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review 2020-06-10 10:58
The Boss: A Workplace Romance (A Keeper Series, #3) by: Melissa McClone
The Boss: A Workplace Romance (A Keeper Series, #3) - Melissa McClone





The Boss: A Workplace Romance by Melissa McClone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

McClone takes romance to a deeper level and hits back at stereotypes in the process. Drake and Chaney find their second chance, will foolish pride detail their chance at happiness once again? The Boss gives the senses just enough temptation to jumpstart the heart. Though not always a beautiful ride, it's definitely a wildly satisfying one.

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review 2020-05-17 23:33
Sweat and Soap (manga, vol. 2) by Kintetsu Yamada, translated by Matt Treyvaud
Sweat and Soap, Vol. 2 - Kintetsu Yamada,Matt Treyvaud

Asako finds herself having to talk to Natori's assistant, Korisu Ichise, who she's worried might have a crush on Natori. Then Natori and Asako go on a company trip, where hiding their relationship becomes a little more difficult than expected. After that, Asako visits her family and ends up inviting Natori to the restaurant her brother Keita works at. Natori is aware of how close Asako is to Keita and wants to make a good impression. Meanwhile, Keita is convinced that Natori must secretly be a sleazebag who's playing his sister.

I still really like Yamada's art style, and Asako and Natori are a cute couple whose romance I'm enjoying, even if aspects of it are a bit weird. Still, this volume wasn't quite as good as the first one.

In the first volume, Asako's body odor insecurities were extremely intense. She'd use her work breaks to reapply deodorant and would stay quiet and still in order to avoid sweating. The fact that Natori liked the way she smelled and actually enjoyed it if she sweated a bit was embarrassing and surprising to her.

In this volume, it felt like the author scaled Asako's body odor insecurities way back, more than really made sense. Yes, Asako's self-esteem was gradually improving, but Asako had been dealing with these issues since childhood. She'd only been dating Natori for a couple months - it was hard to believe that she'd be able to go on a company trip without her body odor worries being much of an issue. I had thought she'd fret over the toiletries she needed to bring, whether anyone would notice all the stuff she'd packed, whether she'd be able to find time to reapply deodorant, etc., but from the sounds of things she might not have even brought any of her soaps and things from home - there was a part where Natori noted that she smelled like a soap that wasn't one of the ones he'd created.

I'm also not sure I liked the way Asako's jealousy over Korisu was handled. After their talk about the missed text message at the end of the first volume, I expected better from these characters than

Natori deciding that he couldn't continue treating Korisu, who he'd known for three years and viewed like a little sister, so familiarly.

(spoiler show)

On the plus side, at least it was his own decision and not something Asako asked him to do.

The second half of the volume, featuring Asako's family, was great. I loved how close they all were, and I'm really looking forward to Natori eventually getting to meet the whole family. This time around, Natori just got to meet Asako's brother, who'd been protective of her since back when they were kids and she was being bullied. Dinner at the Italian restaurant Keita works at turned into a mini battle as Natori tried to make a good impression while Keita turned everything from their introduction to the menu into a test of Natori's character. Asako, meanwhile, was completely oblivious and thought they were getting along just fine.

I definitely plan to continue this series, even though this particular volume wasn't quite as enjoyable for me as the first one. Asako and Natori have been a pretty sweet and supportive couple so far, and it's nice to read a romance manga starring adults, relatively low-drama ones at that.


  • Character profiles for Asako, Natori, Korisu, and Keita
  • A 2-page manga-style afterword by the author
  • A one-page comic continuing the scene on the cover
  • A profile page for Jin Okura, Asako's boss
  • Two pages of translator's notes
  • A "normal soup peperoncino" recipe


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

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review 2020-04-05 22:33
Sweat and Soap (manga, vol. 1) by Kintetsu Yamada, translated by Matt Treyvaud
Sweat and Soap, Vol. 1 - Kintetsu Yamada,Matt Treyvaud

When she was a child, Asako was bullied for the way she sweated, and she's been painfully self-conscious about her body odor ever since. She now works in the Finance Department of her favorite toiletries and cosmetics company, Liliadrop, and although the company's soaps and other products give her happiness, she still worries so much about her body odor that it pretty much dictates her whole life. She keeps quiet and still so she won't work up a sweat, and she spends her work breaks reapplying deodorant.

Then one day a man comes up to her at work, sniffs her, and declares that she smells amazing and that, for the good of the company, he must sniff her every day. Natori is a planner in Liliadrop's production development. He's supposed to come up with ideas for the company's Winter soap lineup, but he's been drawing a blank. Asako's scent inspires him and, although the idea of being sniffed makes her anxious, Asako wants to help the man behind the soaps she loves so much. But what if there's more than just soap inspiration brewing between them?

Before reading the review that inspired me to buy this, I'd seen this work around multiple times and always scrolled past it without even bothering to look at its product page. I honestly didn't even know how it was tagged or what age range it was aimed at - I saw the cover art and automatically assumed it was rapey porn aimed at guys with a particular interest in on-page bodily fluids.

In reality, it's a quirky workplace romance that includes some steamy moments and a couple non-explicit sex scenes. There's more on-page nudity on her part than on his, but it's of the Barbie doll variety, with nipple-less breasts. The focus is more on Asako and Natori and their developing relationship than on sex.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I've actually read it three times now and am very much looking forward to the next volume. Natori wasn't the alpha jerk the cover art had me assuming he'd be. He was confident about his sense of smell and abilities as a soap creator, but more awkward when it came to his and Asako's romantic relationship, even though he didn't have Asako's pile of insecurities. Asako had spent so much of her life being small and quiet that it carried over into their relationship - she'd avoid talking about things that worried or upset her because she didn't want to upset or bother Natori. This caused some minor problems, but I was pleasantly surprised at a conversation they had at the end of the volume, and I'm crossing my fingers that jealousy (on her part) won't become volume 2's big issue.

In some ways, Asako and Natori's relationship made me think of Kimi no Todoke's Sawako and Kazehaya. Natori was the popular guy, always surrounded by people and generally comfortable in his own skin, while Asako, like Sawako, was more reserved and painfully aware of the negative effect she might be having on others (although in Asako's case it was more in her head - there was zero indication that anyone in her adult life thought she smelled bad or sweated more than other people).

The beginning of this volume, in particular, may throw some people off. Natori's Asako-sniffing sessions tended to look like quick workplace trysts, and there was one bit where he got a little too into it and started to cross a line, freaking Asako out. While I liked that he realized he'd done something inappropriate and apologized, I wished Asako hadn't felt the need to say that she was the one who should apologize. During my rereads, though, I realized that it fit her character - she was smoothing things over and avoiding conflict as best she could.

I wish I'd discovered this series after a few more volumes had been released - I'd love it if I could immediately read more. I'm looking forward to seeing where the author goes with this. Here's hoping the next few volumes are as enjoyable as this one.


A two-page manga-style afterword by the author, plus a two-page bonus comic about Asako's bra shopping trip after her first night at Natori's place. One thing the afterword revealed that I hadn't realized: the manga's first chapter was originally a one-shot.


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

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url 2014-11-15 01:01
Chapter 1 - A Special Treat
The Space Between (The Walsh Series Book 2) - Kate Canterbary

I have a little secret. Ready? Okay good. There's a tiny preview of THE SPACE BETWEEN, the second book in The Walsh Series, available *now.* And by "tiny preview" I mean the entire first chapter. Love it, share, come back and tell me all about it! 

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