[TBBReview] @Full Moon series by Sanami Matoh (manga)

Although I’m categorizing this as a Totally Biased Book Review (TBBR), it’s actually much more like an angry chapter-by-chapter reaction rant rather than an actual review.

SPOILERS ABOUND!!  You have been warned…


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@Full Moon (Vol. 1 & 2)

Sanami Matoh

What rating would you give it?
1.5/2 of 5 Stars

Give us a summary.

(Goodreads Description)
VOLUME 1
After ten years apart, aristocratic vampires and childhood friends Marlo and David are back together– as fiancés! Being half werewolf and half vampire, Marlo undergoes a peculiar transformation, becoming a woman rather than a beast under the full moon. So there’s no problem for a wedding and David’s womanizing fangs– right?

VOLUME 2
CAN’T MAN UP!
Half vampire, half werewolf, Marlo is a bit of an anomaly. When exposed to the light of the full moon, HE becomes a SHE! To make matters worse, it seems as though his rivals have plans to keep Marlo trapped as a woman – FOREVER! Join us as this epic vampire romance reaches its dramatic conclusion in this final volume of At Full Moon!

What did you think of the book?

Lord.

The weirdly misogynistic, toxic masculinity, homophobic bullshit of this series. =A=

Let me just start by saying, JUST HOW PROBLEMATIC this whole series (Until The Full Moon and it’s sequel @Full Moon) is TO BEGIN WITH.

Then I’m gonna say how — EVEN THOUGH IT’S PROBLEMATIC — I still, at least, liked the first series, Until The Full Moon.

But this one…

But thing here….

WHAT THE eFF EVEN DID I READ

WHY DID IT–

HOW—

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Okay… Okay…

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Lemme just explain something before I get into my “in-the-moment-thoughts-while-reading-this” commentary.

This series COULD have been REALLY cool and interesting and breaking gender boundaries and empowering towards the LGBTQUIA+ community. Or at least, I dunno, ACTUALLY MADE SOME COHERENT SENSE IN TERMS OF GENDER IDENTITY AND HOW YA DEAL WITH IT AND THE SPECTRUM OF SEXUALITY AND ALL THAT.

But no.

Nooooooo.

It was SO CAUGHT UP IN KEEPING WITH THE “NO HOMO” VIBE THAT IT COMPLETELY MISSED THE MARK ON ALL REGARDS – SAVE ONE.

David continually makes it clear that he doesn’t care which version of Marlo he’s with. He loves him regardless of whether or not he’s in his male form or his female one.

WHICH IS AWESOME.

Except he insists he isn’t gay. (Which he’s not. I’m not concerned with that.)

And Marlo’s “an exception”. (Which I suppose IS true, but not in the way you’d think, or at least hope he’s indicating.)

And Marlo loves David. And David loves Marlo. In fact, here’s where the BIGGEST PROBLEM LIES:

They’ve BOTH HAD THESE FEELINGS SINCE THEY WERE CHILDREN AND DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MARLO BEING ABLE TO CHANGE INTO A GIRL ONCE A MONTH.

SO WHY DO THEY INSIST THEY’RE NOT ATTRACTED TO “MEN”? They’re AT LEAST attracted to each other, even if they don’t necessarily find other men attractive or sexually appealing or whatever. And they’re attracted to each other WHILE BOTH BEING IN THE MALE FORM. They both get aroused with each other. There’s no woman in their bed or superimposed their heads when they’re being intimate or kiss.

AND THEY BOTH LOVE EACH OTHER.

HAVE SINCE FOREVER.

SO WHAT IS WITH THE OVERBEARING NO HOMO THEY KEEP PUTTING UP LIKE IT ACTUALLY HAS ANY VALIDITY WHATSOEVER IN REGARDS TO THEM?!?!

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I…. I…..

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Okay… Let’s get on to my chapter-by-chapter reactions before I honestly couldn’t keep them up anymore and was just left with a big “WTeffingF?!”

THOUGHTS AFTER CH.1

Okay, so I’ll be totally honest. It’s weird getting used to the new art style. I LIKE it… like AT LOT. But it’s sooooo different from the previous style that it’s really throwing me for a loop.

Outside of that, I’m surprisingly enjoying it so far. Definitely looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Also, I like that the first kiss scene we see between Marlo and David is with Marlo in his male form, because back then there was A LOT of censoring going on and it was like the mangaka or publisher or whoever was trying to make it a very exclusive “They only kiss when Marlo’s female” kinda thing. I’m glad I’m seeing more of a reverse of that now, this many years later.

THOUGHTS STARTING CH.2

NEVERMIND. Not even 3 pages in and they’re wholly sticking to the whole “we’re not gay” blah blah blah bullshit again. *SIIIIIIGGGHHHHH* Such a disappointment. Ya’ll ARE gay or at least bi or sumthin’, because long before you could transform into a woman, Marlo, you were in love with him and he was in love with you. Suddenly being able to change into a woman only makes it convenient for the world to accept you better (I GUESS????!?) but that’s really about it. Marlo is STILL A GUY SOME 27 DAYS out of EVERY MONTH. He’s not trans or doing this for drag. He still SEES HIMSELF AS A MAN… So then, WHAT THE HELL IS THE PROBLEM?!

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THOUGHTS AFTER CH.2

OKAY… so after reading chapter 2 completely I’m even MORE confused. I mean, it’s not like he only started liking Marlo AFTER he found out he could become a girl. He liked him since THEY WERE CHILDREN. In fact, the reason he was always only “playing” with the girls he went out with was because he was already in love with someone he thought he couldn’t have AKA Marlo. So… I mean… what gives? Why do you guys keep saying “Oh Marlo’s a special case” and all that, when it really doesn’t mean a damn thing since you were in love with him (and him, with you) since ya’ll were children? I DON’T UNDERSTAND and quite frankly, I don’t think the writer or translator does either.

Like… I don’t know if this is just bad translating, westernizing, censoring, or something… but this is someone trying TOO FUCKING HARD to say “NO HOMO!!!” because I’m just like…

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…over here. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SO FUCKING COMPLICATED. You’re a guy who likes girls, but fell in love with another dude who happens to become a girl once a month for like 3 days TOPS. Even if your preference is still basically females, it really doesn’t apply to THE DUDE YOU’RE MARRIED TO, now does it? I mean, after all, it’s not like you don’t love him when he’s a guy. That’d be like a guy saying to a girl that he can’t love her or have sex with her unless she’s wearing makeup or looks a certain way or something. And if that’s actually what he’s saying, then that’s some serious denial shit going on there LEFT AND RIGHT. (It’s fine if it arouses you or you like the way they look dolled up, BUT ACTUALLY SAYING YOU CAN’T LOVE A PERSON BECAUSE UNLESS THEY LOOK A CERTAIN WAY IS REALLY… I mean… WOAH.)

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God… I was SO hoping this series would be better than the first. Now it’s looking just a problematic – perhaps EVEN WORSE (even if I *DO* actually really like all of the characters)… *SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH*

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THOUGHTS AFTER CH.3/BEGINNING OF CH.4

What even. This is getting ridiculous (And I don’t mean in a good way either…) Why the fuck is Marlo mad at David if he wanted him to be jealous in the first place? This is just plain dumb.

THOUGHTS ON CH.4 – DATE

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Awwwwww… okay. So even if the rest of it is a bit of a tragedy, I REALLY like Chris. He loves his momma and he’s awkward AF and adorable AF and I’m diggin’ him. (Any man who loves his mom and isn’t ashamed to admit it is a good man. Means he’ll treat his woman right, too. <3)

I will say though, I’m curious to find out how he reacts to finding out that Marlo is married (since I kinda think he actually doesn’t know yet and this is all the butler’s doing giving him bad advice… he seems like the really innocent, socially awkward type, y’know?). How he reacts to this news is really how I’ll judge him.

AFTER READING CH.4

Okay… so I don’t know how I feel about reading this chapter. If *I* were writing this, then I know I’d have nothing to worry about, especially in regards to how things are shaping up with Chris’ personality (and the fact that he DID know Marlo’s married but still wants to make him his wife??? Waaaah???). But since I’m *not* the one writing this, and I’ve already seen the HIGHLY questionable life choices the writer/translator/mangaka has been going with in regards to this series and its characters… I’m concerned. I really don’t want to hate Chris (because he’s super adorbs) but I have a feeling I’m going to regret saying anything good about him because this writer is just…

DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO CREATE AND DEVELOP CHARACTERS AT ALL?!

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THOUGHTS FROM CH.5 ONWARD

UGHHHHHHH….

SOMEBODY SHOOT ME NOW

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FINAL THOUGHTS

I sort of want to scratch my eyes out after reading this. I’d actually been fine with never knowing this sequel existed.

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Any warnings you wish to make for your readers?

Dun read it.

Especially if you ACTUALLY LIKED the first series, Until The Full Moon. This sequel series literally ruins it, like you have NO IDEA.

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Just the two…

  • 2019 GoodReads Reading Challenge

…and my own self-imposed one. Guess I should give it a name or something, huh? Hmm….

  • 2019 M3W2 Reading Challenge

Y’know… M3=Manga, Manhua, Manhwa; W2=Webcomic, & Webtoon

Sounds doable. Maybe I’ll add parentheses or something to it to explain it. Whatevs.

Would you recommend this book?

Like I said before… I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. It seriously does NOT portray a good picture of… anything. And the fact that it also tries to lay on comedy to mask some of the serious issues going on in it really doesn’t help.

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Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: Nov 2011 & Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384 (192+192)
Genre & Themes: Fantasy, Romance,
Gender Bender, Bisexual/Gay Sexualities,
Comedy
Age: Teen/OT
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Bought
Challenge: 2019 GoodReads
Reading Challenge, 2019
M3W2 Reading Challenge

The Re-Read Challenge Review ~ Update 4

THE LIST of Books I Re-Read Last Month (April)

Print ikenai otoko 16159888 12461407 124614191737706410386406 10386503

Haito Diamond 1 Haito Diamond 2 Haito Diamond 3 Haito Diamond 4

  1. Songs of the Earth (Sumeria’s Sons, #2) by Lexi Ander  [Review]
  2. Ikenai Otoko by Hiroi Takao  [Review]
  3. Ore ni Koi Shite Dounsunda by Kou Yoneda [Review]
  4. Jigoku Meguri #1 & 2 by Siam Kuju  [Review]
  5. Dark Prince (The Dark Earth manga, #3) by X. Aratare & T.Wolv  [Review]
  6. Haito Diamond #1-4 by Mika Sadahiro  [Review]
  7. The Abyss: Upon A Midnight Clear by X. Aratare  [Review]
  8. The Erl-King: Jealous Sons and Mistletoe by X. Aratare  [Review]

WHAT I Remember

About Songs of the Earth… that everything was STILL NOT OKAY, NOT OKAY MAN!

About Ikenai Otoko… nothing actually. XD That is until I saw the cover and then one thing led to another and I ended up reading the whole thing in one go. No joke – the title does NOTHING to jog my memory of the story. Only the cover art brings the comedic escapades back in full swing.

About the Jigoku Meguri series… that I… I read it before… but somehow I felt like I hadn’t finished reading it or something? It’s possible that I started this series when it was being scanlated and never got back to it, which could very much so explain away why at least the ENTIRE SECOND BOOK and, maybe… the second-to-last chapter in the first book was such a blank to me.

Either that, or I have shit memory.

S’toss up between the two, fer sure.

About Dark Prince… that I had read most of it when it was being serialized but hadn’t finished it because 1) wasn’t completed yet and 2) membership ran out. Now that both of those things have been rectified, I decided it was about time to catch up on my favourite series.

About Ore ni Koi Shite Dounsunda… that… once again THE TITLE GAVE AWAY NOTHING TO ME. xD Just like with Ikenai, the only thing that helps is the cover art. Once I got a glimpse of that I had the same sort of feeling as I did with Jigoku, knowing that I HAD read it, but not ALL of it, so… yeah. *needs to get a physical copy of this one SOON* Anyone know where I can get one? xD

About the Haito Diamond series… that it will forever be one of my favourite fucked-up series that will live on in infamy till the end of time, because

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About Upon A Midnight Clear (A short holiday tale from The Abyss)… that it was fuckin’ cute and I wanted to re-read it. END OF STORY.

About Jealous Sons and Mistletoe (A short holiday tale from The Erl-King)… that it was EVEN MORE FUCKIN CUTE, AND I WANTED TO FUCKIN’ RE-READ IT. GOD 

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read

I think I made myself clear with Jealous Sons and A Midnight Clear, so I won’t reiterate.

For Haito Diamond, I was actually dusting off my ATF (All-Time-Favourites) bookshelf and ended up picking up one book, dusting it off, reading it. Picking up the rest of the books, dusting them off, and reading all of them one after another. Then upon putting down my dusting cloth, went over to my computer and looked through my scanlations of all four books to compare and contrast the horrible “translating” to the original raws.

It was a gloriously entertaining afternoon. ❤

The rest were basically spurred on by random, “Oh! What’s that title? I don’t remember reading this—OHHH. Yes I do. Yup. Yes, I doo~ooh——fuck, I’m actually already halfway through this one, aren’t I? Might as well finish reading it. 8DDDD”

Only Songs of Earth was re-read again for the sake of refreshing myself for the next book.

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading

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And I think that was pretty much for each and every book on this list. Nothing disappoints. XD

WOULD I Re-Read Again

I think the answer for all of them would be…

can i get a hell yeah

[Book Review] Travels With Penny by David Morrison

Travels With Penny: True Travel Tales of a Gay Guy and His Mom

David Alan Morrison

What rating would you give it?
4 of 5 Stars

Is there anything special going on for this book right now? 

Yup! There’s a virtual blog tour and giveaway going on right now. It’s ending on the 1st though, so enter while you still can!!

Also, I created an 8tracks playlist for the book from the author’s selection of roadtrip and character related songs. Go check it out here

Give us a summary.

.
Two things flashed through my mind when I opened the door to the sex shop to find my mother standing in front of the display case talking to a tall salesman wearing a leather harness, jock strap and a dog collar. The first was, “Oh, crap!” The second was, “I hate it when Dad’s right.”

Thus begins David Alan Morrison’s hilarious memoir about the evolution of a family. Following the sudden death of his right-wing, conservative father, a middle-aged, liberal gay guy struggles with the idea of his own mortality by reminiscing about the quirky travel experiences he shared with his gregarious mother. Told through a combination of journal entries, random thoughts and interviews, TRAVELS WITH PENNY takes us on an adventure both funny and touching as David tries to make sense of seemingly random vacations that, somehow, weaved a new relationship with his estranged parents. As he and Penny travel through an Amsterdam hash bar, a New York gay theatre and the most conservative states in the USA, they learn that the events of their stormy past does not mean they must face the future in a broken relationship. They learn love trumps traditional notions of “family,” despite the pain of change and a society filled with anti-LGBT bias.

What did you think when you first started the book?

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PFFFFFTTTTTT this book is hilarious. Good gods man! If you have a mother, then you will understand this poor guy’s plight. xDDDDD The whole sex shop scene was probably the best thing ever. That and his mom being an evil lady and tattling on him to his father. xD I could just hear them all so clearly in my mind. I just know, this is going to be an awesome read.

Final Thoughts?

It was great. Just like I thought it would be! I don’t think I could have asked for better. I typically don’t read nor particularly like memoirs (even fictional ones), but this? This was perfection! It was told like any great story would be, except you realize… “Wait. Wait this ACTUALLY HAPPENED. That makes it 10,000x better. XD” You sympathize with the characters, see yourself in some of the crazy happenings that befall this adventurous duo (and friends, as they’re often accompanied by a colorful entourage as well), and even find yourself equally embarrassed, mortified, or spleen-splitting laughin’-your-ass-off from the things that come out of people’s mouths. (I know I certainly did! It will never ceased to amaze me…)

A truly insightful piece, riddled with laughter and good times. Anyone who has a parent can sympathize even if they have never been in the situations depicted in this memoir. A great read! Don’t miss out on it! You’ll be rolling in laughter for days.

Any warnings you wish to make for your readers?

There’s lots of innuendo in this book, but it’s not raunchy or anything. It’s comedy, so there are moments of clean comedy and moments of not-so-clean comedy. You decide. I

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Yup! A whole bunch. xD

Would you recommend this book?

Yes, it is so quotable and funny and—

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: eBook, RvC
Pages: 139
Genre & Themes: Parents, Travel, Children,
Dealing With Loss, Coming Together, Grief,
Acceptance, LGBT (mostly gay) themes, Humor,
Comedy, Real Life, Memoir
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Provided by Good Tales Book Tours (GTBT)
Challenge:  2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (67),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
2015 LGBT Reading Challenge, Read A Million Pages,
105 Reading Challenge2015 New To You

[Book Review] Guild of Immortal Women by David Alan Morrison & H. L. Melvin

Guild of Immortal Women

David Alan Morrison & H. L. Melvin

What rating would you give it?
DNL (and as such, won’t rate)

Is anything special going on for this book right now?

Well, there was

book tour and book giveaway was going on until the 24th of the month here.

Thoughts and review of the book?

Eh. It was okay, I guess. I got through it, though I kinda wish I had just stopped after the first 10 chapters. I can’t say it was the greatest thing I’ve ever read, because it certainly wasn’t. I was hoping for something more along the lines of Gaiman humor since I’ve been hearing all these ravings about how funny and unpredictable it was, but instead it sort of fell short for me.

The premise seems sound, but it just didn’t jive with me. I don’t even think it has anything to do with the writing itself, because that was decent enough, but the story just wasn’t as engaging as I’d hoped.

Granted, I’m pretty picky about the books I read, because I just don’t like getting stuck with something mediocre. This book sort of falls into that category. I don’t know if it’s simply because it didn’t have enough tension and drive to make it interesting, or simply because there was no real hook within its pages to keep my interest. All I do know is that I won’t be reading it again.

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Also because it was so short, there really wasn’t as much world-building and character development as I would have liked. I think if there had been more of what I liked to read about in this supposed “fantasy-mystery” I would have been more engaged in the story.

Furthermore, it was a bit too fast-paced right out the gate, with that first chapter not so much drawing me into the story, as thrusting me out of it. I felt as though I was sort of dangling from the get-go, without any real substance to hold onto story-wise, and that feeling just didn’t really change as I continued along. When it comes to fantasy (I don’t know so much about mystery), you need to be able to enjoy it, really let it drag out so you can find yourself in a believable state of mind to let things happen. Instead of the slow and steady build-up, we were thrust right into a barely believable scenario that had me scratching my head right more times than not. I wanted substance and depth and WORLD-BUILDING FOR GOODNESS SAKES! Sweet, sweet deliciousness. What I got instead was barely palatable, which was disappointing to say the least.

Any warnings you wish to make for your readers?

Nothing in particular. Beware of some overall weirdness.

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

I wasn’t reading it for that purpose, but… I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. xD

Would you recommend this book?

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Eh… I generally only recommend books I truly fall in love with. I didn’t LOVE this book, nor did I fall in love with it. But I didn’t hate it either. It was just “okay” for me. I guess I’d recommend it to someone who wants a quick mystery/fantasy to read

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Book Publisher’s Network
Publication Date: October 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 199
Genre / Themes: Contemporary Fiction,
Independent Women, Adventure, Time Travel,
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Provided by Good Tales Book Tours for an
honest review
Challenge2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (49),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
2015 New To You Reading Challenge,
Read A Million Pages105 Reading Challenge,
The Eclectic Reader (#3 PI Crime)

[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.

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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.

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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!

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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

[Stage Play Review] Endymion, the Man in the Moon

EndimionEndymion, the Man in the Moon

John Lyly

What rating would you give it?
4.5 of 5 Stars

What are your thoughts on the play? How did you come to read it?

So as most of my generation would say, “The first time I ever heard the name ‘Endymion’ was while screaming it alongside Sailor Moon (aka Princess Serenity) as she watched her love die before her very eyes or gets mortally wounded or some other such HORROR from that quaint little show we all watched as children called Sailor Moon.” XD

It was only through that manga (and later the anime) that I learned anything about the myth and the story behind “the man in the moon” (since most schools officially sucked at doing their job and ACTUALLY TEACHING YOU SOMETHING OF VALUE *groan ‘n eyeroll*). Having piqued my interest, I later went on something of a book-hunt to track down a copy to read for my own pleasure and intellectual enlightenment.

Cue actually finding a copy, only to MISPLACE SAID COPY, and thus never actually getting the chance to read said copy. EVER.

Fast forward to the present day and a certain Play On Reading Challenge which challenged me to read plays from different time periods… Add to that me COINCIDENTALLY UNCOVERING THIS PLAY AGAIN AMONG A THRONG OF DUSTY OLD BOOKS, and VOILA! Instant rekindling of old fond memories of Sailor Scouting and Endymion goodness.

P.S. – SPOILER ALERT!

John Lyly’s play actually has NOTHING to do with any girl punishing you in the name of the moon or any dude named Mamoru.

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Shocker! I know. XD Just thought I’d let you know in case you were wonderin’. 8D

The original Greek story of Endymion is a bit muddled, where no one is entirely sure if he was king, shepherd, hunter, or vagrant… However, all interpretations agree that whoever this mystery man was… he was undoubtedly the lover of Selene.

Selene — *COUGHprincessSerenityCOUGHCOUGHS* — is the Titan goddess of the moon, daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn.

The play by John Lyly is loosely based on that classic Greek tale, but has its roots firmly placed in Elizabethan drama, paralleling the shenanigans of Queen Elizabeth I’s court and many aspiring suitors.

It starts with Endymion talking to his close friend Eumenides about how he’s been feeling a bit lovesick and dispassionate about everything and everyone except for the celestial heavens above. (I’m really not kidding here. The guy is waay gone. xD) Herein, he confesses that he’s fallen in love with the moon Goddess, Cynthia. Eumenides, as any good best friend would, tells him he’s crazy and he needs to come back down to earth.

slow-down-crazy

Cythnia, on the other hand, is totally playing it cool and not falling for this nonsense (even if she does care for this silly love-stricken mortal man).

Meanwhile, Tellus, Endymion’s erstwhile lover, concocts a plan to enlist the help of a sorceress to enchant Endymion so he falls into a deep sleep from which he cannot awaken.

Thus, our story truly begins.

From there, the play plays out in its entirety with intrigue, more hopelessly in-love love-falling, running about not knowing what anyone else is doing, and all the while Endymion sleeps. (All in all — probably the BEST SLEEP OF HIS LIFE. /shuts up holy gods I need to stop making jokes)

Impressions? Well, I for one am REALLY glad I was able to read this play (finally). It was as interesting, kinda purple prose-y and flourishing as I imagined, and full of laugh-out-loud moments that had many around me wondering (and asking), “What are you reading?” I think all the dialogue was rather spot-on, humorous, witty, and satirical while being quite bold for its content matter, especially as it about the reigning Queen (at the time) herself. What an ingenious play, elegantly written and brilliantly executed!

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Sure does~ Although it was specifically read for the 2015 Play On Reading Challenge! It also fits these challenges as well:

Would you recommend this book?

download

I apparently have very good taste in plays, because this one is also a keeper! I’m just sorry I didn’t read it sooner… But I guess, all things in their time. 🙂

Go find yourself a copy and read for yourself~~~!

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Format: Paperback
Pages: play itself is 109 pgs
Genre & Themes: Love, Divinity, Mythology,
Play, Queen Elizabeth I, Stage Play, Comedy,
Greek Mythology, Moon, Romance, Love,
Jilted Lovers, Satire
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Bought (If you want to read it online, click here.)
Challenge2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (19),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
Read A Million Pages105 Reading Challenge

 

[Manga Review] Aniki Joutou (complete series)

AnikiJoutou10792Aniki Joutou (complete series)

(Aniki Joutou series, Volume #1 & 2)

Kano Shiuko

What rating would you give it?
3.75 (maybe 4) of 5 Stars

Is this series known by any other name(s)?

Yeah! A few! Yaizu Brothers is the most common, but others include: Yaizu Brothers Fuckin’ Cool, First-Class Big Brother, and even Gentle Green.

How did you come to read Aniki Joutou and what did you think of the series as a whole?

Well… hopefully you took a look at the themes (or in this case warnings) that I posted in the book details below, so you’ll know what to expect from this review. (If not, head on down to the bottom of this post to see them listed under the “genre” section.)

Speaking frankly, I… really didn’t know what to expect when I first picked this up. I knew there was going to be incest themes and such, so that wasn’t a problem (it was actually the reason why I picked it up/was recommended it in the first place). Prior to picking up this title, I had been compiling a masterlist of any and all yaoi/shounen ai/shota manga, manhua, and manhwa featuring incest (in any form or shape of the word) as a primary or minor theme. It was partially for my own reference, and partially because a list as such needed to be made somewhere in the universe, so why shouldn’t it be me making it? (P.S. – And since the list is STILL NOT DONE, I am just sort of holding onto it for now until I can sort it out further.)

And – because I needed to make sure that the books I added to the list actually belonged there – I then went about hunting down all titles I could find, so I could read them for myself.

Many I own. Many I “own” only as scanlations.

Then, as I was adding another name to the list, a title popped out at me: Aniki Joutou.

I was almost sure I had read it before… or at the very least owned it… Somewhere.

As it turned out, I did have a copy of it, although I hadn’t gotten the chance to read it yet. Thus… Aniki Joutou became the first of several “re-finds” I found in a batch of miscellaneous manga I had saved on my computer (from some time ago) with the explicit intent of reading at a later date.

crickets

*EHEM* AWWWWKWAAAARD.

So, of course, remembering NOT A THING about this series outside of the fact that it must have interested me at some point in time and that it was an incest related manga, I opened the folder and began to read.

And then laugh. [And then repeatedly “WTF???!” throughout most of the pages because – really now – WHAT THE FUCK. XD ]

The story is… captivating in its concept and its choice of focus, to say the least; different, though a bit confusing, too… although that may have been due to bad translation (Note to self: Get raws or print copies of books ASAP.); and wholly, hilariously entertaining.

The Yaizu brothers (our protagonists) consist of Ichirou (30) eldest brother and owner of a night club for women clientele, gays, and cougars; Gou (24) second oldest, middle brother who freelances and part-times here and there and seems highly unreliable as a human being; and then there’s Ryuusei (15), the youngest brother still in high school and madly in love with Ichirou – though he has yet to realize it at the start of the first book. Their lives together are unconventional at best, and certainly traumatizing, in some respects to their – ehem – morality and sense of right and wrong, but strangely enough they all seem to be… pretty normal (considering), at least as families go. (Don’t look at me like that! I’m not weird. And they’re perfectly fine in their fucked up way!)

I generally don’t read these kinds of books for the sex that may or may not occur between the brothers sisters, cousins, or whatever – but more so on how the author deals with the family dynamics when one or more members are romantically or sexually involved with one another and in a relationship that most consider immoral and wrong.

I’ve seen the good. I’ve seen the bad. I’ve seen the comedic almost crack-spoof approach, too. I’ve seen the “let’s use this to our advantage and FANSERVICE (with or without a shred of substance behind it). I’ve also seen the “one is the manipulator, the other their willing or unwilling victim.” And so many others.

This one definitively followed the comedic, almost crack-spoof like approach with a hint of let’s use this to our advantage of FANSERVICE.

I’m really not complaining in the least. XD

Of the two books, I’d say the second one was better and more my favourite as it actually had substance and more of a plot.

All in all, it was a good read. My absolute favourite characters were Gou and Ga-chan (Gaku) because they were both such random characters XD So anything that featured them sort of ruled for me. 😉 The concept was an interesting one that I think was handled well, especially since it was meant to be at least part comedy. The twists of several revealing truths throughout the books also kept me interested and would keep any reader guessing.

Would you recommend this book?

Yeah, I think so! Read it, you know you wanna try!

justdoit_zps7f14e39d

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Biblos
Publication Date: 2002-2004
Format: electronic, scans
Pages: est. 366+
Genre: Drama, Yaoi, Romance, Smut,
QUILTBAG / LGBTQUIA, Playboys / Hosts,
Manga, Actual/Implied Incest / False Incest
(“Father”/”Sons”, “Brother”/”Brother”,
“Uncle”/”Nephew”), Family Dynamics,
Brother Complex, What It Means To Be
A Family, Adoption, Host Club, Gigolo/Male Escort,
Night Club, Unconventional or Alternative Families,
Cougars, Age Gap/Age Difference,
Misunderstanding/s, DILFS, BILFS, Mature/Erotic
Age: Adult (MATURE)
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Downloaded scanlations by Obsession
Challenge: 2014 Good Reads Reading Challenge (100)

[Book Review/TBBR] Prosperity

ProsperityProsperity

(Prosperity, Book #1)

Alexis Hall

What rating would you give it?
5++++++++++++++++++++ of 5 Stars

What did you think of the book?

This was better than I could have imagined! I loved the consistent, snarky voice of characters, the diversity of the cast, the setting and world-building…ASDFGHJKL:LKJHGFDS I have only praise for this book. It goes right up there as one of my favorite books of the year!

I literally had moments of actual laughing out loud and scaring people around me. I’m not even joking here.

This novel is abso-friggin-lutely the best thing ever and you HAVE to read it if you’re into:

  • Skyships!
  • Victorian-esque inspired alternative worlds!
  • Ridiculously hot and snarky as ALL hell antihero!
  • MAGNIFICENT WORLD-BUILDING *FOAMS…. AT…. MOUTH*
  • Interlinking novellas/stories ALL WITHIN ONE NOVEL *THIS IS MY FAVOURITE THING THOUGH, HONEST*
  • Did I forget to mention THE COVER ART?!?!? *PTERODACTYL SCREECHES BECAUSE HOMGGGG* I took one look at that cover and knew I wanted an ARC of this book and I WOULD HAVE IT IF IT WAS THE LAST THING I DID
  • THE INSANELY IN CHARACTER, IN-VOICE NARRATION – which I know, for some people can be a problem. And truthfully, if the author doesn’t know what they’re doing accents can sound like complete nonsense or just come out wonky—EXCEPT THAT’S NOT THE CASE HERE. ALEXIS HALL RULES!!

  • The style of storytelling, which I very much choose to read as a series of scenes that all worked together to create the bigger whole.
  • Distinct voices of ALL the characters (not just the main one)
  • RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!
  • Lush, fully developed characters that I could BELIEVE. WHOLLY.
  • The name PICCADILLY. Because, honestly, how can you not love someone with a name like that?

I recently got an ARC for Liberty and Other Stories which combines Books 2-4 and 6 together in a single volume. I cannot wait to see what shenanigans the characters will get up to in these stories to come… >)

Would you recommend this book?

tumblr_m3cdb61s4N1qkefgq

 

Do you even have to ask???

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: October 2014
Format: eBook, ARC
Pages: 235
Genre: M/M Steampunk / SciFi, POC,
QUILTBAG / LGBTQUI, Victorian, Totally
in-character narration, fun fun FUN story!
Age: Young Adult / Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Provided by NetGalley
Challenge: 2014 Good Reads Reading Challenge (100)

 

[Mini Review] Pretty Monsters (Josh of the Damned, Book 1)

12415198Pretty Monsters

(Josh of the Damned, Book 1)

Andrea Speed

What rating would you give it?
4 of 5 Stars

What did you think of the book?

Fun, enjoyable read. Nothing too fancy, but the humor was spot-on and the characters were likable even if the story was short. My biggest complaint was just that: way WAYY too short. It has me wanting to read the next installment immediately.

I will say this much… that cover is GORGEOUS. It was actually what drew me in from the get-go. 😉

Would you recommend this book?

Probably. It was a great passtime. Like something you’d want to read when you have only a short time to read (ie: a break, or lunchtime, or something).

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: October 2011
Format: eBook, ARC
Pages: 15
Genre: LGBT Paranormal, M/M
Romance, QUILTBAG / LGBTQUIA,
Vampires, Short Story
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Provided by netgalley
Challenge: 2014 Good Reads Reading Challenge (100)

 

[Book Review] The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To

 

This is an old review*, though I still feel the same about it now as I did then. As always, I add my current thoughts on the title at the end of this review, so you should still check it out! 🙂

*This book was also used in a booktalk for class.


The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson • 2010 • Vintage • 226 pages

“A witty coming-of-age novel. . . . In Darren and Eric, Pierson has created two engaging and memorable co-conspirators and co-protagonists.”

– Booklist

Genre/Theme: Coming of Age, Teens, Science Fiction, Sex, Nerd and Geek-dom, Friendship, Slice-Of-Life, Comedy, Suspension of Belief, High Schoolers

Brief Summary: The book is told by Darren Bennet, a high schooler, who meets Eric Lederer, the boy with the peculiar condition. He doesn’t sleep. They become friends over mutual interests of a love of drawing, being social outcasts, and a perpetual fear of girls. It’s the typical high school gimmick, except it’s not.

Evaluation: 2 of 5 stars

1-2 things you liked:

  • How he describes his drawing process.
  • That the story was told from the best friend Darren, instead of the boy who actually couldn’t sleep. I think that was clever because it gives an outsider look on this strange phenomenon rather than a first person account.
  • In terms of marketing value: the title is well chosen, as it sounds very Harry Potter (He Boy Who Lived) [or even Lisbeth Salander (The Girl Who Played With Fire) although that would be the wrong age group…]. This will hopefully entice readers of Harry Potter to wonder what this book might be about. On the other hand, depending on the reader, it could also be a turn off as well (what are they trying to do? Make another Harry Potter knock-off?)
  • Most of the humor wasn’t half bad, but sometimes I just couldn’t relate.

1-2 things you didn’t like:

  • The constant stream of consciousness writing style. I know the idea is that teens supposedly think this way, but I think it really excludes those who don’t think this way. Personally, I never had this supposed “disjointed” thought process growing up and find this writing style incredibly distracting and counterproductive. Even if teens may or may not think this way, there is no reason to promote it in their reading. After all, it is only promoting the idea that “Hey! Someone PUBLISHED this PROFESSIONALLY and yet it’s full of mistakes, and run-on sentences, and clunky as hell. Now I have an excuse to do that too!”
  • Clunky, disjointed sentences (that can’t even be called stream of conscious, seriously)
  • The book is written in present tense (and I really can’t stand that unless it has a real purpose or isn’t so IN MY FACE)
  • It can be a bit hard to follow, and drag in too many places.

Would you recommend this book?: No. Seriously. This book was not a favorite.

Looking Back (Current Thoughts & Eval): Okay. So here’s my problem with this book, thinking back on it now. I can’t remember a damn thing about it.

That’s right.

NOT A WORD.

—oh wait. No. That’s not entirely true. I do remember weirdly written sentences and badly written stream of consciousness passages. Which is fine. Who doesn’t love that sort of thing, right?

Well… I certainly do… but…. this just didn’t do it for me. It might have been because I was reading another book about sleeplessness and murder while asleep called The Boy Who Couldn’t Die by William Sleator. So it was actually getting me a bit confused trying to separate the two from one another.

Though I doubt it.

This book just… I don’t know. Some have said it’s their age that wouldn’t allow them to connect with the book, but that wasn’t the case when I first read this book, and it still isn’t the case now looking back on it. The humor was only somewhat there for me, the characters were… only somewhat ok, as well… And, well, obviously not that memorable a book either. It wasn’t a complete flop. I just didn’t really like it that much. And, of course, because I don’t remember (nor did I ever buy a copy of it), I can’t really give a better review than this.

Maybe one day I’ll find an old copy, or have nothing to read and go to my library and check it out again for a re-read… But… I seriously doubt this. :/