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Aisuru by Anma Natsu

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goodreads-synopsis

“You told me before that you’d never regret meeting me. Do you still feel that way now?”

Eighteen-year-old Sakura has spent her high school years living in self-imposed isolation. She’s carefully perfected her role as a cold, stuck up snob at school to keep her classmates, her teacher, the world at a distance so they will never learn the truth: about the night her father’s mental illness tore her world apart, leaving her an orphan and living on borrowed time.

To help her get through the pain, the kind man who adopted her would spin fantastical stories about his childhood friend Kazuki, a magical yokai from another world. Harmless fairy tales to take her mind off things, or so she always thought…

Until the night she finds Kazuki lying wounded in her garden. With the handsome yokai now sharing her house, a jealous young tengu living in her cherry tree, and new friends pushing their way past her walls, Sakura’s stoic acceptance of her fate is slipping.

But is she only opening herself up to further heartache and regret or is she opening the door to a happiness she never imagined possible?

 

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I received Aisuru  on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect of Aisuru. I haven’t seen many reviews on the internet, but I decided to go ahead and read it. What got me to read the book was the synopsis since it sounded like a blend of contemporary and fantasy. I was intrigued by the characters, especially Sakura. Aisuru reminded me a bit of Inuyasha and Kamisama Hajimemashita, just the whole human-yokai romantic relationship, but that’s just it.

What I was expecting was an action-paced book filled with a lot of magical scenarios and political drama. Now what I got was different than what I expected. It was good, but it wasn’t bad. I was a tad disappointed that most of the book focused on Hakodate, Japan rather than the magical kingdom of Throklana.

Alright, basic plot of the book is that Sakura is dying and has less than a year of life left. Sakura tries to be an ice queen to those around her. Most of her classmates have invented rumors about her due to her cold personality. Though Sakura puts on an act, she is actually sweet and caring. She has hidden her illness from everyone; she wants to be treated like a normal girl. She wants to do many things in her life, but knows she can’t achieve those goals. When I was reading Sakura’s pov, I did tear up. Sakura was very accepting of her fate in the beginning of the story. As chapters progressed, it became harder for her to accept her death. Though Sakura has little character growth in the book, she at least tried to live as a normal girl. She got to accomplish some of her goals on her bucket list. One of my favorite moments of the book was the introduction of Sakura’s classmates that eventually became her friends. I have to say that this book did really great when it came to friendship.

I was actually surprised that this book was a bit dark at some times. Sakura’s past was extremely sad, especially what happened to her parents. Though she was adopted into a loving home after the traumatizing events of her childhood, she grew up mostly independent. That’s one thing that I really liked about Sakura, she always did her best no matter her limitations.

Moving on to Kazuki, I felt okay about him. Kazuki is the yokai prince who is supposed to take over the kingdom while his father is on his pilgrimage. Kazuki never wanted to be king. He is the oldest sibling, but he knows that his younger brother is far more capable of being the next crown king. The author didn’t really give a great description of his features besides his long claws and white hair. So I imagined him like this that whole time:

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Though Tomoe is a far more better character than Kazuki, just saying.

Kazuki was a good guy, but a horrible leader. Here’s the thing: his kingdom is in turmoil and his brother turned against him. What does Kazuki do? Reside in the human realm and leaves his kingdom in hands of his advisors. He abandoned the throne, and though his duty is to the kingdom, he never really does anything to contribute anything. I can see why he is fascinated with the human world, but it annoyed me that it wasn’t till 75% of the book that he decided to take action. As I’ve mentioned, he was a good guy…he did have some cute moments especially with Karasu. Now Karasu was one of my favorite characters in the story. He is a yokai as well and very devoted to his master. He initially hates Sakura and doesn’t trust her whatsoever. I found Karasu to be an adorable jealous little brother. He had a sad backstory that I wish got expanded more!

Anyways, I thought that Aisuru was going have a lot of action, but I got more of a contemporary vibe. Most of the book was spent on Kazuki and Sakura doing normal errands such as cleaning, or cooking. It seemed that this was going to be a book filled with insta-love, but I am glad that the author tried to build up the romance. There wasn’t much tension between the two characters and the kiss happened out of nowhere.

As for the whole plot, I thought it could have been great if there was no conflict in the yokai realm. Since most of the book took place in the human realm, it felt a bit too much to have two conflicts because Sakura was the main focus throughout the book. The conflict in Kazuki’s realm was ignored till the end!! But, despite Aisuru’s flaws, I did find myself enjoying the book. The book did have a villain! Surprise, surprise it wasn’t the brother. I assumed it was another character…since the villain didn’t get introduced till 50% of the book. I won’t give much away, but just wow.

What I liked:

  • Sakura’s pov
  • Karasu
  • The ending was cute

I feel that Aisuru could have made a good graphic novel since the author is inspired by Japanese culture. I was mostly thinking of anime when reading this book!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

miriam-michelle

5

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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goodreads-synopsis

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

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I received Three Dark Crowns in my October Owlcrate box. I didn’t have an opportunity to read it back then, but I finally got around to reading it and well, it was an interesting story…Most people loved it, but I felt it was okay.

Alright, so Three Dark Crown is about three identical sisters who have been separated for years and each one has an equal claim to the throne. The catch is that only one can be queen, and the other two sisters have to be eliminated. Each sister has a unique magical gift, so the readers are led to believe. Mirabella is the strongest rival for the throne. She controls the elements, and she has a strong following of priestesses. Though she seems most likely to become queen, she cannot bring herself to depose of her sisters because she is the only one to have childhood memories of her two sisters. Then there is Katharine who is a poisoner. She can handle any poison…or so readers are led to believe. She’s the most fragile compared to the other two sisters. The poisoners group wasn’t well explained…but what I got is that before they (the poisoners) were healers. It makes sense. For example, removing poison from patients. Maybe I’m reading too into the book. Anyways, moving on. Lastly, there is Arsinoe who does not have a gift at all. She’s supposed to be a naturalist. A naturalist is someone who controls both plants and animals. She constantly admits to other characters that she won’t make it when it comes to the tournament.

The world building was weak. I had many thoughts when reading this book since the author didn’t explain much. There were references to the mainland, though the story takes place in the island of Fennbirn. All that I know is that the people of the mainland don’t have magical gifts. Other than that, I want to know if the islanders of Fennbirn were exiled into the island, and what type of mythology they have to explain the gifts. There were some references to a goddess, but the author didn’t elaborate on it. Yeah, I know I’m going a bit off topic, but I honestly want to know what type of world the characters are living in.

Moving on to the three queens. I was initially drawn to Katharine because she’s the most physically weak, but she’s sweet. I really liked how she started becoming more confident throughout the book. As I kept reading, I ended up liking Arsinoe much more than Katharine and Mirabella. Here are the reasons why Arsinoe is the best from the three sisters.

  1. She is very supportive of her best friend, Jules.
  2. She is hardworking
  3. She is tough and brave

Other than that, I wasn’t a big fan of Mirabella. Now, one of the most interesting characters is Jules. She’s the strongest naturalist on the island. I really love how Arsinoe respects her friend, and doesn’t have jealously at all. There is something special about Arsinoe, but I’ll just wait and see for the next book.

As much as I liked the book, it did have its faults.

  • Information overload during the beginning: Since there are multiple povs in this book, it took me a while to get used to all the characters. So many characters were introduced.
  • Weak world building
  • THE WORST LOVE TRIANGLE: I’m just going to leave this gif here…

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  • It was boring: I understand that this is the first book in the series, but there were several dull moments. A lot of flirting happened during most of the book. I felt the book focused a bit too much on the romance. I assumed the sisters were going to be far more scheming…but the minor characters took care of that. The book finally got exciting near the end with an awesome cliffhanger.

Three Dark Crowns had moments of creepiness, which I highly enjoyed. If you are in the mood for a spooky book, I’d say go with this one. Have patience for Three Dark Crowns…a lot of patience till you get to the second half. That cliffhanger was really good!!! After finishing the book, I’m not sure who will become the next queen. I’m not sure how many books will be in this series, but I am looking forward to the next installment.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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ARC: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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goodreads-synopsis

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

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I received an ARC on NetGalley.

This review will contain spoilers!

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So the story starts off with Lane Roanoke. She has a detached personality and can be very cynical. Her mother commits suicide and she is adopted by her grandparents in Kansas. Lane was never close to her mother, and she was relieved when her mother died. Initially, Lane had no clue that she still had family. When she arrives in Kansas, she instantly forms a bond with her cousin Allegra. Lane’s life is transformed. Lane is not used to living in a loving home. Though everything seems perfect in the household, there seems to be a lot of things off with her new family members especially Allegra. Lane never stays as a permanent member of the Roanoke clan and leaves immediately as the summer comes to an end. As the years go by, Lane looses contact with her immediate family. One day when her grandfather calls her about Allegra, Lane knows that she has to return no matter the consequences.

When I first saw the title of the Roanoke Girls, I thought it was going to take place during the Roanoke colony. This is not the case for the Roanoke Girls. As I read the synopsis I was intrigued by the mystery, and decided to give it a go. What I read was dark and this book is not for younger readers. Also, don’t read it if you’re triggered easily by rape and incest.

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As I’ve mentioned, the mystery of Allegra’s murder had me intrigued. But, the author revealed shocking secrets in the beginning chapters…thus making it obvious who was the killer was. The book would have been stronger if the author had revealed the incest and pedophilia secrets till the very end of the story. By the time I was halfway done with the story, I knew where the story was headed. There weren’t that many suspects to pick from.

The main story is told in alternating perspectives between adult Lane and teenage Lane. There are also chapters including the povs of the other fallen Roanoke Girls who have died. I really liked that the other perspectives of the Roanoke Girls were told, though their chapters were short. Other than that, it felt as if Lane had not changed at all in her adult years. Lane’s character stayed consistent throughout the book. Though she became a bit more destructive as an adult.

One thing I can say is that the characters were not likable especially Lane. Lane is distrusting and angry, and resentful all the time. Lane is extremely bitter at how her life played out. Though she didn’t suffer as much as her cousin Allegra did, Lane is very hesitant to change. She still sees herself as destructive due to life events. Honestly, I found it hard to like Lane. She made it difficult to feel sympathy for her due to her actions. Instead of moving on, or at least getting a form of therapy to cope with life, she chooses the destructive path.

Lane could have avoided the pain and trauma of that summer if she had spoken. If she had said something to the authorities, Allegra’s death could have been prevented. But no, Lane chose not to speak to anyone. She felt that there was no person that she could have trusted. In a way, I feel that even Lane played a part in Allegra’s demise.

As for the other characters, I can say the same thing: none of them were likable, except for Cooper. Like Lane, Cooper also had a horrible childhood. Cooper suffered more than Lane, but he chose to better himself and not end up like his abusive father. Cooper became wiser as the years went by and tried several times to get Lane to open up.

When it came to the big revelation, I was not surprised at all. Most of the time, Lane spent her time having sex than looking for clues. When the killer confessed to the murder, it happened instantly. All I can say is that the Roanoke girls suffered from abuse: sexually and mentally. The Roanoke girls had no help from anyone. All the girls suffered a sad fate, which was death. I really despised the grandfather and the grandmother, but more the grandfather. It was such as sad book to read, but there were so many frustrating moments that could have been avoided if characters had helped out.

Despite all of it, the ending was a bit sweeter than I had anticipated.

Book Release: March 7th 2017 by Crown

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

miriam-michelle

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12 Dares Of Christmas by Leigh W. Stuart

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goodreads-synopsis

Lauren Hall has one wish for Christmas this year—raise money to build a new, no-kill animal shelter for the town of Sycamore Cove. And she is prepared to do anything to make it happen. Even dare a man she just met to perform a strip tease for the local knitting society.

Gabe Nicholson has one wish too—obtain the job of a lifetime to launch his career. Only his wishes get snowballed when his best friend’s little sister hands him a pair of stripper pants and a bottle of eggnog-flavored body oil.

It’s all sugar plums and mistletoe until a scandal caused by Lauren’s fundraiser threatens to ruin it all. With Gabe’s work opportunities disappearing before his eyes and Lauren’s fundraising efforts tanking, their game of dares stands to burn them both. Unless it ignites a spark of Christmas magic.

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I received 12 Dares of Christmas on NetGalley.

Hey guys, are you looking for a cute romance book just for the holidays? Let me tell you that 12 Dares of Christmas is not the book for you! It wasn’t the synopsis that got me to read the book, but the cover. I thought to myself, “this book looks cute.” Oh, was I wrong.

Normally, I don’t read romance books, but I decided to give it a chance. I was in the mood to read a Christmas book. I didn’t imagine an erotic filled book. That was not what I was expecting. Oh Lord.

I’ll keep it short: Avoid it.

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You see, the main characters don’t have a chance to slowly fall in love. I assumed this was going to be a slow burn romance. Nope, that’s not the case. Instead you are presented with a lot of sexual dares and most of the time I was skipping ahead to see how this travesty was going to end. Did I get attached to the characters? Not really.

All I know about the two protagonists is that both want new job opportunities. Lauren works hard for her causes such as raising money for a new animal shelter. She doesn’t have much of a love life because of her over-protective brother. Some of the things she does are a bit questionable…such as hiring a male stripper to entertain older women, but she has a good heart. Gabe is the “sexy” best friend of Lauren’s brother. Gabe knows that Lauren is off limits because of her over-protective brother. Gabe doesn’t really know Lauren, yet fate brings them together. When Lauren finds herself without a stripper, guess who becomes one by default. Yes, Gabe does. Their lives are intertwined because of that event.

The two characters fall for each other instantly. It is a book about lust and sex. There were some stereotypical situations…and I hated the dares…there I said it!

Final Rating: 💔  (0.5)

miriam-michelle

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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.

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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.

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Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (2.5)

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Manga Classics: Emma

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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.

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(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.

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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.

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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

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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!!

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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

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Moana: Movie Review

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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.

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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

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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

 

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Orange: Movie Review

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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.

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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!