Thursday, June 21, 2018

Manga Reviews: A Strange and Mystifying Story, Vols. 1-3

A Strange and Mystifying Story, Vol. 1
(A Strange and Mystifying Story #1)
Tsuta Suzuki
Release: November 14, 2017
Akio Yamane’s bloodline is cursed! Will his hot guardian deity break the curse…or merely his heart in the process?

Akio Yamane falls terminally ill, presumably from his family’s curse. Remembering his grandfather’s final words about their family protector, he follows the old man's instructions out of desperation and accidentally summons a god who promises to cure him—albeit in a rather odd and intimate manner!

Akio Yamane’s bloodline is cursed! Or at least that’s what his relatives would have people think. Now feverish and delusional from a terminal illness, Akio accidentally summons his family’s guardian deity. Little did he know this sinfully hot god would appear naked, sporting ears and a tail. Wait until Akio finds out the unconventional and rather intimate manner his protector plans on using to cure him!

I picked this manga up because I found the premise intriguing and was sold by the synopsis! A cursed bloodline and a hot guardian deity? Yes, please! Unfortunately, I didn't like the execution as much. I was much more taken with the side characters than I was the main two. I've definitely read worse yaoi first volumes and this one ends on a good enough note that I'm interested enough to read the next volume to see where the story goes.

About a third of this volume is actually two short stories not associated with the main story. The first is one is about a student/teacher relationship, in which the teacher comes to care for the shyest boy in class. The second is set in feudal Japan and has a carver helping a sex slave escape his master. They both felt a bit rushed and I liked them but they're not my favorites.

  3 / 5 Stars

A Strange and Mystifying Story, Vol. 2
(A Strange and Mystifying Story #2)
Tsuta Suzuki
Release: February 13, 2018
Akio Yamane’s bloodline is cursed! Will his hot guardian deity break the curse…or merely his heart in the process?

Akio Yamane falls terminally ill, presumably from his family’s curse. Remembering his grandfather’s final words about their family protector, he looks to where his grandfather pointed and finds a tooth. Upon holding it, he accidentally summons a god who promises to cure him, albeit in a rather odd and intimate manner!

Now that Akio Yamane’s guardian deity has cured him of his illness caused by a family curse, it’s time for him to come to terms with this new furry roommate he’s named Setsu. Although their relationship got off to a rocky start, is it possible what he’s feeling now are the first stirrings of love?

It was better than the first volume and I liked getting more of Setsu's backstory. The stories of Setsu's past were nice but they also made the story feel like it was all over the place and we didn't see much progression in each character's story arc and in the romance. 

In fact, the bulk of the book is a flashback telling how Akio's family line became cursed which was interesting. But I didn't realize the story had jumped back to the present for a bit because Akio and his ancestor look identical (especially when they were both wearing yukata and living in the same family home) until he complained about Setsu watching TV in the middle of the night. Overall, it still was interesting but also kind of meh. I'll probably give the series one more volume before I decide to give up on this one.

  3 / 5 Stars

A Strange and Mystifying Story, Vol. 3
(A Strange and Mystifying Story #3)
Tsuta Suzuki
Release: May 8, 2013
Akio Yamane’s bloodline is cursed! Will his hot guardian deity break the curse…or merely his heart in the process?

Akio Yamane falls terminally ill, presumably from his family’s curse. Acting on his grandfather's final words, he accidentally summons a god who promises to cure him, albeit in a rather odd and intimate manner! Thurs begins the story of certain cursed families' strange and mystifying relationships with supernatural protectors.

Tsumugi Shirota is your typical high school student. He’s handsome, kind, and for some strange reason, surprisingly adept at household chores. On his sixteenth birthday, a rather unusual but special guest comes to meet him—Master Kurayori, the guardian deity of the Shirota household. Imagine Tsumugi’s surprise when he finds out this deity is also his fiancĂ©!

This volume was better than the first two for me. I think it was because it focuses on the relationship between my favorite two side characters, Keiichiro the museum director and Hatoki Tetsu. While I enjoyed learning more about them, this volume also kind of drove me crazy because everything is progressing so slowly!

I was also kind of surprised by how PG this volume was as well. Most Yaoi isn't this far into a series. The story is more focused on the growing affection between the characters than the physical interactions. And as much as I appreciate that, I really would like things to move a bit faster between all the couples involved.

The rest of this volume introduces two new characters and their story and I'm intrigued to find out more about them and see how their story shakes out. I thought I would be giving up this series with this volume but it surprised me and renewed my interest in continuing on. I hope we get more of Keiichiro and Tetsu as well as Tsumugi and Master Kurayori in the next volume.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  3.5 / 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Our Favorite Fathers and Father Figures

In honor of Father's Day being this last Sunday and thanks to the inspirational prompt from the Top 5 Wednesday group, we're talking about our favorite literary fathers and father figures today. It wasn't easy to make this list because it seems that literature loves the absentee parents and deadbeat/evil father tropes a little too much. Although, they do love their found family/father figures trope. After much consideration, here are our top ten favorite literary dads and substitute fathers.

Isaac Grant from The Illuminae Files
Isaac Grant is hands down my favorite father in YA. While he is Kady's father, by the third book, he has become a kind of father figure to the whole group. He was a great character on his own but I love how he seemed to unofficially adopt the rest of the cast and look out for them the same way he looks out for Kady. He doesn’t hesitate to take on the responsibility, and his interactions with the teenagers were so much fun to read! Isaac Grant is the gold standard for future fathers in YA.

Adam Hauptman from The Mercy Thompson Series
The Mercy Thompson Series has a lot of great fathers and father figures with Zee and Bran but my favorite father in this series is hands down, Adam Hauptman. Adam is the Columbia Basin Alpha and he is fiercely protective of his pack, his territory, Mercy, and most of all his daughter, Jessie. He's doing the single dad thing and he's doing a spectacular job of it. Jessie knows she's loved and safe and important to her father. Adam wins at the dad thing even if he can be overprotective at times.

Walker Lauren from The Psy-Changeling Series
The Psy-Changeling series has a lot of great fathers and father figures in it but hands down my favorite is Walker Lauren. Walker has fiercely loved his family despite having to be Silent most of his life. He is the patriarch of the Lauren family and does everything he can to take care of his daughter, his Arrow brother, and his deceased sister's kids. He even fakes his and his family's deaths and goes into hiding in order to protect them. His quiet love and support for his family is everything. You can't help but love him for it.

Arthur Weasley from The Harry Potter Series
Arthur is another of the YA father greats. He's this soft man who loves his wife and kids as well as Muggle culture. What I love about him is that he didn't even think twice about including Harry in his family as just another son. He was there from Christmas presents to a ticket to the Quidditch cup to cheering Harry on in the Triwizard Tournament. He was always there for Harry, Hermione, and his family and taught them to fight for what they believe to be right. He has the dad thing totally down.

Hans Hubermann from The Book Thief
Hans may not be Liesel’s biological dad, but he’s an amazing father figure for her. He taught her how to read, introduce her to books, and taught her about kindness. More than that, he taught Liesel about love, compassion, and standing up for your own principles. He cared so deeply for Liesel and treated her like she was his own daughter. He is one of my favorite literary fathers for that alone.

Jack Spier from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Simon's dad doesn't always get it right but he tries and he owns up to the mistakes he makes. The thing he always gets right is his fierce love and support for Simon. I love Simon's whole family but I have a soft spot for his dad. I just love him so much.

Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird
I loved Atticus from the moment I first read To Kill a Mockingbird and the way he treated Scout like an adult. He always took her seriously and taught her important life lessons without being overly strict. I loved how he allowed his children to be curious and to be thoughtful instead of telling them what was right and what was wrong.

Colm Fahey from Crooked Kingdom
Colm is one of my dear sweet summer children. He was such a great father to Jesper and only wants the best for him. Unfortunately, he has no idea what he's getting himself into when he gets involved with the gang in Crooked Kingdom. But you have to respect him for not letting himself drown and being an asset while protecting his son and his friends.

Jonathan Wadsworth from Stalking Jack the Ripper
Audrey Rose's uncle, Jonathan, was more of a father to her in his clinical and absent-minded way than her own father. He encouraged her to pursue forensic medicine despite it not being a lady like field of study and even taught her everything he knew personally. I don’t want to say anymore in case you haven’t read the book, but know that he was just a great father figure to her.

Lon Butler from The Arcadia Bell Series
It's not too often we see single fathers as the love interest in UF/PNR books and it's a shame! Not only is Lon Butler an awesome character in the Arcadia Bell books but he also has sole custody of his teenage son, Jupe. It’s clear how great a father Lon is because Jupe is confident, friendly, and goofy and he has no problem butting into his father’s love life. There’s no doubt about how much Lon loves his son and how protective he is of him. I'm not done with the series yet but I'm loving watching Lon and Jupe find a new normal with Cady in their life.

Who are your favorite literary fathers and father figures?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Flashback Friday Review: The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

We wanted to revisit Rose Red's review from 2016 because The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish is finally being published in the US and it will have a brand new cover! I really like the new cover but I still love the old one more. No matter the packaging, it's an awesome story!

The Voodoo Killings
(Kincaid Strange #1)
Kristi Charish
Canadian Release: May 10, 2016
US Release: June 12, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
For the first time since we launched Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Random House Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish's The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner...

For starters, she's only 27. Then there's the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she's broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker--who happens to be Kincaid's on-again, off-again roommate.

Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he's tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle's infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City's oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She's broke, but she's not stupid.

And then she becomes the target...As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

You all know how much I love Kristi Charish's The Adventures of Owl series, right? Well, I think this series may have surpassed it. I absolutely adored it! This book was everything I wanted it to be! Zombies! Ghouls! Voodoo outside of New Orleans! Ghosts! Poltergeists! All of these things mixed with bits and pieces from various mythologies made for some A+ worldbuilding, which is something I've come to expect from Charish and enjoy the hell out of in each of her books. But amazing worldbuilding aside, how could I not love a book about a voodoo practitioner who lives in Seattle with the ghost of a grunge rockstar?

Kincaid Strange was a seriously kick-butt heroine. I was able to relate to her on an emotional level. She knows how to keep herself together and is a planner after my own heart. She is a really mature heroine who avoids unnecessary drama and gets things done. She was brilliant! Add in her sarcastic wit and sense of humor and she easily became a favorite character of mine.

Also, did I mention this is an urban fantasy murder mystery with zombies? It's totally a murder mystery with zombies, which is such of fantastic premise! This book is fast paced and full of action. Like with the Owl books, there was never a dull moment. I also loved that the supernatural world was known to everybody and that some of the politics of dealing with the "non-living" were explored. It added a whole new dimension to the book. 

And Charish deserves a slow clap for her zombies. They are not your typical zombie apocalypse zombies. No unknown viruses making zombies out of the living. The dead are raised with voodoo and have a surprising range of capabilities and weaknesses. And the Underground City for zombies and ghouls beneath Seattle was such a cool touch.

Charish has a gift for creating a monster mash of paranormal creatures. I loved the secondary characters! Of course, zombie Cameron was a big part of this book and learning what happened to him really drove the story, but there was also Kincaid's ghostly roommate, Nate, and her zombie informant/Otherside ringleader, Lee Ling. Nate was my favorite! Not only was he an awesome character, his and Kincaid's friendship and teamwork was a really great additional dynamic. I really loved the two of them and their interactions together!

I switched back and forth between the audiobook and the ARC while reading this and I can't recommend the audiobook enough! By the time I finished the book, I had listened to over 75% of it. It's definitely one of the best audiobooks I've listened to in 2016. The narrator, Susannah Jones, totally captured the atmosphere of the book and her portrayal of Kincaid and the other characters was on par with what I had imagined in my head.

I can say with certainty that Kristi Charish’s books never disappoint! They are like a breath of fresh air in so many ways. The Voodoo Killings is no exception and is an excellent start to a new series! I love how she made the zombie trope her own. I absolutely cannot wait to read more of Kincaid's adventures!

ARC provided by the author

  4.5 /5 Stars

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Most Intimidating Books on My TBR

I'm just coming out of a major book slump and I've been thinking a lot about the books I have hanging out on my physical TBR pile. Part of that has been because I've recently moved my books into one of the empty rooms in our house and I'm setting up my own personal library. I never realize just how many books I own until I start moving them around. It's been good because this move inspired me to cull my books a bit and I got rid of a few. While I was going through everything, I came across some books that I'm honestly intimidated by and I keep putting of reading them because of it. So I decided to make a post about them. Some of them are intimidating because of their size. Others because of the hype around them. Let's talk about some of the books I'm scared of.

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
This book is literally a behemoth. It's huge. I'm not normally intimidated by large books but I am of all 1289 pages of this one. Why? Because it's a Sanderson book and my feels are going to be pulled through the wringer again. I'm going to read this but not anytime soon I think. I need to talk myself into first.

Winter by Marissa Meyer
I'm starting to realize that I am terrible at reading the last books in series especially if I adored the previous books. Winter has turned into one of those for me. I was so excited for it to come out and then I started hearing mixed things about it so I keep putting it off. Now, I need to reread the previous books because I can't remember everything. It's a vicious cycle.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
When I ask for sci-fi references, this is always the first book people recommend to me. It is loved by a lot of people and has a lot of hype surrounding it because of the tv show. I'm scared to read it for that fact. The sad thing is that I'm pretty sure that I'm going to love it once I finally let myself sit down with it.

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
There is so much hype surrounding this book and I've heard nothing but great things about it. Plus, it's been blurbed by Robin McKinley which automatically increases the hype for me by like ten times. I've been a black sheep on several really hyped fantasy this year already so I'm scared to read it and not like it.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Remember me saying I'm terrible at reading the last books in series? I haven't been able to bring myself to read this one because I'm still not ready to say goodbye to the Graceling world six years later.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Yes. I'm scared of the perpetual book club book. I am kind of ashamed I haven't read this yet because I've been a member of five different book clubs who have all had it as one of their monthly books. It's one of my Mom and Grandma's favorite books. I'm kind of scared that I won't love it as much as everyone else so I just keep avoiding it. One of these days I'm going to make myself read it.

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim
This is still one of my most anticipated books of this year but I am scared of it. I know it's going to emotionally wreck me and I'm not ready for that when I still have months to wait for the next book. I'm going to read it this year but it'll probably be December because the fear of this one is real.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This book is Maggie's most hyped and beloved book after her Raven Cycle series and I'm scared to read it. One, I know it's going to make me emotional. Her Raven Cycle books did. And two, I have so many friends who, for them, this is their favorite Stiefvater book. The bar is set high with this one and I'm just not ready to see if it's going to met my expectations yet.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Just like with Chainbreaker, I'm scared of the emotions this book will make me feel. I bawled so many times reading This Savage Song and I've heard this one hits you even more in the feels. I'm not emotionally ready for it yet.

What is the most intimidating book on your TBR?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Release Day Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Ocean Light
(Psy-Changeling Trinity #2)
Nalini Singh
Release: June 12, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love...

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling...

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine...

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

I'm going to be real honest here. I've been wanting a Psy-Changling book about Bowen Knight since he made his first appearance in Branded by Fire. I've been dying to know his backstory because something pretty traumatic had to have happened to make him hate the Psy so much. Sadly, that little insight of mine was dead on. I've also wanted to know what kind of person his mate was going to be. I was kind of hoping he'd end up with a Psy partner but I'm totally happy with where the romance went. I ship it pretty hard actually. 

Ocean Light worked for me on so many levels. If you read Silver Silence, then you know that our favorite Human Alliance security chief/leader is in bad shape and not just from the failing chip in his brain. I loved how BlackSea came into play with that. Plus, we got to finally learn more about BlackSea and the underwater deep sea station some of them reside in was absolutely fascinating!

BlackSea was more intriguing than I ever thought possible! They have so many different kinds o changelings in their pack and honestly the options to what creatures there could be are unlimited. I found it intriguing that they all are very secretive about what they changed into but nonetheless are fiercely protective of each other. It was a beautiful thing to read. The sea changelings aren't as charismatic overall as say the bears from the previous book but they were fascinating in their own way. I really hope the author writes many more books about BlackSea in the future.

Nalini Singh is a master of her craft and I was sucked into this book as soon as I picked it up. I just love this world she has created and how she continues to expand it. I was really into the sweet romance between Bo and Kaia from the start. They've both had some seriously traumatic things happen in their pasts and the learning curve for them to over come them is a steep one. Add in some treachery and deception that threatens to resolve the alliance between the two groups and the literal ticking time bomb in Bo's head and you have one hell of a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat until you turn the last page.

I instantly fell in love with Kaia's character. She has a very playful and loving nature that has a bit of an edge to it. She's tough but she's also kind of a big softy when comes to the people she views as hers. I loved that her way of taking care of her pack was to cook them their favorite foods! Kaia has issues aplenty but she made me laugh and smile. I was also very intrigued to find out what her changeling form was and I kept trying to guess as the clues were dropped. It wasn't until the last quarter of the book before I could finally have my suspicions confirmed on what her other form was. I did find her animal form to be very fitting. You'll just have to read to find out what she is. :)

I loved that we got to learn more about Bo and see a completely different side of him. He's still the paranoid security chief but he has a softness and protectiveness when it comes to Kaia that made me love him even more. I will admit that I am completely intrigued by so many of the side characters in this installment and I want to know more about them. High on that list is Miane and Malachai. They definitely need their own book(s) and soon so I can know what the heck they change into! I also want to see Kaia's other cousins get books or novellas! They remind me very much of Mercy's brothers in DarkRiver and I need more mischievous and lovable rogues in my life.

Ocean Light wasn't the book I imagined it would be when I first heard who it was going to be about but it was a perfect addition to one of my all-time favorite series! I'm dying to know who it's going to be about! I want more BlackSea but I also want a WindHaven falcon book or a Rainfire book. Sadly, we have another year of waiting for the next book when I just need it in my hands already. I guess it's time for another reread, right?

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Manga Reviews: Finder Deluxe Editions, Vols. 6-8

So let's talk about m/m romance manga. These manga are frequently called Boys Love (BL) and fall into two main categories: yaoi and shounen ai. Shounen Ai is the non-explicit m/m romance manga and Yaoi is the explicit version. Both of these manga genres are aimed towards women while Bara is the BL genre that is targeted towards gay males.

The series I'm reviewing today definitely falls into the Yaoi category. Something you need to keep in mind about Yaoi is that it perpetuates some problematic tropes. That trope being that of non-consensual sex or sex with dubious consent.

So let's talk a bit about each volume. My reviews aren't going to be long and will just be a few of my thoughts about them. I will be honest. The Finder series is violent and does use the sex with dubious consent trope but it's used less and less as the series goes on. I know it's problematic but I can't help but love it a lot though.

Finder Deluxe Edition: You're My Desire, Vol. 6
(Finder Deluxe Edition #6)
Ayano Yamane
Release: April 10, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

After being held prisoner in Hong Kong, Akihito Takaba is finally brought home to Japan by his lover Ryuichi Asami. But once again, the feisty photographer escapes Asami’s grasp! It’s not long, though, before Akihito becomes ensnared in a stalking incident and sees Asami’s darker side return. Will he chase the scoop or the man he’s not quite ready to admit he’s attracted to?

I'm not going to lie. This volume was good but felt like a bit of a let down after the Naked Truth/Hong Kong arc. Akihito is finally back to Japan after his captivity in Hong Kong and he is trying to make sense of his feelings and where Asami fits in his life. Things have changed after Hong Kong for both the photographer and Asami. We know it. Asami knows it. Akihito I think knows but he isn't willing to accept it yet. 

This manga contains two loosely connected stories. One features Akihito and Asami and it's just more chapters adding to the main arc. The other is a side story about the high schoolers, Hiyama and Mizuno. To the main story, Akihito and Asami's, I would give four stars. Akihito goes after a story about a stalker and inadvertently discovers that Asami is somehow connected to it. He has some decisions to make and while he can be idiotic and prideful when it comes to Asami, I do like where the story is going and that Akihito chose to go to him of his own free will.

As for the second story about Hiyama and Mizuno, I would give it only two stars because it was all talk and very little actually happened. The most interesting part of it was, once again, the bit with Akihito and Asami. The rest was quite boring.

  3. 5 / 5 Stars

Finder Deluxe Edition: Longing For You, Vol. 7
(Finder Deluxe Edition #7)
Ayano Yamane
Release: June 12, 2018
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Akihito Takaba takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Ryuichi Asami—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Akihito is freeloading at Asami’s apartment, polishing up not only his photography skills but also his skills as a househusband. His career is on the upswing, even though he still finds himself in perilous situations and has the occasional run-in with police. So imagine Akihito’s surprise when, while out chasing a scoop, he spots Asami with another man clinging to him…in tears! Are Akihito’s days as Asami’s live-in numbered?

One thing I've noticed the last few volumes is that in this new translation the language is way more casual and uses more American slang in places when compared to the old one. It doesn't take away from the story per say but it doesn't lend the same emotional depth as the first translation either.

Asami and Akihito’s relationship deepens in intensity in this volume as Akihito's work brings him into contact with Asami's and I foresee him getting into some difficult situations. In this volume, there's a shady politician, a mysterious club manager, a high-end escort club, and a missing girl factoring into the equation. I really liked the addition of the new characters in this volume and I want to know more about them especially Kuroda and his relationship with Asami. 

Akihito is finally questioning what he really wants from life and his relationship with Asami. Unfortunately, he's developed a inferiority complex when it comes to his place in Asami's life and it's going to get him in trouble. This arc is not as good as the Naked Truth story arc but it's getting there. By the end of this volume, I can say that I am totally here for it. The story is progressing well, but slowly. I'm hoping now that Akihito is starting to accept his place in Asami's life that he'll cause a few less of his own problems. 

What I love about this volume is that we are finally getting a glimpse behind the mask that Asami wears in public. He has a soft spot for Akihito and it's getting more and more apparent that he really cares for him. I really enjoyed this volume and I can't wait to see where things go with Sudo and Akihito's search for the missing girl.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  4 / 5 Stars

Finder Deluxe Edition: Secret Vow, Vol. 8
(Finder Deluxe Edition #8)
Ayano Yamane
Release: March 14, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

After Asami's subordinate Sudo betrays him, Akihito attempts to chase Sudo down, only to wind up captured and at his mercy. Sudo's fixation on Asami has only grown stronger with time, to the point of wanting him dead. But Sudo isn't the only threat: another enemy appears on the horizon, gunning for the power Asami wields!

Poor Akihito. He’s still playing the damsel in distress in this volume. But it looks like he has finally accepted his feelings for Asami. Hallelujah!

Things are heating up in this arc and it's getting good as things with Sudo and the missing Aoki come to a head! The last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat! I was so sad when I finished and there was no more pages. I just need to know what happens next after that ending!

I don't usually comment on the side stories but I have feelings about both of these. I'm a bit upset that they changed the end of the first side story from what it originally was. We know drugs are bad but this is a mature manga about a photographer and a crime lord. It felt really out of place. I definitely prefer the original ending.

The second side story was my favorite where we have Asami dressing Akihito up in a suit and taking him to dinner at a fancy restaurant before heading to Macau for some adult style gaming. My favorite part of the story is that we get to see a new side of Asami! On the surface, he seems impatient with Akihito’s child-like delight in their luxurious accommodations. But the businessman reveals an unexpected playful side to his nature. It was so good to see another side of Asami and his feelings for Akihito!

Gah! The English translations are now caught up to the Japanese volumes and we're back to waiting a long time. The wait to find out what's going on might kill me. I can't wait to get my hands on the next volume.

  4 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
Finder Deluxe Editions, Vols. 1-5

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