Sunday, December 20, 2009
Shelia Goss is at it again a man and a woman coming together under not so normal rules.
Jacob Banks was about to lose it all until his uncle leaves him with the opportunity to save his business. However, there are stipulations that he has to make happen before he’s allowed the cash he needs to save his business. This stipulation is named Brianna "Bri" Mayfield, a woman with her eyes set on revenge. Jake has to marry Bri to cash in on the inheritance. Brianna is determined to destroy Jake and his company. Jake's proposal will provide her with a large sum of money and the perfect opportunity to accomplish her goal. What neither Jake nor Brianna count on is their attraction to each other.
His Invisible Wife was a fun and quick read with one major downfall. I could not find a clear description of Brianna anywhere in the book. I could give you a description of Jake from head to toe but we never get a description other than Jake stating she was a little healthier than most women he dated.
Shelia has produced another thought provoking intriguing book that left me captivated.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Francis Ray has created a loving yet touching story about how far love will go to make people realize their needs for one another.
Gina Rawlings is the wife that most men would die for she never questions her husband about his coming or goings and always believes in him when he does not give reasons for things he does. She takes care of her home and put everyone before herself. When he walks away to go on to share his life with a better woman as he comes to bring to her attention she is left to pick up the pieces. With two children, no support from her husband and a business that has seen better days Gina finds
herself trying to hold on to her mental state.
With the opening of Journey's End, the bed & breakfast that his wife wanted, Max Broussard is taking his deceased wife's dream and making it a reality while still dealing with the fact that she is gone. When Gina goes to visit the B&B for her business, she finds a lovely location with lots of potential, in need of some touches to make it a step above the other B&Bs in the area. On the other end, Gina's travel agency needs help. If it were not for her family and friends, it would be making little to no income at all. Max knowing an expert eye when he sees one makes an agreement with Gina to help her with the technical side of her business if she would help him make the B&B the place he wanted to create for his wife. Max is very gentle to the eye and an instant spark flies between the Gina and Max but Gina and Max are both at war with these feelings. Max is not sure about her relationship with her ex-husband and Gina is at odds with her body due to the weight she has gained over the years.
Gina's best friend, Celeste de le Vega is an interior designer that many would call a heart breaker. She has been engaged three times but none of these men has made her heart stop and start again leading her down the aisle to forever. When Celeste meets Alec Dunlap, she realizes he may just be the one. However, Alec would not be easy. Alec, a dedicated police officer, is unable to perform his duties due to his guilt over the shooting of a man in the line of duty. Alec is at his brother's house building him and his new wife a gazebo while they are on their honeymoon. Celeste is at his brother's house redecorating the couple's bedroom. This causes Alec and Celeste to cross paths constantly. Alec is trying to fight the attraction between them but Celeste is trying everything in her power to ignite the fire. When Celeste is taken hostage, Alec has to deal with his feelings and bring them to the table with Celeste.
And A Mistress Makes Three was not what I expected I totally love how Francis took each of her characters and made them stand out as individuals before bringing them into their unique places within the book. This book is great as a standalone but I get the feeling I am going back to look at the Invincible Women of Charleston, SC. As a Charleston native, I would say that Francis hit this on the dime and made everything visually stimulating. KUDOS to Ray for doing it again.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The voluptuous Traci Evans has an iron gate around her heart. Multiple wounds inflicted by her cheating deceased husband and her nasty mother have almost destroyed Traci’s faith in love, her trust in people in general. Despite all this, her attraction to the sexy Ryan Gilmore, her best friend and neighbor’s son, will not be denied. Traci is not Ryan’s type or at least he did not think so until he met her. Still Traci’s lush curves, generous breast, childbearing hips combined with a heart of gold makes Ryan want to know Traci inside and out.
The slim and trim, 59 years old, Maureen Gilmore loved her husband dearly. Now 4 years a widow she is missing the intimacy and the bond she had with her husband. Can the sexy police office, Simon Dunlap, fill the growing void in her heart despite the fact that he is almost 10 years her junior. Will Maureen let her feelings for Simon overcome doubts and fears due to the age difference?
Francis Ray has done it again. Not Even If You Begged is a page-turner from beginning to end. The characters in this book come to life so naturally you almost forget your reading fiction. I felt Traci and Maureen’s pain as they dealt with their personal struggles. I wanted them to find the love they both deserved with the hot men Francis Ray created to take my breath away. I fell just a little bit in love with both Simon and Ryan for they had qualities most single women look for when they imagine their life mate. The story itself flowed effortlessly. Francis Ray combined the budding romances with sub-plots that gave this story an essence of realness and gave you insight into the characters you can only see when they interact with people outside of their budding relationships. I closed the book wanting to read more but still satisfied with what I was given
(Book Originally Reviewed For BBW Reviews)
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Reviewer: LaShonda S
Fresh out of jail, the last thing Eddie Santiago needed was to become entangled into the illegal dealings of his childhood best friend Little Tony. Eddie had plans to leave behind the streets of Chicago and the memories they held and move to Miami. His love for Latin music and the congas had Eddie ready to take his money and become legit by becoming a partner in the Salsa record label his prison cell mate wanted to start. But Eddie has to fight to wash the grit of Chicago off his hands and take back what is his for he is haunted by the ghost of a favor owed to Tony, memories of his father's murder and being set up by his old boss Pelon.
From the opening flashback Gunmetal Black gives you a peek into the troubled life of Eddie Santiago. Living a life plagued with violence and crime it is no wonder that the first part of this story centers on Eddies time in jail. It is during this time that we witness the growth of Eddie beyond his criminal past. Filled with intricate criminal plans and deception with every turn, Gunmetal Black is a gritty street novel with just enough drama to hold your interest from beginning to end.
I recommend this book to urban lit fans that enjoy a good plot and mystery with their story. The use of flashbacks to fill in the blanks along with the real life situations the characters are placed in makes this an interesting read. There are no over the top antics and unrealistic finales to disappoint the reader.
Reviewer: Lashonda S
Bare Necessities is a collection of erotic short stories featuring combination of lesbian and heterosexual encounters. It is the perfect quick read to spice up your night. The stories are short enough to be read to your mate as bedtime stories. I recommend this quick read to erotic readers who enjoy diverse story lines.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Excess baggage is right! These poor characters have tons of it.
All of these characters are messed up…they all have excessive excess baggage (hence the title of the book) that really keeps them from attaining the relationships they all want. All of the men and women are successful, intelligent and their physical attributes mostly fall in the “pretty people” category. One would never know what’s going on under their seemingly near perfect lives.
The Mr. Gardner does a good job of staying in the present yet adding just enough back story for us to understand why the main characters are so dysfunctional. Without giving to many spoilers to this book, Christopher has been scarred since child hood when he witness a horrific act. The memory of this act has skewed his view of women and what is important in life. Nona has issues of her own. She has a problem letting go of a past relationship, earning her more trouble that it’s worth.
Even though the main story focuses on Chris and Nona, we also get to learn enough about the supporting cast. Dorian has daddy issues, more like lack of a father issues, combined with vague childhood memories, which in turn grew into warped views on relationships. Tara, Dorian's high school sweetheart, has a secret that has weighed on her heart for years. Her need to bury that secret deep in her soul leads her to relationship that help her cover what she does not want to feel.
This book was pretty interesting. The pace was fast and consistent once I got past the first 50 pages. The author switches points of view throughout the story so it took some time to get used to the author's rhythm and writing style. It was a lot at first, but once picked up the rhythm of the story, it was fine. I especially enjoyed the common sense and kindness of Nana, Dorian’s grandmother. She provided sound antidotes and reasoning that helped both Dorian and Tara get through some of their past burdens. She seemed kind and knowledgeable and presented balance to all the craziness going on with the characters.
I would recommend this book, it’ entertaining and it’s a pretty fast read. It also has tons of content that would be great for book club discussions. Remember, EVERYONE has a story and some type of emotional baggage! Enjoy!
(Review book received from author.)
Leah knows she is in love with the wrong man. When Kenny swept her off her feet and moved her out of the projects, she felt like a princess. Leah's princess dreams began crumble when Kenny’s latest get rich scheme has her facing prison time. The only way to avoid prison time is to become an informant against the man she though would make her dreams come true. Does she have what it takes to go against Kenny and save herself. Hard working Nasir is doing his best to distance himself from Kenny but Kenny has information that keeps Nasir from completing breaking all ties. Breaking free of Kenny’s guilt trips may prove to be more than what Nasir bargained for.
Told from the point of view of Leah and Nasir, Chaser by Miasha tells the story of two people trying to escape the grasp of Kenny and his schemes. Leah and Nasir's first person point of view shows the levels of emotions tied to the tug of war between right and loyalty that is shaping their life. Abuse, cheating, killing and snitching are all secondary characters in this urban tale. Leah and Nasir learn that fast money is not always a good thing. The turmoil each character faces in their quest to rid their lives of Kenny keeps you guessing until the final chapter.
Set in Philadelphia, each scene is descriptive and well written. The underlying story of Chaser (accident chasers) offers a look at the cycle of auto body shop, doctors and lawyers in everyday traffic accidents. Urban Lit readers will enjoy this tale of cat and mouse.
(Review Book Received From Publisher)
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Reviewer: Toni Mac
Los Angeles attorney Pamela Samuels Young has given the staring role in her legal thrillers to attorney Vernetta Henderson. Vernetta returns in “Murder on the Down Low.” It opens with the murder of Quentin Banks, a prominent African American doctor. His shooting death was not the first and it certainly won’t be the last as there appears to be a serial killer on the loose.
Vernetta’s best friend Special is up to her usual antics. But this time her attention is focused on Eugene Nelson, fiance to her late cousin. Her cousin, Maya, died from AIDS, given to her by Eugene as a result of his being on the down low. However, this time, Special may be in over her head.
In “Murder on the Down Low,” Pamela Samuels Young shines a spotlight on the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in the African American community. Samuels Young adds suspense, drama and deceit as her tale takes readers from one surprise to the next. It’s not a book to be read lightly, as it has some powerful messages. For example, African American and Latina women in the U.S. account for more than 80% of the total AIDS diagnoses for women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. That’s alarming and part of the reason why “Murder on the Down Low” is worth reading. The other reason is because Samuels Young knows how to deliver.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
TV news reporter Serpentine Williamson has a great life. Surrounded by family, friends and God, she lives the life many people only dream of. But Serpentine is not happy. Serpentine's plus size frame has been her nemesis her entire life, shaping both her view of the world as well as her view of self. She has spent her entire life on an emotional roller coaster, trying one diet after another to become the thin woman society seems to prefer. When the struggle to be thin takes Serpentine to the lowest point in her life she is forced to face her nemesis and learn to love herself hips and all.
“All Of Me” by Venise Berry is a touching story that will appeal to anyone that has struggled with the images of beauty placed upon us by society. Through Serpentine, Venice Berry shows us how society has warped the image of beauty and made many of us believe that beauty only comes in one shape and size. Serpentine seems to have everything but her low self-esteem negated all of her accomplishments making her feel like a failure because she could not seem to transform herself into the thin woman.
I absolutely loved this book. As a plus size woman dealing with my own image struggles, I could relate to Serpentine and her struggle. I could see bits of me and my personal battles in Serpentine's story. I so completely understood the place she was in when she decided to do the unthinkable. Venice Berry penned a book that will strike a cord for anyone who has ever picked up a fashion magazine or watched a music video and wondered why they never saw a woman that looked like them.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Reviewer: Toni Mac
Readers have been through a lot over the years with Tasha and Trae, Kyra and Marvin, Angel and Kaylin, and Jaz and Faheem. Author Wahida Clark does not disappoint with book four of her Thug series. “Thug Lovin’” finds married couple Tasha and Trae now living in California . Out of the game for good, Trae is looking forward to this new phase in life with Tasha and their three sons. They may have left their lifestyle behind, but drama has followed them clear across the county. Naïve mistakes create major problems. Tasha and Trae dared to dream big, but are they equipped to handle the consequences?
Clark writes well, has an ear for dialogue and has concocted yet another lively tale for her rich, memorable characters. And let’s not forget plenty of Clark ’s signature thug lovin’. Initially I wasn’t sure where I was at as I began the novel because of the lapse in time since the release of “Thug Matrimony.” And with little to no reference to how that novel ended, I fumbled through the beginning but quickly caught on. Even so, “Thug Lovin’ is an enjoyable page-turner. There were a few questions left unanswered but I’m sure we’ll get those answers in another installment.
Let’s hope Clark has more novels in her. Any author who can make readers love thugs has talent to spare!
Reviewer: Toni Mac
What you don’t know won’t hurt you. But what happens when you find out? Ondie Reid’s life hasn't been typical. Having developed schizophrenia courtesy of genetics, Ondie has managed to have a somewhat normal life with the aid of medication and therapy. She even had a meaningful relationship that resulted in a daughter, Maya, and a marriage proposal until…her mother told her fiancee of her disease. Ondie and her former fiancee, Dexter, have maintained a friendly relationship. In fact, Ondie thinks now is the time for them to reignite what they once had. But what Ondie doesn't know is that Dexter has been secretly seeing her sister. Will the discovery of their relationship send Ondie over the edge?
“Darkness in the Mirror” is an emotionally stirring look at the human side of mental health, focusing on the struggles and hopes of one family affected by schizophrenia. It was a pleasure to read. I’m happy to see an author tackle a subject not often addressed.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Reviewer: Toni Mac
Every girl dreams of her wedding day. A church filled to capacity. A beautiful wedding gown. Mr. Right, with his handsome self, waiting at the altar. Dasia Warrington’s dream quickly turns into a nightmare when her husband to be professes to her before God and all their family and friends that he doesn’t love her.
Crushed and devastated, Dasia locks herself in the hotel room that should have been her honeymoon suite to cry and drink away her sorrows.
Grimarious Guatreaux can’t ignore the sobs and sounds of pain coming from the room next door. Hating to see a woman cry, he lends an ear and supporting shoulder. Before long, the two find themselves attracted to the other.
Is it true that what you don’t know won’t hurt you? That may not be the case for Dasia. There’s more to Grimarious than she knows. And what she doesn’t know may very well mean her life.
“Loving Dasia” was an okay read. It was a surprisingly different read for me. It was like Bourne Identity falls in love. The elements were there for a good story; however, the execution fell short. At times the story was confusing and not consistent. Grimarious was involved with The Agency, a covert like type organization. At times I wondered if it was so covert that the author didn’t know exactly what he did! I couldn’t get a firm grasp of either character. More background on both characters would have helped for a smoother flow as well as detailed insight on exactly what it was that Grimarious did. “Loving Dasia” is not a bad read, but a read in need of better focus. I think the author has potential and the assistance of a good developmental editor would display that talent better.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
A good read for book clubs. Good discussion starter…
Nathan McCall's novel, Them, depicts the gentrification of Atlanta 's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, where Martin Luther King Jr's home is located. The story gives some history the Old Fourth Ward to help you get a better idea of how things were before the changes.
The story focuses on a middle aged man who is suspicious of all forms of government, which he refers to as "Caesar". He starts to feel that it's time to get some roots, so he decides to purchase the home he and his young nephew Tyrone are renting and this is where the story takes off.
As white couples begin to move into the neighborhood, one couple purchase the home next door to Barlowe and Tyrone, and the racial tensions begin to show though out the neighborhood. The couple, Sean and Sandy attempt to fit in and meet neighbors, but they come up against nothing but resistance and cutting eyes from their neighbors. Then you see that their own fears and assumptions begin to take hold the longer they live in a neighborhood that is clearly not welcoming.
McCall does an excellent job of giving you an up-close look at racism and change (or lack there of). The story continued to develop which keeps the story from becoming too predictable. The character development was strong enough to keep you focused on what will happen with the residents of the Old Fourth Ward instead of focusing only on all the negativity occurring in the book.
This book is an eye opener and the story seems believable, although some of the situations that occur are very stereotypical.
Over all, it's entertaining and you will see how this book parallels to real life and will defiantly result in some good discussion.
Reviewer: Toni Mac
Rating: 2.5 (Amazon 3)
Before I knew what the book was about, I planned to read it. Like many, I was caught with the title. Unfortunately, after reading “Single Husbands” I still don’t know what it’s about. It was a full helping of sex with a side of story – a very small side. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some erotica and I’ve enjoyed her previous novels, but this was just too much. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I feel that this premise, still overflowing with sex, could have worked with more of an actual story.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Plus-Size (size 16), literary agent Cathy Chambers has a great life or so she would have everyone believe. The literary agency is doing great. Her twin sons are doing well at school and it is baseball season so she can watch her beloved Yankees just about every day. Love is not an issue. A past filled with disappointments in love, size and weight insecurities, and some emotional issues from her childhood have made it easy to retreat into a routine of work and Yankee games until she meets the Yankee's top player Marcus Fox. Will Cathy be able to deal with her weight issues as her relationship plays out in the media that surrounds Marcus' life
When I first picked up Not His Type I was not sure what to expect. Since I had previously listened to an interview with Chamein Canton, I hoped for a book that gave a well rounded story that showed the issues many plus size women have as they face the challenge of being plus size in a world that does not always see beyond your size. I was not disappointed. Chambers is able to covey the struggles of the plus size woman without making her plus size character the funny fat girl. She was a real woman ,with real concerns that were amplified by the public interest in her relationship.
The story is filled with an interesting mix of characters and personalities, that shape Cathy and Marcus' world and help them deal with the media blitz that surrounds their very public relationship. I enjoyed watching the romance between Cathy and Marcus develop. It was great to see these two fall in love despite the media hounding them and an ex-girlfriend with serious control issues. I was happy to see Cathy work through her personal issues to make things work with the type of man that comes only once in a life time, if ever.
My only complaint was that the book was a bit wordy. There were scenes that just seemed unnecessary. Canton paid great attention to detail in her novel. In most cases this would be a plus but for this book it was a bit overdone. Despite this I really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to both romance lovers and lovers of plus-size literature.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In The Things We Do For Love, Xavier Knight takes us into the lives of two married couples, the husbands, both members of a gospel group.
Jesse and Dionne Law have endured a lot as a married couple. Jesse is trying to put his past life as a successful R&B singer behind him. As the lead singer of a hot gospel group, Jesse appears to have his life on track. Can he maintain the steady road while keeping secrets that could rock the success of his group and destroy the very core of his marriage to Dionne.
Dionne has landed a job in the ministry that she believes will allow her a platform to better spread the word. Will Dionne be able to maintain her new job while trying to save her best friend Suzette’s marriage, and dealing with the real story behind her adopted son.
Suzzette is married to Coleman, a member of Gospel sensation, Men with a Message, along with Jesse. Their perfect life is shattered by a secret that rocks the very core of what their marriage is based on. Coleman tries to come to grips with his exposed secret and the madness that begins to unfold as the layers of his secret are exposed. Suzette is busy questioning what she knows about herself and what the future holds for her marriage.
The Things We Do for Love is thought provoking novel , tackling issues of homosexuality, infidelity and the prejudice. Addressing the stances that the church, friends, family and the media may takes on during scandal, it is sure to have you wondering what you would do if faced with such situations. The story line is captivating. I recommend this book to Christian Fiction fans willing to think outside of the box on very controversial subject matters. This would also be a great book club read as the story and conclusion make for great debate.
Contemporary reader fans will enjoy this book. This page turner is a quick read. Looking for a little drama, this book fits the bill.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Get ready for a case of whiplash as you enter the whirlwind lives of Caleb and Paisley. Caleb is a handsome, successful investment banker who always seems to attract gold diggers. Paisley is a former model, in between jobs and fresh out of a relationship with a broke cheater. Will they be able to see past their past relationships flaws, and a prenup, to find true love?
Men, Money and Gold Diggers explores the lives of two people struggling to trust after being burned by love. Told from both Caleb and Paisleys point of view, the first chapter begins with a bang and continues to pull you deeper into their lives as the story unfolds. The main characters are well thought out and their friend and family help to add to the drama of the story.
This story was well written and covers the various pitfalls people face in the quest for true love. The characters are realistic and engaging. The twist and turns in the plot are well placed, keeping you interested from start to finish. Though it did not take away from the book as a whole, I did find the actions of some of the characters a little over the top. I also found myself questioning the direction the story was going a few times.
Readers of contemporary literature will enjoy this page turner. If your looking for a quick read with a little drama, this book fits the bill.
Reviewer: Toni Mac
Brenda Thomas’ memoir, “Laying Down My Burdens,” is like an intimate conversation with Brenda. She writes about family, drug abuse, domestic violence, and self discovery. With raw emotions, Thomas recounts all of her struggles in painful detail.
While not a thriller or an action-packed story, “Laying Down My Burdens” is instead an evocative book. With details of her life, Thomas has laid out a touching story that will hopefully educate readers and/or motivate those with similar circumstances.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Cassandra Lee has the world at her doorstep, or so it seems. She has worked to make her parents' bakery a success, working along with her father and getting her culinary degree. Her fresh outlook and innovative ideas have helped the bakery achieve tremendous success in the midst of a failing economy. During a meeting with her parents, she learns that the bakery she has worked towards owning is in negotiation to be sold so her parents can retire.
To further complicate things, only days before her wedding she walks in on her fiancé cheating, with another man. Devastated by the curves her life has taken Cassandra works to get over her heartache and help her parents to close the deal that will allow them to retire.
Told in 1st person from several characters point of view, The Cassandra Cookbook, shares the joys and pains of love, family and professional success. The characters have depth and deal with the real life choices people make to get ahead and find success in life. The writing style grants readers a peek inside of the mind of each character adding to the emotional ties felt with each character.
Overall this was this was a good book with a well developed storyline. I did find the cover to be a bit of a turn off and there were a few editing errors that took away through off the general flow of the book.
Looking for a whole lot of drama with a little romance thrown in, The Cassandra Cookbook fits the bill. There are life lessons and food for thought sprinkled into the pages of this story.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
After a successful yet unrewarding life as one of the best stoke brokers on Wall Street, Selena Sutton decides it is time for her to put her life in order. She put relationships and family on hold to achieve monetary success but her life felt empty. She craved love and a family of her own. Selena uproots her life moving to a small town in Texas in hopes of finding a quieter life and the love and family she so desires. But Selena gets more than she expected when the Cooper boys roll into her life.
Prince Cooper is pure trouble and Selena wants nothing to do with him. Prince's ego will not allow him to believe Selena does not want him, becoming obsessed with making her his despite her relationship with his brother. Magnus Cooper is handsome and successful, the type of man women dream of including Selena. Unknown to Selena Magnus has been in love with her since the day she rolled into Waverly, the quiet Texas town they call home. But Magnus has demons with roots in family dysfunction. Will Selena and Magnus be able to create a life together despite the challenges placed in front of them. The outside forces determined to keep them apart.
Fans of Gwynne Forster romance novels will not be disappointed with Obsession. It is quality writing filled with plot twist that will keep you guessing through out the book. Selena and Magus are a likeable and readers will want them to share the Happily ever after despite all odds. The challenges the couple face both individually and as a couple will at times seem more than they can handle. Readers will enjoy seeing how these two manage to face all challenges including the ones they have placed in their own paths. Though I found the beginning of the book to be a bit slow, but once the story began to roll I was completely sucked into the lives of Selena a Magnus wanting to know how they will manage to navigate everything that is thrown at them. I throughly enjoyed Obsession and would recommend this book to anyone seeking the classic romance.