Books For Valentines

Posted: February 15, 1996

JumpStart, A Love Story Robb Armstrong (HarperCollins / $12) * A VALENTINE KISS Carla Fredd, Brenda Jackson, Felicia Mason (Pinnacle / $4.99)

If you're saving your sweetie's Valentine treat for the weekend (or you just plain forgot), two new books appealing to the traditionally mushy and the playfully poetic may be just the ticket.

Philly resident Robb Armstrong moves his JumpStart comic strip up to the big time with his first full-length cartoon, ``JumpStart, A Love Story.''

Followers of Armstrong's six-year-old strip will enjoy reading about working-class Joe and Marcy's meeting, their teen courtship and their trip to wedded and parental bliss.

Along with the 250 pages of black-and-white cartoons, author Armstrong includes at the beginning of ``JumpStart'' anecdotes on the birth and evolution of his strip and his thoughts on love, marriage and ``Adultaphobia,'' (fear of growing up).

You probably have to be a fan of the strip or really love cartoons to want to give or receive this book.

For three other African-American love stories, minus the pictures, readers can turn to the latest short-story collection from Arabesque books. Past Arabesque faves Carla Fredd, Brenda Jackson and Felicia Mason make ``A Valentine Kiss'' a pleasing, although sugary, read.

In ``Matchmaker,'' Fredd brings together a Southern city girl and a country sheriff to see if they can overcome background differences to find true love.

Jackson's ``Cupid's Bow'' reunites childhood chums Kimara and Kyle after Kyle's rich grandfather passes away. The old man's posthumous meddling to bring them together competes with half-hearted objections from both love objects.

Finally Mason offers the most fantasy-laden tale in ``Made in Heaven.'' If you can get past Prince Charming Eric Fitzgerald telling the lonely beauty a mere hour after he meets her that she's the one he's been waiting for all his life, then you'll enjoy Mason's very '90s writing style.

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