I am delighted to join the blog tour for The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery by Su Young Lee today! My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my stop and the review copy!
About the Book
The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery
Fluttering cherry blossoms, gorgeous kimonos and sweet and sorrowful love.
For cake-loving college girl Hana, Japan was the romantic destination of her dreams. With boyfriend Jin, she planned an exciting new life in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. But when she finally arrives after months of planning, Jin isn’t there.
Hana is left broken-hearted on a rainy Tokyo street. Jin left no note. One day he just walked out of classes and disappeared.
Hana begins her new life alone. Watching cherry blossoms fall into the Tokyo river. Working hard and delivering her lovely home-baked cakes by orange bicycle. Then she meets handsome young farmer Hikaru and glimpses a new way forward – in an alien place where she doesn’t know a soul.
The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery is a sweet romance with a hint of magic realism. It’s a perfect book to carry with you and read on holiday or weekends.
The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery tells a lovely emotional story of love and life.
I adored Su Young Lee’sportrayal of Hana who, despite travelling to Tokyo to start a new life with the love of her life, Jin, and finding that he wasn’t there, was sunny, upbeat and nearly always positive. The plot was intriguing and the pacing was zippy and brisk. Hana searched for Jin but when she drew a blank she threw herself into her work, delivering her home-baked cakes by orange bicycle. She embarked on another journey, this time one of self-discovery and the reader was privy to her adventures as she met the locals, took language classes, and shared her love of baking. Everyone was keen to lend a hand and Hana harboured very little resentment towards Jin, even though he had let her down badly.
The time Hana spent at the guest house accommodation where she stayed and the shops and general locale all provided a wonderful backdrop for this sweet story. Working in a vegetable shop, Hana met the vegetable supplier’s son, Hikaru who was interested in organic farming. For me, though, the icing on the cake was definitely the mouthwatering and scrumptious sounding foodie references! There were so many that I kept on changing my mind as to which sounded the most appealing, but I eventually settled on the Toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles) and shrimp tempura. I also liked the sound of the warm bags of Taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes) filled with chocolate custard.
The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery is not a standard romance, but it is offbeat, and magical and reading it was loads of fun!
Thank you to Su Young Lee and Rachel’s Random Resources for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars
About The Author
Su Young Lee is a Korean romance author who lived in Tokyo, Japan for 10 years and now lives in London, England with her husband and two lovely cats.
Su works in academic publishing and loves baking, playing piano and working on her calligraphy.
I am delighted to join the review tour for two books Hanami and Hazakura by V. C. Buckley today! My thanks to Marianne&Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions for the chance to join and the wonderful review copies!
This post is part of a virtual book tour organised by Goddess Fish Promotions. V. C. Buckley will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY.
About the Book
“I am no princess… I am Yakuza,”
SAKURA SHINTANI is the heir to the Dragon Clan—Japan’s most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the annoying brats of Oniyuri Academy?
She must try to master her demons while trying not to hurt anyone. But having the face of an angel puts her on everyone’s radar… including the arrogant heir to Asia’s most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA. He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.
He snatched her backpack and swung it around his shoulder.
“Hey!” she protested, lunging for it.
Jin stepped aside, evading her grasp. He smiled to himself, taking long strides toward his car. He could hear her feet going after him.
Mr. Fujimaru was already by the car, holding the door open. His guards stood waiting like goons by the sidewalk.
“Look,” she said, grabbing his elbow before he could duck into his car, “I don’t care if you rescued me. I am not going with you! I don’t even know you!”
Her words cut right through him.
She lunged for her bag again, but Jin threw it into the farthest corner of the back seat.
He looked at her tilting his head down, their height difference apparent. He thought about what she said.
She doesn’t know me? His forehead creased. Was he really that invisible to her? He felt like someone had just slapped him across the face. He took one long look at her before ducking into his car.
He was confused. Any girl would jump at the chance to be with him—she should have been honored and groveling at his feet for rescuing her! What was wrong with her?
He felt her slide into the seat next to him, her knees slightly touching the side of his thigh. But before he could think, she reached across him, leaning her upper body against his lap to grab her bag. Jin froze.
She straightened back up, clutching her bag to her chest. Her eyes met his with a piercing glare, and a wave of heat suddenly swept over him.
Jin looked away, landing his gaze on her reflection on the car door window. Even with an angry face, she still looked so beautiful.
Jin smiled, tilting his head to the side to get a better look. I should stop this, he told himself, but it was too late. She was too interesting to be left alone.
My Thoughts on Hanami
If your favoured reading material is a compelling tale with a good sprinkling of romance, love, humour, action, determination, positive attitude, imperfection, bitchiness, evil and relationships then Hanami by V. C. Buckley is a must-read for you as you will adore this book!
Right from the get-go there was so much happening in this wonderful tale of love and romance! I was totally taken with the two protagonists Sakura and Jin in this breath-taking and action-packed story. I loved stunning mafia princess Sakura for her amazing zest for life, her strength of character and her incredible poise, even in the face of extreme adversity. For his part, twenty-year-old Jin was incredibly sweet, terribly good-natured and a real romanticist.
Author, V. C. Buckley had really worked wonders with all of the characters in this fabulous story and I was very fond of most of them: Sakura’s Granddad, Mr Shintani; Nobu, one of Sakura’s personal guards; Jin’s friends,Vaughn and Jason; the downtrodden Scot and classmate, Yuna Lerwick; even the brilliantly named and nattily dressed teacher, Mrs Selfridge, to name only a few.
Even the less personable ones – particularly bitchy classmate Miyu and Sakura’s evil Uncle Ryuu – still had very good parts to play and did not dampen my enthusiasm for this fascinating tale.
Aside from the brilliant cast of characters, another selling point of Hanami was the awesome plot. It moved along at a really wicked pace and I loved the author’s general writing-style. There was no room for repetitiveness or boredom here!
The story was, for the post part, highly entertaining with plenty of humour and comedic moments. There were however, some serious issues as well, such as coping with with absent parents, dealing with awkward relationships and coping with class, race and wealth differences. There were some intensely violent scenes to contend with, too. I was completely drawn into this novel right from the start, relishing all of the absolutely priceless scenes and also the more shocking ones.
I was rooting all the way through, not just for Sakura herself, but for most of the other delightful characters also and V. C. Buckley rounded things off very masterfully which I fully appreciated. It was very hard to say goodbye to them and I found myself wishing many of them well for the future.
I recommend Hanami without a flicker of hesitation, so don’t miss out!
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Goddess Fish Promotions at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Hanami – Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars
About The Author
V.C. Buckley was born in an isolated government facility and shipped off to an Island in Southeast Asia where she grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and warding off evil villains. At sixteen she was discovered by an agent and jetted off all over the world. Her stories come from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.
Hazakura opens with Sakura experiencing nightmares following her Uncle Ryuu’s attack on her and Ryuu himself remains in hospital fighting for his own life, trying to recover from his near-fatal injuries. But somebody stabs him, too. Who considers him that much of an enemy, even more than Sakura-san?
Meanwhile, Jin’s dad has made an important decision – he has decided that he would like to retire as he has turned seventy and intends to hand the family’s business empire over to Jin. Jin is alarmed at the proposal as he hasn’t even finished the Oniyuri Heirs program yet. His father also intends to remarry, much to Jin’s horror as he hates his father’s mistress – Pam.
While these events are unfolding, a young woman steps forward claiming to be Takara Shintani, Ryuu’s daughter, unbeknown to the rest of the Shintani clan. Takara thinks one of the Shintani clan killed Ryuu and she is going to make it her mission to find out who.
Hazakura is another great story told in alternating chapters with Sakura and Jin as the protagonists. The couple remain united however, Sakura has very grave concerns that Jin’s background, upbringing and general lifestyle are so different to her own and many people seem to believe that he is her ultimate weakness. Will he be able to cope with a permanent relationship with the beautiful mafia princess?
For me, Hazakura was equally as action-packed and thrilling as Hanami and I loved the fabulously crafted, artful and fulfilling ending that really had my mind working overtime. I highly recommend this book and its prequel without any shadow of doubt.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my own request from Goddess Fish Promotions and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
Hazakura – Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars
V.C. Buckley will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
The beautiful front cover and compelling premise lured me into choosing to read “Glow : Book I, Potency” by Aubrey Hadley, a book about apocalypse and alienation.
The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has appeared in New York, and it has wiped out an entire homeless shelter.
The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighbourhood. As her suburb goes on lock-down, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events – though thousands of miles apart – may have something in common. Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places and different worlds.
Although this book is not from one of my normally preferred genres and it is a longer read than I normally choose, it was still a really enjoyable novel. I can’t say that I’ve ever read anything exactly like it, or even similar. If you are into vampires or spectres then this isn’t for you. It’s just something totally innovative and fresh and that is why I liked it.
The main characters, whilst not necessarily particularly likeable, were a good fit for the story. As for the ending, I usually prefer one that is a little more definitive, unless it is meant to be a cliffhanger.
Overall, whilst it wasn’t one of my best-ever reads, I would recommend this book by Aubrey Hadley. I am guessing that there will be a sequel to “Glow : Book I, Potency,” so I will look out for it.
[Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher, Ruby and Topaz, for a free ARC of #Glow in exchange for an honest review.]