Romance Roundtable #21: Suite Seduction

Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss a Harlequin romance manga. Today we’re discussing Suite Seduction by Takako Hashimoto (original novel by Leslie Kelly). After 21 Romance Roundtables, we’re excited to finally get to one we can strongly recommend! Two cuties fall in love, eat delicious anime food and save an old hotel (with the help of two A++ crones). Truly, we love to see it, and we think you will, too.

Rachel: i’ll start by saying, i’m glad we got one that was cute, well-drawn, and not too problematic
even if the editing/lettering was pretty questionable at times lol
but we’ll get to that

Jenny: same! I honestly really enjoyed it!

CC: yeah! “you’ve got mail,” but in a hotel and slightly more problematic!
but honestly: much less problematic than 99% of these
also, this book featured two people I genuinely liked and wanted to root for
and lots of delicious drawings of manga food

Jenny: truly!! an incredible gift!!
but yes the premise — a prestigious hotel run by a tight-knit family is down on its luck and a large hotel conglomerate wants to acquire it. the big business sends a representative who is very handsome, and he falls in love w the head chef (our protagonist); she doesn’t want to sell her family’s hotel, but gosh is he handsome
mostly though

Jenny: it’s taurus season baybee

Rachel: lollllll

Jenny: there are quite a few sex scenes and they are all food-related

Rachel: you know, i really enjoyed that
like, if you’re going to make your protag be all about food, and all her internal dialogue relates everything to food
just go all the way
make sex about food too

Jenny: love to see it

CC: I loved when she turns him down and says that she’s on a diet
just taking the bit and going with it

Jenny: lol truly!
love to see that commitment

CC: like hot butter

Jenny: hawt buttah
*if they’re in philly


Rachel: lol that’s right! i also love a regional romance

Jenny: happy to be out of england for once

CC: also idk about y’all, but bc our dashing male lead is apparently a southern boy, according to this story
I just imagined that he sounds like daniel craig in knives out
every time he spoke

Jenny: north carolina
lol god i hope so

Rachel: ME TOO
honestly, and sorry to folks from carolina, i forget that’s the south
i mean like, yes, it is

Jenny: but also like it gets cold there so how south could it be

Rachel: right!!!

Jenny: they have autumn, presumably

Rachel: they do have great accents though
probably better than mine

Jenny: true true
we don’t have accents though
we talk normal

CC: it’s everyone else that has accents

Rachel: true, very true
i’ve got that transatlantic accent so many texans are famous for
truly international
ANYWAY back to this philly chef and her southern beau

CC: yeah for sure
this comic had the BEST shoujo line in any romance roundtable book:

GODDDD i could DIE

Jenny: lololololololol

CC: i just
ate it up

Jenny: honestly though this book really delivered and kept on delivering

Jenny: ^^this is the good stuff right here
this is what i live for
a wobble that comes from literally out of nowhere

Rachel: the shoujo wobble!

Jenny: if only they had come up with some convoluted excuse to fake date
all of the tropes i could ever have desired would’ve been fulfilled

CC: look
I genuinely liked that they actually decided to real-date?
I know how much you love fake-dating jenny
I just……liked the level of commitment?

Jenny: fair, v fair — this was done really nicely tbh
loved that (unlike in you’ve got mail) this guy is just v upfront about the fact that he is into her and his being into her is more important to him than this business deal

CC: yesssssss
another one of my favorite parts of this book
the scene when they are longing for each other while eating delicious and beautiful cookies

Jenny: oh man! yeah!
connected by these cookies!!

Rachel: mutual pining and eating snacks!!!
extremely relatable

CC: agreed
so close to perfection!
I just
want to block all of the stuff in this book I was not into, like the hotel conglomerate’s daughter’s whole plot line, from my brain
so that all I remember is the sexy food

Rachel: oof, monica

CC: yeah! god

Jenny: i’d petition to keep only this one panel

Jenny: and maybe not even the bubble — just the signature o hohohoho laugh
def need a villain to do this laugh in the background but also v much agree that she was truly awful and not like, a fun villain

Rachel: lol i mean i do love a good anime o ho ho ho ho laugh
i mean, she was mostly just the standard villain fair until this thing happened


Jenny: yeah a bridge too far

Rachel: now i wish her only ill will
ruth (our protag) took being pregnant suddenly with extremely good will though

CC: well, I guess she does mention at the start that she really wants to get started on having a family? but I know that these are not exactly ideal circumstances

Rachel: honestly her breaking up with him gave me real nana vibes
like where she breaks up with her punk rocker boyfriend because she doesn’t want to ruin his music career?
and i say this because i did not like that part of nana LOL

CC: LOL another moment I have wiped from my heart
just clean out of my heart and brain

Rachel: it’s for the best!!!!


Rachel: luckily the consequences of this harlequin breakup were very short-lived
good thing he had a rich southern motor family that could help a girl out

CC: and also two crone aunties ready to cyber and/or IRL bully her bf!!!



Rachel: from this

Rachel: to this
love that they were drawn the same way lol

CC: LOVED how sinisterly they were drawn just for them to mostly be trying to help out?????
love when a terrifying woman has your back (x 2)

Rachel: also this is all of us


Rachel: just two crones getting excited for their great-niece to get some smoochin

Jenny: 100
also adding these crones was such a good decision — just in terms of creating a perfect book
we really can have it all

CC: love how hard they work to try and save the hotel, too

CC: love 2 see workplace solidarity; would love 2 see a RR title involve unionizing but what can u do I guess
I’ll take it

Rachel: maybe it could happen!!
honestly this book did a lot to rejuvenate my interest in reading this dumb books lol

Jenny: lol bless
but truly this book was a lot of fun and did remind me why we do these! esp after such a string of shitty dudes who somehow get the girl
love to see the girl willingly choose a sweet boy

Jenny: a sweet boy who loves sweets

Rachel: oh yeah these cute outtakes were so great!!
love a dude who is handsome and also totally animates about food

Jenny: truly!!

Rachel: this was a good depiction by the artist
i really liked this artist overall!!!
no yaoi hands, v nice proportions and expressions
good at making food look tasty even in black and white

Jenny: agreed! and the dude was p consistently handsome the whole time too

CC: also an eye for working in thirst traps

Rachel: those HIPS
this actually was a moment where i thought… “is he a trans man”
because that would be rad

Jenny: honestly would love to see it
but also speaking of the casual thirst trap

Jenny: the heaving bosoms
so casual

Rachel: lol i wish my hair did that when i took it out of a ponytail

CC: yeah and also, that dress is not so bad

Jenny: is it the hair that’s ruffling or is it the dress? who cares when it’s sexy?

CC: truer words have never been spoken

Jenny: also loved this take
even if the dress is not terrible, it def is SO POOFY

CC: I also loved:

CC: what a hot take

Jenny: lol truly
pussy wins wars
that’s just facts
look it up

Rachel: there’s a greek play about it!

CC: history!

Rachel: ok so we all agree the art is good and cute
but i have to put the letterer on blast


Rachel: this is a thing that i have had an actual nightmare about
as a publisher and comics maker, there is nothing more horrifying to me

CC: you can have all the well-placed pastries to obstruct nips in the world throughout the book
all the perfectly wavy hair and next level thirst traps
and yet
“lorem ipsum”

Rachel: it’s like jason blossom, it haunts me

Jenny: lol bless

Rachel: the rest of the lettering is fine lol


CC: rachel is cheryl

Rachel: mfw i see “lorem ipsum”

Jenny: lma

so, this is a slight shift
but something I thought was really, really nice

CC: I would read a whole series about this hotel
the couple that always spends christmas there
the old school mafia chucking people off the roof in the 30s or w/e
this is the first time I got to the end of a RR title and wanted more story enough to consider picking up the original book to see if anything needed to be cut in the adaptation

Jenny: that’s so nice
let’s get THAT pitch ready tbh!! would love a series about the history of a grand hotel and all of the beautiful and scandalous things that happened there

CC: another thing I wanna know about is this hot guy’s half-a-dozen bishounen brothers

Jenny: lol a family of hot dudes supporting women

Rachel: you love to see it!!!
i definitely feel like they have their own series and this is their cameo in the hotel book

CC: that middle one definitely does
the one on the left

Jenny: graphic design is his passion


Rachel: aaaaahahahah

Jenny: y’all ready for final thoughts?

Rachel: yah!

CC: yeah! I genuinely feel like this one was so delightful and fun
that while I’ve enjoyed talking about it
it was just, so refreshing and fun????
I’m ready for final thoughts is what I’m saying lol
mind if I go first?

Jenny: do it!

CC: I LOVED that this comic’s whole thing about drawing sinister looking but kind ladies continued with the male lead’s mom

CC: this flavor…. I like it!

Jenny: honestly i want to be her when i grow up

Rachel: yess!! maybe scary at first but also fiercely kind!!!

Jenny: the dream

Rachel: wow we had 3 good older women in this book
that’s a record i think

CC: i truly love 2 see it

Rachel: here is something i hate to see
which is
this outfit

Jenny: lol the square toe

Rachel: he’s so handsome but this is like a disco john travolta look and i hate it!!!!


Rachel: like he’s about to bust out the beejees at any moment!!!!
disco is DEAD, doesn’t he know??

Jenny: a good and fair point

Rachel: anyway, just truly unfortunate, because his hair is so good

CC: good taste in sweets, bad taste in suits

Jenny: troubling then, as we move into my final thought

Jenny: this is the end of book kiss spread
and i love it?
like — much sexier, imo to have chosen the moment of their both leaning in than the moment of connection
but also he is still wearing that outfit

Rachel: yeah!! and his head tilt is very good!!
me @ that suit

Jenny: lol bless

yeah I loved this scene too!
two decent human beings, making each other happy
rare ending for one of these
but love it nonetheless

Jenny: i think this might be the first romance roundtable book that i would actually recommend people read?
it was cute and fun
worth the $4 or w/e

CC: agreed

Rachel: same!!
it only took…. 20 books????
for us to read??? and find one we would recommend????

Jenny: LOL
truly LMA

Rachel: lmaaaa

CC: same

Join us next time for Romance Roundtable, when we’ll be covering Big-Shot Bachelor (by Motoyo Fujiwara; original novel by Nicola Marsh). In the meantime, check out our Patreon for just a few bonus goofs that didn’t make it into today’s roundtable, as a treat.

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
Carolynn Calabrese

Carolynn Calabrese

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
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