Lenni Reviews: “MADK” Vol. 1, by Ryo Suzuri & Adrienne Beck

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*This comic is suggested for mature readers.

Makoto is a young man with some serisously dark fantasies. Knowing no human being could ever fulfull them, he summons a demon to fulfill them. After selling his soul, the demon takes Makoto to hell with him where he learns he didn’t land just any demon, he sold his soul to J, an archduke of hell.

If you’re in the marked for some dark M/M, this is certainly an original entry; especially if you like unconventional relationships. Makoto and J have a strange dynamic and this is not for the faint of heart even if the art flubs what’s happening so it’s not overly graphic. You get it but it’s not along the lines of a guro manga or anything. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Bad Boys, Happy Home” Vol. 1, by SHOOWA & Hiromasa Okujima

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

Akamatsu has energy to burn off so he picks fights with random people at the local park. One day, he comes across Kanzaki; who proceeds to kick his ass. Repeatedly. When it becomes clear to Akamatsu that Kanzaki is living in the park, he offers Kanzaki a place to stay until he finds his own place. 

I like this duo. Both of them are brash and standoffish; keeping their feelings bottled up and expressing themselves through fighting rather than talking. They have good chemistry together and while this is clearly a set up for a relationship of sorts and has some smexy times, this volume has just the right amount of humor to make me want to keep up with the series. 4 out of 5.

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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: “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: “Birds of Shangri-La” Vol 1 by Ranmaru Zariya

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

As you can see from the terribly subtle cover, this is a yaoi manga.

Apollo is a straight man who is in dire need of funds so he takes a job at an elite gay brothel as a “teaser,” which is essentially a fluffer. He’s assigned to Phi to learn the ropes of the place and there are three main rules:  no orgasms, no penetration, no falling in love.

Throwing in a trigger warning for off panel sexual assault of a minor.

This is a good start to what can possibly be a great m/m love story. I like how all the prostitutes in the brothel are well taken care off and happy. Phi is a welcome dose of wild personality in contrast to Apollo’s dry nature and we’re getting to know them as they discover each other I like how Phi isn’t just some typical carefree guy; there’s a depth and darkness to him. It’s going to be interesting to see how the rules factor in later. Also, it’s worth noting that the sex scenes and naughty bits tend to be creatively obscured. 3.7 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: “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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Lenni Reviews: “Aliens, Smith And Jones” by Blaine D. Arden

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

Set in the UK, Agent Connor Smith works for an organization that deal with aliens and alien artifacts. When he starts feeling paralyzed randomly, it is revealed that Noah, an alien, is making contact with him because he believes Connor is his soulmate. There is also an underground crime syndicate selling artifacts and aliens on the black market.

Despite the interesting premise, this book is sadly disjointed, unfocused, and stilted. I just didn’t feel much emotion from the writing and that made it hard to care once the plot really got going. I wanted to like this so badly but it just felt so dry. There’s some real untapped potential here but I didn’t enjoy this as much as I’d hoped. 2.9 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “The Artist and the Soldier” by Angelle Petta

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

In this sprawling tale, we have Max Amsel and Bastian Fisher who meet as teens in Camp Seigfried then again as adults in the thick of World War II.

First off, I dunno if I was taught this in school and forgot or just wasn’t taught this but I was SHOCKED that the Nazi Camp Siegfried was a real place in NY! I honestly didn’t realize such camps existed and kudos to this book for teaching me that.

This book is almost perfect. It focuses more on the war itself and how it’s affecting everyone, not just our main characters. A great deal of the plot is plucked straight from history. The writing is compelling, the action is well done, and the romance did tug at my heart. If you like historical fiction with a bit of angst, I recommend this despite the ending being a bit of a drop-off. But you can tell a lot of love went into this book. 4.7 out of 5.

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