Books 2 Check Out – October 2014

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Looking for something new to read? Here’s a round-up of a few novels you should check out (the titles are linked to Amazon, but most are available for purchase at Barnes & Noble, as well):

3 Degrees of Separation (The Crave Collection Book 2) by Natalie Simone

Jayne is a beautiful and ambitious vixen who still sees people as disposable. She works at a prestigious law firm and is months away from passing the bar. She is dating Damien, who wants her to be his woman. Jayne couldn’t care less about what he wants as long as he stays cool about her occasional hookups with women and stops pressuring her for a relationship.

Tramaine is good-looking, established, and the biggest player in Atlanta. Her heart was broken once, and she has taken steps to ensure that it never happens again. Jayne meets Tramaine, who quickly becomes her new best friend. They are attracted to each other, but Jayne likes her women in boy shorts—not boxers—and Tramaine already has her hands full.

Candice is hardworking and the ultimate wifey. Too bad she’s living with Tonya, who smokes and drinks all day while pretending to look for a job. Tonya is up to something, and if Candice finds out, it could destroy their relationship.

These women are all connected because in the glamorous world of women who love women in Atlanta…there are only three degrees of separation.

Delve into the other side of desire!

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.

“Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Praise for Jacqueline Woodson:
Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review

Desire at Dawn by Fiona Zedde (the sequel to Every Dark Desire)

Recently turned from human to vampire, Kylie wants nothing to do with her new life or with the clan that claims her. She certainly wants nothing to do with her mother, Belle, who is completely infatuated with her vampire wife and clan leader.

To escape her unwanted existence, Kylie befriends a human, Olivia, who has been abandoned by her family. But unknown to Kylie, someone is watching her. An enemy has targeted her as the perfect way to destroy her clan. While battling this enemy, Kylie also grapples with the surprising desires she feels for the human. Desires that she’d once seen as wicked and wrong.

Fighting for her life, Kylie must confront both the assassins and the beast within her that would do anything to keep her loved ones safe.

Let the Lover Be by Sheree L. Greer

Functional alcoholic Kiana Lewis is looking for a way out. Running away from the memories of her mother’s horrific death and her own dead-end existence, she decides to crash her ex-lover’s New Orleans wedding and put a stop to the whole thing. She arrives in the Big Easy to reclaim her old love, and hopefully, reclaim her own life.

Her plans are disrupted when she meets Genevieve Durand, a seductive and spiritual New Orleans native who challenges Kiana’s skewed sense of resolve and control. Spending time with Genevieve, just like drinking, offers Kiana moments of escape. But unlike the numbing effect of alcohol, the intoxicating Genevieve makes Kiana feel and think about things she’d rather not, like the death of her mother and the destructive ways she uses to cope.

On the brink of losing it all, Kiana must decide if she will reach for the next drink or if she’ll reach beyond herself to finally slay the demons driving her since childhood.

Pieces of Her by A. C. Mims

On the outside, Naima seems to have the Rainbow Family dream. She and her wife, Tasha, have two adorable daughters and live on a beautiful block in Lawndale. Tasha’s career is booming, and Naima has every material thing she desires.

Then Allison enters the picture, awakening mental and physical desires that Naima thought were long buried.

In Pieces of Her, you’ll take the journey with Naima as she decides whether to follow the carefully crafted script she and Tasha wrote, or walk away from the past ten years to explore what.. and who.. is truly in her heart.

Rapture by Myesha D. Jenkins

Two women…

Two marriages…

Love changes…

Candace Vance is the wife of Rev. Nathanial Vance, the mother of two sons, and an elementary school teacher. Seemingly content in a happily married default mode, she crosses paths with Adia Knight and grasps for something different.

Seeking to renew her marriage, Adia Knight agrees to relocate to Atlanta after her husband, Judah, accepts his dream job as the director of an addiction counseling center. Adia is a self-proclaimed writer and part time lecturer trying to find her way professionally. She is uninspired and between teaching jobs.

Candace and Adia are drawn to each other, becoming fast friends. They are soon entangled by their consuming love and passion. Candace envisions a forever love with Adia. Adia is content with the love they have right now. Their tumultuous bond threatens the very foundation of the lives they have built with their husbands.

Get caught up in the rapture.

Surrender: Two Hearts & a Rainbow series (Book 1) (Volume 1) by Monique “B.T” Thomas (Author)

Robyn Sterling is a woman of wealth, sex appeal and a focus that is unbreakable. Success is what drives her. The women who want to want to warm her bed are plentiful. She knows that most of them want to be the one woman that will make her commit but Robyn has no intentions of falling into the relationship trap. Her life was going according to plan until her father involves her in a scheme that she can’t turn down.

Pain and disappointment is not something that Kenya Martin is deterred by. Despite her unstable upbringing she hasn’t hardened her heart. She isn’t looking for love but she anticipates its arrival. If the dates she has been going on or any indication the wait for hearts and candy is long off. Two women, two hearts and the possibility of white flags in the wind.

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Her sister’s bachelorette party is the highlight of a miserable year for Alexis Chambers, but once her bridesmaid’s dress is packed away, she’s back to coping with her life as a once popular athlete and violinist turned loner and the focus of her parents’ disappointment. She isn’t expecting much from her freshman year of college until she finds herself sharing a class with Treasure, the gorgeous stripper from her sister’s party.

Trisha Hamilton has finally gotten the credits and the money together to transfer to a four-year university. Between classes, studying, and her job as a stripper, she has little time for a social life, until she runs into the adorably shy baby butch from the club. Trisha can’t seem to hide her feelings for Alexis, even when Trisha discovers what she has been through, but will Alexis have the strength to be just as fearless about their new love?

The Vagitarian Chronicles: Erotic Stories of Lesbian Love & Lust by Phoenix Rising

A vagitarian is defined as one who has a strict diet of loving, understanding and satisfying the holder of the vagina. The Vagitarian Chronicles is a collection of erotic short stories and poems centered around this definition of a vagitarian. Lose yourself in the real world, erotic adventures showcasing lesbian love and lust through the stud-femme dynamic. Caution: the stories and poems are explicitly detailed and will leave you reaching for your partner to act out some of the scenes that are described within these pages.


From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson (Aug-Sept. 2006 Pick of the Month)

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Publisher/Date:  Puffin, July 2010
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Family, Lesbian Parents
Pages:  160
Website:  http://www.jacquelinewoodson.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Black lesbians with children take note: FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF MELANIN SUN is a must-read book. The compelling novel follows Melanin Sun, a 13-year-old dealing with the complexities of adolescence and his mother’s newfound sexuality.

It’s summertime, and Melanin is looking forward to the finer things in life: hanging with friends Ralphael and Sean, pursuing his crush on Angie, and writing his innermost thoughts in his treasured notebooks.

But what he looks forward to and treasures most is spending time with his mother Encanta, a single mother working hard to make a living for her child. The two are inseparable, leaning on each other through the best and worst of times and having a mother-son bond so deep they know each other’s moods and the simplest of facial expressions.

Melanin’s perfect relationship is demolished, though, when day at the beach ends with Encanta revealing she’s gay—and in love with a white woman. This piece of earth-shattering news devastates Melanin to no end. He can’t imagine that his mother could ever fall in love with a woman, and a white woman at that.

The one thing that helps him is his notebook. There Melanin pours out his heart, recording every emotion he’s feeling: from anger to shame, from frustration to understanding. It helps him slowly work out the issues with his Encanta, the shyness he feels over approaching Angie, and the ruined friendship with Sean once he finds out his mother’s a lesbian. As the story concludes, Melanin realizes that life doesn’t get easier as you grow up, only more complicated as the days go by.

Woodson approaches From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun with a great understanding of what it’s like to be a young black male and the sentiments of dealing with a gay parent. She makes you see the issues a child can have with your coming out, and how to survive it. As always with Woodson, the writing is superb, and the novel is heartwarming and real, a story with even a small page number manages to have an impact. Children and parents alike should read this with open eyes and an open heart – they both could learn more than they realize.

Reviewed Aug-Sept 2006


The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson

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houseyoupassnewPublisher/Date:  Puffin, Oct. 2003
Genre(s):  Coming of Age, Young Adult
Pages:  114
Website:  http://www.jacquelinewoodson.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Remember what it was like having your first crush on a girl, that delicious sensation of something sweet and forbidden, but tingling with anticipation of doing it again?

That feeling is captured in Jacqueline Woodson’s tender novel, THE HOUSE YOU PASS ON THE WAY. Evangeline “Staggerlee” Canan, the 14-year-old biracial protagonist of this tale, deals with her true feelings when her cousin, Trout, comes to visit.

Before Trout’s arrival, Staggerlee’s life is filled with longing. Despite being surrounded by a loving family, she’s lonely and doesn’t have many friends. She does grow close to new classmate Hazel, whom she kisses in between the cornflowers, but that soon fades once Hazel discovers Staggerlee’s tragic family past.

Before her parents married, Staggerlee’s grandparents were killed by a car bomb. Both famous entertainers, they were immortalized in her small town of Sweet Gum. Because of it–and her parents being an interracial couple–people look at Staggerlee and her family differently. They assume she’s stuck up and treat her as an outcast.

Everything changes when Trout comes to Sweet Gum. Staggerlee’s never met her 15-year-old cousin. But when she does, she’s taken aback by Trout’s beauty and presence. Trout’s a little pensive at first, but the more the two spend time together, they learn they have a lot more in common. They share a love girls, both having had their first same-sex crushes. Because of this connection, their bond evolves into a deep friendship. Staggerlee has found somebody who truly knows how she feels. She realizes that her feelings for girls are real and valid.

Woodson is a truly gifted writer to craft, The House You Pass on the Way, a beautiful novel about a girl’s search for self. Not only did it showcase a young woman’s budding sexuality, but highlighted the unconditional love of a family. One can truly say this novel takes you back to the past when love was fresh and new and innocent.

Reviewed October 2005