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I was reading a novel featuring police officers which I enjoyed muchly, and it made me think about other novels with police officers I've liked. It led me to do the round-up below (with links to more detailed posts when they exist):

Kouban e ikou by Ioka Itsuki and illustrated by Sakuragi Yaya is about an officer assigned to a koban who gets involved with a contractor and the contractor's son. It's a pretty fluffy story, but I like the passionate young officer type and the art is pretty.

The Reload series by Ioka Itsuki and illustrated by Kunisawa Tomo (My post about the first three volumes here) is an ongoing series about a wild but very effective detective and a forensics specialist. Every so often the case featured in a book is good enough that I actually want to follow it, but what it comes down to is that I like the two characters and their relationship. There's seven books out right now, and it doesn't seem like it'll end any time soon. Or so I hope.

Mihitsu no koi-Keep Out-, -Break In-, and -Cross Over- by Himekawa Hotaru and illustrated by Mizuki Hasuno are about another pairing of a detective and a forensics specialist. I haven't read the third one yet, but the first two are fun. The cases are a bit over-angsty, but once again I just like how the two characters relate. This pair seem…a bit more mature compared to the Reload series. It helps that the detective is actually pretty responsible. He is saddled with subordinates and with keeping the forensics specialist (who is good at what he does but has no people skills) in line, while dealing with out-of-touch superiors.

Niizuma Deka by Miduki Mato and illustrated by Ebihara Yuri (My post about it here) is the absolutely silly story of a wild but effective detective who marries a rich and up-and-coming politician. Like, actually marries in a church ceremony (though legally the detective is adopted by the politician as there is no same-sex marriage in Japan). I want a sequel, frankly.

Fuson de yaban by Iwamoto Kaoru and illustrated by Enjin Yamimaru has pretty art and a premise I like even though (or is it because?) it's just so cliched. An uptight career-type (WTF do you call career-gumi police in English?) asks a former partner (a normal detective) for help and they "have to" play a gay couple as their cover. The detective is gay and had been (still is) in love with the career type, and he lets the play-acting go a bit too far at times. Yes, yes, cliched. But the art! So pretty! Also, the story ends decently.

Mahiru no tsuki by Ioka Itsuki and illustrated by Ebihara Yuri (My post on the first volume here) is about a former detective who quit the force because he was disgusted with the police after they'd covered up his former partner's crimes (including shooting him) and moves to Osaka. There, he meets a yakuza boss and ends up the boss's lover. He also becomes a private investigator. I reread this series quite a lot. The relationship between the two develops throughout the series, but the detective never loses himself in the relationship (like many supposedly tough-y toughs who turn into uke jello). The side characters are endearing. Also, the cases he takes on (which invariably have something to do with yakuza) are pretty interesting. Also^2, Osaka-ben! The drama CD for this is soooo good. I wish the entire series had been made into drama CDs.

Sekai no hate de matteite~Tenshi no Tsumeato~ and it's sequel Sekai no hate de matteite ~Uso to kaifu~ by Takatoh Ruka and illustrated by Yukifuna Kaoru (vol 1) and Chayamachi Suguro (vol 2) are about a former detective turned private investigator and his former partner who is still a detective. As I mention in my post about the books, the cases are bleah. The real meat in this is the tension between the two characters and the mystery of the unsolved murder of the PI's sister that caused the PI to quit the force. Oh, so delicious. Too bad the artist changed between volumes. I really want the next book (please let there be another book) because we get a tantalizing glimpse into the past at the end of volume 2.

Amai Mizu vol 1 and 2 by Kawai Fumiko and illustrated by Kitakami Ren are about members of the SIT (Special Investigation Team) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. I've only read volume 1 but am looking forward to reading volume 2 (eventually...). Endou is a SIT member formerly in SAT (a paramilitary counter terrorism unit) who does not look forward to a new former SAT member joining SIT at the beginning of the book, Kuonji. (According to the book, SIT specializes in working on cases with hostages, thus does negotiation and the like. They do, however, also do missions to rescue hostages.) Endou does not like Kuonji. Kuonji likes Endou, but doesn't know how to get along with Endou. What I enjoyed from this book, besides the pretty art, is the depiction of the very hierarchical structure of the police and how much being a sempai vs. kouhai is a huge deal, even more than in regular Japanese society. The life in the dorms is fun to read about (though I'd never want to be in one--all this gotta do what your sempai says crap sounds awful). The way Endou learns to see Kuonji differently and how they develop a relationship works (it's not smooth, but it starts with them having to work together in a professional manner). Endou is one of those "guy" guys, very carefree and manly. Kuonji is a man of few words but much action. I like the combination, even if the SIT and SAT acronyms crack me up every time I see them.

S.S.SP by Yuuki Kazumi and illustrated by Norikazu Akira is about a wild but effective detective who becomes an SP (security police) officer, which I wrote a lot about in this post. What can I say? Stupid title, silly story, but lotsa fun. I really, really enjoyed this. Probably too much.

Fujourina kuchizuke by Himekawa Hotaru and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is a silly story about an SP officer who has to guard a VIP. My worthless post here is basically full of pics (and snark), because this is from Nara Chiharu's time doing good art and there is much eye-candy. There is also eye-rolling, but pretty art trumps much. This is possibly the silliest of the bunch because at least in the others the people seemed to be able to do their jobs decently. In this one the SP has to be pretty worthless for the plot to go anywhere. :P

Soooo...anyone have any recs for me? I love police BL. Would love to read more decent ones.
insaneneko: (Default)
My first impressions tend to be crap so I usually don't post about books until I've reread them several times, but since [ profile] sara_tanaquil asked what I'd ordered and I didn't want to just list the books...Please take all comments with a grain of salt. I revise my impressions of books quite a bit. ^^;

Ryuu no fukkatsu, Dr. no Houkou by Kifu Kaname and illustrated by Nara Chiharu

The latest book of the Ryuu and Dr series (I've summarized four of the books), still fun but not quite as fun as the last one...I might revise my opinion once I reread. Or maybe it just couldn't live up to the build up of insanity that fueled the previous books.

Aisaresugi to iukeredo by Nakahara Kazuya and illustrated by Nara Chiharu

Third book about a doctor and a laborer who used to be an amazing surgeon (I summarized the first book here). I enjoyed it, as I've enjoyed the first two. I just like the recurring characters a lot. And the really horrible lewd jokes Dr. God Hand makes. XD;

Kayashima-shi no yuuga na seikatsu novel vols 1, 2, and 3 by Tono Haruhi and illustrated by Hidaka Shouko and comic vol 1 illustrated by Mamahara Ellie

Reprinting of a series Tono Haruhi had originally done as doujinshi about the romance of a rich blue-blood (Mr. Kayashima) and his gardener. Mr. Kayashima is a great character. He's young, good-looking, rich, doesn't do any work, and has an overwhelmingly noble presence that just bowls people over. But he adores the gardener and is very honest about his feelings towards the gardener (most of the time). They are a cute couple. My favorite parts, though, are other people's reactions to Mr. Kayashima's oddness and presence. I have to admit that I like Hidaka Shoko's art more than Mamahara Ellie's, but the manga is worth having just for the short novelized portion and extra manga at the end. The first volume's novel bit is from Mr. Kayashima's dog's POV. It's adorable, as all stories written from the POV of someone's pet tends to be. I will be buying the second volume.

Hanayaka na Aijou by Sakiya Haruhi and illustrated by Hasukawa Ai

Fourth book about a detective and an artist. I adore this series, though I think I've never posted on it before. I like both characters, I like their relationship and how it develops. I like the police cases that come up in each volume. This book uses a total cliche as its premise, but I like how she handled it. Angsty, but not totally predictable. One big plus about this series: the uke loves sex and can be very aggressive in getting what he wants. No faux uke modesty here.

Futsuu gurai ni aishiteru by Kuga Ariko and illustrated by Hashimoto Aoi

This is about a salaryman who meets a dude who'd harassed him in high school. I....couldn't keep interested in the book enough to finish it. I'll have to go back and try again later.

Koboreru cream by Sakai Akeo and illustrated Shidoh Kai

I admit it, I bought it for the cover. The blurb sounded pretty interesting, so I figured why not. The book is just too short. The story doesn't suck, but it isn't meaty enough for me to love it.

Steal Your Love - Yoku by Himekawa Hotaru and illustrated by Kohji Tatsuru

Third book about a popular actor and host who'd been high school classmates. Another series I enjoy because I like the main characters and their relationship. Also, the uke also enjoys sex very much once they become established in a relationship. I'm hoping this continues, especially since I want to see what happens in their careers and their dealings with each other's families.

Tama ni wa koi demo by Wataru Minaho and illustrated by Sakura Haiji

I got this because it's illustrated by Sakura Haiji and the main character is a plain and introverted programmer being harassed by a very good looking, very out-going sales guy at his company. They become friends once the programmer realizes he shares interests with the sales guy. It turns out the sales guy is a uber-otaku. I was meh about this one. Doesn't suck, the uber-otaku-ness of the sales guy is rather hilarious, but it just didn't hit the spot.

Sore wa tsumi na anata no sei by Hagino Shiro and illustrated by Natsume Isaku

I love love love love love this book. Love. Also, love the art. I really don't want to say more, because it'll turn into a huge, long thing that I don't have the time do now and I want to do a long, looong summary of this some day. Let me just say it hits my moe points totally and completely.

I didn't realize I'd bought so many sequels until I started writing this post! I enjoyed the sequels well enough, but I think my overall disappointment with the order comes from being disappointed by most of the one-shots. I want to find shiny new stuff, not just rely on the familiar.

What is up with Nara Chiharu? I do not like her art nowadays. :(
insaneneko: (Default)
>Fujourina kuchizuke by HImekawa Hotaru is a silly but fun example of an amazingly huge type of BL, the Japanese guy assigned to guard/guide/assist some foreign VIP visiting Japan who ends up in VIPs bed. I think this subgenre has grown on me, even though as usual most books are on the crappy side. This time it's an SP officer assigned to guard a prince and military commander of a small but rich Scandinavian country (I love how these VIPs are almost always from small but rich countries--usually from the Middle East or Europe, and tend to be mixed race) who happens to be half-Japanese. I like this because the serious political side story is particularly lame and the main character is hilariously dense, especially considering his job. The art is pretty and the main character's partner and friend is also a plus.

pretty pics and a bit of plot )
insaneneko: (Default)
1. Christopher Walken "performs" Lady Gaga's Poker Face, so much better than the original video. The song is kinda catchy, but that video is stupid.

2. NightS is an amusing one-shot by Yoneda Kou, available for online reading (in English, I couldn't find it in Japanese) at mangafox. A transaction between a yakuza and a transporter becomes more. I like the end! I'm not sure if she was actually trying to be hard-boiled, but if she was she failed. But it didn't need to be gritty, it was just fun to read.

3. I am in love with Koibito koibito henjin by Torimaru Chiiko and illustrated by Nara Chiharu. It's first person, in Kansai-ben, switching POVs between the two main characters (mostly, there's one or two others as well). The characters are teen-aged delinquents going to a school famous for their delinquents. They like to brawl. A lot. One likes to brawl everyone and everything, too dumb to pick up the subtleties of alliances and allegiances. The other is the top of his school and always has to clean up after the dumb one and scold him (which always includes some hitting). In one of his scolding moments the not-dumb one, Kyousuke, decides the dumb one, Natsu, needs to be taught a lesson. Which of course means sex. They have the oddest relationship, in that it's rather non-con and they fight every time Kyousuke wants to have sex. And the sex mostly means Kyousuke getting his way and dominating Natsu. Yet it seemed like an extension of their non-sexual relationship (the fighting and the jockeying for position that is their way of life) that it didn't seem so off-putting. It is also very obvious that they are very fond of each other, even if the way they actually showed their affections was sadly lacking. I also think the Kansai-ben helped a lot. The two were cute, despite the violence and the non-con because they contrasted so well with the pure love they had for each other (no joke). XD; I think it may be tough to read for someone who is very unfamiliar with Kansai-ben. It's full-on dialect, not just dialogue but narrative since it's first-person POV.

I like the way the book starts out, Kyousuke's POV:




I love how Kyousuke basically states that someday he'll *make* Natsu say he loves him. So frank, so full of confidence that he will.

4. English books I want to read:

On Food and Cooking, a book that combines science, food, history, and a whole lot more. Sounds great!

The Year of Living Biblically, a book I'd heard about before but hadn't wanted to read until I read [ profile] rachelmanija's review.
insaneneko: (Default)
Akatsuki no sniper by Shuhdoh Rena and illustrated by Nara Chiharu doesn't really make sense, but was still a fun read. It was beyond silly...It felt thrown together and random, frankly. Take one former detective who quit after an "incident," a gorgeous assassin with dead eyes and a silly name who also is supposed to take out said former detective, and a really inane nefarious plot and the bizarre attempt at a cover-up, throw in random sex (really really random sex!), and voila! You have this fabulous book! I don't recommend it to anyone unless they are really bored and have low standards like me, but I wouldn't warn anyone away from it.

cut for length )

I only meant to write a little about this book, but I ended up rambling. :P
insaneneko: (Default)
I was wandering about my house wanting to read a good story when I happened upon a pile o' manga tucked in an out the way location. When I looked at it closely, I realized it was the Mainichi Seiten series I'd bought on my trip. I managed to get all the available volumes except one (Isoganaide), since I've heard a lot of good things about the series. I started flipping through them and sadly came to the conclusion that this is NOT a flip-through story. I actually need to focus and read! And I don't have the brain power to do so right now, thanks to a wonderful combination of massive deadline at work and insomnia. I did notice that the art is A LOT better in the latest volumes, which is always a plus. I hate it when art goes downhill over time.

Speaking of art going downhill, I am so sad over Nara Chiharu's evolving art style. She used to be so damn good, but now...The faces are just off. I was browsing Amazon Japan and came across the reprints of the first two volumes of the Ryuu & Dr series that'd come out recently. Apparently they've been extensively revised, so of course I have to buy them, but I fear the art.

I don't know which is worse, a good artist going bad or having the artist replaced by someone who just isn't as good (like with Flesh & Blood).

Anyone have a rec on a satisfying yet not too taxing on the brain manga? I want to read something new, otherwise I'd just dig out one of my oldies but goodies.
insaneneko: (Default)
Barairo no wana written by Yoshiduki Shouko and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is a very cliched and conventional story with gorgeous pictures. Akiyoshi Yoshitaka is a hard-working member of the family that owns a big hotel company. He is charged with opening a new bar in a hotel, and he wants a particular bartender to run it. Unfortunately the bartender, Isoya Reishi, isn't very interested in working at a different bar. When Akiyoshi pushes, Isoya proposes a deal. He'll work at Akiyoshi's bar if Akiyoshi gives him his body. At first Akiyoshi thinks Isoya is messing with him to get rid of him, but he decides to hold Isoya to his deal...

Yes, it's that kind of story. There are two details that get me to reread this one. First, that they both act like adults (most of the time). Second, what happens at the end. Silly, but fun. XD;

pretty pretty pics )
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I recognized the name of the author of Immoral Darkness (Fudoutoku na yami from [ profile] zehivat_lamasu's review as the author of another book I rather like. That set me off on a reread and a desire to summarize it...

Akai Jubaku by Matsuda Miyu and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is about brothers doing the incest thing. I did try to summarize it in detail but gave up after a while because the author has a very chatty style that tired me out. The funny thing is that I disliked this novel the first time I read it. I reread it because I had bought it and I wanted to give it another chance, and I ended up liking it.

This incest feels slightly different from the usual in BL. This family is working class. The mother is working part time at a store, the older brother is a salaryman but the second brother works in construction. The youngest is in school and is pretty normal if spoiled and bratty. He hangs out in the park with friends when not seducing inappropriate older women. The brothers fight and actually hurt each other sometimes. The violence is just part of their normal interactions, rather than some anomaly brought upon by the unnatural situation.

The art is pretty, typical for Nara-sensei. The seme looks a bit icky, which appeals to me greatly. I didn't realize how many sex scenes had been illustrated until I posted them, though!

pics with a sort-of summary )
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Kono chi no hate ni written by Tsukigami Hinako and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is a fun (and totally silly) story about obsessive and/or forbidden love. A college student is hit by a car and ends up living at the house of the driver of the car. They end up sleeping together, but there are complications. Good complications (good as in fun to read, not good as in positive and/or happy for the characters XD;). The angst wasn't too excessive and made me laugh a lot. The ending? Just as it should be. There's quite a bit of sex that's actually pretty hot (as opposed to tiresome and too many pages long as in too many BL novels). Anything more would be spoilerish, and it's more fun just reading the thing. Last but not least, there is pretty art. XD

the summary )
the pics )
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Tenshi no tsumeato by Takaoka Mizumi and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is melodrama that mostly doesn’t work because it’s too low-key, except at the very end. It’s about the son of a yakuza boss and a self-made man, an entrepreneur with several (or is it many?) restaurants and bars. They became friends in high school, didn’t see each other for 10 years, met again as adults, and now hang out...Sort of. Son of yakuza boss really wants to live a normal life but can’t, thanks to his family background. So he comes over to one of his friend’s establishments and grouses. There’s also the added complication that son of yakuza is in love with his friend. His friend knows it (and the son knows that his friend knows) but pretends not to (and the son pretends to not know that his friend knows but pretends not to).

This is NOT a very good book, yet I can't help but admit that I really enjoyed it. A bang-up ending (or at least an ending that really hits my moe points) can make up for quite a lot of bad. XD;

quick summary )

the pics )
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I laughed and clicked on one of the suggested books that came up when I stuck something on my wishlist on amazon japan. The cover of Aien no ori by Barbara Katagiri (click for bigger pic) is just...priceless. I love the perfectly placed candles. XD It's one of those confine and "train" some victim who inevitably ends up totally wanton (and in love with his tormenter?) story lines. Lotsa sex and probably lotsa cliches. The reviews are very lukewarm and rather funny. I love one comment about how there's rope on every page you open to, with a "(-_-)" to add more emphasis. I somehow doubt even Nara Chiharu's art can save this one--though I kind of like the looks of the bastard seme on the cover...I'm not too surprised that it's not very good since it's written by the always awful Barabara Katagiri. ^^;


Jul. 5th, 2008 03:29 pm
insaneneko: (Default)
Yokubou no inu by Nakahara Kazuya and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is about a public prosecutor and the young man he picks up. It's a fun book. There's a lot of wild sex and a lot of "this isn't anything like I've experienced before!" by the prosecutor.

One day prosecutor is heading home in the rain after a long, hard day and happens to see a young man in casual clothes. The young man pulls the prosecutor out of the way of a speeding car. The prosecutor takes the young man home for a hot shower and food in thanks. But the young man has a fabulous body that the prosecutor, who is gay, can't help but notice. The young man notices the prosecutor's gaze and pushes for sex. They have hot wild sex on the dining room floor, which shocks the prosecutor because he's never had sex outside of a bed before, particularly such wild sex. After that the young man comes and goes and they have lots and lots of sex (including one particularly passionate bout at the prosecutor's office). The prosecutor is confused about the young man, who doesn't talk about himself very much. They have the cutest date (that results in really hot sex), and the prosecutor realizes he's falling for the young man. He gets all anxious over the reason why the young man won't tell him anything (he doesn't mean anything to the model) and they end up breaking up at one point. It doesn't help that an old lover shows up to try to get back with the prosecutor or that the prosecutor finds out that the young man is an up-and-coming model. It's one of those "we live in different worlds" concept driving a deep wedge in relationships...I suppose it's the young man's fault for not being up front with the prosecutor, but in any case, these various developments contribute to a break-up (including the model's agent demanding that the prosecutor end things with the model as not to mess up his career). The prosecutor attempts to get back with the old lover (a prosecutor who had been his mentor and a really sweet guy), but can't. He's still in love with model boy.

Everything concludes well when the prosecutor is attacked at home by a guy he'd help send to jail who had decided that his life had been ruined by the prosecutor and the prosecutor was going to PAY. The model comes by the prosecutor's apartment, but the prosecutor sends the model away as he's being threatened with a knife. His attacker, in a rage, beats the prosecutor up. Prosecutor figures he's as good as dead, but he's rescued by model who'd sneaked in through the balcony. He wakes up in the hospital where everything is revealed. Model hadn't known about the agent's actions, and had beat up the agent, gotten the private investigator's report the agent had commissioned on the prosecutor, and had quit. The report noted that the prosecutor was being followed, so when the prosecutor had sent the model away without even coming to the door the model had a hunch that something wasn't right and had snuck in. Turns out the model is totally in love with the prosecutor (duh) and had been shy about himself for a fairly good reason. He'd been investigated by the prosecutor once and had been so impressed by the prosecutor's professionalism and dedication to justice that he'd decided to become a prosecutor as well (he'd happened to be a university student majoring in law). But he was too embarrassed to tell the prosecutor, especially after learning that the prosecutor's former lover is a really talented prosecutor as well. The prosecutor also confesses that he's in love with the model and hadn't been able to get back together with his old lover because his heart was still with the model. They have hot make-up sex.

The book ends with the most adorable scene of domestic lovey-dovey sappiness in the prosecutor's apartment. They are making a meal together, and the prosecutor urges the (ex-) model to study for his bar exam. He teases his young lover, telling him that he wants to see him all dressed up in a suit. Prosecutor thinks it'd be SO HOT...He might just go really wild. The model can't help but be peeved that the prosecutor is able to dangle such a tempting carrot in front of him....

There's probably a bit too much wallowing in angst, but I could forgive the faults because the sex was hot and the way the author managed to show the prosecutor slowly falling in love was sweet. I laughed at how boring the prosecutor's sex life was--so vanilla and so boring! And there was actually a good explanation as to why the model wouldn't talk about himself. How like a man to be too embarrassed to admit that the prosecutor is his hero as well as his goddess! XDXD

gorgeous pics )
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Aishitenai to ittekure by Nakahara Kazuya and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is a fun story totally full of cliches. It's about an idealistic "young" (29 is pretty young for a doctor, right?) doctor who spurns the corrupt moneyed medicine of the big-name hospital he worked at and opens a clinic in a bad area to serve the under-served (in his case, day-laborers and homeless with no insurance and/or drinking problems). There are several different difficulties/crisises he goes through in the book, and in every instance he's helped out by day-laborer with a past (who happens to be HOT). The two main characters, as well as an assortment of side characters, are very endearing. The art is just plain lovely, as always.

summary and pics )
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Ryuu no renjou, Dr. no bojou by Kifu Kaname and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is book 5 of the Ryuu and Dr series (click on the new tag to read my earlier posts on this series). The fun and silliness continues, with just a touch more seriousness creeping in. New awesome character introduced! I must say, the portrayal of women is appalling. I try to ignore it because it's not the point, but sometimes it's hard.

I really wish I could read book 1 (there's some bits in this one that allude to the first book). *sighs* Can't they reprint it?

the summary )

the pics )
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Ryuu no junjou, Dr no jounetsu written by Kifu Kaname and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is book 4 of the Ryuu and Dr. series. I highly recommend reading the series overview and summary of book 3 before jumping into the summary below because it continues the narrative immediately from the previous book. I'd forgotten just how...amazingly silly these books are. The latest volumes, while still delightful, have taken a much more serious and dark turn...

The cover is HOT, no? Nara Chiharu is pure rabu. XD

the summary )
the pics )
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Mad Scientist by Sakura Momo and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is crack. It's not only crack, but it's retarded crack with several different cliched elements woven together to make an utterly silly but rather fun story. Takigawa Ryouichi works for a cleaning company. He's assigned to clean the lab of the "mad scientist" Akio Eiji, a gorgeous and brilliant (and totally unethical) chemist and friend of the president of the cleaning company. The book is the story of their "romance" and of how highly unethical (if not illegal) chemicals can save(?) the day.

Love the art (especially the cover--click to enlarge!♥). Love the characters and how retarded (and almost relentlessly upbeat) they are. Love how much utterly gratuitous sex there is. But most of all? Love how supremely bad this book is, when looked at objectively. "Bad" is too nice a word for it. XD;

revel in the pics (with some story to go with them XD) )
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Though I haven't read it yet, I am already delighted by the back cover blurb of the newest Ryuu and Dr series by Kifu Kaname, Ryu no shakunetsu, Dr. no jouai. Though beautiful internist Hikawa can't imagine life without his sexy younger yakuza boss lover Seiwa, Seiwa's "dark past" menaces Hikawa!! OH NOES!! What will our lovers do???n I hope Seiwa's dark past is sufficiently dark (and the menacing aspect suitably threatening) to satisfy my high expectations. And that there be lots of pretty pics by Nara Chiharu. XD The last book illustrated by Nara Chiharu I tried reading was so boring even her art couldn't save it. That story about the Japanese guy who goes to work for the giant American retailer "Walnes" I summarized a while back with the pimp-looking uber-romantist lover? The author seems to be cranking out tons of connected books that totally suck. First she wrote two books about the Chinese co-worker from that first book (who was actually the scion of a Hong Kong mafia family) that was moderately boring and lame (thanks mostly to the fact that the uke was lame, so it was impossible to see why the bad-ass mafia dude's heart would've melted). I read the first one and sort of tried to read the second and failed (I mostly skimmed it for the pictures). She also wrote about some Walnes lawyer who gets caught up with some other Hong Kong mafia dude...I don't think I got past the first twenty pages, it was so unappealing. Bleah.
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Ryu wo kau by Fuyuno Jinko and illustrated by Nara Chiharu features a side character in a book I had summarized before, Mitsuyaku wa suit wo nuide. I had some hopes that it wouldn't suck because I found Mitsuyaku pretty amusing, but...I was terribly disappointed. It is a completely conventional story and has the most insipid uke. Tien was rather lukewarm, as well. I suppose if Hong Kong mafia is your thing (or you really like Nara Chiharu's art) it might be worth it, but otherwise? Skip!

Code name wa hanayome by Shuhdoh Rena and illustrated by Mizukane Ryou is pure romantic fantasy fluff of the most innocuous kind. Uke is a government SP (bodyguard) assigned to protect the prince of a small European country who is marrying a girl from a very good Japanese family. The problem is that the girl disappears on the wedding day, and calling off the wedding is not possible. So the SP closest to the girl's body type and features is chosen to substitute for her, and of course it's not one of the female SPs that's chosen. Oh no, it's our dear uke. He's not exactly happy with his assignment but he's a professional and he will do his job. The wedding goes off without a hitch, but instead of being covertly dropped off he is taken to the ship the prince and his wife were supposed to get on for the prince's country. Uke is to continue pretending until they find the girl (and be an additional layer of protection for the prince) so that a switch can be made at some port along the way. On the ship the prince does a slow-motion version of sweeping uke off his feet, with an ending worthy of such effort. The uke is fairly smart, he's professional and a nice guy. The prince is...a prince. He's charming, he's sweet, he's secretly lonely, he's noble, he's gorgeous. I liked them both and wished them all the happiness in the world at the end.

The sad thing is that I read so many more books than I ever begin to mention. Many of them aren't worth even looking it up in amazon to link to it (at least IMO).
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I should've known better than to bother reading Hizamazuite, eien no ai wo chikau. by Hana Yakou and illustrated by Nara Chiharu. I am not really into the "you are my dog" type stories, and the cover and title made it abundantly clear that was the case. The blurb explains that uke is the scion of a powerful and rich family who spends his days partying, taking drugs and being an asshole. And not working at the job he supposedly has with his father's company. Until the day he's involved in a murder and turns to his cousin for help. His cousin is cold and distant and his father's secretary. And gay. His cousin takes care of things in return for uke's complete submission, which obviously includes lots of humiliating sex. I didn't read any of that part. I've had the misfortune to read enough of these types of stories to get the basic idea, so I started reading from the middle. See, the only reason why I even bothered to read this was because the cousin, after suitably cowing the uke, makes the uke work at a hotel under a false name. a sucker for stories with spoiled brats who've never done anything in their lives learn the value of work and discipline. I rather enjoyed the change in the uke as he initially starts out hating the job as he's made to do things he's never done before (like make beds). But he comes to realize that he won't get scolded (and hit) when he does things right, and that it feels good to do a good job. And he treasures his first paycheck--an amount less than what he used to easily spend in one outing. He is able to for the first time have acquaintances that don't suck up to him or treat him like glass--yeah, he's classic "poor little rich boy." Growing up his father is busy with work, his mother is busy with shopping and jewels and all that, his cousin treats him coldly, everyone else sucks up to him; you can see why uke turned out to be a useless asshole. The only problem is that his cousin still treats him like dirt, except when the uke is as obedient and silent as a dog. Then the cousin is kind to him, though in the way a person is kind to a pet. In any case, the story ends up with the uke first realizing he's in love with cousin (which was why he treated the cousin even worse when he found out the cousin was gay), then that the cousin is in love with him (and had become uke's father's secretary in order to serve as uke's right hand man when uke took over). Happily ever after, right?

HA. This really left a bad taste in my mouth because of the cousin's attitude. He flatly states that his having fallen in love with the uke was the big stain in his life. He goes on to say that he doesn't like the uke's personality, his attitude, EVERYTHING. Except his face (uke is gorgeous). The cousin declares that he loved it when the uke was like a dog, silent and compliant. It's just...that isn't love. I know, I know, semes are bastards and show their "love" in horrible (criminal) ways. But still, the way the cousin just comes out and says it in such a composed manner just creeped me out. Even though the book ends with a "several years later" scene where the uke and his cousin rendezvous for some loving in which they are shown to be more equal and normal, I was just repelled.

The author writes in the afterward that because the uke undergoes one bad thing after another, she had made him an unpleasant fellow to make him less pitiable. But she made a character who is an unpleasant fellow because he had absolutely no emotional fulfillment in his life, only material. I think that's enough grounds to make the guy somewhat sympathetic. Plus, she continues to have the cousin treat the uke like shit even after the uke starts reforming and showing that he can be a decent guy. Even worse, it turns out that the uke hadn't killed anyone! The cousin that let the uke think he had killed someone to get him to obey. The uke is actually consumed with guilt about the murder throughout the book!

I guess for people who really like the servant overthrows the master, bondage and S&M, people turned into pets (collars and nakedness and absolute obedience) kinks this book works. I did see some very enthusiastic reviews for it online. But...yuck. No thanks for me. Not even for Nara Chiharu's art.


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December 2015

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