Open Discussion: Summer Reading Challenge

Summer is winding down!

The blog has featured several great reads this week. Be sure to check them out. It’s not too late to get another book or two in before the fall comes.

Share your progress on your summer diverse reads. Remember, one reader will be interviewed on the blog. The winner will be announced on September 7th.

Happy reading!

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Book Review: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! I hope you’re finding some place cool to read in this summer heat! Is it Fall yet???

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Underground Railroad Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Underground Railroad Brides collectionLove Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes

East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour

MY THOUGHTS

“Love had never been as valuable as strength and freedom. Until now.”

I absolutely loved this story!

Despite being limited to a short novella-length word count, the author has packed the riveting plot with heart-in-your-throat moments of life or death… and a sweet romance that lightens the emotion a bit when needed. Layered and well-defined characters will quickly settle in your heart, and you’ll be rooting for them every step of the way.

Additionally, the author’s writing style is very engaging as well as entertaining. Every page makes you eager to read the next one & I would love to see a follow-up novel with these characters – specifically related to the escaped slaves’ stories Winnie has recorded in her notebook.

Winnie’s revelation about her owners will also linger with me for a while – how many similar things in modern times have we passed off as well-meaning or kind when in fact it’s sin? And once we realize that, what are we willing to do about it?

A sobering but simultaneously encouraging story of the power of love and the pull of freedom – and the people who risked their lives to give others the chance at both. Perfect for your weekend reading list. I’m off to catch up on the author’s backlist 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Book Spotlight: The Representative’s Revolt

Happy Hump Day!

We at Diversity are bringing you a new book spotlight. Today’s spotlight is taking you back in time to history in Piper Huguley’s The Representative’s Revolt. Have you read it? If not, check out the info below.


About the Book

Atlanta, Georgia, 1871

Someone has tried to assassinate Virgil Smithson. The Georgia State Legislature is not a safe place—if it ever was. To protect her growing family, Amanda wants to go home to Milford. Virgil is willing to serve out his term and return to life as a blacksmith, but first he has to know…who is trying to have him killed?

Meanwhile, Amanda works to resolve Milford College’s everlasting financial woes by starting a fund raising campaign to finish the school building. Her efforts require her absence from home and the many pressures influence the marriage of the Milford College founders.

Then, a missive arrives from Ohio and Amanda receives an offer she feels she cannot refuse.

When all they want is what they had in the first place, a quiet life in Milford, Virgil and Amanda must strengthen their faith to negotiate these difficult days of the Reconstruction Era.

Someone is trying to put an end to the dream of Milford College and Virgil Smithson’s life. In this, the finale of the “Founder’s Trilogy” the Representative and his wife have to find a way to figure it all out…before it’s too late.

Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Piper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist. and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters, published by Samhain Publishing. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015 and received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.
Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Book Review: Broken Heart by Tyora Moody

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had  a great week of bookish delight. In case you’re looking for something to read, why not check out Tyora Moody’s Broken Heart. 


About the Book

In the past year Detective Josephine “Jo” Reed-Powell brought down one of the most notorious serial killers in a decade in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County. When Jo arrives at a new crime scene, something seems very familiar to her. She immediately thinks she may be dealing with a copycat killer. Or is she?

How can she keep her mind on finding a killer when her life is falling apart? Jo is struggling with her shattered marriage knowing her husband, Bryan Powell, has had an affair. As Jo questions the twists and turns of her murder investigations, can she let God mend her broken heart?

Amazon | Goodreads


My Thoughts

I started reading this series out of order and that makes me cringe. However, it also lets me know that each book can be read as a standalone and that brings immediate relief.

There is so much going on in this book, but not in a bad way. First, Jo is dealing with some personal issues. Oh how my heart broke for her. It wrapped around me and was one of the reasons I kept turning the pages. I had to know how it would resolve.

The second is the professional aspect. Jo’s a police detective and her case appears to be a copycat…or is it? I admit, I love reading books like that. I always want to try and figure out who did it and why. If I can’t guess correctly, I consider that a raging success. This book had me hoping in that department and made the read go by quickly.

All in all, I enjoyed my visit to the Reed family and look forward to reading the rest of them.


About the Author

Tyora Moody is the author of Soul-Searching Suspense books which include the Reed Family Novellas, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Serena Manchester Series, and the Victory Gospel Series. She is also the author of the nonfiction book, The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, and the compilation editor for the Stepping Into Victory Compilations under her company, Tymm Publishing LLC.

As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC. Popular services include virtual event planning, book covers and book trailers.

To contact Tyora about book club discussions or for book marketing workshops, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: Love, Lies & Consequences series

Hi, reader friends! We aren’t promised an easy road in this life. Sometimes hardships are the result of our own choices or the choices of others. Check out the Love, Lies & Consequences series by Natasha D. Frazier!


About the Books

Book 1: Love, Lies & Consequences

Raegan made a promise to herself—no more sex until marriage! Then Raegan meets Rico, a handsome, smooth talker who presents himself as a God-fearing, church-going, praying man. He tells her everything that he thinks she wants and needs to hear—including his desire to marry her! Rico’s smooth manner challenges Raegan’s character and puts to the test what she says she believes. Just when she thinks that Rico could be the one, Caleb, her old college love, returns to her life. And now that he’s back, he has no intent on being without her. Raegan gets caught up in a whirlwind romance, filled with Love, Lies & Consequences that will turn her world upside down.

Meanwhile, Raegan’s good friend Tammy has choices of her own to make. Tammy filed for legal separation from Joshua, NBA rookie, who was sure to have a promising career, only one year after they got married. Joshua loved basketball and Tammy felt like there was no room in his life for both her and his career. Life has now given them a second chance to reunite. Has she matured beyond her selfish ways? Is Joshua ready to pursue both basketball and his wife? It just may take a brush with death to remind them that it is high time to become the husband and wife they vowed to be.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 2: Through Thick & Thin

Engaged, pregnant, and unsure of her baby’s father, Raegan’s troubles have multiplied. In the sequel to the award-winning title, Love, Lies & Consequences, Raegan learns what it feels like to be loved completely. In turn, she must learn to forgive and return that same love that was given to her. Forgiveness and understanding won’t come easily. 

Caleb has promised to stay by her side–but will her guilt push him away? 

When Caleb’s past catches up to him, will Raegan remain by his side as he promised to stick by hers? 

Or does she hold him to a different standard? 

Will Raegan choose Caleb over her need to be in control of everything? 

Will they stick with each other Through Thick & Thin . . . or will the consequences of their past sins be too much to bear?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 3: Shattered Vows

Rico gambled with his marriage when he cheated on Chloe. Breaking his vows and risking everything for temporary pleasure, he lost his wife’s respect and trust.

Rico returns to God, searching for a quick fix to win Chloe’s heart back, but his heart is the one that is changed. He is a self-proclaimed changed man, willing to go the extra mile to restore his marriage, but he just may be too late.

Has Chloe given up on him? She has forgiven him before, but this is different. “I’m sorry” isn’t enough when vows have been shattered. With the law and the Word of the Lord on her side, she finally gathers enough courage to walk away.

But then tragedy strikes. Is it enough to make Chloe stay, or will she start a new chapter in her life?

goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 4: Out of the Shadows releases August 20, 2019 

Amazon PREORDER

 

About the Author

Natasha’s first book, The Life Your Spirit Craves won the Readers’ Choice Award in 2013 at the Christian Literary Awards. Her second book, Not Without You: 365 Days in the Lord’s Presence was nominated for the Henri Award. Love, Lies and Consequences was nominated for the Henri Award as well and won the Readers’ Choice Award in 2015 at the Christian Literary Awards.

Natasha writes to inspire readers to become all they were created to be and encourage them in their daily walk with God. Whether devotional or fictional, she desires to leave a legacy to inspire readers to take their lives to the next level.

Born and raised in Greenville, MS, Natasha graduated magna cum laude from Jackson State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and from Texas A&M University with a Masters of Science in Accounting. Natasha has since earned her CPA license and worked in both public accounting and the federal government. Natasha is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Houston Area Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University.

Natasha resides in Houston, TX with her husband, Eddie and their three children: Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. For book releases, contests and events, please join her mailing list via her website or connect with Natasha on Facebook or Twitter!

 

What do you say, reader friends?
Are you adding the Love, Lies & Consequences series to your tbr?

 

POST CREATED BY BETH ERIN

Book Spotlight: Grown Zone series

Hi, reader friends! Fans of women’s fiction will want to check out the Grown Zone series by Chandra Sparks Splond and its sweet & sassy covers!


About the Books

Book 1: It’s Like That

After suffering a tragic loss ten years ago, twenty-six-year-old Jasmine Richardson has traded her love of lyrics for writing legal briefs. It only takes one encounter with the microphone for Jasmine to realize the music is still in her heart—if only it could pay the bills.

After making some bad decisions, Jasmine is thrown into a tailspin. She is forced to consider taking a case that could make her legal career from someone from her past.

Suddenly, Jasmine finds herself questioning her future.

When the music is still in your heart, sometimes life forces you to make some tough decisions. Sometimes…it’s like that.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 2: Through the Fire

News reporter Vanessa Johnson has spent her entire professional career in the public eye, so the last thing she wants is for her private life to be televised for the entire world to see.

After dealing with heartbreaking devastation unlike anything she’s experienced in her twenty-four years, Vanessa takes a job in her hometown where everybody and their momma know her business—and have her back.

As the hits keep coming, can she make it through the fire and get back to the life she once loved?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book 3: Pass It On

In the third book of the Grown Zone series, it’s been a long time since Reese Williams can remember things being good.

After getting pregnant her senior year of high school, Reese abandoned her dreams of going to college in order to take care of her baby. Now, years later, she’s starting to wonder if life has more to offer.

After making a difficult decision, Reese finds herself at rock bottom and considers doing things she never thought she’d do—like returning to her trifling ex.

What’s a single momma to do when she wants to pass on the gift of a great life to her daughter?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

About the Author

Chandra Sparks Splond is an editor, speaker and award-winning author and blogger.

Her young adult novel Make It Work was named Alabama’s Great Read 2017, Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Black Pearls Magazine honored Splond as a Legends & Leaders for 2017 for her blog, Book of Splond (formerly known as Magic City Momma).

Splond is the owner of West End Publishing, LLC, and Live Life Creations, a personalized gift and party boutique. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Splond has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion. She has edited books for several New York Times, USA Today and Essence bestselling authors.

Splond has interviewed New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey and actress Meagan Good. She has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Black and Married with Kids, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times. 

Of all the titles she has held, Splond’s most important remain child of God, wife and mommy.

Splond graduated from Ramsay High School in Birmingham, Alabama and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa with a degree in journalism. She received her master of science in education degree with a focus on instructional design and technology from Samford University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and resides in Birmingham with her family. They are members of Forty-fifth Street Baptist Church.

Visit her website or connect with Chandra on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest!

 

I adore these covers! What do you say, reader friends?
Are you adding the Grown Zone series to your tbr?

 

POST CREATED BY BETH ERIN

Interview with Chandra Sparks Splond about her book “It’s Like That”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Chandra Sparks Splond about her book “It’s Like That.”

Enjoy!


Interview with Chandra Sparks Splond about her book  It’s Like That (Grown Zone Book 1):

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Chandra: First, thanks so much for having me. I decided to write It’s Like That for my very first readers, many of whom were teenagers when my first book Spin It Like That was released. It’s Like That follows the main character Jasmine Richardson who is now an adult and dealing with adult issues, just like my first readers are doing in this season of life. I wanted to give them a character with which they were familiar who is dealing with issues to which they can relate right now.

Alexis: How did you come up with the title for your book?

Chandra: The title It’s Like That is a spin of my very first book, Spin It Like That. I wanted something that connected the books.

Alexis: How important was it to you to have a woman of color with natural hair on the cover of your book? Why?

Chandra: Having a woman of color with natural hair on the cover of It’s Like That was extremely important to me. There’s also what looks like a younger version of the character on the cover of Spin It Like That. When I was growing up, I never saw book covers with people who looked like me, so I make it a point to include characters to which African-American readers can relate on all my book covers.

Alexis: Have you always written stories that feature main characters of color for the Christian fiction book market? Why or why not?

Chandra: All of my fiction books and my poetry book feature main characters of color. I think it’s very important to give African-American readers stories to which they can relate and apply to the reality of their lives.

Alexis: Tell us about your story It’s Like That. What is the core message?

Chandra: At its core, It’s Like That is a story about the power of your dreams. As we get older, often our dreams die or change. When Jasmine was 16, she dreamed of being a deejay, which was fine when her parents were paying all the bills. Now at 26, she finds herself in a career about which she’s not passionate, and she’s re-examining her dreams. I want readers to know that the path to your dreams isn’t always straight and that even if it changes over time, everything you do in the in-between all works together for our good.

Alexis: Who is your target audience for this book and in what ways do you hope that this story will impact your readers?

Chandra: My target audience is the New Adult market (ages 18 to 30). It’s my prayer that readers will see themselves in the story and realize even if you get off track, it’s never too late to make your dreams come true.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s heroine Jasmine Richardson. What does she look like, act like, sound like, and think like?

Chandra: Jasmine is a feisty redhead who has had a passion for music since she was a kid. After suffering a tragic loss ten years ago, she has calmed down a lot, and life has taken her on a different career path than she thought it would. She often acts without thinking things through. As a kid, she had her parents to bail her out, but as an adult, she has to figure some things out for herself.

Alexis: Does your story have a hero or is it all about Jasmine? Why or why not?

Chandra: This story is all about Jasmine, although she has great friends and family to support her along the way.

Alexis: What is it about singing songs and creating lyrics that Jasmine loves?

Chandra: The better question would probably be what is it about singing songs and creating lyrics that Jasmine doesn’t love? LOL. Music is in Jasmine’s blood. She has lived and breathed it since she was a kid. She got her love of music from her father who was once a part of a music group with her uncle for whom she now works.

Alexis: How does Jasmine cope with the tragic loss that she experienced ten years ago and how does her loss still affect her today?

Chandra: Jasmine deals with the loss by cutting all ties with music and deciding to become an attorney. It only takes one encounter with the microphone during karaoke night with her friends for her to realize she still loves music though. Her realization that she still has that passion makes her start re-examining her life.

Alexis: Jasmine faces a real-world problem in your fiction story: Following your passion while still trying to pay the bills! In what ways do you hope that her story, though fictional, inspires your readers (especially the creative types) in the real world?

Chandra: I hope readers realize that you are never too old or too young, and it’s never too late for your dreams to come true. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve known since I was 14 that I’ve wanted to write books, but I didn’t actually sit down to write one until I was in my 30s. Before then, I was working as an editor, so I spent my days around the written word, but after I had my daughter in 2004, I realized I couldn’t tell her to go for her dreams if I never went for mine. I challenged myself to write a book before she turned one. I finished my first manuscript a month after her first birthday, and the rest is history. To this day, editing still pays most of my bills, and it has become a part of my dreams, and doing so blesses others. I hope readers use my life and Jasmine’s as examples that your passion and your need to pay your bills can co-exist.

Alexis: Would you like to see more books like yours that feature main characters of color, published by CBA? Why or why not?

Chandra: I think seeing the CBA publish more books that feature main characters of color would be great. Representation is important. I also think that as a writer of color, I’m not going to wait on someone to make a seat at their table for me. As Tyler Perry said, I’ve decided to build my own table.

Alexis: If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do? Why?

Chandra: If I couldn’t be an author, I’d be an editor, which I’ve been blessed to do for more than 25 years. In addition to working for Good Housekeping magazine as a copy editor, I also was the consulting editor for BET Books/Arabesque, the African-American publishing imprint, where I acquired and edited books for authors like Donna Hill, Rochelle Alers, Leslie Esdaile, Celeste Norfleet, Kayla Perrin and Stacey Abrams (writing as Selena Montgomery). In addition to that, I’ve also been hired as a freelance editor for a lot of well-known authors like E. Lynn Harris, Travis Hunter, and Michael Baisden.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Chandra! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

Chandra: Thank you so much for the opportunity to share It’s Like That with your audience. It is my prayer they will check it out along with some of my other books.

They can find out about all of my books and read excerpts on my website, www.chandrasparkssplond.com.

I pray God’s blessings on everyone who reads this, and may your wildest dreams come true!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor

~*~

About the book:

After suffering a tragic loss ten years ago, twenty-six-year-old Jasmine Richardson has traded her love of lyrics for writing legal briefs. It only takes one encounter with the microphone for Jasmine to realize the music is still in her heart—if only it could pay the bills.

After making some bad decisions, Jasmine is thrown into a tailspin. She is forced to consider taking a case that could make her legal career from someone from her past. Suddenly, Jasmine finds herself questioning her future.

When the music is still in your heart, sometimes life forces you to make some tough decisions. Sometimes…it’s like that.

Buy Chandra’s book online: Amazon or Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Chandra Sparks Splond is an editor, speaker and award-winning author and blogger.

Her young adult novel Make It Work was named Alabama’s Great Read 2017, Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Black Pearls Magazine honored Splond as a Legends & Leaders for 2017 for her blog, Book of Splond (formerly known as Magic City Momma).

Splond is the owner of West End Publishing, LLC, and Live Life Creations, a personalized gift and party boutique. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Splond has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion. She has edited books for several New York Times, USA Today and Essence bestselling authors.

Splond has interviewed New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey and actress Meagan Good. She has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Black and Married with Kids, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times. 

Of all the titles she has held, Splond’s most important remain child of God, wife and mommy.

Splond graduated from Ramsay High School in Birmingham, Alabama and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa with a degree in journalism. She received her master of science in education degree with a focus on instructional design and technology from Samford University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and resides in Birmingham with her family. They are members of Forty-fifth Street Baptist Church.

Follow Chandra online: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Website