Monday, May 21, 2018

The Colors We Make by Chelsea Maria

The Colors We Make by Chelsea Maria
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The change in the four seasons can prompt changes in us as human beings and the world around us. For Milan Butler, the change in the seasons meant her days of juggling books and late-night studying concluded and she would graduate from law school. Following in her Mother’s footsteps, Milan pushed her dreams of becoming a psychologist aside and picked up the gavel. Needing to release the frustration of not having the courage to take control over her life, she seeks comfort in the arms of not one but two men. 
Open the dictionary and look up loyalty and sacrifice. There, you will find a picture of Hendrix Gordon. Owning one of the largest paper and printing outsourcing companies in South Florida, Hendrix and his family lived a life of many luxuries. A late night of celebration caused Hendrix to make a decision that would later shift his entire empire. After spending seven years in prison for taking the rap for a loved one, Hendrix is a free man with one goal – take back everything snatched from him. 
After crossing paths with Milan, Hendrix knew from the moment her brown eyes lit up from seeing his drawing that she was the one for him, but when is love ever that easy? Giving into the desires of her heart, Milan takes a chance on Hendrix and soon realizes that the colors he painted on paper matched the array of colors he brought into her life. Will the colors they create together brush into a portrait worth hanging, or will the oil and water of their structure not mix and cause their colors to run dry?

Review + Rating
4 out of 5 stars
Their love was intense, almost to the point of stopping. I wasn't quite prepared for the Godly, intense love that would find Milan and Hendrix together.

Milan lives the life her parents have created for her. College, law school, work with her Mother. It's all set up, and Milan hates it. She's sleeping with her professor and only dreams of helping others. 

Hendrix just did a seven-year bid. He's just trying to put everything behind him--and move forward. 

In his process of moving forward--and hoping to shorten his probation period--he signs up to meet with a psychologist--and that psychologist is Milan.

In their first meeting, they know--that they are one for the other--and the trip it takes to get there, is fiery, fast--and earth-shattering.

Milan was something else. I was afraid her familial obligations--and her fear of all things that Hendrix was providing would destroy the love they were creating.

But, no Hendrix--being the bomb man he is--stood firm and solid while she was wavering. AND if that is not a man of God, I don't know what it is.

I really enjoyed Hendrix's dedication to his family--his goals in life--and later Milan.

His love for her was almost otherworldly. I could only hope to be loved like this in my life.

It was incredibly intense, patient--and at times I just didn't understand it. But, he loved her enough--until she was able to fully love and appreciate him, and then herself.

As for a plot, there's no absolute conclusive place that the book needed to get to.

But the ending was satisfying--and complete for their story.

The writing was decent. The characters were solid and convincing. Readers will honestly enjoy, going on this love journey with Hendrix and Milan. I know I did.

I'm intrigued to see more of what this author has to offer. Recommended!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Leverage & Love Series by Grey Huffington


Wilde & Reckless by Grey (Leverage & Love, #1)


Wilde Roads was dealt an evil hand in life, but is attempting to make the best of her situation without complaints or the need for recognition. Her story plays out the same each day with caring for her sickly son being top priority. The lack of insurance has her up to the neck in medical bills, which encourages to Wilde to pursue a life outside of the one she’d imagined for each of them. 

Some nights are wild. 

Others are reckless. 

But, the night that she encounters Jhalil Hanover, mayor of the city, Wilde falls victim to both. 


Wilde & Relentless (Leverage & Love, #2)

He told me if he had the choice, he’d choose me every time. 
Wilde Roads. 


Months after their 24-hour encounter, thoughts of Wilde are still in heavy rotation. While Jhalil has made efforts to suppress his desires for the damsel in distress, his efforts prove useless when an unsuspecting visit catapults them both into familiar territory -laced with lust, agonizing desperation, emotional comfort and fulfillment beyond one’s imagination. 

Exotic dancer and Mayor of Channing City seems like the perfect scandal to bring a screeching halt to Jhalil Hanover’s reign. Yet, not even the threat of public humiliation could hinder his plans of pursuing Wilde Roads. 

In the steamy continuation of the Leverage and Love Series, Jhalil has no boundaries. 

He’s Wilde. 
He’s Relentless.


Wilde & Restless (Leverage & Love, #3)

Without him, I couldn’t eat. 
Without him I couldn’t sleep. 

Our union was a blessing 

Without him, I was Restless. 


The Leverage & Love series continues with Wilde & Restless. In this follow up, Mayor Hanover and Ms. Roads agreed to part until Wilde felt she was adequate enough to withstand the overflow of love that Jhalil was ready to afford her with. 

But, as we all know, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Wilde holds up her end of the bargain, but finds herself overwhelmed with the restless nights and days that seem to linger without the presence of her loved one. Jhalil, Relentless without shame, succumbs to his urgency to have her at his side once and for all after a brief brush in passing. 

Even the Wilde gets Restless.

Review + Rating
Series: 2.5-3 STARS
Book One: 2 stars
Book Two: 2 1/2 stars
Book Three: 3 stars
If you've read my review for Half and Half then you know I did not like the book. If you did NOT read that review, I did not like the book.

In an effort to give the author a chance to redeem herself, I picked up the Wilde and Reckless series.

Can I just mention how frackin' confusing these covers are, unless you use your bionic eyes to decipher what number you are on at the bottom, you may find yourself in the wrong order?! The covers are only distinguishable as different from the different colors. 

That was crazy annoying.

To be honest, they were slightly, and I mean marginally better, but the writing itself was still lacking--and I don't see myself picking up any more of this author's books. It's just not there for me, on a writing or storytelling level.

Wilde is an exotic dancer, who dances solely for the purpose--of paying her son's extensive medical bills.

One day, on her way out--she's commandeered to dance for the Mayor. The mayor just needs to unwind, and Wilde is exactly what he needs.

Their love rather emotionless focused solely on the explicit physical attraction between the two.

Wilde wants nothing to do with a relationship in any shape or form

Jhalil, wants nothing else but Wilde, despite her resistance. 

It's all kind of written out from there. Girl resists guy. The guy fights for her love, blah, blah, blah.

Book one serves as an introduction to Wilde's life and reasoning and peeks into Jhalil's struggle with being Mayor.

It all happens pretty fast and then it's over--ending on the precipice of a promised relationship.

Book two: The beginning of this had me in a complete state of confusion. I actually went back to Amazon to ensure I hadn't downloaded the wrong number in the series.

But it was a dream sequence that was not signified by a change in font--or even a hint of what was going on. I think the author was going for dramatic effect, but I was just confused.

The story pretty much continues in the same vein of need, and want. 

Look, if a sexual connection is all you need in a book, who are me to judge?

Wilde still fights their connection, but of course, she relents when she realizes she doesn't want to be away from him. 

Book two has the same grammatical issues it does in book one--inconsistent and misused phrases. I don't have the energy to cite them. 

As I mentioned they're not as bad as half and half, but it could've been helped.

Moving right along.

The ending of book two is another melodramatic, cliff-hanger.

Book three finds us at the height of the drama from the ending of book two.

This was by far the better of the three. Real emotion started to show up. While I'm still feeling kind of meh about the story in general, I can give props where they are due.

The third novel although not five-star worthy seemed more flushed out, and solid in comparison to the first two.

Book three is the conclusion to a love, that I was not wholly convinced of, but slightly entertained by.

Without breaking down what each book entails for fear of spoilers. They all follow the same storyline, and in that regard, flow well--aside from that odd beginning in book two. 

While I probably won't bother picking up any more of this author's books, I think there are signs of growth, and there might be something to find here, if you like your romances rough around the edges--and don't mind a lack of romance, but a lot of drama, and sex.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Whirlwind Love by A' Sunnshine


Whirlwind Love by A' Sunnshine
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Twenty-seven-year-old, Pharaoh Sullivan is a jack of all trades in every way imaginable. Although, he’s a loving, caring husband that’s also a great provider, Mr. Sullivan just has one tiny flaw. 

Twenty-four-year-old Trinidad Sullivan is everything a wife should be, and some. Pharaoh is the only man she has ever loved, but what’s a girl to do when she’s fed up with her husband’s foolery. When enough is enough, Trini takes matters into her own hands and start to dish out the same thing that her sweet Pharaoh is doing to her. Being torn between wanting out of her marriage or sticking it out, Trini is lost on what to do. 

When the storm begins to brew a whirlwind of deceit, lies, and betrayal, will Trini and Pharaoh come out together or a part?

Review + Rating
2.5-3 out of 5 stars
I have to admit any expectations I may have had for any of the books I've picked up this last week, have dropped to nothing. 

My expectations for this latest read were none. I saw a cover I liked, and a blurb that I breezed over, that seemed decent enough.

While I wasn't completely blown away. I wasn't completely disappointed either.

My biggest gripe is the writing. It's not that great, considering the flow between the point of views were a little too sharp at times to be considered seamless. 

When books are split between points of view, it needs to flow seamlessly for easy reading. 

Additionally, the characters were kind of assholes. They start off fighting, and they end off fighting. It was like a bad episode of love and hip hop--the streets edition.

The saving grace is that despite the characters dispositions, they weren't that hard to like. I definitely feel like there's something to see here, the author just needs to dig a little deeper. Give the characters a little more depth, a little more substance. 

I don't have a lot of strong feelings towards this novel either way. BUT, boy did that cover get me? Lookin' like a cute contemporary, when it houses nothing but ratchet characters doing ratchet things. This is urban fiction, don't be fooled. 

Again, nothing to go crazy over--but a decent enough time filler.

The ending is a cliff-hanger, so expect more shenanigans at some point in the future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Falling For A Black Billionaire by Bianca


Falling For a Black Billionaire by Bianca
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I hated rich men. 
They are all arrogant and think you are supposed to bow down to them. 
Until I was accosted by Travis. 
Travis Spencer III: Handsome, extremely wealthy, and very smart. 
He dates women that are extremely beautiful and equally as rich, and I am way out of his league. 
Our one night together was a complete mistake. 
I promised my family that I would leave the younger ladies alone, but then I ran into Kriss. 
Kriss was everything I never knew I needed. 
How dare she thinks that we are non-compatible? 
After our one night together, I wanted more and I was going to get it... by any means necessary.

Review + Rating
3 out of 5 stars
There's a way to write insta-love to both pull the reader in and convince them--that despite the short length of the relationship, that the love is real. 

This is a hard task.

This novel is an insta-love story, no doubt about it, and while, it didn't lack speed, passion, and sex--it lacked depth.

There's a lot that happens in the beginning, the initial meeting, the sex, and the declarations of like, which quickly led to love.

I didn't have many gripes about the characters themselves, as I've read many novels with the same types.

Travis is a billionaire, who is used to having women flock to him in droves. His attitude is demanding and entitled--not unlike many billionaires in romance novels.

Kriss was smart-mouthed, outspoken, and had little to no filter, but was educated--and just looking for a job so she could leave her current job at a bar that caters to the rich.

This is where she meets Travis--well not before she walks over his car, on the way to visit her father.

Don't ask. 

Their first real encounter is like a head-on collision, dramatic and fast.

I didn't particularly like, Travis' initial reactions or articulated impressions of Kriss.

He refers to hear as a ghetto, loud, big-haired, and proceeds to want to tame her, "black ass." All of which rubbed me the wrong way.

Not to mention Kriss' description of her physical appearance, she goes on to describe her appearance in unnecessarily verbose detail. She explains the length of her hair as being attributed to not being "fully black," and I cannot tell you how much this grinds my gears. Especially coming from us.

Do better.

Aside from that my only other complaints were the lack of depth mentioned before, the novel could've benefited from being lengthier. AND the over-explaining. Show don't always tell.

It makes sections of the novel cumbersome.

The novel is pretty decent. It has characters that you can find yourself invested and interested in--despite the overall flaws.

While I would've liked more emotion, I was satisfied with the story in general.

I won't be climbing to the tops of any mountains to shout about it, but I would recommend it to readers who love romance, and the billionaire trope. 

Just don't expect too much emotion out of it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Fifteen Years Delayed by Angelia Vernon Menchan


Fifteen Years Delayed by Angelia Vernon Menchan
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Fifteen Years Delayed is a love story. James Broadnax is sentenced to twenty-five years at age twenty-two, leaving behind his first love, Crea Flournoy. For fifteen years there are no visits or communication, twelve years of James being incarcerated and three years living in another city... 

If you need lots of drama and angst, this isn’t for you. Fifteen Years Delayed is about adults who have been through... and are ready to love and be loved... no gaming. 

James returns to the scene of the crime, so to speak and Crea is still there... 

Fifteen Years Delayed is their story... after reuniting. It is not a story of his incarceration nor is it a story of Crea’s life when they were apart. It’s a love story, not just about them but the people in their lives... it is about what happens when lovers are reunited after fifteen years of delay. 

Review + Rating
2 out of 5 stars
If your romance relies on the throes of passion, and its depth is in the amount of times the characters can have meaningless sex, it's not romance at all. It's erotica with a story line.

James was sentenced to 25 years at the ripe age of 22, leaving behind his one true love, Crea.

Now they're all grown up, and it's fifteen years later.

Crea is a principal at a school. She's educated and has her stuff together.

James has also pursued education in his absence, and currently helps his sister run their shared grocery store. 

But his plans for his life are much bigger--and they include Crea.

Crea puts up a weak baby fight at the idea of getting back with James--although it's obvious in the clenched thighs and dirty thoughts she's far from done with him.

One demand is all it takes to drench her panties and to completely weaken her resolve. 

And it's not long; and I mean not long at all--before they're fully back in the swing of things.

And by swing of things, I mean he's swinging his peen at her at any given opportunity and it's written in aggravating detail--from the wide-open legs, to the levitating off the bed. Yup, I said levitating.

To be honest, there were far too many sex scenes and few too many scenes of substance to consider this a true romance.

But that wasn't even this novel's biggest issue. The biggest and most glaring issue was the structure.

This novel was disconnected, discombobulated, and just an honest mess.

Point of views were scattered between characters, as they appeared in the story, and made the read even more unstructured than it already was.

Chapters or sections, rather, did not mesh or flow well--as they were often indecipherable from another. 

The book was not put together well--and felt more like a bunch of mini stories and moments grouped together--distinguishable by the same characters showing up.

The sex scenes were a few too many and lacked emotion and even sensuality. 

The romance between the characters felt lackluster at best--bonded together by the character's inability to keep their hands off one another.

The conflict was forced at every turn, and over explained down to the most minute, unnecessary detail.

This book made me cringe and I'm just glad to be done with it, to be quite honest.

While I wouldn't recommend this read, I'm sure there are a group of readers who will enjoy venturing through the maze of this second-chance romance.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Half & Half by Grey


Half & Half by Grey Huffington
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I was open for him. 
All night & all day. 
Just like the coffee shop I’d met him at that day luck was on my side. 

It was one cup of coffee. 
My last five dollars. 
And a sign of good faith. 

Who’d ever known the man I given my last to would be Levee Billion, prominent figure and one of Huffington Mill’s most eligible bachelors. Did I mention he was filthy fxcking rich? 

Just before he slid into his foreign whip, he’d left my mind in a frenzy and my body on fire. One wink and a thank you note with his number attached. 

“Call me if you’re ever in need.” 

Of course I was in need. 
I had been since the day I smelled his obnoxious cologne. 
Witnessed his intoxicating smile. 
Been blessed with his lingering presence. 

I’d become addicted. 
His absence was vexatious. 
Even, now, the thought of our differences keeping us apart had me strung out and stressed out.

Review + Rating
1.5 out of 5 stars
I have so many thoughts.

As I've said on previous occasions, I really don't like to harp on grammatical errors, in books. BUT, I couldn't possibly ignore the numerous errors, and inconsistencies presented in this novel. 

So, I've never read a Grey novel before--and to be honest, I thought it was Erotica. Erotica is not necessarily my cup of tea. However, in my continuous attempt to support black literature, feelings and preconceived notions, be damned--I picked it up.


This book.

(It's not Erotica, btw.)

I am in a state of confusion.

So many unrealistic situations, illogical explanations, misspellings--and inconsistencies, made Jazmen, an unhappy reader.

Heartleigh is having the time of her life--and not in a good way. She's down to her last seven dollars, itching for a marijuana fix, in need of a job--everything is dangling on the precipice of failure and destruction. 

She takes herself to a coffee shop and stumbles across Levee Billion, who somehow has left his wallet at home--when Heartleigh offers her last dime to help him get his caffeine fix.

He sends her his contact info via air drop with the promise of being there, ONLY, if she explicitly needs him. 

She does.


Before talking about what I griped about in the beginning, let's briefly talking about, Levee.

He was something else. Social awkwardness, and a penance for not talking--made it difficult to connect with his character.

He was hardened, and unfamiliar with how to work, in and around social situations that perplexed him, giving off the sense of autism in a way. 

While it did make it hard to connect with him, it wasn't solely because he barely spoke--but if a character doesn't speak there should be a sense of the character in their back story and actions.

There was a lack of that.

Being a kid that had it rough socially just wasn't enough to get me in.

Levee, was just, something.

Between him and Heartleigh, I'm not sure which character concerned me more. 

Heartleigh was completely and utterly unsure of herself, and her path in life--and Levee was just as lost. 

I would say in a sense, they helped find one another--but I don't see how they helped each other singularly. 

The insta-love in this one was rushed, unbelievable and unconvincing. 

Levee is so hard to like and although Heartleigh is supposed to be this strong black chick--I wasn't buying into it.

There was a lack of emotional depth that kept me from being pulled in. 

On top of all of that, the structure, the grammar, and the inconsistencies I mentioned previously, was the nail in the proverbial coffin.

Example one:

"She apologized for my mistake. So fucking perfect. Too dedicated to my thoughts of her, I neglected to pay attention to where I was going and collided with the brazen beauty. My large frame flung her into the wall of the narrow hallway. The collision shoved me in the same direction, but I used the wall behind us to weaken the reaction."

What laws of gravity are we using here? I've never heard of one person bumping into the other without a third party and being propelled into the same direction.

Not physically possible, and a forced and unrealistic interaction.

Example #2: The frequent misspelling use of the word memorize in place of the word mesmerize. 

"Her staring back as I gazed into her memorizing rounds." (I won't even dwell on how the word rounds, used to describe eyes is just odd.)

Emotions reflected on the skin of a character?

"Gasping as defeat covered her pretty brown skin,..."

There were moments where complete sections and/or paragraphs were repeated for dramatic effect.

Words were misspelled and mis-used, and I can honestly see where there was a lack of good editing--or any editing at all.

My well-being was always top prior to her, and that shit made me all squishy inside. (Priority, belongs here.)

These examples may seem trivial or petty, when taken outside of the context of the novel--but they were numerous--and cumbersome to the story itself. 

To be honest, even with proper editing, this story wouldn't have worked, at least not for me. It's just not good writing.

It's not to say I can't see what the author was trying to do, the execution was just off. Way off.

I'm surprised by the rave reviews, because this book was bad--blatantly bad, in ways it didn't need to be.

I'm supremely disappointed.

Supremely, and my expectations were none.

I did decide to try another series of her books, and you can see how I felt about those in my next review.

Did the author redeem herself? Find out!