Series Spotlight – Trouble by Christina C. Jones

The Trouble With Love: a tale of two sisters

One sister is living the dream…
Cameron has found the perfect guy in handsome, successful Kyle. He’s supportive, kind, just all around wonderful. Unfortunately, the higher the pedestal, the harder the fall.

While the other is waking up from what could have been a nightmare…
Unforgivable actions force Jai to move on from her admittedly stagnant relationship with Elliott…right into the arms of her best friend. Was love standing right in her face all along, or is she still looking in the wrong direction?

Hearts are broken and healed. Scars, both physical and emotional are formed. Happiness is found, then lost, then found again.

Over the course of a year, these sisters face shattering blows and remarkable triumphs as they embark on a journey, figuring out that pesky little thing called love.

The Trouble With Us

“Love is bull****.”

That’s how blogger, Bianca Bailey begins the first post of what’s supposed to be a new series on her website, in response to her readers curiosity about her feelings on love. That post never makes it to the public eye, but those three words perfectly sum up Bianca’s outlook, and rule the way she interacts with the men around her — including Rashad.

Rashad isn’t interested in anything serious either, but for a different reason. Rashad loves women, and women love him, but he’s avoiding trouble — the nickname his father uses for the kind of woman that makes you forget all others exist. He’s young, he’s handsome, and his photography career is right at the point of taking off. Settle down for what?

Although their relationship is contentious at first, their mutual attraction isn’t something that can be ignored, or denied. Disdain on one end, and unshakeable curiosity on the other, develop into an unconventional relationship where they get the benefits of companionship without the trouble of love.

One thinks they can keep it casual, the other is looking for an opportunity to take it further. Neither of them expects to “catch feelings”… let alone find themselves considering the “L” word.

The Right Kind Of Trouble

At just twenty years old, Lauren Bailey is organized, responsible, and hyper-driven toward her goal of graduating college so she can provide a good life for her daughter, four year old Harper. Between school, work, and being the best long-distance mom she can be, there’s one thing she definitely doesn’t have time for: Trouble.

Trouble, meaning men.
She’s watched her older sister go through a Lifetime movie’s worth of drama involving the opposite sex, and she’s not interested in that level of distraction.

Until Ty.

Smart, sexy, and successfully navigating the line between responsible and fun, Ty opens Lauren’s mind to a world beyond the strict walls she’s built. But stepping out sometimes means losing control, and straight-laced Lauren may not be ready for that.

Ex-lovers, meddling mothers, and new experiences collide as Lauren takes a journey to figure out if there’s any such thing as the “right” kind of trouble.

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.

Disney Goes Bookish, E-Book Stack

I saw a fun book stack featured on #Bookstagram and decided to join in. While the books on this list aren’t Disney-related, Disney characteristics did inspire each choice. Keep reading to see my Disney-inspired “book stack’.

𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙:

A fictional land or setting you would want to live

Building 402 gives me apartment envy y’all. I want some neighbor friends like these lol.

The Building 402 Collection
by Alexandra Warren

𝙇𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙈𝙘𝙌𝙪𝙚𝙚𝙣:

A book you flew through

𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙂𝙤𝙩 𝘼 𝙁𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙄𝙣 𝙈𝙚:

A book with characters you’d like to be friends with

Whole crew is lit. Check out the whole Prototype series to get the full picture. Oh! And Jacinta gave us a Glimpse in the life of our favorite couples following the series! Check that out, too.

The Prototype Series
by Jacinta Howard

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙉𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙁𝙡𝙮𝙣𝙣 𝙍𝙮𝙙𝙚𝙧:

A character that made you swoon

Grayson 😍

Capture My Love
by Tay Mo’Nae

𝙃𝙖𝙪𝙠𝙪𝙣𝙖 𝙈𝙖𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙖:

A book that gives you all the feels

I wasn’t trying to have y’all boo hoo crying with my selection 😂, so I’m giving y’all a safer “in my feels” type of read.

Before We Fall
by Rilzy Adams

𝙄 𝘼𝙢 𝙈𝙤𝙖𝙣𝙖:

A book with a strong female lead

There were 3 strong ladies in this book and I couldn’t not recognize them for their differing strengths. Cevyn, Ayte, and Mrs.Opal ❤

by Ashley Nicole

𝙇𝙚𝙩 𝙞𝙩 𝙂𝙤:
A book you DNF

This one just wasn’t doing it for me, but if you decide to read it, let me know your thoughts!

The Other Side of the Pillow
by Zane

𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙒𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙈𝙮 𝙇𝙞𝙛𝙚 𝘽𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙣:
Book on your TBR the longest

Ima get to it, I promise 😂

Dinner at Sam’s
by D.L. White

𝙄’𝙢 𝘼𝙡𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚: Next book on your TBR

This whole series has been bomb, can’t wait to start this 👐🏾

May December
by Nia Forrester

𝙔𝙤𝙪’𝙧𝙚 𝙒𝙚𝙡𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚:
A book you’ll always recommend

Because Prince will forever be bae, Bella doesn’t take no ish, and Alex is my fave 💁🏾‍♀️

In His Corner
by Alexandra Warren

Series Spotlight – From The Hood With Love by BriAnn Danae

From The Hood With Love

Despite her unsavory upbringing, Loriana Simms vows not to let the fast, gritty lifestyle of the hood dismantle her innocence. With dreams of leaving what she calls home behind, Loriana’s plans are abruptly placed on hold. While her circumstances have, in some measure, matured the bashful teen, they have also left her in an immense amount of distress. No longer meek to the world around her, Loriana comes into her own as a woman and finds herself caught up in the likes of the young hoodlum, Projex.

With a known reputation in the hood for his insolent way with words, outlandish behavior, cold pen game, and disgustingly handsome good looks, Bryshon ‘Projex’ Emery snatches Loriana’s unprepared heart. Stuck in his grind as a true hustler, Projex has hardly any time on his hands for a companion. Though the moment he crosses paths with Loriana, Projex jokingly pledges to change her last name. When one wrong decision ends deadly, Loriana is pressured to choose between the life she once knew and the one her heart belonged to.

The hood has caused an extra layer to thicken around their hearts, making it seemingly impossible to peel. Love didn’t seem to be in the equation for either of them. Will his addiction to the fast life cause their pretentious relationship and lives to fold before it can bloom? Or will the two take heed and remember where they came from?

From The Hood With Love 2

Dismayed at what she now has to consider her life, Loriana tries her best to balance it all. The unforeseen death of her mother has her suffocating in grief, feeling as if she’s lost it all. While struggling internally, she smiles on the outside to save face. That’s until she can no longer keep up her façade.

When she least expects it, the breath of fresh air she was desperately gasping for is given. On a rollercoaster with her emotions, wondering how her first love became her first heartbreak, she finds herself. Those good days she prayed to God for had finally came around. Blossoming into a young woman, Loriana steps into adulthood with a vengeance. Coming after everything her heart desires, including new love, she holds nothing back.

While Projex never thought the fast life he lived would catch up to him, it does and in the worst way. Figuring he can conquer it all, he bites off more than he can chew and finds himself in a jam. Just when things begin to look up, life reminds them that this wasn’t a fairytale. This was real life…from the hood. You either sank or swim.

From The Hood With Love 3

While Loriana thought she’d made progress on discerning the people in her life, nothing prepared her for the untimely news she’s hit with. People show their true colors, forcing her to cut someone off. She finds herself in a whirlwind of emotions trying to make amends with the man she loves most, as Projex shuts down all advances between them. But only for so long with Loriana’s persistent efforts to win him back.

Trying his best to remember how far he’s come, Projex makes a decision that’ll indeed cause drama between his family and in his life. Never having been the one to take his L’s in stride, Projex gives Loriana a taste of the person she met years ago. It was clear the love they shared hadn’t wavered, but her loyalty had. In his eyes, there was no coming back from what’d she’d done, and Projex made it very clear where their relationship stood.

The balance this group of young adults struggles to find makes their lessons learned much more worth it. Not everyone is meant to stick around in your life, but how could they not when they were destined to be there? In this finale, Projex and Loriana’s hearts are tested beyond what they could imagine. Their love is one the hood raved about and missed. But could they withstand all the turmoil that came along with it?

Christmas In The Projexs (From The Hood With Love Book 4)

May the hood never change us. Only mold us. Act as a guide to navigate us to exactly where we’re supposed to be in life. In love.

To the places we’ve called home, friends we gathered on the way and cherished some enough to become family. Head bows to the real ones we’ve lost. Not everyone makes it out, but you can make it.

Those L’s really meant lessons. We’ve learned them. Loved through them. Leveled up from them. Gained an understanding of them.

To the hood… thank you, with love.
Merry Christmas!

Book Review: Feel Me in the Dark by Tucora Monique

Date Read: February 7, 2022
Published: January 25, 2021
Pages: 182

Book Synopsis:

“Worried about it, I’m putting pressure. You’ll only cut me if I let you. No, we ain’t doing this just for pleasure. Either learn me or I’m a lesson.” — H.E.R

That’s the hierarchy of Finley Thomas’ life. The loc-haired, stenographer was raised by a proud gold digger and against her delight, she inherited mischievous qualities from her mother. After receiving a devastating prognosis, the twenty-eight-year-old finds herself wrapped in a double-life and overly preparing for a day that may never come. Amid her downward spiral, Finley’s small circle is cracked, giving outsiders the chance to snatch her from her comfort. Mounted in the crosshairs of a fraudulent deal, Finley finds herself confronted with her secrets and forced to move her ears from her pockets to her heart or end up in the dark alone.

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:

First things first, THE COVER!!! Popping. Now for the story, Tucora did that and then some with this one! When reading the opening pages of this book I never imagined how this story would unfold. A hustler’s mentality is unique because we never know what drives them to do what they do. In this story, we get two. Finely’s story had a lot to unfold, and her layers were presented fabulously. Preach was the epitome of an ambitious passionate thug and he loved hard. I love how their lives intertwined right under their noses, yet they had no idea the other existed. But once they were in each other’s orbit, neither of them could shake the other. In the afterword, the author leaves this message, “In 2021, we explored love through languages. This go around, I wanted to dive into the senses. For Finley and Preach, I’d like to think they caught feelings through the realm of touch.” This was evident throughout the pages and she did a phenomenal job ensuring that the reader could grasp the concept she was exploring.

(ARC) Book Review: Influenced Love by Shellee Marie

Date Read: February 3, 2022
Published: February 12, 2021
Pages: 300

Book Synopsis:

A beauty influencer polls her followers to pick her date and ends up fake dating a fellow influencer, but real sparks fly when she begins to fall for the man behind his image.

After a scandal threatens her reputation, popular beauty influencer, Alivia Fae, attempts to distract her followers by polling them to pick her date. When they pair her up with a fellow influencer, Moe Gava, he takes notice and asks her out. Unfortunately, she soon realizes he’s not as desirable as he seems online.

Despite her disinterest, when it’s suggested that she and Moe start a fake dating relationship, to keep up engagement with their fans, she begrudgingly agrees. As the plan unfolds, she begins to grow closer to his low-key assistant, Travis. Leading her to re-evaluate what she truly wants to influence her life—love.

My Review:

Overall, I enjoyed this story. I am a very goofy person and it had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, which I always appreciate. Outside of the romance aspect, I loved the way in which the author tackled influencers, social media, and the media as a whole. There were some really good points made. As for the relationships throughout, this story had a lot going on. The main friendship she portrayed had odd moments for me. Pieces that didn’t connect. I liked the portrayal of fake dating and what it allowed the story to blossom into. The romance was slow-burn, but it had a few “okay, then 😏” lead-up moments. As a whole, the way the romance unfolded was adorable. Transparent and obvious, but it was still cute to read. The delivery for this story has its quirks, but I’d read more from this author.

Book Review: Gravity by AshleyNicole

Date Read: January 30, 2022
Published: December 30, 2021
Pages: 244

Book Synopsis:

Something always brings me back to you…
Cevyn has more responsibility on her shoulders than should be legal. It’s fine because she was built for this. She’s the strong one, and she’ll carry the world on her shoulders alone if it means her sister is okay.
Cevyn and Kas have been jumping in and out of each other’s beds for years. Up to now, they’ve enjoyed a string and love-free affiliation. No matter what happens, though, they always end up back in each other’s beds.
Tragedy strikes, and she’s no longer able to bear the brunt of the world alone. Suddenly, her friend with benefits is starting to look like her knight in shining armor. Can they help each other through this dark, painful time and come out the other side as something more?

My Review:

Cevyn, Ayte…. Nyn, Tyn.

Never did I imagine a book would hit me as hard as Broken Clocks by Danielle Allen… but then I read this beautiful work of art. I put off reading this book once I read early reviews, because I knew as an empath it would rock me to my core. It’s hard to put into words all of the emotions I felt reading this story. But before I try… ASHLEY. YOU 👏🏾 DID 👏🏾 THAT 👏🏾.

Ayte was a superwoman. Cevyn was vibranium. Kas was a universe of peace. Both of them. Opal was an angel sent from above. Omere was beautiful. Both of them. These characters touched my soul. Even as I write this review with red, puffy eyes, I know I’ll visit them again.

Book Review: Capture My Love by Tay Mo’Nae

Date Read: January 22, 2022
Published: November 10, 2021
Pages: 326

Book Synopsis:

Past relationships have left Nova scarred. Finishing up school and opening her boutique were her main focus until she ran into Grayson.
Grayson was worried about being a great father & his photography career when Nova ran into him, in the most literal sense.

While Nova tries to run from Grayson afraid he’ll turn out like the rest of the men who broke her heart, Grayson is determined to show her different. Not the one to let go without a fight he’s determined to show her the beauty he sees behind the lens.

My Review:

Grayson is the type of male book character you wish you come across in real life. From beginning to end I rooted for this couple. Grayson was grown grown and from the gate, he spoke his mind and kept it 100. I loved it. Definitely a new addition to my book bae list. Miss Nova Rae was a treat as well. I loved seeing her come into herself. 10/10 would recommend.