Friday, October 06, 2023

New Review : Our Wicked Lies : Glede Browne Kabango


4 out of 5 books

Alicia Gray has everything a stay-at-home mom can dream of, but her real desire is to complete her degree and have a career of her own. Her husband, Elliott, is a very successful partner at his law firm who prefers Alicia not to work outside the home, but to stay home and care for their two daughters.  Elliott dismisses her desire to return to school, stating that any woman will love to be in her position. Alicia soon discovers cracks in her perfect marriage. Elliott starts to work late, have secret conversations and Alicia is receiving ominous messages in the mail.

 Alicia does a bit of snooping and what she finds totally shatters her heart. After discovering his secret, Alicia opens up to her friend Kataline who convinces her that the messages mean nothing and reassures her that Elliott loves only her. Alicia has secrets of her own and the more secrets that are uncovered, even more secrets are revealed. When tragedy strikes, it sends shockwaves through their subdivision.

 I really enjoyed this psychological thriller by an author that is new to me. OUR WICKED LIES is gripping thriller with an ending you never saw coming. At some points, Kabango took the predictable route, only to throw a twist that will spark your attention. The lies, suspense, and betrayal will keep the reader engaged until the climatic ending. I definitely recommend this one.

Reviewed by Paula Allen  

New Review : The Landlord : Brandon Massey


3 out of 5 books

Desiree and Cameron Woodson are looking for a home for their family. During their search, they came upon the perfect house to rent. Although the monthly rent is more than they had budgeted, Desiree wants the home so badly that Cameron, under pressure from the property manager, makes it happen. Unbeknownst to the couple, the rental agreement has so many stipulations and strict clauses the family must adhere to. They literally have signed their lives over to the landlord who controls every aspect.

 Let me state, I am a Brandon Massey fan! His latest offering THE LANDLORD did not deliver that bite that I am used to when reading his mystery or horror stories. There are several scenarios in the book that could have potentially delivered the thrills and chills, but they fell short. I was taken aback at the resentment Desiree felt towards Cameron when she was the one who wanted the house. I was expecting a more suspenseful build up and villainous character development. It is an overall good read, but it failed to deliver the thrill.

Reviewed by: Paula Allen  



New Review : The Violin Conspiracy: Brenden Slocumb


4.5 out 5 books

THE VIOLIN CONSPIRACY was a surprise for me. I didn't know it was a mystery until I started reading it. It's about Ray, who loves classical music and the violin. He wants to be a professional musician, but he doesn't have a violin of his own. His grandma gives him her grandpa's old violin, which turns out to be a rare and expensive Stradivarius.
Ray faces a lot of challenges because of his violin. His relatives fight over who should have it. Some people from the past claim it belongs to their family. Someone steals it right before his big competition, the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Ray must deal with all this while trying to practice and perform. He also faces racism and prejudice in the music world. He is determined to follow his passion and his gift.
I liked this book a lot. It was well written and showed how people can be greedy, how families can be complicated, and how racism can affect someone's life. The book was sometimes slow, but I was always interested in what would happen next. This was the first book I read by Slocumb, and I want to read more of his work.
Reviewed by Paula Allen 

New Review : What Never Happened : Rachel Howzell Hall


3 out of 5 books

WHAT NEVER HAPPENED by Rachel Howzell Hall starts out with a bang. Coco wanders home in the middle of the night after slipping out to drink with local kids. Coco, a recent import from Long Beach, wants to fit in but finds Catalina Island a challenge, particularly as her family comprises a fair percentage of the island’s miniscule Black population. Coco walks in on a horrific scene at home: her father dead in a pool of blood in the kitchen. Coco discovers that her mother and brother have also been murdered, before narrowly escaping the killer by hiding in a closet. Nineteen years later, Coco has come back to Catalina to claim the house her family was supposed to move into all those years before. Coco is leaving her husband Micah who has dreams of becoming an actor on her dime. She worked as an obituary writer for the LA Times but was downsized. A job offer from her friend Maddy solidifies her decision to move back to Catalina Island.
Shortly after she arrives on Catalina, she finds out that the man who was arrested and convicted of killing her family has been released based on the sudden reappearance of the murder weapon, a knife that contains DNA that doesn’t match the suspect’s. Also, there's a strange occurrence happening in town; elderly people are dying under unusual circumstances. None of them die at home and no one seems to know why they may be at the locations where their body is found. Coco becomes suspicious after hearing about the strange deaths as the writer of their obituaries. At the same time, the country is starting to shut down due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Coco has to add sleuth to her resume as she tries to determine why her family was the targeted victims of a fatal home invasion, staying two steps ahead of her conniving husband and trying to determine if a serial killer is on the loose.
This was my first time reading one of Hall's psychological thrillers, and I was hooked from the start but at some parts the story lagged and seemed to get off course. Hall knows how to create a tense and captivating atmosphere. The book also touched on some relevant issues, such as racism, domestic violence, and the impact of the pandemic on people's lives. I thought the book was well-written and engaging, with some twists and surprises along the way. I was left with a few unanswered questions as some of the storylines were not wrapped up. This will not be my last read by this author.
Reviewed by: Paula Allen 

New Review : The Nigerwife : Vanessa Walters


3 out of 5 books

Nigerwife - the foreign wife of a Nigerian husband who takes up residence in Nigeria.

Nicole Oruwari is of Jamaican descent and lived in London until she made the decision to move to Nigeria with her handsome husband,  Tonye and her two sons. Tonye’s family, which includes his parents, live in an opulent mansion in Lagos. She is leaving her troubled family home where she has always felt like an outsider although she was among family.  The anticipation of a more luxurious and grand life excited her but what she found was more loneliness, isolation and depression. Even being a part of the exclusive “Nigerwives' ' did not provide the fulfillment she thought she would have received being married to Tonye in such a beautiful and lavish city.

Nicole’s life looks so perfect, but a very different picture soon begins to emerge. Nicole disappears after a boat outing in Ikoyi harbor with little details of what happened, or if she’s alive or not. Her aunt Claudine who took on the role of a mother image to her when Nicole’s mother died, travels to Lagos to get answers about Nicole’s disappearance.  She is shocked to find that life seems to be moving along fine for Tonye and his family and there was very little investigation into what could have happened to Nicole. Claudine starts her own investigation and learns so much about Nicole’s life, secrets and the stability of her marriage.

THE NIGERWIFE was a slow burn that was quite wordy so I found myself putting down more than I should have. When I did become invested in the story, I found it bottomless and a bit disjointed. I wanted to know more about her life with Tonye before the move to Nigeria, what their life was like in the early stages in her marriage and before kids to see why it was desirable for her to leave her family and move to a foreign country with him. As I learned more about her character, I was not able to empathize with her. I found her a bit messy and I questioned her relationship as a mother as there was very little interaction with her kids.  The mystery of her disappearance kept me engaged in this domestic thriller.

Reviewed by Paula Allen  

New Review: You Never Know : Connie Briscoe


3 out of 5 books

As YOU NEVER KNOW opens, Briscoe foretells the home invasion and brutal attack of Alexis Roberts.  The focus of the novel is then set on the events that led up to the account. Alexis was born hearing impaired, a hereditary condition that she inherited from her mother.  Because there is a chance that she could give birth to a child and pass on the same condition along with the shame and burden that comes along with it, she is on the fence about accepting Paul’s proposal. Paul wants children and Alexis does not, so she ends her relationship with him. At a fundraising event for children with special needs, Alexis meets Marcus, a successful attorney, who was familiar with her condition as his mom was also deaf.

Marcus is very patient and affectionate towards Alexis. He spoils her with lavish gifts and expensive romantic getaways. Alexis has found love and they are quickly married. Shortly after saying “I do”, Marcus tightens up the spending and his behavior towards Alexis becomes impatient and callous. Secrets from their past causes the foundation of their relationship to become unstable. As secrets are revealed, Alexis questions who the man is she married and if she can trust him.

While the book kept me interested enough to keep reading, there were moments when I was questioning the actions and behaviors of the characters. Alexis was very naïve and oftentimes failed to trust what her eyes were seeing. There were moments where the pacing dragged and was repetitive. That made it very predictable. I am a fan of Connie Briscoe and look forward to more of her work.



Reviewed by Paula Allen


New Review : A Dangerous Woman : Marlon Mccaulsky


4 out of 5 books

Dice is a contract killer and a former CIA operative. Dice has used her special set of skills to eliminate targets all over the world. Dice gets more that she bargains for when finds herself in the middle of a government conspiracy. To complicate things further, Dice meets Noah Avery after completing a job. Noah is everything Dice ever wanted in a man. But will he accept her for who she is?

Murder, espionage, and government conspiracies is what you’ll find in A Dangerous Woman by Marlon McCaulsky. McCaulsky does a good job of bringing readers a satisfying and unexpected storyline. The action scenes are so good that it will feel like you’re watching your favorite action movie.  Marlon McCaulsky brought a true page turner with A Dangerous Woman.

Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert

Get your copy of A Dangerous Woman today!

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Book Excerpt of the Month : Love's Remnant : Regena Bryant


When Avery Thomas inherits D Allen Designs she must piece together the tattered shreds of her life after the death of her best friend. Now she’s mending broken family relationships, cutting through financial difficulties, and fabricating a new romantic relationship.
As the attorney for D Allen Designs, Tyler Anderson is fully aware of the challenges Avery faces and he’s in awe of her resilience. For Avery, he’s bent the law and compromised his prayers for a wife. After wanting her for so long, she’s finally his. But he can’t continue living on this side of the seam.
Can they weave the remnants of life and love together? Or will their chance at love end up on the cutting room floor?

Click here to read an excerpt of Love's Remnant 

New Review : The Perfect Affair : Angela Henry

  4 out of 5 books THE PERFECT AFFAIR is a gripping psychological thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end. When Paige Nichols me...