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Sunday, January 25, 2015

#BookReview: A Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Synopsis: Alexis Fletcher hasn't had a merry Christmas in five years-not since her mother passed away. Every December she remembers the joy her mother brought to everyone during the holiday season and feels the pain of her absence, even more so now that she and her sister are barely speaking. More than anything, Alexis wishes her family could be whole again. However, with her wedding fast approaching, Alexis might just be ready to make some holiday memories with a new family of her own. Alexis's fiancé, Chase Dupont, is everything she ever dreamed of. He's kind, handsome, fully supportive of Alexis's career, and the CEO of a large company. But outside forces threaten to derail this happy couple from ever reaching the altar. As tensions rise, a dramatic event causes Alexis to question everything. Will fate give her what she needs to finally embrace the season that has brought her so much pain? Will Alexis get her wish for a happy holiday? Or will her Christmas prayer go unanswered?

Review: I'm always glad when Roby takes a break from the Curtis Black story line. Like a lot of people, Alexis lost an important family member and it affects how she does (or does not) celebrate holidays, but especially Christmas. As someone that lost someone during the holiday season, I could relate to her story. I appreciated her relationship with her fiance, though I have to admit that I kept waiting for him to screw up. He seemed too perfect at times. His mother, on the other hand, is determined to make Alexis's life miserable and she does a good job of it. Of course, because this is a Christmas story, it has a happy ending. I think it was originally publicized as a novella, but at 192 pages, it reads like a full length story, one that is mostly enjoyable.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: October 2014

Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#MiniReview: War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen

Publisher: Mira
Published: January 2015

Synopsis: Think marriage means happily ever after? Think again…

Selina and Lottie are complete opposites. Where Selina is poised but prudish, Lottie is quirky and emotional. Selina is the dutiful mother of three children and able manager of their stylish suburban home. Lottie lives with her eccentric teenage daughter in a small city apartment fit to bursting with color and happy chaos. But these women also have one shocking similarity: they're married to the same man…and they've just found out he's dead.

Selina has been married to Simon Busfield for twenty-eight years, Lottie for seventeen. Neither knew a thing about the other until the day of Simon's funeral, where the scandalous truth is revealed in front of everyone they know. Another wife, another family… And they've only just scratched the surface of Simon's incredible betrayal.

With dark humor and razor-sharp wit, Cohen expertly unravels a story of deception and betrayal, where two very different families will discover they are entwined in ways that will change them all forever.

Review: Though I initially thought the premise of the book was a bit far-fetched, I was quickly reeled in to the wives' story lines. As I read, my allegiance switched back and forth between Selina and Lottie. Both women were blinded by their faith and trust in their husband and suffered the most for his actions.

I was slightly thrown by the ending. I didn't see it coming and it seemed a bit out of character with the rest of the story. Overall, it was a decent read.

Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Guest Post: Dr. King at 85 by Pearl Cleage

This post originally appeared January 20, 2014 courtesy of Atria Books & Pearl Cleage.

I met Martin Luther King when I was fifteen years old. He lead a freedom march in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan, and 250,000 people turned out for it. My father, a radical Black Nationalist, spoke at the rally, too, and was invited to the private reception held afterward. My father was not a believer in the redemptive power of non-violence, and from his vantage point on the west side of Detroit, he could advocate self-defense and black power without expecting to see the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross on our front lawn the next day. But despite their different approaches to our common problems, my father had great respect for Dr. King and for his work, so that day, they stood there, talking like old friends; two activist ministers, one Baptist, one Congregational, both known for their passionate oratory and their unwavering commitment to the Movement. I was just happy to be a fly on the wall.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#MiniReview: Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley

Publisher: Entangled (Lovestruck)
Published: August 2014

Synopsis: Two radio show hosts. One show. Who will come out on top?

In a moment of restlessness, Tate Grayson sold his multimillion-dollar company and spun his love of sports into a radio talk show. Life, and love, is too short to take seriously—a fact he enjoys rubbing in uptight radio host Noelle Butler’s face.

After the death of her parents, a tragedy she blamed on herself, Noelle vowed to live a controlled, focused life. Now a psychologist, she channels her need for connection into her radio show. But when the arrogant sportscaster next door tells listeners men shouldn’t get married, she’s all too happy to yank the silver spoon out of his overprivileged mouth.

Their heated on-air arguments are a hit, but when the station director forces them to do a joint show for two weeks, Tate and Noelle object. They can’t stand each other, despite the attraction sizzling beneath every interaction. But if they can’t pull the struggling radio station back from the brink, they’ll lose their jobs. Or worse, their hearts.

Review: I don't normally care for romances, but this made my pea-sized Grinch heart grow just a little bit more. Quick and easy read with likable characters.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

#BookReview: Driving the King by Ravi Howard

336pp; Genre(s): Historical Fiction, African-American
Release date: January 6, 2015

The excitement in the air is palpable as the town of Montgomery, Alabama prepares for a concert by hometown boy made good, Nat King Cole.  Most excited is a former classmate of Cole who shares his name, Nat Weary. Recently returned from war, Weary plans to propose to Mattie, the woman that waited for him while he was gone.  When Cole is attacked on stage, Weary comes to his defense and pays the price for defending his friend from a white man, 10 years in jail.

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