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review 2017-08-13 00:55
TOUGH LOVE by Ava Sterling
Tough Love: A Spanking Story - Ava Sterl... Tough Love: A Spanking Story - Ava Sterling

Kate is looking for domestic discipline when she goes and buys lingerie.  Colin returns from his conference to learn that Kate disobeyed him on shopping.  He disciplines her and rewards her.

 

I liked Kate and Colin.  I liked the way the story described the physical setting of Kate's home and what she could feel with her five senses.  I also liked that I could feel her psychological feelings of the anticipation of the discipline as well as the discipline itself.  Well done.

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text 2017-08-10 17:52
Wishlist or future ILL request
My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 - Aruko,Kazune Kawahara

I started watching the anime adaptation of this the other day, and I'll probably give the manga a shot at some point. It starts off with a setup that looks like a typical love triangle: cute girl and a good-looking guy who's friends with a big burly dude (the series' main character). But there's a twist: the cute girl actually likes (really really likes) the big burly dude.

 

The big burly dude, Takeo, falls immediately in love with the cute girl, Yamato, but assumes that she, like all other girls he's crushed on in the past, is really interested in his good-looking friend, Suna. Suna has bluntly rejected every single girl who has ever asked him out, sometimes going as far as to say "I hate you" to their faces...so it looks like there's a good chance Yamato is going to end up hurt. Because Takeo's genuinely a good guy, wants Yamato to be happy, and thinks he's spotted signs that Suna might actually like Yamato back a little, Takeo tries to help Yamato out with Suna. What Takeo doesn't realize is that he has completely misread the situation: Yamato is actually interested in him. (Not exactly a spoiler - this gets revealed pretty early on.)

 

Things I like about the series so far:

 

- Yamato is genuinely attracted to Takeo - this isn't a case of "she fell for his personality first and then the rest came later."

 

- Suna's sister. It looks like she isn't going to be around in the anime much, so I'm hoping she has a larger role in the manga.

 

- Suna and Takeo's friendship. It looks forced, at first, but later developments flesh it out more. I think I'm more interested in how they became and stayed friends than I am in Takeo and Yamato's romance.

 

Things I'm not wild about:

 

- The moments of secondhand embarrassment.

 

- Takeo's practice kiss. This scene was short, but horrifying enough that I could see it ruining the series for some people. I sincerely hope it isn't in the manga. I'm sure it was intended to be funny, but it wasn't. At all.

 

- While Takeo and Yamato's romance is sweet, I feel like Takeo would have happily dated and fallen in love with literally any cute girl in the series. On the plus side, at least his interest in Yamato never wavers.

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text 2017-07-22 19:23
#24in48 Read-a-thon Check In #2
Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi
A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson
How to Train Your Dragon - Cressida Cowell
Naked in Death - J.D. Robb
Food: A Love Story - Jim Gaffigan

Six hour mark and finished The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I'll write reviews after the read-a-thon, but suffice to say that I want to buy a million copies of this book and just hand it out randomly. Such a great work.

 

I had twenty minutes left of my 3 hour block of reading that I knocked out chapter 3 of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (I read chapters one and two yesterday). I like it so far, but it doesn't live up to the hype.

 

Whenever my darling son and daughter manage to clean up their rooms, my next order of read-a-thon business to set aside my personal reading and read to them. We borrowed a copy of one of the Wimpy Kid books and a couple of Pokémon graphic novels from the library. Once the darlings of my life are safely tucked in for the night, I am going to dive into A Sultry Love Song by Kianna Alexander.

 

Hour Twelve Question: 1) which three audiobooks you’d recommend for a roadtrip and why, OR 2) if you could take a roadtrip to any three bookish locations, what would they be?

 

I would choose option one. First audiobook would be one for the entire family, so I would choose the first How To Train Your Dragon book. Second, for when the kids are fast asleep (just like their mom, car trips make them drowsy), would be Naked in Death so that my husband would finally give ...In Death series a shot. The last one would be Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story which is tame enough for the kids but funny enough for the adults.

 

More from me at hour 9.

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review 2017-07-22 11:24
Gladiator: A love story by Zara_Zee
Gladiator: A love story - Zara_Zee
An engaging fanfic set in ancient Rome with J2 as gladiators fighting for the same ludus. Reminded me of the Spartacus TV series.
Source: archiveofourown.org/works/11470233?view_full_work=true
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review 2017-07-18 03:27
The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku (book) story by Muya Agami and cosMo@BousouP, art by Yuunagi
The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku - Yunagi,cosMo@BousouP,Muya Agami

You have no idea how excited I was to learn that 1) a Vocaloid light novel existed and 2) it was available in English. I ordered a copy for myself a few weeks after finding out about it.

A few years ago I was really into Vocaloid (singing synthesizer software). I wasn’t interested in using it myself, just in listening to other people’s songs and reading about the various Vocaloid and UTAUloid avatars. I gradually found a few Vocaloid/UTAUloid tuners I particularly liked (kyaami is my top favorite) and developed a few Vocaloid/UTAUloid preferences (Kaito was probably my first favorite Vocaloid, and Ritsu continues to be my favorite UTAUloid).

I went into this book with an okay background knowledge of Vocaloid in general and Hatsune Miku in particular. Also, I was familiar with the song the book was based on (here's one version on YouTube), enough to know that the book probably wouldn’t have a happy ending.

The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku stars Shinosato Asano, an ordinary university student who spends his days going to class and doing tedious work at a robotics lab and his nights working as a bartender at a nightclub. He’s shocked when the professor in charge of his research lab singles him out to do a field test of a very special new android named Hatsune Miku. The professor wants a student like Asano, who’s responsible, can keep a secret, and doesn’t know too much about artificial intelligence, to see how well Miku can pass for human out in the real world. He’s not supposed to tell anyone, not even his family members, what Miku really is, and he has to make sure Miku goes back to the professor for regular data collection and weekly maintenance.

Miku’s speech and behavior is a little odd and stilted at first, but it rapidly improves. Asano introduces her to everyone as his very intelligent cousin from England (in order to explain why a 16-year-old girl whose Japanese is still a bit rough is suddenly attending university classes), takes her on a tour of the university, and invites her out to lunch. Lunch becomes their regular activity together, and Asano gradually incorporates activities relating to music once he realizes that Miku particularly enjoys it. He starts to realize, to his dismay, that he might be falling for her. What will happen once the field test is over?

I really wanted to love this. I’m generally drawn to android-human romances, and I was already looking forward to the Vocaloid aspects. Miku has never been my top favorite Vocaloid, but she had a lot of cute moments in the book, and I really felt for her. The way the author used Vocaloid-related details in the story was absolutely wonderful. The realization that Asano’s over-the-top love of green onions was a reference to the way Miku is often depicted holding green onions was nice, but there was one revelation further on in the book that I thought was particularly clever and unexpected.

That said, the romance was utterly terrible. It wasn’t so much Asano’s blandness - as much as I disliked how boring he was, it wasn’t unexpected. I did find myself wishing that Asano had more ideas about what to do with Miku than constantly taking her out to eat. I mean, right from the start he was told that she couldn’t eat much, and yet almost all of their outings involved food. It didn’t have to be anything special or expensive - they could have gone for a walk in a park, or gone out grocery shopping, or watched a movie. Pretty much anything they might have done would have been a new experience for Miku and would have provided the professor with more data.

I had two main problems with the romance. First, the way Miku based so many of the things she liked on things that Asano liked. For example, I don’t think she was able to taste food, and yet she’d tell Asano that a particular food tasted good because he liked it and therefore it must taste good. Asano just accepted these statements and was happy about them, but they bothered me - it was one of the reasons why I liked Miku’s budding love of music, because it seemed more purely hers than anything else she’d said she liked.

Second, it gradually became clear that Asano wasn’t so much a nice guy as he was a “nice” guy. His reactions and feelings were more important than hers. Later on in the book, for example, there were strong indications that something was wrong with Miku, to the point that it affected her physically. Rather than noticing this and worrying about her, Asano instead focused on how he felt when he held her and her statement that she wanted the two of them to be together forever. When something drastic either happened to Miku or was done to her, all Asano could think about was how much it hurt him that Miku no longer behaved as warmly towards him as she used to. His first instinct was to abandon the field test rather than investigate what had happened to her and why.

It did eventually dawn on the idiot that he was being a selfish jerk, but it took much, much longer than it should have. I was left feeling like Miku would have been better off leaving Asano in her dust and going on to become a massively popular superstar. Considering what was done to her during the course of the story, maybe leaving all of humanity behind wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

Asano continued to be useless as the sci-fi suspense storyline became more prominent, and pretty much the only reason he was able to get anywhere was because his two friends, Aika and Juuhachi, weren’t as utterly useless as he was. The various sci-fi developments near the end of the book were pretty bonkers, and the big climactic scene was way too over-the-top and ended up feeling silly rather than dramatic or tragically romantic. Although the Vocaloid fan in me did love the bit with the mysterious file.

One last thing: although the writing/translation wasn't terrible, it wasn't great either. I noticed that the author tended to be a bit repetitive. A character would do or say something and then Asano would tell readers what that character had done or said, even though the text had just described it. Once I started noticing this, I realized it happened a lot.

If you’re a huge Vocaloid fan, this might be worth giving a shot. Like I said, the way Vocaloid details were incorporated was wonderful. Everyone else would probably be better off trying something like CLAMP's Chobits or maybe even William Gibson’s Idoru (not romance, and I don’t recall the AI having much of a speaking role, but Rei Toei is practically another incarnation of Hatsune Miku).

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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