reminding me to be a better blogger, reader, and overall fangirl in this community.

And that’s it for today! Finally I can say that, I really am trash 2018 has been a great year in general for this fangirl. While I wish I could have done more, I would not have asked for anything less. But I also believe that I can do better as a content creator. My head is just brimming with ideas that I want to explore – things I want to do to promote what I love. In 2019, I’m going to make a thread for threads again and I hope it will be even better than 2018. Bring on the new year!

So hey! How did 2018 go? Was your reading year a generally good one?

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#Project14Lists: Books I Wish I Read In 2018

Staying strong on Day 4 of Project 14 Lists! This is surprising me more than it should. Where this energy is coming from is beyond me. Anyways, Project 14 Lists was created by Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch , a blogging event happening from December 18 to 31. It challenges bloggers by coming up with creative bookish/blogging list ideas, and on each day, write a list and post it on their respective blogs.

For today’s list, I want to feature the books that I wish I read in 2018. What a year it has been. A few days away from Christmas, and here I am nonchalant about preparations and instead gearing for what I want to happen next year. As I continuously reflect, it can be reiterated that it is a year full of what if’s. I started the year not knowing what to expect, especially since I tried to be as lowkey as possible with new releases. But then I started to take a direction with the books that I wanted to read and ended up having the best time ever. I want to explain the full details of this ~project~ on a separate post, but this is sort of a preliminary explanation for that. I wanted a majority of the books listed below to be a part of the direction that this reading year took. Unfortunately, being both a slow and a mood reader always has its drawbacks. It was hard to narrow this list down because there’s so much more that I want to read. Realistically speaking however, this is more plausible.

The list is separated into two groups: 1) Books that were highly recommended by bloggers who I trust wholeheartedly with their reviews, and 2) Books that were personally on my radar and / or books that I was planning to read in 2018 but didn’t get to because the life of being a mood reader is hard. Now let’s get on with the books!

Want by Cindy Pon (Recommended by: CW from The Quiet Pond)

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Recommended by: JM from Book Freak Revelations)

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (Recommended by: Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch)

Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi (Recommended by: Marie from Drizzle Hurricane Books)

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan (Recommended by: Cait from Paper Fury)

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Why I wanted to read it: I was drawn to it. I’ve had a copy for over a year now and I was convinced that I wouldn’t get to it until I actually have Muse of Nightmares at hand. Then my moodiness randomly made me pick it up and I had to resist the urge to drop everything after reading a few pages. This one is a classic example of bad timing. I had to prioritize other books over it, so now it will probably stay buried for the meantime until I get my hands on its sequel.

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Why I wanted to read it: Something about the premise of this novel made me fall head-over-heels for it. Maybe it’s the Romeo and Juliet undertones. Maybe it’s the cover (very likely). Or maybe it was the MC’s misfortunes of having relationships that end with the other person finding their perfect half. I didn’t know that I authorized people to publish my biography. Kidding aside, I love a good contemporary read. (But it’s so darn pricey when it’s a new release and my wallet is dying.)

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Why I wanted to read it: Probably a personal preference of mine, but I love it when a main character questions their personal beliefs. It validates the feeling that I believe we all encounter every now and then. So, if you can please direct me to a copy, that would be very helpful. Thank you.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Why I wanted to read it: It’s by the Lady Janies! I could not and would not shut up about My Lady Jane so it’s only natural that I would continue to support their future Jane books. Even though I haven’t read Jane Eyre, I feel severely attached to this book because of the historical undertones. Next to the Tudors, it’s the Georgians who take the cake. Alas, my paperback-loving self needs to appeased. (Which I kinda hate myself for.)

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Why I wanted to read it: Hello?? FELICITY *freakin* MONTAGUE. The lady who basically kicked ass and almost stole the show in the gentleman’s guide? That FELICITY. Not that I’m switching sides because I still absolutely adore the 18th century rascal that is Henry “Monty” Montague. But it’s Felicity we’re talking about.

And that’s about it for today’s list. Another day of wishful thinking and hopefully an ominous foreshadowing for the reading year that I will face in 2019. (Also, how gorgeous are the covers for these books?)

What books did you want to read in 2018 but did not get the chance to do so?

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#Project14Lists: Books I Don’t Want to Read Anymore

It’s Day 3 of Project 14 List and wow, we’re still going strong and I’m still baffled with how I’m managing. Kidding aside, Project 14 Lists is an event created by Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch. During the event, book bloggers are tasked to come up with creative bookish/blogging list ideas, and on each day, write a list and post it on their respective blogs.

*badly whistles* I didn’t exactly state that all of these lists will be positive. It’s okay to a negative nelly once in a while, and I like to think of this as a cleanse of some sort. A part of ones growth as a reader is having a change in taste or preference. Maybe you like this book one day then you just don’t. There are time where it you have to let go of some of the books that you clearly don’t see yourself reading anymore. I reflect this line of thinking when I update my socials. For 2 years now, I’m on a constant purge on Goodreads because I don’t want to kid myself when it comes to my TBR. With the recent addition of many (AND I MEAN MANY) books by diverse authors on my TBR, I decided to prioritize those and let go of some of the books that have lingered since the dawn of my account. Yes, I meant those some books that I would have loved back in circa 2012, but realized that it’s just not up to my liking anymore. It’s more of a mix, really. Let’s get onto the list.

Disclaimer: If a book you love is listed down below, please know that I don’t hold any grudge against the book itself or the author. I just purely lost any interest in reading these titles. I’m still open to adding these books again, but it will probably take a lot of energy to convince me to do so. I am also still considering some of the other works of the authors mentioned below. Finally, as a respect to the authors and the book itself, I won’t be linking these titles to their respective Goodreads page.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

17675462Why I removed it on my TBR: I tried reading it twice and what I read had me nodding, “Yes, yes, carry on.” But my brain just shut down one day and said, “The writing is a bit too lyrical, right?”. I was little bit concerned when the first line did not manage to hook me in. Petty, I know. It dawned on me that I might have fallen for the hype. Everyone’s always asking who I like best between Gansey, Adam, and oh-for-flip’s sake who knows? Maybe one day I’ll get what all the hype is about with this series, but I’m really not counting on it since I have so many issues with committing myself to a series and this one has 4 under its bracket. (Also no joke and I am generally curious: are there no other ominous birds besides a raven and a crow?)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

11408650Why I removed it on my TBR: The journey with this series is like a love-hate relationship. One minute, I want to go for it. The next minute, I keep on asking myself exactly why do I want to read it. The book itself is genuinely interesting, but it falls on the spectrum of “Yes, I will save this book from a fire” to “Yes, I’m going to throw this book off a cliff.” There’s a lot of back-and-forth happening, but I ultimately decided to let go and focus my energy somewhere else. It also features a trope that I’m not really a fan of (foreshadowing??). Asides that, it’s a series. Hello commitment issues, my old friend.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

9464733Why I removed it on my TBR: A lot of people say this is not your regular book about beauty queens and I agree. I’ve been meaning to dive into a book written by Libba Bray for so long now. My curiosity peaked when I realized that it had footnotes, but I can’t just keep a book just because I want to read the extra details printed at the bottom, right? Right now, it’s wishful thinking that maybe – JUST MAYBE, I can finally understand the dark humor and the satire contained within its pages. It really sounds great and it features a diverse cast as well, but this is tea and I want hot chocolate. (No euphemisms intended, just really craving chocolate.)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

17453983Why I removed it on my TBR: It’s not like I dropped this book like a hot potato or anything, but my suspicions were confirmed when I watched a book review about it by Lily C. Reads on booktube. My mind was already contradicting Anna when I read the first few chapters when she was complaining about moving to Paris. Let’s just say that early on, I wanted to tell Anna to stop with the nonsense and actually think for a second. If she loves film so much, then why on earth was she whining that she’s actually at the birthplace of cinema? People would kill to trade places with her and bask in the glory of the history of where it all started. I’m just… luckily I let this story go before it ended up in some sort of chute. (Semi-kidding.)

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

28260524Why I removed it on my TBR: I was really hyped for this book because I’m a simple girl. I see Frozen in the pitch of a certain retelling and I jump like the trash I am. Throw in a gorgeous cover in the mix, and it’s like I’m being called out. It had so much potential and the hype was real. Unfortunately with the lack of stellar reviews from close friends and fellow bloggers, I had to withdraw myself from attempting to read this and reconsider if I actually want to read it for what it offers. Yes, I have partially read Dorothy Must Die but I purged it from my TBR earlier in the year.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

7664334Why I removed it on my TBR: *gasp* THE HORROR. Before you throw your sticks or deadly weapons at me, let me explain. This had all the boxes for a great contemporary read, and it is uncommon knowledge here on the blog that I am a sucker for it. What’s not to like about this book? Especially if it features road trips, playlists, and a cute guy? It sounds so simple and yes, I might like it and this is the only book on this list that has a 50% chance of getting back into my TBR for the next… well I don’t know but it’s going back and I just don’t know when. However, it’s not the book. It’s me, and I don’t feel like reading it with a mindset bitter with heterosexual relationships. Let’s carry on!

Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh

2017Why I removed it on my TBR: There’s a little bit of conflict with this book. On one hand, I want some feudal Japanese Mulan action. On the other hand, I have the fear of being disappointed. I have zero patience for books that start slow, and it’s that one factor that people don’t seem to like about it. But the main issue that I have with this one is that the common pattern points to a direction where people don’t really see it as a Mulan retelling. I’m conflicted, not to mention wary of any YA book set in Japan because I love it the country too much that I set the bar high. So as to not disappoint myself, I decided to prioritize The Wrath and the Dawn instead to ease myself in Renee Ahdieh’s writing style. Not totally closing the door on this novel, but there’s still a lot to weigh.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824Why I removed it on my TBR: I did my best for this one, but my best was not good enough. I tried getting into it not once, twice, or thrice. I gave this series FOUR chances before finally deciding to remove it completely on my TBR. Sure, the staggering reviews for the sequel momentarily made me keep it for the meantime but I felt like it was holding me back from trying other tomes. Another probable cause, and this is definitely a black sheep moment, I found the writing style and the pacing to be a little bit dragging. Plus, the tale it was loosely based on has already been done SO. MANY. FREAKIN. TIMES. For the meantime, I will respectfully admire people who love stories about fae in a distance. That’s one fandom on the horizon and whose train I may not be able to fully go on board yet.

*cricket noises* That’s about it, friends. Again, no hard feelings if you loved and liked some or most of the books on this list. I think it’s much more painful to hold onto something you can’t commit to rather than something you know you’ll absolutely love. (Eew, was that a cheesy line or something? Ugh, self no.) These are not the only books that I let go of in 2018, but these are definitely the ones with the most ~issue~ behind it. As of the moment, I have 260 books on my Goodreads TBR that I am hoping to narrow down in 2019. Nothing like a book purge towards the end of the year. Hopefully tomorrow’s list is a bit more jolly.

How about you guys? What books have you decided to remove from your TBR? Do you also do an annual book purge when things get too out of hand? How do you sleep at night knowing your towering TBR is looming over your head?

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#Project14Lists: Recommending Movies Like My 2018 Reads

Welcome to Day 2 of Project 14 Lists, created by the one and only Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch. Project 14 Lists is a 14-day event where the goal is to be as creative as you can be with posting lists. Know more about the details of this event here.

Now despite having a scheduled post for today, I decided to throw caution to the wind and ditch it for the meantime. As I said in my previous post, I want you guys to leave with a smiling face after reading this list. What better way to do that than recommend movies? I know there’s this whole thing with books and movies – the debacle never ends. Yet sometimes it’s nice to just sit down, relax, and enjoy a good movie. Nothing beats an hour or two of anticipation and seeing beauty unveil on your preferred screen. So I thought hey, if I loved a particular book and then I could compare it with this movie, it’s a win-win right? The way this recommendation goes is that I have to have watched the movie and read the book in 2018. Now let’s get onto the list and have some fun!

Also I may have been too relaxed with updating my Letterboxd account with all of the movies that I watched this year. It was a lot. Stats to come.

If you liked Wildcard by Marie Lu but want more of the virtual reality experience, go for Summer Wars (2009).

Wait a minute there B… You didn’t like Wildcard right? Well, yes. But it doesn’t change the fact that I am all about stories that tackles the subject of virtual reality. It’s the real deal nowadays, and both of these stories present societies that incorporated their lives with a virtual world. Both stories also feature a main lead who deliver an impact to the world, causing a string of events to spiral down. Yet in the case of Summer Wars, chaos is unleashed when a virus called Love Machine infiltrates the system because of our main lead named Kenji. It’s thrilling, it’s funny, hijinks ensue with its large cast, it has heart, and it is downright entertaining. Not only that, but the various animation styles mesh well together and it compacts the story further. If you want a piece of virtual reality action, go for Summer Wars because at least this one packs just a little bit more of a punch.

If you were also rendered speechless by the fanaticism of All of This is True by Lygia Day PeΓ±aflor, then you’ll enjoy watching Black Swan (2010)

Both of these stories still gives me the heebie-jeebies when I remember what went down. Though All of This is True is not exactly a psychological thriller, but it delivered a story that rendered me speechless. The same thing can be said with Black Swan and its stunning… everything. The story messes with you – it makes you second guess yourself on where the story wants to go. While I don’t think you should watch Black Swan after reading All of This is True (because why would you want to fry your brain from all that processing??), it is a great movie to watch if you want to see a portrayal driven by being the best. Certain topics such as competition, obsession, and manipulation are both present in these thought-provoking pieces. (Trigger warnings for both the book and the movie: mental illness, self-harm, sexual assault, gore, and suicide.)

If you love the family dynamics and the self-exploration in Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X, there’s no doubt that you should go for Lady Bird (2017).

What I loved seeing in both The Poet X and Lady Bird is the way they find themselves and doing what they want to do. Xiomara finds herself in her poems, while Lady Bird wants to be her own person by proving that she can achieve what she envisions. Both stories also explore the protagonist’s sexuality, albeit what it means to become a woman in the environment that they grew up in. Equally powerful stories in their own right, the experience that these stories offer are heartfelt and worth all the great accolades that they rightfully achieved. I cannot stop talking about what a sensation The Poet X is, and I think Lady Bird also encapsulates that same incredible power.

That’s it for now, folks! It dawned on me that I also don’t watch a lot of fantasy movies. Even my movies consist of mostly historical and/or contemporary stories. Some things just never change. I do hope you enjoyed these recommendations of mine, nonetheless. It was fun to compare and contrast stories on both lists, but it also made me realize that I watched way too many movies and read a lot less this year. I hope to make more of these type of lists in the future (and maybe switch it up and insert some anime in there *wink* *wink*) which I hope you guys will also enjoy.

Now the question remains: What movies remind you of a particular book? Any recommendations for my ever-growing TBW pile?

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#Project14Lists: ‘Tis the Season to Crank Up Some Lists

It’s been a hot minute on this blog and I want to do something special for the holidays. It’s the perfect time to reminisce and look back on what actually went down this year. I’ve been planning to write lists for this blog since 2016, but it seems that I never get the chance to do so and just save it up in one compressed and exhaustively long list. Add a dose of having to feel the need of a deadline in the mix, and you’ve got yourself one fangirl who just ends up flailing and just not doing anything in the end. But this year, that’s all about to change.

2018 has been a year of ups and downs. It was a mix of emotions, sweat, and tears. I wish I meant it figuratively, but no. So here I am thinking, how the heck do I end this year with feeling awesome and actually lay out some goals for myself? I feel like I want to achieve so many things for 2019 that my head is going to explode. Thank the bookish gods, my dear friend Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch decided to do #Project14Lists. It was just the boost that I needed to share my thoughts and feelings of wrapping this topsy-turvy of a year. But first, what is Project 14 Lists?

Project 14 Lists, otherwise known as #Project14Lists, is a 2-week blogging activity that will run from December 18th to December 31st. Book bloggers are tasked to come up with creative bookish/blogging list ideas, and on each day, write a list and post it on their respective blogs. Hence, the ideal goal is to create and post a total of 14 lists before the year ends (Of course, everyone is free to set their own goals, and writing less than 14 lists is just as great!).”

Sounds fun, right? I’m honestly stoked for this event to push me in a creative direction. There’s a lot more to be known about this blogging event but for more information, don’t hesitate to message Shealea for details.

I’m happy to say that while you’re reading this oh-so lovely announcement post, I have already a few lists ready and scheduled for the next few days. *gasps* Did my blogging mojo actually come back? Who is this person??? No, I just had sudden bursts of creativity and I’m ready to accomplish things. This post will serve as the masterpost of every Project List that I will be posting for the next couple of days. Despite having a busy schedule for December, I really have high hopes to achieve my goal of 14 posts. A majority of it are bookish, but of course I can’t just leave my other fandoms behind. πŸ˜‰

Day 1: Books I Have Yet to Rave About

Day 2: Recommending Movie Like My 2018 Reads

Day 3: Books I Don’t Want to Read Anymore

Day 4: Books I Wish I Read in 2018

Day 5: 2018 In A Nutshell

Day 6: Best Movies I Watched in 2018

Day 7: 

Day 8: 

Day 9: 

Day 10: 

Day 11: 

Day 12: 

Day 13: 

Day 14: 

So, will you be joining Project 14 Lists as well? Or are you planning something a little more avant-garde for the end of the year?

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