MANGA: Yomigaeru Kiro

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Yomigaeru Kiro – Aoi Seri

A seemingly mundane day of patrolling the streets, could be a journey of a life time for our detective when his gun and ID badge were stolen by a bunch of kids, said gun pointed at his back and blackmailed into wandering the land with a mysterious teenager.

What was an ardous and memorable roadtrip ended with a gunshot as if the kid didn’t have enough burdens already. Thankfully, it’s only a one chapter. I don’t know if I could take any more of this tragedy. T_T

REVIEW: Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film—in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler—unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other’s lives forever.

Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are treated like gods—until they do something to fall out of public favour. This year, the public is taking Declan to task for suffering injuries outside his control, so Simon’s support is a bright spot.

But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan’s homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy—for himself or for others.

I listened to the audiobook and I thought it was a such missed opportunity that the narrator did not do the Australian accents. Instead, he read the book in a neutral American accent. The voices were distinct and the characters were emoted really well but man, do the Aussie accents please!!!

Nonetheless, I had a great time with this book. This is another cute meet-cute sports-rom about a closeted footballer and an out and proud film fest director filled with snarky humor and fade to black sex scenes .

Bearing in mind that Tigers and Devils was first published in 2009, there are some slight differences in the ‘feel’ of the book, particularly in the way people were not yet so ‘woke’ so expect homophobia, dumb questions and terminologies such as ‘the woman in the relationship’.

But that’s just the rest of humanity.

Simon Murray, of the Triple F, an indie film festival, is lucky to have supportive and awesome best friends in the couple, Fran and Roger. Not only are they open-minded, they took it upon themselves to find a man for him. Their well-meaning intentions don’t always work, but it was them who forced Simon to attend The Party. Same party where Simon, like all of Australia, had football as his religion and therefore couldn’t resist opining upon the subject of Declan Tyler.

Declan was an award-winning football superstar, injured and always benched. Aspersions were cast on his abilities and Simon jumped in on a strangers’ conversation to both compliment and insult the footballer. Little did he know, the man was right behind him.

I think this is a really adorable and also a most awkward way to meet your future celebrity boyfriend. Which is what made me grab this book immediately. Adorably awkward is catnip to me and Tigers and Devils had it in spades.

Simon is a self-deprecating, self-confessed artistic wanker who couldn’t believe a football god like Declan Tyler would be interested in him much more date him. Dec is a well-mannered and very grounded superstar, perfect in every way. His only fault was that he tends to run away when things get too intense. Their romance followed the celebrity-dating-an-average-joe trope which was done in the most charming way possible.

On the other hand, there were a lot of secrecy involved. I didn’t like the way Declan was outed. I would have preferred he done it himself but it was, understandably, part of the narrative. I would have also preferred Simon and Dec to power through the storm together instead of letting the pressure tear them apart but well, that is usual how things go in romance.

The story is told through Simon’s first person POV and I loved how his ‘voice’ brought out the humor in many seemingly ordinary situations. It made the book come alive.

Fran and Roger were a hoot. The three best friends had stuck together through thick and thin but their friendship was tested here when Roger felt the need to protect his friend from the footballer. Also there’s the fear of losing a best friend to a boyfriend. Simon falling out with his friends was almost as bad as him and Declan separating.

Tigers and Devils did a great job portraying the high and lows of dating a closeted celebrity. It showed the pains of dealing with a controversial outing, and the hassles of fending off a very nosy public eager to judge your every move. It is also a story of enduring friendships where your football fanatic best friend is ready to punch a football god to defend your virtue.

As far as sports-romance go, this is something I would recommend. Do check it out if you’re up for some PG-rated jock+artist hookup featuring doofus friends, cringy scenarios and Yoda’s advice to singletons.

4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

Soundtrack: Never My Love
Artist: Knox Hamilton
Album: The Heights

REVIEW: Game Changer by Rachel Reid

New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter takes his pregame rituals very seriously. In this case, it’s not just a lucky smoothie he’s craving—it’s the man who made it.

Pro hockey star Scott Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it. So, when a smoothie made by juice bar barista Kip Grady precedes Scott breaking his on-ice slump, he’s desperate to recreate the magic…and to get to know the sexy, funny guy behind the counter.

Kip knew there was more to Scott’s frequent visits than blended fruit, but he never let himself imagine being invited back to Scott’s penthouse. Or kissed with reckless abandon, never mind touched everywhere all at once. When it happens it’s red-hot, incredible and frequent, but also only on Scott’s terms and always behind his closed apartment doors.

Scott needs Kip in his life, but with playoff season approaching, the spotlight on him is suddenly brighter than ever. He can’t afford to do anything that might derail his career…like introducing the world to his boyfriend. Kip is ready to go all-in with Scott—but how much longer will he have to remain a secret?

A very cute meet-cute with a huge dollop of steam and just enough angst to keep you from sugar coma.

Game Changer is the first book of the fantastic Game Changers series by Rachel Reid. The series features hockey players falling in love in and out of the rink. I read the second book, Heated Rivalry, beforehand which I absolutely adored so I was very motivated to read the first book too.

I wasn’t disappointed.

This is almost as charming as book 2. The story is totally different. Whereas the second book was about two rival hockey players falling in love with each other, Gamer Changer was about Scott Hunter, a closeted team captain of the New York Admirals, dropping by a smoothie cafe, bought a lucky blueberry smoothie and quickly fell in love with the barista, Kip Grady.

The two men had instant attraction and threw off sparks that were pretty obvious to any bystander. However they had to keep their relationship a secret because it might ruin Scott’s career. To Kip, it felt like going back to the closet.

As mentioned above, things were all sorts of warm fuzzy feels and sweetness. Also, too much smexy scenes that could have been edited out but that’s the honeymoon period for you. As is usually the case with contemporary romance/rom-com, once reality sets in and Kip started having niggles about being the dirty secret, you brace yourself for the Big Fight, which did happen. The two men both seemed like sensible level-headed guys so I had hopes it wouldn’t. Then again, Scott is a sweetheart and so is Kip and they patched things up after a brief falling out.

That’s not all.

The ending was everything a romantic at heart could ever hope for. A grand gesture by way of the Stanley Cup and here I am just an ‘eyewitness’ and I was giddy and exhilarated and melting softly from all the heartwarming fluff-tastic fluff! Can you imagine what Scott and Kip must feel?

Even if the book followed a typical romance story pattern, it would be the kind that easily becomes a favorite reread. I loved the two MCs and the secondary characters were well-fleshed out (and hella funny too). I gave a little hurrahs every time Rozanov appears. The author kept things fresh, fast-paced and very engaging. Even with all the bedroom play, the plot had a strong narrative to carry it through. All in all, good job, Rachel Reid!

Game Changers is a very apt name for the series because it changed the way I feel about about sports romance. I had sworn I will never read anything sports-related (hah! famous last words) and now here I am eager to delve into more sports-rom. At least if hockey players are involved.

I wished Hollywood would pick the books up and make them into a movie. We all could use a feel-good gay sports-rom and Game Changers could be that breakout hit the genre needs.

Make it happened, Hollywood! I mean, seriously, think of all the awesome memes and tumblr posts you can generate if you get two cute hockey players to kiss each other.


Heated Rivalry review here.

4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

Soundtrack: Lucky
Artist: Hoobastank
Album: The Reason

I knew how it felt to be another one in need of someone to show the way
Until you saw a part of me that nobody else
Could see and my life hasn’t been the same

You make me feel lucky as I can be

Before I couldn’t get a break,
Never had a chance to make
The impressions I want to
But now it falls right into place
When I get to see your face
Then there’s nothing that I can’t do

You make me feel lucky as I can be

No more dark days, only sun rays
No more hard ways with you today

You make me feel…

You make me feel lucky as I can be

NEW RELEASE BLITZ: Slashed and Mashed: Seven Gayly Subverted Stories by Andrew J. Peters (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Continue reading “NEW RELEASE BLITZ: Slashed and Mashed: Seven Gayly Subverted Stories by Andrew J. Peters (Excerpt & Giveaway)”