MANGA: Mie Hariatte Surechigai

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Mie Hariatte Surechigai – Yukue Moegi

Salesman Minoru dislikes his co-worker Shinji, who likes to grope him and confess his love. Even though Minoru rejects his advances, the persistent Shinji refuses to give up.

Sparkling, self-assertive semes. Repressed, resisting ukes. A hit and a miss.

The Truth Framed Like A Joke: A case of sekuhara-but-ok-if-it’s-you made Minoru realized latent feelings for his business partner. I wanted to be annoyed but Shinji’s Lab-like enthusiasm and undying devotion won me just like he won his Minoru.

Putting On Airs, And Passing Each Other By: More feelings come out in the open as Sakurazaka made Yamamoto spell out his feelings with a clever/dumb wordplay. Not warming up to the too cool Sakurazaka.

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REVIEW: Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford

Ramen Assassin – Rhys Ford

When life gives Kuro Jenkins lemons, he wants to make ponzu to serve at his Los Angeles ramen shop.

Instead he’s dodging bullets and wondering how the hell he ended up back in the black ops lifestyle he left behind. After rescuing former child star Trey Bishop from a pair of murderous thugs, he reluctantly picks his guns up again. It seems trouble isn’t done with Trey, and Kuro can’t quite let go… of either danger or Trey.

Trey never denied his life’s downward spiral was his own fault. After stints in rehab, he’s finally shaken off his Hollywood bad-boy lifestyle, but not his reputation. The destruction of his career and relationships was epic, and no one trusts anything he says, including the LAPD. When two men dragging a dead body spot him on a late-night run, then try to murder him, Trey is thankful for the tall, dark, and deadly ramen shop owner not just for rescuing him, but also for believing him.

Now caught in a web of murders and lies, Trey knows someone wants him dead, and the only one on his side is a man with dark secrets. Trey hopes Kuro will stick around to see what the future holds for them once the dust settles, but from the looks of things, neither of them may survive to find out.


Kurotsuki ‘Kuro’Jenkins whose name literally means black moon (and how cool is that!) tried taking it easy. He really did. As a veteran black ops agent, he had many dangerous missions under his belt. He wanted to do more had he not been seriously injured and was forced to retire. He was doing a good job lying low so far when trouble came running towards him in the form of Trey Bishop, former child star and recovering addict. The former black ops turned ramen chef had to help because he has a soft spot for underdogs. Plus the man was a regular customer.

Harrington ‘Trey’ Bishop III went down the route of most Hollywood child stars. He has done it all and been in and out of rehab for most his life. Now at 28, he’s washed up and lived on his father’s dole-outs. In all fairness to Trey, he was really, sincerely trying to get better. Just that, no one believes him. He routinely jogs anytime he feels the urge to drink or shoot. It was on one of these runs that he met bad luck in the form of two men trying to dispose a dead body in the wee hours of the morning. Lucky for him, a certain ramen shop owner he has a crush on was secretly packing high calibers and saved his ass.

“…you’re my particularly favorite brand of trouble.”

Their mutual attraction had been going on for months. It was the alleyway incident that finally broke the ice. The ramen chef has white knight tendencies and the younger man brought out his protective side. The romance happened over the few days of things going tits up. I didn’t mind the insta-ness of it all. Dead people aside, it was soft and sweet. I was sold.

I appreciated the way Kuro handled Trey’s many issues. He did not try to ‘fix’ him. He could see outright that the former actor was doing his best to deal with his demons. I especially approved of the way he stood up for him when Trey’s sister, Kimber, was putting him down yet again.

I admired Trey’s determination in the face of all the negativity he received especially from his own family. His only friend was his father’s former mistress. He needed an extra boost and Kuro was the guy to give him what he needed. I rooted for Trey all the way. He’s a genuinely nice person who had the misfortune of growing up in Hollywood and picking up many bad habits. It’s not all that bad because some of the moves he learned on sets were used in a creative ways to help him out of sticky situations. Which made things a whole lot of fun.

Bonus that Ramen Assassin contains an interesting lesbian couple. If ever Rhys Ford decide to write FF stories, if she hasn’t yet, Boom Boom and Kimber is a good place to start. I’m super intrigued with how a former Russian spy and an LAPD police lieutenant would make it work.

Kimber is Trey’s older sister by 15 years. She bucked family expectations by becoming a cop. I didn’t like her at first. She hardly gave him the benefit of the doubt and she said many harsh words. But she redeemed herself in the end. Tatiana aka Boom Boom aka Black Widow is Trey’s dad’s bodyguard/right hand woman/former demolitions expert. She and Kuro had a colorful history together. Now she’s on their side. She almost stole the show.

Face claims are in order:

This is my first full-length Rhys Ford novel. I wasn’t disappointed though not entirely blown away either. It fell somewhere between like and love. I enjoyed how she brought all the elements together, from Kuro’s hush-hush past to Trey’s sordid family dramas and how they inter-played nicely with the murder mystery and the romance. Many of the characters were well-fleshed out, even if some were not entirely likable. The latter was more in keeping with a character’s personality and not due to poor writing.

I prefer mysteries where the villain was present most of the time, just not obvious. This gives a more satisfying aha moment but trickier to execute without making it predictable. Still, the mystery was a good one, leaving me guessing until the last 20%. The turn of events made it plausible that the MC finally met the villain face-to-face at the time he did. Though I felt it would be more interesting if he made an early appearance.

Ramen Assassin is very much a story of people struggling to start a new life. It is also an entertaining murder mystery with action scenes this side of OTT and plot twisty enough to keep things exciting. Even if it’s only an HFN, I’m so glad things are finally looking up for Trey. They might not be on my top ten but I’m fully invested on him and Kuro and will follow their next adventures.

Time for that comeback!

P.S.

Rhys Ford stories here

Rating:
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

Soundtrack: Begin Again
Artist: Purity Ring
Album: Another Eternity

Begin Again
Begin Again
Begin Again

I’ve been watching your kindness keep
A lonely company
Look at the fire and think of me
I’ve been watching you creep
Around my wandering feet
Trying for years to flee

I need not one thing more
O wrap the ground around
Your gentle winding mind
O guard the pounding sound
Breathe in your fiery air
O wrap the ground around
Give back an hungrier stare
O guard the pounding sound

You be the moon I’ll be the earth
And when we burst
Start over o darling
Begin again
Begin again
Begin again [x2]

My moon o my moon
Not even into
Another eternity
Will you stop your lovely orbiting
I had held it a world away
Until my body ‘gan to say

I need not one thing more
O wrap the ground around
Your gentle winding mind
O guard the pounding sound
Breathe in your fiery air
O wrap the ground around
Give back an hungrier stare
O guard the pounding sound

You be the moon I’ll be the earth
And when we burst
Start over o darling
Begin again
Begin again
Begin again [x2]

REVIEW: Mainly By Moonlight by Josh Lanyon

Bedknobs And Broomsticks: Mainly By Moonlight – Josh Lanyon

A gay high-society wedding. A stolen book of spells. A love-threatening lie. Can a witch avoid a murder rap without revealing the supernatural truth?

Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. Thanks to a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s arrested for allegedly killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…

Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith never believed in love until Cosmo came along. Falling head over heels for the elegant antiques dealer is an enchantment he never wants to break. So when all fingers point to Cosmo’s guilt, John races to prove his fiancé’s innocence before they take their vows.

As Cosmo hunts for the real killer among the arcane aristocracy, John warns him to leave it to the police. But with an unseen enemy threatening to expose Cosmo’s true nature, the couple’s blissful future could shatter like a broken charm.

Can Cosmo find the lost grimoire, clear his name, and keep John’s love alive, or will black magic “rune” their wedding bells?

Mainly by Moonlight is the first book in the sexy Bedknobs and Broomsticks romantic gay mystery series. If you like spellbinding suspense, steamy fun, and a dash of paranormal, then you’ll love Josh Lanyon’s charming tale. 


My 3.5-star streak continues with Josh Lanyon‘s latest offering, Mainly by Moonlight, book 1 of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. With her nifty unlikable-characters-but-made-me-commit-to-the-series-anyway trick, Lanyon shakes up her usual murder mystery fare with magic, witches and antiques.

The Bedknobs and Broomsticks world has magic but not heavy on spells. It’s built along the lines of Practical Magic and Bewitched so it has a cozy feel to it. Whatever cutesy nose twitches it has is tempered by unideal character traits and false pretenses. There is a good balance between these elements though I needed to consciously put myself in the mindset that the flaws are part of the charm a.k.a. not ding the book for it. The unconventional set-up made the romance more interesting but admittedly, an acquired taste.

Cosmo Saville is a witch and not just any witch. He’s a veritable witch royalty. His mother is the Duchess, heir to the position of Crone. He is engaged to be married to the police commissioner, John Joseph Galbraith, whom he met two weeks ago. It was a whirlwind affair bought about by a lovespell. On top of their controversial romance, witches keep their identities secret by necessity, which means Cosmo had to constantly lie to cover up his suspicious endeavors. Not at all auspicious.

Since Cos is an antique dealer by trade, he tended to namedrop antiques and art pieces I’m too lazy to google so some references he’s trying make were lost on me. It did not significantly affect my enjoyment of the story. However, the jury’s still out on him. I didn’t like the lying part but he did insist on having the lovespell removed so that counts for something. I am also convinced he genuinely loves John who explicitly told him he hated liars. Uh-oh. What now, Cos?

John, I’m more inclined to. Was it just because of a lovespell? His mysterious resistance to Cosmo’s Jedi mind tricks argued otherwise. I am willing to be swayed because I have inklings as to where this is heading. For me, the commish was the biggest mystery of all. He is older and, in many ways , reminded me of Sam Kennedy from The Art of Murder. But what do we really know about the man? Almost nothing as far as and I can tell. I doubt Cosmo truly knew his fiance. I’m itching to find out what’s behind the hot/cold persona.

Mainly By Moonlight is very much a mishmash of a series opener. I am invested enough to see things through but there were times where I’m just there for the ride which was what made me deduct some stars. I wasn’t exactly bored but the murder mystery wasn’t something that actively engaged my attention either. The victim barely registered as a person. The other characters had passable personalities. The ones that stood out were Cosmo’s mother, his best friend and John’s little sister who I think will be playing an even bigger role in the coming events. There were no concrete resolutions yet. Threads were left open for the next books. Characters hinted to be the main villains flee the scene as soon as they were introduced. Them getting away with it made me want to see some witch-on-witch showdown. Keeping my fingers crossed for that.

Happily, despite being held at gun point by a crazed witch, the wedding did happen. Vows were exchanged, promises were made, feelings were laid bare. Of course, Cosmo conveniently forgot to mention one important detail. I’m pretty sure this little omission would come biting him in the ass. When truths are exposed and trusts are broken, will there be enough love left to keep their marriage alive?

P.S.

Josh Lanyon books here

Rating:
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

Soundtrack: I Put A Spell On You
Artist: Screamin’ Jay Hawkin
Album: At Home With Screamin’ Jay Hawkin

I put a spell on you
Because you’re mine
Stop the things you do
Watch out, I ain’t lying
I can’t stand
No running around
I can’t stand
And no putting me down
I put a spell on you
Because you’re mine
Stop the things you do
Watch out, I ain’t lying
I love you, I love you
I love you anyhow
I don’t care if you don’t want me
I’m yours right now
I put a spell on you
Because you’re mine…

MANGA: The Wize Wize Beasts Of The Wizarding Wizdoms

The Wize Wize Beasts Of The Wizarding Wizdoms – Nagabe

Deep in the forest lies a mysterious school of magic: Wizdoms, an institution attended by beastmen of all kinds. These studious fantasy creatures have come to live, learn, and perhaps even fall in love in this enchanting space. In this collection of BL stories by master mangaka Nagabe, follow the beauty and surprising humor of magical beasts with human hearts.

A mixbag of humorous inter-specie love affairs featuring, IMHO, slightly disturbing anthropomorphic animals.

Alan & Eddington: The Gifted & The Average: Hare pining for Cat concocts a love potion but flubs the forgetting spell. So Cat remembered every dirty little secret Hare confessed. Hare wished the ground would swallow him up while I died of second hand embarrassment.

Florio & Nicol: The Hunter & The Hunted: Always sleepy Wolf uses Goat as pillow. Leaves bitemarks afterwards. Goat is nervous, annoyed but also a little…exhilarated? Hmm…

Fermat & Emil: The Teacher & The Pupil: Prof Dragon tutors young Dragon on the finer points of mathematics. Young Dragon gets adorably shy and squirmy, Prof Dragon feels unexplained feelings. Proceeds to do complicated calculations. Whatever it is, all I got was pedo vibes.

Marley & Collette: The Cold-Blooded & The Warm-Blooded: Serious winter co-dependence business between roommates Deer and Lizard. Took very good advantage of cuddle weather. Let’s hope Deer gets his spring.

Doug & Huey: Courtship & Friendship: Crow stakes claims on the oblivious and ever optimistic Peacock desperate to get a girlfriend by secretly telling everyone Peacock has a girlfriend. Funny with sinister undertones.

Allhoff & Carreras: Food & Games: Mischief loving Vampire Bats share blood through mouth-to-mouth transfer learn a new way of playing with their mouths. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get past the image of regurgitated food.

Cromwell & Benjamin: The Good Talker & The Good Listener: Quiet faculty staff Unicorn, shunned by his tribe for being gay, is the go to demi-human for those needing an ear for their problems. Prof Griffin is his regular visitor. One day, Griffin notices Unicorn is in a subdued mood and tells him it’s his turn to listen. But is Unicorn ready to talk? Soft and sweet. My favorite.

Mauchly & Charles: Beast & Man: Bear and Human form a friendship after Bear rescues lost Human. Human feeds Bear blueberry pie. Bear teaches Human the art of doing nothing. Had floofy heart-to-heart talks on freckles and markings. Another favorite.