2019 MIDYEAR WRAP-UP

I’m not very good at this wrap-up thing. I started doing it January then promptly forgot for the rest of the year because I’m a lazy, lazy blogger.

I didn’t set reading goals for this year because reading goals is a sure-fire way to get into a reading slump for me. Like that currently reading shelf jinx in GR where putting a book on the currently reading list automatically assures that I will not be picking up that book again. I have 6 books stuck in that shelf for more than a year already. Anybody else ever experienced this jinx?

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MANGA: Kono Koi ni Mirai wa Nai

Kono Koi ni Mirai wa Nai – Morihashi Bingo & Suwaru Koko

Yuji Mase, a university student who is rather popular with girls without his knowledge, taciturn and withdrawn type. In fact, he hides a secret wound that will be revealed during the visit of his sister hairdresser-stylist: he does not feel at ease in this body of a man that he’s in …

It would have been an interesting story about being trans with disphoria but it’s so slow to the point of dragging. Also I don’t understand the appeal of that womanizing love interest. I like how it ended tho. No fairy tales here.

REVIEW: Deadly Lover by Jocelynn Drake

Exit Strategy: Deadly Lover – Jocelynn Drake

Justin Mallory has years of bad decisions to make up for, starting with agreeing to join the CIA after being recruited out of the Marines. Now he chooses the jobs and he works alone. It’s safer that way, and he can make sure the good guy always wins. 

But this job…he can’t do alone. Two pharmaceutical researchers are dead and a dangerous drug is on the cusp of winning FDA approval if he doesn’t track down the culprit behind the lies and murders. 

Gabriel Prescott is a well-trained, efficient, and cold-blooded killer. After a brutal betrayal left his lover dead, Gabriel is out only for himself. But when this lucrative contract lands in his lap, he can’t pass it up. Even if it means working with the unpredictable and insane Justin Mallory. 

Dodging bullets and secret meetings find them depending on each other. And one hot, frantic night together leads to a hidden sweetness…and questions of whether they could possibly have something more.

A Goodreads friend said it best ( here ):

“It’s a bit thin on the mercenary procedural angle and highish on the OTT scale. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but this could have been much more. Take out some of the sex, some OTT phrases, add in more mystery, more edge, then we would have had a winner. Alas, that was not to be had.” 

Deadly Lover introduces us to Justin Mallory and Gabriel Prescott, a mercenary and an assassin with deep secrets and false names, who found themselves partnered against their will. They were drawn to each other despite having opposite personalities.

The story is part mystery, part thriller, more romance. There’s a bit of fake boyfriend thrown in and some forced proximity angle. I wasn’t a particular fan of the writing. It followed a sex-work-sex-work-sex pattern that would have made it predictable and boring. But what it lack for a more solid storyline, it more than made up for the fantastic chemistry between Gabriel and Justin. I had fun listening to their banter and I could easily overlook the weaker parts.

Justin is goofy and laidback while Gabriel is more uptight and tends to overthink. If it weren’t for the fact that their jobs involved hacking and killing, they could have been your favorite neighborhood gay couple. And they did a lot of cute couple things like grocery shopping and cookouts. I loved how Justin brought out Gabriel’s playful side. My favorite part was Gabriel knowing exactly where Justin hid his secret cameras and deliberately trying to provoke him. Also the “he can only speak Russian” gag was fun.

While not exactly a throwaway, the job wasn’t that hard either and the breakthrough was a matter of waiting for a program to finish decrypting the hard drive. Not my favorite way of moving plots forward but it did serve to give the two men more time together and make the development of their relationship more plausible.

The book ends with a kiss and a promise. And I am eagerly rooting for them to see that promise through. The whole premise of the Exit Strategy series is about two hired guns trying to leave the mercenary life behind and live normal lives. I don’t really like my assassins retiring but I also like them alive and would like Gabriel and Justin’s HFN become an HEA, which is only possible if they permanently remove themselves from their very exciting careers. But knowing these two, I’m pretty sure trouble will still find them no matter what.

All in all, not that deadly but still enjoyable. Recommended to those who love to see cold-blooded assassins getting hot and bothered.

Rating:
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

Soundtrack: Next Exit
Artist: Interpol
Album: Antics

We ain’t going to the town
We’re going to the city
Gonna trek this shit around
And make this place a heart to be a part of

We ain’t going to the town
We’re going to the city
Gonna trek this shit around
And make this place a heart to be a part of again

We’re going
We’re going
We’re going
And we’re gone
We’re going
We’re going
We’re going
And we’re gone

So baby make it with me
In preparation for tonight
We’ve got so much to live
But that’s not what makes this right
We’ve been building up steam
Ignited by this fight
So do this thing with me instead of
Tying on a tight one tonight

We’re going
We’re going
We’re going
And we’re gone
We ain’t going to the town
We’re going to the city
Gonna trek this shit around
And make this place a heart to be a part of again