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review 2017-10-23 16:59
Review: Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock #7) by Faith Hunter
Black Arts - Faith Hunter
Black Arts

Jane Yellowrock #7
Faith Hunter
Urban Fantasy
Roc
January 7th 2014
Paperback
325
Library

 

Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker who always takes care of her own—no matter the cost...

 

When Evan Trueblood blows into town looking for his wife, Molly, he’s convinced that she came to see her best friend, Jane. But it seems like the witch made it to New Orleans and then disappeared without a trace.

 

Jane is ready to do whatever it takes to find her friend. Her desperate search leads her deep into a web of black magic and betrayal and into the dark history between vampires and witches. But the closer she draws to Molly, the closer she draws to a new enemy—one who is stranger and more powerful than any she has ever faced.

 

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

 

 

This story builds on previous books in the series, so you do need to read in order.

 

Black Arts is a fast-paced action-packed adventure. It starts with a bang and doesn’t stop. It ties up unfinished business and gives us answers on numerous things we have been waiting for.

 

Jane’s life is finally making sense. Those around her finally know her heritage and abilities. It’s liberating for Jane. The only downside is she is still estranged from her best friend Molly and her family, but then again that rift is about to be slowly mended.

 

Jane and Beast are more in-since with each other, but they still have a ways to go, yet some things get resolved between them. It was fabulous to have Molly and her family back in the picture. The Younger brothers are great for Jane and add to the story. Leo, well he’s Leo. George, things are changing for him too. Jane’s love life or whatever it is gets some resolution. I have to say, I cried for Jane. Rick is an ass and I never liked him, but what happens is devastating. Though I have to say I’m hoping he is gone for good. As I’ve said from the get go Jane needs someone who will put her first, stand by her, and love her for who she is.

 

Black Arts is an emotional read, a roller coaster ride, and a wonderful story blending action, romance, magic, and history.

 

Rated: 4 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

 

Challenge(s): Pick Your Genre (UF) | Backlist ReaderLibrary Love (2017)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/10/review-black-arts-jane-yellowrock-7-by-faith-hunter
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text 2017-10-23 01:00
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch

Well Peter is working with the Murder Squad. Lesley is working with Peter and Nightingale. And I wonder how Lesley is going to fit in with the boys now that she's doing magic. 

 

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review 2017-10-22 22:59
The Dark Interest
The Dark Interest (The Dark Choir) (Volume 4) - J.P Sloan

I've been procrastinating on this review for months, to the point that I've even been avoiding BookLikes and Goodreads. No matter how it looks, I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, particularly of series that I previously enjoyed. I really wanted to like The Dark Interest. I've relished the rest of the series: I like the magic system that Sloan sets up, the affectionate familiarity with the city of Baltimore, and I even enjoy disliking jerkish antiheroic protagonist, Dorian. The series has routinely gone in directions I didn't experience, often leading to the tarnishing and darkening of Dorian's character. I've found it fun because it's so unexpected.

Sure, there were some rough elements, some moments that made me wince, particularly in the first book. But this book took it to a whole new level, and in ways that can't simply be dismissed as a jerkish protagonist's warped perspective. Fair warning: because some of my issues with the book are major aspects of the plot, there may be spoilers from here on out.

In recent years, Baltimore has been central in a nationwide struggle over race, police brutality, and equal justice. In 2015, following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody (and Tyrone West in 2013), the city erupted into mass protests that led to a declaration of emergency, enforced curfew, deployment of the National Guard, dozens of fires, and hundreds of arrests. For years afterwards, national news was riddled with stories of mass demonstration, civil unrest, and arrests of protesters. Despite it all, all six police officers associated with the tragedy were acquitted or had charges dropped against them. More recently, Baltimore police have been arrested for racketeering and caught on the bodycams they thought were turned off planting evidence to incriminate suspects. Long story short, like many cities in the US, a conversation on equal justice is an inescapable part of the reality of the city. 

In The Dark Interest, Sloan brings up that conversation, but in the most tonedeaf way imaginable. A riot erupts when the story starts, and Dorian being Dorian, his major concern is whether his restaurant will be destroyed or whether the riots will generate "a vibrant dinner rush." . Much of the subsequent plot involves the Baltimore riots, without ever quite saying as much. More specifically, he appropriates them as a plot point and attributes the anger to supernatural forces:

"Even though all of this was very real, this uprising wasn't a natural process. Long in coming though it may have been, this violence was engineered. Angry, ancient forces were pushing this city over a tipping point it might not pull back from."
"That's what this Summer of Blood is all about. Don't you see it? They're cranking up the heat."

I'm generally uncomfortable with this sort of twisting and belittling of history, but when the wounds are still so raw and the struggle is still ongoing? There are tragedies it is utterly unacceptable to appropriate, conflicts that it is repugnant to twist and debase and minimize and devalue. America's current conversation about race and justice is one of them.

The problems with this book don't stop there. Much of the story involves the "Jokomo Gang," a Black gang from New Orleans "displaced by Hurricane Katrina" . The members are described as "into drugs and guns" . Their brand of magic is described by Dorian as follows:

"It's not African voudou. It's Louisiana flavor, which blends lots of horrible shit from the Catholic Church, Santeria, and basically anything else the Dark Choir decided to toss into that gumbo pot."

The practitioners are termed

"Reckless dabblers. They stir up primal beings that rage unrestrained and unstewarded into our world."

The leader, Lasalle, is called a "wannabe crime lord" "a hoodlum" "an outright criminal" , and the "lead thug" . Lasalle is portrayed as a slow-witted, surly, angry, immature Black man who Dorian actually castigates a "acting like a child." Just in case you're in any doubt about the dog whistles going on here, Dorian later casually accuses the gang of "Get[ting] their free ride in Baltimore." 

When the gang confronts Dorian, questioning him about his recent actions, the "good cop" protagonist appears to "save" Dorian by harassing and belittling them without apparent cause, going so far as to refer to them as "boys": "You boys raising a ruckus out here?" If you don't understand why referring to African-American men as "boys" is toothclenchingly offensive, I'm happy to point you to some references. But in the book, this is portrayed as a heroic rescue against a gang of "your basic street thug[s]" . At another point, Dorian ends up in a police station and assumes that everyone else behind bars-- all African-American-- are "probably wondering what a man like me was up to in a police station." (emphasis mine).

Things began less than optimally when Dorian stops a kid--poor and African-American, naturally-- from committing a theft, and they have a conversation in the author's attempt at dialect. It went downhill from there. I was mystified when Dorian jumped to the conclusion that the kid from the intro was running with the Jokomos-- the only thing I can imagine is he assumes all Black kids are muggers and gang members and all of "them" stick together. There is absolutely no other reason to think that. And of course, naturally, a Black kid is the mugger. Of course, there were other things that pissed me off about the book. Dorian has always been a jerk, and his level of jerkhood in this book is over the top. He decides he deserves to run the city because he can trust no one else. He has no principles other than self-preservation. He decides that he "had to betray Choi" to save himself. Why not just take consequences for his own actions rather than destroying someone else's life? At the very least, he shouldn't pretend he was forced into that choice-- he could have chosen to accept responsibility.

(spoiler show)


I wanted to like this book. I really did. And actually, even though it infuriated me, I found it interesting to explore the perspective of a character so imbued with white privilege that his only thought during a mass protest against police brutality is whether he'll get a dinner rush. But what I have real trouble with is the unexamined nature of much of the prejudice; the thoughtless, caustic nature of the white privilege that imbues it. 

Maybe if you understand what this book is going in, you can get past all this, but I couldn't. That doesn't mean I won't give the next book a try; I'm constantly fascinated by how far down Dorian can be dragged, and the ending is a zinger.

Okay, that's all from me. At least now you know why I've been procrastinating and avoiding Goodreads for these last few months.

~~I received this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, in exchange for my (depressingly) honest review. Quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and while they may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they speak to the spirit of the novel as a whole.~~ 

Cross-posted on Goodreads.

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text 2017-10-22 11:23
Forbidden Fantasies Blog Tour SIGNUP and ARC Reader List SIGNUP

Forbidden Fantasies by Sai Marie Johnson is NOW on Preorder and Releases on Halloween!

BLURB

Araceli Nativa

Sheltered and yet looking to expand beyond her small-town Alabama raising, Araceli’s attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville but so far she hasn’t broadened her horizons in the least. A pretty and successful student, Araceli spends all her days studying, attending class and living a fairly boring existence. That is until her dorm mate peer pressures her to attend the biggest frat and Halloween party on campus and when Araceli finally breaks out of her closed up shell, the consequences might just be devastating.

Abel Slaine

For centuries, he has scoured the earth searching for her, the demonic queen who stole his beloved before they ever had the chance to thrive. She and all of her dark daughters have been his target for millennia and now there is a new one who will find her death at the end of his hands one way or another but putting plan to action may prove more difficult than Abel has bargained for when his prey becomes more than a deathly pursuit.

PREORDER HERE: http://amzn.to/2xSnYal

In honor of this event, Sai would like to appear on a series of blogs for release week. If you would like to host her for the release, or review an ARC of the book, please fill out this form.

If you like, you can also request to join Sai's street team and reader group[book:Forbidden Fantasies|36443132]!

To signup visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfgX6vL6vaFYXXJdylQ-88F_BAWnJx4_DJy-oXBnM1mzsa12Q/viewform

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review 2017-10-22 04:30
The Hunt (Devil's Isle, #3)
The Hunt - Chloe Neill

I needed a break from golden age mystery, and with bad back pain, I needed something that didn't require a high degree of concentration, and where there was a high probability of violence so I could vent vicariously.  Urban Fantasy to the rescue!

 

I generally love Chloe Neill's writing for its wit and snark almost more than for her ability to tell a good story.  Luckily she does tell a good story, because this series has less wit and snark than her Chicagoland series did.  It's not barren of humor at all, but it lacks the verbal dances Merit and Ethan and Mallory entertained me with.

 

Still, it's a good story line and Clair is a strong protagonist who does not engage in love triangles or damsel in distress crap.  I was able to get lost in a post apocalyptic New Orleans where magic is a thing and the author explores the 'us' vs. 'them' mentality that is so very, very prevalent today.

 

Good escapist reading with characters you can like and cheer for.  I could do without the book ending with a soft cliffhanger, but I girl can't have everything and I'll take soft cliffhangers over love triangles any day!

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