Tag Archive | African American titles

Marvelously Mature – Evelyn Palfrey

Back in the ‘90s, author Evelyn Palfrey started a new thing. She wrote romance stories with lead characters who were “marvelously mature;” a term she crafted to describe her sheros and heros–adults in their fifties and sixties; some retired, some not; some with children who were “grown and gone,” some who were raising grandchildren, but all confronting love in their latter years, which made for plots that were unfathomable in the more traditional romance stories.

I read every one of Evelyn’s books and enjoyed them thoroughly. This spring when I learned she had a new release, I jumped online and downloaded my copy of Going Home. Like her other books, I devoured each page and when I reached the end, I was not happy about saying good-bye to the characters. I don’t write and post book reviews on every book I read but this one – yes. Because I want readers to learn about and read Evelyn’s works (if they haven’t already). And as we all know, in this cyber literary world, book reviews are important.

My brief comments about Going Home follow and if you want more information about Evelyn or her other works, click here.

2011BookCover[1]Going Home is a contemporary romance story set in Austin, Texas. The heroine, retired office worker, Thalia Allen specializes in taking in orphans—her granddaughter Mishay and a father/son combo, Joe Lambert and Kyobe, who ended up in Austin after Hurricane Katrina ran them out of New Orleans.

The story opens with a snapshot of Thalia and Mishay in their routine home/school/church/life activities; a routine that quickly alters when Thalia allows Joe and Kyobe to move into her home. Thus starts a slow, respectful buildup to romance and love between the adults while the two teenagers struggle with their own teenage issues:  school work, peer pressure, cliques, dating, violence, college, etc. Encapsulating all four story lines is the natural evolution into a family unit; an outcome that makes them all emotionally stronger, secure and happy. Just as the family is strengthening and everyone is settling into their natural place, Joe blows the family apart with an announcement:  he is returning to New Orleans to resume his life there. It’s a heartbreaker for Kyobe and Mishay, but especially for Thalia who has given Joe her heart and has come to rely on him. Joe moves back home and is in New Orleans for several months before he comes to the realization that his life, his happiness, his heart is not in New Orleans, but in Austin. Acknowledging this, he returns to Austin to immediate acceptance by everyone except Thalia. She maintains a hard line with him until he proves he’s there for good by asking her to be his wife. They reunite, the family reunites, and they all live forever in love.

Like most romance stories, this is not action-driven but character-driven. We see a satisfying arch of the major characters, including the teenagers. By the end of the story they are more expansive, changed and for the better. The storyline follows a logical line of progression with plot twists in appropriate places, valid emotional ups and downs, and realistic behavior. The settings and descriptions enhance the story and the pacing is appropriate for a romance story. Of course the ending worked. It is after all a romance and the boy always gets the girl.

A plus I think readers will enjoy is the cast of characters. There was enough diversity—from thievin’ thug to sassy, low self-esteem teen to independent contractor to retiree—to make me wonder how Thalia was going to make a family of this rag-tag bunch. I should have known love conquers all.

The one hole in the story was the missing conversation between grandmother and granddaughter regarding her sexual status after being on the road with a hormone-driven young male. I also did not care for so many church scenes but that’s just me and my personal reading preference.

I believe readers will enjoy this story. It is an intelligent read that can easily jump off fiction pages to represent real life.

I’m Back and Just in Time

to celebrate the release of Faith Simone’s debut novel, “When the Real Thing Comes Along.”


I met Faith many years ago at a writers’ retreat in Cedar Hill, Texas. I was impressed with her ability to tell great stories, and boy did she have a way with words. And now years later, to see she has persevered to achieve this monumental goal of publishing her first novel, well I am “hyena happy and peacock proud” (to quote a famous pastor).

Faith Simone

Author, Faith Simone

I hope you will join me in not only buying her book but also reading and reviewing it. Here’s a teaser for those of you who need an extra push…

When the Real Thing Comes Along by Faith Simone

She loved and lost…Will faith give her the courage she needs to love again? Jacelynn appears to have it all together: a great relationship with her boyfriend Jason who is truly a man after God’s own heart, a decent career and the love of family and friends. But when an unwelcome reminder from her past shows up, her previously uncomplicated world is turned upside down. Will she jeopardize what she has with Jason in an attempt to rewrite the mistakes of her past? They say you never forget your first love, no matter how hard you try. So far, Jacelynn has done a pretty good job of forgetting Taylor, the boy who had her heart first. When Taylor returns several years later as a man requesting a second chance, what’s a girl to do…Especially when she already has a new man? The hidden issues ofJacelynn’s heart come to light and she’s forced take a hard look in the mirror while making choices that will change her future forever.Will she be able to reconcile who she was then, with who she is in Christ now? Living and loving in faith isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. That’s what happens… When the Real Thing Comes Along.



I thought I would start the new year by doing something I’ve never done before–review a book on my blog. Yes, I have featured authors in the past and I have featured books, but I have never posted a book review along with an author/book feature. So this is new for me, and it’s way too early to say whether I will continue this practice or not but for now I want to introduce you to an author I’ve known for a while and always admired–Sean C. Wright. When I learned Sean had a new book out (beautiful cover above), I wasted no time buying and reviewing it. I hope my review inspires you to read more of Sean’s works and to visit her entertaining website and blog Oh, No Typos. Happy new year! Happy new readings! Happy new beginnings!


Title: Honey Riley

Genre: Fiction, African American Literature, Women’s Literature, Supernatural

Length: 52 pages

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=honey+riley


Honey Riley is about a biracial clairvoyant who uses her precious gift to keep others out of danger, but is blind to the gift when it concerns herself. Her heroic life often rings of pain, but Honey never wavers in her strength for her loved ones and the people she helps. Honey’s legacy starts just after The Civil War and weaves through the mid 1980s.


Ann’s ReviewHoney Riley by Sean C. Wright

This short novel of less than 100 pages conveys a lot. It is the story of a spiritual gift that travels multiple generations, and like most gifts, it can be a blessing and a liability. But the gift is only the foundation of the story.


The cast of characters, mostly women, and how they serve (or not) the gift create the framework of the story. I think it interesting that most of the characters use the gift for the good of others, to serve and protect. But a few allow the gift to destroy them. I also think it clever how the name, Honey Riley and variations of it, is handed down with the gift.


This is a vivid story that is reinforced with a bit of history and bold, colorful descriptions. Beware: this story is not easy on the emotions. Readers will experience anger, triumph, sadness, joy, satisfaction, fear and more. You will not arrive at the end feeling encouraged or hope-filled, and you may feel  the story should have ended before its actual stopping point, but regardless, you will have been glad you spent time getting to know Honey Riley.

About the Author
Sean C. Wright is native to Dallas, TX. See all of her published works here:  http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/african-american-fiction/9736. Get to know Sean at www.iwrightaway.com.

Black History Month Featuring Black Literary Facts

Growing up in a town that had one black teacher on staff (and only for one year during my high school days), I recognized a deficit in my bank of African American literature and authors. So every year during Black History Month I try to expand my knowledge about black authors and/or black literary works, and every year I am amazed at the treasures I unearth. This year I’m sharing some of my newfound treasures with you. You may already be familiar with some of the titles, authors or facts and if so, great. Maybe you know of others you can share with me.

Black Literary Facts:
Octavia Butler, 1947 – 2006, was a pioneer in the sci-fi genre. She was one of few females and blacks who wrote in the genre. In 1995, she received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the coveted genius grants.

E. Lynn Harris was a groundbreaking author who died in 2009 but left an impressive literary mark. He virtually created a new genre–gay, black men in conflict and in loving relationships. His best known work is Invisible Life, 1991.

Dorothy West is recognized as one of the last surviving members of the Harlem Renaissance. She is best known for The Living Is Easy, 1948 and The Wedding, 1995.

Langston Hughes was a poet, playwright, editor and novelist. His most famous poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers was written and published a year after he graduated from high school. His home in New York City has landmark status.

Christopher J. Perry founded the Philadelphia Tribune in 1884 and this newspaper continues to operate. He began writing articles at age 14 and promoted to editor before striking out on his own to start the Tribune.

Amiri Baraka served as Poet Laureate of New Jersey and founded the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s. In addition to poems, he has written essays and dramas. He is the recipient of an Obie, NEA and Rockefeller grant.

Third World Press is the oldest and largest publisher of black thought and literature in the U.S. It was founded in 1967 by Haki R. Madhubuti, Johari Amini and Carolyn Rodgers.

Novelist Terry McMillan began her distinguished career as a Doubleday fiction contest winner. She won the American Book Award and is known for her books, Mama and Waiting to Exhale.

J. California Cooper began her writing career as a playwright. She turned her dramatic storytelling skills to fiction, publishing Homemade Love in 1986, a collection of stories which won her an American Book Award.

Zora Neale Hurston is known as the most prolific black woman writer of the first half of the 20th century. She is best known for Their Eyes Were Watching God and Dust Tracks on a Road.

Two-time Pulitzer winner August Wilson was a playwright. He is best known for The Pittsburgh Cycle, a series of plays covering ten decades.

Poet Sonia Sanchez was heavily involved with the Black Arts Movement. She is a Pew fellow and has authored more than 16 books.

James Baldwin, novelist, poet and essayist is best known for Go Tell It On The Mountain, which is considered an American classic. He often credited his stint as a preacher for turning him to writing.

Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes is a multiple award winner for her novels and other works. Some of her honors include the American Book Award, PEN, and NEA.

NY Times Bestselling author Zane publishes and writes black erotica under Strebor Books. She has taken a taboo subject and turned it into a platform of freedom for millions.

Ntozake Shange, an Obie winner is best known for her choreopoem/play For Colored Girls. Her works speak to issues that impact not just black but all women.

James Weldon Johnson is best known as the composer of Lift Every Voice and Sing, the song which the NAACP dubbed the Negro National Hymn. He was also a journalist, poet and novelist.

Gorilla, My Love was Toni Cade Bambara’s most recognized work. Its collection of stories depicted blacks in non-stereotypical fashion. She also wrote essays and scripts.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is Gil Scott Heron’s oft quoted composition. His entire body of work influenced neo soul, hip hop, and spoken word.

U.S. National Book Award and Newbery Award recipient Virginia Hamilton was the author of 41 books in multiple genres. She won every major award for children’s books.