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Orange Mint and Honey

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,063 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Broke and burned-out from grad school, Shay Dixon does the unthinkable after receiving a “vision” from her de facto spiritual adviser, blues singer Nina Simone. She phones Nona, the mother she had all but written off, asking if she can come home for a while.

When Shay was growing up, Nona was either drunk, hungover, or out with her latest low-life guy. So Shay barely recogn

ebook, 336 pages
Published December 24th 2008 by One World/Ballantine (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Precious Williams
Feb 28, 2010 Precious Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have just finished reading this book and in fact stayed up all night reading. Orange Mint and Honey is well-written and Brice has a really original, engaging voice. I found Nona far, far more sympathetic than Shay. Obviously Shay had reason to feel angry and let down but I was waiting for the moment when she'd conclude "yes, my life is screwed up thanks to my childhood, now what am *I* going to do now to sort my life out?" Instead she was whiny, extremely immature for a 25-year-old and very qu ...more
Nardsbaby Reader
Morning Glories

LaShay Dixon is literally at wits end. Broke, burned out with school and struggling to get her thesis done, her advisor demands that she take a break. With no family in Iowa to turn to, Nina Simone, the dead blues singer, sends her home to Denver, to face the chaos that she left smoldering years ago.

Nona Dixon, Shay's mother, is an alcoholic. Though she's been sober four years now and is an excellent mother to her three-year-old daughter, Sunny, Shay can't help but feel cheated o
Jan 10, 2010 Iris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Iris by: Obsessed Gardener's Support Group
In Orange Mint and Honey, Shay Dixon moves back home when she burns out at graduate school. She struggles to reconcile with her mom, a recovered alcoholic, and with her own feelings of anger and inadequacy. I enjoyed the insights into the struggles Shay faced as a young, black woman. I also enjoyed the references to Denver landmarks since I grew up nearby. However, Shay does not always make wise choices nor does she have the right framework for making good choices. Although the book recognizes t ...more
Michelle Robinson
This book was a very interesting, compelling read. It has been a few years since I read it and I remembered all of the details when it was prompted by a brief glimpse of a commercial for a lifetime movie crafted from the book.

I found Shay to be deeply troubled but bright and interesting.

I was interested in getting to know her and the other charachters in this book.

While I understand that her mother was negligent, one thing I thought was universal to most women and their mothers is a feeling of
Aug 04, 2010 Hattie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hattie by: Carleen Brice and Facebook friends
"I closed my eyes and inhaled. The mint smelled like a just-sliced orange, but not as strong."

Carleen Brice has written a wonderful novel about a mother and daughter in Denver, Colorado. Shay, the daughter, comes from Iowa to Denver, Colorado where her mother lives with her baby girl, Sunny. Sunny is Shay's half sister. Shay's childhood with her mother was very difficult. Shay's mother during those years was an alcoholic. After coming home again, Shay finds a changed woman. Nona no longer drinks
Jan 13, 2010 Sierra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: afro-lit, chick-lit
I kind of liked this book. Actually, I liked more about it than I disliked. The story is about Shay Dixon, a burnt out grad student who goes to stay with her recovering alcoholic mother for a break. She goes because Nina Simone (a dead jazz singer) tells her to. I didn't really connect with the Nina Simone thing. However, I really liked the mother-daughter story that's at the core of the novel. Their relationship and Shay's healing and evolution kept me reading. I didn't like the end. It felt lo ...more
Aug 12, 2008 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worth-reading
Kudos to Ms. Brice for pulling on her hip boots and wading through the morass of destructive anger and painful recovery that is the mother/daughter, victim/survivor alcoholic angst ridden basis for this story.
Dec 03, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shay Dixon is a ungrateful twenty five year old that thinks the world owes her a favor. Blaming her alcoholic mother for her mistakes, she feels that she is justified in not being vulnerable to anyone. The only thing that bring her pleasure is listening to Nina Simone, who she considers an idol. After receiving a vision from Simone, she returns to the place that she was once called home. Now that her mother Nona is sober, she anticipates the arrival of her daughter but Shay can careless about se ...more
Apr 25, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is a very readable book, with a storyline about personal growth, getting past hurt-letting go-accepting you can't change the past and learning to see things differently.

I love the opening of the book: guidance comes from an adored, but dead blues singer and willing went along with Shay's premise for finding herself.

Clearly the author has knowledge of recovery programs, she hits fine details about AA and ALANON without being over the top. Her characters are very real, I feel like I could mee
Nov 06, 2008 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orange Mint and Honey is a gripping story of a young woman who finds herself in the midst of an identity crisis that has her literally pulling out her hair and seeing Nina Simone “standing in front of her bedroom window.” At the urging of the High Priestess of Soul, LaShay takes a leave of absence from her graduate studies at the University of Iowa and goes home to her recovering alcoholic mother in Denver. From that point on, Brice entangles her readers in a universal tale of a daughter coming ...more
Anita Laydon
Oct 20, 2011 Anita Laydon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excerpt from my COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE column:

Carleen Brice’s “Orange Mint and Honey” is a gem. “Orange Mint and Honey” tells the story of Shay Dixon, a broke and broken-down graduate student in Iowa City. The book begins with Shay becoming so depressed, she sees a vision of deceased blues singer Nina Simone. In the vision, Simone tells Shay to go home.

Home for Shay is a tricky place. Shay grew up in Denver with an absentee father and an alcoholic mother. While Shay’s mom, Nona, claims she’s
Feb 20, 2010 Donura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
RATING: 5 out of 5

Why did I wait so long to read this book? I was lucky enough to snag a hard cover copy back in September of 2009 but somehow kept putting it further down on the pile. Must have truly been overrun with ARC’s. Finally, I decided I must devour it before the “made for TV” movie airs which just happens to be this Sunday on Lifetime. I never like to see the movie before I read the book. This was a simple feat because once I picked up the book; I could not put it down.

Don’t get me wro
Feb 22, 2010 Nakia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, mainly because some of the issues presented throughout it's pages, really hit home. Someone VERY close to me dealt with a similar upbringing as the main character, Shay, so it was hard not to cry during certain parts of the book, when she aganized over her pain and chose not to forgive her mother. I think that the author handled the mother-daughter relationship superbly, and I give her two thumbs up on accurately introducing the audience to how children are affected b ...more
Overall I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the garden and the symbolism there was by far my favorite part of the story. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was that I had trouble connecting with the main character. I thought Shay seemed whiny, overdramatic, disrespectful and just really bratty toward everyone. I understood the reasons for her self-pity. It just got old after a few chapters.

The beginning drew me in to the story and I quickly started to like the book. The m
Melissa Andrews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2010 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! I thought the character of Shay was realistically portrayed and I found a lot to connect with. We all have wounds from our upbringing. Her journey to emotional healing was engaging and I found myself wanting to race through the book to see how it ended. I tried hard to savor the trip though...Carleen Brice's writing is so enjoyable that I didn't want to lose any of it by reading too quickly!
Sep 20, 2011 Katrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
I absolutley loved this book. I felt a connectiion with Shay and Nona I was rooting for both of them. The characters were so well developed, at sometimes i just wanted to shake Shay and sometimes ijust wanted to give her a hug . I can't wait to read more work from Carleen Bice and so happy to find another wonderful writer. Thank You for such a lovely book.
Apr 19, 2013 Felicity rated it it was amazing
Excellent novel! I love how the author was able to effectively convey emotion through a very flawed and vulnerable main character. I found it easy to relate to the characters, and I truly cared about what happened to them all. A sequel certainly is not necessary, but I would love to learn what happened after this story ended.
Oh, I just LOVED this novel. The characters were so real and the plot was so defined. I listened to this as an audiobook, so while I couldn't see the writing, listening to it was a great experience.

You must read this novel!
Markeeda Spencer
Nov 27, 2013 Markeeda Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little disappointed in the ending, but an excellent read. It was easy reading during a helped that I totally related to the main character.
Britni Danielle
Oct 05, 2013 Britni Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carleen delivered on this one!
Mar 23, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this movie on teevee and wanted to read the book. One, I need to know and read more African American authors and two, so many of my African American students want stories that feature African American characters. The story is about Shay, a burned-out grad student, who must come home for a break to the house of her mother, Nona. When Shay was a child, Nona was a horrible alcoholic who often left her and just was not there for her. Shay buried herself in school and became a star student, but ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Revae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LaShay (Shay, as she prefers to be called) is a grad student who has reached her breaking point. She is broke and at her wit's end with school. Nina Simone appears to her and convinces her that it's time to return home to Denver, CO with her now mother, Nona and little sister, Sunny. The problem is that Nona is no longer drinking and running around with men. She has gotten sober and is attempting to make a good life for her three year old daughter, Sunny. Not only does Shay need to recharge to m ...more
Kimberly Hicks
There are so many things I loved about this book--for starters, I completely identified with LaShay, the main character. She is an angry twenty-five year old because her mother is an alcoholic, and that liquor destroyed her childhood and relationship with her mom. Shay was in college and decided to take a semester off from school to go back home and try and rebuild something with her mother, and new baby sister, Sunny. Shay not only found her mother to be "changed" but alcohol free. She was an a ...more
Oct 17, 2013 Lethea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book focuses on the relationship, ideologies, anger and hurt of a generation of women but finally gets to the heart of the matter with Nona and LaShay. Her addiction to jazz was astounding and with everything she's been through, Shay (LaShay) is tired. She's supported herself since she was a little girl and she doesn't understand that all the baggage she's carrying is the reason she's at the point she's at now; confused, lost, depressed and falling apart.
Now she's sent home by a ghost, Nina
Tattered Cover Book Store
Shay Dixon is in grad school studying epidemiology in Iowa when an apparition of Nina Simone gives her some startling advice- "Go home." And so our heroine must steel herself for the epic return to her alcoholic mother- only to find her mother is, maddeningly, living in the present- in an orderly home, with a three year old daughter, a white AA sponsor, and sticky notes with cheery self help sayings festooning her walls. And a garden. This boggles Shay's perceptions and rankles every ounce of em ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I should have knows things were getting bad when Nina Simone showed up." That's the engaging first sentence of Orange Mint and Honey, an engrossing read that opens with the protagonist, a 25-year-old burned out grad student named Shay, having a vision from her idol that tells her to go home to Denver. There she moves back in with Nona, her now-sober mother who was drunk and negligent during Shay's childhood ... and who has a young child from a man she met in AA.

Shay has a lot of pain and resen
Sep 17, 2014 Potassium rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sisters
This is the story of Shay who is burnt out on grad school and decides to come home to Denver for a break. Once there, Shay is forced to deal with a lot of demons from the past, including facing her once-alcoholic mother who is now sober and happily raising Shay's half sister.

Even though Shay started to really get on my nerves at times (talk about rebelling against your family!), I appreciated some of her rage and the fact that she threw herself into school so she wouldn't have to deal with her
Aug 27, 2009 Alisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Someone went to a lot of trouble with the title and the cover to make this seem like a 'nice' book--which is too bad, because I avoid reading nice books.

There is a redemptive aspect to the ending, but it starts out on a real downer, and the voice is snappy. I know that if my mother was a useless alcoholic who forced me to raise myself while cleaning up her vomit and dodging her men, nothing, NOTHING, would make me more insanely furious than her getting her act together and becoming "the chocolat
Jul 09, 2010 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, I think, because of the music referenced throughout the book. The majority of the artists listed are my favorites and I think that's why the book was so relatable to me. Music stems from such an emotional place, that it helped me "feel" what Shay was feeling as song lyrics were mentioned.

I also liked how the author talked about how Black people acknowledge each other by "speaking" whether we know each other or not. As Carleen stated, it's a way of showing solidarity
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My debut novel Orange Mint and Honey aired on Lifetime as the NAACP Image Award-winning movie "Sins of the Mother" starring Jill Scott and Nicole Beharie. The novel won awards from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and from the African American Literary Awards Show.

Of Orange Mint and Honey, Alicia Keys said, "“This is the reason I love to read. This book has so much character an
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“I had read them and congratulated myself for being black, as if I had chosen to be, because black women were feminists before there was a name for it.” 2 likes
“What is it with guys that they think their interest is such a compliment, that when they hit on you, no matter how crudely, they think they’re doing you such a big fat favor? No matter how young or how old or how ugly or broke down they are, they all seem to think they are the sun and truly expect any woman to bask in their glow.” 1 likes
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