30 Books in 90 Days Challenge – BOOK 6


The Rock Star in Seat 3A – Jill Kargman

Grade: B-

Thougths – There is a genre of mainstream books called beach reads.  We call them Urban Lit.  You know those books that you read just for pleasure, there is no redeeming value in the bigger spectrum. They are a quick read, usually hilarious and probably 30 minutes after you read it, you can’t recall it, but in the moment it is giving you life.

Well this is one of those books. What happens when fantasy and reality collide? The Rock Star in Star 3A. This book is a fun exploration of what happens when fantasies become a reality…and what happens to life as it had been.  I immediately put it in my ‘basket’ upon reading that the story was about ‘what if you are living your life and it’s going well, but one day on a flight you sit next to the object of your lust and desire; your favorite Rock Star!’  They had me at HELLO!! 

The book is written in such a way that you are suppose to zip through it.  The language is in such a way that it is not a candidate for Toastmasters, lol lol  I read through the reviews and there are some bad ones but understanding the genre this book fits in would possibly eliminate this.

This is a quick read and when I added in all my Rock Star Fantasies – I enjoyed it.


30 Books in 90 Days Challenge – BOOK 5

Book 5

Whitney Houston!


Grade: C


Well as we all know, books are forthcoming from not only whitney’s mom, but BeBE Winans and probably a whole heap of other folks.  I saw this on the shelves and decided that outside of maybe BeBe’s book, this would be the only Whitney Book I read. 

Mark Bego is a professional writer and from the looks of it googler.  The best thing I got from the book was her musical history because I hadn’t actually known about her entire catalogue of work.  It gave great lengthy backgrounds on Cissy and Dionne and the first few chapters really laid a nice ground work for where Whitney came from and how it was just destined, then like the woman herself, the book started to take a slide.

Most of the things he wrote used The National Enquirer, Star and other gossip rags as reference and though I say there is always some truth to what the rags say, it just made the book look cheap. As well as, the author had an opinion and kept adding it to the mix.  He set the entire book up as if her life mess ups were totally Bobby’s fault and at any time would say so. 

Finally, at the end where you thought that maybe he would have some new information etc. on her passing, he didn’t and it seemed rushed and incomplete, with a whole bunch of quotes from celebrities etc.  I came away feeling I needed Randy Tamborelli to write a book about her.

30 Books in 90 Days Challenge – Intro & First 4

I’m always taking up some challenge, but this time I’d like to actually complete this one, seeing as Reality Television is slowly sucking all the sense out of my head, lol  The goal is to read 30 books in 90 days.  I started June 27th, which means I’ll be ending September 27th.  I can do this!  My own personal mini-goal is to break out of the Black Authors/Black Folks/Black Folk Issues – so at least 10 of these books need to be ‘mainstream’ in some form or fashion.  Here are the first 4 I’ve read and I’ll post, following this format as I read more.  These will all be housed under “The Book Shelf” Category.


How to Survive Your Freshman Year

Medium:  Paperback

Grade: A+

Thoughts:  This book REALLY helped me and College Girl. Written with brutal candor by actual former freshman – it covers just about every topic you could ever encounter. Some of it is hilarious.  I highly recommend it.


Love Insha’Allah – The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women

Medium:  Kindle

Grade: A-

Thoughts:  What an interesting book, written by all kinds of Muslim women all colors, ethnic backgrounds, orientation – the book explores the search for and experience of love Muslim Style.  I was drawn to it for several reasons and I saw myself and some of my struggles and I saw hope for my daughter. The stories keep you rivited and you came away with an understanding of how we are much more alike than we care to admit.  I was contemplating suggesting College Girl read it.  The minus was more for I wish there were just a few more stories of American ‘reverts’ in the book. 



Medium:  Paperback (borrowed from a friend)

Grade: A+++++++

Thoughts:  OMG I have an APB out on Brandon!! This is book 2 in what should be a 3 arch storyline about Tamia, Fiona, Brandon, Cynthia and Dominic (book One is called Exposed).  Written by Naomi Chase (who happens to be the alter ego of my favorite author) – it follows their story of deceit, blackmail, secrets etc.  and it has some HOT sex.  Honeyyy – the thing though that makes this book readable is that the story is SHARP, the writing excelelnt and the story line itself actually believable.  It’s NOT an Urban Novel. 


Transitions of The Heart – Stories of love, struggle and acceptance by mothers of transgender and gender variant children

Medium: Paperback (Dekalb Library Check Out)

Grade: A+

Thoughts: Though I am not the parent of a transgender or LGBT Child – I am the mother of a child who has chosen ‘not the norm’ among American Standards and thus it has been a ‘change’.  This book has really been like this virtual support group and as each mother expressed themselves, I could see a bit of myself, others and what not.  As a mom, anything your child does that might draw attention, be met with opposition, expose them to hatred and change the way you and your family might interact with them causes you to go through experiences, especially if you are trying to rise above it all and embrace your child and their decisions/choices etc.



I stared at the little box as I was asked to attend a private dinner party and reading for an Author and Internet Friend, when they came to Atlanta. First, I was excited because it’s been awhile since I’ve met someone in person that I’ve had a relationship on line with and Second, I was looking forward to moving in a circle that was not my own. I know several groups of folks who have circles that I’ve dipped and dabbed in. I wrote a post about my social shyness and self imposed peer pressure that I experience.

So I look up and it’s time. It’s being held at a swanky Peachtree Hotel/Residence. I started planning my outfit like a week before, because I already knew the audience might be giving me ATL casual chic I chose to appear as a butterfly (yes there are themes, lol) and so I chose my good black skinny pants (yes I still separate clothes into play clothes and school clothes, lol) a cute shirt and my coach boots. All of a sudden, I wanted some hair. No, there wasn’t anything wrong with the hair on my head – I just felt like I needed to feel something bouncing on my neck, lol So I went and got me a perfect fall and I was set.

There is something about proving that you can get ready for something in less than 30 minutes, at least with me. Knowing damn well, my makeup will take that long if I’m going for a beat look. I really had no clue to who was coming to this event and what the dress code was and how I was suppose to be presenting myself in respect to the Author’s sphere – so I went with what I know best – Just being me, lol lol I sat and beat the hell out of my face, plopped my fall on and grabbed my wrap and headed out – – It was actually kinda warm and I was rushing so a soft sheen had broken out in the parts where you traditionally use non-sweat products. I sat in the car and lifted the mirror down to get my face from shining and looked in HORROR as I saw my hair yell “WHO GON CHECK ME BOO!!” and retreat somewhere between kinky and nappy. It was NOT playing well against the perfectly coiffed Yaki I was sporting from the ears back. Honey it looked like an upside down waterfall – the foam was at the top, lol lol lol lol I turned around and went back home and grabbed a scarf, creating a 1973 look and kept it stepping.

Riding up the key operated elevator, I wasn’t feeling any kinda way. As I got off the elevator, I strolled up to the door and knocked….showtime. He opened the door and said my name and whatever I was feeling disappeared. We hugged and I came into quite the cute spot. A quick survey of the room, let me know that I was the only Female and…….Heterosexual in the room.

Fast forward 15 or so minutes and I got one sentence for you….Wine, Fried Chicken, Bravo and a spectacular host and guest……FANTASTIC!!

I was really enjoying being in a situation I hadn’t been in since my visit to Chicago to visit my Bestie. As we all know, a whole heap of Black Women are self professed “Hags” in the Gay community. We feature them in our lives as these like kind spirits. However, if we are truthful, the way we do can sometimes be stereotypical and the feature a bit Karaoke like. As if they aren’t people but characters. The “Gay Girlfriend” the “Gay Husband” how about I have a friend, who happens to be gay. I find it interesting as well, how as a straight person you want to let it be known that you are ‘down’ so bad, like when Toubob gets around us and decides to start giving dap and acting a fool to prove they with it, lol lol lol I felt the need to twirl and just drop down to the floor – but I held off, lol lol

Trent Jackson is an accomplished and published author about to release his third book “Pop Life” As many know, I dabble in reading Homecentric novels and erotica. I have a small collection and I enjoy it. Amazon is good for finding little ditties that might not have made mainstream but are self published and contain some really good stories. I had not had an opportunity to actually read one of his books, but I was well aware of his work. Our connection, in my mind has always been his blogs. His late night purges have helped me think about and address a whole heap of issues or just confirm I’m not crazy – I am forever grateful to him for just coming to us naked at all times. He’s allowed a whole heap of us to get dressed 🙂

Anyhoo – he read several chapters snippets of his books to us and the conversation that followed was some of the best I’ve had in awhile. Apparently, I had been starving for some of this type of conversation because I was open. I might have spoken to much – but I really wanted to be a part of the conversation. I hope I didn’t come across as the very person I was trying not to be.

I just want to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of your circle, for the great food and drink and for introducing me to others who are doing big things in the A-T-L. I’ve become Facebook and Twitter co-horts with several of them and have added at least 3 new blogs to my google reader. If I was not the only female invited to this event and you didn’t make it, you  missed a great time!

I look forward to Pop Life’s release and I encourage others to pick it up as well. Oh and please know that I have pulled out my manuscript and I be damn if by January 2012 I will have quite a bit of it edited and making some sense!! 

The Book Shelf – The Electronic Library

There’s something about a book, the feel and smell of it.  The way the pages rustle as you turn them, running your fingers across them on the book shelf.  I sometimes just go and touch my Beverly Jenkins collection.  I was real hesitated when the Kindle machine came out and had no interest in it.  I turned the corner though when one of my favorite authors, Maureen Smith, wrote a book that was exclusive to Kindle.  I had to have that book, so I downloaded the App on my trusty Iphone and thus began my fascination with the electronic medium.

My Kindle account has become quite robust and I decided to see what kinda stats I had

Purchased 25 books.
Spent $52.00
Highest:  $9.29
Lowest: .99
Several:  FREE
Read 18
In Queue:  7

That’s a lot of books to read since April for me.  I now read books on my Ipad.  I sometimes just stare at my ‘bookshelf’ lol lol

I already am a self professed Google Master and now I’m becoming an Amazon search master as well.  There are just so many books and not enough time to read them, lol lol  Kindle has opened up the world of the self published author and sometimes those books can be better than mainstream authors.  In this economy, the books are so much cheaper as well via the electronic medium.

With the impending closing of Borders the last big book chain in the country, I feel some kinda way.  The first signs of the end of a civilization is the disappearance of it’s books.  My heart will always belong to that which has brought me so much joy, the physical book, but like everything else – there’s a time and a place.

I hope you have enjoyed this short little series for the Month of July where I talk about my love of books.  At the end of August, which will mark the official end of the summer reading period (well to me Labor Day marks the end of Summer) I will list all the books I’ve read since June so you too can pick them up if you like.

The Book Shelf – A Young Girls Imagination

(To be truthful, I believe I wrote about this before – I looked for it, but couldn’t find it, so I’ve recreated the thought.  Old time readers may remember this subject).

I will never forget that bike. It was old and rickety, but it had a shelf on the back and a basket in the front. During the summer it switched over from the bat mobile, to Charlie’s Angel’s main mode of transportation but it also allowed me to do something that I enjoyed the most – go to the neighborhood library and check out tons of books – carrying them home on this bike. I have so many fond memories of my relationship with the library over the years, the fondest when I was a young girl.

Our library was the MLK Branch – right behind Booker T. Washington High School. I remember the summer the most because they used to have movies. We would all ride our bikes down there and act a plum fool in that movie room. The woman used to just start the movie (on reel to reel, remember those?) and leave us in there. We would all get in a line on the floor and all roll like nuts from one end of that room to the other, knocking into each other and the wall. What fun! I also can remember just being in love with all of the books. I would sit on the floor in the young adult section and just immerse myself in all that goodness. I could check out up to 10 books at a time, loading my bike up front and back and in the wha…2 or 3 weeks we got to have them at home, read them all.

There are a few books/series/authors that just always stuck out to me as being conduits to my fantasies and adventures as a youth.


Laura Ingalls (Wilder) and Little House on the Prarie – I remember being hooked after the first few pages. This was bout as far away as you could get and for a young black girl this was so foreign on so many levels. I voractiously read every book in this series…twice. I could curl up and just leave where I currently was. I remember sometimes being scolded because I was ignoring everyone and everything while reading these books, lol lol What a great joy when they came to life courtesy of Michael Landon and case. I was so excited as the Teenager began reading to introduce Laura to her but GASP she wasn’t really interested….

The literary works of Lois Lenski. I’m not sure how I came upon her books but it was during the Little House era. These books chronicled kids life in Amish country for the most part. They went back to a simplier time. The titles were whimiscal such as Shoo-Fly Girl etc. They are all out of print and for some reason that is emotional for me. You can get them on Ebay however and I do intend to get Shoo-Fly girl for my collection.

The Wizard of Oz series. The movie was a fantasy land the books were on the next level from fantasy. I read the books after I saw the movie and what a wonderful story. The books were so much more richer (seeing as technology wasn’t able to duplicate – at that time – the visuals you achieved by reading the books). It was my generations Twlight in a manner of speaking. Much to my delight there was a sequel! The story goes on to speak on what happened in Oz after Dorothy left. If I remember correctly there was a 3rd book as well. I have to look and see if I can find that.

Judy Blume – Um who was not more comfortable coming on their period after reading “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” Judy Blume was the first person to ever tap into what it really meant to be a young person growing up. She addresses all of those questions that our kids now get answers to via the internet. I remember reading her teenage losing of virginity classic “Forever” and feeling perfectly ready to lose mine, lol lol lol That didn’t happen till several years later, but Judy Boom was definitely everyone’s favorite mother.

Then there was Encyclopedia Brown, the Original Hardy Boys in hard back along with their co-hart Nancy Drew. Let’s not forget Pippi Longstocking and I had a thing for Paul Bunyon and that Ox of his. Their adventures were great!!

I have read so many books in my lifetime, a lot of them I can’t even remember but what I do know is that my life would not be in any kind of way complete if I did not have reading. The teenager turned out not to be as voracious a reader and demanded that she read what she liked so most of what I liked as a youth, she has not read, even though I have mentioned them often over the years.

When I go to the bookstore (which is about to be obsolete, SOB SOB) or the Library I look on the Young Adult bookshelves.  Today the stories are more topical, more cutting edge addressing all the issues that teens have to deal with today.  I see some titles that really interest me, but feel kinda funny wanting to read a young adult book.  One day I might get me a few though..just might.

The Book Shelf – Collections and Addictions.



If I read more than 5 of an authors books then I consider you a part of my ‘collection’. I might miss a few, but overall, they are someone that I enjoy reading and I anticipate their writings. Sometimes I am impatient as I know it takes a minute to write, publish and get out a book, but I am so into what you are saying and making me see and feel that I need my fix NOW!! These are my ‘Addictions” I currently have about 4 that I qualify as “Collectible” and two of those are on the ‘gotta have my fix list’ Let’s start out with the “Addictions”


Maureen Smith


Ahh the black romance novel. A totally together black woman in her mid-thirties doing her to the fullest either just out of some funky relationship, has a history of funky relationships or not interested at all in one. Usually in one of the ‘black meccas’ (Dallas, Atlanta, DC etc.) Some college educated, suit wearing on the weekdays horse/motorcycle/Escalade driving on the weekend, executive special kinda fine brother. Has a bevy of compliant sistas at his beck and call but wants this special woman to call his. They go back and forth, he finally gets a kiss, they fall onto the smoothness of 1000 count sheets and that’s all she wrote. Who does NOT love that?! I had grown tired of the whole scene and put up the Romance novel, until a friend encouraged me to check out Maureen. HONEY CHILEEEEE!! I fell so in love with her topics, the way her people meet, the particular kind of man she has as her ‘hero’ (Really this is the MAN I always see when I go to that fantasy place) and there is just something about the way her stories come together that moves me. I have actually felt emotion reading her books! I have voraciously over the course of six weeks read EVERYTHING she’s written (give or take maybe 1 book from back in the day). I sit around shaking waiting on her to release the next one. She is responsible for me moving into the Kindle space. She released a book only available there and I sat and read the entire thing in three hours on my PHONE. I haven’t read with that much tenacity since I was a teenager, lol lol


Another thing – I have a raunchy essence to me. I like to read erotica and I expect my people I’m reading about to be getting down you hear me. Well Maureen has me having to take a cool shower. RG is MOST APPRECIATIVE of Maureen, lol lol She gives it to you as if she’s speaking to me. I feel like I’m personally involved in all of her books because they all just give me what I need, lol lol


As well as, she super nice. I friended her on Facebook and she talks to her fans and replies if they say something and she keeps us up to date on her writing. I am eagerly awaiting more from her!! I can’t even give you a real review of her work all I can do is point you in the direction so you can get you some LIFE BABY!!


Beverly Jenkins


I just flew prostrate at her feet as I type this. I can’t remember how and where I got turned on to her (and by her by the way, lol lol) but NO ONE has ever made post slavery look and feel that good. We’ve all seen traditional Historical Romances. We make jokes about heaving bosoms and men in chaps in exotic locales rescuing damsels in distress. Well Beverly has given us a face and a place in this world with the Black Historical Novel. All of her covers give me FEVER!! I have lusted after these men for years now and she is one where I have in my possession her entire collection. She even wrote some Teenage historical romances and I read those as well. She has written two other ‘types’ of book series but I haven’t been as much of a fan because I’m so stuck on her Historical novels. Reading them is not only a trip back in time but a wonderful solid history lesson as well. She does extensive research about the time period and it brings so much realness to her characters and the time period. Who would have thought while reading about strapping black men making a way for us out here in this world, you could also get a lesson!! I am forever a fan of hers and sometimes just go on my book shelf and run my fingers along all her books, remembering the great times I’ve had with them. If you have never read this type of book, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you read her collection!!


Travis Hunter


Just like it takes a man to raise a man, it takes a man to really tap into the thought process of one, even a fictional one. I have always been intrigued with fiction from a male point of view because it takes me away from where I live at (which is from the female vantage of course). I remember getting a Travis Hunter book at some kinda sale. It was called “Married and Still Looking” I finally got around to reading it and couldn’t put it down. First of all, most of his stories take place in Atlanta so there is this familiarity to them and second it was just a good story. This was awhile ago. Once I started reading again, I searched him on Amazon to see what else he had been writing while I was away and I immediately decided to challenge myself to read them all, so that’s what I did. He is a very good writer and knows how to merge urban life and the real world. He gives you enough to feel like he’s not forgetting the hood, without living there. Reminds me of how I like to live on the cusp of the ghetto. I want to be able to get me some fish and some weave glue but I really need Romelo and nem to not necessarily live next to me. That’s Travis, lol I met him one time, at the book store telling him about this great male author he should read, turned the book over and it was him, lol lol lol Several folks run into him and that’s always good – he’s accessible to the people. He has a new one coming out in September called “Momma’s a Virgin” That’s on my list!! Check him out when you have a chance!




I got one word for you – GULLY!! Let me repeat that so you won’t be confused GULLY!! These books are NSFW and for some of you NSFL (Not Safe For Life) LOL!! You really need to be open and grown to get into these books. They were the first Urban Novels I got into. RG teases me all the time about the funky titles like Thong on Fire etc. I remember on my Honeymoon, folks were reading, you know, James Patterson etc. and I was reading “THUGLACIOUS” ROTFL ROTFL The stories make you feel like you are sitting in a room (a room where the entrance is beads) and you’ve just go the best contact high of your life. Everything is in technicolor and you just grooving at all the fuckery around you. Yea that’s Noire!! If you want a ride on the GULLY side of town, these are the books for you. I don’t see them coming out with anything right now, but I check frequently.


Deja King


With the turn in rap music to the glorification of hoes, money and the hood glamourous life, there came a market for the Urban Street Novel. They are like every rap video you’ve ever seen all wrapped up into one. They usually 9 times out of 10 take place in NYC and surprisingly a girl/woman are usually the focal point. It’s like the voice of the video hoe. If she could speak, this would be her story. I’m not necessarily a fan of all of the stories and types of stories but when I discovered Deja King and her series “Bitch” I was HOOKED!! she has written wha? 5 or 6 books on this one set of characters and each one usually has me at some point during the novel screaming!! It really speaks to that inside of me that probably wishes she could come out and play with no repercussions. Booty shorts, hair done every week, long skanky finger nails and some negro to pay for it all. Nigga where’ my waddage? Currently this persona only appears for RG and that’s ANOTHER blog post, ROTFL. Bitch, Bitch Reloaded, The Bitch is Back, Queen Bitch and Last Bitch Standing is one of the best series around in this genre of writing. The lead characer Princess Cummings has been through some shit – but I see why she named the books what she did, because several times you just catch yourself saying ‘this a bad bitch right here!” It’s light weight enough not to scare folks but ghetto enough for you to feel like you wanna ride out, lol lol Bitch A New Beginning is scheduled to come out Aguust 16th and I’m ON IT. I will put down whatever I am reading to get into it.


So there you have it! These are my Addictions and Collections. I have a few more Carl Weber and his funny intricate plot books and Vickie M. Stringer and the Dirty Red Series, but overall these are the folks that make reading worthwhile right now in my life.


Next week, let’s get into some actual books I would recommend!



I have always been a reader, it has always been something that gave me a great amount of peace. It took me away from whatever was going on in my read world and allowed me to dream, travel and disappear. The smell, weight and look of a book was almost sensual. It gave me a full understanding of the power of the mind and imagination. I have never been without something to read in my immediate sight., never. Later on in life I went back to school and in the course of three years, finished up a Bachelors degree and obtained a Masters Degree. It took me awhile after school to get over the burnout of all that reading. I had been burned out from Fictional reading before that though. Remember when there was no ‘color’ to books. You just went and picked out a good story yet you longed to see and read about folks that looked and lived like you. Jackie Collins etc. were all cool, but you really were for the most part, reading a fantasy. Then the black book started to make an appearance. I was SOOO excited and attempted to read everything that was out before it could hit the stands good. Then the Black Romance Novel came out. Lawd have mercy!! that about took me over the edge. I was a reading fool, when suddenly I ran into a literary brick wall. It all started sounding the same, looking the same and as more and more books came out – the quality was starting to go down. I also found that I no longer had the eye to read non-fiction or mainstream books. I was in a Black Book hole. This feeling came just as I began school, so it was cool to put it all on the shelf and just focus on textbooks or people I had identified as my favorite authors. Beverly Jenkins, Carl Weber, Travis Hunter. I have always kept up with their body of works.


Fast forward to maybe a year ago. I came out of my educational sphere looking for something 360 degrees from what I had been reading. Lo and Behold my Brothers and Sisters had it waiting for me…The URBAN GRAPHIC NOVEL. Whewww! I dove in head first – I was a trick, crackhead, hustler wife, golden thongs reading fiend, lol lol lol I immediately found myself some favorites. Deja King, Vickie M. Stringer, Noire and I was hooked. These stories were like nothing I had ever seen and I suddenly became a part of a world that surprisingly turned me on, lol lol


But like all good things, as I tried to branch outside of the folks who’s stories I had grown accustomed to, I found that a lot of the books were thrown together, had the same story line and eventually you kinda got uncomfortable with the way women were being portrayed. My mind started to drift….again.


I have always been a lover of a good romance. I am a romantic dreamer at heart but I also felt like the books read on the constant could get you confused, especially if you were a single woman and hold you up from your true love because you were looking for that brother in that book looking and acting like that. However, being in love I wanted to read about love and passion. A friend at work introduced me to what would become my new obsession: Maureen Smith. I will be writing an entire post on her during this summer reading book month, but let me just say, she redefined the Romance novel for me. There’s Romance, Erotica, and straight nasty – she is the PERFECT combination of all of them AND has a story line every single time!! I have over the past two months or so read EVERYTHING she’s written that I could get my hands on. Even ordering from obscure places if necessary. I pine for her next books. I really do. She is my contemporary to Beverly being my historic. But anyhoo I’ll get into that in another blog entry.


I have been slow to embrace the whole electronic reading thing. I like the feeling of the books in my hand. The smell etc. that is until I couldn’t get a book any other kind of way by Maureen except through Kindle. So download it I went and now with the Iphone and Ipad, I am hooked!! Books are cheaper via the Kindle AND you can just buy books by anyone who can publish. I’ve read some GREAT stuff by folks you have never heard of. and from folks who put out special books just for kindle (like Maureen). I will never give up the traditional book, but my book case on Kindle is full of stuff I’m reading this summer and beyond.


What are my taste now? I am into ALL of the topics I’ve mentioned throughout this blog post in addition to Gay fiction, Straight and Gay Erotica and some odds and ends from well known folks oh and lets not forget a good (Auto)Biography every now and then.


Since July is typically categorized as the Summer Reading Month. You know, vacation, beach, good trashy novel – I thought every Tuesday of this Month, I would review books I’ve read myself over these last few months. I look forward to sharing what’s on my bookshelf.