National Black Book Festival

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yeah! I'm sticking to Black History Year!!!

Number 51

I’m pretty sad today.  One of my best friends, Natalie, left yesterday to go back to see her family and back to Damascus, Syria for work.  Her and I work for the same agency, but she travels more than I do.  I have been to London, Switzerland, South America and other places overseas, and it has been the best part of my career, but my friend Natalie, she has to stay 2 years, where my assignments were usually 6 to 8 weeks at a time.
We got a chance to hang out with our other “Sex in the City Black Women Friends” and talk and talk.  You know the conversations, who is involved and who is getting married. I’m happy to say, one of us is still married to her high school sweetheart, another has finally closed out a bad relationship to be blessed with a marriage proposal from a really good guy and another  has met someone who meets all of her expectations and more.  I hope to hear a marriage proposal from her soon.  We talk about books, movies and places we been and places to go, but this year, it’s more about what do we do next.  Kids are either in college and ready to move on and our careers are OK, but could be better and if there is a “relationship” is out there  or do we go back to the old one we are comfortably with.  
For me, this is the continuing drag strip (it feels like it) on my Dave Ramsey/Michelle Singletary (You know I had to get a black women in there it can’t always be a white man telling me how to save and spend my money.  Her books are - THE POWER TO PROSPER: 21 DAYS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM - $3.99   and SPEND WELL, LIVE RICH: HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT WITH THE MONEY YOU HAVE - $8.25  Spend Well, Live Rich: How to Get What You Want with the Money You Have ).  It’s hard, but I got to get control over my money and get my kid out of college and into a job, but no relationship for me.  I got out of a relationship two years ago, and I don’t have the energy to keep up with a “man” and keep my finances and God relationship on track. I got to  get back on track and stay there a while.  Besides, I have three boyfriends, God, Jesus and the IRS.  They got you in life and death, especially that damn IRS, sucker keeps on going like the energizer bunny.  When you see that bunny, don’t you just want to smash the day lights out of it!!  OK, I’m losing it now because I'm having visions of killing a toy bunny, get to books.


DERRICK BARNES - MAKING OF DR. TRUELOVE - $7.99 - - - When sexual uncertainty creeps into lovable Diego Montgomery's love life and goofs up his brewing romance with his lifetime crush, Roxy, he contrives a scheme with his friend J to win her back. Together, the two invent an online sex-pert personality for Diego, Dr. Truelove, whose cocky personality and worldly wise tips on the ins and outs of love soon raise him to celebrity status, both at school and in the community. Things slide out of control, however, when J decides to be the physical manifestation of Dr. Truelove, and his antics land both teens more notoriety and partners of the female persuasion. Barnes's slick, Omar Tyree-like twist on the guy-tries-to-get-the-girl story is in-your-face and chock-full of sexual innuendos and situations that start on page one, and will no doubt cause many younger readers to raise an eyebrow. Still, the youthful high school humor keeps it from veering too far into Zane territory, and romance and urban-fiction fans will no doubt love the saucy comebacks, sexy language, and sheer ridiculousness that befalls Diego and J on their Cyrano-like journey to love.
MONICA MARIE JONES - SWAG - $1.99  - - - Noelle Dresden stepped out on faith and left her full-time job to pursue her passion: singing. Six months later, her singing career hasn't gone much of anywhere and neither has her relationship with her charismatic, yet sneaky boyfriend, Jonah. Although Jonah loves Noelle, he’s not willing to give her the commitment and ring she so desperately wants. After Jonah uses Noelle’s hopes of an engagement for his benefit, Noelle gets fed up and decides to move forward with her career with or without Jonah.  Her pursuit leads her to accept an invitation to be a house guest on the popular, hit reality show, House of Swag. On the show, aspiring entertainers with the potential to take it to the next level are trained to become multifaceted mega stars. While in the house, Noelle catches the eye of the show’s creator, Monroe "Paper" Chase. He uses his good looks and smooth talk to charm her, then he uses his money and power to attempt to subtract Jonah from the equation. Drama only escalates when Noelle has to deal with an envious, hating house guest who is not beyond trying to bring Noelle down to get ahead.  As Noelle rises toward super stardom, she has some difficult choices to make. What lies ahead of her looks so much better than what she has left behind. Will she work to keep the love that she and Jonah shares alive, or will she choose fame, fortune and a man who can make all of her dreams come true?
MONICA MARIE JONES - FLOSS - $1.99When Jones opens the cautionary tale with main characters and childhood friends Abel (the party animal/closet Christian), Solomon (the follower), and Jabez (the ultimate ladies man) you have an instant sense of familiarity. Abel and Jabez are the epitome of the successful, attractive brothers that every woman wants and every man secretly wants to be like-including Solomon. Back in the 90's we would have called him a "Perpetrator" because while he may always step out of the house looking like a million bucks, he's stepping out of his mother's house with his room in the basement and name on the orange juice. Tyse is on the same level as Solomon. Although he doesn't live with his mother his struggle is the same to acquire the status, success and acceptance of the likes of Jabez and Abel so he can get the attention of women like Torah and Dionysus.  Dionysus is the ultimate show stopper with looks that can make a blind man take notice and a homeless man give her his last penny. Fully aware of the impact she has on men Dionysus never passes up an opportunity to use her feminine wilds to get any and everything she wants. While the paper chase runs in the family her cousin Torah lacks some of her natural beauty and level of skills, which often results in Dionysus taking advantage of her. Unfortunately her tendency to underestimate Torah leads to an ill-fated turn of events that affects the lives of everyone involved and leaves someone wearing a toe tag.  This page turning thriller is sure to be an instant best seller with its tale of how easy it is to get caught up and caught out there when your desire to Floss gets the best of you. 
I dated a brother who lived with his mother.  Can you believe he still had the same room from when he was a kid, and it was the worse room I have every seen.  I'm not talking about a young man, this man was 40 years old.  Clothes every where, food stuck on plates, an old TV, crap coming out of the closet on to the floor and the funk would kill you.  That was it for me.  I left the house and got into my car and ran.  Oh, I forgot, he also did not have a car, was using his mother’s.  Sick, sick, and more sick.  
TRACI BEE - TWO TEARS IN A BUDGET - $2.99 - - - Betrayed by her cold, callous mother and abused by her alcoholic stepfather, eighteen-year-old Simone Woodard is kicked out of the house like a bag of trash and left to survive on her own. While struggling to create a life for herself, her beauty and innocence captivate Kevin Kennard, a handsome, hazel-eyed felon with an addiction to all things illegal. For the first time in Kevin’s life, real love has him rethinking his criminal path. But the action on the streets won’t take a backseat to Simone. Who will win this tug of war? 
SYLVIA HUBBARD - STEALING INNOCENCE II: THE RAVISHMENT - $2.00 - - - Here’s a comment from a reviewer who has read her other books, “First let me say I've read all of Ms Hubbard’s book and I love her writing, But after reading STEALING INNOCENCE 1 -  $1.00 -stealing innocence I - -  this just seemed like the same story all over again. I loved Niches character though, but the big brooding angry black man thing is getting a little old. I still recommend the book and will continue to buy whatever she write.
TONY LINDSAY - MORE BOY THAN GIRL - $9.99 - - -  The story of Dai Break Jones is the story of a woman with aggressive ambition born into a man's world. She never accepted the thought that a woman had her place. Born the only child to the founder of one of Chicago's largest street organizations, Dai Break Jones accepted her position of royalty, and stood toe to toe against all foes. More Boy than Girl is Street Lit at its finest. It is a hard core story, about a hard core world.
CLAUDIA MAIR BURNEY - MURDER, MAYHEM & A FINE MAN - $9.99 - - - How's a woman supposed to grapple with faith, a fine man, and turning thirty-five when she keeps tripping in her high heels over mysteries -- and not just the God kind?  Amanda Bell Brown knows that life as a forensic psychologist isn't quite as cool as it looks on prime-time TV. But when she turns thirty-five with no husband or baby on the horizon, she decides she's gotta get out and paint the town in her drop-dead red birthday dress. Instead, she finds herself at the scene of a crime and she just may know who the killer is. She needs to spill her guts, but not on the handsome lead detective's alligator shoes, especially if she wants him to ask her out. A complicated murder investigation unearths not just a killer but a closet full of skeletons Amanda thought were long gone. Murder, mayhem, and a fine man are wreaking havoc on her birthday, but will her sleuthing leave her alive to see past thirty-five?

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  

CHESTER HIMES - A RAGE IN HARLEM - $12.99 - - -  For the love of Imabelle, Jackson loses his life savings to a con man, steals from his boss, and loses the stolen money at the crap table. A true classic black murder mystery by the best.
Himes knew crime from the inside.  He spent seven years in prison for armed robbery and was in jail that he started to write.  Most of his novels are crime/comedy with very offbeat elements and larger than life characters, or maybe life itself was actually larger in his world than in ours, a quote from Tuna.  
The movie stars Forest Whitaker, Gregory Hines, who died in 2003 and was one of the best actor and tap dancer around, and Bill Duke, another great actor who played in Predator, Hoodlum with Lawrence Fishburne and directed this movie. 
If you want to see another movie made from another book by him, try “Cotton Comes to Harlem” from 1970.  Directed by Ossie Davis and staring Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques and Calvin Lockhart.  You might as well get the movie and have a good laugh because you will not believe the trash talking and the clothes we actually wore and thought we were the coolest thing around.  Soul Train, here we come.