Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Hood Life: A Bentley Manor Tale By Meesha Mink and De'Nesha Diamond

Touchstone: January 2009
Reviewer: Lashonda
Rating: 4

Move over ladies of Bentley Manor, the men of Bentley Manor are out to tell their story and it is HOT! Spinning a tale of sex, drugs and drama, Meesha and De'Nesha skillfully lure you into the lives of four men with roots in Bentley Manor. Although this book follows behind the highly acclaimed Desperate Hoodwives and Shameless Hoodwives, The Hood Life as it does not read like a sequel.

Tavon, The Pimp, has made pimping a family business. Taking it to another level as his extravagant lifestyle remains a blend of his business and personal life. His balance is thrown for a tailspin with the unexpected arrival of a bundle of joy...a teen-aged bundle of joy. This leaves Tavon wondering, how does a pimp raise a teenage daughter?

Demarcus, The Killer, fresh from his stint in prison, is out to prove that he is a changed man. Determined to live right, Demarcus starts his day with prayer and hits the streets preaching to others from his Quran. Yet he still struggles to release the demons from his past life. Not able to find a job and tired of feeling like less than a man, the lure of fast, money is around every corner. Will a chance for one quick move to escape The Hood Life be stronger than the will to live a new life?

Kaseem, The Dealer, is fighting a battle of his own. Not your normal dealer, Kaseem finds himself challenged by those around him who want him to come hard. With the unexpected arrival of an infant son, and a baby momma strung out on crack, irony has come knocking on Kaseem's door. Will he leave the game before the game consumes him.

Rhakmon, The Playa, is a character in himself. Getting what he can from women is the name of his game. No woman is safe from his hustling, including his current girlfriend. Determined to use what he has to get what he wants, Rhakmon ask his girlfriend to make the ultimate sacrifice to save himself.You will not be disappointed with this book. It will have you gripping the pages as you watch the story unfold. Get ready to dive into the drama that is fitting of Bentley Manor.

You will be amazed at the lengths these men go through as they strive to live The Hood Life.

We Take This Man by Candice Dow and Daaimah S. Poole

Grand Central Publishing - January 2009

Reviewed by: TS
Rating: 3

This was one for the record books for sure…and not in a good way. I love these two authors but We Take This Man left a bad taste in my mouth. The writing is stellar as you would expect from Dow and Poole, but the subject matter . . . well let's just say I think it kind of knocks us women back a few decades. I don't want to get on my soap box, so I'll keep this review short and sweet.
Ms. Dow and Ms.Poole's collaboration was nicely written and a very cohesive story. This book takes the whole idea of "man-sharing" to the next level. The story is told from the point of view of the two women who want the same man. The story begins from Tracy's point of view, who is already married to Dwight. Next enters Alicia who falls in love with him and ends up wanting him to herself. From there things get crazy and never stop. We Take This Man is loaded with drama and will keep you reading just to see what happens. Unfortunately I was left unfulfilled at the end of the book.
Give this book a try if you're up for some controversial drama!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can I Get a Witness? by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Pocket: July 2008
Reviewed By: TS
Rating: 4

Can I Get A Witness hits the floor running. Ms. Billingsley does a good job of throwing the reader into the story and you find yourself feeling for the characters and caring about what happens in their lives. The plot and character development are both thorough but it seems a bit too short and slightly rushed at times. When I finished the last page I found myself wishing certain points of the book were longer.

The story revolves around the lives of three sisters and the struggles they go through to cope with their relationships. The sisters are helped along by their Aunt Ida with her the well intended, sarcastic yet funny at times comments and advice. Aunt Ida raised them and encourages them to include God in their relationships.

Vanessa is a divorce-court judge whose marriage has been in trouble for a long time. Unfortunately, Vanessa was totally unaware of their marital problems, leaving her unprepared for the crazy ride she will have to take while dealing with her husband Thomas and his mistress.

Dionne, the youngest and brattiest of the sisters, whole life revolves around getting married before age 30. During her quest to find a husband, Dionne finds Roland; a not yet divorced man with doggish tendencies… which only the beginning of her troubles. Dionne has lots of growing up to do and doesn't seem to actually figure this out until it's almost too late.

Rosalyn, the eldest sisters, is the most level headed. With a happy marriage to a minister and a son - she comes off as the perfect sister with the perfect life. She is spiritually in tune with herself and seeks to help her sisters through their issues. But, she too has some drama of her own.

This book is a very fast read with strong characters. A story line that is crazy, funny, and serious. Ms. Billingsley delivers serious lessons with humor and care. I even found myself speaking out loud a few times at the audacity of some of the characters! A must read.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dubious by Tina Brooks McKinney

Taboo Publishing: September 2008
Reviewed by Dee-Dee
Rating: 5

Felicia Clark had it all or so she thought until her marriage of 13 years fell apart. She was everything a wife should be and yet her husband still walked away. As she struggles to get her life together and build a life with someone new, Felicia discovers secrets about her husband that shake her to her core and threatens to destroy everything she has worked to gain. Will Felicia find the happiness she deserves after dealing with her husbands secret fetish? Randy is confused. He has secret desires he cannot share with anyone and these desires are destroying everything he holds dear. They have already destroyed his marriage; will they destroy everything he has ever known?

Tina Brooks McKinney has done it again folks. If you read any of her other books you already knew McKinney could write. With Dubious McKinney lets readers know that her writing has no boundaries. This books discusses the feeling of sexual confusion that many people experience and shows how that confusion can affect everyone involved whether you want it to or not. Be warned you may find a scene or two that makes you stop and say hmmmmmmmmm. These scenes are done without being judgmental allowing readers to make their own decisions. McKinney is able to take a topic that would make many run for the hills and deal with it open and honestly. She neither sensationalizes nor underplays the sexual issues making you realize that this could be the lives of the people next door. You just never know. And don't worry, McKinney has not forgotten her fan base. She still brings the drama we have come to love from her previous novels.

Dubious is a page-turner. My only wish is to have Tina Brooks McKinney behind her keyboard right now writing a sequel because there is no way I cannot know what happens. She dropped a couple of bombs at the end of the book and I need to know about the aftermath

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pleasure by Eric Jerome Dickey

Dutton Adult: April 2008

Reviewed by DD

Rating: 4.5

Nia Simone Bijou is a woman dealing with an internal dilemma. On the one hand she is a successful independent, well educated writer dealing with normal issues of life. On the other hand Nia is a sensual woman with a burning desire to fulfill her need for Pleasure. The need for Pleasure will take Nia down roads she never thought she would travel and teach her that pursuit of pleasure can have both great rewards and great consequences.

I enjoyed Nia's sexual exploration and admired the courage it took for her to step out of her comfort zone to fulfill her desires. Nia was willing to test her boundaries to achieve the ultimate goal of pleasure despite what society would think of her and her pursuit for sexual fulfillment. In Nia, Eric Jerome Dickey created a character that embodies the essence of the modern successful female. She lives her life on her own terms, based on a standard set by her belief system not society's rules. It is this attitude that opens her to her pursuit of pleasure and takes her and the reader on an unforgettable journey.

I truly enjoyed Pleasure. This will definitely be one of my favorite reads of the year. The Erotic scenes were hot without being raunchy and tasteless. All the characters in this story came alive. They were well rounded individuals living real lives filled with their own stories and following their own agendas. I wanted to know made these characters tick and what events put them in Nia's world as she struggled to deal with her own desires. The story itself had me thinking beyond the actual words and sex scenes to my own personal life journeys. Would I be willing to cross my own personal boundaries to achieve my own personal goals.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gotta Keep on Tryin' by Virginia DeBerry, Donna Grant

Publisher: Touchstone, January 2008
Reviewed by Naleighna Kai
, author of Every Woman Needs a Wife
Rating : 4

Patricia Reid and Gayle Saunders, who made their appearance on the literary stage in Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made, return in a sequel that further tests the bonds of friendship, marriage and their careers. In Gotta Keep on Tryin’, Patricia and Gayle have launched a new business venture, and through much trial and terror, the women’s talents propel this seeming pipe dream into something that gains the attention of a major conglomerate. At a time when success is imminent, Vanessa, Gayle’s teenage daughter has become unmanageable, willful and is plagued by self-doubt and a condition that is affecting more teenagers today--bulimia.

Pat has her own troubles when Tiffani Alexander walks through their door claiming Pat’s husband as her father, and it sets the stage for Marcus to suddenly focus on the daughter he’s always wanted, but Pat, whose career has come first, was unwilling to give. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Vanessa moves in with an abusive boyfriend and holds fast to the relationship rather than admitting defeat and returning to safety. All this is followed by a lucrative offer from a conglomerate that pits the women’s goals and dreams against each other.

Though the women’s friendship survived an overwhelming amount of obstacles in the first novel, the developments, and their unwillingness to confide in each other or ask for help, might be their undoing in Gotta Keep on Tryin’.

This novel, a realistic look at the challenges that Black women face to balance family, career and love, was well written, an enjoyable read and well worth the eleven year wait for the sequel.

Payback With Ya Life by Wahida Clark

Grand Central Publishing: May 2008
Reviewer: Toni Mac
Rating: 3

Reeling from the suicide of her best friend, Shan is at a crossroads. She wants to move clear across the country and start over while her brother, her only family left, doesn’t want her to leave. A blast from the past convinces her to stay, but with her decision comes consequences. Will she pay the ultimate price and payback with her life?

No doubt about it, Wahida Clark is wicked with her pen game. But I can’t help but be a little disappointed with this novel. A fan of Clark ’s customary style, something just seemed to be missing here – the power that vaulted her to the top. “Payback With Ya Life” has its moments but not enough. Despite not living up to my expectations, I look forward to her next release.