Category Archives: novels
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…
Lust is full of intrigue and suspense. I could not put this book down, which is common in all of Victoria Christopher Murray’s books. She is a phenomenal story teller and master wordsmith.
I have steered away from reading urban books because of the profanity, violence, blood shed and graphic sex scenes. However, Lust is different. This is the kind of urban literature I would like to read, which why I appreciate Victoria Christopher Murray’s writing style. She makes her points, without it being in your face, which is also a tell-tale sign of a good writer.
Lust had a moral lesson in it. I don’t believe it was Victoria Christopher Murray’s intention, as she writes to entertain, however, she dropped a few gems in this story that made think and remember… which is why I identified with the female protagonist, Tiffanie.
While I read this story, my emotions were all over the place. There were some lines in this book, that made me laugh out loud. Victoria Christopher Murray’s character development and pacing is awesome, which is why I love reading her books, and Lust was no exception. I rate this book five stars, and highly recommend it.
In conclusion, I want to thank Touchstone for sending me a complimentary copy of Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel in exchange for an honest review.
Victoria Christopher Murray has been writing inspiration African-American fiction since she left the financial services industry in 1997 to write her self-published debut Temptation. Her most recent novel Stand Your Ground (Touchstone, June 2015) won the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Lust marks the twentieth anniversary since the publication of Temptation.
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Illuminnessence Publishing
Taryn Durand believed in happily ever after but the man she married didnt believe in her. After being married to someone that didn’t love her or want her happiness she sought it out on her own in a way no one imagined. Taryn eventually gets her mind, body and soul right and in that she meets Asher. There’s something different about Asher yet he knows there’s something different aboout Taryn. Soon the differences that keep them apart will bring them together and they will be fighting to either stay together or live their lives separately. Will true love prevail?
Blaque Widow draws you in from page one. The story is about the main protagonist, Taryn and who endures abuse by her mother, Edith, and her ex-boyfriend Trenton who happens to be sleeping with her mother.
After Taryn tears away from Trenton and her mother. She meets Devon, with the hopes things would be different and he would love her unconditionally. Sadly, after they got married, he starts to abuse her too.
It was only when Devon dies from an “accident” that Taryn was set free. She decides to join a gym and meets Asher, who becomes her personal trainer. They seem to have a connection and chemistry, however, because of all the abuse she endured, she is afraid to let him in.
Allison Grace creatively pens the consequences and affects of abuse. She exposes the self-hatred, and how abuse plays out mentally, emotionally, psychologically and physically. This story shows the extreme measures of what could happen, when abuse is not addressed and goes unchecked.
Blaque Widow is shocking, surprising and suspenseful. The story ends on a cliff hanger, and I look forward to the sequel.
Meet Allison Edwards formerly known as Essence M & now known as “Allison Grace”. The beautiful brain behind Illuminnessence Publishing, founded in 2007 by this avid writer/ reader who began her love affair with words at a tender age. Allison went on to create an extensive catalog of unpublished works including poetry & short stories.
Allison’s passion for words began in early childhood, she had always been fond of reading about life, love, poetry and short stories. As she matured, she challenged herself to hone her craft, exploring various story lines and navigating into the tumultuous world of adult relationships. Throughout her teen & young adult years she decided to put pen to paper and indulge one of her fantasies, to become a writer. Some of her favorite authors include Donald Goines, VC Andrews, Jackie Collins, Judy Blume and ZANE. This eccentric choice of novels allowed her to see different genres, writing styles and what they entailed. Each were very different and taught her a lot with regards to target audiences, story lines, and descriptions. Nothing prepared her however for her venture into Urban Literature.Allison’s first experience with Urban Lit began when she, as an avid reader received a message from one who promoted for a brand new unknown publishing company and was seeking assistance in promoting novels. Members would receive a chance to win free books and other spectacular prizes. Allison jumped at the chance and was soon an official Street Team/Pep Squad member of the “Cartel Publications” spearheaded by Essence Best-selling Author T Styles and her partner Vice President, Charisse Washington. They both would play an important role in Allison’s literary career later on as mentors.Their influences and support caused Allison to link up with KingPen A.S of HHEAT Magazine and she was able to co host a show with him featuring authors on Blog Talk Radio. Authors interviewed include K.D Harris, Jason Poole, Iesha Brown, and much more. This allowed Allison access to an industry untapped where new and established authors were able to speak with her regarding novels they wanted to promote. She then took on the responsibility of hosting her own radio show which showcased authors such as Takerra Allen, Tanisha “Mahogani P” Pettiford as well as others. During this time, Allison shamelessly continued to promote The Cartel Publications and began writing her first novel.
It is with that unwavering tenacity that we’ve arrived at this point. Allison’s first venture into self publication “Broken Promises Never Mend” became available in paperback in January 2010. An amended version of which was released June 2010 in paperback, which features a new cover. It premiered on Amazon for Kindle, as of June 2010 as well. Allison learned various lessons while putting this novel together. Some of which she’s still learning to this day and with every novel she improves her craft and tries harder. She proved that by releasing a follow up to her debut less than a year later showing naysayers that she wasn’t a one hit wonder.
The sizzling sequel Bound By Lies debuted on Amazon for Kindle, February 2011 to rave reviews and is still causing mouths to drop with an ending that rivals its predecessor. Both novels are considered an “underground success” and were edited by Brandie Randolph of Editing Couture. Allison followed up with a novel for the streets entitled Bittersweet which showed the world that she was here to stay. During a brief hiatus, Allison published a short story series (Bitch Clique) that brought just as much drama as an entire season of “Scandal”.
Allison is currently focused on a collection of other works slated for release in 2016, under her imprint “Full of Essence Publications”. The idea to reinvent herself came about with prayer and the desire to be so much more than she already established herself to be. In 2013, Allison Grace was signed to an independent publisher “Sevyn McCray Presents” spearheaded by Sevyn McCray and David Weaver of SBR Publications. Her novel under that imprint PrePaid Mistress debuted at number 5 on the Amazon Bestsellers list for African American women’s fiction. She followed up with the sequel Prepaid Mistress 2 and also revamped her ebook series Bitch Clique Reloaded into a full length action packed standalone. in 2015, Allison released an emotionally charged novel focusing on domestic violence and addiction entitled Blaque Widow. Allison anticipates an abundance of blessings in 2016 and beyond beginning with work on other titles she’s got in store as well as promoting authors that seek her assistance in publishing.
“I was blessed to enter this industry and know how hard it is, so the least I can do is give back.” she says with a gleam in her eye and a smile on her face. This native New Yorker prides herself in assisting others and promotes literacy to her children. This isn’t the end of Allison Grace and we can tell she’s got a long way to go but the rewards have been phenomenal.
Julius Jr.s’ childhood is far less than perfect. He is torn between his mother and father who are going through a bitter divorce. His world is turned upside down when his father takes him from the comfort of the family home in Benton Harbor Michigan to the brutal streets of South Dallas Texas. When Julius Jr.s’ family is gruesomely murdered his life takes a dramatic turn. His mother Naje moves to Texas to care for her youngest son and finds herself drawn into a conspiracy that threatens to not only take the life of her youngest son but hers as well. Roll with Julius as he grows into the ultimate hustler and unrelenting killer that the gang-ridden streets of South Dallas often breeds, where pimping, drug dealing, treachery and betrayal go hand in hand.
I happened upon Novelist Blacc Topp recently, and decided to explore his writing. The Hustle Chronicles is his debut novel which was released in 2012.
Little did I know, I would embark on a suspenseful ride of twists and turns. I immediately fell in love with his writing, the story and the characters. Especially, Julius Sr. and Julius Jr. Their bond was special and touching.
Novelist Blacc Topp does an extraordinary job of evoking emotion as well as conveying the inner workings of the mind and heart of his characters. His writing style is raw, sensual and thought provoking. He draws you in, and seduces you with his vivid and detailed descriptions. It’s as if he’s holding your hand and guiding you through an experience you won’t forget.
Blacc Topp is a creative genius and a master of words. His unique and original style has taken this genre to another level.
I highly recommend The Hustle Chronicles, and any book he pens. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Novelist Blacc Topp was born to a father that was a gangster turned preacher and a mother that was a singer, artist, and scholar. He was born into a family of preachers, pimps, prostitutes, drug drealers, dopefiends, and squares. Blacc Topp was raised on the streets of South Dallas, Texas. After the death of his father, feeling as though he had nowhere to turn he turned to the gang. The neighborhood gang, Dixon Circle 357um Gangsta Crips is where he would learn to become ruthless and unfeeling. Although he was deep in the gang and game, he continued his studies for fear that his mother would make him move to Florida.
By the age nineteen he had been shot three times and was on his way to the Texas Department of Corrections with a forty year prison sentence for distribution of narcotics. While inside he lost his youngest sister to the violence of drugs in 1996. After serving seven years, he was granted parole (mainly due to his mother’s efforts). He used the education that he obtained inside to land a job at a top engineering firm in Texas. He used his love of word play to push himself to local fame on the hip-hop scene in Texas and Florida but, he would lose his mother to cancer in 2006, only to lose his oldest sister to cancer in 2008 and he knew something had to change. He began to chronicle his life, his mishaps and his capers which gave birth to The Hustle Chronicles, his debut novel and soundtrack of the same name.
I haven’t posted in awhile and that’s because I was participating in the National Novel Writing Month, NanoWriMo.
Yesterday morning, I surpassed the 50,000 word mark and won for the very first time.
Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to win when I first committed to doing it. There were a ton of doubts bouncing in my mind.
What if I couldn’t stick to getting up early? What if I got migraines from lack of sleep? What if I couldn’t write 50,000 words by the end of November? What if I couldn’t write fiction?
That was the big one, because truthfully, I never wrote an ounce of fiction in my life. This was my first time attempting to write a novel. I didn’t know what I was doing and quite frankly, still don’t.
However, what I learned by participating in NanoWriMo, is that when I pushed through my fear and took the plunge, I found out I was capable of a lot more than I thought.
I discovered I was wired to create stories and write fiction my entire life and didn’t even know it.
Although, my husband claims to have known, and is my biggest cheerleader.
What a surprise it was for me though. And to think I would have missed out on it if I didn’t try.
This was a learning experience for me on many levels. I had to push through the doubts and determine to do it despite my fear of not knowing how to.
I would have continued to believe that “just showing up” was a cliché by the experts, if I had not experienced it for myself.
Sometimes you don’t need a roadmap, you just have to do it and figure it out as you go.
Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it seems bigger than life when you first attempt it. But if you keep at it, you learn you are capable of much more than you thought.
It’s by allowing yourself to try, that courage meets you on the road of creating.
Writing my first novel was hard, but it was also rewarding. I’m glad I committed to it, stuck with it and won.
I haven’t finished the novel yet, but I developed the habit of getting up early by doing NanoWriMo and I will continue to write every morning until it’s completed.
Overall, it’s been a great experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has ever considered writing a novel.
Did you participate in this month’s NanoWriMo for the first time? I would love to hear about your experience.
On a small snow-covered island—so tiny that it can’t be found on any map—lives twelve-year-old Minou, her philosopher Papa (a descendent of Descartes), Boxman the magician, and a clever dog called No-Name. A year earlier Minou’s mother left the house wearing her best shoes and carrying a large black umbrella. She never returned.
One morning Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father decides to lay him in the room that once belonged to her mother. Can her mother’s disappearance be explained by the boy? Will Boxman be able to help find her? Minou, unwilling to accept her mother’s death, attempts to find the truth through Descartes’ philosophy. Over the course of her investigation Minou will discover the truth about loss and love, a truth that The Vanishing Act conveys in a voice that is uniquely enchanting.
The Vanishing Act is a well written and captivating story with mixture of fantasy and philosophy. This story is like a beautiful painting whose brush strokes are poetic and descriptive.
The central theme is about a twelve year old girl named Minou and the disappearance of her mother. One day her mother puts on her best shoes, takes her big black umbrella and walks out the house never to be seen again.
Everyone thinks she is dead, except for Minou. She does not believe her mother is dead, but will return one day. She keeps a journal, building a case with the reasons why she believes her mother is still alive.
While Minou was walking on the beach, she comes across the body of a dead boy. She runs to tell her father. Her father comes and carries the dead boy to their home. He decides to put the dead boy on the bed in Minou’s mother’s blue room until the ship arrives in three days. In the interim, he opens the window to make sure the boy’s body remains frozen.
Minou’s father is a philosopher from the descendant of Descartes searching for the absolute truth. Both Minou and her father struggle to find answers and figure out what happened.
Her father believes the key to finding the absolute truth is somehow connected to the dead boy’s body. He thinks he will get the answer (as does Minou) by sitting with him for three days until the ship arrives.
Minou and her father live on a small, remote island surrounded by the ocean. I get the impression the island is in the middle of nowhere. The only people living on this isolated island is Minou, her papa, a Priest, Boxman the magician and his dog, No Name.
You never quite know where any of them come from (except for Minou) and/or how they wound up on the island.
However, there is mystery surrounding Minou’s mother’s arrival to the island as well as her departure.
Minou’s mother disappears the following day after performing in Boxman’s magic show, called “The Vanishing Act“.
The only item found was one of the shoes she wore the day she left.
There is an underlying melancholy theme throughout the book. Between Minou’s complex and troubled father, who was traumatized by a war. The disappearance of her free spirited, artistic mother with a troubled past. The pretzel making Priest and his inability to sleep in the dark. The mysterious Boxman the magician and his lost love named Cosmina.
The Vanishing Act keeps you guessing and coming back for more.
I enjoyed reading The Vanishing Act and recommend this thoughtful novel to everyone.
In conclusion, I want to personally thank Erin Sinesky Lovett from W.W. Norton & Company for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.
Mette Jakobsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1964 but now lives in Newtown, Sydney. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and a BA in philosophy. In 2004 she graduated from NIDA’s Playwrights Studio and several of her plays have been broadcast on ABC national radio. The Vanishing Act is her first novel.