Women’s Fiction: The Summer of Me by Angela Benson – Second House From The Corner by Sadeqa Johnson

22138296Publication: April 19th, 2016 (first published January 10th, 2015)

By: William Morrow Paperbacks

Genres: Women’s Fiction, African-American Literature, Adult-Fiction, Chick-Lit

Format: eARC Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

My Rating: 3.5 Stars 3-5-stars (1)

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As a single mother, Destiny makes sacrifices for her children—including saying goodbye for the summer so they can spend time with their father and stepmother. Though she’ll miss them with all her heart, the time alone gives her an opportunity to address her own needs, like finish getting her college degree. But Destiny’s friends think her summer should include some romance.

Destiny doesn’t want to be set up…until she meets Daniel.  The handsome, warm and charming pastor soon sweeps Destiny off her feet. But is romance what she really wants? Or needs?

As the days pass, Destiny will make new discoveries—about herself, the man she’s fallen for, and the people around her. And she’ll face challenging choices.  But most of all, she’ll grow in ways she never imagined, learning unexpected lessons about trust, forgiveness, and the price of motherhood…and truly become the woman she wants to be.

My Thoughts

The Summer of Me is a really good story about finding yourself. It’s about motherhood, marriage, love, trust, right & wrong, the patience and acceptance of “the-other-woman”. The-Other-Woman being the stepmother. While I appreciate all that this story entails, there are just some things that needed to be cut out. I don’t want to spoil the story, as that whole scenario revolves around the romance between Destiny and Daniel; and ultimately, Destiny’s friendship with the person at the head of the scandal. It was all just too much to pack into one story.

At first, Destiny came off as this scorned woman. It was hard to like her character, even when she was trying to be the bigger person when it came to her kids and their stepmother. She was trying to fight fire with fire, but sooner or later she’d have to realize that being bitter because you couldn’t keep the man, will only make her more bitter.I get wanting to be the one to give your kids all that you “think” they need. It was all so materialistic and just wrong. All kids need is love and security. They don’t need big houses, pools, and nice cars. Destiny felt the need to do bigger and better, but refused to listen to those who tried to encourage her to go back to school, get that degree she was after before the kids came along, and live better. I get wanting a home to call your own; all that other stuff seems irrelevant.

The romance between Daniel and Destiny started off pretty good. I liked the honesty that they shared. She asked him tough questions, and he answered and asked some in return. I never felt that spark between them, just a warm harmony. During this one Summer, Destiny found out a lot about her character. Her eyes have opened to see what she’s done in the past, and why she’s been holding back. I love the growth that she experienced, even though it was like pulling teeth in the beginning. 

All in all, this is a good book to read if you are looking to curl up on a cold day. I like it a lot, but I feel that the whole money thing just made this story a drag. Daniel and Destiny could have had some other kind of drama in their relationship, than what actually happened. If you enjoy women’s fiction, this is a good book to add to your shelf. 



cover74957-mediumPublished: February 9th, 2016

By: Thomas Dunne Books

Genres: Women’s Fiction, Chick-Lit, African-American Literature, Adult-Fiction

Format: eARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley

My Rating: 4 Stars 4-stars

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Second House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood. But when an unexpected phone call threatens to destroy her life, Felicia is forced to return to her childhood home where she must wrestle with an ex-lover and long buried secrets to save the family and home she loves despite the daily challenges.

Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can’t help but cheer for her in Johnson’s engaging and well-written novel.


My Thoughts

So…..this was not what I expected. Trust me, that’s a good thing. I love this story, and the way that the author brought out the best, and worst, in each character is really brilliantly done. I’m not a mother, but I’m an aunt who has taken on the role of guardian to more than one of my nieces, nephews, and cousins. I know how it feels to be frustrated to the point of madness. I love the way the author wrote the scene where the mother has her methods of trying to work her way through the nerve wracking that has become a daily thing for her. When you have 3 kids pulling you in different directions, at the same time, you are bound to let loose. You could practically feel Felicia’s emotions jump from the pages. No, she didn’t strike anyone down. She dealt with it, by calling in reinforcements and leaving the house. 

I appreciate the truthfulness that is this book. When Felicia bumps into one her high school frenemies at the movie theater, the story takes off from there. Everything lay out on the table for the reader to see. Felicia’s talent. Felicia’s sacrifices. Felicia’s fears. Felicia’s conscience eating her alive. I won’t go into detail about the mystery surrounding her past, but she made lots of mistakes. And even when the mistakes had nothing to do with the way her life turned out, she refused to believe otherwise. How do you rid yourself of guilt by association? Again, Felicia’s whole life revolves around past transgressions and it all comes crashing down around her. I didn’t really care for her husband too much. He was just there to me. This story would have worked well if Felicia had been a single mother. Overall, this one is a great pick for a book club discussion. Definitely recommend!

15 thoughts on “Women’s Fiction: The Summer of Me by Angela Benson – Second House From The Corner by Sadeqa Johnson

  1. Great reviews! Second House From the Corner sounds like my kind of book more than the other one. Especially since I’ve been a stay at home mom for quite a while now. 😉


  2. Great reviews, Lekeisha! And I’m adding both books to my ‘might read’ shelf on Goodreads. I am trying to diversify my reading by reading books by authors from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds than my own, and also reading about characters that are from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
    I think I’ll enjoy both of these stories, I think I would have a hard time to deal with things if my husband left me for another woman, and then wanted my children to have a relationship with her. It would maybe feel like I got cheated twice? Not sure, but you got me really curious about The Summer of Me.
    Second House From the Corner sounds good, too! And I have to say that I’m quite glad I’ve always worked (sometimes part-time) just so I could get out of the house and do some adult stuff when my kids were little 😉
    Have a fantastic Friday and happy reading.


  3. So interesting to hear your thoughts on these two books! It really does sound like you put a lot of effort into reviewing them as well and I loved your honesty. The first book does sound okay but also like it tends to get a little slow in places… as for the second one, and I really like the sound of the truthfulness in it. I’ve been reading more adult fiction lately, or just generally enjoying it more than YA at the moment so I might try the second one of these out :3


  4. These types of books are great to read. Too bad the first one had too much going on. Still sounds really good though.


  5. It sounds like both of these books would make great book club picks, lots to discuss here. Thanks for reviewing these, I hadn’t heard of them before but I think I know some people who would enjoy them.


  6. I’m really happy to see these on her. I’m not much of a fan of stories with children being the center not because I don’t love them but I always feel like I don’t quite get it. I’m an aunt and not a mother but there’s something about it that I always feel like I’ll never understand–being a mom that is. Not until I am one–if ever. But I love thoughtful and honest stories, so I might be interested in these. Nice reviews!


  7. I haven’t read a lot of women’s fiction, but I definitely want to. That second one especially appeals to me because it sounds so real when it comes to the character’s reactions. Felicia sounds great!
    Great reviews!


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