I first picked up this book because I heard Alan Chin was good, and so when I saw one of his books come across the Black Ravens review desk, I snatche...moreI first picked up this book because I heard Alan Chin was good, and so when I saw one of his books come across the Black Ravens review desk, I snatched it up. I confess to having a bit of trepidation over reading a tennis book. I don't play the sport and am not all that into watching it. After the first page, I knew there was a lot more to this book than just tennis. Mr. Chin has a definite flare for description and easily paints a picture that takes the reader far deeper than surface appearances. His ability to weave together words and dig into both the psyche of the narrator, Daniel, and the apparent mind set of the people inhabiting Daniel's world made this a really easy book to get into despite my initial reservations. And that's all in the first three chapters.
Those descriptions go into incredible detail during the tennis matches. Amazing how much you can see when the painting is in the right words. With my limited experience of the game, I expected to want to skim over these bits, but somehow, that didn't happen. Instead, I found myself enthralled with the settings and the characters and the very obvious passion Mr. Chin brings to his work.
My Recommendation: This is not a short book, but every word was worth it. I'd definitely encourage anyone who wants to lose themselves in a sumptuous feast of imagery and emotional extremes to read this.
I liked this one. I'm a great fan of will they/won't they, and there are so many pairs to chose from. The series is not without angst, which is fine b...moreI liked this one. I'm a great fan of will they/won't they, and there are so many pairs to chose from. The series is not without angst, which is fine by me. The art is great, clean lines and lots of pretty bois and flowing hair. Hey, I like my bishies, what can I say?(less)
Normally, I'm not much into either sci-fi or war stories. Upside Down seems to have just enough of both to qualify for...moreMy review at Dark Diva Reviews:
Normally, I'm not much into either sci-fi or war stories. Upside Down seems to have just enough of both to qualify for the genres, but not enough to make me uncomfortable. There's enough war to hurt the love interest and enough Sci-fi to complicate the plot, but in the end, it remains a love story....
...I like really good characterizations, especially when it's a matter of showing how the hero will still throw up on his own boots from too much stress. It happens. Real is real, and Jeff is very real.
So, while this story might be billed as romantic Sci-fi, really, in my estimation, it's a touching, character driven, intensely emotional story about a man and his struggle to be true to his heart and honour the man he loves, even if those might be mutually exclusive activities.
To start off with, I have to share a bit of a personal preference. I’m not a huge fan of forced ‘seduction’. I know, it’s an often-used device in uaoi, and a legitimate plot within the genre – it’s just not one of my favourites. So, that said, now let’s now put my personal preference aside and talk about the book… it’s good.
Asakura is not just a pushy, egotistical rich brat bent of instant self-gratification- that’s just how he first appears. He’s actually a much deeper man, and his hidden vulnerabilities are what make him likeable, even though I could have really disliked the story. Those hidden depths are what Minamin finally falls for too, though he does spend a great deal of the book resisting both Asakura and his feelings for the older man.
One thing that never happens in this book – Asakura never changes his selfish, demanding ways. Minami just accepts that’s the way he is and goes from there. It’s refreshing when so often, the characters are required to transform themselves from what they are to what readers think they should be, to deserve love. I like that this book is about both characters loving and accepting each other for who they are, whether they deserve it or not. It’s a much more realistic look at what love really is.
The sex scenes in this book are frequent enough that they could have become repetitive, but the author escaped that trap by focusing on Minami’s emotional growth. It was fun to watch him evolve from inexperienced and frightened to just plain exasperated, and still, he retained enough uncertainty that Asakura never quite gets to relapse completely into selfishness. If he wants to reassure Minami that they are meant to stay together, he`s forced to be honest about his own feelings. They turn out to be a good compliment for one another.
The writing and translation of this book are pretty decent, too. I didn`t encounter that many typoes that I remember, and the prose flowed very smoothly. There was a nice amount of description, and I guess that`s a good reflection on the fact one of the characters is, essentially, an artist. It was a nice parallel.
The drawings make me happy. For starters there were plenty of them, and the character expressions, especially Minami’s, are fantastic. The detail in her work is fascinating, and makes me want to go looking for all kinds of manga from her. I hope I can find some in English! If not, I`ll have t just enjoy the pretty pictures here in The Lonely Egotist.
So, all in all, while this book pushed a certain bad personal button for me in terms of the strong aggressive behaviour of the seme, I found the uke managed to hold his own in the end, and the writing and art let me enjoy it well enough anyway. At the very least if the idea of forced seduction is one that works for you, then I whole-heartedly recommend this book. (less)
Once again, Huff does not disappoint. I always think I'm not going to like a book that's written from a female protagonist's POV. That never seems to...moreOnce again, Huff does not disappoint. I always think I'm not going to like a book that's written from a female protagonist's POV. That never seems to matter with Huff. Her women are just tough enough, and yet still tender enough, to make me want to root for them.
This book was more a fantasy/paranormal read than a romance, but given that it's straight romance, for me, that's a good thing. I'm not always a huge fan of the whole girl meets boy trope. This one was pretty good, though. Not too intrusive for me, but strong enough to make me care what happened between them, and I actually did want them to get together in the end.
And there was the obligatory gay couple in there, although they were a plot device, and before you get all up-in-arms about that, keep in mind, the heroine kicks her own grandmother out of the province for using them as a plot device, and they get their HEA, too. So it's all good.
If there's one plot difficulty I had, it probably lies at least in part in my own lack of mythical knowledge. I didn't really get the whole horns/buck thing, and for me, it wasn't very well explained.
All in all, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a fearless heroine and a guns-blazing hero who doesn't know his ass from his trigger finger, but really does want to do the right thing. (less)
Not that I expected any different, but I loved this book. I'm decidedly biased here. I have yet to read an Ariel Tachna book I didn't like, especially...moreNot that I expected any different, but I loved this book. I'm decidedly biased here. I have yet to read an Ariel Tachna book I didn't like, especially from this series. I thought I'd said goodbye to these vampires and mages with the close of the war and the end of the forth book. Imagine my surprise and delight to find out two of my favorite guys were to get a book of their own: Jean and Reymond, possibly my very favorite couple from the whole series, did not disappoint. Not often do I have a moment when a character drives me to anger and tears in the same scene. I'll let you read to find out how this happened, and to a reader who rarely gets all that emotional. I'll just tell you this: it wasn't even a life-in-the-balance scene. Not physically, anyway. But that's how deeply the emotional lives of these characters are drawn. I just cared that much.
I remember when I first started reading this series, years ago, and I had complaints about the omniscient view point. Can I just say, as good as those first books were, Ms. Tachna has grown into her abilities a as a writer. No more complaints. Just a bit of a wish to see the next book finished and in my hands, and a small request. Vincent and Eric. *puppy eyes* Please?(less)
Nice little touches of things not included n the first trilogy of the Nightrunner books. It ws nice to read while I was awaiting the delivery of the s...moreNice little touches of things not included n the first trilogy of the Nightrunner books. It ws nice to read while I was awaiting the delivery of the second trilogy.(less)
I used to think I was not a fan of the school boy stories, however, I keep reading them, so I guess I must see something in them after all. This one u...moreI used to think I was not a fan of the school boy stories, however, I keep reading them, so I guess I must see something in them after all. This one uses the typical excuse of a school full of hormonal boys to explain why they are constantly all over each other.
Volume one is setting out to be a pretty traditional take on the theme, with the main character being the sweet and innocent uke who doesn’t know what’s going on, and when he figures it out, has no idea what to think about it. A couple of themes in this book might not be for everyone, starting with the age difference between the protagonist and the rest of the boys, and including the way the older boys seem to have no compunction taking advantage of him. It’s one of those things you either accept as being part of the genre (and manage to look past), or you don’t, and if you belong to the latter group, this story will not be for you.
There is a sub plot involving Hayate and Kanya, two older boys who have been going to school together for a while and who actually seem to feel something for one another, but who aren’t doing such a bang-up job of looking out for one another. I hope this plot line brings the boys to a happy ending. The fact that this relationship actually deals, to some extent, with the idea that an uke might want to have a choice I found very interesting. It makes me feel for Hayate, because he clearly does not want to service the older boys, and his feeling of being taken advantage of is most definitely interfering with his relationship with Kanya. I like that kind of real, believable character development.
I can’t get into the main relationship as much, mostly because I find it difficult to believe a kid with so little experience or knowledge would be given the kind of supposed responsibility he’s been given, or that he would not be carefully watched by his older brother to make sure he’s okay. The plot just seems stretched a little thin for me on that point.
The art however is lovely. Maybe part of my liking of the secondary couple so much stems from the art, and the very soulful expression Hayate always seems to have. He seems to be a very fully realized character in the art, more so than the main characters. The amount of detail in the drawing is wonderful too.
I’m always of mixed feelings when it comes to chibi characters though. On one hand, it’s a great shorthand to get to the heart of a really strong or sudden emotion, but on the other, I just prefer the more realistic drawing. There’s a lot of chibi art in this story, I’m finding. By the time I get to the end of the series, however, I might even grow a deeper appreciation for it.
This is the first manga I’ve read online through eManga with the idea of reviewing it, so I thought I’d mention a bit of the pros and cons of that, too. I like the price, I have to say. The idea of ‘renting’ the stories I might never read again for a lower cost appeals to me. I can search out the titles I really like enough to own and it saves me spend a fortune on books that will sit on my book shelf never to be read again. So long as I read fast enough, the cost of doing it this way is definitely worth it. I get to spend my money on the paper books I really want to own.
It does tie me to my computer, though, and because I’m also a writer, it’s more time in front of the screen, and that isn’t always something I want to do. Besides, coming from an art major background, I still cannot get past the idea that holding the paper book in my hands and pouring over the pages of art is just…nicer. Some books of manga I own definitely fall open to my favourite pages of art, and it somehow isn’t the same on the screen.
Overall I enjoyed this first volume of Can’t Win With You! enough to pick up volume two. I look forward to seeing how that secondary relationship plays out, and I’m interested in how the writer deals with the main relationship. (less)
I wondered why this first book in the series is so very short. It gave the author so little room to get these guys together. But she did, and they did...moreI wondered why this first book in the series is so very short. It gave the author so little room to get these guys together. But she did, and they did, and then presto-chango, it's a love match, and not just a quickie in the storeroom.
Not that I'm complaing. About the love or or the sex. This was definitely a whirlwind ride. I thought it was too short, though, without enough build up to the "I love you's" but then, I'm all about the angst, and there was none of that here.
What's nice about it is that it's a refreshing look at the whole scene. Why shouldn't two men, in the prime of life, be looking for someone to love, rather than just someone to get them off? And why shouldn't they find what they're looking for?
So I complain and compliment the same aspect of the book. Go figure. Sometimes, it's just hard to figure out why it works for me. This book, it pretty much worked.