I Loved This Novel!!!

My Review of Michelle Stimpson’s WHO KILLED MY HUSBAND


I loved this novel! The way Michelle goes from point A to B to C without much flashback, which I’m starting to think drags a story down. I enjoyed the way she built the plot, placed all the pieces of evidence in front of you and had you wondering until the very end who killed Allan Crandall. Was it his wife, Ashley? The man he owes money to? Or someone else? This was a page-turning, bite-size read that sucked me in from the start.

Characters were well developed. Although, at the beginning, I disliked Ashley for seemingly wanting to change Allan’s ways. For trying to be his super-saved savior. I thought initially if this keeps up, I’m not going to be able to finish the book. But Michelle quickly brings out Ashley’s true nature. Yes, she wants Allan to be saved, just as she was recently. But she is still flawed and in need of rescuing herself. Also, I wondered why Ashley would marry a man so different from her. But they weren’t always different. A loss brought her closer to God and she wanted to share that beauty with her husband. Would he ever accept it?

You will enjoy this book if you like quick, exciting and fast-paced reads. Here’s the Goodreads link. Check it out! It’s definitely a good read!

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Fact and Fiction

I write fiction. And fiction isn’t fact. But I still want my writing to be authentic. Especially now that I’m writing historical fiction, writing a novel surrounded by accounts that actually happened. Take for instance one of my favorite historical fiction novels,11/22/63 by Stephen King. In the author notes, King talks about his research: Lee Harvey Oswald; his wife, Marina; his relationship with George de Mohrenschildt; when Oswald came back to Fort Worth from Russia; how long he stayed there before he moved to Dallas. All important. Why? Because I’m sure a history buff is going to read the novel. And a history buff is going to know if Stephen King got those details wrong. Even though it’s fiction, if it isn’t authentic, the reader may put the book down. A writer DOES NOT want the reader to put his or her book down.

In my up and coming novel, THE DARKEST LOOP, I triple-checked several scenes to make sure they were authentic. In one scene, the main character, Dallas, is watching Monday Night Football on September 10th, 2001. Now, I could’ve wrote that he was watching the Cowboys play the Steelers but that’s not who played that night. It was the New York Giants versus the Denver Broncos. Also, there’s a scene where Mike (can’t give away who Mike is) complains about being pulled away from New York when he had baseball tickets. Again, I could’ve wrote that he had tickets to see the Yankees play the Mets—the Subway Series. But during 9/3/01 through 9/11/01 (the dates that are looped in the book) the Yankees didn’t play the Mets. They played the Red Sox and they did so at home. Another important point. Thus, I dare not write that Mike was watching that game in Boston. Even though I’m writing fiction, I have to get my facts straight. Because I never want the reader to put my book down.

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Leadership Lessons: My Review of OMARI AND THE PEOPLE

I don’t quite remember how I came across this novel. Don’t remember if I saw it in the Amazon ad emails and the cover struck me. Don’t recall if I was searching for something and it came up in the search. Perhaps the reason I can’t remember how I found the book is because I didn’t find it. I believe it found me. The novel was definitely entertaining. But it was much more. It was edifying. It had loads of lessons about leadership. And that is why I believe I was drawn to it. That’s also why I gave it a roaring and resounding five stars.


Omari is a thief. A Good one at that. So good that he was able to amass a large amount of wealth. But his estranged wife ratted him out and with his back against the wall, he decided to burn his house down. But he ends up burning down the entire city. This act starts a whirlwind adventure that includes salvation and starvation, war and feasting, love and deception. We see Umal, the Old Mother, who transforms over the course of the novel, showing us just how mysterious she is. We meet Umbarak, the uneasy at first but soon fast friend. We meet the sneaky Bin Aswad, a classic villain who stays the course through the journey, providing inner turmoil. And what would any story be without love interest? Saba Khan, appears as the apple of Omari’s eye. But perhaps also the poisonous apple that would lead to his destruction. Omari transforms from thief to chief, leading a people through an unforgiving and oddly alive desert, to a destination they’re unsure of. And isn’t that just like life and leadership? Big tasks. Lots of characters. Adversity. But how do you perform in the midst of it all? What types of decisions do you make when people are counting on you? How do you lead people you dislike, in the spirit of fairness and not selfishness? These are the challenges that Omari faced. I found myself turning the pages and finding nuggets within them to make me a better man and leader.


I loved the novel overall but wished at times that less detail was given. The reader gets details about side actions I thought were unnecessary and caused drags in some spots. Other than that, the novel was outstanding. I’m glad I found it. Check that. I’m glad it found me.

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NEW RELEASE SPOTLIGHT

Today, I have the great pleasure of spotlighting the work of prolific author,  Chicki Brown. “Born to be Wild: Book One in the Lake Series” is available now!

BornToBeWild1563x2350[1]

Blurb:
A quiet bookworm, Tangela Holloway has always been content working at her an independent bookstore in the sleepy little town of Eufaula, Alabama. But lately, Tangie discovers that she’s bored and frustrated, especially since the man she’s been dating for two years seems to care more about his business than he does her. When Reese Turner rides into town on his Harley, Tangie’s heart feels like it’s beating for the first time. She not only sees the most exciting man she’s ever met, but also a chance to experience something other than backyard BBQs and fishing at the lake.

After ending a drama-filled relationship with a high-maintenance fashion model, Reese wants nothing more than to make a road trip to Florida with his motorcycle club. Never did he expect a quick stop at a small town bookstore would introduce him to a shy bookworm who makes him re-think his vow to remain single and unattached.

Purchase Links:
Kindle – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072R147RV
Nook – http://bit.ly/2twWU9M
Paperback – https://www.createspace.com/7262080
UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R147RV

Excerpt:
This particular Wednesday I sat between the shelves on the rolling black stepstool unpacking a box of books I’d ordered for the history section that was filled with biographies of former local residents and family histories. Soft jazz playing from the small shelf system kept me company when my part-time assistant wasn’t around. I was engrossed with recording the incoming stock and sorting it out when heavy footfalls drew my attention from the task.

“I’ll be with you in just a second,” I called out, set the stack of books on the floor and quickly stuffed the packing material back into the empty box. I was trying to organize the pile of books and papers when the deep timbre of a voice sent a ripple of sensation down my spine.

“Sorry to disturb you.” Black leather boots with silver hardware came into view. My gaze traveled from the boots, up a pair of sturdy thighs, past the black tank which displayed wide, caramel-colored shoulders. Well-formed muscles were evenly distributed over his lean frame, which had to be at least six feet tall. But his face was what did immediate damage to my nervous system. Scruff covering the angular jaw of his GQ-worthy face gave him a rough edge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a good-looking man. It took me a couple of seconds to stand and get my brain and mouth working together to produce some intelligible words that didn’t sound like stuttering.

“I’m sorry. May I help you?”

“Yes.” He took off his sunglasses revealing eyes that were so dark they appeared to be almost black and handed me a piece of paper. “I’m looking for this book on motorcycle repair. Do you have it in stock?”

Without even looking at the title, I knew it wasn’t one I carried. “I don’t, but I’d be glad to order it for you. It should take two to three days. Can you wait that long?”

He smiled and I had the startling sensation that my bones were melting. “I’m on my way to Florida, but I’ll be coming back through in a few days. Can you order it for overnight delivery just to be certain?”

“No problem.” It took everything I had to make sure he didn’t see the way my hands were shaking when I handed him an order form and a pen. “Would you mind filling this out for me?”

He grinned. “I wouldn’t mind doing anything you ask.”

The whole room tilted, and I glanced away from his penetrating dark gaze. While he completed the form, it was all I could do not to gawk at him, so I pretended to be busy straightening up around the register.

“Here you go. I appreciate this. It’s a birthday gift for my buddy.”

“Would like me to gift wrap it?” I asked, simply wanting to hear him talk some more.

“Could you?”

“Of course, Mr…,” I glanced down at the order form. “Turner. No problem.”

He didn’t move to leave, and I suddenly felt uncomfortable with the way he stared at me.

Author Bio:
Contemporary women’s fiction/romance author Chicki Brown has been featured twice in USAToday. She was the 2014 B.R.A.B. (Building Relationships Around Books) Inspirational Fiction Author and also the 2011 SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) Author of the Year. Chicki was also a contributing author to the Gumbo for the Soul: Men of Honor (Special Cancer Awareness Edition).

A transplanted New Jersey native who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, Brown still misses the Jersey shore, the pizza and the hot dogs.

Nia Forrester, Beverly Jenkins, Iris Bolling, Lisa Kleypas, and J.R. Ward are among her favorite authors.

You can connect with Chicki via the online contacts below.

Online contacts:
Blog: http://sisterscribbler.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/@Chicki663
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chicki.brown
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/chicki663/
Amazon Central Author Page: http://amzn.to/l2kjXQ
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/qcsiMD

 

 

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Excerpt from HEART OF STONE (JULY 2017)

“Those deacons have been looking for you,” Lakeisha told Cap Morgan. “Wearing black masks. Kicking in doors. Pointing guns. They’re going to kill you.”

Cap smiled. “I ain’t worried about them.” He looked around the home library where he was sitting. Pine wood floors below Persian rugs. Wine colored leather settee cushioned chairs. The fire place roared and warmed him. He was too busy lounging to worry.

“You need to be careful,” Lakeisha said. “What they did to Randy…”

“Listen to me. I’m going to make them pay for what they did to my homeboy. You hear me?” Silence. “Lakeisha?”

“I…I’ve heard things about the deacons. Stephen Stone.”

“Are you talking about them being bulletproof?”

“Well…yes.”

Cap guffawed. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Bullets can’t penetrate their skin. You’ve heard the stories.”

“They wear Kevlar!” Cap settled his laugh a bit. “Body armor. They were wearing it that night at Club Pimpin’. They’re not bulletproof.”

He shook his head. Took a pull off of his cigarette. Blew the smoke into the air.

Lakeisha said, “Still, how are you going to fight them if you can’t get through their armor?”

“Who says I can’t?”

###

HEART OF STONE (JULY 2017)

http://jamesfantbooks.com

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Excerpt from HEART OF STONE (JULY 2017)

When Oak was in the drug game, he kept Ebony at a distance. Because girlfriends were not immune to ammunition. They were not exempt from drug convictions. If the cops raided the house and found dope and drug money, Ebony would get arrested along with Oak. The cops could care less about her claim of innocence or ignorance. No way could she be around all that money and not know Oak was slanging. That thought pricked Oak’s heart. Because he did married Ebony. And now, if the cops raided their house, they would find something far more damning than dope and drug money.

HEART OF STONE 

JULY 2017

http://www.jamesfantbooks.com/News-or-Reviews.html

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A Sweet Read (Review of The Sweet Spot by Joan Livingston)

cover

Edie Sweet’s disposition is identical to her last name. She is sweet and lovable, the type of woman who never meets a stranger. She’s sweet in spite of losing her husband, Gil, to the Vietnam War. But maybe she’s a little too sweet and lovable, because she doesn’t make the best choices when it comes to men. This is clearly evident in her affair with Gil’s brother, Walker: a married man. The town of Conwell is too small and interconnected for extramarital affairs. Edie’s and Walker’s is an affair of astronomic proportions; the kind that can cause grief for generations to come. Will Edie survive it? What role will a scarred stranger play in her survival?

I loved the way Joan built Edie. She was sweet but flawed. Aren’t we all? And Walker? I pitied the boy because he had it bad. In love with his brother’s woman but stuck in an unhappy marriage where he can’t express that love openly. Joan also paints for us the struggle Walker has with his parents. They clearly loved Gil more. Why do parents do that? Why pick favorites? Don’t they know that favoritism can have detrimental effects for years and years. That the affected child can grow into an adult and still deal with it? Take it out on their children. Even on their spouse?

I loved the dynamic between the Sweets, St. Claires, Crockers, etc. How the Sweets were looked down on in Conwell because patriarch, Benny, worked the town dump. You see this kind of thing in small towns, small communities, and unfortunately in churches. I can’t stand it, though. No one should be ostracized because of their lineage. No child should be picked on at school because someone feels that their family is beneath others. I could get on a soapbox about this issue but I don’t want to belabor the time or space for this review.

I enjoyed this novel and would love to see what’s next for Edie. Hopefully Joan Livingston will follow up on the good folks of Conwell in a subsequent novel. I’m sure it would be just as sweet a read as THE SWEET SPOT.

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