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Book Review: Looking For Sweet Love

Looking For Sweet Love
by R.L. Byrd



    Publication Date: Jun 02, 2010
    List Price: $24.95 (store prices may vary)
    Format: Paperback
    Classification: Fiction
    Page Count: 306
    ISBN13: 9781605944357
    Imprint: Aeon Publishing Inc.
    Publisher: Aeon Publishing Inc.
    Parent Company: Aeon Publishing Inc.


    Read Aeon Publishing Inc.’s description of Looking For Sweet Love

    Book Reviewed by Emanuel Carpenter


    Can a sista get some love? That's the question addressed in R.L. Byrd's new book "Looking for Sweet Love." The story takes place in Dallas, which boasts some amazing statistics for relationships according to one of the book's characters: number nine on the Best Cities for Singles list, number five on the Best Cities for African Americans list, and the absolute best city for couples. Tell that to the main character, Jessie, and the rest of her diva friends and they might just bitch slap you. Their relationships could hardly be described as the best of anything.

    In "Looking for Sweet Love," Jessie and her friends agree to discuss everything about their relationships woes on a radio show known as the Love Forum. And man is there plenty to talk about. First there's Jessie whose past includes falling for a good-looking man with no money. Though her career appears to be skyrocketing, it is doing nothing for her love life. Then there's DeDe the singer whose relationship with a married man comes with a hefty price. Vanessa is the big girl of the bunch, and we all know that big girls need lovin' too; though finding it has been a challenge. Melissa and Pat seem to be in healthy relationships but everything ain't always what it seems. Don't forget Brit who always keeps it real. Finally, there's Darlene who is a little too quick to drop to her knees to please a man. That's a whole lot of women with a whole lot of problems within the confines of 306 pages. Dealing with their issues privately is more than enough. Do you honestly think they'll tell it all on the radio too? The answer may surprise you.

    There are several things to love about this book. For starters, it's told in street-wise, no-holds-barred style that gives it an authentic feel. Byrd's writing will remind you a lot of Carl Weber's work. The setting within the studio of a radio station is clever and reads like a reality show with a banging soundtrack. The book touches on many relevant topics for blacks in various stages of their relationships, including the search for Mr. Right, the realities of adultery, and the consequences of having unprotected sex. But even in the midst of it all, Byrd never loses his sense of humor, which is laugh-out-loud funny.

    On the downside, there are far too many characters in this book. It's enough to make your head spin. And with so many characters and so many issues to try to cram in this one book, a reader may lose focus on some of the more important storylines. Not to mention that many of the characters speak the same way. This makes it difficult to tell who is talking at times. These, however, are very minor flaws when it comes to the overall story.

    "Looking for Sweet Love" is a pure delight to read with lots of "Oh-no-she-didn't moments" that will have you busting a gut, nodding in agreement, and saying Amen. Fans of shows like "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and books such as "Waiting to Exhale," will love this page turner. If Byrd keeps it up, he will have a long and bright future ahead of him.

    Book Review: Looking For Sweet Love

    Looking For Sweet Love
    by R.L. Byrd



      Publication Date: Jun 02, 2010
      List Price: $24.95 (store prices may vary)
      Format: Paperback
      Classification: Fiction
      Page Count: 306
      ISBN13: 9781605944357
      Imprint: Aeon Publishing Inc.
      Publisher: Aeon Publishing Inc.
      Parent Company: Aeon Publishing Inc.


      Read Aeon Publishing Inc.’s description of Looking For Sweet Love

      Book Reviewed by Emanuel Carpenter


      In “Black Coffee,” the sequel to R.L. Byrd’s “Looking for Sweet Love,” men take center stage.

      In this testosterone-driven novel, characters known as Dr. Houston, D.K., Quentin, Brass, Miguel, Michael, Donnell, and Pastor Lee form what becomes The Brotherhood. Before they can share the male point of view on The Love Forum radio show, they must first travel to Alaska for some male bonding and a bit of therapy. It’s during this bonding that readers come to know these men, including a radio producer and host, a man of the cloth who is not so holy, and a man with big money and an interesting past involving a mistress.

      As the men get to know each other, readers learn of their past secrets, career aspirations, and of the emotional turmoil in their lives. By the time the story is over, love triangles will be revealed, past physical and emotional abuse will come out, and unexpected family relationships are revealed. (Think Maury Povich.)

      Readers of the previous novel will welcome back familiar characters such as D.K., Jessie, and even the memory of Melissa Morgan, the protagonist of the first book who has left a child behind after her untimely death. With Melissa gone, Jessie must rely on D.K. to pick up where she left off and drive the new direction of The Love Forum’s format.

      Kudos to R.L. Byrd for picking up where the very good “Looking for Sweet Love,” left off. He creates some great and memorable scenes and characters while also showing he has a sense of humor. Take for example, the scene below when one of the men’s wives calls into the radio station:

      …I’m Malcolm’s wife. You do know Malcolm Crawley, am I right? You did just sleep with him a few days ago, and I right? I’m the woman whose name is on the marriage certificate and on all the birth certificates of his kids. I’m the woman whose mouth you’re stealing food from by living up in that condo he’s helping you pay for. And that cheap-ass Benz you’re so proud of---I would like to point out how low down on the list you are. Baby girl, that’s a C class, okay? I’m pushing the 750. I got handbags that cost more than that bucket you’re driving, but woman to woman, I’d like you to break it off.

      It’s relationships like the one in the passage above that will keep readers turning the pages. And what one man reveals while under hypnosis is worth the price of the book itself.

      On the down side, Byrd’s setups are a bit elaborate; and he uses incredibly long sentences. This style of writing will make you want to skip sentences here and there to just get to the good parts. Also, the first-person point-of-view mixed in with the overall third-person narrative doesn’t quite gel.

      Though “Black Coffee” is not perfect, it’s still worth picking up. The ladies will especially love this outpouring of male emotion as the men get their Oprah on, more drama than the TNT network, and even the shirtless men on the cover who appear to be auditioning for the black version of Magic Mike.



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