Tag Archives: December 2015

SNAHM: Yasmine Galenorn

Hi friends – I’m … still here. It’s been … a year, huh. Lots going on. Lots. Let’s just move right along. I have to say straight up, this post is a year late, and it’s on me. It is entirely, absolutely, 100% on me. My apologies. My apologies to you, my apologies to Ms. Galenorn. I messed up. I did want to share her post though – but also note – it was written almost a year ago, it should have gone up at that time. I will say, I definitely think it’s still relevant. (In fact, maybe it was meant to be – to be posted now considering…)

So without further ado … Yasmine Galenorn

I want to thank Limecello for asking me to write a blog post on diversity/being a writer of mixed background. The world of media’s been filled with a lot of controversy this year—well, every year, I guess, but this year I’ve noticed it more.

And I’ve been thinking about the concept of diversity in books, movies, etc., a lot because this relates to me directly—as both an author, and as someone who has a mixed heritage background. Maybe I don’t look it…my Irish side seems to comes out a lot stronger than my Cherokee in my looks…but yes, I am mixed blood and honestly, it has never played a big part in how I think about myself. Probably because of that very fact—nobody bothers me about it because hey, I look white, to be blunt. No, I get attacked in other ways.

It hit my mother though, right where it hurts most, with family. With her husband’s family (my stepfather). And I knew it hurt her because when she was alive, she talked to me about it. I’d like to say he stuck up for her, that he put a stop to his mother treating my mother like a second-class citizen, but I can’t, because he, himself, was a racist though he would never have accepted that fact. But honestly, when you marry someone who is part Native American and then refer to NAs as “warhoops” and Hispanics as “wetbacks”…I’m sorry, you’re racist. When you won’t let your wife drink any alcohol because she’s part Native American, you’re racist. And so on.

Anyway, I had a long, long post written with all sorts of examples and I deleted most of it and decided to rewrite…just a blunt post.

I’ve seen so much ugliness in the past few years on the net. I’ve been called a whore/slut because my female characters are unapologetically sexual and lead alternative lifestyles. I’ve been trash-talked as a writer because of my looks—because I’m fat and unapologetic about the way I choose to dress, about the fact that I have a wonderful marriage, and that I’m successful and not ashamed of myself. Apparently, size has something to do with how well the words come out of my brain, according to a subset of trolls. I’ve seen friends get death and rape threats due to speaking out about the nature of being a female who writes science fiction and fantasy.

Enough. Just. Enough.

I no longer care about making my valid arguments and refuting the idiots because: Diversity? Whether it be in gender, color, size, sexuality, it’s not going away, people. The “good old days with family values” only existed for a minor subset of society. Women were struggling for equality. People of color were struggling for equality. L/G/B/T people were struggling for equality. The only ones who weren’t struggling with some form of discrimination were white men.

So here’s the thing: yes, you have less power when you share that power around. You have less power over others. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to shape your life into awesome…

What does it mean? This:

  • It means you can’t beat your wife.
  • You can’t rape your date.
  • You can’t terrorize the neighbors because they’re black.
  • You can’t pass over someone for a job simply because he’s Cherokee.
  • You can’t spit on a woman entering the military because you think she can’t handle the training.
  • You can’t deny Jim and George the right to marry.
  • You can’t pass over Linda for a promotion just because she’s fat and you would rather promote the size 4 blond so you can ogle her boobs.
  • You can’t force the local pagans to attend your church or to stop practicing their religion.

IOW: You can’t deny others basic rights simply because you don’t like them, you don’t agree with their religion, or you think they won’t serve you or that they are less than you. And, to be blunt, if you have a problem with this, I suggest you reexamine your ethics because…sorry, you’re wrong.

Anyway…I’ve seen too much online over the years to make me truly ever trust anybody I don’t know personally. Because those anonymous trolls and flame baiters? They aren’t bots. They are real people. Maybe the neighbor next door. Maybe the person you pass on the street. And they’ll smile to your face, and turn around and harass and hound and attack in private when they think nobody’s watching. When they believe they can get away with it. They’re cowards, but they’re dangerous cowards because sometimes, they take their hatred into the streets with guns. Or they beat up their girlfriends. Or they bully a little black girl just because they can.

So ya know…Enough.

Take a deep breath and decide—what do you want people to remember you for when you’re gone? Do you want to make the world a better place? Start by speaking out when you hear someone making a racist joke. Don’t sit by while the guys in the locker room talk about date-rape. Just stop adding fuel to the fire or enabling it by remaining silent.

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir…but if the choir doesn’t keep singing, all of this crap will slide back into acceptability. And it will just go on. And on. We can change things…one person at a time. One family at a time. But it starts with us. With the person in the mirror.

Yasmine

Guest Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Liza’s review of The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Historical romance released by Avon on December 29, 2015

The Rogue Not TakenLady Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

I’ve enjoyed Sarah MacLean’s books in the past so I was excited to get a new book from her. I wanted to learn more about Sophie Talbot and see if she could find her happiness. I absolutely love reading about a rogue in historical romances, and Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley fit the bill completely.

I absolutely adored Sophie Talbot from the moment she hit the page. She is such a strong and protective character. She will do whatever it takes to protect her sisters and her family. I also love that she had the strength of character to know she didn’t want to remain in London and found a way to leave.  Sophie is extremely intelligent and her love of books on every subject only endeared her more to me. I did think that for such an intelligent woman, Sophie didn’t plan ahead very well and really was very naive in how she saw the world. I really felt like she saw much of the world through rose-colored glasses.

I’ll say right from the start that I didn’t love King when we first met him. I loved the idea of the rogue who ends engagements, but he was pretty much all about himself at first and it put me off him for a bit. Even though I didn’t love him in the beginning, I still saw his potential to be charming. I also really liked how quickly his protective nature seemed to kick in when it came to Sophie. He still remained a tool towards Sophie through much of the book, but I started to see there was more to his character the longer they were together. King will never be my favorite hero in a Sarah MacLean story, but I did feel like he redeemed himself enough in the end for me to at least like him.

The Rogue Not Taken was a very slow read for me. While the attraction was there between Sophie and King from pretty much the minute they met, it took so long for their relationship to move from constant nitpicking to something more. I did find many of the situations both Sophie and King got themselves into quite funny. In fact as the romance built so slowly for me, the humor is what kept me reading. I did love the more attracted King and Sophie became to one another the more they found ways of spending more time together. I need to point out that since I read more contemporary romances than historical romances, I have to remind myself most of the romantic build up is slower with a historical romance. I really did love the romance between King and Sophie once it moved from more than companions who just picked at each other like kids on a playground.

Overall, I enjoyed The Rogue Not Taken. I would definitely read more books by Sarah MacLean. In fact, I really want to know more about Sophie’s sisters and I somehow missed Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, where Sophie was first introduced. While I had some issues with The Rogue Not Taken, I still would recommend it to other readers. I really enjoyed Sarah MacLean’s voice and look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

Grade: B-

You can buy a copy here.

Guest Review: Coming Back by Lauren Dane

Ki’s Review of Coming Back by Lauren Dane
Contemporary erotic romance released by Hachette on December 8, 2015

Coming BackMick Roberts, the newest partner at Twisted Steel’s custom hotrod and motorcycle shop, looks like a man with everything. But secretly he still craves the connection he lost when his best friend Adam and the love of his life Jessilynn walked out. Then, he wasn’t ready for the pleasure they promised. Now, things have changed.

Rich, powerful, and insatiable, Adam Gulati is used to getting what he wants. And there’s nothing he wants more than Mick and Jessi. He hasn’t seen either in over a year, but the second he sets eyes on them again his memories-and his desires-can’t be denied.

After trying to live without them, Jessi Franklin realized no one else can satisfy her like Adam and Mick. The three of them need one another-in more ways than one. It’s time to stop pretending and submit to the hunger they all share. But once they go down this road, there’s no turning back. As deeply devoted as they are, no one knows what great bliss their forbidden fantasy will find-or the price they may pay . . .

This was my first book by Lauren Dane and I would never have picked this up myself but the blurb hooked me in a way I never would have thought. I still don’t know why it caught my interest because I don’t really like ménage à trois reads, but this just did. Maybe it was the characters or how I wanted to know what’ll happen next, or maybe it’s because I’ve been reading some good ménage à trois lately. Who knows.

The heroine, Jessi, I found really likable and had lots of sass. She has a huge heart that is full of love and understanding. She’s very independent and  has this “I don’t give an F attitude” especially when it comes down to both her men and towards those who hurt them. She speaks her mind and is a surprising little chit who says it as it is. Jessi is stubborn and very protective and doesn’t like to be bossed around, except in the bedroom by her Dom. She’s the keystone in the relationship which kept the trio together and brought them back together. She also never gave up on them even if they were the ones who left her. I’m still not sure how to place her because of her love for both men but I do feel like she loves Mick much more because of their long history and Adam is there because she needed the Dom for both her and Mick.

As for the first hero, Adam, I first thought he was the Beta in this trio because of his emotional awareness and how he wears his emotions on his sleeves, but as it turned out he’s the Dom in the bedroom and is very possessive. This means he’s also bossy and will do anything to get it his way, even irritating people to it. On the other side he’s very neat and clean and can be vulnerable when he thinks about he past wrongs to the people he loves. He definitely has the Alpha attitude if you look at it closely, he just hides it very well. He’s more on the needy side of the relationship and more open in sharing  his feelings with Jessi and Mick. His love is more on the sex side – the physical – and I see that he loves Mick more because they were best friends.

Mick on the other hand has tattoos and has this bad boy look which I initially thought made him the Alpha male with his strength and muscled bode, but he’s more on the Beta side. He’s a Sub and less controlling than Adam and very vulnerable. He had trouble accepting his bisexuality and dealing with his family on this taboo which lead him to leave in the first place but he has grown to realize that he couldn’t live without Jessi and Adam in his life. He’s the referee in the relationship but also the dependant. He’s known Jessi the longest, since childhood, and has a much deeper bond with her than Adam does so his love is more on the friends side of love, that turned into love-love, if you understand it. But with Jessi, I saw it as more of the true m/f love relationship.

What I liked was there was no overarching drama and huge misunderstanding. It was plain and simple and love all around. The main characters and secondary characters were great. Jessi’s parents were the most lovable parents around. Duke and Asa (from the previous books) were very intriguing and I’ll likely be reading their stories. I liked that we got POVs of all three characters within the chapters and got to understand each of their history and feelings towards each other. I also liked that we got to know how Jessi, Adam, and Mick changed from the past to the present and how they felt during those times they were separated. Their progress was a bit quick but I loved that they each had to reconnect with each other again, and what almost felt like a re-introduction.

What I had problems with was the pacing. How the book started, how fast they all seemed to accept what happened in the past, and just how quickly they just got back together. Like there was some tension and uncomfortable moments but I felt like there should have been some time to work things through and ease their way back together than just jumping right onto the wagon no matter how much they desired being together. Yes it’s going back to the there’s no drama bit, but I felt issues weren’t addressed, and it was just a bit unrealistic without more difficulties. It also felt like I was just thrown into the story right in the middle of things. It as as if I started off from a cliffhanger and I had to read the previous stories to get it.

It was also very difficult, for me personally, because with Coming Back at points I would just want Jessi and Mick together, or Jessi and Adam, or Mick and Adam! For this book I just wanted one story with two people! Three makes it hard! A third wheel! When there’s romances with two people and I’m got invested and then the third came in….the fire died for me. I had to change gears and prepare for the other character’s thoughts and introspection of the relationship. It just messes with my romance. Just something personal.

So, my overall impression is that I might have to read the previous stories to understand Mick in those books to really have a full on feel and comprehension of his story in this book. Although I wasn’t very connected to any of the characters I really did enjoy the story and definitely enjoyed the sex. It isn’t that I don’t like ménage à trois romances, I just haven’t read that many, and for Coming Back I think I would have liked to see a couple instead of the trio.

Grade: C+

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.