Manga Reviews: Yona of the Dawn Volume 1, 2, & 3

Series: Yona of the Dawn
Volume 1
Author: Mizuho Kusanagi
First published: 2010
Ongoing: yes
Rating: 4.75/5 stars
Date read: May 14, 2020 (reread)

Yona lives her life as the spoiled princess of Kohka, hoping to one day marry her sweet and handsome cousin Su-won and being constantly annoyed by her bodyguard Hak. On Yona’s sixteenth birthday everything changes dramatically after she witnesses the murder of her father at the hands of her beloved Su-won. Hak and Yona flee the palace, and set off on a journey to find Yona’s destiny and the companions she needs to achieve it. 

It’s always so challenging rating and reviewing an ongoing manga based on only one of its volumes. We’re really just starting off the story here, so it’s tough to judge it. When we first meet our main character, Yona, she’s a total brat, and she’s especially dense and insensitive when it comes to a certain someone’s feelings somethings never change, though given the circumstances, her personality and attitude change throughout the volume. She and Hak have a really fantastic dynamic, she’s spoiled and can be a bit much at times, but he keeps her in check with his teasing. Naturally I’m rooting for Hak because I always love a character who puts the happiness of the ones they love above their own, and I respect that he acknowledges his own position. As for Yona’s crush on Su-won, while I do feel it comes from a good place, I’ve never take it too seriously because I’ve always thought of it as an innocent childhood fancy. 

In terms of the story, this volume really is just setting the stage for the series. We get a lot of flashbacks to Yona, Su-won, and Hak’s childhood, and these flashbacks create a solid foundation for the varying relationships between the trio. The flashbacks also make the “love triangle” more compelling, and drive home just how devastating Su-won’s betrayal really is. At this point the plot isn’t entirely clear as we have no idea where Yona wants to go from here. 

As for the art, to be completely honest, Kusanagi’s art didn’t sell me initially, but over time I’ve come to love it and I think she’s improved so much since this first volume. Her characters look a bit young in this first instalment, but they look more their ages as the series progresses. I also appreciate that all the faces of her characters are distinct, I’ve come across more than one manga where the artist will use similar faces for every character and if those characters were all bald or changed their hairstyles I’m convinced I would not be able to tell them apart but that really isn’t the case here. Her assistants are also amazing and the scenery in this manga should not be overlooked.

As for some random musings, I wish Hak hadn’t stopped wearing his headband because it was so adorable, I’m still hoping King Il’s reasoning for not wanting Su-won to be king is further explored later on, and I do have to wonder why no one thought to make sure Hak wouldn’t be an issue the night of the assassination. He’s easily the biggest threat in the palace. 

Series: Yona of the Dawn
Volume 2
Author: Mizuho Kusanagi
First published: 2010
Ongoing: yes
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: May 17, 2020 (reread)

Volume 2 of Yona of the Dawn picks up where volume 1 left off, with Hak and Yona seeking solace from the Wind Tribe.

From Volume 1 of the series, its not entirely clear just where this series is going, and while volume 2 still doesn’t answer that question, it does at the very least give Yona a direction to head in. Volume 2 really takes the time to allow Yona to get over her shock over the loss of both her father and Su-won. In this volume we also get to see Su-won move forward with his plan to be King, and what measures he takes in order to garner the support of all the tribes. I really appreciate that Yona of the Dawn is a multiple perspective story and that we get to see what Su-won is up to, though his motivations are still unclear. I also appreciated the time we spent with the Wind Tribe as it added more dimension to Kohka, and allowed us a glimpse into what Hak’s upbringing was like. There were also some really touching scenes in this volume with Mun-deok, he’s the last parental figure the trio has that I’m aware of at least, I mean I have no idea where Su-won’s mom is. With this volume we also get more insight into Hak and Yona’s characters. They’re both individuals who are quick to take responsibility for their actions or in this case Su-won’s actions and that’s a trait I find admirable in any hero/ine. Our sheltered princess also gets to see the result of violence for the first time, an event that I feel really encourages her to take action, and finally moves the story forward. So overall I enjoyed this volume and the world building and character depth it added to the story.

Series: Yona of the Dawn
Volume 3
Author: Mizuho Kusanagi
First published: 2010
Ongoing: yes
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: (reread)

In this instalment of Yona of the Dawn we follow Yona as she leaves the Wind Tribe in search of a priest who can guide her towards the path she is destined to take. 

Yona of the Dawn is always a pleasure to read. This series has some of the best art and Kusanagi’s attention to detail is impeccable. Kusanagi is not only a talented artist, but also a talented storyteller. I love the attention she gives to the main players of the story and really appreciated exploring both Yun and Gija’s backstories, this really helps bring to life their characters and offers insight into their personalities and motivations. My favourite part of any volume is of course Yona’s interactions with Hak, I can’t help it, they’re my OTP. I also liked the world building in this volume, we got a look at the backstory behind Kohka and I really enjoyed the mythos behind the kingdom. Obviously I’m really looking forward to rereading the next volume!

If you’ve read Yona of the Dawn or plan to, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗

Book Review: Anna K

Title: Anna K
Author: Jenny Lee
Date Published: March 3, 2020
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: May 23, 2020 (reread)

Anna K is a modern young adult retelling of Anna Karenina, and follows the love story between Anna K and Alexia Vronsky, the relationship problems between Steven K and Lolly S, and the heartbreak between Dustin L and Kimmie S.

I first read Anna K just after its release, and I enjoyed it so much so that I felt compelled to pick up Anna Karenina. And then of course reading Anna Karenina made me want to pick up Anna K all over again, so here we are. I do think Anna K is more enjoyable if you’ve read the original source material, but that being said it’s absolutely not necessary. Anna K is a fantastic retelling, and viewed as a love story, was much more successful and compelling than its counterpart Anna Karenina. With Anna K we have all the passions and lust of Anna Karenina but told in a way that is much more believable. I also found that while Lee captured the essence of the original cast, her characters were much more dynamic and likeable than Tolstoy’s. As for plot comparisons, I love that the opening few chapters of Anna K really stayed true to the original story, and found the mirroring of the two scenes extremely clever. The changes Lee made plot wise made perfect sense to the setting of the novel and I enjoyed the liberties she took to narrow down the cast a bit and to modernize the story. I especially liked what Lee did with the ending of her retelling, and it’s an ending that I know will have me either near or in tears every time I read it. 

I know this book isn’t going to be for everyone. Anna K has a lot of unpopular elements: cheating, insta-love, and shallow, unlikeable characters, and yet it’s one of my favourite contemporaries. I think a large part of why I was able to overlook the cheating was because without it this really wouldn’t feel like an Anna Karenina retelling, and in Anna K it is so clear to me that Anna and Alexander are not right for each other, yet Anna is in a position where she has a lot of pressure to stay with him. While that doesn’t justify her cheating, it does make it a lot easier to stomach. I also didn’t even think about the fact that this had insta-love until my second read through. The characters falling in love or developing crushes just feels so natural that I didn’t even notice just how quickly these feelings were developing. As for the characters being unlikeable, initially they come across as pretty shallow and selfish, but over time you realize there’s more to each character than meets the eye.

As for the writing, Jenny Lee is a fantastic writer and her style was well suited to the story (I’d love to see her write something else and see how her writing adapts to a different setting). The writing is reminiscent of a tabloid magazine, but I mean that in the best way possible, it really draws you in and it’s easy to digest. My only major complaint is that I wish the main characters had been aged up, and that this was new adult instead of young adult. I don’t know what goes on in the lives of extremely wealthy teenagers, but it would have made the story more believable for me had they been university students instead of high schoolers.

Have you read Anna K? If not, do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗

WWW Wednesday #7

WWW Wednesday is a weekly MEME hosted by Taking on a World of Words answering the following questions:

1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
This is my current audiobook, it’s super interesting to learn about what sort of conditions and settings are necessary for success.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (reread)
Still reading this one, for whatever reason I feel like my days have been very full so I haven’t made as much time for this reread as I would have liked.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 11 by Mizuho Kusanagi (reread)
When I first started my reread of Yona of the Dawn this was one of the volumes I looked forward to getting to the most, and it is not disappointing.

Recently Finished

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition 3 by Naoko Takeuchi (reread)
This was my least favourite volume so far! It just read like a bad episode of The X-Files.

Anna K by Jenny Lee (reread)
I have a feeling Anna K is going to be one of those books that I love more and more with each reread. Plus I’m super thrilled this is getting a sequel! I’ll definitely be rereading this again just before it’s released!

Yona of the Dawn Volume 10 by Mizuho Kusanagi (reread)
I was really surprised that I loved a volume that focused on Tae-jun, he starts off as a pretty despicable character, but after this volume he really grew on me.

Reading Next

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition 4 by Naoko Takeuchi (reread)
I seem to have trouble motivating myself to continue with this series, but what’s keeping me going is knowing I’ll eventually get to the Sailor Stars arc.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
I’m going to pick this up as soon as I’m done my reread of Spinning Silver. I’ve tried my best to avoid reading any reviews, but it’s been difficult because it’s getting a lot of buzz!

The One by John Marrs
This’ll be my next audiobook once I’m done with Outliers. Apparently it’s full-cast so I’m looking forward to it!

What are you currently reading? What have you just finished reading? What are you planning to read next? I’d love to hear it! As well as any of your thoughts on the books above. Happy reading! 💗

Top 5 Tuesday #4

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly MEME hosted by Bionic Book Worm, this week’s prompt is:

Top 5 Summer Reads

Because we’re still in Asian Heritage Month, I decided to keep my picks to Asian authors.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians is like a more culturally diverse Gossip Girl. It’s a story full of drama about a woman named Rachel who is going to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. She is surprised to find out he is insanely wealthy and considered one of Singapore’s most eligible bachelors. I don’t know about you but I love reading contemporaries during the summer. I first read Crazy Rich Asians two summers ago and have associated it with summer ever since!

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient follows a woman named Stella who is very inexperienced when it comes to dating and relationships. She hires a male escort to show her the ropes. The Kiss Quotient is a super cute, sweet, and funny romance, just the type I like to read during the summer months.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
When Dimple Met Rishi is a young adult contemporary romance novel following a young woman named Dimple during her last summer before college. Her parents send her off to a coding camp (something she is extremely excited about) with the ulterior motive of also trying to arrange a marriage for her to a young man named Rishi. What better book to read in the summer time than one that takes place during the summer?

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
I don’t just like easy going contemporaries and decided to include a few hard-hitting ones as well. The Science of Breakable Things is a middle grade novel about a girl named Natalie who’s mother is depressed, and who is learning just what that means. The Science of Breakable Things is super underrated! It’s a middle grade so it isn’t too heavy, yet the topic was really well handled.

The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan
For my last hard-hitting contemporary pick I had to go with The Astonishing Colour of After. It is such a beautiful story. The Astonishing Colour of After follows a young woman named Leigh who’s mother recently committed suicide. Leigh also believes her mother has turned into a bird. Leigh visits Taiwan to reconnect with her mother’s family and culture.

What books are you excited to get to this summer? I’d love to know! Happy reading! 💗

Book Series Review: Soul Eaters

The synopses and reviews for books two and three contain mild spoilers to prior novels. For my overall thoughts on the series are at the bottom of this post.

Title: Cracked (Soul Eaters #1)
Author: Eliza Crewe
Date Published: November 5, 2013
Rating: 4.5/5
Date read: March 3, 2020 (reread)

Cracked follows a half-demon, half-human named Meda who believes she is the only one of her kind. One day, in the middle of one of her human meals, she runs into demons and demon hunters. Meda tricks the demon hunters into thinking she’s harmless in order to infiltrate their base and learn more about herself. 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, the Soul Eaters series is everything I wanted the Shadow Hunter books to be. We have witty banter, kick butt characters, and interesting (not necessarily romantic) relationship dynamics. Meda is the unconventional hero of my dreams, she’s snarky, sarcastic, and knows how to get her way. She does a lot of terrible things and she doesn’t feel remorseful about it (most of the time). My favourite aspect of Cracked is the friend group that forms. These characters really have to work for their friendships and that makes them so much more believable.

Title: Crushed (Soul Eaters #2)
Date Published: August 5, 2014
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: April 20, 2020 (reread)

Crushed is the second novel in the Soul Eaters trilogy. Crushed picks up a few months after the events of Cracked as Meda is poorly adjusting to life with the Crusaders. Matters aren’t helped when a certain bad boy makes an appearance and a tempting offer Meda doesn’t want to pass up. 

I can’t deny that Crushed is a filler novel, in that we pretty much end things off where we start, but I personally have never been one to hate on filler novels. I find that they tend to offer the most character development/exploration and world building, two things I love, and two things I thought were very well done in this instalment. Because of the events taking place in the novel, Meda develops a lot as a character and becomes more sympathetic towards others (to an extent, don’t worry, she’s not a completely different character by the end of this). As for the world building, it was introduced in a very natural way and at a very natural point in the story, and I thought Crewe’s use of Armand to answer main questions was brilliant.

Emotionally, Crushed is equivalent to Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix or Spider Man 2 (2004) in that we have ANGST, ANGST, ANGST a situation that is wholly frustrating for the protagonist, and it seems no one is on their side. I’m personally a sucker for this type of story line, it really pulls on my emotions, so naturally I loved where the story went. I also think the situation Meda is in is very compelling. You can’t be mad at the Crusaders for not trusting her, but at the same time their attitude and actions towards her are both infuriating and questionable and make you sympathize for her. 

The highlight of this novel for me was Jo and Meda’s relationship, it’s why I have so much love for this series, well that and Meda’s charm, and sense of humour. How often do we come across a young adult novel where the bonds between two female friends are this important to the story? There is nothing easy about their relationship, its a constant uphill battle, and yet they love and are loyal to each other. 

Title: Crossed (Soul Eaters #3)
Date Published: August 13, 2015
Rating: 4.75/5 stars
Date read: April 28, 2020 (reread)

Crossed takes place not too long after Crushed, the Crusaders have lost their base and are moving around a lot. On the bright side, after the events of the last novel they’re also more willing to work with Meda. When the Crusaders propose a crazy plan to help them get an edge over the demons, Meda is less than willing to oblige.

So we’ve finally reached the end. Meda is just as snarky and embracing of her cowardliness and sense of self-preservation as ever. There were some pretty crazy plot points that I had completely forgotten about in this instalment that were a very pleasant surprise. I do have to say that the series gets a bit repetitive in the sense that the ultimate conflict in each novel involves infiltrating the demons’ base, but it makes sense given the premise. 

As usual, the highlight of the novel for me was the characters. I especially liked where the story went with Jo’s character, her development in this novel was fantastic and brought about some really great discussions on hatred and hope. I also liked that we saw more to Chi’s character and the character development and backstory we got on Armand made me sympathize towards him a lot more. It was weird that Meda was the sense of reason in this novel, but fair. And of course I loved how Jo and Meda’s relationship was the most important relationship in the novel. My biggest complaint about this series is that Meda and Jo aren’t canon.

Final thoughts: Speaking for the series as a whole, it’s solidified its position as one of my favourites. I can’t imagine myself disliking a story where the main character constantly struggles to do what’s morally correct versus what’s in their best interests. I’ve read from a few different characters where one of their internal struggles was not succumbing to their more terrible base desires and I think Meda is one of the best depictions of this type of character. It also helps that she’s incredibly charming in a sarcastic and snarky way. If you’re looking to pick up a series with one of the best main characters ever, then this is it!

Have you read Soul Eaters? If not, do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗

Six for Sunday #4

#SixforSunday is a weekly MEME hosted by A Little But a Lot, this week’s prompt is:

Favourite characters from series

This month has been series themed and next week’s topic rounds things out with favourite series. This week, to avoid repetition, I’m going to refrain from mentioning any characters from my top six favourite series.

❥Ruby Oliver from the Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart
I don’t really know what this says about me, but I wanted to be Ruby Oliver when I was younger. I just thought she was the coolest girl ever. Ruby is quirky, cute, and really just tries her best. I find her so endearing and I can relate (or rather could in university) a little too well to her boy troubles. If you’re looking for a cute story with great anxiety representation and that focuses a lot on the falling out of a friendship, this is your book and Ruby’s your girl!

❥Royce Melborn from the Riyria novels by Michael J. Sullivan
I also don’t know what this says about me but I have a thing for Slytherin main characters. I love a character who’s more interested in their own goals and ambitions than in being altruistic, I think it adds a lot more depth to the character, especially when they’re faced with something that isn’t in their best interest but is for the greater good. Give me all that inner conflict. Royce is especially ruthless and cold and unintentionally funny and I think he’s so great.

❥Quan Diep from The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
While we haven’t gotten a novel where he’s the main character yet, Quan stole my heart in The Bride Test and I am so looking forward to The Heart Principle where he’ll finally get his chance to shine. Quan was just so sweet and kind to his younger brother, and he really looks out for the people he loves, I love that.

Adrian Everhart from Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Look, I’m not one to do the whole book-boyfriend or book-girlfriend or book-significant other thing, but I make an exception for Adrian Everhart. While I love me my self-centred, self-interested characters, I also love some of the characters that fall on the opposite side of the spectrum, characters that are so selfless and that are so set on doing the right thing and do all they can to make it happen. The hero type can be pretty hit-or-miss for me, but they’re especially my thing when they’re as sweet and kind as Adrian Everhart.

❥Pen Alcott from The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I have such a soft spot for when a guard falls in love with the person they’re protecting. Pen is a perfect example of this, and he’s so brave, and kind, and sweet, and loyal, easily my favourite character of the series.

❥Danika Fendyr from Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas
The older I get the more I appreciate a good friendship, and what Bryce and Danika had, it was everything. Give me two best friends who will literally do anything for each other and I’m almost guaranteed to love them no matter what. I also greatly value loyalty in a character, and that is Danika to a T. It also helps that I think she’s so cool!

Who are some of your favourite characters from a series? I’d love to know! Happy reading! 💗

The Real Neat Blog Award

Many, many thanks to ChapterMalliumpkin for nominating me to do The Real Neat Blog Award! Her blog is one of my absolute favourites so if you haven’t already checked her out I highly recommend that you do! 💗

This award was created by Dear Kitty, Some Blog and came about as a means of showcasing bloggers that deserve more attention because of the awesome content on their blog.

The Rules

❥Display the Award Logo.
❥Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
❥Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
❥Nominate some bloggers.
❥Ask them seven questions.

Malliumpkin’s Questions

What’s one book that you can relate to the most and why?

This might seem like a weird answer, but I have to go with Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. Miyrem, the main character, and I have a very similar thought process, and with everything she does I just completely understand where she’s coming from and what her motivations are.

Aside from reading, what’s your favorite activity to do in self-isolation?

I really love art and design. Recently I’ve also made an effort to create more art and practice drawing on a daily basis and it has made me so happy. To see some of my work you can click here.

You just inherited a house, you have one room left to remodel into the dream library. Describe what your dream library looks like and what the crown jewel of this library is.

Something like this, but with a flat ceiling and fairy lights dangling overhead. It would also make me the happiest person ever if I had an entire bookshelf dedicated to Spinning Silver.

Besides being a collector of books, what are some of the other things you collect?

I don’t collect many things, but one thing that comes to mind is my stationary/art supplies. Aside from reading I love to draw and bullet journal and I’ve amassed a lot of pens, markers, and pencils over the years.

Real talk, what’s one topic that you’ve been wanting to discuss on your blog, but haven’t and why?

When I started my blog I went into it with the selfish attitude that this blog is for me and that I wasn’t going to stop myself from posting anything that I want to post. Of all the social media platforms that I’ve used I feel the most free with this one, especially since I started things off with that attitude. So, there isn’t really anything I’ve been putting off discussing for now 😊.

What are the top five books you’re planning to buy from your local bookstore this year?

I’ve preordered He Must Like You by Danielle Younge-Ullman, and I’m definitely going to be buying Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin, Well Played by Jen DeLuca, Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer, and A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik.

Feel good time! What are five songs that have been keeping your spirits high?

Ahaha, this is a hard question because I haven’t been listening to music much lately. Some songs that make me really happy are:

❥2002 by Anne-Marie
❥Sunflower by Post Malone & Swae Lee
❥Bad Habits by Delaney Jane
❥Like OOH-AHH by Twice
❥Dango Dai Kazoku by Chata

The first three songs are songs my husband and I love to dance West Coast Swing to. Like OOH-AHH never fails to put me in a good mood because it’s so upbeat. As for Dango Dai Kazoku, I’m rewatching Clannad, and if you know you know.

Thank again to Malliumpkin for nominating me ☺️ theses were some really great questions and I hope they’ve allowed you to get to know me a little better. Please don’t forget to check out Malliumpkin’s blog if you haven’t already 😊.

I’m going to nominate a few of my favourite blogs to receive this award:

Corina from The Brown Eyed Bookworm
Matty from Matty’s Book Avenue
Evelyn from Moonlit Books
Micky & Hollis from A Take from Two Cities

And my seven questions are as follows:

❥Why did you start blogging?
❥What genre do you read the most and what genre do you wish you read more of?
❥What’s your favourite comfort food?
❥If you were stuck on a deserted island which five books would you want with you?
❥What are your hobbies outside of reading?
❥Does anyone in your family read?
❥If you could travel anywhere (fictional or not) where would you go?

Of course don’t feel obligated to do this tag if tags aren’t your thing! 😊

That’s it for today, I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to check out Malliumpkin and the other blogs I listed above, I’m sure you’ll love them if you don’t already. 💗

Mini Reviews: The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Picture of Dorian Gray, & Heidi

Title: The Adventures of Pinocchio
Author: Carlo Collodi
Date Published: February 1883
Rating: 3/5 stars
Date read: April 22, 2020

The Adventures of Pinocchio follows a marionette named Pinocchio as he struggles to be good in order to turn into a real boy.

I say Pinocchio “struggles” to be good very loosely because, really, Pinocchio could put in more effort. Before reading Pinocchio I read a couple reviews on it and was shocked over how harsh some of them were, but now that I’ve read Pinocchio I understand, he really is a dumbass. There are multiple occasions throughout the novel where someone tries to deter Pinocchio from doing something stupid, but he never listens. It also doesn’t help that this novel lacks subtly when it comes to morals, I feel as though I’ve been bashed over the head repeatedly by the idea that “going to school and working hard leads to good things.” I didn’t hate this story, and ultimately enjoyed the direction in which the plot went, I just wish Pinocchio had been smarter about things, or perhaps had more conflict about whether or not to act out. On a more positive note, I appreciated reading a fairytale-like story that originated in Italy because it was a fun change in scenery from other children’s stories/fairytales. What made this reading experience more enjoyable for me was listening to the audiobook and reading the MinaLima edition, Simon Vance does a terrific job narrating it, and the MinaLima edition of it is stunning. 

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
Date Published: 1891
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Date read: April 20, 2020 (reread)

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel revolving around the young and handsome Dorian Gray. An artist paints his portrait, and upon seeing it Dorian wishes it would age instead of he. Dorian’s wish comes true with horrific consequences. 

I’ve always loved and will always love the concept behind The Picture of Dorian Gray, a picture that ages instead of its subject, I just think that’s so brilliant. In terms of execution, Wilde can get quite long winded at times, and Henry’s attitude towards woman was appalling, but otherwise I enjoyed this story. I love Wilde’s writing style and truly think he has a way with words. As for the characters, they’re the type you’ll love to hate. I especially enjoyed Dorian’s gradual change of character and how he got worse as the novel progressed. Additionally, I think this book has one of the most perfect endings ever. I do think that my next read through isn’t going to be from the audiobook though, I didn’t enjoy that nearly as much as physically reading it. 

Title: Heidi
Author: Johanna Spyri
Date Published: 1880
Rating: 3.75/5
Date read: April 28, 2020 (reread)

Heidi is the story of a young orphan girl named Heidi who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. She charms everyone she meets, but eventually moves to the city to get a proper education, missing the Alps the entire time she is gone. 

Heidi, the girl, is a bit too perfect for my tastes, and I didn’t think she had enough charm to warrant all the adoration she received throughout the novel. Still, I did enjoy the antics she got herself into, and I loved the backdrop of the Alps. The background was well described and fleshed out and this little story is worth reading just for that.Unfortunately the novel got a bit too heavy-handed with its religious messages for my personal tastes in the second half, it was just a bit jarring given it wasn’t as present an element in the first half and had it been more balanced out it probably would have bothered me a bit less. While Heidi is a cute and charming story, I do think there are better children classics out there.

If you’ve read any of these books or plan to read them, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗

Book Review: Alex, Approximately

Title: Alex, Approximately
Author: Jenn Bennett
Date Published: April 4, 2017
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Date read: April 16, 2020

Alex, Approximately follows 17-year-old Bailey (Mink) Rydell. She’s just moved across the country to live with her father. She’s a movie buff and has been chatting online quite a bit with a boy named Alex, and, unbeknownst to him, she just happens to be moving to the same town as him. Bailey proceeds to spend her summer working and flirting with an obnoxious boy named Porter, and trying to uncover Alex’s identity.

I first read Alex, Approximately when I was just getting back into reading, just after its release day and I loved it, and proceeded to pick up every other Jenn Bennett novel that followed, and much to my dismay I didn’t love any of them nearly as much. So, going into this reread of Alex, Approximately, I was hesitant. Naturally I was really surprised to find I still like Alex, Approximately

Jenn Bennett is fantastic at writing romance. She manages to perfectly capture the innocence, sweetness, and self-doubt that comes with two teenagers crushing on each other, and as a result the flirtation between Bailey and Porter was spot-on. I like that Bailey and Porter’s relationship progressed slowly and organically, they start off not getting along, but that develops slowly into friendship, and then from there romantic feelings blossom. While Bailey is physically attracted to Porter right off the bat, she isn’t fixated on his looks and her feelings feel like they come from her knowing him as a person. 

Bennett is also fantastic at writing characters, and I appreciated the representation she included in her novel. Bailey feels extremely fleshed out, as do majority of the side characters. She feels like an authentic teenage voice then again I’m not a teenager, so do I really know what an authentic teenage voice is?. Bailey starts off pretty passive, and she refers to herself as an evader, but over time she learns to open up. She has to work to get out of her shell, and it doesn’t feel like an instantaneous change. I also like that the novel wasn’t wholly focused on romance, and that Bailey’s relationships with her father and with her new best friend Grace were important to the story.

My one complaint with Alex, Approximately is that it’s a bit too dramatic for my personal tastes, as I tend to prefer light and fluffy romances. Both Bailey and Porter have very dramatic backstories, and Bailey’s deals with PTSD (I don’t know how accurate this representation is). But what really didn’t work for me was Porter’s drama with his ex-friend Davey, I think this didn’t add anything to the story. As for the drama at the end of the book, I also have had an online friend who I shared an extremely meaningful relationship with, and I’m not sure how I would have reacted to Bailey’s situation. Given her age I don’t think her reaction was too out-there though, and it made sense given her personality and the situation.

Overall I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a cute, sweet romance.

Content warning: gun violence, stalking, violence

Have you read Alex, Approximately? If not, do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗

WWW Wednesday #6

WWW Wednesday is a weekly MEME hosted by Taking on a World of Words answering the following questions:

1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

Age of Empyre by Michael J. Sullivan
I’ve made it to the final book and so far I’m not loving it. This last instalment is incredibly cheesy and the romance is pretty awful. I also just cannot get over how inaccurate I feel the development of writing is. I’m pretty disappointed and don’t really see this novel redeeming itself for me.

Trade Me by Courtney Milan
I think this novel is making it apparent to me that the only adult romances I really enjoy are of the comedic sort. This is just a bit too angsty and dramatic for my tastes. Still, I do find this premise really interesting and I am rooting for the couple.

Joy at Work by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein
I’m still reading this! I’m actually planning to finish it today. Since picking this up I’ve tried implementing a few changes to my daily life and I really do find some of these tips helpful.

Recently Finished

Lovesick Ellie Volume 6 by Fujimomo
This was easily my favourite volume of Lovesick Ellie so far. I really like “love triangles” when I like both potential love interests and that’s definitely the case here.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
I was pretty pleased by my reread of Sense and Sensibility. I think the story is of the unconventional variety and I really like the direction the plot goes in.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 2 by Mizuho Kusanagi
This really is a series that gets better upon reread, it becomes a lot more apparent how much growth each character goes through, and I enjoy watching the art improve.

Reading Next

Lovesick Ellie Volume 7 by Fujimomo
I was going to drag reading this series out (that’s my bad habit, but only when it comes to manga) because I wasn’t sure when it was going to end and I wanted it to last which doesn’t even make sense given rereading is a thing but after finding out that the series is ending this month (hopefully translations aren’t too far behind with it) I decided that waiting it out is pointless. Plus the way things ended in the last volume has me extremely eager to read this one.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Still waiting for my copy in the mail, but I imagine once I get it I won’t be able to resist not reading it.

Anna K by Jenny Lee
Did you know this is getting a sequel? I literally just found out by looking this up on Goodreads just now. Anyways, technically I’m currently (re)reading this now, but I decided I wanted to switch to the audiobook, so this’ll be my next audiobook.

What are you currently reading? What have you just finished reading? What are you planning to read next? I’d love to hear it! As well as any of your thoughts on the books above. Happy reading! 💗