Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Up Pops The Devil" Book Review

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Up Pops The Devil

Avon A (July 29, 2008)


Angela Benson


Angela has published nine novels, one novella, and a nonfiction writing book. Her books have appeared on national, regional and local bestseller lists. She has won several writing awards, including Best Multicultural Romance from Romantic Times magazine and the Best Contemporary Ethnic Romance from Affaire de Coeur magazine. She was also a finalist for the 2000 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award in Multicultural Romance.

Awakening Mercy is the first book in her Genesis House series from Tyndale House Publishers. Awakening Mercy was a finalist for both the RITA Award given by Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction. The second book in the Genesis House series, Abiding Hope, was published in September 2001. Abiding Hope was awarded the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance presented by the Romance Slam Jam. The third book and final book of the series, Enduring Love, is not yet scheduled.

BET Books, now Harlequin's Kimani Press purchased the mass market rights to Awakening Mercy and Abiding Hope in 2000 and released mass market editions of the titles in June 2002 and June 2003, respectively.

Angela's first hardcover title, The Amen Sisters, was released in September 2005 by Walk Worthy Press. The Essence bestselling title won the Emma Award for Best Inspirational Romance. The trade paperback edition was released in November 2007.

Up Pops the Devil, published by HarperCollins (Avon A) in August 2008, is Angela's tenth novel.

Angela has a diverse education and work history. She majored in mathematics at Spelman College and Industrial Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and worked for fifteen years as an engineer in the telecommunications industry. She holds Masters degrees in operations research and human resources development. Her most recent degree is a doctorate in instructional technology from the University of Georgia. Dr. Benson is now an associate professor of educational technology at The University of Alabama.


This is the story of Wilford "Preacher" Winters and the four women—his fiancee' Tanya, his sister Loretta, his old girlfriend Serena, and his new friend Natalie—who complicate his re-entry into society as a law-abiding Christian man after being incarcerated for two years for drug trafficking. Two hard years in prison have changed Wilford "Preacher" Winters for the better. He did his time, now he's going to "do the right thing." But the women in his life have other ideas.

Tanya, the sleek and sexy mother of his two kids, is much too comfortable with her pearls-and-Porsche lifestyle, and she'll do whatever it takes to maintain it. His sister, Loretta, kept "the business" running smoothly while Preacher was inside, and she can't believe he'd trade Easy Street bling for a nickel-and-dime dead-end job. His one-time girlfriend Serena, now married to his main man Barnard, is hiding a secret—and if past sins come to light, they'll ruin several lives and a very new, very precious friendship between Preacher and Barnard's beautiful-inside-and-out sister, Natalie.

With his world about to explode all around him, Preacher's going to need every ounce of his new-found faith to remain strong. Because it takes a lot to become a new man, sometimes even a miracle.

If you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of Up Pops The Devil, go HERE

This was such a fun and unique book - I read it in one day. I enjoyed it so much that I even read it while on the treadmill because I didn't want to put it down.

First off I loved the originality of it - the whole concept of a newly saved drug dealer getting out of prison ready to start fresh - oh, except for all the women in his life that might want to complicate that for him. There is the sister who is still running the "family business". The mother of his two boys that doesn't want to settle for the lifestyle of someone gone straight. The ex-girlfriend who has ties with Preacher from WAY back and is now married to his new best friend (and the man who led him to the Lord). Oh, and a very attractive woman who is the sister of his best friend and involved with a man with issues of his own.

Put all that together and stir in a lot of faith, forgiveness and redemption, but the part that really hit home with me was all the realistic struggles of new Christians and old. Life is not a bowl of cherries just because you become a Christian, it's just that from now on you'll never be in the pits alone.

Honestly, one of my favorite parts of the book comes when one of the ladies (Serena) is at a gym where she is a personal trainer and an overweight teenager (Bertice) is getting measured and has lost another inch or so from her hard work. This conversation follows:

"You know," Bertice said, "sometimes I wonder if I'm too fat to even call myself a Christian. I feel like I've let God down. Did you ever feel that way?"

Serena knew the feeling very well, but this wasn't about her. "I did and sometimes I still do. But you know what, Bertice? It's not true. If we all waited until we were perfect to call ourselves Christian, then very few of us would ever get the chance. The Lord is proud of you for what you're doing to get yourself healthy. He's the One who's giving you the desire to make the change and the courage to do the hard work to make it happen. Yes, you may stumble or fall off the plan, but you get right back on it. God doesn't care whether you're fat or thin, but He does care that you're using food the wrong way or if you're not taking care of yourself. He cares because He loves you."

"I know, Miss Serena. Sometimes I just get down on myself."

Don't we all? "Well, that's not God who's telling you to get down on yourself. God is the one who's building you up, who's encouraging you to continue on the path you're on. God is the one who's trying to tell you how beautiful you are in His sight exactly as you are. You aren't making yourself good enough for God with the exercise and all, Bertice. You're only doing your part in keeping the temple in which He resides healthy. No more. No less. Got that?"

This conversation spoke to me right where I am in life right now, and it was only one of many eye-opening revelations I found mixed in a delightful book. So for more insight, wisdom and fun - get a copy of "Up Pops The Devil"!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds like a fun book! One I'd like to read. I'll look forward to it.

Deborah Piccurelli