first image


Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

February is a Great Month to Read... by Fran Joyce


February is a great month to read a few romance novels. It’s also the perfect time to read presidential biographies or books written by or about African Americans in honor of Black History Month.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney. Erin and Dom seemed meant for each other, but life sometimes interferes. After the courtship and the wedding vows, how do you survive the everyday pressures that test even the strongest relationships? The Book of Love is a beautiful and complicated love story that will keep you hoping and guessing until the end.

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen. Her first kiss was stolen by a mysterious man at a masquerade party. Before she knows her own mind, Francesca Rossi is trapped between the desires of two popular men who view her as a possession to be won. Can Francesca find love under these circumstances?

The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins. Socially awkward Lana Green is pushing thirty. She thinks she is happy living alone with her books. Once famous author Nancy Ellis Hall, now in her eighties, lives alone in her fine home oblivious to the dementia which is slowly robbing her of her independence. When circumstances force them to become housemates, the ladies form a bond that develops into a friendship destined to save them from themselves.

 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This is the story of Starr, a girl from a poor black neighborhood, who begins a delicate balancing between two worlds after she is accepted at an elite primarily white prep school. Starr’s worlds collide after she witnesses the murder of her best friend Khalil by a policeman. Starr and her family face threats and intimidation from people in power who try to make Khalil out to be a dangerous thug whose death was justified. Protestors are marching in the streets demanding justice for Khalil. Everyone wants Starr to tell them “the truth” they want to hear. Where do her loyalties lie?

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan. From the bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale comes the story of a woman brave enough to start over when her comfortable life does not bring her the happiness she desires. It’s about feeling stuck and having the courage to give up what’s easy to get what you want and need.

Second House from the Corner by Sadeqa Johnson. Felicia Lyons is a busy stay at home mom happy to balance home, a husband who works long hours and three children. When a phone call reveals her less than perfect past, Felicia must confront the lies she told to create the life she wanted and find a way to merge fiction and reality.

 Baltimore Civil Rights Leader Victorine Q. Adams: The Power of the Ballot by Ida E. Jones. Victorine Adams was born in 1912 into the strictly segregated community of Baltimore. During her life she experienced racial violence and economic turmoil. She persevered to become an educator who used her classroom to educate and empower her students. In 1946, she formed the Colored Women’s Democratic Campaign Committee to teach Black women about their voting rights and the power of the ballot box. Adams’ name may not be on the top of many lists of prominent Black leaders during Black History Month, but her efforts helped empower black voters.

You Can't Go Wrong Doing Right: How a Child of Poverty Rose to the White House and Helped Change the World by Robert J. Brown. Born into poverty and raised by his grandmother, Robert Brown defied the odds and became a force for justice and equality. Brown has worked behind the scenes counseling presidents since the Kennedy Administration. He worked with the white corporate leadership at Woolworths helping them integrate their lunch counters. Brown accompanied Coretta Scott King to Memphis after her husband was assassinated and encouraged Richard Nixon to support black entrepreneurship.                                                                                                                      

Black History Biographies: Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Frederick Douglass by Darren Richards. Three in-depth biographies about the public and private lives of three famous civil rights elders.

 The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation by Colin G. Calloway. I selected this biography of our first president because it details his interactions with the leaders of the Native American tribes. Calloway discusses Washington as a young surveyor in the Indian territories, a soldier and finally as a president who realized the growth and success of a new nation was predicated on his ability to appropriate lands from the Native Americans.

John Adams: A Life by John Ferling. Think about how difficult it must have been to become the second president of the new United States of America. How do you fill the shoes of a beloved war hero?  Adams could be petty, jealous and self-centered, but he was also a devoted husband and father, a fiercely loyal friend and a man with a strong moral compass. Unlike Washington and Jefferson, Adams was a gentleman farmer not a plantation owner. He did not own slaves and he believed slavery was immoral.

The Black Heavens: Abraham Lincoln and Death by Brian R. Dirck. Release date February 6, 2019 – This is an unusual biography of Abraham Lincoln because it focuses on Lincoln’s response to death. As a young man, Lincoln mourned the deaths of his mother and his sister, and as a father he faced the deaths of two of his sons. Lincoln also lost several close friends in the Civil War. As commander and chief, he was keenly aware of the thousands of young men he sent to fight and die in the American Civil War.

The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A Rare Photographic History by John Bisney and J. L. Pickering - Release date February 15, 2019. Explore President Kennedy’s role in the development of the Space program against the backdrop of the Cold War. Impeccably researched and illustrated with several previously unpublished photographs, this is an important piece of history and one of the highlights of Kennedy’s all too brief time as our president.












The February 2019 Mixtape Quiz for Valentine's Day

February Reading for Kids by Fran Joyce