• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Noraneko to Yubikiri

    野良猫とゆびきりvol.1- 漫画・無料試し読みなら、電子書籍ストア BookLive!

    Noraneko to Yubikiri – Takatsu Aki

    Ayato is a part time worker who lives alone, struggling to survive. One day, his mother suddenly appears only to leave his young sister under his care. Ayato then goes to City Hall to ask for help, as he wants to leave his sister in a nursery school while he works. At that place, the one who had to help Ayato was Haruna, a serious and hard-working employee, but instead of listening to him and without knowing about Ayato’s circumstances, began to preach saying “Even stray cats are more responsible with their children than you are.” Ayato snapped saying “What do you know about me?”

    A hard working employee and a hard worker who is underemployed, gradually heal each other’s past wounds and become fascinated with each other. What kind of promise will these two people make when they have experienced hard times in the past? Can they trust in each other?

    Pinky Swear With A Stray Cat is a sweet age gap story about a civil servant and a part timer brought together by cats and a cute little girl. It is about family and making so many cherished memories the sad parts won’t matter.

    When he was a child, Ayato was usually left to fend off for himself by his irresponsible mom. He was long burned by her broken promises. One day, his mom left him his little sister, Ren, and he swore he would do everything to give her things he didn’t have growing up.

    Haruna was the civil servant who handled his case. They got off the wrong foot but later developed a friendship. Especially after Ayato discovered Haruna playing with cats on the street.

    I really liked the artwork particularly the way the characters were drawn. Ren looked adorable and Haruna was quite the looker in his casual hair and contact lenses. The background was not messy. Overall, it’s very easy on the eyes.

    The story had a nice pace going. The conflict was based on stupid assumptions and the resolution felt rushed. However, the manga did a great job showcasing their time together. It was also refreshing that the two men kissed openly on the streets instead of having to do it in some discrete corner.

    Ayato reminded Haruna of a stray cat. A cat who wanted affection but is often left behind. I liked the way the younger man was earnest with his feelings. Ayato was touched by the way Haruna always keeps his promises even with the little things. Together, they made Ren, the happiest girl in the world.

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  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice

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    Treasure Trail – Morgan Brice

    Erik Mitchell traveled the world uncovering art fraud and relic theft, which pitted him against spoiled billionaires, unscrupulous collectors, mobsters, and cartels. He worked with law enforcement across the U.S. and Europe, but then a sting goes wrong, Erik ends up injured and returns to find his partner cheating. He decides to stop globetrotting and buy an antique shop in scenic Cape May, NJ, rebuild his life, and nurse his broken heart.

    Undercover Newark cop Ben Nolan went down in a hail of bullets when a bust went sideways, after a tip-off from a traitor inside the department. When he recovers, he spends a couple of years as a private investigator, only to tire of seeing the worst of human nature. So when his aunt offers him the chance to take over her rental real estate business in Cape May, it seems too good to be true. Now if he could just believe he could ever be lucky again in love.

    Sparks fly when Erik and Ben meet. But when a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface, the two men are pulled into a web of lies, danger, and deception that will test their bond—and might make them Cape May’s newest ghosts!

    Treasure Trail contains sexually explicit material intended for adults 18 and over. This is book #1 in the Treasure Trail series.


    Treasure Trail is off to a great start!

    This new paranormal series by Morgan Brice is part of her inter-connected world of supernaturals. It’s something I’ve always liked about her work.

    The story starts with Erik Mitchell just moving in to Cape May, NJ and setting up Trinkets, the antique shop that came along with the house he bought. He also just started on his blog, Treasure Trail, to promote his merchandise.

    Erik had traipsed all over the world as part of his work as consultant with the FBI. It’s a dangerous job which had him crossing paths with people who had no qualms with deadly force. On one of his missions, he was shot. He decided to live a quieter life in a town he often visited in childhood.

    Cape May is a charming seaside town. Unlike in most stories, the paranormal elements were dealt with quite openly. They even say it’s rare to find a person who has not seen a ghost. There are psychics, a coven of witches, cursed antiques and a very cursed hotel that was torn down 20 years ago.

    This hotel plays a central role in the story, a villain of sorts that has caused the deaths and misfortunes of several owners and hotel residents. It has been owned by mobsters, corrupt televangelists and shady new age gurus, all of whom died violent deaths. Even after it was demolished, its evil presence is still strongly felt. It is part of the town’s history and many memorabilia were collected by various interested parties.

    The mystery involved some of those memorabilia. A box containing assortments of ephemera from the hotel was sold to Erik. It was a veritable Pandora’s box, containing objects related to famous deaths. Not long after, somebody tried to break in his shop, tried to shoot him and attempted to run him over by a van.

    The why was easy to guess, the who was what they needed to find out. While the bad guy was somewhat obvious, I still enjoyed how the various elements tied in together. It’s a book where you savor the process of getting to the answer, more than the answer itself.

    There’s seems to be a red string of fate that runs throughout, fate being the main theme. Everything fell into place for Erik. He saw the house and Trinkets online the moment it was put up on sale. The ad even seemed tailor-made for him.

    Then he met a very attractive guy he connected with right away while he was waiting at the bar for an online date which turned out to be an epic fail. And what are the chances that said attractive guy would knock on his door the next day?

    Ben Nolan was a cop, turned private investigator turned real estate manager. His aunt passed him their rental business. Ben came to Trinkets to have an antique dealer assessed an object he found hidden in one of the houses he manages.

    Erik and Ben had a lot of similarities. They were men who could handle themselves in a fight. Erik has a PhD and rocks the well-read, well-traveled, professor look but he had martial arts training and license to carry. Ben is all bad boy ex-cop with ink but is really nice. Both of them had dealt with traumatic experiences that made them change careers. Both were not close to their families. They came to Cape May for a fresh start.

    The romance between the two was as insta as they come. They already had the L-word percolating in their minds within one day of being together. I’m not a fan of this fast a pace but the way they synced together that quick was in keeping with the hand of destiny thing the story had going.

    It also headed down the miscommunication route especially with the trust issues but happily avoided needless conflict. I really liked how the author set-up my expectations for that awful scenario then deftly turned it into a reasonable plan of action. Shout out to Erik’s cool neighbor, Susan Hendricks, who talked some sense into the guys.

    The world-building was a very enjoyable experience as always. Being part of the Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin shared world, various characters from other series popped up, including psychic Simon Kincaide and vampire Soren. This is a nice set-up because it opens the series to many possible story lines. We could expect everything from ghosts, witches, demons and fae.

    There were no big reveal shockers. Cape May residents were a liberal-minded bunch. People were used to the spooky. More often than not it was a case of Erik being reluctant to reveal his supernatural experiences only to have the other person be easily accepting of the fact. And share similar experiences.

    The best thing of all is there is a vast improvement in the writing with new narrator, John Solo, breathing new life into it. While I mostly enjoyed most of the author’s works and Kale Williams’s narration, I do find a certain blandness in them which was highlighted by Williams’s sometimes too calm cadence. Solo’s delivery made the prose’s energy come through.

    Also, there were no TSTL moments here. They contacted the police. They did not make any reckless attempts at heroics. And yet the story succeeded in having a chilling, suspenseful climax that managed to make both heroes shine.

    Treasure Trail opens this new series in the best way possible. It treaded a familiar path but went in directions that were not exactly new but tended to get bypassed in favor of creating conflicting and excitement. I am eager to see where the author will take this. I say it’s definitely worth the follow.

    P.S.

    Posts on Morgan Brice books here.

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

    Soundtrack: Ghost of a Chance
    Artist: Rush
    Album: Roll the Bones


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  • quote,  Uncategorized

    Like a million little doorways
    All the choices we made
    All the stages we passed through
    All the roles we played

    For so many different directions
    Our separate paths might have turned
    With every door that we opened
    Every bridge that we burned

    Somehow we find each other
    Through all that masquerade
    Somehow we found each other
    Somehow we have stayed
    In a state of grace

    I don’t believe in destiny
    Or the guiding hand of fate
    I don’t believe in forever
    Or love as a mystical state

    I don’t believe in the stars or the planets
    Or angels watching from above
    But I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
    We can find someone to love
    And make it last
    And make it last

    Like a million little crossroads
    Through the back streets of youth
    Each time we turn a new corner
    A tiny moment of truth

    So many different connections
    Our separate paths might have made
    With every door that we opened
    Every game we played

    Somehow we find each other
    Through all that masquerade
    Somehow we found each other
    Somehow we have stayed
    In a state of grace

    I don’t believe in destiny
    Or the guiding hand of fate
    I don’t believe in forever
    Or love as a mystical state

    I don’t believe in the stars or the planets
    Or angels watching from above
    But I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
    We can find someone to love
    And make it last
    And make it last
    And make it last

    I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
    I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
    We can find someone to love
    And make it last
    I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
    And make it last
    I believe there’s a ghost of a chance

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