The Blogger Aesthetic Tag (aka “The Rachel Tries to be Artsy” Post)

Blogger Aesthetic Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Sara of The Bibliophagist a couple of weeks ago. (Thanks Sara! 😊😊😊) You can check out her own cool blogger aesthetics here.

I really don’t consider myself artsy. The drawing gene skipped me and went straight to my sisters – the one born after me and our youngest – so , this is something I don’t usually do. I tried, though. 😅😅😅 (Thank God for online collage makers.!)


The Rules

  1. Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favorite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  2. Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  3. Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  4. Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”

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Beach // Whether it be to swim, surf or just plain lounge around with a book in my hands, a cool drink on my side and my feet on warm sand, I love being in the beach, and I consider myself especially lucky being from the Philippines. My country has some of the most beautiful beaches, and all I have to do is get in my car and drive to them. (Well, that and maybe make hotel reservations because I wouldn’t want to sleep in my car.)

This beach photo is actually my own. I took it a couple of years ago when I and three other friends went to Baler, Aurora for the summer. Baler is known mostly as a surf spot, but if you’re willing to drive a bit farther, about an hour and a half or two tops, you can easily reach the town of Dipaculao. They have this long stretch of white sand beach, mostly undiscovered by tourist. It was just so quiet there. I intend to go back one of these days.

Coffee // I’m not a morning person but I prefer starting my day early so I require coffee first thing to start me up, you know, to magically turn me human. Without it, you’ll only get a grumpy vessel of me.

Music // Music comes pretty high up my list of things I love. Be it pop, rock, country or r&b, name it and I’ll listen to it as long as it’s good. (An aside, the way the girl is dressed in the photo, sneakers and jeans, that’s also my style. I’m more of a comfort over style girl and sneakers are definitely comfortable.)

Books // Of course books are part of my aesthetic. I have this blog about books, right? 🤣 I dedicate an unbelievable amount of time either writing, talking, reading or thinking about books. (Stares at bookshelves, at books stacked near bookshelves.)

Writing // I don’t know when writing started being something fun to do. I remember joining slogan-making and poetry contests in grade school, and, in high school, I joined the school newspaper where I wrote features. Then in college, I joined the university newspaper where I covered and wrote sports news. These days though I’m mostly writing, well, for this blog, dabble in fanfic here and there, and plot out stories I would love to write once I have enough of it – details, history, etc.

Dogs // I ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ dogs!!! I’ve had dogs for as long as I can remember. Right now, we have 5 dogs who are all sweet (and mischievous) and loving.


I’m tagging: Amy 🍂 Jennifer 🍂 Bibi 🍂 Shelea and anyone else who feels like doing this tag 😊 It’s okay if you don’t do this, no pressure. This is totally for fun.

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The Mid-year Freak Out Tag, or The “Rachel, Why Are You Posting This Just Now? It’s Already Mid-July” Post

Mid-year BT

I know, you don’t have to tell me the date. I’m posting this mid-year freak out thing halfway through July. June has been a really busy month for me at work. The flu vaccines that we ordered were delivered and blah, blah blah…you don’t want to hear about it. I’m not griping. I actually love working at a clinic setting. As an occupational health nurse, I have more independence here compared to when I was working in a hospital.

This year has been good for me in all aspects. That includes reading and my life as a reader of course. Here are some of the highlights of my year so far:

🍂  Coming back from my hiatus: I’ve been blogging about books since 2013, but had a long hiatus (5 years) before finally coming back last April. I consider myself lucky that I still have readers, and that I’ve gained new ones. The bookish community has always been a friendly and supportive one. Know that I consider all of you my friends 🤗 🤗 🤗

🍂Breaking my writer’s block: I have had the worst writer’s block the past year. No matter how long I stare at my laptop’s screen nothing comes out, so it really feels so good to just be writing again.

🍂Finally getting myself a new bookshelf: I’m bad at keeping myself away from bookstores and, as it is, I’ve accumulated a ton of books, more than half of which I haven’t yet read. For some months, they were stacked in my room’s floor (okay, maybe there were 3 stacks *cringe*) This new bookshelf will keep my babies safe and protected.

SO, yay me! *pats own back* Anyway, before I go talk you into sleep, here’s how the first half of the year has been for me as a reader. I hope you enjoy reading my answers as much as I enjoyed thinking and writing them up.

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How many books have you read so far?

28 (and still counting) 😁

My ultimate goal this year is to actually get out of my comfort zone and read more books from other genres. I love sci-fi and fantasy. Books from these two closely related genres are definitely easier to get into for me. But I’ve noticed that more than 50% of the books I’ve finished last year were from either of those two genres (not that I’m complaining) so spreading my wings a bit, so to say, is my target this year. I think I’m doing great so far.

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What is your reading goal for the year?

A modest 40 books.

I used to set a very ambitious 100-200 books years ago (I was young okay!) but learned my lesson.

That 40-book goal is actually a step up from last year’s 30 and 2016’s 20, which I both surpassed. I’m hoping I’ll be able to reach my goal again this year, but if not, then it’s really no big deal. Hey, as long as I get to read books I’m happy. It ain’t no contest. (Yes, younger self, that goes out to you! 🙄🙄🙄)

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Best book you’ve read so far

Sadie by Courtney Summers. This is, hands down, Courtney Summers’ best book so far. Sadie is so unapologetically dark and gripping. I can’t recommend it enough. Here’s a link to my review if you want to read more about how this book messed me up.

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Best sequel you’ve read so far

Hmmm…tough one. 🤔 I’d have to give it to Dark Triumph, the second book in Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin trilogy (which I loved) but War Storm by Victoria Aveyard comes at a very close second.

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New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Definitely Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. It’s been receiving a lot of buzz, the most recent of which is being featured on The Tonight’s Show book club as their first read. Plus, I’ve heard great things about it so I’m really excited to read it just as soon as time allows me to sneak it into my TBR pile.

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Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Wildcard (screams) I just have to know what happens next especially after that ending in Warcross!!! (I requested for a review copy of this but was declined. Penguin semi-hates me.)

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Biggest disappointment

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. I don’t want to explain it again so here’s my review. (I’m still amazed I finished it. Oh well 😑)

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Biggest Surprise35430013

It’s a tie between A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, and The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and The Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones.

Anthologies, generally, are a hit-and-miss for me, with more misses than hits, but this collection of re-tellings of Asian myths, legends and folklore turned that around. I loved most of the stories in it, and it just felt so good to read one centered on my people and our culture. It’s another step towards diversity in books.

Okay, now my nerd is going to come out. I loved Dan Jones’ The Wars of the Roses. It’s about, as the title suggests, the fall of the Plantagenet kings and the rise of the Tudors. Did you know that Owen Tudor married Catherine of Valois (Henry V’s widow & Henry VI’s mother) in secret because they were not allowed since Owen was Welsh? I sure didn’t. It was interesting to learn more about how the Tudors came to power in England. Plus, Dan Jones’ books are just so easy to read, it’s like reading a story only the story he is telling happened in real life. (Addendum: Dan Jones has a few documentaries in his portfolio. You should check them out. I think his Great British Castles docu-series is a great place to start. Another addendum: He’s really cute! 😍)

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Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)

Kristina Pèrez. She’s a debut author and she just released her first book, Sweet Black Waves, last month. It’s a re-telling of the ancient Celtic legend Tristan and Iseult. It’s swoony, and full of magic and alludes to Celtic culture. I enjoyed her work a whole lot and now waiting (impatiently) for the sequel to come out next year.

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31179006Newest fictional crush

While no one will ever replace Tobias Eaton in my heart, (He’s still my ultimate book boyfriend and not just because he is played by the gorgeous Theo James in the movies. Brave, smart, patient and kind – he’s just the whole deal) I have found two new book boyfriends the past 6 months. Gavriel Duval from Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and Prince Tristan of Kernyv from Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pèrez. Those two just make me swoon. 😍😍😍

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Newest fictional character

The broken but still fierce Sybella d’Albret from Robin LaFevers’ Dark Triumph. My love for this baby is more than a truckload. I just want to hug her and cheer her on as she gets her revenge on the people who hurt her.

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Book the made you cry

Sadie. It made me cry ugly, angry tears for what has been done to Sadie. Really guys, I couldn’t wait for it to come out, so you could read it already. Let’s commiserate together after you guys are done with it, okay?

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Book that made you happy

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. It’s such a funny and sassy re-telling of Jane Eyre.

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Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year

Sharp Objects. It’s not really a movie, a limited series on HBO, and it’s only on its first episode but it’s soooo good. Plus, Gillian Flynn, the “Gillian Flynn”, herself, wrote for the series.

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Favorite review you’ve written this year (so far)

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings because it was one of my most detailed ones and, personally, I still find reviewing anthologies hard. Here’s the link to it if you want to check it out.

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Most beautiful book you’ve bought (or received) so far this yearws

War Storm. You can only imagine the happiness and pleasure I get from seeing all four RQ books + Cruel Crown together on my shelves. You have one happy girl here.

(P.S. I want that crown!!! 👑👑👑)

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What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

🍂  Cruel Prince : I have this now. Oh, the cover is soooo pretty!!!

🍂  Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom : I just can’t seem to find this in my local bookstore. I might have to order it from Book Depository. But I am definitely going to read this within the year.

🍂  Carve the Mark and The Fates Divide : I actually started on Carve the Mark but am putting it back on hold. It’s the kind of book you need a lot of time to read. I’m reserving it for December when I will go on a bit of a leave from work and blogging (just one week, y’all) for the holidays.

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There you have it! The first half of my 2018 has been productive so far. Here’s to a more bookishly fruitful last half. Cheers! 🥂🍻

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Rachel

The 20 Questions Book Tag, or Zombie Rachel Answers Book Tags

Book Tag

I just came off the graveyard shift and I’m without sleep. I’m basically a zombie 🧟‍♀️🧟‍♀️🧟‍♀️So, what do I do instead of sleeping? Well, answer book tags of course. (Ha!) I was tagged by Jen of Reading Recluses for this one. (Thank you, Jen! 😀) This is my first time to be tagged so I’m excited!!! Let’s get into the zombie nurse’s answers, shall we?

  1. How many books are too many books in a book series?

This is a tough question. It really depends if the story calls for it, like in the Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson books, which have 7  & 5 books respectively, the expansive world the story runs through calls for more books. Personally though, I think authors could wrap up a story in 3 books – the beginning, the middle and the closing. Making it longer may otherwise just drag the story on. (Yes, that’s a shade thrown the way of The Great Library series)

  1. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

Cliffhangers ending books 1 & 2 of a series are fine and an intriguing way to conclude that part of the story. It makes me want to have the last book even more.

Cliffhangers at the end of book 3/last book in the series or a standalone, though, is just plain EVIL 👿👿👿 Just finish it, dear author, even if it’s an open-ended conclusion, just please finish it and leave us with a little peace of mind.

  1. Hardback or paperback?

I actually don’t have a preference. I have more paperbacks though probably because they are cheaper than hardbacks. For me, as long as I could have the book and read it, I’ll be good no matter what format. (Okay, maybe that’s not the full truth because I do prefer hard copies vs ebooks)

  1. Favorite book?

Oh, I have a lot!!! I mean A LOT 📚📚📚 Divergent and Insurgent (Veronica Roth) come to mind first. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), the whole Harry Potter series (especially Order of the Phoenix) (J.K. Rowling), Beauty Queens (Libba Bray), Naked in Death (J.D. Robb), the whole Young Elites trilogy (Marie Lu), We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) are among my most treasured books.

  1. Least favorite book?

Allegiant. I think you could tell why.

  1. Love triangles, yes or no?

As a whole, NO. But, again, if the story calls for it and if it is well-written and well-developed, then I’m willing to make exceptions.

  1. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

The Death Code (Lindsay Cummings). That book just had so many problems I gave up on it even though I was almost 70% through.

  1. A book you’re currently reading?

Ghosted (Rosie Walsh). I’m 15 chapters in and still don’t know how I feel about it, which is not good. I’m sticking around more for the mystery than the romance.

  1. Last book you recommended to someone?

The entirety of the Red Queen series (Victoria Aveyard). I recommended it to my chat group. Actually, I recommended it to anyone and everyone who’d listen to me. 😂😂😂

  1. Oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Pride and Prejudice which was first published in 1813. (If you haven’t go watch both the 1995 BBC TV adaptation of P&P and the 2005 movie adaptation. The TV series starred Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie Bennet, while the movie featured Keira Knightley, Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone and Carey Mulligan)

  1. Newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Sadie (Courtney Summers) which will be released September 4th of this year. That book gutted me. I love it!!!

  1. Favorite author?

Neil Gaiman, Marie Lu, Veronica Roth, J.K. Rowling and J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. I’d read anything from these authors.

  1. Buying books or borrowing books?

I don’t have anything against borrowing books, but I prefer buying. I want to have the book on hand any time I want to re-read them. Also, there’s a certain pleasure from seeing them all shelved neatly on my bookshelves.

  1. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

All The Bright Places (Jennifer Niven) and Rainbow Rowell’s books.  I just can’t get into these books. I cannot connect with the characters in All the Bright Places. They felt shallow to me and I’m just ambivalent towards Rainbow Rowell’s books. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it…I just don’t feel anything for it. I read all of her books hoping I’ll love at least one of them, but alas, it was to no avail.

  1. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Definitely bookmarks. I ❤️❤️❤️ bookmarks. I have a collection of them. Also, I cannot find it in my heart to dog-ear book pages.

  1. A book you can always re-read?

Divergent, most definitely. I keep a paperback copy of it because I know I’ll re-read it again and again. Naked in Death, too. I think I’ve read it 5 times now since I discovered the series 2 years ago. Last but definitely not the least, the entirety of Marie Lu’s Young Elites trilogy. Give me Adelina all day, any day, every day.

  1. Can you read while hearing music?

No. I want to concentrate on the book I’m reading as much as possible and music distracts me from doing so. (I love music though, just not while I’m reading.)

  1. One POV or multiple POVs? (POVs = Points of View)

Personally, I prefer single POV, but I’m willing to make exceptions. If the narrative calls for it, if it is necessary, then, I’m all for multiple POVs. There are times when the main character is away from the main action/the rest of the key actors, and an author would need to employ another character to narrate. But if the main narrator could narrate it, please dear authors, just stick with them.

  1. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

I used to be able to read books in one sitting. Unfortunately, I cannot do that anymore. A demanding job plus adult responsibilities take a lot of my time, so I usually read books over multiple days.

  1. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

The Wrath and the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh). The cover was just so pretty I bought it without reading the blurb. It turned out great though so I have no regrets.

There you go! I hope I somehow made sense even though I’ve been awake for almost 18 hours now and my brain feels like it’s turning into mush.

To continue this very fun thing, I tag Marie of Kookbookery 🍂 Sofia of Bookish Wanderess 🍂 Richard of The Humpo Show 🍂 Cassie of Rants of a Bibliophile 🍂 Susan of Susan Loves Books 🍂 Clarice of Thalassics

If you see this post, come tag yourselves and answer the questions on your own blog, then comment here with your blog post’s link so I could check out your answers as well 😀

‘Til next time. I’m off to sleep 💤💤💤

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Rachel