1

My Bookish Life During Hiatus

SPARKLING LETTERS BOOK BLOG_ MY BOOKISH LIFE DURING HIATUS

Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another post of me 😀 I’m sooo excited to be back here, but I’m still pretty out of ideas so today, I’m gonna be talking about my bookish life during hiatus. As you probably know, I just got back from a 1-year-and-2-months hiatus which also  happened to be a period of long reading slump. But that doesn’t mean I completely cut off my relationship with books—that would be impossible because books are my life. So anyway, here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to in terms of books!

Books I read

This is a little hard to track because I stopped using goodreads for a while, but on top of my head here are some books I read during my hiatus :

If you see the pictures above, you’d find out that I mostly only read local books. It’s because they’re easier to find—I don’t have any international bookstore on my current city—and they’re frankly easier to digest. I mean, it’s my mother tongue so I can read faster 😛

  1. RESIGN by Almira Bastari. A highly amusing NA romance comedy highlighting the relationship between an employee and her supervisor. Quick, comical, witty, and just what I need to read after a hectic day at work.
  2. AROMA KARSA by Dee Lestari. Dee is my favorite Indonesian writer and I love her Supernova series so much. This one is a stand alone about two people with exceptional sense of smell and an ambitious women “exploiting” the gifts for her own purpose. It’s a little fantasy meet historical fiction meet contemporary but it worked so well. I’m really hoping for a sequel though.
  3. AUTOBOYOGRAPHY by Christina Lauren. It centers on a m/m relationship between a student with supportive parents and his tutor, who happens to be a mormon. It’s set in a writing class where the students are asked to write a whole book by the end of the semester. There are a lot of things I love, but it was unfortunately a bit slow for me.
  4. OBSIDIO by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. The book that got me out of reading slump. Intense, brutal, unpredictable. Not gonna say anything more because I’ve already written an 800 words review, just wait and see 😛

I’m quite sure I read more than ONLY 4 books this year but I just can’t remember anything more 🙈 I did read a little part of Warcross, When Dimple Met Rishi, and Strange the Dreamer but at the moment I couldn’t focus so I put them on hold for now.

Books I Bought

I might not read much lately but I still shopped for books every time I got the chance ðŸ˜‚ here are some of the books I bought so far.

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Here are some of the others. No photo because they’re at my place and I’m currently at my parents’ house for Eid holiday.

When you’re not in the mood to read, then you’re simply not in the mood. Even if these shiny books keep waving at me. Of all the books I bought, I think Obsidio is the only one I finished. I thought for sure that it’s a contemporary book that would get me out of my slump because that’s what usually happens, but turned out I was wrong. I got completely immersed while reading Obsidio and I stayed up until 2 in the morning to finish the 615 pages book because it was just that great ðŸ˜‚

Anyway, now that I thiiiink I’m finally in the mood to read again, I’m gonna go through all these books slowly. I’m thinking of starting Children of Blood and Bone, Leah and the Offbeat, and picking up Warcross and Strange the Dreamer where I left off before. What do you think? Are there any books from above that you think I should read first?

Books to Movie Adaptation

Surprisingly, I watched quite a lot of movies this past year. A lot more than I usually did. I remember watching several books to movie adaptation, but the only one I remember was Ready Player One 🙈 it wasn’t the best story I’ve ever seen but it was enjoyable! I had so much fun watching the movie and it made me want to read the book—or read Warcross, because I’ve been told Warcross is a much, much better version.

Ohhh I also watched and read Susah Sinyal. Instead of book to movie, it’s a movie to book adaptation. The movie came out on December 2017, directed by my favorite Ernest Prakasa. It’s a family movie about the dynamic between a single mother and her daughter. It’s so heartwarming, so when I heard there would be a book and that my favorite author Ika Natassa will co-write it, I WAS DEFINITELY IN!! It didn’t disappoint because the book brings out much more feelings and depth into the story that the movie lacked of.

Oh well, that;s another book I read during my hiatus but I’m too lazy to go back up and edit, so 😛

Writing

I don’t know if you remember, but I do have a writing project I started at the beginning of last year. You can read it here. I know I made it my resolution to finish the first draft by the end of the year and I still haven’t BUT it’s not like I didn’t make any progress!! I’ve actually written the ending but there are still a lot of plot holes and I couldn’t figure out how to fill them. I also did make a lot of edits. And I, um…. actually started another project ðŸ˜‚

I wrote around 5 chapters and haven’t picked it up anymore hahaha fingers crossed I’ll get back to it soon! ♥

Book Blogs I Read

It’s sad to say that I’ve completely failed at keeping up with book blogs I follow </3 since I announced my hiatus, I’ve probably only opened my wordpress reader a couple of times and my Bloglovin feed none at all. (Speaking of my country BLOCKED access to Bloglovin along with Tumblr what a lame government!!!). Sometimes I did click through the link to posts I found on Twitter, but I never stayed long enough to read until the end. But there is this blog I found through Twitter called Snark Squad—you could tell from the name that the blog basically only snarks at bad books. And boy it was so fun to read!!

I think I spent a month or two reading it every single day. There are a lot of funny ones, even of the books I enjoyed, but my favorites gotta be about Fifty Shades series. The series was SO BAD it’s ridiculous. They snark it chapter by chapter and it’s like I’m reliving the stories through their eyes. Except the snarks are way better and funnier than the original stories 😛

Here are the links in case you’re interested. Or in need of a laugh.

Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades Darker Fifty Shades Freed

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Well well well, I guess that’s all I can share about my life in terms of books. Do you think there are things I possibly missed? Hmm anywayyy, how’s your reading life so far? Ready any fantastic books lately? I’m in desperate need of recommendations! Oh, and are there any book blogs you’re loving lately? Please link me! I want to follow more bloggers 😀

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23

I’m BACK!

Copy of EDITORIAL CALENDAR (1)Hello everyone! ♥

It’s been over a year since my hiatus announcement on April 2017 🙈 what I initially planned as a couple-of-months-hiatus turned out to be a year long hiatus because I got carried away with… well, life. If you read this post you’d probably remember that I had a REALLY rough start on my job. What’s with the bad place, hot weather, and super slow internet connection that’s definitely not cut out for blogging ðŸ˜‚

Now it’s been a year and I can safely say I’ve settled in—though not perfectly because I’m not loving my city that much. ANYWAY, here are some updates on my life, in case any of you wants to know 😛

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Quarter Life Crisis. I had no idea what the deal with quarter life crisis is until I experienced it myself. I can’t actually describe it but around the first few months of moving out of the house and starting this job, I has this hollowed and restless feelings about my life—in general. I felt like I needed to make a decision about something but it was just so difficult and I had no one to rely on, which eventually led me to realize : this is adulthood, isn’t it? Being on your own and only having yourself to rely on.

It was also a little difficult for me to establish friendships in the workplace. I just figured out that workplace friendship is… different. Idk if it’s just me but it’s definitely not as deep as my previous friendships. Also about friendship : I was kind of sad to part ways with my best friends. We used to do most things together and now we all have our own lives that it’s so hard to find time to meet. So I guess I was lonely. And I spent a lot of nights crying. Took me a couple of months to snap myself out of this and just try living my current life as best as I could.

Work Life. My first year of working was occupied with this HR Transformation Project. It was exhausting but I got to know so many people from our company—which is amazing for a new kid like me. After the project ended, I was in this gray area where I didn’t really have any responsibilities. I hadn’t been assigned any new tasks so basically I just did what my superiors told me and it was boring af. Also there was a rift between our boss and us so it was messy.

At the end of last year I was transferred from Headquarter to Plant at the exact same position. I got super busy but the roles are clear so I called it a win. Also I had to say goodbye to my coworkers and start adjusting again but so far I really enjoyed it ♥

Social Life. The previous paragraphs have probably summed up the fact that I have very little friends at work but that’s okay because I have accepted it. It’s all about quality not quantity, right? 😛 also now I’m used to befriending people way older and with different background from me. ALSO I got myself a boyfriend!! Hahaha we’ve been together for 6 months and I’m happy. It’s kind of something I found when I was definitely not looking so it was a pleasant surprise.

Reading Slump. I guess this wouldn’t be surprising but I’ve been caught up in this vicious reading slump for a while. I was too lazy to read and I couldn’t even finish A BOOK for a long time. I’ve probably only read a total of 5 books in this past year—what a sad statistic. However, there are so many new titles I want to read and I thiiiink I’m finally ready to jump into the reading bandwagon again. Cross your heart, guys.

So that’s a recap of my life so far.

I’ve been thinking about going back into blogging for a while now but I still have no Wifi at home (I’ve grown accustomed to it) so it’s kind of been holding me back. But a couple of weeks ago I was browsing something work related when google directed me to a wordpress page and it was logged on my account. I clicked the notification and I found that my blog isn’t completely dead. I still have visitors and receive comments regularly (though the numbers are significantly lower than when I regularly blogged) and I was reminded of how much I love this blog. I’ve poured so much love and work for this and somehow it kinda motivated me to come back 😛

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Nothing’s set in stone yet, but here are my plans so far :

  1. I’m gonna start reading regularly again. I’ve been collecting a lot of contemporary books—and yes I’m obviously gonna start with contemporary because it’s light and easy to get in the mood for. Any 5 starts read you’d love to recommend?
  2. Going back to blogging, but with less posts than before. I really enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with you all. However, since I still don’t have regular internet connection, I’m probably only gonna post once a week— when I’m home, find a coffee place to blog at, or manage to find some time to steal during lunch break at the office.
  3. No more book photography 😦 I enjoy taking pictures but it requires so many efforts that I just couldn’t do anymore. I don’t bring camera and that many books to my place and there’s no good place to take pictures anyway. I’m gonna have to get creative with designs to keep this blog attractive.
  4. Bloghopping is gonna take a backseat this time 😦 I always get so busy with my job and if I’m not working I’m probably out or passed out on my bed, so there’s not much time for bloghopping. BUT I’m gonna try to bloghop whenever I post or from my phone during commute to and from work 😀

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So that’s all that’s been going on in my life so far. How are YOU? I’ve missed you all so much and I’m so excited to be back 😀 I’ve been out of the loop for a while so TELL ME, what has been going on in the bookish community? What are your current favorite reads? Do you still remember me or have forgotten about me? 😂Hahaha let’s chat! ♥

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8

Review: History is All You Left Me // Character Driven, Complex, and Beautiful

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RATING : 3-stars

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It’s a little disappointing to see that I’ve fallen into the hype. In case you didn’t know, I loved More Happy Than Not and this book is honestly one of my most anticipated releases this year. This is gonna be an unpopular opinion but unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.

History is All You Left me follows the story of Griffin, a high school senior whose ex-boyfriend Theo just died in a drowning accident. Theo was Griff’s best friend, first love, and probably end game as well. They broke up before Theo went to college in California. In there Theo started a new relationship with Jackson, despite saying that Griff would be his end game as well.

Unsurprisingly, the writing is beautiful and vivid. I was hooked from the first page because it jumped straight to the important scene : Theo’s funeral. However, it went downhill fast. Suddenly the pace slowed and to be honest, I was bored 😦 the writing alternates between past and present and while I usually love it, I found myself having a hard time this time. The past chapters were too… rambly. There are too many filler paragraphs, discussing things that don’t really matter. However, we got a lot of Harry Potter and Star Wars references so at least those parts were great.

My biggest issue with this book is that I couldn’t emotionally connect with the characters. Despite narrating the story, I felt so distant from Griffin and I have no idea why. And if I’m already that disconnected from the main character, you can imagine how I felt for the rest of the characters. This is upsetting because it prevented me from feeling what Griffin and the other characters felt. That’s why I was only a liiiitle bit sad. I thought I was gonna cry like a baby but it didn’t happen.

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The middle of the book was probably the hardest because there was nothing much happened there. I realized this is character driven, but still, I was bored. I wanted things to happen immediately and when it finally did… well, there’s this twist (sort of) near the end of the book but it didn’t blow me away as much as I expected. I really didn’t see it coming, though it makes sense, but it wasn’t as surprising as the twist in More Happy. The ending was great, but to me it still didn’t make up for the rest of the book.

Speaking of the characters, it’s so great that almost all the characters are complex and realistic. Griffin stood out because not only was I in his head, his characterization was also explored thoroughly. He made plenty of bad decisions that I wouldn’t agree of, but it’s understandable. Jackson took a while to grow on me but by the time I closed the book, I absolutely loved him. Wade—Griff and Theo’s best friend—is probably my favorite. He’s sassy, funny, yet thoughtful at the same time. I also love Griffin’s parents ♥

The only person I didn’t like was Theo. I felt awful because he’s dead and he meant so much for Griff and Jackson. I loved the romance but the truth is, Theo was selfish. Griff might be the one who broke their relationship but Theo held the key. He found a new boyfriend (which is completely okay and not his fault since they’d already broken up) but he kept leading Griff on and it pissed me off because Griffin (and Jackson) deserved better. I just, I couldn’t see why he was so special for Griff and Jackson and again, I felt awful for saying this 😦

I love the portrayal of grief in this book. Everybody went through it, only differently. I also love how real the portrayal of OCD in this book was. It’s vivid and realistic and I loved to see how much Griffin’s OCD and anxiety affected his daily life. At the end of the book, Griffin got slightly better—well, not exactly better but more like he wanted to be better and were open to change, because of certain someone. I was worried about it but overall I think it was handled well. However, I was really not a fan of Theo calling Griffin’s OCD “quirks” even though THE BOOK DIDN’T CONDONE IT. But still, it kinda rubbed me the wrong way and only made me dislike Theo even more </3

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ALL IN ALL, History is All You Left Me didn’t live up to my expectation, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. The characters are great, complex, and realistic. There’s also a realistic portrayal of grief and OCD. Unfortunately, I was unable to emotionally connect with the characters and couldn’t feel what they felt. I’d still recommend it for readers who are looking for m/m romance and character driven novel and I’d definitely read more of Adam Silvera’s upcoming books ♥

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Book Title : History is All You Left Me
Author : Adam Silvera
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Release Date : January 17th 2017

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

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Have you read History is All You Left Me? What do you think about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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13

Review : The Hate U Give // Powerful, Important, and Provocative

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RATING : 5 Stars

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Five stars and more, and I don’t think any reviews will ever do this book justice. It’s so powerful, wonderful, and undoubtedly the most important and honest book I’ve ever read in my life.

As could be inferred from the blurb, The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Going into this book, I almost didn’t know what to expect. I heard it was amazing, unapologetic, and possibly one of the best books everyone’s ever read. But still, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was so much… more, than I could have expected. This book was so honest, strong, brilliant, and it evoked so many emotions in me. Hours after reading that last page, I’m still reeling with my emotion. There are so many things I want to discuss about this book.

Racism is a prominent theme of this book. It discusses racism, shows us what happens, and how it affects the Black and their lives. The way it was portrayed was unapologetically honest. Starr doesn’t narrate it in a mean and bitter way, she doesn’t mean to corner White people, she just talks about the reality. Differences between races exist, and so does racism.

I don’t want to say things like “I learned so much about racism and Black people” just by reading one book. It sounds… naive, and despite Angie Thomas’s honest and brilliant portrayal of it, I’m sure there are a lot of things I still don’t understand, and I don’t want to act like I do. But I’m gonna say this : THUG gives me so much insight to the lives of Black people and the racism they have to deal with. It makes me realize that racism runs so much deeper than I ever knew. It’s internalized. It’s everywhere. It’s hard to avoid, and just like Starr said, you can say something racist and not be a racist. And it’s dangerous. It costs people like Khalid, and who knows who else, their lives.

This book also evoked so many emotions in me. Seeing all the things that happened to Starr, her family, Khalid, and everyone in her neighborhood makes me angry, sad, heartbroken, furious, and baffled. But seeing Starr with her friends and family makes me smile, happy, and laugh. Between its tough issues and its sass, THUG is a perfect mix.

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More than anything, this book also makes me uncomfortable–in the best way possible. I almost never have any encounter with people from different races. In this country where I live, almost everyone here is Indonesian. We might come from different ethnics, but we’re the same race after all. But still, prejudice between ethnic exists. Sometimes I assume things about other ethnics based on common stereotypes. I know it’s not the same as racism, but it pains me to realize that I’m practically doing the same thing that these cops and some of Starr’s friends do to Khalid. They make assumption.

I also hate the fact that sometimes I justify cops killing people. It might not be about racism here, but sometimes police officers shoot drug dealers and other criminals to death. I never condone it. I believe it’s not justice. But sometimes, some tiny part of me, feel… I don’t know, relieved, that one bad person is gone. Reading THUG made me feel so, so deeply ashamed of myself for ever feeling this way. But like I said, this is the good kind of uncomfortable, because now I realize where I did wrong and it makes me want to stop doing those things for ever.

Characters wise, THUG also does a really wonderful job. Starr is my new favorite protagonist. She’s brave, strong, funny, and she’s sooo sassy I love her. She grows so much in the span of one book and I love seeing her growth. She’s grown from someone who felt like she needed to hide her true self to someone who’s not afraid. Someone who feels confident with herself and not afraid to show the world who she really is. I love all her family as fell. Seven, Sekani, Starr’s father and mother, even Uncle Carlos and Nana. They’re all amazing and together they make a wonderful family dynamic. They’re definitely my new family goal ♥

The friendship dynamic in this book is also brilliant. I love Maya, Kenya, Chris, even Hailey (even if I dislike that girl so much). I love the fact that they exist and a part of Starr’s world. It gives so much depth into the story and it makes Starr’s life more relatable. I felt weird toward Chris at first, or still do, but I love the fact that he sticks with Starr to the end. It’s also very refreshing to see a couple had been together before the story started.

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ALL IN ALL, The Hate U Give is definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s wonderful, it’s so unapologetically honest, and it’s so unlike everything I ever read before. It changes my perspectives. You probably realized that I talked a lot about how the book affected me, because that’s how powerful this book really is. Highly, highly recommended.

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Book Title : The Hate U Give
Author : Angie Thomas
Publisher : Walker Books
Release Date : February 28th 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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Have you read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas? What do you think about it? Did you learn as much as I did from it? What is the most important book you’ve ever read? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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68

Reviewing on Goodreads and on the Blog: is There Any Difference?

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Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another discussion post 😀 today we’ll talking about reviewing books on different platforms and if there’s any difference between them. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blogging tip post that talks about the difference between reviewing books on goodreads and on our blog and the blogger said that it should be different. It surprised me a little because I’m that kind of reviewer who practically copies-and-pastes my goodreads reviews to my blog 😁 Continue reading

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Review : A Quiet Kind of Thunder // Important, Relatable, and Sassy

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RATING : 4 Stars

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Hello everyone! ♥ if you pay attention to my posting schedule, you’ll know that Tuesday is for random posts and review is supposed to be posted on Thursday. This Thursday is almost the end of March, which means I’ll be posting my monthly recap. So here’s a review on a Tuesday! 😀 Continue reading