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Aisuru by Anma Natsu
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Aisuru

by Anma Natsu

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Showing 5 of 5
I received this book in exchange for a non-biased review from the LibraryThing Giveaway.

If you enjoy young adult fiction, you may very well enjoy this book. It's a pretty quick read, and the characters and story are fairly decent. However, I did have some issues reading this book. There were quite a few typos and incorrect words used in the story. Also, the characters had pretty poor character development, and I felt like the romance was pushed way too soon to really provide an enthralling and believable love story. I did enjoy learned quite a bit about Japanese culture, but the footnotes on my Kindle were a little disruptive to my reading process (that's just me, though). Regardless, it was a decent read, and I enjoyed it overall, wanting to get to the end to see how it all ends.
  adbohm | Jan 5, 2016 |
Full disclosure: I received this book as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

This was a very interesting book. It had a pretty unique story line, but it wasn't so far out there that it made me not like it. The characters were interesting, and while there wasn't an incredible amount of time spent on fleshing out their every nuance and motivation, I still felt like I had a pretty good idea of how each main character would handle a particular situation, in general. The author also lets the reader discover each character over the course of the whole book, which I love. There's not a crazy-long exposition on who this person is at the beginning of the book that never comes into play again. The characters develop as things happen in the story, and you feel like you're learning about them as they are learning about themselves.

It does have fantasy-type elements throughout the book, especially toward the end, but that's my favorite genre, so it was fine for me. I know some people don't really care for it, though, so here's your warning.

I also thoroughly enjoyed learning a bit more about Japanese culture, simply by reading this book. I know a little bit about it from certain video games and from a history of drama class that I took, but I know a little bit more now, thanks to the research this author did and her explanatory footnotes that were easily accessible on my Kindle. The footnotes were also not intrusive, which I truly appreciate. It was just a superscript number that I could touch and have the footnote pop up, then close it and pick up right where I left off in the story. Doing it this way provided context, and made it easy to understand a more nuanced meaning of the words and phrases she used that needed a bit of explanation. No weird back-and-forth between the story and the footnotes. Yay!

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a fantasy-laced book about the life of a girl who thought her world ended long ago and the people who show her what life can be if you let people in. ( )
  izzycubs932 | Dec 22, 2015 |
A truly admirable author who tries to stay true not only to her characters but to the cultural setting her characters story play out. I had no expectations setting out because I was unaware of this author and am happy to say the emotional struggle between the characters (young and old) felt genuine.

The storyline was set mainly in Hakodate, Japan. Sakura's adoptive father has passed away and she is terminally ill. However, she has a strong personality and tries not to dwell on what cannot be changed. Into her life steps Kazuki, a yokai, who was friends with her adoptive father and is fleeing troubles in his own life. Feeling duty he stays to help. In Kazuki's life there is some confusion and mystery but he is able to escape that while helping Sakurahere. Their relationship grows slowly but sweetly. This is definitely a recommended read. ( )
  douglasse2 | Sep 9, 2015 |
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review

I love paranormal romance, I love Japanese anime. So when I got a combination of both in one book, I thought it was a dream come true. Except that I was wrong. Let me start off by making a list of what I found to be good and bad about the book before I move on to analyzing the world building, character development and plot.

The Good
Good writing
Set in Japan, complete with Japanese culture and all
No love triangle
Happy ending

The Bad
Poor character development
Romance progress is too fast to feel solid and natural
Plot is virtually non-existent

World building 4/5
When you base your story in a real world setting, there's really not much to talk about in term of world building. Aisuru is set primarily in Hakodate, Japan and I thought that the author did a good job introducing us to the culture of Japan and the city. The footnotes that she added were extremely helpful and I felt like I had a better understanding about Japanese culture after reading the book.

That said, we also explore an alternate universe where yokai (or demons, however you want to put it) lives and this is the place where our male protagonist, Kazuki comes from. Unfortuntely, this world was neglected on the most part, with barely enough information given just to drive the plot along. As a secondary setting, this really shouldn't be a problem, though I can't help but feel a little disappointed that we don't get to know more about Kazuki's homeworld.

Character development 1/5
Chapter One did a splendid job introducing us to the main protagonist, Sakura. Chapter Two introduced Kazuki, our reluctant crown prince who nevertheless did a pretty good job. So far so good. Then, we were introduced to the little family drama going on in Kazuki's household and everything went downhill.

When Kazuki was severely injured, he used his transportation stone to transport himself to the house of his old friend, Ito Hiro, only to find that his friend had died a few years back and his adopted daughter, Sakura is living there alone now. What does he do next? He decided to stay put in Sakura's house and avoid the brewing conflict back home. I mean, I know Kazuki was supposed to be a wimp who doesn't like governing and all, but after demonstrating to us what a good job he was doing despite his obvious dislike for politics, I expected him to be a little more responsible than to just wash his hands of the entire matter and enjoy himself living with a human girl in the human world. It felt a huge inconsistency in his character. In the next three quarters of the book, nothing happens. Kazuki simply lives with Sakura and his adopted younger brother, Karasu and does nothing but go shopping, eat, order takeaway, explore Japan and eat some more.

In comes Sakura, our typical anime-esque character who is dying of a fatal disease and decides that her best option is to push everyone away by acting cold and aloof because "it is better for them". I can't emphasize on how much this plotline annoys me. Anyway, on top of Kazuki's endless (and meaningless) exploration of Japan, we're also fed the story of how Sakura finally made friends with two girls, Hina and Ayuri.

Hina and Ayuri are what I would call the best friends to have in the world? Why? Because they're so damn convenient. They only ask the right questions at the right time and don't even bother to ask questions that would be inconvenient or difficult for Sakura to answer because they "trust" her. Best friends with absolute trust in our main protagonist? They're my favourite people on earth. Unfortunately, there's a huge difference between "absolute trust" and "not doubting because it is convenient for the author". Aisuru obviously falls into the latter. I mean, if your dying friend asks you to plan a trip that involves overexerting herself at every turn, are you sure you're just going to go ahead and do the planning for her and not ask her why and how she's planning to do it because you trust her not to overdo it? The least Sakura's friends could do is to express doubt and concern. Nope. That would be too tedious to write, so why not just make them roll along with this seemingly insane idea?

Anyway, back to Sakura and Kazuki. One of the most annoying things about young adult paranormal romance is how fast the characters fall in love. One day, our characters barely know each other and the next, they're thinking about getting all hot and sexy together. I love it that Sakura isn't the kind of girl who freaks out at the sight of sharp claws and teeth but I also felt like their love story was too rushed and too shallow to be called "love". The feeling I got was that Sakura had been alone for so long that she decided to fall for the first random guy that entered her life.

To cut a long story short, character development was bad. There's not enough conflict to drive our characters along and they're pretty much the same people at the end of it as they were in the beginning. I don't see them growing and I don't feel any connection with them. If any one of the characters died at the end of the story, I wouldn't care.

Plot 1/5
This is where I got really, really annoyed. We're told right from the start that Sakura is dying. We know that it has something to do with her parents from the blurb. We spend the next half of the book dying to know what condition she has that requires an 18-year-old girl to take both an emergency bronchodilator pump (most likely MDI salbutamol) and and sublingual nitroglycerine spray. Yes, you read that right. She needs sublingual GTN. What on earth would a girl her age need GTN for? GTN works by dilating blood vessels, thus increasing blood flow to the heart in people whose coronary arteries (blood vessels of the heart) are blocked due to atherosclerosis. I'm sorry but I can't think of any medical condition where you'll need GTN after receiving injury to the heart. Also, Tenma-sensei, her doctor, doesn't deserve to graduate from med school. A year one medical student would know that you NEVER, EVER give a patient with airway problems beta blocker. Then, after what felt like an excruciatingly long time, we're finally given the big revelation of what her medical condition is. Only that it makes no sense whatsoever. Gosh. Since we're talking about a book with fantasy elements in it, if the author is too lazy to get some research done, why don't she just make up some story on how Sakura contracted a fantasy illness from our fantasy world? Goodness knows she'd cooked up a lot of similarly hard to believe plot just to drive the story along.

Oh, and remember that conflict we're introduced to in Chapter Two? Well, it's not going to get addressed again all the way until the last few chapters of the book. Really, despite my ranting that the romance between Kazuki and Sakura is too rushed to be properly developed, this book is 95% about their budding relationship, with the "fantasy" part added in just to give the story a false sense of conflict to drive the plot along and also present our heroine a Gary-Stu to love. Also, the big revelation during the climax is just so lame, it beggars belief. If I thought that Kazuki was a wimp for running away from his duties before, I now know that he and his brother, Yuji, are both complete idiots. Did they get any the wiser after this fiasco? Well, I'm not really convinced but let's give them the benefit of doubt, okay?

Then, after driving ourselves to a deadend, the author conveniently employs a deus ex machina to give us a happy ending. Hurray! No, seriously. After all the frustration this book gave me, I would burn it in hell if I got a sad ending.

Conclusion
For a self-published book, Aisuru has one of the best writings. That said, I think that this book is 40% entertainment and 60% frustration, which just doesn't seem worth it.

Will I recommend it to a friend? No.
Will I read it again? Maybe, but that's just because I have nothing else to read. ( )
  Jael112 | Aug 18, 2015 |
This is a wonderful tale of hope, love and magic. Anma Natsu does a wonderful job of creating characters that make you feel sad, love and even made me cry at points. To me that is an accomplishment!

Sakura Takeshi is 18 years old and dying. This is her story. Her doctor informs her that because of injuries she sustained from being stabbed when she was 10 she will not live to see another birthday.

All Sakura wants to do is graduate high school but then everything changes the day she finds Kazuki, a yokai, in her backyard under the cherry tree. Yokai are mythical demons in Japanese folklore but here was a live one, injured in her yard.

Kazuki is Prince in his homeland of Throklana and there is the beginning of turmoil in his land. It 'appears' that his brother Yuji tried to kill him. When Kazuki went to transport home while under attack he ended up in Sakura's backyard.

What follows is a story of hope and love in one hand and hate and deceit in the other. There were some unexpected turns along the way that made the story even more interesting.

This is not the genre I usually read but I am so glad that I read Aisuru!!

This book was provided to me free from the author for review purposes. ( )
1 vote Diane_K | Aug 8, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0996161201, Paperback)

"It was madness to be more than her companion and caretaker..."

For the last eight years, Sakura Takeshi has been counting down the time till her life ended. Though she survived the attack that left her an orphan, it's always been borrowed time as her damaged body continued to break down.

She told herself she was ready, that she had come to terms with dying before she reached 19. Then she found Kazuki lying wounded in her garden. His arrival opens the door for her whole world to change, but is it too late for her to learn to live, or to love, when there are only months left in her life?

Set in Hakodate, Japan, Aisuru is a young adult fantasy romance that will appeal to readers who enjoy shojo manga and Japanese light novels, have a fondness for magical realism, and who are looking for something just a little bit different from the usual young adult romance.

If you're looking for stories featuring abusive relationships, stalkery bad boys, or shallow, mean natured girls, this isn't the story for you. What you will find are realistic characters, relationships built on mutual respect, and two hearts brought together just when they needed each other most.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 17 Jul 2015 03:07:55 -0400)

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