Book 1
Hakodate Hearts

March 27, 2015

Zenbi Press




by Anma Natsu   


“You told me before that you’d never regret meeting me. Do you still feel that way now?”

Party? Cake? Friends? No, for Sakura Takeshi, her eighteenth birthday was spent meticulously preparing for her coming death. But all of her planning didn’t include meeting the star of her late guardian’s fairy tales in her garden one night.

Now she has a handsome yokai now sharing her house and her bed, a jealous young tengu living in her cherry tree, a cheerful classmate determined to push past her walls to be her first friend, and a heart in danger of being stolen.

Sakura’s stoic acceptance of her fate is slipping, but with the end of her life rapidly approaching, is there any point in learning to live again?

Aisuru is a young adult love story with a charming prince of hero, a sweetly conflicted heroine, a sprinkling of fantasy, and a little spice to warm the heart.


"An impossibly beautiful tale"  By Celeste Hawkins 1 year ago

- rating
- story
- characters


Anma Natsu's characters fly off the page as Aisuru unfolds into a tale of love and regret.

A young girl by the name of Sakura was harmed when she was a child, damaging her internal organs and only giving her a limited time to live on this earth. She pushes everyone else away so that when she dies she'll leave without anyone being sad about her death. Living alone can get tiresome and lonely - that is, until a Prince arrives on her doorstep. Kazuki comes from another land where magic is real and love is fought for. He takes a liking to the kind Sakura and slowly falls for her. He begins searching for a magical cure that will keep her alive so that he will never have to say good bye.

This novel transcends typical young adult novels. For starters, the research that the author was involved with is evident on every page. Footers aid the reader in learning new things about Japan and their culture while the characters bring their own personalities into a land that's stood the test of time. We know the characters are living on borrowed time - however, we don't know how long that time will be. Days, months, years? Will a cure be found? The anticipation of such draws the reader in and is intriguing.

What we seem to lack in this story is a strong romantic start. The romance is deep throughout the novel, however, it begins so quickly and for no real reason. He suddenly just kisses her and BAM they're in a relationship of sorts. But I guess when you're dying, everything begins to happen rather quickly.

The plot is virtually non-existent, but it's still a fantastic read. Although all they do is explore Japan for most of the book, for a Westerner, it's amazing to read. I love hearing about the people and the culture. A better place to explore would be Kazuki's world, where magic prevails and there's issues around every corner.

Sakura's illness seems a little far fetched at times, as I don't believe scarring would cause a young girl to have to take so much medication. I understand her lungs and heart were damaged, but a tablet wouldn't be able to ease those problems for so many years. However, it was fascinating to read and wonder what would happen next with her health.

Altogether, Aisuru was a breathtaking novel that let the reader enter a pain-filled world from the perspective of a young girl. Alongside we, we get to fall in love for the very first time.