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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 2016-03-30 17:59
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1366613/arc-review-as-autumn-leaves-by-kate-sands
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review 2015-12-19 17:00
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1298284/my-top-ten-books-of-2015
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review 2015-08-07 07:42
Always Leaving - Gene Gant

“And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything except loneliness.” - Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Jason Barrett does not remember anything about his past except his name. he moves from place to place and is about to leave New Hanover when he stumbles upon Ravi Mittal in the park. the teenage boy fainted from overdoing his workout and Jason helps him but before Ravi could talk to him, Jason disappears. after the incident, each thinks about the other until they meet unexpectedly where Jason works. they become friends and much more. Jason begins to feel settled and the thought of leaving again slowly loses its grip. however, there is still the mystery of his past that would not let go until Jason could solve it.

this is not your typical lgbt teenage story where boy meets boy, falls in love and everything afterwards is happily ever after. there is so much more here than meets the reader's eyes.

the book's first quarter appears to be the usual fare found in any story and which are familiar to any reader - introducing the setting and characters and establishing the conflict. now this conflict turns out to be not one but two and each carries it own weight. rather than dragging the plot down, each of this burden propels the main protagonists and other characters to make decisions and spur them into action that impacts on one another.

the second quarter of the book until the very end is filled with exciting yet tense moments as the mystery surrounding Jason unravels. i was not expecting the turn of events and i knew i had to finish the book despite the late hour. it was either a choice between losing some precious sleep or losing my momentum. i sacrificed the former so i carried on and it was worth it!

Gene Gant did a great job with this novel. i like it that:

- there were multi-ethnic characters
- teenage angst was kept to a minimum (too much of it wears down my reading)
- the teenagers behaved responsibly most of the time
- the adults were understanding and supportive
- the issue of prejudice was resolved
- there was a happy ending!

because of this novel, i look forward to reading more of Gene Gant's works in the future.

 

 

*received a copy for review from NetGalley

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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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