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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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.

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.
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.

Book Review: Her Forever Fling by Kimmie Ferrell

Date Read: May 14, 2022
Published: August 24, 2021
Pages: 189

Book Synopsis:

Can Elijah show Melissa he is exactly what the doctor ordered?

Dr. Elijah Grayson isn’t looking forward to presenting at a medical conference. Until a chance meeting provides this cardiothoracic surgeon with the adventure he’s looking for. Spending the week exploring a picturesque French Caribbean island with a beautiful, smart, and intriguing woman reintroduces Elijah to emotions he hasn’t felt in a long time—if ever. Still, navigating a new long-distance relationship and a demanding career is challenging, but he will do anything for the woman who captured his heart.

Melissa Gaines hasn’t stopped thinking about the sexy doctor who helped her check off items on her island bucket list. However, when a job opportunity in a new city brings her face-to-face with Elijah again, Melissa must decide if her deep-rooted fears—thanks to a devastating breakup—outweigh her growing feelings for the handsome surgeon. And maybe he’s the prescription she needs to liven up her life.

My Review:

I love that our lead characters were older. We get a lot of stories about people finding love in their 20s, which are great. However, that doesn’t happen for everyone, so I loved that our characters have lived a little. They’ve gone through some things. It was nice seeing love blossom between people on the 35+ side and their chemistry on point. I enjoyed watching them build something through spending time and just vibing, and that the focus wasn’t completely on the sexual chemistry. This was a first for me by the author, but I’m definitely adding her to my list so I can explore more of her work.

(ARC) Book Review: The Long Game by Rachel Reid

Date Read: February 23, 2022
Published: April 26, 2022
Pages: 453

Book Synopsis:

To the world they are rivals, but to each other they are everything.

Ten years.

That’s how long Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov have been seeing each other. How long they’ve been keeping their relationship a secret. From friends, from family…from the league. If Shane wants to stay at the top of his game, what he and Ilya share has to remain secret. He loves Ilya, but what if going public ruins everything?

Ilya is sick of secrets. Shane has gotten so good at hiding his feelings, sometimes Ilya questions if they even exist. The closeness, the intimacy, even the risk that would come with being open about their relationship…Ilya wants it all.

It’s time for them to decide what’s most important—hockey or love.

It’s time to make a call.

My Review:

I absolutely loved Shane and Ilya in Heated Rivalry, and the chemistry was still there in The Long Game. While Heated Rivalry was a great start to capturing the awareness of their feelings towards one another, The Long Game was a true insight into their actual relationship. A look at their core.

This storyline was beautifully written in a way for us as readers to witness the continuation of their romance. It was the more we didn’t know we needed. This felt like a whole new beginning, one I’d love to read more of.

Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced copy!

Book Review: I Want It All With You (The Harris Sisters Book 5) by Renee A. Moses

Date Read: April 21, 2022
Published: April 4, 2022
Pages: 191

Book Synopsis:

Happily divorced with two kids and a growing business, Nina Harris Fuller has everything she worked so hard for. The only thing missing is the man of her dreams by her side. After enduring a devastating heartbreak, Nina focuses on what she has instead of searching for a love that she may never find.

Victor Ellis knows heartbreak all too well and became the friend Nina needed. As the manager at one of her restaurants, he’s grown to love her from a distance. Finding a way into Nina’s heart is not easy, but Victor’s ready to step up and be the man she needs.

My Review:

I will admit, I was a part of the crew that was hoping Nina and Mekhi worked things out. But that was definitely early on. As their story unfolded over the course of each book, I was thrilled to see how things finally played out. I love the phrase “happy looks good on you” and Nina finally got that. It was a treat to witness it unfold. Victor was love personified in all aspects that mattered most. And as always, witnessing the bond between the three women was such a joy. And the babies!! Gah. I love how those babies loved their mom. People always talk about how hard mom’s go for their kids. Which yes, there’s no love like it. But the love kids have for their mother, especially when the relationship is truly solid, it’s 🙌🏾. It reminded me of my mom and I, and anything that does that touches my heart. My mom is my best friend yall. I thought I needed closure on Nina’s story a long time ago, but getting Lyric and Elijah unexpectedly before we got to this point was worth it. Seeing the love progress between Nina and Victor and the kids was worth it. The end of this series was such a treat. Phenomenal job Renee. Y’all, read this.

Book Review: A Beautiful Surprise: The Davenport Dynasty by Robbi Renee

Date Read: April 19, 2022
Published: April 9, 2022
Pages: 168

Book Synopsis:

Kismet or Karma?

Fate or Far-fetched?

Love or Lust?

Friend or Foe?

Jameson Davenport’s sexy swag is undeniable in Haven Pointe. The youngest son of the Davenport family dynasty, Jameson is not a man who promises any woman tomorrow. What you see is what you get. And what the ladies get from Jameson is an unforgettable night of fiery, thigh-aching passion. But what happens when his playboy behaviors are no longer fulfilling?

Giselle Dean, owner of Bonafide Beauty Boutique, is a pretty, curvaceous beauty, and wellness extraordinaire who’s more than ready to ring wedding bells with her fiancé. However, love plays unsuspecting tricks on her when she finds herself massaging more than her best friend’s injuries, causing her to reflect on what she really wants… or who.

Jameson and Giselle find themselves in unfamiliar territory. However, it’s one filled with unexpected pleasantries and revitalizing passion. What happens when best friends collide? Is it a beautiful surprise or a hideous catastrophe? Check out Jameson and Giselle and see how they tow the line of becoming lovers and friends.

My Review:

Y’all ever read a book and talk outloud to a character the whole time because they’re irritating your soul so good? That was me with Giselle 😂 I think it is a true gift to be able to craft a story that pulls your readers in that thoroughly. I was reading the words but I was visualizing the story so vividly. Definitely something worth sitting and enjoying in one sitting.

Book Review: Sweet & Sour by Sedona Rose

Date Read: March 15, 2022
Published: February 17, 2022
Pages: 69

Book Synopsis:

Arrogant, know-it-all baseball player Sonny Roswell is back in his hometown after signing a lucrative contract with the city’s new baseball team. After an insulting incident with the local barista, Cherish Mack, Sonny is forced to do the one thing he never does: apologize. Sonny’s quickly caught off guard by the shy, sweet single mother who never steps out of line and whose only focus is her son and school.

After getting closer during a Valentine’s Party, Sonny encourages Cherish to step out of her comfort zone and experience an unforgettable night.

My Review:

If you’re looking for a quick read full of spice, then this is a good one to pick up. While there wasn’t a lot of actual relationship development in this story, in my opinion, I did enjoy the focus on stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing yourself moments to be carefree.

Book Review: Don’t Ever Wonder by Takeah Latimore

Date Read: March 15, 2022
Published: February 14, 2022
Pages: 74

Book Synopsis:

“You’re not just my wife. You’re my better half. Know it and believe it when I tell you I love you, Bugg. True shit, so don’t ever wonder otherwise.” – Ellington Shakur.

February 14, 2017, Ellington Shakur took his wife Eartha out to celebrate her favorite holiday. Not even halfway through the evening, an altercation ensues that changes the course of Ellington and Eartha’s lives forever.

Five years after losing her husband to the system, Eartha Shakur is having a tough time basking in heartwarming feelings everyone around her is experiencing from Cupid’s arrow. When a confrontation at work leads to Eartha quitting her job, the Ohio native has to stop running from herself and embrace the possibility that maybe happily ever after wasn’t meant for her.

Ellington, however, has other ideas for the woman who makes his heart whole. Even behind bars, Ell plans to make this Valentine’s Day one that Eartha will never forget in hopes that she still believes in their happily ever after.

For five years, that’s all Preach Carbine has thought about. Knowing the weight of his last name, the meticulous man has always been strategic with his moves and as a member of a notorious street family, the arms dealer is known for meditating one minute and cutting out tongues the next. Nonetheless, with Preach knocking on thirty, he is ready to set aside family traditions and put his dreams in motion. On the flip, a tainted arrangement triggers the high-powered man to turn his scope to the people he loves and a woman he can’t seem to shake.

It’s been said that seeing is believing. What happens when one’s vision is blurred and the only thing you can trust is what you feel?

My Review:

Y’all know those moments as black folks where we come across something and our response is “dang, we all really lived the same life”? Consistently sprinkled throughout this short read, I had those moments and they were a cultural treat. I enjoyed the pieces of me and my loved ones I saw in this story. And to top it off, we were given Ellington Tyree Shakur. A man whose love knew no limits. He was a treat all by himself. There were a few things, well really one aspect of the story in general, that caused me to give a side eye. However, it was a personal preference thing and I never hold my opinions of that nature against the story or the author. Sorry not sorry,no spoilers from me lol. I’m definitely down for a book discussion with those who’ve read this gem. So grab your copy and get to reading! This was a good one.