Why I DNFed Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami

Goodreads Synopsis: Almost Transparent Blue is a brutal tale of lost youth in a Japanese port town close to an American military base. Murakami’s image-intensive narrative paints a portrait of a group of friends locked in a destructive cycle of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. The novel is all but plotless, but the raw and often violent prose takes us on a rollercoaster ride through reality and hallucination, highs and lows, in which the characters and their experiences come vividly to life. Trapped in passivity, they gain neither passion nor pleasure from their adventures. Yet out of the alienation, boredom and underlying rage and grief emerges a strangely quiet and almost equally shocking beauty. Ryu Murakami’s first novel, Almost Transparent Blue won the coveted Akutagawa literary prize and became an instant bestseller. Representing a sharp and conscious turning away from the introspective trend of postwar Japanese literature, it polarized critics and public alike and soon attracted international attention as an alternative view of modern Japan.

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Before I DNF Almost Transparent Blue, I had high hopes for it. I’ve never read anything by Ryu Murakami. I decided to check out his works because he was recommended to me. In addition, I was curious to see how this Ryu Murakami had a similar style to Haruki Murakami.

Honestly, I tried reading it several times throughout the summer. I couldn’t. It’s 126 pages long and I had to put it down. I wasn’t a fan of the depiction of orgies and drugs. Wow, I couldn’t get over it. I was very squeamish when I was reading. I didn’t even make it half-way through.

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Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The synopsis should have been a warning sign, but I decided not to judge the book by the synopsis. Oh, was I wrong. For every single time I tried reading, I never made it past page 40. I couldn’t. I want to take my reading experience back. Almost Transparent Blue is the first book I DNFed this year and you know what, I’m okay with it. There are some books that you can’t mentally push yourself to read. This was the book for me folks. Moral of the story: Don’t do drugs!

This gif perfectly describes my reading experience:

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I would not recommend reading Almost Transparent Blue if you’re very sensitive to strong languages and the disgusting depictions of drugs and orgies. Will I pick up Almost Transparent Blue in the future? Give it a second chance? Absolutely not. Even if you bribed me with money, I couldn’t read this book. Never, ever, ever again.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Negative Five Stars)

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: Book Review

“Marry him,” Arin said, “but be mine in secret.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆Goodreads Synopsis: Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement… if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Commentary: I really enjoyed the first book so much, but I found the second book in this series to be a bit more frustrating than the first one because of all of the miscommunication!! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the book, but it was an emotional roller coaster ride for me when I was reading. I found it stressful because so many things were happening! The Winner’s Crime focuses more on politics rather than romance. (⊙︿⊙✿)

What I really enjoyed about this book was how the drama was built up. I didn’t know what to expect from this book! Kestrel was so out of her element. She was still the intelligent, cunning strategist from the first book, but she did not have the upper hand. No matter what she was doing, it felt that the Emperor was always ahead of her. Kestrel tried to do what was best for her and Arin by distancing herself. She tried to be indifferent even though she still loved him. She believed it was best for Arin not to know that she was helping him. She didn’t have allies with her, not even Verex. Kestrel suffered a lot more in this book than the first one. Jess, her best friend, did not want to associate herself with Kestrel. Jess was resentful and hateful towards Kestrel even though Kestrel saved her in the first book. Then there’s the constant abuse she endures because of the Emperor. Lastly, her father turning her in to the Emperor. That part crushed me the most. Kestrel adores and loves her father, but I just knew he would pick Valoria over Kestrel even if she is his only family. Right in the feels. ๐·°(৹˃̵﹏˂̵৹)°·๐

I wanted to slap Arin. I was so frustrated with him. He always kept coming at the wrong time! Why couldn’t he try to meet Kestrel in secret? Why did he always have to show up in the worst place possible? So many problems could have been avoided if Kestrel and Arin communicated with each other and teamed up. Arin was focused on building alliances with the Eastern people in order to stop the tyranny of the emperor. Then that kiss scene with the queen! Nope, nope nope. I do not like that pairing at all! (┛◉Д◉) ┛ 彡 ┻━┻

I thought that Prince Verex was going to become Arin’s rival. I assumed a love triangle was going to be formed. That did not happened, instead Verex was more of a friend to Kestrel than anything else. Even though his role was small, I really liked Verex. He was in the same position as Kestrel was. He was forced into a marriage like Kestrel, and loves another. He is far more compassionate and kind than his father. I really hopes he inherits the kingdom and marries Risha. Hoping Princess Risha is the one to get rid of the emperor.   ⁽⁽(੭ꐦ •̀Д•́ )੭*⁾⁾ ᑦᵒᔿᵉ ᵒᐢᵎᵎ

The ending broke my heart! The cliffhanger. I wasn’t ready for it. It was good and I just can’t believe that happened. Why didn’t Tensen give Arin the letter?! ლಠ益ಠ)ლ That would have cleared so many things! He would have known the truth! It just upsets me that Arin doesn’t know that Kestrel is going to a labor camp. I don’t think it’s possible that this series will end on a happy note. Praying it’s not a tragedy. I hate the emperor. I really hope he gets what he deserves in the end. I am excited to see how the upcoming war will unfold. I just want the book now! ԅ(¯﹃¯ԅ)

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.25) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Beast Master by Kyousuke Motomi: Manga Review

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Summary: Leo Aoi looks like a crazy animal with wild eyes–and no one at his new high school will go near him! He does seem to have a special connection with animals though, which intrigues overzealous animal-lover Yuiko Kubozuka. In reality, Leo isn’t as frightening as he appears, but Yuiko finds out that he goes berserk whenever he sees blood! Will Yuiko be able to get through to Leo during these violent fits? Or will Leo’s ferocious side eventually devour her?

Commentary: I recognized the art style immediately. Kyousuke Motomi is the creator of Dengeki Daisy!! (; ● ∀ ●) ゝI just can’t believe how short this manga is! It’s only two volumes! I felt that there was potential to expand the manga for a few more volumes. I was a bit disappointed because it was so short. It made me laugh for most of the time too. I read this series in one sitting. The relationship between Leo and Yukiko was the best! Leo was too adorable! I really liked how he was opposite from Yukiko. Animals loved him, but the animal kingdom seemed to hate Yukiko. It was even more ironic since her dad is a vet. I also liked that everyone respected Yukiko by “taming the best”. It was hard to believe that he had a wild side. This manga teaches you not to judge people on appearances. It’s just a cute romance! It made me laugh most of all. The cover art is a bit misleading. ✺◟(∗❛ัᴗ❛ั∗)◞✺ Overall, it’s a fun read! You won’t regret it!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Cat Street by Yoko Kamio: Manga Review

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Summary: The story centers around Keito Aoyama, a former famous child actor. Due to a childhood incident, she retired from her career early and withdrew from normal society. Now 16, she passes her days in boredom and without purpose. But one day she runs into a stranger who takes her to El Liston–a free school for high school students like herself, who don’t have a place where they belong. Though hesitant at first, Keito decides to enter El Liston and subsequently, she begins a new stage in her life. With the help of her only remaining childhood friend, Taiyou, and her new classmates Rei, Momiji, and Kouichi, Keito slowly finds the courage to open up to others and to accept their support. Will Keito return to acting? Will she find true friends? Love?

Commentary: The manga series was wonderful. My sister and my really good friend recommended it to me, and I finally found time to read it. The first chapter had me hooked! I couldn’t put it down. I can’t believe that I finished it all in one sitting. When I finished the last chapter, I couldn’t believe it. I wanted more. I couldn’t believe how short it was. The series was definitely worth it! ʚ♡⃛ɞ(ू•ᴗ•ू❁)

The characters were amazing. Best character development! Keito was so precious. I was happy how she changed for the better. She went from a low point of her life and was able to find success as an actress. I was really happy that she was able to grow and learn to become a better person. Most of her past events were a bit traumatic, luckily for her, she was surrounded by her friends who were just like her.

I was a Kouichi-Keito shipper from the start! I knew that he was going to be the one she would end up with! I liked that pairing more than Rei and Keito. What I really liked was the their relationship was built up. They didn’t get together from the start, they didn’t fall for each other. They simply understood each other and both of them gradually liked each other. I was so happy that they got together. Keito and Kouichi had more chemistry with each other. He protected her, and cared about her. I just really loved Kouichi. He is on my list of top ten shoujo boyfriends! ヾ(´▽`;)ゝ

Momiji was very memorable for wearing her lolita fashion. She was being true to herself. I wanted her happiness in the end. For some reason, I thought she was going to end up with Rei which that did not happen. I was not as disappointed as I thought I would be because I read the extra chapter. I thought it was really cute that a boy with similar taste in fashion had a crush on her, but she didn’t feel the same. (⋆ʾ ˙̫̮ ʿ⋆)

It did break my heart a bit when Rei revealed that he had no one just so Kouichi and Keito could be together. There were some parts where I was irritated at Rei because of his actions, but I couldn’t hate him. He knew that Keito and Kouichi had feelings for each other, before Keito realized her own feelings. I was so happy that he has matured and started living his dream of playing soccer! (‘ω’)

I highly recommend this manga! I was a really big fan of the animation! The love triangle wasn’t annoying at all. I cried tears of happiness and it has one of the best endings ever! All the problems they faced seem so realistic. I was able to relate with them. In addition, I might check out the Japanese drama. It’s only six episodes long. Lastly, I will add Hana Yori Dango in my to be read list since that’s her more famous work. ( ◞・౪・)

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Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆