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AnnaLund2011

AnnaLund2011

I am vociferously passionate about good books. And I hate adverbs.

Book Review – Waiting for Walker, by Robin Reardon

Waiting for Walker - Robin Reardon

I read an amazing review of this book by Sammy Goode, and bought the book straight off. Ah, the power of word-of-mouth.

 

Loved, just loved this story, about people we so seldom see. With beautiful language and turns of phrase that hit me just so.

 

Beautiful.

 

”You came back to that rock and looked for me, out on the water. I think you want a new friend, too.”

 

Courage, when you realize you can no longer do nothing – but you still haven’t figured out what you can do.

 

We need more stories like this one, to lift us up, to see that it is possible to change, it is possible to take a road less traveled.

 

And that it is possible that other people’s truths are just as valid as your own. Only different.

 

Simply loved it. Warmly recommend it, especially as there was next to no sex in there, and sweet and slow, what was there.

 

Perfect.

 

 

*** Bought this book with my own monies after reading a smashing review.*** 

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1578399/book-review-waiting-for-walker-by-robin-reardon

ARC Review – Elpída, by C. Kennedy

Elpida - C. Kennedy

Elpída. Hope.

Because without hope, we are all lost.

Because without hope, we have nothing.

 

The final installment of this trilogy leaves me shattered and sad, and full of anger towards the men who perpetrate this kind of abuse on children. But most of all, it leaves me with hope, exhilarated and happy, which, in this context, is nothing short of magic on the author’s part.

 

To take this extremely important and difficult subject matter, and lovingly show it without condescension or sensationalism, and give so many young people hope? Magic, indeed.

 

There is such powerful truth in this series. There is such compassionate giving of hope. It is horrid and beautiful at the same time, and it has a way of sending a spiraling sense of meaning out to young people who are hurting, telling them there is a future, there is a life, there is a way. Telling them that there are good people out there, who will love them.

 

Hope. Truly the most powerful of all human feelings.

 

We started with beauty in book one. And horror. And friendship. And love.

Omorphi. Beauty.

We continued with courage in book two. Lots and lots of courage. And love.

Thárros. Courage.

We finish with hope in this third book, as we run, and hide, and make mistakes, and fix them again. And love.

Elpída. Hope.

 

Thimi is a young boy who lived through the same horrors as Christy in Greece, and Christy finally gets to see his old friend again as he arrives in the US as a scared little waif of a boy. Thimi slowly opens up through the story, and as he starts to understand the sunshine that can exist in a normal life we get to see more about what happens inside a child after abuse.

 

When you read a YA book, not often does it also work as a manual of how to do things to help a former victim of abuse. It is not often that, in soft tones and sweet turns of phrase, you will understand and learn how to act around people who have been through the unthinkable. Who have been through the unspeakable.

 

This is a little bit like a beautifully crafted Technical Manual of Care and Maintenance for those who work with our collective youth, especially if they work with children or young adults who have had a hard time.

 

And the end result? The telling of a great, great love story — with true friendship shining through, the kind of love that inspires both happy endings and good laughs.

 

There are other new fascinating characters entering the scene, too, and especially Zero is someone I would love to see more of in a future book... I can truly say that I hope this trilogy gets a fourth and fifth instalment, because there are still things I’d like to know, (and history is full of excellent trilogies in five parts). (Just sayin’).

 

Beauty and Courage and Hope.

Because Elpida means hope.

And, as we said in the beginning, without hope, we are all lost.

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher, Harmony Ink Press.

A positive review wasn’t promised in return. I also beta-read an early version of the manuscript.

 

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1567067/arc-review-elpida-by-c-kennedy

Book review – Sight Unseen, by Susan Mac Nicol

Sight Unseen - Susan Mac Nicol

Loved, just loved this.

Loved the language, loved the story, and loved the way life goes on, only differently.

 

So happy to see that there were no quick fixes, and no miraculous come backs, only a hard-earned struggle to make life work again.

 

Kudos, author, you did a great job.

We need more books like this one.

Simply loved it.

 

*** Bought this book with my own monies ***

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1530752/book-review-sight-unseen-by-susan-mac-nicol

ARC Review — Heartifact, by Aisling Mancy

Heartifact - Aisling Mancy

Harper is a marine archeologist, and he has a job with an oil company, mapping out new drill sites on the Great Barrier Reef. His boss doesn’t want to hear about how what they’re doing there is killing the reef.

 

At night, Harper is visited by a gorgeous man in his dreams—a stunning soul that leaves him breathless. (And me, I’d like to add).

 

Harper needs a break. He gets one, when one day, his old friend Stick calls him: Stick is a woman I loved from the second she walked onto the page. There is an underwater archeological dig, in the Mediterranean, by a Greek island. And there are intelligent and knowledgeable people running the dig. Smart and fun. Such a treat. Off they go!

 

The story takes a fantastic turn when Harper starts diving. This is a thriller. With twists. And it’s hot. Very hot.

 

I fell into this story, as always with this author, and came out on the other side in an amazed daze. I love how there are a gazillion things happening at the same time, there is action and stuff going on at several levels, and then BAM! It’s over, and I’m still reeling.

 

I don’t know how Mancy crams so much into so few pages; this is a short story of some 150 pages, but holy moly, he packs them full!

 

There are plenty of technical details about the underwater world and work, details that convince you of the well-documented research that has gone on behind the scenes to write this story. I am forever impressed with the erudition of this author, his stories span such diverse topics.

 

The point of a short story is to be precise, concise, and pack a punch at the end.

 

Well, then. Check, check, and check.

 

To add to the marvel, I am in love with the cover. Such a radiant underwater feeling of magic and slanting sunshine. I just love it so much.

 

Extra bonus: Proceeds from this book go to supporting three different causes:  Le Refuge in France, Arcigay in Italy, and The Trevor Project in USA.

 

So, even though I was given an ARC for review purposes, I went and bought my own copies. Yes, plural, because this short story was also released in French—and the translation by Bénédicte Girault is absolutely stunning. Every nuance, every feeling, masterfully rendered in French colors. I hear the Italian version will be coming soon, so I’ll wait for that one, too.

 

Well worth my time to read this, and then read it again.

 

Try it.

 

Because you’ll also help some very good organizations.

 

 

***

 

I was given a free review copy of this e-book from the author, but then I went to buy my own eBook copies to support the good causes.

A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1499993/arc-review-heartifact

ARC Review – Must Like Spinach, by Con Riley

Must Like Spinach - Con Riley

Fast track. Slick business boys, cutting costs for huge corporations, walking over dead bodies.

All things I positively hate.

 

And here goes Con Riley and makes me love this boy, Jonathan. How he finds peace in a garden in Seattle. How he connects with an elderly lady (how unusual to find real characters in an m/m story), and how he connects with the young man across the yard, despite at first judging him harshly.

 

Not everything is as it seems, and a garden in which to grow spinach is just one of the many layers of story within this story.

 

When your career makes you have to choose between being a good man and continuing in your job, you need to sit down and have yourself a good long think. And somehow this is not about Jon, no, it’s about the corporation he’s currently evaluating.

 

As usual with Con Riley, this is not a steamy story. It is slow burn. I love this. This is introspective, delving deep into what makes a man a man, and why we sometimes lose sight of who we are.

 

Isn’t it just great that sometimes a good story can set us straight again?

 

This is one of those stories.

 

I absolutely loved it, and hope you will all read it, too. Slow and easy.

 

5 stars

 

***

 

I was given a review copy of this book, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1489301/arc-review-must-like-spinach-by-con-riley

ARC Review – Thárros, by C. Kennedy

Thárros - C. Kennedy

We must start with courage.

And Thárros is courage.

 

Only in truly great fear, (or pain, or grief), do we need to muster truly great courage—but we do muster this courage, because without it there is no hope.

 

And without hope, we are all lost.

 

This story digs deep within, and it blasts open the dams, releasing a deluge of sorrow and pain, but also rivers of courage, hope and love. And as much as it has a sad base-line, it is also an uplifting story; it is beautiful, and amazing, and action-filled, and absolutely thrilling.

 

It runs away with you, it breaks your heart, and then it puts it back together again.

 

But it also delivers the extra bonus: It is so much fun! Meeting Christy and Michael again with all their crazy and exciting friends at school, and Lisa and her Uncle Smitty, it makes you giggle, and laugh, and smile, and feel good. I adore these fantastic families that know how to do things right.

Mothers and fathers who care. Teachers and a school principal who take their responsibilities seriously.

This is a little bit like a Technical Manual of Care and Maintenance for those who work with our collective youth, especially if they work with children or young adults who have had a hard time.

 

The series is, of course, centered around Christy, and I find that he is a hero of enormous value and valor. What he has overcome would make most of us just want to roll over and give up. What he does with his knowledge, once he’s gotten his own power back again, is what makes him different from the rest of us. Because he uses every inch of what he’s been through to help others, especially a kid called Thimi who enters the storyline at the end of this book, a little bit on the side. Beautiful new character. Cannot wait to get to know him a little bit more.

 

Thárros explores how we confront fear and pain, and it shows us how to find our strength, our courage. It also shows us that we can, and should, lean on our friends, trust that they will love us and help us when we need it. And it shows us how even the strongest of us sometimes give up, and need help to come back.

 

It is a story of great struggles, of great friendships, and of great pain, all turned into a wondrous blend of both strength and love.

 

The end result? The telling of a great, great love story—with true friendship shining through, the kind of love that inspires both happy endings and hope.

 

Now, we must lean back in our armchairs, and wait for the last book in this series, Elpida.

 

Because Elpida means hope.

 

And, as we said in the beginning, without hope, we are all lost.

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher, Harmony Ink Press. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

 

 

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1376587/arc-review-tharros-by-c-kennedy

ARC Review — As Autumn Leaves, by Kate Sands

As Autumn Leaves - Kate Sands

What a delightful short novel this is. I love the strong main character, Kayla, and I enjoyed walking by her side as she started to come to terms with who she was.

 

We need more books for young adults that cover the whole spectrum of diversity, and this one is great at talking about the age-old teenage problems of Where do I fit in? and, Who am I?

 

Few things in life are more confusing than being a teenager. Not feeling “normal” is normal. But getting someone to help you see your true potential and who you are? And making sure you get what you want?

 

Priceless.

 

Easy to say, I loved this. It is clean, clear, and beautiful—and it brings hope. I want this in the hands of as many young adults as possible, so that they can see that they are okay, as they are, and that they can have any kind of relationship that makes them happy.

 

I loved it. Because it’s great also for grown-ups.

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher, Harmony Ink Press. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1366613/arc-review-as-autumn-leaves-by-kate-sands

ARC Review — Chasing Shadows, by Annabelle Jacobs

Chasing Shadows - Annabelle Jacobs

It must be a nightmare when a family member just disappears.

 

Jamie’s brother, Michael, was painting in Cornwall when he suddenly went missing. Jamie travels down there to go looking for him.

 

In Cornwall, he meets Felix, an ex-army man, and sparks go off. As an aside, Cornwall is almost a character in itself in this story, and is beautifully depicted. I can actually almost smell the sea breeze.

 

I’m not a big fan of switching POVs, so that brings the experience down a little bit for me—I know some people love it, so all I can say is that it is well done, here. Not head-hopping, but switching at chapter beginnings.

 

There is mystery. Attraction. Slow-burn happening, as they keep looking for clues as to Michael’s whereabouts. And then sizzling hot as they finally get it on.

 

It’s a good story, (with a little mandatory OMG-angst at checkpoint 75%), and the mystery is solved. Kinda.

 

I feel the book could have benefited from more meat on the bones of the actual mystery than concentrating on the romance. But that’s me. I always want 75 more pages of the Real Story. Everyone else always want more romance.

 

It’s a really nice read. Recommended.

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this self-published book from the author. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1363797/arc-review-chasing-shadows-by-annabelle-jacobs

ARC Review — Sleight of Heart, by Aisling Mancy

Sleight of Heart - Aisling Mancy

Oh my, I never thought I’d enjoy a vampire book again in my life, and here Mancy goes and steals my heart.

 

This storyline was fresh, as I’ve never read one about a Rroma man before. I have met many Rroma men and women in my travels, especially in The Camargue, in southern France, and what little they let me understand of their culture, rang true in this book. Of course, theirs is a very secluded culture, so it can be difficult to know what is and what isn’t. Here? It sang loudly of sincere truth.

 

I must admit, I haven’t met many vampires, though, so my viewpoint may be biased on that one, as I simply loved the lore in this story.

 

AND THERE’S A DRAGON. Just putting that out there, for future reference, and for some people I know who are interested in these things.

 

Mancy is the king of purple prose. He makes it fun to read again, and I also had to look up fourteen words in the dictionary while reading this, so that must be considered extra-bonus brownie points.

 

Personally, there was too much sexy times in this book, but if that’s what you like, here’s where you find it. Instead, I find that the true strength in this story lies in the chapters between the intimate moments, when there is running, and jumping, and fixing, and hoping, and thinking, and pining, and flying, and…and…and…

 

Whew. What a ride!

 

And then I realize this is Book 1 in a future series.

YAY!

 

There will be more!!!

 

*happy dance*

 

***

 

I was given a review copy of this book from the publisher, Cool Dudes Publishing.

A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

 

Release date: March 14, 2016

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1354235/arc-review-sleight-of-heart-by-aisling-mancy

ARC Review – The Covenant, by M LeAnne Phoenix

The Covenant (The Covenant Series Book 1) - M. LeAnne Phoenix

The story runs, skips, and ducks, and my heart is in my throat most of the time, never thinking the boys will make it out in one piece. But they duck like pros, so there is HEA at the end. **phew**

 

I have no idea what the author wants to do with these boys going forwards, as this is book 1 in a series. There is, however, a good feeling of completion at the end, so it is certainly a stand-alone book.

 

All the biblical stuff just swooshed past me, as I am not much of a christian at all, but it was a fun backdrop to the telling of this specific covenant between a David and a Jonathan. It is set in Texas in the early 90s, and that can’t have been an easy time and place in which to be gay. When we get angry about things today, it does us good to look back, just a few years, and see how far we have come, after all.

 

There were a lot of teenage sexy times in this book. I never really understood how old the boys were, but I surmise underage, even if not by much, which might rub some people the wrong way. It was never explicit, nor exploitative, but quite insistent. Mostly, it was teenage hormones boiling in their blood. That’s good, if you like that kind of thing. For me personally, it got to be a tad too much, but then again, I’m currently off the sexy.

 

There were a lot of people in the story, and among the very memorable secondary characters, I loved the little boys best—Elijah and Cody were hilarious. They waltzed straight into my heart.

 

All in all, this is a really cute book, with a good story that made me happy.

 

***

 

I was given a review copy of this book from the publisher, Cool Dudes Publishing. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1349607/arc-review-the-covenant-by-m-leanne-phoenix

ARC Review – The Law of Attraction, by Jay Northcote

The Law of Attraction - Jay Northcote

This book resonated with me. Not because I’m into hot lawyers lawyering in their lawyer office. No, because I’m into people who actually change, who sit down and think, and then make the necessary adjustments in their lives.

 

It’s kind of corny, as the setup of this story is cliché with a hot and steamy Friday-night-hook-up that turns into your new intern showing up at your workplace on Monday morning, but that’s where the cliché ends.

 

Because what we end up with is a story where integrity and standing up for who you are is central. Ed is out and proud. Alec is not. And without pushing or forcing, Ed simply does not want to be shoved back into the closet.

 

So Alec has some thinking to do. And, I am happy to say, he doesn’t take all that long to get his head screwed on right.

 

In the meantime, there’s a lot of work and a lot of steamy hotness happening. Like, a lot.

 

What never ceases to amaze me is that Northcote's storylines, at first glance, may seem cliché, but the books themselves are never boring, never trite, and they always manage to make me feel good. (Also, they are both well written and well edited, a rare thing these days of self-publishing).

 

Thank you for that, Northcote, it is endlessly appreciated.

 

Thank you for writing stories for us. They do light up my dreary winter’s day.

 

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this self-published book from the author. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

 

 

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1334342/arc-review-the-law-of-attraction-by-jay-northcote

Book Review — King Perry, by Edmond Manning

King Perry - Edmond Manning

I can’t explain what this book is.

I can’t explain what’s happening in it.

I can’t help you with choosing this book to read.

I can’t even tell you why I liked it.

 

But holy hell, I did.

I liked this book so much I walked straight into LOVE and CONFUSION land.

And I have no idea why.

 

Well, I know a little bit of why. Mostly it’s the fact that this author really knows his way around words. He snares you with verbs and nouns. He makes you think one thing, and then another, and then, when you fall flat on your face once again, you wonder, in your dizzy mind, What happened? How did I fall for that again?

 

Don’t ask me. I have no idea what happened. But it happened, over and over. All the way to the end. Absolutely shattering experience.

 

All I know is I might need to be Queened. Just a little. You know, just to understand.

 

Or not.

 

 

***

 

I bought this book with my own money.

 

 

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1333032/book-review-king-perry-by-edmond-manning

ARC Review — Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1), by Posy Roberts

Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1) - Posy Roberts

This was a story I needed to read. A story I haven’t read before. A story that resonated in that part inside me that still feels like it’s missing a piece.

 

I’m not sure I could ever personally live in a sexual commune like the one described, but it was liberating and beautiful to read about the intricacy of the feelings between the members. This is open relationships to the umpteenth degree. With love and commitment. Friendship and companions. Sex and happiness. All over the place, literally.

 

I truly loved this unusual story, and the backdrop of an organic farm up on a hill made it all the better. It is quite low on the usual angst, and plenty sexy.

 

If you cannot fathom a relationship outside of the ordinary couple, this might put you in a situation where you feel a bit lost. But listen! It is well worth reading to the end; come explore something outside your comfort zone?

 

A final note: even though this is a first book in a series, it feels both fully rounded and finished. There are certainly some things left to explore, so I, for one, will be on the look out for the next installment in the series.

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this self-published book from the author. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1323501/arc-review-farm-fresh-naked-organics-1-by-posy-roberts

David Bowie

And there you have it.

 

Source: http://annalund2011.blogspot.it/2016/01/david-bowie.html

My Top Ten Books Of 2015!

 

And, once again, only M/M-books made it to my Toplist.
 
 

 

1. Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, by C. Kennedy
What a ride! What an amazing story. I’m still reeling. And so full of hope, for the future, for the future of these boys, all our boys.
And then there is the momentous message to abuse victims and survivors that there is a future, also for them. That there is hope for sunshine and love, in all our futures.
My Review!



2. A Solitary Man, by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy
This story just speeds off from page one, running, dashing, skipping, and jumping obstacles.
It is a rush and a half—this storyline grabbed me by the collar, shook me to the core, made me scream, rave, laugh, rejoice.
My Review!




3. Home and Away, by Samantha Wayland
What a little gem this turned out to be. Hockey players, a cute British gentleman, fun neighbors, and lots of cuddly times.
My Review!




4. Silver Scars, by Posy Roberts
This book is a beautiful and hard read. I am constantly amazed at how this author manages to space from silly and funny, to real and harsh.
Read this. You won’t regret it.
My Review!




5. Misfits, by Garret Leigh
Wow. Simply wow.
This was better than good. This was dang good. Actually, this is the first time I’ve read about an open relationship that I actually believe in. And then see it turn into a ménage that is truly believable, to boot.
My Review!






6. Cronin’s Key, by N. R. Walker
I seriously thought I would never read another vampire book again in my life.
Right?!
And there goes Walker, writing me one that I just fall into and roll around in and fall in love with and just simply adore.
My Review!



7. True Brit, by Con Riley
Riley is adding more diverse figures in this story, with a backdrop of London, Cornwall, and Afghanistan. Soldiers, mothers, mansions, and project housing, all in one huge swirl of her paintbrush.
I loved this. I loved the fandom aspect (that not everybody will get, but that’s okay), I loved that Ed (-ward) got whiplash, and I loved the nod to the boy bands out there. I loved that the bad-guys don’t always win, and that smarts can still out-maneuver them.
My Review!


8. Silent, by Sara Alva
This story is heartrending. Sad. Full of devastation. Kids and drug dealers. Young people who probably never stand a chance.
And yet.
In the middle of all this misery is a young man of 15, standing tall, doing his absolute best. He mucks it up, of course, because he is only fifteen years old. But he tries. Oh, lord, but he tries.
My Review!


9. Hero, by Perry Moore
This book was a ride and a half! And then yet another ride!
I haven’t had this much fun in a long time, and still, there were moments of near despair here. YA at its very best.
What a fantastic book.
My Review!






10. Red Dirt Heart #4, by N. R. Walker
So, author. You proceed to break my heart in so many pieces I’m still looking for some of them. Then you go on and mend it, like it was never broken in the first place.
As I sit and read, I get lost in the red dirt trails, and I rightly don’t know where I am when I look up from the pages. It takes a moment to realize that I am in my home, not in the outback, struggling.
My Review!


Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1298284/my-top-ten-books-of-2015

ARC Review — A Serious Thing, (Will & Patrick 1.5) by Annabelle Jacobs

A Serious Thing - Annabelle Jacobs

A shortie with a look-see into a Christmas setting for the two boys of A Casual Thing. Absolutely charming. Go get it!

 

Thank you, Jacobs, for this.

Made my day. 

 

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this self-published book from the author. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1303003/arc-review-a-serious-thing-will-patrick-1-5-by-annabelle-jacobs