Armchair BEA Day 1 – Intro & Best Practices in the Online Book Community

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Hi there peeps! I totally forgot to set up my first post earlier for Armchair Book Expo! If you don’t know what this is, I participated in 2015 and last year and had a lot of fun, but basically it’s for those of us who are unable to attend the convention Book Expo America, but who still want to participate in talking about all things books with the community.

First up, the introductions!

  1. I am . . . Rayna!
  2. Currently . . . Answering these prompts and writing this post late! 😀
  3. I love . . . anime and manga, drawing, my husband, Christ, my friends, Kakakshi Hatake, 707, learning, and other things. Oh, and of course, books.
  4. My favorite . . . book? Uh, well, that’s very hard to choose, so I’ll say my favorite genre is fantasy and sci-fi! Okay, that’s two answers, but still…
  5. My least favorite . . . April Morning. So boring. I’m not into classics as much as I want to be.
  6. My current read . . . A Court of Wings and Ruin (and a huge list of manga that just keeps growing…)
  7. My summer plans . . . My husband and I are going to Disney World the last week of August! 😀 Otherwise, just working, hanging with friends, my birthday. That’s it.
  8. My buddy . . . my hubby!
  9. My blog/channel/social media . . . Well, if you’re reading this you’re on my blog, so…. But here’s my Instagram, Twitter, tumblr, and YouTube channel.
  10. The best . . . thing ever is being happy doing what you’re passionate about.

Alright, now that you know me a little better, let’s move onto the SERIOUS TOPIC.

Best Practices in the Online Book Community

So when I think of this topic, I think about many things. The prompt ranges from time management to social media exposure to ethical obligations and beyond. I think what I want to focus on is posting the content that you want to read.

When it comes to the online book community, there are many factors that go into being a book blogger: consistency, reading books (duh), reviewing, replying to comments, etc. And I think through a lot of that we can get lost and forget why we started to blog and why we wanted to talk about the books that we love.

Writing about the topics that you’re passionate about when it comes to discussions rather than joining the hype train (though there’s nothing wrong with that) can make the difference between a discussion that has a lot of potential and a lot of back and forth constructive commentary, to discussion that falls flat and doesn’t get any feedback on. It’s important to remember to state your own opinions without getting too full of yourself or of hurting others in the process.

It’s a delicate balance, but when you write about the things that you actually want to talk about, whether it be book tags or hauls or reviews or whatever, by you talking about it because you actually want to talk about it will not only have an effect on the way you write your post, but on your readership as well.

Your readers will understand you more and get to know you more, and they’ll also know that you’re being a lot more genuine in your posts than just by going along with the mold.

Talk about the things you want and don’t be afraid to do so. It’s your blog, your space, and you’re allowed to talk about whatever is really on your mind and heart. (Of course, if you have other obligations that you promised to do, you better make sure you do those, too.)

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Are you participating in Armchair BEA? What are some of the best book community practices you’ve picked up over time? Tell me all the things!

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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things on My Reading Wishlist

Hey, I haven’t done one of these in a while. Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke & the Bookish! Today’s topic is about the things on our reading wishlists that we want to see more of in books, whether that be tropes, types of characters, plots, etc.

1. More hate-to-love relationships. Okay, so, does it make me weird that I really like to read about these kinds of relationships? I think there’s something sweet about them and how it shows how people’s emotions can change and develop over time and with learned trust and respect. I don’t know, there’s just something humbling about it.

2. More relationships that have already started pre-book and continue to be strong throughout the story. I mean, do I really need to explain this one? Because I see a MAJOR lack in this kind of romantic relationship, period.

3. More childhood friendships that either do or don’t turn into romantic relationships. Now I love this kind of trope and think it’s super cute when it’s well done, but I hate it when there’s petty jealousy and all of that crap. But I know that also makes for an angsty story, so…

4. Of course more diversity is always a plus. LGBT+, POC, religious, etc. We all know what I mean.

5. Super cheesy fluff. Okay. I know we all like to read about the super cool hero/ine that goes out and saves the world, but what about those stories that are just feel-good and are about a week in their lives where they just kind of bum around, have funny Snapchat talks with friends, snuggle with their loved one, go on a date… I don’t know, I just want more fluff! Of course this would probably be better as a short story than a full on novel, but still.

6. More books set in other countries other than the US or fantasy worlds! I want to read more about cultures across the world through YA books. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

7. Show more interactions with the online world. In case you haven’t noticed, you’re currently reading this on the Internet (GASP!), and the sheer lack of technology in many, many, MANY books is unrealistic. I get that there can be problems, but there’s always room to improve and grow in these areas. Many people have a large part of their lives online, so it’s only realistic to include that in books.

8. More adventures and less saving the world. I mean, don’t get me wrong, those books are and always will be awesome, but I’d love to read a super cool adventure story of a group of friends just going out and seeing the world, without having to save it from The Big Bad.

9. More pets! Super cute puppies and kitties and llamas and sheep and horses…. Okay, maybe this one’s just me, lol

10. More healthy family interactions! It’s always SO amazing to see healthy family interactions between teens and their parents or siblings, and I really, really just want to see more of that.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What’s on your reading wishlist? What more would you like to see of in books? Does anything on my list resonate with you? Let me know!

Spring Reading Wrap Up

Time for a reading wrap up! Haven’t done one in a while, but I figured I’d talk about all of the things I’ve been reading the last couple of months. I’ve been reading pretty much exclusively manga, and I’ve been loving it because I haven’t read this much manga in a long time. But I’m enjoying pretty much everything I’ve been reading, so here’s what I’ve read so far this year! (I’m not going to talk about some of the books I’ve already done separate reviews for, but rather other series.)

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Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida, volumes 1-12. Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.

There’s a total of 14 volumes in this series, and though the whole series is completed and I could read it all, I’m actually collecting these specific editions of the series. BUT what I’ve read of the series so far? Oh. My. God. It’s so dark and twisted and I love it.

It’s rated for older teens 16+ and with good reason because there’s a lot of blood and violence that happens in this story. Ken Kaneki goes through a lot when he suddenly becomes a ghoul after being attacked by one, and it’s pretty much his journey going through a lot of hardships, almost dying several times, and becoming stronger to save others.

Honestly, it’s one of my favorite series I’ve read and I’m glad I picked it up. It really deserves the hype it has. There’s humans who work for an organization trying to abolish ghouls, and then there are sects of ghouls who try to rise up against them. I recommend this series if you’re looking for something darker and more intense. I’m also currently watching the anime and, hoo boy, it’s intense.

Noragami by Adachitoka, volumes 1-17. Yato is a stray god. He doesn’t even have a shrine, not to mention worshipers! Hoping he’ll eventually raise enough money to build himself the lavish temple of his dreams, Yato accepts all kinds of jobs. Of course, he can’t afford to be picky; from finding lost kittens to helping a student overcome bullies, no job is too small for Yato, the god-for-hire! An eccentric story with a charming cast of characters!

This is probably one of my favorite series ever because it’s so fun but also serious at times, and omg I ship Hiyori and Yato so much like JUST KISS ALREADY, and there are other characters that I’ve grown attached to and I want to know what exactly happens with them because I’ve read up to volume 17 and so much has happened!

Yato is a god who was made through wishes and he is often forgotten if he is ever seen or helps others. And then when Hiyori sees him one day and saves him from being hit by a truck (even though the driver couldn’t see him), she then ends up almost dying and being able to slip out of her body and join Yato – and eventually Yato’s shinki [weapon], Yukine – on their jobs and adventures. It’s such a great story that doesn’t fail to make me laugh and be suspicious of so many characters and their true intentions.

Seriously check this series out. It’s so good and very addicting. Plus the art style is really nice to look at.

Ten Count by Rihito Takarai, volumes 1-6. When the President got into an accident, Shirotani Tadaomi met Kurose. On their very first meeting, Kurose could tell right away that Shirotani is Mysophobic and said that it’s pretty bad while suggesting it would be better to consult a doctor about it. Shirotani was left perturbed by the encounter. Who is Kurose? And how was he able to tell Shirotani’s condition?

This is a yaoi series which means lots of boy/boy love and sex, and I’m really enjoying this series. At least, up until the last few chapters because now I feel like Kurose is really just using Shirotani and it’s not healthy and just… yeah… But anyway, up until that point, it was hot and steamy and it was nice to see Kurose wanting to help Shirotani with his mysophobia, and Shirotani is making progress, but I hope events don’t escalate and he becomes worse than before.

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Koisuru Harinezumi by Nao Hinachi, volumes 1-3. To change from ‘like’ to ‘love’, what strategies must Ozawa use on Kazuki? Kazuki Heiji is the troublemaker. He gets into fights and is very cold to everyone. Ozawa Kii witnesses a fight between a classmate and Kazuki but he unexpectedly says he wants to become friends? And what’s this about ‘like’ and ‘love’.

Ahhhh the cutenessssssssss. This is a shoujo manga, meaning it’s more tailored toward girls with romance and all of that, and I love shoujo manga, so this was right up my alley. The art style is very lovely and the story is a cute one of a scary guy, Kazuki, who is approached one day by a sweet girl, Ozawa, to turn in an assignment, and they soon find themselves in a friendship. But Ozawa slowly starts to fall for him and things just kind of get more complicated from there in ways but sweeter in others.

If you need a light hearted read with cute feels, definitely check out this series. It’s super cute and yeah, the story isn’t original, but who cares? Still so many feels.

Tsubaki Chou Lonely Planet, chapters 1-33. Ohno Fumi is a poor 2nd year high school student. Because of her father’s debts, she’s kicked out of her own home and has to rely on her own connections to survive. Thus begins her life as a live-in housekeeper for a reclusive writer…

Ahhhh I can’t even with this seriessssss. It’s too cute and I simply love it. When Fumi becomes a housekeeper to a reclusive writer, Akatsuki, she slowly develops feelings for him. And there’s a lot of silly moments and cute moments and then THE CONFESSION. AHHHH dying of the cuuuuuute. Okay, sorry, it’s very fresh in my mind as I just finished reading all of the updated chapters online that I could find. But yeah, another light hearted read for you to check out if you’re interested!

Nanairo Sekai, volume 1 – four short stories. 1) The Glasses Thief
A boy with bad eyesight and the girl who is in love with him.

2) Convenience Store Honey
A boy worries about his quiet boyfriend.

3) Adult-Uniform
A girl wonders why her childhood friend does not speak to her anymore.

4) Refrigerator Chocolate
Satoru is going to have heart surgery with a 50/50 chance of surviving. One day he comes across a girl in a refrigerator…

This manga consisted of four short stories, each with some form of love in it, and it was just so bitter sweet reading them. They all deal with some small hardship that they have to overcome in some way, and I think that that brings the characters closer together. If you’re looking for a feel-good, but still kinda bitter sweet, read then check out this manga.

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Living no Matsunaga-san, chapters 1-2. Miko leaves the house of her parents to live with her uncle who runs a boarding house, but her first meeting with Matsunaga-san isn’t good and then he discovers that she is one of her uncle’s tenants. Even as a secondary student she surrounds herself with university students who have a very different life from her own. Can she fit into her new home?

Whyyyyy are there only two chapters translatedddddd!? I need more nowwwwwwww. Seriously, there’s something about this manga and I just NEED MORE. The art style is a good one, the story seems like it’s going to be fun, the main leads are interesting… Ugh. Give me more! I want to see their relationship grow, please, thanks… Even though there’s only a few chapters out right now, definitely check out this story when you can. Super cute and funny.

Hirunaka no Ryuusei, chapter 115-year-old country girl, Suzume Yosano, has to move to Tokyo to live with her uncle due to her father’s transfer. She bumps into a mysterious man who ends up taking her to her uncle’s place after she gets lost. Turns out, Suzume will be seeing him a lot more often once she starts school because… he’s her homeroom teacher!?

Okay, love stories between teacher and student seem to be popular right now, where the student is 16/17 and the teacher is in their early 20’s and I don’t know what it is about it, BUT I’M DIGGING IT. AHH. And I’ve only read the first chapter of this manga but I can tell I’m already going to be intrigued because it just has a lot of elements that I’m interested in and I know I’ll enjoy. More thoughts will come once I’ve read more.

Smokin’ Paradise by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou, volume 1. Youkou lives in a future where organ transplants are common and available to all, but life’s not as idyllic as it seems–it turns out a nefarious organization is using that technology for their own evil ends! Only the elite squad Jackalope has any chance of stopping them before it’s too late.

Okay, this one is much more intense than the previous ones I’ve talked about because it’s a shonen series, which means it’s geared toward boys, and therefore there’s more explosions and death and gutting and machines…. Anyway, this story has my interest piqued because so many things happen and I have so many questions about the main character and his history and why he is the way he is and what’s going to happen next. As far as I know only the first volume is out, but it’s really good. Violent, but good.

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Mayoke no Darling by Puku Okuyama – chapters 1-4. At the university’s badminton club’s freshmen welcome party, everyone is scared stiff when the scary-looking Tougo introduces himself. The fearless (or maybe just clueless) freshmen Haruka ends up sharing a taxi home with Tougo… and while everyone else trembles in fear before him, Haruka finds him handsome.

SUCH A CUTE YAOI, OMG. I almost forgot to add this to my list but even though there’s only a few chapters out right now, this was still very cute. It’s simple and sweet boy love and cute and makes me happy. Especially since it’s like the “scary looking” dude with the SUPER cute guy who’s all bubbly and kind of airheaded. Commence the warm fuzzies, I clearly can’t coherently write anything about this without squeeing.


So that’s most of what I’ve read so far in the last few months. There is another series or two I started and got a decent way through but I can’t remember their names. #fail

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Anyway, let me know if you’ve read any of these manga and what your thoughts were! Have any recommendations? I’d love to hear them!

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!

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