Thursday, March 31, 2022

SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT! by Tonya Bolden Official Nerd Blast.


Publisher ‏ : ‎ National Geographic Kids (January 4, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 144 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1426372361
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1426372360

From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.

Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.

Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.

You can purchase Speak Up, Speak Out! at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Tonya Bolden

Tonya Bolden is a critically acclaimed award-winning author and recipient of the Children's Book Guild of Washington, D.C.'s Nonfiction Award. She has authored and edited more than 40 books, including Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl (Coretta Scott King Honor book), M.L.K.: Journey of a King (NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children), and George Washington Carver (Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award and Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award). Acclaimed for her "skilled storytelling," "lively text," and "impeccably-researched" topics, Bolden has received numerous starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Bolden, who loved reading and writing as a child, earned her bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a master's degree from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.


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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

THE QUARTER STORM by Veronica G. Henry tour


Publisher ‏ : ‎ 47North (March 1, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 287 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1542033918
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1542033916


“…this hits the sweet spot of eschewing overdone tropes while retaining the familiar elements that draw fans to the genre. Readers will hope to see more of Mambo Reina.” ―Publishers Weekly

“The Quarter Storm conjures up an intriguing mystery that draws readers away from New Orleans’s famous tourist spots for a story filled with twists, turns, and unexpected discoveries that will leave them eager for more. Because there’s no better sleuth to handle a murder in New Orleans than a Vodou priestess.” ―Nicole Glover, author of The Conductors

“Henry gives us a captivating mystery full of fantasy and African traditional religion, as well as a bewitching investigator, rooted in her faith, dedicated to her community, and dogged in her pursuit of the truth.” ―Eden Royce, author of Root Magic

A practitioner of Vodou must test the boundaries of her powers to solve a ritual murder in New Orleans and protect everything she holds sacred.

Haitian-American Vodou priestess Mambo Reina Dumond runs a healing practice from her New Orleans home. Gifted with water magic since she was a child, Reina is devoted to the benevolent traditions of her ancestors.

After a ritual slaying in the French Quarter, police arrest a fellow vodouisant. Detective Roman Frost, Reina’s ex-boyfriend—a fierce nonbeliever—is eager to tie the crime, and half a dozen others, to the Vodou practitioners of New Orleans. Reina resolves to find the real killer and defend the Vodou practice and customs, but the motives behind the murder are deeper and darker than she imagines.

As Reina delves into the city’s shadows, she untangles more than just the truth behind a devious crime. It’s a conspiracy. As a killer wields dangerous magic to thwart Reina’s investigation, she must tap into the strength of her own power and faith to solve a mystery that threatens to destroy her entire way of life.

You can purchase The Quarter Storm at the following Retailers:



Sophie scooted back off the edge of her seat and sat up bone straight. She didn’t speak immediately, and I was happy to wait. I charged by the hour for certain charms and rituals, after all. My schedule for that day—and the next, for that matter—was clear as a saint’s conscience. So I let Sophie sit there and fill the easy silence, fiddling with her thumb ring for as long as she wanted. She pulled it off, then on, then off once more before she set it on the table.

Finally, she met my eyes. I was surprised by the intensity of this little wisp of a girl’s gaze. “I need a poppet, a spirit doll,” she said and then added, “I think.”

Another lovesick child. A young woman wearing the pitiful expres- sion Sophie wore always meant a love spell. I withheld the sigh that wanted badly to escape my throat. “Tell me what you’re looking for, and I’ll tell you if you need a poppet or something else.”

Sophie looked around the room, and I got the distinct impression she was trying to decide how much of her story to tell me. “This room feels, I don’t know . . .” She rubbed her hands up and down her arms. “Spiritual. I can feel it more here than . . .”

She didn’t finish her sentence. More spiritual than the shop down- stairs from where she lived, perhaps? Was that why she’d chosen to come

to me? I guessed if the boyfriend or husband lived there, too, it might have been a little too close to home.

“It’s my boyfriend.” She placed her hands flat on the tablecloth. Her short nails were painted a bright red. Sophie was a study in contrasts. “I need him to love me. To stay with me.”

The college degree crammed in a box at the back of my closet pro- claimed me an expert in marketing, but to my clientele I was a seasoned psychotherapist, training be damned.

“‘Need’ is a strong word. Since you’re here, I’m guessing something has happened that has given you the inclination that your feelings for him aren’t mutual. Sometimes, endings are just the beginning you need. Toying with the natural order of things can have unexpected conse- quences. You sure that’s what you want?”

Typically, at this point, there would be tears. Some denials. A fit or tantrum. Sophie Thibault smiled. A wicked sight, more a tooth baring than anything. And the goddess Erzulie roiled, tugging at the water in my body, turning it ice cold. She didn’t trust the girl. Goose bumps erupted along my arms. I needed a sweater, maybe a pair of gloves, but didn’t dare get up in the middle of the consultation. That would’ve been untoward.

“Men don’t know what they want.” Sophie suddenly sounded twenty years older. And people said I had an old soul. “We have to show them. Guide them. Only problem is, other women always get in the way of the work you’re trying to put in.”

I didn’t point out that I, too, was a woman. Or that perhaps the other woman who was interfering with her boyfriend may have had the same thoughts about her. But that other woman wasn’t paying for the andouille sausage that would go into tonight’s jambalaya. “The question you have to ask yourself,” I said, “is if this man wants to be somewhere else, do you truly want to compel him—”

“Yes,” Sophie said without hesitation.

“You have to consider how you’ll feel.” Little Sophie was going to get the speech whether she wanted it or not. “Compelling a man to stay

with you sounds good until you realize that without the compulsion, he might be somewhere else. I’ve got to tell you that many of my clients feel that it isn’t worth it in the end. As long as you’re paying me, I have the right to give you my advice. Far as I’m concerned, sitting in that chair, you’ve already solicited it. And if you want my advice, I’d say let the man move on if he wants.”

Sophie studied her nails, then thrummed her fingers against the table. She’d still have to pay my consultation fee, even without the poppet. That would at least get me some whitefish. When she finally answered, I wasn’t surprised.

“What do I need for the poppet?”

“The Law of Contact dictates that we need something connected to your boyfriend. I construct the poppet from simple fabric.” I indicated the bales of cloth that I used for such things poking out of a basket in the corner. “That is, if you want me to construct it from scratch. Or you can buy one of the premade and I can fill it in later.”

Sophie’s eyes traveled to the wall on her right that held rows of premade poppets. She turned back to me and shook her head. “No, I want to have one made from scratch.”

Smart girl. “We’ll make a follow-up appointment. I need a personal article from your boyfriend. Hair, a nail clipping, or something like that.”

Sophie tilted her head and watched me for a moment. Had she changed her mind? Then she pulled her purse over her head, rummaged around inside, and removed a small silken pouch. She pushed it over

toward me with the tip of her index finger. She’d already known.

I undid the tie and looked inside. A few strands of straight blond hair sat nestled atop a pile of dirt. My heart raced, but outwardly I remained calm. What type of spell was this girl hoping for?

“The dirt?” I asked to see if she’d tell me.

“It’s from his plant. It’s about the only thing he tends to in the apartment. He loves that plant more than me. Waters it, clips back the leaves, even sings to it when he plays his guitar. Figured you needed

something personal, and for him, it doesn’t get much more personal than his snake plant.”

From a plant, huh? I didn’t voice my suspicion that she wanted something more nefarious. Hell, maybe I shouldn’t have even been suspicious. “You want to wait or come back?”

Sophie slipped her phone from her purse. “I’ll wait.”




That there was more to this girl than met the eye was a given. That it was none of my business allowed me to cast the thought out of my mind and focus on my work. I took the emerald-green fabric Sophie had selected, retreated to my workspace, and drew the blue curtain behind me.

Poppets could run the gamut from straightforward to convoluted. The variety my new client needed fell on the relatively simple end of that spectrum. Everything began with the initial construction. Some in the priesthood used wax, or clay. Unless specifically requested, however, I preferred the natural feel of a hardy quilting fabric.

I premade poppet husks in what could only be called a vaguely human shape: a head and torso, two arms and two legs. I stitched the two halves together, leaving one side open so that the doll could be customized according to need.

Next came the stuffing. My go-to was Spanish moss, but cotton would do in a pinch. In a small glass bowl, I tossed in ground Adam and Eve root, a teaspoon or so of crushed rose petal, and a pinch of sugar. After mixing this up with my fingers, I added the hair that Sophie had given me. I left out the dirt. Could have been from a grave for all I knew. As I sprinkled the mixture onto the moss, I searched my mind for just the right psalm and whispered the words: For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us.

Photo Content from Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has been a bit of a rolling stone ever since. Her work has appeared in various online publications. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise Workshop and a member of SFWA.

Veronica is proud to be of Sierra Leonean ancestry and counts her trip home as the most important of her life. She now writes from North Carolina, where she eschews rollerballs for fountain pens and fine paper. Other untreated addictions include chocolate and cupcakes.

Veronica's debut novel, Bacchanal, is out now and available at bookstores and libraries everywhere.

MARCH 29th TUESDAY Wishful Endings EXCERPT 
MARCH 30th WEDNESDAY Books and Zebras REVIEW
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APRIL 4th MONDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW
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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

PIRATE QUEENS by Leigh Lewis Official Nerd Blast


Publisher ‏ : ‎ National Geographic Kids (January 11, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 64 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1426371950
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1426371950


"For readers who want more herstory in history." —Booklist

" ethnically inclusive selection of real-life women who commanded ships, wielded cutlasses, and struck fear into the hearts of others." —Publishers Weekly

From Ching Shih, a Chinese pirate who presided over a fleet comprised of some 80,000 men (Blackbeard had 400!), to Anne Bonny who famously ran away from an arranged marriage to don trousers and brandish a pistol in the Bahamas, to Sayyida al Hurra, an Islamic queen who ruled the Western Mediterranean, this edgy illustrated book proves that since ancient times women have made their mark in all aspects of history—even pirate lore.

Reviewed by some of the world’s leading pirate experts and historians, Pirate Queens showcases six gutsy women who dared to rule the high seas.

You can purchase Pirate Queens at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Leigh Lewis

Leigh Lewis is a children's writer whose middle-grade debut, Pirate Queens: Dauntless Women Who Dared to Rule the High Seas (National Geographic Kids), spotlights six fierce female pirates, telling each of their stories in verse. Leigh’s adventures on the high seas have enabled her to call many places home, including Turkey, Greece, England, Japan and Russia, and she eventually navigated her way back to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Leigh spends her time there dreaming up stories for kids of all ages, buoyed by an amazing crew—her Turkish delight of a husband and their three swashbuckling daughters.

Sara G√≥mez Woolley is an award-winning Latina illustrator, graphic novelist, and educator living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Her children’s book Charlotte and the Quiet Place received a Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Gold Medal and an IPPY Award Silver Medal, and has been featured in Creative Quarterly: Journal of Art and Design.

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Thursday, March 24, 2022

BREAKING THE MAAFA CHAIN by Anni Domingo Official Blog Tour

Publisher: Pegasus Books (February 1, 2022)
Length: 480 pages
ISBN13: 9781643139265


"[Breaking the Maafa Chain] is powerful in detailing the cruelties of the transatlantic slave trade, and sensitive and intimate in its portrayal of the girls’ struggles to maintain their dignity and hold on to the memories of their African heritage. With descriptions rich in sensory details, a narrative that forms a swift, irreversible current, and conversations imbued with emotion, Anni Domingo’s story of the Maafa, the African Holocaust, is unforgettable." —Foreword Reviews, starred review

“The story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, extraordinary even in extraor­dinary times, known to some in Sierra Leone, though virtually unknown elsewhere. Now Anni Domingo has brought her vividly to life in this richly imagined and compellingly told tale. Breaking the Maafa Chain is a gift to readers everywhere.” —Aminatta Forna author of The Window Sea

“Part fact, part fiction, Breaking the Maafa Chain is an important book, beautifully told. Domingo’s premise is a bold and uncom­promising one—taking what is known, the story of Salimatu, the ‘Black Princess’, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, and weaving through it the story of her fictionalized sister, Fatmata, Faith. Domingo makes an eloquent point: that although the sisters suffered different fates, both were unfree: Fatmata enslaved in North America and Salimatu gifted to Queen Victoria, and utterly at her whim. It is a story that has resonance today, where Meghan Markle was expected to shape herself to a white institution, to belong.” —Guinevere Glasfurd author of The Year Without Summer

“Anni Domingo brings great sensitivity to her fictionalized account of the remarkable young life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, the ‘African Princess’, who became a god-daughter to Queen Victoria. The internal struggles of Salimatu (Sarah) are movingly explored as she struggles to remain true to her identity as an African after being taken from her homeland and brought to England as a gift from ‘the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites.’ A comparable story is told of Salimatu’s sister Fatmata (Faith) who is transported to the United States before emancipation. Carefully constructed with a keen eye for historical accuracy, Domingo reveals a compas­sionate and affectionate Queen Victoria who is devoted to her African god-daughter. This is also an epic story of two sisters who are separated towards the end of the transatlantic slave trade, but never forget each other.” —Stephen Bourne author of War to Windrush and Evelyn Dove

“Anni Domingo’s Breaking the Maafa Chain is so rich in detail and dialogue; it is simply seductive. She captures so well, a little girl, Salimatu, who recalls the security of her family life, who is trans­ported to a bewildering future in England to become Sarah, where she has to stand strong and survive. Not only will this book be read for the sheer enjoyment of a beautifully written novel, but for the learning gained. It is a historical novel that cannot be ignored.” —Kadija Sesay literary activist and author of Irki

A richly imagined story of two sisters' struggle for true freedom in the mid-nineteenth century as their paths diverge in the middle passage—one to the court of Queen Victoria, the other to an American plantation.

Salimatu and her sister Fatmata are captured, sold to slavers, renamed and split apart. Forced to change their names to Sarah and Faith, they end up on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Faith is taken to America, where slavery is still legal and she is stripped of all rights. Sarah ends up in Victorian England and as the goddaughter of Queen Victoria. Can the two sisters reclaim their freedom and identity in a world that is trying to break them down? Will these once inseparable sisters survive without each other? And if they do find each other again, will they find the other changed beyond recognition?

Based on the true story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Breaking the Maafa Chain is by turns epic and intimate and will take the readers on a journey of loss, survival, and hope.

You can purchase Breaking the Maafa Chain at the following Retailers:



Ten Random Things About Me


·         I am the third of four children

·         I was born in London but grew up in Sierra Leone until I was seventeen.

·         Went to Rose Bruford Drama College in England

·         I am a Lecturer at various universities in London

·         I am an actor and a director

·         I have lived in America, Australia, West Africa and England

·         I am an avid reader of many different genres

·         I am a Magistrate in the British Courts

·         I have 3 adopted children


Photo Content from Anni Domingo

Anni Domingo is an actress, director and writer. She is currently a lecturer in Drama and Directing at St. Mary's University in Twickenham and Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. Anni's poems and short stories have been published in various anthologies and an extract from Breaking the Maafa Chain won the Myriad Editions First Novel competition and was featured in the New Daughters of Africa anthology edited by Margaret Busby.

MARCH 25th FRIDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW
MARCH 26th SATURDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
MARCH 27th SUNDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW

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