• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Tonari Ni

    Tonari Ni – Basso

    The first time he saw him, Tohru was on his way home from his hobby of taking photos. He’s queued for the Shinkansen’s unreserved seating, just right next to him…

    Seven years after her previous work, “Naka-san no Nagare,” the latest BL from basso is finally here!

    I am of the opinion that when it comes to slice-of-life, nothing beats Japanese authors at the game.

    Next To You is a perfect example of this. It is a story of a young man crushing hard on a much older man he saw at the train station. Tohru is a photography hobbyist who loves taking pictures of race horses. He chanced upon Makoto at the train station who made an strong impression on him. He couldn’t get the older man out of his mind. He saw him several times until one day, Makoto struck up a conversation. He turned out to be a nice, amiable fellow.

    Many of the scenes here were pretty mundane, just standing around waiting for the train, sitting inside the train, sharing a couple of beers, brushing teeth and so on. But somehow, it encapsulated a whole gamut of emotions simmering beneath such trivial ongoings.

    The mangaka was able to perfectly capture that exhilarating thrill of seeing your crush once again when you least expected it, the fervent longings of a young man who realized he was in love, the heartbreaking helplessness of seeing the one you love getting hurt and not being able to do something to help him. All of which was done without breaking the soft, subtle atmosphere that was reflected in the gentle idiosyncratic art.

    There’s something really pure about this manga. Truly beautiful!

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  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: To Die For by Davidson King

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    Joker’s Sin: To Die For – Davidson King

    Managing the bar at Joker’s Sin, a gay nightclub, is Max’s dream job. Where many seek fame or fortune, he’s living his best life, surrounded by family and friends. The only thing he doesn’t have is the guy to complete him.

    Lane, AKA Sparkles, sees too much of the person he used to be when he looks at Max, and none of it is good. But the stubborn man won’t let up, and when Sparkles’s past threatens to unravel his whole life, it’s Max who steps in to save him.

    Can these two opposites push past their differences to see just how right they are for each other? Will they get a chance before it all falls down around them? Or is their love one to die for?

    (While it is book 2 in the Joker’s Sin Series, it can be read as a standalone)


    When I first met dancing diva extraordinaire Sparkles and his frosty treatment of Max in Joker’s Sin book 1, My Whole World, I immediately thought of the song I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys. The lines “Stop making the eyes at me / I’ll stop making the eyes at you/ What it is that surprises me / Is that I don’t really want you to” is them eyefucking the heck out of each other. Well, Max did the blatant ogling and I’m pretty sure Sparkles was doing the side eye ogling now and then.

    Fast forward to book 2, To Die For, and their snarky flirting continued. The two saw each other at the club almost every night but knew little about each other. Sparkles was attracted to Max but pegged him as a manwhore and didn’t want to be just another notch in his belt. Meanwhile, Max was really into Sparkles but how to convince the pink-haired diva that he wanted more than just a quick fuck when he wouldn’t even give him the time of day?

    Things took a different turn when a monster from Sparkles’ past showed up liked he owned the town and Max’s protective instincts kicked into high gear.

    The story touches upon the enemies to lovers trope but it’s obvious they don’t really hate each other. It was more like a case of bad first impressions and seeing reminders of an ugly past one had already run away from. Unfortunately, it had a way of catching up to a person.

    But Sparkles is nothing if not a tough-as-nails survivor. He built his life in Haven Hart from the ground up and is not going to let it go that easily. His real name is Lane but to me and everyone at Joker’s Sin, he’ll always be Sparkles. Because he’s that fabulous!

    Max proved he’s more than a walking case of herpes as Sparkles loved to point out. He’s the only boy in a loud Italian family of three sisters and their mom. He’s a whiz at mixing drinks, reads classic books, drives a fast bike and lives with his mom to help her out with her living expenses. He loves his job at the club. He’s one of the big four in Joker’s Sin, along with club owner Atlas Durand, DJ Edge and head of security Zero.

    I was really looking forward to read this book because I was drawn to Sparkles from the get go. While I loved the flirting/fighting thing they had, I didn’t feel the same excitement about Max and Sparkles once they started getting along. I think it was sweet how Max was ready to jump to Sparkles defense. The chemistry was there but it lacked intensity. The pacing was great but the way the romance developed, it didn’t quite match the fire they had at the beginning. Their first date had all the right ingredients to turn magical but the execution failed to deliver.

    Even the suspense lacked bite. There were many things going on that was just…going. The bad guy was an absolute asshole. Now this one stood out. He made Sparkles’ life a complete nightmare. I was so glad when they got rid of him permanently.

    I don’t know, maybe I read this at the wrong time but To Die For didn’t really get my blood pumping as much as I hope it would. There’s nothing outright bad about it, more like, the story was kind of just there. The plot was simple and straightforward. The MCs were both likable, so were the supporting cast. And though it needed some oomph, the romance didn’t feel forced. The part I enjoyed the most were the scenes at the club. This is the heart of the series and this is where the writing really shine with how it made the pulsing club atmosphere palpable.

    A lot of people gave this rave reviews so it really might be a ME thing. I say, read this for the club and the people.

    P.S.

    To Die For can be read as a standalone but it’s also best to drop by Joker’s Sin and meet club owner and showman, Atlas Durand, in book 1, My Whole World. Review here.

    Rating:
    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Rating: I Bet You Look Good At The Dancefloor
    Artist: Arctic Monkeys
    Album: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not


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    TO DIE FOR

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  • quote,  Uncategorized

    Stop making the eyes at me
    I’ll stop making the eyes at you
    What it is that surprises me
    Is that I don’t really want you to

    And your shoulders are frozen (cold as the night)
    Oh, but you’re an explosion (you’re dynamite)
    Your name isn’t Rio, but I don’t care for sand
    And lighting the fuse might result in a bang, b-b-bang-oh

    I bet that you look good on the dance floor
    I don’t know if you’re looking for romance or
    I don’t know what you’re looking for
    I said, I bet that you look good on the dance floor
    Dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984
    Well, from 1984I wish you’d stop ignoring me
    Because you’re sending me to despair
    Without a sound, yeah, you’re calling me
    And I don’t think it’s very fair

    That your shoulders are frozen (cold as the night)
    Oh, but you’re an explosion (you’re dynamite)
    Your name isn’t Rio, but I don’t care for sand
    And lighting the fuse might result in a bang, b-b-bang-oh

    I bet that you look good on the dance floor
    I don’t know if you’re looking for romance or
    I don’t know what you’re looking for
    I said, I bet that you look good on the dance floor
    Dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984
    Well, from 1984

    Oh, there ain’t no love, no Montagues or Capulets
    Just banging tunes and DJ sets and
    Dirty dance floors and dreams of naughtiness

    Well, I bet that you look good on the dance floor
    I don’t know if you’re looking for romance or
    I don’t know what you’re looking for
    I said, I bet that you look good on the dance floor
    Dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984
    Said, from 1984

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