25 February 2011

You are cordially invited to...PAR-TAY!!!!

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16 February 2011

Review: A M/M YA has wow-ed me again! Andrew Ashling - A Dish Served Cold

Author Website - Facebook - Twitter - Purchase - First nine chapters free read

Format: ebook
Published October 31st 2010 (first published February 21st 2009)
primary language English.

Cover Summary:
There is one upside to almost getting raped. It proves that you're at least desirable to someone. Maybe Andrew Ashton is just a little bit too rational for his own good. Not however where it concerns his best friend Sean Denham, scion of a political dynasty, and like him from a privileged background. There's only one problem: Sean is straight. Of course he is.

Being born into money was up until now one of the smartest moves Andrew Nathaniel Ashton VII ever made. It keeps him free from worries about his future, earning a living and more of those trivialities, so he can dedicate himself to the really important things in life. Like getting laid.

In his society indentured servitude, commonly known as slavery, has been reintroduced for several, but mainly economical reasons. It doesn't bother him all that much. Slaves are kept on large farming corporations, in factories, in the backside of stores and such. Out of sight.

Andrew knows slavery exists, and he doesn't approve, but on the other hand, it is not as if he made the system what it is, is it? Yes, there was this one time when it touched him personally, but what could he do about it? It is not as if slavery is ever going to become a personal issue, is it?

Andrew thinks the future, all in all, looks bright and carefree. He thinks he is about to find true love. He thinks he is safe.

He is wrong.

A note: I know I haven't been reviewing all that much the last few months but I have been reading and today I started and finished a book that compelled me to write a review. It is a story that instantly put the author on my "to watch" list!

My Review: A DISH SERVED COLD is one of those stories that can push buttons with the readers. For me it pushed all the right buttons. At the foundation of this world there's a slavery system that is born from trying to do good but gradually disintegrated into a full-fledged game of corrupt power play. It challenged my morals, it engaged a spectrum of emotions and from start to finish the author held me riveted to the pages what was to befall the main protag; Andrew.

Andrew was a normal teenager of fifteen years old; hormones raging, spending all his time with a few good friends and living a privileged life of the rich. Even though it all started a bit as an easy-to-read coming of age story where crushes and struggles were the main events, it slowly turned more serious and edgier. Andrew was confronted with problems that challenged his own outlook on life and I was fascinated by the internal dilemma's it presented. As the story progressed he grew in to a character of depth because what was right and what was wrong? I love complex characters or situations and Andrew Ashling definitely searched for the boundaries.

Personally, I don't think I will forget chapter ten anytime soon. In it a conversation took place that conveyed such details that it shocked my emotions in an uproar of anger and fear. I was preparing for a lot but the author managed to deliver a surprising plot point which kept me on the edge of my seat. The authors writing and characters kept me immersed in all that was going on and felt. Because, whether friend or foe, each character added a distinct voice to the overall story.

I thought the budding romance intense and in the end well rounded but I could have used more one on one time between Andrew and his love interest. The erotic moments were saturated with hormone raging need and it fitted the characters. There might be scenes that can get graphic and might be too much for a reader but for me it all enhanced the vibe of the world Andrew and those dear to him lived in.

When I finished the story I was wow-ed and for me there were some unique theme's, intriguing plot angle's, mixed with teenage tropes and a great sense of world building. Andrew Ashling is an author who has a way of blending it all in to a story that lingers, and in my avid reading world those are the kind of stories I always love to discover!

4.5 stars

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14 February 2011

The ode to doggy love...

Today is a day we celebrate l’amour! We declare our love, secretly or openly, to the ones near and dear to us. My hubby once wrote me a declaration of love and I realized this weekend he kept each and every promise to me, which of course made me miss him all the more *sigh* Still, I don’t want to be gloomy today, perhaps it will be a bit bitter with the sweet what I’m about to tell but l’amour can come in all shapes and sizes. Twelve years ago it came in the shape of a Shih-Tzu pup we named Luka and little did I know that he could charm me out of a gloomy mood any day of the week. Luka was an “in your face doggy love” dog. He had an unbound enthusiasm, friendship and loyalty for the people he loved but later, as he grew older, he could also get grumpy if he didn’t like a dog or person. I called it his “Walter moments”, as in Walter from Jeff Dunham. Still, he had the biggest, brownest eyes and with one look he could charm many in doing his bidding :) Hubby and I had five Shih-Tzu dogs and both hubby and I connected just a little more to different dogs. Luka was definitely my dog and last week I had to make the hardest decision a pet owner can make. 

Luka was sick, like Eros, losing weight and I didn’t wait one moment and took him to the vet. There, through and ultra sound, we found out Luka had a tumor as big as his belly, eating him up from the inside out. If November hit me with a 9.0 on the Richter scale, January hit me with some unexpected aftershocks. In one month I found out three of my furries; Eros, Esmé and Luka are incurably ill. Eros and Luka had to be euthanized pretty quickly. I thank God for small favors that I can hold on to my queen furry just a little longer. Esmé has many symptoms from the syndrome of Cushing which means she will gradually get worse. Of course in the near future I will have to make that decision again to let her go but for now, for this moment, I still have her with me.

Even with all the sad news I want to bring an ode to the love, the joy and happiness a dog can bring to one’s life. The cuddles, the play times, the barks and the wagging tales. The times where Jasmijn’s litter of nine pups created a toilet-paper snowstorm inside our apartment or Luka fell asleep in the food bowl. I have so many treasured memories and I miss Luka with all my heart. He and I shared a great bond, he could hang over de couch looking at the TV as if he understood it all, he licked away many a tear from my cheeks and barked enthusiastically when I laughed. He lay underneath my chair as I worked on the computer or was in the kitchen when I was cooking. He was my doggy friend!

Last Friday he died in my arms and all I can feel, all I can remember, is the love he gave me.

Luka was born on 16-3-1999 and died on 11-2-2011

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