Lenni Reviews: "Fourth Generation Head: Tatsuyuki Oyamato" by Scarlet Beriko

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

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.

Lenni Reviews: "A Strange and Mystifying Story" by Tsuta Suzuki

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

After the unfortunate death of his grandfather, Akio Yamane has no family left and believes he will soon join them. The Yamane family is cursed and Akio is indeed terminally ill. Delirious with fever, Akio desperately prays to a talisman his grandfather said would protect him and summons a demon he names Setsu. Akio begs Setsu to cure his illness and never dreamed how intimate Setsu's "treatments" would be.

Setsu is a straightforward character and he's written in a way that his brusque nature doesn't come off assholeish like Eiri Yuki from Gravitation. You can tell he cares for Akio yet since he isn't human he doesn't bother with the niceties or waste time yet remains likable. Setsu and Akio play off each other well and the story doesn't waste too much time on the typical slapstick. The sex scenes are mildly censored; naughty bits kept in shadow or vague outline and strategically placed word bubbles abound. But it's still hot and the story is cute. 3.5 out of 5.

Note: There are also two side stories: Nylon Vinyl and The God's Don't Exist. The first is a contemporary teacher/student relationship and the second is a historical romance. They are pretty short so there isn't much time for development but they were amusing sides to the main story. It would have been interesting to have them tie into Setsu somehow; as he has been bound to Akio's family for many years. But they're still cool.

 

Lenni Reviews: "Jackass" vol 1 by Scarlet Beriko

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

Keisuke lives with his sister boisterous sister, Akiko, and walks to school with his best friend Katsumi. Katsumi is openly gay and scandalously dating the school nurse and Keisuke finds this out when he accidentally stumbles upon them kissing in the nurses' office. Akiko's pantyhose had gotten tangled up in Keisuke's school uniform so Shinoda, Keisuke's best friend, offers to cover for him by taking him to the nurses' office but when Shinoda sees Keisuke's runner's legs in the pantyhose, he can't help but touch them. But what starts off as simple touching turns to more for Keisuke.

This is a very sexy friends to lovers story with asides to some other relationships; including a boy who bullies Katsumi for being gay who of course is doing so because he has a crush. All the conflicts are handled logically and nothing ever blows up into horrid dramatics; like the whole school turning on Katsumi because he's in a relationship with a staff member. And for an uke, Katsumi is a strong, assertive character. He may be young and sweet but when backed into a corner, Katsumi doesn't wait for a savior. Things play out in ways where you can see real people making these decisions.

The art is well done and all the sex scenes are so detailed you will blush while reading. And all the encounters are CONSENSUAL! So, you actually can connect with these pairings and want to see them happy. Great manga, despite being a little confusing when it starts out. 3.7 out of 5 and keep em coming!

This title is scheduled for release on October 10th, 2017 from SuBLime.

Lenni Reviews: "Don't Be Cruel" vol 5 by Yonezou Nekota

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

Maya and Nemugasa have grown since the first volume and now are at the point in their relationship where they even wear couples rings. But Maya is getting some interesting networking contacts and Nemugasa finds himself getting jealous. At the same time, Shimakawa, who knew Maya as a child, sees an opportunity to make a move on Nemugasa behind Maya's back.

Our main pair is a cute couple trying to figure out how their relationship is going now that they're in college and if you forget how they started out, they are a couple you root for and want to see happy. The art is soft and flowy and I have to admit they toned down the sex scenes as compared to the first volume. It's still explicit but more time is spent about their thoughts and search for jobs than boning. It's still an ok series, though! 3.7 .out of 5

 

 

Lenni Reviews: "Ten Count" volume 1 by Rihito Takarai

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tadaomi Shirotani works as a secretary for a CEO while suffering from germophobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. One day, his boss is nearly hit by a truck and a young man named Riku Kurose; who is a therapist, saves the man from being killed. Kurose notices Shirotani's condition and offers to help him work through it. Kurose has Shirotani make a list of 10 things to get over in order of discomfort from least to most. Shirotani is only able to come up with 9. They make a deal to meet regularly to work through the list then Shirotani will come up with that 10th item, but he finds he develops more than just a friendly attraction to Kurose.

Unlike a lot of yaoi manga with an M rating, this first volume is very innocent. Our two main characters meet, get to know each other, and slowly build what will likely be a deeper relationship. There's an author's note in the back expressing concern that readers will be disappointed with the leisurely pace but I like it. The art is beautiful, the writing on point, and I think I would like to see Shirotani and Kurose take their time so I can enjoy their story. 4.5 out of 5.

For more of Lenni's writing and reviews, head over to Haunting Hypatia.

New Release from SuBLime!

Yaoi manga publisher, SuBLime, has launched a new series called Ten Count. According to their press release, this book is a forbidden love story between a therapist and his patient. Media Lab was kind enough to send me some information.

Here's the cover of volume one.

Here's the cover of volume one.

I've reviewed other manga from this publisher before (link is here) so when I unashamedly added the previous manga to my Goodreads account, Ten Count did pop up as a recommended read. I will be reviewing this once I get it in my hands so expect it soon!

Lenni Reviews: "Don't Be Cruel" vol 1 by Yonezou Nekota

Facing the possibility of losing his scholarship, Takashi Negugasa cracks under the pressure and cheats during a test. Unfortunately for him, school delinquent and known playboy, Kideyuki Maya, catches him in the act. In exchange for keeping it secret, Maya blackmails Negugasa into sleeping with him.

As this is a 2 in 1 volume, we see Maya's interfering cousin, Akira, and the obvious feelings Maya has for Negugasa despite Negugasa's obliviousness. It's that "I really like you but I can't say it" scenario. Once I got passed the coercion (yeah, it's a little close to straight up non-con) the pair to make a cute couple. As soon as they get out of their own way, that is.

This may be a typical sort of boys love story but its well drawn and the main characters are likable enough to endure the will they/won't they back and forth (which thankfully doesn't last all that long). I found it a little odd for Maya to turn around and say Negugasa was manipulating him when Maya was doing the blackmailing in the first place (what an odd character flip...) but hey, at first neither man would admit any feelings at all and I'm a  mush. I'll admit I like the happy ending. 4.5 out of 5 and I would love to read the next one!

Like Lenni's writing? This review and more are also posted at literaryloon.com

SUBLIME DEBUTS NEW SERIES LOVE STAGE!!

SuBLime is proud to announce the launch of the romantic comedy LOVE STAGE!! on May 12th.

The yaoi manga series by noted creators Eiki Eiki andTaishi Zaou will be released in print and digital and is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers. Individual print volumes will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN.

A digital version of LOVE STAGE will also be available for an MSRP of $5.99 U.S.  each and will offer fans digital access to all volumes in two ways onSuBLimeManga.com – a DRM-free downloadable PDF that is viewable on any enabled eReader device and computer as well as via the online manga viewer found on the web site.

Though his family is packed with famous celebrities, Izumi Sena is just your average guy. Currently a college student, he is a huge otaku with aspirations of becoming a manga creator. But one day he gets roped into filming a TV commercial and meets hot young actor Ryoma Ichijo. Could this be the same boy he starred in a commercial with over ten years ago?!

LOVE STAGE!! has been adapted into a drama CD as well as a popular 10-episode anime series that is available both on DVD and via streaming in the U.S. The creators of the manga also publish doujinshi(independent comics) under the name "Kozouya.” Fans can find out more about Eiki Eiki and illustrator Taishi Zaou at their website, http://www.kozouya.com/.

“Fans have been very excited for this release ever since we first announced during our manga panel at last year’s YaoiCon plans to publish LOVE STAGE!!,” says SuBLime Editor Jennifer LeBlanc. “The series’ creators, Eiki Eiki and Taishi Zaou, are renowned among legions of yaoi and shojo manga fans for their collaborative works and we are thrilled to debut their first title for the SuBLime imprint!”

Eiki Eiki is the creator of numerous yaoi and shojo manga. Her previous English-language releases includeTrainTrainMillennium Prime Minister, and The Art of Loving.

Manga illustrator Taishi Zaou’s works have been published in English, French, and German. Her previous English-language releases include Green LightFevered KissLiving For TomorrowMysterious Love, and Electric Hands.