Tuesday, July 21, 2009



Cafe Au Lait
Liane Spicer

Leisure Books
August 2008
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0843960574
ISBN-13: 978-0843960570

Reviewer: Renee Motley

Shari Zamore is tired. She wants a break from controlling parents, ex-lover who happened to be married and her boring lifestyle. She decided to runaway to Trinidad, where she can be herself or so she thinks. Along the way she meets her match - sexy, but stubborn Michael Chancery. It appears that he is intrigued by the icy exterior and does everything he can to get past her icy demeanor.

Shari has other plans. She wants a no strings attached affair and to return home with no regrets. However Michael is looking for something more substantial. This is an entertaining novel set in the Caribbean with characters who are quite likeable. There is a lot of romance, mystery, and laughs in it. Their story is your typical romance novel, but what sets it apart is the Caribbean setting and the writer's attention to detail that draws you into the novel. It is an entertaining read for a cold winter's night.

JULY 2008

Trust in Love
Vashti Ann Reed

Noire Allure
ISBN: 978-1-60043-047-3
Publish Date: July 2008

Rating: 4 Stars – Excellent
Reviewer: Delores Hines

Danita Johnson and Cullen Powers literally bump into each other trying to bid for the same grant for their perspective companies. Sparks began to fly immediately. The fire burns even brighter when they realize they are fighting for the one grant available that can take both of their struggling businesses to the next level.

Cullen’s willing to work toward being objective about the grant while still pursuing a relationship. Danita isn’t very trusting because of previous mistakes with men. She’s willing to put the relationship aside until the decision about the grant is made. Life of course has different plans for the couple who can no longer deny the attraction. Is attraction enough when the dramas of life visit their street?

This book was a great show of realistic romance, it felt like taking a peek into the lives of a couple you know. The intimate scenes were very tastefully done and left some things to the imagination. Job well done on this debut book.

Power Play The Black Stocking Series
Dara Giard

Publisher: Kimani Press Pub.
Date: July 2008
ISBN-13: 9780373860746

4 1/2 stars - EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewer: Regina Hightower

This is my first time reading a book by Dara Girard. What an excellent read! I could not wait for the other three "Black Stocking Society" stories.

Mary and Edmund are two reluctant people who discover that love maybe scary but its worth the risk. Mary is a meek 'don't rock the boat' kind of gal who dons a pair of thigh highs and discovers her "Inner Diva". Edmund has power and money but no real or true happiness in his life. Edmund chooses Mary for the wrong reasons but she turns out to be the right choice for him for all the right reasons.

Those of you who are like me and want to know if this story has passion and sexual tension you won't be disappointed. I am anxiously awaiting the next story due out in October 2008.

APRIL 2008

Beverly Jenkins

Avon Books
Harper Collins
April 2008
Historical Fiction

Rating 41/2 - EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewed by Michelle Alexander

Eli Grayson a confirmed bachelor, must find a wife in order to secure the financing to save the towns newspaper. So he convinces his friend Jewel to pose as his wife for one night, but the story gets out and they must make it real to save his career and her reputation. Jewel, used to taking care of her rough and tumble brothers and father, now has to learn the ways of womanhood. She is unprepared for the passion she feels for Eli and learns just how much she will fight for her man, when deadly trouble from the past comes to town and nearly tears everything apart.

MARCH 2008

The Things We Do For Love
Xavier Knight

Grand Central Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0446582384
Pub. Date: March 2008

Rating: 4 Stars – EXCELLENT
Reviewed by: Donielle Ruff

In The Things We Do for Love by Xavier Knight, we meet Jesse Law, a
man who has had the world at his feet. Jesse is a former high-profile
singer who has seen the top of the secular music charts. As a child,
he grew up the youngest of a gospel music family empire and has since
bought it all back to his roots and is now the head of a gospel group.
Jesse is married to Dionne, a woman with whom his chance encounters
have led to a marriage full of love. Jesse and Dionne have suffered a
few setbacks in their marriage as they deal with infertility. Jesse
thinks he has found the answer to Dionne's prayers as they find a baby
to adopt. But Jesse may soon realize his secrets can't be kept for
long. And to the mix, Dionne's friend Suzette and her marriage to
Coleman, Jesse's fellow group member, and the fact that someone is out
there trying to drop a bomb about Coleman's homosexual past. How will
so many secrets play out?

The Things We Do for Love is a very thought-provoking read. Xavier
Knight did an excellent job in creating a rich story with characters
who will definitely make you think. Secrets, infidelity, and
forgiveness are the topics that will make you wonder what you would do
in situations like these. Long after reading, you'll be taking a
really hard look at yourself. Highly recommended.

FEB 2008

Michelle Martinez

William Morrow
ISBN-13: 9780060899028
Pub. Date: February 2008

Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewed by: Donielle Ruff

Notorious by Michele Martinez is the fourth novel to feature
Martinez's heroine, Melanie Vargas. The story begins at full speed as
Vargas, meets with the lawyer of the rapper she's trying to put away
for murder. The lawyer is killed right in front of Melanie and now her
life is on the line. Come to find out, her relationship with the
lawyer was more than professional and she is determined to find his
killer. But as she searches for answers she realizes there's more to
it all than she can imagine. The deeper she delves the more dangerous
it becomes.

Notorious is a well-written, well-plotted novel that keeps you turning
the pages. Realistic characters and situations make this story edgy,
intriguing and a delight to read. Martinez is an excellent writer and
I can't wait to read more of her work.

JAN 2008

My Life as a Rhombus
Varian Johnson

Flux (January 2008)
Young Adult
ISBN-10: 0738711608
ISBN-13: 978-0738711607

Reviewed By Leah Mullen

For Rhonda Lee math terms are simple. She can easily say “Euclidian dodecahedron” and “deltoidal trihexagonal tiling,” but after a frightening encounter with a rich boy at her prestigious private school in Columbus, she can’t bring herself to say the word pregnant. At the opening of My Life as a Rhombus Rhonda who is a senior in high school has sworn off contact with all boys. Not only that, she has also resolved not to have anything to do with those she deemed as popular, spoiled, stuck up and superficial—like her ex-boyfriend. Instead she’s decided to focus on her studies and getting a much needed scholarship for her dream college—Georgia Tech.

What Rhonda hadn’t counted on was that perhaps some of her postulates were erroneous.

What happens to Rhonda is what happens to all of us when we swear to never do such and such ever again in life. For those who make vows it’s guaranteed that a test of our determination is on the horizon. While working as a tutor for younger children at the West Columbia Community Center, Rhonda is coerced into being a trigonometry tutor for Sarah Gamble, a classmates from her own school. Sarah is a popular cheerleader, daughter of a prominent judge and everything Rhonda is trying to avoid. An unlikely friendship between the two girls develops when Rhonda learns that she and Sarah have more in common than she’d originally thought.

Rhonda’s friendship with Sarah dredges up some unsettled issues Rhonda hadn’t dealt with regarding her own father. And close proximity to Sarah’s handsome brother David, triggers all sorts of complicated emotions and unresolved concerns as well.

Rhonda Lee accurately reflects the mindset of an adolescent female outsider and it was certainly nice to see a smart Black girl as a heroine. One of the things I found interesting about the book is that the author Varian Johnson is a guy! The author interview in the back was a nice touch, providing insight for young readers on how stories are actually written. They don’t just appear from thin air, a writer crafts them through a series of decisions. Johnson had originally attended to write the story from Rhonda’s father’s point of view, but then realized, this was Rhonda’s story to tell.

My Life as a Rhombus has a rather somber feel that is very unlike the other YA titles I’ve read of late. The novel is engaging; however this is not purely a “fun” book. It’s a serious story dealing with issues that are very important to this age group--fitting in, sexuality, teen pregnancy, friendship, choice, independence and healing fractured family ties. All of these issues are artfully woven into the story without any preaching. With teen pregnancy on the rise after a 14 year decline, My Life as a Rhombus would make a great discussion book for classrooms, teen book clubs and a great gift idea for parents who want something positive and interesting for their teen to read.


Deadly Sexy
Beverly Jenkins

Avon Books
October 2007
Mainstream Fiction

Rating 41/2 - EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewed by Michelle Alexander

When high powered sports agent, Jessi Theresa Blake’s Lexus breaks down on the highway, she has no idea that the truck driver rescuer is a partner in a multimillion dollar company, a former cop and lawyer who is investigating a murder in the midst of LA football. Reese Anthony has fallen for a tough sexy woman who now seems to be the target of a killer. Can he save her and solve the murder which goes to the top of pro-football? Jessi finds herself fighting for her business, her clients, her love for Reece and ultimately her life.

Beverly Jenkins has the amazing gift of tying her historical romance characters with the future. I encourage readers to pick up Topaz, Always and Forever and A Chance at Love to read about the characters who are the forbears of Jessi and Reece.

White Lines
Tracy Brown

St Martin’s Griffin
Jan 2007
Mainstream Fiction

Rating 41/2 stars - EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewed by Michelle Alexander

White Lines is the story of Jada who leaves home at sixteen to escape abuse from her Mother’s boyfriend who turns her eventually to prostitution. She ends up in a relationship with Born, the local druglord and lives a life of money, parties and the good life. But Jada becomes addicted to crack despite Born’s warnings that it would end their relationship. Jada’s addiction brings her to a relationship with Jamari, Born’s rival and pregnancy. Losing everything, Jada with the help of Sunny, the wife of Born’s supplier, finds her way back, but not without having to boldly navigate the world of gangs, drugs and murder without getting caught. A realistic, fast paced read!

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