Broken in Soft Places by Fiona Zedde

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brokeninsoftplacesPublisher/Date:  Bold Stroke Books, May 2013
Genre:  Bisexual, Romance, Drama
Pages:  264
Website:  http://www.fionazedde.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Leave it to Fiona Zedde to come up with a tantalizing theme for her latest book – polyamory – a subject that black folks might do, but don’t talk candidly about. Being a part of a couple that openly allows the other to have sex with someone outside their relationship is usually left to whispered conversations. Zedde shows us in BROKEN IN SOFT PLACES that it’s not only possible, but there may be a reason why people engage in or stay away from this type of coupling.

Sara Chambers could never resist the enigmatic Rille Thompson since their first meeting at a college party, Sara as an innocent freshman to senior Rille’s big-lesbian-on-campus status.  Sara spent a good amount of time wishing Rille could be hers only, however, Rille resisted being tied down to anything singular in nature, including her lovers – be they female or male. Sara and Rille attempted to find freedom in each other for different reasons, but their feverish connection proves combustible right before Rille graduates.

Fast forward to present day, and the pair found their way back to each other, despite the many wounds Rille inflicted on Sara way back when. Much hasn’t changed, except now Sara is an attorney and Rille is a physics professor. And they have someone else occupying their bed. A man named Steven.

Sara never liked this arrangement from the start, and it weighs on her, never having Rille to herself, a situation Sara has allowed since their college days. The good thing is Sara recognizes why she stays with Rille, a woman with no self-control, and why being with Rille makes her feel somehow feel whole. Or does it? Can she untangle herself from Rille’s dominance as she allows monogamy to pass her by? Will she keep allowing her heart to be baby-sat by a woman someone who doesn’t know what love is?

Layers upon layers disintegrate the more you get to know the people in Broken in Soft Places. I can’t say enough about the flawless writing Zedde endows the reader, words coming together seamlessly and alluringly like Zedde knows how to do. She also dug deep in her portrayal of the war-torn Sara and Steven, and to a smaller extent, Rille. *sigh* Rille is so callous and as I read, she just got under my skin (the sign of a good character). I couldn’t stand how she treated Sara, and really anyone who stood in the way of her pleasure principle (Freud would have a field day with her on his couch). Yet, I did feel some sympathy for her that she couldn’t open up herself to love. And frustrated that Sara couldn’t find the love she wanted and deserved.

Reviewed June 2013


 5 Quick Questions for Fiona Zedde about Broken in Soft Places5qqlogo

Polyamory is such a taboo subject in the black community. And you’ve written Broken In Soft Places, such an invasive book about it. What was your motivation? Is it a taboo subject? I didn’t realize that. I know it’s not overtly accepted in most mainstream spaces but I think many people live it. There are women who know about and accept their wife or husband’s other lover. Couples that regularly have threesomes or identify as swingers. Groups of friends with benefits. My motivation for writing Broken In Soft Places as I did came from needing to talk about one of the elephants in the room; something we all know about but seldom explore in fiction. These polyamorous relationships exist but discussing the truth around what happens with the people involved is what can be considered taboo.

What do you say to readers who are surprised by the three-way relations in your novel? That’s a good question. I’ve already had readers express a certain amount of shock by the plot and characters of the novel. My response is that I wanted to write something different, true and challenging. I don’t exactly think of it as controversial, but it could be thought-provoking. I’ll always write lesbian characters (like Sara) but their sexual relationships may not always be monogamous or even easily defined by the constructs of accepted social behavior. And their stories, just like in real life, may not end as expected.

Sara is a fractured soul and Rille is a free spirit if I’ve ever seen one. What did it take to write both characters who seem polar opposites? I started off writing about Sara and all the pain she was suffering. And it was through her “broken” spirit that Rille’s character was born. I wondered what type of woman would Sara be attracted to and why? When the answer came to me, it wasn’t about how this woman would look and identify, but about her attitude in the world. This attitude is what Sara wants to embrace for herself. She desires freedom. She wishes she didn’t care what the world thinks. She wants to be stronger. Rille is the embodiment of all these yearnings.

Have you ever been in a poly relationship? No, I haven’t. I’ve been approached about being in one; it isn’t for me.

If you could have a threesome with any celebrities, whom would they be? Michelle Rodriguez and Eve, but Michelle would have to be tied up. I’ve heard she gets violent.


Bi-Curious by Natalie Weber

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bi-curiousPublisher/Date:  Urban Books, Jan. 2011
Genre:  Romance
Pages:  204
Website:  http://www.urbanbooks.net

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

When Serenity arrives for her first year of college, she knew she would discover an entirely new world – what she didn’t expect to find was drama and murder.

And it all began when she unlocked her hidden lesbian fantasies in BI-CURIOUS, the first book in the series by Natalie Weber.

Serenity wants to whet her appetite for women, and college seems like the best place to discover what her older sister, Carla, has always known as a stud. Her guardian since their mother passed away, Carla would never let anything happen to her baby sister.

But her sister is not there to protect her when Serenity’s curiosity lands her in the trap of the hottest stud on campus: Sadie Smith. She’s the one that ladies – gay or straight — want in their beds, and the dude that other dudes envy. Her wealth makes her stand out, and her parties are legendary. Never without a woman, Sadie is determined to add Serenity to her stable of beauties. And what Sadie wants, she gets.

Soon, Serenity is plunged into a world of sex, drugs, and possessiveness…all courtesy of Sadie. She has a hold over Serenity that leads her down the wrong path, to the point it’s affecting her studies and her relationship with Carla. When she tries to leave, Sadie’s manipulations lead her back. Can Serenity escape the dangerous web Sadie has spun around her before she gets hurt?

Weber, sister-in-law to famed author Carl Weber, definitely follows in his storytelling footsteps. Bi-Curious is full of spicy sex and drama you’d expect in an erotic tale. Not all of it is believable, but it does make for a juicy read. Bi-Curious 2 is already out, with Bi-Curious 3, coming soon, and I wonder just how far Weber will take Serenity’s story.

Reviewed February 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


Stud by Sa’id Salaam

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studPublisher/Date: G Street Chronicles, Aug. 2012
Genre(s):  Bisexual, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 142
Website: http://www.gstreetchronicles.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

What we know as a masculine lesbian takes on an entirely different definition in STUD, the book from street lit author Sa’id Salaam.

Stud apparently has many descriptions, but Salaam portrays protagonist Andrea “Dre” Coleman as a drug-dealing, gun-toting young woman with an identity crisis.

It wasn’t always this way, though.

Tomboy Dre never wanted to wear pink or ribbons. Dressing like a boy for protection, she emulates her hustling older brother, Bernard, and prefers beating up the boys and playing lookout for big bro. Bernard is her hero, and when her brother is killed, it’s up to Dre to take over the game in Bernard’s honor.

Easier said than done. Dre finds it hard to gain respect when you’re a girl filling in bigger shoes.

Luckily, Dre’s best friend Ramel, is her partner-in-crime. The two make a great pair, and when things get rough, or somebody needs to become a nobody, Ramel is in the trenches with her. Doing the kind of work they do, it bonds them without many words being said.

This attraction between Dre and Ramel is what throws the reader completely off when reading Stud. You’ve been introduced to Dre the stud and her romps with women, but you end up knowing Dre the bisexual. And if that’s what she wants to be, that’s fine. But the book’s title seems misleading. Was the author trying sending a message or creating a confusing character for entertainment value?

As entertaining as it may be, it’s also a head-scratcher. What Stud has in its corner is that the writing is decent, and some may like this urban tale. But what Salaam is writing about brings about the issue of what defines a stud. Do clothes or attitude make a stud, or is it a combination? Who’s to say what a stud is?

Sadly, you won’t find out by reading Stud.

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


The Beautiful People: New Orleans by Cheril N. Clarke

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beautifulpeopleneworleansPublisher/Date:  Dodi Press, Feb. 2011
Genre:  Gay & Lesbian
Pages:  24
Website:  http://www.cherilnclarke.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Four friends and a vacation is the premise of THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: NEW ORLEANS, the first in an e-book series from Cheril N. Clarke.

Good friends Colin, Donovan, Vanessa and Yen jet-set to a different city every month, where they behold the sights — both of the city and the people.

Donovan is the type-a, men’s fashion designer, accountant Colin is entranced by beautiful faces — male and female; photographer Yen can’t seem to get her vices under control; and Vanessa’s attraction to Yen surprisingly reemerges itself for the business consultant.

Clarke packs a lot of energy into a short read. I enjoyed the friends’ interaction, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for them in the next installment.

You know what they say: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Reviewed January 2012


3 the Hard Way: Trilogy of Girls Around the Way by Deardria Adri Enne Nesbitt

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3thehardway1Publisher/Date:  Gate Way Publishing, 1997
Genre: Romance
Pages:  148
Website:  http://www.thegatewayzone.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The Plot: 3 intersecting stories about New York women are the name of the game in 3 THE HARD WAY: TRILOGY OF GIRLS AROUND THE WAY by Deardria Nesbitt. The first finds music executive CheyAnta fighting for her dwindling relationship and against the advances of a seductress who won’t take no for an answer, and the two women are a distraction from her thriving business. In the second tale, Islande meets up with an old college flame, and residual sparks surprise her. 3 the Hard Way‘s final story comes full circle as CheyAnta finally gets her life in order – in business and in love.

The Good: The tales are lustful and drama-filled…in a good way. The characters are well-drawn, and as the book progresses, details begin to coincide to make a well-rounded novel.

The Not-So-Good: The writing could have been a bit tighter.

The Bottom Line: 3 the Hard Way in 3 words is easy, breezy, and enthralling. Check out her other two novels, Drama and Back in the Day, which continue the series.

Reviewed January 2012


The Menage Menagerie by J.L. Dillard

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menagemenageriePublisher/Date:  eXcessica Publishing, Dec. 2009
Genre(s):  Bisexual, Romance, Erotica
Pages:  59
Website:  http://www.jldillard1.webs.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

“Nothing is simple about this arrangement,” Jonathan Rutherford replies to his wife as they contemplate a threesome in THE MENAGE MENAGERIE. In her e-book, author J.L. Dillard creates the perfect sexual situation between a man, his wife and another woman.

Dana Rutherford knows her husband’s been craving to see her be pleasured by another woman. And even though their sex is as good as it gets, she indulges him this one fantasy. Dana, as beautiful and voluptuous as she is, recognizes that a little spice in their love life will keep him satisfied and looking no further.

So Dana concedes and offers Jonathan this proposition: engage in a ménage à trois with Crystina, an extremely sexy lesbian at his workplace.

Because Jonathan sings Crystina’s praises to his wife at home, Dana deduces that he finds her attractive, as well, so she sets up a meeting between the three. She just hopes it doesn’t blow up in her face – considering the fact Jonathan is Crystina’s boss.  Also causing distress is the fact that the usually demure Dana is a lot more excited about being seduced by a woman than she ever thought she would be.

What goes down tonight could be anyone’s guess.

Dillard is sensual in her portrayal of the heat between both the husband and wife, but most especially between the two women. Dana and Crystina’s obvious connection is honestly the best part of the story; I could have used more of that. But if you want a book that gets it down and dirty, Dillard’s Menagerie worth checking out.

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


Missionary No More: Purple Panties II edited by Zane

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purplepanties2Publisher/Date:  Strebor Books, Jan. 2009
Genre(s):  Erotica, Short Story, Anthology
Pages:  256
Website:  http://www.eroticanoir.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

The second coming of Zane’s lesbian erotica collection, MISSIONARY NO MORE: PURPLE PANTIES II, proves it’s never as good as the first time.

Stories ranging from sex club escapades and naughty housewives get you going, but don’t take you too far over the edge. Still there are some tales that manage to titillate your senses and stand out from the rest.

“The Namar’s Nectar” is one in particular, a novella about two women wondering what gifts lie within the queen to make the men of their village line up in droves; the pair yearn to experience the secret for themselves. Then in “Caged,” an inmate recounts the crime of passion that landed her in prison while discovering a new passion behind bars.

Purple Panties II also has its share of bad girls – some you might not see coming. “It’s All the Same” sees a pampered princess getting everything she wants from her stud prince, while “Bad Behavior” sees a bridesmaid making good use of her hideous dress…on the floor.

Other stories involve threesomes of both the all-women variety, and, surprisingly, the two-woman-one-man type. And there’s a tale involving a fetish one might not expect.

As usual, the best story is saved for last with Zane’s “The Flipper,” where a woman with an unusual occupation gets herself stuck between two women. If they only knew what she does for a living…

Overall, Purple Panties II is tasty in some parts, a little bland in others. It’s doesn’t stray too far from the mold of the original book, so if you liked the first pair of Panties, you’ll like this installment. It gets the job done, so to speak, and that’s never a bad thing.

Reviewed February 2009


Turned Out by Angel M. Hunter

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turnedoutPublisher/Date:  Urban Books, June 2007
Genre(s):  Romance, Bisexual
Pages:  262
Website:  http://www.angelmhunter.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

The saying goes, “Once you go black, you never go back.”

But in TURNED OUT, the tantalizing novel from Angel M. Hunter, the saying should go, “Once you go clit, you can’t get enough of it.”

That’s the situation with Champagne Rose, a publicist in a long-term relationship with Zyair, a man who would do anything to marry her. They’ve been shacking up for five years, and while they love each other dearly, their love life has become more than mundane. Their routine is the same, the sex is the same – both are clamoring for something exciting to spice up their bedroom boom.

They figure a vacation at an exotic locale is just the ticket. Champagne and Zyair get more than they booked for when a late-night rendezvous for two on the beach ends in a threesome. The addition of an anonymous woman adds just the spark they need, and they return home with a refreshed attitude toward their relationship.

Except Champagne is still thinking about that night. A lot. She wants to know if the pseudo-lesbian fling was just that, or if she really has an attraction to women. It’s something she’s toyed with before, but only in her wildest desires.

Soon Champagne is consumed with thoughts of making love to a woman again — to taste her, please her, to experience the softness and amazing orgasm she had on the beach. When she gets Zyair, who’s more than willing of course, to let her try it again, she’s knows it will be better than before.

But whom will she select to make her fantasy come true?

Hunter’s Turned Out is a pleasurable novel, where the reader can follow a woman’s bi-curious journey. It’s an easy read. Though I was left hanging by the book’s end, I know it’s just a set-up for the sequel to Champagne’s continuing adventures.

And I’ll go along for the ride.

Reviewed December 2008


Love Lust and a Whole Lotta Distrust by DeiIra Smith-Collard

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lovelustwholelottadistrustPublisher/Date:  AriSiri Publishing, May 2008
Genre(s): Bisexual, Romance, Straight Books with Lesbian Characters
Pages:  276
Website:  http://writerwithinonline.com/

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

The ladies of Synergy Wireless are off the chain. Never has a group of scandalous employees been introduced than in LOVE LUST AND A WHOLE LOTTA DISTRUST by author DeiIra Smith-Collard. They love, they fight, and basically wreak havoc on own their own lives – just another day at the office.

Co-workers Nicole, Kendra Carmell and Natina play a lot harder than they work, bed-hopping and game-playing with the best of them. Nicole is the woman who refuses to take no for answer when it comes to fellow employee, Jason. Disregarding the fact that Jason is a player, she is determined to make the playboy settle down, even if it means tricking him and making a fool of herself – or destroying her relationship with her best friend, Kendra. Seeing Kendra and Jason together, she vows to do anything to push her friend out of the way to have Jason.

Meanwhile, Kendra’s not even studying Jason. She has her hands full with her own affair with Gia, a woman she met online. She chats with the Atlanta native every single day, exchanging poetry and photos. Soon the mental affair becomes a physical when Kendra is sent to Atlanta for work. They hit it off in, and Kendra is torn between the most passionate affair of her life and her dutiful husband.

While that drama unfolds, Carmell and Natina are new employees who extend their work endeavors to after-hours fun, hitting the town hard. It’s all fun at first, but there’s a misunderstanding when Carmell crosses the line with Natina. Believing Natina is sending her mixed signals, Carmell vows to make the woman her own, while humiliating her in the process and possibly destroying Natina’s new relationship with Louis.

And it just gets more outrageous from there. Smith-Collard keeps your attention with the antics of these amorous employees, where work takes a backseat to drama. The characters are fleshed out, and Smith-Collard is definitely a story-teller; it’s a rush just to see what will happen next.

But with all the going-ons going on at Synergy Wireless, I don’t see how the ladies get any work done.

Reviewed October 2008


My Little Secret by Anna J.

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mylittlesecretPublisher/Date:  Urban Books, Sept. 2008
Genre(s):  Romance, Erotica
Pages:  288
Website:  http://www.askannaj.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Anna J., known for her girl-on-girl, off-the-chain romps, is back yet again with another tale of lust, lies and lesbian action with MY LITTLE SECRET. The newest story from the author of My Woman His Wife and The Aftermath brings us Midori Hunter and Jayday B., two women whose secret affair goes from hot to dangerous very quickly.

The passion between the two is undeniable, despite the fact Midori is married to a top physician and has everything a wealthy wife could want. Jaydah, in her own right, is a highly successful author who has enough drama for several books. Their story begins when Jaydah encounters Midori at one her bookstore signings, and they realize their attraction is more than a storybook romance.

But after two years of being Midori’s little side dish, Jaydah is sick of the game. It doesn’t matter how many promises or “I love you’s” Midori comforts her with, Jaydah simply wants her all to herself. How can Midori deny how they feel, lie about her whereabouts, and share the things they share and not want to have something more?

Jaydah can’t get down with Midori’s fickle affection, and tries with great effort, to break it off – more than once. The back and forth of these two women is the meat of the story, who can’t seem to let go of one another, and at some points, even using desperate measures to get what they want. When Jaydah lets go, Midori worms her way back in. When Midori goes back to her neglectful, unfulfilling husband, Jaydah uses a calculated move to get her woman back. They can’t quite let go, but can never have each other as they wish.

What are two horny women to do?

In My Little Secret, Anna J . knows how to bring the lesbian action better than any “straight” woman can. The plot is a little sparse, other than the vacillating relationship between Midori and Jaydah, but the hot sex scenes somewhat make up for that. What’s really intriguing is the character Jaydah, who seems to be deliberately similar to Anna J.

Could there possibly be some truth to fiction?

Reviewed October 2008


Bare Necessities: Sensuous Tales of Passion by Hazel Mills

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barenecessitiesPublisher/Date:  Xpress Yourself Publishing, LLC , Feb. 2008
Genre(s):  Erotica, Short Story, Bisexual
Pages:  112
Website:  http://www.hazelmillsstories.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

When passions are laid bare, it can be sensual, exciting and worth every minute.

The same can be said about BARE NECESSITIES: SENSUOUS TALES OF PASSION, the collection of naughty gems and poems written by Hazel Mills. Containing 11 stories of sexual candor, Bare Necessities combines a little bit of romance and a little bit of sin to create a short-but-sweet romp worth reading.

Bare Necessities begins with “A Lover is Born,” where Laila is introduced to Gabe at her book club meeting and is instantly entranced. She wants to get to know Gabe better, and what better way than to host the next gathering at her place. The bash is a success in more ways than one, as the two ladies manage to get their own party started.

In “Surrender,” a workaholic husband and wife put the spice back into their marriage by attending a couple’s retreat. Yet, this isn’t just a boring therapy session; it’s an experience that allows them to seek unknown pleasures, and from it the married lovers learn that it’s okay to let go and explore their freaky sides.

Then in the most poignant tale of Bare Necessities, “Sweet Home Alabama,” a Philadelphia transplant returns for her family reunion in Sweet Home, a small town with even smaller dreams. Despite escaping, Tracy has only one regret after leaving her hometown: abandoning her childhood sweetheart, Monica. She vows to find her – and finally be with the woman she never stopped loving.

There more treasures in Bare Necessities, and Mills doesn’t hesitate to give them to you. Her stories are funny, warm, and hot in just the right places. Even though the book has a mere hundred or so pages, it doesn’t fail to get you fired up. I look forward to reading more from Mills – hopefully in a book with a much higher page count.

Reviewed August 2008


Down Low Sistahs by Wakiem Freeman

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downlowsistahsPublisher/Date:  Apricot Books International, Feb. 2008
Genre(s):  Contemporary Fiction, Bisexual
Pages:  224

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

If you pick up DOWN LOW SISTAHS, here’s a warning: Read at your own risk.

Urban author Wakiem Freeman’s tale of sistahs gone wild is blunt in its approach, to the point that it might offend the delicate black lesbian reader. The eye-opening plot centers around a dude named Nicor, who can’t seem to find a straight sistah to save his life. He tells the story in the most graphic fashion, his exploits downright dirty.

How it all begins is with the surprise his girlfriend Tamar drops on his 25th birthday: she has a girlfriend. This comes after dating him for six months and seeing future with the tall beauty. While he imagined they’d be married and having babies, she was slipping out her female lover. Nicor is incensed, hating the fact he was played like a fiddle.

Nicor is determined to find an honest woman with no lesbian tendencies. Instead he runs into female after female with a scandalous past of licking the cat. Either they’re straight forward with it (no pun intended) or play it off by claiming “that’s just my cousin.” Nicor gets fed up with lies and decides to expose these down low sistahs for what they are. He’s tired of men getting browbeaten about having DL inclinations, when women are out here wilin’ out.

His revenge occurs when Nicor writes a song about these women and catches superstar media attention. It all comes together for the befuddled brotha – until Tamar attempts to re-enter his life.

Freeman, to his credit, does give a candid male perspective to women living double lives, unbeknownst to their male partners. This behavior does happen, but is it possible that every woman he dates has a female lover? What I also didn’t care for was the explicit sex scenes Nicor had with different (read: a lot) women that didn’t add much value to the story. It offended me that he can denounce down low sistahs for their callousness, but he could sleep with woman after woman with little regard. The disrespect surely goes both ways.

The author does grab your attention – even if it’s the wrong kind.

Reviewed May 2008