Anime Recaps and Japanese inspirations|| A Substitute Recap

Wrap-Up Quarterly

A recap posted in the middle of the month? Shameeeeeee.

Hello everyone! I missed you all. It’s quite a long story on how I managed to finish this wrap-up, but let’s leave it for another day. Bear with me for a while. This is not my typical wrap-up (but I mean, come on. My wrap-ups always change, one way or another.) because it tackles majority of the other things that I did besides reading. And if you guessed it, a lot of the things in this recap are Japanese-related media. I decided to compile it into one post instead of putting it in a proper quarterly wrap-up because it would just dominate the whole thing. Also, July – September was pretty eventful, and I mean that literally! (This one is for another time.)

I also want to consider this as a recommendation post. So if you are looking for a new show to watch, or a movie, or an artist to listen to, I am here to help. And like my normal reviews, I am sharing my ratings for these and majority of them are linked to their respective myanimelist pages. Now let’s get on with these!

And because I was too lazy to wrap this up since April.

Wrap-Up - Books

Majority of the books that I have read for the first half of 2017 were manga. The Haikyuu! fever is strong on this one, as you can see. As if the show was not enough, I decided to read the manga and relive the action all over again. But I did manage to sneak in a few other reads as well.

Haikyū! by Haruichi Furudate, Volumes 1 to 12 – While I can say that I prefer the anime over the manga, it is still funny and awesome. They are livelier than ever, and it was fun to read the extra dialogue and banter that was unfortunately cut in the anime. But hey, seeing my crows in action again made me want to rewatch the anime all over again. (And I did, actually.)

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Let’s Haikyuu!? by Retsu, illustrations by Haruichi Furudate – Sensei really has a twisted sense of humor, and he takes his comedy seriously. Let’s Haikyū is a gag spin-off, and it takes the situations from the original manga into a more ridiculous setting. It is too funny to pass up, especially since it is so hilarious.

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Wrap-Up - Series

From April to October, I finally made my way back to anime territory. I promised myself that I would catch up with what I missed during my thesis. I actually stopped watching anime for a brief time, but I decided it’s time to catch up after watching Yuri! On Ice last December. And oh boy, I ended up in the trash.

Since I deprived myself for the last two years or so, I was way too hungry for some new anime. Here are the ones that I managed to finish:

Haikyuu! – I was hooked the minute they started playing. Definitely had a bit of a culture shock when I dived into it without knowing a thing about volleyball except for the actions that the players do. The first season of Haikyū was full of hopes and dreams, appointed rivals, and walls to overcome. It was intense, especially during the last few episodes. Each match can make you pause what you’re doing and it makes you want to watch intently. It was a lovely start for a series. But then again, there is Season 2.

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Haikyuu! Second Season – New characters to love, new teams to root for, on point character development, and more! Everything just leveled up. From their techniques to their intense passion to win, it only goes up from there. No spoilers since it is the 2nd season, but it is more amazing than Season 1. (Needs more Oikawa though. Okay, shutting up now before I spoil too much.)

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ReLife – It only has 12 episodes under its belt but for sure, this anime made me cry! Watching this after Haikyū could have made me slip away, but the storyline and the progress of the main protagonist in the series made me stick to this show. The story is about a guy who was given a second chance to relive his high school days in exchange of a better adult life. It was funny and inspiring, and it sure made me wish that I could take a ReLife pill. (Just kidding. ) I cannot wait for the 2nd season.

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Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – I forgot how awesome it was to watch a good romantic comedy anime. The comedy doesn’t try too hard, and it is definitely a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. The main character, Sakura, confesses to the guy she likes, who happens to be a shoujo manga artist. The cast is as colorful as it can be, and it is so cute. Recommended if you’re looking for a light and fluffy anime that will make you let out a hearty laugh.

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Ansatsu Kyoushitsu – DEFINITELY, POSITIVELY, INCREDIBLY, and DOWNRIGHT weird. I meant that in a good way. What do you do when you are at the bottom of the food chain at your school, and you are to be trained to be an assassin, tasked to take down the best professor you will ever have? Did I mention that that professor also happens to be some sort of yellow octopus who just wants to teach you Mathematics? It takes time to absorb what in the actual world is happening. But once you get your footing, you will get used to it. Seriously, TRY WATCHING THIS SHOW. It’s ridiculous.

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Free! – FINALLY. I finished watching it. To be honest, the only reason why I could not finish this series earlier is because I could not keep a straight face while watching it. It is basically bait because it is a sports anime where the main focus are the boys from Iwatobi and their former teammate who is now studying at Samezuka, a powerhouse school. I was able to finish it and not mind all of the abs that they are throwing on the screen. (Just being honest here.) Though the story is not perfect, rating it a 4.5 is not too shabby. I hope to enjoy Free: Eternal Summer.

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Bungou Stray Dogs – This anime made me feel like I hit a goldmine. From the first episode, it had me laughing like a crazy person. I really thought that it was going to be a serious anime all throughout, with a few chibi scenes involved for comedic relief like most anime. BUT WAIT. They break the ice and it is just goes in without hesitation. I think the best way to pitch it is like this: It’s like if BBC Sherlock experiment with ways to die and Watson can turn into a *spoiler*. Trust me, you need to watch this anime.

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These are the anime that I started watching. I will only be giving my initial thoughts:

Prince of Stride: Alternative – Projects itself like a fun sports anime about stride competitions, but it was probably my mistake to watch it after Haikyū. And it is probably the reason why I still haven’t finished watching this one at the moment.

Kuroko no Basuke 3rd Season – I actually already know what happens because I read the manga after finishing KnB’s 2nd season. I was so close to finishing this series but I just cannot part with Seirin and the Generation of Miracles just yet.

Diamond no Ace – Are you already sensing the pattern that these are all sports anime? Hahaha. I can see why they make a fuss over this. Baseball is amazing. The thing is… it’s over 100+ episodes. So if you can magically give me more time to watch it, maybe.

Cheer Danshi!! – I like the energy and the build-up is certainly there. But I may have to pass on this one for now. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a bad anime. I may just need to be in the proper mood to watch guys cheer.

Kyoukai no Kanata – 3 episodes in but the feeling is so-so. It’s a lovely anime, there are no questions there. Yet I don’t know why I am putting this one on hold.

Kimi to Boku. – This one was a rewatch for me so I can proceed to Season 2. It still has the same slice of life feel that I felt when I first saw it, and the attachment is real because some of my favorite seiyuus voiced the main characters.

Boku no Hero Academia – I don’t know why people keep comparing this anime to One Punch Man. I mean, sure there are similarities. But both animes can stand alone and both kick ass like crazy. I need another free Saturday to finish watching this. My heart is breaking.

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu Second Season – MY FEELINGS ARE STRONG ABOUT THE OCTOPUS. IF SENSEI DIES, I AM GOING TO CRY. NO SPOILERS.

Free: Eternal Summer – The best way to watch Free! is to watch it continuously. I am 3 episodes in, and I need a Saturday where I can just watch my boys swim their way to nationals. I heard that it is more emotional than the first season, so let me ready my heart first before I give out verdicts. But ugh. I love Makoto and Momo so much.

Bungou Stray Dogs Second Half – MY BODY IS NOT READY FOR THE SECOND HALF YET. I need to mentally prepare myself.

Wrap-Up - Movies

I missed a lot of amazing movies in the past few years, specifically anime movies. For years, my friends bugged me to watch a specific title, and each time I replied that I haven’t watched it yet, it saddens me. But at the same time, I was afraid to shed tears. Let’s face it: anime movies have the tendency to make you cry. Since the runtime is only for 2 hours or less, it usually deals with slice of life. Coming back to what I missed, I took advantage of the full swing and watched… and cried a lot.

All of these movies had the potential to make me cry. But I watched it all because I need to feel the human in me. And they somewhat succeeded in that endeavor.

Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name) – I DON’T KNOW. I was wondering what all the hype was about. And I was actually so done with all romance related stuff at that point. But oh boy, words cannot fully describe how much I adored this movie. Every detail was simply breathtaking. This movie deserves every praise and the hype is real. It is tragic and romantic all at the same time. The soundtrack just hits you in the kokoro. ALL THE FEELS. ALL THE STARS. DROP EVERYTHING AND WATCH IT NOW. (Unless you don’t want to because I completely understand. But I will gladly welcome you with open arms once you realize that this movie is amazing.)

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Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light) – How do you top a movie that made you cry and gave you an existential crisis? Simple. Just watch this movie after. They said all of the warning signs. ALL OF IT. Don’t be like me, acted all tough like “Oh well, I’m already damaged. What’s the worst that can happen? Bring it on, Gin.”

Tragic is an understatement. A yokai-human relationship is present in a lot of tales, yet this one managed to take home the cake for making it rain tears. Who is Gin, by the way? Just watch the movie. It only runs for 40 minutes but tissues are the best thing to have. ALL THE STARS. AND THE TEARS. UGH I REMEMBERED IT AGAIN. *sobs*

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Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) – My expectations were high because this came out after Kimi no Na wa so I was expecting tears. Well, they were present… in the movie. I wanted to like it, but it felt like they were cramming too many things for one movie. A know the manga is short, but it would have been better if they did not exclude parts that would have made me more attached to the movie. It’s about a boy who had to live his life in the shadow of his past wherein he bullied a mute girl. Interesting premise, right? But meh.

However, I did like the main lead, though. His character development made me feel a twinge of faith for any former bully who wants to undo their wrongs. It may not be for me, but I have to admit that the animation was spot on.

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Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words) – This movie made me love the rain. Not the thunder, just the sound of the rain. Though the subject matter can be a bit controversial, it is a beautiful story of love and self-discovery. I CRIED YET AGAIN. The art style blew me away, and again, I fell in love with Japan. It’s a breath of fresh air for me because the main character is a teenage boy who plans to make a career out of shoe making. It is short but bittersweet.

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Wrap-Up - Music

I used to listen to Japanese anime openings all the time, especially when I heard the Japanese version of You Raise Me Up. Coming back, I decided to add songs to my dusty arsenal. This list contains soundtracks from various anime, seiyuu groups that sing, and Japanese pop groups. They just have a wonderful tone to them, and I have listed some of my favorites.

ReLife SoundtrackIijuu Rider by Tamio Okuda and Pieces of A Dream by Chemistry

Haikyuu! SoundtrackFly High! by Burnout Syndromes, Tenchi Gaeshi and Mashi Mashi by NICO Touches the Wall

Songs by Trignal (Kimura Ryouhei, Yonaga Tsubasa, Eguchi Takuya) – Update A Day, Mission, Kiss Plus, Sunny Shiny Days, Original Color

Irino Miyu – Mihatenu Sekai, Tsunagaru Omoi, Furenzu (Friends)

Galileo GalileiAoi Shiori, Climb

RADWIMPS – Dream Lantern, Zen Zen Zense!, Sparkle, Nandemonaiya from the Kimi no Na Wa soundtrack

Hoshino GenKoi

One OK RockTake What You Want feat. 5 Seconds of Summer

Kotonoha no Niwa SoundtrackRain by Motohiro Hata

I tried listing down what I could find, but trust me on this one: they all sound so good. My heart cannot take it. Every song just comforts my soul.


And there you have it! THAT’S A WRAP. FINALLY. WE ARE DONE. Glad I did not actually let this reach November because *sweats* there is more to come. Good grief, but I truly, deeply hope that you enjoy all of these recommendations from your favorite fangirl.

What anime should I be on the look out for?

Who are your favorite Japanese bands?

What manga should I read next?

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Sunday Street Team: Gray Wolf Island (Interview + Giveaway)

Gray Wolf Island

One thing I love about 2017 is that it boasts a lot of diverse new releases. I once chatted with Tracey last year when I joined a chat featuring debut authors. Something about Gray Wolf Island caught my attention, which is probably the context of magical realism. Which is why when given the chance, I didn’t pass up the opportunity given to me by the Sunday Street Team to interview Tracey about her upcoming book.

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29906023Title: Gray Wolf Island

Author: Tracey Neithercott

Genre: Mystery, Magical Realism

Date Published: 10th of October 2017

Series: None

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Buy it on: Amazon – US /  Barnes & Noble TBD

Summary:

Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.

AN INTERVIEW WITH TRACEY NEITHERCOTT

Tell us a little something about yourself. What do you have in common with your story?

When I was in college, I spent a semester studying abroad. I arrived in New Zealand with a couple friends and a whole lot of strangers. Over the course of six months, I formed the kind of intense friendships that feel like they’re a part of who you are and who you’ve always been. There were a lot of things that made my friendship with these girls so intense—we were away from home, exploring one of the most beautiful countries in the world, doing things we hadn’t even dared to dream of: bungee jumping, skydiving, climbing glaciers, and exploring glow-worm caves. (And, yes, some studying.)

It was an adventure, and we were living it together. That’s what I wanted for Gray Wolf Island. I knew from the very beginning it would be about friendship, and it’s primarily told from the point of view of an introverted girl like me. Over the course of the book, she’s forced into some life-changing friendships, and it reminds me of the feeling I got when I was studying abroad all those years ago.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I love this question. There are so many great novels out there that everybody knows about, so I’m always pushing lesser-known favorites on my friends. One I completely adored was These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker. I’ve heard it described as Jane Austen meets X-Men, and as strange as that sounds, it fits. Imagine a historical setting with fun superpowers and a hilariously sassy and often snarky main character. I laughed throughout the entire thing—and fell in love with all of the characters.

While writing Gray Wolf Island, did you go for an outline ahead of time or did you have this eureka moment where you just wrote to your hearts content?

I aspire to be one of those writers who can conjure and idea and, from it, an entire novel. But I’m a heavy outliner. I like the sense of control it gives me. I like knowing where I’m going before I try to get there. And I really love the brainstorming process involved in plotting the story out. Even with all that planning, though, I still have moments that surprise me—a funny line here or a twist I didn’t see coming. I’m not sure how it happens, but it feels an awful lot like magic.

What do you love the most about the writing process for Gray Wolf Island?

Then end? I’m only 17 percent kidding. What I really, truly love are the brainstorming, plotting, and revising processes. I’m a very critical writer. I have a hard time turning off my inner editor, and so I spend most of my first draft thinking I’m the least talented author to have ever met a blank screen. In revising, though, I get to go into full-on perfectionist mode without slowing myself down. I love figuring out what’s not working and then puzzling out how to fix it. All of this was true for Gray Wolf Island. The drafting was slow and painful, at least twice as long as the revising. But as my critique partner likes to joke, “It’s your process. Get used to it.”

Gray Wolf Island has an interesting cast. But out of all the characters you have created, who is your favorite and why?

An impossible question! I thought about it for a while before deciding to just cheat. Truth is, I love them each for different reasons: Ruby, for her devotion to her sister; Charlie, for his fearlessness and love of adventure; Anne, for her ability to see the good in everyone; Gabe, for his decision to be better than himself; and Elliot because though he’s a prickly know-it- all, he has a good heart. But sometimes I think my favorite of all isn’t even one of the main characters. I pretty much laughed the entire time I was writing Doris Lansing, an old lady who’s instrumental in the lives of both of my narrators.

What will be the reader’s biggest takeaway after reading Gray Wolf Island?

The book deals with a lot of different themes—grief, identity, truth, trust—but in the end I think readers will really come away with a sense of the incredible power of friendship, how people can come into your life and transform it into something better. At least I think that’s the biggest takeaway. That, or the importance of packing plenty of underwear when setting off on a treasure-hunting adventure.

I have always wanted to ask an author about this. What were your thoughts when they showed you the final cover for your book?

I loved it! Gray Wolf Island (both the book and the island in the book) is filled with bits of magic, and I thought the thick fog and clouds perfectly conveys the mystery and the something other about the island.

Lastly, what item should we have with us at all times while reading your book?

How about brown butter oatmeal cookies filled with caramel and peanut butter? It’s not required, but … they’re brown butter oatmeal cookies filled with caramel and peanut butter. Gabe is something of a baker, and there’s a certain scene where the group eats these cookies (which he found on this blog). Each time I read the scene, I got a major craving.

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Tracey Neithercott’s first book was written by hand and illustrated with some really fancy colored pencils. It was highly acclaimed by her mother. Now, she writes YA stories of friendship, love, murder, and magic. (None of which she illustrates—you’re welcome.) She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, who suggests improving her novels by adding Star Wars characters.

Follow Tracey on social media!

Blog || Twitter || Goodreads || Instagram

newGiveaway[INTL] Win a pre-order of Gray Wolf Island

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Thank you so much to SST for letting me interview Tracey before it’s release! I am very excited to read it once it is released, and it is only a few days away. Bless.

Are you excited to read Gray Wolf Island? Be sure to keep those brown butter oatmeal cookies ready!

Fandom Features #4: Haikyuu!!

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So you’re probably wondering why this blog went sort off dead when I was doing really well in posting regularly. Suddenly I disappeared again, despite saying that I had more free time than ever. Well, event plannings happened, midterms, final exams for my last legitimate term before internship… You get the picture.

(Actually, I also blog at Stay Bookish now. So I am not exactly dead. Come visit me there sometimes, hahaha.)

So here it is: the big one. The big part of my disappearance. Do I regret not posting? Not really. Am I in hell? Yes. But the main reason of course, is because this bloody fandom took over my life. Greetings from Haikyuu hell, this is your fangirl speaking.

I am a big fan of sports animes, or at least I thought I was when I realized that I only watched Slam Dunk and Kuroko no Basket. KnB gave me this huge anime slump, because I was so engrossed with it that I read the manga when we were given the cliffhanger for Season 2. I was so devastated when it ended, and then I slowly drifted away from watching anime. But it’s a good thing, I guess. Because after that, I realized how much books meant to me. Anyways, back to the main point. I wanted to watch more sports animes. So during that slump, I tried watching Free! but I could not keep a straight face on because they were showing a lot of abs around, okay? Then I watched Yuri!!! On Ice, and to be honest, my Fandom Features post for that one will explain itself. After YOI, I wanted more. And the next best thing is Haikyuu.

HAIKYU!!

59955Inspired after watching a volleyball ace nicknamed “Little Giant” in action, small-statured Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. The newly-formed team even makes it to a tournament; however, their first match turns out to be their last when they are brutally squashed by the “King of the Court,” Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama, and so after graduating from middle school, he joins Karasuno High School’s volleyball team—only to find that his sworn rival, Kageyama, is now his teammate.

Thanks to his short height, Hinata struggles to find his role on the team, even with his superior jumping power. Surprisingly, Kageyama has his own problems that only Hinata can help with, and learning to work together appears to be the only way for the team to be successful. Based on Haruichi Furudate’s popular shounen manga of the same name, Haikyuu!! is an exhilarating and emotional sports comedy following two determined athletes as they attempt to patch a heated rivalry in order to make their high school volleyball team the best in Japan.

(Season 1 synopsis from MyAnimeList)

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So when we had four days off school, I decided to watch Haikyuu on a whim. It was fun at first, and then I got sucked into this black hole. Too late have I realized that I may have already sold a part of my soul to Furudate Haruichi without knowing about the transaction. The process was very quick actually. The first episode managed to hook me in a single heartbeat. I managed to watch Seasons 1 and 2 in three days, each season consisting of 24 episodes, with maximum intervals that consist of eating, semi-sleeping, slight concern over school projects, and slight hesitation to watch it immediately because every moment is precious. (And I also tend to pause the episodes a lot because I was laughing too hard, up to the point where I can’t breathe.)

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I seem to have forgotten what it was like to obsessively fangirl over an anime. The feelings that resurfaced after watching Haikyuu Season 1 were ridiculous. I read Volumes 1 – 12 of the manga. I watched 2/4 productions of the stage play, and I am updated with the current production. I could not stop myself from looking at tumblr posts, memes, artworks… HECK I EVEN WATCHED A LOT OF Multi-Editor Projects again. I started dabbling with video editing again so I can make an editor project of my own. I developed ships again. Things got even more intense because I was even reading fanfiction (*winks*) again. Language should have been a barrier, but I didn’t even care and I watched the 4 full seiyuu events without subs. I love their seiyuus so much that I planned to binge watch the other animes that they are in. In short, Haikyuu took over my life. I became a trash, and I basically spam Twitter with incoherent fangirl noises everyday because of this show. I can’t think of a day where I haven’t mentioned my love for my ships. So if my ship sinks, I’m planning on taking everybody down with me. *evil laugh*

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So how on earth did a single anime turn me into a more ridiculous fangirl? Does that kind of power even exist? Truth be told, I am just an inch closer to bursting a blood vessel from too much fangirling because of this show. I love it so much, I could probably list down a thousand reasons on why this show is just the best. But like everything else, those reasons can be simplified. Here’s a rundown:

1. Every character has their own way of expressing their love for volleyball.

Everyone has their own motivation to love the sport, and that motivation radiates to boost the entire team’s morale. It is a story about rising to the top again, with the mighty crows proving that they can fly again and will surpass anything that blocks their goal. Volleyball is all about connecting, and everyone in Karasuno’s team knows that. Which is why every member strives to become a better player than they already are. There’s passion in everyone’s eyes. Also other than improving their own strength, they remind the audience of the most important strategy of all: teamwork.

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2. It’s funny.

What I also love about Haikyuu is that it does not lack a sense of humor. It is probably one of the factors that carries the series all together. When I rewatch a certain episode, I come back for the humor. Haikyuu has a natural feel to it, and it feels so good to just laugh your heart out with the players’ antics. Everything works well together, like perfect cogs. They are all such huge volleyball dorks, and their humor supports each other. It is fun to watch a show where they put all of their heart and soul into the sport, and they still get to be funny and crazy. Yes, they take volleyball seriously, but they also want to carry out that it’s not a fun sport if you do it alone. (Also, did I mention that they are dorks?)

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3. Good luck choosing a team to support.

One thing that Haruichi Furudate emphasized in this series is the team dynamics. Yes, we have Karasuno and they are the main team that you would want to support… okay maybe not because they are not the only high school that is competing for the championship in the prefecture, let alone in Japan. There are a lot of teams in this series, and they are all amazing in their own hilarious ways. Furudate even gave some of them side stories and it will make you want to go, “OKAY. WHO DO YOU REALLY WANT ME TO SUPPORT NOW? ”

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My personal favorite besides Karasuno would be Aoba Johsai/Seijoh High School (because of my ship). They are such a cool team, and they analyze their opponents well. They really are one of the best teams in their prefecture.

Just imagine my agony when they are battling each other. I want Karasuno to win, but I will cry buckets if Seijoh loses. It’s just too much for my poor heart. (And because my OTP is the captain and the ace, hoho)

4. In every game they play, you cannot help but cheer for them.

Despite the eternal agony of feeling like I don’t know what team to support, my heart will always go for Karasuno. They are the underdogs rising back to the very top. And their journey to reach the orange court is heartwarming to watch. Their matches are so intense. Every play makes you want to go “NICE SERVE!”, or “NICE RECEIVE!”, and when they look like they are just building pace or they are one score behind, it will get you to scream “ONE MORE!”, and when they miss, it will make you scream “DON’T MIND!”. It brings out that feeling of support, like if you’re rooting for your favorite team IRL.

But yeah, “GO, GO, KARASUNO!”

5. Amazing character development.

Majority of the things I listed down are for Haikyuu Season 1. Basically, everything levels up in Season 2. And when I say character development, I really mean it.

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Haikyuu, in the simplest terms, is amazing. Honestly, I don’t know when was the last time that I got too passionate about a certain fandom. I don’t mind that it took over my life, because it turned into an inspiration that reawakened a certain side of me that I unconciously repressed. Haikyuu can really motivate its viewers with all of the positivity that it radiates on the screen. And I believe that people need that kind of positivity in their lives. Like its main character, Haikyuu is like a ball of sunshine. It makes you smile just thinking about it, and all is well on a rainy day.

It’s the sort of anime that just sticks to you. If you’re in an anime slump like I was, this is the perfect show to watch. If you’re also just starting out, and you don’t know what anime you should watch first, go for this one. Or rather, don’t take my word for it. Dive in yourself, and maybe see for yourself on why I cannot seem to stop talking about it. Just a reminder though: if you do decide to watch this, your body might slightly itch and it will make you want to play volleyball.

And there we go. Been a while since I have poured my soul out unto a blog post and it feels great. If you ever decide to join the Haikyuu fandom, I will welcome you with open arms. (And I will thank you eternally for keeping me company as I burn in hell.)

“Bianca, are you okay?” You’ll probably ask.

“Yes, I am perfectly fine.” I reply as my eye twitches, my blood pressure rises, and as I hold non-existent Haikyuu merch. (Which I will probably hunt down soon because no one can stop me.)

Now, question time! What fandom do you want me to feature next? Or rather, what fandom should I convince you into joining? (Based on my charts, it may or may not involve ice-skating boys.)

Chat with me, lovely people.

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PH Blog Tour: Warcross by Marie Lu

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(I came back from the dead for this.)

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C: > Initiate Warcross review post

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Try again?

Hello. It has been a while. I’m just giving you a glimpse of my system glitch before I wrote this review. The brain cells are a little bit rusty. Wait, I am making so many references right now and that is just plain weird. So to catch on, a moment of silence for a few fangirl noises:

DROP EVERYTHING. READ WARCROSS. RIGHT NOW. DON’T HESITATE.

Before Reading:

Despite starting the year off with a rocky 3 stars, I decided to give Marie Lu another shot. I have read The Young Elites from her, but my feelings were stuck in the ‘ in between ‘. But when it came to Warcross, the inner musings of my brain decided that it wants to ingest it like an eagle hungry for a monkey. I did not even think. I went for it head on. I have no idea why I’m word vomiting like this. (Probably due to the fact that I just rose from the grave.)

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29385546Title: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Science Fiction

Date Published: 12th of September 2017

Series: Warcross #1

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Buy it on: Amazon| National Bookstore | Fully Booked

Summary:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

After Reading:

*sigh* Oh wait no, wrong emotion. Wait, I don’t even know what I want to feel because Marie Lu has finally won me over. Something else entirely, but still! I am trying to be as vague as possible, but plot twists can make anyone go nuts. Luckily, I braced myself for this kind of impact. So let’s go through with this.

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To be honest with you lot, I entered the world of Warcross without knowing anything about it. Despite the hype surrounding it online, I drowned everything out. I only knew three things before I started reading Warcross:

  • It is written by Marie Lu.
  • There’s a game involved.
  • 3D stuff?

Even the last part had a question mark because I had to assume that three dimensional objects were involved because of the multicolored cover. If I knew more, it would probably take me a lot more convincing to read it. But here we are. I went into it blind. And praise to the heavens, it was probably one of the best decisions that I have made in months. MONTHS. For blogging reasons, obviously.

And there is so much more to talk about. Since I have a background on animation and information technology, all the talk about virtual reality and the NeuroLink made me all giddy. With the technology we have today, it felt like Warcross can happen in the near future. If you ask me if Warcross is possible, I would not hesitate to say “bloody hell, yes.” Why? The vivid imagery that Warcross has presented captured my heart. It reminded me of Sword Art Online, but the only comparison that I could point out is the technology that they both possess. Both worlds deal with virtual reality, but in this case, Warcross is much more advanced. SAO requires its players to have the gear to experience the virtual world, much like the VR headsets made by Oculus and Samsung today. Warcross however, only requires a pair of glasses. It is so simple, yet realistically complex in many ways. There is so much to explore in the alternate reality that Marie Lu has created. The setting was brilliant and edgy, basically a science fiction enthusiast’s dream. (I mean, just setting it in Tokyo had me sold. Those who petition to not let Hollywood get this and make it an anime instead, say “aye”?) But anything powerful has its downside. The dark part of Warcross is sinister and twisted, but it also contains the most interesting parts of the tale.

And of course, it’s not just about the game. Warcross is filled with a colorful cast. An addition to the many badass ladies of young adult fiction is Emika Chen, a bounty hunter hailing from New York. I was immediately drawn to her, due to her impressive skills when it comes to coding. I have absolute respect for girls who code, and Emika is such a boss at what she does. Despite her grief and misfortunes, she faces the world head on. Her self-discovery in this book is delightful to read, and every task she accomplishes makes me want to scream like a proud mom. (Oh, the irony.) Did she really need a love interest? Maybe not. I also found myself fancying Hideo Tanaka, the elusive and dashing creator of Warcross in the first part of the book. But the more I knew about him, the more I drifted apart from his character. Not that it’s a bad thing, but he just felt off for me.

(Funny story: I actually thought that the main lead of the series will be a guy. And right now, you’re probably saying “THIS IS WHY WE READ SUMMARIES AT THE BACK FIRST, BIANCA.”)

While I was not a fan of the romance entangled within it’s pages, I definitely enjoyed the team dynamics and the thrill of the game itself. The foundation of the games lies on teamwork, with each player having a role vital to the team’s success. I will not spoil the placement of the teams but key players that has so much passion for Warcross managed to get their feelings across to me. I was hooked by each players’ dedication and determination to win. I easily rooted for the main team, and maybe I may have wished that there were more scenes concerning the games rather than the scenes filled with love. *pukes*

Warcross has reaffirmed me that I have a soft spot for the science fiction genre. It never ceases to amaze me, and it continues to baffle me on how writers come up with amazing alternate realities close to our current timeline. But the real winner here is Marie Lu. Her writing style literally never lets you take your eyes off each page. The fast-paced intensity of every single chapter can leave you on your tiptoes. Blink once and you might actually miss something. It is easy to submerge oneself into Warcross, and quite frankly, leaves you craving for more. Where’s the sequel already?

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Marie Lu is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites, as well the blockbuster selling Legend series. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and one Pembroke Welsh corgi.


Thank you so much to Rafael from The Royal Polar Bear Reads for hosting this blog tour. I cannot emphasize my sincerest thanks to you for giving me the opportunity to join this tour despite my lack of presence here. I consider this as a power-up, and I will use it wisely starting today. Also, massive thanks to Penguin Random House for providing copies for the tour. You guys are more awesome than the glasses. *winks*

End scene. Now, how about that fangirls and fanboys? Consider picking up Warcross today. (Ughh, I sound like a commercial. This is what advertising does to you.)

Want to fangirl/fanboy about Warcross?

What other books by Marie Lu have you read?

Am I back from the dead for real?

Let’s chat! Talk Warcross with me!

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Sunday Street Team: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

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Before Reading:

The book gods have been very good to me this year despite my ridiculousness. I am not very consistent this year, I have to admit. But in terms of books, I feel very lucky because the selection that I do want to read is the only thing that I read. The moment they dropped the summary of this particular book that I will be talking about today, I was immediately hooked. I was sold in a heartbeat. It was a young adult historical fiction book that I never knew I needed. I did almost everything that I could to read it early, but those efforts failed. I almost gave up, and I accepted the fact that I will have to wait until the release date to read it. And then the opportunity came knocking in. Now, here I am to gush about this wonderful book. Hold on to your seats, because this will probably be a bumpy ride.

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29283884Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Glbt, Fantasy

Date Published: 27th of June 2017

Series: None

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Buy it on: Amazon- US | Amazon – UK| Barnes & Nobles | TBD

Summary:

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

After Reading:

Well, that was certainly… different. I mean it in a positive way as well. Though my expectations and what the book delivered somehow made a contrast, we were able to meet halfway. I adored the story in it’s entirety, and it was the historical fiction that I needed to read to satisfy my thirst for history. Monty, Percy, and Felicity were all such badass characters. And here I thought it was just Monty and Percy touring throughout the entire story… well they did tour. But in a much more adventurous way, if you know what I mean.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is the 18th century LGBT novel that I never knew I needed. It tackled a lot, and it was quite a hefty book. But in a good sense, it still speaks out to relevant issues that we have today.

Plot-wise, GGTVAV had a zigzag pace. It was a bit slow at first, but the pace went up and down when the crew started encountering trouble. It was all in a zigzag pace from there, and the down pace felt like a calm before the storm. It was a solid plot, and it was filled with these teeny tidbits that are the best to imagine. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue had everything. Snogging, sassy viscounts, alchemy, pirates, and a few badass ladies. How Mackenzi Lee managed to cram all of that in to create the coolest tour ever blows my mind. To be honest, I did not expect the following factors to be present in the novel. But realization struck me that a lot can happen in a tour. The period where the story took place still had highwaymen present. What was I supposed to expect? Despite the book being one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, I kept my expectations low and I let the novel blow me away on its own. And it was a good decision to boot.

Character-wise, the book centered on Monty. This is where my love for male lead MCs came in. Despite being the epitomy of a privileged ass, Henry “Monty” Montague managed to capture my heart. I know that we don’t fit because he likes lads more than ladies, but he developed into this character that learned about his self-worth through the most twisted version of a European tour. He became a man who stood on dangerous grounds, driven by the people who mattered to him the most. And that is what I loved about him. Sure, he can be annoying and his actions are rather rash. But inside that smooth-talking bastard lies a true gentleman.

Percy and Felicity on the other hand, were amazing people to be with on a one-of-a-kind tour. If anyone would attempt to steal the spotlight from Monty in this book, it would have to be Felicity and Percy’s fiddle. She is such a badass lady, dowgraded by the system of the 18th century (yes ladies, be grateful that you were born in this century). But she defied people who made her sit still and look pretty. She read books that made her more knowledgeable, despite people frowning on her because it is not ladylike. Her defiance was my saving grace. I lived for her sass. (Percy’s fiddle on the other hand, was ridiculously present. That is all I have to say about that.)

So why did I only give it 4 stars?

While it was an entertaining story that kept me on my toes at best, this may not be the book for people who have a hard time imagining historical settings. While Monty is fascinating, I felt like Percy was just there. Sure, he raised certain issues that were prevalent during the given setting, but it was like he was just there. I wouldn’t want to spoil the story for everyone, but I felt like Percy as a character was underdeveloped.

But overall, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue has an amazing adventure underneath its pages. It is mesmerizing to read, and the sense of history within can really stick to you. It is filled with unexpected twists and turns, and a tour unlike any other. A proper gentleman was born, and with sass, grace, and a boot to your face, Monty will sweep you off your feet. I honestly recommend you read this when you feel like you are underestimating yourself. Because as Monty discovered, a person is more than the expectations placed on them. Prove them wrong, and surprise them with more than that.

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mackenzi-lee

Mackenzi Lee is a bookseller, history nerd, and the author of THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, THIS MONSTROUS THING (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins), and the forthcoming SEMPER AUGUSTUS (Flatiron Books, 2018). She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home.

Connect with Mackenzi!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads| Pinterest

Huge thanks once again to the Sunday Street Team for letting me be a part of this amazing tour. As I said earlier, it is just amazing to read this book before it comes out to the world. I’m just so happy to be able to gush about it. Now my list is complete, as I have completed a certain goal. Thank you so much for making it happen.

If you want to know more about the Sunday Street Team, click on the image below.

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So are you excited to read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue? I hope so. I cannot wait for you all to meet Monty and I have high hopes that you will enjoy the tour.

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Sunday Street Team: Internet Famous (Interview + Giveaway)

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Last year, I was given the opportunity to read a fantastic book about a fangirl who lives to create content through her videos for her fandom. It was yet another book that expressed my thoughts as a fangirl, and it is now a book close to my heart because Liv was a fangirl that I never thought I would ever see manifested on a novel. The book was none other than All The Feels, and it was written by none other than Danika Stone. Through the same platform, I am now given the opportunity to interview the author herself. Internet Famous is her newest young adult novel that promises to speak to a lot of hearts once again. The Sunday Street Team has allowed me to interview Ms. Stone about her latest release. But before that, let’s get into more details about Internet Famous.

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31145123Title: Internet Famous

Author: Danika Stone

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Date Published: 6th of June 2017

Series: None

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Buy it on: Amazon – US / Amazon – UK / Barnes & NobleTBD

Summary:

High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

AN INTERVIEW WITH DANIKA STONE

Is All The Feels and Internet Famous set in the same universe?

Heck YES! In fact you might even notice a little bit of crossover between the two. (Keep an eye out for Starveil fandomly things in the memes and posts.)

Oh yay! Now that you mention it, are there any hidden Easter eggs in Internet Famous? Any clues for us?

I always do little crossovers between books. Starveilbrian1981 from All the Feels plays a relatively large role in Internet Famous but there are a few other characters that you might discover elsewhere too. Ava – the graffiti artist – for instance, has her own book: Intaglio.

Is there a particular person to whom you dedicate the characters to?

Internet Famous is dedicated to Mark Oshiro, the blogger behind “Mark Does Stuff” and the first person who I first noticed using the term “funemployed”. He’s an AMAZING person. I adore him!

I see. So who do you connect with more? Liv or Madison?

Hmmm… Personality-wise, I’m probably a mixture of both of them. I wish I was a bit more outgoing – as Madi is – but I’m also not as anxious and shy as Liv. I will certainly admit that I wove in elements of myself into them.


That is so cool! Do you have a writing ritual? Like something to get you in the mood or at peace to help you write?

My writing ritual is that I tell my family when I’m going to write a book and then I start it and I don’t stop until I’m done. That sounds really boring until you realize that the reason most authors have difficulty writing is that LIFE gets in the way. My children know that if I’m writing a book in the summer, they’re expected to entertain themselves for a lot of that time.

Oh wow. That is some dedication right there. What are some books by your favorite contemporary authors that inspired you to write contemporary as well?

I love EVERYTHING by Rainbow Rowell, though I think Eleanor and Park is probably my favorite. I also really love the In Death series by J.D. Robb and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. And then (up on a pedestal) is Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible and ANYTHING by Margaret Atwood. Seriously though. Atwood is a QUEEN!

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Follow Danika on:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Tumblr | Pinterest

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) adults (Edge of Wild and Intaglio). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

Want to have your own copy of Internet Famous? Click the giveaway button below!

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Huge thanks to the Sunday Street Team for letting me be a part of this tour. I cannot wait for you all to meet Liv, because I know for sure that she is another MC that will take your heart. If you want to know more about the Sunday Street Team, click the button below.

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Now, do you know other books that features bloggers or a book that features someone that is Internet Famous?

Let’s chat!

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PH Blog Tour: The Upside of Unrequited

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Hello everyone! Welcome to your first stop for The Upside of Unrequited PH Blog Tour hosted by Jasmine at Jasmine Pearl Reads. It is an honor to be the first one to review this book in all of its glory. So let’s start this tour with a bang.

The upside is that I believe that this book stood out as a book that matters, especially in the society we live in today. I want to stress that in this review. But first, a few fangirl moments.

Before Reading:

BLESSED BE THE BOOK GODS. The news is too good to be true! I get to read The Upside of Unrequited early. And why do I feel like it is the story of my unrequited life? Wait… should I prepare tissues? I’m not ready for this. But no… I AM. Let’s just get to reading.

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Cover-Reveal-The-Upside-Of-Unrequited-LargeTitle & Author: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Year Published: 11th of April 2017

Series: None

Publisher: Balzer & Bray / Harper Teen

Source: Paperback, provided for the tour

Rating:  4.5/5 stars

Buy it on: Amazon | TBD

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

After Reading:

Yes, you can say there were tears. AND IT WAS BLOODY 3 AM. Do you know how hard it is to render 3D animation misty eyed? No, it’s not hard. It’s just that the progress bar is all blurry. BUT STILL. THIS BOOK. MOLLY, YOU ARE LOVELY. ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT.

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The Upside of Unrequited is a character-driven story that focuses on Molly. She is a big girl who is insecure and careful. But because of that factor, it makes her real.

Why does The Upside of Unrequited matter?

It matters because it lays pressing issues on the table. First, is the feeling of what it is like to have someone you admire returning your feelings back. (I know, I said feelings a lot.) Conveying the depth that lies within the unrequited is no easy task, but the beautiful prose within was enough to tug heartstrings. I can testify to that, since compared to Molly’s 27, I am probably in a predicament that is much worse. The emotions were swirling, and it felt human. I wanted to just jump in that universe and give Molly the biggest hug. Having the feeling of something unrequited is probably one of biggest pains anyone can feel. But yes, this book has the upside to it all.

It matters because it doesn’t shy away from presenting a modern family. The representation presented in Upside is natural. It felt like they were real people that did not have a single hindrance on living as themselves. The Peskin-Suso family is the sweetest. Nadine and Patty were the coolest moms who offer the most solid advice and support to Cassie and Molly’s troubles. They honestly deserve all of the happiness that was given to them in the latter part of the book. That being said, seeing Molly grow as her own person throughout the story may have been a bit of a pain especially if you know the feeling too well. But looking at the bright side, it will feel so good once you see how her actions affect her family as a whole.

It matters because it teaches the reader to love themselves. It conveys the message that through loving yourself, you can have the confidence that other people love you to the moon and back. That was the message that reached me, and as someone who is probably in the same department as Molly, it goes without saying that I felt that this book represented me. No more, no less.

*I loved the Easter eggs in the book. It can make any Oreo lover scream. 😉

What mattered to me is that The Upside of Unrequited made me feel that I was worthy to be a young adult heroine. Big girls like Molly get to be happy, and it gives a glimpse of hope to see a character like myself as happy. To be honest, nothing warmed my heart more than reading about Molly’s happiness. The way she grew out of her comfort zone and became her own person is one story that can put the biggest smile on your face.

Why read The Upside of Unrequited?

Like it’s older brother Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited is a cute story about self-love and finding love. It also proves that seeing your family happy is the best. But what takes the cake (or rather, the cookie dough in the mason jar) is the love that you gain for another book that will make you want to love yourself. Highly recommended on a summer day while eating Cadbury Mini Eggs and in the mood where you just want something sweet.

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View More: http://thedecisivemoment.pass.us/becky-headshots

Becky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. She now lives with her family in Atlanta.


To Becky Albertalli,

Since May is the month for moms, I want to thank you for the two lovely books that you have. It is truly lovely, and one can say that one them is like the story of my life. At one point, I almost wanted to just go ahead and call you “mom” on Twitter. The reason being is that you just shine and you’re so amazing.

Truly, no words can express how blessed I felt to have read your novels. The Upside of Unrequited really has a special place in my heart. You are a gem. I hope you are aware of that. Thank you for making me feel that I am represented. You are the best. 💙


Huge thanks to Jasmine at Jasmine Pearl Reads for letting me join this blog tour. Honestly, this gave me the boost that I needed to make myself believe that 2017 is better than 2016. All the love. 💙

Follow the rest of the tour:

Nicka at Read by Nicka [Review]

Inah at The Bibliophile Confessions [Review]

Fay at The Bibliophile Soprano [Review]

Josiah at The Bookish Fanboy [Review]

JM at Book Freak Revelations [Review]

Jasmine at Jasmine Pearl Reads [Review]

Now, have you read The Upside of Unrequited? How many crushes have you had? What body positive books can you recommend to me? Let’s chat! It’s been a while. 😉

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My Recent Fandoms || Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Oh yay! Another top ten tuesday freebie! I love days like these. It was a fandom freebie so of course I had to participate. Now, if I have to explain the whole complexity of each fandom that I am in, we will be here all day. And I cannot proceed to picking my top ten because I love all of my fandoms dearly. (Okay, maybe Harry Potter is basically on top, but it is like you’re asking me to pick a favorite child.) So I thought, why not share the fandoms that I recently got into? Too much fangirling may be felt in one blog post. You have been warned. Let’s get to it!

Yuri! On Ice – Figure skating. Fan service. Fabulous diversity. Help me, I think my nose bled for every character. I especially love Viktor Nikiforov, because he is just a cinnamon roll! I am planning to feature this one for Fandom Features because I really loved every single thing about it. Can you hear my heartbeat tired of feeling never enough… I cannot be tamed until I get to see Season 2. Until then, I am dead from feelings. Also if you have to know, yes. I SHIP YURI AND VIKTOR SO BAD, IT HURTS.

The Crown – Some might have watched because of Matt Smith, but I am a girl obsessed with historical and political drama. This show is beyond words to describe because the speech-reducing beauty it beholds is a perfectly imperfect representation of what it was like back then when Elizabeth II became the Queen of England. Bless the actors and their interpretations of their characters.

(This is the part where I run out of words to say what I feel because I turned into a puddle, sputtering words like “aghrereogrwhoe8urgewhve”)

(We are only two fandoms in and I am already dying. Great start.)

Class – I have so many questions regarding this series. But if I try really hard, it all comes down to one: WHY ON EARTH DID I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I WAS 19 TO TAKE NOTICE OF DOCTOR WHO AND WHY DID A SPIN-OFF CONVINCE ME? Class had the premise that made me want to watch more. I can’t say much without spoiling anything, but you need to watch this. In return, I promise to watch Doctor Who.

One Punch Man – Saitama is the hero that I needed. He lives in a society that has the most ridiculous heroes and monsters, but I guess that is what makes him amazing. The premise is simple enough, he defeats his enemies in one punch.

I mean sure, Genos is also good, but the dude’s a cyborg and has too many fangirls. I prefer fangirling over Saitama. He’s funny, frank, and flawlessly powerful. No, I’m not smiling right now. You are. I can’t help it. I love Saitama too much.

Six of Crows – I want to punch myself for only finishing the first book this year. But luckily, I can already read Crooked Kingdom whenever I want because it’s just there on my stack. BUT STILL, WHAT BLASPHEMY. HOW DID I SURVIVE 6 MONTHS WITHOUT READING ABOUT THIS CREW? (Oh right, thesis.) Don’t make the same mistake that I did. If you have this book, read it asap.

This gang was so unpredictable and dare I say it, I loved this more than the Grisha trilogy. And dare I say this, too. They are the real Suicide Squad. Move over, DC.

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Art by Kevin Wada

Riverdale – I have been reading the Archie comics since I was a kid, but I never found a show that truly manifested it properly on the screen. The moment I saw the previews, I know that I will be immediately hooked when this show will be amazing. Granted, this show overlooked a main point that hurt a lot of people. And yes, it is not okay. Hopefully, I could talk about more in a Fandom Feature. But the main reason I love this show is because of:

1) Betty and Veronica

2) Kevin

3) WHO KILLED JASON???

Supergirl – Despite the backlash that DC is receiving when it comes to their movies, (and I partially blame Zack Snyder for that) I believe that they are nailing their TV shows. I love Supergirl because she is empowering in her right. Sometimes I wish that this series existed while I was growing up, but I guess the next generation has something to be thankful for. Which reminds me: I should watch Season 2 soon enough.

Zara Larsson – Her songs are extremely catchy.  I think she is underrated in some places, but she deserves all of the recognition she gets. I mean just listen to Symphony, and I will welcome you with open arms and not let go.

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Boys generally Asian – OKAY. Before you come at me, I am very much aware that this group is a parody. But if they were legit, I would be all over the place wearing their merch and waving their poop glowsticks. My bias is R.O.P but the bias wrecker is Jeungri. I love Who’s It Gonna Be more but Dong Saya Dae will always have a special place in my heart.

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Haikyuu – This one is a buzzer beater because I was just about to draft this post when I decided to watch this. AND YES, cramming this post was worth it. I love the ethics involved in this series and I am only 5 episodes in. Ugh, sports animes can be my kryptonite. I will get back on this one, but I am certainly am a fan in just 5 episodes. ONWARD MARCH.

NO ONE TOUCH SUGAWARA. HE IS MY PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLL.

Yay! And that’s a Tuesday for you! Quick! I need someone to fanscream with! Or better yet, what are your recent fandoms? Who knows then? By the time you read this post, I would have to make another one because of the fandoms I have added. Bit crazy, I know. But that is why I named myself The Ultimate Fangirl.

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The Ultimate Quarterly Wrap-Up (January-March 2017)

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I can only tell you that life is unpredictable. But here I am, and I’m rolling over stuff like a cinnamon roll. How long has it been since I posted a wrap-up? I have not posted one since… oh god who knows? Eh. Who cares anyways? As long as I am happy with books, and anime, and manga, and my other fandoms, then it’s the only thing that matters.

In that chaos, I have decided to mesh my wrap-ups into quarterly posts, hence my wrap-ups will only appear four times every year now. I was having a hard time balancing with posting a wrap-up every month, so here’s to hoping that this one will work more efficiently. I will be also be including every ‘else’ in my wrap-ups. It could be a new series, newly discovered music, or a new obssession. Fangirling done right. So if you’re looking for a post that you have to sit through, then you’re probably going to need popcorn because this is going to be a while. Now let’s start!

Wrap-Up (January)

January has been a rollercoaster ride and that is just the first month of 2017 for you. It has been exhausting, exhilarating, exhausting, and exciting. (Yes, I am aware that I said exhausting twice.) I wouldn’t say that it is the loveliest of all the months, and it was a pretty upbeat start.

Wrap-Up - Books

I have read 6 books in January, and I have to say that I am impressed because I generally read 4 books every month.

Also me: But self, aren’t majority of those short stories?

Ugh, me from the past. Can we just agree to disagree? Short book or not, let’s list down the books.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu – I found it interesting but I was honestly torn because I seem to have a love-hate situation with the writing style. But this book has intrigued me enough to continue on with the series.
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Break-Up Anniversary by Dawn Lanuza – It was short and sweet, but I was expecting a little bit more. I wish it had a full story, but “I mean duh, self. It was a short story, you cynical nerd.”
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We Go Together by Carla de Guzman – The book was a light and fluffy read, but I had a few issues regarding the pacing and the overall execution. I don’t know much about Much Ado Nothing by Shakespeare, but it was an interesting take. Maybe I just had a hard time imagining what DC looked like?
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Someday With You and other stories by Ines Bautista-Yao – Charming, heartbreaking, and reminds me of slice of life animes. Each story had a unique tweak on it, and it was definitely fun to read each one. Plus, how can I not resist this one? All of the stories are spearheaded by Filipino male MCs! About time I read about guys from my own country. I gushed about it in my full review [here].

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – How do I say this? I was choking and sobbing at 3 am while rendering our thesis. I have never been extremely jealous with a character before Molly Peskin-Suso came into the picture. My feels are with this book. Full review coming to you this April! I am so excited.
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Amazing Facts and Figures Every Pinoy Must Know by Filipiknow – Informative for just about anyone. If one’s not into history but wants to read about badass stories, then you have come to the right place. Look, I’m just a simple history nerd. This book is gorgeous, informative, and straight to the point.
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Wrap-Up - Series

Yuri On Ice – The definition of perfection because it is just the coolest thing ever. Even real-life figure skaters adore it. That is how good this anime is.
One Punch Man – You may think that I will fall in love with Genos, but no. I freakin love Saitama. I would marry that dude in a heart beat.
Class – I only watched one episode but it looks so darn good. This may or may not make me watch Doctor Who.
Mr. Robot – My brain cells hurt when I saw this guy hacking into systems, and I was pretty bummed out because it reminded me a lot of that one subject where I hated everything. I think it was assembly. Still a pretty good show, but I stopped. I don’t know why either.

Wrap-Up (February)

I had no time to breathe in February. I did not pick up a single book. It was the month of our last defense. I am so done with my thesis. But of course, that one will bite me later. On the side note, I may not have read anything, but I did get the chance to meet some of my favorite people on the internet.

Last February 18, I got to meet some #romanceclass authors for their #SparkNA releases. I finally got to meet Carla de Guzman,  Dawn Lanuza, and C.P. Santi. I even had my books signed yay! I also met blogger senpais at the event namely Kate from The Bookaholic Blurbs, and Sab from The Book Eater. I also saw Dianne from Oops, I Read A Book Again at the event.

I hope I could share more, but I decided to fully recap after the more feels event this coming April. Soon! ❤

Wrap-Up - Series

Riverdale -Despite being busy, I made time for Riverdale. Archie is basically my childhood, so I live for this series.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Watched the first episode and I’m all “Eh. Maybe in another time.”
Horrible Histories – I binge watch this every time my exams are getting near. Instead of reviewing, I binge watch all of the 5 seasons.

Wrap-Up (March)

March was that point in my life where it has been messy. One day, I was posting non-stop and then suddenly schoolworks like projects, exams, and thesis approvals hit me in the face and then BAM! I have been practically gone for the whole March after posting non-stop for a week since my hiatus. It was then that I thought that the wrath of my academe is over, but little did I know that the worst was yet to come. Don’t worry, I overcame the final wave, and it’s time to put all of those things behind us.

On the bright of every little happy thing, I have so much love for March because after my finals, I finally had the time to read all of the books.

Wrap-Up - Books

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner – I had too many tears for Blade and his crew. This book tore me apart and built me back up again. I mean, I don’t even know how to fully describe this book coherently in my review. But yes, a lot of feels were involved. Review [here].

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History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera – Again, another tear gushing book. I swear, I could fill a bucket with my tears. I just love every character in this book, and I want to hug them all. Full gush [here].

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saénz –  It was my first time to read from an audio book where I tried my best to fight my will to not sleep. I loved every bit, like it was my first time to read Ari and Dante again. Lin-Manuel Miranda as a narrator was spot on. Why can’t we have more audio books read by him???

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Where do I even begin with this book? It was amazing, stunning, bloody well done, gorgeous, stupendous, magnificent, ridiculously spontaneous, sinister, and magical. I love everything about it, and I love to hate all of the dregs. Every single one of them is precious. I am not even sorry of dropping the 5 star rating right then and there when I finished, even if it had a terrible cliffhanger. SIX OF CROWS IS JUST TOO DARN GOOD.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I don’t remember how long it was since I read this book but it felt like it was such a long time ago. It felt like I was reading for the first time again. I knew what was happening, but it felt like I was only processing the information as I was reading it. I was able to manipulate what I thought should be in the movie. It was so easy to digest everything, because I normally take days to read a book. But this one only took me two days, and that’s because I have classes and I only read in intervals. I cannot wait to reread Catching Fire as well. And then I will know if I will finally read Mockingjay or not. We’ll see.

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Wrap-Up - Movies

Moana – I must be the black sheep when it comes to this movie, but I did not find it entirely okay. Maybe I got too overhyped by it, and I really did not want to see the movie just because Lin-Manuel Miranda produced the music. Granted, the music was the best part, but don’t worry. I n will probably rewatch this one soon.

Beauty and the Beast – My eyes tear up every time I dare mention this movie because it was so darn beautiful. I was crying from start to finish because it remained true to it’s foundation. Everything was so darn perfect. Should I do a full review for this one? I guess I should (because I want to properly fangirl over Dan Stevens please).

Wrap-Up - Series

The Crown – I am a sucker for anything historical, and anything related to British monarchy. So with that, I loved this series very much. The history nerd in me is very satisfied indeed.

Riverdale – WHAT IS GOING ON? I am sad that they took a break the same time as I did for school. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?

Wrap-Up - Announcements

  • I have been dying to scream about this since I was chosen, and I can finally say it. I am now a co-blogger at Stay Bookish!

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  • Before I even started, it has been one of the blogs that I sincerely look up to. It inspired me to blog in the first place. And now,  I am actually part of the blog squad! It is honestly a dream come true for me, because I would not have picked anywhere else to step up and co-blog.
  • Don’t worry, of course I am not leaving this lovely blog of mine. Think of it this way: there is more than one place where you get to hear me fangirling over books. But I have been debating something else entirely.
  • The Fanboy Book Club is currently under construction! Or is it still even called that? More news in the future soon!
  • I will be going to another April book event soon, this time for romance books. I cannot wait to feel all of the feels!

Okay, I guess that’s about it for the past 3 months? So how about you guys? Everything went well for the first half of the year? Let’s talk about it!

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PH Blog Tour: Goodbye Days

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Before Reading:

I have always had this soft spot for heartbreaking contemporaries. I do not care at all, because for as long as it hits me right in the kokoro (heart), I am all for it. Jeff Zentner made a lot of buzz last year because of The Serpent King. But sadly it was one of the books that I did not have the opportunity to read, given the killer time frame. But I thank the book gods for being so good to me, and PH bloggers for taking a chance on me. I don’t know what to expect really. I just know that this book will probably make me get a bucket. You know, so something can catch my tears and make me less of a mess. Kidding.

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9781783445516Title & Author: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction,

Year Published: 7th of March 2017

Series: None

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Source: Paperback, provided for the tour

Rating:  4.5/5 stars

Buy it on: Amazon | TBD

Summary:

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

After Reading:

Tears, tears, tears, all of the tears. I just want to cry and hug all of my best friends. Especially my weird friends from high school. This book made me miss them so bad. Jeff has this weird way of getting you invested in his book because I was hooked when the tears started flowing. I knew I should have had that bucket ready. That was a bad move.

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It was probably because of a recent loss that made me resonate with this book so much. Maybe? Or maybe not. Goodbye Days is mainly a book that tackles grief, and the guilt that every person feels when someone dear dies. This book emotionally drained me, but it also gave me the feeling of redemption.

It is hard enough to lose someone, let alone the people that matter the most to you. Losing a second family can mess anyone up. And that is how I came to understand Carver’s pain. (Actually I am more comfortable in calling him Blade. The only problem is that I might cry just a little bit.) Goodbye Days captured the essence of grief: the long process of letting go and going on with life without the ones we love. In that grief, we encounter people who we can lean on. The people who understand the pain and who can help with the healing process.

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The book also contained slight glimpses of the past, in which the reader can picture what is was like when Blade’s friends were still there. It may have added to the heart-pulling, but it brought out one of the most beautiful friendship dynamics that I have read in a while. The Sauce Crew was the ultimate group, and like I said earlier, it made me miss my friends very much.

What I loved the most about this book is that it kept on reminding me that Blade was not alone in his journey. He may have had a few people breathing down his neck (but I mean, even I understood where those people are coming from), but at least he had a support group. Not only was his sister the best and essentially the most badass sister role model around, he had parents who will do anything for him no matter what happens. A friendship was lost, but another friendship was gained in the form of Eli’s girlfriend, his therapist, and Blake’s Nana Betsy, where the Goodbye Day surfaced.

To be honest, a Goodbye Day sounds like a good way to reminisce and let go of a loved one. But let’s be real here: if you ever plan to read this book, it is mandatory to have tissues with you. Also, please consider investing on a tear bucket.

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Jeff Zentner

Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.


Want to win a copy of Goodbye Days? Click the photo below!

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Hugs and kisses to Jasmine at Jasmine Pearl Reads for letting me be a part of this lovely blog tour! Thank you, for now I am a converted Jeff Zentner fan. Huge thanks as well to PRH Global for the review copy for the tour.

You see, I haven’t read The Serpent King yet. But I know I’m in for a ride. I’m not ready to have my feels to be messed up again, but I hope I could get to it really soon. But what about you? Have you read Goodbye Days or The Serpent King yet? On a scale of 1 to 10, how is your heart? Let’s talk about it!

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