Links – Kizu Natsuki
A dramatic collection of stories linking four men and their ‘half-baked’ lovers.
Highly emotional stories that just tugs at the heartstrings.
Sekiya + Shibata: A DJ who finds it hard to say the words and the man who wears his heart on his sleeve. A bit melancholy but pure and heartwarming.
Yahiko + Akiha + A certain man: A man who can’t get over a lost love, his lover who refuses to give up, and a dead boy whose memories linger. Painful but also hopeful.
Kameda + Ogigawa: A story of two man brought together by a cat and who stayed together because that’s how it should be. Surprisingly deep but lighthearted.
Sato + Nakajou: A couple who stayed together for ten years but it is love? Bittersweet but ultimately satisfying.
A Touch of Brogue – Christine Danse
Eric Rossi isn’t a bad person. But he’s been talked into doing some pretty regrettable things by the man he thought he loved–like write a fake review of a pub he never stepped foot in for a food magazine that makes or breaks restaurants in Portland. He’s since dumped the boyfriend, but he can’t undo the review or the damage it’s done to the Irish Sisters and its passionate owner, Colm.
When Colm paid to have his family pub shipped from Ireland to Oregon, he put his savings, his heritage, and his sanity on the line. Now he gets so few customers, he notices each one. Especially the sweet, shy man who is dragged into the pub by his pink-haired niece. He calls himself Mark, and he is a chef’s dream, a man who completely enjoys everything Colm cooks. What Colm doesn’t know is that the man he’s falling for is the critic who’s almost cost him everything.
Eric didn’t mean to fall in love with the Irish Sisters or its blue-eyed, Irish-American owner. He definitely didn’t mean to lie about his identity. He’s already done enough damage, after all. Now he must make things right for the restaurant and disappear from Colm’s life before Colm learns the devastating truth, because the last thing Eric wants to do is destroy the chef’s heart, too.
A Touch of Brogue is a very charming holiday story that had me craving for Irish food I never had before.
The blurb immediately caught my attention. I had a short stint working for a not so popular restaurant before so I have some idea of it how feels to have an empty dining room while the resto next door is overflowing. I also couldn’t forget the huge stacks of dishes I washed when there were more customers.The people I worked with before weren’t as passionate as Colm so I doubt they paid attention to reviews. I wasn’t surprised the restaurant eventually closed.
Eric Rossi, the food critic is very suggestible and a bit of a pushover. He was talked into writing a bad review of the Irish Sisters by his ex even though he has not eaten at the restaurant before. The Irish Sisters is a pub owned by Irish-America Colm who took over the family business.
I felt sorry for Colm. He poured his heart and soul into the restaurant. And I know his food is really good. I could practically taste it off the page. Food is central to the story and food bridged the gap between the two men.
Colm and Eric had great easy going chemistry together. It was fun tagging along with them on their date because they really had a good time. It was only marred by Eric’s mistake. I felt sympathetic towards Eric even though I was exasperated at him for not telling the truth sooner. As expected, he had to drag it out until he was busted and so the Big Fight ensued. He eventually found the courage to say no to bad influence, face the consequences and made efforts to redeem himself. I liked the fact that the price he paid was high because, yeah, that was a shitty thing to do. How he eventually got back on his feet and how Colm communicated with him again was satisfying and nicely done.
Overall, the story is cozy, warm and very enjoyable. Perfect for holiday weekends when you stuffed yourself full of your grandma’s cooking.
I received a copy of A Touch of Brogue from Nine Star Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
When food is well prepared it delights the eye, it intoxicates the nose, it pleases the tongue, it stimulates the appetite, and prolongs the healthy craving which it finally satisfies, even as the song of the mother charms the child which it gradually composes for slumber.William H.H. Murray
He Is Beautiful – Tenzen Momoko
A veteran designer just opened his new shop. A top model, who’s making a breakthrough in the acting biz too, is surprisingly forward about wanting to be the designer’s exclusive model.
They’re both beautiful. Love the artwork!
SPECTR: Eater of Lives – Jordan L. Hawk
When a supernatural killer is implicated in a string of cannibalistic murders, federal exorcist John Starkweather must track the demon down with the help of his live-in lover, Caleb Jansen. Caleb is possessed by Gray, a vampire spirit who is a natural demon hunter.
Caleb’s desire to find the killer is tempered by the knowledge his own time is running out. If John can’t successfully figure out how to exorcise Gray before forty days are up, the possession becomes permanent.
When John’s ex shows up, looking for a place to stay while visiting the city on business, tensions mount even higher. Lines are drawn and Caleb learns some decisions, once made, can never be changed.
Despite constant reassurances from Gray that no, he’s not going to harm any humans, no, he’s not going to turn Caleb into a mindless puppet or a bloodthirsty monster, the foolish mortals insist their fears and doubts ad nauseam. Listen to the drakul, people!
And what the fuck, Sean?! Why would you say that to Caleb? Sean is fast becoming a giant asshole. I know he means well but an asshole nonetheless.
Gray continues to be precious as both he and Caleb gets possessive and territorial when Will shows up unannounced. John, ever the nice guy, agrees to let his ex stay over. The ex showing up and causing trouble is a bit cliche but did help move some things forward.
This installment was different from the other books as a third POV was introduced, that of the possessed. The showdown between the demon and Gray was huge and public and had serious consequences for the trio. The ending was a cliffhanger so major I immediately picked up the next book because OMG!!!
This is what I really love about Jordan L. Hawk. The books in her series keeps getting better and better as they progress. Whyborne & Griffin, Hexworld, SPECTR, read any of them and guaranteed you will be hooked!
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
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And so I went through the looking glass, stepped into the netherworld, where up is down and food is greed, where convex mirrors cover the walls, where death is honor and flesh is weak. It is ever so easy to go. Harder to find your way back.Marya Hornbacher