‘Fruits Basket’ Anime Series Written And Drawn By Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Fruits Basket \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya is by far my favorite manga series so far. The story takes place over 23 volumes, which sounds like a lot of reading but it’s soooooo worth it.

Synopsis

The synopsis is kind of crazy.

After her mother’s death, Tohru Honda finds herself living with the Sohma family consisting of three cousins: Yuki, the ‘prince charming’ of their high school, Kyo the hot headed, short tempered outcast, and Shigure the mischievous novelist. Tohru finds out the Sohma family secret that when a member is hugged by the opposite gender or they are tired out, they turn into the 2 animals of the Chinese zodiac.” – Anonymous, IMDB

What Did I Like?

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya is a fun slice of life story that takes its time letting you get to know the characters. The main character, Tohru Honda, is someone I wish I could model my own behavior after.

Tohru almost seems too perfect but we learn from how she behaves in various circumstances that she isn’t. Kyo has his mysteries and his quirks that at times make you want to slap him and other times jump in his head to see exactly what is going on in there. Shigure has a mystery about him that makes you wonder if he’s as innocent in his dealings as he wants you to believe.

The 23 volumes don’t focus entirely on Tohru and at times she isn’t even mentioned. This allows us to get to know the other people in her life and find out why they do the things they do and what shaped them into the people that Tohru loves.

What Didn’t I Like?

It felt like some of the relationships were dragged out way too long in this one. Things that should have happened could have happened much sooner and it would have made watching the character’s development a bit more interesting. I’d love to go more into this aspect, but I can’t without ruining the series for you, so you will just have to read it to find out more.

What’s next?

Fruits Basket Another (strange title but that’s how it’s being marketed) comes out in July and takes place after Tohru and the others have graduated high school. We will get to meet a new young woman and watch as she interacts with a few previously unmentioned Sohma boys.

Fruits Basket has a happy ending but the twist and turns at times makes you doubt if it will actually happen. There are times you will sit back and laugh, maybe cry a few tears, but in the end, you will be cheering all the way.

If you like the manga, you should check out the anime, available on Amazon or on iTunes. I love it so much I keep it on my phone to listen to at work. It’s a feel-good anime that leaves you with all the right warm and fuzzy feelings.

‘Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging’ by Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke Keep Moving \ Image: Hatchette Books

Dick Van Dyke Keep Moving \ Image: Hatchette Books

I’m most familiar with Dick Van Dyke from his role as Bert in my 2nd favorite live action Disney movie, Mary Poppins. I always like to imagine that Mary and Bert had a romance and Bert was just as magical in his aging ways as Mary Poppins seemed to be.

In Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging, Dick Van Dyke gives us some insight into his long Hollywood career and why he can’t stop dancing. The book is full of little reminders that being our age and acting it are two different things separated by the fac that one we have to do and the other is voluntary

What Can We Learn?

I’m a millennial so I’m far from worrying about grey hairs and colonoscopies (both familiar territory for Dick Van Dyke these days) but I’ve been feeling old and looking at how young Dick Van Dyke acts I wondered what his secret was.

Turns out he has a dozen or so secrets but the biggest is given away in his title, don’t stop moving. You move slower as you age but as long as you keep moving you’re not dead. One of his stories recounts when he took the stage with his wife unexpectedly during her dance recital (a video of this performance went up on YouTube). He goes into detail about how his wife’s routine made him just want to get up and dance and so, he did. There’s more to the story but I’ll let you read it for yourself.

What Stuck With Me?

I made over 20 highlights throughout the book and it’s hard to say which stuck with me the most. If I had to pick though I would pick chapter 2: Oh Brother, How Old Art Thou? where he quotes George Burns, who famously replied when asked if he lived in the past, “No. I live in Beverly Hills. It’s much nicer.”

Final Thoughts

This is one of the best autobiographies I’ve read and the easiest to get through. I laughed out loud at times and felt the emotional pain of some of Dick Van Dyke’s past poor choices (did you know he was an alcoholic?). Dick Van Dyke’s personality shines through and I could almost hear him reading it over my shoulder. It wasn’t hard to picture scenes in my mind and feel like it wasn’t that long ago that any of them actually happened.

At the end of the book though you know he’s still alive and still moving so it makes it a happy ending for all.

‘Dare Mighty’ Things by Heather Kaczynski

Dare Mighty Things \ Image: Harper Collins Publishing

Dare Mighty Things \ Image: Harper Collins Publishing

What is it about?

Dare Mighty Things is one of my favorite stories because its a quest with action, adventure, and involves a cast of physically and sexually diverse characters.

Our heroine is Cassandra Gupta, an 18-year-old Indian young woman from Texas who gets the opportunity to be the youngest person into space on a top-secret NASA mission. The catch is she’s competing against a slew of other young people from around the world who want the same opportunity.

The cadets are put to the test with everything from their endurance, mental stability, and teamwork skills under the magnifying glass. Their every move and every word are monitored to see if they are the right ones for the top-secret mission and it takes its toll on the characters as the story goes on.

For example, you see Cassandra come to the reality of not being able to talk to her family as her mail mysteriously never comes during her month-long stay. You see another cadet realize the importance of the risk they will be taking and decide maybe it’s not one they want to chance after all.

What about the storytelling?

Anyone who has read this kind of story knows the main character gets one of the two spots but which of the two and at what cost is what you are reading to find out. The story is just as much about the range of characters around the main character as it is about the main character.

Does it get personal?

Throughout the book, I wondered about the mission to Mars that’s been in the news and how I would feel being separated from my family for months all in the name of science and exploration. How would I handle not being able to be near them or even hear their voices? I didn’t like the feelings that welled up inside of me and I’m 33-years-old. I can’t imagine how an 18-year-old would feel.

The story ends happily but with a cliffhanger that will leave you hanging until October when the next book in the duology, One Giant Leap is released. I’m interested to see where Cassandra and her comrades go and if the author will make this series a true happy ending for all.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me as part of a review opportunity with Once Upon A Book Club through GeekMom Blog. For more on Once Upon A Book Club check out my review of their amazing product over on GeekMom Blog.

‘Olivia Twist’ by Lorie Langdon

'Olivia Twist' by Lorie Langdon \ Image: Lorie Langdon

‘Olivia Twist’ by Lorie Langdon \ Image: Lorie Langdon

What is it about?

Olivia Twist is a retelling of the classic, Oliver Twist, aimed at the young adult romantic reader. I’ve never read the original Oliver Twist so I can’t compare it but the story itself is a lovely read with a bit of action, mystery, and more than a sprinkle of romantic entanglements (but not enough to make your mother blush if she caught you reading it).

Romance??

The romance is in about 80% of the book but it doesn’t get really heated until half-way through, and by heated I mean the equivalent of a young couple at a drive-in movie (do they still have those?). It felt physically tense at times and other times frustrating with me yelling at the characters to finally get together and get it over with. Decorum and reputations be damned.

What about the storytelling?

From a storytelling point of view, I enjoyed how the characters took turns in the spotlight. One minute we’re following Olivia through the alleys of London and the next we get to see what’s going on in Dodger’s head as his complicated life situation and sexual frustration towards Olivia starts to emerge.

What spoke to me was the depth of what Olivia was willing to go to achieve her goal. She was smart, skilled, and unafraid even when logic told her that she should be.

Overall Thoughts

The reading experience can best be described as a lovely thrill that is best read on a rainy day when you don’t have to put it down. It’s not so thrilling though that if you must get up, putting the book down won’t be too torturous.

Welcome to Happy Ever After Books!

This site specializes in books that end happily or have happy centered themes to them. That doesn’t mean the book will be riddled with lovey-dovey romance. There will be books with fire and passion but also adventure and swashbuckling. Happily ever after isn’t just for fairy tales you know!

Why? 

Well, it’s because life is already so full of depressing and angry things. Reading should give you an escape from that. I choose to read only books that have happy endings but found that without reading the end of the book for myself, I wouldn’t really know if it was a true happy ending (and that spoils everything!).

Knowing a book has a happy ending doesn’t spoil the plot. It just means, in the end, it all works out. The fun part is figuring out how. Think of it like putting together a puzzle. Just because you know what a puzzle looks like before putting it together doesn’t make the experience any less fun right?

Happy ending books are also more fun to read. You walk away feeling like your on cloud 9 instead of the sixth circle of hell from all the depressing or angry emotions.

What can you expect from me?

Here I read the book and give you the details without spoiling it for you (except the whole, happy ending part).

I read mostly young adult fiction but occasionally there might be some adult books thrown into the mix. If there is anything that implies or has an explict sexual confrontation in it I will note it for you at the beginning of the review so you can decide if you should continue reading.

I hope you enjoy this trip into happily ever after with me!

%d bloggers like this: