37 Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla Magoon

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37thingsiloveoldPublisher/Date:  Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), May 2012
Genre(s):  Young Adult
Pages:   224
Website:  http://www.keklamagoon.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summertime is what most high school students look forward after a year of homework, teachers and exams. Ever walk down a school hallway after the final bell has rung on the last of day school? You might get mowed down.

For Ellis, though, the summer means spending more time with her friends, but most especially with her father, still in a coma after a work accident two years prior. She currently skips her first period class just to see him, though he can’t hear or notice she’s there. Her father’s condition is also a source of contention between Ellis and her mother, believing it’s time to take him off life support. Ellis knows he will wake up one day, and become the man she remembers, take her on new adventures, reassert himself as no. 1 of one of the 37 things in her life she loves.

Most of the 37 things – from goldfish crackers to warm chocolate chip cookies to rain on a stain-glass window – in some way remind her of her father or the void he leaves in her life.

One thing she loves, her best friend Abby, manages to distract her, whether it’s telling Ellis about her million and one boyfriends or sneaking her out to a party, which turns out to be one crazy night (it involves jello – that is all). Abby’s selfishness is a welcome distraction so she won’t have to think about how strained things are with her mother or the therapist she forces Ellis to see. But her shallowness slowly becomes the thing that makes them drift apart because Abby can’t relate to Ellis’ family woes. But one person can.

Cara. Both Abby and Ellis’ former best friend became estranged from them for reasons unknown to Ellis. Chalk it up to high school differences, but when her and Cara reconnect, Ellis discovers how much she missed their friendship; it gives her the warmth she needs to deal with her so-called life. Their connection also sparks something tenuous between them that Ellis isn’t sure she can handle right now, but doesn’t want to lose — even if it means giving up Abby.

37 Things I Love (in no particular order) is heart-wrenching, because as a daughter who’s lost her own father, I can empathize with Ellis. It’s tough to watch the man who seemed like the strongest man person in the world, wither away, and on that note, I got Ellis. But there were times I felt I didn’t get enough into Ellis’ head, and I wasn’t too keen on how Abby took advantage of Ellis and never offered much in return. In a lot of the book, Ellis is a pushover, the only real fight she shows is battling her mom to take her dad off life support. The brightest spot comes in Ellis possibly discovering love for the first time with Cara; it’s sincere and sweet. Magoon captures Ellis’ confusion well, and the end of 37 Things may find you caring for just one more thing.

Reviewed August 2013

About Kekla Magoon

Kekla Magoon is the author of four young adult novels: Camo Girl, 37 Things I Love, Fire in the Streets, and The Rock and the River, for which she received the ALA Coretta Scott King New Talent Award and an NAACP Image Award nomination. She also writes non-fiction on historical topics, including Today the World is Watching You: The Little Rock Nine and the Fight for School Integration 1957-58 and the forthcoming PANTHERS! The History and Legacy of the Black Panther Party in America. Raised in a biracial family in the Midwest, Kekla now teaches writing in New York City, conducts school and library visits nationwide, and serves on the board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Kekla holds a B.A. in History from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Visit her online at www.keklamagoon.com.


Dying to Live by Harmonie Reigns

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dyingtolivePublisher/Date:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Mar. 2013
Genre(s):  Abuse, Drama, Romance
Pages:  224
Website:  http://harmoniereigns.wix.com/harmonie#!

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Why is it that everyone can see the signs but you? Or do you see and ignore the red flags?

Is it cute how she dotes on you, asks you when you’ll be home, always wants to know your constant whereabouts? Or is it suffocating but you don’t know the way out?

Can she make love to you like no other, toe-tingling, mind-blowing sex that tells you just how much she loves you? Or is that just the calm before the storm, or it’s to make up for the blows she sent to your face earlier?

It was all those things and more for Naomi Harris in DYING TO LIVE,  the newest novel from Harmonie Reigns. Naomi is pursued by the charming Sheena at the party of one of best friends, and soon after is enamored of the way she’s treated by the soft stud in the beginning of their relationship. (What she should have done was take stock of how pushy Sheena was in pursuing her at the party.)

Of course, Sheena has her game-face on, sending flowers, cards, candy and jewelry to her office, making Naomi the envy of her friends. It was charming how attentive Sheena is, popping up at work to take her to lunch or to see Naomi’s beautiful face, but Naomi begins to feel suffocated by the attention. And she realizes she’s spending less and less time with her loved ones, her family and group of five best friends: Lynzi, Tina, Star, Dena, and Zela.

Of the five, Zela is one who recognizes Naomi’s predicament and knows something ain’t right with Sheena. She sees the signs of an abusive relationship, because she’s been there. Naomi knows it, too, but writes off Sheena’s behavior as “caring.” “She just doesn’t want to lose me.” “Maybe I was wrong.” Anything to justify Sheena’s atrocious behavior.

Yet after cracked ribs, a broken nose and being cheated on, Naomi finally has enough — and that’s when the real game begins for Sheena. She always told Naomi that if she couldn’t have her, no one else will. And she means it. Which also means that Naomi is in a fight to get her life back, even if she has to take one in the process.

Dying to Live is a very involved book, one that portrays the fallout of an abusive relationship and what it does not only to a woman’s pyche, but how it affects the woman’s family and friends. Naomi is lucky she has a big support system, as some battered women do not. Naomi’s friends, who each have a personality all her own, added life to a story made somber by the dark subject matter. Dying can be a tad melodramatic at times and the writing could be tighter, but Reigns deftly details the emotions and thoughts of a battered woman trying to put her life back together.

Reviewed July 2013


The Best of Friends Can Be Lovers by Vickey Simmons

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bestofloverscanbefriendsPublisher/Date:  Vickey L. Simmons; Nov. 2012
Genre:  Romance
Pages:  57

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

“It’s funny how at a time when I thought that I didn’t want to be close to anyone, she was the one person to help me realize that I didn’t want to be alone.”

Ladies, isn’t that how we all feel when we’ve met the one?

Except in Mahogany’s case, where Saun is “the one,” it’s the age old lesbian-question of, “Can I cross the line with my bestie – and not have it be awkward?” The answer is not so simple in THE BEST OF FRIENDS CAN BE LOVERS, the e-book from Vickey Simmons.

The relationship between Mahogany and Saun starts in a work-related orientation, the pair clicking immediately. They could talk about anything, and Mahogany, with a fiancé, wasn’t turned off by Saun’s lesbian lover. In fact, they regularly discussed their love lives, which is how they knew exactly what they were missing.

When Mahogany’s relationship disintegrates, it ends up bringing the co-workers closer. Somehow the lines blur, and Mahogany finally allows her mind to wander to that place with Saun. Her mixed emotions eventually come to a head, and she finally begins to see forest – and the trees.

Saun, meanwhile, patiently stays true to her and Mahogany’s friendship, which she cherishes more than she lets on. She’s always been there for Mahogany. Will her loyalty be rewarded?

The Best of Friends Can Be Lovers is a pleasurable, swiftly-moving novel that moves a just the right pace. You see Mahogany really contemplating her decisions, and being a grown woman sure about what she wants. Though Simmons’ book could end here, I could see this not being the end of Mahogany and Saun’s story.

Reviewed April 2013


Rose from the Bayou by Teryn Williams

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rosefromthebayouPublisher/Date:  Teryn Williams, Sept. 2012
Genre:  Romance, Suspense, Supernatural Fiction
Pages:  220
Website:  http://scarletroselaveau.wix.com/rose

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Enfant, l’amour est fou…

In other words: chile, love is crazy. Nothing says this better than ROSE FROM THE BAYOU, the bewitching novel from Teryn Williams, also the author of Be the Sun Again.

Set in 1990s New Orleans, the story follows the friendship of Scarlet Rose Laveau and Koral Baptiste. Soul sisters and neighbors since childhood, the women are now 24 and long-time lovers. Their relationship is deeply befuddling, especially to their families. Whereas Koral is sensitive and loving, Scarlet is cold and selfish. Her practices in what some folks call voodoo or black magic, passed down from her mother’s side of the family, constantly label her a bad seed.

Scarlet relishes her otherworldly abilities, channeling spirits and cavorting with the afterlife, which makes her an asset to people who need her assistance. But she what she uses for good, she also exploits to her advantage. Scarlet is a hedonist with a cause.

“My appetite was fierce and something not of this world. I was not born to be slaved beneath a relationship. I wanted to love freely. Love has no face and love had no color and love was androgynous. Or maybe I was speaking of sex because my heart was a deep dark hole that I often searched for a feeling but there was nothing but space looking for more of that same feeling. A space big enough to hold whatever and whomever I wanted to occupy it.”

However, Koral is the solitary soul she allows into her realm, mostly because Scarlet knows she has Koral’s heart on a string. She dominates the dark-skinned beauty, and because Koral doesn’t know her worth, she lets Scarlet control her. Talks her into doing heinous things, anything to keep Scarlet’s love and attention. Besides her grandmother, Nana, Scarlet is the only family Koral has. Their connection is powerful, and Koral wants nothing more than Scarlet’s “undying” love. With the thoughts Scarlet has, that could be the only way for Koral to win her heart.

Koral should be careful what she wishes – she might just get it.

Rose from the Bayou is one of those books with rich character development that pulls you in. You will either find yourself loving and/or hating Scarlet and Koral and the eccentric personalities in this book. Williams’ book could use more editing, but if you’re into dark stories, Rose will be a book that’s just as sweet.

Reviewed February 2013


My Woman His Wife 3 by Anna J.

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mywomanhiswife3Publisher/Date:  Urban Books, Oct. 2012
Genre:  Erotica
Pages:  288
Website:  http://www.allthingsannaj.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

You would think four years was long enough to get over a threesome almost ruining your marriage, but not so for Jasmine and James Cinque. They lived through Monica’s games in My Woman His Wife and The Aftermath, and four years later, Monica’s mischievous ass has returned to Philly with a purpose in MY WOMAN HIS WIFE 3 by Anna J.

After she wreaked havoc on James and Jasmine’s household, became pregnant by James, and left the child with the couple to raise, Monica relocated to Atlanta to start fresh. Launching a few companies and a career as a successful artist, something still nags at her, and she decides to visit Philly to check in on things, most especially her son.

Monica arrives in the nick of time, because just as her plane touches down, tragedy has struck the Cinques. In a weird sort of way, she might be just what the Cinques need to put their marriage back on track – despite the temptation she poses to them.

But Monica has more than just lingering feelings to worry about. All the dirt she’s done in the past is catching up with her. Her enemies know she’s in town, and some of them want vengeance.

Can Monica handle her business and escape back to the ATL? Or does life have other plans for her?

If you enjoyed Anna J.’s first two novels about Monica, you’ll enjoy My Woman His Wife 3. It stays true to the previous novels, adding a few twists, and the sex is just like Anna J. knows how to do.

Reviewed December 2012


She Say, She Say by Olivia Renee Wallace

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shesayshesayPublisher/Date:  Olivia Renee Wallace, May 2012
Genre:  Romance
Pages:  215

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

It’s amazing how two women in love can see their relationship so differently, as in the alternating narration of SHE SAY, SHE SAY by Olivia Renee Wallace.

Coeds Shanelle Carter and J.B. Donovan, by all appearances, seem to be total opposites. Shanelle is the big woman on campus: sorority president, hottie with a body and all-around good girl.

J.B., in her own words, is a “big ol’ studdin’-ass mofo,” but don’t let that fool you. She’s editor of the campus newspaper, a conscientious student, and a hard worker.

Shanelle has always kept her distance from J.B., yet feels as if she knows the writer through her articles and editorials. The gap between them is narrowed one day when J.B. catches “Miss Popularity” staring at her, and they hit it off from there.

Both J.B. and Shanelle slowly let their guards down, but Shanelle is the one who figures she has more to lose by dating someone so different from her well-to-do family, friends and sorors. Though their passion is unlike any she’s ever experienced, she can’t – or won’t – allow herself to be seen with J.B.

J.B. has too much pride to take occupancy in Shanelle’s closet. Though it’s the hardest thing to let Shanelle go, she has to. She’s not ashamed of who she is. If only Shanelle could be the same way.

Through a series of missteps and second chances, who’s to say these two won’t finally see eye to eye?

Wallace’s She Say, She Say has a great connection in Shanelle and J.B. These two were fire together, both out the bedroom, but most especially when they touch. When reading, it’s as if they’re in their own cocoon, blissfully oblivious everyone but each other. With that being said, it’s a shame that most other details – like the name of the school, what the women’s majors are – are completely left out. If Wallace had expanded the background of the characters and the world around them, it could have made a much better book.

As it stands, though, She Say, She Say is speaking pretty well for itself.

Reviewed August 2012


Suite 69: Black Lesbian Erotica Volume III by Billie Simone

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suite69volume3Publisher/Date:  Billie Simone, Feb. 2012
Genre:  Poetry
Website:  http://billiesimone.wordpress.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Instead of the sexual come-ons found in the previous installment, SUITE 69: BLACK LESBIAN EROTICA VOLUME III is more expressive about heartbreak and love lost this time around.

Billie Simone’s heart and mind are heavier, and her poems recount a darker time when love beat her down and could have left her for dead. Lucky for her (and for us), Simone channels her anguish into something we could absorb.

Anyone can empathize with losing a love. When Simone’s at her most vulnerable, is when you can really relate:

Cause you…
Got inside me…
Deeply in my insides’ insides
And you are still there
Lingering in every nook and cranny
And every crevice and
Crack…
Ain’t no woman…Ain’t nobody…
Every penetrated me like that…

Yet while nursing her wounds, Simone’s poems tell of learning the importance of loving oneself. It helps her through it all, and permits her heart to open again.

iLove that you
Ain’t scared of my
Scars
Love that you love
Me just as hard
Love that you
Love me with no regard

Simone, with Suite 69: Black Lesbian Erotica Volume III, plunges us into the mind of a stud who loses her swagger a bit, yet sees her rise again. However, it’s worth the aches chronicled in her poems to glance her smile gracing the book’s cover.

Reviewed June 2012


Suite 69: Black Lesbian Erotica Volume II by Billie Simone

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suite69iiPublisher/Date:  AppleTree Publishing, Oct. 2007
Genre:  Poetry
Pages:  61
Website:  http://billiesimone.wordpress.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Laden with swagger and bravado, SUITE 69: BLACK LESBIAN EROTICA VOLUME II by Billie Simone wastes no time in telling you what she wants.

That is a turn-on, as are her poems that reveal emotions from a masculine lesbian standpoint. In Simone’s own words, “They come from my mind, my heart, my pussy, and my soul.”

Some of the poems deal with heartbreak, as evidenced with “suite memories,” where a player laments a lost love, while “u say” sees her confronting a trifling lover. And “after da love has gone” echoes the sounds of missing the one you love.

Femmes, if you want a stud talking sweet in your ear, read poems like “mama, may i”, and “I wanna f**k you so bad.” Just try to resist the words of “talk 2 me”, if you dare:

I want your
mouth
to say the
words I need to hear
say them
and mean them…
say them
with your eyes
open wide
staring deeply
into mine

A writer as well as a skilled photographer, Simone is smooth as silk with the come-ons in Suite 69. The poems come from a brash but heartfelt place, feeling as if you’ve entered a stud’s mind.

Reviewed January 2012


Be the Sun Again by Teryn

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bethesun-194x300Publisher/Date:  LM Inc., Nov. 2009
Genre(s):  Coming of Age, Self-Love
Pages:  324
Website(s):  http://www.bethesunagain.com, http://www.lmwrites.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Where there is love, there is pain, says a Spanish proverb, and that’s the best way to sum up BE THE SUN AGAIN.

It is the story of Cicely, a girl who begins her life damaged by neglect from an unfeeling mother and absent father. She also bears the weight of her attraction to girls and an attachment to self-inflicted pain. Cicely’s only salve is praying, hoping God would remove her from the horrible situation.

In the meanwhile, Cecily finds Brenda, a girl who saves her by simply appearing on her doorstep. Their love of God unites them, and Cecily believes she’s found someone to live for. She and Brenda begin a young love affair, but soon addictions end their first pangs of love.

From there, Cecily flows from woman to woman, using love as a way to nurse her wounds. From the one-night stand with Alicia to Dawn, who showed what love could accomplish, and to the countless women who in some way, commiserated with Cecily’s afflictions. Through these relationships, the cutting becomes a deeper injury than medicine could cure, but she still manages to hold onto God.

After every breakup, God reveals to her what she should take from them. That, I believe, is the message of Be the Sun Again – relying on Him to help show you the way. It took Cecily loving many to finally love herself, and women who read Sun should learn from her. Being a victim is no way to live; finding your purpose is really what God intended.

Reviewed February 2011


Cyber Case by Nikki Rashan

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cybercasePublisher/Date:  Urban Books, Aug. 2010
Genre(s):  Romance, Suspense
Pages:  288
Website:  http://www.nikkirashan.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Attention Facebook and Twitter addicts: Nikki Rashan has written a novel that will make you think twice before you make that next status update.

CYBER CASE is the tale of two women whose love has been tested by the Internet.

Mortgage broker Jovanna and her criminal attorney girlfriend Melanie have an idyllic four year relationship. Surrounded by wonderful friends, the pair doesn’t think much about the world of cyberspace except to keep up with the people they love and the occasional acquaintance.

That all changes when one of Melanie’s clients, a lesbian named Sunday, contacts her on a mutual social networking site. Jovanna’s not keen on the idea of her woman mixing business with a friend request, but Melanie convinces her it’s strictly professional.

Straight-laced Jovanna isn’t worried at first. She isn’t the jealous type, and enjoys the life they’ve built as a trusting couple. But something changes. Sure, Melanie’s stress is normal when she’s working on a strenuous case; her secrecy isn’t. Melanie’s suspicious behavior – frequently checking her BlackBerry or shutting her laptop around her – raises Jovanna’s red flag.

Could Sunday’s enticing posts be to blame for Melanie’s shadiness?

Rashan’s Cyber Case tracks the ins and outs of how the internet can dissolve trust between partners.  The well-written story sprints to a great build up; by the novel’s close, it ends without a bang. The couple’s friends – all eight – are introduced with complete back stories that aren’t completely finished by the closing stages. Those things aside, Cyber Case is worth the read.

Now…back to your status updates.

Reviewed February 2011


Taking a Chance at Love by Kesha Pride

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takingachanceatlovePublisher/Date:  Pride Books, Oct. 2010
Genre(s):  Romance, Drama
Pages: 216
Website:  http://www.keshapride.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

“Aren’t doctors supposed to be refined? Classy?”

Drs. Tori Becker and Kenya Jackson are both those things, but they are also full of romantic frenzy as seen in Kesha Pride’s debut novel, TAKING A CHANCE AT LOVE, a black lesbian-Grey’s Anatomy tinged love story.

At 29, Tori has her to-do list covered. Graduate medical school. Finish residency. Become a partner in a medical practice. The partnership she accepts relocates her from Houston to Atlanta, and into a swanky new condo, where she runs into a gorgeous woman in her elevator. At her first day of work, that beauty turns out to be Kenya, who has to be Tori’s trainee for the next three months.

That makes things awkward, but they know to keep a level of strict professionalism. It’s hard, though, when Kenya is extremely attracted to how smart, sexy and intellectual Tori is. Kenya has had her share of liaisons – a long term and a few NSAs* – but can envision settling down with Tori.

Meanwhile, Tori and Kenya console themselves with other women, and that’s where the commotion comes in. Jealous lovers, ex-girlfriend entanglements, and criminal mayhem threaten what they don’t “officially” have.  And the more they date, the more they know true love is right in front of them; they’re just afraid of the repercussions if their fraternization is found out.

Taking a Chance at Love is a good, quick read. There are a couple things you’ll shake your head at, but other than that, the drama is plentiful. I enjoyed the medical setting, which Pride writes with realism. Every workplace has its own excitement, and Tori and Kenya’s Atlanta General Hospital is no different.

* no strings attached

Reviewed February 2011


Erotic Escapes: Two Erotic Vignettes featuring Kenya from Intimate Chaos by Cheril N. Clarke

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eroticescapesPublisher/Date:  Dodi Press, Feb. 2010
Genre:  Erotica
Website:  http://www.cherilnclarke.com 

Illusions of Love –

Rating: ★★★★☆ 


Ecstasy –

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Quickies have become Cheril N. Clarke’s forte as of late, with two-part e-book series for your pleasure, EROTIC ESCAPES: TWO EROTIC VIGNETTES FEATURING KENYA. The e-book includes Illusions of Love and Ecstasy, both starring the sexual debaucheries of the infamous homewrecker who stirred up things between Sadira and Jessie. She’s still up to her old tricks, this time manipulating unsuspecting women with her sensual charms and cunning.

In the first installment, Illusions of Love, readers are treated to Kenya seducing Angela, an older woman with money and a body that rivals young girls. Kenya has told the Ivy League professor what she wants to hear to be taken care of in her usual spoiled fashion and lands on a Caribbean cruise. Yet, vacations aren’t enough for the lesbian vixen, and while on the way home, she’s already searching for her next score. She finds it with, Deb, but will it give her what she truly needs?

Ecstasy, the second round of Kenya’s games, continues where Illusions left off and is only a little naughtier than the first. Deb is sexually adventurous and introduces her to a new kind of high. The pair is wrapped up in their sensual cocktail – beginning with a swinging escapade in Illusions – and Kenya almost forgets what she came here for. Has she finally met her match?

Clarke’s down-and-dirty mission was accomplished with these e-books. There’s few flowery phrases, no professions of love — just romps with a woman who’s hedonism rivals that of Karrine Steffans (well, not that bad). Take it for what it is: a one-night stand you might want more of.

Reviewed August 2010


Strapped by Sharon D. Smith

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strappedsmithPublisher/Date:  Lulu.com, June 2010
Genre:  Romance
Pages:  126
Website(s):  http://www.strapped2009.ning.com, http://7stagespublishing.com/

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

If you’re a stud, you’re not supposed to fall in love with another stud – right?

Who says? This is the premise of Sharon D. Smith’s STRAPPED, a fast-paced novel following the attraction between masculine-appearing women, Silk and Taz. The pair have well-worn identities as dominant females, and typically date feminine women accordingly. This stud-femme dynamic is turned on its head when Silk – rocking baggy jeans and a Black and Mild between her lips – moves into Taz’s neighborhood.

Taz notices her next-door neighbor’s swagger, and they quickly become hanging buddies. While they watch sports and hit the clubs, their friendship grows despite not knowing that much about each other’s pasts. It all comes out in a game of basketball when Silk reveals her true feelings. Taz is taken aback by this admission of affection. She can’t believe her homeboy is attracted to her. Silk knows she has a girlfriend — a curvaceous beauty at that — and that their friendship is simply platonic.

Silk feels differently, though. She has always had a thing for butch women. And while Taz tries to understand her friend’s seemingly-odd attraction, she eventually succumbs to it when the pair is thrown into a crisis situation.

Taz and Silk find themselves in love and in trouble. Taz believes she’s losing her edge and doesn’t  know if she can handle the type of love that dare not speak its name in the lesbian community, while Silk’s past comes back to haunt her new relationship with Taz.

Smith’s Strapped shows the conflict some black lesbians experience with labels. Femme, stud, stem, bisexual – it all means nothing when it comes to how one feels inside.  Taz and Silk had to leave the pressures of sexual roles behind to discover a comfortable home in each other. Their affair is unpeeled layer by layer, realistically so. With that being said, while Strapped does a good job getting in Taz’s head, but doesn’t delve enough into why Silk loves studs. I guess that will be explained further in Smith’s next novel.

So get ready because Strapped will challenge all your perceptions of what love and labels really mean.

Reviewed August 2010


The Wrong Valentine by Dana Littlejohn

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thewrongvalentinePublisher/Date:  Phaze Books, Feb. 2009
Genre(s):  Erotica, Romance
Pages:  17
Website:  http://www.danalittlejohn.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

When you’re faced with spending Valentine’s Day alone, what’s a girl to do? If you’re Shaunte in THE WRONG VALENTINE, you’ll cook a nice dinner, take a long shower and pamper your body in an effort to feel special.

That’s Shaunte’s plan in this diminutive e-book written by romance author Dana Littlejohn portraying a woman’s night alone on lover’s day. But Shante isn’t too pressed about it. She’s had her share of heartache, and a recent relocation to New York helped her get through the hurt.

However, in the midst of Shaunte’s date with herself, she receives a womanly surprise that changes the course of her night and allows her to truly enjoy the holiday.

As a character, Shaunte’s past could have been fleshed out a more, but Littlejohn, who has about 20 erotic titles under her skirt, err belt, creates a short-but-sweet novelette that’s appetizing all the same.

Reviewed February 2010


Diary of a Sex Addict by Shalona L. Amos

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diaryofasexaddictPublisher/Date:  Soul on Fire Publishing, Jan. 2009
Genre(s):  Bisexual, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 236
Website:  http://www.soulonfirepublishing.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Protagonist Tiffany Love’s life is a testament to the fact that sex is a powerful thing, one that can distort your mind, body and soul if you let it. Her experiences are chronicled in DIARY OF A SEX ADDICT, based on a true story written by Shalona L. Amos.

Tiffany’s descent into sexual addiction began when she was a child. While her mother would go out with friends, she was left at home to her own devices. Masturbation, in all sorts of ways, became the addiction of choice for Tiffany – so much so that she couldn’t go a night without pleasuring herself. As a young girl, watching porn was a hobby, allowing her fantasies to extend to being with women. Tiffany knew full well what she was doing was wrong, keeping it a secret from her mother and new overbearing stepfather, Vincent, yet she couldn’t stop.

As a result, Tiffany’s sexual urges grew from sex of the five-finger kind to chatting with men online. There, she could explore her hidden desires and get lost in the anonymity of the Internet. But even cybersex wasn’t enough, and she begins meeting these men for the real thing. After losing her virginity to someone she hardly knew, most nights were a different dude and more sex. It eventually proves unfulfilling for Tiffany, because while she felt valued for the moment, she craved real love. And she couldn’t seem to get it at home, with her mother allowing Vincent to belittle Tiffany at every turn, and it paved the way for her to be mistreated and used by men.

Then comes the day when Tiffany ends all dealings with men, and enters a relationship with a woman. It finally gave her the chance to love and be loved, and things are terrific. Tiffany’s addiction resurfaces when it falls apart, along with all the old feelings of abandonment. It takes control of her life again and causes her realize she needs help.

Yes, Diary of a Sex Addict is hardcore, but it’s also very sad and realistic for a lot of young girls who confuse sex with love. Amos does a good job taking you inside Tiffany’s head. The writing could have been a bit sharper, as parts of it were monotonous, but fortunately the story is fast-paced and easy to get through.

Reviewed June 2009