Book Reviews

Book Review: Mama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley


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Mama’s Boy

ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

5 Stars=Non-Stop Page Turner

Author ReShonda Tate Billingsley puts readers to the test in Mama’s Boy. Gloria Jones loves her son Jamal. When the television displays Jamal as a cop killer, Gloria is sure of her son’s innocence. On the other hand, Reverend Elton Jones tries to get his wife to understand their son has to turn himself in to the police. The one problem Gloria has with that is the cop was a white man and she fears for Jamal’s life. Rev. Jones goes behind his wife’s back and informs the police of where Jamal is hiding. This causes a rift in their family and marriage.

Gloria and Rev. Jones have different opinions on Jamal’s legal representation, which causes and even more rift in their marriage. When the Jones’ meet the prosecutor on the case they are sure Jamal’s fate is sealed. Kay Christiansen is the prosecuting attorney assigned to Jamal’s case and her history with the Jones family affects the case tremendously. Kay realizes that she cannot go forward and will have to turn it over to another attorney. She is running for Mayor and doesn’t want anything to jeopardize her chances. Unbeknownst to Kay someone believes the truth will set her free and when Kay’s connection with the Jones family is revealed, Kay will have to come clean with everyone including her husband.

Mama’s Boy was a uniquely written story about the strength of family and forgiveness. This was a well-developed story with strong characters readers will definitely relate to and will not be able to help caring for. As a mother, Mama’ s Boy makes you seriously think about being in Gloria’s shoes and about what you would do to protect your child. This was a thought-provoking book and has become my favorite by this author. It is a must read and a true testimony to how keeping secrets can cause damage to a family unit.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes only.

Teresa Beasley

Book Features, Giveaways

Excerpt Friday with Conscience by Cecilia London



An escape plan foiled….

A determined woman….

One last tiny sliver of hope….

Jack will find me.

The Fed wants answers. And Caroline is determined not to provide them. They pull out all the stops, testing her sanity, testing her strength, testing her humanity.

Jack will find me.

Subject to cruel and merciless treatment at the hands of a government she once trusted, Caroline clings to her sole lifeline, her only chance at maintaining her tenuous hold on reality: her memories of her husband, Jack, her children, Marguerite and Sophie, and the friends who mean the world to her.

Jack will find me.

But what happens when hope starts to fade? How long until her interrogators cross over into the unspeakable sadism she fears ? How long before she finally breaks apart?

Part Two of a Six Part Saga. Conscience (approximately 115,000 words) is not a standalone and must be read after the first book in the Bellator Saga, Dissident. All books in the series end in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This book contains adult situations including graphic violence, explicit (consensual) sex and light BDSM, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes raw, dark, and gritty plot.

Book Excerpt

They’d start out nice and then devolve if they didn’t get what they wanted. She knew better than to think that they’d abide by the policies and procedures that were in place when she was working for the DOJ. Not if they weren’t Mirandizing prisoners. It was an entirely new ballgame. And she wasn’t going to play.

Howard frowned at her. “We’ve seen the classified information you obtained.”

Stay focused. Give them basic identifying information. Talk about the furthest topic from what they want to hear.

“My legal name is Caroline Joan Gerard,” she said quietly.

His eyes narrowed. “What?”

“I was born at Highland Park Hospital in Highland Park, Illinois on September 4.”

The two agents exchanged glances.

“Who were you working with?” Bradbury asked.

More people than you think, asshole. “I graduated from St. Mary School in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.”

Bradbury glared at her. “How did you get on a government server?”

Very subtle. They thought she’d turned into a hacker in order to obtain classified information. Interesting. Were they bluffing, or did they know?

“I am an alumnus of Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois,” she said.

“Who were you working with?”

Time to have a little fun. “Adlai Stevenson was the governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953,” Caroline said blankly.

“Excuse me?” Howard laid some papers out on the table in front of her. He was getting angry. “Where did you get these?”

She knew better than to look at the documents. She stared down at a different part of the table. “He ran for president twice on the Democratic ticket.”

Bradbury reached across the table, pulling her chin up so she was facing him. “Tell us what you know.” He turned to Howard. “This bitch is messing with us.”

Of course she was. She’d written her senior thesis on Adlai Stevenson. She could carry on for hours if she had to. She’d barely covered enough for a lame Wikipedia entry.

“He unofficially ran again in 1960 but was defeated by JFK,” Caroline said.

Bradbury punched her in the nose and tears sprang to her eyes.

“Move on,” he told Howard. “She’s fucking around.”

“Where are your children?” Howard asked.

An interesting segue. They weren’t going to play nice. At all. They probably thought they could somehow trick her into talking if they threatened her family. Caroline closed her eyes, trying to remain focused. She would never betray the ones she loved. Howard and Bradbury would figure that out quickly if they were worth their salt.

“Adlai Stevenson is widely regarded as leading the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the 1950s,” she said.

Bradbury punched her again and the blood started to flow. Fantastic. He plopped down on the table next to her, presumably to seem more intimidating.

“Where’s Senator Sullivan?” he asked. “We know she has your children.”

Caroline’s nose was bleeding profusely. She tried to wipe at it with the back of her hand and spat out some blood. “Stevenson served as ambassador to the United Nations before his death in 1965.”

Bradbury pulled her up from the chair by her hair, dragging her across the room. “Stop talking about fucking Adlai Stevenson,” he growled, shoving her up against the wall.

His threat came across as comical, for reasons she couldn’t quite understand. She again failed to hold her tongue. “Why would I want to fuck Adlai Stevenson? He’s dead. That’s gross.”

Caroline knew that laughing at her own joke would mean she’d get an even bigger ass kicking but she didn’t care. They weren’t going to start being gentle with her. Howard was sitting back in his chair quietly observing their entire exchange. Bradbury shoved her up against the wall again.

“Do you think this is funny?” he asked.

Another giggle escaped her lips. “Kinda.”

He reared back and punched her in the jaw. Her head thumped back against the concrete. She saw stars.

“Do you still want to laugh?” He kneed her in the stomach and she doubled over and fell to the floor. “Make another bullshit comment. Try it.”

She’d proven her point. He’d unfortunately done the same. “I’m finished,” she gasped.

He knelt down near her head, drawing his gun. How the hell had she missed that they were armed? Was everyone in this place packing heat?

“Where’s Governor McIntyre?” he asked. “And if you say one more fucking word about fucking Adlai Stevenson you’re getting a bullet to the brain.”

Caroline decided to test that theory. “Who’s Adlai Stevenson?” she said automatically.

Bradbury stood up and kicked Caroline in the side of the head. “If you don’t want to talk, it’s your funeral,” he said, right before she blacked out.


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About Cecilia London

Cecilia is my pen name. I may or may not live in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been known to apply quotes from ‘The Simpsons’ to everyday life. I live for baseball season.

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Book Features

Author Tess Thompson shares Blue Moon


From the bestselling author of Riversong…

Playboy Ciaran Lanigan was the party. Executive Bliss Heywood was the library. When they meet, sparks fly and so begins an uncontrollable attraction that neither is strong enough to escape, regardless that it’s fraught with lies, secrets and family complexities.

But ‘party boy’ Ciaran isn’t everything he appears. Lurking beneath the surface of his charming grin is a man haunted by fears. Are they real or imagined? As he slowly reveals his past, Bliss becomes less and less sure if the man she’s involved with is unstable or truly in danger. Will she learn the truth in time to save him?

Set in the fictional town of Peregrine, Idaho, Blue Moon, the second book in the Blue Mountain Collection features the youngest Lanigan brother, Ciaran. It is both a love story and mystery, with Tess Thompson’s quirky and complex but lovable characters.

Book Excerpt of Blue Moon

Although the people of every city are as varied as the religious beliefs in America, it has surprised me that it’s possible to buy a condo in any metropolitan area identical to the one from which you just moved. Despite my vow each time to try something different, I always ended up with the same white-walled, sparse condo with high ceilings and large windows that overlooked the city. During the first few mornings after moving, just for a moment, I didn’t know in which city I was waking. But it didn’t matter, because the closet that looked just like the last closet in the last city I lived in still held my designer shoes and dresses. There is comfort in the familiar.

I always arranged my furniture, which consisted of a couch and bed and a couple of tables, in the same configuration, telling myself that this time I would hire a decorator. But I never quite got around to it. Down the street, a salon and spa gave me the identical haircut and color to the one before: honey with straw-colored highlights, sleek, long bob. Nordstrom, strangely, no matter the city, was always just two, maybe four blocks over from my condo. When I walked into a new job every other year or so and started to categorize those who would remain and those who would be sent away, and that which would become streamlined and that which could be abandoned, I always felt at ease. Work was my spouse, my family, my purpose.

As I stepped into the elevator to go up to my offices on the twelfth floor, I felt good, almost giddy. I’d successfully taken CreateBiz public three days ago, and I anticipated a warm reception from my board, replete with accolades for the high valuation of the company that had subsequently made the stock worth almost twenty dollars a share on our first day out on the public market. While most games for girls are centered on fashion or beauty, our product created virtual businesses. For the most part, I think games are a ridiculous waste of time given how many wonderful books there are in the world, but being the entrepreneur and capitalist that I am, I was enamored with our product. It was fun, thought-provoking, creative and educational all at once. On my first day on the job I told my new staff it was the smart girls’ answer to virtual gaming, a phrase which our marketing executive immediately seized upon and implemented into a full-fledged campaign that yielded huge numbers within its first month on the market. We were a sensation, the most sought-after product of last year’s Christmas season, and similar sales were predicted for the upcoming holiday season.

The founder, Ralph Butters, was a young, male version of a crazy cat lady, designing genius games in the basement of his house with six cats at his feet. He sported a receding hairline and a greasy ponytail—yes, it is possible to have both. A nervous twitch made his right hand jerk about like Mick Jagger holding a microphone on the last night of the last tour of his life. All of which rendered him completely unable to interact in the real world. I secretly wondered if he created games as a way to cope with his loneliness.

Regardless of the reasons for Ralph’s creation, his strangeness made it necessary to hire me. My goal, as it had been many times throughout my career, was to make it profitable and take it public. I did that, in two years, which no one thought we could do, including my board of directors. As was usually the case, we had an impressive board from the high-tech community to whom I was accountable. The board had not only invested substantial amounts of money into CreateBiz, it also advised me on certain aspects of the business. However, Ralph was still in charge, as he owned a majority of the shares, so ultimately I answered to him. So far that hadn’t been an issue. The one and only time I’d met him, he sweated so profusely—I assume from nerves—that he hadn’t ventured into the offices again. He left me alone for the most part, deferring to my experience and business acumen. For my part, I had the utmost respect for his mind and creativity, knowing he was certainly a genius, whilst I was merely good at business. There’s a difference, and I’m humble enough to know it. Having worked with many creative geniuses over the years, I’ve noticed that the smarter they are, the less likely they are to be comfortable with people. On a certain level, I understood this frailty, as I also found human, emotional connection difficult. I presented a persona of well-dressed, polished businesswoman, charmed rooms full of people with ease, made networking connections that led to deals and steered large groups of employees in a common direction. But that was only on the surface. No one was allowed inside weakness. I made a conscious choice to remain uninvolved with anyone in any emotional capacity, with the lone exception of my sister. This quality was a blessing as an executive. I could make decisions from a place of logic rather than emotion. But in my personal life? Perhaps I was more like Ralph than I cared to admit, minus the cats.


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Tess’s  Website / Twitter Facebook Goodreads / Pinterest

Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright. She has a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California.

After some success as a playwright she decided to write a novel, a dream she’d held since childhood. She began working on her first novel, RIVERSONG while her second daughter was eight months old, writing during naptimes and weekends. She considers it a small miracle and the good-nature of her second child (read: a good napper) that it was ever finished. RIVERSONG was released in April 2011 by Booktrope, a Seattle publisher and subsequently became a #1 Nook book and Kindle best seller. Since then she’s released five additional novels: RIVERBEND, RIVERSTAR, CARAMEL AND MAGNOLIAS, TEA AND PRIMROSES AND BLUE MIDNIGHT.

Like her characters in the RIVER VALLEY COLLECTION, Tess is from a small town in Southern Oregon. She currently lives in Snoqualmie, Washington with her two small daughters where she is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.

A voracious reader, Tess’s favorite thing to do is to curl up on a rainy afternoon and read a novel. She also enjoys movies, theatre, wine and food. She is fed emotionally by her friends and family and cherishes relationships above all else.

She’s currently in the editing process for her first historical romance called DUET FOR THREE HANDS, which will be released in late February and followed shortly thereafter with the second in the BLUE MOUNTAIN COLLECTION, Blue Moon.



Book Features

Excerpt Friday with Isabelle Saint-Michael, author of Dragon’s Guide to Slaying Virgins

dragon cover

Morgan had resigned herself to death. She had been ready to follow her true love into the afterlife, if only a certain Dragon hadn’t “rescued” her. She wasn’t grateful – after all, she was a full-fledged Lady Knight and perfectly capable of making her own decisions, without the help of arrogant Dragon Lords, no matter how good-looking everyone seemed to think they were…

After dragging Lady Morgan from a Troll’s lair and dropping her off in another realm, Vallen thought he’d never see her again. But then an old member of his Knight Order betrays her oaths and begins amassing an army of thugs and highwaymen – in the same realm he’d left Morgan.

Racing back with only his brother for a squire, Vallen finds Lady Morgan, accompanied by a teenage Werewolf, ready to take on this Dragon all by herself. But it will take all of them to defeat her, and little do they know that in this battle, the secrets of their broken hearts will rise up from the past and walk again…

Book Excerpt

Vallen awoke to the sounds of Young singing, off tune, again. “What are you doing?” Vallen grumbled, resisting the urge to pull the blanket back up over his head.

“Singing while I pee, my favorite morning ritual.” Young turned around, having just finished watering the local flora.

“Of course it is. Why ever would I have a brother who conducts himself with a measure of grace?” Vallen forced himself to sit up and take note of their surroundings. As he suspected, they had spent the night uninterrupted. Vallen tugged on his boots and fought his way to his feet to stagger to the stream.

“Are you ready to get going?” Young bounced around behind him, pulling a light coat on over his tunic.

“Are you always this chipper in the morning?”

“No.” Young thought about it. “Actually, today I think I’m sort of quiet.” Vallen mentally sent a heartfelt apology to Sir Leon for having to train Young.

“If your squire brothers smother you in your sleep I will know it was justified and not insist on seeing vengeance served.” Vallen rolled his bedroll back up and gave his younger brother a cutting glare. “It makes me thankful I was out defending the realm in your early years and Grandmother was left to deal with you.”

“I was an adorable Whelpling. She thought I was a refreshing joy after the years of boredom she had with you.” His mocking tone did little to soothe Vallen’s morning mood.

“It’s going to be very hard to be a bard if you’re missing your vocal chords.” Immediately Young shut up.

It took about an hour, but the boys fed themselves and the horses, packed up, and headed out. By the time the sun was dancing in the midmorning sky, Young was already whining for a break. Despite his best pouts, that had obviously worked so well on his riding instructor, they pushed on. Vallen told him repeatedly that they could rest when they arrived at the portal, but Young knew better.

“So what if we see the crazy girl again? I mean, if she’s still alive.”

Vallen shot his brother a warning look. “She isn’t our concern. Avery is our target. Our mission is to go in, put down Avery, disband her men, and then go home. It shouldn’t take all that long.”

“Yeah, but let’s say the crazy girl… what was her name?” Young asked, snapping his fingers.

“Lady Morgan.”

“Yes, that’s it. Her. What if she’s there and is all, ‘Oh, Dragon, eat me,’ or something like that. What then?”

“The eloquence of your words astounds me.” Vallen resisted rolling his eyes. “We keep her from killing herself if she is there. She is an innocent and thus should be protected.”

“I don’t know about that. She is evidently some all-powerful warrior or something.”

Vallen snorted. “You think everyone is an enchanted warrior. You think I am.”

“You are!”

“Fine, I’m a bad example. Why are you so sure she was?”



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Isabelle’s Website / Twitter Facebook Goodreads / YouTube

Isabelle Saint-Michael currently lives abroad in Seoul, South Korea with a transition in process to the UK.  Writing is now her full-time gig, but she spent a number of years working in the online media industry.  (That’s when she upgraded her personality software from socialite to geek.)  Her hobbies include reading, shopping, travel, and medieval shenanigans with her closest friends.  She has earned such coveted nicknames as The Fighting Smurf, The Iz and Wiffle Ball Monkey Slayer.

From the author: “The Elven Life is a blog connecting a series of books and characters that I have created.  So many times we buy books but then must wait a year at least to get another fix.  In a world of immediate gratification I wanted to build an interactive way of storytelling for my readers.  Each book, along with the blog, is a free-standing story, but they will occasionally have connecting themes, characters, and messages for our fans to catch.  Check us out and keep watching!  Books will be available through Amazon, Kindle, and a retailer near you.”