Risuko by David Kudler: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

YOUNG ADULT HISTORICAL ADVENTURE

Commentary: This book is available as Read Now on NetGalley.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I just knew I had to pick it up! The synopsis is what won me over and I love the cover.

This book was an excellent introduction to the series, it was very entertaining. Risuko is sold from her family, not out of spite, but for Risuko’s own good. Along the way, Risuko learns about the politics in her country, and there are hints of the war to come.

Risuko focuses on the journey of the protagonist. If you are expecting a romance, this is not the book for you. This book is about Risuko’s personal growth and accepting her faith as a kunochi. A kunochi is a female ninja. What I loved about this book was that the author researched his topic. I really liked that there was a glossary at the end of the book, served as a good reference guide. Another aspect that I loved was the school at Mochizuki. I loved how the women from the school had to undergo miko training before becoming a kunochi.

Risuko is a great character! I loved her misadventures and I love the way that her character stayed consistent throughtout the book. I was hoping that she and Lieutenant Masugu were going to develop feelings for each other. I can still hope that happens in the second book. Now as for the villain, I’ve seen my good share of anime, and when that character revealed, I was right.

I really thought Risuko was going to be young adult, but it is more of a middle grade book. Not that I have a problem with it, but the protagonist is much younger than I’d imagine her to be. Secondly, I thought that the war was going to play a major role in this book, but that’s not the case. I’ll keep my hopes up for the sequel. Also the length was too short! I would have liked it much more if there were more chapters!

I love learning about Japanese history, and this book was welldone. By the time I finished the book, I was sad. Why is that? Well, I want to read the second book already! This book gets published all the way in June, and I’m buying my physical copy when it comes out. I am hoping that the sequel gives backstories on certain characters. This book was fast pace and I really liked the author’s writing style.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: June 15th 2016

The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary: Book Review

For this world, which lives only through belief, being forgotten is our ultimate death curse. Had you not come, we would have slowly faded until nothing remained. Do not blame yourself for the machinations of fate.

Goodreads Synopsis: The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.

But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked… and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth – or say good-bye to the world of the living forever.

Commentary: I received an ebook copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say that The Night Parade has been one the most entertaining books that I have read for this month. I thought it was going to be young adult, but it is middlegrade. I had so much fun reading this book!!

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This book reminded me of Spirited Away which is one of my favorite films when I was a young girl. In Spirited Away and in The Night Parade, both protagonists find themselves involved with the spirit world and with a quest to break a curse.

Now going back to the book, I initially did not like Saki. I thought she was rude especially to her loving grandmother. As the book progressed, she grew on me since she started changing. She was a completely different person by the end of the book. I thought that she was courageous and more true to herself. I enjoyed her growth and it made this book far more enjoyable because of that.

Overall, I loved her adventures in the spirit world! She had to endure a lot and I really liked her guides to help her on her journey. I loved the Japanese mythology in this book! One of my favorite characters from the spirit world is The Moonlight Prince, even though he is a minor character. What can I say, I happen to be a sucker for princes.

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What I really appreciated about this book is that it teaches us, the readers, that we should appreciate what’s in front of us. We should try being more independent, instead of being too dependent on technology. For example, Saki was glued to her phone and hated the countryside. As the story goes on, she appreciates what she has around her. By the end, she fell in love with the countryside. Overall, this is positive book!!

I would love for this book to be adapted into an animated film! I think if they were to adapt this book to a movie, the movie would be better. I really enjoyed reading this enchanting tale! I do recommend this book!!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest: Book Review

It wasn’t the beginning Libby and May had ever imagined. But then again, they’d never given the princess a beginning, had they? They’d only told her adventures going forward from the time she picked up her sword, fighting bad guys and monsters in her little red Chucks. They’d made up tales of daring and danger, but all those tales happened after she’d earned her name and her crown.

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X? 

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives.

Commentary: The story starts off immediately with the death of Libby, May’s best friend and co-creator of Princess X. I would have liked this story a bit more if the author had developed May and Libby more. I wanted more of May and Libby’s friendship or at least more chapters about the original Princess X comics. 

Anyways, May’s parents are divorced and she only lives in Seattle during the summer with her father. Three years after Libby’s “death”, she finds a Princess X poster. She believes that Libby is alive once she sees that poster and the mystery begins to unfold. o(^▽^)o

Though May has social media accounts and knows how to use the internet, she is not tech savvy, which is a bit ironic. One day her computer doesn’t turn on and she hires Trick to help her fix her computer. She just needed to charge her computer…Anyways; Trick is a bit more developed than the other characters. Trick is a genius when in comes to computers, but lost a scholarship to University because of his jealousy and foolishness. He is in desperate need of money, but instead of focusing on himself and trying to fix his problem, he decides to help May. Though he doesn’t believe her at first.

By the way, there is no romance in this book! Trick and May do not fall for each other; rather they become good friends because of Princess X. If there was a romance in this book, I would have given it a lower score. What I really like about I Am Princess X is that it focuses on true friendship. May was willing to endure any hardship to find the whereabouts of Libby. This book is definitely fun. 

My favorite character had to be Jackdaw, I found him to be the most interesting character from the group of friends. I did like how he got a backstory. I really liked how he would playfully scold Trick. By the way, Jackdaw is another computer genius. .+:。(ノ・ω・)ノ゙

The villain was psychotic. I did feel slightly sorry for him, but at the same time I was scared of him. There are some moments that had were creepy in the book. The Needleman needed professional help and counseling. (∗❛ั௦❛ั∗) And I really liked the mystery and suspense because it did work well for this book. I loved the quest for the four keys and I love how Princess X web comic was more than just a comic. It was a sign for May to look for Libby. It was their way of finding each other. Even though Princess X was becoming a popular web comic, I can understand why May never found out about it since she lives mostly in Atlanta with her mother. I do believe that the Princess X was popular locally.

Though there are some things that did bother me with the book. First of all, why didn’t the police do a DNA check when they found the Libby’s “body’? Why?! 。゚( ゚இ‸இ゚)゚。 Secondly, the police was really useless in this novel. May and Trick were far more useful than the police. I would have liked it if May was more developed since she is the main protagonist of the book. I really wanted this book to be longer, and it is under 300 pages. Lastly, I would have liked to have read some of May’s writings for Princess X since May was the writer in the duo while Libby was the artist.

I recommend not buying this book for Kindle just because the font is really small. It’s more of a PDF rather than your typical eBook. In this case, it’s better to have the physical copy. Other than that, this book is standalone. It did end on a bittersweet note. I just wished there were more chapters of the Princess X graphic novel. The last page was really adorable and I liked it. Do I recommend this book? Yes, it is a fun read, but I think this book is more middle grade rather than young adult. 

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit: Book Review

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”

Goodreads Synopsis: Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Commentary: I really enjoy reading children’s literature and picked Tuck Everlasting because I’ve always wanted to read the book. The book is a really quick read. The protagonist Winnie was very likable, I thought it was very cute how she came to love the Tuck family and I respected what she did for them. The man in the yellow suit, I knew that he seemed suspicious, I just had a feeling about him. I thought he made a great villain to the story. He planned on selling the water and using the Tuck family as his test subjects in order to make him rich. I wasn’t expecting him to die quickly! But, if he had lived, he would have exposed the secret to the world and make life impossible for the Tuck family. I did like how Winnie developed on crush on Jesse despite that huge age gap. I would have liked to have seen them get together, but alas, that did not happen. The ending was very bittersweet for me. Jesse gave Winnie a bottle containing water from the spring and he told her to drink it at seventeen. She didn’t, instead she gave it to a toad. Why would you give the water to the toad Winnie, why? In the epilogue, it was revealed that she had lived a long life and had her own family. I felt sorry for Jesse. I was rooting for them, oh well. Some people either love the ending or hate it, but I personally liked the ending. Yes, I know that Jesse and Winnie did not end up together, but think about it, living forever is not a blessing, it’s more of a curse. If a person were to be immortal, there would be endless possibilities of what that person can achieve, but I believe that at some point it will get tiring and meaningless. That’s just what I believe. It was saddening to know that the family did not use their immortality to the fullest. They could have achieved many things, but instead they chose to hid. I felt that the Tuck family did not properly manage their immortality well.  For example, Miles could have gone to search for his children or the boys could have gone back to school. Just saying. I will watch the movie adaptation of Tuck Everlasting as well. Did you know that Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a musical?! That really surprised me! Lastly, I kept seeing trailers for this upcoming romantic movie called “The Age of Adaline” staring Blake Lively, it kinda reminds me of this book since the movie will be dealing with an immortal protagonist.

Quotes: “Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way it is.”

“You can’t have living without dying. So you can’t call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.

For some, time passes slowly. An hour can seem like an eternity. For others, there was never enough. For Jesse Tuck, it didn’t exist.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)