I love, love to read (books, e-books, fanfics, manga). Besides books, I love my Kindle, HEA stories, Harry Potter, anything related to Japan and Disney.

Learning How to Lose, in Six Easy Steps. Step Five: Love / Step Six: All the Rest - Alex Gabriel

This has to be one of my favorite MM series. I love it, so much that I forced myself to read like, a chapter per day so I couldn't finish it ^_^ I love the pain our boys went thru in the first couple of chapters... both Hiro and Ryuu loved each other so much, but because of Ryuu being an ass (treating Hiro like he wasn't important in front of others), they had this misunderstanding and are apart for weeks. In the process, both of them are unhappy, until finally Ryuu understands everything... that he is the one to blame in the relationship and fights to get Hiro back.

Once they are back it is all lovey-dovey (without being sappy) and friendship (communication!). I teared up a little bit when they are laying in bed, talking. It was so sweet... Ryuu changed for better because he loved Hiro so much and only because he was so clueless he wasn't aware that he was hurting Hiro. But once he sees that he wasn't treasuring Hiro like he deserved it, he did all the could (like not hiding anymore he and Hiro were friends; like putting Hiro above everything; like talking to Hiro -really talking to him) to make Hiro happy <3

There were times where they were talking and it was like it was in a secret code, that only they both understood. I love this kind of stuff in romance book <3

In spite of liking it a lot, i don't think this is a series for everyone. First, there are a lot of scenes about their dorama, Ryuu-Akiyama and Hiro-Yuri (although their recreation of the "after" was ). Secondly, after they get back together, it is mostly little things like having parties, being in TV shows, blogs from magazine, having a date, etc. Mundane things that for some may be redundant, but I loved it and were just a reinforcement to make us reader see how close they were, how much they loved each other, how strong their bond was. And besides, most of it was just like real J-Pop <3

One of my new favorite couples: Ryuu and Hiro
Learning How to Lose, in Six Easy Steps. Step Three: Innocence / Step Four: Perspective - Alex Gabriel

I love my boys <3 I want them to be happy!! But Ryuu is killing me with his indecision to come out (understandably, since he is an idol) and his reluctance to admit his feelings for Hiro out loud. In the process, he is hurting poor Hiro :(

[My theory is that the author based these 2 guys in 2 Johnnys. Unfortunately not the 2 I wanted. Anyway, my theory is that Ryuu is based on Nishikido Ryo. More or less same name, same grumpy personality, both of them were super cute when they were children, both of them are from Osaka, and are in a 7-member band. And Yo looks like he is YamaPi: best friend in the band, with a steady girlfriend (there was a time where he was steady with Keiko, and Yo is steady with Yumiko). Hiro, I think, is Taguchi (wtf, Ryo and Junno?? hahaha). Hiro is tall, likes puns, is mostly being made fun of, saying nothing and just smiling, just like Junno.]

So, this book was so much better than the 1st because of the romance. It has everything I like: a bit angsty (ok, pretty angsty in the last chapter, boohoo), romantic, steamy, cute... I almost want to punch Ryuu, because he is so scared to be busted. But hello! they are just meant to be together, everyone can see that ^_^ But no, Ryuu has to go and ruin everything... my heart almost broke in the last chapter (which is basically, the first chapter of the next book). I mean, his reasons are plausible. I've read so much about gossips on J-idols and the scoops of one being caught in a conbini/disco/etc. and the speculations of X idol being gay, X idol being promiscuous, etc, and they have to maintain their image intact and whatever, but still, it hurts when Ryuu more or less denigrates Hiro ("what? me with Hiro? As if. I am with **grabs some chick** this girl") right in front of him and then expects all to be good. As much as Hiro is nice and tries to go with the flow, there is a limit.

Please Ryuu, do something :( and please Hiro, don't be so hard on both of you. You both are suffering :( and me too :(
The Secret History - Donna Tartt

A bit too long, and although it is never dragging, there are parts that seemed irrelevant. Such as, the whole chapter where Richard is alone and almost dying of cold while the rest of the group is on vacation. I wonder what was the necessity of that... Also, the beginning. It took a while for Richard to join the class.

The story was good and engaging; the characters were all nasty. Let's start with Bunny's parents. His mother, zero feelings. His father, bipolar. Then, the side-buddies: Cloke, Judy... all druggies. Bunny, how bothersome. The rest of the group, all f***k up. There wasn't real friendship, their relationship was destructive, but they were very tied. So tied that they all had a sort of sexual relationship (homosexuality, twincest...). The narrator had a dead-kind of voice. Although we read from his POV for more than 500 pages, I never knew what he was really feeling (except for his crush on Camilla maybe). In fact, in more than 500 pages we barely know the characters. All we know that they are living the Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll era. Barely any studies, huge amounts of booze, drugs... this bunch of kids is elitist because they are studying ancient Greek, totally separated from the University; they do what they want, they spend money and more money, they don't have any remorse for what they done, they are all highly unlikable. Still, I was pretty immersed in the story. I am not sure if I could recommend it to anyone, though.

Learning How to Lose, in Six Easy Steps. Step One: Tetris / Step Two: Fun and Games - Alex Gabriel

Back to the MM rodeo And what better than one set on the J-Pop world?

This has to be read as a J-fanfic. Meaning, it doesn't have a beginning, and the author did not bother in description, which is, we don't know who the hell Takahashi (who then is just Hiro), nor Ryuu, nor the other dozens of characters are. They just come in and with time, we get to know who is in which band. There are no description of faces, nor looks, nor places. Just like a fanfic.

I like that the author knows about J-world. It really is like reading a fanfic about Johnnys, because their world, although is called Talent Forge or something, is obviously J&A. There is also a Johnny-san Roku, sempais and kouhais relationship, several bands... Could it be that H20 is HSJ? Also, there is a TV segment where all bands are together and one has to answer the question of a X member. Just like we used to see in Shounen Club. The author also mentions Tamori, Beat Takeshi and Sanma, kings of the variety show, as well as brands like Docomo and Takarazuka.

In truth, this is not a MM romance at all, more like, a bromance, a shounen-ai. Obviously Ryuu and Hiro know each other since teenagers, but it is only in the first chapter, due Tetris game, where they get closer. Still, Ryuu thinks Hiro is a dork, but with time, they are inseparable. They eat together, they talk and message over phone, they go shopping together, they make the silliest challenges to each other. No sexual tension at all, just friendship.

In fact, it is super clean and no sexual innuendos at all. Except in the last chapter or so, where Ryuu starts to feel attracted to Hiro, and because he attributes it all to his celibacy, he goes and gets laid twice with a nice girl. Reason why I took half star of my final rating. I mean, I understand it had to happen since Ryuu is "straight" and is confused and does not want to ruin their friendship and is somewhat horny, but still. And the girl was nice and did not deserve it (true, it was a one-night stand, but still). I want my MM romances to be that, no other guy nor girl sleeping with my MC, but well, Book 1 is hardly a MM romance... But still

Impossible not to continue with the 2nd volume. It is like a book split in 3 parts. This was Part 1 only, which is friendship. Part 2 is (so far) better, since it really is a MM romance (I am currently reading it, and loving it).

Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture

Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture - Matt Goulding I am researching for my next visit to Japan (hurray!), so from that POV -from a first-time visitor- I don't think it is a big help. Or maybe I have done such a well research so far it was like re-reading the information. For example, the author talks about ekiben, onsen, geisha... which I just read in forums and blogs and other books (it is not the author's fault, all of this is from my perspective).

On the other hand, his experiences and interaction with different cooks were very informative. I may have liked the one last the best, only because it is in the country side and I may like the country side more than the city. The author went from North (Hokkaido) to South (Fukuoka) to West (Noto) to East (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka). More fancy food than street food. There were times when his narration was a bit too flowery for my taste... when I am reading a non-fiction book I prefer plain facts rather than flowers. Mostly I did not like the author's voice. But I quite liked the history parts, though.

Most pictures were mouth-watering (like ekibens). Beware!

誤算のハート [Gosan no Heart]

誤算のハート [Gosan no Heart] - Chise Ogawa, 緒川千世, 高木しげよし A collection of 3 stories; only one of them has multiple chapters while the other 2 are one-shot.

1. The Heart of Miscalculation: I liked this story although it started a bit weak. And then there is also the typical attempt of rape that I hate (the uke's big brother though, thank God). Miki is the one that likes to flirt and once they start dating, the one who is afraid because of how much he likes Udou. Then it is basically about them dating and having sex and having fun. It was very sweet. I would have loved, though, that during the make-out and sex scenes, there would be less saliva. Oh well...

2. Last Summer Blues: a story about 2 boys who love baseball. In yaoi I prefer the blond one and the dark-haired one to make it easier to tell them apart. Since in this one it wasn't like that, it made things a bit confusing. It is a shounen-ai though, since there isn't any kisses and only in the last frame you can tell one is in love with the other. Sort of.

3. A Vulnerable Afternoon: when Oomura breaks his glasses and sees the good side of Tamachi. Another cute one, although since it is a one-shot it ends when things just started.

All in all, 3 cute stories, with only one of them (the longer one) with sexy scenes. But it is mostly about feelings (yayy!)


Haikyuu!! - Haruichi Furudate I can see why this kind of manga is so popular, like KnB. It has love for sport, underdogs, talent boys who try their best to improve and talent boys who need to learn to accept teamwork.

The Girl Who Heard Demons

The Girl Who Heard Demons - Janette Rallison I can't deny I enjoyed my time reading this, in spite of feeling it was a bit too Christian for me (mentions of God, guardian angels, partying is not good, be a goody-2-shoes is right, etc.), I liked the idea and the execution. Adelle sees and hears demons, which are basically our own demons that tempt us and impulse us to do wrong. Soon Levi, the son of the principal and one of the hot guys, and Adelle form some kind of an alliance, although he doesn't believe her in the entire book, which I hated. I mean, she gave him plenty of reasons to believe her, but no, he wouldn't. He attributed all to her common sense or whatever.

I usually enjoy reading YA from her and his POV, and I liked that this book had it. I liked Levi, in spite of being such a stubborn boy.

Now, on the MEH stuff. Let's face it, Adelle is a Mary Sue. She is the girl who is quiet in class and who doesn't want to attract attention, so she dresses plainly and she wears her hair in pony tails. Oh, and she doesn't wear make up. She is basically the unnoticed mouse. Until, voila! Nice jeans, loose hair and a bit of make up and suddenly Adelle is The Hottest Girl in School. Another fact is that she is the damsel in distress. She has two big dangerous situations, and voila! Handsome Levi to the rescue. Her parents are absent (they live, literally, in another state) with the lame excuse that Adelle needed to get away from all the bullying (due to her ability and the fact that people did not believe her and called her more or less, a follow of Satan). When she gets shot, they visit for a week or so, want to take her back but "oh look, you have nice friends and a cute boyfriend, so you can stay here." What!

The ending was super convenient. Adelle was truly a Mary Sue: almost died a couple of times, but of course she got out of it. Both times. To live a normal life as a teenager with her pretty boyfriend. Hmph.

I love JR, but this one is one of my least favorite books of her. Nice plot, but a boring female MC.

Ring for Jeeves

Ring for Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse So I started this one and thought it weird that it was written in 3rd person. When I finished chapter 1, and started chapter 2, still in 3rd person and no Bertie yet, I leafed through and only found Jeeves' name. So then I took a look at the plot (which I usually never do before reading a book) and what! no Bertie?? The whole purpose to start a new one is because I miss Bertie and his adventures...

For now, I am putting this one on hold.


Shirley - Kaoru Mori, 森 薫 Beautiful, I did not expect less from Mori-sensei. The art is cute but less pretty than in [b:A Bride's Story, Vol. 1|10105459|A Bride's Story, Vol. 1 (A Bride's Story, #1)|Kaoru Mori||15002691] (this one is one of her earliest works). There are 3 stories, all of them with a gentle maid as a MC, who has a strong bond with her mistress/master. I loved all 3 of them, all cute and heart-warming!

1. Shirley: the little orphan girl of 13, who is quiet and skillful, and comes to love her mistress very much. I love that her mistress was a pretty and independent, single woman, which was hard to be in those times. There is certainly more to be narrated (what with that handsome young man, what is Shirley's story, etc).

2. Nelly: the maid who is very close to her little master. The little boy is a bit lonely since his father died when he was a baby and his mother is never at home. So he bonds with Nelly who is the youngest of the mansion staff. I like that the mother was not a 2-dimensional character.

3. Mary Banks: she and the accountant guy are the only members of the mansion staff who can stand their master's pranks. This one made me cried a little bit at the end.

The author's note at the end was a lot of fun! The mangaka is not only skilled, but also funny XD

Culture Shock! Tokyo at Your Door (Culture Shock! at Your Door)

Culture Shock!  Tokyo at Your Door (Culture Shock! at Your Door) - Yuko Morimoto Yoshida, Yuko Morimoto-Yoshida It is mostly about Japan than Tokyo, except for the advises in moving in. Since I am researching for my visit and since I have read already other books, it wasn't very enlightening in my case. But I can see that it would be a big help for people who are going to work in Tokyo.

Oshioki Gakuen

Oshioki Gakuen - Naomi Guren, 紅蓮ナオミ The situations were completely ridiculous (sprecially the last chapter, which wasn't part of the story, just a one-shot one) but the smut is sooooo good XD and there are even multiple DP.


Crossfire - Miyuki Miyabe, Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi, Anna Husson Isozaki A bit long, and it took me longer than usual to finish it, but it was very good and I love everything that was about the pyrokinesis and how easy was for Junko to use her ability. It is more a thriller than a mystery, imo.

Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter

Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter - R. Cooper Very nice, I love to read her stories where one of the MC is so insecure and the other one is a sweetheart. The name of the town was meaningful (Montgomery) since in her latest post, R. Cooper admitted she is a fan of LM Montgomery (my fav author as well!). Therefore, I loved the small town setting, in spite of the annoying knitting club and their leader Kathy :P

The Princess & the Penis

The Princess & the Penis - R.J. Silver Cute and very funny. I loved the aunts.

Bound by Him

Bound by Him - Kelex, April  Andrews Two super hot stories. The first one is a bit better when it comes to romance. At least Levi (the virgin twink) and Alex (the Dom) took their time to get naughty, since Alex was the boss of the club and Levi the new-comer (and virgin). I am not really familiar with all the bdsm aspect, so I am not sure how was Levi bounded his first time. It was supposed to be him looking at the floor, but then Alex said that he loved to see Levi watching him, so yeah... I was confused. The 2nd story was too insta-lust, too insta-love. They barely look at each other and at the next second, both Nicky (the deliver twink-guy) was in an empty office with bear Jasper. After a super-hot session,, they were more or less confessing their feelings. Huh. But taking that aside, the bdsm was so good and **comburst into flames**.