Tag Archives: family

🎭 A mystic bond of brotherhood makes all men one! 🛳

📚 Lazaretto 📚

TITLE:  Lazaretto
AUTHOR: Diane McKinney-Whetstone
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers
SERIES:  No
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️ 4.5  Captivating Historical Fiction 
BUY THE BOOK

51Pi4UgC+-LThis stunning new novel from Diane McKinney-Whetstone, nationally bestselling author of Tumbling, begins in the chaotic backstreets of post–Civil War Philadelphia as a young black woman gives birth to a child fathered by her wealthy white employer.

In a city riven by racial tension, the father’s transgression is unforgivable. He has already arranged to take the baby, so it falls to Sylvia, the midwife’s teenage apprentice, to tell Meda that her child is dead—a lie that will define the course of both women’s lives. A devastated Meda dedicates herself to working in an orphanage and becomes a surrogate mother to two white boys; while Sylvia, fueled by her guilt, throws herself into her nursing studies and finds a post at the Lazaretto, the country’s first quarantine hospital, situated near the Delaware River, just south of Philadelphia.

The Lazaretto is a crucible of life and death; sick passengers and corpses are quarantined here, but this is also the place where immigrants take their first steps toward the American dream. The live-in staff are mostly black Philadelphians, and when two of them arrange to marry, the city’s black community prepares for a party on its grounds. But the celebration is plunged into chaos when gunshots ring out across the river.

As Sylvia races to save the victim, the fates of Meda’s beloved orphans also converge on the Lazaretto. Long ago, one “brother” committed an unthinkable act to protect the other, sparking a chain of events that now puts the Lazaretto on lockdown. Here conflicts escalate, lies collapse and secrets begin to surface; like dead men rising, past sins cannot be contained.


REVIEW:

 

This book starts off with the introduction of young Meda’s first encounter with Sylvia.  Set in the post-civil war era, 40’s-50’s.  Meda like many during that time loved the President Abraham Lincoln.  On the night of his assassination, Meda is taken to a midwife Dr. Miss, to terminate a pregnancy which she has hidden.  However the arrival is far too late, and instead of a termination, there will be a delivery.  Sylvia is the apprentice nurse to Dr. Miss.  This night would be her first time assisting in childbirth.  She’s as excited as she is scared.  The event and secrets changed the life of both women, forever.

After the assassination of Lincoln, and the unfortunate event of her childbirth, Meda is sent to the orphanage to help overcome her grief.  There she encounters the two male infants that have been sent there to live.  Having just given birth, Meda is still lactating and becomes attached to the two boys.  She subsequently named them after the President.  Linc and Bram are brothers, though not biological but in every other sense of the word.

photography civil war

The lives of Linc and Bram consume the first half of this book.  Their bond is forever solidified with Meda and although it’s never really said, they love her like their own Mother.  Linc and Bram continue to live in the orphanage with weekend visits to see Meda, until the leadership at the orphanage changes hands.  One night a tragic event changes the lives of Linc and Bram forever.

The second half of the book finally gets to the quarantine station The Lazaretto.  The Lazaretto sits outside of Philadelphia and houses many who live and work the hospital that clears the entry of ships and passengers before entering the country.  On the Lazaretto, the tone changes, there’s a racial attack, murder, drugs, hate, love and of course drama.  The characters become more lively and the anticipation of actions are increased.

This was the first book I read by the author.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story, however, the ending was a bit disappointing for me, hence the 4.5 stars.  I look forward to reading more and I also think that Sylvia could have a book of her own.

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⚾️ Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you do❣️

📚  Hittin’ it out the park 📚

TITLE:  Hittin’ it out the Park
AUTHOR:  Allison Hobbs & Karen E. Quinones Miller 
PUBLISHER: Zane Presents
SERIES: ?
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️ Scandalous 

51BIphyo8QL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Secrets abound in this scintillating, drama-fuelled novel about a love triangle between a multi-millionaire baseball star, his wife, and the groupie who’s trying to ruin their marriage—if a long-held secret doesn’t destroy it first.

Cheryl Blanton is married to a superstar baseball player who has won three Gold Gloves and recently signed a $120 million, five-year contract with the New York Yankees. He’s wealthy and handsome, and all the groupies are after him, but Cheryl is gorgeous and her sex game has her man on lock. There’s just one little secret she’s been keeping from him: her husband doesn’t realize that she’s nine years his senior. And so far Cheryl’s had no problem hiding her age—her husband only has eyes for her. That is, until twenty-one-year-old Sexy Sanchez comes on the scene.

Sexy blatantly goes after Cheryl’s man, and a series of catfights ensue between them. Cheryl realizes she’s in the battle of her life to keep her man and plots to get rid of her nemesis. But when she hires a private investigator to dig up some dirt on Sexy, she discovers that getting rid of her rival might not be easy, and could also reveal some devastating secrets she’d rather keep to herself…


sexy hot prince scandalous

 

Whew…whew! Where do I begin!! This book starts out with the woman-child Cheryl Blanton.  Struggling with an addicted Mother, Cheryl is forced to do what she has to do in order to survive.  Her struggle leads her to a man that changes her life…

Randall Alston is a young country boy hoping to make it into the big leagues of Baseball.  After being invited to a major party by one of the New York Yankee’s scouts, Randy first encounters Cheryl.  Seeing him beyond the bad hair, pimply face and extreme southern drawl, Cheryl isn’t  initially attracted to Randy.  However after a night of unbridled passion, Randy is smitten and Cheryl isn’t that far behind.

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Life for Randy quickly changes after signing a major contract to play for the New York Yankees… (Who knew baseball was so exciting!)  The duo marries and quickly become the IT couple of major baseball.  

Sexy Sanchez is living her life like it’s golden…well at least in her mind it is.  Sexy moves to the beat of her own drum.  Her goal, to seduce and take other women’s men.  There’s no man that won’t succumb to her feminine wiles.  She uses exactly what she has to get what she wants, and right now she wants Randy Alston.

As this book plays out, the drama and scandal that unfold will leave you breathless.  These women are not into playing fair, they are only playing for keeps.  Just like the game of baseball, though, after three strikes…your OUT!  The question is who’s gonna be on the outs?   Sexy or Cheryl?   Although I really enjoyed this book and recommend it, the ending left too many open ends.  I hope there is a sequel to follow soon.

🗿 Circumstances don’t make you what you are, they reveal who you are chosen to be! 👊

📚 First Kill Wonder 📚

 

TITLE: First Kill Wonder
AUTHOR:  R. Jerome Brooks
PUBLISHER: Prodigy Gold Books
SERIES:  Yes
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Dramatically Captivating 

Pre-order today for the release on 6/16/16 First Kill Wonder

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.


518pkKy+ByL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Naim Butler, a rainmaker, has perfected the art of sentencing mitigation, as a partner with Manhattan power-firm, Baker and Keefe. He’s the kind of captivating and accomplished man that therapists vent too. His bachelorhood is turned upside down when an old flame, Sinia Love, drops a seventeen-year-old son into his lap forcing him to balance this revelation and his budding romance with Brandy Scott. Professionally, Naim’s assigned to prove a man’s innocence of murder is filthy work itself, but catastrophic when an envious lover of Sinia Love’s sets out to kill him while hiding amongst the glitterati of Manhattan’s upper crust.

First Kill Wonder is the author’s seventh novel, but the first under this pen name.

 

 


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Does the path you’re meant to travel stop when a bad decision is made?  Or are like the Phoenix, formed in the fire and destined for greatness, once consumed.  For Naim Butler, he was most definitely formed in the pits of fire.  From dire circumstances, Butler’s life choices were a product of his environment.  However, that wasn’t the end for him, one could call it; just a prelude.  After turning his life around, Butler became the first non-practicing partner at the law offices of Barker and Keefe, a prestigious law firm in Manhattan.  Life for Naim Butler was exceptional…

A fury of events including finding out about his now seventeen-year-old son, Marco and the chance meeting of Brandy Scott sets a change of pace for Butler.  And once again, just like a Phoenix he rises to the occasion and is determined to be the kind of father He wished was a part of his life.

Great books are formed by details they present.  It’s all in the details, and Brooks made sure not to leave them out.  Combining his love of a mystery with a hint romance, Brooks is definitely one to watch.   This introduction to Naim Butler is one I didn’t want to end right away.  The flow and pace were steady enough to keep the reading experience engaging while pulling you deeper into the world of Butler.  I am looking forward to seeing where this series will go.  Five Stars

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⚔ This is no fantasy, the WAR is REAL 🙏

📚  Suicide Watch by Janell 📚

TITLE: Suicide Watch
AUTHOR:  Janell
PUBLISHER: Divine Garden Press
SERIES: NO
RATING:  ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Compelling 

12418839_951675741580985_4086532033802960356_oWhat you don’t know can kill you. A wave of suicidal behavior has gripped the nation with no concern for race, gender, or age. Many think it’s just a trend, but inspirational singer Candace Tremont knows better. Since witnessing the suicide of her husband five years prior, she’s committed her life to fighting the spirit of depression. Unfortunately, suicidal thoughts and dreams also plague her mind, making the war more personal than anyone around her realizes. Unfulfilled with periodic and low-paying gigs, Candace yearns for an opportunity to touch more lives. Her prayers are answered—or so it seems—when she is offered a temporary job at Ontario Correctional Facility, performing for suicidal female inmates. A surge of self-harming behaviors has put the facility at risk for shut down, and Candace’s music might be the staff’s final hope of keeping their jobs. In addition to a substantial fee, Candace is given the assistance of the handsome Julius Barnes, one of the prison’s psychologists who believes her music can help reduce the lethal behaviors of the incarcerated population. However, Apollius, a fallen angel committed to destruction, has other ideas for the inmates, and won’t give up his control over these women so easily. A supernatural battle of epic proportions has ignited in Upstate New York, and the consequences could be fatal. Are Candace’s songs of faith powerful enough to save the lives of the inmates and keep the facility from closing down indefinitely? Or will her interference with Apollius’ plan make her the next target?


REVIEW:

Following the death of her husband, Candace Tremont felt her life was in shambles.  Knowing she’d never lived to her full potential during her marriage, Candace finds new purpose after death.  Julius Barnes can’t believe that Letizia is gone, by suicide no less.  At the funeral of his childhood friend and celebrity, Julius lays eyes on Candace whom he hasn’t seen in years.  After hearing her singing the most tranquil, spirit lifting words he’s ever heard, Julius feels a peace beyond understanding.

Either through sheer coincidence or divine interaction that their paths crossed Candace and Julius lives both changes after that chance meeting.  Back at OCF, Julius’ job as Psychologist is on shaky ground after the double suicide of two inmates within the same hour.  Feeling as his back is against the wall, Julius urges his supervisor to take on a daring and drastic therapeutic session for group therapy.

Dark forces are working hard to destroy the lives of inmates at OCF, will their plan succeed and successful close the doors to the facility?  Apollius’ is confident in his conniving and views his imminent success as the gateway to greater deeds in the underworld.

 

It is my whole hearted opinion that the main goal of any author is to have their work reach out and touch the reader in profound ways.  Although this is a fictional novel, the depths of the words and meaning goes far beyond mere fiction.  This author has undertaken a subject matter that affects millions of people daily.  Depression is a common but serious mood disorder.  Combining spirituality and music therapy to combat the stronghold of depression brings this fictional piece to reality.   This book evokes robust reactions at various times while holding the you captive with each passionate stroke of her pen.

While I highly recommend this book, I must include this disclaimer:  this book is highly suggestive.  The language while not vulgar nor overbearing with Christianity does deal with the spiritual warfare of souls. Most all religions believe in the forces of good and evil and that spirits can dwell in beings and words.

If you are dealing with depression, there is HELP.  You don’t have to go through it alone. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

💟 To love and be loved in return is everything❣️ 💞

📚 Bonded with Ezra 📚

TITLE: Bonded with Ezra
AUTHOR:  Love Belvin
PUBLISHER: MKT Publishing
SERIES:  Yes
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Ferocious 

51Meps+s57L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_“Trinity…”

He devised a specific road map of how they’d carry out their covenant—without input from her. She determined she needed to chart a new course in order to stay true to herself.

Perhaps Ezra has been wrong about his gift from above. Maybe Lex has bitten off more than she can chew. At this fork in the road will they continue their detour, or will they find middle ground and a covenant that keeps them bonded for life?

Disclaimer: This series is for mature audiences ONLY. There are three installments to the “Love Unaccounted” series. This installment is a full-length novel that contains profanity, erotica, acts of bondage, domination, and violence. If you do not like dark, racy romance between your pages this book is not for you.

 


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REVIEW:

What is Love?  Love is a variety of complex feelings, states, and emotions that range from interpersonal affection to pleasure. It can relate to a sensation of a strong attraction and personal attachment. Love is an interchangeable word, capable of being used as a noun or verb.

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Lex and Ezra are back, but not quite.  When we left off in book two, Lex’s personal demons had come back to life from the past like a Mack truck barreling down the center of her life.  What ensued afterward, shattered the standing covenant she had with Ezra. Fast forward, Book 3, starts off with the feral Ezra storming into his therapist office.

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In this book, we meet Ezra the man, outside of all the roles he plays.  This book opens the doorway to the man that has shielded himself away from the one thing that could carry him when he needs it the most.  Ezra has to come to term with those things.  His life is so compartmentalized that he doesn’t realize until it’s nearly too late that he cannot close off his heart from his most prized possession…  prince stroke chin

Speaking of possession, the Beast, claims Lex, devours Lex, can’t get enough of Lex…but Let’s be frank, can we be frank…Lex needs more.  Leaving Ezra is one of the hardest things, Harlem World has ever done.  Truly she’s at a crossroads, not only for herself but for those who depend on her and her well being.  Lex more than anything needs to see and feel the covenant between her and Ezra.  Will her wish be granted, her desires filled?

It’s no secret anymore, that although I loved the first book I hated the ending.  I was livid after falling for the duo and then for it to end the way it did, but I digress.  The author came back with ferocity in the following book and all was forgiven.  This book took you to the brink of delirium, tossed you with moments of despondency, engulfed you with vibrant exuberance, and wrapped it all up in love.  The evolution of a man. Ezra is now fully that MAN!!! I highly recommend this series!

prince

R.I.P. Prince

🎸 Life is the dash between the dates 🗺

📚 THE BOOK OF HARLAN 📚

TITLE: The book of Harlan
AUTHOR: Bernice McFadden
PUBLISHER: Akashic Books
SERIES: No
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Reminiscent 
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
BUY THE BOOK: THE BOOK OF HARLAN

41f6C9jmpFL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_The Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan’s parents and his 1917 birth in Macon, Georgia. After his prominent minister grandfather dies, Harlan and his parents move to Harlem, where he eventually becomes a professional musician. When Harlan and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins, are invited to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre–affectionately referred to as “The Harlem of Paris” by black American musicians–Harlan jumps at the opportunity, convincing Lizard to join him.

But after the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald–the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany–irreparably changing the course of Harlan’s life. Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden’s mesmeric prose, The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden’s familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters.


 

REVIEW:

Journey into the extraordinary story of a man who was born December 24, 1917 – and lived a vivid life through the dash… During the Roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, World War II and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Harlan’s life was like that of a rolling stone.

This book takes place in sections, beginning with the conception of Harlan, with his young parents Emma Robinson and Sam Elliot.  Emma is the daughter of a respected southern preacher and very musically inclined.  Sam currently the jack of all trades, runs across Emma and is smitten.  Soon after their meeting and dating, they are graced with the manchild, Harlan Elliot.

Harlan’s early years are spent with his grandparents while the young Sam and Emma set off to make a life in the world.  After many, many years of trying to find an appropriate place where their talents fit in and failing, tragedy strikes and the young couple returns briefly to Macon.

The summer of 1931, Harlem was the place to be. The family moved there after a visit with Emma’s childhood friend, Lucille.  Harlem was exciting and very cool. It was jam-packed with humanity and with music. People came in multitudes to listen and to dance to the jazz, blues and swing music. Harlan’s parents were right in the midst of this having the famous likes of Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie as recurrent visitors.  Harlan grows up with music in his heart and in his blood.

The teenage years for Harlan were a trying time.  Having a musical mother, who taught piano, Harlan took lessons yet didn’t quite have a feel for the piano.  After being introduced to the guitar in high school, he finds the thing that strums his heart like the piano does his mother.  Harlan’s life again takes a heady turn.

After a short life on the road, as a guitarist with Lucille. Harlan finds himself back in Harlem contemplating his next move in life.  After one night of drinking his sorrows away, another one of his favorite pastimes, Harlan meets the man who would become his best friends, Leo (Lizard) Robbins.   After doing sets with various bands all over Harlem, the duo forms their own band and life is exhilarating.  Harlan often throws caution to the wind and lives through – drugs, alcohol, women and fast living.

A major turning point in their life hits when their band is asked to go to Paris to play in a club there. The time is the early spring of 1940 and Paris is rebuilding its nightlife. After a few short months though the Nazis invade Paris and start their reign of terror in the City of Light. Neither Harlan nor  Lizard got out of France in time and both are incarcerated in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Another turning point in Harlan’s life.

Harlan survives after 5 long years and arrives back home a broken man. Carrying around the hardships he endured in Buchenwald, Harlan struggles to come back to life. Another turning point.

Through The Book of Harlan, McFadden tells a story not often heard of during that time.  It’s often talked about and studied, how the Jews were persecuted during Hitlers reign of terror, yet it very rarely mentions the lives of the others.  McFadden shed’s an ounce of light here.  This book does an excellent duty in guiding you through the life of Harlan, the people he touched and those who touched him.  This book was well written, with short chapters and long prose where needed.  The character development was astounding and multifaceted.  This was only my second book by this author but it most certainly won’t be the last.  History and music enthusiasts will adore this book.

🎭Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair. 💔

📚  Never say Never 📚

TITLE:  Never say Never
AUTHOR:  Victoria Christopher Murray
PUBLISHER: Touchstone
SERIES: No 
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Tempestuous 

51UZ5XTQ2fL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_In this emotionally charged and inspiring novel, a passionate and dangerous love affair threatens to destroy both a marriage and a friendship.

In this emotionally charged and inspiring novel about a love triangle, secrets between best friends threaten to blow up friendships and a marriage and change lives forever.

When Miriam’s fireman husband, Chauncey, dies while rescuing students from a school fire, Miriam feels like her life is over. How is she going to raise her three children all by herself? How will she survive without the love of her life? Luckily, Miriam’s sister-friend Emily and Emily’s husband, Jamal, are there to comfort her. Jamal and Chauncey grew up together and were best friends; Jamal and Emily know they will do all they can to support Miriam through her grief. Jamal steps in and helps Miriam with the funeral arrangements and with her children, plus he gives her hope that she has a future. But all the time that they spend together—grieving, sharing, and reminiscing—brings the two closer in ways they never planned. . . .


REVIEW:

Can best friends form a bond closer than sisters?  Miriam, Emily and MicheleLee all met in college and their bond became like sisters from another mother.  Each of the ladies took a different path in life, Miriam: a stay-at-home mother of three boys (married to Chauncey best friend of Jamal), Emily: a well-known Child Psychologist, gave up her heritage when she married Jamal, and MicheleLee: lives the single and loving it life as t.v. journalist.

Chauncey and Jamal have been best friends since grade school.  There’s nothing the two wouldn’t do for each other.  They eventually met and married their college sweethearts, who are also best friends.

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The sudden death of Chauncey changes everything for friends.  How will they survive this loss?  Will the grief of losing a husband, brother and friend bring them closer together or catapult them into a dire set of circumstances?

 

This multicultural story of emotion, romance, loss, sorrow and grief will keep you on the edge of your seat.  The author takes us on an engaging ride, slipping in flashbacks that show the bond of sisters and brothers in the story.  Not only does this book tackle broken relationships it also explores the art of forgiveness.  Can you forgive those who’ve broken the sacred bond of trust?  Dive in and find out.

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