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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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text 2017-02-08 10:00
Sales Blitz Ex-Op Series by Jessie Lane (February 4-11)
 
 
Series Title: Ex Ops Series
Novels: Secret Maneuvers #1 (FREE)
Stripping Her Defenses #2 
Mission Delivery #2.5 
Sweet Agony #3
Sweet Recovery #4
Sweet Eternity #5
Bullets and Bluebonnets #6
Author: Jessie Lane
Genre: Romantic Suspense
 
 
 
 
From best-selling author Jessie Lane comes second chance romance with a hint of suspense...
 
A covert Spec Ops group secretly owned and operated by the United States Department of Defense, and managed by their CIA Handler, ‘Uncle Sam’. An elite group consisting of some of the best the military and government agencies had to offer. This series will focus on the Ex Ops Team as they go to work undercover on various missions, while also trying to maneuver through the emotional landmines of their personal lives. Each book will feature a different couple, but the sub plots will connect from one book to the next. This series is best read in order as each novel becomes available.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some mistakes from the past haunt us forever… unless fate steps in with a second chance.

One ‘Dear John’ letter haunted Bobby Baker’s every living moment. It was the letter he’d stupidly written to his high school sweetheart, Belle, right after he had left to join the Army. The letter in which he’d told her that he wasn’t so sure they were ready for forever yet. Before he could let her know that the letter, and his second thoughts, were nothing more than a mistake, she disappeared from the small Georgia town they had both been raised in.


Fifteen years after the letter, Belle unknowingly walked back into Bobby’s life when her job as an ATF Agent forced her to work with a group of men secretly headed by the CIA to help her track down whoever was involved in funneling black market weapons to a drug cartel in Mexico.

Bobby planned to use this mission to try to soothe Belle’s hurt feelings while proving to her that their love was meant to be forever. He would use every dirty trick he’d learned since he had joined the Army to maneuver her back into his life for the long haul. Belle was not making it easy, though, as she continued to keep him at arm’s length in the hopes that mistakes of her own would never come to light.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
He can’t change the scars on her body…
but fate will give him a second chance to mend the scars he put on her heart.

Riley Sullivan and the Ex Ops Team are headed to Miami undercover… as bikers. Following up a lead, the men will perform their investigation acting as members of the Regulators Motorcycle Club with the club’s permission. Surrounded by hardcore bikers and investigating missing strippers, Riley finds the last person he ever expected to see again—his ex-wife.

Kara Sullivan left the man she loved after a tragic accident cost them their unborn son. After years of therapy, she’s come to grips with the loss and has re-emerged from the pain a brand new person. That doesn’t mean she’s ready to face the man who inadvertently broke her heart, and who she’s hurt in return.

Riley has never stopped loving her and he never will. He’s ready to fix their marriage and move on with their lives, however Kara’s reluctance to renew their relationship isn’t their only problem. Danger lurks just around the corner… and there’s a chance she could disappear permanently.
 
 
From Best Selling Author Jessie Lane...

Bobby Baker is a man with new lease on life.

He is engaged to his high school sweetheart, and he is bonding with the fourteen year old son he wasn’t aware of a little less than a year ago.

But there’s more. The love of his life is pregnant with their second child. This time, he’ll be there to witness the birth of one of his children instead of missing out on it.

Or will he?

Belle unexpectedly goes into labor a month early while Bobby is coming off a mission half a world away. Will he be able to make it home in time for the birth of his second child?

Or will he miss this delivery, too?

*Previously published in the back of Ice, Regulators MC #1. This is a short story that should be read after both Secret Maneuvers and Stripping Her Defenses in the Ex Ops Series.*
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beware of falling in love with the boy across the street. 
Disappearing from their dangerous life in Chicago, Ginny and her mother went from riches to rags by way of a new life in the sleepy, rural suburbs of New York. Under the illusion of safety, Ginny blossomed into a beautiful young woman with hopes and dreams for a future her mother was determined she would have. Lucas Young, her best friend’s oldest brother, was the dashing hero in all of her dreams. The man she fantasized about sweeping her off her feet and giving her the happily ever after she had only heard about in her mother’s fairytales. Sometimes, reality wasn’t what we wanted it to be, though. 
 
What would happen when Ginny found out Lucas wasn’t her Prince Charming after all? Instead, he was a rough and tumble soldier in extremely tarnished armor who had a propensity to break her heart. Maybe happily ever after wasn’t meant for everyone.
 
 
 
 
 
He broke her heart… now he has to pick up the pieces.
Lucas Young met the woman meant for him when they were just children. He spent years pushing the sweet, innocent Ginny away for one reason or another instead of claiming what was his, breaking her heart in the process. Five years later, he runs into Ginny, only he no longer recognizes the person she has become. The good-hearted, free-spirited girl he loved is now a shell of who she used to be, living the sort of life she never wanted. And Lucas is driven to find out why.
However, uncovering Ginny’s secrets will prove to be dangerous for them both. Will he be able to piece back the broken woman who used to love him with every fiber of her being? Or did he push her away for good? Warning: This is the second book (50,000+ word novel) in a three-part serial spin-off from the Ex Ops Series. Each of the three books will feature a piece of Lucas & Ginny's story and leads directly into the next installment. IN OTHER WORDS, THIS STORY ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER. Also, be forewarned this story will make you laugh, cry, and possibly throw your e-reader at the wall... AGAIN. <- You've been warned.
 
 
 
 
Roses are red, my life is blue, and the man I love is a fool.
Virginia Wellington has accepted her fate of being a pawn in her father’s criminal underworld games, especially if it keeps the people she loves safe. The problem is Lucas has discovered her secrets and the reason she walked away from him. Now he’s determined to save her, even if she doesn’t want to be saved. I’m not Prince Charming. I’m the guy who kicked Prince Charming’s ass. Lucas Young now knows why the woman he’s loved since he was a boy disappeared from his life. It’s time he rescued his angel and showed her once and for all that by his side is exactly where she belongs. Warning: This is the third (and last) book in a three-part serial spin-off from the Ex Ops Series. Each of the three books will feature a piece of Lucas & Ginny's story and leads directly into the next installment. IN OTHER WORDS, NO MORE CLIFFHANGER! YIPPEE! Also, be forewarned this story will make you laugh, cry, and possibly throw your e-reader at the wall... more than once! You've been warned. ;)
 
 
 
 
From New York Times best-selling author Cristin Harber and best-selling author Jessie Lane comes an exciting collaboration…

What happens when Titan and Ex Ops work together?

Terror has gripped the NYPD. A rogue sniper took out, not only the NYPD’s SWAT snipers and police chief, but several others. Now they must turn to the only person they can trust: Jared Westin and the Titan Group.

There’s only one problem. The Titan Operatives are currently tied up with their own missions.

Unwilling to leave the NYPD hanging, Jared Westin cashes in a favor from Commander Jaxon Wall. Only, Jared doesn’t want to send Jaxon’s Ex Ops Team for the job; he wants to send in someone Jaxon has kept secret: his goddaughter, Billie Jean Beasely, one of the best snipers working for the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, if only her male counterparts would let her prove it. The NYC mission could finally give her that chance.

Thing is, Jaxon Wall isn’t willing to send his goddaughter in alone. He wants to send one of his own men to help her. Chase Anderson.

Will Chase turn out to be yet another man who thinks Billie is less of a shot just because she’s a woman? Or will Billie finally meet a man who realizes she loves her bullets as much as bluebonnets?
 
 
 
 
 
Jessie Lane is a best-selling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, as well as, Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.
 
She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in-the-making and her over protective alpha husband that she’s pretty sure is a latent grizzly bear shifter. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HOSTED BY:
 
 
 
 
 
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review 2017-01-12 14:46
Flowers for Mrs. Harris - Paul Gallico

There is a television movie version of this book, called Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, and stars Angela Lansbury, Diana Rigg, and Omar Sharif.  Apparently, a new version is being made.

  

The novel itself is predictable, but it is one of those sweet stories that doesn't give you tooth ache, if you know what I mean.

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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 2016-10-28 09:39
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: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1489301/arc-review-must-like-spinach-by-con-riley
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