I wanted to blog about Tyora Moody’s Troubled Heart for Throwback Thursday. Maybe because I share a name with the heroine. 😉
It’s book 2 in here Reed Family series and released in 2016. If you haven’t read the book or the series, now’s the time!
About the Book
Forensic artist Toni Reed loves when her work helps the police catch criminals. Tasked with helping a traumatized woman identify her attacker, Toni is troubled when she sketches a face that resembles a man from her past. Is it the same man who brutally attacked her two years ago?
Despite longtime family friend Detective Cam Noble’s insistence that she not interfere with the case, Toni becomes obsessed with seeking justice. Will she let God lead her to come to terms with her past?
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.
Happy Thursday! Today we’re throwing it back to 2017 with A Cry for Independence by Joy K. Massenburge. A Cry for Independence was originally featured in the novella collection titled Summer Fireworks, which was written by six multi-published popular authors and three debut authors. In 2018, A Cry for Independence was released as a separate novella.
First of all, I have to say that the cover of this novella is absolutely gorgeous! The cover immediately captured my attention and convinced me that I needed to read it. I love discovering new-to-me authors!
Have you read any books by Joy K. Massenburge?
ABOUT THE BOOK
Some cry wolf, Tammie Morris cries independence after surviving an abusive relationship.
Having Q’s baby out of wedlock and struggling to support herself and her child, she is determined to never depend on a man again. It has taken twelve months to gain her GED, employment, and the five-year-life-plan she is committed to live by to make it happen. When her apartment availability is delayed, she is forced into a temporary living arrangement with her son’s father that threatens the future she’s mapped out.
Quan Blanton Sr., Q, has found the freedom only salvation through Jesus can offer. All there is to do now is put his family back together and live the
Christian life. Only one problem, Tammie doesn’t want anything to do with him or his God. Is there anything too hard for God? Q and Tammie discover all things are possible with Christ.
Author and Speaker Joy K Massenburge, is the voice to be heard. Her latest release, A Heart Surrendered, was a top seller in African American Christian Fiction. When she isn’t writing, Joy is inspiring, equipping, and providing a support community for authors who declare they have been called to publish a book.
A graduate of Sam Houston State University, Joy holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice after
leaving her theater scholarship at The University of Texas in Austin, to marry her husband. After twenty plus years of overcoming trials and second chances, she takes the stage at conferences, retreats, and during counseling sessions to challenge married couples to work through their problems and reignite lasting romance.
A heartwarming Christmas mystery and friendship story!
Every Christmas in the small town of Pine River, a tree appears in the town square–the Angel Tree. Some people tie wishes to the tree, while others make those wishes come true. Nobody’s ever known where the tree comes from, but the mystery has always been part of the tradition’s charm.
This year, however, four kids who have been helped–Lucy, Joe, Max, and Cami–are determined to solve the mystery and find out the true identity of the town’s guardian angel, so that Pine River can finally thank the person who brought the Angel Tree to their town.
This is a heartwarming Christmas mystery, full of friendship, discovery, and loads of holiday cheer!
‘PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY’ REVIEW: “Full of the type of warmth and good cheer found in favorite holiday movies, author and PW reviewer Benedis-Grab’s lively tale spotlights the time-honored tradition—and can-do citizens—that make a small town great, even in the face of financial struggle. Nobody is certain who is behind the stately Angel Tree that appears in the Pine River town square each year, but everyone knows that when people tie notes containing their Christmas wishes to the tree, the wishes are granted. This year, middle-schoolers Cami, Max, Lucy, and Joe (all of whom have benefitted from the Angel Tree’s bounty) try to uncover the tree’s benefactor and thank him or her. As the kids puzzle through clues, they discover things that bring them closer to their families, neighbors, and each other—all in time for a satisfying, celebratory reveal. Ages 8–12.”
I saw this book on the fiction shelf in the children’s section of the local public library a couple of weeks after Christmas last year. Since I love to read holiday fiction and non-fiction year round, I grabbed it, checked it out, and took it home.
This is a heartwarming story about four diverse middle-schoolers who make it their common goal to discover who the beneficent organizer and underwriter of the town’s Angel Tree and annual charitable holiday acts is. The person’s identity has been a mystery for over three decades, and these children want to do something wonderful to celebrate this person’s generosity.
The group of four–five if you count Lucy’s guide dog, Valentine, who is helpful in discovering some important clues–is made up of Cami, an talented African-American musician who is being raised by her grandmother because she is an orphan; Lucy, a blind Chinese girl adopted by her American parents when she was a baby; Valentine, Lucy’s guide dog that is facing a serious health challenge of her own; Joe, the new kid in town who has a bad attitude and a secret; and Max, the class clown who has some serious family problems on his plate. Of note, Joe and Max are living in poverty due to familial circumstances; their relationship did not get off to a good start when Joe came to town.
Despite their differences, under the leadership of Cami the four of them work through their issues with each other and pull together to solve the mystery of the Angel Tree.
The story includes several instances where each character is facing an individual challenge. This was one of the things I liked the most about this book — it wasn’t a fairy tale with a happily ever after ending. The main characters dealt with realistic problems and obstacles on the pathway of life in order to improve their lives and the lives of their family members and the community. The group’s dynamics were also believable and enjoyable.
Oh, did I mention the cover? The magical Christmas tree with the silhouetted main characters on the cover perfectly portrays the inner beauty revealed throughout this story.
I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future.
Highly-recommended as a family, classroom, and youth group/church group read-aloud book.
I borrowed this book from the local public library.
About the Author
Daphne is the author of middle grade books Army Brats, (nominated for the Louisiana Reader’s Choice Award) Clementine for Christmas, The Chocolate Challenge and The Angel Tree (nominated for the Triple Crown Children’s Book Award), and the young adult books The Girl in the Wall (an ALA Quick Pick) and Alive and Well in Prague, New York (a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of 2008). Her short stories have appeared in American Girl Magazine. She earned an MFA at The New School and is an adjunct professor at The New School and McDaniel College, as well as a former high school history teacher. She lives in New York City with her husband, kids and cat, and is currently studying at to become a librarian.
Happy Thursday! Today we’re throwing it back to 2011 with Crowning Glory, when the first edition of this novel was published. Crowning Glory is the first book in author Pat Simmons’ Restore My Soul series. The premise of this novel is different than a lot of the Christian fiction novels I read, but the topics are very relevant in our society, where people do make terrible mistakes and have the opportunity to discover salvation and redemption through the grace of God.
Have youread any novels by Pat Simmons yet?
ABOUT THE BOOK
Cinderella had a prince; Karyn Wallace has a King.
While Karyn served four years in prison for an unthinkable crime, she embraced salvation through Crowns for Christ outreach ministry. After her release, Karyn stays strong and confident, despite the stigma society places on ex-offenders. Since Christ strengthens the underdog, Karyn refuses to sway away from the scripture, “He whom the Son has set free is free indeed.”
Levi Tolliver, for the most part, is a practicing Christian. One contradiction is he doesn’t believe in turning the other cheek. He’s steadfast there is a price to pay for every sin committed, especially after
the untimely death of his wife during a robbery. Then Karyn enters Levi’s life. He is enthralled not only with her beauty but her sweet spirit until he learns about her incarceration. If Levi can accept that Christ paid Karyn’s debt in full, then a treasure awaits him.
Award-winning author Pat Simmons delivers another powerful tale and reminds readers of the permanency of redemption. Crowning Glory is a love story, and Karyn will get her prince.
Pat Simmons is the multi-published author of more than thirty titles, and is a three-time recipient of Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.
As a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth, Pat is passionate about researching her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels.
She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. God is the Author who advances the stories she writes. Pat has a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Pat has converted her sofa-strapped, sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and her administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.
Happy Thursday, friends! Today we’re throwing it back to 2015 with Predestined Love by Marshalee Patterson! Be sure to check out this great story!
About the Book
Travelling to Italy was Maria’s way of escaping her past and beginning a new life. After being used and treated as cheap by men because of poor judgement, Maria prayed and left her fate in God’s Hands to find her the perfect match.
When God answered Maria’s prayer and sent her His choice, someone from her past came to claim what he thought was his.
Will he succeed in ruining the future Maria had trusted God to secure for her?
Marshalee Patterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She has loved reading since she could walk. Growing up without a television sparked in her a love for reading and the world of imagination. Some of her favourite novels were written by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre and Victor Hugo, as she found she liked the true to life stories that we all can relate to. She wrote her first novella-Predestined Love after travelling to Italy and wanted to write a romance novel about it, only she didn’t know that God had plans for her and that story, when he change the direction of what she originally had in mind.
It was then that she knew she was called to write stories to uplift and inspire readers, showing them how to find God in their struggles and the faith to trust Him through it. She is a lover of nature and the tranquillity of it. She finds the outdoors refreshing and peaceful. Marshalee loves Spanish ballads and dances salsa very well.
Winner of the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle-Grade Book!
Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.
With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina’s father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.
Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it’s not that easy. It’s 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.
In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?
This moving story, based upon Author Charlene Willing McManis’s childhood, reminded me of how I felt after reading Author Lauren Wolk’s ‘Wolf Hollow’ and Author Kirby Larson’s ‘Dash’. These stories all remained on my mind for a long time after I finished reading them because they are so powerful . . .
‘Indian No More’ describes, in great detail, events in American history which I knew nothing about prior to picking up this book.
In 1954, President Eisenhower signed Public Law 588. “The law said the government didn’t need to provide for our education, health care, of anything else as promised in the treaties. The government declared us only Americans now instead of our own nation. We didn’t need a reservation anymore.” (page 20)
In 1956, Congress passed the Indian Relocation Act. “This removed many more Native people from their reservation homelands and relocated them to big cities like Chicago, Minneapolos, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The government promised moving costs, jobs, higher education, and housing.” (page 180)
The Petit family in the story moved to Los Angeles. They moved into a diverse neighborhood with black and Cuban families. I shed tears at the many ways in which these diverse groups were treated unfairly and unkindly in the community, in the schools, and in society, in general.
One of the uplifting scenes in the book that I could personally relate to was when Regina’s grandmother taught her to sew. They worked together from start to finish on remaking a man’s jacket into a jacket for one of the neighbor boys. Regina’s grandmother taught her how to draft patterns, cut out the fabric pieces, sew the garment together using their Singer sewing machine, and then handsew the finishing touches.
This brought back so many happy memories of my Grandma McCrary and I sewing together in the summer before I began sixth grade. Grandma shared all of her knowledge and expertise with me, but I know I enjoyed the love and time she shared with me even more.
The Back Matter is excellent — Definitions; Author’s Note; Photographs of the author’s family and significant locations mentioned in the book; Co-Author’s Note, Editor’s Note; and the text of an Umpqua story mentioned in the novel, ‘The Beaver and the Coyote’, are included.
There are so many layers to this book. There is the historical perspective of what the government did and effect it had upon these native peoples. There are the feelings of prejudice experienced by these diverse groups. Most importantly, since the story is told by an eight-year-old girl, we are given the insight of the magnitude of these two laws and the ensuing events they caused from the perspective of an innocent child.
I highly-recommend this book to children and adults. This book would make a great classroom or family read-aloud. Many events in the story will require open discussion about sensitive topics. There are a lot of emotions and issues to digest, but I felt richly-rewarded by having read this book.
I borrowed this book from the local public library.
About the Authors
— The late Charlene Willing McManis (1953-2018) was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in Los Angeles. She was of Umpqua tribal heritage and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Charlene served in the U.S. Navy and later received her Bachelor’s degree in Native American Education. She lived with her family in Vermont and served on that state’s Commission on Native American Affairs. In 2016, Charlene received a mentorship with award-winning poet and author Margarita Engle through We Need Diverse Books. That manuscript became the novel Indian No More, which is based on her family’s experiences after their tribe was terminated in 1954. She passed away in 2018, knowing that her friend Traci Sorell would complete the revisions Charlene was unable to finish.
— Traci Sorell writes poems as well as fiction and nonfiction works for children and teens featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies—the type of books she sought out in her school and public libraries as a child.
Traci’s debut nonfiction picture book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, was awarded a 2019 Sibert Honor, a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor and a 2019 Orbis Picture Honor. Illustrated by Frané Lessac and published by Charlesbridge Publishing, it also received four starred reviews (Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness). An audio book is available from Live Oak Media.
Her debut fiction picture book, At the Mountain’s Base, is illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre and published by Kokila/Penguin.
Traci is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located and her relatives still live. Find out more about Traci at www.tracisorell.com.
Happy Thursday! It’s Throwback Thursday, and today we’re throwing it back to October 2019 with Fourth Day by Lisa Phillips. Fourth Day is book 4 in her Northwest Counter Terrorism Taskforce series. This is a great suspense novel about two of my favorite characters in this series. I highly recommend you read this series in order.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A dead woman returns.
The trap is set.
Allyson can’t get caught up in feelings. Not when there’s work to do. The night her phone rings, the voice on the other end changes everything. Drawn into the latest Northwest Counter Terrorism Taskforce case, Allyson has to figure out where her loyalties lie.
Sal knows things are changing with the team, but he isn’t sure what’s next for him. As soon as he clears this one last investigation he’ll figure it out. Trouble is, finding Allyson might be the hardest thing he’s ever done.
The Northwest Counter Terrorism Taskforce is on the case.
A British ex-pat who grew up an hour outside of London, Lisa attended Calvary Chapel Bible College where she met her husband. He’s from California, but nobody’s perfect. It wasn’t until her Bible College graduation that she figured out she was a writer (someone told her). Since then she’s discovered a penchant for high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after. Lisa can be found in Idaho wearing either flip-flops or cowgirl boots, depending on the season. She leads worship with her husband at their local church. Together they have two kids and an all black Airedale known as The Dark Lord Elevator.
Happy Thursday, reader friends! It’s Throwback Thursday and we’re throwing it back to 2018 with the amazing book No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert! This book is an absolute must read, be sure to check it out!
About the Book
When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams.
Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated.
Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into.
Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?
Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate. You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting her website or author Facebook page.
Happy Thursday! Today we’re throwing it back to July 2019 with Something Right, the second book in Rose Fresquez’s Buchanan series, her delightful interracial Christian firefighter romance series. This novel can easily be read as a standalone novel. I absolutely love the gorgeous cover for this book, and the Buchanan family is wonderful. I definitely recommend adding Something Right to your TBR list.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A divorcée firefighter with trust issues, a fiery interior designer determined to chip away the walls of his house and his heart. Can their friendship survive the sparks of love?
Jake Larson is good at everything…except relationships. When his marriage ends, it leaves the firefighter with doubts he’s never experienced before. Now he’s determined to protect his crushed heart the only way he knows how: avoid falling in love at all costs. And thanks to his friend Ezra, Jake is more than content to fill the hole in his life with a newfound faith in Christ and the hope for a brighter—if single—future.
Renee Buchanan is one of the best interior designers Colorado has to offer, and she knows it. She’s young, skilled, and confident…except when she’s around Jake Larson. Every time Jake steps into a room, her carefully crafted professionalism crumbles, and she finds herself lost.
And that’s a problem when Jake hires Renee to decorate his fixer-upper of a home. Not only is Jake her brother’s best friend, he’s also the gentleman of her dreams. And no matter how determined she is to make this the well-designed house of her career, and how thick the walls around Jake’s heart are, something new sizzles up between them, something they can’t help but be drawn toward.
As they work together to chip away at the walls of both Jake’s house and his heart, Jake is faced with a life-changing decision: let himself fall for his best friend’s beautiful sister, or stay single but keep his friendship intact. Either way, Jake knows he must let go of his past before he can grab hold of the future…or else risk losing the second chance he desperately needs.
Something Right is a sweet interracial romance between a damaged firefighter and the interior designer determined to make him whole again.
Something Right is the second book in the standalone in series; The Buchanans
This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination–when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.
In February 1968, two African American sanitation workers were killed by unsafe equipment in Memphis, Tennessee. Outraged at the city’s refusal to recognize a labor union that would fight for higher pay and safer working conditions, sanitation workers went on strike. The strike lasted two months, during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was called to help with the protests. While his presence was greatly inspiring to the community, this unfortunately would be his last stand for justice. He was assassinated in his Memphis hotel the day after delivering his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon in Mason Temple Church. Inspired by the memories of a teacher who participated in the strike as a child, author Alice Faye Duncan reveals the story of the Memphis sanitation strike from the perspective of a young girl with a riveting combination of poetry and prose.
I was thrilled when I saw this title come up in our library’s online catalog. Late last year we watched an American Experience show on PBS about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Memphis in April, 1968. I learned so much from the documentary, and I was anxious to read this book to see how this tragic event was handled in a book written for children.
The main character, nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, is based upon a teacher in Memphis who participated in the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike with her parents when she was a child.
The conflict began in January, 1968, when two black sanitation workers were killed by a malfunctioning packer blade on an old and poorly-maintained garbage truck. Echol Cole and Robert Walker worked with Lorraine’s father.
$1.70 per hour — this was the average pay of a Memphis sanitation worker. The workers formed a labor union with the hope of gaining better pay, better treatment on the job, and improved safety. Memphis’s mayor, Henry Loeb, would not grant a pay increase, and he refused to acknowledge the workers’ labor union.
Beginning on February 12, 1968, and lasting for sixty-five days, 1,300 men went on strike. They marched to City Hall carrying signs. The workers and their families sacrificed greatly during this strike. A group of preachers in Memphis organized and used church donations to help the striking workers pay their bills. “The NAACP organized boycotts to support the strike.” (page 9)
The workers attended rallies each night. They sang freedom songs and listened to preachers. “The mayor railed NO! to every labor request, and my daddy kept right on marching.” (page 11)
The excitement described by the narrator, nine-year-old Lorraine, when it was announced that Martin Luther King, Jr., would be traveling to Memphis in March to try to assist in the sanitation workers’ cause was palpable. When Dr. King arrived on March 18th, he preached, and then made a plan to march with the workers on March 22nd. Except the march didn’t happen that day because an unusual amount of sixteen inches of snow fell in Memphis.
The march was rescheduled for March 28th on Beale Street. Six thousand women, men, and children attended. Unfortunately, instead of a peaceful march, some militant individuals created a riot. In response, Mayor Loeb called in four thousand National Guard troops and set a 7:00PM curfew.
Dr. King left Memphis, but he promised to return . . . Dr. King did return to the city on April 3rd. He spoke to the sanitation workers with passion that evening. The next day, Dr. King was assassinated by James Earl Ray on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
The final chapters of the book are about Mrs. Coretta Scott King and the termination of the Memphis Sanitation Strike on April 16, 1968. The book includes several poems.
Back Matter includes a detailed ‘Memphis Sanitation Strike–1968–Timeline’, information about the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Sources, and Source Notes.
Words cannot express the profound affect this book had on me. Its poignant retelling of this part of our nation’s history is powerful. The author’s well-chosen words are fully-supported by the illustrator’s beautiful paintings.
Highly-recommended to teachers, librarians, and families. This book will open up important discussions about civil rights, respect, tolerance, perseverance, and determination.
Alice Faye Duncan
About the Author
On the author’s website you will find information about her books along with a set of lesson plans designed for several of her books.
Gregory Christie received a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Freedom in Congo Square, written by Carole Boston Weatherford. He is a three-time recipient of The New York Times’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year Award, a six-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award in Illustration, and a winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the NAACP’s Image Award, and the Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award from the Museum of Tolerance. Visit Mr. Christie’s website at Gas-Art.com.