Tokyo Hearts

  • by Renae Lucas-Hall
  • Narrated by Billie Fulford-Brown
  • 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Haruka and Takashi are devoted to shopping and going out in Tokyo. She loves her Louis Vuitton handbags, Hermès scarves, and Louboutin shoes. He enjoys eating out and looking through the department stores in Ginza and Shibuya. Together they make a cute couple, but love is never easy.
Takashi's world starts to turn upside down when he realizes Haruka has started seeing Jun, her wealthy ex-boyfriend from Kyoto. When Haruka travels to Kyoto to meet up with Jun and his mother, a series of earthquakes hit Tokyo, and Takashi is injured. Haruka is unable to contact him, and it looks like she'll never see Takashi again - the boy who truly loves her.
Filled with cultural significance, this story will appeal to listeners who have an interest in Japan and the mind-set of the Japanese people.

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Customer Reviews

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the love of all things materialistic

This is probably one of those books where I was just the wrong audience. I simply do not care what other people wear or possess, and I have no interest in fashion and designers. So you can hopefully see my predicament when I came across all these characters who were totally obsessed by shopping, clothing, brands and designers, bags, cars, wealth, possessions and outer appearance. I just could not warm up to them at all. The main character’s father somewhere along the lines mentions: “Marry for love but love where the money is.” Well, that about sums up the characters and the story.

There’s Takashi, a hard working university student from a modest background, who fancies Haruka, who used to be a fellow student of his, but dropped out to help look after her sick father. Still, the two keep meeting regularly in Tokyo for coffee. But then Takashi finds out that Haruka is also in contact with Jun, who is very wealthy. Who will Haruka marry in the end?

Love triangle? Not so much. Emotional? Nope. Romance or love? Well, the love of all things materialistic. Lots and lots of talk about who bought what and who is driving a BMW or a Mercedes. Classified as a young adult book and a coming-of-age story, there was also some weird obsession with acne, which made me cringe. The dialogue felt terribly stilted. Do young Japanese people really talk like this to one another?

On the positive side, it was a relatively short listen at just under 6 hours. Probably a nice listen if you are keen on the geography of Japan and some Japanese culture. Sorry, but that’s all I’ve got.

The narration by Billlie Fulford-Brown was not much better either. It was hard to tell the difference between female and male characters. The narrator sounded robotic and dull. It felt like listening to somebody reading off a paper rather than listening to a performance of an audiobook.

There were no issues with the quality of the production.

Audiobook provided for review by the author.

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- AudioBook Reviewer "All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com"

A stylish romance that will tug on your heart

Would you listen to Tokyo Hearts again? Why?

Yes I would, I really enjoyed the story. I also seem to pick up things I missed the first time around when I listen to audio books more than once.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Takashi and Haruka equally. I like Haruka because the story seems to follow her the most, especially when she is thinking about marrying Jun her ex bf who now lives in Kyoto. I do feel like Takashi takes her back so easily but I think he know's that the whole Jun situation was arranged by her parents and respect to your elders is mandatory in Japan. I really did like Takashi and Haruka together, Luckily the job she was going to try to get in Kyoto fell through and she semi comes to her senses and returns to Takashi (Also helps that Haruka's mother was put off by the way Jun's mother treated them.)


Which character – as performed by Billie Fulford-Brown – was your favorite?

Oh my goodness, all of them! I loved the pronunciation of all the Japanese names (I watch a lot of anime and hear these names often). Pronouncing Japanese town names I bet I wouldn't do so well myself. Also the Australian accent was really well done. I feel like Billie Fulford-Brown did a great job with narrating, the characters voices as well as accents for different regions. I know that's a skill I don't posses and noticing somebody else who has that skill is worth mentioning.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did, I was kinda panicked when Takashi fell off his moter bike during the earthquake and broke 3 ribs and was gashed up all over. I was feeling a new set of panic when Haruka couldn't contact him and he could be dying and she would never get to tell him how she really feels and the mistake she's made.


Any additional comments?

There is a lot of culture introduced in this book: Takashi and Haruka's date in Kamakura where they visited the famous temples and shrines. Haruka and her parents stay in Kyoto and their visit to Kinkakuji - the golden temple, as well as Ryoan-ji temple and Nijo Castle. Haruka and Jun's dinner date at a kaiseki ryori (traditional Japanese) restaurant. A New Year's celebration in Izu waiting for the sun to rise, Takashi's love of convenience store meals that you can only find in Japan, the arranged marriage situation between Haruka and Jun. The traditional funeral of Takashi's grandmother.

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- Buneary Thomas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-07-2015
  • Publisher: Renae Lucas-Hall