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Michelle Review: Casual Fridays by Bridget Midway

Sensuality Level: Blistering BDSM

Multicultural Contemporary: White man, Black woman

Let me start off by saying that my knowledge of BDSM is limited to Bridget Midway books. Generally I don’t enjoy this genre, as most of the books seem almost clinical to me. All the role-playing is just off-putting for some reason.  It’s hard to explain, but the sex seems very pre-meditated, and lacking in real sensuality. That is so not the issue with Midway’s books. I was introduced to the genre through her book, Love My Way. And  if you haven’t read that book you’ve seriously missed out. I know that authenticity is very important to those who read this genre, and while it reads very true to me, I’m no expert.  I can tell you, it is one blistering hot read, so much so that I think Karen should add a “Holy shit!” category. Just saying.

While not a strong follower of BDSM stories I do enjoy books with black women in the submissive role. They are very hard to find, and as far as I know Midway is the only author doing BDSM with black women in the lead. I could be wrong though, if you know of others, hit me up in the comments. Most of the stories I’ve come across are femdom, and while that’s okay, it doesn’t really appeal to me.

Cherish, the heroine is a big time executive in corporate America. She maintains a very rigid public persona, never putting a foot out of place and is subsequently on the fast track to  become CEO of her company. Nobody would ever know that she longs to be dominated and have someone else take over her life. Perry is her very able personal assistant. One day he discovers her need, and as he’s a dom he introduces her to The Life.

Perry wants more from Cherish, but given that he works for her and doesn’t earn as much money, he’s concerned that she will only see him as a fuck-buddy. He also wants to be free to explore more of the BDSM lifestyle. They have limited their relationship to weekends at a local hotel. Cherish is concerned that Perry might try to use her and exploit their relationship as others have tried to do in the past. This conflict seems very reasonable and logical to me, and the way it plays out is a very good conclusion for the story.

This is a fun, sexy romp. I particularly like the way Midway gets into the character’s heads so that the reader can understand why these two people might crave such an unorthodox relationship. I definitely had a great time reading it.

Casual Fridays can be purchased here.

Michelle Review: Snatched by Sharon Cullars

Sensuality Rating: Steamy

Multicultural Romantic Suspense: White man, Black woman

In the interest of full-disclosure and in accordance with that fucked up blog law, I acknowledge that I received this book gratis from the author. I further acknowledge that I’d already bought the damned thing as Cullars is an auto-buy for me.

In the beginning of the story we’re introduced to Eric, who goes by the name Dele. He is an undercover cop who has infiltrated a motorcycle gang. Cullars lets us know from the very beginning what kind of sociopaths we’re dealing with here. Dele is suspected of having stolen a stash of heroin from the leader of the gang, and things are about to get ugly. Then when they couldn’t possibly get worse, we’re introduced to the heroine, Nailah. Nailah is a bit down-on-her- luck and unemployed. Having had a bad job interview she has decided to pick up some ribs from a favorite barbecue joint. The gang causes her to drop her much-coveted ribs in the street, and she retaliates by hurling the ribs after the bikers. (Yeah, I almost lost it laughing at the notion of assaulting a motorcycle gang with meat.)

Embarrassed, the gang snatches Nailah off the street and makes her Dele’s property as he was the target of her rib attack. So Dele has to keep himself alive, keep Nailah alive and collect information to put the motorcycle gang away.

I read this story in one night because I absolutely had to know what happened to these characters. Nailah annoyed the crap out of me at times, but honestly her reactions were very real and given the circumstances, understandable. She wasn’t a TSTL heroine, but at times she came close. Eric makes a very good hero and shows a great deal of savvy in dealing with the gang leader who is pretty much one of the craziest mofos I’ve come across in a while. This book is gritty, and some of the language used, including racial epithets, can be a bit brutal, but this is a motorcycle gang, and I didn’t find the usage over-the-top by any stretch of the imagination. The gang’s casual violence is chilling and some passages are so vivid I had a hard time reading them. Dele and Nailah make a great team, and I found myself rooting for them throughout the story.

This book had only one failing; it simply wasn’t long enough. I think with a longer story, we could’ve gotten more of a sense of Dele and Nailah as a couple. As it is, all the action takes place over a very short period of time, just a few days, and it’s hard for me to believe in the HEA. Still, as an action/suspense it is quite engaging and gripping.

Snatched can be purchased here.

Marriage & The Black Woman

I think one of the saddest statistics within the black community is the number of women who aren’t married, and in some cases will never get married.

According to stats, more than two out of every three black women are unmarried, and they are more than twice as likely as white women never to marry.

Linda Young from Psychology Today writes:

“We have been hearing for several years that about 70% of black women are unmarried (including never-married, divorced and widowed). According to the 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) of the U.S. Census1 nearly twice the percentage of black women (44.5%) as white women (24%) and Asian women (23%) have never been married. They also significantly outnumber never-married Latinas2 (32%).”

Young also writes:

“She was a 40 year old black woman with a Ph.D., ready to find a mate in a city that is only 5% black. One day a tall good-looking black man about her age approached her in the gym. He hadn’t finished college but was smart, funny and interesting and she was happy to go out with him. At the end of what she thought was a fun, easygoing dinner he said he was really attracted to her and tried to get her to stay at his place. She refused, telling him it was too fast for her but that she would love to see him again. His response? “Just because you have a Ph.D. you think you’re too good for me?” She was so taken aback by his comment she’s never forgotten it. That woman was me.”

Ralph Richard Banks, author of Is Marriage For White People, seems to agree with young’s implication that educated black women have a harder time finding a mate:

“One reason that marriage has declined is that as black women have advanced economically and educationally, black men have fallen behind. Nearly twice as many black women as black men graduate from college each year.Thus, not only are many college-educated black women unmarried, they are more likely than any other group of women to marry less educated and lower earning men. Half of college-educated black wives are more educated than their husbands.”

This ABC report touches on the issue, and is very interesting:

In my real life, I see the above reflected in the black women around me.

I have a particular friend who’s university educated, has a good job, and she’s unmarried. She’s attractive with a good figure, good sense of humour, and I think probably has all the desirable traits that a man would want in a woman. Unfortunately for her, the pickings are slim.

Also, my friend has a preference for black guys. This makes things even harder, because as far as I can tell, the only decent black guy in our little town is my brother:) And he’s married.

I bet you guys are thinking that she’s probably too choosy, but to be fair, all she wants is a guy who’s educated, ambitious, has a good sense of humour, doesn’t have any prior baggage (i.e. kids) and isn’t physically aggressive. Sounds pretty reasonable to me, but you’d be surprised by how hard it is to find such a black man, in our corner of the world. If she took away the lack-of-baggage prerequisite, then she might have a few more men to choose from, but that’s a deal breaker for her. It probably would be for me too, in all honesty.

Of course I’ve tried opening up her mind to dating outside our race, but she’s a little stuck in her ways with regards to thinking beyond the black man. Don’t get me wrong, she’s met the odd decent black guy, but the problem has been that none of those guys have wanted to commit. Of course as a woman, she thinks that the problem might be her, so she’s tried changing in order to attract the black man that will put a ring on her finger. As far as I can tell, unless she widens her dating pool, she’s onto a loser. Whilst black men in our corner of the world don’t have a problem impregnating black women, marrying them seems to present an impossible challenge.

Funnily enough, the married black men that we do know, are married to white women, and the black women who dared to date outside their race, are married to their white men. I’ve never really managed to figure out why IR couples don’t seem to have the same problem committing to each other.

I really hope this state of affairs changes soon for the majority of black women, it’s bad enough being considered to be beneath the notice of black men, but being considered not good enough to marry just adds insult to injury.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Are there any black guys out there who would like to weigh in and give their opinion on this subject?

Why Black Men Prefer To Date White Women Over Black Women...Apparently

According to the video below, this is why some black men prefer to date white women over black women. The list is….interesting, shall we say.

Here’s their list:

1. Attitude – (Angry black woman)

2. Materialistic – (apparently black girls determine a guy’s character by their appearance and the clothes they wear)

3. Easier to approach (White girls are less guarded)

4. Family more welcoming (White girls families don’t ask twenty questions about what they do for a job etc when they meet the black guys)

5. Less controlling

6. More faithful

7. Narrow-minded

8. Complaining

9. Less room for error – (I guess this means black women are less forgiving)

10. Always assuming the worst

That list right there, compiled by the black guys in the video is exactly the reason why black women should really open themselves up to dating outside their race.

I’ve heard the ‘black angry woman’ tag more often than I care to. Whenever black men are asked why they date anybody other than women of their own race, the majority of them give this as their number one reason.

I call bullshit of course. I’m pretty sure that most guys who date white women do so because they probably find them more attractive, but for some reason, they seem afraid to just say that. Instead, they endorse the idea of the materialistic, shallow, narrow-minded, angry black woman. It’s a label that black women everywhere have really struggled to overcome.

I like what this woman had to say about black men’s excuses for not dating black women:

Anyway, what do you guys think of the list? Don’t be shy, I wont judge.

Black Men Who Have A Problem With Black Women Dating Non-Blacks, What The Hell?

As long as I can remember, black guys around me have always dated non-black women. Always. When I was at school, it was the norm, and in fact it was a surprise when a black boy dated another black girl. This is not an unusual story, as far as I can tell, this has been the norm the world over for the last twenty years or so.

When I was a teen, the only boys who were interested in me romantically were white guys and bi-racial guys. The black guys were just not interested, they preferred my white friends. That’s just a fact. I on the other hand wanted to go out with black guys, I guess that’s how I was programmed, especially in those days, when it was virtually unheard of in my circle for a black girl to date a white guy.

I remember going on a date with a white boy when I was maybe thirteen or fourteen. To be honest, the reason I went out with him was because he asked me, but still to this day, I remember how uncomfortable I felt when he tried to hold my hand in public. And now that I know better how the world works, I’m really sorry that I made such a big deal about the whole thing. I guess I never thought about it from his perspective. Here was this white boy who had managed to get up the courage to ask out a black girl to the cinema (I’m pretty sure it was Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade) even though it wasn’t really the done thing, and I wouldn’t even let him hold my hand or express any other public displays of affection.

Whenever I think about how horrible I was on that date, I want to go back and slap that stupid girl upside the head. It wasn’t till a few years later that I thought about how I would have felt if somebody I was interested in had acted as if they were ashamed to be seen with me whilst we were on a date.

Anyway, the rest of my dating adventures didn’t differ much as I got older – I got asked out by white guys and mixed race guys, but still mostly ignored by black boys. A couple of black guys did ask me out, and I happily went, but they were both a bust. One of the black boys was the kind of guy who expected payment in kind for him spending a few pounds on a Big Mac meal. Needless to say, we didn’t last very long.

My long time readers will know that TTG is mixed race, and prior to meeting him, I’d mostly been dating bi-racial guys. Actually, I did date a white guy just prior to TTG, but he turned out to be an obsessive psycho, who threw battery acid all over my car when I dumped him for TTG. He was one messed up dude. *Shudder*

Anyway I’ve written all of the above to say that what angers me more than anything is when black guys take umbrage when they see black women with white guys. Black women have had to accept their lack of interest in them (me included) for years, yet they have the sheer audacity to have an issue when they see us with white guys. It’s happened to me quite a few times. I have quite a few clients who are white and male, and when I take them out to lunch and we’re in the vicinity of a black guy, I see the look of disappointment on their faces, like I sold out or something. It enrages me no end. It doesn’t even matter that they’ve made an erroneous assumption, what makes me mad is the fact that they dare judge me for apparently being with a white guy. I mean seriously wtf?

It’s something that drives TTG crazy too, he just doesn’t get the whole territorial race thing.

Anyway, it’s become very obvious that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Youtube vids featuring interracial couples where the woman is black, are filled with comments from black guys expressing their disgust at the union. Of course they’re filled with comments from KKK type people, but that’s not something that ever surprises me. A lot of people are racist, and that status quo will remain for many a year. No, what angers me are the number of black guys talking about how wrong it is for ‘sisters’ to date non-blacks, when black women have had to watch black men date outside their race for years.

The following Youtube vid features an older black woman who happens to be in a relationship with a white man. She’s responding to an email that she received from a black guy condemning her for marrying a white guy. It’s bloody long, but you more or less get the gist within the first ten minutes.

Wouldn’t it be great if people could be left alone to love who they want to love?

Anyway, question to black woman, or in fact any other women out there who have dated outside their race, what kind of reception did you get from guys of the same ethnicity as you? And to black women specifically, what was your dating history like? Was it at all similar to mine?

Side note: I know these are sensitive questions, and not all of you guys will be interested in the subject matter, but unlike the late Monica Jackson, (God rest her soul) if I get radio silence, I’ll just assume that nobody’s interested in these types of blog posts, and I’ll go back to random stuff. It takes way more effort than I usually like to expend to write them, and so the more responses from you guys the better:)

Interracial Relationships - Poll: Have You Ever Dated Outside Your Race?

Hi KKBers!

As part of my Interracial Relationships series of posts, I want to know if you guys have ever dated outside your race. Just pick the option that applies to you. Radio silence not welcomed!


I Have No Words... Part 1297...

The black guy who hates black people, and the white girl who hates white people? Seriously, I have no words.

Blasian/AMBW Couples - AKA The Things I Learned From Youtube Vids...

I can’t lie, up until about 24 hours ago, I’d never heard the term Blasian (black and Asian pairings) or AMBW (Asian Men and Black Women) before. But going by the number of Youtube vids out there on this subject, there seems to be a whole movement.

What I found fascinating was the number of Asian men (Korean, Japanese etc) who have made vids on the subject of AMBW relationships. It seems that they feel as if they’re being screwed over when it comes to dating outside their race.

Most of the guys seemed a little bitter about the fact that Hollywood and the media portray Asian men in a really negative way (welcome to the Black man’s world). The majority of the beef was that they were only ever nerds, geeks, asexual Kung-Fu masters, or violent criminals in movies, and so it was no surprise that more black women weren’t interested in them romantically.

Honestly, I’ve never really considered AMBW pairings, but according to the US census from 2010, they are the least common interracial pairing in the United States. Something like 0.22% of marriages were between Asian men and black women. Honestly, that seems quite a lot to me, but apparently there are five times more African American males marrying Asian females. That statistic on the other hand doesn’t surprise me at all.

Anyway, the statistical data for Blasian relationships made my head hurt, so here’s a vid of an Asian guy’s perspective on Blasian couplings. He cusses a lot, so definitely not safe for work.

In terms of romance books featuring Blasian couples, the only one I’ve read was Anne Stuart’s Ice Blue and I’m not gonna lie, that was a DNF for me. I’ve never actually come across an AMBW romance, or if I did, I skipped past it. How about you guys?

I’ve also never come across an actual Blasian/AMBW relationship before in my real life, so it would seem that it’s rare as hell over here in England, how about you guys? Are any of you part of a Blasian couple? Answer honestly, would you ever date an Asian guy?

If I can, I’ll put up a poll for those of you who prefer to answer anonymously, but I’m a little technically challenged so it might not work out.


Compare and Contrast These Two Couples...

I’ve never watched so many Youtube vids in my life! Ever since I started researching interracial relationships, I’ve come across loads of IR couples on Youtube, basically vlogging (I now know what a Vlog is, yay for me!) about their lives and their relationships.

Anyway, more of that later, I just wanted to show you two couples who I believe have very different futures in terms of how much longer their relationship can last.

Check out the first couple, Justin and Brandy I think they’re called: (don’t quote me though)

The body language says it all I think. In my opinion, one of them has already checked out of the relationship. If you don’t believe me, just watch their other vids.

And contrast them with this couple: Gabe and Chad:

The second vid is longer, but you can see the difference in the dynamics of their relationship straight away I think.

This has nothing to do with them being IR couples, I just found it fascinating as an objective viewer to see a relationship/marriage where one half of a partnership seems to have checked out emotionally. I could be wrong of course, and you can’t really judge a relationship based on five minutes worth of footage, but I have a feeling I’m not wrong.

What do you guys think?

Side note, I have to say, I’m still thrown by the fact that so many people want to catalogue their relationships on Youtube. The whole idea of it brings me out in hives.

Willaful Review: Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh

Sensuality Rating: Blistering, i.e. the one time I tried to read a Lora Leigh book in public, I almost had a stroke.

This was my choice for SuperWendy’s “TBR Challenge,” steamy reads category.  I’m kind of over the Breeds series, but I got this one because I was curious about the beginning of the saga. I should have known better: in Leigh’s most Diana Palmerish fashion (and sometimes I could swear they’re the same writer on different drugs) even the book that starts the series begins after the story has already started. We don’t get to experience any surprise or mystery in the discovery of the existence of the genetically engineered human/animal breeds, or even to see our hero and heroine meet for the first time.  At the end of chapter one, an obsessed Merinus Tyler has set out to track down lion breed Callan Lyons to get his story (and perhaps a little somethin’ somethin’…), and at the beginning of chapter two, they have “been playing an amusing little game for over a week, now. She pretended not to know him, who he was, where he could be found, and he pretended she wasn’t snooping around town asking questions about him and his deceased mother and where he lived.”

There isn’t much plot: Merinus’s family has found out about the Breeds, and Merinus hopes to convince Callan to go public and testify against the scientists and government officials who engineered them to be killing machines.  The two meet and are instantly overwhelmingly hot for one another, which turns out to be a hormonally induced “mating heat” that will only subside with pregnancy. They fight it for awhile because… well, I was going to say, because that’s what Leigh characters do, but it actually does make sense considering the tenuousness of the situation. And there’s some betrayal, and an unexpected bit of history between Merinus’s brother and another Breed, and a whole lot of sexxing. (more…)

Willaful Review: All Summer Long by Susan Mallery

Sensuality Rating: steamy, sweet, and plenty of both

I started this in a dubious frame of mine. I haven’t been that crazy about the series (I’ve mostly kept reading it for relaxation,) I didn’t really like the heroine from previous books, the hero sounded improbable, and I tend to be put off by “abused heroine must be gently coaxed into liking sex” plotlines.  To my surprise, I liked almost everything about it.

What got me is the characters. Charlie (she eschews her birth name, Chantel) is a tall, strong firefighter who’s always felt oversized and unfeminine, especially next to her tiny ballerina mom.  As she sees it, the one time she tried to be stereotypically “feminine” it backfired in the worst possible way, so now she’s just given up on the whole idea. Here’s a typical thought:

“He was taller than her. Stronger. Masculine enough to make her feel feminine. Sort of.”

(If you’re worried Charlie is going to be made-over, don’t be. That’s about as girly as she gets throughout the entire book.) (more…)

Michelle Reviews: Wheels of Steel by Pepper Pace

Wheels of Steel 1-3 by Pepper Pace

Heat Level: Torrid

Multicultural: Black Woman, White Man

This author is one of several I discovered on Literotica, and like many of them, she’s a very talented storyteller, but she drives me batshit crazy and here’s why. She needs an editor, BADLY. Not just for typos, which are legion, but she desperately needs someone to go back and cut the living hell out of this series. At nearly 250k, it’s too damned long. There are actually three books, and you have to read all three to get the whole story. The first book is significantly better than the other two. In addition to the issues mentioned, there’s head-hopping galore, and I lost count of the POVs. In my opinion, given the age of the characters and the fact that many of their struggles are parent related, I think Pace should’ve cut out the erotic aspect and made this a YA book. Despite all these flaws and many more, I.Couldn’t.Put.It.Down. Pace has created some of the most interesting characters I’ve read in a long time.

I bought this book because someone (Ridley?) mentioned on another blog that they’d never read a romance featuring a handicapped person that didn’t read like an After School Special. Even worse, most of them have a miraculous cure at the end. I realized that I hadn’t either, and given the number of years I’ve been reading the genre, that’s a shame. In this story, the hero does get better, but it’s at great risk to his health, and it’s certainly no miracle cure. I also like books that feature music, and in this one I learned probably far too much about making hip hop mixes.

This story details the rather convoluted romance between Jason, a 19-year- old college student/DJ who has cerebral palsy. Robin who is 21 starts out as his aide and eventually becomes his girlfriend. Jason has seizures and sometimes chokes when he eats. In addition he occasionally needs assistance with toileting. Despite this, he is an absolutely awesome hero. Jason is loving and protective, and very frustrated with the limits his disorder places on his body. You can all but feel his passion, both for Robin, and for music, leaping off the page. He’s strong and resourceful and uses his ingenuity to protect Robin. Believe it or not, Robin, the heroine is far more messed up in the head than Jason is, though neither would win any medals in that regard. They both have overbearing mothers, and Robin is struggling with some residual grief/guilt from the death of her father. She is almost pathologically shy, suffers from anxiety and recurrent episodes of IBS. Yes, both the cerebral palsy and her gastrointestinal difficulties are discussed in fairly graphic detail.

Robin’s father recently died, and she’s decided not to go to college because she struggles with her shyness and seems to have some type of learning disability. Because of this, her mother threatens to take back the car she received for high school graduation. Desperately wanting to keep the car she gets a job at a fast food restaurant so she can pay the note herself, then takes on a second job as a home health aide when she was still coming up short financially. After a couple of miscues with the home health agency she is hired to assist Jason who initially is an absolute jerk. Gradually she is pulled into his entire life, including his friends who are members, of his band, Wheels of Steel.

The band consists of three other characters, Peter, who is also wheelchair bound, Amberly, who also has cerebral palsy, but can walk, and Belinda, who, as far as I can tell doesn’t have any disabilities, though she certainly has issues. All these characters have stories of their own, especially Amberly, who is in love with Jason. Robin has a hard time even making eye contact with others, and has never really made any friends before, so it takes her while to warm up to all these new experiences. She is an incredibly giving person, and it’s easy to see why Jason falls so passionately in love with her.

Jason has moved out into his own apartment to get away from his overbearing mother. He was once able to walk, but lost that ability due an aide neglecting him when he was a child. He can take medication that will help him, but it’s dangerous and his mother refuses to give him the money for the treatment. Pace does an excellent job showing us the two of them falling in love, and the forces that threaten to pull them apart. The only sour note in their relationship to me is what I see as Robin’s overreaction to a mistake Jason makes at the end of the story. But I am incredibly biased because I’m half in love with the guy myself, so you can take that with a grain of salt. So here is my quandary; how can I recommend what is by all measures a poorly written book? The only thing I can say is, if you can get past all the issues I mentioned that the beginning of this review, you will definitely enjoy this story.

Pepper Pace is one of the Young Turks in the multicultural niche. She deliberately chooses unconventional characters, and it usually works. In one of my favorites the hero is a homeless man who is mentally ill. The younger writers seem to come at the genre from a different angle. For one thing I think many of them are fans are soap operas, as their stories have a great deal of drama in them. This type of storytelling is probably very popular with a generation that was raised on reality TV and the likes of Jerry Springer. It’s a different outlook, but I think I like it. Certainly it makes for great story-telling.

You can buy Wheels of Steel 1 here. (I’m too lazy to link all three.)

Willaful Review (and thoughts): Always in My Heart by Kayla Perrin

 

 

Sensuality rating: steamy

This is my first book from Harlequin’s “Kimani” line, and my primary thought reading it was that it’s really messed up that there needs to be an entire separate line for romances with black characters. By any standards I can think of, Always in My Heart is a category romance — it’s a secret baby story, for crying out loud, what could be more typical? — and could be published under a general line, which makes Kimani seem like a publishing ghetto.  Or is it valuable as a tool for people to easily find romances with black characters?  There’s no one definite answer, as the author points out in a Karen Knows Best interview from 2007:

KP: in many ways, I understand the publishers’ dilemma. They know there is a huge AA market. They want AA readers to be able to easily identify books they might relate to. The easiest way to do that is to make the covers ethnocentric.

Booksellers say the same thing—that having an AA section where there is a large AA readership helps readers know where to go to find the stories they’re looking for. It’s the kind of question for which there isn’t necessarily an easy answer.

KKB: What are your thoughts on niche marketing? What do you think the limitations are if any?

KP: I think there are lots of limitations, one of which is alienating the general reader. There really is a feeling, with the current marketing, that if the books are being marketed to the AA reader, then that’s the only demographic which will enjoy AA books. That’s a serious limitation.

I know there are category lines that do publish a few romances with black characters. This is what I’ve noticed in my (extremely limited) reading experience:

The Kimani romance: standard category, no major focus on race, but did include an issue particularly relevant to the characters as black people. The heroine and hero were both activists against racially motivated police violence; the original conflict between them was his joining the police force to try to improve the system from within, and her seeing this as a betrayal. Also, their son is given a West African name. I thought the story did a good job overall of having black characters without making everything be about the fact that they’re black; perhaps other readers might think there’s not enough about it.

The Silhouette Desire romance (name forgotten): This was an absolutely typical Texas tycoon story and nothing, except the cover and a very minor mention of the heroine’s skin tone, indicated in any way whatsover that the main characters were black and that the writer was black.

Of course this comparison is useless because you can’t make a judgement about entire lines based on two books. Still, it gave me food for thought. It’s as if the Desire characters were allowed to be black as long as readers don’t have to think about it; Kimani characters got a little more freedom within the basic formula, although only the most bigoted “general i.e white reader” would find anything in the story to alienate them. I’d love input and title recommendations from others who’ve read these lines more extensively.

As for the book itself: If I were rating solely on the writing, I’d give it 2 1/2 stars. The style is bland and there’s a lot of grating repetition; when every character uses the same phrase to describe a situation (“couldn’t be faithtful” is said about an offscreen character three times) it doesn’t feel real to me.

I’m rating it up a bit because I found the portrayal of Nigel so appealing. He’s very vulnerable, having loved Callie devotedly and been deeply wounded by her. Unlike many romance heroes, his pain doesn’t cause him to act out in hyper-masculinized ways; he’s a family man at heart and is still hoping to find the right woman to settle down with.  Although he’s wary of Callie, fearful she’ll run away from him again, he embraces his newfound son with complete commitment.

So as a pleasant story with an appealing hero, I’m giving it three stars; I’ll probably check out the next books in the series, which will be about Callie’s sisters. You can buy Always in My Heart from Amazon here or from B&N here.

A few more pertinent comments from the interview:

KKB: Have you been personally involved in trying to bring about changes within the publishing industry, with regards to how African American authors are treated? If so can you tell me about your efforts?

KP: I have voiced my opinion in support of having an AA category for the Rita Awards, since our books don’t final (or hardly ever) in the current categories. We have some fabulous books out there, but they’re not finaling. I’d love to know why.

KKB: Do you think this will still be a controversial subject in five years time, or do you think major changes would have been made by then?
KP: The cynic in me says that in 5 years, it will still be a controversial topic. The dreamer in me hopes there’ll be substantial changes. Only time will tell!

This interview took place in 2007 — five years ago. There’s no African American RITA category and in 2012 there were no African American winners. It looks like time hasn’t told us anything very encouraging.

I Have No Words…

Thursday, August 9, 2012
Posted in: Racism

My borderline feminist self would like to bitch-slap her all the way down the street…

Put Your Hands Up If You're A Non-White Woman/Man...

I assume that the majority of our readers here are white, (default race and all that) but I’m curious to see how many of you guys out there aren’t actually white. I’ve been doing some research for some race related posts, but it occurred to me that it would be almost pointless if I don’t have enough women of colour to balance shit out.

Anyway, if you can be arsed, let me know what your heritage is. If there are enough women of colour (Asian/Indian/Black/Latin etc) reading the blog, then I’ll probably proceed with the posts, if not, I’ll just abandon the idea altogether.

Don’t all shout at once people!

2012 Olympics In London Is Going Rather Swimmingly....

I am having a ball watching this year’s Olympics, I’ve never been so proud to be British, and never cried so much in my life! Go Team GB!

The commentary and coverage by the BBC has been second to none, the opening ceremony was fantastic and Danny Boyle did a great job at making the opening ceremony about us Brits rather than pandering to the rest of the world. And finally, Team GB have been making me very proud indeed!


Andy Murray – Men’s Singles Tennis gold medallist


Jessica Ennis – Heptathlon Gold Medallist


Mo Farah – 10,000 meters gold Medallist