Turn Me Out: The Novel by T. Ariez

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turnmeoutnovelPublisher/Date:  Amazon Digital Services LLC, March 2016
Genre(s):  Stud 4 Stud, Romance
Pages:  199
Website:  https://www.facebook.com/T.Ariez3

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Angel and Ace are best friends who happen to both be studs. When Angel realizes that she has developed feelings for Ace, she devises a plan that will go against everything she’s ever known and believed in. She is tired of the traditions and rules that make her feelings taboo and decides to risk everything. When she finally decides that she can’t take it anymore and throws caution in the wind, will it all be worth the risk?

In 2013, T. Ariez’s short story, Turn Me Out, introduced studs Angel and Ace who found themselves in the precarious situation of being attracted to one another. Two studs in lust? Where they do that at? Though it’s oftentimes inconceivable in our black lesbian community, Ariez made the romance between two best friends believable through her writing and characters in such a brief tale.

Fast forward to 2016, and T. Ariez has expanded her earlier quickie into TURN ME OUT: THE NOVEL, and this version is meatier than I imagined it would be. It broke me in several places. The novel pretty much follows the same basic premise as the short story, but focuses more on the “where do we go from here” aspect and explores Angel and Ace becoming a couple. This is where shit gets real.

Now I’m not a stud. So I don’t fully understand what it’s like be a masculine woman in a man’s world.

But it’s hard not to empathize with Angel as she contemplates her feelings for Ace, who’s as hard as they come. We’re in her head as Angel as she grapples with being in love with her best friend, the person who showed her the ropes of stud life and sheltered her during their teenage years. The lengths she goes through to tell Ace how she feels are real and moving and hard to read at times, but the affection they have for each other is hard-fought and raw. Their love scenes were some of the hottest because of this masculine, loving vibe between them.

My biggest concern, though, was how Angel felt she had change herself to what Ace wanted. Ace, Ace, Ace. It was all I could take not to slam her hand in a car door, mostly because of how she dealt with loving Angel. Her hangups, based on what people would think, about loving another stud were going to be the death of her friendship; I just wanted her to wake up and see what was in front of her. Ace was also spoiled, a stud used to bedding a different femme almost every night, and being in love was something she envisioned as a last resort. Until Angel.

I was so invested in Turn Me Out: The Novel. The resolution Ace comes to, and the fight Angel goes through to prove her love, is what makes this book special. I hope this book will help our community let go of the rigid stereotypes we place on each other and ourselves.

T. Ariez, I’m ready for the next one.

Reviewed March 2016

About T. Ariez

T. Ariez is a Texas native currently living in Dallas. He has been writing since the second grade but only started exploring writing for an audience a few years after graduating high school. He enjoys reading in his spare time, playing board games with his family and watching football.


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


Nothing Short of a Rainbow by Kaution

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nothingshortrainbowPublisher/Date:  Big Works Publishing/CreateSpace, Feb. 2009
Genre(s):  Romance, Studs & Femmes
Pages: 298
Website:  http://www.kaution-online.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

With NOTHING SHORT OF A RAINBOW, writer/artist Kaution aspires to take urban lesbian storytelling to the next level. As such, you should be forewarned because her debut novel is a gripping story full of the twists and turns of betrayal between best friends.

Seniors Teren Ramsey and Ray Romero are dogs for life, seeing each other through women, basketball and more women at ASU. The studs have been best friends since meeting as full-scholarship freshmen at basketball orientation, admiring each other’s passion for the game, and eventually, their passion for pretty femmes. That’s where there similarities end. Teren, the more reserved of the two, has trouble finding sincere, lasting love, while Ray has too many girls to juggle. It gets Ray into trouble that usually Teren has to get her out of.

One woman Ray dogged is fellow teammate and good friend Nia Alverez, who long carried a torch for the womanizer. Ray never gave her the time of day, leaving Teren to pick up the pieces of younger girl’s broken heart. Soon Nia catches feelings for Teren, who’s had a crush on the thick-bodied beauty for a while. When their affair goes public, Ray is the one who has the biggest problem with it.

Seeing Nia with Teren triggers Ray to see what she was missing, and a restless night ends with Nia and Ray in a compromising position. When Teren discovers the deceit, she abruptly cuts both out of her life.

Five years later, Teren has moved forward, but she still holds on to the loss and daydreams of what could have been with Nia. When Nia reappears, Teren realizes that she has a second chance. However, the past is something she can’t let go of, especially because Nia reminds her of the hurt she endured from the two people she loved most – her lover and her best friend.

Let me tell you, Nothing Short of a Rainbow is chock full of delicious sex, drama and duplicity. Secret crushes are revealed, the women are mad hot, the sex is explosive and several relationships are tested. That aside, the writing is choppy in places and changes narration abruptly, which slows down the reader.

But if it’s excitement you want in a novel, watch out – Kaution’s gonna give it to you.

Reviewed November 2009


London Reign by A.C. Britt

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londonreignPublisher/Date:  Ghettoheat, Sept. 2007
Genre(s):  Street Life, Young Adult
Pages:  224
Website:  http://www.ghettoheat.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

If your back is against the wall, what do you do? Do you cower in fear or fight back?

If you’re 16-year-old London Walters, the protagonist of LONDON REIGN, you’re both a lover and a fighter. For most of her young life, London has been fighting against everything – living with an alcoholic father, surviving the inner-city Boston streets, being gay and being perceived as a man. Unbeknownst to most women she dates, London is a man trapped in a woman’s body. The love-em-and-leave-em playboy needs a special woman that can handle her and give her a reason to settle down.

London thinks she might have the one – until one night she is forced to leave home. It’s not something she wants, especially since she would have to abandon her little sister, Shantell, whom she always promised to protect. But she leaves anyway, taking a bus ride to Detroit, where she settles with little money and nowhere to stay.

She looks for employment in an auto shop, and runs into the boss’ daughter, Mercedes. London finds her attractive but hesitates because Mercedes is a bitch with a capital B; she doesn’t want to mix business with pleasure. The pair begin dating, yet it comes to a head when Mercedes learns the truth about London’s past. It jeopardizes her job and her well being.

But London’s a hustler, and has never let anyone keep her down for too long.

A.C. Britt’s London Reign takes you into the world of doing what you gotta do to stay alive. London is a real stud-thug, but you see she has heart. Good storytelling is the gift you’ll receive in reading London Reign. You’ll want to know what happens next to the bad boy, and if she makes it out.

Reviewed February 2008


A Different Kinda Luv by Tanaine Ja’Cole Jenkins (June 2006 Pick of the Month)

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Publisher/Date:  iUniverse, Dec. 2005
Genre:  Romance
Pages:  213
Website:  http://www.adifferentkindaluv.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

It might seem like it’s all about the bling in Tanaine Jenkins’ debut novel, A DIFFERENT KINDA LUV, but once you get into the adventurous romance story, it goes so much deeper. Absorbing until the last page, Jenkins knows to capture your attention.

Best friends Nickaya “Nick” Rivera and Jordan “Jae” Taylor have been through it all. Growing up together since kids, the pair has nurtured each other through rough childhoods, survived their college years, and matured into successful entrepreneurs. The friends own Flavors, a popular gay nightclub they bought in the college-town of Tallahassee. However the ladies couldn’t be more different.

Jae is the more level-headed of the duo, the one who works to the bone in both business and love. She works hard to keep Flavors the best in the city. And when in love, she falls hard, giving much of herself to the relationship. That led her to stay in a miserable relationship for so long with A’lanna. But she finds comfort in Tamiera, someone who is the total opposite of controlling A’lanna. Tamiera is down-to-earth, loving and thoughtful. The two make a great couple, but Jae doesn’t want to move too fast. She soon realizes, though, when you find a different kinda luv, you hold on to it.

Nick, on the other hand, ain’t studying love and is all about the you-know-what. Women are simply playmates, and she’s the one holding the cards. That is, until she meets Suenos, Tamiera’s friend. Nick allows her in her heart just a little, spending more time with her than with any woman Jae’s seen her with. Nick knows Suenos is a special lady, but she’s not sure she wants to turn in her playa card just yet. She’s not quite convinced if this is a different kinda luv.

Jenkins’ book delves into a lot of action that will keep you flipping the pages. It’s a read in one night kind of book because you won’t want to put it down. The fast cars, the crazy parties and the beautiful women will capture both studs and femmes alike. A little slow at first, it picks up and keeps you on the edge of your seat till the end; the ending will leave with watery eyes. Jenkins, grammatical errors aside, is a good storyteller—and that counts for a lot.

Cause everybody’s looking for a different kinda luv. And in Jenkins’ book, it’s certainly possible.

Reviewed June 2006