Daily Archives: February 28, 2015

[Manga TBBR Review] The Antique Bakery v.1

Antique Bakery v.1

(Antique Bakery, #1)

Fumi Yoshinaga

What rating would you give it?
4 of 5 Stars

Give us a summary.

(Taken from Goodreads)
Ono has come a long way since the agonizing day in high school when he confessed his love to handsome Tachibana. Now, some 14 years later Ono, a world-class pastry chef and outed playboy has it all. No man can resist Ono’s charms (or his cooking skills!) but he has just found a new position under a man named Tachibana. Can this be the only man who resisted his charms, and if so, will the man who once snubbed the “magically gay” Ono get his just desserts? And how in the heck did a former middleweight boxing champion wind up as Ono’s cake boy?

What did you think of the book?

First off – I’d like to mention that this is a RE-READ. I originally read this book back when it first came out in the US in 2005 (and the rest of the series thereafter). I think having seen the anime – which did a fabulous job capturing the nature of the manga – really helped with this secondary read-through. I followed the story better this time, laughed at their antics and the idea of someone being “magically gay” (such people do exist, ya know! I’ve met a couple of ’em xD), and even picked up some things I didn’t catch the first time (which are later revealed in the following books or focused on in the anime).

It’s a light, fluffy, entertaining story with surprisingly deep characters (as will be revealed later on as the series progresses). I think the major reason I originally picked up volume 1 was because I was finished with everything else and needed another yaoi/shounen ai book to read. The fact that it was a foodie manga really didn’t cross my mind until I started reading it and it dawned on me that I was beginning a new series… entirely about food.

And gays.

But mostly food.

These-Things-Happen-Calligraphy-l

Now I’m generally not a “foodie” by any standard. I think this book may very well have been one of the first I ever read where the plot or featured story/setting revolves around food. I was already watching an anime called Yakitate!! Japan…. which is about bread. Yes, you read right: BREAD. Only MasterChef style with competitions and crazy challenges and competitors and shit. And comedy. DID I MENTION COMEDY?!

So naturally I figured, “If I can watch a show about BREAD (THAT’S IT, MAN! That’s ALL THE SHOW IS ABOUT), then I can definitely read a book about pastries. And demonic gays—WTF.”

It was probably a good thing that I already had Yakitate!! Japan under my belt because Antique Bakery definitely went off on an entirely different tangent, one that – while being interesting, amusing to all hell, and mellow at the same time – would probably not have held my interest as much Yakitate!! did. I’d never once considered the thought that food books would be something of interest to me. So starting off with Antique may or may not have worked for me otherwise.

Some things that resonated with me quite strongly though, was the character’s struggles to be accepted for all their reasons. At the time when I first read this book, a lot was going on in my own life that – strange as this sounds – paralleled the situations of the main cast.

Thankfully no one was magically gay.

Okay so that might not be true.

tumblr_lt19wz14kn1qht847

As it was now, I felt quite a bit of nostalgia reading volume 1. I kept thinking back to the crazy antics of my own mates and I, and how hard it was for us to be accepted for the things we did or liked to do. Breaking stereotypes or living up to them. Both very difficult feats to accomplish, if you ask me. So I, once again, applaud the cast of Antique Bakery for sticking to their guns. Even if it cost them dearly.

In the end, everything works out. And that’s something to celebrate. 🙂

Any warnings you wish to make for your readers?

Not that I know of. I mean… there’s some domestic violence stuff that happens later in the series, but… this book is pretty clean. It’s just really spazztastic, or downright silly, at times. XD

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

OH yeah. Waay more than I originally thought. xD I was really just re-reading this one again for the 2015 The Eclectic Reader (#6 Fiction For Foodies) reading challenge, but it ended up also fitting all of these challenges as well:

Would you recommend this book?

Yeah. I would say so. I don’t see why not!

justdoit_zps7f14e39d

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Publication Date: July 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 200
Genre & Themes: Love, M/M Romance,
QUILTBAG / LGBTQUI, Food, Pasteries &
Desserts, Bakery, Homophobia, Domestic
Violence, Manga, Shounen Ai / Yaoi, Drama,
Sports (Boxing), Josei, Comedy, Culinary
Age: It’s a Josei manga so… New Adult? Adult??
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Bought
Challenge2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (32),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
2015 LGBT Reading Challenge, Read A Million Pages,
105 Reading Challenge (Category: 1, 3, 4, 8, 13),
The Eclectic Reader (#6 Fiction For Foodies),
2015 Graphic Novel and Comic Reading Challenge,
The Re-Read Reading Challenge
Advertisements

Parajunkee’s “Book Blogger Checklist”

Now before anyone goes and asks, I want to make it VERY CLEAR.

I DID NOT MAKE THIS INFOGRAPHIC.

😛

Seriously. It’s, like… the most gorgeous thing ever. I am not that gifted in graphic design. At least, not yet. 😉

The fabulous lady behind this Book Blogger’s Checklist is none other than Rachel, or as many may know her as Parajunkee.

I found this a few weeks back, and thought it was really clever and helpful. Figured it would be the perfect thing to share on my blog. I’ve found it to be very useful and pretty much in-line with my own blogging guidelines.

And for anyone wanting to apply some of these suggestions while working on their own blogs, just know you do not need to follow everything a “T.” Even implementing some of these ideas into your blogging routine will definitely improve your workflow and productivity, a 100 percent!

Trust me on this one.

Anyone, who’s NOT doing at least some of these things, is REEEEALLY missing out!

So here it is!


 

c80af7cdcd98e855c69a52da71d2489b

 

Infographic by parajunkee.com

Books ‘N Tunes #2: Signal To Noise

Hullo everyone! I’m back with another installment for the Books ‘N Tunes Reading Challenge. Complications, as always, try to hinder the creation of the 8tracks playlist I was going to use, so I might have to end up choosing another platform for the completed list. Who knows… :/

But never you mind! I’ve got a special treat this time! Two songs for one book. 🙂

Signal To Noise (Psionic Frequency, #1)
by Talya Andor

Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: October 2012
Format: eBook, RvC
Pages: 234
Genre: M/M Romance, War, Love, Twincest,
Incest, QUILTBAG / LGBTQUI, Twins, Trust,
Science Fiction, Horror, Blood & Gore,
Isolation Issues, Claustrophobia, Psi Abilities,
Telekinetic Powers, Survivors, Betrayal,
Telepathy, Greed, Duty Above Conscious,
Thriller,
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Provided by publisher upon request
Challenges: 2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (11),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
2015 LGBT Reading Challenge, Read A Million Pages,
2015 New To You Reading Challenge (Brand New Author
To Me & New Series), 105 Reading Challenge (Category:
1, 3, 4), Books N Tunes

SUMMARY

(taken from GoodReads)

It’s been three years since the Incursion; three long years since Bastian and his twin brother Theo became the sole survivors on the planet Noise. Their distress calls have gone unanswered, and they are running out of supplies. They have no one but each other. And when the long-awaited rescue finally arrives, it brings with it complications that make being alone and forgotten look easy.

WARNING: Please note that this story features incest.


REVIEW

This review can also be found on GoodReads

Originally I was torn over what star rating I wanted to give this book… but now I’m more sure.

This one gets 4 Stars.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to think when I first read the descript for this book. I gravitated towards it because I saw the words twins and M/M romance eventually realized that would translate to twincest, but I still had my reservations.

By the time I finished reading, those reservations were quite gone. xD

I won’t say it was perfect, because it wasn’t. But daaaayum was it GOOD. REAL good, in fact. There could have been more overall world-building and character development going on between some of the cast, but I can’t say I’m entirely disappointed with the current results. One thing I did love was how well rounded (as INDIVIDUALS, yet wholly connected and dependent on one another) the twins were. As characters they really worked for me. They were believable, funny, quickminded a bit beyond their years though also teenagers and capable of acting like such… Brothers, even after taking their relationship to the next level. I just really bought it and loved the portrayal of their love and affection for each other.

Couldn’t ask for anything more.

What I didn’t like was the sudden shift in so many of the other characters… particularly Ventura who literally seemed to go from decent guy (and one of my more favourite characters) to backstabbing asshole in a flash. At least Striker was consistent. :/ Bane, on the other hand, was a character I could only dispassionately like, for he seemed so… unreliable as a person (which worked for him in this story, but as a person I just couldn’t like him for his lack of principles and furthermore, his lack of simply taking an actual side. Either you’re trying to help them or you’re not. It’s not that difficult.) It would have been something if all his uncertainty was just simply because he didn’t want to hurt or betray the twins by following orders, but it wasn’t. He just lacked the conviction to simply make up his damned mind until it was made up for him and suddenly he’s all, “Oh thank goodness you two are alright!”

bullshit

Some characters are just assholes trying to be hapless victims. Bane, just stfu.

As to any warnings I would give…

UM. WELL. There’s graphic and very detailed sex scenes that feature twincest (click the link if you don’t know what that is) and some zombie-esque horror elements. Some trigger warnings are some scenes of PTSD, claustrophobia, panic attacks, and separation anxiety.

OH! And mention of underage sexual activities.

Since that’s “a thing” some people seem to get all squirmy over.

Why? I have no idea.

You were all kids once. Get over yourselves.

Would I recommend?

Y’know what? I absolutely WOULD. I wasn’t sure at first… but now that I’ve thought about it, I really enjoyed this book. Especially the boys. Bravo!


TUNES

The Cranberries – Zombie

Coldplay – What If?


Reason for choosing these songs

Zombie by The Cranberries is a really emotional song that precisely expresses the trauma and violence of war, and its impact on not just the warriors that battle on the field, but also when they return (or never return at all). It’s about how the battle’s never really over. How they keep fighting, even within their minds. How war and the horrors of it, forever change them, mold them into permenant fixtures on the battlefield. How the zombies of their past keep haunting, haunting…

Although the other characters are seasoned fighters and furthermore “the adults” in the situation, it is the boys Bastian and Theo who are forever haunted by the zombies of their past, or the unknown horrors that have forever lurked just outside their perimeter walls.

What If? by Coldplay takes a very different approach from Zombie. It’s a shorter song for one, a little over 4 minutes, and yet… it’s just as moving – if not moreso – than Zombie’s haunting lyrics. I choose What If? to embody the internal struggle that starts to arise in Bastian and Theo once the boys’ “rescue” appears and there are suddenly others. Not them. Not… just, Bastian and Theo anymore. Their world is flipped upsidedown, and with it comes the alarming realization that they are no longer the only two people in all the world anymore. In fact, once it becomes obvious that they’ll be leaving Noise soon, another thought comes to mind… one they’d never considered before. That they’ll be other people – girls, boys, young and old – someone… other than each other. They’ll have a choice… a choice which could destroy what they have now, the relationship they’ve built over their entire young lives.

And… what if…. what if one of them should decide… that he doesn’t want the other brother by his side anymore? What if…. seeing how normal people act and have relationships… he suddenly doesn’t want to be a freak… or want to be in the kind of relationship that would label him and his twin as one?

What if…


LYRICS

Zombie
Another head hangs lowly,
Child is slowly taken.
And the violence caused such silence.
Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it’s not me, it’s not my family.
In your head, in your head they are fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are crying…

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What’s in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, dou, dou, dou, dou, dou…

Another mother’s breakin’
Heart is taking over
When the violence causes silence,
We must be mistaken.

It’s the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.
In your head, in your head they’re still fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are dying…

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What’s in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, oh, ya, ya-a…

 

What If?
What if there was no lie
Nothing wrong, nothing right
What if there was no time
And no reason, or rhyme
What if you should decide
That you don’t want me there by your side
That you don’t want me there in your life
What if I got it wrong
And no poem or song
Could put right what I got wrong
Or make you feel I belong

What if you should decide
That you don’t want me there by your side
That you don’t want me there in your life

Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right
Let’s take a breath, jump over the side
Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right
How can you know it, if you don’t even try
Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right

Every step that you take
Could be your biggest mistake
It could bend or it could break
That’s the risk that you take

What if you should decide
That you don’t want me there in your life
That you don’t want me there by your side

Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right
Let’s take a breath, jump over the side
Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right
How can you know it, when you don’t even try
Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right

Oh – Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right,
Let’s take a breath, jump over the side.
Ooh ooh-ooh, that’s right,
You know that darkness always turns into light.
Ooh-ooh, that’s right