Taka to Tonbi to Aburaage – Rokuro Kuro
Hanajima is the most popular and sought-after guy in school. But he has a secret: a hidden self, who is unbearably egoistical in both words and thoughts! The only one who knows that is a fellow schoolmate, Nodate!
An enjoyable collection of stories on the theme of hidden self and secret feelings.
The Falcon. The Kite. And the Deep-Fried Tofu: No idea about the title but ‘perfect’ guy’s possessive nature and feelings for his childhood friend was revealed as another boy confesses feelings to said friend. That’s right, stick together, dorks!
Makino is Taking a Rest Today: Cute yandere boy meets shy gentle giant who calls him out on his shit. Interesting combination. Make it work, you two!
Mealtime for Two + Breakfast for Two: Childhood friends with mutual feelings. Really should have talked about it earlier. Enjoy that newly-wed atmosphere, boys!
Love Spell – Mia Kerick
Chance César is fabulously gay, but his gender identity—or, as he phrases it, “being stuck in the gray area between girl and boy”—remains confusing. Nonetheless, he struts his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug-in-all-the-right (wrong)-places orange tuxedo as the winner of this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon Festival. He rules supreme at the local Beans and Greens Farm’s annual fall celebration, serenaded by the enthusiastic catcalls of his BFF, Emily Benson.
Although he refuses to visually fade into the background of his rural New Hampshire town, Chance is socially invisible—except when being tormented by familiar bullies. But sparks fly when Chance, Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper (Jazz) Donahue, winner of the Pumpkin Carving King contest. Chance wants to be noticed and admired and romantically embraced by Jazz, in all of his neon-orange-haired glory.
And so at a sleepover, Chance and Emily conduct intense, late-night research, and find an online article: “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love With You.” Along with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure, it becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
But will this “no-fail” plan work? Can Chance and Jazz fall under the fickle spell of love?’
Chance Cezar (love the name!) is out and proud but doesn’t know which gender box to tick. He and his best friend, the quirky Emily, embark on The Plan to make Jasper “Jazz” Donahue fall in love with Chance based on an online article, “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall In Love With You”. Such titles always gets an eye roll and should be taken with a heap ton of salt, IMHO, despite the words “scientifically proven”. Why two seemingly intelligent teenagers bother with such articles is beyond me but books featuring hapless people following how-tos has a good track record with me and Love Spell is one of those books.
Chance is sooo OTT! He sports orange hair, is capable of rocking both stilettos and chucks and isn’t afraid to wear make-up and mix his own perfume. It took a few moments but when I finally got used to his talking style, I found it funny enough to elicit a few chuckles especially combined with the epic fails his and Emily’s strategies turned out to be. Like wooing Jazz with a megawatt smile only to have gummy bears stuck in his teeth (eew!) but, if a guy voluntarily pokes his finger in your teeth to get it out, you know he’s really that into you.
Love Spell is a YA story and it’s one of those that have the YA main character worry about his sexuality or in this case, gender identity. I know some young adults might have this concerns and it is an important issue that should be addressed but I’m kinda tired of having it in almost every other YA LGBT book I encounter (looking at you, Simon). I don’t think young adults would want to read about sexuality and gender identity being an issue all the time. I know my younger self wouldn’t want to because I want my stories to treat being queer, genderfluid or ace as normal.
What kicked this story up a notch was Jazz. He is a really sweet guy and a responsible big brother to his kid sister. When he finally had enough of Chance’s BS and decided to be upfront, it was all very squee-tastic! But then, to my surprise and dismay, the story ended just when it was getting really good. Nooo! Where’s my epilogue?!
Overall, Love Spell made me laugh, cringe and root for Chance to go, get that boy! Waiting for him to get a clue at how ridiculous his maneuverings were was equal parts exasperating and funny but Jazz was worth it and more. I would have preferred Chance to worry less about his gender and focus more on other things, like getting into a good college just like how Emily is determined to get into her dream school. However, I mostly had a good time with this book and I recommend it.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
I received a copy of Love Spell from NineStar Press
via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Artist: The Heartbreaks
Soundtrack to Love Spell by Mia Kerick
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.Dr. Seuss
Keyring Lock – YMZ
The freeter, Yui, found a stranger in a tattered state along the road. His name is Toshiki, a man with a strange appeal. Yui couldn’t leave him alone, and so, he accompanied the stranger back to his house. Upon getting there, Toshiki revealed to be wilful, and Yui decided to go along with him. The next morning, however, he found that he has been trapped inside Toshiki’s house.
So unique and gentle. More strange, platonic co-habitation stories, please.
The Agency: Merlin in the Library – Ada Maria Soto
An Agency Short Story
Agent Martin Grove is in pain every minute of the day while his wounds slowly heal. As soon as one injury starts to fade another that was hidden presents itself, but despite that Martin is, above all, a man who appreciates routine. For him that means ‘Merlin’ must return to the regularly scheduled Saturday Children’s’ Story Hour at the library. He’s been absent for too long and his body is still a technicolor canvas of physical damage, but as long as he has his Arthur by his side, he just might make it.
Last year, His Quiet Agent blew me away with the soft, sweet story of Martin and Arthur. That it is also a wonderfully done ace romance made it unforgettable for me.
Merlin in the Library is the epilogue that follows the aftermath of Martin’s reappearance and it is written in his POV (Thank you, Ada Maria!). Martin was recovering from his injuries and trying to pick up his routines. Arthur has now become an important person in his life and together they continue the Saturday story class.
This is such a lovely follow up.
Still as soft as the first story or perhaps more tender now that we get a glimpse inside Martin’s fragile mental state and his connection with Arthur. I love how the author was able to develop their relationship with a delicate hand in a slow but sure way. It warms my heart to see Arthur and Martin are doing well. I hope we get more stories about them.
Me raving about His Quiet Agent here.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
Soundtrack: Lost in the Library
Artist: Saint Etienne
Album: The Misadventures of Saint Etienne
Soundtrack to The Agency: Merlin in the Library by Ada Maria Soto
That a thread
Of a story
A wound.Ibtisam Barakat