Sin of a Woman. Kimberla Lawson Roby. 2017. 320 pages. Grand Central Publishing. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Without question, Kimberla Lawson Roby’s Curtis Black series books are always masterfully written in comparison to her other works. Unfortunately, Sin of a Woman failed to reach the relatively high bar. It’s intriguing that she elected to almost duplicate the plot of the most recent saga of Dillon Black with Raven, but appropriate. There was a ton of potential to show once again the self appointed calling, rise and ultimate fail of a misguided “pastor.” However, riddled with redundancy in the background of the characters and the current interactions, the book didn’t fully captivate or advance. Drawn out to unnecessary lengths, the actual deceptive action could have happened a lot sooner granting more time to highlight the growth of other characters. Raven was predictable, Porscha was unbelievable (especially her ending sermon), and Dillon and the Black family were essentially unnecessary. For the first time ever, I’m thinking Mrs. Roby may need to find another set of characters. How much more can the Black Family endure and/or be apart of?!
The Couple Next Door. Shari Lapena. 2016. 320 pages. Pamela Dorman Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Like playing a game of Clue, minus the board, the players, and the hope that when it gets to the end it’ll make sense … Ironically, the book reminded me of a notable case from Colorado where nothing makes sense and there’s a bunch of missing pieces to even the most trained eye. However, the mystery and crazy degrees of separation didn’t distract from a well written book.
Something Old, Something New. Beverly Jenkins. 2011. 355 pages. William Morrow Paperbacks. [Source: personal copy.] Book 3 in the Blessings Series This series can do no wrong in my eyes, but book 3 is admittedly not as captivating as the first two installments. I’m interested to know the amount of time that lapsed between book 2 and 3, as there was substantially more back-tracking and reminding in this than noticed in book 2. With the introduction of new characters and more discussion on the native culture, I felt book 3 left many of the original members stagnant. I’m eager to get to 4 and see who claims focus, how, and why … I’m still fixated on Tamar, Griff looks like IG star BennyHarlem in my mind, and I was hella annoyed with Devon this time around. Kinda wished for something different for Zoey, but waiting to see how that progresses, too. Overall pleased, yet slightly disappointed in the skimping of the details as it pertained to the final courting days and the actual ceremony. Nonetheless 5 stars …
A Blessing & a Curse. ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Victoria Christopher Murray. 2017. 288 pages. Gallery Books. [ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] They’ve done it again! I swear, I never think there’s anywhere else for these characters (and more importantly the duo) to go … yet somehow Reshonda and Victoria find away to take them to the next level. The idea of Jasmine & Rachel being sisters seemed unrealistic until they started weaving the tale. Then it seemed so possible and as a long time fan of the series made you wonder “how did I miss this possibility!?” Expertly written, it’s still impossible to tell one writing style from the next. 5 stars and I’m literally salivating at the idea of FINALLY finding out just who Mae Frances is. I hope Victoria and Reshonda keep up their collaborations, this book is proof they’re still capable of taking these characters further!
Her Secret Life. Tiffany L. Warren. 2017. 320 pages. Kensington Books. [Source: ARC provided couresty of NetGalley.] “She’s a series of beautiful contradictions” … my favorite line in the book as Graham simply explained Onika. Similarly, the line encompasses my emotions about the main character … I was always conflicted. My feelings of empathy were a direct contradiction to the disdain I felt for her superior, entitled attitude. Onika was so caught up in focusing on the bad hand she was dealt as a child that she failed to realize that the adult negativity was all the root of her own doing and poor decision making. The showcase of how one lie will ultimately beget many others was a valuable and continuous lesson. In addition to how failure to accept your flaws will stunt your ability to grow despite them. An ideal book for many teachers for it’s clear message without forcing hard topics. 5 stars for the effortless way Ms. Warren wove this tale, as a D.C. Native and fellow Greek, she was true to the culture and environment and it only aided the overall work.