While we may not all have similar reading habits (some read on a daily, others annual basis *wink*), what we do have in common, however, is the fact that should we decide to eventually pick up a book and read, it should be one that is actually worth the while. The good news: I have made it a tad easier for you, making sure the next fictional book you pick up will indeed leave u changed. The five novels featured in today’s series are by the authors *the drummer plays his drums* Pamela D. Rice, E.N. Joy, Kimberly Cash-Tate, Francine Rivers, and C. S. Lewis! Should any or all of them tickle your fancy, click on the title and purchase it via Amazon (No, I’m not getting paid for this). Enjoy!
1. The Sunday Morning Wife, Pamela D. Rice
From the outside looking in, Yolanda Clarke appears to have it all. She’s a beautiful woman, and her husband, Timothy, is the pastor of BrightStar Tabernacle. They seem to have the perfect life. But, looks are certainly deceiving.Yolanda has become a puppet on a string, totally controlled by Timothy. While everyone at church thinks he walks on water, Yolanda knows the person behind the mask. His constant verbal tirades, physical and emotional abuse has become unbearable.In walks Andre Hunter. He’s the type of man that can make any woman forget all her troubles. His chocolate skin, pearly whites, and beautiful smile enthrall Yolanda. She has never entertained the idea of infidelity, but the abuse and lack of intimacy at home makes her adulterous affair justifiable in her mind… (Barnes & Noble) Get the feel:
Yolanda hardly recognizes Timothy; a handsome man who everyone says resembles Harry Belafonte. Her eyes close, and remnant tears fall, crushed by the weight of eyelashes. Yolanda wonders how she has arrived at the hell she is in, tormented day and night by someone who pledged- in front of God and man- to love her forever.
Before her thought process can be finished, Timothy grabs her by her hair, pulling her off the bed like a rag doll and drags her into the closet. “Timothy, please, no!” Hoping her weight will keep him from shutting it, she presses her body against the door. “Timothy, please stop!” Yelling at the top of her lungs, vocal cords straining, she pleads with the stranger to have mercy. The door flies open forcefully, and Timothy kicks Yolanda so hard it sends her flailing against the back wall of the closet with a thud. Praying his savage attack has ended, her whole body aching, she curls into a fetal position. Timothy slams and locks the door. “I hate to treat you like this Yolanda, but it’s really all your fault! All you have to do is just try to conform to the person that I am trying to mould you into. I have given you every pointer I know on how to be a perfect wife. I have printed out material for you to read, I have purchased books, and I have even sent you to workshops on how to be a better wife. But, you still don’t seem to get it.”
Yolanda can hear Timothy’s breathing is slowing down, and that’s a good sign- he’s calming down. “And, this is the second time I’ve spoken with you about your loud breathing. I work hard every day, and when I go to bed, I expect to have a little peace and quiet, without someone breathing down my neck! It’s probably because you are so fat. Not one of my friends’ wives is as fat as you. If you wonder why our sex life is suffering, look in the mirror. Your body disgusts me! I’m still a man, and a man has needs, Yolanda. So, I sleep with you from time to time, just to satisfy my manly desires. By the way, being overweight is also why you can’t get pregnant.” Yolanda wishes that Timothy would just die, and wants to kill him herself. Right now, being intimate with him is the last thing on her mind. “And don’t try to talk about how tall you are, or that you are big boned! You are just fat, F-A-T, and you need to lose some weight. You are going to learn to be a respectful, submissive, lady-like, slim wife, even if I have to beat you every day! The choice is yours!” Yolanda waits anxiously, afraid to breathe, hoping that Timothy will not open the door.
2. She Who Finds a Husband, E.N. Joy
What was the pastor of New Day Temple of Faith thinking when he approved the creation of the New Day Singles Ministry? Better yet, what were its members thinking when they joined? Doreen, lovingly known as the Church Mother of New Day, thought that when she presented the idea of the ministry to the pastor, it could serve as a foundation to empower, encourage, and enlighten the church’s single members. But when only women join and Doreen learns that all these women want only one thing out of the ministry—help in finding a man—her mission goes astray. She Who Finds a Husband is what you get when you combine some Divine, some Independent, some Virtuous, some Animated, and some Stoic personalities all in one setting—DIVAS! Dig into this soap opera in print as the women of New Day Temple of Faith Singles Ministry set flight to include a man in their future, not realizing that their past is what’s keeping them bound. (Barnes & Noble) Here a teaser:
Fully dressed in her Sunday’s best, Deborah had every intention of going to New Day Temple of Faith to get her praise on when she awoke this morning. But that nagging voice in her head had chased her around the house while she got ready for church, and it kept hurling insults at her about being a phony and fake Christian hiding her sins. That voice had finally broken her down and convinced her that the last place a wretch like her needed to be was in church. The stench of her past sin would stink up the place.
Now here she sat, rocking back and forth like she belonged in a loony bin somewhere, reciting the same Bible verse over and over while staring off into a daze. she’d hoped that her voice would drown out the one that had been taunting her, but it had yet to work.
“That stupid Helen!” she ranted right in the middle of walking through the valley of the shadow of death. “I wish she were…I wish she would just…why did she ever have to step foot in New Day in the first place? That was my church! My church! And now here she comes tainting the life I’ve built there. Here she comes digging up the bones I’ve buried. How dare her. Who does she think she is?” Deborah despised the day that the Lord had made just a few months ago when Helen showed up at New Day.
By now Deborah was out of the bed pacing back and forth in anger. Somewhere between walking in the valley of the shadow of death and not fearing any evil, she’d decided to shift blame from herself to Helen. Never mind the actual act that she had committed four years ago, the act that Helen obviously had found pleasure in dangling over her head. Helen had no right to all but threaten to reveal her dirty little secret. It was Deborah’s secret. Who was Helen to try to take ownership?
3. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
Sold into prostitution in childhood, Angel is a bitter woman who trusts no man. But when God tells Michael Hosea to marry her, she learns to love—until fear overwhelms her and she returns to her former life. Can she be redeemed? A skillful retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea. Here an excerpt from Chapter 1:
She made her way by working Portsmouth Square until the Duchess, a woman well past her prime but possessed of a shrewd mind for business, found her and talked her into heading for the gold country.
“I’ve got four other girls, a Frenchie from Paris, a Celestial Ah Toy sold me, and two girls who look like they came off an empty potato boat from Ireland. A little food will fatten ’em up. Ah, but now, you. First time I saw you, I thought there’s a girl who can get rich with the right management. A girl with your beauty could make her fortune up there in the gold camps. Those young miners will take the gold out of the stream and fight each other to put it right in your hand.”
On an agreement that Angel would turn over eighty percent of her earnings, the Duchess promised to see that she was protected from bodily harm. “And I’ll see you have the best clothing, food, and lodgings available.”
Angel found the irony laughable. She had fled from Duke and fallen into the hands of Duchess. Just her luck.
For all her seeming benevolence, Duchess was a greedy tyrant. Angel knew she collected bribes to fix the lots, while not a speck of that gold dust found its way into the girls’ pouches. The tips left for services well-rendered were divided according to the original agreement. Mai Ling, Ah Toy’s Celestial slave girl, tried to hide her gold once, and Magowan—with his cruel smile and ham-sized hands—was sent in to “have a talk with her.”
4. Heavenly Places, Kimberly Cash-Tate
Heavenly Places takes Treva Langston to her home town full of memories of heartache and uncertainty about what makes her worthy. To her husband, she is blind to the blessings of their young family; to her mother, her awkward homecoming is just another reason why she’ll never be a success. Unable to shake her fears, Treva feels nothing can save her. Her sister- understanding the trials that come with self-doubt- seeks to help her. Here an excerpt of the 1st Chapter:
I definitely did not want to live in Prince George’s County; no matter how many new communities somebody built and called “exclusive.” No matter how many black executives made it their home, as the realtor was fond of sharing. P.G. with bells on was still P.G. Step outside the luxury home, tip past the golf course, and the love affair ends. No cosmopolitan breeze for miles. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. And worse–black folk everywhere who’ve worked hard and long enough to buy a few thousand square feet, who are happy to be around other black folk with a few thousand square feet, and who—I could just see it—would think it a wonderful thing to knock on the doors of said black folk and get to know them. I wanted no part of it and told Hezekiah so.
Well, I told him everything except the part about the neighbors because he would have scoffed. Hezekiah is a people person. In our former neighborhood outside Chicago, he knew everyone on our block, and many who resided two and three blocks over. He took walks, not as a form of exercise—he keeps his six-foot-two body fit with regular basketball runs and weight lifting—but to catch up with whomever was out and about. If he’d had his way, we would have had rolling dinner invitations starting up our side of the street and going down the other. I know because he suggested it once. And he must have known it was a long shot because when I suggested he might be crazy, he left it alone. […]
Sometimes I wonder if time has exaggerated it all in my mind. Was it really that bad? But then I remember the utter sadness that would overtake me afterward, how I would cry someplace alone because once again I’d felt the sting of a brush-off. I cried, too, because of the reason. It wasn’t that they didn’t like me, in the sense of judging some aspect of my personality. They simply gravitated to their own, and I wasn’t one of them. They were various shades of fair with naturally straight hair and eyes the color of pools. I was milk chocolate with hair that grew—I was thankful—but needed help to get straight, and I had regular old dark brown eyes, too far on the other end of the spectrum to be one of them.
5. The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
The book contains thirty-one letters from Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood, who is Screwtape’s underling in fiendishness. Screwtape is an upper-level functionary in the complex bureaucracy (“Lowerarchy”) of Hell and acts as a mentor to Screwtape. The “Screwtape Letters” are friendly advice from this elder statesman to a front-line tempter on how to procure the soul of his “patient”, a young Christian man just trying to live out his everyday life. Wormwood and Screwtape live in a peculiarly morally reversed world, where personal benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good, and neither demon is capable of comprehending or acknowledging true human virtue when he sees it.. Enjoy an extract from Chapter 2:
My Dear Wormwood,
I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian. Do not indulge the hope that you will escape the usual penalties; indeed, in your better moments, I trust you would hardly even wish to do so. In the meantime we must make the best of the situation. There is no need to despair; hundreds of these adult converts have been reclaimed after a I brief sojourn in the Enemy’s camp and are now with us. All the habits of the patient, both mental and bodily, are still in our favour. […]
Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His “free” lovers and servants—”sons” is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to “do it on their own”. And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt. […]