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.


I am Your Sister: Season 2 by Ericka K. F. Simpson

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iamyoursister2-2Publisher/Date:  EKS Books, Apr. 2013
Genre(s):  Romance, Religious, Family, Stud’s Point of View
Pages:  287
Website:  http://www.ekfsimpson.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Forgiveness. An 11-letter word whose concept is hard to give and even harder to do.

It is also Symone Holmes’ Achilles heel, and the emotional theme flowing through Ericka K. F. Simpson’s I AM YOUR SISTER: SEASON 2. The college basketball star is all grown up in the sequel to the previous I am Your Sister, but she learns life gets harder out of school and off the court.

At the novel’s start, Symone has a female b-baller’s dream: she’s the top draft pick for the WNBA,  about to graduate college, and considering forever with the love of her life, Regina. Nothing could make the point guard happier. Then she gets a phone call that her mother has had a stroke – and it brings her unhappy history with her mother front and center.

The relationship between Symone and her mother Paula became rocky the summer before her sophomore year in high school when it was “discovered” that Symone liked girls. Through flashbacks, a flood of painful memories continue to haunt Symone, reliving her mother practically disowning her. Paula refused to acknowledge her daughter’s lesbianism, and their bond disintegrated to zero contact. Moving on with her life, it took being away at school for Symone to put the past behind her but she never forgave her mother or herself.

This guilt takes its toll on her relationship with Regina in ways Symone didn’t realize. It’s the answer to why she is never able to fully open up. Why she feels she couldn’t bring Regina home to her family. Why never she allows Regina to share in her past hurts. Really, Symone could blame her generational curse for her inability to share her emotions, passed on from the male elders in her family, but she knows she can’t rely on excuses when both her mom and her future wife need her. It’s time to truly play ball, and this time, she needs this victory to heal her heart.

I’ve mentioned before that I am Your Sister is one of my favorite books, mainly because Symone is such a complex character. Simpson puts her everything into Symone, and after reading her memoir, Living With 3 Strikes (which you should definitely pick up), I understand how Simpson is inspired by her own experiences in IAYS2. This gives Symone the touch of realism that I’ve come to expect from this writer.

Symone is deeply-drawn, far from perfect, and trying on her adulthood with the help of God. She doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not and doesn’t apologize for whom she is. There’s also a down-home appeal to this Virginia-reared stud, one I found refreshing.

I am Your Sister 2 does have its minor flaws –  the ending left me flabbergasted – but between the laughter and the “wows” I had while reading convinced me that I will always have a soft spot for Symone Holmes.

Now I’m ready for another season.

Reviewed May 2013


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


The Best of Friends Can Be Lovers by Vickey Simmons

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bestofloverscanbefriendsPublisher/Date:  Vickey L. Simmons; Nov. 2012
Genre:  Romance
Pages:  57

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

“It’s funny how at a time when I thought that I didn’t want to be close to anyone, she was the one person to help me realize that I didn’t want to be alone.”

Ladies, isn’t that how we all feel when we’ve met the one?

Except in Mahogany’s case, where Saun is “the one,” it’s the age old lesbian-question of, “Can I cross the line with my bestie – and not have it be awkward?” The answer is not so simple in THE BEST OF FRIENDS CAN BE LOVERS, the e-book from Vickey Simmons.

The relationship between Mahogany and Saun starts in a work-related orientation, the pair clicking immediately. They could talk about anything, and Mahogany, with a fiancé, wasn’t turned off by Saun’s lesbian lover. In fact, they regularly discussed their love lives, which is how they knew exactly what they were missing.

When Mahogany’s relationship disintegrates, it ends up bringing the co-workers closer. Somehow the lines blur, and Mahogany finally allows her mind to wander to that place with Saun. Her mixed emotions eventually come to a head, and she finally begins to see forest – and the trees.

Saun, meanwhile, patiently stays true to her and Mahogany’s friendship, which she cherishes more than she lets on. She’s always been there for Mahogany. Will her loyalty be rewarded?

The Best of Friends Can Be Lovers is a pleasurable, swiftly-moving novel that moves a just the right pace. You see Mahogany really contemplating her decisions, and being a grown woman sure about what she wants. Though Simmons’ book could end here, I could see this not being the end of Mahogany and Saun’s story.

Reviewed April 2013


Forever Tangled: A collection of poems and stories from the heart and between the thighs (Volume 1) by Monique ‘Being True’ Thomas

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forevertangledPublisher/Date:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Nov. 2012
Genre(s):  Romance, Erotica, Poetry, Short Story
Pages:  112
Website:  http://authormoniquebeingtruethonas.wordpress.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

The Plot:  In the first volume of FOREVER TANGLED: A COLLECTION OF POEMS AND STORIES FROM THE HEART AND BETWEEN THE THIGHS, Monique ‘Being True’ Thomas invites you “to the playground of love and seduction” to “enjoy your time playing on the jungle gym” of her thoughts. Her erotic material – such as “Watched” and “Wet” –  will surely get your heart rate (and other things) up; at the same time, Thomas brings love to the table, like in “All I Wanted to Do” and “Reflection” (my personal favorite). Poetry also rounds out this first installment.

The Good:  Thomas’ stories have a familiar feel, if you’ve remember or read some of her other works featured on Kuma2.net and in the Life, Love, Lust series by Lesbian Memoirs. The love scenes are extremely sensuous, and her poetry is expressive.

The Not-So-Good:  A couple of the stories have a been-there-done-that quality.

The Bottom Line: Forever Tangled is a small read with big of heart.

Reviewed April 2013


Hush Now by L. A. Green

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hushnowPublisher/Date: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC, Nov. 2012
Genre(s):  Romance, Historical Fiction
Pages:  216
Website:  http://www.hushnowbook.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Right now, I’m fighting the urge to sing “Go Down Moses” in honor of HUSH NOW.

Here you have two women – one a white slave owner’s daughter, the other a house slave – who fall in love but can’t be openly together because of their stations in life. Author L.A. Banks presents Rebecca Montgomery and Ruth’s star-crossed love story, and the vivid emotions this kind of affection creates.

Written with spunk and a sense of humor, Hush Now is the novel about love that speaks only in whispers and late-night Shakespeare sessions. Their attraction blossoms through their love of literature, with Rebecca happily discovering that Ruth was taught to read, a secret they both hold close. After all, Rebecca’s plantation-owning father, Grafton, is generous to his workers but recognizes that “a happy slave is money in the pocket.” She believes her father wouldn’t understand the love she has for Ruth.

Ruth has to protect herself, as well. The society she inhabits looks down on her simply because of her skin color. The consequences of loving Rebecca would be far worse for her than owner. But the closeness they feel can’t be helped. How can they ever be together when the world tells them they can’t?

A combined effort by Bonnie Lee Harrison and Gleycia Green, Hush Now is a moving story, and the full cast adds a life to this tale. But make no mistake: L. A. Green’s Hush Now will anger, frighten and enlighten you. Reading it, I felt moved by Rebecca and Ruth, but more so connected with Ruth and her dilemma. The way she was treated by some didn’t sit well with me, but with a story about blacks enslaved for monetary gain, it shouldn’t. It should make you wistful.

It also should make you believe in love – and embracing love in spite of.

Reviewed April 2013


It’s Complicated (Maxi’s Place #2) by Literary Stud

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itscomplicatedliterarystudPublisher/Date:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc., Jan. 2012
Genre(s):  Romance, E-Short
Pages:  50
Website:  http://twitter.com/literarystud

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The Plot:  What a difference 3 months makes in IT’S COMPLICATED, the second installment of the Maxi’s Place series. Author Literary Stud gave us an intriguing sample with Rumor’s Ring True, but It’s Complicated offers much more flavor. Maxi’s Place owner, Cole, takes after her womanizing aunt for whom the restaurant is named after; her good friend and cook, Tasha, wonders why she can’t get her stud to be as ambitious Cole. Taylor tries to leave her past behind, but it continues to follow the bartender. And finally, we’re reacquainted with Bailey and Ava, still keeping their relationship under wraps, but soon realizing it’s hard to hide secrets at Maxi’s Place.

The Good:  Literary Stud does an excellent job introducing the new characters and sharing their issues, compared to the previous story that mostly focused on Bailey and Ava’s blossoming romance. This second episode delves deeper into the lives of Maxi’s Place workers and makes you wish for the next serving.

The Not-So-Good: The fact it leaves you hanging on.

The Bottom Line: Maxi’s Place is a spot you’ll want to revisit for the third time.

Reviewed April 2013


the other by amir

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theotherPublisher/Date: Lulu.com, June 2012
Genre(s):  Romance, Transgender, Straight Books with Lesbian Characters
Pages:  320
Website:  http://www.soulfulbooks.webs.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

The Plot:  Three best friends – Alex, Tyrell and Jewel – confront issues in their lives while holding on to their friendship in the other. It ain’t easy, though. Writer Alex, who made the transition from woman to man years prior, attempts to work through the tumultuous relationship with his late father – and then a new love steps into his life. Jewel has a new love, as well, but can’t put doggish ex Kyree out of her mind. Speaking of canines, compulsive cheater Tyrell has a gorgeous fiancé, Samantha, at home – and many others behind her back; he chalks up his behavior to being a “man” and Sam not giving him what he wants sexually. Despite the friends’ internal and romantic dilemmas, the one thing they never let go of is each other.

The Good:  The friendship is the best thing about the other. No matter what crazy situations the friends find themselves in, one is always there to be the voice of reason. the other also has a great voice in Alex, the deepest one of the trio, and Jewel is a diva with heart. Tyrell on the other hand…

The Not-So-Good:  Tyrell is a mess. How can one man be so heartless? I guess you’ll find out just how much. And at 320 pages, I think some pages could have been trimmed to make a neater story.

The Bottom Line: the other is for you if you like a thoughtful, drama-filled, character based story.

Reviewed April 2013


Royal BLU by Feral Kitty

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royalbluPublisher/Date:  CreateSpace, Oct. 2012
Genre(s):  Romance, Drama
Pages:  362

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

It all started on a Friday night in ROYAL BLU. A simple start to the weekend that begins DJ Royal and her three closest friends on a long, wild expedition to love and drama.

Bold, italics, and underline on the drama.

Taking center stage in author Feral Kitty’s debut novel is Royal Ann Hanson, a 27-year old DJ still living at home with her grandparents and her 11-year-old daughter from a teenage relationship. With beautiful golden brown skin, slim athletic frame and long brown cornrows, she’s a magnet for the ladies, straight or lesbian, attached or single. While she may use them for what they offer, she also knows she’s not ready for a real relationship. Royal is content with life, her friends, her car (a vintage candy-apple red 1970 Cadillac Coupe de Ville), and her job at Club BLU, but recognizes that she needs a true equal; and she finds a worthy opponent in Asia, her best friend’s roommate.

Despite their age difference, Royal and 20-year-old Tiana are best friends, and Ti looks to Royal as a role model of sorts; her own stud swagger is owed to watching Royal’s antics. Her come-ons pay off on that fated Friday night when Ti has an affair with someone outside the stud-femme box, but Ti worries more about what her best friend will think instead of letting herself fall.

KC, though, fell for the completely wrong woman, and everyone knows it. Her girlfriend, Ebony, is too rowdy for this white butch lesbian, who’s always had a thing for sistahs. Her friends want her leave Ebony’s melodramatics behind and see past her fighting, cheating, and abusive ways. On some level, KC is waiting for the love she longs for from Ebony. Yet how long to is too love to love yourself?

Paul, owner of Club BLU, is the older voice of reason in the foursome. In a 17-year relationship with wife Candi, they find raising a daughter working full time doesn’t allow much time for romance. Paul stays true to their love, but that’s not to say temptations don’t find her every now and again.

Royal BLU is, on one level, an entertaining, comical novel that you can’t put down. On another, it needs a lot of polishing – with punctuation and grammar especially – to make it a great novel. The characters were a hot mess a times, but truth be told, we all know people like them (or at least I did in my 20s). In its favor, Royal BLU brings up a few issues in our community about labels and slut-shaming that are important, and also shows flaws from both sides of the femme-stud dynamic.

All in all, I’m looking forward to what this Kitty brings next.

Reviewed April 2013


My Got a Girlfriend by James Tanner

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mygirlgotagirlfriendPublisher/Date: Park Bench Entertainment, May 2011
Genre: Erotica
Pages: 188
Website: http://parkbenchentertainment.weebly.com

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

The Plot: In James Tanner’s MY GIRL GOT A GIRLFRIEND, main character Dontaye, a hustler born from a lesbian pimp and a gay male prostitute, capitalizes on studs and femmes by creating a lesbian brothel. There female customers can purchase illicit services from other women. It earns Dontaye money and respect in the game, something his hard-nosed mother preached to her ambitious son. Meanwhile, Dontaye falls hard for Envy, who’s shadier than a mighty oak in the summertime. Too bad he didn’t listen to Mama about women, because the young pimp finally met his match.

The Good: Not too much was great about My Girl. The sex scenes did generate slight heat; the story moves swiftly. The way it ends, there’s bound to be a sequel.

The Not-So-Good: Where do I begin? Like I said, the sex between women was okay, but repetitive in action. The entire story was narrated by Dontaye, which allowed me to get only in his head; I didn’t care for the view. While he spoils his female employees with material things, these women were sex objects to him; he saw them as a means to success and respect. Not only that, there was nothing captivating about Dontaye; at times, he was mad corny.

The Bottom Line: My Girl Got a Girlfriend is best suited to someone who enjoys unconvincing street lit. Tis all.

Reviewed February 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


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


Once and Future Lovers by Sheree L. Greer (Dec. 2012 Pick of the Month)

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Publisher/Date:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, June 2012
Genre(s):  Romance, Short Story
Pages:  118
Website:  http://www.shereelgreer.com

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Love.

The four letter word conjures so many images and thoughts and emotions that can be hard to express.

Sheree L. Greer captures the sentiments beautifully in her short story collection, ONCE AND FUTURE LOVERS. Her book highlights the simplest and most complicated forms of affection from the romantic to the familial, to the straight to same-sex varieties.

And it all flows like butter.

Once begins with a tender story, “I Do All My Own Stunts,” as a woman lives the metaphor of “getting back on the bike” to find love again. To her, the feeling of flying when in love is worth the tumble and pain one may have to endure – and she can’t wait to experience it again.

“The Beginning of Something” is truly an old-fashioned love story. Arthur Turner meets a seemingly virtuous woman named Christine. She’s stunning, but at 26, has never been married and doesn’t want to leave home. Arthur, having lived a tough life, desires to see the world and intriguingly finds this same quality in someone else – Iris, Christine’s sister.

It all comes full circle in “Dreaming Woman,” a heartwarmer about Zaire and her two loves: Daryan, her best friend, unaware of Zaire’s passion for her; and her grandmother, Mama Iris, who Zaire lovingly takes care of and enjoys spending time with. Two different kinds of love, but the admiration Zaire has for Mama Iris bolsters her courage to declare her love for Daryan and allow her into her world.

Once and Future Lovers can be considered an exceptional debut novel. The narration of each story exudes genuine human interactions that are relatable to any sexuality, race or gender. Love can’t be defined by those things, and Greer presents this knowledge in a splendid way.

Reviewed December 2012


HIGH – On Love & Addiction by April Joy Bowden and Jeanie RAINBOW Bell

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Publisher/Date:  AuthorHouse, Mar. 2010
Genre:  Lesbian True Life
Pages:  148
Website:  http://www.apriljoybowden.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Choosing between love and addiction is a difficult decision – when both lift you up and can take you crashing back down.

Whereas drugs have the ability to destroy lives and relationships, only love has the power to bring you through and fight the disease.

This struggle is depicted in HIGH – ON LOVE & ADDICTION, written by April Joy Bowden and Jeanie RAINBOW Bell. Bowden is also the author of the poetry book, The Other Side of Joy.

Jeanie and April’s relationship began like any typical love romance. Their eyes met across a dance floor, and while they didn’t seem like each other’s type, they fell in love and soon moved in.

At first glance, Jeanie was good on paper: she had a great job, owned a home, drove a nice car, had a good upbringing, kept up a neat appearance, and treated April like a queen.

But soon after moving in, strange messages were left on their voicemail. Then Jeanie pulled disappearing acts for days on end. She missed or ruined holidays. That’s when April knew when Jeanie had a drug problem.

The rest of HIGH navigates April and Jeanie’s long journey to getting Jeanie well. What should have been years spent together and creating a family were instead lost to Jeanie’s addiction, relapse and recovery. When Jeanie was sober, she and April had the best time together. When the habit took over, everything took a backseat to getting the next high or, in April’s case, finding Jeanie.

The good thing is that Jeanie and April survived. Through their entries, Jeanie learned what her addiction was doing to her lover and herself, while April endured her own recovery from love.

For those who’ve had an addict in their lives, HIGH – On Love & Addiction is a detailed account of what the struggle is like on a day-to-day basis. Their entries are frequent and slightly repetitive, but that’s the realness of dating addict. One day at a time.

Reviewed December 2012