Omae Allergy – Mikami Haru
Kanou Hiroto, a high school student, experienced sexual harassment when he was a child which led him to be allergic to men. Due to this, he isolated himself from guys until he met Ohshiro Kei, who approached him without knowing about his allergy to men. Ultimately, Kanou struggles as Ohshiro relentlessly pursues after him. Will Kanou accept this twist of fate to his life?
Meh! Mediocre stuff.
Broken – Nicola Haken
“For anyone who’s ever felt a little broken. Keep going – one breath at a time. You are important”
When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.
Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.
James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.
Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.
Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?
Please note:This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may be uncomfortable for some readers.
Audiobooks are what I am into nowadays because my eyesight is getting worse (devastating news for a book blogger). It’s quite a game changer, enhancing my literary experience through voices, accents and acting and motivating me to finish what I would have otherwise DNF’ed after a couple of chapters. Basically if the narrator sounds good and there are some fancy schmancy accents, there is a higher probability I’ll see things through to the end no matter how shitty the story.
Broken is one such book. If I just read the blurb, I wouldn’t have bothered since contemporaries are mostly a miss with me but when I heard the opening chapter, I was greeted with Mancunian. So I decided to give it a go.
And what a beautiful, emotionally satisfying book it turned out to be, resonating strongly due to some personal experiences. It took a while for me to get into it, mainly because James came across as an annoying, arrogant bastard at first and I was ready to drop the book but the witty banter between Theo and Tess won me over. James gradually turned out to be not such an asshole Theo made him out to be and there were some sweet and fun times that slowly ease its way into darker times as James finally gave in to his inner demons.
James has type 2 bipolar disorder which is a very difficult illness to deal and live with. Nicola Haken wrote very accurate scenarios of how it is for both the patient and the people who love them. I marvelled at Theo’s strength and unconditional love. He never gave up on James and that is something a bipolar patient needs, someone who never gives up on you even if you already have.
“When your boat is drifting from the shore, it’s okay to use an anchor for support. We all need an anchor. Without people to love us, we’d just drift further and further away.”
Broken tackles complex themes but it’s not a heavy book. Haken managed to balance the darker notes with lighter moments of humor and romance. It shares a hopeful message that yes, we might not get cured but we will be okay.
4.5 – perfection is only half a step away
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Fighting your inner demons,
Fighting that inner war.
Not knowing what’s wrong or right.
Asking yourself, “How much more?”
How many more endless questions?
How many more sleepless nights?
How much more can I take,
Of life and it’s enternal fight?
Trying to heal your pain.
Somehow you can break the broken.
People come but never stay.
No one listens to what you’ve spoken.
Love. Trust. Safety. Hope.
It’s gone and fled away.
You have nothing left to your name,
But the scars that always stay.
Inferiorty. This is all you feel.
No matter what you do,
You’re never good enough.
And no one has a clue.
No one knows,
How you tear yourself apart.
They don’t know
About your abused heart.
They’ll never understand
The hate for yourself.
They’ll never see
Your mental health.
You want to believe.
Believe you’re worth something.
Believe you’re a good person.
Believe you’re worth loving.
But the louder voice denies this.
It tells you no one cares.
That you’re a terrible person.
All you’re doing is wasting air.
Inner demons, inner war.
I’m in the middle of it all.
Pulling myself together,
Knowing all I’ll do is fall.Celine Alesha Chadee
Beauty In The Water Tank – Akizuki Ruko
Low ranked student from the swimming club false in love with the elite class president.
Mediocre stuff. Old fashion art.
Agents Irish and Whiskey: Barrel Proof – Layla Reyne
FBI agents Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker can’t get a moment’s peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie’s life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take.
Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie’s been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan’s late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him.
But the explosions are far from over. Aidan’s cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist’s conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.
After meh ratings on Single Malt and Cask Strength, Barrel Proof, managed to rack up three stars. This is mostly thanks to the narrator Tristan James, who did a superb job wringing out the emotions in that dramatic scene after Cuba. He’s also awesome with accents, doing everything from Bostonian, Irish, Southern and Czech.
Barrel Proof is all about the end game. Here, we finally meet the notorious and mysterious Renaud who was out for revenge against Silicon Valley execs and financial bigwigs. This is also where we get the most action, starting with that explosive Cuban confrontation and ending with a suspenseful kidnapping situation where everybody had to pray for Mel. Because the book was case-focused, there were less annoying moments where Aidan and Jamie acted ridiculously emotional and more of them doing their jobs.
Mel, Danny and Jamie’s bestfriend, Cam were all in on the action. Lauren, with her hacking skills and quirks, was a great addition to the team. Nick the prosecutor also had major pagetime/airtime here and he was not the asshole they made him out to be in the second book. In fact, he turned out to be a really good ally and an interesting character too so maybe a Nick book please? We could all do with more of Nick’s sartorial polish.
Overall, this series garnered high reviews from fans but for me, there were a lot of unnecessary angst and drama, mediocre storytelling and long drawn out cases that could have been solve faster had everybody been as smart as they purport to be.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it
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It’s like a cotillion, this partners business, except with killing.”
“So, exactly like a cotillion,” said Simon.Cassandra Clare