review: descendant of the crane

TITLE: Descendant of the Crane
SYNOPSIS: Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?


First off, that cover is literally way prettier than I am, but that’s fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

As someone of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, I don’t often see proper representation of Asian main characters in young adult novels. That, as well as the stunningly gorgeous cover and promising premise (okay, and the fact that it was on the syllabus for my young adult literature class this semester), motivated me to pick up Descendant of the Crane—and I loved it!

It was dark, twisty, and nasty in all the right places. The intricacy of imperial court politics really drove the plot forward, but the novel also does an amazing job of tackling the fundamental question of morality. Hesina has a lot on her plate. She has to learn that the path to the truth she craves so badly involves choosing between the lesser of two evils and possibly doing something “bad” for the greater “good.” She’s pushed into her role as the queen of Yan at the young age of 17, and her constant pursuit of the absolute truth about the circumstances surrounding her father’s death ends up causing her to tunnel vision, crash, and tumble.

One of my absolute favorite things about this book is the fact that the author, Joan He, avoids defining her characters as simply “good” or “evil,” allowing for the development of multi-dimensional, complex characters with believable motives. The vivid writing also brings to life the familial relationships between the various characters without emphasizing romance. Although I think that the focus on coming-of-age, morality, and political court maneuverings was ultimately a better move for the overall tone of the book, I do wish that the relationship between Hesina and Akira, the ex-convict-turned-defense-lawyer, had a stronger presence throughout the novel. Akira is definitely the most mysterious character after Caiyan.

Speaking of Caiyan…I won’t spoil anything but he is my favorite character in this novel. I know this book was marketed as a standalone, (???why??? is the publisher just waiting to see how well this debut does???) but you can bet I’ll be reading the companion novels.

If you’re looking for a Nirvana and Fire, Chinese-inspired fantasy infused with forbidden magic, court intrigue and bildungsroman, Descendant of the Crane should definitely be your next read!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

“What is truth? Scholars seek it. Poets write it. Good Kings pay gold to hear it. But in trying times, truth is the first thing we betray.” 

playlist: love, lara jean

Me? In a young adult literature class? Does that even surprise anyone?

I must admit that before enrolling in this spring semester class on young adult literature, I had previously never read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, despite all the hype and rave reviews that I saw throughout the online book community. The closest I got to better acquainting myself with the storyline was watching the Netflix adaptation starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo at like 2am with my best friends. (I know, I’m absolutely AWFUL—who does that?! The book is always better, right?) It was definitely cute, but I still don’t think chick lit is the genre for me.

Anyway, for my final project in this class, I decided to put together a playlist based on the premise that Lara Jean creates a playlist for Peter Kavinsky. love, lara jean includes songs produced and performed by Korean artists, paying homage to Lara Jean’s half-Korean heritage, as well as songs sung in English.

for Peter K.
This was originally supposed to only be about 15 songs long, but because I enjoy making playlists way too much, I might have gotten just a bit carried away…
love, lara jean

I Like Me Better | Lauv
Good Girls | LANY
While We’re Young | Jhene Aiko
Euphoria | BTS
Trivia 承: Love | BTS
Just thinking about you | Vanilla Acoustic
In the Time Spent You | HEIZE
기억을 걷는 밤 Walk On Memories | EXO
내일, 오늘 Tomorrow, Today | JJ Project
Make it Right | BTS
Grape Soda | Rook1e
break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored | Ariana Grande
I Like U | NIKI
Talk | Khalid ft. Disclosure
Dancing With A Stranger | Sam Smith ft. Normani
Better | Khalid
Day 1 ◑ | HONNE
FOOLS | Troye Sivan
Sucker | Jonas Brothers
instagram | DEAN
Miss You | Eric Nam
Hard To Love 나만 안되는 연애 | Bolbbalgan4
좋아합니다 i like you | Day6

For the songs in English:
I Like Me Better is pretty self-explanatory. One of the most prominent lines in the song, “I like me better when I’m with you,” holds true for Lara Jean when she’s around Peter K. He inspires her to be the best version of herself!

Good Girls is inspired by the fact that Lara Jean has always been the definition of a “good girl” throughout her life. She doesn’t cheat, drink, smoke, or party, and she has a fierce love and respect for her family.

While We’re Young captures the sentiment and feeling behind young, new love. Lara Jean possesses a kind of naïve and optimistic outlook on falling in love with Peter K.

Grape Soda in the context of this playlist describes the first romantic interaction between Lara Jean and Peter when they were very young. The song describes the feeling behind a quick kiss between two third graders during recess, which I’ve taken the liberty of comparing with the spin-the-bottle kiss between Lara Jean and Peter in seventh grade.

break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored pretty much sums up Lara Jean’s feelings about the whole Gen/Peter mess.

I Like U also has a self-explanatory title. Why Lara Jean just refuses to acknowledge that she likes Peter for the longest time is beyond my understanding, honestly.

SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK is such a major vibe. I can easily see Lara Jean and Peter doing exactly what the song title indicates.

Throughout the book (and the film), there were many instances of misunderstanding between the protagonists. Talk is a song about what they should have done in such instances.

Dancing With A Stranger…I included this one because I feel that at least at the beginning, Lara Jean doesn’t truly know Peter very well, since he’s been pretty far removed from her life thus far in terms of interaction. Before the start of the book, Peter was romantically involved with her former friend, Gen, who is prone to jealousy and previously kept a tight grip on him.

PILLOWTALK is, at its essence, a song about the ups and downs in relationships and how they test those who are involved. There are definitely a lot of ups and downs in the initial relationship Lara Jean has with Peter.

Better was included in this playlist because it reflects the kind of happiness that Lara Jean associates with Peter. It reminds me of the scenes in which he drives her and Kitty to school, and they have a delightful banter going between the three of them.

Day 1 ◑ …Actually, Peter isn’t Lara Jean’s Day 1 (I think that would be either her sisters or perhaps even Josh), but I still believe that this song delivers an important message about the ones who stay by your side and stand up for you.

FOOLS… “Only fools fall for you.” That’s probably how Lara Jean felt when Peter didn’t initially publicly deny the nasty rumors that Gen spread about her. As a result, she avoids him for the entirety of her winter break after the school ski trip.

Sucker could easily apply to either Lara Jean or Peter K. I find it so annoyingly cute (as trope-y as it is) that they like each other so much but refuse to see that they have something special together until much later.

For the songs in Korean:
Euphoria is exactly what its title promises. “You are the cause of my euphoria” is a line that resonates with Lara Jean when she spends time with Peter, though as stated above, she stubbornly refuses to admit it at times.

Trivia 承: Love plays with the idea that the act of loving is tied to that of living. It addresses the importance of self-love and self-worth, which is something that a lot of adolescents (like Lara Jean) struggle with.

Just thinking about you has a pretty self-explanatory title. It’s a cute, lighthearted Korean acoustic song that encapsulates Lara Jean’s wandering thoughts.

Perhaps the “with” that should be inserted between “time” and “you” in the song title was lost in translation, but the overall meaning of the song definitely wasn’t. In the Time Spent You is a reflection on the longstanding friendship between two people. I included this song to acknowledge the fact that Lara Jean and Peter K. have known each other for years, long before the events of TATBILB started.

기억을 걷는 밤 Walk On Memories has such a dreamy atmosphere, enhanced further by the lyrics about walking with a loved one at dawn while reminiscing on past memories. Perhaps Peter and Lara Jean didn’t exactly take a walk at dawn, but they did have late night talks…

내일, 오늘 Tomorrow, Today questions the choices and paths laid out before someone. I feel like this could apply to Lara Jean in terms of her relationship with Peter. She’s initially confused by her feelings and doesn’t always know what she wants, especially with Gen in the picture, stirring up more trouble for her.

“I could make it better, I could hold you tighter.” The lyrics of Make it Right detail the desire to better relationships, much like how Lara Jean and Peter are able to mend their relationship after a falling out over Gen’s past relationship with Peter and her desperation to win him back.

Home can be a person, place, or feeling (or in this case, a song title). I think the addition of this song shows that Lara Jean and her family feel comfortable including Peter in their definition of “home,” given that her father and younger sister are so receptive to his presence in their lives.

Remember when that video of Lara Jean and Peter K. in the hot tub was posted all over the internet/instagram? The way Peter stood up for Lara Jean after that incident was so heartwarming and sweet.

Miss You is also pretty self-explanatory. Throughout the book, it’s evident that Lara Jean misses her older sister Margot and feels terrible about not telling her about Peter.

In this playlist, Hard To Love 나만 안되는 연애 comments on the emotionally complicated nature of Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship. Peter had just broken up with Gen and had a lot to deal with, and Lara Jean’s own love life became quite complicated after her love letters were mailed without her permission.

좋아합니다 i like you is about how there’s no going back once someone confesses their feelings to another. Once Lara Jean and Peter K. actually commit to each other outside of their trope-y but kinda cute “fake relationship,” well…the rest is history.

Thank you to the amazing facilitators and interns that made this class so enjoyable! Now that I’ve covered every song in the playlist with an explanation or description of some sort, I’m going to end this with some cute gifs, enjoy and good luck on finals! xx

can you believe this was a spontaneous move !!
oof, my heart
they’re so beautiful i can’t even

photospread: seattle, washington

I am convinced that Seattle has it all—beaches, mountains, forests, art, culture, coffee, tech—the list could go on.

This past spring break some of my best friends and I packed ourselves into a five seat sedan and drove up the west coast to visit this unforgettably vibrant city. I haven’t been to Seattle since I was about two (and that barely even counts), so my memories of this modern metropolis were spotty at best. I had the preconceived notion that this was “just another city of skyrises.” Needless to say, I was terribly wrong.

From laughing conversations over coffee to meeting the owner of the Queen Anne bookshop, I fell in love with Seattle and its ability to emphasize the simplicity of everyday things done well. A latte to kickstart your day? Done, topped to milk foam perfection. An appreciation for food and flowers in full bloom? Spend your morning at Pike Place Market. There is something to do or try for just about everyone.

And for me, Seattle was a much-needed break from the stress of Berkeley. I will definitely be back.

books recommended by you

What’s a book you’d recommend to everyone? 

About three weeks ago, I asked my Instagram followers this exact question. There were so many great responses and recommendations, so I decided to compile a list of diverse and interesting reads for those of you who are hunting for your next book to devour read.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Recommended by Violet (@girl_with_the_third_eye), this autobiographical comedy written by a South African author urges one to question the status quo while delivering smart humor.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Gabi (@ourworldofwords) steadfastly maintains that this is her favourite novel of all time! A Finalist for the 2018 William C. Morris Award, this emotionally poignant debut novel about a biracial teen who struggles with social anxiety and dreams of attending art school delves into the importance of understanding self-worth.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book comes highly recommended by Ana (@bujowithana) and Yylen (@booktopsleeper).  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is pegged as psychological fiction and LGBTQ+ literature full of old Hollywood glamour. It unfolds the fictional life of a Cuban actress in a cinematic fashion.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

@buttons.studies says that this is the best book she’s ever read! Nominated for the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, Rooftoppers weaves elements of fantasy and historical fiction together to tell the story of a girl who discovers a secret rooftop world.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Martina (@marty.reads) and Clarissa (@wavypages) both recommended this young adult, fantasy fiction novel about a lost city and its sinister past. Full of lush, descriptive writing and intricate world-building, Strange the Dreamer has long been on my own to-read list! 

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This novel is one of Ciara’s (@cyra_bear) favourites! First published in 1987, Norwegian Wood is a beautiful, bildungsroman tale of loss and romantic relationships. 

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

A contemporary young adult novel recommended by @bookhuggerreviews, Radio Silence is a story about two teens who start a podcast together in an attempt to find their own voices without conforming to the expectations of society.

There were so many more great recommendations, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with a long list! I am eager to read all of them myself, and I hope that you can find your next read in this short list of interesting, diverse books. 

photospread: southern vietnam

The sound of paddles slicing through the green waters of the Mekong Delta. The sticky heat of the canopied jungle on my skin. The cool, refreshing taste of young coconut water. The summer song of the cicadas. The sweet scent of incense at Vĩnh Tràng Chùa, a Buddhist place of worship…

There is no other experience quite like a journey to Vietnam, a country in southeastern Asia. In June 2018 (half a year ago?! crazy.) I had the wonderful opportunity to visit southern Vietnam. I spent about a week in its capital, Ho Chi Minh City, immersing myself in local culture and history, valuable lessons that can’t be taught in a traditional classroom.

The raw beauty of Vietnam lies within its gorgeous landscapes, shaped by the destruction of war and the modern resilience in its aftermath. My newfound appreciation for the strength of Vietnam’s beautiful landscape and people manifests itself in this series of photographs, all shot on my iPhone. What I fail to describe adequately with words, I hope to make up for with my photos.

Hẹn gặp lại, Việt Nam.


dorm room living, year one

I almost wanted to title this blog post “COLLEGE IS WAY TOO MUCH WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR ME,” but decided against it because it echoes a feeling I am only occasionally overwhelmed by.

Because I’ve received several requests and recurring questions about my life at university, I’ve decided to make a series of blog posts documenting my first year college experience, and this first one will be geared toward describing my freshman living situation in the dorms + general advice! And since I understand that many of you will be tackling university work next school year or in a few short years, I hope you can glean some new insights with this blog post series.

About a year ago, my dad and I packed my life away into white paper boxes and drove up to Northern California from sunny Los Angeles. We were met by the Bay Area’s summer gloom. Already, I sensed that things were different. I felt a wave of emotion crash over me, as I fully realized that I would be 400 miles away from all that was familiar to me, though the immediate surroundings of my campus would soon become just as familiar.

Move-in day, 2017 August 14.

Cold and cloudy, the morning sky promised rain. I woke up early to the sound of my phone’s alarm and felt a trickle of anxiety gnawing at me. I was in a new place with new people and of course, all of this was a new experience. What was I supposed to expect? I had no clue.

My father and I grabbed a quick breakfast and set out to navigate the narrow, one way streets of Berkeley. I was lucky enough to have been assigned to not just a double room, but also a mini-suite, which meant that I would only have one lovely roommate and a bathroom shared with one other room rather than the entire floor. (Many people are assigned to a triple during their first year at UC Berkeley, and bathrooms are shared and coed.)

Later that afternoon, I met my roommate, who is now one of my close friends. I also met my two suite-mates, who were living in the room adjacent to mine, and together, the four of us (along with one other friend) formed a close-knit friendship that I hold dear in my heart. If y’all are reading this, I LOVE YOU AND CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU SOON!!!

My room was spacious and comfortable. I seriously thought I brought a lot of stuff with me from home, but when I moved everything in, I realized that I still had plenty of room. I’d definitely recommend bringing less stuff to begin with because you’ll probably gradually accumulate more things as the school year progresses.

And after this crazy, fun, and overall amazing experience of living with people other than my family, (Roommate horror stories? Where?) I’ve compiled a list of some general things to keep in mind in order to sustain a great relationship with your roommate(s) and make your first year dorm experience a pleasant one:

Only bring what is necessary.

This is just as important as it is obvious. Your university will most likely have a list of what to bring and what not to bring. If they don’t mail you a physical list, you can find it online. Most dorms are small and won’t have a lot space for you to move your whole house into. Be mindful that you’ll also be sharing the space with at least one other person, so you definitely don’t want to be imposing on others by taking up too much of the room! (Taking up too much room? Hmm.)

You will also most likely accumulate more things as the semester and year goes on. I know I did, and I was half surprised by the sheer amount of shit I had to move out of my room…

Mail stuff…to yourself.

If you find that you have too many things you need to bring and not enough luggage space, you can box up some of the less important stuff and mail it to your new dorm address.

USPS Priority Mail boxes are free of charge and have a flat rate for shipping based on the size of the box or envelope. You can put anything with any weight up to a maximum of 70 lbs, and it will be the same price! I shipped my books to myself because they took up too much space and weight in my luggage otherwise.

Being considerate goes a long way.

Don’t be that roommate who constantly has their significant other over all the time. Refill the water in the Brita filter jug (would highly recommend getting one) if it’s running low. Try to be as quiet as you can in the morning if your roommate is still asleep as you leave for your 8AM chemistry lab.

Sometimes I’d make instant oats in the morning and add some yummy fruit to kickstart my day. But because that requires using the microwave noisily, I would never make it on Wednesdays when I had class at 8AM because my roommate typically wasn’t awake until about 9AM.

Talk to your roommate(s).

I know it’s sometimes awkward at first, especially if you opted to randomize your roommate, but try your best to be friendly and receptive. Offer to get a meal with them. Ask them about their day. Complain about classes and terrible professors together. Say hello when you see them and goodbye when you leave.

I remember that one time when I was really upset over a series of failed exams, my lovely roommate brought home some pretty flowers and tea eggs for me! It was a really sweet gesture, and I don’t think I’d ever forget it.

Keep things tidy and organized!

Please don’t eat peanuts and leave your discarded shells in haphazard piles and in cups scattered around the room. (Yes, I had a friend with a roommate like that and it was absolutely AWFUL) Make a conscious effort to clean on a designated day at least once a week. Just take out the trash, make your bed and clear out space on your desk so that you can work clutter-free. Trust me, having space to work can do wonders for your productivity. Clutter tends to cause distractions, and you don’t want that, especially as you’re trying to cram for exams! And if you’re as much of a germaphobe and clean freak as I am, I’d definitely recommend investing in a roll of Clorox wipes as well.

My roommate and I were pretty good about keeping things orderly and clean. We also had a small vacuum that we would occasionally use to clean hair, dust, and dirt off the floor. No one ever left clothes strewn about the room, and we almost always made our beds in the morning. (Life hack: If you ever want the appearance of a neat room, just make your bed!)

These are just some small, general pieces of advice that I have for those of you who are about to move away into your college dorms for the first time. It’s honestly such an amazing experience, and I know that you’ll love it as much as I did. If you do have any specific questions or requests, my DM’s and emails are always open. Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my next blog post in this series because the next one will be about something that’s been highly requested—dorm room decorating!

birthday book shopping list

Hello, my lovely friends! As some of you might already know, my birthday just passed not too long ago. And naturally, I had to compile a list of books I reaaaally want to buy and read. My to-be-read (tbr) pile is crying from the stress of bearing too many books—so I narrowed it down to…*drumroll please*




And they include:


by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world. (Amazon)


by Amor Towles

He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose. (Amazon)


(Penguin Classic edition) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

by John Green

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship. (GoodReads)


by Tomi Adeyemi

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (GoodReads)

All of the books listed above are different in plot and genre, and I want to make it my goal to finish all of them this May or June. I’ve been looking forward to reading Circe ever since I found out that Madeline Miller was writing it! I was a big fan of her debut novel, The Song of Achilles. I also love reading historical fiction novels, and I discovered A Gentleman in Moscow through a recommendation by Amazon’s shopping algorithm. And of course, how could I not want this gorgeous edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s collection of short stories?

Additionally, John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone seem like promising young adult books. I’ve seen so many great reviews floating around on bookstagram, blogs, and GoodReads, so I’m really quite excited to read them!

What are some books that you’re looking forward to reading in the upcoming month of May?

review: thunderhead

thunderheadTITLE: Thunderhead

AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster

SYNOPSIS (Goodreads): Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?



Though the unexpected cliffhanger absolutely killed me, I still enjoyed Thunderhead, the sequel to Scythe. The world-building is really something else. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. Thunderhead is smart and packed with enough action to keep the audience guessing until the final reveal. It deftly explores the concept of mortality and reconciliation with our humanity in a technology-driven futuristic utopian society.

I do wish that Citra and Rowan had more interaction and page time together. It was slightly disorienting to read about Rowan’s situation and then shift to Citra’s newfound life as a scythe, completing her gleanings. I also felt that some of the secondary characters who were introduced weren’t all that essential to the plot. There was definitely a surprise character that I totally DID NOT expect to make an appearance in this book…

However, I really loved the interactions between Scythe Curie and Scythe Anastasia (Citra)–give me a book all about their adventures together and I’ll gladly devour it in a single sitting! Both women are incredibly smart, and it was so interesting to delve into their thoughts and understand their perspectives in trying to manufacture a method to untangle themselves from the dangerous situation they were mercilessly thrown into.

Another interesting yet unsettling aspect of the book was the smart inclusion of the Thunderhead’s thoughts and feelings as a preface to almost every chapter. These interjections should have been jarring to read, but instead, they were almost poignant to a point, allowing me as a reader to glean (hahah) a little more insight about the history of the glittering world that the story is structured around.

Overall, though Thunderhead has a bit of “middle book syndrome,” it reads exactly like what it’s supposed to be, a (good) second book of a series that sets up a promising premise for the third. I can’t wait to see what else Shusterman adds to this series!

RATING: 3.75/5*
*Thank you to Simon Teen for sending me a copy of Scythe and Thunderhead! This in no way impacted the nature of my review, and all thoughts represented are my own.


how to overcome reading slumps

We’ve all been there. There’s no new reading material that appeals to you in the slightest bit. You don’t feel like reading, or perhaps you read something and quickly lose interest. This frustrating situation has a name: the dreaded READING SLUMP.

So what do you do? How do you overcome it?

There is no one right way to approach this problem, but in this post I’ll be sharing some of the tips that I find helpful in getting over a reading slump!

Stick to old favourites. Those books you’d read and reread over again? Pick them up and get started!

Switch up your usual genres. Read a book that isn’t in a genre you usually stick to. So if you tend to read a lot of YA, try picking up a mystery or thriller–anything that is a bit out of your comfort zone.

Reorganize your shelves. Sometimes, as you’re shelving and reshelving books, you’ll find a book you haven’t read yet or an old favourite that piques your interest!

Ask for recommendations. I know. It’s a little weird. As someone who loves reading, I’m used to being the friend who gives reading recs rather than someone who asks for them.

Watch shows or series. I’d recommend:

  • While You Were Sleeping (thriller/suspense, romance, kdrama)
  • Goblin (supernatural, romance, cinematic-quality kdrama)
  • The Crown (historical)
  • Daredevil (action)
  • Sherlock (mystery/action)

Browse Pinterest. This has absolutely nothing to do with books or reading, but that’s the point. It’s okay to be in a reading slump. It’s okay to not constantly think about books. In fact, I think it’s a great idea to take your mind away from the constant pressure of trying to conquer your never-ending tbr list and focus on something else that doesn’t take much effort instead. Pinterest is great for garnering inspiration on almost any topic!

I hope this post helps those of you who are struggling to get out of your reading rut. I’d also love to know what you do to recover from the dreaded reading slump, let me know in the comments!


my disillusionment with young adult literature

Some of my favourite and most-loved books fall under the umbrella of the young adult (YA) genre. However, my recent impressions of YA books have been lukewarm at best. This isn’t because I don’t think YA is real literature, because it is. Society tends to brush off what young women (and men) like to read as frivolous fluff, but hey, if it’s a book everyone loves, it must be good in one way or another.

My recent disenchantment with the YA genre mainly stems from four problems.

SAME CONTRIVED, UNORIGINAL PLOT. How familiar does this sound: 16-18 year old girl on the cusp of womanhood vehemently denies that she’s beautiful and suddenly discovers a shocking secret that threatens to unravel her life as it is. She is “the chosen one,” destined for something greater. There is an evil force of villainy X that goes against everything she stands for and all that she loves. Along her journey to rid herself of such villainy, girl meets boy who is Mr. Perfect and way-too-good-for-her, and there is an instant, electrifying attraction that defies the laws of nature.

And that brings me to my next problem with a lot of YA books—

INSTA-LOVE. Fact: It doesn’t happen. It just isn’t realistic. Sure, you might be attracted to someone you just met because you laugh at the same dumb jokes, or if that person is really easy on the eyes, but you don’t profess your grand three-word declaration and stake your claim on that person’s heart within 27 pages.

GENERALIZATIONS AND STEREOTYPES. If I were to tell you that I am a total nerd at heart, what comes to mind? A girl with thick glasses and braces? Someone who is always at odds with the “popular, preppy” (yet another label) kids? I don’t get the chance to tell you that I love roses and baby’s breath, or that I enjoy listening to Oh Wonder and DEAN. You wouldn’t know that traveling is one of my favourite things to do, or that I’m part of my university’s figure skating team. Most everyone has a wide scope of interests, and that’s because we are people, not caricature-like stereotypes.

LACK OF DIVERSITY. This can be interpreted in more than one way. While I think that many new releases have done a decent job of including more diverse characters in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation, I still lament the fact that there isn’t more complexity in story premises. I don’t want to read another re-telling of a childhood classic or fairytale. I don’t want to read another book about a two-dimensional girl who looks the same as every other protagonist in a YA novel. There needs to be more representation of characters from all walks of life, and it’s up to our generation to fulfill this desire for diversity.

That being said, I don’t think I’ll necessarily stop reading YA altogether. Instead, I would like to branch out and read more contemporary, classics, and anything thought-provoking. Some titles I’ve been eyeing for a while include:

  • Pachinko (Min Jin Lee)
  • Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng)
  • A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)
  • The Great Alone (Kristin Hannah)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • The Beautiful and the Damned (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky (Mark Sullivan)
  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Lisa See)

If you have any recommendations for me, please feel free to message me or leave a comment!