My Top Ten Reads of 2015

top-ten-booksCompiling my list of the ten top reads of 2015 is one of my favorite things. It gives me the opportunity to look back over the books I’ve read and in some cases to go back and read them again. This list is in no particular order and I hope you will consider reading each of these great titles by great authors.




Stand your groundStand Your Ground- Victoria Christopher Murray- I found myself making statements on my facebook page while reading this book such as, “Victoria Christopher Murray’s New book Stand Your Ground has opened with a throw a flip flop at your cousin bang…..smh @ her.”
“I can’t believe Victoria Christopher Murray has me standing in these people living room with my heart constricting and tears rolling down my face- Stand Your Ground Novel… I feel like I have a stingray barb in my chest and its slowly twisting the life out of me….”
This book is so good, I think I experienced every emotion known to man.


Mamma’s Boy- Reshonda Tate Billingsley

What do you do when your child is in big trouble? Do you help him? Do you turn him in? Does your motherly instinct to love and to protect kick in? A white police officer is fatally shot in a scuffle with three black youths—and a cellphone video captures Jamal Jones. This book is like non other I’ve read. You really need to read this one.Mamma   Rich Woman’s Fetish- Naleighna Kai 

This authors writing always, always, always makes me stop whatever I’m doing and give her book my complete and devoted attention. I started this book last night and could not put it down. At midnight I said just one more chapter, the next thing I knew it was 2am. At 2am I again said I’ll put it down after the next chapter… by the time I looked at the clock again it was 3am and I have to be at work at 8am. Talk about a book hangover.
I loved Gina’s story, she dared to dream that her life could be better than it was at that moment. After loosing each of her family members, she developed an unconventional plan to set herself free. The choices and decisions she makes comes back to haunt her in more ways than one. You have to pick up this startling book to get the outcome. You’ll keep this one in your library to read again and again!

Playing With Fire- Deborah Mello

Visually I could see Deborah Fletcher Mello stretching out in the book. The nuances and musical quirks had me believing that I was sitting in a dark, dank jazz and blues club in Raleigh. Let me tell you this book has me totally book wasted I stayed up all night reading. I loved. Romeo Marshall would make any woman droll and perhaps a few men too. Whats not to like about someone strong, cocky and good looking. He has everything he needs except the balancing out of a good woman.
Taryn Williams is the confident, sexy, independent woman who doesn’t necessarily ” need a man.” But Romeo shows her that wanting a man is not a bad thing at all.
James “Piano Man” Burdett holds the key to a devastating secret that could either pull the two lovers together or destroy at least one of them. If you are ready for a grown up love, this is the book for you!

The Favorite Son- Tiffany Warren

WOW what a great story about family and faith. This book was so good that when I got to the end of my kindle copy, I kept mashing the button hoping for more of the story. There were several laugh out loud moments in the book especially where the father was concerned. I enjoyed Camden’s low key ways but there was a time or two I was guilty of questions some things about who he is. Blaine was a mess, just a mess. He felt like as long as he was straight up with folks that he could not be liable for their​ feelings. I am hoping that Tiffany will write a follow up story the secondary characters were just as strong as the main characters. Excellent read!

Society Wives- Renee Flagler

You know you are reading a good book when …. (1) while walking out of work you decide to just finish the page you are on , on the way to the car. Then you get to the car in sit down on those hot leather seat ( and it did not stop you). You continue to so sit in the blazing hot sun, on leather seats and read for 30 more minutes… Yea it was that good and I now have the wet, kinky hair to prove it. Pearson/ Niles, Ryan/Anderson Vonnie/ Mike and Nadalia/Sage are four couples all going through their own issues. The men are long time friends, the wives..hmmm not so much, but what happens when all hell breaks loose and they find when scandal erupts one another is all they really have. I loved this book and I highly recommend it for your reading pleasure.

Driving Heat- Zuri Day

Zuri Day does not disappoint in this installment of the blue collar lover novel. Bryon Carter is a run of the mill Los Angeles bus driver who enjoys his job so much some folks get on his bus just to hang out, like his baby momma. Cynthia is a case manager at a local youth help agency. Cynthia’s family comes from the upper crust of society but has a love for under privileged children. In her quest to help her clients she doesn’t think it’s strange to go a rough part of town to find one that has grown astray. While on her dip to the wild side Cynthia encounters Bryon and that’s when the sparks begin to fly. Although Cynthia likes him she has to remember that he is just a bus driver and not the man of wealth her friends and family are convinced that she needs. Can Cynthia lay aside the peer pressure and kick Bryon to the curve…. You’ll have to read it to find out. I loved this book so much…I’m thinking about getting a bus pass. I highly recommend this novel!

The Come Up- Nia Forrester

Great God !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No one and I mean NO one does it like Nia ! That was an amazing ride. Ohhh I’ve got to read it again just to feel the silent thumping of my heart in my chest! Bravo! Nia Bravo… Take a Bow. If I can develop into half the writer you are, then my writer alter ego will be pleased. Jamal and Mikayla would have the perfect relationship if it wasn’t for Madison and Devin. Can these two opposing forces keep the love birds apart….well you’ll have to read it to find out! Excellent ! I highly recommend this book!

Brock’s Redemption- EJ Brock

I was introduced to the writing of EJ Brock and Brock’s Redemption because of the Kindle Unlimited program. After reading the blub, I decided to take a chance.Let me tell you, I am so glad I did. I loved it and I loved the story of Brock and Jodi and how the essentially completed one another. I could not put this book down! I highly recommend this book and now I’m on to the next in the series.

Sing A New Song- Michelle Lindo Rice

Lord have mercy you know you have your hands on a great book when you begin praying for the characters. Tiffany’s cancer is inoperable and she is going to die. But before she dies she is determined to make sure that her daughter Karlie is left in capable hands. In her quest to secure her daughters future she must confront and face the enemies of her past.
Michelle stuck her foot all in this book. I highly recommend that you pick up this book.

Okay so you know I cannot stop at 10 right- LOL- So I’ve got some serious Honorable Mentions..

The Re-Education of Aria Jackson- Angelia Menchan

With a title like the Reeducation of Aria Jackson, one should know that this book is going to be a lesson in being grown. College educated Aria Jackson thinks just a little too highly of herself. Saul is determined to break past all of her defenses one by one. Enter Aria’s good friend Rachelle and I should have known it was going to be some stuff in the game. You’ve got to pick up the book to see how all of this comes out in the wash. I loved it! Angelia once again brought her A game with this story.

The Forbidden Man- Elle Wright

Syd has been in love with Den since her early college days and he rescued her. Den unfortunately has been in love with himself for at least twice as long. No matter how hard he tries his issues will not allow him to “remain faithful.” Tired of the craziness that is Den she calls off the wedding and tried to take stock of her life. But chile let me tell you, she has a bff …ummmmm Morgan is his name and he just happens to be brother to Ummm yea Den. Lets just say thats when things get a lil sticky. If you haven’t read The Forbidden Man you should do it. Its so well written that you’ll find yourself reading it over and over. I loved it and highly recommend it!

Devout- Takerra Allen

Okay I read this in December 2014 and AGAIN in 2015 and it deserves a re-mention..

Once again Takerra has hit a home run. The characters demanded that I fall in love with them while we went on this journey. I am almost afraid to say as anything because I don’t want to spoil the goodness of the story….. I will say Denny gives me life.

I also discovered Beverly Jenkins books this year…swoon… so go get all of her’s..

Also pick up KR Bankston’s Evolutions! It’s about my original book boo Mook!

Happy Reading!


How NOT to Crack Under Pressure


How-not-to-crack-under-pressure-jpg Two years ago, God gave me a new assignment.

I wasn’t looking for a new assignment. Two years ago while praying about the state of my previous job, God asked me a question.

He said, “Do YOU belong to me?”

Instinctively my answer is/was a resounding “Yes.”

He replied” If you belong to me, I should be able to tell you where to go and you go. Cassandra I have given you a new assignment. Will you accept it?”

With my hands lifted in praise and warm tears running down my face I whispered, “Yes.”

Boy did I NOT know how much the Yes was going to cost.

The Yes has caused me to be under what at times has felt like unbearable pressure. There have been numerous losses and casualties. There were days on the battlefield I was left broken, bruised and bloody. But I could look around and see others on the still waving the blood stained banner of Christ and I chose to preserve through my pressure and pain.

The first lesson I learned on how NOT to crack under pressure… is to choose.

Each day even though I was hurting, depressed or frustrated and angry, I made the choice to get out of the bed and face the day and whatever it held. I know that there are some blows when they land make us want to hide under the covers. But you’ll never truly experience victory in Christ hidden under the covers. We have to stay alert and stay alive to see the victory. God has already promised us victory. So get up, get dressed and hold your head up high.

The second lesson I learned on how NOT to crack under pressure… is to pray.

Not the Most Gracious and All Wise God type of prayer. The Lord, please help me prayer. The Lord I need you NOW prayer. The Lord, help me to stand prayer. The Lord help me to keep my mouth closed prayer. The Lord I am so mad I could hit them prayer. The Lord I cannot believe I have been betrayed again prayer… Yea, those prayers. Those gutter most transparent cries out to God that only He can answer.

The Third Lesson I learned on how NOT to crack under pressure… is to laugh.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs that a merry heart is like medicine. I cannot speak for you, but I needed medicine to heal correctly. I heard to learn to laugh again. To laugh when someone was acting a fool in my office because it wasn’t what they did to me that really mattered, it was how I treated them after they mistreated me is what God was looking at. Laugher reduces stress and lower blood pressure. We have to learn to change our perceptions when we cannot change what we are faced with. In other words, I have learned to laugh at some of my adversities. Not all of them, but a great deal of them.

If we stay connected to God we will NOT crack under pressure. Consider the pressure it takes to make diamonds or gold and they turn out just fine don’t they. Relax you will too.

Be blessed,




Copyright @ 2015 by Cassandra Baker Durham