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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Every Magic Lover Should Read

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke & the Bookish. Today’s topic is books that every ___ should read. We got to pick the kind of person we wanted to recommend books to, and I chose people that enjoy reading about magic!

 

1 . Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Honestly, did you not expect this to be on the list? I find that the magic in this world is something that we, as children, definitely wanted to have when we were younger. And we’re all still waiting for our letter.

2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. This story has a different sort of magic that relies on wishes and incantations. Though it’s mostly magic of a different kind, there are still elements and hints of a deeper kind of magic throughout the world.

3. The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. This trilogy has a different kind of magic system that focuses on Allomancy: the use of metals and the different types of metals having a different effect.

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I think that the magic in this world is so complex and so interconnected to everything around it that it’s just really kind of cool. A lot of it is elemental, but there are some that are different and deeper like truthwitches, bloodwitches, threadwitches, etc.

5. Air Awakens by Elise Kova. This series has a lot of elemental magic of varying levels and degrees and I just love, love, love it.

6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. You guys know me by now. Though the magic doesn’t really appear until the third book I find that when it’s used by people that it’s intimidating and strong.

7. Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi. I haven’t read or watched Sailor Moon in a bagillion years, but this classic magical girl story is one that should definitely be appreciated by anyone who wants silly, fun magic in their lives based off of the planets.

8. The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. If you love faeries and fey magic then definitely pick up this series. I need to reread it soon because I remember loving it and the magic in it.

9. Fushigi Yuugi by Yuu Watase. As my all time favorite manga series, I had to include this. The magic in this book is subtle and not too often, but it involves the main character being sucked into a book and having to live through a lot of things. Some magic does happen, but it’s a mysterious kind.

stardust

10. Stardust by Neil Gaiman. The writing itself may as well be magical, but this is another faerie story with a lot of faerie magic, tricks, and turns. I love this book and the beauty within it.

There you have it! Ten books that I think people who love magic should take a peek at. Some have more magic than others, and some vary in the kind of magic used, but I definitely think all of them are definitely worth checking out.

What books did you recommend today? What kind of magic books would you recommend to me? Let me know!

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.

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Read If You’re In the Mood For…

Hey peeps and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people of The Broke & the Bookish. Today’s topic is ten books to read if you’re in the mood for X. For this one I think that I’m going to pick if you’re in the mood for a strong female protagonist. I love reading books with strong female protagonist for a few reasons:

  • I am a female therefore reading about awesome female characters fills me with joy.
  • Girls aren’t always the damsels in distress.
  • I just love it.

So, with that, here are the books I think you should read if you’re in the mood for a strong female protagonist:

  1. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. This trilogy is one of my favorite of all time, and part of that reason is because of Lia, the main protagonist. She is all kinds of kick butt from her strong personality to her intellect to her beauty. I really love her and think she’s a great female character.
  2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Now I know this comes as no surprise to some of you because, honestly, I love Celaena/Aelin. I think that she’s a kickass character who, yes, is flawed, but she’s also strong in many ways: physically, personality, magically. I love her to pieces.
  3. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I love, love, LOVE the female relationship in this book, and the fact that this book has TWO strong female protagonists makes it so much better. Safiya and Iseult bounce off of each other and compliment in each other in many ways, and neither is really weak (I mean, they are only human and do have emotions and whatnot), but they bring out the strength in the other beautifully. Love them.
  4. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Okay, hear me out. I know Juliette is really a very weak character in the beginning, but her character arc is one of the best ones I’ve seen and it’s always refreshing to read about such a strong character by the end of it all. She becomes strong not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well, and you get to see that progression as time goes on.
  5. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. Vin is an unconventionally strong young woman because at the beginning she was very skittish, even if she did have a hot temper. As time progressed, though, she may have still had a hot temper, but she showed her intelligence, agility, and skills as an Allomancer. She’s a great female protagonist, in my opinion.
  6. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Karou is one of my favorite characters of all time because not only does she go through a LOT of crap, she does so with as much pride and strength as she can muster. She’s creative, cunning, smart, skilled, and brave. I just think that she’s one that you should really get into.
  7. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I love Kate because she doesn’t put up with any shit at any given time. She doesn’t need anyone to take care of her – and she doesn’t want to – because that’s when problems really start to arise. But she does have a heart and doesn’t always act before thinking. I find that she’s one of the strongest (physically and mentally) female characters that I’ve read about.
  8. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Laia is one of those characters who appears weak on the outside, but on the inside she’s made of fire. She’s willing to sacrifice and do so much to save her brother and be treated like dirt along the way. She does take a lot of risks, and I think because of that she’s strong.
  9. The Starbound trilogy by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner. This whole trilogy consists of strong female protagonists: Lilac not only has her beauty, but she’s also highly intelligent and handy in certain situations. Jubilee is physically strong as she’s a captain of the army on Avon, plus she’s quick on her feet. And Sofia is intelligent and uses her cunning to get through a lot of situations. Each of these young women stand out in my book.
  10. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples. This comic book series is intense, and the main female protagonist, Alana, is definitely a strong one. Not only does she have a foul mouth (strong language, haha), but she’s also willing to sacrifice herself for her loved ones, and I think that’s kind of major. She does have her ups and downs, and she makes plenty of mistakes, but she does her best with what she has and knows, and I think that’s important.

So there you have it, my recommendations for those who are looking to read something with a strong female protagonist.

What would you recommend for a book that has a strong female protagonist and why? Let me know!

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

fushigiyuugi1

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

ceres1

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

chobits1

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

fruitsbasket1

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

tokyomewmew

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

aohareride1

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

maidsama1

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!