Blog Tour + Review: Shatterproof by Xen Sanders


Xen Sanders
Rating: A-

What I’m Talking About:

Unique and evocative, I found Shatterproof to be both difficult in many ways, yet important, as well. Rich with imagery—from the brushstrokes of Grey Jean-Marceline’s paintings and water drops forming on Saint’s hands, to descriptions of a cold so deep I felt it through my own skin—it is a beautiful, yet precariously balanced examination of one man’s struggle with depression. Immediately in favor of the story as a whole is the thoughtful forward by the author which gives forthright caution with regard to the various trigger warnings present in the narrative. These should absolutely be heeded, but I still felt that Shatterproof is a wonderful story.

Though dark in theme and setting throughout most of the story, Shatterproof is also filled with color, both symbolic and literal.

The author expertly paints each chapter with many incarnations of that darkness and their counterparts—black canvas and vibrant oils, the night sky split by flashing lights, and the “ebonwood and silver and gold” of Grey himself. And still, even the varying hues of the unspoken stories that crowd every surface in Saint’s room aren’t enough to “fix” what’s really troubling Grey.

A big, fascinating part of Shatterproof has to do with Grey’s love of his heritage and his faith. Despite my own ignorance of Catholic vodou, the beauty of Grey’s reverence was clear throughout the narrative, and I was grateful for the author’s often lyrical explanations of the loa, particularly as they seem to come to life on Grey’s canvasses. Unlike the erroneous depictions used in most “Hollywood” versions of the religion, these spirits are earthy and approachable, and have far more in common with those who would seek their aid than might be expected.

Unlike a lot of multitasking novels I’ve read in the past, Shatterproof manages to bring together different matters of consequence without losing the impact of any single one of them. A blend of religious symbolism, Celtic mythology, and the brutally specific nature of depression, among a few other things, it is also an unflinching view of the need to address the severe lack of support for those who live with depression every day, particularly among underrepresented groups. Though dark, Shatterproof isn’t without its moments of hope and love, while reinforcing the belief that learning self-acceptance just might be the most important step of all.

My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot


About the Book:

Saint’s afraid to die. Grey can’t stand to live.

Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.

All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.

When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.

Release Date: September 5, 2016
Riptide Publishing
ISBN: #978-1626494602
Paranormal, LGBTQ, m/m
paperback (225 pages), e-book
Book Source: NetGalley

Purchase Info:


From the Author:

Hey there. I’m Xen Sanders, and thank you for joining me for the release of Shatterproof! (I will have you know that exclamation point was under duress. Grr. I am grrr and dour and deadpan man-thing. Really.)

I’m immensely grateful that some of my favorite blogs have opened their doors and given me an opportunity to talk about a book that means so much to me, and that comes from so much personal experience. Stick around to chat, ask questions, and join in the discussion for a chance to win a $30 Riptide gift card and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card! (@*$%!#ing exclamation points…)

About Xen Sanders

Xen Sanders is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. He wavers between calling himself bisexual and calling himself queer, but no matter what word he uses, he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA representation and visibility in genre fiction.

He also writes contemporary romance and erotica as Cole McCade. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:

• Email: blackmagic@blackmagicblues.com

• Twitter: @thisblackmagic

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xen.cole

• Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/ColeMcCadeBooks

• Website & Blog: http://www.blackmagicblues.com

He’s recently launched the Speak Project, an online open-access platform where anyone can anonymously or openly share or read stories of abuse—a way for survivors to overcome the silencing tactics of abusers to speak out against what was done to them, and let other survivors know they’re not alone.

• http://blackmagicblues.com/speak/

He also runs an advice column called Dammit, Cole, where he occasionally answers questions about everything from romance and dating to the culture of hypermasculinity, from the perspective of a male romance author:

• http://www.blackmagicblues.com/category/dammit-cole/

Looking for more? You can get early access to cover reveals, blurbs, contests, and other exclusives by joining the McCade’s Marauders street team at:

• http://www.facebook.com/groups/mccadesmarauders/


To celebrate the release of Shatterproof, one lucky winner will receive $30 Riptide Credit and a $25 gift card to B&N or Amazon. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! Open to participants who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor. Prize will be delivered by the contest sponsor. This blog, its reviewers, and the owner are not responsible for items lost in the mail. By entering this giveaway, participants agree to abide by these terms.

  • H.B.

    Thank you for the review!
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    • B.

      Thank you!!

  • I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this until you said, “Though dark, Shatterproof isn’t without its moments of hope and love, while reinforcing the belief that learning self-acceptance just might be the most important step of all.” I like the sound of that! Brilly review!

    • B.

      Thank you so much! It is a darker story than I usually go for myself, but this wasn’t what I’d expected. Not a light and sunny read, by any stretch, but definitely an important message with an eye for the possibilities that might be. I very much hope you enjoy it!

  • trix23

    I appreciate the review!

    vitajex@aol dot com

    • B.

      Thank you!

  • Jen

    Loved the review! Reinforced my decision to put Shatterproof on my TBR list.


    • B.

      Thanks very much! I’m anxious to know what others think of this one, too.

  • Ami Savitri

    Thanks so much for the review


    • B.

      Thank you!

  • Lisa S

    Thanks for the post & review.

    • B.

      Thanks so much!

  • Ree Dee

    Thank you for the great review. I can’t wait to read it.

    ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com

    • B.

      Thank you! Enjoy!

  • Lisa Brown

    It looks interesting, thanks for the chance 🙂
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

    • B.

      Thank you for reading!

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