Lenni Reviews: “To Strip the Flesh” by Oto Toda

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Chiaki Ogawa is trying to be a good daughter to his sick dad but deep down feels more like a boy and hates his female body. With the added stress of wanting to keep an old promise he made when his mother was alive to get married and have a family, Chiaki is determined to transition and begins to do so without telling his dying father.

There are other stories in this book too and it’s a nice collection. Some are as simple as one page while others have more time to grow. I thought this entire book was going to be about Chiaki but the other stories are good too and have similar themes. It’s a good way to show the unique feelings of a trans person in a new format. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Change World” Vol. 2, by Yuu Minaduki

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

Yosuke and Arimura’s relationship is almost dreamlike until Arimura gets a job offer overseas and his former classmate, Masato, comes in to start trouble.

It may be spoilers to say so but Yosuke and Arimura are clearly an unshakeable couple. They may have some hesitation but there was never a point in this volume where I thought the conflicts presented would pose the slightest threat to their relationship. If you’re looking for a low angst yaoi, this fits the bill perfectly. The main couple are sweet and fun to read and there’s some sexy times that are graphic so be aware of that. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Links” by Natsuki Kizu

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for mature readers.

This is a collection of short stories about four different couples. They all have a connection to one another and it’s very slice of life. I like it, it’s a cute mix of different types of love and personalities. It isn’t very graphic; more like suggestive. So, if you’re looking for a laid-back, low angst, slice-of-life romance that’s relatively clean, this isn’t a bad read. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Black or White” Vol. 3, by Sachimo

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

Shin, who is so reserved he is typically typecast as a bad guy, is getting closer with a veteran actor, Tatara, who he has admired for some time. Shige, Shin’s boyfriend, is filled with jealousy at this growing friendship but still has to keep his relationship with Shin a secret.

They synopsis made this volume sound more dramatic than it actually is. There’s a lot of feels and exploring the character’s hang ups and Shige and Shin navigating their relationship around their jobs. This volume wasn’t bad but I expected a huge drama that didn’t happen. It’s pretty chill, actually; so if you’re into heavy angst, this isn’t it. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Change World” Vol. 1, by Yuu Minaduki

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

In this sequel to Sayonara Game, Ito and Arimura are growing closer but Arimura wants Ito to move in with him.

This was cute but fleeting. I like the contrast between the stoic Ito and outgoing Arimura but having a third character, Hozumi, appear as an antagonist to interfere with them is really cliche. I am aware this is cliche for a reason but this seems particularly generic. It’s obvious the main couple is too devoted to be fooled by this person, if they even bother to deal with him at all. Fun but we’ve seen all this before. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Therapy Game Restart” Vol. 1, by Meguru Hinohara

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

Shizuma’s job as a veterinarian is keeping him to busy to spend as much time with his boyfriend, Hinato; who has some insecurities about their relationship because Shizuma used to date women.

For clarity, I have not read the original series. So, any backstory beyond this volume is a mystery to me. That being said, this is a cute, smutty story that reads fast and has a nice pair of characters. They contrast well, Shizuma’s nice guy attitude with Hinato’s more standoffish ways but it was a fun read. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Birds of Shangri-La” Vol. 2, by Ranmaru Zaria

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

Apollo is still trying to resist Phi’s charms to break the rules of his job as a teaser. As the attraction between them boils, demons from Phi’s dark past come stalking him.

It’s interesting that the teasers also function as a type of bodyguard when the ‘birds’ are allowed to leave the brothel. I’m not sure if they’re qualified to deal with whoever is stalking Phi; as it’s clear that stalker is going to do something dangerous that will affect everyone at Shangri-La. I do like how the story treats the chemistry between Phi and Apollo even without the naughty scenes. 3.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Black or White” vol 2, by Sachimo

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

This volume goes back to how Shin and Shige first met back in high school. We also introduce the conflict of Shige wanting to step back in his career to give Shin a chance to fight his typecasting.

I understand the book is trying to make their careers the source of the conflict here; their stage personas having adverse effects on how they manage their private lives but in my opinion, the possible impending love triangle or a guy directly trying to sabotage their relationship. The rest feels like filler. If I had the third volume in hand, I’d jump right into it looking for things to move forward. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “My Love Mix-Up!” Vol. 1, by Wataru Hinekure & Aruko

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Aki has a crush on his classmate, Hashimoto but when he borrows an eraser from her, he sees she has Ida’s name written on it; he promises to keep it a secret for her. But when Ida sees the eraser, he thinks it belongs to Aki and that he as a crush on him.

First things first, I gotta talk about the art. While the regular scenes are lovely; soft and expressive like most in this genre, there are scenes of super-deformed faces that are unintentionally TERRIFYING. Not all of them but there were a few that had me cringe rather than laugh.

Aside for that, this is a hilarious mix up. It doesn’t take itself too seriously at all and is a light-hearted teenage drama (at least light-hearted for now, you never know). It is looking like we won’t get so much as a love triangle but a love dodecahedron.

Yes, I’m a geek. I love that world…

4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Bad Boys, Happy Home” Vol. 2, by SHOOWA & Hiromasa Okujima

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

Things have been a little awkward ever since Seven planted a kiss on Akamatsu and Seven understandably gives him space. But Akamatsu finds he actually misses Seven but Seven’s past he’s kept hidden comes back to haunt them.

This sure as hell took a turn! I mean, it was clear Seven had a dark past but I didn’t see how dark it got. Trigger warning for child prostitution and sexual assault in this volume. I thought this series would just be our two main leads fumbling around into a relationship but this is an angle I did not anticipate. It’s interesting, I want to know what happens next, but yikes… 3.9 out of 5.

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