Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Sweetest Treats!

Hello Intellectual Minds,

We apologize for not having a showcase of AAMBC Authors last month, but, as you can imagine, many of us were off on vacation and some just getting back and so we're a little slow to our grind, but no worries, we've picked up our stride.  Of course, as the months roll on, we'll be adding new novels for your selections.  So, without further ado, let's get this party started!  Grab your e-Readers and let's do this!



Best friends since high school, Rhonda, Karen, and Patrice are now in their mid-30s and early 40s, at a crossroads in their relationships with the men in their lives, causing them to question what if they weren’t meant to participate in long-lasting relationships or do they have what it takes to live up to being a wife. Through their stories, they realize that all of their decision making and communication with their partners boil down to one question: What Is Love?

In his debut novel, Demiere Lee captivates the minds and hearts of readers entertaining them through humor, wisdom, and offering his psychological perspective on what it means to be joined together. What Is Love? is a must-read for anyone who has ever been in multiple relationships that don’t lead to marriage, in relationships where the basis is sex and not intimacy, and if the spouse if causing to question whether their marriage is worth holding on to.
Sensual, empowering, and uplifting with elements of epigrammatic storytelling and wise aphorisms, readers will come to love Rhonda, Karen, and Patrice and hold them in a special place in their hearts.


GET TO KNOW DEMIERE


Demiere Lee is a native Floridian (he’s from St. Petersburg and was raised in Orlando). A published poet with the American Library of Poetry, he’s always had a love for writing in the creative form. He says of writing, “It’s my natural high. I love creating another world, developing characters, and drama that transports my imagination to another level.” A sequel to What is Love? and a stand-alone novel are in the works within the year.

When he’s not writing, Lee takes on an active role in both his church and school and in his spare time is a zealous reader. He currently resides in Waynesboro, Georgia. What is Love? is his debut novel.



Q: How do you get inspired to write?

A: My emotions play a key role in what motivates me to put that pen to paper. Often I coordinate my emotions with the idea to write a book. Most of my characters are female heroines and I use the emotion that I’m feeling in that moment to create a relatable heartwarming or gut-wrenching plot that’ll resonate with my audience in that particular genre.

2) Q: What’s the best thing about being a writer?

A: Having the ability to construct a detailed story line and the characters that come along with it. As I draft my thoughts on paper and hear quotes and anecdotes from influences in my life, I subconsciously realize i’m writing a book. Also conducting research for the novels are extremely significant and my favorite part of being a writer.

3) Q: What do you do when you have a great idea for a book?

A: I will write it in a notebook. For me it’s all about organization and the best way to see if a idea for a book is great is to create a character analysis. Scour the internet for a picture of a celebrity that you envision as the character and then you make a profile about physical descriptions and their backstory. This typically works for me because as a writer I believe in capturing my audience with drama and juicy details.

4) Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

A: If you are passionate about writing, join as many writing workshops, writer’s forum and write, write, write. Even if your work isn’t on stellar level, always keep a eye open for new ideas and find ways to revise your work. Useful tools to keep nearby when you write: Dictionary, thesaurus, legal pad, black, blue and red pens and newspapers/magazines/other novels to keep up with current events and those past. Good luck!

5) Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?

A: I don’t. I’m a firm believer in the fact that writer’s block is a setback. And like the saying goes, “For every set back there’s a strong comeback.” I allow that writer’s block to let me focus on any other activity in my life and then like a light bulb one day, I’ll happen to think of one and write it down. I have many ideas running through my head that I write down to help me keep track of. So I always have a list at my disposal to focus on my next idea.

6) Q: Do you have a favorite author? Or book?

A: Terry McMillan. And Waiting to Exhale. Terry isn’t just a writer, she’s a lyricist. Her complex writing style speaks to me because it’s raw, honest, and there’s always some positive message at the end of it all that usually centers on family. I cannot wait for her next novel, I Almost Forgot About You, to be released on June 7th. I have enjoyed every novel she’s written and I know this one will be nothing short of amazing. 

7) Q: What are you working on now? Will there be a sequel to What is Love?

A: I’m in the planning stages of my next novel and have absolutely no idea what it’ll end up being. That’s the beauty of writing. Books never go as planned. However, if any of my fans have any ideas I welcome all of them to email me their ideas. To answer your other question, there will be a sequel to What is Love? but not so soon. I need a break from the characters and I want to showcase my versatility in writing which is precisely the reason why I’m focusing on a stand-alone. 



Find the Author and the Book:


Goodreads Author’s Page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13787428.Demiere_Lee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whatislovefanclub

Email: demiere.boyd@gmail.com




Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

The Greatest Love of All. . .
Is of Self!


Saturday, January 30, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Lawful Deception


SYNOPSIS:

“Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.” --Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres. 

Once again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won't be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn't nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she's created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss' greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.


M & J's REVIEW:

Gat Damn, y'all! My girl is back better than ever with this fifth installment in my favorite lawyer series, Vernetta Henderson. OMG, this book was absolutely smokin’ hot!!!! What shocked me is that I didn’t even know Pamela had written another story in the series, and I stumbled across that fact by total accident. Let me be the first to say, in case you haven’t detected it in my writing, I loved this book! Wowwwww!

Our girl, Vernetta, has matured a great deal since the last book. She’s learned what is more important, and money is not always at the top of the list. However, that doesn’t stop her grind and hustle. Fletcher McClain, the ex-boyfriend of Vernetta, shows up at her office, out of the blue, badly in need of legal help. This dude doesn’t just need legal help, he needs the brilliant mind of a cutthroat attorney who will get him what he wants. Fletcher is the CEO of Karma Entertainment, an industry music mogul. He’s respected by most of his peers and hated by his competition. The problem with Fletcher was he didn’t know how to “keep it in his pants” so to speak. You know. . .that other head most men think with! Unfortunately, for him, he dipped his member in a crazy psycho chick, and now she’s pregnant. Umm, Lord, how does that happen? All it takes is one time, Fletcher! 

Against Vernetta’s better judgment, she decides to help her ex with his women woes. Why did I say “women?” Oh. . .did I fail to mention Fletcher has a fiancĂ©e too. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he tells his lady he’s got his crazy ex pregnant! Once Vernetta meets with Fletcher’s ex, she soon realizes why Fletcher is having so many issues with her. This woman has made a living out of having babies for child support payments. She didn’t have a 9 to 5 like most of us, her job was lying on her back and popping out babies for the highest Baller or Roller—take your pick. Hmmph, being a “real” mother was the last thing on Miss Thang’s mind! She hooks up with the rich and famous, entraps them, and then she sits pretty on her big pile of money until her next victim happens her way. Fletcher definitely fit the bill, along with the other two babies’ daddies she has. It became perfectly clear that Bliss Fenton was not going to be easy to tame. Most everyone hated Bliss and with good reason. She treated people horribly and didn’t give a damn. She was a user and abuser and all she cared about was the almighty dollar from the wealthy persuasion.

Well, someone got sick of Bliss’s money-grubbin’ little hands and decided to end it all for her. Oh yeah, Bliss finds herself dead. Umm, what is going to happen to her children? Bliss’s best friend in the whole wide world is Jessica. Who, better than Jessica, can see to Bliss’s motherless children. Besides, she’s wealthy too and is unable to have children, so this is the perfect situation for her to fall into. It also helped that through all of Bliss’s madness, she decided to name Jessica the legal guardian over her three kids. 

Vernetta’s best friend, Special, who works at Verizon by day and is a wannabe Private Investigator at night, although, I shouldn’t say wannabe. Special definitely was named appropriately. She possesses a “special” gift for being nosey and finding out things that others cannot. She’s so close to getting her PI license, and I’m hopeful in Book Six, she will be able to run her own show, but for now, she’s doin’ the damn thing helping Vernetta out with her wealthy clients. As was the case with this Fletcher McClain situation. Vernetta hired her to do some snooping to dig up any dirt she could on Bliss Fenton due to the fact Bliss was suing Fletcher for child support to the tune of eighty-three thousand dollars a month. Good Gawd, can you believe that? What child on this earth needs that much money? Hmm? You add that up for the next eighteen years and we’re talking what, ten million or more? That is crazy as hell, and that’s exactly what Fletcher thought too, which is why he was seething that this nutty bitch even thought to ask for that much money from him. Problem was, a judge would grant it knowing how much money Fletcher makes a year. Over his dead body, he’d say. Well, as the reader presses on, you’ll soon discover, it’s not Fletcher’s dead body, but definitely the “crazy bitch” as he referred to her. 

I must say, I was hoping and praying for Bliss Fenton to die. (I know that sounds bad, but you have to read this character to understand). I kept saying, “When is this bitch going to be offed?” Hell, I was as bad as Fletcher. She angered me to no end, so I felt her exes’ pain. She put a damn number on them, but as she was quick to point out, if they weren’t so eager to “get some” from her, then they wouldn’t be in the predicament they found themselves. Hmm, Bliss does have a point!

As the story unfolds, the reader will be taking a crash course on our wonderful legal system and all it has to offer. (Bullshit, that’s what!) Some of it will appear unfair, but that’s the way our law works (usually against those who are in the right – LOL). 

Pamela Samuels Young is one of the best legal novelist I’ve ever read. Her characters are believable, fun and unforgettable.  Every one of her stories should be a movie. Her chapters are short, sweet and directly to the point. They read like a soap opera with just enough information to keep you going and sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what is going to happen next. Vernetta Henderson is a strong character, as well as all the characters Pamela has added to the series. I’m telling you if you love a great legal thriller with drama, humor, and spunk, you’ve GOT to read this book! It was simply amazing and I couldn’t get enough. I read it in two days, so that should tell you something. 

Needless to say, Mello & June gives this book five stars and beyond. Outstanding read full of ummph! This is what I’m talking about! I missed Pam so much, but she amply made up for it by giving her fans this one right here! Damn, I hated this book to end! 

P.S. The nice thing about the Vernetta Henderson series is that all the books are standalones. Check out all of Pamela Samuels Young’s other books as well. I’ve read them all. She’s an amazing talent in the courtroom and out. She’s a real-life litigating attorney.





Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

It ain't over until the Gavel Bangs!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Hanging Judge

When a drive-by shooting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a nurse at a neighborhood clinic, the police arrest a black drug dealer. With no death penalty in Massachusetts, the US attorney shifts the double homicide out of state jurisdiction into federal court so that he can pursue the death penalty.

The Honorable David S. Norcross, who has been on the federal bench only two years, now presides over the first death penalty case in the state in fifty years. He must contend not only with an ambitious female prosecutor and a brilliant veteran defense attorney, but with a citizenry outraged at the senseless killing of a white hockey mom — not to mention the pressures of the media, anti-death penalty protesters, vengeful gang members, and the million other things that can go wrong in a capital trial.

Michael A. Ponsor takes readers into the courtroom and beyond, presenting with great sensitivity the points of view of the defendant and his wife; the victims’ families; law enforcement officers; witnesses; and the judge who, while still coming to terms with the death of his wife, begins a relationship with a woman he is not sure he can trust.

M & J's Review:

This was one of the most intense, fast-paced satisfying legal thrillers I've read in a long, long time!  I see why it was critically acclaimed and made the New York's Best Sellers List.  Can you imagine you're out in the morning going about your business, and just before you go inside your place of work, you see the cutest little dog tied to a telephone pole sitting patiently waiting on its owner?  As you bend down to pet the cute four-legged little pup, that would be the last thing you ever see?  Hmm, imagine that?  You're a nurse by day and a wife and mother thinking today isn't any different than any other day you've started.  What could possibly go wrong?

Factor in there's a Puerto Rican drug lord who just kissed his girlfriend and rubbed her very pregnant belly carrying their son who is about to head off to the store to pick up some things for the party they are about to have, while across the street the nurse is bending down petting a dog, someone in a gray Nissan strolls by and shots fire out in the distance.  When the smoke clears, there are two people dead where they once stood, in a crimson pool of their own blood.  How does this happen?  But a better question is to ask who did this and why?

United States District Judge David Norcross sits on the bench for the Western District of Massachusetts.  He's seen many defendants stand before him, as well as countless lawyers who depend on him to make harsh decisions and decipher the law in an unbiased manner and keep Lady Justice as honest as he can.  Two citizens of Holyoke, Massachusetts are dead and the case has landed square on Judge Norcross's desk.  While the legal system is navigating its course, the prosecutor has her sights set on a guy named Clarence "Moon" Hudson as executioner of the nurse and drug lord.  Moon is an African-American male in a dead-end job, trying to make a way for his wife, Sandra, and infant child, Grace.  Sure, he used to belong to a gang called The La Bandera, but he abandoned that life to go straight. Unfortunately, the life has a way of never letting go, so when he and his wife were suddenly ripped from their sleeping bed to find Holyoke's finest tearing their happy home apart searching for whatever they can find to arrest Moon, his wife makes a mistake through all the mayhem.  She asked her husband a question in front of police enforcement that will later be used against her.  Keep in mind, there's a reason why people are Mirandized.  Also, there's a reason why when things like this occur, it's always best to keep your mouth shut.

The U.S. Attorney has her man, Moon Hudson, for the charges of murder.  But, did Moon commit the crimes in question?  As you go through this maze of legal-eze, the reader soon finds out that things are not as they appear and what you thought you knew, you'll quickly discover you do not.  This had all the spice of a great Law & Order episode.  It starts off strong and finishes even stronger.  The characters are so believable and the law is spot on.  If you're a person who loves a great legal novel, this is the one for you.  What sets this legal novel apart from others is that the reader gets to see what the law is like from a judge's point of view.  Most always, legal thrillers usually deal with the attorney's point of view, but Michael did an exceptional job showing you what police officers deal with, as well as the judge and the attorneys.  You're pulled in their lives and go through everything they deal with.  These characters are very real and make you want to know more about their lives and very important jobs they hold.

The occupations these characters do make you realize that life isn't as simple as we bystanders and onlookers think.  It's so easy to read what the media spins for us, and of course, we all have an opinion, but Michael takes you inside what each of these individuals have to deal with.  I could not put this book down and got angry when I had to.  As soon as I got a second, I was reaching for the Kindle to finish where I left off.  This was an exceptional read!  Mello & June gives this novel five stars and beyond.  Like I said, if you think you know all there is to know, buckle up 'cause you're in for one hell of a bumpy ride.  The ending is superb!  Enjoy!


Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Are YOU a Bit Nosey?
Stick it in a Book!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Surviving Michael


On a hot summer's day, after their final school exams, five boys begin a game of dares in which one of them, Michael, will not survive. Fifteen years later, his four friends, Nick, Charlie, Danny and Liam, now in their thirties, have yet to truly come to terms with what happened that day. 

Then on the anniversary of Michael’s death, they begin the game of dares again. Only this time the dares are bolder, and the consequences more severe. Over one weekend, their game spirals out of control, and forces them, for the first time, to deal with the guilt of surviving Michael. 

Surviving Michael is a gritty, poignant, dark but often funny, coming of age story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

M & J'S BOOK REVIEW:

This book shows its readers all the things we shouldn't do as children, but the thing is, that's what makes a child a child.  Who hasn't made dares with their childhood friends?  Little stupid things you think will be funny to see if one of your friends has the balls to actually go through with it.  You remember being a kid, right?  Well that's exactly what these knucklehead little boys did.  Picture standing at the top of a pier or a bridge, if you will, and one of your friends wants someone to jump off the side to see who is the bravest.  Of course, when the little boys look over the side, they can easily tell it's quite a drop.  Now, it appears that no one wants to try this dare.  But there's always this one kid who is the strongest of the bunch that keeps egging his friends to "try it."  Isn't it funny how the one that wants you to do something, is never the one to actually try it himself.

So, when there aren't any takers, what do you suppose happens?  Oh yeah, a little thing called an "accident."  One of the boys is playing around and accidentally pushes Michael off the pier and over the side he goes.  As he's falling, screaming and crying out for his life, he sees his friends' faces displaying the look of utter shock and terror as Michael is trying to cling to what little life he has left.  He hits the water hard cutting through it like trying to butcher a stubborn bone of chicken.  His friends see him go below the surface of the raging water and then resurface again, and as they panic trying to figure out what to do, one of them decides to jump in after him, because it is then realized that Michael cannot swim. Wouldn't you know it, the other three boys talk their friend from jumping and having the same fate.  Oh, what fate would that be?  Unfortunately, Michael ended up drowning.

These four little boys are terrified and traumatized seeing their little mate die.  How in the world do they explain this to Michael's parents.  Who is going to assume responsibility over a stupid game of dare?  Fast forward to fifteen years later.  Those four little boys are now four young men who went on with their lives, each having to live with what happened so long ago.  Do any of them talk about what happened to Michael?  Of course not!  Why on earth dredge up something that was so stupid to begin with.  Although they went on with their lives, life wasn't so kind to any of them.  And what makes this story even more sad, is that you'd think after having killed their friend, or shall I say, one of them that pushed Michael, while the rest sat by and did absolutely nothing, the same one who proposed a dare to them then, is now proposing an even questionable one.  

Yep, you guessed it, this idiot decides to throw more dares out like he's handing out wads of money.  What shocked me even more is that these same three friends decide to go along with the mastermind behind Michael's death.  The dumb shit these four grown men do is just beyond belief.  I was so damn angry that they listened to this friend of theirs, again, and even being adults now, still find the need to dare each other.  The ending is somewhat bittersweet.  As I read, I kind of figured the story was going to go just as it did, but I couldn't help feeling angry by these men.  When do you let go of your childhood past and become the adult you're supposed to be?  What they ended up getting into goes well beyond the scope of what they did to their friend, Michael.  It was so obvious these men had learned absolutely nothing, especially after having a second chance at life.  When the dust settles and everything is crystal clear, what was left of the lot will quickly diminish and all because of the stupidity on their part.  

I found the story slow in many respects, and a bit confusing at times.  Each of the boys/men have their own chapters explaining their lives and how they interact with the others.  For me, I wasn't always sure who was doing the talking and had to go back a few times to recall the person I was reading.  There were times when I felt the story was boring and just showcasing a bunch of men who had not yet grown up.  That got really old really fast.  And to me, it appeared as though Michael really was an afterthought.  The author doesn't really make these characters own up to what they did, which the reader will soon discover as they read the story.  So with that, Mello & June gives this novel three stars.  These characters were so stupid, immature and downright simple and didn't seem to have a brain among any of them, let alone collectively.  They let one friend lead them down a road of despair and for what?  It isn't until the very end where one of them actually made some sense, but by this point, there really wasn't any.  This isn't a bad read, it just moves a little slow and picks up more as you get closer to the end.  

So, until next time, Happy Reading!  I hope you're keeping up with your challenges.  If you start strong you'll more than likely end strong.  Good Luck!  See ya next week.

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

A Glass of Wine and a Good Book
Go Hand in Hand!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: What's Eating Gilbert Grape?


SYNOPSIS:

Gilbert Grape is a 24-year-old grocery store clerk stuck in Endora, Iowa, where the population is 1,091 and shrinking. After the suicide of Gilbert’s father, his family never recovered. Once the town beauty queen, Gilbert’s mother is morbidly obese after seven years of house-bound depression; his younger sister is boy-crazy and God-fearing, while his older sister sacrifices everything for her family. And then there’s Arnie, Gilbert’s younger brother with special needs. With no one else to care for Arnie, Gilbert becomes his brother’s main parent, and all four siblings must tend to the needs of their helpless, grieving mother. 

So Gilbert is in a rut—until an enchanting new girl arrives in town. His family gathers for Arnie’s 18th birthday and Becky, the mysterious and lovely newcomer, breathes new life into Gilbert’s world. But can one person really change Gilbert, or his attitudes about his family and Endora? Rich with memorable characters, biting frustration, and family redemption, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape can’t be missed. 


About the Author:
 
Raised in West Des Moines, Iowa, Peter Hedges is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and director. He studied drama at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His first novel, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, was made into a classic movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio in his breakout role. Afterward, Hedges went on to write and direct numerous critically-acclaimed films, including Pieces of April, Dan in Real Life, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. His screenplay for About a Boy was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002.


M & J’s Review:
Gilbert Grape had many issues, but even he himself wasn’t quite sure which one was eating at his soul more?  If having a mother who is morbidly obese trying to eat her way into Heaven, or possibly Hell; or having a fast-tail 16-year-old sister thinking she’s God’s gift to men everywhere while toting a Bible; or maybe it’s having another sister who has given up on having a life of her very own all for the sake of taking care of the Grape family; oh, but wait, could it be the brother with special needs whom Gilbert loves to refer to as the “retard!”  If you had a family with all this going on, would anything possibly be eating at you?
Growing up in Endora, Iowa gave Gilbert a terrible dilemma.  The most excitement he received was watching others have issues of their own.  He absolutely relished in those moments.  Seeing Arnie, the brother with special needs, run around with food stuck to every aspect of his body and loving life without a care in the world, and here, Gilbert was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  He had a dead-end job he’s held since he was a teen working as a stock boy at a Mom and Pop grocery store.  When the town learned a Food Land had opened in their area, that was about the most excitement anyone could muster.  In this small town, it was the little things that turned into major happenings, where most city folk wouldn’t give two seconds of thought about, in Endora, having a little technology coming their way made their day.  What could be viewed as sad is it took a 15-year old teen named Becky to show Gilbert a completely different side to life.  Call her an angel or the devil, if you will, Becky gave something to the 24-year old Gilbert that no one was able to accomplish—his dignity and self-respect.  She gave Gilbert hope for a brighter day—and let’s face it, up until that point, life was pretty mundane for good ole Gilbert Grape.
I remember watching the movie years ago and it was really good, and after having read the book, I now know why it was so good.  This was a great story told from Gilbert’s point of view with all his sarcasm and wit.  Everyone in the town of Endora brought something to the pages that commanded you turn to find out what the heck was going to happen next.  It’s been many years since I’ve seen the movie, so I think I’ll be watching it to see how it differed from the book.  This book should be considered a dark comedy because it was so hilarious.  Some of the things Gilbert says to the reader will have you in total stitches, and if it doesn’t perhaps you’re suffering from the same problem Gilbert was?  
At any rate, this was an amazing story written with such finesse and grace.  The characters are rich and real.  As the story unfolds, so many things will become clear and it was a joy to receive that clarity right along with Gilbert.  Peter Hedges did an amazing job putting you in Gilbert’s position.  You will see, feel and think everything he does.  A true outstanding read!  I’m glad I started off my new year with this. 
Mello & June gives What’s Eating Gilbert Grape five stars.  If you haven’t seen the movie, read the book first.  It’s always better. 

Happy New Year Intellectual Minds!  Keep up with your reading challenges! 


Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Is there something eating You?
It's wise to Check Yourself!