Deborah Fletcher Mello. Kensington/Dafina, $6.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-7582-9298-8
Mello dishes up rich emotions, memorable characters, and family intrigue set against a background of cultural and political conflict in the second Just Desserts contemporary (after The Sweetest Thing). When attorney Troy Elliot, who’s running for mayor of Memphis, meets the vivacious Amina Salman, his opponent’s campaign manager and daughter, Troy finds his priorities changing. As an accomplished professional, Amina is frustrated by having to balance her conservative Muslim father’s expectations and her own dreams. Amina and Troy creatively plan dates while her brother secretly pursues unsavory business deals. Following their hearts, the lovers marry, setting off a chain of events that tests family loyalty and exposes schemes. Mello handles sensitive religious and cultural issues with grace, and her captivating and heartfelt novel will please new and returning readers with its skillful characterizations, well-paced action, and scintillating love scenes. Agent: Pattie Steele-Perkins, Steele-Perkins Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Neither one is my daughter but I feel compelled to mother
them when I see either headed for charted territory fraught with danger.
Neither responds well to my maternal advice, believing, like most adult-children,
that they and only they know best.
It was an exhausting conversation as each argued her point
until she was blue in the face. And I was just seconds shy of wringing both
their scrawny necks. My emotions ran the gamut from frustration to anger to
sheer disbelief that such intelligent young women could be so damn stupid. And
stupid being the only word fitting for the ignorance they were so desperate for
me to believe.
I have no patience for weakness in other women and probably
because it holds a mirror to my own deficiencies. Their insecurities are
particularly unattractive since both know better. Their collective experiences
couldn’t fill a thimble and neither is interested in learning from women who’ve
already been there and done that. Despite constant assurances from friends and
family who love and support them, they don’t have an ounce of confidence in
their talents and abilities.
The two are very different, one extremely high-maintenance
and prissy, the other less so. Yet both have the same failings. They react
before they rationalize and emotion overshadows common sense. To hear them tell
it the War of the Roses defines both their future relationships and if you aren’t
out to get them then you couldn’t possibly love or care about them. They cry
victim and go on the defense at the drop of a hat and every conversation is
like talking to a brick wall that only hears what it wants to hear.
I have butted heads with each of them many times before and
I have no doubts that we will butt heads again because when I see them headed
in the wrong direction, as a mother, I am compelled to point them down the
And despite their best efforts to convince me otherwise,
calling another man who you only met thirty minutes earlier in WallyWorld to come
give you a ride to an undetermined location because you’re afraid your boyfriend
is going to throw you and your children out at 3 AM has to be the dumbest damn
thing I’ve ever heard. And putting your hands on your man to prove your point
is NOT a good idea because slapping him and throwing his things around the room
will either get your butt tossed in jail on a domestic charge or hurt if he
ever decides to hit you back.
They are both determined to learn their lessons the hard
way. And despite their best efforts, I’m not falling for the excuses they use
to justify their bad behavior. Wrong is wrong and I have no problems telling
They’re like two bulls in a ring going head to head. It’s a
constant back and forth game of one-upmanship against everyone else and each
other. I’d had enough when one noted that an uncle’s cousin’s daughter, twice
removed, had written a 900-page tome in ten days. Really? When asked if the relative had ever been published there
was a list of reasons why the publishers hadn’t gotten it right, the relative’s
rejection list substantially long. I suggested that the author might want to
give the writing another ten days to try and improve upon what had been deemed
perfection. It was suggested back that she might be able to give me some
pointers on how to write faster.
The tall tales they spin are blistering. I am equally amazed
and appalled that two individuals can lie so easily, neither batting an eye. I've seen them lie about the weather (it rained harder where they were than it did here), what they had for breakfast (if you made pancakes, they ate at IHop), and who they've dated (their significant others always having more money than anyone else you know). Both
have this obsessive need to show that they are somehow superior to all others. Being
above and better than the rest of us would seem to top their agenda.
I am equally entertained and mortified whenever they're around. Despite my best efforts I don't have the energy to even attempt to keep up with them, but it's been pointed out to me that such is one of my deficiencies because they have both run marathons.
It’s a game of swinging dicks each determined to prove theirs
is the biggest. Neither has a clue just how small they both really are, most
especially since neither has a dick to swing.
It's always a great time when good women get together to share what they love. A while back I had a blast at the Wake County Library event with fellow authors Lecelia Turnage, Sharon Ewell Foster, and Lisa Watson. Writers panels, book signings, and conferences. It's just a day in the life of an author!