How Books Can Bring Happiness

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us deal with some form of mental illness and we all have different ways of coping with said mental illnesses. One of those ways for me is by shopping. Now, I know this isn’t always the best option in dealing with my illnesses, but if it’s something that brings me temporary joy when I’m feeling otherwise deep darkness, I’m going to do so. Of course, I often regret those decisions right away, but I usually end up with something cute or useful or a book or something… It all evens out, right?

I was just thinking about this and wanted to talk about how reading helps with depression and anxiety, at least for me, and how art is a huge stress reliever.

I know we all joke about how we love books because they destroy us, but is that really a joke? What is it about our emotions being pulled this way and that that make us feel happy? I love to read fluffy stories because they’re super feel-good and cute and they just make me want to swim in a rainbow of daisies, but I also love to read dark books that deal with a very different side of humanity because it’s always interesting to see how they affect me and how I think afterward.

I think that no matter what kinds of books we read, unless we actually hate or dislike the book for whatever reason, it brings us some form of happiness. It lets us feel like there’s more inside of us than what we had before and that’s a feeling that’s very euphoric and hard to let go of.

I haven’t really read any novels this year, but I’ve been reading a lot of manga that’s been making me feel good or giddy or happy. Of course I’ve read some darker things with a lot of action and blood and death, but I find that those stories, too, are just as valuable to me as those that are full of cute romances. When I read novels, it’s the same thing, and I get that feeling of excitement and anticipation when I’m reading. It’s like a light at the end of that dark tunnel that’s trying to keep me trapped inside. I reach for that light and I find hold onto that small glimmer that makes me happy again.

Books are powerful. They have the power to change our emotions and instill in us something other than what we were expecting. And that’s amazing.

And even though I have probably over 200 books that are on my shelves waiting to be read, I know that they’ll still be there, waiting for me no matter my mental state that day, and that’s such a wonderful comfort (even though I’m running out of space ahhhh).

The same goes for art. Art is a super stress reliever for me. I find that when I’m drawing, I can be doing it for hours and not feel hungry or depressed or anything other than focused on what’s in front of me. I’m creating something that I’m happy with (hopefully; the end result is always negotiable in that regard) and something that brings me joy, and that’s something that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I just want you to know that if you’re dealing with your mental illnesses to remember you’re not alone and to not give up. Find the healthy things that make you happy and latch onto them in those moments. Who knows, maybe they’ll be just what you need in that moment to turn it around for the better.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What books bring you happiness when you’re feeling down? I’d love to hear any recommendations!

Imadoki! Nowadays! Series Review

imadoki1Title: Imadoki! Nowadays!
Series: 5 volumes
Author: Yuu Watase
Publisher: Viz Media LLC
Genre: Manga – Shoujo

For Tanpopo Yamazaki, life at the elitist Meiô Academy seems way out of her league. The daughters of wealthy families snub her; other students make light of the fact that she actually tested into Meiô instead of relying on family connections, and the cute boy she saw tending a dandelion the day before wouldn’t even acknowledge her existence. Hoping to make friends and have some fun, Tanpopo starts up a gardening committee, but will this help her survive in a school where superficiality and nepotism reign supreme? IMADOKI follows the trials and tribulations of a budding horticulturist as she makes her way down the winding road to friendship. From Yû Watase, one of Japan’s most beloved shôjo artists, IMADOKI packs comedic charm and heartfelt antics into an adorable bouquet of whimsical fantasy.

As this is a series review there may be spoilers!

I’m going to start this off by saying: I’m biased when it comes to this series and several other Yuu Watase works. I read a lot of her works many years ago and they were some of my favorite series at the time, and still are. So of course upon rereading this series all the way through again, I loved it, but there were some things I didn’t remember that happened and when I read about them it was like I was reading with fresh eyes.

This series follows Tanpopo, a happy-go-lucky girl who moves from Hokkaido to Tokyo to join this elite school to make more friends and experience more in the world. When she first arrives, the day before school starts for the year, she runs into (more like crashes into) Koki, who was minding his own business taking care of a plant. From there it takes off and we learn many things about Koki, Tanpopo, and her serious desire to make friends.

Tanpopo is kind of a clueless person who just wants those around her to be happy because she knows what it’s like to be in a lot of pain and really sad. She’s cheerful even when she’s being bullied for being the new girl and trying to talk to Koki – who acts like a totally different person when he’s at school surrounded by others than when he was alone tending to plants. I think that she’s a very loveable character, and that she really shows her genuine feelings on the surface almost all the time. I think that’s why so many people change around her and become more friendly to her and to others, including themselves. She’s kind of the beacon of hope in this series and I think that she is a great person.

Koki is from one of the elite families in the school, and he hates it. He had a lot of responsibility dumped on him when his older brother, Yoji, runs out on the family with no hint as to where he was going. He finds that everyone in the school only wants to be close to him because of his status, and he hates that. He finds solace in plants and tending to flowers and that’s really where he shows his true colors. I think that he has a great sense of responsibility, but also a great load of guilt because he takes on the tasks of his brother that he didn’t want to take on.

Flippy is a hacker and kind of a crazy guy who can flip on anyone at any time without warning, but he’s also a fun character because not only does he cause mischief, but he really believes in what Tanpopo is trying to do and supports her as a great friend.

Tsukiko is first interested in joining the Plant Committee with Tanpopo just so she could destroy Tanpopo’s image in front of Koki, but then we learn that she just wants to be with Koki for his status and power – the way it’s handled, though, is very funny and I think that it brings a lot of hilarity to some more serious moments in the series. Also, I ship her and Flippy. Just saying.

Arisa is the last of the group to really join in and she was unwilling at first, but once Tanpopo really showed her that it was okay to do things for herself, Arisa decided to be friends with them. Also, she has a secret that they all quickly figure out, and I think that she deals with it in a very mature way.

And then there’s Erika who… I really don’t like. At all. I don’t feel sorry for her and I know she was just there to create drama, but dammit, whyyyyyyy. Ugh. She’s just… not a good person. I don’t like her. I don’t have much to say about her. I’m just glad Tanpopo doesn’t really give up on her, even after all of the crap that she puts Tanpopo through.

As for the plot, it’s a pretty simple high school drama (ahahahaha, simple?) with developing feelings of romance, budding friendships, real life problems, and more. I think that the plot is pretty simple in comparison, but it’s one that draws you in along with the characters because you want to know what happens next with them all. I love being able to see Japanese culture represented so much through manga and this is just one of those examples. I love seeing the blossoming romance between Koki and Tanpopo, and the humor used in moments that really needed it.

I also love Yuu Watase’s drawing style. It’s honestly one of my favorites of all time, so again, I’m biased in that way. But she just makes all of her characters so pretty and memorable. ;-;

If you’re looking for a fun shoujo manga with drama, romance, friendship, and fun times, then check out this series.

Overall series rating: 4.5 stars

Click on the individual covers below to be brought to their Goodreads page!

imadoki2 imadoki3 imadoki4 imadoki5

Love-a-thon Mini-Challenge #3: Fancy Yourself a Poet?

2017-love-a-thon-graphic

Hello lovely people and welcome to Love-a-thon 2017, hosted by these lovely ladies: Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books, Cee @ The Novel Hermit, Kristin @ Super Space Chick, and Mel @ The Daily Prophecy.

This was a crowd favorite last year and I’m so excited to be doing it again this year: it’s book spine poetry time! Pretty much you make a poem out of the spines of books, so it can be as abstract as you want it, or maybe you’re magical and can make a beautiful poem that’s insightful and enlightening out of it. Who knows!?

Anyway, let’s jump right into the poems (which I’ve also posted on my Instragram and used #loveathon as one of the tags).

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Tell me three things;
every. last. word.

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The girl of Fire and Thorns:
ensnared, splintered, unhinged.
Untamed.
Hidden.
V a n i s h …e d.

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[An] Empire of Storms;
a Court of Thorns,
and Roses.
A crooked kingdom.
But, within:
a torch against the
night,
ever the
hunted.


Oooh, what nice poems. I love this challenge and I want to do more spine poetry outside of the Love-a-thon. I think I’ll have to do just that!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Which one was your favorite poem? Would you have chosen something different? What kinds of poems do you like? Romantic, tragic, funny, abstract, larger than life concepts. Tell me all the things!

The Sun is Also a Star Book Review

thesunisalsoastarTitle: The Sun is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Pages: 344
Format: Received in November 2016 Uppercase Box

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

This book was both parts heartbreaking and heartwarming and I don’t know which one I’m feeling more of right now.

I thought that this book was very well written and that the sentences were strung together beautifully. I felt like the characters were real, that their problems, their universe, was real and that I was there with them experiencing everything that they were the whole time. They felt alive and so different but so connected, and I loved that. Plus there were situations that were going on in not just their lives, but in multiple people around them, and each felt real and genuine.

I felt that the plot was fluid and that it went from one scene and thought to the next smoothly, and I loved how there were chapters in between with different characters and also just fun chapters on things like love, eyes, the universe, and stuff like that. I could tell that Nicola Yoon did a lot of research because even I could remember these facts I had read on some of the more scientific parts of the story that were true. It felt like I could connect not only to the characters, but to the whole story in general, which was a very exciting feeling.

Natasha and Daniel’s chemistry together was one that melted my heart. I was afraid because of the insta-love feel of the story in the beginning, but it felt natural the way the circumstances occurred. Of course, I don’t know if this would actually happen in real life (maybe it has?), but I felt the plausibility of the situation and highly enjoyed it.

I found it interesting how Natasha always looked to the facts of things and didn’t believe in things like true love, destiny, and other concepts. I actually found it kind of refreshing, in way, because oftentimes the main characters are dreamers (like Daniel) and I think that because she relied so much on facts and data was actually very cool. Though I was glad she was warming up to the idea of those concepts as the day went by. I thought that she handled herself well in many situations, and I loved how she tried so hard to hide her expressions and emotions, but they slowly came out with Daniel.

And Daniel? Oh my God, he’s freakin’ hilarious! I found myself laughing out loud a lot while I was reading his point of view. He has a lot of jokes and a way with words, so no wonder he wants to be a poet. But otherwise I was glad to see him like his culture but still want to go for his own dreams. His family, though, made me very sad, much like Natasha’s, but in a different way. I understand family and culture and all of that, but still, I wish he could’ve had a better conversation with his father about what he wanted to do.

Overall I found this book to be very well done. The character I was most frustrated with was Natasha’s father because wow, how could someone regret having a family like that? I don’t know how to explain it cohesively, just the way he regretted meeting his wife and having his children irked me. And I’m obviously not one to endorse cheating, though I did kind of root for the lawyer and his secretary? It’s weird.

I found the struggle of deportation to be real, the need and want to be seen and heard and loved to be real, and I loved reading from the perspectives of a Jamaican young woman and a Korean young man.

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it!

Why I Set My Goodreads Challenge to One Book

Hey peeps! It’s that time of year (the very beginning) where everyone (or a lot of people) are wondering what to set their Goodreads Reading Challenge goal to for 2017. A lot of people want to exceed last year’s goal by X amount of books, and some just want to read the same amount they did – or even less. I was thinking about my own challenge and I was going to set it to 30 books again this year, but as I thought more and more about it I realized how much I crave a stress free year.

So I set my goal to one book. And I’ve already accomplished it.

I want to do more than just be a book blogger this year, so I want to do a lot more of my other passions this year than just reading. That’s one of the major reasons why I set my goal to one book. I have more passions than just reading and they’ve been thrown to the wayside these past couple of years.

The other major reason is that by setting it to one book, no matter how many books I’ve read, that feeling of accomplishment will still be there. I don’t feel that pressure that everyone feels when they set that goal. It always seem like we have to reach it, like we have no choice in that matter. But we do.

I don’t think reading, or any passion/hobby/activity should be stressful. We’re doing this for fun, right? We’re doing this for ourselves, to have a voice in the reading world, to share our love of books. So why stress about how many we read?

If you want to set your goal to 100 books, go for it! If you want to set it to 10, go for it! Do whatever you think will make you happy and just set out to achieve that goal! I hope you all have a stressless reading year and that you read the books you want.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What did you set your challenge to, if you did set it? Do you think it’s a good idea to just have one book as your goal, or do you think having a larger number to reach for is better? Tell me your thoughts!