I have absolutely no idea why, when reading this memoir, a little jingle continued to play in the background of my mind, “Hey good lookin,'whaaaaaatchI have absolutely no idea why, when reading this memoir, a little jingle continued to play in the background of my mind, “Hey good lookin,'whaaaaaatcha got cookin’?” I know that sounds strange and totally out of place, but my mind does that to me sometimes. It’s amazing how an individual’s words mold and shape my thinking and how they sometimes conjure up ghostly thoughts that have been buried for many, many years. Chef Samuelsson is one of my all-time favorite chefs. I’ve been following his career throughout the years on the Food Network and other cooking shows and competitions. And because he’s such a great chef, although I’ve never had one piece of his great cooking to back that claim up, there’s no need! We have something in common—food is in our DNA. This is what resonated throughout his telling of his complicated life story.
It’s literally impossible for me to think of having grown up only remembering a slight memory of the woman who brought you into this world. To not be able to see a clear picture of what your mother looks like has got to be one of the most difficult things to live with. And to top it all off, try as hard as you might, not one person has a photograph of the woman who was your mother. Try standing in the mirror and searching your face for your family’s generations that pass throughout it? Can you see your parents? Do you see your siblings and ancestors before you? Do you know who you are looking at when you see yourself? Who are you? For Marcus, that’s a reality he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life. All he has of his mother is a brush memory that’s as light as a feather stroke.
But all was not lost! After Marcus and his sister lost their biological mother in Ethiopia due to tuberculosis, they were lucky enough to have a Swedish family willing and wanting to adopt them and make them apart of their family. The Samuelssons were all too happy to adopt and open their hearts and love to Marcus and his sister. After he acclimated to Sweden, immediately Marcus discovered he enjoyed following his grandmother around the kitchen watching how she prepared their supper. She taught him all the basics of everything that he knows today as a chef. In fact, when watching him compete, he often says he’s channeling his grandmother while in the kitchen. It is so obvious from his precision and fearlessness tackling the job at hand. His grandmother was a no nonsense type of person.
Marcus was destined to do great things and his hard work and determination paid off by honing his skills in some of the finest kitchens and regions in the world—from France, Germany, Africa, etc. It’s not too shabby to have dual citizenship and avail yourself of the best of all the countries from which you belong, Ethiopia, Sweden and America. And while coming up the ranks, as a young man, he fathered a daughter.
I must admit it bothered me tremendously how he treated his daughter in the beginning. He was trying to build his cooking career, which was understandable, but he was getting his groove on and irresponsibly made a baby. It certainly wasn’t his baby’s fault for being brought here. I struggled with his attitude toward his daughter. To me, it was as if he was blaming her for being here, and that couldn’t have been further from the truth. But, what I love about Marcus’ parents, they made sure to let him know what the deal was. Sure, they were disappointed to learn their son had fathered a baby out of wedlock, but they told him he was going to provide for his child. When Marcus protested that he couldn’t afford to take care of the child, his mother simply stated, “we’ll pay for her upbringing and when you do make it, you’ll give us the money back.” OMG, when I read her words, I could have kissed his mother. What a great woman she is! That’s the way it should be. So, although Marcus figured since the mother of his child said she would provide for their daughter and he didn’t need to do anything, he figured that would be the end of it. Mama stepped in and made him at least “pay” for taking care of a child he fathered. Thankfully, as the story progressed, he finally reached out to his daughter, when she was fourteen, and began to mend his relationship with her. That made me feel so much better because it was beginning to look as though he was just going to let it pass in the book, and I thought, my star rating was soon about to change. Marcus turns out to be a good guy with faults just like every other human being!
Yes, Chef has all the right spices and ingredients to make this a light and airy memoir with life’s little mishaps and trials and tribulations along the way. Marcus is now known throughout the world due to his celebrity status in the cooking world. He’s cooked for some of the most powerful and elite people from Kings and Queens, Presidents and First Ladies, to Prince and Princesses around the globe and continues to do charitable work to help inner city children achieve their goals of wanting to become chefs someday and step into the same kitchen arena as he had and continues to do.
A really decent read and enlightening story line. You’ll enjoy! I hope I get to eat your cooking one day, Chef Samuelsson. Until then, I’ll continue to watch you kick ass in the kitchen! You go boy!
Words! No one knows the importance of their impact more than a baby born on June 30, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York. From the moment he set foot in the woWords! No one knows the importance of their impact more than a baby born on June 30, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York. From the moment he set foot in the world, the stars had aligned differently. To be told “you ain’t shit!” or “you’re worthless” and “you’re so dumb and stupid like me.” Is there any wonder the trials and tribulations the ex-undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Michael Gerard Tyson, better known as Mike Tyson, had a rather chaotic life he’s led?
Mike’s mother certainly didn’t deserve the “Mother-of-the-Year Award,” but she gave Mike some very valuable lessons by ensuring her son would learn how to be a classic fuck up as he went through life. Oh yeah, this is what every mother should want for her very own son! Ummph, I’m surprised Mike has made it in life this far. His beginnings were absolutely horrendous. Having your mother beat on you for reasons only known to her; to having different men sleeping in their apartment with your young impressionable child watching. He was cussed out on a daily and berated with unkind words and called every name but the name she gave him, and this made more than an impact on Mike Tyson. He became the words his mother used to describe him. Hell, why not go out and rob your neighbors, right? Where’s the love?
That’s a good question, as Mike tries to find the answers searching through his tumultuous life as to why he is the way he is?! What is he? Many said he was an animal, and given the fact that he was known for taking a bite out of ears and an occasion thigh when the need arose, he was happy to have that bad boy persona. Only problem with that was, he wasn’t truly happy with himself at all. He had no self-worth, thanks to mommie dearest! I like to give parents the benefit of the doubt because after all, they are human and of course they make mistakes, so I’m willing to turn a blind eye on some parenting, however, having said that, I cannot give Mike’s mom a pass. What that woman did to her son was downright pure evil. He still, to this day, struggles with his past deep-rooted pains all at the hands of his mother. She never loved her son, at least that’s the perception I got from reading his life story. And I’m positive Mike would agree with me. She’s the reason for almost all of his problems.
Mike certainly cannot blame his mother for every mistake he’s made in life, and he’d probably be the first to admit that. He’s made some very bad choices in life. Going to jail at a young age was probably the best gift he could have been given. For had he not gone, he would have never met his angels. Cus D’Amato, his Italian adoptive father, life coach and trainer and Camille, his adoptive mother. Thanks to his explosive anger, one of the probation officers took notice and told Mike he should channel that anger into the ring. Who could believe that when Mike was a little boy, he was bullied and beat up on—“Iron” Mike Tyson bullied? Say what? Yeah, isn’t that amazing? He didn’t start out as “Iron” Mike. Not only was he bullied, but he didn’t exhibit the best hygiene and the kids literally ripped him a new one for not having the latest clothes and fads. Never mind he was poor, kids can be brutal, and Mike certainly was the brunt of many of their jokes. This turned him onto his criminal activity. There’s always a devil lurking ready to give you your life’s lessons at a price. Luckily, the cost was Cus and Camille.
Once he was taken under their wings, he began to do well and stay out of trouble, but one thing I noticed throughout the entire memoir, the “T” doesn’t just stand for Tyson, but more so “Trouble!” It always finds him. From his two failed marriages, to all the money he lost due to allowing others to handle his affairs. No matter how much he tried to get out from under, trouble had a way of finding and engulfing his existence to the point he became a drug addict. What better way to dull the pain of your horrible being than with drugs. His drug of choice was Cocaine. And Lord knows I don’t know why any woman in her right mind would sleep with him. This man not only is a recovering drug addict, but he’s a sex addict as well. He felt privileged because he was the Champ, had more than enough wealth and women were a part of that equation.
Mike went into great lengths describing all the women he slept with. He told things that I felt was waaaaay too much information, but I guess he wanted to keep it very real with his fans and to set the record straight. While I’m talking about one of my favorite fighters of all-time, I am going to say this here and now as I did back in the day. I never believed, nor will I ever believe, that Mike Tyson raped Desiree Washington. I defended him then and I’m still defending his honor. I think its deplorable that this man has to register in every state he visits that he’s a sex offender because if he doesn’t, he can go to jail—all thanks to Desiree being upset that he dissed her! He laid out the whole scenario and I believe every word he said. I believed him then, so nothing has changed in my mind. What I’d like to know is what happened to Miss Thang now? She’s got to live with the lies she’s told. This man has probably slept with more women than Wilt Chamberlain, and I’m not exaggerating. He had no reason to rape any woman. Now, could he be rude and downright nasty and impolite, oh yeah, you betcha, but rape—HELL NO! I’ve never believed that and I never, ever will. The only way I’d be a believer is if I saw it happen with my own eyes. And I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, unless someone had video, which there isn’t any.
Money makes people do strange things, and the more money you make, the more people act a damn fool, and with Mike, that was all too familiar. Everyone wanted a piece of Iron Mike Tyson’s money—damn the man, just fork over the money! Unfortunately, having all those millions and probably close to billions, he’s not that wealthy anymore. In fact, he’s broke compared to what he was then. Had he made smarter decisions and better staff working for him, instead of the entourage he sometimes hung around, he’d be living on easy street now.
I did enjoy watching his one-man show The Undisputed Truth which Spike Lee directed. It was outstanding! I thought Mike did a great job, but unfortunately, I wish his memoir would have been edited down like his one-man show. OMG, this book was waaaaaaay too long!! I don’t feel his editor did a great job toning down all the extra stuff Mike was saying. I appreciate that he was keeping it one hundred—I so get that, but there comes a time when you have to edit yourself. The man talked about the same stuff over, and over and over again and it liked to drove me insane. Wooo talk about #teamtoomuch! Oh yeah, way overboard! This book could have been about three to four hundred pages instead of over six hundred. Those extra pages were all the interviews Mike did, literally and several chapters of him getting high. He snorted so much coke, I caught a contact from reading it. Jesus, too, too much! All the women he slept with, too, too much! From going to the bathroom and the whole nine, Mike, listen baby, too, too much! Toooooo much!
But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. I absolutely did, but I must admit I skipped a few chapters near the end because it just got to be so redundant and there wasn’t any point. I learned a great deal about Iron Mike and I have to say, I’m glad to see he’s trying to get his life on point and stay clean. I know it’s never easy, but you do what you have to do. This was a pretty decent read.
I cannot express how excited I was to learn Charlie Wilson had written his memoirs – FINALLY! OMG, I’m a huge fan of Uncle Charlie and have been folloI cannot express how excited I was to learn Charlie Wilson had written his memoirs – FINALLY! OMG, I’m a huge fan of Uncle Charlie and have been following his career since he sang with his brothers in The GAP Band. What an amazing artist and more importantly, human being. There was always something about Charlie that you just knew he had “it.” Not everyone has it, but Charlie definitely does.
He’s one of those artists that you just cannot hate. I’m sure there are people who aren’t fans, but it’s hard not to be a fan of this man. In his memoir, he takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster, and when I tell you he was very open and honest, that is truly an understatement. He broke it all down from the great highlights in his life, to the lowest of low. I remember a few years back when I heard him doing an interview wherein he spoke candidly about being a drug addict and homeless. My jaw literally hit the floor. Here, while I was enjoying his music back in the day and being the naïve star-craved fan thinking he was riding high, who the hell knew he was homeless and broke? Charlie Wilson homeless, broke and strung out on drugs? Say what now? Jesus, I just couldn’t believe it. And after so many years of wanting desperately to read his story, he gave it to me in more ways than one.
What I loved most about his memoir is that it wasn’t bullshit. I’ve read countless memoirs from stars I’ve admired over the years and you can just tell when they were really giving their fans what they wanted and when they were holding back and only trying to make a coin and give you half-truths. Charlie told his story straight up and from a dark place that I’m positive had to be horrible to relive and conjure up old demons—some of which he still fights to this very day.
It was awesome to read about his parents and growing up with his brothers and sister. I never even knew he had a sister, and she sings too. His entire family are musical geniuses in their own right. He speaks openly about his first time performing on stage as a little boy. And being shy was never in his DNA for he first got his taste of entertaining in the church, as many African-American artists do. Charlie takes his readers on a journey and you’re all too willing to hop in the seat, buckle up and see where the destination leads. I can say happily his destination is beyond the sky’s limit. This man shows no signs of stopping. He’s such a professional and true to his artistry and you feel that in his music.
I remember when The GAP Band III album hit the shelves in the record store in tow producing the monster smash, Yearning for Your Love, I liked to up and lost all of my mind. You couldn’t tell me nothing when that song came on. OMG, I pestered the DJs to play that song every hour on the hour. My mother bought the album for me and it sounded like bacon frying I played it so much. I still get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside whenever I hear it. And who knew while I was sitting back enjoying that awesome album, Charlie was homeless. I just cannot believe that. When he tells you about the shoddy contracts he signed and the shyster managers and record companies he and his brothers dealt with, when their career was on ten, you feel his pain. It was painful to read some of his truth. This is another reason why I respect Charlie so much because he stands in his truth—but you better trust and believe, it didn’t start out that way. Learning to deal with his truth was a process.
Part of that process was his faith in God and his beautiful and loving wife, Mahin. When I tell you his wife is a true Ride or Die type of chick, her picture is the poster child for it. She went and still goes well beyond the scope of what a real wife does for her husband. I absolutely adore his wife and I don’t even know her, but Charlie brings his wife to life on those pages and you will quickly learn why he loves his wife so. This woman is an angel, which he mentions many times. God truly did send him an angel and he was and is so deserving of her. Mahin knows what it means to be a wife and to love her man. She’s my kind of gal. Huge props and kudos go to her because this woman has been through it, you hear me! Been there and done that and still there and doing that all for the love of her Charlie. Ain’t a damn thing wrong with that! I love it. They have an incredible relationship.
Needless to say, Charlie impressed me so much, which I had no doubt. I’ve always been a fan and I will continue to support his music. He’s so real and I can relate and appreciate a brother like that. He’s more than a boy-next-door type of guy, he’s the dude that is down for the cause and helping to uplift his fellow man—regardless as to color, creed, sex, nationality, etc. His truth could be anyone’s story. After suffering through the tough years on drugs, he still was able to bounce back. What the drugs didn’t do, prostate cancer tried, but once again, God was on his side right along with Mahin. He beat it, and thank God for his wife demanding he get check-ups. Had he not listened to his wife, we might not be celebrating Charlie’s accomplishments in this sense. Early prevention saved his life. As he said, “God is so good!” He ain’t never lied!
This was one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. I was blown away with how down-to-earth Charlie is and how honest he was with his fans. He didn’t have to allow us in his life the way he did, and I appreciate that he kept it one hundred! Like I said, you can always tell when celebrities are holding back, but Charlie let it flow.
Side Note: Charlie not only wrote an “Outstanding” book, he gave us plenty of pictures to boot! You Rock, Brotha!
My goodness, I can't believe it took me almost a month to finish this book. And no, before you go there, it had nothing to do with the story. I actualMy goodness, I can't believe it took me almost a month to finish this book. And no, before you go there, it had nothing to do with the story. I actually loved the writing style of this author and the book. My damn Internet has been out for a month due to electrical storms, bad service, the whole nine. That is why I'm just now getting to this review.
What I love about this story is that it is short and sweet and gets directly to the point. This is a perfect whodunit while riding on a train, plane or automobile.
Lauren is about to get married in a couple of weeks, and while life appears to be good, unfortunately, one of her students goes missing and causes an uproar in the small beach town of Waverly. To make matters worse, Lauren is being accused of her student's abduction. When a fisherman discovers a body, it is soon learned that Eric, Lauren's student is dead.
While Lauren feels terrible about what has happened to Eric, her wedding must still go on. But how can she prepare for a wedding, when the media, public and more importantly, her fiance', are wondering why the murder weapon belongs to Lauren. Was she having an affair with her student? Hell, these days, that occurs a lot. Was Eric smitten with his lovely teacher and wanted to take things too far? Hmm, there's only one way to find out, you have to read the book.
This was such a cute story. I really enjoyed it and would have loved to review this for my blog, but it's been so long, I decided to just come straight to Goodreads and do the deed right here.
I haven't read any books from this author before, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with how well I enjoyed this novel.
Tubby Dubonnet has quI haven't read any books from this author before, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with how well I enjoyed this novel.
Tubby Dubonnet has quite a sarcastic sense of humor which resonates throughout the story. His partner, Reggie Turntide, asked him to take on a new client, Daryl Alvarez, and when he agrees to take Daryl's case, strange things begin to occur. For instance, Daryl stops by Tubby's office and asks if he can hold onto a large blue gym bag. Tubby takes law very seriously and doesn't believe in doing anything that would cause him legal woes, so when his client asks him a very basic question as to hold onto his bag, the first thing Tubby thinks is "what's inside?" Daryl tells him it's a bunch of paper and when Tubby goes to lift it up, he can barely do so. That action, in and of itself, gave Tubby pause.
Then, someone decided to wreak havoc on Tubby's law practice by destroying his office and going through files, to slicing up his art work and his favorite leather chair. Could that act possibly have anything to do with Tubby's case with Mr. Alvarez? The only way to find out is to read the story.
This is extremely fast-paced, which I enjoyed immensely and a short read, which made me love this story all the more. There are several little stories interwoven throughout and quite an enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series!...more
This is a novel that was long overdue. I fell in love with this character in the Thaddeus Murfee series. Christine Sussman is an ex-Marine, who has seThis is a novel that was long overdue. I fell in love with this character in the Thaddeus Murfee series. Christine Sussman is an ex-Marine, who has seen active duty and has since retired from the force. She became a paralegal working alongside Thaddeus in his practice and became his right arm. While working as a paralegal, she decided to go back to law school to get her degree.
In Chris’ first installment of a great series to come, she’s married to a wonderful man named Sonny. She has two children, Jamie and Janny. Jamie’s IQ is off the charts and I suppose he gets his smarts from his mom. He’s extremely resourceful and knows exactly what he wants and he’s only in middle school.
Chris got to try out her legal chops with a high-profiled sexual assault case. Her client, Bussie, was in college studying to be a doctor, when one of her roommates became ill and couldn’t go to the Toga party happening at one of the frat houses. Bussie wasn’t into partying, but she was all too eager to help out her friends. She gets dressed in the Toga gear and heads on out. While there, several of the frat brothers were dancing and drinking it up and offered her a cup of beer. Bussie, not being a drinker, much less a social one, drank up and the next thing she remembers was being on a couch, nude, with a blanket over her. She was in pain, but didn’t think much of it at the time.
It wasn’t until Bussie receives a text from her best friend showing Bussie posed nude in sexual situations plastered all over the Internet when she soon realized that something terribly went wrong at the frat house. Unbeknownst to the alleged frat brothers who did this to her, they picked the wrong unsuspecting wanna-be med student to mess with. Bussie’s father is a prosecutor for the Chicago courts. When it is revealed to him what has happened to his daughter, all hell literally breaks loose, and this is when Christine Sussman’s legal training comes into play.
Before I delve into this great story, I want to first tell you how I came upon receiving this novel. Mia Kerick, the author of Love Spell, wrote me onBefore I delve into this great story, I want to first tell you how I came upon receiving this novel. Mia Kerick, the author of Love Spell, wrote me one of the nicest emails in the comment section of Mello & June’s blog. She not only took the time to give me some background into her writing career, she went the extra mile to tell me something about herself and about the genre in which she enjoys writing. When I realized what her novel was about, immediately I began thinking, “Umm, I don’t normally read books like this. . .what to do?” I seriously was going to advise Ms. Kerick, ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ but after reading her sales pitch, I had a sudden change of heart. I learned something about myself over the last couple of weeks, and there’s something to be said for an individual’s approach and delivery. I think more people need to look more closely at that. She managed to convince me I needed to read this story and hooked me just from what she wrote in her email. What an impression she made upon me!
I’ve read things about the LGBT community, however, Mia, taught me something about the LGBTQ individuals, which I really had no clue about. For those of you who do not know what LGBT stands for (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). I’ll address the ‘Q’ later in this review.
Chance César is a good looking, witty, outgoing openly gay teen. He makes no excuses for his sexual preference and always has a snappy response for those who think less of him because of it. With his guyliner, lip gloss, fire orange spiky hair and glamorous personality, what’s not to love about him? Hmmph, that’s the sixty-four million dollar question that he and his BFF (Best Friends Forever), Emily, are pondering? He has set his sights on the buff Jasper Donahue, whom Chance wittingly nicknamed Jazz due to his jazzy persona.
Chance and Emily come up with this great plan to capture Jazz’s heart by going online and stumbling across an article that’s entitled “Ten Specifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love With You.” Chance pretty much follows that article to the letter, with a few exceptions, but no worries, ‘cause whatever he can’t do or think of, Emily always has his back.
As Chance goes through life as a teenager, maintaining a job and school, it shouldn’t be surprising that not many of his peers, and some adults, like Chance or the way he carries himself—which is carefree and footloose. Chance loves him some Chance, and it wouldn’t hurt to throw Jazz into the mix. How can he be so flamboyant parading around in high heel pumps and T-shirts with the sassy sayings as “Jesus Hates Figs” or “I kissed a boy and liked it,” without getting scrunched up facial expressions, nasty, rude and insensitive remarks? As much as it may appear he has it going on with an armor exterior to the outside world, Chance has feelings and he hurts inside, so much so he has a major dilemma. He’s confused as to his gender identity. Sometimes he feels like a boy and sometimes he feels like a girl, so how does one go about labeling him or herself? What box do you check off for a person such as Chance? Right. . .if you’re asking yourself that question, imagine Chance’s issue. The ‘Q’ in LBGTQ means ‘questioning.’
There were so many parts of this story where I fell out laughing. This is a romantic comedy young adult (YA) type of novel. Not to give away too much, I have to say I will never quite look at gummy bears the same way again. OMG, I laughed until I cried reading that chapter. That was so damn funny, and there are so many sections of the story that will have your stomach in knots of laughter. What you’ll also find is that there are some very real life issues plagued through the story which really brought the whole thing together for me. Chance César was very real to me. His issues were heartfelt and gut-wrenching at times. I cannot imagine being trapped in a gray area of not knowing what my sexual identity is for myself. Just because you’re born a certain sex, doesn’t mean the individual feels what they were born. Talk about deep rooted issues. Wow!
I learned so much by going through Chance’s rough existence. I never knew anything about the ‘questioning’ aspect in the LBGT community. That was a real eye opener. Chance isn’t that different from anyone else. He loves, bleeds, cries, shows anger, gets frustrated, etc. I was constantly reminded of my teen years and the stupid stuff my friends and I used to do—i.e., the boys I liked or (didn’t like), to all the things I thought were so important, which pales in comparison to my adult life now.
Needless to say, I fell in love with the Chance César character. He’s believable, real and has more guts than a tightrope walker. He’s fearless, funny, extremely intelligent and very quick witted. I suppose being a gay teen, you have to have a thick skin and snappy remarks to keep the haters away from you, but it doesn’t mean the names don’t hurt and seep through one’s psyche. This was an amazing story—very short and directly to the point. The comedy was to die for. Oh my, just thinking of some of the moments and comments Chance made trying to get the love of his life was simply priceless.
So you see, I learned something about myself while reading this story. Chance has guts where I lacked as a teen being different. My BFFs were books and writing. What made me different, you ask? I’ve always been a nerd, and it’s something I used to be ashamed of and embarrassed to admit to myself and had a hard time accepting. When we had school functions honoring the students who showed off their big brains, yours truly never participated. I made the honors list every time and not once would I go up on that stage and claim my trophies or certificates. Why? I was mistreated and hated because I was smart. Hmmph, imagine that! Ashamed to say I had sense and intelligence! (SMH – shaking my head) And it didn’t hurt that I wasn’t too hard on the eyes, so that didn’t score me any brownie points with my female counterparts. My teachers used to tell me every quarter to go up there and get my awards, and I would smile, thank them and bow out gracefully while sitting in the audience watching the others receive their accolades. So many times I wanted to get up there and accept what I earned, but was too fearful of how I would be received. I didn’t want the ridicule, which I was often the recipient of because I was smart and excelled. (Chuckling), I’m so not that girl anymore! Ooh hell no! She’s long gone! I love being a #blackgirlnerd! I’m very comfortable showing off my sex appeal and brains to boot! (LOL)!
This is why Chance hit real close to home for me because a great deal of what he experiences and deals with, I dealt with on a different level, but one thing is for certain, pain is pain damn it! No matter how the hell you slice it—it hurts when people make fun of you just because you’re being who you are. Man takes great pleasure in destroying what he doesn’t understand, but it takes the Chances of the world to stand up and let people know, “yeah, I’m here, I’m queer and I’m not going any damn where!” You have to admire his courage. I know I certainly do and more importantly I respect his courage. Damn! Where was he when I was in school? I’m certain we would have been BFFs. I always gravitated toward the underdog type of person. Boy, I could have used some of that spunk he has way back when.
I received an advanced copy of this novel by Down & Out Books.
One thing I can say about this novel, the beginning should definitely come with a CI received an advanced copy of this novel by Down & Out Books.
One thing I can say about this novel, the beginning should definitely come with a Cast of Characters listing. Oh my, there were so many names and characters to keep up with, it got rather confusing for me, at first. Please note, I said at first. Once I got the hang of the author’s flow, the story began to come alive and what a story indeed.
I’m new to reading this author, and I am always excited to try a new author out because how else will you know who is your favorite and who isn’t? J.L. Abramo definitely has a way of telling a story. His style is very clever—sort of reminds me of a cross between Sidney Sheldon and Walter Mosley, wherein he takes several small stories that at first glance appear to be going nowhere, all the while keeping his reader engaged, until those stories weave like a carefully quilted blanket. The reader is then left with their ‘A-Ha’ moment and climatic victory of figuring out what is happening. I believe this novel is the third or fourth in the Jake Diamond series and I have to say, Jake is a pretty cool, well-put-together, down-to-earth kind of guy. His character reminds me a great deal of the old Private Eyes of yesteryear with the zest and appeal of today’s world.
One thing is for sure, Jake doesn’t take any shit and although he comes off as being your average nice guy, don’t let his good looks and his humor fool you, as some of the characters found out in this story. I’m not completely sure about the background of how Jake came to be, but I believe he either tried to be on the police force or wanted to be, and for one reason or another, he never made it. He once aspired to be an actor, which those skills came in handy for the work he currently does. Suffice it to say, he started his own private investigations business with a pretty, smart eleck sidekick, Darlene Roman, who helps keep his sinking business afloat—from bookkeeping to being a sarcastic speaking receptionist. Just as Jake was figuring he’d run out of money soon, a very important person ends up dead in his apartment. So, you think the story ends there, right? You couldn’t be more wrong! This is where those little stories begin to truly take shape!
For starters, evidence is being tampered with by a lieutenant who receives much respect from her squad—only for those to go looking at her sideways. Information is being handed out like a parent giving his trick or treaters Halloween candy. Question is, who is shelving out that information and why? Good cops are appearing to have a bit of the devil lurking within them, and more dead bodies continually keep turning up. Soon as Jake thinks he can safely move about to handle his personal affairs, he’s being summoned by close friends to help them with their problems.
Let’s not leave out the fact that he’d rather not get involved with any of this murder business, especially since it’s not paying his rent literally. But personal friends have called in favors and it’s up to Jake to at least make good on past promises. After all, when he’s in a pinch, they come to his aid. While dead bodies keep surfacing, a very good friend of his ends up looking like someone tried to put him in a meat grinder after having been beat half to death. Jake takes it personal and is in desperate need to search for those who have done this to his good friend. However, before he embarks on his search, Jake has a pretty good idea who was behind his friend's beat down. And knowing this, he sought out someone who could help him handle business. While he puts out tiny fires, there are other arsonists abound trying to light new and bigger flames to keep this cast of characters going around in circles. Abramo’s chapters are short, sweet and definitely to the point. The reader is given a panoramic view into the lives of each of these interesting and unforgettable characters.
If you’re looking for a private eye who can stand the test of time with a little charm and humor mixed in, this novel is for you! If you’re a fan of the Law & Order series and are familiar with how it comes on and continues to build until you get to the crux of the matter, then welcome to Circling the Runway! Awesome read! Get ready to take reading to a whole other level! Abramo delivers plenty of action.
Needless to say, I was so excited when I found out one of my favorite authors had wrote a new book. In fact, I discovered this by total accident and oNeedless to say, I was so excited when I found out one of my favorite authors had wrote a new book. In fact, I discovered this by total accident and of all places on Facebook for God’s sake, so I researched further to make absolutely sure Attica did, indeed, write a new book. You can’t believe half the things you see on social media, and I wasn’t taking any chances. I immediately went on Amazon. . .and BAM! There it was! OMG, I was too happy! I didn’t hesitate. My finger depressed the Download Now button and it’s a wrap! Oh, and did I mention, when I have a favorite author, I don’t hesitate to pay whatever they’re asking for their download version. This novel carried a $12.99 price tag. No biggie ‘cause this is Attica. And she also writes for the hit show, Empire.
Ok, so imagine my surprise as I begin reading that I’m struggling to get through it. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong? I’ve read all her books and always loved them, so what was the problem? After having read Black Water Rising, which was an outstanding read, I was all too happy to revisit attorney-at-law, Jay Porter. Quite a lot had changed in fifteen years. His daughter is now a teenager and he has a younger son, which if memory serves me, I believe Ben was a little baby at that time. (Please note, those fifteen years aged within the story, that’s not how long it has been since Attica’s last novel). Jay’s life had changed drastically in that time period, so much so, I was feeling his pain as if it were mine.
Jay was held a hero for bringing down Cole Oil and he was still riding high off of that win, although he was beginning to sour on the current case he had pending. While fighting and dealing with a new beast threatening the lives of his new clients literally, a young girl is found dead during Election Night. This hit a little too close to home having a young teen himself. Who on earth would want this young teen dead? Now Jay is faced with another dilemma. Someone on the campaign trail is accused of this young lady’s murder. Several of the political players have called upon Jay for his expertise and literally begging him to help defend the young man accused of this crime. Well, that is, one political figure in particular seeks out Jay’s assistance for his nephew, who is the one being accused of the heinous act. There’s murder, mayhem and political tug-of-wars so what’s not to love about this story, you ask?
I’ve pondered over that very thing and I have to tell you, I had several problems with this story. The first and foremost being it was entirely too detailed, to the point it became rather frustrating to concentrate on the story itself. Attica is known for her detail-oriented writing, which for the most part, I really enjoy, but she truly overdid it in this one. This novel reads like a screenplay or script for a movie, wherein you’d need to know where a character enters and exits stage left, but when you’re writing a novel, it isn’t necessary to place all those intricate details into it.
My second problem with the story is it was too well written. I know, I know that sounds absolutely insane, but let me explain. This book was so well written to the point I could find nothing wrong with it. There wasn’t one grammatical error, everything was so perfect—too perfect, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to deduct points for shoddy editing, but when you write a book this perfect, one tends to not invest much time into the characters. It’s like who the hell cares about them? And that’s what upset me so because I truly respect and love this author so much. I absolutely found myself getting pissed with the overdoing of detail and the perfectness of the story. It got to the point I truly didn’t care about Jay, his issues and/or struggles and anything else. There was entirely too much detail and that drove me absolutely bonkers.
As an avid reader, we’ll tell you, the author must set up the story, so detail is needed then, and once we get where the story is going, our movie reel begins to advance in the mind’s eye. I don’t need the author to continually interrupt the flow of what my mind is processing with what a person wore; to how the weather looked and smelled; to the rips in fabric; the aftershave someone had on; to how a person held their cigarette. It’s too damn much! OMG, I was so done! Where was the interaction with other characters? Where was the dialogue? Ummph, and when dialogue finally came, which I was forever grateful to break up the monotony, more detail ensued and made me have to put a bookmark up, go back to where the character initially began speaking because I totally forget what the hell I was supposed to gleam from the conversation. People, that’s clearly too much detail!
Oh Attica, darling, I love you madly for your blessed writing skills, but sista, you did this book a terrible injustice. I didn’t love it at all. The detail you put in this novel made me disconnect from the people and storyline, and we both know that’s not what you’re trying to accomplish nor establish with your readers. For as much money as I paid, I did not expect this. I really didn’t and I’m a bit miffed about that. I don’t ever have a problem paying for books by authors I truly respect, but you’ve got to give me something a little better than this. Wow, I was not impressed, not at all.
I’m not sure what happened here, but Pleasantville did not please me and didn't live up to the hype surrounding it.
This novel fell into my email inbox through Bookbub. The cover looked intriguing and the title made me want to know more, and hell, after reading theThis novel fell into my email inbox through Bookbub. The cover looked intriguing and the title made me want to know more, and hell, after reading the synopsis, I was sold. But, unfortunately, that’s where my excitement ends.
Jordan Rivera was doing what teenagers do—sitting in her room supposedly doing homework, while her mind wandered thinking about a boy, Mark Pryor. She was looking forward to what the future held for the two of them. Unfortunately, a rather tragic night ended Jordan’s dream and damaged her psyche. A vicious psychotic intruder finds his way into the Rivera household savagely murdering anything that got in his way – which was Jordan’s entire family. Jordan hears her mother’s frantic scream for her to run, but Jordan doesn’t take heed to the warning. How could she? So what does a teenager bearing witness to the sound of her family being murdered do? She hides under the bed. When the psychotic intruder comes for her, she’s beyond terrified. What this lunatic advises Jordan to do afterward, took what little sanity she had left, completely away.
Not only did this murderer rip her family apart, but he ripped the very fabric of Jordan’s soul and robbed her of the person she should have become. After that terrible night, Jordan withdrew from the world and ended up being in a mental hospital for ten years, and although that may not come as a surprise to some, what was even more astounding is while she was in that institution, she remained silent. She didn’t speak to anyone for ten whole years. Of course, there was a reason why she remained silent, and it’s not for what would appear to be obvious.
Ten years later has come from the day that Jordan’s family was taken from her and she finally decides to speak out in her support group which was mandatory she attend while at the mental facility. She needs to get out of the hospital and reintroduce herself into society, if the world would have her. Her doctor assists her in doing just that—got her an apartment to live not too far from the hospital. Unbeknownst to Jordan, a guardian angel was shielding and guiding her throughout her tenure in the mental hospital—Mark Pryor, the young teenage boy she hoped to go to prom with when she was a teenager. He’s all grown up and looking good and is a detective for the Cleveland Police Department. Because of what happened to the young girl he loved back in the day, inspired him to become a police officer just so he could aid Jordan whenever she was released from the hospital. The day finally comes and when the two of them meet up, you’d think it would be bells and whistles and rockets shooting up in the sky, but the reception Mark received, was far from that. In fact, Jordan was extremely unkind to Mark, and for no apparent reason, although she wasn’t aware she was in love with him.
This is where the story takes a turn for me. I understand that Jordan has been damaged mentally. I realize she became a mute because of it. I truly can identify that she’d be hard pressed to trust another human being again, after what happened to her family, but to lash out at the one person who has done everything within his power to protect you from that point on, I don’t get that. In fact, Jordan’s character really pissed me off. She was just plain nasty to Mark and not only him, but to several other characters and to me her attitude was way off base. Her anger is understandable and you’d think with all those doctors she was around trying to get her to open up about what happened to her would somehow begin to seep through. After all, she sat there for ten years listening to patients’ horror stories and she felt pain and empathy for them, but had all this pent up anger about her family situation. And not only did she have anger issues, somewhere along the way, she taught herself how to do martial arts. Umm, oook? I don’t know how one goes about teaching himself to do Karate, but I suppose anything is possible, right? I guess? Hmm!
For a woman who doesn’t like human contact, she went out of her way to inflict pain on others whenever the moment struck her, which was often. So she, along with several other victims of family murders decide to do their own investigation, since the police were less than adequate and couldn’t help decide whether their cases were committed by one deranged lost soul or a duo. Somehow this support group was made to appear as though they had more sense than the local police department. It was as if Mark Pryor and his coworkers were more or less the Keystone Cops, or so the story would have you believe. I don’t know why, but the way Mark and the police department were portrayed pissed me off too. Here, you have a group of vulnerable, barely clinging to life type of victims, yet they are strong enough to take on an “alleged” murderer. I don’t know the story just seemed a bit farfetched and not real enough. I didn’t like the protagonist, and that’s unfortunate because she received the most trauma. You’re supposed to identify with her, and I do to a point, and then her attitude turned me completely off. I’m thinking, “Fool, these people are trying to help you,” but she remained very standoffish.
One other thing that struck me as odd with this story is the depiction of characters. The author did an amazing job giving you great descriptions making you see exactly what they looked like, but what drove me crazy is the fact it was mentioned too many times. If you mention a character’s race, which is perfectly fine, why is it every time that character is introduced into another scene, you have to continually mention the race of the character? How insulting is that to the reader. It’s as if I wasn’t paying attention the first time around. If you tell me in chapter two a police chief is African-American, there’s certainly no need to continually remind us what color he is every time he pops up. If you just say who the character is by name, that should be sufficient enough, but that didn’t appear to happen here. The character’s race was almost mentioned each time he/she appeared and to me, I didn’t get that.
Bottom line, I liked the story, but didn’t care much for the main character. She was too much a victim, in my opinion. Her misguided anger struck me as odd and completely out of place. I think had her character grown more, perhaps I would have understood her better, but unfortunately, I didn’t find much of that. What didn't kill her killed me by her lack of regard or respect for those trying to help her. Mello and June give this novel three stars. It wasn’t a bad read—it just didn’t suit our taste. You win some and you lose some. This story just didn’t do it for us. It happens sometimes.
Lil Mo’s musical background came as somewhat a surprise to me because I never thought of her as such a force to be reckoned with or that she could holLil Mo’s musical background came as somewhat a surprise to me because I never thought of her as such a force to be reckoned with or that she could hold her own. Bottom line, I didn’t know much about this feisty little woman. She’s multi-talented and I enjoy watching her on R&B Divas: LA. I always appreciate her honesty and the way she tells it like it is. For someone so little, she has a humongous personality and it resonates. I was never much of a fan of her music, just wasn’t my style, but I appreciate what she brought to the table. Who knew she wrote music for so many biggies in the music industry. Lil Mo has it going on.
Having said all that, it really saddens me that I did not totally enjoy her memoir. For me, I had several issues with it. You may question how can a person take issue with someone else’s true life story? And my answer will be the story was entirely too disjointed. I didn’t feel a strong connection to Lil Mo as I feel watching her on reality TV. In fact, I found her story to be all over the place and not really delving into the issues in which I think her fans truly wanted to know. For instance, the beef between she and Kelly Price, who was a supposed longtime friend of Mo’s for years. She hinted around the issue surrounding the reality drama, but didn’t really tell us what happened? Anyone who saw the episode where they fell out, knows just about as much as I do and the book didn’t expand on the subject. She didn’t go into the drama she experienced with Chanté Moore or how it is she came to get on the reality show in the first place. She talked about when she found out she was selected, but didn’t tell us the process in which brought her to this point. To me, if you’re telling all, don’t you think those are things her fans would want to know? Hmm, I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me, but I expected more from her and I felt as though I was cheated of sorts.
First off, the title of her book would suggest that she has two personalities (which she has shared with the public many times over), and I get that. But what I don’t get is that if you’re taming Lil Mo why didn’t you talk about why you’re taming her? What I found out is more about Cynthia Karen Loving and just so-so about Lil Mo, Cynthia’s alter ego. I completely get why she created the Lil Mo persona, which was due to being sexually molested when she was very young. Being Lil Mo broke Cynthia out of her mold, but that’s as much as we know. In other words, her book didn’t really go into much more about how she’s taming Lil Mo other than what you’ve already heard or know about her. Let’s face it, Lil Mo has no problem expressing herself, although there was a time when she had a very hard time doing just that.
The cover of her book also suggested this was a “tell-all” story. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel she expressed enough to her reader. She sort of leaves you hanging, and that’s what made the disconnect for me. I don’t expect any celebrity to tell me every facet of their life, however, I do expect, when you put on the cover of your book that it’s a tell-all, then damn it, that’s what it should be. Tell all that surround the things your fans truly want to know. Don’t get me wrong, she told a lot about her personal dilemmas and trials and tribulations, which I appreciated her candor, but what her die hard fans really wanted to know, I think she fell short. She just teased readers and for some, like myself, that turns me off. Either you’re going to come totally clean and tell it, or don’t mention it at all. You know why people want to read your story, so let’s not kid anyone here. At times I felt like she just wrote this book to capitalize off of her fame of being in the spotlight on R&B Divas: LA. And if that is what she was going for, she succeeded. Her story seemed rushed, disjointed, unpolished, thrown together haphazardly and confusing at times.
So, you’re wondering what exactly did she tell? She shared some of her musical background with her readers. She name dropped people she’s worked with in the industry. She was pretty candid about the way she grew up with her parents and siblings and the strong religious background they shared. She also went into detail about her failed first two marriages, which brought another issue for me. I’m not sure if this was an editing issue or if this was just Lil Mo being Lil Mo? She gave initials for her second husband’s name near the end of the book, and I’m thinking what was this brother’s name? Or why was his name a secret? After all, he was on the first season with her of R&B Divas: LA, so what was up with the “PJB” and not just stating his name outright? I’m thinking that may have been an editing issue, or seeing as how their marriage ended up pretty bitter, maybe she did it on purpose? I’m not sure, but I know that drove me nuts seeing the capped letters throughout the couple chapters.
I do appreciate that she talked about why she and her second husband put on this façade during the first season’s taping of R&B Divas: LA. She didn’t want the public and her fans to know she was really going through a divorce. Family means everything to her and I did enjoy her heartfelt stories about her childhood and her family life. Her self-image is also important to her and knowing that her parents have been together for so many years, she so desperately wants to have that with a husband. Luckily for Lil Mo she met her third husband, Karl Dargan. I’ve seen him on this seasons R&B Divas and I’m hoping that she has truly found love this time. It’s not that she didn’t find love the first two times, it’s just she was at a different stage creatively in her life, and that brought about a different set of circumstances. One thing I do love about Cynthia is when she does tell she keeps it pretty much one hundred with her readers. I think her memoir could have been so much better if it had been polished and edited correctly. It seems to me the version the reader was given was literally a first draft, which is the cut that should never make it in front of a reading audience. Again, those are personal pet peeves of mine and may not bother other readers, which is fine. In no way am I suggesting you not read her book.
Cynthia Loving a/k/a Lil Mo possesses another talent that she may not even be aware of. She’s funny as hell! OMG, there were parts of the book where I fell out laughing so hard cause I’ve experienced some of the things she talked about and it was refreshing to see that someone else has gone through those things and how she handled it. I busted out laughing a few times because I could envision her writing these words and hear her voice as I read it. Mo is a trip, which if you’ve been paying attention and following her career, you already know!
Again, this is not a bad read, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. It's not the greatest memoir I've read, but it’s definitely readable and shares some poignant moments! She does bring the funny too!