Thursday, January 01, 2009

Best of 2008

I love New Year's Day. It's one of those fresh slate things in life like a new car that you'll keep clean; a new checking account, that you'll keep balanced, or a new house that you'll decorate with your own unique touch (I wasn't going to go for the keep clean again). We begin a new year with plans and thoughts of what we WILL do for the next 365 days. That's why all day New Year's Eve everybody's counting down the best of, the worst of and such. One of the new year's rules is not to bring the baggage from last year into the new. But we all know, books are never baggage. They're timeless. That's why I feel okay about sharing the best of 2008 on January 1, 2009.

Okay, so that's a bunch of malarkey. I'm just plain late. I had so much content for December that I just didn't get it done. And the only resolution that I have for 2009 (other than the standing one to lose weight) is to not stress myself over small things. So here goes the UCF Today's countdown for 2008.

I asked three professional book reviewers to share their favorite 5 African American Christian Fiction books that were released in 2008.

Tyora Moody's List

I did my list like a countdown.

5. Too Little, Too Late: A Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
4. Wounded: A Love Story by Claudia Mair Burney
3. Up Pops the Devil by Angela Benson
2. Rhythms of Grace by Marilyn Griffith
1. The Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney

Ty is a book reviewer, aspiring writer, and book marketing guru. You may learn about her by visiting her column on this blog (I’m Not Published Yet) and by visiting her sites at,, and

Dee Stewart's List

Dee added commentary. She always does. :o)

1. Claudia Mair Burney, Zora & Nicky. Romeo & Juliette set in megachurches. Very romantic, good read for young adults, well written.
2. Uwem Akpa, Say You're One of Them. This book gives African children a voice. Very well written, heart breaking, soul stirring. incredible.
3. Claudia Mair Burney, Wounded . Burney can take an interesting character and turn her on her head, spin her around, yet still give her grace.
4. A Mercy, Toni Morrison. Lovely poetic prose sweeps over this pastoral. Christianity is seen through a glass darkly. Wow.
5. Walter Mosley, The Tempest Tales. A homage to Langston Hughes and a classic discussion about what happens and don't happen at Judgement. This story reminds me of The Preacher's Wife and Easy Rawlins combined.

Dee is a reviewer for Romantic Times, a Christy Book Award Judge (you know the gold seal people), a dynamite publicist, and an aspiring novelist. You may learn more about her at,

Jennifer Coissiere's List

Jennifer just gave it to us straight:

1. Dance Into Destiny by Sherri L. Lewis
2. Braided In My Hair by Tiffany Alexander
3. The Legacies by Michelle Larks
4. Rhythms of Grace by Marilynn Griffith
5. The Pledge by Chandra Sparks Taylor

Jennifer is a reviewer for APOOO Book Club, and an aspiring writer. You can learn more about her at

If you haven't read these great reads yet they can still go on your shopping list. Books have the luxury of being timeless.

Happy New Year!


Missy said...

Ms Griffith was at Levy Entertainment Soul Expressions Tour here in Illinois this past summer and I purchased her book by faith. I had never heard of her but I lked her spirit.

Its nice to see it has made some of your top 2008 list. I'm going to move it up on my

Thanks for sharing!

Yasmin said...

Happy New Yerar and thanks ladies for sharing your list...I read a little from everyone's list; but I read and enjoyed Too Little, Too Late, Up Pops the Devil.

upwords said...

Thanks for recognizing my writer friends Claudia Mair Burney and Dr. Angela Benson. Thanks for mentioning Rhythms of Grace as well.

Marilynn Griffith

Ty said...

Thanks for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to adding "Secrets and Lies" to my list next year. :)

Anonymous said...

Great list, ladies. I'm honored to be a part. Thanks for mentioning me.

I read many of these books and enjoyed them. It was a great year for us. Pioneer Christian fiction writers like Dr. Angela Benson still satisfy, and emerging writers like Sherri L. Lewis are growing legions of fans. I'm so proud of how far we've come.

I must say, my favorite urban book this year was Rhythms of Grace, which I read three years ago in rough draft form, and then the new version. Great stuff, the best of what we do. I can't wait for the sequel!

I also can't wait to read the books you all have cited that I missed. Surely 2009 has even better things for us.

Thanks again!