Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Secrets and Lies
Rhonda McKnight

Urban Books
December 1, 2009
ISBN-10: 1601629400
ISBN-13: 978-1601629401

Christian Fiction


Reviewer: LaShaunda C. Hoffman

Faith and Jonah were happily married for ten years when Faith began to see a change in her husband. He’d become distant with her and the children. Although most of the signs were there, she was afraid to believe he was having an affair.

Jonah a well-known pediatric cardiologist had a few issues from his childhood come back to haunt his adult life. The pressures from the problems were affecting his relationships with his family and coworkers.

Rhonda McKnight’s debut into the Christian fiction was worth the wait. I haven’t had a book that made me stop and think about my marriage in a long time. Ms. McKnight showed the reader things aren’t always what they seem and you have to look at issues with your eyes wide open instead of partial shut. A marriage can’t work if you’re not communicating properly and it won’t work if you’re keeping secrets from each other.

If this couple had sat down and had a serious conversation they could have handled a lot of things together instead of trying to work them out on their own. This book shows how important it is to have God as the third person in your marriage. Working your problems out together with God as the center is a whole lot easier than doing it by yourself.

Secret and Lies is a good book to start a dialogue on communication in a marriage. I look forward to reading Ms. McKnight’s next book.


Teach Me Tonight
Jacquelin Thomas

Kimani Romance: Hollington Homecoming Series
Kimani Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-861-33-0
Published: October 2009

Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT

Reviewer: Rhea Alexis M. Banks

This is a story of missed opportunities that did not fade over time. Tamara Hodges jumped to conclusions and alienated the man she had fallen in love with, her tutor, Micah Ross. Micah developed well beyond his “nerdy” days and became extremely sought after but past rejection and loss has left him scorn and uninterested. That is until business brings forth a reunion that could result in payback.

This is a very good book that takes us on the journey with two people who hid their feelings for far too long, gave up on each other far too prematurely and subsequently ended a promising friendship. Can they find their way back to each other? This was a tremendously enjoyable read so….let’s delve in and see….

Dying for Revenge
Eric Jerome Dickey

Publisher: NAL Trade
Published: October 2009
ISBN: 0451227530

Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT

Reviewer: Shelia Marie

Dying for Revenge is the third book in Eric Jerome Dickey’s Gideon trilogy. Gideon is the sexy yet elusive hit man that travels from one country to another. In Dying for Revenge, Gideon’s main mission is to remain alive. Instead of hunting, he’s being hunted and it makes for an interesting tale.

If you’ve read the previous two books in the series, Sleeping with Strangers and Waking with Enemies, you know that Gideon is a loner but surprisingly he does have one attachment—back in the States.

The scenes moved quickly and had me eagerly anticipating what would happen next. I didn’t like the second book in the trilogy and almost didn’t pick this one up but because I like the character Gideon, I felt I had to see how things would end. I’m glad I did because it was a satisfying read.

This book was in my opinion much better than the last, it gets four stars. I look forward to reading Eric Jerome Dickey's latest Resurrecting Midnight.


Meet Me in Paris
Simona Taylor

Kimani Romance
Kimani Press
ISBN-13: 978-0373 861293
Published: September 2009

Contemporary Romance

Rating: 3 Stars - VERY GOOD

Reviewed by: Rhea Alexis M. Banks

This is a story of Kendra Forrest and how she “re-invented” herself with a “new Life” full of looking successful and beautiful things. Life as she knew it was blown apart with the entrance of Trey Hammond. Trey purchased a thriving travel agency as part of his growth and financial stability of a tragedy. Soon after his world spins on its axis as Kendra become part of its many aspects of it.

These two are forced to deal with each other while trying to deal with themselves. This story is interesting with its many twist, turns as secrets are revealed, and pasts dealt with. It is engagingly sad and funny but roll into an interesting package.


Teri Woods

Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 0446581690
Published: August 2009

Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 3 Stars – VERY GOOD

Reviewed by: Tavares S. Carney

Think Before You Act

Having come from a lineage of abuse and poverty, Daisy Mae Fothergill does what she feels necessary to make ends meet. Working as a stripper at a local bar, Daisy Mae finds herself entangled in a web of murders taking place in north Philadelphia. Falling for all the wrong men for all the wrong reasons, Daisy Mae will learn whether or not selling her soul for a little cash is worth risking her life. At times, I empathized with Daisy Mae and at others I thought she was just down right gullible. There were also times I found myself rooting for Daisy Mae, hoping that she would do the right thing and make amends to change her life.

A primary theme in this novel is that sometimes people are pretenders, especially when it means personal gain or saving oneself. This theme was developed in subplots involving supporting characters, Sticks, Nard, Calvin, Simon Shuller and Reggie. Hopefully, readers will close the book realizing that fast money is not necessarily good money or safe money. Any dealing one has with dirty money has the potential to negatively affect them and the people around them, possibly costing them their life or others to lose their lives. Readers will also ponder the effects of the lifelong debate of nature versus nurture by the sharp contrast in the way of life for supporting characters, Daisy Mae’s cousin, Kimmie Sue and her aunt, Tildie.

I recommend this book to readers of urban literature, as well as women and girls who have found themselves at the mercy of street dramatics evolving from drugs and murder. If not already aware, perhaps this novel will enlighten readers to the troubles that come along with fast money and living life in the fast lane.

Surrender the Wind
Rita Gerlach

Abington Press
ISBN 987-1-4267-0072-9
Published: August 2009

Historical Romance

Rating: 4 Stars – EXCELLENT

Reviewed by: Candice Perkins

Rita Gerlach moves into the present with her unique style, electric pacing and concise plotting. Extreme suspense hovers through every twist nook and cranny in the turn of events that unfold. Gerlach has mesmerized her readers as she transports them to the post-revolutionary period between England and the United States.

Often words associated with love are used to describe despair. For instance, the play of dualism on the word "embrace," with the opposite perception of entrapment intended, is repeated: "High in the heavens the moon broke free from the embrace of clouds." And later: "The sea crashed against the hull, lifted the ship and brought it down again into the sea's dark embrace." This is no mere gift of language. This is literary genius. Furthermore it’s proof of the author's astounding mastery of literary craftsmanship.

Rita Gerlach’s minor characters stand out; not just for the roles they play in her plot but for their very human qualities. Literary devices such as assonance, alliteration, metaphors, similes and symbolism abound throughout her magical imagery, from the prologue through each and all scene thereafter.

Seth Braxton has fought in the American Revolution and is heading to the country he just fought against. His sister Caroline was sent there to live with her grandfather in England when her father and brother went to war. She is now a widow with a young son.

Caroline's dear friend, Juleah, has been a great comfort during the time of Caroline's husband's death and the illness of her grandfather. Before their grandfather dies, the three of them are reunited. Seth and Juleah take to each other immediately and he sees the care Juleah has taken with his sister. She in turn sees how kind and loving even an American can be.

Of course what would any story like this be without a villain? He comes in the shape of Seth and Caroline's step brother and Juleah's former intended, Darden. You can feel the villain lurking, waiting, conniving, and ready to pounce with meanness and passion, as he eventually does. But most of all, the historical love story of Juleah and Seth set against the terrible retribution of Darden's unrequited love joins the greatest love stories of all time.


Lady Jasmine
Victoria Christopher Murray

Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 9781416589174
Published: June 2009

Christian Fiction

Rating: 4 stars - EXCELLENT

Reviewed by: Candice Perkins

Lady Jasmine is trying to change, but she can't. Lying is just in her. She has plotted and schemed all her life in order to gain positions of wealth and respect.

Jasmine Larson Bush knows she is fortunate that her beloved spouse Reverend Hosea Bush forgave her lies, plots and schemes. A lesser man would have kicked her to the curb for her Jezebel transgressions. She has vowed to God and her husband to always tell the truth and she even tells both her lies in a massive confession. When Hosea’s father is shot in an accident, he is named temporary pastor of the City of Lights Riverside Church though he has doubts and so does several selection board members. Jasmine relishes the glory and respect she and their daughter will receive as the wife and child of the pastor.

However, the one transgression that she hid from her beloved Hosea surfaces when a blackmailer demands money. Jasmine is used to fighting the opposition; she goes after the blackmailer with plans to counter blackmail by threatening double exposure and those board members who loudly objected to her husband as the interim pastor. She wonders if God and Hosea will forgive her this time.

“Lady Jasmine”, is a terrific inspirational contemporary tale that is filled with church intrigue, a light mystery, and humor. Fans will appreciate Lady Jasmine as she falls back into her scheming ways though her cause is not quite as ugly as she has been in the past, her method is as she considers the end justifies the means but also learns once again how merciful the Lord is towards those who stumble.


rhonda mcknight said...

Thanks for the review LaShaunda. I'm glad you enjoyed Jonah and Faith's journey.

Happy New Year to you and thanks for all you do for authors at SORMAG.


Rhonda McKnight

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Unknown said...

I loved Rhonda's debut novel, Secrets and Lies. I couldn't put the book down!

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