Friday, February 25, 2022

New Review : Empty Vows : Mary Monroe


3 out of 5 books

EMPTY VOWS, the sequel to MRS. WIGGINS pales in comparison with the first book in the series. The pace was slow and there were few surprising, dramatic scenes which is the norm for author Mary Monroe.  The novel picks up where the previous book ended with the characters in Lexington, Alabama attending Maggie and Claude's funeral.  Claude becomes the most sought after bachelor in their small town with numerous women vying for his attention.  He has no interest in any of them but wanted to find a nice lady to settle down with so as to not cast suspicion on his lifestyle.  Maggie's best friend Jessie and Blondeen, who has a checkered past, are the top contenders for his affection.  Claude's choice will bring drama directly to his bedroom.  During this time, there was a serial killer who was killing black women on the loose. There is very little development with that story line and it was left hanging at the end. 

I was disappointed that EMPTY VOWS did not deliver the same page flipping action as MRS. WIGGINS.  It seems as though the story wasn't sure which direction it wanted to go and it was rushed.

Reviewed by Paula Allen

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Thursday, February 24, 2022

New Review : Mrs. Wiggins : Mary Monroe


5 out of 5 books

Maggie Franklin, the daughter of a prostitute and an alcoholic father is childhood friends with Hubert Wiggins, the pastor’s son and nephew of the town’s undertaker.  Having been friends for so long, they both knew and held each other’s secrets.  Secrets that lead them to marry and deceive their family and friends.  Maggie and Hubert are able to keep up their ruse, even welcoming a young son into their family.  Maggie’s love for her family runs deep so when Claude became an adult and sought a wife and Hubert wanted to move on and live in his truth, she takes action to keep her family intact. 

MRS WIGGINS, started a bit slow as the characters were introduced and we got to know them, but that soon changed as we were introduced to a different side of Maggie. Acting out of desperation and love, she manipulates situations that keep her family together.  The lengths she went to was shocking and oftentimes tragic.  This is a real page-turner. 

Reviewed by Paula Allen 

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New Review : The Wife Before : Shanora Williams


4 out of 5 books

An unsolved murder, web of deceit, and deeply buried secrets is the situation Samira Wilder finds herself in after entering a relationship with disgraced golfer, Roland Graham. Samira is quickly swept off her feet and secretly marries Roland in a matter of months despite warnings from friends and family. Upon moving from Florida to Roland’s secluded mansion in Colorado, Samira’s suspicions regarding the tragic accident of Roland’s first wife, Melanie are triggered.  After discovering her journals, she sets out to find the truth behind Melanie’s death for the sake of her own marriage. 

I would have finished THE WIFE BEFORE in one day had I not started it before bedtime.  Shanora Williams drew me in from the beginning and held me captive to the very end.  With all the scenarios that came to mind as the truth, the ending was truly riveting. This was my first book by Williams, but it will not be my last.  For lovers of a good suspenseful romance, check this one out.

Reviewed by Paula Allen

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New Review : The Perfect Ruin : Shanora Williams


3 out of 5 books

Having lost her parents in a tragic car accident, Ivy has a hard time adjusting to life without them.  Although under a therapist care, Ivy wants details surrounding the incident.  The information she yearns for is provided to her in her final session with her therapist and after some research on her own, Ivy seeks revenge against her parents' killer.  The person of interest is Lola Maxwell, an owner of boutiques and founder of a thriving charity.  Loaded with all the information she needs, Ivy sets out to destroy Lola, no matter the cost.  As the events unfold, Ivy began to suspect she may not be the puppet master in Lola’s undoing. 
THE PERFECT RUIN is a suspenseful novel that at times bordered on the unbelievable.  Ivy’s plot for revenge was not well-thought out with too many loose ends.  Also, as a reader, I thought it was unrealistic for her to behave and act on circumstances the exact manner to that one of the characters predicted. Despite the way the plot was executed, the book kept me engaged until the end. 

Reviewed by Paula Allen

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Forthcoming : Promise Broken : K'wan

Beware of the company you keep.

K'wan's urban fiction coming-of-age novel, Promise Broken, is set in the gritty streets of Newark, New Jersey. The story follows seventeen-year-old Promise Mohammed as she attempts to uphold friendships and new relationships--even if they lead to her demise.

After Promise's mother dies in a tragic car accident, it leaves a void in her life that she is yearning to fill. This titular novel finds Promise spiraling into a life of crime and drug affiliation by the company she chooses to keep.

Also coping with abandonment and a life-long broken commitment from her biological father, Promise ultimately has two goals: to graduate from high school and to be loved. But can she find the love that she seeks from her Aunt Dell, two best friends, Mouse and Keys, or drug-dealer Asher--the man who captivates her--despite the fact that each relationship will lead to life-altering events? Only time will tell.

Release date : 3/15/22

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Saturday, February 12, 2022

New Review : Jillian : Julia A. Royston

3.5 out of 5 books

Jillian is the grown and sexy romance by Julia A. Royston that you didn’t know you needed.  Jillian Forrester, owner of a research information company has everything in life she needs except for her happily ever after.  After several failed relationships and trying to maintain her standards as a Christian single, the pool of potential suitors appears to be non-existent.  Her good friend and office manager, Patricia, who has worked and helped her build her company from her living room to an office in downtown Cincinnati, understands and supports Jillian’s desire to be wed.  She also wants the same for herself, but while she is actively dating a pool of men; Jillian resolves to patiently wait for the man that God has for her. 

Having landed a big corporate account, Jillian discovers she must enhance her company’s security and infrastructure servers.  She contacts one of the top technology companies to handle the job.  To her surprise, the owners of the company are twin brothers, Byron and Myron Randolph, childhood friends from their association at church conventions.  When the Randolph brothers meet with Jillian to discuss the services they can provide for Forrester Information Management, the chemistry between Byron and Jillian is instant and magnetic.  From that day, Byron made it his mission to pursue the woman he had a crush on since childhood.  Jillian has to overcome low self-esteem and hurtful relationships from the past to learn to release her heart and embrace happiness.

Jillian seemingly starts as your standard romance as the plot flows down the happy path for over half of the novel.  But when a blast from the past enters the story, the drama is introduced and is very compelling.  My only regret is that it was not brought into the storyline earlier to add more suspense and spice to the plot.  The climatic ending is jaw dropping!    

Reviewed by Paula Allen

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New Review : The Beach House : Rochelle Alers

4 out of 5 books

The Beach House by Rochelle Alers is an engaging and enjoyable read.  It is a story that takes place primarily in Coates Island, NC.  Leah Kent is the mother of adult twin sons and has a controlling husband. After a huge blow up, she leaves and spends a few months on the island and to plan the ending of her marriage.  She and two friends, Cherie and Kayana meet weekly for book club meetings at Seaside Café that Kayana owns.  

Leah looks up and those few months have turned into just under a year and counting.

While helping Kayana out at the Seaside Café, Leah develops a growing relationship with Kayana's brother, Derrick.  Derrick is a widower with a daughter and works at and owns the café also. We experience the journey of her healing and making decisions that are best for her. 

Also, we see her journey to possible love again. We become witness to Leah's growth and becoming stronger. I enjoyed this novel and look forward to the next one by Ms. Alers.

Reviewed by Rhea Alexis M. Banks

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New Review : Kiss & Tell : Shana Burton


3 out of 5 books

Running from her problems is Alexis Woodford’s M.O. and she proves it yet again when she flees Charlotte, NC for Bald Head Island, NC. While speeding to her new home and life, she is stopped by Terrance Tomlin for a traffic violation. Terrance lets her off with a warning and an offer to help her move into her new home. Overwhelmed by the amount of unpacking Alexis faces, she takes Terrance up on his offer. During the arduous task of unpacking and assembling furniture, Terrance finds they will need additional help, so he calls his stepbrother who is Alexis’ neighbor to assist. To Alexis’ surprise her neighbor and Terrance’s brother is child star, Roan Carter, whom Alexis has had a crush on from her youth. It is obvious from the start that both brothers are attracted to her and set out to win her heart.

When a crazed and obsessed lover from her past lets her know, he is aware of where she currently lives the brothers vow to protect her. Spending a great deal of time with both Terrance and Roan, Alexis finds herself having to weigh which brother is her forever. Deciding Roan is who she wants to spend her life with, Alexis rushes to weld their future together with a private wedding ceremony despite warnings from family and friends. When Roan’s past is exposed and laid bare, Alexis has a big decision to make. Can she accept his past and love him unconditionally after discovering the truth?

The plot of KISS AND TELL will have you flipping the pages although I did not feel engaged with the characters. There is not a lot of details relayed regarding Alexis’ past and only a little is revealed when she visits Charlotte. I also did not feel the chemistry between Roan and Alexis, although I felt a little more between Terrance and Alexis. Alexis’ feelings seem more as though she was in love with the character Roan played, than the actual actor. This subject matter in this book will make for a very interesting book discussion.

Reviewed by Paula Allen

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Friday, February 11, 2022

New Review : Disrespectfully Yours : Raynesha Pittman

5 out of 5 books

This book will have you glued from beginning to end. Meagan is beautiful and has it all, well that is what it looks like; however, she is very unhappily married. She is now in her prime and looking for more, yearning for what is missing in her marriage. But is it love or just the thrill and excitement that she is looking for? 

Her husband William is a smooth talker and has it going on but is very disrespectful. Meagan has met a young man, Devin, who will do whatever it takes to win Meagan over but what is the length he is willing to go through to make that happen? Will Meagan change her cougar ways and try to get her marriage back on track? 

Will William open his eyes and see who is by his side? Or will both end up in situations that neither of them suspected? You cannot predict anything in this story. Raynesha Pittman keeps you on your toes throughout the whole book and does not disappoint at all.  

Reviewed by Mocha Kia

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New Review : Under Color of Law : Aaron Philip Clark


5 out of 5 books

If you like police drama, this book gives that and more!  This story follows the career of Trevor Finnegan from his rookie days to progression to Detective in the LAPD as an African American man.  Compared with other books I’ve read in this genre, and I’ve read a lot of them and by some notable writers, the spin that Mr. Clark puts on this story is formidable.

I found myself caring about the characters, feeling tortured right along with them and wondering how they were going to work through their situations.  The writer put some twists in the story that will keep you turning the pages.  I also like when I can visualize the places that are described even if I’ve never visited them.  This is not a “the case is solved; justice is served and on to the next” story.  It is wrapped up in a way that while it gives you a feeling of resolution, somewhat, it leaves the door open just in case the writer decides to do a sequel.

I would rate this book a 5 out of 5.  I look forward to seeing what else Aaron Philip Clark has to offer and maybe more about Detective Trevor Finnegan.

Reviewed by Josephine Winfrey

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Thursday, February 10, 2022

New Review : Have We Met? : Camille Baker


3.5 out of 5 books

The story was a slow read for me, yet well-written. Great work for a debut author.

Corinne traveled through the motions of life after her best friend, Joelle passed away. The spirit of her bestie beckoned Corinne to move back home to Chicago. Life was an array of mismatched puzzle pieces for her unlike Joelle who while was faced with the biggest battle of her life, had made peace with what was to come and had planned well. Corinne struggled to find steady work. Instead, she combed through the list of available jobs her mother sent relentlessly in hopes that Corinne would indeed begin to put her life back In some order where success can find her.

Corinne revisited many memories of past events and attempted to put those pieces together to restore her sense of stability and happiness. Temp jobs kept Corinne busy for days and weeks at a time, but they were just that, temporary. She visited her best friends’ family and was given keepsakes from Joelle upon Corinne return home. Someone was playing some kind of joke on Corinne and she’d thought her phone had been hacked. A dating app appeared on her phone, but Corinne never downloaded any such thing. It seemed to know that her love life was non-existent and had plans to help her find love. Skeptical of the validity of the application, Corinne didn’t care for the intrusion. Nonetheless the app was there to stay, but would it direct Corinne to true love and a new outlook on life or would she remain in the hamster wheel of a mundane existence?

Reviewed By: Lacha’ J

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New Review : Wild Women and the Blues : Denny S. Bryce

4 out of 5 books

Why would I talk to you about my life? I don't know you, and even if I did, I don't tell my story to just any boy with long hair, who probably smokes weed. You wanna hear about me. You gotta tell me something about you. To make this worth my while.” Honoree Dalcour

This is the story of Honoree, a sharecropper's daughter and dancer in Chicago's Dreamland Cafe in the 1920s. She’s now 110, not as strong as she used to be, but still sassy. The book transcends time going back and forth from 1925 to 2015. Sawyer a film student, goes to interview Honoree and the connection between them is fascinating. 

Wild Women and the Blues was a great look into Chicago in the 20s, and the lives of Black women in the jazz scene. Their struggles to not only survive poverty but also improve their lives, all in the midst of prohibition and the mob captured my attention and held me captive throughout the book. I loved the way it went from early 20th century and early 21st century. 

I absolutely loved reading this book, it reminded me of speaking with my grandmother, who told us fascinating stories about living in the 1920s. (Gramma was born in 1898 and lived to be 100, so you can imagine all the first-hand history lessons she gave us.) But, I digress. 

Overall, I would say if you love historical fiction with a flair and interwoven story lines, Denny S. Bryce did a great job with making everything come full circle. The book flowed really nicely and the characters are relatable. I highly recommend Wild Women and the Blues and will definitely be on the lookout for more of her work.

Reviewed by Kiera J. Northington

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Sunday, February 06, 2022

The Forthcoming : I Wanna Be Your Lover : An Atlanta Tale via England : Marlon Mccaulsky


In the middle of her little sister's wedding, Emani Miles realizes the number one question she will be asked is, when are you getting married? In the midst of this external crisis she comes face to face with her ex Terrence who she knows is no good for her but she has a hard time saying no to him. Emani surmises the only way to get away from her problems is to go on holiday to America to visit her cousin Ava. While at a party, Emani is introduced Ava's friend, music producer and notorious player, Chance Good, and the chemistry is undeniable. Emani unexpectedly finds herself in a passionate romance unlike anything she's experienced before. But when the holiday comes to an end will things remain the same? In this international love affair, can an easygoing English girl find love in the ATL?

Release Date : 3/7/22

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