Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Alpha and Omega, Book 4

I quietly read the entire series last year. I didn't review it. I wasn't convinced yet that Patricia Briggs could craft a heroine that I liked. I've been steady into the Mercy Thompson series but never felt like I could ride with her. She always needed to be saved. So I found that this series, Alpha and Omega, was set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series and it featured a big beautiful Native American as the hero. While the hero, Charles, always delivered, I was still left feeling as though I needed more from Anna.

Anna's birthday is coming up and Charles has decided to buy her a horse. They're heavy into riding. They go visit a horse ranch where an 80 year old human friend of Charles' is dying from cancer. Charles being the stone faced emotional man that he is, hasn't been to see his friend since he was deemed 'old' by human standards. You know, when you're a near immortal werewolf, human years don't compute. Anyway, Joseph is the son of Hosteen, the alpha werewolf of that area.

Coincidentally, when Anna and Charles arrive, some things happen. Kage is the son of Joseph. He's married to a woman named Chelsea, who somehow decided she wanted to kill her children that day. Thankfully, she didn't, she decided to try and kill herself instead. But Charles and Anna have to figure out what happened. That's when Leslie comes into the picture.

This series isn't super big on diversity. Yes, we have lots of Native American characters, but anything else? Not much ... Leslie is a black FBI agent who helped them out in a previous book. She was called again to help here since she joined them on their previous super natural mission. But unfortunately, she's not very useful in this one. We also meet two CANTRIP agents, one who is half fae but knows nothing about his fae heritage.

The thing I found most interesting was the fae power. The fae in question created dolls of children out of sticks. The stick doll would be given something of the child's, along with hair, and the fae could animate it to be the child it's taking the place of. Meanwhile, the real child is in suspended animation somewhere. Their mission is not only buy Anna a horse, but to say goodbye to Joseph, get rid of the fae that's stealing children to make dolls out of, and make sure a newly turned wolf isn't going off her rocker, ALL WHILE Anna tried to convince Charles that they should have a child.

I'm going to give this one 3 stars because I love the creativity of Patricia Briggs in crafting the fae creatures that Charles and Anna deal with. I absolutely love that part. I even went so far, while reading this book, as to say 'oh, that's interesting,' in a non-sarcastic way. That's the number one reason why I have kept up with anything Patricia Briggs. She puts a lot more into her secondary characters, tertiary characters, and opposition, than I feel she does with her main character. Even though I know Anna and I know Mercy, I don't like them. Well ... Mercy is okay after the last book, but I still don't have this sense of affection for Anna.

When Anna shows up, I immediately feel like she's there to talk someone out of a bad situation or show up when things get really hairy to drop the final blow that will end it all. And that's usually her getting lucky. Also ... There's a lot of horse talk. I love horses but don't know any of the terminology or anything about breeding or the breed name. I just know if it's big and pretty or not. So all the complicated horse talk went right over my head. Just a warning.

3 Stars
Decent Diversity

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Deadeye by William C. Dietz

The Mutant Files, Book 1

Deadeye takes place in the future where a biological war took place in the past and changed the face of the world. B Nosilla is an airborne pathogen that makes you sick, and if it doesn't kill you, mutates you. Detective Cassandra Lee lives in a world where Freaks are brushed aside to certain areas of the state with substandard living conditions while the Norms are living life how they want, assuming they don't contract B Nosilla. The trip is that you can be a mutant but not be a carrier of B Nosilla. Others aren't so lucky so all mutants are pushed out.

There is an underlying story going on in Deadeye. The underlying story is that Lee is working on solving her father's murder. Her father, like Lee, was an officer, but was killed by a cop-killer called the Bonebreaker. 

 Now. Cassandra Lee is what people call Deadeye. When she shoots, she always hits her mark. In one sequence, she actually killed 9 people to try and save her partner at the time, Conti.

Anyway, Lee is asked to find a woman named Amanda Scree (or Screed. Can't remember). She is the daughter of Bishop Scree, who runs a church of purity. As Lee is put on the job, Chief McGinty things it would be a good idea to partner her with someone from a mutant police department. Here we meet Deputy Omo.

Ras Omo is a mutant, latin, and from The Republic of Texas. He ends up being the perfect partner for Lee when everything else fails. He's bullet proof. Not really. But it's a nice thought considering her previous partners were killed.

Omo and Lee are sent to find Amanda Scree in Freak territory. They end up diving deep into trafficking operations of drugs and normal women.

What did I think? I had a really hard time getting into it. I thought the world building was decent but the character development just wasn't there. In fact, I felt as though Lee and Omo's personalities were exactly the same. I felt every police chiefs personalities were exactly the same and I felt every bad guys personalities were exactly the same. I had a lot of 'head to desk' moments. The main one being when Lee and Omo had sex ............................................

If B. Nosilla is airborne, how did they have sex with no consequences to Lee? Maybe Omo, though a mutant, isn't a carrier ...? That's the only thing I can think of. Still, the lead-in was just terrible. Their was no romance to this story at all. I'm always fine with that, but how do you go from no romance and no sexual tension to having sex in the blink of an eye. Why did this happen? This story was fine with out it, it wasn't even needed, it was just forced upon the reader. Their loving each other wasn't even believable because it felt like they were just doing something or feeling some way to pass the time.

I thought the Bonebreaker was just horrible.

By the way. The entire time, The narrating voice in my head sounded like an old 1950's detective movie. The book even had that feel.

So yea the Bonebreaker was horrible. He had the opportunity to kill both Lee and Omo but decided he wasn't read yet so he'd save their asses now and kill Lee later when he felt like it.

I can't even say that I liked the escape or the ending because so much was just blah.
Too many POV changes.
You can just tell this book was written by a man.
The only likable character was killed early on.
Too many plotholes in the main part of the book ... The mutagen pathogen,

Now I have to figure out if I'll continue reading the series. Yes, the lead is a Black woman. Her love interest is a Latino mutant. The cast is pretty diverse. But mannnnnnnn, it feels like a pain to read because things are just so ... easy. No. Not easy ... But just not great. I think I just had too high hopes for it and was really let down.

Keep reading or not? Ok yes, I'll keep reading, just because I want to find out if Cassandra will contract B. Nosilla or not. That's the only reason.

2 1/2 Stars

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Taste for Poison by Aleksandr Voinov

Memory of Scorpions, Book 3

This author never ceases to amaze me. If you think shizz hit the fan in book 2 then you're in for A LOT of it in book 3. It picks up right after an assasination attempt and now the king is suspicious of everyone. "Only Death can defeat him," was said in book 2 and in book 3, we meet Death. I think you kind of figure who it will be all along. When the big reveal took place, I wasn't surprised by who it was, I was surprised that WE got to find out who it was so soon. I thought it would be an identity hidden for quite a while because you know in most books, they wait til the last few chapters to tell you about it. Not here. You have to hold on for the ride.

Don't dispair, readers! Not long after his identity is revealed (to us), the king finds out and looses his shizz. The king ends up being so far gone that Kendras has to turn his back, choose a new side, and get out of dodge.

Book 3 unravels the mystery of who tried to kill the thing ... And I mean fully. You think you have it, but then something else happens and then SOMETHING ELSE happens and you find out another person may have been in on it. There was just so much shizz going down in this one. So much that I didn't expect half of it.

There is a traitor in the Scorpions and although Kendras has an idea, he's not completely sure and we won't be finding out either.

Kendras got smart. He would always say that he isn't one for strategy, but he was using his brain big time in this one. Big props to him because I wasn't sure how much longer he could go on living the way he does without having to plan out anything.

Allies are needed and Kendras makes one that helps his cause in a big way. After finding out some vital information about his destiny, at the end of the book, Amrash suggests that Kendras goes to Jaishan to learn about himself and his people so the Scorpions are setting sail that direction.

I don't know how many more Voinov has in store for us but I just can't wait!

... Things to take note of ...
* This is M/M as with the first two.
* You will fall in love with Runner all over again. That Scorpion never fails.
* The action isn't heavy in this one but the plot was a bit thicker.
* You will be SO satisfied with absolutely everything.
* I'm going out on a limb by saying that this over may feature Graukar. But if memory serves me correctly, Graukar is a Westlander. They come across as Irish. I think this model looks like a light skinned black man. But this is speculation and my opinion. I may ask the author later and update. (Update from the author: Westlanders are a mix of Aztec and Native American)

5 Stars!
IR all over the place

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):
Book Two:
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.

IR: Sarita (Indian) Ian (Scottish)