Urban Reviews is the premier destination for all things relating to African-American Fiction. It's primary focus will be on the promotion of new and upcoming books by Black authors, but Urban Reviews will also include exclusive interviews, online Q&As, tour info, press release info, and industry news as well.
James Causey - Twisted - Available Now! - 4 out of 5 books -
Travon Brown is back with more problems than ever before. After the death of his surrogate father Willie, Travon is out for revenge against the person that’s responsible. But will he be able to rely on his street skills in order to settle the score? He has even bigger issues when he finds out that he’s the father of Angel’s baby. Now he needs to decide if he can continue with his relationship with Faith or try to explore things with Angel. Will Travon be able to do what he needs to do in order to go on with his life?
Twisted is a good sequel to the Twist by James E. Causey. Causey did a good job with the development of Travon as a character. Travon is essentially a good man, but he has some things that he needs to work out. You see how Travon struggles between doing what’s right and what he feels is the code of the street. Readers will actually feel the strong desire that he has to be a father to his daughter. This story shows how a regular man with a professional career can make questionable decisions that lead him down the wrong path. It was also interesting to see the dynamics of Faith and Angel’s relationship change throughout the book. Twisted is another winner for James E. Causey.
Saundra - Her Sweetest Revenge - Available Now! - 3 out of 5 books -
Mya’s world turned upside down when
her father was sent to prison for drug charges. To make matters
worse, Mya’s mother turned to crack to deal with the pain. At just
seventeen years old, Mya has to play the adult role in order to take
care of her younger brother and sister. She also catches the eye of a
local hustler name Hood. But things spiral out of control when the
violence of the streets hits way too close to home. As a result, Mya
makes some decisions that could have deadly consequences for all
Her Sweetest Revenge was a
decent but average hood story. This book had the potential to be
something different but there were a lot of things in this story that
readers of this genre have read before. The physical attributes of
Mya and the plight of her family are examples of a formula that’s
been used so much in other books that it’s time to break this
cycle. There were different situations in the book that were told to
the reader instead of creating a scene to show us what happened.
Several scenarios in this story were so far-fetched that it came off
as very unrealistic. Also, there were a number of grammatical and
word usage errors that could not be ignored. Saundra does leave room
for a sequel at the end of the book. But there’s not enough of a
connection between the characters and the reader to warrant or carry
a sequel. Her Sweetest Revenge wasn’t a bad story. With so
many options in today’s African American fiction market, Saundra
needs to come better than this if she wants to really make a mark in
Michael Beckford - Dying To Be Straight - Available Now! - 1 out of 5 books -
Dying to be Straight by Michael D. Beckford is the memoir of sorts of Paul Stringer. The story is a detailed account of his life from the time he was brought into the world. At around the age of five-years old while his mother (the lawyer) and his father (a chemist) worked on their careers, they had family members watch a young Paul. In the care of his father's brother and wife. Paul's uncle touched him in an inappropriate place and had Paul do the same to him. As Paul became older, he became confused about his feelings for the opposite sex. He knew he liked females, but he was more attracted to guys.
More than anything Paul struggled with what he believed God felt about homosexuality and his feelings and attraction to the same sex. Paul battles within himself, wanting to be "normal" and live a heterosexual life, but the pull of his old life soon becomes something he will need to deal with head on. After losing a good friend, he tries to put things into perspective and evaluate his life and some of the decisions he has made. The question is will he be able to make amends with his family and friends before its too late?
Dying to be Straight by Michael D. Beckford has to be one of the worst books I have read thus far. First, I am a bit confused on if this is supposed to be a fictional account or an actual memoir of someone's actual life. The story takes place from the time the character Paul Stringer is born, from his mother and father describing the hospital room that he was born in 1984. Describing how his mother lit a candle and sat it beside her bedside and when he was born they blew it out. (When did the hospital allow patients to light candles in the birthing room?) Second, the story is way too detailed. From a young Paul and his elementary years to his junior high and high school years and beyond. The problem with this is that it is unnecessary to the story, and with the book being only 204 pages, Dying to be Straight lacks depth and emotion. The story is told in first person, at times it is repetitive, and everything is simply stated instead of being descriptive, making the story too cut and dry. Aside from the lack of editing, the wording of some things are enough to make you shake your head. For example: when the author describes one of the characters being pregnant he words it as "...was scheduled to be deployed from his mother's womb." and "...he was expected to officially arrive on earth in August." EARTH? Seriously, is this an alien baby? The author also seems to make up his own words, such as the character Paul practiced "bisexualism." At one point I had to shake my head when the author described the 5th grade Prom where he was fitted for a tuxedo and how everyone was trying to make plans to hook up afterward. Keep in mind we are talking about 5th graders who are 10-11 years old. Seriously? In reading this story, there was entirely too much going on and situations that were totally unbelievable, especially near the end. It's like the author threw things into the mix because he thought he needed to add more, but it was totally unnecessary.
K'wan - Animal - Available Now! - 4 out of 5 books -
For those of you following the "Hood Rat" series, Eviction Notice leaves off with Gucci being shot in the club. Animal is kidnapped on the way to a maximum security prison and taken out of the country on a secret mission.
Animal is still out of the country and everyone thinks he is dead. When he finds out that the love of his life has been shot, Animal is hellbent on revenge. He vows to go back to the states and make sure everyone involved will be murdered. With everyone thinking Animal is dead and gone, it gives him a huge advantage to sneak up on his prey. Unfortunately, it also opens him up to be caught by the Feds and locked up for good if he is captured.
Shai Clark is not only being hunted by Animal, but there is someone that is determined to move in on his territory and take over the streets that Shai's crew has ruled for so long. Big Dawg is still as shiesty as ever but after crossing the line too many times with folks, someone is bound to try to knock him off his square.
Animal by K'wan is the sixth book in the "Hood Rat" series. For those of you that have yet to read this series, make sure you read the books in order: Hood Rat, Still Hood, Section 8, Welfare Wifeys and Eviction Notice before reading this one. K'wan never disappoints his readers; there is always plenty of action, murder and mayhem throughout his novels. A part of me kind of wants the series to end but each book has me wanting to find out what is going to happen next. A good writer knows how to keep his/her readers engrossed and wanting more. Kwan does a great job in doing this.
Kelli London - Cali Boys (Boyfriend Season) - Available Now! - 4 out of 5 books -
Jacobi and Kassidy are two different girls from different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common...they're wanted by the boys.
After moving not too far from her hood, Jacobi finds herself in a neighborhood where she feels completely different. With her lop-sided breast, being barely developed, and her cheetah print face, Jacobi's insecurities get in the way. That is, until she meets her neighbors.
Moving to Cali from NYC was the worst thing that ever happened to Kassidy. Rather than looking at the move as new modeling opportunities, all Kassidy wanted to do was return to New York to be with her first real boyfriend, Brent. First things first, Kassidy has to get her mind off Brent and scope out the city...mostly for boys. Being a player had to have some type of advantage for her...right?
I really liked Cali Boys by Kelli London. The story had so much going on, including thrilling moments. The author did a great job of pulling both girls lives into one another. The only thing I disliked about the story is the fact that one of the characters seems to have been just pulled out of the story without a reason. Other than that, I really enjoyed Cali Boys.
L. J. Wilson - Snitch - Available Now! - 4 out of 5 books -
Seneca Allen is a typical sixteen-year-old girl. She likes to hang out with her friends, enjoys going to parties, and of course she loves to shop. She is known to rock all the latest and flyest sneakers.
Her two best friends, Valencia and Darren, are dating each other. Seneca tries to stay out of the middle of their relationship, but she always seems to get caught up in it one way or another. Both want her to choose sides on who is right and who is wrong. Valencia thinks Darren might be cheating on her. Darren is having problems at home and feels pressured academically from his father. When Darren begins to act out, Seneca begins to get worried and wonder exactly what Darren is doing. When she tags along with him to a party, she is in for the shock of her life.
Seneca is soon at a dilemma. She knows something about her best friend Darren that can get him into trouble, yet she is caught in the crossfire of his actions with her parents. She's unsure of what to tell or not tell Valencia because she does not want to get her upset or compromise her friendship between either one of her friends. What is a girl to do?
Snitch by L.J. Wilson is a young adult novel that I think all teens can relate to and learn a lesson from. A quick read that will have you questioning who is right or who is wrong and when is it okay to snitch or is it ever a right time to snitch? What is your definition of snitching? I would definitely recommend this novel, especially to young adults. It addresses a lot of problems in today's society that teens have to deal with. Unfortunately, I was unclear on the ages of the characters in the novel. I did not read the synopsis before reading the book so I had no idea that the main character Seneca was sixteen-years-old. Also, the story kind of ended abruptly, making me want to know what would happen next. The story kind of ended where another story could start off. Ms. Wilson did a great job with Snitch, and I look forward to reading more by her.
All Kate ever wanted was to be loved & to love. Growing up in a group home for girls, all that Kate ever had to do was fight for her light. She had to tell these girls who was boss somehow. That was until Kate was brought in by The Johnsons. The Johnsons loved Kate and Kate loved them back. While living with them, Kate left her old habits behind with the help of The Johnsons and her social worker, Tisha. Tisha helped Kate realize that she was going to survive any hardship no matter what because she is a survivor.
After a year of living with The Johnsons, Kate found herself back at a group home. She found herself putting up with crap from her roommates because she was the new girl. As much as Kate wanted to, she wasn't going to let these girls break her or make her . Kate's peace of mind came back to her after she met Percy, or at least she thought. Percy put Kate through misery, and all Kate wanted was to please him. Soon she realized it was her time to leave him, but leaving would not be easy.
I liked Bad Boy by Dream Jordan because it told a story that not every girl could relate to but could learn from. Bad Boy was a very good book; There were no spelling mistakes & you could understand what was happening clearly. I give "Bad Boy" a 5 star rating. :) Reviewed by Tabitha Graves for Urban Reviews Order your copy of Bad Boy today!
Adrian L. Mallory - Corrupt Injustice: Art of Deception - Available Now! - 3 out of 5 books -
Corrupt Injustice: Art of Deception by Adrian L. Mallory is an urban tale about two best friends: Sean Williams a.k.a. S-Dot and Hector Rodriguez a.k.a. Loco. Sean is the most ambitious of the two. Even though he came into a nice lump sum of money, Sean is not deterred from wanting more. Sean convinces Hector to attend a local college and study criminal justice, mainly so they could get a feel of what the police are looking for during a crime scene. The professor, who is also the Lieutenant of the homicide division at the Rochester police department, talks both Sean and Hector into joining the police department. Since both of them are minorities and excel in the classroom and during training, the Lieutenant feels that they will make a great asset to the police department.
What nobody knows is that Sean/S-Dot and Hector/Loco are known on the streets as some of the most stand up dudes. Little does anyone know that they are robbing local drug dealers for their drugs and money. When the two become police officers, they decide to take it one step further and set up these same folks they are cool with to take a major fall. The two of them do this so that these folks cannot only step up the ladder of success, but the duo also can take whatever money they can seize during the raids. Unfortunately, not everyone in the police department thinks that Sean and Hector are on the up and up and this person is determined to prove it. Not only that but Sean and Hector need to be careful out on the streets because if their cover is blown, they may not make it out alive.
Corrupt Injustice: Art of Deception by Adrian L. Mallory is the first book in the series of an urban tale of money, power and greed. I had a hard time with the fact that one of the characters came from the streets and now lived lavishly (not from drug money) yet and still robbed and killed to get more money. There were gaps of time throughout the novel, and it was never made clear exactly why the characters Vinci and Head were sworn enemies. The story was a bit slow at parts, mainly because the book was too detailed and some of the sex scenes could have been cut out since they were not relevant to the story. Aside from some editing issues, all-in-all Corrupt Injustice: Art of Deception was an okay read.
Takerra Allen - There's Power In The V - Available Now! - 5 out of 5 books -
There's Power in the V by Takerra Allen is the story of three stisters: Valerie, Vickie and Veronica. Valerie is the oldest of the three and even from an early age, she had her life mapped out. She was determined to get an education and make something of herself. Although Valerie had a crush on one of the dope boys from around the way, she was not about to go down that road with someone that in her mind had no future besides the streets. Valerie makes a good life for herself and marries well to a big time lawyer, but the thing that Valerie is missing most from her marriage is the love and intimacy that she longs for. She soon realizes that having money and stability is nothing without love and happiness.
Vickie is the middle of the Bell sisters and from an early age, she staked claims on an older dope boy who all the girls seemed to want. Vickie eventually tamed him down and the two got married and had three beautiful little girls. Vickie loves her family more than anything and it breaks her heart knowing that she cannot seem to figure out what is the cause of her youngest not talking. She wondered if it was something she did while she was pregnant or what. Vickie would do anything for her children and not being able to do anything to help her daughter is something that hurts her. When a secret that her husband has been keeping from her is revealed, a spiral of events occur and quickly begins to shatter their marriage.
Veronica a.k.a. Roni is the youngest of the Bell sisters, and although her family loves and accepts her as she is, they do not like the person that she is in love with. Not because it is another woman but because they all feel that Roni is being used. They know that Roni is the type of person who loves hard and will do anything for the one she loves. It bothers Roni's family so much because the woman she is involved with only seems to want to be bothered with Roni when she needs something and they can see the hurt that Roni goes through. All they want is for Roni to be happy.
There's Power in the V by Takerra Allen is by far THE BEST book that Ms. Allen has written to date. The story is chock full of so many different emotions to shock, anger, and even sadden you at times. When a book can make you feel so many emotions in reading it, you know the author has written on hell of a story. Each sister deals with true-to-life situations, and it shows the power within the family. In reading Ms. Allen's previous books, I can see a tremendous growth in her writing style. There's Power in the V is definitely one of the best books I have read this year! I highly recommend this novel!
Monica Mathis-Stowe - Where Did We Go Wrong? - Available Now! - 4.5 out of 5 books -
Three best friends have been holding down each other since college. But are there some secrets that are too much for anyone to hold?
Enter the world of Gabby, Maxine and Joy, who find themselves entwined in secrets,
lies, and betrayal. Will their friendship last?
Gabby has always been known to get what she wants.
When her plan comes to life, she traps a NFL baller, gets pregnant and makes him pay
child support for the next 18 years. But things go from great to bad when Gabby
pins her newborn on someone else, and marries another man who suffers from mental
illness. Gabby can’t hold her lies together when confronted with the truth. A DNA test brings all of Gabby’s lies to light and what follows next is deadly
consequences. Will Gabby be able to live with what her lies created?
Maxine has the perfect life. A husband who is on his
way to making partner, two handsome sons
and the house of her dreams. But Maxine is living in hell. Her husband refuses
to let her return to her job as a teacher, they are over their head in debt,
and her husband uses her as his own punching bag. When an altercation lands
Maxine in the hospital, the perfect life as Maxine has come to know is no longer. With
her husband in prison, Maxine is finally taking control of her life. She begins
teaching again and runs into a new co-worker named Kevin. Things seem to be moving in
the right direction, but is everything what it seems? Is Maxine moving too fast that'll end up in another disaster?
Where Did We Go Wrong was a great read. Monica Mathis-Stowe tackled so many issues but kept the story line intact. The
friendship of these three women remained strong through every obstacle. I can’t wait to read Where Did We Go Wrong Again to see where the characters' paths take them in the next book. You will not be disappointed at all with Where Did We Go Wrong.