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: “Black or White” Vol. 1, by Sachimo

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

Washimiya is an actor known for having a cold and standoffish attitude and his hiding the fact he is dating another actor, Shin. Washimiya is hesitant about the relationship due to how popular Shin is in contrast to how his aloof nature has typecast him into villain roles and he doesn’t want to ruin Shin’s reputation.

This is a cute start to a series. Shin is just the right amount of clueless about how to be in a relationship and the conflict unfolds naturally while giving the reader some smut to enjoy in the first volume. This isn’t overly explicit but you know what’s going on and leaves plenty to anticipate in volume 2. 4 out of 5.

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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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