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: “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: “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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New Stuff!

Ah, it has been a while but I have been mentally drained from slowly going back to working in the library some days and some days from home. It’s anxiety-inducing to not be just doing one or the other and also dealing with how differently we have to run things without letting the public into the building.

I have some reviews pending and I’ve been doing more cleaning out. I unearthed a bunch of old books that I’ve decided to put up on eBay. I’ve also been encouraging my daughter to clean out, so there are a couple kids books up for sale. It’s all free shipping and I make sure to ship things within 48 hours on business days. As I clean more, I’ll be adding more stuff so keep an eye out.

Lenni Reviews: “Fourth Generation Head: Tatsuyuki Oyamato” by Scarlet Beriko

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

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Tatsuyuki Oyamato may be 4th generation heir to a yakuza family but all he cares about is partying and getting girls. Until he finds himself attracted to a man. After a drunken hookup, he wakes up with someone who proves to be more than just a random dude as he knows Oyamato and his infamous family.

Hooooo boy, this is a dark one. The guy Oyamato sleeps with – mild spoilers – turns out to be Nozomi Koga; the son of a man who once owed money to the yakuza. When Koga was a kid, the yakuza came to collect and found his father had been sexually abusing him. Oyamato was also a child and thought Koga was a girl because of his long hair and the creepy way his dad dressed him.

This book is rife with sexual assault; which is offputting (of course) when it attempts to combine it with the romance forming between Koga and Oyamato. I don’t want to spoil too much but yeah, major rape trigger warnings here. It feels almost wrong to say I like it. The art is well done and I adore the main pair. They make the hardest parts of this book worth it for me. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Coyote” Vol. 2 by Ranmaru Zariya

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

Though madly in love, both Coyote and Marleen’s secrets are forced to the surface and it is uncertain if not only with their feelings survive but if they will lose their lives as well.

I have to admire how the secrets came right out without dancing around and dragging it all our for several volumes. This story is tightly contained and highly dramatic with plenty of angst and smutty action to keep you entertained. What remains to see is how this will all shake out and if that conclusion will be satisfying. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Coyote” Vol. 1 by Ranmaru Zaria.

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

Marleen is a piano player fixated on a man he calls “Lili” who frequents the bar where he plays. But Lili has a secret; he’s a werewolf. Lili and his people are desperately trying to stay under the radar but the Galland family is hunting them to sell their blood. When Lili’s instincts spin out of control, Marleen is more than willing to assist but Marleen has secrets of his own that could put Lili in danger.

This is everything I love in a paranormal romance; high stakes, forbidden love, and that sweet, sweet naughtiness. Lili and Marleen make a great couple and I love the modern day setting. It makes it that much more imperative for the wolves to be careful how they handle their conflict with the mob. I can’t wait to see where this series goes. A steamy and intriguing read, 4 out of 5.

The release date for this manga is currently 10/09/18.

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Lenni Reviews: “That Blue Sky Feeling” Vol. 1 by Okura and Coma Hashii

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

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

High school student, Noshiro, is the outgoing type determined to get along with everyone. When he notices his classmate, Sanada, all by himself, Noshiro immediately tries to fix that; much to the stoic Sanada’s dismay. But rumors of Sanada being gay have Noshiro’s classmates telling him to stay away from Sanada. Undaunted, Noshiro makes it his mission to befriend Sanada, get their classmates to come around, understand his sexual preference, and possibly learn a little more about himself.

This manga is too damn cute. Despite the fact if you’ve read any manga ever you can see what’s coming in the plot a mile away, Noshiro is so lovable and Sanada is so relatable, it’s not so bad traveling down this road again and I can’t wait for more. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Strange and Mystifying Story” vol 2 by Tsuta Suzuki

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Even after his illness is cured, Akio still has Setsu living with him as Akio wished for the demon to stay. Now Akio struggles with his own feelings and doubts Setsu’s feelings as he knows so little about the demon’s past.

We do learn about Setsu’s past and his previous charges. I enjoy this insight into his background and how he came to be what he is. Akio’s barriers come down a bit as well so we get our characters actually talking about what they feel and what they want… Sorta… While they’re boning, of course, making this just as 18+ as the previous volume. But it is a fun story still. 3.5 out of 5.

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