Review: Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden

Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden
Published: January 2, 2001
Publisher: Plume
Format: via paperback
Rating: 5/5

The novel opens when a young prostitute comes to Bigelow, Arkansas, to start over, far from her haunting past. Sugar moves next door to Pearl, who is still grieving for the daughter who was murdered fifteen years before. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women's lives--and the life of an entire town.

Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out--but ignorance and superstition in. To read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.

My Thoughts
When Sugar rolls into town the whole place is turned upside down, she is a known prostitute but she moved to Bigelow to try to start over. She moves next door to Pearl who has suffered a lot in her life, to say the least. She is still mourning over the death of her daughter who was killed in the most vicious way and once she was gone Pearl just gave up. Her marriage suffered a bit but the love of her husband helped her slowly move on. With the town talking rumors about Sugar, Pearl has decided to not let that sway her opinions about her. Sugar, on the other hand, doesn't like people in her business so she isn't too keen on Pearl trying to be neighborly thinking she is just like the rest of them, judging Sugar on who she is.

With time Pearl and Sugar become friends and this friendship brings Pearl out of her shell. She is laughing and having fun again, enjoying life like she hasn't done since her daughter died. Both of them are an odd pair to the naked eye but I feel like they balance each other out. Both have experienced pain that no one could understand and I think they find comfort in that. When both are together no one is judging them and they get to be who they truly are without the thoughts of what others are thinking about them.

Both are just women who are searching for that something in life. Sugar just wants a place where she feels loved and belongs and Pearl just wants that closure and justice for her daughter. Sugar just might find that love with someone but her past is soon to rear its ugly head and that love she has for that someone is so strong she will do the unthinkable to protect him. Ironically the past is the key to her future when secrets are uncovered and we find out the missing pieces to Sugar’s life.

This is a powerful and emotional read one that will make you laugh and make you cry. Sugar’s story of how she grew up and was raised is heartbreaking. Her struggle to survive is something that only a strong person could handle and despite what others think of her Sugar is a true survivor. The fact that Sugar and Pearl were placed in each other's lives is something that only could happen on purpose. They were brought together to help each other heal and to become family. Bernice McFadden gives us characters that are raw, broken, flawed but at the same time incredibly strong. The world has given up on these women but they haven't given up on themselves and nothing is stronger than a woman who still believes she can. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants a great story with impactful characters.


Review: You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Expected Publication: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 /5

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

My Thoughts
In You’d Be Mine we meet Annie who comes from country music royalty but because of that same reason, she isn't too keen on becoming music's next big thing. She is living a simple life with her grandmother since her parents' death until Clay Coolidge askes her to join his Summer tour and if she doesn't this might be the end for his career. Clay, like Annie has his demons, while his are his alone it still doesn't make matters better. He copes by drinking and partying but all of that doesn't take the pain away that still lingers from his brother’s death.

So what are two tortured souls to do with a whole Summer together? Fall in love of course. While they try and deny the chemistry between them everyone can see that there is something definitely there. Annie doesn't want a relationship while her career is just taking off and Clay doesn't think he deserves someone has nice and caring as Annie but the both of them together is something fierce! Not only musically are they powerful but personally, they help each other heal.

Erin Hahn gives us characters that have horrific backgrounds but with their love of music, they slowly help each other realize that despite their past they both deserve love. In time they both can become the people they want to be and receive the love they are meant to have. This novel gave me the ultimate Summer vibes with the country music and concerts and of course nothing is better than a Summer romance, but besides all that this is a great read for these upcoming hot Summer nights.


Review: The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Expected Publication: April 2, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4/5

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game--and his heart--to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

My Thoughts
This is the story of Annika and Jonathan told in dual timelines and POVs we get to see their story. We see how they met in college and how they fell in love. Annika is on the autism spectrum which I loved the representation and we see how she functions at college and doing through the experience of trying to make friends and dating. They meet at chess club and soon they become friends and soon after that Jonathan falls for Annika.

Annika is a breath of fresh air for Jonathan he likes how she is so honest. She can’t lie and she wears her heart on her sleeve. She was taken advantage of by a guy she liked before but with the help of her roommate, she slowly starts getting the hang of college life. So when she meets Jonathan and they hit it off she doesn’t know he likes her. They begin to spend time together and they fall in love but Annika wants certain things in life and so does Jonathan so when it comes time to move together Annika doesn't show up leaving Jonathan heartbroken. Flash forward a few years and Annika and Jonathan randomly bump into each other and both are single and despite the years Annika still makes Jonathan’s heart skip a beat. They decide to reconnect and hang out never feeling like time has passed. The connection that they have never has gone away, he was her first love and the one who loved and supported her when others didn't even see her.

I really enjoyed this novel of a second chance at love but the only thing I didn’t like was that I felt the ending was rushed. We get the grand love story between these two but everything just felt forced at the end. 9/11 plays a huge part towards the end and while that in it’s self is emotional I just felt their story just wrapped up too fast. This was a good love story and Tracey Garvis Graves gave us a couple you will root for.


Blog Tour: Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 19th, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy.
Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?

Author Bio:
Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.



Review: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Published: June 1, 1970
Publisher: First Vintage
Format: via audiobook
Rating: 5/5

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison's virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.

My Thoughts
In The Bluest Eye, we met Pecola who is sent to live with some neighbors after her house was ravaged by a fire. During this time we slowly see her life unfold, she has lived a hard life, to say the least, told through multiple POV’s we get to know Pecola and how she sees herself. Pecola is raped by her father and her mother doesn't give much thought to anything or anyone else. However, Pecola sees herself as ugly and unwanted thinking that if she was another race these things wouldn't happen to her. The topics and themes of this novel are heartbreaking but at the same time very real. Race plays a great part in the world and society has this image of beauty that is so untamable that many of us think if we don't look a certain way then we aren't beautiful. This is a sad novel all about a girl who didn't have a chance in this world. She has so much stacked against her from the beginning that it just got worse as life went on. Toni Morrison is a brilliant writer who gives us tough subjects that stir up conversations that we have to have.


Release Day Blitz: Remind Me by Samantha Chase

We are so excited to be bringing you the release of REMIND ME by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Samantha Chase. REMIND ME is the first book in the new Magnolia Sound series and if you love all things small-town romance, then you won't want to miss this one!



It’s been years since Mallory Westbrook set foot in Magnolia Sound, but the death of her great-grandfather forces her back. Two weeks to get his affairs in order then she would return to her life in New York. The perfect plan, if not for Jake Summerford—her first love who broke her heart. Jake always regretted the way things ended with Mallory and now that she’s back in town, he’s hoping they can put the past behind them. As they reconnect, old feelings resurface and Jake realizes that friendship is only the beginning of what he wants from Mallory. With one foot out of the door, Mallory is looking for any excuse to leave Magnolia Sound behind. Forever. Will Jake’s plan to replace the old, painful memories help him finally show her their love deserves another chance?

Add REMIND ME to your Goodreads TBR!


Get your copy of REMIND ME today! Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | GooglePlay



Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina. 


Review: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
Published: 1974
Publisher: Vintage
Format: via Overdrive
Rating: 5/5    

In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin's story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.

My Thoughts
In this beautifully written novel, we get the story of Fonny and Tish, two young people in love who have to fight to be reunited. Tish has grown up in a loving family who will support her no matter what. Fonny is a guy who only has his art and Tish, his family especially his mom don't’ want anything to do with him they think he is trouble and worthless and has found a new family in Tish and her family. We see he is in jail but we don't know why until almost the end of the novel. We see what all happened that led up to his incarceration, the accusations and the fight that Tish and her family will do to bring Fonny home to Tish and their baby, she found out she was pregnant when he was first sent to jail. They try to get help from Fonny’s family but they basically disowned him so Tish’s family makes it their mission to seek out justice for him.

This novel is very short but so powerful and heartbreaking, we see the hurt and tragedy in Tish and Fonny’s story. Despite the world, they are living in Tish and Fonny believe in themselves and their love no matter how high the odds are against them. While this novel was written decades ago it is still so irrelevant to today. How racial injustice is still happening and the way James Baldwin gives us this gritty look at life is poignant yet thought-provoking. This is one novel that has stood the test of time and sadly still speaks to today.


Excerpt Reveal: Remind Me by Samantha Chase

REMIND ME by Samantha Chase will be released in less than a week and we couldn't be more excited about it! Read on for a sneak peek at Jake and Mallory's story, and be sure to pre-order your copy today!


It’s been years since Mallory Westbrook set foot in Magnolia Sound, but the death of her great-grandfather forces her back. Two weeks to get his affairs in order then she would return to her life in New York. The perfect plan, if not for Jake Summerford—her first love who broke her heart.
Jake always regretted the way things ended with Mallory and now that she’s back in town, he’s hoping they can put the past behind them. As they reconnect, old feelings resurface and Jake realizes that friendship is only the beginning of what he wants from Mallory.
With one foot out of the door, Mallory is looking for any excuse to leave Magnolia Sound behind. Forever. Will Jake’s plan to replace the old, painful memories help him finally show her their love deserves another chance?

Add REMIND ME to your Goodreads TBR!

Pre-order REMIND ME today! 

Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay


Read an excerpt from REMIND ME

“But we were already hanging out,” Mallory reminded him and the look Sam gave her bordered on hysterical. “What? What’s so funny?” “We all know I’m the third wheel here and the two of you would like nothing more than to be alone, so…I’m leaving,” he said, walking back into the kitchen to put the beer back in the refrigerator. “I’m gonna go home and tell Mom what the plan is–I’m going out to be a good cousin, while you’re here doing…I don’t know…Jake.” He winked. “You two have fun!” Jake knew he didn’t let out a breath until the back door closed and he saw Sam walk down the deck stairs from the living room window. “Well…that was…awkward.” “Just a little,” Mallory agreed. “Ugh…why is my brother such a dork?” Laughing, Jake shifted them until her head was on his shoulder. “I wouldn’t call him a dork, he’s just a little…” “He’s a dork. Trust me. We’re twins and I’m allowed to say it.” She shook her head. “He’s going to be snarky about this until he leaves.” “About what?” “You and me. Us. The fact that he knows what we’re doing.” She groaned. “Now, every time I mention seeing you or doing something, he’s going to make some sort of doofus comment about how I’m doing you. I’m telling you, he’s the worst.” But Jake couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t have any siblings so he didn’t understand the dynamics, but from where he was sitting, it was all pretty comical. The fact that they each other and had such obvious affection for each other was a pretty amazing thing. Maybe it was because they were twins or something. All he knew was that he hadn’t met many siblings with the kind of relationship Sam and Mallory had. Plus, he liked knowing Sam looked out for her when he couldn’t. And that one single thought had him going still. This wasn’t going anywhere–this was about passing the time and getting her out of his system. He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about his feelings or hers. This was temporary. They both saw the end before they started up again, so why was he suddenly feeling concerned about how Mallory was going to be when he wasn’t around? “Jake?” she asked softly, looking up at him. “You okay?” He nodded. Right now, he didn’t want to talk. Hell, he didn’t want to think either. All he wanted was to feel–feel Mallory’s body against his. Feel her skin under his hands. Feel her breath mingling with his. Standing, he gently tugged her to her feet before plunging his hands into her hair and giving her a searing kiss. If she was surprised by the sudden change of events, she didn’t show it. If anything, she kissed him back with equal abandon. So good, he thought. Kissing Mallory was always so damn good… When he had invited her to come home with him earlier–before Sam showed up–Jake envisioned them coming in and talking and maybe sharing some lazy kisses before he seduced her into staying the night. But as Mallory pressed up against him and purred, he was pretty sure nothing was going to be slow and lazy, and that he was the one being seduced. And he loved every minute of it. Without breaking the kiss, they maneuvered across the room and down the hall, stopping once so he could back her against the wall and grind against her. She tore her lips from his and sighed his name like a plea. Reaching down, Jake lifted her until her legs wrapped around his waist and it took every bit of self-control he possessed not to take her right then and there. Her dress was bunched up at her waist and the barely-there panties would be gone with only the slightest of tugs… “Bed,” he growled against her throat even as he continued to rub against her. “I want you in my bed.” “Then take me there,” she said breathlessly. Easier said than done, he thought, forcing himself to walk the last ten feet to his room. At the side of the bed, he simply let himself fall and kept Mallory in his arms. They laughed and rolled until they were comfortable and then he sank back into the kiss. Mallory tugged at his shirt and once she had it pulled free of his trousers, her nails scraped up his back and it gave him chills. Sitting up quickly, he ripped the shirt off–buttons flying in every direction. “Wow,” she panted. “That was incredibly sexy.” “Oh, yeah?” he asked, his own breath coming out roughly. “How do you feel about this?” His hand snaked under her dress and he tugged her tiny panties off–the sound of the fabric ripping seemed insanely loud in the room. “Oh!” she cried as her hips bucked off the bed. Jake knew what she wanted and he was more than happy to give it to her. In a flash her dress was off. He peeled her bra off with his teeth as she writhed beneath him. “Jake…” Once he had her completely naked, his self-control completely vanished. His mouth and hands were everywhere. While he licked and suckled at her breasts, his hand was ruthlessly teasing her between her legs. Watching Mallory lose control was one of his favorite pastimes and as he urged her on, he knew it would always be this way. She cried out his name again and again and again and each time it ratcheted his own arousal up more and more. He hated to move away from her even for a second, but he still had half of his own clothes to discard. Mallory reached for him as he moved away and he smoothed a hand across her stomach. “Soon,” he whispered. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Pre-order REMIND ME today! 

Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay



Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina. 


Blog Tour: Everything's Better with Kimberly by Lucy Eden

Today we have the social media tour for Everything Is Better with Kimberly by Lucy Eden! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

Everything Is Better With Kimberly by Lucy Eden

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Everything Is Better With Kimberly

Kimberly Simmons is gorgeous, brilliant, and way out of my league. She's definitely not the type to fall for a guy who walked away from his family's fortune to become an architect. Good thing, too, because she works for Wolfe Industries, making her completely off-limits. Nailing this pitch to Wolfe's CEO is exactly what I need to make my bosses forget about the last time I mixed business with pleasure. Too bad she has the most beautiful brown eyes and dazzling smile I've ever seen. Too bad I can't stop staring. Adam Price is a talented rising star architect at Will and Peking Designs. His newest design submission for The Wolfe Industries Caribbean Expansion is set to dazzle my CEO. If Adam's design wins, with my help, I could get promoted, which means his big strong arms and gorgeous lips are strictly forbidden. It's a good thing, too, because he has a reputation for leaving a trail of broken hearts all over Manhattan and I'm pretty sure I couldn't survive a second heartbreak. Too bad every word he says makes me smile. Too bad he gives me a sense of calm I haven't felt in a long time. Keeping their relationship strictly professional for the sake of their jobs was the perfect excuse to stay away from each other. Too bad fate and undeniable chemistry have other plans… This standalone, workplace/forced proximity romance features characters from the previous novellas Everything's Better With You and Cherishing the Goddess, is full of alphas and steam and has NO cheating.

Get Your Copy Today

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We made the ninety-minute journey with Adam’s car and driver, which I learned was provided as a courtesy with his brother’s apartment. Our driver, Francis, was born and raised in Barbados and talked animatedly about everything we passed, including answering all of Adam’s questions about the older buildings. 
The storm had touched the entire island, but as we traveled west the devastation increased. Fallen leaves turned into fallen branches that got bigger and bigger the further we traveled. We passed through the harbor in Bridgetown and saw damaged sailboats. 
When we hit the West coast, we began traveling north and the roads became more narrow and twisted with sharp turns. Francis made a quick detour to avoid a fallen tree and I gasped reaching for Adam’s hand. It was there waiting for me. He engulfed my hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. There was a tightness in my chest that wasn’t the signal of an impending panic attack, and a warmth spread through my body that had nothing to do with lust. Our eyes met and he gave me a reassuring smile and a wink. I quickly turned away and continued to gaze out of the window without letting go of his hand. 

About Lucy Eden

Lucy Eden is the nom de plume of a romance-obsessed author who writes the kind of romance she loves to read. She’s a sucker for alphas with a soft gooey center, over the top romantic gestures, strong & smart MCs, humor, love at first sight (or pretty damn close), happily ever afters & of course, steamy love scenes.   When Lucy isn’t writing, she’s busy reading—or listening to—every book she can get her hands on— romance or otherwise.   She lives & loves in New York with her husband, two children, a turtle & a Yorkshire Terrier.

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