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.


Girls Just Don’t Do That Contest

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newgirlsjustdontdothatGirls Just Don’t Do That by Natalie Simone is one of those books that grabbed me the first page. Published in 2009, the college-themed love story is filled with characters that I would have hung out with in my 20s (and probably did). Simone also nailed the stud/femme dynamic to a tee. (Read the Sistahs on the Shelf review of Girls.)

In 2014, Girls Just Don’t Do That has gotten a facelift, and is now the first book in the newly-minted CRAVE trilogy. Three Degrees of Separation, the second book, will be available in May, featuring a now out-of-college Jayne and a new circle of women.

In anticipation of her newest book in the CRAVE trilogy, Natalie Simone would like to bestow 5 lucky winners an autographed copy of her book, Girls Just Don’t Do That! To enter, please fill out the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the meantime, watch Simone’s video preview of Girls Just Don’t Do That.


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