2021 Book 42: WILD RAIN by Beverly Jenkins

Wild Rain, Women Who Dare #2, by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062861719 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780063075153 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062861726 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062861733 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B07ZTVKBPW (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07ZP1NLD8 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: February 9, 2021

The second novel in USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins’ compelling new Women Who Dare series follows a female rancher in Wyoming after the Civil War.

A reporter has come to Wyoming to do a story on doctors for his Black newspaper back east. He thinks Colton Lee will be an interesting subject…until he meets Colton’s sister, Spring. She runs her own ranch, wears denim pants instead of dresses, and is the most fascinating woman he’s ever met.

But Spring, who has overcome a raucous and scandalous past, isn’t looking for, nor does she want, love. As their attraction grows, will their differences come between them or unite them for an everlasting love?

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Read an excerpt here.
 
 I was rather late in discovering Beverly Jenkins, but when I did I rapidly devoured every title of hers I could find. I’m a huge fan of her contemporary fiction the “Blessings” series (and it’s being developed into a television show). But I was introduced to her via her historical fiction and I reread all of them every year. (Yes, you read that correctly. I re-read all of her historical fiction titles every year!) I kicked off this year by re-reading her “Old West” series, and I’m glad I did because book three of that series introduced us to the Lees of Wyoming, Dr. Colton Lee, his sister, Spring Lee, and their cantankerous grandfather, Lee. Although it wasn’t necessary to read Tempest before reading Wild Rain, it helped to refresh my memory a bit. (Hey, you try reading 450+ books a year and see if you can remember all of the details of every book read!)

Wild Rain is the second book in the Women Who Dare series and the action takes place a few months after Tempest ended. Tempest featured Colton Lee and his relationship with his wife, Regan Carmichael Lee. Wild Rain centers on Spring Lee, her developing relationship with Garrett McCray, a reporter from the East trying to help his father’s sundown newspaper survive by bringing in stories of intriguing people of color from the US territories, namely Dr. Colton Lee. However, once Garrett McCray arrives in Wyoming territory, he finds that he is ill-prepared for riding horseback most of the day, days filled with snow, and his encounters with the unique Spring Rain Lee. Spring winds up saving Garrett on numerous occasions and introduces him to the folks in and around Paradise. Just when it seems as if Garrett is beginning to acclimate himself to life in Paradise and spending time with Spring, someone from her past makes an appearance in town and revives stories that belittle and demean her as a woman of worth. Can Garrett accept his attraction to a woman willing to stand up for herself and go against the norms of the time or will he succumb to his family wishes and return to D.C. and a life filled with constraints?

Although I had been looking forward to the next installment in the Women Who Dare series by Beverly Jenkins, I had no idea it was centered on a character from a previous book. Yes, I should have known and would have known if I had just read the synopsis. But all I saw was a new Beverly Jenkins book, historical fiction, and it was “hey, count me in!” Readers were introduced to a bit of Spring Lee’s backstory in the book Tempest, but Ms. Jenkins provides quite a bit more in Wild Rain. We’re also provided more information about Colton and Spring’s paternal grandmother, and parents. It was quite nice getting to know more about Spring and her family heritage and it helped to explain why she made the decisions made in the past and why she lives as she does in the present. To say that Spring had a bit of a harsh upbringing after her parents’ death would be a major understatement and most of that rests with her paternal grandfather, Ben. Garrett McCray was an interesting male protagonist. He was a former slave, former sailor during the Civil War, a skilled carpenter, and a reporter for a sundown newspaper (a newspaper that people worked on part-time basis after they worked their full-time jobs, usually after the sun went down). Initially, Garrett was taken aback by Spring’s lack of a male guardian, the fact that she owned and operated her own ranch, wore what he considered male clothing meaning denims, and went into saloons, but he grows to respect and love her for exactly who she is. Ms. Jenkins always provides interesting tidbits of Black American history in her fiction and her books usually feature an author’s note at the end with a list of suggested reading (just one of the many reasons I enjoy reading her books). Wild Rain is a romance so of course it has a HEA, but you’ll need to read it to find out how the couple arrives at their “Happy Ever After.” There’s plenty of drama and even trauma before they get there. If you’ve read Tempest, then you’ll definitely want to read Wild Rain. If you read Rebel, book 1 in the Women Who Dare series, then you should grab a copy of Wild Rain to read. If you enjoy reading historical romance or simply well-crafted romance, then I suggest you grab a copy of Wild Rain to read. For all you Ms. Bevy fans, I don’t have to tell you anything because I know you already have this one on your TBR list or you’ve pre-ordered it. I’ll be ordering a print copy to give to my 86-y.o. mother now that I have her hooked on reading Ms. Bevy’s books. Hope you enjoy reading this one as much as I did.
 

Happy Reading, y’all!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2020 Book 57: ON THE CORNER OF HOPE AND MAIN by Beverly Jenkins

On The Corner of Hope and Main A Blessings Novel by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062952202 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062699282 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062699299 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062960887 (audiobook – digital)
ISBN: 9781094115788 (audiobook – CD)
ASIN: B07TLY72N8  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07T66G3T4  (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Publication Date: March 3, 2020


NAACP nominee and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins celebrates her beloved Blessings series with a heartwarming novel set in Henry Adams, Kansas.

“If you haven’t yet gotten your hands on [this] author’s work, you should do so immediately.”—Shondaland

Citizens of Henry Adams, Kansas, know there’s never a dull moment in their small town…

Trent July has been the mayor of this historic town for the past four years, but now he’s ready to let someone else take up the mantle. Barrett Payne, a former Marine, decides he wants the job. But when a surprise candidate also enters the ring, the town has opinions on who would be the best candidate.

And of course that’s not the only drama, as Malachi “Mal” July continues to make reparations for the damage he’s caused and to the people he’s betrayed, especially his lady love Bernadine. Is she finally ready to forgive him and let the past go?

As the residents of Henry Adams have learned, life will throw obstacles their way, but it’s how they come together and rise above these challenges that keep the bonds of their close-knit community strong.






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Welcome back to Henry Adams, Kansas. It’s time for an election now that Trent July, the current mayor, has decided to pass the reins on to someone else, anyone else as long as it’s not former mayor Riley Curry. This small-town may not have much to offer in many people’s eyes since it doesn’t have any big-box stores or franchise restaurants, but it does offer a strong sense of history, family, and community. To that end, Barrett Payne, current VP of Security for the town has decided to run for mayor. Initially his only competition is found with former disgraced mayor Riley Curry and Thaddeus July, brother to town matriarch Tamar July and a native son and known trickster until his wife, Sheila decides she also wants to run for mayor. The Payne family drama coupled with Riley Curry running for office would be drama enough for one small town, but add in the reappearance of Bernadine’s ex-husband, Leo Brown and his behind-the-scenes scheming, this is going to be one election that the people of Henry Adams may be talking about for years to come. 

I found On the Corner of Hope and Main to be a fast-paced and enjoyable read and devoured it in one afternoon. I welcomed the return to the setting of Henry Adams and almost feel as if the families there were friends that I was revisiting. I love the small-town setting and the drama. And yes, there’s always some small-town drama happening and this story offers quite a bit including: seed and oil company conglomerations trying to cheat and steal from area farmers under the guise of helping them out, Riley’s continual delusions of grandeur and payback, Leo’s delusions of returning to the top of the food chain in his industry after being fired, new business developments within the town, gambling addictions, helicopter parenting, misogyny unveiled, dysfunctional families revisited, forgiveness, trust, hope for a better tomorrow, and yes, some romance. On the Corner of Hope and Main offers a little bit of something for everyone and Ms. Jenkins pulls it together in one neat package. And for those of you that have read the previous books in this series, look out for the return of your favorite hog, Cletus! (No, I’m not going to explain that last sentence, read the books and you’ll understand!) I’ve recommended books by Ms. Jenkins to you before, some historical romance and others from the Blessings series. If you haven’t taken my advice in the past, I encourage, no, I urge you to add this series to your TBR list immediately. For those of you that have read the previous books in this series, make sure you get yourself a copy of On the Corner of Hope and Main. In all seriousness, On the Corner of Hope and Main is an excellent addition to the long list of outstanding reads by the one and only, “Slayer of Words,” Beverly Jenkins. (Just in case you couldn’t tell, I enjoyed this book!)

Happy Reading y’all!


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2019 Book 148: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

Rebel Women Who Dare #1 by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062861689 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062861696 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062861702 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0796SHBJ6 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Avon Romance
Publication Date: May 28, 2019


The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins’ compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War…

Valinda Lacey’s mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda’s father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn’t love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.






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Valinda Lacey was born into freedom in the North. Although she has always known freedom as a woman of color, she hasn’t been allowed the opportunity to pursue her dreams of furthering her education. Valinda’s father feels that an advanced education is wasted on women and educated women won’t be able to have children. Valinda doesn’t agree with her father, but since she can’t study without his permission she does the best she can. When the opportunity arises to get “engaged” to a childhood friend then travel South, Valinda does just that. Her fiance and his business partner travel to France seeking funding for their business and Valinda heads to New Orleans. The war between the states may be over, but there are still former slave owners that don’t feel the need to pay wages to their workers despite signed contracts. There are still bad feelings toward Northerners and Blacks, especially freed Blacks, and it doesn’t help that Valinda is a Northerner helping freed Blacks learn to read. Valinda has difficulties with one of her landladies, difficulties getting paid the small stipend she was guaranteed for her work, difficulties getting the supplies necessary to teach her students (children and adults), and then her school is targeted and destroyed. Fortunately for Ms. Lacey, she had come across one of New Orleans’ infamous LeVeq sons during an unfortunate run-in with some soldiers. Now Drake LeVeq and the entire LeVeq family is willing to help Valinda when things take a turn from bad to worse. Over the course of just a few weeks, Valinda has to make some serious decisions. Will Valinda marry her fiance even though she doesn’t love him and he doesn’t love her? If she foregoes a loveless marriage will she be forced to return North by her fierce and overbearing father? Can she turn her back on her growing attraction to New Orleans and Drake LeVeq?

I read Rebel the first in the Women Who Dare series by Beverly Jenkins in just one afternoon. Although I was dealing with a migraine that was rapidly progressing from a moderate to a severe level, along with some allergy and asthma issues, I could not put this book down. I love reading Queen Beverly’s books, and I do mean all of her books. Seriously, I reread a portion of her books at least once every other year. Rebel is a historical romance set in late 1860s in New Orleans during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. Blacks that have been freed from the bounds of slavery are searching for loved ones that were sold away. They’re trying to find gainful employment and, for the first time for many, learn to read and write. Although Valinda isn’t a trained educator, she can and does help freed Black adults and children learn to read and write. She also helps writes letters, reads letters, writes newspapers advertisements, and does whatever she can to help reunite families. Yes, Valinda is idealistic but she is also realistic having grown up in the North where slavery is outlawed but Blacks were still treated as less than. For the first time ever, Valinda feels needed and when she meets Drake she is more than a little bit infatuated. The great thing about reading romance novels is that you know that there will be a happy-ever-after (HEA) ending no matter what trials and tribulations the couple may go through, but it’s those trials and tribulations that make the story interesting. One of the many things I enjoy about reading Ms. Jenkins’ historical romance is that she weaves a lot of historical tidbits into her stories, the bitter along with the sweet. I enjoyed the characters, the settings, and the action. Yes, there are bad guys but the good guys prevail (yay!). So this is for my romancelandia readers, if you’ve previously read any books in the LeVeq series by Beverly Jenkins, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of Rebel to read. If you haven’t read any of the books in the LeVeq series, go and read those then grab a copy of Rebel to read. For those of you that don’t read romance, I encourage you to start (you don’t know what you’re missing), and Rebel is a good book to start you off. Seriously, Rebel is another fine addition to the long list of great reads by the one and only, “Slayer of Words,” Beverly Jenkins. I look forward to reading more in the Women Who Dare series by this author.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2018 Book 316: SECOND TIME SWEETER by Beverly Jenkins

Second Time Sweeter, The Blessings Series #9, by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062846174 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062699268 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062699312 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062882660 (audiobook)
ASIN: B072VFDQTN (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: August 28, 2018 


NAACP nominee and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins continues her beloved Blessings series with a new heartwarming novel set in Henry Adams, Kansas.

Malachi “Mal” July has run into trouble in the past. With a reputation as a player, he’s now a recovering alcoholic and has made progress in redeeming himself in the eyes of his family and the citizens of Henry Adams, Kansas. He’s not only turned his diner into a profitable business, but also mentors the town’s foster kids. And he’s even staying true to one woman—Bernadine Brown.

But all it takes is a moment of pride to blind Mal to his blessings—a moment that makes him betray his friends and family, and lose Bernadine’s trust and love. Will he ever be able to win her forgiveness?

Meanwhile Homecoming Weekend is fast approaching, and store owner Gary Clark is reunited with his high school sweetheart. All it takes is a few minutes for them to realize the spark is still there, but is it too late for second chances?

A little help from the good people of Henry Adams may give both Mal and Gary the best second chance at the happiness they missed the first time around…  



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Welcome back to Henry Adams, Kansas. A rural town founded by former slaves in the late 1800s known as Exodusters. This town has the dubious distinction of being sold on eBay and purchased by millionaire Bernadine Brown. Ms. Brown moved in and provided much-needed upgrades for the town (such as paving the road, improving infrastructures, providing town-wide WiFi services, building homes, providing a school and recreation center, and more). Now, this once dying town is thriving as are its residents, old and new. Ms. Brown also brought in new families to foster children and all of those children have subsequently been adopted. Along with the town’s council, she’s overseen the influx of new residents and restored old historic businesses. The one thing she couldn’t control was how Malachi “Mal” July would feel when she was paying all of the bills when they went on vacation. Mal felt like a gigolo and, along with his best friend Clay, decided on a get-rich-quick scheme that quickly fell apart. Clay had the money for the “investment”, but Mal embezzled the monies from the diner he is co-owner of, The Dog and Cow (it’s a long story). Adding insult to injury, when the embezzlement was discovered, this 60-something-year-old man ran away only to return for his goddaughter’s wedding with another woman in tow. Talk about a double slap in the face for Bernadine. Now Mal is back and providing a feeble apology at best. Is it possible for him to make financial restitution to the town and regain some semblance of trust from his friends and family? Will Bernadine ever be able to trust him again?

While all of the Mal July drama is going on, Lily July (Mal’s daughter-in-law), has been busy planning the former Henry Adams high school reunion weekend. Lily is a great planner, but even she can’t plan for the crazy behavior of Gary Clark’s ex-wife. This woman didn’t want her daughters when she divorced Gary a few years ago, moved to Atlanta and remarried. Now that she’s getting a divorce from husband number two, she’s decided that she’s lonely and wants custody of the girls. It’s bad enough she lied about being pregnant and trapped Gary into marriage all those years ago, but now she’s trying to ruin their daughter’s lives as well as all possibilities for Gary’s second chance at love with his high school sweetheart. Will she be able to derail her girl’s lives and Gary’s chance to reconnect with the love of his life?

Needless to say, there’s a lot more drama and intrigue going on in Henry Adams then I’ve mentioned, but to find out more you’ll need to read Second Time Sweeter by Beverly Jenkins for yourself. I always enjoy returning to Henry Adams and feel as if I’m revisiting old friends. This town is more about the family you make as much as it is about the family you’re born into. There’s this greater sense of community that used to be prevalent in small communities. It’s also nice to see a character such as Bernadine Brown putting her money to such great use by helping the town of Henry Adams and others. (Yes, I know it’s a fictional town, but I still think it’s nice.) This little town has grown so much since the first book, Bring On The Blessings, and I’m not talking land wise. The town population has expanded. It now has a grocery store, a swimming pool, a hair salon/barber shop, a coffee shop, a medical office, a recording studio, and a fire department with plans for an upscale restaurant and a bed-and-breakfast along with more housing. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on in Second Time Sweeter than Mal trying to repay his debt and atone for his sins and Gary possibly finding love with his high school sweetheart, but if I told you more you wouldn’t need to read the book. I enjoyed the characters, their interactions, the action, the drama (and there’s a lot of drama), and the setting of Henry Adams. If you’ve read the previous books in The Blessings series, I won’t have to tell you to grab a copy of Second Time Sweeter to read. You probably already have it on your TBR list and have pre-ordered your copy. For those of you that haven’t read any of the books in The Blessings series, set aside a few evenings or weekends and begin with Bring On The Blessings and read through to Second Time Sweeter. I’m so hooked on this series that I reread it from the very first book to the latest book with each addition to the series. (Yes, I enjoy this series just that much!) Hopefully, you’ll enjoy Second Time Sweeter by Beverly Jenkins as much as I did. Happy Reading!


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the



Read an excerpt here.



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Second Time Sweeter: A Blessings Novel

Second Time Sweeter: A Blessings Novel

Second Time Sweeter :  A Blessings Novel

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Second Time Sweeter : A Blessings Novel

2018 Book 34: TEMPEST by Beverly Jenkins

Tempest (Old West #3) by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062389046 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062389053 (ebook)
ASIN: B0713W4425 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 30, 2018 
Publisher: Avon Books


From USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins comes a new novel in a mesmerizing series set in the Old West, where an arranged marriage becomes a grand passion . . .

What kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael—an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she’s never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze.

Regan’s far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life—and in his arms—begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family’s disapproval and an unseen enemy, he’ll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul. 



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Regan Carmichael has an adventurous soul. When she lived with her Aunt Eddy and Uncle Rhine she drove the mail wagon locally and was always up for the next new adventure. When her sister Portia gets engaged, Regan knows that she needs to get away from home to begin her next adventure as a mail-order bride. After Portia’s wedding, Regan leaves the comfort of friends, family, and the familiar in Arizona to travel to Wyoming to marry a local doctor with a young daughter. All is going well until the wagon coach she’s traveling in is attacked by would-be robbers and Regan helps thwart their attempts by shooting at them. Moments later another group of riders approach the coach and once again Regan begins shooting. Unfortunately this time she’s shooting at the good guys and actually hits her intended. Dr. Colton Lee was expecting someone as docile and passive as his deceased wife and that’s definitely not Regan Carmichael. To say their relationship starts off on the wrong foot is a massive understatement. It continues in a downward spiral when Dr. Lee’s grandfather decides he doesn’t like Regan even before he meets her, Dr. Lee is upset to find out that Regan isn’t a virgin, her mother was a prostitute, she has opinions of her own (not to mention her own money), and she thinks that a husband and wife should share the same bedroom. The only plus in all of this is that Dr. Lee’s daughter, Anna, and his sister, Spirit, both like Regan and want her to stay. After deciding to get married for the sake of his daughter, the question becomes can they make the marriage work and become a united family or will Regan’s adventurous nature destroy their chance for marital success?

Tempest is the third book in the Old West/Rhine Fontaine series by Beverly Jenkins, aka Queen Bevy aka Slayer of Words. These books are all set in the West after the Civil War when the country was growing by leaps-and-bounds and the rights of freed Blacks and other people of color were sorely being trampled upon. Each book in this series presents historical tidbits that make me increase my TBR list by at least 2-3 books. Tempest presents historical information about the founder of Howard Medical School as well as information about germ theory in medical treatment, something radically new at the time. Tempest also presents a fiery relationship between Regan and Colton, interesting family dynamics for both Regan and Colton, details of the hard life in the West for minorities and women, and more. Ms. Jenkins can always be counted on for providing an intelligent, steamy historical romance, but she also imbues her characters with such charm and essence that they become part of the family. It has been fascinating watching Regan grow from her first presentation in Forbidden through Tempest, as well as watching the unending romance between her aunt and uncle throughout all three books. There are scoundrels, robbers, kidnappers, and more in this story and if you want to find out just what happens you’ll need to read the book. If you haven’t read Forbidden and Breathless, the first two books in this series, I strongly encourage you to grab copies of those to read along with a copy of Tempest. Seriously, if you’re into historical romance or romance you’ll want to read this series. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I enjoyed reading Tempest and am wondering if we’ll be seeing more in this series next year. I can only hope this isn’t the end of the Old West series (hint, hint). If it is, I’ll simply spend a few days next year revisiting Eddy and Rhine in Forbidden, Portia and Kent in Breathless, and Regan and Colton in Tempest to get my Old West reading fix in.


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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2017 Book 221: CHASING DOWN A DREAM by Beverly Jenkins

Chasing Down A Dream: A Blessings Novel by Beverly Jenkins 
ISBN: 9780062412652 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062412669 (ebook)
ASIN: B01MCUOP4A (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 4, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow 



NAACP nominee and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins continues her beloved Blessings series with a heartwarming novel about what really makes a family.

There’s never a dull day in Henry Adams, Kansas.

Tamar July has always had a hate-hate relationship with her cousin Eula, which is why she’s shocked when Eula arrives with the news that she’s dying and wants Tamar to plan her funeral. Still, family is family, so Tamar is willing to drop everything for her. 

Meanwhile, after a horrendous storm, Gemma finds a young boy and his little sister walking on the side of the road. She takes them in and quickly falls in love with the orphaned siblings. But when Gemma contacts Social Services to try to become their foster mother, she’s told she’s not an appropriate candidate, leading to dangerous consequences. 

And in the midst of these trials, Jack and Rocky are trying to plan their wedding. The entire town comes together to lend a helping hand, and once again, Henry Adams’s irrepressible residents show that despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, families come in many forms.


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Welcome back to Henry Adams, Kansas the coolest “fictional” small town in America (in my opinion), for the eighth installment in The Blessings series by the incomparable Beverly Jenkins, with Chasing Down a Dream.

For those of you unfamiliar with Henry Adams, this town was founded by freed slaves in the late 1800s. This once prosperous town was down to a handful of residents before the current mayor, Trent July (grandson to the town’s matriarch Tamar July) put the town for sale on eBay (yes, eBay). That’s when the wealthy divorced Bernadine Brown stepped in and bought the town lock-stock-and-barrel. Over the past few years, she’s helped to rebuild the town’s infrastructure, paved roads, built a school, community recreational center, church, homes, and more. This once dying town is now a thriving small town where everyone comes together to help out the town and each other. 

Tamar July is the town matriarch and a speed demon (as evidenced by the speeding tickets she’s been accumulating lately). At 90+ years of age, she’s also wondering if her end is near as she’s recently begun having some strange dreams. The dreams begin to make sense when her cousin Eula Nance shows up, reveals she’s dying, wants to be around family near her end and wants Tamar to plan her funeral. Tamar, being Tamar, does the only thing she can do and takes her in, calls in the family. Gemma Dahl is making a new life for herself and her grandson in Henry Adams. She has a good job, a nice home, and is even going back to school to take a few business classes to give herself more opportunities for advancement. What she doesn’t expect to do is come upon two orphaned children and become a foster mother, but that’s exactly what she plans on doing until one social worker breaks up her newly enlarged family. Meanwhile, the town’s one restaurant, a diner actually, isn’t large enough and tentative plans are underway to build a slightly more upscale restaurant. Needless to say, the current restaurant’s owner isn’t really happy with that idea even though there’s more than enough business to go around. In just a few short years, Henry Adams has a world-renowned recording studio, a newly refurbished diner, a recreational center, a church, a school, a newly refurbished and historic hotel featuring one bedroom apartments upstairs and mixed-use space downstairs (a hair salon, medical clinic, and a coffee shop), a community swimming pool, a volunteer fire department, and more. Although this town is growing by leaps and bounds, there’s still plenty of drama, some from ancient feuds, some from newly minted feuds, internal and external family feuds, and more.


I love the Blessings series and Henry Adams, Kansas. Yes, this town is filled with drama, but the people are realistic with their problems, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. Some of these get worked out and some don’t, just like real life, but through it all the people of this small town work together to overcome obstacles. Ms. Beverly Jenkins has provided a wide array of themes in Chasing Down a Dream, including prejudice against past mistakes, racism (overt and covert), aging and the concept of usefulness, and family and she does it with respect for the weightiness of these issues and often a touch of humor to lighten things up. I feel as if I know the characters in this series, the women, men, and children. I can’t tell you what happens (read the book), but I was just as disappointed with Mal as others by his actions. I was a little worried at first that Tamar’s dreams might be foreshadowing her death, and I’ve got to say that I’m not ready to see Tamar die. I loved the drama around Rocky and Jack’s wedding, especially the drama caused by Jack’s cousin-in-law. I recently discussed this series with an online bookish friend and we both feel that The Blessings series are much more than just inspirational stories (no, there’s nothing wrong with being just an inspirational story); these are feel-good stories about family, community, and paying it forward (paying it forward even in the smallest way to make a difference). If you read this series, I don’t even have to tell you to grab a copy of Chasing Down a Dream because you know just how good this series is already. But just in case, go grab a copy of Chasing Down a Dream! If you haven’t read this series, you are really missing out, so go ahead and grab a copy of Chasing Down a Dream and then go back and read the previous seven titles. You can thank me later. If I hadn’t already reread this series earlier this year, I’d be re-rereading from book one, Bring on the Blessings, through book eight, Chasing Down a Dream. (Yes, I like this series just that much.) 


Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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Chasing Down a Dream (Blessings Series #8)

Chasing Down a Dream (Blessings Series #8)

Chasing Down a Dream

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Chasing down a Dream : A Blessings Novel

2017 Book #31: BREATHLESS by Beverly Jenkins

Breathless (Old West #2) by Beverly Jenkins 
ISBN: 9780062389022 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062389039 (ebook)
ASIN: B01FD9AZJ8 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 31, 2017 
Publisher: Avon Books

A strong-willed beauty finds herself in the arms of the handsome drifter from her past, in this second book in the sizzling series set in the Old West, from USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins

As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability—qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none has looked at her with such intensity and heat.

Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman—and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known—and one he intends to win…



We were first introduced to Portia and Regan Carmichael, their aunt Eddy and her husband Rhine Fontaine in Forbidden (if you haven’t read this one, run and grab a copy today to read…seriously!). The action in Breathless takes place fifteen years after Eddy and Rhine married and Portia and Regan came to live with them. Due to hostilities in Nevada caused by Rhine’s living as a White man, the family was forced to flee Virginia City and are now living in Arizona Territory. Rhine and Eddy have a prospering hotel in the territory. Both Portia and Regan have received college educations and returned to live in Arizona with their aunt and uncle. Now in her late twenties, Portia has resigned herself to living as a spinster and is happy to be working as a bookkeeper for her uncle and assisting in the management of their hotel. Or she was happy until an old face from the past returns, the former bartender for Rhine’s saloon in Virginia City, Kent Randolph. The last time Kent saw Portia she was a somewhat standoffish twelve-year-old girl, now she is a beautiful and highly intelligent young woman and he’s definitely attracted to her. Fortunately for Portia, Kent has ample appreciation for her intelligence, independence, business acumen, and wit, not to mention her latent sensuality. To say that sparks fly between Portia and Kent is a major understatement, but will they be able to conquer the divide that separates them and build a successful relationship together?

First, if you’ve never read any of Beverly Jenkins’ historical novels and you are a romance reader, you have no idea what you are missing. These novels, including Breathless, combine great writing with amazing stories, little known Black American historical tidbits, historical locales, strong characters, plenty of intrigue and danger (no, I won’t tell you what kind of danger, read the book!), and scorching romance. Second, it was so nice reading about known and beloved characters, namely Eddy and Rhine Fontaine, and see that their romance is still going strong. It was beyond nice reading about the attraction and burgeoning romance between Portia and Kent. Ms. Jenkins always provides the perfect ratio of drama and romance to make the stories page-turners. Breathless is a historical romance with well-developed characters, plenty of personal and interpersonal drama, and sensuality that kept this reader’s eyes glued to the page. I enjoyed reading Breathless so much that I had to grab my copy of Forbidden to reread it. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Breathless and strongly recommend it to all romance readers, especially those that enjoy historical romance. (It is possible to read Breathless without reading Forbidden, but again, I urge you to read them both.) I look forward to reading the third book in this series and until then I’ll satisfy my Beverly Jenkins historical romance needs by rereading some of her earlier stories and perhaps rereading Forbidden and Breathless (yes, they are just that good).

Disclaimer: I received a free digital advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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2016 Book 205: STEPPING TO A NEW DAY by Beverly Jenkins

Stepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins 
ISBN: 9780062412638 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062412645 (ebook)
ASIN: B015MOJ95A (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks


NAACP nominee and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to the town of Henry Adams with a story of family, friendship, love, and second chances.

In Henry Adams, Kansas, you can’t start over without stirring things up . . .

Many a good woman has had to leave a no-good man, but how many of them took a back-seat to his 600-lb. hog? On her own for the first time, Genevieve Gibbs is ecstatic, even if certain people preferred the doormat version of Ms. Gibbs. Finding someone who appreciates the “new” her has only just hit Gen’s to-do list when T.C. Barbour appears in her life. 

A tiny Kansas town is a far cry from his native Oakland, California, but it’s just the change T. C. needs. While helping his divorced nephew acclimate to single fatherhood, T. C. lands a gig driving a limo for the most powerful woman in Henry Adams. It’s a great way to meet people—and one in particular has already made the job worthwhile. All it takes is a short trip from the airport for Genevieve to snag T.C.’s attention for good. 

But it wouldn’t be Henry Adams without adding more drama to the mix. When Gen’s ex Riley returns with his hog in tow, it sets off a chain of events that can ruin everything—unless the residents pull together once again to save the day.


Imagine a small town established by freed Blacks in the 1800s. Imagine that same town in the 21st century, struggling to survive. Now imagine the town is posted on eBay and sold. The buyer is a wealthy Black American female and she’s willing to put her money up to bring this poor rural midwestern town into the 21st century. The population is growing once again, there’s a school, a recreation center, a church, a grocery store, a beauty salon, a recording studio, and more. Return to Henry Adams, Kansas in Stepping to a New Day, the latest addition in the Blessings series by acclaimed author Beverly Jenkins.

Genevieve Gibbs is a sixty-something-year-old woman finding her niche in life. She divorced her husband after he chose his hog Cletus over his wife and embezzled thousands of dollars from the monies left to her by her father. Adding insult to injury, her home had to be demolished due to the destruction wrought by her ex-husband’s favored hog. Genevieve had begun to rekindle her romance with her high-school love, but he can’t accept her new found spirit and free will. Enter the newest addition to the Henry Adams family, T.C. Barbour. T.C. had moved to Henry Adams on a temporary basis to help out his nephew. Within days he’s obtained a part-time job as a chauffeur and found that small town life isn’t as bad as he thought. T.C. has also finally decided to follow through on a promise he made to his dying wife, he’s going to learn to read. Both T.C. and Genevieve struggle with their new lives, but one area that is struggle-free is their romantic interest in one another.

Stepping to a New Day is the seventh book in the Blessings series by Ms. Jenkins. I found it to be a fast-paced and engaging read. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I really like the Blessings series and was greatly looking forward to this new addition and it did not disappoint me. Ms. Jenkins has provided a story about second chances in family, love, and life for a variety of ongoing characters, including Genevieve and T.C. We also see the ongoing struggles with the children of Henry Adams and other residents. These characters struggle with the normal day-to-day routines and more. It’s been fascinating to watch the development of this town grow from an isolated small rural community to one that is basically an extended-family scenario. It’s always a delight to read about the interactions of the Henry Adams natives, transplants, and visits from out-of-state friends and relatives. Ms. Jenkins has created a diverse, multicultural town that I’d be proud to call home. If you’ve never read any of the books in this series, then I strongly encourage you to begin reading it. Seriously, start with Bring on the Blessings and continue all the way through to Stepping to a New Day. This series provides tons of romance, family angst and drama, and highlights small town life as well as midwestern Black American history…a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Go, read, and enjoy! I look forward to returning to Henry Adams in the future. 


Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Beverly JenkinsAbout Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild. Ms. Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature.


Find out more about Beverly at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter



This review is part of a TLC Book Tour.



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2015 Book 162: FOR YOUR LOVE Review

For Your Love (Blessings #6) by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062207999 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062208002 (ebook)
ASIN: B00QQMNINM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow & Company


Return to Henry Adams, Kansas–an unforgettable place anyone would want to call home. . . .

Mayor Trent July and his wife, Lily, are enjoying life as newlyweds and embracing the challenges and joys that come with being adoptive parents to two wonderful boys. But fatherhood has inevitably forced Trent to think about his own birth mother.

Raised by his grandmother Tamar–and, in many ways, the good people of Henry Adams–Trent was blessed with a childhood full of love. But he can’t help wondering what happened to the scared teenage girl who gave birth to him. And questions that he’s never voiced are now begging to be answered: Who was she? Is she still alive? Why didn’t she want him?

Trent has always believed that no good comes from dwelling on the past, especially when you have a loving family, a strong community, and folks who depend on you. But when the past comes to Henry Adams, Trent has no choice but to face it–and the woman who left him behind. The truth will shake his very being and everything he thought he knew about life, love, and the bonds that hold families together . . . but can also tear them apart. 


Imagine a contemporary small, rural town filled with loving, caring people. Imagine a town with little, if any, unemployment. Imagine a town where everyone works together for the betterment of that town and its inhabitants. Now imagine this town was founded by Black Americans in the mid-1800s and that multiple generations of descendants of the founding families have continued to reside there and raise their families. This mythic town is the town of Henry Adams, Kansas and is the setting for the Blessings series of stories by Beverly Jenkins. For Your Love isn’t just the story of this town or one family, but multiple families and their search for more.

The first person we’re introduced to is Rita Lynn Babcock in California and the only thing we know is that she’s received a letter from her deceased mother revealing a shocking secret from her past. Next we’re introduced to Trent July. His family is one of the founding families of Henry Adams. Trent is on his third marriage and has two adopted sons, Amari, and Devon. Trent’s father, Malachi July, is a trained veterinarian and owner/operator of the Dog and Cow restaurant in town. Trent is a trained architectural engineer and is currently working as the mayor of Henry Adams. Trent’s only regret in life is that he doesn’t know his birth mother. Just when you think you know where this story is going, the reader is whisked to Dallas, Texas and introduced to nineteen-year-old Bobby Douglas, his nineteen-year-old girlfriend Kelly “Kiki” Page, and their eleven-month-old twins, Tiara and Bobby Jr. Bobby and Kelley are struggling to provide for their young family when they are asked to relocate to Henry Adams, Kansas. What follows is a story of a town offering a foundation to a young family, affording them respite from abject poverty and the chance to be a part of something bigger.

Over the course of this story, Trent reconnects with his birth-mother, Rita. And Bobby and Kelly realize that there are good people willing to offer a helping hand to those in need. Needless to say, there is a lot more going on than just the story of Trent, Rita, Bobby, and Kelly. The reader is introduced to the older generation of Henry Adams, as well as the youngsters (trust me when I say you’ll want to read about Devon and his swagalicious wardrobe). Are there problems to be faced in Henry Adams? Of course there are, and one of the bigger problems is dealing with a loss of support services from a neighboring town. Throughout all the ups-and-downs, this tiny community bands together to ensure that no one is fighting a battle alone.

For Your Love is actually the first story I’ve read by Ms. Jenkins. At first I was a little lost since there was obviously quite a bit of backstory to this town and its residents that I didn’t know. However, once I got into the story it didn’t really seem to matter about what came before (although I’m adding all of the previous titles in this series to my TBR list just so I can catch up). Ms. Jenkins has crafted a wonderful story about a town and community anyone would want to live in. Not all of the people in this town are wealthy financially, but they have a wealth of friendship, love, and support that can’t be measured. There’s family drama, old jealousies and hurts, greed and avarice, and more. If you enjoy stories featuring families and communities dealing with realistic problems, then you’ll want to add this HEA (happy/hopeful-ever-after) story to your TBR list. I look forward to catching up on the Blessings series and reading more from Ms. Jenkins in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via TLC Book Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


About the Author

Beverly Jenkins is the author of thirty historical and contemporary novels, including five previous books in her beloved Blessings series. She has been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People, the Dallas Morning News, Vibe, and many other publications.


Find out more about Beverly at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

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