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Orange Mint and Honey

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,362 ratings  ·  182 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
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by One World/Ballantine (first published January 1st 2008)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,362 ratings  ·  182 reviews

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Cheryl James
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
This novel is about a dysfunctional mother and daughter relationship. I am not sure why I was so driven to this book, but I watched it for months before I decided to read it and I am so glad I did. I myself had a dysfunctional relationship with my mother. There is nothing greater for a daughter than her mother's love and understanding. Nona and Shay were able to confront both of their demons and rebuild their relationship. And in the mist of it all Shay got to love her baby sister while learning ...more
Precious Williams
Feb 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Katerina 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
mina reads™️
This was exactly what I was hoping it would be ❤❤ ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shay Dixon is an angry young woman and has good reason to be. Working on her Master’s degree in Iowa, she is forced to take time off when her grant-writing job is eliminated and her advisor believes she is burned out. With nowhere else to go, Shay heads home to Denver to stay (temporarily) with her recovering-alcoholic mother Nona and 3-year old half-sister Sunny.

Shay is highly suspicious of Nona’s almost evangelical sobriety. On her first day, she ransacks her mother’s house, convinced she’ll f
Nardsbaby Reader
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, afro-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
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Truly a great read! The author fully and completely captures both the mother’s and daughter’s relationship through the rollercoaster that can sometimes make, break, or strengthen familial (blood or not) bonds. This book is a “must” read.
Lisa Nowak
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It might be my favorite book so far!!! The storyline was amazingly real, yet raw. Shay grew up with an alcoholic mother and no father, and basically raised herself. While taking a break from grad school, and moving back home with Nona, she grew into who she really was. She learned she had to let go of her bitterness and resentment, which in turn allowed her to grow as a person. She ended up pregnant by her first, Oliver, but in the end, that made her realize what SHE wanted ...more
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Anita Laydon
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Cheryl Durham
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an awesome book! I am so excited that this was my first read of 2017. LaShay Davis was a young Graduate student who was struggling in school. She was the adult daughter of an alcoholic. LaShay, because of her upbringing, struggled with issues of trust, forgiveness and love. She has not been able to move forward and develop healthy relationships. With her academics being compromised, she is encouraged to take some time away from school.

Will going home help her to come to grips with who she i
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shay has issues. Her peace is shattered. She has no friends. She is flunking college. Her mental health is atrophying. She has trichotillomania (compulsion to pull hair out by the root). She leaves grad school (the locus of so many nervous breakdowns-center of isolation for many Black women) to go "home" Why? Because the deceased singer, song writer, civil rights activist, humanitarian, and icon dead Nina Simone said "Go Home Shay." Sounds simple right? Nope. This is a story about reconciliation ...more
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book!!! Loved, loved loved it....and though it's definitely more of a new adult book - grown folks and teens alike could read and appreciate this book.

After a light night vision from an apparition in the likeness of Miss Nina Simone, herself, Shay Dixon decides to return home to her estranged mother. She's flunking out of graduate school, pulling her hair out, and in a deep depression she's not sure she knows how to pull herself out of...for more visit:!Oran
Feb 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 28, 2011 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 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book is much "lighter" than what I normally read, thus the two star rating. I wasn't challenged to think deeply or read carefully; two things I like to do when I read. That being said, I did enjoy the parts of the story about Nona and Shay's relationship and how alcoholism affected Shay's maturation process. As other people have commented, the ending felt rushed and too "neat."
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely quick read that sashays through some thick issues.
Memorable quotes:
"You can't change the past, but you can stop living there. That's something you always have a choice about."

"Honey, if this is your last chance, it's not much of a chance, is it?

Now off to look into Nina Simone.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bhm, ttt-2000, alcoholism
This was, honest to God, like reading a story about my own life.
Oct 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!! can't wait to see the movie :)
Britni Danielle
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Carleen delivered on this one!
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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
“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.” 5 likes
“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.” 3 likes
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