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For those of you who are following my Facebook page, you will already know this. But if you’re not, what are you waiting for? Follow me here.

Anyway, I have finished writing ARISE, first in the Game of Eternity series.  Woo!

This is really exciting news. I’m so ecstatic. I hope you are too.

So when can you guys get a copy? Well, initially I really wanted to self-publish this novel, but after selling so few of my short stories, I thought it would be best to traditionally publish ARISE. I know this means it will take longer to publish but I truly believe it is the best choice for me at the moment. In the meantime I will work on a new project that I can self-publish, so you guys won’t miss out on too much.

Stay tuned for more!

I’m not going to lie. I chose this book because of the beautiful cover and I am not even a little bit ashamed of that.

Synopsis

Emi is the kamigakari. In a few short months, her life as a mortal will end and her new existence as the human host of a goddess will begin. Carefully hidden from those who would destroy her, she has prepared her mind, body, and soul to unite with the goddess-and not once has she doubted her chosen fate. Shiro is a yokai, a spirit of the earth, an enemy of the goddess Emi will soon host. Mystery shrouds his every move and his ruby eyes shine with cunning she can’t match and dares not trust. But she saved his life, and until his debt is paid, he is hers to command-whether she wants him or not. On the day they meet, everything Emi believes comes undone, swept away like snow upon the winter wind. For the first time, she wants to change her fate-but how can she erase a destiny already wrought in stone? Against the power of the gods, Shiro is her only hope… and hope is all she has left.

Plot

This novel has a very simple plot which is basically a search for an answer that Emi has which I can’t reveal without giving away a spoiler.
But for those of you who don’t mind a spoiler, please read on…

[spoiler]Emi learns that when Amaterasu descends she will destroy Emi. I told this to a friend and we were both pretty underwhelmed. Neither of us were surprised to learn this because I mean Amaterasu is a freaking GODDESS! Of course her power will be too great for Emi to contain! Also, having read Vessel, I just wasn’t surprised. The premise for Vessel is basically the same as this novel except that in Vessel the goddess fails to descend. [/spoiler]

Characters

Emi

Emi isn’t our typical bad ass heroine but she is no less interesting. In some ways she’s a bit more complex than the usual YA heroine. Emi is selfless and kind, patient and brave. At no point to I remember her being too stupid to live, although she was a bit too trusting of kami. But that was more due to her upbringing than anything else. She had been taught that kami were inherently good and yokai were inherently bad — [spoiler]to her detriment.[/spoiler]

Shiro

My favourite Shiro quote:

“Because you are more to me now. Because you keep secrets like a kami and I’m curious what you hide. Because you are lonely and scared and I don’t understand why. Because you trust me when you know you shouldn’t. Because I believe you when you say you will keep your word.”

Yumei

This guy is hardcore and utterly terrifying and I love him for it! He has definitley got the whole Blue and Orange Morality thing going for him. He just isn’t good or evil. He is there to help Shiro but at the same time he seems to want something in return. I must be the only one who wondered if Shiro and Yumei had some fling going on between them though. He was just so overly protective of Shiro, the kitsune, but he didn’t know him before the curse was placed on Shiro so maybe I’m just looking for some bisexual action where there isn’t any.

[spoiler] I had no problem with Yumei hurting Emi except for my usual problems with the main character being hurt because Yumei was never depicted as a love interest. [/spoiler]

I don’t understand the review I read where someone on GoodReads declared him her husband, but to each their own.

I am perfectly happy for Yumei to stay far, far away from me, though I do love him as a character.

[spoiler] What with him being the Tengu and ruling the other crows he is a bit like a mafia boss and I love that! [/spoiler]
Katsuo

My poor baby got stuck in a love triangle with our resident kistune. Personally I would choose Katsuo, because he is kind, loyal, and adorable. Plus he has no violent tendancies toward the main character.

Pacing

This was my main problem with this book. I started it in May and only finished it on the 13th of October 2017 because it was just so slow I just wanted something to happen at the beginning but I honestly don’t remember anything except for Emi finding the startling revelation in the manual. And I mean if you’re going to keep a secret from the kamigakari don’t leave it out in the open in the library where anyone can find it!

Final Thoughts

Red Winter was a good read and although there were some pacing problems, particularly at the beginning, I did enjoy myself. Emi was naive at the beginning and far too trusting of kami but she learned her lesson pretty quickly. Though nothing to do with the writing, I will say that the illustrations were very beautiful and that I enjoyed listening to the audio book.

I give this one THREE stars due to the pacing and boring Big Bad.

Before I read One Blood Ruby I will review the first book in the series by Melissa Marr — Seven Black Diamonds.

Synopsis

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal. Her father’s “unconventional” business has meant a life of tightly held secrets, concealed weaponry, and a strict code. But Lily’s crime isn’t being the daughter of a powerful mob boss. Her guilt lies in the other half of her DNA—the part that can coax ancient rumors from stones and summon fire with a thought. Lily is part fae, which is a crime in her world.

From the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humanity and fae. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir—a death that was the fault of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has shielded her from the repercussions of her ancestry…until she is sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, straight into the arms of the Black Diamonds.

Mysterious, glamorous, and bound together in their mission but constantly at odds, Zephyr, Creed, Will, Roan, Violet, and Alkamy are a Sleeper cell of fae, planted in the human world to help destroy it from within. With covers as rock stars and celebrity children, the Black Diamonds carry out the queen’s war against humanity. And unbeknownst to Lilywhite, she’s been chosen to join them.

Now more than ever, Lily’s heritage puts her in peril, and even the romantic attention of the fae singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the safer world of organized crime.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there

— Courtesy of GoodReads.com

Plot

Can we first please address the elephant in the room? A group of fey sleeper agents, hmm? Wow. It’s so strange how Melissa Marr and I have the exact same ideas. Now before you roll your eyes, hear me out. When I was 14 I wrote a story about a mermaid who attends human high school and her best friend who is admitted into a school for secret agents who hunt fey.  So not quite the same but very similar. But it doesn’t end there. Three of four years ago I wrote a story about half fey sleeper agents who protect the fey from the Paladins, a group of anti-fey secret agents.  Now leave a message below and let me know if any of you want to read THAT story.

Now back to the review at hand.

Marr promises us a story about fey sleeper agents but instead we get a lot of sitting around, a lot of talking and not very much action. For a bunch of eco-terrorists I thought they would, you know, be doing some terrorising. Instead we get some ridiculous insta-love story and another story about a fey girl getting married against her will. Which you know, I shouldn’t be so judgy about since I do a similar thing in my own book I’m writing, but the point is we’re promised one thing and given another. At least I’m honest from the beginning about my princess getting married against her will.

For a book about the daughter of a MOB boss there isn’t a lot of MOB activity happening here. Besides some kind of ball at the beginning with lots of sons and daughters of crime lords there really isn’t anything at all to do with actual criminal activity in this book.

Overall, added with the surprise ending, I have to say that if you want a book with tonnes of action, or you know just a book with fey eco-terrorists as promised in the synopsis then you should stay away from this book. But if you love romance and friendship this book just might be for you.

Point of View – POV/Characters

From the synopsis above you could easily mistake Lilywhite Abernathy as our only main character. But this book has EIGHT point of views. This includes our sleeper agents: Lilywhite, Creed, Violet, Alkamy, Zephyr and Roan, Will – as well as Elidh, the Crown Princess.

Personally I don’t like having more than 4 POVs, but perhaps I’m a bit biased because the book I’m writing has 4 POVs. But honestly I’ve tried reading both Game of Thrones, which has 7 POVs, and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which of course has 6 Povs. The problem with having more than 2 POVs is that it becomes that much harder to remember who everyone is, and to grow a connection with them because the story becomes so thinned out.

I really wanted to love Mellisa Marr’s characters but I just couldn’t. Most of these POVs just weren’t necessary and many of them felt like filler chapters. If I had to be honest the only necesarry POV characters were Lilywhite, Elidh and MAYBE Zephyr since he was the leader of the Seven Black Diamonds.

Lilywhite: This character irks me. I like her, I do. But the part about her spouting the Abernathy rules really reminds me of Aisilnn from Marr’s other series, Wicked Lovely. You see Aislinn can see fae so to stay alive she reminds herself of these three rules to stay under the radar of the fae, which is exactly what Lilywhite seems to be doing. Another gripe I have with Lilywhite is how much of a Mary Sue she is. Her two major faults are that people love her almost instantly and she is overpowered. Most fey blood have at least one “affinity”, that is, a power over one of the four elements. But Lilywhite has power over ALL FOUR elements/affinities.

Elidh: I love Elidh. She is perhaps a bit too scared of her mother to question her, but she does genuinley want to change things. She wants to rule in a different manner to The Queen of Blood and Rage. Unlike Lilywhite not everyone loves her because of course being the heir apparant she has taken her brother’s rightful place as future King of the Seelie Court since the Seelie and Unseelie merged when Endellion, The Queen of Blood and Rage took over.

Zephyr: I feel kind of bad for this guy. As leader of the Seven Black Diamonds he has had to shoulder the burden all on his own. Lilywhite is supposed to be his partner in all things related to their terrorism, but she isn’t exactly willing. Perhaps it something to do with her introduction to the team.

Will and Roan: All I know about them is that they are in love with each other and one of them can’t tell his parents about their dating because they don’t like gay people. That, and the fact that Endellion chooses who marries whom so they’ll probably never be together forever.

Violet: She is an actress. That is all I remember about her.

Creed: The insta-love interest. Part time rock star, part time terrorist, part time student.

Final Thoughts

As much as there are many cliches I have to be honest that I loved reading this book. Melissa Marr’s writing style had me hooked and constantly wanting to know more. Of course I came out very frustrated and annoyed for all the reasons above but it’s important to note that for whatever reason I never at any point wanted to put this book down. It was so intriguing and I constantly wanted to know what would happen next.

I give Seven Black Diamonds THREE stars

Here I thought that little Arya Stark was finished. Well first, she isn’t little anymore. And secondly how stupid was I to think that killing Walder Frey alone would be enough? But what really sent a chill down my spine was when she told Frey’s widow to explain to everyone that Winter came for House Frey. And of course, that the North remembers.

After our required introduction featuring places such as Old Town, The Wall (of course) and the Twins, we are greeted with what at first appears to be a confusing icy depiction. And then the White Walker and the army of the dead appear behind a blizzard to reaffirm what Arya Stark had just said, and what every Sky poster has said since the countdown has begun.

Winter is Here.

In a meeting with the North Jon, proves to be a merciful ruler, but Sansa undermines him. Littlefinger stands at the edges of the meeting look shady as usual. A raven arrives commanding Jon Snow to come South to King’s Landing and bend the knee or ‘suffer the consequences of all traitors’.

Cersei stands on top of a giant map surveying the surroundings and her many enemies. “We’re the last Lannisters,” she proclaims. “The last ones that count.” She meets with none other than Euron Greyjoy to discuss a possible alliance. One that Cersei declines after being asked to be Euron’s bride. I have to say I kind of feel bad for Cersei. Only a little bit. But I mean, she got herself from one bad situation and has ended up in another bad situation. But the fact that she believes that her own son, Tommen, former King of the First Men and the Andals and all that, betrayed her is ludicrous. What was he supposed to do? I think that was Tommen’s only real moment of agency since he was crowned.

Euron comes across as more than a little crazy. He laughs at how Jamie killed Euron’s own family and he makes a jibe at Jamie’s one hand – of course. I don’t like him and I don’t trust him not to kill Cersei once the nuptials have ended.

We are shown Samwell Tarly’s sad little life which consists of — actually I’d rather not say because it’s just too sad. And disgusting. But for a brief moment we see the arm of a stone man who asks about the “Dragon Queen”, who could only be none other than Jorah Mormont. To say that the might hath fallen would be an understatement, except he wasn’t ever truly mighty. Maybe that one time he killed the blood rider of the Great Khal Drogo.

Arya travels south and is greeted by a small band of Lannister soldiers. One of them is none other than ED freaking SHEERAN!

It’s just The Hound’s luck that he ends up with a band of fire worshipers. I quickly surmised that he was back at the house of the people he had betrayed but only because I had rewatched a few seasons. I can’t imagine how terrible he must have felt for being right that they would be dead by Winter. I think the best part however was seeing Sandor Clegane’s face when he looked into the fire and for the first time realised that the White Walkers were real.

I wish I could saw that Dany’s scene was awe inspiring, but it wasn’t. Sure she was visiting her former home for the first time in years. I should have been moved, but after waiting 6 seasons for this woman to bring Westeros to their knees viewing an abandoned island isn’t poignant. It’s boring.

 

I studied Computer Science at university.

This required all kinds of mathematics like proof by induction, statistics, a lgorithms etc.

So how on earth did I become  a writer?

The truth is that I could talk before I could walk. And when I spoke it was in complete sentences, or so my parents say. I didn’t stumble over my words. I told people exactly what I was thinking exactly when I wished to. And then one day I picked up a pen.

 

I wish I could say I remember the first time I attempted to write or, something cute like that, but I don’t. What I do remember is spending much of primary school writing stories whenever I got the opportunity, and that habit stuck with me through high school all the way to university. I even had my notebook taken away from me in high school when I was writing in it instead of working.

At the age of 9 I was exposed to Greek Mythology for the first time. Unbeknown to me, it was exactly what I would need to learn about world building. I love the stories of Jason and the Argonauts (Greek: Iason) , Perseus and Medusa, Hercules (Heracles), the tale of Persephone and Hades, and so much more.

Authors like Rick Riordan, Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer, Melissa Marr, Julie Kagawa, Melissa de la Cruz and Meg Cabot all shaped who I became as a writer. But none of them looked like me.

There aren’t many black female authors out there in fantasy. It’s a genre that has been stereotypically been taken over by older white men like George RR Martin.

I got two emails from readers of my short story, More Than Skin Deep. Both appreciated me as a writer, and one even called me a heroine. And for the first time I realised how much of a responsibility it is to be a black female fantasy writer.

So I write for myself, but I also write for other black people, to pave the path for other people like me who want to become writers but are too scared because they see the industry is full of predominately white males.

I write because it is my passion and it makes me happy.

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

 

I’ve heard quite a few puns on the whole ruin and rising thing, so I’ll spare you all that. Actually, no. I won’t. This book ruined me and I’m not sure I’ll be able to rise from that.

I’ll tell you the truth, it wasn’t an awful book, but it did sorely disappoint me in a number or ways. Having said that, Ruin and Rising was very readable. The pacing was decent and there were certain things I actually hadn’t guessed at, such as the power of the amplifiers. The search for the firebird? I hadn’t seen that find coming.

So what was my biggest dissapointment? You guessed it. The Darkling. This is going to be really hard to explain without revealing spoilers but I will try.
I’m not exactly sure how many times the Darkling actually appears in R&R but someone mentioned that it was only 5 times. It felt much fewer. The point is, if you are going to market a character that much, at least let them appear more frequently. I understand that the allure of him was the mystery, and Bardugo could get away with that in the first book. By the second book it gets irritating. By the last book, it’s downright rude.
The Darkling deserved more character development. I wanted to truly understand what made him tick. Did he really love Alina? Did he think he ever could? Or was it all just a matter of possession and ownership for him? I don’t know. Instead the readers get saddled with Mal x Alina time.

I don’t have a lot against a childhood friendship turned into a relationship… provided that it is believable. Mal and Alina together was not believable. He spent the beginning of the first book flirting with other girls, and even that Grisha girl I can’t remember. And that’s okay. If he had no interest in Alina to begin with, but Bardugo led me to believe that Mal didn’t see Alina in that way.

And to be honest I don’t like Alina that much. But in this final book she did step it up a level. She had some seriously bad ass moments. My biggest regret for her was her ending. She had the chance to truly be someone and it was Mal I think who made her make that choice at the end and I didn’t like it. I think if she had made her decision because of more than just a boy I would have been okay with it.

It’s really hard writing this without spoiling the book.

The ending was gut-wrenching. I have to give it up to Bardugo, she managed to write a villain that everyone LOVED, even me. Yes, I know I just complained about the Darkling, but mostly because I don’t think we had enough time with him.

The fate of the Prince was also pretty good by the ending, but what he endured no one should have to endure. Other than the Darkling I have to say that the Prince is my favourite character, and Mal is my least favourite character.

Overall I think this was the weakest of the series, and but it was still nice to have an ending. I think I’ll be rereading this series again soon.

three-stars

 

When we last left Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) he had ruined the entire timeline by saving his mother from the Reverse Flash. Cue the black out and gasps of fear.

picture from screencrush.com

Year, The Flash had really left us hanging there. If like me you had seen the Flashpoint Paradox animated movie, you were probably picturing something apocalyptic. Of course the TV version had to stay rather grounded in a reality familiar to the viewers so unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of other members of the Justice League. Instead what we got was a reality in which Irish West and Detective Joe West did not know Barry. This got rid of the whole brother/sister weirdness, but in this version of events Barry has been stalking Iris for a few months until he finally gets the nerve to ask her out. Ow, and he steals her purse to pretend she had dropped it. Did the director have to make Barry so disturbing?

Later we find out that Wally West is this timeline’s version of the Flash. Cue the Kid Flash jokes. Even stranger is that Cisco is a billionaire. I preferred him being a crime boss. It’s strange though that we had no Wells in this version of events. And Caitlin Snow is doing… something not as helpful as before. I mean she’s still a scientist, but it’s a different profession than before — something to do with eyes.

from wikipedia
from Wikipedia

Wally Wests rival is called The Rival… because he has no rival. Did the writers really think that through? I know, he’s a villain who was created in 1949 (Thank you, Wikipedia), but that doesn’t mean they have to keep the name. He also has by far the worst speedster suit. I like the colours, but the mask is just so odd.

the rival
picture from cinemablend.com

I think the most surprising that is embodied by a quote from Reverse Flash: “Who’s the villain now, Flash?”

After saving his mother from Eobard Thawne (Reverse Flash), Barry locks him up in an unbreakable cell. This added with Barry’s stalking really does make Barry look every inch the villain. He’s manufactured a whole reality to be as he always dreamed at the expense of everyone else’s happiness. Wally may have a better relationship with his sister and Cisco is stinking rich, but Detective West is an alcoholic who cares very little about his job. And there is the matter about Central City being rampaged by the Rival, a villain who ‘Kid’ Flash can’t seem to catch.

The ending the show is bit odd. Most everything seems to be back in its original state, but when Barry reunites with Wally and Joe he asks about Iris, and Joe seems very offended. My immediate reaction is ‘Is Iris dead? Estranged?’ I guess all will be clarified in Episode 2.

Overall I highly enjoyed this episode. I was afraid they would play out the strange alternate reality for the rest of the season. I do have a feeling though that if Iris is dead Barry will spend a long time trying to right whatever he and Reverse Flash screwed up.

Supergirl SEASON ONE EPISODE 8 – “HOSTILE TAKEOVER”

Supergirl!
This show is so amazing! How did I ever doubt it?!

 

My initial reaction to Supergirl was met with much scepticism. I wasn’t happy that Kara seemed too ‘cute’. It felt at the time that the trailer was for a young audience. But with comic book characters, perception is everything. No writer can please everyone, and you never should. Supergirl is a dialogue of identity. It is much better than Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ because as a TV show it has a longer course. The serial writing of the screenplay allows Kara to  have much more subtle nuance. She builds up as a character much more slowly because as a female superhero, she analysed much more differently than Henry Cavill’s Superman was.

Life as a woman is never easy, and Melissa Benoist reflects much of what her ‘Glee’ character tried to as well. Supergirl can’t sing her problems away, but neither can she punch all of them.

I wrote what I perceived to be a good impression of the original trailer, which is here in this article.  I though to myself: what would I do if I was Supergirl?

But it’s a hard question to understand and from Cat’s perspective, from her lens, I thought it was a very shaky was of explaining ‘feminism’. Feminism is always complex to argue about because some people don’t realise it is just another conversation about equality. Cat Grant has been through so many things to become ‘The Queen of all Media” so when she named Kara “Supergirl” instead of “Superwoman” she knew that it would sell. She has faith in Supergirl and in Kara because both of them are always there for her, even when she fails to see the hero through Kara’s dumb glasses.

Cat made a dialogue about White Male Privilege. It is a concept I  have lived with all my life, both as a black woman, an African, and as a  Brit. I will never understand why America doesn’t understand the need for free health  care. In London, where I live it is an undisputed Human Right.

supergirl-08

You can’t prove a concept out of context, but we all know that racism, sexism, and all discrimination exists. You don’t have to be a reporter like Jimmy Olson, or an alien like Kara or ‘The Martian Manhunter’ (who of course hates this horrid name!)

Discrimination is everywhere. It’s in ‘manga’, it’s in ‘comic books’, it’s in the NEWS. And it is there plainly to see but it is hard to DEFINE because everyone has a different angle on the term.
When I was applying for my Year in Industry I studied the minute expressions of everyone’s face.

Cat Grant
Cat Grant

I can’t help that. I can’t turn it off. I’m a part time blogger, part time programmer, and a Full Time writer. If it isn’t in the script, if it isn’t in the screenplay I can’t define it.
I can’t find the class, the object, the syntax. I can’t compose the song.
What is a superpower? Are you Team Batman, or Team Flash, or Team Wonder Woman? Who will win? Deadpool or Deathstroke?
I don’t have an off button, and I never will.

So what did you think about this episode? How did you feel when Kara was faced with the horrid notion of having to kill her own kin? And most importantly, what is YOUR superpower?