Book Reviews

Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby

I just happened to be in Walmart one day and needed some new books to read. I stumbled across this one and thought it’d be intriguing. Little did I know that I was in for a real juicy treat. If I tell you this book was beyond scandalous. You hear about pastors in these mega churches and the sins they commit, but this one takes the cake. Let’s get into it. I’m going to start with the discussion questions first.

1. What do you think was the most important lesson learned in the story for Tanya? Curtis? Adrienne?

Tanya – She was holding on to something that didn’t want to be held on to. She tried really hard to keep her marriage for the sake of her vows and her daughter. I think she learned that sometimes, it’s best to let things go when there’s no way that things will work out.

Curtis – Greed will cause you to lose absolutely everything. Greed as far as money, power, and sex. He learned the absolute hard way.

Adrienne – A man will never leave his wife for you, no matter how many times he says it. She should’ve known that they weren’t going to be together when he made her get that abortion.

2. Why do you think Tanya went out of her way, trying to make things work with  Curtis?

She believed in the vows that they took. Also, she didn’t have real proof that Curtis was sleeping around. Alicia, their daughter, was her main focus. Despite him hitting and choking her out, she stayed because I think deep down, she thought that maybe things would get better.

3. Do you believe that’s Curtis’s corrupt way of living was a result of some childhood situation?

It’s possible, however, he did mention that what changed was when they moved from Atlanta to Chicago, the temptation became overwhelming. Had it been a childhood situation, I think he would have been reckless before then.

4. What are your feelings on Tanya’s reaction after finding such disturbing information in Curtis’s office? Would you have reacted the same?

I think her reaction was too calm and unrealistic of how a woman would’ve reacted. Had I found a lease for an apt my husband was renting with another woman, receipts from things he bought her and a receipt for an abortion, I would’ve lost my entire shit and somebody would be dead. That’s a lot to take in to not be outraged. How dare I let someone embarrass me in that manner and I not become psychotic. I mean I guess she handled it well, but it was too calm for my liking.

5. Do you agree with Nicole’s decision in terms of not wanting to advise Tanya about her marital situation, even though they are best friends? Why or why not?

I agree because it’s really not her place to say anything. Also, given that she’s not in Tanya’s shoes, she can’t advise on something she knows nothing about. She doesn’t even know the whole situation because Tanya didn’t tell her everything.

6. Do you think Curtis genuinely loved Alicia, and that deep down he wanted to be a good father to her?

Uh, hell no. As often as he cancelled on her, laid hands on her mother, and did all his dirt, his daughter was the last thing on his mind. Any man who loves his daughter, would be showing her the kind of man she should be looking for when it comes to dating and finding a mate. If he really wanted to be a good father, he wouldn’t have done what he did to her mother.

7. Why do you think Curtis became so consumed with money, power, and women?

Just like anyone who becomes consumed with these things, adjusting to things you’ve never had before can be hard for some people. He never had any of that before and now that he does, he’s letting it all go to his head. He’s letting it drive him.

8. Do you think Curtis is an example of many pastors throughout this country? Is Tanya typical of the pastors’ wives? Is Adrienne an example of many women in the church?

Hell yes, hell yes and hell yes.

9. Prior to reading Casting the First Stone, had you ever experienced a similar situation wth your own pastor?

Before I stopped attending church, there was a church that we fellowshipped with that had a similar incidence, which caused the church to dissolve and many members to come to my former church.

10. What do you think is happening to the moral values of Christian leaders in the country and why?

To be honest, I think it has a lot to do with appearances now. They are more concerned with how they are perceived. They are also in competition with other pastors. Another thing is because they are pastors and purportedly closer to God, many people put their faith in them and believe they can do no wrong. Many pastors take advantage of this feat. They know as long as they have followers, they can do as they please and no one will bat an eye.

11. Do you believe Curtis wanted to do the right thing, but really couldn’t help doing the things he did? Did he have a problem with sexual addictions, or was it that he simply just wanted more than one woman in his life?

I don’t think he wanted to do the right thing. He was very manipulative for example when he wanted Tanya to vouch for them to get more money from the church. He was playing nice with her to get on her good side so she could do something for him to help get him out of a sticky situation. I don’t think he had a sexual problem, I think that he just wanted someone to dominate and since Tanya wasn’t having it, he had to look elsewhere. I do believe he wanted more women which was part of his greed.

12. What do you think is the most serious problem in the church today?

Hypocrisy. Many pastors are preaching about what you shouldn’t do as they are doing it. There’s a lot of gossiping and people are attending church for all the wrong reasons. There’s adultery, infidelity, money laundering, hypocrisy, fake fellowship, etc.

Final thoughts:

This book was a lot more than I thought it would be. Did I think it was right for Tanya to be having an affair even though Curtis had his dirt? No. I feel she should’ve filed for divorce when she found all of those receipts.

Curtis is a lowdown piece of shit. He was cheating with a married woman and an 18-year-old girl who he got pregnant. He also had a threesome and was being blackmailed for it. He is greedy and deserved everything he got. When his daughter fell down the stairs, that should’ve been his wake up call and all the more reason for Tanya to have taken her and left.

The book started off dreadfully slow, but when it got to the good stuff, it became fast paced, one incident after the other. It was a really good read.

Sneak Peeks

Short Story Sunday 4/9/2017 Lost in Lust Sneak Peek

This is an excerpt from one of my upcoming novels, Lost in Lust.

She cleaned up the kitchen and her stomach growled, having not finished dinner at the restaurant and it was only eight forty-five, she heated up some left over pizza from a few days ago. She poured another glass of wine. Her phone beeped and it was Dre, asking to come over.

Maliyah: Are you at my front door again.

Dre: How’d you know? lol

Maliyah: It’s you, duh.

 She went to the door and he stared.

“What?”

“Um, don’t you want to change?”

“You’ve seen me in less.”

“Yeah, but…”

“Just come in.”

 He sat on the couch and watched her rummage around in the kitchen. The pizza was heated and she grabbed two plates and another glass, sitting them on the coffee table. When she leaned over, he could see her breast, down her neglige. His dick stirred and he crossed his hands in his lap.

 She went and got the pizza and bottle of wine, sitting next to him. She turned the television on and clicked on Netflix. She turned it to Breaking Bad.

“I love this show,” he said, refocusing his thoughts. 

“Yeah my brother told me about it,” she said while biting a slice of pizza and taking a sip of her wine.

 They watched a few episodes, laughing, eating and drinking. Before they knew it, it was one in the morning. They had polished two bottles of wine and were beyond tipsy. 

“Hey, Maliyah, I’m sorry about the other day. I was upset and took it out on you.”

“Dre, it’s in the past. We’re friends.”

 He leaned over and kissed her deeply. She pushed him back.

“Dre…”

“Shhh.”

 He kissed her again, falling backwards on the couch. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he moved his hands up her thighs. She moaned against his lips. Lifting her up, he carried her to the bed.

 Sitting her down, he lifted her top over her head and stared at how beautiful she was and how large her breasts were. He had a full hard on and she took him out of his pants, stroking him. He growled deeply at her hand going up and down his length.

 After a few more strokes, he nearly lost it. He quickly undressed and grabbed a condom out his pocket. Laying her down, he spread her legs and smelled her sweet, lavendar musk. He licked her and she gasped. She put her hands on his head to bring his mouth closer, tasting all of her. 

 He quickly slipped the condom on while pleasing her. He licked her up her stomach, ending at her mouth, letting her taste her own sweetness. He slammed in her, making her scream his name. He kept going like his life depended on it. He needed her to release before he met his own eruption.

“Dre, I’m coming!” she screamed, digging her nails into his back.

“Ahh, fuck!” he moaned, finally releasing. 

 When he sat up and looked at her, he saw the look on her face. The tears and feelings of regret filled her eyes.

“Dre, this was a mist…”

“Maliyah, please don’t say that.”

“Dre it was, and I think you should sleep on the couch.”

 He moved off of her and she ran to the bathroom. Holding back the sobs, she turned on the shower and sat in there, letting the hot water roll over her body. She cried until the tears were gone. Getting out and drying off, she looked in the mirror. She hated who she saw. Quickly turning away, she put on her robe and walked into her bedroom. Peeking out the bedroom door, she saw no sight of Dre. 

 Coming into the living room, he was nowhere to be found. She went out the front door and his car was gone. Going back inside, she locked the door and slid the chair under the knob. Her phone beeped and it was Tina. Sighing that it was not Dre, she put her phone on the charger and went to bed.6

Short Stories

Perish Island: A Short Thriller (Chapter 2)

At the bus station, it smelled of old people and moth balls. Though Tasia and I lived in an upscale gated community, the perimeters weren’t as lavish. I saw homeless people, drug heads, and beggars. I held my things close as so they would not be touched. I finally heard my bus get called and ran to the gate. I beat this man out by a split second. Loading my things under the bus, I quickly boarded and walked to the very back.

Plugging in my headphones, I took out my tablet and played some music as I wrote on my blog. I wanted to respond to some comments and begin this series. I had many comments saying how crazy I was to even be doing this. About three months ago, I found some interesting things about Perish Island. I also found some disturbing things.

Perish Island got its name because many people died there or just simply disappeared. Those who were found, were found in the most gruesome ways: eyes cut out, bodies dismembered, even a pregnant woman whose baby had been cut out. Through my extensive research, I read that the island was cursed. I also read some opposing articles on how the curse was fake and those bodies were staged, photoshopped, etc.

What got me interested in wanting to see for myself was lately, many people have gone missing or have come back changed. Changed in a way that no one could describe. They said something about their eyes were changed, to a purplish green color, and they spoke a dead language. I researched the language: Charishian. It was a language that was used by people of that island in the early 1500s, when the island was named Charish. I looked up and studied the language for the past month or so. It was a pretty hard language to learn, but I had the basics covered.

I hadn’t even noticed we had left the station until the bus came to an immediate stop, thrusting me forward, hitting something. Luckily, I gripped my tablet in time. I looked around and saw a bus full of confused people. I looked out the window. I didn’t see anything. I stood up and saw the bus driver getting off the bus. I heard a scream and saw the bus driver run back on, closing the doors hurriedly.

I took my headphones out and began walking down the aisle. As I got closer, I saw something, a huge something, lying in the middle of the road. I turned my tablet to camera mode, zoomed in as I got closer and snapped a few pictures. Others were standing up around me, snapping photos as well. I heard the bus driver radioing a police officer.

“Open the door,” I said.

“Wh…wh…what?”

“Open the door. I want to get a better look.”

“Are you fucking crazy?”

“No, I’m a blogger and this would be a good way to boost my ratings, now open the door.”

“You’re fucking…”

“Open the damn door!” I yelled.

She jumped, but opened the door. As I walked off, I heard others behind me coming off the bus. We walked around to the front and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I heard snaps of cameras and phones as people crowded around. No one said a word. I snapped about 50 shots from each angle. I am not sure what it was but it definitely was not human, or animal. It looked like a big black cloak, that could breathe, yes, it was breathing. I took out my camera and began recording. Making sure to get the thing in the background as I described what it was. I ended the recording as soon as the police, ambulance and UBF (Unidentified Beings Force) showed up.

They ordered us to get back on the bus, but I had everything I needed. They also made us swear not to post anything. Yeah, right. Soon as I got in my seat, I put my headphones back in and pretended I was listening and reading. I turned on my hotspot, hooked my camera up to my tablet and began uploading. The signal was weak, as I could tell we were getting close to a dead spot. It took about 10 minutes to upload. As it was working, I watched UBF haul the thing off. Whatever it was, it was still alive. I was so glad I would not be there when it woke up.

Another 45 minutes and we were back on the road. It was 12 in the afternoon and the sun was beaming high. I looked out the window, capturing as many photos as I could of fields, flowers, nature. Before long, I had dozed off, unknowingly, until I began to dream, and this was not like the other dream.

“You shouldn’t be here! Go back to where you came from!”

I was looking around. I was in the middle of the street, but no one was near me, saying anything. People walked by and didn’t seem to notice me. “I am well known but never seen. Don’t try to look for me, for your eyes can’t see even what is in front of you.” My heart started racing. I ran up to someone to ask if they heard the voice. Then I saw their eyes. I stopped breathing. It was real. The curse. Their eyes were purplish-green. Everyone. I darted down the street and I felt something cool on the back of my neck. I looked behind me and saw a shadow with no face. I screamed as it engulfed me. Everything went black.

I jolted awake and realized I was still on the bus. I looked around and many people were sleep or just not paying any attention to me. I grabbed my bag that had the food my sister had made me. I took out a sandwich and some chips with a bottle of water. I heard dings in my ear and realized it was my tablet.

They were comments to my photos and video I had posted earlier. I skimmed through them as I ate, reading what people thought that thing was, and still calling me crazy for continuing and not going back with the police. I scrolled through until I saw a comment that almost made me choke on the sandwich.

“I know who you are Iris. You should go back home. Perish Island needs not its secret exposed. Continue on this journey and you to shall perish.”

The comment shook me to my core. I tried to respond back but I kept getting the message that the user didn’t exist. Then the strangest thing happened. The comment disappeared, like it had never even been there. Did I imagine it? Was I losing it? Dammit. I knew I should’ve taken a screen shot.

My phone vibrated, scaring me from my thoughts. It was my sister. I let it go to voicemail. As I finished eating, I browsed through some more articles about Perish Island. I looked at old photos of people, businesses, schools. I compared them to recent photos and noticed that a lot of things had changed.

The island had been modernized but the population was still dropping. It was only at about 1,100 people. For such a large island, that was not a large amount of people. I went to my saved searches to look at the Air BnB I was staying at. It was a nice little cottage, just outside of town. Not too far from everything, but far enough that I would have privacy.

There were a few houses in the area, mostly older couples and one or two younger singles my age. It was behind the main house, a small pool separating the two. I assumed it had been a guest house for when the owner’s kids came into town. I sent a quick message to the owner letting them know about the earlier incident and that I may be coming in a little later than expected. I looked up and it was beginning to get dark.

I hated that I had to take the ferry in the night time. The waters would be black, unknown depths. We pulled into the bus station about an hour later and it was much nicer than the one back home. I gathered my things and headed to the ferry. There were a lot of people being taken to the island. I wondered if it was a special occasion. I sat alone, staring into the night sky, looking at the stars and the sun.

My phone buzzed and it was 4 voicemails and 23 text messages. Some from my sister and other from Jermail. Basically, my sister was pissed that I hadn’t told her that Jermail and I had broken up and Jermail was pissed that I had still been lying to my sister that I was going with him. I turned my phone off and stared back into the waters. It was about a 30 minute boat ride to the island. It was all lit up. I could see the light from the lighthouse.

Even at night the island was just as beautiful compared to the photos I had seen of it during the day. We docked and loaded off the ferry. My Uber was waiting there for me. I got in and we headed to the cottage. As we were leaving town, there became less and less street lights. Of course, I thought it odd.

“You ever been to the island?” the driver asked, distracting me from my thoughts.

“What? Oh, no, I haven’t.”

“How’d you hear about it?”

“I stumbled across the place that I am staying at and saw that it had great ratings. I just needed a vacation somewhere that was secluded.”

“Yeah, the Barry’s are nice and offer great service and hospitality.”

“How did you know where I was going?” I asked nervously.

“The address that you put in when you ordered the Uber.”

“Oh, right.”

I had in fact forgotten. I had also forgotten that there weren’t many people who lived on the island, so everyone probably knew each other. I began to relax as we talked for the next 10 minutes. He then pulled into the driveway of this beautiful, Victorian house. The architecture and pointed triangular roof tops. It was a large house, two stories. For two people in their 50s, this was a lot of house. The driver got my things out of the trunk as I walked up to the door. Before I could knock, it opened and their stood this woman, almost scared me half to death.

She had mocha skin, tight, like it had been pulled back, long, jet black hair, beady gray eyes, a neck like a giraffe, extremely high cheekbones, and skinnier than a rail. I quickly put on a smile to hide the fact that I was terrified. She looked possessed.

“Hi, you must be Mrs. Barry. I’m Iris.”

“Good evening, and please call me Janelle,” she screeched in her high pitched voice.

My heart stopped at her voice. I didn’t even want to go in anymore. I wanted the driver to take me back, but as soon as I turned around, all I could see was his taillights in the distance. I’m screwed. I turned back to the demon lady and she invited me in. I clutched my suitcase and slowly walked in. The inside of the house made my breath get caught in my throat. Obviously, this couple was into taxidermy, for there were stuffed animal heads and full animals everywhere. I’m not religious but even looking at this house I wish I had a rosary.

“Why don’t I show you to the back house and you get settled in,” came the voice again.

“Um, sure. Yeah, that would be great.”

I followed the decrepit lady through the foyer into the living room. I stopped dead in my tracks as I saw a cat with its teeth baring, hissing at what seemed to be some sort of dog.

“Oh, don’t mind them dear, that is how they play,” she said, giving me this look like I was dinner.

Out the back door I began to relax. The pool was lit and the water running down the rocks was soothing. There were lawn chairs lining the pool, a gazebo with a grill and some outdoor couches, a small garden on the outskirts of the pool area. It was beautiful to say the least. We got to the back house and she unlocked the door. I followed her in.

“Here are you quarters. Don’t be too shy to ask for anything. Also, make sure to look the doors and windows at night.”

“Why?” I asked, regretfully.

“Why dear, there’s a storm coming. There are also boards for the windows.”

As she walked out, I knew that was a lie. I locked the door behind her and made sure the windows were locked as well. I looked around the small cottage. There was a bathroom in the back with just a toilet and small shower, like that of a tiny house, the bed was king sized, the desk was small but usable and the décor was lovely, not like in the main house. I showered and unpacked some of my things, putting them into drawers. I was only going to be here a week. That meant I had five days to get my story and get the hell out of here. This place just had ‘bad idea’ written all over it.

Part of me wishes I had listened to Tasia and Jermail. The other part of me knew that this was going to be my big break into the world of independent blogging. I setup my tablet on the desk and finished the post for today. I responded to some comments, plugged it in to charge and my phone and camera, then headed to the bed. My eyes were heavy from the long ride. Though, I was a tad bit scared to go to sleep because of the nightmares and being in this nightmarish place, I knew that my dreams could be worse. I turned off the lights and let the sleep consume me.