Red Series

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Book Review Rant: Riot School

Man, this is not the usual book review today. Not at all. I don't usually do rants on books. But this one has just gone too far. It is a disgraceful book written by a white man who takes progress in writing diverse characters back to the dark ages. And yes I didn't give any book links on purpose.

Title: Riot School by Robert Rayner

Source: Netgalley

Publishing Date: August 22, 2016


Summary: In the middle of the night, five teens break into a small town high school that has been closed by the regional school board. They are there to protest the decision to move them to a big city school and make their little town that much smaller. Led by Bilan, whose experience with the Arab Spring fired a passion to peacefully fight against injustice, the Gang of Five occupy their old school. The local police chief and the town quietly cheer them on. When the school board calls in a big security firm to break up their occupation using any means necessary, including force, the five have to decide how far they will go to show their outrage at having no control over decisions that affect their lives.

This is a novel which picks up on themes drawn from the world around us, and shows how these can play out in the lives of contemporary young people.

Book Review Rant

Okay. So this exists. You know...okay. not okay. No.

The rage that I'm feeling about this book. The WAY I feel about this book. We have come to the point where reading is a valued commodity. Not by all but literacy is vital to living the best life you can.

This book was supposed to be about a protest carried out by a diverse group of teenagers who society either ignores or mistreats. With the exception of one guy who joins the protest mostly for his own whiny ambitions. But at the start, this book had problems but also promise. The promises went away and the problems got worse. Art is subjective but misrepresenting people and putting them in toxic stories is not. You can write about Muslims, people of color, vandalizing whites and so on from your own view. But when you as a writer create a book that you tout as teaching young people about how protests work, how people are, interaction with the police and those in authority and relationships. Then you have a responsibility to handle it with care. No matter that its fiction.  This book instead does everything that will make you wonder if book publishing should have professional bouncers like many nightclubs do. And if you're wondering, no the writing isn't great, the characters sway wherever the story or their racial stereotype deems them to go and I want to go to bed.

Reading this and taking it as a serious lesson, you'll learn:

1. Students can start a peaceful protest that ends up having severe property damages with no consequences.

2. All authority figures in education hate children and just want them to learn and shut up.

3. If your parents are black you must be bitter and angry, nasty to your girlfriend, hang off her like a stalker, father's in prison for selling dope and you have no idea how to solve problems peacefully. You nearly get in trouble at the start of the book for blocking a car but towards the end after a white student punches out the guard who grabbed your Muslim girlfriend, everything changes and you almost choke another guard to death but face no consequences. Because people just love that choke.

4. If you are a white vandal who carries a knife and will hint violence if you don't get your way. You are at the end of the day a charmer who is nice to girls, stops black antagonist from fighting others, will hint violence but smile so it's okay and you will pull out a knife on security guards but it's good.

5. Female Muslims are all from war-torn countries with issues about being touched, you will crush on and hang onto an awful boyfriend but if during a protest a guard touches you in an inappropriate place then suddenly you have transformed, you transform into a bitter hateful person with no context wanting to vandalize the school and use boys to your advantage instead of keeping the boyfriend you had been pining over for nearly the entire book.

6. If you have an anxiety disorder, stuttering and other signs of more disorders and are homeless. The writer will only address the homelessness and family drama. No one needs to know what medical diagnosis the character has. You can just figure it out while she just considers herself wrong and weird. But will suddenly fling herself on her crush to block a guard after being terrified of everything in the whole book. Spoiler, he's white vandal guy. Coincidence?

7. Police don't arrest anyone. Not even when a security guard grabs a teenage girl's breast and touches up her leg. I mean officers are just friendly people who pass by and wish you luck right? Oh, and when a girl's given a black eye, men are beaten and choked. No arrests. I mean what are they. In charge of upholding the law?

There are many more issues with this book. But I don't want to talk about it anymore. No rating, definitely don't recommend. Oh and did I forget to add the author has been a journalist, school teacher, and principal. Yeah, I'm out. 


I was going to post reviews all week but I need a break. See you all on Friday.

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Book Review: It's Hard to be Good (Ellie the Weinerdog) by K.J. Hales

Netgalley has passed along another gem to me today. Books are made for all ages and sizes. Today I'll be reviewing a children's picture book.

Title: It's Hard to be Good (Life's Little Lessons by Ellie the Weinerdog, Lesson 1)

Source: Netgalley

Buy Link: Amazon

Summary: Ellie tries, really tries, to be good as she faces temptation over and over again. But how can a wiener dog resist? There are sandwiches and trash baskets and freshly baked ham sending heavenly smells straight to her wriggly nose. Ellie so wants to please because she loves to hear “What a good dog!” but she is also taunted by naughtiness because she thinks with her nose. She smells and sniffs and it’s hard for her to be good when she gets a whiff! Children, and adults alike, will find Ellie’s tale hilariously relatable. What will she do when put to the ultimate test? Ellie’s irresistible charm radiates from every colorful, energetic page as she struggles in her desire to do the right thing. Her expressions tell the story, making Ellie the Wienerdog a pup readers will come to know and love. With playful text and equally boisterous art, this book invites readers to join in the fun over and over again.

Book Review

In this picture book, you meet Ellie. A dog that loves approval but is tempted to disobey just like any pet is. Her weakness is food and the story relates temptation in a way both kids and adults can empathize and understand. The comical wordplay and artwork will mesmerize small children and parents can read a short but fun book to their children. Highly recommend for kids under ten especially baby and toddlers for bedtime reading.

Rating: 5 Stars

Thanks for stopping by. See you on Wednesday.

Monday 27 March 2017

Monday MishMash: March 2017

Back with Monday MishMash hosted by Kelly Hashway.

1. Blogging conundrum guys. Circumstances as is just don't have me hopping around blogs like I used to. Will try to do better today. Always feel kinda bad when I post but don't visit other blogs.

2. I scheduled for a book trailer. It will be released late Summer 2017. I hope to blow some minds when it is all finished.

3. Excited to be united with Najla Qamber again to complete the covers for The Sacrifice Series. I had done one with her in 2015 and another with a different designer. Now she'll be doing all of them and I'm considering using the one from the other designer as an international cover. Hey, the big guys have had their special international covers....

4. I can't wait for Descendants 2 to arrive on Disney. So fiction time!

5. Got wet in the rain last week. Just what black women love to happen to their hair.

6. Also got approved for Legion on Netgalley. Started reading and it's okay so far.

Thanks for coming.

Friday 24 March 2017

Cover Reveal: Twelve Tiny Truths

Hey guys, as part of a blogger's mailing list I got a chance to share a cover with you this week. The cover for Twelve Tiny Truths is quite a sight to behold. Read on to get a look.

Cover Reveal
Twelve Tiny Truths
By M. Dauphin & H.Q. Frost


I'm Charlie, and these are my truths:
1) I should have been a doctor
2) One stupid decision changed my life
3) My best friend, Frankie, kept me sane when I thought I'd crumble
4) A new career running a dating website helped save me
5) Steady routine and burying myself in work became everything
6) A drunken dare on a boring night caused a spark in my routine
7) Cherry pie and a deep, sexy voice made the spark ignite
8) A date at the movies and country songs made me swoon
9) His kind heart, affection, and faith in me made me fall in love
10) The secrets he kept broke my heart
11) Good friends helped me understand his reasons
12) Unexpected circumstances threaten to ruin my life
....Travis has his own truths. 


Now you get to see the cover:





Huh? Look that that hunk staring at you from this cover. It will either be interesting or weird for you. I do love the font and find the model being in black and white a nice touch. Congrats Dauphin and Frost on your cover.

So what do you think of the cover? Thanks for coming and see you all on Monday.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Poetry Corner: If Only

Have not posted any poetry for a bit huh? Yesterday was World Poetry Day so I'll go with that. Anyway the one share today is from 2012. Dealing with regrets and being female in tough circumstances. While I do see room for improvement. I do have some personal writing pride with this one. So read on to form your own opinion.

If Only
If only I could turn back the hands of time.
I’d go back and tell my childhood self.
‘Stay in school and study hard.’
‘Listen to your mother, not strange man.’
‘Advance yourself and graduate high school.’
‘Go to university and you can go anywhere
you want in life.’
‘You choose the life you live, pick wisely.’

But I can’t go back in time.
There’s no way to let her know my future.
This old zinc house is where I squat.
Is me one with the pickney them
and another one soon come.
Every man who come, always leave.
The only one stuck here is me.

If only I could turn back the hands of time.

So what did you think? Was the poem enough to evoke any emotion or memories? Let me know in the comments and thanks for stopping by.

Monday 20 March 2017

Book Review: Nameless - Broken City #1

Happy Monday  to all of you. Sorry that I've not been visiting blogs for a bit. I'm back on that train now. 

Title: Nameless (Broken City Book One) by Jessica Sorensen

Source: Bought as ebook on Amazon

Buy Link: Amazon

Nameless (Broken City Book 1) by [Sorensen, Jessica]

Summary on Amazon: I live in a world where freedom doesn't exist, and life is a battle for survival. Most people aren't even allowed to have names.

But I had a name once. I was Allura until the Wardens captured me.

They told me I was a Nameless. That I was no one, and my sole purpose was to obey them. And, for a while, I believed them.

I spent years living underground in the channels beneath the city, dreaming of being outside again. I never thought it would happen. That I'd die in the darkness of my cell.

But then three guys show up in the channels and my fate suddenly changes.

Blaise, Ryder, and Reece are part of a secret group working to take down the Wardens and help rescue the Nameless. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I might survive.

But the outside world isn't like how I remember. The city has become even more dangerous, especially for the Nameless. To survive, I'll have to learn how to trust the guys and live in a world full of crime where almost everyone is hunting for me.

Book Review

A young woman saved from an underground prison called the channels turned out to not just be a regular human. Of course this trope has been done before. But the way it is done in this book is intriguing at least. Before being rescued Allura was among the nameless. Prisoners fed on by beings called the watchers. No one knew where they came from but they took over and kidnapped humans for nefarious purposes including feeding and experiments. Scattered around, the remaining humans varied from those like Allura's rescuers Reese, Blaine and Ryder with kind hearts but tough exteriors to heartless strays ready to harm anyone for a buck to the mysterious Forsaken who guard their territory from other humans and watchers alike. Also the wardens who are considered a lower level to the watchers but are the same beings able to feed on people. All this starts a hair raising adventure as Allura and these three males band together to brave the elements and get to the safety of the station where the men call home. Along the way they stop at a safe haven that's not so safe and Allura learns the hard way that watchers, wardens and the scary visitors she faced in the channels are not the only evil out there. This is a book I want to find out more about and will be reading the sequel soon.

On a whole the book was a good read. I really wanted to give it four or five stars. The plot itself is on that level. Sadly one of Jessica's flaws is that she has a bad habit of trying to force sexual tension in some of her novels and novellas. Sometimes it works but other times it doesn't. I was able to tolerate a few of them early on in the book. But by the sixty percent mark (over half way), it got to be rather grating. From 'accidentally' grabbing butts, to suddenly grabbing a female who doesn't like to be touched and a whole lot of other ridiculous set ups. I almost gave up on reading the book entirely and had to sometimes put it down for days at a time. Not a good sign. Especially since Allura's aversion to being touched sometimes worked in convenience with the plot. At the end of the day these annoying tidbits disrupted the flow of the story and took me out of the book entirely. I plan to continue the series but might wait until I get Kindle Unlimited again around April so I can read it for free. Slightly recommend.

Rating: 3 Stars

Thanks for stopping by. See you on Wednesday.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Book Review: Ballad of the Beanstalk

I love a fairytale retelling that surprises me. While I kind of figured out the end of the main character early on, it was more because of Jack and the Beanstalk's limited lore than any misdeed on the author's part. The story was still a good journey from start to finish. Great in some parts even. I met the author through wattpad and had been interested in her books previously because of positive reviews. When she offered me an arc of her next book on Twitter...well I said yes! Now let's get to the review.

Title: Ballad of the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty

Release date: April 11, 2017

Source: Arc from author

Purchase: Amazon

Summary on Goodreads: As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, sixteen-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.

When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.

A prequel to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.
The Good: The plot was great and fascinating. I don't believe there are nearly enough great Jack and the Beanstalk retellings out there. At least I haven't found them. Clarion is a good MC in that she wants what's best not just for herself but those around her as well. The death of her father doesn't make her get bitter and hard. Instead she grieves but still cares about others. When she goes from loving her female friend and ex-girlfriend Elena to falling for Mack. A dashing young Lord from another kingdom, we get to see bi-sexuality explored without hitting the nail over the head. Then the story becomes so much larger and grander when she reaches the land of the giants. Amy's writing truly shines in this half of the book. The ending is both surprising and expected. But in the best of ways when retelling a story that is not an automatic happily ever after.

The Bad: For close to the first hundred pages the story follows a good but slightly simplistic writing style. We have a great plot but seemingly straight forward complicated romance with magic in the mix. Then after that the story expands in a huge way in the land of giants and other surprises. You might be wondering how that's bad. While that half was better it made the first part of the book look way more simplistic and childish in comparison. Writers need to beware that the huge upheaval in their books balances out the rest of the story and not belittle it. Also while bi-sexuality was well explored. I think in the first maybe eighty pages or so, Clarion's relationship with Elana as lesbians was poorly defined. Clarion's confusion overwhelmed the actual story and made it seem that the author was as confused as she was. Which should not be the case or in the writing.

Verdict: Despite a few pitfalls this is a great book with a unique take on the beanstalk tale. I'd give it four stars without batting an eye. Especially when we get to the world of the giants which not only greatly expands the story but even gives the local witch from Clairon's town a much better story line than that strange woman who makes potions and herbs. You will be very happy you got this book and surprised by all the great additions within.

Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

Monday 13 March 2017

Book Review and Promo Redo: Secondary Characters

Rachel Schieffelbein has put her book Secondary Characters back on the market. While I originally enjoyed the book, I was intrigued to see the new look. While I was in love with the old book and cover, the new one is still quite nice. If you want to support Rachel feel free to buy a copy or share the book online. I'm reposting my book review here and on Amazon. This is a worthy read and shows even secondary characters need to be important to the story in some way.

Secondary Characters by [Schieffelbein, Rachel]

Summary (on Amazon): When Mabel's best friend, Amber, drags her along on a double date she finds herself falling for Lance, the obnoxious class clown whom she swore she'd have no interest in. The only problem is, she's not sure if she's really the girl Lance is into, or if, like every other guy she knows, it's really Amber he's after. 

One thing is clear, if Mabel wants to be the lead in her own love story, she needs to start acting like it.

Source: Bought ebook on Amazon

Buy Link: Amazon

Book Review:

Mabel is the typical overlooked best friend but this novella by Rachel Schieffelbein is far from typical. No one miraculously becomes more popular than they are at the start, no sex, the guy's not some pseudo abusive douche and Mabel doesn't try to overthrow or change Amber. These are just a few of the reasons why this book is set apart and a great read for all ages, not just teenagers. What does happen is two people who clearly aren't the 'true stars' of the book get to tell their side. We get to see how the best friend is just as annoyed with the lovey dovey attitude of the stars as we are and that the annoying perfect boyfriend is really....annoying (yeah I'm pointing at you Nick). Lance is a jock but not the one who gets drunk even if he does give corny jokes that get on Mabel's nerves at first. He's a good person and when he doesn't put his foot in his mouth a great guy as well. Also we get it clear from Mabel's side that he's quite handsome.

Secondary Characters is a novella that you can read in a day but the story will stay with you. Mabel and Lance each get to tell their side and it makes for a fun, emotional and well written story. Rachel definitely did a great job with this and take it from me as someone who isn't taken up with the romance genre (unless it has paranormal in front of it), this book is for anyone who enjoys a story that is well done. While I could do less with all the romance jargon that true romance books have to have: I mean do Mabel and Lance really need to feel static electricity and have their hearts beat faster all the time? Yes, because it's a romance novel and no matter how much the repetition annoys me, Rachel makes a real fan of me by using well developed characters that take me beyond my romance is not in my top five genres zone. In the end you get a novella that is worth your time and can be read again and again. If you want to enjoy a novel while rooting for starring 'underdogs', pick this one up today. No matter which genre you like, as long as you can read about teenagers, you won't regret it. Yeah, I went there.

Rating: 4 Stars

Thanks for coming by and congrats Rachel.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Book Review: The Frog Who Was Blue

Who doesn't love a netgalley book review. Today we have another children's book this time being told from the perspective of animals. Fictional animals of course.

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Troubador Publishing

Publication date: January 19, 2017

Buy Links: Amazon

Summary (from Amazon): It's not always easy being different, as Biriwita the blue frog is only too aware. He longs to be accepted at Croak College, the most famous school for frogs in Malawi, but the other students all turn their backs on him. He is just too different! The Frog Who Was Blue is a witty and charming tale underpinned by the message that being different to others is no bad thing. It will appeal to children aged 7-9, and fans of Faiz's former books. Faiz Kermani is publishing The Frog Who Was Blue to support the World Medical Fund (WMF), a medical charity working in Africa. WMF's focus is on the region's poorest and most vulnerable children, including AIDS orphans, whose practical and cost-effective programs treat over 25,000 children every year in rural Malawi. This life-saving work relies entirely on donations. More information about the WMF is on their webpage,

Book Review

When a blue frog becomes the first from his area to be accepted into the prestigious Croak College, he's ecstatic. Biriwita is sure he's going to have a wonderful time and do great things. Unfortunately when he goes and meets with the other students things don't go as planned. No frog outside his home lake is blue and some of the other frogs get together and bully Biriwita harshly. Pushing and mocking the poor frog for not being green. Biriwita comes to regret going to the college but when danger arises it will be up to him to decide if he will stand up and help those who mocked him or hide and abandon them. 

I really enjoyed this book. My only issue was the writing seemed not as good as some previous children books I've read (there is little there in my opinion to push children's imagination). I felt the illustrations had to do a lot of heavy lifting. Informative writing and imaginative writing are not the same and it just seemed that the author forgot his core audience are small children. You can inform and keep your writing exciting for little kids. The writing was not terrible by itself but adding audience and how bland it would be without 

 Still the story rang true and the lesson was brilliant. Biriwita's story was set in Africa and it was nice to see a picture book take a direct look at education, family legacy and death. That is not always the case as sometimes these things get glossed over when written for children. But in this book you know that education is important and the value of being the first from your area to get higher education. A timely topic indeed for many. Also the risk of death was well shown and not just told to the reader. A child listening to or reading this tale can envision what danger the other frogs are in and read to see how things will turn out. Plus the art is quite nice and the fact that this book is to help a charity is another tick in the positive column. 

In the end though I have to dock it down for the writing. But if not for that this would be a five star read and the story is still great overall.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

IWSG: March is here

Today is IWSG and time to get your posts up for another first Wednesday. Hey guys!

Is it March already? Oh hell. I feel as if time flew this month. Maybe because February is the shortest month of the year and is short two to three days? No? Well it ended too soon for me. Anyway I'll be answering this month's IWSG question. The Goal Hop and a new book review will be up Friday. On a happy note I'm working on getting a series published and you can find out more on my Author Facebook Page and Instagram. Check the side bar.

Monthly Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work?

My answer to this is no for original fiction and sometimes when it comes to fan fiction. Reworking an old idea is no easy task. It takes going back to a story you had to put aside and look at it with fresh eyes and a willingness to whip it into shape. That is no instant journey and you need to be in it for the long haul. I find it easier working with new ideas. Though there are a few old stories I'd like to give a new try one day. Just not right now.

Thanks for stopping by and see you on Friday. I'll be on a break in April so I won't be doing another IWSG until June. Take care.

Waiting on Wednesday: Reconnected

Please Note: The final WOW on this blog as I take my final bow this month. I want to thank all readers of this post and all my blogging. I r...