Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Closer View. . .

Whaddup! Whaddup!  Whatddup!

It's that time again!  Yep, you guessed it, review time!  Kim had some very important business to tend to this weekend, and she asked us to fill in and advise her readers and fans of the books she's been keeping up on.  So we hope you enjoy some of her selections from her lists.  Then again, we don't really care if Kim is happy with what we've posted here or not, 'cause when the cat's away the mice will play, so we just gonna handle business the way we see fit.  Besides, she left us specific instructions listing the books she wanted us to post, so we're not as strong as we're pretending (wink, wink).  

Ok, below is the part she would say, so typical of her!

We love to discuss books--upcoming and those already out.  We've added several books to our reading challenge for 2014, and having a blast learning new things, enjoying new characters or revisiting old ones, and steadily turning pages to get us closer to completing the amount of books we set out to read.  We love words, so there's never a dull moment! Oh, and before we forget, check out M&J's Book Review tab right underneath Kim's picture at the top of the blog. She's constantly reviewing author's work, as well as reading books from her list.  If you're an author and would like your book reviewed, click on the Book Review Guidelines and submit yours today!

Ok, so here are some great books we've recently read and thought we might share our thoughts with you.  If you're looking for a great memoir, or mystery, series, etc., you've come to the 'write' blog!  Sit back, relax and have your eReaders ready to go on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to download some of our selections.  Let's Go. . .

Hey all you Toni Braxton fans!   Did you know Toni has her memoir out, and boy is it hot and juicy with all the right things in it to sink your eyes into.  This damn sure ain't no Braxton Family Values reality show.  This was all about Toni, Toni, Toni (no, not to be confused with the dynamic band), but as in Braxton--OooK!   So here it goes...

I've always been a huge fan of Toni Braxton, and I've definitely always respected her talent. The first time I heard the Boomerang Soundtrack, I kept wondering who is this chick? I loved her short haircut and she was cute and appeared to have it going on, but as I always say, you never truly know what anyone is 'truly' going through.

This was an outstanding memoir on so many levels. I loved the fact that she broke it down about her bankruptcy mishaps, and how she ended up that way two times, which for her sake, I pray that second was her last. She has two adorable sons, Denim and Diezel, and she reveals how she and her then husband, Keri Lewis, came up with those names--pretty interesting stuff.

She had a strong religious upbringing and although her parents had six children, with Toni being the first, most of the mistakes that may have been made, were made on her. There was one statement she made that really said it all about where Toni's mindset is today. "I'm only responsible for myself and my children. Period." Due to her formative years, Mrs. Braxton, Toni's mom, made some rather unfair demands on her which she carried throughout her life, and which, I believe, is the root for a great deal of the issues she later faced. Her parents weren't perfect, but there was a great deal of psychological damage already in the making.

The funny thing is, from the moment she popped on the R&B scene back in the early 90s, I always sensed a sadness about her, and after having read her life story, I see why that is. She's done a lot of growing up and has learned some rather hard valuable lessons along the way. Toni is finally thinking about 'Toni' and not worrying about her sisters' lives or their trying to make claim to fame. 

This book is all about Toni and how life's bumpy ride impacted her. She set the record straight on many of the media's inappropriate mishandling of her life. I love Toni and I'm so glad Babyface got her to do a new album (entitled Love, Marriage & Divorce).  For the first time in a very long time, Toni is happy with herself! This was an awesome read, and one I'm sure any memoir fans will adore. Worth every penny and the pics in the Kindle version were great!


Do you love series?  Well, ok, I think most of you know how Kim feels about that, but this is one of her favorite series--Vernetta Henderson.  She's a super smart African-American female attorney who works in employment law, and recently has taken to switching gears for a bit and practicing criminal law.  Man oh man does she have a doosie of a time in this novel!  There was a bit of everything thrown at her, but if you know Vernetta like WE know her, she got this!  Check it out. . .

Well, alright now! Vernetta had some gangsta stuff happening to her in this novel. The soon to be first African-American partner of her firm has been assigned to a sexual harassment case for a corporate conglomerate, Micronics. What should have been a pretty cut and dry case, Vernetta decided to cinch her partner spot by not accepting a very low settlement offer to prove she has the chops to handle this kind of work. After all, she had worked on the biggest trial of her career a year ago, and she thought she had this case in the bag.

Welp, nothing ever comes that easy, now does it? When a very pretty Karen Carruthers ends up over the side of a cliff dead, that was the game changer for this case. Vernetta's best friend, Special, had a lot of involvement in this matter than she normally would, and Jefferson, Vernetta's husband, has his first big contract with his partner out in San Diego, making time with her husband almost non-existent. But, Vernetta supports her man and understands seeing as how she works long hours being the attorney that she is.

There are some very important documents that Special ends up getting a hold of and the story turns, literally, upside down--leaving some characters with bumps and bruises, a few stab wounds and in a coma. This is really different than the first Henderson series and is so exciting, you will not want to put this book down. Outstanding!


We love memoirs, and in case you weren't aware or haven't added this one to your reading list, Phillip Bailey, without a doubt, hails from one of the baddest bands ever to do it--that's right, Earth, Wind & Fire! OMG, we grew up listening to EWF.  And their live concerts is something that some still talk about to this very day.  Talk about knowing how to put on a live performance.  You were in a lather after leaving an EWF concert, and if you weren't, that meant you weren't partying hard enough!  If you haven't read Bailey's book, you must add this to your summer reading list.  It's not a long read, and one we're sure you'll enjoy!  Let's do this. . .

No matter where you live, or what radio station you listen to, you are, without a doubt, going to hear an Earth, Wind & Fire song. I enjoyed their music back in the 70s, and I still enjoy all of their music to this day. So, imagine my surprise as I was listening to The Tom Joyner Morning Show the other day, and Phillip Bailey was on promoting his memoir which is rightly titled.

Phillip grew up in an era where single parent households were not the norm. Having come up without his father, he had to learn some hard life's lessons, but through all the things he had to endure in his family life, music was his savior then and still remains a staple in his life now. 

I enjoyed taking the journey with Phillip through his Earth, Wind & Fire memoir. Outstanding book, and one that I'm sure you'll enjoy as well. I wish Phillip all the best and look forward to more music from him in years to come.


Are you looking for love?  Are you seeking companionship and yearning for that one true love?  Well before you fantasize any further, you may want to rethink some things after you read this book!  We're just saying, so here it goes. . . 

This was a different kind of love story. Lindsey Bains Johanson was penned the 'good sister' because she represented to her father the purest love a man and woman can share in having a child together. Unfortunately, for her sister, Jessie, she received the dark sinister side of what a parent can inflict upon a child, especially a child brought forth from adultery by his loving wife. So Jessie meant nothing to the father they shared. She was a constant reminder what his wife had done to their marriage.

Lindsey received all the love and strength from her father and she followed in his footsteps by going into the Army and becoming a well-respected soldier. So imagine, after having such a great military career, she meets and falls in love with Elliot Johanson, a then military man who left his career to seek a more political avenue by setting his sights on becoming the President of the United States. Having Lindsey on his arm made him look good and was great for his hopeful career path.

But, the Johansons were living a lie. The once respected military soldier, Lindsey, was being violently abused by her husband, Elliot. How in the hell could that be? She was a soldier trained to fight and kill, but couldn't measure up to her abusive husband. Lindsey decided to seek shelter by going to visit her sister, Jessie and her husband Will. Lindsey had no idea how life altering that visit was going to become. She found love in the most unexpected way.

This was a really good read and my only criticism would be that the abuse was entirely too repetitive and long, but the overall theme was pretty good. Not a bad read and one I think readers will enjoy.


I been drinkin' I been drinkin', I get all filthy when that liquor get into me. . .Ok, Kim most definitely wouldn't write those words leading into another series that she enjoys called Jack Daniels, but what other way is there to talk about book titles named after various drinks?  Mello, I believe Jack is short for Jacqueline, right?  (belch) It's always great to add a little wine with your words, ya know! Drink up and read responsibly!  Or, should that be the other way around?  We need to stop drinkin', perhaps!

Woooooow! The Jack Daniels series never disappoints! The question is what didn't poor Jack have to endure in this third installment of the series?

One thing she learned, just when she thought an old case was closed, it rears its ugly head again to live and breath life. Lieut. Daniels closed the Gingerbread Man case, right? Well, if you thought the psychotic killer was dead, new videotaped murders began popping up on Jack's desk faster than she was able to draw her firearm. People who were instrumental in bringing the Gingerbread Man to his demise, found themselves meeting their makers.

Who or what could be bringing forth these new murders? You have to read to find out. Again, if you do not have a strong stomach, this book most definitely is not for the squeamish. You better be able to handle all the sick and twisted things you could possibly imagine a psychotic killer could dish out. Outstanding read! 

P.S. The only negative I have toward the Jack Daniels series is the story lines tend to drag out and frustrate the reader, or rather frustrate this reader. And the pain that some of the characters have to endure seem a bit too much to be believed, but it doesn't take away from the great story.

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

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