Monday, September 30, 2013

REVIEW: Bona Fide Hustler by Caleb Devine

Congratulations to Caleb Devine on the release of his debut novel.

In this novel, Caleb takes you on his journey from childhood until he is released from prison. He was raised by his grandmother until she passed as his mom was in the streets doing her thing and disappearing for days and weeks at a time. Being the oldest and having three siblings, he was forced to hit the streets to make money. This book will make you cry as you feel the pain of the abuse and neglect and other times, you will be like "damn" as it does get raw and gritty.

Caleb takes you through the drug life to the pimp life to the jail life all in the 136 pages of his book. I don't think there is anything that Caleb has not been through which is why I think it is important to let the youth read his book. I think even some inmates will benefit from reading his story and how he overcame obstacles that would cause others to be dead or jailed for life.

I rate this book 4 stars as it does become a bit wordy but I enjoyed the storyline. I look forward to reading more works by this author.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box

The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box
The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box by Valerie J. Lewis Coleman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Debra Hampton is an independent woman who continues to make bad choices in men which becomes apparent when she comes home to see her man, Vincent in an unfortunate position. She knows she needs to break the cycle and with the probing of her friend, she seeks help from a relationship guru. Through this guru, it is supposed to help Debra deal better when being in a relationship. Does it help? You would have to read to find out.

The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box is an entertaining yet informative read. We as woman give so easily to get our man but more goes into a lasting relationship than that as this book outlines. Sometimes men catches us with our guard down and proceeds to "prey" on it. Know your worth and when you should not settle!

I think all women will find some value with this book whether they are single or in a committed relationship. It will also help us to raise our daughters in a way to protect their "Goody Box."

The author has a great storyline to help with navigating through relationship perils and the characters are well developed. Great job. I will definitely be checking out your other works.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 16, 2013

BRANDING by Author Brian W Smith

I'd like to share my thoughts on the sensitive topic of BRANDING. To be more specific - book covers. Please take a moment to read. I hope this helps someone.

My 14 year old son attempted to walk out of the house the other
day without allowing me to do my customary “sag check.” Wrong answer. I’m not new to this “daddy” thing so I peeped what he was trying to do and I stopped him before he could escape. Sure enough, his pants were a few inches lower than he knew I would authorize. As you might expect, he wasn't pleased with the lecture he received from me about the importance of presenting himself in a respectable way. But, I’m his father so he had no choice but to listen. Along with my customary “boy... you know I don’t play with you look”, I also explained to him that his image is his BRAND. I told him that while living in these suburbs he is being stereotyped and racially profiled every time he walks out that door. Perception often becomes reality; therefore, he needed to understand that when someone is looking to shoot him (figuratively speaking of course) he should never give that person the bullets. As I look around at the literary scene, I see a lot of young authors who would benefit from someone doing a literary “sag check” on them. Yes, it’s your novel, so you can use vulgarity in the title. Yes, it’s your novel, so you can put thugs holding glocks and stacks of money on the cover. Yes, it’s your book, so you can put a scantly clad female or male model on the cover. But understand this, if your novel gets dismissed as “porn on paper” or “hood ignorance”, and readers choose not to sit their prejudices to the side and give it a chance, it’s no one’s fault but your own. YOU chose to BRAND your work in that fashion. YOU chose to run the risk of being pre-judged and stereotyped in a negative manner. The outcome of your BRANDING choices start and stop with YOU. Just like my son can’t control public perception (and the subsequent public reaction) to his appearance, YOU as an author can’t control the way people perceive and treat your novel based on its appearance.

Moral to this story: Choose your BRAND wisely because once you get that literary tattoo, it takes a lot of time and money to have it removed.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: No Boundaries

No Boundaries
No Boundaries by Allison Hobbs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fonia is a young lady with a low self-esteemed due to watching her mother enter into the world of bondage and submissiveness with her boss. Her mother's master and former boss, Mr. Harrison Lord decides to take Fiona under his wings after her mother becomes disobedient.

Mr. Lord uses Fiona's youth and innocence to get what he wants from her. He doesn't actually take advantage of her sexually in the beginning but let's just say, he uses her in a way that he gets pleasure from. Being that Fiona has always been under the lock and key of Harrison Lord's watchful eye, when the opportunity is opened for her to escape from that life, she runs like hell and vows to do everything she missed out on life. Being oppressed for so long causes Fiona to sleep with any and every thing with a penis between their legs.

Along the way she meets Jaguar who is fresh out of law school. Jaguar is bartending to get himself out of debt. He has had his share of sexual trysts but something in Fiona makes him re-think his position on sex for fun.

Will Fiona break free from the chains of Harrison Lord? Will Fiona and Jaguar live happily ever after? You have to one click to find out as Allison Hobbs takes us on another ride of twists and turns with a dosage of hot sex in between.

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cover Reveal and Review: Prisoner of Love by Rossyln Johnson

Thank you Rosslyn for the privilege of reading a sample of "Prisoner of Love."

Let me say, I didn't know what to expect when I first started reading this story but the title fits the story perfectly. Paige is a prisoner of her boyfriend, ...Randy's love.

As I continue reading this story, it grips my heartstrings as this can be any woman's battle. Randy is a control freak who has weird way of getting his rocks off. Paige is confused but strong. She knows she has to play Randy's games sometimes in order to survive.

Without giving too much away, Rosslyn has done a great job in this raw short story of domestic violence. I applaud you on bringing your turmoil to paper and sharing it with us.

*** COMING SOON ****

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BLOG TOUR STOP: Valerie J. Lewis Coleman

Who is Valerie J. Lewis Coleman?            
After a twenty-six-year engineering career with Delphi Automotive Systems (formerly General Motors), the plant closed and my position relocated to Mexico. Since I was not ready to test my proficiency in the Spanish I learned in high school, I embarked upon adjunct teaching at three colleges and full-time entrepreneurism. I created Pen of the Writer to publish my books and equip writers to do the same. I transitioned engineering problem-solving skills and MBA expertise to the book business to launch careers for thousands of authors including scores of high-school students and inmates. 
Because of the relationship advice in my books and the corresponding workshops/presentations, I have helped many people improve relationships. The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box delves into dating by compiling relationship advice from hundreds of men into an entertaining novel. Blended Families An Anthology provides biblical principles and practical tools to help stepfamilies thrive.
Like many women, I wear multiple hats: wife, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, educator, Christian…. Although each role is distinctly different, they share a common theme: empowering people to make better life choices. Whether managing relationship issues, mastering self-publishing or comprehending mathematics, using my strengths to inspire others brings me great satisfaction.

How long have you been writing?
My first attempt at writing a book was in the sixth grade. The teacher read two of S. E. Hinton’s books and Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea which inspired me. I had written about ten pages when I realized that I had jumped between first-person and third-person narratives. Unable or unwilling to fix the problem, I put the project aside.

I dibbled and dabbled with poetry and wrote a calculus booklet to help a high school senior, but my first official published work was an undergraduate thesis.

What inspired you to write The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box?
Like most women, when I had man problems, I talked with my girlfriends, sister and mother. Although the concern was genuine, the relationship advice was riddled with emotions, bad experiences and a twisted perspective on men. After consistently choosing Mr. Wrong and dealing with the consequences, I finally attracted a great guy to whom I have been married for almost twenty years. But here’s the catch: I did not know what I did differently to win his heart.

I wanted to understand what actions led me down the aisle of matrimony while many of my girlfriends were still distressed about living single. So as I dug inwardly, I also researched and studied men for years. I got the scoop on man-cave, barber-shop, locker-room conversations normally off limits to women and developed the top three things every woman must know about men. The result was the entertaining, yet relationship savvy, The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box.

What steps did you take to publish your first (or latest) book? 
I spent years researching men and compiling information for The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box. When I finally put pen to paper, it only took four months to write. As I tested titles and cover images, I put the novel through a series of edits:
** I solicited a POWER Team to read select chapters and provide feedback.
** I contracted with Wendy Hart Beckman, a professional copy editor, and then
** I hired Lynel Johnson Washington to proofread.

After each phase of editing, I reviewed the recommended changes, read the entire manuscript and then accepted or rejected the changes.
Having published more than thirty books through Pen of the Writer and Queen V Publishing, I took advantage of my vast supplier relationships to independently publish The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box.

What's your favorite part in the book?
That’s a tough question. Writing The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box was an enjoyable experience. At times, the characters came alive and I simply transcribed their interaction. But since I have to choose a favorite part, then the chapter entitled The Making of Mr. Right is it. Rachel and Debra have an in-depth, lively conversation about the qualities that Debra expects in a man. Delving deeper than his looks or how much money he has, the chapter was designed to help women assess the must-haves and preferences of Mr. Right-for-You while taking a personal inventory to ensure comparable qualities exist within. As Lyfe Jennings says in Statistics 101, "Be the person you want to find. Don’t be nickel out here looking for a dime."

Outside of writing this book, I understand you’re involved in other projects. Would you mind sharing those with us?
The Goody Box Book brand is expanding. The audio book releases later this year with an awesome theme song created by an award-winning producer. The first chapter and the theme song are posted at

Although The Goody Box Book is a clean read (the youngest reader that I am aware of was twelve years old), the demand for a prequel has been overwhelming. Parents and grandparents are requesting a teen edition to help young ladies avoid the heartaches of failed love. However, before I write the youth fiction, I have to complete the sequel. I have been threatened, warned and reprimanded for not having it finished. The readers want to know what happened with Sherry and Dwight, Debra and Jarrus and the love triangle between Rachel, Brian and Conrad.

I have been contracted to conduct workshops, seminars and keynotes at schools, churches and organizations to empower women and girls. Why He Left You for Her and I Love Myself Too Much to Give You My Goody are catalysts for a nationwide movement.

A t-shirt line is on the horizon to further brand The Goody Box Project.
I collaborated with fellow author and advocate for "girl power," Karen M.R. Townsend, Ph.D., to create the Uterus Adventures (UAs) ( UAs are ladies-only experiences and excursions designed for women who are willing to step outside their comfort zone to embrace the courage they never knew they had! These adventures are single-day events and weekend excursions that include empowerment workshops, a challenging adventure and time dedicated to debrief the experience.
On the literary side, I coach aspiring authors (, host conferences like and publish books through and I have written Self-Publishing Made Easy Journals to equip writers with guides to navigate the mysterious labyrinth of publishing.


Do you plan on attending any events soon? If so, please tell us where you will be.
Other blog stops and interviews as noted at

Sep 21, 2013 I’m presenting Self-Publishing Made Easy at the twentieth annual Sister to Sister Conference (
Sep 21-22, 2013 I’m hosting and signing at the Dayton Book Expo Author Pavilion at the Dayton Women’s Fair (

Sep 28, 2013 I’m presenting Self-Publishing Made Easy at the fifth annual Anointed Pens Conference (

Oct 4-5, 2013 I’m hosting the Tenth Annual Pen to Paper Literary Symposium (

Oct 26 I’m co-facilitating another Uterus Adventure (
Dec 16-20, 2013 I’m conducting a publishing conference for the African Film and Writers Society – Uganda (
How can the listeners contact you if they would like to receive a personal copy? Do you have a website? Autographed copies of The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box can be ordered at and

What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an author?
Understand the business. Whether traditional, independent or self-published, this business is not for the faint of heart. With writing consuming 10% of your resources and publishing about 30%, the bulk of your time, money and effort (60%) will be allocated to marketing and promoting your book. Recognize that many service providers have no vested interest in the success of your book. They don’t care if your cover is a template used on thousands of other books or that your manuscript lacks professional editing. Why? Because they generate revenue from you, not your readers. These book producers often position themselves as publishers when in fact they are predatory print-on-demand printers that charge exorbitant fees. As a result, it is nearly impossible to be profitable.

Is there anything else you would like to say in closing?
I packed years of researching men, studying relationships and polling women into this book. Although it’s a novel, The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box has relevant, practical, proven relationship advice. Many of my readers have told me that the book was life changing. One reader indicated that by following my relationship advice, she met and married the man of her dreams. For their first anniversary, he gave her a BMW!

My favorite quotes:

"A wise man learns from his mistakes; a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others."

—African Proverb

"Give a man fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime."

—Lao Tzu

"What we do today echoes through eternity."

—Marcus Aurelius



The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box Virtual Book Tour with
Valerie J. Lewis Coleman
Sept 2-13, 2013
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Pen Of The Writer, LLC (May 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0978606639
ISBN-13: 978-0978606633
About The Book
What your father didn't tell you and your mother didn't know. Successful. Beautiful. Intelligent. Yet a satisfying relationship eludes Debra Hampton. At thirty-five years old, she can't figure out why her philosophy on men-and what they want from women-isn't working. She's trapped in a cycle of shattered relationships, until a friend refers her to a relationship guru. After some resistance, Debra finds refuge in his counsel as he helps her navigate through the storms of rejection and failed love. Once he reveals the error of her ways, will Debra master the forbidden secrets to attract her soul mate or continue to keep love at bay?
Book Excerpt:
 Chapter 1
For the Love of Vincent
Sunday-morning service stirred Debra Hampton’s heart. The poignant message convinced her to resolve a matter that had her torn for almost a year. She had been undecided about whether to marry her live-in boyfriend, Vincent. He didn’t share her religious beliefs and refused to go with her to church, but she knew that he was the best man for her.
He laughed at her silly antics, talked with her about her ambitions and encouraged her to greatness. He made her the focal point of his life and involved her in every decision no matter how minute. But it was his touch that held her hostage, kept her toying with God’s love by giving herself to a man who was not her husband.
With her head bowed to hide the free-flowing tears, she exited the church without speaking to anyone. She sat in her Mercedes S550, took a moment to freshen her makeup, expelled a sigh of relief. She looked to Heaven through the panorama sunroof, smiled, closed her eyes, gave thanks. The decision to accept Vincent’s proposal resonated; filled her with peace as she trusted the Lord with her soul mate.
The thirty-minute drive from the inner-city church to her suburban home gave her ample time to reflect upon the life they would build together: three children, business partnership and unlimited mind-blowing sex. The rush of blood to her southern bell—the name her mother called her vagina when she was a child—gave her pause. Fortunately, she was stopped at a red light. She clicked through the Sirius Satellite stations and then opted to enjoy tunes Vincent had downloaded to her iPod a few nights prior.
As she turned into Creekwood Estates—a lavish community north of Dayton—she admired the mansion-sized homes set hundreds of feet from the street. Manicured lawns featured rows of exotic trees, shrubbery and blooming flowers. Cobblestone driveways boasted luxury cars and backyards had customized gym sets or in-ground pools.
Her stucco and brick palatial home was small in comparison to those of her neighbors, but it was big enough for her family-to-be. She loved the side-entry, three-car garage because it camouflaged the unpacked moving boxes from passersby. She parked in the usual spot—closest to the mudroom door—and then she smiled wide. “He’s home.”
Debra grabbed her purse and Bible and then jaunted into the house. She placed her belongings on the granite countertop, careful not to make noise. Since the television wasn’t locked on a sporting event, Vincent had to be resting in the master suite. A 3,500-square-foot home and he preferred the family room and bedroom.
She slipped off her stilettos, tiptoed up the stairs. Her heart beat faster with each step. She wiped her palms together to dry the sweaty moisture, pressed her ear to the door. His subtle snores seeped through. She giggled and then covered her mouth to halt the escape of more laughter.
She opened the door, peeked in, swung it wide. “Vincent! What the devil?”
“Debra, what are you doing here?” After a quick dismount, he rummaged the floor for his Fruit of the Looms. “When’d you get home?”
“Who is this woman and why is she in my bed?” She ran to the side of the bed, towered over her betrayer. Breath stalled in her throat, eyes widened. “Catherine!”
Catherine—the first person to welcome Debra to the neighborhood—reached for her clothes, scurried to dress.
Debra lunged at her, snatched her by the ponytail, drew back her fist. Just as she connected with Catherine’s right jaw, Vincent grabbed Debra around the waist, pulled her away. She flailed her arms, kicked at his shins, head-butted him in the mouth. When he released her, she pursued Catherine who was halfway down the stairs, underwear in tow.

Join Valerie’s mailing list to be eligible to receive one free e-book. One winner will receive a special code to download a copy from SmashWords



Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Bottom Bitch

Bottom Bitch
Bottom Bitch by Racquel Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sierra Rogers is an independent woman who knows what she wants and goes after it including if it is someone else's husband. Growing up in one of Richmond's toughest housing projects, she knows how to handle herself well. She has her share of sugar daddies who keep her pockets lined with money which she finally uses to open her own beauty salon.

One evening after the salon's closing, in walks, Alijah Jackson, one of Richmond's drug kings. Mesmerized by his swagger, Sierra makes it her business to get him in her life and bed. Little does she know, Alijah is feeling the same way although he is married to attorney, Shayna Jackson. He and Shayna are drifting apart and he wants out of the marriage but he knows Shayna is not going down without a fight especially living the lifestyle that Alijah's drug dealing money brings in to the household.

After going through some ups and down with Sierra, Alijah decides to make her his "Bottom Bitch." Armed with revenge and evidence, someone attempts to bring Alijah down by turning him in to the Feds.

Has Alijah's time run out? Which enemy wants his blood? Who can he trust? In the streets, loyalty is hard to come by. You have got to one click to find out.

The author does a good job of character development and the storyline was hot! I did feel at times that the character retelling the story in their point of view led to redundancy and made the story drag on a little longer than it should have. All in all, I applaud Ms. Williams for taking on this type of POV for her debut novel.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: An Unexpected Blessing

An Unexpected Blessing
An Unexpected Blessing by Unoma Nwankwor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Feranmi is a young woman who is originally from Nigerian but now lives in the States. She is beautiful and very independent. She knows what she wants and refuse to allow her parents to push her into the arranged marriage part of their Nigerian culture. Her parents will not let up so when her parents make the decision to come to the U.S, Feranmi must come up with a plan and a man.

Alex watched Feranmi walk out of his life four years ago and now vows to make sure it never happens again. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get her back into his life even if it means deceiving her parents temporarily. Sadly, Alex might lose her again due to his own omission of the truth.

Armed with a plan and a man, Feranmi plots out her relationship with Alex. The only problem is, how can you pretend to be in love with someone when you really are? Can Feranmi truly deny her feelings for an African American man who has her heart already? Will her parents catch on that Alex is not Nigerian? You have to get your copy to find out.

The author does an amazing job of bringing the reader into the Nigerian culture and helping us understand why things are the way they are. She also has great character development of Alex and Feranmi. I wish there was a little more development on Ini and Kayla's character.

I truly enjoyed reading the story and how true love always prevail when the variables are in balance.

*** A copy was given in exchange of a honest review ***

View all my reviews