Book Review: The Broken: An ‘Afterwards’ Novel by Nia Forrester

Date Read: July 21, 2022
Published: June 22, 2022
Pages: 526

Book Synopsis:

He might destroy her. She could help put him back together.

If it wasn’t for his music, Devin Parks doesn’t know where he’d be. Now he has a shot at a larger audience than he ever dreamed of. All he has to do, is get out of his own way. But when Devin isn’t fighting salacious rumors on entertainment blogs and rival musicians, he’s battling serious demons from his past that threaten to hold him back just as he’s poised to soar.

Harper Bailey has mixed feelings about being assigned to manage the notoriously difficult Devin Parks’ mainstream debut. It’s a career-changing opportunity made much more challenging because she’s fighting demons of her own. Not to mention the persistent pull the former lovers have toward each other. Harper has handled her attraction to the artists before, but Devin is different. The draw isn’t just physical, it’s emotional as well. And getting emotionally involved with someone like him is a non-starter for her career and her heart.

Because if her instincts are correct, he isn’t just ‘difficult’, he’s broken.

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DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

My Review:

Some authors are writers and some are storytellers, and Nia is definitely the latter. While both depictions of an author can draw me in to a good story, there’s a difference in the way the work comes across. With Nia’s stories, she has a skill for finding universal truths that many of us experience and translates them into beautiful cohesive drama. With these characters, I felt like I was experiencing their journey with them; I was experiencing their growth. We see the humanity in our main characters, the good parts as well as the bad. While the story was written to depict how “broken” we as people may be, I took away a story of bruised but not broken. In the words of Miss Joss Stone, ” And I’ll be all right. And I’ll love again. And the wounds will mend. I’m bruised but not broken. And the pain will fade. I’ll get back on my feet. It’s not the end of me. My heart is still open. I’m bruised but not broken.” Definitely a must read.

July 2022 Reads

Black Romance Reads

When in rome by te russ

Art conservator Tyson Hamilton is thrilled to get the opportunity of a lifetime in Rome, Italy.

In need of a break, orchestra teacher, Sydney Vaughn responds to an ad in search of a travel nanny for Tyson’s young daughter.

Tyson and Sydney’s attraction for one another is instant, but they both know they shouldn’t give into desire that is rapidly building between the two of them.

But just how long will it take before they stop resisting and give into the temptation of undeniable passion?


the broken by nia forrester

He might destroy her. She could help put him back together.

If it wasn’t for his music, Devin Parks doesn’t know where he’d be. Now he has a shot at a larger audience than he ever dreamed of. All he has to do, is get out of his own way. But when Devin isn’t fighting salacious rumors on entertainment blogs and rival musicians, he’s battling serious demons from his past that threaten to hold him back just as he’s poised to soar.

Harper Bailey has mixed feelings about being assigned to manage the notoriously difficult Devin Parks’ mainstream debut. It’s a career-changing opportunity made much more challenging because she’s fighting demons of her own. Not to mention the persistent pull the former lovers have toward each other. Harper has handled her attraction to the artists before, but Devin is different. The draw isn’t just physical, it’s emotional as well. And getting emotionally involved with someone like him is a non-starter for her career and her heart.

Because if her instincts are correct, he isn’t just ‘difficult’, he’s broken.


love scammed by rilzy adams

It’s the blind date to end all blind dates.
When Monae Alexander turns up to Miami International Airport to meet her best friend, Tempest, for their anti-Valentine’s Day girls’ trip to Turks and Caicos, she realizes she’s been scammed. Tempest is nowhere in sight and soon Monae finds out that the trip was an elaborate scheme to get her to meet Hudson Bradley, a man Tempest had been trying to set Monae up with for months. Hudson has been played too, thinking he was heading overseas for a business trip and not a five-day Valentine’s Day getaway with a woman he’s never met before. It is the Valentine’s Day trip neither Hudson nor Monae asked for, but could it turn out to be just what they need?


they call him nas by k.c. mills

Yonas “Nas” Kadir is a man of few words. He has learned the art of never showing his hand, which is a valued asset for a man who balances his life between dark and light. There’s not much he desires that isn’t as good as promised to him, which is why Dae Richardson can fight the attraction but will ultimately fall for his good looks and undeniable charm, or so he hopes.

Dae Richardson is a self made success story. Her company has paired some of the most exclusive and elite professional around the world, however she can’t seem to find the companionship she longs for to complement her luxurious lifestyle. That is, until Nas Kadir steps into her office and demands to become one of her clients for the weekend, only he doesn’t want anyone from her impressive clientele list, he wants her.

When souls collide there’s not much you can do but buckle down and prepare for the explosion, because there will definitely be fireworks!


along for the ride by mimi grace

This road to love may have a few speed bumps…

Former hot mess Jolene Baxter is committed to doing better. It’s why she offered to help her sister and brother-in-law move across the country. However, her goodwill is tested when last minute changes—mainly her father ditching her for an all-expenses paid vacation—forces her to make the journey with a man who is the human version of a pebble in her shoe. 

Jason Akana operates on lists and bitter coffee, but none of those things will help him on a sixteen-hour trip with the most infuriating woman. Maybe they can get along and forget their heated confrontation five years ago at his best friend’s wedding…when pigs fly. 

But the addition of vehicle problems, an unplanned pit stop in a small town, and chemistry that inconveniently tags along, shifts their perspectives. And once the dust settles after their trip, a tentative friendship emerges. Will these two stubborn people successfully navigate the unexpected feelings that follow close behind? Or will they hit a roadblock before reaching happily ever after?

This novel is a standalone.

Content Notes: Deceased parent Workplace harassment

MM Romance Reads

emery (unexpected book 3)

I know this is wrong, but I can’t help myself when it comes to him.

My mom deserves to be happy after losing my dad to tragedy over a decade ago. But her blissful new relationship comes with a catch.
His name is Emery, my new stepbrother, and he’s the most infuriating, impulsive, chaotic, and strangely intriguing man I’ve ever met.
I’ve managed to avoid him for a year but then on our way to our parents’ cabin, we get lost alone in the snowy mountains of Utah.
That’s when pretenses and boundaries between us start to slip and fall away as we focus on survival. I begin to see the charming and sweet man he is. And maybe all the wild and ridiculous things about him that used to irritate me, are what make him truly perfect.

Emery is a sweet, emotional, and hilariously funny MM romance that features forbidden love, forced proximity, hurt/comfort, and a HEA. It is the third standalone in the Unexpected series.


Getting Sacked by van cole

The College Quarterback And The Bad Boy United Against Their Wills

My senior year takes an unexpected turn with my mom’s remarriage.
A new stepbrother who hates my guts and a new stepdad who becomes our new coach.
To make things worse he hires my stepbrother Dean as his assistant.

I’m playing on unfamiliar territory.
Dean has a tatted and toned figure, with a dark, intimidating gaze.
I can’t tell if I want to prove myself to him or if I want…something more.

I feel a connection between us I can’t ignore.
I think he’s starting to feel it too.
A big part of me wants to find out, and another part is too scared.

I’ll be laying it all out there if I want the answer and there will be consequences.

Getting Sacked is a standalone Gay First Time Football Romance with a HEA and NO cheating!

MM Romance Recs

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.


Two years ago, a friend and I bonded over our love of MM Romance books. Since then, we’ve built a camaraderie where we swap rec’s and engage in intense discussions about the books that we’ve read and the couples we love. To celebrate pride month, we released a series of recommendations over the course of June over on Instagram featuring books from some of our favorite tropes. To wrap up the month, I’d like to share them with you all here! #LoveIsLove Shoutout to Taima, my partner in crime! (@shadesnpages) Be sure to click the image to check out the book!

Sports Romances

Gay/Bi Awakening

Friends To Lovers

Enemies To Lovers

Book Review: Two Minute Warning by Alexandra Warren

Date Read: June 23, 2022
Published: June 23, 2022
Pages: 271

Book Synopsis:

There’s a lot that can happen in two minutes or less…

Kendall “Snoop” Dogwood has something to prove.

After a devastating ending to his first year with the Houston Skyhawks, getting redemption is the only thing on the veteran quarterback’s mind coming into the new season. But when a picture of him and a woman he barely knows, but wants to get to know, goes viral on social media, it doesn’t take long before Kendall finds himself on a different kind of mission going into year two.

A mission to pursue her.

As a social media influencer and the daughter of a well-known sports bettor, Shakira “Kiki” Knight is used to seeing her face tied to all sorts of internet gossip. What she’s not used to is having an actual crush on whoever she’s rumored to be involved with. But when it comes to Kendall Dogwood, Shakira just can’t seem to contain her attraction, especially once she learns the Skyhawks quarterback is equally interested in her.

Considering the messy way in which her last relationship with an NFL player ended, Kendall is probably the last man Shakira should be checking for. And after Shakira’s sports gambling ties are unveiled, the conflict of interest makes her the woman Kendall should probably be avoiding at all costs. But the instant chemistry between the two of them makes both of those things worth looking past for the sake of being together… until the stakes get higher and there’s more than just a game on the line.

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DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

My Review:

Shout-out to my fave for delivering another banger. I absolutely LOVED the chemistry between Shake and Snoopy. “How you gone make a nickname from a nickname” 😂 They were honestly such a vibe, and have taken a top spot in my favorite couples from Alex. This book made me feel like I was experiencing those early stages of a crush again. And then to witness how much they both held each other down, showed support all the way around, it was beautiful. As a sports fan, it continues to amaze me how well Alex pens the actual sport interactions. This book had me feeling like I was rooting for my Eagles at times and I loved it. The secondary characters gave me life so much life. From Shakira’s (because she’s my homie by this point so I’m not calling her Kiki) friends to Kendall’s (listen, I think he stole my top spot so I’m using the government) teammates, some of them stole scenes with their antics. And shout-out to one of my favorite female book bars Selena making an appearance 🙌🏾. I can’t wait to meet up with the next Skyhawk, from what I can already tell, this next one is going to be messy and I’m here for it lol

Book Review: Something Bleu by K.L. Hall

Date Read: June 14, 2022
Published: June 2, 2022
Pages: 74

Book Synopsis:

It was one kiss.
One kiss eight years ago that changed everything.
A kiss so unforgettable that the memory still plays in Imani Lavender’s mind to this day.
And then came the disaster that tore her heart to shreds, causing her to put miles between herself and her hometown of Potomac Falls. When she finds herself traveling home for her sister’s wedding weekend, she never imagined she’d ever lay eyes on Dallas “Bleu” Alexander again.
That is until a spilled caramel latte on a Friday plunges her right into the arms of the one man she thought she’d never see again. Bleu was only ever meant to be a teenage crush, but the way his body engulfs hers reminds her that it could be so much more. Imani finds herself having to deal with years of unresolved feelings in one seventy-two-hour weekend while ensuring her sister makes it down the aisle.

Fresh off an eight-year bid, Bleu’s had one thing on his mind for almost a decade: making Imani Lavender his. As the baby sister of his right hand, she’d always been off-limits.
Untouchable.
Unthinkable.
Until she wasn’t.
The kiss had been on replay in his mind for almost a decade. Now the stars have aligned to put them back in the same place they started. He refuses to let any more time pass between them before telling her how he feels. But how will she react? After all, she’s far from the heart-eyed teenager she was back then. To him, she’s so much more.

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DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this quick read. I’m not sure this could be classified as a second chance romance, but I was invested in the reconnection of the main characters. I would’ve loved to see what became of the focal couple, unfortunately, we didn’t get that. However, with the mess we were introduced to, I’m definitely reading the follow-up. Especially after seeing a review on it from one of my favorite readers. Shout-out to Taima of @shadesnpages on IG for putting me on to this book.

(ARC) Book Review: The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett

Date Read: February 25, 2022
Published: July 12, 2022
Pages: 306

Book Synopsis:

A fiery restaurant owner falls for her enigmatic head chef in this charming, emotional romance 

Amy Chambers: restaurant owner, micromanager, control freak. 

Amy will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove. But her hopes that Sophie’s skills and celebrity status would bring her restaurant back from the brink of failure are beginning to wane…

Sophie Brunet: grump in the kitchen/sunshine in the streets, took thirty years to figure out she was queer. 

Sophie just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media for her dead-in-the-water reality TV career, she doesn’t want to deal with Amy’s take-charge personality and she doesn’t want to think about what her attraction to her boss might mean…

Then, an opportunity: a new foodie TV show might provide the exposure they need. An uneasy truce is fine for starters, but making their dreams come true means making some personal and painful sacrifices and soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.

My Review:

If you like slow-burn romance stories, then you just may enjoy this one. However, if you’re like me and you aren’t the biggest fan of slow-burn, then the overall gist of the story may interest you, but be prepared for that. I think I liked the idea of this book more than I actually connected with the book itself. I don’t think there was enough emphasis on the actual romance. The individual characters were cool, but to be honest, I was more invested in what would happen with the restaurant than I was in the outcome of their relationship. Overall, there were pieces I liked, but this one wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.

Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced copy.


Boss Chicks in Black Romance [Part 2]

Black girls. Black women. We are magic. We are strong. We are some of the fiercest bosses out there. Every now and then I come across a boss chick who makes her presence known, like “Blaw Tadow, Watch Out Now” in the words of the Original Queen Bee. And since y’all loved the first list so much, I figured it was time for a new one!

Briyana

Micaiah

Mina

Skylar

Melissa

The Harris Sisters

Neriah

Valarie

Giselle