A Few of My Favorite IR/MC Reads of 2017

I meant to preface my last “top three” post by saying just because I name certain books as my top three that I’m slighting or dismissing all the other books I’ve read in the last year. These are just the three that have stuck with me long after I’ve read them. And 2017 was a sucky year for reading for me, so that’s another reason for only naming three books. I hardly read anything!!!

Without further delay, here are my top three interracial/multicultural reads, in no particular order:

Home by K. Carr: The cover got me. Not gon’ lie. The story kept me. Kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning because I love second chance romances, and this is one of the wildest ones I’ve ever read. Not wild as in WTF, although there were a few moments or two, but wild as in I’ve never read an honest (although fictional) portrayal of what post-partum depression can do to a woman’s psyche and cause her to do unconscionable things—at least unconscionable for us who’ve never experienced childbirth and the effects it can have on your being.

This story is not dire and depressing, but it is highly emotional, and yes, it does have an HEA. The storytelling is excellent, and it’s set in the UK, so you get that British flavor throughout. Loved it!

Rise by Dylan Allen: This was another book I picked up on a whim. I didn’t know the author; there was no buzz (in my circles) about this book; and I had no expectations. But something said, “Just buy the damn book and read it!” Folks, always trust ya gut!

So, Rise is actually the first book in the saga of three sisters of African and Syrian descent. Each are dealing with their own phoenix versions of rising from the ashes when their father is accused of one of the most unspeakable acts in modern US history.

Addie, the baby sister, and star of Rise, can’t deal with the fallout and shame bestowed upon her family after her father abandons them to go into hiding. At the first opportunity, she leaves the country and makes a successful life for herself in London, where she meets Simon, who is also mixed race. Simon is dealing with his own set of family issues, and these two couldn’t be as different as night and day. But their attraction to one another is strong and palpable.

I love romances that are heavy on the drama with good loving thrown in. This is one of those. Yeah, the sex was good, but the story was even better.

Part Of The List by Xavier Neal: Whenever author Xavier Neal posts flashbacks or anything related to this book, I get ALL in my feelings and never cease to let her have it (lovingly, of course).

All I’m going to say is this book is not for the lighthearted. Depending on who you are as a reader, as a person, it may or may not end prettily for you, but one thing I know for sure (in my Oprah voice), you will walk away feeling something. There are no rules that state all romances are supposed to be wine and roses and lovely and sappy. Chile…





Release Day Blitz: Broken Clocks by Danielle Allen


According to my grandma, a broken clock being right twice a day meant that in any given situation, there are only two opportunities for perfect timing.

I fell for William Grayson in a matter of minutes. The connection between us was undeniable, but our timing was off. I was dating someone and by the time I was single again, he was taken. And a year later, when we finally got together, it was clear that we were soulmates. But circumstances out of our control cut our time short.

We were a little older, a little wiser, when our paths crossed again. I was entering a new phase of independence in both my career and my life. He was growing professionally and moving to a new city. And even though our timing was off, it was still clear that we were soulmates. But for the second time, circumstances out of our control cut our time short.

My grandma was a wise woman, but my love life taught me that there’s no such thing as perfect timing. There’s just timing… Because nothing is perfect. There’s just right now… Because tomorrow isn’t promised.

For as long as we’d known each other, William and I just wanted to be together. It was as simple and as complicated as that.








Danielle Allen is a lover of football, fashion, film and fiction. From karaoke nights to vacationing and everything in between, she enjoys making the most out of the life in which she’s been blessed by living authentically and intentionally. Danielle spends her days teaching college students and her nights writing. And ultimately, she lives her life like it’s golden.

Danielle Allen is the author of the Back to Life Series (Back to Life, Back to Reality, Back to December), Love Discovered in New York, Autumn & Summer, the Heartache Series (Heartache, Heartfelt, Heartless*), Work Song, The One Series Duet (The One, After The One), Nevermore, The Art of Being, Disasters in Dating Choose Your Dating Adventure Series (Disasters in Dating, Brink of Disaster: This One, Brink of Disaster: That One), and Broken Clocks.
*spinoff from series, featuring different characters, coming early 2018


PS-There’s a giveaway! Click here to enter!

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New Release: Southern Complications by Emeline Piaget

I consider myself a professional author stalker, and I shamelessly ingratiate myself with those who let me 😛

Emeline Piaget is one of them. I love her stories, and she has a brand, spanking new one that I cannot wait to read.

First off, I love her book covers. She never features couples on them but a meaningful, “abstract” photo that ties together everything that the book is about. She’s made me appreciate the non-people book cover so much more…

Anywho, Southern Complications sounds wonderfully drama-filled. I loves me a good drama. So, basically, this chick Tess is living all kinds of black girl magic: dream job, home, and man. Or so we think because it can’t all be that gravy if a stranger pulls up on you and makes you rethink your whole existence. Right?

This…is the kinda drama I like reading. Sounds messy af, and ol’ girl is planning her wedding, nonetheless, when the sexy southerner turns her world upside down. Yeah, this is going to be a kindlelight (Yes, you read that correctly) and white wine adventure.

Happy reading!

New Release: The Ties That Bind Two

This post kills two birds with one stone: new release and author interview: SCORE!  Like me, many readers have been patiently waiting for the second installment of D.A. Young’s Ties That Bind series, and it’s finally here!

When book one dropped, I was surprised because this is so different than the sweet romances we’re accustomed to from D.A. So, being the nosy heffa that I am, I straight up asked. Enjoy this mini Q&A then head over to Amazon to check the series out!

MRJ: D.A., Welcome back to the blog! First off, congratulations! We last spoke (way)back in 2016 when you only had two books to your name (Sweet Obsession and New Beginnings.) Now, it’s almost two years later, and you’ve just released book #12!

DA YOUNG: It’s great to be back! Thank you so much for having me!

MRJ: The Ties That Bind is a three-part series that takes place over the course of 20+ years. What was the inspiration behind this series because this is very different for you?

DA YOUNG: New Mexico predominantly. It has some of the most beautiful, untouched, and unique scenery that I’ve ever seen. My sister and I were passing through on our way to a wedding in Louisiana and decided to postpone the trip for a couple of days to explore New Mexico. On our way to Taos, we were driving behind a large procession of motorcycles that took up both lanes. I was a little nervous because it was just us and them, but they let us pass with no problems, and it was interesting to see how well they coordinated to do it (hand signals used along with their signals). I was also fascinated by the women and kids traveling with the men, and that they all wore cuts which I called uniforms at the time, lol.

I remember thinking there was no way in hell you’d ever catch my straight-out-the- city-ass on the back of some man on a bike and what the hell would that even look like?! Personally, it couldn’t have been me, but I saw nothing but happiness in everyone’s expressions as we passed, honking our thanks and they waved as we drove by.

MRJ:  One of the things that attracted me, personally, to the series is that it takes place primarily in the 90s. I feel like that’s a forgotten decade, but I spent my formidable years, my 20s, in the 90s, and it was lit! Did writing a “period piece” so-to-speak come from a personal moment or time in your life?

DA YOUNG: It was my coming of age era and the start of motherhood for me. I love the 90s. and aside from the excellent R&B music and television shows it produced, it’s almost a forgotten era, yet so many bizarre things occurred. For instance, today’s my oldest son’s 24th birthday, and he teased me because in his baby book under current events, I wrote ‘Figure skater Tonya Harding hired a hitman to wack her rival Nancy Kerrigan in the knee’.

MRJ: How easy or challenging was it for you to write about dirty biker gangs and all the nefarious, unspeakable acts they commit in the name of the “club”?

DA YOUNG: At first I balked at the idea, but I think I’m okay with it now, lol. It’s an outlet for me to get creative, and I take it there just enough to get my point across. There are other authors out there who are masters at this — straight up hardcore, and kudos to them! I can only write my story my way. I’ve said from the beginning that this was going to be more than an MC series. All I can ask is that my process be trusted.

MRJ: Is there anything about Ransom and/or Billy you’d like to share with your readers that they may not have known or that we can expect to discover about them?

DA YOUNG: Billy is strong, loves hard, and will do what’s right no matter who you are or the circumstances. She’s a fighter but only if she considers something is worth fighting for. Most importantly, she’s only nineteen, so she’s yet to grow to her full potential.

Ransom isn’t just a biker. It’s time for him to fully explore his potential and options. As long as he stays away from the club, he’ll be fine.

MRJ: Is the door open for a possible spinoff after this series wraps up?

DA YOUNG: Maybe…

Wow! Thank you D.A. for your time and that eye-opening look into The Ties That Bind. Patiently waiting for book 3 and that possible spinoff…

Follow DA Young on Facebook and Instagram for the latest happenings on all things Whiskey Row, Baymoor, Kismet Cove, and Chatham.

Monday Musings: Me and my Big Mouth

Now that my New Year’s high has officially worn off, realism has set in, so that post I made last week about my 2018 blogging goals?

The road to good intentions lead to hell. Isn’t that the saying? I’ve already done enough bad ish I’m still atoning for. I feel I owe it to all the commenters, well-wishers, and private convos I’ve had saying, You go, girl! Or Girl, I applaud you ‘cause I can’t…

Well, dammit, I can’t either LMAO. One, I like to spread my posts and give authors and their work some shine for more than a damn day, and two, I ain’t got time…

So, with that being said, here is my more realistic, doable blogging goals for 2018:

  • 2 new release spotlights per week
  • 2 author interviews/spotlights per month
  • 2 reviews per month
  • Musings posts on first and last Mondays of each month

“Per month” sounds so much better than “per week”. Except when it comes to collecting my coins…

D’Amato: A Review


My first official “review” of 2018 is here! I don’t like the word review because who cares? I need to come up with a new term. Anywho…I just read the latest installment in one of my most favorite serials, The D’Amato Brothers, and unlike the last installment, which had me in my feelings hella, this one gave me the warm and fuzzies.

D’Amato is the tenth or eleventh book in the D’Amato Brothers series, and yes, I’ve read every single one. Don’t remember all the subplots (except Eli and Faith because they are my most favorite couple), but I’ve read them. Do you need to read all ten before reading this one? Nah…you’ll be reading for two months. This story is a lighthearted, feel-good, catching up with the fam story. It does hint at drama to come (and there’s going to be mucho drama, trust) but for now, you get to see the brothers (Nick, Kieran, Eliodoro, Tony, and Joey), along with their parents Nicola and Arturo (He’s really the stepdaddy but he stepped up to elevate himself to Daddy), interact with with their significant others, “The Sisters” in a happy, loving environment (for a change, whoooo).

So, who are “The Sisters”? Oh, just the ribs (I hate this corny ass term but I’ma roll wit it) of the Brothers D’Amato. From prim and proper to boughetto, I love them all. I think I read more for them than the actual brothers. Vera always keeps it real when it comes to race, and it’s never over-the-top, in your face, but she don’t sugarcoat shit neither, and I always look forward to her subtle social commentaries with each installment.

While again, this is a short (my only gripe), lighthearted read, it does give much foresight on future stories to come. If y’all read and follow the series, then you know their father Giorgio is one of the original fuckboys and is back with his Barbie doll wife to throw shade and try to wreck shit, but they don’t know who they fuckin with. The D’Amatos may be new money, but they’ll still kick ya ass. In size-12 Timbs…

Good story. Click it up!


My Most Memorable Reads of 2017: Part I

Last year was a busy year for me professionally (Thank you, Lord) and didn’t leave much time for pleasure reading. I probably averaged two to three books a month in 2017, which for me is dismal. When I started this blog in 2014, I was sometimes reading two books a day! One of my personal goals for 2018 is to definitely read more—specifically, one book a week, minimum.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll feature my top three reads in African-American romance, interracial/multicultural romance, women’s fiction (may have romantic elements, but romance is not the theme), and non-fiction. Up first are my top three AA romantic reads (in no particular order). I welcome your thoughts and your personal faves in the comments.

Take A Chance On Me by D.A. Young

Book 3 in the Baymoor series did not disappointment. Actually, it’s my favorite, so far. You ever have an image of your ideal man and then you actually read about him? No? I’ll say a prayer for you, lol… Anywho, Graham Carlton is the epitome (say epi-tome) of Mr. tall, dark, and gotdayumm. Brotha man slings in the kitchen and the bedroom and will put paws on anyone who poses a threat to the women in his life. I’ma need me one to go, please. Do you need to read books 1 & 2 (include links) to enjoy this one? Personally, I don’t think so, but you may as well to be caught up on who’s who…

The Shorts series by Nia Forrester

There are four installments in this series, but I didn’t pick up until Book 2, which is the start of Randall and Danielle’s love journey. I am usually not a fan of these lil short, episodic story arcs, but if Nia Forrest ain’t put some stank on this series! She had me hooked from the time Rocket and Dani met to the very end. I won’t give the plot away, but if you are looking for organic, non-insta love, then this series is for you. The build-up is insane, and now that the series is complete, you can read books 2-4 to get the entire story. I won’t lie and say I’d like another story just to wrap it all up nicely because it does end with room for possibilities.

That One Missing Piece by Alida Alana

For a debut novel, Ms. Alana knocked it out the park. If you are a fan of second-chance romance like me, then I highly recommend this one. Five years later and Jade regrets the moment she let her then-fiance Ellis go. I even wanted to kick her ass, but I know how feelings of inadequacy can be all-consuming and overtake any bit of sense you may have left. When Ellis re-enters the picture, Jade is determined to not make the same bone-headed mistakes twice. But is it too late? Definitely worth reading to find out.

So, these were my top three. The ones that I could reread and not tire of. What were some of your 2017 AA faves?



Monday Musings: Hello, 2018!

It’s friggin 2018!!!! I remember being in high school, thinking that 2018 was somewhere in the distant future, and thirty years later, here we are. It’s so incredibly surreal to me that I’m pushing up on fifty. But you know what else? I never had a plan for my life. I never said I’d be married by a certain age or have these many kids or have this kind of job, making this amount of money. None of that ever factored in my mind because I was always raised with the mindset of living for today because tomorrow wasn’t promised. I think that philosophy has its good and bad points, which I’m not going to list because this aint that kinda blog, and I’ve already gone off the rails as is.


Anywho, I hope 2018 is better to me than 2017 was, hence my lack of blogging. I owe many authors spotlights and reviews (Yes, I am doing those again — sporadically). They’re coming! Reading has just taken a backseat to everything else, right now, but I am hopeful that 2018 will allow me more time to read and blog and be in my happy place once again. The year always starts out on a high note for me, and then by August, I’m so over it :/ But I vow to ride 2018 all the way to the end.

Whew! I’m tired just rereading this goal graphic. I better shut up and get to work. Happy New Year, y’all!

Monday Musings: It’s Cuffing Season!

Howdy do?! It’s been a minute, and I regret nothing…Actually, if you follow me on Instagram (not-so-shameless-plug), then you know I’m still in these literary skreets, doing what I do…

As the temps drop here in the DMV (That’ DC/MD/VA for you unknowing folk), I cuff, not with a significant other but with something less annoying and totally inanimate: my Kindle! Don’t you feel sorry for me. I’m good, yo. I can cuddle up with a new dude every night without an ounce of guilt (teehee…)

My Kindle is locked, stocked, and loaded, and this is only the beginning! There are new titles dropping almost every week from my faves, and I am too psyched. I am sufficiently budgeted for purchases. Now, if I can only budget some time to cuddle up and actually read.