The Kitchen Boy by Augusta Li


From Dreamspinner:

Kitchen servant Yoli is one of only three men who know a carefully guarded secret about High Commander Koehen, the brilliant general who united their lands against a common invader. The enemy wants that secret, and they are willing to use either kindness or cruelty to obtain it.

Yoli must decide if his loyalties lie with the commander, who has shown him more affection than anyone in Yoli’s life, or with his own best interests. High Commander Koehen’s attention is capricious at best—he summons Yoli only when it is convenient for him, and Yoli knows there’s little hope of a future together. Is a glimmer of a hope for love worth sacrificing a chance for prosperity beyond his wildest dreams?


Kimi’s thoughts:

This is a re-release, having been previously published by Silver with a different cover. I’m glad Dreamspinner rescued the title because it’s a sweet fantasy tale that follows the emotional and personal growth of both Yoli and Commander Koehen. Koehen’s attentions often seem to be elsewhere, his pre-occupation being on the battles he and his men face. Yoli loves him unconditionally, never seeing Koehen’s needs as weaknesses though hoping that one day the Commander will see him for himself and not just as a convenient outlet for relief.

When Yoli becomes unwittingly embroiled in an enemy plot , he faces temptations that he’s never had to face before. His purity of heart  gives him a point of view regarding the men on both sides of the conflict that ultimately goes on to shape his future in ways he would never have guessed. Koehen’s response to the plot, both professional and personal, likewise  have far-reaching consequences for himself, Yoli, and the kingdom. I would have liked to have gotten to read a bit more about the wizard and Koehen, especially since the plot hints at changes to come for the wizard as well, who is himself a lonely soul. Even so, it was a very satisfying read and so Kimi gives it a solid 4 stars.




Inside God’s Arms Season 1 (Yaoi Manga): A Room Filled With Love by Nekota Yonezou


Reno’s got a new roommate and his name is Roger Brower. His nickname is “Casanova” and there are rumors that he sells his body for money. Soon after arriving he asks Reno if he can leave the room for 3 hours once every 2 to 3 days so he can have sex with his clients, and Reno realizes the rumors are true. He tells Reno that he’ll give him some of the money he makes as payment for renting out the room for that time. Reno reluctantly agrees and everything is going just fine until the day he accidentally walks back into their shared room and is confronted with the sight of Roger having sex with one of his customers.

Kimi’s thoughts:

The art is stunningly beautiful and the storyboarding is as well done as you’d expect from a mangaka as experienced as this one. She’s the author of several djs as well as a seasoned mangaka who has been published by Japan’s Libre Publishing. The story is based on tropes fans of the genre will recognise, but it’s well done and the translation has panache though the editor could have helped smooth out some awkward phrasing here and there a bit better.

There is some whiting out of anatomy in accordance to Japan’s more recent censorship laws, but it doesn’t take away from the passion that leaps from the page. The facial expressions during the sex scenes are decidedly hot and the protagonist definitely falls into the bishie with glasses category no matter what scene he is in. It is a short read, the first of six volumes, but unlike many printed manga to e-book conversions, this one reads easily on the Kindle’s display (no doubt helping add to the “Oh no, it’s over so soon”feeling) so it is a pleasurable read all the way round.

Buy from Amazon

Rating: 4