Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hanami Review Tour

“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.

Jin rolled his eyes, settling his gaze back on the girl. He wasn’t surprised with their reaction.

The new girl was hot, but so what? It took more than a pretty face to get his attention. He wasn’t that easy to impress, and he was certain she’d be throwing herself at him anyway. Just like everybody else. He was sure this girl wasn’t any different from the love-crazed hyenas that stalked him.

Jin pushed back his shoulders, seeing her start towards him with her eyes still trailing on the ground.

Already? Jin thought, suppressing a laugh. He crossed his arms, waiting for her to get closer, and sure enough she stopped right in front of him. She was even prettier up close. Asian but with a hint of Caucasian mixed in.

“What?” he asked, smirking. He already knew what she might say: whether he was Kenjin Kiyohara, the sole heir to Kiyohara Industries? The questions were all the same. He thought she would have at least waited until class was over like the rest of them.

“Move your feet. You’re blocking my way,” the girl said in a sharp tone.  She shifted her gaze up at him like a threatening knife. Her topaz-colored eyes darkened, sending icy tremors down his back. He felt as if he’d been hit by a curse as his mind turned blank.

When she finally looked away, Jin was able to regain his senses. He tucked his legs out of her way, and she passed, leaving goosebumps in her wake. His eyes followed her, waiting to see if she’d look back, but she never did. Jin’s hands were trembling. His thoughts became jumbled while he struggled not to look anymore.

What was that? What just happened? This was a first for him. He couldn’t contain himself. His presence had no impact whatsoever. Instead she looked like she wanted to kill him!

Jin took a deep breath, replaying the moment in his head. Who was this girl? She sure got his attention, all right—and it left him in pieces. He fought the urge to look back again.

This girl…Jin thought. There was something about her. He couldn’t shake off the feeling. She seemed dangerous.

My Reviews:
3.5 stars

This was an interesting novel for me. First, the characters (both major and side) were enjoyable and realistic. Jin was a jerk at first, but slowly grew on me as his relationship with Sakura deepened, forcing him to reevaluate what he really wanted. I had a harder time connecting with Sakura, as Sakura is a very distant character for the majority of the book, which fits with how she sees herself in the world she’s been drawn into. This made it hard to get to know the real her, though seeing her shut Jin down whenever he started getting full of himself was hilarious and fun, not to mention adding to the will they, won’t they romantic subplot.

As for the plot, there was a lot going on, and while most of the big storylines were addressed (Sakura’s parents, Jin/Sakura’s relationship, etc.), there were some smaller threads that went unresolved/ignored, which was a bummer considering the little details and intricacies woven into other parts of the story. Some parts of the story felt rushed and thrown in, while others appeared carefully arranged and worked in, which was disorienting and drew me away from the story at times.

All said though, this was a fascinating world with intriguing characters, mixed with a slow-burn (but worth it) romance. If that sounds like your cup of tea, I highly recommend giving this series a try. And on that note, on to my review of book 2:

5 stars

Let me start by saying that while I’m a sucker for falling in love for the first time stories, I’m even more of a sucker for angsty, once the honeymoon’s over sequels. And this definitely fit the bill. After Sakura and Jin overcame the odds and ended up together in book 1, I was looking forward to seeing the challenges they would face in book 2. I was not disappointed.

To start, I enjoyed seeing Sakura and Jin having to fight for their love in a realistic way. In fact, several of the obstacles to their relationship were obstacles I had thought about after reading book 1, so to see them addressed was awesome.

On top of that, seeing how the characters have grown from book 1 to book 2 was amazing. Sakura in particular was a favorite of mine, as I felt like I understood her much more in this book than I did the first. Add to that a kickass, hilarious collection of supporting characters and a thrilling, exciting plot…sold. Plus, that closing scene, with that closing sentence…perfect way to end this satisfactory sequel.

On a side note, in the post-credits, the author mentioned that she had never intended a sequel. Needless to say, I’m glad she gave the fans what they asked for. So now can we hope for book 3?

*I received a copy of these books in exchange for an honest review.*

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Author Bio and Links:
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.

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