African American · Five Star Review · Romance · Uncategorized

A Compassionate Pirate in This Beverly Jenkins Story

captured
Captured by Beverly Jenkins

 

Captured

HarperCollins e-books 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-197631-5(Adobe Digital Edition)

Read on Freading App

5hearts

Synopsis: Clare Sullivan, a slave, is captured by one of the most virile, ruggedly handsome pirates- Dominic LeVeq. At first the capture rattled her so, but after getting to know him, she learns more about him and that knowledge leads her down a passionate, adventure filled road…

I enjoyed this book for many reasons:

  • Sailing on the open sea.
  • A handsome pirate.
  • A courageous, intelligent heroine.
  • Last but not least, steamy unforgettable scenes.

*Purchase Captured today to get swept away by an amazing story!

So, yes right off the bat I can tell you this is a five heart read. It is about more than pirates and slavery. It begged the question: How far will you go for love?

As usual, like in other books by Beverly Jenkins, you get a history lesson along with an amazing story. Also like usual: the female lead character is pure(either a virgin or never “been loved properly”) and sometimes in her stories, the woman can not stay. She has a mission. Clare has a very important mission and she will die trying to complete it.

Dominic is iron wrapped in soulful kisses and intelligence. Yes, he’s a pirate and may forever be, but he proves to not only be caring and attentive–he’s also trustworthy and resourceful and he had a crew that trusts him.

“He placed his lips against her ear, murmuring, “I could kiss you until the sun becomes the moon.”(55)

Some of the events are tough to swallow but it was a reality Jenkins’ had to paint for us since it took place in the late 1700s. The enslavement of blacks and the rise of pirates was very real during that time and so some incidents definitely made me cringe but the storytelling was great, sweeping across the Atlantic, to Savannah Georgia and the Caribbean’s.

Have you read any of Jenkins’ books? Do you also enjoy sailing on the sea kind of tales? Share and discuss below! 🙂

~The Write Web

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Creative Writing · writing

Fiction Friday Challenge: The Shape of the Sun

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Image of sun over water found on Pexels.com

 

 

Synopsis: A blind man questions the validity of his life in his darkest moment yet. Until a kind voice reminds him of something so true, it is a fire to his soul…

My story may never get told. It will lump in with the rest like pieces of unleavened bread. Perhaps written down on parchment and washed away at sea.

But I met him.

It was on a very hot, incredibly dry day and I sat on a stone with a heart as heavy as said stone.

An outcast. In every sense of the word. As a man, I knew I must work, provide for a family(I had none) and be a commendable person of society- but who can do that in the dark? Who can do that without love?

On that dry, hot day. I contemplated something heinous. I contemplated asking for a sword to stab into my gut or kindly asking a stranger to permanently place me in darkness. Since I lived there as a blind man anyway. What difference can it make?

I heard the footsteps. The crunch of sand, before a gentle voice spoke. There were more voices. Some ridiculing me and telling the kind voice to leave me be. But he stayed.

“He must have done something wrong. He has sinned!”Screamed the voices. “And look at the whiteness of his eyes! Is he the devil?”

The kind voice, I did not hear for a moment. Then he said something so fair. So sweet and true. So true, it was not of this world.

He told the others. “This man, nor his parents did any wrong. He is blind because he was fashioned for my Father to do this miracle.”

“Who are you?” I ask.

“I am the Light of the World.”

I heard him hack up something from his throat—-Spit. Then he asked someone to pass him a stick. He told me he was mixing his saliva with earth and will pack it onto my eyes.

I remember clamoring up inside. The brutal beatings, the fights I got into, nearly being pushed into a pool of water to drown. My heavy heart…

Now someone wants to place spit on my eyes.

I did not believe in Miracles. Not in some magical person who can heal. Although I heard the stories. Even if he could open my eyes. I was man born into darkness. What will I see? What do people look like? What is earth? The shape of the sun? Will I know and run around frightened?

I feel cool mud cakes being slapped onto my eyes  and Ah! It hurt. It burned like a million fires into my skull and then moments later a cooling sensation sizzled.

“Do you know where the Pool of Siloam is?” The kind voice asked me.

“I do.”

“Go now and wash it off there, Celidonius.”

It’s funny how people say now how faith as a mustard seed moves mountains. It is now in this life that I realize faith plays a huge role in anything, however God can do what he wants. I was a tool. An example of what can happen outside of the natural realm using natural elements. Funny, eh?

I did as instructed that day. Rinsed off my eyes, slapping cold water on my face, and before me was movement. This coolness is called moving  water. The bright disc in the sky, our sun graced the world like a gold finger laying on top of the water, and there was movement in the sky. Animals. Flying ones my mother told me about.

Later after the naysayers accused my healer of being the devil, I stood by the same pool and the kind voice asked me if I believe in the Son of Man.

I turn to him, the heavy lead of my heart my doubting heart becomes softened. His skin was same as mine. Some may say Jasper and his eyes were dark opals which shined brighter than the sun.

“Lord, in your eyes, I’ve found the missing pieces.”

I truly have. Enlightenment is like being pregnant and finally giving birth and letting out the joyous burden. It is a kindling for your soul and your mind and all my worries, my parents, even me being born blind finally made sense. It took no words. No needing to attend the synagogue to debate with the Pharisees and Saducees for Scroll answers.

My Lord looked on me kindly. It was all I needed.

Eyes. Jeweled windows of the world and still so many are left in darkness.

Copyright© 2017 Erica Jean Smith

*Thank you all for reading this. It demonstrates perfectly how someone can you love you back from the depths of darkness. Please read and share! Head over to Maquessa’s blog to join in on the Fiction Friday fun!

Creative Writing · Flash Walk Fiction · Uncategorized · writing

Fiction Friday Challenge: Dark Contract

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Image from Pexels/Tookapic

“Remember, you never knew me. I never woke you up. Promise me!” The gangly kid’s wild eyes shone behind Harry Potter glasses as I tried standing, holding on to my tombstone. My legs wobbled terribly like a baby colt’s.

But my body…

So. Much. Pain.

“Thanks.”

The young kid shakes his head sadly, then peers back up at me. His black hair is everywhere on his head as he takes his time watching me.

“This fulfills our contract.” He says, just as a fat rain drop hits my face. The nameless boy who called me from my grave shivers visibly.

He pulls a hood over his head, me as he jogs over to his car, snatching his neck around to see me once or twice. My vision is skewed: black and white. Like an old movie but with bad static or something.

He speeds off in his car, kicking dust everywhere. I know I will never see him again.

I am left with gifts by this stranger I hired while alive: a bookbag filled with Slim Jims, knives and my favorite-handcuffs.

I pull the bag over my shoulder. It takes at least a dozen tries. My stomach hurts so bad and my head is splitting…but I make the short trek home.

See. They never know when you’ll pull a stunt like this. When he says my name, he will fall in shock. You can never rid yourself of a good woman…

I knock once. Twice. Three times before a light pops on and blinds me. Now I see a shock of brilliant white.

The pain in my belly increases. Feels like razors on my entrails.

” K-K Karma? Oh God! Karma Lee?”

My lover stands with just his boxers on and a long arm rests on his broad shoulders. He seems to have lost even more  color now. The new girl finally peeks over him and she sees me too.

She shrieks. “A ZOMBIE!!!!!”

I slowly step inside my home…

As soon as lightning and thunder cracked the sky I made my decision. With just a single thought, the door slams. Perhaps this is a new power?

“Dominic,” I say as the two of them..traitors,  fall back, eyes wide in genuine fear. “Payback is a bad b#!ch.”

Copyright 2017 Erica Jean Smith

To join in the Friday Challenges fun, please visit Marquessa’s blog! Thanks for reading!

4 Star reviews · Apologetics · book review · Communicating with God · Uncategorized

Tap into ‘The Wisdom of God'(a review)

the wisdom of god
Image courtesy of Bethany House Publishers

Tapping into the wisdom of God is a pretty big feat to accomplish. God is an unseen being, an intelligent Creator. One who sent his son Jesus to die for us all so how can we tap into His wisdom and allow it to order our steps? A.W. Tozer’s writings on this subject is quite simple but is easily recognizable and in some cases come off as extremely biased.

 

Tozer starts off describing what Wisdom is. Wisdom is an “afflatus”, a breath created by God and appears in the form of a woman in the biblical writings. Wisdom, also called Sophia, cries out to us. This divine breath. A.W. Tozer references throughout the work, is given freely. He cites  the Wisdom of Solomon. A.W. Tozer repeatedly reminds us that the Wisdom of Solomon is not divinely inspired of God like the other 66 books of the bible, yet gives us a picture of what wisdom truly is.

That was a slight problem with this work. This could be because of my own personal stance on Christianity now as to why I am cautious of what I read and believe. Why isn’t the Wisdom of Solomon included in the 66 books of the bible and who deemed it so?

After learning about wisdom being a “divine lady breath”,  Tozer begins to help us understand the activity of wisdom. Chapter by chapter he teaches us: “The Root of Divine Wisdom”, “The Benefits of Eternal Wisdom”, “The Practicality of God’s Wisdom”, and so on. Each chapter brings you closer to understanding the beauty of wisdom.

There is one teaching that really stuck to me though. In the section on pursuing wisdom, Tozer breaks down Proverbs 1:20-23’s meaning of the scorners, the fools, and simple ones. These are the ones Wisdom will “pour her spirit onto”.

“The point is, though he believes those things, he lives as if they were not so. The man who lives as if the truth were not true is as bad as the man who denies the truth.”(The Wisdom of God, Tozer, pg.108, 2017)

Some troubling areas which came off as biased(again, this could be because of my own feelings as of late about Christianity) stems from over-radical beliefs that is unproven.

For instance, Tozer says: “Millions are in hell because they simply could not resist imitating others”(pg.57) and who are these people in hell Tozer mentions? Smokers and drinkers are one of them. This part is very complex and odd because how do he know who is in hell and how does drinking and smoking land someone in hell? It is bad for health- but hell?

Also, when describing the “strange, evil woman” he calls her sophisticated and smart and “can’t remember when she last attended Sunday school”…? That was pretty low and what does being strange and evil have to do with sophistication unless she is using people and is conceited, I don’t see anything wrong with anyone being sophisticated and intelligent. Perhaps a better example could have been used.

Perhaps I can chalk it up to Tozer’s time period. He lived around 1897-1963 so his views on some things may seem myopic and biased but he is still one excellent theologian and writer.

Overall, the book had great insight and I advise readers to take note on some pages because understanding the wisdom of God is important for the Christian walk. That much I do agree with.

4heart1This book earns four hearts from me and was received for free from Bethany House.

Flash Walk Fiction · Uncategorized · writing

Fiction Friday Challenge: Kiss and Tell the Gorgon

mont-saint-michel-france-normandy-europe
Image of Normandy France taken from Pixabay

Synopsis: Prince Mex falls for the late Medusa’s sister. But her heart is as cold and steely as the armor she wears. Will the pretty faced prince finally melt the heart of a monster known to slay thousands in the blink of an eye?

“You can’t love me.”

“Why not?”

“Need I remind you, Pretty Prince. I am Xeria. Medusa’s sister. A gorgon. A warrior. It is not me you want. Why not Ledea? She is wholesome, untouched. A true beauty.” I say referring to my curvier, more luscious sister.

Prince Mex advanced closer, sheathing his sword by his side. His eyes were the color of the beautiful Aegean sea before twilight, his muscles bulged before me as he was topless and I was getting an eyeful. I remained stoic, however difficult that prove to be.

“Because you are the one who caught my eye. There is something about you Xeria I can’t name.” His thumb touches the bottom of my lip, I slap his hand away but he only smiles. Every man in the kingdom wishes to be the one to touch Xeria’s heart.”

“There is nothing special about me. I am a monster. They know that, so do you.”

The human male before me shakes his head once to the right, then the left. “Xeria. You are not like your sister.”

He was referring to Medusa. The one who was used, abused and became famous throughout the land for her cursed power of turning men to stone who looked upon her.

“I am. I have killed thousands. Maybe millions, Mex. I am a hunter, not some twit who wants marriage and children.”

Mex laughed at me, his eyes twinkled. The most handsome warrior to fight by King Olios’s side wants me? Absurd.

“Take off your helmet.”

“No.”

“Take. Off. Your. Helmet.” A slow, seductive command I immediately obeyed. Unfair!

I giggle inside. Most men have pursued me and I have given them my time(after they begged for mercy, of course). Mostly because they look at my eyes and my svelte yet busty figure, and think I am too pretty to kill or something, but once I remove my helmet…

I pulled it off and feel the rows of wet serpents sweep my shoulders, they hiss in sorrow and hate for me. Sometimes I hear them in my dreams. Sometimes they bite me. “See.”

Mex snakes out a hand and tries to pat the one lying down on its side, a quiet unmoving one.

“I killed that one. She’ll come back eventually.”

With wide eyes in wonder, Mex touched my snake hair. “Dios! How…”

“I don’t know.” I spoke. I don’t know how Medusa and I received our hair. Other women can use combs, hair brushes and place pretty ornaments on their fine hair. Mine was the definition of unruly and unkempt…alive.

He steps closer, it seems he is not breathing. Then he closes his eyes. “Xeria. When we are not fighting together,” he whispers. “When I do not see you. I miss you. “Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath.”

He pauses. Then add, “Tonight, I lose my breath. Gazing upon your beauty.”

I swallow in sadness and passion.”I guess that is my curse then.”

Mex grinned wickedly, looking like his father, the King. Who is part of another secret I must hide from Mex.

He ignores my hissing snakes but I mentally make them lie down as Mex’s beautiful bow shaped lips meet mine and I surrender, melting, sealing my lips upon his very soft ones. He is an expert at this. Just this one kiss is doing damage to all my beliefs and constitution.

He wraps his hands around my hips and brings me closer as his tongue finally meet mine.

I drop my helmet with a loud reverberating clang to the floor.

Okay. He won this battle.

But I will win the war.

Copyright© Erica Jean Smith

**Thank you for reading! Make sure you click the link within the story to be taken to Marquessa’s blog for more lyrical prompts on Fridays!

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Five Star Review · Youth/Young Adult

Show Your Room Love With These Amazing, DIY Tips!(a book review)

DIY Room Love
DIY Room Love image courtesy of Capstone Young Readers

 

Room Love: 50 DIY Projects to Design Your Space by Heather Wutschke

Published: Capstone Young Readers(September 1, 2017)

ISBN:978-1623708177

*Book received for free from Netgalley

____________________________

“Statistics say you spend at least one third of your life in your bedroom…why not make it the most amazing place you can imagine?”(Quote from Room Love, pg.5, 2017)

This season, don’t let your room go shabby or remain a place only nightmares are made of. Try some DIY tips from this gorgeous book filled with colorful photos, tips and cautions on how to get your room looking sweet and inviting.

It all starts with Moodboards and De-cluttering….

Then you grab this book and oh! the ways you can heal your room.

What I love most about this book are the colorful pages and easy to read instructions.

I’ll be honest.

I did not know this was a book from the Young Adult category until I realized there were warnings like: “Ask parents about heat resistant lampshades!” Or Make sure to consult your parent about…”

That kind of thing. This is what makes the book so special though. When I was a teenager, the most sprucing up I did with my room, was add a few posters, buy a new comforter with cute kittens on it and maybe move the twin beds around.

But Wutschke takes decorating a step further: You can have a furry desk chair with confetti pieces on your wall(as shown on the book cover). Create a super cute charger station, magnetic makeup boards, and beautiful hangers to grace your closet with style.

I truly enjoyed the cozy pictures and brilliant ideas for rooms. I am no longer a teen but the principles of designing a room is great for anyone to read and take notes from.

So get that Washi tape,fabric or acrylic paint and start transforming your room into the most beautiful space ever.

For more book reviews or even to request a book for me to read and review, subscribe to this blog or simply hit the follow button. This bookworm will not disappoint!

 

African American · book review · Five Star Review · Historical Fiction · Romance · Uncategorized

Highly Recommended: Wild Sweet Love ( a historical romance review)

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Book Details:

Wild Sweet Love by Beverly Jenkins

HarpersCollins e-books(2007)

ISBN: 9780061757549

5hearts

It has been quite some time since I’ve read a good, and I mean good historical romance. There was a time I read them all day. Thanks to Beverly Jenkins, my love for historical has been rekindled by reading Wild Sweet Love(2007). I seriously did not want to leave the story behind. It has roped my heart in.

Teresa July is a known outlaw. When she is finally captured, she is sent to a corrections house but released early for good behavior. One catch: She cannot go back out West but to Philadelphia to live in the city and learn to be a lady. For one year she can no longer drink, shoot a gun, or get caught doing anything wrong.

“You’re pretty combative aren’t you?”

“And you probably prefer your women a lot more docile. Docile women don’t make the newspapers.” (Wild Sweet Love, pg. 28, 2007.)

Madison Nance does not know what to think when his mom brings in a short haired, ashen, petite woman into his home. When he learns it is the infamous train robbing Teresa July he is astounded, but as the weeks go by and Teresa blossoms before his eyes, he can not help to think that maybe he is not destined for a princess but someone who is wild yet sweet.

The book has so many strengths: historical accuracy, fully developed characters and settings that place you square in the moment.

What really held my attention to this book of course was Madison and Teresa. Teresa is very strong willed and I enjoyed the progression of her going from appearing unattractive to Madison, to her “enthralling him” with her black Seminole eyes and skin. Their banter had me laughing out loud and cheering on the love I knew would sprout between them.

The juxtaposition of the two lovers was also important. Madison, a banker, used to be a gambler too. A wily one at that. Teresa is the gun slinging, fast talking rebel and little did she know, Madison is not all prim and proper as she once thought. The passion shared between them two was so darn hot and sweet; seemingly a perfect blend of tangy and spicy.

It was also interesting to read about a fascinating, hot headed woman of color. The characters were diverse of course and even though at some points I felt as if I were given a history lesson(complete with dates) instead of seeing it play out, the book was incredibly good.

Teresa July’s transformation was not forced either. I loved how the author allow us to see Teresa grow while still allowing her to remain who she was. Madison was by no means a weak male. He was an alpha male who respected and desired his alpha woman.

Definitely a five star book. Highly recommended if you enjoy historicals filled with romance and outlaws.