Tag Archives: african american fiction

Spotlight: Welfare Grind by Kendall Banks

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Cold-hearted Keema takes the world by storm as she navigates her way through every trick and scam she can pull off. With four kids in tow, living off the welfare system had become her life along with the extra cash, sex and violence, her gangsta boyfriend Dupree brought into her life. Soon, chaos erupts, causing Keema’s secret past to become a problem. When the chips fall, they fall hard, leaving Keema willing to do whatever it takes to keep money in her pocket. She’s willing to go that extra mile, even if it means selling her kids, or setting up her man.
Excerpt

Finally the door to the back offices opened up. Ms. Vines, my caseworker, stuck her head out. She was wearing an out dated pant suit too tight for her fat frame, and a pair of run over heels, which she seemed to have on each and every time since the very first day I met her. Her dark skin was dry and acne filled, which came from drinking too many of them Cokes she always had on her desk. And today her short, bob styled wig was matted to the left side of her head.

“Keema Newell !” she called.
“Bout time,” I whispered as I stood from my chair and quickly walked past her, anxious to find out when I was getting my kids back and get this visit over with. The two of us headed to her tiny office. As we walked I could smell a double cheese burger with extra onions seeping from her pores. Once we reached her office she plopped down behind her desk, opened a drawer and pulled out my case file. She opened it and sat it on her desk next to the half-empty bottle of Coca Cola.
“Was my Medicaid application accepted?” I asked as I sat down. We’d discussed me getting full coverage during the last visit. I was hoping I’d be approved before the next check, which would be here in ten days. I was always trying to milk her ass for whatever I could get. “Deniro’s doctor really thinks he may have a disability,” I lied.
“Keema, right now the Medicaid application is the least of your worries.”
Here she goes. My eyes wanted to roll but I forced them to remain still. Despite how much I hated her, Ms. Vines wrote the checks so I had to be cool.
“We need to begin this visit with you telling me about why the children are in Baltimore City custody.”  She eyeballed me like she was better than me or something. “That’s the reason I requested the meeting.”
“The police kicked my door in two days ago pointing guns at me and my kids,” I told her. “They told me somebody lied and said I was selling drugs out of my apartment. Can you believe that?”
“Why would someone do that?”
“You know how people are, Ms. Vines. They nosey and always want to get stuff started. Just because I don’t associate with none of them, they want to mess with me. I’m out looking for jobs every day and they hatin’ on that. That’s all that is.”
“Keema, the police don’t just kick in doors for no reason. They do investigations before they do something that extreme.”
“Not this time, they didn’t. They kicked mine in for nothing.”
Ms. Vines gave me a smirk and looked down at my case file. “Keema, the police found a gun and marijuana in the apartment,” she said raising her head to look at me.
“But it wasn’t mine,” I said, trying to sound convincing.
“Then whose was it?”
“Shane’s.”
“Your boyfriend’s son?”
“Yeah, I didn’t even know he had the stuff.”
“You had no idea, huh?” she asked pursing her lips.
“I really didn’t.”
“Doesn’t he have autism?”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m so surprised. I’m starting to wonder if the autism thing is an act. You know autism is a brain problem that makes it hard to communicate. But if he selling drugs then he communicating just fine.”
“Keema…”
I cut her off since she hadn’t been convinced yet.  His father told me that his autism only meant he’d have social impairments and some mild character flaws, but this is too much. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking about telling his daddy he needs to find Shane another place to stay. I can’t have that kind of stuff around my kids.”
She stared at me for a moment, causing me to nibble on my nails again. I always did that when I was nervous. Right now I didn’t quite know what was going through her mind but the look on her face showed me she still didn’t quite believe me.
“Ms. Vines, I miss my babies,” I whimpered. “They’re my world. I haven’t even been able to sleep since the cops took them.” I stopped to snivel before continuing, “And it’s breaking my heart so bad I went to church this morning and prayed on it. That’s why I was late to see you. Oh God, Ms. Vines, when will I be getting them back?”
Ms. Vines leaned forward and folded her hands on the desk. “Keema, do you have any idea how serious this situation is? There was a gun underneath one of your children’s mattress and drugs in a cereal box.”
“But they weren’t mine,” I whined. “I didn’t even know the stuff was there. I swear to God in Heaven I didn’t.”
“I find that hard to believe, Keema.”
“Do you think I would actually have a gun and drugs around my kids?” I asked in disbelief.
“You tell me,” she said. “The police have also stated they found a lit blunt in your apartment.”
“That was Shane’s too.”
“You mean you didn’t smell him smoking?”
“I told you that autism thing may be a front. He’s real slick.”
She leaned back into her chair and looked at me strangely.
“I’m not lying, Ms. Vines. I would never put my kids in harms way like that.”
She exhaled. “Keema, I’m going to be straight forward with you. “You’ve been on assistance for several years. You haven’t shown any urge to find gainful employment.”
I slammed my hand on the desk. “I go on job interviews all the time!”
“Let me finish, Keema,” she said sternly. “You’re always late for our appointments. You’ve failed drug tests. To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for the kids, I would’ve taken you off of assistance a long time ago.”
I looked at her pitifully, biting my nails again.
“The system is in place to empower you, not enable you Keema.”
“I know, Ms. Vines. That’s what my mother tells me all the time. And I swear I’m trying my hardest. I’ve made mistakes but I’m a good person and I love my kids.”
She looked at me with no emotion. She was pissing me off but I didn’t show it. I stayed in character despite the fact that she was trying to give me such a hard time.
“It’s so hard out here for a single black mother, Ms. Vines.” Tears appeared in my eyes.
“I’m sorry Keema. No money this month until your case is reviewed further.”
I almost fainted.

kendall banks
Kendall Banks, Executive Assistant by day, bartender by night is the proud author of Rich Girls, One Night Stand, Another One Stand and The Welfare Grind Series. She originally hails from both Georgia and North Carolina and presently resides in Washington, D.C. Her long time goal was to produce movies, however after writing her first movie script and failing, she turned it into a manuscript and submitted it to LCB. Ironically, after the success of One Night Stand the novel, an independent studio picked up the project and is now in pre-production. Kendall enjoys the success of her hard work but participates in community service activities often.
Get to Know Kendall:
1. Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?Welfare Grind starts off with an explosive scene that shows Keema, the main character not taking ownership of something that has the authorities at her front door. When her kids are taken away from her this starts a downward spiral for tons of tricks and scams that Keema pulls off to get them back…all in the name of  getting those Welfare Benefits. The money is good..REAL good and she can’t stand the thought of not collecting the funds.  Keema’s character is very authentic and has readers wanting to choke her!Treasure is Keema’s daughter who subliminally acts just like her mother. At ten years old she’s had to grow up all too soon becoming an apprentice in their project based home. Treasure is quick, witty and extremely intuitive. Unfortunately for Keema, karma may come from her own child. They say- the apple never falls far from the tree.

2. Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?

I can mostly identify with the ten year old character, Treasure. Forced to grow up without a father and ultimately be responsible for her younger brother’s well-being, Treasure often takes the ‘mother role’ and is allowed to use her own judgment to solve problems at such a young age.
I myself was one of those kids who didn’t have a relationship with my father, so I knew this was a subject that a lot of readers could relate to.

3.  Is this the book you intended on writing or did it take on a life of its own as you were writing? How do you stay focused?

It definitely took on a life of its own because the character, Keema became so dramatic and entertaining after the first chapter. She became far more dimensional that I ever imagined and has several variations. She became so exciting, and so absorbing, I couldn’t stop writing. Even with her flaws, the readers seem to love her.

4.  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?

I want readers to walk away with the understanding that being on the system is a choice and getting off is a lifestyle change. It’s easy to get complacent when you’re getting income to live with little effort. The money may seem good on the surface, but is it really self gratifying and what message does it send to your children? For those who really need it, I’m hoping they use it to help them get on their feet then get off of it.

5.  We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what’s next?  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online?

My next project is the third part to Welfare Grind. Readers everywhere are talking about parts 1 and 2 (Still Grindin’) of this Series. This book is going to explore the aftermath of Keema’s decisions and what effects they had on Treasure.

Find Kendall at:

Instagram –  authorkendallb
Twitter – @authorkendallB
Facebook – LCB
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Sex, Lies, and Child Support: The Unholy Trinity by E. Lemont Goode, Jr.

Book Description from Amazon:

In the often volatile world of relationships, three Atlanta individuals discover that crossing the thin line that separates love from hate can lead to explosive consequences.

Mikaela Carter has a well-earned reputation as a woman to be feared in Atlanta’s legal circles. A hot-shot attorney by day, the beautiful Miss Carter is nonetheless a sexually frustrated single woman by night. Just as all seems lost her love life receives an unexpected jolt. A deadly incident brings that to an abrupt end, though, leaving her as the central figure in that tragedy.

To outside observers, Leah Sanchez has the perfect life. But looks can be deceiving as she finds herself in a rocky marriage on the brink of divorce. Facing a nasty custody battle that threatens the most important thing in her world, her daughter, she is unaware that a guarded family secret poses an even greater threat.

Hoop star Jordan Michaels’ life would be near perfect if not for a severe case of baby mama drama. As he closes in on a new contract, he fears that his child’s mother will seek a pay increase of her own…literally at his expense. He decides on a plan of action, one that ultimately threatens to produce a lose-lose when a person from their past unexpectedly enters the picture.

When their three lives intersect, all hell breaks loose, and they discover that when it comes to sex, lies, and child support, even the divine will turn devilish when lured by the root of all evil!

My Review:

I will admit that the title Sex, Lies, and Child Support: The Unholy Trinity did not have me in a rush to read this piece of work by E. Lemont Goode, Jr. But, I am so glad that I looked past the title and started to read it. Once I started, I was completely mesmerized. It was as if I was receiving a behind the scenes look into the stories that are told on all of the gossip websites and television shows.

If you mix professional athletes, with women looking for an easy paycheck, and broken hearts, then you have a recipe for drama and disaster.  Sex, Lies, and Child Support centers around Jordan who is a star NBA player who will go to great lengths to protect his family man image. The secrets, lies, plotting, and scheming done by the cast of characters in Sex, Lies, and Child Support: The Unholy Trinity will keep you entertained page after page. E. Lemont Goode, Jr. is truly a talented writer and I look forward to seeing what else he has in store for us!

5 stars

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author for review purposes.

Can I Be Frank! by Rickey Teems II

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Rickey Teems II tackles the often ignored and sensitive subject of internet porn addiction and turns it into an entertaining read in Can I Be Frank! We meet Frank(lin) while he is watching porn on his computer at work in his cubicle, what an introduction and who does that? Does Frank not know browsing history is traced by employers or is his addiction that deep that he merely does not care? Frank not only loses his job; his wife also says she is leaving him.

Franks finds solace in singing karaoke all over the city but he knows that something must change in his life. My favorite part of the book is when Frank’s cousin suggests he starts dating. Teems’ descriptions of these dates had me laughing out loud because Frank has absolutely no concept of how to interact with women nor how to censor himself.

Even though Frank is going on these dates and making ends meet by singing, his addiction to porn is still there. Well, that is until he finds a new sense of spirituality and then Teems takes us on another journey to see if Frank will choose his addiction or his faith. As with all of his novels, Rickey Teems II explores social issues that make you think, make you feel and most of all, will keep you engaged. Can I Be Frank! is one novella you should definitely read!

5 Stars

 

Today’s Spotlight: Lies Unleashed by Tammara Matthews

Lies Unleashed by Tammara Matthews

Synopsis:

TAMMARA MATTHEWS, in her novel Lies Unleashed, takes her readers into the lives of colorful characters whose relationships are turned upside down when they can t seem to let go. Meet Niki, a partner at a law firm, who learns that her fiance Shawn had a little too much fun at his bachelor s party. She calls it quits, then meets Donte, who quickly sweeps her off her feet. But Shawn refuses to let go, causing Niki s new relationship with Donte utter chaos. Then to further complicate the situation, Shawn s brother James enters the picture, spinning a web of intrigue. Niki confides in her best friend, Charlene, who thinks she s found a winner in Mason until she receives a threatening call one day from his wife/baby mother, which causes a whirlwind of drama to unfold. Watch as lives are transformed as multiple plots overlap in the author s debut novel as the saga continues.

 

Excerpt:

It’s 8 o’clock in the morning, and I’m just waking up again after getting up at 5 to fix my niece, Danielle, something to eat. After eating, we stayed up for a while and watched a little TV. We didn’t go back to sleep until 6 in the morning. Now I’m up once again getting her ready for her parents to pick her up and take her to school. Speaking of the devil, there they are now. “Hey, Tanya, where is Darnell?” “Outside waiting in the car. You know how he is. Always Mr. Impatient.”

“Yeah, I know,” I replied agreeing with Tanya. “He thinks we’ll take too long if he comes in. But he doesn’t have to worry about that today. Shoot, I’m tired and ready to go back to bed. Danielle wore me out these past two days, not to include this morning, but we had fun.”

“Danielle! Come say good-bye to your aunt Niki so we can go. You know we don’t have much time!” Tanya yelled. “So are you coming to her birthday party tomorrow?”

“Yeah, I should be able to make it,” I smiled. “I can’t believe she’ll be seven years old. My baby’s growing up fast.” “I know. Who would’ve thought out of all of us you’d have a baby first, Tanya?”

“I know. I was the main one swearing up and down I wasn’t gonna have no kids, but I’m glad I did . . . Well, I guess we’ll see you tomorrow. Give your aunt a kiss good-bye, Danielle.”

“Bye, Aunt Niki,” Danielle said as she kissed me on my cheek. “Bye, sweetie, I’ll see you tomorrow, OK?” “OK.” “Oh, tell Darnell I said hello,” I yelled waving them good-bye. “Good, now I can get some sleep.” As soon as I lay down in my comfortable bed underneath my big goose down comforter and started to doze off I heard another knock at the door. Damn, people just won’t let me go to sleep! “Who is it?”

“It’s Shawn.” “What do you want? I already told you it’s over!” “I know, but I need to talk to you. Can I come in?” “Hell, no! We’re not together so why are you here?” “To explain what happened and plead my case.” “It won’t do you any good because we’re still not getting back together, but OK, I’ll give you five minutes.”

“Thanks for letting me in. It’s cold outside,” Shawn said rubbing his hands together.  “Look just get to the point. You got four minutes, now!”

“OK, OK! Look, I made a mistake, but I want to make it right so we can get back together. What happened really wasn’t what it seemed.”

“What do you mean it wasn’t what it seemed? You cheated on me at your bachelor’s party with a stripper!” I glared at him. “I know, I know, but you don’t understand. They took advantage of me! I was drunk.” “They? What do you mean, ‘they’? It was more than one? You slept with two women?”

I am 29-years-old and was born in Augsburg, Germany but spent most of my life in the Midwest in East St. Louis, IL. I currently reside in Maryland, which is where I decided to pursue a career in writing. I began reading urban fiction novels when I was about 15 years old and had been interested in writing one of my own every since. Lies Unleashed is my first novel of many to come. My contact email for readers is tammy_3715@hotmail.com. I can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter under username Author Tammara.

 

Get to Know Tammara:

1. Where are you from?

I was born in Augsburg, Germany, which is where I lived until the age of five then moved to the Midwest, East. St. Louis, IL.

2.  When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing books in 2008 and began writing after I was hit with a book idea to the point where I couldn’t stop writing. Since then I’ve been writing non-stop.

3. What inspired you to write your first book?

After reading multiple books, some of which I had to skip pages, I decided to write a novel that would grasp readers attention from start to finish. I want my readers to feel as if they know the characters personally and they’re watching the drama unfold right before their eyes.

4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, it’s better to love and let go. There’s no point of holding onto someone who doesn’t want you, it only causes more drama and pain when you can’t let go. Also lying and cheating gets you nowhere, eventually the truth will come to light and when it does it won’t be a pretty situation.

5. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer once I completed my first novel and received positive reviews.

6. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My interest in writing first originated at the age of fifteen when I read my first urban fiction novel. From that point on I took an interest in writing my own novel.

7. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author is Carl Weber, I like how he incorporates multiple characters and their individual situations in his story plots. His books are never disappointing and are always page-turners.

Web-Links:

www.facebook.com/tammaramatthews

www.twitter.com/authortammara

Two Tears in a Bucket by Traci Bee

 

Title: Two Tears in a Bucket

Author: Traci Bee

Rating: 5

Headline: Will Leave You Wanting More!

Every so often I pick up a book that leaves me completely drained and Two Tears in a Bucket by Traci Bee is one of them. Every single emotion I have was felt while reading the story of Simone. She is a young girl left to take care of herself until she meets Kevin and everything about him is bad except his love for Simone.

Two Tears in a Bucket tackles the age-old question does love truly conquer all? Traci Bee has written a story that is lightning speed, full of drama, and felt like a drug addiction I couldn’t shake because I found myself saying “only one more page” until I hit the last page. Luckily there is a sequel, Another Tear!

Two Tears in a Bucket can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Two-Tears-Bucket-ebook/dp/B004CRSRXE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1349023746&sr=1-1&keywords=two+tears+in+a+bucket

Visit the author’s website at: http://www.tracibee.com/

Kisses Don’t Lie by Tamika Newhouse

 

Title: Kisses Don’t Lie

Author: Tamika Newhouse

Rating: 4

Headline: It’s in His Kiss!

Kyla is torn between her co-worker Keith and her first love, Dean in Kisses Don’t Lie by Tamika Newhouse. Things are starting to heat up between Kyla and Keith until she must go back home to Fort Worth and she runs into Dean. One kiss can change everyone’s lives, especially if it is not from Keith or Dean.

Tamika Newhouse has written a very entertaining book and I love the supplemental story of Brittany and Michael as it added depth and was not a distraction. There was no closure or a true ending to this book so I hope that means there will be a sequel. Kisses Don’t Lie was the first book that I have read by Tamika Newhouse and it will not be my last.

Kisses Don’t Lie can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Kisses-Delphine-Publications-Presents-ebook/dp/B0079Q8S7K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1349020932&sr=1-1&keywords=kisses+don%27t+lie

Visit the author’s website at: http://www.tamikanewhouse.com/home/

Disclaimer: Read it All Book Reviews was given a free copy of this book from the author. We were not compensated for the review. If you would like to have your work and/or your clients reviewed, please send an email for submission guidelines.

Today’s Truth by Terri D

 

Title: Today’s Truth

Author: Terri D

Rating: 4

Headline: Make it a Trilogy!

Today’s Truth by Terri D. is as good as its predecessor Yesterday’s Lies. All of the characters from Yesterday’s Lies are back in this second installment and the storylines are just as juicy and entertaining. Terri D. has done an excellent job of digging deeper and exposing more of each character and how far they will go to protect one another.

Today’s Truth is full of twists and turns that will keep you wanting more and not wanting the book to end. This is not a standalone book so you will need to read Yesterday’s Lies to understand the backstory. Like my headline states, make it a trilogy, c’mon Terri D!

Today’s Truth can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Todays-Truth-ebook/dp/B008177278/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1349018681&sr=1-1&keywords=Today%27s+Truth+Terri+D

Visit the author’s website at: http://www.authorterrid.com/

Disclaimer: Read it All Book Reviews was given a free copy of this book from the author. We were not compensated for the review. If you would like to have your work and/or your clients reviewed, please send an email for submission guidelines.

Where Did We Go Wrong? by Monica-Mathis Stowe

Title: Where Did We Go Wrong?

Author: Monica Mathis-Stowe

Rating: 4

Headline: Girlfriends to the End!

Monica Mathis-Stowe writes a story that most women can relate to in Where Did We Go Wrong? Gabby, Maxine, and Joy believe they are thick as thieves but what happens when the ties that bind are challenged. Gabby is the diva of the bunch. She is determined to get whatever she wants at whatever cost normally forgetting about that little word called karma. Maxine is the one that seems to have the perfect husband and family life but everything changes when she finds out it was all an illusion. And, Joy has an overbearing mother who controls her even as an adult.

Monica Mathis-Stowe has done an excellent job at developing the characters as I could relate to an aspect of each of them and could feel their pain as well as their victories. Where Did We Go Wrong? is full of drama and will keep you excitedly turning the pages. I look forward to reading more work by Monica Mathis-Stowe.

Where Did We Go Wrong? can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-We-Wrong-ebook/dp/B007QE3Y60/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Visit the author’s website at: http://www.monicamathisstowe.com/

Disclaimer: Read it All Book Reviews was given a free copy of this book from the author. We were not compensated for the review. If you would like to have your work and/or your clients reviewed, please send an email for submission guidelines.

When Truth is Gangsta by Tecori Sheldon

 

Title: When Truth is Gangsta

Author: Tecori Sheldon

Rating: 3.5

Headline: Definitely street lit

If you enjoy reading street lit then you should definitely pick up When Truth is Gangsta by Tecori Sheldon. It follows the story of Ruffneck as he navigates through being a teenager living the street life. Ruffneck has survived a childhood tragedy and it fuels every single move and decision that he makes. Family ties, friendships, and other loyalties are definitely tested as we watch Ruffneck search for the truth.

When Truth is Gangsta is a pretty good read that will keep you entertained. I did not give the book 4 stars because there was a complete section (Lil Shorty) of the book that I tuned out as it simply did not make sense to me and the storyline of Him and 9 read like a joke to me. I am not sure how in depth the sequel will be but I will be sure to read it. Tecori Sheldon has proven himself under this pen name and his original name that he is an author worth reading!

When Truth is Gangsta can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/When-Truth-Gangsta-Strebor-Streetz/dp/1593093977/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349007558&sr=1-1&keywords=when+truth+is+gangsta

Visit the author’s website at: http://slaterboyfiction.com/Home.php

Disclaimer: Read it All Book Reviews was given a free copy of this book from the author. We were not compensated for the review. If you would like to have your work and/or your clients reviewed, please send an email for submission guidelines.

Fornication: Volume One by Julia Press Simmons

 

Title: Fornication: Volume One

Author: Julia Press Simmons

Rating: 3

Headline: A Decent Read

Fornication: Volume One by Julia Press Simmons is the story of a madam named Portia who comes from a family of prostitutes. Honey Dip is one of the women that works for Portia and the story revolves around her desire to turn her life around. The storyline is fresh and original as there are not too many fiction books out that are told from the prostitute’s point of view and Simmons does explore the question if Portia and Honey’s relationship is one based on true friendship or one based solely on money.

I gave Fornication three stars because it states it is Volume One but it seemed as if there were previous books written by Ms. Simmons that should have been read to fully understand this one. Fornication lacked character development and there were some spelling errors but overall it was an entertaining read. This was the first book that I have read by Julia Press Simmons but I will check out her other work sometime in the future.

Fornication: Volume One can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615577075/ref=cm_cr_thx_view

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