Friday, January 08, 2016
Behind Closed Doors 2 : Dana’s Story : A.L. Smith
Fear is a defense mechanism that produces a vital
response to emotional and physical danger.
Walking five blocks to and from school through the
dangerous ghetto would have intimidated any twelve year old, but
survival was a way of life and fear was my protection. There were
no immediate signs of danger during my daily journey, but I was
instinctively aware of everything around me and always prepared
to act accordingly. As my classmates sped by me on their colorful
bicycles, I grew excited about the prospect that I might finally get
one of my own for Christmas. My father gave my mom the money
to purchase the bike the previous year, but she used the money to
pay the electric bill—at least, that’s the story she told me. When I
mistakenly allowed her to see my disappointment, I received a
whipping and an hour-long speech about my ungratefulness.
“I feed you, and this is the thanks I get? I don’t hear
anyone else around here complaining and poor-mouthing," she
She looked at my younger sisters and my little brother for
affirmation. I wanted to remind her of the fact that they had little
to complain about since she gave them everything. My point was
valid, but I was smart enough to know that a comment from me on
the topic would result in another lashing.
My sisters didn’t respond to the latest outburst from my
mother because they were accustomed to it. However, I could see
the paralyzing fear on their little faces. At times, the verbal and
physical abuse that I received from my mother had a greater
impact on them than it had on me. As a coping mechanism, I
learned to channel everything to a place that was beyond the realm
of feeling. I no longer responded to the physical pain that my
mother inflicted and it drove her crazy. The verbal abuse escalated
a few notches when she realized it had a greater effect on me than
her physical punishments.
This was my life for as long as I could remember, but the
intensity of the abuse dramatically increased when my parents
separated. I was around eight years old at the time. When I got
home from school that evening, I met my father at the front door.
When I noticed the suitcases and plastic bags, my heart sank. I
asked him if he was leaving for good and he said yes. My mother
came out of the house in a violent rage, which worsened at the
sight of my tears. Her eyes narrowed and she spoke to me through
“Why don’t you get your shit and go with your daddy!
That’s one less mouth for me to feed. I mean it, Bernard. Take that
little hussy with you!"
She spoke as if her words were meant for a perfect
stranger instead of her own daughter.
My father dropped his bags and knelt in front of me,
without so much as even a glance toward my mother. He gave me
a hug and cradled my face between his hands.
“I love you, Dana. Don’t ever forget that," he said softly.
He gave me a hug and a kiss on the forehead, then turned
to look at my mother for the last time. He spoke in Haitian Creole
or “patois” to my mother, who was from South Louisiana. It was
something my father often did to conceal his anger from me or
whenever he wanted to discuss sensitive information with my
mother. By now, I not only understood the language, but I spoke it
fluently. Neither of my parents were aware of this. In his thick
Haitian accent, he addressed my mother very calmly, but his anger
“You’re going to burn in hell for your evil ways, Diana,"
“I’ll be waiting for you when you get there,” she replied.
An evil smile crossed her face before she turned and
walked back into the house.
My father left that day and my entire world crumbled.
For more information about A.L. Smith and her novels, visit www.alsmithbooks.com
Wednesday, January 06, 2016
5 out of 5 books
Building Online Relationships by LaShaunda C. Hoffman is the most comprehensive guide for online promotions on the market today. Hoffman gives writers step by step tips on how to successfully promote your book online while continuing to focus on the primary goal of writing. There is a wealth of information including how to successfully do a blog tour, how to create an online promotional budget, and figuring out who your reader is. Hoffman also includes schedules and worksheets to help the writer to achieve specific goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. This book is not something to be read in one sitting. The book is meant to be read in stages so that you can complete the worksheets and calendars according to the different goals you're trying to reach. One of the many stand out tips of this book is to not become a "drive by" author in different social media groups and forums. Many writers need to definitely take heed of this advice. Building Online Relationships provides excellent information not only for writers but other literary professionals can benefit from some of these tips as well.
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Keith and Celine Richardson have been married for twelve years with a little girl named Kassie. But lately, their home has not been the "happily ever after" that it used to be. With Celine's business, Kassie, and her best friend Lauren, Celine has not made time for her husband. With the constant arguments and Keith coming in at all times of the night and early morning, their marriage is crumbling.
To make matters worse, Celine has found out that she has cancer. So now she has to deal with her failing marriage, take care of her daughter, and her cancer treatments. She is now wondering if she's going to have to weather this storm alone. Soon she realizes that she does have a great support team and it comes in the form of her very best friend Lauren. Celine and Lauren have been inseparable since childhood. She finally decides to tell her best friend about her health and the health of her marriage. Is it too late for her friend to give her the support that she needs?
What can I say about Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby? I have never been disappointed with one of her novels. This is a short read, but it's a good one. It doesn't jump all over the place. It stays on track with how Celine and Keith's marriage started to go down hill. I have always loved how the author incorporates God in her books. It's never too much or too little. It’s always straight to the point and you know that no matter what your circumstances are God is always in control! Trust me, there are some twist and turns throughout the book that you will not expect. Best Friends Forever is a short novel but a good one. I highly recommend this book.
Friday, December 25, 2015
"The love of money is the root to all evil, but poverty and lack are its greatest companions..." A.L. Smith
Human trafficking is often considered an international phenomenon and women from third world countries are the first images that come to mind. However, “familial human trafficking” is a more intimate crime due to the dynamics of the underlying relationships.
Behind Closed Doors 2 the riveting tale of one little girl’s struggle to overcome circumstances beyond her control. Born and raised on the ruthless streets of East St Louis, Dana Toussaint was accustomed to a life of privilege; thanks to her father, a Haitian-born immigrant and notorious drug lord. Dana’s mother; a materialistic southern belle from South Louisiana, is consumed by the good life, as memories of her upbringing in an East New Orleans housing project become a distant memory.
In spite of the similarities between the Haitian and Louisiana Creole cultures, the marriage unravels and the unthinkable occurs when Dana’s father abruptly abandons the family. At the age of 12, Dana becomes the ultimate sacrifice and her mother brokers the deal.
Coming January 2016!
Posted by UR at 1:45 PM
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
UR : Tell us about A Wife's Betrayal.
MKP: A Wife's Betrayal is a novel about two wives Kennedi and Charlotte, from my novel Paparazzi, that are living a lie that's filled with ultimate betrayal. Kennedi's husband suffers from amnesia as she hides from him, her dark past and his true identity. Charlotte, newly widowed, is sleeping with the enemy and marries the man that she thinks murdered her husband. She seeps deep into the Mafia world and realizes, there's no getting out. As both of the wives lives collide, lives are lost, secrets are revealed, and their worlds are turned upside down, as the drama unfolds. Definitely another page turner!
UR: What inspired you to write this novel?
MKP: It’s actually a spinoff from Paparazzi. People wanted to know what happened to those characters. Well I thought that it would be great to have a new novel, that developed those characters even further. Charlotte shows growth and Kennedi is still crazy as ever, but in the end, it's all about understanding both of their journeys from where they've come from. A lot of time, we as people, judge without knowing what others have been through. That was my motivation.
UR: When was the moment that you realized that you wanted to become a writer?
MKP: I always wrote poetry as a teenager, and I always wanted to touch people thru literature. One day, I was speaking to my good friend, Tiffany. She raised a topic that I felt needed to be addressed on a larger platform. She was going through something in her relationship and said a powerful statement. She said that she felt she was being punished for everything her father did wrong to the women in his life. That statement hit home. Sometimes people don't realize how their actions can sometimes affect their seeds. Men sometimes don't realize how they treat women in relationships and how it could really come back on their daughters. I could definitely relate to that. That's how I built the relationship between Denie and Rich in The Dirty Divorce, and the rest is history!
UR: What is the best advice that a fellow writer has given you?
MKP: Save your money so when bigger projects surface, you can have ownership in your work. Here's my own advice I would offer to any writer that is reading this-
Always be a student and never be so married to your work that you don't embrace corrective criticism. Don't settle to be good, be the greatest. Be patient and stay connected to your readers.
UR: Name one thing that you know now that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your writing journey.
MKP: Learning the business side is important in order for growth. This industry has waves so you must invest in your growth.
UR: What do you want readers to know most about Miss KP the person?
MKP: Sometimes I feel I am misunderstood because of my brutal honesty...but I'm a loyal friend and through all my chaos in my busy life, my family comes first.
UR: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Amazon and ITunes
Click here to order your copy of A Wife's Betrayal today!
Monday, October 12, 2015
Friday, July 31, 2015
THE FORBIDDEN MAN by Elle Wright (July 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Edge of Scandal #1)
Known as a player, Morgan Smith has secretly spent years fighting his feelings for Sydney. When Den's latest dirty deed leaves Sydney devastated, Morgan can't stop himself from coming to her rescue. What begins as friendship quickly escalates into all-consuming passion. Despite their intense connection, Sydney would rather deny her desire than come between brothers. But as Morgan is determined to make Sydney his, Den won't give her up without a fight . . .
About the author:
Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor, Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance novel: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance. An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).
Buy the book!
Monday, July 13, 2015
5 out of 5 books
Janice Johnson is living her worst nightmare. Her young black son has been murdered and no arrest has been made. Janice wants to trust the justice system to do the right thing but that’s easier said than done. To further complicate matters, Janice’s brother-in-law wants to get his militant style group involved which she doesn’t approve of. Meredith Spencer’s husband is the person accused of the murder. She knows what really happened that night and feels conflicted. Does she do the right thing and tell the truth or does she stand by her man?
Stand Your Ground is the most prolific novel by Victoria Christopher Murray to date. Murray does an excellent job of bringing this controversial law to the forefront. The interesting part of this story is that you see all sides of this. You see not only Janice’s side of dealing with the murder of her son but you also see Meredith struggling with doing the right thing. Murray gives readers a front row seat to the dirty tricks that are used in order to sway pubic opinion and the jury about this case. This story would not be complete without Murray giving us a very satisfying and shocking conclusion. Stand Your Ground is great discussion book and another winner by Victoria Christopher Murray.
5 out 5 books
One tragic incident can change a life forever. This is what happened to Jamal Jones. Jamal records a scuffle with a white police officer on his cellphone that leads to the officer’s death. Facing murder charges, Jamal is now on the run. Jamal’s mother Gloria will do anything to protect her son. She knows that her son couldn't possibly be the cold blooded murderer that everyone is saying he is. When she finds her son, Gloria has to decide if she should turn him in or help him run. Kay Christiansen is a prosecutor and Houston mayoral candidate that can’t wait to put Jamal behind bars. But when her past comes back to haunt her, Kay has to worry about more than her case.
Mama’s Boy is a stunning novel by ReShonda Tate Billingsley. This emotionally charged story shows how strong a mother’s love is and decisions that she has to make in order to protect her child. Billingsley’s signature character development and shocking plot twists makes this a joy to read. Just when you think you have it all figured out, she drops another secret or lie on you. Mama’s Boy is the perfect book club selection because it would foster a lively discussion. Once again, ReShonda Tate Billingsley produced another heart wrenching and entertaining tale with Mama’s Boy.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Thursday, June 11, 2015
5 out of 5 books
Alicia is the oldest daughter of Reverend Curtis Black. In the past ,Alicia had some issues with deception, lying, and cheating on her husband Philip. After some time apart, Alicia gets a second chance with Philip and she is getting her " happily ever after”. That's until Levi pops back into the picture. As much as Alicia tries to deny it, she and Levi had a connection that is undeniable. Will Levi throw a monkey wrench in Alicia's chance at happiness with Philip or will she be able to resist him?
The Ultimate Betrayal is one of the best books I've read so far. I have read every single book in the Reverend Curtis Black series and this is a great one. I loved how no matter how much drama, lying, and cheating there is, Kimberla Lawson Roby always ties in God. There is a lot of detail included for each character in this story, but it's not overdone. It's a book that'll be hard to put down. It's one of those books that will have you gasping, screaming at the characters like they're in front of you. So far, The Ultimate Betrayal one is my favorite books in this series. Highly recommended!
Friday, June 05, 2015
5 out of 5 books
Who killed Jessie Belle? Natalia always wanted revenge on Jessie Belle due to the death of her father. Reina can never forget the pain Jessie Belle caused her. Chrissy vowed revenge on Jessie Belle for the beating that she suffered by unknown assailants. Jessie Belle’s family will not stop until they find out who pushed her over that balcony.
I have been waiting for this book. Jezebel’s Daughter will have you on the edge of your seat from the first page. The story gave enough details to keep you wanting more. What made me enjoy this book so much was the fact it was not predictable. You really don't find out who actually pushed Jezebel until…you have to read it! And trust me you will have your mouth open when you find out. Jacquelin Thomas did not disappoint with Jezebel’s Daughter.
Urban ReviewsOrder your copy of Jezebel's Daughter today!
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
5 out of 5 books
You can live an entire lifetime in the span of twelve hours. That’s what happened to this unlikely couple after a strange meeting in the rain at a gas station. He was having the worst day of his life. She was trying to make her day better by trying to con him. The mysterious rich man from Orange County became Jackie’s target. All she was looking for was a quick pay off but she ended up with something way more than she bargained for. Soon, she finds herself in an intense one night tryst with this stranger. Things become tense when it becomes more than just about sex. When raw emotions come to the surface, will they be able to survive the aftermath or are they headed for self-destruction?
Deception, sex, and murder is what you'll find in Eric Jerome Dickey’s latest novel One Night. This book snatches you up from the very first page. You’ll be become so engrossed in it that you literally won’t be able to put it down. Dickey does an excellent job of making you feel and see everything that’s happening in this story. You’re in the rain getting wet and frustrated with Jackie at that gas station. You’re feeling her wide range of emotions during their sexual liaison. You also feel the confusion that the man from Orange County has as his life spirals out of control. Dickey does a masterful job of wordplay that will entertain and make you a better reader or writer. Eric Jerome Dickey once again brought a juicy, salacious romp with One Night.
Monday, March 30, 2015
4 out of 5 books
Sasha “Pink” Jansen had heard the voice of God at the age of sixteen. During her purity ceremony at church, Pastor Malik Stroman placed the purity ring on her and God told her that he will be her husband one day. The only thing Pink had to do is to save herself for him. But the problem is that Pastor Stroman is already married. This doesn’t matter to Pink because she feels that God told her that this was going to be her husband. Meanwhile, Xavier is willing and able to be Pink’s man but she won’t let him into her heart. Pink is on this path to becoming Pastor Stroman’s First Lady but is it the right one?
Pink & Patent Leather is a good debut novel by Candy Jackson. There has never been a character that’s more irritating and clueless than Pink in recent memory. Jackson makes you want to continue to read this book because you need to know what’s going to happen next. Pink’s whole blind mission to become the next First Lady is so outlandish that you wonder when will she wake up from this fairytale? Jackson does an excellent job of illustrating the fact that sometimes people misread what God is trying to tell them. Sometimes you hear what you want to hear. This book would be a wonderful book club pick because it would foster some interesting discussions. Candy Jackson brought us a unique and entertaining storyline with Pink & Patent Leather.
Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Washington, DC author, Candy Jackson is a cosmetology teacher who loves to create poetry and short stories. Her reading rose to a brand new height with the discovery of many black writers whose work exploded in the ‘80’s. An avid reader, she began to tap into her own creative side and decided to write stories of her own. Candy is the mother of three young adult children and one grandson.
Urban Reviews: Start by telling us about Pink & Patent Leather.
Candy Jackson: Pink and Patent Leather is a book I started on years ago but never finished. My mentor says that I have a fear of success thus, I have several stories I have written but never finished. But, thank God I finished this one and was able to publish it.
Urban Reviews: What was your inspiration to pen this story?
Candy Jackson: I happen to be a church one Sunday and when my Pastor was closing out he said that women come up to him all the time and say, “God said you’re suppose to be my prayer partner or, we should be teaching Bible study together.” I thought it to be hilarious but then on my way home I thought, what if it wasn’t a woman? What if it was a girl who thought the Lord had spoken to her directing her to the Pastor, a married Pastor at that. By the time I got home, I began the tale of Sasha “Pink” Jansen.” The title was something I thought up long before the story develop. My mom dressed me in pink nearly everyday until I was like nine. I was the youngest child and the only girl.
Urban Reviews: Are you working on another book at this point?
Candy Jackson: I am currently working on a couple of books. “Lust” is a book I’m co-writing with another author and the sequel to Pink and Patent Leather. The title is “The Way, The Truth and The Lie.”
Urban Reviews: What lead you to write your first novel?
Candy Jackson: I’ve always loved reading and writing. I started out very young writing poems and messed around and did one at church. Well, my Pastor at the time felt like I had a little talent so by the time I was in my 20’s I made my rounds at area church's with my spoken word. At the same time I picked up a book by Terry McMillian and realized I missed reading. It was like a soul explosion with African American authors and before I knew it, I was reading a book a day. Thus, I knew it was time to write my own book. And here I am.
Urban Reviews: As a debut author, how has your experience been in the literary industry so far?
Candy Jackson: I kind of had a little practice. I’m very good friends with Victoria Christopher Murray and when we first met, I traveled with her a lot. I had my own expectations but after my book was release, I began a new and exciting chapter in my life. It’s been all of that, epic.
Urban Reviews: What would you say is the best advice given to you by a fellow author?
Candy Jackson: Read often and hustle.
Urban Reviews: How do you balance your writing life and home life?
Candy Jackson: I’m an empty nester! God is good and put me with the right people at doing the right thing, for such a time as this. I do work, but I have a lot of free time on my hands these days. I’m a little lazy, lay back as I like to say, I really need to do better.
Urban Reviews: Where can readers find more information about you and your books?
Candy Jackson: They can find me on www.browngirlspublishing.com and Amazon. They can head over to my website www.candyjackson.net or find me on facebook@ Candy Jackson and yes, I’m on twitter @ candygirlcan. I’m in the middle of building a new website as well and I’m hoping to make it a community for women over forty, you know to discuss issues, have a little fun and read some short stories. www.therealcandyjackson.com.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
3 out of 5 books
I cannot write a typical review for this book. First, this particular book would actually spark a great bookclub discussion. The first question would have to be
"What would you do?" As much as it would be hard to even imagine, walking in on your boyfriend having sex with someone other than you in your bed, is bad enough. But what if that person that he was having sex with was a member of your family?
That is exactly what happened when Gia walked in her home after hours of being on her feet at work, and seeing the man she loved having sex with her niece, Anita.
Now fast forward years later...
Gia marries this same man and has a baby with him.
If you think thats where this story ends, you’re in for a rude awakening, because as you can see this is just the beginning of this story.
Before you think I gave too much information on the story, read the synopsis and you will see the same thing there.
Sorrows Mate by Lowan Anderson was an excellent story. It was an easy and quick read. It was also an emotional read as well. You are sure to feel for both Anita and yes, even Gia. As hard as it is to want to hate Gia, you don't. The reason I did not give this book a 5 star is because the layout of the book was put together poorly. There was a chapter in the book that should have been put near the beginning of the book but was thrown out of sequence that made for a confusing moment in reading the book. By the time I realized what happened with this huge oversight, I had already read most of the chapter. Also, the timeframe was very unclear because the story kept switching from past to present with no clear indication of which was which. Overall though this was a very good read and like I said before would make for a great bookclub discussion.
Reviewed by Leona
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Yasmin Shiraz is a best selling and award winning author of several books, including Exclusive: An Amazon #1 Best Seller and Retaliation: A Novel which was named a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers by the American Library Association. She is the award winning Writer/Director of Can She Be Saved? which won Best Documentary at the NC Black Film Festival and the Best First Film at the Youth International Film Festival. She also wrote and produced the award winning suicide prevention web series, SOURCES. As an empowerment speaker and youth activist, she has spoken at over 100 colleges and universities as well as organizations such as Planned Parenthood, The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Girls Inc and the YMCA to name a few. She is a trained sociologist having received her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Hampton University and her Masters of Arts in Sociology from Morehead State University.
Urban Reviews: Tell us about Devious.
Yasmin Shiraz: Devious is the 3rd book in the Tisha Ariel Nikkole series. Its a sexy, fast-paced romance. At the end of Privacy, a tragic event occurs and Devious tells what happens next.
Urban Reviews: What made you decide to write another installment of this series after so many years?
Yasmin Shiraz: Readers continued to email me about Devious. I had promised a Devious book after Privacy, but I never wrote it. I like to be a person of my word. So, Devious is much later than it should have been, but hey, better late than never. And, I love Tisha and Shout. I want those characters to be around for a long time.
Urban Reviews: Will we see Tisha in another book in the future?
Yasmin Shiraz :Yes, I'm already working on the 4th book, Secrets. I cannot wait to share it with the readers.
Urban Reviews :You also have two teen novels Retaliation and Accused. Can you tell us a little more about these novels?
Yasmin Shiraz: Retaliation is about a teen girl who gets jumped by 3 girls that she doesn't know. Everyone (her family, school, community) wants to retaliate but her. It's a real page turner and was inspired by my work with teen girls. The book was named a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers by the American Library Association.
Accused is the sequel to Retaliation. The main characters go off to college and one of them is accused of a crime that they didn't commit. Accused exposes date rape on college campuses which is currently a hot topic. Accused was recently nominated for a book award by the In The Margins Book Committee of Librarians.
Urban Reviews: Retaliation is the catalyst for the Talk Retaliation empowerment series. Can you tell us about this and what your goals are for the series?
Yasmin Shiraz: I've visited schools, non-profit organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the US and I have a real dialogue with youth, police, and community leaders about violence. Each session feels like a therapy session. Police officers leave crying as well as youth and community leaders. The goal is to create an open forum and to build trust within our communities.
Urban Reviews: Are you working on any upcoming projects or books?
Yasmin Shiraz: I'm a documentary filmmaker as well as an author, so I'm currently on a film tour promoting my film on HIV/AIDS, entitled Growing Up Positive. I continue to write daily and am more committed to staying connected to the readers than ever.
Urban Reviews : What is the most important piece of advice that anyone has given you in regards to your writing career?
Yasmin Shiraz: "When things get tough, write. When you think you can't, write. When it's quiet, write. When it's noisy, write. When you're bored, write." The best advice for writers is simply to write every day as much as you can. Get it on the page.
Urban Reviews : Where can readers learn more information about you and your books?
Tisha has left the world of entertainment and hip hop culture behind, to find herself embroiled in a sex trafficking ring that involves her former fiance. Has Shout become that guy? Can she save the girls who she's pledged to protect? From Washington, DC, to Miami to the Dominican Republic, Tisha vows to give her life meaning, even if it kills her.
Congratulations to Sophia Garrison! She won a copy of Devious.