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August heats up with hot-and-heavy shojo titles

| Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Tsubasa: Those With Wings” Vol. 2 (Aug. 1, $14.99, Tokyopop, fantasy for ages 16+)

This second entry to Natsuki Takaya's "Tsubasa" series really takes off, as Kotobuki and Raimon's quest for the wish-granting Tsubasa intensifies with a renewed urgency — not to mention Kotobuki and Raimon's relationship.

Takaya, the creator of the hugely popular "Fruits Basket" series, is a master of shojo romance, teasing readers with hot-and-heavy flirtations, unrepentant blushing and ... well, you'll have to find out for yourself.

As if the first volume wasn't enticing enough, Volume 2 answers just enough questions to hook you in and string you along for the next installment.

Ex-thief and champion of the nameless — orphans — Kotobuki channels her enthusiastic passion to stop the army from eliminating this charitable drain on its pocketbooks. And when she finds out just how much of a hold the military has on her ex-soldier boyfriend, she focuses all her energy into severing the life-and-death bond.

"“Phantom Dream” Vol. 3 (Aug. 11, $10.99, Tokyopop, romance for ages 16+)

Picking up where Volume 2 left off, "Phantom Dream" has Tamaki still reeling over his lover Asahi's defection to the black-magic Gekka. Tired of his family's bickering over his tainted bloodline, Tamaki and his closest companions escape to a secret location.

Asahi seems to embrace her role as a reincarnated goddess, as well as the man who turned to the dark side when she was murdered way back when. She's not the only person to defect, though, and alliances grow ever blurrier as past lives, love and allegiances increasingly tangle.

Volume 3 continues the story line's dark journey. The unrequited loves surely will torture shojo fans.

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