Friday, May 13, 2022

New Review : All Her Little Secrets : Wanda M. Morris

 




4 out of 5 books



Ellice Littlejohn is living the good life as a successful corporate attorney in Atlanta. She has good friends and has a no-strings attached relationship with her white executive boss. Ellice’s life changes forever when she finds her boss dead with a gunshot to his head in his office. Instead of alerting the authorities, Ellice simply walks out of his office. She has some disturbing secrets in her past that she doesn’t want to come out. On top of all this, her younger brother is in trouble and Ellice is trying to help him without being in the spotlight. Ellie becomes suspicious when she is suddenly promoted to replace her old boss because she is the only black attorney in the company. There is something sinister going on at this company and Ellice needs to get to the bottom of this before it’s too late.


All Her Little Secrets starts out with a literal bang with the murder of Ellice’s boss. Wanda M. Morris pulls readers in from the first few pages of this book. Morris does an excellent job of executing this multi-layered story. There’s murder, shady dealings, racial conspiracies, which makes this not your typical whodunit. Readers will also question Ellice’s actions throughout this book. All Her Little Secrets is an enjoyable debut novel by Wanda M. Morris.


Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert


Order your copy of All Her Little Secrets today!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

New Review : Single Black Female : Tracy Brown

 



4 out of 5 books


Ivy is a successful stylist and single mom. She has stayed loyal to her sons' father Michael while he serves a lengthy prison sentence. But Ivy is lonely and now wants something more. Coco is single and has everything she wants but she picks emotionally unavailable men. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, she’s unsure if she’s ready for him. Deja is a real estate agent who is married to a NYPD sergeant. Her life looks perfect but Deja is not having any fun at all. Deja is in for a rude awakening when her past catches up with her. Nikki is social media businesswoman and Deja’s little sister. She has no regrets in life and wishes her sister get out of the rut that she’s in. These four friends are going to have to face a harsh reality and choose sides when Ivy’s younger son has a run in with the NYPD. 


Single Black Female by Tracy Brown is an entertaining novel about the different trials and tribulations black women face in today’s world. Brown does an excellent job of bringing us well-developed characters and storylines to this book. Each of these characters bring something different to this story which makes this book all the more enjoyable. Some of the decisions that these women have to make will make readers wonder what they would do in these situations. Single Black Female is a book that would make for a very lively book club discussion.



Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert


Order your copy of Single Black Female today!


New Review : Wall Street West (The Gathering in the Age of Darkness, Vol. II) : Khafra K. Om-Ra-Seti

 





3 out of 5 books


Set in the near future at the intersection of fables, ancient mythologies, organized religions, literature, and pop culture, Wall Street West uses layers of every aspect of human evolution since the most recent ice age to establish the stakes in the pitched battle of Father Destiny who's fighting for democracy versus King James who represent the super wealthy. This second entry in the “Age of Darkness” series opens with a quote from Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, then launches into a sometimes overwhelming deluge of historical references. One of many recurring themes is the cautionary tale that warns of the global impacts of financial illiteracy presented in the context of a clever mash-up of Afro-futuristic supernatural fantasy. Passages dense with financial history, theory, and more narrative telling than showing plus unexpected shifts in verb tense often slow the pace, especially in the first few chapters of an overall provocative read. The dedication, prologue, and twenty-four chapters divided into two phases work together to create a passionate saga that challenges entrenched ideas about how and why and when resources and wealth are distributed. Its message echoes today’s real-life headlines from around the world.

Reviewed by Cardyn Brooks

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

New Review : The Reluctant King : K'wan

 



4 out 5 books



On the surface, the King family looks perfect. However, nothing is the way it seems. Chancellor King is the patriarch of the family and is well connected politically. Ghost, Shadow, and Lolli are the three children of the King family. Shadow is the only one who does not have the same qualities as his siblings and likes to keep to himself. That may change when there is a threat against the family that may tear them apart.


The Reluctant King is not what you expected. Although there’s plenty of betrayal, murder, and mayhem in this story, readers will be surprised with what happens to whom. K’wan did a good job with introducing us to a whole new family with complicated situations. Just when you think you know how this story is going to end, K’wan hits you with one his infamous curveballs that will stop you in your tracks. The Reluctant King by K’wan is an enjoyable start to this new series and will make you anticipate the second installment.


Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert


Order your copy of The Reluctant King today!

Animal V: Executioner's Song : K'wan

 




4 out of 5 books



Animal vows to avenge his murdered wife Gucci and to rescue his children. But first he must find Red Sonja. Animal gets his old crew the Dog Pound back together for one last mission. But who will make it out alive? The Brotherhood has now branded the Black Lotus as a traitor and has locked her up in what use to be her home. The Black Lotus is trying to escape while discovering some dark secrets. Will she be able to escape and clear her name?


Animal 5 is the final installment of the Animal series by K’wan. Readers would be doing themselves a huge disservice if they don’t read the prior books before this one. This is not a book that you just casually read, this story will have your full attention. There is a lot action, drama, and heartbreak that K’wan is known for. A lot of loose ends are tied up but there are some that can be left up to the reader’s own interpretation. Although this is the end of this series, this is definitely not the last time we will be entertained by hard hitting novels by K’wan.


Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert


Order your copy of Animal V: Executioner's Song today!

New Review : Promise Broken : K’wan

 



5 out of 5 books


Seventeen-year-old Promise Mohammed has a hard life. When her mom dies in a tragic car accident, Promise is left with an emptiness that can’t be filled. Her main goal is to graduate from high school. But her plans may get derailed while hanging with her best friends Mouse and Keys. Mouse is dealing with trying to keep a stable household for her younger sister due to her drug addicted mother's absence. Keys is a musical prodigy that is looking for his big break. Soon, Promise, Mouse and Keys all get involved into a world that they may not be prepared for. Who will come out on top in the end?


Promise Broken is an excellent coming-of-age story by K’wan. Promise reminds you of a Cinderella type character that you want to have a happy ending. The character development in this story is awesome. K’wan pulls you into this story and makes you care about what happens to these characters. Now, this story does take a sinister that will shock readers. Readers will also notice a familiar character from K'wan's previous novels. Promise Broken is an explosive start to a new series.


Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert


Order your copy of Promise Broken today!



New Review : Good Morning Love : Ashley M. Coleman

 



4 out of 5 books


Carli Hinton is a singer and songwriter who works at a media company to keep the lights on.  She is a junior account manager and has been assigned to the account of R&B singer/rapper Tau Anderson.  Carli has had a little success locally working with artist Dylan and producer Red, but they all have dreams of successful careers in music.  The trio is working on Dylan’s debut album when Carli’s professional and personal time is consumed by Tau Anderson.  This is a disrespect to Dylan who has been put on the back burner and is witnessing the woman he has feelings for fall for another. Tau has connections that propel Carli and her friends including Dylan closer to their dreams.  
I enjoyed GOOD MORNING LOVE.  The characters are engaging and the chemistry between Tau and Carli and even that between Carli and Dylan is evident. Although her father and Tau are both in the music industry, Carli allows her talent to speak for her in the music she writes.  The bonus is the love she finds on the way. 

Reviewed by Paula Allen


Release Date : 6/21/22

New Review : When the Reckoning Comes : LaTanya McQueen

 



3.5 out of 5 books



Childhood friends, Mira, Celine and Jesse grew up in the segregated town of Kipsen. Celine was seen as an outcast since she’s white and her two friends are black.  One day on a dare, Mira and Jesse set out to find the infamous Woodsman Plantation, a place where it is rumored that the spirit of slaves dwelled.  A tragic event occurs that day where Mira is face to face with the undead and Jesse is attacked and accused of murdering a white man.  The dynamic of their friendship are never the same after that day. Celine who declined to participate in the dare, separates herself from Mira and Jesse and Mira’s refusal to admit what she saw and heard that day, break Jesse’s trust in her. 
Ten years later, Mira is headed back to Kipsen to attend Celine’s wedding which is being held at the newly renovated plantation which is now a resort.  Although it is now a resort, the venue is a modern-day reenactment of the times of slavery with black workers dutifully serving whites who show no gratitude or attention to them as humans.  There are also performances where you can see the slaves plow the fields and clean linen outside while singing haunting melodies. Through conversations with the workers, Mira discovers the day of reckoning when there will be a spiritual uprising dead slaves will take place the weekend of Celine’s wedding. She must try all that she can to stop the bloody vengeance on the descendants of the former slave owners. 
The build up of the storyline for WHEN THE RECKONING COMES starts strong, but it gets muddled near the end with scenes that I wasn’t sure were actually occurring or parts of the characters imagination.  Outside of the guests fleeing the wedding venue, I am confused about what happened that weekend.  I love the supernatural elements of the book and it is well-written, but the plot needed more development. I also would have liked to have seen more interaction with Mira and Jesse in reconciling the events of that fateful day from their past.

Reviewed by Paula Allen

New Review : All the Day Long : Embassie Susberry

 






4 out of 5 books


ALL THE DAY LONG is the first book in Embassie Susberry’s The Lost Boys series. Henry Jones Dabney-Sinclair is the product of an illegal interracial relationship.  Despite interracial relationships being against the law during 1930s, his parents still managed as best they could to live as husband and wife and love their sons Jimmy who is white and Henry who is bi-racial.  Growing up in Dabney/Sinclair Mississippi, Henry didn’t really fit in with anyone.  He attended church with black members, but he was schooled at white institutions.  When he start his courses for law school, he meets a band of seemingly mismatched friends who become known as the Lost Boys. 
The novel is told during 3 time periods, the 1930s when Henry goes off to college, early 1940s when he and the other Lost Boys have taken on their alter egos and are involved in some shady activities and later 1940s where he meets Petula Taggert, a young lady from his hometown who is desperately seeking to find her mother’s killer.  Henry’s life plans have been derailed because he was drafted to fight in the war and his assignment was as a medic.  Trying to balance his love for Tula, supporting her in finding her mother’s killer and attempting to decipher who from his past is blackmailing him and why, Henry discovers he has found his place and purpose. 
Embassie Susberry is a new author I discovered, and I am so glad I did.  I love books from this time period, and she has a talent for the craft.  For this book to be written during a time where racial tensions were on the rise during the Jim Crow era, it did not come off as traumatic.  The characters, scenes and plot are very well written.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. 

Reviewed by Paula Allen


New Review : When Stars Rain Down : Angela Jackson-Brown

 



4 out of 5 books


1930s Parson, Georgia, a town that is racially separated with blacks living in a section aptly named Colored Town. Seventeen year old Opal Pruitt lives with her Grandma Birdie after her mother abandoned her. Opal and her grandmother work as domestics for Miss Peggy.  Miss Peggy and Grandma Birdie are more like friends than employer/employee but they both understood the context that race plays in their relationship.  Regardless, Miss Peggy's family, her daughter and grandson, Jimmy Earl have always treated Opal and Miss Birdie like family.  Opal is looking forward to her 18th birthday and the town's annual Founders Day.  Jimmy Earl is home during the summer on a break from college. Opal is conflicted by the feelings that being in his presence evoke.  She is also interested in the Pastor's handsome son, Cedric who has dreams of one day playing with the Negro Baseball team.  
Jimmy Earl has a cousin, Skeeter, who openly displays his racist feelings towards blacks. As a member of the Klan, he led a raid on Colored Town which left destruction and devastation, but no lives were lost. The men of Colored Town met to determine how they can protect their loved one and possessions. Deciding to give the new sheriff a chance to back up his claim of being there to help the colored residents of Parson.  Weeks leading up to Founder's Day, Opal began to realize despite the fact that Miss Peggy's family were accepting of her and her grandmother, racial relations are very fragile and her friendship with Jimmy Earl is limited. She finds herself the victim of a physical attack that left her with head trauma.  When she is able to remember the details of the attacker and her attacker, it is only a matter of time before it all comes to a head with disastrous consequences. 
I love historical fiction from this era.  Jackson-Brown’s depiction of this small town included race relations, familial love and coming of age romance.  Although there are very intense moments, the tone of the book was not heavy or traumatic.  Filled with secondary characters that added additional layers to the book, WHEN STARS RAIN DOWN is one to savor.

Reviewed by Paula Allen


New Review : Razorblade Tears: S. A. Cosby

 




5 out of 5 books



RAZORBLADE TEARS is awesome.  Isaiah and Derek, an interracial same sex couple are brutally murdered outside their home. The motive for the crime is unknown and the police have no leads.  Their fathers, Ike “Riot” Randolph and Buddy Lee Jenkins set out together to avenge their son’s deaths.  
Both dads have formally been incarcerated and missed out the formative years of their son’s lives.  Also, both have strained relationships with their sons because of their sexual orientation.  The devastating loss of their sons releases a level of guilt and love that they held in their hearts which propelled them to stop at nothing to find the killers.  Their personal investigation led them through interactions with a dangerous bike gang, hip hop artists and political figures.  The pair leave a path of destruction on their quest to right their wrongs for the love of their boys. 
I can easily see RAZORBLADE TEARS being made into a blockbuster movie.  The plot was well written and driven by all the action and suspense.  Buddy Lee’s character was hysterical and endearing.  

Reviewed by Paula Allen

New Review : The Romantic Agenda : Claire Kann

 



3 out of 5 books



Joy and Malcolm have been best friends since college and currently he is her boss.  They both identify as asexual with Joy deciding not to engage in relationships and Malcolm actively dating.  The emotion in their relationship runs so deep, it appears as though they are in love to outsiders so much, so that Malcolm’s fiancĂ© left him because of Joy.  Joy feels she is deeply in love with Malcolm and each time she expresses it, he responds the way she wants but his actions don't reciprocate the same. When he asks her to clear her calendar for a weekend getaway, she’s excited, hoping this will be time spent to develop their romantic relationship.  She is only disappointed when she finds this is a trip to impress and get to know his new girlfriend, Summer who requested Joy come along so that she can get to know her. 
Summer knows all about Joy, but Joy is at a disadvantage because Malcolm never let on that she even existed much less that he has a new romantic interest. Summer also asks her friend Fox, who she use to date to accompany them to keep Joy company.  Neither Joy nor Fox think that Malcolm and Summer belong together, and that Malcolm is quelling his feelings for Joy.  They make a pact to “pretend” to be interested in each other to get a reaction from Malcolm, but what they discover is that make believe sometimes become reality. 
THE ROMANTIC AGENDA is a cute and unique romance.  I like the chemistry and banter between Joy and Fox. The revelations that Joy learn about herself and her ability to love is a pleasure to see.  I enjoyed this one. 


Reviewed by Paula Allen

New Review : Yellow Wife : Sadeqa Johnson

 



4 out of 5 books


I have always been a fan of Sadeqa Johnson and was excited when I found she has penned a historical fiction novel.  YELLOW WIFE was beautiful and breathtaking.  The determination and resiliency of the main character, Pheby Brown to make a life for herself beyond slavery is astounding considering the things she endured for her future, her children and her true love.  Although she is promised freedom, she finds herself enslaved and the wife of the warden of Devil’s Half Acre, a prison in Virginia.  Pheby learns to study her husband so that she is always a step ahead of him for the sake of her family.  This pays off although there were deadly consequences. 
Knowing YELLOW WIFE is a fictional story loosely based on the life of Mary Lumpkin and the prison actually existed, brought a layer of realism to our ancestor’s stories.  Stories of survival and overcoming odds, succeeding when there was only hope.  I would have like to see more interaction with her daughters as the book seems to be rushed at the end.  But it is a great book, nonetheless. 

Reviewed by Paula Allen




New Review : Truth, Lies and Mr. Grey : Shelly Ellis

 




4 out of 5 books



They’re back!  In TRUTH LIES AND MR. GREY, the sequel to The Three Mrs. Greys, Cyrus Grey is alive and well, although he deceptively has Vanessa waiting on him hand and foot while she thinks he is still bedridden. Cyrus is discovering what each of his wives have been up to while also planning to take his business back from his partner Tariq.  When the wives become aware of his intent and his true personality, they question if it’s worth being married to him.  One wife wants him dead; another wants to be left alone and the other holds out hope that he will continue to be the loving savior she needs.  
The drama continues between Cyrus, Vanessa, Noelle and Diamond and I enjoyed this ride with them again.  One thing that perplexed me though is that there was no interaction between the wives from the start of the book which seemed disjointed to me. As one of the wives, I would have been trying to legally work out the implications that Cyrus polygamist lifestyle has caused.  Noelle and Diamond did develop a relationship near the end. As a crime drama, the book is somewhat predictable as there are no truly suspenseful moments.  I stayed with novel to see how it will play out and I am still not sure if this is how the story ends.


Reviewed by Paula Allen

New Review : The Three Mrs. Greys : Shelly Ellis

 



4 out of 5 books

                                                            

Cyrus Grey, a victim of a planned attack, is left in a coma at the hospital.  Imagine the surprise that Noelle, Vanessa and Diamond received when they discover they are all married to the same man.  Vanessa and Cyrus have been married 11 years with three children.  Despite knowing there were cracks in their marriage, she had no idea he is involved much less married to two other women. 
Noelle enjoys her quiet life with Cyrus. Having a baby will complete her picture-perfect marriage but she is not sure why Cyrus has no interest in having children.  Young and street wise, Diamond, is Cyrus third wife. He was at her place when he was gunned down and she feels her past is coming back to haunt her.  THE THREE MRS. GREYS meet to try and determine who is responsible for Cyrus’ accident and how they will handle the situation of unknowingly being thrust into a sister-wives situation.  As law enforcement investigates the crime, each wife must try her best to prove her innocence. 
Shelly Ellis creates a turbulent situation for Cyrus and his three wives.  Each wife had totally different personalities and lifestyles.  The book engages the reader from the beginning with the shocking revelation of his polygamist lifestyle.  I can’t wait until Cyrus come out of the coma and answer to this mess he has created.  I will be picking up the sequel to find out. 

Reviewed by Paula Allen


Monday, May 02, 2022

The Forthcoming : She Works Hard For the Money : Sylvia Hubbard

 







To get over a broken heart, get with a broken man. Renna had never heard that expression, but the idea of being with a man after being in a lesbian relationship for 8 years interested her. It would certainly make her forget about the pain and betrayal she was going through. Renna needed something different, but did she make a mistake by sleeping with the most rude, misogynist & selfish man this side of the Mississippi? Beck had a dark past, but when he saw Renna, he saw his future.


Release Date : 5/3/22



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Poet of the Month : K. C. Taylor

  K. C. Taylor is an educator, author, and independent publisher. Most of her twenty plus years in the classroom has been in the middle grad...