• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Haru no E

    Haru no E – Nakamura Asumiko

    Andou gets an envelope passed to him in class that contains an erotic picture belonging to Kagaya Jin, the mysterious half French transfer student. A short, bittersweet tale from the Meiji era.

    “Spring Painting” is a one shot about an innocent student being initiated to sexual pleasure by his mysterious classmate by helping him get off on an erotic picture.

    Jin’s half-French origin gave him an air of the mysterious and exotic, further heightening the sense of the illicit and forbidden between the two boys. Not really keen on the dub-con aspect, tho. Sadly, this is quite prevalent in BL manga, especially between naive virgin uke + wicked experienced seme combination.

    This is an sensual, poetic story that pulls your emotions in different directions, something Nakamura Asumiko always excels at. The artwork has highly stylized character designs that’s stunning to look at. I liked that this is set in the Meiji era. I loved that East-West mix, especially when it comes to the fashion and art.

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  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Four Kings Security Books 3 & 4 by Charlie Cochet

    More love for the Kings today.

    The Four Kings Security is owned by ex-Special Forces Ace, Red, Lucky and King, along with their fellow Green Berets, Jack and Joker. They built their security firm to continue their mission of protecting people in honor of their fallen brothers in their unit.

    This is the second part of my review of this well-loved series by Charlie Cochet. In the first two books, we meet Ace, the troublemaker and Red, the sweetheart and how they found their persons (review of books 1 & 2 here). The next two books is about the King of Clubs and The King of Diamonds.


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    Four Kings Security: Join The Club – Charlie Cochet

    Eduardo “Lucky” Morales is a fighter, from his childhood days in Cuba to his time as a Special Forces Green Beret. Scarred by the wars of his past, Lucky has learned nothing lasts forever. Guarding his heart is second nature, and getting emotionally involved is not an option. As co-owner of Four Kings Security, Lucky works hard alongside his former brothers-in-arms and fellow Kings, but he also plays hard. Flirting with sexy Texas cowboy and detective, Mason Cooper, is too much fun to resist, until Mason turns the tables on him.

    Mason Cooper may not be a soldier, but he’s fought his share of battles as an openly gay cop and now a detective for Major Crimes. Mason has no idea when things changed between him and Lucky, but the gorgeous, fiery Cuban has turned his world upside down. When a mistake leads to his suspension from the force, Mason turns to the least likely person for help: Ward Kingston.

    Determined to keep Mason at arms’ length, Lucky is surprised to find the man at Four Kings Security. The Florida nights might be getting cooler, but the heat between Lucky and Mason burns hotter with every passing moment. Working private security can be dangerous and unpredictable, but so can falling in love.


    Lucky got his nickname because he has all the luck with the ladies and gents. Unlike his cousin Ace who is half-Cuban and raised in the US, Lucky grew up in Cuba until he was 14 when his Aunt was able to bring his family to Florida.

    Lucky still uses his native tongue sometimes, especially when emotions ran high. I really enjoyed that he’s bilingual and the author uses Spanish words liberally. I liked that her Cuban roots gave the story much authenticity.

    All the Kings, Jack and Joker had gone through much in life, but I think Lucky had a few more challenges to hurdle. He grew up dirt poor with barely anything to eat. What his parents, especially his mother, had to go through just to put food in the table was tough to think about.

    As a result, he had a special appreciation for the finer things in life. Not in the materialistic sense but more of a reminder of how far he had gone and what he had accomplished. Lucky is a man who can appreciate a pair of limited edition Gucci loafers. He and Colton could go shoe shopping together.

    Mason Cooper is a drawling cowboy transplant from Texas and a recently promoted detective who’d worked with the Kings in some cases. After a failed drug test (he forgot to mention the cough syrup) that caused his suspension, he requested King for a temp job. He was paired with Lucky.

    Lucky gets along with everybody. Except Mason. Who is Ace’s ex. Also, the guy he had some sort of moment with. And so they’re always riling each other up a.k.a. flirting. They not so much as throw off sparks but more like burn for each other since the previous books. It’s so palpable everybody already expected the inevitable sooner or later. They’re just too stubborn, the idiots.

    When I started on this, I was a bit meh. I’m not particularly keen on cowboys and Mason was probably the character I’m least drawn to. But the deeper I got into the story, the more I became engrossed.

    A big part of the book showed the day to day of a security specialist with Lucky showing Mason the ropes. I liked this peek into their working lives. It made Mason realized how much he could achieve working for Four Kings. There is a nebulous threat to Mason’s life and this came to a head at the last 20% with a twist I least expected.

    This installment is different from the rest. This is more of an antagonistic partners-to-lovers romance. The forced proximity of working together made all their excuses not to get close disappear in a cloud of lust and feelings. There’s a lot of push pull and a lot of heat. The chemistry was explosive. So was the love.

    The King of Clubs has everything he could ever want.

    ˛˛ꉂ ◞•̀д•́)◞⚔◟(•̀д•́◟ ) <- Lucky and Mason being idiots.

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

    Soundtrack: How Lucky We Are
    Artist: Douwe Bob
    Album: Fool Bar


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    Four Kings Security: Diamond In The Rough – Charlie Cochet

    When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.

    For Ward “King” Kingston the role of protector, forged by fire and tragedy, is one he takes seriously. When King is asked to safeguard the son of a four-star general and friend, he is pulled back into the world of government black ops on a mission that raises painful memories from his past. The moment King meets Leo, amid the chaos of a lockdown at a secret black site, it’s clear he’s never faced a challenge like this—one that will test his unwavering sense of control.

    Leopold de Loughrey is a misunderstood genius whose anxiety and insecurities are sent into overdrive when he is forcefully recruited to work on a top-secret project. Terrified of what his role as “invaluable asset” means, Leo’s stress leads to disappearances, arguments, and blowups that threaten the project and Leo’s future. King’s arrival is a calm in the storm for Leo and his frenetic thoughts.

    King and Leo couldn’t be more different, yet as they navigate the dangers of a secret multi-agency operation and face unknown threats, their differences could be what saves them. Neither man believes a happily ever after is in the cards, but their hearts might just prove them wrong… if they can survive a deadly betrayal.


    Saving the best for last because The King deserves a Leo.

    King is the group’s alpha. He was the second in command of their former unit so the men naturally follows his orders. He’s also the most enigmatic of the Kings, always there but almost in the background. He’s a known grump who shoulders the world’s responsibilities.

    His book picks up right after the epilogue of Join the Club. King just completed his mission. He was asked a favor by his friend, their old general, to protect his son. Little did King know, it was more than he bargained for.

    A hell lot more.

    Leopold de Loughrey is a tech genius recruited a.k.a. blackmailed by the government to create a program for surveillance. Leo has always been special, according to his dad who feels very protective of him. He has anxieties and health issues that made it hard for him to work in such a difficult environment as a tightly-guarded government facility. Especially with the other analysts being downright hostile towards him.

    Leo is also a master escape artist.

    It began with a ridiculously cute meet-cute in the middle of chaos inside a bunker hidden in a black site. While everyone was scrambling about looking for the missing Leo, King, standing still while taking stock of the situation was offered fish crackers by an unidentified but admittedly very cute young man. Guess who.

    I have to use cute 3 times there because Leo is so freakin’ adorkable!!! That he was inspired by Dylan O’Brian made me love him more. The moment King laid eyes on him, the man was a goner.

    The mission here was to protect Leo from the Russians and the traitor who was working with them. They used code names from the Avengers. I’m totally living for the Marvel references.

    This is an age-gap, opposites attract, slow-burn romance with a lot of humor and heart. King and Leo formed a great partnership. I loved how King paid attention to the little things that make Leo ticked. Their dynamics was so funny and sweet. I loved the contrast between the brawny, protective grump and the brainy, quirky nerd.

    The scene I like replaying in my head was the part where the rest of the guys met Leo. All of them were so flabbergasted to know that King, who never laughs, laughs and smiles with Leo. Like, all the time! Even Ace was impressed. It was hilarious!

    Of course King will never hear the end of it.

    (*・∀・)_Ω~ヽ(o_o–) <- King and the fish cracker incident

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: King and Lionheart
    Artist: Of Monsters and Men
    Album: My Head is an Animal


    I can’t recommend Four Kings Security enough! This is one of the most enjoyable series I have read. The camaraderie and the humor alone made this worthwhile. I loved the huge cast and their group dynamics.

    The series tend to focus on the relationship development and the interactions between characters. The action/suspense usually occur in the latter parts. However, there is still a good balance between the various elements. This is definitely a series worth binge-reading!

    The books are best read in order.

    Review of Love in Spades and Be Still My Heart, books 1 & 2, here.

    P.S.

    And so faceclaims!!! LOVE Charlie Cochet‘s inspiration for the guys. Check out her pinterest here.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Four Kings Security. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

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  • song,  Uncategorized

    SOUNDTRACK: How Lucky We Are by Douwe Bob & King & Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men

    Soundtrack to Four Kings Security: Join The Club by Charlie Cochet

    Soundtrack to Four Kings Security: Diamond In The Rough by Charlie Cochet

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  • quote,  Uncategorized

    We got the upper hand
    A random set of cards
    Try and see my friend
    How lucky we are
    You got your big eyes fixed
    On the rearview mirror
    I say we look ahead
    To see how lucky we are

    And it’s a strange life
    It’s a great ride

    There’s a light you don’t see
    You’re the light that shines on me
    We got everything we need
    To make this work

    We live a long, long time
    And feel life is short
    We got all we need
    And yet we still want more
    We got the upper hand
    A random set of people
    Such very close friends
    How lucky we are

    And it’s a strange life
    It’s a great ride

    There’s a light that you don’t see
    You’re the light that shines on me
    We got everything we need
    To make this work

    Oh, we got all
    Oh, we got all we need

    There’s a light that you don’t see
    You’re the light that shines on me
    We got everything we need
    To make this work

    There’s a light that you don’t see
    You’re the light that shines on me
    We got everything we need
    To make this work

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