Friday, July 28, 2006


Author: Candice Poarch
Dafina Kensington
ISBN: 0-7582-1237-2
Contemporary Romance
Published: July 2006
Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewed By: Shelia Marie

Candice Poarch’s latest book “Bittersweet” is not your typical romance novel.

Desiree Prescott is single and living life in the fast lane with her dreamy fiancé Paul Tremain.

Desiree’s life gets turned upside down when she receives a phone call about the brother she never knew she had. Him and his wife were killed, but left behind three kids. Desiree immediately runs to the kids rescue and becomes their legal guardian.

To her surprise, baseball star Gerard Kingsley has been taking care of the kids until she gets there. The sparks between the two ignite the moment they meet. Each ignore their feelings due to Desiree’s committed status.

Things become tricky as they spend more and more time together due to the kids. In the meantime, Gerard has a maniac fan somewhere in the horizon who is borderline stalking him.

When Paul finds out that Desiree has become the mother of three, his attitude changes and Desiree is faced with making a decision on the state of their relationship. As the chain of events begin to unfold, Gerard and Desiree are drawn closer together. Who will win Desiree’s heart?

There are several subplots in the story. Desiree’s father deals with post-war syndromes. Her mother begins to date again and as mentioned above, Gerard has to deal with a maniac fan.

Just when you think you have things figured out, Ms. Poarch throws in an extra twist. Although “Bittersweet” is under the romance and suspense category, this book could have been in the mainstream category. If you’re looking for a quick good read, then Bittersweet is a good book to add to your summer reading list.

What They Want
Omar Tyree
Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 0-7432-2869-3
Mainstream Fiction
Publish Date: July 2006
Rating: 4 Stars – EXCELLENT
Reviewer: Kaia Alderson

Male model Terrance Mitchell has every woman he meets eating out of the palm of his hand. It doesn’t matter if he’s in Miami one day, Atlanta the next and then on to Chicago or Los Angeles. Terrance pulls a new one into his bed every night, sometimes two . . . at the same time! Then he hears about the misfortunes of “the one who got away” and begins to question whether all these women really do exist just for his pleasure. It’s when Terrance’s conscious gets his attention that his life takes a turn toward crazy.

Terrance Mitchell is the dog that your whole family warned you about but who you let burn you anyway. He will make the feminist or womanist in you throw this book clear across the room. But Omar Tyree’s writing will draw you so far in that you will be scrambling toward the corner where the book landed to keep reading. The ending may come off as a little too perfect. However, readers looking for a happy ending will be satisfied.

I’m not one to spoil a read but I do have to warn you about Terrance’s trip to L.A. All I’ll say is make sure your air conditioning is working right and on full blast before proceeding.

View Park
Angela Winters
Kensington Publishing – Dafina Books
ISBN: 0758212593
Published: July 2006
Mainstream Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewed by: Donielle Ruff

In this first installment of the View Park trilogy, Angela Winters introduces us to the Chase Family. Headed by cosmetics giant Steven Chase and his alluring, yet controlling wife Janet, this family is all about money, power and taking care of business. Hoping to enlarge his dynasty, there's just one person blocking Steven's goal.

Avery Jackson is a beautiful, independent woman who refuses to sell her hair salons to Chase Beauty. When Avery doesn't surrender under the Chase spell, Steven sends reinforcements.

Meet Carter, the rebellious Chase who chose his own dream over his fathers. Summoned by Steven to win Avery over, Chase hopes he can please his father and bridge their relationship. Carter soon realizes that Avery is more woman than he bargained for.

Just as intriguing are the rest of the Chase siblings. First there's Leigh, the good-hearted pediatrician whose desire to please her mother may cost her all she loves. Then we have the Chase VP, Michael, whose only cravings are for his model wife Kimberly, their sons, and a promotion at Chase. Finally, the spoiled and selfish Haley dishes up trouble and even witnessing a murder can't stop her from playing games.

View Park is a fast-paced novel that keeps you wanting more of its scandal, double-dealing and spicy relationships. There are many characters to keep up with but Angela Winters writes smoothly so their stories are well told and blend together nicely. Just think Dallas or Dynasty with an African-American twist. This was my first novel by Angela Winters and I can't wait for the second part of the View Park trilogy.

Ann Christopher
Dafina books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-758201433-2
Published: July, 2006
Contemporary Romance
Rate: 3 stars – VERY GOOD
Reviewer: Connie Quarles

Michael is an attorney on the move. A successful law career, his own practice, handsome and very eligible bachelor; life could not get much better. Then he meets a first year law student who is beautiful, intelligent and witty. Someone who totally knocks him off his feet, plus she has been chosen to be his new intern. The thought leaves him breathless. The only cloud in his world is that his mother is sick again and she wants him to mend the relationship with his brother, Sean.

Sean is the younger brother and the screw-up. Everything Michael touches turns gold and everything Sean seems to touch breaks. Michael let him be a law clerk but that didn’t work. Now he is in law school and in love. Michael hopes his newest interest does not keep him distracted from school.

Dara is a first year law student who does not plan to let anyone or anything keep her from her goal and good grades. She had tried relationship in undergrad school and it did not work. She befriends a fellow grad student and decides that friendship is a lot better than romance. She is excited to be working for the mysterious Mr. Baldwin. But she cannot figure out his mixed messages.

When all the pieces come together the puzzle does not fit the way anyone wants it to. Do you give up the love of your life, your soul mate for family? How much sacrifice should one make for family? The book is appropriately titled “Trouble” because following romance brings trouble to all three of these characters.

Forgivin' Ain't Forgettin'
Mata Elliot
Walk Worthy Press
ISBN: 0446697087
Published: June 2006
Christian Fiction
Rating: 4 ½ Stars - EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewed by: Donielle Ruff

In this debut novel by Mata Elliot we meet Cassidy Beckett. Cassidy is a torn woman running from bad relationships and the guilt and shame of a secret burden. She believes in the Lord, knows scripture and though she meditates on it often she still doesn't believe she deserves forgiveness. Using her job and church as a means of escape, Cassidy goes to live with her beloved aunt and there she meets a man that she begrudgingly allows to chip away at her pain.

Trevor Monroe is a grieving widow and father of two girls who goes to live with Cassidy's aunt after a fire pushes him out of his home. Trevor is the hot, saved brother all the women want but he knows his own pain and pursues God to get him and his girls through. After a surprising yet humorous first meeting there's an instant attraction between Trevor and Cassidy and a relationship blossoms that opens their minds and hearts. Soon Cassidy must decide if she can trust God or Trevor with her secret shame.

Through these characters Mata Elliot shows us that although the Lord's mercies are new every morning, we must still confront yesterday's sins. Her writing covers the spectrum of our spiritual lives: forgiveness, relationships, trust and healing. She shows us that although we can't forget our pain, mistakes or our shame, we can still find healing inside. God can cut through it all to give us his forgiveness, the peace to receive it and the ability to forgive ourselves.

Sugar vs. Spice
Joanne Skerrett
Kensington Books
ISBN 0758211538
Published: June 2006
Mainstream Fiction
Rating 3 ½ stars-GREAT
Reviewed by: Michelle Alexander

Sugar vs. Spice is the story of two sisters. Tori Shields who is a high energy kickboxing, jazz singing, competitive reporter for a major Boston newspaper and her sister Melinda. Melinda on the surface has the perfect life, with a husband, house, job, and two children, but ever since her husband Michael was laid off, he seems to be content having Melinda be the breadwinner.

When Tori discovers she has breast cancer, she also has scooped an “Enron” like scandal. While struggling to stay on top at work, she tries to conceal the ordeal of her cancer treatment. Ultimately, Tori finds a new perspective on life, an unlikely love interest and friends she did not know she had.

The characters are strong and well written, however, the end of the book ties up all the loose ends rather rapidly, leaving the reader feeling rushed. This book would be excellent for someone with Breast cancer or has a family member with breast cancer. The author herself is a survivor, so I surmise much of the story is autobiographical.

“Passionate Encounters”
Chilufiya Safaa
Dafina Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1167-8
Published: June, 2006
Contemporary Romance
Rate: 4-1/2 stars – EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewer: Connie Quarles

Ras was captivated by Cassandra when he first saw her at his cousin’s wedding. But romance was the last thing on his mind. His project for his homeland took precedent. Ras realizes that he will need the help of his family in order to make the project happen. But will he be able to bury the pass to accept the help of his father who he has been estranged with?

He finds the woman of his dreams is also the woman needed to design the interior of his children’s home. But can they have a business relationship without pleasure. Will Ras’ unpredictable personality and family secrets prevent him from finally finding the love his soul so desperately seeks?

This book takes you to the secluded mountains of Colorado, the hustle and bustle of D.C. and the beautiful land of Ethiopia. Chilufiya’s vivid descriptions allow you to close your eyes and image that you are there as well.

Take the time to pick up this book because you will not be disappointed. You will enjoy the Ethiopian customs, the romance, the heartache and the family bond that is compressed within the covers of “Passionate Encounters”.

This was the first time I have read Chilufiya Safaa but it will not be my last! As a matter of fact I plan to order “A Foreign Affair”. Look for more great books and new families to love to follow.

Ex-Girl to the Next Girl
Daaimah S. Poole
Dafina Books/ Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-0916-9
Mainstream Fiction
Publish Date: May 2006
Rating: 4 Stars – EXCELLENT
Reviewer: Kaia Alderson

Shonda and Malik attempt to figure out married life while Malik’s ex-fiancee Kim struggles to gather the pieces of hers after her ruined wedding. Married life proves to be more than Shonda bargained for when Malik’s nasty ex-convict brother moves in with them before the afterglow of her triumph over Kim has faded.

Then Shonda finds comfort in a new man that she meets at her new job while Malik falls back into his doggish ways.

The reader may get confused at some points because this story is told from three different female points of view in the first person. But once that’s straightened out, this book is hard to put down. Make sure your neck muscles are stretched out because you will be doing a lot of “No she didn’t!” inspired head shaking back and forth.

“A Lover’s Dream”
Altonya Washington
BET Books
ISBN: 1-58314-705-5
Published: January, 2006
Rate: 4-1/2 stars – EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewer: Connie Quarles

This book has everything: romance, intrigue, a fine family of brothers for the ladies to droll over, and characters you want to hear more from in the future. This is the first book of Ms. Washington that I have ever read, but it will not be the last, especially if there is a Ramsey in the storyline.

We go back to an interesting scene from the past which sets the path for the history and skeletons that rattle the Ramsey closet as everyone assumes they know what happened that night. But can author Michaela Sellers, whose specialty is writing Family History, the good, bad and ugly, unearth the mystery? Not if Quest Ramsey has anything to do with it.

But his gorgeous twin wants the book written and the truth revealed; and if he can get Ms. Sellers attention on the side so much the better.

The book will answer the questions as to whether the story will get written, or will Michaela lose interest? Who will get the girl: Quest or Quay and how can she tell them apart when she only met one? Plus which Ramsey is responsible for the events of that faithful night? This is one story that I did not have the right person until almost the very end. Buy it and enjoy it for yourself. When is the sequel?

What’s Done in the Dark
Gloria Mallette
Dafina Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN 0758211570
Published : January 2006
Mainstream Fiction
Rating: 4 stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewed by: Michelle Alexander

What’s Done is the Dark, is more like a mystery novel, but with incredible plot twists and surprises all resulting from sibling hatred. Celeste and Katrina are sisters whose dislike of each other is intense and violent.

Celeste’s husband is found murdered in a motel with another unknown woman who has disappeared. Katrina’s husband falls mysteriously ill, dies and then a second wife appears to claim her rights. Even while Celeste is coping with her house being ransacked, and trying to find her husband’s killer, she goes to help Katrina and her daughters.

Other interesting characters surface through the course of the story and the unknown woman and the killer turn out to be completely unexpected. The book is solidly written, the emotions are palpable and the ending is realistic and believable.

This book truly illustrates the saying, “What’s Done in the Dark, Will Come to Light.” This reviewer could not put it down.

1 comment:

ghstwryter said...

It's time to add more to my reading list this summer. Thanks for the book scoop.

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