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review 2016-04-10 20:00
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1376587/arc-review-tharros-by-c-kennedy
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review 2016-01-27 18:34
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1333032/book-review-king-perry-by-edmond-manning
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review 2015-07-21 13:26
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1205564/arc-review-silver-scars-by-posy-roberts
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review 2015-04-05 14:00
ARC Review — Slaying Isidore's Dragons, by C. Kennedy
Slaying Isidore's Dragons - 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.

 

In this story, as is the usual fare with Kennedy, there is action; there is no time to relax, no time to slow down, things are happening all the time, and in so many layers, it takes all my concentration to keep it together. And I love it. I just simply love it. I roll in it, I run with it. I revel in it.

 

I feel I know these people, already after a few chapters. It is as if I am running beside them, seeing what they are seeing, feeling what they are feeling. It is almost overwhelming. I scream, and I scare the cats. I giggle, and I wake Mr. Anna.

 

Kennedy must be the king of purple prose, and yet, somehow, here, it just works; it doesn’t become ridiculous, it just becomes powerful and full of awe-inspiring, foreign flavors.

And then another bomb goes off.

 

Why am I not surprised?

 

While reading until my iPad hits my face, I realize, just as I am falling asleep, that there is so much more to this story than meets the eye.

 

There is the careful choosing of words. The loving turn of phrase that won’t scare a potential victimized reader. Words are of such vital importance to young survivors; those of us who have never lived through abuse, can never quite understand how loaded a simple word can be.

 

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.

 

It is uplifting. It is caring. There is hope.

 

And then another bomb goes off, yeah?

 

This book had me sitting on the proverbial edge of my seat, jumping with excitement, smiling with bliss, and feeling the love between the two young men grow and blossom. (See? I have achieved some purple myself). I cry me an ocean, too, for good measure.

 

The way Declan and Isidore discover each other is beautiful, loving, enriching, sweet, and so sexy. Without ever going into the exploitative and crude, the physical love they explore is simply beautiful. They are both on the older side of their teen years, at eighteen and seventeen, thinking about their bodies and discovering a new sensuality, and the way Declan gets frustrated with his dick makes me scream with laughter. So many good feels, here, too.

 

There is no way I can review this book without drawing parallels to Omorphi, Kennedy’s other long novel about abused youth. The similarities are of course there, but what really strikes me is the difference between them. The main character in the first story, Christy, is a survivor of abuse. In Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Isidore is still a victim, and he is still living with his abusers. There is such a huge difference in mindset.

 

Now, there is a special talent to be able to describe and write about this kind of abuse, without either falling into the exploitative, or brushing over the sad facts. Here, none of those things happen. There is truthfulness in these pages, but most of all, there is hope. Awe-inspiring Hope. It makes the reader understand what goes on inside the mind of an abuse victim.

 

It shatters me to see how this new life, when saved from an abusive environment, can be so overwhelming that the victim is ready to go back to the abusive home, just to get to a place where everything makes sense.

 

This is a book with really difficult themes, and it is striking how it can ring true in all its horrid details, while still giving hope and showing a way out. This book may very well be saving lives, and giving hope.

 

It is interesting how well the double POV works, where we see things mostly from the eyes of the boyfriend, Declan. I don’t think we could take seeing it all from inside Isidore’s mind, but the short interludes that we do get to see are so revealing. Thank you for showing us how completely different the same scene may seem to the victim.

 

Now, I also want to tell everybody about how much I adore Sorcha, Declan’s mother. She is a powerful, gorgeous, strong, beautiful, and loving woman. I love all those things in people, but I especially appreciate them when they are attributed to a woman in an m/m setting. This is finally happening more often, but I still want to say thank you for this: thank you, author, for a strong and good woman. Mothering is not easy, and she does shine a light. The fact that she was also an Ambassador in her own right, makes my heart sing. A real woman. Somebody with both a job and a career. Not only, she is also absolutely hilarious, and a good belly laugh really makes life worth living. The healing value of humor is well known, but is even more so to a victim of abuse.

 

It is important for me to see that the story in this book actually rings true in the ears of the intended readers, i.e. young survivors of abuse; youth who, through this novel, can visualize a potential future, a possibility of a decent life, of love, of happiness. Reading young Timmy’s review of this book, I see the story through his eyes. See his review here.

 

It is true. This story brings hope. It shows the path forward, it shows the possibility of future.

 

This is top notch.

 

On my Top-Read-Of-2015 shelf.

 

Well done, Kennedy. I just realize that I have written the word “hope” nine times in my review. That must mean something.

 

You pass with flying colors.

 

Five shining stars.

 

***

 

I received an ARC of this book from the author, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return.

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review 2015-02-14 09:48
ARC Review — Passing Through, by Jay Northcote
Passing Through - Jay Northcote

What a story, what a beautiful ode to love, in all its forms.

And what a beautiful homage to those who walked before us, to those who could not, where we now can.

 

Slow love, an uncle with a twinkle in his eye, the sea and rocky cliffs; this is wild and serene, at the same time.

It is sweet and bitter.

It just IS.

It soothed my soul, and also broke my heart in so very many pieces.

Northcote then went on to glue it all together again.

 

 

Read this book, if you have loved and lost.

Read this book if you have loved.

Read this book.

Serenity.

 

***

 

I was given a free pre-edit ARC copy of this book from the author, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1111103/arc-review-passing-through-by-jay-northcote
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