Title: Nothing Casual
Author Name: Ana J. Phoenix
Publication Date & Length: November 17, 2015 – 130 pgs
Kenta doesn’t believe in happy endings anymore. When his last boyfriend married a woman, he gave up on the world. Now he keeps himself hidden away in the comfort of his apartment, his only social contacts a few chat friends that he never sees in person. He’s become what the Japanese call a hikikomori, a shut-in, and he tells himself he’s happy that way. Most of the time he believes it, too.
It’s not until he’s forced to let an unexpectedly attractive technician into his apartment that he remembers how much he’s missing. Gradually, Akira lures him out of his shell, gets under his skin, and makes him face the big wide world again. It’s scary and thrilling and fascinating, and before long Kenta finds himself irreversibly drawn to the other man.
Akira isn’t interested in the casual sex Kenta offers, though. He wants the whole package, and Kenta doesn’t know if he’s ready to leave his hikikomori ways behind. But if he doesn’t face his demons, his one chance at a happily ever after might just pass him by forever.
This was a story about a shut in, Kenta who was bullied about his homosexuality and the man who saves him, Akira. It was a sweet story that was filled with patience and kindness, love and also, hurt.
While it was a well written story, I just didn’t really feel that the relationship was all that strong. I did like that the characters were slow in developing their relationship, but the style, for me was just a little too slow.
This was more about developing a relationship – dating in a world where you might not be all that comfortable. I wish that Phoenix had done more with Kenta’s obsession issue because I think that would have helped me with his character more. Also, with Akira’s character, I wish that it had been more about his past relationships and where he wanted to go rather than him focusing so much on what Kenta needed.
Even though I have not read previous stories by Phoenix, I would read more – She does have a way of developing a story without using fluff wording or unnecessary angst, which I appreciate a lot.
I think this was a great jumping off point for this author and me, and while this story wasn’t a home run for me, it was enjoyable and I would read her again.
Ana writes m/m romance and erotica. Her interest in hot guy-on-guy action was first sparked by reading scandalous Japanese mangas. A dirty secret she couldn’t resist. In a long bout of insanity – also known as her life — she decided to learn the language and escape to the land of sushi, sumo, and yaoi.
She’s since moved back to Europe to be with the love of her life – delicious European chocolate.
Now she resides in the sunny part of Germany where she fills her days chasing her dreams and writing about men in complicated relationships. Her family believes she’s writing “erotic manga stories.” She’s pleased they got the erotic part right, at least.