Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Reviews. . .

This post is for the book lovers out there.  If you're like me, you're always up for something new and exciting to read.  So, keeping that in mind, here are some books I've read that you might find interesting, and also add to your Kindle or Nook.  Oh, and for those of you who like to read books in a series, check these out!

Everytime I checked my 'to read' list, this book constantly popped up and I don't know why I chose to ignore it, but I must say this was a rare find and an exciting one to stumble across.

I absolutely loved this book. It had some of the most captivating love scenes I've read in a while, and the funny thing is, there were about two and a half love scenes in the book and I enjoyed them--and you wanna know why? Because there was a STORY behind it. E. L. James could take a page out of Blair's book. LOL

Tennyson Hardwick is a brilliant, well-thought out character, much like his creator. I've always been a fan of Blair's and I have to say for this to be his first book in a series, he did an outstanding job. Ten is a very quick-witted, no nonsense type of guy with a big heart.

When Ten runs into an old flame, or rather, an old client, and they immediately pick up where they left off five years prior, the love juices start to flow--literally. But less than 24-hours later, his long-time friend ends up dead in an alley and somehow the police are knocking on his door.

Needless to say, Ten is the only person-of-interest, and being raised by LAPD's retired Police Chief, certainly presented its fair share of problems. Ten decides to remove all doubt and shame from his father by figuring out who killed his friend. And what he learns as he embarks on his quest is a mystery he'll soon never forget.

This was a really good whodunit type of mystery with all the charm and flair from a man who certainly is gifted in every sense. Well done Blair Underwood. A fast-paced read! I will be reading the other three books in this series. I'm a lifelong fan!


All I can say is wow!!! The characters you first meet in Casanegra advance ever further In the Night of the Heat, a spin on the movie title, In the Heat of the Night.

Tennyson Hardwick honed his skills after finding out who killed his good friend, Afrodite. However, he's still a little wet behind the ears as a private dick (no pun intended). His naïveté always lands him in hot water, and I hope on his next adventure, which I'm about to read soon, he's learned how to lay low before the bad guys get a hold of him, but then again, that's a part of Ten's charm.

When T.D. Jackson, a famous NFL football player, begs Ten to be his bodyguard, Ten declines--after all, he has a beautiful face and acting career and why should he give up his own dreams? Unfortunately, some things go awry with his TV character in "Homeland" and soon after discovers T.D is dead. Uh-oh, what's a brotha to do? Find out who killed this athlete. As he embarks on this murderous case, what he learns is jaw-dropping. This case takes him completely out in left field, literally.

What you think is happening, turns out to be something completely different and as he interviews characters to get to the truth, the reader will feel Tennyson's pain! The ending will blow your mind away! I couldn't put this book down. Outstanding read and loved the ending. Will be reading the third installment soon.

As usual, Tennyson Hardwick never disappoints. This was another roller coaster mystery. When Ten takes on being the bodyguard of movie starlet, Sofia Maitlin, needless to say, all hell breaks loose.

The characters you first met in Casanegra have grown into full-blown important people in Ten's life, and he needs those family members more in this book than he did in the first two. I'm too excited to see what the fourth one yields.

The story starts off in South Africa, where at first thought, Ten went to smooth over a broken relationship. While visiting, he's told about a very simple assignment of offering his bodyguard services to Ms. Maitlin. After he's finished up in South Africa, he happily returns to the U.S. so he can finish wrapping up his new movie with Spike Lee, as Director, and Denzel as his co-star.

But those dreams of being a big time movie star in Hollywood are put on the back burner when Ms. Maitlin comes a calling, again, for his services in her Hollywood Hills Mansion to watch over her newly adopted daughter's, of South Africa, birthday party.  

Of course, the party went on without a hitch, until the nanny summons the security detail to advise Nandi, Ms. Maitlin's baby, has gone missing. The nightmare that ensues is any parents worst nightmare, but not as much as it is for Ten, since this happened under his watch, or did it?

Trust me, as the story unfolds, you WILL NOT be able to put this book down. It has all the zest and appeal that the first two books in the series offered. Will Ten solve this case before moving on to his next caper? Read and find out! OUTSTANDING Read!  The fourth volume in the series is due out in September 2012!  Woo Hoo!

What would a southern Christian woman and a Whore have in common? Nothing, one might say, but life has a way of throwing us a curve. That's what this beautiful story was about. When Sugar Lacey strolled through Bigelow, Arkansas, there was a dark cloud that loomed overhead. Sugar was originally from Short Junction, and happened to stumble across, not by accident, upon Bigelow. She viewed herself as a worthless human being having to sell her body to make rent--that is, until Pearl showed her that life was worth living, and Sugar gave Pearl her smile back, after living with the grief of her murdered daughter, Jude, which happened 15 years prior. The bond Sister Pearl and Lacey had goes much deeper than the eye can see.

This was a wonderfully written book--told in an almost poetic prose. I must say the book started out a little slow for me, but as it unfolded, I could not put it down. The story will keep the avid reader engaged until the very last page. What this story shows is that everything happens for a reason, even if it's unclear at the time. If you love a great southern story, this is a definite MUST READ!

Wow, what a wonderful follow-up to "Sugar!" Although I had a pretty good idea how the lives of Pearl and Joe ended up, "This Bitter Earth" took those lives a step further. I loved the new characters this sequel brought out, and it was refreshing to learn about Sugar's heritgage. It was nice seeing her character grow--and seeing how she gave back to those in need, much like she needed when she first met Pearl. Outstanding read. You will most definitely enjoy it. And the Ending was Superb! Just the way life outta go!

It's been a long while since I've read a story (outside of my own) that kept it "real" with urban living. I absolutely loved this book, and felt Michael did a great job keeping the action going (I hated to put it down in the evening). If you're wondering why I gave this book three stars instead of five, it's because the one thing that was wrong with it were the amount of typographical and/or grammatical errors that were impossible to ignore. If Mr. Mayhem could have had this book edited professionally, it most certainly could have earned a 5-star rating--and potentially top the NY's Best Sellers List! What a story I tell ya! I got to give props to Mike!

However, having said that, the errors do not take away from the dynamics of what happens to Jamal a/k/a Mommaboy. This was such a good read and I could have finished it in one day, but had to pull myself away from the "mayhem," no pun intended toward the author (wink, wink)! I really loved this story and the realism could not be beat! I felt Mommaboy's pain and there were some surprises in here that made my jaw drop. Nino Brown of New Jack City didn't have nothing on Mommaboy! Damn, he changed the game completely! Mommaboy definitely earned his stripes, but this story goes to prove that some people cannot bounce back from a traumatic experience and those individuals have what is sometimes referred to as an out-of-body-experience. Mommaboy was so out of his element, but soon joined the dark side (literally)!

Outstanding read truly and a story that I will never forget. The characters were strong and real! My only issue were the amount of errors, but once you get past that, the story itself was AWESOME! Well done Michael Mayhem! I'm looking forward to reading more books from ya! Two thumbs up for this Indie Author! This would be a great movie--New Jack meets Mommaboy! ;-)

OUTSTANDING! Did I say OUTSTANDING? Let me just say I laughed my a*s off reading this book! Who couldn't remember Jimmie Walker's famous character on the popular 70s sitcom, J.J. Evans on Good Times and his favorite word that put him on the map--DYN-O-MITE! I tuned in every week to hear that word come from the skinny, wild and crazy artist, struggling along with his family in the projects (loosely based on the Cabrini-Green projects in Chicago)!

As many of you may or may not know, Jimmie was a stand-up comedian well before he became J.J. on Good Times. What I learned about his life was incredible. From growing up with an abusive father, to having a passive and submissive mother, a sister he wasn't that close to, alcohol induced uncles, etc., Mr. Walker has been through it all and that's no joke. In fact, laughter is what brought him through his pain.

There are so many shockers in this book, and never-before-told-stories that Jimmie felt was time to set the record straight and I'll say he went above and beyond. From his long-time friends Dave Letterman and Jay Leno, what you learn about their relationships in the early days of comedy is golden. I was so impressed with Jimmie's story telling and his honesty as only a comedian can deliver. Some may not agree with his political views and may even be surprised as to where he stands on "politically correctness" as he mentions throughout the book.

I could not put this put down. There are so many jokes he writes in the book, I couldn't stop laughing. Every so many paragraphs he'd speak to you seriously, and then turn around and slap you with a joke that you'd bust a gut. I so enjoyed reading this and I am positive you will too. I learned a lot about this comedian and I'm happy to see he's still with us and doing his thing as only Jimmie Walker can. Great job! FIVE STAR READ!!!! Get ready for the laughter!

I truly did not have any idea what kind of life Vanessa Williams 'really' led. It amazes me how the media portrays celebrities in one light, but to get the 'real' facts from the celebrity themself is a totally different experience. She tells everything from the Miss America fiasco to her marriage with Rick Fox. I've always been proud of Vanessa for standing up for what she believes in and I'm glad that she and her mom wrote this book. The reader will feel her pain, her struggles and hopes and aspirations for the future. She is aging beautifully and living the life she's always been so passionate about.

I was fortunate to see her live in 1997 when she and Luther Vandross toured together and it was an awesome concert. She is a talented singer, musician and actress and is on top of the world. Well done and wonderfully written. One thing's for sure, had she taken the advice her mother had given her, she wouldn't be the Vanessa Williams we know today. Seems weird to say that because usually taking our mother's advice saves us from ourselves, but in this case, it helped launch Vanessa's career of sorts. You will not be disappointed with this book.

Sarah Thyre is a witty, outrageously funny person. Her sarcastic sense of humor was off the charts. She hit punchlines much like Rosie O'Donnell and/or Ellen, which is what I loved about this memoir. I could relate to many aspects of her upbringing.

Sarah's family was like a group of nomads--moving from state to state and city to city, which I think is why she developed such a great sense of humor. However, having said that, I found the story one-sided because it was basically about her school life from different stages, with a small glimpse into her family life. Her mother was socially aware of the planet even before it was the "in thing" today. She was light years ahead. Her father was a typical American dad, who liked his joy juice to sip and go fishing with the guys, but her parents didn't really have a great marriage, and I wanted to know why? Sarah didn't really delve into this area, and perhaps that's because her parents didn't bring the children into the fold.

I've read more exciting memoirs than this, but that's not to say this was a bad read. I enjoyed it, with the exception of the long chapters. I cannot stand long and lengthy chapters--it absolutely drives me bonkers, but outside of that, I give this book three stars. If you're the type of reader who enjoys a great laugh and family life, you'll enjoy this book.


To me there is only one book that is the greatest of all times, and this book may be found pretty much anywhere--The Bible. I have now learned that there is a second book that should be offered in hotels and motels nightstands--Is It Just Me? Whoopi is one of my favorite comedians, and the reason being because she always tells it like it is and she's usually right!

I laughed so much through this book until I was in tears. I wish to tell Whoopi she is NOT ALONE in her feelings on human behavior. I have often blogged about the very thing she talks about in this book on human rudeness. She doesn't like the times we live in any more than I do, and I'm just glad to know I'm not alone in my thinking. I'm not alone--thank God!

Anyone who cannot see the realism in this book is one of the people she's probably referring too when she talks about the Assholian person. This book is too damn funny and sad, because our society is just loaded with inconsiderate people thinking they can do and say whatever the hell crosses their minds.

If you're one of those people who don't understand what bad manners are, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! Whoopi never disappoints. I loved this book and I think it should be made available in every public place possible. THANK YOU Whoopi for keeping it very real. An outstanding funny read as only told by one of the greats!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
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