Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book-Toberfest. . .

Greetings Intellectual Minds,

I certainly hope you're keepin' your mind right?  Can you believe we're in our year-end book drive.  Do you recall at the beginning of the new year I mentioned we had a whole year to plan our reading challenges and get our heads in the books?  And lo and behold what do we have here?  Fourteen more weeks of reading left for 2015 and it's a wrap!  OMG, I cannot believe how fast this year went!  Wow!  Did I say, WOW?  I just can't get over it.

Anyhoo, whether you've met your challenges or struggling to keep up, finish as strong as you can.  Don't feel bad, I definitely will not meet my original challenge.  To say I'm disappointed is an understatement, but unfortunately, certain circumstances prevented me from keeping my regular pace.  2016 is coming and I'll get a fresh clean slate to start all over again.  

You already know October is our favorite month!  I'm checking out the Kindle store to see what classic horror books I can read.  I've read some great ones in the past few years, and I'd love to add to my list.  If you've spotted any great horror classics in Kindle format, do tell 'cause inquiring minds definitely want to know!    

Since this is a new month and the beginning, you already know what this is, right?  Sure you do, our favorite African-American book club is in the Building. . .AAMBC.  We've got a nice collection for you to sink your eyes into, and hey, if you're playing catch-up on your lists, this would be a perfect way to put you ahead.  Without further ado, let's get it goin' -- Yeazzzzzzzzzzzzzz!


Even though Spelman-educated Riley Gammons had proven herself as a tough-as-nails leader in corporate America, the mortality of a sick child is more than she can handle. Fear fills her icy veins for the first time. The usually strong-willed woman questions every move she’s ever made as baby Kelly suffers in an incubator. Riley is forced to choose between her spouse, and maternal family as a child abuse investigation unfolds. Riley finds herself alone, pushed into a corner by paranoia and maligned loyalty. She’s faced with questions of fidelity, allegiance, and trust. Her husband Jody, fresh from the arms of another woman, has questions of his own.

Jody Gammons was a fallen hero. His past grievances were well-documented legends, but few thought he’d hurt a child, until doctors suggested otherwise. When questions of paternity swarm the Gammons household, Jody becomes the prime suspect in a case of infantile child abuse, until an unlikely suspect appears.

Like many men in his position, Jody claims innocence and fights the charges with every breath. As the story unfolds Jody discovers the true colors of people he claimed to know well, his wife, mother-in-law, favorite cousin, and his side-piece all have secrets he never imagined. One secret threatened his sanity, one challenged his manhood, and one forced him to choose between the law and family. Knowledge of each secret filled his mind with vengeance, guilt and sorrow. Each plagued his thoughts with anger, each compounded the stress of his primary concern, the health of his infant daughter, Kelly Gammons.

Maxx Kilbourne’s gripping, emotionally layered novel of family drama explores the seductive and damaging nature of loyalty. Love and honor, trust and deception, and mortality—all come to a head in this compelling drama of karma and Family Ties.


“Family Ties” by Maxx Kilbourne

“Young?” Horniness got the best of me. “I’m sorry Cheryl, but I need something to fuck, preferably young and adventurous. Need a woman in my arms and a warm pussy in my lap. I want something to grab-on, something that moans and sweats, I need that raw shit Cheryl. Something to tug and toss around. It’s been so long since I’ve felt a soft thigh, or the excitement of seeing an ass for the first time. I need it.”

“Listen” Cheryl answered, “You’re jeopardizing our friendship at this point. I’ll always be a shoulder to cry on, but I’m not a trick. There’s no way I’m fucking you Jay, you’re MARRIED! Cheaters hurt more than a marriage, they devastate kids. Can you live with that?”

“No. But I can’t live with blue-balls either, a man has needs. If Riley screwed me from time-to-time my nuts wouldn’t be scrubbing the ground, and just maybe this misery would pass. So look, . . -What’s up with your roommate?” Cheryl took a deep breath before blurting a phone number, “Three-four-five. … “

“Girl NOO!” the roommate complained, “My sister pays for that phone, use the other number.”

Cheryl asked one last question after sharing the digits, it was weird and unexpected, but unimportant at the time. “Do you have any relatives I can talk to? A man? From the city?”

“Huh? Nah” I answered. “Not down here.”

“Oh. Thought you might’ve had a visitor, never mind.” At that point I should’ve known something was wrong, but its hard to think with sex on the brain.

A few minutes later shit got real. After a short conversation and cell-phone picture I found myself exiting the highway and entering a Westin Hotel parking lot. The chick refused to send a head-shot but the body was enough, her ass-shot sealed the deal. Besides, I only wanted curves to hug and a hole to punch, her face didn’t matter. A second photo arrived as I backed into a parking space, giving me an immediate erection. It grew harder as an incoming call from Riley flashed across the screen.

“What’s wrong now” I answered, my dick thumping the steering wheel.

“Besides your attitude? Nothing” she replied. “Momma taking the kids to Birmingham, to see big-ma.”

“Whatever, is that clown going?”

“She said they broke up.”

“Okay” I replied, unwilling to rehash a recurring conversation. “Whatever. . . .” I paused, knowing the next statement would start a fight. “My visa didn’t work last night, . . . and a charger is missing from my desk.”

“And? My phone doesn’t use your charger Jody, and that credit card is probably demagnetized, again.”

“I know. But I. . . I found the charger in your momma’s room. This shit has to stop.. . . . Okay?”

“Gotta go” she mumbled in typical Riley fashion. Always running from conversations about her mom. She never had time to talk. Somehow, the woman I loved for her sacrifice, was busy, all the time. She had no idea where I was, or what I was doing, I was certain she didn’t care. Even more reason to fuck somebody else.

It took several minutes to convince the desk attendant I didn’t have identification, the first to two red flags. The middle aged woman shot an evil frown of disgust when I left a key for a nameless woman wearing a teal dress. Didn’t matter much, my dick and I had one mission, a mission no one was going to ruin. Both of us ignored the woman’s nasty smirk, and our wedding vows to Riley.

As I entered the elevator my wedding band fell into a pocket, the first time it left my hands in years, I was all in. After leaving five newly minted one-hundred dollar bills on a night stand, I dimmed the lights and shut the curtains. To calm my nerves I sat in the Jacuzzi, but the heat heightened my anxiety. Reminded me of game day. Nervousness took made me giddy as a kid awaiting Christmas. My heart raced and I couldn’t wait to rip into the young girls’ pretty ass.

‘Click-click. ‘I swallowed hard as the door lock disengaged and my new fuck buddy walked in. Afraid to make eye contact, I turned my back to the door. Jacuzzi bubbles ticked my balls, nearly causing orgasm as my dick jerked from left to right, growing larger and stiffer as perfume entered the air. The anonymous girl moved silently through the room as a stealth warrior, not making a sound except the gentle thud of clothes hitting the floor. Danielle Steele couldn’t describe the tension inside my loins or sexually-charged atmosphere we created. It was the start of a great sex-capade, until the money was counted.

“Won, two, tree, fo-.” The girl quickly distinguished herself from the well-read Cheryl. The girls’ voice was sweet, but her delivery was crude. She was hood. Like a dice-game in the projects hood. But her hands were soft and her body was warm. “Imma’ rock yo’ world” she whispered. Her hands gently rubbed shoulders and forced my eyes closed. Tiny, soft fingers massaged my back and pushed me towards orgasm, it was the greatest touch I felt in years, far better than Riley’s, from what I remembered.

“Baby, what’s your name?”

“My dance name is Mary Jayne, but people call me Mary.” Two bullet sized nipples pressed the back of my neck, teasing and tantalizing my skin. I lowered my head and took a deep breath before turning to see the goods. Mid-turn my body celebrated as it prepared to devour young flesh, my eyes bulged to see pert titties, I was ready, willing, and eager to partake the devils pie. . .


The last woman I’d ever want to touch stood before me. My penis deflated as her head cocked sideways our eyes met.


Maxx Kilbourne is one of the most versatile young urban writers in America today. He’s the author of 5 critically acclaimed books, including the popular crime story, “Unraveled.” Maxx Kilbourne’s novels are as diverse as the man himself, spanning the genres of Drama, Historical Fiction, Street Fiction, and Erotica.

Maxx gained notoriety for his ability to write dramatic dialogue without profanity through the use of clever word play and realistic sequences. Although his latest novel, “Family Ties” incorporates four-letter words, it’s as cleverly written as his previous works.

Maxx has been featured in Rolling Out Magazine, The Source Magazine, the Detroit News, Conversations Magazine, in addition to several other print and broadcast outlets.

Maxx is a native Detroiter currently residing in Houston, Texas. Maxx is a husband, father of three and proud graduate of Western Governor’s University, where he earned an MBA of Business Management and Strategy. For more information visit

1. Tell us the story behind the story. How did “Family Ties” come to be?

I was walking through the new Children’s Hospital in Birmingham Alabama and I saw a man crying like a baby, but he wasn’t childlike at all. His face held pain I’d never seen before, it was rage, but it wasn’t violent. It was hopeless and contagious. I only saw him for a few seconds but it really opened my mind to the prospect of a sick child. I sat in the lobby and wrote the outline ten minutes after seeing him.

2. What was the most challenging aspect of writing Family Ties?

Holding the pain I saw in that man’s eyes was a challenge. It was so real that it bothered me and kept me in a dark place while I wrote. That was tough. The image is virtually burned into my brain.

3. What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

It takes time to destroy your life. It takes a conscious effort to ruin a marriage or throw your life away. The characters in “Family Ties” had many chances to fix their lives, but they constantly made mistakes. They consciously made bad decisions. I guess the most important message this story has is to TAKE YOUR TIME in life. Made good choices and stay away from impulsive decisions.

4. Black Lives Matter? Or All Lives Matter?

The politically correct answer is “All Lives Matter” but I’m all for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Of course everyone is important in this world, but the lives of Black people has been discounted since slavery. We were 3/5 of a human back then, I’m not sure what we are now. The general disrespect shown towards Black people in this country needs to change, so yes, I’m team #BlackLivesMatter

5. What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

On my shelf right now is “Animal” by K’wan, “Easier Said Than Done” By Nikki Woods, and “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein.

6. Favorite Authors?

Claude Mckay is my favorite, hands down. I also enjoy Walter Mosley and Nikki Giovanni.

7. What are you working on now?

Television pilot. Trying to get a deal, keep ya’ fingers crossed for me!

Find the Author/Buy the Book:

Novel Website

Book Trailer Author Page



Good Reads

Google +


Email address

Purchase books

Well, look at what we got here?


TAMIKA_SHAYLASREVENGE (2)Shayla was your typical child from the affluent neighborhood of Copiague, NY. She just celebrated her 13th birthday and reveled in being a Daddy’s girl. All she wanted was a normal life where she could grow up to be a Psychologist.

Her mother suffers from a sexual addiction that ended up putting Shayla in a place that she should not have been in, just because she looks like her mom. Being the lookout for her mom; her father sneaks in the house, and all hell breaks loose. Hearing his wife have sex with someone else sends him into a rage that would draw Shayla into it. After snapping and killing his wife and lover, he turns his rage unto Shayla, rapes, and makes her clean up the dead bodies. He decides to make her into his sex slave and starts pimping her out to his fellow co-workers.

Shayla’s favorite client falls in love with her and decides that he is going to rescue her and eventually marry her. They formulate a plan and decide to make their escape before her 17th birthday. Shayla does research and they leave for Maryland. Shayla befriends the real estate agent that showed them their dream home and starts to work for her. Not knowing that Amy the agent was blackmailing Greg. Amy blackmails Greg to sell Shayla for fortune. He agrees and concocts a plan to lock Shayla away. He takes Shayla away for a long weekend, and marries her in a fake wedding. They go home to start their new lives together.

Arriving home, Shayla happens upon a man building a huge dog cage in her garage. She questions Greg and finds out that he wants to get her a dog and her puppies. Ecstatic Shayla goes and begins to make dinner for a celebration. Greg calls her to assist him to make sure that the cage was the right size. He locks her in the cage, and out walks Amy. Amy exposes her to Heroin to make her more compliant. Shayla spends the next decade of her life in sex slavery again. Once again, a new man walks into her life and promises to take her away from this. This time he came with a skill that Shayla could use. He teaches Shayla how to kill in a way that could not be traced back to her. They come up with a plan to get rid of Greg and Amy and she escapes eventually, being rescued by a cop. After spending time with Shayla and seeing past her experience, he falls in love with her childlike innocence and inner beauty. Shayla is attracted to him in turn. However, she cannot afford to fall in love just yet; she needs to cleanse her soul. In order for her to do that, she decides that she needs to rid the world of the evil men that had wronged her. Even though Marcus is a good man, Shayla cannot trust another man that she met in that lifestyle. Marcus becomes her victim, knowing that she cannot leave lose ends.

She leaves the state of Maryland and heads back up to New York to exact her revenge on everyone that raped her for money. Arriving at her dad’s house, she surprises him coming home from a long day patrolling the neighborhood for crime, where he is a Captain in the Amityville Police Department. She startles him as he tries to make himself comfortable. He tries to make up with Shayla, but only on one condition. She states that she wants to start up the family business again and to contact the former clients. He agrees believing her lies. When he finds out her true intentions, she makes him a heroin addict and her slave. He contacts all of the old clients and she kills them one by one. Shayla left the best for last. Her father, the one person that was supposed to protect and watch over her.

Carl the cop tries to get Shayla to come back to him, knowing that her trust is at 0%. He relentlessly tries to get her to let him love her. Not knowing of the activities Shayla is doing in New York. He goes back to the house of horrors to try to understand what she has been through, when he happens upon her diary. He then discovers that his love is not the sweet woman that he thought that she was. He learns that she is the one that killed Greg and Amy and went back to New York to get her revenge. His allegiance is now torn, the cop in him tells him that he must turn her in, but his heart is telling him that he must cover up her tracks. After weeks of begging her to come home, he heads out to New York and discovers what she has been up too. Agreeing to dispose of the bodies that she has racked up, they leave and he helps her further heal. He promises to protect her secret. They get married and the Department comes up with a plan to create a taskforce to help save other children that were sold into slavery.

She rescues a brother and sister and with their help, they form a Task Force overseas and rescue plenty of boys and girls, reuniting them with their families. With the help of a local politician, she transforms her home into a rehabilitation center. At her home, she welcomes the families, helps them get back their self-esteem, and works with them so that they can go back out into society.

Shayla eventually learns that the brother and sister are the secret family of Greg. How can she tell them that she was the one that killed him? Or will she ever tell them?


It all started when I was thirteen years old. He came home to find my mother in the bed with his best friend. I was sitting in the kitchen when he came home. I was supposed to be the look out, but that day I was concentrating on my homework. I did not hear his noisy pickup truck pull up into the driveway. I was daddy’s girl but my mom could not stop her addiction for sex. Uncle John always brought me clothes and shoes for my silence. I was the hottest dressed girl at school.

“Hey Shayla” He said sneaking up behind me.

“Hi daddy! What are you doing home so early?” I said looking worried.

“I wasn’t feeling good baby girl.” He said patting me on my head.

“Oh I am sorry daddy. Why don’t you take me to the pharmacy and I will make you some soup, tea, and feed you some medicine.” I said trying to get him out of the house.

“No baby girl, that’s ok I just want to lay down in the den and relax.” He said.

“Come on dad you may be coming down with something. Let me take care of you.” I said really protesting, to get him out the house.

“Baby girl I am ok. I am just tired. Your mom doesn’t allow me to get to much sleep.” He said yawning.

“But daddy you really might be coming down with something. You always tell me to nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem.” I said using his words against him.

“Baby girl, enough, I would think that you were trying to get rid of me. Where is your mother?” He said looking puzzled.

“I don’t know dad. I came straight in and I have not seen her. I was doing homework.” I said trying to convince him.

Just as he was about to walk into the living room, he heard the moans coming from upstairs. He raced up the stairs and all hell broke loose. My mom died that day along with Uncle John. He killed them both with his bare hands. He stomped on my mother’s head until it exploded all over the floor. When he got to Uncle John, he took out his knife, slit him straight up the middle, exposing his inside, and allowed him to writhe in pain until he died. Then all of a sudden, he turned to me.

“You were trying to get me out of the house so that I wouldn’t find out about this. Didn’t you! You little bitch! You are my daughter and you betray me for that slut!” He yelled coming to me slowly.

“No daddy I was trying to protect you! I didn’t want you to get hurt.” I cried.

“No you didn’t you think I don’t know about all of the gifts that they give you to shut up. You are a nasty little tramp just like your mother! And now you’re going to do all of the things that she can’t do anymore.” He yelled, grabbing me by the throat.

That was the day that it started. He chocked me and threw me on the bed, ripped my panties off and rammed his member into me. In the same room as my dead mother and her lover, I cried the whole time. I could not believe that my father was doing this to me. Finally, when he was done, ten minutes later, He told me to clean myself up and get ready for this to happen to me every day and night. He told me that I was finished with school and that I was now his slave, since I wanted to protect my mother.


Born on July 4, 1972, in North Charleston, South Carolina. Kateri grew up between NY and South Carolina. Graduating from the last all Black Boarding Schools in Laurinburg North Carolina. After that, she received a degree in Psychology, and later gave birth to a baby boy. She began writing short stories and poems, and then she decided to pursue writing a novel. When it was finished, she tried to get it published, receiving many rejections since the year 2000. She raised her son and attended Culinary School, where she received a degree in Culinary Arts, and has been a Chef ever since. Eventually she opened up Purple Diamond Caterer and caters events between writing. She eventually signed with True Glory, and put out several books and now has moved on. She is now signed with Mahogany Red Books, and finally feels at home. She is the Author of Demented Minds, Erotic Tales of Love, Lust, and Karma, Jamaica Mi Hungry and Killer Recipes by Kateri. She is due to release Shayla’s Revenge: Secrets of a Heroin Killer.

When did you begin writing?

I began at the age of 8, after my grandmother died. It was a way for me to talk to her privately.

Who is Kateri? Is Kateri your real name?

I am a simple person. I love to cook, take care of my family, and be an all-around rounded person. I am not flashy, shy, and a little introverted. Kateri is actually my middle name. My name is Cherise.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in North Charleston South Carolina. I grew up between New York and South Carolina. I spent the school year in NY and the summer in SC.

Do you have any kids? Are you married?

Yes, I have one son who is twenty. He is my heart and soul. I also have two stepsons that I love dearly. Yes I just got married in May to my heart, backbone, motivation, and soul.

What are your favorite genres and Authors?

I love Crime, Psychological Thrillers, and Poetry. I would have to say Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Joh Grisham to name a few.

When writing how do you come up with ideas for your stories? How do you come up with your characters?

My stories are actually taken from my life, the things I see, and how I have grown as a person. My characters are all me. They represent phases of my life, the things I have been through, the things I felt, and the things I would have done, if I could have gotten away with it. Lol.

What is in the future for Kateri?

To compete on Hell’s Kitchen, write three more cookbooks, finish up ten more novels, make the New York Times bestseller’s list, and grow old gracefully with my family in Las Vegas.

Contact the Author:

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Who said the Sky is the Limit?

Never be Defined by Someone Else's Standards!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Book Review: Yes, Chef!

It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations.

Marcus Samuelsson was only three years old when he, his mother, and his sister—all battling tuberculosis—walked seventy-five miles to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Adaba. Tragically, his mother succumbed to the disease shortly after she arrived, but Marcus and his sister recovered, and one year later they were welcomed into a loving middle-class white family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that Marcus’s new grandmother, Helga, sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and her signature roast chicken. From a very early age, there was little question what Marcus was going to be when he grew up.

Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs and, most important, the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fulfilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.

With disarming honesty and intimacy, Samuelsson also opens up about his failures—the price of ambition, in human terms—and recounts his emotional journey, as a grown man, to meet the father he never knew. Yes, Chef is a tale of personal discovery, unshakable determination, and the passionate, playful pursuit of flavors—one man’s struggle to find a place for himself in the kitchen, and in the world.


I have absolutely no idea why, when reading this memoir, a little jingle continued to play in the background of my mind, “Hey good lookin’. . .whaaaaaatcha got cookin’?” I know that sounds strange and totally out of place, but my mind does that to me sometimes. It’s amazing how an individual’s words mold and shape my thinking and how they sometimes conjure up ghostly thoughts that have been buried for many, many years. Chef Samuelsson is one of my all-time favorite chefs. I’ve been following his career throughout the years on the Food Network and other cooking shows and competitions. And because he’s such a great chef, although I’ve never had one piece of his great cooking to back that claim up, there’s no need! We have something in common—food is in our DNA. This is what resonated throughout his telling of his complicated life story.

It’s literally impossible for me to think of having grown up only remembering a slight memory of the woman who brought you into this world. To not be able to see a clear picture of what your mother looks like has got to be one of the most difficult things to live with. And to top it all off, try as hard as you might, not one person has a photograph of the woman who was your mother. Try standing in the mirror and searching your face for your family’s generations that pass throughout it? Can you see your parents? Do you see your siblings and ancestors before you? Do you know who you are looking at when you see yourself? Who are you? For Marcus, that’s a reality he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life. All he has of his mother is a brush memory that’s as light as a feather stroke.

But all was not lost! After Marcus and his sister lost their biological mother in Ethiopia due to tuberculosis, they were lucky enough to have a Swedish family willing and wanting to adopt them and make them apart of their family. The Samuelssons were all too happy to adopt and open their hearts and love to Marcus and his sister. After he acclimated to Sweden, immediately Marcus discovered he enjoyed following his grandmother around the kitchen watching how she prepared their supper. She taught him all the basics of everything that he knows today as a chef. In fact, when watching him compete, he often says he’s channeling his grandmother while in the kitchen. It is so obvious from his precision and fearlessness tackling the job at hand. His grandmother was a no nonsense type of person.

Marcus was destined to do great things and his hard work and determination paid off by honing his skills in some of the finest kitchens and regions in the world—from France, Germany, Africa, etc. It’s not too shabby to have dual citizenship and avail yourself of the best of all the countries from which you belong, Ethiopia, Sweden and America. And while coming up the ranks, as a young man, he fathered a daughter. I must admit it bothered me tremendously how he treated his daughter in the beginning. He was trying to build his cooking career, which was understandable, but he was getting his groove on and irresponsibly made a baby. It certainly wasn’t his baby’s fault for being brought here. I struggled with his attitude toward his daughter. To me, it was as if he was blaming her for being here, and that couldn’t have been further from the truth. But, what I love about Marcus’ parents, they made sure to let him know what the deal was. Sure, they were disappointed to learn their son had fathered a baby out of wedlock, but they told him he was going to provide for his child. When Marcus protested that he couldn’t afford to take care of the child, his mother simply stated, “we’ll pay for her upbringing and when you do make it, you’ll give us the money back.” OMG, when I read her words, I could have kissed his mother. What a great woman she is! That’s the way it should be. So, although Marcus figured since the mother of his child said she would provide for their daughter and he didn’t need to do anything, he figured that would be the end of it. Mama stepped in and made him at least “pay” for taking care of a child he fathered. Thankfully, as the story progressed, he finally reached out to his daughter, when she was fourteen, and began to mend his relationship with her. That made me feel so much better because it was beginning to look as though he was just going to let it pass in the book, and I thought, my star rating was soon about to change. Marcus turns out to be a good guy with faults just like every other human being! 

Yes, Chef has all the right spices and ingredients to make this a light and airy memoir with life’s little mishaps and trials and tribulations along the way. Marcus is now known throughout the world due to his celebrity status in the cooking world. He’s cooked for some of the most powerful and elite people from Kings and Queens, Presidents and First Ladies, to Prince and Princesses around the globe and continues to do charitable work to help inner city children achieve their goals of wanting to become chefs someday and step into the same kitchen arena as he had and continues to do. Mello & June gives Yes, Chef four stars. A really decent read and enlightening storyline. You’ll enjoy! I hope I get to eat your cooking one day, Chef Samuelsson. Until then, I’ll continue to watch you kick ass in the kitchen! You go boy!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

The Only Thing Standing in Your Way. . .
is Standing in Your Way!

Keep It Movin'!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Oh So Ho Hum. . .

What's Up Intellectual Minds,

We are on our final few days of summer!  "Sigh!"  Yeah, it's feeling more and more like fall around these here parts.  Ummph, summer literally just got started and here it's on its last leg.  Damn!  Why can't winter exit as quickly as summer does?  Oh well, enough about the weather, cause there's one thing for sure, there's not one damn thing any of us can do about it, except deal with it!  I certainly hope you had a great summer?

As we're making our transition into another season, I'm wondering if you've been staying up-to-date on the latest race to the White House?  OMG, I've watched the second Republican Debate and once again, I wasn't that impressed.  I still haven't found any candidate, right or left, that stands out on the views that interest me.  I'm not getting that tingling sensation in my gut that says, "Yea, this is the right person for me," blah, blah, blah! Not feeling it yet.

So I guess the question is, when the hell will I begin to see someone emerge on the scene that will make me feel comfortable enough about giving my vote to?  If you figure it out, perhaps you'll be kind enough to fill a sista in because I have no idea who I like.  I don't like anyone, at this juncture.  Sure, I like what some of them say and how they view various issues, but to have a clear cut definition as to whom I'd like to vote for, not getting anything. Just a total blank!  This, by far, is one of the worst Presidential runs I've ever experienced.  I feel sorry for the first-time voter who is just coming into the voting game. God be with you! I'm a seasoned vet and can't make heads nor tails out of these candidates.  Yuk!

Anyhoo, I just plan to coast through the next four months, and get some things done, and hopefully, as time advances, something or someone will be able to help me grab a glimmer of hope?  Because as it stands right now, our country is already in trouble, and I'm not confident in any of these candidates, right or left.  They've got a lot more to do, in my opinion, before I feel comfortable about this important decision, but what I can tell you right now, thankfully the election isn't today--'cause you want to know how I would vote?  I wouldn't!  That's how horrible I think the Democrats and Republican candidates are, as it stands on the merits at this point.  Everyone is looking for that great soundbite, that one catchphrase that's going to set them apart from the pack, and guess what?  The only one succeeding in doing that is of course Donald Trump, although Donald couldn't hang with the big dogs in CNN's debate arena.  He's lacking major knowledge and that is a HUGE concern of mine.  I have other concerns where all the candidates are concerned, but just because someone is popular due to being an entertainer does not make a President.  And just because someone has been in politics forever, does not mean they have the wherewithal and/or knowledge to handle the job either.

One thing is for certain.  I'm very sick and tired of the bickering over stupid sh*t!  I'm tired of hearing how many of them are novices at this and have no business being in the race. Aah, excuse me, but the last time I checked, not one candidate on either side has EVER been the President of the United States, so all of you are novices--let's just get that out of the way and make that perfectly clear!  If I hear one more person say that, I'm going to scream!!  The only one who has come closest to being in the White House up close and personal is Hillary Clinton.  But, and that's a big BUT, she was NEVER the President--just married to one.

I'm anxious to hear more about economic growth, jobs and most importantly to me, healthcare!  As if you didn't get a clue from last week's post, healthcare is a HUGE problem for me and I want something done about it!  I have yet to hear anyone break this down for me in terms of which I can relate and understand.  I'm pretty solid on foreign policy, as far as where the candidates stand, but there are more pressing matters I'd like to learn about. So it is my sincerest hope that these right and left politicians get their sh*t together and start laying more of a foundation for Americans to really get their footing on something solid so we can stop feeling so damn helpless and hopeless.   Again, I say, I'm far from impressed. Donald has been the most entertaining, but seriously, he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting the Republican nomination.  However, having said that, if things go the way protocol dictates, by rights since he's the front-runner and continues to be, at this point, he should get it.  There's plenty of speculation that he will not get the nomination for the mere simple reason he's ostracized himself from the Hispanic community, in part, due to his comments regarding some in their community.  Although any candidate worth his/her salt would most certainly want and could use a person's vote, he can still make it without the Hispanic votes (they are not the majority in this country).  I'd be shocked to say the least, but my gut feeling tells me he's not going to get that nomination, regardless of his poll standing.  I would really like to see what Donald could have done with that God awful Iran deal.  Sheesh, that's one of the worst deals I've seen America engage in in quite a while.  That deal is just as terrifying as the ISIS terrorists.   It appears as though Obama is exiting the Oval Office on a rather sour note.  He's making me question a great many of his decisions, or the lack thereof especially as of late.  I still can't get over that horrendous Iran deal.  Boy, did America get screwed big time with that contract.  What a damn joke!  What are you thinking, Mr. President?  Or were you thinking, I should ask?

Not sure where America is going anymore?  I don't feel there's anyone solid or qualified to handle our country.  At least, not the ones we have vying for the position, and a little shaky on the one still in office.  I'll keep watching and we'll see what happens together.  No matter what, you must keep yourself abreast of the Presidential election. This is important, even though I feel most times the politicians don't give a damn about us.  It's always about them.  With all the fighting back and forth and the checks and balances our great Nation was built upon, there's no wonder nothing ever gets done in Washington, D.C.  How can it when everyone is constantly fighting for their rights, to be heard, and the voices that are almost always silenced are the American people!  God help us! I want a better, stronger America!  Is that too much to ask?  Can these potential hopeful wannabe Presidential candidates get the job done?  Hmm, only you can decide!

Until next time, folks, check back for new book reviews coming up as we forge ahead on our reading journeys and challenges.  I've fallen so far behind due to other things going on, but I'm going to finish as strong as I can, and that's what each of us has to do.  

Keep on keepin' on, my Intellectual Friends! Stay Informed! Be Informed!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

An Informed Mind is a Knowledgeable One!

Knowledge is Power -- Get YOU Some!

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Hello Intellectual Minds,

Welp, another week has passed and summer is slowly performing its exit and my body has already started to move in fall mode.  Doesn't it seem like we were just at this point yesterday, and here we are again?  Is it me or does time feel like it's moving faster than the speed of light?  I just had a birthday, didn't I. . .and it's almost here again?!  Wow, whoever said the statement, "Life's too short," certainly knew what they were talking about.  Who the hell has time to waste on stupid stuff, when you turn around another damn decade has vanished into thin air!

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this?  Hmm, let's see.  To make a very long story short, let's just say I called my doctor's office recently to discuss a minor problem I was having.  I will not go into what the medical condition is, but it's something I have to live with for the rest of my life and there isn't (at the current moment) a cure for this disease, so I called him to advise my symptoms were becoming more alarming and before they reached ten I wanted him to call in some medicine for me so I could begin to heal.

The doctor agreed it wasn't time for my checkup, and said it was not an issue for him to call the medicine in. (Note:  This particular medicine he called in was something I took many years ago, but ended up not needing it anymore, so I was off of it. This part of the story is important to remember, so you'll get the full effect of what I'm saying).

My doctor had his assistant call the medicine in to the pharmacy I use.  She advised I should give the pharmacy a call to make sure it was ready for pickup.  Sure, no problem I thought.  I had a few minutes to spare and decided to call the pharmacy and see what's up with my meds. She made a strange sound and I wondered what was wrong?  She asked for my medical card group number, which I supplied.  She made this moaning sound again.  I finally asked her, "What's wrong?"  She advises me the medicine is a bit steep and that there must be some sort of mistake.  Not knowing what "steep" meant in terms of how much, at that point, I agreed with her cautiously.  I dreaded asking the obvious question and there was a slight pause between our conversation.

Finally, I said, "What's wrong?  How much are we talking here?"  She responds, "According to what my computer is telling me in order for you to get the 180 pills, which will last you for two months, you have to pay $1,700."  Thank GOD I was sitting down because I think I would have passed out, seriously.  My throat went dry and I immediately began to cry.  I'm thinking this has got to be a mistake, just like she suggested.  She advised she'd place the medicine on hold and told me to call my insurance company.  Yeah, she could place them on hold all she wanted because I was NEVER picking those damn pills up!  I did, however, take up her advice to call my insurance carrier.

Here, I was in desperate need of this medicine.  It's a medicine I used to take back in the day and didn't pay $30 for it, and now for the same exact medicine I'm being told I have to pay $1,700.  Talk about highway f*ckin' robbery!  (SCREAM!!!!)

I call my insurance carrier and the lovely, kind attendant told me in no uncertain terms, "yes, Mrs. Hicks, pharmaceutical fees go toward your deductible, as well as medical.  Once you reach your deductible, we'll pay 80 percent and you 20, and then after that is exhausted, there's another tier you'll have to get through."  By this point, her words just ran through my mind and I wasn't grasping much of what she said.  Through my tears and despair, all I could see at that point was $1,700 running over and over in my mind.

I say to this woman, "you've got to be f*ckin' kiddin' me, right?"  She said, "no ma'am, that's what your insurance calls for.  I'm sorry.  If that will be all, have a good day."  I don't recall if she hung up or if I did?  Who cares at this point, right?  She was so forthright and kind and understanding of my pain and situation!  She didn't give a hill of beans about my ass!  And obviously neither does this insurance company I deal with.  She uttered those words to me so matter-of-fact without any emotion in her voice.  

I was so depressed I couldn't believe it.  So, I called my doctor back and he was just as shocked as I was.  He said he would try to find another medicine I could take that was more reasonable for me to pay.  He somewhat succeeded.  One of the medications was less than $30, but unfortunately, the other that I need to take with it was close to $400.  

What pisses me off about this whole ordeal is that I know people who don't work, never have worked, don't have any plans to work and could care less about work and they and their families get free medical on my back, but yet, when I need to call upon the help of my own insurance, which I pay half of and my job pays the other portion, I got to be told I have to spend $1,700 for 180 stinking pills!  My doctor was just as frustrated as I was.  Ain't this a bitch!

I'm not getting any younger (regardless as to how young I may appear to some of you).  My body is breaking down just like many of you.  I have medical issues like most people and this is what our healthcare system has been reduced to.  When I hear someone tell me it's Affordable Healthcare, it's all I can do to keep from bitch slapping the hell out of the ass who said it!  What the hell is AFFORDABLE about this?!  It's AFFORDABLE for those who get all the healthcare they want for FREE that I help contribute to, but it damn sure ain't AFFORDABLE to the working poor, which I am a reluctant member of.  Healthcare for every American--and who do you suppose pays for those who can't?  Oh yeah you guessed it. . .I do along with others who work on a regular.  The sad part is our healthcare system may work for those who can't or refuse to work, but keep in mind, it doesn't work for those who do work either!  What a win-win for All!  NOT!!!!  To think a medicine I paid less than $30 for back in the late 80s early 90s, now costs me $1,700.  When I hear that word AFFORDABLE, I can't help but hear the song It's Electric running through my mind. What a joke!!!!

Life is too short, but it appears as though our wonderful government and healthcare providers want to cut our lives even shorter!  For those of you young people reading this post. . .here's some words of wisdom that my grandmother used to tell me when I was a little girl--DON'T GET OLD!  My God, I sure understand her words now.  At this point, what is the damn point?  We might as well all die because at these prices for medicine and healthcare, WE will not be able to make it much longer!

If you think your good health is gonna last, THINK again!  And if pills are costing this much money for me in 2015, God help YOU when you're older.  

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

It's AFFORD are you ABLE