• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Konokoi wa Unmeijanai

    Konokoi wa Unmeijanai – Yamada Yugi

    Tsukamoto is newly independent designer who wants his work to be printed with traditional movable printing at the Nakajima printing house. There, he meets the delinquent turned printing master, Seto. Seto’s skills and knowledge are undeniable, but his insensitivity and firm opinions cause him to butt heads with Tsukamoto. As they continue to work together, Seto’s passion for printing shines through, and Tsukamoto’s feelings begin to change. Then one day, they receive a huge job, and the client is none other than…Tsukamoto’s ex-lover, Soejima?!

    This Love Is Not Destiny is a low angst, gay-for-you manga featuring the dying art of movable printing.

    Tsukamoto, a level-headed man, has recently gone into independent design after a bad breakup with the director of his old company. He goes to Nakajima Printing upon the recommendation of a friend to have his design printed. There he meets the short-tempered former gangster turned printer, Tsuyoshi, and the elderly owner, Zen. After starting off at the wrong foot, Tsukamoto and Tsuyoshi realize they work well together.

    According to the mangaka, they were inspired to create this story after visiting a movable printing shop for a business card order. You can clearly see the mangaka was fascinated because they were able to convey the appeal and the sense of wonder with the process and the printed designs.

    Apart from the unique setting, the manga is peopled with lovable characters. I loved the clothes the mangaka chose for each of them. It really highlighted their personalities.

    Tsukamoto is pretty with long lashes, described by his ex as “looks demure but is really sexually aggressive”. He’s a talented designer with a good eye for color. His character design perfectly portrays a well-mannered, creative professional neatly dressed in smart casual clothes.

    Tsuyoshi is a grumpy sort whose care and worry is shown through scowl-y commands of “eat your snacks!” His bomber jacket with the roaring tiger print really suited him to a T. He’s very passionate about his work. By all accounts, he is straight but the more time he spent with Tsukamoto, the more he thought about it, the more he realized certain things.

    The plot was well-executed, the romantic development, slow but wonderfully done. It’s a gay man pining for a straight guy in that as-long-as-I-can-stay-by-your-side-I’m-happy self-sacrifice that makes the chest feel tighter. This could have easily gone the full angst route but happily kept things light. I loved how everything was resolved and how the ending tied together their personal and professional lives.

    There’s a bonus super cute love story for Zen, the old master printer, and his long-time love, Richard. I hope they get their own manga too!


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  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Never Stay Gone by Tal Bauer

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    Big Bend Texas Rangers: Never Stay Gone – Tal Bauer

    Six bodies in a single grave… in the same West Texas country where Dakota left everything behind.

    Every beat of my heart belongs to you.

    Thirteen years ago, Dakota Jennings thought he’d found his forever when he fell in love with Shane Carson. But one afternoon shattered their love story, and both Dakota and Shane left Rustler, Texas, with broken hearts. Even now, Dakota is still feeling the agony of losing Shane. Sure, he’s a Texas Ranger, but that’s not how he wanted to live his life. All he ever wanted was to love Shane.

    Loving you is the only time I feel alive.

    Shane’s life was supposed to be different than this. There’d been a plan, ever since he was knee-high to his father. But falling for Dakota spun Shane’s world upside down, and for years, Shane has had nothing but the memories of all that he lost: Dakota’s gentle touch, and the sweetness of his lips, and the star-strewn nights they spent wrapped in each other’s arms.

    West of the Pecos, there is no law.

    When the Rangers get the call about six bodies being pulled out of a mass grave in West Texas, the governor sends Dakota to run the investigation. Dakota heads back to his hometown and comes face-to-face with the last man he ever expected to see again: only now, he’s Deputy Shane Carson… Dakota’s local partner assigned to the case.

    There’s nothing Dakota wants more than a second chance with Shane, but so much is stacked against them: six corpses, a murderer on the loose, and history that refuses to stay buried. And the bodies keep piling up as Dakota and Shane try to run the killer down across the West Texas plains.

    In a moment, everything changes: the hunters become the hunted, the past fractures, and all Dakota thought he knew comes tumbling down. Secrets break wide open as Dakota remembers–

    This is West Texas, and out here, nothing is as it seems.

    Big Bend County is a place of beauty and desolation, of secrets and small towns. Where the past and the present collide, and where nothing stays hidden forever.

    This MM romantic suspense is the first in the new Big Bend Texas Rangers series. Come along for the West Texas sunsets, the heart-pounding thrills, and the hard-won Happy Ever Afters.


    Never Stay Gone is the first book of the romantic suspense, police procedural series, Big Bend Texas Rangers. The Texas Rangers are the badass officers who patrol the West Texas desert areas up to the border.

    The story opens with Deputy Sheriff Shane Carson stumbling upon a grave of six women in various stages of decomposition. With talks of a serial killer being bandied about, the Texas governor tasks ex-military Texas Ranger and, also her personal guard, Dakota Jennings to investigate.

    Shane and Dakota were friends turned secret boyfriends back in high school. Shane broke things off because of pressure from his over-bearing dad just when Dakota was about to tell him of his plans after they graduated. With his world crashing down around him, Dakota disappeared. After 13 years, he’s back in Big Bend, a changed man but somehow still in love with the same boy.

    This book has all the hallmarks of what I have come to recognize as the Tal Bauer style. There’s the thrilling suspense, the twisty-turny plot, people in high places with the dirtiest secrets, the swoony second chance romance, the mysterious pivotal event the characters agonize over but would turn out to be different from what their internal monologue seem to convey. Let’s not forget the amazing John Solo emoting the heck out of everything.

    I loved how it was done in The Murder Between Us and The Night Of. Both of these were rated 5 stars. Here, it took me a while to get into the story. The opening chapters weren’t hooking me as much as I wanted them to. Descriptions of landscapes tend to make my eyes gloss over from boredom. I was propelled by John Solo’s performance. I’m glad I stuck around because things picked up once the investigation started.

    Drama was on an all-time high, with many highly emotional scenes. And when the tears came, they kept on coming. This is quite possibly, the weepiest MM romance I’ve ever read! Waterworks from manly men could be deeply moving but very annoying when they start bawling at every other scene. Shane, in particular, was very weepy. The guy had it rough but jeez!

    Shane was the golden boy, the quarterback, and his dad’s only hope of reclaiming the family legacy. He lived under his father’s thumb, his entire life already planned out by the older man. His only act of rebellion was his relationship with Dakota.

    After his football career fizzled out, Shane worked as the deputy sheriff. This is where he is at his best. He’s a bit green when it comes to murder investigations, but he knows how to connect with people. He’s always ready to share a kind word.

    Dakota was the cowboy son of drifters Shane befriended during high school football tryouts. Since then, the two were inseparable, mutually pining after one another until Shane struck up the courage to make a move.

    If there was ever one guy made to be a book boyfriend, Dakota’s your man. He was completely devoted to Shane then, he’s still devoted now. Even as a teenager, he planned his whole life on how to support Shane’s dream of becoming a pro football player. As an adult, he built a house for his man. With his own hands.

    I’ll never forget that flashback to their last day in senior year where he presented his meager budget for his and Shane’s living expenses, a.k.a. his heart on a plate, with all the earnestness of a youth in love, only to have it handed back. It was one of the most heartbreaking scenes ever! The sensation of falling and shattering to pieces was palpable. My chest hurt for Dakota. I nearly started sobbing myself.

    The reconciliation scene? Hooboy, people were flayed raw! That’s how intense it was. I was glad the book is written in 3rd person dual POV. The emotional impact of a 1st person POV would have been too much.

    I was super happy they grabbed that second chance and made the most of it. But then I got paranoid that the author might pull another plot twist and pull the rug out from everyone’s feet. This was still halfway through the book and I don’t think I could bear any more relationship drama.

    I got so anxious about it I stopped reading. It wasn’t until I read a review saying things went well for the couple after that reunion that I breathed a sigh of relief and picked it up again. The rest of the story focused on the mystery.

    I’d like to say the mystery was predictable. In hindsight, it followed the usual pattern of the author. But I was the gullible fool who fell for the red herring, suspecting the loner who was actually going above and beyond his duty. So good job on that nice bit of redirection!

    When I thought about it, Never Stay Gone is written like Shane and Dakota’s favorite country songs. Full of lonely cowboys, small-town life, first kisses, devastating heartbreaks, and sappy love declarations that make you cringe and make you smile too. This is truly a book that doesn’t pull its emotional punches. They hit you, hard, straight in the kokoro. It’s not my favorite, but it will stay with me for a long time.

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Lost & Found
    Artist: The Midnight
    Album: Lost & Found

    P.S.

    This book comes with an official soundtrack. Check out the songs from the CD Dakota gave to Shane. Because he’s dorky like that.


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    NEVER STAY GONE

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  • song,  Uncategorized

    SOUNDTRACK: Lost & Found by The Midnight

    Soundtrack to Big Bend Texas Rangers: Never Stay Gone by Tal Bauer

    Lost & Found, a song about love find a person when the time is right, for a book about the unexpected second chance and hard won happy ending of two high school sweethearts reunited after 13 years.

    We have mostly wasted time
    Half-asleep and have-to-buy
    Waiting for the faintest lie and waiting for these wounds to heal
    No, we’re never as lost or as found as we think we are
    No, we’re never as lost or as found as we think we are

    Love takes some time to bloom
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    Like sunlight breaking through

  • quote,  Uncategorized

    When you find your love, you’ll find your song
    Even though you’ve been digging through the break of dawn
    You’ve been pushing and the push is gone
    You think it makes you strong

    Strong

    Oh
    Nobody knows where it goes
    When it goes

    Love takes some time to bloom
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    Like sunlight breaking through
    When it’s right, it’ll come to you
    When it’s right, it’ll find you

    When there’s nothing left to mediate
    You take your coat and you close the gate
    And you grow your hair and branches long
    And you lose your days in the LA sun

    Oh
    Nobody knows where it goes
    When it goes

    Love takes some time to bloom
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    Like sunlight breaking through
    When it’s right, it’ll come to you
    When it’s right, it’ll find you

    We have mostly wasted time
    Half-asleep and have-to-buy
    Waiting for the faintest lie and waiting for these wounds to heal
    No, we’re never as lost or as found as we think we are
    No, we’re never as lost or as found as we think we are

    Love takes some time to bloom
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    When it’s right, it’ll find you
    Like sunlight breaking through
    When it’s right, it’ll come to you
    When it’s right, it’ll find you

  • featured,  Uncategorized

    FLICKer: Stalls (Award Winning Gay Short Film)

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


    Stalls is an exciting depiction of one man’s cruising adventure in the restroom of an opera house. In the film, Jonathan goes to the restroom, opens its golden glory hole and waits for someone to answer. Finally, after tapping his feet in what looks like a tap-dancing sequence he is able to find another man willing to give him what he wants.