I Love You, Black Coffee – Yamashita Tomoko
It started from “Love”. A man who confessed his love to another man. A man and woman who enjoy talking about shared hobbies. A woman waiting to meet up with someone. At a certain café, three different groups coincidentally come together. Two of the part timers there also get involved, and small dramas ensue. Yamashita Tomoko’s worlds, created with her wit and ability to make touching stories, are now available in this treasure trove of her works. In addition to her title work, there are six unpublished stories and extras!
Yamashito Tomoko’s unique take on BL stories that are poignant, bittersweet and cute.
La Campanella: That gloomy, pessimistic tsundere we can’t help but fall in love with
Love’s Magic Word Is…: A gaming otaku who talks in gamer-speak kissed his friend the night before. Awkward conversation ensues the day after. I’m guessing more kisses tomorrow
Saturday, Boy, Phenomenon: Man was a victim of homophobia as a kid and now he claims he was abducted by aliens. Poor guy! I’m glad they meet again.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: not your typical BL story. Middle age man who claims to have magic befriends a teenage girl. Man pines for lost love and girl discovers her magic. More of this, please!
Cu, Clau, Come: A man gets off at watching the man he loves eat so he feeds him almost everyday. The going was good until that goddamn bombshell and then there were ninjas chopping onions.
Once Upon a Time in Tokyo: The love of his life was staring at him through the glass and he was just staring back! Do something!
Je T’aime, Cafe Noir: Nosy cafe employees eavesdrop on their customers and subtly intervenes on their conversation. Also involves love confessions that came out of nowhere. I like the setup.
On Andross Station – J.C. Long
Hikaru Adachi has come to Andross Station to discover what happened to colleague and fellow Inquisitor Katya. Thane, a tracer, has arrived at the station seeking a bounty on Galen Horn, one of the Unity of Planets’ most wanted men. They will find their paths cross as their interests intersect, and soon they are on a hunt that is more dangerous than they know, for Horn has enlisted some dangerous allies, including one from Thane’s past. If Thane and Hikaru together can’t bring Horn down, he will set in motion a plot that will see the entire station destroyed in an attack of massive proportions.
On Andross Station is a fast-paced sci-fi novella about a search for a missing person and a hunt for a terrorist. One of the things I liked best about this novella is the world-building. It’s easy to picture out a universe of varied life-forms, busy, thriving space stations, and galactic governments with hidden agendas. J.C. Long was able to conjure these images without dumping too much information. His concise but informative descriptions of alien life-forms made me want to know more about the various species scattered throughout and the Tracers universe as a whole.
The main characters were Hikaru Adachi, an Inquisitor tasked to find out what happened to Inquisitor Katya, and Thane, a Tracer and half-Alooran. Hikaru is a telepath and has a Virtual Intelligence implant which he uses to get information and hack systems. As an Inquisitor, he is pretty deadly but the moments when he talks to the VI or when he uses his telepathy, he seems distracted and I couldn’t help thinking that might be a good moment to take him out. Thane is out to catch Galen Horn, a known terrorist with a huge bounty on his head. Thane was curious about the Inquisitor so he checked him out and felt the pull of mutual attraction.
One big plus about this story is that it is mission-centric and not romance-centric. While I am 100% OK if there was no romantic sub-plot at all and the novella is purely sci-fi with the characters who just happened to be gay, I feel I really didn’t get to know Hikaru and Thane well. I think the author barely scratched the surface and I would have wanted a better development of their characters as well as their relationship. More background information about them would be appreciated.
The mission is what it’s all about. It’s what kept me glued. Going on what felt like a covert tour of the space station while chasing bad guys and avoiding getting caught was exhilarating. Hikaru and Thane went from gambling dens to restricted areas on their search for Katya and Galen Horn. Hikaru showed his bad-ass martial arts skills and scary telepathic powers. Thane wasn’t a slouch either. That revenge against the sadistic psycho Happy was very satisfying. They make a good team.
It’s stated that On Andross Station is part of Tracers universe so I thought I might need to read other books in the series. However, I didn’t have any problems piecing together everything and the novella as a whole could be read as a standalone. It also felt like a prequel and if it is indeed one, I would be delighted to read the rest of the series.
I received a copy of On Andross Station from Ninestar Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
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Piece of cake really – Enforcers, crazy psychopath dude with giant laser rail guns, throw in a few bounty hunters, a couple torture experts – sounds great, I really can’t wait can you?JJ Snow