Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New. Beverly Jenkins. 2011. 355 pages. William Morrow Paperbacks. [Source: personal copy.] Book 3 in the Blessings Series  This series can do no wrong in my eyes, but book 3 is admittedly not as captivating as the first two installments. I’m interested to know the amount of time that lapsed between book 2 and 3, as there was substantially more back-tracking and reminding in this than noticed in book 2. With the introduction of new characters and more discussion on the native culture, I felt book 3 left many of the original members stagnant. I’m eager to get to 4 and see who claims focus, how, and why … I’m still fixated on Tamar, Griff looks like IG star BennyHarlem in my mind, and I was hella annoyed with Devon this time around. Kinda wished for something different for Zoey, but waiting to see how that progresses, too.  Overall pleased, yet slightly disappointed in the skimping of the details as it pertained to the final courting days and the actual ceremony. Nonetheless 5 stars …

Her Secret Life (Jojo’s view)

Her Secret Life. Tiffany L. Warren. 2017. 320 pages. Kensington Books. [Source: ARC provided couresty of NetGalley.] “She’s a series of beautiful contradictions” … my favorite line in the book as Graham simply explained Onika. Similarly, the line  encompasses my emotions about the main character … I was always conflicted. My feelings of empathy were  a direct contradiction to the disdain I felt for her superior, entitled attitude. Onika was so caught up in focusing on the bad hand she was dealt as a child that she failed to realize that the adult negativity was all the root of her own doing and poor decision making. The showcase of how one lie will ultimately beget many others was a valuable and continuous lesson. In addition to how failure to accept your flaws will stunt your ability to grow despite them. An ideal book for many teachers for it’s clear message without forcing hard topics. 5 stars for the effortless way Ms. Warren wove this tale, as a D.C. Native and fellow Greek, she was true to the culture and environment and it only aided the overall work.

A Second Helping: A Blessings Novel

With each book I’m more impressed with the author. Once again sucked in and invested in the characters. I love how she keeps the town and the every dynamic involved. With newly arriving figures in the story, she managed to intertwine them in a manner that didn’t make you feel as though they took away from the others. So excited for part 3 – what’s on the horizon for Trent & Lily? Malachi and Bernadine? And most importantly Tamar (Lawd knows I’m not ready for her role to diminish). There’s just soooo many characters that I wish I knew personally … matter of fact where is the REAL Henry Adams, I may need to take a trip. 5 stars and beyond …

Her Secret Life

Her Secret Life. Tiffany L. Warren. 2017. 320 pages. Kensington Books. [Source: ARC provided couresty of NetGalley.] It’s been awhile since I’ve been so conflicted about a protagonist. To say that I wanted to see Nikki lose isn’t entirely accurate, but I definitely wasn’t rooting for her happily ever after, either. Nikki is portrayed as a flawed, yet persistent woman. I can always understand her choices, even if I didn’t always respect them. Her Secret Life follows Onika “Nikki” Lewis through her young adult years, alternating between her high school graduation and early years of college to her post-graduate mid-twenties. In vivid flashbacks, Warren dredges up painful memories of a drug-addicted mother and grandmother who is too consumed with her daughter’s “sickness” to love and nurture the granddaughter who’s left behind. Nikki’s escape comes in the form of a full scholarship to the prestigious Robinson University in Atlanta, a beacon of excellence for the most promising black scholars. It here where Nikki opts to create a new identity. No longer known as the daughter of the town whore, she vows to become successful and sophisticated.

Bring on the Blessings

Bring on the Blessings. Beverly Jenkins. 2009. 383 pages. HarperCollins. [Source: personal copy.] Love love loved this book! When I opened and realized the entire “back” description was the opening pages, and that I wouldn’t be starting from Bernadine’s tragedy and reading her rise to triumph, I was immediately skeptical. But the book literally grabbed me and never let me go. In the first couple of chapters, you were overwhelmed with characters but the author ultimately formulated each and every one of them. Committed to reading the entire 6 book series now, I have to know what happens to the kids, the town and everyone receiving the Blessings thanks to Bernadine. Definitely 5 stars!