Koi no Hajime – Katou Setsuko
The recent newcomer at Naitou’s work is none other than Tsutsui, who despite being a University student, is also the son of a famous rich man. Naitou realized how different their common knowledge was as he saw Tsutsui struggling with cleaning material, and greeting the customers as if it was a high-class store. However, against all odds, he embraced the good impression that the hard-working, serious Tsutsui had left on him. Even so, as Tsutsui tried treating Naitou to dinner and offering him things to become his friend, circumstances caused a mood of servility to sprout between them.
Also included, the love story of Tsutsui’s butler, Fujiki.
Blooming Love + Continued Love: Naitou and Tsuitsui work out their class conflict and stumble into a somewhat awkward romance.
Budding Love: The manager and the butler show the young ones how it’s done as they fall in love amidst busy schedules and restricted lifestyles.
Death and the Devil: Devil in the Details – L.J. Hayward
If there’s one thing assassin Ethan Blade knows, it’s how to plan a job. How to study a target, find the weak spot, and strike. He keeps his guns clean, his knives sharp, and his heart sealed away behind more locks than his precious cars. Alone but safe. Until Jack Reardon burrowed his way into Ethan’s life, his car, and his heart. This may just be the deadliest mess he can’t plan his way out of.
Jack wasn’t sure he’d see Ethan again—not after the less-than-stellar ends to their previous hookups. Even finding the assassin skulking about his apartment isn’t as reassuring as it should be, especially when he works out Ethan’s motive for being there might not be personal. That said, Jack will take any chance he can to salvage their relationship, assuming he survives whatever plan Ethan is cooking up.
Ethan and Jack had a bargain, but the parameters changed and neither are certain how to move forward—together or apart. But before they can start to renegotiate, lives, trust, and hearts are endangered by ghosts from the past. Even if they dodge their enemies’ bullets, there’s a risk of friendly fire, and when you let someone get too close, even small knives can cut deep.
Today is also the release date of Devil in the Details which is another excuse to celebrate.
I adore the Death and the Devil series ever since the first novel came out and Devil in the Details, the third novella, certainly gave us some of what we ask for and things to look forward to on the next book.
Squees reach unprecedented levels as Jack and Ethan go on a holiday in Vietnam. Both Ethan and Jack had their fair share of insecurities and major miscommunications issues but their chemistry remains off the charts. I was right there cheering them on to please, talk for fuck’s sake and was ridiculously happy when Jack finally blurted it out. Ethan, the poor thing, was waiting for it for the longest time.
Prior to that, death flags flew high as Jack and his second, Harry, deal with a bomb threat and declare BFF status. Explosive gunfights and cool fight scenes happen as bad guys tried to get our operative and our favorite assassin out of the picture. There were also somber and highly emotional moments when tragedy struck.
And,oh hell yeah! The thing I’ve been waiting for! That teeny tiny peek inside Ethan’s head!!!
Devil in the Details is full of edge-of-your-seat thrills, death-defying action scenes, sizzling unconventional romance and adorable characters.
It’s a high-octane emotional roller coaster and I love every moment of it.
Make this a movie, please!
More glowing commentary on Death and the Devil books here.
Thank you to the author, L.J. Hayward, for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
Soundtrack: Move Together
Artist: James Bay
Album: Chaos and the Calm
[spotify id=”spotify%3Atrack%3A0GDQXt7qRJIDDUmcufomrU&view=coverart” width=”540″ height=”620″ /]
Soundtrack to Death and the Devil: Devil in the Details by L.J. Hayward
I licked my lips and whispered, “Is this where you say you’ll kill me?”
One corner of his lips curled. “If you like,” he murmured, a flicker of amusement finally crossing his face. “Though it’s gotten far too interesting for that.”Julie Kagawa
Crimson Cross –
Negishi Kyoko , Maeda Sakae
Carl van Hellsing has vowed to hunt down the vampire Elliot for eternity. But, that’s exactly what Elliot wants.
Love, hate and OBSESSION!
Are You Loathsome Tonight? – Poppy Z. Brite
Tales of “fearlessly offbeat” horror from the author of Lost Soulsand Exquisite Corpse (Locus).
Poppy Z. Brite, an acclaimed horror fan favorite, is known for going to the edge and back—and this collection of stories, many set against the backdrop of the author’s native New Orleans, explores the outermost regions of murder, sex, death, and religion.
Featuring titles such as “In Vermis Veritas,” “Entertaining Mr. Orton,” and “Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz,” as well as collaborations with Christa Faust and David Ferguson, this volume also offers notes on each story by the author, an introduction by #1 NewYork Times–bestselling author Peter Straub, and an afterword by Caitlín R. Kiernan. Are You Loathsome Tonight? is an edgy, gruesome tour of “the darkness at the heart of things [with] a number of superb stories, powerful in style and characters” (Locus)
It’s time to bust out Poppy Z. Brite.
Poppy and Clive Barker were my go-to authors back when I was still in my horror phase. This collection of shorts with the lovely title of Are You Loathsome Tonight? is a potent brew of gay, gore, sex and violence with a ghost or two coming back for more.
I had fun and a bit of nostalgic pleasure creeping myself out with the kind of stories I used to read. Blood and violent deaths I could deal but the thing that made me tsk in disapproval is Poppy’s tendency to objectify Thai ladyboys and Asian twinks, treating them as nothing more than exotic pieces of meat to be fucked and eviscerated by serial killing white boys. Let’s put this sad trope to rest, shall we?
In Vermis Veritas: In which a maggot contemplates his existence and rejoices in being a maggot. Well, enjoy your meal.
Arise: Washed up British pop star faked his own death and is now hiding in Gabon. Receives a missive from former band mate to come to North Carolina where he found new inspiration thus giving new meaning to the phrase making a comeback.
Saved: Billy who get off at guns and violence hires an Asian submissive to do his bidding. Asian sub complies, sex play ensues and Billy’s trigger finger twitches. Gratuitous.
King of Cats: A shifter version of The Poor Miller’s Apprentice and the Cat in which Nick, the apprentice, preferred the company of cats to the humdrum life of a miller. Can’t blame you, Nick.
Self-Made Man: Yet another Asian gay boy falls prey to blonde, blue-eyed Justin, a lonely cannibal who just wants a living boy to call his own. That twist in the climax was unexpected but at least they got their revenge.
Pin Money: A stab at historical featuring French-Chinese Perique and his complicated relationship with his father. Interesting characters and setting. I would love to read this as a full length novel.
America: Two-man band on the road share tall tales. This is really more of a sketch than a story and possibly, a shout-out to Lovecraft.
Entertaining Mr. Orton: Featuring two sets of couples, one, old queens in a relationship that has long since expired and the other, young men still very much in love. Goes from sad, bitter and tired to fresh, cute and sweet.
Monday’s Special: Another sketch where Mr. Brite becomes Dr. Brite as Poppy indulges in a fantasy where he took a different career path. Stick to you day job, Poppy.
Vine of the Soul: Adorable couple, Trevor and Zach from Drawing Blood, celebrates the coming of the new millennium in Amsterdam with a new concoction of chemicals. Powder sniffing aside, this is the fluffiest story of the collection.
Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz: Putting a twist on the historical events of the WWI era where the ghost of Francis Ferdinand goes on a hunt for the author of his assassination. I like the usual standard fare of serial killings interwoven with actual historical tidbits but the execution lack oomph.
Are You Loathsome Tonight?: The title piece paints a sordid picture of Elvis’ decline and demise for our morbid pleasure. TMI on Elvis’ bowel movement and hygiene practices. I’m more of a Beatles fan.
In Vermis Veritas – 4 Stars
Arise – 4 Stars
Saved – 4 Stars
King of Cats – 3.5 Stars
Self-Made Man – 3.5 Stars
Pin Money – 4 Stars
America – 3 Stars
Entertaining Mr. Orton – 4 Stars
Monday’s Special – 3 Stars
Vine of the Soul – 4.5 Stars
Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz – 2.5 Stars
Are You Loathsome Tonight? – 3.5 Stars
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Soundtrack: Said the Spider to the Fly
Artist: The Paper Chase
Album: God Bless Your Black Heart
Soundtrack to Are You Loathsome Tonight? by Poppy Z. Brite
He lives down in a ribcage in the dry leaves of a heart.Thomas Harris