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review 2019-11-11 19:52
The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera

I saw the movie years ago, and I enjoyed it very much. I didn't realize the film was based on the book until earlier this year. I decided to check out the book because since I enjoyed the movie, I will most likely enjoy the book.

 

I was thrown off by the choice of the narrator of this story. I expected the narrator to be Kahu, not one of Kahu's uncle. But, the narrator grew on me as I continued to read the book. Even though the story was short, I thought the pacing was just right. The story doesn't wander around aimlessly. I thought the story's straightforward approach is refreshing after reading and watching stories that cram too much stuff in one story. Though I do wish to learn more about Kahu's life and personality. I enjoyed Granny Flower's character because she was sweet and sassy.   

 

Unfortunately, my memories of the film are fuzzy, so I can't comment on how the movie and book differ from each other. 

 

Also, the book is hard to find, which is a huge bummer. I bought a used copy from an eBay seller since I couldn't find it at bookstores like Barnes and Noble. If you come across this book somewhere and sometime, I recommend checking it out because it's a short and satisfying story.  

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review 2019-04-28 03:26
Sakuran
Sakuran: Blossoms Wild - Moyoco Anno

The story presentation was okay. The pacing was odd at certain parts of the books, and the plot is told in a non-linear kind of way. The manga held no punches of what life is like for a courtesan in red-light districts. I strongly remember the lectures the lives of girls sold to brothels (in Japan and abroad) during my Modern Japan class I took last year. The book captures the unglamorous and challenging parts of these women's lives well. Reading about Kiyoha's hardships makes me appreciate that I live in a place where I don't have to go through what she went through and remember the girls who are in Kiyoha's shoes out in today's world.     

 

The artwork was expressive but it was difficult to tell which character was speaking or doing what. I had to re-read some parts to figure out which one is Kiyoha or Mikumo. I eventually figured it out the characters by looking at their eyes, but sometimes that trick doesn't help me all the time. The layout of the word bubbles in a few spots also makes reading difficult due to not telling which character is speaking. It might not be an issue in Japanese because you can tell the characters apart by the way they speak. But in English, the characters sound identical most of the time. I wouldn't be surprised if there were any other readers like me that double check to make sure they got the character right.

 

The manga gives an unflinching look at the life of oiran with bold artwork that shows off the characters' emotions well with a few hiccups in the story.   

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-04-24 03:23
Glitter Review
Glitter - Aprilynne Pike

Whoa, was this book a wild ride.

 

 

I had difficulty getting in the story due to rushed pacing, and it threw me in the middle of Dani's first meeting with the drug dealers. Once the details about how Dani got into contact with the drug dealers and her mom trying to have Dani marry to the king, the story becomes a lot easier to understand.

 

I thought the world-building was beautiful. It had an excellent balance of providing the right amount of information without rambling on for 10+ pages or having little to none explanation. An example of this great world-building was when Saber explains the war that happened in his home country, how he became Reginald's slave and the way slave system works in the Glitter universe. The way it was written felt natural and didn't sound awkward. However, I wish there was a more detailed explanation of Versailles court etiquette. The map of Versailles in the book was useful to give an idea of how big the building is and compare room sizes. So, I am a little disappointed that there was no similar chart made about the futuristic Versailles court rules and the meaning of the French words. Fortunately, there was enough context in the sentences to get a better idea of what the French words mean.

 

At first, I thought I was going to dislike Dani. Surprisingly, she has become one of my personal favorite YA main characters. Dani is a complex character compared to a lot of YA characters I've encountered in the past. She has good qualities like caring for her friends and being competent at math. However, Dani has a fair share of flaws like being selfish at times and underestimating a few of her enemies. The story shows why she sometimes does some questionable actions, but she remains a sympathetic character throughout the entire story.

 

What I also liked about this book was that unlike most recent YA books that are available everywhere, the main character's actions have serious consequences that affect her hard like how she unintentionally kills her mother and her best friend, Molli to name one example. Not to mention, Dani learns the hard way about why she shouldn't put a lot of trust in an immoral drug dealer like Reginald. 

 

I can't believe the book ended at a cliff-hanger. The story was getting to the meaty parts. Fortunately, the sequel is out. So, I will check it out as soon as possible.

(spoiler show)

         

     

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-04-03 18:00
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (Light Novel... I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (Light Novel) - Yoru Sumino

This was a heart-warming yet sad story. I thought this story would be slow to read, but I'm surprised how fast I completed the book. I liked how the story handles a couple of serious topics without being too dreary or too blah. The way it was approached reminds me of Caitlin Doughty's Ask A Mortician web videos. The message of the book shows death as something that happens (with or without warning) and it's sad and it's also okay to not feel okay and cry your heart out. Another important message was living your life to fullest doesn't mean doing anything extravagant, it means to do the things you enjoy even if it's simple like eating at a ramen stand. One another important lesson the book has is to talk about your feelings or worries to your loved ones before it's too late. I felt the story did an excellent job of providing those messages without being a super sentimental after school special.

I really loved Sakura and her sense of humor. I admit a few of her comments made me smile. The main character also seems like a fun person to hang out with (Bookstore trip? Yes, please.) I admit Kyoko was a hard character to sympathize at first, but she eventually grew on me.

I highly recommend this book.

(spoiler show)
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review 2016-04-08 09:34
Live Your Dance
Brave and Awake: A Story of Authentic Becoming - Beverly Molina
We have come here to dance. We have come here to dance the dance of our dreams. Shall we allow it to unfold before us? Come, beautiful stranger, let us dance.

Brave and Awake: A Story of Authentic Becoming is the author's own story. But it is my story, your story, our story, too. The book itself is divided into three parts, three big steps in our journey to awakening. The author shared with us her personal experiences which made it easier to comprehend some ideas, to truly understand the purpose of it all. The main theme is self-discovery--awakening to ourselves, to who we really are deep inside and thus creating our own happiness. It is a very insightful guide for us to always have the courage to let ourselves shine, to make our inner diamond free of this world's dirt and see it for what it is, to scratch beneath our human-body costumes and beneath all our additional costumes for all our roles in this play called Life.

This book really spoke to me. I felt inspired. It took so long for me to read it because I tried to somehow implement these things in my life, try them out... From the first chapter I knew this was for me. It was not a coincidence--coincidences don't exist anyway. I knew all these things. I have had most these thoughts before and still have, but it was still an exciting experience to read thoughts that resonate with me and about things that I think about a lot, which actually shouldn't come as a surprise. I think this would resonate with a lot of people, because when it comes to this, I believe we're all pretty much the same.

I think this is something all of us need. Unlike most kinds of self-help books, I assume, the theme of this book is something everyone can relate to, because everyone wants to be happy. Everyone. That is something deeply ingrained in us. I want to be happy, too. And I was reminded that it is up to me. My happiness is in my hands and your happiness is in your hands, too. I am grateful I read this book. I'm grateful for all the circumstances leading to me reading it. I still feel inspired. It really was an informative, interesting and uplifting read. I will surely return to it frequently to check some "Tools of the Trade" or read some sentences or paragraphs I marked which stood out to me, which I thought I should always have in my mind.

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