• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Hanabatake To Wakarebanashi

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    Hanabatake To Wakarebanashi – Kojima Lalako

    1-3. Hanabatake to Wakarebanashi, From Summer then On, Our Love
    Takuya, Yuiji, and Aki are childhood friends who have always been together. Takuya secretly likes Aki, but she suddenly gets a boyfriend. Takuya nurses his broken heart with Yuiji, who suddenly confesses that he’s always liked Takuya.

    4-6. Bye-bye Baby
    Story of Didi, his older brother, Ryoutarou, and his brother’s boyfriend, Nonoyama.

    Borderline saccharine stories typical of the mangaka’s happier works. The cover art’s so pretty!

    Hanabatake to Wakarebanashi + From Summer then On + Our Love: Childhood-friends-to-lovers story with the usual ‘but I’m a guy!’ hesitations. Unnecessarily angsty but cute because who could resist Yuiji?

    Bye-bye Baby: Established couple seen from the POV of the younger brother, Didi, a style that is particularly effective and delightful as long as it’s not a love triangle. Here, no geometries were involved so yay!

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Pros & Cons Of Deception by A.E. Wasp

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    Pros & Cons: Pros & Cons of Deception – A.E. Wasp

    FIVE JOBS. FIVE CHANCES FOR REDEMPTION. One thing’s for sure: these men are no angels.

    There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.

    Job number two lands right in my lap. I’m Bond. Wesley Bond. (I can’t resist saying it that way. Blame my dad, if you can find him.) You could call me a hacker. I redistribute wealth – moving it from rich slimebags to poorer but infinitely more deserving people – and make a tidy profit as I do.  My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to bring down some modern-day slave traders.

    I definitely choose to accept it.

    With the life of the one person in this world I love on the line, I can’t afford any screw ups or distractions. Unfortunately, my biggest distraction is my biggest asset – Danny Monroe. Danny is a leftover complication from our first job; a victim of the vicious senator we’d gotten locked up. He’s a smart, funny, gorgeous, ex-prostitute, who can’t seem to keep his clothes on. I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut around him. But I need a fake boyfriend, and Danny is the only option.

    Fooling the world into thinking we’re in love will be easy; fooling myself that I’m not might be impossible.

    We don’t know who the bad guy is, we have no idea how to prove anything. There’s no internet on the island, no cell service, and i’ll have only the bare bones of my gear. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to need all the help I can get.

    Like it or not, we’re all in this together.


    Pros & Cons is an MM version of Oceans Eleven / Leverage where a group of men with ‘special skills’ were gathered posthumously by the late Charlie Bingham, information broker and con-man extraordinaire. He ‘persuaded’ them into doing certain ‘assignments’.

    Charlie’s boys:

    Leonard ‘Leo’ Shook – The FBI agent goes undercover as a bartender. Had conflicting feelings about Charlie. Didn’t know whether to arrest him or ask him out. Last we know of Leo, he was getting cozy with the ‘interested party’ a.k.a Al over the phone. Hmm…
    Carson Grieves – Plays the part of a Spanish-speaking groundskeeper. Still not much is known about the man. Though he’s comfortable enough with the guys to go around without make-up. Has hinted on having a very lonely life when younger but that’s about it. Argh! I need your book, Carson!
    Ridge Pfiefer – Can salsa so he gets to be the dance instructor. Oho! Him and that Davis Ethan guy! Thief and diplomatic security, interesting combination. I guess they’re next.
    Wesley Bond – Poses as a tech billionaire on vacay with his boyfriend. Not much of a hardship there but unfortunately for him, all his hacking genius and social engineering skills couldn’t stop the inevitable: falling in love with Danny
    Castille ‘Steele’ Alvarez – the bodyguard and ex-soldier disguised as a child minder. Promptly built a child army. I liked him and Brekkie better in this book.
    Breck ‘Brekkie’ Pfiefer – the younger Pfiefer twin had to spend most of the time winging it with broken toilets as the maintenance man. Proudly showed off his toolbelt to Steele who lost no time admiring it
    Danny Munroe
     – Breckkie’s bff had to play Wes’ fake bf. All he had to do was smile and be charming. Easiest job of all, right?

    Charlie’s angels:

    Miranda Bosley – the lawyer popped up now and then but not much page-time for her. Too bad
    Josie DuPont – our international woman of mystery worked her magic in the kitchen and in the open seas. A literal lifesaver. Can’t do without our Josie.

    The second job involved cracking the case of a shady guest worker program in an island resort. Wes takes point but couldn’t use his hacker skills in the bat cave because the island had no internet connection. The gang flew in and infiltrated the resort disguised as workers while Wes and Danny pretended to be a couple.

    One misanthropic hacker redistributing wealth could only do so much, but I was more than that now. I was part of a team. Sometimes even the good guys had to fight a little dirty. Sometimes, to bring the truth to light, you needed to employ a little deception.

    Game. On.

    Wes is my favorite next to Carson. He’s a digital Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and distributes the money to various charities. That’s why he never gets caught. He’s skilled at manipulating people behind his computer screens. Face to face though, his foot is constantly in his mouth. And poor Wes seems to have a special talent for pissing Danny off.

    Danny came out to his parents at 17 and was kicked out of the house. He was forced to work as a rent boy in order to survive and was rescued by the gang along with Breck two years later. I loved how Danny managed to still see the good in people despite what he had been through. It makes a good contrast to Wes who was more jaded. The attraction between them started in Pros & Cons of Vengeance. Everybody knew it was only a matter of when. Wouldn’t be surprised if they started making bets.

    Romance was at the forefront, touching upon the age-gap and fake boyfriend tropes. Since this involved two people I really liked, I feel more invested in it. And I was pretty happy with how it was done.

    I’m guessing it’s a thing with this series that it’s going to be heavy on the relationships and light on the heist. It’s easy to forget they’re on a job with all those umbrella drinks and spa treatments. I hardly thought about it too until 75% in when things went FUBAR and adrenaline started pumping. After that, it’s one big suspenseful moment after another. Danny’s life was on the line and he’s on his own.

    There’s one thing that bothered me: the coms. I totally hated the fact that everybody could hear EVERYTHING over the coms. It’s used as a gag to butt in whenever things get steamy between couples. It was funny the first time it happened to Steele and Breck but after that, ewww!

    As predicted, I liked Pros & Cons Of Deception better than the first book. What it lacked on con procedural it more than made up for the lovable characters and their endearing connections. There so much growth in terms of characters and relationships. The group synced really well. Their banters kicked the book up a notch. They’re slowing becoming good friends whether they’ll admit it or not. Makes me wonder what they would do when the jobs are over. Is Leo going to arrest them? Noo!

    More importantly, this sequel was just much more entertaining overall now that the set-up was established and the series hits its stride. I hope A.E. Wasp keeps the momentum going for the rest of the books.

    Also, for the love of god, Wes, FIX THE COMS!

    P.S.

    Book 1, Pros & Cons Of Vengeance review here

    Pros & Cons is best read in order. We owe it to Charlie.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Love Hope
    Artist: PIL
    Album: That What Is Not

  • Uncategorized

    I can see potential, I can see intention
    With a pocket full of seeds, hope keeps me alive
    I can see contention, financing situations
    Maybe may never be

    Drawing you in, drawing you on
    Leading you in, taking you on

    Love bites trivia severely
    It has to be treated with respect
    And taken seriously, seriously lonely
    I want to belong

    Drawing you in, drawing you on
    Leading you in, taking you on

    I want, I want, I want
    I want, I want to belong
    I want to belong

    Nothing comes from nothing
    No wisdom than the silence
    Negotiable affections
    Even lovers need lessons

    Drawing you in, drawing you on
    Leading you in, taking you on

    Drawing you in, drawing you on
    Leading you in, taking you on

    I want to belong, I want to belong
    I want to belong, I want to belong
    Long, long, long
    Long, long, long