Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain – Warmest Wishes

Their favorite holiday is going away. Will it take their friendship with it?

Since 1989, the birthday of the Emperor of Japan has been celebrated on December 23rd. But this is the last year; the Emperor is abdicating, and next year there will be no holiday.

For twenty-year-old Akihito, the holiday has always been special. It’s his birthday, too, and a perfect excuse for spending the entire day celebrating across Tokyo with his life-long best friend, Kenji. But now that they will no longer get the day off and will soon face adult responsibilities, will they drift apart? Or if Akihito confesses the secret love he’s held in his heart for years, will their closeness be ruined? One thing is certain: nothing will be same by the end of the day.

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Advent Calendar Day 5

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Dreamspinner  Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Unlike most of the other advent stories I’ve read this year, The Last Birthday isn’t really a Christmas romance. I still think it qualifies as a holiday romance because it centers around a major Japanese holiday that occurs right before Christmas – the Emperor’s birthday. Mere Rain uses the holiday to show the bond between the two young men as they bar hop around Tokyo to celebrate Akihito’s birthday. Because it’s the last year the day will be a national holiday, the two decide to make a day of it and get well beyond wasted. And thanks to all that liquid courage, Akihito finally confesses his feelings for his best friend.

I enjoyed the tiny bit of sightseeing Rain treated readers to and appreciated how Akihito and Kenji revisited some places out of nostalgia, which allowed readers to see the history between the two via childhood memories. The confession scene was quite touching because of Akihito’s fears and the manner in which he reveals his feelings for Kenji because of those fears. What I really liked was Kenji’s declaration on the train because while I suspected he would reciprocate Akihito’s feelings – it is a romance, after all – I didn’t expect him to say what he did based on the conversations about his family. Despite their years of history, The Last Birthday Party is a tale full of hope as Akihito and Kenji embark upon the next stage in their lives.

Mere Rain is an international nonentity of mystery whose library resides in California.

Mere likes reading, travel, food, art, and you.

No, really!

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Dreamspinner Press  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Warmest Wishes: The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain to read and review.

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