0

Why I Dropped The Empress Of China (Drama)

Hey, and good day! In all the years of blogging, I have not reviewed an Asian drama yet on this blog. I occasionally watch Asian dramas, mostly Korean and Japanese. I’ve never watched a Chinese drama until now. The Empress of China has been on my radar for a couple years, and I finally decided to watch it. I made it halfway through the drama and let’s just say that I am highly disappointed.

Alright, this drama is based on the first and only female emperor, not empress, of China. Her name was Wu Zetian. I haven’t had the chance to read any historical books on her, and I’ve only watched a documentary based on her life. I’m not an expert on her biography, but she is an interesting historical character. From what I’ve learned, she was suppose to be evil and cruel as described by historians. Clearly, she’s painted in a bad light. She’s also a controversial figure.

empress of china.jpg

With a title like The Empress of China, I expected that the drama was going to focus on her Wu Zetian’s reign as emperor. This drama is very  long, and it’s not till the very end of the drama when she finally gets that position. I made it to episode 54 and then I skipped to the last episode. At first, I didn’t mind the length, but I wanted Wu Zetian to become an emperor already. I can understand why some time was spent on her concubine days, but I had enough.  Most of the drama was filler and it focused on the relationships Wu Zetian has with both emperors. The drama focuses a lot on her time as a concubine rather than her reign…which is rather unfortunate.

Now, I would call this drama something else: Scheming Concubines would be a far more accurate name for this drama. So the emperor’s consorts are so evil towards each other and to the concubines. Wu Zetian is a special snowflake for most of the drama. She is clever and intelligent, good and kind, and she is overall perfect in the eyes of the emperor. The other concubines are extremely jealous of her. Wu Zetian is a victim and most of the time the other women are trying to kill her. Though Wu Zetian is not alone in her struggle. She has a best friend named  But because she is so perfect, it causes jealously towards  This drama is far more fictional and it focuses far more on the romance. I’ve read this this drama was very costly to produce, and it is one of China’s most expensive dramas, but was this drama any good?

The beginning was entertaining, but I felt it became repetitive for me. Far too much time was spent of Wu Zetian the concubine than Wu Zetian the emperor. What I really liked about this drama was the costumes. The gorgeous costumes everyone was wearing. Absolutely amazing. This drama is very pleasing towards the eyes, but the storyline kills me.

empress of china costumes.jpg

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (2.5)

0

Manga Classics: Emma

manga-classics-emma

goodreads-synopsis

Just in time for the 200th Anniversary, Manga Classics: Emma brings Jane Austen’s classic tale of youthful folly and romantic exuberance to a modern audience with this beautiful, new manga adaptation. The impulsive match-making of Emma Woodhouse delivers both humor and heartache through the gorgeous artwork of manga-ka Po Tse (Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice). – Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

he-he1

(Artwork from book)

Book is available on NetGalley.

Emma is an upperclass young lady that loves being a matchmaker. She has fun pairing her friends, but not everyone approves of her hobby. Though Emma has good intentions, she doesn’t realize she causes harm when she tries to matchmake. She constantly finds herself bickering with her brother in law, Mr. George Knightley who feels Emma shouldn’t matchmake at all. When Harriet arrives into town, Emma becomes friends with Harriet. Harriet lacks Emma’s confidence and reputation, and Emma sees her as a project in the making. Emma is independent and feels that she cannot marry. She is better off alone or so she thinks. Because Emma tries to matchmake, she gets herself involve in many situations. This manga edition of Emma is quite hilarious.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 5.25.21 PM.png

I have not read Emma by Jane Austen, but I know the gist of the story thanks Clueless. With this manga edition of Emma, I knew that I was going to get condescended story. Though I this edition is quite short, I found it to be light hearted and funny. Starting off with the drawing style, honestly I was not much of a fan at first. The more I kept reading, the more I felt that the drawing style suited this story. I even learned to love it by the end.

As for the characters, Emma was by far my favorite from the cast of characters. She is independent, helpful, fun, and childish. Despite her good qualities, Emma is also prejudice when it comes to people of lower standing. This can be proven when Mr. Martin is introduced, and Emma declares to Harriet that she doesn’t associate with people of lower standing.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 5.24.36 PM.png

For most of the book, she is very clueless…ha ha ha. See what I did there. All right, moving on. Though Emma finds herself in many situations, she isn’t very socially aware of what she is doing. For example, Emma tries to pair Harriet to Mr. Elton, but she does not realize that Mr. Elton is deeply falling in love with her until he confesses his feelings for her. Though the poor doesn’t have a clue, she has a good heart. As for Mr. Knightley, he deeply cares for Emma but doesn’t reveal his feelings for her. Most of the time, he is concealing his true feelings for Emma.

The manga version of Emma tries to stay as close to the original work, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. If this book had a couple more chapters, I am sure that it could have been better executed. I did like all the romantic pairings, except for Mr. Elton and Mrs. Elton since they are downright deplorable. If you feel intimidated by reading classic books, I feel manga editions of the book are better since it is easier to understand language and plot wise.

Final rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

miriam-michelle

1

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Gift Guide

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to join, please check out the blog!!

winnie-the-pooh-christmas

Christmas is right around the corner, and for many that means time to shop for holiday gifts. There are several gift options to cater each person. I get excited thinking about what gifts to buy family and friends. If you are wondering what to buy, here is a list of items that would make great presents for the holidays.

  1. Homemade Gifts: One of the best gifts that you can offer to family or friends. Honestly, a homemade gift is a big win in my book. There are a variety of items that you can diy. I like knitting scarves for my coworkers.
  2. Anime Expo 4 Day pass: I took advantage of the Black Friday sale for Anime Expo tickets. I bought tickets for myself and my sister. It was a deal and four days of an anime con, who wouldn’t love that.
  3. A video game: I‘m not a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy playing on my 3DS. My recommendations are Pokemon Sun and Moon, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, Harvest Moon, or Rune Factory. There’s also Zelda which I enjoy.
  4. Book subscription: Owlcrate and Uppercase are two wonderful book subscriptions that I have tried out. For you fellow bookworm, a book subscription is a wonderful surprise that he or she would enjoy. Owlcrate may be a bit more costly than Uppercase, but I feel Owlcrate has more goodies.
  5. A journal: Journals make amazing gifts. What I have noticed is that most people who receive journals as gifts usually start writing in them during the new year. There are several ways you can use a journal. I have my personal journal and I am thinking of making an anime journal.
  6. A planner: Like the journal, a planner is perfect for the new year. I love the Happy Planner since it very customizable and aesthetically appealing. I’ve also heard wonderful reviews for the Bando planner as well. For those two planners I suggest purchasing them when they are on sale. Other than that, Marshalls or TJMaxx have an amazing stationary area that have a variety of planners.
  7. Museum tickets: I am a huge history nerd and have found museums like Norton Simon, Bowers, and Getty Villa are wonderful places to go to in Southern California.
  8.  A candle: I’ve recently started loving bookish candles. Check out Frostbeard Studio or any etsy stores will do just find.
  9. Purchasing a class: There are a variety of deals on Groupon.
  10.  Gift cards: Gift cards make an awesome present. My favorite gift cards are for Barnes and Noble, Target, Ikea, and Amazon.

miriam-michelle

0

Moana: Movie Review

Moana Movie Poster.jpg

trailer

movie-synopsisAn adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.

he-he1

I had the opportunity to watch Moana on Thanksgiving with my sisters. I have been highly anticipating this movie since it was first announced. What I really love is how Disney is finally starting to diversify the movies, ever since The Princess and The Frog came out. I am really loving how modern Disney is becoming, and don’t get me wrong, I still love the classics. I still have hope for Disney to produce a movie with a Latina heroine.

Now, Moana is such a great film. I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, but this is a movie that I would rewatch in the theaters. I laughed and cried several times throughout this film. I’m twenty five years old by the way, and this movie made me emotionally invested in the characters and the plot. Moana is not a princess, she is the chief’s daughter and she is next in line to become her village’s chief. She is stubborn, independent, and loyal. She is extremely close to her family, especially her grandmother. She is the chosen one to save her village, and she needs the help of Maui the demigod.

The characters were greatly developed, and I liked the interactions between Moana and Maui. This might be a minor spoiler: there is no romance. This is a tale of a young girl risking her life in order to bring back peace to her village. As for the soundtrack, it’s amazing. If you like Hamilton, you will love this soundtrack because Lin-Manuel Miranda created some of the songs. The songs are really catchy, especially You’re Welcome. As for Dwayne Johnson, he killed it as Maui. He was terrific. I couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying his character. Auli’i Cravalho was wonderful as Moana and she has an amazing singing voice.

Lastly, watch the movie. I guarantee that you’ll love it!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

miriam-michelle

2

The Nightmare Before Christmas Manga

he-he1

I received The Nightmare Before Christmas Manga in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite Halloween and Christmas movie, and I am sure that many have seen it. I love the plot and the songs, and how dark it is. When I saw the manga on NetGalley, I had to take my chance and requested the book for myself.

Well, the manga is far more shorter than the movie. A very condensed version if I may add. I can understand why someone would buy this manga and put it in their bookshelf, but would I buy it? No, I rather buy the movie. At the same time, I knew what I was getting myself into, but I wanted to be slightly more positive. Folks, just stick to the movie and avoid this one. I read it in under twenty minutes and the animation was okay.

Final Review: ⭐️⭐️

miriam-michelle

 

0

Orange: Movie Review

he-he1

orange-cast

Last year, I read the short manga Orange by Ichigo Takano, and absolutely loved the story. The manga is about Naho, the main protagonist, who keeps receiving letters from her future self. Naho’s future self has many regrets in her life, and feels that in order to remove her guilt, the letters she writes to her sixteen year old self will alter history for the best. Most of the story deals with Naho and her love interest Kakeru, who happens to be one of Naho’s regrets later in life. Kakeru is a boy that appears to be happy on the outside, but he is in a dark place and has to be saved.

orange-cast

I have to say the Japanese adaptation of the movie was spot on. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the anime yet. I’m saving it for winter vacation. As for the casting, I really liked it and it was well done. Tao Tsuchiya was spot on as Naho, and the actress definitely knew how to portray Naho’s innocence and sweetness. I was highly impressed with Kento Yamazaki who played Kakeru. He was really convincing. I found myself crying through most of Kakeru’s sad parts. Kakeru is such a heart breaking character because of his circumstances. As for Suwa’s character, he is still one of the best characters for me. I was emotionally invested in this movie and I am pleased that there were a couple minor changes to the story. The romance was adorable, but most of all, I loved the friendship between the group of friends. Orange is light hearted, but it can really make you cry when you see Kakeru’s circumstances or how the others feel about saving him. I’ll keep this short and sweet, I highly recommend watching the movie, but do check out the manga first!

1

T5W: Books I want to Reread

Top 5 Wednesday was created by GingerReadsLainey and has passed down the torch to Sam from Thought On Tomes, our current host for T5W.  Go join the group on Goodreads. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

read or die.gif

This week’s topic is Five Books I want to reread. Now, I thought long and hard about this since there are several books that I want to reread so badly. Sometimes I look at my shelf and I want to pick up my favorite books so badly. I’m not going to include series, all the books are standalone. Here are my picks:

  1. The Bell Jar: I read The Bell Jars years ago and I always recommend to everyone. I loved the book so much and I want to actually analyze this book this time around
  2. Fahrenheit 451: A classic, and it has been one of my favorite books. This book makes me cry.
  3. Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl: I read it for my US history class, and boy this tale was powerful.
  4. Song of the Hummingbird: Strong female protagonist that I mostly felt sorry for her circumstances.
  5. In the Time of the Butterflies: A powerful tale of sisters that will leave you in tears.
2

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crooked-kingdom

goodreads-synopsis

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

he-he1

“Why do you guys say that, anyway? No mourners, no funerals? Why not just say good luck or be safe?”
“We like to keep our expectations low.”

Well, how do I even begin to describe Crooked Kingdom?! I loved Six of Crows, but I think my heart feel in love more with Crooked Kingdom. Now, I avoided spoilers like the plague and this will be a spoiler free review since I don’t want to spoil this great book!!

First of all, this book was far more fast paced than the first book. I devoured this book quicker than anything else. Crooked Kingdom was longer in length, but I didn’t mind! I found it to be really exciting.

yuri-on-ice

If you loved the characters in the first book, you’re going to love them even more in this one! First of all, Matthias Helvar is one of my favorites from the diverse cast. He reminds me so much of myself. Ahahaha. I appreciate that he is more than just a wanted criminal, he’s the lovable grump that constantly puts Nina’s needs above his own. He and Nina had several moments together, and I was so overjoyed by it. They have been through so much in both booksI love Nina and Matthias together, and they have been my favorite couple since book one. Nina is the perfect balance to Matthias, and I couldn’t possibly imagine her with anyone else.

“I am grateful you’re alive”, he said. “I am grateful that you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.”
She rested her head on his shoulder.
“You’re better that waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips.
“Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”

I am a fan of all three relationships, but I felt that Kaz and Inej’s relationship was made stronger in this book.

“Meeting you was a disaster.”
She raised a brow. “Thank you.”
Djel, he was terrible at this. He stumbled on, trying to make her understand. “But I am grateful for that disaster. I needed a catastrophe to shake me from the life I knew. You were an earthquake, a landslide.”
“I,” she said, planting a hand on her hip, “am a delicate flower.”
“You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.”

Anyways, I am glad that more background stories were explored like Jesper and Wylan. And I am so happy that Wylan got his own pov!  I found Kaz to be absolutely terrific in this book. He has a special place in my heart. I love his scheming ways, and let’s talk about the character development. Man, I love how much Kaz has changed from the first book to this one. Wow, just wow.One of my favorite aspects of this duology is the friendship between all six characters. All the characters have great chemistry between each other, and you find yourself rooting for all six. Each character was going through his and her struggle, and I’m so happy that my band of misfits were able to overcome there troubles.

“Where do think the money went?” he repeated.
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.
He shrugged. “They all seem like practical choices.”

osamu-dazai

I loved how there were cameos of the Grisha Trilogy. My number one book boyfriend appeared in this book. Nikolai Lantsov. Goodness, and I thought the book couldn’t get better. I really couldn’t contain my happiness.

What I loved:

  • the friendship
  • the romance
  • Nikolai – Who doesn’t love him?
  • Genya – my favorite Grisha tailor
  • the action – can I just say, that they had more at risk than the first book and I love how everyone has a chance to fight
  • the villains – amazing

I have nothing but positivity for Crooked Kingdom. If you thought that Six of Crows was perfect, wait till you read Crooked Kingdom. This might be my favorite book of the year, and there have been several good books this year. The ending did end on a bittersweet note for me, and I’m going to miss these characters a lot. And I wanted there to be more, but I am glad the way it ended. I laughed, and boy did I cry. I was emotionally invested, and recommend reading Crooked Kingdom. This book is worth the hype and it will not let you down!

miriam-michelle

“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us?What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.
That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

“No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

miriam-michelle

2

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Seconds.jpgAuthor: Bryan Lee O’Malley

Genre: Graphic Novel

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

goodreads-synopsis

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:
1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

he-he1

The first series I’ve read from Bryan Lee O’Malley was Scot Pilgrim Vs The World, and I’ve been meaning to read Seconds since it came out. I got the opportunity to read it at a Barnes and Noble and finished it all in one sitting. Anyways, if you like the Scot Pilgrim series, I’d recommend reading Seconds.

Katie is a chef with a dream of opening her own restaurant. Her life isn’t going as she had planned. There are some mistakes that she wants to take back. One day she is given an opportunity to redo her day over again.

seconds redo mistake.jpg

I found Katie to be very relatable! She is flawed, but she has a good heart. She doesn’t follow the rules which turns her life upside down. She gets her dream life, but it does not satisfy her. She runs away from her mistakes by continuously .

lis's rule.jpg

Katie tries to fix her mistakes several times throughout the book. At some point she becomes a bit mad with power. Katie becomes dependent on the mushroom to solve her problems. I really enjoyed her character arc. She was funny and irritating at some points, but has the heart of gold. I really enjoyed her growth from the beginning to end.

Besides Katie, the secondary characters were just as great. Hazel, the waitress, was one of my favorites. She reminded me so much of myself. And I liked how she had her own role in the story.

The art style is cute, but this story is dark and hilarious. Though I did feel the ending was a bit rushed.

Lastly, Katie’s interactions with the narrator were extremely funny!

narrator-and-katie

miriam-michelle

 

“Adult life is terrible, Hazel. Never grow up. Everything’s complicated, and there are too many rules …”

“There are things we can’t change, and we just have to accept that. And maybe that’s some kind of grace”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

miriam-michelle

2

Overcoming The Reading Slump

Hello Reading Slump,

You truly suck. I can read my school textbooks just fine, but when it comes to my personal reading time…I can’t. I have tried reading a chapter a day; I have tried reading a couple pages. I have nothing. But, what can I do about it?

I can force myself to read, but that won’t work. I can try picking up another book, though I find it pointless.

Honestly, what can a girl do?

Sincerely, me

All right, so you found yourself in a reading slump and don’t know what to do. I can help you find a solution if you haven’t got a clue. Here are a couple tips to slaying your reading slump.

  1. Take a break: You’re not competing against anyone! Read at your own pace and don’t rush your reading experience.
  2. Focus on reading goals: Make a list of how many books you want to read monthly or yearly. You can also make lists of what books you want to read.
  3. Focusing on your other hobbies: I love playing video games. I used to balance reading and video games, but once I started my blog, I haven’t played as much. When you find yourself in a reading slump, try to do things you love doing! I’ve been playing on my 3DS, mostly Rune Factory 4. (The randomized town events will be the death of me)
  4. Reorganize your bookshelf: I know people have different organizational skills when it comes to organizing their books. I used to organize my books by alphabetical order, but I have found it easier to separate my books by what I have read and what I haven’t read.
  5. Declutter your bookshelf: That’s right, I’ve said it! Getting rid of books that you felt negatively or indifferent can save you shelf space. I’m working on trying to get rid of books that I did not like by donating them.
  6. Try writing: Relax and write about anything! Take 15 mins a day to write down your thoughts and clear your mind. Or you can focus on writing your own story!
  7. Hello Netflix: Netflix has a great selection of shows! Personally, I’ve been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. The Netflix Originals are my favorite. I recommend watching The Get Down, Daredevil, Stranger Things, and Fuller House!
  8. Reread your favorite book: You can never go wrong by reading your all time favorite book🙂

If you’re going through a reading slump, it’s natural. Don’t worry about it! I hope that you can overcome your reading slump and happy reading!

miriam-michelle