My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life Review || Basically A Wikipedia Article On Japan

38491757In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World’s future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS-the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahari, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn’t exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of uber-cool international kids who spend money like it’s air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who’s frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.

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This cover is basically the cutest thing ever. And I had such high hopes for this one! It’s really a shame that I was so let down. The premise of this is really cute! It’s a Cinderella-esque rags to riches story, about a poor girl in foster care being whisked away to live with her previously unknown fabulously wealthy Japanese dad in Tokyo! I’ve read so many books with a similar premise, but never before in Asia, so I was really excited for this book!

Alas…this really didn’t feel so much like a novel as it felt like a travel guide for Japan. We got descriptions of the locations, the food, the clothes, the traditions…basically everything. And that would normally be a great thing! I really did enjoy reading about all of that, since I’m all about that Asian rep! BUT, what I would really like to see is to really experience all of this, instead of having is straightforward narrated. This really felt like one of those classic “show not tell” worksheets we all got in third grade, but this was told instead of shown and I kind of felt like I was reading a Wikipedia article about Japan, not really living it through Elle, the main character. Maybe this will appeal more to people who aren’t familiar with Asian/Japanese culture, because you really get to learn about it, but since I already knew most of what Elle was discovering, it was all very boring and annoying and I was like skip skip skip.

asset 1With that said, of course the Asian rep was really nice to see! Elle is mixed race, half Japanese, and half ambiguous white/black/native American, and since I’m also half Asian this rep is so hard to find and this made me really happy! Of course, this story takes place in Japan, so there are many other Asian characters, and another half Asian main character as well! I loved seeing Japan represented and displayed! There were a few minor things that seemed off to me, such as the pronunciation of names, but for the most part, it was very clear that the author (who is not Asian) really did her research!

Unfortunately, speaking of rep, there was one mention of lgbtq+ rep that I didn’t really like. At one point, Elle sees a text on a woman’s phone from another woman who is probably her girlfriend/lover/whatever, and Elle is immediately like: Wow she’s lesbian I guess that’s why she divorced her husband! And I was like…um…literally why would you jump to that conclusion bisexual people exist too just because she likes women doesn’t mean she doesn’t like men and didn’t love her ex-husband at some time…

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Beyond just this, I didn’t really like Elle as a character. She was in foster care, which is a situation I obviously have no experience with, and I don’t want to come across as privileged here, but Elle struck me as really whiny and annoying, and judgmental. She meets a woman, who went to Harvard but is not working as a secretary, and her immediate thought is: wow I guess she wasn’t very smart. When she learns that Japanese people take their shoes off indoors, she goes like: that’s weird what do they have against shoes. It felt like she was constantly judging Japanese customs, and just people in general, so I never really warmed up to her.

Her thoughts, and basically the entire book also felt very juvenile. Elle is sixteen, and a junior in high school, but she felt much younger, like a freshman or a middle schooler or something. I kind of have no patience for people who talk like “my fav” and “yessss” and “OMG WTF.” I mean, yeah that’s text language and I text that to people, but can anyone take a book seriously that has people talking with multiple s’s in yes?

However, the book had some content that felt pretty mature: there was a lot of swearing, and there was attempted date rape, as well as mentions of a guy getting a girl pregnant when she was too drunk to remember. I feel like the content itself is more upper YA, high school at least, but the writing style was more lower YA, like middle school, and overall it really didn’t match, and as someone who tends to read more upper YA I was pretty frustrated by the irritating juvenile tone.

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Besides just Elle, all of the characters felt very flat and to be honest I didn’t really like any of them. The ex-brats just felt like steryotypical mean girls from a high school movie or something, like the plastics, and not like the way actual people act. Basically all of the guys were douchbags. I couldn’t care less about Elle’s love interest and felt zero chemistry between them and honestly the romance was probably the weakest part of the book.

I didn’t really like the ending of the book. There were some issues left unsolved that I felt really needed to be resolved, but were kind of just forgotten about. In addition, some of the changes that did happen, the sort of people becoming better people felt rushed and unrealistic given everything else we learned about their characters throughout the book. Overall, this book had such a great premise and such a kawaii cover, but I definitely won’t be recommending.

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1.5 stars

 

Book Blogger Memory Challenge || In Which You See How Weird My Brain Is

Hello loves! I was over on Kristin Kraves Books and I saw the Book Blogger Memory Challenge and I thought to myself, hmm, I don’t know anything, guess I should try this out to see how terrible my memory actually is!

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Rules

You must answer these questions without looking anything up on the internet and without looking at your bookshelves!

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1. Name a book written by an author called Michael

aaaanndd…off to a great start since I literally can’t think of one single book haha rip

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2. Name a book with a dragon on the cover

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A Tale of Two Castles | This isn’t even YA but it’s the only dragon I can think of haha and what a nice looking dragon it is.

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3. Name a book about a character called George

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Curious George | Okay okay it’s literally in the title okay pls let me live

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4. Name a book written by an author with the surname Smith

I officially fail at this challenge. The only Smith I can think of is my seventh grade pre-algebra teacher Mr. Smith loll.

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5. Name a book set in Australia

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Words in Deep Blue | Yes! Finally one that I can do! This book is so beautiful and sad and amazing and I definitely recommend!

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6. Name a book with the name of a month in the title

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September Girls | I literally don’t even remember what this book is about it’s been years since I read it but for some reason I remember the title? I’m weird.

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7. Name a book with a knife on the cover

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Stalking Jack The Ripper | Why do I know this I haven’t even read this book why do I know what the cover for a book I’ve never read looks like but I can’t think of a knife on one of the hundreds of books I’ve read???

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8. Name a book with the word ‘one’ in the title

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Just One Day | Funnily enough, most of this book takes place over the course of just one day!

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9. Name a book with an eponymous title

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Fortunately Kristin defined eponymous: (of a thing) named after a particular person. I had no idea haha.

Harry Potter | Going with the obvious here because hey, his name is in the title of seven books!

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10. Name a book turned into a movie

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The Hunger Games | Finally, an easy one! I could go on and on about my favorite book to movie adaptations!

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Tag! You’re It

Soooo…I pretty much failed this tag but I had fun? Tagging these lovelies to see if your memory is any better than mine xD

Bree | Taylor | Alexandra | Lydia | Eva | You!

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Let’s Chat

How good do you think your bookish memory is? Are you always referring to Goodreads like me, or are you spot on top of your game? Do you know any author Smiths (I thought it’s a common last name but I literally can’t think of one!!) I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

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Small Town Hearts ARC Review || A Sugary Sweet Summer Contemorary

36192190Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?

Publication Date: March 19, 2019 by Swoon Reads

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Many thanks to Macmillan/Swoon Reads for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This book was so adorable! It was so cute and sweet and had be swooning all the way through. I read in January, so the middle of winter, and the whole time this book had be thinking summer summer need summer now.

The setting and premise of this book is basically your perfect summer (or any time of the year) read! Set in a cute little town in Maine, this book includes long languid days on the beach, picturesque sights of the town (Babe lives in a lighthouse!!!), sandcastles and even a sandcastle building competition, a summer clam shell pageant, and food! Honestly, if for no other reason (although there are definitely other reasons) you should read this book for the food alone. Babe works as a barista and adores baking (thus making me adore her), and there are so many mouthwatering descriptions of desserts! I mean, just take a look at the delicious looking pie on the cover and then multiply it by 1000 and you get all the foooooood in this foodtastic book.

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In addition to Babe’s amazing trait of being an amazing baker, she’s also just a fantastic character. I love how she has goals and knows what she wants to do with her life, even if it’s not going to college which seems to be unusual for YA contemporary; she knows that she loves to make people happy with food! She has a clear passion for what she loves, be that people like her friends, places like her town, or things like food.

Levi, her love interest, is also absolutely amazing! He’s an artist, sort of confused in what he wants to do in the world at the moment, and just starts to discover what he really wants to do this summer. Of course, he and Babe also have a bit of a forbidden romance since Babe has vowed off dating summer boys who always leave at the end of the summer, and I’m such a sucker for a forbidden romance so that was great too! I will note that I’m not perfectly satisfied with how it was wrapped up at the end, but for the most part I was swooning!

As for the supporting characters: there were a couple of people that I hated, and then a couple that I loved! One prevalent theme in this book was letting go of the past and accepting change, and with that, new friends, and it was so sweet to see Babe grow close to new people after a falling out with her old friends. On the other hand, I was kind of sick of Babe clinging on to terrible, cruel friends, and always justifying and making excuses for them, and I was a bit irked by the way those friendships were wrapped up.

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There was fantastic bi rep in this book too! Babe is bi and this is openly discussed. There is talk of her ex girlfriend trying to come to terms with and discover her sexuality, as well as the clash with wanting to be open with relationships and people who aren’t ready to come out yet.

I’m close to Babe and all her friends’ ages right now and this book really resonated with me. It definitely shows how hard it can be to accept change and move on with life, which is what really happens after high school moving on to college or wherever your life takes you. I’d definitely recommend this book for people close to that age who are dealing with change in their lives, as it’s very relatable! Definitely anyone of any age can enjoy it though 🙂 Overall a very sugary sweet read I really enjoyed!

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4 stars

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Amazing Female Characters I Love || Celebrating International Women’s Day

Hey loves! Once again, it seems like I’m late because I apparently can’t do anything else. But two days ago, Friday March 8th, was International Women’s Day! This is such a great day to celebrate, so I felt I just had to share a post with some of my absolute favorite female characters!

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Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

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Hermione is such an incredible character to admire! She’s so passionate about her studies and such an absolutely adorable nerd, yet she also knows that there are more important things in the world. She’s loyal and brave, and stood by her friends and her beliefs in the face of near certain death facing down Voldemort.

“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery”

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Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

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When I think of strong, fierce, badass female characters, of course I have to think of Katniss! She’s amazingly strong and fierce, surviving the hunger games not just once but twice, and then becoming a revolutionary against the corrupt government. And at the same time, she’s such an all around amazing person, volunteering to save her little sister and caring fiercely for her loved ones.

“At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.”

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Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows

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How can I not admire Inej? Firstly, she’s an amazingly talented girl, a wraith and a spy who can climb anything and sneak anywhere and goes on insanely hard heists. She’s been dealt a horrible life, but she still manages to make a place for herself with her friends, and she still knows what matters to her, without being corrupted by the barrel and all its criminals.

We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

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Linh Cinder from Cinder

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All of the girls from The Lunar Chronicles are amazing, but I have a special spot in my heart for my favorite Cinder. I love how she’s an incredible mechanic, always wearing cargo pants and covered in grease in a role traditionally for boys, breaking out of the prissy perfect princess stereotype! And then of course she’s incredibly fierce and badass, leading a revolution on Luna, fighting for cyborg and lunar citizens rights, getting thrown into a harsh situation she never asked for and facing death and torture so many times, but prevailing and persevering to the end.

“You said yourself that the people of Luna need a revolutionary.” She lifted her chin, holding his gaze. “So I’m going to Luna, and I’m going to start a revolution.”

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Starr Carter from The Hate U Give

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Starr’s character struck me so much since it’s so real, not facing down evil fantasy villains, but the cruel injustice of the real world. Her life is anything but easy, seeing two friends die and having the world unfairly stacked against her, but she still stands up for her friend and speaks out, fighting for what is right no matter what.

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

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Let’s Chat

Who are some of your favorite female characters? Do you love these ones as well? I’d love to chat in the comments below 🙂

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Weekly Wrap Up || March 8th 2019

Hey loves! It’s Saturday, so that means it’s time for another Weekly Wrap Up!

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Books Read

  • Stay Sweet: 3.5 stars | I definitely had a few issues with this book and its characters, but it was so sweet omg so much ice cream I’m in love.
  • My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life: 1.5 stars | I mean…this really doesn’t feel like a novel as much as it feels like a travel guide or wikipedia article…
  • A Prom To Remember: 2.5 stars | This was such a cute premise (just look at that cover!) but with seven POVs in 300 pages, I think it was trying to do too much.

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Blog Posts

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Life Happenings

  • Is anyone else absolutely obsessed with Sucker and The Jonas Brothers?? I can feel my middle school excitement returning.
  • I had senior ditch day on Thursday and you have no idea how great it felt to sleep in and hang out with friends all day when all my younger friends were suffering in class haha I’m terrible.

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Let’s Chat

How was your week? Have you read any of those books I read? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

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