• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Gad Sfortunato

    Gad Sfortunato – Basso

    What is being sought after cannot be felt even on the fingertips. This is a series about the extravagant lifestyle of a tattoo artist named Gad, and the circle of people who revolve in it.

    Gad Sfortunato is a difficult manga to describe. It is, on the surface, slices of life of tattoo artist, Gad and the men in his life. There seems to be barely any plot.

    Most of the scenes were mundane everyday stuff, tattooing, paying the rent and so on. With these ordinary things comes the sexual encounters of Gad and his men. Majority of these were casual hookups, friends with benefits or one-night stands, illustrating the various nuances of gay relationships.

    Our Gad is, apparently, quite a catch. Very promiscuous but elusive to those who want him the most. The most lasting relationship he had was with his childhood friend, Alesso, who still influenced his life to this day. Alesso appears in other manga by Basso.

    The feelings we get from the various key scenes were charged but somehow still lowkey. Nobody had outbursts or grand declarations. Dialogue was minimal, many were inside thought balloons. Half the time, I had to think about the point of each chapter, especially the endings. This is not exactly saying it was pointless, more like things are so subtly played out or they alluded to something unfamiliar that I didn’t entirely get it.

    This manga is part of a series of works set in Italy. Characters from other stories make appearances here and there so I had difficulty keeping track of some characters. This is best read as an companion piece to Kuma to Interi, and Amato Amaro.

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Down Low by Parker St. John

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    Down Home: Down Low – Parker St. John

    His broken bones could finally mend their broken bond…

    Bull riding was the only thing that calmed the thrill-seeking, self-destructive beast inside of Calvin Craig. It allowed him to escape a small-minded town and the pain of his troubled youth, fleeing to bright lights and big city fame without looking back.

    One trip on the horns of the wrong bull changed everything.

    Cal is forced to come crawling back home for the first time in ten years, his body broken and riding days behind him. But not everyone is happy for the return of their local celebrity.

    Eli Jackson was once the tall, dark, and sinful preacher’s son who had Cal wrapped around his little finger. Now the steely-eyed sheriff of Sweetwater, Eli is hell bent on running him right back out of town. He’s never forgiven Cal for the spectacular implosion of their relationship. Even though the lingering tension soon has them burning up the sheets, he refuses to be tamed.

    Cal is surprised to find himself rising to a new challenge: breaking the bull that is Eli Jackson.

    He might have run out of luck, but he’s not out of miracles… yet.

    Down Low was an emotional rollercoaster. I found myself enjoying the heck out of it. It was so good! This is an angsty, second chance, friends to enemies to lovers story of high school sweethearts Calvin Craig and Eli Jackson.

    Cal and Eli were each other first loves. They had to keep their relationship a secret because Eli was the son of a hellfire and brimstone pastor. In their senior year, Cal wanted to come out but Eli was hesitant. He was heading to college and couldn’t jeopardize his future. They had an ugly fight. The next day, Cal disappeared.

    Ten years after, we see Cal returning home (slunking more like). For the past decade, he was a bull-riding superstar and had the broken bones to show for it. He was still healing in several parts, too injured to ride again. The moment he arrived in Sweetwater, he was in for a lot of surprises. Also, Eli hated his guts.

    Cal is a “pipsqueak who doesn’t know when to quit” according to Eli. He was bullied in high school. Bull-riding is all he knows. He is a self-destructive adrenaline junkie who would risk permanent injury to save those he cared about. Eli is the town sheriff. He is level-headed and dependable but has a dark streak hidden deep inside.

    The book is solely from Cal’s POV. I wished we had Eli’s POV too. Sometimes, when we get a 1st person POV from a person who pines for somebody, it feels unbalanced. Like the other person has all the power. But this was soon put to rights as the story progressed. We witness Eli being drawn to Cal like a magnet and learn his side of the story.

    The book perfectly depicted all the conflicting, heart-crushing emotions of seeing your first love after 10 years, the one who betrayed you but still loved after all this time. The longing, the USTs, the hate kisses, the flames gloriously coming back to life. My heart went out to Cal and Eli. They had to sort through a decade of hurts and misunderstandings. Mutual pining, anyone? ♡

    I loved the parts where Eli couldn’t help himself. He just had to kiss Cal even if he wanted to punch him just as badly. Cal loves pushing his buttons and when Eli’s buttons are pushed, that’s when things get seriously explosive.

    Peak Cal moment is him singing Son Of A Preacher Man offkey at the top of his voice just to annoy Eli, instead of enjoying the cozy morning after. Which ended their very brief “truce” and sent them back to square one a.k.a. Eli hating him again.

    Each chapter is marked with a song and opens with a short flashback. I loved how the writing seamlessly take us back to the past and juxtaposed it with the present. We see how Cal’s teen self views the world, perhaps still in a limited, adults are enemies way most people his age do. He created a boogeyman in Eli’s father, who was a huge presence not only in their lives but the entire town as well.

    His adult self was very much surprised with how much his small town has changed. And how it still the same podunk town he left behind. I enjoyed the parts where he realized things were different now, more accepting and open. Bullies are now friends and the pastor is only a human who loves his son.

    The book also excelled in bringing bull-riding to life. This is a world I know nothing about, but here, it was portrayed, not so much in vivid detail, but with well-written glimpses that easily captured the rodeo world. It brought us the heat and adrenaline, the heart stopping triumphs and the sometimes fatal losses, and the indomitable spirits of men who risk life and limb for 8 precious seconds.

    Down Low is simply wonderful. It is one man’s eye-opening homecoming, a reliving of unforgettable memories, a comfort for years of hurts, a fixing of mistakes, and a tumultuous reunion of childhood sweethearts. It takes us through a whole gamut of emotions, sad, happy, painful, sweet and more. Yeah, quite a ride this one!

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Son of a Preacher Man
    Artist: The John Does

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

  • song,  Uncategorized

    SOUNDTRACK: Son Of A Preacher Man by The John Does

    Soundtrack to Down Home: Down Low by Parker St. John

    This Dusty Springfield classic is Cal and Eli’s favorite song when they were teenagers. It was their subtle way of letting the world know about their relationship at the time when they had to keep it a secret. Eli was the literal preacher’s son. This indie rock version from a guy POV are The John Does doing God’s work. Blessed be!

  • quote,  Uncategorized

    Billy-Ray was a preacher’s son
    And when his daddy would visit he’d come along
    When they gathered round and started talkin’
    That’s when Billy would take me walkin’
    A-through the backyard we’d go walkin’
    Then he’d look into my eyes
    Lord knows to my surprise

    The only one who could ever reach me
    Was the son of a preacher man
    The only boy who could ever teach me
    Was the son of a preacher man
    Yes he was, he was
    Ooh, yes he was

    Being good isn’t always easy
    No matter how hard I try
    When he started sweet-talkin’ to me
    He’d come and tell me everything is all right
    He’d kiss and tell me everything is all right
    Can I get away again tonight?

    The only one who could ever reach me
    Was the son of a preacher man
    The only boy who could ever teach me
    Was the son of a preacher man
    Yes he was, he was
    (Ooh…) Lord knows he was
    Yes he was

    How well I remember
    The look that was in his eyes
    Stealin’ kisses from me on the sly
    Takin’ time to make time
    Tellin’ me that he’s all mine
    Learnin’ from each other’s knowing
    Lookin’ to see how much we’ve grown

    And the only one who could ever reach me
    Was the son of a preacher man
    The only boy who could ever teach me
    Was the son of a preacher man
    Yes he was, he was
    Ooh, yes he was

    The only one who could ever reach me
    He was the sweet-talking son of a preacher man
    The only boy who could ever teach me
    I kissed the son of a preacher man
    The only one who could ever move me
    The sweet-lovin’ son of a preacher man
    The only one who could ever groove me
    Ahh, ooh, ahh….