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review 2018-02-11 22:38
A Love Song for the Miserable (one-shot manga) by Yukimura, translated by Sachiko Sato
A Love Song for the Miserable (Yaoi) - Yukimura

All Asada wants is to transfer to his company's Events Planning Division and hopefully start implementing some of his ideas to make their events better and more exciting. However, his request for a transfer is turned down. On the plus side, his horrible day at work leads to him meeting Nao, the son of the owner of a cake shop. Nao convinces Asada to be his taste tester, and the two men become friends.

Unfortunately, their relationship sours when Nao tells Asada that he plans to go to France to study to be a patissier. Asada reacts badly, and he and Nao don't meet or even speak to each other again until three years later, when Asada finally achieves his goal of joining the Events Planning Division and must get a new patissier to participate in the division's upcoming sweets fair. The patissier he's been assigned to negotiate with is Nao.

This was an impulse buy. It was on sale and at least one review of it stated that it was sweet and didn't have much in the way of sex scenes. I crossed my fingers and hoped that meant it was genuinely sweet and didn't include rape-y moments. The last time I took a similar chance I ended up with Tatsumi Kaiya's Hot Steamy Glasses, which didn't fit my definition of "sweet" and included a main character who considered resorting to rape because he was feeling sexually frustrated.

Thankfully, A Love Song for the Miserable was genuinely good. Yukimura paid a fair amount of attention to the nonsexual aspects of Nao and Asada's relationship. As far as rape-y aspects went, there was one instance when it looked like things were going faster than Asada could handle, but then Nao backed off.

The volume was primarily devoted to Asada gradually realizing the true nature of his feelings for Nao (for most of those three years he told himself he loved Nao like a brother) and then worrying that someone would notice how he felt. He was afraid that Nao would either react negatively if he knew or at the very least unambiguously reject him.

It wasn't until fairly late in the volume that Asada realized there was another element in play in his feelings for Nao: envy. From Asada's perspective, Nao had found his path in life and had then managed to move forward, whereas very little had changed in Asada's own life.

I really liked watching how things worked out between Asada and Nao. It's too bad the volume wasn't a bit longer - it would have been nice to see a little more of Asada and Nao after they became an official couple, and the whole issue of Asada's career concerns didn't seem to truly be resolved (okay, so he's happy with his job now, but why?). A couple shorts, one showing Asada and Nao a few years down the line and one with Nao's boss and her husband, would have also been lovely. That said, I really enjoyed this and could see myself rereading it in the future. Sadly, I don't think any of Yukimura's other works have officially been translated into English. I'd love to read more.

 

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

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text 2018-02-10 17:19
Reading progress update: I've read 182 out of 182 pages.
A Love Song for the Miserable (Yaoi) - Yukimura

Oh, this was good. It was an impulse purchase. It was on sale, and I read a review that said it was very sweet and didn't have much in the way of sex scenes. Of course, the last time I bought something that was described that way, I ended up with Hot Steamy Glasses and its poorly developed romance and near-rape.

 

A Long Song for the Miserable was, thankfully, genuinely good. My primary complaint is that it needed more pages devoted to Nao and Asada after they officially became a couple. Not a huge issue, though, since the epilogue and earlier pages showing their budding friendship were really nice.

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review 2018-02-08 04:47
Counterfeit Bride by Zi Yue
Counterfeit Bride (冒牌新娘) - Zi Yue,籽月

I eally enjoyed this little story. 

Ling Shuang, a daughter of a nobleman, is about to be married to a complete stranger. She is not happy with this arranged marriage. She already has a lover and they made plans for their future life together. 

On her way to her betrothed's house, Ling Shuang forces her male servant, Jie Yi, to put on a female dress and makeup and play a role of a bride. She also gives him a cheap pearl bracelet as a small bribe. They part, Yi to go and get married to the stranger, and Ling Shuang to reunite with her lover.

Tian Yang doesn't want a wife. He remembers his own beautiful aristocratic mother running away to find a better life, far away from the children and the ranch which belonged to their family. This betrayal is so deep, that Tian Yang is determined to undermine any future marriages, arranged or not. When Jie Yi arrives, claiming to be Ling Shuang, Tian Yang take him to a remote warehouse/hut to test his new bride. But Jie Yi, as beautiful and delicate as he is, doesn't mind the hardship; after all, he grew up a servant. 

Over a few weeks, Tian Yang finds himself suddenly drawn to the beautiful young lady, who seems to be perfect for him and is not afraid of hard work. One day, with two young people living so close together, things finally get out of hand. Yi's secret is discovered. Petrified, he leaves the little hut.

In the meantime, Ling Shuang shows up at Tian Yang's ranch, claiming little Yi robbed her blind, left her sick on the road and pretended to be her in order to take her place. Her proof? That little pearl bracelet....

Fun begins :)

****

As far as BL novels go this was pretty decent, with plenty of twists and turns. The ending was a bit disappointing, with numerous relatives complaining 'oh, my god, two men together! No, it's OK you can stay, but oh, my god, maybe you should leave...' Round and round and round it went.

Translation was confusing at times, but I can't hold it against the book or the person who translated it. All I can say is "thank you for you hard work" :)

3.75 stars.

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review 2018-02-07 12:30
Conor & Simon
Dark Heaven - JUNS

This comic deals with a lot of heavy subjects; including human rights, minorities, homophobia, racism and drugs. It follows the lives of best friends, and lovers, Conor and Simon as they find themselves up against obstacle after obstacle in their bid for happiness. It is a story riddled with conflicts and issues, but its done in a way that the reader understands because they interlink so beautifully. The way the plot is written helps readers understand that actions, no matter how insignificant they may seem, may lead to some disastrous consequences. 

 

I am in love with this story and fear I may give too much away. All I will say is read it! It may be a dark romance, but it is totally worth your tears, anger, hope and joy!

 

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review 2018-01-31 22:01
Eric & Shell
Blood Bank - Silb

Where do I even start! This was an amazing read, from start to finish it is addictive.

 

In a world ruled by vampires, humans are nothing more than cattle. Filthy creatures to be used and discarded as their masters see fit. Yet not all vampires share this mind set, Shell is an overlord with a secret, he wants to be dominated by a human employee in his father's blood bank! At first, One is totally against it, yet as their relationship develops and feelings emerge, the two find it near impossible to part ways, regardless of the laws and social protocols of their kin.

 

Love, deceit, action and depravity ensues, and our protagonists discover truths about themselves which changes everything, even the ways of the world they live in. 

 

 

 

 

 

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