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REVIEW: Dmitry’s Closet by Latrivia S. Nelson

Dear Ms. Nelson:

This book was recommended to me when I asked for Interracial Romance recommendations and I am bummed I can’t give it any better of a grade. Not only are there typos, grammatical errors, terrible formatting, misused words on virtually every other page*, but the story drags for 45%; there is no believable romance; and the “hero” is a crime boss who spends his time “not working” to maintain his criminal enterprise.

Latrivia S. Nelson Dmitry's ClosetRoyal is a foster child (who is sometimes refers to herself as being adopted and then switches back to being an orphaned foster kid) who was on her last dime before she walked into Mother Russia’s restaurant. There she is seen by Dmitry Medlov who, I guess, falls instantly in love with her. He hires her on the spot to become the manager of his newest jewel–Dmitry’s Closet. This will be an exclusive high end fashion store. Royal has no merchandising experience, is dressed poorly, and is not described as having any fashion sense. I guess she doesn’t need it because Dmitry has ordered all the stock and decorated the store. It needs only Royal to take control. I don’t understand why she isn’t given at least the appearance of being a fashion maven if her entire storyline depends upon her managing Dmitry’s Closet.

Dmitry immediately begins showering Royal with expensive jewelry (two carat diamond earrings) which she accepts without question. I could not tell by the text if Royal believed that Dmitry was courting her or whether she just thought it was her due as manager of the store. It was bizarre.

Royal is a virgin and has guarded her virginity like a prize. “Her entire life people had looked at her like something was wrong with her, jealous that they had given theirs away and had chosen poorly.” Nice slut shaming there. She decides to give it up to Dmitry. I wasn’t sure why. Is it because he lavished jewels and expensive clothing on her? Because he gave her a job she was clearly not qualified for? I didn’t understand, and wasn’t shown in the text, exactly why the two were in love with each other; why Dmitry was the worthy one.

The first 45% of the book is the build up of Royal managing the store, the two becoming lovers, and Dmitry capping several people that may or may not pose a threat to his criminal empire. Royal is incredibly resistant to any suggestion that Dmitry’s money comes from criminal effort despite him recounting his tattoos that all sound like part of a mark of gang (i.e., the stars on his chest “means that I’m part of very elite organization” and the Madonna and crucifix are signs that he has mastered the art of thievery and another was “how I got out of prison as a young man“) and that her shop is infiltrated by a number of big Russian men all armed to the teeth.

The second half is more of a suspense as Dmitry’s crime organization comes under attack by a rival and by law enforcement. It’s grim and bloody and there are multiple deaths, rape, and cop killings. Royal becomes frustrated with Dmitry’s refusal to tell her all his secrets and Dmitry tries to keep his mob life from spilling over onto the fantasy life he’s created with Royal. The second half moves faster than the first and is mildly more interesting but still riddled with errors.

There were regular consistency problems such as Dmitry’s disappearing and reappearing grasp of the English language. Dmitry sometimes speaks in Russian and sometimes his English is stilted (or maybe it’s just another example of poor grammar) but most of the time he sounds like he is American using American idioms. “This is polite way to tell me not to quit day job, da?” versus “all the money in the world couldn’t by a lick of class.” Maybe Russian idioms are the same as English ones.

In another scene, Royal is walking across her store and “her heels clicked on the ground as she did so” but then a page later in the same scene she is “shaking in her flip flops.”

There were a few positives in the story. First, because of the exhaustive descriptions you did get a real sense of place. Second, the romantic tension in the second half had promise but because Royal was so obtuse it was hard to believe in the conflict.

Even the blurb at the end seems to have an error:

“Royal hasn’t been the same since she was attacked three years ago. Where she used to be a sweet, innocent girl, she’s now the jaded, bitter mistress of the Medlov Chateau. However, a reality check is in store for the pre-Madonna …”

Is that supposed to be prima donna?

I could not, in good conscience, give this anything but an F.

Best regards,

Jane

*Example: “She followed carefully, feeling a little weary of where she was going.” or “He pealed out of his wet tuxedo and unbuttoned the top of his collar.”

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

98 Comments

  1. Amy
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 12:32:15

    Pre-Madonna. LOL!

    Maybe they will take their honeymmon in Italy and tour the Sixteen Chapel.

  2. Michaela Grey
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 14:15:59

    It’s books like this that give self published authors a bad name. There is NO excuse for this level of sloppiness, completely apart from the ability to spin a good story.

    Thanks for the review, Jane. Good to know what to avoid, since my doctor told me I need to bring my blood pressure down. ;o)

  3. Debbie
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 15:05:20

    Another grammatical error that I’m seeing far too often: would of instead of would’ve. Did these writers actually pass their English classes in high school or have they actually paid attention to well written books they’ve read, assuming they’ve actually read well written books, that is. Thanks for the review. I’ll avoid this one.

  4. Shelley
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 16:02:23

    Just got back from reading over some of the 52 stellar reviews for this story. One reviewer even titled her review “In Love with Dmitri”. Wow. Just…Wow. Though I did find at least one who did comment on the grammatical errors.

    And once again I am so freaking confused how these books are classified as romance.

  5. Marie
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 17:07:27

    Two things: I have never heard of people being jealous of giving their virginity away so soon. People actually believe it is quite sensible to test their partners before marriage.

    Number 2, Dimitry sounds eastern European. If you watch soccer, you will know the racial tension that exists between then. Early this year (thats right, 2012) black players in the UK team were taunted and racially abused by the crowd of their eastern European host who hurled racial abuse (calling them gorillas or monkeys), and showing them banana peels (because monkeys eat bananas). I would of at the very least expected Dimitry address these issues and his thoughts on these behaviors

    Maybe the author needs to change her priorities and realize that having a hymen is not as important as being proactive.

  6. Jane
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 17:25:48

    @Shelley: One reason I bought the book (instead of the others recommended) was because of the stellar reviews. I was pretty flummoxed when I read the book and kept persevering thinking that it would turn around in the end.

  7. Moriah Jovan
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 18:28:33

    Didn’t read the book. I have an observation about the collective nature of the books Jane’s been reviewing lately that have tons of positive reviews regardless of her estimate of the actual quality:

    The love of the soap opera is alive and well. Ye olde bodice rippers were book-form soap operas, as were the Jackie Collinses and Sydney Sheldons and Danielle Steeles, et al. But the big fat sagas and bodice rippers faded and fell out of favor at just about the same time women left the house to support their families–thus resulting in reduced viewership of daytime TV soaps. Nighttime soap operas kinda sorta took up the slack but though they still exist, they don’t (at least, IMO) have that same je ne sais quois they used to (I’m looking at you, GREY’S ANATOMY). There’s been a vacuum there.

    Well, I should say, because *I* was starting to feel the vacuum, I wrote a few soaps myself, so it’s not like I’m trashing a trend here. But until this moment, I thought the love of the soap opera had gone the way of the do-do bird and I was an aging panda.

    What got me thinking about this was Suleikha Snyder’s comment in Dabney’s thread, that Dabney’s summary of Captive/Seduced in the Dark read like a soap fanfic. When Jane’s tone in this review (bewildered by its popularity despite its quality) gave me the same impression, I finally came to this: Quality doesn’t matter.

    These types of books (starting with TWILIGHT, if I had to pin down a title) are filling a broad taste that’s been there since dirt and never went away, even when the soaps themselves went into hiding. Other things were at work in people’s lives that made soaps more inaccessible, but the taste for it never waned.

  8. Shelley
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 19:15:42

    @Jane: I partially depend on reviews too but not too much anymore with the self-pub authors. There also seems to be an increasing trend of the authors’ family/friends skewing the reviews by inundating book sites like Amazon and GR with glowing reviews and/or spam and as a result, I feel at times I’ve been cheated into downloading several stinkers.

  9. Suleikha Snyder
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 19:54:52

    @Moriah Jovan: I’ll see your soap opera factor, Moriah, and raise you price point. I’m hesitant to agree that “Quality doesn’t matter,” because an effective soap opera is GOOD. Primetime or daytime, viewers do understand quality and, what’s more, they demand it. Woe betide any soap showrunner who screws up, because fans will call them to the carpet for it. That’s not happening with these books…and I think that’s because of the price point.

    I was discussing this recently with friends and publishing industry folk: I think people are more willing to cut cheap reads slack. Because you spent less than the cost of a mass market paperback on it, you go “Okay, I’m not going to complain if it’s not as well edited. I still got something out of it.” At .99, 1.99 and 2.99 a pop, a lot of this stuff is like the cheap, quick fix of candy you buy at the gas station. Combine that with the enlisting of friends, family and your neighbor’s Aunt Betty to inflate the reviews, and you’ve got unknown, untested, unedited works rocketing up the sales charts.

  10. K. Young
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 21:12:15

    I have to ask, is there an IR book that you have read and enjoyed? The few you have reviewed all received less than glowing reviews.

  11. Moriah Jovan
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 21:48:09

    @Suleikha Snyder: Well, I can’t really disagree with any of that, although I have a hard time believing anybody can conjure up 300 4* and 5* reviews out of friends and family, unless she’s paying for reviews. Which we know NEVER happens. :/

    I have other thoughts, too, but since they’re only half-baked, I’ll leave them in the oven for now.

  12. JenM
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 21:53:24

    I just read a book where the author frequently said, “she shook her head” to indicate the character was nodding. Apparently this author has never heard of the word “nod” and couldn’t figure out how else to describe the particular head motion that means yes (and this was just one of many, many errors). I have to admit, I’m as guilty as the next person of enjoying Kristen Ashley and RL Mathewson, in spite of the grammatical errors, but some of these books are so terribly written that even I can’t take it anymore.

    Usually, before I buy any self-pubbed book, I look for reviews warning about bad grammar. If I didn’t see at least one review that talked about it, and it turned out to have lots of errors, I will often post a review myself, just so that the next buyer has at least one warning.

  13. Shelley
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 22:07:09

    @Moriah Jovan: Yeah…nobody pays for reviews. LOL! Am I being totally paranoid if I ask how prevalent it might be that some of these authors and friends/family create fake profiles in order to post more favorable reviews? Would that even be feasible? Am I just desperately looking for an explanation for these awful stories receiving such good reviews? Maybe this is a parallel plane??

  14. Moriah Jovan
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 22:14:28

    @Shelley: This is where I’m coming from: I’m a lazy bitch. Just THINKING about going to all that effort wears me out enough I have to go mow the lawn and trim the hedges to rest up. I seriously, honest-to-goodness cannot imagine anybody going to that much trouble, and that is where my brain starts tripping up.

  15. Shelley
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 22:18:25

    @JenM: That’s funny. I was just thinking of those 2 authors though I honestly have a hard time finding grammatical errors in the never ending run-on or 1 or 2 word, sentences. :O) That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed a couple of these books in small doses. And KA does seem to appreciate her fans and from what I’ve seen, does not stalk the book sites (at least not visibly).

  16. Michaela Grey
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 22:19:06

    @Shelley, it’s called sock-puppeting, and it absolutely happens among less scrupulous indie authors.

    I also think that a lot of readers simply don’t CARE about grammatical errors and typos. I imagine most of us on this site aren’t like that, but there are a bunch of people that read for the story and don’t care if they trip over a few misspellings on their way to the end.

    Which in turn encourages self-published authors to not make their manuscripts as error-free as possible.

    It’s frustrating and irritating to see a book like this getting so many glowing reviews and other, more worthy books by better writers are left to languish in the dust with few or no reviews, but I myself am guilty of reading a book, loving it, and NOT posting a review, and I need to get better about that.

  17. Shelley
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 22:23:34

    @Moriah Jovan: ROFLMAO!!! What a coincidence? I am too!!! BUT…there are some wackos out there who believe that since they actually published a book, albeit a self-published book on Amazon, Smashwords, or wherever, that they should be lauded and never criticized. I’ve read so many articles and blogs about these nut jobs and the number increases daily as more and more decide that they too, should publish an ebook. Even if it is garbage.

  18. Shelley
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 22:30:09

    @Michaela Grey: I have read about the sock-puppetry and it appears that this trend just keeps gaining steam. It makes me sad because I love books and words in general and it becomes a total pain in the ass to have to vet these silly books to such a degree that I’ve lost any enjoyment I might have gained in reading them. That’s why, once I’ve found a new favorite author I tend to stick with him/her and gorge myself until the next one comes along or a current favorite releases a new book.

  19. Michaela Grey
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 22:37:38

    Shelley, I am much the same way, and I’m quite reluctant to try unknown indie authors despite being one myself! And yes, I get the irony. ;o)

  20. cleo
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 06:29:53

    @K. Young: There’ve been positive reviews of IR romance at DA. I bought Gold Mountain (an historical western with a Black heroine and Asian hero) based on review I read here (it’s still languishing on my TBR shelf, but one day I’ll read it). Looking at the tags interracial and multicultural, there’s a range of grades.

    http://dearauthor.com/tag/multicultural/ and http://dearauthor.com/tag/interracial/

  21. Shelley
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 10:32:56

    @Michaela Grey: No irony…you are a reader also and want to read a decent story! There’s nothing wrong with that!!

  22. Tina
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 12:35:26

    I read this book close to when it first came out. At the time, I was one of the two, sad lonely 1-star ratings on Amazon. Amongst @50+ 5-star ratings at the time. I DNF’d this book. Could not make it past 11% on the Kindle. It is riddled with malapropisms, homonym errors, and sentences that are quite silly and go on for a paragraph length. I finally quit when I realized I was noting and highlighting approx. 50% of each page (so perplexed was I at some of the things being written).

    I can totally understand ignoring editing issues if the story sucks you in so much that you can put up with it (cough*Kristen Ashley*cough). But in my opinion not even the story here was that compelling. And honestly the grammatical stuff was so in your face that there was no way any story could have risen above it.

  23. Ridley
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 14:22:58

    I could not, in good conscious, give this anything but an F.

    If that was intentional, it’s very amusing. If it was unintentional, it’s very amusing.

  24. Jane
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 14:47:22

    @Ridley – nope, just my own bad error.

  25. Deloris H
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 15:45:05

    I think your reviews of I/R books are always wrong because they are always negative . When you open a book with a closed mind of course you wont like it.

  26. Ridley
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 15:48:28

    @Deloris H: Occam’s Razor: They’ve probably just been bad books.

  27. Jane
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 15:59:20

    @Deloris H: If you have a recommendation, I’m totally open to reading it.

    As for I/R books, I have reviewed others positively. Perhaps you have a specific allegation and proof to support your allegation that you want to lay out in the comments here.

  28. Fair-Lady
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 16:46:44

    One would think from reading this review that there was nothing good about this book. One would also assume that this book’s glowing reviews were written by the hundreds of family members (who have no grasp of the English language) of the author.

    I seriously contemplated ignoring this entire thread (and ignorance is probably the best way to deal with DA reviewers as everyone is entitled to their opinion) but I could not, in good conscience, leave this thread as it is.

    This response is for those who were interested in reading a good book, read this review, and now think, from the glaring F review, that this story is a train wreck and then some.

    It isn’t.

    I will concede that Jane makes a few good points about the story. Yes, it does have grammatical errors, and yes, it could use better formatting, but if this was one of the author’s first stories, and I’m guessing she wasn’t as endowed as Harlequin or the high ranking e-publishing houses. Now, this author has done very well for herself, and if you read her other works, there is definitely an improvement in the editing. And yes, there are inconsistencies with the characters, and the plot, but they are very minor.

    The reason this story is ranked among the best IR e-books to date is because of the plot, the characters, both primary and secondary, the author’s style, and how she weaves them all together to create a story that it is quite breathtaking. Writing a story that resonates with people is not easy.

    Royal is an innocent. The book isn’t about “slut-shaming” as Jane puts it, it’s about characterization. (As we all know, when the point-of-view shifts, you’re in a characters head.) Everything about Royal is innocent, and naive, and in many ways, that is what draws Dmitri to her. She isn’t jaded, like everything else in his life. This story is a tale of opposites and their attraction. It also shows Royal’s transformation from that innocent, to someone quite unrecognizable by the story’s end, because of Dmitri’s mafia affiliation. It also shows Dmitri’s change, from the hardened mob boss, to someone willing to give it all up for a woman he loves more than he loves his ranking.

    I’ve read and reviewed many mafia romances, and Dmitri’s Closet (and its sequels) are definitely in my Top 5. For those of you who want to read good IR books, particularly featuring the Mafia romance, Latrivia Nelson (Medlovs), Sienna Mynx (Battaglias), Theodora Taylor (Rustanov), all have amazing stories. Additionally, there are many unpublished authors who have great IR mafia stories. If you’ve never heard of the story “Seven Days,” you’re either new to this genre, or you’ve missed a wonderful story. While unpublished, it is arguably the best IR mafia story out there.

    Now that I’ve written a counter viewpoint, I hope that readers seriously considering this story will go over to Amazon (or whichever seller) read the portion available for public viewing, and decide based on that.

  29. Jane
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 16:54:50

    @Fair-Lady: I completely agree with you. Every person who has interest in the book should read the excerpt and decide for themselves if the writing style appeals to them.

  30. Deloris H
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 17:00:46

    @Jane: Which book did you like I would love to read it One that features a black Female.

  31. Ridley
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 17:17:53

    @Fair-Lady: tl;dr

  32. Jane
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 17:30:26

    @Deloris H. I could have sworn that your first comment wanted recs for I/R romances and given that you are super familiar with all my reviews as indicated by a previous comment of yours, you would know that I enjoy Maureen Smith’s books quite a bit.

  33. Michaela Grey
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 17:34:16

    Fair-Lady, you have a point in asking readers to at least try the book before deciding if it’s as bad as Jane says.

    I did. And so far, it really is. The author seems addicted to adverbs and adjectives, relying on them to tell the reader what to think and feel instead of showing us the scene. She also uses non-vocal verbs when characters speak, which is a personal peeve of mine.

    The dialogue is awkward and stilted. Maybe it improves farther on; I don’t know. But what I read is not interesting enough for me to want to read further. It’s not a complete trainwreck, but there are enough errors in what I read to not make it worth my time.

    But you’re right; readers do need to decide for themselves. However, a lot of us here have followed Jane’s reviews for awhile and for me, at least, her tastes coincide with mine enough to know that if she didn’t like a book, I won’t either. It has nothing to do with an interracial relationship and everything to do with poor writing.

  34. Deloris H
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 17:50:55

    @Jane: I mean I/R with a black female white male I love Maureen Smith are there any other author of that type that you like?

  35. Shelley
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 18:31:23

    @Fair-Lady: I agree wholeheartedly that everyone should make their own decisions based on excerpts, descriptions, maybe even reviews to a point but there is just no getting around a badly written book or the sheer silliness of a plot. But like you say, everyone is free to choose their own reading material for their own reasons. ;O)

  36. paganalexandria
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 19:30:38

    I have come to the realization that all my favorite books are hated by critics. I read so many self-published novels that my eyes automatically ignore minor grammar and spelling mistakes unless it’s unreadable. I loved 50 Shades of Grey, Medlov Crime Family Series, and Black Butterfly. It doesn’t keep me from enjoying reviews but trust my friends who also like the same “crappy” books opinions more.

  37. Lori S.
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 19:46:14

    Just for kicks and giggles, I read the excerpt. Yeesh. There’s ten minutes I’ll never get back.

  38. Shelley
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 19:53:03

    @Lori S.: Amen.

  39. Fair-Lady
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 19:55:43

    @Ridley:

    I’m not sure why you even commented then, except to say that you don’t like reading, and don’t like reading long reviews. I’m left confused as to why you’re reading reviews on Dear Author. Cheers!

  40. Fair-Lady
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 19:58:43

    @Michaela Grey: At least you gave it a try, which is all I asked. :)

  41. Fair-Lady
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 19:59:26

    @Shelley: I agree with this wholeheartedly.

  42. Ann Somerville
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 21:56:53

    @Fair-Lady:

    Would you mind clarifying what your relationship is to the author of this book?

  43. Shiloh Walker
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 22:10:01

    You know… I think, in the end, here is what it boils down to….individual taste. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, right?

    Personally, I tend to enjoy a lot of books that Jane has enjoyed…if there’s one I’m thinking of buying, I often look to see if she’s read it. If she didn’t like it, I may look up a few more reviews before I buy, hunt up longer excerpts, etc.

    That’s kind of the purpose of reviews…to help readers decide.

    I can overlook a couple of typos…easily, but if I spent my time and money on a book that was laden with errors and typos, I’d be spitting nails. So I like it when I can trust on a reviewer to lay it out straight.

    Admittedly, yes there are a number of readers who don’t care. But there are just as many, if not more, who do care and they’ve got just as much right to speak their mind without being fussed at.

    A good editor will take a wonderful story and make it better. A story can be absolutely wonderful and if a selfpubbed author doesn’t invest $30-40 for decent formatting and try to find an editor (that will run more…but in the end, it serves her better, and saves her from reviews like this), then it can completely ruin that story…at least for a number of readers.

    What’s more…a good editer will improve that book and open up an author’s reader base. Look at books like Sylvia Day’s BARED TO YOU (that one started out self pubbed)… or Courtney Milan’s self pubbed titles…these ladies did it right…they had their books formatted, edited, professional covers, etc, and they got their books out in front of bloggers, reviewers, etc.

    An author has nothing to lose from getting her book edited and formatted.

  44. Kaetrin
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 22:28:24

    “Pre-Madonna” usage is enough for me to know that I wouldn’t like this book. Thank you for taking one for the team Jane.

  45. Fair-Lady
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 23:09:00

    @Ann Somerville: Sure. I have no relationship with the author outside of that of a reader. Although your question was obviously meant to insinuate that I’m a family member/friend/acquaintance i.e. someone with a bias for the author whose review is skewed toward the positive because of a personal relationship, I can assure you that is not the case. Just like the rest of you, I am simply a reader with an opinion.

  46. Michaela Grey
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 23:13:44

    Fair-Lady, I’d just like to say that I am impressed with how you’ve kept a level head and stayed so polite despite disagreeing with the majority of the posters here. It’s not always easy to do, and I for one appreciate it.

  47. Ann Somerville
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 00:31:14

    @Fair-Lady:

    I insinuated absolutely nothing. I asked a direct question and wanted a direct answer. I don’t know why you’re so defensive.

    I was curious because such a detailed, passionate defence, dismissing legitimate reader issues such as bad grammar and typos, relying on the author’s sales rank and an apparent intimate understanding of the characterisation, coming from anyone who isn’t the author or the author’s spouse or editor, is, I have to say, unique.

    So I wanted to be sure I wasn’t talking to the author because she might be insulted when I tell you I looked at the sample on Amazon, and in my not remotely humble opinion, the writing is fucking horrible, amateurish, and dull as a Harry Potter Mary Sue opus written by a twelve-year-old.

    But since you’re just a fan, I’m sure you can take that opinion in your stride.

  48. wikkidsexycool
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 07:55:09

    I grew up reading Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim, Mickey Spillane, Elmore Leonard, Claude Brown (Manchild in the Promised Land) and imho this book is what’s now known as “Urban” fiction. Some call it Street Lit, while others don’t care for that designation. Indeed, there are separate issues here, which are the grammatical errors, storyline and character issues and also whoever recommended the book may not have specified to Jane about the genre (though the book says its “The New Urban fiction sensation”).

    One of the most popular books I’ve read in this genre is Sister Souljah’s “The Coldest Winter Ever”
    (Sorry about the formatting error).
    which helped jump start the “romance” part of Urban Fiction. There are a number of other authors who helped popularize Urban fiction, like Omar Tyree. From what I can tell, books like the one being reviewed here are part of the new wave of Urban fiction. Some readers prefer a more gritty style, while others like more “romance” in the storyline.

    Yes, “romance” is at the core of many of these novels which have IR relationships (created to fill a void and have found an audience). Maybe this is part of the broader conversation that has been raised on DA, regarding what’s traditionally thought of as a romance novel and it’s current various offshoots. Edited to add: I should also mention “Corner Boy” by Harold Simmons, an excellent “old skol” read and award winning novel which has a number of well written cultural and socio-economic clashes in the storyline.

  49. wikkidsexycool
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 08:47:33

    OT: Okay, I want so badly to get at my post and change “perfer” to “prefer”. I see it and it’s killing me, as well as a number of other issues with my post, like my formatting error.

  50. Maura
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 11:13:19

    @JenM:

    I’ve heard “shook one’s head yes” as an equivalent for nodding, but I think it’s pretty archaic.

  51. Shelly
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 11:33:14

    Not related specifically to this review, but the question I always have is if any of these authors have ever actually been in an interracial relationship? It’s not a prerequisite, but some of the themes and all the angst usually cracks me up and makes me think, “Wow, this is off the mark from my experience and the experiences of my friends in similar relationships!” My husband laughs too when I read the stories aloud to him. I get that romance novels can be escapism, but some (no, honestly alot) of the books come off as a bit fetishist in how exotic it is to date someone from another race, if that’s the right word.

  52. Katie
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 11:54:19

    @Ann Somerville:
    Ann Somerville I will never read anything you write because of this post. it is possible to dislike something without being horrible. I hope you learn this skill before you lose every reader.

  53. Ridley
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 12:12:49

    @Katie:

    it is possible to dislike something without being horrible.

    I’m sure it is, but where’s the fun in that?

  54. MrsJoseph
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 12:42:15

    The strange thing is…every time DA reviews an IR or POC romance that isn’t given an “A”… people come out of the woodwork with all types of backhanded comments and accusations.

    Yall need to get over that crap. If the book has bad writing, bad grammar and piss poor editing…it deserves the “F” it gets. If you can over look that crap that gives IR and POC books bad names….go right ahead. But stop getting mad because other people like to read coherent sentences.

  55. MrsJoseph
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 12:43:20

    @Katie:

    She hasn’t lost me. And this book is still horrifically bad.

    Now what?

  56. Shelley
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 13:02:59

    @MrsJoseph: You’re right. I am confused (again) why so many of these books are supposed to get a pass from a reviewer because they deal with supposedly controversial issues even though the book is horribly written in every way. Maybe I’m shallow but if I have to wade through tons of grammatical, spelling, formatting errors, bad editing, and a totally contrived plot, I will not care about the characterization of the main players.

  57. cs
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 13:23:17

    @MrsJoseph: Amen.

    @Katie: If you’ve never read or bought her work before, she wasn’t losing out on anything there. Not sure what that “threat” was trying to do. You may not like her word choice, but there we have it.

    I can barely stand self-published books as it is, and I am currently reading a book where the formatting is a hot mess and the spelling is atrocious. I’m sorry but if we’re paying for your written words, at least give me the courtesy of actually using spell-check and one beta reader. I have not read the book in question, but the examples Jane gave I don’t think it would be for me.

  58. Fionn Jameson
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 13:40:00

    @MrsJoseph:

    THIS. It makes me ashamed that so many indie/self-pubbed writers think it’s okay to publish crap and think the price makes up for it. I did this before and learned my lesson. Note: I only did this once. For indie writers who do this with EVERY EFFING BOOK, there is no effing excuse.

  59. Janine
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 14:14:12

    @K. Young: I know I gave a B+/A- to Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith and a straight A to Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves, both YA novels with interracial romances in them. And I don’t give straight A’s often, there’s maybe one a year of those from me for any kind of book.

    I believe there are more IR books that have been well-reviewed at DA and suggest searching under the IR romance tag.

  60. Ann
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 14:37:40

    I made the mistake of buying this book over two years ago based on Goodreads reviews, and you can imagine my disappointment. I wish I had read an honest review of this book back then so I would’ve saved my money.

    The writing was clunky, there was too much product placement but absolutely no character development, and where and why did they supposedly fall in love?

    I’m ESL and the author’s English made me cringe, so I can only guess how you native speakers feel. Or maybe this book appeals to people who don’t generally read that much, so they don’t mind typos and horrible grammar.

  61. paganalexandria
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 14:40:52

    @Maura:

    I live in Texas and I actually hear “shook my head” more than nod. I also used to think “fixin’ to” was standard english. lol

  62. Juli R
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 15:12:39

    The easy answer to unfairly glowing reviews is to return books that don’t live up to their reviews. Amazon makes it easy now. You don’t even have to talk to CS.

  63. Jill Sorenson
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 15:49:07

    @Ann: I’ve been wondering if people with poor literacy skills prefer poorly written books. With the rise of self-publishing, someone should do a study on this. I don’t see why it would be true because it’s more difficult to read bad writing, not easier. Awkward sentence construction is a slog to read, and you have to pause to puzzle over misused words. Even if you don’t know that pre-Madonna is supposed to be prima donna, it’s still jarring. Isn’t it? Something like Jane’s conscious mistake is less noticeable or maybe just more common. I don’t know. I noticed it, but I have an eye for errors from years of editing and revising. I see a lot of mistakes I’ve made before. I used to think segue was segue way.

    More generally, I don’t know if it’s fair to call every poorly written book “unedited.” It’s poorly edited, yes. But if you don’t have strong writing skills, you can spend quite a bit of time editing without getting anywhere. I recall a book I critiqued that used the word “usually” (or something like that) five or six times in the opening paragraph. When I pointed this out, the author couldn’t believe it. She’d written and rewritten that paragraph so many times.

    Some people just can’t SEE these errors, no matter how hard they try. It doesn’t mean the authors are bad storytellers, or that the reviews for books like this are fake. The satisfied readers just don’t notice the errors.

  64. Ann
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 16:50:59

    @Jill Sorenson: One explanation could also be that I, for example, have learnt English by reading, as do most people for whom English is their second language. I may not always know how to pronouce the words I read, but on the other hand, I don’t make spelling mistakes like wreak/reek havoc or pre-Madonna/prima donna etc. because I’ve always seen them written first. So, if you don’t read much, you may not mind bad spelling if the words are still pronounced the same way. Awkward sentences are awkward though, and you’d think they’d be difficult to read no matter what.

    Juli R said that it’s now easy to return a book that doesn’t live up to its reviews. In this case, I bought this book directly from the author’s website. I really didn’t want to start asking for my money back, especially as I think at the time my Goodreads review was the only one-star review among the five-star ones.

  65. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 17:44:33

    @Michaela Grey: Thank you. :)

  66. Sunita
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 17:56:25

    I find a couple of aspects of this conversation really puzzling. Why are people looking for reasons like infrequent reading or lack of English proficiency to explain enjoyment of this book? I don’t remember similar discussions about other badly written books with a strong following. We’ve had positive reviews of plenty of books that were flawed technically. Why not the same scrutiny there? Why can’t this just be a cracktastic book that totally failed for Jane but worked for other readers?

    For what it’s worth, I read the sample of this book aa well as a sample of a Kristin Ashley book that was positively reviewed here. They had different types of flaws, but for me at least the samples were technically in the same ballpark.

  67. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 18:01:44

    @Ann Somerville: Dear Ann Somerville, I have a few responses for you tonight, and hopefully, you will read them and take what I say to heart.

    First, you did insinuate. Your question was more-so rhetorical than direct, because you then went on to say, “I was curious because such a detailed, passionate defence…coming from anyone who isn’t the author or the author’s spouse or editor, is, I have to say, unique.” An insinuation occurs when a person hints at something while stating/asking something else. So, you hinted that I was either the author, her spouse, or her editor, correct? That was a rhetorical question, and I am insinuating you did exactly that. :)

    You also went on to say, “I wanted to be sure I wasn’t talking to the author because she might be insulted when I tell you…the writing is fucking horrible, amateurish, and dull as a Harry Potter Mary Sue opus written by a twelve-year-old.”

    I’ve respected Jane’s opinion, and I respect yours, on a very different scale. With your response, you’ve shown that you aren’t able to respond to criticism like an adult, yet compare the author to a pre-pubescent teen? Now, I have one question for you, Ann Somerville, are you the same Ann Somerville over at Amazon who has written Lindira? Are you that Ann Somerville or is that another indie author? I will wait for your response before I continue this message…

  68. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 18:05:16

    @Shiloh Walker: Beautifully said.

  69. Ann Somerville
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 18:06:23

    @Fair-Lady:

    “First, you did insinuate.”

    Nope.

    But you didn’t tell the truth when you answered.

    My website is linked at the top of my comments, unlike yours. You already know the answer to your question.

  70. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 18:15:53

    @wikkidsexycool: I really appreciated this post. You make a great point. Dmitri’s Closet straddles the line between Street Lit and Romance and becomes “Urban Fiction.” Street Lit is raw, gritty, and edgy, with slang thrown in like it’s confetti, and there are some amazing books out there in this genre (Terri Woods, Nurit Folkes, Sister Souljah), and then there are books like Latrivia Nelson’s and Sienna Mynx’s, stories like Seven Days and many others. They are intense, and action-packed but the dialogue/language (I think) separates them from Street Lit. It would be interesting to see any discussion about Street Lit stories on this site.

  71. jane_l
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 18:37:28

    @Fair-Lady – I’m really struggling to discern what exactly gritty, edgy raw dialogue existed in Dmitry’s closet. It’s one thing to say that the innocent virgin taken up by the big bad mafia lord is a particular kink. I get that. I love certain tropes too. But there is nothing gritty or urban or even slang in this book that is remotely urban.

    Is it this exchange (copied directly from the text)

    “Yes, it is very good,” she confirmed. “The best duck I’ve ever had.”

    “Yes, after this, everything else wil be al downhil .” He looked at her for a moment, then shifted back to their conversation with a large smile on his angelic face. “My name is Dmitry Medlov.” He stuck his hand out across the table and offered it to Royal.

    or

    “You are funny.” He reached out for her arm and pulled her closer to him. “But you don’t fool me. You need man in your life. Someone to make that beautiful brown skin of yours glow. You try to be tough, but your needs are no different from any other woman’s.” He rubbed his large hand across her cheek.

    “A man, huh? Oil of Olay makes your skin glow, not men. Besides, how can you talk? I haven’t seen you with a woman the entire time that I’ve been here, and I know that you?re not gay. So evidently, you don?t have time either.”

    or this

    Royal thought for a minute, tapping her foot as she debated. “Fine. I’ll wait out in the car while you go change.”

    “Who said that you were invited in? I don’t need help dressing.” Dmitry shot her a stare. “Someone that thinks very highly of themselves in this car tonight.”

    “Call it what you want to Dmitry, but I don’t go to strange men houses in the middle of the night so they can get dressed or undressed.”

    Exactly what is so gritty and urban here? Nothing. So no, there isn’t anything about this book or Sienna Mynx that differentiates it from any other genre fiction other than a) there is no text that actually shows why the two love each other and b) that it isn’t anything but pedantic dialogue.

    As it relates to the idea of this being intraracial romance, I have to say that you could have replaced Royal with any other skin color and the story would remain exactly the same.

  72. Kaetrin
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 18:59:09

    @Fair-Lady: Slang is very different to bad grammar/misused words/poor spelling. Or, did I misunderstand your comment?

  73. wikkidsexycool
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:01:46

    @Fair-Lady,

    Yes, that would be an interesting discussion. Some readers may not be aware that they’ve been exposed to a bit of “street lit” via JR Ward’s earlier cracktastic BDB books featuring the profanity laced, slang filled dialogue of Zadist and especially Vicious, True? (haha, I couldn’t resist, True dat). But any conversation along the lines of traditional romance vs. street lit vs. IR urban fiction would have to get deep and honest from both sides. Shelly made a great point earlier about “the books come off as a bit fetishist in how exotic it is to date someone from another race.” I think this can happen to any author, and I’m not comfortable with how the Russians and Italian characters are portrayed in many of the novels, but that’s just me. Also, the malapropisms must be addressed. This is something comedians point out and use, but I really cringe when it’s in a novel I’m reading.

    Edited to add: Thanks Jane for correcting my earlier post from “perfer” to “prefer” :)

  74. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:16:33

    @Ann Somerville: Dear Ann, please re-read the entire comment above. If you still believe that you didn’t insinuate, you obviously don’t understand the meaning of the word, and I perhaps did a bad job explaining it to you. I apologize for that. I will attempt to be clear: By asking, “what is your relationship to the author?” after my staunch defense of the work, you meant for everyone else, including me, to think that I have some relationship with the author outside of being a fan. I hope that was better. If you continue to deny this, I will simply assume that you have no concept of what an insinuation is.

    You mentioned that I didn’t tell the truth when I answered. Are you referring to my relationship with the author? I already told you that I’m a fan. I am not the author, I am not her husband, I am not her editor, nor I am her mother, sister, best friend, cousin, cousin-in-law, cousin twice removed, friend-of-a-friend-of-another-friend’s sister, or anything else. I am simply one of her many readers.

    Also, thank you for making me aware that your website is linked to your name. I knew you were an author, since someone commented that she would never read your work, but I really wanted to make sure that you are the Ann Somerville I found on Amazon before I continued my response.

    Now, Ann Somerville, you said that in your “not remotely humble opinion, the writing is fucking horrible, amateurish, and dull as a Harry Potter Mary Sue opus written by a twelve-year-old.”

    Had you put it differently, I wouldn’t have looked up your works to find the source of your “not so humble opinion.” But you did, so I expected absolute perfection when I searched through the excerpts of your works. Obviously, you would be stellar at all of the things that make stories great.

    Have you ever heard the saying about glass houses and stones? No? Well, Ann you live in a glass house and I have a few stones (small ones, I promise). I’ve taken a brief look at the excerpts of Lindira, Kei’s Gift, and Slipping Under. Your writing is not perfect. Imagine my surprise, because I expected to be blown away by greatness. You will no doubt say, “I never said it was” and to counter, I’ll respond, “It was implied.”

    I found Lindira to be awkwardly styled with grammatical errors. Now, your grammatical errors weren’t excessive, but they were there. Kei’s Gift and Slipping Under, forgive me but I can’t remember which is which, showcased a loose grasp of punctuation, particularly with regard to commas, and a sentence beginning with, “She’d got…”

    I won’t go more into detail because I don’t wish to read and spend time on your stories, even excerpts, not because they are horrid, amateurish, and as dull as whatever (they might be but I haven’t read enough to judge that) but because I don’t want to read anything by an author who comes onto a message board, and calls another author’s work, “fucking horrible.”

    Ann, you are your brand. You are an author, and every time you sign your name to a post, you can gain a reader or lose a reader. It’s very simple. You are your brand, and from what I’ve seen, your brand is incredibly unprofessional. There are ways to say things when you want them associated with your brand, and there are ways not to. Take a lesson from Shiloh Walker or Jill Sorenson. Classy always does it, especially when branding.

  75. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:26:21

    @jane_l: Jane, this@jane_l: Jane, I stated that this book straddles the line between Street Lit and Romance, which culminates in “Urban Fiction.” I never said it was Street Lit. In fact, I stated that it has different dialogue/language from Street Lit. It is gritty and raw, not the dialogue so much, but the story itself. It’s about a “gangster” with a psychotic brother, and the “gangster-life” so I think it’s fair to call it raw, and gritty.

    Out of curiosity, have you ever read a Street Lit book? Teri Woods? Nurit Folkes? Sister Souljah? Anyone? I’m only asking this question because many of us who have read Street Lit see a difference between Dmitri’s Closet and mainstream romance.

  76. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:32:19

    @wikkidsexycool: What a great comparison. You have ALL been exposed to a form of Street Lit in the form of the Black Dagger Brotherhood if you are familiar with J.R.Ward. Ward does it very well and mixes into mainstream romance, but she still does it.

  77. Ann Somerville
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:33:17

    @Fair-Lady:

    “By asking, “what is your relationship to the author?” after my staunch defense of the work, you meant for everyone else, including me, to think that I have some relationship with the author outside of being a fan.”

    You can read what you want into it. I didn’t say anything like that.

    “You mentioned that I didn’t tell the truth when I answered. Are you referring to my relationship with the author?”

    Yes.

    “I am simply one of her many readers. ”

    Yeah, but no.

    ” a sentence beginning with, “She’d got…” ”

    That’s a perfectly grammatical thing to write.

    “You are an author, and every time you sign your name to a post, you can gain a reader or lose a reader.”

    Oh, gosh. I never knew that! Thanks for enlightening me! You mean, all this time I’ve been blogging, writing, reviewing, and commenting under the same pen name, and I never ever realised people could *link* all those things to me just because I’ve put my name and website everywhere I write or comment?

    Well, that’s taught me something so astonishing.

    I hope everyone here who’s looked at the summary of this book and assumed because it was badly written, that the book was badly written, will take your sage wisdom into consideration, and give it another chance. I’m sure that’s how it works.

    Jane has a very low tolerance of slanging matches, so I’m not responding to you any more.

  78. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:37:55

    @Kaetrin: @Kaetrin: You did misunderstand my statement. I never said that slang excuses bad grammar. Unless in the form of dialogue, it doesn’t. I also never said that this work didn’t have grammatical errors as it does. What I did say, and I repeat now, is that despite those errors, the book is an exciting one, the characters are three dimensional, and the story flows for those of us who overlook the mistakes.

  79. jane_l
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:42:35

    @Fair-Lady: Seriously? You are holding up JR Ward as an exemplar for urban slang? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  80. Kaetrin
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:43:58

    @Fair-Lady: Grammatical errors that egregious are something I find difficult to overlook, so, I’m unlikely to enjoy this book. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I’m going with Jane on this one.

  81. Fair-Lady
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 19:51:17

    @jane_l: I’m not sure whether you’re laugh-crying at me or J.R. Ward, so I take some comfort in that. I never said this was an exemplary Street Lit/Urban Fiction. If you read what I said carefully, you will see that. I said Ward takes from Street Lit and puts it into her mainstream romance novels. You still haven’t answered whether or not you’ve read an actual Street Lit book?

  82. Samantha
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 20:32:14

    @Fair-Lady:

    You’re certainly turning me off ever reading this author and you’re absolutely doing them no favors white-knighting for them and being generally horrible to folks on this thread because you disagree with them, to the point of going after their sites and attacking them there.

    This is authors behaving badly and then some, and I sure wouldn’t thank a fan for guaranteeing that I would never get a review from anyone who reads this thread knowing that you’ll be there, ready to stalk and howl at them if you think they didn’t kiss the author’s butt enough in the review.

  83. jane_l
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 20:35:18

    @Samantha: It appears that the book has driven a lot of non DA readers to the site and that isn’t always a bad thing. ;)

  84. Robin/Janet
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 23:35:42

    For me, comparing the Black Dagger Brotherhood to Street Lit is an insult to Street Lit. And while I haven’t read Dmitry’s Closet beyond the excerpts offered here and elsewhere, I have a very hard time finding a meaningful comparison between it and Sister Souljah, stylistically or thematically.

    Just because a book concerns certain topics does not ensure its membership in a certain genre. And if this book has been inspired by Street Lit, I think it’s going in a very different direction, one that revels in rather than questions some disturbing and socially problematic stereotypes. Defining the heroine by her sexuality and using her as the hero’s salvation, for example, is worrisome, because it reinforces the idea that women and their bodies are currency.

    Now I’m not saying that the author was NOT inspired by Street Lit when writing this book, but I think this review and the excerpts I’ve read make it a challenge to establish a coherent connection between the finished book and that genre.

  85. wikkidsexycool
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 08:48:42

    Imho Dmitry’s Closet was part of the new wave of IR using elements of Street Lit (I believe it came out in 2010) but adding a lot more romance. I think, but I’m not sure, that’s why it’s being called “Urban” to try to set the book apart. I also believe this was done because there was and is an audience out there who enjoy the Alpha male crime figure, especially one who hooks up with a minority female (especially one a tad bit innocent).

    Some of the tropes of this genre (or sub-genre, which it may really be) are dropping designer labels, the Alpha male lead must be rich and powerful, a bit of danger, and lots of sex.

    As Jane pointed out, the dialogue is tame compared to gritty street lit, but that’s part of it’s appeal. Some readers wanted more of the fairy tale romance and authors like Nelson and others responded. I’m stating all this with the understanding that there are issues with this book, as pointed out in the review.

    I think Jill Sorenson had a good point when she stated “The satisfied readers just don’t notice the errors.”

    Hmm. This whole subject is worth researching, from the standpoint of the evolution of African American fiction. I should also add that in some of the original Street Lit novels, the male viewpoint is dominate, so females don’t fare as well, unless there’s a mother figure involved. Last time I looked at the current offerings I saw a number of bad ass females in charge gaining steam and really raw storylines.

    As far as the BDB, I kept hearing about Ward’s gritty characters, so I needed to see for myself just how “urban” they were (I’m trying to word this carefully, because Ward has faced a backlash of sorts in recent years). In Dark Lover for example, when Zsadist says to Wrath, something along the line of “you wanna get off my dick?” and when Rev was introduced as a pimp/drug dealer the atmosphere and some of the dialogue reminded me of Street Lit. It may have been part of the reasons her vampires stood out, but also some were hoping that at least one among the BDB were of a minority group. Her earlier BDB works are the ones I’m talking about, not the most recent ones.

  86. Robin/Janet
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 15:37:15

    @wikkidsexycool: I have a lot of problems referring to the BDB books as UL/SL, and one of them is the fact that the vamps are basically white guys who use urban slang, which I find, well, to put it bluntly, kind of racist. And I hate using that blunt of a term, because the academic in me prefers something like “racially problematic,” but honestly, I find it so frustrating and offensive, it goes beyond that for me. I find it appropriative and exploitive, and as far from urban as many of the power heroes in Harlequin Presents, which also share a number of the characteristics you and others have outlines as relevant to Dmitry’s Closet.

    As I said, I can’t speak to the author’s intentions in writing the book; I can only say that I think it’s important to go beyond the superficial elements to look more closely at how they’re being used, to what end, and with what implications. Not that all UL/SL is the same or even thematically unconflicted, but I have seen a number of these same elements in mainstream Rom, too, albeit with white characters (Shannon McKenna comes immediately to mind).

  87. wikkidsexycool
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 17:32:41

    Hi Robin/Janet,

    I can certainly understand this, because there are some very vocal critics of Ward who have accused her of cultural appropriation. BDB (the early books) aren’t Street lit, I agree with you. But they had elements inserted in the first few novels that were reminiscent (to me) of the genre, and for some readers this made the series quite popular, while turning off others. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen older message threads – not on this site – complaining why Ward had them speaking so “ghetto.” Ward has a diverse fan base, so there was a hope that at some point the author wouldn’t turn them into solely white vampires, because she stated they weren’t (I forget her exact words maybe someone else recalls, but in one of her sessions with fans she mentioned something about their race and then finally she’s been a lot clearer in her latest novels. Most now know that they’re white, however in the beginning she straddled the line and gave some minority fans hope). While she inserted the Shadows, (IAM and Trey) they unfortunately defaulted into glorified man-servants, carrying Rev ‘s food, etc. when they could have been, and still can be so much more.

    I’m currently doing more research on the Street Lit/Urban Lit/ IR Urban Romance Lit genre, so that I can chart the current trends in the genre.

    I hope the author of Dmitry’s Closet goes back at some point and edits the errors pointed out in Jane’s review. While liking or disliking the storyline is subjective, limiting the errors could possibly open her up to new fans. No book is error free and I just noticed I’ve got one on my first released novel’s opening page, where I’ve spelled doilie as doylie, so I must remedy that with a quickness :)

  88. Fair-Lady
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 03:00:17

    @Samantha: I don’t think the author is quite worried about that, Sam. Quite frankly, she shouldn’t be. I have “attacked” only where there was an attack, and I don’t consider those attacks–more like reality checks. I came to this topic to give an alternative opinion, which I did. Many feel just as I do, and refused to comment on this thread because it is on a site that has a general reputation for being intolerant of opposing views. Some couldn’t handle my opinion and decided to attack my credibility. That, I assume, is where you see “general horribleness.”

  89. Ann Somerville
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 03:05:41

    @Fair-Lady:

    Fair-lady, surely you are a good woman, and yet you use the weasel words ‘Many feel’ and ‘Some couldn’t’.

    You claim you only speak for yourself, but now you speak for the author and her readers too? How is it that you are so knowledgeable about their thoughts and feelings, when you are so unaware what a ridiculous statement “a site that has a general reputation for being intolerant of opposing views” is.

    A good woman would never say such a thing.

  90. paganalexandria
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 07:29:31

    I keep coming back to this thread entranced by the drama the original review inspired and two quotes keep running through my mind with each post:

    1.”It’s not that serious…”
    2.”Bitches be crazy!” (a nod to the street lit/urban fiction referenced)

    What started as a valid critical review has turned into typical internet warring about everything and nothing. I’m also aware my own post is just adding to the silliness but unfortunately my fingers have Tourette’s this morning.

  91. wikkidsexycool
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 09:11:31

    Here’s what I’d humbly like to suggest:

    Submit a piece to DA on the sub genre of IR Street Lit Romance (forgive me, I know this isn’t the correct designation, but I can’t think of anything more appropriate at the moment) and contrast it with romance as traditionally thought of. While I grew up reading Donald Goines, I was also influenced by commercial fiction and romance authors such as Joanna Lindsey. Non-fiction’s what I read most often as I love to do research.

    I wouldn’t mind working with you Fair-Lady, on this, but I don’t want to overstep my bounds here. You can email me at wikkidsexycool@gmail.com if you’re interested.

    And let me also say, I’m a fan of Ann Somerville, and also you Fair-Lady, because I hear what both of you are saying, regardless of how you’re saying it.

    Edited to add: By “submit”, I do not mean to imply that it will be accepted. But I’ve read several excellent pieces on this site, and I see no reason not to explore this sub genre and see if DA will post it, as per their internal review process.

  92. Shelley
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 09:15:12

    @paganalexandria: This made me laugh out loud. Good start to my morning.

    I would like to go back to what this whole thing started over – the fact that no matter to whom the story may or may not personally appeal or resonate, bad grammar and poor spelling still don’t excuse, in any way, allowing said book to be published, whether as “urban”, “street lit”, or otherwise without being edited and corrected. I don’t mind reading dialog/colloquialisms as long as it “sounds” natural in my head. But when I have to stumble over misspelled words and awkward and unrealistic sentences, it makes me nuts and I have to wonder about the people who so readily accept garbage like this and choose to give 5-stars to a book put together so awfully. 5-stars should be given to books like “Precious” and “The Color Purple”. I mainly like these because I liked the main characters and how they triumphed in their own right at the end. But any misspellings, colloquialisms, or other “mistakes” were very deliberate to reflect the education of the characters and/or geographical setting.

    @Ann Somerville: I happen to agree that Fair-lady seems too invested in the critique of the book to not be something to the author. Of course, there are other authors with a pretty rabid fan base also who would just as soon rip your heart out over any sort of criticism of their Mostest-Favoritest-In-The-Whole-Entire-World-Who-Would-Never-Ever-Ever-Write-Shitty-Books-No-Matter-What author. They all know who they are even if they won’t admit it. :O) And that’s the only time I’m going to comment on this particular point.

  93. AlexaB
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 14:43:11

    @Shelley:

    I agree with you that bad grammar and poor spelling are unforgivable.

    I’m still struggling with whether the proliferation of popular self-published books with poor English grammar and spelling is a good thing or a bad thing. (Yes, traditionally published books have their errors, too, although in my experience they are nowhere near as prevalent or egregious.)

    I’m all for readers finding stories they enjoy. And there is obviously a hungry market for novels that might not otherwise find a home with a traditional publisher. That’s a very good thing.

    But the next generation of writers comes from readers. And if is this is the level of English literacy to which that generation will aspire…ugh. I can’t get through a Kristen Ashley or R.L Mathewson book, even though I recognize the crack being peddled, because their grammar and spelling grates on my brain. There is playing with language for effect, and then there is outright ignorance of grammar and spelling. For the former to work, you better know the latter frontward, backward and sideways. And judging by the sample I read of Dmitry’s Closet, the writing isn’t playing with grammar for effect, but is suffering from poor English composition skills (as are the Ashley and Mathewson novels.)

    I hope I won’t be forced to stop reading popular contemporary romance because the next wave of writers will be raised on books like this.

    Then again, I was shaking my fist and yelling “get off my lawn, you kids!” when I was fifteen, so I might just be a curmudgeonly grump who can’t relax and enjoy a good story.

  94. Robin/Janet
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 14:55:29

    @wikkidsexycool: I don’t know one person of color who recognizes the “slang” spoken by the BDB characters as authentic, so while I absolutely appreciate the disappointment readers of color feel that Ward has kept her characters white, I don’t know what her characters of color would be like. Although it’s interesting, because in other ways her books seem somewhat responsive to readers (e.g. pulling the lessers at once point, and including that scene about how her women were really strong, even though they appeared weak).

  95. Shelley
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 15:02:01

    @AlexaB:
    “Then again, I was shaking my fist and yelling “get off my lawn, you kids!” when I was fifteen, so I might just be a curmudgeonly grump who can’t relax and enjoy a good story.”

    Too funny!!!!

    I have read a few KA and Mathewson and yeah, they just about fry my brain. I can only do it in small spurts. I got KA’s newsletter today and supposedly she has signed with a “semi-real” publisher who I hope would go back and edit them down at least a little. They are extremely redundant. I can take bad grammar almost better than being told over and over and over the same damn thing, in 50 different ways. IMHO. :O)

  96. wikkidsexycool
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 17:32:42

    Hi Robin/Janet,

    I appreciate our dialogue on this.

    I agree that Ward’s latest novels have some WTF phrases that appear made up, but again I stress, her earlier works included:

    “My brother” which was a form of greeting uttered regularly in the 70s. We used to also say “My sister” and you can still hear African American comedians using it. Cornel West still uses it when addressing individuals, and its my belief that this is but one example of how Ward was inspired by certain phrases, and hey, inspiration is where you find it.

    In an earlier post I listed “get of my dick” (again, another raw, old skol phrase). It would be equivalent to “get off my back” in its grittiest form. That line was uttered by Zsadist on Pg 30 of Dark Lover. Her scenes regarding Rev’s profession appear to have been inspired by Street Lit in order to give her vamps a bit more flavor and to make them appear hard.

    Since I’m already working on a research piece regarding IR Street Lit Romance which encompasses Ward’s early BDB dialogue, I’ll dust off my earlier Street Lit novels and also the ones that were out prior to Ward’s release of BDB in order to try to make my point clearer.

    Edited to add: Sorry, I meant I’d make it clearer in the piece I’m working on. I’m not planning on beating this point to the ground here, because I recognize this thread is about Dmitry’s Closet.

  97. Fair-Lady
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 11:11:41

    @Ann Somerville: Dearest Ann, I was under the impression that you’d stopped replying to me. Obviously, I was wrong. I read your last response like I’d read many of your responses, with incredulity. Where did I state that I was good woman? Am I good woman? I would say so, though you’ve made up your mind to my “goodness” based on this discussion. What I am, good or not, is honest. Do not think that this is the only discussion happening concerning DA’s review of this story. As I said before, there are many who share my views who refuse to comment on DA because of the site’s reputation. You also stated that I claim to speak for the author? That’s silly, Ann, but quite honestly, I’ve become accustomed to these illogical conclusions of yours. It is quite possible to speak for oneself and refer to the truth of the matter, which is that there are many others, on other sites and blogs, who are discussing this thread. The only reason I learned of this discussion was because I follow one of these blogs.

  98. Jane
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 14:18:43

    I can see the comments have devolved so I am going to close the comments at this point.

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