Review: Back to December by Danielle Allen

btd

 

img_0015.jpg

 

Life made me resilient.
Love made me vulnerable.
Marriage made me… Emily Diaz.

When I married the man of my dreams, I assumed it was forever.

So when circumstances called for me to leave the man I loved, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.

But betrayal changes everything.
And everything happens for a reason.

Being in love with myself enough to walk away brought me back to life.
Being in love with my life again brought me back to reality.
Being in love with someone else, well, that brought me back to December.

 

img_0013-5.jpg

 

Emily…Em…Auntie Em…Whatever name she is going by, the main character in Back to December is a woman that we currently are, we once were, or she reflects one of our girlfriends. I honestly have never felt this personally connected to a character since Ben from Arsen which I read back in 2014. Emily is a broken woman due to an unfortunate string of events but the main reason is being betrayed by her husband.

Emily starts on a journey to see who she really is as a woman without a husband. The agony, pain, and the feeling of being defeated is beautifully and perfectly written by Allen. And, to be completely transparent, I make that statement because I could have easily switched out a few of the details as far as the husband’s profession and his choice of words and Back to December could be a part of my life story. There is something exceptionally special about a book that truly touches your spirit and this book does just that.

“You said you don’t know about marriage, but do you have it in you to love again?”

Emily meets a colorful cast of characters during her journey of finding self. And, the question posed above is one that made me sit and reflect on how I would even answer that. Love in itself is hard, but love after divorce is even harder. We get a row seat into how Emily navigates life as she goes through a divorce and shortly thereafter. Ms. Allen has a tremendous gift in being able to perfectly illustrate with words what it means to allow yourself time to hurt/mourn, bounce back, to allow others in again, and most importantly, how to fall completely in love with yourself after someone tried their best to break you!!!

I don’t do this often, but I highly recommend Back to December. This could totally be because of selfish reasons because I am pretty sure that I am not the only woman in the world that has been through and/or will share an experience similar to Emily’s. This was my first time reading a book by Danielle Allen, but it definitely won’t be my last!

img_0016-4.jpg

 

img_0011-1.jpg

 

img_0012-2.jpg

Buy Back to December here!

Lust by Victoria Christopher Murray

lust

img_0015.jpg

 

From the NAACP Image award winner and national bestselling author Victoria Christopher Murray, a novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.

Tiffanie has lived a sheltered life in a very strict household with her pastor-grandfather and grandmother in Washington, DC. But when she meets Damon King, she falls for the successful entertainment business man despite his history as a drug dealer. Everyone sees nothing but the brightest future for the couple—but there’s one person who wants to destroy them.

Trey Johnson is Damon’s childhood best friend with whom he built quite a successful drug business. But when the game got hot and Damon decided to leave, Trey stayed and continued to sell drugs, until he was arrested and spent seven years in prison.

But now he’s out and able to attend the wedding. While Damon is thrilled to have Trey back and hopes to bring his best friend into his business, Trey has other plans. He blames Damon for his demise and plans to ruin him, even if that means bringing Tiffanie down as well.

Trey is sure he will succeed, but he doesn’t know that there will be deadly consequences. And at the end, there will only be one man standing…

img_0013-5.jpg

Whew, where to start?!?! Obviously I had an idea of what the content would probably entail because of the title, but this story was told in a way that kept me interested and that I think almost everyone will be able relate to. Lust. Desire. Taboo. If folks are being honest then we will admit there was at least one time in our lives that we wanted something and/or someone we shouldn’t.

“God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. And if you can bear it, you can get out of it.”

The main character Tiffanie finds herself in an unexpected position and at times she made it hard for me to root for her and her well-being. Not only does this story focus on Tiff’s dilemma but it also has very important lessons in regards to loyalty, friendship, and forgiveness. Murray weaves a seamless storyline that delivers a valuable message on how it is imperative that we turn to God when fighting a battle instead of trying to do it on our own. As always, Ms. Murray delivers on all of the elements that I enjoy in a book: fully developed characters, there’s an emotional connection, and it makes you stop and reflect on your own life.

Today is its release day and I’d highly recommend you visit your favorite online or in-store retailer and grab a copy!!

img_0016-4.jpg

img_0009-3.jpg

img_0012-2.jpg

Buy your copy of Lust here!

Review: Five Golden Rings by K.L. Brady

five-golden-rings-004

 

img_0015.jpg

Kristie fell out of love with Christmas in D.C. when her father died three years ago. But this Christmas is different now that she’s engaged to Zach. She’s ready to embrace the spirit of the season again, at least until she catches Zach with another woman on her way to the National Tree Lighting. She confronts him and runs out of her nightmare, but arrives at Presidential Park just in time to trip over a dream…

A.J. Dawson is back home in D.C. after a whirlwind global music tour. All he wants is to celebrate a quiet, traditional D.C. Christmas with his socialite almost-fiancée, Sabrina, but she’s got different ideas—A.J. serving at her beck-and-call, hanging on her arm at high-class parties, while ignoring his every wish, except one. Fed up, he’s determined to enjoy the season his way and makes his way to the National Tree Lighting, a moment too late to get in before the gates closed, but just in time to fall for the right girl…

When they are unexpectedly parted with only each other’s first name, can a Missed Connection ad and a little Christmas magic bring them back together?

img_0013-5.jpg

The secret to an excellent novella is that even though it is short on pages it still delivers on a full story. Five Golden Rings starts by giving us Kristy and A.J.’s backstory. I instantly felt a connection to both of them and wanted them to “win” at the game of love. And, when A.J. said this I had to stop, think about something personal, and then refocus on the book:

“But I’ve come to learn that stuff isn’t important at all. What you need to ask yourself is, when you come home, do you have someone you can talk to who will understand you, even if they don’t always agree with you? Do you have someone you can trust? Do you have someone who believes that compromise must go both ways, that it’s not always one person making the effort? And when special times like the holidays come around, do you have someone who will go to the tree lighting with you? Even if they don’t want to be at the tree lighting, it’s ok as long as they’re with you?”

Brady is one of the few authors I unconditionally support. Her books are always entertaining and well-written. But, my most favorite aspect of her writing style is that she writes realistic characters. All of the females in her books either remind me of myself, of my girlfriends, or at least some type of situation that could happen to us. Five Golden Rings is a welcomed addition to my K.L. Brady collection and it was a great way to kickstart my excitement for the holiday season!!

img_0016-4.jpg

img_0011-1.jpg

img_0012-2.jpg

Click here to buy Five Golden Rings on Amazon!