Review: In Black & White by Nia Forrester

Nia Forrester never fails to create realistic portrayals of love that I always find so beautifully written. She never disappoints. And this is definitely true in her latest, In Black & White

Set in a leafy suburb of Philadelphia, we’re immediate dropped into what is every parent’s nightmare–the disappearance of a child. In this case, it’s the disappearance of 18-month-old Samara, the daughter of interracial couple Noah and Dana. Samara’s abduction and the subsequent fallout around it mark the beginning of a fascinating story that is in parts mystery and a thoroughly modern story of a love on the rocks. 

Forrester is a master at crafting three-dimensional characters. Dana and Noah are no different. From the first chapter when we learn the status of their marriage, we are given a very realistic, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes frustrating portrayal of a couple who come from different worlds. Noah is the product of privileged, old Pennsylvania money. Dana is his polar opposite–raised in a working-class neighbourhood in Baltimore by her grandmother and her older sister, she has struggled to get used to the life of privilege being Noah’s wife affords, especially since her skin color will always mark her as out of place in the world that Noah comes from. One of the aspects I loved about In Black & White is how Forrester deftly takes us through the couple’s history and its relevance to their separation. These snippets of their shared past help the reader understand who Dana and Noah were when they first met and what attracted them to one another as well as what has driven them apart. 

This is not a sugar-coated, fantasy-laden love story, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then this isn’t going to be the book for you. But if you’re in the mood for a very realistic look at a modern love and marriage, racial and socioeconomic differences (and how it can make or break a couple), and how the disappearance of a child can unveil secrets, then you’re going to love In Black & White.

Highly recommended! 5 stars.

You need Italian Food & Life Rules in your life!

Maybe it’s the short season of truly warm weather in season. Maybe, even though it’s possible to find good food in Stockholm, it’s not the best place for spaghetti alle vongole or bistecca alla fiorentina. That’s the reason the Swede and I try to spend time in Italy at least once a year. We’re planning our next Italian adventure as I write this.

 

If you’re going to Italy this year or even if you want to do some armchair traveling, you should pick up Italian Food Rules and Italian Life Rules by Ann Reavis. Ann lived in Florence for fifteen years and she broke every one of the “rules” before she learned to live like an Italian.

Did you know that Italians never drink cappuccino after 10 o’clock in the morning? Do you know why they never eat pizza for lunch? Why does the fruit vendor in the market yell at you when you check out the ripeness of the pears or the freshness of the green beans? Ann writes about the rules and the reasons in Italian Food Rules.

Did you know that Italians don’t like wall-to-wall carpets? Why are they only allowed to have shutters in four colors in Tuscany? What’s the danger of air conditioning to Italians? Why are they carrying a neck scarf in the middle of the summer? Why is the Italian beach scene so different from the rest of the world, but exactly the same everywhere from Rimini to Calabria to Forte dei Marmi to Portofino? Ann provides insight in Italian Life Rules.

And from May 15 to May 22, the Kindle version of Italian Food Rules will be on sale for $1.99.

Italian Life Rules will go on sale at the Amazon Kindle Store for $1.99 from May 22 to May 28.

Release Day Blitz: Maldeamores (Lovesick) by Mara White

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“Exquisitely sensual, Maldeamores is the most unforgettable forbidden romance I have ever read.” Katy Evans, New York Times Bestselling Author of the REAL Series.

“Refreshingly ‘taboo’ – in a community where we’re inundated by novels claiming this title, it’s wonderful to finally find a book that not only truly lives up to the word, but is also well written, moving, and beautiful in its prose.” Stylo Fantome, Best Selling Author of the Kane Trilogy.

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Belén: I’ve loved Luciano ever since I can remember, desired him before I even knew what it meant. He’s always been the only man in my life—my constant protector, and his rejection only intensifies my need.
Luciano: I’ve never known a love more fierce than the one I feel for Belén. But I force myself to deny her no matter how much it hurts.
Our love is a sickness and both of us are infected.
Because there’s no cure for being from the same family.
***Warning***
This novel contains graphic sex scenes, including: incest, F/F, and ménage, M/M/F. Some drug use and violence.

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Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and, yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.

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Guest Post: Excerpt Reveal – The Delivery by Mara White

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Lana Finch is a twenty-five-year-old social worker. She believes wholeheartedly in saving the world—one broken kid at a time. Lana is headstrong, she’s righteous and she’ll let nothing stand in her way. Except for maybe her entire family that’s financially dependent on her.
Enter Mozey Cruz, the eighteen-year-old juvenile delinquent assigned to her charge. He’s an illusive artist, he’s misunderstood, and he’s a natural born troublemaker.
Their love is illegal, much like Mozey’s undocumented status in the States. So Lana lets him go even though it might be the worst mistake she’ll ever make.
But destiny has a way of catching up with us even when we run from it.
Los Angeles————
————Detroit
Tijuana————
————Mexico City
But first, Lana has to find him before she can deliver him…

DELIVERTYEXCERPT
I squeeze his hand again. I scrutinize every little point of contact between our two bodies. My ear on his shoulder, and my thigh flush with his. The length of my arm matching up with the length of Mozey’s, and my wrist, grazing lightly with his calf as we sit. My skin is pale, like the underbelly of a fish. His is warm, like hot chocolate with milk. I want to drink it, to swallow all of that velvet. I want it to melt on my tongue and warm me all the way up from the inside out.

Then they’re gone, the door is closed, and my arms cross across my chest. Mozey has one hand in the pocket of his jeans the other palm flat against the back of the door. Those two boys were my protection. My buffers. I feel naked without them. Suddenly, Mozey, looms larger. Almost larger than life.

“Are you hungry?” he asks me.

I couldn’t be more satisfied. I can’t believe I found you. That you’re standing here in front of me.

I shake my head at him as he saunters over to me. I remember that he’s confident, that he’s sexual, that he probably knows more than me.

“We can take it slow, Lana. We don’t have to fuck.”

It’s a jolt when he says it, a live thrash of wire. Saying it, it means he’s thinking about it. I know that I am. Maybe he thinks it’s what I want to do. Or he thinks I don’t so he feels he has to clear the air by saying it out loud.

Sex. I’ve been thinking about it since the minute I met you—whenever I’m around you. Thinking dirty thoughts when I was supposed to be protecting you. My face falls, and my shoulders slump. All of the vixen has run out of me.

“Or we can if you want.” It’s his smile that gets me, so warm and inviting. He’s confident with either choice, whether we do or we don’t. He’s enjoying teasing me, and he knows how hard I’ve been looking for him.

“Come here,” he says and pulls my elbows apart, inserting his body in the space that I was trying to protect—my chest, my breasts, the area surrounding my heart.

“I’ve always thought you were beautiful, Lana. But you never wanted to hear it,” he says, his nose tickling my ear. He pulls my arms around him and sets them at his waist. I am a robot. I can’t speak. I have no feelings.

“Maybe you should sleep on the couch,” I say, stepping out of his hold.

If magic were a good thing, then we would all be able to wield it against the one we love.

Hypnotize with eye contact, unravel with a stare. But instead, magic is dangerous, it makes us see what isn’t there. It makes us believe in illusions and in fleeting apparitions that will never be concrete. I need something that can last, not something that will disappear into thin air.

I loved you because I wanted to save you. And I thought if I saved everyone, then it said something about me. I wanted to be worthy. I didn’t want to be bad. I always felt that badness was an inextricable part of me. I became a social worker to try to exorcise the ugly part of me.

Of course I don’t say this out loud. I explain myself to myself in my head. Like an idiot. Like the insecure, crazy girl that I am.

Mozey runs his hands through his hair and looks sadly at me. He nods his head and massages his chin with his thumb and forefinger then looks down at the floor.

“There’s not one single part of me that isn’t complicated—that’s easy to love,” I blurt out, trying to explain away being so difficult. This is the one thing I can’t fuck up and live to regret it.

“I already know that. I want every part of you.”

If there is something I need to hear, well, Mozey just said it. But I’ll still always be a disappointment. I will never be perfect, and for some reason, what I really want to bring to this is perfection.

“I feel like you’re going to keep pushing me away, even if it hurts you. Should I give up? You want me to stop trying?”

I nod my head “yes,” like the fucking liar that I am. I’m nodding and nodding while every inch of my flesh is screaming, “See through me, don’t believe me, please know that I want you, don’t believe anything that she says.”

Mozey yanks his t-shirt up over his head. Two long silver chains clang together as they bounce on his chest. There he is in all of his perfection, his chest tight with emotion, his arm muscles flexed in defensiveness, his brow furrowed in confusion. I’m shaking, with trembles running up and down my spine, splaying out through my limbs into my hands and my feet. What I want is right in front of me but somehow it seems even further out of reach.

DB
PAPERBACK: http://amzn.to/18X3SuG
AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/1aQ6ds9
AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/1wLJqI1

DA
Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.

PAPERBACK: http://amzn.to/18X3SuG
AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/1aQ6ds9
AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/1wLJqI1

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Nick Alexander, you are brilliant!

ImageThose of you who follow this blog know that I stumbled onto Nick Alexander‘s books thanks to a tweet. Yes, Twitter actually introduced me to new books and I will never regret following the link that led me to Nick. His books are amazing. And now Other Halves, the sequel to The Half-Life of Hannah, is available. I started reading it today and I adore it already! I will post a full review soon, but all I can say is that Nick never disappoints. 😀

So what is the plot? Now that Hannah has discovered the truth and fielded through the lies her ex-husband told her, she faces embarking on a new life in Australia with James. But can she do it without losing the love of her son? Intrigued? You should be. 🙂

I am about halfway through the book and I am hooked. Nick, you rock!

I should be done reading Other Halves in a couple of days and then I’ll post a proper review. Until then, rest assured, you should read The Half-Life of Hannah and then read Other Halves. You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Two books you really ought to read this summer

Cover of Monsoon Memories by Renita D'SilvaIn between all the work I’ve been doing (both for my job and for my fiction writing), I’ve managed to read a few books. Two books that really stood out were Monsoon Memories by Renita D’Silva and The French for Love by Fiona Valpy. These two amazing women are debut authors published by Bookouture, which is well on its way to becoming my favorite publishing company. So far, I’ve read four books published by this new kid on the block, and all four have been fantastic.

Both Monsoon Memories and The French for Love are beautifully written novels that have a way of conveying setting and description that is magical. And both novels feature such  stellar characterization that you’ll feel as though you know the characters inside and out.

 

Monsoon Memories tells the story of Shirin, an Indian woman who is estranged from her family and living an on-the-surface enviable life in London with her husband. Memories of her life in India, and why she was forced to leave, haunt her and a longing for her family and everything she left behind grows inside her. And while Shirin’s memories keep pulling her back into her past, in India her niece finds a photograph of the aunt she never knew and starts them on a path to dealing with painful secrets and ultimately coming to love and reconciliation. Full of gorgeously crafted settings and descriptions, you’ll be pulled into this lush novel. Renita paints the most beautiful images with a few, perfectly chosen words. Monsoon Memories is a book to fall in love with.

 

The cover of The French for Love by Fiona Valpy

The French for Love also deals with family secrets, leaving the past behind and taking a path of discovery. Gina, our protagonist, has every reason to leave England behind–she’s lost her dream job and  her boyfriend and then her favorite aunt dies, and then she finds out her aunt has left her what seems to be the solution to all her problems–a house in France. So Gina does what any self-respecting woman who’s longing for a change would do–she moves to France to start a new life. But…she hadn’t factored in the culture shock, the roof in need of repair, language gaffes or the family secrets that were supposed to remain buried. As Gina learns to navigate life in Bordeaux (sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?), she finds herself falling in love with Cédric, her dishy stonemason. Well…I won’t tell you the rest. You should just take my word and dive into this book. It’s a perfect summer read that will transport you away from the doldrums commuting or the usual rat race and have you longing to move to France and find a ramshackle house of your own.

So have I got you interested? Good! You should be. Both novels are amazing, and they are definitely on my list of must-reads for 2013. They are both five-star books for me.

 

 

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