I enjoy reading stories about friendship as a friend is truly a precious commodity. The group Whodini recorded a song called Friends and the chorus sings, “How many of us have them?” If you are blessed to have a friend, just one true friend, then you are rich. But if you have two or more people that you can truly call friends, well you are in another tax bracket all together. You’ve struck oil, found gold. Reflections in the Music, a Novella by LeTara Moore, deals with friendship between three women. Will their treasure appreciate over time? Or will it depreciate under the immense pressures of life?
The novella introduces Pea, Sherri and Melissa and gives you a sense of their personalities as well as their interaction and growth, which is basically the crux of the story. I loved the way LeTara referenced music in her prose. I pulled up Minnie Riperton’s Inside Me as I read because Melissa was listening to it. Then the story led me to another Riperton tune: Baby This Love I Have and I realized two things – 1) Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest sampled Minnie Riperton heavily, and rightfully so because her music is dope and ahead of its time; and 2) LeTara Moore is a music head just like me! She teaches readers about the history behind Purple Rain, the movie and album. I never knew that Vanity was supposed to be the leading lady (although I’m glad things worked out like they did because Apollonia…good gracious! Apollonia!!!). The novella motivated me to learn more about R&B history.
I loved the friendship between Pea, Sherri, and Melissa. How they come together in times of need (even when that need isn’t explicitly expressed…no spoilers). I also loved the way that LeTara didn’t try to end things with a neat and pretty bow. We may not like to admit it, but sometimes things don’t end neat and pretty. They end how they need to end, I guess. Hopefully with people gaining strength and insight and learning from their mistakes.
I would’ve liked to see more dialogue in the story. There were long blocks of narration that I believe could’ve been relayed differently via the characters actually speaking to each other. Also, I wanted to see a deeper development of each character. However, this is a novella so perhaps the length constrained the space necessary for LeTara to dig deeper into why Sherri was so vain, why Melissa was such a prude, and why Pea would be reluctant to tell a special man in her life something vitally important. Maybe Ms. Moore will expand each story in subsequent novels. If so, I’d love to read each expansion.
This is the first Langston Hughes novel I’ve read and for a hero of mine, poetically, he didn’t disappoint with prose. NOT WITHOUT LAUGHTER is a coming of age novel about a boy named Sandy and the colorful cast of characters that surround him while he grows into a young man. There’s his no ‘count father, Jimboy; his silly and gullible mother, Anjee; his wild and free aunt, Harriet; his staunch and starched aunt Tempy; and last but not least, his grandmother who ironically in the novel is called Aunt Hagar. Each has a quirk which makes for a plot and a prop to bring Sandy further along to manhood. The reading is easy, relaxed and authentic. And the topics covered are controversial. But Langston paints a proper picture of the time period and lays a foundation for who the reader will ultimately see in Sandy. The only thing I disliked about the novel was at times, it just felt like I was watching a normal life go by. Not drab, mind you, but not a lot of action. Good dialogue, I guess, but maybe not enough tension. I’m not saying I wanted to see explosions and car chases–because this wasn’t an action and adventure novel–I would have liked to see more tension. Like when Harriet came home late, we see the mother’s switch but not the argument or the beating itself even. There were more instances but I don’t want to put out spoilers.
If you like Langston Hughes’ voice, you’ll love NOT WITHOUT LAUGHTER. Just don’t expect any heated climaxes.
PERNICIOUS is my third James Henderson novel and third time is a charm. But the first and second times were charms also. Dude is a beast on pen and paper or keyboard keys or however he writes his masteries. His stories are funny as all get out! And even though hilarious and wildly entertaining, they always hit home and touch on very serious subjects.
In PERNICIOUS, Perry is this blazing woman with green eyes and a body to kill for. Trouble is, she’s using that body to actually do the killing. Soon, suspicions hit the doorstep of homicide detective Tasha Montgomery, a strong and very likable character. Tasha and Perry enter a power struggle that will eventually involve the endangerment of Tasha’s loved ones. Will Tasha be able to prove that Perry is a she-devil before it’s too late? Before she loses the people she loves?
Mr. Henderson, as always, develops characters that you can see in your mind easily and identify with. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Perry was a cold-blooded killer and that she’d risk any and every to get what she wanted. I knew that Tasha was a complex soul, struggling to raise a son with little help from her lame ex-husband Neal, struggling against the stereotypes and the assumptions that surely she couldn’t be a good detective because she was a black woman. The characters were real so they made the story authentic.
And if you want to laugh in public and have people looking at you like you’ve lost your mind, then this novel is for you. The ending hints at a subsequent novel. I need to have that novel in my life soon and very soon.
If you haven’t read a James Henderson novel, do yourself a favor and pick one up today.
Happy COED DAY!!!
(Doesn’t he mean Valentine’s Day?)
Nope! It’s COED Day and the novel is available right now!
I just asked my wife, “Would you be cool with me having a best friend who was a woman?”
Without hesitation she said, “No, I would not be cool with that.”
I feel the same way. Why did I even ask? Well, there’s a section in the novel COED where Sade is having an argument with her boyfriend, Ken, because of her friendship with Travis. Ken isn’t having it. He doesn’t believe that Travis is only interested in a platonic relationship with Sade.
“I don’t trust the guy,” Ken says. “That ‘just friend’ crap, I don’t buy for a minute.”
To me, Ken’s concerns are warranted, especially with what happens in the novel after Sade and Travis become roommates. If my wife had a male best friend, even though I trust her implicitly and I’m secure in our relationship, I wouldn’t be happy about it. I couldn’t see her having a close friendship with another dude. That’s just me. Amazingly enough, most of the folks I’ve asked don’t see anything wrong with it. Especially the ladies I’ve asked. Some attest that they have close male friends and there’s no danger of something sexual happening. I was actually shocked by that response.
As for me and my lady, we’re not having it. In the novel, Ken definitely isn’t having it. What’s your opinion?
James Fant is the author of the upcoming novel, COED. Available 2/14/17. Get it via Pre-Order right now!
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Tagged books, literature, novel, relationships
DARK GENESIS is a phenomenal novel! I don’t know if I can properly put into words how greatly I enjoyed it. I stopped mid-read and in-boxed the author, AD Koboah, to tell her how outstanding the story was. How the writing just sucked me in. I cannot do AD a disservice by not sharing that with you.
The story is of Luna, a beautiful young woman unfortunately in bondage. She’s abused at the most heinous level imaginable but she’s much too strong to let that break her. In fact, while looking at a reflection of her beauty in a brook, she decides that she will take a sharp rock and mar that pretty thing that makes her the unfortunate object of the slave master’s affections. Then something, some force, stays her hand and she’s nowhere near that brook. What happened?
Well, Avery happened. He appears first as a strong feeling. Something invisible and bad that raises the hairs on the back of your neck. When he presents himself, Luna calls him a demon. He’s a monster. He has to be because he nearly kills the plantation master by–wait for it–draining him of blood. So this is a vampire tale, but unlike any I’ve witnessed. Because it turns out Avery is much more than just a demon. He is a beautiful soul and perhaps Luna’s soulmate. But there are dark forces at work that aim to tear their tender love to shreds before it gets started. Will they survive those forces? Can they survive each other?
Wow!!! Dark Genesis is so descriptively written that I could feel myself being wrapped in the prose, drawn deep into the story. I wanted to fight Masters John and Henry. But I laughed and my heart was warmed by the witty and romantic banter that developed between Luna and Avery. They argued like an old married couple and of course, there were steamy scenes so eloquently and tastefully written that I had to snap my fingers. And at the end of the novel, I craved more of this story and AD Koboah didn’t disappoint because there’s a sneak peak of book 2, RISING DARK. You know I gotta read that one, too, as well as the third installment, DARK REQUIEM.
HEY! Stop playing around and read this book!