Title: Voices of Love
Author: Kanae Hazuki
Publisher: Luv Luv
May Contain Spoilers
Ok, now this book really irritated me. I was expecting some titillating tales of passion, and instead got a helping of pathetic young women with serious self-esteem issues. Seriously, I wanted to slap most of the them. Sana allows herself to be a convenient sex buddy for Shigeru, the man of her dreams. Too bad their lusty encounters didn’t mean squat to him. Nina’s boyfriend abuses her, but she refuses to leave the vile beast. He acted like a jackass from the moment she first met him, and things haven’t improved any. I could forgive the fact that he was sleeping around faster than I could forgive how hatefully he treated her. It pissed him off when he saw her smiling – well, it pissed me off that he didn’t die at the end. And then there’s Hayako, who’s boyfriend traded her away in exchange for breaking his friend’s video game. In fact, it seems that he trades her away for other things, like money, and she doesn’t find it degrading to be told to sleep with other men. In fact, she’ll do whatever Kasai tells her as long as they stay together forever. Sheesh. She finally caught a clue, but I can’t believe she was so stupid to begin with.
When I picked this book up, I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of a steamy category romance. You know, where the hero and heroine fall in lust at first sight and can’t help but tumble onto the nearest convenient surface for a little mutually satisfying lovin’. The degradation and abuse so prevalent in this book rarely occurs, and when it does, it’s because of a mistaken identity or a misunderstanding and is ultimately forgivable, if not horribly cliched. Everyone is happily fulfilled at the end, though quickly forgotten by the reader. Voices of Love just made me gnash my teeth in irritation.
I did enjoy the title story, about a young high school teacher and one of her slightly delinquent students. Kuga also happens to be her neighbor, and his over-rambunctious sexcapades keeps her up every night due to the painfully thin walls separating their apartments. It was a cute look at an unlikely attraction between two totally opposite individuals, and if the rest of the book had continued in a similar fashion, I would have enjoyed it more.
“Pictures of Us” was the other chapter that I enjoyed. 36 year old Mizu is starting to get a tad desperate; he’s an introvert, time is creeping up on him, and he’s still lonely and unattached. He advertises on a dating website, and young, beautiful Fuyu responds. Theirs is a gentle courtship, as Mizu grapples with his doubts about the difference in their ages. They both even experience some personal growth as they confront their flaws.
Even though this first release from Aurora’s Luv Luv imprint left me cold, I’m still optimist about future releases. The passion was here, but the romance was sadly lacking. Once both elements are present, I think they might have a winner here.
Rated for Mature
Review copy provided by Luv Luv