Books, Interviews and Reviews for African Americans




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 Rachel Phillips

YO YO Love
Daaimah S. Poole
Dafina Books

In her debut novel, twenty-three year old author Daaimah S. Poole is climbing the best seller charts with Yo Yo Love. Coming straight from the viewpoint of a sistah who knows what she wants and will stop at nothing to get it.

Looking for love in all the wrong places. That’s the story with college student Kayla Simone Johnson. The hip and sassy, twenty-year old Temple University student is on a mission to find someone to love. She falls for the campus star basketball player that’s headed for the pros, or so it seems. That is until his true game comes to the light when his roommate gives Kayla the 411 on Mr. Superstar! As they say, one monkey doesn’t stop the show. Kayla engages in other short-term romances, which all end as fast as they began.

Just when Kayla resolves to leave the fellas alone and commit herself to her studies and her job as a waitress enters Will. He’s just what Kayla has been searching for. Drop dead gorgeous; likes to chill with Kayla; plenty of money, and no problem spending it on her. We forgot to mention, he told Kayla the ‘L’ word. Life with Will becomes complicated when his secret life rises to the surface. Kayla is willing to lay all her cards on the table to save her relationship with Will. Even if it means sacrificing "the one I shouldn’t have let get away."

Yo Yo Love is fast-paced and entertaining story of one young woman’s quest to seek the love she so deeply yearns. Although the characters are in their early twenties, it will leave the older crowd reminiscing of their early days trying to find Mr./Ms. Right.

The Justus Girls
Evelyn "Slim" Lambright
$24 (Hardcover)

Two thumps up to first time author Evelyn "Slim" Lambright. The Justus Girls takes you on a remarkable journey of true friendship. Lambright’s ability to weave her way through the past to the present and from one character to the next is incredible. Most novels spin like a spider web are sure to lose you. However, in the Justus Girls, I couldn’t put the book down. Just when I thought I was going to learn the secret past of one character Lambright whisked me to another characters journey.

It was the 1950s in Philadelphia. Peaches, an abused child, Sally Mae, a country girl dealing with city life, Jan, and Roach quickly became childhood friends. They show their spunk and determination when they form a drill team, The Justus Girls. They cherished one another and had a silent oath that if you messed with one; you messed with them all. However, womanhood leads them apart and across different paths through life.

Fast forward decades later. All of the Justus Girls lead different lives. Peaches is found brutally murdered. After her funeral the remaining three Justus Girls reunite and vow to find the killer of their beloved friend. In their attempt to solve their sister friend’s murder, dark secrets from the past they held from one another and some that others held from them are slowly revealed as they come to grip with the hand in life that each of them were dealt. Caution: Do not read this book at work. You won’t get any work done!

Slim Lambright, in her own words, says, "I've been a waitress, a bartender, a go-go dancer, a model, a singer, and a numbers runner, among other things, and am now employed freelance, but the less said about that, the better." She lives in Philadelphia.

A Love Of My Own
E. Lynn Harris
Random House
$24.95 (Hardcover)

Best-selling author E. Lynn Harris is back with, A Love of My Own. Zola Denise Norwood is an editor in chief of Bling Bling, a magazine that is a reminder of Essence magazine. The name of the magazine wasn’t her idea; however, how could she resist when owner and media mogul, Davis Vincent McClinton, hands Zora the editor position on a silver platter in exchange for extracurricular activities outside of the office. Not to be tied down by one man, Zora allows Davis to fulfill her material needs, Jabar, her Monday nights, and her best male friend, the gay Hayden, to share her feelings. If only Zora could roll all three up into one man.

Raymond Tyler, Jr. an original Harris character is back on the scene. Life for him was going good…that is until his lover Trent throws a monkey wrench into their relationship. Raymond packs up and heads to New York to take the position of the CEO of Bling Bling. He has a tough time in New York. Not fully recovered from the devastating blow from Trent, Raymond begins a quest to find himself while searching for love in all the wrong places. His struggle with his feelings for Basil got on my nerves. Raymond’s position at Bling Bling starts off with good intentions; however, Bling Bling owner McClinton is power hungry and whatever he says goes…or you do.

The man that every Harris fan has a love/hate relationship is riding the pages again. Basil is alive and well. These days he’s the devoted father to his daughter. A mystery person starts spreading rumors about his double life. Basil vows to keep his daughter in his life, even if he has to let the men go.

The woman that every one loves to hate makes a small appearance. This time Harris allows Yancey’s mother, Eva, to overshadow her successful recording star and actress daughter’s character.
A Love Of My Own is filled with all the ingredients for a fast-paced read. However, the characters were shallow and I didn’t see the need to bring Yancey or her want-to-be mother Eva in the story. Don’t expect the classic "down and dirty" scenes and drama that Harris is well known for. You won’t find it here.

A Few Words with E. Lynn Harris

You recently moved to New York City and you touch on the sad events of 9/11 in your latest novel A LOVE OF MY OWN. Do you have any words on the recent tragedy as a new New Yorker?

Like everyone, not only New Yorkers, I was saddened by the events of September 11th. But still hope these events will make us stronger as people and as a country.

In A LOVE OF MY OWN, we meet Zola Denise Norwood, the talented and ambitious editor-in-chief of Bling, Bling? Can you tell us about your inspiration for Bling,Bling and why you chose the world of magazine publishing for this new novel?

The title Bling, Bling just came to me. I thought it was funny and humorous and that insiders would know what it meant. As a teenager, I used to think I wanted to run a magazine. By creating the character of Zola I have been able to do that over the last six months.

Zola's career experiences some ups and downs during A LOVE OF MY OWN. Can you tell us what you would like readers to learn from Zola's experience as a black woman in business?

Some of the African American women who I am acquainted with sometimes make being in a leadership role look very easy, but through my conversations and a little research I learned that other areas of their lives suffer. Each of us, no matter what our color or gender, are struggling to create a balanced life. We often ponder and ask our selves if we can have it all. Right now, I'd have to say maybe not.

That is not necessarily a bad thing. I think it forces us to focus on the things we often take for granted, decide what we really want from life and realize that we have the power to control our lives-work and personal.

Each of the characters in the book are searching for some deeper meaning in their life. Can you tell us how the title A LOVE OF MY OWN ties into your signature themes of love, family and friendship and why these are such important issues for you?

I was at a book signing last year in Dearborn MI (also one of my favorite stops on the tour) when a women asked me how I felt about love. I realized at that moment, that our search for love is something that we all have in common. It wasn't gender, or race restricted. Each of us, at some point in our life, wants and deserves a love of our own that is true, honest, and as close to perfect as we can hope for.

The first time many of us experience this love is often from the unconditional love provided by family. We then learn a different kind of love from friends and people we choose to bring into our life. Hopefully, we all experience that make your head spin kind of love!


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