Wednesday Briefs: September 11, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

In Pieces #69 (17.2) by Julie Lynn Hayes

When the first set ended, the band took a break and the dance club switched to a computerized music system. Ryan expected Ben to take a seat at the table he was sharing with Marge and relax before the next set, but apparently Ben had other ideas. Standing in front of Ryan, he reached for his hand as he swung his hips to the rhythm of the music that surged around them.

“C’mon, baby, let’s you and me shake it up a little!’

How could Ryan refuse such an invitation?  He couldn’t.

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Book Review: Blue Morning, Vol 7 by Shoko Hidako

Blue Morning, Vol 7     

Author: Shoko Hidaka

Publisher: SuBLime Publishing

American release date: March 13, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Yaoi/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Akihito finds one of his father’s old suits and tries it on, only to find it fits him as if it were made for him. He has a reason for dressing this way. He’s going to pay a visit to the dying head of the Katsuragi house. Meanwhile, Tomoyuki is returning to the Ashizaki house, along with Amamiya, having spent the night with Akihito. Now he has to face the anger of Saemon Ashizaki.

On Akihito’s arrival at the Katsuragi house, he is met by Takayuki Katsuragi, who is highly displeased at this unannounced visit, fearing it’s being done to cause him to lose face. Akihito insists he has no desire to place Tomoyuki as head of the Kuze house, he merely wishes to speak with Takamasa Katsuragi before it’s too late.

Soichiro returns home to find Katsuragi in his room, and he’s surprised to find the man has been drinking. Not surprising considering what happened between him and Soichiro’s father. They speak of Akihito and his plans to spend the summer at Kamakura before leaving for his studies in England.

When Akihito, dressed in his father’s suit, is finally permitted to see Takamasa Katsuragi, the dying man confuses him with his father, and at Akihito’s urging, begins to spin a tale going back some thirty-odd years. Afterward he retires to Kamakura. Time passes, and summer is nearly gone, but no sign of Katsuragi.

Katsuragi and Soichiro have a confrontation regarding the latter’s marriage, as well as the geisha he loves, but it’s not satisfactory to him, even after Katsuragi explains his reasoning. He dismisses Katsuragi peremptorily, tells him to get out.

Things are surely coming to a head in this series, truths are coming out, revealing a complicated web of lies. Akihito has learned that which Tomoyuki yearns to know, and is about to tell him the truth. Surely, using this information, they can find a way to stay together and be together, as equals? I believe that is what it all comes down to in the end, finding the common ground on which they can be equal partners, not master and servant, and free to live their lives together.

Even so, I worry that there are forces who may work against them. At this juncture, although Soichiro has long been supportive of their relationship, right now he is angry, so there’s no telling what he may do. His father is angry too. I think the next volume is the last one, and should be here in just a few months. I’m looking forward to seeing these two men get the happy ending they deserve.

Another great volume, waiting anxiously for the next one!

Wednesday Briefs: September 4, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

 

Here Kitty Kitty; Chapter 23.2 by Carol Pedroso

Kitryn sighed as he looked around the group sitting at the extended conference table. Three more elders had arrived. Elder Jamison was a fae representative who was also a friend of Carl’s; Elder Orion was a dwarf who was short even for his kind and had to sit on a booster seat to be able to reach the table comfortably. Lastly, there was Elder Dorian who was a Goblin. He had a habit of tapping his claws on the table and Kitryn was getting close to asking if someone had some handcuffs he could borrow.

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 7 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 6     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 5, 2005

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As Ichigo battles Hollows which Quincy Uryu Ishida has lured with his bait, Orihime and Chad awaken to find themselves safe, having been removed from the battle by a mysterious stranger in a striped hat. Chad demands to know what has happened, and what it has to do with Ichigo. Ishida is finding that his plan is going awry. He can’t kill the Hollows with just one shot anymore, alarmingly, and as his strength wanes, the number of Hollows only increases—not quite what he’d had in mind when he began the contest with Ichigo.

Rukia is dismayed to find that her strength is not what it should be. Suddenly beset by what she at first thinks is Ichigo, she realizes it is Kon clinging to her like a leech, she spots Ishida and learns that this sudden infestation of Hollows is his fault and wants to know what he was trying to prove. Meanwhile, Kiskue is revealing the truth about their powers to Orihime and Chad, and how they were activated. Seeing their skepticism, he invites them to come along with him and see for themselves.

Ichigo has finally caught up with Kon and is furious that he didn’t do what he sent him to do, which was to retrieve Rukia’s thingamajig. Ishida is still intent on having Ichigo as his opponent, but Ichigo notices the ominous cracks in the sky. As they watch, Rukia explains to him about the Quincies and why they had to be destroyed.

Despite everything, Ichigo wants to work with Ishida, not against him. Ishida explains why he hates Soul Reapers so much, and Ichigo explains about the death of his mother, and his own war against Hollows. Can these two work together to defeat the Hollow horde? And what the heck is a Menos Grande?

Should they be frightened?

There is a lot going on in this volume of Bleach. Since I’m watching the anime (although I’ve way ahead of where I’m reading), I find it interesting to note things in the manga I would have liked to see in the anime. Such as the scene with Kiskue and Orihime and Chad, where he explains about their powers. Watching Ishida and Ichigo learn to work together is great, as they both have issues to work through, mostly Ishida. Ichigo, for the most part, is pretty laid back, and takes things in stride. Ishida, on the other hand, is rather high-strung and nervous.

The fight against the Menos Grande is pretty awesome, not to mention we get to see more of Kiskue Uruhara and Tessai, although there is much we don’t yet know. I loved seeing Rukia and Ishida assimilate with their schoolmates, and the first appearance of Mr. Yoruichi is priceless.

Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to more of the same!

 

Wednesday Briefs: August 28, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Adrift: Chapter 54 by J. Alan Veerkamp

“I don’t know how we’ll be able to pay you for helping us. Roku and I are pretty much broke. We didn’t actually get paid before the crew got ashed.” Arad kept pace with Hodge’s casual steps. He’d ordered his crew members to go away so he could escort Arad and Roku in peace.

“Don’t worry about it. When I die, it’ll look nice on my good deeds list.”

Compared to the Ansariland, the Nightingale’s brighter interior was sleeker and more polished. No peeling paint on the wall plating from lack of maintenance. High contrast graphics clearly marked one section from another.

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Book Review: A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals #3) by Alyssa Cole

A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals #3)       

Author: Alyssa Cole

Publisher: Avon

American release date: April 30, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Contemporary Romance/381 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nya Jerami is the daughter of the disgraced and now imprisoned former minister of Thesolo. Escaping to the glitz and glamor of NYC, Nya is dismayed to find the city is too big to suit her, and she feels out of place there. Her career isn’t taking off the way she’d hoped, and her love life leaves something to be desired too, only to be found in the virtual dating games she plays. Returning to Thesolo for the royal wedding of Ledi and Thabiso can either be a curse or a blessing, as she is unsure of the reception she will receive from the people, some of whom think she is as guilty as her father. However, in all her speculations as to what might happen, she never figured Prince Johan into her calculations.

Johan von Braustein is literally the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourgh and has long held the title of the Playboy Prince. But that works for him, as it draws attention to himself and away from his half-brother Lukas, the actual heir to the throne, who is only seventeen and not ready for the scrutiny of the press. Johan hides behind his infamous persona and admits no one. But then he finds himself up close and personal with Nya in the most unexpected way, and all bets are off.

These two are in for a bumpy ride.

As if this isn’t enough pressure, a referendum is about to be held in Liechtienbourgh, which may bring about the end of the monarchy. What will happen to Prince Jo-jo/Johan then? The paparazzi are threatening to tear down his carefully built persona, while even from prison, Nya’s father attempts to manipulate her.

On the flight to Thesolo, Nya and Johan, aka Jo-Jo, find themselves becoming friends. Neither one knows the other has been watching for a long time. Secrets are being guarded, information withheld, and emotions kept in check. Due to unexpected circumstances, they present the world with a fake engagement. But how long will they be able to maintain the charade?

Much as I loved the first two books in the Reluctant Royals series, this one took my heart immediately, especially Prince Johan. By the time I was finished reading, I knew this was my favorite, without a doubt. Watching these two people watch each other, wanting, longing, and unable to speak due to perceived problems, broke my heart. Both are wounded, although in different ways, and both are afraid to love. Love, in their experience, can be manipulative or it can lead to great loss and pain. But there is more to it than that, as they come to learn, and they will have to take a leap of faith at some point in order to make their dreams come true.

Johan’s brother Lukas is both engaging and bratty, typical teenager, although he does have reason to act out, what with the upcoming referendum. He’s been raised all his life to become a king, but what if there is no monarchy? Not to mention, he has other issues he’s afraid to discuss which make him lash out at those he loves best.

Nya’s support group, aka Ledi and Portia, are not as evident in this book, but they are there for her as much as possible, and it’s good to see them again, as well as glimpses of Thabiso and Tav.

This book resonated the most deeply with me, and I could see myself in Nya, playing her dating sims, although mine tend to be of the male variety, such as Dream Daddy. It’s easier to give your heart to a virtual lover than an actual one, but sometimes you just have to take a chance. This is a don’t miss addition to the series, but you really need to read them all, as well as the two novellas that are part of the series also, or you’ll be shortchanging yourself.

I would so love to see these books made into a series or movie!

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Briefs: August 21, 2019

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Adrift:Chapter 53 by J. Alan Veerkamp

“We got fired on by pirates. They didn’t really explain. Shot the main engine and then the captain and crew abandoned ship. Pirates blew them out of space.”

The moment Arad began explaining, he became the center of everyone’s orbit. Hodge stood quietly with a hand on Yosei, possibility the only thing keeping the vibrating pixie from exploding with a barrage of questions. Even Pakko had stopped pouting and returned to the group with Vosh as his faithful shadow. Security being the bear DemiShou’s job description, he wasted no time testing Arad’s tale.

“The crew left you two behind?”

Arad scoffed. “I didn’t say they were upstanding citizens.”

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