Rayna Recommends: Diversity

Hey guys, welcome to another installment of my sporadic series, Rayna Recommends! This is a time where I recommend books, movies, and TV shows to you based on the genre or type of books I wanted to talk about.

Today I’m going to recommend to you some of the diverse books, movies, and shows I’ve seen and read. I really enjoy reading and watching this kinds of things, but I still feel like I don’t get enough! With all of the diversity talk that’s been going around lately, I thought that this would be appropriate, so here are my recommendations:

Books

  • None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio is a YA book about a girl who is intersex. Now, I’ve never heard of the term “intersex” until I read this book, and it really opened my eyes to it. It follows a girl who also didn’t know she was intersex until an unfortunate sexual time with her boyfriend that was extremely painful to her and her journey in the beginning stages of accepting who she is and how she can still have a normal life despite it all. It was very interesting and I definitely recommend it.
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Need I say anything more? It’s hilarious, heartwarming, charming, and everything I could’ve asked for in a LGBT+ read and more. Seriously, check this one out. You won’t regret it. It’s about a high schooler named Simon who isn’t out of the closest yet, and how he’s being blackmailed by another kid so his secret is in danger. It’s really awesome, so go read it – right now!
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga has a suicide trigger warning on it, I just want you to know. It’s about a girl who is dealing with a lot of suicidal thoughts and depression, and she meets a kid who also wants to commit suicide with someone else. It follows them and how she realizes how much more life has to offer than what’s going on there. It’s really something very close and personal to my heart and I highly recommend this book.

Movies

  • Beyond the Lights is a movie about a young woman in the music industry who is saved by an officer from committing suicide. The two fall in love and in the process, she realizes that hiding behind all of the makeup, glamor, and fame is so much more to be had. I really enjoyed this movie and thought that it was really well done. Cheesy in a few parts, but overall enjoyable. I love seeing movies with singers/dancers/artists that strive to be their best even when there’s bumps along the way, and to see a cast of colored actors is always awesome as well.
  • Blue is the Warmest Color is an international movie set in France and it follows a girl, Adele, who is discovering who she is as a teen when she meets Emma, a girl with blue hair. The two end up falling in love, but of course there are repercussions in Adele’s life because she was “supposed” to be a straight girl. It’s a really long movie (three hours), and there’s a lot of graphic sexual scenes that I had to turn the volume down on, BUT I really did enjoy it and I really want to see the second part since this is only the first half. It ended on a cliffhanger (kind of) and I need to see how it ends!

TV Shows

  • Orange is the New Black definitely has a diverse cast of characters, and it’s about women in prison. Honestly, that’s a crap ton of diversity if you ask me. Now, I don’t watch OITNB, like, at all, BUT, my husband does and he’s really into it. I’ve watched bits and pieces and from what I gather it’s a really interesting show and one that a lot of people are really into.
  • Good Morning Call is a Japanese drama that’s based off of the manga and it’s adorable and funny and GO WATCH IT. It’s available on Netflix, so really, no excuse. It follows a girl, Nao, and how she rents her dream apartment, but comes to find out she’s stuck with rooming with one of her high school’s hottest guys: Uehara. It’s dramatic, funny, adorable (like I said), so go check it out.

I’m literally drawing blanks now on other movies and shows, but these are just some of the diverse things that I’ve personally enjoyed and that I think you should definitely check out.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Do you have any recommendations for me for diverse reads, movies, or shows? I’d really love to hear it! Also, have you read/watched any of the items on my list? Let me know your thoughts!

Rayna Recommends: Swoony Reads

Hey guys, welcome to another installment of my sporadic series, Rayna Recommends! This is a time where I recommend books, movies, and TV shows to you based on the genre or type of books I wanted to talk about.

Today’s recommendations are swoony reads! What are swoony reads, etc., you ask? They’re books/movies/shows that I’ve found myself to feel all giggly inside because of the romance aspect within them. They make you squeal with delight when you think of the romantic relations within them, and you can’t help but smile.

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Rayna Recommends: Manga Favorites

Hey everyone! I know I haven’t done a recommendation post in quite a while, but I wanted to start the new year off with one of my favorite kinds of books: manga!

I started reading manga back in sixth grade when my best friend introduced me to it. I was hooked for a long time, but I stopped really reading them in college because my interests were changing – but I still enjoy reading a good manga series!

So I thought today I’d recommend some of my personal favorites. They spread over a few genres, but the bigger theme is that they all have some form of romance in them or another.

So here is my list of recommended manga:

1 . Fushigi Yuugi by Yuu Watase

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This is my most favorite series of all time. It’s about a girl who gets pulled into the world of a book and how she has to live in that book until the end, pretty much. There’s romance, action, adventure, SO MANY FEELS, and so much more. I love Yuu Watase’s art style so, so much, and really, anything by her is amazing.

2. Ayashi no Ceres (Ceres Celestial Legend) by Yuu Watase

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This is a more mature series by her, but it’s still a beautiful tale about twins who come to find out a secret about their family and how each of them have their own fates to play out once the secret’s out. It’s got romance, action, fantastical elements, magic, and more.

3. Chobits by CLAMP

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This series by CLAMP is one about a boy who goes off to college and finds a persacom (robot) left out in the garbage outside his apartment. When he brings her back in and activates her, he discovers that there’s a lot more to persacoms than he originally thought – and just how valuable his is. I love, love, love this manga series not only for the art style, but the story as well. Each character is one you get attached to and it’s just a fun, and sometimes intense, story to follow.

4. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya

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This twelve volume series is a long one, but it’s about a girl who stumbles upon some classmates and comes to find out that they change into animals when they’re hugged by someone of the opposite sex. It’s a story about the zodiac and it’s a really good series. The art style took a while for me to get used to, but I otherwise adore the story and characters and I suggest giving it a go.

5. Tokyo Mew Mew by Reiko Yoshida & Mia Ikumi

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The manga series that started it all, of course this series has a special place in my heart. It’s about magical girls who partly turn into animals and have to defeat some evil foes. I really adore the art style and the story, but I have to keep reminding myself how young these characters are. But still, it’s a fun story!

6. Ao Hare Ride by Io Sakisaka

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I. Love. This. Manga. It’s seriously an amazing story about two high school students just going about their days, and one day they fall in love. It’s sweet and funny, and sometimes serious, and I just love it to pieces. Like, I can’t even. Go read it.

7. Kaichou-wa Maid-sama by Hiro Fujiwara

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This series is about a girl who is very standoffish but is then forced to take care of one of her classmates. There’s a lot of silliness that ensues, but it’s also a love story. This one made me laugh a lot and I think it’s just one of those series that’s a great pick-me-up.

Honestly, I can’t recommend these few series enough. They are some of my absolute favorites ever and I think that if you like to laugh, you’ll enjoy any and all of them. There are serious moments involved in each of them, as well as romance and action. Check them out sometime!

Have you read any of these series? What manga do you recommend to me? Let me know!

Rayna Recommends: High Fantasy

Welcome to another recommendation post! I figured I haven’t done one in a while and I really wanted to post something for the weekend (even if it’s a bit late in the day) so here it is!

Today I’m going to be recommending high fantasy books/movies/etc. What is high fantasy? It’s fantasy not set in modern times or in a modern setting with some sort of magical or out-of-this-world element. You’ll see below exactly what I mean.

Books

I can go on for days with books as fantasy is my favorite genre, but here are a few I highly recommend:

  • Falling Kingdoms” by Morgan Rhodes. This series is all high fantasy in that it follows four main characters – one of which has the ability to control the four elements – and is set in a world unlike our own. There is magic, Watchers (people that can turn into hawks and have powers), romance, blood, politics. It’s got a lot of elements that make for a good high fantasy story.
  • Throne of Glass” by Sarah J Maas. This series includes magic, as well, but with a twist: there is something in the land that is preventing magic from flowing on one continent. But among that there are kickass assassin’s, charming princes, loyal guards, sword fights, beings coming to life, witches, demons, faeries, and more. It’s set in a world apart from ours, making it a perfect setting for the story.
  • The Final Empire” by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not even finished with the first book yet, but I’m already recommending it. This book is phenomenal so far, featuring an interesting cast of characters, a magic system unique in its own way, and a world that is so sad compared to ours. It has enough to keep wanting to draw you in and wanting to read more and more and more. Highly recommend this one.

Movies

  • Nausicaa: Of the Valley of the Wind: This movie is beautiful and so under appreciated. This is an earlier film of Studio Ghibli’s but it still holds so much magic and wonder in it, with hints of politics, adventure, and more. This movie tells the story of a princess who is desperately trying to save her planet by stopping two warring parties from destroying each other and the planet they live on. It’s a deep and moving story, but it has its fun parts.
  • Avatar. Okay, this movie is phenomenal. I hadn’t seen it in years, but when I watched it recently I loved it just the same, if not more, than when I first saw it. It has beautiful imagery and lands, and it tells a great story about how humans are trying to steal from this planet, but the native people aren’t having it, even if some of the humans “disguise” themselves as natives: the Na’vi.  I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for something with romance, adventure, politics, and cool blue peeps.

Video Games

Hey, this is a new category! But I love games, so here we are.

  • Any Final Fantasy game ever. I love, love, LOVE this franchise so much: the stories are always amazing, the worlds are gorgeous beyond belief, and the characters are always unique and different from one another. I highly recommend any of the FF games to anyone. If you’re wondering, I’m currently replaying through FFXIII (I never actually finished it the first time around, but that’s a different story). Mind you, these games are extremely time consuming, so just be prepared for that.
  • Kingdom Hearts. I LOVE THIS GAME SO MUCH. I’m a major Disney fan, so when I first played these games years ago, I fell in love. It has fun, it has Disney, it has awesome characters, unique monsters, cool stuff. Just go play it. Right now. Go.
  • Ni no Kuni. This is a cute middle grade type game where it has so much adventure, a neat magic system, boss battles, and so much more. Yes, this may be tailored toward the tween/young teen age group, but I think anyone that enjoys RPG games will enjoy this one.

So there you have it! I could think of a crap ton of fantasy titles, but thinking of high fantasy specifically was a lot harder to do, but I managed to narrow it down! So yes, I recommend these cool things to you peeps; really, any age group can enjoy these as long as you have the desire to. Definitely give them a try if you haven’t yet!