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review 2017-05-30 08:37
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1567067/arc-review-elpida-by-c-kennedy
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review 2016-11-25 19:37
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1499993/arc-review-heartifact
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review 2016-07-14 21:50
This was possibly the best buddy read ever!!!
Chase the Storm - V.M. Waitt

I've had this one for a while now and every time I looked at it I kept thinking it would probably be one of those books that would read even better with a friend or if you're lucky maybe 2. I was lucky as it happened one of Christelle's friends brought it to her attention and opportunity knocked and I pounced on that door all smiles and sweetness..."We should buddy read this, I've been wanting to read it for ages? Maybe Josy will join us?" and thus was born an epic buddy read.


Thank you lovely ladies for making what I'm sure would have been a really good read...into an amazingly fun read that definitely required tissues, hand holding and so many cowboy gifs.


Having just finished his first year at Harvard Eli Morgan is about to face a summer internship working for his father. He's never felt like he belonged and he may not know exactly what his path in life is but the one thing he's certain of is he's not on it. It's when he spots a battered, 1965 Ford pick-up truck with a 'For Sale' sign that he makes a spur of the moment decision that will change the course of his life forever.


After purchasing the truck and loading his belonging into it Eli heads out in search of something, what that is he's not sure but filled with a sense of freedom and optimism he's determined to find out.


It's in Nebraska that Eli's truck decides to break down. Luckily circumstances and a posting on a bulletin board solve Eli's problem of where to stay while he awaits the repairs and what to do for the money to pay for said repairs. 


Chase McKenzie needs help on his farm. He's been managing on his own every since the unexpected loss of his partner Owen, but he's still grieving and dealing with his feelings of anger and loss so having a sexy, young city boy whose all of 19 years old walk onto his farm and into his life and make his heart start beating again isn't necessarily his idea of help.


The relationship between these two initially is tenuous at best. Eli needs the job, Chase needs the help but it doesn't necessarily mean that he wants it from Eli, however, beggars can't be choosers and given the circumstances Chase can't afford to turn down his only available option so it's with more than a little reluctance that he takes Eli on as a farmhand.


I'm pretty sure that if I went through all the books that I've read I'd find a few that carry this same theme. Circumstances may be slightly different but the essence would be the same. What I wouldn't find would be a lot if any that grabbed me heart and soul the way this one has. 


'Chasing the Storm' for me wasn't a 'romance novel' it was a 'love story'. You may very well be wondering 'what's the difference?'. Truthfully, I've wondered this myself and I've given it more than a little consideration, I've even googled and the results were a variety of responses. There's even an article from the 'Huffington Post' that was written by an editor for Harlequin Romance. But I'm not going to go into all those details for this review since it's my review I'm simply going to share with you what the difference is to me. 


For me the difference between these two types of stories is about how they make the reader feel. Romances are big and splashy, with people that are often bigger than life and impossible situations, there's almost a sense of impossibility about them but that's why we love reading them.They take us away from the real world and let us experience an imaginary version where we know that at the end of it all the guy gets the girl or the girl gets the girl or the guy gets the guy whatever applies to the story and everyone lives happily ever after. They're fun and enjoyable but when the stories done so are the feelings, we don't linger over them they aren't lodged in or hearts days, weeks months maybe even years later. Don't misunderstand me, I have no issue with romance stories,  I've read more than a few and I'm sure I'll continue to do so in the future. 


But a truly good 'Love story' that's a much harder creature to find because for me a love story is more about the feelings. Not just the ones between the main characters...no more importantly it's the feelings that the story creates to connect the reader to it and how strong that connection is. It's the ability to make you feel everything that the characters feel as if it was happening to you. To share their laughter and tears, their anger and fear,  their joys and triumphs in a deeply personal way that stays with you well beyond the last page of the book.


Love stories aren't always about passionate romantic love between two people either, they can be about a parent's love for their child, friends, family. Love has many meanings and takes many different forms and a truly good love story will touch the heart like nothing else can no matter what form it is in.


'Chase the Storm' is one example of what I consider to be a love story. Practically from the beginning I willingly invested myself into these characters...heart and soul.


I jumped in that pick-up truck and rode down the highway right beside Eli singing those country tunes and anyone who knows me will tell you...Me in a ford pick-up? singing country songs? not gonna' happen but I'd do it for Eli. I loved him, I wanted to feed him milk and cookies and tell him to go make his music and screw his daddy and his Fortune 500 company but I'm a mom and I know better so I stepped back and watched Eli find his own path. It was a path that at times reduced me to tears as I watched him grow and mature and ultimately fall in love for the first time.


"...After all, what could a nineteen-year-old kid know about lifelong love?


But maybe the nineteen-year-old kid knew what love was because he felt it as his heart shattered in the aisle of a soundless barn."


And for all that I loved Eli my heart came to care for Chase as well. I ached for his loss and how lost he was as a result. Chase's struggle to move on with his life is not something that is foreign to anyone who's shared his experience.


Eli and Chase's journey to be together was neither simple nor direct and the authors ability to take us on a journey that was filled with a sense of emotion, truth and realism that isn't always present in fiction often made me forget that this was a work of fiction and not someone's story that I was sharing in. 


Just like the beginning and the middle the ending of this story was neither simple, easy nor direct but it was emotionally beautiful and filled with love because at the end of it all that's what separates a love story from a romance for me is that when all is said and done as I am drying my eyes I am left with a sense of contentment and completeness that I've just read a story that is as it should be.


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review 2016-07-13 23:18
I like hot, sexy and steamy romance as much as the next person but...
Not a Game - Cardeno C.

sometimes adorable, fun and cuddly fills the spot just as well.


Oliver has accepted a job with the 'best boutique game developer in the country' and he sees this as his chance to re-invent himself. Starting in the bedroom. At six foot two inches and 290 pounds he's pretty sure he's not anyone's fantasy man. But then again he's never met Jaime. Jamie is definitely the image of a walking wet dream but he's not looking for his mirror image. Jaime's looking for a man who pushes all his buttons both in and out of the bedroom and one look at Oliver tells him that he may have found his man. Now if he could just convince Oliver that what he sees when he looks at him is everything that he wants and just the way he wants it. They could both have what they want...someone to share their lives with.


There was so much about this book that I enjoyed. Starting with this cover. It's perfect...seriously those two men are Jaime and Oliver. They're just missing their dogs.


Oliver may have been shy and insecure but he was also kind, considerate and thoughtful as was Jaime. I loved how they treated each other. They communicated as adults things were talked about, questions were asked, answers were given. That Jaime valued Oliver for who he was and how he was. He never tried to get Oliver to change or be different than he was. He did want Oliver to have more self confidence and a stronger sense of self worth, but truthfully if the person I loved saw that my self esteem and self worth weren't good and he didn't want to help me believe in myself...well, I'd have to wonder if maybe I wasn't with the wrong person. 


Oliver totally melted me when he would put on his big boy britches and step outside of his comfort zone and do things because he'd realize how much it would mean to Jaime. To me that's love right there when you put the happiness of someone else above your wants and your needs. You can give them all the fancy stuff in the world it will never say 'I love you' the way that does and the sense of pride that radiated from Jaime at just the thought of being with Oliver of sharing a life with him...damn, I could seriously feel that coming off the pages. 


On top of the awesomeness that was Oliver and Jaime there were other characters in this book that I really liked. Oliver's co-worker and friend Tamra. She was sassy and feisty and I like that she encouraged Oliver to go for it with Jaime. Then there was Jack. Jaime's ex, his business partner and still good friend. I'd love a story about him because he was every bit as awesome as Jaime and I really want him to have someone to love. 


Now as for the ending of this book...what can I say...except that I loved it, it was perfect and I totally understand why this author is such a favorite with some of my friends. I still haven't read as many of her books as I would like to but I'll just keep working on that. 


'Not a Game' is a wonderful, light, feel good read for anyone who doubts that love is the one thing that comes in all sizes and shapes because it's not the package that matters but the heart and soul that resides within.



An ARC of 'Not a Game' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-07-08 22:59
ARC Review: The Pirate of Fathoms Deep
The Pirate of Fathoms Deep (Tales of the High Court) (Volume 2) - Megan Derr

You might have noticed yesterday that I posted a review for a book called 'The High King's Golden Tongue'. I'd wanted to read that book for ages and I was constantly squirreling off and doing other things but this is the reason I finally pulled my act together and read that awesome book because on July 13 this is going to be a thing...that's right book #2 is being released and it's called 'The Pirate of Fathoms Deep' and it's good folks seriously good. I mean I have to admit I was a little more partial to 'The High King's Golden Tongue' but I think that's mostly because I really, really liked Allen and Sarrica but that does not mean this is not also a really good story...because it is.


'The Pirate of Fathoms Deep' is about Lesto and Shemal. Lesto as we know from the first book is the High Commander of the king's troops as well as the Lord/Duke/Ruler sorry I'm sketchy on the correct term here but he's in charge of Fathoms Deep that's where he's from. We also met Shemal in book one, only we didn't realize it at the time, not that we were meeting him or that Shemal was his name and we also didn't realize that he gave Lesto a little bit more than a black-eye (really, it's in the blurb). So here we are a year and a half later and fate have brought these two men together, in what proves to be, yet again,  some rather unusual circumstances.


Ms Derr definitely stepped up to the plate with this one and again from the very beginning and I do mean very beginning, seriously did you look at that cover? Another work of sheer beauty. I honestly want posters of these book covers for my office walls they are so gorgeous.


'The Pirate of Fathoms Deep' definitely gives more focus to the relationship between Lesto and Shemal but without taking away the action, adventure and mystery that I enjoyed in the first book. For me this was a definite win.


While the relationship between these two men got it's beginning in the first book it's not until this story that the when and how of it becomes clear. In book one their meeting was just a passing event that occurred and while I remembered it, it was not given any undue focus and for me it was one of those neat little surprises that had me bouncing in my chair as I remembered the events from the previous story and my brain quietly cackled with glee at the subtle way that these two books were being woven together.


One of the things that I'm really enjoying about both of these books are the personalities of the MCs. I love that they speak up for what they believe in, the are fiercely loyal to their friends and family and that they love who they love unapologetically. Lesto wants to be with Shemal. He doesn't care about where he came from or whether he's considered socially acceptable because of his station in life and the same for Shemal. It's Lesto that he wants not his money or power. 


Add to all this a pair of royally incompetent kidnappers, some cut throat mercenaries, a sister baring unexpected surprises, one man willing to risk it all for a second chance with his pirate and one pirate who wants a chance to show that he's worthy of that man and what you've got is a story that's worth enjoying from the front cover to the very last page and I do mean the very last page the one that tells us that there's more to come from this series and I am so looking forward to what comes next.  



An ARC of The Pirate of Fathoms Deep was graciously received from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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