Archive for the 'Konohara, Narise' Category

27th May 2008

Cold Sleep

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Tohru Takahisa is having a shitty life. Well, at least what he can remember of it is pretty shitty. Takahisa was in a car accident that left him with a rotten case of amnesia and a busybody by the name of Fujishima, who seems to have taken him under his wing. Right down to giving him a place to stay while he gets back on his feet.

The two adjust to their lives together fairly well until Fujishima makes it known that Takahisa should go back to school and take up photography. Takahisa has no interest in photography and doesn’t know why Fujishima keeps pushing this down his throat.

A cranky Takahisa gets a part time job at a local store and starts trying to find clues about his life before the accident. He doesn’t like much of what he finds. The old Takahisa was hot-tempered and reckless, the old Takahisa didn’t like people very much, the old Takahisa had talked about saving up money to take photography courses.

It seems that Fujishima knows more about Takahisa’s life than he was letting on. Throw in the fact that Fujishima has a mad crush on Takahisa and that Takahisa is starting to slowly reciprocate the feelings, and you get an interesting little mix. Now eventually, we do find out why Fujishima has wormed his way into Takahisa’s life and just how deeply the two care about each other, but it’s a long and interesting road getting there.

Also, included with the main story was two mini-stories about high-school classmates who meet up at a class reunion years after they both graduated and went their own ways. I’m a sucker for school-boy angst, so this was right up my alley. Nicely done with weaving in the flashbacks to the time in high school; the storm of angst and emotions that comes with being that age and the two main characters falling right back into their schoolboy roles as they talk as adults.

It’s nice. Narise Konohara seems to pick odd themes for her writing. While it does follow some of the traditional BL stereotypes, many times she takes the cliche and turns it on it’s ear – producing something that’s utterly addicting to read.

I really hope that fans enjoy the novels as much as I have been. I would really like to see more of them brought over and released in English. I’ll bribe the gang down at June with cookies if I have to. I want more of this!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Cold Sleep, Konohara, Narise, Saikawa, Nanao | Comments Off on Cold Sleep

27th May 2008

Don’t Worry Mama

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Here we go with DMP’s second try in the BL novel world. Thankfully, I was much happier with this book than the Only The Ring Finger Knows novel. The story and the phrasing just flowed very smoothly.

Don’t Worry Mama revolves around the development of a relationship between Yuichi, an average, everyday salaryman who works at a pharmaceutical company and his obese, self-absorbed, dickwad of a boss, Imakura. While on a trip out to a deserted island to search for a weight loss herb that’s rumored to grow out there Yuchi’s hate for Imakura starts to grow.

Fate steps in and the two of them are left stranded on this deserted island. Now Imakura, more than ever before starts to show his true colors. He’s whiny and impatient and wants everything done for him and he’s even hoarding food and refusing to share with Yuchi.

Yuchi gets fed up with this and leaves Imakura to fend for himself. Yuchi’s pretty resourceful. He finds plenty of edibles in his wandering around the island and even begins to trap rabbits for food. Imakura, however, isn’t fairing as well. His experiments with eating on the island have left him sick and weak and all kinds of nasty. Yuchi, being an all-around nice guy, steps in to help Imakura. As Imakura starts to let Yuchi help him, he starts to open up to Yuchi. Once he opens up, it’s harder to hate him.

As time goes by and they’re stuck on this island and Imakura is turning back into a human being instead of a walking pile of blubber, Yuchi finds himself being more and more attracted to him. Imakura has soft skin and a sweetly innocent disposition. He’s also hung like my pinkie finger, but we won’t get into that now.

The relationship grows and the question becomes not will this paring work, but will this pairing work once they’re back in society, off the island.

You know, I really surprised myself by just how much I liked this story. Not to mention the fact that I was happily surprised by just how graphic it was. I mean it wasn’t full out-and-out smut, but it was pretty damn explicit. And that was a very nice surprise. I was expecting the book to be sweetness and light, like June’s first foray into BL novels was. If they keep bringing over books that are slightly smutty I think they may have just won a fangirl for life.

I don’t think the story or the subject matter is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re curious as to what’s out there in the world of BL novels.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Don't Worry Mama, Konohara, Narise, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on Don’t Worry Mama

27th May 2008

The Man Who Doesn’t Take Off His Clothes 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Damn you, June. Damn you to hell and back. You know I expect nail-biting cliffhangers at the end of every volume of manga. It’s the reason that we keep coming back and buying more, but I don’t expect it when it comes to novels. When it does happen, it sends me into a rage, cursing the publisher and the author for making me wait months to find out what in the hell is going to happen.

Yeah, I’ve got to wait until Spring 2007 to find out what happens to the main characters. Not fun. Good for June for getting me sucked in, not good for me, my wallet and my brain that wants to have resolution now.

That being said this is not a book for everyone. If a scene with what pretty much amounts to date rape (uke-boy is out of his head on aphrodisiacs and liquor) is going to squick you out, then I would give this title a wide berth. Me, being a hopeless perv, had no problem with a scene like that and appreciated it for being the only way that the two characters would get together. Besides, uke-boy let some things slip when he was all out of his head that were pretty damn revealing/hot.

So our story revolves around Kaitani, forever cursed with the feminine name Anna, who chooses to go for the masculine pronunciation of his name, Yasukazu. Now Kaitani works for a cosmetics company. It wasn’t really what he wanted to do with his life, but by the time he decided to go looking for a job all the good ones were taken. His uncle pulled some strings for him and got him into Cavi Cosmetics.

Kaitani’s section chief is Fujiwara, the prissiest man ever to live. Everything Kaitani wants do is foolish and slovenly in his eyes. Kaitani dries his hands on his pants because he doesn’t have a handkerchief on him, Fujiwara goes out and buys him one. Kaitani gets soaked on his way into work and is reprimanded by Fujiwara for getting mussed and gets told to keep an extra suit at work for times like that.

So work-life hasn’t been all peaches and cream. Kaitani has just been slacking off and coasting by in his job when he finds a product up for development that really interests him. He starts to give everything he has into the project, only to get shut down by Fujiwara.

There have been rumors floating around about Fujiwara, about why he’s so prissy, and why his lovers even claim that he will never undress fully in front of them. One of his ex-girlfriends claims it’s because he was in a fire when he was younger and that his back is covered in horrible burns.

Kaitani gets fed up with being brushed off by Fujiwara and having the products he’s designing being shot down. He decides to get a little bit of old-fashioned revenge. While Fujiwara is passed out drunk after an office party Kaitani decides to get revenge by taking pictures of the supposed horrible burn scars.

He doesn’t find burn scars, but he does find something that could be quite embarrassing to Fujiwara if it ever came to light.

There’s an interesting dynamic between these two. Through most of the book you swear that they hate each other’s guts, but then you get to the last few chapters and you start to wonder if there’s something that is lacking in each one of them that they find in each other.

Really, it’s well worth the read. If the slight non-con scene isn’t going to tweak you out too much, I would definitely recommend begging, borrowing or committing small acts of mayhem to get a copy of this book. It’s that good.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Konohara, Narise, Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, The, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on The Man Who Doesn’t Take Off His Clothes 1

27th May 2008

The Man Who Doesn’t Take Off His Clothes 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

So when we last left our heroes, Kaitani was harboring a good case of unrequited lust for his section chief after getting him drunk, drugging him with an aphrodisiac and then having his wicked way with him.

Section Chief Fujiwara doesn’t share Kaitani’s obsession and seems to just want to put the entire mess behind him and goes back to belittling Kaitani at work and then ignoring him everywhere else. But Kaitani’s got a way about him that let’s him creep under the strongest defenses. We find Fujiwara slipping in a few acts of kindness along with his disdain of Kaitani.

A dinner out together leads to them spending most of their time together. They find that they truly enjoy each other’s company. This of course does nothing to dampen Kaitani’s lust for Fujiwara.

The tranquility of their friendship is broken by Fujiwara wanting to date a female. Kaitani falls apart at this news and blackmails Fujiwara into being his lover for one evening. Now that evening and the blackmail lengthened and before the boys know it, they’re in a full-blown relationship.

All of which goes to hell in a handbasket when Kaitani decides to butt heads with Fujiwara again at work. There’s a breakup, tears, confusion and a boatload of angst. We do end up with a happy ending, but the whole thing left me slightly unsatisfied.

The first book hinted at the fact that Fujiwara had a bit more of a casual liking for Kaitani when he told him in his drunken state that he knew his first name and that he had noticed it because “he always notices the cute ones.” This had me thinking that Fujiwara wanted Kaitani as badly, if not more, as Kaitani wanted him, but he was better at hiding it and hid from his feelings by belittling Kaitani. This book glosses over that fact, which I thought was a fairly salient plot point, and just painted Fujiwara as someone who had gotten swept up into something that was bigger than he was.

It’s still a good story, just not quite what I was expecting. Hell, maybe the third book in the series will be from Fujiwara’s point of view, or will go more into his feelings about the relationship.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Konohara, Narise, Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, The, Shimizu, Yuki | Comments Off on The Man Who Doesn’t Take Off His Clothes 2