'Tis The Season
by Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, and Candice Poarch; contemporary (2001, reissue)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-253-3

Christmas, Christmas! Spend your Christmas with skanks, hos, and dumbomales. BET has kindly reissued three very long novellas by three of their top authors for readers who want to live a very skanked-up Christmas. Although if I'm Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, or Candice Poarch, I would be laying hard-boiled square eggs to see these mediocre stuff rereleased.

Donna Hill's The Choice is unique in that Taj Burrell and his older-by-five-years lover Jewel Avery are already hooked up and making lots of smooth hot lovin' by the first page. Alas, now Jewel has a dilemma. Her teenage daughter, for example, wants Daddy to come home, and she blames Jewel for the divorce. Danielle will freak if she realizes that her momma is, er, "dating" a younger guy. Christmas is near, and Taj is getting impatient for more hot lovin', so Jewel is so torn as to what to do. Oh dear.

Of course, it will be too much for romance heroines to tell their annoying Little Miss Things to either shape up or move out. Jewel anguishes, Taj stews.

To liven things up, the author puts in some jealous skanks and gentle other men who never win the girl because they're too nice. Or something. Annoying little misundestandings substitute for the vibrations of passion.

So many words wasted on some inane plot. What a waste.

Next, Rochelle Alers' First Fruits. Forget that tantalizing title - it is just a tease. This is the story of art curator Shelby Carter being drafted into writing the curriculum for Marshall Graham's upcoming special school for African American boys.

It's a nice concept, the school. Shame about the story. The author puts in an ex-girlfriend who drives Shelby all jealous and fearful that Marshall is like her ex-husband, so she doesn't recipocrate and Marcus starts acting cold and lets Miss Skanky Ex cling to him and Shelby gets more jealous and - slam!

Ugh. Let me tell everyone never to take a bite out of the pages of a book. Paper tastes awful.

Finally, Candice Poarch's A New Year, A New Beginning. If hero Adam Sommerville wags that thing at me, I will put my new meat cleaver to good use, I tell you. This story has a tantalizing premise.

Amanda Burns hates her late husband's business partner Adam because Adam takes her husband's time, leaving her alone and neglected. Now she needs money to put her son in some posh vet school, so she decides to sell her husband's share of the company to Adam.

Adam thinks Amanda is flaky. I don't know why. She doesn't act flaky to me. Then again, Adam soon demonstrates that he has the brainpower of a brainsucked dung fly, so I shouldn't be so surprised. Adam has no money, so Amanda decides to sell to his rival.

Both just cannot communicate, but nonetheless, they have no hesitations giving into their attraction. What happens is our hero acting as if he is the one in the wrong and going all heavy-handed and high and mighty about the relationship. It is as if Amanda is given the royal almighty privilege of boffing him or something.

In the end, Amanda has just substituted one lousy husband for another. I guess a buff bod and pots of money are all that counts in the happy ever after.

'Tis The Season is akin to three authors writing lousy bad stories filled with bad skanks, rubbish hos, and silly plots after too many bottles of rum. It's a perfect way to ruin my Christmas and sow the seed of misanthropy in my soul, and 'tis the truth.

Rating: 47

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