Monthly Overviews

Spring 2020 Overview! Why I Took a Break and Mini Book Reviews

Hello! It’s been 5 months since I last blogged and I am delighted to say that I’m back! This year has had a messy beginning for everyone and I hope you all understand why I have not been blogging for the past coupe months. I will explain it all in this overview along with some books and music I’ve been indulging in lately!


Number of Books Read: 47

I am quite behind on my goal of 200 books this year which is quite disappointing but I cannot say I could’ve possibly read that many with all that has happened thus far.

Since I have not been blogging, I will list some of my latest and greatest reads in a “mini review” format!

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

I can’t recommend this book enough. This text is a science-fictional romance that speaks of yearning, gender normality, and unconditional love. It’s quite short and any reader can finish it within a couple hours if they are as engrossed as I was. I highly recommend reading the text multiple times to fully enjoy it’s weighted lyricism and beauty—an emotional masterpiece.

Slay by Brittney Morris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Morris does a wonderful job creating an emotional and action-packed “tour de force” surrounding the ideas of inclusivity, community, and realism. Elements of mystery and sci-fi are incorporated into this story conveying international and local black experiences through realistic and strong characters. I definitely cried while reading this, and I truly believe it will shake any reader’s heart who devours it.

The Princes Gambit and Kings Rising by CS Pacat

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Prince’s Gambit synopsis:

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow . . .

Kings Rising synopsis:

His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobilising for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity—can it stand against the Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?

I don’t know why I waited so long to finish the ‘Captive Prince’ trilogy but I’m so glad I did because holy shit these last two books had me on such a reading hangover I was out for weeks. Beautifully constructed world building, plot, and character development that wretched my heart and kept me on my knees for the entirety of the way. The fact that I can seamlessly string together all three books amazes me and I am undoubtedly re-reading the trilogy to find whatever jewels Pacat may have hidden weaved within it’s pages.

So much has happened since my last post before my blogging break in early February; from COVID-19 to me getting a job and studying!

In late February I was hired at Barnes & Noble which is the absolute dream! I work as a cafe barista and bookseller and it’s been fun so far in the little experience I’ve had before COVID-19 reigned terror in the Bay Area. That kept me pretty busy but simultaneously gave me the chance to read and purchase plenty more books for book reviews!

When COVID-19 started to take it’s toll on the world, students were pulled out of school and to be frank, teach themselves at home. This made learning what I needed to be learnt incredibly hard and took a lot of time out of my days next to studying for AP exams. I was drained and didn’t have the motivation or energy to blog as I was not used to studying all day on my own with little guidance. Balancing blogging with school and other hobbies has always been a weakness of mine, but I’m glad to say that I’ve improved drastically!

I am excited and happy to be back as a blogger, and I hope you all are finding balance in your lives as well!

Here is some music I’ve been listening to lately:

Best Part by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R.
What You Did by Mahalia and Ella Mai
thinking of you by mommy, Philanthrope, Kyle McEvoy
Boo’d Up by Ella Mai
Maria by Hwa Sa
Finding Parking by Joey Pecoraro

Happy Reading!

xoxo Byunzie

Instagram | Goodreads

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Summer Tags

“What Makes Me Pick Up A Book” Tag!

Hello! I am back with a new and interesting tag I saw on Kristin Kraves Books’ blog. I’m extremely curious to see the similarities and differences bookworms have when it comes to deciding what texts to read!


Do you judge a book by its cover?

Book covers have come quite a long way in terms of illustrations, graphics, and grabbing a reader’s attention. As I see it, it’s exceedingly difficult to not judge a book based on it’s cover before reading it’s pages or synopsis. I am ashamed to admit that I have indeed bought a book solely for the way it’s cover will look on my shelves, but most of the time a cover is the last thing I worry about when it comes to deciding if I should purchase a book or not.

Focusing just on a cover, what attracts you to pick it up?

Unique and interesting titles are what attract me most on a book’s cover! I love when a book’s title is clever and/or intriguing; especially when it compels me ask about it’s connection with the text, that’s the jackpot for me. When it comes to the visuals, I tend to take interest in darker more muted colors (red is an exception) with interesting illustrations and graphics! I almost never pick up a book with images of people on the cover—whether it be drawn or photographed—unless the title is super interesting. Texture also plays a pretty surprising role in my judgement of a cover as well! I love when there is more than one texture on a cover/dust-jacket and I don’t really have a good explanation as to why.

Do you read the synopsis first, or prefer to go in knowing nothing about the book?

If I’m buying a book I plan to read and enjoy, I will always read the synopsis. To be frank I find it insane that some readers can purchase books they know nothing about!

Do you have any auto-buy authors?

I do not! If I really enjoy a text and it’s author is releasing a new book, I will definitely take interest in it—but never buy it blindly. I always read the synopsis like any other book no matter the author to determine if I will purchase it or not.


Are you more likely to pick up a book if it has specific elements/themes?

Of course! Most of the time I browse for books I’m looking for certain themes and tropes that I enjoy. So obviously if a text claims to contain these things, it has a significantly better chance of me reading it than not. Books with psychological and philosophical themes/ideals like what it means to be human or how far a person can go fueled purely by love is the kind of shit I live for! I will also shamelessly admit romance is something I definitely look forward to seeing in fictional texts.

Do you ever read a book that has generally negative reviews just to form your own opinion on it?


I love to read book reviews! I definitely take positive reviews into account when I decide whether to read a book, but I never let negative reviews do the same. Every text should have a shot at being indulged.

Do you ever buy a book just because another booktuber/blogger has talked about it a lot?

Hyped books tend to be incredibly overrated for me once I read them. As a result, I take into account other’s positive opinions on a book when it comes to purchasing texts. However, I will never let another person’s judgement be the only reason to spend my money.

Is there anyone whose book recommendations you always trust?

Yes! I know plenty of bloggers and friends with the same tastes in literature who I go to for book recommendations! I can always trust in Goodreads to find books that fit my palette as well. I may make a separate post about this in the future.


I tag everyone to take a crack at this tag as it really opened up my eyes to what I do during book browsing! It also taught me to be more open minded when it comes to book covers, I will definitely try to explore more vibrant covers the next time I shop.

I’m currently writing an overview of what I’ve been doing these past few months as I haven’t been blogging. I’ll get that out as soon as I can!

Happy reading!

xoxo Byunzie

Instagram | Goodreads

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Monthly Overviews

Year 2019 Overview! Reflecting on My Life and Reading This Year

Viola! It’s 2020! 2019 zipped pass me before I could blink and so many wonderful things happened! Not only that, but it’s already a new decade! What the hell?! Time is moving much to quickly. Time to reflect on not only what I read. but what I experienced outside of the shelves as well.


Number of Books Read: 162

162 books read this year! Whew, what a bunch. I read some pretty amazing books this year, and only had to suffer through a few iffy ones. I have a gigantic list of books I need to write reviews for, and I’m working on them one at a time!

My 5 Favorite Reads This Year:

  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Manhurin
  • The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Starsight by Brandon Anderson
  • Finale by Stephanie Garber

Book Reviews This Year:

My 5 Favorite Posts This Year:

This year wasn’t too bad! There were definitely times where it was rough but those are inevitable. I started my blog this year and it’s been such a fun and expressive hobby, I’m so glad I decided to start this site!

I had the opportunity to learn more than I could ever ask for this year, and I’m so grateful for it. I recognize just how much I’ve grown as an intellectual and a person! I’ve opened up many doors for the incoming year, and I hope I get the chance to waltz and explore through every single one of them.

I’ve been so incredibly busy lately as well. As of now I’m applying for multiple internships and university programs this summer (because otherwise I’ll have nothing to do and get bored to death). Pursuing in molecular biology is such a handful but I love it so much. It’s great to know I love something I’m good at! That doesn’t always happen for me.

I feel like music is a strong way to express someone’s feelings and demeanor at a certain time. So I decided to start listening songs I’ve been frequently enjoying to better reflect how I’ve been!

Songs I’ve been listening to:

YOUTH! by BOYCOLD (feat. Bewhy, HAON & Coogie)

You Know by Oui Oui

Love on Top by Beyoncé

Drive by Jay Park (feat. GRAY)

Paris in the Rain by Lauv

Pure Happiness by Jooyoung, george

Burn by Phillipa Soo

말해줄게요 by 어반폴리


2019 was a year of learning and growth. I’m so happy I was able to read so many fantastic books as well! I can’t wait to see what next year brings…

Happy Reading!

xoxo Byunzie

Instagram | Goodreads

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