PERSPECTIVES: BlackBostonOnline's Book Circle

Welcome to Boston's premier Online book circle! Ken Reed will be your host each month as we explore a variety of books featuring African American authors and African American subject matter. This circle is intended to provide each member with an opportunity to express their views, ideas, and opinions in an electronic "round table."

Every month Ken will feature a book that will provide an opportunity to generate stimulating online dialog with other members of the circle. Your views and opinions as well as responses to comments made by other members of the circle will be posted on this site.

Contact Ken via email at: Ken@BlackBostonOnline.com

Baby Momma Drama
By Carl Weber

Sisters Jasmine and Stephanie seem like polar opposites. They dress, talk, and act differently and naturally cannot get along. The only time they ever communicate is when they're trying to insult and/or undermine each other.

The above scenario is not all that hard to believe and definitely does not exclusively apply to African American families; nevertheless, in many cases siblings are often more alike than they would care to admit. In Jasmine and Stephanie's situation they share a common weakness, a critical flaw in their selection process when it comes to the type of man they end up with. These sisters find themselves in predicaments because they continue to stay in relationships with men that have negative lifestyle choices or bad past associations. The baggage these men bring to the table make it impossible to have anything resembling a healthy relationship. Ironically, it is this commonality between the sisters and its resulting drama that brings them closer together. These shared experiences allow them to see just how strong they both can be for each other.

Best selling author Carl Weber has created another wildly hilarious, vividly dramatic, and entertaining novel about two separate lives turned upside down by fundamental problems as a result of BABY MOMMA DRAMA.

Jasmine prides herself on being the more responsible and hard working of the two sisters. Being very careful to choose the right man to share her life with, she assumes she's on the right the track when she meets Derrick, the sexy, well-dressed attorney who seems to say and do all the right things. Derrick's masquerade doesn't last long however, because Jasmine's wise old Grandmother cleverly exposes him for a common drug dealer. When Derrick is subsequently busted, she finds herself stuck in love, waiting for a prison inmate boyfriend who is still mixed up with his ghetto fabulous baby's momma.

If all this drama isn't enough, let me introduce you to Jasmine's friend Dylan. Dylan is a kind, gentle, supportive, and equally attractive man who clearly has strong feelings for Jasmine. Jasmine tries to remain strong in her resolve to be faithful to Derrick while he is locked up but pressures from her family, her conscience, and Dylan are forcing her to make a decision. The "monkey wrench" question remains, is the sensitive Dylan also bogged down with Baby Momma Drama?

Stephanie, Jasmine's younger sister, prides herself on having a good time until Mr. Right stumbles into her life in the form of Travis. Although Stephanie already has a baby from a High School sweetheart, Travis proves he is the real deal by treating her child as if it were his own. The strong, hard working, responsible Travis is every woman's dream. Travis realizes that Stephanie has a wild side but he tries to domesticate her through kindness, a new beautiful home, and an engagement ring. Stephanie truly loves Travis and tries hard to prepare for a quiet married life but loses control when her child's father comes into town. As a result, she finds herself tangled in an affair that corrupts her health, sanity, and everything she has built with Travis.

Author Carl Weber never ceases to amaze me by continuing to produce high quality work. Weber has a strong ability show all the sides of a character while letting the reader draw his or her own conclusions. BABY MOMMA DRAMA has a little something for everyone and will prove particularly enjoyable for people who have been involved in these kinds of relationships. I recommend this book to readers of all ages and both genders. I give this book my highest rating of 4.


In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr
By Wil Haygood


Chocolate Sangria
Tracy Price Thompson
Promises Beyond Jordan
by Vanessa Davis Griggs
Fallin' Out
by Delia C.
Ronin Poetz
by Teferu Azr
By Linda Dominique Grosvenor
The Debt
By Randall Robinson
Good Hair
By Benilde Little
It's A Thin Line
By Kimberla Lawson Roby
You Send Me
By Daniel Wolff
Church Folk
By Michele Andrea Bowen
Married Men
By Carl Weber
Just Say No
Omar Tyree
A Thirst For Rain
By Roslyn Carrington
Plain Brown Wrapper
By Karen Grigsby Bates
Trouble Man
(The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye)
By Steve Turner
Last Man Standing: The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt
By Jack Olsen
Between Lovers
By Eric Jerome Dickey
Never Satisfied
Michael Baisden
Black Coffee
By Tracy Price-Thompson
Stormy Weather
By Paula L. Woods
I Wish I had a Red Dress
By Pearl Cleage
What's Going On
By Nathan McCall

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By Tracy Price Thompson

Approximately one year ago I read a book called BLACK COFFEE and was completely blown away. It was the author’s debut. Given the fact that this woman is an incredibly talented writer, I remember thinking, how in the world will she top this book?

Well readers, author Tracy Price Thompson has accepted the challenge and written another literary masterpiece entitled CHOCOLATE SANGRIA.

In an age where most books on relationships have begun to follow the same format, structure, and storyline, I consider this writer a modern day pioneer by setting a appreciably higher standard.

CHOCOLATE SANGRIA starts by illustrating the dramatic birth of Juanita (the main character) who, although separated from her mother at birth, is raised by a loving, supportive, hard working family. The novel then follows Juanita through a tortured childhood as she struggles with the uncertainty of her own heritage while being unmercifully tormented and abused by her peers in the neighborhood.

Looking considerably different from everyone else in her neighborhood, Juanita is labeled an instant outsider. Ultimately she creates a natural bond with another child named Scooter, also a neighborhood outcast due to his refusal to speak and his eventual sexual preference.

The story evolves further when an unlikely meeting brings both Juanita and Scooter together with two tortured souls who share a past far worse than anything most people could comprehend.

Author Tracy Price Thompson has a genuine gift of character development. She creates such a vivid mental picture of her characters both physically and emotionally that you feel that you have known them for years. As a result of these descriptions you also share their pain, triumph, and the range of emotions that we all experience in our own day to day lives.

The story takes a sudden turn when the two characters from different worlds fall in love and the other two engage in a twisted relationship which threatens to tear down everything and everyone around them.

CHOCOLATE SANGRIA is a must read and I recommend it to both men and women who appreciate a good story and a growing plot.

I give this book my highest rating of 4.


Promises Beyond Jordan
by Vanessa Davis Griggs

Pastor George Landris seemingly has everything a man could want. He is the Head Pastor of a large church with thousands of members and the leader of a successful television ministry. Pastor Landris has also managed to woo the beautiful Theresa Jordan’s hand in marriage.

As a well-respected figurehead in the community, Pastor Landris shows love and compassion for his church members by counseling the troubled and visiting the sick and shut in.

Unfortunately, through the mask of all this success, both members of this seemingly happy couple hold damaging secrets. Theresa Jordan, daughter of a prominent Bishop has kept vital information about her past from George. Likewise George is caught in an emotional quandary between his feelings for Theresa and a yearning to be with a woman from his past during her family tragedy. This departure may seem inconsequential to the outside observer but when looking deeper, readers get a glimpse of the true feelings George has for this woman.

Vanessa Davis Griggs demonstrates her extraordinary writing talents in her captivating novel about religion, relationships, betrayal and redemption. Promises Beyond Jordan follows George and Theresa along their slippery slope toward relationship peril.

The spiritual references and scripture verses at the beginning of each chapter creates a fresh and unique approach to storytelling. The verses relate to the emotions and voices and acted upon in each chapter as well as its overall theme.

Griggs is very successful at telling the story within the story without losing the reader in the interpretation of complicated subplots. Characters are also well developed, allowing you to feel their struggles and moral dilemmas. When Theresa contemplates her relationship with George and questions his love for her, you can feel her sadness. Likewise, when George is faced with church politics and is confronted by members of his church, the reader is concerned with seeing his good name cleared.

Promises Beyond Jordan is not only for the spiritual churchgoers among us. The book speaks to many situations and relationships far outside of the realm of the church. I will admit that experience with church politics or even membership in a black church environment will give readers an increased appreciation for the author's realistic depiction of how church members often react to gossip and so called “inappropriate behavior”.

I enjoyed this novel and was impressed by how things in the beginning tied into revelations at the end. I recommend this book to both men and women. Promises Beyond Jordan receives a rating of three.



By Delia C.

Arrogant, selfish, self centered, rude, and obnoxious are all traits that describe the main character of Delia C’s latest novel FALLIN’ OUT. Tara Jackson has more personality dysfunction than you can shake a stick at. With all these issues, one might wonder how much they are going to like her. The answer is, probably not very much.

It takes a gifted writer to create a story about a fun loving character who touches people’s hearts and makes a positive impact on society. Likewise, it takes an equally gifted and talented writer to create a spiteful, hateful character whose story is absolutely impossible to tear yourself away from.

That’s right readers, FALLIN’OUT is a spectacular drama about a troubled New Yorker who through circumstance and the right guidance is forced onto a righteous path of change. Author Delia C has masterfully written a light hearted, humorous tale that hooks readers from the beginning. At the core of FALLIN’ OUT however, are many relevant issues facing African American’s today, most of which unfold as we follow the self inflicted trials of Tara Jackson.

We've all wondered at times about a coworker or family member (you know... “what’s her problem”?). In Tara's case it's very clear but the story unfolds in a manner that forces the reader to experience this troubled life through Tara’s eyes. The book shifts between Tara’s interaction with her coworkers and boss and her relationships with family and friends. Her reckless behavior eventually begins a self destructive chain of events that ultimately leaves her without a home, job, or hope to turn her situation around.

FALLIN’ OUT is a novel you might read in an entire evening. Delia C’s writing style is very easy to follow and creates a familiar personality type that we have more than likely come in contact with at some point in our lives. African American women will enjoy this book immensely but that does'nt stop me from recommending this book to guys as well.

Look for this novel on my end of the year top 10. I give FALLIN’ OUT my highest rating of 4.






Ronin Poetz
by Teferu Azr

Innovative, artistic, distinct and without boundary are some of the terms I can use to describe the poetic journey created by author Teferu Azr in Ronin Poetz. This book takes a dramatically different approach than your typical poetry book filled with miscellaneous thoughts and observations about various topics that are seldom connected.

Ronin Poetz tells a unique story of one warrior’s adventures through the hardships of the African people; however this warrior does not duel not with sword or spear but with his mind, determination, and the power of words.

This book takes you along the path of the warrior Maa Kheru and describes his family, alliances, enemies, and the struggle within himself drawing subtle parallels to the hardships faced by the modern day African people.

The writing style of Ronin Poetz will take some getting used to. Words are often spelled as they sound by substituting numbers, giving the book an unconventional look. The difficulty of telling an epic tale using a poetic tongue cannot be measured with this book due to the ease in which author Teferu Azr makes the transition. This talented author takes a radical approach by addressing race issues through battles against the “Pale King”, a character symbolic of White Supremacy.

The book does not mention american slavery as a prime topic however it's easy to associate the symbolic references to the slave culture, especially in the section called “Take a Right 2 Passage”.

Ronin Poetz is an impressive read and needs to be approached with an open mind. I would recommend this book highly to lovers of poetry and those looking for literature outside of the orthodox standard.

I give Ronin Poetz a must read rating of three and a half stars.


By Linda Dominique Grosvenor

Have you got Fever? If not, then I highly suggest rushing to your nearest bookstore and grabbing a copy of the latest novel by Author Linda Dominique Grosvenor.

This talented storyteller has cleverly connected three separate tales of intimacy, love, friendship and betrayal. Although these events are taking place on opposite coasts, the parallels drawn between the people involved and the events taking place are remarkably similar.

As the victim of both a difficult childhood and adulthood, Carla Robinson-Singleton has been slowly destroying her marriage. After suffering a breakdown caused by a tragic incident she has adopted a cold, disinterested demeanor toward both her child Ashley and husband Sam. In addition, Carla harbors a dreadful secret that could serve as the final straw for an otherwise loving, patient husband.

Sam, being a devoted father and husband, is wrestling with his own personal set of problems with a client at work as well as a shoulder to cry on that has stirred up thoughts and emotions he fervently tries to suppress.

Tim Richardson, an aspiring filmmaker, has been strategically positioning himself in the Hollywood scene. He desperately works get his movie in front of the people who can take his career to the next level. Tim’s wife Nina is feeling neglected and trapped in her new domesticated California lifestyle which in her mind allows few options for day to day change. As Nina notices her husband becoming increasingly distant she questions his feelings for her and starts to lament about what her life could have been and if there is a place for her in Tim’s heart.

Budding entrepreneur Troi Singleton is attempting to start her life over after the death of her husband Vaughn. She finds herself alone in raising a teenage daughter with nothing more than ideas for the financial security of her family. Troi, being a talented hair stylist decides to seek business advice from her brother-in law. What evolves from this meeting is a downward spiral of hurt, emotional uncertainty, and accusation that manifests itself in the distrust of a lifelong friend.

On some level these three stories share a common connection through either family, friendship and/or heartache. FEVER is engaging on all levels and is what I refer to as the “complete literary package”. I became instantly engrossed in this appropriately titled treasure and finished the entire book in almost one sitting. I would recommend FEVER to both men and women who enjoy a good drama that contains enough substance to pique your interests.

I give FEVER my best rating of 4.

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