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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Would Nina Simone Do?
Carleen Brice, an author of such nonfiction titles as Age Ain't Nothing But a Number makes her fiction debut with Orange Mint and Honey. Shay Dixon is a nervous breakdown in the making. She is a twenty-five year old grad student who has hit rock bottom; laid off from her job, about to be evicted and carrying baggage that would break the back of the strongest of women. Not...
Published on May 7, 2008 by Dera R Williams

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent story
Some times it's a fine line between love and hate which the emotional tension between Nona, the recovering alcoholic mother and Shay, the grown daughter showed well. It was interesting to watch Shay come to terms with Nona, the mother of Sunny versus the Nona of Shay's childhood. I think the ultimate confrontation between the two was done well. Nona felt more real to...
Published on March 9, 2008 by P. Morris


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Would Nina Simone Do?, May 7, 2008
By 
Dera R Williams (Oakland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
Carleen Brice, an author of such nonfiction titles as Age Ain't Nothing But a Number makes her fiction debut with Orange Mint and Honey. Shay Dixon is a nervous breakdown in the making. She is a twenty-five year old grad student who has hit rock bottom; laid off from her job, about to be evicted and carrying baggage that would break the back of the strongest of women. Not to mention she is channeling the voice of the late singer, Nina Simone who seems to be her guiding force and at this moment, she is telling Shay to go home. Home is the last place Shay wants to be. She has spent the last few years distancing herself from Denver, Colorado and her past.

Raised by an alcoholic, Shay finds it hard to forgive her mother's past neglect but that is exactly what her mother is asking--forgiveness. Shay returns to find her mother has made a transformation. Nona is now an employed homeowner replete with Martha Stewart living, a healthy lifestyle and a flower and herb garden. She is also the mother of another daughter, five-year old Sunshine. Shay watches as her mother is the epitome of motherhood as she dotes on Sunshine, something that was lacking when Shay was a child.

Shay has even more issues, baggage upon baggage that need fixing; she has a nervous habit of pulling out her hair, she is socially inept and her background is such that she guards against getting close to people. Shay gets a job in a record shop, reconnects with the only friend she has ever had and begins to navigate through her issues to reclaim her sanity and find balance. She is forced to step outside of herself as she begins dating, forges new ties, and begins the journey of repairing the most fragile of all relationships, that of mother and daughter.

There are many layers to this story that make it a satisfying reading experience; well-developed secondary characters; relationships that include mother/daughter, sister/sister, man/woman, mentor/mentee; redemption and forgiveness, and social ills. Brice came to Marcus Books in Oakland to promote the book and she enthralled the audience with her expressive reading and orange mint chocolates. This is fiction for all women that transcends age, race and economic/class lines. 4.5 rating

Dera R. Williams
APOOO BookClub
Marcus Book Club (Oakland)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm Speechless, February 18, 2008
By 
S. Outing (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
I'm not much of a reader but it only took me 5 hours to read this book! I'm only a few years older than the main character and I could relate to some of the issues a young woman goes through with her mother.I learned from Shay that people who "seem" together really aren't. I don't have my degree yet and the whole time I'm yelling (at the book) "you have a degree!! what are you whining about?" My generation is the first generation in the black community that's starting to talk about personal issues and family problems.It's hard to face things as black women. We were taught to hold it in and deal with everything on our own.I liked the way this character grew and decided to let it out. This was refreshing, real, and uplifting. I cried, laughed, and really want to make this tea!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bitter Sweet, May 12, 2008
This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice is the story of a mother and daughter, Nona and Shay Dixon, and the path both women take in discovering who they really are. The central theme in the author's first novel is forgiveness. Sometimes in life, we must face our bitter pasts in order to get to our sweet tomorrows.

Nona is a recovering alcoholic, who in yester-years was not very motherly to her first daughter, Shay. She is now striving to be a better mom to her second daughter, Sunny. After an emotionally unstable Shay puts her postgraduate degree on hold and returns home for a semester discovering her "new mom," her pinned up animosity towards her mother radiates through several incidents and conversations. In spite of Shay's resistance to the extension of Nona's olive branch to mend their broken mother-daughter relationship, Nona continues her quest to stay on the right track and repair their relationship.

Readers will find themselves drawn into this story, especially mothers and daughters. Mothers and daughters may not always see things from each other's perspective; however, through communication and mutual respect, anything is possible. Nona relied on her AA meetings and tending to her garden to keep her on the straight and narrow; while Shay found herself after she opened up to newfound beau, Oliver.

Through supporting characters Ivy, a recovering alcoholic, drug abuser and prostitute, and Oliver, Shay's first "real boyfriend," Nona and Shay face situations where they lean on each other for emotional support and finally begin the healing process in their own relationship. Sitting down over a cup of orange mint tea with a splash of honey, the two women discover that sometimes in life we just have to accept the bitter with the sweet and make the best of it. Sometimes we have to know who we are and what we can accomplish as individuals before we can truly make someone else happy and give them the love and support they need.

This book was an enjoyable read. I recommend it to all mothers and daughters, especially those whose families have struggled with alcoholism and the effects thereof. I was happy with the way the novel ended and would read another selection from this author.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sweet Surprise of a Novel, March 6, 2008
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This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
ORANGE MINT AND HONEY incorporates layers of emotions into a wonderfully readable and often humorous story. Having raised herself due to her mother's once-rampant alcoholism, Shay Dixon nearly reaches the pinnacle of years of struggle--the completion of her graduate degree--when she finds she cannot go on. A "visit" from the late great jazz singer Nina Simone compels Shay to return home to her seemingly re-made, AA-saved mother...and a new little half-sister.

The twists and turns that Shay's first few months with the family she's unsure she wants drive the plot and the growing understanding of how Shay must reconcile her tragic childhood with the potential promise of her future. Only through difficult lessons does she learn to relax, to relish the sweetness of simple pleasures despite the bitterness that often accompanies them, to love herself despite her perceived weaknesses and handicaps, to appreciate her unique style of gracing the world in which she lives and the lives of those who love her.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bitter, sweet, and much more..., February 17, 2008
This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
"Orange Mint and Honey" by Carleen Brice delivers an emotionally explosive story with universal appeal. The mother/daughter relationship, the struggles of addiction, and the challenges of making choices in life are interwoven themes that draw the reader into the story of Shay Dixon and her recovering alcoholic mother Nona. A must read for anyone who has had to struggle with personal regrets or forgiveness of others for the very human blunders we make in life. The talented Brice takes her readers on a journey of the unexpected in this touching and realistic story of discovery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avid Book Lover, March 5, 2008
This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
I loved this book by Carleen Brice. The characters, with all their flaws, were charming and likeable. I especially like the way the relationship developed between Shay, Nona and Sunny. Ms. Brice is a talented writer and I can't wait to read her next novel. I hope at some point the author will go back to these characters and tell us of Shay's life after college and how Sunny's life differed from Shay, being raised by the same mother under very differnt circumstances. I highly recommend this book as a book club read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Reading Cove: PREVIEW of Podcast Discussing ORANGE MINT AND HONEY with Carleen Brice!, November 3, 2011
This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
Length:: 3:27 Mins

**Spoiler Warning - Video Clip Contains Spoilers**

Our book club read ORANGE MINT AND HONEY in October 2011 and really enjoyed the story! This video is a preview of our podcast discussion/review with the author, Carleen Brice, as our SPECIAL GUEST, recorded Saturday, October 29, 2011. For the full episode visit The Reading Cove online!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orange Mint and Honey, A Novel, April 18, 2010
By 
Barbara S. Albin (Roseville, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
This is the first of two books that I have read by Carleen Brice. I received this book from Amazon in the mid-afternoon and could not put it down until it was done. Wonderful, strong women of all different ages makes this a great story. Nona is a very likeable woman while her daughter Shay comes off very rough in the beginning, and this was hard to accept. It was certainly understandeable from the viewpoint of Shay the daughter, and what she had gone through in her childhood. Shay's final discovery of the enjoyment of life and the bonds she forms with Nona, made me a fan of this book. I am waiting for Ms. Brice's next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Letting go is hard to do...., March 28, 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (Silver Spring, MD) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
This was the first book that I read by Ms. Brice. I read it after watching the movie "Sins of the Mother" on Lifetime Movie Network that was adapted from this book. Loved the movie, loved the book.

Shay is an educated young woman who is forced to face the demons in her head, because they are starting to manifest themselves in her daily life. She is forced to to go home to the alcoholic mother, whom she feels abandoned and neglected her. When she get there the alcoholic, neglectful woman is no longer around, she has been replaced by this woman who is a great mother to the 4 yr old half sister and a vigilant AA participant. Shay refuses to believe that this real.

Ms. Brice's writing is vivid and colorful and clear. You can visualize Nona's garden, you could smell the food cooking. I loved this book because, because it showed that sometimes we have to really forgive other in order for us to be able to heal ourselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definite book club material!, February 24, 2010
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This review is from: Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel (Paperback)
What a great book! Looking forward to meeting up with the girls to discuss! Makes you think about bitterness, anger and forgiveness in a different light. Oh, and since I'm a native of Colorado, all the locations in the book made me feel like I was right there with all the characters.
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Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel
Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel by Carleen Brice (Paperback - February 12, 2008)
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