This Can't Be Life by Shakara Cannon

This Can't Be Life

by Shakara Cannon

Reviewed by Michelle Bishop and Alexus Drake
February 2011

Synopsis:

Simone, Stacey, and Talise are your typical best friends navigating life. They brush shoulders with entertainment s elite and experience great successes.

Simone is living an extravagant lifestyle, which some may say has come to her easily. She doesn't trust men and is willing to remain guarded to protect herself. Even though star NBA player, Deon Bradford - a good guy, looking for a woman to love him for him - has her in his sights, and is making every effort to bring down her guard, Simone remains distrustful. She feels that she can do without a man's love, until an unsuspecting man comes into her life and shows her what true love is really like, but is he who he portrays himself to be or will Deon win her heart? Talise is the romantic, who dreams of a marriage just like her parents. When she meets a man that she knows is her soul-mate, but later finds out that they stand on opposite sides of religion, will this be a deal breaker? Stacey is the brother, the shoulder, and the comic relief, but when Stacey falls in love, he falls hard. Will his need to give into his heart cost him the ultimate price?

Once the secrets start tumbling out of the closets and no door is able to contain them, who do you turn to when your reality feels like a dream and you are sure that this can t be life?


Reviewed by: Michelle Bishop

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This Can’t Be Life by Shakara Cannon introduces us to Simone Jackson and her best friends, Talise and Stacey. Simone has overcome the devastating loss of her father when she was a young girl, an abusive relationship, and a terrible relationship with her emotionally distant mother. Still, she’s haunted by terrifying dreams as repressed memories begin to bubble to the surface.

When Simone meets Deon, she’s almost certain that she’s met a man she can trust not to hurt her. Of course, nothing comes easily in This Can’t Be Life. Our three main characters have to deal with a dangerous car accident, threats from shady characters, a stalker, and keeping the kinds of secrets that can get people killed.

There are a few character inconsistencies that I’m uncomfortable with. The most glaring of these is how at the beginning of the novel Simone seems to be a calm, almost hard-edged woman but as the book progresses she seems to cry at the drop of a hat. I may have misunderstood the character but I did find myself taken aback as it seemed Simone was almost constantly on the verge of tears toward the end of the book.

There are also a couple of loose sub-plots that I would have liked to see tied up or, at least moved forward. However, it is evident that Cannon intended This Can’t Be Life to be part of a series of novels so I am confident that at least a couple of those sub-plots will emerge more fully in the sequel(s).

Cannon did resort to the old urban novel church standby. In this case, the girl who goes to church seems to get her life together, complete with her formerly agnostic fiancée getting “saved.” Meanwhile, the gay man, Stacey, and Simone suffer in a variety of ways. I won’t spoil the plot by telling what happens because despite the fact that Cannon uses the all too common church device, the story is highly entertaining and worth the read.

Cannon has put together a nicely crafted story with likable characters. The novel moves at a good clip keeping the reader interested and eagerly turning the page for more especially as the intensity swells toward the end of the book. I was quite disappointed to reach the end and I look forward to learning more about these characters in subsequent titles.

What did you like best about this book?
This Can’t Be Life is well-written, moves at a good pace, and has likable characters.

What did you dislike about this book?
I weary of the old church lesson standard in urban novels.

How can the author improve this book?
I felt a slight inconsistency in Simone’s character which I found jarring. I would ask the author to make sure she has truly decided who her character is and to keep referring back to that as the novel progresses.


Reviewed by: Alexus Drake

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This Can’t Be Life centers around the lives of  three close friends, Simone, a successful businesswoman, Talise, her best friend since childhood and their fellow co-worker and zany gay friend, Stacy, the comic relief of the group.

Simone has built a successful business that she shares with her friends, Talise and Stacy, who are hair designers. She loves a free-style life clubbing and enjoying life to the fullest. The last thing on her mind is a deep relationship with a man due to the abuse she suffered with her first love, Byron, a professional athlete fueled as well as dysfunctional relationship with her mother. A night on the town, puts her into the sights of the charming, NBA player, Deon, who walks into her heart unexpectedly.

Deon is a man on his mission himself, one who is looking for the family bond that he has with his own parents and not a groupie like most the women he has encountered. In order to keep him focus, he has a close relationship with a female friend, Nichelle and her son, Tyson. Nichelle and Deon are close but not lovers, however, Nichelle keeps a watchful eye on the women Deon hangs with. When he introduces her to Simone, whom he meets in a club, she gives him the thumbs up. Deon and Simone soon grow close and begin to open up to one another but things soon take a change with Byron learns of the two relationships and starts a scandalous lie that sends the relationship falling apart. Both Deon and Simone go their separate ways but their hearts still ponder for another despite their hurt.

Meanwhile, things take a romantic for Talise as well when she meets Malach, a doctor and professed atheist whom she later reluctantly develops a romantic crush. Even though Talise is disturbed by his beliefs, she has the confidence that her life will show change his beliefs about God. The affair escalates and soon Talise finds out she is pregnant and to her horror Malachi has an alcohol abuse problem, Talise is now faced with making one of the hardest decisions of her life which challenges her faith in God and the man she loves.

Stacy the flamboyant gay brother of the group all has relationship issues of his own. One of his clients husband he believes is stalking him and sending him sexual toys and hints of being in an relationship with him to Stacy dismay. Stacy does everything in his power to get to the truth and stop the harassment. In the process, he meets an entertainment mogul who is living life on the downlow. When Stacy catches his attention, he begins a secret affair, lavishing Stacy with gifts, Stacy begins fall too deep emotionally for him, even after Stacy finds out he is a married and lying cheat. When Stacy stalker gains more and more information about his life, Stacy realizes he is in more danger than he ever imagined. 

As the three friends and Deon struggle to gain control of their emotions and love lives, tragedy and murder befalls them and no one life will ever be the same.

What did you like best about this book?
To be a debut novel, the author was able to pull out the emotions and lifestyle of each character without being stereotypical or bland. They were well developed and the plot came together on point.

What did you dislike about this book?
The ending left me hanging for more, so readers have to wait for Part 2.

How can the author improve this book?
The book was well written and put together, really not much to be said on improving.


The views expressed in published reviews are solely those of the reviewer. The Urban Book Source cannot be held accountable. The information featured, represents that of the reviewer and not that of The Urban Book Source. The reviewer takes full responsibility for the information presented.

Comments page 1 of 1:
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The Corner Story :
Posted 2016 days ago
Sounds like a good book. I am adding this to my TBR list.
Thanx for a great website.
http://thecornerstory.blogspot.com/2012/05/tease r-tuesdays-1.html
Zamroni :
Posted 2091 days ago
I ejoeynd the piece and the ending made me laugh. When I saw the prompt, the first thing that passed through my mind was something regarding pregnancy. That was followed by infidelity.You took what I expected to be a common topic and put a unique twist on it that was very enjoyable.
 




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