Review: Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free as part of a blog tour.

First off, I loved the first book in the series, Tokyo Ever After. It was one of my favorite books of 2021 which made me very excited to read the sequel. I still think that the first book was a tiny bit better, but for the most part I found the sequel to be a worthy successor. 

This book picks right up where the last book left off and from there continues Izumi’s story. It does not miss a beat and gets right into the drama of royal life. Like the first book, the writing style is easy and a breeze to read. 

I loved the character development, especially the development of Akiko and Noriko (aka the Shining Twins). I enjoyed seeing them get more of a spotlight and how dimensional they became. They could have easily stayed the villains, but instead got more depth. 

I also liked how the book explored growing up and maturing. The story explores Izumi’s post-high school life and contrasts it with her friends. The juxtaposition highlighted Izumi’s coming of age journey well. 

There was a love triangle, which I didn’t think was necessary. The book would have still worked without it. 

Overall, this was a sweet sequel and I hope Izumi’s story continues! 


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Mao, Vol. 3 (Mao #3)

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes.

This was another solid installment in the series. 

This installment had more backstory than the previous volumes which I felt slowed down the pace of the book a little. A good chunk took place in Mao’s past and we learned more about his early days.  

Like the previous volume, this one unveiled even more about the story and the characters, including details on how Mao and Nanoka are connected. It is shaping up to be a very intriguing read! 

Overall, I really enjoyed this volume and am looking forward to the upcoming volumes. So far, this series has been full of action and mystery, with things coming together at a steady pace. If you’re looking to read a new manga series, consider starting this one (just keep in mind that all the volumes are not yet available in English yet). 


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Review: Mao, Vol. 2 (Mao #2)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes.

This volume was so good!

This installment was jam packed with action. So much happened and I enjoyed every page of it. There was a lot of world building that helped move the story along. I liked that more of the story was revealed in this volume. The first volume did not explain much and I was a little confused about the world. This volume provided some answers and got me hooked. I have to know what happens next. 

This volume also made me love the main characters. Mao is so intriguing and mysterious. I’m excited to learn more about him and his past. Nanoka is turning out to be quite the heroine! Also, Mao’s assistant, Otoya, is so adorable. 

Overall, I loved this volume and cannot wait to read volume 3! 


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Review: Mao, Vol. 1 (Mao #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes. 

This was such a good start to the series!

I haven’t read a manga in a long time so it was nice to finally be able to read one again. I haven’t read anything from Rumiko Takahashi, so I can’t say how this compares to her other books. 

The art style is very simple, but classic. There’s something a little old school and retro about it that I liked. 

As for the storyline, I was very intrigued by it. It’s fast paced and there’s a lot of mystery and fantasy action and adventure that kept me turning the pages.

Overall, I really enjoyed this volume and am excited to read the next installment and see how the rest of the story unfolds. 


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Review: Tokyo Ever After

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Flatiroin exchange for an honest review.

This was such a cute read! 

The premise is everything. A Japanese American girl discovering she is a princess? Yes please! As a whole, I thought the premise was well executed. There was a good balance between the humorous adjusting to royal parts and the more serious discovering who she is parts.   

I really liked that the book included a family tree with a brief description of everyone in the family. It made the book so easy to follow. 

Character-wise, I loved Izumi’s all Asian friend group (nicknamed Asian Girl Gang, or AGG for short). It was so nice seeing a female lead with a large friend group to support her. Also, one of her friends was half-Filipino just like me. I always love seeing Filipino representation in books, even if it’s just a small side character. 

I also enjoyed the writing style. It was engaging and flowed well. 

The Own Voices aspect was also really strong, especially in regards to feeling like a foreigner. The book highlighted how visiting Japan while being Japanese American feels strange since she’s not “Japanese” enough. That is so true. Being American is an added layer of identity and affects how others perceive you. I’m Filipino American and there is a difference in how people in the Philippines view you if you’re American born versus Philippines born. 

However, the book is on the predictable side. If you’re familiar with the lost royalty trope or have seen The Princess Diaries movies, then a lot of the plot points are nothing new. 

Additionally, the romance in this book is a little insta-lovey. I felt like the book didn’t even need a romance sub-plot; it was already strong on its own. 

Overall, I throughly enjoyed this Own Voices take on lost royalty! I recommend it if you love stories about royal families. 


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Review: The Woman in the White Kimono

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from TLC Book Tours as part of a review tour. 

This was such a heartbreaking read! It was sad, yet beautifully written. 

This book has dual storylines, but I loved that the author really let the historical story shine! Naoko’s story was the more interesting of the two, so I was glad that the author devoted more time to it and was able to really flesh it out. 

The subject matter of the book touches upon a very unknown part of history. It deals with the relationship between American servicemen and local Japanese woman and the children they had. I never knew about this so I was really fascinated by this story. Also being mixed race myself (I’m Filipino and white) I was particularly struck by the attitudes towards mixed race people. I could tell that the author did a lot of research and I liked the author’s note at the end where she talks about the real life inspiration behind the book. 

The strongest part of the book is the writing. Ana Johns writes in such a tragically beautiful way that perfectly captures the mood of the story.

The book is a little slow in the beginning, especially with the contemporary storyline. But by the time you get near the end, you’ll be flipping pages like crazy to find out what happens next. 

Overall, I recommend this book for historical fiction lovers, especially those with an interest in Japan. 



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