Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cast In Balefire by SM Reine

Despite the fact that I adore this series, I still hate Marion. That will never change. And now I hate her more than words can say.

This book is more of a rollercoaster than I imagined. There are so many twists that make it hard to explain and some unanswered questions as well.

This book starts with marital issues. If you remember, in the last installment, we find that Konig was being abusive to Marion and things only grow from there. Oddly enough, I found myself really interested in Konig. Before, he was just this man-child that was funny and messed up at the same time, now I'm intrigued by how he's handling his new found abstinence. On top of that, the whispers around the court are saying that Marion is cheating on the king, that they're not in love, and everyone hates her. It's this big scandalous mess that has me rooting for Marion. I wanted her to get some balls and go find Seth and leave.

Instead of her doing what I want, lol, Ariane (Marion's mother) appears and starts f****** things up. Now there is an elaborate plan to restore her memories that involves Marion going to Sheol and reuniting the Seth.

By the end of the book, you are more confused than you ever were in your entire life and you want to cut Marion into tiny pieces and feed her to Arawn. You find out plans that were made weren't made by who you think they were and it really messes you up!

I'm fucking flabbergasted. Like ... I want her dead. But ... At the end, there is a tiny shred of hope. Unfortunately it will lead to more of a cat and mouse mind game between Marion and Konig in the next book.

As usual, SM delivers. This is my second favorite series of hers and I am definitely looking forward to the next book.

4 1/2 Stars

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Soulwood, Book 2

I've been sitting on this for a while. I've read it twice but wasn't quite sure how to put the review into words. Faith gets me all flustered sometimes. Lol.

Nell is a Psyled agent now and Unit 18 has been given their first case. It starts off with them investigating some strange animal occurrences while having to deal with Occam and RickyBo acting weird around the full moon. On top of that, Brother Ephraim is still 'swimming' around Soulwood trying to cause trouble but the land isn't having it.

I'm sure you've read a million reviews on this book already so I'm cutting to the chase.

Paka is a queen! Paka is my queen! Paka is your queen! PAKA IS THE QUEEN TO BE!

If you take nothing else from this, just remember that the queen of petty is Paka. In this book, you find out what the deal between RickyBo and Paka is. And it is glorious ... Simply glorious. Like ... Everything I've said or felt about Rick in regards to how things went down with Jane ... like ... I feel like a new person and Paka gave me this incredible feeling.

Ok ok ok ... This book isn't about Paka but there was so much satisfaction there. Anyway ... Nell has grown stronger, more confident and is much more likeable than before. I finally get a better since of all the members of Unit 18 but I have a bit of a bone to pick with Jojo and her attitude. Outside of that, I'm still excited about the series as I have been before book 1 was even finished.

4 Stars

Sunday, September 4, 2016

#BlackSpecFic Month

Author Constance Burris is co-hosting a giveaway and is looking for Black authors to participate!

There will be a $5 charge for the purchase of an amazon gift card, and you'll have to contribute an ebook or paperback of your choice. In order to enter the giveaway, participants will have to subscribe to our mailing lists. September 15 is the deadline.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels #9

I've had this book for over a month. Thank you, Netgalley. I gave myself ample time to re-read it for a 3rd time before posting on my blog. For one, it's one of my favorites out of the series now, dethroning the Black Sea trip and the Midnight Games. Second, when I enjoy a book so much and then post right after (see a ton of reviews on random Jane Yellowrock books), it's a mess of  'OMG OMG OMG OMG' and not much else. So taking my time to review it gives a better review in the end. Here we go ...

With Kate and Curran now separated from the Pack, they're getting their own private affairs in order. Curran has the Guild and Kate has the entire city of Atlanta. Now, the witch oracle has foreseen the death of Curran and/or the son he and Kate would have when they go to war with Roland. So of course, the entire book revolves around trying to prevent that battle, failing at that part, but at least preventing the deaths. I'll touch on scenes from the book during the review. Let's do this.

I can't give a proper review about the actual book itself without my feelings getting in the way. For me, this was the most emotional but not in a way you would think.

***Prepare yourself for spoilers***

Saiman has been kidnapped by Roland and it starts off a chain of events.

In this book in particular, Roland is basically poking at Kate with a long pointy stick. The stick isn't sharp enough to stab but if you keep making knicks, blood will be drawn. And it's really incredible to see how Roland purposefully does this to push Kate. He tries to talk his way out of things with her or talk his way into things with her all the same. But the thing that I hate about it is I'm so drawn into the picture of Roland that Ilona Andrews has created for him that I want to give in to his whims. I want to do everything he wants me to do if I were in Kate's shoes. Roland has been described as being so fatherly and loving-looking that any child would want him as their dad and desperately want his approval. Apparently, when you are favored by him and he smiles at you, the sun shines. And I've become so drawn to that when Roland is in the scene that I get so sucked in that I'm wondering whose side I'm on. It's ridiculous! I've read this and wondered ... Would it be so bad to go over to his side? Maybe he won't treat 'me' as badly as he treated Hugh because I'm his daughter (I'm aware that I've completely thrown myself in this as if I'm Kate and this is my memoir, lol). Surely, I'd be treated with much more care.

It's that same lull into a false sense of security that he's trying to work on Julie. The difference between Julie and I is that she's much smarter than I am or give her credit for. She's an orphan and she's been taken in my Kate and Curran, then here comes 'grandpa' teaching you all these amazing magical things that you've longed for so you'll do something for him later. Surely, she'd fall for it. And just when you think she would, a situation with an anchor slaps her in the face.

Let's talk about those anchors.

Out of all the anchors, the one I'm going to talk about is the one that had the most profound effect on the events of the book.

The witch oracle is really a tricky bunch. We learn that there are anchors ... Things that need to happen in order for the 'correct' version of the future to take place. Sienna, one of the witches, will call Kate with some cryptic warning that ends up being an anchor. Kate goes on with what she needs to do for the day, encounters it and deals with the fallout. So, basically, if Roland gets to the anchor first, the chain of events will fall in favor of his version of the future. But in order for Kate to alter it to her version, she has to secure the anchor. A lot of the big moments in this book come from having to deal with those anchors. Although one didn't have a direct effect on Julie, it shattered her a little. Don't worry, though, she picks herself up and keeps moving with her eyes open a little wider than before.

The same anchor I mention above will also effect the Pack and how the battle is played out in the end. I mean honestly ... if Jim hadn't done what he did, I really think the battle could have been avoided. But ... Yea, he was going to do SOMETHING after what happened, I would expect nothing less.

Moving on ... I was complaining to a friend a few weeks ago that in certain books, when someone has awesome cosmic powers, they're always fighting against them so they don't become evil. I was saying that I, for once, want someone to get those powers and just do whatever the fuck they want. That didn't happen here ... But ... Some pretty cool shit did happen.

Ever since Kate claimed the city, her power has been growing. And you don't really get the full breadth of it until Kate has a run in with her dad after she confronts him about something early on. It's so difficult to explain, the sheer elation I felt when Kate was being sucked in by her own power. It's like ... Dad is getting in her face, literally, with his power flailing and Kate is like ... Oh hell no, let me show you what's up. All this power from Roland is bashing up against all that power from Kate while they're having a yelling match. It's like ... you push me, I'm going to push you. I can't describe it. A storm came! A fucking storm. All because of this argument. Later, in the Guild, Roland will appear and argue with Kate again, but that argument won't be in English. When the argument ends, she'll notice everyone cowering in corners, noses bleeding and all that and she'll realize that she was speaking an old/timeless Language of Power that she didn't even know she could speak.

The other cool thing about all this is that the power is at a point where it's talking to her, trying to change her and Kate is slipping. When I say slipping, I mean ... Questioning herself. She's hesitating before she realizes that this isn't something she wants. In future books, I'm going to be cheering death-bringing Kate on. I want it so badly I can taste it! But with that, comes Curran, who I believe will follow her to the ends of the Earth because he loves her so much. He says so ... That's another conversation worth really paying attention to when you read it.

I'm almost finished, I just need to touch on one more conversation. Roland comes to see Kate at Cutting Edge and they talk. They sit quietly, share a beer, talk about the past and the possible future and I found myself unable to keep my head clear. There was a part of me that was sitting there in Kate's place on the verge of tears. Roland was saying all the right things and making the right gestures. Kate even thought about giving in before remembering just who she is and what she's fighting for. Had it been me, I would have been out of there, on Roland's back, killing people as I walked down the street. It was the most genuine moment between the two of them and one of my favorite scenes of the book.

There are a million big things that take place in just this book and it's one of the primary reasons why I read it 3 times before I posted this review. It goes with out saying ... I love it. The battle at the end is everything you want it to be. The way Kate got her army together is everything. The surprise that is Christopher is MORE everything. And let me say ... All this is going on while Roman is planning Kate's wedding. Yes, Roman.

A few things I will keep a look out for in the next installment: The Iron Dog that was on the cross, Adora, the conversation Kate had with the witches at the end, Saiman being bled dry, Curran and his 'dinner', Hugh (slim chance), and Red (Julie's ex but he may not pop up until further down the line if at all).

Yea ... I think this one is my favorite. I don't think any book that comes out the rest of the year will top this.

5 Stars
P.S. F*ck Jim! And I say that with equal amounts of love and hate.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Need Design Services?

For years, I've had this amazing friend with great design skills and I have been doing her a disservice by not telling people about her. I know. I suck at friendship. Anyhow ... If you need design services, Candice does book covers, logos, print ads and more. Check out these samples and then click on the information below to put her to work!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Awakened by C Steven Manley

Paragons, Book 1

This urban fantasy novel has tons of sci fi elements that are reminiscent of the XFiles and I felt a bit of nostalgia while reading it. Anyway. As soon as the book begins, we meet Israel and Erin. They find themselves in a 'facility' of some kind after a massacre has taken place. Since they have just woken up, they have no idea how they even got there, let alone what's going on and what's eaten the people around them.

From jump, the book starts moving and almost doesn't stop. Israel is a journalist, and true to his profession, he asks A LOT of questions. Erin, on the other hand ... I don't even remember what her previous occupation was but she was the most annoying person in the book, which isn't good seeing as how she's one of the leads. She's kind of bratty and curses way too much. It reminds me of a teenager who leaves their parents house to hang out with their friends, finds out they have no adult supervision, and uses 'fuck' with every other word. Because of that, and her bratty nature, I found her to be nearly insufferable ... At least for most of the first part of the book, later, when you get more story on her, she becomes bearable.

I can't give you many details about what's going on but it's your basic government level corruption mixed with disgusting creatures and finding out why Israel and Erin are so special ... Then more of the XMen type stuff comes in.

I thought the book was decent. It's well written, the world building is good and the character development went well. I just wish I'd liked the characters more. I thought they were incredibly basic. However, the Paragons were delightful. The action was pretty good and lots of it. One thing I wish the author hadn't done was force the romance. It just seemed like those two shouldn't even happen.

Overall, it's decent. I enjoyed it and will recommend it but probably won't be reading future installments.

3 Stars
Israel (Black)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Wander This World by GL Tomas

When I first started reading this, it came across as a standard romance. I knew that their would be some kind of twist to it based on the amazing cover. I had an idea but it just screamed ROMANCE. Anyhow ... Despite knowing the twins (online), Guinevere and Libertad, for a little while now, this is the first book of theirs I'd read. They know my taste and probably were expecting me to hate this book. By all accounts, I should hate it, but I can't. I actually loved it.

Melanie Blue is not your run of the mill vampire. She's ... Different. Despite being so old, she's not stuck in the old ways. She's socially conscience, quirky, a big Doctor Who fan, and as normal as normal can get. This isn't a standard vampire book either. Melanie is the only one like her. She has no aversion to sunlight, she doesn't grow fangs, but she does drink blood ... She simply draws it from a regular bite with her blunt human teeth. Yes, pain is involved, but she can get her fill. She's a petite curvy 'morenita' (black/latin or Latinx) with a shock of red halo curls, and from what I gather, she's beautiful.

Penley is my first love. He defines himself as Hapa but most people would see him as Filipino. Both of his parent are but both have other things in their background like spanish. Anyway ... He's a college freshman with a big crush on the junior in his class (Melanie). Needless to say, the rest is pretty standard. They end up in the same group for class, get into each other, start having sex, start spending tons of time together without a label ... all that jazz. The thing I love most about Penley is he's just a boy. He's normal and normal and addicted to his phone and ... Normal. I read a lot of UF and Paranormal and the male love interests are always remarkable in some way. Penley is simply normal. He has lots of tattoos, listens to a variety of different music, takes care of his body in a deliberate but not overdone way, and is just ... Normal.

Let's talk about the sex. If you're a regular reader of my blog, or you just know me, you know that I don't enjoy reading sex unless it's written in a certain way. GL Tomas has finally cracked me. The sex Melanie and Penley had in this book was basically the sex I would have. How can I hate that? It was believable sex. Sex that real people have! There was nothing over the top, no ton of talking during ... It was just two people really enjoying each others bodies. Yea, the word 'cock' popped up, but because the scenes weren't nasty, I could deal with it.

On to the story ... Someone is stalking Melanie. You'll get that sense from the start of the book but I felt like it was kind of ... Cliche. A lot of stuff in the book was cliche. I'm not sure how bad it is though. Anyway ... Some random guy is stalking her and at the end, he ends up getting his just desserts. I don't want to give away what happens but i basically goes the way you would predict it goes. Not only was the story cliche but some of the conversation was cliche. Well not really. How can I put this? It almost felt try-hard. There's a lot of talk, everywhere, about labels. Specifically Black Latinos. The term 'latinx' comes up a lot. It's used in this book. If you don't hang in the same circles as I do, then you wouldn't know what it was. The term 'hapa' is used and it's a term I literally only heard of 3 days ago because I read about it in my Cultural Studies and Diversity class. The terms 'cis' and 'pansexual' are used as well. Two terms I still don't have a clear definition of but I think I have an idea. I thought the whole labeling conversation was trying too hard to accentuate those terms. In a book this length, I didn't think it was a good idea. If this had been a full length novel, then great. There would have been ample time to explain, but not with this one.

The ending is hurting my soul. I won't give it away but it ends the way you think it would end, and for me there is no closure as to how the future would pan out. Will there be another book? Was this a standalone? Will I be forever left to wonder how these two handle the future? Is there a future based on what was said at the end? I NEED CLOSURE, PLEASE, LADIES.

Overall, I loved the book. I connected with both Melanie and Penley fully and would invest in those two if given the opportunity for more books with them as the focus. However ... Because of how cliche it was, the amount of stars dropped. Still ... I really enjoyed it. It was an easy read. It was easy to follow, the characters were great and I felt every bit of everything they felt along the way. Thanks for letting me read this, GL. I really appreciate it. But hey ... I WANT MORE!

3 Stars

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer Court by SM Reine

Tarot Witches: Book 4

This was my first time reading any book from the Summer Court series. I knew about the witch courts and sidhe and all that but I never just WANTED to read it. Anyway ... This was a fast read, and since this is an ARC, I won't give many details.

The Breaking is happening. A void is swallowing up the world and some witches have received Tarot cards from God. This story focuses on Samita, a young Hindu woman who receives the Death card. Unfortunately, I never connected with Samita or her 'boyfriend' Slater. No. I did, but not until the very end. I loved that Samita was Hindu and became wheelchair bound. I hadn't yet read anything with anyone who was differently-abled and was excited for this.

I'm not a huge fan of erotic books. I don't think this one falls into the category of Erotica but the witches had to use sex magic. For one, when the witches' wolf mates changed shape, sex made it shift easier. I think the major complaint I have is that the sex, outside of the witch/wolf orgies, really wasn't needed to further the story. That time could have been used to fill in more story, details, character development, anything except sex, anything that mattered. SOME backstory was given for a couple of the characters in the form of a viewpoint change with flashback. But even that felt like filler.

The story would have been really good given a more appropriate page count. I could have been all in even if I didn't like Samita because of how things turned out. It's really the only thing that kept me reading it and even then it took me over a week.

Overall, the book was decent. Because of the length, a lot of meaty things for the characters were left out. I really had no idea what anyone looked like other than basic physical description. One woman was described as having bronze skin, someone had a mohawk, Samita has light brown skin, Slater is a pretty nicely built guy and ... If you're going to write a character that has a rich cultural background, I like for something to be included. This felt generic. The world building wasn't there, but there was enough seeing as how the book was short.

I don't know ... I really liked the story, the ending with Ben brought it all home, especially THAT reveal, but I wanted it full-length and minus the extra sex scenes (the ones between Samita and Slater ... Well maybe 1 could stay). A rating for this is hard. Damnit. I love SM Reine so much but this one was a miss for me.

2 Stars

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Favorite Diverse Books ... So Far

Series: Bone Street Rumba
Author: Daniel Jose Older
LinksTwitter: @djolder / Amazon Author Page / Website
Why I love it: To put it simply, the writing is superb. Each and every character is fully developed. The series is very diverse and also authentic in it's diversity, which isn't always the case in other books. It also gives a fresh take on what could be a 'zombie' that we hadn't seen before. Older does a great job of making you feel like every single character in the book.
Series: Tales of Y'Myran
Author: Shaylynn Rose
LinksSmashwords Author Page / Ylva Publishing
Why I love it: It's a high fantasy, mildly diverse, lesbian story. The world building is divine and really a big draw for the story outside of the lead character, Azhani. She's kickass, smart, honorable, and well respected. I think the respect that everyone else in the book has for her sets this series apart from others with female leads.

Series: Jane Yellowrock
Author: Faith Hunter
LinksTwitter / Website / Amazon Author Page
Why I love it: I pride myself on sticking by kickass females and Jane Yellowrock is the cream of the crop. This is a diverse book lead by a full blooded Native American Skinwalker. This Urban Fantasy series perfectly blends the real world with some seriously believable paranormal fiction.

Series: Iamos Trilogy
Author: Lyssa Chiavari
LinksTwitter / Website / Amazon
Why I love it: This could possibly be the first Young Adult novel that I fully enjoyed. I was also surprised that I enjoyed a SciFi novel. The main thing I loved is the difference between one teen's upbringing verses the other's and how each processed it. Plus ... Those teens are smart!

Series: Population
Author: Elizabeth Stephens
LinksWebsite / Twitter / Amazon Author Page
Why I love it: It's full length but fast paced with no filler BS and a black woman in the lead. You're tired by the time you finish, you're irritated, you're excited, you've been beaten up, nearly killed, or want to die ... And you love every word of it. This book, in my opinion, isn't one for anyone who is looking for some Dystopian fun with a love story. This is real work! 

Series: The Kingmaker Chronicles
Author: Amanda Bouchet
LinksTwitter / Amazon Author Page / Sourcebooks
Why I love it: This one isn't diverse but I have no doubt you'll love it as much as I did. I'm a sucker for kickass female leads and Cat is right up there with Jane Yellowrock and Kate Daniels. This is high fantasy with fire breathing, castles, armies and incredible character development. This series is new but I am eagerly awaiting the next book.

Series: Mage Craft Series
Author: SM Reine
LinksTwitter / Amazon Author Page / Website
Why I love it: I hate to think of the people who enjoy diverse books but have slept on SM Reine. How could you? Every book is diverse whether the lead is or not. For this series, I simply enjoy Seth. It's like he changes from book to book but then not at all. The author has lots of series that all play in this world and everything ties in some form. And the plot twists?! Honey YES!

Series: Soulwood
Author: Faith Hunter
Twitter / Website / Amazon Author Page
Why I love it: This brand new series is different than the Jane Yellowrock books but set in the same world. Nell doesn't have the physical capabilities to match anyone in a fight but she has a special ability that will even the odds. I love this new series because this is something I haven't seen. The character development is wonderful and you fall in love with the characters quickly. And of course, the diversity is there.

Series: Kate Daniels
Author: Ilona Andrews
LinksWebsite / Website / Amazon Author Page
Why I love it: Although I have not yet posted my review for this book, it will be coming soon. This is the only series that I feel can overtake Jane Yellowrock. Kate Daniels is the #1 most kickass female out right now. The series is diverse although some of it is masked. It still doesn't take away from anything. This is action at it's best. Character development and world building at it's best and everything counts. Everything. Even the separate novellas are just as good. This is the series you go through in one week and skip on sleep.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Blood of the Earth GIVEAWAY WINNER IS ...

***Helen Wawrejko***

Congratulations, Helen. Message me on twitter (@upbookblog), to claim your prize!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

AudioBooks, Anyone?

I'm not sure if anyone understands how much work goes into an Audiobook. I don't think I fully comprehend it either but ...

So ... My library has the audiobooks of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (I already own the ebooks, plus shorts because well ... its amazing). Although I've listened to them once, I did it again the past 2 weeks.

Renee Raudman is a beast.

I mean ... Honestly ... This woman is so convincing that if I ever heard her speak in real life, I'd be looking around for Kate. It has to be incredibly taxing to sit and create voices for each individual character, accents, and everything ... My goodness! I really think she's a genius and the best out there. I listen to audiobooks while at work and she's the best. Hands down.

Yes. Audiobooks are pricey. But I don't care. She is too good to go unnoticed.

Stop Complaining About E-Book Prices!

I haven't rambled about much lately but just couldn't stay silent about this.

Just a little while ago, I got an email from amazon.com with a list of books by authors I frequent. This email was about Ilona Andrews ... The duo behind the Kate Daniels series that I just read again only last week. I noticed that the new book, Magic Binds, is up for pre-order and due out in September (I'll be sweating until it's released). I also noticed that the kindle version is $12.99. I don't think I've ever paid more than $9.99 for an ebook but I am willing to pay whatever price my favorite author throws at me. Why?


We pay $13 for a movie ticket. To see a movie one time. And then pay roughly $20 to buy the DVD if we feel so inclined. So ... In essence, you paid $33 to watch a movie an unlimited number of times.

We pay no less than $9.99 for an album download (unless you catch a sale, which you can sometimes with ebooks). The really good ones are over that price and we pay it. Not to mention, sometimes we can stream them for free.

You pay roughly $10-$12 for 2 to eat fast food. A meal you can consume one time that will probably kill you or do harm to your body in the long run.

We pay $5 for coffee. A freaking cup of coffee, guys (which I proudly do)! That's not even food. It's a drink. It's a side-item.


... But you complain that $13 is too much to read an ebook an unlimited number of times.

... But your local library will purchase the book you want to read and make it available to you for free.

... But the fast food you ordered was probably wrong and/or tastes terrible but you're stuck with it because you bought it. And guess what? You'll go back to that same place again!

... That $5 cup of coffee? You're going to buy another tomorrow.

All I'm saying is ... It takes a good author quite a while to write one book. Some, it takes a year or more. And you're going to complain about the price?

I'll admit. I've complained. I won't pay $12.99 for ebook by an author I've never read before. But I will pay $2 plus shipping to buy the paperback. But when this is your favorite author with a proven record of creating a virtual masterpiece, just buy the book and shut up cause you know you won't regret it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chaos Rises by Pippa DaCosta

Chaos Rises, Book 1

I actually finished this book about a week and a half ago. I couldn't quite figure out if I really liked it and also what rating to give it.

Gem and Del are half-blood demons who were raised in a lab to be the big bad killer of demons. They are 'owned' by a higher level demon called Allard (who you may now as Azazel). He has them going out and basically catching lower level demons because he's a bit of a collector, and also, he sells the demons for things like medical research or as pets. Gem and Delta go out to capture a demon, but fail, and somehow Gem wakes up with no recollection of what happened and her brother, Del, is missing. The rest of the book is basically a long winding journey to find her brother. She has to deal with Allard, a very cool half-breed named Torrent, and another high level demon called Vanessa (Vanth). By the end of it, Gem starts losing herself to her inner demon before getting hold of it enough to make the rational decision to run away. Unfortunately, that doesn't go as planned.

I wouldn't say that there was anything particularly complicated about the book. It's an easy, moderately fast, read. It also has an interesting plot. The character development is actually very good and the world building is pretty decent also. I'm hoping that when you read it, you enjoy Pride as much as I did. I really look forward to dealing with him in the next book because Allard ... No ... Not interesting enough for me.

The only problem I had with the book was the blurb. The blurb set up this big bad brother and sister combo that was out painting the town red with demon blood. In reality, we don't get to see any of that. We get maybe one scene towards the end and even that isn't completed. So part of the problem I had with the rating started with the blurb, the book didn't do it justice. I liked the title, though, I thought it definitely related without being too symbolic like a lot of titles are these day.

Overall, it's a decent book. I would read book 2 because I love Pride and I also want to know about the outcome of book 1 and how it will be closed, or at least worked on. Other than that, it's solid and I would read the second when it comes out.

3 1/2 Stars
IR: Demons can take on whatever shape/race they want

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Giveaway: Blood of the Earth - CLOSED

Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

You have the opportunity to win a copy of book 1 of the new Soulwood series by Faith Hunter, Blood of the Earth.

To enter the giveaway, be a resident of US or Canada and simply reply to this post with the following info:

1. Have you read anything by Faith Hunter before?
2. Have you heard about this series?
3. Follow Faith, and myself, on twitter and let me know that you did!
Faith: @HunterFaith, Myself: @UPBookBlog

That's it! 1 winner will be chosen on July 30, 11:59pm CST. Happy entering!

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

Soulwood, Book 1

If you're a huge Jane Yellowrock fan like I am, then you may have heard of Nell. In the short story compilation, Blood in Her Veins, Jane meets Nell, who has a property next to a cult that she used to be a part of. That was our first introduction to this adorable woman.

As I mentioned before, Nell used to be part of a cult called God's Cloud of Glory Church. She's been constantly harassed by church men who want to take her back to the cult that she left during marriage. These churchmen are some vile people that think they can take her back by force because women are nothing to them. You would need to read it to get all the small details about the cult. Like ... the men have multiple wives and lots of kids, there is a place called a Punishment House, these people live off the grid and are self sufficient. Anyhow, Rick Lafleur and Paka show up to ask Nell for her help in rooting out a group called the Human Speakers of Truth. During the book we find out about Nell and her powers, despite her reading as Human on the Psyled meter. We also meet Unit 18, which is the unit that Rick is head of.

Unit 18 includes Occam, a wereleopard, Tandy, an empath that has been struck by lightning 3 times, Jojo a black/korean human, and T Laine, a witch. I've gotta read it again but I don't think Paka is actually a part of Psyled but she's somehow attached to Rick. If you remember in one of the JY books, Rick basically walks away from Jane and up to Paka as she was brought to a party as a gift to Rick since he is stuck in human form. Apparently, the unmated wereleopard in heat was supposed to help with his transition ... But we find that he hasn't changed yet and maybe ... I'll leave that up to the reader to decipher, but it brings up something interesting that could happen in later Jane Yellowrock books. Anyway!

There are tons of people you want dead; Brother Ephraim, Jackie, Joshua Purdy. And then there are some you're just not sure about, like Nell's dad. I love Mud, Nell's sister, and hope to see more of her in the future.  But the main conflict comes because of the 3 men that I said I wanted dead. Women are going missing and those 3 have been harassing Nell for quite a while but may have more to them than you initially think. While reading, pay attention to how they move.

During the course of the book you get to watch Nell transform from this loner ex-church woman to a strong independent woman. Not that she wasn't strong or independent before, but it was just in other ways. You get attached to Nell quickly and end up agreeing with most everything she does or says. One thing that I love Faith Hunter for is reigning my hate for Rick. He spent the first half of the book, or more, being a douchebag, and I wanted him to get kicked in the nuts. :-)

Overall ... I gotta say ... This is the first start of a series that I actually loved. I knew it wouldn't be hard because I'd read the short that Nell was in, but I was still surprised. I really didn't even like the first JY book this much. It was never slow and never lost you. A few of the characters could use more development but I love the potential and know this series is going to be amazing.

4 1/2 Stars
Paka (African) Jojo (Black/Korean)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cast in Faefire by SM Reine

Mage Craft Series, Book 3

When I tell you that shit hits the fan ...

I am so tired.

I can't.

Okay hold on. Okay. Okay. OK.

I am having a very hard time gathering my thoughts. Seth is running around with his innards hanging out, Marion is being all sneaky, Konig is being a royal DICK and nothing seems to get better. THINGS SEEM TO GET WORSE. But the icing on the cake is Deirdre Tombs being boss bitch.

Okay let me gather myself. This book was WILD. It was bomb dropped after bomb dropped. Seth partially ascends. Doing so means he gets that cool power of seeing how someone is going to die. And oh honey ... The person he sees that's supposed to eventually kill Rylie. YASSSSS BITCH YASSSSS. I am here for this mess, OKAY! Now ... ErlKonig is getting beside himself and using his hands in ways he shouldn't be. And I gotta say, when he did this THING, the way Marion responded to it broke my heart.

I want everyone to pay very close attention to Violet (Konig's mom) because she'll be at the center of more shit hitting the fan.

Arawn is NOT done and Seth has to deal with it.

I'm so serious ... So much shit happens in this book that I am full on shaking.

Since this book is about FaeFire, you definitely have to pay attention to what's going on with the sidhe and in the Winter Court. The wedding is about to take place but first they have to party and ... Just ... Come on guys ... This is gold. Again... Pay attention to Violet.

I loved everything about this installment. It had me angry, emotional, and a little jealous. My head is still spinning. I can't praise this series enough. This book is easily the best of the 3 so far. I think my favorite event is when something is going down and Seth chooses to 'phase' his nephew instead of Rylie. That, to me, was gold. I think it meant more in relation to Seth's story than anything else I've read so far. Loved it. Ugh ... Can't wait for book 4.

5 Stars

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cast in Hellfire by SM Reine

Book 2, The Mage Craft Series

If you've been wondering about Seth, you get your answers ... But it's not what you think.

This book picks up exactly where book 1 left off. Marion is supposed to be dealing with the Winter Court. She's the Steward and supposed to be getting it back to normal function, along with figuring out just how to deal with the angels. Meanwhile, Seth gets a lead on Marion's memories that they track all the way to hell. Hell is basically sucking the life out of Marion, Arawn (THE MAN in hell) is proving to be formidable and has taken a liking to Charity. Meanwhile, Seth finally gets some information about himself. Let's be for real ... More than half the shit in this book that happens, you don't see it coming. *fist pump* And by the end of it, you're going to want ErlKonig dead as much as I do.

What did I like? What was there NOT to like? The entirety of SM's books have an incredible world that has been built. It carries over from book to book so you never feel lost. Sure, there are many other series' but they're interconnected. I like Marion a lot more in this book than I did in book 1. I'm enjoying the puzzle pieces ... ESPECIALLY the bomb dropped by Elise on the last page. IT WAS HUGE! I MEAN HUGE! Anyway ... This book is full of puzzle pieces being put together ... So many questions are sort-of answered, with more asked. I enjoyed walking through Hell, actually. I enjoyed the being that Seth spoke with while he was down there. I REALLY loved the detail put into The Hounds. I thought they were phenomenal.

What did I not like? I hate ErlKonig but ... I also ... Like his character. He's an a-hole, we know that, but he's SO convincing that I just have to roll with him.

I'm excited to find out how this works out in book 3. If the cover is any indication, I may end up crying, lol. Outside of that, I loved it!

By the way, I enjoy Marion having brown hair. It's the little things that make me happy. YAS!

5 Stars
Seth (Black) Arawn (Black)


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Saltlands by Elizabeth Stephens

Population, Book 2

Saltlands picks up exactly where Population left off. Kane has been captured by the Notare Elise. Abel and Mikey (Mikael - Kane's younger brother) have escaped her clutches only to try and figure out how to get Kane from her. Now we have an asshole of a brother, Mikey, treking across country to get Kane back using only the blood bond he shares with Abel. During their travel, Abel is ... Brutally beaten ... I mean ... BRUTALLY. Man ... Abel goes through so much shit in this book that I'm just tired! Anyway ... She ends up being brutally beaten after having to save Mikey's ass, who abandons her. He comes to his senses and goes to get her before going into the Saltlands (Seattle) to save Kane from Notare Elise and whatever she's doing to him.

I'm tired.

What did I like? Every f*cking thing imaginable. I can't even. Like. I liked Population but I LOVE Saltlands. I'm just. Yall. I can't. Being out in Population is as close to being in hell as you can get. I don't know of many authors who can accurately convey anxiety like Elizabeth Stephens can. You are CONSTANTLY anxious when out in Population because the sh*t is so real that you can't predict just how bad things will go. The interaction between Mikey and Abel was incredibly well written as well as Mikey's character development. From the very start of the book and up to the end, you can see every bit of change in him that he makes. Abel's 'fight' is still unmatched. I know of probably only 2 other fictional characters who could go through that amount of stuff and still keep ticking and holding on to their true selves in the process. Abel is one of the best written female protags out there. She's still very connected to her emotions but she just doesn't make those emotionally rash/charged decisions. The girls head is on straight even if she's half dead. The world building is impeccable, all the characters are written well. I really enjoyed the detail put into fleeting characters that reminded Abel of someone. It makes me think that we may be seeing them again in the next story. Now, although this ends Abel's story ... It's just the beginning of someone elses that will start in book 3. And I can honestly say that I am down for whoever the author pics to focus her next phase of this series on.

What did I not like about this? Absolutely nothing. *kanye shrug* It was on point. If I had to gripe on anything, I would have liked to see the Lavhe (sp?) in action more. I got the implication of how badass he was but I didn't get to see it.

Overall I'm still wanting to find out more about Abel being a human with her new 'specialty.' I would also like some kind of update about Abel's name. I really just want more. I feel like whining. I loved this so much. THanks so much to Elizabeth Stephens for sending it over. I'm just ... Mikey is a new favorite of mine.

Seriously ... I have 3 top favorite women in books. Jane Yellowrock, Kate Daniels, and Mercy Thompson (yes, I talk shit about Mercy but I still love her). I'm not yet about to add Abel to my list but I have a feeling I will be down the line.

5 Stars
IR: Abel (b/w) Kane (other)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

War of the Alphas (Books 3 & 4) by SM Reine


Alpha: War of the Alphas, Book 3
Pas: War of the Alphas, Book 4

I decided to review both of these books since I read them back to back. I'm going to keep this brief, though since details from each book are mumbled due to reading them so close behind each other ...

Anyway ... Book 3 picks up after Deirdre was brought back to life. Books 3 and 4 are a little bit of the darker side than books 1 and 2. These two are really ... Tiring.

Details are short right now, I just need to say a few things about each.

The tone, in my opinion, changes from book 2 to 3. Then 3 and 4 get darker and darker. Deirdre is being teased by an animal who is a lot like her, having fire, but it's more like ... He's dangling this complicated life in front of her and she decides not to pursue this option, which I think was smart. The most incredible thing about the last 2 books is seeing Deirdre basically turn into Everton Stark. When you start the series, you kind of get the sense that she's seeing things his way, but there comes a time when she's fully understanding why he is the way he is and it's a little scary. However ... She maintains a bit of her true self underneath ... At least enough to see how wrong things have gone and will do what needs to be done to fix it. By book 4, I think I spent the second half of that book almost in tears. But I thought it was great because Deirdre finally got the chance to stop, think, breathe, and cry. She needed it SO much.

The ending, in regards to the main outcome of the election, is predictable. And I only say that because I've read SM Reine's work before. I started out with a couple of a books (that I didn't review) that focused on Rylie Gresham ... Going to camp ... Getting bitten ... All of that. I remember decided not to continue the series simply because I don't like Rylie. And even now, even though this series takes place a long time after Rylie being a teen ... I still don't like her. But it's not all the time. My problem is, I'm such a big fan of Deirdre that I don't want any opposition and I don't want her caving to Rylie Gresham ... Which happens ... BUT ... By that time, it's okay.

The best thing about this series is you get mind fucked. You go in na├»ve and basically blind. Deirdre is surviving on fear and confusion. Then she's intrigued because maybe there's a way she'll find that she's not an Omega. Later, you're sucked into having to deal with being Alpha, dealing in politics, being disappointed, falling in confused lust ... Then going to save the Alpha, and the election in the process. And she has to do this while un-mindfucking herself. IT'S A LOT! This series was really well written from top to bottom. It pulled at my heart immensely and I was mostly happy with the ending. I especially love when Stark basically goes of the deep end when dealing with his family.

However ... SM left us a breadcrumb. Deirdre leaves Stark a little gift at the end so I'm more than anxious to find out what kind of series or mention spins from this in the future.

Reminder: Deirdre is black. She's described as having cocoa colored skin, a small gap between her teeth and hair a little past her shoulders. Below are the covers for 2 of the German versions of the series. They feature a black model. The covers are beautiful, right?


Also ... Abel (Rylie's mate) is black. Queen Ofelia is as well but you only get her briefly in book 3.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beta by SM Reine

War of the Alphas, Book 2

Just want to start off by reminding everyone that the protag, Dierdre, is actually black ... Regardless of the cover.

Like an idiot, I'd forgotten the fact that I'd purchased this entire series and finally got into reading Beta. Beta is the continuation of Dierdre Tombs, a shapeshifter who can't shift and no one has any idea what the hell she is. In this book, Dierdre is serving as Everton Stark's beta and not enjoying it. Not only is Stark batshit crazy, still, but Dierdre's mind is becoming more and more twisted to match Stark's. If you remember from book 1 (or hadn't read it, which you should), she is undercover for the Alpha of all shifters, Rylie Gresham. Dierdre is supposed to be learning all the information she can and providing that intel to Rylie. However, now that Dierdre is starting see things from Stark's point of view, it causes an internal glitch and now she has to decide if this really is the life she wants to live. Aside from all of her internal struggles, there's a war going on between the Winter Court and the Summer Court. These guys are kind of like fairies. Super strong fairies. A set of them visit Stark and want him to get a weapon. They give him coordinates for it and as they go on their mission, it ends up being a trap and Dierdre gets arrested by OPA. As to not give anything away, Dierdre gets out, there's a big brawl at the end and we FINALLY get to see what Dierdre actually is and I'm so pleased because it isn't covered very much. I've only read one other book that has a character that is the same as Dierdre. Outside of that, we learn exactly what Everton Stark is too ... And then what he isn't that he thought he was. Now ... As far as book 3 goes, I'm starting that tomorrow.

What did I love? I love Dierdre. She's a great protagonist. I love Everton Stark because he's kind of like the protagonist AND the antagonist. I say that because outside of him doing horrible things to Dee and his people because he can, he's getting her hooked on Lethe, which is a drug. I came to the same conclusion as Dierdre, that he's doing it to control her. My heart kind of broke every time he supplied her with more. Anyway, Stark starts to sort of have a crisis of conscience in reference to Dee. You kind of feel it all through the book but it isn't as obvious so when it manifests, you're like ... okay yea, that makes sense. Back to Dee. She's not completely kick-ass but she's still pretty high in the ranks. I love reading any parts dealing with how her mind is changing in regards to the struggle of Stark over Rylie. And honestly, I think Rylie sealed the deal with her actions in this book BUT since I've read a book in another series that came after this, I have an idea of how this will play out. Anyway ... I really did enjoy Niamh, but I'm soooooooooooo gonna enjoy her more when Dierdre gets her hands on her. I think book 3 is going to be a clusterfuck of amazing vengeance and I am here for all that mess! Okay okay okay ... I really do like all the characters, I love the underground setting and the perpetual tension when Stark is in the room. You honestly never know if you're gonna get smacked for even breathing wrong.

What I didn't like? I can't think of one thing I didn't like. Thanks SM Reine. You got me hooked again, girl.

5 Stars

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

The Kingmaker Chronicles, Book 1

Cat has been living her past 8 years as a Soothsayer at a traveling circus. One day, a group of men come out to test out her talents so their leader, Beta Sinta (real name Griffin), can get proof that one among them is a traitor. Not only does Cat prove that he is, indeed, the traitor, the group grabs Cat and runs. Despite Cat having incredible powers, a non magical man has captured her with something as simple as an enchanted rope. Now she's bound to this man and his team as they travel back to the castle where Beta Sinta can hand cat over to Alpha Sinta (the queen Egeria) or ... Something else ... Before they can even get to the castle, they get in a hell of a fight with a giant and a she-dragon. Hold onto your hats cause this book is about to get jumpin. Also, there is a huge amount of Greek Mythology at play here and we know that Zeus has a link to someone as well as Poseidon.

What did I love? ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!! This is a fantasy story that has all the elements that I love that I can't even name. Character development was on point. It was obvious from the very beginning that the team that nabbed Cat would end up being brother figures to her. They all had a really easy going personality that wasn't over the top. They were genuinely happy to be a part of Beta Sinta's team. When Cat is being dragged around with them, they treat her like the little sister they've been wanting. It's incredible how quickly the adapt to add this new person to the team, who is a captive, and trying to figure out how to get away.

As far as kick ass women go ... Cat is at the top of the list. She can fight and breathe fire. Honey. Yes. It seems like her powers are limitless. So many heroines go through the near-death experience several times but only a few can go through it more than once in the same book. And this heffa just keeps on ticking. I am SO in love with Cat. She's just freaking perfect.

This review is sucking. I'm so excited about this series that I can't help it.

So who was Cat hiding from? Another Alpha. How did Beta Sinta find her? Apparently in a dream. Does Cat warm up to him? Oh hell yes and it culminates into really well done sex scenes towards the end of the book. So for next book I'm looking forward to finding out about this prophesy that Cat keeps talking about. I would love for her to answer Griffin's questions about who she really is because despite her living in the castle with his family loving her, they don't know jack about her and she is really growing to love these people. I want to see more of melting bodies and weird mythological creatures. I like that we didn't get to see Andromeda (our villain) but know we will deal with her later, and I enjoy being in Cat's head when she's listening to people talking and deciphering the truth from their lies. Such a page turner and glad I was granted this book from Netgalley.

What did I dislike? No diversity. I chose this book based on the cover alone and it looked, to me, like it could be brimming with diversity. The cover reminds me of the Kate Daniels series so I was going on that vibe. Dark hair, olive skin, green eyes ... That's about as diverse as you're gonna get with this one. It's so disappointing because I'm ready to ride for this book but ... *shrugs* What can you do? It's still good though and I'll stay with it. I'm interested in Cat the Kingmaker and how she will make Griffin into one.

5 Stars

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cast in Angelfire by SM Reine

The Mage Craft Series, Book 1

A young woman, Marion, wakes up in a hospital without a stick of memory. The only thing she knows is her name is Marion. There really isn't much more info I need to give you because everything centers around the fact that this really important person has no idea who she is. But back up a bit. Before that, we get a glimpse of Marion going crazy psycho on a shifter wolf who tried to kill her to collect a bounty. Who wants her dead? Why? How did she lose her memory? Marion insists that the only way to restore her memory is to find a man named Seth Wilder. But first, she meets Dr. Lucas Flynn who treats preternaturals at his hospital. Being more than what he seems, he takes it upon himself to escort Marion home, or wherever she thinks home is. Unfortunately, they run into some trouble as assassins are trying to kill her before she is set to give a speech at a big summit. So obviously Marion is someone way more important than we realize.

It's important that I start this review by telling you that this world exists in a larger world that SM Reine has crafted. She has quite a lot of books in the same world so you'll be familiar with a couple of the names you run by during the storytelling. I was introduced to the author because I'd read Omega which is the story of Dierdre Tombs (I have a review on my blog). Unfortunately, like an idiot, I never did get around to reading any more of SM Reine's work. Why? I'm stupid. I even purchased 2 more books in the Dierdre series but hadn't yet gotten around to reading them. Why? I'm stupid. Why am I stupid? Because I'd forgotten how much I love Reine's work. Anyway ... Having read some of her work before starting this is not a requirement but is kinda fun if you can say to yourself  'OH YEA I KNOW HER!'

I don't even know how to start with what I loved because there was just so much. The world building is great, the character development is wonderful. Even if someone was being mysterious (Dr. Flynn), I was still all-in with this character when I wanted to kick Marion to the curb. I really enjoyed Dr. Flynn. He was a man about morals, not talking too much, and trying to get things done in a speedy fashion. He is by far my favorite character, next to the nurse, Charity Ballard, who is a very interesting version of herself. I really just enjoyed all the characters. I don't really say that because there will always be supporting characters that I hate, but there was not a single character I disliked. Now ... The story was done right. I think you get a feel of who Seth is from the beginning, but trying to figure out what's up with Dr. Flynn outweighs it. So for me, the characters and story are a great selling point alone.

What did I dislike? If I had to dislike anything, it was probably Marion. I didn't dislike her a lot but I just hate that damsel in distress. But since this is just book 1 and her memory has been restored, book 2 is gonna be wild!

I have nothing else to say about Cast in Angelfire. I loved it. I really want to go back and try to go through all of SM Reine's work. It's time for me to bug my library to get everything that they can in audio form. I wonder if her stuff is in audio form. I need to find out. LOVE ITTTTTTT!!!

4 1/2 Stars
IR: Dr Flynn (black)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari

The Iamos Trilogy, Book 1

A young man, Isaak, finds himself transported into unfamiliar territory and is rescued by Nadine, a young woman with a lot of responsibility in front of her. However, her plans for herself are derailed when she meets Isaak and finds out he may have some answers to how to save her people from dying.

Isaak, Henry, and Tamara are on a field trip, checking out a dig site that the GSAF (basically what NASA and some other Feds evolved into) want plundered. While on the field trip, Isaak sees a rock structure that looks an awful like something he's seen at home. He and his friends get into trouble for going too close and are sentenced to do 6 weeks of digging at an excavation site. Everything seems to be going just fine when they find something else at the dig site, but take it and find that the coin Isaak found fits perfectly into the 'key.' Now Emil, who has a surprising identity, is after the coin and the key while Isaak has to run from the feds. His running leads to his transportation to the Fourth World, Mars,  which he already lives on, however ... He went to Mars in a different time. Nadine is next in line to be one of the few privileged who will basically run Mars, but she has to past a test. Unfortunately she fails at the right time. She meets Isaak, gets nosey and then they find themselves at the mercy of a group of people seeking to liberate Mars' people from the strict rules set upon them. Meanwhile, between the two of them, Nadine sees Isaak as a way to help her save her Mars, and Isaak sees Nadine as a way to help his Mars be better.

The world building in this story is unparalelled. I mean ... I've said recently that their stories had great world building but this one REALLY takes the cake. This book is dystopian/scifi so you have to be detailed but I was just there. The author is a whiz at this. Although I'm not a fan of YA, this book seemed more like a coming of age story in truth. They're in their late teens so while Isaak is just wanting some questions answered, Nadine is about to take on Mars. Plus, their are other amazing things like each citidome's people has a set of traits that were picked by their leaders to represent where they're from. Nadine's people have dark brown skin and white/clear hair, others domes traits may be brown skin and reddish/brown hair. It's interesting to note the level of detail based on the characteristics given. With that said, I wasn't thrilled about the characters physical descriptions. I really felt that was lacking. I think we got enough to form a picture in our heads but I felt like the book cover was so spot on that I pictured those two in my head. The book is very well written, we even get a dictionary because their are so many words that are foreign to us. I enjoyed seeing the odd animals, Isaak's shock at some things and even how Nadine kind of erects this figurative steel wall to protect herself from everyone. And by the time I got to the end, when we see Henry again ... I was ready to scream.

If you want to really get lost in a book, this is the one to do it in. Never mind that it's a YA. I'm so waiting on the next one. It was a bit slow in the beginning for me and I was kind of skimming through. But once I got past part 1, it was uphill from there. I love it and can't wait for book 2!!!

4 1/2 Stars
IR Everywhere

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Backup by Erica Kudisch

So ...

The Greek god Dionysus is living as the rock star Nik. He's an elusive petty ignorant a-hole who is seemingly untouchable. Anthony is a recent college graduate with a PhD in Musicology. Now Anthony is Nik's manager and hating everything every step of the way. Anthony's uncle Paul tells him that since he hasn't yet gotten a job in his field, he has this job for him. Anthony takes the job because he needs the money and becomes the most complaining ungrateful little shit you've ever witnessed. Anthony has to stop fights, get into fights, and try to stop people from killing themselves all while Nik is on stage so that the show can continue no matter what. In an age of cell phone video and youtube, Anthony gets a little famous and his blog (which you get to read) blows up as a result. Needless to say, Anthony starts sleeping with Nik and then begins to believe in him, but somehow keeps Nik from fully getting to him. Nik literally drives people crazy with his music, or drives them to their death.

What I liked:
Oh! Okay. It was decently written. A book like this doesn't need to have tons of details but for what it was, it was done well. The author clearly loves classical music, and maybe some semblance of rock music. I enjoyed any scene that Anthony's uncle Paul was apart of. Paul was the only character outside of Anthony that I understood. I loved the progression of Anthony's belief in Nik as a god. It went from 'you're crazy' to 'am I crazy?' to 'shit ... he really is a god, I gotta get out of here.'
When I requested this book from Netgalley, it was in the Sci Fi & Fantasy category which is mostly what I read. Then I find that it's LGBTQIA as well and nearly jumped for joy. Add all that to the IR book cover and I was SOLD. The Character development was actually good among the main characters Anthony, Nik and Paul ... and to a lesser extent, Ida. The rest? I can't say.

What I disliked:
- Character description was seriously lacking. I knew that Anthony was a runner, of black/white mixed race heritage. I also knew that he has curly hair when it's grown out but he kept himself bald. I knew that Nik has weird red/gold hair. I know that Paul is not mixed because it was said in the book, and also is a darker skin color than Anthony and even darker than Nik. That's all I knew. I think maybe hair colors for other people were mentioned, clothes they wore, and accents, and heights ...
- Although the cover features Anthony and Nik ... It screams ROMANCE ... Not SciFi/Fantasy. I get that their is a tiny paranormal element to it but it wasn't enough. It should have been put in the romance category. The scifi element was minute and speculative. Not only is the cover misleading in that way, it also implies that this is a consensual relationship. It's not! Nik basically f*cks with Anthony's head to get him to sleep with him.
- Honestly Anthony and Nik were two peas in a pod. Anthony had his head so far up his ass about his degree and what he was SUPPOSED to be doing that he probably couldn't even breathe. He was so self-loathing and angry that it wafted off of him to everyone around him. What Anthony knows about music is word ... What anyone else knows about music is shit. Nik was no better because he absolutely cared about nothing. Everything was a game to him except for when one of his believers was taken from him.
- Details were very vague. Outside of physical details, there were big things mentioned that I didn't even realize were big things. Case in point: Anthony's mother. There's some epiphany close to the end about Paul not being able to have kids, and Nik knowing Anthony's mothers name. But we're never exactly told what the big deal is. This isn't the only instance, there are plenty of other things mentioned but no details given. It was quite frustrating thinking that you have to go backwards to find whatever this was referenced to but when you don't like what you're reading, you just keep trudging along and let it go.
- The musical references were too much! I'm not a classical music fan or a rock music fan so the vast majority of the musical references flew right over my head to the point that I was skipping pages because I kept seeing names of Classical musicians and then conversations following about that musician. I would never, in a million years, listen to the garbage that Nik was calling his music. It was utter garbage ... I actually paid attention to some of the things Anthony was saying about it. So I was completely down for Anthony hating his music. On the flip side, I was down for Nik telling Anthony not to play his 'math' (Bach) on his instruments.
- The ending was not satisfying in the least. After that last bad gig that Anthony played that landed him in the hospital, and then the FBI visit, and the witness protection ... All you're allowed to see is Anthony settling into his new life and meeting up with Ida (a pianist who left Nik's crew like a boss) who kept his cover as this new person. It's implied that nothing will happen to Nik despite Anthony cooperating with the cops but still ... Give me something. I was given nothing.

I won't say the book was bad but there were sooooooooooooooooo many things I disliked about it. I looked it up online and saw a couple of really good reviews. I'm glad someone really enjoyed it. It was just way too stuck-up for me. When Anthony hit the scene and stuck his nose up in the air about why what he thinks is better is true, it set the whole tone for me and there was no way I could bring myself to like him, not even in the end. I was at a point where I was hoping Nik would completely tear him down cause I disliked him so much. Anyway ... I can't even say it's okay. It isn't a recommendation I would give out unless someone specifically asked me for a book with a gay couple with only a tiny bit of a paranormal element and really annoying main characters.

1 Star
IR: Anthony (Bl/Wh) Nik (Greek)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Waking Up Alive by Emma Shortt

End of Days Love, Book 2

I've always felt a connection to the impending apocalypse. More importantly, the zombie apocalypse. I have plans in place for when it happens, because let's face it ... It'll happen. It may not be zombies ... But the world will shut down. My kid and I discuss tv vs real world zombies ... purely hypothetical, but still ... And we discuss ways to survive and minimize casualties, although my kid is fully prepared to take on the role of Rick (Walking Dead) if need be. I'm rambling ...

It took me quite a long time to get through this one because I was utterly annoyed by one of the main characters.

The zombie apocalypse has begun ... Months ago really ... So this book picks up right in the heart of the matter when the amount of live people are down to handfuls if you're that lucky. Not to mention that zombies are getting smarter ... Smarter! No longer are they just walking around finding people to eat, but they're hunting in packs. We later learn that packs are now turning into hordes. And this isn't like anything we've seen before ... they're not your typical slow walking zombies with limbs falling off, these guys are pack hunting, running, planning and even signaling. So the shit is real. We meet a couple of travelers named Tyrone and Jackson (female). They've been traveling together for a few months but become separated by packs of zombies. This book will follow Tye (Tyrone), who is a former cop, along his journey to find his friend. During the journey, we meet a couple more people, zombies, and even reach two birds at the same stone.

Let's start with what I liked:
     The one thing I love most about a zombie apocalypse world is the actual world and how it has degraded. I appreciate a writer that can really emphasize the ongoing silence, deterioration of buildings, and deterioration of humanity in those that are left living. The author, Emma Shortt, depicted those 3 things beautifully. I enjoyed being reminded of just how loud a car engine can be in a world where even white noise is nonexistent. Because of the incredible hearing zombies (I think they're called Wakers in this book) have, you've gotta be on cat feet and use less that an inside voice (if you HAVE to speak) at all times. I liked that we got a broad picture of the world surrounding us. There was a point where Tye met someone and he bunked in a very tall building that gave an overview of just how bad the city was. Let's talk about humanity. Polly, a scientist, is setting bombs around town for the zombies. As she's setting one, she runs into Tye. Here is a guy that used to be a cop but instead of hardening himself like most people would do in an apocalypse, it seems as though he's grown into more of a man if that were even possible. Continuing to be yourself in the face of all that really is incredible. And on the other side, there is Polly, who seemed like a genuinely good person until she was raped (or nearly raped ... it was only implied) by some guys she tried to help. You can only imagine how warped her mind has become due to that one majorly bad moment. It dictates how she treats people and how she immediately treated Tye. It goes without saying that it took a good while for Polly to relax. Understandable.

On to what I disliked:
     Polly. I hated Polly with a passion. I wanted Polly to die early on. In particular, I wanted her to be eaten. Let me stop. Okay ... I was originally angry about Jackson and Tye splitting up. Although I understood it, I just was not interesting in seeing my badass, Jackson, replaced with a sniveling Polly. I also felt like it was incredibly cliche that the man wouldn't interested in the strong woman ... He'd want the weak one. Let's be clear, Polly is strong in her own way. She has an incredible mind, but math is not going to get you cross country in an apocalypse. Polly was doing really well being hold up in an office building. She was growing food, figured out how to use her urine in other ways, created a make-shift kitchen, and even tapped into an underground internet that only the super smart survivors were privy to. So yes, Polly is useful but how many times does she have to be saved? I'll leave that up to the reader to count because I stopped counting. Polly is the type of girl that does the math, figures out the worst and how to ride through it, but has on room for WHAT IFs. A what if actually happened and she had to get moving, but thankfully, she had Tye with her to put it all in motion. Because without him ... ? The next thing I disliked was the amount of dialogue. I think in some instances, like to tell an old story maybe, a lot of dialogue is required, however ... This book had just so much. At the same time, you basically have to do things this way because it's the end of the world and this is the only live person around for miles. You're going to want to talk ... A lot. This book also featured no plot twists. It was very straight laced, which is good. Sometimes you don't want to think, you just want to get lost in the book, but ... Everything was predictable. Lastly, while i'm singing praises about the world building, the character descriptions could have used a ton of work. There was really good character development being done (even during the time when we were dealing with a certain zombie in Texas ... That part was really good), but I have on idea what anyone looked like. I only knew Tye was black because he's on the cover. Any other point in the book, looks arent mentioned outside of something like Polly having black curly hair and a curvy body because Tye prefers a healthier sized woman. I still don't know what Jackson looks like. I think someone close to the end, she may have been white. I'm still not sure about Polly or really anyone else outside of someone being starving/thin.

Overall ... I thought the book was decent. This is only one in a series but I don't feel the need to go and read the others. Polly was simply insufferable for me. This book has gotten so many great reviews online and I get it ... I'll even recommend it to anyone who asks for something like this, but I just can't deal with the possibility of another character with a personality like hers. She is the sole reason it took me over a month to read this book. So in summary, it's decent. I don't regret reading it but not quite sure I'd read another in the series or by the author unless someone I trust urges me to.

3 Stars
IR: Tye (Black) Polly (White?)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter

Jane Yellowrock, Book 10


I decided to try something different this time. Normally, when I've finished a book in this series, I immediately go to the computer and review it. My reviews end up being something like 'I CAN'T SPEAK!!!!!' But this time, I gave myself an entire week to process what I've read so that my review is more coherent.

On to the review!

OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!! Okay ... The Witch Conclave is about to happen and their are some witches doing some really shady shit. Have you ever read a book and feel so horrible for the MC that you NEED to figure out how to help them? That's how this was going for me. Jane was in so much shit. Then again, she's always in a lot of shit, but one pile of shit left her unable to shift and nearly dead again. *dies* There was also a point where she was in her bloodhound form and my heart was racing because she can't stay that way for too long! Not to mention, a long thought-to-be dead vampire is found.

Two words: Yellowrock Clan.

When I read those two words ... I put my Kindle down, looked at myself in the mirror and said "HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT?!" I felt like #squadgoals had a new meaning.

Anyway ... Jane's house is now overrun with the members of her clan, the Truebloods are back hanging out and AngieBaby is getting scarier with each passing book.

I'm so failing at this review. I can't help it.

Every single positive thing I've ever said about this series still applies. This book is probably on the top of my list now based on the amount of action alone. I got literally everything I've been wanting up to this point and feel free. Like I just made the best decision of my life and that was to read this book. I devoured it, as I do all the JY books.

Read it. It's amazing. Plot twists are crazy. I will continue to repeat this: Smaller details in other books will always come back to bite you in books to come. Remember that.

What I want in the future? I want explanation of Edward Hartley's fall from grace. I'm still pissed at RickyBo with the way he left things with Jane. And although she's happy with Bruiser, I still want Rick's face bitten off Walking Dead style. I always want more AngieBaby. But now I'm hoping for more of Evan Jr. I'd like to see what he can do.

As always, this book is amazing. This series is amazing. It's my number one recommendation always.

5 Stars
IR everywhere