Smashwords Sale

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The 14th Annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale has begun, running now through July 31! My books will be 50% off for that time so feel free to grab this deal!

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Lenni Reviews: “Mizuno and Chayama” by Yuhta Nishio

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Mizuno has to put on a happy face as her father is the mayoral candidate in their small town, Chayama is the daughter of a wealthy family and heir to a tea company that rivals Mizuno’s father. As their families are at odd, they must keep their relationship a secret.

This volume follows them through high school as they fall in love and struggle with the pressures of their familial obligations and small town life Chayama is frequently bullied while Mizuno is put on a pedestal due to her father’s status. It’s a pretty good story but jumps around at the end but it is a tense read. It’s not explicit but there are some suggestive scenes; done tastefully in my opinion. They make a cute couple and the art suits the overall tone. A worthwhile addition to the yuri genre and I’d suggest it for older teens due to to those suggestive scenes. It’s less graphic than what they’re watching on the CW these days. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “I Want to be a Wall” Vol. 1, by Honami Shirono

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Yuriko and Gakurota appear to be like any other newlywed couple but behind the scenes, Yuriko is asexual who loves yaoi and Gakurota is gay; hiding his unrequited love for his childhood friend who also  happens to be the gardener for the house they live in.

Other than Gakurota’s feelings, this is pretty low angst and more slice of life. Yuriko still tries to be a good wife, and Gakurota tries to be a good husband despite them not being in love at all. You don’t see many asexual characters around and Yuriko is funny and likable. They both settle in to life together, attempting to share interests and be a “normal” couple. I wonder how this will play out in future volumes; if it will stay as breezy as it is now or take a darker turn. But I want to read more! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Hello, Melancholic!” Vol. 1, by Yayoi Ohsawa

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First year, Minato, is very reserved and self conscious because of her height; towering over the other girls in her class. When upperclassman Hibiki catches sight of Minato with her trombone case, Hibiki is dragged out of her comfort zone when Hibiki insists Minato join the music club and play in her band.

Minato is a very relatable teenager, nervous about tripping up and finally making some friends that won’t mock her for her height. The contrast between her and Hibiki has some classic tropey elements but their individual personalities keep things unique and interesting. They’re a classic odd couple but it’s done well and they’re so sweet together. Even the tertiary characters are entertaining. I think teens looking for more LGBTQ+ content will love this. 4.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sayonara Game” 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 were in the basketball club as teens but grew apart as they came into adulthood. While Yosuke has had an enduring crush on Arimura, Arimura doesn’t remember him until he asks Yosuke to tutor his little sister; who develops a crush of her own.

This story has some great moments with Yosuke being the quiet type and Arimura being more outgoing and overly honest. They have a nice dynamic and it factors into the conflict in the story. It does get explicit and spicy. I liked it but it didn’t stick with me after I was done but I could see myself reading it more than once. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Life of Melody” by Mari Costa

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

Fairy Godfather Razz and troll Bon find a human child in the woods. Razz wants to try his hand at raising his own godchild from birth to make sure he can do his job effectively but Bon doesn’t trust him and refuses to just give the child up. They reach a compromise by raising the child together as a family. They have to play at being a couple at first but over time develop feelings.

This is a really cute and sweet story perfect for a quick read. It has just enough emotion to get its point across and doesn’t overplay the angst or overstay its welcome. My only problem is not getting to know as much of this world as I’d like to. Sometimes books this short can feel incomplete but here, I just liked it so much I’d like to learn more. Everything is so warm and charming that I’d love to keep going. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Gay Giant” by Gabriel Ebensperger

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

This is Gabriel Ebensperger’s autobiographical account of being gay as a kid growing up in Chile. This is short and sweet, relying on some unique art to convey some complex adolescent feelings. Given it’s length it doesn’t quite rise to feeling complete. It’s a little rushed but it feels odd to say “Excuse me, sir, your unique feelings and life experiences aren’t paced well.” These are his stories that he’s sharing with is and he can share them however he wants. It does a great job of expressing the confusion, fear, and conflict of coming to terms with your identity. I think an older teenager or young adult would appreciate this but there is some nudity. Nothing overly explicit. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Catch These Hands!” Vol. 1, by Murata

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As an adult, Takebe is trying to leave her delinquent past behind her in favor of a more traditional look and persona. As she’s shopping, she runs into Soramori, a former rival from high school. Turns out Soramori wants one final fight and if she wins, she gets to date Takebe.

This is a cute, laid back, clean lesbian romance. And yes, it was the title that caught my eye first and it still makes me laugh. Takebe and Soramori make a great odd couple. The premise clearly will lead to a happy ending but I enjoy their interactions as they get used to the idea of being in a relationship. There’s not much yuri I’ve come across that’s clean enough for a teen to read so that’s a plus. It’s pretty generic but it got a chuckle out of me. 3.7 out of 5.

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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: “Chef’s Kiss” by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, Hank Jones & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

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Ben cook is on the hunt for a job to put his English degree and love of writing to good use. Facing multiple rejections, he applies for a job at a restaurant to make money while he’s still writing. However, he not only has a talent for cooking and enjoys it, he develops a crush on Liam, chef at his new job. Now, he starts to question what he wants for his future.

This is a classic story of a young adult finding their way but told with some wacky characters and beautiful, vibrant colors. All the personalities here are so unique without coming off as having one quirk and no substance. This had the right mix of fun and drama but I would have liked some closure concerning Ben’s parents. But Watson is a fun twist here. You’ll see when you read it. 4.9 out of 5.

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