moving to self-hosted wordpress!

self-hosted wp

i’ve had this goal since i began blogging and i finally did it:

i’ve moved to a wordpress self-hosted website!

before i began blogging, many people had said wp self-hosted was too complex for new bloggers, and they wouldn’t recommend it unless you had experience in blogging/building your own website. i was a total noob, so i began with it was alright at first, but i grew frustrated at the lack of customization. i upgraded to the pro version, but i still felt restrained. UGH. finally, after many hours online ‘researching,’ i decided it was time to take action. annnnnd here i am.

to those who are still commenting/subscribing on my old blog… please come to the new one. i’ve changed my previous blog to, and my new one is you can still see/view the blog, but it won’t be updated.

also, i really hope you explore the new theme! i designed it myself and i’m quite proud. a HUGE thank you and shoutout to hazel from stay bookish for coding everything and dealing with my cluelessness. <33333 i'm currently trying to reformat all my previous posts so it would fit this new design, so excuse the lack of posts this week. i'm still adjusting to everything! hopefully i could get back to hang of things soon~!

– alexandra

farewell & foresight: apr/may ’15

farewell and foresight

farewell, april!

april was a busy month filled with blogging! i wanted to focus more on my blog, but in turn, i didn’t read as many books as i would’ve liked (only two????). i tried keeping up my blog posts and squeeze out all the creative juices, and i must say, it was a bit stressful. i have no idea how some bloggers manage to write up a post (or two or three) in one day. i know some of them schedule things ahead of time, but if you schedule, you’d still need to write up like, ten posts in one day to make up for the week. :////

i’m (kinda) caught up on school! which makes me very proud because i actually managed to be productive and finish a few classes. all i have is two(?) more.  i also continued exercising with kayla itsines’ bbg. i was fairly unmotivated and moody towards the end of the month, but i think i’m ready to get back at it. i also contacted publishers for arcs! i just sent one yesterday, and i’m feeling more brave. (channeling my inner dauntless) i’d say it was a fairly successful month.

books i read:

currently reading: the walls around us, by nova ren suma; the life-changing magic of tidying up, by marie kondo (confession: i actually haven’t been reading these past few days/weeks because i’ve been in a strange mood. also my tbr pile is seriously piling up.)

other happenings on the blog:

on replay

this past month, i found out i could stream 8tracks and soundcloud on my phone without using any data!!! (THANK YOU T-MOBILE.) this was a very big change for me because it meant i could ~finally~ listen to more music. when i’m at home, i usually blog or do schoolwork and i don’t like listening to songs with words while reading/writing. i find it harder to focus, so i end up listening to instrumental versions or covers of pop songs. but now, i can actually listen to music that i can actually sing to. but recently, i’ve been listening to korean-indie songs and i can’t speak korean so um, that fails.

i started watching gossip girl at the beginning of the month, but it ended up failing after about five or six episodes. i was really interested at first because it reminded me of one of my favorite korean dramas, the heirs, but it got repetitive and slow. i started thinking about watching all six seasons and it suddenly felt too long for me. i picked up a korean drama i left off, my love from another star, after i stopped watching gossip girl and i’m OBSESSED. my sister is absolutely obsessed with this drama and i trust her judgement. i realized that i’m not a huge fan of watching things and i’d usually prefer reading things instead. i keep starting shows and stopping after two or three episodes (echm the 100). *sigh* unless, you know, it’s absolutely amazing and i watch it for 24 hours nonstop. i don’t think there’s an in between.

quote of the month:

“I don’t care how many people watch or read something I make. I care how many people love what I make.” – John Green

foresights for may

first things first:

i’m actually really excited for may! near the end of the month, i’ll be competing at showstopper dance competition with a bunch of my good friends. i’ve been competing at showstopper for about three years now and i always have a lot of fun there. i really like showstopper because there are hardly any people there, so it feels more like a performance instead of a ‘scary’ competition. there are a lot of jazz dancers who compete at showstopper, but since i dance ballet, it’s mostly kids from our studio.

goals for this month:

  • keep doing kayla itsines’ bbg; after i finish, restart from week one
  • hopefully pass the permit exam so i can finally DRIVEEE
  • focus on ballet and dance; recover from my injured hip *cries*
  • finish alg. ii part a.; work on french ii and chemistry part b.
  • continue blogging ❤
  • move to wp self-hosted!! 😀

what are your plans for the next month?

– alexandra

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THE COVER GAMES: passenger, by alexandra bracken

the cover games

the cover games is a feature here at the twirling pages! i’ll be discussing: miraculous cover changes, battles between the US cover/UK cover, heart-eye-emoji covers, and well all things book cover related!

(shameless fact: i will judge a book based on it’s cover.)

THE COVER FOR PASSENGER BY ALEXANDRA BRACKEN HAS DROPPED PLEASE REMAIN CALM *exhales* sorry for the screaming and all-caps; i’m just so so so so so excited. if you don’t know, alex bracken is one of my favorite authors. read my past blog posts and you’ll see that i rave about the darkest minds, her other trilogy, way too much. but today we’re going to be talking about her new duology that is going to be released in 2016! you can read alex’s interview and official cover reveal segment here!! it includes a teaser of the first chapter as well! (if you’re wondering, i read it and i would like the novel NOW.)

according to the blurb, it’s going to be about time travel, pirates, romance, and a violinist… I LOVE IT ALREADY. alex herself said it was a mashup between outlander and national treasure. SQUEEE. (okay, i’m really sorry this entire post is basically me fangirling and screaming. i’m just really excited.) moving onto the real reason of this post: the cover reveal… LOOK AT IT:

it’s glorious! i really really REALLY love the typeface. i saw the preview of the cover – which is basically the title on a black background – and i loved it already because the type is gorgeous. i’m a big sucker for nice script fonts and well, this is a very nice script font. the hard serif font for ‘alexandra bracken’ is also a nice touch. it contrasts with the script perfectly and adds a very nice ‘pirates of the caribbean’ vibe.

moving onto the image: it’s very.. striking? eye-catching? mysterious? COOL? i couldn’t think of a good adjective for it, but those all work. i love how inside the bottle, we see manhattan and the brooklyn bridge and the water… theeeeen the water in the shadow reflects and there’s a SHIP. a pirate ship to be specific. it’s perfectly incorporated with the story! however it makes me wonder why the image is in a bottle. i know messages in the bottle and pirates, but what does it mean? is it trying to tell us something? is it a message? or is it just a pretty design? i want to know mooooore. hopefully it’s metaphorically explained in the book. i also love how it’s glowing. the colors are really pretty and everything is precisely focused.

the thing is, i can’t decide on which aspect of the cover i like best. the entire thing is very nicely put together and beautiful. i like it better than the darkest minds’ series covers because anyone can understand it. it’s still mysterious because the shadow is different from the actual image, but we can assume it’s about pirates simply from the cover. for the darkest minds, the cover was the psi symbol, which you wouldn’t understand unless you read the books. everything about this cover is much more sharper and intense.

real-life gifs of me trying to contain my feelings:

(yes, i had to include pirates of the caribbean and doctor who gifs because PIRATES AND TIME TRAVEL GUYS. do you have any idea how thrilled i am? the all-caps, italics, post-dedication, and gifs are just a teeny tiny bit of how i’m feeling.)

what are your thoughts on the cover?

– alexandra

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five tips for finding inspiration


recently i’ve been feeling extremely uninspired to do anything and everything: schoolwork, reading, blogging, photography, e v e r y t h i n g. all the things i normally love? nope, not working. usually i give myself a list of tasks to accomplish, but i can’t even bring myself to create that list, let alone accomplish it. (yep, it’s that bad.) so i suppose this blog post is an attempt to remind myself how to get inspired again.

*note: these methods aren’t guaranteed to work. i’m hoping to try them out myself. it’s more like inspiration for inspiration. inspiration-ception?

turn up the music, clean, and declutter

i’m currently reading a book about tidying things up and it’s convinced me that the space around you does affect your mindset. throw out anything you haven’t used in over a year or anything you don’t like; organize everything else. it’s spring, so i suppose it’s about time to do some spring cleaning! if you feel bad for throwing away nice clothes/books/etc, you can always donate it. put on your favorite song and dedicate your afternoon/day to tidying~!

unplug or open up

sometimes the world around me gets too noisy and i need to unplug from everything. being an introvert, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with people and situations. it’s completely understandable to take a break from the internet or people in general. meditating is a good way to calm your senses and reset your mind. taking a bath with some awesome smelling bath bombs or bubbles could also help cleanse your mind. lighting scented candles and drinking warm tea almost always relaxes my mind.

however for others, being alone makes them more lonely and stressed. if you’re like this, i suggest talking to a close friend or sibling. it doesn’t have to be anything special, maybe over coffee or brunch. it’s just nice to express yourself to someone you trust.

rebound and roam the internet

okay, so you’ve taken a moment and hopefully unplugged yourself from technology. now it’s time to do the complete opposite and search the internet for all things motivational. my favorite place for inspirational pictures and quotes is pinterest. tumblr is also a great place for motivational stuff, but it’s easier to get distracted by other stuff..

rookie magazine and ted talks

if you don’t know what rookie is, you’re really missing out. whenever i feel down, i almost always go on rookie. it’s an online magazine which has (basically) everything: finding yourself, diy, fashion, comics, music recs, and all the things. my favorite is definitely a category called, “live through this” and it’s good to browse through those posts. i could read rookie for hours.

ted talks are also a necessity. they have a ton of videos that range in topics from creativity to happiness to dreaming and so much more. these videos could be from five minutes to twenty. there also have books, events, as well as a blog!

find your purpose

this, in my opinion, is the most important tip. remind yourself why you want to do whatever it is you’re doing (or why you need to do it). remind yourself how you fell in love with it in the first place. examples: if you’re in a reading slump, reread one of your favorite books; if you’re in a blogging slump, brainstorm ideas and go through some of your favorite blogs. whatever it is you need to do, remind yourself why you started, and why you want to keep going.

the key to getting back on track is to take action. i may want to lay in bed all day doing absolutely nothing, but i know it won’t get me anywhere and i won’t feel satisfied even if i do nothing all day. it only works if you want to get motivated, if you want to get out of that reading slump or whatever it is. i think i’m getting better already! hopefully i’ll get back on track soon~

what are some methods you use to get inspired? let me know in the comments!

– alexandra

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the cover games

the cover games is a feature here at the twirling pages! i’ll be discussing: miraculous cover changes, battles between the US cover/UK cover, heart-eye-emoji covers, and well all things book cover related!

(shameless fact: i will judge a book based on it’s cover.)

because the ‘carry on’ cover was released this past week, i thought it seemed appropriate to talk about another rainbow rowell book as well: landline. there’s also a new cover for the us paperback and it’ll be released on july 7, 2015! there are a few different editions for landline, but today we’ll be talking about the us hardcover, us paperback, and uk hardcover.

us cover - landline

the us hardcover is probably my least favorite of the three. i don’t find it very eye-catching and i don’t like how there isn’t an actual landline on the cover; there’s only the handle/phone part (sorry i don’t know what it’s officially called, but you know what i mean). i looks nicer in physical format because there are pink and yellow stripes on the endpapers and spine (i think). i don’t actually own this edition so i’m not 100% sure. overall, meh.

uk cover - landline

i went out of my way to purchase the uk hardcover because i love it. everything is so much brighter and cuter than the us hardcover. i really like the choice in typeface (handwritten for author/tagline, cursive for title). i really really like how it’s incorporated into the image – which is a landline. (aka the main reason i didn’t like the us hardcover) i like how the title and everything is part of the image. it ties the whole thing together.

us cover - landline(pb)

the new us paperback is an improvement. i like it better than the us hardcover, but i still prefer the uk hardcover over this one. the text is much bigger and easier to read; i also like how it looks like someone traced the outline of the typeface so it’s less.. serious? i dunno, the whole thing is more adorable. i love this color scheme; it’s much brighter and more appealing than the other gray one. also there’s actually a landline (!!).

so… in order from favorite to least favorite: uk hardcover, us paperback, us hardcover. 

you can buy the uk hardcover here, the us hardcover here, and preorder the us paperback here! there’s also a new uk paperback cover, which i adore as well, that can be preordered here.

there’s also a really gorgeous redesign of the landline cover done by risa rodil and it looks like:

if i could purchase an edition like this, i would. actually if i had a choice, i’d probably have five editions of all my favorite books in multiple covers. yes, that’d be a dream come true. you can learn more about risa rodil by clicking the image!

which is your favorite? let me know in the comments!

– alexandra

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this is a new feature on twirling pages in which xandra praises the day because it’s finally friday!! i suppose it’s a weekly recap, but i’m not entirely sure what this’ll end up being.

in terms of blogging and life, this week was a struggle. i kept getting distracted by who know’s what and oversleeping and getting behind schedule. sorry for the lack of posts & unenthusiasm! i occasionally get in these awful moods where i’m mad at myself for being unproductive, but have no desire to be productive. yeah, it’s terrible. but it seemed like there were a bunch of other reasons to celebrate this week! tuesday was internet best friend day <3; wednesday was earth day; thursday was world book day; today is st. mark’s eve, shakespeare’s birthday, and arbor day!

things you may have missed on twirling pages:

things that happened in the real world:

books i began/continued reading (or rereading):

 other things worth mentioning:

  • i sent in my first arc request email! *exhale* i don’t particularly care if i get a response or anything, but i’m just proud of myself for sending it in. it was one of my new year’s resolution to contact publishers and i think i’m finally getting to it. i still consider myself a newbie blogger even though i’ve been blogging for over six months. there are lots of times i feel like i don’t have a ‘right’ to request for arcs. like, “why would or should publishers give me free books? i don’t even know what i’m doing.” but it doesn’t hurt to try.
  • my lillytales or nook & burrow items arrived in the mail! i ordered three bookmarks and a buttery beer candle. my bookworm boutique mug also arrived. still waiting for my pillow though. pictures to come~
  • my family bought a new rice cooker because our old one was dying. this new one is EPIC.
  • i’m trying to resurrect my tumblr. changed the theme and added posts to the queue.

how was your week?

– alexandra

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REVIEW: simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda; becky albertalli

review - simonvs9.5/10 ✩

genre: young adult, contemporary, LGBTQ, romance

series? no, standalone

published: on april 7, 2015 by balzer + bray

pages: 320

i read the: us hardcover

began: april 14, 2015 // finished: april 15, 2015

where can i buy this? here via the book depository!

goodreads: right here.

first sentence: “It’s a weirdly subtle conversation. I almost don’t notice I’m being blackmailed”


simon vs the homo sapiens agenda is a book everyone needs to read – and i mean everyone.

this is a book i know will stay with me forever (or at least for a long long time). if you don’t already know, this is a “gay” book. even if you feel uncomfortable or somewhat opposed to people of LGBTQ, i still believe you should read simon vs.

i’ve read other novels that are LGBTQ, but i’ve never read one that was as wholeheartedly and honest as simon vs. everything was so relatable. in other novels, it was clear and obvious the characters that were LGBTQ were sorta different: in the way they act, speak, dress, etc. etc. however in simon vs., that was most certainly not the case. after reading this novel, i’ve realized that people who are LGBTQ are just like everyone else. there really isn’t a difference between gays and straights, except the preference in gender; in the end, that’s all there is.

reading things from simon’s perspective, we could also see how the LGBTQ community is generally treated. it was beautiful to see people who were incredibly supportive, but also people who were just downright awful. i loved every bit of that. it was completely genuine and true. we saw everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

my favorite aspect of the novel was how casual simon and his friends spoke of being gay. they would often joke about it – but not in anyway i found insulting or condescending. people often make this a huge deal, which i suppose it is a big deal, but sometime it shouldn’t have to be a big deal. if you think about it, being gay/straight/etc is only a big deal because people make it a big deal. why should it really matter? it’s just a small part of who we/you are. i find it similar to a person’s race. for example, it’s not like you’re going to see someone and instantly judge them because of their race (if you do, then go away). the same should be said about a persons’ sexual orientation.

moving on from the deep and somewhat controversial stuff, let’s talk about the writing and plot.

simon was an extremely sarcastic and funny character, so i couldn’t help but smile and grin the entire time. no, seriously, i couldn’t read this book in public because i would (literally) laugh out loud and smile to myself. people were definitely giving me strange looks, but i have no regrets because i looooooove it so much! (eventually i resorted to happily reading in my room.)

the main reason why i enjoyed this book so much was because IT WAS SO CUTE. the interactions between simon and blue made me want to squeal; i couldn’t help but root for them until the very end. the relationships between everyone were truly genuine and lovely and just.. *content sigh*. his family and friends were great and everything was <3.


simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda was like a diary. because the writing seemed like this, there were parts i really enjoyed, but also parts i didn’t like. i loved how we could hear and see simon’s internal dialogue. i mean, he’s hilarious and very relatable. i got to connect with simon much more because i knew what he was thinking. but, there were parts in the beginning i was left confused. since simon already knows these characters, there’s no introduction. we meet everyone and it’s like an information dump and you’re kind of left stranded like, “what’s going on?” also, there are less descriptions. i don’t describe people in my head, so it makes sense for the writing to be this way. but, i found it hard to visualize characters, places, etc.

it was a quick read, which has it’s good and it’s bad. it’s a wonderful book to read in between huge series because it’s quite tiny, but because of that you’re left wanting more. the book concluded wonderfully, but since it’s so short i feel like i need just *holds fingers .00001 cm apart* that much more.

overall, i loved this book. it was honest; it was hilarious; it was adorable; it was so much more. becky albertalli created a true masterpiece from beginning to end. with a easygoing prose, the story was filled with love, finding yourself, and truth for the LGBTQ community. i’ve come to realize that many people are simply ignorant to the way LGBTQ people are it may not be their intention to be condescending or offensive; they’re simply oblivious to it all. i would recommend this book to… um, everyone. *whispers* go read it.


**on a side note: i saw this beautiful artwork by risa rodil and i had to share it with you. it was one of my favorite quotes from the novel! she made it for spark notes’s review on the novel. you can find her original post by clicking the image.

– alexandra

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top six favorite authors

top ten tuesday

top ten tuesday is a weekly feature started by the broke and the bookish! you can find more information about it here.

this week’s top ten six was a struggle. i’ve been feeling a blogging slump and even the simplest thing – like making a list of my favorite authors – was difficult. i dunno; i’ve just been feeling out of it. i don’t know how to elaborate. anyway, here’s my list of favorite authors:

there are tons of authors that could also be considered my favorites, but i didn’t want to add them to the list because i only read one or two books of their books. would they really count as my favorite author? i feel like it’s a bit unfair to only judge by one book – even if i really really loved it. thus, the extremely short list.

who are your favorite authors? let me know in the comments!



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EPIC READS TAG // ft. tea with john green, #magnico, and more!


epic reads is one of my favorite book publishing communities; to me, it’s the like “buzzfeed” of ya literature. (and i LOVE buzzfeed.) they have swoon-worthy instagram posts, hilarious tweets, relatable videos, and well… EPIC READS. i was stalking roaming through their youtube channel when i came across an epic reads tag video! i watched it, fell in love with the clever questions, and decided to bring it to the blogging community! (if it isn’t already here…) i wasn’t tagged, but i just wanted to do it because.. why not?! it’s quite epic.

here we go!!

1) if you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

tea seems like something that’d ensue a long conversation, so i’d choose john green and augustus waters. in a way, i feel like i know john green simply because i watch his vlogbrothers videos. i know what he sounds/looks/talks even though i’ve never met him in real life. also judging from his books, he seems like a super intellectual guy that could really make you think. also i’ve always wanted to meet gus. *sighs* i’d try serve something from oranjee, and probably epically fail.

2) what book do you wish the author could write a prequel for?

i’d have to choose looking for alaska by john green. (argh. i promise i’m not choosing john green for all the answers.) but seriously, i’d like to know more about alaska. there are so many unanswered questions about her, and whenever we do see her, pudge is usually fantasizing about how hot she is.. i want to know alaska before pudge was in the picture. she was so mysterious and it seemed like she would have a reasonable explanation as to why she acted the way she did.

3) which two characters (not from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

the pairings i thought of were so random and absolutely hilarious. this question is definitely the hardest, and maybe my favorite. i thiiiink i would go with nico di angelo (from the heroes of olympus series by rick riordan) and magnus bane (from the mortal instruments series by cassandra clare). they are like, complete opposites, but i feel like they would actually be good together. i can totally imagine magnus cracking some awful jokes and nico just giving giving him a flat stare (and trying not to blush). i don’t even know. it’s 1am and i might find myself insane in the morning, but it works at the moment. i’m actually really liking this pairing, but the more i think about it, the weirder it gets. would their ship name be #magnico or #banegelo?

awkward smile

4) if you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?

cures you for making me choose one author and one sentence. the struggle. the author would be…alexandra bracken and i would say something along the lines of, “hi, i love your books and there’s a million things i’d like to say to you, but here’s my email so we can talk more later,” as i hand her a slip of paper with my email address.

5) what book made you a reader and why?

charlotte’s web by e.b. white. it was the first “big” book i’ve ever read (aka chapter book) and i was super proud of myself when i finished. that’s when i knew i loved reading. it was my very early stages of fangirling. i don’t think i became an obsessive reader until i read the clique series by lisi harrison.

6) incendio! your bookshelf just caught on fire. show us the one book you save.

probably one of my lisi harrison books. they’re the only books that i have signed and personalized because i went to an author event, and it’s the only author event i’ve ever been to. i have other books that are signed, but it’s just not the same. also, the lisi harrison books have some sentimental value. after all, i proudly became a fangirl after reading her series.

the clique by lisi harrison

7) which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? why?

dystopian worlds are kinda cool, but mostly awful. if i had to choose, i’d pick the darkest minds by alexandra bracken. if i’m still alive, i would end up having super epic powers! i wonder what it’s like to levitate things, or set something on fire, or electrocute something, or memorize like a boss, or read someone’s mind.. you have to admit, it sounds pretty awesome. buuuut the society wants you dead and you’re forced into concentration camps… i guess there’s good and bad to everything.

8) what is your most epic read of all time?

define epic. do you mean: plot-twist epic, i-love-this-so-much epic, i’m-sobbing epic, or what? for all of the above, i think my most epic read would be the infernal devices series by cassandra clare. i read all three books nonstop for four days and was in a mourning period and withdrawal mode for about… a year. (actually, i still mourn for that series). it’s still one of my favorites.

oh. my. goodness. those questions were extremely difficult. i spent quite some time pondering on my answers, and i still don’t feel completely satisfied. nowwww onto the tagging.

i tag…

okay, so i’m preeetty sure none of these bloggers do tags (???) but i just love their blogs and wanted to give it a shot – even if it meant no one ended up doing it. anyway, you can go follow them because fabulous blogs~! if you end up doing this tag, please leave your link down below! i’d really love to see your answers!

boooooook shimmy,


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what are critical reviews?

critical reviews

when i began this blog, i was afraid to write anything negative or controversial. if i didn’t really enjoy a book, i would ignore all the parts that annoyed me and try to focus on the good. sometimes, i wouldn’t even post it. it was unsettling for me to stop myself. after a while, i realized my mistake. this blog is my space to create anything. i shouldn’t hold anything back. so now, i’ve been trying to review critically.

what are critical reviews?

critical reviews are (what i consider to be) reviews that talk about the good and the bad. it’s easy to constantly gush about your favorite parts, and completely ignore the nagging feeling in your chest. it’s another to acknowledge there were parts you really enjoyed and there were parts you couldn’t stand.

so.. does this mean it’s okay to bash on a book?

no! critical reviews are just that – critical. you’re commenting and analyzing the work, which could be positive and/or negative. it’s different from bashing and slaughtering the novel. if you’re just saying, “i hate this book! the writing is awful! the author is stupid! blah blah BLAH!!!” then you’re ‘hating.’ the purpose of a good critical review is to comment on all aspects of the book – your likes and dislikes. buuuuut you need to state why your opinion is that way.

i’ve seen some reviews that are completely gushing and praising everything about it – which is totally fine! i try not to gush and fangirl too much in my reviews because i don’t believe there is any work that is 100% perfect. in fact, i actually enjoy disliking a book sometimes. it makes me feel like i’ve grown as reader. i remember a time when i would give most books 4 or 5 stars, but now i try to look for flaws. the most important thing is to state why you felt this way or that way. 

what are your thoughts on critical reviews? yay or nay? let me know in the comments!



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