Cover Shot! The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Supervillains.  I love them.  Especially when they are, deep in their heart, good guys.  Look at this guy.  Does he look like a devious doer of evil?  Nope!  I can hardly wait to get my hands on The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz, to see just how bad Alex really is.  Or isn’t.  In stores October 2012

 

The Cloak Society: An elite organization of supervillains graced with extraordinary powers. Ten years ago they were defeated by the Rangers of Justice and vanished without a trace. But the villains of Cloak have been biding their time, waiting for the perfect moment to resurface. And twelve-year-old Alex Knight wants to be one of them.

Alex is already a junior member, and his entire universe is Cloak’s underground headquarters, hidden beneath an abandoned drive-in theater in Sterling City, Texas. While other kids his age are studying math and history, Alex is mastering his telekinetic powers and learning how to break into bank vaults. His only dream is to follow in his parents’ footsteps as one of the most feared supervillains in the world. Cloak is everything he believes in.

But on the day of his debut mission, Alex does the unthinkable: he saves the life of a young Ranger named Kirbie. Even worse . . . she becomes his friend. And the more time he spends with her, the more Alex wonders about the world outside of Cloak—and what, exactly, he’s been fighting for.

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Guest Post: Dori Jones Yang–Aren’t the Mongols Bad Guys?

Dori Jones Yang is celebrating the release of Son of Venice, the sequel to her YA historical novel Daughter of Xanadu.  She stopped by the virtual offices  to set the record straight about the Mongols.   

Weren’t the Mongols Bad Guys? by Dori Jones Yang

Imagine a cartoon image of a horde of Mongol horsemen. Galloping on black horses, fierce and ferocious, they are invading a village, eager to rape and pillage.

The Mongols, history teaches us, were barbarians, vicious and cruel, destroyers of all that is good and civilized.

So why on earth did I choose a Mongol as the main character of my novel, Daughter of Xanadu, and the chief love interest in the sequel, Son of Venice? Who would fall in love with a Mongol?

In college, I majored in European history, and the Mongols were remembered as “Tartars” who decimated Hungary and Poland and subjugated Russia for centuries. But any good student learns that every set of people has its own take on history.

The story of the Mongols was mostly written by the people they conquered: the Russians, the Chinese, the Persians. The Mongols were definitely less “civilized” than all these peoples. When they began their conquests, they were nomadic herdsmen with no permanent settlements, no architecture, no written language. They lived in tents and spoke a guttural language no one else could understand. With no farming or manufacturing, they had to raid settled areas to get modern goods: stirrups, swords, fabrics, dishes.

Most of the horror stories about the Mongols are true. In retrospect, it seems almost impossible that Genghis Khan and his primitive hordes could have conquered most of the known world. They did it with “shock and awe” – swooping in on surprise attacks with such ferocity and cruelty that settled people were terrified of them. When one town resisted, Genghis Khan ordered his troops to massacre them with such horrific brutality that the next town would choose to surrender rather than face such a rampage. The Mongol troops cut one ear off each victim and collected them in bags as a way of counting the dead. They stacked up skulls to make sure no one would resist them in the future. The word “horde” even comes from Mongolian!

So it surprised me to read Marco Polo’s book. When he arrived in China, it was ruled by Genghis Khan’s grandson, Khubilai Khan. Marco would have heard these same horror stories from his father’s generation, who lived through Mongol attacks on Europe. And yet, Marco himself wrote nothing but positive things about Khubilai Khan: about his luxurious palaces, his glorious gardens, his large family, his lavish banquets. Marco Polo might as well have been a paid PR guy for the Mongols. Why?

It turns out the Mongol conquests were so swift that they gained control of almost all the land from Russia to China in just two generations. By the time Marco Polo got to China, the Mongols had settled into Chinese-style palaces and were living peaceful, opulent lives. They were commissioning art and poetry, learning good governance, and encouraging trade. They established an Empire that lasted over one hundred years, and most of that time they were not barbarian or brutal at all.

Most of us don’t think of our own people as bad guys. We Americans certainly don’t see ourselves that way – and the Mongols didn’t either. In their own legends, they were heroic, conquering more powerful kingdoms with brilliance and courage and then ruling them wisely.

In my novels, I wanted to make that point. To Emmajin, who grew up in the court of her grandfather, Khubilai Khan, the Mongols were the good guys.

You can find out more about the Mongols and my books at www.dorijonesyang.com.


Thank you, Dori!

You can learn more about Dori by visiting her website.

You can purchase both Daughter of Xanadu and Son of Venice from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

Review: Lead Me Home by Vicki Lewis Thompson

 

Title: Lead Me Home

Author:  Vicki Lewis Thompson

Publisher: Harlequin Blaze

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Thanks to his skills with difficult horses, trainer Matthew Tredway has traveled all over the world. And his new gig? The Last Chance Ranch. But after a chance glance at the ranch’s hot little blond cook, Matthew’s libido is immediately set to sizzle!

Chef Aurelia Smith has been trying to tempt the ranch hands with mouth-watering concoctions, with less-than-stellar results. But when Matthew is sent in to intervene, his attraction to Aurelia boils over.

Before long, they’re cooking up a storm, in and out of the bedroom. But Aurelia knows that while she might have led her horseman to bed, she can’t make him stay….

Review:

Whenever I get into a reading slump, I find myself reaching for a Harlequin category romance.  I don’t know why, but these things always seem to get me back on a reading track.  Maybe because of the formula, and because I know that despite all adversity, the protagonists will find a way to get together.  I’m not suggesting that they are all 5 star reads, but I find a great deal of comfort in the formula.  I have only read a few titles under the Blaze imprint, and so far, they have been quick, satisfying reads, so I  gravitated to one of these.

I picked Lead Me Home to load on my Kindle because of one thing:  the hero is a horse trainer.  I am always a sucker for a book with horses.  I am also extremely critical of stories featuring horses, because there are certain ways we do things at the barn, and then there’s the way everyone else does things.  Usually, it is in sync with how I expect horse care and horse training to be described.  Sometimes it is not.  With the exception of young Lester’s “natural” riding abilities, and the abbreviated time spent training Houdini, the unruly stallion, I didn’t have much to complain about with the horse scenes.  I would like Lester to come and show me how to canter on a runaway horse, because I am having a heck of time cantering on one of my mares.  Of course, Lester was helped out by a jerk throwing a rock, so maybe under different circumstances, he would have a problem, too.

Anyhoo, getting back to the book, Matthew is a huge guy, 6’5” and solidly built.  He is a muscle machine.  I am assuming that he’s training quarter horses, and my only other nitpick is that he is a big guy.  Quarter horses aren’t huge horses(well, except for their rear ends).  I am thinking that he looked pretty silly on Houdini, unless the stud was built like a brick sh!thouse, too.  I know how ridiculous my trainer looks on one of my mares, and she isn’t a small horse.  Oh! I am wandering off track again! Sorry!  Let’s try again!

Matthew is a famous horse trainer, probably along the lines of Clinton Anderson.  He is a published author, and everyone recognizes that he is a horse training expert.  He jets all about the world, working his equine mojo.  He also feels detached from people, and has no real committed relationships.  Both of his parents have passed away; his mother when he was a young child, and his father just a few years ago.  His father was so devastated by his mother’s death that he was an emotionally distant care-giver.  Matthew found completion training horses, and his training gifts have made him wealthy.

Aurelia, on the other hand, works at a bank.  She is very satisfied with her job, but she has taken an extended vacation to fill in for her aunt, who is off on her honeymoon.  Aurelia is working at Last Chance Ranch as the cook, and she is having a blast tormenting the ranch-hands with her gourmet cooking.  While she is a wonderful cook, the cowboys don’t like the weird things she is trying to feed them.  I loved this – Aurelia is trying to expose them to new food, and they just want to run for cover.  They are afraid of her food!  They think it is gross and inedible.  They sneak it out of the kitchen and feed it to the dogs.  They can’t even pronounce the names of these new dishes; how can they possibly eat this stuff??

Poor Matthew is immediately asked by the cowboys to set Aurelia straight and to save them from her goofy food.  She is just too nice for them to tell her how they really feel, so they are going to throw Matthew under the bus and make him to do.  He wants to taste her food for himself, because during his travels, he has learned to love food.  He isn’t afraid of new things!  I felt an instant bond with Matthew – any guy who has an open mind about food is all right with me.  Thankfully, I found a guy who enjoys food, too.  He even eats the gross stuff that Aurelia’s cowboys balked at – livers and yucky stuff like that.  Give me  tender goat that has been simmered in a curry sauce and I’ll be your friend forever.  The organ meats, though, that is another matter altogether.

Matthew and Aurelia hit it off right away.  It’s lust at first sight, and Matthew has the added bonus of yummy home cooking.  Their steamy affair is moving along full steam ahead, both of them acknowledging that this is just a short time, no strings attached romp.  Until they both get in over their heads.  Then Matthew makes a wonderful suggestion to Aurelia, as way to keep them together, but she rejects the idea, without even thinking about it.  And that is what irritated me about Aurelia.  She is so adventurous about about everything else,  but when the guy who seems to be the love of her life suggests as plausible way for them to be together, she shuts down and shoots him down.  Maybe he didn’t go about bringing up the topic in the right way, but, heck, he’s a horse trainer! What does he know about women!  Just kidding.

Lead Me Home is a quick, entertaining read.  It’s obvious that it’s part of a series, and I liked the characters enough that I will scrounge up more books in it.  This isn’t a perfect read, but it was engaging, the protagonists weren’t jerks, and it got me out of my reading slump.

Grade: B/B-

Review copy purchased from Amazon

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Interview with Amanda Usen, Author of Luscious and Giveaway!

 

Amanda Usen is the author of Luscious, a sexy romp through Italy, featuring yummy food and star-crossed lovers.  Amanda dropped by the virtual offices for a chat about her book.  After the interview, enter for your chance to win a copy of Luscious!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Amanda Usen] Pastry chef, word geek, romance writer, mom of three, caffeine addict, hot chef lover – all at the same time, not necessarily in that order!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Luscious?

[Amanda Usen] Chef heroine Olivia Marconi is balanced on the knife-edge of a major meltdown. Her marriage is over. She hates her job. Her two best friends have fallen in love with each other. She wants to start over, but first she has to go to Italy and tell her parents she doesn’t want to run the family restaurant anymore. Sean Kindred rejected Olivia’s indecent proposal while she was still married, but now that she’s free, he’s determined to take her up on her offer. Wherever. Whenever. Italy would be perfect. Luscious is the story of star-crossed lovers searching for a new beginning while eating amazing food, drinking fantastic wine and making incredible love.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Amanda Usen] I was sitting in a doctor’s office editing the first draft of Scrumptious. When the doctor came in and learned I was a chef, he started telling me about his fabulous vacations at a cooking school in Italy. Villa Farfalla was born! A cooking school/spa/vineyard in Verona, Italy seemed like the perfect place for the next book. I knew Olivia, the restaurant owner from Scrumptious, would be the main character. Since she made a pass at her divorce lawyer and got shot down in the first book, it made sense that he would become her love interest in the second book. The storyline fell into place in my subconscious and was born, page by page, on the computer screen. There was a LOT of coffee involved in the writing of Luscious and more wine than I will ever admit.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Olivia?

[Amanda Usen] Hungry for love!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three ingredients Olivia would never, ever use?

[Amanda Usen] Strawberries, inferior quality olive oil, box wine

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things that Sean would never have in his bedroom?

[Amanda Usen] Best question ever! It’s going to take me ages to answer because I keep mentally trying on items and giggling. Okay…deep breath… a television. No hero I write will ever spend his time in the bedroom watching TV. Mementos from other women; it’s always been Olivia for Sean. Pajamas. No explanation needed. ;-)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Amanda Usen] I belong to the Western New York Romance Writers and the Romance Writers of America. I’m constantly inspired by the hard work of my colleagues, and I’m grateful to the authors who write books that make me reach deeper and work harder to write my own stories. Food plays a big part in my books. I met my husband in culinary school, and he’s my own, personal, hot chef hero. He cooks, cleans and loves to play with our kids – now that is inspiring! I love to read the cookbooks of Maida Heatter, Nancy Silverton and Tish Boyle. I love to listen to the music of Adele, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift. Growing up, I read all of Anne McCaffrey’s dragon books, Crystal Singer books and contemporary romances. I constantly seek inspiration from life; it’s the way I stay creative.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Amanda Usen] My three Cs: Coffee, Computer, Chair!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Amanda Usen] Tiffany Reisz’s The Siren, but her BDSM erotica isn’t for the faint of heart or the conservative of religious or sexual morals! Reisz is just such a great writer that it was impossible not to be pulled into her world of complicated and unforgettable characters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Amanda Usen] One book? One book? When I was a child, I devoured books, one after the other. I was voracious. Insatiable. One book? Okay…Timothy and Two Witches by Margaret Storey. In the book, the good witch grows a petit four tree out of a stump after lunch, and the diminutive desserts have the characters’ names on them. In the forest, elves make hot chocolate that is the perfect temperature to warm your belly. Who would not be captivated by a book like that? I still have it, and my girls have both read it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Amanda Usen] I love to read. I was a romance reader long before I started writing, so I’m always in the middle of a book. I get to yoga as often as possible to help correct laptop-hunch. Since it’s summer, we take the kids swimming and to lots of parks. We love to cook with vegetables from the garden and make summer cocktails with the mint and lemon balm that run rampant in the flower beds. WNY summers are precious, so we spent quite a bit of time sitting in the front yard, watching the neighborhood kids and dogs chase each other around in circles, and waiting for the Mr. Softy truck to come down the street!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Amanda Usen] I love to talk about romance, writing and recipes on my blog Writer. Chef. Romantic. http://www.amandausen.com/

I can also be found on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/amandausen and Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/AmandaUsen

Thanks for having me here at Manga Maniac Cafe today! I love that you have “geek” in your tagline. I’ve always described myself that way, although I’m more of a barefoot, bookworm, sits-in-the-front-row, studies-for-every-test, hates-curling-my-hair kind of geek. I always have a book in my purse for emergencies. Speaking of books, what’s your current favorite? For the chance to win a copy of Luscious, comment below and tell me what you are reading!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Leave a comment sharing your current read for a chance to win a copy of Luscious!!  Earn extra entries by Tweeting!

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Didn’t win?  You can order Luscious from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below

The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–July 22nd Edition

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

The blogosphere blew up again last week with blogger/author drama, drama, drama. I will only mention one of the dustups, and only because it made me rethink my review policy.  An indie author, posing on Goodreads, threatened to “out” a bunch of bloggers who had “stolen” from him because they did not review the ebook he sent to them.  The post quickly devolved into nonsensical babble, and I only mention it because the recent unfortunate events have made me rethink my own review policy.   I no longer think it’s worth the hassle dealing with indie authors, so I will no longer consider their works for review.  Interviews with indie authors will be granted on a very limited basis as well.  My review policy had been updated to reflect these changes.  I refuse to link to the drama, but if you are interested, just use your Google-fu to research all of the badness that when down last week.

In happier book news, Entangled Publishing launched two new lines – Covet and Brazen.  I have enjoyed several of their books, so I’m curious to check out the new lines.  You can learn more about the new Covet books here and here.  Info on the Brazen books can be found here and here.   Have you read any Entangled books yet?  Are you excited to read any of the titles from their new lines?  I am still eagerly awaiting their Bliss imprint.

Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library. Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

The White Glove War by Katie Crouch

Cuttlefish by Dave Freer

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Starling by Lesley Livingston

A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry

The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh by Ros Clarke

A World Away by Nancy Grossman

Lead Me Home by Vicki Lewis Thompson

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!  Thank you Amazon for continuing to safely deliver my books!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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A Peek Inside Time For Kids Big Book of What?

 

 

Title: Time for Kids Big Book of What?

 

Publisher: Time

 

Review:

Did you know that herring communicate through farting? Yeah, neither did I, until I starting reading Time For Kids Big Book of What?  I love these Time books, because not only are they packed with huge, glossy photos, they are filled with interesting and obscure facts.  I will never forget that there is actually a fish that communicates by making a high-pitched buzzing sound that comes out of their butt.  I bet most kids who read this book won’t forget that, either!

The book is divided into chapters that cover topics that range from animals to food to sports.  It even offers up good advice, in the event that you encounter a bear during a neighborhood stroll or become lost while hiking.  I thought the Survival chapter needed to be longer, because, let’s face it, you never know when you will randomly run across a poisonous snake or get trapped outside during a blizzard.  And with these record-breaking high temperatures that we have been suffering with this summer, we all need to know about keeping hydrated, and what happens when we don’t consume enough liquids and do become dehydrated.

When I was a kid, I loved going to the library and conducting research.  I even pestered my parents to let me take an essay writing class when my brother was forced to because he didn’t like writing papers, and hated going to the library.  What better way to teach someone how to write a research paper than making them take a two week class during summer vacation?  He did not enjoy the experience, but I did.  This book is a more subtle way to get kids to learn some interesting facts, without the hassle of a library visit or the use of a card catalog.  Now, just so you don’t think that I’m only picking on the kids, I will take this book to work and share some of the more obscure facts with my co-workers.  Several of us start the day with a  trivia question, and this will be a fun addition to our daily ritual.

So – who would enjoy this book? Anyone who likes learning new things.  There is a great variety of topics, too, to make sure that everyone has something interesting to learn.

Rating – Fun!

Review copy provided by publisher

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Interview with Britt Bury, Author of The Darkest Day

Britt Bury is the author of The Darkest Day, a new paranormal release from Forever Yours.  Britt dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and answer a few questions about her book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Britt Bury] I’m a twenty-six year old woman who is obsessed with Elvis, college football and karaoke. Despite all my weirdness, I have three boys in my life who love and support me endlessly. Oh, I also have random panic attacks.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Darkest Day?

[Britt Bury] Sure! The Darkest Day, is a paranormal romance about the last human woman on earth living among immortals and her fight for survival. Oh, there is also a hunky Scottish warrior who has to protect her despite the millennium long feud between their clans.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Britt Bury] A lot of it came from my family history. My grandfather and his family emigrated from Scotland and we are a part of the Campbell clan. I did some research on old Scottish folklore and then put my own spin on the idea of immortal Pookahs and Fionns (like the three breeds within each race). I just really liked the idea of doing something a bit different. Having a world where humanity was the rarity and immortality was the norm.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Izel?

[Britt Bury] Oooh, good question! That’s tough because Izel changes so much throughout her journey. But I’d say: brave, kind and spunky. (Spunk is a real word, right?)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Kelvin would never have in his pocket?

[Britt Bury] I love these questions! Hmm, Kel is pretty minimal so aside from lining his body with weapons, he wouldn’t carry anything other than his wallet in his pocket. He certainly wouldn’t think to have chocolate on hand in preparation for an emotional female, nor would he carry her purse…at least, not at first…Oh, how the strong fall so hard. *wink*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Izel’s single most prized possession?

[Britt Bury] The journal her grandfather left her. Though Kelvin tends to distract her from reading it fully…it holds information she needs to stay alive and details about the prophecy surrounding her death and the destruction of the world. Izel also values her emotions tremendously. Being cloaked for twenty-five years with magic, she was never allowed to feel. When the glamour wore off and she was able to experience feelings, she refuses to be turned back into an emotionless shell again. Even if it saves her soul in the end.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Britt Bury] Larissa Ione is amazing. Her action scenes are phenomenal. I also love Kresley Cole because she weaves different elements like humor, danger and love in such a compelling way it makes me smile and cry at the same time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Britt Bury] Coffee, coffee and coffee. Seriously! It doesn’t have to be quiet, nor do I have a good luck item. I just need caffeine! I also need Marina Adair (my critique partner) by her phone to talk me down from the brink of madness at times.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Britt Bury] I just finished Larissa Ione’s news Apocalypse paranormal: "Lethal Rider." It was rockin’!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Britt Bury] When I was young, it was Cinderella. It sparked my interest in reading and fairy tales. I was thirteen when I read my first romance, "Eternity" by Jude Deveraux. Though it wasn’t paranormal, that was when I knew I wanted to write love stories for the rest of my life.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Britt Bury] I love spending time with my boys. Swimming, hiking and camping are some of our favorite activities. I also enjoy baking and scrapbooking.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Britt Bury] You can find me at any of the links below! Just be prepared that if you contact me, I will likely twitter stalk you right back! *smile*

LINKS:
Website: www.BrittBury.com
Twitter: @BrittBury
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Britt-Bury/343830518982602

Email: Britt@BrittBury.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5770202.Britt_Bury

Publisher’s Website: www.forever-romance.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

 

You can purchase a copy of The Darkest Day from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

Book Info:

ALL-CONSUMING DESIRE . . .

Izel Campbell was raised to believe she is an immortal Fionn with the magical skills of persuasion. But when she travels to Scotland to visit her ancestral home, Izel discovers that she is actually the world’s last living human. Forced to run for her life, Izel crosses paths with Kelvin Kerr, the Campbells’ greatest foe-and the most magnificent warrior she has ever seen.

BURNS BRIGHTEST . . .

A thousand-year-old battle chief of the Kerr clan, Kelvin lives only to avenge his father, who died at the hands of the bloody Campbells. Honor demands he kill the Campbell heir, but when he learns that the lovely Izel is both Campbell and human, Kelvin is torn between duty and desire . . .

ON THE DARKEST DAY

Word Count: 86,000. This is Book 1 in The Immortal Heat series.


B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-darkest-day-britt-bury/1108820139

Review: The Flowers of Evil Vol 1 by Shuzo Oshimi

 

 

Title: The Flowers of Evil Vol 1

Author:  Shuzo Oshimi

Publisher:  Vertical

May Contain Spoilers

 

Review:

ZOMG!  I feel a bit guilty for enjoying this tale of blackmail as much as I did.  In a moment of complete stupidity, shy, timid Takao steals the gym clothes of the girl he is crushing on.  Little does he know that this one lapse in judgment will bring about his downfall.  Witnessed by Nakamura, the weirdest girl in his class, she threatens to rat him out to their classmates if he doesn’t do everything she demands.  As he spirals deeper in to misery, Takao is at his wit’s end.  How does he get Nakamura to leave him alone, without being outted as a perv in the process?

I haven’t laughed this much in a long time.  I couldn’t help myself.  Poor Takao is such a wimp.  And an idiot to boot.  I hope those clandestine sniffs of Saeki’s t-shirt and shorts were worth the pain and embarrassment that this  hapless middle-schooler is destined to suffer.   Nakamura is one tough cookie, too!  She is relentless, and she won’t let Takao get away with anything now that he’s under her power.  I felt so bad for him!  He’s like a little puppy that keeps getting whacked with a newspaper.  And darn me, but I kept laughing at all of his discomfort. 

Even as his relationship with Saeki, she of the enticing gym clothes,  blooms, his dealings with Nakamura keep bringing him nothing but trouble.  His friends are rapidly ditching him because he’s too busy dancing to Nakamura’s tune to hang out with them, and his mother is fit to be tied because of his strange behavior.  I fear that Takao will need serious therapy sessions if this continues much longer.  I am eager to read more of this series, because I’m curious to see where it goes.  

Grade:  B+, leaning towards an A-

Review copy provided by publisher

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