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. 2, by Ryo Suzuri

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*This book is recommended for 18+

Makoto has been working at Hell’s brothel for three years without a word from J. When he is randomly summoned, Makoto begins to apply his efforts in earnest to become a full fledged demon and destroy J.

This is a strange series but I’m kinda diggin it. Makoto isn’t a typical main character and is dynamic with J and the other demons he meets keep things interesting. There are conflicting emotions and desires and it’s getting pretty twisted. It’s rated mature for a reason, keep that in mind. 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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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: “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: “Jealousy” Vol. 2 by Scarlet Beriko

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

In this volume, more of Akitora doing crazy things to try and be with Rogi and join the yakuza. Their relationship is further complicated by Akitora meeting Rogi’s wife.

While Akitora and Rogi are all hot and play off each other well, the highlights for me in this volume are the bodyguard Asoda and Asami; Rogi’s wife. Asoda is funny and Asami is just a badass. I like how she sees Rogi’s attachment to Akitora but retains her place as a yakuza wife.

Also, trigger warning for a gang rape scene.

Overall, this was a strange, meandering sort of volume. I was interested in the drama but at the same time, I could have lived without the gang rape and I feel like the story with Hachi living with the older Rogi isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Akitora’s tale is good but I’d like to see them both interwoven more. 3 out of 5.

 

 

Lenni Reviews: ” Koimonogatari: Love Stories” Vol. 1 Tohru Tagura

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

When Yamato comes out to a friend that he has a crush on a male classmate, Yuji overhears. When they end up in a study group with some other kids who flake out and they end up alone, Yuji lets Yamato know that he knows he’s gay and wants to be supportive.

This was… Okay. The whole volume felt like a set up for things to come later so it moves slow. However, Yuji’s clumsy way of being a friend and learning about the LGBT community is kind of adorable since it’s coming from a place of a genuine desire to learn about what he doesn’t understand. He seems to really care and that’s great! I am waiting for the fallout of him borrowing his mother’s computer to look up information, though.

I’ll give this a 3.5 because of the nice art and how much I liked Yuji. I’ll reserve broader opinions once I get my hands on the second one.

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Lenni Reviews: “Jealousy” Vol. 1 by Scarlet Beriko

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

Rogi is a yakuza head and after Hachi throws himself in front of his car, Rogi decides to take him in. This book also tells the story of how Akitora meets Uichi Rogi when coming to collect a debt, finding Uichi bound to the debtor’s bed. There is an instant connection and Uichi sets his mind on joining the yakuza to be with Akitora.

This story has me hooked and mostly because of how insane Rogi is in going about becoming a yakuza. I am so shocked he lived through the volume! He reminds me of Queen Zazau where I’m facepalming at the questionable decisions in dealing with very dangerous people. I’m excited to see what happens but at the same time, he frustrates me. 3.9 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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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.