Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reviews, Books, Reviews

Charity Beecham Reviews THE AFTER EFFECT by Rose Shababy

The After Effect Rose Shababy

The long await for the continuation of The Blue Effect, by Rose Shababy, has finally come to an end. The After Effect, by Rose Shababy, has made its debut, and it is definitely nothing like I had imagined it to be. There are so many twists and turns to the story that you never get bored while reading it. This story is a roller coaster ride through the past, present, and future.

Kasey is being haunted by the memories of his past. He is reliving the death of his family almost every night now in his dreams. These reoccurring events are not only effecting him mentally and physically, it is also effecting his relationship with the love of his life, Blue. Blue is not liking these new frustrations coming from Kasey. He has always been the one to keep them grounded, and now that he is starting to lose his cool, will he end up losing Blue too?

The group has uprooted themselves from Seattle, and decided to move to Idaho. What they did not expect to find on their new adventure was another super human like themselves, Rayne. Rayne never expected to meet a single person with abilities like herself, much less a whole group of them. Could the intimidation of the super group be enough to push Rayne away? Or can they find a way to keep her, and talk her into joining the group? Not only is Rayne`s gift unlike any of their own, they soon will learn that her gift is the only thing that can save one of their own lives.

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Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne
Reviews, Books, Reviews

Review: Charity Beecham Reads THE VAMPIRE HUNTER’S DAUGHTER & THE ARCADIA FALLS CHRONICLES

The Vampire Hunter`s Daughter books 1-6, and The Arcadia Falls Chronicles books 1-6, is a two part book series. It is an immaculate series that holds your attention from beginning to end. The constant action and the love triangle leave you begging for the next book.

The story begins with the tragic death of Chloe’s mother. Chloe will learn quickly that life as she knew it, is not like she knew it at all, and it would soon change forever. Her mother was killed by vampires who were sent by Chloe`s father. Before the vampires could kidnap Chloe, a team full of vampire hunters intervenes. She runs right into the arms of Drew. Drew, and the team of vampire hunters, takes Chloe to her new forever home.

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Guest Post, Reviews

My Never-Ending TBR List: Look At All The Pretty Edition

I’ll admit up front that I’ve had almost no time to read. I went to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and then I had to do pesky stuff like write and pay attention to my family. Since we last met I was able to read Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole and Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright, but they weren’t on the list, so really we’re back to square one. Join me as I pile on.

I process things visually. If you try to give me instructions, I’ll probably turn around ask you for a diagram. In the films and TV shows I like, bright colors and stark contract are something they have in common. Jane the Virgin is visual crack for me, sooo many pretty colors. When I’m on the hunt for books I know better than to just hit that one-click based on cover alone. The blurb has got to snag me, which the blurbs for all the below titles did, once I read them. Here are a several books that have made me stop, do a double take and walk back to the shop window.


Sugar Love Victoria H. Smith
Sugar Love by Victoria H Smith

Sugar…

That’s some kind of name, isn’t it?

It wasn’t any type of name I’d heard of, but across the world, it seemed I was the only one.

You see, he’s an international superstar, talented, sexy, and one day, he comes walking into my record store. He tells me he wants to buy some music, and later on, wants to get to know me a little better.

I had no idea he was here for his American debut, nor that he was one of the most successful rappers South Korean music had ever seen. If I had, I might not have been so frazzled when I found out and accidentally kidnapped him.

But then again…

Maybe that wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

This cover is giving me sexy 80’s realness and I’m a sucker for a good interracial new adult romance.

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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Reviews, Books, Reviews

My Never-End TBR List: Taking One For The Team by Rebekah Weatherspoon

If you’re keeping score, so far I’ve managed to knock two more titles off my massive list. Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins (5 stars) and Level Up by Cathy Yardley (also 5 stars). I won’t say how many books I’ve added to the list. It’s a lot and here are six more to pile on to the sweet sweet torture. I haven’t read many romances that focus on athletes. I actually think I’ve only read two, both by Farrah Rochon (You should check out Huddle With Me Tonight and the rest of her New York Sabers series. Good stuff.) Thanks to all the book browsing I’ve been doing for WOCInRomance, I’ve come across quite a few sports based romances that have caught my eye.

Rookie of the Year by Charity Pineiro (Baseball)

Alicia Santos knows she shouldn’t be tempted by the team’s new rookie catcher. . .

But Joe Fernandez isn’t just your average baseball player. He’s a potential rookie of the year with amazing skills on the field. Smart, sexy and determined, he’s fought hard for everything in his life and Alicia appreciates that kind of focus. But she’s older and wiser, or so she thinks, until Joe sets his sights on winning her over off the field. . .

Joe Fernandez has never backed down from a challenge . . .

Especially when it’s a woman like his team’s beautiful trainer. He doesn’t mind that she’s older or stubbornly refusing to give into her attraction for him. He’s a patient man and little by little he wears away her resistance.

Nights spent together are glorious and forbidden . . .

Alicia and Joe work hard to keep their personal and professional lives apart to avoid problems on the baseball field. When a career-ending injury threatens their newfound love, Alicia and Joe must find the strength to rebuild Joe’s body and restore balance to their lives.

This has a few taboos for me. Sex in the workplace is can always be tricky, but something tells me this is going to be steamy as hell. Give it to me.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Reviews, Books, Reviews

Review: The Bellator Saga: First Box Set Trilogy

The Bellator Saga Cecilia London

The Bellator Saga: First Box Set Trilogy

Two souls intertwined. One epic love story.

Get swept away in the passionate romance between political opposites Caroline Gerard and Jack McIntyre in the first half of The Bellator Saga.

Cannot be read as standalones


At the end of 2015 I had finally managed to clear my schedule and dive into a series that had been sitting on my (never ending) “To Be Read” list. I had heard great things about the author, the writing, and the unique storyline and I honestly couldn’t wait to immerse myself into something new. Written by Indie Author Cecilia London, The Bellator Saga is unlike anything you have ever read before. With three books in the series already published, London brings to life a painful yet beautiful battlefield of love, power and control.

With six books in total, The Bellator Saga: The First Trilogy is set against the backdrop of a country in political disarray, whilst the romance in this novel is emphasized through detailed and extensive flashbacks, allowing each book to highlight how Cecilia London uniquely pairs suspense and romance. Unexpectedly but very much welcome, London’s writing WILL completely captivate, and you will be left with no choice but to be intensely invested in the exquisite creativity her mind has to offer.

Dissident: a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.

In the beginning of the series, in the most harrowing of circumstances we are introduced to Caroline Gerard and Jack McIntyre. Written in third person with ease and seamless transitions, each chapter flicks between the past and the present giving readers an essential understanding of their backgrounds, personalities and most importantly, their relationship.

We become familiar with this intellectually sassy feminist whose tenacity is everything you want in a heroine. And at the forefront of the opposing party is the playboy of politics, Jack McIntyre. Watching Jack McIntyre fall in love with Caroline will be your undoing. Sex appeal paired with swoon, let your infatuation for him begin NOW.

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Reviews, Books, Reviews

We Wear the Mask… A review of ‘Follow Me into Darkness’ by Kasia Bacon

Follow Me Into Darkness Kris Ripper J.R. Gray Santino Hassell J.C. Lillis Roan Parrish

I read a heap of anthologies last year, and while I typically enjoy short stories, going through a whole collection might at times prove to be an exhausting and challenging affair. One demanding quick mindset alternations and, in effect, causing frequent mood swings. Being of a naturally lazy disposition, I secretly vowed to steer clear from anthologies temporarily and indulge in more homogeneous reads.

Ironically, one of the first books I was offered to review in 2016 turned out to be Follow Me into Darkness, a queer anthology containing five tales of carnival romance and oscillating around a common theme of a mask. The resistance was futile, the main convincing factor being the authors, participating in this collaboration. It’s been the second time for this very crew to come together in order to work on a project. The previous fruit of their labour, Lead Me into Darkness, was a successful Halloween inspired collection, which I had the pleasure to review last October.

Let the masquerade begin!

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Reviews, Books, Guest Post, Reviews

Guest Post: Charity Beecham Reads The Blue Effect, Episodes Two and Three by Rose Shababy

The Blue Effect Episode 2 The Revelation by Rose Shababy

Welcome back readers! I have just completed The Blue Effect: The Complete Collection, Episodes 2-3 (Renegade Heroes), by Rose Shababy, and all I can say is: wow! What a remarkable series. I had said at the end of my previous essay: “things just started to heat up between Blue and Kasey”. Not only did Blue finally get her chance at true love, she also found that she possesses a powerful gift, and she inherited a family to call her own.

The connection that Blue and Kasey felt in the first book only gets stronger in 2-3. The love they have developed for each other is so strong that they literally cannot be apart from each other. Every time the two touch they feel a spark pulse through their body that can only be explained as: pure ecstasy. Anytime spent apart from each other only makes them weak, and longing for the next moment they can be together to feel that spark of life.

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Reviews, Books

Review: A Look at Santino Hassell’s SUNSET PARK by Kasia BB

Sunset Park Santino Hassell

Unquestionably brilliantly written, Sunset Park is the second installment in the Five Boroughs story.  It has been the most anticipated autumn release for me.  The first book, Sutphin Boulevard, was deliciously angsty and featured darker themes.  In comparison, this novel constitutes a much lighter read, filled with sweeter, romantic undertones, repartee, and humor.  It also has more of a New Adult feel. Still, there’s an edge to it, and plenty of heat – of the Kindle melting variety.

Recently I wrote a post on the classic tropes I enjoy within the M/M genre.  Coincidentally, Sunset Park is cleverly woven around not one, not two, but three of my favorite themes, turning this book into something of my kryptonite.

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Guest Post, Reviews, Reviews, TV

Guest Post: “Thank God For People Who Can Sing: A Look At The Wiz Live” by Rebekah Weatherspoon

The Wiz LiveLast Thursday night (Dec 3rd,) me and 11.5 million of my friends tuned in to watch The Wiz Live, but before I get into all that let me back it up.

Here’s the thing about putting together a remake or an adaption. It always helps to gather a cast that’s as good if not better than the original. The Sound of Music was one of my favorites growing up and I remember watching the scratchy VHS of Peter Pan featuring Mary Martin over and over again at my neighbor’s house when I was little. But when I saw what NBC was doing with these first two live broadcasts I was a little confused. Vampire Bill? Christopher Walken? I don’t know what was going on in those production meetings and I’m not sure I want to know. I thought NBC learned their lesson when Walken froze several times, forgetting his lines. I wasn’t expecting them to plan another live production for a while over and imagine how skeptical I was when I heard they were taking a crack at The Wiz next.


For those who don’t know, the original 1974 production of The Wiz, a musical adaptation of the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first debuted in Baltimore. For other people who didn’t know, The Wiz has always had an all black cast so this new line up should not have comes as a surprise. The original Broadway production of The Wiz won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

For those who extra don’t know, The Wizard of Oz/The Wiz tells the story of Dorothy, a young girl magically transported to the Land of Oz, and her adventure to get back home to her Aunt Em’s house in Kansas. I loved the original movie and coveted the hell out of those ruby slippers. When I finally saw the 1978 film of The Wiz, I drove my mom nuts screaming the lyrics to “Everybody Rejoice” all over the house. Most people familiar with The Wiz, have seen the ‘78 film and immediately picture Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Lena Horne. I mean, think of those three names for a minute and really consider if a live remake is something you’re ready to tackle. I was skeptical alright, until actor by actor, NBC announced the cast over the summer. I squealed with girlish glee with every new name added to the list.

Unlike the first two live NBC productions, everyone in this cast can sing. And I mean everyone. Stephanie Mills who plays Aunt Em, was that original Dorothy who won all those Tony awards. R&B singers Ne-yo (the Tinman) and Mary J. Blige (the wicked witch Evillene) had nothing to prove. Then you have Queen Latifah (the Wizard) who made it known in Chicago and Hairspray that she had the chops to rap and sing. Elijah Kelley (the Scarecrow) who starred alongside Latifah in Hairspray showed he can sing and dance his butt off. Amber Riley (Addapearl) killed it on Glee, plain and simple. I’ve played her version of “Don’t Want to Lose You Now” in my car approximately seven hundred times. Oh and she won Dancing With the Stars.

Many might not know that David Alan Grier (the Cowardly Lion) has pipes, but he’s being singing over the top and perfectly on key since his early stand up days and sketches on In Living Color. Uzo Aduba, who most people know from her role as Suzanne/Crazy Eyes on Orange Is the New Black has a background in opera, and that just leaves the newbie, 19 year old, Shanice Williams. Clearly at this point in the process it would be plain silly to cast someone who couldn’t hold her own as Dorothy. Shanice has a gift. I can’t explain it any other way. I’m looking forward to great things from her.

The production team on this version of The Wiz, headed by director Kenny Leon, made some excellent choices when it came to simple updates to bring the performance to a 2015 audience. Dorothy starts off in ruby studded high top wedge sneakers The hairstyles on the Munchkins included fingerwaves, dreadlocks, kinky twists, afros and asymmetrical flat tops. Addaperle incorporates an iPad into her magic. Dorothy utters the phrase “What had happened was?”. The Scarecrow has an uncanny resemblance to artist Jean Michael Basquiat. The citizens of Emerald City are too busy voguing to take Dorothy’s request to see the Wizard seriously. And in a lovely twist, the Wizard is played by a woman.

Finally bring the journey to an end with the glorious appearance of Glinda The Good Witch  portrayed by a dark skinned black woman with full gap in her teeth brought a tear to my eye. Or five. I started weeping the moment Uzo started talking. (The moment she sees her, Dorothy exclaims how beautiful she is.) In a smart move, Toto was missing from the bulk of the production, only showing up in the beginning and the very end. I’m sure no one, including Shanice, thought it would be a good idea to have a dog along for a live stage show. Please check Twitter for some hilarious reactions to the lack of Toto.

This production was choreographed by Fatimah Robinson who is the genius behind music videos by Aaliyah, Rihanna, Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar, and Prince. Some of you might remember her work from those awesome GAP ads in the late ’90s. Fatimah refreshed the numbers, taking out swing dancing moves and old timey favorites like the Charleston, and replacing them with Dabbing and the Stanky Leg. She even managed to work in Mary J. Blige’s most gif’d dance move.

For me, Michael Jackson was my favorite part of the 1978 Wiz, so I was ready to instantly jump on Elijah Kelley’s Scarecrow bandwagon. Surprisingly David Alan Grier, brought a false bravado and warm humor to the Cowardly Lion I wasn’t expecting, and his rendition of “Mean Old Lion”, “Be A Lion” and his moves during their run in with the Poppy Girls completely won me over. Mary J. Blige also brought a special umph to her evil Evillene. To me I really felt like Mary played up the character for the kids and I just loved that. I’d like to say I have a favorite song, but I’d be lying. Every song is great, “What Would I Do If I Could Feel”, “We Got It”, “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News”, “Everybody Rejoice”, being the tracks I know I’ll listen to on repeat the most when the soundtrack releases on December 11. The Wiz Live is available now on NBC.com and Hulu, for your first or in my case fifth viewing.


Rebekah WeatherspoonRebekah Weatherspoon was raised in Southern New Hampshire and now lives in Southern California with a great human, one cat whom she loves dearly and another cat she wants to take back to the shelter. Her most recent release, So Sweet is out now. You can find out more about Rebekah and the steamy, funny romance she writes at RebekahWeatherspoon.com or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

Reviews, Books, Reviews

Review: Laura Curtis’s MIND GAMES

Mind Games Laura K. Curtis

Romantic suspense is a really tough genre to write in, I imagine. The balance between romance and suspense can be tricky, with far too many books (at least in my opinion) asking you to suspend disbelief enough to think that the hero and heroine would be able to relax in the middle of all their danger so they can have sex. I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense as a result, and so I was delighted to read Laura Curtis’s Mind Games. Mind Games does a great job of ratcheting up the romance as the action ratchets up, and there are no quickie interludes to make me roll my eyes. Here’s the blurb for Mind Games:

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