K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood by La Toya Hankins

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k-rhosweetteastePublisher/Date:  Resolute Publishing, Nov. 2013
Genre(s):  Friendship, Romance, Sorority
Pages:  236
Website:  http://www.latoyahankins.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

First things first, can we just admire the beauty that is this book cover? Gorgeous.

With that done, let’s get down to the beauty that’s in La Toya Hankins’s newest novel, K-RHO: THE SWEET TASTE OF SISTERHOOD. Hankins, the author of SBF Seeking, has done it again, creating a moving story about an unbreakable bond between sorority sisters pledging Kappa Alpha Rho.

The premise is simple, but the enduring friendship is anything but. It’s a kinship built amongst three diverse Copper Road University sophomores who on the surface don’t have much in common, who probably wouldn’t have even been friends otherwise, but connect from enduring on the same line, commiserating their relationships, and growing through their college experiences in the 1990s and adulthood 10 years later.

And to think it all began by an invitation in a heavy purple linen envelope one cold February evening. From that first interest meeting, Kiara, Gloria and Donna clicked and became inseparable.

The anchor of the group is Kiara, a legacy considered a shoo-in to be a K-Rho swan. Practically groomed for membership since birth, the business major knows all the answers and passes all the trials with flying purple and platinum colors, but she harbors a secret that could end her bid for joining the sisterhood. They don’t know her lover Chris is a she – not a he – and Kiara questions whether they would accept her otherwise.

Gloria, the liberated brainiac, always has a saying, a random fact, or a long-winded explanation as the voice of reason between the trio. On full scholarship and living in the honors dorm, she’s cerebral but down-to-earth and open to more experiences than the other two girls, including being down with the swirl. Beneath that adventurous attitude lies a woman who wants to be stepped to the right way. She doesn’t settle – and her high standards could be her downfall.

Now, Donna…this girl, the daughter of a deaconess and a Marine, won my heart. She’s the sister that could offer you with a Bible-quote in a heartbeat, but would beat your ass and ask questions last if you messed with her man. The curvy beauty lives (and fights) for Peter, who’s a player on and off the football field. As a strong as she appears to be, there’s a soft spot she has for Peter that even her sisters can’t seem to sway her from. And trust me, they’ve tried.

Crossing over, even with all that going on, was an accomplishment the girls held in high regard, and cemented their friendship through college and one tragic incident that set a slightly darker tone for the remainder of the book.

Ten years later, the girls are balancing relationships, children and careers. Kiara is still devoting her every waking hour to K-Rho at her partner’s expense; Gloria is tired of letting love find her – and of being alone. Donna is the most transformed, now a mother to Peter’s children and settled in domesticity.

This second half of K-Rho doesn’t hold as much fun as the beginning when they were fancy-free co-eds, enjoying Greek parties and gossiping about who was zooming who. However, I do think they become fuller, mature characters. I enjoyed their interactions with each other, mostly between Kiara and Donna, who are my favorite women in K-Rho. The “lesbian” and the “Bible-thumper” understood each other in ways that show best friends don’t have to do anything but love and accept each other for whom they are. Hankins shows this time and time again between Donna, Kiara, and Gloria.

I did have a couple of qualms about the night of the “incident,” in that I thought it was of out of character for one of the women to even be in that situation. I also kind of hoped Hankins would have delved into skin-color issues in African-American sorority life, but that’s just my wishful thinking.

Hankins, a Zeta Phi Beta member since undergrad, writes authentically in K-Rho. She exhibits talent in writing what the sorority experience is like, most especially as a lesbian in an alliance of women who may not always accept you – despite wearing the same colors.

But despite it all, Kiara, Gloria and Donna can’t be, won’t be stopped.

So at Hankin’s capable hands, sisterhood does taste quite good.

[rating-report]

Reviewed March 2014

About La Toya Hankins

La Toya Hankins is a native of North Carolina and currently resides in Raleigh, NC. A graduate of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with a minor in political science. During her college career, she became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and later served as second vice president for one of the largest graduate chapters in North Carolina.

After working as a regional reporter and features editor in the Charlotte metro area for seven years, La Toya entered the world of banking, where she worked for the fifth largest bank in the country. Presently employed with the State of North Carolina, she divides her time between being a proud pet parent of a terrier named Neo and volunteering in the community.

Currently serving as the chair of Shades of Pride, organizer of the annual Triangle Black Pride, La Toya is an active supporter of LGBT issues and health disparities that affect her community. Her literary influences and loves include Zora Neale Hurston, Walter Mosley, Anne Rice, and Pearl Cleage. Her motto, borrowed from Hurston, is “I do not weep at the world, I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”

La Toya is the author of SBF Seeking and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.


The Space Our Love Demands by Kionne Nicole (Apr. 2013 Pick of the Month)

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Publisher/Date:  Resolute Publishing, Aug. 2012
Genre(s):  Romance, College Life
Pages:  207
Website:  http://www.respublishing.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Does distance really make the heart grow fonder? Or does distance lead to distraction?

That’s the test Hadiyah Matthews faces in THE SPACE OUR LOVE DEMANDS, the debut novel from Kionne Nicole.

Hadiyah is in a new city, Louisville to be exact, pursuing a graduate degree and trying to cope after a breakup with long-term girlfriend, Charity. They were together seven years, and after things went sour, they mutually decided it was better to be apart than to be miserable together. Being on her own is hard, but Hadiyah is there to get an education – until Fatma comes along.

Fatma is a distraction with a capital D. The brown beauty captures Hadiyah’s senses from the first moment they meet, and Hadiyah catches a rainbow vibe from her classmate. She might be mistaken, though. Fatma is definitely attracted; between the research and studying, they flirt and feel each other out, but is she available?

More so, is Hadiyah available? Charity is still fresh in her mind. When another opportunity presents itself in the form of Adrienne, Hadiyah is even more confused about what she wants. She wants to explore and get to know herself, and these women – as well as great friends – teach her about life and love, its pleasures and its high cost.

The Space Our Love Demands is a witty novel that touches on a few serious issues. Long-term relationships, sexuality and labels, Afrocentricity, local pussy…it’s all in there. And the supporting characters – Tee is my absolute favorite; she needs to have her own book now – only make Space better. Hadiyah’s learning curve, after being in a seven year relationship, is fast and almost makes your head spin. The good thing is she may be blinded by the women in her life, but she ultimately sees things for what they really are.

Reviewed April 2013


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


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


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


Girls Just Don’t Do That by Natalie Simone (June 2009 Pick of the Month)

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Publisher/Date:  Bookshelf Global Publishing, Sept. 2005
Genre(s):  College Life, Romance, Studs & Femmes
Pages:  230
Website:  http://www.nataliesimone.com

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Few understand the ordeals black lesbians go through in relationships, but Natalie Simone has compellingly portrayed what we feel in her debut novel, GIRLS JUST DON’T DO THAT.

Through the eyes of several main characters, the tale of six college women at the University of Georgia takes on several types of relationship woes.

First is Delia, a pretty tomboy type with a seemingly shy demeanor and thoughtful personality. She is the loner type, preferring to have a small circle of friends. Though her strikingly good looks could pull any woman on campus, Delia doesn’t play games with women’s hearts. So why she becomes involved with Jayne, her old high school nemesis, is beyond comprehension.

Jayne is the complete opposite of Delia. She’s a sorority-girl type, an arrogant, gorgeous beauty who was once overweight and made life miserable for Delia back in the day. Jayne’s homophobic behavior toward Delia pitted them against each other, but when they are now paired up on a class project, Delia lets go of the past and sees Jayne for the dime she’s turned into. She can’t help but become enraptured by Jayne’s charm, and they begin a one-sided relationship, where Jayne reaps all the pleasurable benefits. Delia knows she’s being played, but can’t free herself from Jayne’s cunning spell.

And while Delia is being used, her best friend Shavonne is being abused by her girlfriend, Tracy. She lives on eggshells night after night, not knowing what mood could set Tracy off on a rampage, especially when Tracy comes home drunk. In Shavonne’s eyes, it was all so good in the beginning, as in most abusive relationships. As the disrespect worsens every day, Shavonne felt she couldn’t tell anyone what was happening because “girls just don’t do that.” Who would believe that a woman could beat another woman? One thing Shavonne does know is that she has to get out – one way or another.

If someone had asked Stacy three months ago would she ever be attracted to a woman, the answer would have been no. Yet somehow Stacy – an aspiring lawyer from a well-to-do family – spots Kendal and is infatuated with what she thinks is a handsome dude. When she discovers Kendal’s a woman, Stacy can’t help being turned on by her feminine/masculine appeal. Though she has a boyfriend, Stacy’s body betrays her head when she’s around Kendal. Now Stacey has to decide whether to leave her two-year relationship headed toward a white-picket future, or be with the woman who completes her emotionally and physically. Girls just don’t do that, remember?

Simone’s Girls Just Don’t Do That, written several years prior, still resonates with readers. You’ll be drawn into these women’s lives and inner turmoil as they decide what’s best for them to be happy. As an added bonus, Simone includes “Dyke Categories” at the end of the book, which describes several types of stud and femme black lesbian personas. I like the fact Simone not only has the potent gift of storytelling but can also impart knowledge, as well.

Simone has a new novel coming soon, one that follows the scandalous Jayne, a person who refuses to declare herself bisexual even after sleeping with several women. After reading Girls, that’s one I’ll definitely pick up.

Reviewed June 2009


Consequences by Skyy

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consequencesPublisher/Date:  Kings Crossing Publishing, Feb. 2009
Genre(s):  College Life, Romance, Studs & Femmes
Pages: 304
Website:  http://www.simplyskyy.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Love. Sex. College. Studs. Femmes. It’s all one big circle in beloved author Skyy’s newest installment of lesbian drama, CONSEQUENCES, which follows our favorite ladies and gents as they navigate their senior year together.

Consequences begins exactly where Choices concluded, with Lena readying herself for marriage while still pining over Denise. Despite having what appears to be all she wants – a fiancé who’s pro-basketball player, money and a chic apartment – she can’t help but imagine another life with Denise. The kiss they shared at the end of last year changed everything, and even the love of Brandon can’t stop her fantasies of the stud who stole her heart.

Denise, meanwhile, has tried to move on from feeling like Lena’s second choice. The women she’s been spending her time with aren’t up to par – one is a certified nutcase – and they certainly aren’t Lena. It’s hard to see her former roommate, whom she fell in love with, marry another man. But Denise doesn’t want to let go of their friendship, and only hopes Lena will realize how deep her loyalties lie before she walks down that aisle.

Cooley, Cooley, Cooley. It took Misha to tame that wild heart of hers, but when she did, Cooley wound up alone after being caught in some mess that wasn’t her fault. No worries, though, Cooley’s had the summer to get hoochies out her system and conspires to win back Misha. However, she didn’t plan on Misha being with someone else or settling for being “just friends” when Cooley’s heart says she’s the one. This is a move the former player surely didn’t see coming.

And finally Carmen, the previously portly beauty, has maintained her relationship with Nic. While the couple plans their future as they approach graduation, Carmen’s past threatens to destroy their present. She still has insecurities when she sees Nic around other women, no matter how much Nic professes her devotion. Carmen can’t believe she’s found someone who loves her so much – and begins to sabotage what she has. Can she see what she has in front of her before Nic gets fed up?

There’s a lot more in Consequences than I can describe here, but I don’t want to give it all away.

Most will agree that Skyy is the new queen of black lesbian romance, and the writing of Consequences proves it. She’s our version of E. Lynn Harris of Invisible Life fame, but with a style truly all her own. Despite its long wait following Choices, Consequences was well worth the pure uproar women created about the fate of Denise, Lena, Carmen and Cooley, and who would end up with whom. We sincerely care about these characters as our own, as the animated discussion at my book club proved.

Skyy’s Consequenceswill not only answer your questions, but will gladly provide you with cliffhangers to the next chapter in these women’s lives. When the next book arrives, I’m 100 percent sure Skyy won’t disappoint.

Reviewed June 2009


Choices by Skyy (Feb. 2008 Pick of the Month)

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Publisher/Date:  Kings Crossing Publishing, Aug. 2007
Genre(s):  Romance, College Life
Pages:  255
Website:  http://www.simplyskyy.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

It truly is a “different world” from where you come from – nothing is more evident than in author Skyy’s debut novel, CHOICES, a spellbinding story of four friends at a HBCU navigating lesbian life.

Hearts are broken, friendships are tested, and lessons are learned by the richly-drawn characters who come to life from the very first chapter. More like family, Denise, Cooley and Carmen are out lesbians on campus and best friends aiding each other through love and life; adding Lena, the sexy new roommate of Denise, only enhances their friendships.

Lena is the new girl on campus. Her heart belongs to Brandon, the star of the men’s basketball team. That, combined with her wealthy background, makes her the most envied girl on campus, especially since she’s set to be the wife of a future NBA superstar. Despite that, Lena finds something intriguing about the tomboy she shares a room with – and her curiosity about Denise begins to get the better of her.

Denise is the unattainable stud athlete, with mad skills on and off the court. Her heart has been closed since her last failed relationship – until she walks into her dorm room the first day of school and discovers Lena unpacking. While noticing her curvaceous form, Denise soon realizes Lena is a remarkable woman with a good heart, and can’t help but fall hard for the beauty. It’s a move she’s not sure she wants to make.

Completely opposite of Denise is Cooley, the smooth player of the bunch, the stud who’s managed to have any woman – gay or straight – that she sets her sights on. Christened as “Killa Cap” for her sexual prowess, Cooley has played more games with females than Milton Bradley. One woman, however, doesn’t seem to take no for an answer and makes her life a living hell, possibly ruining Cooley’s one chance at a real relationship.

Tired of the “big girl” blues, Carmen takes hold of her life and drops enough dress sizes to be a dime. Carmen figures losing the weight will help her ex see her in a new light, but she still can’t shed the self-esteem issues that plague her. Will Carmen finally find someone to accept her for whom she is, and even better, learn to love herself?

Skyy’s Choices amounts to a story with heart. The author has taken the black college experience and made it her own – lesbian style. Classes, parties, sororities…all of it creates a fresh story that hasn’t been done this well in black lesbian novels. Bravo, Skyy!

Now where’s the sequel – cause you can’t leave me hangin’.

Reviewed February 2008


Breaking Jaie by S. Renee Bess

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breakingjaiePublisher/Date:  Regal Crest Enterprises, May 2007
Genre: College Life, Romance
Pages:  212
Website:  http://www.reneebess.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

S. Renee Bess mixes a fine weave of love, pain and higher education in BREAKING JAIE, the compelling novel that chronicles the romance of two very different graduate students.

Jaie Baxter is a Ph.D. candidate with an overly confident attitude and a harrowing past. After witnessing her brother’s murder and living with a dysfunctional mother, she won’t allow anyone to get too close. That anguish, coupled with the heartache from the only woman Jaie has ever loved, proved only to propel her success as she grew into an exceptional student and a great writer — and top-notch player.

Until she meets Terez Overton one day in the English department office. Terez didn’t grow up rough like Jaie, instead living in the suburbs and enjoying the comforts of middle-class life. She’s never met someone like Jaie; the thought of beginning a relationship with someone so unlike herself tells Terez to proceed with caution, especially once she gets wind of Jaie’s gigolo tendencies.

S. Renee Bess put her foot in Breaking Jaie, with its concoction of love and suspense. There are plot twists thrown in to keep you guessing. Bess, the author of Leave of Absence, pleasantly surprised me with the contemporary tone of the book; the maturity of the characters will please both young and older readers. Bess has managed to do it again with this one, and manages to keeps me patiently waiting for the next.

Reviewed August 2007


I Am Your Sister by Ericka K. F. Simpson

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iamyoursisterPublisher/Date:  Xlibris Corporation, May 2003
Genre(s):  College Life, Religious, Romance
Pages:  276
Website:  http://www.publishedauthors.net/e_factor

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Symone shook her head and stated, “Black lesbian love has just has no place anywhere.”

“Yes, it does,” corrected Regina. “With one another.”

And it also has an excellent place in I AM YOUR SISTER, the first novel by Ericka K. F. Simpson. The author has created a brave and genuine protagonist in Symone Holmes, the 18-year-old student athlete and entrepreneur.

A basketball phenom, Symone is graduating high school at the novel’s onset and has the world at her fingertips. The top b-ball player in the country, her accomplishments allow the star to have her pick of colleges to choose from. Symone ultimately chooses an athletic scholarship Marian University, not exactly the most notable school in the country, but a small school that will allow her to shine and leave her hometown in Virginia, where she has had more than of her share of trials.

Not one to hide her sexuality, Symone came out to her parents to disastrous results. Her mother practically disowned her, and she moved out on her own at 16. During her crisis, she turned to the Lord, hoping He would guide her through the pain and could help her understand her sexuality. He, along with girlfriend Kidera, has been her rock, whom she turned to in times of need. Through him, she truly believes that “being in love, regardless of who it was, was not wrong.” And she has no problem explaining that to the world.

Especially at Marian. When Symone arrives at the school, she quickly makes friends a few of her teammates, including fellow sistahs Jasmine, Christina and Deborah. Their color forms a kinship of sorts — until Symone’s teammates find out she’s a lesbian. Some of the once-friendly women shun her. Others pick fights. Her car is vandalized. Through these actions, Symone realizes she only has herself and shuts anyone down who gets too close. Except for Regina.

Regina finds a way to befriend Symone, despite what others have done. She allows Regina into her family life and love life, especially after her romance with Kidera goes sour. The attraction is there between them, but Symone doesn’t want to let Regina have the one thing that has been broken time and time again: her heart.

Marian University is a new start for Symone, but can she handle the pressure of everything that comes with growing up?

Simpson’s I Am Your Sister is outstanding, a great piece of work that combines love and basketball, sexuality and religion. The author really knows her stuff on and off the court, as the b-ball scenes kept my attention (and I am not the sports type at all). What made it so superb was that you really connected with Symone on a more personal level, and got to know her triumphs and struggles with every page. Her connection with the Lord was one every lesbian questioning her sexuality has had, and it allowed you to endear Symone as a great character. I couldn’t put it down.

I now have a new favorite book–and new favorite author, as well.

Reviewed June 2006


Ain’t Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice by April Sinclair

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aintgonnaPublisher/Date:  Harper, Feb. 1997
Genre(s):  Coming of Age, College Life
Pages:  324
Website:  http://www.aprilsinclair.net

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Everything feels fresh and exciting much like Stevie in AIN’T GONNA BE THE SAME FOOL TWICE, this colorful sequel to Coffee Will Make You Black.

By the novel’s start, Stevie has graduated high school and is leaving and is leaving to attend college in a small Illinois town not too far from her native Chicago. Although the school is predominately white, Stevie manages to hang with Black folk, making fast friends with Sharlinda and Today. But it’s her relationship with French girl Celeste that proves to be her life-changing moment: that’s when Stevie discovers the delicious taste of a woman.

It’s also confirmed when she, Today and Sharlinda travel to San Francisco for a getaway after graduating college. After her buddies ditch her dates, Stevie decides to explore the city on her own by going to a women-only dance. There she meets Traci, one of the few sistahs in the place. The two hit it off, and pretty soon Stevie decides to stay in San Francisco to carve out a life of her own.

Stevie moves in with Traci, taking over the room and rent for one of the roommates who’s traveling abroad. Although the romantic relationship is great with Traci, it’s hard for Stevie to adjust to the city a first; trying to find a job is pure hell and San Francisco has its share of far-out folk. But you can never keep a Black woman down, and Stevie’s willing to explore new experiences. It’s 1975, and the world is changing; Stevie wants to change along with it.

In time Stevie finds out the more things change, the more things stay the same. Racism might to be as blatant in the City by the Bay as it is in the Windy City, but people are still hung up on color. And after her affair with Traci goes sour, she discovers love is a bitch, too. But she takes everything in stride, and learns that you can be a fool, but you won’t ever be the same fool twice.

Sinclair’s Ain’t Gonna Be is dynamite. Stevie’s spunky character is a hoot, complete with the 70’s lingo and all. The story is fulfilling and leaves you wanting more. Although not as sweet as its predecessor, it’s still a funky good time.

Reviewed January 2006