Inside Out by Juin Charnell

Posted on

insideoutPublisher/Date:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Oct. 2011
Genre(s):  Romance, Suspense
Pages:  148
Website:  http://juincharnell.blogspot.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Being a black lesbian prison investigator ain’t easy. Ask Lieutenant Perri Stone.

Between the rape of a prisoner at the maximum-security Dexter Correctional Facility and her home life exploding, she can’t catch a break in INSIDE OUT, the first in the Perri Stone series by Juin Charnell.

In addition to the rape, Perri also has to figure out why her inmates are being murdered. Of course, the convicts aren’t talking, and a couple of the officers are proving their incompetence. Perri’s worked in this system for 12 years, enough to know who to trust. Back then, as a 5’4”, Afro-wearing, 20-year-old officer, she gained the respect of the male prisoners and fellow employees alike by taking her licks and not being afraid to get dirty. Now at 32, there wasn’t much you could get past Perri Stone.

Her homelife, though, is a different ball of wax. Perri’s partner, Cassidy, is somewhat in the closet, and on top of that, has issues with her ex-husband who is determined to kidnap their daughter because of her relationship with Perri. It also doesn’t help that Cassidy’s mother meddles in their affairs.

Through it all, Perri stays cool as a cucumber; it seems nothing fazes her. It’s part of her charm – and what makes Inside Out interesting.

Charnell herself is a 10-year veteran in Corrections, writing Inside Out with authority and no-nonsense flair. Based on her novel’s realistic and gritty view of prison life, I’m motivated to read the sequel, Quiet Riot.

You will be, too.

Reviewed December 2012


Keesha & Her Two Moms Go Swimming by Monica Bey-Clarke and Cheril N. Clarke

Posted on

keesha_two_momsPublisher/Date:  Dodi Press, June 2011
Genre: Children’s Books
Pages:  30
Website:  http://www.cherilnclarke.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Parents, want a great book you can share with your children?

Pick up KEESHA AND HER TWO MOMS GO SWIMMING by partners Monica Bey-Clarke and Cheril N. Clarke.

Keesha & Her Two Moms is delightful. The daughter of lesbian parents, Keesha is a adorable girl who loves to share and have fun. Her mothers definitely raised her right.

You’ll see Keesha frolicking in the pool, playing with her bestie and making new friends. You’ll also see the love she has for her two moms, and that life for gay families are just like any other.

With colorful illustrations and animated writing, Bey-Clarke and Clarke make Keesha and Her Two Moms Go Swimming a must read for gay and lesbian parents. Kids will love to see their families reflected just as they really are.

Also check out a coloring and activity book titled My Family ABCs with Keesha!, as well as other titles from the Clarkes at  www.myfamilyproducts.net.

Reviewed January 2012


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

Posted on

potmlogomelaninsunnew

 

 

 

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