• Uncategorized

    MANGA: Shikabane to Hanayome

    Shikabane to Hanayome – Akagawa Sagan

    They were the only two brothers in a sprawling family mansion. At the end of a gruesome battle for succession, the younger brother, now head of the family, held a solemn wedding. The bride’s face remained hidden from everyone behind a thick veil, and she became rumored as “the faceless wife.” But in the bridal chamber on their wedding night, the face revealed is that of his elder brother, who was supposed to be dead.

    From the mangaka who brought us the bitterest bittersweet space-age romance, Hate no Kouya de Vacances WoAkagawa Sagan presents another deeply angsty and hella thrilling psychological forbidden romance of the brotherly kind. 

    Content warnings: incest, violence, zombie sex

    The Corpse and the Bride is a tragic tale of a family torn apart when two half-brothers are pitted against each other by a father who prefers his beloved mistress’s son, the younger brother Jin, and a mother protecting her legitimate son, Lee, who should have been the rightful heir.

    Unknown to the parental units, the two brothers bonded and became each other’s close confidant. When it was time for them to marry, they put off choosing a bride for as long as they can. Until one day, the younger brother Jin is set to marry a woman. On the day of the wedding, a tragedy occurs that wipes out the opposing faction, including Lee, and leaves the bride with hideous scars. 

    Then, a year later, Jin and his mysterious bride, a veil covering her face, were finally married. The lady of the house never showed her face, nor did she speak.

    I had my heart in my throat the entire time I read this. The setting is China, and it is a horror story involving necromancy and Chinese zombies. I had no clue where the story was going. I would have sunk into a pit of despair at some intense scenes had I not cheated and read reviews looking for clues that this ends, if not happily, would at least not reduce me into a bawling mess.

    At its core, it is about love between two brothers, a possessive, obsessive love that defies even death. Many tried to keep them apart. They were forbidden to interact since they should be enemies. Then, they were forced to marry other people, only to be betrayed by an unlikely character.

    The manga started with mystery, and just as we were getting a clearer picture, it exploded into kick-in-the-gut moments. Then, as if to make up for all the drama, the mood gradually lightened, even became humorous, and I breathed a sigh of relief. If the wacky shaman is making jokes, things are definitely looking up for Jin and Lee.  

    Overall, dark, passionate, and fucked up yet so…right?

    P.S.

    Strictly FICTIONAL brotherly love only.


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  • Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Boystown Books 1-3 by Marshall Thornton

    Boystown Books: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries – Marshall Thornton

    Finalist for the Lambda Award in Gay Mystery, Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries takes place in Chicago during the early 1980s. Haunted by his abrupt departure from the Chicago Police Department and the end of his relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty, Nick Nowak is a beat cop-turned-dogged private investigator. In this first book of the series, Nick works through three cases: a seemingly simple missing persons search, an arson investigation, and a suicide that turns out to be anything but. While working the cases, Nick moves through a series of casual relationships until he meets homicide detective Bert Harker and begins a tentative relationship.


    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Boys Town
    Artist: Babes
    Album: Leave Your Leather On


    Boystown Books: Three More Nick Nowak Mysteries – Marshall Thornton

    The Boystown Mystery series continues as Chicago private investigator Nick Nowak finds himself involved in three new cases. He’s asked to help a young man who murdered his stepfather but refuses to assist in his own defense, hired to find the murderer of a dead porno star, and, in a case that traps him between the two men he loves, must search for a serial killer’s only living victim. Set in the second half of 1981, Nick juggles his deepening relationship with Detective Bert Harker with the return of his ex, Daniel Laverty. Which man will he choose? Or will he be able to choose?


    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: OOO
    Artist: Karen O
    Album: Crush Songs


    Boystown Books: Two Nick Nowak Novellas – Marshall Thornton

    In the two novellas that make up the third book in the popular Boystown Mysteries private Investigator Nick Nowak works two challenging cases and grapples with an even more challenging personal life. In Little Boy Boom, Nick’s car explodes when a thief attempts to steal it. Realizing the bomb was meant for him, Nick sets out to discover who wants him dead only to find that the list of possible suspects is longer than he’d like. When he begins to run out of suspects he wonders if the bomb was truly meant for him. Little Boy Tenor finds Nick investigating the murderer of a church choir’s star tenor, while at the same time his friend Ross asks him to discover the truth behind his lover, Earl Silver’s mysterious death. As he juggles the two cases, he becomes increasingly disturbed by what he learns.


    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Slipping Away
    Artist: Moby
    Album: Hotel


    A bit strange to call a series set in a decade you lived through as historical, but I considered Boystown by award-winning author Marshall Thornton as such. My first series from the author, The Wyandot County Mysteries, was entertainingly bitchy, and another modern historical (if we can call it that) set in the 2000s.

    The usual Regencies and Victorians are not working for me as of late, so I’m hoping to dive into more books set in the mid-century and later eras.

    Boystown starts in 1980, with prequels set in 1979. It chronicles the life of ex-cop-turned-PI Nick Nowak. He’s 33 years old and in the prime of his life. He’s good at his job. His business is going well and he’s free of debts He lives in a garden apartment, a.k.a. basement apartment in downtown Chicago in the known queer neighborhood called Boystown. Every weekend, he works as a bouncer at a gay club owned by a friend.

    The storytelling is one of the best and a top favorite in my reading history. Nick has a very compelling voice and a charismatic character. The books are written like episodes in a TV series. Also, Marshall Thornton has always been fantastic at flavoring his stories with period-specific events, culture, technology, and so on. They have a palpable patina of time and they always feel authentic and lived-in. 

    Nick’s cases intertwine with his private life, and threads from the previous books are continued or mentioned in the succeeding. There are many recurring characters or references to past events that Nick would follow up on or would impact the current story. We see Nick’s everyday habits and work routine, plus the more action-packed moments.

    My favorite part is the cases. Almost all mystery series tend to default to murder as the crime, so I loved that Nick’s cases vary from background checks to missing persons to arson to car bombing, and sometimes protection for rock stars. I loved that they realistically portray the variety of work a PI handles.

    And Nick’s one hell of a PI! He doesn’t give up until he’s satisfied, not even if his client feels the matter is already settled. He’s got wily investigation skills and is not above lying, impersonating someone, seducing the gullible, or breaking inside an apartment to get answers.

    Nick knows he’s a looker and enjoys an active sex life. There is no shortage of people eager to throw themselves at him and Nick’s not inclined to say no. From informants he’s interviewing, to corporate lawyers, to friends with benefits, beat cops mistakenly apprehending him while undercover as a homeless man and even the very person he’s investigating, as well as orgies. A couple of times, he asked himself if he was giving off some kind of pheromones.

    Nick is also pining for his ex, Daniel Laverty. They had a bad breakup after a homophobic attack that left Daniel with a broken cheekbone. Daniel wanted to report what happened, but Nick, then a closeted cop, refused.

    Nick eventually develops a relationship with a closeted police detective, Bert Harker. Theirs is an open relationship, which means Nick still goes around fucking any willing body. Nick is also torn between Daniel, who recently reunited with him, and Bert, currently living with him. The series is not romance, and it didn’t make promises of a romance HEA, so the open relationships didn’t bother me.

    What bothered me was the APPALLING lack of protection in all the sex scenes. There’s also some scenes where the characters take drugs. It was a wild, hedonistic era and Nick is in the thick of it. In contrast, contemporary MM books make it a point to mention rubbers or an exchange of health status. 

    Knowing what we know now of the 80s and the AIDs epidemic, it is heartbreaking that some of the characters here were among the early victims, and Nick and his friends have no clue yet of what is happening. It’s going to hit very close to home. I almost don’t want to read the succeeding books because the impact is going to crush Nick. 

    As mentioned earlier, Boystown is written as a continuous chronicle of Nick Nowak’s life and should be read in order. I had grand plans of reviewing the entire series until I learned there are 13 books. It’s a lot for me, so I’ll probably do three books at a time.

    The first three books of Boystown opens a highly engrossing mystery series that captures a pivotal era through the eyes of a gay PI. Blending Chicago grit and 80s sex appeal with LGBTQ+ issues and noir mystery, these stories are authentic, steamy and as irresistable as Nick Nowak himself.


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    BOYSTOWNKindle

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  • song,  Uncategorized

    SOUNDTRACK: Boys Town by Babes, OOO by Karen O & Slipping Away by Moby

    Soundtrack to Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries by Marshall Thornton

    Boys Town by Babes for Nick’s carefree life and many encounters.

    he’s kissing me
    you’re kissing him
    I don’t know why
    I don’t when
    i’m flavor of the week

    you see me stepping on the boys
    stepping up
    I’m gonna be so chic

    huffing poppers in the moonlight
    the bathroom never felt so right
    smelling musk in the air in spite
    many fingers reaching for a slice

    put on a show
    make it worth your while
    spit on your palm
    make it last for miles
    i feel your body throbbing right next to mine
    everything is wet and easy to find

    Soundtrack to Boystown: Three More Nick Nowak Mysteries by Marshall Thornton

    OOO by Karen O for all those times Nick remembers the one that got away.

    Don’t tell me that they’re all the same
    Cause even the sound of his name
    Carries me over their reach
    Back to some golden beach
    Where only he remains

    Soundtrack to Boystown: Two Nick Nowak Novellas by Marshall Thornton

    Slipping Away by Moby for that moment when Nick realized who he truly loves and that man is slowly slipping away from him.

    All that we needed was right

    The threshold is breaking tonight
    Open to everything happy and sad
    Seeing the good when it’s all going bad
    Seeing the sun when I can’t really see
    Hoping the sun will at least look at me

    Focus on everything better today
    All that I need and I never could say
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to this while it’s slipping away

  • quote,  Uncategorized

    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    i’m gonna be that freak
    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    I’m gonna be so chic

    he’s kissing me
    you’re kissing him
    I don’t know why
    I don’t when
    i’m flavor of the week

    you see me stepping on the boys
    stepping up
    I’m gonna be so chic

    huffing poppers in the moonlight
    the bathroom never felt so right
    smelling musk in the air in spite
    many fingers reaching for a slice

    put on a show
    make it worth your while
    spit on your palm
    make it last for miles
    i feel your body throbbing right next to mine
    everything is wet and easy to find

    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    i’m gonna be that freak
    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    I’m gonna be so chic

    i’m kissing him
    he’s kissing me
    I don’t know why
    I don’t know when
    i’m the flavor of the week

    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    I’m gonna be so chic

    now you see me now sleeping in the row
    i’ve been sleeping now on places
    where you can’t go go go
    now you see me sleeping in the street

    i’ve been sleeping now in places
    where we can’t meet meet meet

    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    i’m gonna be that freak
    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    I’m gonna be so chic

    i’m kissing him
    he’s kissing me
    I don’t know why
    I don’t when
    you’re flavor of the week

    you see me stepping into boys town
    stepping up
    I’m gonna be so chic

    ***not the official lyrics, this is my own transcription

    Don’t tell me that they’re all the same
    Cause even the sound of his name
    Carries me over their reach
    Back to some golden beach
    Where only he remains

    You planted your eyes on my feet
    You told me to dig my heels deep
    The night wore the rain
    On her windowpane
    Drifted us to sleep

    All that we needed was right

    The threshold is breaking tonight
    Open to everything happy and sad
    Seeing the good when it’s all going bad
    Seeing the sun when I can’t really see
    Hoping the sun will at least look at me

    Focus on everything better today
    All that I need and I never could say
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to this while it’s slipping away

    All that we needed tonight
    Are people who love us, and light
    I know how it feels to mean it
    Oh, and we leave here, you’ll see
    Open to everything happy and sad
    Seeing the good when it’s all going bad
    Seeing the sun when I can’t really see
    Hoping the sun will at least look at me

    Focus on everything better today
    All that I need and I never could say
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to this while it’s slipping away
    So long (so long)
    So long (so long)

    I open to everything happy and sad
    Seeing the good when it’s all going bad
    Seeing the sun when I can’t really see
    Hoping the sun will at least look at me

    Focus on everything better today
    All that I need and I never could say
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away

    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away

    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away

    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away
    Hold on to people, they’re slipping away

  • featured,  Uncategorized

    FLICKer: High Tide

    Featuring LGBT short films I found around the interwebz a.k.a Youtube. Okay sucky intro, but yeah, that’s it.


    Tarik🇲🇦 spends his time alone in a holiday cottage in the forest to gather his thoughts after divorcing from his wife. Shortly after his arrival, Jonas🇳🇱 comes over to make some repairs. From that moment on, Tarik is confronted with feelings he has been suppressing his entire life.