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
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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Liesmith by Alis Franklin

Book 1 of the Wyrd

Sigmund Sussman is a human lie detector who works in IT at a major company in Australia. His father also works for that company but a bit higher up. Anyway, he ends up meeting a new guy named Lain who he strikes up an unlikely friendship with. I say 'unlikely' because it seemed as though Sigmund had no intention of even looking in the guys direction to even speak to him.

This is where it takes a bit of a turn. Sigmund is overweight, has acne, wears glasses, the whole nine yards. He's not an attractive guy. Because of his looks and his nerdiness, he never even thought the opposite sex would pay attention to him, let alone the same sex. So when it came to his attention that Lain might like him, his mind was blown. This is something that I hope people don't overlook. When I got this book from netgalley, I noticed it said it was a Gay/Lesbian Sci Fi Fantasy. I honestly don't feel like Sigmund and Lain being gay had anything to do with the book other than the obvious, that they're two guys.

Anyway, this book is full of Norse Mythology. Loki, Sigyn and many others are mentioned that I never even heard of. My knowledge of Norse is limited to Loki, and that's only very minute surface details. Prepare yourself for a lot of words you won't recognize and a lot of story telling. This isn't a bad thing. It was just new for me and took me a while to get used to.

The book has a slow burn to the action but once you're hit with it, the entire scope changes. It goes from a light cheeky romance between a guy who never considered himself gay, and a guy who sees more than he's letting on in the other guy, to this whole new world that changes in an instant to a place called Hel. The battles end up being very big battles and thank goodness this doesn't end on a Cliffhanger. I'm wondering what the author has in store for the future because I'm definitely interested. Major world events have been a bit twisted to fit the setting for the book but it's easy to dive into.

++ A quick note to say that this was an ARC and there were a lot of things I didn't mention in regards to formatting since it probably wasn't meticulously gone through yet.



3 1/2 Stars
Sigmund (Black Latino), Wayne (Black Female)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Promise I'm Still Alive

I'm alive. I have a ton of books I need to review, plus I need to post a review for the latest Jane Yellowrock, finish the second Sanctum book, and finish a really cool book I found out netgalley. As soon as my school work load slows down (and I finish reading Jane Yellowrock for the 2nd time), I shall return.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock


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The Girl (The Sanctum Trilogy, Book I)
Madhuri Blaylock

ISBN: 9780991203406
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pages: 408
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: November 2013

Plot Summary:

The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.

A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.

Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.



All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum. His abdication of his duties and his outright rejection of his responsibilities to The Sanctum create a maelstrom of events beyond anyone’s imagination.

Book Links
To purchase on AMAZON - The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock

To find on Goodreads - The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock


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THE REVIEW

First off, this is YA, which isn't my forte but this one is an exception. I actually liked it.

Wyatt and Ryker are Class A Warriors for The Sanctum, a group devoted to basically killing anything Magical. The boys, I like to think, are more like twins than best friends. They can basically finish each others sentences and predict what the other will do before they do it. Their aren't many bromances, on page, that work. This one works. It's the ONLY bromance I've read that I felt was genuine, well thought out, and believable. Honestly, the bromance alone would have kept my nose in this book.

Anywho, Wyatt and Ryker need to find a Magical. A hybrid. A girl who is basically pretty bad ass and will bring about a huge change in The Sanctum.

Dev is the hybrid. She's a tall, uber beautiful, dark skinned killing machine. Half angel and half demon hybrid and the Sanctum leader, Breslin, wants her dead. Our boys, Wyatt and Ryker, find her in a glamoured quadrant and Wyatt becomes stuck. He can't carry out orders to kill her. Instead, he finds a way to watch over her while deciphering his own feelings. Luckily, he isn't he only one stuck. Dev is struck by him as well. They both fall in love at first sight. Over the course of this novel, we meet Jools, who is Wyatt's sister and Ryker's soon-to-be significant other. That's another relationship I can't wait to dig into. Darby presents herself early. A southern belle vampire who loves Wyatt and Ryker. Later, we find out just how deep the love runs when Ryker nearly has a breakdown over her. That scene was positively captivating. Bravo Blaylock. That scene is probably my number one favorite.

I won't give anything else away in regards to the plot so I'll just go in with my feelings on everything.


  • The writing was great. Everyone and everything was perfectly described without going overboard. I hate spending pages and pages on one room of a house when they're only walking through it.
  • I felt some things were repeated so much that I got sick of hearing about it. Everyone kept bringing up how hot Dev was, that was number 1. Number 2 was probably that Dev was a killing machine. Number 3 was continuing to remind us that Wyatt and Ryker are Class A Warriors for The Sanctum. Those 3 things, you WILL keep reading as if I'd forgotten who these people were.
  • The bromance was beautiful. Ryker and Wyatt have a friendship like no other I've read ... Ever.
  • Around the time Dev came in the picture, and Wyatt started realizing he was unable to be without her, I really started to dislike him. He had a one track mind after then. He let Dev talk to his mom like she was shit. His mother allowed it. But when Ryker said one wrong thing she didnt like, she decided to chastise him. I rolled my eyes so hard and said "really, ma? You too?"
  • With all the emphasis placed on how great a fighter Dev was, I didn't see it. She was built up to be the worst thing on the planet but still took too many punches in my opinion.
  • I wish their would have been more action. The end was great. It was grand but could have been even more grand. It was kind of a fight in a nutshell. 2nd favorite scene occurred when Wyatt whistled and Ryker took off. Those two just make my heart flutter.
  • The relationship that Ryker and Jools has is genuine. I love it. They're actually kind of cute together and Ryker knows how to handle her attitude and all her annoyances. 
  • For the next book, I'm hoping for more from the vampires. They were brought in late in the game but didn't really contribute much.
  • I won't talk about Wyatt's stupidity at the end. He got what he needed. Lol.
  • Overall, by about the halfway mark, I was hooked. I'm fully ready to get into book 2. It took me a bit to get into, but once I was there, I was invested in everyone, even if I hated them. That is a very good thing.


3 1/2 Stars
IR Everywhere
Ryker (Black) Wyatt (White) Dev (Black) Jools (White) Darby (White)
If I were casting this ... Ryker = Shemar Moore (but darker), Wyatt = Chris Evans, Dev = Chantelle ANTM 21,  Jools = Elisha Cuthbert, Darby = Hayden Panettiere

Friday, August 8, 2014

Destiny's Gate - Giveaway


It's that time again.

Any YA fans out there? Looking for something multicultural that features a Scottish heroine and First Nations (Native American) BFF?

Enter to win book 2 of the Paige Maddison YA series, Destiny's Gate!

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In Destiny’s Gate, (FriesenPress, September 5, 2014, Paperback $USD17.99, Kindle $2.99) the second book in the Paige Maddison young adult series, teen Paige Maddison awakens to realize she’s just had her first premonition. An overwhelming sense of dread fills her senses and she realizes that the summer’s “fun” is about to begin. Soon another premonition follows. Then she hears a woman’s voice faintly speaking, warning her that she is in danger. Paige now knows she’s in trouble but she doesn’t know why. Worse yet, Paige doesn’t know what to do in the face of the impending danger.

But she has one thing going for her. Paige learns that she is a sensitive or intuitive: She belongs to a unique group of people who have a special gift that enables them to understand and communicate with the supernatural world. It is a perception, an intuition, of that world and often times spirits from the Other Side offer pertinent warning or advice to help them along their best path in life.


Yet Paige wonders if she is the target of something in the supernatural world that intends her harm and whether the spirits from the Other Side will come to defend her when she really needs them most.


Her friend Peggy confirms Paige’s worst fears. “Paige,” she says, “you are in grave danger. There is something walking the grounds of the O’Brien Estate that is looking for you.”


As Paige confronts these troubling thoughts, she meets Allan Brewer. Handsome and gentlemanly and sporting a strange tattoo, Allan is a mystery to Paige. Is he a good man or does he belong to the forces of darkness? An ally or a foe?


Paige comes of age as she learns that bad things can happen to anyone, anywhere. We all have the ability to fight against evil and triumph over it. It comes from the pureness of hearts and genuine love for others. When you put the well–being of a friend or family member before your own, that is the purest form of love and self-sacrifice: Unconditional love.


But will that understanding be enough to save Paige from the evil that lurks around her? What must Paige do to meet the challenge from the dark side? And will she prevail?


Cheryl Kaye Tardif, International Bestselling Author says: Destiny’s Gate is beautifully written, inspiring and moving. A truly unique ghostly suspense for teens. Destiny's Gate promises to be more suspenseful and scarier than Wake Me Up Inside, the first offering in the Y/A series.


+++

Don't fret thinking only one or two winners will be chosen. The authors, Lee Bice-Matheson and J.R. Matheson, are giving away 2 paperbacks AND 5 ebooks! Bring your friends over and have them enter. You can't afford to let this opportunity slip past you!

BEFORE YOU ENTER!!
Click the book cover and check out the blurb.

Entry Form:
1. Who is Paige Maddison shaken from the haunting of?
2. Where does Paige Maddison live?
3. Your name and email address:

Deadline: Friday August 22, 2014 5pm

That's it! Copy and answer these 3 questions into your reply down below and you're entered! Good luck!

Also, if you want to try for a chance to win book 1 ... http://leebicematheson.ca/?p=2033

More info about the authors and contact info after the cut.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Paranormal Action Without Sex?

After I ranted I decided to hit up twitter and ask those authors that I just die for. I started with the two most obvious, Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock) and CE Murphy (Negotiator and Walker Papers). I wanted to know how they continue to make it without adding sex seeing as how so many are starting from that point. I think CE Murphy had the most interesting answer out of the two, but let's start with Faith.


Jane FINALLY gets lucky? OMG! This is crazy. If you've been following this series like I have, you know that this never happens so I welcome this with open arms. Not to mention ... I really don't think it will make me cringe. I also doubt it will be detailed. *fist pump*


Joanne isn't the sort to share intimate details. Is that the secret? Sure, we want to think about the character only when we read a book but someone wrote those words. Are these authors really just writing it because they want it there or is it absolutely necessary to character development? It's a whole nother way to look at it that I never thought about it before. Interesting.

I think there's only one other author that I haven't asked but I'll be getting to that and following up on that later.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Indie Recon Live!

First, let me say THANK YOU to those that made the Jen Greyson Alterations giveaway so awesome. It was the best giveaway turnout I've had at UPBookBlog. I'm also super grateful that the giveaway was for an author and series that I really believe in and love.

But now ... Indie Recon Live has both books in the Alterations series up for multiple nominations. Give Jen a huge nod and go over there and vote! You can vote every single day. I plan to. Will you?

Most Breathtaking Kiss
Mmm... You know the one, that first one between Evy and Constantine!
http://indiereconlive.com/contests/483-2/breathtaking-kiss


Best First Line:
Lightning Rider
Shadow Boxer
http://indiereconlive.com/contests/483-2/best-first-line


Best NA Author:
Yours truly :)
http://indiereconlive.com/?contestants=lightning-rider


Best NA Book:
Lightning Rider
Shadow Boxer
http://indiereconlive.com/contests/483-2/best-na-book-2014


Best Book Boyfriend:
Constantine from Lightning Rider and Shadow Boxer
http://indiereconlive.com/contests/483-2/best-book-boyfriend


Best Kickbutt Main Character:
(duh!) Evy from Lightning Rider and Shadow Boxer
http://indiereconlive.com/contests/483-2/best-kickbutt-main-character


Round one voting ends 8/15 and then round 2 will begin. Vote folks!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Discouraging Words

I'm starting to feel completely discouraged.

It seems as though interracial or african american paranormal works don't survive unless theirs a certain amount of sex in the book.

Sex sells. We all know that.

I just want to know ... Why are there no more Jane Yellowrocks or Joanne Walkers or Mercy Thompsons? How are the authors of these amazing series' making it without sex? And why is it that everyone else seems to be ditching an actual story in order to throw a couple of sex scenes in it OR write a story around how they want the relationship to work? What is happening? My frustration is through the roof.

And it's so prevalent, in my opinion, in interracial paranormals. Go through amazon.com and just look at the titles. Some of them are so discouraging to me. Then look at the reviews and they're even more discouraging. As soon as I see a review with HOT or STEAMY in the subject line, I know what's going on here.

I'm so freaking frustrated right now.

I might as well start reading YA.

But I hate YA.

I have no desire to read about high school kids with high school problems.

I keep getting suggestions for Christian novels.

I love me some Jesus but I want to read about vampires ripping necks out instead.

I seriously don't know what to do. I only have 2 authors left that I can really hang on.

And don't get me wrong. I'm not against sex. I'm just against it being the selling point of the book I'm interested in. If it's a selling point, I'm out. I'm tired of buying books and skipping a third of it just so I don't have to read about how big his cock is or how wet her pussy is. I'm sick of it.

So right now I have nothing to read.

All these books on my Kindle and I have nothing to read.

I have my own book ideas that I want to start on but I'm 100% certain it won't sell because their won't be any sex scenes in it or the romance is minimal. Even more discouraging.

Someone said if you haven't yet found the book you want to read, write it. But if I write it, who else is going to read it with me? No one.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Shaman Rises by CE Murphy

Walker Papers, Book 9, Final

I found it interesting that at the end of it all ... After everything she'd gone through ... At the very end, she took it back to the basics and became just a Shaman. At the end of the series the shaman rose.

I bled through this entire series over the course of maybe two weeks.

I need to point out that the lead, Joanne is 6 feet tall, 165lbs, and has short spiky black hair. Don't let that cover fool you.

I'd been suggested this series a million times.

I didn't really pay attention to it because I thought Joanne Walker was too plain. Finally, at last, I realized there was a Jane Yellowrock / Joanne Walker crossover so I decided to give this a try.

I don't even really know how to begin other than by saying that I'm completely worn. Have you ever fully immersed yourself in something so much that you fake yourself into feeling as tired as they are, sad, happy and everything in between? Shaman Rises is the final book in the Walker Papers series and it is the best written, ended, and wrapped series I've read. I was about to say since the Vampire Huntress series but no ... That didn't wrap up nicely. It led to another series that the late great LA Banks didn't have the chance to finish.

I'm not about to give you spoilers or a real summary. I will just say that I hadn't read a series, until this one, where I felt like the heroine was really tested. It's not my favorite series. It's too wordy for my A.D.D. But at the same time, I haven't read a series that literally picked me up and tossed me into the leads body. That's what this felt like to me. I'd become so emotionally invested in this person that when I was reading I felt I was living her life. Joanne's life. I felt EVERYTHING. I experienced EVERYTHING.

Basically ... Joanne had a Shamanic awakening many years later than when she was supposed to have it. Over the course of the series, and roughly 16 months book time, she came into full shamanic AND mage powers. These were things she was supposed to be learning from birth, but because of that thing called life, her training was derailed. By the time we get to the last of the series, she'd been going non stop for roughly two weeks on no sleep and no food. Joanne was running on fumes. It's just simply unbelievable ... She was carrying so much baggage all the time that by the end of the series, there was just a huge weight that had been lifted off of her shoulders. I was actually proud of her, happy for her, and hoping like hell she could get some rest.

She got phenomenal powers. She flew a freaking car! She bent light around her to make herself invisible. She shielded multiple people at a time like it was nothing. But the thing that was great about all this was she wasn't SUPPOSED to be able to do any of that. People around her would tell her she shouldn't have been able to do that. But because she had no training and no one to tell her what she could and could not do, she did it all anyway. And it was badass.

At the end, when she and her crew basically saved the world, and her powers were at full mast, she brought people together to basically heal Seattle. Shamans are healers. Joanne had to walk a line between Shaman and Warrior before figuring out how to do them together. But at the end of it all, when she could finally get some peace, healing is what she wanted to do.

This series is amazing. It's wordy. It's not a bad thing because you literally go into every single thought process she has and when. Not to mention, in this book, when the 'bodies' shifted and you got a peak into someone elses head, I thought that was awesome. Anyway ... It started off slowly for me. The whole series i mean. But it really picked up speed. You'll fall in love with Gary from the beginning, get googly eyed when you meet Coyote in human form, and you'll smile every time Joanne and Morrison are in the room together. There's just so much good with the series and the last book that I can't stop reeling from it. I stayed up all freaking night reading this last one and don't regret the lack of sleep.

I'm done. I loved it.

BTW, I wonder if I could stalk CE Murphy into doing a spinoff about Suzanne. Hmm ...



5 Stars
IR: Joanne (NA/Irish), Coyote (NA), Melinda (Lat)
Also ... Don't forget ... CE Murphy is the author of the Negotiator Trilogy that features a black heroine. Don't let the book covers fool you.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Anointed by Maggie Mae Gallagher


Alana, a Cantati, has to go back in time to stop an invasion. This is my kind of stuff but I had a really hard time digging into it. It started off wonderful. An invasion took place, it was all hands on deck and people were losing their lives all over the place. She gets thrown back in time a little too far and has to basically play detective and find clues in order to do what she needs to do. But of course it cant be that simple. Not only is she being attacked, but she catches the eye of Gaelen. Gaelen was cast out of his home for a ridiculous reason and is now fighting to survive.

The action was actually pretty good but in between the action, it's slow moving. Not to mention she kept getting her ass handed to her. I skipped ahead pages at a time because I'd already put the book down three times to see if I wanted to pick it back up again. I also thought the romance felt forced. The sexual tension was forced. I'm not anticipating picking up book two because this one didn't have enough that would make me want to check in on them.



2 Stars

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wolf Fever by Milly Taiden

Alpha Project, Book 1

I got this suggestion in an FB group. Thankfully, my library had it so I e-checked it out. Anywho ...

This was a quick read so I'll keep my review brief. Raine is an escaped experiment. When she can't bear to be alive anymore, she finds Ryder, a wolf shifter. Upon their first meeting, he's in her pants. The rest of the book goes that same way. Anyway ... One of the wolves Ryder knows goes missing and they have to find him. Milly is also sought by the people she escaped from so she can come back to the lab and complete a breeding process. The people experimenting on her, and another wolf, are trying to create the ultimate Alpha.  Of course, this won't fly because she's apparently Ryder's mate.

I think you can tell how un-enthused I am.

The book was going great until Raine met Ryder. After that, things went down fast. Quick action scenes that were actually good gave way to longer sex scenes that really ate up a nice percentage of the book. It got to the point where once I was happy with the story progressing, it got incredibly predictable and then ... They had sex again. Needless to say, I'll pass on this author in the future.


1 Star
IR: Raine (BlackLatina ... It's unclear)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Prisoner (Echo's Wolf: Werewolf Marines) by Lia Silver

Werewolf Marines: Echo's Wolf, Book 1

Marines DJ Torres and Roy Farrell are shot down from their helicopter. Roy is so badly injured that DJ decides to try and do something drastic to save his life, turn him into a wolf. After help arrives and they're taken for treatment, things go sideways. DJ soon learns that the doctor whose watching him isn't interested in helping him at all. DJ tries to escape and runs into Echo, a woman who works at the facility who is scary strong. After a failed takedown attempt, DJ heads out into 117 degree heat. Skip the rescue and we come to DJ being recruited into this top secret organization. Of course, he wouldn't willingly work for these people. He basically gets the same deal as Echo was given, either work here or your loved one dies. The rest of the novel is spent with the two getting to know each other and DJ learning his surroundings before a bad move with a pack of wolves nearly gets Echo killed.

First, let me say thanks to Lia Silver for giving me a copy of this. I was immediately drawn to the cover. Who is on the cover? A FREAKING FILIPINO! Who does that? Lia Silver does that! I'm so excited by just the cover alone that I said yes to reading it before I really realized what the book was about. Lol. Anyhow ...

Overall, I thought the book was decent. The character building was very good. I know each and every character, how they act, what they like, what they're about to say before they say it etc. etc. The story, itself, works well for me because I love reading about those top secret clandestine organizations that break every rule known to man in the name of science. But of course, I'm attached to the characters now. I really NEED to know how it ends for them. If I don't continue reading the series, I'll never know and it'll drive me bonkers. I like the fact that the book didn't end with them escaping. It gave me something to look forward to, which means more to come with DJ and Echo. I also like that their are still underlying issues that were addressed and put away, but to be worked out further later down the line, like DJ being separated from his pack. The only thing that I didn't like was the love scene. When they finally got around to having sex, it was VERY 'I'm a clumsy teenage virgin.' The entire scene was riddled with a ton of dialogue that basically went, 'is it ok if I do this?' 'Ok, my turn.' I ended up skipping it all, but because it was at the end of the book, it brought my high down quite a bit.

Outside of that, I really liked that. I would love more action in the next one. Echo is really skilled so I'll be really looking for more of her in the next one to come.



3 Stars
IR: DJ (Filipino) and every other race is represented.

Purchase "Prison" on Amazon.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

CLOSED: Jen Greyson Giveaway!


The Alterations series by Jen Greyson is on the move but she needs your help! I know you're saying to yourself, "how can I help?" Just answer 2 questions about book 1 and in return, you'll be entered to win a copy of her eBook Shadow Boxer, which is book 2 in the Alterations series.

 

Q1) If you were looking to purchase a new book online, based on the cover alone, which would you choose? Blue Cover or Grey Cover?
Q2) If you were browsing in a bookstore, which cover would grab your attention first? Blue Cover or Grey Cover?

And that's it! Respond to this post with your answers to both questions. Include your name and email address for contact in case you're the winner! Contest ends Friday July 11 at 5pm.

Want to check out book 1? Jen is giving it away for free on July 23, 24, and 30.

Check out the blurb after the jump!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Another Rant about JR Ward

I think anyone who understands my reading habits also understand how much of an issue I have with JR Ward. The author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. She has obvious issues with class in regards to gender, and obvious issues with race. These issues she has failed to address no matter how many times someone has asked her about it.

I got a kick in the butt to finish Lover At Last. It was the book that focused on her gay/bi vampire pair Blay and Quinn. Long before I finished it, I read a review by Rebekah Weatherspoon, author of Better Off Red, that summed up what I was feeling while reading. And since I've finished it, it's THE PERFECT review. Rebekah made excellent points, those I share.

Many moons ago, when I first started the series, I sent an email to JR Ward. I was a fan. I wanted to know where the color was. These vampires are living in a fictional place in New York. Anyone who has ever seen a shot of New York even on television knows what a melting pot New York is. So I basically asked her where was the color, why do all of the Chosen look alike, and again where was the color? I got a response a week later stating that their are no races based on color, only the vampire race. Okay. While I took that answer, I was later introduced to Trez and IAm. They are Moors. Black vampires but they're a little different. In Lover At Last, we find out they come from a tribe.

Now here comes my issue. During the course of the book, while JR Ward destroys my favorite pairing Blay/Quinn, she shows Trez as that black guy who hates black women and doesn't want to deal with them in order for him to have a white woman. I have no problem with interracial anything. Duh. But when you finally give your book some color and this is what you do ... There lies a bigger problem. Trez basically spends his 'page time' trying to get away from anyone who wants him to marry the Shadow Princess. Why? There's some white Chosen he's after. He's not even met this Princess but he's called her every derogatory name he could think of, while getting his jollies off with white women.

I'm just confused.

This is getting too long.

The real reason I started this post was to complain about the cover of the book that is dedicated to the Shadows, Trez and I-Am. Remember, they are dark skinned with shaved heads from a tribe and this is the cover given.


Well ... At least the white man is standing in the shadows. LOL.

How's that for diversity? Thanks JR Ward, but #weneediversebooks that don't purposely and continuously throw anyone that isn't lily white under the bottom of a shoe.


If you want more information on Rebekah Weatherspoon ...
Link to her website ...
Link to her Goodreads review that I love ...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Black and Brown Planets ... Cimmerian City

If anyone has a Netgalley account and visit it frequently, there is a new title up called Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction. The blurb is below. If anyone is going to request it, and if they read it, please let me know. I'd love to repost your reviews on this blog. #weneeddiversebooks





Description:

Literary explorations into the radical, hopeful racial futures imagined by science fiction

Essays by Marleen S. Barr, Gerry Canavan, Grace L. Dillon, M. Elizabeth Ginway, Matthew Goodwin, Edward James, De Witt Douglas Kilgore, Malisa Kurtz, Robin Anne Reid, Lysa M. Rivera, Patrick B. Sharp, and Lisa Yaszek

Black and Brown Planets embarks on a timely exploration of the American obsession with color in its look at the sometimes contrary intersections of politics and race in science fiction. The contributors, including De Witt D. Kilgore, Edward James, Lisa Yaszek, and Marleen S. Barr, among others, explore science fiction worlds of possibility (literature, television, and film), lifting blacks, Latin Americans, and indigenous peoples out from the background of this historically white genre.

This collection considers the role of race and ethnicity in our visions of the future. The first section emphasizes the political elements of black identity portrayed in science fiction from black America to the vast reaches of interstellar space framed by racial history. In the next section, analysis of indigenous science fiction addresses the effects of colonization, helps discard the emotional and psychological baggage carried from its impact, and recovers ancestral traditions in order to adapt in a post-Native-apocalyptic world. Likewise, this section explores the affinity between science fiction and subjectivity in Latin American cultures from the role of science and industrialization to the effects of being in and moving between two cultures. By infusing more color in this otherwise monochrome genre, Black and Brown Planets imagines alternate racial galaxies with viable political futures in which people of color determine human destiny.

Isiah Lavender III, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is an assistant professor of English at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Race in American Science Fiction.

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Find this on Netgalley.

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Cimmerian City is on Netgalley as well. I've read, reviewed, and loved it. I'm still waiting on book 2, Rae!


Stripped from the headlines of today's news, Cimmerian City is a novel spanning 15 years.

Greed can turn a good man’s heart to stone. This is especially true in the age of commerce and large corporations. No new pill can be taken without a laundry list of side effects that the patient may have to endure. But what if the side effects are more dangerous than the pills are helpful? What if the side effect causes the patient to be immune from standard dangers, such as firearms, the climate, etc., but causes them to change into otherworldly beings?

It is seen through the eyes of a young woman named Raven Blackheart. It is a future where corporations rule the world and political parties have been dismissed. An Earth that is recovering from a global war that has divided two races: Humans and Dracins, quick, tough skinned creatures that are children of the side effects from 20th century pharmaceuticals. Raven awakens in this world as a product of both races and nurtured by the vice president of the main corporation in the world as a symbol of the union of races. With her help, Vice President Tyler Deamond’s corporation can take both beings off Earth--quickly becoming a waste planet--and to a new terraformed planet. But as Raven learns, nothing is as it seems, especially concerning humans.
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Link to my post
Find this on Netgalley
Purchase on Amazon for $0.99


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Better Serving the Author

Jen Greyson lit a fire under me. I really don't think she knows what she's done. If you read the previous post containing emails we sent each other, it really got me thinking. How can I, as a blogger, further help out the authors that want more push for their books? What can I do? I've been posing the question in quite a few places and haven't gotten many responses yet. So far, I got one from RA White, author of Kergulen.

"Another thing might be linking to writers' blog posts if you like them, or asking them to write something for your blog. Or asking if you can use something they already wrote on your blog. Just some ideas."

These are all fantastic ideas that I plan on implementing immediately. I'm hoping to make this blog more well-rounded and add an author focus to my review focus. I will also attempt to find AA and IR Paranormals that are $.99 and cheaper, and link them here, as well as author information.

Authors! If you want to guest post, promo or anything at all, don't hesitate to let me know. Just please make sure your book has a non-caucasian lead OR at least one other major character (with a storyline) that is non-caucasian.

Let's get the word out, people.

If you're interested in finding out more about Kergulen or R.A. White, click the links below.


or Visit R.A. White's website.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Talking with Jen Greyson about Alterations ...


I got a little confused.

Everyone has a set of authors they stalk for new books and series updates and such. A couple of people had asked for suggestions for Paranormals with a MC that was Latina. I was all too excited to bring this up because it's amazing. So I decided to go do an update stalk. One of the main authors I stalk is Jen Greyson, author of the Alterations Series. I sang praises to her and both books in general because they're just good. They have great stories with a good concept. I love the writing and how engaged I am with our lead, Evy, who is Latina. But when I went to stalk Jen about book 3, I saw the cover on the right.

I almost lost my mind.

We went from what's on the left, to what's on the right. Not only had the cover changed, but the title had changed, and even the blurb had changed. Not to mention the blurb, even though the story itself doesn't change, the blurb makes it seem more male-focused. Like Constantine is the lead.

I lost my mind.

I actually got angry.

So I sent Jen an email and this is how it went ...

---------------------------------

From Me:
Hey there! I just wanted to ask about the re-release of your series. Or is it a re-release? I've noticed the name of the book has changed as well as Evy isn't the selling point anymore, Constantine is? What happened? I'd recently recommended this series to someone who was looking for a latina MC and she asked me about this. I wanted to know what to tell her anyone else who may have a question.

From Jen:
I'm really interested in your feedback on this and I'm so glad you asked.

It is a re-release, but the ONLY thing I changed were the covers and the blurb. The entire story is still the same.

As to why, I don't know that I have a great answer. The covers were fantastic, but they weren't drawing readers in and NA seems to be so male-focused (cover-wise), which leaves Evy and her story as an outlier, even though Constantine is a big catalyst to her growth.

So, it was partially a marketing decision, partially a business decision, and I'm trying not to be an emotional artist about it -- even though I tend to default to wearing that hat :) At the end of the day, I just want to share Evy's journey with as many readers as possible, and it's tough to do in the flooded market (which is what makes amazing bloggers like you who spread the word so precious!)

Like I said, very interested in your feedback.

Ciao,
Jen


From Me:
I have to admit that it kind of upset me. I actually wasn't a fan of the original cover art but I thought it told the story of Evy a lot better. I do, however, see what you mean on the covers being male focused, but I haven't heard of it really hindering anyone before. I just felt like, 'I'm here for Evy. I like Constantine a lot but I'm here for Evy and this isn't a direction I would go with it.' I think I'm just so attached to the fact that this book is lead by a Latina, that Constantine being on the cover threw me for a loop.

I'm sure you heard about #weneediversebooks. With the diversity lacking, Evy being on the cover and the story being about her was something I really felt. I feel like it's gone now and it's just kind of in the pile with every other book that's about a caucasian lead. I'm not knocking your decision, I completely get it. I was just so taken aback by the cover change AND the blurb change that I got worried for Evy in book 3. Almost wondering if she wasnt going to be a lead anymore, but a supporting character to Constantine's lead.

I will relay your message to those who asked, and thanks for getting back to me. I'm looking forward to book 3.


From Jen:
I'm really glad you asked, and thank you for your feedback. I get it, I totally do, because it was honestly a huge struggle to make the decision. On one hand, I want to be about the story, but I have so many mentors telling me that I have to treat this like a business too.... and I hate how that sounds because it makes it sound like I'm in this to make a buck, and yes, part of me wants to make a living at this, because... house payment, but I've been so true to this story, and to Evy's journey--until the cover change. Evy is an insanely powerful heroine... who never needed a man -- and now that we're talking about it, she probably doesn't need one to help her get the word out about her books either, LOL.

I just got an entire box of the print books to take with me to a signing in Vegas -- I'd been really reserved about changing out those covers, and seeing them in print again, is making me second-guess the decision. It's hard to be an outlier, especially when the books are flagging and I really want to see them succeed BECAUSE we DO need diverse books. So badly.

And yeah, you're right about her no longer being the stand out cover anymore -- these covers make her look like she's hiding behind a man in a male-dominated group of covers.

Things for me to think about and ponder....

As for book 3, Evy will always be the lead. Tiana has a massive role to play now too, but I'm tossing around letting her have her own YA series as a spinoff so that Evy's journey stands on it's own without watering it down with another female lead. There's still so much story to tell.

I really really really appreciate your query, and most of all, for being honest with your feedback. Please feel free to post it on the blog -- I'd love to see this turn into a conversation about author decisions and how they affect readers ;)

Ciao,
Jen


From Me:
Thanks so much. I do, absolutely, understand your reasoning and even your fears. I really hope things work out well with the new switch. I'd love for you to succeed with this series and as a writer in general. I love your work and will continue to support you!

---------------------------------

I honestly feel that way but man ... I am still bummed.

Thoughts?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Raw by Belle Aurora


Every now and then I find a book that makes me lose my mind. 9 out of 10 times, it's not a paranormal so that really works me over a good piece while my brain is coming back from being mush. Last year, it was the Consequences series, this time, it's Raw.

Raw is the story of Alexa. A woman living in Australia who is being stalked and she knows it. One fateful night, she is attacked right outside of her apartment building and is saved by her stalker. What happens next doesn't make any sense.

Twitch is said stalker. A tattooed guy who wears a hoodie and watches her whenever she's out living her life. After he saves her, he sits with her in her apartment while she tries to sleep, and does so many nights after that. But Twitch aint quite right. He's controlling and a bit of a sociopath. Alexa knows this, feels this, but deals with him anyway. And when I say 'deals with' I mean she allows him dominate her and f*** the crap out of her, daring her to tell him no. She's going to get 'it' from him how he wants to give it and not any other way matters. Over the course of this effed up relationship, Twitch and Alexa kind of decide to keep each other. Alexa being this really good person who helps kids who are in the system, and Twitch being ... This dude who shows up in her apartment any time he wants, things are as complicated as you can imagine. Imagine this guy showing up at your job just to eat you out. Imagine this guy screwing you into tears and then you question your own sanity as to why you like it. Imagine him turning out to be something you didn't really think he was and it makes it much worse.

My head is flipping. Twitch is a bastard who is mean, crazy, unhinged, and unapologetic. And if you're a little 'off' like I am, you'll want Twitch to succeed in every horrible deed he has set out for himself.

With that said, the ending leaves a lot to the imagination. Will their be a part 2? Has to be! The epilogue? Come on ... It's gotta happen. I'll be stalking the author until the next one is released. Thanks to Belle Aurora for making a sociopathic borderline erotic thriller that I actually liked reading.

I will also say that the writing style isn't the best. It's kind of annoying. But if you can get past it, it's worth it.




4 Stars
Only 4 because for a while, he softened.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Temptation Rising by A.C. Arthur

Shadow Shifters, Book 1

I'd been looking at this book since 2012. Literally since it came out. I couldn't figure out if I wanted to spend money to buy a book by an author I didn't know anything about. But only a few days ago, my friend graced me with the physical copy (which felt so weird after having used a Kindle for so long) and I got to read it.

I'm glad I didn't buy it.

It has so many great 5 star reviews on amazon but I think it's because it's erotic. Had the book not been erotic, the reviews probably would have gone differently. Anyhow ... Kalina Harper ...

And let me say I'm about to give some spoilers.

... is an undercover police officer working for the DEA to bring down Roman Reynolds. He's this big shot attorney with a lot of money and the cops want to know about some money being funneled somewhere. Kalina is sent in, as an accountant, to snoop around and see what she can find. Cliche will tell us that Roman will want Kalina and vice versa. And since Roman is a shifter, cliche will also tell us that Kalina is his mate and she doesn't know it yet. However, it was nice to see what Kalina didn't know that she was a shifter at all until she shifted. Outside of that, it was a very standard sassy damsel is stupid and in distress but thinks she can take care of herself so she continues to put herself in bad situations because she wants to be hard headed despite the warnings of danger, some she's already privy to.

The book was also very repetitive, the writing was basic, and the character development was ok. The world building was lacking. The only thing I really know about Kalina was that she was black-ish with a short spiky hair cut. Both Roman and Nick (his partner) were described as basically the standard tall, sexy, strong jaw, and great body. Outside of those types of things, I don't know what they looked like so I wasn't sure how sexy they were.

The conflict could have been better. It, too, was cliche. The bad guy wanted the girl to mate with. He loses, by the way, but does get away.

This book has plenty of fans so my one review won't hurt it, but I won't be continuing with the series. It just didn't work for me.



2 Stars
IR (Al main characters were Black-ish/South American)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blood Bond by Jeanne C Stein

Anna Strong, Book 9

Well this was a dud. Outside of meeting Dracula, King Steffan, and having a fight with a bear shifter, this entire book was mushy and sappy. It all dealt with a wedding and Anna's family. Their were no plot twists, just straight forward everything. I hope book 10 is better than this.


2 Stars (and I'm being generous)

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Black Parade by Kyoko M.


Jordan Amador is a waitress with the ability to see ghosts. Not only does she see them, but they speak to her and she helps them complete their final wish before crossing over to the afterlife. Gabriel, yes, the highly famous archangel, Gabriel, has given her the task of crossing over 100 souls in 2 years time or she will go to Hell when she dies. Why? She killed someone special. And though it was purely accidental, the death meant a lot to God and she has to atone for the life she took.

Ghosts normally pop in and out of her life but a very special ghost, Michael, showed up and was able to touch things. He called himself a poltergeist. As with all ghosts, when they first 'wake up,' they usually don't know more than their first name and where they woke up so Jordan has to piece things together so it can jog their memory. After a day out, trying to find things out about Michael, Jordan goes home to see Gabriel waiting for her and he immediately knows Michael, this poltergeist, as the archangel Michael and leader of God's army. Immediately, all of Michael's memory comes back.

Now that Michael knows who he is, we find out why he didn't know who he was, why he's a poltergeist and what the heck else is going on. Later, we encounter the demon Belial, who wants the body that the archangel was inhabiting, who also has plans for Jordan and her blood. Belial is persistent and shows up a lot throughout the book along with a partner. Not only is he showing up, but has decent ideas and religious artifacts that are fun to connect with the story. Now of course, a story like this can't happen without Jordan and Michael falling for each other. And yes, it's very complicated because of his status as the archangel. I think the outcome of the relationship was to be expected, but you just know it could never actually work.

I'm not completely sure how I feel about it. The story itself is great. I like Jordan and Michael. This reminds me of something along the lines of LA Banks. And while this is written well, it's not written as well as I felt it should have. The imagery just wasn't there for me. Their was a hellacious fight at the very end that I really wanted to 'see' and not just get a sneak peak of. Had the book been written better, it would have been a new favorite. I still will recommend it.



3 1/2 Stars
IR: Jordan (AA/Sp) Michael (W)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blood Chills by Marie Treanor

Blood Hunters, Book 5


If you haven't been keeping up with this series from the start, it shouldn't be hard to start in the middle. Yes, their are references to things that happened in past books but it doesn't stop you from figuring out what happened and enjoying this one. Blood Chills is about a vampire hunter named Cynthia, she gets sick to her stomach every time a vampire is in her presence. She and her band of merry hunters are hired to take care of a problem that involves someone brutally killing women in the area. While they are on the trail of a vampire, Rudy, her best friend/father figure/vampire hunting partner, is taken down hard with a gruesome bite. Finding out who dare hurt Rudy becomes personal for Cyn. Her search leads her to Bela, a Hungarian vampire who plays in a band. Long story short, he is hot for her, she gives in, the killer is caught and all ends well.

Yes, the ends are tied up quite nicely that way with more detail, of course. I enjoyed this book and it almost makes me want to start it from the beginning. The vampires have nice character but the humans are kind of boring. I also thought this was cliche ... The human who is repulsed by vampires falls into bed with one. We just knew it would happen from the very beginning. That is literally the gist of the story, aside from the murder they need to solve. Cyn's mother ends up being attacked but that broad showed her attacker a piece of her mind, or lack there of. They then come to the conclusion that the killer is now after anyone Cynthia cares about. Can it get any more personal? They track him down all the way to another country and get some good advice from a vampire there. Only after they miscalculate how a plan will go, is when they really figure things out in the end.

Really decent book, love story is very cliche, but still worth the read.



3 Stars
IR: Cynthia (AA), Bela (Hungarian)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson, Book 8

First of all, I'm pretty ticked that I had to pay $10.99 for the Kindle version of this. I was about to get seriously pissed off but remembered I had a Kindle gift credit to use so that knocked the price down for me. Still not happy about that but whatever ...

And here we meet Christy.

Remember that Adam, Alpha and Mercy's husband, was married before? To a human named Christy? Who dumped their daughter, Jesse, on him when she decided her life was more important? Yea, Christy shows up in a big way.

Christy calls asking for help. She needs to get away from a guy she'd been seeing because he was hurting her. Immediately, half the pack is up in arms and ready for her to come while the other half has their issues with her flitting around like she's queen. When she gets there, their emotions are justified. Christy comes into the house, bruised and all, and takes charge. She's up in Mercy's kitchen so much that Mercy won't even eat at home. Pack members are falling all over her because she's helpless Christy who just needs to be somewhere safe, and maybe stay. What? Yea, she thought about staying.

Later, we meet Gary LaughingDog and find out some interesting details about his parentage, learn that he's also a coyote walker, and has 'Seeings.' Basically, visions. Mercy goes on a mission to meet him when a fae Gray Lord comes to her demanding the walking stick. Gary doesn't say much in the way of information on how to contact Coyote, but shows up later to give her some pertinent information about something that's plaguing the pack. Other information comes from bits and pieces she could pick up from Kyle and her own knowledge. Kyle telling her why this guy is so obsessed with a person and Mercy putting together why he could be obsessed with Christy.

Christy's ex is Juan Flores, a non-human who liked to beat on her. What kind of non-human, you ask? I won't tell you, but it's pretty difficult to deal with because one upcoming confrontation between him and a few pack members has them all hugging each other because they think they're going to their death. That's how lethal this guy is. Seeing as how this guy tried to get the best of Mercy, and nearly succeeded before Tad and Adam intervened, is not good news. I've always had my issues with Mercy seeming weak but something about this part of the series changed and I saw her, finally, as a worthy fighter and worthy to be Adam's wife. Not only is Honey on Mercy's side now, but she's on it in a major way. She showed the pack, and Christy, the video of she and Juan's fight in the garage and it had Christy cringing for reasons you will find out later. Not to mention, that after the fact, Mercy had gotten so sick of tip toeing around Christy, that she let her have it. And I was so on board! Btw, I would love to have Christy and Mercy's mother in the same room together and see what happens.

And btw, I am now an enemy of Coyote.

The end fight was actually unexpected but good. What happened to Mercy will certainly catch you off guard and I am fully looking forward to book 9.


Dare I give it 5 stars? Yea. Finally.



5 Stars
Some IR, not much.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cover Reveal: Broken Soul



Jane Yellowrock is a vampire killer for hire—but other creatures of the night still need to watch their backs.... When the Master of the city of New Orleans asks Jane to improve security for a future visit from a delegation of European vampires, she names an exorbitant price—and Leo is willing to pay. That’s because the European vamps want Leo’s territory, and he knows that he needs Jane to prevent a total bloodbath. Leo, however, doesn’t mention how this new job will change Jane’s life or the danger it will bring her and her team. Jane has more to worry about than some greedy vampires. There’s a vicious creature stalking the streets of New Orleans, and its agenda seems to be ripping Leo and her to pieces. Now Jane just has to figure out how to kill something she can’t even see….

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Labyrinth of Stars by Marjorie M. Liu

Hunter Kiss, Book 5

I finished this book about a week ago and hadn't posted a review until I really knew how I felt about it.

I found out the book was out on accident. Every now and then I do an amazon search for my favorites and see if they have any dates posted and this was already on sale. *fist pump*

Grant and Maxine have a property full of demons. 4 different types that Grant is 'feeding' are living there in preparation for an upcoming war. There is really no point in being long winded so I'll give you the short version. We know that Maxine is pregnant. Blood Mama tells her what we already know, the aeters and whatevers are coming for her and that child ... Especially that child. Everyone starts getting sick, Jack is brought back (and we find out something about him that will make you do some heavy cursing), and the baby? Well ... You can read it on your own. Maxine has to figure out how to deal with this sickness that seems to be affecting not only her, but her demons, so the brunt of this story is trying to figure out the deal with this disease while trying to avoid the unborn child being murdered. In order to keep something from happening, Maxine makes a deal with the darkness within and well ... The end results are pretty horrific. If you remember in one of the previous books, Maxine ended up bald at the end. This one will have you going, 'are they gonna leave it like that? Oh ... They are.'



4 Stars

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Arrangement of Love by Kenya Wright


Let me start by saying that this is not paranormal. It's a contemporary romance. Their is sex but I don't have to throw anything at the author because while it was sexy, I wasn't drowning in bodily juices like I thought I would be.

Now ...

Jasmine Montgomery is a Harvard University graduate who came from the hood. She's a pretty girl with high hopes for herself and is called for the job of a lifetime, to be the executive assistant to Chase Stone. Chase is, or could have been, the boss from hell, but he had ulterior motives ... Getting Jasmine in bed. She is soon presented with the opportunity to join his unique arrangement. Chase is engaged and has 2 other girlfriends, and he's looking for Jasmine to be number 4 in the house. Unfortunately, to the dismay of the women already there, Chase begins breaking all the rules his fiance have set in place to keep the house, and the women, in line. While Jasmine is going back and forth trying to figure out why she is going along with this horrible arrangement idea, her best friend is sleeping with Jasmine's twin brother ... And that's a story for another day.

Dawn is basically HBIC at the house. She's his fiancee and therefore number 1. I can't remember the order of the other two but I'm guessing Lucy is number 2 because they've been friends for a very long time. She's not with Chase for sex, just companionship. Wendy is an alcoholic and a hypocrite, in my opinion. The previous 3 number 4's have all died or been killed. You'll have to read to find out which one. The mystery of who Jasmine's birth father is has been solved, even though it was a little obvious by the end. I still didn't even think twice about it until the end. Then I went ... Oh eww.

Overall ... It pains me to say that I really liked this novella and am looking forward to the next book because it clearly isn't ending after just this 1. Damn you, Kenya. You make me sick.


3 1/2Stars
IR all over the place
Interracial Romance Series

Sour by Uzuri M. Wilkerson

Bitten Series, Book 2

Sour is an understatement.

I dont know if the author was reading my mind about Jay or what because he was only in the book a small percentage. Great!

Anywho ... In book 2, we come across a new group of 'hunters' who make Jay and his crew look like pansies. Where Jay and the hunters were all out killing vampires, this new crew is torturing with glee. Milo is still a threat but he's a little ... Short armed ... This time around, and I chuckle every time I think about it. There was a lot more action to book 2 and man ... When I tell you ... Cillian makes me happy. Yall ... Please. Get with Cillian. Cillian has a new friend in the house who turns out to be nearly as cray as he is. They're on Celia's ass like you wouldn't believe. I nearly felt bad for her this time around until ... I met Michael.

Michael is the light of my life. He's what a woman would consider sexy as hell but I just think he's adorable. He turns out to be someone Celia can count on and someone I wouldn't mind seeing her with if things went sour with Victor.

Getting back to Victor.

Just when I was thinking about writing him off in book 1, Wilkerson graces us with a beautiful book 2 that glorifies Victor and his relationship with Celia.

My review is vague. I did it purposely. I don't know what the hell is wrong with yall that you didn't enter the giveaway for book 1. You're missing something amazing. I'm reopening the giveaway until the end of March.

Oh ... And we finally find out why Celia tastes so sweet.

I mean I'm cool with it, I just thought their would be a better reason. Maybe she's atypical. We just won't know until book 3. I'm so excited for this series. Thanks again, Uzuri, youda youda bes!


4 Stars
IR all over the place

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rumors of Wars by RL Craven

Of Wars, Book 1

I have some crazy mixed feelings.

Immediately I liked it. Perish Blackburn is the type of heroine I like. She's almost on point with Jane Yellowrock. Almost. Jane is much smarter. Anyway ... Perish is your stereotypical bad ass female with snarky attitude, cool powers, and very few friends. I generally like those. I like Perish. It's Pride I take issue with.

Perish is a bounty hunter. She lives with a woman named Calamity who is often called Princess Buttercup. PB is kind of a mother/sister/annoyingfriend figure in Perish's life. I'm getting off track. A group of wizards need Perish to retrieve something for them. The problem is where the item is. While Perish and Pride decide how to go about dealing with the wizards, they make some stupid decisions about how to put the ball in their court. One of those decisions gets Pride turned into a cub. He's a werewolf but him being changed into a cub is quite cute. There is even a run in with a vampire and a succubus and honey ... The scene with the succubus is GLORIOUS.

I realize that as I'm typing this that I'm not going a good job of convincing anyone to buy this book when I really think everyone should. It's written well and the world building is good, but Pride lacks personality. Here's the deal ... When we first met Pride, he just FELT like a wolf to me. His demeanor was all wolf. But as the book went on, he was just a normal person walking around in a thousand dollar sweater trying to be funny. I don't know, this is difficult.

The book is good. Perish is a badass but not very smart. Pride is supposed to be the smart one but he's just trying to follow Perish around.

OMG this just isn't working. I don't know why I'm having so much trouble writing a review for this.

I just really WANT to like this so much. I want to give it 5 stars but the characters just seemed so generic. Hopefully things will change in book 2. I'm definitely getting book 2 because this is the type of stuff I like. No sex. Light romance. Action. And then I had problems seeing Perish. I knew that she was 6 feet tall, skinny, and with dark hair but that's all I got. I realize later that we're told, in so many words, that she MAY be black/white, but I still don't know what she looks like. I saw Pride, Trick, and Grace quite well, but not Perish.

Ok seriously ... My review sucks because it's just me rambling. The book is great. It really is. I plan on putting this author on my list of authors to be hounded for new books right next to Faith Hunter and Aleksandr Voinov. Seriously ... It's awesome. If you don't need the mushy stuff and just want a great story and action, this is for you.


4 Stars
IR: Perish (black/white) Pride (Brazilian/Samoan)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Author Spotlight: Alicia Sparks


Book 1 in the Primitive Series

PRIMITIVE FIX – Meet two brothers, tiger shifters, and the women who bring out the beast in them.

Part 1 - Kenyon
Sage Villalobos has been destined to marry Kenyon Maddux since the day she was born. As the second-born in her wolf clan, she came into this world owing a debt to the family of shape-shifting tigers who rule the Louisiana swamps in the Atchafalaya Basin. Kenyon is the only man she’s ever wanted, the man who sets her blood on fire, but she’s tired of being indebted to his family for something she didn’t do. She wants him to choose her because he loves her, not because he owns her. When Kenyon’s brother, Nik, is taken prisoner, Kenyon turns to Sage for help. Using her unique skills, she knows she can help him free his brother, but there will be a price. If she agrees to do this, she wants Kenyon to release her from her debt. However, the only thing Kenyon wants to do is hold on to her and never let her go.

Part 2 - Nik
After months of captivity as part of a roadside attraction, Nik Maddux is finally able to escape. Injured and at death’s door, he makes his way through the swamp only to collapse near Juliette’s home. Juliette pulls the naked man into her cabin and begins nursing him back to health, marveling at the black stripes which cover his body and the feline features of his face. She knows he’s not quite human and realizes she may have found a kindred spirit, someone whose secrets are as deadly as her own. When Nik awakes, his attraction to Juliette is instant. While she heals his body, he wants to heal her soul. But danger is lurking in the swamp, and the longer they stay together, the more likely they are to lose everything.

**Content Warning: May contain graphic content and sexual situations. Intended for 18+ Audience



EXCERPT, PURCHASE INFO, AND AUTHOR INFO AFTER THE CUT!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lying With Scorpions by Aleksandr Voinov

Memory of Scorpions, Book 2

Adrastes has shown his ass. The second Scorpion book tells about Adrastes going from Lord Protector, to King. He has all of these grand ideas about uniting lands under his rule before handing it over to Vistar once things are set the way he wants them to. The problem is, his ambitions are pushing Kendras away. No longer is he thinking like the loyal man that he once was to Kendras, but thinking and talking like a Noble ... A king ... At all times. I have to tell you, the change was nearly immediate and Kendras had a right to feel the way that he did. This book is packed with so much solid story and a few twists that I really can't say too much because one thing gives away something else.

The Jaishani descend on Dalman. I'm talking about legion style descending. Enough of a presence to where people are worried for everything they hold dear. The Jaishani are basically blue eyed black people from another land. I found it interesting that one of the Jaishani stories is that in the beginning, all people were black, but they turned pale when they were doing wicked things and not living their lives right. They have many stories and legends that I thought Voinov made believable for the book. Anyway, Lord Amrash is the Jaishani ambassador who is leading that legion and basically comes to stay to offer his services to King Adrastes because he himself is half Jaishani. This doesn't ever prove to be a problem, only a benefit because of the wonderful things they bring with them. On the other side of the castle, Kendras is making nice with the commander of Eagles Test, Graukar. The two of them together are wonderful to read. I think I found it so refreshing because there was no judgement, Graukar just seemed like a really good dude. The Scorpions got a new recruit who they began to call Runner. That's a whole story in itself that I can't give away. Kendras finds out things about his past that I can't give away ... Those things point to the direction of other things. There's a kidnapping ... And I thought it was beautiful ... But what to do with the prisoner? That's a nail-biter.

Too much meat to this story to give you a full synopsis that will do it justice.

Overall ... Kendras begins to doubt Adrastes. You can feel it brewing from the very beginning and ESPECIALLY when it comes to a head at the very end. It ends on a tension-filled note. A bad one. The entire book you feel like you're on pins and needles whenever Adrastes is in the room. After all, you're seeing everything through the eyes of Kendras who seems to be the only of the two with a firm grasp on reality. I mean ... The ending ... I was ready for Adrastes to just give in and Kendras be the Scorpion he planned on being before all this sky raining fire and kidnapping and stuff. I mean ... THERE'S SO MUCH GOING ON. The book is amazing. The love story is amazing. It's like watching a couple just grow apart while they're still in the same room. I just ... I love this series so much. I don't even mind the sex ... Oh because yes, there's lots of sex and it's all M/M. Everything ... Just ... So great. I love you, Aleksandr, I freaking love you. And thank you Netgalley. You're the best.


5 Stars
IR everywhere

Monday, February 3, 2014

Shadow Boxer by Jen Greyson


Alterations, Book 2

The only thing I can say is, "this sh*t is so f*cking good!"

Evy Rivera is back dealing with another alteration. In this one, she needs to befriend the famed genius, Nikola Tesla, so she can get hold of his patents and deliver them to Ilif. But before she can deal with this, she has to save Aurelia, the daughter of Constantine. Saving her sets the Tesla alteration in motion, because without her, it wouldn't work. Now ...

Evy gains the trust of Nikola Tesla while working on her relationship with Constantine and skating around her relationship with her father. It's complicated but not really. Papi gets into a bind that Evy blames herself for and therefore stays away because she thinks he hates her. Meanwhile, Constantine is training her on how to better use her lighting based on color and intensity, all the while trying to find out how they can make a severely long distance relationship work. There's so much action and mind spinning going on from the very beginning. Penya becomes very ... Iffy. I felt it right away that something wasn't quite right because we don't really know Penya or Ilif, but that changes in this book. We find out why Tesla's patents are so important but we don't find out why a certain party wants them so badly. When we thought we knew who the bad guy was, things flip flop, get complicated, and you want book 3 but can't have book 3.

Other things to look out for Tiana, Evy's little sister, who basically is another Rider after only a little training. Tiana becomes a vital part of the small Evy/Constantine/Papi/Tiana team. Her brain power is absolutely amazing and it helps Evy with her Tesla alteration in a big way. I love that Greyson gives me the right amount of mush. It's not overdone or sappy, it just feels so damn good to me. Evy's scenes with Constantine were heartbreaking and heartwarming. Her interactions with her family for some New Years Eve fun was just wonderful. But what really felt good was how her relationship with Tesla grew into something that felt like love. It wasn't in a romantic sense but in a very friendly and respectful sense. It was so sweet and nice. I love that I can feel everything Evy feels, right down to frustration. I love that she's started to really find her center. And I love how the book ended. Crap, crap, crap! I felt like throwing my Kindle into the wall after reading that ending. In a good way, I assure you.

This book is right on par with book 1. I'm so happy Jen reached out and sent it over. In book 3, I'm hoping for more use of Evy's lightning as a weapon and not just for training purposes. *fist pump* Loved this! Thanks again, Jen!



4.5 Stars
Publication Date: Jan 7, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Demon Chained by Erica Hayes


This one was hard for me to get into because I couldn't figure out who was who. Their is a man ... Could be Asian ... It was unclear ... But his name is Tam. And it is very clear that Tam is dead. A zombie. He's not the gross kind that we're used to, but more put together, however he still oozes and cracks. Tam works for a man/demon/thing named Kane who gives him the task of stealing a magic lamp with a djinni inside. One problem. The djinni, Jewel, is currently her own boss. She'd gotten out after being trapped in her lap for a long period of time and the first thing she wants to do is have sex. That's where the trouble starts. Her lamp gets stolen, by Tam, while shes having sex with some random. Tam has only a short while to deliver it to Kane or he goes back to Hell for eternity.

The book made sense. Predictable sense. But still, it made sense. Jewel becomes quickly dependent upon her master. Their is like a magical rope that will hold her to him whether she wants it to or not. Now that Tam is tied to her, Tam doesn't want her and she can't believe that she isn't wanted. Of course, over the course of the book, things change and sh!t hits the fan.

The biggest problem the book had was first person. Every paragraph or chapter change, the first person changed and it was very unclear why or who was speaking until you get a good ways into the change to realize who's eyes you're seeing through. It happens throughout the book. It takes a while to get used to but eventually you do ... You just don't know who you are until you get into it. Another issue I had was that I couldn't see Tam very clearly. I knew he was male (only after maybe a chapter or two), I knew he was dead, but only about halfway through did I really get a visual that still wasn't very good. All I knew is that Tam was good looking for a dead guy. He has muscles and he leaks. That's all I know. I got a better description of his fae friend from the jump, who I really started to like at the end.

Outside of those two major things ... The book was decent. I like Tam. He's actually a good guy with morals and a conscience which is odd for a dead guy that isn't a ghost. Jewel could be seen as annoying but it was warranted and therefore she fit well. I thought all the characters made sense, the personalities were clear, and so were their motives. The story was ... Ok. If you say djinni in a book, I will automatically assume she will not be free and that someone will want her. That's just how it is. The love story was predictable, the ending was not. Good. Overall, yes, I would recommend it, but it wouldn't be my first recommendation.


3 Stars
Tam (Asian ... I think)