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Lenni Reviews: “Finder Deluxe Edition: Target in Sight” Vol. 1 by Ayano Yamane

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*I received this book in exchange for an honest review and is rated for 18+

*This review is cross-posted at Otakus and Geeks

This manga is a series of yaoi short stories:

Finder: Asami catches photographer, Akihito Takaba, taking photos of him and corners Akihito for smexy times as punishment.

Fixer: Akihito gets caught up in the Chinese mafia and Asami has to save him.

Love Lesson: Class President, Takato Ichijo rescues Yusuke Sakurai from a groper on the train and when Ichijo finds Yusuke smoking on the roof of the school, smexy times ensue.

Plants in Love: Mizuno has a crush on his classmate, Hiyama. When Hiyama sees his father and Mizuno’s father together, he thinks they’re lovers and the boys decide to stay at the same hotel as they do and see what they’re up to.

Risky Society: Rei Yukimura is training new recruit Akira Todo for inclusion in the Risky Society but Akira gets injured on his first mission.

This collection was a very quick read and is a nice sampler of yaoi if you’re not looking to dive into a really long series. The art is whispy but sensual and the characters are very easy to tell apart; their looks are very stylized. The amount of non-con or dubious-con is a tedious trope but it’s there (what is WITH that?!). Thankfully, it’s not in all the stories. I’d rate it a pretty solid 3.5 out of 5 since some of the stories left me wanting more since the plot was so interesting.

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Lenni Reviews: “Leo Loves Aries” by Anyta Sunday

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks

Twins Theo and Leone have both lost their significant others to each other. Theo’s girlfriend and Leone’s boyfriend paired off and the twins decide to lick their wounds with school work and junk food; until their wedding invitation arrives in the mail. They both agree to show they’ve moved on by not only attending the wedding but choosing dates for each other. When Jamie Cooper applies to be their roommate, Theo thinks he’s perfect for his sister but finds Jamie so infuriatingly amusing that their friendship deepens to something more.

As far as “gay for you” romances go, this one does it right. I’ve read too many of these where the straight guy has all these icky feelings about another man’s naughty bits and has to get over that because he’s attracted to a specific man. Here, Theo had dated only women in the past and considered himself hetero but Jamie as a person, sparks his interest. Theo doesn’t stress about his orientation or how he can’t understand being sexually attracted to another male; all he knows is he adores Jamie. This makes their pairing all the more genuine and it was easy to get invested in what’s happening to them.

As for the rest of our cast of characters, they are all written very well so they feel real; flaws and all. The steamier scenes are placed perfectly within the narrative, despite the short courtship. You don’t get the sense Theo and Jamie tumble around randomly just because there hasn’t been a sex scene in a while. They make an adorable couple to follow on their journey and the ending is sweet and satisfying.

If I had a gripe, it would be some unexplored bits like Theo’s fear of water and you don’t get to know the ex’s very well. I thought the water would come into play in the climax of the story and other than Theo’s ex – Sam – being thoughtless, they don’t get much back story. Those are VERY minor criticisms and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book.

If “gay for you” is your thing and you want a fairly lighthearted M/M romance, I recommend this. Theo and Jamie are just all around fun to read. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Higurashi: When They Cry” vol 18 by Ryukishi07 and Karin Suzuragi

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Rena is on the run from the cops and her friends; having completely been absorbed by her delusions and conspiracy theories. Believing she has been poisoned, Rena takes her friends and classmates hostage; threatening to blow up the school and burn everyone alive if Detective Ooishi doesn’t deliver the antidote.

This volume really cemented it for me; some sort of time loop is taking place and the characters are becoming aware of it. This arc ended on a more happy note than the others, as happy as one can be in a hostage situation and having to fight your cleaver-wielding friend on the roof of your school but in this series; an ending without someone scratching their own throat out in madness IS happy. I’d have to give this particular volume a 3 since it felt like it went a little hard on that ‘gotcha’ ending but the characters are amazing and the art is still on point. I’m willing to see what the characters will do from here.

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Book Expo/Book Con Swag

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I know everyone was just DYING to know what I got from these events so, here’s a list of every book I picked up:

  1. The Invasion of Heaven by Michael B. Koep
  2. Leaves of Fire by Michael B. Koep
  3. The Bone of the Earth by Rachael Dunne
  4. The Curse of the Werck Family: The Battle Between Love and Hate by Valéria Lopes
  5. If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss
  6. Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth by Amy Stewart and Briony Morrow-Cribbs
  7. Why the Rich are Getting Richer by Robert T. Kiyosaki
  8. L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 33 by Robert J. Sawyer and Anne McCaffrey
  9. Battlefield Earth 21st Century Edition by L. Ron Hubbard
  10. Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren
  11. Sleep like a Baby by Charlaine Harris
  12. The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens
  13. Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions Book 1) by G. S. Prendergast
  14. Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
  15. Surpassing Uncertainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock
  16. A Choice to Yield by Laurence Cook
  17. Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield
  18. A Cyber Affair: The Online Search for Mr. Right by Lonz Cook
  19. The Eternity Elixir (Potion Masters) by Frank L. Cole
  20. The Notations of Cooper Cameron by Jane O’Reilly
  21. The Town of Jasper by James Gianetti
  22. Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar
  23. Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney
  24. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo and Sara Kipin
  25. The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens
  26. The Extra Woman: How Marjorie Hillis Led a Generation of Women to Live Alone and Like It by Joanna Scutts
  27. Saturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger
  28. Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle
  29. Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson
  30. The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  31. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
  32. Writer, The Shaping of Popular Fiction: L. Ron Hubbard Series, Writer (The L. Ron Hubbard Series, The Complete Biographical Encyclopedia) by Based on the Works of L. Ron Hubbard
  33. M.F.K Book One by Nilah Magruder

Why are none of these linked? Because not all of them have something to link to so, fuck it. It’s just a big ass list.

I have mysteries, historical romance, contemporary romance, non-fiction, YA, science fiction; you name it. I basically took every free book they waved in front of my face and worried about what kind of book it was later. I’m not sure I’ll review ALL of them but I sure will review most of them.

But you can see why my shoulders were KILLING me by the fourth day of gathering these.

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Lenni Reviews: “Higurashi: When They Cry” vol 17 by Ryukishi07 and Karin Suzuragi

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Rena tries to convince Keiichi about the parasites and a conspiracy to enforce the “curse” by fanatic believers in Oyashiro-sama but Keiichi is hesitant to agree. Without him, Rena becomes increasingly paranoid. The stops coming to school and believes everyone, even her friends, are part of a plot to kill her; going so far as to think there are human clones around her and one will eventually replace her.

Going along with my time loop theory, it’s looking like those timelines are intertwining, since Keiichi is getting flashes of murders he committed in previous volumes. The only one who seems to really know about these alternate events is Rika and as such, I’m getting some Madoka Magica vibes. I think they are all stuck in a loop, Rika is the only one fully aware of this loop, and is trying to end the loop in a way that saves all her friends. Interesting… 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Higurashi: When They Cry” vol 16 by Ryukishi07 and Karin Suzuragi

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Having done what she believed she needed to do to protect her father, Rena’s shocking deeds are discovered by her friends. All of them band together to help Rena since they regret not being able to save Satoshi in the past. They help cover for Rena and decide to forget everything so they can go on as normal. That is until the local nurse, Takano, stirs up Rena’s interest in Oyashiro-sama’s Curse then Detective Ooishi comes to investigate the murders of Takano and Tomitake on the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival.

With all these cycles, it’s Takano and Tomitake’s deaths which seem to be a fixed point. They end up killed the same way on the same night every time.

In this volume, we learn every resident of the village is infected with a parasite and that’s what’s making them hallucinate and kill people. Rena puts it together by reading this scrapbook Takano gave her before she was killed and now Rena believes there’s a huge conspiracy to keep it all quiet and the same people who murdered Takano are after her.

While I like that as a possible cause of all this, it all seems too perfect. Maybe I’ve had some of Rena’s paranoia rub off on me but I do have some doubts. Better keep reading to find out. This series it really good at leaving you enough questions to keep grabbing up the next volume. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Higurashi: When They Cry” vol 15 by Ryukishi07 and Karin Suzuragi

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Once again, Keiichi comes to Hinamizawa and has his cadre of crazy female friends. But this time, Rena Ryugu is the focus. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her father. On the surface, she seems happy but her father has been dating a woman named Rina and her resentment towards this new woman manifests only in Rena’s relentless scratching habit; which started when her mother left her father for another man. The only thing keeping Rena’s facade of happiness is her faith in Oyashiro-sama.

It seems I was on the right track when I thought this was a time loop repeating until it sorts itself out. Something different goes wrong each time and the summer of 1983 starts all over again with the same players in slightly different roles.

Mild spoiler? Rina is a dirty bitch and I don’t feel bad for her.

Ohe thing I have noticed as a theme in this series is a dual personality either in one person like Rena or two opposites in two different people like Mion and Shion. As far as plot, this is my favorite set up volume. Rena is very relatable and I found what she’s gone through and is going through very intense. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Crossing in Time” by D.L. Orton and Micah McDonald

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated for 18+

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks

Geneticist Isabel is given a once in a lifetime chance; to go back in time and get a second chance with her lover, Diego. But this is for much more than just love as their relationship may hold the key to saving humanity from mass extinction.

Now, I know one would think that knowing me and my other reviews; a “time travel, dystopian romance” would not only have my eyes rolling out of my head but send me into Serena’s Plight levels of anger. Neither of these happened. I LOVED this book.

Isabel and Diego are both whip-smart, strong brave characters and there were precious few moments in the plot where I doubted they were anything else. And while their relationship takes center stage, supporting characters like Matt are quick witted, kind, and funny. All of them have such chemistry I didn’t want to leave them (and I will be getting the next books in the series).

The time travel bits can get confusing and part of me doesn’t want to believe anyone could accidentally set off a nuke (but with how things are with a president who tweets unintelligible typos, it seems sadly likely) but overall, this story had even a cynic like me believing that one relationship could mean saving the world. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Higurashi: When They Cry” vol 14 by Ryukishi07 and Yutori Houjyou

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One by one, Shion takes revenge on those who hurt Satoshi. When Shion and Mion were born, one was destined to be a demon so Shion fully embraces the title; imprisoning her sister and going out of her way to make Keiichi paranoid and scared. But eventually, Shion will have to be stopped or stop herself from becoming a victim of the ‘curse’ herself.

So, it turns out the sisters were switched on the day when the next family head would be chosen – because they thought it would be funny – and the “wrong” twin got the demon tattoo and was groomed to be the heir to lead one day. From what I see, it’s this playing games with these kid’s heads in the first place that caused Shion to lose her damn mind. I’d feel bad for her bu tin the end, Shion/Mion was a murderer. It’s a shame she couldn’t just go off somewhere and have a normal life but whatever time loop thing is happening doesn’t seem like it will let anyone have a normal life. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Higurashi: When They Cry” vol 13 by Ryukishi07 and Yutori Houjyou

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Driven to madness when she learns who may be behind Satoshi’s disappearance, Shion is out for vengeance; determined to expose the truth. Believing Keiichi will be the next to vanish, she sets him up as bait to catch whoever hurt Satoshi.

Shion is obviously broken hearted and after enduring an entire life of being a spare kid while her twin was groomed to be head of the family, it’s no wonder that hen her first bit of happiness is ripped from her by her family, Shion would lash out. Considering the entire town isn’t above murder, I can see Shion going to the lengths she has.

Also, as one of the big families, Rika is involved as well! The entire town is a bunch of murderous nuts using the curse as a cover for their illegal activities. It’s just a shame the kids pay the price for all this. But, it this series is anything, it’s unpredictable. I doubt the next volume will bring a conclusion in line with my thoughts. 4 out of 5.

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