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AnnaLund2011

AnnaLund2011

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

Book Review — Transgression, by Theo Fenraven

Transgression - Theo Fenraven

There is compassion in this writing, a feeling of acceptance and love both for all things normal, and all things different. 

 

I loved the setup for this story, and I love how the language flows. Seriously well-edited texts are such a treat. I only noticed one wrong verb usage, a couple of typos, and a brand name that was misspelled. That’s really, really good, these days.

 

But. I got confused with so many POVs. Too many characters for only 190 pages, and I must confess I was quite confused when we travelled into the minds of five whole different people. A little bit disappointed that the old trope that bisexual people are promiscuous. Can we please stop it, and soon.

 

I am a sucker for the insta-love trope, and here it was simply brilliant. I also loved that the women weren’t all painted in a bad/good color, as so often happens. They were real people, one of whom even redeemed herself. Full points for that one.

 

Everybody has secrets. I would have liked this story even more, had it not been set in the glamorous Hollywood. It kind of made the “problem” so much bigger—needlessly so, as the problems Zack and Sky would be facing are quite daunting all on their own in a normal setting; it didn’t need the added pressure of fame. It actually took away a little bit of their complete anguish. Because, mark my words, there was anguish here.

 

I love the debunking of the idea (quite common, still), that bisexual men are gay men who haven’t come all the way out of the closet yet.

They are not. The just simply like both men and women, as a preference for a potential partner.

 

The struggle is real. Transgendered people, pre- or post-op, and bisexual people, while still part of the LGBT community, are sorely underrepresented in today’s literature, and seem to be quite invisible, at times. The same goes for bisexual people.

 

So I am giving this book five stars for taking the dive into this universe.

 

And for doing it well, I might add.

 

 

***

 

I bought this book with my own money.

 

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1302961/book-review-transgression-by-theo-fenraven

ARC Review – Magic & Mistletoe, by Annabelle Jacobs

Magic & Mistletoe - Annabelle Jacobs

I love the touch of a good witch here and there, especially of the sweet and caring kind.

This was a super-cute little Christmas novella, about a young man with no brain/mouth-filter and his hunky love interest from the downstairs apartment. All paired with a little magic.

 

Cute and a little steamy.

For once the double POV wasn’t grating on my mind, either authors have gotten better at writing switching POVs, or I have just gotten more used to them. Here, it was a tool well wielded.

 

I would have liked a bit more of a backstory on the fabulous witch, Melia. One chapter from her POV would have been perfect.

 

It is a quirky, funny, and very sweet read, and I was honestly giggling to myself at times.

 

Get yourself a cuppa strong tea, grab your blanket, and settle in for a seasonal, very British read. It is lovely.

 

***

 

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

 

40k words/114 pages

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1297323/arc-review-magic-mistletoe-by-annabelle-jacobs

ARC Review – What Happens at Christmas, by Jay Northcote

What Happens At Christmas - Jay Northcote

Cute, cute, cute, add some cute, and add some sexy cuteness, and boy was this fun! And then it went all moody in the middle, to go right on ahead and resolve itself by the end. My favorite kind of story. With lots of sexytimes.

 

Yup. All of that, and gibbons.

 

What’s not to love? Read it and enjoy. Some 120 pages of fluffy holiday season happiness.

 

***

 

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/1296859/arc-review-what-happens-at-christmas-by-jay-northcote

ARC Review – Cronin’s Key 3, by N. R. Walker

Cronin's Key III - N.R. Walker

I just fell into this one, watching Cronin and Alec fight stuff that seems to be beyond them, at first. Gargoyles! Or, rather, Zoans, who somehow came through a portal the moment Alec was changed.

 

I was beginning to get impatient, and really wanted to know about Alec’s powers as a key. And in this last installment in the series, finally things are getting explained.

 

This time, Cronin and Alec are facing time-hopping, space-defying creatures and it goes bat-shit crazy for a while in the middle of the story. In ALL the good ways.

 

I cannot fathom the amount of research that goes into Walker’s stories. Also, the sheer amount of imagination.

It is simply mind-boggling how everything gets twisted out of shape to be put together oh-so-prettily at the end. Every time, I’m thinking Walker is never going to tie this up in time. And every time, I am wrong. I love it.

 

There is romance. There is action. There is mostly fade-to-black sex (for which I am eternally grateful). And there is a lot of things happening, rushing, fixing, fighting, talking, shifting, and, at last, dancing.

 

My kind of book. Yeah, my kind, totally.

 

 

***

 

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/1277144/arc-review-cronin-s-key-3-by-n-r-walker

ARC Review — The Altered 3, by Annabelle Jacobs

The Altered 3 - Annabelle Jacobs

Oh, but I like it when things get tied up and away, with a tidy, little knot!

And with excellent fun. 

I ended my review of the second book in this series, The Altered 2, like this:

Well done, Jacobs. I’m keeping my eye on your work.

 

And so I did! This last part did not disappoint, and wrapped the whole story up perfectly for me. Even though this third installment of the series brings in very few new facts, it is taking care of all the little things that were left suspended in the previous books, and I really enjoyed getting a deeper feel for all the people involved.

 

Very satisfying. And lots of sex. I mean, like, lots.

 

***

 

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/1277128/arc-review-the-altered-3-by-annabelle-jacobs

ARC Review — A Solitary Man, by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy

A Solitary Man - Aisling Mancy, Shira Anthony

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.

Xav and Chance were great characters, both believable and real. I could see them in front of me, racing in dark alleys, or at work in the local sheriff’s office.

 

It was an amazing ride, with the dark and realistic subject of child trafficking for sexual exploitation, which is not a common subject. It was a deeply emotional story, on many levels. It rang true, and felt believable, and as most people would want to close their (our?) eyes to the very fact that this trafficking exists, we need stories like this one; these children need to be made visible. We need to hear their truths.

 

The strength needed to investigate these crimes? Incredible and amazing mental power. And a heart as big as the moon itself.

 

As Xav says, “The only way I’ve been able to do what I do is to think about the boys I can save.” And, further, “The one kid, who does make it, makes what we do worthwhile.”

 

Let’s not back away from this subject, in fear, or in disgust. Let’s look this monster in the eyes, and say, we will not accept this anymore! Because, until we all do, child trafficking for sexual exploitation will continue to happen.

 

A book like this one is important: Not only is it written very well, with a lot of action and a lot of things happening, it is also an eye-opener. I learned many new things during my read. I also felt a deep and utter satisfaction with where the whole story arc ended. There were bitter losses, too, because life is hard. But, as always with authors I love, resolution and HEA.

 

Yes I think we can safely say that this was a great book for me. I would, perhaps, have preferred the sex scenes to be fade to black, as I felt them to be beside the story itself, (you never thought you’d hear me say that, huh?) but all in all, this was a truly amazing read. I won’t be able to leave it behind me, for a long time.

 

Grab your hat, and fall right into the chase! Let’s go get these bad guys, and lock them up for good.

 

***

 

I was given a free copy of this book from the authors, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return. Publishing date: November 6, 2015

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1276414/arc-review-a-solitary-man-by-shira-anthony-and-aisling-mancy

Book Review — Home and Away, by Samantha Wayland  

Home and Away - Samantha Wayland

What a little gem this turned out to be. Hockey players, a cute British gentleman, fun neighbors, and lots of cuddly times.

 

A British accent when needed, and backdrop of the very Eastern parts of Canada. How refreshing this all is—everything does not have to happen in the US.

 

I found myself giggling when reading, and occasionally even tearing up. Yeah, we can safely say that this book did it for me on so many levels. Interestingly enough, I can’t pinpoint why I love it so much. I mean, there is nothing exactly brand-new about hockey-players being in the closet, but somehow it just all rings true. Maybe it is the hope?

 

Because this book brings hope. Hope that things are finally changing. That you can be a sports professional and gay. It is a sign of the times, and they are finally changing. Fifteen years ago, this story would not have worked the way it does today. This makes me very happy.

 

This story also shows, very distinctly, how your priorities can change, when someone needs you. What used to be important in your life, what you have believed for the last fifteen years, may have to step back, as you embrace your new life. It is about growing, and about growing up. And it is about taking steps toward creating your own happiness. Perhaps even stepping up to the plate and taking care of those who need you.

 

Yeah, it kinda has everything, eh?

 

I only realized after reading half of the book that it was loosely set in another universe, with several of the secondary characters having their own books. This made me really happy, because now I am going to go looking for them. Especially exciting, is that I see one of the other books is an M/M/F. Haven’t seen many of those around, and almost never well written. In Home and Away, we meet the three, briefly, and there sure seems to be a story to tell, there!

 

Oh, and for those who care about such things: this is a good, long book, 402 pages on the Kindle. We don’t see that very often, in these days of novellas and short novels. Uplifting. When I get my claws in a good book, I don’t want it to end too soon.

 

This one? Ended right where it should.

 

***

 

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

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1245693/book-review-home-and-away-by-samantha-wayland

ARC Review — Cheeky Hipsters & Jocks, by Posy Roberts

Cheeky Hipsters & Jocks (BFP: The Secrets Collection) - Posy Roberts

All in all, some 50 pages (this is a short story in the series The Secrets Collection, which is written by a bunch of hilarious and sexy authors), and just as the other two I have read, this one was awesome.

 

I love the premise of somebody having a sexy little secret, and here it is the love of lace that a hockey player tries (unsuccessfully) to hide. Sexy times ensue, and it is both fun and happy. And sexy. And pink lace. Tons of it.

Just sayin’.

 

What are you waiting for? Get your favorite brew, some ice cream, chocolate, or snacks, and settle in. It is well worth your time.

 

***

 

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/1205598/arc-review-cheeky-hipsters-jocks-by-posy-roberts

ARC Review — A Casual Thing, by Annabelle Jacobs

A Casual Thing - Annabelle Jacobs

There are a few things I really admire in an author, and at the top of my list is the ability to write different kinds of stories, in different voices.

 

I had become used to the quirky and darkish tone of Ms Jacobs paranormal series The Altered. Then I read her short story Toy With Me, which was hilarious, and light, and happy, and sexy.

 

But this book? This book takes British Boys by their proverbial hands and runs with them, hard and fast.

 

I giggled, and I snorted, and then I giggled some more, just because.

 

It is Unrequited Love at its primal stage. (Or is it?)

 

It is sexy, and fun, and by golly they finally make it in the end.

 

I do love a HFN.

 

 

***

 

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

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1205595/arc-review-a-casual-thing-by-annabelle-jacobs

ARC Review — Toy With Me, by Annabelle Jacobs

Toy With Me (BFP: The Secrets Collection) - Annabelle Jacobs

Heh. This was fun.

 

Uni boys and a dildo, a huge pink one.

 

A short story in the series, The Secrets Collection (which is written by a bunch of hilarious and sexy authors), written with all the wit and eye-brow wiggling of which Ms Jacobs is more than capable—a thoroughly fun 10k romp.

 

Wildly recommended, brew a cuppa, and settle in.

No regrets, no hard feelings.

 

***

 

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/1205584/arc-review-toy-with-me-by-annabelle-jacobs

ARC Review — Silver Scars, by Posy Roberts

Silver Scars - 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.

 

This story takes you in and shows you the hard underbelly of what PTSD can be like. And yet, it is both uplifting and beautiful.

 

It is sweet, and fragile, and it hurts, and it is beautiful, and it is full of pain, and then there is understanding. Love. Recovery. Dealing.

 

I even loved the best friend, Frankie, who was so far away, and still so very present every time Gil needed him.

 

The best part with this story isn’t the pain and the dealing. It is the showing how one plus one actually DOES become more than simply two. There is not one weaker and one stronger character; there is no savior/saved.

 

There are just simply two people who get together and are the better for it.

There is hope and courage here, in abundance.

 

Read this. You won’t regret it.

 

***

 

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

 

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1205564/arc-review-silver-scars-by-posy-roberts

ARC Review - Top Me, Maybe, by Jay Northcote

Top Me Maybe? (BFP: The Secrets Collection) - Jay Northcote

Emotional and intense.

And yeah, it is porn with extra, added, heated porn.

What else is new with Northcote?

You know what? I can only find one problem with this story: it is too short—it is only some thirty pages. I wanted more Duncan. And more Tyler. And more interaction with the buddies at the salon.

 

This was a lot of fun. And sexy. And hot.

 

Kudos, Northcote.

 

Again. And again. And again.

Pun intended.

 

***

 

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

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1182407/arc-review-top-me-maybe-by-jay-northcote

ARC Review — The Altered 2, by Annabelle Jacobs

The Altered 2 - Annabelle Jacobs

I ended my review of the first book, The Altered, like this:

 

“But I would like to hear more about Sam.

I have always thought that, if I were ever to become a shifter, I would just stay wolf. So tell me more about Sam, please.”

 

And that is exactly what I got.

 

I loved it so much it is almost ridiculous. Sam, the steady, loving, good man, is also a loyal and trusted friend in his wolf shape.

 

I was so impressed with their growth, both Sam and Ash had to come to terms with things, Sam with staying human, and Ash with fighting his first change, so afraid.

 

It was a riveting read, I fell into it, and didn’t come out until I was done, and on the other side.

 

Well done, Jacobs. I’m keeping my eye on your work.

 

 

***

 

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/1174698/arc-review-the-altered-2-by-annabelle-jacobs

ARC Review — Cronin's Key II, by N. R Walker

Cronin's Key II - N.R. Walker

Who knew that it takes vampires to fight mummies and claymen?

Heh.

 

This story’s second installment took us on a new world tour; after the ancient Egypt and its pyramids of book one, we now had the Terracotta Army of China to fight. Passing through Scotland and Japan, as per the usual, with this specific group of friends.

 

I bow down to the research that has so obviously gone into creating this world. I am amazed that I don't feel like I have to fact-check anything. (Except fixing the lie/lay conundrum). It is all so believable, so convincing. 

Walker, you do this so well.

 

There were a couple of new entries, and I really liked the little Jorge a lot. What a sweet little one. Yeah, never thought I'd say that about little baby vampires. 

 

The science was good, too, I especially enjoyed the list of “ingredients” in the clay of the Terracotta Army, and how it was woven into the story. Good one.

 

What did I appreciate most of all? That the story was the centerpiece, and that the inevitable sex was there, but muted and loving. (I am getting quite tired of book sex, and this was perfect. I guess I’m in a fade-to-black moment).

 

Am I seeing this right? A third book might be on its way? YAY!

 

See, I’m not a big fan of series, but when they are done this way, with finished stories in each book, then I’m okay with it.

 

More than okay. I loved it.

 

What in the world are these boys going to get into next?

 

 

*** 

 

I was given an ARC copy of this book by the author. A positive review was not promised in exchange.

Source: http://annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1173161/arc-review-cronin-s-key-ii-by-n-r-walker

ARC Review — In-Decision, by Sue Brown

In-Decision (Left at the Crossroads Book 2) - Sue Brown

I adored the backdrop of a sleepy, British village, which gave me quite a lot of St. Mary Mead-feels (which is a good thing). The village was really a character along with the boys, in many ways.

 

For me, the story didn’t really take off, however, it just plodded along, doing its little English village trot. Maybe I need to investigate village pubs, and learn more about how that all works.

 

Suddenly strange break-ins and whatnots disrupted the peaceful travel of the story. Slightly jarring, what was that all about? No explanations, and this gives it away as the middle story in a series, even though I had heard that it would work well as a stand-alone. The thing with a series is that there are often unresolved threads dangling, both from the previous book, and to the next one in line. This one was no exception. I suppose that’s how series work, but I’m not a fan.

 

This is a well-written story, technically, and I appreciate a well-edited text. This is the first story I read by Sue Brown, but probably not the last. What this book has is very low amounts of angst, and high amounts of cuddling. I totally approve of that.

 

Cute read for a rainy Sunday afternoon with a cup of good tea and biscuits at hand.

 

 

***

 

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/1166150/arc-review-in-decision-by-sue-brown

Book Review — The Altered, by Annabelle Jacobs

The Altered - Annabelle Jacobs

This is a new author for me, and it was a nice surprise to fall into a slightly dystopian world that I could believe in. (I’m usually not much for dystopian settings, but this one was done really well).

 

I love it when the bad guys are bad and the good guys are good, clear cut and simple.

 

The world slowly came alive around me, and even though there was a lot of telling there was also a whole lot of showing, to bring the action forward.

 

So. Shifters, eh? I loved the setting of crazy scientists being behind the scenes and responsible for producing a pathogen. Great imagination happening here.

 

Loved the cover.

 

At the end of the story (which is finished and rounded) I see that there will be a sequel. That is good. Usually I’m not much for series, but when a story is done, but still has potential for a new part of the trip of life of its main characters, I’m all for it.

 

This one is done. But I would like to hear more about Sam.

 

I have always thought that, if I were ever to become a shifter, I would just stay wolf. So tell me more about Sam, please.

 

Well crafted. Recommended read.

 

 

***

 

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