Black Love Spotlight #6: Rise by Dylan Allen

Sometimes you stumble across a hidden gem that’s just too good not to share. Rise is the debut novel by author Dylan Allen, and this story is so…different. Is it a romance? Is it a fictional piece with romantic elements? Who cares how you classify it if it’s just good readin’?!

So, without giving the whole plot away, which I am notorious for because I don’t know the meaning of the word summarize, three sisters experience a life-altering event when their father abandons the family because of his involvement in one of the biggest white collar crimes in American history. Adelaide, along with her two older sisters and her mother, flees their hometown with the help of the Feds and settle in good ol’ Silver Spring, MD (where I actually work) to begin a new life with new identities. Addie has bottled up all of this hurt and anger and animosity toward her mother because she feels that her mother checked out emotionally once they started their new lives. Like, what kind of mother goes on with her life as if nothing happened?!

Flash forward thirteen years later, and Addie is a young attorney, living and working in London. She hooks back up with her childhood bestie who knew her and the fam before the “incident”. Addie is in a love drought, partly self-imposed until she meets Simon, who is having issues of his own–all family-related. He ain’t got time for love, but he’ll make a concession for Miss A…

Here is where I’ll stop because I could literally tell you the who story. It’s really good, and I love the international flavor. Addie is Ghanan/Syrian and Simon is Ghanan/British. Rise (There is a meaning behind the title also) is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited, and I’m really looking forward to Addie’s sisters’ stories as well. Check it out!

Black Love Spotlight #5: Young, Rich & Black by Nia Forrester

Y’all! When I tell you I got my life after I read this book…

In today’s sea of AA literature where young, black millenials are thottin or trappin just to get by (And I am NOT bashing these stories; they just ain’t on my radar at the moment), it’s refreshing to read about a couple of young, black millenials from opposite sides of the tracks who are coming into their own in a social and political climate that doesn’t always have their best interests at heart.

Christopher “Deuce” Sciafe, Jr. got loot and clout. Well, his daddy does…And like many young, black millenials who are among the one percent, he’s pretty much oblivious to the plight of the young, black millenials who are among the ninety-nine percent. He dates white chicks and Latinas with “black woman attributes” (You know, bangin body, phat ass…Yes, a stereotype, but follow along…) In his world, race doesn’t exist as much as class does, and Deuce gets a semi wake-up call when he’s pulled over in shiny new Rover.

Zora Diallo ain’t rich, but she ain’t poor neither. She comes from a hardworking, middle class family, and for her, social activism and advocating for black lives is her main, if not sole focus. And, she’s the antithesis of who Deuce would normally seek in a woman: For one, she’s black. And not just black. She’s black like onyx with a glorious crown of massive, kinky hair. Shit, I’m in love…Do you know how rare it is to read about a heroine who looks like this?! Zora ain’t got time for no playas or games. Lives are at stake!

But the dichotomy between these two characters make the story worth every freaking page. Yeah, they were feeling each other on the DL and started a lil holiday fling, but the story didn’t get hella good until it was time to get back to life–back to reality. Y’all!

I wanted this story to be full-length like a mug! Novellas are always too short, but I swear Nia Forrester made good use of every page. Click this joint today! It’s available on Kindle Unlimited too.

Black Love Spotlight #4: The Widowed Series by Angelia Vernon Menchan

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Firstly, how gorgeous is the cover on the left? Boo-t-full! So, I know you’re probably wondering why the hell am I spotlighting a series called Widowed when this series is supposed to be all about love? In short, because I can. Ok, that was so bad…Sorry, ya’ll.

But seriously, this series is not just about a widow, but about secrets and second chances and love after fifty and being in love with a younger man. Whew

In Widowed, Arista Melbourne is a single, thirty-five-year-old contractor who meets single, much older (fifty-two to be exact) Paul Sebastian, a school principal. Within six months, they marry. Fifteen years later, Arista buries Paul but unearths all these cray secrets about her husband. Oh, and she meets a business acquaintance of Paul’s, Donald Prescott. He’s eleven years Arista’s junior, but age ain’t nothin’ but a number, right?

In Married?,  guess who’s a couple now? Arista and Donald are in love, and he’s ready to to put a ring on it. But Arista has some doubts. She is older than Donald and fears the same fate with him, sans the secrets, that she endured with her deceased husband Paul. Will this man love her enough and be there for her in sickness and health? Legit concerns, I’d say…

Both books are quick reads and are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Black Love Spotlight #3: Blackbirds by Lily Java

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a deep reader, and when a romance gets deep, I tend to check out. Blackbirds is an exception. Originally part of the Because My Heart Said So anthology, Blackbirds is now a full-fledged novel, and y’all: I had to read it in one sitting. Hashtag rare!

This story reads like a long, luxurious soak in the tub. This is organic love that’s not rushed but cultivated from a friendship that morphs into something deeper and more emotional than I expected. Sydney and Elliott are two relatable characters whose lives are hardly perfect. Their time together is sometimes upbeat, sometimes solemn, sometimes complicated, but always real. I couldn’t handle it at times ’cause I was like, “Where da sex at?” Real talk. I needs that in my romance, but when a story is well-written, you don’t need it (I need it tho )

Blackbirds is somber at times, but that’s what kept me reading. I had to know El and Syd’s fate! Don’t play with my emotions, but it was well worth it!

Black Love Spotlight #2: A Champion’s Heart by Piper Huguley

When I first the saw the cover to A Champion’s Heart, I thought it was just another contemporary AA romance. But then I looked more closely at the cover, and I saw that old ass transit bus in the background, and I had to take a closer look.

Well, lookie here! An AA historical romance set in the 30’s! Yup, I clicked it. Check out the blurb, then you go and click it!

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1935. Champion Bates left poky old Winslow, Georgia when he was seventeen years old. He had promised to elope with his childhood sweetheart, but pressured by other influences, he took an earlier train leaving his Delie behind. The pain at leaving her behind has tormented him for the seven years he fought as a ham and egg boxer, trying to make himself worthy of her. He had no chance for the big time until now. He has a fight with a contender boxer–a white man. However, he has been told more fighting will possibly blind him.

Back in Winslow, Cordelia “Delie” Bledsoe is out of luck. A teacher in the local school, she has the care of several children who have been abandoned by their parents. She’s offered $200 to take the children out of Georgia. She wants to take them to her family in Pittsburgh to live on a family farm, but Champion Bates shows up, insistent on helping her. She does not want to trust her old love but has little choice.

Champion wants to redeem himself with his former sweetheart and doesn’t expect much, but the hair and eyes of one of Delie’s young children tugs at his heart. In this story of sacrifice, Champ and Delie struggle to learn about love and both must grow A Champion’s Heart.

Could that young child be Champ and Delie’s? Hmmm…A Champion’s Heart is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Black Love Spotlight #1: Ante Up by Christina C. Jones

Who else has the hip hop joint by M.O.P. playing in a continuously loop in their head? No? Lames… 😛

Christina C. is the queen of black love. Her stories are wildly entertaining, sensuous, and oh-so-relatable. Ante Up, her latest effort is said to be a lil different from what we’re used to. It has some darker elements and some plot twists. Ok…Here.For.It.

Blurb:

Asha’s life is no fairytale, by any stretch of the imagination. There was no kind, generous father to care for and protect her from the Vegas that exists beyond the glitz and glamour of The Strip. No wise, doting mother to look over and guide her, passing down essential lessons and leading her to the right path. And certainly no Prince Charming just around the corner, ready to rescue her from working late nights to cover steadily mounting bills.

But she’s alive. Overwhelmed with responsibility she never asked for, carrying secrets and scars that haunt her, and singularly focused on an uncertain path to escape, but… alive.
You’re not born to sharks without becoming one yourself.

In Vegas, King is exactly what his name implies. Born into money and influence, but respected – and feared – in his own right. The privileges of wealth have afforded him many things: freedom, power, massive eligibility – while simultaneously leaving him exposed to others: betrayal, exploitation, and manipulation.

But he learned. The tolls of duplicity, wrath, and vengeance have taught him to be more mindful, more shrewd, to keep himself clear of the vulnerability of certain situations, certain business deals, certain places, and certain women.

Women like Asha.

Like attracts like…

Her poker face has kept her alive all this time, and he keeps his cards close to his chest. Neither is interested in gambling their hearts, but when they can’t stay away from each other, there’s only one choice… ante up.

Sounds like a real page turner! All 300+ of them! Ante Up is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Yes, it’s in my TBR

Monday Musings: The Air Already Feels Different

 

 

Monday Musings

I’m going to deviate a little bit for this musing in that it has absolutely nothing to do with books. This is personal. Last week was one of the most emotional moments of my adult life, and I’m referring to the “changing of the guard”. We are in for some dark and scary times. If you are a person of color, a woman, LGBTQ, non-Christian…life as you currently know it could be severely impacted. This is not some sensationalized scare tactic but a real, hard truth. I’m already mobilizing for an empassioned and lengthy fight. I will not live in fear. I will not acquiesce. I will not give in.

In the meanwhile, it’s back to business. More books. More shenanigans. More fun! See ya on the flipside.

BLIND REVIEW #1: A Disappointing Sequel

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Welcome to my inaugural blind review. What exactly is a blind review? Well, it’s a book that I’ve read that’s got me all in my feelings —and not in a good way! Since I personally do not like to write critical reviews, I do rather enjoy writing shady ones. I can be uninhibited without naming or shaming the book or the author. If you just happen to guess what book I’m talking about, oh, well…I plead the fifth. Let’s go!

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My first blind review is about a story that was highly anticipated. It’s like buying a box of commercial fireworks and you save the biggest one for last, and it turns out to be the biggest damn dud! Yup, this sequel was like perfecting the best twist out, but as soon as you step outside, that humidity hits it, and you wind up looking like Buckwheat’s twin sister.

My first pet peeve is the story was short af! I literally read it in less than an hour. And to add insult to injury, the story ended at less than 75% and the rest was snippets of the author’s previous works.

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My second pet peeve is the story read like a glorified epilogue of the original story. We ain’t learn nothing new about the couple and the supporting cast. It literally felt like a chapter and a half, ok, maybe two chapters, of “the day after”. malarkeyMy third and final pet peeve is the story just “ended”. There was no wrap-up or nothing! Ok, so what happened to the couple? There were children involved. What happened with that? There was a potential health scare. What happened with that? There was no conclusion and no indication that there would be a coming sequel to the sequel or wrap up to the story. Why fuck with an artistic masterpiece if only to follow up with a color-by-number knockoff?

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To say I’m disappointed would be a gross understatement. Until the next blind review…

PS-Did you notice a theme with my memes? Nice sendoff, eh?

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New In Romantic Suspense

romantic-suspense

romantic-suspense

As a diehard romantic, I will be the first to admit that romantic suspense is not high on my list. I think because I’ve been burned too many damn times. I’ll start reading the book, and halfway through, I’m like:

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WHERE IS THE ROMANCE?!

Thankfully, authors are disclosing that their works have “romantic elements”, which I greatly appreciate. So, with that being said, here are a few romantic suspenses or suspenseful romances (However you wanna interpret it) that look worthy of a read.

Mine to Keep by Ashley Nicole
          Mine to Keep by Ashley Nicole

 

When the Snowman Whispered by Kenya Wright
When the Snowman Whispered by Kenya Wright

 

Boss by Sienna Mynx
Boss by Sienna Mynx

Between these covers and the titles, I think these authors hit the mark. I think I’ll stick with suspenseful romance…

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