Lenni Reviews: “Jealousy” Vol. 3, by Scarlet Beriko

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

Uichi is still plotting his way into the yakuza to be with Akitora but this time, he has a pretty good plan to make some money without actively committing violent crime. But Akitora’s bodyguard, Asoda, still doesn’t trust Uichi and thinks he’s a threat to his boss.

I know this is a prequel and they’re eventually going to work all this stuff out somehow but I am really curious as to what will happen between Asoda and Uichi. I understand Asoda’s point because Uichi’s lackadaisical attitude and utter carelessness with his own life being very worrying, but I can tell all Asoda’s meddling will do is piss off his boss. Akitora is chill but he won’t be if he finds out Asoda is not obeying orders. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “How Do We Relationship?” Vol. 2 by Tamifull

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

Miwa is trying to become more confident not only in her relationship but in telling others she’s gay while Saeko is struggling with her own jealousy. While they grapple with their feelings, a guy named Kan joins the band club too and starts fishing around in their relationship and hates Miwa for some reason.

We also get a little backstory on their friend Usshi who doesn’t feel like it’s possible to get a boyfriend. It’s enjoyable save for Kan, who is seriously creepy and I hope he doesn’t hurt our main characters. I do want to see what happens next, though. And again, this is mature but not overly explicit. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “How Do We Relationship?” Vol. 1 by Tamifull

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

Miwa is an introverted college student that has trouble making friends or finding a girlfriend. When she meets an outgoing and out of the closet Saeko they become fast friends but Saeko suggests they date each other. They join the music club together but Miwa is scared to come out to any of them.

They are both so cute together as they figure things out. Miwa had never been in a relationship before so Saeko has to be patient with her. And this isn’t very graphic; focusing more on our main characters’ emotions. The art is soft and expressive, perfect for these two as they grow closer. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Caste Heaven” by Chise Ogawa

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

My usual disclaimer is only partly correct since it only applies to the one galley I got. I ended up blowing right passed it to review the whole series.

The premise of this is these kids in high school have a caste system enforced by the students themselves. The ranking is determined by playing cards; a King, Queen, Jack, etc. You can’t just refuse to participate without becoming a target to everyone else. So, of course this system is rife for abuse with students using their rank to exploit those below them. As this is rated 18+ and yaoi, there’s tons of sexual exploitation.

The plot tries to save itself with “Well, deep down, they have feelings” but it doesn’t take away from how non-consensual a lot of these encounters are – making it doubly uncomfortable for me considering these are high school kids. I do enjoy the couples that form and try to use the system to their advantage but this overall comes off as a bleak read. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed reading it, more like I was compelled to move forward. If you can take how rapey this is and you’re craving some dramatic yaoi, give it a shot. 2.7 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow” Vol. 1, by Makoto Hagino

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

Konatsu Amano has just relocated from Tokyo to a small town with her aunt because her father’s job has taken him overseas. Concerned about making friends in high school, Amano meets a girl named Koyuki, the sole member of the Aquarium Club. Koyuki is excited to have another member and they become friends as they work in the aquarium connected to the school.

This manga is really sweet. I like that Konatsu slowly becomes more confident and has an adorable relationship with Koyuki. If you want some light and fluffy reading, this will fit the bill. It is, however, very ‘slice of life’ so if that bores you, there are parts you will want to bail in this volume. But I liked it. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Don’t Call Me Daddy” by Gorou Kanbe

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

Ryuuji is raising his son Shouji as a single father and seeing he needed help, his friend Hanao steps up to help him. But their feelings for each other and the pressure to stay in the closet becomes too much for Hanao and leaves. Twenty years later, they encounter each other again. Will Hanao take this second chance?

You don’t get many yaoi stories with older couples. I think the world needs more of this because I liked this book. They didn’t take the chance on showing a full on sex scene with the older men, having it take place off panel but the story was really sweet.

There was something funky with my digital arc copy making the reading experience a chore but I may check this out when I get my hands on a print copy. 3 out of 5.

 

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Lenni Reviews: “Given” Vol. 4 Natsuki Kizu

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

As the band tries to rind it’s footing, past loves return and Haruki in particular is struggling with knowing his place, as he as feelings for Akihiko.

This is a drama-filled volume with a pace that ramps things up in a way that makes the characters seem like real people. It’s messy, doesn’t make a lot of sense but the people make it work.  And I like that we spent some time on Akihiko and Haryuki. They have an intriguing dynamic; especially in contrast to Uenoyama and Mafuyu. It’s also worth mentioning that most of the sex is either off panel or just heavily implied. So, if you’re looking for some boy love that’s a bit more tame, this isn’t bad! 3.7 out of 5.

 

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Lenni Reviews: “Given” Vol 2 & 3 by Natsuki Kizu

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Yup, this is a two for one. Because for some reason, volume one and four were available as ARC copies, but not two and three. Makes sense… I had to read them in order so things make sense.

In these volumes, the band is prepping for their first live performance and finally picks a name: Given. We get more story time with Haruki and Akihiko; who have a bunch of drama aside for Uenoyama clearly having a crush on Mafuyu.

Uenoyama coming to terms with his feelings for Mafuyu and their interactions are adorable and the dynamic between Haruki and Akihiko is rife with angst and plot potential. I get great vibes off our four main leads and the way this is all written, you really want to see them succeed. 3.9 out of 5 for being interesting but bordering on overly dramatic.

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Lenni Reviews: “Patience & Esther: An Edwardian Romance” by SW Searle

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

In order to earn money for her family, Patience gets a job as a housemaid for Mrs. Sweet. To learn the ropes, she’s paired with Esther, the head housemaid, and now Patience’s roommate. As they get to know one another, their feelings deepen, and a passionate relationship blooms.

Not only is this a lesbian romance set in Edwardian times, but it’s also body-positive and interracial. As to that last point, I expected a LOT more overt racism but I’m not sad it’s left out. There’s enough of that in real life these days. And the sexy scenes are tastefully done. But to put the romantics out there at ease, this is a happily ever after that I found very sweet. And the side story at the end with them set in modern-day was really cute. 4.9 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “Breaks” Volume One by Emma Vieceli & Malin Rydén

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Cortland Hunt is an outcast and that’s the way he likes it. When the popular joker Ian Tanner refuses to take the hint to leave him alone; dead set on befriending the brooding loner, Cortland begrudgingly opens up to the idea. But Ian’s feelings grow to more than just friendship and Cortland isn’t sure how to handle it.

I like the way Cortland and Ian’s relationship progresses from friendship to possibly something ore and Ian is the perfect bubbly, silly counterpoint to Cortland’s sullen and aggressive nature. But I have some concerns about how this story will go considering Ian has a girlfriend that he’s been with for some time. I’m sure there’s a way to work this out in a way that’s not problematic but I’ll have to wait for the second volume to see it. 4 out of 5.

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