• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Ameiro Curriculum

    Ameiro Curriculum – Sakazaki Haru

    Hikaru dreams of becoming a chef. However, nothing’s going right in his life – he’s just been dumped, and has few job prospects. This all changes the day he goes to pick up his nephew from kindergarten when he instantly falls in love with a new teacher there. But, before Hikaru can declare his feelings, his nephew says, “Sensei’s going to be my wife in the future!” Is Hikaru’s rival in love really his five-year old nephew?

    Ameiro Curriculum is a slow-burn, gay-for-you manga about aspiring chef and unlucky at love Hikaru falling head over heels over kindergarten teacher, Aoi. Unfortunately, his precocious nephew also seemed to have a crush on his young teacher.

    I don’t really go for stories where there’s some sort of love triangle and the rival is a son or some other young relative. Thankfully, this rivalry wasn’t as strongly played as in the other manga. The nephew even low-key encouraged the two adults.

    I read this manga because the artwork looks really nice. Aoi is pretty without looking too feminine. Hikaru thought he was a girl at first. I would have preferred him knowing Aoi is a man right away because how dense is this dork? Even his nephew knew his teacher was a man and had no problems with it. I think the plot was going for a bit of “but he’s a man” drama but it came out weak.

    The story was going for cute and fluffy but I was bored. I skimmed most of it. The two main characters weren’t that outstanding and I think they were overshadowed by the nephew. I hope the mangaka gives him his own story.

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  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: My Whole World by Davidson King

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    Joker’s Sin: My Whole World – Davidson King

    Atlas Durand’s whole world is built from the spoils of his past. Joker’s Sin is the most popular gay club in all of Haven Hart. Many clubs have come and gone, none able to compete with Atlas and his enigmatic power over his patrons. He would do anything to keep it thriving and anyone who stands in his way will be met with serious regrets.

    Toby St. Claire hates working at Vick’s Tricks and longs for his nights off so he can go to Joker’s Sin. Like everyone who steps foot into Atlas’s club, he’s taken by the owner himself and the magical pulse that owns him when he’s there. Joker’s Sin is Toby’s escape from his life and Atlas is his dream come true.

    When Toby’s boss realizes he can use Toby to help take down Joker’s Sin and make Vick’s Tricks the club to beat in Haven Hart, it turns everything upside down. Lies, deceit, and corruption threaten to tear Atlas and Toby apart. Is their love strong enough to survive it all or will they become victims of mayhem?


    I became curious about Davidson King’s Haven Hart universe after I listened to her interview in the Big Gay Fiction Podcast. I’ve seen her books around but was hesitant to start on her main Haven Hart series because there are a lot of books released.

    Joker’s Sin is the spin-off series that can be read as standalone. There are going to be only 4 installments so the odds of finishing the entire thing is high. Each major player in the Joker’s Sin club will have their own books. Three book are out so far.

    The series opens with My Whole World, the story of club owner, Atlas Durand. He is an uber-charismatic showman, loved by all who frequents his club. He runs a tight ship and puts an even tighter lock around his heart due to a tragic past that explains why his club is named that way. I pictured him as the magnificent Lenny Kravitz.

    His three closest friends work in the club. Ledger is DJ Edge. Max is in charge of the bar. Zero is head of security. Together, they make the club the hottest place to be in Haven Hart. I have no favorite character among them yet but they are interesting enough for me to want to get to know them better.

    The love interest here is Toby St. Claire. Toby is a club regular who had a hopeless crush on Atlas. His ultimate dream is to be noticed by the great man. Toby is sweet. Sadly, that seems to be all he is. Among the important characters, he was the one I least connected to. I agreed with one GR reviewer who did not like his character’s narration. His voice was overacted by the narrator in the audiobook. Toby’s exaggerated reactions were more annoying than amusing. As a result, I wasn’t feeling the romance.

    I’d love for Atlas to find a new love after what he had been through but I just didn’t feel his connection to Toby was that strong. I see it more of his protective instincts reacting to a sweet, gorgeous young man in need of help. The way their romance unfolded came across to me like we were told rather than shown. Although, there were scenes, like that lovely dance, that showed them forming connections. This issue is a ME thing because many people enjoyed their love story.

    One thing I liked about MM romances is that there is this nice tradition where the writers give the lead female characters little happy endings of their own. I’m giving this a mention because that mini arc about Tobi’s twin sister, Poppy, and hacker/bodyguard, Desi, piqued my interest more than the main couple.

    Haven Hart is home to many crime families. Toby works in the rival bar, Vick’s Tricks, owned by one of the minor crooks, Vic Kelly. When his abusive boss learned that he won a date with Atlas and was even offered a job at his club, he tasked Toby to gather intel on Joker’s Sin. If he fails, Poppy would pay the price. This put Toby in a difficult situation.

    I wasn’t particularly pleased with how he handled it. It’s understandable that he’s scared for his sister but I’m not a fan of the lies. Altas gave him several chances to come clean. The big man made it clear he was willing to help whatever the trouble was but Toby kept prevaricating.

    What kept me reading was Joker’s Sin, both the club and the person. I liked how they came alive. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the inner workings of a club. Even though I don’t go clubbing at all, I love the vibe of clubs. It’s that palpable energy generated whenever there’s a crowd enjoying great music. I can see why people keep coming back to Atlas’ place. I’d love to be there myself.

    Joker the person was hell of a lot compelling. I wanted to know more about him. His history with Atlas was an entire book in itself. I was actually rooting hard for him and Atlas even though I knew how it played out. I wished this was their happy ending.

    While I wasn’t a fan of Altas and Toby’s romance, it still felt organic to the entire story. It had a pretty solid plot that moved things quickly so I wasn’t bored. There were a lot of things happening that kept my attention. I liked how they resolved the Vic Kelly situation because that’s where Wong, the Chinese mob boss, came in. His appearance was short but he made an impression. I’m keen to read a book about him.

    My Whole World was an effective series opener. My first visit to Haven Hart was a mixed bag but I’m already invested in this world. I liked how it connects to the bigger Haven Hart universe, enticing me to explore the other books. The author did an outstanding job integrating various elements from the main series and presenting them from new perspectives. Long-time readers would enjoy the easter eggs scattered about.

    This is a must-read if you are a fan. If you’re new to the author or a first-time visitor to this colorful town, Joker’s Sin is a good place to start.

    P.S.

    You can listen to Davidson King’s interview here.

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Dance With Me
    Artist: Alphaville
    Album: Afternoons In Utopia


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    MY WHOLE WORLD

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  • song,  Uncategorized

    SOUNDTRACK: Dance With Me by Alphaville

    Soundtrack to Joker’s Sin: My Whole World by Davidson King

    Check out the ballad version:

    I’ve talked about why I chose a certain song for a book in my monthly wrap-up. I realized I should do it here or else people won’t know what I’m talking about.

    For My Whole World (and the Joker’s Sin series as a whole), I wanted a song that had something to do with clubs or dancing. Dance With Me is from the 80s, a decade known for it’s hedonistic club scenes. It describes the experience in that very danceable new wave style. I could see this song being played in the Joker’s Sin‘s 80s night theme. The ballad version had a melancholy vibe that matched the lyrics that talks about losing oneself in a dance. This is Atlas and Toby caught in that moment when they were dancing on stage.

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  • quote,  Uncategorized

    When the heat of light melts into the speeding time
    When the king returns to the ivory cityside
    Let the Magnet Mages wave the signals
    Flashing oh so fast
    Then you’ll meet me there under the moonshine
    In a lover’s heaven, we’ll keep our promises at last
    In a lover’s heaven we’ll forget the past
    Do you want to dance with me
    Through one of those lonely nights
    It’s more than a dream
    Maybe we’re reaching the gardens of delight
    Do you want to dance with me
    Through one of those lonely nights
    It’s more than a dream
    Maybe we’re drowning in empires of delight

    In the stardust dawn underneath the crystal roofs
    Where the solar boys are playing games
    They never lose
    Where the sailors are swaying
    Through the lightdomes shining in the sky
    There you’ll meet me, darling, anyway
    In a lover’s heaven, we’ll keep our promises at last
    In a lover’s heaven we’ll forget the past

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