• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kimi to Koi ni Ochite Nakereba

    Kimi to Koi ni Ochite Nakereba – Suji

    Seiji Nono, a passionate Chinese cuisine chef who works at the food manufacturing corporation Yamato, looks like a punk, but he’s actually a first-class cook. The contrast between his appearance and his cooking has earned him many fans. One day, when Nono meets the newly transferred elite, Takeru Misato, he invites him to come eat in his cafeteria, but Miasto coldly refuses him by saying he “dislikes oily Chinese food”. With such strong personalities, there’s love and arguments abound between this cool inspector and gangster chef couple!

    If I Hadn’t Fallen in Love With You is a cute story about hot-tempered Chinese chef Nono who took it upon himself to feed the cold and difficult Audit Department manager Misato upon learning the guy barely eats.

    Nono’s fuse might be short but he is beloved by all. In contrast, not a lot of people liked the workaholic Misato.

    The overall tone of the manga was humorous. It’s low-angst and slow-burn. It tackles body image and eating disorder. Misato has trauma with food. He was a pudgy child and was often bullied. Nono was determined to help him get over it by cooking for him.

    As is usually the case, a deeper connection that goes way back twenty years was revealed. There was also a moment where we are teased with a love triangle but turned out differently. All their friends were rooting for them. Even the big boss was low-key helping them stay together.

    They look pretty in the cover but it doesn’t really match how the characters were drawn in the manga itself. The art looked rougher and less polished but still goes well with the personalities of cast, especially Nono.

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  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Aster Valley Books 0.5 & 1 by Lucy Lennox

    Aster Valley is a contemporary romance series by Lucy Lennox. I think she’s one of the best writers of the genre. As I mentioned before, it’s hard for me to get into a pure contemporary romance book. But here, the author swept me along with her wonderfully written stories.

    The titular Aster Valley is a small town somewhere in the Colorado Mountains if I am not mistaken (sorry, I forgot the location). It’s formerly a ski resort town with it’s own unique charm that drew the characters in. The books are about the couples who eventually found a home here.


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    Aster Valley: Winter Waites – Lucy Lennox

    Gentry Kane is a rockstar I’ve been half in love with my whole life. And now he’s my patient.

    When Winter Waites knocks on the door to the snowy cabin where his next physical therapy patient awaits him, he has no idea his dream celebrity is on the other side. Gentry Kane is everything Winter has always fantasized about. But it was only a fantasy. What happens when Winter is faced with the flesh and blood man who wants more than physical therapy? Can one night in a cozy cabin lead to more? And how will that affect Winter’s growing career in the tiny, charming town of Aster Valley?


    Winter Waites is the prequel to the series. This is the story of how the famous rock star Gentry Kane found the love of his life among multitudes of fans in the middle of a concert.

    Occupational therapist Winter Waites has been a fan since the days Gentry Kane was singing in college campuses. To suddenly discover that your patient is not only your dream rock star but that dream rock star has been looking for you all this time, well, that’s mind blowing to say the least. It’s a highly improbable but very romantic premise. Don’t we all wish it would happened to us? Teen me would have been over the moon had Billie Joe Armstrong knew I existed.

    The story is very sweet and light on the angst. I loved how the author ramped up that awkward, tension-filled first meeting between them. I felt that scene! It’s easy to see how, beyond the physical attraction, Gentry would fall in love with the gentle, caring soul that is Winter. I didn’t even mind the insta-ness of it all. It was kismet.

    The only thing here was that Gentry’s hand was injured, which was why he needed a therapist in the first place. Winter was telling him he needed to keep in a brace. Then they had sex without putting Gentry’s hand back in the brace. All the while, I’m like, dude, your hand! Your hand!

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

    Soundtrack: I Will Wait
    Artist: Mumford & Sons
    Album: Babel


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    Aster Valley: Right As Raine – Lucy Lennox

    Tiller:

    As the first openly gay professional football player, I can’t afford to make any mistakes, on or off the field. And the absolute biggest mistake I could make right now would be to fall for Mikey Vining, my best friend, employee and, more importantly, Coach’s baby boy. I might fantasize about Mikey at night–every night-but actually touching him would be a serious personal foul.

    And falling for him? That’s completely out of bounds.

    Mikey:

    I’ve learned my lesson about falling for one of my dad’s players. They’re a bunch of spoiled jocks with more muscles than brains. I’ve spent years learning to keep my eyes, and my hands, to myself. But resisting the temptation becomes nearly impossible when Tiller Raine and I end up together in a small cabin in a remote Colorado town.

    Suddenly, there’s not much to do but look at each other. And talk. And hopefully, hopefully touch.

    But what happens when our stay in Aster Valley is over and it’s time to return to the real world? Will Coach blow the whistle on our relationship? Or will Tiller admit there might actually be something he loves more than football after all?


    Right As Raine is the nerd/jock, forbidden romance of football star, Tiller Raine, and Michael Vining, his personal assistant/chef/coach’s son/long-time crush he couldn’t live without.

    Tiller is an award-winning, highest paid pro athlete. Also a lovable gentle giant who adores his coach’s son. I loved how he calls him “my Mikey“.

    Mikey is feisty, talented, ambitious and hardworking. He’s been crushing on his boss for the longest time but keeps his hands off. I really liked Mikey for keeping it professional. His family is shit. They say they accept him as gay but then go out of their way to exclude him.

    As with the prequel, the story is very sweet, and fluffy. It is mostly light until the later part. I loved the slow-burn-ness of it all. The book really took time to build up the simmering feelings between Tiller and Raine, resulting in delicious anticipation and fabulous chemistry. Their shift from friends to lovers felt so natural and very easy yet very satisfying.

    There’s a bit of angst involved with Mikey having to deal with his homophobic dad. The coach is a manipulative bastard, a homophobe who pretends to be accepting but underhandedly sabotages Mikey and discourages Tiller from openly pursuing relationships.

    The scene where Mikey confronts the bastard was difficult for me to go through. Not because it was badly written but because of all the negative emotions the evil dad generated. I nearly dropped the book so again, good job to the author for the effective writing.

    The rest of the Aster Valley boys were awesome. Gentry and Winter make appearances as well as Mikey’s best friend, Sam, and the cute geek, Truman, who will be paired with him in the next book.

    All in all, Right As Raine is a heartfelt, comfort read. The family drama might pull you out of it but stick around because it is ultimately, a very rewarding book.

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

    Soundtrack: All I Wanna Do
    Artist: Piotr & Sans Kar
    Album:

    P.S.

    Aster Valley books can be read as standalones but I recommend reading them in order to get the best experience. The boys will make it worth your while.


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

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    You can also use my Bookshop affiliate links to buy paperbacks and MP3 CD audiobooks and help support independent bookstores.

    RIGHT AS RAINE

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  • song,  Uncategorized

    SOUNDTRACK: I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons & All I Wanna Do by Piotr & Sans Kar

    Soundtrack to Aster Valley: Winter Waites by Lucy Lennox

    Soundtrack to Aster Valley: Right As Raine by Lucy Lennox

    I read somewhere that I Will Wait was about Marcus Mumford reconnecting with his childhood pen pal, actress Carey Mulligan. The lyrics “Well I came home / Like a stone / And I fell heavy into your arms / These days of dust / Which we’ve known / Will blow away with this new sun” describes the joy and relief of somebody who’s constantly on the road coming home to the arms of his loved one. It’s a great song for touring musician, Gentry and his husband, Winter.

    All I Wanna Do was an easy choice for Raine and Mickey’s story. The lyrics goes “Everywhere I go / I see you beside me / You know you got me feeling / Right as rain

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  • quote,  Uncategorized

    Well I came home
    Like a stone
    And I fell heavy into your arms
    These days of dust
    Which we’ve known
    Will blow away with this new sun

    But I’ll kneel down
    Wait for now
    And I’ll kneel down
    Know my ground

    And I will wait, I will wait for you
    And I will wait, I will wait for you

    So break my step
    And relent
    You forgave and I won’t forget
    Know what we’ve seen
    And him with less
    Now in some way
    Shake the excess

    ‘Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
    And I will wait, I will wait for you
    And I will wait, I will wait for you
    And I will wait, I will wait for you

    Now I’ll be bold
    As well as strong
    And use my head alongside my heart
    So take my flesh
    And fix my eyes
    A tethered mind free from the lies

    And I’ll kneel down
    Wait for now
    I’ll kneel down
    Know my ground, woo

    Raise my hands
    Paint my spirit gold
    And bow my head
    Keep my heart slow

    ‘Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
    And I will wait, I will wait for you
    And I will wait, I will wait for you
    And I will wait, I will wait for you

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