Lemon Pepper: Where Love & Grief Meet by Nina

Sistah Girls, it’s definitely a Hot Girl summer, and author Nina just gave us a reason to be outside.

As a business owner, Benz found solace in the bakery that had been in her family for decades. Nomel’s was a neighborhood staple, it was the first in the state owned by Black people and stood amongst slavery and the Jim Crow era.

After losing her sister in a tragic car accident, she dedicated all her time to her business. This left no room for anyone except her niece whom she had custody of. A cake pickup and a bad customer service experience led her to Pepper the projects where she would meet The Allen brothers and her life would change forever.

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Like Benz, Daun was still grieving the loss of his sibling. Losing his brother put him in a head space that allowed grief to take over. His cool demeanor took a backseat as his responsibilities changed overnight. He was now the oldest son, who had to keep his family together and above water even when they wanted to drown.

Meeting Benz put an end to the pain he felt in his chest and showed him that finding love after grieving a loved one could help take the pain away.

Benz and Daun had me smiling, crying, and blushing. I wanted to put on my summer hoochie shorts and chill with them in Pepper. I was dancing and singing along with everyone else in the book.

I chanted “go best friend, that’s my best friend,” while hyping up Benz to prove her knees would put Meghan the Stallion to shame. We had a good time because that’s what they did in Pepper.

This book took me back to those summer days when our neighborhood came together to celebrate just because. From jump roping to blasting music from our parent’s cars we had the block lit just like they did in Pepper.

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This story showed us how to heal after tragedy. Grief is not something that goes away overnight and it has no expiration date. Finding light at the end of the tunnel comes but losing someone who came from the same womb as you will always hurt. Having love and support from your community and a partner provided Benz and Daun balance through grief.

I loved the lessons from Dr. Pie. She has become a staple in Nina’s books and her advice always helps you get through whatever you’re going through.

Lemon Pepper pulls you in on the first page. I usually read the Prologue last and although I wasn’t prepared, I was glad I read it first. I experienced several emotions while reading it. The characters exploded off the page.

I connected with everyone, from the main characters to their siblings to their parents. All of them had a story to tell, and I was eager to read it. It’s a fast-paced standalone that will have you wanting more. Ellis, Shamara, and Addie were villains who couldn’t be redeemed, at no time in this book did I wonder if they could change because their actions were that heinous.

I loved Oak and Shay, their characters shined so much throughout the book. Their personalities were infectious and I couldn’t get enough of them.

While reading, I soon realized why the story is titled, Lemon Pepper. The name was confusing, and I thought of chicken wings but this was far from the powder sprinkled on tasty fried chicken.

There were so many lessons in this book that taught us how to handle grief. And personally, after losing my sister last year I took these lessons to heart.

Bonus: Favorite Lemon Pepper Quotes

“What you are doing right now, Benz, your sadness, it is still loving your sister, don’t feel powerless because of that nor do you owe anyone an apology for taking your time. You have to move on, yes, that is a part of life, but you don’t have to let her go. Ever…”

“….grieving is a personal process that has no time limit nor one right way to do it.”

“Fightin’ wit him is how I learned to fight period. Daddy would make us box and he was whippin’ my ass in the beginning,” he laughed. “And by the end?” Benz asked, finding his walk down memory lane the sweetest. “He was still beatin’ my ass,” he responded, and she spurted with laughter. “But I ain’t make it easy for him.”

“Hey cutie Oak who I wouldn’t mind lettin’ poke.”

“So I hope y’all up there watchin’ how good of a job we doin’ and we comin’ after back child support when—” “Daun…” Benz laughed at his pettiness. “What? I’m just sayin’, Tyler and Busy expensive as fuck. They up there chillin’ while we down here doin’ everything, shit…”



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