Book Reviews · Books

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

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beforethecoffeegetscold Before the Coffee Gets Cold
by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 19th September 2019
Keywords: Adult, Time travel, Grief, Loss, Alzheimer’s

Synopsis
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?

Review
I ordered this book on a whim after seeing it pop up on Amazon and I’m glad that I did! Originally written as a play, this novelisation is charming and precious and hit me right in the feels many times.
This short novel is split up into 4 parts or chapters, each focusing on a different character traveling through time but all of them interconnect, it did take me a while to get all of the characters down as you get introduced to a lot at once.
When you travel back (or forward) you can not change the present so some deem the ability to be pointless, but as we see from this story, it is far from pointless and can still change lives.
I really really enjoyed this and would recommend if you’re looking for a short novel that’s heartfelt with great characters and humour and also tackles some serious subjects.
(Spoiler: there is infact no cat, but there is a ghost woman)

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

Recent Japanese Reads

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thekeyThe Key by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

GOODREADSAMAZON

This was my first time reading Tanizaki, it is a short novel written out as journal entries between a husband and wife. It is mostly focused on the sex life between the two, the husband being significantly older than his wife who seemingly is unsatisfied with their sexual relations. Both start writing in secret diaries about the other in hopes of the other person reading it, the story explores the unconventional ways they find that in turn helps to spice up their sex life until the husband becomes sick. This book explores intimate relationships, desires, fetishes, adultery and grief. It was an interesting read that I found myself invested in and ultimately gave 3/5 stars. I plan on reading The Makioka Sisters by this author in the future.

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battleroyaleangelsborderBattle Royale: Angel’s Border by Koushun Takami

GOODREADSAMAZON

This side-story manga about the ‘Light House Girls’ in the Battle Royale novel was a must-read for me as Battle Royale is one of my favourite books/movies of all time. This manga is also written by the author of the original novel/manga series and specifically explores and focuses more on the girls that decided to group up and hide out inside the Light House on the island during the ‘game’. As expected, this was heart wrenching to read and made me tear up a few times, I really hope that Takami writes more side-storys like this in the future. He is supposedly working on his second novel. I gave this manga 5/5 stars. A must read for any Battle Royale fan.

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lifeforsaleLife for Sale by Yukio Mishima

GOODREADSAMAZON

The latest of Mishima’s works to have an English translated release, this may now be my favourite book of his that I have read so far. After a failed suicide attempt, Hanio decides to place an ad in his local paper offering his ‘life for sale’ which leads him on a wild ride with many interesting characters wanting him to do some bizarre and crazy things. The journey that this takes Hanio on ultimately gives him back some value to his life. I very much enjoyed this short novel after not reading any Mishima for a good few months, it reminded me just why I love his work. 5/5 stars.

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ibitsuIbitsu by Haruto Ryo

GOODREADSAMAZON

Ibitsu is a decent sized manga collection (think Junji Ito) and it is bloody terrifying. I will be making comparisons to Junji Ito’s manga as that is the only other horror manga I have read, where as I generally find Ito’s artwork the most disturbing thing about his works, Ibitsu was terrifying in art and story, it literally felt like I was watching a really creepy Japanese horror movie (there is even some parts with the wall climbing). Of course I chose to mostly read this at night before bed which was not the best of ideas. This manga had just about every awful thing you could think of and something I was not expecting was the sexual peverseness and inclusion of sexual artwork. There is also a lot of self harm imagery in this manga. It set out to scare and disturb, which it certainly accomplished with me, does that make it a good book? I’m giving it a 3.5/5 stars.

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So that’s what I’ve been reading lately, I tend to find that reading Japanese authors help me to get out of reading slumps, I am currently reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and really enjoying it, I will post a review of that once I’m finished. Do you read much Japanese fiction? Feel free to leave me some recommendations!

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K-Pop

Top 5 K-Pop Title Tracks of 2019 (So Far)

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I’m stuck for blog post ideas so I thought I’d give a glimpse at some of my top K-pop title tracks of the year so far, I will of course post my full list at the end of the year. I feel like there have been so many great releases this year, deciding on my top tracks will be really difficult, especially ranking them!

Ateez – Hala Hala

Oneus – Valkyrie

KNK – Sunset

Taemin – Want

Stray Kids – Side Effects

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Book Reviews · Books

Lost Boy

lostboy Lost Boy by Christina Henry
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 4th July 2017
Keywords: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Horror, Gore, Peter Pan

Synopsis
There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy.
Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.
Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.

Review
I’m so glad that this book lived up to my high expectations for it, it was everything I wanted and expected it to be. A dark retelling of the story of Peter Pan, but from Captain Hook’s perspective back when he was Peter’s original Lost Boy. Peter is shown to be an extremely selfish attention seeker and thinks of the boys he takes from the real world as nothing more than amusing playthings to go along with his adventures and entertain him, if they no longer amuse him or become a nuisance he simply finds ways to get rid of them and replace them with more boys.

I felt truly sucked into this lost island and had a constant feeling of dread throughout reading, getting attached to characters and knowing more than likely at some point they will die. Plus the plains are filled with huge spider monsters called the Many-eyed which are just terrifying.

Peter’s idea of fun is ‘raiding’ the pirates which is effectively having children turn into vicious murderers or if they arn’t strong enough they will simply be killed themselves. Peter also likes the boys to partake in ‘Battles’ where they are pitted against each other to ‘practise fighting’ but ultimately some boys end up seriously hurt or he will even have them fight to the death while he watches.

I don’t want to go much more into the plot but this is a must read for any fans of dark retellings, it is gritty and gruesome and I loved it.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Books · Monthly TBR

N.E.W.T.s TBR

Disclaimer: I didn’t do my O.W.L.s but have decided to do the NEWTs magical readathon anyway cos why not? It is hosted by Book Roast and now that I’m a “Booktuber” and plan on filming casual reading vlogs anyway I thought that it would be fun to participate in a reathathon too.

I decided to choose the HERBOLOGIST career and here are the prompts I need to fulfill for that along with the books I chose:

Herbology:
A. Listen to an audiobook: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
E. A book between 350-390 pages: Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deidre Sullivan
O. A book with a flower on the cover: The Key by Junichiro Tanizaki

Potions:
A. Friend’s favourite book: The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
E. Hogwarts house colour (green): Lost Boy by Christina Henry

Care of Magical Creatures:
A. A book starting with A: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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Books · Monthly wrap ups

July Wrap Up

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Books I Read and Finished in July

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July Posts

Book Reviews
S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin

Youtube Videos
Booktube Newbie Tag
K-pop Tag

Writing
Gut Me

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Favourite K-Pop Releases in July

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Reading
My reading during July plodded along nicely and as expected, I finished reading 4 novels and am currently reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas.

Gaming
I’ve started playing and streaming Minecraft again and I forgot how much fun I have with it, especially now that they have added loads of new stuff.

Weightloss
This month I made more of an effort towards my physical health and lost about 5lbs, not much but it’s a step in the right direction and I’m learning what works best for me.

New Things
I also took the scary step of making Booktube videos, I’m already really excited to post more and hope I am able to stick with it.

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Book Reviews · Books

Spare and Found Parts

spareandfoundparts Spare and Found Parts
by Sarah Maria Griffin

GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 4th October 2016
Keywords: YA, Sci Fi, Prosthetics, Frankenstein, Dystopian, Steampunk

Synopsis
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Review
After reading Other Words for Smoke earlier this year and loving it I decided to read Sarah’s previous book! I obviously went into this with pretty high expectations and although I do personally prefer Smoke, this was a solid read and one I really enjoyed.

Sarah seems to have a knack for making her characters very relatable with the way she describes feelings and passions, I found myself relating to how Nell felt quite a lot and the other characters were very unique, each showing their personal strengths and faults.

It was fun and heart breaking slowly unraveling the worlds and Nell’s past, most of which I didn’t see coming. The character that comes into the story in the second half of the book I absolutely loved and seeing the unique relationship evolving with Nell, I was happy with how the story concluded.

A must read for fans of dystopia style settings and those interested in the evolution of technology, AI in particular, and the possible negative effects it can end up having on humanity.

My rating: 4/5 stars

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