Tag Archives: life

📚 The clear expression of mixed feelings 📚

🎭 Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues 🎭

TITLE: Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues
AUTHOR:  Julius Jamaal McLean
PUBLISHER: Julius McLean Books
SERIES: No
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ 🔥Symbolic versification 
BUY THE BOOK: http://amzn.to/29vBcKb

513d3zH0JhL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues is a poetry collection consisting of 65 poems. The poems are separated into 11 distinct sections that tell their own story while still fitting into the overall story of the collection. Although not limited to African American influences and content, the collection is very much inspired by the work of African American poets and writers like Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Frederick Douglass and from the black cultural, social, and artistic revival that took place during the period known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues is about encapsulating the Harlem Renaissance state of mind and encouraging young black minds to express themselves and “catch a glimmer of their own beauty” as Langston Hughes urged his young black contemporaries to do in his essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926), albeit with modern flair. The creative license that black artists had to express themselves and their art during the Harlem Renaissance is the blueprint for the poetry and artistic expression in the collection. Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues is rooted in a modern sense of black cultural, social, and artistic rebirth while paying homage to the artistic foundation laid by the great pioneers of the past.


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REVIEW:

It’s not often I’m sent a book that pulls me in right away.  Usually, there is a waiting period on reviews, especially now with all the things I have going on.  But I received this book for review on Monday, I flipped through it and put it on the shelf with the others.  And every time I passed that shelf it called out to me.  I’d read a page and put it back I did this half the day and night.  Until this afternoon, I just seized it and dove straight in.

More often than not, poetry has to be felt by the reader.  It has to touch something within them for them grasp the poet’s intention.  Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues is that kinda book.

There are several pieces that I enjoyed and below are three that stuck with me.

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Caged Lion 


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Sound of a dead body

If a body falls in the ghetto,

Does it make a sound?

Did America hear the rounds

When they gunned him down?

While the average person peacefully sleeps,

His ghetto kinfolk mourn and weep.

His giant heart no longer beats.

The Jumpman grounded on his feet.

The murder rate he couldn’t beat.

He died before he reached his peak,

Thinking that he let his family down.

This young man who was college bound

Is now deprived of the chance

To make them proud.

The rest of the country had him on mute

And didn’t hear the killer shoot.

His story won’t make the national news,

Another victim of the boys in blue,

This tragic story is sad but true.

Imagine the pain if it were you.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A native of South Florida, Julius Jamaal McLean is an African American writer, poet, and creator striving to encourage, influence, and represent the voice of young artists. Inspired by the work and creativity of African American writers like Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, his debut poetry book Harlem Nights and Footstep Blues evolved organically from a desire to create something relatable, impactful, and relevant to modern social issues and culture. Julius’ poetry is a way for him to speak from the perspective of those from his demographic who are not given the opportunity to speak for themselves often. His desire is for the sound of his own voice to ignite the passion within those of his generation and motivate them to express themselves in the same manner.

Connect with Julius Jamaal McLean

Twitter: @juliusjmclean

IG and SC: @universaleuomo

Facebook: Julius Jamaal McLean

Email: juliusjamaalmclean@gmail.com;

Tumblr: http://universaleuomo.tumblr.com/

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🏈 Touchdown…when love leaves the friend zone and lands in the end zone❣️

📚  Her Perfect Catch 📚
TITLE: Her Perfect Catch 
AUTHOR: K.L. Brady
PUBLISHER: Lady Lit Press
SERIES: Yes (The Playmaker Series) 
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️ Adorable Romance 
BUY THE BOOK: http://amzn.to/29GfcyS

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A CATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

Sometimes love is in your grasp and all you need to do is hold on…

Nerdy, struggling sports writer Melanie Vincent needs a miracle when her dream of running a nationally recognized blog hits a snag due to low readership. After Mel is gifted a pair of Super Bowl tickets for years of faithful dog sitting, she has a chance encounter with her favorite football player, star wide receiver Jet Jamison. Their fateful meeting leads to the inside scoop on the biggest story of her career…and just maybe the love of a lifetime.

 


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REVIEW:

Love is right before you…if you just open your eyes.

Melanie Vincent is the hidden face behind the struggling sports blog, The Vin Report.  Her best friend Dylan agrees to be the face of Mel Vin.  With everything invested in the Vin Report, Melanie is afraid she won’t last past the next few months.  As her birthday approaches, her friend gives her tickets to see her favorite sports team in the playoffs.  Attending with Dylan, Melanie misses the perfect catch, thrown by C.J., Jet Jamison’s brother and it knocks her out.

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Meeting Jet Jamison, Melanie doesn’t reveal who she really is, leading Jet to believe her name is Dylan.  Insert trouble here.   Football’s bad boy Jet Jamison, really needs to turn his image around.  And after his first date with Mel as Dylan, he believes he’s found the perfect mix of a woman.  She has it all, brains and beauty.

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Her Perfect Catch is a perfect mix of clean romance and comedy with a dose of drama.  I enjoyed the beginning of this series and look forward to seeing where the game takes Mel, Dylan and Jet in the future.

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👀 For nothing is a secret that will not be revealed…💑

📚 I love him…Anyway 2 📚

TITLE: Jeremy and Melinda: I love him…Anyway II
AUTHOR: Angelia Vernon Menchan
PUBLISHER: Honorable Menchan Media
SERIES: Yes
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️  Concealed secrets
BUY THE BOOK: http://amzn.to/29FZp2W

 

51MkfpO-0ZL._SX385_BO1,204,203,200_Tears coursed down Melinda’s face as the doctor’s words resonated inside her. Jeremy stood beside the hospital bed holding her hand is if someone shot him.
“I am so sorry Mr. and Mrs. Stuart, I am so sorry, last week everything seemed fine. The only thing I can offer is perhaps something happened with the fetus…” the doctor said. Melinda turned her tear stained face to look into the doctor’s eyes.
“Fetus? Doctor, I am eight months pregnant. I didn’t lose a fetus; I lost a baby, a baby who if he had been born would have been viable. My baby is dead inside me and you need to keep the platitudes and deliver him so I can grieve.”
Jeremy clutched her hands tighter, unable to speak and glanced at his mother, Marva and Melinda’s mother, Alicia who had flown in from Miami to find out hours later her grandchild passed.
The doctor nodded, telling them they were taking Melinda to surgery. Jeremy kissed her gently, telling her he loved her before walking out behind his mother and mother in law.
The three of them sat quietly in the waiting room unable to offer words of comfort to the other. Everything happened so quickly. Alicia arrived, they were planning dinner and a shower and suddenly Melinda didn’t feel well and was cramping. The doctor told them to come to the hospital and it was discovered their child was no longer alive. Jeremy felt as if something in him died also.
¥¥¥¥¥
“Hey.” Jeremy said when Melinda’s eyes opened.
She had been under general anesthesia and was in recovery. She touched her belly and Jeremy flinched. The pain on her face matched his internal anguish. He could not imagine how she must feel having carried their child.
“Where is he?”
“Your dad isn’t here, your mom is with mom; they are getting food in the cafeteria.”
“No, I mean the baby?”
“They have him, I mean he is in the…” He was unable to say morgue.
“I want to have a proper funeral,” Melinda said.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m positive and when that is done, I think we need to discuss this marriage.”
Jeremy felt as if she had punched him. “What about it? Things have been good,” he murmured.
“We need to discuss if it is viable or if like our son, it is gone.” Turning away, she closed her eyes, leaving Jeremy unsure what to say.
There had been some struggles but he thought they were past those and settled into a routine, preparing for the baby. He dropped down in the chair next to her.


REVIEW:

When my life is in disarray my reading suffers.  This last past month my reading suffered a lot.  However, Jeremy and Melinda brought me out of my current slump.

The second book in the series is a prelude of sorts.  It starts off with Melinda and Jeremy facing the tragic event of losing their first born child.  That in itself is hard enough but the challenges their marriage will face doesn’t stop there.

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Melinda has been harboring a secret from Jeremy, secrets that leave him wondering, who did he marry.  The aftermath that follows the loss of her child, sends Melinda into several stages.  Her jealousy of Florence increases, making the friends, now frienemies.  Yet while everyone is focused on Melinda’s pain and suffering most seem to forget about Jeremy and his pain.  Losing a child is hard for any parent and being a man Jeremy had to place his feelings on hold to deal with those of his wife.

This author is no stranger to tackling issues that plague the community as a whole.  In I love him…Anway II: Jeremy and Melinda deal with many of those issues.  Covering up the ugly with a pretty bandage doesn’t erase it nor heal it.  Melinda and Jeremy learn this lesson the hard way.  Will their marriage survive?  Grab your copy and find out.

 

 

🎭Some men become ghosts before their deaths. ~Plato 🕵

📚 The Real Mrs. Price 📚

TITLE:  The Real Mrs. Price
AUTHOR: J.D. Mason
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Griffin
SERIES: NO
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️ Sizzling mystery 

BUY THE BOOK: http://amzn.to/29As9JV

 


51AbMDqH+dL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Lucy Price is living the American dream. She has been married to her successful husband and businessman, Edward Price for a year and couldn’t be happier until she learns that Eddie is a dangerously ruthless man, heavily involved in illegal activities that threaten not only her marriage, but her life. Eddie abruptly disappears, but not before warning Lucy that if she wants to keep breathing she’d better keep her mouth shut. Six months later, word of her husband surfaces when she learns that he is presumed murdered in a small Texas town, apparently killed by his “wife”, Marlowe Price.

Marlowe is no stranger to trouble. An outcast in her own community for being one of those “hoodoo women,” who can curse you or cast you under her beguiling spell, Marlowe is shunned at every turn. Six months ago, a whirlwind romance in Mexico led Marlowe to marry the man she thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. For Marlowe and Eddie, there is no such thing as trouble in paradise. But late one night, when Marlowe witnesses her husband putting the body of a dead man in the trunk of his car, the illusion comes crashing down around her and she knows she has to move fast before the devil comes calling once again.

Now, Lucy and Marlowe must come together to find out where and who Eddie really is, and help each other through the threat he poses. There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman scorned…except for two women scorned who are willing to put their pasts behind them and band together to take one bad man down…


REVIEW:

What would you do if your estranged husband turns up dead, burnt to a crisp one day out of the blue?  When the shock wears off, you also discover your presumed dead husband also has another wife.  That’s the journey Lucy Price is on after her estranged husband Edward Price resurfaces, dead.

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In an effort to reclaim her life, Lucy feels the need to prove that Eddie is really and truly dead.  Her mission unites her with Roman Medlock, the former cop, turned PI.  After Roman sets a meeting for Lucy and Marlowe to meet the mysterious tide turns.  There is also an undeniable attraction between the couple.

 

Marlowe Price, is wife number two.  Marlowe Price seems to always find herself leading with her heart instead of her head.  When her Aunt Shou Shou, calls and tells her to read the bones, they warn her of the darkness that’s coming her way.  Suspected of murder, Marlowe doesn’t believe the body found is that of her husband Edward Price.

When Osiris Plato Wells, enters the scene…temperatures are rising (In my best Raheem DeVaughn voice). The physical attraction between O.P. and Marlowe is instant, but the warning from the bones, sets her tooth to grind.

This book follows the four characters as they try to find out if Edward Price is really deceased or playing ghost!  Can the two women put their scorned feelings aside to find out the truth?

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a mashup of mystery/suspense with a tinge of paranormal voodoo.  As our book of the month, this was my first read by J.D. Mason but it surely won’t be my last.

⛪️ The Darkness has blinded his eyes…🎭

📚 A Sinful Calling 📚

TITLE:  A Sinful Calling
AUTHOR: Kimberla Lawson Roby
PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing
SERIES: Yes (A Reverend Curtis Black Novel) 
RATING:  ☕️☕️☕️☕️ Contemporary Fiction 
BUY THE BOOK: http://amzn.to/29AqCn7

51Qw5nEv3ML._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgDillon hadn’t been called by anyone. He’d called himself and he wasn’t ashamed of it. But no good can come from . . .

A SINFUL CALLING

Two years ago, to everyone’s surprise, Dillon Whitfield Black, the secret son of Reverend Curtis Black, boldly moved back home, married a woman named Raven, decided he was going to become a minister, and then founded a church right in the center of his living room. Today he’s pastor of a 1,000-plus-member congregation, and new members are joining weekly. Sadly, behind closed doors, Dillon is far from being a saint. Dillon has become more like the man his father was thirty years ago-consumed with money, power, and lots of women. His family may have let bygones be bygones, but they continue to keep their distance.

Not Alicia, though. This daughter of Curtis Black joins Dillon’s congregation, leaving her father’s church behind. The family has forgiven Alicia for marrying Levi Cunningham, the former drug dealer she had an affair with, but once Alicia realizes they will never fully accept Levi, she decides to see her family less and less. She and Levi are truly happy, however, guilt from her betrayal of Phillip and its aftermath casts a shadow over their wedded bliss.

But when Raven decides she wants a higher position in the church and Alicia hides a devastating secret, the entire family is affected in ways they don’t see coming. In the end, no one will be able to trust anyone . . . and for very good reason.


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REVIEW:

The Black’s are back….The Black’s are back!!

Dillon hadn’t been called by anyone. He’d called himself and he wasn’t ashamed of it. But no good can come from . . .

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Book 13 focuses on the lives of Dillion Whitfield Black, the first born child of Rev. Curtis Black and his daughter Alicia.  When Dillion returns to Mitchell with plans to take over Mitchell’s mega church position, he didn’t count on real salvation taking root in his life.  Married to Raven, Dillion’s relationship with the other members of the Black family are non-existent with the exception of Alicia and her husband Levi.  As their bond grows strong, secrets hidden by both Alicia and Dillion begin to unravel and threaten to tear both of their lives apart.

After being ostracized from her family after her first husband’s death, Alicia struggles with some issues, she’s afraid to tell anyone including her husband Levi.

Can the pot call the kettle black?

Will the lesson’s taught weekly during Sunday service, by Rev. Black finally hit home.  Faith, Love, Family, and forgiveness are all lessons that continually go around.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed all the books in the Curtis Black series, and this one was no different.  Kimberla Roby tackled many issues such as depression, alcoholism, mental illness and family virtue and wrapped them all up in a pretty package that anyone could comprehend.

💌 Evolving deceptions to being careful what you ask for…🚛

 

📚 Every Woman’s Dream 📚

TITLE:  Every Woman’s Dream
AUTHOR: Mary Monroe
PUBLISHER: Dafina Books
SERIES: Yes
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Climactic Ending

BUY THE BOOK

EWDNot all wishes should come true.

Master storyteller Mary Monroe begins her Lonely Heart, Deadly Heart series with a page-turning tale of seduction and shocking surprises, as two unhappy women fulfill their every erotic dream—and find a desire that kills…

As teenagers, best friends Lola Poole and Joan Procter concocted a scheme to escape their boredom, pass the time between boyfriends—and bring in some money. It all started when they got in the habit of corresponding with lonely, unsuspecting—and generous—older men. In return for their “love letters,” the teens were rewarded with checks. The fun only ended when their swindle nearly got them killed. Now they’re grown, but they’re still longing for every woman’s dream of love and excitement…

Joan is unhappily married, while Lola is done with putting her life on hold for her selfish relatives’ demands. As girls they were looking for money, but as women they have other needs they want satisfied. And thanks to online dating and a parade of lovers, they’re getting all the sexy fun they missed out on. It’s a downright addictive game. But games can’t last forever—and someone has to lose…


REVIEW:

In the beginning of friendship, Joan and Lola have each others back.  They are there for one another through thick and thin.  Joan is all about the come up.  Living with her large family and sharing a room with her cousin Too Sweet, Joan stumbles upon and advertisement in the back of her cousins romance magazines.  The Lonely Hearts club advertises penpal relationships with people across the world.  After spending a semester writing penpals for a class project, Joan thinks this is the way to put some extra money in her pocket over the summer and have a little harmless fun.  Joan convinces Lola to join in and soon the duo are writing a numerous amount of men and getting money in return.  All is well in their little scheme until a Lonely Wife shows up to set the record straight.

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After that debacle, you’d think the young adults have learned their lesson…hmm well

Flash Forward, present day

Lola is still living in turmoil dealing with her stepmother Bertha and the dying wish she made to her father.  Bertha never, never, and did I say never lets her forget her promise.  Anytime she gets close to a life of her own, Bertha concocts something to derail it.  Lola’s life is nothing like she imagined.  She’s lonely and looking for love in all the wrong places.

Unhappily married and a mother, Joan is disappointed with the way her life went after she married Reed.  Although he provides everything she needs, he’s controlling and lacks the skills in the bedroom to keep Joan occupied.  Joan’s sexual frustration leads her to the internet.  After using several sites for random hook-ups Joan discovers Discreet Encounters.  And after a short while, she introduces Lola to the site as well.  And the two are back on a rollercoaster ride of thrills and sex…But you’ve got to be careful, everyone on the net isn’t whom they are presumed to be.

Calvin Ramsey, the sexy truck driver, and former Marine makes his introduction late in the book but the thrill doesn’t slow down it kicks into overdrive.

I really enjoyed reading this book, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.  It definitely makes you think twice about hooking up via the net!

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🚪 You are one decision away from a totally different life.🌱

📚 WomanIsh📚

TITLE:  Womanish: How she survived
AUTHOR: Angelia Vernon Menchan
PUBLISHER: Honorable Menchan Media
SERIES: NO 
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕ 4.5  Practical life lessons 

BUY THE BOOK

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What is WomanIsh? It’s all the things women go through. The day to day Ish, the man Ish, the raising kids Ish, the I earn lots of money but still want to be cherished Ish, the I’m more than my womb Ish… The what you mean I’m old Ish… Sound familiar? Every Woman Has Ish…

 

 

 


 

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REVIEW:

WomanIsh ~~ Defined by Alice Walker as the opposite of girlish…being a grown up…

WomanIsh is a collection of stories that center around women and the lives they chose.  The decisions each of them have to make and live with.  All of the stories, much like the decision they each have to make revolve around the man in their life. Each story is different and shares the encounter with the author, much like an intervention or session with Dr. Phil, Oprah or Iyanla Vanzant.  WomanIsh is the cause, the effect, and the solution.  WomanIsh is the making of a decision, the wavering, and the standing your ground of consciousness.  WomanIsh is taking the very thing you desire and making it yours, the dealing with the consequences.  That is WomanIsh.

 

The Stories:

There are several stories encased in this book, I’ll share a few that stuck with me.

Her UnEmpowerment:  Betta’s story

Out of the frying pan and into the fire!  Betta at the age of 39 became involved with a man, whom at the time she didn’t know was married, but violent nonetheless.  Roy was everything Betta thought she wanted, he took her out, provided, and sexed her on the regular.  What she didn’t expect were the beatings.  After an encounter with John, Betta assumed she’d found better.  John treated her like she wanted and desired to be treated until she stepped out of line.  Just like the other old saying goes, the grass ain’t always greener on the other side.  However if you take care of it by any means necessary, your grass can flourish.  It’s never too late to live a life without pain.

When I married…I didn’t love him: Mary’s story

There are hundreds of reason women and men choose to marry.  The #1 reason often being “in love”.  Mary’s choice was more about the bigger picture.  Marriage takes more than undying love to sustain them and Mary felt the swooning or big fall wasn’t it.  After 35 years of marriage, Mary loved her husband just as much as he loved her.  Hot relations come and go but a marriage of sustenance endures for a lifetime.

It’s my turn…damn the rest:  Kenya’s Story

Reading Kenya’s story, had me singing “I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger…” Kenya at best was ambitious and goal oriented, however, her darker side craved the excitement derived from obtaining different men.  Kenya married George, a man she felt was beneath her, he was too meek, too soft-spoken, too sweet.  He wasn’t hard nor a thug.  He didn’t strive for more than what he had and was happy with that.  After Kenya achieves her goal of becoming a P.A. her itch returns.  Too little, too late! Kenya learns the lesson.

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I loved men before I changed: Lena’s story

This story was different.  Lena was married for years her husband.  However at the turning point of life, she found herself attracted to another.  Hurting her husband, Aaron was never intentional for Lena.  She just wanted to live her life.

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The common thread in all the stories, is Women, doing Womanish things.  Standing by their decisions, good bad or indifferent.  I would recommend this book and the lessons it contains.  4.5 Stars

 

 

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