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RIP Chadwick Boseman - You'll Live On Forever In Our Hearts

This feels so personal, I feel utterly devastated by this loss. Fuck 2020. Fuck cancer.

 

Broken Knight by L.J Shen - So Fucking Good

This isn’t a review, because I just don’t have that kind of time, however I’ve been glomming LJ Shen books ever since I read Broken Knight.

Sensuality Rating - TORRID: Sex is explicit, but it doesn’t take over the whole damn book. There may be some kinky stuff too, but not much.

Broken Knight by LJ Shen

This book is so freaking good, and I love Knight Cole so much that I went back and I read Shen’s book about his parents, then proceeded to read all her other books. (Sidebar, Vicious is my favourite original All Saints sinner)

Warning, your heart will be broken several times in the best and worst way if you read Broken Knight, OMG the tears, the tears. I wish I had read all the other All Saints books first, but  the emotional weight of the book was still very much felt.

I can’t say enough how much I loved both Luna and Knight, their relationship was just so complex in the most delicious ways.

 

Anyway, here’s the blurb from Shen’s website: (You can also read the first chapter on there)

 

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.
Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.
Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Rugged.
Popular.
Liar.
This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna.
But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.
Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy.

The blurb isn’t an indication of how fucking fantastic this book is, but those of you who love a complex hero and an equally complex heroine will love it. My other recommend is to listen to this book with the Audible app. The narrators were bloody fantastic, and possibly increased my enjoyment of this incredible book.

 

Happy Reading!

Dilemma of The Week...

I haven’t done one of these for a while, but I was inspired after a mini Twitter Kerfuffle yesterday. Also, I know that not many people read this blog now, so it’s a good place to posit this particular dilemma.

Scenario – You’re an author, you do ok, but nothing amazing. You have some hardcore fans who buy everything you write, but it’s not massive. You also work a full time job to keep a roof over your head and to feed your two children. Your ex left you, and he doesn’t pay you any child support, and none of your family have the means to help out. You struggle along anyway, and the money from your full time job and your writing endeavours is just enough to keep you afloat. You pride yourself on being a decent human being, you’ve always done things by the book, and as far as you’re concerned, you will continue to always try to do the right thing.

You then get laid off from your job, and all of a sudden the only income you have coming in is the money from the books you sell, and it’s literally peanuts. Your youngest child becomes ill, and you don’t have health insurance. The bills are mounting up, you can’t find a job, your rent/mortgage is due, your benefits aren’t enough to pay your bills, your rent, or the medical bills that are currently piling up. What do you do?

I’ll give you two options. Just these two options.

The first option is reaching out to your online community and other strangers on the internet, laying yourself bare to them, explaining your situation and asking them for money. You do this and set up a Go-Fund Me for people to donate. This is the honest option. The option where you forget your pride, because nothing is more important than feeding your kids. Some would say that this is the more selfless option.

The second option is that as a Kindle Unlimited author, you get paid by the number of pages that are flicked through. You’ve worked out that by adding additional material at the end of your books, you can make more money. You can ask your readers to make sure they read your books until the end so that you’ll get the maximum amount of money. This option is sketchy, because you know that anything you make means that other authors will lose out, due to how the KU system works. Authors who may be in a similar situation to you.  Some would say that this the more selfish option, how dare you do this to your fellow authors? How dare you ‘steal’ from them by taking advantage of a system that’s supposed to benefit everybody equally? At the end of the day though, nobody is more important than your family, certainly not a bunch of authors who you may or may not know. Also, there’s no way you’d ever beg for money from strangers on the internet, fuck that noise.

What would you do?

Sidebar, I’m not really interested in what you’d do, that’s between you and your God, but I thought it was at least a different way of looking at things. And now I’m really done, because I have way more important things to be dealing with.

Life Sucks And Then You Die

Life Sucks And Then You Die

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Posted in: Uncategorized
Tags:

My father-in-law died this morning.

It feels weird writing that, because it doesn’t feel quite real yet. He’d had respiratory problems and I think we expected him to get well soon.

He didn’t. His kidneys started to fail, and just about all his vital organs  started giving up.

Two days ago, the doctors informed us that he wouldn’t make it until the end of the week. Yesterday, we were informed that he wouldn’t make it past the day.

TTG and his mum had kept a bedside vigil for eighteen hours, and when he drove his mum home so that she could take the dog for a walk, that’s when his dad finally succumbed. He died in the hour that they were gone. Paul is inconsolable. My MIL is resolute, and determined to do what has to be done to get through this devastation. I can’t imagine the pain of losing somebody that you’d spent sixty years of your life with, but my God she’s handling this like a boss.

He isn’t the only family member or friend that I’ve lost in the past couple of years, and with every death, regardless of the circumstances, I’ve learned a few things. Firstly, tomorrow isn’t promised, so love the people in your life as much as you can. Secondly, behind every smile is a story of heartbreak yet untold, we never really know what’s going on behind closed doors. We don’t know what hardships people are suffering, we don’t know what they’re currently going through. We don’t know if they’ve just lost a child, we don’t know if they’ve just lost a husband.

As I watched my MIL deal with things this morning, with military precision, I understood that it would be easy for an outsider to assume that she’s OK. She’s not OK, not by a long shot. Like so many strong women, she’s just doing what must be done. But it’s going to take a toll on her eventually.

I’ve seen her like this at least once before. Nine years ago, she had to bury her daughter who died after a battle with cancer. The plan was always that her and my father-in-law would go first. What’s that saying? You never expect to bury your children. That’s what she had to come to terms with. Now she’s lost her best friend and husband of sixty years.

My job this morning was to be the pragmatic one, to allow my husband and mother-in-law to come to terms with their loss. My MIL wasn’t having any of it. “I don’t have time to curl up and die”, she said.  So I helped her make checklists of what needed to be done. We made a list of all the people who needed to be informed. I created a Funeral Arrangements sub-list, and systematically went through all the different tasks, who would execute them, and when by. I made a shortlist of solicitors that we could use, in case we didn’t get a good recommendation from friends and family. It helped me, and it helped my MIL. For now at least. We have a plan.

Once everything is done, I know that she’ll quietly fall apart, because when all’s said and done, she just lost the love of her life.

Oh, and how do you explain to a 3 year old that the grandpa that she loved and adored so much will no longer be able to help her put her jigsaw puzzle pieces together?

When Did Tattooed Heroes Become All The Rage?

I feel like every contemporary I pick up has a tattooed hero now. When did this shit start? I don’t even mean the odd ink here and there, these heroes are almost defined by their tattoos and I’m left wondering when unmarked skin became old fashioned?

 

 

Racism Within Comic Book Fandoms...AKA White Rabid Fan Girls Hating Black Love Interests...

I’m not really a fan of comic books, but I do enjoy the genre when various comic book adaptations end up on TV. Well with the exception of that fucking awful Iron Fist, I mean, who the fuck thought it was a good idea having The Mortal Iron Fist being played by the whitest white man you’ll ever come across, I mean the guy couldn’t even fucking… you know what, this isn’t about that shit show. Ahem.  Moving on.

Anyway, as I was saying, I really enjoy watching comic book TV shows – well, as long as they have black people on them that is. Gone are the days when I watch TV that doesn’t have proper representation. With very few exceptions, I’m no longer watching TV that don’t include POCs in meaningful roles.  As I declared on Twitter, I’m rooting for everybody black these days. Shout out to Issa Rae

Anyway, I was sent a link to a series of opinion pieces, written by a British blogger called Vivian. The basis of these blog posts were  about the rampant racism within the comic fandom community, especially the racism as it pertains to the first and only black leading lady on a DCTV show. Iris West, or Iris West-Allen as she’s known these days, something that apparently drives the white RFGs who watch the show, batty as fuck. Heh.

The first post was entitled Not Just an OTP: An Ugly Truth and a Confession, and honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve read in a while.

The disclaimers at the beginning of the blog post made me laugh out loud: Here’s a couple of examples:

2) This second half is about racism, written by a Black woman. I talk about white people. I talk about white women. I talk about white supremacy. I talk about racism, sexism, and misogyny. I talk about the elitism and entitlement of nerd fandom. I talk about the presence and weaponization of white femininity. I talk about racial hierarchies within fandom. I talk about misogynoir. I talk about police brutality. I talk about Taylor Swift, Maria Sharapova, and Miley Cyrus. If any of these topics cause you pain, do not read any further. If any of these topics cause you anger, do not read any further. If any of these topics prompt you to use the words/phrases tumblrina, SJW, special snowflake, race-baiter, race card, libtard, “you’re the REAL racist,” or anything similar, do not read any further.

7) Also, if you happen to be, say, a white woman, and you don’t do one of the things that I say white women do, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking specifically about the white women who do those things. Seeing as I don’t have enough words, consider this my blanket “not all men/white women/people who hate X character for whatever reason are Y.”

Lol, yeah, and anybody who wanders onto this blog by accident, that goes for you too.

Vivian writes:

We finally came to look at subtext, and how what writers weave underneath their explicit storytelling can lead people to see potential for romantic relationships. However, it’s at this point that the similarities between Olicity and Snowbarry stop. Because when it comes to Subtext, Olicity shippers use what’s going on in the show to justify their shipping, while Snowbarry shippers are notorious for either misinterpreting what happens or making up scenarios to support what they want to happen. Because they want to ship Barry with Caitlin, they use any excuse to say that they’re in love. One of the reasons they do this is because they don’t like Iris. And one of the reasons they don’t like her is because she’s Black.

I’m not racist, you sigh deeply, already penning a four-thousand-word paper in your defence, I just don’t like Iris. She’s a badly-written character. She has no chemistry with Barry. She’s a bitch. She’s not a scientist. She doesn’t belong in STAR Labs. It’s not racism. It has nothing to do with her skin colour. I wouldn’t like her if she were green with purple polka dots.

The part about not being a scientist struck me hard. There’s a certain kind of snobbery that exists within these fandoms when it comes to which women are acceptable and which aren’t when it comes to comics, and some of the assholes who consume them. So basically Iris being black and not a scientist/action woman means that the racists would be out in their droves. And the fact that the titular hero loves her? Ha, those heifers would be in their feelings forever, because they just can’t imagine the main love interest being somebody who does not look like them. Apparently they find it easier to identify with a blue-skinned alien woman, than with a black skinned human one. Go figure. That racism shit is deep, man.

Vivian continues:

As you may have noticed, I’m Black and a woman, so all of these arguments are old news to me. I’ve always been morbidly fascinated with the reaction of fans who are called racist for not liking Iris. There’s generally fervent denial, first of all. Most of the time they’ll respond with what I just wrote, followed by how they like Cisco, or Joe, or Wally. Which is my first problem with fandom’s definition of racism. You see, when someone hears “you’re racist,” they tend to assume the accuser thinks they descend into ferocious fits of uncontrollable rage whenever a person who is visibly non-white dares to be onscreen. And that think that because they don’t, they can’t be racist and so their reasons are perfectly valid.

This, to be quite frank, is bullshit.

It’s always fascinated me how blind white people, and some non-black POCs are about their mostly obvious racism. I mean, it’s 2018 for fuck’s sake, and I still hear white people say shit like “I can’t possibly be racist, I like *insert another POC character who doesn’t affect their worldview*. Of course they like Joe or Wally – those characters don’t upset their standing in quite the same way that Iris does. They aren’t trying to imagine those characters or the actors themselves shagging them. So many of the female fans of The Flash are here because they find Grant Gustin hot, (listen, each to their own, but man Grant Gustin is as average a white man as you can get, so I just can’t relate) and they want to imagine themselves in place of the *usually generic white woman who ends up playing the love interest*. Iris being black affects that. They don’t look like her, and they just can’t fathom that this character that they lust after, is madly in love with the brown/black girl.

Vivian continues:

When people say “Snowbarry shippers are racist,” shippers take this to mean “Snowbarry shippers hate Iris and don’t ship Westallen because Iris is Black, and they hate Black people.” What they actually mean is “Snowbarry shippers don’t like Iris and don’t ship Westallen because Iris occupies a position normally reserved for white women. Iris does not adhere to the stereotypical portrayal of Black women in entertainment, so they are uncomfortable because they can’t point to stereotypes to deem her unworthy – though they still try. Moreover, because of the lack of Black women as leads, they find it harder to identify with her, latching onto the nearest white woman instead.

So much this. I remember watching Merlin, and scratching my head at the sheer number of fans who shipped Arthur and Morgana, despite firstly, there being no suggestion that Arthur was ever into her like that, and secondly, their familial ties to each other. I guarantee that those people who bitch and moan about West Allen being incesty, (despite the fact that canon has Barry being in love with his non-related friend Iris, before he ever moved in with them) are the same fucking moronic assholes who shipped Arthur and Morgana, and even more recent, I bet they’re the same wankers who think that Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are the ship to end all ships. You know I’m right.

I watched the latest episode of The Flash last night, and there was a white female meta character who Barry and his team had captured in the season four opener. I forget her name, but she was the only character out of all the metas who empathized with Barry, and I know as sure as I’ve ever known anything in my life, that those racist Flash fans would have been running all over the internet proclaiming that Barry had more chemistry with her than he had with Iris. I know I’m right, because a lot of white people are predictable as fuck.

These fans are not racist because they don’t like Iris for being Black; they are racist because their actions towards her and discourse about her show that they are opposed to the position that she as a Black woman is occupying. Their ingrained bias means she’s held to a higher standard, they do not allow her to have feelings, they think she is unworthy of the love of a lead character, and they would rather she be demoted in place of the white woman on the show.”

Sleepy Hollow’s Abby Mills anybody?

But I’m not racist, you cry, missing the point entirely. Racism is not a part-time occupation that you grow out of just because you’ve watched all of Fresh Prince. If you grew up in a society where Black people are subject to harsher rules than their white counterparts, where most of the leads on network television are white with “diversity” roughly translating to one white woman and one Black man, where Black people on science fiction/fantasy shows are usually the first to be sacrificed – you are capable of racist behaviours.

I want to throw up an A-fucking-men gif right about now.

But I’m a person of colour, you point out, naively assuming that there are get of jail free cards for being racist, I can’t be racist! While I do congratulate you on your status as a person of colour, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be racist. In fact, you can be just as racist as white people, you just lack their power. Because when you are a non-Black PoC, chances are that you recognise that Black people are at the bottom of hierarchy and you are somewhere in the middle. Thanks to white supremacy, you know that you can tear down Black people in order to elevate yourself. The attitude of white people to this – thanks to a mixture of the history of slavery, colourism, and classism – pretty much boils down to “at least they’re not Black.” It’s why some fans pretend to love Linda Park (played by Malese Jow, who is half Chinese American and part Cherokee) but never actually talk about her. They would prefer Barry to be with a white girl, but hey, at least she’s not Iris. It’s why much of the racism Iris receives is from the Latin American and Asian portions of the fandom, where anti-Black racism is rampant. The racism she receives is anti-Black, which means that it is, you guessed it, exclusive to Black people. And society is rather good at being racist to Black people.

Listen….back when I used to watch Merlin, the one time I went looking for spoilers, I happened to wander into a cesspool full of hateful Merlin fans, I noticed that there were quite a few Brazilian/Portuguese rabids on there who were writing the most dreadful things about Angel Coulby. One of them even called her an ugly gorilla who needed to die. I was so shocked. That shit hurt my soul, because I just automatically assumed that these people would be rooting for the black woman and the black character, but nope, some of these motherfuckers are more racist than your average white person.

Vivian goes on to post various screencaps of the abuse that Candice Patton has received, as well as the comments made by racist fans about Iris West. Check some of them out:

The terrible thing is, this isn’t even the really bad stuff. This is pretty harmless in comparison with what comes later.

Anyway, it’s a terrific, insightful piece of writing, so I urge you to pop on over and have a read of the whole thing.

I will be posting the second part of Vivian’s opinion piece shortly.

Some Discreet Pics of The Baby...Well Not so Baby-ish these days!

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Look who's trying to crawl now...

crawling

I can’t believe that she’s just over 4 months old. That just went by so fast. She’s beyond cute though and I’m totally obsessed!

My First Mother's Day...

My First Mother’s Day…

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Posted in: Baby KKB
Tags:

20160306_114444

She’s already six weeks old. Where did that time go?

Nursery Room Reveal...

This room used to be my library room and TTG’s trophy room, it looks sooo different now. As you guys can see, I had to make a lot of concessions regarding the amount of pink in the room. There just aren’t that many pretty things in other colours that I like. I still managed to have three walls painted with my buttercream. TTG got the one pink wall.

 

TTG originally wanted her to have the big room that we normally reserve for guests, but I wanted something much cosier. I just didn’t like the thought of her in a huge room. When she’s older, we ca move her. Also, you can’t see during the day, but there are stars and all the planets in the solar system on her ceiling. They light up at night and I love them! All that’s left to do is to put up my collage of strong women, including Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Amelia Earhart, etc… Waddaya think?

 

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Furry friends...

Furry friends…

 

And The Sex Of The Baby Is...

And The Sex Of The Baby Is…

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Posted in: Personal
Tags:, ,

IMG_1316

 

My little miracle is a bouncing baby girl…

It's Coming Along Nicely...

It’s Coming Along Nicely…

Friday, July 24, 2015
Posted in: Personal
Tags:,

Baby KKB

So Far So Good...

So Far So Good…

Saturday, June 20, 2015
Posted in: Personal

Baby1

I love how much it looks like a teddy bear…  Early days, so far so good. Fingers crossed…

Yes, It's Been A While...

Yes, It’s Been A While…

Sunday, May 31, 2015
Posted in: Personal, Uncategorized

But I’ve been really busy.

I literally haven’t told anybody else because I live in fear of yet another miscarriage, but I’m pregnant, and I just wanted to share it with somebody. Also, I guess I just assume that not many of you read this blog any more so I guess it feels like a safe space…

I can’t get too excited because I’ve been here before, but I’m really hoping that this is it this time.

Wish me luck…

I Heard That Dear Author Was Getting Sued, So I Thought I'd Remind Everybody That Tina Engler Married A Convicted Murderer

Elloras Cave get worse and worse. What fuckery is this?

The following was originally posted on KKB on June 15th 2007: Here’s the link.

_______________________________________________________________

JaynieR posted an interview with Tina Engler, AKA Jaid Black on her blog earlier today.

The purpose of the interview appears to be two-fold. Firstly, it seems to be an opportunity for Black to give her side of the story, in terms of her marriage to a *convicted felon, (if the link is broken, search for a David Roy Keen) serving time for shooting, and killing an ex-girlfriend; and secondly, to discuss her feelings, on the failings of the current U.S penal system, and its bias towards the poor, and the uneducated.

Ms Black’s decision to marry a prisoner, serving a life sentence for murder is her affair, and I feel that it would be remiss of me to publicly comment on my personal feelings relating to this matter.

In actual fact, what disturbed me most was Black’s assertion that locking up prisoners is tantamount to human trafficking, and that a person who deliberately takes a life, cannot be blamed for their actions.

When one reads the interview in its entirety, the delivery of her message is staunch, and unflinching, whilst her belief that she speaks a universal truth, appears to be unshakable. (more…)

KarenS Capsule Review: Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell...

tempting

Sensuality Rating: TORRID: Sex is explicit, but it doesn’t take over the whole damn book. There may be some kinky stuff too, but not much.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads.com;

Alyssa Miller is tired of waiting for her next-door neighbor to see her as more than just his best friend. Ready to let off some steam, she heads to Las Vegas for a romance book convention where, if she’s lucky, she’ll get down and dirty with one of the sexy cover models.

Dillon Alexander doesn’t do commitment—especially not where his best friend is concerned. She deserves a man who can give her the world, not damaged goods. But when he realizes Alyssa intends to have a one-night stand on her vacation, he hauls ass after her to make sure he’s the one to scratch her itch.

Neither of them expects their explosive chemistry to burn hotter than the lights on the strip, but with a little help from Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, a flamboyant matchmaker, and TSA, what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas…

I never met a friends-to-lovers book that I didn’t like, and Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell was no exception. I read this book in about an hour and a half and I really liked it. There were some really sweet moments, and it was great to have a heroine who knew what she wanted and went after it – ish. For such a short story, it had surprising depth, but it was also amusing in parts, as the following quote from one of the secondary characters trying to help Alyssa win back her man, can attest to:

A spark of hope flared in her chest. “Can you?”
His eyebrows hitched arrogantly as if to scold her for even doubting him. Holding the door open, he said, “Honey, as far as you’re concerned, this is Oz, and I’m the motherfucking Wizard.”

The best thing about the book was that it was only £.99, so if you fancy a really sexy and lovely friends-to-lovers story, you can Kindle the book from Amazon.com here.

KarenS Capsule Review: You Own Me, by Shiloh walker

You own me

Sensuality Rating: TORRID: Sex is explicit, but it doesn’t take over the whole damn book. There may be some kinky stuff too, but not much.

This book was phenomenal y’all, but then Shiloh Walker rarely lets me down.

Check out the blurb from her website:

It had always been her…
Ten years had passed since the doors slammed shut behind Decker Calhoun, taking away his freedom, but more importantly, locking him away from Elizabeth Waters, the only woman he’d ever loved—the woman he’d given up everything for. The day he was sentenced, he’d looked at her and said, No regrets, Lizzie.
But he lied, because he did have one. Although he’s been out of jail for three years now, he was a year too late. Lizzie never knew how he felt and just months before he was released, she found somebody else and it’s too late.
Or maybe not. It seems that Lizzie’s boyfriend wants an open relationship and two can play at that game. Now all Decker has to do is convince Lizzie that he’s the better man…and has been all along.

This was such a different feeling book, it really was. I have to say, I kinda loved the fact that Decker, the hero, had been in jail, I’m not sure what that says about me, but of course, it’s a romance, so he had a damned good reason for what he did. This is one of those books you might pick up not quite knowing what to expect, but man it was worth reading. I started reading it, and I just couldn’t stop. It was bloody fantastic.

I loved the heroine, loved the plot, loved the relationship between Decker and Lizzie. Guys there was such great emotional depths to this book, and of course the sexual element was sizzling too, but the moments of truth between them, and the scenes where the intense longing between the two of them fairly leaped off the page, are what made this a fantastic read for me. Oh, and did I mention that it was a friends-to-lovers theme? You all know what a sucker I am for those, and nobody does it better than Ms Walker.

If you want to check out an excerpt, flip to Shiloh’s site here, and you can Kindle this at Amazon.com here. Trust me, you won’t be sorry that you did.

New Book Alert: Love and Shenanigans by Newbie Author Zara Keane

Love and shenanigans

I read an excerpt of Zara Keane’s new book a while ago and I was really impressed, and couldn’t wait to buy it once it came out. Well it’s out so of course went and Kindled it!

Here’s a blurb from Amazon.com:

Vows in Vegas…
Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her small Irish hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they’re legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Can she untangle herself from the man who broke her heart so long ago? Does she even want to?

…True Love in Ballybeg.
Gavin Maguire’s life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn’t reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancée and a job, and gains a wife and a labradoodle. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?

If you want to check out an excerpt, Zara’s got the first chapter up on her website here

If you want to Kindle the book, you can download it from Amazon.com here.

Happy reading!

KarenS Review, The Academy by Emmaline Andrews


Sensuality Rating – Candy Floss

The Academy is a book that was recommended to me by somebody (I forget who now) absolutely ages ago. It’s been on my TBR file on my Kindle forever, and one day while I was waiting for something (probably the doctor’s) I decided to give it a go.

Set in the future, The Academy is told from the heroine, Kristina Jameson’s point of view. Kristina has a twin Kristopher, who’s father expects to enroll in an academy for boys, in order for him to get a commission to the space corps. The problem is, Kristopher has no interest in flying his own ship, all he wants to do is study music, something which is unacceptable to their father, who’s keen for them to uphold the family tradition. Kristina on the other hand would love nothing more than to go the academy, she’s the one who excels at astro navigation and inter-dimensional calculus. Unfortunately for Kris, she’s a girl and so her only option is to attend charm school. Something she’s clearly not interested in.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Kris manages to fool her way into The Royal Academy by pretending that she’s Kristopher. She ends up rooming with an outwardly surly young man called North, and ends up inadvertently making an enemy of one of the main bully boys in the school.

When Kris lands in a dorm room with North, she realises that she may not have thought things through, especially when it came to how to manage her personal hygiene in private. The showers were communal, and the students were restricted in terms of when they could make use of the them. This opportunity to shower was so limited that Kris was unable to shower for a few days, until help came from an unexpected quarter.

This was really a delightful story, and Kris was an engaging heroine. North seemed rude and surly when he first appeared, but gradually him and Kris developed an awkward friendship, that turned into something rather wonderful. Kris was teased because she was smaller than the other boys, so North was instinctively protective of her, obviously having no idea that Kris was in fact a girl. North develops feelings for Kris, and is very confused because he’s always liked girls.

I loved the ebb and flow of the book, it moved along at a fairly brisk pace, and didn’t really have spare moments for my mind to wander off. I think the author handled the confusion of North coming to terms with his sexuality really well, and even though the reader knows that Kris is a girl, there was a moment in the book that North’s feelings for Kris overrode the confusion and shame over his sexuality. There was a really beautiful moment in the book, where North throws off the shackles of his predetermined sexuality, and embraced his new feelings for another ‘boy’. I can’t lie, I may have cheered a little when that happened.

The villain of the piece was a scrote called Broward and he was the absolute worst. I think that he was actually the weakest part of the story because Ms Andrews made him cookie-cutter, “I will murder you in your sleep” bad, and so there were no layers to peel back, he was just an asshole who needed to die. Sometimes readers prefer to have black and white feelings about their villains. I am not one of those readers. All Broward needed was a handle bar mustache to twirl and his cookie-cutter-ness would have been complete.

That was pretty much my only niggle, ok maybe that and the obligatory campy homosexual teacher.

Overall a really solid effort by Ms Andrews, I eagerly await her next YA book.

You can buy The Academy from Amazon.com here. At $.99, it’s definitely worth every penny.

Elloras Cave Sucketh Episode 667...

titanic sinking

Another day, another email from yet another happy EC author;

I have a several contracts with EC. Yeah, I’m kicking myself. Wish I never signed those contracts and I should’ve known better having worked in the legal field for over 25 years. In any event, I got suckered in. I have given them 2 books and I just finished my third for them but I haven’t turned it in. It’s taken EC almost a year to edit the first and not because I’m a bad writer. (Only one round of edits) and another 10 months to edit the second book which I turned into them last April. (I’m supposed to get final edits next week.) They’re slooooooow on all ends.

I believe you are right on the mark, they’re having money problems. It’s not hard to see if you look closely. They’re letting go of staff. Lisa Gray who’s been with them for 8 years and I know of two others. One of them told me they were laid-off. I have a feeling EC is about to implode. They’re not paying their authors and I’ve only received money for August and September. I have not gotten a print out on my sales and I haven’t received my digital sales from any of the other vendors my book is supposedly selling with. I’m hoping they breach contract on my second book because if they don’t get it out by April, I’m going to ask for my rights back and legally I can.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months. I’m thinking about checking with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to see if they’ve filed. It’s public record. They may not be at that point but it’s possible. I made a lot of friends at EC and at first I was impressed. But their lack of organization and structure is alarming. I think the powers that be overspent and now we’re paying for it.

I’m working on other projects and trying to get them ready to submit to other houses. I’ll fulfill my obligations to them if they stay in business but I’m going to take my old sweet time about it. They’ve dragged their ass with me so why should I jump through hoops for them. Sad thing is that they had a great gig. Poor business management though.

I love how very happy all these authors are with EC. I wonder what the actual problem is? Lack of cash flow? Bad business management, or do they just suck? I’m betting that it’s the third option…

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