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Broke Home Review: Biofinest Self-Care Pay Day + Reviews

Brooke Banks | 4:00 AM | | Please comment!
Disclosure: I promised a honest review on my blog & social media channels to get a coupon so I didn't pay full price for any of the products. Sadly, they still weren't free.

Biofinest Coconut Oil Hair Mask 

with 100% Organic Shea Butter, Rosehip, Vitamin E- Deep Conditioner for Dry/ Damaged/ Color Treated Hair (250g)
Buy on Amazon: Currently on sale for $12.95 (Reg. $19.95)

I love my hair but hate the upkeep. It's long (down to my butt), split ends galore, flyaways, and *floofs*. With my life and amount of spoons, I throw that bitch up in a ponytail and call it a day. That of course makes my hair worse, harder to treat and the cycle repeats.

Not to say that I haven't tried in the past. I've Pintrest'd up on DIY masks and treatments. Did they help? Yeah, sure but it's such a pain in the ass I gave up. Where is the reasonable Pintrest for everyday people and spoonies?!?

Before & After:

What you can't see in my terrible pictures is how damn soft my hair is! I kept playing with it and stroking it. I haven't bother having my hair down or out of a ponytail in SO LONG.

The process was real simple and quick. It didn't feel oily or drip everywhere. It was easy to apply the right amount and wash it out.

Afterwards, my hair still felt clean. I swear doing other hair masks have been awful. I honestly didn't want to do it again. BUT Biofinest gave me a discount for review and their other products impress me so I gave it a shot. I'm so happy I did! I can't wait to use this on my hair again.

Not a miracle cure, but gave results and even helped my terrible ends a bit. Just a bit because those split like bananas and have to be chopped off.

Biofinest Himalayan Body Scrub 

This is the one product I was MOST excited for as I've heard a lot about Himalayan Sea Salt but have never used it. However, it was the most disappointing Biofinest product I've tried. Not utterly awful rubbish, but not for me.

  • Smells bad in the jar though not so pungent in the shower when using it
  • The large pieces made it difficult to use.

My skin felt nicer afterwards but I think that has more to do with the oil in it. I honestly did NOT feel scrubbed or extra clean after using it. I even tried just using it on my face at the sink and still, meh.

I rubbed it on, a lot of pieces fell off to the bottom of the tub/sink wasted, and mostly massaged oil in my skin. No miracle results or noticeable effects either time.

I'll keep trying since I have the whole jar now, but unless you've used this large particle type scrub before I'd steer clear. Since it's my first scrub like this I don't know how it stacks up against the rest but it's saved by the oil and doesn't smell pleasant so not something I'd recommend.

Biofinest Dead Sea Mud Mask 

This one is much better than the other dead sea mask I tried. It didn't dry out my skin. Instead, it felt clean afterwards plus so soft, smooth with pores minimized, and redness reduced.

Followed with Grapeseed Oil as a moisturizer and my skin was VERY happy. This is being added to the rotation immediately and replace that other mask permanently.

Biofinest Green Tea Scrub 

This one was my absolute favorite. I felt scrubbed clean afterwards with most of the same results of the Dead Sea Mud Mask with one awesome extra: the oil in it meant I didn't need to use moisturizer afterwards.

I LOVE being able to skip a step. Whenever my time is short, the first things to go is my self-care routine. Any time saved is a plus. The smell wasn't great in the jar, but I didn't notice any while using it or afterwards.

This one is honestly worth the $20 full price, but it's on sale now so I'd check it out while that's going. Once you buy a product you get coupons and deals to make you a return customer too!

Biofinest Coconut Milk Body Scrub 

  • This was the scrubbiest scrub of the bunch, akin to a sugar or baking soda scrub
  • Smelled the best
  • Oil meant no need for moisturizer again!

Now I know the Green Tea Scrub and the Coconut Milk Scrub look and sound a lot a like. I prefer the Milk scrub on my body and the Green Tea on my face.

The Milk scrub comes with a couple of benefits that make it worth keeping around, like sagging skin (stupid boobs...) and UV protection, especially since I live in AZ.

Plus, coconut oil is the preferred moisturizer for my body but NOT my face. It doesn't break me out but makes it easier to break out and makes my face feel grubbier compared to other moisturizers.

On each side of the box, there's a breakdown of the benefits shown here side by side:

Hope that helps!

Tl;DR: OMFG HAIR MASK, Boo Himalayan Salt Scrub, YESSS Green Tea Scrub, and Alright You Coconut Milk Scrub.

I haven't had to interact with Biofinest so I can't review them as a company but watch out: they're products aren't Prime eligible. They all have +3.99 shipping. Which makes it all the more important to use those sales and coupons.

If I could only buy ONE, I should pick the hair mask because my hair needs it that badly but I'd want the Green Tea Scrub.

Disclosure: I promised a honest review on my blog & social media channels to get a coupon so I didn't pay full price for any of the products. Sadly, they still weren't free.

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Broke Home Reviews: NAOREL Silicone Grill Mitts

Brooke Banks | 9:57 PM | | | 2 Comments

NAOREL - Silicone Cooking Gloves Green

Honestly, I've always been the "whatever, buy it from the dollar store" kind of girl. I'm ever so slowly upgrading the everyday household shit that gets overlooked. Like oven mitts.

I won't lie to you, these are not attractive but they are awesome.

We have a Foreman standing electric grill that we use inside for things like burgers and we were able to pick up the grill surface while it was still hot using these gloves. I didn't feel any heat while wearing them and my grip was strong.

And by we and I mean me and Roomie B, a 6 foot tall dude. We could both wear and use these gloves without a problem, as could my mother with smaller hands than me and arthritis. The extra room didn't affect us at all.

  • Fit me, mother, and Roomie B
  • Comfortable with inside lining
  • Really does protect your hand from heat
  • Great grip with the texture, but will crush small,delicate pieces of food
  • Easy to hang up with the loops, though you might want two hooks due to how thick the gloves are

And the bonus silicon brush:
We haven't used the brush yet, but I'm sure we will be soon enough.

$17 bucks is enough for me to weeble-wobble on buying something, but these are absolutely worth it.

I didn't realize how much I used oven mitts and how careful I had to be with mine. It's not a giant time sink, but I always had to adjust and fiddle and be extra sure where the mitts where at all times.

And those fabric gloves? Ugh, I HATE those. They can't drip anything for shit and feel so awful on my hands.

It's a small thing, but it's definitely an upgrade and makes me happy. Sounds terribly pathetic, but every spoon counts.

Getting better oven mitts should be on a list of "Make Yourself Look and Feel More Like An Adult, Even When You Really Aren't".

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Review & Giveaway for Murder by the Book by Devorah Fox

Murder by the Book: A Mystery Mini

Print Length: 27 pages
Publisher: Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. (February 27, 2016)
Publication Date: February 27, 2016
An ordinary work day at the western Massachusetts Sugarloaf Inn turns more chilling than the winter weather when staff member Candy Wadsen makes a gruesome discovery. Her day goes from bad to worse when Candy realizes that Detective Sergeant Dan Petrowski suspects her of committing the crime.

FYI: Blackmail Rape. Domestic Violence.

It’s short obviously, and I think if you know that going in you’ll be alright. My e-copy was 28 pages with the cover, but 3 were for the standard table of contents & about the author meaning it has 24 pages to devoted to the story.

Candy is an immediately likable protagonist for me, with an asshole boss just trying to make it through the day-to-day. While Mr. Sleink is hated by everyone, Candy can’t imagine who would actually murder him. Little does she know…

Murder by the Book has twisty relationships, an attractive detective, and an ameteaur bumbling along. Though the set up for her being involved is solid rather than outlandish like some.

Because it’s so short, things just tumble out instead of her having to tease, plod, and sleuth. Her co-workers basically blurt out their secrets to her. On the flip side, confessing to the cops under pressure quickly makes perfect sense.

I will say the clues the dead man supposedly gave was a bit outlandish for me. It’s not established that he’d be the type to do this, that he thought this way, or that he had the time.

Thankfully the standard interviewing of suspects, motive, opportunity, and such are realistic.

Murder by the Book is a cozy mystery, but condensed so the hijinks were cut and the realism amped up. With this set-up, characters, and outcome I think it’d work well as a full novel.

BUT it’d have to handle the rape and domestic violence and the victim well. With so little page time focused on it here, it’s hard to criticise as it’s just there.

It’s short and good, no worries there. I was happy with my choice and didn’t regret it. It was pleasantly surprising how nice it was to complete when I usually go for the long fantasy novels.

It’s 99 cents on Amazon, so the only question is if it’s worth it to you. It’s too bad it’s not on Kindle Unlimited, though that makes sense given the low page count.

It’s a short story if you need a brief escape, or an easy way to meet challenge numbers ;)

Not that there was major issues, but my feelings don't rise above liking in this case

About the Author:

“What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of an award-winning literary historical fantasy series and several thrillers, she also penned Mystery Mini Short Reads and contributed short stories to popular fantasy anthologies. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com

Website Twitter Facebook Amazon author page Smashwords profile page Google+ YouTube Pinterest authorgraph Goodreads

Every stop has been given the chance to giveaway 1 copy of Murder by the Book. Enter below and check out the other stops for more chances!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cover Reveal Opal Charm: Hope in Nautical Dusk by Miri Castor

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | | 1 Comments

About the Book

Hope in Nautical Dusk Cover main.png
Author: Miri Castor
Publication Date: March 19th, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Inclusion of Diversity: Bisexual African American protagonist.
Add to Goodreads
The Gift of Twilight flourishes within Opal Charm as winter descends on Dewdrop. Life was already rough before, but Opal’s got new obstacles to face – getting into high school, bringing her brother back home, and training to protect Athre and Earth from Samael, the mysterious overlord who seeks to rule all, and put an end to her and the Charm lineage. The balance between harsh truths and sweet lies is more fragile than ever. Yet, as winter rolls on, the balance begins to break as a new threat emerges. Memories Opal once trusted are disintegrating her friendships, and lies are clouding her Path of Dawn and Dusk. Opal must seek the truth while protecting those close to her, no matter how painful it may be.

About the Author

Miri Castor is the author of Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn. She spent many recesses in middle school writing fantasy stories, with Opal Charm being one of many. She has written for Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine and was featured as a Spotlight New Author in 2016. Now attending a university on the East Coast, she studies biochemistry and will receive her B.S. in 2016. A New York native, Miri is working on her second novel while in her last year as an undergraduate. She enjoys playing video games, attending music concerts, and strolling through the City.

If this book interests you sign up for the blog tour or review opportunity we have going on!

Blog Tour Sign Up Form
Review Opportunity Sign Up Form

I love the cover! They look so cute and happy and Opal's all "I don't need a jacket, I got magic!" It's a radical change from the first cover, The Path to Dawn, which is darker in tone and more badass "watch out!" variety. What do ya'll think? Any plans to read the series?

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Black History Month: Lists of Black Historical Figures from Black Publications

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | Please comment!

I meant to have a planned out awesome feature for Black History Month. Then The Pain(tm) happened.

It started the last two weeks of January with tooth pain on my left side and an emergency extraction. Then it became the right side of my face, which still hasn't been diagnosed and isn't attached to a tooth problem and keeps me up all night sleeping in a chair because when I lay down it's like an electric shock.

Unfortunetely, my kickass idea will have to wait for later when I have the ability to get shit done. But I couldn't live with myself if I didn't post something here for BHM.

So here's me shutting up and presenting important lists made by people who should be listened to, read, understood, and celebrated.

10 Black Heroes Who Usually Go Unrecognized During Black History Month, But Shouldn’t

Robert Smalls (April 5, 1839 – Feb. 23, 1915)

7 Of The Most Unrecognized Women in Black History

Every February, in recognition of Black History Month, we’re reintroduced to influential people in our history who have left marks in their respective industries. These people were great. Their courage surpassed their fear and they held steadfast in their fight for justice and equality for the human race. Yet, while we’re constantly reminded of the Dr. Martin Luther Kings, Harriet Tubmans, Malcolms, and Rosa Parks of the past, there are many other black leaders that often go unrecognized. Their paths were just as difficult and their fights just as courageous.

So as Black History Month gets ready to come to a close, we would like to acknowledge seven of the least recognized women in black history. Some you may be familiar with by name, but not aware of their stories. Others you will be introduced to for the first time. These women paved the way for other women and blacks in general.


The Ten Most Interesting Little Known Black History Facts

From Black America Web.
The Fultz quadruplets were the first surviving identical African-American quads.

9 Influential Women in Black History You Won't Hear About in School

The conversation surrounding influential moments and people in black history often focuses on the contributions of men — leaving the vital efforts of black women by the wayside.

Before Selma premiered nationwide earlier this year, for example, many mainstream discussions about the titular city's voting rights marches focused on leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rep. John Lewis. But Selma also introduced many Americans to black women who directly influenced organizing efforts at the time, like Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, Amelia Boynton and Viola Jackson. Before the movie, most people would've been hard-pressed to recall any of these women — and there are so many others whose names won't ever be known.

That's why it's important to make sure black women's contributions are always part of our conversations about history. While some are more well-known than others, lack of mainstream recognition doesn't make these women's efforts any less significant to our country's progress.

Here are just a few of the many black women whose work helped change America, and the world, as we know it.


17 Unsung Heroes Of Black History

Bayard Rustin Rustin was one of the main organizers of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and without him, Martin Luther King, Jr. would not have had the platform he did (literally and figuratively) to speak from. The reason Rustin didn’t get as much attention as he should have is that he was openly gay, and was constantly dealing with the struggles of being in two minority groups at the time — the black community and the gay community. - See more at: http://afkinsider.com/34934/10-unsung-heroes-of-black-history/2/#sthash.CbpJ82s8.dpuf

That's all I have for now. Who or what fact did you learn from these links? Do you have a link to share with us?

I'll have more link promotions for Black History Month shortly, so stay tuned! Is there a topic you'd like to see covered?

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The Last Grand Master By Andrew Q. Gordon: Fantasy with an M/M Romance + Guest Post

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | Please comment!

The Last Grand Master

by Andrew Q. Gordon
Genre: Scifi / Fantasy
In a war that shook the earth, the six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, God of Evil. For three thousand years, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity and Neldin's evil was nearly forgotten.

But then Meglar, wizard-king of Zargon, unleashes the dark magic of the underworld and creates an army of creatures to carry out his master's will. One by one, the sovereign realms fall as a new war between the gods threatens to engulf Nendor.

Leading the opposition to Meglar is Grand Master Farrell. Young and untried, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.

Farrell is joined by Nerti, queen of the unicorns, and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen as Farrell's mate. As Farrell and his new allies make plans to counter Neldin's evil, Meglar forces their hand when he invades a neighboring kingdom. Rushing to help their ally, Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Cut off from help, Farrell attempts an untried spell that will either turn the tide or cost him and Miceral their lives.

Awesome Offer:
What’s better than discovering a new fantasy series to devour? Getting the first book free! I’m excited to offer, The Last Grand Master, book one in my Champion of the Gods fantasy series, as a free download by signing up for my monthly newsletter. If you love free eBooks as I do, you’ll want to keep subscribed to my newsletter because other sci-fi/fantasy authors will be giving away free eBook downloads via my newsletter throughout 2017.
Subscribe here for your free eBook download and get started today: http://aqgsignups.getresponsepages.com

I signed up myself and I can't wait to read it!

Author Bio

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. Andrew’s imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic.

To find out more about Andrew, follow him on his website or on Facebook.
website Facebook Twitter

I personally like his Goodreads 'About' paragraph more:
After a minor in creative writing in college, Andrew Q. Gordon decided to become old and stodgy and went to law school. At the urging of his partner, he returned to creative writing almost two decades later . Still working as a lawyer, he and his husband of seventeen years and their dogs live in the DC area. In 2011 they welcomed their daughter into their family. Andrew still manages to write after the last diaper is changed and he unwraps himself from his daughter's little finger.

The Diversity Of Fantasy

by Andrew Q. Gordon

One of the biggest pros to writing fantasy is how easy it is to change the rules. Readers open a fantasy book with the understanding they have to suspend their disbelief reflex. Magic? Elves? Goddesses and Gods intervening in the lives of their subjects? Talking unicorns? All of these impossibilities are readily accepted. So it wouldn’t be hard to have the throne pass to the oldest female child of the queen. That’s how it’s done in that Queendom.

This ability to change the accepted norms is particularly beneficial if you want to write LGBTQ characters. Sure near complete acceptance of same sex couples is foreign to our current worldview, but not in a world that has magic, talking birds, and lions who wear armor and have three story homes. Why would they find a same sex couple odd?

Fiction is one of the best ways to introduce MM characters to the general public. (MM = Male/Male) If you remove opposition to same sex pairings from the daily struggle, the writer is free to create conflicts for the characters that resonate with all readers. Everyone can relate to fighting off zombies trying to eat their brains.

When I started Champion of the Gods, I very much wanted an MM main couple who focused on the danger to the world, not the lack of acceptance to their relationship. But that also meant I couldn’t fall back on that struggle for acceptance as a plot device. Now, just because a society is accepting of same sex pairings, doesn’t mean their relationship gets an easy ride. Aragon and Arwen didn’t have it easy. Elrond’s objection, however, stemmed from the pain his daughter would suffer when Aragon died, not racism. Then there is Romeo and Juliet. Acceptance issues still exist, but they apply to all pairings, not just same sex ones.

Another thing to consider is whether the book is an MM (Romance) Fantasy or Fantasy with an MM element. The two are very different. If the plot revolves mainly around the main couple and their struggles to be together, I’d call that an MM Fantasy. But if the couple’s being together is a subplot in the larger story arc, that’s a Fantasy with MM characters. The difference, to me at least, is important.

I wrote Champion of the Gods to be a fantasy story first. Farrell and Miceral (the same sex main characters) tackle the threat to their world together. Yes, getting them together was a subplot – and one might argue their relationship was a big subplot of the first book – but the bigger issue is saving their world. This requires a different approach to writing their romance. For me it needed to be subtle and matter of fact. Not quite in the background, but certainly not more than normal character development. It also meant no on page sex.

To me, this is a fantasy story. My target audience is readers who enjoy discovering new worlds and different forms of magic. If there was going to be any sex, it had to pass the first test of writing – if the scene doesn’t advance the story, cut it out. That applies no matter the orientation of the main characters. No double standards.

Because their nocturnal activities wouldn’t move the plot along, I didn’t write those scenes in the books. Their relationship, however, was important, so you do get to see and read about that. But since that isn’t an issue on their world, it gets relegated to the subplot status.

Thank you very much Andrew!

I know myself and many others have been begging for novels where discriminatory -isms don't exist or at the very least, the plot doesn't revolve around surviving The Heteronormative Racist Patriarchy. I'm so happy to have found another book to that list and host such a thoughtful guest post.

Tell me dear readers, have you been on the same quest? What other books subvert the That's The Way It Is world building? Any recs for books that contain the same thing, or are [genre] + diversity, instead of a diversity [genre]? Let me know in the comments below, and don't forget to get your free copy of The Last Grand Master!
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The Official Launch of LoveBound Promotions!

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | Please comment!
Special Promotion

Need more romance in your life? Looking to support LGBT authors and their work? Then LoveBound Promotions will make your day. I'm happy and excited to have signed up with them and today I'm sharing their OFFICIAL LAUNCH! Check it out below and sign up with me 

I'm delighted to be stopping by today to introduce you all to LoveBound Promotions, an up and coming book marketing company for romance authors, and to tell you a little about the services we provide, not to mention a special introductory offer you won't want to miss!

But first…who are we? My name is Jamie and I'm an author myself, writing LGBT themed romances for young and new adults. In partnership with Jon, a graphic designer and the love of my life, I set up LoveBound Promotions with the aim of providing a variety of book marketing packages to authors across the romance genre. Born from a shared love of literature and a heartfelt understanding of the struggles authors undergo in the effort to bring their work to the notice of potential readers, our company seeks to offer a friendly, professional service at a price to suit all budgets.

Our Services and Special Promotion

Book any of our other marketing packages before May 1st, 2017, and receive a complimentary Review Query worth £20!!!

Services We Offer

  • A Cover Reveal to show off your fabulous cover ahead of publication.
  • A Book Blitz to generate buzz about your new release
  • A Blog Tour which uses fun and original content to increase your exposure
  • A Forget Me Not Tour if you’re seeking longer term promotion
  • A Review Query to help obtain reviews for your book

To book any of our marketing packages and take advantage of the introductory offer, please see LoveBound Promotions' services page for full details, before filling out our online order form.

Contact/Join Us

If you’re a blogger who is passionate about the romance genre and would like to become a tour host with LoveBound Promotions, all you have to do is complete our simple signup form.

Want to know more about our marketing packages? Questions about becoming a tour host with LoveBound? Whatever the reason, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our website and we’ll do our best to help.

We look forward to working with you!


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Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway for Bound Souls Forever Yours by N.D. Jones

Bound Souls

Forever Yours Book 1
N.D. Jones
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Kuumba Publishing
Number of pages: 292
Cover Artist: Wycked Ink
A supernatural love triangle that tests the bounds of science, truth, and faith.
Regent Lela of Asiya is the most powerful person on her planet but she is powerless to save the life of her beloved soulmate—Zion Grace. For thirty years they lived as husband and wife, but Zion’s time is at an end. Lela must go on without him.

“There will never be anyone else for me.”

Despite having died, nothing can keep Zion from his soulmate. He’s back but not as the man he once was. Zion must help Lela move on with her life, lest he lose her forever. But how can Zion convince Lela to accept the love and affections of another man when he still wants her for himself?

"I love you, Lela. My heart is forever yours.”

Lela and Zion are bound souls, destined to live eternity together. For these lovers, death is not an end, but a fateful beginning.

This novel includes “The Garden,” a bonus short story.

Download for Free: Amazon BN Kobo Inkterra iBooks

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/A5Nb2IdY_gE

It was true, Zion had only three more years left on his thirty-year life extension. He was tired and felt even more so as the days, weeks, months and years crept by. Zion spared a sidelong glance at his wife, whose head was down, eyes closed and hand still fiercely gripping his own. She wasn't ready for the ride to end either, yet they both knew it was slowing, preparing to grind to its final halt and he would have to disembark, leaving her behind.

This thing with Ammon had eaten away at Zion for the last several months. Yet Ammon was simply an outlet for his own anger, fear, and depression. He was growing older, his hair thinner and grayer, and his stomach… well, let's just say he'd had to use the services of a good seamstress over the years. Yet Lela was still as beautiful and fit as when they'd first met.

Zion didn't begrudge Lela her slow aging or fine, alluring features. In fact, he loved that about her. What did bother him was that other men could see what he saw. Everything about Lela exuded intelligence, grace, dignity, strength, and beauty. Zion learned a long time ago, she could never see herself the way others did, especially men.

While Zion rarely entertained jealous thoughts before or cared much when he caught a male giving Lela an approving look, now he saw nothing but. Under the circumstances, the little signs of masculine appreciation for his beautiful wife enraged him.

"I'm sorry," Zion spoke into the quiet breach, lifting Lela’s chin with his bruised hand.

Tears flooded her eyes. Even wet, they were still the most stunning eyes he’d ever seen. Picasso marble Zion thought the first time she’d looked at him—a combination of black, brown, gray, and white. Back then, they’d sparkled with intelligence and curiosity, now they glistened with pain. Lela wasn't ready for this conversation. How could she be?

"No, it's me who should apologize. I thought you were paranoid, seeing things that didn't exist."

"I acted like a jackass, a Neanderthal, damn near dragging you out of the banquet room before the function was over. Hell, I might as well as hoisted you over my shoulder and beat my chest like a caveman."

He rubbed his thumb across her right cheek, then lips. "You're an incredible woman, Lela." Zion paused, nearly biting his tongue on his next words. The ones his selfish heart screamed at him to not utter. "You'll live for a long time, probably another four or five decades. I only have three years left. For an Asiyan, you'll be in your prime when I pass on.” His voice cracked when the held tears dropped from his wife’s eyes. She knew where he was going with this, Zion realized.

"You'll have to go on without me, and I don't want you to spend the next fifty years by yourself."

"I won't be by myself. I'll have Xavier." Lela pushed off the bed and moved away from him. She walked to the window, refusing to acknowledge the true meaning of his words.

Zion followed, watching her stern but sad image in the window. Needing to touch and reassure her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled Lela to him.
"The thought of another man being this close to you," Zion whispered, stirring tendrils of her long hair, "makes me want to commit murder. When I heard Ammon offering for you, it took all of my self-control to not take a laser gun to him. The only thing I kept thinking was that he couldn't have you. That you're mine and mine alone."

"Is that why you've been so angry these past few months?" She turned in his arms, then rested her head against his resilient shoulder.

"Yes and something else."

"What else?"

Zion lifted her chin, compelling her to meet his eyes.

"I didn't want to acknowledge how selfish I was being," he said, leaning down and placing a warm, soft kiss on her lips. "I want you to be happy in those four or five decades you have left, Lela, but I don't want you to find happiness in the arms of another man."
"I have no desire to mate with anyone else, or to take a lover," she reassured, initiating another kiss, a desperate embrace full of a wife's integrity and denial. "I can't imagine being with anyone other than you. I love you, Zion. I could never love another."

He knew she spoke the truth. He believed her, but she didn't understand. Zion did. He'd experienced the loss of a spouse.

"When Iman died, a part of me died with her. Like you, I thought there would never be anyone else for me. And that was true for a long time—”

Lela shook her head in protest, not allowing Zion to continue. "Don't." A heartbreaking plea. "Don't say such things. There will never be anyone else for me."

Zion saw the near panic in her upturned face, her Picasso marble eyes glowing with resolution and despair.

"It's not the same. It just isn't."

It was exactly the same. Yes, what he felt for Iman was different from the love he had for Lela. But it was love all the same. Loving Lela didn't mean Iman ceased to occupy a special place in his heart and mind. A small, warm piece of her and their life together would always be a part of him. As he would always be a part of Lela, but she couldn't see it, not now. But someday. Zion didn't want to think about that and clearly, neither did his wife.

About the Author:

N. D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She is the founder of Kuumba Publishing, an art, audiobook, eBook, and paperback company. Kuumba Publishing is a forum for creativity, with a special commitment to promoting and encouraging creative works of authors and artists of African descent.

A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.

Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
One fact about me that not many people know is that I was married at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Maryland. Recently, my daughter was going through my wedding album. And, to my surprise, she had no idea her father and I were married at the museum, although she’s been there on field trips. Her older brother knew, so I assumed she did as well. Needless to say, that bit of old-new news led to a very nice discussion with my daughter while she flipped through the wedding album, asking questions and making remarks so typical of teenage girls who think themselves witty and cute.
How did you realize you wanted to write?
When I began reading comics, it led me to fanfiction. Fanfiction is a wonderful outlet for fans of movies, comics, television shows, manga, and anime, mainly, who love their favorite characters and shows so much they write stories about them geared toward other fans. It’s a true act of love and appreciation on the part of fanfiction writers. For a while, I fell into that category, penning stories based on characters from an old television show I like and two comic book couples I love. I learned a lot during my time as a writer of fanfiction. From those early beginnings, I branched off into writing novellas and then full-length novels with my original characters, telling the stories I want to tell and read.
What inspires you?
My family inspires me. They are unbelievably supportive in a way that makes me proud and appreciative. It would be very difficult to keep pushing forward—writing, researching, and marketing without a strong support system. My daughter wants to donate Bound Souls to her high school library. And my son has given me wonderful plot and character ideas, which I’ve used in novels. In fact, one of the villains in Heat, Hunt, Hope, an angel/demon paranormal romance novella, major power-set is his idea. I dedicated the novella to him because, really, what mother could ask for a cooler son than one who comes up with an awesome magical power for her female villain? My husband, children, mother, and in-laws all inspire me to be the best—as a writer, student, and educator.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I read a lot of non-fiction books on topics such as African American politics and history, cultural proficiency and cultural intelligence, professional development and learning, pedagogy and andragogy. As a career educator, I read content and discipline-specific books, mainly. Collectively, these books have influenced my interpersonal interactions, as well as my work with school-and-central-office based personnel. My dissertation is on the cultural intelligence of community college presidents, so recently, I’ve read several books, articles, and dissertations on the topic. Cultural intelligence is a theory of intelligence that addresses how we interact with people from backgrounds different from our own—be it racial, economic, gender, religious, etc. Such a reflective understanding of self is very impacting. I use such knowledge when creating plots and characters, taking care with my representation of characters from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?
Some authors are brilliant at describing scenes—the environment, clothing, characters. If I could, I would probably skip a lot of visual descriptions, especially landscapes and homes. I do find writing such descriptions challenging for two reasons. One, I prefer to jump into a scene and not worry about what my characters are wearing, the type and placement of furniture in a room, or the trees and birds in a forest. I’m impatient that way, and don’t place the same value on setting the visual of a scene as I do in getting my dialogue and action sequences just right. Although, without a doubt, visual descriptors are important and necessary. Two, I have to work hard not to make my descriptions sound boring or a laundry list of what’s in a room or what a character is wearing. I’m always so impressed with authors who can create amazing pictures in my mind with their descriptive prose. That’s one of my areas of growth. I don’t skip such details, but I do find writing them tedious and uninspiring.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I only recently finished Bound Souls, so I haven’t begun another novel. However, my goal is to publish the third and final book in my Death and Destiny paranormal romance trilogy before the end of 2017.
What book are you reading now (or the last book you read)?
I’m currently reading Forever Vacancy: A Colors in Darkness Anthology. It’s a great collection of horror stories set in the Kretcher Motel—where people check in but not everyone checks out. I just finished reading a new release by Gisele Walko—Cravings and Triggers. I try to write reviews for most of the books I read, especially by independent authors, which both of these books are written by.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would spend time with Regent Lela of the House of Asheema. The woman is a planetary leader, which is a ridiculously powerful position. Can you imagine? What does a planetary leader day look like? Who does she meet? What does she discuss? Where does she go? What decisions must she make? And how does she stay humble and level-headed with that much power and people falling over themselves to do her bidding? Shadowing a planetary leader for a day could be an awesome and enlightening experience. If nothing else, I doubt it would be boring.
Are there any content or trigger warnings readers should be aware of?
This is a story that involves the death of a spouse, which, I suppose, could be content/trigger warning for some readers. I explore a wife’s struggle to move on after the passing of her husband. But there are a few supernatural twists in Bound Souls, which makes this novel more than the usual science fiction romance story.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your books that isn't so?
For readers who’ve never read one of books, they will likely think they are primarily romance novels, despite being labeled as paranormal romance. And, in the case of Bound Souls, science fiction romance. People assume, perhaps based on the covers, that my novels are light on paranormal, fantasy, or supernatural elements. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the romance, love, and intimacy are definitely there, the otherworldly aspects are just as critical to the plot and the growth and development of the characters.
What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your books that they need to know?
What people may not know about my books is the importance I place on creating positive, multi-dimensional characters of color, particularly the hero and heroine. Don’t misunderstand, my characters aren’t perfect. They have their flaws and areas of growth. But they are good people, who, more often than not, strive to do the right thing, be better, even when they are on the wrong path.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to thank my readers for supporting me, by reading my novels, for being a member of my Readers’ Group, and for leaving great reviews and thoughtful feedback. I appreciate their support so much, which is why I’m offering Bound Souls absolutely FREE at all major online booksellers.
Favorite food?
Crab Cake
Favorite Movie?
Underworld: Evolution
Last song you listened to?
Andra Day’s Rise Up
Dragons or unicorns?
Superpower of choice?

Thank you so much for answering all my questions, N.D! And I have to squee, because I LOVE that song too!

Fantastic answers, don't ya'll think? Any questions you'd like to ask, comment below please.

And don't forget Bound Souls is available for FREE right now. Sounds like a perfect way to celebrate V-day this year. I already have my copy :D

Bound Souls New Release Giveaway

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Excerpt & Interview: Murder at Midnight by John Ukah

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | | Please comment!

Murder at Midnight

by John Ukah
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Alex Simpson, an ex-police officer, decides after a bout of typhoid fever to take a break in a serene and therapeutic environment. The last thing he expects is to be called upon to solve a murder at the Kinging Guest Lodge. But that is what happens, when the delectable and vivacious Maria Marshall is found dead in her bedroom at midnight.

The gallery of characters living at the guesthouse and thrown into the mix, do not make his task of solving this chilling and brutal murder any easier …


Purchase “Murder at Midnight” on Amazon: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and India.

It is also available on Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Okadabooks, and major online stores. Okadabooks is mainly for buyers in Africa.

But I was inclined to think that if Mrs. Marshall was making up the stories, the people concerned could easily refute them; instead she always seemed to have them in a very tight spot.
“Let’s leave all that,” I said. “Let’s get down to why you are really here.”

As Maria pouted and fluttered her beautiful eyelashes, I found it difficult to concentrate on what she was saying. She was a very beautiful young woman. I am sure I must have mentioned that before. I was utterly entranced by her radiating beauty. Her perfume was so heady, that it made me want to hold her close. I had to shake my head from side to side, several times in order to clear my mind.

“You see, Mr. Simpson, let me take a hypothetical case of Ayuba and his wife, Amina. I’m only being hypothetical, you understand?”
I assured her that I understood and she continued. “Now if Amina was found dead at the bottom of a cliff, from which she had apparently jumped, having suffered some emotional traumatic event and the Police are satisfied that it was suicide and close the case. But somehow I discovered a letter that shows that Ayuba was the one who asked her to meet on the cliff, to discuss certain things, which she knew that he had done but which Ayuba did not want her to tell anyone else and for which he may have decided to push her over the cliff, to shut her mouth. What should I do with the letter? Because although the letter was written by Ayuba to Amina, asking her to meet him there, it still is no proof that Ayuba kept the appointment with her or that he pushed her.”

I was quiet for a few moments. Although she said it was hypothetical, it was obvious that to me that she knew some secret which was troubling her. Yet, she wanted to protect somebody. Was it her mother or Nagoth?
“If I were in your shoes, Maria, I would hand over the letter to the Police, even if they have closed the case. If there is anything to uncover, they will do so. But even if they don’t act on it, you would have done your lawful duty. Otherwise, you may be suppressing useful information.”
“I thought you might say something like that,” said Maria, with a deep sigh. “But what if I am in love with Ayuba and I don’t want him to feel that I have betrayed him by going to the Police? Couldn’t I confront him with the letter and hear what he has to say, first? She was starting to get really worked up about this so-called hypothetical story of hers. I wondered about the identity of the person she was trying to protect.
“Maria, if Ayuba did push Amina off the cliff and you confronted him with such evidence, as the purported letter, it could be dangerous for you. If he has killed before to shut somebody up, he will do so again.”
“But if he loved me, he would explain everything to me,” said Maria, still pouting.
I could see that she had already made up her mind to confront the person that she was protecting. She only needed me to back up her decision. But that, I could not do. Working with the story at hand, it was a dangerous step.

“Why don’t you tell me the whole story, maybe I could offer more concrete advice?” I prompted.
“Well you see, it was yesterday. I heard a noise in my room, like a rat scurrying around. It had disturbed me, all through the night. So, I decided to search for it. I went over to my chest of drawers and … I …” she suddenly clamped her hand over her mouth.
“What is it?” I asked.
She looked frightened. “I don’t think that I should tell you any of this, Mr. Simpson. I think I should go now.” She stood up and adjusted her skirt.
I reached out and held her left hand. She seemed so confused and scared.
“You can confide in me, Maria.” I stood up. She looked at me with those bewitching and beautiful eyes. We stood in close proximity and maybe that was what made touching her not such a good idea. A pulsating stream of electricity ran through me, as we held hands. I think she felt it too. I could not tell if I drew her into my arms or if she walked into them. We were suddenly in each other’s arms and in her eyes I gleaned a need to be comforted. I didn’t know what was troubling her but it had her completely unsettled. I yielded to a sudden impulse. I lowered my head and kissed her waiting lips. Her lips parted as mine met them.

About the Author:

John Ukah is a seasoned banker and Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, where he was listed as University Scholar. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
My name is John Ukah. I am a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, Benin City. I am a banker and an Associate of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ACMR). I wrote my first book (Murder at Midnight) with a pen.
How did you realize you wanted to write?
I have always kept a personal journal. There was no conscious decision to be a writer. Writing has always been a part of me.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Books by Stephen King, James Patterson, Jeffery archer, John Grisham, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, and Dean Koontz.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
I won’t change anything at all.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The hardest thing is making time or space for my writing. I work in a bank. Life happens and other things distract or compete for my time.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I am working on a detective thriller. It is a testimony on the bogey of love-life amidst confusion and value misjudgements. It affirms the point of duty on young men and women to make the right choices with their eyes open. The story is a saga of love, pitiful criminalities, investigations, assumptions and deceits.
What book are you reading now (or the last book you read)?
I am reading Igoni Barrett’s ”Love is power, or something like that”.
If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would spend the day with Mrs. Marshall and find out all she knows about the people around me. She has a knack of finding out an awful lot about people. She keeps an ear to the ground.
Has your career as a banker and business man influenced your writing or the stories you tell?
It gives my stories a certain hue because I meet people from all walks of life in the course of my banking and business interactions.
Favorite food?
I don’t have any. I am not a finicky eater.
Favorite Movie?
‘Limitless’ featuring Bradley Cooper.
Last song you listened to:
Smokey ‘Changing All The Time’
Dragons or unicorns?
Superpower of choice?
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so?
Some people think ALL murder mysteries are the same.

What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?
All murder mysteries are NOT the same. Authors have signatures. The storytelling style and characters offer variety and excitement.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I invite the readers to enjoy the rich insights provided by the intriguing gallery of characters, and the interesting dynamics between them, which is at the core of this whodunit thriller.
How is the best way for readers to connect with you and learn more about your books?
Facebook: www.facebook.com/john.ukah Twitter:@JohnUkah

Thank you John for answering my questions! I hope ya'll enjoyed reading the excerpt and John's answers.

Will you be adding Murder at Midnight to your TBR? Any other questions for John? Let me know below!

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway for Heir of Locksley by N.B. Dixon: Gay Robin Hood's Prequel

I requested to read Heir of Locksley because gay Robin Hood? Fuck yes! Give me that old time social justice advocate gays, baby!

(And if you’re wondering I was totally one of those kids that loved the animation Robin Hood and thought he was hot as hell.)

But instead I got the straight childhood prequel. There’s barely a hint of homosexual romance and tension until the end. THEN IT ENDS.

Me During Reading:

  • “Okay, battling kiddos, will you two hook up?”
  • “Nope, okay then. Age gap, maybe?!”
  • “Nope. Ugh, fine. Let’s go, grow up, hurry.”
  • “Ohhhhh yes, good feeling about this one!”
  • “Damn, son.”
  • “the DRAMA!”
  • “Oh, so Robin’s bisexual or demi?! SWEET!”
  • “Oh, no.”
  • “Oh no!”
  • “Oh, no.”
  • “Oh no!”
  • “Ohhh, no!”
  • “Fuck.”
  • “Okay here we go!! FINALLY!”
  • ~FIN~

Look, it was a great read but I’m a bit upset over the misrepresentation. The blurb makes it sound much more than it is, and like an integral part of this story. It isn’t. Yet.

The next book takes place years after this one when the fucking asshole is sheriff and it’s King John and all that jazz. You know, the ‘meat’ of Robin Hood’s story. And does mention Robin’s gay feelings finally presenting. So yay!

The Outlaw’s Legacy #2 could be gay as shit and make it all okay. Let’s hope. I have a good feeling, but that might be hype getting in the way, because this was a really good read except for this issue.

Time will tell. Now enough with the feels, and onto the information and full review!

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Book Tour Excerpt: The Guardian by Amber Malloy: Black Woman Writing Interracial Romance

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | Please comment!

The Guardian

Las Vegas Tales Book 1
by Amber Malloy
Genre: Action Adventure, Suspense, Guilty Pleasures, Interracial, MultiCultural
Book Description:
Jack Stone has inherited his family’s casino. The only problem? The mob wants it more than he does. If he doesn’t play his cards right, he’ll end up dead.
When his high school sweetheart drops back into his life, Jack’s got an even tougher decision -- should he trust the beauty with his life and heart -- again? This time he’s hoping the odds are in his favor.

Excerpt: Copyright ©2017 Amber Malloy

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.


The last remains of the Vegas nightlife surrounded his bar, where the showgirls from the Bellagio ignored last call. Jack Stone cleaned off the glasses with a smile. He had no choice; this town was a world of its own. Only in Las Vegas would a baby shower at the witching hour be acceptable. The star act of the Night Review was not blessing a new life with just any old nightclub but one where old Hollywood had once clamored to get in.
"To Mindy, for getting out of the dance race before she got tossed out on her pregnant ass!" The pack of Amazons cheered at their captain's toast.

"Last ones, lovelies," Jack called out. "It's time to go."

"Aw, come on, Jack, one more?" they whined practically in unison.

"Sorry, girls, the big boss would have my head if he knew I kept us open this late."

"We could only make it over after the show." The tallest of the tribe reached across the dark bar to touch his shoulder. "I'm sure you can pull a few strings."

Jack kept his smile firmly in place, without allowing them to know he was immune to their charm. "Last one," he repeated with a wink to soften the blow.

"Okay, you win." Still sparkly from her performance earlier, the replacement showgirl took her Peppermint Schnapps down like a pro. "What do you say to dinner tomorrow night after last curtain?"

Since his return to Vegas three years ago, this was the same song and dance he went through nightly. He was hip deep in friends with benefit offers. At first he indulged in the available pool of beauties, a distraction from his true mission. It would have been easy to keep going, but the sexy woman who had just stepped into Pauline's consumed his mind and heart.

Lena Mercier walked upstream of the thin dancers. Toned with curves in all the right places, she was an artistic statue painted in the vibrant hue of milk chocolate.

"Thanks for the drinks!" The showgirls headed out of the bar doors in a peal of giggles.

"You've got something of mine, Jack," Lena said in a subtle tone that stopped the mindless chatter in his head. The Lululemon leggings cupped her perfect ass. It was her usual travel uniform. She must have just gotten off a plane. A fancy tank top and light leather jacket topped off her outfit. Her sleek black hair fell in a swoop in front of her right eye -- a sophisticated cut that showcased her elegant neck. Jack noted how perfect she looked. Except for the fact she had left town two weeks ago, and he had no idea where she had gone. It still aggravated him.

He wiped down the deep wood and concentrated on the high polish, instead of the sexy woman in front of him. "Just put your lips together and blow."

She gave him a cheeky smile before she put her fingers to her mouth and ripped a high-C whistle. In a matter of moments, the heavy panting of excitement filled the damn near empty bar. A squat, furry toad ran at full tilt in her direction. Lena's Frenchie, Harry, hopped on the chair, then the table before he took full flight through the air. Lena caught the little fucker in the crook of her arm.

Since he never tired of that circus trick, Jack chuckled. "Nightcap?" Happy to see his neighbor had made it back home, he tried not to compete for her attention with the dog.

"Sorry, Jack, I'm beat."

"You want to talk about it? After all, bartenders are great listeners." He nudged to get her to open up about her work. Once high school sweethearts, they'd spent more than a decade apart, and then one day she was back. Since he didn't believe in coincidence, he had his suspicions why Lena had suddenly showed up in his life.

"If only that were true." Lena smiled before she headed toward the door.

"We're not good listeners?" He wished she would stay and keep him company.

"No," she turned around, stopping short of disappearing into the cool night, "the part where you're just the bartender."

About the Author:

Amber Malloy dreamed of being a double agent but couldn’t pass the psyche evaluation. Crushed by despair that she couldn’t legally shoot things, Amber pursued her second career choice as pastry chef. When she’s not writing or whipping up a mean Snickers Cheesecake, she occasionally spies on her sommelier. Amber is convinced he’s faking his French accent.

Amber loves to talk to her readers and can be found at www.ambermalloy.com

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