Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Broken Shadows by AJ Larrieu

Shadowminds, Book 3

Mina is ... Was ... A Shadowmind. Shadowminds are people with some kind of telepathic or telekenetic ability. Their are more types but those are the main two. Anyhow, Mina is attacked in her passed and her powers left her. Afterwards, she moved to California and that's where the story begins.

Mina is attacked once more and it triggers a new powerful ability, to ground a shadowmind. Grounding is basically sucking the 'shadow' out of someone and into herself. It's very X-Men Rogue-ish. It leads to her not being able to touch anyone until she can learn to control it. That's where Simon comes in. Simon is her new boss and begins to help her learn how to control it and dissipate the energy. While Simon is basically helping Mina learn about her new powers, Jackson, her potential love interest, wants to keep her powers under wraps because they can prove to be pretty valuable.

Anyway, things start going sideways when Jackson, Mina, and the crew find out that their are shadowminds taking some soft of enhancing drug that make their abilities that much stronger. And if they don't take it, they end up dead. While hot on the trail of this, Mina brings herself into the mix to help find out what's going on and to find a missing person Jackson's friend has been looking for.

When the ish starts hitting the fan, and you find out who the culprit is, you'll simply go, 'oh okay,' because you saw it coming. Well. I'm lying. Their are so many potential bad guys in this one that you'll just say 'oh okay, it was him,' and then something else happens and you say, 'oh okay ... I got it now.'

It took a bit for me to get into it, but once I did, I was there.

The main issue I had with the book was the imagery. I never got a good feel of what anyone looked like. I knew exactly what the apartment looked like, the bar, the cabin, the boat, but not the people. All I knew about Mina is that she was black with short curly hair. I wasn't sure how short, I wasn't sure how black she was until we learn she's actually biracial that is a bit too dark to be considered biracial. I can't tell you what Jackson looked like other than he was hot wit ha nice body. I think an eye and hair color and tattoos were mentioned but that was it. Malik was described decently. Sebastian had a major stand-out feature so you'll kind of make it up in your head once you find that out.

This is book one and it looks as though their are 2 more books, could be more. The covers are not as diverse as this but I'm hoping the books will be as this one was. I think I'll continue with the series. It's fresh, could use a little work, but I like it and can't wait to read books 1 and 2.



3 1/2 Stars
Diversity: Mina (Biracial), Malik (AA)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Black Tiger by Greta van der Rol


Well ... Just ... Well ... I didn't get very far.

First of all, I requested this book from Netgalley because their was in Indian man on the cover. Yes! It's not something I often see so I was incredibly excited about the potential diversity.

Dr. Sally, who is from Australia, has taken a job as a doctor in a village. She also has a love of tigers.

She immediately begins having unsavory thoughts about Asok, also known as Ash, a gorgeous Indian raja who she will be staying with. I am quoting the book when I say "he has those dark liquid eyes of all Indians ..." Strike one.

Upon Sally's arrival she finds a family being kicked out of their home in the village because they broke village law. Despite Ash trying to tell her that this is the culture there, she proceeds to try and talk Ash into doing something about this because "This was wrong. Like a lynching in the Wild West." Strike two.

I nearly deleted it from my Kindle entirely but I decided to at least give it a shot and try to finish it. Then this happened, "She was white ... cream, really." Strike three.

And I'm finished.

I can't ... I just can't even handle racism that has been masked with good intentions. I can't.

Santeria Isn't Dead!

So I've been having this battle with the author Kenya Wright. In my head. :-) She started this amazing urban fantasy series, interracial, with so many amazing things about it. The main thing, for me, was it was light on the sex. But as the series went on, by book 3, there was so much I couldn't even review it. I felt like because she was blossoming into a romance/erotic book selling queen (she actually overtook Zane this past week. How amazing is that?), that maybe it slipped out into her urban fantasy series.

Since I bugged her to the level of annoyance, she's decided to start on book 4 in February (and I took several screenshots of her saying this would happen, lol). I am hoping to glory that she revisits the goodness of book 1.

With that said, she has brand new covers that are pretty freaking BEAUTIFUL!


Shout out to Jackie Sheats Sheats, who is working on Book 4's cover Lake of Fire. It will be presenting a very important character in the new story.
Book One (FREE): http://goo.gl/j2wbJj
Book Two: http://goo.gl/0Eyioe
Book Three: Updated link coming soon

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Earthsinger Chronicles, Book 1

Jasminda is a 19 year old living alone on the outskirts of Elsira. Her skin color, unfortunately, draws too much unwanted attention from the townsfolk. In Elsira, they are basically white. Jasminda looks black despite the fact that she is biracial, half Elsiran and half Lagrimari. The Lagrimari are basically black people from across the land who are Earthsingers. They have songs that can heal and help. This difference, Jasminda being black in a white town, is the big draw in the beginning. I wondered how big of a deal it would end up being through out the book and it turned out it was a huge thing.

She meets Jack. He'd been captured by some Lagrimari soldiers and was being taken back to Lagrimar to stand trial. What they didn't know is they were still in Elsira.

When Jack gets free, with Jasminda's help, they meet a group of Lagrimari who help him get back to his post. Unfortunately, once back, Jack's identity changes and it leaves Jasminda feeling as if the wind was knocked out of her.

Their are a lot of small details that should be paid attention to when reading the book. When Jasminda is having a vision, pay attention it, because it wraps up VERY well in the end. Pay attention to anything mentioned about the Mantle, True Father, and the Queen Who Sleeps. I swear I can't say anything because it will give things away. But I will say ... so many instances will bring out the feels, so be prepared.

Sex is in this book but it isn't nasty or dragging on too long.
Every single character is written well.
The story wraps up well. A part 2 is clear and that is set up at the very end once the more pressing issue is resolved. However, the next issue is something you will HOPE for throughout all of book 1. So you get your wish for book 2.
Their are parts that drag, but it doesn't last long.

Overall, L. Penelope is one of my new favorite authors. I'm going to pimp this book as much as I can.

Did I mention that Jack is a ginger? I didn't? Oh, he is!



4 Stars
IR: Jasminda (biracial but very brown), Jack (white red-head)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Volatile Amazon by Sandy James

Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4

The Water Amazon is considered to be the weakest by her peers. Sarita is given a task that will prove them all wrong.

I honestly don't have a lot to say about this book. I've been trying to read it for over a year and just couldn't make myself. I knew immediately that it was erotic or at least just has a lot of sex in it, and I was right. I couldn't connect with the Sarita/Ian relationship because I felt like it was just about sex. The sparks that were there, funny moments and anything else that happened between the two seemed forced based on the fact that they wanted to screw each other.

I will say this is book 4 in a series and maybe it would have helped if I'd known that before I got this book so long ago.

Also, despite the fact that this is an interracial read with the lead being 'brown,' I felt no cultural influence.

Overall, the book would have been better had I not had to skip over the sex and the chemistry was good and not just 'written.' It was a little exciting though.



2 1/2 Stars
IR: Sarita (Indian) Ian (Scottish)

Friday, November 7, 2014

I'm being followed ...


My morning was made. I woke up like dis! :-O
You can follow me @UPBookBlog
And pay attention, yall. Her bio mentions the new Nell Nicholson Ingram series. She's always dropping snippets on her FB page. Link.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Broken Soul by Faith Hunter

Jane Yellowrock, Book 8

First, let me say that I'm hyperventilating at the thought that their may be only 1 book left after this. Amazon says that this book is 8 of 9. I'm going to lose my mind until Dark Heir is released next year.

Anyway.

Some shit kind of hit the fan.

I don't use that phrase in a joking way. I mean ... Jane did something that was basically like the Roman Empire falling. Although this empire didn't fall, thanks to Jane, it definitely could have.

This won't be a proper review. When are my Faith Hunter reviews ever proper? My ADD kicks into overdrive when I read her books and I'm just like DOIUBQAGUBGSOAWESOMEAHNPIHG that I can't get them together.

Bruiser. Bruiser. Bruiser. Bruiser makes a come back into Jane's life in a major way. It's so cute and adorable that you will literally smile every scene they're in together. With this major play Bruiser made, Jane still has to deal with her duties. She has to handle the European vampires that are coming for an unwanted visit. Even though we don't get them in this book, all the preparation has taken place in this one. During Jane's training to fight like them, she finds out she can do a cool new trick. The only other person who can tell she's doing this trick is Bruiser because he's an Onorio, and she's going to need his backup.

To make a long story short, Leo "voices" his displeasure for this Jane/Bruiser thing that's happening and Jane retaliates. That retaliation lands them in a heap of trouble when vamp HQ gets attacked by some people who have been trying to take Jane, and Leo, out since the start of this book. Soul makes a return because Jane encounters a creature that may be the same as Soul. Now I gotta say, I have very mixed feelings about her. She's so cryptic and wishy washy that it kind of pisses me off. Does she help? Not much. Enough. Just not much. As for the Broken Soul, it is in reference to Jane and Beast. The realization takes a big weight off of her shoulders.

I feel like Jane's life is finally coming together in this one. She's had such a rocky life, especially dealing with relationships both platonic and romantic. But she realizes that she's put down roots and has created a family with Eli and Alex Younger. Not only that, but she can't figure out when she became a girl. Jane's fighting skills are nothing short of spectacular. I've always felt like Jane just gets it. If you're going to be a badass, go all out and be the badass. I've read so many heroines that get their asses handed to them on a regular basis when others around them keep saying they're badasses. They haven't met Jane yet.

I've purposely left the vamp politics out in this review because that's something you need to read for yourself. I can't accurately summarize any of it but just know, as always, it makes perfect sense. That's another thing I value in this series, everything fits, everything makes sense, and everything is mentioned for a reason. That reason may not be thrown at you in the current book you're reading, but it will bite you in the ass down the line in another book. This is the reason why I read the entire series over again in preparation for this book, and then read this book twice.

Anywho ... Get the book. Get it now if you haven't.

Oh yea. Faith Hunter is creating a new series. So if that's the case, maybe the Jane series is coming to an end and she's getting us ready for something equally as amazing.

Here's to hoping ...

If book 9 is, indeed, the last ... I really hope we put Rick to rest. I want to gouge his eyes out with a hot poker.



5 Stars
IR everywhere

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Marketing a Non-White Protagonist


It's guest post time, everyone. With all of the talk about how badly we need diverse books, this seems appropriate to post by author R.A. White.

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If you were to look at my book covers, you would probably assume that I'm African American and proud of it. But you'd be wrong. If I was African American I would be proud, but I'm as European American as they come, save for a few ounces of Cherokee blood. Since I'm not black, you might assume that I married a tall dark and handsome type, or at least that I'm in love with one, but you'd be wrong about that, too. My husband us under five foot seven inches, as white and freckled as any Irishman, and barely weighs more than I do, though I thank God that we carry our weight in different places.

I do have a small dark and handsome man in my life, my adopted son, but his skin tone really has nothing to do with the reason why I started writing books about a dark skinned girl. Why did I do it? Honestly, not for any of the reasons why I continue to do it. I was naïve. It never occurred to me that having a black lead could dramatically reduce my book sales, and I needed to have nations that looked very different from each other physically. I thought about a few options, and decided to give my heroine dark skin instead of pointy ears or scales. I had no idea what I was getting into.

Problem #1: It wasn't until I shared my cover design with friends and family that I began to see how this was going. I received an email that said, and I quote, "I don't think people will want to buy a book with a picture of a black girl on it." This got me all kinds of mad, but when I vented to some other friends (people of color) I was told that I should take the criticism seriously. They said people would assume it was African American literature, even though the cover is pretty clearly fantasy, and that most people wouldn't pick it up. My response: If you don't like my cover, you probably won't like my book. The book is about understanding and reconciliation, after all. If people aren't open minded enough to read a book with a woman of color on the cover, they're probably not going to get the rest of the book. I decided that people need to get comfortable with seeing the world (fantasy though it is) through the eyes of a person who doesn't look like them. People of color do it all the time, so why can't white people? Actually I've found that many do, and I love them for it, but it really is a problem that I would like to help solve. So I found myself with a bit of a quest, even though I didn't start out that way.

Problem #2: How does one market a book like Kergulen? After some marketing education I realized that I need to define my target audience and focus on them. That sounds simple enough, but realistically my book doesn't appeal to the mainstream fantasy audience, so I can't expect to get anywhere in a venue catering to white fantasy fans. I decided that my best bet was to find groups of people who were looking for stories about non-white protagonists, since that seems to be the primary defining characteristic of my books. But I'm white. I can't help believing (and I've seen evidence of this) that a lot of non-white people aren't interested in reading a book like mine when it was written by a white person. And the funny thing is I totally understand that. In the beginning it never occurred to me that I would be marketing to a particular demographic, or I might have done things very differently. I might have created a persona or changed the color of my heroine, but now that I'm here, I don't think I would change it. It's terrible for book sales, but I've learned so much about life as a minority from following interracial/diverse groups on goodreads and facebook, and I've had opportunity to interview several people about their experiences on my blog. I think all of it is helping me become more understanding and an all around better person.

Problem #3: It seems that most interracial/diverse groups are primarily interested in romance and/or erotica. My first book has almost zero romance in it, and most of what there is falls more into the 'romantic tension' category. People WANT them to get together because there's a connection. My second book has more, but it's still a supporting theme, not the point of the story. The third book will be similar to the second, although I admit I've been working on doing more with the romantic aspects just because I've learned how important it is to people. I won't ever get into erotica, even if I do joke about writing it on the side to make some money.

All that to say I don't have a big market in white groups, black groups, or most interracial reads groups. The people who read my books seem to really like them, but it's hard to get people to take a chance.

So what do I do? Mostly I keep writing and hope to be discovered some day, but while I'm doing that I've decided to try and make some guest posts on blogs that might have interested readers. I don't expect to be the next Veronica Roth, but I would be SO excited to be well-known enough that people of all skin tones would be familiar with my books, and maybe they'd read them, and maybe they'd gain a little perspective. Maybe they'd learn to see the world a little differently.

To learn more about me, the handsomest little guy ever to live, and my books, visit rawhitebooksandmore.weebly.com
My blog: http://rawhitebooksandmore.weebly.com