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Black Authors Book Reviews

Sister Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Synopsis

This book explores the lives of four friends Kenya, Serena, Michelle, and Lynette. They met when they were young in church and have been friends for forty plus years. They are each going through their own issues in their love lives. Serena finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her and wills for the day she finds someone. Michelle has ran into an old flame and isn’t sure if she wants to marry her fiancé. Lynette, who is divorced from her cheating, lying husband, is rediscovering her dating life. Kenya and her husband are having issues with her husband’s ex wife, who won’t allow their son around Kenya. What could possibly happen?

My review

I got this book while looking for black protagonists and black authors. I saw the picture of friends in the front and was excited to dive into each of their lives. I finished the book, however I couldn’t wait to be done.

Although I love books with different narrators, I felt like this could’ve given more. Each storyline individually felt rushed because we’re exploring through four different people’s problems. There were only like three or four group scenes; the only thing that connected the stories was the fact they were friends with troubles connected to their live lives. I did enjoy the repertoire amongst them. It would’ve flowed better and maybe more detail would’ve been added if every character had their own book (or at least parts).

I felt like in some ways each friend were all kind of the same. Maybe that’s a testament to how close they were and why they are friends. Still none of them truly challenged each other or asked difficult questions for the better, evidenced by their dislike of Tim.

The book has a heavy message in a belief of God and celibacy until finding the one. It was a little distracting as someone who doesn’t believe in the Christian God and who thinks sex is a personal decision. Serena and Michelle make a pact of celibacy until marriage, but when Michelle breaks it, Serena is upset and disappointed, which I can understand in the sense a promise was broken. But also, it’s her life let it go.

Serena got closure and found a man she wanted to marry, even though he made less money. Lynette’a husband confessing his love to her didn’t really contribute anything. The man she’s dating turns out be committing fraud, so she ends up dating the other man she met at the same time. Kenya and her husband end up getting full custody of her husbands first child. His ex wife is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Michelle and her ex fiancé coparent while she marries her old love against her parents approval.

The storyline I was most interested in was Michelle’s because I love a love triangle and I enjoy stories of old flames reconnecting.

Everything was a little one note in the book, but that is more because of my own personal beliefs and how God is such a central focus. I also felt as if everything ended too perfectly for each of them. That could also be due to my belief system that divorcing and sex and children outside of marriage is not that big of a deal.

All of them getting their happy endings around the same time with seemingly no consequences…nothing moved me. I love happy endings and when situations work out but it fell a little flat. Or maybe I’m a cynic.

It was a quick read. I rate it 2 out of 5 stars. I probably won’t touch it again. I would recommend it so I can talk about it with someone else, but I wouldn’t say it’s good or I liked it.

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Black Authors Book Reviews Favorites

Get a life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1) by Talia Hibbert

Get A Life Chloe Brown

Synopsis

This book follows the life, or lack thereof, of a chronically ill Chloe Brown. She is in her mid twenties, and after her life literally flashes before her eyes, she decides she wants to live more. She creates a list of what she wants to accomplish, and crosses the first one off by moving out. Her superintendent, Redford, seems to hate her. She seems not to have a liking to him either. What could possibly happen?

My Review (with spoliers)

Reading this book, I had no knowledge of what it was about. It kept popping up on my For You page on TikTok. When looking for books with black protagonist that didn’t have race as the central focus, I kept seeing it. I bought it probably a year ago now and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it.

I loved this book, wholeheartedly. It made me smile, made me cry, made me hot, and made me blush. Even though Chloe and I live in different countries, (the story is set in England), and we live with different diseases, I related to her more than I have any character.

The way this story talks about chronic pain and anxiety, which Redford experiences, is pretty on point with what it is like to live with them both, at least for me. The book breaks down what it is to put our projections and insecurities onto other people. It shows that things may not be the way they seem and first impressions are only a piece of who someone is and what they are like. It shows you never really know what people are going through. It also does an amazing job of switching between narrators, going back and forth between Red and Chloe, throughout the book.

Chloe and Red’s story is a classic enemies to lovers trope. It is also a love story between differing classes-no one is stopping them from being together, but Red often feels she’s being snobbish and judgey because she comes from wealth. They’re not exactly enemies, but they both started off not liking the other because they thought the other one didn’t like them. Their relationship is full of banter, lust, and a genuine understanding of each other. They have both been through traumatic experiences and put a pause on what they wanted to experience out of life in order to process and heal (and to avoid vulnerability).

This book contains some steamy moments written in detail. After Red’s masterbation scene, the sexual content comes in thick.

The ending is a little rushed. As expected, they get into a fight, however the reason behind it is on brand for both of their personalities. Red overhears meaningless sex being on her list, which hurts because he recently admits to himself that he loves her. He begins to feel like his ex made him feel- unimportant and as if he is being used. In Chloe’s case, he feels like he is only around to cross items off her list.

He also overhears that he has been added separately onto the list and it confirms his assumption in his eyes. He tries to remember that Chloe isn’t like his ex. He knows how he is feeling doesn’t make sense. Chloe even assures him his being in the list is a good thing. But in the midst of his anxiety attack, he doesn’t hear her and he leaves, which is a trigger for Chloe, who has had friends and a fiancé leave her.

The scene honestly made me really sad. At first, I was upset at his jumping to conclusions. Then I remembered that anxiety makes things that you know aren’t true make sense. It takes you out of reality. He was in an abusive relationship and has PTSD from that. His outburst was understandable. Her shutting him away for leaving easily, wasn’t right either, but was understandable. They both triggered each other. Their reconciliation is in the last couple of pages. It’s sweet. It showed he enjoyed learning about her.

Overall, this book was great. It was an easy read. It flowed beautifully. I wanted to know what would happen next and when they would finally get together. It was a slow burn and I was happy to experience it. I don’t often read books again, but I would read this one again. I 100% recommend.