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



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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

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

Chasing down a Dream : A Blessings Novel