Trade Me (Courtney Milan)

Trade Me is the first novel in the Cyclone series by Courtney Milan.
Finished on: 06.06.2020

Plot:
Tina Chen just wants to get her degree, so she can support her family properly and never have to worry about money again. Unfortunately, Blake Reynolds is also in her class, billionaire son of Cyclone Technologies. And when he makes some comments about being poor that drip with his privilege, Tina just can’t stick to her usual routine of keeping her head down. She calls him out and tells him that he couldn’t survive a month in her life. To her surprise, Blake approaches her later and proposes just such a change: he will live in her shoes for a while and she in his. It is too good an opportunity for Tina to make some extra money to pass it up, but it soon turns out that trading lives without getting close to each other is impossible.

After the entire thing with Milan and the RWA, I wanted to show my support for her by buying one of her books, and since I’m not much into historical romance, there weren’t that many options for me from her works. So I picked up Trade Me although I had my concerns about the premise. Would this turn into a “poor rich people have it hard, too” thing? I am glad to say that my concerns were completely unnecessary – Trade Me knows what it’s about politically, it’s a fun read and I very much liked Tina and Blake.

The book cover showing a white, blond man embracing an Asian woman.
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Katte ni furuetero [Tremble All You Want] (2017)

Katte ni furuetero
Director: Akiko Ohku
Writer: Akiko Ohku
Based on: Risa Wataya‘s novel
Cast: Mayu Matsuoka, Takumi Kitamura, Daichi Watanabe, Kanji Furutachi, Anna Ishibashi, Hairi Katagiri
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 05.06.2020

Plot:
Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) is an introverted accountant who spends most of her time dreaming of her high-school crush Ichi (One) although she hasn’t seen him in years. When a colleague at work, Ni (Two) (Daichi Watanabe) starts showing an interest in Yoshika, it completely throws her and she decides that she needs to reconnect with Ichi (Takumi Kitamura) to see if she can finally win his heart. So she organizes a class reunion even as she starts dating Ni.

Katte ni furuetero looks like a pretty standard RomCom but it bucks the trend a little with its complicated main character and its sometimes pretty ambiguous developments. Whether you will like that will probably depend on just how sweet you expect and want the film to be. I am a little undecided about it myself.

The film poster showing Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) surrounded by small cut-outs of the other characters in the film.
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Bride of Death (T.A. Pratt)

Bride of Death is the seventh of the Marla Mason novels by T.A. Pratt.
Finished on: 5.6.2020
[Here are my reviews of the other Marla Mason novels.]

Plot:
After the deal Marla made with Death, she returns from the underworld and her goddess status to be herself again on earth. But her divine self has left her human self with a clear mission: Do Better. And part of that doing better is hunting monsters. To find those monsters, she enlists Nicole – or rather Nicole’s head which is all that is left of her. As a chaos magician, Nicole can easily track the monsters and it’s not like Marla is leaving her any choice in the matter – although Nicole would much rather see Marla dead. They get on the road and pretty quickly, Marla is in much deeper shit than she anticipated – again.

Bride of Death focuses on Marla and shows how she’s changed. This makes Bride of Death an extra treat for fans of the series. Everybody else should start at the beginning.

The book cover showing a dark-haired woman with a hatchet and a head in a bird cage standing in front of highway and a white motorcycle.
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Gwat mooi [Sisterhood] (2016)

Gwat mooi
Director: Tracy Choi
Writer: Kin-Yee Au, Yee Lam Wong
Cast: Gigi Leung, Fish Liew, Jennifer Yu, Lee-zen Lee, Kevin Kam-Yin Chu, Panther Chan, Stephanie Che, Eliz Lao, Teresa Mak
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 3.6.2020

Plot:
Many years ago, Sei (Gigi Leung) fled Macau and went to Taiwan, trying to forget her past. But when the news of Ling’s death reaches her, she has to return and confront it. When they were both barely adults, Sei (Fish Liew) and Ling (Jennifer Yu) met working in a massage parlor and they quickly became best friends. Their relationship was everything to them – until it wasn’t anymore. But looking back at it now, Sei may discover some things she hadn’t previously seen.

If you’re looking for a good cry, Sisterhood is ready and here for you. It’s such a nicely told film with such charming leads, I almost didn’t mind that it was another sad queer story.

The film poster showing two girls in uniform holding hands. Both are wearing bracelets with numbers - 18 and 19 respectively.
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Bildnis einer Trinkerin [Ticket of No Return] (1979)

Bildnis einer Trinkerin [literally: Portrait of a Drinker]
Director: Ulrike Ottinger
Writer: Ulrike Ottinger
Cast: Tabea Blumenschein, Lutze, Magdalena Montezuma, Orpha Termin, Monika von Cube, Paul Glauer, Nina Hagen, Günter Meisner, Kurt Raab, Volker Spengler, Eddie Constantine
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 1.6.2020

Plot:
A young woman, the drinker (Tabea Blumenschein) buys a ticket to go to Berlin where she plans to drink as much as she can, whereever she can. At the same time as her, Soziale Frage (“social question”) (Magdalena Montezuma), Exakte Statistik (“exact statistics”) (Orpha Termin) and Gesunder Menschenverstand (“good judgment”) (Monika von Cube) arrive in Berlin for a conference. Their paths keep crossing with the drinker as she makes her way through the bars, accompanied by the homeless woman (Lutze), also a drinker, she befriended.

Bildnis einer Trinkerin is a strange film. Visually impressive, it remains on the level of metaphor rather than storytelling, making it rife for interpretation rather than more straightforward understanding. I really enjoyed going on that journey.

The film poster showing the protagonist (Tabea Blumenschein) walking through a hallway underground in an extravagant, futuristic dress.
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