Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Oblivion Black: The Sculptor Book 1 by Christa Wojciechowski

Title: Oblivion Black
Author: Christa Wojciechowski
Publisher: Christa Wojciechowski
Published: August 8, 2022
Page: 387


In this psychological romance, Ona Price nearly dies from a heroin overdose on the streets of Manhattan. As she shoots up in a McDonald’s where she and her Puerto Rican friend Jojo purchased the narcotics, this art school dropout almost kills herself. Fearful of losing her daughter to addiction, Ona’s mom Donna determines she should live with her aunt Vivian or aunt Vee in New Hope.

Ona is required to go there and attend weekly NA meetings in addition to taking daily dosages of the drug methadone to deal with the withdrawals. She gets into a flow but eventually finds her new life and routine mundane, so she looks for work. On her first attempt, she gets hired as the assistant to renowned Russian artist Antoni Azarov, also known as The Hands of God.

Immediately I sensed something was amiss. She got the job too easily, and there is something off about the boss. Azarov appears distant, arrogant, and unkind. A magnificent artist, he fashions clay into the bodies of beautiful women from the models sitting naked before him, creating a gorgeous statue. But, while Ona doesn’t like him at first, his coldness melts as the two soften to one another over cigarette breaks, and she becomes accustomed to working with him and Oz, the Black man who hired her and is like a father to Azarov. The physical link is evident between Antoni and Ona as she cuddles up against him on the back of his Ducati and sips bottles of wine at his affluent house, where she would spend many nights.

Yet, despite the growing tension, Antoni won’t touch her, and when she tries to touch him, he flings her across the room like a rag doll.

Either the man is gay or otherworldly.


This is the third book I’ve read from this author, and it is another psychological masterpiece. As someone who grew up around addicts, I can say the way Christa brings us into the world of addiction is strikingly accurate, from withdrawal symptoms to what addicts are willing to do for another hit. I also adored how diverse this novel is. Even though the author is not Black, she accurately captures the characteristics of the Puerto Rican youngster Jojo and the elder Black man Oz. Their identities didn’t come across as contrived or overly dramatic.

Speaking of characters, there is also the wealthy Panamanian from El Chorrillo. I enjoyed snobbish Sonia’s edge. Sure, she’s a harlot, but her story and character have depth. In my mind’s eye, she appears to be a real person with a past that has shaped who she is today. This story really starts to take off when she enters the picture. This wealthy wife purchases Antoni’s sculpture of Ona for ten million dollars. Determined to have The Hands of God put his hands on her body, Mrs. Sonia Orlyk is more than willing to pose naked in front of the extraordinary man in full glory.

Mr. Orlyk is a wealthy drunk his wife is no longer interested in.

But Sonia’s lust and seduction with Antoni Azarov go too far. Despite the fact that he is a brilliant artist, the tragedy that has characterized his life is beyond his control. Now Ona is about to be swept up in her boss’s drama while fighting her own demons. The dealer outside the clinic and Jojo, who is out of jail but back on drugs and wants to see her, are just two examples of the dangers of relapse lurking around every corner. She is already skipping meetings.

This book is not as dark as I thought it would be based on the description and cover, but the message is deep and layered. It is about the worst kind of darkness, the internal kind we cannot always see in others and even ourselves. It is what happens when our childhood traumas, unhealed and unchecked, follow us into adulthood. It is the study of the human mind and its addiction to drugs, lust, love, fame, and even art.

“Lovesickness. It was worse than dopesickness. Antoni was more dangerous than heroin.” – Ona Price

-Christa Wojciechowski

Oblivion Black is a lengthy read, but you won’t be able to put it down or forget about the characters.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 4/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4/ 5 stars

Grab It From Amazon Here.

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To have your book reviewed on this blog apply here. The registry is open for a limited time.

Stay tuned for our next dope read, part two in the Sculptor series.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews is a reputable review service that features writers from all over the world, both traditionally and independently published. We are listed on Kindlepreneur as a top-tier book review blog and Reedsy as one of their vetted active book blogs that provide insightful, excellent book reviews.

*Books are read in the order they are received.

 

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Born this Way by Tammy Ferebee

Title: Born this Way
Author: Tammy Ferebee
Publisher: Tammy Ferebee
Published: January 11, 2018
Page: 135


Young, Black, and gay, Joseph feels rejected by his father, the local pastor of the small, southern town in Tammy Ferebee’s novel Born This Way. Joseph struggles with his self-esteem and worth as he faces judgment from his community after being manipulated into a scandalous relationship with an older white man, Bruce.

Joseph’s father wants nothing to do with him, and his mother is silent, choosing to support her husband. While residing with his aunt, the boy feels alone and battles despair, and abandonment. In light of this, he explores Craigslist and comes across Bruce, a man who serves as both a lover and a father figure.

Bruce uses his cleverness to slither into Joseph’s mind by telling him how wonderful he is and how much he is cherished and adored. Above Joseph’s head, the recognizable red flags flitted about like kites. The boy’s naivete is evident as this superb manipulator and pervert woo him. Bruce is a 56-year-old white man with no business flirting with young Joseph, but the boy’s sense of abandonment from his own family is blinding. For Joseph, Bruce is his first boyfriend.

This is a sad story with heavy topics. For this, I appreciated the light Nikki, Joseph’s best friend, brought to the table. She gave him positive words he could use to boost his self-esteem, told him the truth without sugarcoating, and gave him a safe space to vent. Nikki also makes an appearance in Still Black and befriends Malachi. 

Interested readers should read Born this Way before Still Black since it has a twist that is disclosed in this book’s ending.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/ 5 stars

Grab It From Amazon Here.


To have your book reviewed on this blog apply here. The registry is open for a limited time.

Stay tuned for our next dope read. Dark fiction fans hold onto your seats!

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews is a reputable review service that features writers from all over the world, both traditionally and independently published. We are listed on Kindlepreneur as a top-tier book review blog and Reedsy as one of their vetted active book blogs that provide insightful, excellent book reviews.

*Books are read in the order they are received.

 

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Still Black by Tammy Ferebee

Title: Still Black
Author: Tammy Ferebee
Publisher: Tammy Ferebee
Published: February 22, 2022
Page: 182

Seventeen-year-old Malachi is young, Black, and albino, and has always had the support of his parents, his older brother Andrew, and his beloved community. Their love has shielded him from the whispers about his pale skin and rumors about his alleged curse.

But this does not stop him from enduring the tragedy of racism’s impacts in his southern suburban town.

Things change when the Dickson family, who have a Confederate flag draped over their door, moves in. The formerly friendly neighborhood becomes cold, and a run-in with Bennett Dickson turns tragic. Malachi’s family is severely affected by it, and his skin cannot shield him from the excruciating suffering he will soon feel. Bennett makes it clear that Malachi is still Black.

There are some tragic circumstances that I cannot discuss without giving the plot away, but this novel was well-written, impassioned, and realistic. Being a Black woman, the author does a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of a young Black male with her poetic voice. When the author conveys the depths of the family’s agony, the emotional intensity of what it is like to endure as both an albino and a Black person oozes from the pages. This book bleeds.

This young adult novel is perfect for teens, but adults will also enjoy it.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Grab It From Amazon Here.


To have your book reviewed on this blog apply here. The registry is open for a limited time!

Book reviews help encourage readers to purchase a book, act as social proof, help with an author’s amazon ranking, and increase the book’s visibility.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews is a reputable review service that features writers from all over the world, both traditionally and independently published. We are listed on Kindlepreneur as a top-tier book review blog and Reedsy as one of their vetted active book blogs that provide insightful, excellent book reviews.

Because of such high demand, I only open the registry once a year and for a limited time. Act now if you want to get in before I close it again!

 

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas

Please help me extend a warm welcome to Natasha Thomas.

Welcome to the PBS Blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Natasha and I’m from Daytona Beach, Florida. I’ve been living in the metro Atlanta area for the past 11 years.

Cool beans. Are you employed outside of writing?

I am! I have worked as a psychiatrist for eleven years. I treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and psychotic disorders. But my specialty areas are posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and peripartum mood and anxiety disorders. Those are disturbances in mood that happen during pregnancy or in the postpartum period.

Over the course of doing this work, I’ve learned the postpartum period is much longer than the six weeks women are usually taught to consider postpartum. I walk with women through their entire pregnancies and at least the first year of their baby’s life to make sure they adjust well and their mental health is supported.

I start treating people at age 15 and have patients in their eighties!

Wow! You are doing such important work.

Now, I just finished binge-watching this (I’m late to the party), so you know I gotta ask, with you being in Atlanta and in the medical space…

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…are you a fan of Married to Medicine, and have you met any of the women from the show?

So funny you asked about Married to Medicine! I’ve never met any of the ladies. But being a psychiatrist, I have met and share patients with Dr. Lunceford (Quad’s husband). He works at a local inpatient facility. So at times when patients aren’t doing well and have to be hospitalized, they’ve been under his care. During those times, he typically reaches out to me so we can collaborate on their outpatient treatment after their hospital discharge.

In addition, Dr. Damon Kimes (Dr. Heavenly’s husband) is an absolute joy to share patients with. He is extremely compassionate to the mental health needs of his patients that also have issues with pain management. Having the opportunity to collaborate with local docs is one of my favorite things about building a medical network here!

That is so cool! See, I knew I was watching that show for a reason, lol. And Chile, they fight like real sisters, and the shade!

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Any siblings Natasha?

I technically am an only child. I have a very close cousin and very close friend. They have been my “sister” and “brother” since I was two years old. They were both raised as only children, too. So, though I grew up without siblings at my home, I have never really felt alone.

That’s precious. Speaking of growing up, what was your childhood dream?

When I was six years old, I developed a strong interest in biology. And this came from reading the children’s encyclopedia series my parents ordered for me. The last book was a guide for parents to understand their children’s health. It was the most interesting part of the entire series to me. But interestingly, I decided in fourth grade that I would attend Yale Law School. I have no idea where that aspiration came from. That lasted a few years, but science just continued to interest me so much that I began to consider medicine around age twelve if memory serves me correctly. By the time I was getting ready to attend college, I started feeling the pull to write. My mother and father encouraged both – but medicine first!

I was a very daydreamy and quirky child. So, from that angle, I had dreamt of doing everything from finding Smurfs in the tree in my backyard to oddly wanting to become a maternity model in the JC Penney’s catalog. That’s the most bizarre realization I’ve ever had about my childhood dreams! Oh goodness.

Lol. That’s what we want to hear! We want you to dig deep. What’s your favorite color?

Green. Kelly green to be exact!

Nice! Favorite food?

I am a true seafood lover. Fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab – I mean, I could just go on and on. My favorite meal, altogether, would be white rice, with fish and collard greens. Interestingly, I was told that was the exact favorite meal of my grandfather, who passed away before I had the chance to meet him.

I love that about genetics. How we could inherit a trait from family outside of our mothers and fathers.

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You mentioned the pull to write, so let’s go there. What genre do you write and why?

I write psychological suspense. I guess, with what I do for a living, it’s not all that mysterious why I have chosen that genre. I’m fascinated by the human mind. Absolutely. What happens to the psyche through one’s life story is incredible, and nothing intrigues me as much. Whether I’m reading, writing, or watching movies or TV, suspense and thrillers with a psychological component are always my favorites. I think we learn a lot about ourselves that we may not want to express when we consume thrillers and suspense. They give us an opportunity to look at our moral compasses and question what, if any, absolute truths we hold.

I love the education your are giving us right now. Do you blog? Does blogging help with writing?

I actually feel like it’s the reverse for me; writing helps me blog. I started a mental health blog called Hope Grove in 2018. It was inspired by the cool work I get to do with my patients, and many of the questions they ask me. I figured if they had these questions, others would as well. That’s especially true for those who, for whatever reason, do not have access to mental health care. And even though the questions drive my blog postings, sometimes I would feel it required a real push to finish a topic.

I have found that writing a post has flowed much easier since I’ve been working on my novel. I think that’s because I’ve been working with a different part of my brain, my imagination, and that tends to mobilize me in general. I also am an intermediate level Haitian Kreyol speaker. I have found my use of the language drastically improved since I’ve been writing my novel. It makes sense but I wasn’t expecting that to happen!

Why is writing important to you?

Oh, that’s a big question. Writing is my outlet. But it is also the way that I take all my life’s experiences and distill them down into bite-sized pieces that I can process and understand. Just like everyone else, I have pain, regrets, doubt, successes, joy – so many emotions to turn over and over in my head. Writing helps me do that in a healthy way. And to turn some of my life lessons into a story that benefits myself and my readers is a gift. The writing of others is also massively important to me. Through the work of greats like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Edwidge Danticat, and Nikki Giovanni, I started to see writing as a window and a healer. Can you imagine a world without it? I’d certainly rather not!

I love it.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is honesty – honesty that allows you to see yourself and grow into your highest potential.

Thank you, Natasha, for spending this time with us.We enjoyed you!


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Natasha Thomas, 2021

Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in private psychiatric practice exploring the individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.

Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. In 2010, she moved to Metro Atlanta to work as an outpatient psychiatrist and has the continued honor of providing clinical care as owner & CEO of Hope Grove Psychiatry, PC. When she is not doctoring or writing, she enjoys her family, home, or corner of the couch.

Be Sure to Follow Natasha on Social Media!

Social Media Handles:
Facebook  – @natashajeneenthomasauthor
Instagram – @natashajeneenthomasauthor
Twitter – @JeneenAuthor
 

…and preorder her Psychological Suspense Thriller coming this fall!

 
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About the Book:

Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in South Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes.

When Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar.

But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find.


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. 

The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen is LIVE

The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen is live!

About.

When Tina’s nephew, Ronnie is killed, she is left to care for his siblings and to solve a series of mysterious murders involving only black men. Investigating each murder thrusts her and her team into a world of deities, demons, and fallen angels, leading Tina to battle a serial killer beyond this realm.


“Paschar walked with confidence and held her head high as she moved her hips from side to side. Red was her most favorite color to wear with this skin. Something about the hue against this dark body is so different from her true form and more comfortable to navigate the Earth. Who wanted to be invisible to humans when it was easier to seduce them in the skin of a beautiful black woman? Passersby, men and women alike, looked, and Paschar smiled. They always stared. Humans were fascinated by blue, crystal pupils against such brown, creamy skin. In real life, Pas thought human bodies were disgusting. She hated the soft, gooeyness of the flesh, how it bruised and bled so quickly, how it fell apart and crumbled with each passing day. She hated the rotting meat on the bone, but she did come to love dark skin tones. Other pigments didn’t make her heart beat like melanin.”

– From Chapter 7, The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen

“Tina walked out of the door as her body trembled. She knew Big Sam had blue eyes, and Ronnie’s death was no accident. They had murdered her nephew, were back, and killing again.”

– From Chapter 3, The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen

We sold out of signed paperbacks on the site, but no worries! You can still order a paperback from Amazon. The next round of signed copies will be restocked soon! Be sure to bookmark my website below so you don’t miss it!

Preorder: The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen

Without further ado, I hope you will enjoy my introduction to Urban / Contemporary / Black AFAM Fantasy Fiction.

About.

When Tina’s nephew, Ronnie is killed, she is left to care for his siblings and to solve a series of mysterious murders involving only black men. Investigating each murder thrusts her and her team into a world of deities, demons, and fallen angels, leading Tina to battle a serial killer beyond this realm.

Title: The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen

Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Editor: Dr. KE Garland

Publisher: Literary Korner Publishing/Yecheilyah Books LLC

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Contemporary Fantasy / Black & African American Fantasy Fiction

Release Date: June, 8, 2021

TWWBE: PreOrder a Signed Paperback

TWWBE: PreOrder Ebook From Amazon

Mark as Want to Read on Goodreads

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Darkest Loop by James Fant

Title: The Darkest Loop

Author: James Fant

Paperback: 292 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 20, 2017)

ISBN-10: 1975654579

ISBN-13: 978-1975654573

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author some time ago. This review is long overdo.*

 

This is my second read from this author. I absolutely loved COED and you can find my five-star review of that book here. I enjoy Fant’s writing style and how his characters always remind me of real people (which if you’ve been following my reviews long enough you know that’s my most favorite thing about books, good characterization and dialogue that sounds like real communication between people.)

On September 3, 2001 , Dallas gets a call from his friend Kevin inviting him to a BBQ during Labor Day Weekend. At the house Dallas meets Kevin’s sister Thena. Kevin and his wife Jasmine are trying to hook Dallas up with her. Everything seems normal at first, until Dallas wakes the next day to the same phone call from Kevin, the same invitation to his BBQ, the meeting of Thena and the same series of events from the previous night. That’s because it’s September 3rd again, 2001, and it will be for the better part of the book. Each September 3rd runs through September 11th and then Dallas wakes up to September 3rd again. The loops involve similar but different outcomes, playing on Dallas mind until he realizes he is stuck in a time loop.

What I loved most about this book was the Final Destination type clues sprinkled about. If you haven’t seen the Final Destination movie series then you’ve seriously been living under a rock. Briefly, the movie released in 2000 and is a supernatural horror movie about a young man named Alex who experiences a premonition of a plane exploding and killing everyone on it. After insisting everyone exists the plane, several people do and shortly afterward watch the plane explode just as Alex saw in his vision. Throughout the movie the characters will experience coincidences and DejaVu associated with the coming of their own deaths. So yea, this book is kinda like that but without the gory deaths.

In Fant’s Darkest Loop, I loved how something would happen in one loop and then the author would take us to a loop that gives us the same events from a different perspective. Like how Dallas smells the scent of a woman on his sheets and meets a woman the next day with the same scent. They are just meeting but have already met and been together. The series of coincidences and Déjà vu keeps you on the edge of your seat, especially since Dallas is trying to figure things out just as the reader is. This book also reminds me of Premonition , the movie starring Sandra Bullock.

The only thing I did not like very much is the ending. The anticipation and tension was so well done that I was not as impressed with the revelation toward the end of the book. Things got weird…I mean more weird than usual for this book and while weird can be good, I felt the author drifted and the whole reason behind the loop was not as satisfying for me as I had hoped. Otherwise, definitely a five-star read.

 

Rating

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 3.5/5

Thought Provoking: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Unfortunately, it looks like The Darkest Loop is out of print on Amazon. I do recommend you follow this author though and check out his other books. I recommend COED, linked above.

About the book:

Dallas Anderson is stuck in a time loop that repeats Labor Day 2001 to September 11, 2001. He thinks he must prevent the terrorist attacks to break the loop. But each loop challenges that theory, igniting a fiery romance between him and his best friend’s sister and exposing the dark truth behind Déjà vu.
About the author:

James Fant is an award winning author who lives in Charleston, SC with his lovely wife and two hilarious children. He received a degree in biology from College of Charleston and a master’s in business administration from Charleston Southern University. His love for literature was forged by the works of Eric Jerome Dickey, Walter Mosely, and Stephen King. He also finds inspiration from screenwriters Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin and Kurt Sutter. Literally, James has always been drawn to intelligent yet imperfect characters and he writes novels with them in mind.


Got a book* for me? Learn more about my Book Reviews Here.

*Books are read in the order they are received. The sooner you get your order in, the sooner I can get to your book and get your review published.